The full moon shone upon the Peraath valley of Carane with all its sagacity. It seemed to smile, its smile full of sadness, for it had noticed the Peraath valley for many years now, and observed its sole occupant and visitor for just as long. The green valley grass bristled in the cool night wind, alternating between blue and black but never conforming to its true color. Jermiaani Sisccita sat rooted in the landed plane, looking at the monastery in the distance, although barely visible in the sea of blue around it, marked only by the tall single flame that still burned, despite every attempt that the wind made at blowing it away.
The flame had been consistently ablaze for as long as Jermiaani remembered. It was unnatural for sure – greenish-blue in nature, it gave no heat, but charred beyond recognition anything that touched it. The animals around the valley had learnt to avoid it, they seemed to understand that it was unusual, abnormal… As for the people, they remained gloriously ignorant of the abnormal flame… and of the monastery and its sole occupant. Nobody had stepped into the valley for years now, for the valley had been deemed uninhabitable. Every attempt at colonizing the valley had died a miserable death. The people more so.
The place had been considered cursed and the people had moved on… to better yielding lands and healthier lives… and the monastery, deep in the crevices of the hills that made the valley, had never been discovered. Jermiaani had often wondered if there had indeed been science behind the fate that the colonies in the valley had suffered. There must have been, always came the reply. Even now, as he looked at the greenish-blue glow in the distance, he refused to believe the alternative. No.. he convinced himself. She would never…
The thought trailed off. It was replaced with the sound of the scraping of wood, with the smell of the morning dew, with the sight of a small boat full of hope, and with the dreams of a young boy to sail away. Far, far away… came the voice. Where none know me and I know none… Then the smell of the morning dew vanished, and instead was replaced by the touch of cold, damp wood as the door had creaked open, revealing the pool within. A pool of red, Jermiaani remembered, with ruins of white and blue. The moon had settled in the darkness of the room. It had shone upon him that fateful night just as brightly as it shone upon him today.
Jermiaani didn’t remember getting out of the plane. He didn’t remember walking through the thicket, through the blue grass, the cool night wind twisting at his feet. He didn’t remember crossing the unnatural flame, passing through the crevice, beating at the colossal doors… He did remember her though, as she had opened the door. She looked just the same as he had first seen her, oblivious to the laws of time. Divine – was the right word. Others would not have been so kind in their choice of words for her. But then, others would have been wrong.
She smiled at him – her sole visitor, since as far as she could remember. Here was a person who had courage to be at her doorstep, unshackled by norms, unshackled by society’s fears, although troubled by fears of his own… She knew that was the only reason he was here – to aid his own soul, but it comforted her nevertheless – knowing that there was one… at least… who saw her for her true self.
“Back in the moonlit room?” she asked knowingly.
Jermiaani nodded, with the familiar vulnerability, he was accustomed to around her.
If there was someone who truly knew him, it was her. The Sovereign had known of the events, he had known where Jermiaani had come from, what state he had been in. The Sovereign had helped him through all of that… and for that Jermiaani would be eternally grateful. But the Sovereign just didn’t understand. The shape of his mind, his darkest moments, his biggest fears… No… if there was someone who truly understood him – then it was her. Just her.
“The war is showing no signs of stopping” he said to her. “I can’t have these visions bothering me. I need to be… functional”
“Your ‘Sovereign’ won’t approve of this method” she said to him, stepping aside to let him in.
You will need to steel your mind, the Sovereign had said.
“I need to be functional if I am to serve Carane” Jermiaani replied. “And if I am to serve him.” The colossal doors creaked to a close behind him. “And anyways – if I were him, I’d have other things to worry about”
Copyright 2016, Vaibhav Thombre