What I Write
Aslan would tell himself later on that the splotches of crimson on his ivory cotton kurta were a good look for him.
A work of art, even.
He would repeat this line over and over as he trekked through the forest, back to his lush apartments. He would have one sandal on his foot, and the cuts from walking barefoot for two days in the forest would not heal for some time.
But for now, he was on the ground, the knees of his white trousers caked with dirt, his sleeves rolled up to his forearms. Blood coated his hands and wrists like form-fitting gloves.
“Saheb,” Ajay said, lying down on his side in front of him wheezed, “Saheb, please, water.”
“I should be calling you Saheb, Saheb,” Aslan responded with an easy grin. “You must be at least thirty years older than me. Zamindar of Chotabagh to boot.”
The man did not respond. He was too busy bleeding out from the open wound from his abdomen. “Water,” he said again. “Wine.”
Aslan fumbled for his waterskin, his hands shaking uncontrollably, trying not to breathe the metallic scent of blood, of odorless scent of flames, the clean scent of trounced earth. He knew what would have happened in Oreissa, knew the consequences of attacking the main Oxtrad headquarters, and yet he’d done it anyway. “I don’t have wine, old man,” Aslan said.
He finally wrested the waterskin from his waist and unstoppered the cork at the top. Carefully, he poured the water over the man’s face, and the man opened his mouth, sucking in gulps of air and occasionally droplets of water. His face relaxed as the cool water provided some comfort in his final moments.
“You… you did this,” the man said, when his tongue was wet enough, and he could finally recognize who Aslan was. “We trusted you.”
Aslan’s grin vanished. “That was your first mistake.”
“I trusted you.”
Around them, flames danced, and chaos reigned, licking up the town of Chotabagh. The Black Lions were losing against the Oxtrad soldiers which was exactly what Aslan had expected. This was where the Oxtrad Empire’s barracks were situated in the state of Oreissa, after all.
The barracks themselves were now empty. More accurately, one barrack had been burnt, while the rest of Chotabagh was engulfed in flames. Punishment, the Oxtrad Empire had said, for trying to destroy the barracks. But that fire, which was supposed to have spread throughout the other ten barracks had been snuffed out as soon as one soldier had seen the smoke.
He’d cajoled the zamindar of Chotabagh for weeks, maybe months. Ajay Chakrabarti had proven to be quite the shrewd man for somebody who held such a minor position in Oreissa. At nearly fifty years old, he’d been sympathetic to the Black Lions’ struggle, but was unwilling to make any moves against the Oxtrad Empire, and unwilling to put the civilians in Chotabagh at risk. The damned man couldn’t just be plied with wine or opium, or weight in precious metal, as any normal corrupt zamindar could. Ajay had still balked at the notion of burning the barracks down. Aslan had to take a risk and show his face before he’d relented.
“You trusted the wrong person,” Aslan said now. He used a clean edge of his kurta and began to wipe at Ajay’s face almost tenderly. His hands were still shaking, but he hoped the old man couldn’t notice it in his final moments. “Your mistake was thinking there was security for you in my identity.”
|What I Write||
None for now.
My Write-a-thon Goals
To finish my manuscript (the first page which can be seen in my writing sample)