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Short story: “Find your own adventure”

I actually wrote this up as a back story to a Dungeons & Dragons character I got to use about a month ago, but I think the story stands well enough on its own, a quaint little fantasy piece.

Hopefully you agree with me.

***

They had brought his father’s gear with them when they came to deliver the news of what had happened. His mother had accepted his bow and his armor with all the grace and poise that was to be expected from a Hengeyokai wife, but Oy could tell from the look in her eyes that she was already deep in mourning. His older brother had said nothing, merely bowed his head in acknowledgement and then followed the two elf messengers back outside.

Oy remained with his mother and his younger sisters, all of them huddled up in a silent embrace to console each other. They all knew this could happen, that eventually there would be a battle that his father would not return from, but this still did not dull the hurt now that it had actually come to pass.

“Your father fought bravely all his life”, their mother said. “We must honor him by showing the same kind of bravery now that he is no longer among us.

“Your eldest brother will have to take his place, as he has been trained to, but we can do what we can to contribute as well.”

Oy eyed the longbow lovingly. Though much of father’s attentions had been spent on his eldest son, he had recently taken to bringing Oy along for practice also; it was as if he had foreseen this event, where Oy might be required to be able to fight as well. He knew it was wrong of him to covet it like that; surely his brother had the greater claim to it. Oy would have to remain at home, watching over his younger sisters until he came of age.

The fire crackled in the hearth, throwing large shadows up on the surrounding walls, creating an almost cavernous gloom around father’s seat by the table, the seat which he would no longer sit in. In the room the silence, only broken by the occasional sob by his youngest sister Meelah, was like a thick blanket and everyone seemed to focus on the door, awaiting the return of the successor to the family.

Finally, as the fires began to burn low, the door opened and his brother emerged, stony faced and serious as always, though his tail flicked back and forth nervously.

“They told me of father’s final battle”, he said. “He performed as valiantly as we could have expected, only perishing to save the man standing next to him.”

Oy’s mother wiped her eyes solemnly and nodded. “It was always his way to put others before himself.”

“Must you leave now?” she asked, with just a slight tinge of despair evident in her green eyes, eyes of a color that she shared with Oy’s brother. Oy himself had inherited his father’s golden brown eyes.

He smiled sadly and shook his head. “There is no threat at present. That last battle made sure of that, so they told me I could remain and take care of father’s affairs for the time being. But they will call me if needed.”

Their mother seemed relieved at that and Meelah, still so emotional at her age, rushed over to cling to her elder brother’s legs, wrapping her tail around them.

“It still needs to be decided what to do with father’s things”, he continued, gazing at them all, his green eyes suddenly much older than his years. He would not officially come of age until next spring, though it was apparent that he had already shouldered the responsibility that comes with a man responsible for his own family.

Oy held his breath, not expecting anything, not much at all. Surely his brother would decide that father’s gear should be his as he was now the head of the family. That was why he could hardly believe his own eyes, his own hands when his brother placed their father’s longbow, worn from practice, but still shooting as true as ever, in his hands.

“Little brother”, he said. “I know you have always had a deep affection for father’s bow. Myself I prefer the short bow to the long and father’s bow has never felt quite right in my hands, therefore I think it right that you should have it.”

A hint of a smile washed some of the gloom from his face as he gently laid a hand on Oy’s shoulder. Oy had no words at first, he merely looked at the bow in his hands, felt its weight and let his thumb run across the patterns carved into the fine wood.

“It…It’s mine?” he said, not realizing he had spoken it out loud.

“It is yours now, little brother”, he said and rubbed his head affectionately. “I have watched you practice with father, you have a talent with it and I do not think he would disapprove of you having it, or his other things…Though they might not fit you so well yet.”

Oy felt awash with emotion, though he still mourned his father, he was also very happy that he now had a longbow of his very own, a good bow, one he had used before and felt comfortable with.

“Both of you will make me proud”, their mother said and embraced them both in turn as her tail flicked behind her.

That night, after the candles had all been blown out and the fire had been reduced to embers Oy lay in his bed restless. He could only think of his brave father, who had used his bow so efficiently and slain so many dark creatures that threatened them or their elf friends and neighbors. He could now vividly recall his father’s tales of the adventures he had undertaken in his youth, the party he had been a part of that had gone off on many a quest, before the girls had been born and his wife had forced him to remain closer to home.

Suddenly there was a burning itch in his belly, a desire to take his father’s gear and make him truly proud of him, to take it and go forth and seek out his own adventure. Surely he could not remain close to home now, just wait for adventure to come and take his brother away, forcing him to babysit his sisters and mother.

Silent as the cat he was, he packed up his things and some supplies into a knapsack; he put on his father’s armor and strapped the bow and quiver to his back. Then, as the half-moon rose above the trees Oy slipped away into the night. Away, off into the world to find his very own destiny.

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