Helios – Part 4 of 5

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

A night past, Rafael was still trying to come to grips with the situation. Helios was alive, the beast was dead, and he could hear the sound of celebration from a distance. He didn’t know what to do with Helios. If anyone as much as caught a whiff of treachery, his would be the first head under the axe.

So shaken was Rafael that he did not notice The Shadow enter the chambers and stand next to him. It was only when he heard the clearing of the throat that he looked up.

“I see you are upset”, she said in a petulant voice.

“You know what happened sister… Nothing’s hidden from you”, Rafael replied to his formless sister.

“Of course… Just this once I thought you were up to something promising. I am so used to being disappointed by you that it’s become boring”, her figure swam past the room towards the window.

Look out the window Brother”, she continued. “Do you see what I see?”

Rafael walked to the window. The dawn was breaking, it was quiet and as far as he could tell, there was no living soul except himself and his sister – if she qualified.

His sister was condemned to the shadows by Helios’ Master during one of their meditation sessions. No one knows to this day what had transpired. Rafael was also there. Master’s scream disrupted the silence. His sister was laughing like a lunatic.

I have seen it now, what are you going to do about it? She challenged the Master.

No one had ever seen the Master so furious.

I can’t kill you for I honor any trace of Royal blood that might have had the misfortune of flowing through your veins! But I shall condemn you to the Shadows and in the Shadows you shall remain, never noticed, oft ignored. The Master roared.

Helios tried to speak but Master raised his hand to stop him. That was the last time Rafael saw his sister in flesh and blood. She was just a shadow now, ignored by everyone except him.

“I don’t see anything sister, except that it will be morning soon and we have to do something about our caged nemesis” he replied.

The Shadow closed in on Rafael making him step back till he was pushed to the wall.

She whispered in his ear “Five… nay six men from the south, seven from the east and twelve on the main entrance of the dungeon… and Shira, leading them. Don’t look at me like that Brother. Why of course, you should know who you are dealing with. That man you have bound in chains and kept in your little hideout is Helios, and Helios is by no means a man to be taken lightly. Shira would be knocking… nay pounding… nay breaking the main door tomorrow around dusk if Helios doesn’t return by then on his own.”

“H… How?” Rafael could not speak out of shock.

“How do I know?” The shadow asked threateningly.

“N.. No… How d..does Shh…”

“Shira Know? She is Helios’ daughter, that’s how.”

She waited as a terrified Rafael dashed to the window like a deer stuck in a lion’s den.

“I have a plan”, The Shadow spoke again. “You either live in glory at the end of it or you die, but there is no middle path.” Seeing Rafael was still distracted she flew by the window and shouted in his ear, “Are you listening to me?”

“Wh..What plan?” Rafael fell on the ground.

“Go to Helios in an hour. Unshackle him. Challenge him to a duel”.

“That’s your plan?” Rafael looked at his sister’s shadow incredulously.

“Do as I say. I will come to your rescue when the time is right.” She said, deep in thoughts. “It’s now or never”.

“But I don’t think you can do anything in a duel of men. You are but a shadow after all”.

“Don’t you argue with me brother, and don’t you ever say I can do nothing. If it was so I’d be a harmless mortal like you. Now off you go, build some strength. Drink some of those juices of yours to keep you alive till a few of Helios’ blows”.

The Shadow receded leaving Rafael catching his breath and stilling his pounding heart as he reached for a vial and drank from it.

…………………….

Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting before you… Helios Part 4!

I found a way of closing this behemoth story (by my tiny standards at least) that I set out telling a couple of weeks ago. This is the biggest saga I have ever written… My first, so not even close to the P of perfection… but a very good exercise…

I welcome concrit… Anything that shows scope of improvement. For example, I’d like to know if there was a way to reduce the length of this post without compromising on the content or the intent? I reduced quite a bit myself (yes, paragraphs!), but I am sure there is a lot more that could have been done. And any other feedback is welcome too!

I have used an Inspiration Monday Prompt for this one – “Look out the Window”.

I was supposed to conclude this story with the last to last week’s prompts. But I have a lot of lazy bones that prevent me from concluding any of my awesome plans as planned. But better late than never!

I will finish this very soon! May the force be with me! 🙂

Helios – Part 2 of 5

Helios – Part 1 

Helios looked around, his senses still sluggish but improving.

His muscles were slowly waking up. It would take longer to get his strength back. There was no time crunch anyway. Rafael was a fool to have kept him alive and with the beast gone, he was lost about what to do. The mediocre thug always caused inconvenience.

In contrast to what his plight commanded, he was still basking in the glory of his victory over the beast of the Crumbling Castle. The beast had lived in peace for years just outside the borders of Pacemenia – Helios’ kingdom. Then he had attacked a few wandering kids playing near his castle. Helios was aggravated, but he had still offered amnesty. The beast was too drunk in his arrogance. He had challenged Helios and announced proudly he will tear him into two halves. But the coward wanted no audience and demanded that the duel happen in closed premises of his castle, with only one person waiting at the main door for the outcome. Whoever won had to sound the gong in the arena. If it was the beast, the person waiting outside was sure to become his supper. Helios was still trying to piece it together when Rafael offered to be the onlooker. Helios had smiled and hugged Rafael benevolently, thanking him for this selfless act. It was that simple, Helios had thought to himself.

The fact that Rafael was a traitor was not hidden from him since his growing years. But the beast was a dangerous alliance. Not only was he strong, but he was also gullible. Rafael had a lot of enemies who were not in Helios’ best books either – a lot smarter enemies than the fool could afford. They could have used the beast as a pawn to destroy the kingdom and Rafael. The beast had to die.

Rafael had come dressed in white that morning. ”Mourning my loss already?”,  Helios had joked. Rafael had smiled slyly, embracing his half brother without offering any explanation.

The subjects of Pacemenia had greeted Helios on his way, not one of them thinking he would not return. Pacemenia had been ruled by Helios’ ancestors for centuries and each one of them had ensured Pacemenia’s safekeeping like family. Helios had been on the throne for twenty seven years now and had put his life on the line for Pacemenia on many occasions. The most venerated of all stories was when Helios had dug the soil by the Kamento Mountains, when the oracles had predicted there was a spring that could end the year long drought. Helios had dug with his bare hands when all the other men had tired and given up. And when the water had finally bowed down to his defiance, he had fed all the men who had helped him before tasting its sweetness himself.

When after two days of Helios leaving Pacemenia to fight the Beast, the sound of the Gong broke the stillness of the atmosphere, the dwellers of Pacemenia had erupted in joy, lighting the bonfires and preparing for the feast – such was their conviction that Helios was invincible.

Back at the Crumbling Castle, when Helios had walked out of the Gates, he was met by a shocked and confused Rafael.  Helios was tired but his humor had not left him. He had patted the back of Rafael, speaking between heavy breaths – “Next time Brother, when I’m having a bad day”.

Rafael had pushed Helios away with burning hatred and thrust a needle with the poison of the deadly Cicutia plant into one of his wounds. The poison was for the beast once he had killed Helios, but things had not worked in his favor. He had fed the beast with a specially prepared concoction from Anamamia plant that had quadrupled his strength. The beast was beside himself with joy and had smashed some pillars of his castle as Rafael had watched with satisfaction. To see Helios return victorious was like being hit by a bolt of lightning. It was impossible. Rafael had shuddered. Was it true, he had wondered, that Helios was indeed a manifestation of the God of Sun? That he had blessings of the keepers of Justitia?

Rafael had chained the drugged Helios and dragged him to the dungeons. Many a times he had considered slaying Helios with his sword, but every time he dismissed the thought, fearing what wrath of what powers that looked upon Helios would be unleashed on him.

………………….

This is Part 2 of my story.

I have planned to write a story using all the “Inpirational Monday” Prompts for the week. I have used the prompt – “Time Crunch” in this one.

Part 1 of the story can be found here.

I think I have goofed up the tenses in this write up.. I tried to maintain a uniformity and have proof read the whole thing too… but I still think there are issues… Concrit is welcome and I look forward to feedback from anyone who manages to read the whole thing (I know it’s a tad long 🙂 )

Helios – Part 1 of 5

The dungeon smelled of dampness. It was eerily dark and the only form of light was a candle in a corner. The flame stood still, poised in the dankness, not moving as though in respect of the captor of the walls.

Helios – The Invincible…  Rafael whispered menacingly in Helios’ ear.

Helios – The Messiah!  He shouted, shaking with rage.

Helios – Oh Helios, if only they could see you now. If only I could tie you to the foot of a donkey and take you to your subjects. The deluded rascals venerating you like God… But you are mortal, lying here comatose at my feet, where you truly belong.

Then why are you still afraid of me Rafael? Why have you chained me when you very well know the poison has affected me so much that I can’t even stand on my feet? And still, you have tied me so I can’t move the muscles that no longer take my command. I stand no chance in a duel with you if you choose to challenge me now. I knew you were dull, but this cowardice has let me down. You are my half brother for heaven’s sake; don’t malign the blood that runs through my veins. Challenge me you traitor! Helios growled.

Rafael laughed.

Heroic talks of valor and spirit! You think these insinuations have an effect on me? You think I care about your pristine bloodline? “The Keepers”, “The saviors”… I am the ugly blotch on your legacy. How does it feel to be “kept” like this unto death? To wish for some miracle to “save” you? How does it feel “Your Highness”, to have a devil like me share the father you idolize?

Helios smiled.

You love fishing for insults, don’t you? But calling yourself a devil is highly conceited even for your sake. It would take you many lives to be taken so seriously. You are but a little prick that hurts the sole of one’s foot when one is walking too fast. You go unnoticed most of the times and when you do come to attention, you are to be plucked out of the skin and thrown on the sidelines of the path. Call yourself a devil to humor yourself in the company of a charming lady you have coaxed into coming with you in exchange of some false promises or remuneration. She might, for a fleeting moment believe you, but I my dear Rafael, am better than that.

Rafael stared at Helios with hatred. Helios – in all his glory and grandeur, lay in front of him poisoned and chained, and yet his magnanimity was intact, his eyes shining like they always did. He commanded respect even in his helplessness. Rafael shrunk back in the shadows of the alleys, lost in his own insecurities.

……………………..

This is an attempt for Inspirational Monday’s prompt – “Fishing for insults”.

I am planning to make a story using all the five prompts given this week in five different parts of the story.

I don’t have a clear plot yet, but I plan to end the story with this piece as an epilogue.  I had written it as part of Friday Fictioneers once not so long ago. 🙂

Hope to pull it off! 🙂