Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Taguba.

Episode for Dec 3, 2004, Friday. Last night was one long night for everyone. The three maidens returned to their camp carrying Gabriel with them. The rest of the tribe – all females – had been waiting for them all night. Among them was one taller and more formidable-looking than the rest. She was Maningning, leader of the Taguba. The girls greeted her with many apologies. Even in the jungle, there is such a thing as a curfew. “So you remembered to go home after all,” she said with evident sarcasm. “What if you never found your way back here?” Another woman – if one could call her one for she was still quite young – was inspecting the statue that the others had brought with them. “He’s our present for you, Estrella,” they told her. “We got that from the place where men become stones.” Estrella caressed the statue, her eyes sparkling with admiration. “Look at him,” she said. “He’s so handsome; he looks like a god of beauty!” Maningning noticed something else and cut in. “I want that shining binhi,” she said. “Give it to me. I’m the eldest among us. I’m the best and bravest fighter. I want that binhi to make me stronger.” “But we can’t pry it off,” they replied. “It’s stuck.” “Then break the statue,” she ordered. “What!” cried Estrella. “But you forbade us from going to that place where men turn to stone. That was where they got this statue. So we know that this image had once been a man. It would be just as if you had killed someone!” “And besides,” said the others, “how do you know that that binhi can make you stronger?” “Because I’m familiar with it,” their leader answered. “I’ve seen it before.” She had seen it in the hands of bird-men. So many years had passed since then, yet the dust of time had not blurred Maningning’s memory of that day. That fatal day when winged men raided Lagaslaw and abducted all the males of its population: fathers and sons and brothers. Life had been so simple and happy before then. Men had been the hunters and warriors; women had been content to mind the concerns of home. But then the bird-men came and took away the manhood of Lagaslaw, claiming the captives would strengthen their own forces. Maningning did not know it, of course, but it was the Ravena she had seen, and Rasmus the one holding the green binhi. “Keep this,” he had told the soldier next to him prior to the raid. “If anything happens to me, use it on me and make me swallow it.” “We never saw our men again,” Maningning narrated to the others. “We grieved a long time, but eventually, the women learned to look after themselves. They taught us everything about farming, hunting, and finally even the art of making war.” Nothing really knew; Estrella had heard most of it before. “I still won’t let you break the statue,” she said. Maningning turned angrily on her. “Never once have you respected my decisions!” “The only thing that makes you our leader is that you’re the oldest!” said Estrella. “But even a younger person can become a leader. Even me!” Maninging cocked an eyebrow at the youngster. “Really? Prove it.” Some sixth sense roused Alwina from her slumber. Her eyes glanced about the camp and, noting the third of their number missing, she woke up Aguiluz. “Aviona’s not here,” she said. “I don’t know where she went.” In haste they abandoned camp to search for Aviona in the darkness. Meanwhile, Vultra had successfully diverted her medium from her suicide attempt. “It’s not time for you to kill yourself yet,” she had told the girl. Not while she was still useful to the Ravena. Aviona appeared from nowhere and called out to her friends. Aguiluz and Alwina saw her, cold and drenched from her soak in the river. She had been unable to sleep, she said, and decided to go fishing. “But I fell into the water,” she concluded with an embarrassed smile. Aguiluz showed no signs of crediting her story. “Let’s go back to camp,” he said, and helped Alwina on the way. Aviona burend with anger and envy as she watched them. See that? Aren’t you jealous? They love each other so much! Back at camp, Aguiluz persuaded his lady to rest. Soon the sweet peace of sleep was upon her again. The faithful guardian that he was, Aguiluz stayed awake to watch over her. Aviona spoke with him, but his talk was pure Alwina; his whole attention revolved around her, and jealousy fed upon Aviona’s soul like a devouring fire. “If I were Alwina,” said she, “I would tell you where the Mulawin tree is. You should know if you want to protect her.” Aguiluz thought she had a point there. “But you’re not Alwina,” he answered. Those words drove all the way to Aviona’s heart like a stake. That was the whole point, wasn’t it? She wasn’t Alwina, and never would be. She cast a stormy glance at Aguiluz and walked out. Now, if Aguiluz could not be dispensed with quickly, thought Vultra, it would have to be done slowly. Turn Alwina against him, she suggested. Use Alwina’s weakness against her – her heart. Ravenum had believed that, in Habagat, he had found the perfect leader for the Ravena. He seemed to own every desirable quality that Rasmus lacked: intelligence, patience, resourcefulness and utter coldness. Or so the dark lord had imagined. Tonight, he scolded Habagat for the last time. “You still won’t do as I tell you!” he roared at him. “And I actually thought you were fit to take Rasmus’ place! You are the same as he; you are both irresponsible! “I can no longer observe Alwina now because Perena is gone,” he went on. “And now, I cannot depend on you either! Perhaps it is time for me to take action myself because of your failures. Stay here in Halconia while you are useless to me. Brace yourself for my return!” A thick white fog shot up from the ground like a geyser, and Habagat knew the spirit was gone. Time ticked away like a bomb for the hapless Pagaspas. His best friend showed resolute courage in the face of death, however. She insisted that concession would be weakness. “No matter what happens, don’t join them,” she said over and over. “But time is running out, Lawiswis,” he told her. “I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. Do you want to get killed?” “We’ve been together for so long,” she replied, “and many have tried to tear us apart. But we’re still here. We’ve gone so far. Are you going to give up now?” Gus fell silent. Tuka lifted a bar that locked their cage, and placed some food before them. “Looks like your friend is more excited than you are!” she told her son. Lucio had told the others that he would go to his room to fetch something highly important. He had gone there to look for a picture of his son. “Gabriel,” Lucio said softly as he held the framed photograph. The father gazed upon the fair and smiling features of his son, remembering the wrongs he had done to him, wondering where he could be, if even he was still alive. Alas, regret follows too late in the wake of wrongdoing. Savannah’s voice down the hallway jolted Lucio from his melancholy. He hid himself from view – poor man a fugitive in his own house – and overheard Savannah and Takam looking for Lourdes, with obvious intent to do her mischief. When they had left, Lucio tip-toed back to where Lourdes was hiding, and warned her of what he had heard. Over in the women’s quarters, Procopio and Bianca had come to smuggle in some food for the Ravena’s slaves. Dakdak had ordered his Perico to do this, but the Scouts after being reunited with them, volunteered to do it instead. They had argued that the parrot-men’s feathers, being conspicuous, would lead to their easy capture. The siblings knocked on the door and Pamela opened it. “Who are you?” she asked. “We’re friends,” they said. “We’re here to bring you food.” Unfortunately, a sentinel was making the rounds that night. He saw the two strangers and ushered them inside forcefully. “Hey, you, go inside!” he shouted. It happened too quickly. They who had come to help the prisoners were now among them. The night wore on. At this point, Aviona was totally will-less. She fulfilled her possessor’s bidding like a puppet in the hands of a puppet-master. Take Alwina’s shawl, commanded the inner voice. Put it on Aguiluz’s back. And Aviona did as she was told. Alwina’s sleep was not so peaceful after all. In a dream, she had finally arrived at the foot of the Mulawin tree, an ancient and towering Molave. But instead of flowering and bearing fruit in her presence, the tree seemed to be dying. Then a soft voice told Alwina that she was not the one; she was not the Mulawin savior; she was not the champion the tree had been waiting for! “No, that can’t be!” she cried out and started awake. Alwina looked around anxiously, realizing that it had been only a dream. Like a good soldier, her first instinct upon awakening was to feel for her weapon. More than friends, a warrior trusts his weapon with his life. But where was her old shawl? Someone had stolen it! She turned to Aguiluz first – another instinct – and espied the red folds of familiar cloth under his wings. Aguiluz had taken her shawl? Estrella accepted her senior’s challenge. Younger and smaller than Maningning, she yet had the boldness and determination that could one day make her a leader herself. And it seemed she could not wait much longer. So champion and challenger took up arms as the others watched. Spears clashed, and shields clanged. Estrella hurled her javelin but Maningning thwarted the blow, and the weapon fell to the ground. Then Estrella drew out her sword over her shoulder; Maningning likewise unsheathed hers. The blades cut through the air with deadly strokes, and many a time almost lanced somebody’s throat. But experience was bound to prevail over youth. The champion thrust her sword forward and Estrella fell back. Maningning leaped at her and pointed the cutting edge at her challenger’s face. “No woman has ever beaten me in combat,” she said. Vanquished, Estrella rose quietly and said nothing. “A deal is a deal,” Maningning said aloud. “Break the statue now!” Estrella gasped.


Blogger BOO said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/07/2004 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger BOO said...

Alwina cannot be the savior if her dad is Bagwis because it would mean her mom has to be human. And if her mom is human, then she couldn't have come from an egg. A human giving birth to an egg is abomination. And if the writers argue that Alwina's mother had been turned into a Ravena before giving birth to her; then that would mean Alwina has Ravena blood in her. Thus, she cannot be the savior. The savior is half-human and half-mulawin.

If the writers want Alwina to be the savior, they should recant their statement and say Bagwis isn't her dad, or that the real savior is half-ravena and half-mulawin. Otherwise, say that Alwina is not the real sugo.

12/07/2004 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Quill Driver said...

It is really difficult to imagine how a human could lay an egg.

But it was already previously explained in the story that it is wrong to assume that the mother is a winged creature just because the child came from an egg (the writers speaking, using Bagwis as their mouthpiece). I didn't buy this explanation, either, but that's the way the story goes. So I'll just accept that the father is a Mulawin, the mother is human and the child came from an egg.

12/07/2004 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger South Rock said...

I found the idea of Mulawin eggs ridiculous from the onset. They could've have simplified it and just made it a live birth like with all mammals. Lourdes would've known eventually that the infant was a Mulawin because she sprouted wings as a child.

But this is fantasy, and egg-laying is not the only impossibility that's in there. It is anatomically impossible for humans to fly. For a human to be able to fly, he or she must have an oversized chest and tiny legs. It's the only way to overcome the strain of flying. In other words, to fly like a bird, you have to look like one. To swim like a fish, you have to be shaped like one. Further, there is no way that birds and humans can inter-breed; humans are mammals and birds are not. Their genetic make-ups differ too much. So the mere existence of bird-men is impossible to begin with! :)

No use complaining now about the egg phenomenon. The very first episode showed a Mulawin and a Ravena fighting over the Sugo's egg. So there's no changing it.

I'm curious though. How did Aguiluz's father know that that egg carried the Mulawin Sugo in it? He must have made his way to Halconia and spoken with Balasik. Did he also know that this was Bagwis' child? (Er, if you don't mind me assuming it is his.)

P.S. Alwina's birthmark proves that Bagwis is her dad...
P.S. 2. Bats are winged mammals. Do they lay eggs?
P.S. 3. Di kaya Caesarian 'yon? Biro lang po. :D
P.S. 4. You know who'd make a good Tagubas? Alex da Rossi, IMHO.

12/07/2004 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger streetstopper said...

my two cents worth of opinion:

bagwis is alwina's father. veronica knows this and so does rasmus. (2004 dec 07 episode)

women do lay eggs. it's just that those eggs are so small it can hardly be seen by the naked eye.

on the other hand, dolphins and whales are mammals but they live in water (though they still breathe oxygen.)

bats have wings and they fly.

and duck-billed platypus and the spiny anteater are mammals that lay eggs rather than give live birth. [source])

as for being sugo, those who may be the most unworthy becomes those who are given special responsibilities.

life has full of suprises.

indeed "nature laughs last!"

12/08/2004 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger South Rock said...

I got your mail, streestopper. That's okay. Problems with the Blogger server happen from time to time. :)

12/08/2004 07:16:00 AM  

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