Guest post by a brilliant Anonymous writer who needs to get off his ass and write more stuff like this. Agree with me here, please.
The traveler is standing at the balcony to his room staring at the starlit sky, untarnished by bright city lights. He is deep in thought when the Princess’s maid enters. She is clearly distressed about something, hesitates then speaks.
“My lord, I seek your help.”
The traveler enters his chambers. The amused look on his face changes to concern when he sees her distress.
“What is the matter? Is the Princess well?”
“Her Highness is fine. This has nothing to do with her. I come to you with a plight of my own.”
“You must.. You must help me…”
Starts to cry hysterically. The traveler reaches out to her and guides her to the exquisite looking camel-seat by his bed. She stops crying and looks at him with a mixture of confusion and shock. He expected her to sit on his seat?! She was a servant of a lower caste, and would be whipped if someone saw her. The traveler sees her confusion and his deep-seated annoyance for the deep-rooted caste system of this age starts to boil and bubble.
“Sit! It’s a chair. It’s meant to be sat on.”
“But, my lord..”
She sits, more out of reflex than obedience. Still very uneasy with her action.
“Now tell me. What is your problem?”
She starts to cry again.
“It’s my man. He’s a eunuch”
Starts to cry harder.
“What?! Your MAN is a eunuch? How is that possible?”
Stops crying. Blows her nose loudly at the end of her embroidered dupatta.
“He was a pashaach.”
“A pashaach. One who feeds on blood.”
“So he was a vampire. Wait, really? Vampires exist?”
She looks at the traveler, a mixture of doubt and confusion.
“Of course, they do.”
Stands there deep in thought for a few moments.
“Well that’s interesting. So your man is a eunuch vampire, what does that have to do with me?”
“He’s not a eunuch pashaach! He was a pashaach but he’s a eunuch now. ”
“Whoa! How does that work?”
“I do not understand.”
“How did he become a eunuch?”
“You do not know of the curse then?”
Scoffs a little.
“Which one? Everywhere I turn I learn of a new curse. The land of a hundred curses indeed”
“The curse of the pashaach. There was a time long ago when the pashaach lived all over this realm. They hunted on innocent people for blood, raped not just the women but also the men during the night, hired their incredible strengths out to the highest bidder as mercenaries against the Crown. The king of the time, weary of the menace of the pashaach and hoping to win the dwindling loyalty of his people sought to rid himself and the Kingdom of them. He summoned his magicians, and his priests and his scholars and his generals and promised them that whosoever would rid him of the pashaach will marry his youngest daughter and get a place in the Royal household. What followed was a flurry of magic, prayer and bloodbaths, but if anything the pashaach now agitated increased their efforts against the Crown. Legend has it that when things were at their absolute worst, there came a woman to the king’s court. They say she was as black as a starless night, her lips were thick and her hair was like dark thick ropes. She promised to rid the king of the pashaach but in exchange she did not want the youngest princess. Instead she asked for a bounty. The king readily agreed. The woman, who was a witch, said that she would cast a powerful spell all over the realm that would render the pashaach useless. For that she needed a virgin man with white hair and a young whore with no eyes. She killed the two that were provided and with their blood, she cast a spell on the whole Kingdom. If a pashaach tasted human blood, it would become a eunuch. If it chooses to leave it’s wicked ways and live in peace, it may continue to do so. Scores turned into eunuchs, many fled the realm. Some decided to live their eternal lives in peace. My lover was one of those few.”
“Then how did he turn into a eunuch?”
She started to cry again. Harder than before.
“It’s my fault! My gums had been bleeding all day, but I was so happy to see him that I ignored it and kissed him.”
She started wailing now.
“And then he grew sick, very sick. And then...”
“Please. You have my sympathies, whatever little they are worth. However, I am still unclear on how I can help you.”
“I heard you talking to the Wazir. You said that in the future there is magic that can turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man if they so choose. I hoped that maybe you can use the same magic to help him.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“But you’re a magician! And you’re from the future, you have to help me. I beg you!”
She jumps off her seat and reaches for his feet. He gently disentangles himself from her.
“I may be a magician, but that kind of magic is beyond me. I have neither the knowledge nor the ability to pull off something like that. I’m quite a useless magician. My magic was weak where I came from and it’s completely useless here.”
She starts crying again, still on the ground.
“Then there is no hope? Why must love be so painful? Why is it such a burden, my lord?”
The traveler looks a little deflated. Talks quietly as if to himself.
“Sadly, you are not alone in carrying this burden. Many carry it. Some through space and time and it lessens not a bit.”
Her fascination with the future momentarily overcomes her grief.
“Do they have heartbreak in the future, my lord?”
“I’m afraid they do.”
“You said people can fly in the future. They have magic that see the stars far away and the heart of a fly up close. They can talk even at great distances and see things too. They have magic that cooks for them and cleans for them and washes their clothes. They can even turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man! You said all these things.”
“Yes, all this is possible in the future. And a lot more.”
“But there is still heartbreak.”
“Yes. For all the progress man has made in the future, his heart remains as fragile as ever. I guess man is as fragile today as he was a thousand years ago and I still hundreds of year from now.”
“There is no cure?”
“I’m afraid not. There are distractions and methods to lessen the blow but no there is no cure. Love and it’s suffering are humanities curse, no matter which realm it dwells in or which age.”
“Then I must spend the rest of my life looking at the man I love more than anything and know that I cannot be with him. I cannot touch him, or embrace him. The memories of his beautiful face and his loving embrace will haunt me. He will soon be a full hijra, walking the streets begging for a living. Ridiculed by children in the market, pleasuring rich men for pieces of bread, my sweet sweet love. And I will have to watch. Whenever he was away, I used to wonder if there was anything worse for a lover than distance. I know now. What an unjust punishment for my foolishness.”
She has stopped crying, acceptance seems to be taking over. She gets up and starts to leave, not bowing in respect as is customary, clearly not in complete control of her senses.
“You have my sympathies.”
Just as she is about to walk through the curtain, at the doorway he calls to her.
“Wait. What was the bounty the woman asked for?”
“She made the king promise that as long as the sun hangs in the sky, none of her kind will be slaves in this realm.”
And with that the maid left, leaving the traveler in deeper thought than when she had come.