One day, many seasons ago, Rory of Red Oak was plowing his family's plot of land.
"Move it, you worthless..." he yelled at the old mare strapped to the front of his steel plow. "Just a few more rows and I can be done." They made their way through the next two rows with Rory alternately coaxing, cajoling and kicking the horse into submission. He stopped and squinted into the sun, wiping the sweat from his forehead. About midday, he reckoned to himself, so he dropped the reins for the plow and took out his waterskin. A long swallow wet his throat but did little to cool him from the heat. He looked around at the rows he had just completed and was
surprised by the gleam of something reflecting the midday sun.
"I was just there. How did I miss that?" he wondered as he walked over to it. Kneeling, he brushed away loose dirt from around the object, which was smooth, spherical and highly-polished. He grabbed it and gave a hefty tug. No luck. This time he dug a little deeper. The stone wiggled a little, but didn't give. One more heave and the object wheeled over his head and landed with a thud behind him.
Rory fell hard on his back. He winced and struggled to sit up, but was thrown back again as the air shimmered and crackled around him. The bright day became momentarily unbearable, then a voice boomed, "Rory!"
Rory looked around. The voice seemed to come from all around him. "What?" He wasn't sure in which direction to speak, so he turned around to where the object had fallen. It was a sword.
"You, Rory of Red Oak, are destined to be Keeper of the Blade of H'Nar and to win this war for Ramesh. Do you take the Oath of Responsibility for this?" The voice was strong and sure.
But Rory wasn't. "What war? I don't know nothin' about war or swords. I'm a farmer. I know crops and animals and not much else."
The voice rang with formality. "The Power will teach you all you need to know. You are destined for greatness, Rory of Red Oak. Do you take on this responsibility?"
Rory's lips curled. "Sorry. Don't think so." He suddenly remembered what his mama had told him about manners. "But thanks, I guess. I've got work to do." Walking away from the dusty sword, Rory picked up the reins of the plow and yelled at the horse to move.
The voice, now exasperated, made one more attempt. "Is this what you desire?"
But Carden had made his own decision. He ran from the barn where he had witnessed the entire exchange. "I'll take it!" No more mucking out the stables. No longer would he have to feed the slop to the pigs. He had always known there was more to life than working on a smelly old farm. He snatched the sword out of the dirt and watched, stunned, as it shimmered and changed colors in his hand.
The voice spoke again, gaining back its former majesty with every word. "Carden of Red Oak, you are to become the Keeper of the Blade of H'Nar and to win the war for Ramesh. You name and deeds will fuel the legends of a thousand generations!"
Thus begin the tales of Carden of Red Oak, who seized a moment of chance from the hand of Opportunity and forever changed his destiny.
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