An Unexpected Twist…. Chapter One

The moonlight streamed down into the clearing. The flickering light of the fire fell on the brooding face of the man who sat by it.
He was not a young man but not old either. Dark complexioned and handsome, he was dressed simply and wore no ornaments. A knot of hair held a peacock feather which swayed in the breeze.
His name was Krishna and his name was equally reviled and revered among the people of Aryavarta.
A slight noise claimed his attention. He gazed lazily at the man who lay near him. This was a slightly older man, who had been trussed up in a way that made movement impossible. He was unconscious, though he was stirring.
He was a fair skinned man, dressed equally simply. He was well muscled and was strikingly handsome.
He moved his head from side to side and Krishna rose, stretched himself and walked to the other side of the fire.
The older man opened his eyes, though his glance was hazy and unfocussed. He shook his head as if to clear it. He frowned as he realized he was bound. He strained as if to break the ropes which bound him, but failed.
“They won’t break.” Said Krishna calmly.
The captive frowned and a look of fury was on his face as he looked at Krishna.
“What game are you playing?” He grated out. “Where am I? Why have you brought me here?”
“Game?” Krishna queried. “Game was what you played with your cousins, Suyodhana. Game was what you tried to play with me, you and your father. But I am ending all your games today. You refused to adhere to the terms of the game that you played. Well, I am changing the rules now.”
“Do you think that by capturing me you could force me to change my mind?” There was contempt in Suyodhana’s voice.
“Oh no,” replied Krishna. “I know you too well. But I also know your father, who incidentally is still the King. If he gets a whiff that you are my captive, he himself shall yield to your cousins what is rightfully theirs.”
The truth of it stuck Suyodhana forcibly. It was like a physical blow. He strove again to break the ropes which bound him, but to no avail. He glared at Krishna.
“Like a coward, you keep me bound! You don’t even dare face me in battle? My cousins are so cowardly that they have stooped to this trick to get their Kingdom back?”
Krishna threw back his head and laughed. The sound of that laughter raised goosebumps in Suyodhana.
“This from the man who tried to capture an unarmed messenger!” Krishna’s voice held mockery.
“Was your capture of me any less cowardly?” Fumed Suyodhana. “You did not even dare to-” he stopped abruptly as memory of how he was captured returned.
Krishna had got into his room and they had fought. They had fought with swords and then with maces and then with their bare arms. And Krishna had defeated him.
He frowned. It had felt to him as if every bone in his body was broken before he lost consciousness. But now there was no pain. He wondered how much time would have elapsed since he became a prisoner.
“Only a few hours,” Krishna spoke. “And I healed you before bound you.”
Suyodhana wondered for a fleeting moment whether the rumours about this man’s supernatural powers were true. Then he dismissed it. The man was a magician. It must have been due to some trick that he was defeated.
“What is this place?” He asked more to break the silence than anything else. “Where am I?”
“You are still within the borders of your own Kingdom, Prince. But please do not expect a rescue. No one shall find you. No one shall find this place.”
“You seem certain,” muttered Suyodhana.
“I am certain.” Replied Krishna.
“And do you think Yudhistira is going to accept the Kingdom once he finds out what has happened?” Jeered Suyodhana. “He shall tell you to return me to my father and all your efforts shall be in vain.”
“True. Which is why he is not going to know. All your cousins will learn is that my efforts at peace had been successful. And they are never going to learn otherwise.”
“Not unless you kill me!” Snapped Suyodhana.
“You were always one to cut off your nose to spite your face, so I am not surprised. However, I am not worried about what you shall say afterwards. Once Yudhistira is installed on the throne of Indraprastha, nothing you say is going to make him give it up again. I personally shall ensure that.”
“Vasusena shall find me.” It was more hope than belief.
“I certainly hope he does. In fact, I have a good mind to let him find you.” Krishna’s smile was a smirk now and Suyodhana felt a dread grip him. He prayed Vasusena would not walk into any traps.
“Don’t worry,” said Krishna softly. “I shall certainly not lure him into any traps. He shall brave anything to save you, so he shall be my messenger to your father.”
Suyodhana made no answer. He was exhausted. It occurred to him that his exhaustion was not natural. But he was unable to help himself as he fell into a deep swoon.
Krishna looked down at his unconscious captive.
“Sleep well, Suyodhana,” he murmured as he sat down again and returned to whatever he was contemplating.

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