After years of training and secret planning, We are gaining a lot of clues but the death of a fellow warrior can be a little hiccup in our future plans. I am Avanthika. And I am part of the Kunthala’s warrior group fighting against the Mahishmathi king Ballaladeva. Our primary aim is to free our captured queen, Devasena.
Devasena, once our beloved queen was always my inspiration. The stories our chief shared about her valor and archery skills. Her witty and smart deductions from observations. And her mainly her outspoken nature. This made me take the tough decision to rescue her and re-crown her as our queen.
We have toiled day and night in the harsh and notorious weather conditions just to get small clues. A lot of warriors gave their last for small pieces of information. We sent Dilip, an able warrior, to rescue the queen. I was attracted and probably had a crush on him. On hearing his death from the King’s soldier, I was shocked. I came to know the grave reality that I can’t talk to him anymore. It took me two days to get over him. But I never disavowed my directive.
Things got more and more creepier those days after his death news. I could sense that someone is stalking our group secretly. The autumn cannot hide the broken twigs and footprints of humans which are unlike our fellow warriors. This suspicion is growing stronger and stronger in me. But who ever is stalking us is very careful with their tracks. Is it that our trap didn’t work? Or is there another soldier who missed our trap and following us for our whereabouts? Who could it be?
After a week or so, on a night watch, I woke up Vaishali and went to the pond. When I leaned over the water, there was a warrior women looking forlorn with a shimmer of hope. Probably we can talk with Kattappa, the slave, and free our queen. Although our chief discouraged the idea, I think this might be possible. I have learned from the past sources that Kattappa had been trying to free her. This is a very crucial piece of information. Absentmindedly, I pushed my hand beneath the surface of water for the fish to . Harsh conditions made our group approach health cure methods of nature. I don’t know when I fell asleep but I woke up when I felt a prick on my hand. I immediately came to my senses.
Chief called for an emergency meeting the next day. He came to know that the birthday celebrations of Ballaladeva would be organized grandly. He suggested that this would be a surpassing opportunity to emancipate our queen. He asked who would like to do this task. Everyone was enthusiastically raising their hands and shouting their excitement. Among the shouting noises, the chief announced my name.
A sudden rush of adrenaline, a gush of joy and tears of happiness. I was more than ready to do this task. There were cheers from fellow warriors. Chief appreciated my recent success in establishing traps and help getting crucial pieces of information. He showed the Band, the beacon of warriors. I raised my hand to chief in happiness to be in the quest for vengeance. Everyone was cheering. Chief suddenly stopped and pointed to a tattoo on my hand. I was shocked to see the tattoo. How did it come here?
Chief pointed that If I am obsessed with my body, I will start to fear death. He declared that I am ineligible for the task. I am raged by these remarks. I said “When did my body become a measure for my valor?” with a smirk. The group jeered the chief and Chief regretted his comment and decided to tie the Band. And I was determined find perpetrator and nail him while chief was tying the Band.
With the trails from the pond, It took me couple of hours to be able to pinpoint perpetrator’s tent on the snow hill. Who is he? He brought down integrity of our residence. He has info lethal to us. I ambushed him. He immediately leaped into the valley of snow. I chased him down. “Wait!!” he was yelling. I launched questions and arrows at the same time. “Who are you??”. Two arrows. “Wait!! I’m Sivudu!!” He was yelling while dodging my arrows. One arrow nearly missed him. “What do you want ?”. Two arrows.
This time it hit him in the chest while trying to peep where I am. He fell down. I approached him. The wound was small an there's not much bleeding. He will be alive. I pushed his chest down with my sword and asked him "Who are you ?".
To be continued...