Elduin dashed through the trees. He wanted to get a glimpse of the Pembas playing again. Maybe this time they will play with him. His dad told him to stay away from the Pembas. But, if he was going to be the hunter in the family, he wanted to be able to find the Pembas.
Elduin softened his footsteps and crept behind a tree. “There,” he thought, “I knew they would play in the meadow today.” Elduin smiled as he watched the Pembas race everywhere. They tumbled over each other and wrestled to the ground. Then they leaped up and did it all over again.
Suddenly, Elduin felt a presence next to him. He turned quickly, but the Pemba knocked him to the ground. He placed his paw lightly on Elduin’s stomach. “I am the Elder. It is my duty to watch over the little ones. I have seen you watching them before. What are your intentions?”
A thunderous sound of paws drew closer, and Elduin thought he would be trampled. Another large Pemba halted the many little ones who giggled as they tumbled over each other. “What is it, Elder? Who is this?” the female Pemba said.
“Calm down, Myst. It is just the hunter. He has become the hunted.” The Elder looked at Elduin again, “What are your intentions here?”
“I,” Elduin stuttered, “I am not a hunter yet. I’m too little. But I follow the signs of the little Pembas. I love to watch them play.”
What are your intentions?
“Hmm,” The Elder began, “Will you show others how to find the Pembas?”
Elduin looked shocked. “Oh, no, mister Elder, sir, I would never do that. I love the Pembas.”
“I see,” the Elder said, “What say you, Myst? Shall we give him a taste of the little ones?”
Myst laughed merrily, “Of course. He has no idea.” She turned to the little Pembas. “Back to the meadow and try to catch Elduin!”
The little Pembas raced away, and the Elder let Elduin stand. “You should run into the meadows, Elduin. Enjoy your fun.” The Elder said.
Elduin laughed and raced into the meadow. He was immediately knocked down, and there was a pile-up of black bodies on him. Soon, he was on his feet again and raced around the meadow. Myst shook her head. “He does love the little ones.”
The Elder nodded, “Yes. Let him enjoy the little ones for a time. His duties will take him away soon enough.”
“Thank you for letting me help you, Elder. It helps me pass the time while I wait for my duty.” Myst said.
“It will be years from now, Myst. Cato has Anya well in hand. She is as energetic as Elduin.” The Elder said.
Myst meets the hunter
Myst stared at Elduin as he rose again from a pile of Pembas. “You mean, he is that hunter? The one for Anya?”
The Elder nodded, “The Creator has spoken. When the time comes, you will meet him again. He will help you protect Anya.”
The Elder sighed, and a small moan came from him. Myst turned to him in concern, “What is it, Elder? What can I do to help you?”
“Continue as you have always done, Myst.” The Elder said, “Commune with the Creator, check in with Cato daily, and share your days with him so he is not lonely. And keep being kind, respectful, and looking for justice in everything.”
“Why do you moan, Elder?” Myst asked.
“The land is changing. Evil has moved into our land and taken root. Our people will be tested. I did not think it would happen in my lifetime. My great-grandfather looked forward to this time. He told me the stories and legends. I received my duty from him. I just didn’t realize how oppressing evil can be. Even a little is painful.” The Elder stood and moved toward the meadow. “Come, Myst, you will understand all in a few years. Until then, I am glad to have you help me with this lot.”
Everyone has a duty
Myst walked with the Elder back into the meadow, where Elduin was lying on the ground, breathing hard while Pembas panted around him. “I think he tired them out, Elder. I hope Elduin returns again to play.” Myst said. She tucked all that the Elder had said to explore later in her mind. For now, she had a job to do.
“Thank you, Elduin, for playing with the little ones. They must return home for a snack. We will see you another time if the Creator wills.” Myst said.
Little Pembas squeaky voices cried “Snacks” and ran for home. Elduin stood and bowed to the Elder. “Thank you for today. I will never forget it.” He said.
Myst nudged his shoulder and then raced after the little ones. The Elder watched Elduin search for the Pembas, but they were gone into the forest. “Be careful on your way home, Elduin. Watch out for others who do not share your love for the Pembas.” Then the Elder trotted away from Elduin.
Elduin stood in shock for a few minutes and rubbed his hand on his head. “What did the Elder mean by that?” he thought. Elduin turned for home and ran through the trees. Near home, he found a rabbit next to a tree. Grabbing the rabbit, Elduin held him tight and continued at a walk.
A few minutes later, a voice rang out. “Hello, young man. What is that you have found?”
Startled, Elduin nearly dropped the rabbit. “It’s a rabbit, sir, for our dinner. I’m learning to be a hunter.”
The man fell into step with Elduin, “Don’t hunters normally kill the dinner before they take it home?”
Elduin did not like the man. He wasn’t old, but not a boy either. He dressed funny. “My father has not instructed me on that as yet. I am to bring home the rabbit alive.”
“Aw, so you are not a hunter as yet, then.” The man chuckled.
A chill went down Elduin’s back, and he hurried his steps. His house was not far now. Hopefully, his father would be outside.
The man put his hand on Elduin’s shoulder, and Elduin was relieved to hear his father’s voice. “Elduin, take the rabbit into the house now.”
Keep watch for ill-intentioned strangers
Elduin ran to the door and slipped into the house. He heard his father and the man talking, “Do not put your hand on my son, sir.” His father said.
The man laughed, “I meant nothing by it. I just wondered where he found the rabbit is all.”
“You are an outsider. I believe you must return to your business elsewhere.” Elduin’s father sounded stern, but the man laughed it off.
“Alright, old man. I’m going.” Elduin was relieved when his father came into the house.
“He is gone?” Elduin asked.
“Yes, he is gone. You took your time getting the rabbit.” His father peered at him and shook his head. “Stay away from outsiders.”
“Yes, Father, I intend to do that,” Elduin said. He wondered if that man was who the Elder warned him about. “What do I do with the rabbit?”
His father put his hand on Elduin’s head. “You did a good job today. Tomorrow, we will talk about how a rabbit like this becomes dinner. But tonight, let the rabbit go outside. We have other things to eat tonight.”
Elduin smiled. “Okay!” He opened the door and let the rabbit gently down. It raced away into the trees and soon disappeared.
Elduin grows up to be the hunter who stands by Anya. He has to learn many things about gathering, cooking, and caring for a home. I hope you enjoyed the story of the little boy who wanted to play with the Pembas.