Across the border near Cadura’s capitol city, the small Kohn platoon scouted for the best route to siege the city. Observe without detection was the directive. The soldier was exhausted after the extra march back from taking the woman into custody. He peered through the binoculars from the mountain ridge pass and watched as his fellow soldiers scouted ahead.
It was difficult for him to track their green uniforms through the foliage. He could only keep his eye on one or two of them at a time. But watching them left room for error. There was no one there to watch his back. So when he heard the soft ‘click’ of the gun’s hammer locking into place he knew that his life was over.
“Move and you die Kohn scum.” The man growled.
The soldier dropped the binoculars and raised his hands in defeat.
“Turn around, slowly, and place your weapons on the ground.” The Cadura soldier ordered.
The soldier climbed up from his knees, his hands still high in the air. He turned slowly, reached for his gun, and slid it free from the holster.
“Easy now,” The Caduran soldier said.
“Look captain, I really don’t want to die.” The soldier replied as he knelt down and placed the gun at the man’s feet.
“That all depends on how cooperative you are feeling today.” The captain smirked.
The soldier trembled as he stared at the stone cold features of the Caduran captain before him. His jet black hair and coarse black beard and mustache made the pale man look completely relentless and unforgiving. As he began to hear the gun fire he covered his head and hit his knees. He knew in that second his comrades had been discovered and that they would not go down without a fight. Then, as the gunfire died down and silence followed, the radio confirmed it for him.
“Five sir, all dead.” The voice on the other side reported.
The captain glared at the soldier, “Is that all of you?”
“On this side yes,” The soldier replied trembling. “Another scout party approached from the south this morning.”
“All clear down there private.” The captain stated. “I’ve got one up here. It seems he’s talking.”
“Yes sir,” The voice replied.
“Return to patrols,” The captain stated and then returned his focus to the soldier before him.
“What’s your name soldier?” He asked.
“Johnny sir,” He replied, still shaking in the dust.
“What were you doing here Johnny?” The captain asked.
“We were doing simple recon, sir. We were looking for the best route to siege the city.” Johnny replied.
“You’ve been quite helpful Johnny.” The captain smirked and pressed the cold steel barrel of the gun against his forehead. “For that, I’ll make your death quick.”
“Wait, wait,” Johnny begged. “I know more. Please, don’t kill me.”
“What else could you possibly have to offer me?” The captain growled.
“The woman,” Johnny wept.
“Woman?” The captain stated as he pulled the gun away. “What woman?”
“She had hair the color of rusted iron, and the temperament of the calm before a storm. Maybe reported missing several hours ago?” Johnny replied.
“God damn it!” The captain swore and kicked Johnny in the chest. “Reyna, was that her name?”
“I don’t know,” Johnny wheezed. “She wouldn’t say. But I know where she is. I can take you to her.”
“You’d damn well better not be lying to me Johnny, or so help you, your god won’t even recognize you when I’m done with you.” The captain promised.
“I swear I’m not. I was ordered to take her there myself. Please spare me and I’ll take you to her.” Johnny bargained.
“You will have what you ask.” The captain stated. “Now, start walking. You can give all the details we will need to retrieve her at the barracks.”
Johnny nodded nervously and made his way cautiously down the path. His hands were still in the air and they were shaking uncontrollably. The captain kept the gun pressed tightly between his shoulder blades.
“Put your hands down Johnny. You look like a fool.” The captain grumbled.
“Yes, sir.” He stammered and timidly dropped his hands.
The captain reached for his radio and called in. “I’m bringing this one in. He claims he knows where to find Queen Reyna. Have the status chamber ready.”
“We will be ready when you get here captain.” The man replied.
“Wait, she’s the queen?” Johnny stammered.
“Yes, she is the last of the royal family. You had better pray we find her alive.” The captain growled. “Now, keep moving.”
The captain continued to push Johnny the soldier down the path and through the woods toward the city. When they reached the outskirts of the city they turned left up an old stone street. From there they marched up three more blocks, past stone houses and shop fronts before they entered a large stone building. Johnny looked around the oversized foyer for a moment before he realized that twelve soldiers had loaded and aimed their guns straight at his head. He winced, ducked and threw up his hands.
“This way captain,” One of the men stated.
The armed escort led the captain and Johnny down the long hallway. He passed by portraits of soldiers that hung on the wall, and several closed doors that he wondered where they led off to. They entered a circular room where Johnny was escorted around a large table and positioned before three maps.
“I dropped her off here.” He said pointing at the map. “This is one of our border base camps.”
“From there, she would be taken here for questioning. I can get you past the patrols and straight up to the front door.” He said as he pulled his hand away from the map.
“I want two teams of snipers. Two men in this building here.” The captain said pointing to the right of the main building.
“I want the second team here,” He said indicating the building to the left.
“A team of six needs to cover the rear exit and I’ll take five including myself to escort Johnny here in the front.” The captain concluded.
“Suit up, we leave in thirty minutes.” The captain ordered.
“Yes sir,” They saluted and the room cleared out.
“If she’s hurt Johnny, you’re a dead man.” The captain stated as he turned away.
“Watch him, if he moves, shoot him.” He said to the guard and then walked away to prepare.