Jenna gazed attentively at the landscape beyond her bedroom window. The world seemed infinite from her perspective, with so many places she would never know and experiences beyond her reach. Each day, her dreams seemed to drown a little more. Life dictated its terms to her, but she was determined to shape her own destiny.
Shortly after quietly contemplating the unreachable world outside, the door to her room swung open.
“Mom,” she exclaimed, clearly irritated by the intrusion. “How many times have I asked you to knock before coming in?”
“I need your help,” her mother simply responded.
Jenna had no choice but to follow her mother to the kitchen.
“You can’t remain a woman without talents,” her mother stated firmly. “It’s time for you to take on the responsibility of cooking for your father.”
“That way, you can attract a good man,” her mother added.
“I’ve told you, those things don’t interest me,” Jenna declared with a glint in her eyes. “I’m going to explore the world and discover places that seem like a distant dream.”
“With what money, young lady?” her mother retorted, dismissing Jenna’s ideals. “Now, get lunch ready because I have to go out, and your father will be home soon.”
With that mandate, Jenna was left alone in the kitchen of her home, overwhelmed by the weight of the ties that kept her bound to a world she longed to escape. Just as she was losing herself in thoughts of evasion, a loud noise struck the kitchen window. She looked up to see Karzo’s smiling face greeting her. Her childhood friend always seemed to appear when she needed him most.
Jenna raised her hand to invite him in. Soon, Karzo entered the kitchen. They both wore simple outfits tailored by the village seamstress. Plain pieces of cloth were joined in a functional manner to withstand the elements. They were the children of laborers from the estates that fed the citizens of the great city.
Karzo entered running, but was surprised to find Jenna absent. Before he could comprehend the situation, Jenna surprised him by appearing behind him.
“What are you doing here?” Jenna inquired as she hugged him from behind.
“Let go, please,” Karzo laughed as he managed to break free from her embrace.
Jenna couldn’t contain her laughter at her friend’s escape. Together, they spent the day in the house, preparing food for Jenna’s father. Cooking with her friend’s help was always something Jenna enjoyed, but this time, the yearning for freedom and the need to break her chains seemed overwhelming. She wanted to focus on being content with the cards life had dealt her, but on that day, the burden was too heavy to ignore.
Time passed quickly, and as the food was ready, they realized that the morning had turned to noon. It was odd that Jenna’s father hadn’t arrived yet. Too odd. Worry started to creep into Jenna’s chest, and as she looked out the window, she searched for signs of her father’s delay. With no other choice, they sat down to eat.
Just as they began to enjoy the meal, the kitchen door burst open. Axoje rushed in. “What’s going on, friends?” Axoje, yet another scion of the same village, barged in like a whirlwind. Slender and of shorter stature when measured against Karzo’s strong build, they both trained to become king’s knights. Yet, Axoje stood as a stark contrast, a sapling amongst oaks. His brawn might not have matched the village’s most strapping lads, but his intellect gleamed like a hidden gem. It was this very quality that latched his fate to Karzo’s, intertwining their stories.
“Seems like you’re the one who responds to the call of food,” Jenna teased.
The three shared laughter while they ate and enjoyed each other’s company. Moments like these were what Jenna would miss when she finally managed to escape her home and… the screams of a woman interrupted their merriment. As they looked out the window, they saw a horde of orcs invading the village. They stood no chance. The kingdom’s guards were far away, and no one in the village was prepared to face an orc, let alone a horde of them. The three exchanged silent glances, a mutual understanding passing between them.
Jenna dashed to her room, and the others followed, puzzled by her intentions. Once inside, she closed the door.
“If we stay quiet, we’ll be safe,” she suggested.
“And what about the others?” Karzo asked. “Will we just leave them…”
“What else can we do?” Jenna posed.
“I’d rather die fighting,” Axoje declared. “We have to try to save the others.”
“If you go out, you’ll die,” Jenna stated.
“It’s what we must do,” Karzo affirmed.
Axoje nodded, and the two moved toward the door.
“Wait,” Jenna halted them, “I have something for you.”
Karzo and Axoje looked at her, filled with anticipation. As Jenna extended her hand into a small portal, wonder lit up their faces. They had heard of magic, a unique power that only members of royal families possessed; a myth that peasants rarely caught a glimpse of.
Jenna withdrew a sword from the portal. It was a marvel, a masterpiece forged by the finest blacksmiths of the era. Its blade gleamed with the light streaming through the window. Karzo could hardly believe that he was finally close to a legendary sword, a dream passing before his eyes. He knew that wielding such a sword required a dedicated military career. Yet, here it was, before him—an enchanted weapon pulsating with magical power.
Instinctively, Karzo raised his hands to accept the sword. He was certain it was meant for him. Jenna understood Karzo’s secret desire to become a paladin, which was why she had acquired the sword. She had originally planned to give it to him after he graduated as a king’s guard. But now, time was of the essence.
“This is Dragonbonner,” Jenna smiled playfully. “Despite its quirky name, it’s a sword forged with light for a legendary paladin. I was going to give it to you when you graduated from the academy.”
Tears welled up in Karzo’s eyes as he held the sword in his hands. He cared little for the name; what he felt was the energy coursing through his arms. It was evident that the sword was beyond Jenna’s reach, but this wasn’t the time to ask questions.
“I have something for you too, Axoje,” Jenna announced, delving into the portal once more.
She produced a staff. “This is Morningwood,” she blushed, “your affinity for magic will flourish when you hold it.”
Axoje took the staff, knowing that only Jenna would have acquired a weapon with such a peculiar name. Still, he felt a current surge through his body, as if magic was beginning to flow freely within him.
“Now, go ahead. Fight for this village,” Jenna urged.
Karzo stared at his friend, waiting for both to come to a decision. Their gazes were enough for them to know what they had to do. Karzo raised his sword and opened the door to leave the room. Axoje ran after his friend, ready to face an orc for the first time.
Outside the house, the situation was much worse. Creatures like wild animals destroyed everything in their path in search of some treasure. Women and children ran as the men in the village did their best to protect their loved ones.
Karzo lifted his sword, and a beam of light descended from the sky. It was the first time he felt the power of light coursing through his body—something incredible. A force he had never thought of attaining now guided all his movements. It was as if everything he had tried to learn from his trainers now came easily. He looked at the blade of his sword and knew that the only way out was to eliminate the creatures that threatened his village.
Axoje watched his friend charge toward one of the green-skinned creatures. They were terrifying monsters with superhuman strength. Somehow, his friend was effortlessly fighting them and prevailing. His sword cut through the creatures, leaving them behind as he continued to fight. Axoje knew he also had to do something to help, but what?
The elements flowed through his body, though controlling them proved difficult. Like a child learning to walk, he stood, unsure of how to act. But when he saw an orc leap from a rooftop, about to fall onto his friend Karzo, Axoje acted on instinct. He raised his hand and hurled a fireball, altering the creature’s trajectory in midair.
Karzo spun around upon noticing that Axoje was guarding his back, and nodded in approval. Axoje tried to repeat the action, and another fireball struck one of the orcs. The two fought as if they were the only humans capable of defending their village. Eventually, the orcs decided to retreat.
Villagers approached Karzo and Axoje to thank them when they realized these were two young members of the village. No one could believe they were the rightful owners of those weapons. But Karzo and Axoje didn’t allow anyone to take away their weapons. They tried to explain that they were a gift from Jenna, but when they went to find her, she was no longer at her house.
To avoid interrogation, Karzo and Axoje decided to escape. They also wanted to find out what had happened to their friend. Axoje used a spell to track footprints and easily discovered that Jenna had dashed to the stables amid the chaos, taking a horse to escape. The friends chose to follow the tracks to resolve the unsettling questions.
The horse’s tracks led them to a nearby village, where they found Jenna’s horse tied near an inn. However, they weren’t sure how to go unnoticed with their legendary weapons. It was evident they would arouse suspicion. So, they waited in the stables, hoping their friend would appear at some point.
Finally, Jenna made the decision to break free from the life that had confined her and to create her own story. This was possible because thousands of people around the world enjoyed interacting with her. Jenna was in a room at the inn, preparing for one of her interactions with her followers.
A dagger on the dresser opened a transmitting portal through which people around the world with the corresponding dagger could watch her. They could see her show as if she were in the same room with them.
“Hello, everyone,” Jenna greeted once the transmission began. “I’m really glad to see you here. You know my dream has always been to escape from that village I used to live in, and thanks to all of you, I finally did it.”
The inn room filled with hundreds of voices, but Jenna silenced them with another dagger’s movement in her hand.
“Remember, if you want to speak, you have to make a donation first.”
Immediately, a portal the size of a coin opened above the daggers of the viewers around the world. Some of them started to put in coins to send short messages and interact with Jenna.
“Why are you wearing that clothing?” the first payer asked.
Jenna remembered she was wearing her commoner attire. So, she let it fall to the ground and, to everyone’s surprise, wore a revealing leather outfit beneath.
“What do you think of this?” Jenna asked, turning to show her curves. “Does it really suit me?”
Hundreds of messages began pouring in from those who were willing to spend coins to talk to Jenna. She entertained them all as if she were a friend they could chat with—a friend with a beautiful face and a body many women would envy. Jenna knew that the money from her streams would be enough to enjoy a world of adventures and make her dreams come true.
Meanwhile, Karzo and Axoje remained hidden in the stables, accompanied by the animals. They continued to wonder where Jenna had obtained the weapons. It was very unusual for a girl from a village to have a storage portal, let alone to have a pair of legendary weapons within it. Impatience grew within the friends as they remained clueless about Jenna’s whereabouts and her secrets.
“I’m going to go find her,” Axoje said. “She must be staying at the Inn.”
“It’s better to wait until tomorrow,” Karzo said.
“Take care of Morningwood,” Axoje said, passing his staff to his friend. “I’ll talk to her and come back.”
Karzo sat on a bale of alfalfa next to the horse they had ‘borrowed’ from the village, while Axoje set out in search of answers. His mind wandered as his body carried him around the inn. Then, a bright light from one of the rooms on the second floor caught his attention. Axoje felt an urge to check if that was the room where Jenna kept her secrets.
Axoje decided to scale the wall of the inn to peer inside the room. He reached the window and caught a glimpse of his friend for a moment, before feeling a force gripping his foot.
Shiera, the knight that Jenna had hired as her protector and guardian, was even larger and stronger than Karzo. Shiera had the build of an experienced warrior and effortlessly pulled the intruder’s leg, causing him to fall to the floor.
Axoje tried to get up when he felt a foot on his back. The strength of the stranger made it impossible for him to rise. “What do you think you’re doing?” he exclaimed.
Shiera held the hilt of her sword within her sheath. She considered unsheathing it in case the intruder posed a threat to young Jenna.
Karzo stood up upon hearing the commotion and rushed to his friend’s aid.
“It must be a misunderstanding,” he said upon seeing the armored knight with her foot on Axoje. “He’s harmless, I promise.”
Shiera remembered the sword that young Jenna had purchased and lifted her foot. Without a word, she turned to leave.
“Are you alright?” Karzo asked.
Axoje dusted himself off and moved away as well. Karzo followed him in search of an explanation.