With Karikalan's confession, the first part of Ponniyin Selvan is completed. I would like to thank all my readers and most importantly my friend Venketesh Ramakrishnan (Author of Kaveri Maindan - Sequel to Ponniyin Selvan) for his support and encouragement that allowed me to restart this translation effort.
The story so far...
A thousand years ago, a young soldier called Vandiya Devan was traveling towards the Chola Kingdom bearing important messages for King Sundara Chola and Princess Kundavai from the Crown Prince Aditya Karikalan. One night, he stays at Kadambur Palace at his friend Kandan Maran's palace. Coincidentally, Kandan Maran's father is playing the host to many important noble lords of Chola Kingdom and he had invited Periya Pazhuvetrayar, a very important lord who took care of taxations and treasury. Vandiya Devan inadvertently finds out that all the noble lords under the leadership of Periya Pazhuvetrayar were plotting to crown Prince Madhuranthakar (Sundara chola's first cousin) as the king after Sundara Chola's demise. He also finds it disgusting to learn that Pazhuvetrayar was taking Madhuranthakar around with him in a palanquin, while the people mistook him to be his wife!
Vandiya Devan also meets a Veera Vaishnavan (Vishnu Devotee) in Kadambur who shadows him around for a while and is also seen, trying to listen in to the secret meeting that the noble lords of Chola kingdom had.
The Veera Vaishnavan called Azhwarkadiyan wants to meet Periya Pazhuvetrayar's wife, Nandini because she was his 'sister' once upon a time. Nandini was found by Azhwarkadiyan's parents in a garden as a new born baby and they bring her up as their own daughter. A few years back when the Chola and Pandyas were engaged in a bitter battle in the Pandya Kingdom, the Pandya soldiers had brought the wounded Veera Pandyan (king of Pandyans) to Nandini's hut, who tried to help him. Sadly, the Chola soldiers find out about this and Aditya Karikalan beheads the king. Periya Pazhuvetrayar who was with them, snatches Nandini away and marries her. Since then Azhwarkadiyan has been trying to meet Nandini.
In the meanwhile, Princess Kundavai comes to Kudanthai along with her companion Princess Vanathi to meet an astrologer. At the astrologer's house, Vandiya Devan meets Kundavai and falls in love with her though he has no clue about her identity. He meets her again in Arisalaru while trying to save her friends from a crocodile (which was dead!).
Azhwarkadiyan also stumbles on a conspiracy hatched by a handful of Pandya soldiers who were bodyguards of Veera Pandyan. He finds out that they were planning to assassinate the Crown Prince Aditya Karikalan, his brother Prince Arul Mozhi Varman and the King Sundara Chola.
Vandiya Devan approaches Thanjavur and is worried about how to meet the king alone and warn him about the dangerous plot that the noble lords were hatching. He encounters a veiled palanquin on the way and thinking that Prince Madhuranthakar was inside he accosts them, only to find that it was Nandini devi sitting inside. He uses Azhwarkadiyan's name to seek help from her and she gives him the Pazhuvur ring with a palm leaf emblem to enter the fort.
Inside the fort, he befriends a flower boy named Senthan Amuthan and stays in his garden house for a night. Next day, he goes to the Thanjavur fort and gains entry into the palace thanks to the Pazhuvur ring. He meets Chinna Pazhuvetrayar (Periya Pazhuvetrayar's brother) who is the commander of the fort and tells him that his brother had sent him. Chinna Pazhuvetrayar allows him to meet the king in private but the king gets distracted by poets who arrive to meet him. Chinna Pazhuvetrayar becomes suspicious and tries to confine him to his guest chamber but Vandiya Devan escapes his soldiers and ends up hiding in Nandini's palace gardens. Nandini meets him and offers him a position in her palace but he refuses saying that he had agreed to work for Kundavai. She tries to seduce him into accepting the position but is interrupted by the arrival of mandiravadi (magician). Mandiravadi turns out to be the chief of the pandya bodyguards whom Azhwarkadiyan had encountered earlier and we learn that Nandini was helping them with gold so that they can revenge against the crown prince.
Vandiya Devan in the meanwhile remains hidden near a dark palace and he finds a way out of the fort through the dark tunnel. At the end of the tunnel he meets Kandan Maran who is fatally stabbed by the guard. Vandiya Devan kills the guard and saves Kandan Maran's life. Wounded by the dagger, he leaves Kandan Maran at Senthan Amuthan's house and leaves for Pazhaiarai to meet Princess Kundavai.
At Pazhaiarai Vandiya Devan meets Kundavai after entering the city masquerading as an actor for a drama troupe. He also informs her about the plot that the noble lords are hatching under the leadership of Pazhuvetrayars. Kundavai immediately gives him a message and asks him to deliver it to her brother in Eelangai (Sri Lanka) and tasks him to bring him back home. Bearing the message, Vandiya Devan leaves for Kodi Karai to take a boat to Eelangai.
At Kanchipuram, Aditya Karikalan and his friend Pallava Parthibendran are furious with the Pazhuvetrayars for branding his messenger as a spy. His maternal grandfather, Malaimaan advices him to be patient. They decide to send Parthibendran to Eelangai to get Prince Arul Mozhi back home. Karikalan confides to Parthibendran, about his secret passion for Nandini whom he had met at Pazaiarai and his wish to marry her. He reveals how devastated he was when he found that she was tending Veera Pandyan's wounds. He regrets beheading Veera Pandyan despite Nandini's pleas and his anger at learning that she was Pazhuvetrayar's wife now and she is the sole reason why he was not going to Thanjavur to meet his father. At the end of this conversation, Parthibendran gets ready to go Eelangai.