Sunday, January 16, 2005

Family Reunion.

Episode for Jan 13, 2005, Thursday. In Halconia, Rasmus seemed to be on the brink of madness and despair. He stormed into Vultra’s quarters with the black quill still in hand. It was all that was left of the Ravena Veronica had been. Then e looked at his arms and wings with pure loathing and cried out, “These feathers disgust me! I hate them! The Sugo have probably reached the tree by now so these things happened. Not long from now, they will find us!” His eyes darted across the room desperately. He would need great strength for the battle he was expecting. On a table were several tiny bottles containing various potions and medicine (such as the painkiller Tuka had wanted to give her son). Rasmus dropped into a seat and rolled the bottles toward him with his arm. The former king then raised one bottle to his eyes, opened it, and drank down all its contents. Soon, he felt his muscles swell with power. “Come on here then! I’m ready for you!” Numerous questions besieged Gabriel’s mind as he waded through the salty waters. Where was he? Why was he alive? Why didn’t he die? Most of all, what were those wings doing on his back? Speaking of those, the wings had been immersed in water and now weighed heavily on his back. Gabriel looked over his shoulder at them. even in the dark, he could judge what colors they were: a deep crimson red. What the…! Ravena wings! How the hell did I get RAVENA wings? What joke was this? He touched them to make sure that they were real; they were. Such cruel fate! Why didn’t he just die! But as Gabriel neared the seashore, he felt his burden lighten and he realized the hated wings had disappeared. If they disappeared once, they could do so for good, he thought. And at that, tiredness overcame him and Gabriel collapsed on the sandy shores of Santiago. Some fishermen happened by that way and woke him up. Learning his name and the town he came from - Tierra Fuego – one of them decided to help him. “Most likely, he has been a victim of the Ravena,” he told the others who were rather hesitant to have anything to do with the stranger from that unfortunate town. In this man’s house, Gabriel wolfed down the food offered him. His mind was still scattered – he did not even know why he was alive – but his stomach knew one thing for sure: it was very hungry. “I thought you were dying earlier,” said the man. “Now I know you were just starving.” “Sorry,” Gabriel said. “If you hadn’t found me, I probably would’ve died. I wish I had.” “I beg your pardon?” “Oh, nothing. Please thank your wife. She’s a good cook.” He was not the only native of Tierra Fuego to find his way into Santiago that day. Savannah had come down from the tree and asked a passerby for help. When the old woman named Meding heard her story, she took pity on the girl and took her home with her. Savannah was limping a little, or pretended that she was. “Where am I?” she asked back at the woman’s dwelling. “You’re in Santiago. We’re at the seashore. Good thing the Ravena went the other way and spared us. Is it true what we heard? That there traitors in Tierra Fuego?” “Don’t believe that,” Savannah snapped. “That’s not true!” Observing Alwina’s rather sullen and indifferent attitude toward her real mother, Bagwis knew they could not proceed with their journey until she had learned the truth. So resting form their day-long flight, he decided that the time had come. “You need to understand why I want to rescue your mother,” he told her. “Isn’t it because you’re a good person?” she said innocently. Bagwis then said, “I need to tell you something about your father.” Alwina’s eyes lit up. “My father?” she repeated. “You know him? Who is he?” “I am your father,” Bagwis said with his lips trembling slightly. Then Alwina’s wings sprang out and flapped gently in the air. “You? But how did that happen?” she exclaimed. So he told her: “Long ago, I had a relationship with Veronica. And because she was so beautiful, even the Ravena king fell in love with her. After a battle, Rasmus succeeded in taking her away. I thought she had died. It was only recently that I found out she is alive. She became a Ravena. I am an enemy to her and that is all she knows. “And I learned that we had a child. You are that child, Alwina. I knew it when I saw the mark on your shoulder. Only members of my family have it.” Alwina stared wide-eyed at him, and then felt her skin underneath her right shoulder-pad. Then she looked down on Bagwis’ arm. She believed him then, but still, she hardened her heart. Alwina answered with reserve, “If that is how important Veronica is to you, then let’s waste no more time.” She turned to fly, but Bagwis touched her arm. He wanted to see some reaction in her, some acknowledgement. “Alwina,” he said softly as they hugged each other. “Now that we’ve found each other, we have to face danger again,” she lamented. “Why is it that all my loved ones are taken away from me?” “A time will come when our family will be reunited,” he told her, “and nothing will keep us apart anymore.” The mood was better in Avila. Kuwak and Tuka had eaerlier said their goodbyes to each other, and the former returned to Lagaslaw with his family. Dakila was strolling beside Lourdes that night, relishing in the fresh mountain air. “The prophecy came true,” he said. “The Sugo would unite men and bird-men.” As they conversed, Aviona alighted noiselessly beside them. When Dakila noticed her, he greeted her with cheer: “I will not ask how you got here and where you have been. What matters is that the Mulawin I have loved as my own child is here” They embraced each other with genuine gladness in their hearts. “I’m not the only one you’ve loved as your own child,” Aviona said. “Aguiluz too. Say, where is he?” Dakila and Lourdes exchanged glances. The elder Mulawin told her the whole tale then. Aviona listened and took the news with calm. “God decided to place him above average men,” he told her. “He is now where grief and sorrow can no longer reach him.” But Dakila was wrong, and the spirit of Ravenum that now hovered around the Mulawin tree, knew this. “I feel Alwina is in danger,” Aguiluz told his mother. “Have you not yet accepted it?” Salimbay asked. “My son, you cannot go back to her anymore.” Aguiluz sulked on, however. Now, he almost hated the tree that was keeping him and his lady apart. In his refined shape as a sentinel of the Mulawin tree, Aguiluz was now more sensitive, and his higher senses had awakened. Ironically, he who could now observe worldly events with his mind’s eye could no longer do anything about it. It had seemed at first that Veronica had no recollection of her life as the Ravena queen. But that had only been a momentary lapse effected by her transformation. A short while later, she could remember it all – too well! – and was arguing with Rasmus full-blast. “Aren’t you listening to me?” she shouted. “Let me go!” “There is hope yet. If I can find Father, he can change you back to what you used to be.” “What! What are you talking about? I’m human now, and you’re a Mulawin! This is the ‘used to be’ that you’re talking about. And that damned father of yours is probably dead!” “I’ll turn my back on him,” her lover said suddenly as he stroked her face. “I’ll turn my back on my father and on everything that happened. Just promise me that you will forgive me and love me like before.” Veronica pushed him away, not wanting to be touched by his insanity. “Are you out of your mind?” she cried. “If it’s so easy for you to forget what happened, it’s not so for me! You and Savannah lied to me! You took me away from Bagwis! You took my daughter away from me! It’s unforgivable what you did to me!” “But I did that because I love you so much!” “Love! Is that how you love, Rasmus? If that is how you love, then I wonder how you hate! I wonder, are you like me? I utterly despise you right now!” Those words fell like a knife into his heart. Rasmus stared coldly at this cruel and ungrateful woman. He showed her his right hand with the talons fastened to it. “You still don’t get it,” he told her. “I did all that only because I love you. If you cannot return my love, then it would be better for you to be gone!” “Rasmus! Draw back your claws!” a hated voice cried out. Rasmus turned around. Bagwis was there with sword drawn; Alwina was behind him. Veronica exclaimed, “Bagwis! Alwina, my daughter!” “So we meet again, Bagwis,” Rasmus said, “and you’ve brought the Sugo along. Why? Are you afraid to face me alone?” “This is your fight and mine, Rasmus. She came along with me because you’ve kept her away from her mother for so long.” “And I’ll keep her away from her father permanently!” The old rivals squared off while Alwina stayed back. Bagwis attacked Rasmus with his sword, while the latter was armed with poisoned claws on both hands. The potion he had taken worked wonders for Rasmus, who soon brought his challenger down with a blow of his fist. Then he faced Alwina and was about to send his claws into her abdomen. But Veronica had loosened her bounds and now rushed forward to shield her daughter. She threw herself at Alwina just as Rasmus drove his arm in. Then Rasmus felt his claws sink into the flesh of the woman he loved.


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