Ashiqui Vol. 1: Chapter 0 | Prelude ~Jahei's POV~
✩ | 0 : Prelude
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young goddess who captivated the hearts of all the mortals on Earth. She was powerful and charismatic, a glimmering ray of hope in this dark cruel world. She was known as the Goddess of War and Destruction, the Fire Goddess Raiszadah. Despite her intimidating title, she was beautiful and kind. She was beloved for being fair and gentle in spite of her overwhelming powers. Often times, she would help others, she would protect the innocent and weak and lead the mortals to glory in battle.
However, the benevolent goddess had a fatal flaw. She could not fall in love with humans. For the moment she felt true love towards mankind, the elder God, the creator of this universe, would take everything away from her and she would end up alone mourning their deaths in despair. Tragically, this endless cycle of pain, regret and death continued and became a devastating curse.
In the end, the pitiful goddess became a prisoner of love. She was trapped in a cage of limitations while residing on Earth. The poor goddess was unable to die, unable to live and unable to love. It was said that her existence was both a blessing and a curse but fate treated her cruelly nonetheless. She was forced to stay on Earth, banished from Heaven and Hell in order to pay for her sister’s crimes. Now she resides with an empty heart in infinite misery. Not knowing what to do next nor how to live on, the goddess punishes herself in hopes of atoning for her sins. Shackled by the omnipotent one, the ruler of eternity, the elder God, with no hope for escape nor a savior, the goddess grows more disheartened by the day.
As if life could not get any worse, God would often mock her. The almighty one would tell the young goddess her only hope to break this curse was to create a guardian angel out of mortal flesh and blood. In this way, the young goddess was more isolated and pressured because a guardian made from mortal origins is no simple feat.
First, the fire goddess needed to find a mortal compatible with her blood who would be loyal to her for eternity and then kill and revive that human in a split second. The entire process was full of haphazard flaws. It was not a perfect plan by any means. The worse part of this plan was that mortals are rarely compatible with deity blood. It was so rare that only one to three humans in a goddess’s entire lifetime could survive this transformation. It was like finding a grain of sand in an entire ocean, painstakingly impossible. The poor goddess would have to create her own being that was able to withstand God’s curse but after thousands of years and many failed attempts she started to believe this phantom guardian was not meant to be hers. Her hope in breaking this curse was fading.
Her begrudging fate brought the young goddess many woes, excessive sufferings, and immense heartaches. All who loved her died. All whom she loved were killed in horrific ways despite her attempts to save and protect them. Despite knowing how fruitless her quest was, she continued to help the humans out of love and kindness but it was at her own expense. She frequently suffered great misfortunes to save the mortals from her own curse.
But was this the right path? When was it enough? At what cost was this okay? Her joy was taken. Her happiness was forsaken. Her freedom was robbed. Her sanity was slipping. Alas, she went against her elders; defying God and the result was a never-ending cycle of carnage and pain. In all these years, God’s mission for the Fire Goddess was simple. She was to be a spectator and harden her heart as the other Gods have done before her.
“Watch over the humans, do not interfere with their lives. Maintain structure and the ecosystem of this universe until the day you die. If there is war, then you may stop it. But only if you deem it will cause severe destruction to the planets. Otherwise, only balance the population and keep an eye on natural disasters.”
These were God’s orders yet, the young goddess was too kindhearted to turn a blind eye to violence, poverty, abuse, and cruelty. The result of her gentle heart caused friction between the fire goddess and the elders, which in turn caused the curse to spread further and devour her being entirely. With such a creed, the humble and pure hearted goddess was essentially forced to murder, fight, and destroy even though she only wanted to save lives.
The goddess wanted nothing more than peace but could never attain it. She was supposed to be a watchdog. Loyal, silent, and obedient but her heart was rebellious and she was too kind so God punished her again and again for her crimes. Inevitably, all her beloved followers died for her sins and the curse continued everywhere she went like a plague that swept the world into chaos.
No matter how many good deeds she committed it was never seen as a welcomed merit in the eyes of God. Instead, God scorned her actions and felt the young goddess was too lenient and naïve. Twistedly, God’s curse continued to destroy the goddess, in order to make her stronger, crueler, and harden her softhearted nature.
Essentially, this curse was a way to bind the goddess to God’s will, and detach her from making emotionally driven decisions. However, this torturous cycle was turning the fire goddess into a fragile, pitiful doll, a toy in the hands of God and ultimately a heartless killing machine. God wanted her to live as a marionette who would obey their commands without questioning it but the goddess was no subservient pawn, she was not one to succumb with ease. Most definitely, the fire goddess fought back many times yet, sadly her attempts did not lead to peace. It led to bloody murder.
Thus, as the age-old tale went another victim of this curse came to be. In most recent times, more beloved humans were tortured for being blessed with the love of the Fire Goddess and this time the young goddess’s heart finally broke under the guilt and pressure of her cursed fate as God had wanted. Like a mermaid that turns to bubbles and disappears in the sea the Fire Goddess also disappeared into the sea of death.
The final trigger that nailed the coffin on Raiszadah’s heart was the slaughter of Lord Kiran and the disappearance of his wife Kana. Years have passed since the demise of the Lord Kiran and his rebel army. With great sorrow and regrets the Goddess of Fire, Raiszadah fell into a deep depression after her close friend Kana abandoned her in rage after her husband’s death. The goddess tried to salvage her friendship with the mortal but was hated and scorned for bringing such tragedies upon humanity. It was a harsh reality but the goddess knew her existence was detrimental to humans so she decided to walk away from mankind once and for all.
Despite her attempts at death, the goddess was immortal and unable to return to the celestial realm so a mortal death was not an option. Instead, to mimic death she decided to bind herself on Earth. Like a preserved animal, she went into a fallen state, a deep slumber to seal herself away from the mortal world. With haste, she made her way to the sea of Zo’ar and submerged herself into the deepest parts of the lake. In the cold dark abyss of the lifeless waters, she sunk in silence. Her body was naturally weak to the element of water so she took advantage of this knowledge and tormented herself even further.
The clever goddess knew she could not die but she could feel pain and weaken herself in her human form to imitate a state similar to death. Knowing this about herself, she wasted no time to drown herself until her body was forced into an endless comatose. Menacingly, she continued to lay at the bottom of Zo’ar aching until she passed out, remaining motionlessly in a catatonic state beneath the sea.
To not be disturbed from her chaotic slumber, she cursed the lake so no one could enter. With her spell, if anyone tried to get close to the water they would die spontaneously. After many attempts by the foolish mortals to salvage the situation five years had gone by and no one could rectify things. The goddess continued to mourn and weep beneath the sea of the dead all alone in her isolated bubble of agony. Her tears more bitter than the salt lake itself, cursing the waters for eternity. It was both her eternal prison and punishment for allowing the ones she loved to suffer so miserably.
Despite her wishes however, I was honestly beginning to feel rather disgusted and lonely without my beloved mother by my side. Therefore, on a whim I decided to go fetch her. “Do you intend to preserve yourself for the afterlife, mother dear?” I mumbled to myself as I prepared to retrieve the one I love. Cursed humans! As always, they infuriate me by causing mother to feel pain with their weak pathetic lifespans! It wasn’t fair for her to suffer like this. This vile punishment, such a heavy burden isn’t yours to bear, mother! Frustrated by her stubbornness and lack of will power to overcome this meaningless tragedy, I decided to go awaken the sleepless beauty myself.
“How long do you plan on being the tragic heroine of this sick fairytale mother?” I cursed her name under breath while grabbing my black cape. Impatiently, I sighed in annoyance while thinking over my plans for this retrieval mission. Primarily, my goal was to enter the land of fallen prophets and seize mother immediately then get out of there and return home with her beside me. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, then like rain drops swirling in the wind, my body moved fluidly through time and space from one place to another. Effortlessly, I was able to teleport from my castle in Ireland to the land near mother’s aquatic tomb.
Upon arriving at the dreary lake, I could smell the stench of death looming in the air. The breeze felt bitter and dry. It was rather unpleasant to be blunt. The sun barely rose as I strolled over to the coastline. Nevertheless, I wanted to make haste before any pests showed up to disturb me. Calmly, I glanced at the cloudy waters to find mother’s location. Without a moment’s notice, I could sense where she was resting.
After all, her beguiling presence and ominous aura were impossible to miss. I smirked wickedly at the thought of how frightful humans must be at this sight. “No wonder people kept saying the lake was possessed by jinn, she really doesn’t want anyone entering these waters.” I cackled playfully while scanning the area for possible mortals. From where I stood there were no traces of lifeforms neither mortal nor beast, only gloomy skies and still waters. Acknowledging that it was time to take a leap of fate, I let out a deep sigh to reaffirm myself that this was the best decision.
Effortlessly, I began to undress my mortal garments in preparation for transforming into my celestial form. Delicately, I unlaced my blouse as waves of cool air hit my face, causing the fabric to flutter brazenly. Unimpressed by these humble gusts, I glanced to the side and caught my blouse with ease. I continued to undo my cloak and adjust my belongings. Steadily, I placed my clothes near a boulder for later wear. After removing the top layers, I unsheathed my pants, undergarments, and shoes, setting everything in a safe place where no one would bother to steal them.
“Somehow this collection of clothing irritates me”, I began to grumble slightly upon realizing how tedious human clothing was. “Honestly, why do humans wear such trivial things anyway? They are no different than apes, it makes no sense why they act like they are so special. Such weak detestable creatures...! They need so many things to stay alive no wonder they die like flies! What tedious frivolous things. How unnecessary!” I complained in my natural state feeling repulsed by the way society became and how burdensome mortals were.
Once I was naked, I walked towards the edge of the sea waters. Gently, I took a step into the water and released my energy. Like a scene from a mythical play, blue glittering lights surrounded me as my eyes went from dark black to ocean blue. In a similar manner, my dark brown hair grew below my hips as the color changed to greenish blue tint, and soon after my entire body transformed into its aquatic state. “At last, I have returned to my true form,” I chanted while submerging my entire body into the water. My human form was gone and now I was basking in glory as I exposed my true self to the underwater world.
A celestial with merman features was rare, only me and my birth mother the Water Goddess could transform into this state. For this reason, if someone were to see me now it would be both a spectacle and a sight to behold. The unlucky onlooker would see a fishlike man with eyes and hair of the sea, flesh of the glimmering moonlight, long pearlescent claws dyed in indigo ink, scales that would make emeralds look dull and ethereal hair like dragon’s beard floating against the tide ripples before they met their untimely demise.
If only I could use this form freely, how much more comfortable I would feel. I truly disliked my human form but it was mandatory because of those repulsive humans. The last thing I wanted was to be a spectacle drawing attention from such vermin. I continued to swim while thinking useless thoughts until I finally reached deeper into the center of the lake where mother’s body awaited me.
The water was murky at first but grew clearer, brighter, and warmer as I approached the fire goddess’s resting place. As I swam, I could hear lifeforms of all kinds whispering, “What is the Water God doing here?” How shocking it must be for the ecosystem to be disrupted by the presence of the two of us. I almost felt guilt for harassing the animals but I was amused at the thought of the humans suffering due to this situation. It was a bittersweet feeling really. “Awaken for me,” I sang with a melodic tranquil voice as I swam to my mother’s side. Clear as day, I could see her lying on a bed of rock salt.
Tragically, she was quite pale with slightly discolored skin and I could hear her weeping in a comalike state. She laid before me like a corpse however, she was warm to touch and her heart continued to beat. She wasn’t repulsive like a human corpse rather; she was as beautiful as ever despite seeming weaker like a wounded baby deer. Truly, it was heart wrenching to see her in this state.
“My dear Jahei, why are you here? Darling please do not chase me. I am a sinner who needs no love. Please leave me be, there is no need for you to be here.” Delicately like an angel, her voice was singing through my mind as she telepathically spoke to me, her words were both gentle and faint. Ignoring her pleas, I dove in deeper, floating beside her body and caressing her face with my hand. “Silence mother, I am taking you home now.” I spoke tenderly while kissing her forehead to reactivate some of her healing powers.
Carefully, I began to wrap her body in my arms to carry her to shore. She was so much colder than usual and her body felt frail. Unable to process this situation, I felt a mixture of rage and sorrow as I clung onto her small frame with all my might. Clearly, I knew water would weaken her but to think she would go this far to feel the pain of death... it hurt me to see her like this.
More than anything, I wanted to cry but I locked away my emotions because I knew right now wasn’t the time to show my own weaknesses. At this moment, mother needed me so I had to be strong for her sake. These thoughts echoed in my head as I looked at her with pity. Blatantly, I could tell she was drowning herself for years in her human form in this cursed lake which breeds nothing but death, no wonder she was in this pitiful state! Were you trying to brine yourself to death?
Unbecomingly, the frustration of seeing her in this state overtook me but I was determined to save her in spite of myself. In an act of desperation, I decided to forcibly activate her deity form with my own powers. As if to revive a fallen maiden I held her lifeless body in a tight embrace and pressed her forehead against mine, gently linking our souls and awakening her sacred blood. The markings on my forehead glowed bright blue and her divine marks appeared in a lava like red hue. Just like a phoenix rising from the ashes of despair her body grew hot, her skin flushed with color and her physical form finally started to regenerate and heal.
Due to my efforts, she was gradually returning to her normal state. Soon after, her eyes briefly opened however, she swallowed excessive water causing her to suffocate and pass out once again in a state of shock. Knowing I had to hurry out of this forsaken water, I held her against my chest and with a simple hand gesture rose our bodies to the top of the water. Hastily, I froze the water beneath our feet and instantly altered my merman form to a semi-human form in order to carry her across the waters and to the shore without further delay.
Once we reached land, I kneeled to the ground and laid her on my cloak before proceeding to resuscitate her. Cautiously, I held her body firmly and blew life into her fragile form. Without words, our lips pressed together as I kept trying to give her oxygen. Continuously, as I blew life into her body and push water out of her lungs her lips felt warmer. As a result, I kept giving her air until she coughed up the water and turned to her side to throw up everything she swallowed from the lake.
Thankfully, she regained her conscious state and was now panting for breath. Seeing her moving on her own made me feel relief although, I was flustered by the sudden turn of events too. Fortunately, she caught her breath after a few minutes of regurgitating and deep breathing. As soon as mother regained full awareness, she wiped her face and reverted back to her human form without much thought of the following events.
Evidently, since she didn’t prepare mortal clothes this current state left her unclothed once celestial garments disappeared. Without a care in the world, she sat on my cloak looking disoriented and half asleep. Under these circumstances, I assumed she wasn’t in her right frame of mind so instinctively; I used my powers to dry her body and keep her warm while reaching for my blouse to cover her nude form.
Suddenly, she looked at me in disarray and confusion, unsure of what to do she began to cry helplessly. Instinctively, I held her close to me, and dressed her to prevent her from falling ill in her already weakened state. Once she settled down and her tears were at bay, I went on to drying myself as well as reverting back to my own mortal state. Blatantly, I could see that she was still uneasy so in an effort to keep her calm, I continued to hug my mother lovingly while caressing her long ravenous hair in a gentle manner. Tenderly, I tried my best to comfort her and ease her mind however, she seemed very anxious and troubled, which was understandable given the current situation. Yet, despite knowing this was the case, I still felt worried about her wellbeing.
“Jahei, I- I don’t deserve to live. I keep killing people and hurting people. I’m not a goddess, I’m a monster! I’m not worthy of this life. You shouldn’t be so kind to me. Please leave me alone, I will only end up hurting you too. My sweet Jahei, I can’t bear the thought of losing you too. I love you too much to see you suffer because of me!” She sobbed horribly and pressed her face against my chest. I knew she was suffering. The guilt and pain were crushing her to pieces. I wanted to save her from this pain so badly it was killing me to see her like this.
In the midst of this heartfelt moment, I began to worry about something else entirely. With only my ankle length tresses covering my body I felt uneasy about us embracing in broad daylight, not worrying about our intimacy but rather the stupidity of humans. As it would seem, mortals often hypersexualized everything like foolish primitive monkeys. Based on this analysis, it was obvious that someone would misunderstand our heartwarming situation with wretched impure thoughts and make a fuss.
Surely, other mortals would see us and make some spectacle of our precious moment. Knowing those primitive creatures, they would think I’m molesting an innocent woman and try to stone us both to death. My mind grew weary with these thoughts so I immediately conjured up a barrier around us to prevent others from entering the area we sat upon. Afterwards, I continued to soothe my mother and comfort her by wrapping her in my cloak and having her rest against my chest.
“Mother don’t say that. You are not a monster, you are a wonderful goddess, and my beloved mother. I know it’s painful to lose the ones you care for but you need to accept that humans are weak fragile creatures. And they unfortunately, cannot withstand your curse. Unlike me. So please do not torture yourself like this mother. Rest assured, I will never die no matter what that old God tries to do to me. So please don’t be afraid, you are not alone mother. You must heal and continue to live. Your life has value, to me, to the humans, to all the creatures in this universe. So please, come home with me and cease this foolishness.” I tried to be sensitive but alas my own feelings came out too.
“I’m sorry Jahei, I keep making you worry about me. I always repeat the same mistakes and hurt you. I’m so stupid and selfish. I’m so sorry. You probably hate me too-” I cut her off before she could continue her demeaning speech. “Never! I love you! I will never stop loving you, for eternity no matter what happens or who exist I will always love you mother. I will never betray you so please, don’t even think such thoughts,” my own voice betrayed my stoic disposition and the words I yearned to express came out naturally and intensely.
“Come home with me now, I need you by my side. Please, if living is painful then at least survive for my sake. I can’t stand to be apart from you anymore, this situation kills me as much as it kills you. So please... don’t abandon me anymore mother. I need you by my side.” I soften my voice and spoke these final words before relinquishing her from our tender embrace.
While I left her to think about what I said I was wandering off to fetch my clothes and make myself presentable once again. Mother sat there in exhaustion. I could tell she was in deep thought and considering everything I just said carefully. After some mumbling and brooding mother seemed to find the resolve to live on. She displayed a tender smile while drying her delicate round umber eyes and turned to smile at me. My heart felt light watching her pick herself up again and come back to this world with me.
I looked at her nostalgically as she began to comb her obsidian hair with her elongated slender fingers and wiping the tear stains off her olive skin. She was enchanting and peaceful to observe, I was happy with my decision to come save her. Sometimes we must rely on each other in this cruel world and at times like this, it really makes me think how grateful I am to have my mother with me. Even if things are not easy, I love her dearly.
As I stood there caught up in my own thoughts, I realized mother was a little calmer now so I began to fasten my undergarments and dress myself entirely in order to leave this place immediately. Effortlessly, I pulled my arms through the inner jacket and secured it firmly. As I did this, I noticed my hair was outrageously long like seaweed clinging to my legs. Disgusted by these useless brown locks, I tore the majority of hair off with my claws and disintegrated it into water vapors.
“Aww! What a waste,” mother said, pouting as she saw my shorter unevenly trimmed hair. I rolled my eyes and smirked lightheartedly before retracting my catlike claws to short human nails. “Are you ready to leave, mother dear?” I asked while extending my hand to help her up. She gripped my hand softly and I pulled her up to her feet. Gracefully, she wrapped her arm around my waist and held my sandy cloak with her other hand.
“Let’s go home Jahei,” she said, her feline eyes stared at me like a ray of hope glimmering against the sunlight. She was probably exhausted from crying and having a mental breakdown but she was still trying her best to smile. I could see it clearly in her eyes that life was being unreasonable and she was trying her best to tolerate it in spite of herself.
Reflexively, took the cloak out of her hand and briskly shook it against the wind using my powers to instantly clean it. In turn, the cloak was no longer sandy nor wet and like magic it was as good as new. Then with great care, I draped the clean cloak over mother’s petite shoulders and held her tightly against my torso. In the blink of the eye, we vanished into thin air and the barrier broke instantly like shattering glass. Once we left, the skies cleared up once again and the sea of death returned to its normal state. As for us, we returned to mother’s home in the wilderness of Brazil.
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