Sir Augustus Might is one of the fabled Heroes of the Realm in the Clarkwoods Literary Universe. According to legend, the wisecracking archer was the final person to wield the mythical Sword of the River. And he is venerated above all of his fellow Heroes for this.
Using the sword in the mighty halls of the Zone Forbidden, Might sacrificed himself—and the sword—to save the world from the rampaging Monster Hordes.
Though the historicity of Sir Might is hotly debated in The Realm and throughout the rest of The United Kingdom of Wonderland, figurines of the hero have been been a popular children’s toy in these parts since time immemorial. In fact, given the lack of photographs or contemporaneous artistic renderings of Sir Might, all of the art in this article about him has been constructed using resources from the real world miniature manufacturing company Hero Forge.
Sir Might, an avid player of tabletop role-playing games in his youth, would be most pleased by this development.
The Hero’s Journey
What follows is 43-year-old E. Christopher Clark’s translation and clarification of 13ish-year-old Chris Clark’s original story Heroes of the Realm, the earliest known real-world adaptation of the Augustus Might myth.
The Call to Adventure
The tale of Augustus and his companions is set in a time before the Queen of Hearts brought The Realm and neighboring countries such as Neverland under the rule of a single United Kingdom. In these days gone by, The Realm was ruled by a king of its own—a childless king who was famous for taking in orphans and strays.
One of these orphans, a boy named Auggie, would grow to become the most accomplished archer in all the land. And after a period of adventuring throughout The Realm—during which he collected friends such as the psionicist Zorn Torhawk, the bard Mason Dixon, and the wizard Derrack Atomin—Auggie was called back to his adopted father’s castle “to perform a deed no man could ever know.”
In the Age of the King, the so-called Monster Hordes were running rampant. And the king, for all his infinite wisdom, could come up with no plan for ridding his lands of the Hordes’ filth. No plan, except for reaching out to the gods themselves: The Embodiments. But when he racked his brains—and the brains of his councilors—trying to come up with someone who might be willing to undertake the arduous journey to the gods’ homeland in the Zone Forbidden, he kept coming up empty.
Empty, empty, empty!—until one day he asked his most trusted advisors who they thought might take up this cause. In a slip of the tongue that would re-christen the greatest hero of their age, one councillor said, “Sir, Augustus might.”
Refusal of the Call
Engaged then in a border war with a predecessor to The Ninth Empire of Oz, Auggie and his companions initially refused the king’s call to adventure. But when the king sent an air force riding winged, fire-breathing nahnlaríx to bring the conflict with Oz to an end, Auggie and his companions could delay no further.
Tasked by the king with going to the Isle of the Pirates, finding the Jewel of the Sphinx, and answering that mythical beast’s riddle at the entrance to the Zone Forbidden, Auggie and his party of adventurers first sought the advice of the wise old Sage of Saltgate.
The Sage dwelled in a hut on the coast of the Sea of Tears. After a few telepathic hellos, he told the adventurers that the Isle of Pirates could only be reached using the bark of Realm’s singular Red Tree. But of course—because what would an adventure be without even more obstacles?!—this tree was to be found near the ghost town of Sorgia.
Which was full of ghosts, of course. And other apparitions to boot.
The Crossing of the First Threshold
For six long days, they rode across the prairies of the Realm. Feeling like the journey was impossibly long—was the Realm really so big, after all?—they were nearing despair when they came upon a great, darkened forest standing between them and Sorgia.
Beset upon by a trio of demon-infested trees, Auggie led his compatriots to their first victory of the quest. But, though they expected to spend the rest of the evening harvesting the wood of the Red Tree, they were surprised to discover that the mere peeling of one piece of bark was all that they needed to send them on their way.
The bark of that mystical oak wouldn’t be used to create a boat, which is what they thought the Sage had meant. No, the magical bark would take them right where they needed to go—all on its own.
Belly of the Whale
After many hours of unconsciousness, the heroes awoke on the Isle of Pirates. But they’d been captured, of course. Because that’s just the way adventures work.
Imprisoned by chains “so strong they could probably hold a red dragon,” they were eventually rescued by a “renegade pirate” called Nyph Ftason. And it was Nyph who led them to a treasure room where they found not only the jewel they needed, but also the magical Sword of the River.
And she did this despite Auggie’s first words of thank you being “A babe?!”
Equipped now with the magic of the Sword, which “summoned the might of all good to its blade,” Auggie teleported the party—including their new friend Nyph—away from the Isle of Pirates and back to the outskirts of Sorgia. And, as if that weren’t enough magic for one MacGuffin, the Sword was able to “bring [the people of Sorgia] back to the world” just by virtue of being carried past the city limits of that former ghost town.
But there are certain kinds of magic meant only for certain kinds of people, and it turned out that the jovial free spirit of Augustus Might was not meant to wield the enchantments of such a serious weapon.
The Road of Trials
When the Heroes of the Realm were thanked by the mayor of Sorgia for bringing his people back to the world, the mayor made a request of them. And though the rest of the party thought they should continue on their primary adventure, a conflicted Auggie—oscillating now between court jester and proper paladin, all thanks to the magic of the sword—agreed to rescue the mayor’s son and daughter from the Crystal Caverns.
This side-quest, however, would distract the Heroes for so long that the impatient King of the Realm would hire a mercenary to hunt down and kill the Heroes—even the king’s once-beloved Auggie—and to finish their quest for them.
And that wasn’t the half of it. The party was separated from Zorn by the wicked sorcerer Zaragon on this road of trials, and the pirate Nyph was killed during an encounter with the vile Emperor Dragon.
Though they profited mightily from rescuing the Mayor of Sorgia’s children—gold which Auggie swore would help them finish their quest—it had cost them much more.
Reunited with Zorn at a Sorgian inn, they dispatched the King’s bounty hunter with great haste. And then they set sail on a “powerful warboat” to finish what they started.
The Meeting with the Goddess
After an eighteen-tentacled sea beast called The Gweek killed Mason Dixon and destroyed their ship, the remaining Heroes—Auggie, Derrack, and Zorn—washed ashore near the home of the Sphinx. As expected, the mighty creature offered them a riddle—even after being offered her prized jewel in exchange for safe passage. But the clever Auggie answered it quickly, and soon enough the Heroes of the Realm were face to face with the aforementioned Zaragon—the self-proclaimed “most powerful man on the face of the Realm”—who had arrived to stand between the Heroes and the gates of the Zone Forbidden.
Woman as the Temptress
NOTE: Perhaps because he was thirteen and terrified of girls, or perhaps because he’d never heard of Joseph Campbell and the required elements of the so-called “hero’s journey,” the kid who wrote down this tale in the early 1990s never bothered to challenge his heroes with a temptress. At least not at this point.
He already had a hell of a lot of plot holes to sew up with plot threads, after all. So let’s forgive him, shall we?
Atonement with the Father
Zaragon, like any estranged father worth mentioning, hadn’t even shown up until the middle of Auggie’s story. And of course once he did, he quickly ruined everything.
As all fathers, estranged or not, are wont to do.
Now, at the close of the quest, Zaragon killed Auggie’s remaining friends in quick succession. And though he never said “I am your father” out loud, it’s clear now that the only person who could prove a match for “the most powerful man on the face of the Realm” would be his son.
Though Zaragon didn’t fear the sword he’d left for his son, he had no idea how Auggie had grown in the years since he’d abandoned the lad. Zaragon had no idea that his son now wielded the most powerful weapon in existence: the Sword of the River. And it was Zaragon’s hubris that did him in.
That, plus the bolts of lightning Auggie called down from the heavens. Now that he’d suffered enough to become serious and could master the Sword and all its magic, Auggie could do just about anything.
The gates of the Zone Forbidden open thanks to the death of Zaragon, Auggie now passed into the hall of the Embodiments. And it was here that he learned a terrible truth: the Embodiments that the King of the Realm and his subjects worshipped were not, in fact, the children of the fabled Great One who created the universe. They were the Great One—only they’d been torn in three.
When asked by Auggie how they could be reunited and how the world could be set right, the Embodiments said that only the total annihilation of the Monster Hordes could accomplish this.
But he’d been sent here by the king to ask the Embodiments to rid the world of the Hordes. If they couldn’t do it, then who could?
Running his fingers over the hilt of his magic sword, it didn’t take Auggie long to realize the answer.
The Ultimate Boon
In a final act of sacrifice, Auggie held the Sword of the River aloft and summoned the full magic of The Realm into his body. He then sent this energy out of himself, out of the halls of the Zone Forbidden, and out across the whole of his homeland. And it was through this one heroic act that he rid the place of the monsters who had plagued the Realm for an age.
But of course, this was too much for his mortal form. And so, Sir Augustus Might was lost to this world.
Again, because the boy who wrote down this version of Auggie’s tale had no idea what he was doing, there is no “Refusal of the Return,” “The Magic Flight,” “Rescue from Without,” “The Crossing of the Return Threshold,” “Master of the Two Worlds,” or “Freedom to Live.”
Joseph Campbell be damned!
After all, if they make action figures out of you, who’s to say you weren’t a hero? Who’s to say your journey wasn’t heroic?
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
I really love the work you've done with the art for this article - the image editing is great. :D My favourite is the one with the horse. I love that this is a collaboration between you and your thirteen-year-old self. It's perfect. :D
E. Christopher Clark
Thank you! It was a lot of fun to put the art together. Thirteen-year-old me would be very pleased. Now I just have to find a way to share it with more folks.
H. C. Sweeten
Nicely written, neat pics.
E. Christopher Clark
Thank you! Are you working on your own article for the challenge? If so, good luck! I hope it turns out great.
I love the way this article was written, its really neat! And I'm a huge fan of all the notes regarding your 13yo self. Joseph Campbell be damned, because he did an excellent job!
E. Christopher Clark
Aw, thanks! I'm thinking of doing more collabs like this in the future. 13yo me had some cool ideas before the world beat him down.
Haha, oh man -- this was FUN! Extra points awarded for the Mason-Dixon pun, and the copyright tagline :D
E. Christopher Clark
Yay for extra points! And thanks so much for the like.
The Meta is strong with this one. *nods sagely*
Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
E. Christopher Clark
Thank you! May the Meta be with you.
I love how this entry is clearly tailored to the challenge and is incorporating some meta around the requirements for it. It's really clever and good writing. The whole subject matter, the hero's journey all worldbuilders and rpg nerds go through in real live, usually adapting 'the hobby' of story telling at a young age and growing alongside of it, is sweet and relatable. The love and care that went into the images is fantastic, and they compliment the story very well. Good luck with the contest, fellow contender! =) I wish I had learned of the challenge earlier to take some inspiration from your editing, but alas, I only had 5 days to do mine, so it wasn't in the cards.
E. Christopher Clark
Aw, thanks! I did have a lot of fun with the images, and with the construction of the piece as a whole. As for inspiration, feel free to use this for whatever you might do next (or eventually). I've had that experience (wishing I'd seen an inspiring thing earlier) so many times. I tend to just keep those things around for inspiration later.
This has been a joy to read! You did a great job, and it was actually funny! Keep up the good work!
E. Christopher Clark
Hey, thanks! Always happy to hear someone got a laugh out of something I wrote. I often think of myself as *not* funny, because I have so many genuinely funny friends, but I do *try* to be funny sometimes.