Saturday, March 05, 2005

Truth and Lies.

Episode for Mar 4, 2005, Friday. Haraya was now the keeper of truth and knowledge. Aramis, casting aside the shroud of deception that he wore, was about to reveal the truth about himself. Rasmus had not been looking for the tragic truth about his identity, but he stumbled into it or fate led him. Ravenum now sought the truth… he was about to receive a knowledge not quite what he had expected. “Do you promise to give the book to the Mulawin?” Florona asked Haraya again. “I promise,” the lady assured her. Muyak then said, “Remember, ever since the dark clouds sent by the evil Diwata covered Avila, we have been unable to open portals there. You must go walk on the way there.” “And remember that you cannot change into your bird-form since you are carrying the book,” Florona added. “I know,” Haraya said. “I had to go a long way from Avila to be able to open a portal to enter here. But don’t worry. For as long as Balasik is with me, I can face any danger that comes my way.” She took leave of the fairies then. When she had gone, Muyak asked her companion, “Do you think the Queen Mother was right in choosing Haraya to be the guardian of the book of prophecies?” “I don’t know,” said Florona. “Not even the Queen Mother can see the future. I only know one thing: Haraya loves Balasik.” But Haraya did not have honest intentions. She had never cared much for any of them – Diwata, Mulawin, Ravena, human and all. They were so full of troubles, and brought nothing but trouble to everybody else too. She and Balasik had led a peaceful life together, and she wanted it back. Having found a quiet spot in the forest, Haraya opened the book and wrote the question, “How can we get away from all this, Balasik?” The book answered: We are not supposed to escape. There are wrongs that need to be righted. “Right! Like when Aguiluz killed you! That should be avenged!” I do not seek vengeance… because it was not Aguiluz who killed me. “But I saw it with my own eyes!” The Ravena created an illusion in the likeness of Aguiluz. It was the impostor who murdered me. “Ravena!” she cried. “I was blinded… it is the Ravena who should pay for this!” She asked again, “Is there danger on the way to Avila?” The danger IS in Avila. And it was. “Are you really so stupid?” growled Ravenum at the citizens of Avila. “Do you not see that your rightful king and prince are in front of you? Your king has no moral backbone. Daragit betrayed you! He willingly gave Avila to us!” Laab asked in his strong and calm voice, “Is that true what I heard?” “Damn you, Ravenum!” Daragit cried. “We came to you hoping to share power with you! Lourdes had to join in the fun from within her cage. “Such fine kings you have crowned, Avilans! A fool like Bagwis and an inutile like Daragit!” Daragit and Lumbas were carried off into prison; Lourdes was freed. The people were forced to labor at once. Terong was close behind his master as usual. “This isn’t right,” he said. “Nobody wants to be ruled by fear. After two years, or twenty, or even two hundred years, these people will rise up against you. Your arrogance will blow up in your faces sooner or later.” Gabriel snapped, “You nag worse than a Perico, Terong. Don’t try to confuse me. This is the first time I have a such a clear picture of my role in life.” “So this is your role? To do evil? Some role that is!” Ravenum was looking at them from afar. He did not like how this puny lowlander was influencing his son. And Lourdes suggested, “If you don’t like it, then why not turn him into a Ravena also?” Laab and his Musang men arrived at the scene of the crime that day. He saw the broken door of the cage, and the dead guard, who had been hit on the chest with a spear. “Whoever did this was very strong,” Laab observed. “Looks like he smashed the lock with one blow.” “Good thing I wasn’t on duty here last night,” Hampas quipped. Lourdes shouted, “It was Rasmus!” The Musang looked at one another. “Does that mean Rasmus and Bagwis are in cahoots? If so, then why did they leave this one?” Miles and miles away from Avila, Bagwis continued to draw strength from the great trees that sheltered him from the midday heat. When he felt strong enough, he got up and went with Veronica to see Rasmus. They found the Ravena warrior sitting by himself with his back turned to them. Bagwis spoke up. “What are you planning to do now Rasmus?” “I have no plan,” Rasmus answered grimly without looking over at them. “You may go now.” “And Veronica and I will go, looking over our shoulders for the rest of our lives? Waiting for you to stab us from behind?” “If you don’t want to believe me, that’s not my problem.” “You’re telling me that you saved your mortal enemy without a plan in mind? You want me to believe that lie? Who are you kidding?” “The only lie here,” Rasmus replied, “is my life.” He was wearing the usual scowling expression on his face. In other times, he would have unleashed his wrath at anyone who spoke to him thus. Then Veronica asked, “When you told us your whole life has been a lie, what did you mean by that?” “Why should I tell you? So you can laugh at me? Mock me? Or worst of all, pity me?” Bagwis told him, “We see that you are suffering. I have been through many such trials in my life, but I never gave up. I never let it beat me.” “And why is that?” Rasmus snarled, abruptly jumping to his feet. “Is it because you’re the chief warrior? Is it because you were chosen as king of the Mulawin?” “No,” Bagwis answered calmly. “It’s because, no matter what happens to me, I know I am always fighting on the side of truth.” Aguiluz heard the screams of Gus and Alwina. His feet barely touched as they carried him back to their camp. He saw little Wis choking Alwina and trying to steal her necklace. Gus was hitting her from behind. Then Aguiluz wrested the child away. Wis snarled at Alwina and stretched out her arm by several feet to reach for the necklace again. But Aguiluz seized that arm and nearly broke it. Wis cried in his arms. Aguiluz tied her to a tree while he and Alwina pondered over what to do with her. A few hours later, Gus offered her some food, and the girl after some resistance, did so. “In her heart, I think Lawiswis still recognizes Pagaspas,” Alwina said. “Did you know that it was her who taught me to play the flute? They were my childhood friends. But I was the only one who grew up. I became an older brother to them, and sometimes, their parent.” Alwina looked thoughtful and said, “What about us? Could we have a family of our own one day, I wonder?” He smiled at her and replied, “You know, I feel that all of our trials are coming to an end soon. And when it does, I want nothing more than to start that family you mention.” Mulagat and Aramis walked on, the latter once again thanking the former. “Forgive me for thinking so ill of you,” he said. “I was wrong about you.” “Mulagat,” Aramis began, “there’s something I need to tell you.” They were interrupted by Makisig who was patrolling the area. They were in the territory of the Taguba. “Hey, Mulagat!” he called out. “What’s up, man?” A voice called out, Dakila’s. “Who is it?” Habagat was following Dakila, with his arms crossed over his chest. He turned his eyes to see who the new arrivals were, and got a shock. Mulagat had grown quite thin; his complexion looked dry. But he was alive! “Mulagat!” he cried, running toward him. Father and son threw warm bear hugs around each other. “Mother will be so glad to hear this in Encantadia!” the prince exclaimed. Habagat and Dakila exchanged glances. “You need to know something about your mother,” his father told him. But another shocking revelation was in store. After Mulagat had recounted his adventures to the group, he praised Aramis once more. Then the archer declared, “Enough! You people owe me nothing! It’s me who is still paying his debts to you.” “What do you mean by that?” asked Dakila. Aramis looked at father and son. “Habagat, it was I who shot you. I was the reason why you almost died.” The Ravena soldiers – male and female – were all practicing together in the training grounds of Halimhim. Savannah wandered absent-mindedly into their midst. Gabriel and I are both Ravena now, she thought to herself. Then why doesn’t he like me? What else is missing? A trooper bumped into her. Savannah scolded him. “Get away from me, damn you!” The other girls started giggling. “Why, it looks like it’s Her Majesty’s time of the month!” Aviona laughed. “Oh, that zilch is having periods then?” Everyone roared. Irritated, Savannah challenged them. “Go on and hit me! Let’s see what Ravenum will do to you when he gets back! He’ll punish you!” “Probably!” Maningning replied. “But I’m willing to take that risk just to feel what it’s like to beat the hell out of you!” She lunged at the loathsome frog of a princess, but Aviona held her back. “Don’t stain your hands. Let’s go on with practice.” Haraya was now at the gate of Avila. As she wandered here and there, a Ravena sentry caught sight of her and arrested her. “Who is this now?” demanded Ravenum. “Are you a Diwata or just an ordinary woman?” No answer. But Ravenum knew from her look and bearing she was no mere mortal. “You’re not a Diwata. But you’re not an ordinary person either. You are also keeping a great secret.” He had her taken to prison, with the book concealed within the folds of her robe. Alone, Haraya asked Balasik: “Can we escape from here?” There is still hope for you to escape. But I am where I need to be. “No! You and I must never be separated again!” Ravenum suddenly appeared. “Why are you talking to that book?” He seized it from her hand. “What’s this? I don’t see anything here. Tell me what’s in this or I will hang you upside down and drown you in hot oil!” “Do it! I’d be happier if you did!” she dared. “Oh? You’re a tough one. But this book seems to be important to you. What if I tear it up?” She gave in then. Haraya was in tears now, knowing she had failed in her mission and that Balasik had gone into the wrong hands. But she had to tell Ravenum everything. She gave him the white quill also. Smiling with satisfaction, Ravenum left her inside her cage. “I already have a son who is a Sugo,” he mused, “but I need to make sure still.” He put the book on a table and wrote: “Will my son become ruler of Avila?” Magically, the answer appeared in writing on the blank pages of the book: Which one? “What do you mean? I have only one son!” There is another one, said Balasik. The one named… “Liar!” Ravenum cried. “I do not believe you!”


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