Revenge, excerpt

He was walking along the shore of an ancient lake, the Sananay Samudra. The shoreline looked familiar but his vison glazed over unfocussed as if through fine silk. It was about forty miles from this temple and he had visited it several times. For some reason the ancient texts forming the backbone of his official duties regarded the lake with reverence. Though he never came across any reasons for it, he felt his trips were more like a pilgrimage than simply a means of relaxation by communing with nature.
yellow flowers in the bloomHe was visiting it in the morning and there was a cool breeze blowing against his shaved head. Not many people came here except for occasional travelers passing through to Badulla. There were rumours of banshees and evil spirits here but that never bothered Raghunath. He was the head priest of Grand Asur Temple. The banshees and the like had more to fear from him. He smiled to himself.
Then he heard a low long wail like a wind in the trees. He stopped in his tracks. It was low enough to be a trick of his mind. Yet he felt his heart skip a beat as if it knew something his mind did not. He was certain it was a human voice, no animal could cry out like that in pain. He looked around but there was no movement except for him. Even the water of the lake looked still as a mirror. The sound came from every direction and that excluded any banshee or spirit. That meant something bigger, much bigger.
The sound came again but this time there were words in the wind. The voice was barely audible. Raghunath listened carefully.
a peepal bonsai“They are coming,” he heard clearly in scholarly Sanskrit, “you must help the pale skinned. They are my last hope for the next millennia. Hear me Kalatravanshi.”
Raghunath was frozen stiff. He wanted to run but his legs refused to move. His lungs refused the gulp of air he so desperately needed. He just stood spellbound. The voice had used his ceremonial name. His ancient name! Now he was scared.
He had heard about these things, but only in ancient texts no longer read ritually. It had never happened to him, nor had he ever expected it to. He had also read that such voices were supposed to be accompanied by thunder and lightning. Only gods had the power to do all this and they usually liked showing off. This was a gentle whisper like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings.
“Don’t be afraid,” the voice continued in its low haunting pitch, “I have chosen you. The age of gods is coming to an end, this is your time, and your world is waiting.”
“Who are you?” Raghunath said hoarsely, still looking nervously around himself.
“You know who I am Raghunath,” the voice said, “you have served me your whole life. The only immortal by right, imprisoned for eternity.”
“Master?” Raghunath cried wiping his brow.
“You know!” said the voice and there was silence. The spell broke and Raghunath ran. The lake started growing. The faster he ran the longer the shore became, all the distant objects shrinking as if moving away from him. There was no place to run. It was just a shore extending to infinity. Suddenly he felt his foot getting caught in something; probably a root sticking out of the ground. Raghunath fell forward.

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