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Murgoh: Part Seven


by zephandolf

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"It was many years ago, before you were born, before Savak was even born, that the first trial took place. Gerthen and I were already good friends and almost inseparable. I was a bit older than he was and I knew him all his life. That silver Lupe often looked up to me, though, and I enjoyed it. We played games together, hunted together…we even pulled a few pranks when no one was looking," he added with a smile. The smile faded quickly as he went on. "Life was a riot to us, until war came to the plains. A crazed Lupe had gathered together a massive army with the intent of taking over the plains. He attacked many packs, gathering strength as he marched east from the Haunted Woods. In time, our pack was assaulted, and many of us scattered. Most of them I never saw again. After the attacking Lupes had left, I came upon my pack leader, a middle aged white Lupe, who was dying from the wounds he received. Before I could say anything, he removed the symbol of his power from his neck and pushed it in my direction. Then he died.

      "The symbol, which he gave to me, was a medallion of gold. It had no markings, and there was visibly nothing unusual about it except that it had an uncanny luster to it. When he gave this medallion to me, I could only assume that he wanted me to take the mantle of the pack, if it still existed. So I put it on. Immediately when I did so, the power embedded in this medallion bleached my fur white. When I looked upon the body of my former leader, I saw he had turned yellow. I could only assume that this was his original color, considering what had happened to me.

      "It took me weeks to gather the pack together again. The few who remained were not happy that I was now the leader. Most of these were Lupes I had pulled pranks on. Gerthen was the most supportive Lupe out of all of them. And, though no one liked that I was leader, we all agreed that we had to leave the plains unless we wanted to die, or live under the iron grip of that insane warlord who was taking over the plains.

      "We traveled along the coast, thinking it best to go to Neopia Central. If the plains weren't going to support us, we had no other choice. Eventually, we came upon this cove. And when we did, we were all surprised to find it full of Lupes, refugees from the 'Scourge of the Plains'. These Lupes were suspicious of us at first, not sure whether to trust us or not. After what had happened to them on the plains, I wasn't surprised. But, as we came to know these Lupes, I quickly realized that, gathered here, there was an army big enough to threaten the very warlord who had driven these Lupes from their homes.

      "Recognizing the power that existed among the Lupes in the cove was one thing. Convincing them that it was there was another. It took me three solid weeks to build up their courage enough to make a stand against the 'Scourge of the Plains'. I had other Lupes to help me, though. Gerthen, of course, assisted me, and Haklar, a friend of mine from another pack helped as well. There were others too, though I forgot most of their names. Within a month, I had a hundred Lupes willing to follow me onto the plains to confront the one who had driven them from their home.

      "As we left the cove to fight Kelthar, I noticed something strange near the cove. In the distance in the direction of Neopia Central, I saw three figures: a Lupe, a Kougra, and a Human. I didn't know why they were there, and I didn't really take notice of them then. I was too busy with the task at hand, and forgot about the trio for some time afterward.

      "Far to the southwest, we found Kelthar's pack. Around sunset, our army attacked. It wasn't a short battle. This warlord was well protected. Many Lupes on both sides were gravely injured. It was some time before I even reached the 'Scourge'. With both armies fully occupied, this warlord and I were free to do one-on-one combat. We both went all out, trying to overcome the other. He almost had me a few times, I must admit, but I gave him a few bites he won't forget. Near the end of our fight, I struck a blow across his eye, leaving a welt across his face. It was at this point that Gerthen broke through the battle lines with half a dozen Lupes behind him. The 'Scourge of the Plains' took one look at the silver Lupe, lost his nerve, and called for a retreat. He and a few of his followers fled back into the Haunted Woods where they came from.

      "After this, life on the plains resumed as it always had, with fewer Lupes than it had when the whole affair had started. My pack, especially, had less than half the number it had before. Some of the Lupes had died. Most had either fled, or decided they would rather live in another pack than be led by me. I didn't mind. I really didn't want to be responsible for too many Lupes. I didn't think I was ready for it.

      "In early spring, about a year after the war had ended, a second great trial came upon me, even if I didn't realize it. I was patrolling alone in the northern part of my territory when I decided I wanted to visit the cove where the plains Lupes assembled so long ago. There was something about this place, something peaceful that drew me here, even when the packs were gathered back then. I was skirting the perimeter of the cove when I came upon a blue Lupess. I didn't even realize she was there until I came over a rise and found myself face-to-face with her. Her fur was perfectly groomed, she was well fed, and very healthy. She was also quite a bit younger than I was. I knew she couldn't have come from the plains, even before I saw the collar around her neck. She had to have come from Neopia Central. Stunned by her sudden appearance, all I could mutter was 'hi,' to which she responded 'hello.' I'm sure we would have continued the conversation, had she not been called away by her owner. As she approached the Human, I noticed a young red Kougra there as well, and I realized that that was not the first time I had seen her, nor would it be the last.

      "I returned to that spot as often as I could for weeks after that, hoping she would return. Finally, about a month later, she did. She was back on the plains, accompanied by her owner and the Kougra. For some time, I only watched them from a distance, trying to decide how I could approach them, or get the Lupess's attention. I didn't know what it was at that time that drew me to her. To my surprise, the Lupess noticed me before I could decide what to do. When she did, she slipped from her owner, unnoticed, and came to meet me. We talked for a bit, she and I. I found out that she came to the cove every month with her owner, but she had never seen another Lupe out here, let alone a wild one, since the pack had gathered over a year ago. In turn, I also told her a few things about living out on the plains. I didn't get to tell her much, though, before her owner called for her. As she rose to leave, she told me she would meet me there next month, which was exactly what happened.

      "Not only did I meet her that next month, but we met for months after that. I came to know this Lupess pet very well, and she marveled at the stories I had to tell about my life and the stories I had of other Lupes from the plains. Back at home, though, the Lupes in my pack were growing complaisant. My mysterious disappearances every month had them speculating about what I did out there, alone, and unescorted. Even Gerthen was wondering what I was up to. Though I knew he was trying to remain loyal to me, he did confront me on this issue. Proud as I was, I shoved him off as soon as he brought it up. I should probably be glad he didn't stop there. In fact, I don't know what would happen if he didn't follow me that morning.

      "The weather was cooling off as fall approached. I had snuck off yet again to visit this Lupess. As I said, Gerthen followed me across the plains. I didn't even suspect he had, until I met her at the cove again. It was around then that Gerthen appeared. He asked the questions anyone would ask when faced with that situation; 'What are you doing? Is this what you've been hiding from your pack? Who is she?' Of course, I couldn't find the words to answer. I was shocked and hurt that Gerthen had followed me onto the plains. Before I could form an answer for my friend, the Lupess responded for me.

      "'I came tonight to join your pack,' she said. 'If he has done any wrong on my account, I am sorry for it.' Her response did come as a surprise to me, because I was thinking of asking her to join us, but I didn't know how to ask. It was foolish to think that we could maintain a relationship as far apart as we lived. I had hoped that she would come to live with me, but I didn't know if she would even consider leaving her owner, let alone suggest leaving openly. Gerthen, of course, supported me when we broke the news to the rest of the pack. Even if he did disagree with my methods, which were sloppy anyway, he told me that what's done is done, and we can't change what has happened now.

      "No one was happy when we led the Lupess in among the other pack members. There were split opinions of her, and of me, among the members of the pack, and some of them left, joining with Haklar or other neighboring packs, unwilling to have a 'pet' living with him. Only a pawful of adults remained after a few months. Word spread around the plains that I had gone soft, allowing pets to join my ranks. The ones who were open to my decision found out, after a while, that the Lupess, with a little training, was just as capable as anyone else. And though our pack was small, now, we were fully capable of protecting ourselves."

      Nomad fell silent as his story finally came to an end. Murgoh blinked silently at the old Lupe, unsure of what to say. Many thoughts were swimming around his head, and one of them he knew to be a key to one of his suspicions was just out of his reach. What was it?

      "You were in my pack, then?" he asked, thinking of nothing else to say. "Before I was born, I mean. You were one of us?"

      "I would think that was obvious by now, but I have a closer relation to you than that," the old Lupe said with a weak chuckle that turned into a cough. He cleared his throat before he continued. "You see, that blue Lupess I fell in love with, the one who came from Neopia Central, is living again with her former owner. She is your Grandmother, Jessie."

      Everything clicked into place at that moment. Murgoh stared wide-eyed at the old Lupe, looking at him in a new light. Nomad's true name formed on his lips, and were uttered as a whisper.

      "Murgoh?" the young Lupe asked.

      Before the older Lupe could respond, there was a commotion down the passage leading from the cave. There were voices, loud voices, that could be heard clearly.

      "Savak!" said Star's voice. She was clearly surprised.

      "You!" Savak replied, also surprised. "You're here? But how? On the Vengeance…how did you make it off?"

      Star appeared at the end of the passage, backing away from Savak as he entered the cave, followed closely by Heysha.

      "Dad!" Murgoh exclaimed. He was excited to see his father. But, what had gotten him so worked up about Star?

      "Savak?" Heysha said. "Is…is that who I think it is? Is that Kaylee?"

      Savak didn't respond. Nomad had coughed again, and this had attracted Savak's attention. His eyes, which were already wide with surprise, grew wider as they fell on the old Lupe sitting across from the cave. Murgoh could only imagine what was going through his father's mind at that point. He could only watch as the old red Lupe smiled at him, saying in a calm voice, "Hello, son. It's good to see you."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Murgoh: Part One
» Murgoh: Part Two
» Murgoh: Part Three
» Murgoh: Part Four
» Murgoh: Part Five
» Murgoh: Part Six
» Murgoh



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