The fire torches on both sides of the corridor made way for the Eye and the Foreseer as they proceeded. There were potraits of the Ancestral Makers that hung on both the sides.
There was Randalph the Great- Creator of the both this Universe and the parallel one. He wore a Corduroy red suit and carried a grey wig, the kind Washington wore. His face was stern and even though the Maker looked well fed, the colour of his skin looked pale. Or maybe it was how the lights made it look.
Then there was Marakh the Destroyer- who was as the name may suggest, was the destructer and plunderer of the Universe and all that was vile in it. He wore a Black silk suit and looked, in the least bit, effeminate. His lips were the colour of blood and his eyes looked as black as the mascara that he wore beneath them.
Then came Legolas the Preserver, the pale-bearer and nurturer of the Universe. He wore a white suit and was the only one who had a bowtie on. A blue bowtie to match with the eyes. His hair were so golden blonde and needless to stay he was perhaps the most handsome of all the three. But was he the noblest? Only time will tell.
Gina and Salem took a left at the end of the corridor and opened a small brown door to enter to enter what now seemed an office workplace. The pale blue coloured room, the size of half a football ground was filled with desks and chairs lined up in rows. There wasn’t any ceiling to the room and Gina could notice the skies turning to blacker by the hour. No, not darker, blacker. There on the hundreds of desks in front of them were hundreds of typewriters, with scrolls of parchments lingering out of them, lying all over the room and typing profusely on them were hundreds of dwarfs. All of them wearing small black suits with black shorts, a white shirt and a red bowtie. One needed to have an exceptional eye to distinguish one from the other. Which, needless to say, The Eye did possess. The type writers managed to slide to the next line on their own. Gina and Salem made their way through one of the rows in the room.
One of the dwarfs in the row slammed his fingers upon the keys of typewriter, as if trying to pierce through its very letters.
“Stupid Jiggletots, Breezebonkers, Ratskunks, Hankyloaves…” He went on typing forcefully and full of rage.
” Mr. Winklehawks, why so grumpy over the poor typewriter?” asked Gina playfully.
“Oh no, madam, no. It isn’t just a typewriter. It is the evilest of all things created by humans. Stupid Bransneekers…..Bloody Rattle….” He slammed a single key multiple times with his middle finger. “Inconvenient to the fingers, parchments lying around here and there, the incessant clitter-clatter of keys all over the room, I assure Madam Miss Eye, it could drive a dwarf groundnuts!”
The very instant, a gigantic, rectangular slab of cement hovered over them to obscurethe night sky. The colour of the base of the slab was similar to that of the room. The same blue, successfully taking over the black. So black. So blue.
It had the same base dimension as that of the room’s rooftop. It soared in the air for a moment and then settled over the rooftop of the room, accurately covering the whole of it.
“Renovating much?” Gina asked the dwarf?
“Ah yes! His majesty thinks we need a new floor for the coming time. Increasing population and all! More hands to feed more brains.” He turned his gaze towards Salem who stood silently behind Gina. “Ah! Greetings Mr. Foreseer. Never saw you there. So what do you ‘foresee’?” He chortled a bit as he said it. “D’you think we need an extra floor in the coming times?”
Salem, who had the same solemn look on his face, cleared his throat a bit as he went. “Well, if you ask me, as far as the future is concerned, then perhaps we may not even need the very desk you’re sitting on.”
The dwarf smirked and stared at him with his dark green eyes. “So it is true what they say. You have gone completely insane!”
Just then, a man with a shaved head and emerald eyes and a goatee beard made his way towards them. He looked exactly like the Guardsman they had met at the gate. He even wore the same black robe that hid the scabbard under it.
“Miss Gina? Mr.Salem? You’re finally here.” The same unison of voices greeted them “Lord Caliph has been waiting for you.”
They followed him to another room, exquisitely larger than the previous one and instead of the blue, it was draped in velvety red. An array of pillars with peculiar carvings on them paved both the sides of the room. A velvet carpet, again red, led to the other end of the room, marked by row of chairs with noble men and women sitting on them on both the sides. There was Mundungus, the timekeeper, perhaps with the darkest of all complexions; Augustus, the Lord of light, wearing his yellow robe so bright, it pricked the eyes; there was of course the ever so effeminate looking Sir Jean, the Lovelord; Regina, the Lady of darkness, her black dress and her red lips; and so on and so forth.
At the end of the carpet lay a flight of steps, above which were the thrones of Lord Caliph, the Lord of life and her majesty, Lady Elsa. Lord Caliph looked everything a king would look. A manly beard and mustache, jet black in colour. A well built structure that symbolized a warrior, and a brave one at that. And beside him resided Lady Elsa, whose beauty and charm were ever so beguiling, even for a king. She had fluffy blonde hair that held the crown so delicately placed. The ruby studded crown, the same gem engraved on that of the king’s. One incomplete without the other.
And on another seat in a distance, over the same flight of steps, lay a man whose mere presence ran shivering chill down the spine of both the mortals as well as the immortals. His dark grey eyes on his freckled face, white as snow, seemed like they hadn’t blinked in ages. Mandarin, the Deathlord, wore a black robe, and observed the whole procession with his serene demeanor. The demeanor of death.
All of them eyed the one man they had been anticipating for so long. And as the man with the black robe and turban made his way through, fearless and solemn as always; with the Mediterranean looking woman beside him, an indistinct murmuring had begun among the crowd. The two of them stood in front of the King and bent to one knee.
“His majesty”, said Gina, ” I summon to you the accused of treachery and of breaking his vow, Salem, the foreseer. Your judgement and justice shall account his fate.” She rose and gradually made her way joining the rest of the crowd.
The king observed the man for some time, sensing the fearlessness in his eyes. There was no trace of guilt to be found.
“Foreseer!”, he commanded. His voice stern and stern and regal at the same time. “You’ve been accused of betraying the whole kingdom. Your actions could’ve served as exposure of the whole clan. All I ask, mere Foreseer, is why?” He lowered his voice a bit. “Why would you do something like this to your own people? What is it that we have done wrong?”
Salem remained silent. Staring at the floor the whole time.
“Speak or forever hold your peace!”, said Caliph.
“His majesty!”, began Salem, “I fear our whole is on the verge of annihilation.”
There were gasps from the crowd and the murmuring continued.
“Silence!” stormed the King. “And on what grounds do you say that?”
“I have had a vision” said Salem. “Of blood! Of countless lives and innocent souls lingering around the dead carcasses of our world. Of raging storms wiping away the entire civilization! Of women losing their husbands. Of children losing their childhood…”
“Forgive me my lord” interrupted a shrill voice. A voice so low, it almost whispered. The voice of Mandarin. “But I do not think there are any such indulgences that I have. It is, in a way, a direct attack on my fidelity”
“Then what justifications do you have for the recent disturbances, Lord Mandarin”, said Salem. “Storms in the Arabian countries, Volcano in Japan, earthquakes in Pakistan….”
“All of them necessities for the balance”
“All of them? All at once? Or is there another reason behind tilting the needle of the scale more towards death, Lord Deathlord? Another reason that involves a deal signed with someone perhaps?”
“HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT, MERE GUARDIAN!”, raged Mandarin. “I’m a guardianhead. I shall behead you this very instance! Do you not fear me? Do you not fear the inevitable?”
“I fear you as much as thundering Griffin fears a tiny elf!”
“ENOUGH!”, interrupted Caliph. “I shall not bear such indiscipline in my court.”
He rose from his throne, followed by every other noble men and women raising from theirs. “Guardsmen! I want you to escort the Foreseer to the Prison of Paradisus. He shall stay there until further trial.”
The guardsmen bowed and escorted Salem out of the room.
“Adjourned!”, commanded the king.
As Salem made his way out of the court, he felt the familiar shiver down his spine. He felt like an old man walking down a distance on snowy, wintry desert. As if the very essence of happiness had vanished from the world.
There were cold, grey eyes observing him from a distance…