The Golden Vein

by R.T. Allenson

“Like a cornered rat.” I muttered under my breath.

Dravna turned around and raised his palm, letting loose a splinter of lightning coursing towards me. A petty thing but it roared like a firestorm as it flew in the air; I had anticipated this and without moving, I caught the thunderbolt with my hand and swiftly threw it back at him.

He stared at me, unflinching and defiant before the wicked bolt tore at his chest. The burst of thunder seemed to echo for miles and when the smoke cleared, Dravna who had assassinated the King of Heaven lay motionless on the amber ground.

Above me the bridge of heaven had descended, beckoning for my return. I carried his broken body with me for the gods have decreed that the weight of his crime must be punished accordingly…and thoroughly.

“W-What do you plan to do with me, dog?” his voice was weak and I felt the death-struggle within his body and though the wound is fatal, he would live to see the gods mete his punishment.

“Your fate does not rest on my whims anymore Dravna.” I replied coldly. “The Lord of Heaven lies dead, killed with the boon he granted you. Treachery at its most foulest. Treachery and murder!”

He laughed, choking on his breath. “Aye, murder. Even the gods fear Samsara…”

“You invoked Brahmastra and turned it towards its creator, there was no formal battle between the two of you. Murder is what it is, for had you settled your grievance then the Brahmadanda would have turned the foul thing against you and ended your treachery as it should have been.” At this he laughed, mocking my response.

“You’re a simple-minded fool and your will as I see it is thoroughly twisted. What is your name, devakin?”

“I am called Valthamya and I am no kin of yours.”

“But we are for we’re both puppets in our own right, both of us mere playthings of the gods. But see how I defy them?” He laughed weakly. “See how I have reminded them of their weakness, the truth of their deception?”

“You speak in riddles, Dravna. Luck dawns on you still for I am composed as of yet in my solace and in mourning for Lord Brahma. But test not my patience and speak plainly for it behooves me to even hear the words of a madman such as yourself.”

“You would kill me now then and end my suffering?”

“With certainty, but I am obliged to prolong so that judgment be passed on to you.” I replied hesitantly. He threw his head back and laughed, gasping for air as he did.

“Then I would tell you my reasoning behind all this, but I ask something from you in return.”

“And what would that be?” I asked. He smiled contently, his eyes glinting with clarity. With all his strength he pushed himself towards me and laid a kiss on my lips. And with that a million lifetimes raced through my mind – his, not mine but in that moment of understanding, I knew then the thing that burdened Dravna and pushed him to his murderous conclusion. I saw the Trimurti and all the gods as what they were, the trial of Samsara as what it is, and all other things as what it would be. The truth of their deception, I pondered it as I wondered of my genesis – if truly I am nothing more than a puppet of some higher machination that had unjustly made itself in its preferred image. I understood then what Dravna’s struggle was and as he pulled away from me, I fulfilled my promise to him as he burned like a furnace in my arms until nothing left of him save his ashes ascended into the sky and danced with the wind.

My eyes turned to heaven and I carried on my ascent.

Where Indra fell, his body shattered into a million pieces – his heart nothing more than a clockwork machine and no ichor ebbed from the golden vein that separated Devi from mortal. I took the Vajra from his hand and crushed his head underfoot, leaving nothing but a mess of wire and glass.

And as I raised the wicked diamond up on high, the gods shuddered as I let loose the thunderbolt’s fury.