The pawn never moves backwards on the board. Always one step directly forward, except when it is capturing another piece, in which case it advances to the forward diagonal square, removing the enemy piece in the process.
The pawn can only move two steps at a time on its very first move. If it does that and advances beyond an enemy pawn’s square of capture, it can be captured in passing (en passant) by the enemy pawn, but only if the capturing move is played immediately.
A pawn is the least valuable pieces on the board, but it is the only piece that can get promoted to any piece (usually a new queen) if it advances all the way to the enemy side of the board.
Izibor lay behind the thatched roof hut obscured by the bushes in the dark, velvety night, waiting for his moment. He was grateful the night was wet after the gentle rain that evening. The slippery hills would slow the advance of the invading armies he’d heard wreaking havoc on the other side of the village.
They’d come without warning. There was no time for gossip to spread the rumours and frankly there was no need. With boom after boom, men were sent scrambling for new lines of defense. Mothers and children were separated from each other, all attempts to gather them to the market square for easier protection failing woefully.
Their protection was not his problem now anyway. He was under strict orders not to do anything else or go anywhere until he saw the signal to begin his mission.
The confusion in the thick undergrowth was unmistakable. Two enemy soldiers were ambushed by one of the many rope traps surrounding the palace. They must have been relying on servant information from the palace staff. If the spy had been any of the trusted guards, they would have known about the traps set for this purpose. Their cries rent the air as the nets were quickly set ablaze by the watchmen, signaling to the enemy that their plan to take the head of the village while everyone else was distracted by the fighting had failed spectacularly.
Checking one last time for his curved, carving knife, Izibor slid down the chute over the wall of the palace and over the surrounding moat, eyes and ears alert for anyone waiting to ambush him at the foot of the slide. Life had no duplicate and most times your enemy killed you before you could see him coming. There were no heroic deaths or parting speeches in battle, just silly mistakes made out of ignorance, over confidence and lack of experience. He lacked experience and hardly knew anything about the big picture of the battle, but at least he would not be a victim of over confidence.
His progress was swift and hassle free. Ironically, the first sign of danger was the appearance of one of their finest soldiers, Saleh, about halfway through the clearance between the two enemy villages. They exchanged acknowledging nods and plowed through the low grass without saying anything to each other. Saleh had to been told to guide and guard him all the way to the central hut of the other village. He was definitely going into very dangerous terrain.
The arrogance of the enemy was a bit disconcerting. It seemed all too easy. Had they been so used to oppression that they never imagined anyone would venture across the plain to attack? Well, the logical attack would have been a massive frontal one but this was far more insidious and effective. All of sudden there he was, right in the enemy market square, having strolled boldly through the gates the enemy had marched out of barely hours ago.
Saleh fell back to cut down any patrols that might have raised any alarms. The sneaky mission required absolute silence from start to finish.
After peeping in through a few windows, he found his target. The first son of Chele, the enemy king, lay sound asleep in a hut all by himself with his handmaid lying a few feet away. She looked like a light sleeper; he’d have to put her down quietly without kicking over the lantern burning close to her to keep her warm. He noticed she’d positioned herself between the lamp and the ten year old boy, who’d curled up in a fetal position to keep warm. The foolish maid couldn’t even put the crown prince’s comfort above her own. She deserved to be relieved of her life.
Minutes later, he stepped out with the sedated prince slung over his shoulder. This was leverage enough to end the incessant field raids during harvest and the sporadic interruptions of their food supply. The message would reach Chele by morning that his son was now being cared for by the enemy, being raised as one of their own, to be killed on the first sign of hostility from the Mambo clan.
This was his first and only ever wartime mission, but he had acquitted himself well.
Don’t work yourself into the spotlight;
don’t push your way into the place of prominence.
(Prov. 25 vs. 6, The Message)