And suddenly Traytur accepted defeat.
He surrendered before Zoran and pleaded for mercy. But Zoran was furious and he decided to kill Traytur. He snatched the magic dagger from Traytur. He was about to stab him to death with that dagger.
But he could not do it for he respected Traytur, who was a brave soldier and had fought many battles for his country. Zoran was angry with himself. He left without saying a word. Traytur remained rooted to the ground, broken and beaten.
Roock knew that his ploy had not worked. The magic dagger had failed. Zoran had not changed into a statue of stone. He was alive and fighting fit. He thought it would be wise of him to run away before Traytur exposed him and told the truth to Zoran.
When he turned back to leave he was surprised to see Arwiz, the wizard. He was dumbstruck and stood there like a fool.
Arwiz glared at him, “Did you challenge Zoran to fight a duel with you?”
Roock could not even utter a word. He was so scared that could not even think of an excuse.
“You think I am a fool. I knew all along that you would never dare to fight a duel with Zoran.”
“No, it is not true...”
“It is true and I knew it. That is why I gave you an ordinary dagger. But it was a dagger that would have acquired magical power if you had challenged Zoran. Your courage and bravery would have done the trick. Even if you had died fighting Zoran, you would have died a hero’s death. Now you will die a coward’s death.”
“No Arwiz, it was not my fault. I had decided to challenge Zoran. But Traytur, that Talavian soldier, wanted to kill Zoran for all the injustice that Zoran had done to him. He sought my help; he pleaded with me and, just out friendship, I helped him. I gave him the magic dagger,’ Roock tried to fool Arwiz with a false story.
“You are not only a coward you are a liar also. You think I was not aware of what you were doing all these days. Did you not see that beautiful multi-coloured bird that had landed on the window of the inn?”
“What about that bird?”
“He is my spy. He was keeping a watch on you. Everything you said and everything you did was reported to me. Even now that bird is sitting on the tree and keeping an eye on you.”
Roock was shocked. He looked up and there was the beautiful multi-coloured bird sitting on the tree; attentively looking at Roock.
“You are a cunning person and not a brave soldier. You will die an inglorious death,” said Arwiz in anger.
Roock tried to say something but Arwiz just vanished in thin air. He looked at the bird. The bird had also vanished.
Roock was dismayed, disappointed and dejected. He had been dreaming of a glorious future; he had been dreaming of becoming an officer in Brasian army; he had been dreaming of the day when he would rise to become Commander-in-Chief of the army. But all his dreams had come to a naught.
Suddenly a devilish idea struck him. He did not want the king of Brasia to know the truth. He fired a fire arrow towards south of Eastern Post of Talavia. King had asked him to fire this arrow after killing Zoran. This was a signal for the Brasian soldiers hiding in the forest to attack Easter Post.
Brasian soldiers saw the fire arrow in the evening sky and thought that Zoran was dead. It was a signal to attack Talavia. They promptly started marching towards Eastern Post.
When these soldiers reached Eastern Post it was almost dark. Roock had been waiting for them near a grove of pine trees. He came and met the Captain of Brasian army.
“I had challenged Zoran and today, one hour before sunset, we fought a duel. I had fought bravely and I had grievously wounded Zoran. I was about to kill him when some of his friends intervened. They forced me to stop the duel. They took the wounded Zoran with them”
“If Zoran is not dead then you should not have fired the fire arrow. We are to attack Talavia after he has been killed.”
“I know, but he is seriously wounded. He will not be able to take part in battle. He is alive but he can’t fight. In fact they will have to detail some soldiers to protect him. And my spies have told me that there is a small contingent of soldiers to defend the post. We can easily defeat them, now that Zoran is wounded. We can attack and capture the post. We will never get such an opportunity again.”
(To be continued)
© i b arora
You can read next part of the story here
You can read next part of the story here