Chapter 1 – The Decision
Author’s Note: Thank you for sticking with me thus far, I will update as and when possible. Please find the chapter list below and read in the order for optimum understanding 🙂
2300 AD : Earth
It had undergone massive changes. The water had vanished from the Earth as we know it. The polar ice caps had melted, and then evaporated. There were no scientific explanations as to why it had happened. Man had little water. 300 years had passed since The Great Sage Uru had called forth the sages and held the meeting that would give a warning to all mankind.
Things had changed after the warning came. But it wasn’t enough. The future had been inevitable and had come without fail. The sages were hapless bystanders affected by the passing time. There had been three generations of sages that came after that, they had tried their hardest to do what they could for the human kind. It had not been enough.
The days had started becoming longer and the nights shorter. Most animals had become extinct. Mankind had prevailed but the waters had slowly started depleting, slowly but surely. Scientists burned the midnight oil trying to explain the strange phenomenon but had failed horribly.
The oceans had drained. The land masses had increased. The continental borders had vanished. There weren’t any continents now. There were just five regions. There was water mass on the Earth; on the center, an area that wasn’t controlled by any of the regions as they constantly fought over it. But no side had conclusively won the war.
The area couldn’t support any habitation. The place was surrounded by trees, rugged hills and impenetrable shrubs. The last bit of surviving wildlife was on that area. The area had a radial pattern. It extended up to around 1200 miles from the lateral center of the Earth with its focus in the erstwhile Mediterranean Sea.
The regions had constructed aqueducts so that they can have water for their citizens. But it had become woefully evident that the water would eventually run out. And the Earth had to prepare for that eventuality.
The individual heads of all the regions knew that fact, except they did not have the resources, the people or the energy left to deal with it. This is the world now. This is 2300 AD.
2300 AD – Region C
The fourth generation after Uru, the current Sage and the current Marshall of the Region were sitting in the convening room lost in thought.
Shambu-uru said “It is wise to take action as and when required, Sire.”
“I understand that, O’ Sage, but don’t you think that is a bit extreme. I mean is that even realistic? Sounds like something off of a science fiction.” said Marshal Jalapanna.
Shambu-uru had inherited the patience and the calm understanding of his forefathers, the Panchabuta.
The sages had all convened in the neutral area; as they usually do in the advent of any premonition. One of the sages, Charles the Third, had seen an answer to their problems. He had seen in his premonition that a group of five people had to embark on a quest to a foreign land; a land away from the Earth we live in, and he had foreseen that we would get all the answers to the questions that loomed over us.
The sages had then gone back to their respective regions to usher action. They needed to get the enterprise started fast. Right now in the five regions, there were sages speaking to the region heads.
But Shambu-uru realized patience drew no quarters, he had to urge his region’s head into action. He looked the Marshall directly in his eyes and said “That is why we the sages have decided to send our aides for this task. Who better than them; to become the cornerstones to our future?”
The Marshall stared at the bright sun that would shine upon them for a few more hours for the long day to end, he sighed and nodded.
2300 AD – A forest clearing in a jungle in Region C
Brugu climbed up the tree, he had to quickly fetch the jaamun. There was going to be stew tonight. He carefully grabbed a branch, and then a vine and then another branch, his strong arms pivoting his weight with practiced accuracy.
“Brugu! Careful, we don’t want you falling. There isn’t any need to show off. Quickly just pick the damn fruit” His sister Chandrika shouted. She was sent with her eighteen year old brother to do a menial task. And like any elder sister, she cringed at the prospect.
The Uru aides and sages lived simple lives, not removed from civilization and its effects but rather with it. They coexisted. They took the bare necessities and let the luxuries go. The sages were always offered riches by their respective kings and ministers but they did not see the need for it.
Gaia took care of them, they claimed, she knows no religions, she showed no partiality. She loved everyone. She loved equally.
Brugu was the latest aide to the sage, Shambu-uru. He was the embodiment of whatever the earth stood for. He seemed to thrive in the jungle, the heart of Gaia. He excelled in swimming, right into Gaia’s welcoming bosom, well at least whenever they went to the neutral area. He would fall down from a tree, get up, dust himself off and then climb again. His heart belonged there!
Chandrika didn’t share the love for the forest, however. She was irritated. “Brugu, come down damn it! I think you have enough fruits for two days worth of stew!” She bellowed irritably.
“Hang on bahini, I’ll drop a couple more, then jump down” Brugu said, heartily, and then jumped onto a different tree branch close to the one he was on and cut off two more of the fruits, then quickly ran down the branch as nimbly as he had climbed up.
“Shall we go now?” His sister said, collecting the last few of the fallen fruits.
“Tonight, it’ll be like a feast” Brugu said, satisfied, and quickly added before his sister loses it “Alright, let’s go. Mother must be worried”
“We all know who’s to blame for that!” Chandrika said as they quickly ran down the forest road.
2300 AD – Brugu’s Residence
“Brugu, ah there you are!” Kalki said as he hailed for his son.
Brugu felt the haste in his father’s voice and rushed over with Chandrika in his tail. Brugu’s dog gave a welcoming bark and then continued in its quest to find the rabbit that had escaped its notice.
He saw why as soon as he neared, his master had visited his house. He quickly cleaned his feet and rushed inside, bowed deep and said “Shishaka Prasanna, welcome, master”
His master was seated on a blanket on the floor like he preferred. He had a warm smile on his face like he usually did. But this time, he seemed a little worried. Something must have happened. But before he could ask his master said “Brugu, you remember what I told you when you were ten and I took you to the Kashmir?”
Brugu nodded. “Gaia gives us her all, we need to give our all to her. Be it on the land, be it in the water, be it in the skies”
Shambu-uru nodded, pleased. “You are a good student, my son. You have served Gaia in the forests wherever you found them. You have served Gaia in the waters whenever you touched them. Now you need to take to the skies. Gaia needs you. We need you.”
Then he was quiet. The sun had finally given way to the moon and it was dark. In the light of the oil lamp that cast deep dark shadows, and as the cricket screeched in an almost eerie fashion, silence fell in the Brugu residence, as the pupil stared at his master.
Finally after what seemed like forever, he said “I… what?”