Although Krâl and his soldiers hadn’t physically abused or dishonored any of the Ducimus women, the devastation caused by the war was enough to tarnish their lives forever. Without food, shelter, clean water and their men –the Ducimus women were turned into a symbol of misfortune.
And the fear of Krâl and his ruthless forces instilled in the hearts of all others was so deep and fresh that none came forth to help the victims either. None except Sikam and his people. Since the Realm was divided into rough quarters, all four kingdoms were next door neighbors to each other and Karu-Thren was the longest borderline that Enth shared with any of her neighbors. Karu-Thren: the border between Enth and Ducimus.
Sikam loaded some hundred camels with food, shelter and other essentials and marched this caravan towards Karu-Thren. However, upon reaching there, they found the area barred by barbed wires. He could’ve cut and passed through but that would’ve been a violation of sovereignty. Sikam knew the wires weren’t put there by Kalum; it must’ve been the Ducimus themselves.
A psychological reaction perhaps?
So the Syhlain Lord sent off a messenger to the Ducimus Queen, sending news of the goodies on camels and asking permission to pass through. The messenger returned by nightfall with dreadful news.
“There are no women there!” He was hysterical. “They’re all monsters! Not women! MONSTERS!”
Sikam and a few of his nobles calmed him down and asked for the entire story. The poor man didn’t know much himself except for what Queen Saon had told him.
“It was the poisoned lake water that killed the women. Or disfigured them. I – I didn’t understand her. Queen Saon says she didn’t drink any so she survived. And she says they don’t want any of our charity or anyone’s charity. She said – she said the Ducimas are fine without help and will avenge their doom!”
“Oh, poor girl.” Sikam’s wife grieved. “So young and been through so much!”
“She gave me this.” The messenger took out a small vial from his picket and handed it to Sikam. “She said the lake is of no use to them anymore. This is some potion that she wants you to spill into the lake water. She says – she says the lake is yours from now
Sikam eyed the vial and pocketed it. And the caravan returned to Seren Vehn, the capital of Enth. As soon as they reached the gates of the city, Sikam ordered his nobles to safely escort the Lady and his people back to their homes whilst he with one of his trusted men rode off to the lake Queen Saon had newly entrusted him with.
The lake was a scenic treat for the eyes. Tucked away in the high mountains, it was a lovely spot that basically belonged to both Enth and Ducimus but Sikam had long ago unofficially withdrawn from it in favor of Ducai as a gesture of goodwill. Since then the Enthonians shared water resources with Volttus. Well, not just water, Sikam could've asked Kalum for anything. The Demon King had declared just one man his ‘ally’ and that man could ask anything of Krâl and Krâl would indulge him.
Anyhow, upon reaching the lake, Sikam saw a major change. Apart from the frothy murky water, the same barbed wire ran across the northern border of the woods indicating the lake officially belonged to Enth. Sikam sighed deeply, not really understand the need for the tangible border but mourning the loss Ducimus had suffered. He may not have questioned Krâl for being so merciless but he couldn’t forgive or forget the excessive force with which Volttus had handled the entire issue.
But then that’s exactly why one must never mess with Krâl, isn’t it?
Sikam took out the vial and spilled its ice gray granules into the recently poisoned, murky lake water. As soon as the grains hit the water surface, the murkiness broke to shreds like a pie crust. Then it bubbled, foamed and dissolved, revealing pristine water.
“Is it clean now?” Erik, Sikam’s prime advisor, asked, suspiciously staring at the water all the while.
“Let’s test it.” Sikam smiled and before Erik could know enough to protest; he’d scooped up a palmful of lake water and drunk from it.
“My Lord!” Erik screamed in horror finally but it was perhaps not needed. Sikam stood smiling and fine.
“It’s clean,” he said and the two men rode back.
The water indeed had been cleansed of all poison and impurities that Volttus had dumped in it but the potion that Saon had requested Sikam to spill into the lake was no ordinary poison sucking agent either. Those ice gray granules had revenge trapped in them that Sikam released when he dropped them in the lake.
The Storytellers wrote that the lake was no longer plain water afterwards. Or else it wouldn’t have proved fatal for Kalum.
To be continued...