A strong chill blew past Shiv and he rubbed his arms. “It’s cold here! Aren’t you freezing?”
Hanuman chuckled, his brown shawl neatly covered his arms. “You will feel better when we reach my home.”
Shiv frowned. They walked out of the large palace into a vast courtyard. It was unlike he had seen before. There were tall leave-less trees and shimmering bushes. As he passed the cracked paved road he noticed that they changed colors: red, blue, orange and even purple.
“What kinds of plants are these?” Shiv reached out a trembling hand to touch the leaves.
“Don’t!” Hanuman pulled Shiv back revealing his wooden arm. “Those are life bushes.”
Shiv noticed a baby bird fall from a nest on a tree above and land on the life bush. The baby bird first grew in size, plump as an orange and quickly in a flash its feather wilted, its beak crooked and its eyes turn dull from a gleaming black. The bird fell on the ground lifeless and stiff, its insides had vanished and only skin and bone remained as if it was sucked out.
“These bushes attract with its shimmering tones and then it sucks the life of anything.”
“Why would anyone keep anything like this in their courtyard.”
“You would be surprised with the creatures in this world Shiv.”
“Where are we?” Shiv rubbed his arms friskly.
“The Eternal City.”
Shiv looked over a winding set of steps. Palace guards who were short in stature but wielded swords twice their size, the same guards that he remembered guarded the throne room of Esen. A large city appeared between fleeting clouds. The wind blew in strongly from behind him and Shiv noticed small tents, two-storey structures and an ominous rain overhead.
“Why is it called the Eternal City?”
“Because perpetuity never finishes.”
Shiv frowned, he felt that Hanuman did not answer his question.
Hanuman patted Shiv’s back. “Your answer will come.”
Shiv smiled and followed Hanuman down the winding steps. He looked around and noticed that everything was cracked, holes emerged where they shouldn’t and an otherwise beautiful construction was destroyed. He remembered in the throne room that the ceiling where the sun shone in was shattered. “Hanuman, why is everything destroyed here?”
Hanuman stopped and looked up at the sky. It was purple-orange, it never changed. He ran his branch-like fingers through his long gray beard. “The war.”
“War?” Shiv asked. “What war?”
Hanuman continued walking toward the city. “A thousand years ago, there was a war between the God’s of this land and the half-bloods.”
“Esen, Nigel, and the people of this city are all half-bloods.” Hanuman took a deep breath. “The God’s did not think much of the half-bloods, in fact they hated them.”
“Everyone in this land is gifted with some sort of ability. Esen controls the winds, Nigel is a warrior with special abilities. The difference is that when a God mates with another they retain the element of their gift.” Hanuman waved his hand.
“You are a God?”
Hanuman chuckled. “Well I rule over the plants, trees, flowers. Why do you think I always have good weed to smoke?”
Shiv smiled. “I always thought you were a very good gardener.” Shiv thought for a while. Hanuman looked like a tree, with wooden body and leaves covering different parts. Esen and Nigel looked human. “But…”
“Why does Esen and Nigel look human?”
Shiv stared at Hanuman.
“That is when a God mates with a Human, their offs-prings is a half-blood. Human form but with abilities of a God.”
“So the half-bloods are better than the God’s?
“Not exactly. While a half-blood’s form may be more presentable than the God’s their power is much less.”
“The God’s think of the half-blood’s as their inferior because of their power.”
Shiv and Hanuman reached the city center. They were surrounded by stalls which reminded him of a market. Canvass hung low over wooden poles and various fruits, vegetables and meats were sold. Little boys stood in front of their father’s stalls and shouted at the top of their voices. “Fresh produce! A bushel only for half a silver!”
“So everyone here is a half-blood? They all have powers? Gifts?”
“Not everyone I am afraid.” Hanuman tilted his head to the little boy. “When a half-blood mates with a human their off-springs would not have any power.”
“Why don’t half-blood mate with another half-blood? Why a human?”
“Even though God’s and half-blood’s have gifts, abilities it is that same power that they have which makes having off-springs difficult.”
“So that boy is the result of a half-blood and a human?”
Hanuman nodded his head.
“Is that why I’m here?”
“I don’t understand.”
Shiv and Hanuman passed the marketplace and reached the double story buildings. Different signs hung from each structure, each sign had a symbol. Some had a hammer, others had crossed swords, bottles and others with combinations. “Are these shops?”
“These are houses.” Hanuman pointed at a sign with a shield and sickle. “Each symbol represents a family and the profession of that family, some are healers, others are warriors, scientists and various other professions.”
Shiv understood this, back home they had a similar classification although very outdated and clearly not applicable in modern times. He walked further with Hanuman and noticed the same cracked roads, hole ridden structures and even scars on people walking by. “Tell me about the war.”
“The God’s started mating with humans mainly because their population was dwindling and they needed to continue with their line. It was completely unheard of in the beginning and mixing with the humans was frowned upon.”
“Worlds should not be crossed, the humans would not understand and humans having no power of their own were seen as the bottom of the scrap.”
“But humans have intellect, technology, weapons that can destroy. Surely…”
“Peanuts! All of the weapons on earth cannot compare to the power of a single God.”
Hanuman smiled. “If I will it, I can destroy all plant life on earth, how will animals survive? How will you grow your herbs? medicine? If all the animals die along with the vegetation how will humans survive?”
Shiv frowned, he understood Hanuman’s point but he could not understand how could they wield so much power.
“That is why there is separation Shiv. But…”
“When the first half-blood was born on earth they were thought as witches, monsters, demons because as a child they unknowingly demonstrated their power and they were killed off by the humans.” Hanuman turned at the end of the road onto a long road up a small hill. “When the God’s found out about this, they tracked their off-springs and brought them to this world. They were surprised to see the form of their off-springs and more than that they were surprised with how weak their off-springs were.”
“They were disappointed?”
“Very much so, they did not think that the half-bloods were worthy of their kingdom and were put as slaves.”
“Slaves?” Shiv thought about the Eternal City and the little boy. “They seemed to be free, they have their own will.”
The pair reached the top of the hill and in the immediate distance a large tree which had been hollowed out appeared. “That is when the rebellion started.”
“One of the half-bloods who had immense power which could have rivaled any God led the rest of his people to battle.”
“The battle was in the Eternal City?”
“That is where the battle started, but it continued on until the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“Kingdom of Heaven?”
“The home of the Gods.” Hanuman waved his hand and a bunch of vines moved aside revealing the entrance.
Shiv followed Hanuman inside bending slightly at the entrance. He noticed a very simple furnishing, all made of vines, roots and branches that slowly sprouted from the ground.
“Take a seat.” Hanuman pointed at the makeshift table on his left. He sat across Shiv and pulled out a small joint from under his shawl. “As promised.”
Shiv smiled as Hanuman lit the small joint with his fingers and blew out the flame from his wooden fingers before it grew too large. “Doesn’t that hurt?”
“A little.” Hanuman and Shiv exchanged the joint as they continued taking deep breaths and exhaling smoke. “So where was I? Yes. The half-blood’s over-ran the God’s in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“I thought the half-bloods where not as strong as the Gods?”
“They weren’t but what they lacked in power they more than made up in numbers. That and the leader of the resistance who was as powerful as any God if not more powerful.”
“The God’s were pinned up against a corner, they knew they could have won that last attack from the half-bloods, they were far too powerful.”
“So the God’s won?”
“No, there was a truce.”
“The God’s made a deal, if the half-bloods would surrender the leader of the rebellion then they would be given their freedom.”
“Why would the God’s do that?”
“There was something that the God’s knew at that time that the half-bloods didn’t”
“What was that?”
“There was another half-blood who had the same power as the rebellion leader. If the war continued then the God’s would fall under the combined power of the half-bloods and it would mean their extinction.”
“What happened to the rebellion leader?”
“Hanuman!” A loud voice boomed from outside which was followed by loud thumping which made the tree shake.
“Someone sounds angry.” Hanuman chuckled. He waved his hands and the vines opened up the entrance.
A large boot thumped into the entrance and the familiar red hair fluttered in the air. “Hanuman! I will get you for what you did.”
Hanuman smiled. “Care for a smoke?”
“No! I want revenge!” Nigel balled up a fist.
“Stop it Nigel.” A melodic voice filled his ears.
“No Esen! He has to pay for what he did.”
“You dare go against my will?”
“Bring me back Shiv, that is why I sent you….you can settle your wounded pride with Hanuman another time.”
Hanuman turned to Shiv. “Time to go Shiv.”
“I still have so much to ask you….why am I here? Why was I brought here?”
“Let us leave that for another time.”
Shiv stood up and followed Nigel out of the tree house.
Hanuman puffed on the joint one last time and whispered in a low hanging voice. “Not enough time I’m afraid.”