C2 ACT 01: CHOSEN VESSEL (Part 2)
“Tch! The man with his ridiculous suggestions dare to speak!” The man who strongly disagrees with everything they have talked so far talked back while crossing his arms. Even though his face was hidden under his hood, his gesture demonstrated his repulsion towards the man who spoke his mind just now.
“What can you say about this, Simuno Apollo?” The woman asked yet another man that sat on a chair that had a different pattern. He was the only one who did not bother hiding his face. He looked like he was already in his fifties, with his short silvery white hair and beard that covered his chin. “Should we tell the people of this tragic incident or should we take desperate measures in order to protect Kabinihan from being tainted?” All the attention was now focused on the man they called Simuno Apollo.
“This is indeed a shocking event,” Simuno Apollo started, making most of the people in the meeting nod in agreement. “And this is a great opportunity for those *Outcasts that wish to ruin Kabinihan’s reign. For centuries, our kingdom has maintained peace and serenity. We have lived our lives hidden and far from the ugly world that only wanted war and chaos. No matter what happens, Kabinihan must always stay free from impurities that attract the evil. We vowed to the mighty Kasarinlan that we will protect the paradise that he has given us.”
“Indeed,” most of them spoke in unison.
“The people must know about this,” Simuno Apollo added.
“What?!” The man who was so against the idea reacted violently. “Simuno Apollo, please reconsider your decision. It is the future of Kabinihan we are talking about,” he pleaded while sounding so problematic.
Simuno Apollo gave the aggressive man a sharp glare. “If we try to hide it, some of our people might start to doubt us. If that happens, revolution will probably take place. Do you want them to end up like those unfortunate Outcasts?” he asked the man. When the man had nothing to answer back, he continued speaking as he faced all the men and women that were gathered around, “Let the entire kingdom know. Raise the child into a suitable King. The mark cannot be undone. He is the Chosen Vessel of this generation, but that will not erase the fact that his existence is still a heresy to our beliefs; a dishonor to Kasarinlan. If he was to be rejected by Kasarinlan 20 years from now, then judgement will be passed onto him. Until then, treat him with utmost care. Any objections?”
“What kind of judgement will you put on this child?” The man with the gentle voice curiously asked.
“Simuno Araw, I am having the feeling that you are trying to say that I wanted to cause harm to our future King. Am I wrong?” Simuno Apollo responded in an insulted tone.
“Please refrain from putting malice on my statement, Simuno Apollo,” the man addressed as Simuno Araw defended himself calmly. “As a Simuno higher official myself, I have the right to express my take on this case, do I not? I believe even the other officials present in here feel the same.”
A few showed signs of agreeing to Simuno Araw but many were still in doubt. The kingdom had already faced thousands of difficulties throughout their reign after being protected by the Deity, but this was the first time that they got to encounter such abnormalities regarding the Chosen Vessel.
A Chosen Vessel was only born once in every generation. In Kabinihan, a certain clan were the only ones that could bear female offsprings that would have the Mark of Kasarinlan on her lower abdomen the moment she was born, thus making her the Chosen Vessel.
When the Chosen Vessel matured physically, emotionally and spiritually, they would present her to Kasarinlan in person and her purpose was to carry the child of the Deity. A child born from Kasarinlan’s seed would inherit his divine powers. The child was then believed to bring fortune and knowledge that would prolong the kingdom’s peace and prosperity until another Chosen Vessel was born.
This was how Kabinihan maintained balance and the people who followed the kingdom’s Kings and Queens which came from the Royal Family of Kasarinlan’s chosen clan, were promised eternal peace. For those who defied the kingdom were given judgement. The degree of judgement passed on to them depended on how heavy the committed sins were. They banished helpless cases from the kingdom and they became Outcasts lurking in the shadows of hatred and the desire to take revenge upon the kingdom.
“I see,” Simuno Apollo released a deep sigh. “Then I am afraid that I’m forced to use my power as the highest form of Simuno and co-founder of this kingdom,” he stated, and the other officials started to feel the tension that was slowly galloping the entire room. “I, Simuno Apollo, as one of the Elders of Kabinihan that was granted with ‘temporary immortality’ and knowledge of ruling this kingdom hereby declare that until the new Prince reaches the age of 20, I will act as the absolute judge of this matter and King of Kabinihan. You will all obey my words and anyone who defies me will face the “Ultimate Judgement”. Objections?”
The officials knew there was no point in talking back. Simuno Apollo has already dropped his trump card and speaking unnecessarily will only bring misfortune to the defiant. The meeting went on. That day marked the fate of the Young Prince. Whatever they further discussed inside that very room must remain a secret between the officials.
“Young Prince! Young Prince, please don’t run in the hallways!” A tanned skin woman with black hair that she tied in a bun and was wearing a white dress that stretched down to her knees nervously called out while chasing a boy. The boy whom she addressed as the Young Prince giggled playfully and went on his way. The woman almost screamed in fear and tried her very best at catching up.
Not far from where the woman was currently at, was a garden that can be seen at her left. The boy saw the door to the garden wide open and took that chance and he hurried outside.
“Young Prince!” the woman exclaimed and she went pale. When she reached the door to the garden, she saw the Prince running towards a woman. “Thank goodness,” she breathed in relief upon seeing the boy being carefully carried by the woman he approached. “My Queen!”
“Mama!” The boy happily said as he kissed the woman carrying him on the cheeks.
“You scared me, my Young Prince. Why did you run off like that?” The poor woman spoke.
“You were a bad boy again, my love?” The Queen asked her son gently.
The boy shook his head several times. “I wasn’t, Mama,” he innocently denied but he was grinning.
The Queen laughed at the boy’s innocence. “My dear Sari, you shouldn’t give miss Rosas a hard time. She is worried sick about you,” she calmly reprimanded.
“Truly!” The woman who was named Rosas strongly agreed while nodding her head. “It is not safe to run in the hallways. You might hurt yourself.”
“I’m sorry, miss Rosas.” The Young Prince apologized so heartily that it almost brought Rosas into tears.
“My Prince, this is the reason why I really can’t stay mad at you!” Rosas exclaimed while looking like she wanted to pinch the boy’s cheek. “You are so cute when you are being like that. I am glad that I am your son’s maid, my Queen and he truly inherited your kindness.”
The Queen smiled at Rosas. “Please don’t address yourself as a “maid”,” she begged. “To me, you are like Sari’s second mother. Ever since my precious Sari was born, you took very great care of him in my place when I was not around.”
“My Queen…” Somehow, Rosas could feel that something was off based on how the Queen delivered her statement while sounding so sad.
“Rosas,” the Queen called out and she stared at the woman standing in front of her intently. “My time as Queen is almost over,” she announced which shook Rosas. “Soon, they are going to take my rights as Queen and force me to leave my throne empty until Sari turns 20.”
“But, my Queen, what’s going to happen to the Young Prince?” Rosas asked in worry.
“He will be raised still as the next King of Kabinihan. In exchange, they will exile me and also take my rights as Sari’s mother.” Tears trickled down her pale, white skin as soon as she said those words. Rosas, on the other hand, gasped in disbelief and prevented herself from shedding tears, too.
“I don’t want you to go, my Queen. This is so unfair. You are from a direct bloodline of the *Binhi Clan. You have every rights to banish those who try to dethrone you,” Rosas insisted.
“But I am a woman, Rosas,” the Queen corrected. “The moment my son was born, my title as Queen was no more than just a mere label that held no power of command towards her people. The Elder, Simuno Apollo, knew about this rule in Kabinihan and took it for granted. My son cannot give absolute commands yet until he is 20 and so, Simuno Apollo will act as the temporary King until then,” she explained.
“How cruel,” Rosas mumbled in disgust. She could not believe it. “From the very moment I started serving the Royal Family of the Binhi clan, I already disliked that old man. He was not even a descendant of a Binhi member and still he acts like he owns the right to everything,” she commented with such irritation in her voice.
“Rosas…” The Queen softly called out as if trying to stop Rosas from saying unnecessary things against the Simuno. If someone was to accidentally pass by and hear their conversation, Rosas will be in serious trouble.
“Mama…?” Both of them were distracted when Young Prince Sari suddenly spoke.
“Young Prince…” Rosas could no longer hold her tears from falling so she covered her mouth using her hands to muffle her cries. She could not imagine what would the Young Prince think if he was to find out one day that his mother was forced to leave her son behind because she sacrificed herself in order to ensure his future.
“My precious Sari is a brilliant boy. Someday, he will free the people of this kingdom and grant them real peace. I believe in him,” the Queen said, holding so much hope and trust towards her beloved son before handling the child to Rosas. “I will entrust him to you, Rosas. Please watch over my Sari.”
“But, my Queen—!”
“I know you are the right person for this, Rosas. One day, you too will have your own children and they too will cherish Sari as much as you do. I owe everything to you, my dear friend.”
“Mama…” The boy felt his mother slowly backing away, making him wary.
“My Queen, please don’t go,” Rosas pleaded but it was too late.
“I will see you again and my Sari when the right time comes, Rosas.”
Rosas couldn’t argue anymore. The Young Prince was just two years old. Soon, he will slowly forget his mother’s face and Rosas knew that she will be forbidden to speak of the Queen’s name or tell Sari about her disappearance but Rosas vowed to herself to cherish the memories that the Queen left her son and she will love the Young Prince like her own son and protect him no matter what. Her loyalty will be forever on the Queen’s side.
Later that night, the Queen quietly left the kingdom without leaving traces. The next day, the people were told that she has abandoned her duty as Queen and decided to live far away, leaving poor Prince Sari alone. Many were furious about the sudden news — except for Rosas, who knows the truth behind all the fallacies.
The stigma of the Chosen Vessel has begun…..
━━━━━━ ◦ ❖ ◦ ━━━━━━
*itak – a weapon similar to that of a sword. In modern days, it is also used as a tool for farming, harvesting plants or getting rid of unwanted grass
*Komadrona – a woman that assists on giving birth
*Ale(ng) – honorific for older women
*Mark of Kasarinlan – a flower-like shaped tattoo that is etched upon birth of a Chosen Vessel
*Outcasts – people who are previously members of Kabinihan but was banished for different reasons
*Binhi Clan – the only clan who can have female offsprings that have a chance of becoming a Chosen Vessel and the only ones that can become King or Queen if they come from a bloodline of royalties
「to be continued」