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A Hero's Journey: Part Two


by precious_katuch14

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The years began to fall away like old autumn leaves. Slowly but surely, the two young sons of the most revered knight in Trestin grew. For one, Reuben grew out of being a page and entered squire-hood; on the other hand, his younger brother Rohane was now being introduced to the basics of knighthood and the page's code. He was no longer a tiny infant but a smaller version of his father, trying to learn the ropes.

     One sunny day, Reynold and Melissa smiled as they leafed through a journal they kept together, a journal that recorded every memorable moment they spent together. Although the pages were slowly wearing away thanks to time and nature, any of them could still write on it with a quill pen.

     "As if having one son wasn't enough, we were lucky to raise two," said the knight fondly, putting an arm around the female white Blumaroo's shoulders.

     "You now have two young squires to follow in your footsteps as a great defender of Meridell," remarked Melissa. "Reuben is doing a great job as your squire."

     As if her words were magic, their eldest son appeared, holding his father's sword as if it were glass. It was heavily polished and glinted in the morning sun passing through the windows. He smiled toothily as he presented it towards Sir Reynold, as if it were a gift instead of his usual trusty weapon in battle.

     "Thank you, Reuben," he said, taking the blade from him and putting it in a sheath attached to his belt. "I can't believe how fast you're growing. In no time, you will become a true knight, and Rohane will become your squire."

     The young Blumaroo beamed. "You're very welcome, Father. I'm going to try and polish your armor now, just as you taught me yesterday." He continued smiling as he retreated, but the grin from his face faded automatically as a yell from the nearby bedroom shattered the serenity in the household.

     Melissa craned her neck to see someone run out from his domain, waving a wooden sword about as he tried to hack a forest Bearog, which was snapping wildly at him with sharp teeth.

     "Rohane!" Reynold stood up abruptly from the table and drew his own weapon. Brandishing it as he ran toward the creature pursuing his second son, he began slashing at it viciously. The Bearog fought bravely, but its pointy canines and claws were no match for one of King Skarl's best knights and his best steel blade. In a few minutes, it lay defeated on the floor.

     "How could such a thing enter our house?" asked the woman of the house, staring down at the unmoving body of the creature, as if she were the one who met her doom. "These monsters don't usually come close to the village…unless of course, someone brought it here."

     "Why would I bring some stupid Bearog into my own room?" snapped the little yellow Blumaroo. He pointed his fake weapon at his older sibling. "I bet Reuben did it!"

     The eldest son raised an eyebrow, feigning surprise. "Me? Old Reuben the big brother, endanger his little brother's life? I wouldn't do such a thing! Rohane, you've got your facts all wrong. I'd never bring a monster into the house."

     "You did it, I just know it!" he persisted.

     "Oh sure, blame me for all your problems," sighed Reuben. "As it was the fate of an elder sibling. Save your breath for when a bigger creature jumps into your bedroom window."

     Rohane had enough. He leapt at his brother, trying to hit him with a wooden blade. Reuben gasped and tried to block the blows with his bare paws. The two were locked in a fierce duel on the floor, eyes narrowed in determination. Reynold and Melissa, wearing matching looks of horror, separated their sons from each other.

     "Reuben, how could you?" asked their mother, more disappointed than panicked. "Setting a Bearog loose in Rohane's room…you could've gotten him killed! Don't you know how dangerous they are?"

     "Aw, it was only a little prank! Fine, you caught me, but the little idiot's safe and sound," grumbled the young white Blumaroo, trying to wriggle out of his father's grip. "At least it didn't bite him!"

     The knight glared down at his son. "You don't know what could have happened. Bearogs are not very predictable, so who knows? Had it harmed a single hair on your brother's head…" He took a deep breath, closed his eyes briefly and resumed. "A true defender would never attack his army. Your family is already like your army, so Rohane falls under that. This is behavior unbecoming of a knight, Reuben. In fact, if it were possible, I'm much more disappointed than your mom."

     The two siblings were silent. Melissa and Reynold didn't see the elder one stick his tongue out at the younger one.

     ***

     It was another great day, and the Bearog incident was nearly forgotten as Reuben opened the door of his house and breathed the lovely air deeply. Sighing with contentment, he twirled his wooden sword - a false one he used whenever he practiced with his father and when he wanted to have a pretend duel with his brother - and sat down at the wooden bench outside.

     Or was it forgotten?

     "It's not over yet, Reuben," said Rohane, following him outside, arms crossed. "That thing nearly had me. Why did you do it?"

     "It's training, bro. I was only trying to see if…uh…you're a good knight already?"

     The yellow Blumaroo stared at him skeptically. "That would have been our father's job. Go on, tell me."

     "Never," growled Reuben, standing up suddenly. "If I told you, you'd tell Father and Mother and I'd get in trouble and get no dessert tonight."

     Extremely infuriated now, Rohane started towards his brother. Thinking quickly, the white Blumaroo stuck out his leg and tripped his sibling, who fell flat on his face on the grass, in front of several villagers who began laughing hysterically.

     "Isn't that supposed to be the other son of Sir Reynold?"

     "And I thought good reflexes could be inherited…guess not!"

     Reuben grinned maliciously at Rohane, flipped his toy weapon in the air and walked casually back to the house. "Maybe it's because I got our dad's moves and you didn't?" he added, chuckling to himself.

     "Don't mind them," said a soothing voice above Reuben's younger brother. He looked up to see a beautiful red Aisha with braids down her face. She extended her paw, and helped the pitiful sibling up to his feet.

     "Thanks, Li," said Rohane gratefully. "I knew I could always count on you."

     Liwanag smiled shyly. "It is only my pleasure." Her smile was so bright and sunny that it seemed to rival the sun in comparison - at least in the eyes of Reynold's son. She twisted a part of her apron. "Umm…my mom won't be looking for me for now. Want to…well, take a short walk around here?"

     He stared at the ground and dug at the loose dirt with his foot. "Sure. Well…my mother and father let me go outside for a while before lunch." The two traded a grin, and began to walk down the wide street of the village of Trestin. They watched a nearby Kacheek shepherd herd his Babaas, and one of them quickly galloped towards Li, who took him into her arms, giggling.

     "I see Jove has taken a liking to you, Liwanag," he remarked.

     She turned towards Rohane. "Hey…I guess you haven't met my favorite Babaa in Seth's pen. His name is Jove, and when he's old enough I can take him home. But in the meantime, he stays with Seth."

     The little petpet wriggled out of her grip, and jumped into the yellow Blumaroo's arms next.

     "I think he likes you," said Li. She flashed her smile again. "Jove doesn't usually take to newcomers that fast. In fact, he's usually very shy."

     "I guess that's a good sign," said Rohane, petting the Babaa on the head.

     Seth grinned and looked at him. "You must be Sir Reynold's second son! You two look so much alike, that you could even pass as brothers if you were older!"

     The red Aisha patted her friend on the back, who just grinned sheepishly. "I guess it's time to feed the Babaas," she said, watching Jove leap back towards the shepherd. "Come on, Rohane."

     He and Liwanag got up from the grassy area beside the pen, and walked off towards the nearby river. She gently placed her paw in the smaller tributary that branched off from the larger body of water, and lifted up a smooth, shiny pebble from the bottom. The girl gave the slightly damp stone to her comrade, who gazed at it in amazement.

     "It is pretty," he remarked.

     "Yeah. My daddy once told me a story about a large, bumpy rock up in the mountains that fell into a river. As it ran through the fast-flowing currents, the waters slowly wore it down until it became round and smooth, like the pebbles that end up here. He said that the moral of the story was that in time, many of those who manage to endure through the worst of pains emerge victorious and strong. Whenever the forces of nature create rocks, they don't create them as beautiful as these. Other forces are the ones responsible for the shaping of the lovely stones."

     Rohane stared at her, and realized the point she was driving at. The sun reflected its rays upon the stone he held in one paw, making it seem shinier than usual.

     "Thanks, Li. You really know how to cheer me up whenever Reuben makes fun of me."

     She blushed slightly. "That's what friends are for."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» A Hero's Journey: Part One
» A Hero's Journey: Part Three



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