Book 1 | Chapter 27 | Abhayam or Abhaayam

Thirumalai Nayakar Palace in Madurai

After the poets left the room, Chinna Pazhuvettarayar went closer to the king, without releasing his iron grip on Vandiyathevan. The royal doctor mixed a medicine potion and handed it to the Queen, who gently fed it to the King.

“Sire! How is the new medicine? Is it working?”

“The Queen and the doctor claim that it is working. I do not fully agree with them. I think that all of this effort is futile. Lord Yama is waiting at the gates for me.”

“Do not worry, Oh King. There is no cause of alarm in this palace. I will make sure that even Lord Yama does not get close. But I just now heard that this young lad telling you about some danger ..”, Chinna Pazhuvettarayar’s voice trailed off.

Vandiyathevan’s mind worked at lightning speed. He had to get out of this predicament quickly.

“Oh no! I was requesting help from you, Oh Lord. You are well aware that the Tamizh word for help (abhayam) and danger (abhaayam) sound very similar, Prabhu.”

“I was lamenting the loss of my ancestor’s kingdom. We had lost all of it to the Chozha emperors. I was asking for help. Please help. Can you please help, by giving us back even a small piece of our kingdom?”

The Queen and the King smiled and acknowledged the quick wit and command of the Tamizh language of the lad.

“Commander, I like this young lad. Very smart lad. Why cannot we help him with his request?”

“It is up to you and Prince Karikalan to decide such matters, Oh King.”

Vandiyathevan interjected — “Aha. If I ask my Master, he says it is the wish of Pazhuvur Thevar. Here, the Commander says that it is the Prince’s wish. My request is caught in the middle.”

“Commander, this young lad brought with him a message from Karikalan. My son wants me to come to Kanchi and stay in his Gold Palace for some time. With my health condition, I do not think this would be possible. We need to send back a message asking him to come here and visit me. Something in me wants me to see my Princes here now. Can you also send a message to Arulmozhi in the Eezhanaadu? I need to discuss a very important decision with him.”

“When Arulmozhi comes, you can also express your displeasure about sending food grains from Chozhanaadu to war torn Eezhanaadu.”

“Chakravarthy, it is not me, nor my brother, who is expressing displeasure. It is the people of Chozhanaadu, who do not like it.”

“Arulmozhi will never do anything that the common people of Chozhanaadu dislike. Once the Periya Pazhuvettarayar is back, let us discuss about sending someone to Eezhanaadu with the message. Send the return scroll to Kanchi with this young lad itself”

“This warrior has come from Kanchi just now. He must be tired. Let him rest. I will send the return message through another messenger.”

The Queen rose up from besides the King. The Commander got the message that it was time for him to leave. She said in closing, “Commander, this young man is a guest to this palace. Please take care of him well.”

The Commander nodded his assent, but words failed to come out.