TOMB HUNTER The Adventures of Larra Court Episode 2 Larra’s Mayan Adventure By L’Espion [email protected] Chapter 7 Amy’s Adventure Within a few seconds, Amy found herself completely surrounded by the Mayan warriors. She now saw that there were more than fifty of them, too many she knew, for her to handle alone. It was possible of course, that they knew nothing of firearms. Not one of the warriors had made any attempted to relieve her of her sidearm. If she took it out and fired it, they might be frightened off. “Or,” she thought, “they might be frightened into killing me.” It was best not to aggravate her escort. After all, they had seemed quite in awe of her when they first met. Perhaps she could use that to her advantage. Amy’s “escort” was now moving steadily down the canyon. The warriors were all around her now, and although none of them threatened her, it was clear that they intended that she should follow them. I should be searching for Katie and Larra, she thought. But she was intimidated by the sheer number of the Mayan warriors, and so much as she wanted to break away she allowed herself to be herded away from the scene of the rockfall. A half-hour of rather slow walking brought Amy and her escorts to a sharp curve in the canyon wall. Here there was fairly dense rainforest vegetation. To Amy’s surprise, the warriors escorted her right into the thickest part of the foliage. Pushing aside the thick tangle of vegetation the warriors revealed a narrow path that seemed to lead to the base of the canyon wall. Several warriors went ahead of her along the path and the rest followed as Amy marched into the dark shadows of the rainforest. Where are we going? she wondered. A few yards farther along the path she got her answer. What she had first perceived as simply the darkness of the canyon wall revealed itself to be a cave. The Mayans appeared to be taking her into some sort of secret passage. Several of the warriors stopped outside the cave for a few minutes. Taking fire-making materials from pouches that were strung over their shoulders they soon had a small fire burning. Amy looked on with interest. She had sometimes seen South African blacks starting fire in the same way. With in a minute or so the fire was large enough to ignite torches that the warriors had twisted from dry grass that they had gathered near the cave entrance. Now they were ready to proceed. It was pitch black in the cave, but the crude torches provided enough light for them to make their way. Amy guessed from the speed at which the torches were burning that they would not be in this darkness very long. She was proved right. After only about five minutes of walking, she saw light up ahead as they came to the end of the tunnel. Coming from the darkness of the cave into the bright light of day once again, temporarily blinded Amy, but when her sight adjusted, she was astounded by what she saw. The cave exited on a slight rise of ground, and spread before her was what appeared to be an entire Mayan city. Amy rubbed her eyes. This did not appear possible. An entire Mayan city hidden from the world for hundreds of years? Was such a thing possible in the twentieth century? Had no one ever flown over it in an airplane and noted its presence? She simply stared astounded. The party of warriors, however, was moving on. She found that they were now walking on one of the limestone causeways or roads that the Mayans were known for. It formed a perfectly smooth surface of crushed stone, as straight and well made as any modern roadway. The city spread before her. It consisted of a large central temple flanked by numerous other buildings that appeared to be palaces or perhaps other religious structures. The buildings seemed to be constructed of gleaming white stone, or were covered by white stucco that reflected the light brilliantly. The buildings diminished in height toward the periphery of the central core. Outside the city proper were hundreds of thatched huts that provided shelter for the bulk of the population, and outside that were gardens panted with a variety of crops, with corn being the dominant species. Everywhere there appeared to be Mayans going about their business, just as they had done in pre-Columbian times. Amazing, thought Amy I must be in some sort of a dream. She pinched herself to make sure that what she saw was really happening. Amy and her escort were now entering the main part of the city. As they marched past a crowded market, hundreds of people rushed to see what was happening. Her escort of warriors formed a double row with Amy in the center to prevent her from being swarmed. The procession moved toward the main temple. Just short of the imposing structure the party turned into the courtyard of a magnificent building. Amy guessed that it must be some sort of palace, as it seemed to be divided into dozens of rooms, each with its own separate doorway. The walls of the building were covered in white stucco with the hundreds of raised images painted in bright colors. It was a sight to take her breath away even as she wondered what her fate was going to be. From the steps of the building advanced the most impressive and outlandish man Amy had ever seen. His breechcloth and vest were bright red and ornamented with beads of jade, while quetzal feathers ornamented his head. In his hand he carried a wooden blade. But this one was studded with gold and seemed more ceremonial than practical. Reaching Amy, he bowed low before her and said something that Amy could not understand. She did not attempt to respond, realizing that such an attempt would likely be futile. The noble or priest, if that was what he was, made some sort of speech. Amy guessed from his submissive attitude that it was some sort of welcome, and she inclined her head as if she understood. At length the man finished his soliloquy and gestured with his hand. From a large doorway behind him issued about a half dozen young Mayan women, dressed simply in white ankle-length dresses. Bowing before Amy they took hold of her arms and guided her toward the interior of the building. Inside the building Amy found it to be pleasantly cool compared to the tropical heat outside. She guessed that the walls of the room were about three feet thick, which probably helped to reduce the interior temperature. Inside, the room was dimly lit, the only light coming through the doorway. It appeared to be a form of residence, as the room contained simple items of furniture, and a number of mats that could be used as places to sit. Amy allowed herself to be guided to the center of the room. There, one of the young women indicated through gestures that she was to sit on a large reed mat. For a few seconds, Amy hesitated. She was in a very precarious situation. What were the motives of these people? They seemed friendly enough, even overly respectful, but she could not be sure of what they thought of her. She decided that it would not be polite to refuse, and so she sat as directed. Immediately, the young women swarmed about her. Amy realized with alarm that several of them were pulling at her clothes, attempting to undress her. Jumping to her feet, Amy placed her hand on the butt of her sidearm. Her sudden movement seemed to frighten the young women and they backed away from her. Several of them actually ran from the room, shouting loudly. What now? she wondered. For a few minutes she stood in the center of the room, uncertain as to what to do, and then several of the women who had fled the room returned. With them was a much older woman, Amy guessed that she was probably in her fifties, but she had a commanding air about her that came with the experience of decades. This woman advanced upon Amy, and although she stood a good head shorter than the beautiful redhead, she did not in any way appear submissive or frightened, as had the young girls. Gently the older woman placed her arm on Amy’s shoulder and indicated through pressure that Amy should sit once again. Not knowing what else to do, Amy complied, but she kept her hand on her gun. The matron sat down across from her, but this time there was no attempt to remove Amy’s clothing. Instead the woman spoke to one of the girls and she scampered from the room. A few minutes later the girl returned. With her were two more young women and they were carrying a variety of fruits and beverages. Amy suddenly recalled that she had not had any food or water for several hours. She was both parched and famished. When the food was placed before her, she ate and drank avidly. Many of the dishes before her she recognized. There were a number of corn-based foods, such as tortillas, and several varieties of fruit. The beverage mystified her until she took a drink. She realized that it was chocolate, sweetened with honey or something similar, and spiced with vanilla. The concoction gave her tongue a bit of a buzz as she drank it. Although unaccustomed to the bitter taste, she found it to be quite stimulating and drank more when it was offered. Amy found herself becoming quite relaxed. She was not quite sure if it was part of the effect of the food and drink, after having not eaten for so long or whether it was the mildly stimulating effect of the chocolate, but she no longer felt apprehensive about her situation. The young women returned, and this time when they began to tug on her clothing she did not resist. With the help of the matron, Amy was soon undressed. The buttons on her shirt and pants proved a bit confusing for the Mayan women, but they soon figured out how they worked. Even in her euphoric state, however, Amy retained some presence of mind, and refused to allow her gun to be taken from her. Everything else was taken away however, and she realized with mild surprise that she was now quite naked. As she was undressed, her attendants produced bowls of scented water and began to remove the sweat and grime from her body. In the intense heat and humidity of late afternoon, Amy found the cool scented water that was used to bathe her to be pleasantly refreshing. Her braids were unraveled and her thick, heavy red tresses were washed and then untangled using a comb made from a seashell. Her hair was then rebraided in the Mayan style, a single long braid that hung down her back. As her grooming continued Amy became more and more relaxed. Her exhausting experiences of the day were catching up with her. Gradually she dozed off as the women continued to bathe her. When she awoke, it took some time for Amy to orient herself. It was almost pitch black in the room and the only light that came through the doorway was from a tropical half moon. She was lying naked on jaguar skin cushions that were stuffed with native cotton and, and she was covered with a light sheet. She realized with a start that her precious sidearm was gone. “Damn,” she thought, “I’ve been a fool. I’m at the mercy of these people.” She stirred from her resting-place and discovered that she was not alone. All of the young handmaidens who had swarmed over her were sleeping in the room as well. Immediately most of them were awake. One of them moved over to her carrying some sort of large bowl. At first Amy did not realize what was being offered to her, as the bowl was quite empty, but then she understood. There had to be some way of dealing with calls of nature. Amy had noticed as she entered the city that large ditches full of running water had been dug close to most buildings. They probably served as part of the sewage system. In other parts of the city she had observed large elevated channels constructed of stone running from the mountains into the city. These were aqueducts, carrying water into the city. There was, however, no means of getting the water into the city’s buildings except by carrying it and Amy had seen numerous jars of water being moved to and fro by both women and men. Amy almost blushed as she was presented with the bowl, but she recognized that the Mayans probably thought that eliminating waste in front of others was quite natural. Since she had not attended to calls of nature since she had been brought into the city she took advantage of the situation. Immediately, one of the women padded outside with the now full container, while another stepped forward with a cloth and a bowl of water to wipe Amy off. This time Amy did blush, although in the darkened room no one could see her embarrassment. She then allowed herself to be tucked back in on her bed. Closing her eyes, she slept until dawn. Morning found the Mayan community already awake. When Amy stirred she was instantly the center of attention once again. She was dressed in a simple but elegant Mayan dress, consisting of a single piece of white cotton cloth that extended from her shoulders to her feet. There was an opening for her head in the center of the cloth, leaving the sides of the garment open. These were tied together with simple cotton strips. It was a light, but very serviceable garment. Food was brought and she was presented with another bowl of the chocolate beverage she had drunk the night before. This time Amy found it to be quite stimulating. She realized that she could quite get to like this exotic beverage. While she ate her Mayan servants fussed about her. Sandals were placed on her feet. Then armlets were pushed up her arms until they reached her biceps. Next, bracelets were clasped onto each wrist and a necklace studded with turquoise was hung around her shapely neck. Finally, a sort of diadem was set on her head, encircling her brow. With a little thrill Amy discerned that all of the ornaments seemed to be made of pure gold. I am being dressed like a princess, she thought. I wonder what these people think I am. Within a few minutes of being dressed and eating her breakfast, armed warriors appeared at the doorway of her room. Her young servants moved out of their way as they entered. It was apparent from their demeanor that she was expected to follow them. Amy rose and stepped out into the bright morning sun, her escort closing around her. Outside a litter awaited. Apparently she was not allowed to walk, she must be carried. She boarded the litter, which was then lifted by eight men and the entourage marched slowly through the city. They were heading for what appeared to be an even more magnificent palace than the one she had been housed in. It was constructed in the shape of a hollow square, without a single door or window on the outside. A high doorway opened into an inner courtyard. As the party entered Amy was almost overwhelmed by the splendor of its interior. Everywhere she looked, the walls were brightly decorated with splendidly painted bas-reliefs. The walls were hung with marvelous tapestries painted with all sorts of scenes depicting Mayan life. All around her servants hustled and bustled attending to a variety of duties. In the center of the courtyard on a raised stone platform was an imposing throne carved of one of the exotic rainforest woods. And seated on that throne was a truly impressive figure. Amy judged that he was about forty years of age. It was difficult to tell for certain, as his bronzed skin, including his face was ornamented with numerous tattoos. He was much taller than any Mayan she had seen, standing well over six feet. Putty had been added to the space between the bridge of his nose and his forehead to give his nose a sharp curve. On his arms and ankles were fastened numerous gold ornaments and a massive gold breastplate was hung from his neck. His head was encircled with a band of gold, and plumes of green quetzal feathers rose majestically from a leather strip beneath the gold headband. In his right hand he held a massive wooden staff, studded with razor sharp pieces of black obsidian. As Amy was led toward this imposing and menacing figure her armed escort fell to their knees and prostrated themselves before him. The men carrying her lowered her litter to the ground and similarly prostrated themselves. Amy was left sitting alone pieced by the fierce eyes of the demigod before her. Amy noticed with some astonishment, that his eyes were not brown like those of the Mayans she had seen, but bright blue. In the meantime, she wondered if she should follow the example of her escort and prostrate herself before the Mayan king. Unable to decide, she finally compromised by rising and making what she thought might pass as a curtsey. The Mayan king stood and raised his arm, gesturing toward her. Then he spoke, all the time keeping his eyes fixed on her. The courtyard descended into complete silence as his voice rose and fell. It was obvious that whatever he was saying was directed toward her, but she could not understand a single syllable. The monologue continued for several minutes and then the Mayan king sat down. All eyes were on Amy, it was obvious that she was expected to respond. Amy did not know what to do. All of this attention focussed on a simple South African farm girl left her feeling quite inadequate. She remained silent for a few seconds and then stammered: “I…I’m sorry, but I do not understand.” Oh, If only she had Larra’s gift for languages, she might have picked up some of the Mayan dialect. To her absolute astonishment, the Mayan king replied to her in English. “Would you prefer that I speak English, my dear?” Amy almost collapsed with surprise. The blue eyes! They should have given her a clue. This man was not Mayan, he was simply dressed and made up to look like one. She now saw that where his skin was not tattooed or covered with body paint it was lighter in complexion than that of the Mayans. Dumbfounded, she did not reply. “I see that you are not gifted in the art of conversation,” the Mayan king continued. “That is a shame, because you are exquisitely beautiful.” Amy found herself blushing. She suddenly felt very vulnerable. After some hesitation she managed a reply. “I d… d… don’t know what to say,” she stuttered. “I understood nothing of what you said.” “I merely gave that speech for the benefit of my subjects. You were not intended to comprehend it,” the king replied. “But now we may speak freely in the language of the gods.” Amy noticed that the king spoke with a very slight accent. She could not exactly determine its origin, but it sounded French. “Who are you?” she queried, and what is the language of the gods, and what do you want of me?” “One question at a time my beauty,” the king replied without smiling. I am the god of the Mayan city of Wacah Chan. I was formerly Julian Faraje, a director of archeological research in Paris. I speak the language of the gods, the one that we are speaking now. Of course, it not comprehensible to mortals, but since you are a goddess, you can understand it.” “A goddess?” Amy gasped, “What do you mean?” “I mean that only gods can talk to gods,” he replied. “I am a god and I am speaking to you. You understand me, so that makes you a goddess. Simple isn’t it? Please understand that it is in your interest to continue this deception. If you and I were not gods we might very well be killed. But, I think we have talked long enough in public. Let us retire to a more private location.” The Mayan king waved his arm and uttered a sharp command. Amy’s escort closed around her and guided her in the direction that the Mayan king was now walking. In a few moments she found herself in an inner room of the palace. This room however, was a courtyard within a courtyard, as the roof was open to the sky. Instead of being in a dark inner room, they were in a brightly-lit area. Scattered about the courtyard were a number of cushions and low wooden chairs. The Mayan king seated himself in one of these and motioned for Amy to do the same. Servants moved forward with beakers of vanilla flavored chocolate that had been whipped into froth. After they were seated the Mayan king waved his arm and he and Amy were left alone. Leaning forward, the Mayan king spoke softly. Amy listened without interruption. “My name is Julian Faraje. Fifteen years ago, while on an archeological expedition I stumbled on this hidden valley. I entered it by the route that you found. Because of financial expedients, I had only two Indian villagers accompanying me. Neither one of them would enter the tunnel entrance to this valley, so I was forced to go on alone. I have no idea what became of the villagers, I expect that they went home when I did not return, and afraid of punishment did not tell anyone of my disappearance. In any case, no one has ever come to look for me.” Faraje paused and took a drink of chocolate. “Delicious stuff, once you get used to it,” he said. Then he continued his tale. “I was a young man with no connections to keep me at home. Both my parents were dead and my brothers and sisters were happily married and pursuing their own lives, so I had no reason to return. The people of this valley were easy to impress. I was forced to kill the first few I met, as they came at me with spears. Luckily they stopped before my revolver ran out of bullets. They had never seen a gun before and thought that I was hurling bolts of lightning at them. That more or less set me up in the god business. I am Tlaloc, god of war and sacrifice, and as such rule undisputed. It is essential to my power over these people that they continue to believe that I possess godlike powers. I find a number of simple parlor tricks are enough to convince them of my status. I am living in an archeologist’s dream. I am priest-king of a living Mayan city, able to study them as they really were. What more could I desire?” Here Faraje paused and Amy was able to interject. “So, I expect that my arrival has upset your regime, has it not?” “Not at all,” he replied smiling for the first time. “You have confirmed my power. With your great beauty and bright red hair, you were immediately taken to be a goddess. The fact that only I can communicate with you reinforces my godlike status.” “What is to be my place in all of this?” queried Amy. “Am I to be returned to the outside world?” Faraje looked directly at her. “No, that is unfortunately not possible. The people believe that you were sent here for a reason, and you must fulfill that belief.” Amy suddenly felt very apprehensive. “And what is that belief?” she inquired. “They think that you are a gift from the gods. While you slept they determined that you are a virgin, and a virginal gift could only have two meanings.” Amy turned as red as her hair. She was acutely embarrassed, but she managed to stammer out a question. “W…W…What might that belief b…be?” Faraje hesitated and then answered: “A virgin sent by the gods would either be intended for sacrifice or for marriage to their god-king. So you may choose whichever one you prefer.” Amy was both shocked and frightened. “Sacrifice? Marriage?…I don’t understand.” “It is quite simple,” Faraje replied, “in two days time you either marry me or you meet chac mool.” Amy’s eyes widened. She knew from her reading that chac mool was the bloody Mayan idol upon which sacrifice victims were held as their living hearts were cut out of their bodies. She did not enjoy imagining herself at the center of such a scene. But marriage was also something she was unprepared for. She looked at the priest-king. He seemed impressive enough, but she knew that he was about twice her age, and she did not like the idea that she would have no choice in the matter. “I cannot accept such a proposition,” she stated. “I cannot accept a forced marriage to a man I do not know or love.” “The choice is yours,” Faraje replied. “I cannot make you marry me. The ceremony requires your cooperation, but I am sincere about the alternative.” “This is the worst sort of blackmail!” Amy exclaimed. “You threaten me with death unless I become your concubine.” “You would certainly not be my concubine,” replied Faraje. “I already have a dozen of those. You would be my wife, my companion, someone that I can talk to. These Mayan women are beautiful in their own way, but they cannot provide me with intelligent conversation. A god cannot have intelligent discourse with members of his harem.” Amy understood that Faraje was trapped in a world of his own making, but she had no desire to be a solution to his problem. “I cannot consent,” she said finally. “I cannot accept marriage under such conditions.” “I see that you are overwhelmed,” said Faraje. “I will let you think about it. But be assured, I make no idle threats.” He clapped his hands. Immediately, servants entered the room and escorted Amy to another part of the palace. It was an area much like the one where she had spoken with Faraje. Apparently he wanted to keep her close by. That night she agonized over the decision she was being forced to make. She got very little sleep. Again and again she ran the alternatives Faraje had presented her with through her mind. Should she consent to marry him or refuse? She shuddered at the alternative, imagining what it would be like to be held down over chac mool screaming in horror as an obsidian blade cut open her breast and her still beating heart was torn from her body. By morning she had reached an agonized decision. The next day Amy met with Faraje again. Faced with no alternative except a painful death, she consented to marriage. Faraje smiled triumphantly. “You will not regret this, my goddess.” he said, “It is not every day that a woman has the opportunity to become the consort of a god.” Amy began to think that maybe Faraje was a little caught up in the world of his imagination, but there seemed no other way out of her predicament. She would go through with the ceremony and then try to reason him out of a full commitment. She hoped that he would not be difficult, for she had no intention of allowing him to consummate the union. The day of the marriage arrived and Amy was awakened early. Servants swarmed about her preparing her for the ceremony. She was bathed and anointed with sweet smelling herbs. Her thick red mane was unbraided and combed out. It was left loose and allowed to hang down to her waist. Her loins were clad in a white breechcloth that hung down in front and back, but allowed her shapely legs to be fully exposed. She was far pleased with this garment, because it revealed too much of her anatomy, but she had no choice in the selection of her clothing. She was absolutely astonished, however, at the outfitting of her torso. What she was required to wear made her exotic breechcloth look positively modest. Instead of the expected blouse or shirt, she was draped in a sort of metallic brassiere, forged from silver links. It was held in place by silver chains that formed a halter around her neck, and identical metal chain straps that fastened in the back. It afforded her almost no coverage as all, her symmetrical breasts and pert pink nipples being clearly visible through the chain links. Amy felt almost naked in the outfit. She knew enough about Mayan dress to realize that what she was forced to wear was purely a product of Faraje’s imagination. She felt like some sort of woman of the street rather than the prim and proper farm girl she had been raised to be. The rest of her costume consisted of gold arm and ankle bracelets inlaid with turquoise and gold. Each of the bracelets and armlets was attached by silver chains to a leather belt that was placed around her waist. Amy wondered at this, but suppressed her misgivings. She was already apprehensive enough about what the day might bring. Her wedding costume was finished with an elaborate diadem that supported a dozen bright green plumes of the quetzal bird. The whole arrangement was so heavy due to the weight of gold and silver, that Amy felt as if she was wearing a suit of armor. The elaborate preparations had taken all morning and part of the afternoon, but finally her trousseau was complete and Amy was escorted to the courtyard by an honor guard of handmaidens. There she boarded a litter and joined a military escort of elaborately costumed warriors carrying obsidian-studded clubs. The whole procession then left the interior courtyard of the palace and moved off in a stately manner toward the great temple. The huge pyramid that was the great temple completely dominated the center of the Mayan city. It loomed over 200 feet into the air and its ritual platform at the top of the structure was accessible only by climbing over 300 steps. Fortunately for Amy her litter-bearers did the climbing for her. The steep incline of the temple caused her litter to tilt alarmingly, but Amy was saved from falling by the back of a chair that was her seat on the litter. Slowly the procession made its way to the top of the massive structure. The city spread out around her as they climbed higher and higher, and Amy could see how truly magnificent this hidden civilization was. The sweating litter bearers finally reached the top of the temple and deposited the litter. Gathered at the top were over a dozen incredibly dressed Mayan priests and nobles, and sitting at the center, on a raised dais was Faraje, arrayed in all his finery. Before him, serving as a warning to Amy was the bloodstained figure of a man lying on his back with his stomach forming a bowl to catch the blood of sacrifice victims. It was chac mool, the Mayan sacrificial altar. With a wave of his arm Faraje commanded the ceremony to begin. There was an incredible surge of sound as a Mayan band began to play. Drums beat, and whistles and flutes squealed in support. The sound was almost deafening, but seemed to have little effect on the assembled dignitaries, who launched into the ceremony. The sweet smell of several types of burning incense came to Amy’s nose as the priests began their ritual chants. Amy understood none of the ceremony. She only knew that the music, the chanting, and the incense produced an almost hypnotic effect on her. Her mind whirled at what she saw, especially as the ceremony began to reach a climax. Various members of the priesthood began to mutilate themselves, shoving sharp cactus thorns through their cheeks and lips. Several of them pushed sharp thorns attached to coarse thorn-lined ropes through their tongues. Incredibly, three or four priest took off their loincloths and drew thorn-studded ropes through their penises. The sight of so much blood and pain, deliberately inflicted, almost made Amy sick, but she knew that it was simply part of the Mayan custom to offer a blood sacrifice to the gods. If a human sacrifice was not to be made, then it was thought appropriate to offer one’s own blood instead. In a frenzy of noise, chanting and blood, the ceremony reached its climax. Suddenly the sound died away, and Amy was led forward to stand at the side of Faraje. He took her hand in his and, as a priest chanted, handed her a frothy beaker of chocolate. Taking one for himself, he drank and Amy followed suit. This drink seemed to be a special mixture, spiced with something stronger than the ordinary. Amy found her head swimming, and was overcome with a sense of wonder and awe. I’m married to a god, she thought. Somehow the prospect was not a repugnant as it once had seemed. She shook her head. What was in that smoke? I’ve got to get out of here. But right now there was nowhere to go. The ceremony at an end, she and Faraje both boarded the same litter and were carried down the frightening 45 degree incline of the great pyramid. Through noisy, excited crowds they were escorted back to the main palace, where a sense of sanity resumed. Amy felt overwhelmed. She had never expected such an intense experience. She had anticipated that the marriage ceremony would be elaborate, but the actual extent of it left her completely drained. She wanted nothing better than to be able to return to her bed and sleep. Unfortunately, for her, bed was what Faraje wanted too, but sleep was not what he had in mind. Faraje waved the servants away. “Now we are alone my goddess. And it is time to complete our union.” Amy wanted to flee, but somehow her feet wouldn’t move in the desired direction. Instead she allowed Faraje to take her hand and lead her into the inner part of the palace. This was a section that Amy had never seen before. It contained Faraje’s private quarters, and was separated from the rest of the palace by a series of rooms. It insured that their wedding night would not be disturbed. Oh god, she thought, how am I going to get out of this?