A Hero's Journey: Part Eight
As his sons grew up in the safety of Trestin with their
mother, Sir Reynold was leading his army in a siege at Meridell Castle, not knowing
the risky incident Reuben and Rohane got into some time ago.
"Captain, Ramtor's not cracking!" Bernard panicked,
shaking his fellow knight by the shoulder plates.
"I don't think so," said a Draik, pointing his
spear towards the door of the fortress that slowly began to open with a thundering
The Blumaroo grabbed his sword. "Everyone, get
ready! This is it - their strongest force yet!" The defenders of Meridell braced
themselves as the Bruce's evil army poured out of the castle. In fact, they
weren't only mesmerized or bribed soldiers from Skarl's own barrage, but they
included evil magicians and a few ghostly denizens. Reynold and his own team
sprang into action and began attacking.
Bernard ducked as one of Ramtor's magical allies
aimed a blast of darkness towards him. "Sir, I think we're outnumbered!"
"Quantity isn't everything!" yelled the captain
as he slashed at one of the lumbering soldiers trying to hit him with a dull
sword. "We can still beat them even if we ARE outnumbered ten to one!"
"Which we are," said another knight as one of
the renegade soldiers forced his weapon out of his paws. "I don't know where
all these evil creatures - no, not the knights - came from!"
"I think, if I'm not mistaken, Ramtor has a huge
tower somewhere at the outskirts of Meridell. How he summoned them over here
is a mystery," said Reynold, as another one of the rogues fell at his blade.
"But he IS a powerful wizard, so it could have been easy for him."
The nervous Draik soared over everyone's heads
and began firing his crossbow as many times as he could in a pinch. "I'm low
on arrows!" he cried as he pulled out his dagger and dived into the fray to
"We're winning, don't worry!" called the yellow
Blumaroo confidently. "Look how many villains we're taking down!" He mounted
Fidelity the Uni steed and rode deeper into the huge battle, his sword held
high. "FOR KING SKARL!" He began smiting the evil soldiers that tried to gang
up on him.
However, the captain of the army didn't see a
nearby short opponent use his dagger against Fidelity's leg. He staggered slightly,
and suddenly fell to his knees. Reynold gasped as they fell to the ground together
and hurriedly began slashing at the advisor's allies and made sure they didn't
lay a single grimy paw on his loyal steed.
"GET THOMAS! FIDELITY IS DOWN!" he shouted. Immediately
a nearby Kyrii ran over to the scene, and pulled out a small pouch from his
belt. He quickly began applying some magical healing potion on the Uni's leg
as more knights rushed to help hold off the evil force.
"Are you okay, sir?" asked Bernard, shoving a
renegade aside before he could bring his blade down on Thomas.
Sir Reynold stood up, and fended off a few more
of Ramtor's allies. "Yeah, I'm okay. I think Fidelity is okay too." He nodded
over at the Kyrii, who also jumped back to his feet and ran back to the battle,
sword held high. The captain was about to get back onto the Uni's back, but
one of the larger rogue knights aimed a well-placed hit with his club onto the
yellow Blumaroo's head. He fell to the ground, and before he knew it, most of
the evil army began swarming around him.
"SIR!" shouted the green Lupe. He led the others
to help keep the evil denizens away from their leader, who was desperately outnumbered
in the chaos. Thomas ran towards them, but he was held off by a couple of magicians
who began zapping him with their staffs. He had no choice but to engage himself
in a battle of his own.
The captain shook his head and gestured towards
the rest of the advisor's allies. He was now on the ground, still fighting,
but he looked even weaker than usual. "Don't worry about me - just keep on…keep
"NO!" howled the Draik, as two of the creatures
aimed well-placed blasts into the knight's chest. More of the minions continued
surrounding him, and after the strangled cry from Sir Reynold, all was still.
The renegades nodded at each other.
"Our work here is done," said one of Ramtor's
army officers. "They will never reclaim their pitiful kingdom without their
"Besides, it's time for lunch. We'll ambush the
rest of 'em later on." He led the others back to the castle, leaving what was
left of King Skarl's loyal army to see what had happened to their fallen captain.
The Kyrii ran over to the Blumaroo, who was sprawled
on the ground, unmoving. His eyes were closed, and the other knights hoped with
all their might that it wasn't what they thought it was. Thomas held Reynold's
wrist in his right paw, stared at his body for a moment and shook his head sadly.
"He will be missed," whispered Bernard solemnly,
his voice wavering.
"He was a brave captain!" sobbed a nearby Kougra,
burying his face in the Lupe's shoulder. "Why did he have to go like this? Why?
"Maybe he's just unconscious," said the Draik,
with slight trepidation.
But Thomas only shook his head again. "I've tried
administering my most powerful herb to try and revive him, but it's not working.
The only time it doesn't work is when the victim is…is…"
"Don't say it," said Bernard. "And what about
his family? Reynold had a great family, and Melissa and their sons would be
so sad to hear about this!"
"Then that settles it. You fly Fidelity over
to Trestin and tell them what happened," said the Kougra quickly. "Besides,
I hate to be the bearer of bad news."
"Bring your sword," suggested a nearby Gelert.
"In case anyone tries attacking you in midair."
The Lupe sighed. "Of course, it just HAD to be
me. So I just tell them?"
"Yeah, and then you can just go home afterwards.
Maybe you can keep the king's loyal steed with you for a while."
Bernard raised an eyebrow. "Go home? What do
you mean? Aren't we going to attack Ramtor again?"
His Draik comrade nodded. "They were right. Without
Sir Reynold around, we stand as much chance of throwing off the advisor as a
Mootix. The most we can do right now is to save our own skins and hope for someone
who will take Ramtor away."
"We can't just make with the passiveness," said
the Lupe. "We can't just leave Meridell to the mercy of that evil wizard!"
But his compatriots were now dissipating faster
than plumes of smoke from a chimney, one of them bringing the fallen knight
with him. Slightly disappointed in their lack of faith and courage (especially
now that Reynold was gone), Bernard mounted the Uni, who seemed to be shedding
a few tears as he waited for the Blumaroo's close friend to ride. At last, the
two took flight and headed towards Trestin, strongly reminded of the time he
first brought the news to Reynold, not knowing that the battle waiting for him
would be his last.
Back in the village, totally oblivious to the
horror back at Meridell Castle, the two sons of the army's captain were practicing
a few moves. But instead of dueling, they were helping each other perfect their
sword-wielding skills, and their friend Liwanag was watching avidly.
"It seemed like yesterday that you were torturing
Rohane, Reuben," remarked the red Aisha, tossing back her braids.
"Well, it's a long story how it began," replied
the older brother, helping his sibling adjust his fighting stance.
"And a longer story on how it ended," added the
younger brother, giving his wooden sword a little swing as the white Blumaroo
"Reuben, Rohane, we have a visitor," said Melissa,
peeking out through a window and seeing them in the backyard. "Li, you can play
with your pals later on, but this looks like an emergency."
While she ran back to her own house, the two
siblings found themselves ushered towards the back door of their residence and
saw someone familiar sitting at the table. At the front door, a Uni looked back
at them all, with a bleary stare that suggested that this wasn't good news.
"Bernard's here with some news, and he says it's
best we all hear about it," said their mother, gesturing towards the burly green
Lupe, who seemed quite downcast himself. "So tell us, what brings you here?"
He looked down at the floor, unsure of how he
was to bring the terrible information about Sir Reynold. Before he said anything
of the sort, he started with a conversational opener. "Your sons are growing,
aren't they?" he remarked.
Melissa beamed. "Why, yes. I can't wait for their
father to come home and finally swear them in as official knights. I'm quite
proud of them."
Reuben and Rohane smiled as well, but Bernard
gritted his teeth in anxiety. He couldn't bear to ruin the family's cheerful
aura, but then again, they deserved to know of the knight's fate. Regaining
his composure, the red Lupe took a deep breath and let loose the abhorrence
and terror of his words.
"During our last battle with Ramtor's forces…Sir
Reynold…well, he…" He shuddered briefly, and continued. "The last battle took
its toll on him, and he was outnumbered. I'm afraid he's never coming back.
The only thing we have left of him is his sword." Apparently Bernard had decided
to bring back the last relic of the fallen knight to his family back at Meridell
Castle, so he presented it gingerly on the table for everyone to see.
"You mean - " The female white Blumaroo's voice
trailed off as tears began brimming in her eyes.
The Lupe nodded. "He was a brave one too. Fought
till the end, I might add. He will be missed." Bernard stood up from the table.
"Well, that's all the news I have, folks. Oh, and we lost the battle. I bid
you all farewell."
With an equally heavy heart, he walked off to
Fidelity, mounted his back, and took flight without another look at the devastated
family of Sir Reynold.
To be continued...