You awaken in the wizard's tower and find a small table beside your bed with a small loaf of fresh bread, still steaming from the oven, a pat of butter, and a jar of jam. Looking around for your host in order to thank him, you find yourself alone except for his owl. The bird hides its head in its feathers, sleeping away the day.
Your stomach growls, and you decide to tuck into your breakfast anyway. The butter melts over the soft insides of the bread, and you quickly devour every crumb.
"You were hungry, I see," a deep voice says.
You look up. Your host has appeared, you are uncertain from where. Your face warms, and you stammer your thanks, not wishing to appear ungrateful for his hospitality.
"It is my pleasure," he says. "Do you still have your candle?"
You look to where you placed it the night before. It still flickers warmly.
"Bring it with you, but we must go now. The king awaits."
You follow the wizard down the twisting stairs out into the courtyard. Servants bustle around you, going about their chores. None give you a second glance as you, with your candle, follow the wizard through an arched doorway and into the stone halls of the majestic palace.
Elaborate tapestries in vibrant colors hang from the walls, their artwork alive with movement and intricate details. Stone reliefs decorate the arches above the doorways and velvet curtains flutter in front of tall, stained glass windows that cast wavering light upon the worn stone floors.
At the end of the hall stand two tall wooden doors with elaborate, wrought iron fixings. As the wizard strides forward, they swing open, revealing a wide room lit by a skylight. In the center of this stands a massive wooden table, polished until it gleams.
A bearded man with a crown upon his head approaches and offers you a seat.
Realizing the importance of this moment, your breath catches in your chest, but you settle into one of the chairs around the table. You trace your hands across the smooth wood, imagining the great quests and mighty deeds that have begun as discussions around this table, the stories it could tell.
The king approaches once more. "I am told you have a great quest to begin. Perhaps this will be of assistance."
He hands you a stone charm, about the size of your palm, with a leather cord strung through a hole in the top. On it is carved a cryptic map: a path through trees then a three-peaked mountain with a cave at the base.
"I have been holding this for years, but the quest was not mine. Maybe it is yours?" He arches an eyebrow.
As you hold the amulet, the flame of the candle you carried from the tower flares up. Its light fills the room and your whole being feels warm.
The king smiles. "Yes, this is right. You are the one."
He leaves you alone again, staring at your candle. What will your journey bring next? You can't wait to see.
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