This is a short story I wrote to detail the world of Pahelika: Revelations. This short story reveals details about the world of Pahelika that is not available in the game itself. Hope you like it. Do leave your comments below.
Dilhara opened the window and cautiously peered at the street below. After assuring himself that there was no one on the road, he closed the window. Moments later, he was on the street.
Sure, no one in the neighbourhood knew that he was a Dark Wizard, but it is always better to take precautions – calling attention to yourself is a very bad idea when you’re being hunted by everyone. After the sordid murder of the king of Lanka, things had gotten worse. Dark wizards were always viewed with mistrust, but after the murder they were positively hated and the kingdom of Lanka had launched a nationwide wizard hunt. Dilhara had barely escaped with his life.
Tense and alert, he walked briskly, trying to get to the tavern before anyone spotted him. Though the road wasn’t empty (indeed it was never empty), no one on the road took any notice of the ordinary looking person. Presently he reached the tavern. Dilhara opened the door and walked inside. Once again inside the familiar tavern, he relaxed a little.
The Bad Breath was a cheap tavern, complete with the noisy customers. The ale was watered down, the food tasteless, the waiters rude and the seats crumbling, but still it seemed to be a place that was more welcoming than the rest of the city. It was also a place where anyone could easily melt into the crowd unnoticed, and this is exactly what Dilhara intended to do.
He wasn’t here to get drunk or to eat the food, which he disliked ever since that fateful day he found a insect floating in the curry. No, he was here for a meeting. Unobtrusively, he slipped pass the crowd and down the stairs and on into the small room to the right of the dimly lit hall.
Shyam Charan the dealer was there. As was Miyanashi, the distrustful looking dark wizard from a country he only described as ‘very far east’. He was looking cynically at Swan, who was eagerly talking about something. Swan was the youngest of the bunch. Swan had travelled hundreds of miles from his country in the west to learn wizardry from the master Hira Lal, only to find out that Hira Lal had abruptly vanished.
The last person to complete the bunch was Al Alim. He was looking at Swan with the indulgent expression of someone who knows better. Dilhara knew that beneath the calm exterior of the indulgent old man lay an extremely selfish and cunning person. Alim would not hesitate to throw them to the dogs should it suit his interests. Alim was the kind of the man that actually fit the stereotype of the evil dark wizard.
“Dilhara is here,” said Alim, “let us ask him”.
“So Dilhara, would you join it?” said Alim.
“The Dark Wizard Academy.” Swan was quick to reply.
“The Dark Wizard Academy?” This was new. Dilhara was surprised.
“Oh, look, he doesn’t know about it. Well my friend, we’ve been hearing rumours that Hira Lal and some other wizard have gotten together to start an Academy.” Alim intoned.
Alim appeared to be in a good mood.
“Bah, no one will let us start an academy!”, grunted Miyanashi.
“Word is, they have already done so. It is situated at the bottom of the Garo hills.” Alim replied.
“Hmph!”, snorted Miyanashi.
“Well, I’d like to… I.. I don’t know…” Swan trailed off.
“Hills of Garo… quite far away…” Miyanashi appeared to be thinking.
“That’s exactly it. No one will harass us there.” Alim pointed out. “Even the nearest town is a days journey from there.”
“I can finally start learning…” mumbled Swan.
Having set the cat amongst the pigeons, Alim slouched back and stretched his legs. He appeared to be pleased with himself. “Personally,” said Alim, “I am going there.”
That alerted Dilhara. Was this a trap?
“What do you think, Dilhara?” Swan asked him.
“I don’t know what to think.” replied Dilhara, truthfully.
This changed everything. The idea that they could practise their art in safety without having to constantly watch their backs seemed appealing. He could finally complete that strength enhancing potion
he had been working on. Who knows, one day a potion to enhance intelligence could even be made… On the other hand, this could just be a trap, to bait the dark wizards out of hiding.
Dilhara raised his eyebrows. His eyes met Miyanashi’s.
“It could be a trap.” said Miyanashi.
“Or a clever way to get rid of all of us.” added Dilhara.
“Imagine the suprise! All of us head towards the Garo hills only to find nothing there! Ha ha ha!” Alim Roared with laughter.
Swan attempted to smile, but failed.
Leaning back in his chair with his hands behind his head, Alim observed the group. Swan, he dismissed. The decision on whether to go to the Garo hills or not would be taken by Miyanashi and Dilhara. He knew Dilhara would like to go, but what about Miyanashi? He figured he would, as well. After all, what did he have to gain by not going?
Alim needed them. The road to Garo was a long one and infested with bandits. Dark magic wasn’t useful in dealing with a group of armed bandits, and Miyanashi was the only one in the group who knew elemental magic…
“Uh… guys!” Shyam Charan interjected apologetically, “I need to go now. If you want to buy anything…”
“Oh yes, I need a bat’s wing, and a squirrel’s nail.” replied Dilhara. Miyanashi needed something too. So did Alim. Only Swan didn’t buy anything, but that was because he hadn’t even started learning dark magic yet. Having made his sale, Shyam Charan packed his bundle and left.
The wizards stayed a little longer, talking about the usual matters of state, neighbours and other inane things. As was his custom, Dilhara took a swig of the local liquor. Then one by one they left, with only Dilhara staying behind, ostensibly for dinner. Then without eating anything, Dilhara left too.
As they talked, Alim had dropped another name: Shiro Mani. Shiro Mani was a powerful dark wizard of impeccable integrity, and if he was involved, then there was a good chance that the plans for the Academy would actually materialise.
Dilhara had to take that chance. He was going to the Garo Hills, and he knew that Swan and even Miyanashi were going too, despite Miyanashi’s show of outward distrust. They needed to keep Alim out of it, though.
Dilhara’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of approaching horse hoofs. Immediately his gait changed. His back became hunched, his feet unsteady. The sound of the hoofs drew closer.
“Drunkards!” said the Kotwal, with disdain.
Dilhara kept swaying from side to side until he could no longer hear the horses. This was the real reason why he drank the local liquor. He knew that the Kotwal would be very suspicious of any one out late in the night who wasn’t drunk…
With the immediate danger averted, Dilhara’s thoughts returned to the matter at hand. It was risky, but it was a risk that had to be taken. He knew others would think the same. They would have to find a way to meet without Alim knowing. That shouldn’t be too difficult. Even Swan, naïve as he was, knew better than to trust Alim.
This was going to be interesting. He had resigned himself to a life of hiding and persecution and obscurity and now this. A chance for a new beginning! As he thought about the things he could learn from the likes of Hira Lal and Shiro Man, he started getting excited.
For the first time in many, many months, Dilhara Rajaverman smiled.