Drunkard's Walk: All Life's Xanth-ers
A DW Fragment by Nathan Baxter
"Goodbye and hello, as always." -- Corwin of Amber
I sighed, then knocked on the door.
"Get in here!" snarled an old man's voice. I did -- quickly.
From what I'd heard, one didn't want to irritate a Magician
without a very good reason.
"Well?" he asked, glaring at me over a massive book. I picked
my way closer, squeezing past the piles of esoteric clutter.
"How can I get my helmet to work?"
He glared a little harder, then reached up to one of the
bookshelves that covered every wall of the tiny room and
pulled out a small vial full of shocking pink liquid.
I stared for a moment, then shrugged and did so. To
test it, I reached down and keyed in "I'm Alive" -- my
side hurt from that last Challenge.
It worked. I grinned. Now --
"So? What's the second one, then?"
I stared some more. I had a feeling I'd quickly get used to
it. "Actually, I'd thought I'd just work that out during my
"You won't have time."
Alrighty then. "Which song will take me home?"
"You can't. Not from here. Iron Maiden's 'Rime of the Ancient
Mariner' will be your next step. Now get out. Hugo will tell
you what you need to do."
She was a harpy. Literally. More -- she was CLEAN. Groomed.
Civilized looking. Also pretty.
Even _I_ knew that that was out of the ordinary.
I shrugged and smiled at her. "Hi. I'm your Challenges."
She blinked at me -- cutely. Which was weird, as I'd met other
harpies before, here. "But there's only one of you."
I put it on terms she could understand. "I get my Talent from
listening to songs -- different song, different Talent. Beat three,
and you've passed."
She squared her shoulders, firmed her lip. "Okay."
I'd already picked two of them out -- "Dream of Mirrors," "Way
of the Sword".
For a harpy, the first was obvious. "System, load song 'Konya wa
Hurricane.' Play song."
"We have to blow it up? I mean, make it explode, really explode?"
"That's easy. System, load song 'Fire in the Hole.' Play song."
The guitaur intro rippled through the air for a moment, and then...
There was fire in the hole.