Friday, November 19, 2004

Death of a Dove.

Episode for Nov 18, 2004, Thursday. The fates gave father and daughter just enough time for reconciliation. Paloma was slowly breathing her life away as the Mulawin band gathered around her. Her skin changed from a fair flesh to a sick purple color, suggesting the arrow was poisoned. In fact, this was the same poison from Ravenum that almost killed Dakila before. Only the Hiyas had saved him, and they no longer had it with them. “I never really stopped believing that you loved me,” the bird-woman told her father. “Please forgive me before I die.” “Between you and me, I am the one who needs forgiveness,” he cried. “You saved my life; I couldn’t save yours!” Only a few seconds of life remained in her. She told him that she loved him, and then there was silence; the color of her skin returned; her body ceased to struggle. The dove was gone almost as soon as she had come. “Don’t touch her!” roared Dakila at the others when they tried to come near. “Nobody touches my daughter!” He was like a lioness guarding her dead cub. Alwina wept softly and spoke up. “Please allow us to give her a decent burial. Let’s give her the honors that she deserves.” She could not help but feel guilty all over again. It was her own mistake that led them to the wasteland, and now this? “This is my fault,” she told Aguiluz. “Almost every one of you has gotten into trouble because of me.” “Don’t cry,” he said. “We’re here because we chose to be. Nobody forced us to go with you.” But this was hardly a comfort to any of them, especially not to the grieving Dakila. Alone, he spoke to his dead child: “Take my heart with you to the other side. And when you meet the Almighty, pray that He will forgive me.” With Paloma a part of him also had died. His heart was no longer in their mission, he told Bagwis, and he feared he would only be a burden to the group now. They laid the body on a wooden raft and covered it with a white shroud. Some had some parting words for her, like Aguiluz. “I owe you my life,” he said. “Because of you, I found my way back to my own kind.” With this final salute to the noble Mulawin, they pushed the raft onward to the river, and the tide gently bore it away. Now, Habagat had some good tidings to bring his lord. After their humiliating discovery about Alwina, the Ravena couple retreated back to Lucio’s mansion. Ravenum had made it clear that he did not want them interfering with his plans. As usual, Rasmus did not want to disobey his orders; he was never inclined to oppose his father. But Vultra was defiant. “This is a great shame for me,” she told her spouse. “I led the search for Alwina to kill her and now she turns out to be alive. Are we just going to let Habagat take charge of this?” Rasmus was pessimistic. “We can’t do anything about it unless we get some information on Alwina first. Unless we do that, we’ll never get ahead of Habagat on this.” Then Savannah came to them with news… and a new story. She was fresh from a chat with Balasik, and now claimed to have clairvoyant powers. The girl began to recount a strange “experience” she just had. “I was sleepy, and then I saw myself out of the body. My spirit wandered and I had a vision. I saw Alwina with a group of Mulawin. They crossed the desert and now they are in a forest on the other side…. I also heard them say that they don’t want the Ravena to rule the world.” With the exception of the last sentence, she had parroted Balasik’s every word. But this got only a bland reaction. “That’s old news,” said Rasmus. “What we need is to find a weakness in their group,” Vultra told her. “We need to find some chink in their armor. What can your premonitions tell us about this right now?” Savannah’s eyes rolled in their sockets. “Um, I can’t control the visions.” “You have this power and you can’t control it?” Vultra seemed incredulous. Awkwardly, the girl made some demurral and excused herself. Rasmus looked at his wife. “Do you believe that our daughter has that ability?” he asked. But she replied with another question. “She’s my daughter. Why shouldn’t I believe her?” Gabriel turned again and again to his map. It wasn’t helping him. His guts seemed to tell him that this was the wrong way; they wanted to take him elsewhere. “I think I’ll just follow my instinct,” he said to himself. So he threw aside the map and let his feet carry him whither they would. He had not gone far when he heard the rustling of leaves and grass nearby. Someone was there. Unafraid, he called out: “Is somebody there? Hello?” Some moments later, the head of a beast emerged from the foliage. It was Hidalgo. Terong was not an experienced suitor. In fact, he had never really shown interest in any woman until now. And she was no ordinary woman at that. “What do I have to do for Aviona to notice me?” he asked himself. “Flowers, I guess. Women must like those.” So he went out to gather some wildflowers not far from his new home. He had no trouble at all apart from a few angry bees that had been helping themselves to some nectar. When he came back, he found Avinoa and Bianca together, preparing food. “Oh, so you’re a good cook, huh?” he said. “Be careful, Aviona. Some guy might fancy you then.” “Good cook?” she repeated. “I don’t even have all the ingredients for this.” “Oh, by the way…” He held out the bouquet to her with a smile. “Here, flowers for you.” The bird-woman’s jaw dropped. “Hey! That’s just the ingredients I need!” She snatched them from him. “How did you know?” Lourdes spent her days working in the field with all the women, and her nights wondering about Alwina. Savannah had told her something that puzzled her: she said she now knew what Alwina’s “secret” was. But what could that be? Even Lourdes did not know. Whatever that was, one thing was for sure. She missed her adopted daughter. That day, Rusing had some luck. She was able to sneak away and surprise her grandson in the field. Theirs was a happy, though brief, reunion. “You’re better off than me,” Lourdes told her later. “At least, you got to see him for a while. It was Alwina’s birthday some weeks ago, and I couldn’t be with her. I don’t even know where she is.” But her grief could not compare with that of Dakila. He was beside himself. Events had happened too quickly for him. So little time had he spent with his daughter, and now she was gone forever. “I never had time for you,” he said aloud as if she could still hear him. “I hardly saw you grow up. If only I could turn back time and change that!” The old man was quite lost in his own thoughts when he noticed a figure standing near his right. This was nothing but a Hunyango disguised as a young Mulawin girl. But to Dakila’s distracted mind, this was his daughter come back to life. “Paloma!” he said. “Yes, father, it’s me,” she said. “God heard your prayer. He has restored me to you. Come, Father, let’s play!” The Hunyango ran away and Dakila followed. The trio of Gus, Wis and Mulagat saw him running on his own. Alarmed, Mulagat and Wis ran after him; Gus hurried to report to the others. The child stopped right at the edge of a cliff. She looked back at Dakila with a smile. “Don’t you want to know what it’s like to jump without using your wings? Follow me!” In a moment, she had cast herself down and was out of sight. But Dakila could still hear her voice calling out to him. “Come! It feels good to fall!” Totally deluded, the Mulawin did not think twice. He hurled himself down after his imagined daughter. “Spread your wings!” Mulagat shouted. But he knew not if Dakila heard him.
 

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