Friday, January 14, 2005

Tree of Restoration..

Episode for Jan 11, 2005, Tuesday. “No!” Alwina cried. She turned her eyes to the empty air, as if looking at someone there. “Take me instead! Let me die, not Aguiluz!” But Aguiluz disagreed and insisted that he be the one to make the sacrifice. He told her, “All my life, I have been your guardian. I promised my father to watch over you and protect you. But now that it has come to this, then I will do it.” He turned from her sad eyes to the radiant being behind the gates and said, “Take my life and make sure that Alwina reaches the Mulawin tree. Make sure that all her efforts until now won’t go to waste!” But she was adamant not to lose him a second time. “No, I’ve lost you before,” she told him. “If you have to die again, then I’d rather die with you!” “But Alwina!” “The guardian did not say that both of us can’t die. Take us both. We will die together. I would die anyway if Aguiluz did.” Each pressed for his or her side of the argument, until Aguiluz saw that further debate would be useless. Then they made their decision known to the guardian. And she guardian said to them, “If that is your decision, I will not stop you. But if you choose to die, you will never be able to return.” “Our decision is final,” said Alwina. “We will die for the salvation of the world,” Aguiluz said. “If God wants us to die, then so be it.” The guardian cast a blue mist over them. Them the executioner appeared beside them, with head covered and brandishing an axe. The lovers turned to each other and swore their love for the last time. “I love you so much,” Aguiluz said, “even to death.” “Even to death,” Alwina echoed as they held each other. Then they knelt on the ground and bowed before the executioner. “Farewell, Sugo,” he said to them. They sensed it when he raised his axe. Any moment now, it would happen. One sweeping stroke was all it would take, one painful instant and death would follow immediately… By now, it was daytime. In the battlegrounds of Avila, the war had taken a very heavy toll on both sides. The toughest of them surpassed all known limits of pain and endurance. There was no sleep for them; the only sleep there was here was death, and rest meant being vanquished. Casualties from all races made the battle equal: Musang, Perico, Taguba and everyone else. No group was spared; no individual was safe. There was nothing to hold on to, but faith and the weapon in one’s hand. Heroes were being born, and martyrs being made. Hiding behind a tree, Habagat said to Laab, “The Mulawin prisoners are held over there. Let’s go.” A few minutes later, they were picking the lock of an old cage that housed dozens of Mulawin and other prisoners. They recognized Habagat in his human form and had no ill greetings for the traitor. Soon, they were out of prison; they had been hearing the commotion all night and now gladly joined the battle. Laab cut an impressive form as he stood over countless Ravena soldiers who had fallen under his paws. But great champion though he was, the Musang was not invincible. He lost three more of his cat-lives all in one morning. So many were his foes that he had no sooner put away an old life than the new one was shot down by a speeding arrow. Yet he held on, and lived to witness the miracle that would very soon take place. Bagwis displayed no less prowess, measuring up to his status as Chief-Warrior of his race. Many Ravena warriors still had firearms and ammunition; they fired at him wherever he ran. An array of small mushrooms shot up from the ground where the bullets hit, but Bagwis himself was unscathed for the most part. It would be hard to surmise how many he had conquered by now. It would be equally hard to imagine how many lowlanders Rasmus had abducted and converted to account for so many Ravena! At this point, all that Bagwis could see was red. Next, Mulagat made his entrance. The familiar enchanted portal opened in the air and the prince stepped out. He was followed by half a dozen youths clad in white robes like their leader. They carried the same sling-like whips that Mulagat did. Habagat called out to him and the lad smiled back at him. But there was no time, and very soon, father and son were in the thick of the fray again, fighting side by side. “Damn, I don’t want to die here!” Tuka shouted. “I have to save my boy!” She turned to look for her son. Just then, Maningning passed by and helped her up. With the arrival of the Encantado, the tide of combat began to turn. For several minutes, hostilities quieted down somewhat. Habagat declared that the battle was over as the Ravena were retreating. But this was premature of him to say so. Dakila knew better. He was looking far beyond the fleeing Ravena; he could hear the beating of unusually large wings in the wind. “Something’s coming,” he said. He was seeing the mutated, incredible Lino with Ravena wings. Back at the gates of the Mulawin tree, nothing happened. The executioner thinned into a column of black smoke, and dissolved completely. By the time Alwina and Aguiluz had raised their eyes, wondering, there was no trace of him left. “Congratulations, Alwina and Aguiluz!” the guardian said joyously. “You have past the test! You impressed me. You have proven that your love for each is true. You may now approach the Mulawin tree!” Following the gesture of her hand, the gates threw themselves open to welcome the emissaries. As they did, a brilliant body of light shone forth like a great diamond. An exhilarating joy now flooded the heroes as they passed through that light toward the Mulawin tree. The tree looked exactly as it had appeared in Alwina’s dreams. It was an epiphyte kind of tree that stretched high into the sky, it was impossible to see its top. A dense layer of curly roots hung over its trunk like the hair-strands of a giant. The whole area was awash in an ethereal golden mist that made the Sugo feel they had arrived in another world. Aguiluz and Alwina smiled broadly at each other as they had not smiled in a long time, if ever. When they stopped at the foot of the tree, the guardian shouted, “Now, witness the power of the Mulawin tree!” The Sugo raised their eyes at the tree to see. Bands of colors rose from its trunk and slowly stretched into a rainbow. The bow began to travel across the air, reaching for the heavens. And the guardian spoke again, saying, “Alwina, you are now a full-fledged Mulawin. Aguiluz, you are now a true Sugo.” No sooner had she spoken those words than a crown of snow-white feathers appeared on Alwina’s head. She felt the change, touched it, and exclaimed, “I’ve always wanted to find my identity. And here I have found it at last!” In the next moment, her shawl was back in her hand, Aguiluz’s flute in his. “Our weapons!” they said. Meanwhile, the women and children were observing the engagement from afar. “Look at that,” said Rosing, “that’s a strange-looking Ravena!” The others followed her gaze; they were now seeing the winged Lino, but none of them recognized him. Lawiswis knew only fear and despair at this stage. “I think it’s hopeless,” she said. But Lourdes was philosophical about it. “It’s not yet too late,” she told her companions. “While there is life, don’t lose hope, Lawiswis.” Even as they watched the bloodbath down in the war-zone, she explained to Rosing her belief: “I believe that there is a reason for all this. Happy or sad, good or bad, everything that happens in this world happens for a reason. Without darkness, there can be no light. Without evil, there can be good. But there will be an end to all this, for as long as there is good left in the world. I believe that, at the very end of it all, a new beginning waits for us.” Not long after this, Tuka found her way into this part of the forest. Lourdes was quick to assure Rosing that this Ravena was an ally. “Don’t be afraid of her,” she said. “She’s Pagaspas’ mother.” And then, the miracle happened. They saw a beautiful rainbow in the sky. As soon as their eyes fell upon it, their metamorphoses took place. In the blink of an eye, Gus returned to human form, and Wis became a child like him again. Tuka became a white-feathered Mulawin as she used to be. “Oh, my God, I’m beautiful again!” she exclaimed, not needing a mirror to know it. They welcomed this event with good cheer and hugged one another, and the women joined them. The rainbow appeared not a moment too soon for the Mulawin. Lino the monster had started to mow them down like a gardener uprooting grass. Arrows and slingshots felt no more like mosquito bites to him, and he angrily brushed them aside as he crushed down those pesky insects hitting him. “What kind of a creature is that?” Maningning wondered. “Something not easy to kill,” quipped Bagwis. It was then that they noticed the bow of colors. The warfare came to a standstill; everyone paused, enthralled by the sight. Then a transformation swept through the ranks of the Ravena. Some, like Tuka, reverted to being Mulawin; others, including Maningning and Kuwak’s father, changed back into a man. Kuwak himself became a thin-haired, broad-shouldered young man. As Dakila’s mind groped for an explanation to all this, Habagat called out to him, “Dakila! I’m a Mulawin again!” There he was, the handsome bird-man, younger brother of Bagwis, in full Mulawin battle-gear with full-fledged wings! Dakila’s heart filled with awe and gratitude. “This can only mean one thing,” he said almost to himself. “Our Sugo did not fail. They have successfully reached the Mulawin tree!” At the end of all these signs and wonders, the two Sugo turned to the guardian of the tree and asked, “So is this it? Have order and balance been returned to the world?” The guardian paused, and then said, “Before I answer your question, I wish to make myself known to you.” As she said those words, the aura of light softened and faded until her human features emerged. Aguiluz’s heart almost burst with happiness when he recognized his mother. “Mother!” he cried. She gently took his hand in hers and told him, “I am so proud of you, Aguiluz, my son!”
Visit also The Rock of the South blog.
What's the Most Memorable Line in Mulawin?


Blogger South Rock said...

I thought about the show a lot last night.

I was wrong to call it, "Tree of Redemption." That should be merely "Restoration."

I'm starting to wonder what the point was in reaching the tree. It changed feathers, it didn't change hearts. What does it really mean "to put things where they should be"? Is that only physical restoration, which is what it appears to be? I guess it is true in the story that those fated to tread the path of darkness won't escape their destiny. Humans especially.

1/15/2005 07:28:00 AM  

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