The Seekers – A Hero’s Story (Part 10)
A Legend Is Born (cont’d)
“This is Mhutig of krousus, our friend and ally,” Lisette continued. “Please, do not be afraid. Mhutig’s size and strength are only matched by that of his heart.”
“What is it?” a man questioned from the growing crowd of villagers.
“He is a centaur and protector of the people,” Lisette said in the calmest voice granted to her, sensing the fear and nervous energy of the villagers.
“What is a centaur?” another man asked.
Lisette took a breath of patience, then smiled at the man who was eyeing Mhutig with suspicion and a hint of disgust. She did not like what she saw in his eyes, but knew it was critical to show respect. “Sir, a centaur is a man with the strength of the mightiest horse, and the compassion of the strongest human. And as you can see, he has the lower body of the animal whose strength he owns.”
“There exists no such creature!” a man shouted out.
Refraining from pointing out that Mhutig’s presence proved otherwise, Lisette answered the man. “It is true that centaurs do not exist in Wrunwicks, but Mhutig is from a different land.”
“A different land. How preposterous!” a woman exclaimed. “Do you have proof of this?” she asked.
“We do not, but our journey has barely begun,” Lisette admitted. “As the seekers of Stonebridge, we hope to prove its existence and uncover why the people of Wrunwicks are disappearing.”
“Two days ago, a band of three men went to find the source of thunder coming from the forest.” the woman answered. “And they have not returned. Are you able to find out what happened to them?”
Know Your Enemy
Observing the looks of fear and distrust amplified by the lanterns, Mhutig decided it was time to address the men and women of Strawbridge.
“I know that my appearance must seem strange and frightening to you, noble people of Strawbridge. But allow me to assure you that I am not your enemy, and I mean you no harm. In Krousus, I swore an oath to protect the humans of our land. Those people are preyed upon by creatures who would see them annihilated.”
“Have those creatures also made their way to Wrunwicks, centaur?” interrupted a young man from the outskirts of the crowd.
“I fear the thunder you heard coming from the forest may have been such a creature. In Krousus, we call them cyclops,” Mhutig answered. “They are the humans’ greatest enemy. And although we managed to destroy the three we encountered here in Wrunwicks, one of them succeeded in taking down our friend.”
Thereupon, the villagers turned their attention from Mhutig to the man lying on the horse. Unhinged by the centaur, none of them had noticed the poor soul who had already said his last words.
After making his way through the crowd to stand in front of Mhutig, the young man who had questioned him spoke once again.
“Who is the fallen one?” he asked Mhutig, figuring that if the centaur were a threat, they would know by now.
“This is Calder,” Aspen answered in place of Mhutig. “He is the son of Clarence and Anna Bestwood.”
“And who might you be,” the young man asked.
“I am Aspen, daughter of Walter and Eleanor Green,” she introduced herself.
“Despite the tragic circumstance, it is a pleasure to meet you, Aspen. I am Leroy, son of Lloyd and Hazel Black, ” he answered. “May I ask what happened to your friend?”
During the exchange between Leroy and Aspen, the villagers were quiet. Leroy could be a little cocky at times, but he was also generous in his words and actions. Trusting him, they were more than happy to stand back while he made his inquiries.
A Hero’s Story
“Like the villagers of Strawbridge, we heard the thunder of footsteps in the forest,” Aspen began. “We had already encountered and destroyed our first cyclops – one-eyed monsters bigger than any creature known to us. We waited to see if the footsteps belonged to more of such dangerous creatures.
Mhutig had instructed us to wait in the woods while he prepared for an attack if necessary. When two cyclops appeared, we watched as Mhutig destroyed the first cyclops with a single strike of his sword. Unfortunately, the second cyclops could not be so easily destroyed. Unable to stand by while Mhutig fought alone, we charged forward. Calder reached the cyclops first and struck with all his might. The cyclops knocked Calder from his horse, causing him to bang his head against a rock. In the end, Calder’s brave actions helped Mhutig destroy the cyclops.”
The villagers listened in awe while Aspen spoke, her words filled with grief. No one doubted the truth of Calder’s story. When Aspen finished speaking, Leroy turned to the centaur.
“We are honored by your presence here in Strawbridge, Mhutig,” he said solemnly. “And by yours as well, seekers.”
“The honor is mutual, Leroy,” Lisette answered. “We are hoping to provide Calder with the funeral of a hero during our stay. In the meantime, we will need lodging.”
All Are Welcome
“My inn is always open to visitors!” Bernard shouted from among the crowd, causing a small ripple of laughter.
“Then we will gladly stay, kind sir!” Lisette shouted back.
Florette felt a tide of goodwill wash over her. The men and women of Strawbridge had accepted them into their village, proving her faith in the people of Wrunwicks. She left Lisette’s hood to sit on Daisy’s neck.
“And who do we have here?” Leroy asked.
“This is Florette. A fairy of Evergreen Forest. Without her help, we might not be here,” Lisette said, introducing her friend.
“That sounds like another story worth hearing, ” Leroy remarked while extending his hand in friendship, his eyes bright with interest.
Lisette also noticed the kindness in his eyes. She liked him immediately, and smiled as Florette offered her own hand in friendship.
“I have a feeling that we will become very good friends, ” Leroy said as he turned to Lisette and shook her hand next.
No one noticed the fire in Melvin’s eyes. The seekers had a good story to tell, but that didn’t mean he was willing to accept them or the centaur.
~~~END OF SECTION ONE~~~
Thank you for reading this week’s post! You can read parts 1 – 9 of this story by clicking on the link below. Until next time, be kind to yourself. You’re worth it.✨