Book 2 | The Story So Far
We take the reader back to a time, circa the tenth century AD. The Chozha Kingdom was being ruled by Emperor Sundara Chozhan. His elder son, Aditya Karikalan, who had been crowned heir-apparent had exhibited his bravery very early in his youth, by defeating the Pandiyan Emperor. He was now stationed at Kanchipuram, in charge of the northern forces. The younger prince, Arulmozhi Varman, the darling of the royal ladies, and of the entire Chozha Kingdom, was fighting a fierce war in the island of Lanka.
Emperor Sundara Chozhan’s daughter, Kundavai, known for her wise counsel and adeptness in strategy, lived with her hand-maidens in Pazhayarai. The Emperor in recent times had become afflicted with a deadly paralytic attack, and was bed-ridden. During this time, the two Pazhuvettarayar brothers had been vested with far-reaching powers. The Periya Pazhuvettarayar was in-charge of the granary and the treasury, while the younger was the Fort General of Thanjavur.
The Pazhuvettarayars and some of the powerful vassal kings such as Kadambur Sambuvarayar plan a coup with the intention of making Madhuranthaka Thevar as heir-apparent. Some of these coup rumours reach Karikalan, who understandably gets very upset, and fears for his father’s life. Karikalan sends a message to his father, requesting him to come to Kanchi, through a trusted messenger and close friend, Vandhiyathevan, a warrior of the Vanarkulam (Vanar clan).
The smart and witty Vandhiyathevan succeeds in meeting the Emperor and delivering the message, but makes several enemies during his journey. He also becomes privy to information regarding the coup. During the journey, he comes across a Veera Vaishnavar named Alwarkadiyaan Nambi, whom he suspects to be a spy as well.
Karikalan had had a childhood tryst with Nandini, who is now the wife of the Periya Pazhuvettarayar. After delivering the message to the Emperor, Vandhiyathevan almost gets caught by the Chinna Pazhuvettarayar and his fort guards. He escapes through a secret tunnel, which also happens to be part of the royal treasury. Vandhiyathevan reaches Pazhayarai and delivers his second message to Princess Kundavai. Vandhiyathevan, who had met the Princess a couple of times earlier, loses his heart to her. The Princess then sends Vandhiyathevan to Lanka, with a message requesting Arulmozhi to return to Pazhayarai.
Let us now continue with the second book of this epic.