An Unglorified Repose

This pivotal day was in fact not one which could be readily identified, for Asher's story began once upon a time, and there had hardly been anything after this abstruse commencement to clue one in on the passage of days.  Nonetheless, shortly before his story came to an equally puzzling halt, Asher had just outwitted an evil witch into trading him a magical sword for a common stone.  By this time, he had bested many foes and collected many precious items, all of which were purported to aid him in his battle with the dark dragon Vagor.  He had procured mystical potions, attire, and artifacts sure to impress even the most fearsome of foes.  The sword, however, was very precious in that it was the final key to unlock his destiny, or so he believed.  After a brief glance at his map, he galloped in the direction of the tower.  Arabella, he mused, would be his at last.

It wasn't long before Asher was met by the mossy stone wall of the soaring tower, prompting him to dismount his majestic stallion.  His clear blue gaze rose to the small, locked window of the belfry.  I can't see the maiden, he agonized, but he shook the concern from his head and sent it bouncing off the dark chestnut waves of his hair.  One of the most detailed aspects of his story, without a doubt, was his appearance.  His eyes were not only reminiscent of the sky on a crisp autumn day, but they looked to be carved out of kindness itself and bestowed gently upon his fair countenance as a blessing from God.  Slight freckling embellished his youthful skin in the summer season, which, according to its mention, was likely the time at which his story took place.

None of which, of course, was helping him in his current situation.  His eyes, content to wait until after his final battle to be graced with the appearance of his princess, descended to the level of the tower door, only to light upon something rather troubling.

"A lock?" he asked aloud.  Indeed, there had been a rusted lock, the size of which was fit for a dragon, placed between the damp wooden panels that formed the tower door.  Of all the rarities he had procured, a key was not among them.  Battling the unfamiliar foe of embarrassment, he tried using his sword for a key, only causing for himself a fleeting moment of panic when it nearly became jarred within.  "Well, that didn't work," he said, scratching his well-formed head.  While he always wore armor, a helmet seemed a trifling thing, for if he wore it, how would the princess see the face of her hero upon the dragon's doom?

"VAGOR!" Asher boomed, hearing a rustling slither behind the door in response.  "I know you're in there.  I've come for Princess Arabella!  Now come and fight me, so that I may slay you!"

"Slay me?" a voice as low and crackling as thunder replied.  "Why would I do such a thing, that you might slay me?  If you can't find the key, you'll never enter the tower.  Until then, I'll be waiting to devour you upon your entrance."

Asher struggled for a retort.  "ARABELLA!" he instead belted at the top of his lungs, looking for a hopeful cry of reassurance, or perhaps even a clue as to the key's location.  None came, and in that very moment, all fell still.  It was a stillness far more unsettling than anything Asher had experienced, and a silence far more deafening. 

Then instantly, everything began to crumble.  The tower creaked, the trees fell, and the ground opened its mighty mouth to swallow the hero whole.  Darkness enveloped Asher, and before he knew it, there was a great void.  For several horrifying moments, he hung suspended in vast nothingness.  And then he fell.

How far he had fallen was a mystery to him, but when he had regained consciousness, he had lost his entire world.  And this new one was unlike anything he could ever have imagined.  It resembled a library, this place, but the light sources were nothing like candles, and the books-- the books were broken.  For as he looked, not a single tome upon the seemingly endless grid of shelves had its complete binding.  He scrambled to his feet from the pale tiles of the floor to pick up one of these severed volumes.  He stared at it for a moment, then at its incomplete counterparts.  He felt a hand on his shoulder and spun violently around.  

"Where am I?" he stuttered, but before the statement fell properly from his supple mouth, his jaw unhinged.  In front of him stood a creature similar to a man in form and stature, but it displayed green, oddly textured skin and three eyes blinking out of synchrony.  The hand that had tapped his shoulder was, to Asher's horror, more of a tentacle.

Our hero impulsively reached down to unsheathe his sword.  He patted around his waist.  He felt nothing.  A frantic glimpse downward revealed that all of his equipment, every last item aside from his basic clothing and armor, had been stripped from him.  Out of ideas, Asher ran as he had never run before, but he could faintly hear a wobbly voice shouting after him, "I just wanted to welcome you to the Archives!"

The End

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