Long long ago deep into the time when magic was not merely a circus trick and humans were not the only vicious creatures in the world, there existed a civilisation, mithyā, which is now struck down as unreal if ever told to any soul. This tale and the tales to be followed of this name, are songs passed on from generations and generations for eons only for you to witness the glory which is now just a fantasy.
#TALE1 – Love, Treasure and the Vetala
It was a cold night in the forest and Daksh started putting up fire with the wood he collected. He was wearing a huge battle armour and had a sword on his back which was as big as him. The light spread by the fire touched his face to reveal a scarred and fierce yet handsome face of Daksh. He had dead rabbits tied on his waist. He pulled one rabbit and started frying it in the fire. He sat down, took out a bottle and started drinking the Surāh. The surāh entered his throat as his eyes rolled backwards. It was kicking in. He didn’t stop with one rabbit and one bottle as his journey was all painful and adventurous. It’s time to rest, he thought. He took a piece of cloth from the baggage, it had charcoal markings and looked like a directional map to someplace. He took out a piece of charcoal and marked the place he’s resting. He grinned as he saw he was closer to the destination. He slipped into sleep gazing the constellations. Even in his sleep he held his sword, like it was his mistress. He slipped deep into the dreamland where he was looking at a watch tower; A woman and a man were standing on the edge of it. “Hey!” he shouted but the sound didn’t reach that high. They walked closer to the edge as if they were about to jump. Daksh barged inside and started running to the top of tower. He reached the top to see no one on the edge. He walked up on the plank which was placed on the edge and he looked down, it was scary. He turned around to find the man and woman standing right in front of him. He was scared and jumped a bit. The man lifted the lamp he was holding to reveal his face. “Aditya?” Daksh asked all puzzled while the man grinned and both of them pushed Daksh from the top of the tower. He started shouting and he could literally feel his body being pulled by the gravity. He almost hit the ground as he heard someone whisper and he opened his eyes, unsheathed his sword and jumped as if there was someone in front of him. “I shouldn’t have drunk so much!” he moaned sheathing his sword back. He put out the fire packed his baggage and then he heard the whisper again. He started looking around. The whispers continued and whenever the whisper is heard, he felt like cool breeze was passing through his face. He held his sword and started following the sound of whispers. It was a full moon and the night was lit in the moon’s silver blaze. Soon the trees stopped, it was a rocky land and it appeared to be ancient graveyard. The whispers grew sharper as he walked deep into the graveyard. Right where the graveyard end, there was a huge dry tree with so many branches. A dark fog covered the tree and the shadow pounced onto Daksh. He tried to move but it felt like something was holding his limbs; he couldn’t move! He looked down and in the shadows it appeared as if a monster had caught him. It held him so tight that his grip had loosened and the mighty sword fell on the ground. Scared Daksh looked up on the tree to find a creature hanging upside down on the highest branch of the tree and it is looking at him straight. His eyes were wide open and all the high that the surāh gave him was gone in a second. His jaw trembled as the creature opened its wings. It has bat-like wings, fangs like a wolf and claws like an eagle. Its bloodshot eyes were nothing as scary as Daksh ever saw.
But he started laughing in madness. The creature opened its jaws and asked “What’s so funny?, Mortal?”. “I set out in search of you and when I finally saw you, I felt scared. You are nothing like those artists depict you! You are a hundred times scarier!” Daksh shouted looking at the creature dead in the eye. The creature narrowed its eyes. “Why on earth would someone in right mind come finding me?” it asked. “The treasure, I’ve come to possess the treasure” Daksh yelled and laughed maniacally. The creature gestured its fingers tight close and the shadow started crushing Daksh as he shouted in pain. “And why would I guide you to the treasure, rather than using your body as a vessel? Or maybe I’ll just eat you!” the creature laughed and ripped Daksh’s armour. It jumped with joy and approached Daksh’s chest to bite his heart out. Only when he inched closer to his chest did he find burn marks on Daksh. The creature jumped back with disgust.” Tainted meat!” it yelled in pure disgust as Daksh laughed. It loosened the grip and Daksh jumped on to his sword swung it towards the creature as it jumped back on to the tree. “You can neither eat me, nor can you use my body as a vessel. I didn’t come unprepared. I’ve gained all the knowledge I can about you Vetalas and I have given myself this burn to remain immune of your interests” Daksh laughed as he sheathed his sword and looked at the creature. “Well, well! But I can still kill you!” Vetala grinned. “Yes, that you can. But what then ? You’ll wait untill another human passes this place accidentally? How many years will it take to happen? Tell me, when was the last time you saw a human pass this place? Decades? Centuries?” Daksh started gaining confidence as the Vetala was being pushed by his words. ” What do you suggest then? “the Vetala asked. Daksh, proud to see his plan working walked closer to the tree and said” Guide me to the treasure and I’ll bring you a fresh human corpse with no wounds, no scars and no burns. You can do whatever you want with it”. The Vetala swung closer to Daksh’s face and opened its jaws, groaned for a moment. Daksh smiled and said “I know you are having trust issues but you can trust me! I’m a knight and knights stand on their…” Vetala interrupted his speech by piercing its canine into Daksh’s neck as he bled out and yelled. Daksh fell down in unbearable pain. “What the fuck was that?” he yelled. “Trust, my ass! Its a curse mark! If you happened to cross your words, my toxic saliva I hid in that mark will slowly enter your blood stream and you’ll be dead within an hour. Bring me back a fresh corpse as promised and I’ll suck my venom back” Vetala whispered as Daksh looked helpless. Daksh stood up as Vetala leapt on to his back holding him from behind. “Just like those old stories say about your kind” Daksh started walking with Vetala on his back. “Go straight up to I tell you not to” Vetala whispered in his ears. Daksh kept walking for miles as Vetala kept on singing old songs about love. Daksh couldn’t bear any longer and “Can’t you just shut up?” he shouted. “Why? Why? Not a fan of romance?” Vetala asked. “Not a fan of old spirits singing in crappy tunes” Daksh moaned. “Hmm.. Okay then! How about..” Vetala was trying to say something as Daksh interrupted “Tell me a story? Ask me riddles? I’ve heard about your kind! You gather all the information about me, you manipulate me. Make a fool about me! That’s what you want right? Laugh at me while you manipulate me?”. “My, My! You’re quiet informed! Unfortunate for you I’m pretty much straightforward, I don’t speak in riddles and puzzles. I find it difficult to speak in riddles” Vetala smiled. “Oh! Why don’t you try one?” Daksh asked as Vetala lost in thoughts. There was awkward silence for a few miles which was broken by Daksh’s laughter. “What’s the matter with you?” Vetala asked. “Nothing, I just manipulated a Vetala to keep quiet for an hour”he laughed as the Vetala groaned.” How dare you? Mortal! ” Vetala yelled.” You still didn’t figure out any riddles did you? ” Daksh asked and Vetala growled.” Stop! ” Vetala shouted as Daksh reached end of the forest. “Turn right and again continue till I say” it whispered. Moments passed. “What’s that thing which is created by human and is dominating the human?” Vetala asked. “You call that a riddle.. That’s dumb and obvious!” Daksh whinged. “Oh yeah? What is it then?” Vetala asked curiosly. “Coin ! Created by human amd now it owns our asses!” Daksh smiled. “Hmm.. Let’s leave riddles for the useless!” Vetala yelled. Daksh stopped when he saw a huge cave. “Is this it?” he asked. “Not yet! Light your stick, there’s a long way ahead!” Vetala whispered. Daksh sat down on a rock. “I need a break!” he moaned and drank some surāh. “Here!” Daksh tossed a dead rabbit to the Vetala. It opened its jaws and swallowed the entire rabbit. “WHYDYOUHOOMANSHATEREALITYSOMUCH?” Vetala asked while munching on the rabbit. “What language is that?” Daksh was already by the talkative ghost. “Why do you humans hate reality so much?” It asked as Daksh smiled. “What makes you think I hate reality?” He asked as Vetala pointed his sharp nailed finger towards surāh. “It’s boosts my guts” Daksh said while cleaning his teeth with his finger. He bent signing the Vetala to hop on. The Vetala jumped as if it’s jumping into a pool and grabbed Daksh’s shoulders with its foot. ” Let’s gooooo inside” it yelled the dark deep cave echoed. Daksh entered the cave holding the torch in his hands and Vetala on his back.
To be continued….