The Seekers – A Legend Is Born (Part 9)
When the Battle Ends (cont’d)
“Are those birds from Krousus, Mhutig?” Lisette asked with the all too familiar feeling of being upside down.
Following the direction of her eyes, Mhutig appraised the two birds. “We have birds of similar size and form, but none possess the red heads of these two. I have never seen birds of such bright coloring,” he informed Lisette.
“Neither have I, because they do not exist in Wrunwicks,” she answered.
“In Krousus, we call them ‘purifiers’. They feed on the dead like those cyclops and any other creature that would otherwise putrefy,” Mhutig explained.
Devastated by the loss of their friend, the others did not register the exchange between Lisette and Mhutig.
“We will need to bring Calder with us to Strawbridge, so that he may have a proper burial,” Ewart interrupted, finding the strength to address their new reality.
And while he spoke, the purifiers began to clean the bones of the cyclops – unmoved by their new surroundings.
Lisette was still cradling Aspen in her arms to give comfort, but also to comfort herself. This journey had been her idea, and she had promised herself to bring everyone home safely. A promise that she was no longer able to keep.
“He will ride with us one last time,” she replied, cradling Aspen a little tighter. “Calder will be given the funeral of a hero,” she continued. “We will share his story with the villagers of Strawbridge, and word of his courage will spread throughout the land. His story will then be passed on by the elders to our children. Calder will live on through them.”
“And he will live on in our hearts,” Aspen added, grateful for Lisette’s words.
While they were speaking, Roy went to secure Calder’s horse, bringing the young mare over to her owner. Ewart and Henry helped to place their friend on Sky’s back, facing the ground. They lay his camp blanket over his body, so that he could travel undisturbed.
“It’s time for us to go,” Lisette informed Aspen in a near whisper.
Aspen nodded, hugged Lisette in a message of love, and stood up for the first time since kneeling beside Calder. Lisette also stood up for the first time since joining her friends on the ground. Together they joined the others who waited in silence. Florette had not left Lisette’s hood since her goodbye to Calder.
Fairies were intuitive by nature and could feel the emotions of those around them. The pain Florette felt from the seekers crashed against her like waves crashing against the cliffs of Wrunwicks. Lisette was her only protection.
When the seekers set out for Strawbridge, the purifiers were still tearing into the cyclops. It would be long past the time that sensible folk went to bed when they arrived at the village. Although they were past caring, for there was nothing sensible about this day.
“May the rest of our journey to Strawbridge be uneventful,” Roy said as they left the purifiers to finish their meal.
And after a long day’s ride, they arrived in Strawbridge without any further encounters with cyclops or other creatures. Given the late hour, they were expecting the village to be dark. However, the village was bright with lamps still burning in every home. The group stopped at the edge of the woods.
“The villagers must keep very late hours,” Henry remarked.
“We should proceed with care,” Lisette cautioned. “The villagers have never seen a centaur before, and we have no idea how they will react.”
“They are bound to be surprised and frightened. I imagine that we will not have long to wait for their reaction, once we enter the village,” Ewart answered.
“Perhaps it would be best for me to wait here for now,” Mhutig offered. “I do not wish to alarm anyone.”
“Nonsense, Mhutig,” Roy rebutted. “You are one of us now. And we never leave our own behind.”
Lisette smiled at Roy before answering Mhutig. “Roy is right. We may not have known you for long, but friendship is based on trust, and not the amount of time we have known each other. We must stick together.”
“I am honored by your words,” Mhutig answered. “I, too, count all of you among my trusted friends.”
“And as I have said before,” Lisette continued. “The villagers will also learn to value your alliance.”
“We are all happy to have you with here with us, Mhutig,” Aspen joined in. “Together, we will honor Calder’s sacrifice.”
“To Calder,” Roy said.
“To Calder,” the others agreed.
The group fell silent, each one recalling memories of their friend. And although Mhutig had only a few, he would always remember Calder’s courageous spirit.
“Well, I think it’s high time that we enter the village,” Roy said, disrupting the silence.
“Something tells me this is going to be a long night,” Henry answered, his words laced with exhaustion. For the ride to Strawbridge had taken a toll on his bruised ribs.
“I suspect that to be an understatement,” Lisette said, gathering Daisy’s reins – it was up to her to lead them into the village.
A Legend Is Born
Mhutig followed behind her, then Aspen with Sky and Calder by her side. The others fell in line after their fallen friend. The image they created would live on in the paintings of tomorrow.
For their arrival in Strawbridge that night would become the stuff of legend, passed on through art and stories.
But the seekers were unaware of this as they came upon Strawbridge, and made their way down its dusty streets in search of an inn. And the villagers did not know they were witnessing history as they stared out their windows at the sight in front of them.
Before long, the seekers were surrounded by villagers who gaped at Mhutig in amazement, their mouths open in fear and disbelief.
“We are the seekers of Stonebridge,” Lisette began.
~~~TO BE CONTINUED~~~
Thank you for reading this week’s post! You can read parts 1 – 8 of this story by clicking on the button below. I would also like to mention that I’ve entered my poetry book into a book cover competition. Voting is now open and you don’t need to be a member to vote. And I don’t mind admitting that I could really use your help if I’m to make it to round two, so I’m hoping that you’ll click the other button to vote.🙏!!!
Well, that’s it for this week. Until next time, be kind to yourself. You’re worth it.