A movie where a mostly average dude accidentally stumbles across a valuable magical artifact, which is a key piece of contention in a war between the forces of good and evil. The forces of evil attack his home, and the confused man is nearly killed, but is rescued from certain death by a mysterious, beautiful young woman.
The young woman takes him to a secret hideout, where her father, a wise old wizard, has been secreting away key weapons and artifacts so that the forces of darkness cannot destroy them. The young woman proceeds to get into an argument with her father. Legends tell of a champion of the light, who is destined to rise up and use the tools that they have been hiding to defeat the darkness. The young woman has been training with most of these tools for all of her life, and now, as they have obtained the last artifact, she feels it is imperative that they act. The darkness will come for them. They cannot simply wait for that to happen.
But the wise old wizard rebukes her. She is arrogant to think that she is the legendary champion. Destiny often works in more subtle ways, and destiny has brought to them another option: the random dude she just rescued.
Disgusted, the daughter storms off. The random dude moves to go after her, but the old wizard stops him. His daughter is headstrong, and she is passionate. She wishes to fight, but she must learn patience, and appreciation for other paths in life. The old wizard has had more time to appreciate the paths of fate. The random dude has much potential - though of course, he doubts it and refutes it, baffled but unable to leave for fear of being tracked down by the forces of darkness again.
The next day, the old wizard announces that it is time to begin his training.
The random dude goes through precisely one day of gruelling magical/physical tutelage, and then books it to where the daughter is still brooding by a waterfall. Last night he saw this chick suplex a motorcycle and summon up a wall of fire with her bare hands. Dude is not an idiot. He is not going to match the skills of someone who has spent a lifetime training at this stuff, no matter how sexist her father is. He makes a suggestion - he’ll distract the old man with training montages, while the daughter takes all the mystical artifacts and goes to defeat the forces of darkness. It’s the perfect plan! Even if the forces of darkness are still after them, and they come here, then he and the old wizard can serve as a red herring. Meanwhile, the daughter can do whatever she thinks she needs to do to defeat them!
For about five minutes the daughter waffles, because maybe that is arrogant, to think that she is a legendary hero. She’s been living her whole life with the Wizard of Undermining Women’s Contributions, after all.
But the random really is a good dude, so rather than deciding he must have a Destiny, or explaining that her father is probably just trying to protect her, or asking him to help learn instead, he clasps her shoulder and looks her in the eye and is just like:
“You flip-kicked a truck. Normal people can’t do that. So I’m thinking you deserve the benefit of the doubt.”
The daughter concedes his point. After all, she saw him struggling to carry those two buckets up the hidden mountain, and her dad’s not even making him try to do it with his mind yet.
They go through with the plan. The daughter steals all the artifacts/weapons and then has another ‘fight’ with her father, which prompts him to seal all the locks on the already-empty treasure room. Announcing her intention to go sulk, she then takes the mystical items of destiny and fucks off on an epic quest to defeat the forces of darkness.
Occasionally we cut back to the random dude still training with the old wizard. This is the comic relief portion of the film, featuring various hijinks as the dude tries to keep the wizard from discovering that all the mystical artifacts are gone and that his daughter isn’t still just hanging out by the waterfall or in her room or something. Occasionally the wizard wants to find her to help with the training or because ‘nothing motivates a man like a beautiful woman’, and the dude just has to keep dodging it.
Meanwhile the daughter gets the action hero plotline, recruiting new allies and engaging in dangerous, pitted battles across various harrowing landscapes. She bonds with a love interest and wrestles with the temptation to join the forces of darkness, but ultimately finds her great internal reason to fight, beyond the burning desire to prove herself or meet impossible standards.
Of course, for the dramatic climax the forces of darkness attack the hidden sanctuary where her father and dude are. The daughter and her allies rush to defend the place, as the old wizard tells random dude to take his daughter and flee, while he holds off the forces of darkness. Random dude finally explains, however, that the old wizard’s daughter has been gone this entire time. And rather than dying in a spectacular last-stand, the old wizard is stumped as his newest pupil helps hold off the attacking forces long enough for the fully-equipped and supplied champions of light, led by the daughter, to arrive and defeat the armies of darkness before the sacred sanctuary is overtaken and destroyed.
Afterwards, the old wizard is shocked at first. But then he nods sagely to himself. Of course, the random dude was the hero after all - if he had not stayed, then surely the sanctuary would have been lost. His actions led the old wizard’s daughter to victory, and surely now that they have been reunited, the random dude will take his rightful place as a champion of the light. And also probably marry the wizard’s daughter, and produce a suitable male heir…
Everyone basically just tunes him out as the random dude and the daughter fistbump, and the dude sags in relief when the daughter explains that he can go home now and then drops like a sack full of gold into his arms to try and compensate him for all the trouble.
Bees buzzed around the blossoms of a nearby manuka tree where Yuuri sat, cross-legged, on the floor of his parents’ nest. In his hands he held a cup of tea, wisps of steam coming off the surface. His father had instructed him to drink it before it cooled, the herbs swirling inside meant to help him fill out his wings faster.
Yuuri played with a bowl of greens and nuts set before him, eating only when a pointed glare reminded him that he was meant to be consuming what it contained. Calcium, for his feathers.
“You won’t be able to make it back if you don’t eat.”
Yuuri threw a handful into his mouth and crunched through them, washing them down with the tea. He watched, as his father tended to another siren. Her wings were shredded, in worse condition than Yuuri’s. Yuuri had seen her attempt to spread them earlier, a brilliant gradient of scarlet, under his father’s instructions. Now she managed to lift them through gritted teeth, but when they attempted to unfold, Yuuri saw that they were broken. He looked away, knowing he would not want to be observed in such a state.
His mother shuffled in, clicking her tongue in disapproval. “They’re getting bolder. The humans. Some of them seemed to have figured out a couple tricks. We’ve had a lot more sirens coming by lately, it’s never been this bad. I think they’ve started trying to hunt us.”
“That’s how… that’s what happened to my mate,” Yuuri muttered in reply, hands tightening around the cup. The feathers around his ears twitched, wings rustling. He was keenly aware of the snail-like movement of the shadows, because with each minute they crept closer and with each moment, Victor’s infection would be spreading. And he was simply sitting there, waiting.
“Awful. They should be concentrating on sinking their precious ships with their pride and their arrogance, like they’re meant to.” Hiroko scowled, then softened as she sat herself down next to Yuuri. She placed a jar in front of him, which Yuuri promptly snatched up, holding it tight to his chest. “You should rest more, your wings don’t look ready for flight.”
“I can’t, I have to go, I’m afraid if I don’t…” He had visions of returning to the ship, to a crew angered at the death of their captain. And with Yuuri to blame for it. Of not even being able to see Victor, chased off by grieving pirates who were not frightened of a molting siren.
“We’re not as weak to infections as humans,” Toshiya said, coming back. His wings, a dark blue which matched Hiroko’s, trailed behind him.
“You should bring your mate here when they’re better. We’re so happy to hear you found one. Mari still refuses to. Says she’s not done flying around the world.” Hiroko laughed. “What are their wings like?”
Yuuri thought to the flowing length of Victor’s hair, how it fluttered at the wind which swept over their ship, how it shone the most beautiful in the light of the moon. “Silver…”
“Oh, how gorgeous. You’ll make a good pair.”
Yuuri thought so too, looking down at the golden color in the jar he had been given. Around his fingers, the gold of the rings Victor had given him flared when hit by the rays of the sun. “I-… I have to go.”
Sighing heavy, Hiroko stood and left, coming back a minute later with a satchel. She took the jar of honey from Yuuri and placed it inside, along with a small pouch of powder which Toshiya had pulled from their medicine stores. She draped the satchel around one of Yuuri’s shoulders, tying it snug around his waist so he could fly without fear of losing it. “Fly safe, Yuuri. It’s becoming so that we’re no longer the most feared predator out on the oceans.”
With a short nod, Yuuri unfurled his wings. He could still feel the strain lingering in them. The old black feathers were gone, shed with the desperation of his flight to his parent’s nest, but it meant the new midnight blue was free to grow in in full. He would not be fast or stable, but he could make it. He needed to make it.
A promise to stay cautious given to his parents, Yuuri left. He spread his wings on the beach before the cove, testing their hold. He had to stay low, for fear of falling, but he was steadier than the day before.
Yuuri kept to the coast, more wary of the cities and the ports that he passed. He met no ships until the sun began to sink, painting the sky in colors.
On the horizon was a fleet. With bold white sails and figureheads carved into the forms of warriors. To go around them meant wasting time he did not have.