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Chapter 1.

The Great Spaghetti Bowl
5

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Note: This section depicted in the above video

Nestled in the southwest of a faraway land and flanked by tall mountains, is the unforgiving landscape in which we begin our tale. So perilous to scale is the terrain, few travellers dare to embark on the journey. Those that are willing are of the culinary bent. Bakers, chefs and cooks alike, from Farkaroola to the four kingdoms of Essopia, revere this place as a gastronomical wonder.

The Great Spaghetti Bowl.

The tale of how the Great Spaghetti Bowl came to be has been passed down from generation to generation by the residents of the hamlet below. Typical of humans, there is fierce debate over its origin.

Did the villagers’ ancestors carve out an enormous bowl into the mountain’s rock outcropping to appease a most-vicious giant whose hunger for delicious townspeople was only surpassed by a delectable, gargantuan steaming bowl of pasta?

Or did the giant creature whose face and name are too terrible to describe hand chisel the bowl himself, enslaving the townspeople to prepare his meal or perish?

Either way, the Spaghettians have committed their lives to preparing bowl after bowl of carbohydrates (that would make your Nonna weep) and dread the return of the creature, hoping and praying the giant will not come.


Chapter 1: The Great Spaghetti Bowl

If you want to know more about something mentioned in the story (e.g. a creature, place or person) go to the Lore of the Land:

LORE OF THE LAND

If you want information about our hero’s characteristics and inventory at the start of this chapter go here:

STATISTICS AND INVENTORY


“What is that stench? It’s not Marinara Month again, is it?” retched Eric, the local butcher.

“No, that pungency is permeating from a presence over yonder,” chimed in Matilda, the owner of some astutely attuned nostrils.

Matilda pointed at the figure, relieved that on this day, a decidedly smaller visitor than the Dreaded One had arrived at the Great Spaghetti Bowl.

Eric pinched his nose, and nasally exclaimed, “it’s a nasty, noxious knight!”

“Who are you?” asked Eric, as short as his stature, still pinching his nose.

“And why do ya smell of mackerel?” the taller, but no more polite Matilda added.

Our hero, Tim Cognito lowered their gaze. For the unknown soul who had been mysteriously cursed to occupy an old suit of armour couldn’t say why they always permeated a miasmic, oceanic odour.


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“I don’t see how it is any business of yours,” Tim stated, with no time to stall. “My quest is urgent. Now bring before me the one you call your leader.”

“Hold on there, this ain’t some back-pasta-water hamlet rusting onto the old ways. We’re represented by a Council of six democratically elected leaders.” Matilda folded her arms.

“That’s right, you can’t expect progress to just come -PLONK- straight into your lap.” Eric shook his arms before gesturing to his aproned lap (which of course, wasn’t visible as Eric was upright, and we all know you can’t see the lap of a person who is standing).

“It comes with careful, even-handed structural reform.” Eric continued.

Tim, who merely wished to have a quick chat with a despot, was irked to learn a village whose entire economy, being and worldview were based solely on replenishing a giant bowl of spaghetti as an offering to a giant would be so entrenched in bureaucracy.

Tim rolled their eyes at the mention of red-tape. Their armoured fingers lacked the dexterity for paperwork. Knowing this to be the path of least resistance, Tim reluctantly bent to the local custom.

“Fine then, peasant-”

Matilda tsked-tsked, “in a free and open democracy we do not participate in class-based terms.”

If Tim had teeth, they would have spoken with them gritted. “Fine then” they spat, ”will you bring me before this so-called Council?”

Tim allowed themselves to be led around a mound of freshly cooked meatballs, viscerally dripping with piping hot tomato sauce. They swerved around fragrant bushels of basil piled as tall as a haystack. They ducked just in time to avoid certain decapitation from the two-person crosscut saw being thrust side to side by heaving maidens shaving flakes from a boulder of salt.

Tim almost missed the public notice board next to the rock salt. There was an assortment of flyers detailing the town’s food production KPIs, and a notice about a missing chicken. There was one flyer that piqued their interest. Tim swiftly tore off a tab and stashed the contact details between their armoured shins and chain-link trousers.


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“So, what’s your quest then?”

“Shh, Matlida, ya can’t just go about asking adventurers about their quests.”

“But why not Eric?” she gestured toward Tim, “this bloke here comes traipsing into our town… umm I mean, our municipal township and-”

Knight,” Tim cut Matilda off.

“…e-excuse me?” Eric asked, clearly startled.

“Not Bloke.” Tim dryly stated “nor lady, nor sir. Just knight.”

“Just knight?”

“Well, that or Tim.” If they were capable, Tim would have smiled wryly.

“Whatever,” said Matilda who cared more about Tim’s fishiness than his genitals. “Just stay down-wind from me!”

They climbed the straight, narrow path that led up and out of the bowl. Eric and Matilda guided the gender-neutral knight away from the throngs of frantic villagers who scuttled between enormous pots, to stir the bubbling sauces or throw in more sliced onions.

The once-deafening boom of “heave-HO!” though a megaphone grew increasingly quieter. Tim could still faintly make out the brawniest of the village folk strain in synchronicity to the megaphone as they pushed their bodies against a rolling pin large enough to roll a pasta sheet the size of a sporting stadium.

The higher they climbed, the figures below became obscured by a gentle mist. They had ascended into the clouds. The metallic path grew slippery beneath Tim’s metal feet.

“What is this path?” Tim exclaimed abruptly, doing their best not to lose footing.

“It’s a fork, you fool.” grunted Matilda, “how else would the dreaded one eat our offering?”

“How whimsical!” sneered Tim, just in time for the clouds to part, as if being drawn like curtains by an unseen hand.

Before them, the Municipal building of the Council with its polished-to-glinting marble columns emerged from within the clouds.

“Is that the Council chambers?” Tim asked, full of wonder and awe.

Tim cleared their throat, and in a show of forced nonchalance added, “couldn’t have dragged any more marble up here, could you?”

“Yes… good eye.” Matilda shrugged nonplussed, before adding “we built it up ‘ere to keep a real lid on distractions. As we said, there’s a lot of work ta get to and the Council can’t very well stop every time some presumptuous adventurer arrives”

Matilda!” Eric stopped her.

“I mean no disrespect by it, lord… I mean… Knight. It’s just that everyone who comes by here dressed much like you, always says they can fix our problems, make it so we no longer ‘ave to spend all our time making linguine for the offerings, but then we find they’re usually filled with naught but hot air!”

Upon hearing this, Tim - whose armour, it should be said, encapsulated only hot air - was silent. They had not come to the Great Spaghetti Bowl to help with any great dilemma. No, Tim’s intentions were much less selfless.


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That’s the end of this first chapter but not the end of the story. Please make sure you’ve voted for your choices above as they will influence the next chapter of the story. Voting closes on the 16th of March, 2022. Check back in on Monday the 14th for another Lore of the Land session.

Remember you can continue to add new areas, creatures, characters and items/spells in the existing threads and see them get added to the Lore of the Land encyclopaedia.


Some exciting news to share:

You can now read Misadventure Adventure in the new Substack app for iPhone.

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The Substack app is currently available for iOS. If you don’t have an Apple device, you can join the Android waitlist here.


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Misadventure Adventure
Book 1: Far From The Fishing Fields
Pungent Knight, Tim Cognito, arrives in a rarely-traversed part of the world. What is their goal? Where have they come from? Where will they go.
Authors
Michael
Michelle