by Juliana Cardullo '19
In this story, you will go through the adventure of Hanz, the great explorer. He will travel to the thick Thuringian forest, and stumble upon many complications throughout the journey.
In the vast known land named Stinkheim, with mountains, full of valleys, hills, and villages, it had one of the most beautiful castles known to everyone. With high towers that look like they are swaying in the clouds, and massive glass windows surrounding every tower peak, giving off the most luxurious light in the mid afternoon. The only problem with this perfect town was that everyone was enchanted; they couldn’t speak or move and sat there like lumps, except for two, and, well, a horse. This story stars one man and a journey across the land to explore and look for more people to populate his home town of Stinkheim.
“Hazza!” Hanz exclaimed as he threw his knife at the map landing in the small region known as Germany. “I will go to the mountains of the Thuringian Forest and set upon a journey, for I am an explorer and I must explore.”
Ever since Hanz was a wee child he has always had a hankering for the thrill of exploring and seeing the world. Unfortunately when Hanz was 15, where every young noble makes their journey away from Stinkheim, he set off with Pferd and the noble servant soon to return to a disaster. For it had seemed that everyone in the kingdom and all over Stinkheim had become enchanted into a deep sleep.
“But, sir, you mustn’t,” cried the noble servant, “it’s far too dangerous. It is said that there is a castle high in the trees that will bring you to a world that no one has ever seen before.”
Hanz pondered for a moment, then realized that he was Hanz, the man who is not afraid of anything, and will scour from one end of the earth to the other, because everyone knows that the earth is flat and that someday he will see the where the end of the earth is. But for now he chose to go to the Thuringian Forest.
“I will set out on Pferd (his horse) at daylight,” said Hanz, “Noble servant, pack my things, for I must be awake early and will leave immediately.”
The noble servant shook his head and, with a worried look, packed up Hanz’s belongings. He was in love with Hanz for many years, since the incident, and since they were the only people left— but he could never tell him.
Once the rooster cried at dawn, Hanz set upon his journey to the Thuringian Forest. Joining him was his noble horse, Pferd, they were what you call “The Destiny Bunch” and did everything together. Pferd, who had a mind of his own, was constantly going the wrong way and getting distracted at even the smallest of things. At one point when Hanz was asleep he walked straight into a tree trying to follow a small shiny insect that had scurried up the tree and woke up to Hanz
staring at him with his hands on his hips. With miles to go and miles from Stinkheim, Hanz was getting worried that they were heading the wrong way. He looked again at the map and at the trail, then back at the map, then back at the trail, back at Pferd, and so on until Hanz realized that the map had been upside-down and had been following the wrong path further away from the forest.
In Hanz’s defense, this had been his first adventure in 15 years since the incident. Well, backtracking again, they had unexpectedly came across a village that hadn't been there before. “The Destiny Bunch” wandered through the village clomping through the suspicious streets, where it was suspiciously quiet and empty.
“HELLO!”, Hanz yelled, “IS ANYBODY THERE?”
... no answer. All of a sudden the bell tower hit noon, and a rampage of people came out of every doorway, alleys, wheeling carts, and opening the windows to stores, crowding the streets from every angle. Hanz was in shock and was trying to escape the sea of people with Pferd leading the way, but, unfortunately, out of the corner of Pferd’s eyes, a small ring made of gold and emerald caught his attention, as he whipped his head toward the ring, knocking a baker with a sack of flour down to the ground and creating a white cloud surrounding Pferd and Hanz. Pferd, with quick thinking, as fast as a horse could think, dove toward the ring, catching it in his teeth and galloping down the alleyway, away from the madness that had just happened in the village.
“What the hazza was that?”, Hanz said, wide eyed and baffled. “I thought we had passed this way before, where did that maddened village come from... out of the middle of nowhere... all the people?”. He questioned this while dusting the flour from his explorer uniform and out of Pferd’s mane.
The next morning, “The Destiny Bunch” set out again in the correct direction, and after hours of walking they came across a small waterfall and a stream with rocks and small animals drinking and frolicking around in the water. Hanz jumped off Pferd and started to fill his canteen full of the fresh-looking water— as he got closer to the water he noticed words starting to appear in the water, circling from the bottom of the stream, pulling Hanz in closer and closer— he realized the words were his thoughts and the stream was reading his mind. Every thought brought his face closer and closer to the water until he was completely underwater and in this space that was blank and white all around.
“Pferd... Pferd”, Hanz called, “PFERD! HELP! WHERE ARE YOU! I CAN’T SEE YOU!”— the white walls turned into fire and projections from his past were masked onto the walls revealing what had happened years and years before when he was just a lad. Frightened and confused he yelled again, “PFERD!”.
At the speed of light, Hanz was transferred out of this space and back onto Pferd’s back, it was dusk now. A chill ran through his spine as he thought about what he just experienced, thinking of what had happened and that it had left him feeling lonely and scared, wishing that he could have done something to help Stinkheim. Deciding to call it a night and camp out for there were many more nights to go before they reached the Thuringian Forest.
Days and days later they reached the beginning of the forest and proceeded to continue. Walking for days through the forest, occasionally talking to Pferd and taking breaks to rest, it started to storm, torrential rain soaking everything, from food to boots to clothes and everything. They were running through the forest and ran straight into a cave where they made a fire and attempted to dry everything off. It was late and Pferd had fallen asleep, but Hanz still couldn’t shake the feeling about what had happened in the stream, whether it was a hallucination or real life where he was lost in his thoughts, but the feeling that he was drowning and couldn’t breath... he unclenched his fists and took some deep breaths— he knew what had happened but he needed to get some rest.
Suddenly Pferd awoke, Hanz’s head bouncing on the ground waking him up,
“Pferd what is it now?”, still groggy, he opened his eyes and noticed the cave was lit up by torches and there were people with masks and weapons surrounding them, Pferd was against the wall, cowering. Hanz stood up with his hands over his head.
“Hello.. my name is Hanz, and this is my horse Pferd, I am an explorer, and we wandered into this cave for shelter the day before. It was raining hard so we decided to camp in here,” Hanz was stammering and talking slowly, for he didn’t know what to say. The masked creatures whispered to themselves and one pointed down the cave and, with a poke of his weapon, both Hanz and Pferd walked into this mysterious cave. Deeper into the cave, they went higher and higher. They climbed until the cave came to a stop and a tall cobblestone wall was ahead, so Hanz stopped, the masked creatures motioned for Hanz to go forward.
“I cannot go, there is a wall in my way!” exclaimed Hanz, yet the masked creatures were persistent and continued to motion with their weapons to continue walking, and frankly, Hanz didn’t want to die so far into his adventure, so he slowly moved forward, looked at Pferd and walked into the stone wall.
“UMPH”, he cried as he stumbled backwards to the dust.
“Umm... hello, what's the matter?” he said to the masked creature. The masked creature removed his mask, puzzled, revealing a fuzzy face and small sharp teeth.
“Why didn’t it work? It was foretold in the prophecy, we were supposed to be able to go through.” A quick panic went through the creatures as they all removed their masks. “What is going on?”
“Why didn’t it work? How are we going to save the land now?”
“What about the prophecy— the prophecy— it was supposed to work!” “SILENCE.”
Everyone looked up at Hanz, who was so confused on what was going on and really wanted to keep the panic to a minimum.
“What's this prophesy that you keep talking about?”
This one old creature, that stroked his beard, was not worrying about the panic around him— with a wave of his arms, the room fell silent and reached into his dark cloak and pulled out a scroll and threw it across the room revealing the contents inside.
“The prophecy states that a handsome traveler and his white horse will open the gate to Rockheem and defeat the fearsome ruler and save the land.”
“How long have you been separated?”, Hanz pondered.
The old creature stroked his beard and sat down on a cold rock and started to tell the story of Rockheem.
“We were a simple land with lots of love, horses that would frolic, trees that bloomed magical fruit, and all of us living in harmony. Until one day when a darkness spread across the land revealing a god who descended upon us and made us believe that he was amazing.
He gave us gifts, and gold, places to live, and helped us build and create, until one day he stopped giving and giving and found our sacred tree that was full of magic fruit that would make anyone happy. So he took that and started to take everything back, leaving us with nothing, making us work morning till night, to harvest our fruit so he could sell it to other gods. Yet it never worked for them, so he kept demanding us to make more for it to work but it wouldn’t. They didn’t believe that it would work, so it didn’t, and that made him mad, so he would make us work harder.
We tried to run away, but some of us got caught and are now stranded on the other side of this wall he created and left us a prophecy to crack and get our land back. It states from the text that ‘an explorer with a white horse will cross your path and be able to crack the emerald code. The one with the white will reveal all the answers when the riddle is complete.’ So we have been trying to crack the riddle for decades, yet we have had no luck, and fear we will never save our precious people and land of Rockheem.”
“That was intense,” said Hanz. “Have you ever tried knocking?”
“Of course we have tried knocking!” the old one said, with frustration at Hanz’s question.
“Jeez, just checking... see, I was testing you, ya know, like a smart explorer... so what’s the riddle?”
“The riddle is,
‘I am always hungry
I must always be fed,
The finger I touch
will soon be red.’
This riddle has stumped us for many years, and we have no idea what kind of danger has happened what we have been away, or how long it has been since darkness spread.”
All of a sudden a noise piped up from the back of the cave in the darkness, “It’s FIRE!” said the voice, as they got closer and closer, coming into the light.
“Hazza! It’s my noble servant!” exclaimed Hanz, eager to see a familiar face. His mouth turned into a smile as he walked over to the noble servant.
“Hazza, old friend, why are you here? How did you find me, I had gotten lost and had to turn around.”
“Well, Hanz, I am extremely relieved to see you. It has been so long since you have left. How this started was that I didn’t want to see you get hurt, so after you left I decided to follow you but keep my distance. I followed Pferd’s poops, I knew they were his because they were green and I know how much he loves those green skittles.”
From the back of the room Pferd tooted quietly in sympathy of his story; everyone slowly looked back at Pferd in embarrassment.
“Anyways... where was I, oh yes, the poops, that is how I found the forest and the cave and you, Hanz.”
“That's amazing. Now, we need your help with the prophecy. You have answered the riddle, but nothing happened.”
“OUCH!”, cried one of the creatures. “What's your horse playing at?” Everyone turned to look as the creature cradled his finger.
“HE BIT ME!”
“Hey, look at that!” said the noble servant.
“His finger is all red!”, said Hanz, finishing his sentence.
“The answer is not FIRE— it’s PFERD!” exclaimed the noble servant. “Eh, close enough,” said Hanz.
Suddenly, a bright green glow came from Pferd’s snout as he clopped toward the wall; nuzzling Hanz’s hand, he dropped the emerald and gold ring into his palm. Magically, a green outline of door appeared where it was not there before. Hanz took the ring and slipped it onto his finger and pressed his hand onto the door.
The glow around the door became brighter and, with a loud rumble, the door pushed open. All of the creatures were in amazement, as their precious land was now dirty and grey with no color at all, where it had been full of life and love before. They made their way through the door, creatures following behind.
“Wow, I feel amazing,” said Hanz.
“Have you been working out?” said the noble servant.
As Hanz turned around, he grew taller, massive pecs protruding from his chest, his bulging biceps ripping the sleeves of his shirt.
“Oh, damn,” said one of the creatures.
“WHO DARES TRESPASS IN MY LAND!”, this booming voice from above yelled.
“IT IS I, THE MIGHTY HANZ, AND I AM HERE TO DESTROY YOU!”
The god descended in a black smoke— he formed into a 50-foot-tall beast with patchy fur and snarly dripping fangs. The god pulled out a flaming sword and got ready to attack.
“Oh, snot,” said Hanz, then waved his hand— the ring flew off his finger and magically turned into an emerald-and-gold sword. Hanz caught it in the air and pointed it directly at the god.
“Bring it, fur ball!”
The two foes ran at each other, and with a tremendous crash they began to fight. Hanz was swinging with great amounts of power and slowly weakening the god, for he had no fighting experience. The god got smaller and smaller and smaller until he was only the size of a baby goat.
“QUICK! GET HIM!” said the creatures. They ran toward him as the god tried desperately to scurry away, yet he had little legs and could not go far. The creatures piled onto him, swaddling
him in a cloak.
“Get him out of here!” said the old one.
“He's actually kinda cute,” murmured one of the creatures, while carrying him away.
Hanz lowered the emerald sword to the ground and, at that point, green grass and flowers began to move outward from the tip of the sword throughout the land, reaching the sky turning it bright blue.
All the people slowly emerged from the forest, as the trees turned from black to green. They all came running after, finding out their loved ones were standing there. They began embracing them in hugs, for it had been a long time and they were grateful to have them back.
It was time for them to leave, and the sword conveniently turned itself back into a ring, right on Hanzes finger. They said their goodbyes and farewells and proceeded through the doorway, down the cave, and through the Thuringian forest back to Stinkheim, having nowhere else to go. Meandering through the countryside, Hanz and the noble servant talked about their journey, and their hopes and dreams. Finally they returned to Stinkheim, finding it exactly as it was before.
“Well, at least we have each other,” said Hanz.
Pferd walked slowly, making his way toward the castle. A green glow emerged from the emerald on Hanz’s ring. All of a sudden they heard a clatter as Pferd stopped in his tracks, and they saw the baker emerge groggily from his shop. He stood, looking at Hanz and Pferd, the Noble servant looking at him.
“Are you ok?” said the noble servant.
Before he had time to answer, they heard more noise and people started to emerge from shops and homes.
“What the hazza is going on? All the people are alive and awake,” said Hanz.
“It's a true miracle!” the noble servant said.
Hanz dismounted from Pferd and started to greet the people as they all cheered for the three explorers. Walking through the castle doors, Hanz was met by the newly awakened King and Queen of Stinkheim. Refreshed by the glow of Hanz’s ring, the King and Queen looked radiant.
“You have saved us all and we are eternally grateful for your noble deeds,” said the King. Hanz was humbled and dropped to one knee.
“Well, sir, it was not all my doing. Pferd and Noble Servant helped me complete my quest.”
“You must all be rewarded,” said the queen. She granted them with the Medal
of Honor and Chief Adventurer. Also, the finest room in the castle, and finest stable for Pferd.
Und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind, leben sie noch heute.