June 18, 2009 § 8 Comments
He woke up in his chambers. He sat up on his bed. Bones creaked. He felt old. He looked at himself in the mirror as he got up from the bed. He smiled. Perhaps the only time he would smile in he entire day. He knew he had along day ahead of him. There would be the court, the war briefings, the planning sessions, the training. There was a war coming. And he had to be a part of it.
He’d rather not. Who wants to fight against one’s own kin anyways? Kids he’d practically raised were going to fight a war against each other. He’d tried to stop them, to see reason. But they wouldn’t listen. He was going to see most of his family wiped out by the end of the battle, if he lived till the end of it. Such was his destiny, he was sure he’d live through the war, if only to bear the agony of a thousand deaths inflicted on him.
He’d endured worse in his life though. Born to a human father and a mother who was a Goddess, he’d been destined to live a life of suffering. He’d heard this all his life, spoken by the storytellers and sung by the balladeers. But even they knew only a fraction of the many terrible decisions he had had to make through the course of his life.
One of which was the awfully terrible oath he’d had to take, just so that his father could marry some princess fisherman’s daughter* he’d fancied. He had decided to take the oath to be celibate all his life, just so that his father could have a go at creating babies with that girl. He chuckled at the thought.
Terrible oath to take that. Really. Imagine being hit on by women all through your life, but knowing that you cannot respond in kind. Ever. Not that he’d never thought of it, but he had a promise to keep. And real men never break a promise. He wished he could be a fake man, just for five minutes, so that he could break the promise. He chuckled at his own(rather bad) joke.
Speaking of women, and being hit on, he wondered if Amba’s reincarnation would be present in this war. If it was, then his time was up. Lord Shiva had himself granted her the boon that her reincarnation would be the cause of his death. And all this because he’d refuse to marry her. She was very good looking, come to think of it. And he had actually fought for her hand in marriage at the swayamvar. So that his brother could marry her. Why the hell did he end up doing things so that others could get laid? Damn that stupid oath.
A messenger has come to see you, your highness. Lord Bhishma will be with you shortly, he could hear the servant tell the visitor. Bhishma, the name sounded weird on his tongue. Like something alien. He’d never been able to get used to it. His name was Devavrath, but hardly anybody remembered his real name anymore. Everybody called him Bhishma. He of the terrible oath.
*subsequent to mrinal’s correction