A Hero's Journey: Part One
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Before you read, know that this is my idea or interpretation
of the entire prologue or introduction to Neoquest II. If you understood this,
good. If not...just read on.
The knight took off his helm and smiled up at the sun.
It was another mission done, another opportunity to keep Meridell safe from
the forces of evil. Sir Reynold was coming home to his little family in the
village of Trestin, after spending so much time with King Skarl and his fellow
knights. The trek back was easier with his mighty Uni steed, one of the king's
favorites, Fidelity. After he was dropped off at the village, he waved goodbye
as Fidelity took flight once again to return to the castle.
He hadn't seen Melissa, his wife, or his two
sons. The yellow Blumaroo had missed them dearly, every time he was called upon
to help keep the kingdom safe. In fact, Reynold had been offered by the Skeith
ruler of Meridell permanent quarters in his castle due to his admiration and
trust for the warrior, but he turned it down in favor of living with his family
in a faraway village in the outskirts of the land.
As he set foot into Trestin, he was happy to
be home. Not only because of all the villagers cheering for him and his bravery,
or because he was only the most famous resident there, but because he had been
away from his family for several months. He had left while Reuben was the only
bundle of joy. In fact, a few weeks after Sir Reynold left, he received a message
from Melissa about the arrival of their second son.
Gently he knocked on the door of their humble
home and brushed some dirt off his shiny armor. A smiling white Blumaroo answered
it and flung her arms around the knight.
"Reynold," sighed Melissa, relinquishing her
embrace. "It's great to see you home again. How was the battle?"
"It was nothing," replied the father. "Although
we led a couple of really long sieges - " His words were interrupted as a pair
of tiny arms wrapped around his legs. The knight looked down and saw Reuben
grinning widely at him.
Looking remarkably like his mother, their eldest
son hugged Reynold after watching his mother disappear into her bedroom. "Father,
I missed you a lot. Did you get rid of lots of bad guys? Did you get to smite
evil with your sword? Wow! Don't you ever get scared? I can't wait for my knight
"Yes, yes, and well…yes. I'm also looking forward
to training you to become a squire." The knight lifted Reuben up on his shoulders.
"So…how's your little brother?"
"Speaking of which," Melissa said, reappearing
with her arms full. There was a bundle of blue cloth in her hold, with a small
paw seemingly waving at the yellow Blumaroo and his white Blumaroo son. "I haven't
named him yet, as you wanted to name him second time around."
The Meridellian defender sighed contentedly,
peeking into the blankets and slowly setting his other son down onto the floor.
"He looks a lot like you, Father," remarked Reuben,
cocking his head to see his younger sibling. "Are we going to name him after
Reynold smiled. "Nah. I want him to have a different
name. Well, if we can't think of anything else, then perhaps we could." The
female white Blumaroo stroked her chin and nodded.
"Hmmm, what about Nathan?" she suggested, cuddling
the baby yellow Blumaroo in her arms, caressing his cute head. "When I was a
girl, I called my favorite plushie Nathan and told myself that, if I had a son,
I would call him that." She sighed, reminiscing. "Then again, he doesn't look
much like someone who could be named Nathan."
Suddenly their son's eager anticipation dissipated
and was replaced by a skeptical scowl. "Hold on a second…you two are making
a big deal of naming my little bro. Can't we just pick between Reynold and Nathan?
It's just the name of my sibling, not the name of the next king of Meridell!
You never said anything about fussing over MY name when I was HIS age!"
The knight scratched his head. "Reuben, what's
gotten into you? One minute you were fine and the next minute you're raging
like one of my worst enemies!"
"Oh…" Melissa's voice trailed off. She snapped
her fingers and grinned, and Reuben's brief moment of emotion was forgotten
instantly as both of them turned to face the woman of the house.
"Why, I think I know just what to name the youngest
member of our family!" the white Blumaroo exclaimed.
Reynold perked up. "Are you going to name him
Reuben shook his head. "No way, Mother's going
to name him after you, Father!"
Melissa shook her head. "You are both wrong,
I'm afraid. His name will be a combination of the two."
"How's that supposed to happen?" asked their
white-colored son. "Reynold Nathan? Nathan Reynold?"
"No, not like that. I'm going to fuse parts of
them into one name that will forever identify him. Let's see…we take the first
two letters of your father's name, two more from the middle, and two from the
one I always gave my plushie."
The man of the household raised an eyebrow. "Okay,
we have an RE. What else are we talking, Mel?"
She continued on. "I chose the NO, and changed
them around so the first and last ends of the name are RO and NE."
"I'm hungry. Can we name him now?" grumbled Reuben.
"Four letters is enough already! Come on…" But his parents kept talking as if
their eldest son hadn't spoken a word, and the white Blumaroo continued sulking
at their sides.
His father nodded. "That's great. But which letters
can we pull out of NATHAN that can fit between RO and NE?"
"NA? No, it'll sound like a girl's name. TH?
It doesn't sound like…well…a name we'd choose. How about…"
"HA," whispered Reynold. "R-O-H-A-N-E. Has a
nice ring to it, don't you think?"
Melissa agreed and jumped for joy. "Oh, that's
a good idea! From now on and forever more, our second son will be named - "
At this point, the male white Blumaroo couldn't
take any more. "I'm going to my room," he growled, glaring at his mother and
father, who were still gushing over his little sibling. It was only when he
slammed the door behind him that Reynold and Melissa craned their necks towards
the source of the noise and away from Reuben's brother.
Reuben opened his eyes, and found that he was
staring at the ceiling. I must have dozed off while in my bedroom, he
thought to himself, glancing at the new day that had dawned outside. But as
he opened the door and departed from his sanctuary, a particularly strange sight
met his eyes.
A small yellow Blumaroo was asleep on a stack
of silk pillows, a golden crown was perched on his head and velvet blankets
wrapping every inch of him. Reynold and Melissa looked as if they themselves
hadn't slept in days. They had a disheveled, tired appearance, yet they were
running around as if their lives depended on it.
"Father?" he asked, waving his paw in front of
"W - Who are you?" asked the knight absently,
staring widely and blankly at Reuben.
The young white Blumaroo exploded in outrage.
"I'm your son! I'm your eldest son, Reuben! You have trained me to be your page,
and - "
"Sorry, I don't know anyone named Reuben," mumbled
Reynold. "If you'll excuse me, I have to serve - I mean, entertain our only
son. We only have one son, you know."
"He's right. Now run along to your real parents.
They must be real worried," added Melissa. Deep dark circles glared beneath
her usually bright eyes, and her dress and apron were covered in flour and what
seemed to be chocolate syrup. "I need privacy as I bake him the biggest cake
in the history of Meridell. Only the best for our dearest little prince!"
"I used to be YOUR little prince! YOU are my
"We are?" asked his father. "We are parents to
only one prince."
Melissa sighed. "Reynold, let's just ignore the
little urchin. Perhaps he will disappear if we don't talk to him. Then we can
have all the time in Neopia to build the finest cake for our son."
Reuben gasped. "Mother! Father! IT'S ME! Why
don't you know who I am? I was your first! I'm your bundle of joy, that's what
you said when I was three!"
Unfortunately the two older Blumaroos barely
heeded his frantic speech. They were too busy breaking their backs for a tiny
baby - who, at a young age, was inadvertently becoming a slave driver. At last,
he collapsed onto the floor, sobbing wildly, feeling the hot tears slide down
his cheeks and create a puddle…
Yelling in frustration, the Blumaroo kicked at
thin air. "Oh yeah, dinnertime for him. What about me? Throw him out; he's not
ours. He's just a simple urchin - "
Suddenly, Reuben felt something slowly raise
him up so he was half-sitting, half-lying in bed. Night had fallen, and Melissa
was looking into his eyes, which had opened to the sight of his mother and were
wet with tears.
"Oh dear, we are so sorry," she was saying, holding
his chin in her paw. "Rohane may be the new addition to the family, but he will
never replace you. You are our firstborn, and you are still his older brother.
Remember that your father and I will continue to love you, no matter how many
siblings you have. In fact, being the first makes you very special."
He sniffled, and wiped something out of his eye.
"But just naming the little brat took you a lot of time," he retorted.
Reynold entered the bedroom as well, and sat
down at his son's other side. "Well, we didn't exactly spend our day picking
a good name for you, but we sure had one and boy, did it suit you."
"Reuben was the name of your father's grandfather,"
said Melissa. "He was the one who inspired him to become a knight in the first
place. If it weren't for that old bloke named Reuben, he wouldn't be as famous
as he is today."
"In memory of my dear grandfather, we named you
after him," added Reynold. He pointed to the Meridell coat of arms sewn to the
Meridellian defender's roughly woven shirt. "As a lasting reminder of his legacy.
That's why your name is also very special."
The male white Blumaroo made a small smile, his
lower lip quivering slightly. "You never told me that before," he gasped.
"Well, you were too young to understand back
then," said his mother. "In fact, we weren't planning to reveal this till you're
a little more mature. However, since the arrival of Rohane - and your duty as
his elder sibling and junior mentor - we've decided that it was time."
Reynold patted his back. "So don't be jealous,
okay? We love you both equally, no matter what happens to any of you. Come now,
your mother's got hot soup ready for us." He and Melissa stood up from the bed
and each planted a kiss on Reuben's head. But as they walked out ahead of him,
they did not see or read his thoughts.
"Rohane can never be better than me," muttered
their older son. "I was the first and the eldest. I will not play second fiddle
to my own sibling. My dream will never come true." He glanced at himself in
the mirror, and a scheming, devilish smile resurfaced.
"I'm the boss."
To be continued...