As previously promised in my last post, here’s a special treat related to Dragon Quest IV.
When I want to practice a writing style or technique, I like to do so through fanfiction (when there’s other, more important things I should be doing with my time). This is a rewrite/interpretation of one scene in the game.
In case you’re wondering, Meena and Maya are the most fun to write. Torneko is the most difficult. Who knew an Irish lilt would be so hard to accurately portray?
Solo stood before the room door, knuckles poised to knock. He tilted his head to look at Maya and Meena waiting expectantly behind him.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Should we really bother someone in their own room? I mean, even if he is a Chosen.”
“If it is truly fate, he will not be annoyed by our visit,” Meena said. “You must trust the prophecy’s guidance.”
“Yes, but does the prophecy say specifically that we should knock on strangers’ doors?” Solo persisted.
“Oh, for pity’s sake!” Maya bustled forward. “What is the worst he could do? Smack you with his walking cane? Just be letting me handle this.”
She bumped him roughly to the side and rapped three times on the door. From inside the sound of shuffling feet neared; the door swung open, and there stood the old man, leaning on his staff. He looked Maya over and squinted.
“You are not chambermaid,” he stated. “But perhaps they send you with cloths?”
“Arey? Why would I be sent with your dirty dirty cloths?” Maya said. “We are here to be talking to you about destiny and other such nonsense.”
“Sis!” Meena protested from behind.
The old man looked from Maya to Meena and then to Solo, who attempted his best ingratiating smile.
“I am not interesting in such prattle,” he said. “Please to leave without further pesterings.”
He began to shut the door, but Maya quickly wedged her wrist in the gap.
“Wait! Just be listening for two seconds. The world is going kaput in so many ways, no? What if you could be stopping all the mess and bringing back peace? That is being worth your time, surely.”
Meena couldn’t help gaping as Maya finished. “You…you have said such a beautiful thing, sis. I am stunned speechless! Maybe you are able to be serious after all.”
Just as she gave her praise, Maya wiggled her hips coquettishly. “Besides,” she said to the old man, “Such selflessness is bound to make you famous and rich, which is reason enough, no?”
Meena groaned and glanced heavenward in a silent plea, maybe asking for a new sibling. The old man, for his part, was unmoved.
“I am regretful,” he said, “as you are appearing sincere with desire for to change world. But request is currently inconvenience for me. I am waiting only for cloths, which hotel staff seems tarrying to supply.”
A clatter of bagged merchandise announced Torneko’s ascent up the stairs. As he came round the corner toward Solo and the others, he held out a tray clasped in his hands.
“Sure an’ it’s odd, but when the concierge gave me the key to our room he asked would I bring up these damp cloths fer your man stayin’ next door. Figured I might as well do a good turn as ‘twas on my way.” He took in the scene: Meena and Solo standing to the side, Maya’s hand still barring the doorway, the old man peering through the gap. “Aye, ye’ve gone an’ had a craic without me, have ye? I get the feeling this’ll be common fare in our travels.”
“Unnnngh…” came a groan from within the room.
The old man looked over his shoulder and turned brusquely away, leaving the door to swing wide open. Inside, a young fellow lay doubled up in one of the beds. His face was ashen and blotched with green, like mold on white bread. His brow shone with perspiration and kept furrowing in distress.
He swallowed between belabored gasps and seemed to be trying to speak. The old man rested a hand on his shoulder and mumbled some words to him, which seemed to calm him down, at least somewhat. He kept clenching the bedsheets near his stomach.
Torneko peered into the room and whistled.
“Japers, that fella’s sick as a small hospital, so he is. Reminds me of the time my own Tipper went down with the measles. Had a right go of it for weeks against the disease, he did.”
“The man is doing poorly?” Meena said. “Sis, Don’t be standing so close to the doorway! You will catch his awful awful sickness!”
“Ugh, it is not like he is breathing on me, silly-billy,” Maya retorted. “Besides, things are now just getting juicy!”
Meanwhile, as though he completely understood what needed doing Torneko sauntered in toward the bedridden fellow and set the damp cloths on a stand close by. He cheerfully handed one cloth to the old man, who took it, bemused.
“I am marveled at kindness of pure strangers,” he remarked. “It is no use to hide more longer, I judge: As you are seeing, my compatriot is severely ill. We are arriving at town in hopes to procure medicines, but…”
He tapped on the rounded top of his staff, seeming to mull over how much more he should reveal. “I am Borya, esteemed court magician,” he continued. “My hapless compatriot Kiryl is priest-in-training. We are residents of most excellent castle Zamoksva, in the country of Maestrel.”
Solo edged inside the doorway and finally spoke up.
“Zamoksva? Isn’t that the kingdom whose inhabitants mysteriously disappeared some time ago? But you somehow escaped.”
Borya nodded. “We are final remnants of once-glorious castle: Kiryl and I…and our Tsarevna Alena, whom we have responsibility to escort.”
He laid a cloth across Kiryl’s fevered brow and patted it in place. “I am concerning for her safety also,” he said more to himself. “Yoy… Such trouble Kiryl has caused by his infirmity. I am sure to give him sharp reprimand for this inconvenience when he is again healthful.”
“Listen,” Solo hedged, “could we help you in any way? We’ve had our own share of…troubles, so we understand the value of a hand in hard times.”
“Tch! Solo, you are so very confused, no?” Maya said. “I am personally only understanding the value of a nice gold co- Yowch! Why do you pinch me on the arm, sis?”
Borya studied Solo and then glanced around at the rest of the party. “This is exceeding kindness. I cannot to impose own problems upon you. But…you say I am meant to join your band of travelers?”
“Yes,” said Meena. She lifted her glass ball and gazed into it. “You, and the sickly sickly priest, and also the Alena girl, who is not here.”
Borya still seemed to hesitate. He looked down at Kiryl, who moaned and flopped over in bed.
“I am of mind to trust you,” he finally said, “as other options are few. Very well.” He turned sternly toward the group. “Tsarevna Alena is gone to procure feverfew root, which local commoners say is cure for Kiryl’s condition. It is said to be grown in neighboring village, but Alena has been gone so many days without word. She is like stubborn and reckless goat, and I fear she has come into some peril. I cannot depart Kiryl’s side else he expire from improper care. You see how I am jammed by current circumstance.”
“Well, since there are four of us and only one of you, we’d likely be better help in searching for your…ehm…Tsarevna.” Solo tried to cover his unfamiliarity with the title by slurring it quickly. “We’re seasoned travelers and would be able to rescue her should she be beset by monsters.”
“Agya, she will more likely need rescuing from own self, I mind,” Borya grumbled. “But is no matter. You have my complete gratitude for this offer.”
He bowed shortly over his cane, then turned to change the cloth on Kiryl’s forehead. Solo and the others took it as a cue to take their leave.
“I am hoping we can assist them quickly quickly, so our band of Chosen can become more complete,” Meena said as they exited the room.
“I am hoping this Zamoksvan princess will reward us with great riches since we are being such excellent help!” Maya added (to her sister’s consternation).
Torneko brought up the rear. “Don’t suppose I might sit this one out, fellas? Give an old man some rest? …Aye, I thought not.”