Chapter 7. Rioya, the Rebel Symbol.

Chapter 7. Rioya, the Rebel Symbol.

In the forest, at the entrance of the patrol camp.

In front of Leiza's and Seip's parties, the rocky bodies of several stone giants rose up, who had a size close to twenty meters with which they could easily crush all the explorers together. The enormous creatures turned to the ground, staring at those who interrupted their slumber. One of them moved quickly - as fast as its species allowed it, because stone men were beings with limited speed - and leaned down to stretch out its massive arm, eclipsing the light for those on the grass. Inside the newly generated gloom, Leiza feared being crushed in an instant.

As the stone hand drew closer to the ground, Zaz leapt onto the extended index finger and began climbing the body of the colossal being. The giant raised its arm and focused full attention on the walker on its extremity. All the remaining stone men formed a circle around their partner and looked attentively at Zaz, who could never handle so many opponents of those dimensions at the same time. Another stone man moved his arm closer to where the hunched climbing figure was running, allowing it to leap onto his body; later a third stone man did the same. The process was repeated time after time, as if they were all fighting each other to let Zaz run over them. Seip commented with a smile on his face:

- They act like children. They are happy to see your friend, because they never stop missing it.

-Do those giants know Zaz? -Leiza asked.

-Yes, don't be intimidated by their great size. They're made of stone on the outside, but inside they're like lumps of sugar. They have been guarding the forest for years with the help of your friend. They love it so much. That's why I knew I had to bring it to the camp to cheer up the troops... Don't have so much fun! It has to also visit the guardians at the other end! -Seip shouted to the stone men who were enthusiastically playing with the jumping Zaz.

He then asked Leiza, Mity and Luespo to come with him into the camp. He explained to them that the north entrance was guarded by those six stone giants, while on the south side, an equal number of guards protected the entrance. Inside the camp there were over fifty humans forming a group of patrollers safeguarding the borders of Valle Roble, an action that seemed senseless to Leiza.

-But why patrol it? I lived on the outskirts of the city for years and never saw any threat of invasion.

-That peacefulness you speak of is unnatural. You owe it to these common men standing here who receive no credit for it, –Seip replied earnestly–. If it were up to your King, all you people would have been wiped out several years ago. The King of your town is an inhuman cretin.

-How can you talk like that about your fellow combatant? The King is a national hero! Thanks to him we obtained peace after the Móruvel family's oppression.

-Only the face of the oppressor has changed, girl, nothing else. At the end of the revolutionary battle, all the survivors decided that he was going to be in power, the rest of us were given important positions as reward for our participation in the revolt. I was named Colonel of Defense in Valle Roble, but as soon as I learned the policies of the new monarch I felt disappointed for having stained my hands in the war alongside that man. For him, the lives of humble people are expendable. He views their existence as a resource to be used for strategic purposes.

-I don't understand anything. Explain yourself, Seip.

-Have you ever wondered why there is no wall dividing the kingdom from the outside? Why was your house so close to the forest where so many dangerous beings inhabit? Because the King refused to invest in the protection of those people, he considered those lands would serve perfectly well to announce him the presence of invaders, slowing down any attack to the kingdom and distracting the attention of the enemy with insignificant inhabitants. That portion of territory would buy him enough time to mount a counter-offensive of quality. That miserable King used to say that poor areas can always be repopulated, and there is not much concern to rebuild something that was always in ruins... Hearing that coming out of his mouth, I immediately submitted my resignation and stopped living in that kingdom. That day the Great Revolution died for me.

Leiza could not believe listening to Seip the spider, a national icon, saying those things about the greatest historical hero. She learned since she was a child that the great saviors of Valle Roble were a group of exemplary beings who risked everything for the good of the kingdom. She never imagined that there would be feuds among them.

-So what happened to everyone of you after the Revolution? I thought all of you would be allies.

-Initially most of us who survived believed in making a change and we banded together to create a different government. Only one man refused to take part in this process, as he was never interested in getting involved in political affairs. This man was Rioya, who ended up becoming the King's worst nightmare. He probably would have been able to overthrow him, had it not been for the unfortunate event that brought us all down. A betrayal that no one ever saw coming.

-What happened?

-Of all the fighters in the Great Revolution, there was someone who stood out for being strong, but not only that, he was different from the others. I think Moal knew himself inferior to Rioya in power, although we could never prove it, because they never fought against each other. He was an innate leader, concerned with social causes and with great congruence. Once the great battle against the Móruvel family was over, he wanted to go back to live in the forest and continue dedicating time to his main priorities. He received nothing in return for his involvement in that war, because he never asked for it. However, soon he learned about the new behavior of the King that he helped establish and felt an enormous guilt for it. He then formed a group of rebels who challenged the authority of the monarch of Valle Roble. A group that was very diverse and numerous, because the forest people respected the figure of Rioya and joined him without hesitation. Not only humans believed in him, his behavior also made beings of other species become his friends and allies. The stone men had a deep respect for him -With a nostalgic countenance-. It is a shame that only this small patrolling camp remains today as part of that large rebel group.

-Rioya was planning a rebellion to the kingdom?! That has never been mentioned in the official history. What happened to him? You must have known him well.

-There are many things you will never read in history books, girl. Unfortunately I don't know all the details because I joined this rebel group later; remember that for some time I was part of the new government, until I realized where I was at. When I left to find a new life, I ended up reuniting with Rioya by chance. It was only then that I discovered in depth his endearing personality and a heart much bigger than his power. He is the most noble and true to his ideals person I have ever met. It was a complete honor to fight alongside him and protect the same causes. He always had confidence that we could gather enough men to overthrow King Moal. We all believed his words, because the group was getting bigger and bigger, our potential was enormous. We even possessed a secret weapon that could give us the advantage over the years. Rioya had a younger brother, Fyrod, whom the rest of us in the rebellion considered part of our family. His skill and strength were tremendous, Rioya could never get tired of saying that the boy would become stronger than himself. Fyrod seemed to be a carbon copy of his older brother; powerful and talented, but always sensitive and loyal. No one doubted him, he was supported and loved by all of us. Until tragedy struck one day during an ambush by the royal guards. Rioya, Fyrod and a few men were cornered by the King's top General. None of us doubt that Rioya could have defeated even that fearsome combatant, but just as he was about to face her, the most cowardly and detestable treachery happened. Fyrod pierced the breastplate of Rioya's red armor with a punch from behind. Our leader never saw it coming and could do nothing to defend himself, because he would never have doubted his own blood. Those who were there, say it was a difficult scene to witness. Rioya's eyes welled up in tears, aware that it was his brother who had just pierced him. Not even a warrior as strong as him could survive the damage done to his vital organs. With a broken voice and a tearful look, Rioya gave his last words to his brother Fyrod:

- Never betray. Never....be...eee...ttt...tray.

Rioya collapsed and died on the spot. They were only able to defeat him off guard, not expecting an attack from his own brother, who shortly thereafter joined the forces of King Moal.

Chapter end

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