Monday, November 15, 2004

Welcome to Aliwalas.

Episode for Nov 12, 2004, Friday. Tuka and Kuwak had wondered what Ravenum sent them for. But now they knew. Rasmus was there waiting for them with a solemn look on his face. He removed his left arm-band and stretched out his arm to them. He flinched but a little as the two sidekicks, upon Ravenum’s signal, burned something into his skin. He then held up that arm and showed his father the new scar. What was this? Nothing else but that same meaningful “A” mark that Savannah had faked. Sometimes, we imitate those we despise the most. Now, a queen may be a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. Some things were not adding up in Vultra’s mind. Why did Ravenum show such kindness to Savannah? Why was he so quick to accept the daughter of a Mulawin? And the girl herself – what could she know about Bagwis? As she pondered these questions, the Ravena winged her way back to Tierra Fuego in search of answers. The impostor, meanwhile, discovered that she was now playing with her own life. With Alwina still alive – and she being that monster’s real daughter – Savannah’s own existence was now at stake. “Will I die if Vultra finds out that I made all this up?” she asked the bird. “You’d be dead meat, Savannah!” chirped Balasik. Just then, she heard the queen’s voice outside, calling for her. However terrified, the girl had to keep her wits about her. “I should tell her that Alwina is still alive,” she said to herself. “But how? I can’t say that a bird told me!” She hid the cage out of sight then went out into the terrace. Vultra stood outside several meters away, flanked by her guards. “I have a question for you,” she called aloud. Uh-oh. Now what? “Have you ever had the chance to meet your father? What can you tell me about Bagwis?” Savannah raised her brows and grinned stupidly. “Oh, that. Bagwis who? Oh! I mean… um…. er….” Vultra’s stern face shone in the midday sun, her brows frowning as she waited for a response. “Are you deaf?” she asked. “Why won’t you answer me?” As Savannah groped for a reply, Lucio entered the scene yelling and brandishing a pistol. The guards swiftly pinned him down and disarmed him. But it was enough to distract the queen. “We’ll talk about this at another time,” she said and left with her entourage. Saved by the bell, Savannah thought. Now, Gabriel and Terong had sojourned awhile when they had to ask… just who were they looking for? Paloma or Alwina? Gabriel still preferred the latter on the whole, of course, as this was their original purpose. Yet in the end, he said, “Never mind. Let’s just see who we can find.” They were about to meet a bird-woman, all right. But it was neither Paloma nor Alwina. One morning in Aliwalas, Bianca came running to Aviona with news. “There are people coming!” she warned. “I saw them!” Alarmed, the Mulawin went to see for herself, following the Girl Scout with spear in hand. But she could have done without help as her own keen senses informed her. The intruders had hidden themselves in some thick foliage and she knew it. Swinging back her arm, Aviona thrust her weapon deep inside. The blade found its mark and a man cried out in pain from behind the leaves. To her surprise and confusion, two familiar faces emerged: Terong and a wounded Gabriel. Terong and Aviona startled each other. It seemed to be disdain at first sight between the two. “You!” he cried. “You’re the one in the cage!” “You’re the ones who freed me!” she said. Sakmal the Musang (Kuskos’s father) lunged at Terong from nowhere. “Now you will die!” “No!” he screamed. “Don’t eat me! I taste bad!” Aviona broke up the commotion and calmed everyone down, confused as she was herself. She clearly remembered these two as those who had come to rescue her when she was being held captive in Tierra Fuego by the people. “We’re your friends,” Gabriel had said. “We’re here to help you.” Aviona and the others dressed up Gabriel’s new wound as he lay unconscious. “Sorry,” she told Terong. “Don’t worry. Those herbs are wonderful. He will recover, you’ll see.” “You should look before you hit somebody,” Terong said angrily. Vexed, she only looked at him from the corner of her eye. “I said, SORRY.” When Gabriel came to, Terong took his hand and put it in Aviona’s like in a handshake. “His name is Gabriel and I’m Terong.” He was about to take that milky white hand into his own when he noticed her offended look. “Oh, sorry. You guys don’t know about handshake, right?” She did not move. “My name is Aviona.” “Aviona,” whispered a tired Aguiluz. He thought he saw her in the distance, looking back at him and smiling. But this bleak desert was only toying with his senses and he knew it. “My eyes are just playing with me,” he thought sadly as the specter Aviona vanished. Alwina, also, weary and half-asleep, was visited by dreams of her and Aguluz together. Just the two of them amidst the dunes, speaking softly and looking into each other’s eyes. Wis, meanwhile, was suffering from a nose-bleed. Dakila tried to keep their spirits up in spite of it all. But this was just the beginning. They were having a conversation when they the sky darkened; a strong wind blew; the roaring of billowing sand was heard, and dust rose all around them. “Sandstorm!” Bagwis cried out. Displaying the resourcefulness that made him a Mulawin leader, he told them, “Form a shelter with your wings! Those with no wings, hide inside!” So four Mulawin and one Perico spread their wings and cast an umbrella around the others. The storm raged, and they stayed this way until it passed. Then they broke up and checked one another if everyone was all right. But scarcely had they breathed a sigh of relief when Aguiluz saw another disaster on their way next. “Tornado!” Now, Bagwis knew that a feathered umbrella would be useless against this. “That won’t work this time,” he said. “Run!” And the heroes sprang up at once for their lives.


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