The One.

Quiet.

A whisper.

Stifling quiet.

Another whisper.

Something rises in his chest. There is a numbing in his mind, a deep dark nothingness that promises to take him.

It is placid, a vacuum. Bare surroundings, even a bare body. His soul is calm and laying there, for a moment, for a fleeting part of a second he sees it, the end of his journey. The finale of his studies. 

Then suddenly, like a rock echoing off the edge of the cave, or a trickle of drop that filters from the dark doom, there is a sound. A resounding thump in the dark, a sound made of his own heart and he jolts upright with a start. The lights flicker, dulling to a mere glow. 

A frown mars his face. His cold gaze crinkles in distaste. For a moment he is content to stare at the ceiling, wallowing in his own self-pity. The dungeons are cold this time of the night. A chill coursing through the air that becomes unbearable. His silken robes shift when he stands, and with another glimpse at the papers scattered on the floor, he leaves.  

‘There is an old legend, retold among the aristocrats, under the starry gloom of night, sometimes hidden under the ancient paintings of gargoyles, with their dark beady eyes staring back at them. The legends speak of Mana, a feeling so prolific and profound that it leaves every being breathless. It is a mere feeling; it is what they describe it as, a passing of the alive soul into the very heavens.

It is also a sin so astute, that the offender is left into a loop. An eternal punishment, a ceaseless void.’ 

He can’t help but snicker at the description in the book. There is a crisp snap of leather, and he leans back on his chair.

It boggles his mind how people consider scientific progress as miracles. Perhaps they can’t understand, or their meager minds cannot encompass the possibilities his people toy with.

He wonders if there will be a tale of the dungeon hidden beneath the sturdy walls of his castle. If the machines, flickering and beeping there will make them wonder, even for a moment, what they can do. What a man can truly achieve.

But they’ve always been small men, with little minds, occupying the colossal offices. To his greatest displeasure, heading them is but a child, dressed in his silken robes. Sitting fragile and docile on the glittering throne, a throne that should’ve been his. They made the laws, none of which make sense. Not in the bigger scheme of life.

His brow furrows, a bitter taste residing in his mouth. He’ll be the one, he had decided years ago, to prove them wrong, to show them the possibilities they were denying, the possibilities science can enfold.

Once, he thinks getting up hastily, once he is successful in this ordeal, once he finds the fragile balance, once he hits the jackpot of that equation, the human world will not be the one as it was before.

The law will be abolished, and he will rise above them all.

In the dimly lit dungeon, his steps hasten to the humongous capsule. His writing is scrawny, scrawled into bits and pieces. His hands work hastily. 

There is a beating in his mind. He is nearly at the end of this journey. This much he knows.

There is only one formula, one equation to click this all together. 

The world has come far, and somehow it has gone back in its customs. Somehow along with the tidings of time, they had gone back to the shackles of the ancient empires. 

Somewhere along the line, the delicate balance, of democracy, of freedom had shattered. Now they were left with much knowledge, but basic laws prevented them from fulfilling its prospects. 

They had come far, there had been whispers that one of their ancestors had started this era. One of the royal ancestors had tempered with the delicate threads of space. 

One of them had traversed the future, only to abolish the world as they once knew it. It was the reason the king’s family was hailed as sovereign. 

It is simple math. The one thing that has always remained constant, in the rich history of this Earth is the fear of a man. Fear of the unknown, a fear of the sovereign, a fear of the almighty.

With this success, he will instill that effluence into his peers. With this research, he’ll achieve the heights of glory no man in this world had ever known.

He will take the place of the king that made this empire. 

He will be the one to rule this land. 

He will be the supreme, he will be the One

His scribbles become frantic, his eyes widen, veins bulging in his neck. 

He is close, so very close to this mystery. Like a hand grasping the thick edges of the curtains, waiting for a flick to blow them back. 

Suddenly he halts.

He stares at the page in front of him.

Is this-

Before he knows it his feet are rushing towards the master board.

Can his failure only be the result of this minute parallel?

He clicks the button.

His system lights up. Gleaming and shining.

He stares at the electricity crackling in the capsule. His orbs twinkle, his smile turning borderline maniac.

The rays slither across the floor, neon, gleaming.

His hand reaches out.

There is oblivion that surrounds him.

The machines churn. His masterpiece trembles to a start. 

Then there is quiet

A whisper, like the flutter of the wind.

Stifling quiet.

Another whisper.

Something rises in his chest. This time there is no sound.

For a while, he is divulged into nihilism. For a while, he remains like that. Still, unconscious, delved into the pitch dark. At the crease of the world. At the border of their dimension.

Then there is a rush. His heart pulsates in his chest and he gasps, stumbling forward. He drops to his knees. There is precipitation, drops of salty water that dribble down his chin, and he heaves, trying to pace himself. Trying to stay alive.

His hands clutch the dirt, and it snaps his consciousness back to his surroundings.

Dirt, mud, right beneath his skin.

His head shoots up.

There are buildings, the remains of which he had seen in his time. Those rusted decays, overgrown with mold, yellow in their essence, with cracks shaking up their very foundations.

They stand there, tall and miraculous in their glory. Shining, and gleaming in the diffused rays of the sun. 

The air is clean, cleaner than the murk they have in his time, and if he tilts his head back he can see the twinkles of the stars, stretching across the sky. 

It is a magnificent scene. The rainbow hues of the setting sun and the moon, a small curve, shimmering beyond his grasp, in the embrace of thousands of the stars, glittering in their home. 

A glorious scene, fit for his glorious beginning. 

He smiles. His eyes widen, a sickness overtaking his features. His hands finger the syringe. 

He couldn’t have brought a knife. 

He was not a murderer. It was for a glorious cause. For a better empire. 

He takes his time, walking along the cobblestone, strolling along the paths, his lips are curved into a satisfied smile. A smile that barely contained his pride.

He had done his research. He knows where the revolution had begun. He knows of the man that started this all. 

All he needs to do is to annihilate him, and the world as they once knew it will fall into his hands.

It will be his line that will take up the throne. 

The building he arrives at is pathetic. A miserable structure of red stone, barely holding onto its own seams. The insides are dusty, cobwebs residing in the walls as if it has not seen human life in many moons. 

He knows that is not the case. 

He moves into the shadows. 

In the last hall, there is a movement that catches his gaze, a small flutter of the rag, that could’ve once been a curtain, and his hands flicker to the drug in his pocket. 

His steps are quiet, measured, and his hands’ strain, flexed against the pump of the syringe. 

There is a smile on his face, a gentle curve of his lips. 

He sees a shadow before him, a little later a hunched figure appears, scribbling furiously at a paper. 

There is something about that situation, about the papers scattered about, a capsule gleaming before him that causes a sense of deja vu, but he is consumed. Consumed by his ambition, by his greed, and by his years of struggle that he doesn’t pay it much mind. 

He rushes forward, the thin needle flashes in the neon before it is embedded in the wrinkled neck of his victim. 

It is then, that he sees the eyes staring back at him in shock. 

Those eyes. He knows them. He knows them well. They’re his eyes. 

His hands quiver and he stumbles away from the crumpling man. 

How? He doesn’t know. He had calculated, he had formulated the plan to perfection. He knew everything, everything about his target. In the end, somehow, he knows nothing

He feels his body shaking. His heart dropping to his knees and a gloom beginning to overtake his mind. 

He has yearned for this feeling before in his life. He has worked hard for this, this feeling of the thousand condensed dimensions. Of the fulfillment of the laws of physics, and of the results of the great theories. But now there is only fear, dark and wholesome that grips his chest. 

He gasps, withers, but there is nothing he can do. 

The last thing he sees is a tear, anguished and doleful that crawls down that man’s face. 

“It always,” the voice, his voice, croaks, “It always ends like this.” 

His heart drops. 

Then there is quiet. 

A whisper. 

Stifling quiet. 

Another whisper. 

There is a clang and he wakes. He is old, his skin is wrinkled, sagging. 

He is in the same room, with the papers scattered around him. 

He startles, stumbling, looking about. 

There was one parallel that he didn’t think of. 

One loop that he had overlooked because of its sheer insanity. But all of this, the theories, the warping of dimension, it was all maniac, to begin with. Then why not that single loop. 

He rushes towards his notes. There is no time, but at least he knows how he is fated to die. He can still prevent-

There is a bang, he feels the wetness of his own blood. 

In the shattered shards of glass, he sees his own eyes, years younger, staring at him in shock. 

A tear, desolate and dolorous forms in his orbs. 

In that second, his mind is a whirlwind, showing his memories he had never known existed. 

There is one thing he’s sure of. 

“It always,” he croaks, his voice is old, dying, “It always ends like this.” 

It is true when they say that pride hath a fall, but it was also the greed that made Icarus fall to his demise, and it was his greed that made his world the desolate place that he despised. 

He withers and shivers, floating in the condensed dimension. 

He screams and no voice comes out, he laments but in the vacuum, there is no one to heed his cries. Just him and the eternal loop, this eternal void.


It is the third century of their new era. The world is aphotic, foul. A gloomy piece of land now seldom inhabited. In the murky hills beyond the lease of the great empire, there stands a mountain sole and tall. Some say that you can see a mansion, standing steep in those hills. So ancient and desolate that it collapses in on itself. 

And in its bleak windows, you can see two orbs, maniac, and grey, staring out helplessly into the desolate shadows below.


The End.

Fly

“It’s simple,”

Zelzrynth cocks his head, a gentle curve of his long neck. He chest rumbles, flames blazing beneath his ribs. His scales glitter, shimmering in the fire that burned beneath.

Vahaelon, his master, his companion, laughs at his agitation, a guffaw that seems to echo. His grey orbs twinkle. There is a merry innocence, a spark of such contrast with his burly body.

He points upto the sky, upto the grey depth; to the bleak and dreary hollowness, promising punishment for those that rise against it.

“We’ll fly.”

It’s not that simple, he knows this, to fly against this delicate balance. It will be a plight of resistance, of retribution, trying to break their years of suffering. It can never be simple, such tasks. Call it history, or call it the price of success, but these tasks, they never end pretty.

Still, he sees the cock of his master’s head, the easy smile that overtakes his features. He knows that Vahaelon is aware, and he doesn’t know whether his perpetual quietude is a sign of courage or insanity.

The moment his wings flap against the winds, with the weight of Vahaelon against his back and the cold waft tumbling through his scales, he concludes that it must be courage.


In the end, he is nothing but a creature, an animal bound to the fate of his master. They were awarded with grace, his race, they were awarded with wisdom, and a strength to crumble the soil beneath their claws.

It doesn’t matter, he realises, as another gurgle draws his breath away. They were awarded with strength and wisdom, yet there is not a single bone in his limp body that will move to his command. Perhaps that is why they say that they were rewarded. The heavens knew when to take back their blessings.

There is a finger that inches into his periphery, hair that trickle the soft flesh of his chest. It is twisted, the hand, broken, shattered, and yet it stands, pointing towards the sky.

“It’s okay Zelzrynth.”

There is a rumble in his chest. He is listening, quiet, bated.

They were given wisdom, his race, they were given foresight. That is why he knows, he knows when a man is speaking his last.

He wants to quieten him, if only it means he can inhale another breath. If only, on his enormous body, he can feel the heat, the life in his master’s body for another moment.

If it had been a novel, a legend of olden times, they would’ve had that moment. Perhaps they would’ve even lived. But reality shatters that delicate expectation. Life is callous, cruel at every instance, and while leaving a man’s body, it doesn’t wait for his tirades.

He waits for another word, another sound. It is a long bit filed with roars and cries, yells and blazes, filled with the agony that came with the war, but in his little bubble, there is just him and a body, on his chest, turning cold and slack.
If he closes his eyes, he can pretend, just for a moment, that he sees the grey, the twinkle of those orbs and that he hears a loud guffaw.

He shivers and grunts, and in the end raises his wing, pointing his sharp claws towards the sky.

It is grey again, dark and admonishing.

He closes his eyes. If he concentrates hard enough, he can hear it, the baritone of his master, he can see the small smile accompanying his every word.

“It’s simple, We’ll fly.”

It’s not that simple, he murmurs. They rose and they were beaten. The roared but they were silenced.
They tried to fly against the sinful heavens, but they were thrown listlessly to the hard ground.

It was not simple, he had always known. But there was no tale that followed the insignificant and no hero has ever risen without any sacrifice.

It wasn’t either, folly or might. In end, he realises, bravery was always tinted with a tinge of insanity.


The End.

A/N: If it’s not obvious, the story is about a Dragon and his master.

The Snakes Fly.

Prologue.

In hindsight, all phenomenal moments in our life start with something insignificant. Something, that looking back on we don’t immediately recognise as the cause of the disruption. It’s fleeting; a passing word, a shallow smile, a small delay and somehow they end up setting in motion changes that shape someone as a person, the changes that become the focal of one’s latter life.

Her story begins with a piece of ribbon.
‘They had been warned,’ she thought, her frail body failing at the last moment. She tumbled to the ground, the mud cloaking her torn dress, and her bruises aching with their freshness. She holds back a choke, and rubbing a pale, cold hand over her drenched hair stumbles to her feet. Behind her the forest is quiet. It is stifling and ominous. It raises the hair on her back, and makes her heart platter in a frenzy.
A twig snaps somewhere. The rain had stopped to a light drizzle, so she hears it clearly. She gathers her skirts and rushes forward; heaving and battered but still desperate enough to continue.
She stumbles to an end. From the bleary vision she makes out the well, and it is a moment of insanity, perhaps the desperation had clouded her judgment and she cuts her hand on the stub of a rock.
The blood pools in her palm and she looks behind. It is a look that seems admonishing for a moment, a look that wanted the predetor to realise the significance of her latter action, and then despite the heaviness of her heart and the hesitation of her mind, she squeezes her blood into the well. It vanishes in front of her gaze. She closes her eyes, and with a quivering lip she shouts the words, “I will,” her voice cracks. There is a fuzz in her brain, she can suddenly not fathom anything. There is another crack behind, closer. She squeezes her palm and screams with all her might, “I will die when the snakes fly!”
There is a crackle of lightning, as if the heavens themselves have cemented the oath. As if her pact has been written in cold blood. A spark illuminates the dark crevices of the night, and there are two orbs that fill her hysterical vision.
The last thing she remembers is a blade sinking in her stomach, the warmth pooling her insides, and a wetness that blurs her eyes, but most importantly a red hot flash of pain that takes her with it.

They say that all fictional stories begin with something grand, or at least they lead to something phenomenal. This story however begins with muddy boots, drenched dresses, and words spoken too loud in moments of hysteresis.


To be continued…

A/N: It’ll be a 8 part story.

Aristotelian Tragic Heroes.

They say that there are two tragedies in life. One is when you lose your heart’s desire and one is when you gain it. But unless it ends six feet under the ground (with death) it is not really considered a tragedy.

If it were to be the case then we all are living lives fated to end in a tragedy of their own; the biggest one being the ability to gain one’s desire only for it to be your last pitfall. What you struggled with and fought for every breathing moment of your life razes your own breaths until you’re left with nothing but a life that ended too soon and the promise of the unknown eating up your soul.

People prefer comedies to tragedies but what people remember the most is the bittersweet taste left after a heartbreaking tale.
Not everyone remembers the drama but what people most remember is the connection sprinkled on some pages or in the gazes of those characters.

It is perhaps why, no matter how much the tragic heroes were hated, they were also loved. In the end what connects all the people is the the inevitable promise of death.
Perhaps that is why the earliest heroes were left stranded, stranded and with the certainty of a tragic fate. Because the hope that is inherent in the soul of a man always draws the same conclusion, “It’s not a tragedy if you’re still alive.”

It is why, eventually the Aristotelian hero dies a tragic death having fallen from great heights and having made an irreversible mistake.
Even more painful is a character that makes no mistake but still ends with a demise that shatters the heart. It is painful to watch because it connects the most with the reality of every day life.
In this world there is a life taken for every birth. Everything that begins with a tragedy ends with one too. That is why as this kaleidoscope of memories, (some dark some bright, some grey and dull, but most importantly fleeting) begun with the greatest tragedy ( a death) it is also fated to end with the same dark beauty of its beginning.

The same dark end.

The same demise.

The same death.

And the same face buried six feet underground.

Cold.

There is no greater love than that of a mother, and there is no greater sorrow than that of a mother burying her own child.

She looks around in wonder, at the crowd gathering around her. She ponders for a moment, why all of them were there. But to be honest, she forgets. She is old now. Her mind has become frail, weakened. Sometimes, she wonders if she even is alive. Sometimes, like a Curse she is forgetting the names of the very people she has loved and cared for all her life.

There is something that is beating at her head, a rip that tears her heart but she forgets. She’s too old now, too weak to remember. 

But then there they are, wrapping around her, their gushing tears send pangs to her heart and suddenly she’s looking down in front of her. 

There he is, her son, her darling, all of her life, her soul, laying there slack and cold. 

A scream ruptures through her pierced heart. A thousand slashes mark her chest. 

The embrace of love that had once warmed her soul, burned away at the delicate fragments of her broken heart. 

Death.

Death, they say, is of a person. It’s a spark that had once burned that goes out. A star that had once shined burned to its demise.

They’re right. Too right perhaps.
But there is another death that follows a person’s demise. The wilting of a flower, the rusting of a fragment, a chapter that had closed in everyone’s heart. The death leaves the ruins of a part of the heart, of everyone that once held that person dear. The novel that had once featured a loved one; a lover, a sibling, a child, a parent, a friend, was now being written in a new light.

The character that had once been the part had vanquished, leaving only the memories engraved in the red ink.