Three Ladies and a Stone (Part 4)

OFF: This is not a challenge post, but one of the storyline continuance. This takes Avakhon from his time before he arrives with his audience to the Queen. He has been shown to the audience room. As he enters the room, the Queen enters from a side door hidden by tapestry.

"Mister Khinsharri, I trust you were not followed. This matter is of the utmost importance and the Crown has once more need of the special talents only one such as you possesses. I would not have called you forth, had it not been of desperation and sincere desire to see this matter resolved post haste. I have been made acquainted with your special skills. Until this moment I would not have believed it possible. How is it that you are as old as they have told me?" and she looks at him in disbelief, hoping he will reveal to her the mystery of his being.
"MY age is of no consequence, your majesty, and is not why you summoned me here. I have an idea of its purpose but will allow you to elucidate me further, your highness." with this he touches his mask, slightly tipping it as he would a hat towards her.
"No matter, and you are correct, my curiosity got the better of me. My reason for summoning you here is such. You are no doubt aware of the disappearances of gentlemen and ladies of questionable repute in our fair city?" she says hoping to bring forth some form of empathy from him.
"One can hardly walk the streets these days without hearing people speak of such things, your majesty. While I am not in the direct business of such matters, I have heard stories of many reasons for these things to occur. Some more fantastic than any others. Everything from a madman barber to an animal of unknown origins, to one whose credentials are above reproach.
ALL of these rumors are unfounded as yet, and I have been hired by a few clients to find those lost to them. My previous services to the Crown notwithstanding, as a loyal subject of her majesty's, I am yours to command."
"I can see the Royal Marines have trained you well, albeit in a somewhat irregular fashion for a lowly Sargent aren't you Sir? I would have thought your length of service and such a distinguished one at that would have seen you an officer of some prestige by now. Pray that you did not find it worthy to serve in this capacity?" she looks upon the mask and wonders if that is the reason for his failure to achieve a higher rank.
"MY terms of service are not all as they appear, your highness, as my . . . ummm for lack of better terminology, rank does not indicate my form or terms of service. I am unsure IF
her majesty is aware of what I truly am . . ."
"My aides have informed me that you are a servant and nothing more, is there something I
should know about you Mister Khinsharri?" and she stands defiantly looking at him and watches his movements very carefully. This moment he dreads more than any other in his life or lack thereof.
"Would that I could say it is a thing not to worry yourself over, your majesty, but such is not the case. Perhaps a brief lesson in history would be best to allow you to absorb what it is that I am. You no doubt know of the struggles for India nearly 40 years ago, shortly after your ascension to the throne. That and it's surrounding areas, Burma, Bangladesh and Pakistan are highly volatile colonies even now. While they are not as yet formed into such countries, they are regions of dispute among even those who reside there."
"So far Mister Khinsharri, you've NOT told me anything I didn't already know about.
YOU said that you were going to reveal to me something that I needed to know." he can see her patience is running thin and he has but a few brief moments to convince her to listen to his story.
"I beg your indulgence just a few minutes more your highness. As I said, these things you know of already. What you are unaware of is the lengths to which the East India Trading Company went to try and stop the Crown from acquiring these regions. There were many . . . arrangements made with the locals for weapons, arms and soldiers to be used against the Crown. One such were the Khinsha. Deadly jungle fighters who were likened unto ghosts by those they had faced, as it seemed they would be wounded, they were perfectly fine within a few minutes, only to return and kill many of our own soldiers in that area. Our losses were nearly insurmountable and our commanders were almost willing to leave the area completely alone and allow them to be free of your rule and on their own. I say almost persuaded until. . . .
One day a man came into our camp, we drew upon him and fired our weapons. He fell, then just like that he arose once more, but unlike the previous batttles wherein he killed the entire squadron, he simply stood there, dusted off his uniform and spoke perfect English to our Captain. He went into the Command tent, spent nearly three hours there and then left. He returned the next day with two local Shaman, asked of our Captain for 5 of our recently deceased soldiers. He was appalled at the request, but agreed as he had no way to defeat these Khinsha. After a few minutes, and some odd incantations, the dead men arose and began to act as if nothing had ever happened to them. The Captain was astounded, to say the least, as one of those among them was our Major who had fallen just three days earlier to one of their attacks.
When asked what manner of madness this was, they simply pointed to him and said
Thus they went about reviving the dead, as many as they could find and even those they dug up were tried. After five days we were at over 500 strong, and as such we were able to defeat those whom we came up against. And seemingly we were also able to withstand the same things they were. The Khinsha finally surrendered as we weren't able to beat them and they couldn't rout us either now. A truce was declared and the Crown was recognized after all this time at war with them. The representatives from the East India Trading Company were found crucified with their entrails strung out and lying all along the trails, as a sign of the people's refusal to allow them to be used as pawns any longer."
"That Sargent is a dreadful tale indeed, but how does that pertain to YOU?" she asks once more.
"I was ONE of those brought back from the dead. My remains were uncovered and they used my bones for a service to revive hundreds more. You see I am the original Khinsha . . . And YES, my age is over 760 years old." then he stood there holding his mask before her. He reaches up and removes it, shuddering and then simply lets it fall. He sees her face turn from awe to repulsion, then to compassion.
"I see, so that's why the mask and why you do not desire to obtain anything of this
realm. I have no doubt that you have seen more of this than any other living being.
And as such, your not really under my rule, so why do you pretend to be my subject?
What does it profit you?" and she sits down to take this all in.
"Your majesty, I am under no ones rule but my own, and as the Khinshaari of that time were all found dead three years later. The incantations were exhausted. As I am the original, I was able to know how to remain. This knowledge has kept me many years now, but at a price too high for mere mortals. I must find a stone, one of great value, yet cursed and forever aligned with my spirit. Until such time as I do, I am cursed to walk this world alone and searching for it. I have been close so many times, but it seems to elude me to this day."
"WHAT stone could hold such sway over you that it cannot be found and purchase your freedom? Surely in all these years your travels have allowed you to find some scrap of evidence to allow you to track it down." and she is settled into her regal gown as though it offered her immunity from the thing that stood before her.
"I have found it many times majesty, but each time I get close, I am transported away from it and into another realm of reality to search all over once more. Destined to search throughout eternity it seems. . . . "
OFF: Enter Dr. Bolvari

< Prev : Best Laid Plans Next > : Three Ladies and a Stone (Part 5)