He gazes out at Saturn, his beloved planet now destroyed, reduced to an empty former shell of itself.
And realizes this is why he has been spared.
To grieve away the remaining days of his life. Uncovering his past mistakes in detail. Exploring every road less traveled, every expedition undertaken, every life snatched, and the few he spared. Many of the finer points are muddled in his head. Yet as he now delves into the ins and outs of his actions in infinitesimal detail, the buried emotions come to the fore. They play across the screen of his face. It is a veritable potboiler of sentiments running amuck.
Shatian gazes into the empty eyes of Yana. She is the love of his life now frozen for eternity. He looks at her beseechingly, willing her to speak, to advice, to tell him what to do next.
Then in desperation, he sinks into that part of his recently discovered conscience, rediscovering long lost emotions.
Shatian takes satisfaction in knowing that he is a strong king, a noble and just ruler, a father figure who has taken care of his subjects as best as he can.
He is a complex multilayered personality. Which is not surprising, since his very conception has had extremely complicated beginnings. He is born gifted and multitalented. Yet, conceived that he is through trickery, the very DNA of his life is set to follow the same patterns that he has lived through.
He is the daughter of Ira, a Goddess of such unparalleled beauty that no living male of any species across dimensions can resist her. Ira sets her sights on the most desirable of all mates. The mighty God Shiva, the Supreme Being, the destroyer of all evil. Ira is confident of winning him over. Not even, he can resist her.
Shiva is the perfect foil for her beauty she decides. His strong swarthy looks and multi dimensional powers are a great foil, a fantastic match to her delicate yet steely spirit.
She goes to him as he sits meditating on the highest mountain peak of all the galaxies. It is the vantage point, from which entire lives, are in perspective.
Ira first prays to Shiva for the kind of power and strength, which only he can command. Then when that does not get his attention, she decides to dance to the melody of his moods, non-stop until his concentration is broken. She continues without pause, matching him at every step. For every in breath he meditates on, she dances chest heaving, countering with an out breath.
She moves with passion, dedication and a fire born of knowing that he is her destiny, her goal, her very existence of being. Without him there is no her.
She dances for many years. Willing her lord to open his eyes and take just one look at her. After many timeless moments of this silent battle, the strength slowly ebbs out of her. Her footsteps falter, her heartbeat slows her movements wind down. Finally, there is the moment when Ira comes to a complete standstill and like a flower drooping, she slips into a deep sleep of exhaustion.
When she opens her eyes, Shiva is standing there smiling gently. He is pleased with her devotion and seduced by her charms. He bends down and gathers her to his core.
Shaitan is conceived in passion.
He is a love child.
The culmination of two unique worlds.
Born on the cross roads of destiny.
He is the first Half Life in all the galaxies.
Shiva does not stay besotted for long. Their ardor consummated, it is as if the outpouring of passion drains him of emotion, leaving him angry and humiliated at having been sidetracked by Ira. His ambition to remain focused on achieving the greater good of all is shattered. His journey of meditation, exploration and finding himself revealed as fake. He has been distracted from the real purpose. It is he realizes, a very pleasant stop, but just a diversion nevertheless.
He is almost thankful that her wiles have shown him where his weaknesses are. He now relishes the chance to start all over again, on more solid footing, stronger than before.
As the mist of desire fades, it leaves in its place the distaste of deception. He cannot forget that Ira has caused him to lose his concentration. He feels cheated.
For a mighty God such as him it is a completely new feeling.
Being used and discarded.
Taken advantage of and tricked into an offspring.
Overcome with anger, Shiva curses Ira and her yet unborn child. “At the time when your son most needs his powers he will not be able to use them,” he thunders.
Ira pales in terror. She instinctively knows that there is no reasoning with the Lord in her defense. It is what he thinks her and there is no changing his mind on that. Yet she must try to save her son, she realizes. So gathering herself very quickly she retorts, “Wait, he is your son too. Shouldn’t you give him at least one chance at redemption?”
Shiva pauses. Seeing the pain of a mother to be, on her face, he takes pity and retracts somewhat. “As long as the rings of fate around his forehead are intact, he survives. If he loses that he dies,” he says.
As Ira turns to leave, Shiva says, “Not even the Gods are spared the ecstasy of love or the pain of separation. We take for granted the emotions experienced by the rest. We forget what it is to feel.”
“What lies in front of me is sheltered, restricted, constricted,” she says. “For a slice of time you let me lead my life the way I would have wanted it to be. In complete devotion of seeking the unattainable. The rush of a pursuit is sweet.”
“There are no limitations to what you can do;” says Shiva “You are powerful. All that you feel burdened by will be saved and rescued.”
Ira bows to him in gratitude. Then taking Shaitan in her arms she flees back to her kingdom, to be married to the most powerful of princes. Unable to keep the presence of her son a secret, she wraps up the baby in her favorite turquoise robe, then sets the child afloat in outer-space, shooting him away to the further most planet of Mars.
The child is not normal. Not just because of where he has come from, but it is clear to the couple who find him that he is different, born as he is with the rings of fate which criss-cross his little head, they look at him and know instantly that he is powerful.
He learns everything they can teach him at an incredibly fast pace too, to the extent where they are drained off all knowledge very quickly.
By the time he is five, they know that he needs stronger, agile, faster teachers.
Shatian is sent to all the greatest scholarly masters in the universe – the best of mortals and Gods and demons. He laps up the knowledge at a strident pace. It is as if there is an insatiable bookworm within him eating every shred of information in sight. His favorite past time is trivia. He sets about learning everything there is to know, about anything across the galaxies. He is thrice the quiz champion of the thirteen galaxies.
Finally, in a flash of inspiration, his proud foster parents take him to Mars, the ruler of their planet, the God of war himself. They ask Mars to take on Shaitan as his disciple, to teach him the futuristic art of war.
Looking at Shaitan, Mars recognizes that he is not at any ordinary mortal but a young Demi-God. A Half Life with incredible powers. Until now, Mars had only heard the stories of this young boy gifted with powers who could be the ruler of tomorrow. And here is that very boy, standing in front of him. Staring at him with dark glowing eyes. Young though he is, the aura of power around him is already visible, his glowing halo reaching out and touching those around him. Shaitan already cuts an imposing figure. Authority exudes from him in every restrained gesture, in his cool dominance of himself, his articulated words and actions.
Impressed by the intensity of the young boy, Mars takes him under his wing. He coaches Shaitan as if he is a true God, making him aware of his prowess and skill, grooming him to become the lord of the universe. Mars teaches Shaitan everything there is to know about weapons and music, his two biggest passions.
From a very early age, a thirst to conquer instills in Shaitan.
From his very first kill, he is hooked. It is his first taste of being all-powerful. An entity who elicits fear and awe in the watcher. He loves it.
The thrill of omnipotence fans the flames of his need to take revenge on the universe, which had cast him out and kicked him around at such a young age. All of it underpinned by a craving to take revenge on those who had abandoned him prematurely.
The years pass and there is no sign that this young boy is the devil incarnate. Indeed looking back, Mars would think, that he should have known, even suspected that something has not been quite right all along. For the young Shaitan masters the skills that would have taken another mortal perhaps an entire lifetime, in just a few years.
Shaitan is in a hurry to grow up, pushing himself to get the revenge that is ingrained into every cell of his body from a very young age. Then inevitably comes a day when there is no more that Mars can teach Shaitan. The day that he has been waiting for a very long time. He can taste the beginning of the magnificent journey that is to be his life. As Shaitan rides his inter-galactic transporter, through the kingdom domain of Mars, he is aware of a quiet that comes not from peace, but from a deathly surrounding stillness, as if he is the last surviving soul in the entire universe.
Mars comes up against Shaitan standing there with his sword drawn, the magic coursing through his body making him stronger than anything Mars has ever seen.
Shaitan challenges Mars to a duel. It is a battle between two equally matched opponents, who mirror each other’s power and talent. Mars knows how to anticipate Shaitan’s moves; after all, they echo his own. Yet, he has not counted on Shaitan’s strength of youth and a cunning sense of confidence that brings a touch of brilliance to his every thrust. Mars manages to escape with his life, living behind his kingdom and a lifetime of gathered riches. Not before, he curses Shaitan. With his strength ebbing, looking into the eyes of his protégé now his foe. The love and hate come pouring through, lending a ring of fatality to his words “You Shaitan will be killed by your own son. Just as I face you today and stand helpless, my strength and will ebbing away, unable to hold my own. So will you. Look at me carefully Shaitan and see yourself.”
Having pronounced that, Mars lays down his sword. He laughs long and hard at the poetic justice of it all. At the parody of the wheel of life set to repeat itself yet again. He disappears, never to be seen again.
Shaitan takes a step back inwardly. For the first time ever in his straight and narrow thinking he stumbles slightly. The arrow which leaves the bow is bent. It’s the first casualty of his half life.
A comeuppance of sorts.
An almost welcome ending for someone who was born to think about himself only.
He takes a vow, never to have children. To love yet, not to be loved in return, that is his punishment. The seed of his loins is not to be.
Shaitan takes over to become the ruler of the kingdom of Mars. Stunned as he is by Mars’ prophecy, he tries to be a just ruler at least to his own subjects. Then on the day he turns 21 he organizes a massive hunting expedition. The hunt is on the furthest end of Saturn among the thick forests of the planet teeming with varied wildlife from all around the galaxy. Cross bred with each other it is the most fantastical exotic collection of species, which anyone could ever find in one place. An aquarium of the colours and moods of the weird and wonderful life in all it’s splendour.
Shaitan is hard at chase, on the heels of a Martian cross breed which to look at was somewhat of a between a deer and a mongoose. It runs fleet footed, with Shaitan hot in pursuit leading him deeper and deeper into the psychic forests, where the trees whisper secrets of the world to each other. Trees more ancient than time which have survived many apocalypses and which carry within them secrets that make the world recede to an infinitesimal presence with their significance.
The beast leads him among the thick vegetation, then putting on a burst of speed disappears in the under growth.
The young Shaitan suddenly finds himself in the middle of an extremely thick grove with nothing but the whispering fronds for company. The rest of his hunting pack have been left behind and his prey seems nowhere in sight. He is not concerned though – the confidence and optimism of youth keep him going on the adventure just for the sheer enjoyment of the climax. Anticipating a bloody end for his victim, he grasps his celestial hunting bow and arrow and continues. He has barely gone a few yards when he hears the sound of what seems to be a gurgling, like an animal thirstily drinking water. He slows down, taking on the stance of a hunter. Then closing his eyes concentrates on the prey and let’s go of his arrow. He comes out of his concentrated reverie to find that the sound of drinking has ceased. Cautiously moving toward the original source of sound, he suddenly comes across a clearing with a bubbling brook. A burst of colour on the ground near the far end of the water draws his attention. He runs over to it. Looking down at the fallen figure the bow and arrow drops from his hands. For he is gazing into the face of the most beautiful creature in the world. The face and body of a wonderfully handsome woman, clad in shards of what was originally an elegant deerskin. He realizes that the woman had probably taken on the form of the Martian deer earlier.
He is strongly drawn to her. A cord of connection instantly forming between his heart and hers. He picks her up gently and carries her back with him to the hunting party. His bow and arrow forgotten.
How the mighty fall.
As ferocious a warrior as Shaitan is, his heart is equally expansive. It fills with love for this essence of feminity who has stumbled into his life.
When Yana opens her eye finally and looks at him with first terror, then growing affection and admiration he falls headlong into her core. His armor and weapons lie forgotten as he discovers the strong heady narcotic of love.
The release of living for someone else, of another being filling his every waking thought his senses. He breathes in the perfume of her, aware that on one level he is falling into the trap of fate, and yet not caring. The stars may warn, but immortals and mortals alike plot their own course. The power of destiny rules again.
It is only when the infant is born its piercing screams raising the hackles of his heart that Shaitan wakes from his stupor.
The grounding of his entire body mind and soul brings with it the cold realization that he has set the dice rolling on his own fortunes. Anxious to attempt, at fixing the crack in his fortune, catching the Frisbee of divine intervention before it completely wrecked his future. Ambition rears its ugly head and he dusts off his weapons once more.
However, he has not reckoned with the power of a mother whose feelings run amuck at the sight of a newly born infant suckling at her breast. Yana calls to her fellow shape shifters and through them ships the infant to Ka Surya, the farthest and hence safest, planet; it is also among the most prosperous in the galaxy. She feels reassured that he would be cared for here.
The child that Shaitan kills that day is but a pale imitation of his spawn. Yana knows that her son is safe. Nevertheless, the pure grief of separation overcomes her. Her milk spills over from her newly mothering breasts, searching in vain for the hungry mouth of the infant just emerged from her womb. The sorrow of loss seeps from her and with it the will to live. The chasm of self-destruction beckons longingly and she gives in to it, ending her life in an orbit of anguish
Shaitan is consumed with grief on finding her prone body.
He is torn between heaven and hell.
Between the extremes of salvation and devastation is a silent place, which eludes him.
He wants her back. To capture that feeling of comradeship, companionship of twin flames intertwined in the instant of climax. Overcome with remorse, Shaitan decides to steal the Ishtmus with its power of bestowing life, to restore Yana back.
Yet once back on the trail of ambition, the aspiration for power overcomes blinding his senses… He hastens to assemble an army of the most powerful warriors he has brought together during his countless wars and conquests. Transporting the army then to the top of the eye-mountain, he marches up to the summit. Touching the stone, he can feel the collective power of all living beings course through him. So heady is the feeling that even someone as powerful as Shaitan stumbles at the raw power. Then holding it carefully he sets it into the empty centre piece of his crown. Turning around at the pinnacle of eye-mountain to face the crowd, his face is a contortion of strength, pain and delight. The ubiquitous power runs through his veins connecting him to that focal point in the heavens where all power begins and with the centre of the ground below his feet completing the circuit of infinity. It firms the façade of his face, steels him with a new strength of purpose. He is enthralled by its power.
In that, instant he knows his destiny. He is born to rule the galaxies. To touch the power of living celestial Gods. Be one with them. The Ishtmus consumes him. It overrides his every intent.
The hands of time are frozen for Shaitan.
As the pale shadows of the energy of the living, creep up, the memories come rushing back. And with it the pain.
Throbbing, twinging, hurting
An upsurge of living, breathing glorious emotion
An affirmation of existence
Truthful in its determination to rid him of that which he does not need any more
The long forgotten sensations creep back into his lifeless eyes.
Not all is lost. Vaguely the truth of this notion dawns on him, breaking through the clouds of indecision. He grasps at the certainty of this.
His love. Dead, numb, frozen. Nevertheless, she is still there.
Yana. Forgotten yet perfectly preserved forever. Her beauty unmoving, tranquilized in a parody of existence.
The time to awaken is here.