Princess Rama – meeting Shabari

“Hmm.” Shabari didn’t look entirely convinced, but seemed to set aside arguing with a shrug. “Why are you here, warriors of Kosala?”

“Ravana the demon king has captured my husband, Prince Sita of Militha,” Rama said quietly. “I will find him, and get Sita back.”

And if there’s a mountain in my way, Laks interpreted that look, it will be very sorry.

“We were advised to seek you out, and to seek someone called Sugriva,” Laks put in. “I have to admit, we came looking for you first, because none of us have even heard of Sugriva. Do you know who he is?”

“He is… one who may know where Ravana is to be found,” Shabari said thoughtfully. “For Ravana is not always on Lanka, and Lanka itself is not always within the world we know. The underworld and the heavens touch there, drawn by Ravana’s conquests, and a ship may sail and sail and never reach Lanka’s shores, unless one of Lanka wishes it to come.”

Rama’s eyes narrowed, the sky in storm. “If Ravana did not wish me to come, he should not have taken Sita.”

“You might win your way there, demon king or no,” Shabari reflected. “But then what would you do, brave young warrior princess? To take your husband back from Ravana, you will need an army. Nothing less will impress the rakshasas of Lanka, even if you did survive long enough to slay their king with your own two hands.”

Utmila had gotten her breath back, enough to sit up and fold her arms meekly over her lap. “We know that. But sages don’t usually have armies hanging around to give as a blessing.”

“I do not, no,” Shabari reflected. “But I tire of this world, and would see wrongs set in order before I pass.” She held out a basket, filled with bitten fruit. “If you would learn of Sugriva, Princess Rama, climb to the top of this small hill, and bring me the first living thing you see.”

Rama bowed her head, and gracefully accepted a handful of berries; as if she did not care half the court would gasp in horror, that a noble warrior would accept food another mouth had touched. “As you wish, pious one.”

“What?” A gray brow arched. “You ask no more?”

A flicker of true humor showed on Rama’s tired face. “If I asked more, you might set conditions.”

“…I’d forgotten you had a sense of humor, great lord,” Shabari said, half to herself. “Just for that – you climb alone.”


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