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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 18th day of Running, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 47 > Short Stories > Boldheart: Legend of the Desert

Boldheart: Legend of the Desert

by meratocat

The desert Tuskaninny snickered at the sight below him after putting up his sword. The caravan had been all too easy to ambush by his legion of thieves, and especially since it held so many valuables. Most of the creatures hardly even put up a fight, and were begging for mercy from him, Lancoth. However, he did not give mercy to the ones that he decided to steal from, and he destroyed them all, every last male, female and child. Or so he thought as he and his rogues went off into the desert with all of their plunder.

A single young Aisha laid sprawled out upon the hot sands. He had tried to fight the Tuskaninny Lancoth, and his band of villains after they had defeated his father, but he had only proved to be a minor problem for Lancoth. The only thing that had saved the young Aisha was the wheel of the wagon which after falling upon the Aisha and knocking him out cold concealed him from the thieves. He opened up his eyes, and looked at the sight before him open-mouthed. All of his family, his friends… were lying in the sand in unnatural positions, not moving, or taking in breath. The Aisha looked with tear stained eyes at what had once been one of the finest caravans in Neopia, but was now in shambles.

The Aisha heard a grown from behind him, and he quickly ran over to investigate. He ran over to where he saw a yellow Aisha trapped under a very large crate. The Aisha laid in the sand with her eyes closed, and the crate on top of her belly, however, she was still breathing. "Mother!!!" the Aisha cried as he recognised the Aisha, and then with all of his straight he tried to lift the crate from her body.

"Merato..." Merato's mother managed to gasp. "The crate is too… heavy. Besides even if you could… lift it… I would be doomed anyway." Merato's mother smiled, and she rubbed her paw across his tear stained cheek. "Follow the sun… and make your way to civilisation. You have made me proud… Merato." And then, with those last words, Merato's mother slipped into eternity.

With a tearstained face Merato followed his mothers wish to follow the sun to the large city of Sakhmet. "I should have brought a water bottle," Merato said to himself as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. As the day dragged on, and the sun went higher into the sky, Merato's pace changed from a brisk walk into a dragging crawl. Slowly, step-by-step, Merato made his way, until he collapsed from the desert heat. He looked up into the sun, and then his vision first went hazy, and then all went black.

"Wake up. Wake up young Aisha." Merato opened his eyes to a bright whitish light. A large winged creature in a white robe smiled down upon him. Merato closed his eyes again. So this is what heaven is like. He thought to himself. Though it still is incredibly hot. "Get up young Aisha!" Merato looked up to see the same robbed creature shacking him.

"If this is heaven, can't I at least get some sleep."

The robbed creature shock his head, and then called out. "Tolka, here now." A shadow Gelert walked up, wearing the same type of white robe.

"Yes, Honeja," the Gelert Tolka said bowing.

"This young Aisha has had too much heat; not enough water. He is hallucinating. Grab some water for our young friend." Tolka nodded his jet-black head, and then he scampered off towards the tent that he and Honeja had been staying in.

Tolka came running back, Careful not to spill any of the precious water. "Here Honeja, A vase of cold water. It should revive the chap in no time."

"Thank you Tolka." And with that, Honeja took the vase, and tilted it to Merato's lips, and he drank it vigorously.

Merato shook his head, and sat up feeling the effects of the desert heat wearing away. "Where am I?" he said looking up at the two Neopets who had rescued him. He recognised the one Neopet as a shadowed Gelert, but he did not know what the other one was. "What are you?" Merato asked, looking up at the winged reptilian Neopet. "Are you some type of a Shoyru?"

The winged pet shook his head, and extended out a red-clawed paw to help Merato to his feet. "No, young Aisha I am not a Shoyru, but a Draik." And then after looking at Merato's confused expression, Honeja added, "Perhaps you haven't heard of the Draik, because we are new comers to the average world of Neopia, and you have spent a long time out in the desert where news does not spread fast. Before farther conversation, let me allow me to introduce myself. I am Honeja, and that over there is my co-worker Tolka. We are, how should I say it, gypsies of the desert," Honeja said, finishing by uncurling his long tail, which Merato had failed to notice earlier.

"Well, I am Merato of the Rivets Caravan, what used to be the finest caravan in all of Neopia until Lancoth and his band of thieves destroyed it, and all of its inhabitants. That is all… except me." And Merato sighed remembering the fine nights of merry making that his caravan used to have.

"I have heard of this Lancoth. You are very lucky to have escaped without loosing a limb. Everyone knows that once Lancoth chooses a group of creatures to steal from, not one of the creatures lives to see the following day. I think that you might be the first," Honeja said, and then feeling sympathy for Merato he said, "Come on inside. It may be small, but it still shields up from the desert heat." And with that Honeja and Tolka let the weary Merato inside of his tent. Once inside, Tolka turned to offer Merato a desert biscuit, but Merato had already slipped into a dark sleep.

"No. No. No. No," Merato said twisting and turning in his sleep. "Father… Kiona… Talkhisis… Janov… Loth... NO!" and Merato woke from his nightmare darting up to a sitting position. He could still see the cold dark faces of his friends and family, as the forces of Lancoth massacred them. Merato lifted up a paw to wipe off the cold, icy sweat that had coated his face during the nightmare. One thing was certain. It was going to be a long night for the young Merato.

Merato was the first to wake up, and even though the sun had not yet risen, his Aisha eyes helped him to see in the dark. It was then that he got his first real glimpse of the tent. There were pots and pans hanging up from the sides of the tent, and there were some weapons also. There was also quite a bit of dried fruit, so Merato took down a dried apple, and crunched down upon it as he exited the tent. Merato stared off over the dunes, the tears falling from his blue eyes. Why couldn't he have stopped Lancoth from destroying his entire family? Why? But his thoughts were interrupted by the approach of Tolka. "Merato, I am sorry about your family."

"Thanks Tolka," Merato said, wiping the tears from his eyes with one golden-yellow paw. "Now, how exactly did I end up next to a pair of desert gypsies' tent without knowing it myself before I collapsed, or did one of you bring me over here."

Tolka looked at Merato's cold-hard face, which looked much older for his true age, and then said. "It was I who found you Merato. I was walking across the desert looking around as I usually do for shards of discarded items that could be used to sell once they are fixed up a bit." Then the shadow Gelert smiled. "Something caught my eye out in the sand, and as I walked over to investigate, I found that it was the tail and back paw of an Aisha. I dug through the sand, slowly uncovering you. I guess that some gusts of wind had covered you in sand. It was a good thing that I found you when I did, because otherwise you might have been completely covered. Well, anyway, I slung you over my back, and then tugged you back to our tent, which happened to be a few miles away. I got you back around noon, and the heat had just started to pick up when you awoke. You have been spared a woeful fate Merato. Destiny must have something prepared for you."

Merato turned to face Tolka. "I thank you for saving my life. It is more then I did for my family."

"Don't be so hard upon yourself Merato. You can't give in to grief if you want to avenge your family. Merato, you have to forget the past." Then after looking at Merato's stunned expression Tolka changed his words. "No Merato, I don't mean to forget your family. No, never do that. What I mean is to forget that you did not save them, and remember that you tried. You can't sit here forever. It isn't in you; I can tell."

Merato smiled, and then he sniffed the air, "Is that bacon that I smell. I have not had bacon in over two years, and I'm starved. Let's go grab something to eat before the heat sets in." And Merato got up and jogged towards the tent.

Merato licked his lips as he looked at the sight in front of him. When you live life out in the dessert it is uncommon to have a fresh cooked meal everyday. Usually he would just have salted meats, and dried fruits, but that day Merato would get fresh bacon. "So I see that young Merato is well," Honeja said looking at Merato scoff down his bacon like it was the first meal he had had in a year.

"That was good," Merato said after finishing up his meal. "I haven't had a fresh cooked meal in such a long time."

"Honeja lifted up the tattered remnants of Merato's sleeve. "Glad you liked the meal, but before anything else, we have to get you a new set of cloths. Yours are just taters." Honeja grabbed Merato's paw, and led him towards several boxes. "Soon we will have you ready to travel the desert, because I can sense it that you won't stay long." And with that Merato started to try on different sets of clothing.

Merato twirled with his paws outstretched. The new cloths he wore fit him perfectly, almost as if they had been made for he alone. He had on a long white robe, with a red belt. He also had on what was almost a turban with two ear holes for his stalk ears. The boater in general was held on with a scarlet rope, which ends blew in the wind. He had an extra piece of cloth, which he could wear over his face to sort of hide his identity. Lastly, Merato took a piece of red linen, and tied it around his waist as a belt. "I am ready," he said, looking to Tolka and Honeja. "I will leave upon the morn to find Lancoth, and make him pay for what he did.

Honeja smiled, "You don't think that you can take on Lancoth without any weapons now do you?"

"I did not want to ask, and take advantage of the kindness that you have given me," Merato said, truthfully glad that Honeja offered weapons, because if he had not, Merato would have been in a jam. "Here take this." And Honeja slipped a leather strap over Merato's shoulders. Imbedded in the strap were small box like things that held different battle items. "Also, you must take a sword, or a dagger, or even both." Merato nodded, and with a gesture from Honeja, he walked up to the wall of the tent, and chose out a long slightly curved sword, which glinted in the dim light of the tent.

"I think that I will take this one," Merato said slipping the sword into his belt. And then he chose a Dagger from the pile of weapons, and safely tucked it into his boot. Merato smiled, "Thank you."

The morning arrived all to soon for Merato's tastes. He woke up to the sound of Tolka rummaging around. "You know, you are louder then a heard of Elephante's. What is it that you are looking for anyway?" Merato asked with a grin.

"This." And Tolka held up a dirty tan coloured pack. "I filled it with provisions so that you could leave once you woke up." Tolka walked over, and handed the pack to Merato. "Take it."

Merato smiled, and said his thanks, and then he asked, "Where is Honeja?"

"He left to go fetch water from the oasis. He told me to tell you not to wait for his return, for he probably will not be back until past sunset."

"Okay. Then I leave you now." And Merato started to walk out the entrance to the tent, "Thank you for all you have done for me! I will never forget you Tolka, and I also never will forget Honeja." And with a nod, Merato started off into the desert.

"Merato, wait!" Tolka said running up to Merato. "Here take this. My father gave it to me, but I never have needed to use it. Perhaps it will come in handy to you." And from behind his back, Tolka pulled a long staff out, and handed it to Merato, who just stared open mouthed at it. The staff was of cedar, and it was full of elaborate designs. The top and bottom were gold studded, and there was a fine crimson silk handhold in the center of the staff. But that wasn't the most interesting part, but the four crimson-red sacks that hung from the staff; two from the top, two from the bottom. Tolka smiled at Merato "My father said that this is an ancient relic said to have been crafted from the dragons before they left our skies. The sacks are actually crafted from Dragon wing, one of the softest most flexible materials on Neopia. Each bag is half filled with ground up red dragon scales, which have the power to heal those beyond our power to help. It is called the Dragon's Staff"

Merato stared at the black Gelert, "I can't take something this valuable from you. It isn't right, for it belongs to you." But Tolka shoved the Dragon's Staff into Merato's paws.

"You are not taking it from me, for I give it to you. It is meant for a hero, and that hero is not I, but you. Now will you take it?" and when Tolka saw Merato start to shake his head he said. "I will not take no as an answer. You keep the staff, and I bid you farewell." And Tolka ran back for the tent before Merato could say a word. Merato looked down at the Dragon's Staff, and smiled. Then he walked off into the desert looking for the desert thief Lancoth.

By the afternoon, the desert had started to cool off, and the sand under Merato's boots felt much cooler. Merato stared relentlessly on ahead across the desert, thinking once more that he could have saved his family from their fate, but then he shook his head. "No!" he said to himself. "I must not live in the past." And then he started to walk once more.

Night had just fallen, and the desert had grown silent. Merato looked on up ahead, and saw to his delight that there was an oasis not even a mile off. All tiredness, and soars were forgotten as Merato ran towards the palm trees that marked the oasis. He ran up to the water's edge, and bent down to drink some water, and refill his water bottles. After that Merato stretched out across the damp sands, and closed his eyes for sleep, but he did not get any. Sleep did not come to Merato, though, for just at that second, a scream slit the night air in two. Merato was up on his feet with his sword withdrawn that second. He ran off towards the scream, and there to his horror was a golden furred Aisha, and she was pinned up against a palm tree by an Acara with a dagger, wearing Lancoth's colours. "Leave her alone you thief!" Merato yelled running up to the Acara holding out his sword.

The Acara turned just in time to see Merato start to bring his sword down, but right before Merato sent the Acara into eternal darkness, the Acara shoved his dagger right into the Aisha maiden's middle. Merato just kicked aside the crumpled Acara, and knelled besides the Aisha "Thank you," the Aisha said with tears of pain wielding up in her eyes. "You have a bold heart. Sorry that I could not stay long enough to know you."

And Merato looked down upon the Aisha, and saw the same look that his mother had before she left him. He just could not have another creature die when he could save them. "No. You'll be okay. I promise," Merato said, though he knew his words were futile.

"Good… Bye… Braveheart," the Aisha said, and then she closed her golden eyes, and stopped breathing.

Yet another creature was lost that he could have saved. Tears threatened to come forth, but Merato pushed them away. Suddenly, the words that Tolka had spoken to him came forth. "Each bag is half filled with ground up red dragon scales, which have the power to heal those beyond our power to help." The staff!

Merato slowly opened one of the bags on the staff. A strange smell emerged from the bag, but not one of stench, but of hope. Hope was what he needed right then, because Merato did not believe that even the strongest healing powers could bring back a creature who had died, but it was worth a try. Merato took some of the strange red powder that he had taken from the bag, and he sprinkled it onto the fatal wound from the Acara's dagger.

As Merato sprinkled the powder upon the wound, the extra powder that he held in his paw shot out, but did not blow away. Instead it formed into the shape of a dragon, who summons the red dragon of healing? The dragon asked speaking directly into Merato's mind.

"It was I" Merato said, but before he could say anything else, the dragon dust held up a clawed hand, and looked upon the body of the golden Aisha

You want me to heal this Aisha And then looking at Merato's bewildered face the dragon smiled. You wonder how I know what you want. I can read your mind, and it defiantly steers away from the Acara The dust dragon studied the golden Aisha once more. I am sorry Merato, but she is too far gone even for me.

"But there must be a way?" Merato pleaded.

There is one way, but it may do more harm then help. Then before Merato could ask what it was the dragon answered. I can give her a touch of the dragon spirit, but if her heart goes towards evil, she will become too strong, and will only be a threat to all pets. It is not in my powers to see into her heart and to decipher whether she is good or evil, so take my advice, and let her go.

Merato shook his head, "No, she will not be evil, I can tell."

You are the one who summoned me, so I must listen. And with that the dragon flew up into the sky, and then with a flip dived straight down, and into the Aisha's mouth.

Merato put away the remaining dust, and then stared hopefully at the Aisha for only a few seconds, though each second seamed like an eternity. Suddenly, the Aisha sat up coughing up sand. "Boldheart?" she said looking at Merato, and then she looked at her shirt where the blade had penetrated, and gasped when she saw no wound, "What happened?"

Merato smiled, "A dragon helped. Now what is your name?"

"I am Lajonah," Lajonah said blinking her golden eyes. "Now what is your name, or should I continue to call you Boldheart."

Merato looked at her, "Actually, I like Boldheart," he said truthfully. "Though my real name is Merato." And with that both Aisha's smiled at each other.

The sun heated up Merato and Lajonah's fur as they stood on the dunes overlooking the desert. Merato looked up at the sun, and then he made an oath to himself. Someday he would find Lancoth, and when that day came, Merato would make him pay. Lajonah had already offered to attend Merato in his quest to find Lancoth and his band of thieves. Merato would go by the name Boldheart to his enemies, and the name Merato to only those that he trusted, and he would travel the hot deserts of Neopia helping those in need. It was his destiny.

The End

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