A Hero's Journey: Part Three
A few weeks later, one bright afternoon, Sir Reynold's two
Blumaroo sons were training in the yard. It was not only a place to nurture a
squire and a page, but also a place where Melissa and the knight grew vegetables
and other plants in their spare time, whenever he wasn't defending Meridell.
He sat back on a simple bench in the garden,
watching Reuben and Rohane swordfight with wooden swords. Nodding, the tall
yellow Blumaroo began taking notes in a small notebook as he surveyed the pair's
"You can't beat me," the older son was saying.
"I'm older, more ex - experienced than you are, and Father has been teaching
me since before you were born." He ducked as his little sibling swung his own
weapon at him, and aimed a kick that was narrowly avoided. Reuben saw his brother
attempt to swipe his weapon at him, and dodged it. Rohane lost his balance and
fell onto the grassy ground.
"See? I'm the better warrior," said his elder
sibling. "You can't beat me!"
Reynold stood up and walked over to them. "It's
too early to rejoice," he remarked. "After all, your younger brother is still
learning. But that was a very nice show out there." The knight helped his other
son back onto his feet. "Look, you were swinging your sword too hard and too
soon. Try timing your strategy and anticipating your opponent's moves."
Both of them jumped back onto their feet, ready
to try again. Facing each other squarely, the siblings bowed to each other and
made motions of drawing their swords from imaginary sheaths. Reuben was the
first to rush towards his rival, holding his weapon out like a lance. But Rohane
was even more ready than before. As the white Blumaroo sprinted towards him,
he dived aside in time, and made a hit with his fake sword at his older brother.
Wincing slightly, Reuben blocked a second hit
coming from his sibling with his own sword. The two locked blades for a while,
and the sound of wood on wood could be heard. At last, one of them wrenched
his weapon away and shoved the other against the grass, pinning him down with
the sword at his neck. The pretend duel was over.
"I win! I win again! YAY FOR ME!" The elder brother
tossed his blade up in the air and caught it again. "Did you see that, Father?
I'm always winning! I'm so good - "
But before he could continue his happy speech,
he saw Reynold staring at a yellow Blumaroo running back into the house, dropping
his own weapon to the ground. The knight gave his other son a proud smile, and
then hurried to catch up with the one that had run back inside.
He saw Melissa busy cooking a pot of potatoes,
and tapped her on the shoulder.
"Mel? Where'd Rohane go?"
"I last saw him run to his bedroom, dear. I'm
wondering what could have made him quite so… what's the word? Oh, frustrated."
The female white Blumaroo turned back to the simmering pot that was exuding
quite a lot of steam.
Saying a hurried thank you to her, the Meridellian
defender went over to the door of his younger son's bedroom. He knocked on the
"Who is it?"
"Your father. Come on and open up."
"Why should I?"
"Because…well, your father wants to talk to you."
"You wouldn't want to."
"But I do. Please, just open the door already.
It's giving me a funny feeling in my tummy if I let you stay in there all locked
up like that."
There was a pause, a few shuffling steps and
the click of a doorknob being turned. The door opened to reveal the littlest
member of Reynold's family.
"Close the door behind you, Father," said Rohane
in a low, forlorn voice. He walked over to his bed and sat on it, staring low.
The knight followed, and took a seat beside him, placing a reassuring arm around
his small shoulder.
Taking a deep breath, as if praying that it might
work, Sir Reynold asked, "Why did you run away? We weren't finished with our
"I DON'T need to be trained to be a squire. In
fact, I don't know why I even became a page," his son answered bluntly.
His father decided to try cheering him up. "Well,
is it because you're just so good that you're ready to defend Meridell already
at such a young age? I must say - "
"No, it's because I stink. I wouldn't make a
good knight. I don't even make a good page, and I won't be a good squire either."
Rohane glared at his father for a moment before directing his eyes back to his
floorboards. "Reuben's right. He's better than me."
"Nobody's better than anybody. You two are equally
great," said Reynold. The yellow Blumaroo glanced at the Meridellian insignia
stamped to his worn shirt before saying anything more, as if it would bring
him luck while talking to his seemingly obstinate son.
Rohane shook his head. "I keep losing, Father.
Everyone always picks on me because I can't win a single duel against my own
brother, and because they say I don't have your skill. Face it - I'm a lousy
page. Don't even bother trying to train me. You're wasting your time…the time
you could spend on Reuben."
"But I WANT to spend time with both of you,"
pleaded the warrior. "I'm willing to give my all just for both my boys to become
exalted defenders of this kingdom. Please. Sometimes it just takes a little
time for you to be good."
"Tell that to Reuben." He turned away from his
Reynold's face fell. He patted his son on his
shoulder. "Winning isn't everything, Rohane. Remember that. Sometimes you even
have to fall in order to learn the right way to stand up. In fact, sometimes
the best teachers are your mistakes. Sure, your sibling may often have the upper
hand, but he won't always win. You will have your own moments of triumph. This
just isn't your time yet."
The addressed party kept silent, but his ears
were listening to his father's every word.
"The road to knighthood is not an easy road.
Many squires and pages - like you - go through a lot just to wear the armor
and march into battle. You can't expect yourself to have a winning streak after
a few practice duels, especially since you're still quite young. Reuben just
happens to have one because he's older and has more experience. But that doesn't
mean you can't beat him. You can, but you have to keep trying until you do."
The Blumaroo took a deep breath after his speech.
He looked up at his father. "Did you have a hard
Reynold smiled. "Of course I did. When your grandfather
asked my own dad to train us, I was the youngest among four brothers. Let me
tell you, it was a lot of work and sometimes, no fun at all. Whenever I challenged
one of my siblings to a pretend duel, I always end up falling flat on my face."
He stared out into space, reminiscing.
"But look at you now!" said Rohane, amazed. "You
sounded a lot…a lot…like me. And the king is always proud of you!"
The knight winked. "Hah! Sure, he may be proud
of me today, but yesterday, I was totally unknown in the Meridell imperial army.
It took several battles for King Skarl to even have faith and confidence in
me. After that, he promoted me, and…well, that's how I became who I am."
"Anyway, the reason why I'm sharing this to you
is that I'm only showing you that anyone can become a good knight." Sir Reynold
became serious again. "It really does take a lot of time, a lot of work, and
some pain, but in the end, it'll be worth it. I have confidence in you, Rohane.
I know that someday, you will bring honor to our family and learn how to slay
your own dragons."
"Really?" His son grinned sheepishly. "Do you
really think that I can become famous and brave someday?"
"I don't think," replied the father to him. "I
KNOW you will. So don't give up, okay? And don't let anyone's insults get to
you - not even your brother's. It's all part of life. Tomorrow, we begin more
lessons, and I expect that you give it all you've got if you want to become
the knight I know you can be."
The young yellow Blumaroo gave his father a hug.
"Thanks," he whispered. "I will. I won't let you down."
"I know you won't," replied the experienced defender,
embracing him. He was no longer sullen, or sad. Mission accomplished, thought
Reynold to himself.
However, while father and son bonded inside Rohane's
bedroom, the older sibling was watching behind a tree that was beside the window.
His eyes narrowed with envy and loathing as he surveyed his brother.
Reuben had heard everything from outside. From
the moment his father left him abruptly, he knew something was going on. He
buried his face in his paws, muttering to himself, "Why? WHY?" His brain began
to fill with ideas on new pranks - not just ordinary pranks. Though a part of
him wanted desperately to get rid of his sibling, another side of the white
Blumaroo told him to have mercy on the little guy.
"Why must my life be so miserable?" he wondered
To be continued...