Monday, 17 August 2015

Ponni's Beloved - The Story So far...

Volume 3 - The Sword
In the 10th century AD, South India was ruled by the mighty Cholas who expanded their Kingdom from Elangai (Sri Lanka) to Krishna River. Our story begins during the reign of King Sundara Chola (Paranthkan II) who was sick and abed with paralysis. His son and the Crown Prince Aditya Karikalan was gathering forces in Kanchipuram to expand their Kingdom and his second son Prince Arul Mozhi Varman had conquered Elangai and was setting up Chola suzerainty.

Aditya Karikalan is worried about his father’s health and security in the hands of Pazhuvur brothers (prominent noblemen in the Chola court). He sends his friend and trusted messenger Vandiya Devan with a message to the King, asking him to come to Kanchipuram. Vandiya Devan who stays in his friend Kandan Maran’s house at Kadambur finds out about the Pazhuvur brothers were planning to install Prince Madhuranthakan as the next king and thereby deny the throne to Karikalan.

Vandiya Devan also meets Azhwarkadiyan during his travel, a spy who works for Chola Prime Minister Anirudhar. Azhwarkadiyan tells him about Nandini, the young wife of Periya Pazhuvetarayar. He also finds out that Nandini’s beauty had enslaved Pazhuvetarayar so much so that he gives her free reign to do as she pleases. Nandini is also the leader of the late Pandya King’s loyalists who have taken a vow to avenge their king’s death. They conspire to kill Aditya Karikalan who had killed their king and wipe out his entire family. Vandiya Devan meets Nandini and gets her signet ring, which he uses to gain entry into the fort.

In the fort, he meets the King and tries to warn him about the plot that the Pazhuvur brothers were hatching but is interrupted by the Chinna Pazhuvetarayar. He also meets Nandini in her palace garden who tries to seduce him. When he escapes from her palace he encounters his friend Kandan Maran in the dungeon passage and saves his life from the murderous guard. He then escapes from the fort and leaves for Pazhaiarai with the help of his friend Senthan Amuthan.

In Pazhaiarai, he meets Princess Kundavai and finds out that she is same woman with whom he had fallen in love in Kudanthai. He tells Kundavai about the conspiracy that the noblemen are hatching. She sends an Olai to her brother Arul Mozhi in Elangai and asks Vandiya Devan to bring him back home. Vandiya Devan leaves for Kodi Karai.

Prince Aditya Karikalan is furious because his friend has been branded a spy and he wants to take his army to Thanjavur. His grandfather Malaimaan advises him against it and asks him bring back Prince Arul Mozhi home. They decide to send Parthibendra Pallavan to Elangai for this task. Before he left, Karikalan tells Parthibendran about his love for Nandini and how she had betrayed him by sheltering and pleading for Veera Pandyan’s life. He regrets his action and wishes that he had not beheaded the king.

Kundavai leaves for Thanjavur along with her companion Vanathi, the Kodumbalur Princess. Vanathi is in love with Prince Arul Mozhi Varmar but she is also very faint hearted. In Thanjavur she sees the King moaning in pain one night and finds him shouting at someone who resembled Nandini. The King calls Kundavai for a private audience and he reveals his past to her. When he was a young Prince Sundara Chola was once stranded in an island near Elangai and there he meets and falls in love with a fisher girl called Mandakini, who is deaf and mute. One day, the King’s men find Sundara chola and he goes back to the Kingdom after promising her his hand. Back in the Kingdom, he becomes the crown prince and Mandakini who is heart broken, commits suicide by jumping from Kodi Karai lighthouse. Sundara chola believes that Mandakini’s ghost is haunting him and trying to tell him to give up the kingdom to Maduranthakan.  

Vandiya Devan in the meanwhile meets Poonguzhali, a boat girl in Kodi Karai and goes to Elangai with her help. In Elangai, he meets Azhwarkadiyan who escorts him to the Prince. Prince Arul Mozhi Varmar is very taken in by Vandiya Devan’s personality they become fast friends. Arul Mozhi also reveals to them that a deaf and mute woman was saving his life and helping him in Elangai. He also tells them that she had saved his life when he was young and calls her as Kaveri Amman. Kaveri Amman saves them once again from the murderous gang led by Ravidasa who is the leader of Veera Pandya’s erstwhile bodyguards. Vandiya Devan is taken aback by her resemblance to Nandini and guesses that she might be her mother.

Poonguzhali meets them again and gives a message that two warships have come to arrest the Prince under the King’s orders. Kodumbalur Periya Vellar and Parthibendrn try to counsel the Prince against surrendering but in vain. The Prince decides to meet the ships and give himself up. He leaves their army in an elephant along with Poonguzhali but the warships are no longer there. One of the war ships is broken after running aground while the other is taken over by Arab pirates. Vandiya Devan who sees the Arab Pirates going with Ravidasan assumes that the Prince is held a prisoner in the ship. He swims towards them and gets into their ship but is instead kidnapped by them.

The Prince in the meanwhile takes Parthibendran’s ship and goes in search of Vandiya Devan. In the midst of a fierce storm, Vandiya Devan kills the Arab Pirates and then Mandiravadi and his companion abandon the ship leaving him alone in it. When the storm intensifies a lightening strikes the ship and its sails catch fire. The prince rescues him from the ship but they end up floating in the sea and are later rescued by Poonguzhali.

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Volume 1 - New Flood