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Penta the One-Handed: Part II

A week or two ago, I wrote about my D&D character, Penta. But the truth is, Penta went on several adventures, though several different fairytales before she ran into those she is traveling with now. So I’ve decided to continue her story here:

Before her brother could react, Penta fled through the halls of the castle to her private ship and set sail immediately. Many in the castle who saw the trail of blood behind her avoided her, for they thought she had contracted the same disease which had killed her brother’s wife. 

Once aboard the ship, she found some bandages, with which she staunched the blood flow and set sail to Amaunand, a smaller, nearby island kingdom which had long been an ally and trade-partner of Ilaennel. Penta was recognized at the dock as the princess of Ilaennel, and she demanded to see the king and queen of Amaunand, but was refused an audience. As she was setting sail again, a knight with a fox sigil approached her and offered to take her to a doctor on account of her hand. Then Penta told him her tale, and the knight gave her the true reason the king and queen would not see her.

“The princes and princess were on a diplomatic mission to Scoterar, but they left weeks ago and have not been heard from since. The king and queen suspect foul play, and though they do not blame Ilaennel specifically, they do not trust anyone who comes to see them.”

“Then I will find the princes and the princess and I shall bring them back to Amaunand.”

The knight eyed her. “By yourself?” he asked, “Do you believe you can?”

“I believe I must,” Penta said, “our countries have been allies for centuries. And I will not have it on my head that that partnership is lost.”

“Very well,” the knight said, “you will need a weapon.”

Penta told the knight about the scimitar she had taken from the guard, but the knight gave her a crossbow and quiver. “They are suited for a lady,” he told her, “for they belonged to my wife, who herself died in battle many years ago. For here, both men and women are known to fight.”

Penta accepted the crossbow. “Thank you for your kindness. I will not forget it.”

Penta did not know where the princes and the princess may have gone, but she sailed for the kingdom of Scoterar, on the mainland. Upon arriving, she asked around about the princes and princess of Amaunand, but no one has seen them. Even the king of Scoterar said they had never arrived. Finally, Penta came upon a farmer named Hans that told her her had seen the Prince Ignac.

“Where is her?” Penta asked.

“I will only tell you if you help me first.”

Penta lowered her crossbow at him. “How about you tell me or I shoot you dead.”

Hans only shrugged. “Either way you do not know where your prince is, so it is better if you just help me.”

Penta, unfortunately, saw the sense in this, and put away her crossbow and asked what Hans wanted. 

“There is a woman in the town,” Hans said, “who I would like to marry. But her father is covetous and refuses to consent to the marriage, as I am poor.”

So Penta asked where the young woman lived, and went to her home. When her father answered the door, Penta said, “I would like to speak with your daughter.” The father squinted at Penta for a moment, but seeing her fine gown and the golden circlet on her head, decided that his daughter must have taken favor with someone of noble blood, and thus called for her.

When the daughter arrived, Penta said, “I have met a young farmer nearby by the name of Hans who says he would like to marry you. Would you also like to marry him?”

The girl flushed. “Yes, but my father will never consent to the match.”

So Penta handed the girl a gold coin. “Go to Hans now. Tell him to put this in his purse, and then to take a ladder and climb up to his roof. I will take care of your father.”

The girl did not understand, but agreed, taking the coin, and going in the direction of Hans’ farm.

Penta waited until the girl’s father came looking for her, and then told him she had gone to see Hans.

“Foolish girl!” the father said, “You should have stopped her. I told her not to see that Hans. He has no fortune and cannot care for her.”

“On the contrary,” Penta said, “I have recently patronized him. Now he has gold in his purse and he’s moving up in the world. I will take you to him, so that you may see for yourself.”

The girl’s father stroked his chin. Then he said, “if it is as you say, then I will consent to their marriage.”

So Penta returned to Hans’ farm and told the couple the good news.

“Now,” she said to Hans, “I have helped you. You must help me. Where is Prince Ignac?”

“He washed ashore clinging to a piece of driftwood,” Hans told her. “He was kidnapped by bandits. I know where their hideout is, but she would wait until night to go.”

When night fell, Hans led Penta to cottage in the woods, which the bandits had taken over.

“They should all be asleep now,” he told Penta, “except for one, who will be keeping guard at the door.”

As he had told her, there was one bandit who was standing watch at the door. Penta shot him with her crossbow. Then she and Hans went into the house. The other bandits were all asleep in different parts of the house. In the corner, bound and gagged, but wide awake, was Prince Ignac. Penta put a finger to her lips and then tiptoed over to him, Hans following.

“Wow!” Hans marveled, “I didn’t realize just how much treasure they had stolen.” It was true. There were a number of trinkets scattered across the room, including a golden pot on a shelf above their heads.

Hans cut Prince Ignac free. “Thank you,” Ignac said, rubbing his wrists. “I thought I would never get away from them.” And he moved toward the door.

But Hans was still focused on the treasure. “Wait,” he hissed, “surely we shouldn’t leave all of this here.” And he reached his hand out for the golden pot.

“Hucka-pucka.” It seemed to be coming from the iron pot that sat next to the golden one.

“Hucka-pucka what?” Penta asked the pot.

“Do not take the golden pot,” said the iron pot, “it will wake the bandits.”

“You heard it,” Penta said, and waved Hans toward the door. Then she leveled her crossbow at one of the sleeping bandits.

Again, the iron pot said, “hucka-pucka.”

Penta turned toward it.

“Don’t kill them,” the pot said, “tie them up and take the reward.” And the pot turned around on its three iron legs, nearly wobbling off the shelf. Penta grabbed it, and lowered it to the ground, to ensure it wouldn’t fall. As she did so, she saw that inside the pot there was a length of silken rope. She and Hans used the rope to tie up the bandits, leaving what they didn’t need in the pot.

As they left the house, the pot following behind them on its three iron legs, Penta said to Prince Ignac, “I’ve come from Amanaund. Your parents are looking for you.”

“Our ship was attacked by pirates and destroyed,” Prince Ignac told her, “my sister escaped in the row boat. She was going toward Hibopium. My brother and I both clung to pieces of the ship. He drifted towards Ormietya, and I washed ashore here. I found an inn that looked warm and inviting, but that was when the bandits captured me.”

“Go to the king,” Penta told him, “and tell him all that has happened to you, but do not mention me. Tell him it was clever Hans who rescued you. Hans, you go with him. Pot and I will stand guard to make sure that none of them escapes.”

Hans and Ignac did as Penta told them, and when the king suggested that Penta had been involved with the rescue of Prince Ignac, she insisted that she did nothing more than stand guard. And so the king gave Hans the reward for catching the robbers–including the golden singing pot–and Hans was a wealthy man on the day of his wedding.

The king of Scoterar also invited Prince Ignac to stay at his castle as his guest and sent an envoy to Amaurand in the meantime to tell the king and queen that the prince had safely arrived. The king also invited Penta to stay with him, but she refused.

“I must go on,” she said, “I am determined to find the prince’s brother and sister.”

“Very well,” said the king. Is there anything I can give you by way of thanks?”

“Merely that if I should return here, I should be welcome in your kingdom.”

“The one-handed princess of Ilannael shall be welcome in my kingdom and in my castle any time she comes.”

“Thank you your majesty.” Penta bowed to him and returned to her ship.

When Penta arrived, she found the pot was waiting for her on the dock.

“Hucka-pucka,” said the pot.

“And where will you hucka-pucka to?” Asked Penta.

“I shall join you on your ship to rescue the prince!”

And with that, Penta took the pot in one hand, and jumped upon her ship. “Welcome aboard, pot.”

Note: For the small number of people who will recognize it, the pot is from Patricia Combs absolutely wonderful (and sadly out of print) picture book The Magic Pot.

Author:

I am a poet, linguist, and ESL teacher who loves to play games.

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