"Hi, I'm The Bard, and I'm a Chosen One."
As one, they all answered, exactly as he had come to expect. "Hi, Bard!"
He took a deep breath. "Well...It's been six months since I last saved the world, and you know...I think I feel pretty good."
Harry nodded, smiling. The Bard glanced down at the young Airbender next to him. Aang grinned up at him proudly.
"It won't last you know," Link said, matter of factly.
"What? me feelin' good?"
"I meant the world being saved." Link shrugged. "Just one of those things. When the world is set up to be saved by one of us, it doesn't stay saved for very long."
Paul smirked. "That's why you have to do it good and hard when you do it. They're not going to want another Kwisatz Hadderach for a while because of me. Or look at Anakin." Paul gestured to the tall black-armored form next to him, wheezing through his helmet respirator. "Are they going to ask for a balancing of the Force any time soon?"
Anakin shrank down a bit.
Aang glared at Paul. "That's not nice, Paul."
"What? It's a survival instinct. The only way to make sure they don't call on The Chosen One too often is to make them think twice about it."
The Bard hated to admit it, but that was a tactic of choice for him. He wondered if his land would ever fall for The Chosen One again, next time some evil witch decided to use it for her ends.
Harry was about to speak, probably to chastise Paul, but the door opened. John staggered in with a visible shiver to his walk. Aang and Anakin both got up to support him.
Harry squinted. "John?"
"Yeah..." He sat down hard.
Aang said, "What's up, buddy?"
John lifted his head. The Bard could tell he was pale, and the bags under his eyes told of many sleepless nights prior to this meeting.
John took a deep breath. "It's uh...it's time. I'm...I'm going."
The Bard took a moment to process that, and saw that he was not alone. Harry's face went pale. Aang went wide eyed. Paul just nodded, smiling.
Link thought for a moment, then arched both eyebrows. "Oh...I see."
Anakin sighed. "Oh, John..." Whhhhhhh pahhhhhh...
"I don't know what to do..." John rubbed his face. "My mother has been training me for my whole life, and I don't know what to do..."
Paul got up and knelt next to John, putting one hand on his shoulder. "Hey. take a deep breath, and relax."
Anakin joined him. "You will do fine, John. You are better prepared than you know."
Aang looked to Harry. "We can help him!"
"No." Harry shook his head sadly. "John has to face his destiny alone."
"Well bugger that." The Bard reached into his pack and pulled forth a bottle. "John, you need this."
John studied it. "what is it?"
"Stromness Stout. Use it when your courage goes."
John sighed heavily. "Thanks, man." He took it.
"I sense much fear in you." Whhhhhhh pahhhhhhh... "I can say from experience that you should not be afraid. Your destiny is what it is."
John snorted a violent laugh. "There's about to be nuclear war. Millions are gonna die."
"But not you, and not the ones you save." Anakin reached into his cape. "Here." He handed John a small crystal.
"what is it?"
"A Holographic Recorder. We will not be there, so talk yourself through it, one day at a time, just like we do."
John smiled a little. "A holographic journal. Thanks, Annie."
Paul nodded. "And this." he undid a belt on his stillsuit and unslung a small sheath with a white-handled dagger. "A Crysknife. The mark of a man. You earned it."
"You mean I'm about to?"
"No." Paul narrowed his eyes. "You've been in the desert your whole life. The time you've spent with a tribe is the exception, not the rule." He nodded once, authoritatively. "Well you're gonna be alone out there. I want you to always remember someone knows who you are."
John nodded. "Thanks, Paul."
Aang reached into his robes. "here." He furnished forth a small wooden tile painted with a symbol that The Bard could not read. "It's a white lotus tile. Anyone who carries this will have friends everywhere he goes."
John smiled. "I know I do. Thanks, man."
"Enough sentiment." Link reached into his pack. "You're going to be leading frightened survivors into battle against killing machines." He pulled out a pair of black lace-up boots. "Make sure you can walk or run safely anywhere you need to."
Aang squinted. "You were carrying a pair of army boots?"
John tilted his head to one side. "Where did you get those?"
Link shrugged. "The Lion's Head Fortress, third floor treasure room."
Harry quirked an eyebrow. Paul said, "The...Lion's head..."
"Yes. Where the eighth piece of triforce was? It was guarded by Gannon's elite Ironknuckle Guard and three undead wizards."
Anakin tilted his black helmeted head to one side. The Bard raised one hand. "Wait just a minute. The treasure of Lion's Head Fortress was a pair of army boots?!"
"Well...yeah. They're very useful."
John bent over and began to unlace his sneakers. "These are army boots from Hyrule. They're probably magical or something."
Paul rolled his eyes. "Oh for Shai Hulud's sake, he got them at a Surplus store! he's pulling your leg!"
Link looked confused.
Aang said, "That still doesn't explain why he had them."
"He's Link! He uses rubber bands and wadded up reciepts to slay evil...moths, or something!"
Link pointed to Paul. "It worked. I cleaned out that closet in five minutes."
Harry sighed. "Alright. Fine." He reached into his robes. "John, you need these more than I do. Or at least you will." He tossed John a red and white bottle.
John caught it. "Your asperin?"
"Yeah. Keep your head clear, mate. we'll be waitin' for ya." Harry smiled.
John nodded. He took a deep breath, and stood up. "Thanks. All of you."
Anakin patted him on the shoulder. "May the force be with you, John."
John nodded. He started to speak, but even The Bard could see he was about to cry.
Anakin did not let it get that far. He pulled John into a hug. Aang quickly joined, as did Link, and even Harry.
Aang said, "Take care of yourself."
Paul reached into the cluster and rubbed the top of John's head. "You'll do fine. Just relax, and let it flow."
"When in doubt," Link said, "Empty yourself, and trust the gods."
"Make friends quickly," Harry said. "They'll save your bacon faster than anything else will."
"Ay." The Bard clapped him on the shoulder. "You're a good man, mate. The surviving Humans should be so lucky."
John nodded. "Thanks...hey," He pulled a pair of sunglasses out of his pocket and put them on. "I'll be back."
And with that he turned to go.
The door slammed with an odd finality.
Link turned to Harry. "Harry?"
"Hi. we're all chosen ones, and it's been two seconds since we last saved the world."
Harry thought for a moment. "Yeah...yeah, it has, hasn't it?"
The Bard smiled. "How do you feel?"
Harry chuckled. "Like the road ahead of us just got longer."