Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Book of Prophecies.

Episode for Mar 3, 2005, Thursday. “So, who do you think Gabriel will knock up first?” asked Savannah out loud. All the female converts were gathered together in this place. Their princess stood in their midst, surveying them with her huge reddish eyes, wondering who her biggest rival would be. Aviona proudly stated, “If there’s anyone here who ought to receive the Prince’s seed, that’s me!” “You’re too young,” Maningning retorted. “The Prince needs someone strong and mature, like me!” Savannah laughed mockingly. “Confident, all of you!” “Why? What about you?” Aviona sneered. “You’ve been around here a long while. How come you haven’t lain any eggs yet?” Then the loud and rambunctious girls started jeering at the princess. (They evidently felt no respect for her.) Savannah balled her hand into a fist to challenge Aviona. “You’re insulting me!” she fumed. They embraced each other in a fierce grapple; the roars of the other women grew louder, delighted by the prospect of a wrestling match. But sentinels soon arrived to break up the fight. A messenger announced, “The Prince and Ravenum are back!” Gabriel was still recovering from the wounds inflicted on him by Rasmus. “We can’t advance to Avila when you’re in such condition,” his father told him. “I will have the final word this time, son.” So they returned to Halimhim where the new army of women was waiting for them. Savannah pointed to Rosing and argued, “She’s too old to have a child. She’s no use to us! Let’s kill her!” But Terong stood up against this. “Don’t do that,” he said to his friend. “But Savannah has a point.” Master and servant began to argue in low voices. Gabriel then walked over to the women and brought Mayi and Lawiswis to the front. “All right,” he said. “Aling Rosing will be in charge of the Ravena children.” The old woman expressed her gratitude, and Gabriel dismissed them. Terong was still very upset, unable to believe that his master was actually open to the idea of killing a defenseless old widow! “Have you really turned your back on your humanity?” asked Terong. “Yes,” Gabriel replied, “because all of humanity turned its back on me.” Terong’s face wrinkled at that. “What about me? Did I turn my back on you?” Poor Terong really had no idea how lucky he was; Gabriel could have easily disemboweled him with one stroke of his sword. But as dark and as cruel as he had become, there were still traces of the old Montenegro heir left in him. He just did not want to acknowledge it. “I don’t like how that pest is influencing Gabriel,” Savannah confided in Ravenum. “He’s a reminder of his former life as a human, you know. Let’s kill him!” Ravenum smiled coolly. “Your fists are flying too fast now. Where is the Savannah who usually looks before she leaps?” “But he’s a nagger! I know him! I grew up with him!” “Don’t raise your voice at me! I want him dead too. But we can still talk to Gabriel. And if you don’t want to get into trouble with him, we have to be careful.” Haraya turned the pages of the book to see its contents, but there was nothing in them. The book was empty. Angrily, she flung the book to the earth and screamed, “How can the Queen Mother hope that I will love an empty book as my husband?” The book fell open as it hit the grass. Amazingly enough, words in neat, calligraphic writing began to appear across the pages: It is only right for the Queen Mother to hope, the words read… because I am Balasik. Awestruck, Haraya asked, “It’s true then! How can I use you?” The previous statement vanished, and a new one was written: Take a plume from my body, and write your question with it on the pages. Haraya did so, and with the quill wrote her first and most important question: “Do you love me?” Forever, my love, Balasik answered. This reply, more than anything else, convinced the lady that it was really Balasik speaking to her. Unaware of being watched, Haraya continued to write personal questions, like a young girl composing love letters and reading the replies of her beloved. Muyak and Florona were observing her from a distance. “I don’t think this is right,” the former said. “She’s mesmerized by the book and isn’t handling it as she should.” “I will talk to her,” Florona told her. She went over to Haraya and gently rebuked her. “You were not given that book to amuse yourself with it. You are supposed to give the Balasik back to its rightful owners, the Mulawin.” “No!” Haraya shot back. “Balasik is mine!” “Then we will just have to look for someone else worthy of keeping the book.” Florona willed the book to levitate towards her hand. When Haraya realized that she was powerless, she relented. “No, don’t! I will do as you say.” Meanwhile, Mulagat was still recuperating under the care of the archer, Aramis. Aramis, for his part, was dying to get the truth to come out. At one stage, he had actually confessed his crimes verbally to his companion. But Mulagat had fallen asleep and heard none of it. Aramis sighed… he would just have to wait another time. He also informed the prince of Aviona’s fate. “We have to go back to Halimhim then,” Mulagat replied. “We must do it for Aviona’s sake… and for all of our friends who are there.” So young and uncorrupted, Aramis thought. There was an air of purity and dignity that always surrounded this Encantado. Aramis envied and respected him for it. Maybe he’s the better man for Aviona. Unknown to them, Dakila and Habagat had met with Kuwak today and decided to camp at Lagaslaw. Father and son would see each other soon. Another day had gone by, and Bagwis opened his eyes to find himself in the same spot, with the same views, and around the same people (except when the guards changed shift). He felt hot, dirty, hungry and, above all, sick in heart and body. The faithful Veronica was still there. Bagwis had advised her to steer clear of him for the time being, as it was not helping her gain the people’s acceptance. But Veronica showed no regrets. It was night-time and very quiet; the silence was broken by the whizzing sound of a flying spear. It hit straight into the guard’s belly and sent him rolling dead on the ground. Veronica, Bagwis and Lourdes turned in that direction. “Rasmus!” Someone screamed the name without knowing it. He looked around, saw Bagwis in his cage, and without a word broke the lock with his dagger. “Go on,” he said. “Get out.” Bagwis wondered if he was too hungry tonight. “Why are you doing this?” “Do you want to be free or not?” Then Bagwis hurried out of his cell, helped by Veronica. “Hey, what about me, Rasmus?” asked Lourdes rudely. “Go rot there,” Rasmus answered. “You and I were both deceived, Lourdes. Isn’t that what life is all about? Deception?” Lourdes spat and cursed at him, and then shouted the alarm. ‘Hey! Rasmus is here! He’s setting Bagwis free!” Veronica then called on Rasmus to flee with them, and all three escaped before the guards could arrive. They flew all night undetected (such poor security Avila had), and by daybreak were quite out of reach. Bagwis stumbled towards land utterly exhausted. Veronica then asked Rasmus, “Why did you help us escape?” “Because only now have I realized what a lie my life has been,” he told her. “What does that mean?” ‘Don’t be nosy,” he snapped. “Just help your husband.” Alwina woke up to find Aguiluz sitting beside her as usual. “I had a bad dream,” she told him. “I dreamed we got separated and the necklace got lost.” “Don’t worry,” he answered. “You know, they say that dreams are often the reverse of reality.” Not always. Someone tapped Alwina on the shoulder; she turned to see but no one was there. The same gesture repeated itself several times, with Aguiluz grinning to himself (it wasn’t him). Then a pair of small hands closed over Alwina’s eyes, and a small voice piped, “Guess who this is!” Alwina’s lips split into a big smile. “Pagaspas! Hey, where have you been? I looked for you for so long! Don’t you know your mother is worried about you?” Gus proudly showed off his new power to Alwina that day, running around her and Aguiluz at great speed. “You’d make a good mother,” Aguiluz told her. “But we have to find the fruit now. I only know it’s in a place called ‘Halimhim.’” Abruptly, Gus stopped. “I know where that is. That’s where I’m also headed!” “Okay, we’ll go there then,” said Aguiluz. “But let’s rest here a while.” “Even kids with superpowers need rest,” Alwina reminded the young boy. Aguiluz went to get some firewood. Unfortunately, Wis happened by that way too. She had flown away from Halimhim, weary of Rosing’s strict supervision. She noticed Alwina wearing that necklace. Some evil instinct told her that Alwina would be helpless without it. Lawiswis stretched her arms and leaped upon Alwina’s chest, clutching her necklace. Alwina gasped, and Pagaspas shouted, “Let her go!”


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