The Chronicles of Toptennia: A Medieval Fantasy Epic - Chapter 1

PetSounds
This serial is a work of fiction. Any resemblances to events or humans, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Or maybe not.

----------

It was a dark and stormy night. Business was wrapping up at the Sequined Hog Tavern, as locals put up their hoods and staggered off to face the elements and their wives. The innkeeper, Skoney, was about to close the bar, when the street door swung open and a man strode in. Or rather, tumbled in. His forehead, mounted approximately seven feet above his body, had stuck the door frame, which resulted in his feet slipping on the wet floor, which in turn resulted in an undignified entrance.

The tall man gathered up a wide-brimmed, pointed hat and a gnarled staff, which he had dropped. A dark cloak was draped across his shoulders. His appearance was that of a traveller, likely bound for the capital city. Although his legs were awkwardly long and he was forced by his height to bend forward, his eyes had the unnerving gleam of pure intelligence.

Because of the tall man's spectacular entrance, Skoney had failed to notice the arrival of a second figure, who had evidently sneaked through the door behind his taller companion. He was clad in worn-out leather and appeared to be in his mid-teens--in fact, the innkeeper wondered if he was of legal drinking age. He carried a mandolin on a strap across his shoulders.

The pair seated themselves at the bar.

"I'll take a frothing pint of your best ale," said the tall man.

"Root beer for me," said his companion.

The innkeeper poured their drinks, then continued his nightly routine of mopping alcohol, sweat, broken glass, and blood from the floor. His customers began a conversation in hushed tones.

"I say, my good fellow." The tall man addressed Skoney. "Would you happen to have a map?"

The proprietor walked behind the bar and dug through a drawer. "Of all sorts--topographical, nautical, roads, satellite photos…"

"Anything with the wilds of Miscellanea on it?"

Skoney flipped through his inventory. "I'm afraid not. Anything that shows the wilds of Miscellanea is out of date--no cartographer has dared to journey through them for a century!"

"We'll settle for an old map."

Skoney pulled out another drawer and assessed its contents.

"Here's one. It's about two hundred years old--made in the early eleventh century." The innkeeper drew out a yellowed chart.

"Excellent!" The tall man took the map and spread out on the bar. "Observe, Stupendos, we are here." He placed his finger on the map in a gesture to his companion. "By my calculations, it should take Sir Gaup about twenty-nine hours to reach this tavern. Assuming he departed yesterday after supper, he should arrive any minute."

No sooner had the words left his lips then a clatter of hooves sounded on the asphalt outside, and an armour-clad man strode majestically into the inn, smashing the door on his way through. "Good evening," he said in a thick Irish brogue. "I am Sir Gaup of Gup. You, I take it, are Stupendos and Opinstor of Whildawk?"

Skoney gasped. The name of Opinstor was well known to him. Legends swirled throughout the countryside about the sorcerer. Some said he was an evil magician who planned to annex the throne. Some claimed he was a mad alchemist. Some refused to even acknowledge his existence. Some believed he was a saviour sent from above--the lord of dark matter.

"We are," the sorcerer replied. "Won't you join us for a drink?"

Sir Gaup of Gup clanked over to the bar and took a seat. He raised his visor, revealing a youthful face. "And you, I take it, are Skoney the stalwart innkeeper?"

The Sequined Hog's proprietor beamed. "Skoney, yes. Innkeeper, yes. Stalwart…"

"The fact is, we've come to ask you something." Opinstor looked Skoney in the eye. "Will you join us on an Adventure?"

Images of dragons and princesses in faraway lands danced before the innkeeper's imagination. The idea was appealing, but the thought of leaving his tavern and hometown frightened him.

"Well, what's it going to be?" Sir Gaup asked impatiently. "Yes or no?"

"At least let the man sleep on it." Stupendos spoke for the first time since the knight's arrival. "It's not an easy decision."

"It most certainly is! A lifetime of excitement, or a lifetime of stagnation?"

"Or to put it another way," said Opinstor, "a quarter share in the world's greatest treasure trove… or not."

Skoney decided in an instant. "I'll come. But I'll need a week to sell my tavern."

"Begorrah!" Sir Gaup rolled his eyes. "Do you think we have forever?"

"Could you make it forty-eight hours?" asked Stupendos.

An idea came to Skoney. "I know! I'll sell it to Don."

"Don?"

"Don 'The Ram'. He's a local sheep farmer who's been pestering me to sell him this real estate for years. He wants to turn it into a wool factory or something."

"Fabulous," said Opinstor. "Now, I should really explain what this Adventure is all about."

----------

To be continued...

Comments

Or Skoney could ask a relative to manage the tavern...
Will I be picking out plot holes throughout this series? - PositronWildhawk

He is alone in the world, an immigrant from Argentina. - PetSounds

And if I keep picking out plot holes, will you be going back on yourself to fix them? - PositronWildhawk

Maybe. - PetSounds

Anxiously awaiting the next chapter. I got more into it than I would think. You're a good writer, man! - keycha1n

This is amazing! I can't wait for the next chapter! - RiverClanRocks

I wonder who don the ram is!
Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next one. - Therandom

The origins of those names are...interesting. - Puga

Hahah simply amazing and entertaining! - keyson

This character Skoney, I find it most interesting. Excellent work! - keyson

I think you'll find that Opinstor of Whildawk is much more dynamic and mysterious. I'm really connecting with him. - PositronWildhawk

Nah, Sir Gaup of Gup really is a pleasure. - Puga

On the way, Skoney shall find his lover Gribrilt. - Turkeyasylum

Only to be interrupted by Yotribb. - Puga

And Yotribb, uh... I'm too lazy to think of something right now. - Turkeyasylum

So to recap:

Skoney - Keyson
Stupendos - PetSound
Sire Gaup of Gup - Puga
Opinstor of Whildhawk - Positron - visitor

And also a note, Don The Ram - Random - visitor

Therandom! - Therandom

What's the pub name an anagram of, pray tell? - PositronWildhawk

Interesting... - JaysTop10List

I was waiting for someone to make novel series on TheTopTens (I really got tired of the T.V. shows ripoffs). Anxiously waiting for the next chapter, PS. - Kiteretsunu

Not gonna lie, many of us like the T.V. show spinoffs. - Therandom

But I like this, it's original. - Therandom

P