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25 June 2017 @ 03:50 pm
LJ Idol Season Ten: "A Modern Knight Or Errant Fool"  
A Modern Knight Or Errant Fool
idol season ten | week 22
Turn Back or Forge Ahead?


One Thursday in June, Harry Hargrave came home after a typically awful day at work and found a message waiting for him.

Or, not exactly waiting, more along the lines of carved into the dining room table in blazing ten-inch letters:
A Quest is in Store
Huh? Harry thought. What quest? I work in an office.

He put the fire out, and looked around for some sort of additional message. There was a scroll on the mantel, which he unrolled to read the following:

Greetings, Noble Gentleman.

Terrible times are upon Us, for the King's Daughter has been taken by Thieves from another Realm. The King now calls upon his greatest Heroes and Warriors to rescue her.

You have the Honor of having been Summoned to take up this Quest.

This must be some kind of prank—probably those jokers over in accounting. Harry read the opening again, with its pompous language and random and excessive use of capital letters.
The Princess cannot long survive so far from the Kingdom. Her Vile Captors have offered Three Indications of where best to begin the Search:

~ Meet the Monster of the Middle Forest
~ Consult the Wizard of the River Temple
~ Journey to the Underground Chambers of the Tournament Hall

His Majesty implores You to come to his Aid and embark upon the Path of your Choosing.

Well, this is ridiculous. Harry dropped the scroll on the kitchen counter. What Kingdom? We have a President, not a King, and as far as I remember he has two sons and no daughters. Is this some kind of "Nigerian prince" scam with a twist?

He was tired, he was hungry, and whatever the whole scroll thing was about, it was the last thing he needed right now. On the other hand, if someone had kidnapped his mother or his baby sister, he would be out of his mind with worry, and hoping someone—anyone—would help him.

What to do, what to do?

  • Go to the forest and search for the "monster"?

  • Find the wizard and see what he knew?

  • Locate the tournament hall, whatever that meant, and its underground chambers?

  • Or just forget about all of it and get something to eat?

  • If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

    Teo Sayseternal_ot on June 26th, 2017 11:09 am (UTC)
    This was a fun adventure to take :) I enjoyed doing this and trying different routes. A great take on the prompt! It's quite appropriate actually. Good job!
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 26th, 2017 06:25 pm (UTC)
    Thank you!

    It actually seemed to me that the obvious answer to the prompt was a Choose Your Own Adventure story, unless it was one of fighting adversity and either powering through or deciding it just wasn't worth it.

    But the first approach was one where every author's version (even different versions by the same author) will be unique, so that wound up working better than the other prompt (which would surely have taken less time to right!)
    i_17bingo: toileti_17bingo on June 26th, 2017 04:21 pm (UTC)
    I had so much fun with this. The Choose Your Own Adventure format has got to be a challenge to do, and I commend you for it.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 26th, 2017 06:26 pm (UTC)
    It's a huge challenge just to figure out the logistics, and then to post and link all the segments. That part... argh, what a headache.

    But writing the various segments was sure fun. More of a challenge to keep most of them really concise, so that readers can try multiple paths without getting fed up.

    So glad you enjoyed it!
    bleodswean: dancing dumbledorebleodswean on June 26th, 2017 06:10 pm (UTC)
    *wild applause* THIS WAS FANTASTIC, K!!! So much work and so much cleverness in one entry! Huzzah!!

    This link was broken for me - I A: Return home from the old park  
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Yay!halfshellvenus on June 26th, 2017 06:41 pm (UTC)
    Yayyyyy-- thank you so much!

    It really IS a lot of work. Tons. Both in writing all the segments, and then in posting, formatting, and linking them. I made it with about 5 minutes to spare. o_O

    But it was a fun adventure, and even more elaborate than the one I wrote a few years ago, so well worth it!

    I fixed the return from that link. I thought I'd caught them all yesterday- the mouse's copying function omitted the "l" from "html" at least 6-8 times that I fixed, but I must have missed one!

    favoritebeanfavoritebean on June 26th, 2017 11:04 pm (UTC)
    I always love 'choose your own adventure' stories, and this is no exception. Great work as always!
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 26th, 2017 11:50 pm (UTC)
    Thank you! I get a kick out of them too, and I have a secret fondness for the "branches" of the story where things don't go so well.

    I can just imagine the story character thinking, "How could you do this to me!" while the reader is thinking, "Eh, you're disposable. Let's try another choice..." :D
    cindy: misc fictsuki_no_bara on June 27th, 2017 02:56 am (UTC)
    these are so fun. i can just guess how much work they are, but they're really exciting to read. i mean, if harry doesn't get the princess in this branch, maybe he will in another branch! or maybe he'll just get captured by demons under the basketball stadium. i enjoyed it a lot.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 27th, 2017 06:24 pm (UTC)
    They're a ton of work to write and link, but if it's fun for the reader, it's all worth it!

    I see you tried several of the branches of possibilities. It's always irresistible to know what the outcomes might be-- even if they're good, bad, or simply mundane. :D

    So glad you enjoyed it!
    rayasorayaso on June 27th, 2017 02:29 pm (UTC)
    This was so much fun! I wanted to make my Comment into a "choose your own comment," but I lack your technical expertise. The little stories were wonderful -- I really liked the subway trolls and the dragon crashing through the ceiling. Even though the individual stories were necessarily short, you worked in lots of great details and funny asides. I would have chosen the path that lead to the princess, although the "make a meal" option had a certain gross appeal. The linking of all these parts must have been so difficult, let alone the great writing.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 28th, 2017 06:03 pm (UTC)
    I don't know how you would make a "Choose your own comment," unless you used selective screening, but it would be fun to try!

    The subway trolls were the first concrete detail that came to me, which is part of how this story wound up being set where it was (and kicked off an epic amount of research). Subways seem like the kind of thing trolls would love-- even if it just meant riding on them and annoying other passengers!

    I always think there should be a story for what appears to be the "avoid choosing" option, like staying home and eating something. Because NOT choosing is also a choice. ;)
    Rebeccabeeker121 on June 27th, 2017 07:47 pm (UTC)
    I found the princess on my first try! Or Harry did, I suppose. Though I think my favorite ending was him calling for take out, as folks on the other end of the line scream 'dragon', and he just hangs up and orders pizza. The Ogre who likes snickers is nifty too.

    This is a lot of fun - you managed to make it concise enough that I could follow all the paths (I think I got them all) but with enough story everywhere that I didn't feel cheated. Brava.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 28th, 2017 06:05 pm (UTC)
    Wow, you were lucky to pick the random path leading to the princess on your first try! It's pretty buried in there.

    The dragon at the Chinese restaurant was the second random detail that came to me while this was just starting to take shape. Trolls on the subway was the first. It's funny, if you like random details (and I do), this kind of format is just made for them.

    I did try to keep each of the story segments short but interesting, in case readers wanted to Try Them All! As I usually do. :D I'm glad you felt that worked out. :)
    swirlsofblueswirlsofblue on June 28th, 2017 04:59 pm (UTC)
    This was fascinating and awesome and fun, love that you did the 'choose your own' thing and your execution of it is splendid!
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 28th, 2017 06:07 pm (UTC)
    Thank you very much!

    Fun was my primary goal here-- well, fun for me and for the reader, not necessarily fun for Harry, at least not on most of the paths. Which is exactly as it should be. :D
    Hillaryxlovebecomesher on June 28th, 2017 06:53 pm (UTC)
    Very creative! I enjoyed the adventure :)
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 28th, 2017 07:52 pm (UTC)
    Thank you! I'm glad you had fun with it. :D
    hwangohwango on June 29th, 2017 07:38 am (UTC)
    The real victims here are those poor people at Szechuan City. Well, them and the dining room table. = )

    Kudos for undertaking the massive task of building one of these. It really is a lot of work, isn't it?
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 29th, 2017 06:47 pm (UTC)
    I think the people at Szechuan City definitely got the worst of it, though who knows what awaits the pack of knights? And that dining room table is definitely never coming back...

    These ARE fun and rewarding to write, but yes-- the logistical wrangling of posting all the segments and formatting them... yikes. The previous one I did was much briefer-- main story, 4 choices, and for those four there were 2 choices for all but the last, which had just one path. So, 7 discrete paths in all. Which seems like a cakewalk compared to this thing, and yours was about the same earlier this season. o_O
    Murielle: Scrunchedmurielle on June 29th, 2017 05:27 pm (UTC)

    Of course I choose the happy ending! You did such a great job with this. Every choice was entertaining. I want to come back and make sure I didn't miss anything.

    Great job! Brava!
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 29th, 2017 06:49 pm (UTC)
    We always want the happy ending, though sometimes it's hard to find. Unless we try all of the paths out, which I personally do because I'm compulsive curious like that. :D

    I definitely didn't want any of the choices to be boring, nor to necessarily be what they first appeared. "Safe" sometimes isn't, and "risky" isn't always either.

    So glad you enjoyed this!
    flipflop_divaflipflop_diva on June 29th, 2017 10:07 pm (UTC)
    This is super fun! I'm still reading through the different threads, but I love the main character in this, especially his reactions in the beginning, thinking it was the people in accounting or a Nigerian prince scam. Heh. He's a great character to have this adventure!
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 29th, 2017 10:26 pm (UTC)
    Thank you! I put that poor guy through a lot of grief, but I thought it would be fun to mix an old-fashioned quest with a setting where it did not belong. How much more confounding to bumble your way through that adventure when you're half-convinced it's a bad joke or some other piece of lunacy.

    The Nigerian prince thing seemed appropriate. Instead of, "Dear friend, only you can save my money," that out-of-the-blue message had a veneer of, "Dear warrior, only you can save my daughter." Because, really?

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
    marlawentmadmarlawentmad on June 29th, 2017 10:59 pm (UTC)
    I am so enamored by Choose Your Own Adventure stories, I am so impressed with all the work you put into this. I am a sucker for this kind of stuff, and I end up having to go down every path, hahahaa.
    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 29th, 2017 11:09 pm (UTC)
    Haha-- that's exactly what I do. I am compelled to try every path, because otherwise I would never know what I missed! Which could be the happy ending! Or trolls...