Friday, December 17, 2004

The Death of Aguiluz. (Flashback V)

Episode for Dec 15, 2004, Wednesday. Death stared Alwina in the face through Vultra’s hypnotic eyes. A few meters away from them, Aguiluz had collapsed from a terrible wound; Gabriel still lay unconscious. Victory seemed certain for their foes when Alwina turned to her last resort: her bird-call. She let fall an ear-shattering cry that stunned her opponents. An array of birds came at once in a flurry and attacked the Ravena. The commotion awoke Gabriel. “Go now, Alwina!” he shouted. “I’ll take care of Aguiluz!” Alwina hesitated, then fled the scene alone. Gabriel ran to Aguiluz’s side and, putting the latter’s arm over his shoulder, staggered off to safety with him. In their confusion, Rasmus and Vultra were helpless to stop them. By the time the air had cleared, there was no more sign of the Mulawin or their friend. “Let’s go after them,” said Rasmus. “We can still catch up!” But Vultra touched his arm and said, “No, wait.” Something was holding her back. Meanwhile, Gabriel and Aguiluz limped off out of harm’s way. When they had covered some distance, Gabriel lay down his burden on the grass. “Why did you save me?” asked a miffed Aguiluz. “Have you gone blind?” said Gabriel. “Alwina’s mission is far more important than our petty rivalry. I just hope she’s safe and that she’ll meet us here.” “Gabriel.” Somebody was calling him. “Who’s there?” he called back. “Gabriel!” It was a male voice, clear and deep and resonating. Gabriel had never heard it before, but it knew his name seemed to know him well. A pillar of smoke shot up from the earth and was gone, and it was all he saw. Gabriel was now racing through the dark wood alone, in pursuit of the voice that summoned him. The chase came to a sudden halt when he saw a dark, robed figure waiting there for him. “Who are you?” asked the young man. “Do not be afraid of me,” the stranger told him. He drew back the hood that covered his head, thus revealing his awesome features. It was the Father of the Ravena. “I am waiting for you in Avila,” Ravenum said. “That is where we need to meet.” “Why?” Ravenum smiled. “Because you are the true Emissary.” “No!” Gabriel cried. “That’s not true! Alwina is the Sugo!” Gabriel was moaning unintelligibly as he dreamed. Alwina stirred him awake with her touch. He woke up with a jolt. “Huh… it was just a dream! Alwina, you’re here!” He kissed her hand gratefully. “Yes, I’m here,” she said. “Thank you for saving Aguiluz’s life.” “Like I told you, whatever matters to you is important to me as well,” he replied. “Let’s go,” said Aguiluz. “We have no time to lose. Rasmus was like a hunting-dog, or a wild predator. Once he caught the scent of prey, it made him rabid and thirsty for blood. He therefore could not understand the queen. “Why did you stop me?” he snarled. “We could’ve caught up with them!” “I just need time to prepare myself,” she said angrily. “Is that a big deal?” Or is it that you feel something for your daughter? he wondered. The king was no stranger to her moods. Well, if she would not advance their plans, then he would; the day had not yet ended. Rasmus invoked the powerful Diwata: “Perena, hear us out! We know you think your work here is done. But for one last time, we ask for your help. Show us where the Sugo is!” Then they beheld a ball of fire like a comet in the horizon. It blazed a trail across the sky, then slowed down and glided toward Rasmus and Vultra. In its burning surface they beheld Alwina with her companions. Rasmus gave thanks to their benefactor and moved on; his wife followed reluctantly. In no time at all, they were face-to-face once more with the Sugo and her friends. Aguiluz proffered a challenge to Rasmus. Now, it was daytime and he did not have his wings to give him mobility, nor his ugatpak that gives a Mulawin his strength. It was not an even duel from the onset. Rasmus took the battle to the air where the tide quickly turned to his favor. “Now you will know how it feels to have your belly ripped open!” he growled. Gabriel and Alwina were ready to take on Vultra. “What are you waiting for?” asked the Mulawin as if spoiling for a fight. But the Ravena queen stayed her hand. “Something tells me not to harm either of you,” she told them. Now Rasmus held Aguiluz by the neck in a tight arm-lock. His left hand was free, the one with claws on them. “If you care for this Mulawin loser,” he told Alwina, “tell me where the Mulawin tree is!” “No, don’t tell him!” Aguiluz said in spite of the hold on his throat. “But you’re important to me!” cried Alwina. “Your mission is far more important,” said Aguiluz. “So don’t tell him the secret Dakila trusted you with.” Bird-talk travels rapidly through the air. Mayi was informed that Alwina and her friends were in danger. She, in turn, conveyed this ill report other master, Dakila. “Rasmus and Vultra themselves are fighting them,” she said. “I was also told that a stranger is with them, but they don’t know him.” “Wait here,” Dakila and Bagwis told the Musang and others. “We must fly and see what’s going on. Wait for us here.” Rasmus espied his two old enemies arriving at the scene. “I knew it!” he cried. “You’d never beat us if you did not outnumber us!” Then Rasmus sank his poison-laced talons into his hostage’s flesh. In his instant surprise at being hit, Aguiluz’s whole life passed before his mind’s eye. The Mulawin did not scream, but Alwina saw blood trickle down his mouth, and his skin change into a sick purple shade. Rasmus dropped his victim with a triumphant laugh and withdrew. Alwina caught Aguiluz in mid-air and laid him gently on the ground. With his dimming eyes, Aguiluz recognized his old friends. “Bagwis, we meet again,” he said. “Yes, Aguiluz, I am here,” Bagwis said softly. “You are a brave warrior,” Dakila told him. “You fulfilled your duty without hesitation and with perfect courage. Your father Aguilar must be very proud of you. He looks at you from heaven above and praises you before the Almighty.” “My father,” Aguiluz gasped. “I can’t even remember him.” “Aguiluz, hold on!” Alwina pleaded with him. “You’re not going to die! Your wings are coming out soon! You can’t leave me! You told me you’d never leave me! You’d come with me to the Mulawin tree!” But he was already breathing life away. “I feel Rasmus’ poison,” said Aguiluz weakly. The foreboding calls of ravens (or some other animal) alerted them of nightfall’s approach. Soon the swiftly-moving clouds hid the sun from view. Alwina looked on anxiously. “Why won’t your wings sprout?” she asked frantically. Aguiluz knew that it was the end; they all knew it, except Alwina. “This is the last sunset I will ever see,” he said, and with a dying gasp he told her, “I love you.” Alwina likewise avowed her love for him, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, she kissed him. Then Aguiluz’s mouth fell open as he chased his final breaths. At last, his head fell back and his eyes closed. His soul had given up its struggle for life. Then Alwina shook his body furiously as if to wake him up. She hit him with her fists and shouted at the top of her lungs in a desperate attempt to revive him, saying again and again that he could leave her. The others looked on piteously. “He can’t be dead!” she told them. “Help me! Gabriel, give me the binhi!” But he had lost it and she knew it. “Bagwis, can’t we take him back to Lawiswis? She still has the necklace, doesn’t she? I have to find something! A green binhi… a Hiyas… whatever! Have to bring him back, have to bring him back…” “Alwina, he’s gone,” Dakila said to her. “He can’t hear us anymore.” But she left them mumbling to herself. Aguiluz could not be dead; there must be a way to restore him. In another part of the forest, the mood was quite the opposite; at least, as far as Rasmus was concerned. He was exulting, gloating like the vengeful and sanguinary warrior that he was. “I knew it,” he said aloud. “I would be the one to kill your son, Aguilar. Even if he’s with the Sugo, I can kill anyone I want to.” He turned to Vultra; she had been quiet all day. “Doesn’t it make you happy?” he asked her. She forced a smile upon her lips. “Of course, it makes me happy,” she answered. “Aguiluz had long been a problem.” “Then let us go to Avila and bring the good news to Ravenum,” Rasmus said. He took her by the hand and led the way. I don’t understand what I’m feeling, Vultra thought to herself. I should be rejoicing. So why do I feel uneasy? An inner voice had told her to spare Alwina as well as the son of Lucio. And now, she found that Aguiluz’s death did not please her at all. Gabriel felt impotent to comfort the grieving Alwina. She could not yet accept Aguiluz’s death, and he would not force matters. So Gabriel retired to the darkness and left her to keep vigil alone. Alwina was kneeling beside the dead body, resting her chin on her folded hands, staring at Aguiluz, unable to believe that he was really gone. He had been with her all her life, though for the greater part of it he had been only an unseen protector. In the many occasions she had brushed with death, he had been the one to save her. That face would always appear, amidst smoke, amidst fire, a fleeting glimpse of her guardian-angel. In recent times they had been equals, comrades and warriors; they had preserved each other’s life several times. But in their last battle together, she had not been able to save him. The reality of Aguiluz’s death had not sunk in yet; it would later, but not tonight. Not tonight.


Blogger bluesheer said...

south, ba't walang laman??

12/18/2004 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger streetstopper said...

south rock,

were you waiting for the grabs? LOL!


take care and we all will be waiting for your next episode!

12/18/2004 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger South Rock said...

Sorry, guys. There it goes. S orry for the backlog.

Merry Christmas, mga kapuso! :)

12/19/2004 01:04:00 PM  

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