Mount Kaaf

  • 17 Nov - 23 Nov, 2018
  • Nadeem Alam
  • Fiction

Eva was packing her stuff. She was in a hurry as just few minutes were left before the portal gets closed and love of his life departs. She must make it in time as this portal appears once in every ten years for one moon cycle only. She did not want to miss this opportunity. She had promised Anatoly that she would join him and was now getting panicky. She looked at the clock and picked up the small bag. Her wings had been taken away as she had won her case in the King’s court to go to the human world. She ran to the door. The portal was located in the back garden of the palace and she knew she would make it there in time as she started running down stairs. She did not notice the loose carpet piece on the third stair. As she stepped on it, she went tumbling down the next 15 stairs. Before she closed her eyes, she saw Jacqueline standing behind the far pillar with a mean smile on her face.

Eva was the youngest and prettiest daughter of the King Louis of the Fairy Land. She was the King’s favourite too as King never refused anything she had ever asked. All her other sisters were jealous of her. Jacqueline was the eldest and meanest of all. Eva never paid much attention to her. She lived in her own dream world and always talked of going onto the human land whenever the portal would open and it was to open very soon. Twenty years ago, her aunt Eva went across into the human world and had never returned back. She was named after the same aunt and now she wanted to go across too.

The portal had opened in the back garden of the King’s palace. It would remain open for a full moon cycle and only male fairies were permitted to go across and fetch Synomi plant which was found in the human world. This plant grew on top of the frozen mountains and was considered as a basic medicine in the fairy land. It was used in the treatment of all kinds of their illnesses. Male fairies would go across the portal and then fly to the mountain tops. They would collect this mushroom like plant and store it for their use in next ten years. In the beginning of the fourth quarter of moon cycle, a small group of fairies led by Hector came out of the portal which was hidden in the center of a large crevice on Mount Kaaf. As they were about to fly out, they noticed a human body lying behind a stone. Hector approached him very carefully and found Anatoly who had slipped into the crevice and was now unconscious. Hector was the only son of King Louis and was known for his bravery and kindness. He could not leave Anatoly there unattended. He made another fairy in charge of the group and sent them up the crevice to fetch the mushrooms. He then picked up Anatoly on his shoulders and walked back into the portal.

Anatoly opened up his eyes and found himself lying on a very big and comfortable bed. It seemed like a palace room as it was decorated heavily and gave a very elegant look. He tried to get up but was unable to move due to a broken hip bone. He felt a sting in his spine and a sheer pain in his legs. From the corner of his eyes he saw a beautiful creature looking towards him. She was hiding behind a curtain with only her face appearing from a side. She looked familiar to Anatoly. As he turned his head towards her, she disappeared completely behind the curtain.

After sometime, another person entered the room and walked up to Anatoly. He was now fully awake but helpless as he could not move. He again tried to get up but was signalled by the incoming creature to remain still. This creature looked just like humans but with a big stature and wings. He was Hector who had carried Anatoly from the crevice into the fairy world and brought him to the palace. The King was not happy nor were the other elders. An immediate council meeting was called upon and it was proposed to throw the man back in the crevice before he comes to his senses and sees anything in the Fairy Land. Eva was against it. She stood up and defended the full recovery of Anatoly before sending him back.

Thimoksi, head of the warrior fairies asked, “Why should we treat a human whose king has hunted us in the past and brought us near to extinction till three thousand years ago, the great Priest saved us and hid the Fairy Land under the Mount Kaaf?”

Everyone was quiet till Eva spoke, “Because this man had saved me.”

There was a sudden uproar in the hall. Everyone was talking. Someone shouted, “She is a liar.”

Hector got up from his seat. The hall fell silent. King Louis watched anxiously at his only son. Hector looked around with grace, walked slowly to his sister and placed his hand on her shoulder and said, “She is telling the truth.”

There was a loud mumbling. The King raised his hand and the hall got quiet. He then asked, “Hector, you know female fairies cannot go out of the portal. The spell would not allow them to leave till we remove their wings. Your sister still has her wings.”

Hector looked towards the king and with sadness in his voice said,

“I know father, I had carried her on my back.”

King watched his only son in disbelief as he kept revealing the details.

“My beloved sister wanted to see the Kaaf. It was the only thing she had ever asked me and I could not refuse it. I knew about one loophole in the portal spell. On the very first day when the portal opened, I took her to the portal garden. I had already managed to get my trusted fairies as portal guards. I picked her on my shoulders and we passed through the portal. We flew up the crevice and reached to top of the mountain.”

Everyone held their breath as Hector continued with his confession.

“As we were flying around, strong wind started blowing which very quickly got converted into a blizzard. Before I could tell her to move back to portal, she disappeared into the snow storm. I descended into the crevice and waited for the storm to subside. It was only after eight hours that the blizzard ended and I got out of the crevice and went up the mountain. I looked for her everywhere in next two days and was finally able to find a trail of some kind near the base of Kaaf. I followed the trail and reached in the town of Murmansk where I discovered her lying injured in a room. This man, who is now on our mercy, was her saviour. I waited outside for another two days to find an opportunity to get her out of there. I did not want the man to see me. This man looked after my sister very well. He fixed her wing and provided her with every necessary medication. He did not even sleep for two days and when he did, I sneaked into the room and picked my sister and flew back here.”

Everyone was listening with interest as Hector turned to the king, bowed his head and said, “It’s my fault, my king. It was me who violated the rules and took Eva out of the fairy world and then brought back a human into our world. It is me who should be punished. My sister and this human are innocent.”

There was a huge uproar in the hall again. Everyone was speaking. There were many voices demanding Hector’s head. They were calling him traitor. The king rose from his throne and there was suddenly a pin drop silence. The king spoke with a firm voice.

“Hector be arrested till final decision. In the meantime, Eva will look after this human in the same way he looked after her. All necessary medication be provided to the human and he should be treated well.”

There were still five days before rising of the new moon which will close the portal. Eva spent that time looking after Anatoly. His broken bones were fixed. The mushroom medicine had a magical healing effect. Anatoly was walking on his feet on the last day. He was not permitted to go out of the room. He was provided with everything he required in the room which was heavily guarded. Eva stayed in the room all those days and nights. She knew him to be her hero and fell in love with the simplicity of this human. Anatoly told her the story of his father and mother. He told her everything about himself and the purpose of his adventure to Mount Kaaf. Anatoly was already in love with her from the moment he had seen her lying on the snow near the base camp during his first trip. He knew it was not dream then and he knew it is not a dream now. He was in a real mystical world. They both had decided to go together across the portal. She knew her wings will be cut off but she was ready for it. All her sisters were opposed to her decision but she had already told that to the king and to the elders in the council meeting.

Today was the decision day. Anatoly was waiting in his room desperately. The portal was to close down in few hours. Guards were told to take him to portal before its closing and force him to go out whether Eva comes or not.

Everyone had gathered in the hall. Hector had confessed his crime and a decision was to be taken about his punishment. Eva wanted to go with the human to the outside world. The portal closing time was coming very fast. A decision was to be taken soon. All the elders could not agree on the same verdict so it was decided to take a vote. To everyone’s surprise there were equal votes for and against letting the Eva go. The final vote rested with the king. He looked at his both beloved son and daughter, and then spoke with a drained voice.

“I have taken thousands of decisions in my life but I have never been burdened so much. My heart aches and my brain is numb. I am asked to choose the type of a death for my only son. And I am asked to decide to cut the wings of my sweet daughter and let her go out of my sight, out of this world forever or force her to stay here with a broken heart.”

The king paused for a while, looked around helplessly and spoke again.

“It makes me sad. I wish I had my queen alive who could have consoled me and advised me to the right decision. I am unable to decide for myself.”

The king then looked up and with a forceful voice declared,“With the power vested in me by the God, I renounce my kingship and pass on my right of rule to my only son. It is time to meet my queen again.”

With this, the king removed his crown, stepped down from the throne. The hall was stunned. They knew that the kingship could only be transferred with death of the present king. Everybody saw in disbelief as the king took out his knife and took his life.

Hector was chained yet he ran to his father, dragging the guards with him. Eva was already there holding the king’s hand and was crying out loud in pain. The dying king handed over the crown to Hector and told him to rule with kindness and then closed his eyes. Hector held the dead king’s head in his hands when the Priest walked up to him. He took the crown from Hector’s hands, looked at the mesmerised hall and placed the crown on Hector’s head. The guards freed him from chains. Hector slowly placed his father’s head on ground and stood up. He then walked up to the throne and looked at his sister who was still holding his father’s hand and crying. Hector then spoke with a somber voice.

“Decision about my crimes as prince will be decided later. Now as your king my first responsibility is to decide the fate of my sister Eva. I vote for her to go with the human.”

There was a little hush and murmurs in the crowd.

“Her wings should be taken off immediately and she be allowed to go.”

Portal closing time was approaching fast. Eva’s wings had been removed. She ran to her room to take some things as she was going away for good. She ran down the stairs and stumbled. Anatoly was forced out of the portal without Eva.

Eva woke up after few hours and tried to remember as to what had happened. As she recalled the events, she got up from the bed and looked at the clock. Her sister Beth told her that Anatoly had gone. They forced him out. She now had to wait for next ten years to go to his world. She had no wings and no life. Ten years seemed like a life time. Once again she was standing in front of the portal. She had to take a step forward. She had to go and look for Anatoly in Murmansk from where she may get his address. Would he still be alive? Would he still be waiting for her? She thought for a while. Ten years is a long time and humans are different. She was a fairy locked in the world of her dreams. He was a human, unpredictable. She had to know it for herself. She looked back at his brother, King Hector, who with a smile on his face nodded and asked her to step forward. She closed her eyes and hesitantly stepped into the portal. She emerged on the other side in the crevice. Her eyes were closed but she smelled a familiar scent. She opened her eyes in an instant and found Anatoly sitting on his knee with a broad smile on his face and with a ring in his hand. He got up and took Eva in his arms. King Hector followed them from the portal and flew them to Murmansk. Road to St. Petersburg was clear and defined.