“How does it feel? the cold blade to your warm jugular?” with grin Ritr asked Ndra as held his sword to the battered King’s throat.
“I can feel your blood flow slowing down, with each pulse,”
“you or your ..” tried to speak the Great Ndra gathering energy from his body. As he spoke he spat blood, onto the marble stained scarlet from his blood oozing from his wounds. The magnificent hall lay fallen like it’s king, completely torn apart, riches broken like his pride. The court which fashioned Ndra’s, riches, taste for art lay scattered. The marvelous sculpted statues of ancestral kings, the paintings that once awed the Kings audience were in bits and pieces. The glossy rich marble mosaic interred with rubies sapphires adorned the look of a graveyard. The satin curtains which shaded the king were engulfed by fire. The destroyed pieces of diamond chandelier glittered in the light from those blazing flames. Great Ndra who hosted the riches of all the known, unknown worlds was catching his last breath. He lay trying to rest his back on broken piece of his own massive black granite statue that now laid opposite his golden throne. Tears in eyes, blood from wounds had become his jewels in last moments.
The court wore an eerie silence which would be broken by swords slashing throats, cries from women children running helter-skelter outside the grand palace. The sweet flowing music of musicians, the laughter of the court comedians, jesters, was replaced by their dead silent bodies that lay all over.
Ndra’s life was hanging at end of Ritr’s blood stained sword. Ritr continued his sadistic grip on Ndra, but yet could not retrieve that what he was here for. The destruction what he brought on Olam Anvyra the magnificent rich Capital of Praleesi had not yet reaped him the results. Annihilation could only be understatement, in which lay the King Ndra, brutally wounded and lost. The pride of King Ndra too was destroyed with Praleesi, outside the court the Ritr’s army lit Praleesi on fire. The sheer joy to them was to see Praleesi burn, destroyed to ashes. As Praleesi burnt dimmed the life force in Ndra.
The great King who normally wore his pride on chest today was brutally unarmed. Ritr stood towering over king Ndra, holding his sword to Ndra’s chin, the blade smeared with blood dripped few drops onto Ndra. Ritr finally could lay his sword on the great mighty undefeated King of many aeons. Rage was transpiring through Ritr’s body, face turned crimson red with blood of courtesans. In spite of achieving the impossible, defeating Great Ndra, Ritr could not feel satisfaction, rather stood over Ndra like some lost soul, desperate to achieve his actual goal, success still alluded him.
The fight with Ndra had worn Ritr out too, and yet there was no success. High adrenaline induced rage was causing blood red eyes, as if they were pouring flames. Each flame tongue seemed only to rise to snatch the last breath from Ndra. Bending over lacerated Ndra, with a deep harsh resentful voice he asked
“tell me where it is,”
Destroyed from the fight, Ndra struggled to move his arms even his lips. to speak he paused to gather any energy left in his body. Though bodily harmed, his soul was intact, the calm in his eyes stoked Ritr even more and with struggle King Ndra spoke,
“you won’t find it,” and slipped more deep towards death, smirking, provoking Ritr with his peaceful eyes.
After the long tiring fight, for Ritr time was pressing, Ndra’s smirks, peaceful demeanour challenged Ritr’s impatient self. Unforbearing Ritr, boiling with annoyance in every cell of his body however wanted to prove his might, crush Ndra’ ego, see defeat in Ndra’s eyes . Ritr stood still, threatening Ndra, with impatience gushing in his veins. He thrust his blade a bit further, just so to slightly cut Ndra’s throat. Blood trickled down Ndra’s throat, coating his family large shiny ruby, the cut made it harder for him to breath. But Ndra he was, he remained defiant.
Ritr’s dilemma added to his pressure, he knew he could not kill Ndra until he gets what he wants, but Ndra’s might at death’s door step was galling, challenging impatient Ritr. In spite being at Ritr’s mercy, Ndra made look Ritr as the looser. This defeat inflated Ritrs veins with fury, should he fail again in retrieving the information, what would it say of him? Stressed Ritr, unbearable to control his anger at the smirk in Ndra’s eyes he thrust the sword further into Ndra’s throat, splitting his jugular and releasing the life out of him
“You shall never find them,” saying that Ndra fell slain.
The next moment a ground shaking thundering blastrippled through Praleesi, Ritr was thrown off his place as he stood over Ndra. Ritr protecting his ears from the loud explosion got up and rushed to the other end of hall to see what had happened, more so to confirm his fear. At far distance shone a unseen before beam of bluish light into open sky, which sent neighbouring hill crumbling down. Ritr understood he had made his mistake, there was no turning back, Ndra’s death at his impatient hands began to sink in him. As he moved back towards dead Ndra he saw soldiers rushing into the vast dilapidated court hall.
In lead of those soldiers was Aahush. He barged in with few of his soldiers, ready to strike despite the ringing noise. Aahush stood motionless at sight of the dead Ndra, anger rising in his body with each stare he tightened his fist holding the sword and rushed towards Ritr but was held back by his own soldiers.
“What have you done?,”asked Aahush trying to free himself from his soldiers
“He … He … He was not speaking about it, I tried a lot brother, but he just did not,” Ritr replied sliding his bloodied sword into carved scabbard.
“You fucking tried shit! Could you not wait for me? All you had was to wait, just fucking wait. Your restlessness has cost us hard Ritr,” pushing aside the soldiers, freeing himself Aahush said,
“You have just blown up the work of centuries. I did warn you, we Need him ALIVE. How could you ignore a simple thing that as sole ruler of Praleesi for past so many centuries, rather since begin of time as we understand, only he, Ndra could wield it. Without him we can’t get or control it,” Aahush said stressing it, and moved near to dead Ndra. Ritr already stood there staring at Ndra with blank face.
“Did you least get hold of Mskar?” asked Aahush,
“Ritr! did you?” turning towards Ritr, who stood cold lost in thoughts, Aahush again asked.
Ritr still staring at Ndra replied “you won’t find them! Were his last words” cold but cryptic.
“He said you won’t find them ‘THEM?’ Who is this them?”
“WHAT!” exclaimed out loud Aahush, “did he really say THEM?” Aahush said that with concern, face turned as he had bit something bitter.
“What have you done brother, your one thoughtless action has set the wheels of time in motion. The one thing which we wanted not to start, you paved a path for it, THEM are here!”clenching his fist Aahush struck a marble statute breaking its corner into pieces. Angered Aahush moved back to dead Ndra, stood over him. Murmured to himself “them are there, them ARE here! ” To find some ray of hope on other fronts of their war Aahush the elder of the two brothers turned to the soldiers.
“Who was charged with the task of Mskar,” taking control Aahush asked. “Saket, Nimesh! Who was in charge,” he asked again bit louder.
Saket and Nimesh, two soldiers stepped forward with fear trickling down their faces, knelt down in right foot and placing their right hand horizontal in air, bowing their head on it.
“Sire Akrames was our battalion leader for the task but he was killed by Ndra’s men,” Saket informed wiping the sweat trickling from his temple.
“What, Akrames is dead?,” shock written on Aahush face he inquired further
“So he being dead, who was next in charge, why I have no information on Mskar yet?” Aahush was standing hands distance from Saket, glaring at him.
“I… I was next in order My Lord, but…,” Saket’s sentence was broken due to commotion at the court entrance.
Barged into the court a tall strong solider, smeared with blood, still holding his sword high in left hand dripping blood. With confidence the fearless solider brisk walked towards Aahush, displaying urgency in his eyes.
“Who is in charge here?” asked the solider with air of arrogance filled boldness
“Stay back! Bloody savage don’t you know how to address your Lord,” Ritr spoke authoritatively, almost thundered, grabbing his swords fist. Hearing ‘Lord’, the soldier’s stance suddenly changed like waking to his senses. He immediately held his sword down and bowed his head.
“I apologize my Lord, I but a mere solider am unknown to the court protocols, but I need to see you urgently, Sire,” bowing in waist said the solider
“Speak ?” moving towards him Aahush asked and signalled Ritr to drive back his sword into sheath.
“Sire, I have Mskar’s news,” the solider bowed further as Aahush approached him. He kept his eyes to floor as he spoke.
“Hmm Go ahead,” said Aahush
“My lord, I must apologize as I broke your orders, I abandoned my position, but seeing Akrames die, I had to do something, I took eleven men to look out for Mskar,” still bent and turning tensed with each approaching Aashush’s step
“Easy my solider, easy, be at ease, what is your name brave one,” placing his hands on the soldiers shoulders Aahush spoke to him, bit calm
“Uhan son of Isnan! Sire,” he said that with pride but just so much to avoid ego display.
“Uhan tell me where is Mskar, tell me you have him,” inquisitive Aahush asked
Uhan with his head hung said “Sire, forgive me, my limited ability was no match to the bastard master weaponer, I was chasing him as he ran north east towards the forest, I did catch up with him and held him back with my sword but he used some chant and created some out of this world instrument to fly in air, and jumped into air to cross into the forest,”
“That sounds like him, so he entered the forest, Ritr,” turning towards Ritr Aahush still thinking spoke.
“I’ll get right away brother,” Ritr said preparing to leave.
“Oh ! No No, not you for WE have to face the consequences to your action. She will reach here soon. Let this Uhan” and turning towards Uhan “You, take best of your men and get me Mskar and ALIVE! Know that Aranya forest is wake, you have to be careful, especially with Mskar and that Kimmara. Get going and prepare for the journey, I’ll brief your further at the city doors,” Aahush spoke out the instructions.
Uhan bowed and walked reverse until the door and exited from the court, which by then was being guarded by two huge monstrous brothers Kuni-Akuni, known for their fierce loyalty to Aahush. They were famed to not even allow death to enter if Aahush did not want to. Even if they stood at the one entrance they were known to protect all entrances, from each of the ten directions. For now they stood guarding the huge entrance, whose huge carved wooden door lay broken hanging from the hinges. The figurines of two dancing damsels were clearly visible but did not look attractive as they once were. Scarred with soot and blood the dancers appeared demonic
Inside the vast hall it was only Aahush and Ritr and few soldiers. Aahush was speaking to Ritr about the THEM. He was trying to know if Ndra really did say THEM. Aahush and Ritr feared that this THEM meant ‘The Children’ themselves.
“Silence!” Aahush said a bit angered.but that fell on deaf ears. As they discussed there was rising unnerve amongst the soldiers, which was disturbing their conversation. Turning around he saw his soldiers were staring at the dead Ndra. Aahush and Ritr moved over to there, but what they saw was unbelievable. Ndra’s wounds appeared to be healed and had a smile on his face, slowly his glory seemed to return to him, and his body shone as if he was shedding light. Taken aback from the shining, they could not grasp what was happening. Millions of tiny particles seemed to glitter in his skin.
“You fools!” an angered strong feminine voice, a tone doused in disgruntle was heard at distance. The voice or it’s owner, Kuni Akuni never stopped from entering, those were Aahush’s orders. Aahush’s immediate reaction was to signal the soldiers to vacate the court. The soldiers rushed out of the hall without even wanting to know whose voice that is. Kuni – Akuni blocked the entrance with their backs to court hall and stood motionless like some huge stone doors. Only Aahush and Ritr were left behind who walked towards the voice.
“One task I give you, one task,” said a slowly floating tall slender silhouette with teeming hair, walking through mist, as though mist formed her, and slowly the silhouette materialized into a woman. Flowing dark raven hair, bound together with some invisible band; the hair appeared to be sprayed with stars, small tiny dots that glittered as she strode towards them. Both stood bowed, facing the floor. She approached them, with an icy cold face, her eyes though captivating with deep beetle black pupils lacked life. Sharp features made her attractive to point of mesmerizing. Long slender hands, fingers that suit a princess, and a stride that displayed royalty in each step. Her persona was attractive, but carried a certain dry coldness as if death lingers around. Her robes appeared as cloud floating around her, mushy soft textured clouds swayed as she strode. Through the clouds shone star like dots as though night sky was imprinted on her robes, just in white though. Bare foot she was hovering in air yet walked as on some hard floor. Though she walked in air the bloodied floor glowed in her untouched footprint.
She passed by them, they still in bowing posture, she reached the glowing Ndra’s body. In that glow they saw her lit up face and display a small streak of satisfaction, as if she long waited for this moment. She stood over there staring at Ndra, drawing pleasure over his death.
“Why is she so quiet brother,” whispered Ritr to Aahush.
“Shut up,” Aahush whispered back with annoyance
In spite of the commotion outside the palace, the whispers reached her ears. “Why am I quiet? You ask W-H-Y?” she turned towards them.
“This is what you offer me, after centuries of wait, is this what you do? And you ask W-H-Y I am quiet? You destroyed the whole wait to get it,” composing herself from the brief departure from calmness she asked
“Tell me you have it,”
“Erh, before he could reveal he died” said Ritr spoke but with strain in his voice.
“DO NOT LIE TO ME,” her voice carried a hoarse edge, and as she shouted those words her robes began to transpire from white soft clouds to dark, blackish stormy dark clouds, the whole white lustre began to disappear into those black dark clouds with streaks of lighting flashing across.
“Have you retrieved it,” she continued in her stance, which appeared slight bigger than earlier.
“Mother, I tried, but he resisted, I tried but he..he..he.. did not reveal” Ritr confessed his deed hiding the his lack of self-control
“DON’T DARE ADDRESS ME THAT,” in rage she spoke, that startled Ritr.
“If I can give you life, I can even snatch it back, just with snap of fingers” she said as she walked stealthily to him.
“Mother he…” before Aahush could say any further she swung her left hand in air causing Aahush to be thrown aside like a paper in wind. She reached Ritr and held him in air by his neck facing her. Her white skin princess hands had turned to coarse torrid bluish muddy. The cracks on her skins showed the hidden simmering lava beneath. She pressed hard Ritr’s neck almost piercing his jugular vein.
“You killed him! Din’t you? Like always could not control your anger,” these words fell on Ritr with caustic effect on him.
“you are worthless, you do not deserve to live on,” and she tightened her grip further choking Ritr, whose black pupils had rolled up turning his eyes white, while he gasped for breath, struggling to release her grip, a futile try.
Aahush rushed to his rescue, reached her hand, trying to release Ritr, but it was in vain, even he with all his might he could not shake her a bit.
“Mother let him go, please,” Aahush pleaded as she continued to torture Ritr.
“Let him go, death to him is no punishment, he is too worthy to be lost, he is my brother,” he continued
“I HATE his mistakes, I should not have raised him, rather not created him” and she pressed his throat further
“Please, let him go, we can still work around, we need him, throw him to lowest rungs of order, let him suffer his doings, but spare his life,” Aahush suggested with hope she might leave him.
“Arrrrgh !” she screeched loud letting him go. Ritr fell on ground half-conscious trying to draw in air as he continued to suffer in pain. Kept coughing due to lack of air, struggling to gain his lost consciousness.
“You, get lost, and don’t come back until you get it,” she spoke stern bending over the gasping Ritr.
“But mother ..,” he tried to speak with effort but was cut by her.
“I am no Mother to you, leave and return only if you have what I sent you here for,” and she turned around moving towards Ndra.
Ritr left with no option dejected, gathered himself soothing his neck with his hands and trying breathe with effort. He looked at Aahush who signalled him to leave, crestfallen he moved towards the exit guarded by Kuni- Akuni.
Left behind in court hall Aahush, he walked towards her with caution. She was still in rage.
He said “Mother, clam down, please” but she paid no heed, he continued “Though Ndra did not reveal it’s location, he did say something just before he breathed last.” Saying that he took a pause to see her reaction. She turned to him but still consumed by her resentment.
Seeing that minor development Aahush said “Ndra just before his last moment said ‘you won’t find them’, which means ‘the children’ have it or are here” Aahush put that forth with utmost care and caution. She was listening with her eyes fixed on Aahush waiting for his next sentence.
With lowering his tone in concern Aahush said
“I fear, just before his death, er ..Umm just before Ritr struck the death blow, I fear Ndra using the powers granted by ‘THE CHILDREN’, he invoked them or RYSA” saying that Aahush glanced at her.
The slight mention of ‘THE CHILDREN’ made her fume, adding oil to fire was mention of RYSA. Through her obscure black attire Aahush saw blackish thick bubbles rising as she was raging. Her whole self-changed into some scary fierce lady with anger spilling from eyes, she breathed heavy with grunt to her voice. Scared he moved back tumbling over the broken pieces of floor and statues.
“I AM MAHISHI” She thundered, which shook the whole palace and the commotion outside fell to silence, even the nature stopped for a second, the lighting in sky was deafened with that roar .
In the court along with the shout she hurled a huge broken piece of statue towards glowing Ndra, which fell on him exploding into millions of golden pieces which glittered and fell to ground as butterflies sit on flowers.
“THEM CAN NOT STOP ME I AM MAHISHI” she shouted loud which scared Aahush too. He stepped back even further‚ as his mother tried to regain her calm.