The Road to Jehelrin

With little ceremony, Azur departed from King Bertrand's great hall. He found his squire - Olev Frog-Shield - outside Helgar's Keep.

"Olev. Ready our horses." Azur said grumpily.

Olev Frog-Shield was more than a squire for Azur. The two were lifelong friends, a rarity for a Frog-Shield. The Frog-Shield family was undoubtedly looked down upon by the other Great Families of Tehrath. For centuries, The Frog-Shields had produced the finest Squires in history but none had ever ascended to the rank of Knight due to bad luck or unfortunate accidents. As an example, I present the tragic story of Felfor Frog-Shield. Felfor Frog-Shield was hailed as the finest warrior in a generation and calls for him to be knighted came from the general populace shortly after his ninth birthday. However, it would not be until he turned twenty that Helgar - Hero-King of the city of Tehrath - finally found time to knight Felfor. Unfortunately, someone forgot to cancel the Archers' daily practice that day and a stray arrow pierced Felfor's skull mere seconds before the Knighthood was complete. As Knighthood Ceremonies go, it was a fairly distressing one for all involved.

Anyway, Olev and Azur had met first when the two had both been squire and when Azur ascended to the rank of Knight he named Olev - who hadn't been Knighted for some vague reason given about the Unified Kingdom's Knighthood budget - as his new squire. The two had been inseparable on every quest, and the two had saved eachother's life several times. The two made the journey to the Mountain of Madness in animated conversation as Azur - whilst normally quiet amongst others - found in Olev the only person he could truly talk to about everything. Olev Frog-Shield appeared more excited to be meeting the High Jester of Jehelrin than Sir Azur Ravenstar.

"Do you actually know how Jehelrin was founded?" Olev asked curiously.

Azur shook his head, although he knew full well. Sir Azur Ravenstar had heard Olev speak of his fascination with the long-banned art of Comedy and tolerated his occasional attempts at humour.

"It was some two hundred years ago. King Helgar of the Human Kingdom grew bored of his Court Jester and intended to sack him. The Court Jester - Pike McManus, I believe his name was - conspired with other Court Jester's from around the Four Kingdoms and organised what came to be known as the Union of Rather Cross Court Jesters. Their first and only action was to organise a mass strike in the hope that Kings and noblemen around the Four Kingdoms would realise how boring their lives were without Jesters."

"Did it work?" Azur asked, as he had during every previous incarnation of this conversation.

"As a matter of fact...No. No, it failed miserably. The Kings realised how free of annoyance their lives were and banned Comedy and by extension Jesters throughout each of their Kingdoms. Pike McManus and the other Jesters fled from persecution into the mysterious Mountain of Madness, where they formed the underground city of Jehelrin - the last Bastion of terrible jokes everywhere. It was an architectural monstrosity, of course. And I imagine the sewage system would have been rather peculiar. But-" Olev paused for breath and Azur took this moment to interject.

"Who is the High Jester and why are we looking for him, in your opinion?"

Olev grinned widely, unable to contain his excitement. "Well, two hundred years ago when Jehelrin was founded, Pike McManus appointed himself High Jester of Jehelrin. If Jehelrin has actually endured, then I expect there have been other High Jesters since. As for why we need him, then I can only guess. From your description, King Bertrand did not seem in a rational frame of mind. Still, it will be wonderful to see Jehelrin in all its humourous glory."

"Hasn't anyone visited Jehelrin?" Azur asked, feigning enthusiasm.

"No. Not ever. Only Jesters may pass through the gates of Jehelrin. And even then, only ones who can come up with an original Knock-Knock joke." Olev replied. "I imagine we shall have to come up with our own knock-knock joke if we are to pass through the gates. Otherwise we'll probably be eaten by the Dragon of Irony."

"The Dragon of Irony?" Azur queried, alarmed.

"Indeed." Olev responded gravely. "The irony being, of course, that there's nothing ironic about being eaten by The Dragon of Irony after failing to come up with an original knock knock joke."

"Understood." Azur lied.

The End

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