Monday, July 22, 2013

Annals of the Kingdom

The rest of the history is straightforward. Things takes place the way I had expected it would. Probably Teton’s writing scrolls will explain things better than my memory. He has faithfully followed the order to write down all the events that happened along the way, including the days and dates.

Consulting his scrolls, I find that we spend two months in the village till every single bride announces that she is pregnant. Now, the settlers do not mind allowing us to leave. They keep saying that we can always settle down with them. That’s not an option.

We move north, meet more settlers, some meek, some warlike. We fight brief wars. We cannot take relish in war anymore, we have to win, and without any lose to our headcount. We play a lot of tactics, which Senapati never fails to devise. We learn more languages, our men get married again, and again, and finally it’s time for me to get married.

We reach far north but do not find the kingdom. There I find a beautiful land where I finally decide to settle down. It’s really an exquisite place near the sweet water river. We have big plans; we will build a fort here, a major fort and then invite the wives. This is a big motivation for my men to work on the war footing.

One day, we get the news. The land belongs to a warlord, and he’s coming to claim it. It helps us finish the fort faster. Since we landed here, we have prepared for our first major war, and we are all excited. We build a strong fort and we are ready to show our might.

The warlord is not here to fight us. He brings us sparkling green gems and the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Her name is Rukuni, the warlord’s sister and he wants me to marry her. He too wants to increase his tribe so that he can defeat the savages from the hills, once and for all.

So, there’s a war in the offing, but the enemy is different, and before that there is a wedding to attend to. Since the time we are here, we have been doing these two things: wedding and war, the colour of the blood remains the same, but the custom of the marriage ceremony keeps changing with each bride. I really can’t decide which I abhor most. Perhaps both.

This time, when my marriage is being discussed, there is another trouble. My political mind tells me this wedding is an important alliance. I shouldn’t refuse it. But I don’t want to get married when Senapati is still single. How can I take a bride when he will sleep alone in the night? It’s a minor problem, laughs the warlord. He has another sister.

My bride is just a child. The first night she bleeds so much that for next two weeks I do not have the courage to enter her chamber. The day I march to the war with the savages, she begins to cry so bitterly that I start to consider it a bad omen. Her maid explains that crying is a sign of good omen in their tribe. I make a mental note. I have to change many things in this new country, including crying habits.

Till Teton was alive, he kept a note of all the rules that I introduced in the land. I keep records of all the wars, all the land acquired, information on all the people under my dominion. Every evening, I, Senapati, Teton and Bailung Khamti meet at my chamber and take a note of the day’s events. When I am busy, there are so many things to do in a new kingdom, and an expanding kingdom at that, thanks to Senapati, Teton diligently continues to keep the track of the events.

Then one day he dies. He is one of the earliest to drown in the deluge. The rain is heavy this year. My queen keeps talking about Luit visiting his daughter, Buri Dihing, the river that flows by our city. I do not have the time to consider her strange tales. I have other things to attend to. The savages are gathering strength again. There are other warlords who are planning to declare their own dominations.

One night, our house is under water. I do not know what to do. I have never had seen so much water in my life. But my queen is prepared for Luit’s visit. She knows what to do and we are saved. When the water recedes after one whole month, I decide that I cannot establish my kingdom under water. I decided to move ahead.

Consulting Teton’s scrolls, I am surprised how Luit dominates the narrative of my victory years after years. He is the one enemy I cannot defeat, not even dominates. The river, Dihing, Dishang, Dibaru, are all but his offspring. Luit does as he pleases. When I continue to dominate the land, he comes one night and sweeps everything away, people, animals, our stores. For months we’d under water, with no land to rule. Then Luit would have his fill and leave. I cannot command him.

[Excerpts from the story 'The Hengdag & the AK47']

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