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Nate Davidson



Travor Vanguard was a thief by trade and by choice. He was the most famous thief in all the kingdom but no one knew who he was. The royal guards were always one step behind him and the king, Lord Santiago, had put a bounty on his head of 5000 crowns.

Travorís father, Maximus, had been a broken down, drunk old fool in his later years. At one time, however, he had been the best general in the kingís army. After losing a battle to the kingdoms sworn enemies. he was banished from the kingdom and the king had his wife killed as punishment for disgracing the king. They had a son just seven months before this all happened and Maximus wife placed him in a hiding place that she knew he would be able to find him in when he came back for him. Maximus took Travor into the woods where he taught him the ways of warfare, the sword, and stealth. Maximus trained him to someday get revenge on the king that took his wife and Travorís mother away.

From as far back as he could remember, Travorís father was always talking about the legendary treasure of the Santiago family. The treasure that was held in the royal crypt was the foundation of the Santiago family. If the family were to lose this treasure, they would be destroyed. This treasure was the only thing keeping the Santiago family in power, for it was said that if they were to lose the last piece of the treasure, the castle would come crumbling down and wipe out the entire family.

He told of how it was cursed, and only the most cunning could retrieve what was locked behind centuries of death, in the royal crypt. Three rooms of treasure, three different riches to tempt one from moving to the next. They were locked behind doors whoís locks could not be picked, they were puzzles for one to piece together. All the pieces were there, just waiting for someone to come along and solve the mystery.

So Travor set out on his mission to fine tune his skills. He used them to start a spree of crime in the kingdom. Every night he would set out and steal from the king and his family, taking anything he could get his hands on, from jewels to gold, even a cape out of the kingís bedroom. His crimes became famous throughout the land but no one knew who he was or what he looked like. No one ever saw his face, no one had seen anything of him but his silhouette in the distance or disappearing into the shadows. He walked freely during the day to buy food and supplies to take back to his home for his father.

Throughout all this, Maximus was very depressed, he hated life where he was secluded in the forest doing nothing all day. He tried many hobbies but none stuck. At one point he tried to become a gardener, but he lost his entire crop of potatoes to an early frost. He never got over what had happened to his wife, never getting the chance to say goodbye tortured him to the point of madness. He began drinking heavily and one day in the late spring, he took his life. Travor was devastated, he decided that this was the time, he would go after the treasure the next night, after he buried his father.

The burial was brief, he said his goodbyes and walked away.

Flashing across the menacing dark clouds, lightning bolts illuminated the countryside as the winds of the approaching storm began to blow against the wheat and trees. The earth shook as the thunder raced to catch up with the lightning bolts.

Darting from tree to tree in the darkness of the storm, Travor arrived and squatted behind a large weeping willow. While fighting his lungs to calm his breathing, he peered around the willow's trunk, Travor narrowed his beady pale blue eyes as he gazed at the door of the crypt that held the wealth of the past that would serve him in the present. The wind was blowing somewhat harder signaling the approaching storm, Travor pulled his black cloak tightly around him so it wouldn't alert anyone to his presence, hiding his deep purple tunic he wore under the cloak.

Around the corner, stepped a soldier dressed in armor. Another bolt of lighting flashed, Travor could make out the silver family crest of Santiago. Watching the pattern of his patrol, Travor grinned from ear to ear when he watched the soldier attempt to pull his sword out of its sheath only to have the blade get caught several times, something a veteran soldier would have known how to do in a fluid motion, which told Travor this soldier had never seen combat.

Darting to the other trees and then to the bush next to the gate, Travor watched as the soldier stepped to the far side of the crypt and turned to patrol. The figure disappeared around the corner, Travor scampered over the iron fence and took in a deep breath and sprinted towards the large tombstone that would provide the best advantage for his attack. Pulling out a small dagger, Travor held the blade close and concealed it under his cloak and waited for the soldier to return.

Slowly the soldier stepped out from behind the crypt and marched over to the door and yanked on the massive door to ensure that it was still locked. With his back to the rest of the cemetery, he pulled on the bronze rung and snorted in a bit of pleasure that all was safe.

The soldier continued his patrol, he came close to where Travor was hiding. His footsteps were heavy and careless as he walked with a false confidence that he was safe from any harm just from the mere fact that he was a soldier in one of the most feared armies in the land. Just as he passed, Travor slid with one fluid movement and grasped the chin of the soldier, tilted it upwards and slit his throat. The blood flowed instantly from the neck of the solder, he crumpled in a heap on the ground; unable to make any noises, he silently gasped for air. When all the life finally escaped from the soldier, Travor reached into his bag and produced lock picks and began to work on the locks that held his fortune from him. After nearly ten minutes of working the locks and looking over his back to make sure he was alone, Travor smiled after the final lock disengaged. Wiping the sweat from his forehead, Travor glanced over to find the soldier laying still in the same position where he had left him.

Pulling on the bronze rung that served as the door handle, Travor fought against the weight of the massive bronze handle and oak doors and slowly the battle began to swing towards his favor, the door slowly opened and the hinges groaned and slowly opened releasing a rush of musky air. Removing his backpack, he pulled out a used candle and lit it. Holding it in front of him, he peered into the darkness that was before him. He finally took a step and made his way into the crypt.

Readying his short sword, Travor made his way into the crypts center hall where the bodies were placed into their vault. Standing in the middle, Travor smiled at the unseen wealth hidden behind the doors in the room up-ahead. Spotting a lamp on the wall, Travor ignited the lamp, which gave a more illumination of the center hall. Fearing that some night wanderer seeing the light, he quickly moved back to the door and shut it enough to hide the light. There was another door that led to a room that had three doors. Each door had its own treasure behind it, and each held its own riddle to be solved. One contained silver and gold pieces that filled more chests than one could carry with an ox and cart. The second contained the jewels and royal pieces from the Santiago family. The third door contained something that when looked upon was said to be the ugliest statue one has ever seen. All the features of the statue were worn off but it was said to have been made in remembrance of Santiagoís first wife, Queen Isabella. However, legend has it that inside the statue was the real likeness. Santiago had found a diamond that was as big as a man and had it formed into Isabellaís form and then covered in stone to conceal it. It must have been the most beautiful thing to that one has ever seen Travor thought to himself. Then he walked into the room with the three doors.

His lamp illuminated the small room and he stood in amazement that he had finally made it to the crypt that would wipe out the Santiago family forever. The first door Travor came to had something inscribed above the door. It said "To begin the journey you must find the way. Some things that grow can help you up if you may." Travor had no idea what that meant, so he began searching. Sure enough, he found some vines growing in the corner. They led up to what looked like a hole. Travor began to climb towards his goal, each inch was one bit closer to bringing down the man who ruined his family. As he reached the missing pieces of wall, he placed his lantern that was hooked to his belt on the ledge and pulled himself up. To his surprise, there was a lot of room for him to maneuver down the tunnel that was before him. It was dark and dirty, with spider webs lining the way. He crawled and crawled, until he finally came upon a hole in the ground. Travor reached his lamp down into the darkness to light up the room below.

He found it, the first of the three rooms. He quickly lowered himself down and started looking around. He saw chest upon chest piled all around. Travor quickly found a rock and busted the lock off one of the chests. He flung the lid open, his eyes widened and he gasped at what was the most beautiful sight he had seen in years, it was full of silver and gold pieces. He ran his fingers through the treasure and let out a few chuckles. He quickly snapped out of his trance and realized that this was not what he was here for.

Travor looked around some more and found that on the far side of the room, was a stone pedestal with a small chest sitting on top of it. He walked up to the chest and broke it open. Inside were some small and some large pieces of gold that were all shaped a little differently. He lifted the chest off its resting place, and found a circular inlay. It was a puzzle , once it was all put together it would open the door to the next room. Travor dumped all the pieces out on the floor and started piecing together his revenge. After much time and frustration, he finally had one piece left. He gave the room a quick glance to see if he could see any traps, he could see nothing that would be threatening so he placed the piece in its proper slot. Suddenly, he felt a slight trembling of the floor and he quickly turned around to see what was going on. With his lantern in hand, he watched as the floor from him to the door started to shake violently. The chests began dancing around and some even broke open. Suddenly, the floor just collapsed, taking the chests of the treasure down into the darkness. Travor saw a vine drop from the ceiling and the door on the other side of the hole swung open and he could here another door opening. Travor concluded that he was to swing on the vine to get across to the other side.

He took a little step, and leaped for the vine. He was able to snag the vine and swing himself over to the door that awaited open for him. He landed on solid ground and let out a huge sigh of relief as he looked back to the room that held more treasure than he had ever seen in his life. With a feeling of sadness for losing all that treasure, but a great feeling of accomplishment, he pressed on towards the next door which had opened when the other door did.

Travor leaned his lantern into the room and he peaked around the corner. He saw a bright reflection but couldnít make out what he was looking at. He stepped into the room and his eyes came upon the royal crown and jewels of the former king Santiago. He looked at the jewels glistening at him, hypnotizing him with their beauty. He walked up to them and picked a few of the pieces up and admired them in the light. Travor knew that if he were to take these pieces, he could easily become the most wealthy and powerful man in all the land. He could have even afforded to overthrow the king.

Just then, he heard a scratching behind him. Travor quickly spun around to see the largest scorpion he had ever seen looking strait at him blocking the exit. The thing was enormous, the tail pointed strait at him and was at head level. The claws were half as big as Travor. It began to creep toward him as if to attack. Travor kept the light in front of him and his dagger ready. The scorpion took a few swipes with its claws and Travor easily evaded them. Then a jab with its tail made him jump to the side and roll out of the way. He stopped in a crouch position and the scorpion turned and charged. The scorpion took a few swipes at his feet with those gigantic claws, but Travor dodged them by jumping in the air. He landed on the back and grasped on to the tail and used it for a handle. He rode it as it bucked up and down and ran from side to side attempting to throw Travor off. Then its tail raised and came crashing down at Travor. Noticing this, he rolled to one side and on to the ground, landing belly down and able to see the underside of the beast. The tail had gone completely through the body and chipped the stone floor beneath it. All at once it collapsed on the ground and remained motionless.

Travor lifted himself off the floor and brushed the dust and dirt from his clothes. He turned once more to the jewels and riches that were his for the taking. Just then he heard his fathers voice in his head telling him to forget the jewels and press on to his goal. He quickly gathered his wits and began looking for a way to open the next door.

At the back of the room there was a statue of a man. This statue had some resemblances of king Santiago, with his long beard and dark piercing eyes. But there were features that wasnít like him as well, for instance, the hair was much to long, and his overall stature looked much bigger than what the king was. Travor also noticed that this king wasnít adorned with the fancy jewels and crown that a normal king would wear. Just then it clicked, the jewels in the room were to go on this statue. Travor quickly ran to the pieces of precious stone and metal, gathered them all up, and ran back to the statue. He placed the crown upon the head and it fit perfectly. Excited, he picked up the rings and placed them on the fingers and then wrapped the necklace around the neck of the stone man. He had all the pieces of jewelry he could find on the statue, but nothing happened.

Travor gave the statue a quick look over and noticed a small whole in the ear of the statue. He started searching the floor around him for the ear ring but could see nothing. Travor then realized that he saw the ear ring earlier but couldnít grab it in time. He saw it under the scorpion just before it had collapsed down on top of it. Rushing over to the lifeless body of the giant creature, he hesitated as he started to try and lift it and move off the piece of jewelry. It was heavy, but Travor managed to finally lift it enough to reveal what he was looking for. Picking it up and searching it over, it looked to be in good shape still.

Placing the ear ring in the hole of the statue, Travor stepped back to see what would happen. Suddenly the statue started to melt away as if someone had heated it up on a frying pan. It formed a puddle of liquid and began to drain into the floor, along with it went the pieces of jewelry. Travor thought that something had gone wrong, but just then he heard the sound he was waiting for. The final door had sprung open.

Rushing with the excitement he could hardly contain, he swiftly ran out to the third and final door. Travor again lifted his lantern before him and illuminated the doorway. The light reveled a long dark staircase that led him down. Figuring that nothing could be worse than what he just encountered, he pressed forward and down the stairs. After walking about a hundred feet, he came to the bottom of the stairs and stood at the entrance of a large room. It was circular and had a very tall domed roof. In the middle was the statue. Behind the statue Travor saw a body of water with a boat that was tied up to the bank.

Travor knew he had to take the statue on the boat and dump it in the deepest part of the lake for his revenge to be complete. But curiosity was getting the better of Travor as he began to wonder what the diamond underneath looked like. Acting out in a rash manner, Travor quickly began chipping pieces of the rock away with the handle of his dagger. Then he saw it. It was so smooth but he couldnít really get a good look at it so he chipped away what was left on the head of the statue. Once he had finished, he stepped back a picked up his lantern. The diamond was more beautiful than he had imagined. It glistened with the light bouncing off it like it had been holding back all of its shine for the next light to hit it. The face was of the most gorgeous women he had ever seen. She looked like a goddess with her full lips and exotic eyes. Travor was starting to have second thoughts about whether he could do this or not. He had come all this way, it would be a shame to just loose something this beautiful and precious. Travor then started to blur his vision and he watched as the face of the statue began to change. He kept staring at this new face and didnít recognize the woman at all. Then it hit him. It was his mother. Travor had not known his mother as she was taken from him early in life, but his father would always talk about her and how beautiful she was. Soft blue eyes, long curly blond hair, and a smile that would light up the world. Travor had this description burned into his mind for his father told him this every time he would start drinking and remembering. Tears started falling from Travors eyes and he longed for his mother. He wanted to know her and what she was like. The sadness quickly turned to rage as he remembered why he was there, to take down the man who took his family away from him.

Travor fiercely kicked the statue over and began rolling it over to the boat. He dropped it off the very short ledge into the row boat and jumped in. He rowed and rowed with the strength of 19 years of heartache for his mother. Before he knew it, he was all alone in the middle of the water with nothing around him. He gathered that this was far enough and hoisted the diamond over the edge nearly capsizing the boat. He watched as the statue floated out of sight.

Not knowing what would happen next, Travor decided to get out of the crypt as soon as he could. He rowed his way back to the large room. Looking over his shoulder he could see his lantern that he had left on the floor beckoning him in. Letting the boat run into the shore, he jumped up onto solid ground again. Taking a few steps forward, he began to feel the ground shaking beneath his feet. Stumbling a bit, he gathered himself and took off running to the exit. Pieces of rock could be heard crashing down onto the floor and breaking apart as Travor ran up the stairs with his lantern lighting his way. Travor had to hurdle the bodies of the dead Santiago family as he raced through the main chamber and back out into the fresh air. His journey had taken up the night and the sun began to peek over the horizon. Travor turned to look upon the hill were the castle was located. He watched in satisfaction as it broke apart and was swallowed up by the hill, leaving nothing but a lot of dust coming from the spot where the royal family once called home.

A few tears of joy started to well up in Travorís eyes as he thought of his mother and father and how much he wished they could see this. He knew though that they were smiling in a better place. Travor walked home in the early morning to visit his fatherís grave and tell him all about his journey.

Acknowledgments: I would like to thank my Creative Writing class for all their help in making countless changes to my story. I would also like to thank the AAP staff for reading all my bad stories and being totally honest with me about them. Last, but not least, I would like to thank my fiancť for helping me come up with ideas for the story.

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