A Hero's Journey: Part Ten
Several years had passed after the news of the fallen knight,
Sir Reynold. Most of Trestin grieved and mourned for the great defender of Meridell
who had given his life trying to keep the kingdom safe from the evil advisor.
However, now that the chivalrous captain was gone, the army and the other soldiers
of Skarl had given up all hope of storming the castle, and locked themselves in
their houses, waiting for a new defender to rise and liberate them from Ramtor's
harsh rule. There had been reports of some brave Meridellians who have tried,
but failed as well, just like Reynold had. At least only very few of them suffered
the exact same fate as he did.
"This is terrible," croaked Melissa, reading
the newspaper. "He's demanding higher taxes and more labor for less pay."
Reuben took one look at her and grabbed the paper
out of her paws. "Mother, don't stress yourself," he exclaimed. "Tala said that
you should take it easy for now, since you're on recovery mode. Don't worry,
Rohane and I can take care of everything." He gestured towards his younger brother,
who was balancing a tray of breakfast and setting it onto the table in front
of the female white Blumaroo.
"Thank you very much," she said. "I'm glad that
you two are finally working together. Especially now that your father…your father…"
She sniffed loudly, and fumbled for a handkerchief
in her pocket. Dabbing at her eyes, she glanced at her two sons, who were staring
at her with utter concern. "I'm okay," said Melissa, noticing the concerned
looks become worried. "I'm fine. Just a little…emotion, that's all."
The mother gazed at her sons fondly. In just
the span of a few years, they had grown up quite a great deal - even if they
did grow up under Ramtor's rule. Reuben was taller - taller than his own mother,
actually - and quite well built. His younger sibling was only slightly shorter,
thinner, and was the splitting image of Sir Reynold. In fact, the sight of Rohane
sometimes drove Melissa to tears because of his uncanny likeness to his father.
"Ramtor's been causing a lot of trouble," remarked
the older brother. "I know it's pretty obvious, but just look - if it weren't
for him, Father would still be with us, and Mother wouldn't have had that nervous
breakdown back then. It's really taking a toll on her health."
"I know," said the yellow Blumaroo. "Sometimes
I wish that some defender would suddenly rise up from among us and take on the
evil advisor. Then King Skarl can rule again." He shook his head sadly, and
tossed a fork up in the air, which began twirling as it was airborne. As it
landed back in Rohane's free paw, it continued twirling. "Maybe Reuben and I
can find him and we can help the real king reclaim his throne."
Melissa stared at him. "Are you crazy? He is
a very powerful wizard, and just look at what he did to your father!"
Reuben sighed, and turned to his younger sibling.
"I must admit, she's right."
"We have to avenge our father," said Rohane grimly.
"Even if it means - "
"There's no way I'm going to lose you to a villainous
advisor from the royal court," said the female white Blumaroo. "Any of you,
for that matter."
"Our father has trained us for this," replied
the little brother. "It would make him happy if we finally put our knighthood
skills to the test. This is the time. Who knows, we could even make it!"
"I'm not taking any more risks," said Melissa
firmly. "First Reynold, and then my only two sons?" Tears filled her eyes again.
A knock on the front door interrupted the discussion.
Reuben stood up from the table and answered it. "Hey, Li," he greeted the cheeky
red Aisha who was holding a basket of fruit.
"This is from my mom," said Liwanag, walking
inside and setting the food on the table. "She must really be worried about
your mom. Hang on, why's she crying again? Another trigger of emotions, I daresay?"
"Not really," said the older sibling. "Rohane
thinks he and I should go and take on Ramtor so we can avenge our father, put
our knighthood training to the test and save Meridell. But Mother isn't going
to let him out of here - Trauma, I call it."
Li stared at Reuben's younger brother. "Are you
nuts?" she asked incredulously. "That's one really big risk you're going to
take. What if he takes you out just like all the others who have tried. Besides,
nobody will remain to take care of your mother!"
The male white Blumaroo stroked his chin. "Hmmm,
maybe I can stay behind and take care of her. That leaves Rohane to decide if
he wants to pursue his crazy dream."
"It's not crazy," interjected the little sibling.
"I'm willing to risk it if it means freeing Meridell and completing the legacy
our father left behind. I'm going to stand up for what I want, and I'm not letting
some ex-advisor of King Skarl's stop me!"
Reuben, Melissa and Liwanag fell silent at his
"Well, I have to admit, he has quite the spirit.
Just like Father did," said Melissa's older son. "But I'm staying home."
"But we promised to go through anything together!"
said Rohane. "That means we will take on Ramtor together!"
Reuben shook his head. "No. Mother needs one
of us to stay, and since you're the one who wants to go, I'm the new man of
the house now, since I'm older than you are. Besides, you're becoming even better
at blade-to-blade combat than I am - the Code of Knighthood Ethics doesn't lie.
And I've been thinking about it…I bet you can survive." He then turned to Melissa.
"I'm serious. If anyone can do it, my little brother can."
She sighed at first, and then smiled weakly.
"Well, if that's what he wants, I can't stop him," said the female white Blumaroo.
"Besides, his older sibling is quite right."
"But there are lots of dangers out there!" cried
Li in frustration. "Who knows what he could encounter? Who knows if he could
SURVIVE every encounter and live to see another one?"
The yellow Blumaroo clasped paws with his friend.
"Listen to me. This could probably be the only chance we have. Not to brag,
of course, since almost nobody's willing to challenge Ramtor. But I am. Think
of what could happen if I freed the kingdom."
"I might never see you again," said Li sadly.
"But it's for the best. My brother and my mother
are all backing me up. Will you?"
"I don't know…Rohane…isn't this too much?" Her
eyes began brimming with tears yet it was hard to tell whether she was glaring
Instead of answering back, she turned on her
heel and ran outside, slamming the door behind her, before anyone could see
her begin to wail. The three family members looked on and let out identical
Suddenly they heard someone else knock. Melissa
walked over and saw a piece of paper slipped underneath the crack of their door.
As she saw it, her paw shuddered and she sniffed again. Her two sons walked
over to see what was the matter. The female Blumaroo saw the text printed on
the front - "To: Melissa, Reuben and Rohane, Trestin, Meridell. From: Sir Reynold"
Intrigued, she slowly unfolded it and they read together.
To my dearest family,
I am writing this outside Meridell Castle, where
we have planned a strategy to overthrow Ramtor. It might take some time to arrive
though - it might even be dropped by your doorstep when I'm already home.
Anyway, this is just a simple message. I just
want you all to know that I love you all, considering the occasion that this
may be the last word I would say to you. Mel, you have been the greatest friend
a knight loyal to Meridell and Trestin could ever have. Reuben and Rohane, you
two have made me proud in more ways than I can count. I know in my heart that
no matter what happens, you two will forever be our knights, who would help
defend us in our time of need.
This is it. We're about to take on the advisor's
forces. Wish us luck. Once again, if I don't live through this, I just want
to remind you all of my love for you. I only leave you because it is for your
safety and welfare, and not for the fame or the fortune.
Their mother embraced them both, tears flowing
anew. Even the sons couldn't help but cry along with her.
"His last letter," whispered Melissa. "During
the evening when we got the bad news, I was holding the very first letter he
wrote to me in his first major mission."
"Wow," remarked Reuben, brushing a tear away
from his right eye. Rohane nodded solemnly, and then he spoke up again.
"That settles it," said the younger son. "I really
am going for Ramtor. He did this to us - he took him away and tore our family
"Not really," said the male white Blumaroo. "But
still, we lost someone close to our hearts. Which, I might add, is quite a terrible
crime if you look at the facts."
Melissa turned back to Rohane. "Well…if you really
are going, I can only give you one thing to take with you on your journey. You
can consider it a good luck charm, or something that you can consider as your
friend in the perilous way there." She walked into her bedroom for a moment,
and the sound of rummaging could be heard. At last, their mother emerged, clutching
a sword that looked as if it hadn't been lifted for years.
"Take your father's old sword," she said, beaming.
"It would be a big help in case you encounter any of Ramtor's minions."
"We're going to miss you, buddy," said Reuben.
"Be careful out there," said Melissa, giving
her younger son one last hug. "Your brother and I are quite scared for you,
but we're also proud of you. Your father would also be, if he could see you
now." The male white Blumaroo patted his sibling on the shoulder and smiled.
Rohane took one last look at his family. "I guess…this
is goodbye." He stepped out of the house.
"Not goodbye," said Reuben quickly. "Just 'see
you soon when I get rid of Ramtor'." His lower lip quivered again as he put
an arm around their mother. "Good luck out there. But I don't think you'll need
it - I'm confident you'll make it."
And with that, the journey of the budding young
warrior began - with the end of his father.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I thank you ever so much for putting up with me through this
long series. Just a few comments - "Liwanag" is a Filipino word I used for a
character's name, meaning "light" while "Tala" means "star".