This is a work of fiction. All characters and incidents are fictional.
Chapter two of the novel
The Great Goddess
Please read from chapter one.
The Kingdom of Nihariya has just recovered from the troubles caused by the crocodile. Sandhya closed her eyes and reviewed the history of the land below. During the first age all the lands below the cliff were uninhabited. The cyclic systems of nature struggled to find balance in the first half of this age. During the latter half of this age, things started to fall in order, they were inspired and commanded by the sound and movement of her breathing. And found order in her tied hair. When everything settled in place, the serpent emerged and marked the end of that age. As a result, that age is also known as the age of the serpent.
Humans arrived at the beginning of the second age. Their place of origin and the way they came here is still unknown. They settled at various places and formed various tribes. At the end of this age, most of the tribes were living in organised villages. At the very end of the second age a few of these villages had grown to become cities ruled by tyrants.
When the beasts arrived, one of those cities, Varkariya, invaded all the others. The empire of Varkariya was born. After the death of its first emperor, his sons and a few other claimants of the throne fought a bloody civil war among themselves thus breaking the empire into many kingdoms. The lands around the city of Nihariya became the Kingdom of Nihariya while the lands around the city of Varkariya became the Kingdom of Varkariya. With the appearance of the second one and the third one, these kingdoms entered a period of structured government and rule by popular kings. And when the beasts returned to the cave, the second age came to an end. This age is called the age of the three beasts.
The arrival of the crocodile marks the beginning of the third age. With its arrival corruption and poverty entered these kingdoms. Frequent wars occurred among the kingdom. This continued until she called the crocodile back. With it ends the third age or the age of the crocodile. Even though the animals have returned to her, their presence is still felt.
While she viewed the past, seven virgin girls from the seven classes of the Nihariyan community felt her presence. Her arrival. At first they felt extreme bliss which they couldn’t explain, they expressed their joy by dancing and after some time they experienced intense peace which made them to sit calmly and dissolve into themselves. All this happened when no one else was around.
The seven classes were formed at the beginning of the third age. During this period each kingdom adapted its own strategy to maintain order. Unlike the other kingdoms which were formed by the sons or other blood relatives of the emperor. Nihariya was formed by the emperor’s five most trusted ministers. They made all five of them kings. Even today Nihariya is ruled by five kings simultaneously. They behave as a single person, to give orders all five must agree. To maintain their rule, the five of them together with a few other aristocrats designed the code of the three gems.
The code has three rules named after three gems.
The code of Ruby: Obedience to the superior class, that is, each class should respect and obey the members of the class above them. There are only seven classes but the kings claimed that they received the codes from the lord of war and lady of wheat, so the higher lords and ladies formed the first class. Higher lords and ladies are supernatural entities that appeared from The Great Goddess.
The classes are,
Higher lords and ladies
Royal, this includes the families of the five kings.
Aristocrat and bureaucrat, this includes central and provincial ministers, provincial governors, village and city administrators and bureaucrats at all levels.
Military, Warriors and soldiers.
Merchants, traders, large land and ship owners who use labours.
Peasants, small land owners who work on their own fields.
Labours and Servants.
The code of Emerald: Attachment to the country. A law that prevents people from traveling beyond the borders of the kingdom. Even travel between provinces is discouraged.
The code of Saphire: Attachment to the class, one should only marry within the class and should not try to move up or down the class hierarchy.
Those seven girls were not the first to feel the presence of the first one. The first person to feel the presence of the Great Goddess is the youngest queen of Nihariya, Queen Avinya. Her husband was coronation just two months ago. In Nihariya the throne passes from father to the eldest son, but he can become king only if he is married and his wife gave birth to a son. The king’s sons can get married only after reaching their twenty first birthday. The kingship passes to the prince who has a son first. He is coronated one month after the child’s birth.
Avinya married the king’s second son fifteen months ago. The elder prince’s wife gave birth to two daughters but Avinya gave birth to a son, therefore her husband was coronated king and she became Queen Avinya.
Sandhya got up and jumped off the cliff, halfway down she morphed into a swan and flew down and landed elegantly on the pool at the bottom of the cliff, formed by the falling river. Then she let herself float down with the river, while floating she thought about Avinya.
Avinya, it is not the name given to her at birth. Kings and Queens has the right to choose their name during coronation. Many preferred their old name but some chose a new name. So did she.
She has been personally using that name since she was three years. She doesn’t know what it means, she doesn’t even known how she learned it. But that doesn’t matter, she loves the way it sounds and has been using it to refer to herself ever since.
Sandhya presented herself to Avinya in the form of a dragon. She chose that form because the dragon is a symbol of feminity. Not only the dragon, anything curved and which flows is a symbol of feminity. Rivers, fire, curved vases, robes, chains, creepers, snakes are all symbols of feminity. Things that are straight and still are symbols of masculinity. Mountains, towers, straight trees, poles, wells are all symbols of masculinity.
The dragon was immaterial, just floating light and colours. The colours and shape changed with time. It never made any noise, all the emotions and messages were conveyed by the changing shape and colours. Avinya managed to understand most of the messages except a very few complicated ones which she hasn’t deciphered yet.
As she grew older and taller, the dragon started to coil around her body instead of floating in the air. After coiling it kept its head on one of her shoulders.
Being a princess, the codes and all other laws derived from it were taught to her from childhood. The idea that the royals are superior to the other classes is reinforced in her.
From her side, she too believed in the importance of the codes for the sustenance and stability of the kingdom. On the other side she believed that there is someone greater than the lords and ladies of nature.
Sandhya returned from her thought to the present, as she reached a village. At the same time Avinya was also thinking about her last few days. The dragon is becoming more material over the last few days. First she heard the sound of air displacement as the dragon moved, then later when it wrapped around her. she heard the sound of friction as the dragon rubbed over the silk of her saree. Finally, for the first time in her life, yesterday she felt the pressure exerted by the creature, specially on her shoulders. She moved the fingers of her right hand over her breasts and her necklaces. Like all the other queens, she too was wearing the three necklaces. The shortest one was a chocker and contains a large ruby in the centre. The next one was a bit longer and passed along her cleavage and has an emerald. The third one was long enough to reach the bottom of her breasts and has a sapphire. She is wearing them because along with the other queens, she is one of the protectors of the codes.
TO BE CONTINUED.