Lavanya needed to relax. It had been a long day. All her leads had gotten nowhere. This Fortuna character was wrapped in so much myth, it was hard to believe there was an actual person underneath all that. And yet, Indra was sure that the recent collapse could be traced back to her. Even if it was her (assuming its a she, men have used female pseudonyms before) why was she doing it? What did she stand to gain? If you could crack any bank account in the world, does money mean anything to you? Lavanya felt sure there was something deeper at play here.
She shook her head. This could wait one night. She needed to relax if she was to use her head properly the next day. She had some leftover malai kofta in the fridge; time to finish that off. She took out the frozen naan as well. She put the kofta in the microwave, set it to 2 min. She was deciding whether to watch Castle or Fringe when she heard the doorbell ring.
Still thinking about the troubles of Olivia Dunham, Lavanya crossed the hall to the main door shouting out “Coming”. She noticed the door was actually unlocked. She frowned, she had definitely remembered locking it as she entered the house..
As she reached the door, the door swung inward hard, pushing her onto the floor. Two men entered quickly. One of them looked like a thug, all muscle, military cut, about 6 foot tall. The other one was shorter, thinner, looking like an owl with his glasses. The thug reached down and put a hand over her mouth. The owl calmly closed the door and locked it. Even in her terror, she noted how smooth their actions were, and that they must have opened the lock, and waited until she was just behind the door..
She had been in situations like these before. She elbowed and punched the thug, and ran to the kitchen, where she kept a gun in one of the draws.. The thug didn’t let her get that far – he lunged at her, knocking her into the dining table. Plates and cups crashed around them as they both fell to the floor.
The thug was on her, pining down her legs.. The gun was out of reach now.. She glanced around her and saw a knife.. But it was too far away and she couldn’t reach it.. The thug was twisting her other arm now bringing tears to her eyes.. She blocked out the pain, concentrating on the knife.. If she could reach it, she could get out of this.. Damn, it was so far away.. Was that her own voice screaming?
The knife.. It all depended on the knife.. She reached out as much as she could, while the rest of her body was being pinned down.. Focus.. the other arm doesn’t matter..
And suddenly the knife was in her hand. With a yell, she buried its edge savagely in the thick arm of the thug; he yelled to the owl. The owl came over with what she thought was a satisfied smile. He indicated something to the thug. The last thing she remembered was the thug’s arms, still dripping blood, rushing towards her face.
The microwave beeped that it was done.
When she came to, she was on the kitchen floor, with everything shattered about her. There was no sign of the two men. The knife was missing. There was no blood anywhere. She slowly got up. She had been hit on the head, she could feel the swelling. Was that with a revolver?
She massaged her head and looked around. It did not look like anything was stolen. She must have been out for about ten minutes or so. She called the police from her cellphone. She was still picking up the pieces off the floor when they arrived.
That’s awfully fast, she thought. Surprisingly, they had sent a female inspector with two constables; she had not supposed they would be so thoughtful. The inspector was very delicate about what did and did not happen; this would have been much more awkward with a man. The constables scanned the house once and they all left, promising to update her on anything they would find. She said she would come file an FIR later.
Indra arrived 5 minutes after the police had left. He could tell she was shaken without her needing to tell him anything. They heated the kofta and the naan in silence. They watched The Big Bang Theory with his arm around her. He said he would spend the night on her couch if that was alright. She just smiled. At the back of the mind were the questions, old and new. But they would wait a while.
Speaker 1: “Hello..”
Speaker 2: “Its me. How did the test go?”
“Exceeded expectations. Not only was it awakened, it was used immediately.”
“Excellent. Do you think she can control it?”
“Highly unlikely. I believe she used it intuitively, reaching out in a moment of despair. She may not even have realized that it happened.”
“We need it awakened, and honed. When that day comes, we need her power.”
“If she is able to control it, it could become a bit of a problem, considering her profession. You know they are looking into all this.”
“Let them look. That is the plan. Sooner or later, the others will realize what is happening. A little more defense on her side is a good thing.”
“Agreed. I will keep her under observation. He is also at her house.”
“Both of them, huh.. Does she suspect anything?”
“She was too shocked from the assault. We were what she expected.”
“Excellent. Report if you notice anything.”
Arun had to tell this to someone. He could hardly contain himself. He rushed out of his tent, and saw that the light was on in Mahesh’s tent. Good, Mahesh would understand his excitement. He found Mahesh rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and heating up milk on the stove.
“Arun! Did you sleep at all? You look horrible.”
“Never mind that. You know the palm leaves we found? I’ve been translating them. You have no idea what I found.”
“A history of Dwaraka and the final days of the city? That is what we were hoping to find anyway.”
“Much better. That’s just the past. I’ve found something about the future.”
“The future? What do you mean?”
“What we have here is a prophecy. And not just any prophecy. A prophesy about the end of the world.”
Arun could see Mahesh putting it together.
“The Kalki Avatar? Then that means..”
“These palm leaves talk about all of the avatars, not just Krishna. And interestingly, it focuses not so much on the avatars, as on the cycles of creation and destruction.”
“Cycles? Wait, the milk is done. Let me get some coffee. You want some? Extra strong right?”
They settled down with the hot coffee and Arun continued.
“See, time is divided into into these cycles. Each cycle has 4 parts called yugas. Each yuga has different characteristics. The first yuga in the cycle has perfect people: zero crime, very devoted to god, and so on. With each yuga, the goodness of people goes down. In the last yuga, Kali Yuga, people have turned completely bad, not caring about God or others, committing vile acts, and so on.”
“Yes, we learnt about the four yugas in college. Vishnu appears in each Yuga as different avatars and punishes wrong doers.”
“Ah, here is where the palm leaves differ. They say that in his role as preserver of the universe, Vishnu is incarnated to actively push the world into the next Yuga, or the next part of the Yuga. Each avatar changes the world considerably, thus leading to the next Yuga that must follow.”
“So each avatar is sort of a trigger into the next part of the cycle?”
“Exactly. And even more interestingly, the palm leaves talk of multiple avatars at the same time.”
“Multiple? That doesn’t make sense. They all occurred at different points of time right?”
“The palm leaves say that an avatar need not be a single creature: it is the collection of beings that propel the world into the next Yuga.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Take the last Yuga for example. The most commonly accepted Avatar in that age was Krishna, and indeed, his presence completely changed that world. However, if you think about all the big events of that time, the events which caused the war, Krishna was missing in some of them. For example, the dishonoring of Draupadi was one of the key events that propelled the cousins into war.”
Arun took a moment to collect his thoughts. Mahesh could see the gleam in his eyes. Perhaps the coffee had been a mistake. Arun was excited enough as it is.
“Here’s another interesting thing: krishna literally means person of dark skin. It was merely one of the names we use to refer to the King of Dwaraka. So who else was dark-skinned, and contributed significantly to the war happening? One name is obvious: Arjuna. He was the most powerful archer of the time, and was instrumental to the Pandavas winning. Who else?”
“Exactly. She is a very curious character. Dark-skinned at a time when fairness was valued in women; married to five husbands; supposedly born out of a sacrificial fire. A very mysterious character who propelled the whole Kuru clan to their doom.”
“Hmm. Are you saying Draupadi is an avatar?”
“Thats what the palm leaves say. Krishna, Arjuna, Draupadi, and Vyasa all collectively form the Avatar that ended the Dwarpa Yuga and started the Kali Yuga. The others I mentioned before, but Vyasa is the guy who originally collected together the stories of the Mahabharata. His original name was Krishna Dwaipanya. He is the father of Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura. If you think about it, Mahabharata is actually the story of how most of his own children died..”
“Very interesting twist on the avatars. But you mentioned this was a prophecy?”
“Yes. The leaves mention that there will be five people who together form the Kalki avatar. It mentions that these five will have supernatural powers, and that their combined actions will lead to the destruction of the known world, and the resetting of the cycle.”
“The coming of Kalki has been prophesized for ages. Is there any indication of when this will happen?”
“That’s what it is most exciting about this. Leaves such as these usually mark time in term of astronomical events. According to this, Kalki will awaken when two rare events happen together: a total solar eclipse and a comet passing the sun during the eclipse.”
“Wait.. Didn’t that happen..”
“.. two days ago. If the leaves are to be believed, Kalki has awakened, and mankind will be destroyed soon.”