This is a blog novel post. Please read M1, M2 and M3 before proceeding in order to maintain continuity
Present day. Year 298 of the third age
Garima woke Suketu up early morning that day. She bathed him up, dressed him in a make shift combat uniform, put a nice woolen cap on his head and instructed him to perform his daily routine of Surya Namaskar and other asanas. The sun was shining brightly on this beautiful summer morning. Sitting on the edge of the culvert built along the rear mountain road, she could see the city of Kansar spread over. It was completely devastated 6 months ago. However it was being rebuilt. Half built temple tops were being raised. The royal court was being reconstructed and horizontally expanded. Few of the western farmlands were being razed, possibly to create a large stable for, what one could guess, at least 1000 horses and horsemen to stay. The levee on Sattvi river was still untouched. But she had heard stories that a port was conceived. The construction could begin any time. The king is doing a good job, she thought. But a crook he is and I shall never forgive him for what he did to Kansar. The war had lasted 15 days. It was more of a guerilla war, until Bramhakush entered the fray on the 13th. Within two days, every thing was over. Garima remembered the meeting with, who she called The Beast on that fateful night. Had it not been for the sacrifice of 7 of her men, she wouldn’t be alive. She had to retreat into a self imposed exile. Not for her own safety, but for the prince…
“Maasi… I’m done!” Garima was lost in her thought when suddenly her slumber was broken by a tap on her shoulder and a sweet voice. Suketu with a beaming smile was standing besides her. Of all the things she had endured, Suketu was the only good thing that kept her going.
“Oh wow! My good boy. Common now, lets go and play some fun games. Hari bhai must be waiting for us.” She said turning towards Suketu.
Garima, along with Haridra Kant, were the one loyal to Raja Namandev. Because of her looks, Garima was able to camouflage herself as a man or as a woman within no time. She was the leader of the Chhaya doot squad, an elite group of commandos of Kansar who kept a watchful eye on all things happening in and around Kansar. They were true to the name, like a shadow. No one noticed, and yet they were always there. Haridra, also fondly known as Hari bhai, was one of her finest men.
Nearly a year ago, one of the chhayadoots had spotted Sardar Trikoot, lieutenant general of Pindhar along with few of his soldiers crossing the river Sattvi from the eastern banks. As most of the habitable and navigation capable bank of the river was under Kansar’s rule, anyone who wanted to cross or pass by had to take permissions from the office of border control. Kansar had such offices on both eastern and western banks. Any one entering either of the banks, who had to travel across were handed a memo with the border office seal. They had to surrender the memo at the other office. Heavily armed ships or army contingents were disallowed to pass, unless under a diplomatic treaty. On that day, the eastern border control office received a request from Sardar Trikoot along with his soldiers to cross over to the other side, a region that belonged to Bramhakush. Reason, they mentioned was a visit to the ashram of some sage in the jungles of Kumud Vihar. As was the custom, the border control office notified the police about the crossing lieutenant general, and the chhayadoot mole at the office informed Garima.
Although it wasn’t unusual for the Pindharis to cross over, and there were some stray incidents of unlawful activities too. But this visit of Trikoot raised a doubt in Garima’s mind. Why would the lieutenant general visit an ashram in the jungle? And even if it was a personal visit, why then he should take the entourage of his personal guards? She put Hari bhai on his trail and immediately thought of sounding off her king. Raja Namandev, however, dismissed the threat thinking it could be a genuine visit. His relationship with Maharaja Shivchandra was cordial and friendly. He was one the invited chief guests for the Kansar mahotsav. Although Namandev allowed the surveillance, he didn’t Trikoot’s visit as suspicious. A mistake he was going to regret in the next few months.
to be continued…