Time has paused in its eternal flow. The stars no longer play their wild comedies. They have ceased their comings and goings, replaced by a stormy sky that torments us relentlessly. The tempest has imposed its cruel rhythm upon us, and lights the grim sky with stark flashes of lightning. Nothing will ever be the same. Pray? Wait? What to do when your people are at the edge of collapse?

Pandala Transformed DOFUS Touch

Wave after wave of air rushes in through the large entrance to the room, carrying the fragrance of the last flowers still standing in the inner court. Their scent perfumes the space, and I inhale the delicate aroma as I sit cross-legged among the tatamis covering the floor. My eyes contemplate the garden, where I can see myself as a child, pacing impatiently as I wait for a playmate. Although I grew up in this room, I feel like an outsider here. A stranger to the paintings, the colorful engravings, and the hundreds of knickknacks swirling in the tireless wind.

Listening carefully, I can just hear the familiar sound of cloth brushing along the floor. Someone is approaching, and my calm fades as the melody of the fabric grow closer. Tsuru enters the room and bows. I do not look at her. My eyes follow the petals as they fall one-by-one under the relentless assault of the angry winds. When Tsuru lifts her head, her soft, smooth voice fills the room and reminds me of my duty.

"Daimya Hikomi, Grandapan requests your presence."

"If Grandapan could get off his divine posterior, it would save everyone else the trouble of…"

"Madame! Please…"

I can picture my servant's face flushing pink. Suddenly ashamed. Should she have raised her voice? No, of course not. But after all, this is Grandapan we are talking about. Even the great Daimya has no right to speak of this divine being in such crude terms. The shadow of an amused smile flickers across my lips. I say nothing, leaving her to her doubts. Will I punish her? Certainly not, she is too important to me. But Tsuru doesn't know that.

I rise, and the fabric of my tunic unfolds and returns to its original shape. The Kozaru, hidden in the shadows all this time, now reappears. In silence, I see his silhouette moving towards me. I stop him with a movement of my hand.

"I have no need of an escort."

No need for a Bow Wow to guard me in my own home. As Tsuru bows behind me, I leave the room without a word.

The palace corridors are empty and forlorn. It is cold. The water has made its way in everywhere, reducing the already narrow distance between us and the tempest. Cloths, from the most valuable fabrics to the roughest of rags, have been placed around the edges of the doors and other openings to keep the rain out. Much of the furniture has been moved to reinforce the walls and arches, in hopes that nothing will collapse.

I finally enter the meditation room. Nothing here seems to have been disturbed by the storm rocking the island. The immense fresco of the dragon is colored by the flicker and flash of the lightning. Thunder growls in the distance, but here, nothing troubles the serenity of this place. The heavy fragrance of incense has replaced the scent of flowers. It dulls my senses as I watch the delicate smoke rising from the tip of the stick. The swirls transform as they rise through the room, forming hazy and uncertain shapes.

Grandapan is meditating with his eyes closed. His breathing fills the room, like the calming aura that emanates from him. I approach the entrance to the room. The water trickles over the glass panes, and the world outside is obscured. I sigh sadly, and my voice breaks the silence of his meditation.

"Pandawa… The goddess has abandoned us."

My gaze is lost in the thick glass of the window. I try in vain to distinguish anything beyond its pearly surface. Out there, beyond these walls which have sheltered me throughout my life, my people and my lands are dying.

"oOom… Dear Daimya, you must not lose confidence in the goddess… oOom… In these difficult times, our faith is our most reliable shield… oOom…"

"The goddess has abandoned us."

I repeat these words, but I do not even hear them. A flash of lightning illuminates the room and blinds me for a moment. As the white after-image gradually fades in my eyes, I silently pray to finally catch a glimpse of a clear sky. But the fleeting shadow of the lightning gives way once again to the gray gloom of the storm.

"What have I done to deserve seeing my people suffer like this? The storm has been assailing us for weeks now. The whole island is sinking into chaos! What sin have we committed to earn such a fate?"

"…oOom, the will of our goddess is inscrutable… oOom, my meditations are more troubled, incomplete… Oom, yet I sense the spirits emerging… some are old, very old, but also more powerful… oOom, someone or something has allowed them to awaken. Perhaps all this is not Pandawa's work… oOom…"

As I meditate on his words, a tremor shakes the palace. I hear the crystalline tinkling of the wall hangings. Grandapan invites me to sit down beside him in meditation. I try to empty my mind, to detach myself from my feelings.

I sit beside him and close my eyes. My mind adjusts to the darkness. I let the fragrance of the incense fill my nostrils and intoxicate my senses. Grandapan's breathing grows deeper, heavier… In the distance, I see a calming silhouette. She signals to me to come closer, but I know I must resist. I know that she would ease my torment, but I watch her from afar, I keep my distance, and I let myself be carried away outside of time.

Although my eyes are not there to see it, a thick plume of smoke detaches from the incense stick. Its serpentine tail whirls around us as a dragon's head takes form at the other end of the cloud. The dragon twists and twirls in the meditation room and its scales become increasingly clear. Then, with a quick somersault, a second head emerges from the cloud. A streak of darker smoke takes shape within the first dragon. It attempts to break free of its twin brother. The two forms are locked in a silent confrontation, with each dragon's claws reaching out for the other's head. In one final and painful embrace, the two clouds disappear, finally divided.