Joined: 31 August 2011
Joined: 31 August 2011
Joined: 31 August 2011
Joined: 31 August 2011
Joined: 31 August 2011
It was a dark, cloudy night, when a messenger told Pia that her aunt would like to meet with her. "About time!" she thought, hastening outside. Reina stood waiting for her, looking as serene as ever, though a small smile flickered on her face. "Let us take a walk," she said as soon as Pia approached. They walked on, till they reached Reina's cottage. "So," said Reina, smiling slightly, "How are you faring, my dear niece?" "Oh, really well," said Pia sarcastically. "I have no idea why you brought me here, I don't know who you are, I don't know why I can't tell anyone anything, and I don't know why I resemble her, and he resembles Abhay. Why are you doing this to me?"
"Look, " said Reina, "again I will tell you that I brought you here so that you could get some answers."
"I haven't got any yet- " began Pia hotly, but a hand silenced her. "As I said, when you go back, you will get all your answers."
"You said I might know someone from your family," said Pia. "Whose family? Mine? Abhay's? Jeh's? Kabir's?"
"I said you might know someone from my family, dear girl," said Reina, smiling slightly. "I never expressly said you did."
"Oh, will you stop talking in riddles?" hissed Pia in anger.
Reina glared at her. "I didn't risk everything to help you just so you could start interrogating me!" she snapped. "At the time, all you were curious about was Abhay!"
"Fine, let's talk about him," she retorted. "Who the hell is Abhayendra? Is he related by blood to Abhay? Why do they look so alike?"
Reina paused a heartbeat before she answered. "Yes, they are- but not in the way you think." Her smile was curiously enigmatic : Pia wanted to punch her.
Then her smile vanished. "And why, may I ask, are you so interested in him?"
"I'm not!" protested Pia. "I'm- "
Her voice gave way. "That's what I thought," said Reina softly, and now she looked more worried than ever. "Give him up, Piya. Give him up. You are not meant to be. It will cause you nothing but heartbreak in the future."
"Then- then," said Pia, her voice shaking slightly, "Am I related to Maithali?"
Reina shook her head, still looking troubled. "No, you aren't."
"Then?" asked Pia. Reina shook her head again. "I'll tell you later. Once you get back your memories."
"You'll give them back?" said Pia, unable to believe her luck. "Yes, I will." Said Reina. "Not all together, of course. But you might start getting flashes…..Of course, I'll need to get those specific memories….."
"Listen," said Pia quietly, as they were sitting near the stables. Maithali was there too, given that it was one of her free days. "The Prince arrives today," said Pia. "And we need to somehow get a clear field. So, this is the plan……"
Later, Maithali decided to try teaching Pia how to shoot properly. She soon became exasperated, snapping at Siddharth and Abhayendra : "Are you two a pack of mules? How is she supposed to learn if you don't make it fun for her!"
"Now, Pia, if you manage to shoot close to this tree, you get……" she deliberated for a moment , then grinned. "Yes…you get my emerald ring." She held it up. Pia stared at her. She smiled. "Now , you hold it like this, yes- and now you shoot- make sure you are not distracted before doing it. Right now- try."
Pia took a deep breath, concentrated, and pulled back the bowstring with a twang.
She closed her eyes ; she didn't want to fail Maithali, who had taken the pains to help her.
"Open your eyes, dear girl, or you'll drop this," came a voice. Pia opened her eyes : Maithali was standing in front of her, holding out a gold ring set with an triangular emerald. She pulled Pia's hand and dropped it onto her palm ; it felt cool to the touch. "What- but- " began Pia, too stunned for words. In reply, Maithali pointed. Her arrow had hit the tree she was aiming for, although not the bullseye.
It was a small thing, but right then, Pia felt like the empress of the world. She reached over and embraced Maithali : Maithali returned it with equal enthusiasm.
But far among the trees, where none could see her, Reina watched the four, and felt a sudden pang of anger and sadness. She wiped away a tear from her eyes angrily. Why didn't Pia ever do as she was told? She was getting too close to the past.
A week later , in Maithali's bedroom :
"Oh my God, Pia, I can't believe you guys did it for me. Thank you so much!" whispered Maithali.
Pia laughed. "Poor guy. We made him so scared!"
Maithali laughed too. "I know. Siddharth is such a good actor- oh, the way he dressed up as the old man, and then he cursed him.."
The two girls collapsed in a fit of giggles.
A month later :
"Abhayendra!" called Pia. Siddharth had been sent away on an errand – he would be gone for a week.Maithali was as usual, training. Abhayendra, who had been going, stopped and turned.
"Piyali," he said , bowing slightly.
"I need to speak with you," she said hesitantly.
His eyebrows met. "Certainly," he said, ushering her inside the stables.
Pia didn't waste words.
"Why do you dislike me so much?"
Abhay stared at her in surprise. "I don't dislike you."
Pia stared at him. "Oh, admit it already, why don't you? I know you dislike….. ."
"You don't know anything," he snapped.
"Just because my brother favours you doesn't mean I will behave the same. Or are you the sort of woman who prefers to play with more than one man?"
"Abhayendra!" said Piyali, shocked and furious at what he was implying.
"Siddharth," she said in a voice shaking with anger, "is my friend. Do you know what that means? It means we don't play with each other, as you so crudely put it. I can't believe it of you."
She started to walk out.
"Piyali! Piyali, please wait!" said Abhayendra. Pia stopped at the entrance, looking back at him.
"Now what?" she asked scornfully. "Going to insult me further, were you?"
"I apologize," he said. "I am sorry, Piyali. I don't know what made me speak like that. I never meant to hurt you. I was just…missing him a lot, and I lost my temper- I'm sorry for assuming wrongly. Please accept my sincere apologies. It shall not happen again."
Pia sighed. "That's all right, Abhayendra. I understand you miss him."
"Don't you?" he asked curiously, as they started to walk.
"Of course I do," Pia answered. "I miss talking to him, you know, because I rarely get to talk with Maithali nowadays. And you avoid me."
"I don't avoid you, Pia," said Abhayendra gently. "And I don't dislike you either. It's just, you know, I tend not to mix much with people. I haven't known you for very long, either."
"I understand," said Pia.
"I know you lost your parents when you were small," he said. "Do you remember much of them?"
"Not really, " said Pia . "Some memories of my mother."
"I lost my parents when I was small, too," he said. "That is to say, we lost our parents."
Pia stared at him. "What- really?"
He smiled slightly. "Yes, really. I remember them a lot, though."
Pia smiled back at him.
"They loved me very much," he said quietly.
Pia looked down, suddenly remembering a passing remark made by Siddharth a few days ago. "Of course, Abhayendra was always his mama's darling little boy, while I was the dreamer, the worthless older brother." She had always wondered about it, especially the way Siddharth had changed afterwards. She looked at Abhayendra, and she wished his mother had been Sid's mother in the real sense as well.
"That was a nice thing, what you did," said Abhayendra suddenly.
Pia turned to stare at him. "What?"
"The idea of driving the prince away. It was funny too."
"Oh," said Pia, trying to conceal the blush rising up her cheeks. "Thanks."
And as she left for the palace in the evening, Abhayendra continued to dwell on the events of the day. It had seemed so obvious that Piyali and Siddharth were….. He banished the thought from his mind. Piyali was a woman of honour, and she would not lie to him. He had been mistaken- badly. But why, why had he said such awful things to her? Did it really bother him if she favoured his brother? For the life of him he could not decide.
And as she slept that night, Piya had a very strange dream.
She was asking the small boy where Mount College was. He had warned her not to take the forest route. But she had, and then- she felt a sudden something whoosh past her. She turned, trying to see who it was, but there was nothing.
The dream changed abruptly, now she was clinging onto a rope dangling from a mountain. Her hand slipped….The boy called Kabir held out his hand, she took it….but it was not enough, and she fell…..Down, down, down…..into the something hard and yet not enough to hurt her. She opened her eyes…..and looked into Abhay's deep blue eyes, which looked right back at her.
Pia screamed and woke up, sweating and shaking, trying to absorb the vividness of the dream- if it could be called a dream.
PS. Apologies to those I haven't been able to reply. For this one, though, please let me know how it was. I'm not sure I wrote Abhayendra properly. I hope he isn't too much like Abhay.
Joined: 13 June 2011
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Joined: 01 February 2012
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