Another Hero's Journey: Part Twelve
I am currently staying at the village of White River, a few days’ walk from Trestin. I even have a friend with me – she’s a magician named Mipsy, and she wants to help me with my quest. Anyway, I would just like to tell you that I miss everyone back there, not just you two, but also Seth, the Babaa herder, Liwanag, Tala and their family... even Father.
I’m okay, but I ran into another quest on the way and had to get it out of the way first. But now I’m headed for Ramtor again, and I think Mipsy will be a big help. Anyway, I’d like to know how things are going there. Write to me, okay? I’ll be here in White River for a while, and I told Mipsy that I’m not moving till I get a reply from you. Of course, if she forces me against my will, I’ll be sure to drop you a note as to where I’ve gone to next.
Reuben, if I know you, I know you’re probably thinking of following me. No, come on, I’m not psychic. We’re just brothers. Don’t, Reuben. Don’t risk your life. You’re needed at Trestin more, especially for Mother and for Liwanag. You and I don’t have to carry the same burden. I chose this path, and I want you to choose your own path for our family.
My quest is for you and for Father. Remember that.
But I promise to return alive. Before I left, I made that promise, and I’m reminding you that I have no intention of breaking it.
Wish me luck as I get ever closer to my goal. I love you both, always have, always will... even Father.
Rohane a.k.a. “LAST HOPE”
* * *
Two weeks later, Trestin was slowly recovering from its ordeal with the bandits, and business went on as usual – except that now they had nearly twenty new residents helping out, whether it was farming, herding or marketing, after they were healed by Tala, the Aisha healer of the village, and her daughter and apprentice, Liwanag. The bandits were too grateful to refuse any job that needed to be done, since they owed the villagers big time for sparing their lives.
One Kyrii in particular couldn’t care less if he had to be in charge of the village sanitation, or in short, the trash, so long as he could stay with his sister, whom he had never seen in a long while after being rescued by a band of adventurers who turned out to be bandits teaching their new charge their work.
“I want to come with you when you start traveling again,” said Ruben. He watched as Andrea perched herself on a stone and pulled out a journal. “And giving your turquoise necklace to Reuben was a nice thing you did. You really like him, don’t you?”
“Reuben reminds me so much of you,” replied the red Kyrii, scribbling by the light of the setting afternoon sun with her trusty quill. “You’re both adventurous... brave... always looking out for others. That’s why... hopefully you don’t mind. Anyway, Aunt Olivia, Omar, Devin and I are leaving first thing tomorrow, after restocking. It was nice staying here in Trestin for a while, but I think we ought to have mercy on Melissa and Reuben.”
“I don’t think they looked like they mind,” remarked Ruben, sitting on the other end of the large, flat rock. “But then again... I look forward to having an adventure with you again, after all these years. Mom and Dad are gone now, aren’t they?”
“Yeah, they are.”
“Well, at least we have our aunt, and Devin, and Omar. It felt like such an eternity that I barely recognized any of you... actually I didn’t recognize Devin or Omar at all. They’re really nice guys, and so is Reuben.”
The Kyrii siblings’ eyes hovered over the silhouette of Olivia, who was seated on the grass a short distance away, watching the sky slowly darken. And not too far away from her were Devin and Omar. The green Kacheek and the brown Lupe were having a mock duel, and every now and then their laughs and jeers could be heard.
“It would be nice to stay here... as in, forever,” said Andrea. She closed her journal and her eyes. Ruben kept quiet and let her think.
Neither of the two Kyrii noticed that they were being watched through the window of a nearby house, where the pensive face of a white Blumaroo was reflected against the glass pane. His elbows were propped up onto the sill, and his gaze would hover over the purple Lupe probably just being alone in her element with nature, the dueling Devin and Omar, and Andrea and Ruben, finally reunited after – twelve, or thirteen – years of being separated by time and a treacherous forest.
Reuben was going to miss them all. In fact, he already missed Dark Hope, the Shoyru spy who had given Reuben a letter from his younger brother and Rohane his nickname – Last Hope. Reuben knew solemnly that since he decided to stay home and stay out of trouble now, Rohane was most probably Meridell’s last star of hope.
“So, how’s my other celebrity?”
Melissa stood behind the younger white Blumaroo, carrying a tray of her favorite flavored tea.
Reuben gave her a crooked smile. Ever since that fateful day a couple of weeks ago, he and his friends became the newest talk of the town. And it helped that they also knew that he had given up his quest of following his brother for Trestin’s sake. He didn’t know what to think – this was what he had wanted, to be recognized as someone much more than what others thought and to show everyone what he was capable of, but something was still missing.
His mother read it on his face as plain as day.
“Still not satisfied?” she asked gently. “You helped save the village, and not only are we safe now, we made sure those bandits don’t raid another village again, and you proved to everyone, even yourself, that you’re also someone with something special...”
“I’ll miss my friends... heck, I already miss Dark,” said Reuben with a shrug, turning away from the window and watching the shadows the remaining sunlight cast through the window. “They’ll be leaving. And... I never got to see Rohane. That was what I really wanted... to see him alive and well and still going on that quest to save the kingdom.”
“You got his letter,” said Melissa. “Is that not enough?”
Reuben raised his eyebrows. “Are you kidding? I want to see, not just read. I wanted to help him...”
“But you did, Reuben.”
“You saved him the trouble of worrying about Trestin while he was gone,” said the older Blumaroo, placing a gentle paw on his shoulder after setting the tray of tea on the dining table. “You made sure the village would stay the way it was when he left it – as peaceful and as neat as ever. And most of all... you gave him yet another reason to be proud of you. He’ll be plugging you into every inspirational speech he will give. When others ask him about what he’s done, he’ll start talking about you instead.”
Blushing slightly, Reuben chuckled. “Well... there’s that. At least I know they’ll believe the next time I say I’m the son of Sir Reynold. The older son, I’ll tell them that. And speaking of telling... I’ll be in my room for a while. Just call me when dinner’s ready.”
The white Blumaroo retreated into his bedroom. It still felt as though he had not been in it for ages. He pulled up the chair from his desk and lit the lamp on the table. After reaching out for a quill and a piece of paper, Reuben uncorked a bottle of blue ink and dipped the tip of his pen into it.
Apparently, he had been so caught up in all the attention and in all the cleanup that he forgot to write back to Rohane. Andrea’s words echoed in his mind as he positioned the tip over the paper.
When you’re in trouble, write. I’m telling you, Reuben, whether it’s merely a journal entry – yes, I do keep my own journal – or a novel, writing is a good way to let out how you feel...
The quill began scratching out a few words on the paper, and the Blumaroo felt utterly clichéd as he wrote out a greeting and an introduction to his younger sibling, who was still out there, hunting for Ramtor. Reuben had restored peace in Trestin (although he did have some help); would Rohane be able to do the same for the entire kingdom of Meridell?
But Reuben suddenly put his quill aside and thought for a moment. Then he reached into a drawer and pulled out a creased sheet of paper that looked as though it had been folded and unfolded many times. Unfolding it again, he scanned the words and paragraphs written in small, neat and precise script. Underneath the last paragraph was a signature that clearly read, “Andrea”.
Hopefully when you find Rohane, you’ll show him what I wrote.
He put Andrea’s story beside the lamp so he wouldn’t forget to send it. Still, the white Blumaroo couldn’t resist rereading it again, despite nearly having it memorized.
Once upon a time, there lived two young boys in a village within the mountainous heart of Meridell. Each of them had their own ambitions, talents, hopes and dreams in life... and so began a heroic journey for both of them...
But Reuben knew that there was still a long way to go before they finished their journey – or journeys. The story may have ended with a flourish, a few fancy words and a full stop, but the true story of his life, and Rohane’s life, entwined together and binding them in brotherhood, would keep going on, like a book whose author constantly kept on adding new pages.
This, Reuben knew, as he finished the letter and began sealing it into an envelope, was probably the start of yet another chapter of his destiny.