Preview #1 - The Defenders of Dembroch
Dembroch’s request for aid was published in every paper around the world. Millions saw it, a few took it seriously. And my friends I were one of them.
We were about ten or so, little firecrackers of energy and imagination. There was Clay, taller than the rest of us and bold as brass, an all-American kid who had everything going for him. He liked Jenn, the new girl from the big city, who was brilliant and beautiful and happy. We came to tease Jenn for her uncanny eye to spot all things sparkly and shiny and her equally strong dislike of mud, goop, and germs. Meghan was my younger stepsister, a little pill sometimes, a couple years younger than the rest of us, but so confident and cool and sure of herself. She often did her own thing, but when it came down to it, she stood with us through thick and thin. And then there was me, Nick, the starry-eyed adventurer always looking to escape my classes and play in the woods with my friends.
We couldn’t afford much back then, so playing pretend in the woods was our favorite thing to do. But if there was one thing worth saving up for, it was the orange cream malts at Dave’s Diner.
Well…that was, until Dembroch.
We were in Dave’s Diner that fateful day, sipping our well-earned malts, when Clay came charging through the door. Normally quite reserved, Clay was beside himself, insisting we read the listing he’d found in the newspaper’s classifieds:
Immediate Assistance Needed
Ah, I still remember the feeling when I first read it. I couldn’t wait to be a knight. A defender of Dembroch. I yearned for it with every fiber of my being. And, in my heart, I thought about the queen, the desperate dowager seeking help. How I wanted to be her knight, I realized. How I needed to be. And all I had to do was save $125. That would be worth every penny.
My friends must have felt the same way. Jenn, Clay, Meghan, and I helped one another save up our money. Once we’d made enough, we collected everything we needed to apply and mailed it to Dembroch. We waited for ages it seemed until, finally, we received a reply.