Tarini lifted the palaquin curtains and put her veil over her face . Through the sheer silk over her eyes , she could see the soldiers gazing at all six of them.
They averted their eyes , from time to time .After all ,it wasn't polite to stare at a woman in public . Even if she was there for the purpose they thought she was here .
She did not look back at her sisters . Each of them was led into tents at the centre of the camp . She noted the number of soldiers posted around each one of them .
Two at the front gates , two near the back . The flags of their king fluttered gently over the tops . The area of clearing around each ,made it even more evident . These tents clearly belonged to some important generals.
As she entered the tent , her guide bowed and left . The interior was well lit .A simple wooden table was piled high with papers , a bed in the centre , a basin of water and an assortment of weapons glittered in the corner.
The man she was supposed to entertain , was not here yet . She threw off the veil , her ears ( sharpened by years of blindfold sword fighting ) alert for the sound of any approaching footsteps
The papers on the table were all in sanskrit . She ruffled through them , as fast as she could . The information she needed would be much more cryptic than that .
Finally at the very bottom of the pile , she chanced upon the random incomprehensible symbols . Incomprehensible to the uneducated eyes . She had been trained in the delicate vidya of codes and encryption ,by the very masters themselves .
She read it as fast as she could . It was indeed impossible to decipher it all , in such short a time . But she managed to gather enough information . There was no doubt about it . These men were planning to plant their own spies inside the city's walls.
Chanakya gurudev was right , yet again . Nothing escaped that twisted old brahman's notice.
She was so engrossed in it all , that she almost missed the approaching footsteps . As fast she could , Tarini readjusted her veil and rushed to the side of the bed .
The timing had been near perfection ! No sooner had she bowed her head , and lowered her eyes down that the flaps parted .
She could hear the dull clunk of the armour , the heavy military boots . It was an unwritten code of respect that she could not look at him , until he lifted the veil.
She could see his bulging muscles , the rough hardened hands of a warrior . He threw off the silk veil gently , almost delicately . And lifted her chin , staring directly into those eyes .
Tarini stood rooted to the spot . Whatever and whoever she had been expecting .This was not him , no .
He must have been in his early twenties ,with a chiseled face and deep probing eyes .
His high nose , the broad forehead and the handlebar moustache combined to give him the aura of a kshatriya demigod .
She could feel herself blushing red . As his hands travelled up and down her arms , she shuddered . All her life men had touched her to train her , to slash swords with her .
This , this was different . She could see the anticipation in his eyes . The touch of those gentle ,warm hands and the intoxicating odour of his breath upon her face .
What if she was not worth him ? What if he came to know that Tarini was but an inexperienced virgin . She felt so powerless ,as he lovingly pushed her on the bed .
Her heart was hammering inside her chest . He threw off his heavy armour . Glittering in the flickering light of the torch , he gently pulled her lips towards him.
Tarini responded with a passion so deep , it surprised her .Their lips locked , and those tongues intermingled with each other . .He pulled her even closer , hugging her in an embrace
Suddenly she felt his grip loosen ,almost trying to pull away . Those eyes full of fire , dilated with fear and confusion . His hand closed upon her wrist tightly !
Before she knew ,the flames were gone . Those pupils became pin points , the body slackened.
And , he was dead .
Tarini was so shocked , she let him slide to the ground and drew back.
She stared in horror , aghast at her own naivety . What had she expected ? Years of training had been forgotten in a moment of passion ?
She was nought but a vessel , filled to the brim with venom . Oh ! Love and embraces were not meant for her .She wiped her mouth ,almost as if wiping his death off her .
Damn it ! She wheeled around in anger . Years of rage against the injustice of the world ,was screaming within her.
She could already hear commotion inside . Some of her sisters must have started the onslaught . She dragged out the dagger hidden in her skirt.
Almost as if on the cue ,four of the soldiers barged inside .
Bloody fool ! she walked right into his embrace . A kiss of death on his lips ,as she grabbed his sword at struck at the other two .
She grabbed a sword in one hand , and a dagger in the other . The moemnt she slithered out of the tent ,she coudl see that the massacre had already begun.
With a war cry of her own , she jumped in the fray . With her deadly skills and the rage pulsating within , it was almost too easy . Almost a pleasure.
Each of her sisters were striking down the puny soldiers . With the generals dead ,these were dyed-in-the-wool military minions. Most of them were confused , and almost all of them underestimated their enemy . By the time they realized how vicoius the enemy really was , it was too late.
The advantage of having a dagger and a sword was , the enemy never knew which one was coming . She severed arteries , poked through eyes , pierced abdomens and flailed chests .
They kept coming , and she kept striking . Each of those six women , worked like an animal in heat . Ruthless ,inexhaustable , blood thirsty animals.
Where the metal failed , the kisses , bites and scratches worked . Even the blood that was splashed on the soldiers;'face , was enough to blind or cripple them to death.
The battle finshed quickly enough . At the end ,there were only six women left standing.
Tarini stood rooted to the ground , unsure of how many had she chopped off . Her hair was matted with gore . Her nails had pieces of flesh and ripped skin stuck in them . Her mouth tasted of salt ,sweat and blood.
Her heart raced wildly ,her pulse was thundering and her muscles were still straining . She looked at her sisters , all of them mirroring her thoughts.
The amount of fury that they had unleashed that night had shocked them too . But what was more shocking ,was the mad surge of power they felt within.
In that tiny little camp , amidst bodies of their their first victims . The 'vish kanyas' were truly born.