Like a Dragonfly
Like a Dragonfly
She looked up and saw tens of tiny little winged creatures soaring and swirling effortlessly in mid-air. There was some sort of communication between them, she was sure of it. The way they sometimes flocked together suddenly due to an advancing crow or how they managed to touch down and take off all together at the same time provided ample proof of their secret communication. The afternoon sun-rays falling on their translucent wings made them glow like glass painted in golden colours, clearly defining the elaborate markings and pattern on their tiny wings.
The cool breeze ruffled her long red hairs softly, almost enticing her against her decision, back into its comforting peaceful arms.
She sighed. Her energy was fast draining. She looked down at the woman who lay on the ground badly wounded and scarred. Her mesmerising long wings were torn and half eaten, her long sting crushed. Her dazzling white hair had been soaked with blood and sludge. She was moaning softly, flinching with every energy wave which Clara sent coursing though her body at the expense of her own life.
"Are you sure there's no other way Clara?" The old man with a long beard reaching almost till his belly asked her, concern and uncertainty evident in his eyes.
Unable to form any words at the moment, she merely nodded. Never had she imagined, even in her wildest of dreams, that her wish would actually come true. That too in such a way!
"Might I intrude on the conversation Master?" said a tall and thin man with a long sharp nose. He had grey eyes, which according to Clara, complemented his clever snake like attributes.
"No, you may not!" she snapped. She loathed that man, the vice commander of their army, the most cunning and crafty diplomat on the entire planet.
Why you may ask. Why did she hate the man who had payed bucks out of his pocket in raising her, the one who had arranged for all her clothing and food and even the home tutor? Why?
"Clara!" Master warned her. "Would you please focus on healing her majesty? Please?"
She mumbled and quieted down.
"So as I was saying", he continued in his slick voice, "wouldn't it be better for the matter to be laid in the hands of more-" he glanced at her, "-experienced and safe hands?" he said cocking an eyebrow with a clear emphasis on the word 'safe'.
Clara gritted her teeth. She had an inkling as to where he was going and that was the worst option in such a crisis.
"Who do you mean?" asked the Master. "Who do you think can possibly be a better option than Clara? You have yourself seen the power her extraordinary blood has. Power unlike any of us."
"Exactly Master," Salazar said in a highly disrespectful voice. "Who is to trust her powers? It's a question of our existence. All of us high officials in the army are of the idea that the task be given to someone much more proper. After all who's to trust her blood with her father being the infamous-"
"Enough!" Clara could hold her temper no longer.
"I would not have anyone mention my father again!" she thundered her eyes glowing deep yellow.
She couldn't let this vile man have his way. Not when their survival was at stake. Long ago she had pledged herself to her dear beloved queen-to protect her and their kingdom in whatever way she could. Even if that meant going against the kingdom. After all who cared?
She was yet another peasant girl, one who was a monster with her extraordinary powers inspite of the lack of royal blood inside her, one of the prerequisites for having them. She was abhorred by many, all thanks to him and those uncontrollable powers, which given time might even surpass those of the queen's.
Yes, she was a prodigy… "- and a highly dangerous weapon in the hands of the enemy," he had stated in the royal court. "She ought to be secured and locked up."
Clara must have sent quite a bit of healing energy inside the queen all at once for she suddenly coughed and whispered "Clara"
Cradling her head in her lap she spoke, "my queen. Are you well? Does it still hurt as much as before?" Clara noticed the badly torn wings begin to rejuvenate.
"I'm fine dear." The queen took Clara's hand in hers. "Thank you, my girl," she said softly.
"I-I must tell you…"
"Please don't stress yourself," Clara said, desperately keeping her voice from wavering or cracking up. The queen had been more like a mother figure to her with whom she had enjoyed so many secretive moments- the ones full of love and joy and happiness. The queen had been her only resort when life was made hell for her by Salazar. She definitely couldn't let anything happen to her.
"No, you must listen Clara! My dear girl you…" the queens voice was weak and wavering.
"She would pass out anytime now. Let's take her back to the camp," Salazar interrupted her.
"Wait!" the queen ordered. She might be hurt and weak but awe-inspiringly, her voice still held enough authority to freeze anyone in the entire kingdom in their tracks.
"I must pass on the secret to you now. I must…"
Clara was confused. What secret? Was it about her strangely strong powers?
"I know," Clara said.
"No, you are mistaken. I must-"
"-tell. You are-"
"You are my-"
Clara listened with bated breath. What was so important for the queen that she was risking her safety?
"You are my…"
Her voice was very faint. She was almost on the verge of passing out.
Suddenly, without any warning Salazar lifted the queen in his arms, "Majesty needs rest now," and started towards the camp.
"I'm sure you have no objection to that! Now do you?" His voice was strained. Clara could sense it.
"Yes. We must proceed with the rituals. There's not enough time," Master said looking up at the sky and shielding hid eyes with one hand.
Clara had one last look at her beloved queen. A huge drop of tear rolled silently down her cheek.
She looked up at the sky which was still full of dragonflies, swirling around and around peacefully and gracefully. She looked at the other side of the sky and at their shattered satellite- the dragon moon that had shattered…literally into a few pieces. Its glow was waning fast. The black forces had done so to the moon- their life, their bread and water, their everything.
She smiled looking at it. Even in its dilapidated state, it shone with all its remaining strength nurturing the ones below. "But for how long now that it was damaged and the queen stripped of her powers, "she wondered.
"Ready dear?" Master's voice snapped her back to the present.
"Do you want to do it dear" It's not your duty. You are not in any way obliged." His eyes were sombre and caring. Hundreds of years' experience had indeed wrinkled up the once vibrant skin, yet the eyes were still young they held the same strength they had back in old days
"I'm not indebted to anyone," she said. "It's the only way I feel I can return all of your favours for raising up a monster," she said smiling as wide as she could.
Her words, her confidence, her kindness reminded him of the last person he had seen these qualities in. The memory brought a horrific understanding and tears to his eyes. The old man couldn't control his overwhelming emotions and embraced the strong woman standing in front of him.
"If only the dark forces didn't attack," she whispered.
"If only we didn't trust each and everyone," he said.
And so, they both stood crying in each other's embrace.
"We must start," she sobbed.
"Yes, yes, we must yes," he wiped his eyes, put a comforting hand on her shoulder and guided her to the temple.
It was the longest fifteen yards in her lifetime. Scenes from her childhood flashed through her mind, each connected with the place she called home.
She passed the mango trees on which Master had built a swing for her.
And the tiny lake where she had learnt to swim one fine day all alone and had nearly drowned but for her Majesty who had come rushing with her maids at the very proper moment.
The memories of her bittersweet past made her smile. But it was no time to be nostalgic. Duty called her beckoning her towards her fate.
She had no regrets nor any wishes yet something about Arthur kept troubling her pricking her at the back of her mind what was do important that the queen wanted you tell her.
They reached the entrance to the temple. A majestic pyramidal building with a flight of 21 steps leading up to its entrance. The temple was simple in construction with no ornate decorations on its walls. In fact, it was surrounded by many trees and enveloped by overgrown shrubs and creepers which had been left so on queens wishes who had liked it as close to nature as possible and so did their people.
"Are we ready? "the Master asked her with as much love and warmth as he could.
She nodded. Her mouth was dry, her hands had gone cold and sweaty and her legs felt like jelly.
Few of the priests in long black robes were waiting for them.
"Master," the priests nodded as they approached them.
Clara followed the master along the winding alleys and tunnels, along dark corridors and musty staircases up to the top of the temple. It was a breath-taking view. The entire kingdom could be seen from there in all its beauty and glory. She could see fields and forests and habitations as far as her view went.
But it was no time for sightseeing for she could also see the dark coming to effect with half of the woodland that bordered the kingdom dried up. The trees looked shrivelled and dry; the leaves had turned brown. All the fresh green was lost. She didn't have any time to waste.
"I'm ready," she announced after taking a deep breath.
"Please stand here," one of the press gestured towards a pentagram drawn in the middle, "and harness your energy. Focus it in your core," he instructed.
She stood in the pentagram and did as she was told. For the tiniest of moments, she came to doubt her own powers.
"Do I have enough? "she muttered to herself.
"Of course, you do," Master who had been standing right behind her whispered I her ear. "Just think of your father the one who passed on these powers to you protect his honour clear his name, "he urged her.
His words acted upon her and she felt confident again.
She focused on her energy like she had numerous times before when she had practised in secret with her highness. She could feel her core vibrating, heating her up. Her eyes glowed and soon did her entire body. Her ears filled up with the ancient chants from the priests, her vision blurred and faded plunging her in absolute yellowness a shimmering shine.
She could hear faintly.
"Who is it calling me "she thought.
"What's so urgent? "she mumbled though no sound came out.
No! stop her!
She could hear someone shouting now. Many people were shouting. She wanted to know what was going on but had no control. There was no stopping after the path she had taken. Only she had the powers in the entire kingdom besides the queen to heal the dragon moon. It was strange given the fact that she wasn't a pure blood like the queen
It was the last thing she heard as the glow enveloped her soul and her body completely, overpowering her senses.
"Is it over?" she wondered and saw thousands of dragonflies swirling around her among the clouds.
The clouds! She herself was hovering in the air, flying peacefully, the sun's bright glow warming her up. She felt so light and flapped her wings joyfully. Her dream finally came true.
Her eyes opened.
"Am I in heaven," she mumbled.
"No dear you are not. It's still very much hell, "replied a cheerful male voice.
"What?" she felt highly disoriented and confused.
She tried to get up suddenly and dropped back with a clearly audible THUMP.
"Rest young girl for a lot is to come. Your kingdom awaits you, "the voice said.
"My king….? what?" her memories were hazy. She forced her mind and a dreadful feeling filled her up. "The moon!?" she shrieked though all that came out was a weak squeak.
"Look up, "the voice said.
She did and saw the most pleasing and wonderful phenomenon the moon smiled back at her in all its glory, standing mightily together with the sun, lighting up the sky.
She smiled the widest that she she had ever before.
"I'm so glad."
"You should be," the voice said. "Now rest dear."
"But I'm already dead, aren't I? "she asked puzzled.
The voice on the other end laughed. "What? No! protectors don't die."
Then the voice became much graver. "Now rest well Clara. It's a long way ahead my princess."
Longing for sleep she closed her eyes and heard a woman scream her name before she drifted off.