The warrior glanced at the sky. No souls were to be seen in this bleak and desolate landscape save for a few sinister crows, flying high above. He pulled hard on the chariot reins: the four black horses instantly reacted, bringing the chariot to a halt.
The road dipped into a dark patch of trees ahead. Taking his big axe from his belt, the man frowned. He didn’t like the look of that forest. Legends about the place were abundant. Trolls, beautiful maidens commanding giant snakes, weird machines and all manner of strange contraptions were to be seen there, as if a hundred epic battles were taking place simultaneously in that one spot, in parallel universes.
‘Let’s see if the stories are true’, he muttered, urging his horses on again. The chariot picked up speed, careening down the hill until it disappeared into the darkness.
When the light came back, he was standing in a classroom in a university in England. Fifty students were now looking at him.
‘Well folks’, he started, ‘I have been a comic book author, a concept artist, an illustrator and a designer for many years. There are three rules I try to follow at all times, no matter what I do. The first is really easy to understand: WORK HARD! You can always do better. Work all day, then a bit more until you get good!’
There were a few whispers in the assembly, but the calm returned.
‘The second rule is also straightforward’, continued the man. ‘CULTIVATE YOURSELF! That is something you should never stop doing until you die. Read books, watch movies, watch documentaries, travel, learn other languages, learn history, geography, learn about science, learn to play an instrument, build a house or a boat and learn about everything. What happened a thousand years ago where we stand. And who is the drummer of that band … et cetera et cetera!’
This unlikely list made some students smile. There was a small pause. Then he started again. ‘The third rule is the hardest for most people, especially young ones. BEHAVE! What I mean by that is that you should try to be a nice person all the time. Take criticism well! Don’t be angry or shout at people, even if you’re right. Be a gentleman or lady and you will go far!’
The sound of galloping horses brought him back to reality. The chariot had safely crossed the dangerous area and was now going up a hill on the other side.
The warrior looked at his axe. There was blood on it. He smiled. The end of the journey was upon him. It was now time to …
… Park the car at the university parking. Adjusting his tiny glasses, he picked up his computer and moved resolutely towards a tall building.
‘And on to the battle I roam … or er … TEACH as they call it!’