The retinue stopped. Kundavai got down from the elephant. Nandini got out of the palanquin and went up to the Princess to welcome her. The Princess accepted the welcome with a smile. The citizens of the city took in the sight of the two most beautiful women in their kingdom, smile at each other. A roar went up in the crowds.
Kundavai read through the palm leaf with intense concentration. When she finished reading the message, her tense face relaxed into a wide smile. “Now that you have delivered your message, what do you intend to do?”
“Devi, my job is done. I guess I have to turn back home now.”
After meeting with the Princess, Alwarkadiyaan decided to go to his cousin, Eesana Shiva Bhattar’s house. It was a short walk away. Nambi noticed that the festivities of Shree Jayanthi had died down considerably. He passed through the army quarters where the wives of the soldiers were whispering among themselves. There was discontent writ on their faces. It was night by the time he reached his cousin’s house, which was right next to the Shiva temple.
The earlier Chozha kings had built embankments along the River Kaveri. For a long while, the embankments had been maintained well, and restricted the flow of the river. During the dark times, when there was a brief period of anarchy in the southern states, the maintenance suffered and the river had taken advantage. The river flooded in many places, got back its free spirit, and meandered down the Kaveri delta.