In the dimly lit room the lord lay in his bed, deep in thought.
"Are you awake?" His wife asked him cuddling up next to him.
"mmhmm" the lord replied.
"There is still time left for daybreak. Try and get some sleep" His wife said patting him gently on his chest, hoping that the comfort of her rhythmic touch would make him fall asleep.
The lord got up and walked to the balcony. His wife lay in bed for a while waiting for him to come back, until she resigned to the fact that he was not going to. She walked to the lord and hugged him from behind.
"What is bothering you?" she asked him.
She poked him on his chest to get his attention in a childlike manner.
"Nothing" he replied.
She turned him around and looked into his eyes.
"Seriously?" she asked him with playful sarcasm. The lord smiled and hugged her to his chest.
"It will be ok, don’t worry" she comforted him.
"What did I not give him?" The lord asked.
"Nothing, he had everything." his wife replied.
"Then why did he do it?" the lord asked her.
"He thought it was the right thing to do at that time"
"Don’t worry about that, he will come back. He is your brother, he loves you more than anybody else" she said in a very soothing whisper.
"Besides his wife is here, where else would he go?" she asked him playfully.
The lord’s face changed immediately. He broke out of the embrace and walked to a corner of the balcony. He stood in the corner staring at the moon.
"What are you not telling me?" his wife asked as she walked up to him and took his hand in hers.
"You don’t want to hear it" the lord said. His voice shivered.
His wife was overwhelmed by the tremble in his voice. He was the lord who ruled across their vast kingdom. He was their protector. Nobody had seen the warrior’s heart falter. She could not believe the tremble in his voice, she could not bear the pain that was causing him to weaken so much.
"What happened?" she asked him, her voice conveying an authoritative comfort. The lord buried his head in her bosom, from his breathing she could say he was crying. Tears formed in her eyes.
"My love do not cry, please tell me what is troubling you"
"Do not worry, you are the bravest and strongest of them all. You will get through anything, fight against it. I am here beside you."
His wife held him tighter sensing that the lord needed silence and a shoulder to cry on.
"Do you know what they call me?" the lord asked, the pain formed a lump in his throat, but he seemed to have gained some strength.
"No" she said.
"They call me the wife stealer" The lord replied.
His wife could find no words. She was shocked and dumbfounded. Her silence egged him on.
"They say I stole his wife, I exiled him but kept his wife" He said.
"That is not true my lord, you know the truth, I know the truth, and He and his wife know the tru..."
"Does he?" the lord lashed out.
"Shhhh ... he does"
"I don’t think he does"
"My lord, the wounds he caused you have not healed yet. Time shall heal them"
"He tried to kill me Tara" The lord argued.
"Shhhh ... forgive him my lord" his wife said.
"And he held himself a coronation"
"Shhhh" she said running her fingers through his hair.
"He deserves what he got, he is a fiend that needs to be punished"
"hmmmm" his wife said comforting him.
"He is your younger, would it not do better to forgive him?" Tara asked gaining strength from his silence.
"I cannot forgive him Tara" the lord said decisively.
"In time you will find it in your heart” she replied.
"Let us see if I forgive him and remain a good brother, or I kill the traitor and be a good king" the lord said.
Tara shuddered at the thought.
"You will remain a good king if you forgive him too" she told him anxiously.
"I cannot Tara"
"But forgiveness ..." She began.
"Not for an enemy of the state. He is a traitor and dharma² calls for traitors to be punished"
"But he was ..."
"Justifications" the lord laughed.
The coldness made it clear that his mind was unhindered by the love pained him a moment ago. He was not a brother now, he was a king. There was only justice and injustice.
"Only a hungry wolf understands the justice in devouring a child" the lord continued.
"Your brother is no wolf, my lord he ..."
"I am ashamed that he is my brother" the lord said silently.
"Our father was called the honorable; our grandfather was known to have died the perfect king. Where did he come from?" The lord asked.
Tara stood in silence looking at the rage growing on her husband’s face.
"And with no regard for his wife he claims that I stole her?" The lord asked.
"No" Tara said aghast her voice shaking.
"He would never have said that, they are words of fallacy, do not believe it my lord" Tara begged.
"How naive you are my pretty wife?" The lord smiled. He shifted a strand of hair falling on her face behind her ear and caressed her cheek with his thumbs.
"He is a bad egg, and it is my duty as a king to rid the kingdom of him" the lord said.
"Do not worry Tara I will protect you, and I am infallible" the lord said holding her close to his heart.
"I fear not for your life my lord, I fear for your soul"
"BROTHER" the voice bellowed through the courtyards of the palace.
"WHERE ARE YOU?" the voice bellowed.
Rage rose within the lord. He darted out of his chambers at once and grabbed his Gadha².
"ARE YOU HIDING BEHIND THE WOMEN?"
The lord ran faster, he jumped down the stairs and raced toward the door. He was biting his teeth with red hot anger.
"WHERE ARE YOU COWARD?"
The main door crashed open and the palace guards streamed out. They surrounded the brother with their swords drawn. The lord entered the courtyard.
"AFRAID TO FACE ME ALONE?" the brother asked with animosity.
"HE IS MINE" the lord yelled to the guards as he broke into their circle into the middle.
The palace guards stood back.
"Can’t you face your younger without a weapon?" the brother asked the lord.
The lord threw the Gadha. As it hit the wall, chunks of brick and mortar fell down.
They jumped on each other wrestling on the ground.
"Listen to me you insolent child, I did my duty as a king" the lord said.
"And I did mine as your brother" the brother replied.
The lord released himself from the hold and pushed his brother away. Unfaltering the brother dug his feet into the ground and skidded to a halt.
"But you exiled me" the brother said and he jumped on the lord.
"You insulted me …” The brother said locking his arms with the lord’s trying to force him to the ground.
“… for doing what I was to do, you shamed me in front of my people" the brother finished.
"MY PEOPLE" the lord bellowed and with a fit of enraged strength caught his brother by his neck and lifted him off the ground. Unable to breathe the brother tried in vain to release the lord’s hold. He kicked and pushed himself off his brother’s chest, but the strength of the lord made his brother weaker.
"You lust filled animal, you stole my wife" the brother spluttered in a whisper.
The lord loosened his grip as the words pierced his heart. The brother released himself and knelt on the floor panting for breath. The lord stood dazed by what had been said. How could he go to his grave with such a name? All his life he was the perfect being and the perfect king, but now what had become of his reputation? Is this how history would remember him?
"And today you shall pay with your life for stealing my wife, my land and my people" the younger brother said standing up again and massaging his throat.
"MYYYYY PEOOOPLEEEEEE" the lord bellowed as he rammed into his brothers torso and pushed him with all his force. The brother landed far away, but he knew that he had struck a chord. He turned around and ran onto the streets.
"MY PEOPLE" the lord bellowed and chased his brother.
The brother ran precisely, he did not dart in and out of streets he ran straight to the city gates.
"FACE ME YOU COWARD, DO NOT DISGRACE MY FATHER. STAND AND FIGHT" the lord thundered.
The brothers ran through the empty city towards the city gates. The lord saw nothing except his brother in front of him. As his brother darted out of the city gates the lord saw the gates closing.
"OPEN THE GATES" he yelled.
"OPEN THE GATES" he yelled again.
He jumped up the scaffolding and to the top of the city wall to the gate keepers hut.
"My lord the queen ..." the gate keeper began.
The lord slapped the gate keeper on his face.
"Open the gate" he said.
"The quee ..."
The gate keeper opened the gate.
The lord jumped down. Tara was standing at the gate.
"Go to the palace" The lord commanded her.
"My lord not now ..."
"The palace, woman" the lord ordered.
"You are weakened by rage my lor ..."
"I am your lord, move away from the gate" the lord said with a cold decisiveness that chilled Tara.
"HIDING BEHIND YOUR DOORS? DOES THE WIFE NOT PERMIT YOU OUT AFTER DARK?" the brother taunted the lord.
"SHOW YOUR SELF YOU TRAITOR" The lord ran into the forest shouting.
An arrow hit the lord squarely on his chest. He looked up confused and fell to the ground. As his head hit the ground he slowly closed his eyes. He opened them again and saw two men walking towards him.
He looked at the man with the bow. The crown prince, from the empire of the sun.
"You are the son of Dharma³?" The lord asked him questioning the claim.
"Yes I am" the prince replied.
The lord had heard rumors about the Prince. He was building an army to go to war with the God king of the south isles.
"Why did you not come to me? Why did you go to the traitor?"
The lord rasped for breath.
"Why did you shoot me?"
"You are an animal"
The lord laughed. He closed his eyes and opened it to see his brother standing in front of him, tear filled.
"What is mine is now yours. Treasure it" The lord said and turned to the Prince.
"It is better, you killing me than me my brother"
With those words Vali breathed his last.
¹The principle of right or wrong established for men (In this case Kshathriya Dharma or the Law of the kings).
²A mace like weapon. Wielded as a club it was the chosen weapon for close combat.
³A man who is the son of Dharma is one who is one who follows Dharma and is renowned for his self-righteousness