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Old Friday, February 13, 2009
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Default The heritec by ramish hassan rana

Well this is a conception by my cousion Ramish hassan a 17 years old teen ager
since i felt her expression is way better than mine so i am posting at this section to be reviewed
Please be nice to her



THE HERETIC

“Bring him in!”
The sound was a clear echo of the command. The king’s usual impassive drone was full of spite with just a hint of menace at the margins but, enough to allow a shudder through the audience making them wonder if their decision to stand witness had been a mistake? But what choice did they have? Everyone knew better than to deny a “direct request” from the king. How often had they been subjected to the king’s so called justice themselves?
The doors opened and yet again a chill ran through the audience but this time it was the bitter cold that inspired the reaction and not the king’s fearsome voice, it was not as effective. The doors were closed as the reason for the unhappy gathering came into view. The man walked or rather dragged himself forward, flanked on either side by the rough handling of the guards. The loud clanking of the heavy metallic chains seemed to ring in the silent courtroom, entangling their victim like a snake squeezing the life out of its victim. The man’s bent posture hinted that he was succumbing to their weight and why not? He was hardly alive let alone strong. Even now it would not have been difficult to presume this man’s predisposition towards health. He was definitely weak, but that too was not enough to distract the audience from the fact that how very tall he was and for some eccentric reason, very leonine. He was covered in filth. His torn robes were making him look possibly more ragged. The prisoner supported a series of cuts and burns that were prominent even through the thick layer of dirt that covered his skin and matted his hair.
He had obviously been subjected to severe torture. The limp in his tread was extended proof of that. But, he carried it well; all the limp did was to make him look more like a wounded lion than a man let alone a prisoner. The guards loosened the grip on his arms the moment he was right in front of the king’s throne, the centre of the courtroom and everyone’s attention. The prisoner stood very still almost as if he was carved out of stone.
The king looked at the prisoner with the utmost disgust and loathing. It was hard to tell between the two expressions the one more dominant on his face. He spoke in a booming voice but no one missed the evident sneer in his words.
“So heretic, Had enough!?”
The prisoner did not so much as even look up at the king’s words. He had not flinched at the insult which rang in his every syllabi or the hate…
The king smiled. An odd reaction, but perhaps the king had sensed an easy victory in the heretic’s silence.
“I am speaking to you o upholder of truth, the savior of the poor, the speaker of apostles, and the educator of bible. Had enough!? Or could it be that the shadows of my dungeons and the sharp whips of my guards have diminished such brilliant ideas from your mind?”
There was no mistaking the threat with which he issued his last words. He smiled again and a look of expectancy crossed his face as if he had hoped that the heretic would not dare utter a rebuttal to his question.
Still the prisoner remained silent and the smile on the king’s face widened. This time he spoke with less zeal and more taunt.
“You come here barefoot, an undulant grace in your walk and the filthy dust of many who have wasted away in that dungeon. Do you still see unfairness? Do you still possess strength enough to question my authority? To pinpoint and target criticism at the great laws of my rule?”
These words triggered a response from the heretic. For the first time since he had entered the courtroom he looked up. He was young. His youth scarred by his gaunt and deathly form. But his scrawny appearance wasn’t enough to hide his good features as badly marred as they were by his scars. The extent of his torture was obvious by the depth of his scars especially those that seemed to be etched in his skin. The only part of his face that had signs of life, that gave proof that he was not a moving corpse were his eyes. They were a warm shade of brown but in the dull light they seemed to glow red with a fire that was so piercing it was surprising that the king did not recoil at this sudden evidence of life from this near dead prisoner. He kept looking at the king with the same burning intensity and then the courtroom was ringing with laughter.
It was a rough and throaty sound but the effect it had on the gathering was astounding. A shudder ran through the audience yet again but it was much different for it was not instinct for self preservation but fear for this young foolish boy and his daring who found it fit to laugh in the face of death or worse the king’s torture. Than the laughing stopped just as suddenly as it had started all eyes were suddenly on the heretic who even in this deprived condition still had a smile on his face. The king’s face was no longer calm and teasing it was taut, his lips were formed into a thin line. His hands curled into fists as the king fought the urge to kill the heretic himself. His expression was like he had venom on his tongue, venom he longed to spit at the gloating face that stood in front of him with a satisfied air to it. The quiet in the courtroom was more perceptible than ever. Suddenly some one drew a sharp shuddering breath and a new voice filled the courtroom so different than the high cold drawl of the king the people were suddenly taken aback. It was a deep voice that was full of hope rather than malice.
“The darkness of your dungeons have only made me understand what was already half asleep in the dawning of my own knowledge, the value of the light that lives in my heart. The whips of your guards have made a stranger to pain and have acquainted me to my soul like never before! Try as you might you cannot extinguish from within me the spark of truth! I do not care if that spark burns me to ashes because from those ashes will rise a hellish fire that will burn down every pillar of your palace that rests on the aching backs of those you for so long have oppressed! Mark my words there is one like me today but tomorrow…”
The heretic never finished his sentence because the air was suddenly thick with the sounds of whip slashing and the next moment the heretic was on the floor. He drew a rattling breath and finished his sentence.
“Many will take a stand…today I am one but tomorrow you will see my face in thousands denying to kneel before you, challenging you…your tyranny!”
This time the whip cracking was accompanied by screams of agony by the time the king raised his hand and the guard backed off the heretic was on the cold marble writhing in pain his scars glowed scarlet under his pale skin, fresh blood was oozing out of them.
The king spoke in a low but steely voice.
“Pain…a great and respectful master, your soul might not feel and kneel before me but as you see your body does.”
The heretic got up shivering and shaking and chuckled a little as he shook from head to toe but, he did this as if it was the mirth in his laugh and not the pain that did this to him. He spoke more loudly without a trace of weakness in his voice.
“You speak as if you have stamped out the movement I started. But no one holds a greater part in its projection than you! You have handpicked the one who should become the object of your end just like every other tyrant does!
This time no whips cracked, no pain interrupted the heretic’s booming laugh that echoed in the courtroom. The atmosphere was tense but this time the king was among the ones who felt it.
“Silence!”
The king had shouted this in a fit of rage. He got up from the throne and walked towards the heretic and hissed in a low deadly whisper and each word shook with the honesty of the emotion behind the threat.
“Your mere presence is like filth! Filth that disturbs the regal of my courtroom! With a snap of my fingers I can put an end to your pitiful existence and yet you dare…you dare defy me?! Mock me amidst my people and my courtiers!”
Any ordinary man would have cowered under the king’s glare but the heretic stood his ground a smile playing at the corner of his mouth.
“Now that we are speaking as equals, first let us drop the pretence of the confidence that you just showed by calling this gathering as your people because they think no more of you than I do! Fear bounds their tongues but surely, pain has not desensitized me nor power you enough to not feel the resentment with which they look at you or the hatred that seems to be directed in your direction? I am sure soon anger will take the lead and not even fear will be able to protect you from their wrath!”
The king grabbed a handful of his filthy robes and shoved him to the floor. Shaking with rage he pointed a finger at him and shouted with a crazed expression.
“I’ll kill you!”
The heretic got up and drew himself up to his full height and met the king’s glare with a defiant expression on his face. This move was much more impressive in the heretic’s case not because he was taller but because there was no trace of fear or pain on his face, not once did he break his gaze. As he stared a moment came when it was hard to tell between the prisoner and the king. The heretic now stood strangely more powerful than the suddenly weak shaking king who now stood locked in the penetrating power of his eyes as he spoke.
“I do not fear death! My presence scares you because it burns the darkness of your courtroom. You fear me because your people as you mistakenly call them will put an end to your rule the moment you kill me! You call me a heretic to dishearten me and stamp out my existence in the hearts of the people but alas! The truth can be held back for so long!”
A loud murmur broke through the court as the heretic’s words started to sink in. the king could make little sense of the babble around him but the feeling with which it was growing louder was quite clear. The anger of the people that he had reined in for so long was slowly edging away from his control. That moment the king knew he was helpless; the heretic had a following strong enough to dethrone him. He must purge his rule of this menace in a way that the people will be content and he will keep his position. The idea that enlightened him then brought an automatic smile on his face. Yes…this will definitely exonerate him of the heretic. With the idea that now formed a comfortable niche in his mind he walked back towards the throne and sat down before speaking in a composed tone.
“You speak of the truth heretic and yet you say such things merely to take my position! You do not care for the people your eyes are on the throne! I have decided that I will not kill you.”
Many in the audience snorted at the king’s new stance confirming their belief that the king was indeed as weak as the heretic had claimed. The king cleared his throat loudly before continuing.
“As I said before that I will not kill you but that does not mean you’re free to spread your revolt and cause a mutiny in the peace of my land with your lies! I have decided upon a test for you. If you are honest you will accomplish this task with ease and I will step away from my rule!”
Again a loud murmur broke out; it was a mixture of anger and shock. The people knew that any task that meant the king stepping away from his rule was nothing any man was likely to succeed at.
The king broke the voices by raising a hand as he continued.
“But, if such a thing does not take place within the sunset of the next month you will be banished from the land and will be forbidden to transgress its soils ever again! And if seen you will be executed. Stay in exile if failure be your destiny. I now ask you to bring me the truth of the legendary brothers of the crossroads. Do you accept the challenge?”
“Yes I do!”
This declaration was met immediately with a low hiss of anger from the witnesses. All of them had heard of the legend and also the fact that the statistics were not in favor of the heretic since not a single man had ever returned alive from the crossroads let alone successful.
The king was smiling at the immediate success of his plan. He knew that the headstrong youth was brave and the brave lose their focus in face of a challenge. He knew that this was a suicide mission and the heretic would never return just like so many others who had disappeared without a trace. The brave usually were stupid too and the cunning more cautious so even if he did not make the choice like him when and if he confronted the brothers he would still not be able to return. He could find no loopholes in his scheme.
This time when the king spoke it was hard for him to hide the glee in his voice.
“Very well then, throw him out of my sight!”
The guards took him outside and soon he was gone and than slowly the crowd dispersed leaving the king lost in thought still clutching the arms of his throne a small part of him couldn’t help wondering how long it will be his…
It had been almost been twenty days since the disappearance of the heretic and the king was pacing his room. Thoughts of the heretic haunted him day and night.
“What if the raging lunatic succeeded? No! Only I know the answer to the riddle. He will become dust when he confronts the brothers! Just like every other fool who attempted the task!
He looked in the mirror and as if possessed threw his fist at his fretful reflection breaking it.
“I am not afraid of you! You will not take my kingdom! Soon the rocks will ask the dust about the heretic and even the tiny grains will not be able to tell! You will be lost forever!”
The king screamed as his blood dripped slowly on the shattered glass. He placed a shivering hand on his forehead to wipe the slow buildup of specks of sweat there. He took a deep breath and made a false attempt at calming himself trying to smile at the shattered glass only to find another anxious man staring back after all a mirror never lies…
Well, at least now he posed a just ruler to his people. To his “loyal” subjects he reputed as someone who was even ready to surrender his claim to the throne if they demanded it. A smile spread across his face at the thought but it was a bitter one since it was a possibility no matter how unlikely, how impracticable he had to consider if the heretic returned. As days and weeks passed by the king settled with the idea that he would never hear of the man but he did, just before the closing of the month the heretic returned to the court.
Like a knight returning from conquest he held his head high, he gave the same piercing look to the king he had given him the day he was in chains waiting for the king, daring him to break the silence.
The king was quick to follow. He sensed the unease that now clouded his face but, hid it quickly under a forced expression of pleasant surprise. He raised his hands in welcome and spoke with overdone enthusiasm and fake bravado.
“Welcome! So you have returned and with a fashion it seems to tell the tale of a most extraordinary expedition I expect. But, the more important question is do you have anything to show me?”
The heretic kept looking at the king enjoying his frustration.
“Well!?”
A touch of impatience escaped through the calm facade.
Sensing an easy triumph in the king’s uncomfortable stance he drew a steady hand from his robes. The trepidation was at its peak as the heretic slowly unclenched his fist and the excited buzz immediately turned to a stunned silence as everyone became aware of what he held.
A handful of sand now littered the magnificent marble.
Every eye now searched the heretic’s face for an explanation for this eccentric answer to the king’s question. The king was the only one who had shown any other reaction besides shock. He had his face in his hands. He drew a deep rattling breath and spoke in a very low, a very hoarse voice. This was something totally uncharacteristic of him it caught many among the audience off guard. The king had never looked more vulnerable, defeated or human…
The tortured look he wore gave off the impression that every word that he now spoke was causing him immense pain.
“How did you manage this?”
The heretic spoke in a loud clear voice making sure that no one missed a word of what he now said but his eyes never strayed even for a second from the king like he was a bird locked in the eyes of a snake.
Before I set out on my journey a thousand sentiments flooded my soul. Many a times the physical exhaustion was hard to master. Not a day passed that I didn’t sustain injuries and blisters on my feet because to find the truth one not only has to muster the courage to look beyond the obvious and the mundane but also to discard all the chains that bound one to this world. One needs to creep away from comfort and to throw away the harness of social bindings. In two weeks I reached the crossroads. The exhaustion for the first time burdened my soul enough to rest, to wait and yes also to consider your challenge. These thoughts still played in my mind when I saw two identical, dark and bearded men approaching me. They were very quick in their movements. They left no footprints nor did I ever hear the sound of their feet touching the ground which they probably never did. They spoke together in deep booming voices but their voices seemed to be inside my head rather than falling on my ears.
“O son of Adam! You have passed our first test and to be enlightened like the core of the flame the spark needs to be excited a little more before the truth shines in your eyes and emblazes itself upon your heart!”
I tried to get up a shiver of pain shot through my leg and I lost my balance. But, I did not let myself fall rather I hunched my back on a tree trunk.
“Strength and valor speaks loud but wisdom and spirit is stronger than silence. Walk! For you are free from this body’s bondage. Walk! For you are free from this cage that will soon become the object of salvation. Walk! For pain is no longer an impediment to your flight. Rise! For you are indeed the most phenomenal creature of light.”
These words evoked a new spirit in me. I got up trying to smooth down my lean. The brothers watched warily in grim silence my feeble resistance against weakness. Gasping with what little breath was left in me I asked them about the answer to the riddle of the roads. The spoke in ominous tones and again their voices seem to echo inside my mind.
“Truth is a most relative term; truth of battle is different for the soldier and coward. Truth of death is different for the living and the dying. For the wounded prey death watches callously alongside the vultures its slow demise. But, for the vultures it is not death but life that stares through the helpless eyes of the prey, to them it is not death but death disguised as life. What do you seek? The truth from the hunter’s vision or perhaps the truth as the prey sees it? There are two truths before you; one of safety and one of death. You could leave and a need for a confrontation never arises. Step away and you can go back to see the light of another day!”
I rose to my full height and almost screamed at them but my throat was so dry the sound was low and guttural.
“I will take the truth with me!”
The brothers gave me long calculating look and than as if by magic my whole body was engulfed in a blazing fire. I opened my mouth to scream but closed it soon from shock because the fire did not burn me. It was very warm and I felt the heat of the fire eating away my pain, healing my scars completely. Soon I no longer felt thirsty or exhausted and as I walked the limp was no longer a burden to my legs. I felt fresh life surging through my veins. Finally the fire was gone and I stood yet again face to face with the brothers the menace gone from there faces. Eyes down, they now spoke in a solemn tone.
“You have passed our second test. You have burnt to ashes to gain the truth, endured pain like no other. Now that very fire is your slave. It has given you healing in return for your suffering. You have fathomed victory from sacrifice. Walk, brother for the elements are by your side.”
Together they guided me to my destiny and finally we reached the mouth of the two paths. They seem to stretch to infinity. I looked at the paths and than my examination was cut short as the brothers spoke once more.
“One leads to safety and one leads to death, truth is your choice and if truth be your destiny than your choice too will be guided by it. Step forward to safety or step towards death, pick your destiny and may the elements be at peace with your soul. Let your thoughts guide you brother and may you succeed for there is no turning back. You can only go forth from now on!”
I looked upon the two forks in the sand that stretched out before me and as I looked at the path to safety, I knew it. The answer that had been lingering so ominously before me was in truth my salvation disguised in dread to misguide me but I knew the truth now, I knew my choice. Smiling I stepped on the path that took me towards death.
I knew now that the path to death was in truth the way to life because only life can lead to death. The moment my feet touched the ground the two paths disappeared as this happened I turned to ask the brothers for the next step but what I saw made me stop short on words.
The brothers were bowing before me. This time they spoke low and humble
“O master! You have added life to your conquest, for now you understand its truth better than us. You have cleared the mist that clouded the reality. You saw what so many before you could not or would not see. The simple truth of life, of death…”
The brothers paused and then pointing towards the place where a few moments ago the road to safety was they said.
“The truth is that the path to safety leads to nowhere. The travelers of that road wander aimlessly for eternity and soon they grow tired of their exploring and than it is not long before they beg for the very thing they were so quick to rebuke, death… but, it will not come and they are trapped inside their heads hoping and wishing wistfully for aught else. After all is in vain they trade their souls for death. They strike a deal with the devil and then nothing but the pit of fire awaits them. This is how tired and desperate they get with life. So much so that death seems as a pleasant gift to them. Because there is no life without death and no death without life, they are inseparable!”
Saying this they gave me this handful of sand to tell you this very thing and then they vanished.
The heretic now stood silent.
The king looked less impressive then ever as he slumped into his throne and then very slowly he got up and took off his crown. For a while he stared at it caressing the gleaming jewels with his fingers and then suddenly he threw it.
It landed near the heretic’s feet.
This act was greeted with a great tide of cheer and applause as the people soon had the heretic on their shoulders, their hero with whom they needed to celebrate. The procession marched towards the door with high spirits as they knew that surely the breaking dawn will bring much more than just change.
The crown lay forgotten on the cold marble as its magnificent jewels no longer gleamed in the now fading light of the courtroom. Far away the voices of celebration grew faint with every step they took away from the palace’s melancholy…the crippled giant of cold stone…nothing more…
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