The Legend of Glimmergard
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You hear a sizzling snore through Finn’s front door. You push the door open to find the little dragon asleep on his lumpy yet comfortable sofa. Little sparks and flames spring from his snoring mouth. You close the door with a kre thump. And Finn jolts up from his nap. Surprised, he rolls off the sofa and falls to the wood floor.
"Oof! Sorry about that; I seem to have dozed off." He springs to his feet with his usual enthusiasm and energy. "Anywho, where are my manners? Before we begin, would you like anything to eat? I believe I have some leftover urchin-marinated, sardine sandwiches around here somewhere." He looked around the living room for the sandwich plate.
You can’t see the sandwiches, but you can smell them. How can fish smell like stinky, old cheese? Quickly, you change the subject and say you are not hungry.
"Very well then, let’s get going with our next story!" With a spin, Finn bounces over to the fireplace and plucks a book from its mantel.
Making his way to his seat, Finn opens the book. Sand dumps out from its pages. "Every time," he mutters under his breath. "Some weird magic makes sure you remember this book is from the desert. I guess it’s better than being from the stink swamp or land of skunks."
Brushing the pile of sand off his lap, Finn wiggles to find the perfect comfort spot in his chair. "I have already shared the founding legends of the three other kingdoms—Hammerholt, Aerias, and Seahaven. This is the story of Glimmergard."
The old king of the Centerlands gathered his four children. He bestowed upon three of them unique gifts.
The eldest received a mighty hammer of magical power and strength. To this day, it rests in the halls of Hammerholt or in the hands of its hero, Holdenfast.
To the twin brother and sister, the king gave two other gifts. To the boy, Albinus, an ornate spear of engraved wood and a darkened metal tip. And to the girl, Aerias, a magical bow and arrow that empowers its welder with the ability of flight.
But to his fourth child, Cassian, the king gave no gift.
"You are brilliant. No one can match your intelligence. I’m so glad you returned in our final battle with the Gloom. But unlike your brothers and sister, you have not yet gone through the dark times and proven your resilience. So you cannot yet receive your inheritance. It can only be earned through hardship."
The youngest had left in the midst of the great war. Though he did return, he provided the decisive push, enabling their family to defeat their enemy.
"Cassian, you still have much to overcome. In your search for a new land, the home of your kingdom, you will have to decide what is truly valuable in life." Cassian’s father said, hoping his brash son might listen to his advice.
Still, Cassian left his father and siblings unconvinced of the need to change. He departed less out of the duty of doing his father’s bidding and more out of excitement at having something wholly his own. Soon, he would have his own kingdom. And he would be able to rule it in whatever way he saw fit!
Cassian meandered through the cool ponds of the mountains, casually snacking on sunberries from the mountain glades. He also stored some of the berries in his bag for later eating. It wasn’t long until the mountains turned into rolling hills and the hills into grasslands. Uncertain of which way to go, he walked through the grassy plains.
Looking around the horizon, he suddenly tripped. At his feet was a small, dark rock jutting out of the earth. Upon studying the black rock, he found it to be filled with shimmering crystals and gemstones. Dumping out the berries, he began storing the precious stones in his pack. Then he looked around. Moving out towards the horizon, there were more flecks of black.
"There must be more of these stones!" Cassian thought excitedly. And so he followed the stones far away from the plains. Whenever possible, he plucked the gems out of the stones and placed them in his bag.
After some time of following the black rocks, he had long left the grasslands. He now stood in the heart of a sandy desert. The sand dunes were massive. They seem to move and shift. It was impossible to know which direction he was headed. Above, the sun filled the entire sky. It was hot. It was hot, like falling into a fire. Hot like the flame-bellied lizard and its spark-throwing tail.
His pack was now completely full of expensive jewels, and he was completely lost. Exceptionally clever, he had attempted to follow the path of the sun back to the grasslands. But somehow, he only became more lost. The sun didn’t seem to follow the same rules as it would in the Centerlands.
He wandered the sands, sands as dry as his lips and tongue. His bag filled with precious gems cut into his shoulder with its extra weight, but he still refused to put them down.
"These will be how I build my kingdom. Every great kingdom needs its riches. And my kingdom will be the greatest of all time," he whispered resolutely. He was more determined than ever.
So still he wandered.
He was very lost, very hot, and very thirsty. Cassian was in a lot of danger. If he didn’t find water soon, he might die.
Days had passed since he entered the desert. Now Cassian was in more danger than ever. He hadn’t seen food or water in days. With his dry canteen and his heavy bag of jewels, he could barely stumble through the desert sands. The fire of the desert was blazing even hotter. The sun seemed to grow hotter and bigger every day.
He looked down at his bag, wishing the gems were the cool, juicy mountain berries from the beginning of his journey. But still, he wouldn’t drop the bag. He dragged it behind him, barely able to hold on.
At night, he began seeing visions of a small, glowing creature. Every night, it got closer before skittering away.
Soon it was coming close enough for Cassian to make out what it was. A glowing fox with big ears and wild eyes. Rays of yellow-green light flickered off its furry body.
Finally, one night, when Cassian was at his most desperate, the fox walked right up to him. Its hypnotic eyes stared right into Cassian’s. Without words, the fox spoke to him. "Do you want to live?" He nodded yes. "Get up," the fox’s eyes replied back.
Cassian slowly crawled to his feet and reached for his bag. The fox placed a paw on the bag and shook his head. "You must leave it all." Cassian paused. He questioned himself, "How will I build my kingdom?"
Slowly and out of desperation, he let go of the bag. The jewels and their riches were sacrificed in the hopes that this glowing creature would help him.
Seeing that Cassian had given up the jewels, the fox pushed a small, bite-sized morsel toward him. After a confused moment, Cassian took it and ate it. A strange feeling came over his body. He felt as if he was swimming in molasses. A great fear fell upon him. "Oh no! I have been tricked by this sly creature. He shall steal my jewels and leave me for dead!" Trying to resist, Cassian grew dizzy and collapsed.
Sleep overtook him. And it felt as though he had died.
Cassian awoke, and the fox was nowhere to be seen. He sat up and found himself in a completely new environment. It was a lush oasis that had sprung up in the middle of the fiery desert. Water and greenery surrounded him. He plunged his head into the water. Nothing had ever tasted so good.
He then took a closer look around. Along with the pool of water and vegetation were giant spires of the black rock filled with gold and gemstones. Kneeling at the water’s edge, he knew this would be the home for his new kingdom.
But a greater question remained. It was a personal and tangible question. He looked at the magnificent gems and then at the simple water. "With what will I build my kingdom?"
Remembering his thirst and need in the desert, he chose that which met his humble need. "Riches and pride shall belong to another. A small fox was my savior when I could do nothing for myself. Humble simplicity shall be the foundation for my kingdom—"
"—oh wait!" He got up and plucked a fruit from a nearby tree. "My kingdom will be founded on simplicity AND hydropears." Happily and hungrily, he took a bite of the juicy fruit.
"And that is the last of the four kingdom legends." Finn closes the book. Flicks of sand leap from the closing pages. "There are so many stories to share, though! Another time I will have to share about the dwarves of Glimmergard or the dinos that live in their massive cave mines."
Looking at his clunking grandfather clock, Finn continues. "It appears that another story will have to wait until next week. Before you go, can I pack up some of the sardine sandwiches to take with you?"
You scramble to say goodbye and no thank you. Trying to avoid having to eat any of the stink sandwiches, you quickly scurry out the door.
"Well, no worries, my friend. Until next time!" As you reach the edge of the clearing, Finn bites into one of the sandwiches. In the distance, you hear his voice. "Yerrk! Bleck! Gross! What happened to these things?"