Rohane's Adventures in Neopia
Rohane tried to mask his excitement as his mother pressed the sword into his hands. All his life he’d been safely harboured in the village, and now the time had come to venture forth and clear the land of the monsters that had made themselves far too comfortable. He looked at the blade she’d given him. It didn’t look like much, but he could tell it weighed more that it seemed, and he could see that weight reflected in his mother’s eyes, now starting to brim with tears. ‘Be careful, son. That’s your father’s sword, and I know he would have wanted you to have it. Now, I can feel as though he’s out there with you.’ Rohane hugged her tightly, and tried to summon up as much courage as he felt he should possess as he said ‘I’ll make you both proud.’
In truth, he’d never even held a wooden sword, let alone this gleaming and honourable one. He imagined the battles his father had fought with it, and tried to seep some of the strength from its aged blade. ‘I’ll see you soon, I promise,’ he reassured his mother, and willed himself to believe it. A small crowd had gathered at the gate. Well-wishers and curious villagers, but he felt the pressure of them all to restore their once-beautiful home to its former glory. He gave them a smile as dashing as he could muster, and strode out into the wild.
As soon as the gate closed he let out the sigh he’d been suppressing, and let it swallow up all his imagined bravery. He was left with near-crippling self-doubt and the awareness of his own vulnerable inadequacy. He made a private promise to himself to stay close until he was ready to delve into the mines in the distance. As he walked, tentatively at first, and then bolder and bolder, Lupes and Aishas leapt out at him from all corners. He swung the sword with little skill, but these were weak monsters, made almost tame due to their proximity to the village. He felt his confidence swell and spread his radius wider, levelling the beasts as he went. He was amassing rather a lot of gold, and couldn’t help but wonder who was paying these creatures to stalk the plains. It would no doubt come in handy when he eventually made it to White River.
Finally feeling strong enough, Rohane wandered into the dark cave. He remembered his father talking so fondly of the mines and the jewels he once found there. But this was a different time, and the passages before him were dark and imposing. He tried his best to hide his terror as he battled with Spyders and cave Lupes before losing his cool completely and letting out a shriek only those Lupes could hear as a horrifying skeleton appeared before him. All the training and skills he’d built up vanished into increasingly thin air, and he went for the swing and panic technique he’d so well perfected. He crept past the pile of bones when he’d felled them, half expecting it to reform itself and attack again, and longed for his warm bed and his mother’s tigersquash stew. After more of the creepiest creatures he’d ever set eyes on, Rohane saw the Foreman. The once renowned Kacheek of Trestin, now gnarled and mutated into the monster who stared him down. He felt a pang of sadness for the greatness this land had once possessed, but defeated this imposter with ease, and felt greatly relieved to acquire some rusty old armour. He ran out of the cave as quickly as his legs could carry him, now more than ever desperate to make it to White River and see some more allies. This must be the life of the hero he’d so often dreamed about, but he couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to have some friends to share the journey with.
After a good night’s sleep in White River City, Rohane felt like a new Blumaroo. All the stresses of yesterday had melted away, and he was in the company of friends again: the hero they had all heard tell of. He quickly purchased a newer sword, but stowed away his father’s for safekeeping, and set out to defeat the demented Elephante known to the townsfolk as Zombom. He spent a few hours practising his new moves with his new sword in this new part of the world, and let the warmth of confidence wash over him as he began the long ascent up the tower where the monster dwelled. Battling ghosts and more skeletons, he laughed at his former self of just yesterday, before a well-aimed club knocked his ego back to scale. These monsters were far more advanced than those around his home village, and he had to remember that!
Zombom stood guarding a portal, and looking as if he’d been working on his evil glare all morning. Rohane tried to sneer back, but Blumaroos aren’t known for their grimacing! With his first pathetic attempt at a strike, Rohane knew he was in trouble. This was a powerful sorcerer and with one spell Rohane was sent reeling to the floor. He was grateful for the blast potions he’d bought in White River, but it seemed like even they weren’t enough to thwart this new horror. He struck out left and right and up and down and threw as many potions as his backpack had been able to carry, all the while dodging decimates and trying to stay as healthy and strong as he could. After what seemed like an age, Rohane fell against a stone pillar, gasping for breath and waiting for the dust to clear. Zombom was on one knee and muttering incoherently, before letting out a bloodcurdling cry and falling to the ground, taking with him all the ghosts and skeletons around him. Rohane blinked and shook, never more aware of how close he’d come to death. He guzzled down the healing potions the kind Mynci had sold him, and tried to revive himself with the thoughts of how the villagers would cheer when he returned. He felt a smile wiping across his face: he’d done it, he’d actually done it! A few mere days ago he’d been climbing trees and playing with his Meridell kite, and here he was now, standing victorious over one of the most feared villains in the land. And yet there was something missing.
Nobody was there to give him a supportive pat on the back. Nobody was there to cheer him on, nobody was there to aid him in battle.
Rohane took the portal and made his way back to the city, trying to ready himself for unbridled happiness and relief, when in fact he had never felt so lonely. The gates sprung open on his approach and the deafening cheers could be heard even before he’d passed through them. Despite himself, he felt the joy fill him up as it coaxed a broad grin from his weary face. They were ecstatic. He’d saved them and freed them, and proven himself worthy of the tasks he had undertaken. After an uproarious evening spent in the inn, regaling them all of his daring feats (and carefully omitting the sheer terror and luck that had played a part), Rohane retired to a warm bed and a night filled with dreams of dancing skeletons flying kites.
He awoke to a sharp knock at the door. Immediately on edge, Rohane sprang out of bed and ran to the door, swinging it wide open and looking to see who was there. He looked down both ends of the corridor, but could see no-one.
‘Ahem,’ said a small voice. Rohane hadn’t looked down! There before him was a young acara, dressed in robes and proffering up a small wand. ‘Sorry, I didn’t see you!,’ he explained, ‘what do you do?’ She tried to mask her annoyance as she gestured to her robes, ‘I’m a wizard! Well, trying to be one anyway. I’m Mipsy.’ Rohane felt a huge surge of admiration for the young wizard, and thought of himself alone in the dark at the top of Zombom’s tower. With the winning smile he had perfected yesterday, he gave her a nod and asked ‘Would you like to join me in adventuring? It’s pretty scary but there are so many monsters and’—
Mipsy leapt in the air, sparks accidentally flying from her little wand, ‘Oh would I ever! I was so nervous about asking you and you’ve gone and asked me first! I’ve got my wand and my robes and what more do you need to go adventuring anyway?’
Her enthusiasm was contagious, and whilst Rohane privately thought she might not be overwhelmingly helpful on the battlefield, he would be more than glad of the company. They waved goodbye to the villagers and set out towards Lakeside, Mipsy excitedly chattering away as they went. Rohane hadn’t even realised how much he needed another member of his small party. It was as if they already knew they could face any monster they met, even if he was the one having to do all the work. She was very small, after all.
A raging bearog appeared from nowhere and attacked him mid-thought. Rohane fell to the ground and got a taste of the grass and soil before getting up and striking back. He swung and missed six times in a row before realising he’d be eating his words as well as the grass. Mipsy had made short work of the beast, felling it in one spell and looking rather pleased with herself. What a team they made! All the monsters in Neopia couldn’t come between them, and though they’d find new allies along the way, Rohane knew that none could ever give him the joy that young Mipsy had done when she defeated the bearog. This was one young wizard who was not to be trifled with. Oh the adventures they would have!