The cannons had flattened most of the place. Fire brought down the rest. He marched in with his army, the victor with his spoils lying in front of him. The stench of blood and death was nothing new, for, to him it always smelled victory. Yet another piece of land conquered, yet another jewel on his crown.
So what if it was a temple, supposedly a sanctuary during war times? Temple or Castle, they were all the same to him. Besides, his generals had informed him that spies had taken refuge here.
So why did he feel this uneasiness creeping into him now? There were bodies lying by the dozens. Not of warriors but of innocent men, women and children who had to come to pray or to take refuge. He caught a glimpse of a dead young boy – arms spread and blood oozing from his head. “My son would be his age, if he were alive by now”, He thought. His mind went back to the time when his son, barely five years old was treacherously murdered.
During one of his journeys, his enemies had set fire to his tent intending to kill him in his sleep. Unfortunately for them, he had been away while his little boy was inside, and perished in the fire. What did not kill him made him stronger, and madder. As he carried the body of his son, he vowed in all his fury to avenge his death.
And avenge he did, savaging every army, and destroying his enemies one by one. Soon, his anger turned to hunger, and fury turned into an uncontrollable lust for power. He soon became the most feared king in the land, marauding kingdom after kingdom and striking terror in the minds of the people.
He forbade worship of God in all forms, and despised the notion of the all-powerful, all-knowing and all-caring God. Where was God when his little son died? Did he know that his son was going to be killed? If he did, was he powerless to do anything about it? Or if he knew and had the power to prevent it, why didn’t he, if he truly was all-caring? Temples were destroyed, as he took it upon himself to be proclaimed God. To his oppressors, he was none other than Yama, God of death.
As he now stepped in to the remains of the sanctuary, he felt something strange happening to him. His legs felt weak. His arms began to tremble, and he dropped his sword with which he had slaughtered hundreds of enemies. He knelt down on the ground with an unexplainable feeling. The soldiers unaccustomed to seeing their leader in such a state, were shocked.
As he looked ahead, he saw light coming from the ruins of the shrine. He asked his men to clear the rubbles. As they dug the ruins, one of them shouted, “There is someone alive here!”