Friday, November 16, 2012

Seven Macaw's Last Day, Part 1.

[Late Third Age. This occurs immediately after the scene in Seven Macaw's vision in "Xibalba: The Room of Loneliness".]

As soon as his wife left the room, and he heard the door close, Seven Macaw turned back to his attempt to heal himself. Over the past three days, he had tried all the most powerful spells and rituals that he knew. Now, he was starting to feel desperate; although, he did not allow himself to acknowledge the feeling. He was the world's greatest shaman, after all; such doubts were unworthy of him. They simply hovered in the background, like Hurucan's stormclouds.

What he was going to try now was very dangerous. That was part of the reason he had asked Chimalmat to leave; he did not want her to know what he was doing. He would tell her about it afterward, of course, but there was no need to make her worry.

Taking his seating-mat with him, Seven Macaw ascended the steps to the roof of his house. The sick man paused to catch his breath; he looked out over his glorious city, and his heart swelled with pride. The city looked strong and peaceful, its red-painted pyramids and ornate stucco facades shining in the morning light of Seven Macaw's sun. Reassured, he spread out his mat on the flat rooftop terrace, sat down cross-legged, and closed his eyes to meditate. Soon, he was immersed deeply in a trance.

After anchoring himself firmly to the energy of the Earth, Seven Macaw stretched his awareness into the heavens, reaching out with the vast network of luminous fibers that was his divine self. He drew upon the powers of the moon and sun and sky, weaving them all together in a luminous braid of gold, silver and crystalline radiance, encoiled in sparkling rainbows. Then, he pulled the cosmic powers into himself, all at once. The eldritch energy, sufficient to kill a mortal thousands of times over, descended into him in a great column like a huge bolt of lightning striking downward, eerily silent.

Seven Macaw let the celestial fires flow through him as long as he could bear it, hoping to burn away the worms that infested his eyes, teeth and face, and repair the damage the Twins had done to him. But it was to no avail. The energy simply spilled out from his broken teeth like water through a sieve, leaving him more drained than before.

At last, Seven Macaw could endure the dreadful burning no longer. He sank down on the mat, feeling worse than ever. The unbalanced energies oscillated through his body, causing him to sweat with fever and then tremble with chills every few minutes. As for the demonic worms, they seemed only to feed on the energy he had provided them.

When he could stand up again, he climbed laboriously back down to his room. He knew he had failed, and the blow to his pride hurt him much more than the physical pain. Perhaps my wife is right, he thought. Perhaps it is time now to seek other solutions. But his jaw was throbbing so badly that he could not think clearly. What was he to do?

As he pondered confusedly, he happened to look down at his arm, and saw that small flames were beginning to lick out of his flesh, burning from the inside. He realized that he was in danger of catching fire. Hurriedly, he searched for something to put it out.

Fortunately, he found a pitcher of water on a table. Chimalmat had placed water jars in each room and made sure they were kept full, because she was concerned about his fever, and knew he would forget to drink if he did not have constant reminders. He drank it down, and began to feel better. The cool water soothed him, as did the beauty of the jar, painted with pink water lilies and adorned with hieroglyphs. He held the jar and turned it around, admiring the artwork. If I had burst into flames, he thought, it could have destroyed my whole art collection. He was more concerned for his treasures than for his own safety. He had, after all, set himself afire many times in the past, without harm. But, if it got out of control --

"Chima!" he called weakly, hoping that she was still somewhere in the house where she could hear. But there was no answer.

It serves me right, he thought ruefully. I asked her to leave me alone, when she was loathe to do so; now she must have gone out to while away the day in the marketplace.

But what was he to do now? He had to find answers to his dilemma, but he still couldn't think clearly due to the pain and sickness that ravaged him. I need air, he thought. He decided he would go out and rest on his front terrace for a while. Surely, the answers would come to him then.

So, Seven Macaw gathered up his sitting-mat, along with some pens, ink and bark paper, and a jug of water in case he started to burn again. Holding tightly to the ornate wooden railing, he stepped carefully down the outdoor staircase that led to the terrace.

[To be continued.]

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