The Lost Heroes

The Lost Heroes

A Story by Surya pradha

this is part of a book i was working on.


“That,” he said, looking at the ghostly wreck lying beside the gate, “is the garden of Elmer.” He jogged beside me and continued “it is considered as the very heart of our power, the reason for our subsistence and eternal life. In its heart, only those who are true to their soul are allowed to live, and the others, well, to be straightforward, are subjected to a horrible fate. It is a place of mystery, a puzzle to even those who have studied the magic of our world for centuries.
“And it is where you have to go,” he concluded, and eyeing the premises of the garden from a safe distance, he looked into my bright emerald eyes, perhaps thinking of my poor, hopeless fate...

The garden of Elmer

Before I could ask any more questions, my companion left me alone, disappearing in a whisk of air. My surroundings, which had been unnervingly silent till this second, were filled with odd shrieks and sounds, inflicting fear in a heart that had already endured so much. I was once again left alone, helpless, forced to complete a task that seemed impossible in every aspect.

I didn’t know of what I had expected, whether it was camp-like training or guided preparations, but it definitely wasn’t this. I body trembled as I stepped towards the ancient gates, the leaves rustling beneath my shivering feet as I neared my destination.
The gate seemed like any ordinary gateway, complete with a brass lock and a dusty, cobwebbed name plate. I stepped forward cautiously and as I did, the name plate cleared itself and shone brightly, waiting for me to read the inscripted words upon the ancient carving. I peered down at the now- clean figurine and saw words appearing on its smooth surface. It read-

The Garden Of Elmer
Elmer- from 1919- 1985
The known creator of the garden of Elmer
The keeper of secrets
And the guardian of night

I faintly recalled my air-spirit companion telling me about not wanting to be out at sunset and thought that there must be some connection between the two. As for Elmer, I knew nothing whatsoever about his mysterious power, only the fact that he was the very source of life and power.

The mystical garden seemed to attract me and for a while, I stared into its depths, mesmerized by its beauty and wonder. I made a mental note to not offend this guy whom all the people worshipped and I also recalled the fact that they had been scared of him at the same time. I was so lost in thought that I almost didn’t notice the two life forms which appeared on either side of the gate.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the hero who is to save us all…” boomed a voice from one of the life forms. His mouth did not seem to be moving, however, and the voice seemed to rise from within him. He looked to his left to his other statue- like companion who nodded in approval. They both closed in on me, studying my face with amused expressions playing on their faces.

“Why are you here, my dear mortal?” asked one of the statues with a mocking grin. I knew at once that they knew of exactly why I was here.
“I’ve been sent to travel through the garden, talk to Elmer, and come out alive. It’s just to prove my worth, that’s all,” I replied vaguely and was surprised to find that the pair of statues had started laughing.

“That’s all?” cackled one of the statues, “You think it’s that easy to enter the garden of the greatest man of all time and come out alive?” he continued, their laughter now coming to a halt. “As for meeting Elmer, didn’t you read the name board properly, my dear friend?” he added.
I looked back at the name plate to see if I had missed something and I saw what they were talking about. Elmer was supposed to have died decades ago. I wondered if all the people had been playing some kind of nasty prank on me. If the guy had died ages ago, what experience was I to gain from the journey through the forest?
“Elmer died twenty years ago…” I replied shortly to the statues who had started to laugh again.
“What!” I cried angrily, and suddenly a thought struck me like a bolt out of the blue, “What if he is a spirit?” I added, wondering if the possibility that life after death was actually true. It was just a myth of the ancient times, but then, many of what I had thought as myths had actually turned out to me true.
“Very good, indeed, my dear mortal,” growled one of the statues with an appraisive flick of the head. “You are right in saying that my master is now a spirit, a powerful spirit indeed, one who haunts the weak and favors the brave,” he concluded dramatically.
“And I’m supposed to meet him,” I said, more to myself than to the statues, who were pacing between the gateway, their faces now serious and grim.
I had made up my mind and was about to take a step forward when one of the statues stopped me.
“Not so fast, my impatient mortal. You must do us a favor and we will let you enter in return,” he intervened.
“What kind of favor? I asked, knowing that I shouldn’t have expected it all to be so easy.
“We guardians have been treated cruelly for a long time. We can no longer stand being treated like toe rags who are forced to do the undignified jobs given to us by our master. Don’t get us wrong, we have deep love and loyalty for Elmer, but some things just can’t be ignored,” he concluded with a sigh.
“But what am I supposed to do for you?” I asked, seeing no way in which I could help them.
“You have to bargain with my master, when the time is right. The time will come when he will ask you of a favor and you must use that opportunity to your advantage. Ask him to create a separate kingdom for us, a place in which we are given the honor and respect we deserve,” the statue replied, with a pained look at the thought of blackmailing his master. “If we find that you have not done as we have told, you will die at the feet of my brethren!” he added brutally, but through his gleaming face, I saw a pint of hope shining in his earthen eyes.
“I will do my best,” I assured the guardians, and taking a sharp breath, I opened the gates and walked into its premises, into the so called ‘Garden Of Elmer’…

My Skeletal Amigos

I seriously couldn’t figure out why they called this place a garden. It might have looked appealing from outside, but inside, it really was more like forest than a garden. Mosses and rotten leaves covered the earthen floor, and great, big vines curled up from the ground and rose endlessly into the darkening sky. Weird noises echoed from around the jungle as night fell quickly over the garden, enveloping all that that was lost in the dark.
I walked slowly; unnerved by the fact that everything seemed so normal, just like those sample forests they have in museums.
Nothing seemed to be magical or out of place. Elmer must have actually seen real jungles to have built a place so alike. As I trudged further into the garden, I saw that my path had been recently travelled on. Fresh footprints curled through the garden and I noticed that their size was that of a normal human’s. I was about to follow them when I realized that they were absolutely unnecessary.

The place was actually filled with direction boards, each showing directions to a different place. There were signs that read To the Lost Heroes and another that read DANGER- Path to Night’s realm. Several others too highlighted the way, though their words had long faded from their endless existence. I didn’t know of how reliable the signs were, for all I knew; they could be a trick to lure me into danger. But then, I had no other lead and following these direction boards were probably my best hope. The only problem was of which path to choose.

Deciding that the lost heroes sign was probably more promising, I trudged off toward the way it pointed, carefully following the signs that were littered on my path. The direction boards seemed to stretch endlessly into the landscape and I walked slowly, careful not to waste any energy that would be essential in this long journey.

Night fell fast over the garden of Elmer, and remembering all that had been said about the dangers of night, I proceeded fearfully, expecting something to happen at any second. I could barely see a few yards in front of me now, for the darkness was so complete and intense. The plants along me whistled and swayed, as if whispering to each other in a mysterious language.
That was when I started hearing sounds of conversation, the voices of the speakers hushed with fear and anguish. I slowed my pace and crept forward cautiously on my toes. The voices became more audible, but I still couldn’t make out what they were saying. Another sign board rose in front of me as I made my way closer to the voices. It read-

The Dungeon of Lost Heroes:
Created by the guardians of Night

I heard a voice behind and as I turned around, a truly miraculous sight met my eyes.
Deep beneath the earth, vines hid an ancient dungeon, its walls crumbling from ages of existence. I immediately knew that it was from where the voices were coming from as the sound here became quite intolerable for my human ears. An array of dangerously damaged stairs led the way down into the dungeon from where the noises arose. As I looked around for another way of safer entry, another sign rose from the dark to lead my way. This one was an arrow which pointed towards the back side of the dungeons. I noticed that there were words, too, inscribed upon the arrow which read: To the visitor’s entrance. It all seemed so mysteriously strange, and though the sign boards seemed to be reliable, they were really starting to freak me out.

I went to where the arrow pointed and saw a narrow crack upon the mosses, through which only a fairly thin person would be able to wedge himself into. After a few seconds of hesitation, I carefully placed my feet between the sides of the crack and pushed myself in. When I emerged, quite unhurt on the other side, what I saw was definitely not what I had ever expected.

Hundreds, literally hundreds of kids roamed around the dungeon, whispering in tired, hopeless voices. Most of them were probably around my age and they walked tirelessly around the perimeter of the dark dungeon, their faces etched with misery and longing. Some of them looked up as I entered; whereas others didn’t even bother to, probably thinking that I saw one amongst their miserable crowd.
So, these were the heroes who had been sent into the garden, the heroes who, having never returned, had been declared as dead. The heroes were slowly realizing that I wasn’t one of them and they all made their way towards me, their voices filled with excitement and hope. They seemed to have assigned a leader amongst themselves and it was he who spoke to me at first.

“Why have you come here, my dear friend?” he mumbled hoarsely “Go away before it’s too late, or the same fate as our own will be placed upon you,” he warned me, his voice filled with anguish.

“What happened to all of you?” I asked, “Who has trapped you here for such a long time?” I inquired, hoping to help these poor kids at any cost. They had all strived into the forest, willing to sacrifice their lives in order to restore peace in their world, and had been rewarded with this cruel fate.

“You cannot do anything to change it and do not be foolish enough to try. But if you insist, I shall tell you our story, though of what help it will be to you, I do not know…
I waited patiently as he gathered his voice, and though they all had said that there was no hope, it was exactly that shining in each and every heroes’ eyes.

“We were all sent to this garden, each of us with a different quest, but a similar goal. We travelled through the forest, quite alone, waiting for something to happen at any moment. Everything seemed fine for a while, but all that changed as night approached and fell over the garden of Elmer. Some cruel warriors, as we came to know were called as the guardians of night, snatched us off our path and took us here, to the so called ‘ dungeon of lost heroes’.”

He paused, and looking around at the crowd of kids surrounding him, he continued, “Then those wretched guardians cursed us, a curse that lingers to this very day. This curse has held us here for who knows how along, and it only gets worse as more and more heroes join us day by day.

He stopped his speech and looked at me, his eyes moist with shining tears.
“And what is that curse?” I added cautiously.

“His curse prohibited us from escaping this wretched, merciless world. Every day, by the sun’s rise, we all turn into helpless skeletons, unable to navigate and guide ourselves well enough to form an escape strategy. He paused, his eyes reflecting his misery. “ At night, when we turn back to our normal selves, the power of night and its stupid guardians keeps us trapped within this horrible dungeon, so pathetically helpless and derived of hope.” he concluded sadly.

I stood on the spot, stunned by the latest piece of information.
“Skeletons?” I asked, gazing up at the trapped heroes with surprise.
“Yes, indeed, and the only way for us to escape is by convincing the guardians of day to use their powers over the guardians of night, but making them do a favor is not so easy. They will ask you to do the impossible or at least die trying. There is no way you can succeed, unless of course, if you have the powers of any of the elements,” he answered, as if it had been obvious.
“But I do have elemental powers; the power of air supposedly resides inside me, waiting to be unleashed at the right time,” I protested, quoting the words of the Sakhi.
“Which means you don’t know how to use it, do you? Never mind if you can’t use it of now. If you somehow free us from this horrible place, you will be honored above all heroes,” he replied confidently.
All the faces turned towards me, hoping against hope that I would accept the newly presented quest.
“I will try my best,” I said and thought about how they would all feel if I disappointed them.
All the heroes looked up at the darkening sky, into the distance where stars flickered feebly.
“The time for our freedom has finally come,” a kid mumbled, and all the heroes bowed down before me, showing their gratitude for the hero who was to save them all.
I walked away from the heroes, thinking about the mystery that was finally solved...

© 2014 Surya pradha

Author's Note

Surya pradha
This is part of my book. Unfortunately, due to my computer's memory getting erased, i can no longer work on it.

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Man, this is good sans the same technical errors I mentioned in your last piece.

And tell your PC to f**k off and buy a proper pen and paper. Begin on this. Good potential, my friend. I hope, if not now then in some years you will come back to this and re-imagine 'The Lost Heroes'.
Good Luck.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Surya pradha

8 Years Ago

will do...
That's too bad. I like this and would like to see it continued.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Surya pradha

8 Years Ago

thanks, really wish i could build up on it.

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2 Reviews
Added on September 20, 2014
Last Updated on September 20, 2014


Surya pradha
Surya pradha

Chennai, India

I'm 16 years old and proud to be an Indian. I really like writing and it has kind of become my hobby. I've written tons of poems and short stories and i would like to share them with everyone. more..

Chapter one Chapter one

A Chapter by Surya pradha

Chapter two Chapter two

A Chapter by Surya pradha