Nano 2017 Part Eighteen
The Lego Vikings were restless.
For the better part of three years…they’d been stuck inside of a box. A plastic cube inside of the Lego Store.
Unlike the other inhabitants of this retail establishment…the Lego Vikings were smart! During their long imprisonment, they had learned to read and write in English. They had established an entire community on the side of the fake hill they lived on. They’d even begun trying to coax children into throwing some Lego Fish into their fake river by posing with various fish-shaped hand-signals.
So far, they had three fish in their river. Every night when the toys in the store came to life, the Vikings would fish the three fish out of the river, hold a party around a plastic bonfire, then return the fish to their rightful home.
But this life was no longer enough. They needed more. Lego Vikings weren’t just meant to live inside a plastic cube. They were meant to roam. Conquer. Find exotic new plastic weapons to wield. And all with a tremendous respect for the sea.
“I’m pretty sure that they don’t make a Lego Vikings set,” typed Alex’s internet friend.
“Oh, well I don’t actually check if they make any of the Legos I refer to. I started out intending to do that, but then I just decided to run with it. What started as fanfiction surrounding one video game is now fanfiction surrounding whatever happens to be in my head at the moment I’m writing.”
“Hah, I see.”
Alex nodded at the screen even though his friend couldn’t see it. “Nanowrimo is a harsh business. Any trick I can use to just get it over and done with, I’m gonna take and OOOH my table is open, brb.”
Alex sprung up from his table, awkwardly bundled up his headphone cable and cord into his arms, and sprinted across the Beanland to the corner where his “usual” table resided. The previous occupant wasn’t gone for three seconds before Alex placed his stuff there. He ran back, grabbed his coat and his bag, and put them in the chair opposite the one he usually sat in. He took a seat at his usual table and a sense of calm rushed through him.
“Ahhhh,” he typed into his chat program. “That’s much better. Now the room looks right again, and I can actually focus.”
“You’re a little strange, you know.”
“Every time I stop leaning into these writing superstitions because I think I’m just ‘being too picky,’ I realize how much they actually mean to my process.”
Day in and day out, the Lego Vikings built their store of knowledge. They started writing books. They sang songs to the river. And they enjoyed their nightly pretend feast with the three plastic fish.
And then Galadriel appeared, atop her mighty dog steed, and their tiny world was forever changed.
It was an ordinary Wednesday at the mall. The Lego Store had actually managed to close early. The Vikings planned to get an early start on the night’s fishing, because they were also going to break ground on a library to hold all of their new books. They’d been writing them on the blades of plastic grass located at one side of their fake hill.
Galadriel’s portal burst into life at the top of the hill, and the majestic Lego Elf Lady came riding into the peaceful world of the Vikings. They weren’t sure what to make of her. They noted that she had a good command of her dog companion, and that she bore no visible weapons, and so they decided to treat her with peace and respect…for now.
The Viking chieftain stepped forward and gave a small bow to Galadriel. “Good evening, my lady,” he said. “What brings you to our shores? We are but peaceful lovers of the sea, and—“
“Do not take me for a fool,” said Galadriel. The Viking chieftain’s small hairs on the back of his neck would have stood up, if he had any. “Are you not proud Viking warriors, stuck here in this cube for many years, seeking to prove yourselves in a quest for fortune and glory?”
Galadriel’s words plucked a strong cord in the hearts of the plastic men and women of the hill, and they couldn’t help but let out a rousing cheer and raise their hands. The chieftain knew now that subtlety was out the window, and his hand was played.
The chieftain sighed. “Yes, we are indeed, my lady. We have attempted to slake our curiosity with pursuits such as fishing, writing, and respecting the sea, but at heart we are all proud warriors who need to be out there warrioring.” He pointed out at the darkness of the Lego store beyond the cube. “For years now, we have watched as many others were freed from their prisons, or at least given the opportunity to change their station. Recently, we were encouraged by the journey of a random Wizard as he made his way across the store, but we have not been able to replicate his success as of yet.”
“Well said, master chieftain,” said Galadriel. She gracefully dismounted from Ambrosias, and seemed to float above the ground just slightly. “What may I call you? I am Lady Galadriel, of the Elves.”
“It is with great respect that I great you, Lady Galadriel,” said the chieftain. “You may call me Bill.”
Galadriel tried to hide her involuntary wince at Bill’s name. “Bill. Hmm. Interesting. You are all…not quite what I expected. I’ll not waste any more words or your time. I am in need of a proud company of adventurers for a most dangerous mission. An evil spirit known only as Sauron is rampaging across time and space. He’s on a quest to take over and reshape the entire universe, and in the process he has made callous use of an artifact known as the orb of time. Each time he uses this orb, the entire Universe splits in twain, and his evil essence is replicated. This rampant copying is doing more damage to the balance of everything than any other purpose Sauron could possibly intend, and he doesn’t even know it.”
Now the chord was beginning to pluck within Bill’s heart. “My lady, this sounds like a great quest indeed. How might we be of service?”
“Gather all of your things,” said Galadriel. “We leave at dawn. We’ll need to seek out the legendary cache of weapons buried under the Millennium Falcon…if my ‘sister’ doesn’t get there first.”
“You had us at weapons,” said Bill. He turned to his compatriots. “Okay ladies and gentlemen, let’s…wait,” he said, turning back. “You mean to leave at dawn? My lady, we are prisoners here during the day. As soon as the first rays of the fluorescent tubes above us hit this place, we will be frozen in place, unable to move.”
“Oh don’t worry master Viking,” said Galadriel, “I have a plan to fix that.”
“So, why Vikings then?,” asked Alex’s internet friend.
“Oh, Skyrim got rereleased and I’ve been playing that again.”
“Hah, from one video game to another. I guess you’re at least sticking with a theme.”
A man walked up to Alex and coughed a little. Alex took off his headphones. “Uh, hey there, can I help you?”
“Oh yeah sure thing!,” said the random cougher. “I was sitting here?”
Alex blinked. “Wh…what? Uh. I think I’ve been here for like, the last 20 minutes?”
“Oh, no doubt of it! I meant before that,” said the man. “I got up and left and I think you came over and took my seat.”
“Okay,” said Alex, trying to figure out where this was going. “Well, I appreciate that you got up and left, because this is my favorite table.”
“Oh no way!,” said the man. “It’s my favorite table too! My name’s Barry by the way.”
“Well Barry, I’m glad we share the same taste in tables, but—“
At this moment Selena walked up with a tray of little samples in her hands. “Hey there Barry, you want to try our new bagels?”
“Oooh! Bagels! I’d love to Selena, I was just talking to this guy who took my seat and—“
“He didn’t take your seat, Barry,” said Selena. “You got up and left. I saw you. That was about 30 minutes ago now. You walked right out the front door. Also, Alex sits here every day and actually buys something every day. *You* are just my stupid cousin who hangs out here sometimes because your mom told you to apply for the barista position here, but you’re too afraid to talk to me even though you’ve known me my whole life.”
Barry’s face turned a little red.
“So you’ve got some choices, Barry,” said Selena. “You can stop bugging my customers, have a free bagel, and leave, and if you’re really nice, I might even give you an application to fill out. Or, you can make me force you to leave the hard way.” Selena gave him her coldest stare.
“Uh, bagels you say? They look really good? I think I’ll have one.”
“Smart man,” said Selena.