Title: The Lost Tale Of Sir Larpsalot
Author: David Michael Williams
Genre: YA / Portal Fantasy
Length: 54,000 Words
Target Audience: Fantasy Fans / Teen Gamers
WIZARDS & WANNABES
As the first day of high school creeps closer, five friends agree to one last LARP* before splitting the party and ending their geeky game forever.
But the real adventure is just beginning…
Mistaking the teens’ costumed characters for actual warriors, a sorceress summons Sir Larpsalot, Elvish Presley, Brutus the Bullheaded, Master Prospero, and Tom Foolery to her world to complete an impossible quest. To succeed, they must become the heroes they only ever pretended to be.
And if they can’t find a way to win, it’s GAME OVER for real!
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon
Theatre of the Mind
an approach to roleplaying games that requires few physical props, favoring instead the use of verbal
descriptions of setting, characters, and action.
(In other words, using your imagination.)
Wounded and weary, Good Company ascended from the dungeon, climbing toward daylight.
Sir Larpsalot led the way, the creaking of his plate
armor killing the unnatural silence. There was no need for stealth. The five heroes had already defeated the guardians of the supposedly abandoned mine—not to mention triggered a fair number of traps on their way in. Now all that remained were a few cobweb-covered stairs between the exhausted adventurers and safety.
Elvish Presley followed closely behind Good Company’s leader, stepping up beside his dear friend as soon as they traded the stale air of the mines for a fresh breeze. While Sir Larpsalot squinted and scanned the vast horizon for new threats, Elvish Presley spent a moment basking in the much-missed sunlight.
After that massive maze, puzzles aplenty, and an epic battle with diabolical doubles of the heroes’ loved ones, could their trials here truly be over?
Elvish Presley’s reverie was cut short as Sir Larpsalot’s announced, “’Tis clear. Neither man nor beast roams the barren lands surrounding the Mines of Snoria.”
“Thank the ckuphing gods for that,” rumbled the deep voice of Brutus the Bullheaded. The minotaur pushed past them and buried his double-bladed battle axe deep into the dry earth. Elvish Presley noted that Brutus’s shaggy, black hide was matted with blood. “That map we found down there better be worth it. Nearly lost my one good eye while killing Black Angus…again.”
As Brutus scratched his newest scar, which stretched down from the base of one horn to just above his left eye, Elvish Presley said, “Why, Brutus, I thought you never tired of battle. Was that not the reason you named your axe ‘Plan A’?”
Brutus grunted. “Pretty sure you named it.”
Elvish Presley clapped a hand on the minotaur’s broad back. “Ah, well, I suppose we wouldn’t want your next instance of blinding rage to be literally blind.”
Brutus grunted again. “Yeah, and I’d look pretty stupid with two eyepatches.”
“Agreed.” Elvish Presley reached into his long, blue-suede cloak and produced the party’s Bottomless Bag. “Only one stamina elixir remains, and you are welcome to it.”
Brutus shook his head. “No, the magus needs it more.”
Elvish Presley turned to find Sir Larpsalot helping Master Prospero up the final steps of the mine. The man leaned heavily on his darkwood staff, looking frailer than usual, as though his time underground had aged him by years, not days. But when the minstrel pulled the yellow-green potion from his pack and offered it to him, the magus waved it away.
“I have one spell left,” Master Prospero told him. “If no new trouble finds us, I may cast an incantation to restore us all a bit.”
Now it was Elvish Presley who shook his head. He was not at all surprised that the clever human held a single spell in reserve, but the elf knew they would more likely see a fireball fly from the Staff of Er’Mah’Gerd than any kind of healing magic.
He suppressed a shiver. After everything they had endured in the mines, Elvish Presley prayed to the ascended souls of Gracelund that Good Company would need neither.
“I’ll take a potion!” declared the final member of the party.
Last one out of the dungeon, Tom Foolery grabbed the stamina elixir, popped open the cork, and took a great swig of the enchanted liquid. Elvish Presley had tried to hold onto the bottle, but even with his nimble fingers, which could strum the strings of a lute more deftly than anyone alive, the Minstrel King could not hope to keep Tom Foolery from his prize.
Elvish Presley smiled helplessly at the dwarf. “And where was your goddess-given dexterity when you failed to disarm that last trap?”
Tom Foolery took another gulp of the elixir and said, “Quinlehar works in mysterious ways.”
“Indeed she does, my friends. Indeed she does.”
The strange new voice echoed just inside the mineshaft. Each member of Good Company spun around in surprise. Sir Larpsalot unsheathed Excaliburnt, though not before swift Tom Foolery drew his enchanted
daggers, Slice and Dice.
Brutus hefted his battle axe over one brawny shoulder and said, “Here we go again.”
But Elvish Presley’s keen eyes penetrated the darkness of the opening. “Stay your blades! He is no enemy of ours.”
A familiar figure exited the Mines of Snoria. Although the middle-aged man wore no armor and carried neither sword nor shield, he stood as straight and proud as Sir Larpsalot—as any Knight of the Coffee Table.
“Well met, Sour Ron,” Sir Larpsalot called. “’Tis a surprise to find you here. You need not have lingered after guiding us to this place.”
“Yet how could I leave?” Sour Ron asked. “The Holey Pail is my sole hope of regaining the honor I lost when Llamalot fell. And now that you have reclaimed the map to that treasure, we are one step closer to rousing your
father and the rest of the slumbering knights.”
Master Prospero took a step closer to Sour Ron and gave the man a shrewd look. “Your words carry a measure of truth, but your betrayal of Llamalot was surely forgiven when you helped us forge the key to open the Mines of Snoria. So I cannot help but wonder what prompted you to enter the accursed caverns…alone.”
Sour Ron frowned. “Always so suspicious, Master Prospero.”
Sir Larpsalot stepped between the magus and the dishonored knight. “Sour Ron, pray forgive my companion’s disrespect.”
The man held up a hand, though he kept the other one behind his back. “Alas, I am afraid the magus’s suspicions are justified this time.”
Sour Ron’s hidden hand thrust forward. Sir Larpsalot tried to bring up his shield but was too slow. If not for Master Prospero, whose desperate shove sent both of them to the ground, the magical boomerang would have struck Sir Larpsalot square in the chest.
Too stunned to do anything but gape, Elvish Presley finally managed to exclaim, “Sour Ron has been the Lord of the Rangs all along!”
The Lord of the Rangs laughed. “Indeed I am! With the Holey Pail, I will open a gateway between Mezzo-Earth and my hellish kingdom of Down Under. Your world will fall to my forces within a fortnight!”
“How many weeks is that again?” Elvish Presley heard Tom Foolery ask. “I can never remember.”
Two more smoky black boomerangs appeared in the villain’s hands.
Sir Larpsalot leaped to his feet just as the Lord of the Rangs released one.
“No!” the holy knight cried, swinging Excaliburnt with all his might. The fiery blade shattered the missile in midair. Before the Lord of the Rangs could throw the other boomerang, Sir Larpsalot brought the tip of Excaliburnt’s scalding blade to his enemy’s exposed neck. “Drop it and surrender, you knave!”
The Lord of the Rangs obeyed, though the smirk never left his face.
“Just cut his head off and be done with it,” Brutus growled.
“Do it, Larpsalot!” Tom Foolery added. “Kill him, and we can all go home!”
But Sir Larpsalot stayed his hand. “Rest assured we will have justice, my friends, but we are not murderers. I vow that this fiend will answer for—”
Sir Larpsalot’s words were cut short as a dark whir struck him in the back of the head. The black boomerang
—the first one the Lord of the Rangs threw at the knight—had returned. Now it fell to the ground.
So did Sir Larpsalot.
For a split second, everything was quiet. Then chaos erupted.
“I need time to cast my final spell!” Master Prospero wrapped the Cloak of Shadowbright around himself. The magus’s form became indistinct, if not truly invisible, as he retreated a handful of paces from the action. “Keep him busy!”
Rather than attack, Elvish Presley dropped to his knees beside Sir Larpsalot. “There must be something in the Bottomless Bag to keep him alive. There must!”
A few yards away, Brutus turned to Tom Foolery and said, “Give me some cover!”
The minotaur was already charging ahead, battle axe raised above his horned head, when Tom Foolery replied, “But I’m at full health…and the last time I threw Slice I almost didn’t get it back!”
Elvish Presley continued to pull item after item from the Bottomless Bag. “Sneaky Snake Skin? No. Ghoul’s Gold? No. Tincture of Tinkle? Argh! Stay with me, Sir Larpsalot!”
Meanwhile, the minotaur and dwarf rushed forward
together. Master Prospero continued to recite the words to Torchnado, his strongest fire spell, helpless to defend Brutus as another black boomerang shot forth from the Lord of the Rangs’ hands.
Despite his massive size, Brutus the Bullheaded managed to dive to the side just in time to avoid the attack—but collided with Tom Foolery in the process. Both heroes hit the ground hard and didn’t immediately get up.
“Tissh!” Brutus shouted, cussing in his native tongue.
Tom Foolery swore too, but the words sounded strange and wrong.
* * *
“Hey, no real swearing, Trent!”
Still rummaging through his mom’s old purse in search of something useful, Asher spared a glance over at where his two friends had fallen. Makayla was down on one knee, gripping her hockey stick—Plan A—in one hand and brushing dirt from her scuffed knee with the other.
Trent lay on his back beside her. Cradling his leg, he swore again.
“Time out, OK? I think Mak broke my ankle!”
David Michael Williams has suffered from a storytelling addiction for as long as he can remember. With a background in journalism, public relations, and marketing, he also flaunts his love affair with the written word as an author of speculative fiction.
His books include the sword-and-sorcery trilogy The Renegade Chronicles and The Soul Sleep Cycle, a genre-bending series that explores life, death, and the dreamscape.
David lives in Wisconsin with the best wife on this or any other planet and their two amazing children. He joined the Allied Authors of Wisconsin, one of the state’s oldest writing collectives, in 2005.