Do you know who you truly are?
Work had been endlessly dragging on and on for Riven. Her dead-end customer service job was slowly breaking her down. From angry customers to abuses of power by her coworkers and managers, most days ended with tears as she drove home. Riven had spent the last four months scrolling through job posting after job posting. She had spent hours editing her portfolio, resume, and cover letter trying desperately to get a new job. Everything she tried just ended with rejection upon rejection and Riven was losing any semblance of hope she had left for leaving her current job.
Riven had always aspired to do something important in her life, something that mattered. Whether it was creating stories, changing the world, helping people, or being the hero for once, that was all she wanted. Her entire life she was the convenient friend for people. Nobody seemed to notice when she was struggling or needed help. Everything was about everyone else, not that she wanted to be selfish, she just wanted a little bit of respect and appreciation for her hard work. Who could blame her for that? Everyone wants that.
By the time Riven had gotten home from work, she dragged herself into her apartment and tossed her work stuff onto the couch like she did every day. She had the same routine day after day that only slightly varied on the weekends. Once she got home, it was time to change into comfy clothes, look through her mail, and get dinner started, or at least go get take out. After dinner it was time for her workout, then she would either read, write or watch a show. It was definitely a takeout night because, after the day she had, Riven was about ready to crash. She wanted nothing to do with her normal routine.
Riven was so close to giving up on everything at this point. She knew it would probably be a bit of a challenge to find a new job, but now it was just becoming disheartening. Riven was ready to just sit in her shower and cry for the rest of the night and eat her takeout from the side of the tub, but she knew that wouldn’t solve anything. Determined to achieve something that night, Riven threw her jacket back on and started her fifteen-minute walk to the library.
The sun was going down and the sky was a hopeful array of bright pinks and oranges as Riven strolled up the stairs to the library, lost in her mind. Thankfully, Riven knew how to get to the library without a second thought; it was her home away from home. Riven mustered a wave to Gladys the librarian as she made her way to the fiction section. These books contained so many stories and characters that Riven knew and loved. She had spent hours with them turning through their pages. As Riven ran her hands across the spines of books that held so many different worlds, she occasionally glanced up browsing for a title to read or more likely re-read.
While searching through the shelves, her fingers ran across a book that Riven had not seen before. There was actually a new book. Riven’s heart skipped a beat as she turned her head slightly to read the title of this new book. Yet the spine had no title on it. Intrigued by this mysterious new book, Riven carefully reached up and pulled the book off the shelf. The book was wrapped in a dark purple cover with beautiful silver trim covering all the edges of the cover. This mysterious book intrigued Riven more than anything had in a while. With no title on the spine or the cover, Riven carefully lifted open the from cover.
There was actually nothing out of the ordinary on the inside of the book. As Riven turned through the first couple of pages, she finally came to a title page. This book was called Be Your Own Hero. “Ha! How ironic.” Riven thought as she continued to scroll through the pages. This book seemed to be empty besides the title page. Riven flipped through the entire novel to find there was nothing written on its pages. Riven opened and closed the book multiple times and still, there was nothing. Riven was about to put the book back on the shelf when writing suddenly appeared in the novel. Riven almost dropped the book out of shock, but curiosity kept her hands on the book. As Riven looked closer, more writing began to appear on the page.
“Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine. Do you wish to be the hero of your own story Riven?”
How did this book know her name? Riven was incredibly freaked out. She had no idea what to do with the book. Was it better to put it down and walk away or to answer the book? Riven contemplated what to do with the book still in her hands. Work had been awful and she was having no luck at all finding a new job. Her regular life was awful and she had always wanted to be the hero of a story. After a few more minutes of contemplation, Riven looked back to the book and said “Yes.”
A flash of bright colorful light flashed before Riven’s eyes. Riven felt like she was falling down an endless hole of light until finally, she felt something solid beneath her. Her fingers spread out through what was fresh grass beneath her. Riven slowly opened her eyes as they adjusted to the shining light around her. She was definitely not in the library anymore. Wherever Riven had ended up, it had a strange sense of familiarity to it.
As Riven slowly stood up, she looked around more to see if she could figure out where she was. There wasn’t much around her besides the natural growth within the field she had landed in. Just to her left she finally noticed a path leading to what she could only assume was North. Figuring she had nothing better to do, Riven made her way down the path. After who knows how long, Riven ended up seeing a village in the distance. As she got closer to the village, something began reflecting the sun and hitting Riven in the eye. Riven followed the blinding light just off the side of the path and looked into a shrub. There was something silver glinting in the bushes. Riven reached down to pick up whatever it was. It was heavier than she had anticipated.
When Riven pulled it out of the bushes, she realized with a shock that it was the hilt of a sword sticking out of a dark burgundy sheath. Looking around, Riven tried to see if there was anyone nearby who could have dropped it. Unfortunately, there was no one around besides the birds and she was pretty sure it didn’t belong to them. Pulling the sword out of its sheath, she checked to see if there was an inscription on it, but it held nothing but a beautifully crafted hilt with a forest green shamrock on it. Wanting to continue on her way to the village, Riven sheathed the sword and slung it over her back. In doing so, Riven realized that her clothes had changed slightly to fit whatever context this world was. Her pants were more form-fitting and her boots were higher, and she had this nice dark brown leather jacket on over a cream loose-fitting blouse. Moving on from the clothing change, Riven continued on towards the village.
As she reached the outskirts of the villages, Riven pulled her long silver hair to one side as she started into the village. Most people that were there seemed to pay no attention to her as she strolled through the streets. Carefully examining all of the stalls, Riven tried to find anything that could give the resemblance of a place with information, but she came across nothing. She continued walking through the village until she was startled by a small boy running up to her. “Are you Riven?” He asked with bright blue eyes staring up at her. “Um yes, what can I do for you?” She asked confused as to how this child she had never met before knew her name. She knew from her nieces that you do not ignore a child no matter what unless you want screaming to ensue.
The boy handed her a letter and ran off into the crowd. Riven scanned the crown trying to find the little boy, but he was gone from her sight. Riven turned her attention towards the letter he had handed her. She turned it over a few times in her hands as she examined the elaborate wax seal on the back. Hating to break it, Riven did her best to preserve the seal as she opened the letter.
“So, you decided to take a leap. Congratulations! This may seem completely different than what you expected, but it may also seem familiar. This place is a combination of all the things you love from so many other novels. This is your chance to be the Hero. Find the old woman at the end of the village.”
This script was the same as the writing in the novel Riven read before she ended up here. Being pulled by curiosity, Riven stuck the letter in her jacket pocket and followed the village path to the other end. As she reached the other end of the village, she found the old woman the letter mentioned sitting on a bench under a shaded tree at the entrance to the forest.
“Riven, come sit.” The old woman instructed under her hooded cloak. Riven followed her instructions and sat down next to her. The old woman lifted her head and pulled her hood down to reveal… Gladys, the librarian. “Gladys!!! What are you doing here?” Gladys smiled with some mischievousness hidden behind her eyes. “My child, I have watched you come in and out of my library many times and every time you leave with some joy, but that joy is gone every time you arrive,” Gladys said, placing her hand on Riven’s.
“You deserve to be happy and I wanted to give you that. I have lived for many, many years and I do enjoy giving certain people the happiness they need. This place is a place for you to be the hero. All of the adventures you love to read about are here and ready for you to experience. That sword chose you for a reason because luck is now on your side. This is your place, now go be the hero you’ve always wanted to be.” Gladys patted Riven’s hands, then lifted her hood back up and walked back into the village.
Riven sat on the bench for a while processing and taking in everything that Gladys had told her. Gladys was magical, but Riven always knew that. Though apparently way more than she appeared. After sitting for a while longer, Riven realized that Gladys was right, she did deserve to be happy and this place would let her do that. With a new flaming determination in her heart, Riven braided her hair, adjusted her sword, and started to head off into the forest.
Riven had a new destiny and it was her time to be the hero.