I had been forgotten. Erased from its memory, no longer did I feel the familiar warmth when I took it in. And still, I breathed and I hoped, expectant and patient. And nothing. It brushed past me like a stranger in a crowd. I was surrounded by it and yet I was alone. I was breathing it all in and yet I couldn’t breathe. It was warm and gentle and yet when it touched me never had it been so cold. whatever remained of it inside me, I was holding it down forcefully. It wrestled with me. It didn’t recognize me anymore. It didn’t, want to be with me, anymore. It wanted to be let go and become one with others. I was one of them no more. It was taking a toll on my body to merely survive. And what right do you have to be, when all of them are not, Nava? I thought I heard it whisper in my ears. It seemed terribly disappointed and why would it not be, I had broken the sacred oath. I had misused the powers it had vested in me. I had thought my actions to be right. They were not.
“Its no use struggling great keeper Nava. The holy goddess Nisarga has spoken. I implore you to surrender.” A voice said.
I looked up. My vision was blurred, because of the injuries or exhaustion I couldn’t say. How long have I been fighting? Hours? Days? Weeks? You killed innocent people Nava, there was no honor in it. It was a slaughter. The essence whispered again. You had no right! It was angry. It never got angry. Suddenly the screams echoed in my ears, the dying filled my vision, the metallic smell of the blood nauseated me and I could taste the bile that threatened to rise from my stomach. How could I have done those things, how could I have committed so many crimes in the name of the holy goddess. The weight of it all my fragile knees could take no more. I stumbled. I held onto the sword dripping red with blood, to keep myself from falling.
“Master Nava you are trying our patience. For all the noble things you once did, for the great keeper that you once were, goddess Nisarga grants you mercy however you must not dare take it as a weakness. Lay down your weapons!” The same voice spoke again. It sounded familiar. I could hear the pain in her voice. I wanted to ask her who she was but I could barely breathe.
“Priestess Kaya! You mustn’t!” Another voice said. I thought I heard footsteps. Someone knelt beside me. I looked up. She was beautiful. Her black hair curled up on her face. Her golden eyes sparkled like the lost diamond. They reminded me of someone. There was pity in those eyes. No. It wasn’t pity. It was…
“Father, please. I beg you. Let go.” Priestess Kaya requested, tearing up.
My vision cleared. Father?
“If you truly love someone, eventually you have to let them go. If you hold on too tight you risk losing them forever. Remember, father?” She asked. “Please, let go.”
The sound of her voice soothed my escaping soul. Her touch reminded me of the warmth i had been longing for so long. What had I become if I couldn’t even recognize my own daughter. How could someone as extraordinary as her be a part of something as vile as me. Yes. I thought, perhaps its time. I let go of the sword and I lowered my defenses.
Kaya caught the sword before it could fall. “Goddess Nisarga have mercy on your soul, Father! Rest.”
I could faintly hear her. Others were on their knees, their heads bowed. The earthly essence was finally free. It left my husk of a vessel in a form of blinding light My eyelids drooped. My heart slowed down. Tiny wisps of sparkling colors, my soul, leaked out. My bones began to crumble down and my skin burned away. Kaya was still there. That was the only solace I could find at the time. I had been and will be forgotten and I accepted it. I only hoped as I turned to ashes, that in the afterlife, perhaps I will be forgiven.
© Ankur Gedam