Rated E10+ for fantasy violence
Running the Gauntlet: The Legend of Isabel
Episode 0: The Legend Begins
The evening star is shining bright, so make a wish and hold on tight...there's magic in the air tonight, and anything can happen... a brown haired boy sang to the crowd of children seated on the hill not far from a town, adding a small flourish on a bow-shaped harp for effect. The children buzzed with excitement as the boy then played a soft and quiet melody they recognized as the song of Marista Laire--a sign that the red, white, and gold-clad minstrel had a story to tell them.
"What tale will you tell us tonight, Sir Brock?" a boy asked when the last note echoed into the twilit sky.
"Before I tell you, some context is needed." the minstrel replied, acknowledging a Persian as it plodded through the grass and laid down in a patch of flowers. "You know that each year, the city of Madari hosts a grand tournament in which mages from all over Yoso compete for glory, honor, and a very special ring."
"The Gauntlet of Illusion..." a girl mused.
"The task is simple: defeat ten of Yoso's finest mages. Many try, but only a few receive rings." Brock continued as he played a soft improvisation in E minor. "Our story concerns the statue just outside the Arena of Illusion--it commemorates one girl's triumph over the Gauntlet many years ago."
"But millions of boy and girl mages go through the Gauntlet every year, and they all train for years before they enter!" another boy protested. "So why does SHE get a statue?"
"That's because she was only an apprentice mage when she won, and at the time, an apprentice running the Gauntlet of Illusion was unheard of." the Persian replied as she swatted away a Venonat from her pale yellow fur.
"So what spurred this apprentice to take on some of the best mages in Yoso?" another girl asked.
"It is there that our tale begins..." Brock replied, playing a long flourish to herald the beginning of his tale...