Thursday, November 21, 2013
Thursday's Opening Scene Peru from All Our Yesterdays
The last rays of the sun colored the distant snow-covered peaks. Coyllur stood in the courtyard of the Sun Temple and stared at the road beyond the entrance. Her father was late. Since she'd been taken to the temple after her mother's death, he had come every lunar for a visit and to bring fresh fish for the temple. Her shoulders slumped. He wasn't coming. The sea harvest wouldn't arrive this lunar. What had happened? Unless there had been trouble, he would have been here by now. Tears threatened, but she held them back.
She saw movement on the road and felt a hope quickly extinguished when she identified the runner. A chasqui held his quipu. The knotted string dangled from the messenger's hand. What news did he bring?
Moments after the chasqui disappeared into the temple, a Sun Priestess appeared. "Child, I have news of your father."
Coyllur approached Chaquira. "Has he been hurt?"
The priestess took her hand. "It is not known how or where my youngest brother is. A floating fortress came near the shore and spawned small boats. Strangers came from the boats. They took your father and some others when they left."
Coyllur blinked tears away. "Then I will believe he lives and I will see him again."
"You will." Chaquira held out her hand. "Come with me. There are things I must tell you. For many nights, I have dreamed of strange places and people. Last night, the visions drew to an end and I know what they mean."
Coyllur followed her aunt to her cell. A prophecy meant change. Was she to be sent to the Sun Temple in Cuzco? Was she to be a Chosen Woman to serve the Inca in life and death?
Chaquira sat on a stool. Coyllur sat at the priestess' feet.
"A time of change approaches for the land and for you. Strangers came and will return. Among them is one tied to you by the strings of an ancient curse given in a land beyond your imagination."
Coyllur frowned. Were these strangers the ones who had taken her father?
Chaquira leaned forward. "This I say to you. When you see his face, you will love him. This love must remain pure until you are bound together. There are three who will help and two who wish to prevent this union. Time and again, they have manipulated and succeeded. This time, they must not."
Coyllur frowned. She was too young to join with any man. Besides, she belonged to the temple. If she was to have a mate, the Inca would choose him. "I hear, but I do not understand."
"In time, you will."
Coyllur sighed. "When?"
"In many turnings of the moon." Chaquira patted her head. "Seek your mat."
"A good night to you." Coyllur scurried away. As she hurried to the room she shared with the other girls, a priest beckoned. She tensed. Though Suka was handsome, something about him made her fearful.
He caught her arm. "Why aren't you with the other girls? Were you seeking me?"
She stared at the floor. To meet his gaze would expose her fear. "I was with the Sun Priestess Chaquira."
He lifted her chin with his fingers. "You are lovely, but too young for the pleasures I could show you." He laughed. "You won't be young forever."
Coyllur backed away. "I must go."
"Tell Sumac I await her. She is late for her lessons and I would see her at once."
Coyllur ran the rest of the way to the sleeping chamber. Sumac sat on her mat. The older girl was near the end of her training. Soon she would be a priestess. What kind of lessons did Suka teach? Coyllur shuddered. None she wanted to learn.
Her friend, Coca, waved. Coyllur stopped before Sumac.
The older girl glared. "What do you want?"
"The Sun Priest, Suka, awaits you."
Sumac undulated from the mat. Her icy smile chilled Coyllur. "Your turn will come, but I doubt you'll enjoy the lessons. He'll punish you for your haughty ways. Just because your hair and skin are lighter than most doesn't make you a treasure."
Coyllur frowned. Was Sumac one of her enemies?
Coca waited until Sumac left. "Let's go bathe. I waited for you."
Coyllur picked up a clean dress. "Why does she go to Suka?"
Coca laughed. "To learn how to please a man. I watched through a spy hole once. He mounted her like the llamas do."
"But the Chosen are virgins."
"Not all. Some of the priestesses serve the priests."
"He said he will teach me. I don't like him. What can I do?"
"Don't let him catch you alone." Coca stepped into the heated pool. "Did your father send the chasqui?"
Coyllur joined her friend. "The chasqui came to Chaquira. Coca, my father has been taken away by strangers."