I couldn’t keep track unless armed with paper and a pencil or herculean eye muscles form reading it again, and again, and aaaagain. Cue the sound of neck cracking and back stretching, ouch here and ouweee there. To find out that those names belong to a same person is pretty inconvenient, but amazing regardless
After getting a slight headache, I decided two names should be sufficient for each character, yea? Here goes :
Princess Dewi Galuh Candrakirana also known as Dewi Sekartadji, Princess of Dhaha/Kediri.
Prince Raden Panji Asamarabangun also known as Inu Kertapati, Prince of Jenggala
Dhaha/Kediri King : Panji Lembu Amijaya known as Prabu Kertamata, father of the princess, uncle of the prince.
Jenggala King : Lembu Amiluhur, known as Jayanegara, father of the prince, uncle of the princess.
These are the characters based on real historical figure, others came out in the legend by itself. Because it is based on historical events, the story that I put together from plenty sources and versions (I believe there’s three, correct me in comment section if I’m wrong) will be the amalgamation of all. If you find that this version is somewhat unique compared to anything else you’ve written is because I felt that I won’t give justice for the sources if I don’t tweak the story for a bit.
Now without further ado, let’s dive into the this version of the legend that inspired the Golden Snail IMAX Theater. Again a little flair will be added for dramatic nuance, hope you enjoy.
Golden Snail Princess
There was once a flourishing kingdom in the eastern part of Java called Dhaha. It was ruled by Prabu Kertamata who was blessed by two beautiful princesses. Despite of different mothers and age, Dewi Galuh Ajeng and Candra Kirana were never at opposite ends of rope. They considered themselves lucky with Prabu Kertamata as their father. A king that was just to the people regardless of their background. The princesses could never been happier as each other best friends. Then the time had come, it was the age of arranged marriage where wedding was that one dreadful or wonderful thing much like rolling dices and taking bets.
Prabu Kertamata had practiced day and night with plenty of his advisers just to have the “talk” to Candra Kirana. He should’ve known that Galuh Ajeng would be hard headed to be shut out.
“No Father, I’m staying with sis.” Galuh Ajeng gave such a saccharine smile, it might’ve made the ants breathless.
Prabu Kertamata, stern as he could be, although armed himself with a glare that could melted metal, was already half way defeated.
“Please Father? Please?” Candra Kirana too had joined the battle of will.
“Oh fine. Come you two sit.”
The two princesses held their hands in secret.
“So, the time has come,” continued Prabu Kertamata.
“Who’s the lucky prince?” Candra Kirana giggled.
“Or unlucky, depends.” Galuh Ajeng chuckled.
Prabu Kertamata again resorted to glare, which was only enough to decrease their voices. “Inu Kertapati.”
Both princesses gasped.
“Oooh, I remember him. I heard he grew up to be good looking, smart, and strong,” commented Galuh Ajeng.
“I also remember him as our cousin,” added Candra Kirana.
“Everyone is everyone’s cousin, sis. Don’t you get it by now?”
“Oh yes. So is it Kiki’s turn?” Galuh Ajeng peeked at her sister.
“Nobody is having turn in this matter.” Prabu Kertamata folded his arms.
“Really, Father? Because as far as checklist goes…” Galuh Ajeng cocked her head.
“You don’t want to jump over anyone and leave them grew old and unfit for marriage.” Candra Kirana mimicked her sister.
“Girls. Behave. He’s coming later in the week. I suggest you get ready.”
“To what? Impress him?” snickered Candra Kirana.
“Like any of us have other choice,” continued Galuh Ajeng.
“Oh fine, Father.” They both walked away with a roll in their eyes.
“Sister, that’s him.” Candra Kirana peered through the wall of carvings.
“He’s…different.” Galuh Ajeng paced behind her.
“Can’t say that he doesn’t.”
“Oooh somebody’s in looooveeee.” Galuh Ajeng tugged Candra Kirana’s hair in response. “Owee sis.”
“Let’s go.” Galuh Ajeng trudged away.
“Why? You know you don’t want to.” Candra Kirana was still glued to the wall.
Galuh Ajeng then dragged her away while muttering, “you, the one that don’t want to.”
“At least I’m honest.”
“At least I’m saving you from embarrassment.”
“Oh well, we will see him again soon.” Chandra Kirana snickered. “You, will see him again soon.”
“You will see him again. You are the one that was engaged remember?”
“It was a long time ago. We were practically babies. And doesn’t mean I will be the one that going back with him.” She shrugged at Galuh Ajeng’s sigh.
Candra Kirana tried to fix her attention on the delicacies in front of her instead of a certain someone. She knew well of Galuh Ajeng infatuation even when everyone else was fooled. Trying to avoid the obvious, she never look directly to Inu Kertapati’s direction, instead just wandered around. Despite never meeting his eyes, her lungs almost gasped for air from the storm inside of her. She tried to talk to Galuh Ajeng, but her sister was busy squeezing her hand.
Galuh Ajeng too was nervous. She reached for Candra Kirana’s steady arm and unknowingly hid her face. Often even pinching herself to sit up, reverting to her usual firm and confident pose. As she caught Inu Kertapati’s glances, a big part of her wanted to assume the right for that attention but a faint voice inside her wasn’t quite convinced.
“Oooh, look he’s staring at you again,” whispered Chandra Kirana before adding,”I think.”
“So not like you sis. Oooh, stop leaning, you’re heavy.”
“Sorry. I hate this.” She pinched her thigh.
“Sis? I smell iron.” Chandra Kirana glared at her. “Stop biting your cheek. Just relax. Come on, we used to play with him. Against him actually.” Chandra Kirana snickered.
“He was always bigger than us. And look at him now, his arms, his…”
“Alright, I’m going to stop you there. You’re staring.”
Galuh Ajeng snatched a fresh red chili and bit it.
Candra Kirana’s eyes widened. “You are going to regret it tomorrow. Stop that. Listen, Father’s planning a couple days trip with him.”
“They are going to the mountain.”
“Alright, so why don’t we just opt out and not come. Cool our, cool yourself down under some falls.”
“Taking care unfinished business?” Galuh Ajeng peered at her sister.
“Oooh, yes. We should finally find out who’s the best of all.”
“We already know I’m better at swimming. That’s why you wanted to claim diving.”
“Ohh psssh. Eat your chili.”
Galuh Ajeng’s shoulder relaxed while Candra Kirana stole a bite at the chili.
“Ooooh so nice to sneak out of the palace!”
“Watch out!” Candra Kirana closed her eyes and jumped into the water. “Aaaah, now practice time is over. Ready sis?”
Galuh Ajeng swam away. “Nope. I’m enjoying myself.”
Candra Kirana made it her mission to annoy her sister.
“KIKI STOP IT!”
Candra Kirana pouted and submerged until only her eyes appeared above the water.
“Oh fine! Just once and that’s it.”
Candra Kirana jumped out of the water and sprinted. “Better do your best.”
“Hah! Better not be a sour loser.”
They both riled each other up and bounced away from the boulder by the peak, without knowing an appearance of a guest. An old lady arrived just in time to collect the water, but instead swallowed by the rippling wave.
“AAARGHH!”,was all they heard before they spotted a pair of hands appearing and disappearing. Galuh Ajeng was the first who reached the old lady. She swam to reach the shore then Candra Kirana helped them out of the water.
“Mbok, Aunty?” Galuh Ajeng then turned to Candra Kirana.
“I swear I didn’t see her.”
“Me too sis, me too.” Galuh Ajeng again called the old lady. “Mbok?”
“Maybe we should resuscitate her?”
“I can hear her breathing, Kiki.”
“Mbok?” This time Candra Kirana’s whisper stirred the old lady awake. She moaned and opened her eyes. “Mbok?” Again Candra Kirana whispered.
“Oh, where? What?”
“Are you alright, Mbok?” Galuh Ajeng helped and dried her.
“Oh yes. I think I am. I…What happened?”
“You er…slipped,” answered Candra Kirana while Galuh Ajeng gave a crooked smile in agreement.
“Really? Oof, oh no, I’m soaking wet.”
“We have some dry clothes, Mbok,” Galuh Ajeng offered.
“Oh, thank you child. No worries, my cottage is nearby. I was just here to gather some water.”
Galuh Ajeng and Candra Kirana jumped at the opportunity to help. Mbok Mani, which was her name, smiled and led them back to her place. With the sun almost down, the two sisters were relieved to at least find a place for the night.
Galuh Ajeng woke up in the midst of darkness, plagued by foreign places. While her sister sang a melodious chorus in her sleep, she sneaked out of the room under the moonlight’s haze. Her eyes misted and her nose stuffed. Fearing the worst, she slung their bags and investigated.
“Please, not here, not her, not us.”
She entered a room clouded with thick incense and all the warning her father told her about witch doctor tried to drag her away. Yet, she pushed forward. She peeked through the gap between the shelves and saw the old lady was sprinkling what looked like broken nails into a blackened pot. Galuh Ajeng froze in spot when the old lady looked up. She berated herself while thinking about her unconscious sister.
“Don’t be afraid young princess.”
Galuh Ajeng stopped breathing.
“This is not the first time you came here.”
Galuh Ajeng tried to blink her tears away.
“Really? I am not doing anything to you and this is not fingernail, Princess Galuh.”
Instead of crumbling to fear, Galuh Ajeng felt a sudden anger boiled over her and she snapped, “how do you know us? What do you want? We are not going to give anything to terror.”
“Ah! That’s the princess I recognize.”
“How long have you watched us?” Galuh Ajeng growled.
“You might want to come behind there and sit here.”
Galuh Ajeng stood silently.
“I am not good at threatening, Princess, but you might want to remember your slightly comatose sister.”
Galuh Ajeng inhaled deeply and approached the table.
“Sit, young princess.”
Although the old lady spoke gently, Galuh Ajeng gulped her urge to talk back.
“I didn’t spy on you or anyone you’re with. This is my territory, Princess. Evidently, no one in the palace told you that our ability is to be one with the land.”
Galuh Ajeng began to breathe easier despite her rapping fingers.
“And to feel the turbulent storm inside each one that passes through.”
Galuh Ajeng looked straight into the old lady’s eyes and saw him.
Inu Kertapati smiled brilliantly as he extended his arms to hold hers. She buried her face on his chest, but only seconds after she felt his body tensed up. When she looked into his eyes it was clouded with terror. She turned to follow his vision and saw a big purple chariot emerged from cloud of dust. A big creature-like man with glowing ember for eyes and eel-like slivering skin roared with a menacing laugh.
“She is mine to keep.” He pointed at her.
Inu Kertapati held her hand and ran beside her. “My love, go and find that sorceress by the waterfall. Hide while I distract him.”
Galuh Ajeng felt a shake of her own head. “No, my love. I will stand with you.”
“I know you can defend yourself. We can defeat him but not his army. I can’t think clearly while also worrying about you. Please.”
“Fine! I love you, but you better be in one piece, alive, and well.”
“That’s my wife that I know.”
She kissed him fiercely and tailgated her anger away from the battlefield, but before she completely disappeared, she broke her promised and climbed up a tree. She saw a glimpse of Inu Kertapati having the upper hand and whispered, “yes. Defeat him my love.” She fisted the air, yet her joy only lasted by an eye blink. She saw the palace behind him, burned while the residents running amok. A drop of tear trickled down her cheek felt like acid that corroded her pride. “It was me,” she whimpered as the building came crashing down, burying the family that she had claimed her own.
Her eyes travelled to her husband and in a fit of frustration she screamed, “I’m here you filthy giant!”
Inu Kertapati stared in horror and exclaimed, “RUN CANDRA KIRANA!”
Galuh Ajeng gasped for air. Her eyes warmed up and her adrenaline pumped. “Sister…my sister?”
The old lady tilted her head and looked at her. “And the person that you in love with.”
“Huh? Oh, Inu Kertapati. Sure.” She waved her hand and looked the other way. “My sister is angry and in pain. Her sorrow, it was too much. I can’t let her suffer.”
The old lady leaned back and blinked her eyes. She studied Galuh Ajeng and gave a smile that faded as soon as Galuh Ajeng turned to her.
“Tell me what should I do, sorceress.”
The old lady laughed. “Sorceress huh, Princess. No more aunty for you?”
“What do you want? What did you show me? The future?”
“So much questions, young princess.”
“I didn’t show you anything other than the possibility. I am a mere vessel for the land.”
“Don’t lie to me.”
“I am not, Princess. When you get as…skilled as me, the land began to control you.”
“So then what.”
The old lady pulled out a copper tool with a needle for its end. “Do you know what this is, Princess?”
Galuh Ajeng rolled her eyes. “I might be blue blooded but I’m not ignorant. Its a Tjanting. To draw batik.”
The old lady chuckled. “Can you mbatik, Princess?”
Galuh Ajeng sat taller, gulped, and answered,”why?”
“Don’t worry. It will guide you.”
Galuh Ajeng hand hovered in mid air. “I am not holding an evil, self thinking tool, with a needle attached to it.”
“Your choice, Princess.” The old lady dangled the Tjanting in front of her.
Galuh Ajeng steadied her breathing as she reached for the tool. The copper’s coldness began to soothe her nerves. Her hand relaxed and felt numb.
She blinked and stood up. Her back was aching and she felt her head spun. She staggered to the closest table and tried to breathe in as much as she could. The image in front of her was intricate and large, she didn’t believe it was hers to make. As she traced the lines of the dye she said, “golden snail?”
“Princess. Try to sit down and not move to much. I need to patch your wound.”
She turned to her hand and saw a red string. “What wound? This is just a string.”
The old lady chuckled, raised Galuh Ajeng’s hand, and dabbed. Galuh Ajeng blinked and everything came into focus. She saw a trickle of her blood pooled into the Tjanting and turned into dye. “You…tricked me.”
“I did not, Princess. You never asked.”
The old lady stood straight up from her usual bowed figured and hissed, “be-very-careful, Princess. Our kind does not like to be called such low name which is only reserved for those who tried to control and manipulate the forces for their own advantage.”
Galuh Ajeng stumbled back and stared.
“Oh where are my manners.” The old lady smiled and admired Galuh Ajeng’s work. “Such beauty. Such passion. Such love for your sister.”
“What now?” Galuh Ajeng rubbed her eyes then looked through the window. The moon didn’t seem to move from the moment she saw it by the bedroom’s door. It sent shivers down her back.
“I don’t know. Seek it in your own creation.”
Galuh Ajeng’s eyes twitched. “Is there anything you can do?”
The old lady snorted.
“Anything you willing to do?”
The old lady shrugged. “Depends.”
“What does your creation said to you, Princess?” Galuh Ajeng furrowed her brows and bounced her gaze between the cloth and the old lady, who was then lounging on her seat. “What are you waiting for, Princess? The moon will start to move and the peak will pass and all your hard work will be for nothing. Hopes are fleeting, tick, tock, tick, tock.”
Galuh Ajeng grunted and stood next to the window. The moon shone behind her to reveal her shadow. Then it revealed another growing shadow. “Kiki?” The figure seemed to be fighting a group of other shadows and winning. “Yes, sister!” But it wasn’t long before a wave of shadow towered and dragged her. “Nooo, sis… Inu?” Another familiar shadow managed to free her and in turn, fought with the ominous shadow before it swallowed him whole. “NOO!” Galuh Ajeng saw Candra Kirana ran and stumbled and fell and crawled. “Please, oh please heavenly sky, Bataras. Please…” Galuh Ajeng sobbed and clawed the shadow, but when her hope almost lost, she saw a drop of her tear turned into droplets of shadow rain that blanketed Candra Kirana. It bounced her transformed figure onto a small creek and disappeared.
“Yes, Princess.” The old lady used her fingers to plug her ears. “Scream louder and you might wake the whole jungle. Your sister however, well I never see a princess so peaceful in her rest. So unspoiled by fear and worries of the kingdom’s future. Won’t last long.” She chuckled.
“Turning her into a golden snail.”
The old lady shrugged and rolled the cloth.
“What are you doing?!” Galuh Ajeng stared.
“Tidying up. It is not a magical cloth that would roll itself you know and we know you royalties do not do housekeeping.”
“I do kitchen work too, but that’s not the point now. My sister will be saved when she turned into golden snail.”
Galuh Ajeng paced around. ”So if we turned her sooner, she won’t have to suffer.”
“Yes. You are welcome.”
Galuh Ajeng leaned back and raised her brow. “You don’t do anything.”
The old lady pointed. “The cloth. The Tjanting. The bed. The motivational speak. Huh?”
“Ah, you royalties.”
“But…I will thank you if you can help us.”
The old lady and Galuh Ajeng exchanged look in silence. “Are you really ready for it, Princess? It won’t come without a price.”
“How much do you want?”
“Oh, hahahaha! Not that, Princess. There will be in the future, what it is I do not know, but every time one of us mortal meddle with the will of the land, there will be consequences.”
Galuh Ajeng sighed, part of her relieved while the other part pushed her to grind her teeth.
“Go home, Princess. You will know when it’s time. I…and you have a lot of work to do, starting with convincing your lovely sister, who will seek for you very soon since you’re absent, in a couple moment. Now, let me retire to my room. Sleep well, Princess-Galuh-Ajeng.”
“And you trust this old lady how?”
Galuh Ajeng took her time to face Candra Kirana.
“You know maybe special incense?”
“I didn’t deny that I was on something, but if there’s a possibility the Bataras will me to save you?”
Candra Kirana jabbed the mud with a branch. “One problem.”
Galuh Ajeng stood up and walked away before stopping after several steps. “You liked him too. You want him.” She whirled around to face her sister.
“I don’t want Inu Kertapati.”
“But you do like him. A lot.” Candra Kirana hung her head and stabbed the mud, while Galuh Ajeng crushed a seed with her heel and looked at the sky. “Yes, he is a problem too now. Since he is so taken by you.” She felt bitterness invaded her tongue. She didn’t mean that, but she realized in the back of her head, she already knew it. The connection between her sister and her love was so palpable that it scraped her heart by layers and they weren’t even talking to each other intimately, yet. Finally she grabbed their bags and nudged Candra Kirana. “We need to go home. I need a break and I will figure it out.”
Candra Kirana felt the warm tears on her lips. Her sister needed a break from her. “Just turn me into golden snail. Tell them I’m running away from this arranged marriage. Tell them…”
“Let’s go home.” Galuh Ajeng walked away. With heavy heart Candra Kirana trudged on behind her.
Candra Kirana never felt so distanced from her sister. Her heart grew heavy as her mother’s voice rung in her head, “love isn’t easy. It is not a gift. It’s an effort.” She certainly right.
Mother. I don’t remember how to be lonely anymore, sister always there no matter how different we are. Now, I remember. It hurts, Mother. I’ll give anything to replace it.
“I’ll talk later.” Galuh Ajeng stepped away to her part of the estate and didn’t look back.
Candra Kirana breathed, “soon, Sister?” and prayed, “soon.”
She tore her eyes away from Galuh Ajeng, walked up the stairs, and dropped down at her day bed, too exhausted to walk into her own room. Her heavy lidded eyes welcomed her into a restless sleep full of shadow figurines and burning victims. She sprung up from her sleep panting. “I need to go. I can’t…I can’t stay here. I…where am I going? Oh Bataras, what should I do? What…leave.” She rested her heavy head on her palms. “Yes. I’ll ask that sorceress, I’ll ask sister. I’ll do it.”
It’s been days since Candra Kirana tried to talk to Galuh Ajeng and it’s also been days since Galuh Ajeng avoided her sister. Galuh Ajeng filled her mind with effort to save her sister as a distraction from her own anger. Yet, everyone seemed to want that anger to burn bright.
She shut her eyes hard and bit her tongue.
“What is wrong with Candra?”
“I am not her, Father.”
“But you’re her closest sister.”
The urge to snap at her Father almost made her erupted. “I wonder about that my self, Father. I don’t know why. We barely talk anymore.” Her lie came out too fast and it scared her.
“Oh, Galuh. I thought it was just me, but something definitely went wrong. Was it the engagement?”
She shook her head but couldn’t stop her mouth from talking. “She definitely troubled after Inu Kertapati’s arrival. But I’m not sure.”
“Why? When I’m busy. We need this relation to be as strong as it could be especially now.” Her Father paced while stealing glances at Galuh Ajeng. It was irritating that he didn’t even ask about her but it’s comforting that he was concerned because of political only.
“I haven’t even see her lately, Father.”
“I heard she’s not looking great. Darkened circles around her bloody shot eyes. She has headaches too that made her acted up to her ladies in waiting.”
Galuh Ajeng tilted her head. “She can’t sleep.”
“You think so?”
“Pretty sure from what you’re saying.”
“I don’t know, Father. Nightmare?”
“This can’t go on.” The King stared to her.
She gritted her teeth and fought the urge to snort.”I’ll try. Can’t promise.”
“Oh, thank you. I know I could always count on you. Sometimes her sense of humor won’t let me take her seriously.”
Galuh Ajeng almost laughed but her irritation numbed her face, so she nodded and got away.
Her finger knocked Candra Kirana’s door with a self doubt. The silence made her self conscious. She take a look around and began to question the eerie emptiness. “Candra Kirana.” She realized her jealousy had broken everything that matters. “Kiki?” Again she called with a gentler voice. After what seemed like seasons and several failed attempt to break the door or jump into the front window, she resolved to take the secret opening on the side of the house. Behind the bush she turned a simple puzzle that she and her sister planted and sneaked in. What welcomed her within instilled fear into her.
She saw carvings on the floor and what looked like blood, which turned out to be dye, on the pillow cases. The furnitures were arranged oddly although still functional. But what made her shivered was a bunch of keris, a wavy dagger, were facing the day beds and the main room. She tip toed and pushed the door open. What she saw inside the room was even more baffling, nothing had changed. It almost as if the only safe haven in the house was the room.
“Kiki?” She whispered with a shudder. She turned and stifled a shriek when she saw a big human-size figurine made out of pillow cases behind the door. “Kiki?!” her voice was strangled with panic. She sprinted to the door which lead to outside bathroom. Inside she found her sister inside the water collection barrel soaking in what looked like a tea made of branches and grasses. It smelled like sewer in rain. Fresh with an underlaying rancid fragrance.
“KIKI!” She dragged her sister out of the barrel and wrapped her in multitude of towels. She grabbed fresh flowers and soaked it in hot water herself, because it seemed like every help in the estate around the place was hiding in fright. She came back to Candra Kirana on the bed and unwrapped her. She was pale with a tinge of cyanotic. Her skin was wrinkled and almost freezing to touch. Her eyes was so sunken that it almost as dark as her eyes.
“Kiki?” Galuh Ajeng sobbed and rubbed her sister warm. “Please tell me you still awake. Sister?”
“Sis…ter?” Candra Kirana opened her swollen eyes and raised her arms. Galuh Ajeng buried her in a hug.
“Dreams…nightmares…fire…burned faces…floating embers with an echoing laugh.”
Galuh Ajeng’s eyes grew wider for every words that Candra Kirana said. “You need to eat something. Come here.” She led her back to the bath and rinsed her with hot flower water. Then Galuh Ajeng started to feed her and decided to clean and burn everything until there no more trace of evidence left. She carved random doodles that looked like child-made on the floor and buried the kerises below the house terrace. She began to be grateful for the empty surrounding and prayed that there would be no witnesses.
However, her busy day was about to get even more hectic. As she fed Candra Kirana, she heard the commotion outside then a rapped at the door. “Go away, Kiki need a rest!”
She immediately felt her heart jumped and squeezed her lung. “Inu Kertapati?”
Her face grew hot and she knew she was blushing. “Yes?”
“What are you doing here? I thought…”
She began to feel the heaviness of her arm. She turned to see her sister’s sick face and snapped back to reality. A hatred began to grow and a thought began to invade her. Nobody had bothered to check Kiki, and now you want to come here to woo her? After all the hard work I did, you would swept her off away from me. You should’ve seen my love for my sister, you would’ve fallen hard for me and I would make you work hard for my hands in marriage.
She laid her sister down and stomped to the front door. She opened and slammed the door behind her. “Kiki is not feeling well. What do you want?”
“I…just haven’t seen her around and want to talk to her.” Inu Kertapati stepped back and his smile almost melted Galuh Ajeng into a puddle.
“As I said, she’s not feeling well. Maybe another time.”
“Alright. I will. How about you? I haven’t talk to you either.”
You haven’t bothered. “Aren’t you busy?” She bit her cheek and forced a frown.
“Still as sour as I remember.”
“Still as a clown as I remember.”
Inu Kertapati laughed and walked away. Galuh Ajeng turned around and stepped in but stopped midway when she heard him responded, “you should smile sometimes even without your sister. It’s cute.”
Galuh Ajeng closed the door behind her, closed her eyes, and smiled. “I hate you, Inu and I hate your sweet words.”
Galuh Ajeng eyes snapped open and she saw her sister gasping for air.
“Kiki!” She ran to catch her from falling of the bed. “What is it?”
“The monster. Slivering slick disgusting creature. He was pinning me down, he was trying to force himself in me.”
“Nobody’s here, sister. You’re alright. I’m here. I’m here with you.”
“Take me away from here. Please, sister.”
Galuh Ajeng sobbed and nodded. “I will find a way, sister. I promise.”
Galuh Ajeng pushed the door open and walked straight to her father’s throne. The urgency in her step silenced the court and dismissed them. “You call for me, Father?”
“Sssh, come here.” Prabu Kertamata ushered her into the back door, passed the hall, and into another smaller room filled with draperies and fabric. “What happened with Candra Kirana?”
“She’s fine. Getting better.”
“What do you mean, she’s fine? I heard someone saw you burying kerises under her house.”
At least not the blood like dyed pillows.
She sighed and answered, “she’s plagued with nightmares of…a distant king trying to forced her to consummate a marriage.” Better than monster.
“WHAT?! What about the wedding?”
Galuh Ajeng hissed, “Father? Really a wedding, now? She would recoil by the mention of wedding or marriage.”
“Alright. I’ll deal with the envoys. What about her?”
Galuh Ajeng looked away and fell silent.
“Galuh. What about her?”
“I don’t…Look. What do you do when you need guidance from the Bataras?”
“Hermitage. Why?” Prabu Kertamata’s eyes blinked several times. “You’re suggesting?”
Galuh Ajeng nodded. “It is not an exile, Father.”
Her Father furrowed his brow.
Galuh Ajeng gasped. “It shouldn’t be an exile, Father!”
“But Galuh Ajeng, it has be an exile if we want to make the location undisclosed.”
Galuh Ajeng shook her head. “But, Father…”
“It is not an exile, I know a hermitage that I visited once. She could start her rehabilitation there.”
“But, Father, none of us would be able to visit her. I won’t be able to visit her.”
“It’s the risk we have to take, daughter. You could prepare for everything. Make sure we spend as much time with her.”
Galuh Ajeng winced. “We? All of us? Inu Kertapati?”
“No. Just us.”
Galuh Ajeng sighed in relief even when a part of her wanted to sob.
Candra Kirana smiled as she saw her sister muttering about in her room. “It’s alright sister. You could always sneak in to find me. Also, Father didn’t know about the sorceress. She could easily help you.”
“I can’t even go with you pass the gate, Kiki!”
“Well the gate is quite far.”
It’s been days since she finally gained her strength and dreamless sleep back. Her life began to come into focus and the future was quite exciting. She always wanted to do an adventurous trip far away from the estate and her wish just came true.
“I knew I should’ve interrogate that old decrepit…”
Galuh Ajeng stuffed her sister’s new pillows. “She said ‘I would know when it’s time’, like hell I would know! I would know that my sister is ready to kill herself!”
Candra Kirana coughed.
Galuh Ajeng sighed without looking at her sister. “Sorry, sis.”
“I wasn’t suicidal, you know. It’s just I was able to see more of reality than my nightmare when I did all those things.”
Galuh Ajeng whirled around. “You were starving yourself! And how in the world did you get all those kerises?”
“It…just…hiding around the estate.”
“Hiding around…” Galuh Ajeng punched the pillows. “WITCH!”
Without warning the ground started to undulated and the wind inside the room started to pick up although there were barely breeze outside of the house. Candra Kirana grasped her sister and said, “Why did you say that?”
“I am angry, sister.”
“Tsk tsk tsk. How many times do I have to tell you, not to call us that, young princess.” Everything went still as the old lady sat on the wooden chest next to them.
“YOU! You provided her with the keris didn’t you?! And those nightmare?”
Candra Kirana held Galuh Ajeng down on the bed.
“Ohoho, Princess. It wasn’t me. It was you.”
“Me?” Galuh Ajeng plopped next to Candra Kirana.
“You have discover the spring of knowledge, Princess. However, you have yet to master how to guide it. Since you two are so close and not to mention she’s the subject of this particular case, the fall has drenched to her very core. Fortunately the man in the middle of this stayed away or may I say, pushed away by the two of you.”
“You mean he had these nightmare too?” Candra Kirana looked at the old lady then turned to her sister.
“For him it’s just…interesting dreams. One that made her infatuated with you, Princess.” The old lady gestured to Candra Kirana.
“Ah…” Galuh Ajeng pinched the bridge of her nose.”So it’s my fault.”
“Not necessary, Princess. The land gave you its gift, can’t do anything about it.” The old lady shrugged.
“Then why didn’t you teach her?!” Candra Kirana turned furious.
“Or at least warn me?!”
“I did, Princess. If you listened.”
“The price. Really? I never dabble in these kind of thing, sorceress.”
“Ah yes, that is something I wasn’t aware of. Royalties usually dabble in these things once a while, so I shouldn’t assume.” The old lady paused and chuckled. “Have you ever think about asking your prince, princesses.”
Candra Kirana and Galuh Ajeng gaped at each other.
“Either way. You have called and I’m here because I bring good tidings. I have secured the path for your recovery, Princess Candra Kirana. Obviously away from the center of turmoil, this estate.”
“When?” Candra Kirana asked.
“The king will tell you, very soon.”
“Why won’t you tell us now?!”
“Patience, Princess Galuh. You should listen to your father. Spend as many of this time together because nobody knows when will you reunite.” The old lady opened the door and before she closed it, with a glint in her eyes, she added, “or ever.”
“What? Hey you!” Galuh Ajeng pushed the door open to find nobody was standing inside the house. “Old hag disappeared.” A small block of wood fell on top of Galuh Ajeng’s head. “Ouch!”
“Hmm, she didn’t like to be called that too, I guess.”
“You think, sis?”
To be continued…
Tis a long story. Wheeeew. It is hard not to give justice to the character Galuh Ajeng in the shortened version, she was wonderfully convoluted character. I love putting myself in her shoes. I hope in the next part of the story I would explore more within Candra Kirana’s mind.
I have to say, didn’t realize this particular legend was sprouted from an even various version of the “real unembellished” history (ahem..sureee). On a more positive note, I got a bucketful of stories running in my head, thanks to it. The kingdom’s decision, the political engagement, the unrequited love, the rivalry, the sacrificial life, the family relation, oh my, THE NAMESSSS. The names of a single character that could fill the quota for maybe 10 generations.
This legend originated from eastern part of Java and is often performed in wayang. It is a kind of performance art from last entry on Indonesian Legend, with awesome intricate music, masks, and puppets. One last thing I have introduced is the word Tjanting (read as : chaan-ting). It is a small hot wax applicator to make batik. It almost remind me of tobacco pipe for some reason.
What do you all think of this? Comments are always welcomed.