Once upon a time, as most stories go, far, far away in the Arabian kingdom of Nanda Parbat, there lived a Prince with emerald green eyes.
Now, the city of Nanda Parbat in which the Prince lived, was an enchanted city known for its pits of healing.
At the beginning of its days, before Nanda Parbat received its name, it was thought that a woman by the name of Rama Kushna had stumbled upon the caverns laying beneath the future city to seek refuge from bandits wishing to rob her of her jewels and life. It is said that, while frightened, Rama Kushna burrowed deeper into the dark tunnels leading from cavern to cavern with only the use of her hands against the walls and shuffling feet to warn her of sudden unforeseen drop-offs.
She walked for what seemed like a very long time, but before she could succumb to exhaustion, she noticed on the wall before her what looked like the reflections of greenish water shimmering from further in. Within moments, she found herself inside a cavern of green glowing water that seemed to echo with whispers of health and protection that she could not resist. Rama Kushna collapsed at the edge of one of the pits scattered about and submerged her cupped hands into the eager green to relieve her parched throat. Instantly, Rama Kushna felt energy course through her and was healed of all her aches and pains.
The word of healing pits flooded through the lands and people began to flock towards the caverns in search of their powers, creating the beginnings of the city Nanda Parbat. Later, when Rama Kushna died, the people of Nanda Parbat believed that she was given blessings from the gods above and made into a goddess to watch over the city she created.
Shortly after Rama Kushna died, a man quickly rose to power with claims the pits had gifted him their favor and named him the king of the city. Many did not believe the man and his claims, but soon after announcing their doubts, they were found dead in their beds, quickly silencing all disbelief and doubts from those who lived in the city. Years after his ascension to power was made, the king was noted to have aged no more than a week, only strengthening his earlier claims of pits in his favor.
Decades soon passed and Nanda Parbat flourished under its many successes, but the fortune that the city possessed would not stay for very long.
However, before the city’s fortune declined, the Prince was born.
Like his mother before him, the Prince had been born with blood forged from tainted pits of sickly green where voices of eternal life whispered. When the Prince opened his eyes to the world for the very first time, his irises glowed with a sickly green that seemed to hold the reflection of hidden water for just a second before dimming into an emerald state. This seemed to please the Prince’s grandfather, the king, greatly, so much so, that he did not mourn for the loss of his daughter in childbirth, but only walked away with his tiny grandson cradled in his ancient arms.
As the Prince grew under the careful eyes of his grandfather, he began to wonder about life outside the walls of the enchanted city, in which he lived. He drew his eyes to the blue sky above in search for just an ounce of the unknown, but he always came up short and wishing to see for himself the mysterious world hidden away from him.
“You must never stray beyond these walls,” his grandfather forbade. “A fate filled with unimaginable dangers will befall you, do you understand?” The Prince did not understand. He became far more curious as a result of his grandfather’s warnings, rather than fearful of them.
“But why, Grandfather,” the Prince protested. “If it’s dangerous to stray beyond the city’s walls, how come I see so many leave only to safely return?”
The Prince’s grandfather was not pleased by the Prince’s curiosity, and he made it well-known through the coldness of his sickly green eyes as he said, “We are different than the peasants who serve us, my dear grandson. The ancient pits residing in the caverns far below our very feet is why we are unable to leave Nanda Parbat. As you know, the pits’ waters flow through our veins and have been since the beginning of time. If you were to ever leave this city, the pits would abandon you to live the life of a mortal.”
Despite his unwavering curiosities about the sickly green pits below and his confinement to the inner walls of Nanda Parbat, his grandfather never spoke about life outside of the city again, and the Prince never brought it up.
Life, for the Prince, went on as he spent his days inside the city’s walls, but it was because of his grandfather’s ultimate rule, that the Prince began to notice something. It wasn’t until the Prince reached the age of eight and when a servant, whom he had known since he was five and they, seven, died from old age that the Prince began to notice the oddity around him.
Slowly, the Prince began to observe the servants inside the palace, along with those outside and the peasants living in the houses below, to try and figure out what was happening. Within days he saw infants grow rapidly, and by the end of the year, he saw that they were just on the cuffs of adulthood. During the second year, he witnessed the infants from the year before fly through their adulthood, and so that, by the third year, they became among the elderly of the city. Most died within the middle to late of the third year with only a few making it into the fourth. Meanwhile, the Prince was days from turning twelve, when the infants, he began to study from three years ago, died from old age.
Only the Prince and his grandfather seemed untouched by the hands of time, and because of that, the Prince grew lonely.
“It’s as if you never listen to what I say,” chastised the Prince’s grandfather when the Prince went to him with questions. “As I’ve said a million times before, you have, in your very blood, the pits to thank for the fact that we do not age as they do.”
The Prince couldn’t help but wonder if he should thank the pits or curse them for making him forever young and isolated from those whom his grandfather ruled over.
However, as the Prince slowly crept to the age of eighteen, that isolation, he started to feel when he observed those around him aging and dying at a faster rate than he, grew as the ancient city of Nanda Parbat began to quiet. The streets grew less and less crowded as the people began to disappear, the daily noise of chattering servants dwindled until only silence would echo through the stone palace walls. By the time the Prince finally turned eighteen, Nanda Parbat had become an empty city where no one roamed the streets below.
Only the Prince and his grandfather, along with a few surviving servants, were left of the once great and enchanted city of Nanda Parbat.
It was so, that the ancient Arabian city of Nanda Parbat had fallen with its sickly green pits into nothing more than bedtime stories told to young children by their mothers. Only then, does the slowly aging emerald eyed Prince live eternally under the watch of his ancient grandfather, whose heart had turned small and green with greed, much like the pits that whispered beneath their feet.
“How do the pits make the Prince and his grandfather immortal, mom?” Jon asked while his mother brushed the hair on his forehead back to plant a gentle kiss on his brow.
“Magic!” she whispered playfully, wiggling her fingers in front of her with a grin. Jon giggled with her as he laid back into his pillows. “Some say that the pits are filled to the brim with magic, and it’s because of them that the Prince and his grandfather have lived for so long.” Jon sighed deeply in response to the fingers she began to run gently through his hair, lulling him to sleep, but he still had one more question to ask before his dreams took him.
“Okay, but another thing!” His mother raised an eyebrow at him, long shadows dancing across her face in the lamplight coming from his nightstand. “Why does everyone else grow so rapidly? It doesn’t make sense. If the Prince and his grandfather were given longer lives than those around them, why do the people of Nanda Parbat live for only three years?” The fingers running through his hair seemed to pause as his mother considered the question almost seriously, eyes moving to look up at the ceiling in thought before they met his again.
“Well,” she started. “It is said that the city is an enchanted one, so, perhaps those who enter are forced into a rapid aging? It could be that Time himself placed a spell over the city for this to happen,” she replied, her fingers returning to their gentle strokes. Jon only reluctantly accepted the answer as he sunk deeper into his bed with drooping eyes.
“Goodnight, mom.” he sighed sleepily, closing his eyes for the final time that night. She smiled softly as she reached forward and turned the lamp by his bedside off, leaving only the light of the moon to illuminate his small room. She planted another kiss on his brow and stood.
“Sweet dreams, Jon.”
That night, Jon dreamed of a slowly aging boy with emerald eyes with a grandfather who chained him to a magical city of ancient waters.