The dust hung in the air like it’s own atmosphere. It choked and obscured. The flickering torches lining the hallway clung to each speck and illuminated the space far more than they should’ve. The scurrying of vermin and all manner of creatures filled the space between the crunching of feet on the layer of bones on the ground. At the end of the hallway a plain door hung precariously on it’s hinges and behind that, power.
Judah pushed the door open. His faithful servant and mentor, Cristoph, hung back. His timidness was palpable. Inside the room was another array of torches. They filled the circular area, from the floor all the way to the ceiling that was well over one hundred feet high. At the center a clay pedestal raising chest high held the trophy Judah had journeyed so far for.
“Is that it?” Judah asked.
A dried out piece of oat. That’s all that sat upon the pedestal. To most, it’d seem like
a piece of debris that just seemed to accumulate through the constant passage of time. It held little heft. As Judah and Cristoph hovered over it, it trembled under the force of their breaths.
“Tell me the story again.” Judah said.
“Sir, I’ve told you the story since you were a child.”
“I know old man, but we’ve come so far we should savor the moment. What better way than remembering why we set out in the first place.”
In a time, before the majesty of man that you know, there was a lonely hero. He traversed the savage land bringing peace where he could and vanquishing the beasts that others couldn’t. His deeds were well known and gave birth to many other adventurers whose only goal was to find him and enlist his service.
One of these adventurers indeed found him and told him about a terrible beast that was plaguing his homelands. The beast released the rains from its mouth and upon his back an entire mountain. It’s feet replaced homes with the mark of the crescent moon. Nothing the people did could stop the beast. They needed the hero and he wouldn’t forsake them.
When he reached the tormented lands they greeted him with a road covered in flowers. He passed by all the celebrations and ceremony and set off for the beast right away. His stare passed by all the beautiful women who threw themselves at him. His nose never even caught the scents of the myriad of foods prepared for him. His focus was towards the horizon, his purpose was the beast anything other than that simply wouldn’t do.
He journeyed another day in search for the evil he was called on to vanquish. In the dead of the night, he found it. The tales of the beast had not misled him. This beast was truly a sight to behold. A mountain on its back, a mouth wide enough to hold a storm and feet like slices of the moon. The battle ensued.
For days, then weeks, then years the hero fought the beast. Day in and day out he plunged his weapons into his foe. He schemed and plotted but at no point did he ever feel as if he could win. As the tenth year of the fight began the hero began to lose hope. There was simply nothing he could do it seemed.
During one of their skirmishes the hero and the beast rolled through a dried field of oats. Once the fray had ceased for the day the hero noticed something. The oats clung to the mountain upon the beast’s back, yet the beast paid it no mind. The hero saw victory.
For another five years, once the fields had been harvested and nothing but the dried stalks remained, the hero would lead the beast into the fields and fight until nightfall. Eventually oats clung to every inch of the mountain on the beasts back. The hero noticed how the creature slowed and grew sluggish. It roared under the burden of the oat stalks. Finally, when the beast couldn’t move anymore, the hero moved to remove it from existence. He took one final stalk and began to climb the beast. Once he reached the very top he placed the oats upon the beast.
All at once, the sound of thunder exploded from within the beast as it’s bones snapped under the weight of the oats. It roared and screamed as life left it’s colossal form. Finally after fifteen long years of battle, the beast was dead, felled by a simple stalk of oat.
“This is that stalk.” Judah interrupted.
“Yes, that’s it. Rumored to hold the power to topple anything. It’s said that it can crush kingdoms and any foe large or small.”
“Which is what I intend to do. With this-”
“The straw that broke the camel’s back!”