Ghatotkacha!

Continued from here

It was his!

The wolves dispersed shortly after ravaging the small troop. While most of the men were dead, some wished they were, and others knew they would be before sunrise. Dispiritedness turned to fear. The Kaurava army were being butchered, as one battalion after another became victims of trickery or became dinner for wild beasts.

Some survivors reached Dusshasana and informed him about the ghost chariot and the wolves it came with. Ready to take down this apparition, he gathered his troops and set out in that direction.

On reaching the spot, there was no sign of the chariot or the beasts. Just remnants of the bloodbath that took place there. Dusshasana blew conch to rally everyone around him. He took charge and ordered to light hundreds of torches, to brighten up the area. He knew that a well lit camp would instill some lost courage in his men. A misty fog appeared in front of them as they moved ahead. But Dusshasana moved confidently forward, armed with burning torches. His men followed him into the haze, bold yet fearful as to what lay beyond.

Dusshasana was the first to see him. His body trembled and his heart shuddered. His bow slipped down immediately thanks to the sweat that his palms instantly produced. Fear consumed him. His chariot stopped dead in its tracks, its horses stupefied at the sight of the man behind the mayhem.

Standing taller than any man or beast Dusshasana had ever seen, the form in front of him was frightful. Its shape was that of a man, but everything about it was barbarous. He was albino white, almost shocking to see when one’s eyes first fall on him. An uncommonly massive head sat atop bulky, square shoulders. His big, bare chest was hairy like a bear. His arms reminded Dusshasana of gigantic logs of wood. He wore leather trousers, which were his only piece of clothing. His enormous torso heaved like a rhinoceros when he moved.

There was something about his eyes that scared men. They were huge, but that was not the scary part. His eyelids blinked slowly and deliberately, giving a sinister look.

If his look didn’t scare an enemy, his weapons certainly did. Firstly, normal men hold one weapon. The more skillful can wield two at most. Ghatotkacha held four weapons in his two massive hands. His mace had a head that was heavily spiked like a porcupine, destined to lacerate anyone unfortunate enough to be its victim. He held that in his right hand, facing down. It was clear that the mace had been used this evening. Thick red fluid dripped from it. In the same right hand he held a an arrow with two fingers, ready to use with his massive bow, held upright in his left hand. Also in his left hand was a rope, presumably to lasso any wild animals.

This man was a giant, and a fearless one. One look at him and it was clear that no ordinary weapon could defeat him. Yet, Dusshasana made enough courage to send down an arrow in his direction. The arrow hit Ghatotkacha on his forearm and bounced off, much to the amazement and fear of the watching Kaurava army. It seemed like magic, although it was just a matter of knowing the right ingredients to create a concoction and apply all over the body. There were enough natural chemicals in the wild to cause metal to slip off.

Ghatotkacha smiled, and advanced towards Dusshasana’s chariot. With one swoop of his mace, he smashed the chariot’s wheels and set the horses free. A dazed Dusshana fell to the ground, helpless and certain the next blow would be to his head. But the giant walked away, muttering something in a foreign tongue. All that Dusshasana could make out was the name Bhimasena.

Turning towards the rest of the army, Ghatotkacha let loose hell, sometimes with his mace, and sometimes with is rope. His chariot kept reappearing from time to time, to allow him to send fireballs towards groups of soldiers, instantly setting them afire. He took extreme care to let the horses loose before killing their owners. He ensured not a single animal would die under his watch.

It was fairly clear that there was no stopping him tonight. Kauravas were being butchered mercilessly. Ghatotkacha was a one man army, scything through the enemy lines, slicing throats, smashing heads, piercing torsos, and causing a level of destruction unseen until tonight at the Kurukshetra. He mixed his murderousness with stealth and guile, creating smokey apparitions or using unknown chemicals to create bombs and fiery massacre. Those who survived him ended up dealing with his dutiful motley crew of magicians and wild beasts, creating havoc of their own.

Within a couple of muhurthas, several legions of Kaurava army were devoured and slaughtered. The captains and their generals had no answer to Ghatotkacha. The name sent shivers down the spine. The Kauravas could not hurt even a single member of the Ghatotkacha army, ever they arrived at the scene. It appeared that Karna had grossly miscalculated his strategy. Midnight, at which time the battles would cease, seemed eons away.

Away from the carnage, the armies of Arjuna and Duryodhana were engaged in a fierce battle of their own. Arrows flew by and soldiers fell, lying dead, anonymously and uncared for. Duryodhana was receiving reports of the massacre on the other side, but didn’t fancy going there himself. His latest report was grim, and his own soldiers were being affected by the gloom spread around in their camp.

It was one muhurtha away from midnight, but at this rate, not much would be left of the Kauravas.

Krishna looked at the sky, and made some mental calculations. There was one thing he needed to do tonight, to ensure Pandavas won this war.

It was time!

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