Chapter 3 - To Become a Hero

Cylor’s parents were fast asleep as he rolled out of his hay bed. Even if they woke up to question him, he could lie and say he needed to use the waste hole behind the hut. He scooted himself out of the hut as quietly as possible, awaking no one.


The moon illuminated the sky. It was time to head back. Wisps of wind rolled over his skin, bringing a comfortable chill to the humid air, and the grass talked, rustling. He looked to his pond as he made way out of the yard, a few fish tails splashed in and out of the water as the remaining food played with one another.


This wasn’t the first time he snuck out at night. In fact, he and Tynun had gone on many previous adventures. Only as far as Twilight’s Fold though. Tonight, everything would change for him. Only the stories from traveling merchants had brought him any sort of idea of what lay far beyond Jalla. He knew of the bordering territories and had heard descriptions of a few species that lived beyond because of the Gurden tribe that often wandered around, trying to build connections for Jalla.


“Cylor.” A voice trailed out in the empty night.


He looked around the sleeping huts, not a creature in sight.


“Where are you going, Cylor?”


He then saw something move through a beaten down stick fence. Juun waved the two prongs of his tail.


“Isn’t it a bit late to be walking around the village?” Juun asked.


“Yeah, you should go back inside and get some sleep. I’m just going for a little stroll. I’ve got my mind on things.”


Juun dragged himself closer, then stopped. “Oh, okay. Well, I’ll see you tomorrow. Be sure to come down to the beach again. My friends said they’ll come up to you at your usual spot. They want to thank you for getting that apple for us.”


Cylor smiled. “Yeah, I’ll be there. Good night, Juun.” And with that, he turned around, feeling a pang of sorrow. The only Dhasum to give him any positive attention outside his family, and his possibly last words would be lies. There was no other option.


The moon cast a fading light over the open path on the way to Twilight’s Fold. Groves of trees all bent their branches in farewell. He made his way through, avoiding the Jallan guards, and after a few minutes, a red glow shone through the empty spaces between leaves on large plants. Sarby’s voice echoed around the dying trees he stood next to. The crew stood at a different section of the Fold than earlier, one that had once been assigned as a rescue squad base, now abandoned. The only thing lying around were tree stumps and once used wooden huts. 


“If only my father was still around, this corner of the woods wouldn’t have gone to waste.” Tynun said to Sarby as Cylor joined the group. They both greeted him, then Tynun continued to speak. “Then again, if he was here, I doubt Neyr would be gone. He would have hauled him somewhere safe before the humans could get to him.” He crawled over and into the decaying hut. “At least there are still some things in here we can take with us. Can you guys help put some things into my back, please?”


Cylor and Sarby followed him inside, Sarby’s crystal serving as a light. Broken down tables and chairs lay scattered across the floor. Cylor hopped about in odd patterns to make sure not to scrape his stomach against the wooden shards that jutted out in piles in every direction.


“So, where’s Guile?” Cylor asked.



“He should be here soon…” Tynun paused and looked around. “And here we are.” He stood beside a crate and climbed up it to look inside. “We’ve got some first aid stuff.”


“And a hammer!” Sarby said.


“We don’t need a hammer.” Tynun looked terrified at the idea of Sarby about to drop it into his back.


“Might come in handy though.” Sarby acted like he was going to swing it, and as he pulled it back, he fell backwards.


Cylor picked him up and shook his head.


“Right, we don’t need a hammer.” Sarby brushed off the wood chips that clung to his fur.


“I’m kind of worried,” Cylor admitted. “What can we even expect to do against these humans?”


“I don’t have any plans for us to attack. No matter how many times the humans attack our villages, we stand no chance, right? I’ve seen the rescue squad prepare over the past week or so for each ambush, and each time we lose. We are losing more and more of our forces every day. Soon, there won’t be a rescue squad at all. So, there’s only one thing left to do. No matter how many days it takes to find them, we’ll have to stalk them until they sleep. They are most likely at the stone structures, so we’ll have to camp out around there. We will free all the species under their brutal control. We have to! Now, you guys wanna help throw some of that medicine into my back?”


The two helped collect and tidy everything up in Tynun’s back. His body sank lower to the ground, and with each step he carried a strong confidence.


“Hello!?” Guile’s voice came from outside.


“Shut up, you red-eyed beast!” Sarby jogged outside, the others following, though more casually.


“Ah, you’re still mad about earlier?” Guile laughed. “Come on, Elnoa boy, it’s all just in good fun.”


“If you say so, you gutless Gurden.” Sarby glared at Guile, then broke into laughter. “But seriously, you’re being too loud, and you say my light will attract attention.” Sarby clicked his tongue. “I hope you’re ready, you six limbed freak. Tonight, we set on our path to ambush these humans in their peaceful slumber!”


Tynun tapped Sarby with one of his legs. “If you think having six limbs is being a freak, then what am I?” He laughed as well.


Cylor still couldn’t understand. How could anyone laugh after being insulted? He had spent his whole life being tormented about his abnormal tail, yet the way these three laughed about their differences seemed friendly, not degrading. Cylor managed to laugh a bit, but felt as uncomfortable as before. Even though they had insulted each other earlier in the day, they still smiled with one another, wanting to be around each other. He couldn’t imagine himself that carefree of such remarks.


“Did you bring the food, Guile?” Tynun asked.


“Got it in this bag right here.” He pointed to the bag tied around his back.


“I think that’s everything, then. Is everyone ready? It’s going to be a long trip.”


Cylor hobbled up alongside them. “I’m ready.” His heart raced, but this was his chance. A new life. One where he didn’t sit around all day. He would be a hero in his village if he returned. No one would ever make fun of him again.


“Well boys, let’s take one last look at Jalla. Who knows if we’ll be coming back,” Tynun said and looked back at the shabby hut, then led the way out of Twilight’s Fold.