Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Microfiction: Two Small Stories on Humanity and Rakshasas

What Defines Humanity?
Humanity is loving, laughing and living.

Demon or Rakshasa?
Are rakshasas truly demons? They are not innately evil, there have been rakshasas who do good. Vibhishana, for example, turned on his rakshasa family and joined Rama. Because of him Rama won the war and was able to defeat Ravana. They can love, laugh and live just as we do.

Vibhishana bowing before Rama
image found here

Author's Note:
The idea of these two stories (a 6 word story and a 50 word story) was from thinking about the different rakshasas we have read about who are obviously not evil. For example Vibhishana in the Ramayana tries to prevent the war at the end of the story by telling Ravana that he should return Sita to Rama. There is also the part in the Mahabharata where a rakshasi wants to help the Pandavas (after falling in love with one of them). These really show that rakshasas are not evil and so I picture them to be just like any other people, just a different race.

Bibliography:
Ramayana, Public Domain Edition by M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder. Web source

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Week 10 Story: Belonging

In a small farming village there was a middle aged widow who found a baby and became his mother. She named the baby Ahvi and cared for him as her own. Ahvi was a beautiful baby boy seemingly normal and in perfect health. However as he grew, two little bumps on his head began to grow as well. They were small little horns. It turned out Ahvi was part rakshasa.

Hoping to protect him, his mother hid his little horns with various hats or wrappings around his head. She would tell him, "Ahvi, it's very important you do not reveal your horns to anyone except me." And when he asked her why, she would only smile sadly and hug him tightly.

Also as he grew, Ahvi discovered the powers of illusion inherited from his rakshasa parent. He enjoyed these powers and would practice and play with them in secret deep in the forest. Because of this, he grew stronger and better at illusions the older he got.

One day, the small farming village he lived in was attacked by a crazy bear. This bear destroyed some of the villagers property and killed some of the livestock. Thankfully no one was harmed. This attack though gave Ahvi an idea. What if he used his illusions to keep dangerous wild animals away from the town? And so he began to use his illusions to send any dangerous animal away before they could do any harm. The villagers had no idea they were being protected until the day the village was attacked by a hungry rakshasa who had long ago thrown his honor and morals away.

This day began like any other normal day. Villagers were working in the fields and Ahvi was helping where he was needed while keeping an eye out for signs of wild animals. Then a stranger entered the town. But this stranger had large horns growing from his head and two sets of arms. He was also larger than any normal human. The stranger bellowed the order, "BRING ME YOUR LIVESTOCK FOR ME TO EAT OR I'LL KILL YOU ALL INSTEAD!"

Before the villagers could move to obey, Ahvi approached the stranger and simply stated, "No. You will not have our livestock or our lives." And he created the biggest illusion he could to scare the rakshasa away. The evil rakshasa took a step back and Ahvi used this chance to strike him down quickly. He grabbed his hunting knife and slashed through the intruders neck.

The villagers stood there shocked. Then Ahvi's mother rushed forwards to stand between Ahvi and the villagers with her arms spread wide. But Ahvi simply smiled at her and gently pushed her behind him. He looked at the crowd of villagers and, with the evidence of his defense of the village behind him, addressed them, "You all know me. You have seen me grow up and know I have never hurt any of you. Does what I am really make a difference when you already know who I am?"

Ahvi, with the woman who raised him as her son behind him, watched the crowd. What will they decide? And as he watched, the crowd relaxed and slowly approached...

Painting of a Rural Village
image found here

Author's Note:
The inspiration for this story is the Jataka tale Granny's Blackie. In this story, an older woman is given a baby elephant that she names Blackie and raises. The elephant gets along with all the villagers and never has to work. One day, he realizes that the woman is getting old and can't work as much as she used to so he goes to find some work to help make money. He does manage to make money and then helps her with any hard work after that.
I wondered what the story would be like if the woman raised a boy who is part rakshasa instead of an elephant. And from that came this story where I wanted to show that a person's heart and mind are more important than their appearance or race.

Bibliography:
"Granny's Blackie" from Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt found here

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Reading Notes: Babbitt's Jataka Tales Part B

Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt Web source found here

The Wise and the Foolish Merchant:
  • One group lead by foolish Merchant gets tricked by demons to empty water jugs and then they are all killed
  • Next group realizes there are demons and refuse to be tricked

Granny's Blackie:
  • A woman raise an elephant from when he was a baby and then later when she is old the elephant helps her with hard work


A big kind elephant - image found here

Ideas:
  • What if instead of an elephant, the woman raises a demon who is good because of how she raises him?

Reading Notes: Babbitt's Jataka Tales Part A

Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt Web source found here

How the Turtle Saved his Own Life:
  • Pretending to be unable to swim and acting like that is the worst thing they could do is what saved the turtles life.

The Sandy Road:
  • Group of travelers carelessly throws away water only to find that they needed it because they got turned around in the desert.
  • Determination to find water wins out and they survive.

The Quarrel of Quails:
  • A group is stronger when acting as one (duh).
  • A group divided won't survive.
  • Group of quail could save themselves by flying away with a net over them until they begin to fight and refuse to work together.


A couple of quails - image found here

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Microfiction: Two Small Stories on Bows

The Craftsman's Creation
Mighty bows for the mighty princes.

The Bows of the Princes
There are five bows for five sons of Pandu created by a skilled craftsman. The bows are given to their owners in the coming of age ceremony of each prince. One bow has elegantly carved elephants to symbolize the wisdom of its wielder. Another is strong and sturdy like the stature of its wielder. The next is tall, flexible and gold tipped to showcase the great skill of its wielder. The last two are twins in might and strength to parallel their wielders. The bows are perfect matches for their wielders and will be most loyal companions on their journeys.

Five bows for the five princes 
image found here

Author's Note:
The inspiration for both the 6 word story and the 100 word story above is the scene in The Five Tall Sons of Pandu where Arjun has the prince of the kingdom they are staying in take him to a specific tree. In the tree are some wrapped sacks that contain the weapons of Arjun and his brothers including 5 bows. I found it interesting that this story specifically shows us that each of the Pandavas has their own bow. This also got me thinking about the craftsman behind the bows (forgetting the part where they are supposed to be created by the gods). And that's where these two short stories came from.

Bibliography:
The Indian Story Book: The Five Tall Sons of Pandu by Richard Wilson found here

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Week 9 Story: The Many Outweighs the One

It is a dark day for the pandava brothers. A war is brewing between members of their family. This is something they never wanted to happen. They do not wish to see the destruction and chaos that war will bring.

In the hopes of avoiding it, Yudhishthira comes up with an idea, "If we issue a one-on-one challenge against Duryodhan and our cousins we might be able to resolve our issues without bloodshed. There is no guarantee that they will accept but if they do, we will need to determine who among us will fight. What do you think, my brothers?" Yudhishthira looks around at each of his four younger brothers as he asks the question.

The brothers have a long discussion on strategies, strengths and weaknesses before they continue to the battlefield. They bring their army with them as a sign of their strength and resolve. They do not intend to start a war, but they will fight one if they have to. When the other side arrives, the five brothers step forward and walk out to the middle of the field. There they wait for five of their opposition to arrive.

Duryodhan with one of his brothers along with Drona, Bhisma and Karna meet the brothers in between the two forces. Duryodhan takes the opportunity to speak mockingly to the brothers, "What's this? Are you surrendering to me already?"

Bhima's face grows red and he opens his mouth to respond. Before he can, Yudhishthira raises his hand to stop him. In a calm, cool and collected voice but with fire in his eyes, Yudhishthira answers, "We are here to issue a challenge before too much blood is shed. We challenge you to a one-on-one fight against our chosen champion, Arjun. If our side wins, we get our kingdom and our status back. If your side wins, then we'll leave and you'll never have to see us again."

Drona gathers his companions to discuss the challenge. There are mixed opinions but Karna convinces them to accept with a plea for the chance to finally fight Arjun uninterrupted.

At this, Bhisma takes Karna aside to talk. "There is something you should know," Bhisma takes a deep breath to steady his heart, "Arjun and the other Pandavas are your brothers. Kunti is your mother by birth."

Karna grinds his teeth and clenches his fists for a minute before stopping. Then after a long pause, Karna accepts this fact with a small sad smile, "Then I have even more reason to fight in this challenge. It will prevent their deaths just as much as Duryodhan's and his brothers' deaths."

Bhisma nods at this in acceptance and gives his blessings to Karna to fight, "Then may Duryodhan accept the outcome of your challenge, whatever it may be."

Meanwhile, Drona approaches the Pandavas and tells them the decision for Karna to accept the challenge against Arjun.

They discuss the challenge and determine it will take place in the field they are standing in and will begin at the break of dawn the next day. Then each side turns away and walks back to their side to report the decision to their forces.

The next day, Karna and Arjun walk to the center of the field just before the sun is up. As soon as the sunlight reaches them, the challenge will begin. Each champion stands ready to fight, bow in one hand and a single arrow ready to notch in the other. They wait as the sunlight slowly creeps across the field. When it is barely a foot away, each one notches the arrow in hand, raises the bow and prepares to fire. The sunlight touches their feet. Both arrows fly towards their respective targets. Both arrows hit their mark. Arjun and Karna both fall down.

The closest spectators rush forward to check on their champions. Arjun lays on the ground clutching his arm. The arrow flew right into his shoulder. It's a very painful wound but not a mortal one. Karna lays on the ground with a peaceful smile, he's not clutching his arm or any part of his body. And nor would he ever again, the arrow pierced straight through his heart. Bhisma, the first one to arrive at Karna's side, is the only one who truly understands the peaceful smile. Arjun is the only other who understands that he didn't live by chance, but by Karna's skill.

Duryodhan is angry but the honor he has, little though it may be, keeps him from breaking the agreement of the challenge. He will surely try to rid himself of the Pandavas again, but for now he has something else to focus on. Instead of war, both sides prepare for the funeral of a man who saved many lives.

Old Indian Funeral - image found here

Author's Note:
I began writing this thinking about a way for the brothers and their cousins to avoid the war in the second half of The Five Tall Sons of Pandu. In the original, many many people die. And I honestly hated the fighting between family (and ya I know I did the same thing with putting Arjun and Karna against each other).
As I was writing I ended up completely changing the end and made Karna decide to die to prevent a war and the deaths of all of his family and friends.
Also, the title (which I thought of after I wrote the end) is inspired by Spock's quote "The needs of the may outweigh the needs of the few."

Bibliography:
The Indian Story Book: The Five Tall Sons of Pandu by Richard Wilson found here

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Reading Notes: The Five Tall Sons of Pandu Part B

Bibliography:
The Indian Story Book: The Five Tall Sons of Pandu by Richard Wilson found here

Plot Points:
  • The war is the majority of the second half.
  • Arjuna's bow breaks in the war fighting Karna.
  • The 5 brothers learn of Karna being their brother after the war is over. (What would have happened if the brothers had met Karna at the beginning of their exile?)
  • Ends with the kingdom united through mourning Drona and Bhisma and Karna.

Archer and Driver on Chariot 
image found here

A Story idea:
Wanting to prevent full out war, the brothers issue a challenge in one on one combat to determine the winner.

Reading Notes: The Five Tall Sons of Pandu Part A

Bibliography:
The Indian Story Book: The Five Tall Sons of Pandu by Richard Wilson found here

Plot Points:
  • No magic or divine weapons are in the story.
  • Duryodhan is still trying and failing to kill his cousins.
  • Each brother has their own special bow. (Who creates these bows? How are they given to the princes?)
  • Draupadi asked for boon to accompany her husband and his brothers.
  • Ends with the brothers revealing themselves after Duryodhan's attack to steal cattle.

Five bows for five princes
image found here

The bows:
  • Tall and stately and gold tipped (told this one is Arjuna's)
  • Stout and heavy with elephant carvings in gold (elephants are symbols of intellectual strength - Yudhishthira)
  • 3rd "fit for a giant warrior" (heavy duty, strong/thick limbs - Bhima)
  • "A fourth and fifth, mightier and more beautiful" (twins in shape but slightly different design? - the twins Nakula and Sahadeva)

Style
  • Plot focuses on the 5 brothers.
  • The reader finds out things along with the brothers.

A Story idea:
For the protection of the five princes, a craftsman carves five mighty, beautiful bows so that they can fully put their skills to use.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Microfiction: Two Small Stories on Good and Evil

Love and Betrayal
The demoness protected love through betrayal.

Good or Evil?
Is a demon automatically evil once born? Or can a demon choose to be good or evil through their actions? I have heard of a demoness who betrayed her brother to protect the human she fell in love with. So I ask you, is she good? Or is she evil?


Author's Note:
Both the 6 word story and the 50 word story are inspired by the story in the Mahabharata about the rakshasi who fell in love with Bhima. She decides to warn him of her rakshasa brother who wants to eat them instead of bringing them to her brother. The two of them actually get married afterwards and have a child. I used this story to convey the idea that no one is born evil which I whole heatedly believe. This little message also happens to go along with my storybook which I found interesting when I originally read the story.

Bibliography:
Mahabharata by Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Week 8: Progress

I feel the class is going well and I have most enjoyed the story and Microfiction blog posts. I am also enjoying the project (which is more stories of course). I have edited both the blog's layout and the sites layout some and I am happy with the way they look.

I might find things to change about the site or the blog post as the semester goes on (I mentioned a couple things I was thinking about in my previous week 8 post). I am most looking forward to the comments and thoughts I'll get in my storybook because it is mainly my own story that I've created for two rakshasa brothers. I have basically had it planned out from the beginning with a few things I didn't include so as to not ruin a surprise. I'm really curious what people will think.

Sometimes all you need is a good laugh to keep going:

Week 8: Comments and Feedback

Overall I am really enjoying reading the comments and feedback on my stories. Though I actually only have a true feedback comment one one of my stories (2 on the same one), they were both helpful. They picked up on what I was trying to do with the story (make Lakshmana and Rama have more even roles) and they both had ideas that could help with that even more. If I was going to go back and edit that story I would definitely consider their suggestions. On the other hand, the feedback I have on my project so far has not been very helpful (except for Laura's feedback through email and the 3rd comment which I still wonder how best to give that info). The first two really make me wonder if they just skimmed the story or are they really that confused? So I've added some info to the home page (the info the 3rd comment mentions).

As for feedback I've given, I would like to think the writers would find it helpful. I've tried to be specific and point out anything that stands out to me (either by impressing me or by throwing me off a bit). I'd be interested to see what they actually do think of my feedback though so I might go read their Week 8 feedback post when it's up. Also, I really enjoy seeing all the different styles of writing and a few stories have given me ideas of things to try (like creating my own characters and putting them in a situation similar to one of the readings).

I'm sure my introduction does a good job of showing my character but I wouldn't actually care enough to go back and change it if it didn't. The required comments on people's intros are interesting to read but I don't much like writing them. I much more enjoy commenting on stories (and if I'm gonna do the comments on the stories I might as well comment on the intros and get the points for it).

I have considered changing my comment wall a bit. Maybe adding another picture that's more interesting as an eye catcher. Also I might add my synopsis like thing that's currently on the home page of the project.

Here's an infographic that I feel really shows the kinds of feedback and what is really useful:


Week 8: Reading and Writing

I feel like I have gotten less detailed in my writing notes as the weeks go by. At first I seem to try and include the major plot points of the stories but then I move to only including plot points that sound interesting to me. The second is more helpful because they end up organized by possible story ideas. Although I will admit that I do not go back and read the notes when I'm trying to come up with an idea for a story unless I have no idea what I want to write about.

As for my stories I have tried a few different styles and I enjoy trying to write in a way that feels like the reader is right there watching the story happen. My favorite that I've written is either "The Brothers and their Battle" or "Demons at the Lake" (both include fighting and I always enjoy action). I'm not sure if I'll try and stick to one style from now on or if I'll continue to try different styles. It might depend on what my story is and what fits with it.

I've actually been having fun with the project and creating a completely new backstory for Ilvala and Vatapi (and creating Abhavi). I keep looking at the site and changing little things and I know there's still something I want to change. I want at least one more picture for the first story up and I think it would be helpful to have a link at the bottom of each page that goes to the next story (which is easy to do but just haven't done yet).

My favorite picture from my stories so far would have to be the one from "A Crew's Salvation" just because it fits the story so well with what the crew is doing at the end of the story. But if I include the project as well I also like the pictures I've found of the cave temples in Badami. If I have to choose I'll say the picture of the faceless statue on the Intro page because it really shows what the brothers see in the cave and it's easy to see where the hidden compartment is as well.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Week 7 Story: Demons at the Lake

The Pandava brothers have been exiled from their home and have been wandering the wilderness ever since. Currently they are in a dense forest and the sun is high in the sky. They have been walking for a while and their mouths feel as dry as a desert. Bhima, the strongest of all the brothers, climbs a tree searching for signs of water. He spots birds circling in the air above an area surrounded by tall, densely packed trees. He climbs back down and tells his brothers and they travel towards what they hope is a source of clean water.

As they walk they keep an eye out for any area good for a break and a meal. Soon Yudhishthira, the wisest of the brothers, spots a flat area covered in fallen leaves. The leaves are thick on the ground and would make a comfortable sitting area. Yudhishthira and the twins set up a cooking fire near the area while Bhima and Arjuna, the best marksman of the brothers, continue on with two buckets each.

Arjuna and Bhima find the densely packed trees spotted earlier and looking pass them, can see a lake with the sun shining off the surface. They set down the buckets and take a step forward and cup water into their hands to take a sip. However just as the brothers are bringing their hands to their mouths they step back. The surface of the water is swelling up and then a water demon jumps out of the lake. Then the water swells again and there is another demon and then again and again and again. Finally it stops and there are roughly twenty fierce and hostile demons on the shore of the lake.

One demon steps forward and raises a clenched fist at the brothers. "You should not be here, humans. This is our lake and you will regret disturbing our waters."

At the obvious threat, Bhima readies his club and Arjuna slings his bow from his back. Ready to fight, the brothers grin and Bhima exclaims, "Try us foul demons. You will regret ever showing yourselves to us."

Bhima rushes forward directly in the middle of the attacking group. He swings his club to the left and right as he advances. Arjuna stays back and pierces the demons with his freshly sharpened hunting arrows. Arjuna is focusing his deadly aim on those cowardly enemies who attempt to sneak up behind Bhima. Bhima swings his club around while spinning to force back a group trying to surround him. When he stops, he is facing Arjuna and what he sees stops his heart. There is a water demon behind Arjuna with a raised sword ready to strike down his brother. Bhima grabs the closest item on hand, a fist sized rock off the forest floor, and throws it with all his strength. The rock smashes into the sneaky demon and tears a hole right through its head. Then, Bhima feels a brush of air graze his ear and he turns to see another demon, with an arrow straight through an eye, falling to the ground. Both their hearts are racing and their foreheads sweating after the two close calls. Bhima forces his way to Arjuna and they stand back to back and continue fighting.

Many immeasurable minutes pass before some of the demons turn tail and flee. More and more are running away from the two brothers who refuse to slow down their attacks. Half the demons lay on the forest floor in pools of their own blood and the other half have fled. Bhima and Arjuna put away their weapons and then grab the buckets and fill them with water. Then they walk back towards their resting area.

On the way they meet Yudhishthira heading towards them. "I was coming to check on you two. What took you so long?"

Bhima and Arjuna look at each other with smirks on their lips and glee in their eyes. Then Arjuna replies, "Oh just a bit of fun."

The forest lake (image source)

Author's Note: For this story I ended up combining two events from the Mahabharata. In one, the Pandavas are looking for water and find a lake but they are addressed by a voice. Each brother dies when they drink until Yudhishthira, who comes last, shows up. Yudhishthira then answers the voice and plays a game of riddles until the voice is revealed to be a god in disguise. Yudhishthira ends up asking for his brothers to be brought back. In the other even, Arjuna fights against an entire city of sea demons and monsters using a divine bow. I took the lake scenario and changed the voice to water demons instead because to me that is so much more interesting to read (and I also wanted to write a fight scene).

Bibliography: Mahabharata by Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Microfiction: Two Small Stories on War

War's Oath

It demolishes bonds and guzzles blood.



Conflict and Carnage

War is chaos. Friends and enemies lay injured and dying; and, those who survive become mad from war. War's conflict and carnage spare no one.


What is left after war?


Author's Note:
Both the 6 word story and the 25 word story above are inspired by the war between the Pandavas and Kauravas in the Mahabharata. In this there are cousins against cousins, brothers against brothers, and even fathers against sons. I wanted to convey how horrible a wat really is. I've never seen war first hand but history is a lesson on how horrible war can be. The war in the Mahabharata really made me wonder why they would consider fighting each other when it just causes even more death and destruction.

Bibliography:
Mahabharata by Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore.

Reading Notes: Mahabharata (PDE) Part D

Story: Part D of the Mahabharata by Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore.

Plot Points
  • Battle lasts many days till Bhishma can no longer fight and then Karna comes to the battlefield. At the end of the battle many sons are dead and there are many who mourn. 
  • The Pandavas took the kingdom but at a high cost and Yudhishthira decides on a horse sacrifice to get rid of his sins.
  • Elders who survived the war (king and queen etc) go to live in the jungle, visit the dead from the river when the Pandavas visit but then die in a fire. 
  • Krishna dies and then the Pandavas with their wife travel to leave the mortal world as well. Yudhishthira falls last and sees horrors before being reunited with his family.

The Pandavas back on the throne (image source)

Reading Notes: Mahabharata (PDE) Part C

Story: Part C of the Mahabharata by Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore.

Plot Points
  • Pot that stays full of food after praying to sun god
  • Arjuna goes to mountain and prays and meet by God in the disguise of a Huntsman and given Divine weapons then on his own fights against sea monsters and demons
  • The brothers encounter a god in disguise at a lake and he gives Yudhishthira riddles and then 2 boons
  • Duryodhana gets captured and then saved by the Pandavas who then decides to starve to death but is promised help from demons against the Pandavas
  • In final year of exile the brothers and their wife are hidden from being recognized and end up serving at a King Virata's court where a prince tries to get his hands on Draupadi but she runs to Bhima and he kills the prince
  • Exile over, the Kauravas attack Virata's kingdom but the Pandavas help defend them, then the Pandavas and allies prepare for war against Duryodhana who will refuse to give the brothers their kingdom back and the battle begins
  • Karna is told who his parents are and that the Pandavas are his brothers. He says it's too late to change sides but (of his brothers) will only fight Arjuna to the death

The armies face off before the battle 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Week 6 Story: The Prince and the Farmer

Once there were two very close friends. They were actually cousins who did not know each other for the first few years of their lives. One was a prince, Abhaji, and one was a farmer's son, Zhanni. The prince grew up in the palace, with a royal guard named Ramishi who was tasked to watch over him. One day, Ramishi told Abhaji that they must leave the palace due to rising tensions between the kingdom and a rival. They left the palace to live with the king's common born half-sister who had a son the same age as the prince. This son was Zhanni, the cousin and soon to be friend of Prince Abhaji.

They did not know what to make of each other at first. They had many scuffles and arguments and competitions, but they became as close as any two brothers. They spent five years together on the farm with Ramishi teaching them the ways of the sword and bow, and Zhanni's mother teaching them about courtly duties. These peaceful years ended with a message delivered to the prince. The message held news of the King's death. Abhaji and Ramishi were required to return to the palace where Abhaji would be crowned King. Then, because it was discovered that the previous king was assassinated by the rival kingdom, preparations to defend the kingdom began.

Back on the peaceful farm, Zhanni heard news of the approaching war and, wishing to help defend his friend and cousin's kingdom, decided to join the army of warriors. The army prepared to defend the kingdom and was divided up and  camped near each gate of the city. They were ready to defend the city at a moment's notice.

When news came of the rival kingdom's warriors approaching, Abhaji visited the different camps to inspect his troops and raise morale. In one of the camps, he saw a very familiar face and was shocked. However, being a king who must be in control at all times, the only sign of this shock was a slight widening of his eyes. Zhanni had seen Abhaji as well and, of course, he could read his cousin like a book. Zhanni gave a confident smile in response to the shock and worry that he saw in Abhaji's eyes. Zhanni was confident that both of them would make it out of the war alive.

The battle to defend the kingdom

Two days after the king's visit to the camps, the kingdom was attacked. The sound of metal clashing and bow strings twanging could be heard the entire day. At the end of the fight the fields were soaked in blood from both sides, but Abhaji's kingdom was safe once again. In the aftermath of the battle the king wandered around his injured warriors and gave them thanks and encouragement and well wishes. He also kept an eye out for Zhanni in the hope of finding him alive. When Zhanni was found he was laying amongst the injured and entirely covered in blood. Abhaji rushed to his cousin's side and reached out to feel for a pulse…

Which ending would you like to read? Is Zhanni alive? Or is he dead?

Monday, February 17, 2020

Reading Notes: Mahabharata (PDE) Part B

Story: Part B of the Mahabharata by Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore.

Plot Notes
  • Rakshasi turns against her brother to save a man she fell in love with (Bhima) and later they get married and have a son.
  • Town "protected" by a rakshasa (but at a high cost) gets defeated by prince Bhima and the town celebrates.
  • The 5 princes (who had helped take over half of Drupada's kingdom) are each married to Drupada's daughter. r and then they are given a portion of their home kingdom to rule over but loose everything in a game of dice and then are exiled.

Draupadi's swayamvara (image source)

Character Notes
  • Draupadi - the Pandavas' wife, princess born as a boon to Drupada

Reading Notes: Mahabharata (PDE) Part A

Story: Part A of the Mahabharata by Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore.

Plot Notes
  • Heir gives up his right to the throne for his father's happiness, but when his father passes, the older half brother gets killed in a war and the younger is too young to rule.
  • A scorned princess fasts and makes penance to ask for a boon which is granted by Shiva in the form of being reincarnated as a man to defeat her enemy.
  • Jealous prince (though not heir) plans the death of his cousin who is also a prince but it fails and then he comes up with another plan to get rid of all his cousins and their mother in a fire.
  • Two close friends get separated because Drupada takes over his father's kingdom. Drona becomes a brahmin who teaches warriors and then had them take over half Drupada's kingdoms because he turned his back on their friendship.

The Pandavas (image source)

Character Notes
  • Bhishma - original heir to throne, son of a king and a goddess, honourable, superior bowmen
  • Amba - scorned princess, sees Bhishma as the cause of her situation and wants revenge
  • Duryodhana - (Duru for short?) jealous and proud prince, oldest of his brothers, hates his cousins Bhima and Arjuna, will lie to further his own plans

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Microfiction: Two Small Stories in Lanka

A Surprising Event in Lanka
Monkey and demon sit down for a chat.
Demon then points where the damsel is at.


The Lanka News
Damsel found: kidnapper reported by brother.


Rock Fortress in Lanka - Palace Ruins on Top


Author's Note:
The two sentence story is inspired by Hanuman's meeting with Vibhishana in Lanka. In the original, Hanuman discovers Rama's name painted on a wall and there he meets Vibhishana who is able to tell Hanuman where Sita, who he came to find, is. The first sentence just kinda popped into my head and so I came up with a second sentence that fit. It sounds like it could be in iambic pentameter but I'm not completely sure if it is. I did match the number of syllables in the two sentences though and made them kinda rhyme.
The 6 word story is also inspired by the same event mentioned above. For this one I had started off thinking about how Sita was found easily because someone on the inside wanted to help. While playing around with the wording it somehow morphed into what sounds to me like a news article headline which seemed interesting.

Bibliography: Divine Archer by F. J. Gould

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Week 5 Story: Vibhishana's Reason

Vibhishana is sitting outside his house, deep in thought. He had just painted the wall of his house with the name "Rama" after hearing of his brother's misdeed. Ravana had kidnapped another's wife, the wife of Rama no less. Vibhishana could no longer see any hope for the dream he and his siblings had shared so long ago. Not with Ravana on the throne. As Vibhishana waits by his painted wall, he takes out a journal and begins to write.


Why do I want to help Rama? I used to think evil was born of chaos and disorder, but now? Now I believe evil is born from the corruption of what was once good. My brother is the reason I think this way. Ravana was once a man who wanted to bring order to this island full of rakshasas and even succeeded for a time. However, power corrupts and that corruption got to my brother.

This all began here when this land was full of chaos and disorder. There was no law nor king and any being who lived here could do whatever they wished. If you were strong and powerful you had nothing to worry about or fear; however, the weak would fear for their lives every day. This is the kind of world my siblings and I grew up in after our father was killed. Our father was a brahmin who taught us everything he could in the time we had with him. He taught us enough that we knew this sort of world we lived in was very wrong. So we decided to do something about it.

We went around and gathered allies in order to create a kingdom on this island, on Lanka. And my siblings and I were a very good team for this task. Each of us had our own strengths and weaknesses, of course, but those weaknesses were covered by others' strengths. Some of my siblings were gifted in illusion, some in strength, and some in mind. As a group we could strategize and dance circles around any other. Out of all my siblings, I was the most scholarly. I enjoyed traveling and learning as much as I could about everything, especially other lands and kingdoms.

We used what I learned from studying other kingdoms and laws to create our own kingdom here, in Lanka, with my brother Ravana as the chosen ruler. We had all decided that he should be the king because he was capable of ruling fairly and protecting Lanka from any enemy. The rest of us were his generals and advisors. His fair rulings did not last and his willingness to listen dwindled away. Not so long after gaining the throne of Lanka, Ravana started to change. He became more rash and had very little mercy for any who would not listen to his decrees. Soon enough I was the only one trying to advise him against his cruel actions. I tried to tell him to show mercy, tried to remind him why we built the city to begin with. He would not listen. And now he has stolen another's faithful wife without a sliver of remorse.

That is why I am here now. That is why I have decided to paint Rama's name on the side of my house. That is why I wait in the hope Rama will send a spy who I can help. That is why I declare myself a friend of Rama. I will help from inside Lanka. Though I fear this to be a lost cause, I will attempt to convince Ravana to return Sita to her husband. I will not give up until Ravana either kills me or throws me out of the kingdom... 


Author's Note:
The inspiration for this story is Vibhishana from The Divine Archer. Vibhishana is a rakshasa who sides with Rama after Ravana, Vibhishana's brother, kidnaps Sita, Rama's wife. In this version of the Ramayana, Hanuman finds the name "Rama" painted on a wall when he arrives in Lanka looking for any sign of Sita. There he meets Vibhishana who tells him where Sita is. Vibhishana also mentions he does not want to be in Lanka but wants to be a friend of Rama instead.
This started with me wondering why he didn't just leave if he didn't want to be there and I started thinking of a backstory. What I came up with sounded like something Vibhishana may say to someone or write in a journal so I went ahead and tried a journal entry like style for this story. And so I ended up with Vibhishana writing a journal entry of his thoughts as he waits for an ally of Rama to show up.

Image Information:
Journal and Quill from the public domain (image source)

Bibliography:
The Divine Archer by F. J. Gould

Monday, February 10, 2020

Reading Notes: The Divine Archer Part B

Story: The Divine Archer by F. J. Gould

Plot

  • Rama helps Sugriva get his kingdom back from tyrant brother Bali
  • Hanuman finds Sita in Ravan's city with Vibhishan's help
  • Female demon tells of a dream where she sees the city on fire and Ravan dead with Vibhishan on the throne
  • The battle 
  • Sita's test by fire
  • Return to Ayodhya where Rama becomes king but then exiles Sita due to listen to the people
  • Rama meets his sons and watches Sita swollowed by the earth


Character Note

  • Vibhishan does not wish to be in Lanka with his brother. He dreams of leaving to go to Ayodhya and being a comrade to Rama

Vibhishana meets Rama (image source)

Reading Notes: The Divine Archer Part A

Story: The Divine Archer by F. J. Gould

Plot
  • 4 princes born and city celebrates
  • Grow learning archery, manners, scriptures
  • Rama and Lakshman given task to help brahmins
  • Rama meets Sita and breaks Siva's bow to marry her
  • Devotee of Siva comes and tests Rama with Vishnu's bow
  • All 4 princes get married
  • Dasharatha decides to pass on the throne but Kaikeyi asks for the 2 boons
  • Rama, Sita and Lakshman leave, receive weapons from Agastya on the way and end up building a hut to live in over the winter
  • Dasharatha dies and Bharata returns home with other brother
  • Rakshasi wants Rama but he refuses so she goes to Ravan who steals Sita from Rama
  • Rama finds Jatayu and then two monkeys, Sugriva and Hanuman, find him
  • They decide to help each other out

Style Note
  • Parts of the story are as if the writer is talking to the reader

Rama breaks Shiva's bow (image source)

Microfiction: Brothers or Not?

The Worst Betrayal is a Brother's Betrayal
There once was two brothers who fought every fight together. But one day a misunderstanding that lead them to fight each other also left only one still standing.

A Brother's Devotion
Sugriva anxiously waited for any sign of his brother. But no sounds came from the cave. Was Vali dead? Could he have truly lost? Sugriva shoved that thought aside. No, there's no way he would lose. He's my big brother and I'll wait here for him until either he or the beast comes to get me. And so he waited, anxious but refusing to give up hope. Then he heard it. The was scuffling sounds from the cave. Out of the darkness approach Vali. He's alive! Of course he is, he's my brother. They greet each other, then head home.

The cave entrance (image source)

Author's Note: These two stories are both inspired by Sugriva and Vali. In the Ramayana Sugriva leaves his older brother behind in a cave. Thinking he's dead, Sugriva blocks the entrance and then takes over their kingdom as the new king. Vali was not dead however and ends up thinking he had been betrayed by his brother and exiles Sugriva.
For the 2 sentence story I wanted to focus on the boiled down event. And that is that there was a misunderstanding that ended with one brother dead. And that is the worst betrayal because neither one even tried to talk it through once the challenge was made.
The second story is a 100 word story. This one I decided to show what should have happened (in my opinion). Instead of leaving the cave and blocking it, I feel like a brother would wait even if there was a possibility of some monster coming out instead of his brother. So I wrote this one in Sugriva's POV to show his thoughts on that.

Bibliography: Ramayana, Public Domain Edition by M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Storybook Plan: Demon Brothers

The plan here continues from my project research post with a few additions or changes to the story ideas.

Two Themes:
  • No one is born evil
  • Fear of monsters creates monsters (aka evil is born in the minds of men)

Characters:
  • Ilvala and Vatapi - can't leave these guys out of the story
  • Agastya 
  • Some rakshasas - possibly Kabandha and Vibhishana and others
  • Some brahmins and some townsfolk

Story Style Ideas:
  • Told as collection of stories that start with daring readers to learn the truth of the brothers whose end is so we'll known
  • Told as journal entries of a journal found in the Badami Cave Temple
  • Told as a story that is passed down through generations

Some Setting Info:
  • A forest (probably Dandaka Forest)
  • Badami (used to be called Vatapi)

Bhutanatha temple on the edge of Agastya lake in Badami - image source

Bibliography/Sources of Info:
  • Ilvala wikipedia page
  • Agastya Lake tourist info page
  •  Brahmin wikipedia page
  • Rakshasa wikipedia page
  • Ramayana, Public Domain Edition by M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder.

The Story Outlines:

1. First will be the story “A Promise Made” where the two brothers come home to a hut in the forest and find their parents gone. When the parents never return the brothers decide to leave the place and swear an oath to let nothing separate them from then on. They run into different rakshasas while traveling and different humans as well and they determine that the two are not that different from each other.

2. Next is the story “Respect Grown” where the brothers are attacked for being rakshasas but they refuse to attack back and end up saved by a brahmin. The brothers stay for awhile and gain a ton of respect for brahmins and decide to always help them if they are in need of it. (They may be granted a boon while staying with the brahmin). Before leaving they end up helping a lost human child (through Vatapi transforming). They decide they want to unite the worlds of human and rakshasa. Ilvala talks to rakshasas and Vatapi talks to humans while transformed.

3. Last is the story “Evil is Born” where after the brothers have worked hard to get a position of power to work on their goal they are refused the boon of a son who could continue their work. And then the brothers snap, end up killing many brahmins and then are eventually defeated by Agastya.

4. A bonus story “Hope is Found” is several years later. Agastya comes across a half-rakshasa half-human child and takes him in. Agastya teaches the child all he can so that this child could be the bridge between the humans and rakshasas.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

D3M0N BR07H3RS - Comment Wall

Please leave comments here for my storybook, The Demon Brothers.


Thank you for the comments!


Image info:
thank you image by woodleywonderworks




Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Week 4 Story: Protective Brother

The sun is out and the sky is clear and there are two young men who are making the most of it. It's a perfect day for hiking and that's exactly what these two brothers are doing. These brothers, Pati and Jata, love to hike. They enjoy breathing the clean air and smelling the trees and flowers of the surrounding nature. And this time they are in the mountains and prepared for a full day of hiking. These particular mountains can be dangerous for a careless hiker, especially because of the sheer cliffs and loose rocks. But this is the brothers' favorite place to hike and they have been here many times before.

"Hey Pati, how high up do you think we can hike this time?"

Pati sighs before replying. "We aren't competing so why does it matter how far we get? We keep going further each time we come anyway."
"Mm, yes but we could make the hike more interesting by making it a challenge." Jata responds with a daring tone.

"Oh alright, your on. We'll see how far we can get. Just be careful, alright Jata?" Pati give his brother a pointed stare.

"Yes I know brother. This isn't my first hike." Then Jata sets off following the path at a greater pace than before.

Pati follows his younger brother up the path, hoping he won't get careless in his excitement. But Pati worries for a good reason.

A little more time passes with the two brothers huffing along when the path turns from dirt to rocks. The brothers slow their pace. They know to be careful here. However, as Pati watches, Jata steps right on a loose rock. The rock starts to shift. Pati rushes forward, his heart in his throat. His hand reaches out for his brother. He grips hard onto Jata's shirt and pulls. Jata falls away from the cliff side. But Pati is falling towards it. Jata has no breath to scream as he watches his only brother disappear down the cliff side.

He scrambles to the edge of the cliff and looks down. Pati is sprawled on a ledge almost 20 feet below the edge. Jata hopes with all his heart that Pati had not landed on his head. "Pati!" he screams, "Pati say something!" Jata holds his breath, waiting. He hears a groan, and that is music to his ears. "Hold on, I'll secure a rope to come down and help you! I'll be right there!"
Jata works quickly and efficiently to anchor the rope then grabs his pack and carefully climbs down to his brother. When he gets there he finds that Pati has a badly broken leg. Thankfully, the leg is the worst injury and there is no sign of head trauma. Jata splints the leg and wraps it tightly to limit movement and prevent further injury. Both brothers have been very quiet during this but Jata breaks the silence. "I'm so sorry-"

Pati interrupts his brother. "Don't. I'm just glad you're safe, you idiot. And I have no energy to be mad at you right now anyway." Pati then gives a cheeky grin making Jata laugh in relief. Pati is not able to walk and Jata needs to leave to get help, but these brothers know that in the end they will be back hiking up the mountain again. And they will come again and again with no fear because they have full trust in each other.

Dangerous Mountain Path


Author's Note: This story was inspired by the story in the Ramayana of the vulture brothers, Jatayu and Sampati. In the original story the two brothers are flying high in the sky but they get too close to the sun. Jatayu, the younger brother, feints and falls to the ground. Sampati spreads his wings to shield his brother from the sun; however, the sun burns Sampati's wings and he falls and loses the ability to fly because his wings are burnt. I wanted to show how brothers will jump into danger for one another like the original story demonstrates. I decided to write these brothers as human hikers instead of vultures and of course that completely changes the specific events that happen although the main idea is still there. I also changed their names slightly, Jata is Jatayu and Pati is Sampati.

Bibliography: Ramayana, Public Domain Edition by M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder. Web source

Monday, February 3, 2020

Reading Notes: PDE Ramayana Part D

Story: Ramayana Part A, Public Domain Edition by M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder. Web source


Main Plot Points
  • The battle begins and many are injured and killed
  • Hanuman gets herbs from a mountain to heal allies
  • Lakshmana defeats Indrajit and Ravana mourns
  • Rama and Ravana battle til Rama wins
  • Vibhishana becomes king of Lanka
  • Rama and Sita are reunited but Rama tests Sita to prove her purity
  • After exile over, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana go back home
  • Bharata welcomes them home and Rama is crowned king
  • Sita is banished, gives birth to Rama's sons
  • Rama meets her again and asks if she would prove herself again, she does so by being swallowed by the earth
  • Rama lives on for a thousand years more before passing on and joining her

Characters
  • Indrajit - beloved son of Ravana, fierce warrior 
  • Kumbhakarna - brother of Ravana
  • previous characters - Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Bharata, Hanuman

Sita's test of purity - aka Rama's an idiot

Reading Notes: PDE Ramayana Part C

Story: Ramayana Part A, Public Domain Edition by M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder. Web source


Main Plot Points
  • Hanuman meet Rama and Lakshmana and bring them to Sugriva
  • Rama helps Sugriva get his throne and wife back from his brother Vali
  • Monkeys search for Sita and Hanuman finds her to be in Lanka after meeting Sampati
  • Hanuman reassures Sita, who has been told she will be killed in 2 months, but gets caught and his tail set on fire
  • Hanuman escapes, sets Lanka on fire, and returns to report
  •  Rama and Lakshmana with Sugriva and an army of monkeys and bears march toward Lanka
  • Vibhishana warns Ravana not to fight Rama and is exiled so he joins Rama

Story of Sugriva and Vali
  • Vali was king and had Sugriva watch the entrance to a cave while he went in to fight
  • Sugriva believed Vali to be dead and seals the cave shut
  • Vali gets out but feels betrayed and banishes Sugriva

Story of Sampati and Jatayu
  • one day decided to fly far but Jatayu fell
  • Sampati shields Jatayu but also falls and looses wings
  • Jayayu and Sampati both help Rama find Sita

Characters
  • Sugriva - monkey king and younger brother of Vali
  • Tara is Vali's wife
  • Sampati - a large vulture, brother to Jatayu
  • Hanuman - monkey friend and son of wind god
  • Vibhishana - younger brother of Ravana
  • previous characters - Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Ravana

Cinereous Vulture - I imagine this is what Jatayu and Sampati would look like

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Topic Research: The Demon Brothers

The demon brothers Ilvala and Vatapi tricked and killed many brahmins after one refused Ilvala the boon of a son. Vatapi has the power of transformation and Ilvala knows a special mantra that allows him to call Vatapi back from death. They both end up dying at the hand of the sage Agastya who sees through their tricks. The follow are possibly the three stories I'd tell for the project.

1. First, a story to show why the two brothers are staying together and ruling together. And because I couldn't find anything on their past but I was thinking I'd write a story telling the reader that they were close since they were young but they ended up abandoned by their parents (maybe they wake up and they are alone with no trace of their parents) and swear an oath to let nothing separate them.

2. The next story would be something to show that even tho they are demons they are not evil. At least not yet. This could start off with them getting attacked by regular humans because of what they are but then they are saved by a brahmin. Here they decide to always show respect to brahmins and help them if they are in need of it. After separating from the brahmins the brothers see a child crying due to being separated from his parents. The brothers decide to help but because they are demons Vatapi transforms into a friendly dog to lead the boy home. I'd like one of them to point out how unfair their life is being born demons at the end of this story.

3. In the last story I'd like the beginning to show that even though they are demons they have worked hard to live a life they are happy with when the two start thinking about wanting to pass on their experiences. Then a brahmin visit them at the palace and after a meal Ilvala asks for the boon of a son. But the brahmin refuses saying something like "Boons such as that are not granted to demons." And this is the turning point where everything just becomes too much and they snap killing the brahmin. And then they start killing all brahmins that come visiting until the sage who saved them in the earlier story come and they are defeated. This would be the retelling of the story found on the wikipedia page on Ilvala.

The conclusion of these stories would show that often evil is created from the treatment and expectations of men.

The picture below could be the "palace" they live in at the end of their life.

The home of Vatapi and Ilvala

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Feedback Strategies

The two articles I read on giving feedback are the following: Be a Mirror: Give Readers Feedback That Fosters a Growth Mindset by Gravity Goldberg and Why Do So Many Managers Avoid Giving Praise? by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman.
They were both interesting to read. I thought the advice from Be a Mirror to "take yourself out of the feedback" is a good idea. Feedback should be focused on the writer and not the opinions of the reader. Also, it was nice to see some actual stats in the second article and I appreciate the lesson that positive reinforcement is important. If someone never gets something nice from doing there work or trying hard then the only reason they would continue to do so is their stubbornness. Both articles said the being specific in feedback is important. Which seems obvious to me because the more specific the feedback the easier it is to understand what you did well or what you can do to improve.
From reading these, what's important in giving feedback is being specific and making the feedback about the author and not about your own opinions. Honestly, if you don't like the type of story or the message then go read something else. But if you see something the author can improve or something they did really well, point it out, and do both if you can.

Funny comic on feedback

Microfiction: Two Small Stories Inspired by the Ramayana

Aftermath of Brothers, Battles and Bonds

"Rejoice, brother! We vanquished those fiends."


A Parent Always Worries

A worried Dasharatha sits on his throne, waiting for his sons to return. They had left for battle days ago and, if everything went well, should be home soon. So when the doors open he glances up in hope. Is it his sons? It is! He jumps up and rejoices.

Dasharatha worried for his sons


Author's Note: These two stories are inspired by the very first part of the Ramayana but I also had my version of it in mind. (You can find that version here). In both versions Dasharatha cares deeply for his sons and so sending them away to fight against demons worries him. In my version, I expanded on the first fight with a demon that occurs in the Ramayana and then they return home after defeating a group of demons who were harassing some sages, unlike the original in which their journey continues.
For the 6 word story above I wanted to try and convey what the brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, would be feeling once they defeat the demons and eventually came up with the idea to do that with a quote one of them might say.
For the 50 word story above I focused more on their father and what he would be feeling. All he can do is sit back and wait for them to come home so I chose to write about how his feelings of worry would turn into feelings of joy once his sons are home.


Bibliography: Ramayana, Public Domain Edition by M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder. Web source

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Week 3 Story: The Brothers and their Battle

Rama and Lakshmana were practicing archery among the trees behind the palace when one of the servants told them the king was waiting for them in the throne room. They put away their bows and went inside to meet King Dasharatha.

As they walked into the room, they noticed their father was slumped on the throne with bowed shoulders as if weighed down by a heavy weight. The two princes froze at the unusual sight, their hearts speeding up with worry before hurrying to stand next to their father.

"You called for us, father?" asked Rama.

The king spoke quietly, "My sons, I am afraid that you both will need to leave our home for a time. A sage has come from another kingdom to ask for a favor I must grant. He wants Rama to defeat a group of troublesome and dangerous demons who are interrupting the sages' offerings." The king voice hardened, "I want Lakshmana to go with you and you both must watch out for each other. You will keep each other safe. Do you understand me?"

"Of course, father. We will be back before you know it." Rama and Lakshmana spoke together. They looked at each other giddy at the thought of an adventure and left to pack and gather their swords, bows and plenty of arrows.

Rama and Lakshmana set out on their adventure

The boys began their adventure the next morning with the sage as their guide. They were slowly making their way through thick vines, swinging their swords and chopping away until they came out into an open area.

The party of three stopped in their tracks. A figure was laying, spread out on vibrant green grass, in the middle of the clearing. The sage slowly and quietly stepped back behind the two princes who cautiously stepped forward. Their hearts sped up and they quickly reached for their bows, each notching and arrow. Hearing them, the figure turned revealing the figure of a woman. Smirking at them, she said, "You lovely boys look so tasty." Then she pounced at them with dagger like claws.

The boys shot at her and injured her but couldn't manage to bring themselves to kill the demon. They were troubled at the thought of killing someone who, ignoring the claws, looks like a normal woman. The boys were twisting and dodging while taking turns shooting arrows. They were unsure of what to do besides simply keep her back. The stalemate broke when she got smart and swiftly slid behind Lakshmana out of Rama's line of sight. Lakshmana brought his bow up to block her hands, buying time for Rama to move into a better position. Rama watched with beating heart and sweating hands as she grappled with Lakshmana's bow with one clawed hand and went for his neck with the other. Rama raised his bow, quickly aimed and fired. The arrow shot true and the demon woman fell with an arrow through her eye socket. Rama ran towards his brother to check on him. Neither Lakshmana nor Rama were badly injured. They both sagged with relief and hugged each other tightly letting their hearts calm down.

Rama clasped his brothers arm saying, "I am glad your safe. I swear to you, brother, I will never again hesitate no matter the appearance of our enemy."

"And nor will I. You may have had to kill today, but you saved my life in doing so." said Lakshmana and patted his brother's shoulder in both thanks and comfort.

The party continued on their way and the two princes were now resolved to do anything to return safely to their father. When the fight against the group of demons came, both brothers fought with every single one of their senses and with calm and sharp focus on the enemy. In the end, the man-eating demons lay scattered on the ground, dead. The boys succeeded in keeping their promise to the King, and returned home safe and sound.


Author's Note: This story was inspired by the beginning of the Ramayana and I wanted to focus on Rama's first true battle in the story. In the original story two princes, Rama and Lakshmana, leave their home with a sage who had asked their father for a favor. The favor is to help get rid of rakshasas (man-eating demons) who are troubling a group of sages living near a city of another kingdom. Along the way the two brothers fight against a rakshasi (female demon) but hesitate to kill her because of her gender. This is the fight with Thataka who is hideous and misshapen and in the fight she becomes invisible and then Rama kills her by sound alone. And then he receives holy weapons that he uses to kill the rest of the rakshasas. The original continues from there but mine does not. I kept the main plot points of the part of the story I retold but added some dialog and details in order to lead into the story and keep it flowing. I ended the story after the brothers help the sage in order to emphasize the first time the boys actually have to fight for real. The entire battle scene with the she demon is different from the original fight with Thataka. I changed and added the specific events of the fight and tried not to make Rama seem as superhuman as the original story does. I also completely dropped the talking holy weapons because that's so realistic.

Image information: The image above was found here

Bibliography: Ramayana, Public Domain Edition by M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder. Web source

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Reading Notes: PDE Ramayana Part B

Story: Ramayana, Public Domain Edition by M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder. Web source

Setting:
  • Dandaka jungle

Plot:
  • Bharata comes home and is upset at his mother
  • Goes to find Rama and offer throne but denied on account of father's honor
  • Bharata decided rule for Rama till returns
  • Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita come across rakshasi who wants Rama as a husband
  • The boys beat her away and fight others who come to revenge her
  • Rakshasi goes to her brother Ravana and asks him to take Sita from Rama
  • Ravana and a brother come up with a plan to separate the boys from Sita and it works (the rakshasa as a deer plan that Lakshmana felt was off)
  • Ravana decides he wants Sita as a wife and take her to his kingdom where he tries to woo her but her heart will always be Rama's
  • Rama reacts strongly to Sita missing and Lakshmana tries to comfort him
  • The boys find the king of vultures who tell them Ravana took Sita
  • A rakshasa (cursed spirit) told them to look for the ape chief Sugriva

Characters
  • Ravana - rakshasa king of Lanka, arrogant but is strong
  • Shurpanakha - sister of Ravana, spiteful
  • Jatayu - king of vultures, protective of Sita who calls him friend
  • Bharata - brother of Rama, son of Kaikeyi, loyal to his brothers, did not desire throne for himself
  • Those already in previous post: Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita

Historical Picture of Ravana (image source)