The Chronicles of Chheechkaduni (Continued)
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)
This contribution is part of a series:-
1. The Chronicles of Chheechkaduni (15-Aug-2014)
2. The Chronicles of Chheechkaduni (Continued) (30-Jul-2015)
| ||In the far distant future, when the seas have dried up and the rivers are gone, the renegade lord Onek Mangsho and his wives flee being turned into meat to feed the people.|
| ||Three new tales of danger as Onek Mangsho, Opodartho and Chheechkaduni make their way through the world of the far distant future.|
THE TREASURE OF THOGER TANDOB
Itís been so long since I was last with you, since I lay in
your arms and felt your sweet kisses, that I feel as though Iím stranded in the
desert every day with not a drop to drink. And I am sure, my love, that this is
exactly how you feel too.
Oh, how I yearn to be with you! But donít worry, as soon as
the current quest I am on is done, I will be flying to you as fast as I can
come, and then we will never be apart again, not as long as the Cannibal Spirit
gives us years to live.
"Quest?" I hear you ask. "Did my Bhishon Boka, who never
uses fancy words, just write Ďquestí?" Just bear a moment with me, my dear, and
youíll know what I mean.
You may or may not have heard of one Onek Mangsho, a hated
and reviled traitor who lived long, long ago. The details are not important,
but this Onek Mangsho is suspected to have had laid his hands on a considerable
treasure, details of which may be found in the writings left behind by one of
his wives, Chheechkaduni. By my fatherís orders, Iíve been looking high and low
for more of her parchments. Itís been a long and gruelling search, and in the
course of it Iíve had a lot of time to think.
It wonít be unknown to you that my father is pressing me to
marry his deplorable niece, my cousin Lokloke Jeebh. Iíd rather be eaten alive
than do any such thing, of course, but the state of both your and my finances
make it impossible for us to wed at this time. If, however, we can get our
hands on that traitorís treasure, we can leave everything behind us and make a
life together, far away and with no worries for the future.
As to my father, he is more than rich enough, and his desire
for the treasure is fuelled by plain and simple greed, nothing more.
Yesterday, after a long search, I came to a tavern in a
dirty little town by the name of Kochchoper Kholosh, where caravans stop to
trade goods among themselves. There, I had been told, was a man who might have
what I was looking for, and be persuaded to give it up for a bag of coins. So I
made arrangements, and when I entered the tavern, there was a villainous
looking individual with a cloth tied round his forehead and a dirty cloak,
waiting for me.
He was, unfortunately, though illiterate, quite aware of the
fact that the bundle of parchment he was carrying Ė as it turned out Ė inside
the cloth tied round and round his head was valuable. Otherwise I might have
had it for much cheaper than I did. Ultimately, after a great deal of haggling
in a shadowed corner, and over many mugs of cheap blood-wine, we came to an
arrangement. I got the bundle, he took his money, and we both went our separate
ways, as quickly as we could, for fear of bandits.
Now you, my dear, with your ready intelligence, will already
have understood my plan. I will continue my search for the writings of this
Chheechkadunni, who, going by what I have read earlier of her accounts of her
travels, was a vile harridan, truly an appropriate helpmeet for her traitorous
husband. While my fatherís money will finance this search, I will, of course,
send anything I find to you, so that you may read them over at leisure and seek
clues as to the whereabouts of this treasure. Once we know where it is, we only
have to unearth it and we can go away together, for a lifetime of bliss.
But please make sure to maintain complete secrecy, because I
have heard that the High Monk of the Grand Assembly, among others, is also
interested in this search.
Yours forever, with many kisses,
nothing," my Lord said, looking out of the window.
"Nothing?" I repeated. From where I stood I could barely see
the walls of the monastery of Thoger Tandob rising on the other side of the
darkened marketplace. "My Lord, perhaps we should give up this idea and move on
"Chheechkaduni," Onek Mangsho said, "we canít afford to move
on without doing this. Even just paying this innís fare would almost exhaust
the coins we have left. We have to find a way to get in there and get our hands on that treasure."
[ Continue to page 2 ]