Thursday, March 03, 2005

Traitors to the Tribe.

Episode for Mar 1, 2005, Tuesday. One did not need to have red plumage to be a Ravena. Daragit and his lieutenant, Lumbas, were about to prove it. Apparently the magic stone that healed him had also added strength to Habagat permanently. He followed the Ravena all the way from Avila to Halimhim without feeling exhausted, even though no longer had an ugatpak. He was there, watching from afar. So many women! he thought. Alarmed at the immense size of the crowd, the Mulawin stole away, vowing to return for his lady. Meanwhile, Ravenum was trying to pacify Gabriel. “Calm down,” he told his son. “We have enough females here to increase our numbers.” But Gabriel pointed an accusing finger at them like a child who did not get what he wanted. “They are good only for bearing children!” he whined. “Alwina is different! Why isn’t she here? Why was the Sugo able to resist it?” Outside Bagwis’ cage, Dakdak and his Perico came to report what had happened in the rest of the area. “Aguiluz found Alwina too,” he reported, and then looked curiously at Veronica. “Why didn’t you become a Ravena too?” he asked. “All the other women did.” Aramis soon joined them and was told the same thing. “What about Aviona?” he inquired. “No doubt she is with her own kind now,” Dakdak replied. Hearing of Veronica’s experience, the High Council summoned her. She attended as a commoner, not a queen. And she did not have much to tell them. “All I know is that I held on to this necklace that Alwina gave me,” she told them, “thinking of my daughter’s love for me.” Lumbas was somewhat incredulous. “Are you saying then,” he responded, “that it was love that saved you?” Deep in the woods that night, one Ravena was completely unaware of what was going on. Rasmus would have cared nothing for it, anyway, had he known. Why was I the one you sent away? he wondered bitterly. But never mind. I’ll prove to you that your favorite is no good! His ears picked up a familiar noise. It was a whistling sound. Knowing it was Aramis’ signal, Rasmus went in the direction of the sound. Perhaps the hunter could be of use to him. But it was Aramis who was looking for help. “I don’t care about al the women that you’ve converted into Ravena,” Aramis said, “but I have to rescue Aviona. Talk to your father!” Rasmus turned away. “You have such faith in my influence over him. But I know nothing about what you are saying.” “How can you not know what your father has been doing?” “Because he has cast me out of Halimhim.” Not far from there, a group of male Ravena warriors were scouring the foliage for signs of the renegade son of Ravenum. “We have to find him or Princess Savannah will have a piece of each of us,” they said to one another. And then they found him beside the archer. “Why are you here? Does Father want me back?” Rasmus asked foolishly. And they answered, ‘It is Savannah who wants you. She wants your head!” They pounced on both men like hounds on cornered deer. But Aramis with his superhuman strength easily overpowered them. Rasmus – having a bad day, perhaps, or getting old – was quickly floored by the other Ravena. Then Aramis fell on them with all his power and flung them away like rag dolls. Rasmus regained his footing and the two men stood back to back. “Looks like you’re the one who owes me now,” Aramis observed. “Turn your back on your father, Rasmus! Join me!” But Rasmus answered, “Just because you helped me, that doesn’t mean you can tell me what to do. I have my own plans. If you want to save that little Mulawin, do what you want.” Florona stood over Balasik’s lifeless body. Haraya was weeping over it. “What are you going to do?” she asked. “Are you going to resurrect him?” “I would need the Queen Mother and the others to help me with that,” replied the Diwata. “And besides, only the Sugo may return from the dead. But I will give Balasik a form that fits his true nature. The body can die, but not the knowledge. And Balasik was given to the Mulawin as a source of knowledge and prophecy.” She poured forth a green shower of light upon the white corpse, and began to work her magic. High on Avila’s lofty peak, overlooking the dark clouds that had covered it with for several weeks now, Daragit discussed matters with Lumbas. A faint ray of light shone through the king’s mind, like it were his own conscience. “Sure, we finally got what we wanted,” Lumbas said, “to become rulers of Avila. But we never dreamed it would come about in this way.” “Could it be,” he asked Lumbas, “that we have judged Aguiluz and Bagwis wrongly? Could it be that we are the ones wrapped in darkness in our hearts?” But Lumbas was defensive. “No! Bagwis and Aguiluz have done evil! What we did was right! This is all Aguiluz’s fault! We are the most powerful Mulawin now, Daragit. It is now up to us to save our people.” Dark gray clouds covered them even as he said those words. They returned to the High Council where Dakila and the others were. Habagat had just flown back from Halimhim. “What should we do now?” Daragit asked. “You’re the king,” replied Dakila. “You should know what to do.” Daragit then turned to Habagat. “Take us to where they have brought the women. We will try to negotiate with them.” “What?” Dakila raised his voice. “Your Majesty, I don’t think it’s a wise move to try to settle the matter in that way.” “Our numbers are getting smaller. They have taken all our women away! It’s time we try to make peace with them. War isn’t the only solution to problems like you think it is!” “That is the only language the Ravena can understand,” Dakila argued. But the king refused to listen to him. Now Terong had tried to chase after the two Ravena – Tuka and Pamela – for Gabriel’s sake. But he was less lucky than Habagat. “Jesus, those women fly so fast,” he said to himself. “I’ve lost track of them.” A hand dropped on his shoulder. “Perhaps you are more used to being hunted down and caught than being the hunter yourself!” Terong looked over his shoulder and met with Rasmus’ grinning face. “Please don’t kill me!” he begged. Rasmus laughed, grabbing him under his arm. “Why should I kill you? You’ll be my bait now!” A Ravena sentry came running to his king and prince. He bowed respectfully and informed them that they had visitors. “And who would want to visit us?” said Gabriel, even as the High Council elders entered the scene. Daragit was at the lead. When Dakila tried to speak, the former raised his hand. “I am the king. Leave it up to me.” Then he turned to his Ravena counterpart and said, “I am the new king of Avila. We come in peace. We expect you to treat us accordingly. We are here to have talks with you.” Ravenum smiled slyly. “I’m listening. What might this be about?” The elders seated themselves and Daragit said, “We have seen you demonstrate your great power. We acknowledge it, and we have come here to join forces with you.” Dakila’s jaw dropped to the earth. “What! You traitor! This wasn’t what you said before!” “You cannot peddle our race like merchandise!” Habagat fumed. Ravenum laughed deeply. “Your own king has made a fool of you, Dakila!” Then he said to Daragit, “Our talks will come to no resolution if those two keep on interfering. Guards, take them away!” “So be it,” Daragit said. Alwina was worried about her parents. “Use your inner sight to look into Avila,” she pleaded with Aguiluz. “See if my parents are all right.” The other Sugo obliged, but even with all his effort, his spiritual eye could not pierce the darkness that blanketed Avila. “I can’t see anything,” he said. And then Salimbay appeared to them. The glow of her aura was subdued so that the mortals could look at her without strain. “Mother!” Aguiluz cried. “Is this real? Since I left the tree, I haven’t seen you except in dreams only!” “It is no dream,” she told him, embracing both him and Alwina. “After the tree was cut down, I roamed the earth for a while. I wondered why God was not calling me yet to His side. I came to the conclusion that my mission here is not yet complete. I still have work to do.” And she assured them, “I will help you in your search for the fruit of the tree, and I will be near you even when you cannot see me. Be strong for you are up against a powerful force now.” She vanished from sight, leaving the Sugo feeling greatly comforted. Aguiluz then took leave of Alwina for a short while. But as if it had been waiting for an opportunity all along, the evil spirit struck again. It seized Alwina quite unexpectedly. She felt it, the same choking and sucking feeling that was like a vacuum. And this time, she did not have her necklace on. When Aguiluz returned, he realized what was happening. Not again! “Where’s the necklace?” he said, dropping to his knees in a frantic search for it.


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