A Hero's Journey: Part Four
Meanwhile, at Meridell Castle, something else was happening.
One of King Skarl's most trusted advisors had turned against the monarch and had
imprisoned him in his sinister tower. They fought bravely, but in the end, the
power-hungry Bruce won over his opponent for the throne.
"Ramtor! What have you done?" yelled the Skeith
ruler as two of his own guards dragged him away from the castle. As he got a
good look at them, it turned out that they were both mesmerized - under the
"The kingdom shall see the dawn of a new ruler!"
proclaimed the advisor. "Meridell is now mine!" He laughed an evil, cruel laugh
as he summoned another servant. "Bernard! Make sure this is heard all over the
land! I do not want any rebels spoiling my fun."
"Of course…Your Majesty," said the green Lupe,
hastily popping in the last phrase. He whipped out a scroll and a quill and
began to write. "I will bring your message to the far ends of the kingdom -
from this castle all the way to Meri Acres, to the homes beside Illusen's Glade,
even to the faraway village of Trestin!"
Ramtor raised an eyebrow and rapped his staff
on the floor. "Well, what are you waiting for? Get going!" Bernard dashed off
and outside the castle. As he reached the grassy field, the Lupe let his breath
out and ran towards the stables instead, where King Skarl kept his loyal steeds.
He found a pure white Uni, who was sitting in a very regal pose.
"Fidelity?" The Uni stood up, throwing back his
magnificent head. He stared at the Lupe, who said quickly, "Good thing he fell
for the old mesmerized look trick. He doesn't know I'm still myself." He mounted
Fidelity's back and whispered, "Bring me to Trestin. We have to get Sir Reynold
and begin the resistance to get the rightful ruler back on his throne. Oh, and
warn the villagers too."
The steed obeyed, and after one last glance around
the grounds to see if any of Ramtor's new minions were watching, took off into
the air, headed for the farthest reaches of Meridell.
Back at the humble village, the knight called
Sir Reynold was once again seated outside, behind his house. And once again,
he was watching Reuben and Rohane duel with each other, using their wooden swords.
But there was one thing different about this regimen - one of the brothers had
been practicing quite a bit, and was wearing his older sibling out.
The white Blumaroo panted as he attempted to
swipe at his younger brother's head. "I'm… not… through… yet." His brow was
sweaty, and his arms trembled with slight tiredness as the fake blade swished
through the air. Unfortunately for him, his opponent was quick and dodged to
the left before the sword could even touch him.
"Good show!" called the knight approvingly, flashing
the thumbs-up sign to Rohane, who recovered quickly from the move. He stood
up and hacked at his older sibling. It made contact and sent Reuben falling
onto the grass.
"That wasn't fair!" he yelled, waving his sword
threateningly. "This isn't over yet!" Jumping back onto his feet, he directed
his weapon towards his rival, but missed yet again. His brother took the opportunity
to perform an amazing, yet confusing set of slashes that left Reuben exhausted
and kneeling on the ground, panting again.
Reynold held up the arm of the little yellow
Blumaroo. "You win this round!" Then, in a softer tone of voice, he added, "See?
I knew you could do it."
"Thanks," answered Rohane, smiling widely and
ignoring his older brother's shouts of anguish and defeat. But before anything
else, Melissa ran out into the backyard, followed closely by a green Lupe the
knight's sons had never seen before.
Bernard waved to the father. "Sir Reynold, your
services are needed. After I warned the others about Ramtor - "
"Ramtor?" His eyes grew wide. "The advisor?"
"Yeah. He's taken control of the throne and locked
the king away."
The female white Blumaroo gasped. "Oh my! Dear
me! What can we do? How did you escape from him?"
The Lupe grinned. "I pretended to be under his
spell so he wouldn't suspect that I'm running to Trestin just to pick up Sir
Reynold to help us defeat him. Come on, let's go inside and we can talk about
Before Melissa or the two defenders of Meridell
could enter, Reuben ran up to his dad and tugged on his sleeve, a questioning
expression on his face. At this, Bernard bent down and took a good look at his
comrade's eldest son.
"Ah, hello, Reuben," greeted the green Lupe,
patting the little Blumaroo on the head. "He's been growing up quite fast. So
anyway, like I was saying - "
"Are you going on another mission, Father?" piped
up another voice. Bernard was surprised as he saw a smaller somebody standing
beside the knight of Trestin.
Reynold smiled. "I see you have met our younger
son, Rohane. I'm teaching him the fine art of knighthood too, with Reuben."
"Two sons already?" guffawed his compatriot.
"Well, that's quite a blessing. Anyway, if you'll follow me and your lovely
lady, we'll be in the dining room discussing the matter." The Lupe and the Blumaroo
ran inside, closely followed by Melissa, who was herding the confused, anxious
siblings inside before her. They entered just in time to hear why the visitor
had wished to pick up the man of the house.
Bernard had pulled up a chair to sit directly
facing Reynold. "We need reinforcements. Ramtor has mesmerized many of our forces
over to his side, whether they like it or not. Plus, his tower is just crawling
with monsters from who-knows-where. So please, will you help us? We need you,
sir. You're one of the good Meridellian defenders remaining."
He frowned and answered, "But…I have a bigger
family now. I've got three to support and I can't bear to leave them again.
It feels like only yesterday I was being pulled out of my home to take down
some evil force threatening our land. I'm not about to leave Mel to take care
of Reuben and Rohane herself."
"If you don't go, Ramtor's power will seep towards
Trestin as well. At least if you come with me, we can keep your family safe.
The knight glanced at Melissa and the brothers
shortly, and turned back to the Lupe. Sighing, he answered, "Well, if it's for
the better, count me in. I'll go get my stuff, and we can ride Fidelity over
to the castle." He stood up, and was about to walk to the bedroom, when the
female white Blumaroo stopped him briefly.
"Reynold…you're leaving?" she asked. "But…"
"I know, Mel," he said sadly. "I've tried talking
him out of it. Listen, I have to go. The more forces we have, the better chance
we stand of making sure the king's advisor doesn't harm our village. We should
be thankful that we are quite far from the castle. Anyway, it's for the best.
Please understand. Besides, I've left loads of times in the past…"
"Those were the times before we had a second
son, the times I could handle the house okay by myself," said Melissa nervously.
"And I've gotten so used to having you around more often to help train Reuben
AND Rohane. Plus, Ramtor is also a powerful wizard, and he can easily finish
an enemy with one zap. Who knows if you'll even be back?"
The knight held her paw calmly. "I promise, I'll
be back. Everything will be all right. Taking care of two defenders-in-training
shouldn't be so bad. Don't worry." He smiled, half unhappy, half determined.
She brushed a tear away from her left eye. "I'll
miss you though."
"Me too, Mel. Me too." He watched her walk back
to the kitchen, where she had been steaming something for a while.
Sir Reynold turned the doorknob ever so slowly,
as if it took him a great amount of strength. He walked inside, and stepped
up to a huge cabinet beside his bed. Taking out a small golden key from his
pocket, he opened it, and revealed a full-body suit of metal armor hanging inside.
At the sides of the inside were two long swords, a couple of small daggers and
an old picture drawn by Reuben, of the whole family standing beside an image
of a house. He began polishing the armor and taking down one of the blades with
him, along with one of the little daggers.
His father got ready for another mission to help
save Meridell and Melissa was in the kitchen, while Bernard told Reuben some
jokes. None of them noticed a young yellow Blumaroo sneak over to a closed bedroom
and open the door to see someone equipping himself.
"Rohane? What are you doing here?"
He crossed the room and sat on his father's bed.
"Are you really leaving us?"
The knight glanced at his youngest son, who was
looking quite concerned. His heart was slightly moved with pity, so he seated
himself beside him, like the time he consoled him after a bad training day.
"Yes, I am." Then Reynold got straight to the
point. "But I'll be back as soon as I can. Right now though, Meridell needs
me. Sometimes, when you want to do something you want, you have to do something
first that you don't want."
"I don't get it," said Rohane, a downcast expression
on his face.
"Well…it means that, if you wish something to
happen, you have to do something in the process that isn't always something
you like. For example, I want to save the kingdom and our king. To do THAT,
I have to leave my family for a few days, maybe weeks or even months. See the
logic? I don't want to be separated from you, your brother or your mother. However,
it is already in my nature to answer our land's calls for help."
His son thought for a moment, and finally nodded.
Then something else crossed his mind. "What about me? How am I going to be a
good knight when you're gone?"
"Trust me," said Sir Reynold, standing up and
twirling his sword at a safe distance from Rohane. "You can still teach yourself,
and this reminds me of one thing my grandfather once told me." He looked into
his eyes seriously.
"You may not become a knight on the outside,
but you can still become a knight on the inside, as long as your cause is good
and your heart is pure."
To be continued...