Once upon a time there lived a king named Kosm, to whom glory and might were kind. He ruled over a kingdom so vast that the borders blurred into nothingness and no mortal that ever lived had been able to view all the splendour that lay hidden in the ends of his empire.
King Kosm had sired two baby boys through a nameless woman and in due course of time, they grew up to be fine young men. The princes stood tall and broad, their bodies rippled with muscles that spoke of unimaginable strength.
Though they both looked alike, yet if their charm was to be measured then it was prince Spatius, the elder one who was more becoming than the younger one, prince Maare. So exquisite were the features of the elder prince that any maiden who had set her eyes upon him, used to blush herself into silence. In those days, what went through the minds of the maidens, no one in the kingdom could tell. But it would be fair to suppose that the maidens longed for his company because in his presence their demeanour shifted to a level of coyness that only passion could induce.
The younger son of the king, prince Maare had a fairly charming face as well and unlike his reticent brother, he was eloquent with speech. A maiden who happened to cross the path of prince Maare usually fell for the wizardry of words that he could spin sans much effort.
Prince Spatius was entrusted with the duties of the space while prince Maare was in charge of the oceans. It seemed to an untrained eye that both these young men had an equal chance to succeed king Kosm one day and to inherit the throne. The decision however had been made by their father a long time ago and one of them stood no chance against the other one.
Once the princes came of age their father Kosm sent out ten messengers to go in ten different directions to find out a worthy bride for the future king. It took 5 eons of time for the messengers to complete their arduous task but eventually they found one such maiden called Terra who was not only endowed with bedazzling beauty but was also blessed with a heart that was filled with goodness. King Kosm was pleased with the choice as he could clearly envisage in princess Terra, the bride for his chosen son.
A royal invitation engraved in letters of precious metal was sent away to princess Terra. As King Kosm waited for her to arrive, he decided to send for his prime minister who had always given him wise counsel regarding the affairs of his kingdom. The time to officially coronate the next king was approaching and Kosm needed to work his way out in the presence of a revered minister.
It was for an eon of time that Kosm and the minister discussed the situation and at the end of it, it was decided that prince Spatius was to inherit the kingdom as well as the royal bride Terra. And following the custom of their land, prince Maare will be banished to the ends of the kingdom, to the faraway lands of Obliviana, from where no one could ever return.
For some time king Kosm felt a pain within his chest thinking about the fate of his younger son. But he knew that the kingdom needed a queen who was silent and graceful, nurturing and observant. Prince Spatius brought out these qualities in a maiden while prince Maare was equipped with no worldly wisdom and in his company the maidens seemed to develop a fervour for the wild and the unknown.
King Kosm had made his decision and now he had to play out with care the charade of following the royal protocol to choose the crown prince. For this the coins Lunas and Solis were summoned and soon these coins of great wisdom had been fetched to the king’s court.
“I allot a quarter of an eon to you both to travel and see our kingdom,” bade Kosm to the coins. “Come back wiser before our ceremonial toss.”
Lunas and Solis made good of this opportunity and they travelled far and wide, building new friendships on the way. It was the sight of the two coins making mirth that alerted prince Maare about what was upon him. He had known all along that their father preferred Spatius over him. A sense of foreboding filled him up and he put in his effort to befriend the coins, in the hope of forging the grand decision in his favour. Lunas and Solis were both loyal to Kosm and they cleverly declined to have any association with the princes before their duties were done.
In despair prince Maare mounted his horse and off he rode to the lands where princess Terra lived with her maimed sister Theia. It so happened that prince Maare reached her a little while after the royal proposal from king Kosm had come to Terra.
Prince Maare was received with great hospitality and he took no time to engage in delightful conversations with Terra, who had never heard or seen someone who spoke of all things wondrous, in a beautifully lilting voice. His words soothed her much and even though Terra found him to be wanting in the matters of appearance, she felt herself growing attracted to the young man. Still she held herself restraint and asked prince Maare for his name. The prince cunningly hid his name and only identified himself as the one whose father was the great king Kosm. At this Terra was greatly pleased for it was known to her that she was soon to be betrothed to the son of the great king Kosm.
And in this while there went on huge proceedings in the empire of Kosm to begin the ceremonial toss that would pick their future king. Prince Spatius was bathed and dressed in a raiment that was studded with stones that fell from the space. Prince Maare was not to be seen for a long time and this pleased Kosm to some extent. His waywardness would make him fall in the eyes of the subjects even before the toss had taken place, he thought. Prince Maare managed to present himself on time though; and he was already robed in the finest attire bejewelled with rare rocks from the depths of water.
King Kosm made a great show of blessing both his sons before taking the centre stage. The minister handed to him Lunas, the white son of Fate. Kosm clasped Lunas within right fist and closed his eyes. He urged the coin to show what the heart of the king desired and then, with great reverence, he threw up the holy coin in air. Lunas rolled in air and fell down at the feet of Kosm with a tinkling note that lingered awhile. And from the spot in the ground where Lunas had touched, sprang up a shower of stars to signify the realms ruled by prince Spatius. The verdict was out. Spatius was to be crowned as the next king.
The royal hall reverberated with applause as Prince Spatius stood up, made a measured bow and flashed a matching smile to all those who had cared to come. Prince Maare bowed down right to the ground in obeisance and to all it seemed like he felt no grief for the misfortune that had come his way.
The toss of the golden son of Fate, Solis was to be held in the next epoch of time and both the coins were allowed more time to explore the kingdom and to keep themselves merry. Now the toss of Solis had no practical significance in the court of Kosm because Solis was supposed to reveal and reiterate what Lunas had already shown. Not once in the previous ceremonies had Solis broken this convention and none had ever expected him to do so.
However this time a distraught princess Terra found out that she was to be wedded not to the prince who had taken her heart but to the brother of the same. And this became the sole reason for her to go twelve times around Solis, requesting him to show the name of prince Maare when his turn to toss came. Solis refuted to disobey the king each time so while going around him for the thirteenth time Terra put a spell on Solis that altered his mind.
The toss of Solis was inaugurated amidst much fanfare. This was to declare the prince who will be father to the future rulers of the kingdom. Thus it was obvious that this toss would elect the same prince who would be getting the kingdom and the chosen bride. Kosm spun the golden coin up in air without any fear or worry in his heart.
Solis turned in air for a dozen times before falling down at the feet of Kosm at the thirteenth turn. A spring of water began to gush out from the place symbolizing prince Maare as the father of the future children of the land.
Absolute silence fell upon the court of Kosm and all turned their heads towards the king seeking reason and meaning of what they had witnessed.
King Kosm never had to face defiance ever and he stood there seething in rage at what seemed to be treachery by Solis. Solis shook in fear as he came to terms with the damage that Terra’s spell had bidden him to bring about.
“It is princess Terra’s doing,” explained Solis to Kosm.
“I command you to take your place in the realm of Spatius,” pronounced King Kosm. “You will burn for eons of time and provide for princess Terra at whose bidding you chose to betray me.”
“Lunas, my faithful coin will be placed in the same realm,” continued the king. “And he will glow with loveliness in the sky without having to burn himself out so that you can see him each day and repent your act of silliness.”
When princess Terra found out what sentence had befallen upon Solis, she took mercy upon him and vowed to go around Solis for as long as she would be there. Thereafter she added that if she were ever lucky to have children of her own, she would make them revere Solis and place him at a rank higher than that of Lunas.
Solis and Lunas took their positions in the sky as decreed by the king and it was time for Kosm to put things in order by announcing the royal wedding.
Prince Maare and princess Terra waited with hope but it was with prince Spatius that the wedding of Terra was fixed. Lunas and Solis were the children of fate and none could alter what they had already pronounced. At this point prince Maare left the royal court and for an epoch of time he lost himself in the forests of the far east where grapevines of the wilderness gave him shelter and food. And since then men, spurned in love, have often turned to seek solace in the sweetness offered by the fruits of the wonder vine.
King Kosm knew that he would not be able to banish prince Maare to Obliviana for it would mean a barren future for his own bloodline. At length it was decided that prince Maare could stay in the kingdom if a maiden chose to take the curse upon herself. Princess Theia, the maimed sister of Terra, came forward proclaiming her desire to offer herself as a sacrifice to the cause of the one she loved dearly. The curse, thus deflected, crushed Theia into myriad pieces which prince Maare garlanded together by a drop of his own tear and put them as a decorative wreath around Solis.
The royal wedding took place amidst much grandeur and king Kosm did all that he could to canopy the tension that brewed in the minds of his subjects. Prince Spatius ascended the throne and his new queen Terra took place by him. It was time for all to bestow their love and blessings upon the couple while prince Maare hid himself away in the crevices of the empire.
Terra and Spatius began their wedded life although the new queen had Maare in her heart. But as time passed, she slowly began to be charmed by the fetching looks of her husband. And for eons they made love and the flames of their fierce passion could be seen from all corners of Kosm’s empire. This pleased the ageing Kosm hugely as he was expecting the news of a grandchild to happen defying the prophecy of Solis. However no child was ever born to the couple and after a few epochs had passed, their passion began to wane as well. Terra, once again, began to long for the one she had loved at first, Maare.
King Kosm would have never allowed Maare to be the husband of Terra but it was his good old minister who brought him to senses. It was time, he said, to allow Maare and Terra to live as a wedded couple. Maybe then, there will be children born of them, who will continue the bloodline of Kosm.
So it was decreed that king Spatius would remain the ruler of the kingdom yet he would give up his bride to his brother Maare. Terra and Maare began to live together as one and soon life began to stir in the womb of Terra. Grandchildren of Kosm were born and they proliferated fast, nourished by their kind parents.
Spatius who now was the mighty ruler of the empire of Kosm was angry at the betrayal and a terrible curse he hurled upon his own brother and wife. It was pronounced that doom shall be brought upon Terra and Maare by the life born out of their love.
At this Terra and Maare trembled and hugged each other tighter. Kosmic curses cannot be avoided, they knew. Ever since, their love has grown only stronger, for they know in the epochs to come they will witness their inevitable fall, in the hands of their own children.
Photo By: Gerd Altmann
This is an entry from team viibrant Quillers for ArttrA-3, A Game of Writers co-sponsored by Diners Club International.
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