When Ben was very small his mother read him the story of the great bear wizards. In a dark time when Malik the Cruel ruled over the land, young bears and their mothers were forced to live indoors or in small enclosures. They did tricks or sang and Lord Malik would feed them fish. The fish sounded good to Ben. But sometimes for no reason at all Malik would hurt the young bears and their mothers. This made Ben very frightened. He never knew what the young bear had done wrong. His mother told him that some men were cruel and didn’t need a reason to hurt. This seemed unfair to Ben.
In the kingdom the years passed. As they did, young bears grew up. One young bear, Bernice, traveled over the mountains. She left in winter when she knew Malik would be fast asleep.
But the way was treacherous and cold. Bernice fell asleep, exhausted from her journey. Not quite making it over the pass. When she awoke she was in a cave.
The cave was warm! And there was a fire with fish roasting over it! But at the fire sat a large hunched figure. This was the first stranger that Bernice had ever seen.
But she was so cold and hungry…
and the fire was so warm… and the fish smelled so good
Bernice walked to the hunched figure and in a small tired voice asked “Can I sit by your fire?”
The large figure turned to her. It was another Bear. But this one was different. This bear wore a funny hat and had some kind of cloth over his back. At his feet was some kind of large stick.
In a rumbly voice, he said “I’ve been waiting for you here. You nearly didn’t make it.”
Bernice was surprised. She had only decided to come over the mountain last week. How could this bear have known she was coming?
The rumbly voice said, “have some fish, you look done in.”
Bernice knew that something strange was happening but her stomach was as rumbley as the old bear. She sat down and tucked into the delicious fish.
When she was done she was awfully tired. The rumbley bear said, “It’s safe. You can sleep here. Bear Wizards always keep their word.”
Bernice was so tired she did just that. But one thought chased her into sleep, “what was a bear wizard?”
When Bernice woke up, the strange bear was making breakfast. Fish waffles, yum.
He said his name was Barry and the Bear Wizards were a order of kind and smart bears who traveled the land. When Bear Wizards heard of the plight of the bears in the valley they had gathered to stop the evil person who was hurting the bearfolk. But they didn’t know the name of the person.
Bernice perked right up. She knew the name. But she was scared. Malik had said that anyone revealing his name would see their families punished.
Bernice knew Malik would hurt her family if the Bear Wizards failed.
Bernice asked Barry the Bear Wizard, “Will you protect my family if I tell you his name?”
Barry replied, “I cannot. For with the name we will attack on the ‘morrow. If we fail, we will have slipped beyond the veil and will not be able to help. If we succeed, then your family will be safe. But I will not promise that we will win, only that we will try.”
Bernice did not like that answer. But it was honest and Barry looked so earnest. Bernice looked at Barry and said, “I know the name. His name is Malik the Cruel.”
Bernice shivered as the name range out of the cave and across the peaks.
Malik in his castle heard his name told to a stranger. He knew something bad was coming for him. He called the head of his Secret Police, a tall and stately bear named Chumley.
Chumley came slowly. His belly full of fish cupcakes, berry pie, and deer steak. Chumley liked to eat and eat and his position let him take anything he’d like.
Malik told Chumley, “Someone is speaking up. Find who is missing and have their family home burned out. Strip the family of all money and goods then let them beg on the street.”
Meanwhile, the great host of the Bear Wizards gathered. The Bear Wizards called their army from distant lands. They came through great big crackling blue portals. The Army was dressed in head to toe metal and carried strange Spears that crackled with blue lightning like the gates.
Barry explained that anyone touched by the spears would be instantly transported to the court house to be tried for their crimes. Bear Wizards were very concerned with Justice.
The Bear Wizard Army marched into the valley. Each time a bear stood against them, they touched them with the spear. The misguided bear and the Bear soldier would disappear. The soldier would talk to the bear and see if they could work out some kind of work release program.
Finally, with few Bear soldiers left and only the 3 Bear Wizards, Barry, Bob, and Bernadette. They stopped in front of the Castle.
They raised their Staves and chanted in Ancient Bear. The sky rumbled and clouds dark and cold began to cover the Valley.
As one they slammed their Staves down and shouted, “Break!”, in Ancient Bear.
For a moment, there was silence and Bernice thought, “It didn’t work?!”
Then with a great horrible sound like rocks being blown up and paper being ripped the castle tore in half.
The 2 halves tore away leaving the throne room with Malik shivering on his throne.
“Get out of here!” Malik shouted. He sounded, for the first time to Bernice’s recollection, scared.
The Bear Wizards walked up to Malik and told him that for what he had done the Judgment had been passed.
Malik would be tried in the most ancient of bear rituals. If he was found not guilty, the Bear Wizards would suffer for it. Malik liked the sound of that. He was sure he could talk his way out of anything.
So, in the most ancient and sacred of rituals the Bear Wizard’s ate him.
He was delicious.
(what did you expect? They’re bears)