Author: Kicks-and-Giggles PM
A tale of arrogance, hatred, revenge, love, compassion, and loss... This is a story based on the Hindu God of Destruction, Shiva, and his marriage to Lady Sathi. Only problem: Sathi's father, Daksh, loathes Shiva and everything he stands for. CATCH THE BIG CLIMAX, COMING UP IN A FEW CHAPTERS! (PLEASE REVIEW!)Rated: Fiction T - English - Spiritual/Romance - Chapters: 83 - Words: 129,405 - Reviews: 36 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 05-20-13 - Published: 01-04-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3089216
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It was all Shiva's fault. He was a god… he was one of the Divine Three, the father of the universe and all of its creations. He was the all-powerful, ever-present god. He was the life force that flooded every body. He was within everything-rock, animal, tree, human, ash-so if he so wished, could he not have saved Sathi from her fate? Could he not have disappeared before Daksh had arrived? Could he not have left before Sathi took hold of his hand? It was all his fault… completely his fault.
His meditation was becoming nearly comical now. Merely months ago, he had been at peace. He had enjoyed structure in his life-structure and predictability. He had been free to meditate in peace and calm. He hadn't had to answer to anyone, nor entertain anyone. Ever since he went to Daksh's temple, however, life had become chaos. Visitors popped up at all hours of the day. He'd had to answer to more calls and more invitations to councils than he'd ever had in his entire life. Meditation had once been his identity, now it was becoming an escape from all the chaos.
He smiled softly, wondering at the strange works of Fate.
Daksh took hold of his daughter's arm. He could not believe what he had just heard her say. He would not believe it.
But her eyes didn't lie. He saw the truth plain and clear in those lovely eyes that had always carried a twinkle in them. Now they spelled his doom. He growled, unable to bear the treachery of it all. With one swift blow, he pushed her to the ground. The matter was far out of his hands now and he saw only one way to regain control. Calling upon his powers, he drew a large circle around Sathi. The second the circle was complete, a fire burst into place marking its edges and trapping Sathi inside. "You've hurt me like no one has ever hurt me before, Sathi," he told her. "You've hurt and humiliated me, and this is your punishment. You will stay inside this circle-without food or water-until you realize the impact of the terrible crime you've committed. This fire will subside only when every last thought of Shiva has been burnt out of your mind!"
"Father!" Sathi cried after him, trying to stop him. She rose to her feet and stepped forward, but the flames burst into a wall before her, throwing her back from their heat. "Father, please!" She coughed through the smoke.
There was no mercy left in his heart however, not even for his own precious daughter. Prasuthi picked up her skirts and ran after him, trying to reason with him, but it would not work. In the end, Sathi was left alone in her room, surrounded by fire yet shivering. She lifted the end of her shawl to her nose and wondered if her eyes were burning from the fire or from her own grief. Slowly, she let the tears trickle down her face and wondered how it had all come to this. How had she so swiftly managed to ruin her life? The man she loved did not love her back, and now she had even lost her father, whom she had always admired and adored more than anything else in the world. How was it that she was suddenly so alone in this world?
It wasn't until much later in the evening, when the rest had resigned to their own rooms, that Madanike came to her side. "Sathi," she whispered. "Wake up, love, wake up!"
"Madanike, I have to speak to my father. Please, please convince him-" She stopped, seeing Madanike. The dancer was no longer dressed in fine silks and sparkling gold. Instead, she now wore a plain, rust-colored sari and had wiped the kohl from her eyes. She smiled to Sathi with tears in her eyes. "Madanike, what is this?" Sathi gasped.
"A new life," Madanike replied, sitting just outside the circle of fire. "A new life calls my name, love, and I couldn't be happier. I'm about to leave society and join the Shaivites in the north. Only there will I find peace. I have always wanted to do this, Sathi, and now I have a reason."
"I made a vow, Sathi. I couldn't see any other way to save your life, so I made a vow to my Lord Shiva. I swore I would sign away all the material joys of my life as a dancer and forever devote myself to his prayer… if he saved your life."
"No," Sathi gasped. "Y-You can't do that, not for me, Madanike-"
"Don't feel bad for me, love," Madanike laughed. "I have never been happier in my life! I have never made a wiser decision. You have to trust me when I tell you: my life is complete now that I've found my purpose."
Sathi took a deep breath, but try as she might, she could not be happy. She could see the content in Madanike's eyes, but how could she not feel guilty for driving her from this world? She was glad that Madanike had chosen this path of devotion, but why did it have to be for such a terrible, desperate reason?
Madanike seemed to know exactly what she was thinking because she shook her head. "The greatest things happen when you least expect them, Sathi. Everything had gone dark when I saw you lying here lifeless, but then I realized that there was no way for me to see the light unless everything else was dark. You've helped me find that light, and I could never thank you enough for it.
"Now, listen to me, Sathi," Madanike said. "Never give him up! Never! Especially for your father, do you hear me? You have to stay strong for your love-"
"Why, Madanike? Shiva told me plainly that he does not love me. He's been saying the same since we first met, and I was a fool for not listening to him. Now I've hurt father as well-"
"Your father's a grown man," Madanike scoffed. "It's time that he face the truth and stop blaming you for all the hurt he is feeling. You are simply following your heart, and you're trying so hard to protect everyone while doing so, and he cannot see that. He cannot see what a precious gift he has in you, love, but he will see it soon. You have to be patient-with your father and with Lord Shiva-"
"Madanike!" Prasuthi glared at the dancer from the doorway.
Madanike rose to her feet, her chin tilted into the air fearlessly.
"I knew it… I always knew there was someone corrupting my child. Someone in my own home poisoning her mind! How could you?" Prasthuti hissed, stepping forward. "After all the years that I treated you as my own daughter, after all the years that we gave you shelter under our own roof… how could you betray us like this? How could you betray Sathi like this?"
"Who's betraying whom, Lady Prasuthi?" Madanike asked her. "The one who is giving her strength during difficult times… or the one who watches silently as she is trapped in a cage of fire?"
"Mind your tongue, you poisonous snake!" Prasuthi snapped. "Would you have done this if Sathi were your own daughter?"
"I'm doing this because I consider Sathi to be my daughter," Madanike cried. "Because the heart that beats in my chest is not that of King Daksh's wife. This heart doesn't care for the sound of broken rules… only for the sound of a breaking heart. My Sathi's heart. It's not tainted with a husband's arrogance, and that is why it can recognize the purity of Sathi's love. No, Prasuthi, I couldn't have stopped Sathi even if I wanted to. I could not see her suffering for my own selfish sense of pride."
"How dare you!" Prasthuti grabbed her by the wrist. "How dare you doubt my love for my daughter. You will pay for this, Madanike. I swear you will pay-" She stormed out of the room with Madanike in tow. Sathi called out to her, but she didn't stop. Soon after, Revathi came running into the room, drawn by Sathi's calls.
"Sathi, what's going on?"
"M-Madanike," Sathi gasped. "Mother's so angry-you have to stop her, Revathi, you have to stop her b-before-"
"Shh," Revathi whispered, dropping to the ground in front of her. "Calm down, Sathi, please calm down."
"Revathi? What are you doing here?"
"Rohini," Sathi gasped as her sister entered the room. "Please-you have to stop mother-it wasn't Madanike's fault. Please tell her!"
Rohini turned troubled eyes to Revathi, trying to ignore Sathi's cries. "Come, sister, we are leaving for home."
Revathi looked at her, bewildered. "You want to leave Sathi like this? Alone? Caged?"
"Her fate is out of our hands now," Rohini said. She took a deep breath, looking as though she were trying to convince herself more than anyone else. "Chandra is getting anxious to go home. He came to me last night, but I told him to wait until Sathi was better. Well… she's better now, and I can't see my husband unhappy anymore."
"Your husband," Revathi laughed mirthlessly. "He comes to you and not to me because he is your husband and not mine, right?"
"What?" Rohini said, confused. "What are you talking about-"
"Leave, Rohini. Leave with your husband. I'm staying with Sathi."
"What are you saying, Revathi-?"
"Your husband has no place for me in his home, Rohini, and I don't care to outstay my welcome. So please… leave. I wish you both all the happiness in the world, but I can no longer pretend that everything is alright. I can no longer suffer in silence-"
"Suffer in silence? The way you say it, it's as though he ignores you, as though he doesn't care for you at all."
"I don't want to talk about this right now, Rohini, not here," Revathi sighed, looking towards Sathi.
"Well you have to! Tell me, Revathi, is that how you feel? Like he's ignoring you? Or are you just jealous that he loves me so much? Which is it, Revathi? Well?"
"Not. Here," Revathi said again. "Calm yourself, Rohini."
"I won't calm myself because I'm sick of you moping around all the time! If that's how you feel, Revathi, perhaps we should tell father about it-"
"Tell me about what?"
Sathi buried her head in her hands. This can't be happening… this cannot be happening!
"Father, Revathi is refusing to come home with me and Chandra."
Daksh turned to his daughter calmly. "Is that true, Revathi?"
"Yes," Revathi replied simply.
"Have I failed so much as a father?" Daksh asked, looking briefly towards Sathi. "Have I failed to teach any of you what your duty is to your family, to your husband, to your parents-?"
"You should hear our stories before you pass judgment on us, father," Revathi cut him off. Daksh looked to her, surprised, but nodded. "I don't wish to go home with Chandra and Rohini because I have no place there, just as I have no place in his heart. He married me just so he could marry Rohini. All these years, I thought I would be able to make him fall in love with me as well, have him look at me as a wife, but it's never happened father and I am tired. I'm so tired-"
Daksh lifted one hand and silenced her. "Call Chandra to my chambers. Now."
Revathi and Rohini looked to each other before following Daksh out of the room. Sathi watched them leave, horrified. "No! Why is all of this happening?" She whispered as the smoke from the fire filled her lungs. She coughed, knowing that she had to go to her sisters… She had to find Madanike and she had to find her father and she had to set things right. She looked to the line of fire, and wondered what would happen if she were to cross over. Suddenly, Madanike's words from what seemed like an eternity ago came back to her: This love will burn you alive.
"I don't care!" She cried. She had lost her love, lost her family, lost everyone she cared about, and even lost herself. Even while trapped in this cage, she was ruining everyone's lives. She furiously brushed away the tears from her cheeks and squared her shoulders. She would find Madanike, and she would find her sisters, and she would set things straight, she decided. If she burned alive in the process, so be it.
She gasped, startled. Shiva stood across the fire from her, looking furious for the first time since she had known him.
"What do you think you're doing?" He demanded.
"What does it matter to you?" She retorted. "You've made it clear to me that I'm no more important to you than that chair lying in the corner."
Shiva opened his mouth, lost for words. Finally, he said, "Yes, I wouldn't want the chair to burn either."
Sathi did not know whether to laugh or cry and settled with shaking her head instead. "Leave me alone."
"Oh, now you want to talk to me?" Sathi scoffed. "Now you suddenly care about me?"
She raised one hand to silence him. "I cannot waste my time arguing with you. I have to be with my sisters so… get me out of here."
"Get me out of here," Sathi repeated, enunciating every word.
Shiva looked taken aback. "I can't," he said finally.
"You're the great Lord Shiva! You are the creator of the Universe-they say that even an ant doesn't move without your express consent-but you're telling me you can't get me out of this silly cage of fire?"
"That circle was drawn by your father, Sathi. It is not a mere fire for me to quench. I cannot simply disrespect Daksh's powers just so you can walk free once more."
"So you would rather see me die?" Sathi demanded.
"I would rather see you get past this ridiculous infatuation," he sighed, exasperated. "Stop fooling yourself, Sathi-"
"I am sick of everyone ordering me around." Sathi's voice was dangerously low as she said the words, giving even Shiva pause. "Let me out now, or leave me alone to find my own way out."
Shiva looked to her sadly. "I cannot let you out."
Sathi nodded, fisting her hands at her side. "Then don't ever come back. I promise to you now that I will never again be a burden to you, but if I can't have you, then at least let me forget you. Just… go away."
"Is it true?" The room was silent as Daksh looked from one face to the other. He trained on Chandra's in the end. "Well?"
"Yes, it is true," Chandra replied, his shoulders squared. "I love Rohini, my lord. I only married Revathi so I could marry Rohini."
"Chandra!" Prasuthi cried. "How can you be so insensitive? How can you say that when Revathi stands right beside you?"
"It is the truth, mother," Chandra replied passionately. "I cannot take the full blame for this, either. What father forces a man to marry his daughter when his love is for another?"
"The decision to marry her was yours," Prasuthi pointed out. "What, then, is your excuse in ignoring your responsibilities as a husband?"
Revathi shifted uncomfortably. "Father, please-I never intended this to turn into a scene-"
"Didn't you?" Rohini snapped, tears streaming down her face.
"Chandra," Daksha said, cutting them off. "I am giving you one last chance: promise me that you will treat my daughters equally. Promise that you will love them both, and I will forgive you for all of your mistakes."
"I cannot promise that, my lord," Chandra replied defiantly. "I can promise you that I will try to treat them both equally, but you cannot force me to love Revathi. Love does not follow rules or orders. Otherwise, you would have been able to wipe Lord Shiva from Sathi's heart long ago."
"Fool!" Daksh hissed. "I've forgiven many of your mistakes because you are married to my daughters, Chandra, but enough is enough! Ignoring your duties as a husband is as great of a crime as abandoning your wife, and that is a crime I will not forgive. I am cursing you now to a slow and painful death. Let your form wax away till you are nothing but a shadow in the sky-"
"No!" Revathi and Rohini cried as one, but the curse had taken its course. Chandra gasped for air, his body going rigid. He blinked rapidly as crippling pain spread from his gut to every inch of his body. Slowly, he closed his eyes and collapsed to the ground.
"Father, please," Rohini gasped. "Don't do this-
"My lord," Prasuthi said, her eyes wide on the limp form of her son-in-law. "W-What have you done? He couldn't love one of your daughters, so you take him away from both of them?"
Revathi wiped tears from her cheeks and turned to him. "Father, I-I can bear h-him living with Rohini. I can bear n-never being treated as his wife, but I cannot survive this, father. Please! I c-can't live without him!"
"The curse has been given," Daksh said dispassionately. "Chandra must die."