The Lesson

From that day on, both the horse and the monkey like new animals. They travelled far and wide, across distant uncharted plains, unseen mountains, and untouched river beds. The newly humbled Shayla saw beauty in the world which she never thought possible. But the strangest change of all for her was that she willingly carried on her back a creature of the water, and shared and enjoyed all these experiences with her.

Nazarok on the other hand felt a new responsibility for, and at the same time dependency on another living being; for whilst she needed Shayla to travel, she was the reason the metal horse could travel anymore. It was a type of friendship that neither of them had experienced before, and they were subsequently both changed by it.

As they travelled on, both forgot about the bargain, the animals they had been before, and the life they had left behind. They discussed great tales, history, each other's species and element. Shayla learnt that whilst a monkey may be frivolous, she could also be wise, and that a river is often deeper than it first appears. Nazarok saw that once a horse stopped galloping around she could stand by your side, and that a metal is often more malleable than you may imagine.

But even the greatest things are not impervious to change, and one day whilst Shayla was grazing on some foreign hill, she felt a quickening beneath her mane which spread all the way down to her hooves. She shivered and then rose her head and neighed - it was the feeling of war, and like any metal horse she was both called to and roused by the innate drive that alerted her to the return of the fighting. She knew she had to return.

Her head hung low, she trotted sadly over to Nazarok and whinnied to her companion,

"Friend, I must return"

Nazarok ran to the horse's side to greet her,

"But why?" the monkey pleaded.

"War is here, the call is raised and I must return" she sighed, "It is my duty, and just the way things are"

Nazarok felt her fur bristle and her heart stutter painfully, but ultimately understood. Their arrangement had never been everlasting. She still felt an immediate loss at the departure of the way things were, and now no longer could be.

"I understand"

"You won your bargain monkey" Shayla smiled, "But it doesn't really matter anymore"

"Shayla" Nazarok smiled back, "Next time you have leave…"

"I'll be there for you"

But they both knew that day may never come. It might, but nothing was blessed with the certainty of yesterday.

So they travelled back sadly, yet wiser and worldlier for all they had done, and all they could do with the knowledge they had made.

Nazarok returned to the river, where she impressed Lorak with her patience, thoughtfulness, and prudence. She had learnt to trust, and so Lorak found she could be taught in a far more effective way than ever before. Consequently she became one of the finest water monkeys the land had ever seen. The river Buroh was never so plentiful than in the times of Nazarok the True.

Shayla on the other hand returned to Jenyli to find the impasse between the Oxen was breaking, and charged back into the war. Yet she knew now her life was more than battle, and her metal plates more than armour. She was more emotionally clever, freer, and more flexible for her travels, and that made her the greatest warrior the herd had ever seen.

She went on to lead the horses to victory, and became one of the most important horses in history – Shayla the brave.

No-one knows if Shayla and Nazarok went travelling again. But they say it was no accident that the river seemed to turn against any enemy of the Horses, or that the banks were left untainted and unspoilt to flourish. It is safe to say the water monkey and the metal horse never forgot each other, even if they never met again. As time has passed, it is immaterial to know whether or not they did. The changes they made in each other changed the land – and many tales you will hear would never have come to pass without this one before it.