*) - Mysterious Rambo
On the isles of Postasia there was this mysterious and quiet old man. Hardly would he talk to anyone. He had no family, no children like none other on the isles. Often the kids would be curious about him but no one dared to ask him questions. Every evening he would stare at the sea as if it were his lover. He wouldn’t go to feel the waves. But sit on a stone nearby.
One day, Raiku, the little one ended up betting to his friend that he will talk to the old man and come up with his secret. So that evening when the sun was setting low and all the boys were playing Raiku walked on the sea side. Raiku sat by the stone on which Rambo sat. And some time later old Rambo following his monotonous routine came by. The boy had no courage to speak to him. It was Rambo who initiated as was unexpected. But, it was difficult to figure out from a distance what were they talking about.
Both of them gave number of expressions. For once they would laugh and then would both be intense and so on. Raiku’s friends wanted to listen to them but had to give up.They decided to ask Raiku about the conversation the next morning.
But the next morning,Raiku did not come to play. They went to his home. His mother told them that he had already gone outside to see his friend. Everyone was amused because Raiku had only 4 friends all 4 of whom were waiting for him since the morning. They went looking for him and there he was at the old man’s stone with old Rambo. Everyone was curious. What was it that they had been talking about?
What was the secret? Hence when Raiku started home to have his lunch all his friends surrounded him and bombarded him with questions. Naughty Raiku smiled and said this old man has an interesting story. Do you know this old man is actually a woman. Everyone laughed “ Have you gone mad? Or, are you just trying to fool us like you often fool the rest? You cannot fool us let me tell you well in advance.” Said one of them.
“Why would I fool you? I am telling you the truth. Years ago when our grandfathers went fishing together he was found from the sea somewhere near the door to hell from where no man comes back alive. But he was breathing. They took him to the priest immediately. He remembers nothing of that just the chunks that the people told him. He narrated to me all that he remembers. I can tell you what he said exactly if you want?” They couldn’t resist the temptation so they agreed.
‘On the other end of the sea there is a continent called Chisunka. It is a land of many riches . It was ruled by the great king Arnold. He was a wise and a just king. Loved by all his countrymen but a few men conspired against him in order to win the throne. Hence they struck him down at his temple gates, unarmed and without a warning.
They took the crown for themselves. This old man was the king’s daughter and the princess, And his name was Kaira. She was asked to marry Gruera the new king but she refused. As a punishment she was sent on a ship and the men were ordered to throw her into the deepest of waters. On that ship she was kept in the small wooden chamber they would never light it up! She was accompanied by Rambo one of her father’s loyal men and he was sentenced to die with her.
Rambo was the best warrior in the kingdoms of Chisunka, not a single swordsman could touch him and then he was held captive by Gruera. 7 mens guarded him day and night on the ship. The door of his cell would be opened only to serve him food that to once a day. Three men all armoured and armed would go to serve him, such was his power.
It was their 5th night of the voyage when she heard one of the men saying that the next morning they’d be thrown into the deep sea. That night she did not sleep but cried and cried.
It was past midnight when she heard something, the door opened and a man all bathed of blood was standing in front of her. The smell of blood was like that of death. She closed her eyes and started saying her prayers, only to be woken up with a bang. Her chains were relieved!
It was Rambo, “not both of us can escape this”, he said. “Hence it has to be you.” He held her hands in his and said the words, the words of some ancient spell. She didn’t feel anything. She thought the spell had failed and when she looked up with the tears of fear what she saw was unbelievable. She was standing right in front of her. There was no time to be awe struck. The woman she could see explained nothing just lifted off a plank of wood and threw it into the water. The bells started ringing. “They know of this”, she said. “Hurry child! jump into the water and hold onto the plank and whatever happens do not look back.” The princess did what the woman asked her to and when she came to her senses she realised that the men had butchered her body. She was him now! Their bodies had been exchanged!
She swum day and night for 3 days but nothing came by and nobody even bothered to look for the escaped warrior. And then when the princess nearly lost all hope and gave up she felt the feather bed beneath her! ”
An awkward silence stuck them all.
Rating - 133/200 Points
I like the atmosphere of this story, the storyline (and the twist) is great but balanced density of events/scenes is crucial in such pieces and themes to establish the story concept, backdrop and the twists (One-two events were less here). Artwork is okay, no unique details in Rambo...in the sketch.
Total Points after 2 Rounds - 261/400 Points
Judge - Mohit Trendster