“Make haste friend Richard the hour is nigh, we must depart and with all speed.” John burst into my office clad in weather mail and wielding a broad sword. He had just thrown me a 3 foot blade and had turned on his heel, obviously expecting me to follow.

“Uh, I’m working dude.” I said. “I kind of need this job. Feed the family and all that? I’m the breadwinner you know.”

“What folly is this that you are proclaiming my comrade of old? Hast thou lost the burning passion for the quest? Where is your unquenchable need to seek out that which is vilest in the world and strike it down? Where is the fervor of the friend who once claimed that he longed to follow me into the dragon’s den and slay the evil within to ensure the princess’ honor and safety? Has the flow of time made you soft?” He threw the words at me like a knight throws down a gauntlet. I didn’t know what had gotten into him.

“I know we had all those imaginary adventures together as kids, but they were just that, imaginary. Real people don’t slay dragons or rescue princesses. Real people have jobs and responsibilities. It may not be quite the adventure you want to have mate, but it’s real, and it makes me happy. I actually like what I do for a living, like it a lot actually. Is this about your job? Did you get fired? If so you know you’re always welcome at my place until you can find something else. You and your wife and kids. I know my wife would love some more company.” I tried to think if my wife Janus had told me anything about John before I left. Had I missed an email? Was one of his parents sick maybe? I knew he was real close to his mom.

“Do you suggest that I have distain for my duties? That I am no longer satisfied or have been expelled from my place of employment” John says indignantly. “Have you no faith in me brother?” Before I can respond he reaches into his back pocket. “Then perhaps this will convince you.” John produces a knife with a note stuck through it that he slams into my office desk. I’m appalled at the sudden destruction of office furniture and reel backwards.

“Compatriot, this was fixed to my door when I departed from my home this morning. I believe it shall explain all.” Hesitantly, and while keeping an eye on John. I pick up the note

*Mortals, fear me and hasten to do my will. For I have imprisoned your spouses and children. They will starve lest you do exactly as I order. My minions will come for you soon. Stay where you are and do nothing to inflame my tempor. Signed, the dark lord of the twilight woods.* After I finish reading the letter, the ink evaporates off the page and coalesces into a tiny black ball several inches above the note, leaving the page blank.

The ball of ink then ignites and slams into the paper leaving a burning hole through the middle of it that forms the shape of a dragon.

“The crossbows are still in my trunk.” I tell John. He smiles.

“Then we are departed my old friend. Let us make haste!” As he reaches the knife he tells me. “This morning I discovered that dragons were real. Now I have found that heroes are as well.”

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