This is a work of fiction. All characters and incidents are fictional.
Chapter three of the novel
The Great Goddess
Please read from chapter one.
The queen took her fingers from the necklaces and looked around. There was no one in her chamber.
She heard it again, this time a bit louder. It was a woman’s voice. Avinya hasn’t heard such a melodious voice before. She looked around again and then looked up.
The dragon was floating, close to the roof. This time it was in a golden brown colour and unlike all previous occasions, it was opaque and solid.
“Was that you?” she asked with confusion and excitement.
She heard the same melodious voice again. She stood up and walked a few steps closer. As usual it came down and coiled around her, partially floating, at the same time exerting some of its weight on her. It rested its head on her left shoulder and continued speaking.
“Avinya, this is the last time I meet you in this form, and I have got something very important to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“My dear, there’s a conspiracy happening against you?”
“Against me! but who would dare to conspire against me, the queen and the protector of the codes. Everybody in this kingship except the king is below me in the class and sub class hierarchy. Conspiring against me is a severe violation of the code, anyone doing so will also know it. Even if they could escape the authorities, they fear being punished by the lord of war and the lady of wheat. No one would want to die in the hands of their enemies or out of starvation. No, no one would do that”
“Dear! dear! calm down. Anyone would fear the wrath of the lord and the lady,but what if it is someone from your own class?”
“A royal? But who?”
“Srila! you mean my sister?”
Knowing that Avinya needs space to express her emotions ,the dragon uncoiled itself. As soon as the dragon unwrapped, her legs trembled and she dropped herself on the floor. Tears flowed out of her eyes.
“No one would have loved her the way I did. WHY?”
“Because she wants to be the queen. It was her desire from childhood. And now you took it away from her.”
“What can I do? I can’t stop giving birth to my son and as a princess I too have a responsibility to the state.”
“No dear, except you no other queen till now have considered being the queen as a responsibility. For them it was a luxury, a way to show their dominance over others, especially other ladies.”
“What should I do now?”
“Srila will not let her dream slip away easily. Your son is her main enemy. She’ll do all that is needed to get rid of him. All that you have to do is protect yourself and your son from her.”
The dragon floated up towards the roof and before disappearing spoke again.
“I shall return to you very soon.”
After partially disappearing, it spoke again.
“In my true form.”
While floating, Sandhya named the river, Avanthi. It flowed a few yards to the west of the Nihariyan border. To the west of the river is Tanoshiya forest, which is populated by the tanos. Tano means intelligent beasts like centaurs, sphinx, and other similar beasts, in the Varkariya language. It is the common language of all the kingdoms since the empire. Shiya means forest, so Tanoshiya means forest of the tanos.
During the middle of the second age, there had been many clashes between humans and the tanos. Later humans and the tanos split the land, the tanos took the western forest while the humans took the eastern plains, which is named Tihapanum. Tihar means east, tiha means eastern. Panum means plain, so Tihapanum means eastern plain.
They also left a small neutral strip of land between the two. The river Avanthi flows through this neutral strip. As Sandhya reached the village, see saw two men working in their field along the border. Sandhya turned ninety degrees from the river’s direction and swam towards them. As she reached the bank, she flew to the top of a wooden pole of the fence. The men were so consumed in their work, they failed to notice her. She flapped her wings. They looked in the direction of the noise.
Since birth they haven’t seen a single creature coming from the forest, none of their ancestors have seen anything come from that direction. When the border was drawn all the tanos moved to the centre of the forest, all the other animals followed them to the centre.
Sandhya jumped down and morphed into her own form. This time she was in a floor length white silk skirt and a waist length white silk blouse with short sleeves.
Avinya was still seated on the floor deep in thought when her personal maid arrived. At first she was sad, she had sacrificed many great things of her life to her sister. With time her sadness turned into anger. The maid had never seen Avinya so depressed before. The maid came near Avinya and asked.
“Your majesty, what’s wrong?”
Avinya turned her head upwards to look at her maid. Tears still flowing from her eyes. At once Avinya turned down and removed the maid’s left anklet.
“Your majesty, what are you doing?” the maid asked shocked. Unless they need something, a royal wouldn’t even speak to a servant and no royal would ever touch a labour. After all, labours are the lowest of all the classes. Here the queen, highest of the royals is touching the foot of her maid. She at once sat down and tried to prevent Avinya from what she was doing. But, Avinya was quick, she had already removed the anklet.
“You have served me loyally and without any expectation since you were twelve. Let me have this anklet as a remainder that I should honour all those who deserve it, and care and protect the innocent, no matter which class they are. This is a promise and I sign it with your anklet” Telling this, she wore the anklet around her upper right arm.
Then she spoke to herself “All these years I have given all my love and support to someone who don’t deserve it. I have spent the greater part of my life doing her chores.I rejected all the marriage proposals that came to me before she got married. If she had told me that she’s so serious about being the queen, I would have stayed single. Even then someone else would have taken my place. No, Srila is taking the wrong path, as a sister it’s my duty to save her from the hands of evil. I must speak to her regarding this.”
While Avinya wore the anklet, Srila heard someone knock on her room window. It was a black hawk. She ran to the window and opened it at once, the bird flew inside and walked around the large table next to the window and spoke.
“Meet the administrator of this city, he will introduce the others who’ll help you to bring your husband to power.”
She heard someone open the door. She looked in the direction of the door.
The prince suddenly entered her room. She was shocked, slowly she turned back. The bird had already flown out. She sighed, and replied with a smile.
“Yes, your highness”
“I met the queen’s maid in the corridor. The queen wants to meet you, she’s waiting for you in her chamber.” Her husband replied.
TO BE CONTINUED.