(Vengeance is complete. Sivapalan Narasimha “Dev” seems to be really good at it)
“Do you understand me?” questioned Sivapalan emotionlessly, striding across to the man.
The man looked at him in curiosity.
“Ah, that’s the world, is it not? The gods give us a million languages so we can spill each other’s blood, so we cannot speak to one another, but why do they? If they wanted men to talk the same tongue, maybe man would not be man!” This boy, this Tamil-speaking youngster had the most raptorial gaze that the Sinhalese warrior had ever seen on a human being. He was beginning to sweat in torrents as he saw the Sivapalan’s back and stomach muscles tighten, as he held his dagger in his right hand. The man muttered something in Sinhalese, but strangely, the Chola warrior understood.
“Is that all you must say?”
He felt the man’s soul cracking into pieces and with a single efficient slash to the neck, made him bleed out in gallons. With a weak croak, the enemy fell, left there to die. “Oh father,” he continued with a sigh as he knelt by Brahmarajan again, “is this what any son wishes of his father? Is this what a warrior wishes of his father? To see you here like…like a poor animal, slain through cruel deceit after a wild hunt. For isn’t deceit war, my dear, foolish father, my maker and sole creator? Why did the fates condemn you to this? What god wanted you to end here in this hellhole, father? Oh, why do I ask myself why for I have no answers, tell me truthfully?”
He put his hand against the corpse’s cheek. “Do you want me to die like this too and be forgotten forever?” The blank response suited him perfectly well. Sivapalan then felt something that he had ignored when he took out the pouch he’d stolen from that other enemy soldier he’d killed. A small tinderbox and a flint.
“Sons burn their fathers during times of peace. Fathers burn their sons during times of wars. What do you think, father? Peace eh?” he played with the word for a brief second, musing on it as he struck the flint a few times and created a spark.
“ Farewell my father…Brahmarajan…Brahmarajan…”
A blood-curdling scream rose up from the plain, as Kush loosened his grip on Vikrama. The assassin stood up to his full height, but tumbled back down onto his former captor’s body, almost making Kush throw up. Sena galloped over, shouting something incomprehensible. He saw what he had done. The moon had, in the last few minutes, been covered again by dusky, thick clouds and all light had been erased. And Sena had, in that last second, heard Kush yelling, and flung one of his men’s spears at the assassin, mistaking him for an enemy. The Sinhalese patrolman had, obviously been oblivious to what had been going on right under his very nose. He still couldn’t make out who had been killed, but his other men were rallying around him. Another shout rose up, though.
“The…the…ambalama! Who could have…?”
It was ablaze, an inferno on the plains.
“There must still have been some enemies in there!” snarled Sena, as Gamini raced towards him.
“Can we even be sure of…wait! Sena, Sena, look!! It’s…you thought there was a Damila spy here, didn’t you? It’s Vikrama, it’s Vikrama that you killed, Sena!” He was pointing hysterically, while trying to calm his spooked horse down. Now the leader himself saw the blunder. That poor boy! So young, and dead there on the wild plains. And in the background, was something else to be marveled at. That rest house would be a forgotten piece of history, unfortunately. Spurring his mount, Sena shouted, “Let’s get out of here!” as his men rode out of the site. Thankfully, Kush had been hiding himself, huffing and puffing as he pushed the dead assassin off him with some difficulty. Gasping for breath and sweating heavily in his leather jacket, he lay there on the ground, stomach heaving up and down with each breath he took. And then he suddenly smelled the smoke rising upwards.
Suddenly, he got up, shouting, “Sivapalan!” and began to race down to the burning ambalama. Sivapalan was still crouched over Brahmarajan’s body.
The light from the fire made him look beautiful, spectacular…like it was Agni rising up after devouring a stray asura, a demonic being, with his hellish flames. Sivapalan was lit from one side as Kush marveled at his sculpted physique, with its slight orange-ish highlights, and stomach pushing up and down as he stepped out. He stood with his friend, still soaked in sweat. The ambalama burned merrily, flames consuming it and all who lay dead within. Sivapalan finally stumbled a bit as he stepped out, gazing across the plains beyond. Following the course of the River Gona was the best way to get to the coast, maybe to get to one of the Chola forts controlling the northern seaboard.
But what Kush saw was that his companion just passed him silently.
Not even a word.