From the author: At some point in their quest, every hero visits the Cave of the All-Seeing Oracle to hear a prophecy, learn their heroic destiny, and continue on their pre-ordained journey. Nullia, the Oracle’s apprentice, is tired of watching everyone else’s story go by and never getting a chance to live her own. But then the hero Hishmed arrives.
He came up the mountain like a drunken spider—another farm boy on a quest, some enchanted blade swinging from his hip and banging against the rocks as he climbed. I watched him from Far Sight Rock and sighed. The farm boys were all the same: evil king, murdered father figure, sacred errand, mentor who dies. Hearts of gold and flawless moral compasses. Clumsy charm and hopeless optimism, with eyes I could always get lost in.
And taste in women that never included me.
I went inside the cave and told Ildara. "Farm boy."
She nodded and rose from the table, a bit of charcoal in a gnarled fist. We approached the schedule, written messily on the cave's left wall. "Well, we're expecting two," Ildara said. "One with a dragon, and one with the Sword of Heaven."
"He's got a sword."
Ildara grunted and checked off 'farm boy: sword'.
Rocks clattered outside. The farm boy stumbled in. Like all of them, he was perfect; like every time, my heart twisted. Brown curls. Sparkling blue eyes. "Uh," he...