He walked through the narrow pavements of the cemetery. The morning winds were so cold and sharp and they cut like a sword freshly sharpened with a whetstone. Among the many bodies that lay beneath the ground was his father’s. He wondered what the old man could have thought of the man he had become at this very moment. He probably wouldn’t have liked it. At his deathbed, he had beseeched him to take care of her two little sisters. He had gripped his arm strongly with the last of his waning strength and restated to him that he must never leave their side. Mycah was in tears all the while. More tears flowed from his eyes as he watched breath being literally sucked out of his beloved father in those final moments. He had known no father apart from Merak.
He never had a mother. His childhood memories were so dim and void of any feminine presence. As a young kid, he had missed crucial motherly guidance that the kids from the neighboring huts took for granted. At some point he tried probing his father in an attempt to know more. It was only natural for him to be curious. Anyone in his position could have been. But all his attempts were futile and met a dead end. It’s a subject that old Merak often preferred not to talk about. His trademark answer was that ‘some things are best left unknown in this life son’. And now he was gone too. Dead. He carried all the answers with him to the grave and left Mycah with more questions. He also left him with two small twin girls to take care of. The previous night, before his death, he had shown up with the girls from nowhere. The only thing he said was that ‘these pretty angels are your sisters. You must always take care of them.’ Nothing more was added.
That was one of the strangest nights in the fifteen years that Mycah had lived. He wanted to ask where the kids were from or who their mother was or how he managed to sneak them into the compound unseen but he didn’t. He knew his father too well and he knew that he would never find an answer from him no matter what. Besides, the girls were so pretty and beautiful with infectious smiles that could win the soul of any true heart. Their emerald eyes shone like gold coins in the summer sun. A huge task of raising them lie ahead. But with such softness that they brought to Mycah’s heart, that wouldn’t be any challenge at all. He could already see himself taking them around the yard when no one was watching. He would do so secretly because twins were viewed as bad omen in the community and any word to the king or his aides would warrant their execution at the Red Bay.
A week after the death of Merak, things fell apart for Mycah. The gods seemed to have abandoned him or so he thought. It was impossible for him to determine how word got around till it reached the king’s council and a decision was made to send armed warriors their way. At the first knock, he tried as much as he could to cover the babies with the hides that lay idle around the left corner of their hut but their cries betrayed him. Their innocent cries. He had named them Minara and Monati after the heroines in his favorite sing ‘Down with the Dynasties.’ Minara had big pretty eyes with soft cheeks that easily turned red when she was angry at some thing or when she was crying. She cried a lot. She was the eldest of the twins. Monati, on the other hand, was a quiet girl. She seemed to be always void of worries and stress. As young as she was, she never cried when she was hungry. She could slowly crawl around sending signals to the ever-weary Mycah that she needed to be fed.
That snowy evening, the blood hungry warriors knocked down the door in one swoop and kicked Mycah out of the way landing him against the weak muddy walls of the hut. He felt a sharp pain in his spine but that was nothing compared to seeing his two little angelic sisters in the hands of the bloodhounds. As he rose on his feet against notwithstanding the pain, another blow landed on his already teary face. He groaned in pain but remained determined to follow them. He knew that they were headed for the Red Bay. That was the designated place for all executions. It was named so because of the blood that spilled there on many occassions. The kingdom had laws some of which were very extreme. Amongst the laws, was one that stated that is someone gave birth to twins the only option would be to keep one and throw the other into the clear waters of River Lanisa that flowed towards the West. Failure to abide by the law would warrant banishment of the offender from the community and a death sentence on the twins.
Some people had pleaded with the king and his counsels to do away with the law to no avail. The chief priest, Musolo, who was one of the high ranking advisors of the King emphasized that the gods would rein severe curses on the community if they tolerated the idea of raising twins in any of the households of the eleven communities that formed the kingdom. In fact none of the council members tolerated the pleas from some members of the communities who highlighted the harshness of the laws. So many people had been killed at the Red Bay. Apart from young twins who were found, murderers, rapists and thieves are some of the miscreants whose blood had now dried at the place.Mycah had somehow managed to limp his way to the bay. When he reached, a crowd had gathered already. It was a cold evening and the snow clouded his vision a little. He squeezed his way through the people standing by. On a different day, he could have paid attention to the sour smells and odors that emanated from their bodies. Not today. Today, he was in writhing pain. Both physical pain and emotional pain. His emotional pain by far outweighed the physical pain though. He knew he was going to lose Minara and Monati to the sharp steel sword of Sandora, the cold-eyed executioner. As he struggled to find his way barefoot, he stepped on the grounds of dried blood and stunted grass. He stopped a few meters away from the high grounds.
On the high grounds of the place, the king sat on his traditional silvery chair. His members of the council stood with their grim faces behind him. On his left was the wife, the queen. She wore a smug look of disgust to the people around. Without wasting much time, King Serath quieted the crowd with his hoarse voice and passed the sentence as was required of him. Mycah felt a terrible kind of weakness in his legs. His head became extremely dizzy in light of the ensuing circumstances. As the king finished his rehearsed death pronouncements, Sandora moved closer and held the tiny body of Minara on his left hand. In one swing of his bright steel sword he chopped off the baby’s head like one would cut a fresh ripe tomato into two. The innocent baby’s head fell on the ground with a thud as blood oozed profusely from his torso into the ground. At that very moment Mycah’s now weak and wobbly legs gave in and he fainted away on his back.
Monati faced the same wrath. Poor sweet little girl. At the time of her death, she was oblivious of all that was happening. Her salivary thumb remained in immersed in her mouth even as the cold executioner held her mercilessly with his left hand. The people who had gathered around looked at the baby with sympathetic eyes. In all the deaths they had witnessed at the bay, none had touched them like that. A silent one. Poor child never knew what was coming. And when that thing came, it detached her tiny head from her naked body.
When Mycah woke up several hours later that day, he wept for the two little angels. He wept for his father. He had failed him greatly. He remembered the solemn vow he had made to protect them as he she more tears. He crept closer to the two little corpses. The sight terribly disgusted him. For a moment he was raged at the people who came and witnessed the massacres conducted at this place. He was outraged by the fact that none of them cared to stand up to the rogue leaders and revolt against their stupid laws. His heart had a raging fire. He was possessed by a certain kind of anger that he never imagined could ever exist within him. The tears in his eyes had now been frozen by the cold temperatures. The blood from the torsos had stopped oozing and clotted. Slowly, he staggered away with a certain kind of renewed urgency. He had just remembered that in exactly forty eight hours his banishment would be eminent. The same strong and blood hungry warriors that had been sent for the twins would be coming for him if he didn’t leave within that period. He had no intention of waiting to be physically ejected by those monsters. So he hurried himself to the house and packed a few things before heading for the community graveyard where the corpse of his father rested. He had to say his goodbyes before starting his unknown journey to an unknown destination.
And now he stood by his father’s grave for a moment that seemed like forever. As he wallowed away from the place that early morning, his mind could think of nothing but retribution. He wanted to give all those who had done him wrong a taste of their medicine. He wanted to have them by his hands and literally squeeze blood out of them. He reached River Lanisa by daylight and made a shaft out of the trees that lay idle around before sailing westwards without any slightest idea of where he was going.
Many years later he would be found with a dagger in his right hand by the king’s bedside at midnight. Unknown to the warriors who guard the palace, he had sneaked back into the community and monitored all the security protocols that existed at the place. He had learnt all the vulnerabilities and the weakest links before slipping past the sleepy guards one night. That day, he looked at the man lying in his king size bed and scratched him on the leg in a bid to wake him up. After he woke, Mycah gave him a wretched smile and cunningly asked him “Remember me?” Before the old king could even give an answer Mycah struck his stomach with the curved and sharp dagger he was holding on the right hand. He told him “this is for Minara” as the man groaned in excruciating pain. Before long he struck again on the chest and said “this is for my sweet Monati.” At this point, the blood was furiously trickling into the sheets as some flowed on the floor. He then gave him the last strike on the throat while staring into his rheumy eyes and told him “this is for the pain you’ve caused me and all others at the Red Bay.” The old man died at the instant.
As one of the warriors rushed into the room having heard something like a cry, he found Mycah carrying a crescent-shaped dagger that was covered with blood. In an instant he signaled the others who came in to the horrific sight of redness all over. Instinctively, they rained their arrows on Mycah. But Mycah was not afraid of death. In his mind, he died the day the twins were killed. Nothing scared him anymore. As he fell on his back with seven arrows stuck on his chest, his life flashed before him. He remembered his dull childhood days and the lone worrisome face that his father wore for most of his days. He thought about their small hut. As small and muddy as it was, it was all they had ever known. It was home for them. Then the memories of the twin came by and he shed a tear. Probably the last time he would do that. He was glad that he had got them justce. Before killing the king, he had slit the throats of all the council members that very night. A slight smile showed on his face for the first time in a very long time. Then his eyes closed and he was gone.