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Quest for Glory: A Holiday Tale - Chapter 1

 

It has become somewhat of a tradition at GameZone that each year we publish a fictional piece with a Christmas holiday theme. Rather than draw upon an established IP this year, the GameZone tandom of Michael Lafferty and Matt Eberle - with a very solid artistic assist from Rashad Baiyasi - came up with something on the original side. Thus, we present, in two parts ...

Quest for Glory: A Holiday Tale

Chapter One

It was a day like most other days in the suburbs of Potentia; it was cold, with gray overcast skies and a breeze that hinted at both hope and despair swirling through the leafless branches of the few trees that bothered to try to grow in the neighborhood.

Race (short for Race N. Motors – someone’s warped idea of a clever name) sat in a lawn chair in his front yard, his sidekick Randy hovering nearby, pretending to sun himself while surveying the neighborhood. That there was no sun didn’t seem to matter. That he couldn’t tan even if there was a sun didn’t seem to matter, either. That wasn’t the purpose of sitting here.

“Why do you even bother doing this to yourself,” Randy finally asked, breaking the silence that seemed to be part of the daily regimen.

“Do what?” Race replied, sarcasm underlining his tone, “or is that another one of those Rhett Butler questions of yours?”

Confusion flickered across Randy’s face, if indeed what Randy had could be called a face. “Rhett Butler? Oh, you mean rhetorical … no, it’s not rhetorical.” The hovering blob then muttered, “Rhett Butler my unformed body, at the least the programmers could have gotten as far as giving him some brains, but no …”

“I can hear you,” Race stated, his tone even, his eyes still scanning the neighborhood. “I may not be as smart as you, but my hearing is pretty good. Remember, I’m action, you’re the brains.”

“Well, if you want a suggestion from the brains you ought to be practicing with that toy of yours instead of sitting out here. The mail will get here when it gets here,” Randy said. He bobbed up and down to emphasize his point.

“It isn’t a toy!” Race snapped. “It’s a tool I’m going to use in my game.” The would-be hero’s hand gripped the odd, square sheathe on his hip defensively.

Randy chuckled. “I know, Race. I’m just a little bored out here. Let’s go for a run around the neighborhood.”

“Okay, okay,” Race said as he got out of his comfortable chair. “A couple of laps might be good practice.” He opened the sheath on his hip and withdrew a very large and heavy yo-yo. He confidently slipped the metal ring at the end of its silvery string around his finger.

“I meant a run. I didn’t mean bouncing off rooftops, trees, and getting the cops called on us again,” Randy said quickly.

“This way is more fun!” Race replied simply. He grinned brightly. A simple flick of the wrist and his yo-yo was spinning up towards a large tree branch. Before Randy could reply Race was airborne.

Randy had to admit it, the would-be action hero was somewhat graceful, but even as that thought crossed what amounted for a mind in the formless mass of what he was, Race seemed to look down the street, catch something, completely misjudge his distance to a safer swing spot and crashed rather heavily into a large tree branch. He bounced … as well as anyone could be said to bounce when skeleton and pixilated flesh tones meet with collision paths of otherwise solid objects, did a half-turn in the air, hit the next branch down and began to pinball his way toward the ground – finally landing in a heap at the base of the tree.

Randy sped to the side of his companion.

“What in the name of Jupiter’s penultimate discord was that all about?”

Race shook his head, clearing cobwebs. When that didn’t work, he merely reached up and pulled the willowy material from the fur on his head where it had stuck after his path downward had taken him through some spider dwellings.

“Not now,” he said. “There’s a mailman coming, and you know what that means.”

Randy gave the approximation of a nod. “Someone’s either moving uptown to full-on development, or they’ve been cancelled. Of course …”

“Randy.”

“… it might also be the obvious …”

“Randy!”

“… and maybe someone is actually getting …”

”RANDY!”

The sidekick stopped and stared at his companion. “What?”

“That mailman is going to our house!”

They watched for several minutes as the postal carrier approached the mail box, withdrew an envelope, checked the numbering on the house and then, finally, deposited the envelope into the box. Then he walked down the street, not stopping at another house.

Race’s eyes followed him for a while, then drifted back to the mail box that sat in front of his house.

“Might as well get this over with,” he said, rising to his feet.

“Let’s wait a bit,” Randy offered, knowing his head-strong friend – once his mind was made up – would certainly do whatever it was he was about to do.

The duo approached the mail box, as though it were a sleeping demon, ready to awaken and attack. Finally, they were there, and the envelope was removed from the maws of the beast.

“I have a bad feeling about this …” Randy began, the words submerged beneath an exclamation of outrage from Race.

“Project cancelled!!! They can’t do this to me! I’m a hero! I was supposed to star in my own video game! I was supposed to have an adventure!” He glanced around quickly, dropping into a defensive stance, fingers on the tab of his ‘weapon.’ “The Voiders will be coming soon, armed with dev smite, to cast us into the Oblivion of Unused Heroes.”

“Maybe it’s for the best,” Randy muttered, “I mean, come on, you are armed with a Yo-yo …”

Race shot him a deadly glance. If looks could kill, Randy would be even more of a dismembered bit of thought than he/she/it already was. The sidekick decided a change of tactics was in order; perhaps commiserating would be better …

“I mean, how could they do this to you? To us? And at this time of the year, too! With the holidays …”

“That’s it!” Race’s eyes grew wide with excitement.

“What’s what?”

“The holidays. Christmas. The time when dreams come true. Good will toward men …”

“We are not men,” Randy started to point out, but his words were cut short by a glance from Race.

“What’s the name of that guy that runs around giving millions of people hope?”

“Barack Obama?”

“No, the other guy,” Race said, momentarily confused. “Jolly … fat … jelly belly … white beard … reindeer … likes to go around ho-ing …”

“Stop right there!” Randy said. “Try to keep it clean. He goes ho-ho-ho, not …”

”Whatever,” Race said, enthusiasm mounting. “What’s his name?”

“He goes by many, actually, St. Nick, Santa Claus …”

“That’s it! Santa. He grants people’s fondest wishes at Christmas, right?”

“That’s the theory …”

“Where does he live?”

“Well, according to legend, the North Pole; however …”

“Then that’s where we are going. This Santa guy can give us what we are asking for – our own adventure to star in! Start getting ready!”

“But Race …”

“Ok, I’m all set. You?”

Randy sighed. It was like talking to a rock.

"Remind me again – you’re supposed to be the impulsive, strong and agile one. I'm supposed to be the smart, clever, and cautious one?"

"Uh, yes?" Race replied.

"Okay, just checking. Let's get this over with ..."

 

The exciting conclusion of the Quest for Glory: A Holiday Tale can be found here!

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