I glanced around the area that I had been directed to. It was an little odd place, and very chilling. Over on my right there was a huge pile of bones, I hoped from an animal. Though I did not have a clue as to what kind. When I looked around some more I saw, to my left, some sort of table, with all kinds of homemade bottles. Each bottle contained some liquid, of varying colors. Also there was a huge bowl that I assumed was used to mix these potions up, also assuming that they were potions. The Chief mentioned something about Shamans making potions... For a moment I had forgotten why I came. Then I remembered I was looking for the Shaman, and gazed around for him.
In the middle of the place there was someone, he looked like he was meditating. Since he was the only person around, I figured this was the guy I needed to see.
Rather boldly I approached the Shaman. I wanted to appear to know what I was doing, and also appear unafraid. Though neither of those was really true, I thought I hid that fact well. To the Shaman I said "Hi, I'm..."
"Rude and late." He interrupted. "Late, but...?" "SILENCE! I know who you are Citryne, now tell me why you are here." It wasn't a question, it seemed more like a demand. At first my anger about him being rude almost rose to a peak, I thought about telling him if he knew my name already that he should know why I was there too. Then again, he was a Shaman, capable of things I know not of, so I kept my sarcasm at bay and replied "Your Chief sent me to go into the abandoned village. I came to you for permission." "No one may enter. Lest the curse take over us all. Though you are not from here... Still... I have a jaguar guarding the area." The Shaman told me. He seemed to highly consider letting me go, but did not quite want to say yes yet.
"Do you think the curse would affect me?" "Volcano wrath does not discriminate! Until the Idol that was stolen from us is returned to the temple NO ONE is safe." I thought for a moment. Stolen Idol? Was he referring to Spaulding? My Spaulding? I asked him, "If I brought you the stolen Idol, would you let me go?" Shaman seemed thoughtful for a moment, taking my offer into consideration. "Yes. But who are you to accomplish what the Chief himself could not?" "Just a gal... willing to give it a try." I kind of giggled at his lack of faith in me. "Brave words for a foolish girl. GO NOW and do NOT return without that Idol!" He demanded. I left without another word. I really didn't want to say any more to him anyway. He was starting to freak me out. Why did he have to be so demanding? Well I knew where I had left Spaulding, and obviously it was not his home temple. I went to go get him for the pushy Shaman.
I traveled a good few hours to find him, and was very disappointed to find that he was not there! I was kind of lost then, unsure of what to do. Then I remembered there were other creatures here, fowl creatures... otherwise known as survivors. I hoped they didn't take Spaulding, I would never get him back! Okay so I had to go about this quietly. I planned on sneaking into my old Lagoon and looking for Spaulding. I had learned how to move through the woods and all over, with very little noise. I could do that. Walking toward my old home I had to pass Waiata's old home. I was about to keep walking but something caught my eye. I turned to look and there, in the center of a group of Orangutans was Spaulding! I nearly squealed for joy, more the fact that I didn't have to risk being seen by those silly survivors than that I had found the Idol. Then I realized that I didn't know these Orangutans.
I knew how to handle that though. I offered some bananas from a nearby tree, and soon they trusted me. It also helped that Tiki and Puna were there as well, urging the others on. They came right up to me, seeming to remember me. I was glad they did. It did not take long for them all to trust that I was not there to hurt any of them. I got my hands on Spaulding almost right away. Even though I accomplished getting him, it was really late. I was almost completely bushed. The Orangutans all came up to me begging for treats, so I have them a few more bananas before I left. I had to get home to rest before going back to the Shaman.
In the morning, after I made and ate my breakfast, I was greeted by my favorite Orangutan. Waiata seemed to miss me while I was gone, and begged for attention. He kissed me he special smoochy kiss and even groomed my hair, looking for stray bugs no doubt. I talked to him for a while, telling him all about that creepy Shaman, and finding Spaulding again. He seemed to listed for a minute or two, but then he snorted and walked off to climb a tree. I shrugged and decided to continue my journey. Getting this raft built was getting exhausting.
I reached the Shamans place quickly and pretty easily. I only fell twice in my traveling. He really brightened at the sight of Spaulding in my hands. Actually he was so happy, he grabbed me by the waist and twirled me around. Before placing me back on my feet he planted a huge kiss right on my lips. I was kind of shocked, and thought that a plain thank you would have sufficed. "You have done it! The Volcano smiles upon you! I must give you a gift!" Shaman called one of his guards to have them take a fancy bubble blower to my house. "You must take it, I insist." "Thanks, umm... Can I go to the village now?" I think he must have forgotten my reason for returning the Idol because his smile faltered and he looked very serious all of a sudden. After a moments hesitation he answered, "Yes, but be wary. To enter, go the the crossroad and meet Mata. She is the jaguar guarding the entrance to the village. Mata means "The Eye" for she is forever watchful. There will be no way around her, you can not 'slip' by her." "Can't you just order her to let me pass?" I inquired, hopeful. "My influence weakens every passing day. You will need to win her friendship as I did, by means of herbal charm." My thoughts interrupted his speech, 'great charm a jaguar, yeah, no problem'. "Pick a leaf of the Nepeto plant, and feed it to the great cat. Then Mata shall see you as a friend." He pointed to some tall grass nearby, "That is the Nepeto plant, take a few." I did so, and then left to get to the crossroads. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chapter 17 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
With the Nepeto plant firmly in my hand I approached the jaguar. She seemed to be sniffing the air before I even got to her. Careful not to make any sudden movements, or move too quickly, I went up to her fairly swiftly. I did not want to waste any daylight. This trip was tiring enough, I kind of wanted it over with as quick as possible. When I got right up to her, I extended my hand with the leaf. Very delicately she sniffed at it. A small growl came from her throat, and I started to tense up. My legs were ready to turn and run, should they get and signal to do so. Then she opened her mouth, and the growl got slightly louder. Mata took the leaf I held into her mouth and munched it down. She seemed to like it. Actually right away she turned and trotted off. I am still not sure where she went. Even though I knew animals weren't like humans, I still hoped she was not planning to go get more seasoning to eat me with. Now that Mata no longer guarded the village, it was free to enter. I took a deep breath, afraid of what came next, and stepped into the trees. The only thing on my mind was the curse, the curse that claimed many lives...