Lambana

Illustration by Dyani Lao. You can also find his work on Instagram and Facebook.

“A spark of Gugurang’s fire.”

The lambana knew this would end badly if she didn’t follow proper procedure. The last time something tried to take the fire of Gugurang without permission was the whole Asuang debacle, and she didn’t want this to be anything like that. She approached his servants and made a formal request for the spark. The lambana was representing her Diwata, and it was a request directly from Her. It only took a few years’ wait before the request was granted and the lambana was overjoyed that it was so fast.

“A coconut from the tree of Galangkalulua.”

Working her way through the children of Ulilangkalulua was no small feat. The lambana had to be very careful to be sure she wasn’t seen. Thankfully, her mistress told her that one of the small coconuts would suffice, thought it had to be. With the lambana’s small size, she couldn’t carry anything else. She crept among the clouds in the cover of night and snatched the coconut away before anyone was the wiser.

“A whisper of Saragnayan.”

Every creature knew of what happened to Saragnayan, how he loved his wife, Malitung Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata, and how he was defeated by the sons of the hero, Labaw Donggon.  What they didn’t know was that Saragnayan still lived in the form of his spirit. His whispers echoed in the minds of those tempted to do evil and sow chaos. The Lambana didn’t have to go far to find a whisper, for Saragnayan voice could be heard in all places where humans lived. She snatched it as it was about to enter the ear of a young boy wondering whether he should steal a new toy.

“A grain of Sappia’s blood.”

This was the easiest thing to get on her list. The grains of red rice were plentiful in the field and the lambana took a moment to think about the mission that had been given to her. She did not know why her mistress wanted these diverse items, and the lambana had not known her mistress to be a great collector of oddities, but the lambana knew that it wasn’t her place to make judgments on the whims of her mistress.

“Soil from the birth of the world.”

In the beginning, there lived four beings on an island no larger than a hat. Nothing grew on this island, there were only those three beings and one bird. One day they sent the bird out across the waters and it returned with some earth, a piece of rattan and some fruit. The lambana knew that that soil would eventually become the earth that every being was standing on. She would have to go to the great god Melu to petition her mistresses’ request. It took moments, then years, maybe even centuries. Time was not what it was in other places. In the end, the lambana got her request.

She returned triumphantly to her mistresses’ side, clad in all the items she was sent to procure. Even getting one would have been a great accomplishment, but her mistress just took the items without giving the lambana a second glance.

“Good work, faithful servant,” said her mistress.

“I live to serve and I serve to live,” was the lambana’s reply.

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