Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 93,823,843 Issue: 183 | 26th day of Running, Y7
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Rad'emant Tineela: Part Two


by dragonfate

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I need a nice suit, Thomas thought, lying on the roof of his house, staring out into the starry sky. Thomas would always go here to reminisce and find reasoning in his life.

     Silly festival, Thomas thought, his heart drawing into a sad conclusion. Ever did Thomas wish to become a great warrior such as his father. He wished to go battle great beasts and be in the frontlines of a war, but Meridell has had peace for many years.

     Then my life has no meaning. Am I to be partying and frolicking around to the end of my days? I wish to leave this world a hero, not just a commoner. But I guess all chance of valor and bravery has long perished. I am bound to this town then and its entire silly people.

     A tear streamed down the Lupe's cheek. He drew away to his room and went to bed, hoping that the overwhelming despair would soon subside.

     The week was long and seemed to have stretched into months. Thomas labored on with his daily errands as Bill aided him.

     Thomas sat unmoving in between the barn doors, staring out into the sunny sky.

     "Thomas!" Bill scuttled to his friend.

     "Did you fall? Come on Buddy what's wrong?" the Techo pressed on, growing impatient with his pensive friend.

     The Lupe grumbled, lazily getting up, and the words slowly came out.

     "Do you ever feel... like you're destined for something.... Some great future?"

     "All the time...I know one day I'll be an award winning author." Bill gave a wide grin. "What is it? You want to be Thomas?"

     "It's not just something that I want to be. It's something that I feel is in me... that I'm supposed to be a great warrior like my father and my grandfather... I feel it, yet I don't see this future. My life will be lived in vain. I don't see myself as anything other then that." Thomas sighed, rubbing his chin.

     Bill looked deep into Thomas' eyes, so that he could read his sincerity.

     "If there is one thing that I do not doubt, Thomas is that you will have a great future, and you will live up to the name of Millard... We are still young. You will have a chance to prove yourself."

     All the feelings of despair and frustration perished before the soothing words of William Graefus.

     The Lupe's eyes gleamed with a look of rejuvenated hope and determination.

     ****

     "Son! You don't expect to go tomorrow with your working clothes, I hope!" Joseph Millard shouted, stomping his foot on the floor

     "It's just a festival, besides, all I have are overalls," Thomas argued.

     "Have you no respect for yourself? You should have asked me!" Joseph walked into his room.

     Thomas stood stunned and intrigued with curiosity.

     "Ask you for what?"

     Joseph came back pacing anxiously into the kitchen carrying a large black cloth and handed it to Thomas.

     "Well? Open it son and see what's inside."

     The Lupe removed the cloth. His face beamed with what he saw. A dark leather shirt with a dragon emblem on it, crimson sleeves bearing beautiful dark gems embedded in them. And an emerald cloak as light as a feather drifting in the spring breeze.

     "It's amazing dad!" Thomas hugged his father in delight.

     "No problem son... That which you hold was my uniform during my days as a squire."

     "What does this emblem signify?" Thomas couldn't seem to pry his eyes off the enticing dragon emblem.

     "It is the emblem of the knight who trained me, Dracobious Astheleum, a fine Gelert and a legendary knight." Joseph added, "That should go well with those black pants and boots."

     "Thanks again, dad!"

     He gave his father another hug and ran off to bed.

     Thomas looked at the twinkling sky. His legs were restless and his lids would not stay closed. Tomorrow was to be a joyous and unforgettable day. At last his eyes shut and Thomas drifted to sleep.

     ****

     "Thomas! Get up boy its already dawn!" Joseph Millard goaded.

     The young Lupe's eyes popped open. And in an instant he shot out of his bed and threw on his clothing.

     "All right, dad! Let's hit the road then." Thomas still panted from the immediate bustling. He noticed his father observing him, completely awe-struck.

     "What's wrong?"

     "Nothing..." Joseph hugged Thomas and added, "...You just remind me of myself in my younger days."

     Thomas chuckled at the compliment that he would remind a great warrior of his days of vigor and youth.

     "Come on dad. We should best be going, we're late enough."

     They mounted their shadow Unis and headed off towards the southeast to Meridell's greatest festival, to Rad'emant Tineela.

     ***

     The Millards pressed on through the thick of the famous forest, until they arrived at a gargantuan plain.

     Thousands of Meridell's citizens from all villages and towns were there. The conjurers lit marvelous fireworks that would shoot up in the sky and then blow up into different shapes.

     Everyone was enticed by the minstrels, with their beautiful music and songs of old telling tales of old wars and heroes.

     "Tommy! It's about time," Bill hollered, running out to greet his friend.

     "This is amazing, Bill... I've never had the privilege of being in anything like this," Thomas remarked, crossing his arms, unsure as to what to check out first.

     Bill gaped in amazement when he saw his friend's attire.

     "Whoa, Tommy, nice threads!"

     "Thanks, it was my old man's uniform back in his days as a squire." Thomas smiled, promptly running a finger through the sleeves beads.

     You don't look so bad either," Thomas dishonestly, but politely added.

     Bill wore a weathered cloak with a stained thread-bare tunic.

     "Bah, come on, Thomas! I'm better off clad in horse dung."

     The two friends shared a good laugh and briskly received a smack on the face.

     "You know, Rosie... That's becoming a tad annoying," the red Techo growled, rubbing his sore cheek.

     "Wow, Tommy, you look splendid. You're sure to impress more then a few girls this night... Maybe even Rosie here." Davie winked at Tommy, as he too was slapped.

     ***

     'When Rivers dry

     When the honest lie

     When things go wrong

     When mountains fall

     Meridell shall stand strong and tall

     Meridell Oh Meridell!

     The throng cued with unison in the chorus, chanting patriotically. Thomas and his friends bustled about, participating in every carnival that day.

     "Come here! Come now! All ye' young in Neopets who've dreams of being great warriors!" an old blue Krawk clamored, galvanizing the crowd everywhere.

     I'm betting it's something good, Thomas postulated. A wide grin crept on his face.

     Thomas and his friends staggered between the large crowds, -who were all tantalized by the lingering mystery of that stall-, nearly getting trampled over many times.

     "Sheesh, those kids are terrors I tell you! Terrors!" Davie sighed rubbing the big lump on his foot.

     Silence washed over the large congregation as everyone awaited the Krawk's pitch.

     "What are warriors says I? What are warriors without weapons? A warrior without a weapon me friends is no warrior at all." The Krawk tittered. "And I know how much ye' youngins be longing to be a warrior. Am I right or am I right?" the Krawk prodded, promptly cupping a hand on his hear.

     "Yeah!" the children shouted in accolade.

     "For the low, low price of three Neopoints you got five shots. And if one o' the darts hits this here red dot; then ye get a steel plate armor set -custom made for yer size o'course- including a beautiful willow sword!"

     "Yeah that's all we need... Bad enough the kids are stomping us darn near to death, now this guy wishes to gamble our lives by giving swords to the little sadists," Bill mused.

     "Be glad its a wooden sword and be glad that dot is too far for them to reach," Rosey replied bluntly.

     "Bah... Good thing it is. I tell you, the first chance they get they'll try to beat the stuffing out of us hoping to get candy." Bill glanced at all the kids nervously.

     "I'm going to give it a shot," Thomas murmured, speeding off to the line. His mind and heart were enthralled by the beautiful and tantalizing sword and armor.

     The incessant failures of the Neopets before him did not deter the Lupe, it only fed his determination.

     It is for me. It is mine. The thought seemed plausible to Thomas.

     "Ye be next, son!" Peppy the Krawk prodded.

     Thomas was giddy with enthusiasm. Each step he took towards the table plucked at his heart string. His mind put images of him running in a field, the suns rays sparkling on the armor, the sword swishing with impeccable balance. In his head, he was completely dogmatic.

     Thomas scooped up the darts and took aim.

     He let fly his first dart.

     "Ooh 3.5 inches! Not a bad shot laddie," Peppy remarked.

     Thomas could not hear the kind Krawk's compliment or the gasps of the crowd or the words of support from his friends. Thomas was submerged in complete reverie.

     He let fly 3 more darts, each one closer and closer to the mark.

     ".5 inches that last one! Come on, young chap! Make that last one count. I know ye can do it!" Peppy was intrigued and shocked by the young Lupe's prowess with the darts, the young Lupe of only 15 winters.

     "You can do it, Tommy!" Rosie, Davie and Bill all shouted in unison. They all felt astonished by their friends throwing skill.

     "How could you do it, Millard?" Damian Copperhead whispered, standing in line behind Thomas.

     "That dot is 20 feet ahead of you, barely a millimeter in size. You fictitious bum answer me!" Damian's quandary drove him mad. He knew the deception was not soluble.

     Thomas' disregard for Damian's prodding, unnerved the Scorchio all the more. The rage boiled inside him like a hot stew.

     The last one, Thomas thought.

     The Lupe's fingers felt as if they weren't there. The dart and he were fused as one. Thomas was indifferent to the dot and closed his eyes.

     He reiterated, "Guide me. Guide me."

     "What are you babbling about?" Damian grew enervated by the dextrous Lupe.

     Damian had enough of Thomas. He knew he could never get as close to the dot as Thomas did. Damian would not be blighted by Thomas.

     "Guide me," Thomas uttered, and lifted his hand up. In the instant he was going to jerk his arm, he felt himself on the floor.

     "Missed your shot, Vagabond? So sorry...not!" Damian gave an ominous laugh.

     The devious laugh of Damian Copperhead, the decimation of Thomas' dream, initiated a gargantuan cataclysm of emotions that washed over the Lupe.

     His face turned convoluted and vehement.

     "You...you pushed me, didn't you?" Thomas asked insidiously.

     "Guilty as charged, you vermin," Damian replied, offering another evil laugh that was short lived.

     Thomas jabbed the Scorchio in the nose knocking him to the ground. The Lupe was on top of Damian pounding away unleashing all of his pent-up rage.

     Each punch was followed by their purpose.

     "This is for my father! And this is for calling me and my friend's vagabonds!"

     Thomas' callous beating was obstructed when his friends scuttled to him and held him back.

     "That's about enough from the two of you!" Rosie berated, though she was part glad Damian got his.

     "Quite a laudable thing you did there, Thomas. I would've let you have more fun," Bill smirked and added, "but then you would've pulverized him; then what fun would there be left for me?"

     "Shut up, Bill!" Davey snapped. He was still in shock from Thomas' outburst.

     "Just lightening the mood bud, just lightening the mood." Bill shrugged. His mood was ever the more blitheful.

     "Bask in your friends reverence for now Millard... For you will get yours." Damian pointed a finger menacingly at Thomas, spitting intentionally for the Lupe, but hit Rosie.

     "Oh no! I know you didn't just spit on my dress... Alright boys let's go kick some tail!"

     "You're going to have to catch up first, losers!" the blue Scorchio taunted, --his tone full of diffidence--, speeding off through the throng and into the woods of Rad'emant Tineela.

     ***

     The Scorchio's wings had not been developed enough for them to bear him aloft. So he ran headstrong heedless of nicking branches.

     Did I lose them? the Scorchio thought.

     He came to a halt to look back. His speculation was substantiated all the more when he saw no one behind him. His waning swagger grew back as he broke into laughter.

     "Cheering so soon, Copperhead?" came a teasing voice from behind an Oak tree.

     "Did you really believe we couldn't keep up with your fat belly?" Rosie teased, coming forth from the tree, later followed by Thomas, Davie and Bill.

     "Y-You think to hurt the son of the mayor? I'll have all of you horse whipped!" Damian's tone was dearth of his arrogance.

     Barely finishing his sentence Damian bolted in an instant. His burst was hampered briskly when he stumbled into a large hollow, precluding his plans for escape.

     "It seems you're going to have to crawl your wormy self out of that hole, before dealing out any whippin's, Mr. Copperhead." Davie grinned insidiously at Damian.

          "Wait... Be quiet all of you. I hear something," Thomas prompted

     "It's just the sound of revenge ringing clear in your head," Bill said.

     "It's coming near, I have a bad feeling. Quickly! Get some leaves into the hollow! We'll hide in there!"

     The friends piled grass into the hollow and dropped inside of it. They peered through the leaves, which now two approximating shadows could be discerned.

     Clamorous were the two, who seemed to stagger as if tired from a heavy burden.

     The two figures could be seen clearly now. Two large shadow Skeiths clad in dark robes, one bore a large orb in its right hand.

     "Not far now till we get to the festival," said one Skeith

     "Yeah, can't wait to leave them this little present," said the other Skeith, as it tapped the orb and gave a crackling snarl.

     Thomas was baffled when he heard a third voice.

     "You two better not give any haphazard work. You hear me? I've been premeditating this for the past month, and If you blithering idiots mess this up-"

     "Take it easy, we won't mess up," assured one of the Skeiths.

     It was overt to Thomas that the voice was coming from the ill-faring orb.

     "These three don't mean well" Thomas postulated. He wasn't able to pry his eyes off the beautiful and terrible orb as if he was somewhat enthralled by it.

     "Good, taking ransom thousands of Neopets... It's no easy task you know... Make haste! Make haste!" prodded the orb

     "Yes, Galcron," said both Skeiths

     All of a sudden the Skeiths were no longer hunched from weariness. They stood tall with their chests out wide, their strength seemed rejuvenated. In the blink of an eye they scurried off to the festival.

     "I have to go... We have to go... Father! Father!" Damian yelped frantically. His world crashed all around him; then a large red hand smacked at his face.

     "Good grief, get your wits about you! You unnerving, whiny little girl!" Bill scorned. His eyes were filled with grief and despair.

     "We have to go... Damian is right, we can't sit and cower in this hole while all our friends and family are in peril," Rosie pointed out.

     "And so we will!" Thomas exclaimed, standing tall. His face was oblivious to the impending danger.

     "We may be young. We may not be as strong... But we are warriors at heart, and we will meet them in battle none the less. And if we should break against them like water on rock."

     Thomas puffed his chest boastfully and added, "Then I for one would've passed this life knowing that death found me and that I laughed in its face."

     His words were vehement and meritorious. Tears rolled down his friend's faces, even Damian's, as they bowed to Thomas, paying homage to their brave and dauntless friend.

     "Now let's go crack that orb!" Davie howled vibrantly.

To be continued...

 
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