• Scholastic Heir

    Chapter - 0

    I stand alone in a dark alleyway. There is no one, just no one except me and my misery. Everyone seems to be enjoying the passing moments, but for me every passing moment is like a deadly blow to my heart.

    My dreams, my love, my life; everything has came tumbling down a few days ago. Now I look forward to what everyone despise to the core of their hearts; now I look forward to the very thing which scares even the mightiest of our kind.

    This is my story, this is my life and this is going to be my end.

    A bright light sweeps over my body, dazzling my eyes for a moment. I turn around and look at the source. All I see is a silhouette of a man, holding a cane or a stick, I cannot tell for sure at this distance.

    "Who's there?" he booms, when I choose to keep quiet.

    "No one," I answer him dejectedly.

    "Yeah, yeah," he says, as he walks towards me, "Likely story. Don't you think I've heard this kind of..."

    He stops, mid-sentence. If someone was seeing him at this moment, they must have thought it was quite chilly here. He was shaking from head to toe, looking as if he has seen a ghost.

    "Sir," he falls to his knees.

    "Get up," I say to him, helping him get up.

    He seems too thunder struck for the moment. I think of going away, but I don't.

    "Si... sir," he seems to get his voice back, "what, what a--are you doing h--here?"

    He stutters out, his bright blue eyes, sweeping over me.

    "Just fancied a walk," I say evasively, waving my hand in air, as to make my point.

    "But... sir," the man says with more confidence, "you of all people..."

    I lift my right hand, signaling him to keep quiet. He complies without second thought, his head bowed as he retreats some steps back.

    "It's my decision and I don't think anyone except me have a right on it," I say.

    "Yes my lord," the man says, not lifting up his head to look at me. His voice sounded scared, and why shouldn't it. After all, he is standing in front of the Sholastic Heir, the ruler of this kingdom and master of the Divine Arts.

    A deadly silence engulfs us. The man doesn't move an inch, looking and behaving like a statue.

    "You shouldn't," I say to him, "tell anyone about our meeting. You never saw me and as a matter of fact, you never entered this alleyway. Am I understood?"

    "Yes my lord," the man says, without hesitancy, "Anything else, my lord?" He adds, looking up for the first time; but still he does not dare to meet my eyes.

    "No," I say to him, "you may go."

    He bows and without turning, retreats. I sigh in relief, and look up to the skies, praying for some miracle.

    I know; I can't stay here much longer now. I have full confidence that the man wouldn't speak in normal circumstances, but this time, everything is different. With me, nothing is simple, and nothing ever goes as planned.

    So, I silently look around, checking for any tail or intrusion. No one is around, as I suspected.

    I pull up the hood of my cape and walk out from the dark alleyway, walking in the bright sunshine of my kingdom.

    People are rushing around me; they all seem to be in some kind of frenzy. And this is because of me, because today is my birthday. It has been a ritual for five years, since I became their ruler. Titled the Sholastic Heir at the bare age of sixteen, I have always tried to uphold my kingdom's honour.

    And because of this, the citizens of my kingdom have always valued my life and happiness, more than they have valued theirs. The love they show me, always overwhelms me. I have always tried to pay them back for their generosity, but they haven't accepted an extra Dren from me. They say that they are fortunate to get me as their ruler, but in reality it's the other way around.

    I walk aimlessly around, hoping to just pass my time.


    I slam into someone. I shake my head to ease the pain and look at the stranger. He smiles at me and asks me, "Are you okay, mister?"

    How generous! It was partially or maybe fully my fault but still, the man is behaving as if he was to blame for our collision.

    "No, I'm fine," I reply, smiling, before I realise that smiling was futile with my hood still in its place.

    "Say fine man," the man continues, smiling, "why are you wearing that cape this fine morning? Don't you want to cherish your senses in this fine sunlight, a gift to us by God Sholastic?"

    "I can't," I answer truthfully.

    "And why so, if I may enquire young man?" he asks me, his face showing dawning comprehension.

    "I'm cursed," I lie, silkily, feeling a little bad about it.

    "Oh I see," the man says to me, his face showing genuine sympathy, "Go and see our ruler. He may free you of your curse."

    "Is it so?" I ask him, a little amazed.

    "Yes," he answers, "He is a very fine young man, gifted with unnatural powers, powers beyond our mortal imagination. I have seen him in his fury; he is a power you cannot behold..."

    I look more intently at the man's face. Because only a selected few are aware of the fact he mentioned. His face is hidden in the shadow cast by the clouds. But as they move, I see the man's face. My old General and adviser, Rivaski, who retired some months ago because he said he was bored, bored because there was no fun in this job. But I know the true reason; he retired because he was struck by a deadly curse, to which there was no cure. He had survived, by the good grace of Sholastic and ever since that day I have tried to rope him back into the council. But he always refuses my offer with a gentle shake of his head, saying that he is now too old for the job.

    "What are you thinking of fine man?" Rivaski asks me.

    "Nothing," I reply, "Just contemplating your idea."

    "No need to contemplate the idea, young man," he answers cheerfully, "absolutely no need. If you want I can fix you an appointment with him. Or better you can ask him yourself today after the party."

    "Oh,' I say, feigning surprise, "today, is his birthday!?"

    "Yes fine man, yes," he answers, looking disturbingly happy.

    "What do you plan for his birthday?" I ask him, my curiosity getting the better of me.

    "Oh," he says, an evil smile spreading over his lips, "the usual party, celebration and yada, yada, yada..."

    "Mind me sir," I say, getting a little irritated because of his evasive answer, "but I've heard that the citizens of Somar do something new every time on their Ruler's birthday. And I don't think you are going to break that tradition."

    "You are a clever man," he says, appreciatively, "Yes, we have something planned, something secret, and something we have managed to hide from our great Ruler."

    "Ah," I say, leaning forward, "And what it is, sir?"

    I can feel my curiosity is at its limit, but the man seems to be oblivious to the desperation in my voice. I want to know everything about...

    "Aren't you getting a little curious, my fine man?" Rivaski asks me suddenly, pulling me out of my thoughts.

    "Who won't be, sir?" I ask him in return and continue, "I have heard such magnificent things about this kingdom. And the tales I have heard of this day, of your Ruler's birthday celebrations are just glamorous."

    Rivaski keeps silent and so I continue, "And I have come with the hope of becoming a part of this grand event, so I can tell my friends and family and my children and my grandchildren about the generosity of Somarains."

    "Ah young man," Rivaski says, "you got me intrigued. I will tell you our little secret."

    He leans forward and says, "We are planning to take him to the Fall of Nyhara."

    "Fall of Nyhara?" I hiss, looking at him sharply.

    "Why are you amazed, young man?" Rivaski asks me, "He deserves to have a bath in it. A lake visited by God Sholastic himself; it's the place he should have visited much earlier."

    "Doesn't the passage leading to it open only once a year at a specific time in one of the full moon nights," I muse.

    "You know an awful lot about the Lake," Rivaski inquires, his eyebrow raised in suspicion.

    "I read myths too, I will let you know," I reply, curtly and he laughs at my statement.

    "True, young man, very true indeed," Rivaski says, "You are a very cunning man."

    "You can call me as you please," I say to him, "but I just like to keep myself well informed about my surrounding and facts."

    "Umm…" he hums, looking me over. When he doesn't seem to be pursuing the conversation further, I bow to him and say, "Good day, sir."

    He smiles at me, bows and before I can leave, he walks away. I sigh and look at the watch on my wrist. Four hands to eight. Just four hands to go, meaning two hours more.

    Now I have a destination in my mind, I want to visit before my departure. I look around, making sure that I'm alone. Then silently, I flip out a coin from mid air, toss it into the air and I'm gone.

    I arrive at my destination; a beautiful meadow, overlooking a lake. No one seems to have inhabited this area. But I know better. I take some steps forward and as soon as I walk into the clearing, a beautiful cottage materialises in front of my eyes. But I do not seek to look at the cottage, nor did I seek to admire the beauty of nature. I have done it so often, that I could paint the scene with my eyes closed.

    I seek to find a woman; the woman who has stolen my heart from me, Rose. The name sounds common, I know, but the woman bearing the name is not. She is one of a kind; beautiful, caring, polite, helpful and every other word you can find to elevate a person's character. If I didn't know better I would have mistaken her for a goddess; such is her beauty and intelligence.

    But I'm not allowed to visit her. Not by any law, because no law is superior to me but by the very word of the lady. Up to this point, I'm not aware of the reason, the reason for which she had left me. Every time I have come to her door, she ignored me, not even considering me worthy of an explanation.

    I, to this day, remember every fleeting moment, we have spent together. And I oh so well, remember the day, the fortunate day, I met her and the days after. They were the best days of my life.

    Let me know what you think...