The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
Gwyn groaned as the alarm suddenly began to belt his ears. It was the latest pop song; from some band, he would never bother listening to if his radio station alarm didn't play it. He quickly, or as soon as he could after just waking up, rolled over and shut the alarm off.
Then, he laid in his bed for several minutes before finally sitting up. He sat still for a few moments longer until he finally swung his legs out and pushed himself up. Gwyn slumped across his room to an old dresser. It was beaten and worn after many years of use, but he thought it had looked quite lovely in his youth.
He pulled open a drawer. It was more of a sudden jerk. Several items fell off the dresser—a textbook, an old running trophy, some cheap knockoff figure of a character, and a pamphlet for his school. He chuckled to himself. He had not meant to, but in the last few weeks, he had knocked everything that sat on the dresser to the floor. He stared down at the pile of junk. It would be a simple matter to pick it up, he would rather have the stuff in its proper place, yet he once again pulled out some worn clothes and left the room.
'I don't have the energy now' is the excuse he echoed through his mind as he slid on an acceptable enough shirt and pants.
Without stopping his walk, he grabbed a prepared cup of hot coffee from its machine and slumped to the door of his apartment. His relatively short walk to school was about to begin, but he realized he had forgotten his phone as he exited the place.
Gwyn let his head fall as he walked back into the apartment to retrieve it. Once he had his phone in hand, he could finally start his day.
The sun warmed his skin, and a gentle breeze swept through his golden-red hair. He smiled, though it was a small smile, as he sipped his coffee. The morning struggle had passed, and he was starting to feel like he could enjoy his day. The surrounding area of his apartment was various shades of grey buildings and sidewalks, with the occasional small half-dead tree placed here or there.
He took another sip of his coffee and pulled out his phone. A text had come through at some point. His mother was asking if he wanted to come down to see the rest of his family over the weekend.
Gwyn made an audible 'hmm,' as he thought. It was loud enough for a passerby to hear, and they turned to look at him, though he paid no mind to them.
After a moment of thought, Gwyn typed his response.
Sorry, I think I'll be busy.
He was not sure if he would be busy. The idea of seeing some family he hadn't seen in a while seemed pleasant as well. Gwyn wasn't sure what he wanted to do, but he sent the text all the same.
He shrugged to himself. The weekend was a couple of days away, and he could always change his mind later.
As he continued his walk to school, Gwyn swiped on his phone. He stopped at a crosswalk and looked up. An old lady was making her way across the street. She was hunched and used a cane with every step she took. He looked up at the light; it indicated not to cross.
'Crazy old woman,' he thought to himself as the lady continued to make her way across the street. He decided to ignore it and lifted his cup of coffee to take another sip.
Loud honking caught the attention of Gwyn and the old lady. They turned in the direction of the sound. A large semi greeted them with more honking as it barreled down the street. Gwyn thought the whole thing odd for a moment, but it quickly became clear that the truck was not going to stop.
His phone and coffee smacked against the ground as he sprinted out into the street. The truck seemed to honk more intensely as Gwyn began his charge.
As quickly as he could, the young man scooped up the old woman. She was surprisingly light. He continued his sprint forward without missing a beat. A second slower, and he might have been too late. A misstep, and he would have fallen. But Gwyn didn't worry about the possibilities as the truck continued its charge behind his back. He let the old lady down to her feet.
The truck continued its out-of-control rush into the distance. The news would later circulate that a truck had sped through several intersections after the brakes had mysteriously gone out.
"Thank you, sonny. I could have been in a real pickle there," the old woman said with a slight cackle.
"Don't mention it," Gwyn said as he looked for more traffic. When he saw none, he ran across the street to retrieve his phone. It had a large crack across the screen, and his coffee was beginning to form a small stream that drained into the sewer. He sighed and slid the likely broken phone into his pocket.
Gwyn picked up the now empty cup. He shook his head and took a step forward back to the street.
It was at that moment he noticed the old woman standing directly in front of him. She had thin grey hair, a long misshapen nose, and her smile showed that she was missing a few teeth. She was short, about half the height of Gwyn, though she might have stood taller if not for her hunched posture. Her eyes were a vivid green, and they stared at Gwyn with surprising ferocity. As if she was sizing him up for some odd reason.
"How?" Gwyn suddenly yelled as he stumbled back. He had thought he left the woman on the other side of the street.
"Tell me, sonny, where are you going on this fine day?"
"Just to class," Gwyn shook his head to forget the strange moment before. He hadn't had enough coffee yet, is what he settled on to explain her sudden appearance in front of him.
"Class? Ah, a student. What are you studying?"
"Why history, my boy?"
"Started in electrical engineering, but I didn't like it. I was already going for the history minor, so I just decided to switch it. I'm just trying to finish with a degree of some kind at this point," Gwyn rattled off his usual response.
"How interesting, say have you ever considered going on an adventure?"
Gwyn closed his eyes for a moment. He had no idea what the old woman was thinking, but he just wanted to excuse himself politely. He opened them back up and looked to the old woman who eagerly awaited his reply.
"I'm sorry, but I have to run. I might be late for my class."
"Well, I'm glad that we were fated to meet this day. You saved my life, sonny!"
"Glad to hear it, but as I said, I think I might be late if I don't go now." The crosswalk light switched to indicate that he could cross. He did not wait a second longer and broke out into a sprint. Gwyn made as friendly of a wave as he could as he ran to his class.
"Have a fun adventure, eh!" the old woman yelled back, but Gwyn was already too far away to hear her.
Hello, and thanks for your interest in this story. I wanted to put something here at the beginning since this story has been moving slower than I initially anticipated before starting. I know some (I am one of them) may enjoy a slower pace and development. But I imagine some would like to have a better idea of what they should expect to see before reading through what sits just over a hundred chapters at the time of writing this intro.
To that end, I have created summaries at the end of each volume. They recap some key events and happenings in the volume and can give a reader what to expect. They might also serve as a way to catch up with the current volume quickly, but I do not know if that will be a reliable way to understand future events which have yet to be written. (I have not written any summaries at the point of writing the intro)
The summaries will be separate chapters and be labeled as end of volume summary or something to that extent.
Volume 1 Summary - Chapter 51
Volume 2 Summary - Chapter 107
Volume 3 Summary - Chapter 168