Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Rescue.

Episode for Mar 9, 2005, Wednesday. It was now still and quiet at the Ravena’s nest. The groans and cries of women in labor had died down, and their weary bodies lay strewn across the field like so many casualties of war… which, in fact, they were. But they were not dead, only heavily asleep. Niwalum had already finished his work with their offspring – accelerating their growth to increase the numbers of the Ravena army – when Ravenum sent for him to put him to death. Linang was the first to rise among the mothers. She was still weary from labor, and her mind felt empty and unfocused, like when one is unable to recall last night’s dreams. She looked around slowly, cautiously, and saw Savannah walking towards her. The princess did not beat around the bush. “So you’re up,” she told the recent convert. “Your delivery is over.” Then Linang looked at her with a rather blank expression. “We have already given birth, you mean?” “Yes, I said so,” Savannah replied impatiently. “Now, you have work to do. Go get revenge and kill Habagat. He betrayed you. You have a son, Mulagat, and his father wants to take him away from you.” This information scarcely registered into Linang’s groggy brain. “I have a son?” she asked aloud, staring at the open air. “Yes, you do, damn it,” Savannah muttered. “How did it happen? How come I don’t remember?” Savannah’s eyes rolled in their sockets. Gabriel had given her only scanty information about this woman. She reiterated her false story about Habagat, as convincingly as she could, and soon Linang was persuaded. “I must have my revenge,” she declared. When the other women awakened, Savannah went through the same procedure again. “You,” she told the Taguba women, “go and kill all the men in Lagaslaw. They used to be Ravena, but not anymore.” “We are ready to do your bidding, Princess Savannah,” Maningning responded. To Aviona, the princess said, “Yours is Aramis. He lied to you through and through. All men are the same! Now go show them we women mean business!” Wisely taking a feminist stance, Savannah brainwashed all the Ravena ladies into turning against their loved ones. And she was successful: all the women flew away at once to their respective destinations, vowing to destroy their men. Back in Avila, the Ravena soldiers were driving its citizens to forced labor. The scenes there brought back painful memories of Tierra Fuego to Lino and the other lowlanders. Daragit, their foolish and treacherous king, was treated as a slave just like all the others. Such was the price he paid of negotiating with terrorists. “You better build new homes for Lord Ravenum and Prince Gabriel,” the sentries ordered as they beat Daragit and the others. “The old huts of your former kings won’t do!” Laab looked over at Daragit with a long straw hanging between his teeth. “This was what you wanted, wasn’t it?” he said in his calm, dignified voice. “You wanted to be king, didn’t you? Now is the time for you to prove that you’re more worthy than Bagwis. You lied to us, Daragit. You lied to us every step of the way.” Meanwhile, Lourdes had been interrogating the Ravena security guards for signs of Bagwis. Frustrated by their lack of success, she ventured on her own to find her enemies. She espied Rasmus’ red and brown figure alone in the woods outside Avila, and decided to follow him. Now Bagwis and Veronica were walking together, supporting each other as both had grown weak. Rasmus trailed behind them at a respectful distance; he did not feel comfortable being near them. Lourdes alighted beside him and said, “It’s good that I found you, Rasmus. Have you seen Bagwis and Veronica? Why did you let them escape?” Rasmus looked surprised and worried. He answered her with hesitation. “Um, you need to know something…” “What?” She heard voices calling out, “Rasmus, what’s keeping you?” It was the Mulawin couple; they had returned for their companion. “What!” Lourdes felt she had been kicked on the chest by a horse. “You’re all together?” Rasmus nodded. “I’ve turned my back on being a Ravena, Lourdes. I’ve turned my back on all of that. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe…” “What the hell happened to you? Are you mad? They’re our enemies! Look, kill Bagwis, but leave Veronica to me!” The Ravena shook his head. “That’s not likely to happen now.” “Bastards!” an incensed Lourdes shrieked. She struck Rasmus on the face and then lunged at Veronica and Bagwis, boxing here and there with the ferocity of a wild tiger. “You’re not like this!” Veronica cried. “You’re a good woman and we’re friends!” Bagwis was now very angry. He seized her by the arm. “Don’t make me hurt you, Lourdes!” Then Rasmus grabbed her other arm. “Give up,” he told her. “You don’t stand a chance against us.” In Lagaslaw, the Mulawin continued to speculate about Aramis’ past. Habagat explained to them, “It was Muyak who brought you there. But it was forbidden to take a mortal there so your memory of Encantadia was erased.” “Who is Muyak?” asked the hunter. “Is she my mother?” “No,” replied Habagat. “She was the Diwata who took care of you.” “Who is my mother then?” But that Habagat could not answer. In the meantime, some Perico arrived with news. “Bagwis has been freed. Someoen helped him escape.” Dakila and the others were amazed. “Who freed him?” “The reports aren’t clear,” was the reply. Then Habagat took his son aside. “We need to find Bagwis now,” he told him. “I still want to try to make a portal to go to Encantadia,” said Mulagat. Father and son went their separate ways momentarily. Mulagat tried repeatedly to open a portal, but with no success. In the corner of his eye, he suddenly noticed a woman in white, partially covered by the foliage. He could hear her crying. Always ready to help a needy person in distress, Mulagat approached her and asked, “Lady, what can I do for you?” She turned around and gazed at him with tear-filled eyes. It was a human Linang. “Mother!” he exclaimed. “You didn’t become a Ravena like they said?” “No, I did not,” she shook her head. “Your father lied to you.” Mulagat shook his head. “Why would he do that? I don’t believe you!” “He lied to you, son,” she insisted. “He wants to take you away from me.” Returning to the action in Halimhim, Aguiluz was being assailed from every corner by Ravena guards alerted of his intrusion. A spear hurled from afar found its mark on his thigh. Aguiluz winced in pain and pulled it out. But for every soldier he was able to put down, two or three took his place. “Let’s split up,” Gus suggested. “I’ll handle the Ravena children.” So off he went while Aguiluz advanced into the interior of the enemy lair. It looked like a semi-urbanized area to him. There were ruins of apartment buildings and warehouses here. The Sugo fought his way through narrow hallways and corridors, and up the staircases, when he and Gus overheard Niwalum’s cries for help. Hearing the commotion, Alwina woke up and hurried to find Gabriel. Upstairs in one of the rooms, the fruit of the tree was being held with a cloth over his head. Ravenum gave his son a sword to cut off the boy’s head. Just then Savannah entered to report the successful delivery of the Ravena women. “I’ve done as you told me to,” she happily “Wait, what are you doing?” “He must die,” Ravenum told him. “The fruit of the Mulawin tree must die!” “What does he have to do with the fruit?” she asked, bewildered. Ravenum answered, “He is the fruit!” “But why kill him?” Gabriel spoke up. “Father, don’t you feel any pity for him at all? He’s just an innocent child.” His father glared at him. “What pity are you talking about? There’s no room for pity among the Ravena! Do it!” But Gabriel merely rested his hands on the anvil of the sword, unable to obey. Ravenum snatched the weapon from him. “Give it to me! I’ll do it myself!” He raised the blade with both hands even as the boy pleaded for his life. Then a guard entered to report the arrival of the Mulawin Sugo. “Aguiluz is here, sir!” In a moment of costly stupidity, Ravenum decided to postpone Niwalum’s execution, to face the intruder. Soon Aguiluz arrived at the top floor where they were. While he wrestled with the Ravena security, Gus grabbed Niwalum and spirited him away. “You can’t go any farther,” Ravenum told Aguiluz. Gabriel faced his rival. “I’ll handle this pest,” he assured his father. Then Aguiluz flexed his wings proudly and shouted, “At last we meet, Sugo of the Ravena!” Gabriel likewise spread his wings full length and answered back, “I have waited a long time for this, Sugo of the Mulawin!” The peered at each other with their eagle-eyes, Sugo versus Sugo.


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