Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Death Squad.

Episode for Nov 22, 2004, Monday. The word of Ravenum was law. He had pronounced the death penalty on the Mulawin band. It was now up to Habagat to carry out this sentence to the utmost of their resources. But the conquests of Avila and Tierra Fuego, as well as their sporadic attacks on the rebels, had been costly for the Ravena. The army had suffered many casualties at this point. And with their supreme ambition of building a dark empire in the future, Habagat knew he could not afford to lose any more troops. He reminded his soldiers of this when he called them together. “I’m looking for volunteers among you,” he said to them. “Whoever wishes to come with me, raise your hand.” Tuka raised hers; Kuwak, her inseparable companion, was forced to do the same. About a dozen foot soldiers besides them also volunteered. Short-sighted as he was, Kuwak could not fathom why his friend would want to leave the easy life they had in Tierra Fuego to fight in the war. “Don’t you get it?” she said later on. “They found my child in Bagwis’s group. This is my chance!” Now this made sense to him. But what they did not know was that she wasn’t the only Ravena who had a son or daughter among the Mulawin. There were others. Terong never saw Aviona being carried off by the Ravena. He had seen nothing at all. And as he strained his eyes looking for signs of her, he slipped off the rocks and fell into the river. “Damn,” he thought. “She turned me down and wouldn’t even save me from drowning. I should kill myself.” Dejected, he lifted up the spear in his hand to stab himself with it. But no sooner had he done so, than it dropped from his grip and splashed into the water. “Hey, spear, come back here!” he shouted. “I haven’t killed myself yet!” He bent over and fished with his hands for the weapon. Instead, he caught something that felt like a stone. Terong raised his hand to see what it was: a small, green object like a pebble stone. A green binhi, but he did not know this. He put it in his pocket and wandered off, clueless as to what to do next. Not far from there, Procopio and the Perico came home and found Sakmal dead and Bianca in tears. She told them what had happened, and they hurried to the riverside to look for Aviona and Terong. But they were nowhere to be seen. The Scout Master thought he smelled something fishy was going on. It seemed too much of a coincidence to him that the Ravena discovered Aliwalas right after the appearance of those two strangers. “You’re saying that Gabriel and Terong were spying for the Ravena?” asked his sister. “I can’t help but wonder,” he replied. “Try to remember what the Ravena said to you. Maybe there’s a clue where they’ve taken Aviona.” Bianca searched her memory. “Oh, yes, I remember! The female Ravena said they were going to take her to Tierra Fuego!” “See?” exclaimed Procopio. “Isn’t that where those men said they were from?” For the second time, Aviona was captive in Tierra Fuego. She remembered the town too well as the place where she had been held before, and where Aguiluz had once lived as Julian. Meeting her and her captors on their arrival was Savannah. If Aviona recognized her, she did not show it. She could not hide her surprise, though, when Vultra addressed this wingless girl as her child. “Child?” she echoed. “But you’re not a bird-woman! How can you be their daughter?” Irritated, Savannah balled her hand into a fist to strike the prisoner. “Kill her!” But the queen stopped her. They were hoping that Aviona might know the location of the Mulawin tree. “We can kill her after she tells us,” Vultra said. “Don’t mind her. You have proven yourself. You may not have wings like me and your father. But your spirit can fly.” Savannah smiled smugly as the guards dragged off the Mulawin. This was a strange place for Aviona. They took her to a cell, chained her by the wrists and bound her to steel bars as Rasmus and Vultra interrogated her. She screamed at them truthfully that she did not know where to find the Mulawin tree. Then, Tuka walked in and happily informed her masters that Ravenum was about to send a small army to finish off the Mulawin rebels. That was bad news for the king and queen. If Habagat succeeded, it would make them a royal pair of sitting ducks. “You bastards!” cried Aviona. “Don’t hurt Aguiluz! Don’t hurt him!” “Shut up!” Rasmus snarled at her. “You better hope and pray that they do kill Aguiluz! If that happens, you’ll be of no use to us and we’ll kill you too. Then, you’ll be reunited sooner with your lover in the afterlife!” That night, Aguiluz found Alwina by herself as usual. “Why are you still up?” he asked. “Are you still blaming yourself?” “I just have a lot of things in mind,” she answered. “Come with me,” he said with a smile. “I will show you something.” What could it be? It was nothing extraordinary, but her guardian wanted to give her whatever comfort he could. He took her to a height and, facing the east, sat beside her waiting for the dawn. As the first rays of a hidden sun lit up the firmament, Alwina spoke: “I’ve forgotten how beautiful the sunrise is.” “Sometimes it gets so hard that we forget the blessings God has given us,” he said softly. “The sunrise, family, friends…” She touched his arm. He humbled her. It was always Aguiluz who kept her spirits up and reminded her of the beauty of life. And it was he who had paid a heavy price for her sake. As they watched the day break in silence, his wings shone with a piercing glow as usual, and after a few painful moments for him, they were gone. The impostor strutted about more arrogantly than before. She had proven herself to Vultra and totally deceived her at this point. She ordered one of her old friends – now a mere slave – to gather a sack of corn for her, and she wanted it that same morning. This bizarre and unreasonable demand puzzled the other girl. When she arrived in front of Savannah’s house with a guard, the “princess” angrily picked up the sack and dismissed them. She brought this present to Balasik. “You’ve answered me well,” she told the bird, “so here’s your reward. Just be good and you’ll stay full.” The girl outside overheard this. Who could Savannah be talking to? Lourdes’s hunch was correct. Rusing and Lino had escaped and this meant hope for the others who were left. In the meantime, she tended Lucio’s wounds since no one else would. (After his foolish attempt on Vultra’s life, the queen had had him flogged.) He thanked the witch-doctor for her kindness, and even apologized to her for everything he had done in the past. “Now, I know why I fell in love with you,” he said suddenly. This was no mystery to her. She pushed him away, knowing too well what kind of a man he was. Many years ago when she had just moved to Tierra Fuego, Lucio made a pass at her. She had turned him down and he hated her for it ever since. “Nobody refuses a Montenegro,” he had told her. “If you say no to me, I will make your life miserable.” And this time around, he was no different. “I won’t take a refusal from you a second time,” he said angrily. But she brushed aside this mean bully and went her way. What could he do to her now? Tierra Fuego already lay in ruins and everything that had been hers was gone. Gabriel was exhausted. He and Hidalgo had been walking all day without rest. “Can’t we take a break for awhile?” he asked. But the carabao knew they were in dangerous territory and must not stop. “Why?” Gabriel asked again. “Where are we?” Hidalgo glanced about, his wild senses picking up trouble. “Hunyango!” he said. “Those are deadly!” Out popped his magical wings, and the anxious beast took flight. “Caloy, don’t leave me!” Gabriel shouted. He could hear the Hunyango snaking in the grass, but he could not see them. Just when he thought he was doomed for dinner, the carabao returned and Gabriel hopped onto his back. The passenger was all smiles, but Hidalgo still despised him, and he made that clear. “But to leave you to them would’ve made me worse than a Ravena,” he explained. Ravenum’s death squad skimmed the air all day searching for their targets in the forest below. When they found them at last, Habagat gave the order to open fire with their new artillery: those heavy arms they had been training with in Tierra Fuego. The Mulawin were caught by utter surprise and ran for cover among the trees. Most of them had never encountered such weapons before. “What are those?” shouted Dakila above the deafening blasts of gunfire. “Those are guns!” Aguiluz shouted back. “I got hit by those when I was in the city!” As usual, it was Bagwis who had a strategy. “Dakdak, use your umbrella!” With his trembling hands, the Perico pressed a button and the umbrella opened. Crouching low, he raised it towards the sky against the raining gunshots. This enchanted shield repelled the soldiers’ bullets until all their ammunition ran out. When the firing ceased, the Mulawin split up and ran in opposite directions, hoping to scatter their enemies. Habagat roared in anger. He would not allow Alwina to escape him a second time. With his hawk-sharp eyes he spied her fleeing in the company of the Encantado and two children. He himself had not yet fired a single shot; he now intended to use it all up on them. He aimed the gun at Alwina, but Mulagat saw him. “No!” said the lad, jumping into her place and taking the bullet. It hit his side and he fell back mortally wounded. Linang cried out his name as she watched, but he never heard her. Alwina cradled him in her arms as the children cried with her, forgetting that their own lives were in danger. Before she knew it, the Mulawin angel herself was being held at gunpoint by Habagat. She felt the cold gun-barrel against her head and dared not move. Aguiluz saw them from a distance. His heart stopped and let out a silent scream. He rushed forward without feeling it, cried out without hearing it, as Habagat was about to pull the trigger.


Blogger streetstopper said...

south rock,

you write well and i commend you for that.


it is good to know that some few pinoys here have maintained and given english the respect it deserves. (not like one girl we all know who made broken english so famous that people accepted it as normal and "sosyal" in spite of how she bastardizes the language; this, aside from her being a national icon of rebellion, being a "mata-pobre," and an epitome of a narcisstic, self-centered, egomaniac person.)

11/24/2004 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger South Rock said...

Thanks, streetstopper.:) It's good to know that someone actually reads what I write. I like your comments about the show. I think you're new to the blogs, so welcome!

11/25/2004 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger streetstopper said...

south rock,

you are very much welcome.

yep, i am new. in fact, a late-comer to watch the show. i have to admit that i am very picky when it comes to the shows i watch. but then again, since i am watching the show, it simply shows that the show is indeed very good. the twists are good, and i must say very much unpredictable.

unpredictability nowadays is very scarce even with movies made abroad. who would want to watch predictable shows anyways?

i commend the writers and the directors again for a superb show. i know there are areas that need to be improved but the show's pace, flow, twists, and the way they hang the story for the next episode have been done and prepared well.

congratulations and may the show win lots of awards!

11/25/2004 07:59:00 PM  

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