‘Blessings,my Lord,’ Mayakula smiled warmly.

The warmth of the smile was not returned. Concern for the Chicuan Nation lay heavy on the Papanuk’s brow. The Papanuk threw the twigs and sticks onto the fire and blew on the ashes. The embers glowed red hot, flames licked the sticks, orange sparks crackled and disappeared. The fire soon took hold. The Papanuk carefully placed several logs onto the burning kindling. He sat cross-legged by the fire, warming his hands over the flames. He motioned to Mayakula to sit beside him. Mayakula took his place, looking up to the sky, smoke curling an escape path through the vent. Blackbird screamed a whistle of alarm and hurriedly flew away.

‘Thank you for your haste, Mayakula.’

‘It is my honour to serve you, my Lord. What troubles you?’

The Papanuk poked the fire with a large stick, a shower of red sparks flew into the air. He considered his words before replying.

‘A vision of the future. The Kalamon are preparing to raise the dead ancestors of every Kalamon brave killed in battle since the beginning of time. I have seen their evil skeletons in war canoes, striking the water with oars of bone to the beat from the Drums Of Death. I have seen their horrific war parties. Skeleton warriors riding on the back of skeletal horses, stretching across the horizon, from the home of the rising Sun to its resting place . I have seen clouds of flaming arrows blotting out the sunlight, casting dark shadows over our land, raining fire down amongst the Chicuan tribes. I have seen the Chicuan Nation burning in the flames of Hell. Armageddon is coming to the Chicuan.’

Mayakula gasped in horror at the Papanuk’s revelations. His tired old eyes sagged with dread. He knew of the tales that spoke of the end of time, but he never expected to bear witness to the tale. There was a tense silence, whilst Mayakula digested the terrors to come.

‘Can it be stopped, my Lord?’ Mayakula asked, silently praying for some ray of hope.

The Papanuk stared into the flames, not blinking. He turned slowly to face Mayakula.

‘Bring me the white boy.’