The First Bruce Hero
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
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
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
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
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."