Authors: Alexis Rojas
Tags: #romance, #love, #war, #witch, #fairy, #action adventure, #light, #monsters, #knight, #beasts
In Search of Auria
The land of Miaflore, my home, was under
siege. Balora, the country we’ve fought against for decades, has
finally gone beyond our borders and invaded. Various villages and
strategic points have been lost due to their brute force. I felt
ashamed that I wasn’t there on the frontlines driving them back,
but I needed to do this. I had to save her. Some balorian scumbags
had taken her, and it was up to me to bring her back.
Daring behind enemy lines was a death wish,
but nothing was going to stop me from rescuing the woman I
With no clues on her whereabouts, I only had
this outpost in front of me, hoping to find some guidance in it.
Surrounded by a cedar forest, the square outpost was protected by a
tall wall of wooden stakes. It had two open portals on its east and
west sides. Each one had banners hanging from atop, illustrating
the balorian coat of arms: a crow holding a golden halberd,
encircled by five green stars. There was only one soldier guarding
the east entrance. I thought there would be more, but it appeared
most of them had been sent to battle and only a handful were left
behind. To reach the nearest battlefield, they would have gone
north to reach the Dandy Overpass, a bridge that Miaflore had been
in control of. It gave them pass over the Crude River and into the
country. Now that Miaflore had lost that strategic point, the
balorians were rushing through in countless numbers.
I was thinking on how to sneak past the
guard, when suddenly he ran inside. With no one watching the
entrance anymore, I seized the opportunity and darted from the
woods. When I reached the portal, I cautiously took a peek within.
The balorian soldiers were trying to control a captured ogre. The
monster was eight feet tall, brown colored and with black barbs on
the side of its arms and legs. Its white eyes were almost to its
temples, the nose was flat, and a series of small horns emerged
underneath the jaw. Somehow it had removed the chains from its
legs, and it was running amok through the outpost. The guard had
rushed in to join the others and recapture it. As they tried to
take control of the situation, I quickly sneaked inside.
I kept low and ran behind the first
structure in sight, the horse stable. While I figured out my next
move, I overheard a conversation coming from within the stable. I
looked through the spaces of the planked wall and saw the horse
wrangler with a fellow soldier.
“Stupid ogre. Do you think it can be tamed
to attack the miaflorians in the war?” asked the soldier.
“We’ll see,” the wrangler answered. “Hey,
did you notice the man who talked with the captain?”
“Of course! It was Commander Vallias. They
tell me he ordered the captain to provide a carriage and cage,
instructing to send them outside the outpost.”
“Yes, I saw that. But when he returned, he
was joined by more men, and the cage was no longer empty. Mad
shrieks came from the inside. Since it was covered with a tarp, I
couldn’t see what it was. Do you know? Maybe he caught a
“I don’t know. But whatever it was, the
captain knows for sure. He was the only person Vallias confided
This was useful. When balorians put someone
in a cage, they would typically leave it uncovered and out in the
open. That way the prisoner would suffer from the heat, cold, or
rain. This time they were making an exception, so it must’ve been
her inside. I had to find the captain. Only he would know where
this Vallias was heading.
I peered beside the horse stable and saw a
large round tent in the very center of the camp. On its entrance
were two soldiers standing guard with spears. That had to be the
captain’s tent! But there was no way I could sneak inside with
those two there. And it was too risky lifting the tent from the
side; a set of eyes would see me.
To get close unnoticed, I needed to get a
disguise. The thing is I had always been a soldier that fought on
an open battleground, not a spy that can conceal his appearance and
actions. If discovered, I would be completely surrounded by the
enemy; possibly killed on the spot. I rubbed my brow as sweat began
to form. This was about to get dangerous.
Beside the stables was a small brick hut,
with spoiled food and scraps lying behind. It was the kitchen, and
it gave me an idea. I slowly entered through the back door and
found a fat cook sitting beside the hearth, his back towards me. He
was helping himself to some meat, using his bare hands. I carefully
took a pan hanging from the wall and smashed it on the back of his
head. He spat out the meat and fell on the floor. He started
snoring like if taking a nap. I quickly took his hat and apron, and
hid my equipment in a corner of the kitchen; my sword, shield, and
side bag. Posing as a cook would make me walk around unnoticed.
There were bits and pieces of turkey on the table, but the turkey
leg was whole. I took a silver platter from a cabinet, put the leg
on it and headed for the captain’s tent.
My heart was thumping and my breathing grew
heavy as I neared the tent. So much that I could clearly hear the
sound of air rushing in and out of my nose. When I reached the
entrance, the guards stopped me. My body got so stiff, I could have
cracked in half. The left guard looked at me from top to bottom and
asked, “Where’s Alfred?”
“Err, in the kitchen,” I uttered, almost
chocking on my words. The guard nodded with an uncaring face.
“Is there still some of that turkey left?”
the soldier in the right now asked.
“Err, in the kitchen.” I replied the same
thing again! I was so nervous I couldn’t think of anything else.
But, at least it had worked.
“Perfect! I’m going to get us some meat,” he
said to the other soldier, “I haven’t eaten the whole day!”
The guard left and the other let me in.
Inside the tent were various stands holding decorative swords and
shields. At the back were a pair of small, black tables topped with
books, and in the middle was a grey desk with a marble top surface.
Beside the desk was a man with a long nose, wearing a scribes robe.
I walked to him and asked, “Where is the captain?”
“Obviously not here,” he obnoxiously said.
“Who are you? Why are you dressed like the cook?”
“I’m helping him,” I said, trying to keep my
composure. “I bring an exquisite meal for the captain.”
“No you’re not! I know Alfred and he would
never let anyone else deliver food to the captain. He likes to save
that honor only for himself. Who are you?” At that moment I knew I
had to improve my espionage skills, because the next thing I did
was smash the plate on his face. He gave a slight wimp and fell.
The guard outside heard the bash and rushed in. He saw the scribe
on the ground and me with the smeared plate.
“What happened here?” he yelled.
It was the first time I acted as an
impostor. I didn’t know how to react. So, I threw the platter to
his head, too. He stumbled back, but his helmet protected him. I
took a shield from the stand beside me and blocked a thrust of his
spear. When he tried again, I stepped in and pushed the spear
upward. I punched him on the stomach and raised my knee to his
chin. He fell back, breaking the other stands behind him. I quickly
put my attention on the scribe again, fearful that he would run,
but he was still insensible on the ground. He had been sipping from
a glass of wine on the desk. I poured it all over his face, and he
woke up wiggling like a worm. I grabbed him by the collar of his
robe and sternly talked, “The captain is not here, so I’ll direct
my question to you. Where is she?”
“I-I don’t know who you’re talking about,”
he answered, spitting on himself.
“I know she passed through here, kidnapped
“You mean, you’re searching for the---”
“Where is she?!”
“I don’t know where they took her,” he shook
I raised my hand in anger and was about to
pummel him, when fear got the best of him.
“The captain knows!” he trembled. “Every day
he goes to the southern pond to ease his mind. You’ll find him
I expressed my gratitude by knocking him out
with my fist. As I rose up, I saw a folded map of Balora on the
desk. I took it, for it would be useful on my journey. Before I
left the tent, I glanced at the stands the soldier broke and saw a
small chest underneath the rubble. I cleared the debris and opened
it. Hidden inside was a small pouch full of gold and silver lorins.
The lorin was the balorian coin. I clutched the pouch and got out
the tent. The guard that had left for the kitchen was now
returning. He had turkey meat wrapped in cloth.
“Alfred, that lazy bum. Now he has taken to
sleep on the floor,” he said. “But, at least he didn’t see me
taking all this meat. Anyway, where is the other guard?”
“The scribe called him in. I think they both
liked the platter I brought.”
I left him in a hurry. The captain was away
from the outpost. And if it was for a leisurely walk, he would be
accompanied with only a guard or two. I had to get to him before he
returned. I quickly revisited the kitchen and got my weapons back,
putting the map into my side bag, along with the pouch of lorins.
The cook was still asleep beside the furnace, and I let him be. At
that moment, a smile formed on my face. It had gotten a bit rough,
but no one had captured me yet. Maybe in the future I could pursue
a life of espionage.
I left the brick hut, paced to the stables
and mounted a brown horse with white hair. The wrangler inside went
to me, “Hey, cook, where do you think you’re going with a
I lowered my head and locked eyes with him,
“I’m out for a hunt.”
Suddenly, the guard I had fought in the tent
came out and yelled, “The cook is an impostor. He’s a spy!” The
wrangler turned to me, but what he saw was my foot smashing his
face. So much for a future in espionage. I darted out the stable
with the horse and dashed by all the soldiers on patrol. I was
heading for the west portal when I felt arrows fly by my head. I
looked back and saw balorians riding horses themselves. I had to
think of some way to stop their pursuit. And then, I saw the ogre.
Its hands had been chained to a large stone that protruded from the
earth. As I passed by, I took out my sword and broke the chains. It
roared as it broke free, raising its arms apart. Recognizing the
balorians as its capturer, it ran towards them in a rampage of
fury. The horses stopped and hopped back, knocking the soldiers off
their backs. Passing through the western exit, the soldier standing
guard there had just noticed the commotion. I bent down and
snatched his spear. He called me ill names, but at least I had
escaped the outpost.
The horse was a good steed and galloped
ferociously. I took the southbound path and quickly reached the
green waters of the pond. My spirit got excited when I saw the
captain on the other side. He was on his horse, accompanied only by
one sentry. I kicked the horse and prepared the spear.
The captain wore the same armor as the
common soldier, but with greater shoulder guards and a long yellow
cape. He was admiring the stillness of the waters, until he saw me
circling the pond at full speed. He ordered the sentry towards me,
but his run ended when I threw the spear through his chest. The
impact threw him dead on his back. I then drew my sword and charged
for the captain. I thought he was drawing his own sword, but he
caught me off guard by throwing a knife. It grazed my cheek and
made me fall off the horse. Luckily, the tall grass growing around
the pond cushioned my landing. As I turned to face him again, his
fierce horse almost stomped my body. I rolled, got on my feet and
raised my sword and shield.