Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






art by Seth Alan Bareiss

The Chosen One Can't Lose

Sean Vivier lives in an artistsí co-op in central Connecticut. He either is now or has been a high school Spanish teacher, staff at a Sudbury school, a teacher of history and Spanish at a Montessori school, a line dance instructor, and a youth theater teaching assistant.
One
Your Uncle Abraxas stands at the door. His eyes are wide and his hair tangled. He lifts his chin and sniffs at you.
"Come, boy," he says. "The time is upon us. You must fulfill your destiny as the Champion of Light!"
If you abandon everything for adventure with your Uncle Abraxas, go to two.
If you insist that you would rather stay in the comfort of your own home, go to three.
Two
Abraxas gives you just enough time to gather some food and changes of clothes. He gestures magnanimously at the wagon that will take you.
Go to four.
Three
The last thing you see is Uncle Abraxas's staff on its way to meet your forehead. You awake to find yourself on the road in the seat of a wagon. Uncle Abraxas grimaces down at you.
"So sorry, my boy," he says. "This is much too important a matter. You'll thank me later. Oh, and I've taken the liberty of packing some of your food and clothing."
Go to four.
Four
The ride is spent with history lessons arcane and strange. Some of it takes the form of song, in Abraxas's raspy voice. You learn that you are the Champion of Light, that you and only you can stop the Abyss. It is both being and place at once, a genius loci that longs only for destruction. Abraxas also gives you the Sword of Will, which only exists when you put effort into making it exist.
At a crossroads, a roadside camp awaits. Three men in boiled leather armor stand outside polishing longbows and short swords. They inform you that their brotherhood has adopted the road and there is a toll to continue.
If you hand over your money, go to five.
If you will your new sword into being and leap into their midsts, go to six.
Five
As you search your luggage for your purse, Uncle Abraxas announces that you are the Champion of Light, and you will not be stayed or kept by any mortal power.
You feel his hand on the neck of your tunic. You feel him haul your body over the wagon. You're falling. You barely land on your feet, and before you even realize it, you've called the Sword of Will to hand.
Go to six.
Six
You've skewered the first man even as your feet hit the ground. The longbowman fires an arrow. Before you know it, you've batted it aside in midair so that it kills the other shortswordsman. It's what you wanted to happen, so that's what the Sword of Will did.. And as the longbowman readies another arrow, you know you have no choice but to close the distance and run him through.
By nightfall, you reach a field filled with pavilions. It's the combined might of seven nations, come to fight under your banner.
You sleep in fits.
If you run away in the night, go to seven.
If you decide to stay with the army, go to eight.
Seven
You wait until most everyone is asleep and the watch fires have died to embers. Then you tell the guards on duty that you need to slip by them to pee. They obey their Chosen One. Only then do you run.
You've run out of breath before you've made it a mile. Yours was never an active life. When you finally come to a panting stop to lean against a tree, Uncle Abraxas is there, shaking his head.
"Don't you understand yet? You're the one we've chosen. We aren't going to let you go."
Go to eight.
Eight
The army of all nations marches ever toward the Abyss. You can begin to see it in the distance. Sulfur rises from it, and the occasional burst of molten rock.
Seven kings serve as your honor guard wherever you go. You never have a moment away from at least five of them. In theory, you command this army. In practice, Abraxas gives the orders.
You don't really have any choices, you come to realize. If you're destined to defeat the Abyss, then how does any choice you make have any meaning?
Earthquakes grow in intensity as, in the distance, the land around the Abyss begins to rise. Demons from the Abyss attack in numbers great and small. They have bodies like men, but with traits borrowed from unclean animals such as locusts and boars and serpents. You never come close enough to see many details. An army stands between you and them, to make sure you reach the Abyss whole and hardy.
At last, the army and the honor guard of kings parts to make way for the Champion of Light. You rise on a basalt mound before the Abyss, trying not to gag on sulfur fumes. Below, lava flows and burns. You will your sword to hand.
You can't help but think: no matter what choices you had made before, this is where you would have found yourself.
You raise your sword hand high....
If you plunge the Sword of Will into the Abyss, go to nine.
If you hesitate, go to nine.
Nine
Abraxas takes hold of your wrist with a superhuman grip you never knew such a fragile old man could have. He forces your hand down until the Sword of Will buries itself in molten rock to the hilt. Your hand sears on the sword. The magma shudders for the briefest moment and there is a sound like a scream. Then the rock stills. The Abyss is now but lifeless stone.
You will away the sword, but it has already left a brand on the web of your hand. It will mark you forever as a hero.
Strange, but you don't feel like your actions made any difference.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

5.0 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us