I walked towards the camp and searched for the tent with a flag on the spire. My appearance was in no way welcoming and I could have been shot at from a distance. But this thing in my hand seemed to stop them in their tracks. Every step towards the camp replaced my inhibitions with confidence. It is just a locket! Why are people revering it so much? Or is it the person who, until recently, wore it around her neck? Was she a leader to this group? Or a brilliant warrior? A hero maybe?
With these thoughts in mind, I sunk my feet deep into the sandy terrain and continued towards my destination. As news of a stranger approaching reached the designated tent way in advance of my arrival, its occupant stepped out with a sword pointed at me.
“Who the hell are you? And where did you get that?” he sneered.
“I am a nobody. Please calm down. The owner of this asked me to hand it over at your camp. Are you Jural?”
Lowering his sword down, Jural snatched the locket away from me and continued with his interrogation while his accomplices stood guard. It was a small camp. Around six excluding Jural inhabited it. All of them were infantry. There was no sign of archers or ranged recruits. No reinforcements to be seen around too.
“Where is she? Is she fine? How did you meet her? Why did she give you this?” shot out Jural. The rapid fire convinced me of the intimate relationship of Jural and the lady.
“I am sorry to say this but she is dead. I was on the way back home and I found her lying wounded in the middle of the desert and on the verge. I offered her some water and asked her identity and whereabouts. She was in no state to move and handed me this locket to be delivered to you. Her wounds seem to be inflicted by Joruns!”
“Hmmm. I see. Thank you for bringing this back to me. I appreciate it.”
What the hell! He seemed close to her but acts so calm about her death! There is something wrong about the whole thing. Were these guys traitors? Or is this man, Jural, so composed as to digest the news well?
“But, I don’t understand. Is that it? Wouldn’t you want to enquire more?” I asked.
“What’s there to enquire? I deeply regret her death. I loved her a lot! But my mourning wouldn’t bring her back, would it?” replied Jural cleverly.
“Maybe, you better mourn Jural! Time is not on your side!”
“What? What are you talking about?” retorted Jural, raising his sword and taking stance while his accomplices pulled out their swords too.
No time lost and an arrow whizzed past me and pierced Jural right in his heart and he dropped to the ground. His accomplices, confused started charging towards me while I pulled out of my gleaming sword out of its scabbard and ran towards them.
“No. You are making a mistake men! You are no match for me!”
Three of them lay slayed at my feet, their legs and hand severed, while I watched her run down the dune, a most beautiful form filled with courage and bravery. It was like watching an angel filled with fire and passion holding a golden bow in her hand! She shot arrows at the remaining two while I dug my sword’s edge deep into the last one’s heart.
“You were right! They wanted you dead!” I cried out.
Not replying, she walked toward Jural, who now laid almost lifeless, breathing his last breath. She broke of the arrow and stamped the pierced bit deeper into his heart.
“Auriga! I am sorry! No! Please!” he pleaded while she continued on with her act emotionless.
We looked around for any survivors and finding none, sat down to have the meat that had been ready on the fire to eat. The animal’s death would have been futile if no one consumed it!
“Auriga? Well, I thought you were Leah!” I smirked.
“Well, I could not reveal my name. How could I trust you?”
“Really? I was the one who risked my life for a stranger! What if I would have been killed?”
“I wouldn’t have let that happen Tlato! Haha! What a funny name you have!” she laughed wearing the locket back around her neck.
“Oh come on! It’s a hero’s name!”