The Choumerité - by Bikramjit Bose
The Choumerité Chronicles
It all started at the end, with Doraga and Shihava of the Enron-ment. They are the Protos, our creators - our father, Doraga and our mother, Shihava. They were the only ones to survive The Charge of the Choumerité (pronounced: ‘koo-ameri-tay’). A seven-headed virus that destroyed the ‘Mankind’ of the Enron-ment.
The First Wave was over…it was the start of the future. The beginning of the second wave found Doraga and Shihava, standing on Mt. Coda - living in the moment of the re-creation of mankind - a world returning to from where it came. There were only 7 survivors of the first wave – the seven elders, the Boros of the Enron-ment – Sekayens, Lintosa, Saprote, Arjo, Maitie, Upeero and Philo.
The Boros, three men and four women, were the elders of the first wave and now had become that of the second. Only they had the knowledge of how it all started and why it ended. The Protos sent them to 7 different parts of the planet to start the process of recreation. Each of those seven places were named after the respective Boro. Every Boro took turns in pairing up with another Boro to create 6 people – the Seeds, between them. Thus, the term ‘six degrees of separation’. The Boros had lived through the First Wave, and now they were made the architects of the Second.
The Enron-ment was a machine, 8500 miles in diameter, within which ‘Mankind’ had existed. Each Boro was given the task of programming the Seeds – each given a special job, all contributing towards the rebuilding of Mankind. Each Seed is bound to its creator (The Boros) by Doraga’s Law of Nepotista. A law which necessitates absolute loyalty to one’s creator. But as it turned out – even while the Seeds were being created, internal conflict within the Boros had begun brewing. Arjo was the only one given the power to self-procreate and this enabled him to create innumerable Seeds. This made him the most powerful of the Boros, as he built his army – preparing to conquer the rest of the Enron-ment. This created a rift between him and the other six. This bad blood naturally seeped into the Seeds as well, and very soon they were up in arms against Arjo and his Seeds. Thus started the eternal conflict between man and man…a gradual but inevitable passage to the end.
The conflict started because each Boro had an innate Choumerité or vice – Sekayens had Gula, Lintosa had Ira, Saprote had Invidia, Arjo had Avaritia, Maitie had Acedia, Upeero had Luxuria and Philo had Superbia. So gradually, each of their Choumerités took a physical manifestation and combined to form this seven-headed virus – to destroy all of mankind.
Unfortunately, the end was inevitable from the very beginning. Each Wave begins exactly like the one preceding and the one after. The end too, is pre-ordained. Every Wave begins with Doraga, Shihava and the Boros. Then, Man or Seed is created, then re-created and created yet again, with every new Wave but, they are created with innate flaws - their need for a system of hierarchy and power and eventual conflict. The irony remains, they are created only to eventually self-destruct and be created again….the cycle.
The Birth of the Choumerité
…The conflicts started because each Boro had an innate Choumerité or vice – Sekayens had Gula, Lintosa had Ira, Saprote had Invidia, Arjo had Avaritia, Maitie had Acedia, Upeero had Luxuria and Philo had Superbia. So gradually, each of their Choumerités took a physical manifestation and combined to form this seven-headed virus – to destroy all of mankind.
The rift between the Boros had been inevitable from the very beginning and Arjo’s superior powers only made it worse. The other six suspected that this was Doraga and Shihava’s way of showing who they favoured.
“Tell me, Doraga – why are we not made equal? What makes Arjo better than us? We get this one chance to set things right, to avoid the impending doom that awaits our Enron-ment and still you d…”
“How dare you question my judgment, Saprote? How dare you question my decision – what’s been done has been done for a reason and no one will question that.”
Thus ended the Milon – their meeting with the Protos and the Boros returned to their respective lands. Although, Arjo was the only one unequal to the rest (by virtue of his powers of self-procreation), a natural divide had taken place among all the rest as well. Sekayens and Lintosa had formed the alliance of the ruling Higher Boros, Saprote and Upeero, the middle rung joined forces to create the kshatras, while Maitie and Philo were delegated to the bottom of the hierarchy and Arjo was left all by himself.
Arjo, the ruler of the Land of Arjonas, with his independent powers, cut himself off from the rest while the remaining six were left struggling for superiority- determined to bring him down. All descendants of Arjo came to be called the Arjonas, thus the Land of Arjonas.
Sekayens and Lintosa were the first pro-creators of the Boros, though now married to other people. Their clan, the Phiscans, form the population of the Linen Isles.
The Higher Boros of the Linen Isles were the administrative heads – they presided over all Phiscans, all the land except Arjonas.
“How dare he…” screamed Lintosa, “What makes Arjo the superior Boro?”
“Yes, this problem must be resolved”, said Sekayens, sounding concerned but relatively calmer.
They’d just returned from the meeting and were in their chamber. Lintosa had been pacing up and down – exasperated and furious.
“This means war, Sekayens, I tell you – war! No one gets away with such injustice. So what if his army is bigger than ours – numbers mean nothing! We will break him from the inside – send in one of our own.”
Sekayens, however, didn’t give the matter too much importance, as he seemed to be more concerned with relishing the remains of his meal.
“Sekayens, this is our time of crisis and all you can do is feed yourself!”
Sekayens, having just polished off the food - a meal large enough for three people, licked his fingers, - “Blind rage only necessitates hasty decisions, Lintosa. We must think this through and discuss with the others. Shall I invite Saprote and Upeero for dinner tonight – we can discuss it the…”
“Dinner! Dinner! You just ate, Sekayens. How can you possibly think of food again? This is…”
Fortunately for Sekayens, Lintosa’s rant was cut short by her servant – she muttered something about her husband, Izaezel.
“What is it?” she continued in the same tone,
“Madam, you need to come with me… it’s very urgent.”
“Sekayens, make arrangements for Upeero and Saprote to meet us later today…for dinner.” Sounding a little resigned she left.
Sekayens felt a sense of accomplishment. He never had any say when it came to such things – Lintosa seldom paid any attention to Sekayens when it came to matters of the administration.
Maitie and Philo were at the bottom of this proverbial food chain, as it were. Theirs and that of their race – The Dounders, was a menial and often thankless job – to simply execute the orders of the other Boros, the Phiscans and the Kshatras. They lived in the lower levels of the Enron-ment and that determined their status in the Boro hierarchy as well.
Maitie, exhausted after the endless and seemingly fruitless meeting was asleep in his room when a very disturbed Philo came charging through the door, muttering to himself…
“He deserved it! Who does he think he is? Just barking out orders like tha...Maitie!”
“Oh, huh? What is it, Philo? What’s so important that I had to be woken up? What’s happened?”
“I’m a Boro. I’m a Boro. Who does he think he is – making me run around like a slave on a leash! I told him I wouldn’t have any of it, no matter who he was.”
“What did you do?”
“He wanted me to go spying on Arjo’s territory – learn their secrets to get an upper hand. Lintosa wants to go to war!”
“War! Why can’t we just let them be and mind our own business… be at peace with ourselves.”
“You might have become resigned to your fate as a Dounder, but I have not and don’t intend to! I am no slave – not to him, not to anyone. I am a Boro, so… I refused him. And, he attacked me!”
Maitie was wide-awake now. As much as slumber beckoned, he knew something had gone wrong – Philo’s expression was giving him away –
“So, I fought back…and uh…I think…Maitie…I think I killed him.”
“Killed him? Killed who, Philo… Who?”
Philo had a tendency to put his pride before all else – almost blinding himself to reason. But now, as that haze gradually cleared he realized the gravity of his deeds, the consequences of killing…
Philo was now a fugitive, on the run with nowhere to go. If he stayed where he was, he would be caught. He had to take refuge and the only one powerful enough to protect him was Arjo.
Lintosa saw her husband’s death as a blessing in disguise. She had just one goal – the ‘greater good’ , or at least what seemed to her as the ‘greater good’ – the downfall of Arjo. Arjo’s army was progressively getting stronger and she’d have to act soon. That night, a grand dinner was organized, much to Sekayens’ delight, where Saprote and Upeero joined them, conspiring against Arjo. Saprote too had a goal – one similar to Lintosa’s.
If Lintosa and Sekayens (The Phiscans), well, more Lintosa than Sekayens, were the head of the system and Philo, Maitie and The Dounders – the feet or labourers, then Upeero and Saprote were the body of the Enron-ment. They were what we would call the armed forces, the Kshatras. Saprote was bitter about Doraga and Shihava’s unfair treatment and was constantly looking to straighten things out, at least as far as Arjo was concerned.
As a result, Sekayens and Upeero were like silent, passive bystanders as Lintosa and Saprote plotted and planned.
Philo was going to be the bait. Having killed Izaezel, he wouldn’t be in a position to negotiate. He had to accept Lintosa’s offer – Philo would approach Arjo as a fugitive on the run, seeking refuge and shelter and as it would seem, changing loyalties. This would enable him to gradually win Arjo’s confidence, learn their secrets and eventually betray his trust. If he succeeded in returning with the necessary information - information that would lead to Arjo’s subsequent downfall, his crime would be pardoned.
Thus, as planned – Philo, putting his pride aside, set sail for the Land of Arjonas.
Arjonas: The Story of Arjo and Rohaj
The land of Arjonas was in a state of complete unrest – civil war had broken out between the two opposing factions. Arjo had divided his kingdom into two parts – one, Fort Agwada, ruled by himself and the other, Fort minor by Rohaj, his brother. Arjo had delegated authority to his brother but in the larger scheme of things, Arjo was still the overarching ruler of the land. Rohaj however was completely opposed to Arjo’s philosophy of absolute power over the Enron-ment. Despite the fact that they were brothers, in Rohaj, we see the softer side of a ruler. He wanted a peaceful union of the lands – Linen Isles and Arjonas – a collaboration that would enable civil co-existence among all the Boros.
Rohaj, a widower who lived with his sons – Kshada and Quaalo, knew that his brother would not share his sentiments and so tried to keep Arjo in the dark about his administrative strategies. The region under Rohaj – Fort minor, was a peace-loving group and were reluctant to participate in Arjo’s grand plans of absolute domination. They even went as far as trying to dissuade Arjo’s people against it, but their efforts were in vain – it’s like they’d been trained for war, and only for war.
This difference in ideologies caused the war to break out and Arjo knew that he couldn’t trust Rohaj anymore. Rohaj was a part of the minority in his beliefs and had to quietly resign to his fate. But, this had dented Arjo’s faith in his brother and he had to make sure that Rohaj didn’t side with the enemies when the time came. To ensure this, Arjo abducted Rohaj’s children as insurance – intending to keep them until the ‘War over the Enron-ment’ was over. This was the only way he could ensure Rohaj’s support even if it was involuntary.
If Rohaj had been on the so-called ideological fence as far his loyalties were concerned, the abduction of his children pushed him over the edge – driving him to secretly side with Lintosa and the other Boros. Rohaj knew he couldn’t be too vocal about his loyalties because his life and that of his children depended on it.
This rift between Arjo and Rohaj could not have been timed better - it coincided with Philo’s arrival.
“Rohaj, what is this I hear – my dear friend Philo has set foot upon our shores… To what would we owe this honour?” asked Arjo, scoffing.
“Yes, brother, that’s what I’ve heard – there are rumours in the market place about a Boro asking for you…actually for your help.”
“My help? My, my…that’s something I never imagined I’d hear – a Boro seeking my help. Go Rohaj, and find out why he’s here because I smell a rat. Huh, this is definitely no social call.”
“Yes, Sir, I will do so right away. Is the…”
“And Rohaj, remember don’t you dare try and go behind my back – you try anything and you and your sons will meet the same fate as that of your pathetic wife!”
“Uh… ye…yes Sir” – Rohaj walked out, looking even more resolute about bringing Arjo down.
Rohaj had been a content man with a beautiful wife, Chaisya and two children. But his fortunes had taken a turn for the worst a few years back. Chaisya was very much in love with Rohaj but she was an ambitious woman. She’d wanted Rohaj’s kingdom and administrative jurisdiction to be as vast as that of his brother, as had been promised by Arjo. But Arjo’s promise didn’t hold good and Chaisya had become frustrated over the years. For her, contentment and happiness was synonymous with power and status. Her ambitious nature drove her away from her loving family and into the arms of another man – Arjo. Arjo lacked the morals to refuse Chaisya’s open invitation and thus had no qualms about getting involved with his sister-in-law.
Their affair didn’t last long but it was a destructive one. Chaisya walked away from the relationship bearing Arjo’s child. Rohaj, the loving husband, the doting father, took her back for the sake of his sons. When Arjo learnt about his unborn child he had Chaisya and her baby killed – leaving Rohaj completely destroyed and his young sons, motherless. Rohaj had forgiven his wife but could not forgive his brother.
Since then, Rohaj had existed in his brother’s shadow – quietly yet incessantly looking for a vent, a way out – to seek vengeance.
Now, he had it - his outlet for revenge – Philo.
The Messiah and The Law of Nepotista
Philo had entered Arjonas from the lower regions of Rohaj’s Fort Minor and it didn’t take Rohaj time to find his new ally.
“Welcome to Fort Minor, Philo, my friend, my ally.”
Philo was confused. He hadn’t expected such warmth and hospitality from the people of Arjonas – his guard was still up. He had prepared himself to gradually work his way into their inner circles and eventually, their secrets. Rohaj’s hospitable approach took him by surprise and served only to raise his suspicion.
“How is it that my adversary extends to me such a friendly hand – I do not understand, Rohaj…”
“I do not know why you are here, but my brother suspects that you’ve been sent here to spy on us. Let me tell you this, Philo – you being here means more to me than it does to you. My people – the people of Fort Minor are in conflict with Arjo because we believe in something he doesn’t – an alliance of peace with the Linen Isles. Arjo’s army is bigger and stronger than Lintosa’s – without me, you do not stand a chance against him. But I am loyal to the higher Boros, despite my brother. I am the only one who knows how he can be defeated but for that you will have to trust me.”
As cautious as Philo was, there was something in Rohaj’s tone that led him to believe him – there was something genuine about what he said.
"How can Rohaj, brother of Arjo, be trusted?”, asked Philo, still suspicious.
“Philo – I do not ask you to trust me but I will show you where my loyalties lie - I will accompany you back to the Linen Isles, divulge Arjo's secrets and ride out to battle with your people.”
With this, Rohaj proceeded to tell Philo everything – the entire history between his brother and him – his desire, not just for the alliance but also for revenge.
Unknowingly, effortlessly - Philo had struck upon something that would subsequently exempt him from his criminal status. He at once knew – the answers now lay with Rohaj and in the course of the next several days, the two plotted, planned and conspired.
Meanwhile, the news of Philo’s gradual infiltration into the Arjo camp had reached the Linen Isles. Lintosa had underestimated Philo’s abilities but now, the news had renewed his faith, not only in Philo but also in the hope of a victory. In the past, Arjo had taken care to ensure that the knowledge of Rohaj’s opposing faction didn’t reach Lintosa. After all, an ensuing civil war would seem like a chink in the Arjonas armour. So, this had come to Lintosa as a welcome surprise.
“Dark have been my dreams of late, Sekayens” confessed Lintosa, looking pensive, “ but not anymore – we have found our rat within their ranks – his own brother!”
“Who – Rohaj? But…but why would he agree to divulge Arjo's secrets – and betray his own people?”
“It doesn’t matter, Sekayens – as long as we benefit from it. But, if you must know – Rohaj’s betrayal stems from vendetta - a vendetta of the highest kind”, Lintosa pauses a while, almost to contemplate if she’d have done the same thing – “…personal!”
“ The world is soon going to be at war because one man holds a grudge against his brother? I mean…without Rohaj’s aid, we don’t stand a chance Lintosa – you know that.”
“Yes, I know he’s breached the Law Of Nepotista but I also believe, Rohaj wants an alliance within the Enron-ment.”
“An alliance…with Arjonas? But what about the consequence for his actions – the Protos will not be pleased, Lintosa. The Law has been breached…”, Sekayens still looked puzzled.
The Law of Nepotista, as laid down by the Protos – Doraga and Shihava, states that – all kith and kin of a Boro is inescapably, morally and loyally bound to that Boro for life. Thus, a betrayal or breach of that Law was considered the highest sin and punishable by death. A sentence that can be executed only by the Higher Boros.
“Yes, Sekayens…I know it has been breached but…an accord of peace between the Linen Isles and Arjonas is at stake. How has it come to this?! – the line between betrayal and sacrifice lies blurred. A brother of Arjo - so unbecoming of the Arjonas ideals! But the time draws near, Sekayens – the hour of war is close at hand – the end of Arjonas as we know it, is near!”
While, in Arjonas…
The news of Rohaj’s betrayal was swift to reach Arjo’s ears. Arjo was seething with rage – his own had betrayed him and now, if he didn’t act fast, their weakness would be exposed. A weakness that could prove lethal to all of Arjonas. He would have to capture Rohaj before he got away.
Rohaj in the meanwhile had gone into hiding - making arrangements to take his people and leave for the Linen Isles but he’d have to rescue his sons before that. He knew that if he left without his sons, their lives would be endangered. Thinking along similar lines, Arjo knew he’d have to use Rohaj’s sons as bait, to draw him out and that’s what he did. He sent word that if Rohaj didn’t surrender himself, the remains of his sons would be sent to him instead.
Rohaj lay in bed, playing the rescue out in his head over and over again – checking if he’d planned it to perfection. No one had successfully escaped out of Fort Agwada yet, but he would have to do it. He lay there – drifting in and out of all these meandering thoughts and imaginary situations when he heard a voice. A voice that came from nowhere yet resonated through the room – filling his head -
“Rohaj you are destined for greater things – the greater good, but your pursuit of personal vendetta has become an obstacle even though you do not realize it. Your personal motives and intentions have blind-sighted you to everything else. Therein lies your folly.” Fate had intervened and Fate, evidently had painted a different picture for Rohaj – “Your quest is one that involves great pain, greater sacrifices, but eventually, a still greater victory. A victory that needs a man to rise above the pain and anguish of personal loss – to rise to the pedestal of the Messiah to deliver the Enron-ment from all evil.”
Rohaj woke up as if nothing had happened but it was as if he’d been quietly fed with what he needed to know – a subconscious absorption of knowledge. He’d awoken in a state of perpetuated detachment - having broken all ties with the material world, with his family, his sons, and his emotions. Rohaj had turned his back on his sons - The Law Of Nepotista had been breached yet again and the ordinary life of Rohaj, the Keeper of Fort Minor had been usurped by that of – Rohaj, the Messiah. Hereafter, his existence would become a struggle, seeking Atsatava – how to find and maintain a state of perpetual, peaceful coexistence, an alliance among the Higher Order of the Boros.
Kshaada and Qaalo, the sons of Rohaj were killed the following day – their bodies were strung up in public in the hope that it would draw Rohaj out. But that was not to be.
Rohaj was nowhere to be found and Fort Minor was found to be completely deserted. The cover of night had served them well for, by the first light of the morning sun, Rohaj, his people and Philo were well on their way to the Linen Isles.
“Philo, it has finally come to pass – war is at hand.”
“So it would seem my friend…so it would seem.”
The Prophecy: His Brothers' Keeper
Lintosa was no fool – she knew how easy it could be for Arjo to overpower her army. She took comfort from the fact that Rohaj was on their side, but then again, how much of an advantage could that prove to be? Rohaj had always been the weaker, subservient brother, that was no secret…had Lintosa actually played her cards, right? Was Rohaj really the answer?
She paced up and down in her room, these thoughts ricocheting within her – oscillating between moments of hope and despair. What was to become of the oncoming ‘Arjonas Wave’? But Sekayens proved to be the harbinger of good news –
“Lintosa, Philo and Rohaj are on their way – you should be relieved.”
"War is at hand” – said Lintosa, “we have to prepare to fend off the ‘Arjonas Wave’, a task that would be unachievable if Rohaj didn’t lead the way. But my question, Sekayens is – can he?”
“ Yes, only one person can save the Enron-ment, only one person take us back, only one person redeem us all - Rohaj, The Messiah – The Messiah of Burden.”
“The Messiah of Burden?” asked Lintosa, looking perplexed.
“Yes, Lintosa – he no longer remains Rohaj, the keeper of Fort Minor. It appears there was this case of divine intervention – the man lost his wife, his sons – he has nothing to live for but us. He is Rohaj, the Detached now – our Messiah.”
As if almost on cue, in walked Philo and Rohaj.
“My Lords, I believe you have been expecting us…this is Rohaj.” – Philo announced, beaming with pride and satisfaction that his task had been satisfactorily completed.
“Philo, my friend, my brother, you are a most worthy soldier of our cause – I hold your promise fulfilled – you are forgiven. Go now, for Rohaj and I have important matters to discuss.” With this Lintosa ushered Philo out of the room and led Rohaj inside.
At this point it would be appropriate to mention that the secret of Arjo and his ever-growing army lay within Arjo himself. The Protos, Doraga and Shihava had given him the powers of self-procreation – that being the reason for the original rift between the Boros.
“Tell me Rohaj – what do we do…”
“The people of Arjonas, they all belong to one and the same lineage – they are all born of the same seed, the same creator, the same father. Their lives lie in his hand - they are mortally linked to that father, in life and in death. They are his strength, he is theirs…”
“But…but Rohaj, what does all this mean…”
“A tree, Lintosa – a tree, no matter how big its branches are, no matter how far and wide its branches may travel, if you kill the root – you kill the tree…Arjo.”
“Yes, all we have to do is destroy Arjo without shedding a drop of his blood, and the Arjonas Wave will crumble.”
Though confused at first, the expression on her face soon changed to one of hope – victory was now on the horizon. Lintosa handed Rohaj the Sword of Rapidur – a blade forged by the Protos themselves, who prophesied that it could be wielded only by the Messiah. It was the only sword that could kill Arjo and sever his bloodline once and for all.
Meanwhile, the Arjonas Wave was growing bigger and stronger – an army of tens of thousands were at Arjo’s command, ready to set sail for the Linen Isles.
Arjo knew his own life had to be preserved at any cost. The enemy would have by now known about the Arjonas secret – his life was inextricably linked to that of his people. But he was still under the impression that Rohaj’s betrayal had stemmed from his lust for revenge – avenging the death of his wife and then his sons, Kshaada and Qaalo. His fate, thus lay in Rohaj’s hands; but Arjo knew that he had an offer that Rohaj wouldn’t be able to refuse. A trick, his last hand - one he would use only at the opportune moment –
“When Rohaj sees what I have for him, he will not only spare my life, he will most certainly fight for it!”
And so, the day arrived – along with the first rays of the morning sun, the ‘Arjonas Wave’ crashed upon the shores of the Linen Isles – the War for Atsatava.
(Atsatava: to find and maintain a state of perpetual peaceful coexistence, an alliance among the Higher Order of the Boros.)
Just a few miles off the Linen shores stood Mt. Kerak, a solitary mountain that had a plateau for its top – a vast tableland, which is where the war commenced.
The army – the Boros led by Rohaj and Lintosa, her army of the Phiscans, the Kshatras with Saprote and Upeero, and the Dounders – they all rode out atop Mt Kerak to meet Arjo’s Legions and what ensued was the bloodiest and most terrifying battle that the Enron-ment had ever seen.
The Wave, driven by their sheer numerical strength had come charging up the slope while Lintosa’s men waited. Lintosa’s army stood the chance of a needle in the wake of a hurricane. But they stood their ground, resolute - looking at sheer doom in the eye. The Arjonas were ruthless, crashing down upon the hapless army with reckless abandon - gutting them in hordes. The Kshatras were known for their prowess in battle but this was annihilation – the Wave swept across Mt. Kerak not sparing a single soul. The Phiscans, Kshatras and the Dounders had prepared for battle, but the Arjonas were bred for war.
The Arjonas had plundered Lintosa’s army and with that, her hopes. There were no signs of Arjo and the end for Lintosa’s men seemed ominously close. The battlefield – reeking of Phiscan blood, strewn with Kshatran remains, drove Lintosa to desperation - “Rohaj”, screamed Lintosa amidst the din of the battlefield “ find Arjo – seek him out and destroy him.”
The Arjonas army had attacked in ‘concentricular’ formation. This means, they had formed concentric semi-circles, with the largest circle right in front and the semi-circles got progressively smaller and tighter as it went back. Arjo had positioned himself right at the back – guarded by the last ring of soldiers. Rohaj wouldn’t stand a chance if he rode out into the Wave head-on, he’d have to gain access into the inner circles from the back – climb back onto the plateau from the shore-side slope, following the path the Arjonas had taken to climb up. So Rohaj rode down the slope, around the base of the Mt. Kerak and proceeded to climb up the shore-side slope.
Lintosa would have to hold fort as long as she could but knew, that if Arjo wasn’t found soon enough, all would be lost. But Rohaj’s plan worked – he climbed up the shore-side slope with utmost stealth and caught Arjo unawares.
There were only a small group of soldiers closely guarding Arjo but they didn’t stand a chance against Rohaj and the blade of the Rapidur.
“Arjo, you have brought this upon yourself. This ends here…now”
“Rohaj, would you take the life of one of your own – I’m your brother. Come back and let us finish this together. After we’ve killed them all, the Linen Isles will be yours and you can do what you please with it. You will be king.”
Rohaj remained silent. Seeing his resolve, Arjo looked towards two of his soldiers, signaling them with a slight wave of his hand…
Arjo pointed Rohaj’s gaze towards them – the two soldiers move aside to reveal – Kshaada and Qaalo, sons of Rohaj. This was Arjo’s final hand – the earlier news of their apparent death had been a hoax - part of Arjo’s grand scheming. Their bodies were only said to have been strung up in public view - there’d been no witnesses corroborating that story.
Rohaj remained unyielding.
“Now, my dear brother, I offer you a simple exchange – my life for theirs, spare me and you get back what you thought you’d lost – their lives, your family…”
Rohaj cut him short - “Arjo, I am not your brother – Rohaj was, I am not he.”
With this, a sudden realization dawned upon Arjo – “The prophecy…”
“Arjo”, boomed Doraga’s voice from Rohaj’s lips.
“I bestow upon you this power but one that will cease if you turn upon your own, breaking the Law of Nepotista. Thereafter, he who you turned upon will return as the Messiah bearing the Sword of Rapidur, to exact revenge for his brothers. For only the path of the righteous man is always beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil. The Messiah is he who bears this burden and, in the name of sacrifice and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness. He will truly be his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. (Doraga’s voice gradually metamorphosised into Rohaj’s.) And I, with great vengeance and furious anger will strike down those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Messiah when I lay my vengeance upon you."
Arjo knew the inevitable had caught up with him – “…the prophecy” - he had failed to fathom its gravity. He was now on his knees, not begging for mercy, with an expression, not of fear, but of a sense of sudden calm washing over him as he spoke, looking up at Rohaj – “Let this fate be mine.”
Not another word was uttered and with one fell swoop the blade of Rapidur descended upon Arjo’s neck…taking his head clean off his body. Not a drop of blood was shed and in that instant the entire Arjonas Wave was crushed.
Shouts of “Rohaj, our Saviour” and “Hail to the Messiah”, resounded through the Linen Isles, a sentiment that echoed in every living heart.
Lintosa and the Boros were relieved that it was all over but there remained two pertinent questions in Lintosa‘s mind -
“Rohaj, if killing Arjo meant that all in his bloodline would die, how is it that you still breathe? And if you still breathe, why do you not rejoice in this hour of our triumph?”
“Lintosa, in answer to your second question - the killing of Arjo was not a moment of triumph. I feel no joy nor sorrow in taking the life of another – we should not rejoice this day but mourn the loss of many a life. Atsatava is achieved and I am merely an instrument, executing the inevitability of a prophecy that was meant to be. And to answer the first, my dear Lintosa - I wasn’t born from Arjo – I was neither an Arjonas, nor a Boro like you. I was sent to fulfill the prophecy that my father had made. I am Rohaj, son of Doraga.”
With this, Rohaj walked away wearing a wry smile, his deed done - the Alliance of the Higher Boros had been restored and peace prevailed in the Enron-ment once again.
His deed here was done but, there was yet another prophecy left to fulfill – the prophecy of the Choumerité.