Hero

Hero

Author Allison Ziegler

  A hero’s life is not a happy one. Did you know that? (Cover image drawn by the author)

A hero’s life is not a happy one. Did you know that? (Cover image drawn by the author)


A hero’s life is not a happy one. Did you know that?

Did you know that any hero who embarks on a quest never comes back quite the same as they were before? Did you know that battle is not glorious? Did you know that battle scars are not only physical?

To rescue others, a hero gives up their own right to be rescued. What about that? Did you know that?

And yet still you stand before me, waiting for me to give my permission for you to go off and become a hero. Did you not hear what I just said? Do you not understand? Are you really still willing to lift that sword, even knowing that your life will never be the same?

I will never understand you young people.

Maybe you’ve heard of the stories, but have never read them. Yes, that must be it...you know of the heroes, but you don’t know the heroes. You don’t know what they’ve been through. You only know of what they’ve done.

Perhaps you want to be a wizard boy with a lightning scar. You want to learn magic with your friends, eat chocolate amphibians, and be “The Chosen One” who fights evil and saves the world. Do you not remember the nightmares? The aching scar, the blinding pain, the loved ones falling in battle?

I suppose not.

Perhaps you want to discover that you’re actually a demigod, the son of Poseidon, for instance. You want to ride a pegasus, control the seas, and take on hundreds of mythological monsters, besting each one with ease. Do you not remember the wounds? The deaths of teenagers, the curses of gods, the quite literal weight of the world on one’s shoulders?

I suppose not.

Perhaps you want to be chosen as a spirit to protect children from fear. You want to create ice at your fingertips, fly on the wind, and go for a magical sleigh ride. Do you not remember the fear? The pain of not existing, the accusations of betrayal, the suffocating feeling of three centuries spent alone?

I suppose not.

Perhaps you want to be a rebel who fights to end the government’s yearly slaughter of twenty-three children in the arena. You want to shoot arrows with blinding accuracy, attract the attention of the whole world, and be known as the one who ended all the suffering. Do you not remember the bloodshed? Watching children kill each other, seeing broken spirits, desperately trying to survive without becoming one of them?

I suppose not.

Perhaps you want to be an elfin boy who, sword in hand, journeys across time itself to save the land and the princess. You want to play magical songs, learn to breathe underwater, and hold the courage of goddesses inside you. Do you not remember the struggle? Fighting unimaginable beasts, bearing the burden of a crushing amount of responsibilities, being forced to grow up while still retaining the mind of a child?

I suppose not.

Perhaps you want to be a master tactician who commands a powerful army against the forces of evil. You want to possess high intelligence, be able to concoct brilliant battle strategies, and use your powerful magic to assist your comrades in the fray. Do you not remember the corruption? The uncertainty of identity, the fear of hurting loved ones, the pain of being possessed by a malicious being?

I suppose not.

...hm, no matter what I say, you are not deterred. You are certainly a brave one, I cannot deny that. Will nothing cause you to cease your desire for heroism?

...no...I suppose not.

Then if I may...allow me to offer a shred of advice. Before embarking on your journey, find yourself a companion. Be they a wizard, a demigod, a spirit, a tribute, a fairy, or a lord, they will surely be of great help to you on your quest. It’s dangerous to go alone, after all.

Be careful out there. As I said before, a hero’s life is not a happy one. However...I concede that it is still an extremely valuable life. Frankly, I admire your conviction to sacrifice your own safety for those who cannot. Despite it all, the world needs people like you.

Despite it all, the world needs heroes.

Of Dreams and Memories

Of Dreams and Memories

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