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Thread: Chaturmukha (a Rajini Rewritten Trilogy)

  1. #251
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    Heavy is The Head That Wears The Crown - Anonymous
    [William Shakespeare used it in his play, King Henry IV - Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown)

    Day Zero Seven - Sacred Battle (2/3)

    Rolling Heads

    Deva Vyuha versus Asura Vyuha
    Devine Formation versus Demon Formation
    Sena's Defense versus Vettaiyan's attack

    Asura Vyuha is formed by shaping a huge head of a demon with military units on the battlefield. The quick shifts made by the units in Demon Formation makes it look like a head rolling on the battleground. Animal cavalry constitutes to the two horns. Spearmen crowd around the face resembling to thick facial hair. Heavy built warriors, carrying armours and long swords, group together as lips, nose and ears. The big eyes are opened by special units with broad shields. During a threat, the eyes are shut to shelter the soldiers inside an umbrella of metal. Chariot archers draw the chin lines and the outline of the demon face is guarded by the infantry. A third eye is mounted on the forehead, where eight captains facing each direction governed the Asura Vyuha by commanding their respective unit. The deadliest part of the Asura Vyuha is the tongue. A secret unit is concealed within the heavy warriors forming the nose. At a strategic point in the battle, the secret unit walk through the philtrum and enter the upper lips. Slowly the lips part and the secret units roll out as the tongue taking down the enemies by surprise.

    Deva Vyuha is another face like formation which is not as aggressive as Asura Vyuha. Primarily a defence formation, its main purpose is to spread equal in size and subdue the Demon Formation. Particular dissimilarities between the two Vyuhas are - Devine formation does not carry tongue, horns and third eye. Instead, the horns are replaced by a crown. The captains spread all over the face, taking full control on the units they command. The advantage of Devine Formation is that the units can split from their main group and strike the enemy in the form of a lightening. Such small attacks inflict damage to the opponents and the lightening units reunite back to its group. Several lines of defence are constructed within the face, allowing it to change as the battle progresses.

    The General stood at the centre of the Third Eye and supervised the Asura Vyuha himself. Angered by deception, The General ordered his army to involve in an aggressive attack. He issued them all the will to kill and announced rewards for the special soldiers who took down the Ayus. One Eye with a team of archers and Naga with his group of Immortals governed the Demon Formations. Asura Vyuha started to roll on Karmegha.

    Samapada rode into the battlefield holiding a yellow flag with a crown embedded on it. The commanders quickly reacted to the sign and formed Deva Vyuha. Sena controlled the units as the crown of Devine Formation forming the first line of defence. Gudakesha led his men to settle as the thick eyebrows on the face of the Devine Formation establishing the second line of defence. Rana governed the chariot units assembled as the nose at the centre, the only attack unit of Deva Vyuha. Kalai controlled the swordsmen around the lips performing a dual role – lower lips stood as the thrid line of defence, while the upper lips break into lightening units incharge to assist groups taking heavy damage within the Deva Vyuha. Sultan and Kacha formed the ears to block the enemies from entering the Deva Vyuha from the sides. The Ayus defended as the chin creating the fourth and last line of defence; directly behind them was the Nations United campsite.

    As the two heads collided with each other head-on, a fierce battle took place on Karmegha.

    The General constantly kept an eye over the zone where the secret unit was put on standby. Asura Vyuha stuck hard on the crown of Deva Vyuha. Sena found it difficult to resist the heavy attack. The crown tumbled under the ambush of The General's military. Sena ordered his men to retreat collapsing the crown of the Devine head. The enemies advanced through the fractured defence rapidly.

    The Asura Vyuha was halted by its captains when The General saw rows of enemy warriors standing with long whips in their hand. Gudakesha held on to the handle of a lengthy lash in each hand and allowed the thong to sleep behind him. Six soldiers, three occupying each lash, knelt beside the thong. Tiny metal pike balls were fastened to the whip attached to minute metal clips. A piece of thin metal thread ran from each clip to the butt knot of the whip which Gudakesha held tightly inside his palm.

    Gudakesha lifted his right hand and started to swing the whip above his head. The pike balls hanging to the whips turned in small circles around their respective clip. His hair elevated in the air when the lash above his head spun in a circular motion. He loosened his palm and released the grip on the butt knot of his whip and activated a simple mechanism. The metal threads cracked the clips and they opened freeing the metal spheres. The pike balls ejected from the lash and dashed into the air towards the enemies. The orbs found their victims and landed hard on their face; some broke the nose, several tore the forehead and many got stuck replacing the eyes. Gudakesha dropped the lash to the ground behind him and the three soldiers worked on fixing the pike balls in the empty clips. He lifted the whip in his left hand and launched another attack at the enemies, thus creating a cycle of charge and discharge of deadly metal balls at the enemies. His trained men vigorously used the whip to drive away the enemies.

    One Eye consulted with Naga and then, gave instructions to his captains. They rode fast to every direction of Asura Vyuha carrying the order of their Major General. Instantly, chariot swordsmen raced towards Gudakesha's men dodging the metal spheres. Men dressed in black uniforms jumped out from the chariots carrying kalazdu, claws and yari. Khan, Valli and Pati took full control of the battle zone and washed away the eyebrows of the Deva Vyuha permitting the halted infantry to advance further into the Devine formation.

    Gudakesha's regiment defended bravely but they were not trained in combat to handle different attack moves at the same time. The Immortals went on a killing spree carrying three different weapons destabilising the second line of defence of Nations United. Sena rode into the battle zone which had completely fallen into the enemy's hand and ordered Gudakesha to retreat with his men. Sena noted the presence of the skilled fighters Khan, Valli and Pati before falling back with Gudakesha.

    Padayappa watched the Asura Vyuha crashing onto Deva Vyuha. All the strategies he worked on the sand table were not materialising. His inability to predict the enemy's secret unit took him over completely. He noted that the horns of Asura Vyuha played as a gateway. Soldiers from the enemy barracks entered into the Demon formation through the horns to replace the falled ones. The Asura's head was growing larger and bigger on the battlefield crushing the Devine face.

    Spearmen joined the Immortals and rushed to either side and invaded the two ears of the Devine Formation. Sultan and Kacha gave the enemies a tough fight, but as the sun scorched over the sky, they were quickly outnumbered. Kalai noticed the units to the sides being hit heavily. He sent out a lightening squad to assist them, but the squad never returned.

    Khan flanked from the left and Valli attacked the right. Pati retreated with his men and joined with the units assembling near the nose of the Demon Formation. Khan's Immortals surrounded Sultan's unit. He stood before Sultan and identified him as the one who fought with Sena the other day. He judged him guilty of Ratna's death. He raised his kalazdun and brought it heavily on Sultan who blocked the huge axe with his two sided spear. Each blow from Khan sent streams of shock onto Sultan's shoulders. He managed to block the strike but was not quick enough to react to Khan's kick on his chest. Sultan flew backwards and landed hard on the ground.

    Kacha was unable to tackle the speed attacks of Valli. Her claws moved fast cutting the air without giving Kacha enough time to regain. He managed to move backwards but lost his balance and fell down on his back. Valli's claws buried itself between his legs. He quickly pushed himself backwards while Valli walked towards him looking at him with her menacing eyes. Kalai saw Kacha struggling on the ground. He ran towards the right hoping not to be late to rescue Kacha from the deadly claws.

    Sultan stood on his feet. He patted the dust from his armour and pointed the spear at Khan. He gradually spun it before his eyes provoking Khan to attack him. Khan, once again, came down hard at Sultan with heavy blows from kalazdun. Sultan elegantly blocked them by pushing his weight on to his knees. Sultan's resistance angered Kahn. He took a deep breath and lifted his weapon above his head. Sultan was knelt under the exposed torso of Khan. He quickly drew his meqleh hidden under his hip belt and inserted it into the chest under the left arm of Khan. He held it inside and twisted it to break the rib bones. He pushed it hard further inside and punctured his heart. He pulled back his meqleh. Blood poured out of the tiny hole. Khan died instantly and the weight of kalazdun held above his head pulled him backwards to the ground.

    Kalai enterend between Kacha and Valli and took the fight to his sword. Kacha witnessed Kalai challenging Valli. He elegantly used his sword smashing Valli's rapid slashes. Couple of metal fingers broke and Valli madly rushed at Kalai. Moving to his right he caught her hand and stopped her acceleration. He pulled her forcibly towards him and his sword. The sharp blades tore the flesh around her pelvic area and exited breaking her spinal. Valli rested dead on Kalai's shoulder.

    Padayappa observed the enemies shattering the third line of defence. The units on either side had fallen too. The commanders were withdrawing their units from battle. Rana pulled back the chariots to group them with the final line of defence formed by the Ayus. The battle scene looked chaotic. He closely watched the units of archers gathering around the nose of Asura Vyuha. Rana's retreating chariot units were tore down by their arrow, while the enemy swordsmen forming the nose built a thick defence wall and created a philtrum joining it with the upper lip.

    Padayappa knew that the time had arrived for the secret enemy units to enter the battle field. The Battalion from Heaven had fallen and the secret unit will take care of washing out the retreating soldiers. He immediately ordered Sampada to carry the black flag and instruct the commanders to exit the battlefield. He took his conch and sent out another alert.

    The assembly of warriors at the centre of Asura Vyuha grew thicker as the thumping drums echoed louder around Karmegha. The archers and the swordsmen moved from their defensive stance and paved way for the mouth of the demon to open. Through the cave of the mouth, the secret unit of The General emerged onto Karmegha.

    Sena halted Nameless and saw a large group of women gracefully walking out of Asura Vyuha. Watching the damsels, he felt dizzy when a long buried burden emptied from his chest. Looking at the Kanyas dressed in white tunic roaming on Karmegha, his vision blurred.

    Sena closed his eyes as he had finally solved the Cradle Mystery on Karmegha. Cry of babies started to ring inside his ears. His head pounded and his chest felt stiff. Sena blacked out. He fell off from Nameless and hit himself hard on the ground over the same spot where Rana had fallen unconscious during the Fifth Moon.

    ... to be continued ...
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  3. #252
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    'Live or die, but don't poison everything' - Anne Sexton

    Day Zero Seven - Sacred Battle (3/3)

    Angels of Death

    The female newborn infants were raised on a carefully crafted diet of poison and antidote by applying a peculiar practise developed by The Vaithiyar Kreesnama Muni after consulting the 'fat book with no cover'. The Vaithiyar followed the instructions illustrated in the unnamed manual to create Vishakanya.

    Right from the childhood, the girl's body was tied tightly with ropes at strategy places to nullify the flow of blood. Poison was injected in the strained parts into the red cramped flesh between the firmly bound strands. The girls were in a state of great suffering, both of body and of mind causing them an endless pain. They were under constant observation and were examined personally by The Vaithiyar.

    Dumped together inside a small room, the girls crawled over one another in hunger. Without food and water, they were left to starve in the darkness. Poison was all that they were fed with. The internal body system failed due to restricted diet leading to the death of many female children. Unable to tolerate the physical suffering, their bodies revolted against the beating heart persuading it to stop.

    The Vaithiyar's experiment was cruel and the torturous treatment started to yield results. Few of the girls survived. His method brought a great physical change in them. When the test subjects attained young age, they developed an immunity towards poison. Gradually the dosage of poison was increased along with a diet change. The teenagers were provided with limited meals, mostly fluid rich Food.

    At this stage, the girls started to walk around normally. Their skin became pale and bright that gave them an alluring attraction. Their body started to respond to the intake of food with poison, and gradually they stabilised and started to behave like normal human beings. No more torturous process was necessary for their body system to keep the poison within. Slowly, their system started to produce poison just like digestive fluid – The complete birth of the Vishakanya.

    The Art of seduction were taught to them - from clothing to dancing. They were kept isolated inside a secured cage and the tutors taught them from a distance, carefully positioned behind from the metal bars. The young women spent the entire day and night inside the prison cells and showed involvement in the trainings. They were intelligent and their senses were sharp.

    When they attained womanhood, they had already become a deadly walking weapon and could stop a beating heart without even needing a needle to kill their victims.

    Vishakanyas became assassins, who were sent to murder high profile targets. With their glamorous appeal, they can walk through closed doors and murder their targets either by poisoning food with a drop of their blood; or giving a passionate kiss on the lips; or through love bites; or by scratching the victims with their nails; and in few rare cases, seducing and taking their traget to bed with them - One doesn't wakes up after sleeping with a Vishakanya.

    The Vishakanya was sometimes sent to war to perform mass murder. Made of poisonous body fluids, the Vishakanya brought death instantly.

    Even though Vishakanya was considered a myth, few rare ones who have seen a Vishakanya and lived to talk about it, alerted the others through their song :

    She grew licking venom mixed with honey,
    She lost to become a woman of dignity.
    She knew the pain which was not so funny.
    She comes to take you to your final destiny.

    Beware everyone when you see one,
    Whose tongue tastes like bourbon,
    Trapped inside the web she had spun,
    Alas, nothing can be undone.

    The men who have seen her come,
    Issue a warning with a drum.
    Listen carefully to their hum,
    They say: Stay away from the scum.

    Ay Ay Ay, you die
    She sees, you die.
    She touches, you die.
    She spits, you die.
    She bleeds, you die.
    She kisses, you die.
    And bed her ... my friend,
    Ay Ay Ay, you die

    Pointing their long finger nails to the ground, Vishakanyas walked on Karmegha holding a gracious smile on their face. Their white tunic swayed rhythmically with their elegant hip movement. The soldiers who were retreating were stunned by their beautiful faces and pale white skin.

    The Angels of Death seduced the enemies with their facial movements. A fragrant odour lingered under the nose of the awe stuck warriors. Unable to control their lust, the soldiers halted on the battleground and allowed the Vishakanyas to approach him.

    A pretty young woman caressed his cheek. A beauty full lady kissed him on his lips. An attractive dame held on to his eyes. Suddenly the three soldiers felt a burning sensation all over their body and fell dead on Karmegha.

    Watching their fallen comrades, three warrior ran towards the closest Vishakanya with their swords raised. They stood before her and the one in front her raised his sword and slashed her chest. Droplets of blood sprinkled in the air and landed on their faces, entering uninvited inside their nostrils, lip cracks, eyes and ears. Their heart pounded mercilessly before giving up. All three lay dead beside the Vishakanya whom they had chopped. White foam drooled between their lips. Few Vishkanyas mourned around their fallen sister and with anger concealed inside their attractive eyes, they charged at the retreating enemies.

    Nameless stood guard over his unconscious master. The horse protected Sena from the Vishkanyas. It reared fiercely on its back legs and neighed at the Angels of Death aggressively. The damsels were scared to approach the maddened horse. An Ayus jumped between Nameless and Vishakanyas. It punched them away, while Nameless bent its neck to lock its rein around Sena's left foot. After several tries, Nameless successfully attached the rein to Sena's foot. The horse galloped pulling its master along with it.

    The Armor covering Sena’s body secured him while he was being pulled on the rugged land. The Ayus fighting the Vishakanyas felt dizzy. His vision blurred. Five Vishakanyas circled the Ayus and bite him until they could sit over his motionless body. With blood oozing out of their lip and stained on their white tunic, they started to chase Nameless.

    Sultan, Kalai and Kacha saw their units toppling like dominos. They could not understand the instant death brought by the women dressed in white. They urgently ordered their units not to approach the women and along with the rest of their squads, they raced back towards the defensive wall guarding the barracks of Nations United.

    Yesodha Putran saw Sena being pulled by his horse. He immediately turned his chariot towards Nameless. Rana saw a huge number of damsels following Sena whose body was waving in a transverse motion over the floor behind Nameless. Making a wide turn, Yesodha Putran controlled his horses to run parallel with Nameless. Rana jumped of the chariot ignoring the pack white wolves pursuing him. Holding to wooden joints, he accelerated along with the chariot to gain momentum. Once he was close to Nameless, he let go his hands and raced with Sena's horse. He caught its mane and pulled its neck towards him. The scared animal neighed and halted. Rana quickly unwound the rein from Sena's foot. He quickly carried him and placed him on the back of Nameless. He slapped its flank and Nameless galloped towards the campsite carrying its unconscious master on its saddle.

    When Rana got down of the chariot, Yesodha Putran did not stop but carried on towards the campsite. He reduced the chariot’s speed to give a great chance for Rana to mount back in. He saw Nameless carrying Sena fly past him. He turned and saw Rana running towards the chariot. He called out for Rana who paced on the battlefield to be a step ahead of the Angels Of Death following him.

    A Vishakanya raced faster and suddenly appeared by his side. Running parallel with Rana, the Vishakanya threw her arm at him to catch a glimpse of his flesh with her nails. Rana bent on his back while skidding on his knees. He quickly rolled on the floor and was back on his feet. He managed to dodge Vishakanya's fatal attack in one elegant acrobatics without reducing his acceleration.

    As he neared the chariot, the Vishakanyas were too close to him throwing their arms at him from behind. Rana held on to the chariot and leaped back inside. He flicked Inesh from the floor of the chariot with his foot and the bow rose in the air and landed on his left hand.

    A Vishakanya managed to hold onto the chariot’s back. A single arrow from Inesh pushed the damsel away from the moving vehicle. It rolled over Karmegha and quickly got back to its feet and started to chase the chariot with the other Vishakanyas. Yesodha Putran galloped his horses to maximum speed, while Rana neutralised the Vishakanyas with Inesh, every dart from the Devine bow met the Angels of Death between their eyes. Unable to cope up with the chariot, the Vishakanyas stopped following Rana, and halted on the Battlefield to catch breath. They screamed at their own state, a cry that trembled Karmegha.

    The General looked towards the west. Pleased with the sun still digging itself behind the hills, he smiled behind his mask. He watched the Angels of Death walk fearlessly on the empty battleground towards the enemy camp.

    The large number of venomous women halted before a single line of soldiers guarding the entrance of their camp. Rana, Kalai, Kacha & Sultan stood in the middle and a chain of soldiers continued to their either sides holding scutums before them. The Vishakanyas laughed looking at each other when they noticed the enemies carrying shields as a defensive weapon to stop them. They slowly walked towards the last line of defence of Nations United.

    When they neared, the four commanders moved to their sides, exposing a quiver of archers positioned behind them. Kanakavalli, upon the instructions from Padayappa, and with the assistance of Sampada, had assembled three units of archers. The bowmen were knelt on one leg and a row of foot soldiers stood holding the darts behind each of the archer. A burning torch was standing beside them.

    Kanakavalli drew her arrow and Swathi who was beside her lighted the dart. The fire bolt flew in the air and found its victim. The Vishakanya let out a deep cry when the poison inside her encouraged the fire to alight her rapidly. She burnt brightly over the grey atmosphere on Karmegha, emitting orange coloured flames. She was turned into ashes and flew around her sisters.

    Struck with immense anger, the Vishakanya raced towards the bowmen screaming. The soldiers standing behind the archers took an arrow and lighted its head in the burning torch. They placed the ignited arrow on the right palm of the archer, which he had held open on his shoulder. The foot soldiers handed the fire dart to the archers who took it without turning back. It rained fire arrows on Karmegha. Once an arrow was fired, the soldiers handed the next dart. They worked together maintaining a pattern to create a mechanism to ignite, draw and fire lighted bolts at the Vishakanyas. Few damsels managed to close in, but the line of soldiers hid themselves completely behind their scutum and pushed the damsels using the broad shield, taking much care not to come in contact with the Vishakanyas.

    As and when the fire arrows hit them, the Vishakanyas burnt inside the orange flames and the soft wind carried their ashes around Karmegha. Each fire dart liberated the tormented soul living inside a pained body.

    Seeing the orange sparks on the battlefield, The General kicked his foot inside the stirrup and the sun buried itself behind the mountains.

    ... to be continued ...

    Footnote :

    The dramatisation of Vishakanya in the above chapter (esp. the Cruel Experiment) is imaginary, written for fiction. No such poem exists, nor, details of siteing a Vishakanya in Ancient India (as per the knowledge of the Author).

    Vishakanya is a myth, rather a folklore from Kalki Purana - a Vishakanya named Sulokchana (a very interesting story).

    The only mention of Vishakanya (Visha = Posion; Kanya = Girl) can be found in Arthashastra, a statecraft written by Acharya Chanakya during the reign of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya.
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  4. #253
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    The eye--it cannot choose but see;
    We cannot bid the ear be still;
    Our bodies feel, where'er they be,
    Against or with our will.”
    - Lyrical Ballads (1798) by William Wordsworth

    Feeling of Life

    Rana entered the Tent of the Queen. Swathi and Swetha who were sitting by the entrance saluted the chief of army and silently walked out of the tent. Rana moved inside and found the bed empty. He looked around the space and saw Vadhana standing near the window and staring at Karmegha. With a heavy heart Rana walked towards his wife.

    Hearing his footsteps, Vadhana Devi, the queen of Kottaipattinam, turned and welcomed her husband with a pleasant smile. Instantly, she noticed the sorrow in Rana's face.

    "How is your arm ?", Rana asked with sadness in his voice.

    "Waiting to take you inside them, my love", replied Vadhana.

    She gentely pulled him by his arm and took him to the bed. She caressed his hair while looking into the anguish in her eyes.

    "What is troubling you, dear ?" she asked. "Is it war stress ?"

    Rana broke down in tears. He spoke softly, "Small children ..."; he made a gesture of holding a baby in his arm in front of his chest; "kidnapped...tortured ... killed ..." He took both his palms in front of his face and starred at them; "... murdered ...". Dropping his arms to his sides, he turned his head away from Vadhana, unable to explain her about the irony of war.

    "Sena ...", he spoke softly after a while, "I want him to be the Emperor. I want him to be an uncle. But he wishes to be none. He talks like a lunatic." Rana wept again, "Yamuna, you, Sena are all that I have ... I believe I will lose you all."

    Vadhana gently pulled his left arm and placed his palm over her pelvic area. Rana felt a slight movement tickling his palms. He turned and with tears in his eyes, he smiled joyfully at Vadhana. He wanted to speak, but she stopped him by placing her finger on his lips. She mildly pulled his neck towards her laps and pressed his ears on her stomach. Rana heard the sound of silence. He relaxed himself over the laps of his wife.

    Just as a mother soothes her child, Vadhana pacified the regret mixed with annoyance that had engulfed Rana. She pronounced to Rana through her words that Feeling of Life is felt not by guilt but only through joy - marinating in guilt will only make the feet sticky depriving them the opportunity to fly; only joy can give them wings to reach the land of peace. She softly patted his cheeks and sung to quieten his inner agitation :

    துன்பம் நேர்கையில் யாழ் எடுத்து நீ
    இன்பம் சேர்க்க மாட்டாயா? - எமக்
    கின்பம் சேர்க்க மாட்டாயா? - நல்
    அன்பிலா நெஞ்சில் தமிழில் பாடி நீ
    அல்லல் நீக்க மாட்டாயா? - கண்ணே
    அல்லல் நீக்க மாட்டாயா?

    வன்பும் எளிமையும் சூழும் நாட்டிலே
    வாழ்வின் உணர்வு சேர்க்க - எம்
    வாழ்வின் உணர்வு சேர்க்க - நீ
    அன்றை நற்றமிழ்க் கூத்தின் முறையினால்
    ஆடிக் காட்ட மாட்டாயா? கண்ணே
    ஆடிக் காட்ட மாட்டாயா?

    அறமிதென்றும் யாம் மறமிதென்றுமே
    அறிகிலாத போது - யாம்
    அறிகிலாத போது - தமிழ்
    இறைவனாரின் திருக்குறளிலே ஒரு சொல்
    இயம்பிக் காட்ட மாட்டாயா? - நீ
    இயம்பிக் காட்ட மாட்டாயா?

    புறம் இதென்றும் நல் அகம் இதென்றுமே
    புலவர் கண்ட நூலின் - தமிழ்ப்
    புலவர் கண்ட நூலின் - நல்
    திறமை காட்டி உனை ஈன்ற எம்உயிர்ச்
    செல்வம் ஆகமாட்டாயா? தமிழ்ச்
    செல்வம் ஆக மாட்டாயா?

    Her voice travelled through the campsite delivering concern and bringing optimism to its listener. Rana fell asleep enveloped inside the tenderness of Vadhana. Her words entered the adjacent nursing tent where Sena was breathing heavily. His chest swore like a hill and came down like a dove. Baby talks and cries circled around his ears. Vadhana's vocal echoed like bells from a distant mountain in his ear holes driving his nightmare away and assisting his breath to return to normalcy.

    In his deep sleep, Sena smiled.

    ... to be continued ...

    Footnote :

    Thunbam Nergayil Yazh Eduthu Nee [துன்பம் நேர்கையில் யாழ் எடுத்து நீ], a (lovely) poem by Kanakasabai Subburathinam (1891-1964), popularly known as Bharathidasan.
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  5. #254
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    La vérité d’un homme, c’est d’abord ce qu’il cache.
    (Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides)
    - André Malraux (French Historian, Novelist and Statesman, 1901-1976)

    Unsaved Glory

    Veetaiyan kept staring at The General. A while after, he spoke as though lost inside his own mind, "All of them ... like ashes blown away!"

    The Emperor made heavy and slow strides around The General, "Years vanished … a work of greatest importance ... disappeared in the battleground."

    Vettaiyan turned and walked angrily towards the exit. At the door he stopped for a moment on his left foot while keeping his right foot still in the air and then, continued making fast strides on the corridor. The General silently exited the Emperor's chamber and followed Vettaiyan with his head facing the floor.

    The moon rolled over the ink blue sky shedding brightness over the shore of the Pirates Bay. Kali, along with his team and Videha stood on the sands watching the departing fleet. The ships sailed towards Kottaipatiam carrying the aged, women and children who were rescued from Fort Ayan. The calm sea was decorated with huge burning structures - the enemy ships which were destroyed by Empires United navy stood lighting the way across the dark sea. As the vessels faded into the vastness, Kali questioned the royal navy captain in a high pitched voice, "Where are the resources that I demanded ?"

    The captain guided Kali towards the buildings facing the harbour. Kali and his men left the Pirate's Bay carrying loads of sack on their shoulders to join the army units battling at Karmegha.

    Shamu jumped out of cover. Slowly several warriors who had escaped from Fort Ayan emerged from behind the barrels. Through the dark, Maveeran crept towards Shamu and stood beside him.

    As soon as they allowed Aye and her bandits to dive inside the strong hold through the hole in the wall, they entered the dungeons and sealed the gap so that none can make an exit. When they saw several enemy guards dressed in black roaming over the dungeon's pathway searching for escaped salves, Shamu ordered his men to hide in the dark behind the barrels and large gaps between wall and the ceiling.

    The Immortals looked around the underground until noon and satisfied with its emptiness, they departed confirming that the giant fire had consumed the betrayers.

    Shamu alerted his men to stay in the shadows until dusk.

    The group of men walked carefully taking the route that led to the upper floors of Vettaiyan Palace. They came across a tiled opening in the wall, which gave a view onto the well-lit enemy barracks. A kind of ritual was being held in the military base. A large group of soldiers dressed in black, identic to the ones who had searched the palace underground, were knelt before six other warriors sporting similar uniforms. The eyes of the knelt men glittered above their face mask. In unison they picked up a sharp knife found on the ground before them and silently silted their throats.

    Shamu led his men further into the pathway, taking them away from the horrific scene. While moving in the dark, he kept his eyes on six men who were walking together. He keenly observed them through the small openings in the wall and noticed them joining another two members standing at the entrance of a tent. Shamu identified Aye who had her face covered with a red scarf; and beside her was the man with an eyepatch whom he had seen at the Pirate’s Bay.

    "Failing to guard the Leader, The Immortals embrace death", Shamu heard the tall who seemed to be the leader of the men dressed in black uniforms address Aye and One Eye. He ignored the conversation and quickly moved further into the underground. After climbing two sets of spiral stairways, he heard another conversation from above. Quickly, he grouped his men under a huge cave like opening and settled inside without making noise. The dimly lit space before them was empty. At the center of the large room, a thick wooden log peeped from nowhere and climbed towards an inexistent roof. Darkness made it thoroughly invisible, but the conversation from above was on a floor that was supported by the wooden pillar.

    "The entire army is at your disposition", Shamu heard an authoritative voice.

    "The Emperor ...", Shamu exhaled silently without hiding the terror in his eyes. One of his men tried to stand up, but Shamu caught him by his wrist and pulled him down firmly. When the agitated man wanted to speak, Shamu shut him with his fierce stare.

    "Yes, my Lord", came a weak reply from above.

    "Yet you are unable to kill two men", The Emperor spoke with sarcasm.

    Shamu listened to their conversation attentively.

    "At dawn, bewilder the enemy. When they are puzzled, isolate the twins. Create a chaos in the battlefield and in that state of confusion, create an order. Jaala Vyuha. Trap the twins inside", Vettaiyan passed his orders to The General.

    Shamu heard heavy footfalls above.

    After a brief silence, The Emperor started to speak again, "This shall be your final odds, My General; speak about my generosity later."

    Shamu heard The Emepror roar with laughter. Chillness mounted through his spine when Vettaiyan's laughter echoed in the darkness as a horrific howling.

    "The Twin Arrows", Vettiayan was instructing his army general, "should take care of the Brothers. These arrows seek revenge and will not rest until retribution."

    The tensed man beside Shamu looked around him and laid his eyes on the huge wooden pillar at the center of a large space. "I can climb and finish The Emepror ", he whispered to Shamu.

    "No", Shamu said between his teeth, "Our mission is not to attract attention through open conflict. We stay low. Rana informed that the whole mechanism of the kingly floors of Vettaiyan Palace is operated from the underground by the enslaved. We have to find them and free them. We will build an army under the nose of the enemy and sabotage their defence system, notably, the heavy artilleries and sharp shooter towers guarding the corners of the palace. Then, we wait for the signal."

    "The time is ripe Chief Dharma, I shall bring end to this war immediately", argued the man, "I will rip apart the throat of the mad man with my fingers."

    "You shall not survive a second before him", Shamu replied, "Instructions from Sena is explicit - Not to challenge The Emperor."

    "Then what should be done when he is at our reach", the man asked angrily.

    "WE RUN", replied Shamu without hesitation.

    When the footsteps above died, Maveeran questioned Shamu about the 'signal' he had mentioned a while ago.

    "We will hear a cry of joy", explained Shamu, "meaning our army is nearer to the palace. We will strike from the inside. From what we heard now, our army is in great danger. We cannot abandon our mission and leave our positions to warn them. I trust our commanders. Anyway all the exits must have been sealed by now. If we have to leave, the only way is to walk out is through the main entrance of Vettaiyan Palace."

    Shamu made eye contacts with the each member of the group to make sure he was intelligible.

    "But above all what is important now is food. I am starving ...", Shamu stopped talking when he noticed a dim shadow starting to dance on the wall beside him. The grey silhouette grew thinner and tinier as hurried footsteps approached their hideout. Shamu waited from the right moment and threw his hand towards the intruder. He held to the mouth of a fragile man and pulled him violently towards him.

    ... to be continued ...
    Last edited by mappi; 9th July 2017 at 03:31 AM. Reason: corrected the Vyuha Name
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  6. #255
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    "Knowing where the trap is — that's the first step in evading it." - Frank Herbert (Dune)

    Day Zero Eight - Net of Human (part 1/6)

    Into the Mouth of Deception

    "You did well yesterday, Governor Nakulan", Sena felicitated Padayappa, "It is not an easy task to handle Asura Vyuha."

    Sena tapped Padayappa on his shoulders and asked, "Not many know about Vishakanya. Your decision saved the entire army registering itself as an unforgettable memory in the history of the world."

    Sena admired Padayappa, "So young, yet wise. Tell me young man, who taught you to identify Vishakanya ?"

    "My father, Supreme Commander", Padayappa replied with a broad smile, "He prepared me to face danger."

    "I would like to meet the wise man and request him to shower few drops of knowledge on to me too", Sena requested sincerely, "Where can I find your father ?"

    "He works in the ministry of military administration", Padayappa informed, "As the ..."

    Before Padayappa could introduce his father, Sena reacted to the slap he received on his back. He turned to face Rana.

    "As bright as a thousand suns", Rana caught Sena's shoulders with both his hands and expressed his happiness.

    "Yes, I am. And I see my reflection in front of me", Sena replied with a smile.

    Rana showed his respects to Padayappa by nodding at him, and gently pulled Sena towards the defence zone, leaving Padayappa alone beside the miniature sand table.

    The General handed over The Twin Arrows to One Eye and said, "He says these arrows are divine. If you ask me, I would say 'I am not bothered'. Listen, these darts seem to have the name of their targets carved onto them. When fired on the marks at close range, they sure won’t miss the bullseye. These twins will automatically take care of those twins. Am I clear ?"

    "I am in no need of demonic arrows", One Eye refused to take the Twin Arrows from The General, "My single handmade dart can kill both, why waste two for such a simple task. These should be inside the Emperor's locker, so that he can boost about his collection."

    One Eye's refusal angered The General. He raised his voice and shouted at him, "Don't misfire your words in arrogance. I am your commander and you shall do what I ask you to do. At the first occasion you will have, you will take care of the twins."

    One Eye lethargically took the killer arrows from The General and placed it inside his quiver. The General walked away breathing out his anger.

    "The sun faints over the grey clouds", Sultan whispered into Nobleman's ears. "Yet another decisive day at battle." Nobleman stood attached to his belt without showing any emotion. Kanakavalli wiped his bloody flesh with a wet white cloth.

    Rana led his army into the battlefield assisted by Kacha, Kalai and Sultan. Sena and Kanakavalli stood behind with the units of archers defending the campsite. Yesodha Putran continued to ride the chariot forward into Karmegha surrounded by several units of chariot cavalry and horse spears men commanded directly by Rana, while Sultan and Kalai rode with their camel and horse cavalry to either side of Rana's units respectively. Kacha fell back with his swordsmen. Gudakesha led his men along with Ayus and scattered around the lower half of Karmegha to either side of Kacha's units, ready to defend or pounce to attack.

    The General smiled watching the enemy forming an attack formation without wasting time. He spoke to his army captains who took his orders to battlefield. The General watched Sena standing guard at the defensive line rather than engaging himself on the battlefront. He sent out for One Eye and Naga to report to him immediately.

    "We have to provoke him and make him enter the fight", The General said to his chief and leader of Immortals.

    Naga, along with Rakh and Pati, split from the army after gathering a small group of Immortals. Along with the trained archers sent by One Eye for support, they moved towards the corner of Karmegha and advanced while hidden behind the bushes towards the campsite of Empires United.

    Yesodha Putran galloped his horses as soon as the instruments of war were sounded. Arrows flew from Inesh disabling the enemies and making them crawl on the ground. The chariot archers rode with Rana and their quick draws did not give the enemies a chance to stand on the battlefield. The horse spears men neutralised the dense enemies. The camel units pushed past the fallen enemies from the left, while the longsword horsemen swept Karmegha with thier blades. Gudakesha and Ayus advanced gradually stopping any enemy who had managed to get past the cavalry attacks. The animal cavalry led by Rana savaged the enemies and advanced towards Vettaiyan Palace at a fast pace.

    Within few moments of the commencement of the battle, The General's army was taking heavy damage and the warriors of Empires United rode over Karmegha slaying their enemies. Padayappa calculated the rate at which the enemy territory was being captured and estimated that his army would reach the gates of Vettaiyan Palace before noon. Even though the Empires United fought bravely, the enemy formation bothered Padayappa. He wondered how could an experienced military commander like The Great General of the Emperor call for weak defence formation, when he was well aware of type of battle formation deployed by Empires Unites. Further Padayappa saw The General in a state of amusement while watching his own men being overrun.

    Padayappa noticed that the rectilinear motion of the enemy units growing thicker as Rana advanced, driving his men towards Vettaiyan Palace.

    ... to be continued ...
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  7. #256
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks - J.R.R. Tolkien (Hobbit)

    Day Zero Eight - Net of Human (part 2/6)

    Into the Mouth of the Serpent

    Garuda Vyuha versus Sarpa Vyuha
    Eagle Formation Vs Serpent Formation
    Rana's Attack versus Vettaiyan's Defence

    Garuda Vyuha is the largest attack formation deployed on the battleground to wipe the enemies out completely. Formed exclusively with animal cavalry, the tail of the bird is occupied by infantry units for defence, while the fast flying front - the head and the wings – are multiple animal cavalries launching swift attacks. The beak is formed by horse spearmen along with the chariots that ride as head with the commander of Eagle Formation placed as the eagle's vision. The wings are spread over the battlefield by two or more units of animal cavalry. The battalion inside Garuda Vyuha move in unison keeping the distance from each other intact, thus, permitting them to spread wide on the battlefield and take out the enemies effortlessly.

    Sarpa Vyuha is a dense grouping of several military units. Even though the movement under Serpent Formation on the battleground is slower, this defence formation can be deadly as it merely outnumbers the attacking units. The head is formed by the archers while the long body of the serpent consists of several other units, including infantry, siege weapons and animal cavalry. The captain in charge supervises the Serpent Formation by being the eye of the serpent. The disadvantage of Serpent Formation is that it can only be deployed against few other war formations. Sarpa Vyuha is weak in tackling Garuda Vyuha.

    One Eye as the Eye of Sarpa Vyuha and Rana as the Vision of the Eagle battled on Karmegha.

    Sena sensed the inevitable victory as a trap. The Empires United has advanced much farther into Karmegha than they had during the past days put together. The voluntary deployment of Sarpa Vyuha against the Garuda Vyuha by The General disturbed him. He watched the advancement of the battle attentively.

    Kacha noticed movements around the deserted corner of Karmegha. Before he could react, an arrow killed the soldier beside him. Suddenly, men dressed in black jumped out from the bushes and started to attack the short swordsmen. They were quickly surrounded by Immortals and a series of arrows started to hit them.

    Sena reacted quickly to the surprise attack. Assembling a rescue unit, he flew on Nameless over Karmegha. Kanakavalli took charge of the defence and asked Sampada to assemble reinforcement units. Even though the pack of enemies indulged in a surprise attack was less in number, she did not want to take any risk.

    Padayapa watched Sena entering Karmegha. He saw troop of second in command joining Kacha's swordsmen. He raised his scope to identify the positions of Gudakesha and Ayus. Seeing them unaware of the attack at the defensive line, he turned back his concentration onto the men dressed in black who had started to defend rather than to attack. They quickly retreated towards the battle zone inviting Sena and his men to follow them. The rain of arrows had stopped. Within a short time, Sena was decisively isolated and was put at the heart of the battle.

    Kanakavalli took a unit of archers when she saw Sena moving away from his position. Kacha was surrounded by men carrying zhanmadao. In fornt of the single-bladed swordsmen were another group of enemies equipped with trident dagger and facing the campsite. Kanakavalli saw them as a potential danger and advanced to eliminate them. Rakh, the leader of Immortals carrying trident dagger charged at the archers. Kanakavalli knelt on her left knee and planted several arrows beside her. She fired arrows by elegantly picking them up from the ground and knocked out the enemies with her whistling darts. When she was out of arrows, she rolled forward and collected the bolts stuck to the dead.

    Rakh fought his way through the archers. He stood before Kanakavalli whose quiver was empty. He brought his dagger down at her and she blocked it with her bow. She got to her feet and dashed towards Rakh who was ready to receive her with his dirk. Kanakavalli skidded to attack his legs, but Rakh jumped into the air avoiding any damage to his feet. He turned immediately and jumped onto to Kanakavalli who blocked his dagger again with her bow. Rakh pushed the sharp blade towards her throat. The string of the bow pressed onto her chest, while Kanakavalli resisted Rakh.

    Using her knee she kicked him on his back and sent him flying behind her. She dropped her bow and stood before him. She punched the ground with her right foot and the shield attached to her back flew above her head before landing directly onto her right hand. She took a defence stance by stretching her left leg beside her and bendeing her right leg straight to the front, while holding the shield above her nose and under her eye line. She waved at Rakh with her left palm taunting him to attack her. As Rakh charged at her, Kanakavalli held to her shield firmly and once he was close, she pushed the shield towards his body and guided him to fly above her head. As soon as he was mid-air, she removed her shield and allowed him to fall to the ground. She quickly got over him and inserted the ring of the shield to the back of his neck. Rakh’s body trembled before becoming still.

    When Padayappa saw Sena being put in the middle of the battle zone, he understood the play orchestrated by The General. The enemy army commander had bought himself time to pull Sena into the battle. Maybe his goal was to place Rana and Sena beside each other, he thought. Garuda Vyuha slowly turned into a trap. The Sarpa Vyuha was a hoax. Behind the thick skin of the serpent, another battle formation was hidden.

    "A Vyuha within a Vyuha", he exhaled.

    Naga punched Kacha on his face. He kicked him on the chest and when Kacha was on the ground, Naga pressed his feet on Kacha's throat. Unable to breathe, Kacha became inactive under the feet of his attacker. Naga got him by his neck and pulled him over the battleground. He turned a produced a crooked smile at Sena.

    "Just like the old days, Baasha. Just like in the good old days", he shouted venomously looking at Sena who was watching him from a distance.

    Sena got down from Nameless and angrily chased Naga on foot holding Arha tightly in his right hand but he was interrupted by several Immortals led by Pati who tried to break his path with their weapon, yari.

    Sena pushed a soldier to his side; he tucked down and slipped past an attacker; he hit a warrior with the back of Arha, at the same time pushed his sword backward and inserted it into the throat of another Immortal; he blocked the long weapon with Arha and punched the assailant in his stomach.

    Finally he crossed path with Pati. When Pati stuck his yari at Sena, he caught it with his left hand and held on to it strongly. He stared at Pati's eye above the face mask, and with a bit of hesitation he introduced Arha to the heart of Pati. He moved closer to Pati who left out a painful cry when the sharp blade entered further inside his chest. Sena supported Pati’s falling neck on his right shoulder. He slowly removed Arha and helped Pati to reach the ground gently.

    Before Sena could get close, Naga, dragging Kacha on the ground, disappeared into the dense archer units - directly into the mouth of the serpent.

    Sena stood facing One Eye. He looked around him and found himself at the centre of the battle. Close towards his right was Rana, who was unware of his brother's presence and was firing rapid arrows while standing inside his chariot. Sena hung his head down annoyed when he realised his mistake. He had taken the bait and walked directly into the trap laid by The General. He cursed under his breath, "What have I done ?"

    Sena accepted to himself that Naga had outsmarted him once again. "Just like the old days", Naga's voice echoed inside Sena's ears. He recollected how Naga used to create diversion and scatter his victims. Then, he would lure and make them kneel before him, as he always suspended a bait under this foot. "Kacha", whispered Sena while nodding his head either side.

    One Eye kept his sharp eye on Sena. He dug out a release aid from his hip belt and fixed it in his drawing hand. He applied white powder on the bow string to reduce vibration. He gently pushed the Twin Arrows siting inside the quiver and picked up his long arrow. He placed the single arrow inside the bow and prepared himself. He pulled the strings after cautiously calculating the wind speed and the distance from his target. His bow arm strongly maintained the draw of the string and his dominant eye fixed itself on Sena.

    The Governor of Empires United looked out for his aide, Sampada, and seeing him assembling military units near the defensive line, he quickly collected the black flag and climbed on his horse. He rode towards the battle zone waving the flag above his head. Kanakavalli witnessed Padayappa flying past her holding the black flag. Sultan and Kacha were surprised by the retreat call. They were under the impression that they were driving the enemies away and at noon the victory would brightly hang over Karmegha. But an order is an order; they quickly commanded their units to retreat. While moving back to the campsite, Sultan found Sena lost and standing before the heavy units of enemy archers. He rode fast towards him. Gudakesha briefed Kalai about the minor attack at the defence line and informed him that Kacha was taken away by a man dressed in black weilding a zhanmadao. Kalai rode back into Karmegha towards Rana's chariot.

    Yesodha Putran was further inside the battle zone and was unaware of the retreat signal issued by Padayappa. He looked to his left and saw Sena stranded before Sarpa Vyuha. He quickly stirred his horses towards Sena. Rana bumped on the inner wall of the chariot and while regaining himself, he saw Sena and wondered what his brother was doing close to the Serpent Formation. Yesodha Putran noticed One Eye holding his bow fully drawn at Sena. He knew he would be late to save Sena. He galloped his horses to run at their fullest power and when he reached Sena, he threw the reins at Rana and prepared himself to jump onto Sena.

    At the same moment One Eye released his single arrow.

    ... to be continued ...
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  8. #257
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    You only live twice:
    Once when you are born
    And once when you look death in the face
    - Ian Fleming (You Only Live Twice)

    Day Zero Eight - Net of Human (part 3/6)

    Into the Mouth of Death

    The dart swam in the air, advancing vigorously at its target. When the arrow shot by One Eye was about to reach Sena, Yesodha Putran fell onto Sena, pushing him to the ground. The arrow travelled past above them. The single eye of One Eye widened in bewilderment, as an arrow of One Eye always gained a victim.

    Padayappa galloped his horse holding the black flag in a hurry to inform the retreat to the last batch of soldiers still battling on Karmegha, which included the units of Rana. He was just behind Sena when he witnessed Yesodha Putran race across the battlefield driving his chariot towards Sena. He saw him jump from his chariot and extend his hand towards Sena. Suddenly Padayappa felt warm and his body started to burn as though he was enveloped inside a hot oven. He experienced a pain that he never knew before. He lost his grip on the rein and his horse stopped galloping and started to walk on the battlefield.

    Padayappa felt something alien stuck to his chest. He started to lose the sense of touch when he tried to search around his upper torso with both his hands. He slowly brought his palms before his eyes and saw his own blood. His vision blurred when he pulled his head down. He noticed an arrow stuck to his chest. He tried to pull it out, but the arrow of One Eye that had missed Sena pinned itself strong into him. He raised his head and looked in front of him. His ears no more picked up sound. His nostrils widened in search of breathe. Tears of pain flooded down his eyes.

    Padayappa felt he was inside a bubble which was being lifted by a force from above. He saw Yesodha Putran lying over Sena and looking at him. He noticed him yelling at him.

    Padayappa cried softly, "... f a t h e r ..."

    Sena looked at Padayappa falling from his horse. He heard Yesodha Putran's loud outcry, "My son ... Nakulan ..."

    Sena's eyes immediately filled with sadness.

    Rana halted his chariot a few distance away from Sena. He heard Yesodha Putran shout loudly and he looked at Padayappa who was falling off from his horse holding a black flag in his hand. Rana could not grasp the situation - notably the black flag in the hands of Padayappa. He looked around and found his units retreating. His attention was diverted when he heard the enemy units cheering. It was then he noticed Naga dragging Kacha into a dense army of soldiers. Without hesitation he jumped out of the chariot. He threw Inesh across his shoulders and drawing Vjarastra in his left hand, Rana set out to rescue Kacha.

    When Sena saw Rana running into the crowd of enemy units, he screamed, "N O", but his brother turned a deaf ear to his warning.

    Sena saw Yesodha Putran crawling on the ground desperate to reach his fallen son. He quickly got back to his feet and sprinted behind Rana being well aware that he is entering into the mouth of death.

    The General watched the drama unfolding before him in amusement. He observed the Brothers walking straight into trap he had laid for them since the battle had begun.

    "The elephants are finally captured", he thought.

    As and when the Brothers advanced into the enemy layer, a group of soldiers blocked their rear and started to seal them inside a human net. They built a series of layers perpendicular to each other. Another set of soldiers sealed the gap by joining with the standing layers. They started to encircle the brothers while knotting themselves at regular intervals to make sure there was no space in between the layer of soldiers. Slowly Sarpa Vyuha was dismanteled to form a circular net like formation around Rana and Sena with neither an entry nor an exit. The chain of warriors knitted together seemed to have no start, end or middle, but stood like a continuous and progressive series of humans laced to each other. In between the looped infantry units, several siege weapons took position, which were not visible from the exterior.

    The Emperor's voice echoed inside The General's ears :

    "If I had made out of the Chakra Vyuha, there is a possibility that someone else with a similar training can find the exit too, isn't it My General."

    "Tell me, my General, how we hunt elephants?"

    "When the mother elephant comes to rescue her baby, she will be in her most violent form. Her defense shall be her attack. None can approach her, as she will gain the force to befall an entire army."

    "One is a calf, other is an elephant. To catch them both we need a net."

    Jaala Vyuha, a new war formation devised by The Emperor himself, which was woven by giant layers of military units trapped Rana and Sena at its center, along with unconscious Kacha.

    ... to be continued ...
    Last edited by mappi; 9th July 2017 at 07:19 PM.
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  9. #258
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    "I believe I am in Hell, therefore I am" - Arthur Rimbaud

    Day Zero Eight - Net of Human (part 4/6)

    Into the Mouth of Hell

    Sultan and Kalai crushed themselves with guilt for arriving late. Sultan quickly took the wheels and taking Kalai inside, he rode on Rana's chariot trying to penetrate the enemy soldiers standing attached to each other. They found it difficult to predict the units, as the attacks launched at them were diverse - arrows, spears and swords. They also heard animal noises rising from the middle of the formation. They made a full circle around the enemy formation, but could neither find an entry nor were able to penetrate its defensive wall. When they arrived at the point from where they started, several units led by Kanakavalli were launching their attacks at the wall of warrior. Mostly every arrow was blocked by defensive shields. Suddenly, several huge stone flew from the middle of Jaala Vyuha and rolled on Karmegha sweeping the warriors of Empires United of the ground. The commanders had no other choice but to halt their attacks and move their units into the safe zone.

    Rana and Sena stood with their backs to each other guarding Kacha who was lying on the ground beside them. The sun was right above their head allowing the grey clouds to pass in the front. Naga, Bali, Kul and Charya, the four remaining Immortals, stood along with the respective warriors forming the inner perimeter of Jaala Vyuha.

    A group of swordsmen attacked the Brothers. Sena held to Arha firmly. Rana disabled the advancing soldiers from distance with Inesh. When he was out of arrows, he pulled out Vajrastra. Together, they slew their attackers with their weapons. They blocked the shower of arrows by deflecting them with their swords. After defeating several waves of heavy attacks, they were drawn into physical pain and tiredness.

    Kacha regained his conscious. He was shocked to find himself with Rana and Sena inside a cage held strongly by a circular human wall.

    Outside the Jaala Vyuha, the leader of Ayus led his men to dash on the enemy soldiers. But the compactness of Jaala Vyuha resisted their strong attacks. Several long fire arrows and blazing stones were launched at the group of giants making them flee from battle.

    Kanakavalli sat beside Nakulan’s breathless body laid beside the sand table. It shocked her to learn that he was the only son of Yesodha Putran. Not minding the death of his son, the strategist worked on the sand table. He replicated the Vyuha that had trapped his commanders inside. He started his briefing, "This formation looks like a hybrid to Chakra Vyuha. None can enter from the outside. I am not sure if the ones held inside can make out while staying alive."

    Vadhana Devi stood courageously beside Yesodha Putran. Swathi and Swetha were present with her.

    "Can't we hit them with all we have got ?", asked the Queen of Kottaipattinam.

    "What you see spreading as a net over Karmegha is the real face of the Emperor's army. Not only are we outnumbered, it’s impossible to penetrate this webbed Vyuha. This is the first time I am witnessing such a formation and I don't have any strategies to destabilise it. Maybe, the right thought should be - rather than looking at ways to take them head on, we have to see if there is a possibility to rescue our commanders who are been held inside."

    Kali entered the Pavillion, along with Videha, without notification. He held the surprise on his face as to why the war had been halted. He quickly understood that the situation of the battle when he saw Padayappa lying dead on the floor. He growled, "Where is Baasha ? Where is Chief ?"

    "Can't we just wait till dusk", Gudakesha questioned. Kali neared each one who spoke and held his ears close to their mouth.

    "They will stop the attack, but our commanders will be held inside ...," Yesodha Putran hesitated and then continued, "... if our warriors are still standing. At dawn, they will continue to try and kill them. They are completely at advantage here."

    Vadhana Devi closed her eyes tightly. She took an erect posture while reopening her eyes. The Leader of Empires United declared, "The demise of three commanders - first, second and sixth in command - is not the end of war. New commanders will replace them and as long as our spirits stand tall, this war is far from ending today."

    Kanakavalli wiped a stream of tear flowing down her right cheek. The pavilion fell silent.

    "Merchant", Kali shouted at Sultan disturbing the calmness, "Lady", he called out at Kanakavalli not convinced with Vadhana's delaraction, "Follow me", he simply said before walking out of the pavillion.

    Kalai and Gudekesha followed Sultan. Vadhana Devi ordered Swathi and Swetha with her eyes to head out with Kali. She gently took Yesodha Putran's hand and guided him towards Nakulan. The others present inside the pavilion exited and took position outside the tent to provide the needed space for Yesodha Putran to spend the final moments with his son.

    Yesodha Putran moaned before his son. He closed his eyes and tears flooded down his face. He whispered softly, "I saved Your sons. This is how You repay me by snatching my son from me. Truth can also be cruel ... ", the lonely father weeped.

    One Eye looked at The General. The eyes behind the mask of The General signalled his chief of archers to carry out his order. One Eye picked the Twin Arrows and armed them together in his bow. He aimed at the Brothers and released the deadly darts. The Twin arrows flew past towards the unaware Brothers. They spun around each other while cutting through the wind. The General noticed that the two arrow heads glittered red and blue respectively. At midway they split and the red one marked itself on Sena while the blue one advanced towards Rana.

    The Brothers noticed a sudden calmness around them. The attacks had stopped. Sena pulled Kacha behind him wondering what was going to hit them next. Even though he was unable to anticipate, he was sure about what came next could be fatal - after a calm comes a storm.

    Rana and Sena heard a buzzing noise approaching their way. They turned and stood together watching two arrows with glowing tips approaching them at a fast pace. The Twin Arrows was too close that it was too late for the Brothers to either block or evade. Kacha saw the two arrows piercing through the air bringing the breeze of death along with them. He felt he was put right inside the mouth of hell to witness the death of Rana and Sena.

    The sky turned dark when rain clouds gathered around Karmegha extinguishing the sun with their dampness.

    ... to be continued ...
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  10. #259
    Senior Member Veteran Hubber
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind. - Mahatma Gandhi

    Day Zero Eight - Net of Human (part 5/6)

    Into the Mouth of Terror

    The previous moon inside Vettaiyan Palace ...

    "You said you were hungry", Shamu looked with gladness mixed with astonishment at Littleman, when the King's clerk spoke to him as soon as Shamu released his hand from the record keeper's mouth.

    Shamu had pulled an intruder towards him while hiding inside a cave in the basement of Vettaiyan Palace. He was surprised to see Littleman falling onto him. Littleman went missing after he had climbed into the shaft to steal Vrishis, a deadly bomb, from the Emperor's Solar.

    "We thought you were ... how ... !", Shamu blabbered not knowing what to say. He was overwhelmed with joy seeing Littleman alive.

    "Follow me", Littleman said with a smile and walked into the huge space under the wooden pillar. Seeing that no one followed him, he assured them, "This place is safe. You can walk, talk and run. Trust me. This has been my home for several moons."

    When Shamu stepped out of the hiding hole, he found a huge blade circling above his head around the wooden pillar.

    "That's the one which had cut my security rope", Littleman pointed out.

    They walked into a small opening across the large room and at its landing there was a heap of food lying on the ground.

    "Dropped from above; directly from the King's kitchen", announced Littleman.

    Shamu and his men served themselves a kingly meal. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the delicious pie as sweetness melted in his tongue and flowed down through his throat. Maveeran asked Shamu who the littleman was.

    "Agastya, the tiny seed of knowledge that grows into a mighty tree wisdom", Shamu replied.

    Littleman was flattered and his eyes shinned with happiness.

    "He is the advisory of Kottaipattinam", Shamu continued, "He had accompanied Rana in an expedition to find and neutralise a deadly weapon in the possession of The Emperor. If it was not for him, we wouldn't be standing here. Our world survived, thanks to Littleman."

    Shamu bowed before Littleman and the rest of the men showed their respects by kneeling before Agastya.

    "Tell me my little friend", Maveeran, who looked like a giant before Littleman, asked, "We heard that there are others enslaved here. Do you know there whereabouts ?"

    "Nope", replied Littleman, "I have seen a group come here and collect food. I hide and watch them every passing day. It's about time for them to show up. We have to hide, quickly."

    "And how did you navigate in this dimness. It’s almost dark in here", Shamu asked Littleman.

    Littleman led them back to the wide area and pointed his finger up in the air, "There, you see, right below the ceiling! Light enters through those eight squared holes that mark the eight directions. It illuminates the treasure room above with both the rays of the sun and the light of the moon. Brightness leaks down here too, thus, this area is gloomy during the day and sombre during the night."

    Littleman dug out an object from his pocket. He raised the tiny white cylindrical crystal above his head so that everyone around him could catch its wonder. The crystal casted a powerful illumination and completely wiped out darkness from its path. Steadily it projected a spectrum of colour.

    "This stone is a wonder. At dawn it casts a multi-coloured shadow of a dancing form. Pure beauty. Even though I don't know what it is, the crystal permitted me to find my path when I was lost in deep darkness."

    Shamu tapped Littleman on his shoulder while he pocketed the treasure, the white cylindrical crystal that had fallen into his palms when Rana fought with the guardians of the King's Solar just before Littleman entered into the shaft.

    "And what do you know about Twin Arrows," Shamu questioned Littleman.

    Littleman took his time before replying, "I heard the conversation too."

    He paused to take a deep breathe before continuing :

    "Right from my childhood I was fascinated by Astras, the supernatural weapons of war. Elders and scholars mocked me saying that such items exist only in fiction, but I did not stop to believe in my dream. At the house of the Wise Brothers, while looking for Vimana records, I came across many astonishing details confirming the existence of such amazing weapons : Brahmaastra - the epic weapon that could counter any Astra; Pashupatastra - the most powerful weapon of them all, Angaraparna - a blazing unstoppable chariot; Vijaya - the destroyer’s bow; and Agneyastra - it’s the flaming arrow; to name a few.

    Sudarshana Chakra is a legendary discus that fixes on its target. Another Astra with similar property is Teen Ban – the three infallible arrows is a kind of radar tracking device. The first arrow marks the kill; the second arrow marks the ones to be saved; and the third one to kill everything marked by the first arrow.

    The Twin Arrows belong to the same family.

    The Twin Arrows is the invention born through the marriage of astronomy and astrology. Using planetary combinations and doing a calculation of astrology chart, the heartbeat, body temperature and other inner system functions of Rana and Sena were determined. The arrow heads are devices which are programmed to track and kill their respective targets. The Twin Arrows is broken into three parts – the head, the shaft and the nock. They are assembled together using screw type fasteners. Each part has a specific role to play, where the head holds the important task of tracking its target.

    This deadly Astra has two disadvantages. One, it can work only in unison and should be fired at the same time. Two, the targets, Rana and Sena, should be close to each other and the distance between them and the Astra cannot be more than ten times the height of the targets put together. Fired within that range, the Twin Arrows mark their targets. And if the victims try to run away, the shaft of the arrow has the ability to follow them by acquiring the energy from the victims itself. The Twin Arrows are unstoppable when fired rightly.

    I heard the engineers talk about it. They visit the Astra regularly for maintenance. In the quest of finding an escape route from this dungeon, I took the courage to climb this pillar by dodging the blade circling above. I made it to the top and through another air shaft I entered the area where the Twin Arrows are kept.

    When the engineers left, I tried to destroy the arrows. But they were too strong and heavy for me. The nock is installed with a security device that glows in red when the arrows are separated. The red light is then captured through several mirrors placed strategically opposite to each other and they carry the red signal upto the gaurd room, where special forces supervise the Twin Arrows. Within a split second after being alerted, the cabin will be flooded with armed gaurds. I was almost caught, but I managed to climb down without raising any suspicion.

    I was scared. I watched the dancing form every morning since then to bring my heart beat back to normal. One day, I saw a slight variation in the colourful spectrum projected by the white cylindrical crystal. Three human eye like shapes appeared on the part that resembled the head of the dancing form. The right eye was red in colour; the left was blue, while the vertical one in between the red and blue eye glowed yellow. Suddenly, the two eyes exchanged their places. The red moved over the blue and took its place, while the blue reappeared taking the place of the red. Then, the yellow eye brightened, before all the three eyes vanished into bright white.

    It was then it stuck to me. I decided to climb back …

    At the Wise Brother's house I informed Sena that I had been a spectator and I am of no use in this battle as I am neither brave nor I can wield weapons. Sena replied to me softly : 'My Gaint, in this tale of Good versus Evil written by the Creator who Knows the Unknown, we all have important roles to play. You have got the highest responsibility. Whether the brothers stand in the battlefield, entirely depends on the deed you are yet to perform. When the moment arrives, you will exercise your duty. Failure is not for you to choose, as, you fail we fall. Your action will direct us towards the end and victorious if we are, you will be the crown shiner while sitting over the shoulders of the ruler.'

    It did not make sense to me at that time. But that day when I saw the colourful eyes of the dancing form, I realised my duty. I stood before the Twin Arrows and carefully unscrewed the arrow heads. I exchanged their places without moving the arrows from their positions.

    Inside Jaala Vyuha ...

    Rana and Sena were terrorised. They helplessly watched the killer arrows approaching them. Kacha thought he saw two vipers with long and hinged fangs shooting themselves into the air flying towards Rana and Sena. The Brothers knew that death was inevitable, as they can neither hide nor fight nor run - there is no escape from the Twin Serpents. They realised that were standing before the Twin Arrows about which Nobleman had spoken to them - 'After slaying Kundalini, Kochadaiiyaan burnt down the nesting ground of the giant snakes in and around the volcanos and caves of Karimedai. Apparently, a snake egg snatched and twin baby serpents came out. The mother snake tried to save the snakelets from the fire aroused by Kochadaiiyaan, but the inferno killed her. The hatchling snakes took a vow of revenge and jumped into the flames of their burning mother. These baby snakes were reborn as the Twin Arrows and their only duty is to seek vengeance for the cruel, unnatural or unjust death of their mother. The Twin Serpents are aimed to kill the Sons of the Murderer.'

    The Twin Vipers with pair of eyes glowing red and blue respectively closed towards their targets. When the Twin Arrows were about to hit the Brothers, the arrows suddenly changed their path resulting in colliding with each other. The red dotted arrow moved towards Rana, while the blue one headed hissing furiously towards Sena. A tiny explosion occurred when the two arrow heads met with each other. Their collision destroyed the Twin Arrows and the two shafts fell burning to the ground under the feet of Rana and Sena.

    Kacha saw the burning vipers making tiny jumping in pain. They coiled round and round as though the curls could put out the flames. Their red and blue eyes flickered inside the fire while the stink of death rose in the air. They made weird hissing noise while the smell of their burning flesh mingled with the breeze. After struggling hard to stay alive, the Twin Serpents laid motionless like two burnt twigs.

    ... to be continued ...
    Last edited by mappi; 11th July 2017 at 02:56 PM.
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  11. #260
    Senior Member Veteran Hubber
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    Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM

    Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster

    Fire tests gold, suffering tests brave men. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    Day Zero Eight - Net of Human (part 6/6)

    Into the Mouth on Fire

    "Ashta Gajah !", Yesodha Putran suddenly lifted his head exclaiming. Vadhana tried to hold him down by placing her hand on his shoulder, but Yesodha Putran quickly got up from the ground and ran towards the exit.

    The General’s eyes widened behind his mask. The Twin Arrows have failed. There was nothing devine in them, but just couple of sticks lying burnt on the ground. He starred at them trying to collect words inside his mind to explain the incident to the Emperor. Not finding any excuse, he looked at Naga and pushed his head vigorously towards the Brothers.

    Bali, Charya and Kul stepped forward. After passing a direct order to their respective team of warriors to stand their ground, the three Immortals advanced towards the trapped enemies holding their special weapons - recong, jiu jie bian and hammer.

    Bali removed his metal handled L-shaped knife from the wooden scabbard while running fiercely to minimise the distance between him and Sena. He brought his recong forward and tore the space in between them. His weapon hit hard on Arha.

    Charya circled around Bali and launched his nine section metal chain whip at Rana, who moved to his side while dodging the metal dart from reaching his face with Vajrastra.

    Kul sprinted forward past his brothers in battle and brought the heavily brutal metal head of his hammer at Kacha forcing him to fall to the ground.

    Rana saw Kacha struggling to escape the blows from the hammer. He quickly rolled to the ground and reached Kacha while Sena fenced with Bali. He helped Kacha to regain himself, when Charya launched jiu jie bain at him for the second time. Rana put his right palm on Kacha's chest and pressed him to bend backwards while curving his own body. They escaped the deadly swing of the metal chain which travelled close to their throats. Without giving them time to get back straight, Kul swore high up in the air holding his hammer above his head. Rana and Kacha fell down in unison and rolled together towards their right. Rana got back on his right knee, while Kacha quickly moved to Rana's side. Using Rana's lap as a platform to catapult in the air, Kacha rose like a smoke on top of Kul who was in the process of lifting his hammer. Kacha's short sword pierced the back of Kul's neck and exited through his throat. He landed behind Kul and pulled back his sword. Blood poured over the hammer before Kul hit face down on his own weapon.

    Charya swung his whip above his head furiously when he saw Kul biting his hammar. Rana quickly got up and sprinted towards Charya. When Charya released the metal whip, Rana fell on his knees and skid under the jiu jie bian that floated above him. As he appraoched Charya on his knee, he brought Vajratra before him and slashed the pelvic area of the Immortal. Charya dropped his weapon and staggered backwards holding his stomach. He dropped to his knees and fell on his side with his eyes staring at Rana.

    Bali blocked Arha with his wooded scabbard and swept recong in front of Sena’s chest. The sharp blade tore the metal armour of Sena scratching Sena's skin. Sena pushed Bali away from him and stood curved before him holding his broken armour leaking blood. He opened and closed his eyes slowly as pain started to mount to his head. Bali turned and looked at his fallen brothers. He noticed Rana and Kacha far away from Sena. He walked brutally with clenched teeth pulling the recong to his side. He raised his weapon and stuck hard on Sena. The recong entered flat on Sena's right shoulder and after cutting the flesh the sharp blade stuck in place when it hit the shoulder bone. Sena left out a heavy cry of pain while falling on both his knees. Bali struggled to remove his blade that had fixed itself tight on Sena’s upper torso. Sena lifted his head looked at Bali directly in his eyes. Their eye were glued to each other. Bali's eyes widened when Sena buried his sword into his chest.

    Both Sena and Bali fell to the ground at the same time and stayed down motionless. Rana got up and started to run towards Sena while Kacha quickly moved into the same direction. Kacha arrived to the side of Sena and felt the short knife sticking on Sena’s shoulders with his fingers. He was scared to remove it. Seeing Sena seriously wounded and lying unconscious due to loss of blood, Rana sat flat on the ground and took Sena inside his arms. Holding Sena's head on his laps, Rana looked at the sky. The sun was still finding its way towards the hills. He closed his eyes in despair.

    "Eight Elephants", Yesodha Putran explained to Sultan while Kali listened to him attentively. They were all inside the main barrack equipping them for the final battle.

    "The emotional self of the elephant always finds the path of virtue. At the time in war, when everything seemed lost, Ashta Gajah will open the miraculous path. We may still have a chance to save our commanders held inside the unbreakable Vyuha, if we follow the trail created by Ashta Gajah. We must concentrate our attack at that specific area, rather than trying to take down the massive army assembled by the Emperor."

    Karmegha turned grey. Tiny lightning flickered over the western horizon.

    The warriors guarding the outer wall of Jaala Vuyha looked at each other when they heard the stampede of elephants. Within a short time, they were attacked by a herd of eight elephants. The riders of Ashta Gajah pushed their way through the defence of Jaala Vyuha. The elephants lifted the enemy soldiers with their massive tusks and threw them into the air. Spears men pierced the thick armours of the giant animals. The aggrieved elephants knocked anyone closer to them with their turnks. Several guards were crushed in the stampede. The soldiers fell apart as though a plantain farm destroyed by wild elephants. Ashta Gajah moved straight breaking the defence of Net formation. The seven elephants followed their leader widening the gap and creating a path towards the center of Jala Vyuha where Rana was surrounded by long swordsmen.

    Rana picked up Arha from the ground. With Inesh across his shoulders armouring his back from surprise attacks; holding Arha in his right hand as a powerful shield; wielding Vajratra in his left hand; Rana fought with the heavily armoured long swordsmen of The General, while Kacha stayed beside Sena, just like Vrikoda, the father of Kacha, gaurded the body of Kochadaiiyaan while his soul parted on a visit to the Celestial Temple.

    The siege wepons hidden inside the Jaala Vyuha were activated. Huge stones were launched at Ashta Gajha. One by one, the elephants hit the ground before they could make it to the centre of Net Formation. The valliant riders died with their faithful animals after creating a visible path through Jaala Vyuha.

    When the animal rampage ended, the standing enemy warriors cheered. They joy was short lived when they saw a smog blanketing before the invaded area. They tried to reassemble quickly to strengthen the weak defence, but a series of arrows showered over them through the white smoke, disabling them from reforming the broken wall.

    Soon after the rain of arrows, tiny bags flew into the air landing hard on them. The pouches burst upon contact dampening its target with lamp oil. The wet soldiers watched the white smoke in shock, when they witnessed three pairs of tiny red circles glowing inside. The red dots moved towards them while being suspended in the air. The ghostly images terrorised the enemy soldiers.

    During the attack carried out by Ashta Gajah, Kali threw several smoke bombs in front of the marked area to disrupt the visibility of the enemies. When the elephant attack terminated, the archer units assembled by Kanakavalli behind the smoke disabled the regrouping of enemy soldiers by firing arrows blindly at the strike zone. Immediately after the archers attack, Gudakehsa and his men replaced the tiny metal spheres from their whips with tiny pouches filled with lamp oil and launched them into the fragile zone of Jaala Vyuha.

    Kali emerged out of the smoke and walked brutishly towards the startled enemies. He held a tiny non-combustible twig between his teeth; the two ends were glowing red, where the heat provided was by powdered charcoal. Several huge sacks hung down from his hip. Behind him, on either side, Sultan and Kalai walked savagely with rage lightened in their eyes and a carrying a wooden stick glowing in their mouth.

    Kali dug inside his sacks and took out two bundles of explosives rolled into tiny sticks; attached together with combustible cables. He took the respective fuse and struck them with fire by introducing the fuse to the either side of the burning dot of the stick he held in his mouth. The threads sparked up and destroyed themselves while running down carry the flames to the explosive sticks. Kali calmly threw both the explosives at the group of stranded enemy soldiers. Sultan and Kalai followed a similar technic and six bundles of explosives reached the weakened wall of Jaala Vyuha at the same time.

    Kali prepared the bombs using the items that he had carried from Pirate's Bay. Sena's instructions were to build heavy damage explosives to be used during battle. With time being his prime enemy, he quickly prepared bombs inside the barrack that could produce only lesser effects. When the bombs blasted, it created mild impact but with the assistance from the lamp oil, the fire spread like scuttling mice. Most of the enemies ran around ablaze. Kalai's short swordsmen and Sultan's spearmen took over the burning scene and neutralised the affected enemies. A handful of Ayus entered the broken Jaala Vyuha and concentrated their attacks on taking down the siege weapons. Swathi and Swetha led their archers and sword carriers of the Queen’s woman military force to counteract The General’s animal cavalry assembled near the overblown area.

    Gradually, the hole widened on the human wall of Jaala Vyuha permitting the commanders and captains of Empires United to fight their way thorough and reach the centre where Rana tiredly fought with an entrie unit of The General’s long swordsmen singlehandedly.

    Seeing the reinforcement unit’s arrival, Rana dropped himself to the ground beside Sena. His eyes fixed onto the sky above. Rana blacked out.

    Sultan, Kali and Kalai dropped all their sack at the center of Jaala Vyuha. Kali lifted and placed Sena on his shoulder, while Sultan carried Rana. Kalai helped Kacha to climb back to his feet and supported him to walk. Swathi, Swetha, Kanakavalli, Gudakesha along with their respective units and a group of Ayus formed a circle of protection around the men carrying their wounded comrades.

    The Immortals who were raged by losing their leaders attacked them. One of them holding a rencong managed to break the circle and stabbed Kali on his hip. Kali held to the handle of the sharp knife and to the surprise of his attacker, he broke the weapon. With the sharp blade still stuck in his flesh, he kicked his attacker who was holding just the handle of his weapon. He angrily shouted, "I am from the same school you dirty filthy pigs. I am an Immortal and I shall walk on the corpse of you pigs."

    Naga watched screaming Kali, at the same time Kalai took a burning piece of wood from the ground and threw it behind him at the sack of explosives. A huge explosion occurred pushing the enemies from attacking them. Naga covered his face with his hands. The fire from the explosion reflected in his eyes.

    The group advanced rapidly out of the net formation, while The General was issuing orders furiously. The enemies failed to stop the warriors of Empires United. As soon as they exited Jaala Vyuha and stepped onto Karmegha, the sun hid its face behind the hills.

    ... to be continued ...
    Last edited by mappi; 11th July 2017 at 03:37 PM.
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