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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 15th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 84 > Short Stories > The First Bruce Hero

The First Bruce Hero

by archangel62

Untitled Document He ran, dodging left and right, each blast of energy, each shot of ice, he ducked, swerved, dodged, dove. Nearly making it to the end he was blasted, knocked on his back, he groaned, he got up weakly and stumbled over to me, looking depressed. "I'll never do it will I? War is coming to Tyrannia, they need everyone, and I can't do it, I'm not fast enough."

     Then we heard a gruff voice, "Or strong enough, smart enough, tough enough… shall I go on?" I scowled a fire Lupe and his owner, both of them laughing at my poor neopet. I knelt down and looked at him, "Listen, I don't care if you can do it or not, you're the greatest pet ever, and I like you the way you are."

     Then the Lupe's owner cut in, "Slow, pudgy, feeble… yeah, I bet EVERYONE wants a pet like that." The two of them laughed again and trotted off, I sighed, looking at my Neopet, Tuxedo613, it was true, he was a bit on the heavy side, but all Bruces were like that, and besides, I had helped train him as best I could, it just seemed that he wasn't ready for battle. I helped him up; giving him a healing potion after that blast threw him for a loop. "It's just fine, you're the greatest dancer there ever was, you were a champion at the last tournament, not to mention the fact that you're little petpet Frosty likes you."

     Tuxedo613 sighed, "It's not that, everyone thinks that Bruces are bad fighters, that we don't know how to fight or anything, but the truth is that we have a lot of great heroes that are famous all over Neopia. Like Brucey B. he helped form an army to stop Dr. Sloth, and well…"

     He trailed off, I looked at him curiously, "What is it?"

     He smiled as an idea came to him, "I want to go to terror mountain, to show you something."

     We headed off, the icy winds biting into us as we climbed up, we were in Happy Valley when we stopped at his NeoHome, he plopped down in a glowing chair and had eased back, "I want to tell you about a Bruce hero, one that isn't very well known, at least not much outside terror mountain, this story is far before we met others like you, even before Meridell, and when we had cities all over Neopia, it's the story of a Bruce by the name of Jaraxle, he was the first Bruce hero, and while he isn't well known he saved Terror Mountain…" The fire burned warm as Tuxedo613 spoke, enveloping me in the story

     Years ago Terror Mountain was nothing like it is today, there was no city or any true development, Happy Valley was one of the few places that were safe from the harsh winds and dangers of the mountain. Back then all that were there were the Blumaroos and Bruces, they rarely fought, and never against one another, usually against some threat from the mountains. Their weapons were made from ice, a very easy to make weapon, albeit not the strongest.

     The only real thing that they feared was the Snowager, the mighty worm of ice, but they thought little of it, it rarely left its cave, and back then there was no treasure to tempt would be explorers like there is today. Some even saw the Snowager as a sort of blessing, a way to guard against creatures that might fear to go near the cave of this mighty beast.

     With very little emphasis on war the people were very peaceful and happy, there were a few ice sculptors, and there was lots of dancing, Bruces were the greatest dancers, skilled at sliding and swerving on the ice. For many years the people lived in peace, one of them was a Bruce by the name of Jaraxle, he had a wife and child, he never raised a weapon, not even if a creature from the mountains attacked, many people thought he was a coward, but really he was afraid of what would happen to his family if he didn't come home after a battle. Jaraxle was a caver, an explorer, he helped carve the ice they used for weaponry and was known to be one of the greatest dancers in the village. No one really thought much of his pacifism though, thick walls of ice protected the village, and there were few creatures that did attack tended to be fairly easy to dispatch. As a result peace and tranquility reigned supreme for many years.

     One night, the peace and hope that they held was shattered, no one knows exactly what the creatures were that came to raid, but they were cruel in their actions. They scaled the mountains in the dead of night, bearing weapons that burned and scalded; their tools and weapons slowly melting through the walls that had protected the village, they roared, charging in, an alarm was raised, those that had weapons went out to fight, but their efforts were in vain. Their weapons melted on contact with the enemy, the raiders were ruthless, destroying everything and everyone in their path. Jaraxle heard the call and panicked, he charged out blindly, trying to discover what was going on he saw the his friends and neighbors running away, he tried to find out what was going on, to discover what was happening, he heard a roar and froze, staring into the maw of a giant beast, fangs glistening. He backed up, afraid, he never saw what was coming, the creature struck him hard and fast, hurling him against a cave wall and knocking him out. When he came to he saw the devastation, his own home was destroyed, as were the homes of many others. He shuddered, seeing the carnage that the raiders had brought, he wept, not knowing the fate of those he cared about. He didn't see any of the raiders, forcing himself up he headed off where he remembered the refugees heading, hoping that he hadn't lost all that he held dear.

     He eventually found a Blumaroo, one that looked as if he had been bashed against a wall, he looked fairly weak and tired. Jaraxle helped him up and started calling to the others, some others walked or stumbled to them, others groaned in pain. It took nearly four hours to regroup and help everyone. Losses were staggering, many of them were sorely wounded, injured beyond what anyone would have thought, their weapons had been destroyed and all of them were in a state of panic, some of them mumbling and gibbering to themselves, the fear knocking all traces of sanity from their minds. Jaraxle looked at them and saw their fear, after all of them had managed to calm themselves they discussed plans. Many wanted simply to leave, to pack what they had and leave lest the raiders return, none of them even knew what the raiders wanted, it was as if they had attacked them for the sheer sport of it. Jaraxle rose up, "No, we can't abandon our homes, we have to stay and fight, we have to stand up for ourselves."

     A Blumaroo glared, "Funny, I thought you were talking, you who always hid in your home when a threat struck, now you want us to stay and fight, why, are you afraid?"

     Jaraxle gave him an even stare, "Yes, I am afraid, afraid of what we may find ourselves facing if we leave, there are monsters out there, but the raiders could be there as well."

     Another Bruce spoke up, "Wait, you forget that our weapons were useless, they melted on contact with them… our swords and spears of ice did nothing, what do you want us to do, throw snowballs?"

     Jaraxle shook his head, "Then we'll find new weapons, maybe... maybe I can go to the Snow Faerie, she's supposed to have a home on top of these mountains…"

     The others opposed this venomously, the Snow Faerie was a myth then, only a few had claimed to see her and those claims were iffy at best. There was also the fear of the Snowager and other monsters beyond. Jaraxle wouldn't be dissuaded, he had seen what had happened to his home, to the place that he loved, he turned, heading for the cave entrance he eased his way through, he walked quietly, fearing to disturb the Snowager, for the cave back then was far smaller, and he rightly feared that he might wake the Snowager and have no place to run or hide should it come out of the cave after him. Mercifully the beast was asleep and Jaraxle was silent, he managed to get to the other end of the cave, climbing slowly, determinedly, he made his way to the top. His body buffeted by cold, sharp wind, he saw a beautiful woman surveying the mountains, he called to her, but she did not answer, did not turn. He feared that she may have been no more than a shadow, but he had to hope, he fought through the wind and snow, slipping and falling but always rising up again, he reached her and stared. The Snow Faerie, she truly did exist, he looked at her reverently, he took a deep breath, realizing that she was gazing upon him he knew that he had to plead his case before her and hope that she would listen, "My name is Jaraxle, I come before you now to plea for your aid, I belong to a village near the bottom of the mountain, we were attacked by raiders, huge creatures that wielded weapons of fire, our weapons were useless, they destroyed our homes, harmed so many of us. My people have lost hope, I beg of you, please help us."

     The Snow Faerie was silent, for a long time he feared that she would say no, or keep him waiting. He met her gaze, his sincere, pleading look must have touched her heart, because she nodded, "I will aid your people, we will go to them and I will help them, the raiders will return soon, I know this, but perhaps with my help they will recover their spirit and be able to find the heart to fight off their enemies." With that she took Jaraxle by the hand and suddenly they stood in the encampment, all of them rushed to the Snow Faerie, amazed, she told them that she would help them to face their enemy there was a silence, then it was as if they had all grabbed on to live wires, they each looked up, amazed at first, then the memories fear entered them, then that fear was replaced by anger, they were defeated once, but they would not be beaten back again.

     They worked diligently, remaking their weapons, the Snow Faerie enchanting them to make them stronger. She also ordered them to make snowballs and pile them, she walked by, softly chanting, each snowball changed, gaining special magical properties, which is why we have those magical snowballs now. They also made new plans, the Snow Faerie said, though they had begged her to fight alongside them, that she could not, that she was bound by higher oaths. She could aid them, but she could not fight directly at their side, she did tell them that she was glad to have helped them, and that she thought Jaraxle very brave for risking the dangers of the tunnels and the high winds to come to get her help. The others cheered, and Jaraxle accepted them in good grace, though silently he still felt guilty, being lauded as a hero when all he had done was ask for help, whereas those that had always stood and fought against the monsters that attacked were just seen as doing what they did. He sighed, he would fight now, no matter what he would fight. The defenders of the valley made a new plan, they had other abilities, the Bruces with their dancing and the Blumaroos with high leaps had put together a new plan to face down the raiders, the Snow Faerie claimed that the raiders would come at nightfall, so the defenders prepared themselves, now ready for the coming conflict, confident in one another and in the aid of the Snow Faerie.

     The sun set, light dancing off of the snow and ice, there was a horrid silence, each warrior shuffled nervously, very afraid. They heard the grunts and roars of the enemy army, one that climbed the mountain peaks, steam and smoke wafted up as they climbed into the valley for another raid. They came in, roaring, flaming weapons waving madly, suddenly a voice echoed through the chamber, "NOW!!!"

     The air filled with snowballs, not just simple icy ones either, some had the weight of stone behind them, other snowballs exploded, knocking would-be attackers on their backs. Some were wet and icy, causing the chill of the wind to bite that much harder into the invaders. The raiders were confused; they had expected another easy slaughter and instead were suddenly hard pressed to even enter the valley. Yellow snowballs flew as well, and these had something different than Faerie magic making them deadly. After they were sure that the raiders were confused the second wave came, Blumaroos, wearing heavy helmets did leaping charges into the enemy, their hard helmets with the force of the jump knocking some raiders across the icy floor into one another or out and over the cliff. Bruces came in next, they slid and jived across the floor, doing the bump dance into any and all enemies, there were a lot of confused shouts. It was easily one of the oddest battles recorded in Neopian history, battle hardened veterans of thousands of raids were getting knocked around with dance moves and snowballs. Bruces slid in, carrying long icicles, spearing or clotheslining enemy raiders.

     The first victories were sweet but short lived, suddenly a huge creature with a gaping maw roared into the cave. This beast must have led the raiders, for suddenly the nerves of the raiders rebuilt and grew just as quickly as the defenders began to panic. This creature was far bigger and more imposing than any of the others. They couldn't charge him with any hope of success and their snowballs seemed to do no more than annoy, or in the case of yellow snowballs disgust, it. It charged, Jaraxle, near the back of the lines, ducked behind an ice wall and cowered, he shivered, fear filling his heart completely. He couldn't stand, couldn't fight, couldn't do anything at all he was so afraid. He heard the screams and cries of his friends, those that were close to him, as they were tossed around. Suddenly his eyes narrowed, he had been called a hero, a warrior, he had hidden for so long while others fought and yet he was called a hero. He rose up, he didn't care, fear was replaced by desperation and nothing-to-lose determination. He grabbed a yellow snowball and hurled it into the behemoths eye. He screamed up, "Hey, you, yeah, big and ugly, down here, come and get me!!" He ran hard, hoping to lead it into a covey of other Bruces and Blumaroos, but as he looked he saw that many of them were either in a hard-pressed defense or were running in panic. He had an idea, a single desperate idea, but it was all that he had. He kept running, the behemoth, enraged beyond thinking, followed him, as did many of the raiders, leaving behind battles to follow their master. Jaraxle ran, ran into the small pass, the creatures followed him he ran full tilt, into the Snowagers cave, still followed by the others. The Snowager, looking so much like an odd shape of ice, was hardly noticed by the raiders as they stormed in. Jaraxle, silently saying his goodbyes to all that he knew, tears in his eyes, he banged on the walls and screamed, suddenly there was a convulsion and the eyes of the great snow worm opened, enraged at its disturbed slumber. It went into a rage, destroying all that were in the cavern, it is said that the weapons of the raiders were the first things to be its treasure pile…

     I stared at Tuxedo613, "So… what happened to Jaraxle?" Tuxedo613 looked at me, a sad look in his eyes, "He didn't make it, he died in the cave as did the raiders, when the town sent people to find him they found only his sword, they knew the rest."

     Tuxedo613 got up and suddenly pulled me out of my chair, he led me outside, we were blasted by winds and occasional snowballs as we headed for the cave. He showed me a little cavern, one that I wouldn't have seen if I didn't look. It was tiny, I had to crawl to get in, but inside a saw an ice sculpture in the shape of a Bruce, a little plaque stood by it.

     "Thought a coward for 20 of 21 years, though his story is still widely told How he battled the raiders, the monsters and things, all in the great days of old Now upon his wondrous little sword, swear upon this oath all should Evil only prospers, when it isn't faced by good."

     Tuxedo613 looked at me, "And that's the story of Jaraxle, and now let's go, I have plans to teach a certain Lupe about why we Bruces can be mighty warriors." I smiled and patted him on the back, "Let's go my little friend."

The End


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