The Diamond of The Goddess Rangda
Written by Liberty Blair Charissage
Across the long stretches of the Hundred Isles, beyond the rotting rice fields like black fetid cesspools, lay a Charnel-Land of the Goddess Rangda. Inside the dark and oily charnel ground, where the discarded, disassembled skeletons of criminals and vagrants lay beside the corpses of babies, stretched out to be eventually eaten by dogs and other less speakable things, was a tiny hut—a hut surrounded by the scorched and blackened earth. The sickening sweet stench of death filled the charnel land. Insects hissed and buzzed everywhere, breaking the Primordial Silence, which waits patiently for the nose of civilization, which mocks such Silence, to end.
Summoned to this shunned land were Terry the Terrible, the outcast holy man of a subhuman race, and Shesha the Warrior, a crossbreed of Naga spirit and Axolotl-person. They awaited beside the hut in religious expectation for the Goddess Rangda. The charnel-land named after the Goddess Rangda. Rangda – – – the witch – – – whose name meant widow – – – who was Scion of Chaos in the Ocean Archipelagos. The hut, structured like a temple, stretched before Terry and Shesha. It remained eerily silent. However, the two figures’ wait wasn’t long. The door to the hut opened. A clawed hand caught the doorframe. Glowing eyes became visible in the slanted, square darkness of the doorway. A huge, long slavering tongue fell to the scorched ground, a gesture and symbol of the Goddess’s starvation and her yearning for the forbidden.The two pariahs, Terry the Terrible and Shesha, respectively, bowed low; Rangda was their Goddess in these regions.The unseen one in the diagonal door frame spoke in a terrible voice filled with wrath and outrage, “Choejar the Jeweler has stolen a precious ritual ingredient of mine. A flayed human skin sack with an eyeball still attached. My diamond is inside that sack.”
Word and legend had come to Shesha and Terry the Terrible of the infamous Choejar the Jeweler, who knew nothing sacred and whose trade was thievery. Shock and horror filled the two pariahs’ hearts upon hearing of the blasphemy of stealing the diamond of Rangda. Rangda’s clawed hand reached out, and a finger uncrooked. “Go! You are to be my avengers for this insult! Return my ritual ingredient!” Many know there are somethings stolen from Rangda, and often returned to Rangda. Horror turned to anger in the hearts of Terry the Terrible and Shesha. Anger turned to action. They flew off to their task.
The door to the hut of Rangda closed. Terry the Terrible and Shesha’s journey drove them far across the Multi-Coloured Lands, the waters of the Ocean Archipelagos to the grassland of the Great and Numerous Towers. They walked into the Haunted Jungles that rest near the Goddess River Ganga, only to find they had to gallop on horseback through the nomadic valleys of the Seven Flames. Then finally, they climbed the snow-speckled mountains of the Himel. Thus they followed the long, faint trail of Choejar the Jeweler. There, in the mountain lands of the Himel, they found that Choejar the Jeweler, was not called a jeweler or even a thief but the king. He was a ruler, a king of a kingdom of substantial size and wealth. When the two came into this kingdom and learned of the prestige of Choejar, the great philosopher Zhuangzi’s words passed the green lips of Shesha. “The petty thief is incarcerated, the great thief is made a lord – – – Zhuangzi, Chapter 29.” quoted Shesha. Although the people widely knew that the philosopher was a mystical being of divine nature, some heretics proclaimed that the philosopher Zhuangzi had been a human being.
Meanwhile, Terry the Terrible’s mind bubbled with the tales of thieves being the first in the dynasties of many kingdoms throughout the Multi-Coloured Lands. Suitably lodged in an out-of-the-way opium house, Terry the Terrible and Shesha began penetrating the fortress palace of Choejar the Jeweler-King. They crept through the passages of the fortress palace, weary of the few yet deadly soldiers that patrolled the fortress-palace – – – until finally, they found the treasure vaults where Choejar hid his plundered hoards. When they discovered these golden and strange hoards which Choejar the King-Thief had purloined, the two were almost hysterical with jubilation.
Here was everything they had ever wanted as they gazed their eyes upon the secret, exotic metals carved across the Multi-Coloured Lands. Terry the Terrible and Shesha could take a life’s fortune from the vaults and still never want within a thousand years of indulgence. Yet, soon their exuberant behaviour died, for if Choejar the Jeweler-Thief-King had journeyed and been daring enough to embezzle the far-away Goddess Rangda, then surely the man would hunt them to the ends of the Multi-Coloured Lands for a slight against him. Therefore, they debated right in the midst of the treasure vaults in the depths of the palace fortress whether to steal from the stealer. Shesha admitted that it was wrong on a moral measures to steal because the treasure was stolen goods which meant that the original people would have even less chance of getting back what belonged to them. Terry the Terrible, a holy man not for moral considerations, considering his nature of white-skinned subhumanness, proposed and argued that their taking of the horde constituted a part of Rangda’s revenge which they must inflict.
Yet, in the end, what halted the debate was a combined glance at a Vajrapani statue cast in gold, staring down and yawning at them with gem-encrusted fangs. The statue’s proportions hinted at the Divine. A Divinity had commanded them there.They then decided to continue with their quest; for the Gods in the Multi-Coloured Lands hate the ones who tarry at worldly concerns, and the ones who commit this tardiness come to fates where they are never seen again. With this fear energizing them, they quickly snatched at a bag of human skin with an eyeball stuck in the socket and looked within. Inside was the glittering diamond of Rangda. Excited about their triumph, Terry the Terrible and Shesha bounded out in their escape from the palace fortress. Relieved by escaping the danger and happy at completing a good and fair job, the two sneaked back to the opium house.
Shesha the Warrior entered the opium house to procure a tiny amount of hallucinogenic opium to celebrate. When Shesha appeared outside with the opium, the smoke pipes fell from his webbed claws to the ground. For a massive figure in a cloak of many colours loomed over and clutched at the throat of Terry the Terrible. Terry held the human-skin sack, inside the diamond of Rangda. The figure held Terry aloft. Terry’s single eye bulged. His mouth gasped in silent terror. The face of the figure expressed a joyous anger, for the figure was Choejar the Jeweler, there to take back the diamond that was stolen from him and that he, in turn, had taken from the distant Goddess Rangda.
Terry’s single eye watered and rolled in its socket while the eye muscles of his other socket twitched. His singular eye spotted Shesha and begged for help. Instantaneously Shesha‘s claw lowered to grasp his black axe holstered on his side. Axe drawn, Shesha crept, holding the black axe high aloft to slice Choejar. Yet his claw stayed, and he swiveled his axe to the blunt end to knock out the king rather than kill him, for the title of king-murderer is a hard one to fling off and lose. The swing was tremendous. Choejar the Jeweler dropped Terry the Terrible. Terry fell on his back to the ground. Choejar reeled and lurched at the impact of Shesha’s direct hit. Then he rebounded and glared furiously at Shesha. Yet Terry sprang up and punched the tall Choejar in his genitalia. Choejar squawked. Shesha made another hammering swipe at the Jeweler’s head, knocking Choejar to the ground.
Shesha and Terry the Terrible breathed deep in the night’s darkness. Choejar’s attack upon them had been so sudden and struck them with fear. They looked down at the human-skin bag with the sunken eye upon it. They swiftly opened it and gazed in. The diamond of Goddess Rangda was still there, in the bag. They sighed in relief. Then the spines on their backs contorted in terror, for they heard something familiar. “Good. Good. My slaves” called a familiar voice. The slobbering, hungry face of Rangda tasseled out of the murk of the Himil Mountain night. A trembling Shesha placed the top of his black axe on the ground and, axe still held in claw bowed. Meanwhile, Terry the Terrible presented the human skin sack wherein Rangda’s diamond lay. He opened it. Goddess Rangda laughed and sang, “Yes! Yes! My ritual ingredient!” Long claws picked up the human skin sack, and the other clawed hand procured the eyeball sunken in the human flesh skin, plucking it out. The claw hand held it tenderly – – – for it was a precious ritual ingredient.
Meanwhile, Rangda, with her other claw, turned the human skin sack upside down, and the diamond fell as if it were less than a bobble. The diamond dropped, crushing the frail head of Choejar, made fragile by Shesha’s axe’s blunt end poundings. It plopped with the weight of karmic resonance. Rangda then vanished, returning to her far-away Charnel-Land. As for Terry the Terrible and Shesha, they took the diamond. It did not seem appropriate to call it Rangda’s anymore since she cared little for it. They stole the diamond because the Multi-Coloured Lands are cruel to the outcastes and low castes, and any money for such pariahs is a valuable thing, never to be tossed aside. Yet, the vengeance of a king’s dynasty, especially the family of Choejar the Jeweler, is never long to be unsatiated. Soon, Terry the Terrible and Shesha were grateful to be rid of the diamond with only a few pennies and their lives to their names.