Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Labyrinth of Insanity

   This week's Flash Fiction Challenge is the Fantasy Character Generator.   I chose "a foppish oracle is seeking the Labyrinth of Insanity."

Labyrinth of Insanity

   Memnin was an embarrassment to all.  It was said that he was the most foppish oracle who ever lived.
   As a child, he had been proclaimed "oracle" by the elders, but he just couldn't live up to the tribe's expectations.  Every time he gave a prophecy, the exact opposite would happen.  It was as if the gods had created him as a practical joke.  Not even his own mother took him seriously any more.
   It was on this fateful day that he was summoned to a council meeting at the sacred stones.  One didn't require a third eye to see the disappointment on every face.
   The elders shook their silver heads at Memnin.  Earlier that morning, he had given the wrong prophecy for a third time, and now he feared for his life.  
   "The public is crying for your head.  The Order can no longer protect you," said Grecon, the head elder.  "We are sending you on a quest to find the Great Florchar.  Only she can help you.
   "She lives in the heart of the Labyrinth of Insanity," Grecon continued.  "You must pass three tests before you can reach the center.  These tests will evaluate your heart and mind.  Pass them, and she can correct your chakras to make you a conduit for the gods.  Fail, and you will be doomed to serve as a groundskeeper in the Labyrinth for all eternity."
   Memnin gathered only what he needed for the trip, and hurried on his way, right before dusk.  He knew what would happen if he was caught by a member of the angry mob.  The last time an oracle angered the mob, she was torn from limb to limb and fed to the goats.
   After what seemed like an eternity of walking, Memnin saw it.  The Labyrinth's doors were carved wood that featured the nine Mysteries of Spyrth. 
   The doors opened with a cryptic creak as Memnin approached.  As he entered, a grey fog curled around him like the grip of death.  
   Memnin made his way through the corridor, sensing an impending doom creeping all around him.  His heart skipped a beat as he came upon the first test.
   A skeleton held a box with an eerie green glow that penetrated the narrow opening with razor-sharp light.  Memnin shuddered as he lifted the lid, the inside of which was inscribed with a riddle:

What is that which cannot be seen, but is beheld only by the eye?

   Memnin stopped to think for a minute.  He vaguely remembered something like this in his oracle training class.  He never paid attention in that class, and now he wished he had.
   He made a wild guess.  Reaching inside the eye socket of the skeleton, he pulled out an eyeworm.
   Suddenly, the ground shook.  The walls melted into the floor, and The Great Florchar appeared before Memnin.
   "That's your answer?!?"
   Thinking he had gotten it right, Memnin proudly shook his head with a dumb grin on his face.
   "How can you be so stupid?!?  That wasn't it at all!"
   Dumbfounded, Memnin looked at the Great Florchar in shock.
   "Wha ... what was it?"
   "Nevermind that now.  I had a bad feeling about you, and you proved it right," she sighed as she headed to the center of the Labyrinth.  "Come, come.  Let's get you ready for an eternity of servitude."
   "You mean I don't get a second chance?  What about the other two tests?"
   The Great Florchar laughed.  "There's no point in evaluating you any further.  You're just not oracle material.  Some things are just meant to be accepted in life, my child.
   "The worm is never meant to fly.  He only finds himself soaring through the air while gripped by the jaws of death," she said.  "Just so, not all who aspire to greatness are meant to achieve it."

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