(Please see my post of 25th Nov for 4th part of the story)
Roock was bubbling with joy. He was dreaming of the day when he would stab Zoran with the magic dagger. Zoran’s blood would fall on earth and he would change into a statue of stone. Talavian army would then lose heart and run away from the battle field. Brasia would win a great victory. And he would be the hero of this victory. People would praise him. The king would reward him.
His joy knew no bounds. He rushed back and requested for a secret appointment with the king.
“Who are you and what do you want?” king asked him.
“My Lord, I am Roock. I am a soldier in the army. I have devised a plan to kill Zoran. I will challenge him to a duel. I will fight a duel and kill him. Once Zoran dies our army will capture Talavia. I have come to seek your blessings.”
King looked at him suspiciously and said, “Let me think; Zoran is a fierce fighter. I don’t want to lose a brave soldier like you for nothing. Come and meet me after one week.”
King asked his Minister to make an enquiry about Roock, “I don’t think he is brave enough to challenge a man like Zoran. Just find out what he is planning to do?”
The Minister reported after two day, “My Lord, Roock is not a brave soldier. He is no match for a warrior like Zoran. He can never kill Zoran in a duel. But I have heard a strange rumour. Roock is friendly with Arwiz, the wizard. Perhaps his father was assisting Arwiz. Roock has possibly obtained some magical power from the wizard. He will use that power to kill Zoran. If he succeeds it will be good for us. We can reward him and make him an officer in the army. If he fails he will die and that should not bother us. So let him go and challenge Zoran.”
King of Brasia did not want to win a war by treachery. But his army had lost every battle against Talavia. Everyone knew that as long as Zoran was defending his country, Talavian army was invincible.
King kept thinking and thinking and finally decided to give his blessings to Roock.
Roock was summoned. King said to him, “I learn that you are a brave soldier and ready to die for our country. We are proud of you. Go and challenge Zoran to fight a duel withyou. But fight a fare duel, like a true and honourable soldier; fight with all your skills and strength. If you win we will reward you and make you Captain of south garrison. If you die you will die a hero’s death and we will all be proud of you.”
Roock bowed to the king three times and kissed his hand, “It is a great honour to serve you. I am blessed to be your loyal soldier.”
The Minister said, “Five hundred soldiers under the command of a Captain will be camping in a forest, south of the Eastern Post of Talavia. When you kill Zoran in the duel, send a signal to our troops. Shoot a fire arrow towards south of the Post at sunset. Our troops would attack and capture the Eastern Post. Once we have the Eastern Post our army will march into Talavia.”
Roock was pleased with his success and he left for Talavia. But he had yet not decided his next move. He knew that he could not defeat Zoran in a duel and he had no intention of challenging him. He knew that he could never match the strength and bravery of Zoran. In a duel, Zoran would kill him in a flash. He had no intention of dying a painful death at the hands of Zoran.
(To be continued)
© i b arora
You can read next part of the story here