How are you? I hope you are okay.
I am doing great. Coming to NaNoWriMo, Today’s chapter revealed me many things, and it also showed me what I resisted to do during this NaNoWriMo. Originally, I intended to write this story entirely out of Surya’s POV. But I had to add Madhav’s and Neeraj’s.
Today, I discovered that I need to add couple of chapters, spread throughout the story, in Shravani’s POV. I have just few chapters left, mainly the big battle between Surya and Madhav/Ira, amidst the sandstorm.
Here’s the breakdown of writing sprints and the number of words in a session for this chapter.
14-11-2020: 1438 words
18 mins: 840 words
15 mins: 598 words
15-11-2020: 2456 words
15 mins: 653 words
15 mins: 666 words
15 mins: 598 words
15 mins: 629 words
Chapter Thirteen: Harbinger of Darkness, Harbinger of Light
Surya was slipping in and out of consciousness. He heard many voices around him, some tried to shake him, some tried to wake him up, some tried to remove the sword that he was holding.
Surya felt like someone were tearing his life away from him.
He thrashed, yelled, threatened. When they stopped trying to take the sword away from him, he quietened.
He continued to slip in and out of consciousness.
When he woke up, his head ached. His whole body felt like it has been pounded repeatedly.
He was depressed, so depressed that he would’ve committed suicide if not for Syri.
She was wounded, losing power to whatever tried to invade his mind. She said it was not harmful to him and that he should ignore it when he entered the Living Realm. But he almost lost himself to the raging madness, wounded Syri so horribly that he could barely feel her from the Living Realm.
Then there was the fact that he had killed Neeraj’s mean. It didn’t matter that the raging madness took control of him and done the killing, but it was his hands that held the sword and he could only blame himself for that.
If only he hadn’t touched the sword, none of this would’ve happened.
And most importantly, he realized that they were all played by Ira from the start.
She became master for Madhav, used Shape shifters to be the King of Krishnarajyam after Madhav killed the king, took Princess Shravani as their captive.
She knew that Neeraj was exiled and that he was going to rescue his sister. So, she disguised herself as a small, but an okay mage, who doesn’t believe in herself.
She knew where they were from the start, but was waiting for Surya to arrive, to become a scapegoat so that she would push Madhav to finish his bonding to Harbinger of War faster, progress faster.
When he met her, she manipulated him and others around them, to push him towards Madhav’s main camp.
She had also managed to capture Bharghav, use him as a bait for Neeraj. Surya didn’t know how Neeraj and others were faring on their mission to rescue Bharghav and attack the Madhav’s base camp.
Then she made sure that Surya was present to see the torture Madhav inflicting upon Bharghav, reveal himself to Bharghav and also that he was thrown out of his village by branding him as Harbinger of Darkness.
She let Surya escape from there alive, reach the Underground Stone Cavern, meet with the old spymaster, kill her in front of him and reveal that she intended to use him for Madhav’s benefit and kill him afterwards.
And then, she was Ari, Neeraj’s mage, directing everything according to her plans. She made Neeraj sneak into Madhav’s camp along with his army staying outside, while at the same time, use her shape shifter and arrive himself before Surya as Neeraj. She must need something from him, but what it was?
Surya thought about that and the answer came.
She must’ve known about the sword, but it was not something that Madhav should possess. It had destroyed many who wielded her before and she intended to do the same.
But she said that she needed him to aid Madhav’s progress. Does that meant he finished bonding the Harbinger of War? He completed his mission of eradicating Neeraj’s army?
Are any of them alive?
Is Neeraj and Bhargav alive?
He thought he heard Neeraj’s voice. And also he heard about Bharghav’s name. Was he successful in rescuing Bharghav and also escaped then?
Surya didn’t know.
He groaned and sat. The servant nearby gasped, almost cried.
“Neeraj. Bharghav. Alive?” he struggled to ask. The servant seemed to understand what he was asking and nodded. “Neeraj rescued Bharghav, but we lost the army. Each and every one of them,” he said.
At least they were alive.
What should he do now?
He need to abandon his current task. He was even ready to face punishment by abandoning the task than facing Ira, Madhav and their schemes.
But there’s also Neeraj and Bharghav. He had to convince them that rescuing Shravani was a lost cause now. Had to convince them to leave the Krishnarajyam, recuperate over there and lie low for the time being.
Once it’s done, he had to search for Syri’s sisters and ask them how to heal Syri.
He pushed himself off his feet and stood up. He stumbled and fell right down, the servant helped to steady him.
The sword in his arm was still discomfort for him, he tried to drop it down, but it was as if the sword was struck to his hand and whenever he tried to remove the sword, he heard a scream from his head.
The headache returned full force, accompanied by the heartache. It felt as if abandoning the sword meant losing someone very close to his heart.
Shaking his head, he asked the guard to take him to Neeraj.
Surya stumbled upon many bodies along the way, so many devoid of their limbs and arms, their faces horrifying and twisted in pain, some even had tear stain.
Surya’s heart twisted, his stomach clenched and his throat burned. He struggled to prevent the bile from rising his throat, but it won the battle, like his opponents had done these past few days and he vomited.
The servant waited nearby, hand on Surya’s back steadying him. Once he’s finished, the servant gave him a canteen of water and Surya rinsed his mouth, took a big gulps of water, wasting most and gave the canteen back to walking, or leaning on the servant while he took him forward.
“Don’t you hate me?” he asked the servant.
The servant stiffened, but bowed his head.
“It’s alright. I am not going to kill you or anything. I think I pushed the madness or whatever that tried to take control of me. Or I hope I did. Tell me, don’t you hate me, want to kill me?” he asked once again.
The guard swallowed. “I was waiting outside the cell when the sword consumed three of our soldiers. I know how evil it was, and I had seen it with my own eyes, you using the sword to kill the shape shifter. You also somehow made the Mage of the enemy to reveal herself. It’s just our bad luck that we were present before you. If only it were Madhav’s men, it would’ve been much better. And no, we don’t hate you. You bring hope to us. If there is anyone who could take care of Madahv and his army, it would be you. You resisted the evil present in the sword and I… I think I am not the right one for you to inform about the sword. You could ask Neeraj about that,” he said, then continued walking.
They didn’t hate him. They didn’t want to kill him. They were only saddened that they lost their men, while Madhav’s men were out there, happily revelling in the victory.
Surya’s stomach twisted at that. “What about the army?” he asked.
“The shape shifter came in Neerja’s form and lead them to attack Madhav. We heard that we had lost him,” he said.
Surya swore under his breath. They are utterly lost.
“What can you tell me about the sword,” he asked. “Ira said that she found the sword and she felt it was dangerous and that Madhav couldn’t bond to it. She said I started to bond with the sword and …” he trailed off as the servant gritted his teeth.
He remained silent as the servant led him towards Neeraj’s quarters.
It was also a mini-tent inside the large tent. The cloth was flapping fiercely. Probably the sandstorm would reach them soon. They had to find shelter before that.
He stepped inside the room, to see Neeraj sitting by the side of the bed, holding Bharghav, whose form flickering to his male self and female self in an irregular pattern.
He was wounded, many fresh scars amidst older ones scattered all over his body, the result of the recent torture he must’ve received from Madahv.
His chest was rising slowly and falling in the same manner, sometimes regular, while at other time irregular.
Now and then, his face twisted in agony and scream in soundless voice.
Neeraj was crying, his once majestic confident gaze wavered as he stared at Bharghav.
Surya sighed. They were lost utterly to Ira and Madhav’s scheme. Neeraj lost his army. His sister was still captive. Syri was wounded heavily. He didn’t know how to help her.
He should’ve listened to her when she asked him to abandon the project. But no. He didn’t listen. Thought could defeat Madhav and Ira. Neeraj’s army could take care of Madhav’s army, while Neeraj could take care of Madhav. He could use his will to fight against Ira, rescue Princess Shravani and win the sword.
But he failed utterly.
He did won a sword in the end, the same one that refused to let go of his hand, that threatened to take over his mind and killed all the guards all around him.
It was too much. Surya stumbled into the room, fell on his knees and he cried, cried so loudly. He ignored the servant trying to comfort him. He ignored Neeraj ordering him to keep quite. Ignored the wind trying to rip the tent out of it’s way.
He cired till he didn’t have any more tears.
Then he composed himself.
Madhav was glaring at him, it was so chilly that Surya felt like he wanted to avoid that gaze as much as possible. He felt like all of his secrets could be revealed, all of his mistakes, the lies he told would be revealed.
He swallowed. He tried to open his mouth, but found that he couldn’t. Did he found out the truth about me? Or was it because of his men that I had killed, the men that had died due to his foolishness?
“I am sorry,” he said.
Neeraj shook his head. “I am really disappointed in you,” he said, moved towards the bed and looked at Bharghav instead.
“I am sorry,” he said again.
“It doesn’t matter. We should make sure that the lives that were taken shouldn’t go to waste. We should take care of them, kill them, show them what the real hell meant,” Neeraj said, his eyes hardening.
Surya shook his head. “No. It’s time we realize that we were Ira’s pawns. She was with us, nudged us in the direction that she wanted, killed whomever she wanted and replaced them with her shape shifters, fooled all of us and killed us. She was more than what we could fight against. It’s time we abandon this and go our separate ways,” he said.
“You were supposed to be a powerful mage, capable of taking care of Ira. She was even impressed by you. I have heard Ari… Ira… praise you so much that I was suspicious of you at first. But I know that you are powerful. You are the only one who could help me defeat Madhav, Ira, her army,” Neeraj said.
Surya frowned. Neeraj was expecting too much from him. Neeraj still hoped that they could rescue his sister. “No. I am not at all powerful. You have placed your trust at wrong person. At least, you could save Bharghav. Leave Krishnarajyam, settle at a place far away from here, far away from Madhav, let Bharghav recuperate and you could spend the rest of your lives together, like you have always wanted,” he said.
Neeraj gritted his teeth. “I couldn’t. Though I love him, I have responsibilities that I cannot ignore, no matter how difficult it might be. Besides, it was my sister that he held captive. She was always free willed, going out and having adventure. I could only imagine how she must be feeling, being captive,” he said.
“She has freedom, though it is limited around the camp. Besides, she cannot go out seeking adventure forever. She has to realize that. It would be better if she started now.”
“No. I do not want that fate for her. Besides, don’t you love her? Isn’t that why you put her under one of your spells and made her fall in love with you, kissed her and started a relationship. Are you going to abandon your lover?” Neeraj asked.
Surya groaned. He need to address this before it becomes something that he couldn’t control. “It true that we kissed, but she did it entirely to prevent the fact that she was inside the torture room where the equipment were placed. She also used it to spread rumours so that she could invigourate Madhav. She hated him and she would do anything to make him angry. She didn’t love me. Not an inch. I didn’t put any spell at all and most importantly I am not….” He almost said that he were not a mage. For some reason, he didn’t want to admit that fact. Yet. “I am not in love with her.”
Neeraj stared at him with disbelief. “I know my sister very well. There was no way that she was going to kiss anyone that she doesn’t love. I heard her say she would dedicate herself to her true love. She even stayed away from dating because of that. You said you didn’t use any sort of magic on her, that meant she kissed you, fully intending you to be her lover, her husband, the one for her for the rest of your lives. How can you abandon her?” he asked.
Surya sighed. Neeraj didn’t know much about his sister then. The one he had seen was not someone that would not refrain herself from dating. She had kissed him and acted like it was no big deal after all. He hated to break Neeraj’s heart more than it had already been. He need to divert the attention to others.
“Madhav loves her. I was sure about that. It will take some time, but she will get to see the true love in Madhav and fall for her, she would marry him and spend the rest of her live with him,” Surya said.
Neeraj swore under his breath. “No way. You don’t know Madahv like I do. He strives to possess things that he cannot have. Others threw themselves at him and it was Shravani that didn’t do so. Ever since, he was intent on having her and tried everything to impress her. He failed in every way and at last, he resorted to kill our father and kidnap her. If she still doesn’t change, which I know she wouldn’t, he would kill her. I am intended to sop him before that happens,” he said.
Surya frowned. It seemed like Neeraj really didn’t know much about Madhav also. He was not much of an observer and bad when it comes to judging people. That was evident when he picked Ari.. Ira as his mage. It became more evident when he picked Surya as his mage, just after he acted like he were powerful and spread some lies. The only one good thing he did was believing in Bharghav. At least, he hoped that Bharghav was genuine one. Other wise, he didn’t know Neeraj could ever recover form that.
“I don’t think he was going to kill her. He was in love with her. I have seen him looking at her, mention her with so much love that even I was moved. You should’ve seen him do that,” he said.
Neeraj shook his head. “He was not in love with her. He was obsessed with her. He viewed her as an object that he wanted to possess. He—“he trailed off as Bharghav woke with a start.
“Stop!” he croaked. His voice shifting from deepness of male, to high of a female.
Bharghav raised his hand, saw his form flickering from male to female and he groaned. He closed his eyes, muttered something under his breath and the flickering disappeared… or it happened slowly.
“Milk…” he said, slumping exhausted.
Neeraj ordered his men to bring pitchers of milk. He seemed to know what type of milk that Bharghav prefers and explained very specifically bring the servant exactly that. What would he do if they don’t have? Most of the people were at underground Stone cavern. Would he make them search out in the sandstorm?
But they did have the milk and he brought a big jar of the milk with them. Bharghav, whose form changed genders much slower now, sighed. He sniffed, then closed his eyes, muttered something under his breath and took a sip of the milk. It continued for a whole minute and his stabilized. He turned into a female.
Neeraj gasped at that.
Even Bharghav also. The female form, after drinking the rest of the milk, was devoid of any wounds. Old and new ones altogether. She was so beautiful than the Princess Shravani. Her skin was pale, lengthy hair reaching her waist, her eyes keen with anticipation.
“I guess now that you found the truth about me, do you still want to be with me?” she asked.
Neeraj stared at her, dumbfounded. “You…” he said, pointing towards her.
“Yes, I am the one your father had chosen you to marry. He knew about us. Our kind. Had helped my father. He had seen that you were in love with me and introduced me to you. But you ignored him and didn’t came. I intended to tell you the truth then. I thought you love only men and I was forced to take that wretched form. Tell me, you love me, this me?” she said, pointing towards herself.
Neeraj gulped. “I …” he hesitated.
She sniffed, hurt flickering across her face. Her eyes watered and she was about to cry when Neeraj yelled. “No. I mean yes. I love you. I don’t care which form you took. I love you, the female version as well as the male one. Now… what’s your true form?” he asked, blushing.
She was crying. “You hate me don’t you? I think you do. Who would want a wife that cries so easily? You like that version of me, the one that I…” she went on and on and Neeraj consoled her. He even kissed her. Hugged her. Did everything.
It felt like Surya was intruding, but they had much important matters to discuss about. “I hate to disturb your reunion. But we have an emergency here. An important decision to make,” he said.
Bharghav, or what was her female name? he didn’t know. She calmed herself down and glared at him. “You are Harbinger of Darkness,” she said.
Neeraj frowned. “Harbinger of Darkness? Is he the evil one that…” he trailed off as she silenced him with a stare.
“I am Harbinger of Darkness, or that was what my villagers claimed before banishing me out of my village,” he said.
She nodded. “And before you ask me, no. It was not Ira who had tortured me and put that name to my mind. It was Shravani. She knew about you. Since her childhood, her father had told him that she would be the lover of Harbinger of Darkness. She was to make sure that once he arrives, the Harbinger of Darkness — and not to be confused with the sword— she will have to give the sword to him. Which was you. She knew that you arrived the moment you stepped inside the Krishnarajyam. She asked me to confirm whether her claims are true and I found that you are indeed Harbinger of Darkness. And you were also Harbinger of Light,” she said.
Surya swore. “This is pure madness. Are you one of Ira’s? are you a shape shifter?” he asked.
“I am one, though, I could only change my gender. Besides, I have proof that you were Harbinger of Darkness. You have a locket with you, the one that you have received after you got hit by something similar to meteor?” she asked.
Surya’s eyes widened. How did she know about that? He didn’t know and he intended to find out. “How did you know that?” he asked.
She ignored him asked him to show the locket. He reluctantly showed her. The chain had interlocking sections, one sections that was burning red, alternating with glassy black. At the centre lay a locket, which has one half brilliant red, and with a gasp, he saw that his other half of the chain was black.
Previously it was empty.
“I believe that it was empty before,” she said, pointing towards the blackness.
Surya nodded. She looked at his hand and Surya yelped. No sword. The sword was supposed to be there. It had attached itself to him. but when did it…
She smiled at him. “The sword that you held was the Darkness section of a full sword. I believe it had claimed many lives when you touched it,” she asked.
Surya nodded. “Good. And I believe you hadn’t still received your sword that I believe your master kept on telling about?” she asked.
“How did you know about her?”
“I know more than you think I knew. You would receive the sword, the complete one, after you accomplish your mission and the first one was that you rescue Shravani?” she asked.
“Neeraj, we will be saved. Let’s move against Madahv,” she said excitedly. Then her emotions dampened. “I will have to swtich to that wretched state again? This form didn’t know how to fight that much,” she said.
Neeraj was starting at her in disbelief. “What had I gotten myself into?” he asked.
“You cannot back down now after you have given your word,” she threatened him.
He gulped and nodded.
“I will explain along the way. Surya, let’s move,” she said, urging him to move.
Surya raised his hands. “No. We are not moving until you tell me everything you know clearly,” he said.
“I thought I already did.”
“No. Everything from the start. You said she loved me, waited for me for her whole life. Then why did she acted like she hated my kiss?” he asked.
“Oh that? She expected her first kiss would be somewhere romantic. Somewhere alone. But you were surrounded by others, she couldn’t use it to her full extent. So, she acted like that,” she said.
“I don’t know her. I am not in love with her. Till now I thought Ira was manipulating me. But even she also. This whole is a mess. I think it’s better if i…” he trailed off as she stared at him.
“She is in love with you.”
“We barely met once.”
“You are destined to be together. It’s common in our religion. But not so much over here. It’s like I was destined to be with Neeraj. Though, he was only attracted to my male self and avoided many moves that I made towards him,” she said, glaring at Neeraj. Whose face was twisted in confusion.
If his situation wasn’t so convoluted, he would’ve pitied him.
“I don’t love her. I didn’t felt attracted to her. I have no reason to rescue her. For all we know, you might be Ira’s underling, intended to finish us off,” he said.
She glared at him. “Never. I was not like her. I love Neeraj. Besides, Ira had gone rogue. She had to be take care of. And besides, if you don’t finish your mission, your master will die,” she said.
Surya froze. “Syri was going to die?” he asked.
He stared into the Living Real and found that Syri’s form was fading. She was really going to die.
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts in comments below.
Until Next Time,
Nagendra Kumar Yadav T.
You have a great imagination> All the best with the last few chapters.
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