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That part

of the wall on which were sculptured the strange signs and the two human-headed birds had opened, as if on a pivot. Maria-Teresa cowered and covered her face with her hands, for the dead king was emerging from the gulf of shadow beyond. The wall swung back into position, and the young girl, opening her eyes again, saw before her a two-seated throne of massive gold. The seat on the right of the dead majesty was unoccupied. The great crowd of Indians was bent to the dust in adoration, while the dirge of the quenia-players rose to the roof in ever-increasing volume.

The two mammaconas who were to accompany Maria-Teresa to the Enchanted Realms of the Sun stood on each side of her, while the ten other priestesses, formed in two lines, passed and re-passed before her, in the intricate steps of a sacred dance. When they came before the Dead One’s throne, they fell to their knees, then rose again, chanting: “This is Huayna Capac, King of kings, son of the great Tapac Inca Yupanqui. He has come by the Corridors of Night to claim the new Coya offered by the Inca people to his son Atahualpa.” Then they moved backwards, crossing and re-crossing, swaying their black veils. Twelve times they repeated this movement, and each time the chant grew louder, while the purl of the quenias swelled and broadened.

Maria-Teresa, holding Christobal closely to her, stared fixedly at Huayna Capac, and the Dead One seemed to stare back at her. He also wore the bat-skin robe made for the Corridors of Night, but beneath it could be seen the royal mantle and the golden sandals. His face, calm and severe, majestic in its still beauty, nearly had the hues of life; it was framed in masses of coal-black hair, crowned with the royal borla in which quivered the plumes of the coraquenque. Under the half-closed lids the eyes seemed living. The dead king was seated naturally, his hands resting on his knees, and so life-like was his whole attitude that to Maria-Teresa’s horrified eyes he seemed to be breathing. Only little Christobal heard her half-strangled cry, for the mammaconas were repeating their chant for the twelfth time, and with the piercing note of the quenias, deadened all other sound in the House of the Serpent.

Down below there, the mob of Indians was swaying, swaying gently from right to left, in imitation of the rhythmic movements of the three Guardians of the Temple. Maria-Teresa kept her eyes fixed on the dead king, not only because he was just opposite her and, half fascinated, she could not do otherwise, but also because she did not wish to look at the Red Ponchos. She felt that if her eyes were allowed to wander for an instant, they would fatally betray the four reenex hong kong .

Publicerat klockan 07:32, den 9 februari 2017
Postat i kategorin Okategoriserat
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