The elderly master of the arcane scoured the battlefield tirelessly until at last, he had found him: the Chosen One. But the chosen hero of legend was not standing victorious over a mountain of orcish corpses. He was not standing at all. Instead, his body had fallen in a sad slump in the midst of the carnage amongst the others who had fallen in the raid. Cantor the Wise was stunned.
It came so suddenly that they scarcely had time to prepare. The great sorcerer Cantor had been a mentor to him for five years, and suddenly all of his work had been undone.
“How could this be possible!?” Cantor asked himself.
In decades of service to the King and his cause, he had never been so stumped. The young boy was the chosen one. That is precisely why he had been training him for so long, so that he may fulfill the prophecy to defeat the Orc King and finally put an end to the eons-long conflict.
He was angry more than anything. This was his claim to fame! It was his chance to be remembered in the annals of history as a great hero, even if he was really just the mentor to a greater one.
But now that was all gone, all because of a single orc raid.
“Oh, how foolish I was….* He lamented. “Thinking he’d be safe just because he’s the Chosen One.”
The young hero did have his concerns. He had only ever been in a real battle twice before, and both times he suffered from an acute panic attack and broke down in tears. Both times, however, he did survive. But this time he didn’t. The wizard thought back to when he assured the boy that he’d be safe in the coming raid, and that there’d be no need to run or hide.
“You’ll be quite safe my boy!” He said. “After all, you are destined to fulfil the prophecy! Can’t do that if you die here, eh?”
So it was decided that the boy would pick up a sword and learn to fight. But fight he did not. From the looks of his broken body, it was very clear to Cantor that the young boy died crying and begging for mercy. He searched his body for the sword he had given him, but it was gone along with the seven coins he had stashed in his pockets. At the time, Cantor found this curious, as orcs are not known to steal; their kind is interested only in the killing. Was he being followed perhaps?
But he couldn’t worry about that now. Now it was on him to find a new Chosen One. A new Chosen One. Could such a thing actually exist?
The wizard returned to the King’s castle, where he solemnly explained the situation. For two weeks, he meditated. In that time, he entered a deep transcendental slumber. In that sleep, he had many dreams, and in one of the more vivid ones, he could make out playing with a sort of crystalline mirror. When he awoke, he remembered that in his possession was the Scrying Pane, an ancient artefact of untold wisdom and unparalleled power.
“Of course!” He said, cursing himself. “How could I have forgotten? If there is still yet another Chosen One amongst us, I can use the Scrying Pane to find them!”
And so, after a perilous journey into his closet, the wizard retrieved the artefact. All throughout the castle, a loud yelp could be heard when Cantor re-discovered it, for the thing was only an average mirror albeit covered on all sides with jagged crystals. Rubbing off the dust on the glass and apologising to the mirror profusely for forsaking it, the thing activated. Cantor looked deep into the mirror.
“Show me… the Chosen One.”
The image of himself clouded and the glass became opaque. A moment later, a new face appeared that was not his own. To his surprise, it was not a human face at all. It was an orc’s. In the scene shown by the Scrying Pane, he could vividly see they were enjoying the traditional blood feast. He put his ear to the glass. If he listened closely enough, he’d be able to hear what they were saying. The orc shown was a stout young thing, plucky and eager and full of life. All of the orcs were surrounding him, patting him on the back and congratulating him. He listened closer. He pulled in back in horror when they realised what they were saying.
They were congratulating him on being the one to kill the Chosen One!
Cantor was red with rage. The mirror was not working as intended, clearly. He had asked to see the Chosen One, but instead was being shown the murderer of the Chosen One. Perhaps the new one had not been born yet. Either way, that was not his current concern. The only thing he wanted was revenge. He had his legacy perfectly laid out and then this monstrous barbarous thing came and ruined it! He vowwed revenge right then and right there, at any cost.
Gathering all of his magic and just one or two blood sacrifices, he performed the ritual. It was a long-term shapeshifting spell. The spell gave him the visage an orc with his mind totally intact. In the months that followed, the angry old wizard would go to any length to be accepted by their people. He killed the King’s people and took part in raids. He chopped head and limb alike and many other nasty bits until finally he was regarded as one of them. And when they completely trusted Cantor (in orc form), he struck.
At long last, the moment for which he had waited had come. In a small caravan of only eight, Cantor found himself marching behind the orcish barbarian that had slain the young Chosen One. In a single deft stroke, he stabbed him in the back and impaled him on the carriage. He dispelled the deceitful magic and revealed his true self as a human wizard. Before the other seven could react, he tossed a ball of fire into the carriage – which had been carrying explosives, just the thing for which he had been waiting to deliver – and blew the whole caravan apart. There were no survivors, save Cantor.
Still in his robe where he had left it before shapeshifting was the mirror. He reached into his pocket with a burning curiosity. He wondered if, perhaps, a new hero had been born in the time it took for him to avenge the old one.
He asked again: “Show me the Chosen One.”
The mirror fogged once more and when the fog dispersed from the Scrying Pane’s glass, the wizard found his own reflection staring back at him.
“That’s not possible!” He said, yelling at an inanimate object. “Show me the Chosen One!”
The mirror fogged yet again, and when the grey cloud cleared, only his face was found. He understood then.
“Could it be….” He was muttering to himself like a madman now. “That the title of “Chosen One” is passed through the act of killing?”
He stroked his beard and mused to himself amongst the wreckage amidst a sea of trees. “Yes, that makes sense! The orc I killed, the one that killed the previous Chosen One… was in fact, the new Chosen One! And that can only mean… that I am the new Chosen One!”
The old man was delighted. Even when all hoped seemed lost, his legacy could still be saved. He quickly broke into a proud strut and made his way back to the King’s castle. He was eager to tell him the good news.
Behind the tree line, a lanky, lightly-armoured and heavily-armed man watched intently. He had been planningThe bandit thought to himself that he’d rather like to be a chosen one. He’d especially enjoy all the riches that come with the job. If he could make it back to the castle without being stabbed in the back by a traitorous goon or cut down by a city guard, that is.