The crabby old wizard bursts into your barren room with a scowl on his face. He is every bit as decrepit and unwelcoming as the tower where you’ve lived for the past six years.
“We’re going to help the duchess!” he shouts. “Get your lantern. Be quick, now!”
You walk behind the ambling wizard, your lantern squeaking as it sways from the handle in your fist and your sandals trampling the tall, wet grass under your feet. You can’t recall having any other possessions.
This heaviness in your stomach, this lightness in your head: the feeling grows stronger as you approach the town of your birth. The town that had long ago forgotten you…
by Dashing Don
Unarmed (well, you have arms, you just don’t have weapons) and unarmored (and unclothed - which honestly is a bit of complicaton), you set off on a grand adventure (because “forced off” sounds vulgar) in hopes of returning a noblewoman’s beau to her (she’s just a duchess, really, which is pretty low on the royal totem pole) before he succumbs to an evil magical curse (just like the one you have!).
Joined by three mercenaries (a broad term that apparently includes drunkards and vagabonds) and a stern guard-captain (she’s got a big sharp broadsword and matching attitude), you set out through an enchanted forest (that’s all over bandits), a primeval marsh (quite stenchy, that), a maze of dwarven tunnels (why you do this, dwarves?), and finally ascend through a sorceror’s keep (decked out with all the most fashionable minions and traps) to save the day and perhaps find your destiny (let’s be honest: that “destiny” crud is just bait).
- Wait, did you say unclothed? No, you read that. I didn’t say anything.
- Will I be a hero? Very unlikely! I mean, c’mon, you don’t have any weapons or armor or skills. Well, that one spell… but you’d really rather not use that.
- Will I find love? Maybe! But probably no! You can flirt with dwarves and elves and catboys (actually only like one of each - don’t be greedy) or even humans but that’s hardly love, is it?
- Is there a reward? Yes, but your wizard boss/spouse/captor/whatever is surely just going to take it for himself.
- Will there be shoe-shopping? What? No! Of course not. That would absurd given the plot. Geez.
- Is the story linear? This answer includes yes and no: also including multiple endings also including several that are also not including you. Because you’re dead in those ones.
- Do I live in a lantern? Yes! Good question.
BLARST (that’s blast and burst mixed together) OF BORING BACKSTORY
You can skip this section if your time is at all valuable - my feelings won’t be hurt
One of my writer friends challenged me to write a story where the protagonist was nude. I don’t exactly remember how it came up but that was the challenge. She set down some ground rules so that I couldn’t “cheat” my way out of an actual challenge:
- The hero must remain nude for the majority of the story
- The hero cannot be undead (because what do zombies and ghosts care about clothes?)
- Nudity must not be the norm for the world in which the story takes place
I started writing the story. The protagonist was cursed and could not don any clothing. Perfect! But things got too serious very quickly. I started spending a lot of time explaining how the protagonist was dealing with the attention and coping with the curse and soon it became a tale of woe and misery. It was not fun to write and not fun to read!
So I decided a little absurdity was in order. Firstly, I decided the fashion of the world was minimal. Maybe it’s borderline violation of rule #3 but it had to be done! Now the protagonist doesn’t feel so much pressure since everyone dresses skimpy anyway. Nextly, I decided the protagonist had a good while to get used to the curse so he or she wouldn’t be dealing with that at the same time as the story was unfolding. Lastly, I decided that a grand adventure was in order to take everyone’s mind off the nakedity of the hero. A quest to save love itself! Or at least one person’s love anyway. Also I peppered in a bunch of colorful supporting characters for distraction.
The story was soon done and it received the mushroom stamp of approval. Challenge complete! Then I decided to write it into a game. Challenge… ongoing…
Ok blarst over. Glad you survived.
[Achievement Unlocked: Unblarstable]
WARNiNG: “The Burden” contains adult language (expletives, insults, and innuendo), adult situations (violence and non-explicit romancing), and (gratuitous) nudity.
Questions, comments, and snide remarks are appreciated. Spank you very muchly.