(Nearing the completion of Sivapalan’s complete vengeance now…this is a direct continuation from my earlier novella part)
Vikrama was taken completely by surprise as Kush held onto him, gripping his tall, lean form and holding it across his own body, hand clamped firmly on the older boy’s mouth. With one hand, Kush had grabbed hold of his head, two fingers buried in his eyes, threatening to squeeze them out if he did anything foolish. Kush gritted his teeth as he held him against the leather surface of the battle-jacket. Under the younger boy’s forearm, Vikrama’s hard muscles were like ridged rocks, and his body convulsed as he fought to get out of this child’s grasp.
“One more move, and I’ll slit your throat,” Kush hissed, holding his victim as well as he could.
The youngster felt his victim’s teeth closing in on his palm, and desperately tried to fight off a painful scream…
Sivapalan himself was already at the ambalama.
It was not what he’d expected to find at all.
“Father….” The words did not come easily for him at all. He knelt down beside the battered corpse of Brahmarajan, feeling the man’s crushed-up head and knife wound in his back. He felt the injury. How cruelly the blade had been twisted into the man’s body. He turned over the body as well, and the sight actually broke him within.
Here lay Brahmarajan.
Soldier, father, philanderer, drunkard, commander, warrior.
He had been a complete man in his lifetime, that much was known. The man had died with his eyes wide open, mouth agape in terror at what had become of him now. Those eyes…black in life, cloudy, stale white in death, red-veined and wild when inebriated, blind with rage when in the thick of battle, those eyes were truly the eyes of a man. Sivapalan rubbed his right hand over the rough, bearded cheeks and the scarred but still powerful chest and arms as he felt his own young, lean body. It was his, and this could one day be him. A pitiful wreck, quaking at the sight of death, waiting for the Sinhalese sword to come crashing down upon his neck…
But he turned his head suddenly.
There was one soldier, an enemy, with a mutilated hand, kneeling beside his comrade, who himself had taken a few cracks to the skull. Then they saw each other. And all that it had taken was a flash of silver moonlight that came in from an inch-wide crack in the roofing tiles.
The Sinhalese man didn’t pay much attention to it at first, but suddenly he stared at Sivapalan through the moonbeam. He was unarmed, but at least he had his battle-jacket, gauntlets and helmet on him. Better protected than Sivapalan, who only wore his little kilt around his waist. But then when the Sinhala warrior saw his new opponent draw his dagger, it scared him out of his wits. The man groaned in pain and looked frantically around for a good weapon. Where…where…was that cursed iron bar? Where…had it rolled itself off to? He needed it now more than ever. And his dead friend was also weaponless. That assassin! He had stolen his weapons.