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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 11th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 143 > Short Stories > Unsung Hero

Unsung Hero

by laurashrub

Jeran’s arm was nearly dead above him. He knew he could not hold on much longer. All he could see was rock and a pair of Eyrie claws - Kass’s claws! This was not the way he wanted to leave. Dying at the hands of an enemy! But nothing more could be done. His paw was slipping! He could hear Kass’ evil cackle and the screams of his comrades. Then…

     The strangest sensation swam through him, The sensation of falling a great distance. Nothing to stop his limp and bruised body. Nothing… but the ground! As his heart filled with fear, for the first time in years, he thought of his sister.

     “Forgive me Lisha, for all those years we have yet to make up,” his heart cried with all it’s might as he closed his eyes, waiting for the impact!

     His body hit something, hard. He felt himself turn in the air and land, roughly once more. Searing pain went up his arm and leg. His eyes opened once, to see blurred images of green and brown. A final thud… then darkness.

     His prone body lay there, unknown, unseen. Nobody looked for him. He was gone from them and Kass had yet to be defeated. In war, the ones that really matter, are those who still live to fight on!

     But a single figure, unknown to most and unseen by all, was there with him. Her pale hands moved over his head, arms, past his battered armour…here she stopped, and lifting the Lupe’s limp head, poured a few drops of something down his throat. He choked slightly and she patted his back, as if he were no more than a child. Her eyes did not see his face and her hands told her nothing. But the battle raged on behind her. There were others to see and more wounds to heal. Her eyes travelled to the casualty at her feet. Her eyes could not see him against the gloom, but she knew his injuries were severe. Taking hold of his arms, she pulled the limp knight under a tree.

     “Take care of this one sister. He may not make it.”

     A voice from behind the tree called to her.

     “The knight just fell,

     For the sake of Meridell,

     And now ‘ere he lies,

     While the one he despise,

     Now meets his desperate fate,

     All we can do, is wait.”

     The figure, however, continued to move, returning every hour or so to check her patient. His breathing was ragged, but he fought!

     His fighting continued throughout the night, until the sun rose. As the dark forest was bathed in golden light, it revealed a young Air Faerie, leaning over an armoured Lupe. The wounded had decreased as prisoners were taken. The aftermath of the battle lay evident everywhere. The once smooth, green fields lay cratered and destroyed. Several acres of forest now lay flat along the ground, trampled beneath huge feet. And the people?

     One by one, their eyes opened. Pitchforks and other weapons dropped to the ground in horror as family and friends looked at them in fear. Those who were injured were cared for tenderly, by unknown, unseen figures.

     She continued to sit with her knight, wondering what to do. His face seemed so tired, as if he had seen things he would rather not see, done things he never wanted to do. Her soft hand stroked his head and he twitched, just a little and woke, just a bit. His yellow eyes focused on her for a brief moment as she smiled, but just as suddenly shut them again.

     She rose and looked straight at the tree. “Sister. Who is he and what must I do?”

     The same voice answered.

     One enemy destroyed,

     Another sits redeemed.

     A sister sadly watches,

     Wonders what it means.

     To Meridell’s castle,

     Skarl’s home, so white and tall,

     The Lupe’s Jeran, our champion,

     Bring him back over the wall!

     She rested that day, the first in months. Her strong arms lifted the tired Lupe from his grassy bed and carried him high over the hills and vales of the country. Below them, the peasants struggled to once again make their land, smooth and green as before. No one spoke, didn’t need to. Every one of them had nothing to celebrate. Their homes were destroyed and their champion was gone. They kept their eyes on the mud, little realising just who flew high above them.

     Jeran could hear voices high above him. They seemed far…so far away! His head hurt, could they not keep it down? Almost as if they heard him, they softened. But, the talking, was replaced by weeping. The sensation of stillness was also there, but that too seemed so far off. Who was crying, and why?

     “Oh, Jeran! Why did you have to leave me? There is so much I have to tell you!”

               Lisha? His lips formed the word with effort and his mind took longer to make it audible. In pain, and feeling so tired, his eyes opened. He was suddenly aware just how uncomfortable he felt and shifted his position with effort. Lisha’s tear-filled eyes jerked his way and he gave an exhausted smile. A booming voice came from behind her. Skarl? But his sight was blocked by his sister’s head as she flung her arms around him. He tried to hug her back, but his body was screaming in agony as three guards lifted him gently from the floor. Lisha’s sobbing was the only thing preventing her from joining in the cheers of the guards.

     The cheers attracted the attention of several soldiers and even Kayla finally poked her head around her door to see what the commotion was all about. Lisha took her friend’s hands and danced in a circle, causing Boris and Morris to think she had gone mad.

     But amid the celebrations, which extended to the villages, a voice behind a lone tree in the forest spoke to a single Air Faerie, who took the time to listen.

     A battle has been one this day,

     A hero walks once more,

     But through the celebrations,

     Please listen I implore.

     The battle may have ended,

     The battle may be won,

     But the war’s not truly over,

     It may only have begun!

     Our wars are never over,

     I’ve seen more than I want,

     I hope you’ll see no other,

     Even when you’re old and gaunt!

     Jeran’s arm healed and from what he knew and heard from his comrades at the Citadel, he should not have survived! But he did, and he knew who to thank -- the mysterious Faerie who had wandered his direction and saved his life. Who she was he did not know! What she was doing… he knew even less.

     But though he was treated like a hero, he felt he did not deserve it. For once, he was not the hero! Darigan was. And even though the war was over, he wondered, just how many more he would have to face.

     His eyes had been opened, in a way he could not even begin to describe. He always thought, heroes did wonderfully brave and heroic things, such as protecting a country or defending the weak. But he learned something from his mysterious helper. The world is full of unsung and unseen heroes. And he could not help but wonder, just how many there were in Meridell and how many owed their lives to one who was now forgotten.

     But he would never forget the Faerie who had brought him home, he owed her too much. He was going to make it up to her, somehow. He didn’t care if it took the rest of his life…somehow, he would say, “Thank you”!

The End!

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