The seemingly too long, bright white lightening from the sky alerted Viranna, who was huddled among the rocks, out of sight of the sentinels. His long trek to the small fort on the hill, in the dark, through a maze of pythons and rough rocks, had proved to be much difficult than anticipated. Being the most successful spy and assassin in the Nagara kingdom, Viranna, the King’s favorite warrior, had accomplished many impossible missions and his jobs got tougher and tougher, just as he wanted.
That cloudy night, his task was to kill the ruthless General, Khadar Khan, nephew of the Hamani Sultan. Highly feared by both his enemies and country men, Khader Khan was a psychotic and cruel man, known for torturing and killing people in the most gruesome manner. He, every one knew, would do anything, human or inhuman, to get what he wanted. Viranna’s blood boiled at just the thought of Khader Khan, his best friend’s battered body always flashing before his eyes at the man’s thought, and just as he did at every one of his attempts, he vowed, “I will show him what it means to be tortured.”
Moving amidst the rocks like a snake, Viranna slowly crawled to the wall of the fort under the garb of night. Having covered their posts with opaque rain shields, none of the sentinels noticed Viranna scale the uneven wall. Once he was on top, Viranna finished the three careless guards at the watch posts in under a minute. With feline feet, he then moved in stealth, his dagger quietly eliminating the eight soldiers on ground duty. Most of the enemies out of the way, it was not difficult for Viranna to find Khader Khan’s bedroom in the small fort. He spotted it as soon as he saw the array of torches in the hallway and the group of heavily armed guards at the door.
“No trouble for you guys tonight”, he whispered as he quietly passed the door and went to the large, arched windows. He stood next to one of the open windows and peered into the well lit room. What he saw inside shocked him and sent a wave of disgust through his spine. An extremely beautiful and elegant woman, dressed like a princess was tied to a chair and Khader Khan was torturing a naked man before her eyes, a huge scissor in his hands probing the man’s private parts. The man had blood all over his body and was wailing as the iron dug into him.
“Enough of this bastard,” Viranna muttered, as he hauled himself over the low window wall and silently slipped into the room. The woman’s eyes, filled with tears, blinked rapidly on noticing Viranna behind Khader Khan, who was now shouting at the top of his voice, “You must marry me Nurah. Else, just like this brother of yours, your father will suffer.” Realizing from her expression that something was wrong, Khader Khan’s hand instinctively moved towards the sword but it did not make it, The hand slumped like a piece of wood next to his leg. Before Khader’s sense took note of what had happened, Viranna’s dagger made its way into his throat and blood quickly filled his wind pipe. Viranna looked into his eyes and told him who he was through a single gesture on the temple as Khader suffocated from his own blood and perished.
Viranna then started untying the lady, who was dumb struck at what just happened. As he looked into her blue-green, mesmerizing eyes still filled with tears, his hand involuntarily held hers. He was lost in her beauty and did not realize the movement behind him until a sword went through his chest. Unbearable pain spreading through his chest, Viranna fell forward, on her lap and went blank in an instant. That was the end of Viranna’s life, the life of a spy, filled with perils and uncertainty, the life Viranna proudly prized, a life devoted to the defense of his king and people.
When Viranna woke up, after almost fifteen days, , he saw the blurred, yet stunning, image of Princess Nurah, looking at him through the same hypnotic eyes, which had cast a spell on him. As he stared at her quietly, mouth wide open, the loud voice of the Hamani Sultan startled him. “Thanks for saving my daughter’s life from that animal Khader. Me and my people of the Hamani kingdom are really indebted to you.” Virana impulsively gazed in the direction of the voice and saw a tall, white bearded man in a silk robe and knew from memory that it was the Sultan himself. Fixing his eyes on the man and gathering some strength, he asked, “Am I a prisoner?” “No, not at all. You are my guest,” the Sultan replied as the soft, pink hands of the princess gently touched his sore shoulder.
Under the care of Princess Nurah and the Sultan’s physician, Viranna recovered quickly. By the time, he was on his feet, it was not a secret to any one that Viranna and Nurah were in love with each other. With the Sultan’s blessings, they got married after Viranna converted to Islam and changed his name to Vir Khan. Two years after their wedding, the King of Nagara, Rama Raya was beheaded on the throne, during a court meeting, by his chief minister, who took over the kingdom and attempted to rule with an iron fist. Amidst chaos, Vira Khan led the Hamani army and conquered the Nagara kingdom with ease. While many attribute the fall of Nagara empire to weak rulers that followed Ramaraya, only a few knew about the spy, whose love turned the tide in favour of the Hamani Sultan.