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Ophir : Child of Levant | By Shania Matris | Second Place Winner Philippines Young Author Awards 2020

“Ophir: Child of Levant”

By: Shania Matris


“Hey, Uncle Samson! Where are you?” a voice of a young boy can be heard in the distance.

“Follow my voice, Ophir! I’m over here!” said the man as he frantically waved his hands in the air.

The young boy, Ophir, carried a bag of coal that he got back at home. He couldn’t see well from the big crowd, so he followed his uncle’s voice to not get lost again.


It is a bright and sunny day in the Kingdom of Elias. Children played and ran on the stone road across the other timber-framed, wooden and brick houses, and the markets are full of people buying what is necessary for their daily lives, such as food, clothes, herbs and spices. Ophir and his Uncle Samson sell coal for a living. The boy suddenly tripped. Hitting the stone, cold ground, he heard the townsfolk laughing at him, and a familiar voice.

“Ha! Ophir, you’re so clumsy, you can’t even carry a bag of coal. It’s not even that heavy!” said the boy.

It was the arrogant Jasper. Ophir knew he was trying to embarrass him once again. More voices are heard, but this time, they’re from strangers.

“Poor boy. He has no mother and his father left him.”

“We know who the mother is, but who’s his father?”

“Who cares? That boy is a ‘nobody’! His low confidence will never lead him to a bright future!”

(Dangers We Must Face)


The sounds of horns are heard from the castle. Ophir felt someone lift him up. It was a man wearing armor, and carrying a sword.


“Ophir, are you alright? You need to be more careful next time,” he said.


The young boy’s eyes widened. Seth the Glorious, the kingdom’s hero, is standing before him. He always admired his brave and adventurous personality.


“Th-thank you, Sir…” said the shaking Ophir.


Uncle Samson approached the two, worried.


“Good grief! I thought you got lost again, Ophir. Thank you, Sir Seth,” he said happily.


“Anytime, Samson. There’s an important announcement from the king. We must get going now,” the noble warrior replied.


The big crowd waited in front of the castle to hear the news from the king. King Elias and his guards stepped out to the balcony.


“My fellow townspeople, good day!” yelled the King as the crowd cheered.


“This is an important announcement for you all. I have received news that we are at risk. One, we have lost many warriors in three months as they ventured to Mount Erminhilda. This mountain is said to have the legendary Sunlight Sword of Levant. For those who don’t know, Levant was the kingdom’s hero before Seth the Glorious. I fear that there are creatures taking many innocent lives there. From this day forth, I forbid you all to take a step on that mountain…”


Jasper was next to Ophir, poking his shoulder.


“I bet you can’t even climb up that mountain. I’ve been there dozens of times, and I don’t see any monsters,” he whispered to him proudly.


Ophir shushed him while the announcement continued.


“What I fear the most is Crimson the Ruthless’ reign of terror. He has obliterated two neighboring kingdoms. Everyone must stay in their homes at sunset while our warriors patrol at night. That is all. Thank you!” the king ended with a bow and stepped back inside.


(Ophir’s Origins)

At home, Samson was in the kitchen cooking roasted chicken and vegetables. Ophir sat still at the table with the need to talk to his uncle.

“Uncle Samson, I don’t understand. I’m already used to people saying I’m ‘nothing’, but now, this is different. They say that my parents abandoned me, or they died from an accident… Please tell me where they are.”

Uncle Samson paused from preparing dinner and sat next to the boy.

“Ophir, I never wanted to tell you for it is a tearful story. Are you sure you really want to know?”

The boy nodded.

“Those who say you were abandoned is not true. Your mother and father loved you dearly. They both served the king before you were born. Your mother was the king’s chef. It’s unfortunate she passed away from giving birth to you… your father, however… No one knew who he was, except me. Your father was a spirited warrior, praised for his gentle heart. He shined bright like the Sun. Sadly, he died during battle. Your father… was the heroic Levant.

Ophir felt a chill go down his spine. His chest felt heavy. His tears flowed endlessly. He couldn’t believe it. He is the offspring of a hero.

“I must tell you this again, my nephew. Don’t let everyone’s words break you. I know deep within that shyness of yours is a mighty hero waiting to come out of hiding. You’ll shine bright among everyone, just like your father,” and Samson hugged his nephew.

Ophir felt moved. If no one can put an end to Crimson the Ruthless, the kingdom will perish.

“Uncle, we need to get up Mount Erminhilda. We have to retrieve my father’s sword right now! Crimson the Ruthless could strike at any moment!”

“If that’s our only way to bring peace to the land, I’ll go with you,” answered Samson.

(Retrieving the Sword)

Samson and Ophir left while it’s still dark. They would hide and go when no soldier’s around. Minutes have passed, and they’re now near the mountain.

It was tough finding the cave where the sword is. They passed by another cave, and this one already has light inside. There, they see the sword from afar. Skulls, bones, and fragments of armor surrounded the bright, golden sword. Samson inched closer to the sword, but was pulled up by an unknown creature. Up above was a large, ruby-colored serpent. Ophir was shaking, but he has no other choice but to immediately grab the sword and slay the serpent.

“Let go of my uncle!” he yelled.

A gold aura surrounded the boy as he leaped in the air to strike the serpent. He struck here and there, and the serpent fell onto the ground bleeding. Ophir quickly pulled Samson out of the cave. The only thing left to do is to show the sword to King Elias!

(A Fight for Peace)

The king was astonished to see the legendary sword before him, and hear Ophir’s origins from Samson.

“I heard only the ‘worthy’ can retrieve that sword. As Levant’s own son, you truly are the one!” he exclaimed.

Part of the roof was wiped out by an unknown force. Crimson the Ruthless has arrived! Samson pulled the king’s arm to bring him to safety, and secure everyone in Mount Erminhilda.

“That sword… so, you’re the ‘worthy’ successor of the Spirited Levant? I’ll wipe you out! ” said Crimson in a menacing voice. There is a gem on his chest, which could be the source of his power. Ophir leapt, swinging his sword, but a barrier was formed. Crimson raised his hand, creating a wiping gesture, wiping out part of the castle wall. Dark force hit Ophir against the wall. Two arms strangled Crimson from behind. Ophir looked up, rubbing his head, to see Jasper strangling the villain. Jasper lifted up his mask and tossed it on the ground. Ophir was dumbfounded to see his actual face.

“S-sir… Seth… the Glorious?” he uttered.

“Yes! I’m Crimson the RUTHLESS! This gem was from my adventures. Ophir, did you know your father and I were ‘good friends’? Seeing him achieve so much makes me so mad! 15 years ago, there was a war. I told everyone he died while fighting, but truth is… I cut him off of my life.”

This made Ophir furious. The gold aura surrounding him grew larger as he leapt to strike him. A ring of sunshine formed as he did a backflip.

“This is for the kingdom, and my family! Burn bright!” exclaimed Ophir.

The gem shattered, and flames engulfed on Seth’s robes.

“Me? Defeated by your own son, Levant? Outrageous! Everyone’s supposed to bow to ME!” he shouted, while slowly turning into dust.

(Prosperity to the Land)

The townsfolk cheered as the king raised Ophir’s hand. He’s now the kingdom’s hero. Samson now serves as the Royal Messenger, and Jasper was rewarded for helping Ophir by becoming a warrior. Jasper tapped on his shoulder.

“I haven’t told you this yet, Ophir. I saved you because I know you’ll believe me. No one listened when I saw Crimson in the forests. When I saw you carrying that sword back to the castle, I knew you’ll be our only hope. I’m sorry for being very mean to you back then,” said Jasper.

The sun shone bright on their faces. Ophir smiled.

“Let’s leave that behind, because now, we must stay together to protect this land! I can’t do that without you.”

The crowd kept cheering as the two looked up at the blue sky, with Levant’s spirit visible above the clouds.

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