Sergeant Wilson “Woodrow” Bumble

NORTHERN LIGHTS, UKAHALA–Meet one of the ancestors of Prior Bumble in this short story by Major Arne.

Roman had been out in the forest trying to catch some fish from the river, but somehow managed to get herself caught in a snowstorm, and lost her way back home.

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After stumbling through the frosty conditions for a while, she found an igloo and approached the door, keeping her flippers wrapped inside her coat and shivering from the cold. There was a warm glow from the light inside, and she could almost hear the crackling sound of a fireplace. She fell to the ground as she made it to the door, banging on it weakly as she collapsed. Prior Bumble heard the noise and rushed outside to find her lying face-first in the snow, unconscious. 

After helping Roman inside the cozy igloo, Prior left her on the couch with a warm blanket draped carefully over her, and began to make some hot soup for her. Roman snapped awake a while later and looked around as her vision adjusted, noticing that she was now inside Prior’s igloo, and he was approaching her with a steaming bowl of soup.

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“Prior…” said Roman. “I’m sorry for disturbing you.” She was equal parts nervous and weak.

“Don’t worry, Roman,” answered Prior. “You seemed to be doing pretty badly out there.”

Roman nodded and took the bowl, looking around Prior’s igloo curiously. There were all sorts of things on his walls–RFCP medals glittering in the firelight, colorings his soldiers had drawn him, even his red hat hanging on a peg. But Roman noticed a photo sitting in a wooden frame on the end table.

“Who is that guy?” she asked, almost without thinking.

“Sergeant Woodrow, veteran in the Color Wars. Full name is Wilson ‘Woodrow’ Bumble.”

Wilson (WHEEL-son) Bumble, mostly known as Sergeant Woodrow, is the great-great-grandfather of Prior Bumble. When he was a young boy, Woodrow and Eugedard Bumble (great-great-great-grandfather of Prior Bumble) were separated on a camping trip by a blizzard much like the one Roman found herself in. Eugegard searched for weeks, but failed to find his little son in the vast wilderness. The famiy grieved.

Luckily for Woodrow, a lumberjack found him and took good care of him. When Woodrow was older, it was no surprise that he developed some love for playing with the leftovers of the wood that had been cut down by the lumberjack guardian. This allowed Woodrow to make exceptional wooden toys, which his lumberjack guardian would sell for a good amount of coins.

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Whenever people came around, they often found this little carpenter prodigie alongside a row of cut-down wood and gave him his nickname of “Woodrow.”

The lumberjack was saving all those coins for the future, so that one day, in his final years, he could build a bakery and an igloo behind it for he and his descendants to run, including Woodrow. Years passed, and Woodrow grew into a mature teen penguin who could now handle the responsibility of running such a bakery. The lumberjack had been looking for the terrain and materials to start building the bakery, but then something happened.

After an afternoon of chopping down trees in the forest, Woodrow and the lumberjack returned to see their house on fire! The lumberjack shouted for Woodrow to get some water to tame the fire while he attempted to save as many of their belongings as possible.

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Woodrow sprinted to the creek and scooped as much water as he could into a bucket and attempted to run back without spilling any of it. However, when he leapt over a ledge to get home the fast way, he lost his footing and dropped the bucket far below. All the water spilled. He quickly headed back to the river to retrieve the lost bucket and gather more water. As he approached the river again, though, he heard a huge crash and turned to see the source. He felt a sense of dread fill him as he looked up and saw that the house had collapsed; the lumberjack was nowhere to be seen.

Woodrow rushed towards the remains of the house, tears building in his eyes as he frantically searched every outside corner through the rubble, but he couldn’t find the lost lumberjack anywhere. As he cried up to the sky, sobbing, the last ember from the fire burned itself out.

After what felt like hours, Woodrow managed to regain his composure, and he peeked inside one of the only standing doorways. What once had been his house now was nothing more than unrecognizable ashes. Only a single wooden knife was left–the lumberjack’s. Woodrow pocketed it and took a deep breath. He had to go to the main island, with nothing more than his axe, for help.

As Woodrow crawled to the Plaza, he saw that it was deserted; most of the island was. There were some hungry penguins here and there, but most seemed to reside in the peaceful Dojo. He sat down among some of the penguins outside of the Dojo and asked why the island was so deserted, fearing he already knew the answer. One of the penguins nearby confirmed his fears with a grim expression: their homes were raided.

“A group wearing red clothing raided our igloos and drove us out,” the penguin explained. “We have been stuck here since.”

“The same thing happened to me,” a second penguin chimed in. “What’s your name?”

“Just call me Woodrow.” He tried to grasp what had happened.

Woodrow saw the strangers soon become his friends as he used his abilities as a lumberjack to make campfires and shelters for them, and even small toys for the frightened children. He would sell the wood for money, managing to acquire scraps of food from the Pizza Parlor with his earnings. He took care of this group, and even tried to make them some new clothes–mostly blue fabric, because he couldn’t find very much variety in ink colors. The blue clothing eventually earned them the nickname of the “Blue Gang” when they defended the Plaza; using snowballs thrown at the opposing red raiders in a furious manner, with no real order or formation.

Eventually, Woodrow started to lead the affectionately-nicknamed “Blue Gang” in these situations, and the members jokingly started to call him “Sergeant.” However, he was later granted the role officially as invasions increased, due to the huge immigrant rise a year and a half before of penguins discovering the island. Woodrow managed to create a provisional model of the classic Snowball Blaster, which would launch explosive snowballs similarly to modern-day rocket launchers. However, his original idea was yet to be completed.

One night, Woodrow snuck into the Dojo. He had learned from others that all the ruckus in this town was because of the gang called the Red Raiders, who had taken over the Dojo. Blue Gang members snuck along behind Woodrow, vowing to protect him even if he did not know they were there. Some had their snow blasters loaded behind. Woodrow entered the place stealthily and quietly, and planted an explosive in the middle before he attempted to sneak away silently. However, he was surprised to encounter the rest of his friends from the Blue Gang there as he tried to make his escape. 

Caught off guard, Woodrow tripped, falling on top of one of the red, opposing gang members, who woke up and tried to strangle him. Woodrow attempted to use his flippers to fight back, strong thanks to the years he had spent chopping down wood, but the fight managed to wake all of the enemy gang members up, including Korn, the self-proclaimed leader of the red gang. Korn ordered his gang to calm down and leave the intruder alone, completely unaware of the explosive that had been planted by Woodrow.

“Wilson ‘Woodrow’ Bumble. Oh man, the stupid lumberjack…” Korn said, laughing as he turned back to his soldiers. “This dumb guy even failed to carry a bucket!” After composing himself, he got more serious. “Now…” Korn said, turning to Woodrow as he demanded a response, “what were you trying to do? Answer me at once.”

Woodrow looked back at his friends, who were noticeably shocked by the fact he was a part of the legendary Bumble family tree. But they also seemed confused as to why Korn had called him stupid. Woodrow turned back around and attempted to rush at Korn, but Korn whacked him to the side without much issue. Ooph! Woodrow crashed into the wall. Of course, Korn could just order his red cronies to kill Woodrow in that exact moment, but Woodrow still had the explosive and knew it would detonate at any moment. He warned his Blue Gang followers to run.

The Blue Gang attempted to escape as the explosive detonated, but the bomb was more powerful than even Woodrow thought.

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It shattered the windows of the Dojo and threw Woodrow, Korn, and several of the troops off the cliff. The Blue Gang raced back to the Plaza, deciding that they would return to the Dojo later to see if Woodrow had survived; not realizing that Woodrow and Korn had fallen down the stairs, landing in the Mine.

“Couldn’t beat me without any of your fancy gadgets…” Korn said, coughing. “It was almost as easy to beat you up back there as it was when we raided those peasant penguins’ igloos.”

Woodrow drew his blaster and shot Korn. Korn howled as a bullet of snow hit him. That was Woodrow’s cue to flee back to the Plaza before his injuries from the explosion and the fall that had followed got the best of him. He collapsed into the snow as everything around him faded to black.

A while later, Woodrow snapped awake back at the Dojo, tied up to a chair with rope. After looking around a moment, Woodrow determined that while he was passed out he had been kidnapped by the Red Gang, who seemed to have attempted to make the scene look more menacing by setting fire torches up all around.

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“Look, he woke up!” said one of the Red Gang troops.

“Is he completely disarmed?” asked another troop, looking at Woodrow cautiously.

“I hope so,” answered the first troop, then changed his tone heavily, addressing Woodrow. “What have you done to Korn?”

“I-I shot him with a snowball blaster, Woodrow answered, feeling slightly scared. He hoped his flippancy would mask it.

The response seemed to confirm what the troops had already been thinking. They looked at him for a moment, before going to the other side of the room in an attempt to not be overheard by Woodrow, to no real avail.

“So, what are we supposed to do?” asked one of the Red Gang members. His voice was shrill with fright. “I mean, someone has to lead us now.”

Woodrow used their distraction to whip out his trusty wooden knife; the one he found in the ashes of his burnt home. He proceeded to saw the rope with it, but the red troops turned just as Woodrow stood.

“Hey! You! Stay where you are!” said another soldier, not really having a plan about what to do with Woodrow yet.

Following his instinct, Woodrow grabbed the chair he was stuck to and used it as a shield while he ran, despite not having any need to cover from snowball throwing, for obvious reasons. One of the Red Gang members attempted to grab Woodrow’s weapon to use it against him, but looked at the blaster in complete confusion while he attempted to figure out how to use it. Woodrow took the opportunity to shove the chair at him, knocking the troop over, and taking his weapons back.

Woodrow then shot him and proceeded to flee after having set in motion the events that would eventually finish the dark age known as the Color Wars.

After Woodrow had finally ended the reign of raiding terror on the island, he dissolved the Blue Gang, using some of the bounty that the Red Gang had to rebuild igloos for the Blue Gang members, helping some of them return to their previous lives. Woodrow then settled back into his regular life, but still kept the nickname “Sergeant” as a memento of all that he had been through.

When the other wars started, Woodrow helped some of the penguins affected as a medic, but with the clans now being more organized, there weren’t very many mass raids, unlike there were during the Color Wars.

Woodrow started a bakery, just like how his lumberjack guardian had wanted him to, alongside one of the refugee penguins he helped, Teyla Foster. The two eventually married and had one son together. The family made what we know today as the earliest Christmas cookies that would be mass produced later for Christmas parties. So popular were the cookies that Woodrow needed several more locations for his bakeries, and, one day, he visited the Town Hall to apply for more land grants. There, on the wall, hung an enormous oil painting of a war galley sailing on dark ocean water. The painting was signed Eugegard Bumble. Woodrow’s mouth fell.

With the help of the clerk at the Town Hall, Woodrow traced the changing ownerships of that painting, from museum to private collector to museum again, until, years later, he finally found his long last father, Commodore Eugegard. A surreal reunion with many of his Bumble siblings took place, but Woodrow shook as he entered into Eugegard’s bedroom as the old penguin lay dying. Eugegard wheezed and took his son’s flipper, a weak smile coming to his ancient face, and the two are fabled to have hugged for three hundred unbroken seconds. As they held one another and cried, legend has it that Woodrow’s little son caught the mixed tears of both in a glass bottle. This relic is believed to have magical properties and has come to be known as the Vial of Tears.

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Vial of Tears

Woodrow was a warrior by blood, but not nature. He is remembered as the first humanitarian and philanthropist of the Bumble bloodline, and became a peaceful penguin after the Color Wars had ended. Most of the earnings from the bakery went directly to helping the refugees affected by the Clan and Color Wars. Sergeant Woodrow eventually passed away at age 62, as a result of the internal bleeding some of the untreated Color Wars wounds in his body. Soon after his death, Woodrow was honored by being made a legend of the Color Wars, but above that, he was known then, and is known today, as a guy who cared for the people affected.

“Wow…Woodrow really did a lot,” said Roman, trying to eat her now-cold soup.

“Yes indeed,” said Prior. “Sergeant Woodrow had quite the story to tell, and he might have been a war hero, but overall…” Prior smiled as he grabbed the photo and looked down at it fondly, “he was just a really nice person.”

What do YOU think of this story? Where is the Vial of Tears? Can you draw more illustrations for this tale? Comment below!

RFCP Major and Reporter-in-Training

3 Responses

  1. do you by any chance remember someone by the Name of Kenji

  2. didnt actually think you would respond but hey whats up

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