(A Dark Vedanta Tale)
The sun shone down bright and warm, the skies were a bright blue and all seemed just right in the world. Arya strolled along casually through the park, staying on the path and watching the people play and bask in the pleasantness that nature had chosen to bring forth on this day. A smile crossed his face as children ran past, hard at play and full of life and masters played with their dogs – it was the little things that made this life interesting to behold.
As he walked, he took in a long, deep breath of the air. Momentarily shutting his eyes, he allowed his inner mind to play over the senses and sift amongst the various odours that flooded his surroundings. Though there were many, it was far better than within a crowded city-space and it was with relative ease that he found what he was looking for and stepped off the grass to follow it. As the scent of his quarry became stronger, his pace slowed and his whole body was on alert because he could not afford to be seen or even noticed until his work was done.
He came to a dense section of trees and bushes, on the other side of which were undoubtedly the people he sought. Gingerly he started to find his way through he foliage as quietly as he could manage, wishing that he could use his abilities to mask his passage, but he dared not risk anyone would detect such a usage. Finally he reached the edge of a clearing and stayed silent and low as he surveyed the field before him. The tension was palpable in the very air as he looked at the two individuals who occupied the centre of the clearing, both standing firm and exuding just-contained power. Behind both stood one individual each, keeping a respectful distance.
In a moment of nervousness, he twirled the stone and silver disc in his jacket pocket. He didn’t have to do this, but he had to admit to himself for the hundredth time that despite his fear, he just really, really wanted to do it and then see what would happen.
On this warm, sunny day full of joy, no one would have suspected that in this tiny clearing, this perfectly innocuous and neutral place, was the possible fate of all things being decided. The two men before him were two of the most powerful magic-wielders in existence – living, human proof of the existence of actual magic, a supernatural that humanity wondered about but never knew for certain to be real.
On the left was a Maha-Rishi, amongst the most powerful of the Light-sages, believers in absolute good and purity, agents of pure order. On the right was a Dark-Lord, agent of the Dark Realm which was the source of all chaos-magic and dark power, it was this very chaos that they sought to bring to to bear on the world.
Light and Dark.
Order and Chaos.
They were to Arya’s mind, nothing but two sides of the same coin, neither willing to bend for fear of looking broken and both foolishly forgetting the cost their hubris-laden belief in their absolute right-ness had on the very world over which they fought. There had been ages of much devastation but also periods of near-balance in the more recent past, never perfect, but it allowed the world to keep chugging along and heal from wounds and scars. This had all started to fall apart in the last hundred years, most notably when a Darkling by the name of Barakria was suspected of being behind the deaths of a venerable member of the Order of Light-sages. Since then things had only escalated, poisoning the hearts and minds of normal humans across the planet.
But now these two powerful men were hoping to put a rein on the simmering rage and pull it back. This was the first time in decades that a Light-sage and a Darkling had stood thus in the same place and blood not been shed and many hopes and plans were pinned on the outcome – for even the Darklings were not fools and knew that a war would cost them many plans of their own. It was not ideal, but a war fought by proxy and in the shadows is infinitely preferable to one fought in the open fields.
On this everyone agreed.
Everyone except a young magic-user named Arya.
He was not of any order, in fact, he was a rare creature that had stumbled onto magic, finding the dying body of a Light-sage who had fled a deadly attack and in seeking help from a harmless looking human, told him about magics existence and his own role in the world. Arya had been awed and responded by taking the dying mans own blade and plunging it straight into his heart before ransacking his pockets and taking for himself all the magical items he could find, including a book of spells. In the months that followed, he had become increasingly adept and powerful, but never forgot to keep himself hidden, concealment spells being among the things he first mastered. With time, he had even managed to acquire more books and artefacts and today was to be the culmination of his efforts, his biggest achievement to date.
Drawing out the disc from his pocket, he closed his eyes and traced the maze-like silver lines that were filled into the carved stone, all the while focussing the energies he had been accumulating for weeks since he found out this meeting was going to happen.
Meanwhile in the field, both men ceased their negotiations, both feeling something in the air, some power not of their making. Just a whiff, nothing more. But the unfamiliarity of it put them both on edge and on instinct all civility began to strain and each accused the other of secretly plotting.
As their accusations flew, Arya had opened his eyes and focussing his energy through the enchanted stone he sent out a burst of energy into the Earth below him. Mere seconds later, the very ground erupted behind each of the powerful mages and before they could react, took the form of a hand for each mage – the hands in turn moved with deadly speed and grabbing a man each, squeezed them as though they were naught but sponges with not even time for them to scream before they died outright.
On either side, both the seconds who had accompanied their masters stood coiled for battle, but neither knew what to do or who the enemy was in this situation. Seeking to help them along, Arya stepped out from the foliage, waving a friendly greeting, “Hello! Beautiful day isn’t it? Just the right kind for a little blood-letting! No?”
Both men stepped back from him a little, each alert and possibly a little afraid. The Darkling warrior let his rage get the better of him and throwing a trio of blazing fire-balls at the stranger who he saw before him, charged forward with his hands blazing with the next salvo. But to his astonishment, all three impacted right on target only to dissipate, leaving Arya unharmed. Before the Darkling could do anything more, Arya turned his way and seemingly under the power of his very gaze, the creature of chaos burst into white hot flames – he screamed for a moment and then collapsed, smouldering in the dirt.
The remaining Light-sage chose to try a different strategy and asked, “Who or what are you? You have killed both men who were here so I do not think you have allegiance to either side.”
“Good guess!” He replied with a mock-expression of sincerity, “No, no I’m not on either ‘side’, but I do like to play. And since you guys were here and I was bored, I figured I’d see what happened.”
“Though you speak lightly, you wield great power to do what you have done here to these men. Do you truly comprehend what it is you’ve done here today!?”
Arya gave a ponderous look and spent several seconds appearing to think very hard and then replied, “I got nothing.” with a shrug of his shoulders.
A mix of disbelief and rage rolled across the Light-sages face but before he could do or say anything more, the very ground beneath him opened up and swallowed him whole.
Arya breathed in deep and blew out a very satisfied breath. His work here was done. He waved his hand and the giant stone hands that were dripping the remains of their victims, sank back from where they had come, taking all evidence of the deed with them. All the remained were the charred bones of the Darkling soldier – a fact that would not go unnoticed when search parties came to find out what had happened. The Dark-Lords were not known for their restraint at the best of times, but the repercussions of this day would indeed change the future as had been intended, unfortunately it was not what the two power-houses intention that was to result.
Arya walked away, whistling to himself and watching the happy world around him once again. His life had gotten interesting when he met that dying man, but now it was about to get infinitely more so and he could scarcely wait to see what would happen next.