At World’s Edge – Chapter 7

Mahofon was much the same. This was what he had seen; a tower rotting in the centre to Tink Ravine. It was the beehive that drew from him an unending torrent of curiosity, however. There was something in the hollow nest hanging from the tree that drew everyone’s curiosity. They all stared at it, shifting from intrigue to fearfulness every few moments that passed. “Yumipon!” The magician hollered, “Aim at the beehive.” More moments passed – every second felt like a minute, and every minute an hour. At the resounding silence, he tried again, starring widely, desperately around the band for the archer. “Yumipon?”

A stammer was the only reply, as he drew his bow and slipped an arrow from is quiver. Yumipon drew a long, wavering breath to steady his nerves, his hands shaking almost violently. His trembling came to a close as he drew the steel tipped arrow down the taut string, and, with a twang of his weapon, the shot flew true. The beehive was struck, with the sound of low drum echoing off distant cliffs hidden by the darkness. It cracked and split into many miniscule pieces after contact, and from its centre immerged a blinding star. It shimmered, banishing the darkness in the surrounding area. Embers of bright white light showered the barren soil, emanating from the being that had been released. The band blinked at the sight; amazement was written on every face. “Dear Almighty,” one whispered, barely audible. “I thought I’d be locked up in that tower forever…” the star spoke. At this revelation, Cescar muttered “Gold Hoshipon!” and shortly collapsed, caught only by Dulkatra.

Mahofon recoiled with questioning fear; was this really the being that had forced his far sight to an abrupt, painful end? Surely not, for its golden rays penetrated the pooling dark, and there wasn’t an ounce of evil in this creature. Mahofon shouted up to the star, “Who blocked one from seeing this tower?.” “Ah, your far sight you are referencing, I presume. Well Mahofon, it definitely wouldn’t have been the likes of me; I want anything but to send you away. It must’ve been my captors forcing you.” Hoshipon sailed above the band as he spoke, several meters high. He remained just too bright to look at directly, and his light painted vast shadows across the landscape. The next question seemed only logical now. “Who were your captors?

(Cont.)

At World’s Edge – Chapter 6

The basin was home to monolithic stone structures, high towers of rock that grasped at the sky. They were eerily smooth at the base as if a vast river had once pooled around them, or as if a lifetimes worth of sandstorms had peppered them. Atop the structures the odd plant grew around a more uneven, rougher surface. It was as the magician had seen, or at least part of what his far sight had told him. The band weaved between the bare stone forest for what seemed like hours, but as they furthered their journey forward, they became more common. There were several in sight at all times now. The towering rocks became denser in quantity, and as their numbers rose, so did the crackling tension of the group. A weapon could be fumbled and dropped, and the resulting sound would have made all but the steeliest of warriors jump. But they were all shaken, impaired by the scene that Mahofon had made the night before. And most had made the conclusion that these towering piles of stone would be something related. They feared what they could see, yet not understand.

The sun began to fall from its perch in the boundless blue expanse of the sky. It sank to be pierced by another stone monolith, with the sky shifting from orange to blood red. Now the structures casted dark shadows across the landscape. Finally, the sun crawled below the horizon, and the remaining rays of sunlight died out. The warriors soldiered on, although their packs became heavier, they stumbled more often, and the feet bled in their weary boots. Night set in a dark water that flooded the ravine; it pooled just out of reach, seemingly impenetrable, claustrophobic. It was from that darkness the giant’s fingers, stretching for the sky, appeared, their tips forever shrouded, despite the moonlight, by their mystery.

The silence now was unbearable. Yumipon quivered in the cold, and shook to think of what had turned the magician temporarily mad. The air was icy, however, and that was a distraction. For many hours now he had pondered the purpose of these towering blocks of natural stone. How natural were they? He was aware that Cescar would have the best idea, but he felt like he couldn’t ask. Mombulu planned for camp to be set soon, but this wasn’t before another tower grew from the darkness ahead of the band. This one, Yumipon noted, appeared wider at the top than it did at the bottom. For several minutes, Yumipon felt himself trembling before it. He would break eye contact, and then when he looked up it seemed to have lurched closer. After an hour of feeling disconsolate, he was able to make out the structure. It was by no means a simple rock formation, but a Karmen battle tower, fashioned from the twisted rock structure. What filled the archer with dread, however, was the damage the building had sustained. Swords were scattered throughout the wood and stone; arrows and spears also tarnished the surfaces that created it, but they were old, rusted – nothing the Cefiras had used for decades. Atop the tower was crowned some mangled tree, stout and dead. But hung from it was a beehive, as bone grey as the parched wood. Yumipon could hardly redirect his eyes, despite his terror.

(Cont.)

Chapter 7 – A father’s love

An arduous path, fate has set before me. The kind which relentlessly taxes my spirit and has begun to slowly erode the very seams of my sanity. The deafening cries inside my mind keep me awake and the deception, lies and manipulation have made their mark on my thoughts. The decision to forgive and not seek retribution has now weakened the once willful patient man. They say that those who leave such matters to faith and goodwill eventually find peace.

Does the father, who withdraws; not because of the unending repression by the ruffians hiding behind their false agenda, but due to his deliberate choice of not separating his daughter from her mother, not deserve better? Or would it have been wiser for him to have unleashed his wrath until he could have had her in his arms? On this path, I have found that a father who withdraws for the sake of his child has a love far greater than the one who does not. I would have never forgiven myself, for letting you be used as leverage by those who sought mischief. I left you in God’s care and I hope you have the same heart as me for you will need it to climb out of the moral-less abyss.

I could write a hundred words, to express how much I miss you and how I long to see you, yet when I start, there is little I can muster. So, for this Father’s Day, I managed to get a painting made for you which I hope holds true to the adage; a picture is worth a thousand words. May you always be happy and healthy and may you always choose the right path, no matter how hard it gets. May you find peace through morality, like I did.

To my Daughter;


At World’s Edge – Chapter 4

His curiosity, however, was suddenly upon him. He strained his eyes then, and through the shrouding pools of darkness he could see jagged monoliths of brown rock, like knives threatening the sky. It was a sparse forest of stone that Mahofon knew he would encounter. Yet, through the black fog that remained unvarnished by the fire he had lit, he could sense the presence of a different towering structure. He closed his eyes now, and strained. For a timescale he was unable to measure, he sat still. He felt as if he had reached his hands into a box of unknown contents, groping for something important yet hidden. He knew suddenly, in an enlightened moment, by feel alone, that something was there, beyond his sight, but not from grasp. With a cry, he leaped to his feet, and buried his face in his hands. His face burned under some unearthly scrutiny. Chatter halted then, and faces turned to watch Mahofon as he struggled. He began to claw at his face like a mad cat; it was then that Dulkatra, with his hulking body, stepped forward and restrained the magician.

“What in Almighty’s name…” A voice from the crowd trailed off. “There, there!” Mombulu had rushed to his aid also. Although from the corner of his eye, he saw that the staff Mahofon had dropped had squeezed its own eye shut. The wood that made the handle seemed contorted, strained, as if put under immense pressure – or pain. After a few minutes, and after what seemed like hours, Mahofon fell limp. It was then stated that he had merely fainted from exhaustion after some inspection by Cescar. With the nerves of the band calmed after some time, they returned to their duties. When the full moon glowed faintly above them all, that was when they finally rested. They seated themselves on rotten logs around the fire then, Mombulu among them. Mahofon had been retired to one of the tents whilst he rested – the standard bearer had placed his staff next to him. It was yet to blink.

A horn was played as the wood in the fire glowed a deep orange. It shattered the silence and echoed melodramatically off the canyon’s edge. The sound was deep, familiar to the soldiers. It banished the unknown out of the location that was so smothered in darkness, a crater of refuge. A song crept through the ranks of sound as more began to join in.
And once the music faded too, so did the group disband to their tepees. Even the sounds of shuffling, and the harsh snap of the crackling fire would part ways to become an element of the truest silence, resonating in an ocean of darkness.

(Cont.)

Chapter 5 – The Calm Before The Storm

I was standing on the porch of my house, which was slowly decaying as the principals that I had made the house from waned. There was a strange whisper in the wind that carried a vague message. It seemed to be a message of hope. Rain was coming. I stood there and stared at the vast sky and anxiously waited, so I could greet it. The sun slowly grew a little colder, from blistering hot to a pleasant warm as the dark clouds that carried rain slowly entered the scene. A smile appeared on my tired face after a very long time. I clapped my hands in joy and stared at the sky and the fields. The rich blend of colours in the scene gave me a new kind of energy, perhaps a fresh perspective. The brown fields, thirsty for rain, moving in waves as wind passed through them. The brown faded into blue and the fields became the sky, which had grey clouds slowly covering its entirety. The yellow of the sun was scarce now, but it was still present.

The first drops of rain came gently, slowly moistening the dry ground. I put my hand forward and let the drops fall on my arm. I took a deep breath and reveled in the smell of rain. The dry soil and the rain drops created a pleasant petrichor which reinforced my bones. I laughed and watched the rain wash and water my fields. For a moment, all my principals grew as strong as ever and my house was renewed. My personality and my character which I had used to decorate the house was enhanced. The floor of empathy and the walls of honesty grew stronger. The roof of kindness and the doors of generosity, the windows of love, the furniture of simplicity, the curtains of hope, the fence of loyalty and the foundations of modesty; everything was suddenly restored or so it seemed. The paint of honour and integrity that covered the house was as bright as ever. I smiled and stepped into the gentle rain. There was a calmness that I had longed for quite a while now. I closed my eyes and let myself soak.

There was a sudden flash of very bright light, followed by a great sound. My eyes opened and I was shaken. I looked up to the sky in question, and there was another bright flash of light and another noise. It was thunder, and it worried me more than it scared me. I have found that loud, invasive and immoral people bring ill things with them, and the same applied to the thunder. It was not just rain; it was a storm. The calm before the storm was but a device of nature, much like the treachery of people who build trust before deceiving you. The rain grew in volume and in intensity and there was a relentless onslaught. The field, I saw were now drowning, and the mischievous water seeped into my house and soon, I was waist deep in a flood. As I waded towards my house, It disappeared right in front of me. There was nothing left, and I stood there in disbelief. All those years, all the hard work gone.

At World’s Edge – Chapter 3

Mahofon clambered down the last of the cliff-face. To his estimation, it must have been a sixty-metre drop, but with such unchanging weather, safety could be gathered through time. There is little risk or rain, he mused, otherwise these smooth rocks could have been fatal. He held a staff as he descended, a twisted green cedar intertwined with a single, smooth brown branch. It concluded, at the end, with a purple eye. As he touched the floor of the ravine, he gazed out across the new plain that stretched before him. I have merely descended the step of a giant’s staircase, he thought. It was a vast ravine, and the rocks found now in the basin were smoothed. He ran and caught up with the remainder of the group that had gathered away from the giant’s step, “retreating from the dangers of falling rock” as Mombulu had stated.

The troop began to erect a camp. Several tents crafted from a rough hide were placed on polls high, and pegged down. The fall of Dulkatra’s hammer could be heard amidst the general chatter that had gathered from the others, and, of course, the incessant wind. He was pressing the pegs into the ghastly ground. The sun set behind them as others ventured to collect wood. Its final rays were snuffed out by the step they had taken, and a pile of tortured wood was formed at the center, now in almost complete darkness. Mombulu called Mahofon over, and requested a flame from his staff. Unlike Cescar’s own staff, Mahofon’s blinked now with the request uttered. Mombulu stared somewhat worriedly at the staff – he often wondered if it could feel.

Mahofon strolled up to the firewood, and with a small utterance of his own, the dead wood spluttered into new life. Flames licked the heavens and embers danced among the dark expanses before falling back to the brown soil. He retreated somewhat, and sat on the outskirts of the flickering light. The exhaustion of the day caught up to him now; his legs almost collapsed under the aches of marching.

(Cont.)

Chapter 4 – The Long Drought

The fields were thriving. I was now more motivated than ever. All around the house I had built, there was hope in abundance. I would walk in the field, happily inspecting the crops, and later I would sit on the porch of my house, wondering about the future, when they would be ready for harvest, and bring great joy and pleasure. I must have spent years, taking care of the fields and nurturing them and watching the crops grow taller. Cultivating the land and honing my craft; that is what I did all these years, and this created a plethora of expectations. The kind which come with hard work, patience and persistence. I remember the beautiful clouds that watered the fields and the great sun under which everything grew.

As the long years passed, I learnt that everything is not what it always seems and change is often not for the good. Things and people who once were good, or rather seemed so, turn in an instant. Eventually, the kind of crop you grow does not matter. The crop of honesty, the trees of empathy and the endless field of flowers of good intentions, is not what is valued. The very foundations of my house which were made of kindness, generosity, love, simplicity, loyalty, honour and integrity were not enough to bear the burdens of this world. I learnt that the character one develops, is disregarded. The world wants the crops that yield fortune only.  Those who sow the mischievous seed of greed are heroes when the harvesting season arrives.

Just like that, the clouds and the sun, once my good friends and advocates for the fields, turned against me. There was none in the sky to water the crops as the clouds disbanded, and the once gracious sun scorched the earth. I was deceived. I was exposed to the harsh reality of the world. I experienced and saw things that I never otherwise knew of. My reluctance and refusal to adapt to the treacherous ways of the world was seen as a weakness. My house and my fields that held goodness were seen as a threat. There was a long drought; it taught me that with goodness, you cannot be a hero. You are not valued for principal. You are valued for the yield. I saw my fields slowly fade to brown, but I continued to work. I did not let the crops die, and I did not change the foundation of my house.

Goodness is not a weakness. Is it?

Chapter 2 – The Green Flame

I had a dream last night while I was sleeping inside the house I made in the middle of the field. I was flying by a million stars. I was awestruck and glanced at all the passing stars, each more beautiful than the other. I flew across the Orion’s belt and came upon Betelgeuse. There I hovered in front of its magnificence. I tried to shield my eyes with my hand in hopes of getting a glimpse of the star’s beauty. Its light was so bright, it pierced my iris and penetrated my soul. There, I froze for what seemed to be forever, trying to steal a glimpse but never succeeding. The strangest thing happened though, as an eternity was spent in the effort. The star slowly faded. Its light diminished as if it was ready for me to gaze upon it. I looked straight at it and what I saw was severely disturbing.

Countless spirits were leeching off its light. Syphoning it away into their bottomless bellies. These were not the good spirits, but the wretched ones. They all had collars around their necks and they were being held there against their will by leashes which were held by deceitful men and women. Who were they? Why were they devouring the starlight? I ran towards them, hoping to be able to save the star but no amount of force could eliminate the imposters. Soon I had no more strength in me, and while floating away quietly, I closed my eyes and wished kindness and healing upon the spirits and their masters. There was a long silence. A blast of radiant light covered my floating body again. The spirits had broken free from their leashes and the men and women were no longer there. A tiny drop of tear escaped my eyes and floated away into the emptiness.

I woke up to a bright day outside. I rubbed my eyes, and went to the door and pushed it open. A few steps outside revealed the fields around me. They were full and the vast landscape was thriving with life. Towards the east, I had planted love of all things. The west field held the crop of honesty. The north had trees of empathy and in the south, there was an endless field of flowers of hope. In the middle stood my house. I was proud of the realm I had created. I held my tools in one hand and started another day of work in the fields. I labored away that day, thinking about how in the dream, only a mere charitable wish had the power to save the star.

Chapter 1 – The Promising Earth

Have you ever held fresh soil in your hands? On which no foot has ever walked and it has never been disturbed before? A field, full of soil that has only been touched by the soft hands of nature? Have you felt its purity? Have you ever held It close to yourself to experience the earthly aroma and experience a state of natural bliss. A field much like that I once was. A fresh canvas, ready to embrace the entirety of life. You see, when we enter the world it seems like there are endless horizons to traverse. Much like the farmer who plans for his fields, the world plans for you. The painting on that canvas could be anything.

In the folds of time I slowly developed myself to embrace the worldly life. I prepared myself to be measured against the conformity standards of society and slowly evolved into an acceptable human being, ready to work the field of life. In the very same field, I stood upon the soil and held it in my hands. The rich earth beneath me promised endless opportunities. I walked impatiently and felt my feet sink in the soil with every step I took till I reached the middle. Standing there, I could see the entirety of the field all around me. A vast landscape of fresh soil I saw, ready to be tilled and seeded.

I settled down in the middle of the field and built a shelter for myself. I decorated it with my personality and furnished it with my character. The floor, I made out of empathy and the walls from honesty. The roof overhead was made out of kindness and the doors were carved out of generosity. The windows were large and had love in them. The furniture was made out of simplicity and the curtains were sewn from hope. The fence around the house was made from loyalty and stones of modesty were in its foundations. The entire structure was painted with colors of honor and integrity. From there I started my work: to work the field, to paint the canvas and to create serenity.

Chapter 5 – The Answer

Emotional intelligence is essential when taming oneself. The key to controlling situations and retaining your inner peace is restraint. A famous quote comes to mind, which is of disputed origin; ‘You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass – Unknown’. This is the only task he had assigned himself for a while now. To practice restraint. The art of self-control. In learning self-love, he found that perhaps the greatest accomplishment of a mind, is to have the ability to control itself. It was on our way back home when he revealed the purpose of our journey. All this time, I had thought that the answer to everything related to ‘self’ was the experiences we all have in our lives. That everything that happens to us and around us defines our image, or rather our understanding of ourselves. Little did I know, that it was quite the opposite.

The way we react to situations, problems and challenges in our lives is in our control. To exercise that control, we need to practice restraint. We need to learn to control our emotions and hence our reactions by being calm and restraining ourselves. This gives us power over ourselves. This gives us the power to define ourselves and in turn, understand ourselves. This is the pinnacle of self-love, awareness and discovery. When you get there, nothing can control you and disturb your peace. When you get there, nothing can impact your self-image and nothing can affect your ability to love yourself. When you get there, you understand your worth. You ‘restrain’ yourself against negativity of all nature. You grow bigger than the everyday noise. You stop indulging in activities and company that drains you. Your emotions are in your control. You embrace your feelings, and give yourself enough space and time to let logic and restraint define your reaction.

“So how do you do that?” I asked, wondering how one can develop restraint and emotional intelligence. “Solitude” he replied. “You spend time with yourself. You look around yourself. You understand yourself and you embrace your emotions. You let every possible thought into your mind, and let yourself react to the thoughts. You repeat this, till you understand that your reaction does not change the original thought, but only the thoughts that come after it. Only then, you understand how to control the thoughts, through your reaction. Understanding this is enough to realize that your reaction is in your control and you define the outcomes by exercising this control via restraint” We kept walking downhill as he spoke in slow, careful speech. I made mental notes and did not feel the need to respond. While this worked for him, I knew that there are many ways to achieve restraint. Some practice meditation, some practice other spiritual ways and many find their own path through constant struggle to find and improve themselves. Regardless of the method you choose, if you are trying or even just thinking about it, you have already started your journey. The answer to the simple impediment of ‘self’ is restraint …