3 days earlier…
Screams echoed through the simplistic build of the underground temple, each distinctively unique sound of pain and panic resonated between the stone walls of the hallway before escaping into the surrounding forested area. Within the main altar of the temple stood the remaining explorers and their translator, Ikal, who silently leaned against one of the three walls, his arms crossed while his eyes stayed fixated on the two foreigners. One Portuguese, the other Spanish, dressed in their respective national equipment which showed off their presence to be a government-funded one. Around the room lay the victims of the spears themselves, each showing the fates that accompanied the attempted wielding of a spear: Charred bodies, Hands covering the ears, or a look of all life being sucked from the body.
“You…” The Spaniard growled in his native language, holding a spear which held what seemed to be a bowl underneath the blade, water dripping over the edges of the bowl with the man’s movement as he stomped towards Ikal. “Why can’t they hold the last three? What did you do to them?”
“I didn’t do anything,” The Mayan replied calmly, “They just had no potential and couldn’t handle the power of the spears.”
“Then how come we can?” The Portuguese explorer questioned, holding a simplistic yet fully metallic spear, “And what happened to the other four? Did some people get here before us?”
“I don’t know. I’m not the only native here you know.”
The Spaniard spat on the ground in frustration, seeing his whole group become brutalised by three strange objects had hit him hard. There was a sense of uselessness within his mind, he would’ve stopped them before it happened. He could’ve told them to leave the spears after the first death. But why did he decide to keep trying?
“I want you to tell us how to find people with potential, I want those last three spears. And you are going to help us whether you like it or not, Savage.” He ordered, speaking his words through gritted teeth as anger slowly fuelled his mindset. “But first, we need to give these bodies a burial, they deserve it.”
“I suggest we also cover our tracks.” The Portuguese man added, “We will meet you in Merida next week, Ikal. Understand?”
“Of course,” Ikal sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose in the process as he straightened himself from the wall. “Let me give you a hand with the bodies.”
Morning had arisen over the city of Merida, the population’s endless cycle of normality had begun once again as the streets quickly become more and more cluttered. Carts containing goods were hauled from their respective production lines to the markets, carriages also filled the roads as middle and high-class citizens travelled across the city. Those who travelled by foot were caught in the crowds of fellow citizens, each with their own unique destinations as they pushed against each other in the effort to quicken their journey. The atmosphere itself gave off a feeling of tameness yet also emitted an aura of calm before the storm.
There was a higher concentration of authorities roaming across the city, picking and stopping people at random as they asked simple questions to aid in their investigation. The air had become tense at the sight of firearms and policing uniforms, concerned conversations had erupted across small groups as they wandered past, simultaneously watching the police intently.
A three-story hotel silently loomed over one of the many main streets of the city, built entirely from stone while boasting a feeling of high-class. It was the location where many foreign governmental workers lodged during their visits to Merida, followed by other individuals of importance, those with large reserves of money. Within one of the rooms stood the two Iberian explorers, engaging in a small argument concerning their goals for the remaining three days of their week-long deadline.
“What is with you, Matias? It’s been four days and we haven’t found anyone with this ‘potential’,” the Portuguese explorer stated, clearly irritated at his coworker’s foolish orders. “How in god’s name can we find these people by just ‘feeling’. It’s a load of rubbish.”
“Ikal told us that it’s how we find the people, but it’s apparently rare so we’d have to keep searching everywhere, Gabrielo.” Matias replied calmly, his mind working as hard as it could while he attempted to figure out more efficient means of finding the right people, “Perhaps we should return to Spain and inform the Prime Minister,”
“It takes three weeks to sail back!” Gabrielo raised his voice, “This is just going to be a waste of time. We got what we came here for, let’s just take it back to Spain and get our payment.”
“No, I want all of the spears. We can’t afford to leave them there, what if some other explorers manage to find them? They’re already dangerous as it is.” The Spaniard gestured his head towards the two spears, wrapped in cloth and placed inside woven sacs while left leaning against one of the walls of the room.
“Did you not just say that potential is rare? They’ll die before finding it.” Gabrielo argued further, speaking through gritted teeth as he clenched his fists in anger, his voice began to waver as he fought his primal instincts, “We can just tell the Prime Minister about what the spears can do to those ‘unworthy’ of them. They’ll work something out from there.”
It was then that a knock on the white decorated wooden door suddenly appeared, the knocks given in a courteous manner, showing a small force of urgency while also giving the impressing of a feminine visitor. Perhaps it was the room service which comes around every day to tidy the room for the tenants to return to.
“We’re still here for now,” Matias called out, “Come back in an hour or so,”
“No, this is important. I’m coming in.” A female voice replied, showing the accent of a Mexican native as she opened the door. Revealing the petite young female visitor, dressed in a simple light brown dress while also exhibiting the native headgear of bronze and feathers, her bright blue eyes seemed to glow with the morning sunlight as it pierced through the open windows. She was breathing slightly heavier than usual, perhaps she was in a rush to meet the two.
The intrusion had quickly removed the violent atmosphere of the two explorers, Matias himself quickly rushed to make himself seem more presentable with the application of his overcoat and a quick run of his hand through his hair. Gabrielo, on the other hand, was struck with awe at the sight of the young woman. His words had escaped his mind as he stood blankly, staring directly into the mesmerizing eyes of the native woman. At that small moment of silence, he had finally returned to a composed state of mind, clearing his throat awkwardly as he straightened himself.
“How can we help you, young lady?”
“It’s my father, Ikal, he hadn’t returned from an expedition he was hired to partake in.” She spoke with haste, still struggling to catch her breath at the same time while her eyes slowly welled up, “I did everything he had told me in case something like this happened, but I can’t rest easy.”
“Hold on, can you start from the beginning?” Matias popped up beside his coworker, dressed fully in his exploring attire, “We don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The woman sighed in relief, her hand pressed against her chest as she paused for a moment to bring back the control of her breathing. “My name is Yatzil, daughter of Ikal. Due to being well-known for his abilities to fully translate Mayan inscriptions while also being fluent in many different languages, he had taught me means of action should he disappear.” She explained, lucky that the two explorers spoke Spanish due to her lack of knowledge in other languages, “You see, he would never stay out overnight, and if he needed to, he would either tell me or take me with him. Since there is a threat from foreign explorers, especially Americans, I need to inform the local police of his disappearance. He’s a very well known and respected man in this city, so they wouldn’t hesitate to jump into action.”
“I see,” Gabrielo nodded in understanding, his arms crossed over his chest as he attempted to add all of the factors together. “So he’s disappeared?”
“That’s right, he went on an expedition with Englishmen to the hidden temple he took you two to before. He still hadn’t returned and I can’t find the Englishmen.” Yatzil’s voice began to quicken once more as she panicked more and more, tears formed and fell from her face. The Iberian explorers looked at each other with concern at this statement, Englishmen? How did they know of the temple’s existence? It was supposed to be known by Mexican and Spanish governments only.
With a small nod, Gabrielo stepped forward to take the indigenous woman in his arms, holding her tightly as she silently sobbed against his chest. “So you’ve told the police and they’re searching, right?” He questioned, instantly receiving a small nod as a reply, “Did you tell them where he went?” Another nod.
“Then we should get to the temple!” Matias decided, jumping to ready his gear for another journey to the small underground building.
“You shouldn’t do that.” The muffled voice warned through Gabrielo’s chest, her head pulled back as she stepped away from the Portuguese man, wiping her eyes and fixing her hair in the process. “They won’t want any disturbances during the investigation, it’d be best if you two head home before the police become more suspicious of foreigners.”
“You should at least let us give you a hand in finding the Englishmen. They couldn’t have disembarked already, we could just get to their ship and wait for them.”
“The police are probably already doing that. I don’t want to be rude, but please go home.”
As Matias attempted to object, Gabrielo raised a hand as a sign for silence. “Don’t worry, we’ll head back. Do you want us to take you home before then?”
Yatzil calmly shook her head, “There are investigators waiting for me outside, I need to give them a hand. Thank you.” With that short and quick reply, the woman bowed her head slightly before quickly dismissing herself into the hallways once again, walking quickly to the stairs where she would join the police in the search for her father.
“Hell are we going to go, we need to find these English scum.” Gabrielo stated towards Matias, bringing a smile of agreement across his face in reply.
“Damn right, let’s test these spears out.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, the three English explorers were left in their hotel room. Each of them showed expressions of concern and anxiety, not only had they witnessed the death of an innocent man, but they had also witnessed the suicide of a strong native. Someone no one would expect to do such an action, although, his final words had struck Garth harder than anything else. From his conversations with Damien, he had learned of that name to be the leader of the Maya, but why was he apologising to someone who was already dead? And why have a sudden change in personality at the sight of the explorers taking the spears? These factors refused to add up, it was as if there was one piece of information left out, an important piece which determined the ability to understand or not. There was no way Garth would work this out alone, he needed to learn more.
That was when Garth’s face sparked to a state of sudden realisation, memories of his conversation with Ikal had finally returned now that his mind had returned to ease at the actions of thinking hard. He raised his head and looked towards his fellow explorers, their eyes kept to the floor in silence, depression filling the air as they had nothing to say. “We need to go home.” Garth stated,
“We can’t, we told the sailors we’d return to them in a week. It’s only been two days.” Damien replied, his voice quiet and monotone,
“Then we’ll have to find them, we have to go.”
“If we don’t we’ll be arrested.”
The simple mention of arrest grabbed John’s attention as his eyes opened wide, there was no way he could return to the army if he had been arrested. Not only that, but he would refuse to be arrested due to his own self-righteousness. “Why would we be arrested?!” He snapped, eager to know the reasons,
“From my conversation with Ikal on the journey to the temple, I offered a night stay, but he told me that he couldn’t.” Garth started his explanation, “If he did, then his daughter would call the police because he never spends more than a day on expeditions, only if he needed to. Even then, it would be decided before leaving.”
“Why would she call the police?” Damien asked,
“Ikal is fluent in many languages and can translate the ancient inscriptions, it would make sense if people literally fought for him. Or even attempt to exploit him. He’s well-known throughout the city too, so it’s not like the police would wave it off.”
“Shit,” John sighed, “Since it’s been a whole night, they would be called.” He stood from his seat and set to pack his items. “Let’s get going then.”
Damien followed suit, the three spears were already wrapped up in a fashion which looked more like fragile gear than ancient items, everything needed to be packed up and ready to go as soon as possible. Although, Garth’s luggage would be the most painful to move. There was too much luggage to carry at once, they had to somehow hail a carriage to take them to the docks. Even then, the police could be searching everywhere, no one had any idea on the customs of Mexico. How many police is present? How competent are they? Are they armed? For all they knew, they would be shot on sight.
“This is going to be more difficult than I thought.” Garth stated as he looked through the window, noting the presence of many carried firearms and police uniforms in the street. Each officer seemed to be asking the populace at random, some even entering public buildings as they searched for the Englishmen. “How are we going to do this?”
With hesitation, John gave a small answer to the problem. It may not be the best answer, but it would work as temporary means to return to their ship safely, especially while Garth worked on figuring out a better plan. He picked up the rifle which was used by Harold before his death before turning to the two explorers, “Which of you know how to use a gun?”