The one who walked away

The wind wasn’t whispering, but howling that day. The sky was glorious and the sun was not very ready to set early. Everyone wanted to witness what was about to happen.
A huge chariot, larger than life, arrived.

‘She is home at last!’ someone cried,
‘she is saved at last!’ someone else shouted,
The crowd rejoiced, The kingdom rejoiced.

A slim figure of beauty stepped out,
dusky and tall,
a warrior and a worrier,
a jewel, the precious one!

Her royal blood racing through her veins as she felt all the eyes staring at her, the queen managed to smile, the demons of her past are finally dead. She stole a glance at the sun setting silently, leaving golden lines on the canvas of the sky, the lines whispering the word  ‘Tomorrow’, over and over again.

Her saviour was now standing right beside her, looking at the same sky, at the same hope. They smiled at the sky and the sky smiled back.

‘Don’t think about the past now, your pain is over. Oh, dearest! Don’t let the tears flow, no more, the pain of the past was overwhelming but now it’s over. Oh, precious wife! You already have created puddles of tears, seas, oceans as well!’
She wipes away her tears, ‘No more’ she smiled.

Now all she wanted was to hide in her king’s embrace, the strongest of shoulders, she knew so well, but missed deeply,  when she was not home, when she was in the thief’s hand, the scoundrel!
But now she was back home, her husband, her long lost everything was  standing with her.

The crowd was shedding tears of joy but soon curled up in a question mark. There were questions yet to be answered.

‘Is she true, though?’ whispered one.
‘Did the demon possessed her soul?’ wailed another.
‘Is the greatest maharani ever impure now?’ someone said out loud.

She heard every word, every cry, every doubt,
all of them, all at once!

A sister-in-law appeared out of the castle.
with garland and questions.
She showered all the garlands on the queen and the questions on her brother.
‘people are talking, how can we stop them?’
‘We can not. We can only have faith’ he offered.
‘But they deserve answers, they deserve proof. You deserve proof’ said his sister.
“there’s only one way” shouted someone from the crowd.

The sun wasn’t in the sky anymore, the golden lines of tomorrow had vanished.
The plaintive hearts ached at the sight of the people spreading burning coal on the grass.

‘These people are the spawn of evil, my precious!’ cried the king.
‘Then stop them’ offered his wife, without looking at the eyes now staring at her.
Both stood silent, ‘why should I stop them?’ he thought with pain. The familiar doubt was now swallowing him, he did not utter a word.

‘Let the trial by ordeal begin!’
‘Let the gods reveal the truth.’
‘The gods will save her if she is truly chaste’

She started walking on the fire, ‘No more tears?’ she whispered as she wiped her face with the corner of her saree.
Her footsteps  echoed as everyone stood there breathless.

The whole sky rejoiced as she reached to the soft grass again, everyone was crying with joy.
‘Long live the queen!’

Everyone wanted her to turn around, to see the glorious face of the true queen, the one who never lied, the one who was pure!

But she didn’t turn around. She stood there looking silently at the ground, her husband in her thoughts, she didn’t have to turn around to see his happiness now. He was so happy she could feel it, she could almost even taste it, and then,

she started walking again, she walked and walked, the cheering crowd was left far behind her, the strongest of the king chased her, begged her to stop but she walked so fast he couldn’t get hold of her.

The crowd was silenced now, but she never stopped walking.
The king fell on the ground in sweat and tears, but she never stopped walking.
Everyone went home satisfied. They knew she was true and pure. The ordeal was over.
the queen, err.. ‘what was her name again?’
the one who never stopped walking,  the one who walked away.

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