“To Dibble’s Quarry, Your Majesty.”
“You would take them to the Hall of the Mountain King? Why?”
“Because it’s time, Your Majesty. They have served you well, and deserve the chance to prove their mettle on this quest. Besides, I think they’d enjoy it.”
“ENJOY IT?!” the Queen convulsed in gales of laughter. “Oh, child, you do amuse me! Very well, for your pluck alone, I shall grant them this quest. Perhaps the Mountain King will find them amusing as well. Please bear my greetings to His Highness. But be sure you do not return without his token! Though I will be surprised if you succeed in this quest. It’s a rare visitor to his Hall that has the fortitude to win such a boon.”
“You… you don’t think the King will be there, surely?” the elf asked in a quavering voice.
“I know not. The Mountain King is no consort of mine, he does not answer to me. I bear no responsibility for what may come to pass should you find him at home.”
For the first time, the respectfully lowered eyes of one knight-apprentice looked up from the ground. “We are prepared, My Queen, and ready for all challenges. What could go wrong?”
As the travelers turned to leave, the Summer Queen wiped tears of mirth from her eyes. “What could go wrong, indeed!” Continue reading