27 May 2013


Chess was, without a doubt, my elementary school magnum opus - and though the original document is still in my possession until a sufficiently sophisticated collector makes me an offer, I have reproduced it as faithfully as possible here to share with my fans - who are as adoring as they are figmentary. So while reading keep in mind that the genuine copy is adorned with word art and exciting fonts (Comic Sans! Papyrus!) - now let a young Austen take you on a journey of adventure!

 [Ed. Note: My handwriting has not improved since I scrawled out these maps]


Prologue - "To Arms"
"But you know I won't win, why do you keep playing me?"
"Well Andrew,"  answered Paul "I just like winning against you."
"One of these days I'm going to beat you Paul."
Paul laughed, "Of course you will Andrew, but anyway, lets play." They took out the chessboard and began setting up...

Meanwhile in a distant land, two armies, Wite and Blac, prepared for battle, suddenly an urgent cry of "To Arms" broke the peaceful silence of the countryside.

"Call it," said Andrew "Heads or tails."
"Mmmm... Heads."
Andrew flipped the coin "Yes, it's tails, I go first. I'll move here." Andrew moved a pawn forward...

The Wite army stepped into battle first. A lone peasant received his orders and began to advance.

Chapter 1 - The Battle Begins
For many cycles in the Island of Ssehc (pronounced Sek) the Wite and Blac kingdoms had lived in peace. Then, as if being controlled from above, war broke out.

All the peasants seemed to be the same, all except one, Shawn. Shawn was a peasant from the Wite kingdom, on the outside he seemed the same as the others, but he had noticed something different. All the others seemed incredibly willing to sacrifice themselves just so a knight or a priest could survive. But Shawn thought differently, he was incredibly independent. Although sometimes it got him in trouble, he thought it was for the best.

As Shawn marched forward the first word he ever read popped into his head, they were the lyrics to a puzzling rhyme:
When the Queen has been captured
And all hope seems gone,
Steps forth a lone traveller
A brave peasant named...

The end of the poem seemed to have been lost somehow. When he found the book the corner of the page was torn out.
"Oh well" Shawn said aloud "I guess it really doesn't matter."
"What?" asked his friend Jonah from the neighbouring field.
Startled, Shawn replied "Huh? Oh, nothing. Sorry, I didn't see you come."
"Yeah well, you oughta' pay more attention if you want to make it through this war."
"Hey, lay off. I was just thinking out loud!"
"OK, OK, I didn't mean to upset you."
"I'm sorry; I guess the war is getting on everybody's nerves."
"I know how you feel."
"So, what were your orders?"
"Never mind."
"C'mon tell me."
"No really, it doesn't matter!"
"All right, all right, so..."

Shawn's words were cut short as a messenger on a beautiful white stallion rode by. He reared to a halt in front of Jonah.
"Urgent message from the King, I'm afraid your moving to the front."
"What?" A surprised Jonah exclaimed, "I was told I was backup."
"Well, orders have been changed, you gotta' problem with that?"
"No," Jonah said defensively "Not at all, I was just surprised."
"Good; now move out!"
As the scout rode back to the main city of Bordsege Jonah sighed. With unexpected anger Shawn exclaimed, "Why did you let him push you around?"
Sheepishly Jonah answered, "I didn't want to get into trouble."
"That's no reason why you should go and willingly sacrifice yourself!"
"Look, just because I'm going to the front doesn't mean I'll get captured."
"Why else would they send you, think about it!"
"I...I...I don't know."
"Exactly, so why didn't you ask instead of blundering right into it?"
"Stop it, I can control my own life you know, I don't need your help!" And with that, Jonah stormed off, fuming.
"I was only trying to help..." Shawn's voice trailed off into nothing as the swirling mists of the swamp surrounded Jonah with emptiness. As he turned away a strange voice drifted over to him through the fog, "The poem."

Chapter 2 - The Crazy Hermit
Shawn ran fearfully through Sentersquare desert. It was incredibly large, covering most of the centre of Ssehc. Many strange creatures lived in the desert, like the quetzls and the quogs. They left you alone for the most part, but if you got one angry you were in deep, deep trouble. That was why Shawn was running; he had accidentally stepped on the tail of a quetzl while he was pondering the words he had heard in the swamp. Eventually he outran it and sat down by a tree. Suddenly a strange high-pitched voice filled the air with song:

Slippery, Slippery, find,
I seem to have lost my mind,
Diddily, Diddilym, dumb,
An oak tree bit my thumb,
Loppity, Loppity, ding,
My cat knows how to sing.
Wobbly, Wobbly, daisy,
I've gone the slightest bit crazy.

In wonder Shawn gazed upon the colourfully dressed figure approaching him. As he came to his senses he realized whom it was; "The Crazy Hermit" his true name was Yldarb (pronounced yuldarb) Notlim, although everyone called him the crazy hermit, even to his face. It was rumoured that he had psychic powers; of course Shawn didn't believe a word of this. He had a pet quetzl and it was said that it taught him his psychic powers (it was a well known fact that the stalk on its head acted as some kind of psychic transmitter/receiver).

"Hello Shawn." Yldarb said quite suddenly.
"Hey, I thought you were crazy, and how did you know my name?"
"I know everything and no, I'm not crazy, I just sing that song for atention."
"I can believe you're not crazy but I don't buy that you know everything."
"Well, how could I sway your opinion?"
"Prove it!"
"All right, your name is Shawn and the first words you ever read were a rhyme with a corner torn off. Your best friend is Jonah, who you just had a fight with."
"Wow, I guess you really do have psychic powers."
[Ed. Note - assume non-italics inside brackets are written in Papyrus font for the full effect. I beat Avatar by at over a decade]
[Well, I could have told you that.] A third voice joined the conversation, although rather than hearing it through his ears, Shawn heard it inside his head.
"Who was that?"
[It was I.] An orange and white striped quetzl hopped out from the scrub. Of course, thought Shawn, Yldarb's pet.
[Not pet, companion, you better gets that right if we're coming with you.]
"Hey, how'd you do that?"
[I'm psychic, haven't you already guessed that?]
"Well yeah, but... Hey wait a minute, what did you mean when you said 'coming with you'?"
The previously silent Yldarb spoke up, "If you must know we are here to help you wiht your quest."
"What quest?"
"All in good time Shawn, but first you must train to become a warrior!"

Several weeks after their first meeting Shawn had progressed greatly under the instruction of Yldarb. He was even being trained in the art of pschic powers by Waldorf (the name of Yldarb's 'companion'). By now he could speak in people's heads and was beginning to study mind reading. He had asked many times about what his so-called 'quest' was but his only response was the cryptic 'the poem.' One day exactly one month after their first meeting Yldarb spoke. "You are well trained in the art of the warrior, and are also well accomplished in mind reading; you are now ready to begin your quest."
"But what is my quest?"
His words were cut short as a piercing shriek echoed from inside the forest!

"Oh no, you captured my queen, I have absolutely nil chance of winning."
"Don't quit now Andrew, it's no fun playing with a sore loser."
"Yeah, I guess you're right."
"Anyway it's your turn, move."
"I don't see any good moves I can do."
"Heh, heh, that's too bad, I guess just this once I'll let you forfeit."
"Weeellll... wait a minute, I'll move here."
Andrew moved a single pawn, capturing the horse that captured his queen.
"Drat, oh well, it's my turn now" [Ed. Note - bonus original Comic Sans text in this section's illustration!]

Chapter 3 - The Dying Queen
Shawn rushed into the forest. With horror he gazed upon a knight preparing to kill a wounded queen.
Shawn's cry of anguish caused the knight to look up. With uncontrollable rage Shawn drew his sword and rushed into battle.

For a few seconds it seemed the knight would win, but Shawn got a sudden rush of adrenaline and made one quick thrust forward. It was not very strong but it worked. The knight fell off his horse. He was dead even before he hit the ground. Suddenly from the scrub rushed Yldarb and Waldorf.
Seeing the knight Yldarb shouted "Good job, your first battle"
[Yes, three cheers for Shawn!]
A sudden moan broke the celebrations. Through his happiness Shawn had forgotten completely about the queen. He rushed over and kneeled by her side. Weekly she said in a voice hardly above a whisper, "Is it you Shawn?"
"Yes it is me, how did you know my name?"

The queen coughed, "You were born to a royal family, your destiny was to save the kingdom. A soldier from the Blac kingdom took you away; if it were not for Yldarb you would have been killed. Not recognizing you he brought you to a peasant village and left you on the steps of the town hall. THankfully a passing couple who had no children adopted you."
"If they weren't my real parents who are?"
"Your father is the king and... and I am your mother."
"We have to get you to a doctor."
"No, no, it's to late for me, you must save the kingdom."
"No, I have to stay with you."
"Listen to me Shawn my son, you must save the kingdom or all will be lost."
"I can't do it."
"Yes you can, listen," with the last spark of life in her, she recited the poem from Shawn's youth:
When the queen has been captured
And all hope seems gone,
Steps forth a lone traveller
A brave peasant named Shawn;
Then the queen died.
"Mother" Shawn said, his voice barely above a whisper.

It had been three days since they had found the Queen. The party of friends moved in grim silence through the forest of Draob. Suddenly Shawn's voice broke the awkward silence, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I'm sorry Shawn, I just didn't think you were ready, I was just trying to help."
"Fat lot of good that did me, in fact, I think I could do better without you!"
"Yeah well if I didn't save you as a child you wouldn't even be here!"
[Please you two, do not fight, we will need all the energy we can get for the coming battle.]
"I'm sorry, I guess I'm just edgy today."
[We all are, Shawn.]
"Oh well, we've got a long walk ahead of us."
They exited the forest only to come across a barren snowfield that stretched as far as the eye could see.
[Well boys, welcome to the northern ice flats.]
His voice dripping with sarcasm Yldarb cleared his throat, "Hooray."

Chapter 4 - The Mysterious Rider
The sun beat down upon the tundra. But even this did not change the temperature of -7C. The three weary companions were down to their last food supplies. To save energy they had begun to talk only with their minds. It was the worst for Waldorf who was used to hot desert conditions, [I'm so cold, I don't know how much longer I can stand it.]
[Don't worry Waldorf, I'll carry you.] Shawn, as helpful as ever; hefted Waldforf upon his back.
[Thank you Shawn]

Suddenly, the sound of hooves filled the air. Yldarb, forgetting the no talking policy, shouted, "Quickly, hide." They all dived into a snow scrub and peered out with anxiety.
"Its no use hiding from me, so come out."
Silencing the others, Yldarb answered, "Who is it?"
"A nameless friend"
"Why should we, uh I mean I believe you?"
"Because I have a sword, and you dropped yours on the way under the shrub"
Yldarb ushered them out of the bush. The mysterious rider laughed, "I thought there were more than one of you."
"Why are you here?"
"To help you of course."
"Help us? I think you've been misguided"
The rider frowned, "You are Shawn, aren't you?"
"No, he is" Yldarb stepped aside and gestured at Shawn.
"But, but, he's so young."
"I'm old enough to beat a Knight"
"I'd like to see you try it."
[Both of you stop fighting. Shawn, be less boastful. And you, mysterious rider, take off your helmet and tell us your name.]

The rider took off her helmet and her hair swirled about her head like a fire, "My name is Eleanor."
Yldarb coughed, "Well Eleanor, it's very nice to meet you, now we must go and save the kingdom."
"What, so I suppose you're just going to go up and knock on the gate. Fat chance your going to get in that way."
"Do you have a better plan, Eleanor?" He said Eleanor as if it were a swear word.
Shawn jumped to her defence, "I'm quite sure she does, and I propose for one that we hear it."
"Thank you Shawn, I like you already." Shawn blushed as Eleanor continued, "If you go up straight ahead and turn right you will come to a secret entrance that leads to the armoury. Once in there we can go directly to the main chamber. The only hitch is that only one of us can go through, the rest will have to distract the guards at the gate. I propose Shawn does it."
[I second that.]
"I'm for it, what about you Yldarb?"
"Fine, but remember what I taught you, OK?"
"All right, let's do it!"
Slowly, the intrepid travellers, now with a new friend, prepared to storm the castle.

Chapter 5 - The Final Battle
'KNOCK' 'KNOCK.' Two dark figures stood at the door of the castle. A face appeared in a small hold in the door, "Who's there?"
The first figure answered, "Well, um, you see,"
"Well, um, you see who?"
The second figure elbowed the first in the stomach, "It's Pizza Hut Delivery."
The surprised guard answered, "That's not funny at all. Besides I didn't order no pizza."
"I'm afraid you did sir."
"No I didn't!"
"Well... What's your favourite type of pizza?"
"Mmmmm... I hate pepperoni," the guard said helpfully.
"But what do you like?"
"That particular question requires some thought. Cheese is good, but seafood's better."
"So it's seafood?"
Ignoring them, the guard continued, "Although on the other hand my mother wanted me to be a vegetarian. So I guess it'll have to be vegetarian supreme."
"What a coincidence, that's what we have."
The guard looked around suspiciously and snatched it out of their hands and closed the hole.
Outside the doors Yldarb and Eleanor threw off their robes and gave each other high fives.
Inside the castle Waldorf broke out of the pizza box and gave the guard a thud. He soundlessly fell to the floor, [Diversion time.]

Shawn crept silently through the tunnel leading to the armoury. He reached the end and opened the trap door. After silencing the lone guard he peeped out the doorway. A long hallway stretched out to a set of big doors, 'The throne room' thought Shawn. On his left was a staircase. Suddenly several guards burst out of the throne room and began to run towards the armoury. With no choice Shawn doubled back into the armoury. Thinking quickly he put on the guards armour and tossed his body down the secret trapdoor. Just as he had done this the guards burst in, "Where is he?" the leader said breathlessly.
"Down there." Shawn gestured to the trapdoor.

As the guards ran down the trapdoor Shawn closed it and dragged a crossbow rack across it. As he grabbed some weapons he heard angry shouting from below. With no time to lose he ran up the staircase he had seen earlier. At th e top was the queen's chamber. Thankfully she was not there. He ran to the balcony overlooking the throne room and peered cautiously over the edge. The King sat there but he was surrounded by at least five guards of various ranks. He was pondering what to do when a shout came from the other room. Almost on cue all but one of the kings guard rushed to the courtyard. Shawn lifted his crossbow to his shoulder and targeted the king.

Suddenly Shawn heard a voice come from a cage in the corner. At first he thought it was an animal but then he realized it was Jonah! The king raised his head, "Ask him one more time, if he refuses to answer, kill him."
The soldier answered, "My pleasure, so where is your friend, Shawn?"
Suddenly Jonah peered up and caught a glimpse of him. With a start Shawn realized he had been promoted to a Duke.
"I don't know," stated Jonah defiantly.
The soldier advanced menacingly upon him. Shawn readjusted the sight on the crossbow and fired. The guard fell to the floor with an arrow in his back. Shawn leaped over the balcony and tossed a spear to Jonah whose cage had been opened by the guard.
"So, you're a bishop now."
"Yeah, when I got to the castle I found out about my promotion."
"Lucky you."
Suddenly two more guards burst through the door carrying Waldorf. The king's voice sounded, "Ha, ha, ha, I have finally defeated you both, guards, get them!"
[On the count of three: one, two, three!]
The 'guards' lifted their helmets to reveal Yldarb and Eleanor, "Thought you might need some help Shawn."
"Thanks, Jonah, meet my friends."
Jonah gawked and answered, "The duchess, your friend?"
"Eleanor, the duchess?"
"Sorry, I didn't want you to think I was too stuck up to want to help you."
Suddenly the kings voice broke up the reunion, "You can never defeat me!"
He leapt at Shawn, knocking him to the ground. The sword fight was short and swift. The king had no chance. As he fell to the floor a vocie from above uttered a single word, "Checkmate."

Epilogue - The End of the Beginning
"Yes, I win, hooray!"
Paul sulked, "I would have won, if I hadn't let you win."
"Hey, I won by myself. Remember, nobody likes a sore loser."
"All right, all right, you won fair and square..."

The celebrations had lasted one week. His friends had all been given medals for their feats. Although the war was over he knew his adventure was just beginning...

"Oh well, it was fun while it lasted."
"Yeah, now I'm bored."
"Hey, I've got an idea, let's play Magic!"
"Yeah, good idea..."