The Den Amhadhri Khantara had returned and a celebration was given in honour of his long-awaited arrival. Everyone on the islands was called to attend but the Amhadhri Mhardhosa was obliged to remain away. His inability to converse or remain in the presence of others was crippled due to his irrepressible rage and though he was able to conjuring it effectively in battle, to utilize it in any other instance was impossible. One hundred years Mhardhosa had remained in such a besieged manner, only keeping his two beloved brothers and his Odaibha for company for only they would withstand his enforced foulness and only they could suppress his unmitigated rage. They had endured much by him. Mhardhosa required their constant presence when around others and though he knew his situation asked much of them, he could not apologize for the wretchedness of his state nor would they wish him to for fear of his self-loathing causing his ethnaa to surface.
Discourse with those beyond his small and close acquaintance was unconscionable and his need for imposed solitude pained him greatly, more for the sake of his happy brothers and revered Odaibha than his own. He was accustomed to the pitied looks he received from others and had grown hardened to them, ignoring them where necessary and repressing them when goaded. Mhardhosa's unrelenting ethnaa had made him a feared warlord in the throes of war but had caused a rift between him and his ranks. He was an Amhadhri, a commander of Mharvholan's armies, and though Mhardhosa's position required him to lead and many to follow, the Amghari under his governance obeyed his written order without question and with great trepidation should they seek to form an opinion in opposition to his charge. There was a name circulated around the ranks for the obsidian-skinned behemoth but no one dared to utter it in his attendance as that last time such a true and cruel designation was murmured within the giant's reach, Mhardhosa was instantly incited and the one who had said such a phrase had barely lived to apologize. Vhondouhi, One who is Mad, was the Amghari designate accorded to him when he was instated yet when it was said once, it was never said again. Bhaaldhena salvaged what remained of Mhardhosa's sanity when he viciously attacked the Amghari who slighted him and Khantara saved what was left of the warrior who enticed him.
Mhardhosa had since only spoken to his men with correspondence and was forbidden from instructing others in any of his mastered arts. While Bhaaldhena imparted his skills in weaponmastery and Jhiaanta taught others his skills at the bow, Mhardhosa trained on his own and with Khantara when the Odaibha's time would allow. His master had always marked his immense potential for leadership and though the Den Themari had advised against making him Amghari for his Mivaala, Khantara's word had overruled and Mhardhosa had proven himself a most formidable leader and irreplaceable asset. Though the plagued Amhadhri had exhibited his immense achievements on the field and incur much honour from his leaders and favor from his two brothers, he had failed in the social aspect of the collective.
His obligation for Khopra had never been fulfilled and though he gained many requests due to his exquisite countenance and impressive tone, he declined them all, passing them on to Bhaaldhena for practice or to Jhiaanta for building his esteem. He had performed the sacred ritual only once and had never seen its completion. The woman with which he was paired though appealing could not withstand his blinding rage and sought to flee when their act had only just begun. Ashamed at his inability to control his rage within the temple and disgusted with his inbred madness, Mhardhosa began finding other means of employment in the evenings that would keep him isolated while allowing his two brothers time to themselves without worry for his constant internal struggle and spared everyone from unbridled outbursts of madness.
His master had well noted his want to be alone to keep his circumstance hidden from the collective as long as he was permitted and had suggested the difficult art of Haanta spear fishing to calm his unstable sensibilities. Mhardhosa obeyed his venerated master's word and fashioned a spear for himself that he took to the shoreline nearly every day and when his brothers were occupied with their duties, he took his meals by himself, enjoyed the aggressiveness of the hunt in the clear waters, and was soothed by the spall rushes of the waves lapping against the white shores.
When the celebration for Khantara's return began, Mhardhosa remained for as long as he was able, keeping his ocher eyes closed to concentrate on his extensive meditations and shadowing himself Bhaaldhena's massive form to keep others from his path. His breathing quickened with the inviting sounds of laughing women and the welcoming din of the celebrants exchanging gifts. His arms began to shake with burgeoning fury and whimpered, raising a hand to his bow, desperately attempting to calm but failing on every consequential account.
Khantara noticed his Amhadhri's immense pain and approached to quell him. He understood the reason for his remaining and whispered his sincerest thanks as he bid him to gain some well-deserved time on his own. His student graciously bowed and hurried away to his home to obtain his spear and listen to the music from afar to forbear the collective his madness.
Many observed the Amhadhri's swift removal but said nothing, knowing to what his disappearance owed. They understood that Mhardhosa's valued emergence at all was a feat to be admired and no one spoke words of disrespect or opposition to his leaving. There was one, however, whose sudden interest was piqued by the Amhadhri's desertion and she took a few distracted footsteps toward the entrance of the celebration grounds to watch Mhardhosa's parting. Anjhali titled her head as she observed Mhardhosa's considerate nature through the shroud of his madness. She reasoned that the giant left to spare everyone his looming eruption and she felt not pity but admiration for such thoughtfulness of others despite his adored mater's commemoration. She stood alone at the entrance while the celebration began and she wondered if the Amhadhri truthfully enjoyed his madding company in his lonesomeness or if he only sought refuge and bore his loneliness in excruciating isolation.
Khantara studied the woman's stance and to his experienced intellect, it seemed as though she wished to go to him yet did not know how to approach. The Odaibha smiled and hummed to himself, happy that the woman had reciprocated Mhardhosa's interest in her as restricted as it was. His Amhadhri had begged for his assistance in endeavoring to even approach the woman once his concern was clear but Khantara nodded in pleasance to himself to think that perhaps Mhardhosa would not need support in spite of his hopeless expectations.
Khantara took his small, shuffling steps toward Anjhali and bowed to her, apologizing for the intrusion.
"Honoured Odaibha," the garden keeper said, inclining her head in reply. "I'm pleased to see our people rejoice in your name."
Khantara slowly blinked and was filled with a positive warmth for Anjhali's kind response. He studied her straight bearing and tall stature, and he noted there was a certain aloneness shared between the eyes of the woman before him and the eyes of his absent Amhadhri. "You are forthcoming with your concern for him," the giant's low and commanding voice thrummed. "He has much care and consideration within him but he is unable to show it. His ethnaa is as no other I have seen but he must not be pitied. He should be admired for his abilities to suppress it as much as he has and we must not treat him a manner in which he would not wish to be treated himself."
Anjhali nodded and looked out at the shore beyond, marking the Amhadhri's reappearance before it with his long spear in his hand. "I do feel for him. I cannot understand his pain although I sympathize with it but I can understand his want for solitude even if he is already lonesome," she said in a saddened hush. "When my Traala died, I felt the same. I have since recovered but it took me many years and I still enjoy my isolation in the gardens around the temple."
"Your Mivaala was chosen well, Anjhali," Khantara said with a sagacious smile. "I am reminded of my Haasta speaking to you. She had your concern for others and she had the same reliance. She endured much before we met but her ability to govern herself was unmatchable. I am pleased to see you retain the same qualities." Khantara exchanged a fond smile with the garden keeper and she bowed her head in thanks for his gracious praise of her self-command and selflessness. "Go to him, Anjhali Leraa," he bid her with a nod. "You have the strength to withstand his manner and he will be appeased by your quiet attendance."
Anjhali did not question Khantara's gentle order and softly smiled. She walked toward Mhardhosa's position at the shore and stood among the trees near the coast to regard him as he fished out in the swallow waters.
Mhardhosa had heard someone approach but assumed it was merely a passing celebrant on his way to the commemoration and ignored it as he continued his hunt. Mhardhosa's ability was such that he could trap his prey in his hands if he wished but the pleasantness of the spear in his hand and the placation of the violence against his quarry was greatly consoling to his ever-raging mind. He therefore chose to hunt for his meal with sadistic aggression to aid in conquering his ethnaa in the prefer method of impaling it and roasting its wriggling body over a small fire. His movements were calculated and quick and unless he struck, the giant barely moved at all to cull the swarming schools attentions toward him. His eyes focused on the largest fish in the surrounding group and he silently lifted his spear back and plunged it forward, piercing his large prey and pinning it to the swallow ocean floor. He lifted his spear from the sand and examined his writhing meal with a satisfied look for his catch.
Mhardhosa turned back to the shore to create a fire for cooking when he noted that Anjhali was standing amongst the trees, watching his solitary hunt. The sight of the preferred woman's distant company was unsettling to him enough but her looks of fondness and sincerity were beguiling and he was forced to keep his watch low. He slowly prowled to the white sanded coastline, his obsidian body glinting with flecks of clear water, and he rested his long spear against his large chest as he donned his warkilt, taking it up from its place in the sand to spare the woman the sight of his soaked and tightened loincloth. Before he could finish adjusting his kilt into place, however, he observed the woman's long legs walking past him in his low kept glance.
She walked out into the swallow bend of the shore to regard the water lilies floating on the surface of the clear seas. Mhardhosa was struck with her delicate observation of her surroundings and his breathing hastened to a dangerous pace, his mind immediately incited as he studied her movement in the lapping waters.
Anjhali heard the sounds of the giant's struggle and did not turn to assess them. She kept her back firmly toward him, trusting that he would regain himself, and kept her glance out into the open seas she sense his fists tightening and his features wincing in agony. She remained standing in the water for some time as the giant reluctantly went to gather wood for fire from the nearby trees. She sat in the warming waters and waited for a sound of acceptance or a word of expulsion. She heard the small fire being kindled behind her and when she received no reply from the aggrieved and silent giant, she stood from her place and began walking out of the seas when she was met with Mhardhosa's pinning glance. His ocher-coloured eyes displayed the horrors leaping about in his mind and his bearing was rigid as his appearance was pained. He took one step toward her and stopped, immediately assailed by his ethnaa surfacing. He looked away from the pleasing and patient woman and stood perfectly still, collecting his numerous breaths to silence his stirred senses.
Mhardhosa opened his mouth to speak to her, regarding her peaceable features and placation, but he was half anguish and half delight and could not give her the words of one without retaining feelings of the other. His eyes roamed up as he gathered his peace and down again when he lost it. The giant's tone was strung taut against his large frame as his chest heaved in distress for the inability to even greet the woman he admired. A time had passed and while Mhardhosa continued his struggle, he almost neglected to notice that the woman had not left him. She remained where many would have fled or feared or at least shown concern, but she did none of these and only stood and waited. He took this as a kindness not out of sympathy as he would have loathed but out of determination to gain his favor as he would have wanted.
Once his budding rage was quieted enough to stand before her and observe her, Mhardhosa decided not to venture speech for he knew such an endeavor would mean immediate failure. He searched for other means of expression and his becoming features bent in renewed frustration at his incapability to communicate with any effect. They continued only to exchange unwavering glances, the garden keeper with astounding resolve and the Amhadhri with a delicate constancy. Her dark complexion and mystifying eyes beguiled him and he had never seen a creature with more persistence and serenity. He almost believed that her presence was subduing his rage, if that was at all possible, and he wished for her to remain but without knowing how to tell her so.
Anjhali's glance drifted from the giant's severe expression toward the end of the spear still in his hand as if to signal his catch as a means of remaining. The giant understood and responded immediately with an eager and difficult turn of his head, calling her silently to join him in his meal. Anjhali smiled and nodded her agreement and the two sat on opposing sides of the fire without speech or gestures between them.
Mhardhosa was not skilled at cooking as the Mhojhudenri was as he was skilled in the art of war and not in the art of fare, but he roasted his kill over the flame and offered more than half to the woman across from him. She could not speak words of denial as to do so any have tempted his unintentional fury but she accepted Mhardhosa's offering and eaten as much of it as she could. He watched her with gratitude in his glance and his breathing slowed to a pleasant pace, regarding the unwearied woman as her features danced in the distortion of the flames. He ate in silence, watching her between each bite, and when she nodded her head in thanks and stood to leave him in his solitude, Mhardhosa had felt a strange occurrence within him. His ethnaa was returning at her parting rather than at her intrusion. His breathing suddenly hastened when she turned away from him and the giant leaped up and rushed in front of her.
"Stay," Mhardhosa managed to shout. He noted the woman's startled response and his chest surged as he attempted to regain control of his racing intellect. "Please," he begged her, fighting through his hindrance.
Anjhali smiled and nodded, sitting down once again.
The giant this time sat beside her but did not venture to look at her, keeping his eyes on the sand ahead. "I know," he murmured with strained difficulty, "I know I am not much for companionship. I am limited and cannot speak easily with others."
"There is no need for explanation," Anjhali softly said. "You are the way you are. I prefer the sounds of silence myself."
She noted the alacrity in his struggling breathes and turned to him to gauge his level of grief as the gentle waves of the shoreline ran against their feet. In the midst of his pained expressions and distressed apparentness, she observed the corner of his tense mouth contracting into a fleeting smile, a position in which Mhardhosa's features in one hundred years had never before taken.