It should be noted that in the official canon, the Princess was captured once. The hero was summoned from the future by Harlin, but through Time Travel (KQ) paradox saves her. As a result, some thought there were two wanderers (but in reality it was only the one passing through non-linear progression of time between two eras), Harlin had summoned the wanderer in the first place, that would go onto defeat him.
The main change in this story is that, to avoid the repetition, the second Wanderer only goes on the adventure. There are, however, still two Wanderers.
In this Companion's timeline, the Wizard & the Princess takes place only a few years prior to Graham's coronation and about 997 years after the Prologue.
Book 1: The Wizard & The PrincessEdit
Chapter 1: WanderlustEdit
Millenia passed from the crowning of Granthithor. In that time, the world continued as it had. Though evil rose, it seldom seemed as though it would overcome the goodness of the world. Wars were waged, but in the end always gave way to peace. As the ages continued on, it seemed, the darkness came more frequently... and with the darkness, an age of Heroes began.
The Wanderer was one such adventurer. His name, long forgotten in the legends of his own time, became renown. And it was due to this reputation that the brutish barbarian Kenneth the Huge sought out wayfarer. "I am tired of brawn," he announced in such eloquence that it was surprising from a fur-clad warrior such as himself, "Behind me is a path of bloodshed. Let me leave it behind and become as you are -- brave, but smart."
The Wanderer agreed without any hesitation. He knew that Kenneth would far surpass his own heroism, for the Wanderer saw many things that were hidden from the rest of the world. And so, the two journeyed together for many years.
Eventually, their path took them to the kingdom of Serenia, into the Endless Desert there. Kenneth, much hardier and younger than the Wanderer, was faring much better. The sun beat down on them, drawing the water out of their bodies as they strode across the dunes. "There is an oasis not far from here," the Wanderer pointed out to his companion as the stumbled through the sand, exhausted and dehydrated, "You will make it if you hurry."
"What about you?" Kenneth asked, startled, "Where are you hurrying?"
The Wanderer smiled gently. "It will soon be your time. Wanderers are forged in the desert's heat."
Fear flitted across the barbarian's face as understanding came to him. They had come to this place because the Wanderer was preparing to die -- there was no quest to be had in this desolate area. "But... I am not ready!" Kenneth argued, "I cannot fill your shoes!"
The Wanderer coughed, the sand that blew around them combined with his waning strength was making it hard to breath. "You need only fill your own. Now, go. Drink, and leave this arid place. Good-bye, dear friend."
"Farewell." Obediently, Kenneth turned and headed in the direction of the oasis. He was too dry to weep, though he wished he could. The Wanderer had befriended a barbarian of fearsome reputation without any hesitation or question. Now, he expected that same man to become the Wanderer? Being alone in the world would be misery enough, without the added pressure of carrying on the legendary namesake. Kenneth reached the oasis and knelt at it, drinking the water greedily. His thirst quenched, he began to cry. The tears rolled down his face, dropping from his cheeks and splashing into the surface of the oasis. The mirror-like surface rippled with each tiny tear. As night fell, the barbarian regained control of his emotions. The Wanderer had never steered him wrong before -- why would he this time? The idea was absurd. His judgement should be trusted. In the morning, he would leave the desert as the new Wanderer.
Kenneth the Huge had reached the Village of Serenia by midafternoon the next day. He was surprised to see a large crowd gathered in the middle of the main street. Despite his grief, he felt compelled to draw near to the crowd. The Wanderer would have investigated, certainly. And now he was the Wanderer, it was his obligation to fulfill even if he was beset with sadness.
The town crier was about to make a pronouncement of some kind. The timing was too perfect to be anything less then Fate. "Hear ye, hear ye! His Majesty, King George IV, has suffered a terrible loss this very day! The fair Princess Priscilla, our king's only daughter, has been stolen by the mad wizard Harlin the Malevolent!" A fearful whisper rushed through the crowd in a wave. Kenneth could tell this was not the first evil act this mage had been responsible for. His reputation was as powerful as any magic he might wield. "His Majesty offers half his kingdom to any who travel beyond the Great Mountains to Harlin's island in the Northern Sea and rescue our dear princess!"
Kenneth the Wanderer stepped forward. "In which direction do the Great Mountains lie from this village?" he asked. This, he reasoned, had to be the quest that the first Wanderer knew was coming. The quest that would prove his resourcefulness and heroism. The quest he had to undertake alone.
"Who are you?" a villager demanded.
"I am the Wanderer."
Chapter 2: The Wanderer ErrantEdit
Having been instructed on the vague direction he should go to reach the Northern Sea and warned of the danger he would face, Kenneth departed the village carrying only his very basic supplies -- knife, a blanket, a simple loaf of bread, and a flask he had filled at the oasis that very morning. His travels with the Wanderer had taught him that the bare necessities were often enough on an adventure. He would find the items he would need in his travels, as the Wanderer always had before.
As he strode from the village with an air of confidence much greater than what he actually felt, he realized with dread he would have to enter the desert once more. He wondered if he would stumble upon the body of his former teacher -- if he did, he would at least be able to provide the corpse with a proper burial. He turned his eyes down towards the sand at his feet as he entered the arid wasteland. He kept his eyes on the ground, glancing around for signs of the Wanderer's body on occasion.
While looking up, for just a moment, his foot collided with something hard that rolled across the dune. Kenneth's eyes darted down. A rock had been jutting up out of the sand, only a small amount of it must have been visible until it had been kicked. The barbarian bent down and retrieved the rock from the sand -- lest he step on it again if he made his way back in this direction.
As he continued, his mind began to wander. The scorching heat and monotony of the sand dunes made it a seemingly impossible thing to avoid. He regretted not turning back to find the Wanderer – or even leaving the Wanderer’s side in the first place. They could have both lived to reach the oasis. And, perhaps, between the two of them this quest to save the princess would not have seemed so perilous. At the very least, he should have overcome his grief to seek out the body and bury it that morning before abandoning the desert.
A violent hissing sound, accompanied by a threatening rattle stirred the adventurer from his thoughts. A large rattlesnake sat coiled in front of him, ready to strike. As the flat head of the serpent arced forward, the barbarian’s instincts took over. He hurled the rock at the snake – it violently struck the venomous head, killing the deadly creature.
Kenneth’s jaw dropped in surprise at his own actions. The creature had been dangerous, but he had never meant to slay it. The least he could do was bury it, although he had not gotten the chance to do so with the Wanderer. With a heavy sigh, he looked around the area. There was nothing but sand to cover the snake’s body with. Sand, and the stone that had struck the creature.
“I probably should not carry such things with me if I cannot control myself,” Kenneth admitted to himself. He buried the snake, marking the spot and hoping to hold most of the sand in place with the rock. It was not much, but it helped to ease his guilt and his grief.
Thirsty from the heat and the effort of burying his fallen foe, Kenneth uncapped his flask and emptied the water it contained into his parched throat. Feeling better, he continued on his way. He began to scan the ground around him, a means of keeping focused and of keeping himself safe from any other snakes. The shifting sands and occasional cactus or rock were all that was apparent for quite some time. Eventually, his eye fell upon a stick.
“Strange,” Kenneth mused, “There are no trees about that it might have come from.” He took the stick in his hand. It was brittle – not likely to cause much damage to an attacker, fortunately, but it was reasonable to consider that it might come in handy.
He continued a steady pace north until he spotted it – another rattlesnake. It steadily wound its way across the sand towards the adventurer. Kenneth changed his path, but the snake turned and continued its pursuit. It believed it had found prey. The barbarian stopped moving, letting the serpent approach. Then, he lunged; striking the sand next to the venomous predator’s head with the stick he had been carrying. The brittle piece of wood broke, but the effect worked. The snake vanished into the desert sands in fear. It had not been counting on its prey defending itself.
As it fled, the snake had stirred a torn piece of paper up in the sand. Curious, Kenneth picked it up. He could not make out what the writing was meant to say -- it was as if the sheet of paper had been torn in two. Nonetheless, he reasoned, paper could be useful. He tucked the paper away in his supplies.
He continued on his way, still wary for the snakes that seemed to be in desperate search of prey and unusually hostile. Then he saw a metallic glint in the sand. Curious, he quickly headed in the direction of whatever it was that had caught his attention. A lockets (KQ)locket sat, forgotten, on top of the desert sands. Kenneth picked it up, dangling the jewelry in front of him. His curiousity still piqued, he opened it. There was no picture or jewel, simply the word “LUCY” engraved inside. He pocketed the item – and then caught sight of another odd item.
A piece of paper was floating down from thin air. No birds flew overhead, nothing could have dropped it. Where had this come from? He snatched the paper from midair and looked at it. A note was written on it, in some strange letters that he could not understand. If only his mentor were here to decifer the strange letters. He moved to put the note away when he remembered the other paper he had discovered. Holding them up one above the other he finally saw a word: "HOCUS". He shrugged before putting the notes back into his pack. The word was of little value of him, he did not know what it meant.
Befuddled, Kenneth continued on his way. He reached the crest of the next sand dune and gasped – the sight before him was tremendous. The largest snake he had ever seen lay writhing on the sand, held in place by a boulder that had somehow managed to pin the serpent’s tail to the sand.
The snake caught sight of Kenneth in that moment and calmed. Its eyes seemed to cry out for help. This snake was not looking for prey – it was in desperate need of aid. Kenneth nodded, and rushed down the sand dune to the trapped creature. With an enormous heave, Kenneth launched himself against the boulder. It shifted, but it did not release the serpent. Backing up further, the barbarian gave himself a running start. This time the heavy rock rolled, just enough to free the snake.
“I thank you,” it spoke.
Kenneth widened his eyes in disbelief. “You can talk?”
“Of course, I am the King of the Snakes,” the serpent replied, “Can your rulers not speak a variety of tongues?”
“I suppose most of them do,” the adventurer stammered, “Are you sure I’m not imagining this from the sheer heat of the desert?” He supposed that, with their King held captive under the rocks, that explained the hostility of the desert’s rattlesnakes.
“I am most positive,” the King of the Snakes answered, “To show my appreciation for the great deed you have done here, I will teach you a word. To snakes it has no magical properties, but for a human like yourself… it may change things a great deal. The word I will teach you is ‘Hiss’.”
“Hiss?” This was almost silly – being taught the word hiss by a snake.
The gigantic serpent nodded, then bid his rescuer farewell. “Farewell, may you be well on your quest.”
Kenneth smiled. “You are most welcome, Your Majesty.” He was certain his sanity was hanging on by a mere thread, but he had to continue on his journey. There was evil to stop, a princess to rescue, and no doubt a destiny to fulfill.
After a few minutes of walking, still bewildered by what had just transpired, Kenneth saw a cactus with a hole in it. He had seen many cactuses that day but none with holes in them. Curious, he peered inside. A cracker sat inside the trunk of the spiny plant. Stranger things had happened – that day, even! He reached inside and took the cracker. It wasn’t much, but he was not sure he had the rations to make it through his journey.
Looking north from the cactus, his heart leapt. He spotted something tremendous. A tree! A green, leafy tree in the distance! He ran towards the wonderful sight, as fast as he could through the shifting sand.
Things would not be as easy as they seemed, naturally. As he neared the edge of the desert he saw a chasm that extended as far as they eye could see to the east and west. On the other side was the tree, green grass… escape from the horrendous desert.
But there was no way across and it was too long to leap. Kenneth roared in frustration. “What am I supposed to do?” he cried out, “I don’t know how to fly! What kind of magical hocus…”
Before he could finish his rant, the ground beneath him shook violent and knocked him to the ground. He caught himself, staring in shock and awe as flat stones lifted themselves up from the chasm to form a bridge. “…pocus am I supposed to know?” Kenneth finished lamely. At the very least, he had found out what the notes meant.