Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Last Battle

The young prince was dying. He had been sure that in battle he had no equal in the known world, just as he had been sure of victory 18 days ago when he led his vast army into the battleground. How the tide had turned... He was now lying alone in mortal agony beside a forlorn lake with crows and vultures already fighting over him while his brothers and friends had laid down their lives in his defense.

The prince could not move his legs, his thighs had caved in and he could feel no sensation below his navel but pain. Unable to life his mace, he swung his hands weakly at a vulture that got too close. It will need to wait a bit longer, he thought dryly. His thoughts went to his last battle. He was up against a powerful warrior, the one who had killed his brothers. Anger and retribution powered the prince's tired body and soul. The enemy had never fought fair during battle and its warrior saw no reason to change now. The warrior's code was thrown to the winds; the prince was tricked, defeated and left to rot. The warrior who had bested him placed a leg on the prince's head, proclaimed some vow as complete and celebrated in macabre fashion by kicking and dancing on the prince's face. The code of honour that countless warriors lived and died upholding before this war was no longer sacrosanct; "laws of a mythical age" they would soon become. 

Hours later, a few of the prince's warriors arrived at the scene. With just a glance they understood what had happened. The price was not yet ready to die. He knew the price of peace for a nation stricken with war was his own death. He was willing to pay it but he would not be denied vengeance for the humiliation meted out to him. He named one of his warriors as Supreme Commander of his now non-existent army and wished them luck one last time. 

The final wait for death was unbearable, full of pain, suffering and regret. The prince spent the rest of the night holding death at bay, waiting for his warriors. His men returned just before the first ray, claiming to have burnt down the enemy camp and killed all its soldiers. Battle at night was unheard-of, the game had indeed changed for a world that taught its children that battles should start at sunrise and end at sundown. The prince gave a small smile, his time had come. The crimson sun rose in the distant horizon as Duryodhana, the last of the Kauravas, left the mortal realm.

6 comments:

Sachin said...

Good one, but did not get the context.... in terms of why suddenly on Duryodhana?

Bharath said...

The entire scene depicts Duryodhana's last battle with Bhima and his subsequent suffering before his death. Also Duryodhana anoints Ashwattama as commander of his army and Ashwattama slaughters the Pandavas in their sleep.

Bharath said...

Also Duryodhana is traditionally the villain in Mahabharata. Just wanted to approach this story from the side of the Kauravas instead of the Pandavas.

rakesh said...

Good post. As you may already know, Ashwattama does not kill the Pandavas. He kills only the upa-Pandavas - Draupadis' five sons.

gwl said...

good post...........
giftwithlove.com

Bharath said...

@Rakesh - Hmm. Knew that one. The story of what happens to Ashwattama after this is even more interesting. Must write a blog on that someday. ;)
Thanks @gwl