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Sprig RR

The Sprig of Youth, one of the three keys

The Kingdom of Death is the afterlife in the Otherworld of the Hindu Gods. In order for live people to bring forth the door to go here, they must collect three keys: the sprig of youth, the bite of adulthood and the sip of old age.

Locations within the Kingdom of Death

The door was slim as a laptop from the side and wrought of bone, leaf and light. Inside was a tunnel of utter darkness and the door will soon disappear once people enter. The last words of people who died can be heard. Ek and Do, the guard dogs of this underworld, determine whether or not a person is dead, if not they have the option to help them die. The true door to the kingdom was a thin sliver of light behind them.
Chitragupta

Chitragupta, the keeper of records of every deceased soul

Karma & Sins

After getting past Ek and Do, people are taken to an area of blinding light near the office of Chitrigupta, a neon sign said Karma & Sins. It was established at the first hiccup of time and no solicitors or indulgences (since the fifteenth century) are permitted. People in a long line were still shown as how they died and they talk backwards. On his desk, seven miniature versions of Chitrigupta helped him with his pens and papers. On the table was a small brass plaque with his name and a mug that read: FOURTEEN WORLDS’ BEST DAD. Behind him were bookcases and file cabinets and mountains upon mountains of paperwork.

Halls of Death

The Halls of Death was like a maze that and actually grew, colors gathered and stretched into passageways. There were three signs with an arrow was attached to each: TO DARE which pointed right down a blue corridor, TO DISTURB which pointed left down a red corridor, and TO DEIGN which pointed up into nothing. The floor was polished marble and the ceiling was a strange twisting river of names that belonged to the dead. In between the signs was an invisible wall, the TO DEIGN sign actually means to look down on as in looking at what's beneath, a hole will then open leading to the Palace of Illusions.

Bridge of Forgetting

This bridge was invisible, but snow clung to the outline, its guardian was Shukra but he doesn't venture often beyond his bridge. Below was a cliff with a steep drop without a platform, step or anything.

There was a winding road leading to the bridge, the sky was black like the flat darkness of a room with the lights off, statues were half sunken into the earth and tall white trees blocked the view of what lay ahead.

But then the temperature drops drastically, blue-bellied clouds dropped white flurries of snow to the ground in slow spirals. The doesn't really feel like snow, it causes you to forget. Shukra has the ability to control this snow, but mirrors around him prevent him from losing his own memories.

Chamber of the Astras

Past the bridge was at first seemed like a cave, though more like a ravine through a mountain range, it was actually a Timingala. Pale stalactites (teeth) dripped down from the ceiling, jagged and sharp, and crowded so tightly that they reminded her of teeth. The smell was absolutely horrible, worse than when someone leaves groceries to rot in a car.[1] The floor (tongue) was springy, like a mattress, it had a slender fish spine and its color was cherry red so deep it glinted black. The walls were a wet shade of pink, every now and again a gust of hot wind brought the stench of rotting fish. A slender, shining silver thread stretched across the ravine, when touched it reveals a neon sign with the name of the cave dangling from a stalactite, it changes to the following message:

ANSWERS HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT.

THINGS AREN’T AS THEY SEEM.

THERE’S POWER TO FIND HERE

AND KNOWLEDGE TO GLEAN.

BUT TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN,

AND TIME HAS NO EARS.

IF YOU DON’T MOVE QUICKLY,

YOU’LL MEET ALL YOUR FEARS.

If the celestial weapons of the Pandavas are brought here, they'd be "awakened" into their true forms. The celestial guard always gets weapons stuck in its mouth.

Chitrigupta's Archives

Outside of the whale's mouth, was a stone path wound around it. Thousands upon thousands of windows looked out onto worlds like lands where there were palaces of snow or sand, places where sea creatures with rows of eyes blinked back at them from the other side of the glass. That's because everyplace has connection to death.

In the distance, the walls had that iridescent quality of polished oyster shells and stalactites made of paper spiraled down from the ceiling. On the papers are accounts of what every person does every day.

It can change into the Chamber of Pools, it contains pools that can be from the size of rain puddles to ponds, also low-hanging incense burners. There are no signs tell people what each pool is. Looking into the Pool of the Past shows you moments of someone's life.

Reincarnation Manufacturing Services

Around the corner of the pools is a large archway was emblazoned with the sign saying the name in capital letters as well as REMAKE, REBUILD, RELIVE!. This is where souls were fitted for new bodies and new lives. The manifestations of Time and Wish are in charge here as they are the things that make a body what it is. They won't let visiting people who are still alive out of the kingdom unless they give them something in return, like good karma.

Here's how the samsara cycle of reincarnation works: As people live, their good and bad deeds are extracted from karma. Along the way, the body is subjected to the wear and tear of time. But the soul sheds bodies, just as the body sheds clothes. There is a goal, of course, to leave all that behind, but sometimes that takes people many lifetimes.[2]

Rick Riordan Presents

Pandava Quartet

Aru Shah and the End of Time

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Trivia

  • The underworld of Hinduism is usually called Naraka. It appeared in another one of Roshani Chokshi's novels, The Star-Touched Queen.
  • Walking through the Kingdom of Death, makes someone feel a drowsy sort of peacefulness, like balancing on the border of sleeping and waking.[3]
  • According to Time, heroines are usually the Kingdom of Death's worst nightmares. They have no manners and are always barging in, waving scraps of metal around, and demanding things.
  • The Greek counterpart of the Kingdom of Death is the Underworld.
    • The counterpart of the Bridge of Forgetting and Reincarnation Manufacturing Services may be the River Lethe.
  • The Norse counterpart is Helheim.
  • The Egyptian counterpart is the Land of the Dead.
  • The Maya counterpart is Xib’alb’a.

References

  1. Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 31
  2. Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 35
  3. Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 33
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