Chaturmukha Part 3 - mRdayopaliptaM
Chapter Six - The Master, The Monkey and The Monster
If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong. - Secret Life of Water (2005) by Masaru Emoto (1943 – 2014)
Day Zero Four - Where Waves Go To Die (part 1/3)
The buzz of Ganesha Shanka woke up Rana. The previous night, he was convinced by Nobleman and Yesodha Putran to take rest and he had slept inside the pavilion. The trio had worked over the night on several attack and defense strategies to push back the enemies stationed at the gate, but none seemed to work as they willed. Several military models was scattered on the floor illustrating the air of frustration that had occupied the cloth room, which were sent flying to the corners by Rana's feet when he hurried towards the exit.
Nobleman and Yesodha Putran were also startled by the early wakeup call. Getting outside, they were stunned to witness the grand armored elephant units of Kottaipattinam being moved from the camp into the defense zone by Sultan and his merchants. The herd was followed by several camel driven chariots, inside which an archer and a spearmen stood behind the charioteer. The center was crowded with foot soldiers of different military class, who were jogging to get into a configuration. The ground archers, all the four divisions, were positioned at six points outside the infantry unit. Kacha moved around on his horse verifying the newly installed siege weapons positioned between the swordsmen and the bowmen. Huge bags, their mouth tied with a rope, were attached to the wooden barricade at regular intervals. Kanakavalli and Kali were examining the giant balloons. The barracks were packed with soldiers and the arrow firing catapults were operational. The watch towers and the forefront of the defense zone looked deserted.
Rana saw Sena holding on to Ganesha Shanka in his right hand. Sena's eyes held a deep calmness when he supervised the assembly of the Empires United army before him.
"Padma Vyuha", Yesodha Putran whispered, overwhelmed with surprise. Nobleman watched the men and the animals walking together in harmony. Vadhana, accompanied by Swathi and Swetha, joined the trio. The Queen of Kottaipattinam, through a slight eye movement, directed her two bodyguards to join Kanakavalli.
The Chief of the Allied Forces looked ahead of him under the semi dark sky. The dim light from the torches elaborated the new structure that the enemies were building over Karmegha. The war elephants were replaced by two different types of siege weapons. Men who resembled deformed monsters, substituted the horse cavalry. A pack of infantry unit stood around guarding the battering rams. Rana used his telescope and counted a dozen of demolishers ready to be dashed on to the barricade walls. A captain stood beside each battering ram commanding a small unit.
"Urmi Vyuha", Rana heard Nobleman utter a mild cry.
Further from the huge army, similar set of enemy soldiers were gathered near Vettaiyan Palace - the reinforcement units. Rana turned his telescope and zoomed on Fort Ayan. There were vigorous activities on top of the stronghold happening around Cannon Vettai. He returned his sight towards the palace and identified a fast movement behind the corridors. The image appeared and disappeared behind pillars, and finally came to stop beside The General. Rana watched the Emperor's army commander saluting Vettaiyan, who had arrived to witness the event, which was presumed to be the last day of the Battle of Karmegha.
The General looked confident about the victory. His strategy was to allow the enemy to barricade themselves, permitting themselves to be locked inside a self-made prison considering it as their fortification. The enemy crowed at a single place was an easy target to be mowed down by his strategic military formation Urmi Vyuha. The escape routes between the hills were closed down by blocking it with huge rocks dropped from a manmade rockslide. The remaining enemies will be forced to cross Karmegha and escape to the harbor through the second path situated beside Fort Ayan. Cannon Vettai will be activated to crush the fleeing army. It was clear that The General had planned Karmegha to be the last resting place for anyone and everyone who was an enemy to his motherland.
The Vettaiyan Palace started its preparations for the day of battle by blowing the trumpets. Rana descended from the pavilion’s platform and jogged towards Sena. Nobleman and Yesodha Putran stood watching the massive and heavily equipped Emperor's army assembling on Karmegha to ravage the Empires United camp site.
The Commander and his deputies of the Empires united assembled around Sena who knelt down on his knee and using Arha's pointed tip, he drew wavelike shapes on the ground, which were arranged one behind the other. There were seven wavelike design before the group. Sena marked a cross on the crest, the highest point of the wave and drew a tiny straight line intersecting the trough, the lowest part of the wave.
Pointing at the crest, Sena briefed the commanders around him, "Siege weapons." Tapping on the line he said, "Battering rams". He, then, drew a bigger wave further from the group of smaller ones and said, "Re-enforcement units."
Sena tapped the first four waves one after the other with Arha and placing the tip of Arha on the fourth one, he announced, "Under no circumstance, the fourth enemy attack unit should be neutralized." He lifted his head and made eye contact with the commanders, "We shall keep on defending only the first three lines of attacks by allowing them to charge at us, thus, we make sure the other enemy units behind these three are blocked by their own soldiers. These units are well packed that we will have enough time to hold them back creating a defensive human wall with attacking soldiers themselves. We must find a balance between our attack and defense."
Sena lifted his head and passed his orders, "The archers shall slow down the enemies by injuring them. The siege weapons will damage the enemy’s ballistic devices. The infantry will neutralize the aggressors who manage to break our barriers and the chariots well mediate between these classes. Elephant cavalry shall intervene only as the final defense measure."
The Second in Command of the Empire’s united took a deep breath and then, emptied his lungs, "Our attack and defense should resemble the techniques of breathing." He took a serious tone and said, "Even if a single unit penetrates our defense, then, it’s the end to what we are fighting for. With our leader’s camps just across the defense zone, the enemies will return back claiming their victory."
Sena looked at Rana and said, "Someone should be nearer to the Queen to safeguard and secure her if the Empires United defense falls." Rana nodded his head affirmatively.
The commanders walked close to the barricade gate together. Kacha kept his eyes on the pale skined giants waiting beyond the gate.
"Are they monsters ?", Kacha questioned innocently, "Large eyes, flat nose, pale skinned, well built looking scary with their sharp canine teeth. Never have I seen them before."
"Nature", Sena replied. "Environment contributes to variations in humans."
"Ayus", Rana announced the name of clan of giant men. "They are the primitive tribes who live in the caves around Kalingapuri. Ayus are very gentle beings. They have no language and believe the Mountains as their God, as the hills shelter them from the sun. They are the Guardians of the Forest and are just like any of us. Survival made them the best mace and spear wielders."
"They lived for long inside the caves", Sena continued, "and their skin became pale. Due to lack of light their eyes are unnervingly large to adapt inside the darkness, causing their foreheads to be broad. The nose bridge is absent, and they breathe through nostrils punctured on their flat face. Their big ears provide them with excellent auditory senses."
"Ayus are very rare tribes who are now salved by the Prince of Kalingapuri. Before the Mahendrans, Ayus and the people of Kallingapuri practiced barter system and dwelled together in peace. Raja Mahendran, upon the instructions from the Emperor, started to loot the richness from the jungles. He captured the resisting Ayus tribe and enrolled them in the military, but treated them as salves. This is their first fight, but certainly not for their freedom", Sena concluded.
... to be continued ...