Part 6 out of 6
"It is so," answered the aged chief. "The tale has come down to me
through ten generations, and with it the prophecy that in a day to
come the Chancas would return to that City of Gold whence they came
and be welcomed of its people."
"I have heard that prophecy," said Quilla. "Moreover, of it I have
something to tell you. While I sat in despair and blindness in the
Convent of the Sun at Cuzco it came into my mind and I brooded upon it
much, who was always sure that the war between the Chancas and the
armies of the Incas was but begun. In my darkness I prayed to my
Mother, the Moon, for light and help. Long and often I prayed, and at
length an answer came. One night the Spirit of the Moon appeared to my
soul as a beautiful and shining goddess, and spoke to me.
"'Be brave, Daughter,' she said, 'for all that seems to be lost shall
yet be found again, and the light of a certain flashing sword shall
pierce the blackness and give back vision to your eyes.' This, indeed,
happened, my people, since it was when the sword of my Lord saved me
from death at the hands of Urco that the first gleam of light returned
to my darkened eyes.
"'Be not afraid, moreover, for the Children of the Chancas who bow to
me,' went on the shining Spirit of the Moon, 'since in the day of
their danger I will show them a path towards my place of resting in
the west. Yea, I will lead them far from wars and tyrannies back to
that ancient city whence they came, and there they shall sleep in
peace till all things are accomplished. Moreover, you shall be their
ruler during your appointed days, you and another whom I led to you
out of the deeps of the sea and showed to you sleeping in my beams.'
"Thus that Spirit spoke to me, Councillors, though at the time I did
not know whether the vision were more than a happy dream. But now I do
know that it was no dream, but the truth.
"For did not my sight begin to return to me in the flashing of the
sword that is named Flame-of-the-Wave? And if this were true, why
should not the rest be true also? People of the Chancas, I am your
Queen to-day and my counsel to you is that we flee from this land
before the Inca's net closes round us and the Inca's spears pierce our
heart, to seek our ancient home far in the depths of the western
forest where, as I trust, his armies cannot come. Is that your will, O
my People? If so, by the tongues of your Lords and Captains declare it
here and now before it be too late."
Back thundered the answer:
"It is our will, O Daughter of the Moon!"
When its echoes had died away Quilla turned to me, lovely to look on
as the evening star and with eyes that shone like stars, and asked:
"Is it your will also, O Lord-from-the-Sea?"
"Your will is my will, Quilla," I answered, "and your heart is my
home. Lead on; where you go I follow, even to the edge of the world
and beyond the world."
"So be it!" she cried in a triumphant voice. "Now the evil past is
finished with its fears and battles and before our feet, lit by
moonbeams, stretches the Future's shining road leading us to the
mystery in which all roads begin and for an hour are lost again. Now,
too, our separations end in a perfect unity that perchance we have
known before and shall know again in ages to be born and lands
revisited. Now, Lord-from-the-Sea, at whose coming my sleeping heart
awoke to love and whose sword saved me from shame and death, giving me
back to life and light, here, before this company of our people, I,
the Daughter of the Moon, defying the Sun who held me captive, and all
his servants, take you to husband with this kiss," and leaning forward
Quilla pressed her lips upon my own. . . .
The remaining parchment sheets of the ancient Manuscript are
rotted with the damp of the tomb in which it lay for centuries
and quite undecipherable.