Monday, 27 August 2012

The Ghosts Of The Past

Chapter 3: Honor Above All

Cold winds rustled through the bars of King’s windowpane. He scraped through the floor, as swiftly as his weary legs could carry him, to seal the shutters. Upon reaching the glass he gaped at the long arrays of mountains covered with snow. The mist left lucid heads of droplets which marred his views of the hillside road leading to the black castle. A black stature among winds of white, the castle stood tall with its roots spreading deep underground. “Honored yet corroded from within”, the King said to himself. Disgusted, he turned away from the glass. “Bastards are they!! Curs I have bred and raised”, the King shouted to nobody. His eyes found to the rotten apple that lied on the table, waiting to be eaten. With a taste of contempt, he yelled for his servant, “A fresh apple is what I wish. Fetch me one, or a pike is awaiting your head”. The servant scrambled frantically as he reached the King’s chamber. He scooped up the trashed apple and was about to leave when the King bellowed, “Convey to all the noblemen and lords of the kingdom, their King desire a council gathering before nightfall”.

The servant nodded in hushed agreement and not a syllable escaped from his lips as he hurried outside the chambers. The King stole a glance back at the funeral pyre. Ravens, black as death itself, sat atop his younger son’s carcass. Blood boiled in his veins as the fury blurted out of his mouth. “Damned sons I have raised. Must’ve been bastards for my seed is as strong as these castle pillars. Brother slaying brother, in broad daylights. Where has their self-esteem gone, blown to these northern winds?? Eunuchs I have raised.”

He descended from the stairs of his chambers. His silk cloak draped the floor beneath his jewel laced body as he made way for the main hall. A thousand times he had mused over his verdict, but no stone could bulge the predicament once given by the King. He entered the council as each and every congressman stood and bowed to him. Gracefully, he sat down on his throne.

“His Grace”
, a shaky voice spoke from the horde of people, “the council expects your justice”. A sudden upsurge of grief passed over the King as the resentment was replaced by agony. He felt desolated in the assembly as he found himself searching for his only blood that remains, Mathilda. The heir of the crown was missing from the congress. With eyes heavy and a heart sans of any love, he started the ordeal.

“I stand before this assembly as the King of the empire “, his voice echoed across the painted walls of the great hall. “A sin had been committed by one of my bloods and a grave one at that. Follies! Betrayals and serpents sneak in the shades of this realm”. He raised his hand, shaking, pointing to his Gods, “They are the Creators and the slaughter took place under their eyelids”. He beheld the gathering seated at their places, “I swore upon the Gods, Justice would be served and the sinner would be beheaded in front of the gathering itself”. 

The council gasped and a sudden rush of inhalation escaped everybody’s mouth. Murmurs exploded as the judgment was passed. “S-I-L-E-N-C-E”, the King roared. With a heart dense of emotions, the King commanded a swarm of swordsman to seek his vanished son and to drag him back into the realm. “The sword awaits the head of the warrior”, breathed the honorable King.

[To Be Continued...]

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Ghosts Of The Past

Chapter 2: Becoming One with Shadows

The princess gazed mutely at the funeral pyre. Jet black ashes were scattered obscenely in the air. Ravens were feeding upon the half charred body of her younger brother. With a mind numbed from grief, her thoughts went to her elder brother. He was hailed as ‘The Warrior’ among the natives. “A warrior who slayed his blood brother”, thought Mathilda, the princess. She saw her shadow forming and shattering on the cremation grounds. She recalled the healer’s words, “The shadows are the dwelling lands of devils existing within us”. She shuddered, and thought about the evil-spirits that might have danced in her brother’s head when he massacred his own blood. With a last glance at the bonfire of dead, she mounted her horse, and rode to her forlorn castle.

She shuffled by a couple of inns and many a pasture. The natives pointed at her animatedly, dropping their farm wagons, wherever she went. She crossed the kingdom swiftly and the enormous citadel came into her eyeshot. The dark clouds loomed ominously above the three towers of the castle. A serpentine was shadowed on the orchards and grounds where once Mathilda found amusement with her beloved brothers. “Omens”, she whispered. The healer had looked in his hazy glass sphere and had already warned her of the fiend that had attached itself with the crown, way before her brothers became one with shadows. “Omens and Sorcery are beyond the acceptance of the folks of this realm, but one can’t overlook their existence”, her heart whispered.

The princess entered the fortress through a gigantic iron gate, trotting on her mare. Two swordsmen bowed to Mathilda as she jumped gracefully from her horse. Rather than approaching the council, she made way for the holy shrine of their kingdom. “Lord Father can wait, The Old Gods await no common men”, she remembered her teachings from the adolescent days.

The natives regarded the Shrine as the North Pole of their lives, a star that shines the brightest during a night sky. Mathilda walked in slowly, absorbing the radiance of the deity that stood 10 feet tall in front of her. She approached her Goddess elegantly and stooped down in front of her feet. The sparkle from a chandelier, hung from the roof, illuminated her shadow in the room. With the betrayal and bloodshed reeling inside her mind time and again, she comforted herself as she must pray for the living.

The dead have found their boulevards, it is the living that must be brought back to their predestined paths”, she said it aloud, to her Goddess. She bowed her head as the past zoomed in front of her eyes. Crooked as the hind legs of a cur, her younger brother betrayed his blood for the treacherous crown, a crown which he did not deserve. A crown which righteously should have rested upon the brows of her elder brother, the warrior, was snatched under moonlight. What occurred after that will be cited in every bloody leaves of history which an infant will read and lords will talk off. Fratricide and deceit was the blade of a resentful knife that was shoved into her younger brother’s belly and the sinner had fled the kingdom into an exile far away from these appalling lands.

Shadows killed first of my brothers, and gloom drove away the other into a world of blackness. Ravens feeding upon the dead are an omen of things to come. Shadows are greyer than ever and are longer than the graves stretch. Your light is what we require in hearts where despair has sunk in. I do not ask for the souls that have passed, but for the humanities that are living in this scorching realm. Free them of their sins and a new sphere awaits these redeemers”, her heart whispered to her Goddess, as she got up and left the shrine. “Redemption is what one desires to rise from the ashes”. 

[To Be Continued...]

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Ghosts Of The Past

Part 1

The horse galloped across the lands.  Bridges, meadows and inns went by in a blur, disappearing as swiftly as they were appearing. The warrior, cladded in the deepest shade of black was mounted upon the stallion. His silver coat of armor was wrapped rigidly across his bare chest. The shine upon being confronted by the consistent sword slashes was tarnished at the ends. He smelled of horses, raw yet alluring. The scent was infused in the wind, leaving tales of sacrifices and sufferings wherever he went. His eyes were teary. “I’d be lost if I look back”, he told himself. Without giving a further ado, the rider rode on.

He lost track of time. The sky turned a bitter shade of grey. Resentment grew inside him as he forced his ride forwards. The pastures around him changed colors and swayed in winds as he rode past them. He could feel the exhausted heart of his horse, pumping thick blood against his thighs. “I’d be lost if I stop, I must go on”, he muttered to the surroundings. The green of grass, once comforting to his eyes back in homelands, felt repulsive. He had come eons away from his lands, yet the loathing burnt inside him, like a moth around a candle, slowly burning to its untimely death.

Tragedies have a tongue for speaking of themselves while the glories seldom express their worth. The warrior’s scent spoke of such dark and ominous past, one which no men should ever endure. A star crossed love affair, bloodshed and a betrayal so toxic that his scent carries traces of its poison. “I’d be doomed if I contemplate over bygones”, he whispered to his horse, his only mate left in the desolate kingdom. The warrior kicked his horse and he sprang back to life, as if he understood his master’s needs. He rode his stallion for what seemed like centuries.

The black rider galloped for eras at a stretch, muttering to himself, murmuring to surroundings. The battle that waged inside him knew no ending. It was eating him from within, consuming him from the insides. He forced his thoughts to the everlasting wind, tried to give them wings, but a man can never fly away from his own scent.

The night surrounded him. The cold started to creep up his spine. The night air slashed his face, numbing the surface. He wore his helm, protecting his façade from the frost. Small flakes of white rested upon his shoulders, which already carried burdens of his destined fate. He rode over deserts of snow, lifeless, a dead walking in a carnival of nature.

The warrior came to a halt near a waterfall. Dew had been placed strategically over the grass beside the pond. The water droplets of the fall seemed like series of pearls from a necklace worn by a lady back from his homelands. He yearned to embrace his beloved sister, his Sun in the dark clouds. Hatred took over as the realism loomed in. He removed his helm, took off his clothes and entered the icy waters.

He went down and touched the bottoms of the shallow pond. He hung inside the water, an attempt to drown himself, to cease his sufferings. He took a deep breath as water came rushing inside his nostrils, satiating his lungs. A warrior, who was unimaginable to slain in battlefields, gave up the war of his being as darkness wrapped him. The mare neighed above as the ripples from the waters became violent at first, and then, died away into nothingness.

[To Be Continued..]

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Dance Of Love

She walked in slowly. She was bathed in black satin, complementing the blushing red canvas of the café.  Our eyes met and the moment was etched to the memories. We didn’t dare to blink, for it would blot the perfection. She approached the table where I was awaiting her arrival, counting my breaths. She sat down across me, self-assured, graceful in her motions.

The rain splattered on the dusty windowpane adjacent to the table. The sky carried a tinge of flames, indicating to a fierce newborn love, sprouting in the valleys unknown. Driving my eyes away from the sumptuous beauty outside the café, I whispered greetings to the lady. She reciprocated. I looked over her shoulder, to the mirror on the wall against her. It was silvery; shining and suffused by her presence. I traced the outlines of her velvety locks in the mirror, intermingling together; they were a web of exquisiteness.

Cravings drive men to achieve the unattainable. The delicacy of the moment entranced me. I slid my hand across the table, and held her soft, tender hands. A gesture of longing, it was a wave of love.  The heartbeat of shyness, flutter of kohl eyelids and the throbbing rhythm of beast trapped inside my chest, I knew that flaming stars had draped my night sky with shades of artistry.

Soaked by her elegance, I was still in awe. The smoke from the candle, swirling above our table fashioned a mist. The whole moment was hung somewhere in time, immovable, delicate yet strong. I stared in her eyes, an epitome of expressions. My eyes sketched her face and rested over her lips. Her smile was shimmering slowly over the hazy landscape. A mystic sensation had fallen over her appearance, a concealed passion, blazing as a searing white flame.

Words hide desires but sentiments never lie. The meet seemed eternal; resonating a zenith of emotions. The sky now wore a color of orange and the dusk set in. Emotions wedded content. The time had finally come to part ways. With an everlasting promise to meet again, we went down the separate roads. The dance ended. 

(first published in