How Bevane Got His Sword
Bevane’s greatest wish was to have a sword.
It was a laughable concept at best – he was a skinny runt of a Gelert with shaggy, acrylic red fur who spent most of his time with his nose in a book of some sort. His owner, Cat, was always getting him books – he was pretty smart for a Kindergartener, which earned him much ridicule from his classmates, as much as his large paws and his rather short ears.
But Bevane still wanted a sword, a real sword, not one made of wood and string. Something that was powerful and could make his peers finally stop with their taunts. He’d often inform his Droolik, the rather overweight but immensely sweet Bonnefoy, and his baby brother, the blue Lupe Calyene who could barely crawl, of this. Bonnefoy would lick his nose and try to get Bevane to cuddle him while Calyene would gurgle. Bevane often saw swords – Cat spent a lot of time in the marketplace arguing about how ‘THIS IS NOT WORTH FOUR THOUSAND NEOPOINTS, YOU CHEAT!’ with the shopkeepers and Bevane would press his nose against the glass fronts of the weapons’ shops, Bonnefoy riding on top of his head. And sometimes, as a treat, Cat would take him to watch fights in the Battledome, where Bevane would stare starry-eyed at the kind of people that he wanted to be like.
But Cat said he was way too young to fight Punching Bag Bob, let alone some of the neopets that fought in there. She said he was far too young for a lot of things – he walked to and from school, but that was about it for stuff he could do without Cat supervising him.
Considering where he lived, however, that was a potentially dangerous activity.
The black, twisted branches of the decaying, ancient trees arched over the dirty, cobbled path, forming convoluted knots. The trunks of the trees had disturbing patterns in their bark that made your eyes hurt if you stared at them too long. The path twisted through the Haunted Woods, only a tall iron fence keeping the beasties that lurked in its dark heart away from the travelers who used the lonely stretch of path.
Bevane’s paws smacked against the rock, the books in his backpack jolting up and down as he ran. The only reason the backpack was even staying on was simply his firm grip on its straps. Behind him bullies yelled out their taunts, chasing after the small Gelert. He wasn’t that strong, but he was fast – they were a good distance away, but Bevane knew his stamina couldn’t last forever.
The only conceivable hiding spot was amongst the trees where no light could pass and only the bravest (and strongest) of neopets would even think of cutting through them. Bevane wasn’t the bravest or the strongest, so he kept running and running, every muscle in his body screaming at him to stop while his mind screamed at his muscles to keep moving.
There were tears in his eyes – hazel brown, according to Cat, plain old brown... – and his vision was blurring and no amount of rubbing at his eyes could clear it up. Home – their little stone house in the safer, residential districts where monsters wouldn’t dare to tread – was a mile and a half away.
Bevane had never been this scared before.
He turned a corner sharply, his sneaker hitting a stray rock. He fell, his hands flying out to catch himself and scraping against the sharp cobblestones along with his knees and shins. Bevane heard the sound of the bullies approaching and realized that his scraped palms, knees and shins were currently the least of his worries.
Without a second thought, he jumped up and wriggled through the iron bars and started running again, weaving his way through the trees. The branches snagged on his clothes and ripped them (somewhere in the back of his mind Bevane was thinking about how angry Cat would be when he got home and his clothes were ruined) and he tripped on exposed roots, cutting himself up even worse. He was crying so heavily by now that he couldn’t see, stumbling blindly through the haunted trees.
After almost an hour, Bevane found a large tree whose roots formed a little alcove that seemed relatively safe and he sat down, pulling his knees to his chest. His once vibrant fur was choked with mud, twigs, leaves and branches and his clothes were pretty much tatters. At least his backpack – built to withstand pretty much anything – was okay, along with the books inside. He used his T-shirt to wipe the tears from his eyes and started to think about his situation.
It was very, very bad.
At home there was a very large, very thick book, bound with leather and scary looking metal bolted on the corners, which sat on an oak podium in Cat’s office. Inside was every monster and evil-doer in the whole of Neopia, most of which took up residence amongst the darkness of these trees. Cat had strictly forbid him from going into the wilder parts of the Haunted Woods under any circumstances and, after having a gander at the ancient tome, he could see why. He was in the wilder parts of the Haunted Woods.
Night fell early in the Haunted Woods. Night was not a pleasant thing in the Haunted Woods. Night was not something you wanted to be caught unawares by in the Haunted Woods. Night, from his modest predictions, was about an hour and a half away.
He was wet, dirty, beat up, lost, hungry and cold. He wanted to go home, where he could have a big warm meal and play with Bonnefoy and Calyene until it was time to go to bed, and Cat would tuck him in and read him a story before giving him a kiss goodnight...
Bevane started crying again, big huge sobs that racked his tiny frame and made his small shoulders shake. He buried his face into his knees and hid in the alcove, rocking back and forth over and over again.
The Gelert wasn’t entirely sure how long he cried, but when he was through he felt immensely better in a way only a good, long cry could make you. He stood up shakily, walking away from the safety of the tree and into a small clearing bravely.
His bravery fell when he saw that Kreludor was full that night. He bit his lip and started to silently panic.
There was a rustle from the trees behind him and what Bevane was sure was the sound of giggling.
He burst into a dead run, smacking away branches that managed to get low enough to be in his way.
Cat once told him of the Darkness Faeries that lived within the Haunted Woods, waiting for any unfortunate traveler to come their way so they could practice their evil magic on them. Bevane was at first skeptical, but here, within the trees, he believed it with all his heart. At least he wasn’t crying.
The giggling and rustling followed him, no doubt the beautiful, vile Faeries messing with the small Gelert before they caught him and experimented on him.
He stumbled into another clearing, where a placid lake was surrounded by trees, their long, low branches tickling the top of the water. Moonlight hit its surface, making the still waters a soft, eerie silver. The entire clearing was lit like this, actually, dusty light that was more terrifying than the knotted black trees.
Bevane whipped his head around wildly – around him, in the darkness, there were orbs of dark purple light that just floated there, watching him. The Faeries weren’t giggling anymore – no, they were cackling, a sound that seemed infinitely louder than it should in the silence that always lurked within the Haunted Woods.
He pressed his paws over his ears and shut his eyes tightly, remembering what his owner always said to do if he was scared – if you pretend it doesn’t exist, it doesn’t have any power – and hoping that it held true.
The cackling was louder than before, drawing closer and closer and closer...
There was a flash of light, so bright Bevane could see it from behind closed eyelids, and the Darkness Faeries screamed out.
His eyes snapped open after the light faded and he looked up.
There was a Faerie in front of him, but not a Darkness Faerie.
She was beautiful, like all of her sisters, with long blonde hair that tumbled to her waist and a pair of sad, ice blue eyes. She was wearing a long, pure white dress that seemed to shine like sunlight. Everything about her, in fact, seemed to shine and glow – she was a beacon within the depths of the darkest of nights.
The Faerie was smiling down at Bevane, who was in awe.
“T-thank you, Miss Faerie ma’am!” he cried quickly in his high, piping voice. Cat always made sure he was very polite and well behaved and Faeries commanded the utmost respect anyway.
The Faerie laughed; it was a delightful sound, like the tinkling of silver bells.
“Please, call me Sanctus, child,” she said. Her voice almost made it sound like she was about to sing. “And you're welcome, but I was only doing my job, dear.”
“But you still helped me!” Bevane insisted, before realizing how rude he was being. “Oh... my name’s Bevane; I forgot to tell you, Miss Sanctus...”
Sanctus smiled wider, patting Bevane’s head. “You have a very good heart, young Bevane, and you’re very sweet. You’re also rather fleet footed, if I do say so myself!”
Bevane blushed, staring down at his ratty sneakers. “I-I... uh... I-I’m not that g-great...”
“Modest, too?” Sanctus said. “Why, you have all the great qualities of a hero!”
Bevane’s eyes widened and he looked back up at the Faerie. “H-hero? M-me?”
“Most certainly,” Sanctus replied, crouching down to Bevane’s eye level. “If you work hard enough, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem for you.”
“You got me confused for someone else, Miss Sanctus,” Bevane answered, shaking his head. “I’m not a hero - I’m just a skinny little Gelert who reads a lot of books. I don’t even have a proper sword...”
“Do you think Jeran thought he was going to be a hero one day?” Sanctus questioned and Bevane found himself unable to answer. “No, he didn’t. Heroes aren’t born, Bevane, they’re made.”
Bevane blinked, biting his lip. Sanctus placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“But it is true that you don’t have a proper hero’s sword when you certainly have earned it.”
There was another dazzling flash that made Bevane throw his arm up to cover his eyes. When it faded, Sanctus was no longer there, but a sword was.
It was truly befitting of a hero – the blade was long and sharp, made of a silvery white metal with ornate patterns carved into it. The hilt was made of the purest gold, a brilliant white stone on its bottom. Bevane bent to pick it up and found it was feather light and fit perfectly in the palm of his hand. Like the Faerie, it glowed like a candle in a pitch black room.
“Use it well, little one,” a musical voice said, echoing through the darkness of the trees. Bevane smiled, his fear and trepidation melting away. He turned around.
Holding the sword aloft in front of him, Bevane walked through the trees to get back home.