Just Another Chosen One Could Be the Farm Boy Prophecy Foretold
In a city of Chosen Ones, an unremarkable youth will have little impact on the world
Zebedee al Gondo gazed out of his window at the towering peaks of the Sonduz mountains in the distance. From his lofty vantage point in the Tower of Alacarth, the magical city of Unrular shimmered below him.
Sunlight glistened on its towering spires. The Jewell of the North, they called it. It was an impressive sight, and Zebedee could never fail to be impressed by the magnificent architecture, spectacular views, and general, all-around excellence of the metropolitan utopia he called home.
There was no crime. No war. No suffering. No prejudice. Open-mindedness and kindness prevailed. Recreation and leisure opportunities were boundless. Queen Eritrar ruled judiciously, aided by the finest warlocks on the council.
Life was good. For this was a city of Chosen Ones. Every citizen — upon undergoing puberty — would discover latent abilities that set them aside from everyone else, except it happened to everyone and the abilities were very similar.
They could wield powerful yet benevolent magic. Cure the sick. Manipulate the elements themselves. And Zebedee, along with a score of other youths, was in the first flourishings of what locals called “The Special Magic Timey Thing".
They weren’t very creative.
Zebedee and his contemporaries were serving a Chosen One Apprenticeship in the tower. Here, under the kind tutelage of the Warlock’s Guild, they would learn about their transformation. A rite of passage for all of Unrular’s citizens, after which they would emerge as fully-fledged Chosen Ones.
It was all Zebedee wanted. All he had known.
Yet recently, he would catch himself daydreaming of the sweet scent of manure on the fields. An afternoon’s back-breaking toil under the sweltering sun. Blisters upon blisters. Chickens to be milked.
His friends had already demonstrated impressive magical abilities, but so far, his had remained hidden.
It hadn’t fazed him at first, but over the last few weeks, he’d become uneasy. It didn’t help that his best friend, Larmo, had been showcasing his telekinetic powers from the top bunk of their shared room in the tower’s dormitories.
“Don’t sweat it, Zeb”, Larmo said, as a candle whizzed by his friend’s head before combusting, disappearing in blue smoke, and emerging, fully-formed, a few seconds later.
“You’ll be able to do this stuff soon.”
“I guess”, Zebedee sighed. “But don’t you ever just want to plow a field? Cut grass with a scythe? Pick up a quart of chicken cheese at the weekday market?”
“No. I’ve never wanted to do any of those things. I’m a Chosen One. And so are you. You’re just a late bloomer. We’re all going to save the world. Well, maintain the world. You know the prophecy, Zeb.”
“Yes. Of course.”
Before they could even walk, Unrular’s citizens memorized the prophecy by heart. Larmo recited it, regardless.
Every child shall awaken and emerge as The Chosen One. Together, they shall live as Chosen Ones in the magical city of Unrular and live meaningful, happy lives. They shall usher in a new dawn of peace and prosperity, except things are already peaceful and prosperous. Just, err, carry on, I guess.
Zeb sat in thought for a few moments.
“Don’t you ever think that — if we’re all Chosen ones — then none of us are Chosen Ones?”
“That’s blasphemy, Zeb. I know you’re feeling down that you couldn’t magic an origami swan out of thin air, but there’s no need to go that far. What’s got into you with all this farm talk?”
“Maybe there’s another prophecy.”
Larmo sat up. Zebedee gulped, but he’d gone too far to turn back.
“Maybe I found another prophecy in the library. One that makes a lot more sense given these visions I’ve been having.”
In the land of Chosen Ones, an unremarkable farm boy will arise to perform mundane yet necessary tasks, then marry a local girl, raise a family of his own in the countryside, and live out his days in obscurity.
Larmo gawped at him.
“Do you know what this would mean for Unrular? For the kingdom?”
“VERY LITTLE, probably. But that’s not the point. You can’t just go off and live an uneventful life in the country.”
“You don’t even know how to milk a chicken! How are you going to just abandon your life? This world needs maintaining.”
“I think you guys have got things under control. It’s been centuries since something bad happened.”
“Well, maybe that’s because no Chosen One has ever flounced off to some backwoods hamlet.”
“I don’t flounce,” Zebedee said, flouncing off to the bathroom.
Over the next few days, Zebedee grew increasingly distant with Larmo and his fellow apprentices. He didn’t want to be a Chosen One. He didn’t want to be content with his amazing life in this vibrant city. He wanted to move somewhere less interesting. He wanted to marry a local girl who would bear him many children, most of whom would undoubtedly die of terrible maladies that had long since been eradicated in Unrular.
But there was something wistfully romantic about life without magic. Something honest about working himself to the bone. Having a plot of dirt to call his own. Being completely unaware of events more than a day’s mule ride from his mud hut. Overindulging in mead at the local tavern every evening as depression and boredom crept in. Cultivating a mutual resentment with his wife, but staying together for the sake of the children. Burying 70% of said children. Losing his leg to a rooster’s scratch turned septic. Watching his dear wife finally pluck up the courage to admit to her affair with Grunk the blacksmith, leave a shotgun on the table, say “do the right thing” and walk out. Provide a final meal for his beloved chickens as his body returned to the soil.
Now that’s living, Zebedee thought to himself.
That evening, he waited until dark and snuck out of the city’s gates.
Fate was inexorable. He knew he was the farm boy the alternative prophecy had pre-ordained.
Not a farm boy. A farm man.
He walked for several days, passing a few towns and villages along the way. Not thriving hubs, yet far too interesting for his liking.
Somewhere much more obscure and impoverished called to him. He knew that when he found it, he would just know.
The sights and smells of the country wafted through his nostrils and clung to the fibres of his clothes. The road became narrow and overgrown. He met fewer travellers, and the ones he saw were always heading in the opposite direction.
Finally, Zebedee emerged from a clearing into what can only be described as a place where dreams went to die. It was perfect.
It seemed to be market day, and all seven of the locals had congregated. As one, they narrowed their eyes at him and stood with hands on hips.
One woman, in particular, caught his eye. You wouldn't look twice at her in a city like Unrular, but here, she was a veritable goddess — she had more teeth than the rest of them combined. Her own suspicious glance hid something deeper. Was it lust?
No, probably not. Mild confusion, he surmised. There was plenty of time to change that.
Zebedee soaked it all in. He was utterly whelmed by everything.
“Well, this is shit”, he said, smiling to himself.