Statue of Zoran was installed near Eastern post. Everyone who saw the statue thought that it was Zoran himself who was guarding the post.
Spies of king of Brasia also got fooled. They promptly reported to their king that Zoran was seen guarding Eastern post. He was not dead. He had survived the wounds suffered in the battle and he was back on the post, defending his country from the enemies.
King of Brasia was wild with anger; he thought that Roock had lied to him. After the battle, Roock had told the king that Zoran had suffered fatal wounds and he would not survive.
After a few days he had informed the king that Zoran was dead, “My Lord, I have some spies in Talavia. They have informed me that Zoran had died even before the King of Talavia could come to Eastern Post. The royal doctor of Talavia did his best but he could not save him.”
But when, after a month or two, news arrived that Zoran was alive and guarding Eastern Post, king of Brasia lost his temper. He ordered that Roock be beheaded for lying to the king.
Roock was arrested. He was in a pitiable condition. He did not want to die. He wept and begged the king for mercy. But king was not be mollified by his tears.
“I will remit your death sentence on one condition. You must personally go to Eastern Post to find out whether Zoran is dead or alive. If he is alive you will have to challenge him and fight a duel with him,” king said in an angry voice.
Roock promptly agreed. He had no intention of going to Talavia to challenge Zoran. But he had readily accepted king’s proposal because he just wanted an opportunity to run away from Brasia .
“Don’t even think of running away from Brasia,” king had read his mind, “A beautiful, muti-coloured bird will keep a watch on you, all the time. If you try to run away, you will be killed.”
Roock was shocked. He did not know that Arwiz, the wizard, was assisting the king.
“Arwiz has given me that bird to keep an eye on you,” king said with a cruel smile on his face.
Roock knew that bird would report everything to the king. It would be impossible for him to escape. He would have to follow the order of the king.
Roock came to Eastern Post. He stayed in Moon’s Inn in the garb of a merchant. He was hoping that someday Traytur would come there to drink beer. He would then try to again entice him. But he waited in vain for the Talavian soldiers had stopped coming to that inn.
Roock hired a greedy shepherd to spy on Eastern Post. His spy was unable to get any information about Zoran. But he did learn that Talavians had installed a marble statue of Zoran near the post.
“What everyone sees is a statue and not Zoran,” reported the spy.
“Why did they install a statue of Zoran?” Roock kept asking of himself. All this time the beautiful multi-coloured bird was always nearby, keeping a close watch on the activities of Roock.
One day his spy told him that Zoran was actually dead. But king of Talavia had decided that this information would be kept secret. His spy had got this information from a soldier who had served under Zoran. That soldier had since left the army and was now in the habit of remaining drunk.
Roock was overjoyed to learn about the death of Zoran. But he did not know that he was falling in a well-planned trap laid by Talavians.
He immediately left for Brasia. He suggested to the king that it was an opportune time to attack Talavia, “Zoran is dead. Talavian soldiers are demoralised. If we strike now they will not be able to withstand our attack. We will win the battle and capture Eastern Post. Our army can then march into Talavia.”
King thought for some time and said, “We will attack but not with a large army. Just take fifty soldiers with you and raid the Eastern Post.”
Roock was scared of attacking Eastern Post with just fifty soldiers. But he had no option. He had to obey the order of the king.
He came with fifty soldiers to Talavia. It was early morning when they reached Eastern Post. They all hid in a thick grove near the post. Everyone could clearly see the statue of Zoran.
(To be continued)
© i b arora
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