Not long after my 16th birthday, in fact it may have been my 16th birthday (as I now know, time is sometimes a strange concept in some of the stranger worlds) I woke by a barn in a farm.
Or, rather, a place I came to know as The Farm.
I woke to find a horseless carriage, known as a “car”, partially controlled by a strange fellow who I later found out was called Random.
Random managed to avoid me, but crashed into the barn (releasing chickens, even though Aron swore there weren’t even any chickens in it this time) where we found Aron (yes, again, I didn’t know who Aron was at this point).
The car was letting off steam.
Talking of letting off steam Random wanted more to drink.
Not only for himself, but offered around a hip-flask of alcohol at least until it was shot out of his hand by some type of assumed magic projectile.
Whilst we were trying to work out what was going on – I was trying to work out where I was and what I needed to do to beat this place, Aron was trying to work out or who I am, and Random was trying to work out how to get more to drink – a large (at least in height, he was also surprisingly thin, like a rake), loud farmer enquired as to what we were here to do.
The farmer came along and asked if I knew why I was here – he was not willing to tell me what I needed to do to win and only the answer “I don’t know” was good enough to finally be given my “quest”. The apparently simple task of going “to go drinking with Random (and Aron)”. Of course it turned out to be harder than I thought. Of course it did.
On the way we drank many hip flasks and travelled through many worlds, before drinking and the rest of the adventure is best left to those who are good at story-telling – I do know Aron never got drunk, Random – who can tell? Me, I don’t believe I got drunk, but I was trying to match Aron beer for beer and it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy at all!
Come the end of the evening I believed I was the most sober, it’s unusual for me not to be, so I wrested control, it wasn’t hard, from Random to try driving his contraption.
Of course I crashed the car, and it seems Random came out the worst of it, but all three of us were up and apparently “fighting fit” a lot more quickly than the normal people I meet, Aron seemed to be in an even more fit state than I!
Suffice to say when I next woke I was in a new world, with a new fight to win.
Much later I returned to The Farm to try to learn more about how Aron could out-drink me, to better know my strengths, and weaknesses, and, in turn, teach him about tactics, a skill I felt I had some prowess. His father, who I still didn’t know was any more than a farmer, caught some of my lessons and took the chance to tell me just where i was wrong. Unusual that a farmer could out-think me (there have been many worlds I have “beaten”), but I have learnt many times that one should never under-estimate the apparently meek. This is how I came to learn more about who The Farmer was.
This farmer was Aron’s father, a good starting point.
I then even later found out Aron’s father was The General – which explained why he could out-think me tactically, highlight flaws in my plans or point out new ways of thinking. It didn’t explain why he never had a sword on or around him.
I then, even later still, found out he was Ben. This later reveal of his identity explained why he felt confident that, as “scrawny” as he is, he was unbreakable, especially on his Farm. It also explained why it’s possible that Aron could not only match my drinking ability, but out-do me. (Maybe I should have let him drive? But he seemed in awe of the mechanical monstrosity that was the car.)