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Rolfin's Orb
Book 7 - Amber
Chapter 6

Elspet and Fiona found Callum and Tlaloc building a sandcastle together. They were both laughing. “I guess they found a way to communicate after all,” Fiona said.

“Hey! We’re back.” Elspet ran up to the boys. “I like the sandcastle. It looks like one of the Maya pyramids.”

“It is. Tlaloc showed me how to build one. Even though we can’t understand each other, we’ve been having a great time,” Callum said, patting Tlaloc with his sandy hand.

“This is a pretty beach.” Fiona looked at the white sand seeping through her shoes. She took them off and went barefoot. Callum already had his off. “Take off your shoes, Elspet. The sand is warm.”

“There are palm trees and seashells here. This is pretty. I wish I had my sketch pad. Oh well. I’ll draw when I get home.” Elspet took her shoes off and put them on a clump of sea grass.

Fiona spoke to Tlaloc in Maya. “After you left, some demons came, and a high priest, and I challenged them to a battle. Not with swords and all that, but with skills. I won. I got the piece of amber and the high priest got what he deserved. They won’t be bothering us again.”

“That is good, Fiona. Would you like to go swimming?” Tlaloc ran to the breaking waves and took off his leather skirt.

“Tlaloc!” Fiona turned in embarrassment at seeing the naked boy.

He soon disappeared in the waves. “I’m not going swimming with no clothes on,” Elspet said.

“Me neither.” Callum took off his shirt. “I will go in my shorts though.” He slipped off his pants and ran into the water.

“We can either sit here and watch, or at least take off our pants. Come on. Let’s be brave.” Fiona slipped her pants off and ran into the water. It didn’t take much for Elspet to follow.

They spent the next hour body surfing, riding the waves in and dunking each other. The warm water lured them out further. A dolphin swam past and jumped out of the water, splashing on them. “Hey! Dolphins! I see six of them.” Callum swam toward one.

Fiona had an idea. Dolphins, will you take my friends and me for a ride? We’ve never ridden on the backs of dolphins before.

Of course we will. Dolphins love to frolic in the water. We’re very friendly and love playing with other species. I’m known as Reef.

Four dolphins swam up to them. This is Ebb, Whitecap, and Seaweed.  Fiona, you climb on my back. Have the boy with light skin ride on Seaweed and the other boy on Whitecap. Let the girl have Ebb. She’s a much gentler dolphin than the others.

            Great. Thanks, Reef.

            Each climbed on their backs, holding one of their fins. “Let’s go!” Callum shouted and Seaweed darted through the water. The other dolphins sped up, skimming across the surface. Whitecap dove through a wave. When Tlaloc surfaced, he was coughing, but laughing. Seaweed dove down, but shot back up a few seconds later, with Callum clinging to it’s back.

            Elspets wet hair whipped the air as Ebb swam just below the surface. “I see other fish! I see the bottom. The water’s so clear.” She shouted at the others and waved, smiling and petting Ebb’s tough skin.

            An hour later they dropped them off at the shore. Thanks, Reef! Tell Ebb, Whitecap and Seaweed thanks too.

            The dolphins made a lot of squeaky noises and then jumped high in the air and splashed down in the water, all four together. “That was so cool!” Just then Elspet realized that Tlaloc was standing next to her naked. “Fiona!”

            She didn’t turn around, but said, “Tlaloc, go and put your leather thing back on. Hurry.”

            “It’s safe. He’s dressed,” Callum giggled.

            They lay on the beach and dried off. Tlaloc leaned on his elbow. “Fiona, would you and your friends like to come to my hacienda and have something to eat?”

           “I know I’d like it. I’m simply famished. We haven’t even had time to eat with all this evil underworld stuff going on. Where do you live?” Fiona brushed the dried sand off her legs and put her pants back on.

            “I live in a small village. We can be there in ten minutes,” Tlaloc said.

            “Elspet, Callum, get dressed. We’re going to Tlaloc’s for dinner,” Fiona said.

           “What is the name of your village, Tlaloc?” Fiona took a hairbrush out of her pack and brushed her hair. She passed it to the others to use too.

            “My village is called Quetzitita. There are only a dozen or so houses there. We are all family and we are all Maya. My mother’s name is Rosita. Her mother gave her a modern Mexican name. My father’s name is Pedro. He too has a modern name. My father says the old Maya ways are dying out. He insisted I was called by a Maya name and I think I will name my son, when I have one, a Maya name too.”

           “I can’t wait to meet your family. I’m ready,” Fiona said.

           “Follow me.” Tlaloc walked along a well-worn path. They passed by trees full of squirrel monkeys and saw more butterflies and parrots. “Here is my village. That hut, the last one, is my hut. Come.”

As they walked through the village people came out of their hut to look at them. Some of the children waved at Tlaloc and his new friends. Others just stared. None of the houses had doors and most looked like they were made from dried mud bricks stacked together. They entered Tlaloc’s home. “Mama. Papa, this is Fiona and her friends, Callum and Elspet. They come from far away. I found them at the ruins and invited them home for something to eat.”

Pedro came from one of the back rooms. He was a short man with a dark brown mustache and the same color hair. His eyes sparkled like Tlaloc’s. “Welcome. I speak a little English,” he said. “We welcome you to our home. This is my wife, Rosita.” A short, plump woman missing two front teeth came into the room, smiling. She shook their hands. “She does not speak any English and you will have learned that Tlaloc does not either.”

“Fiona speaks Maya,” Callum blurted out.

“That is very nice. The village was going to have a celebration tonight in honor of the Yaxche tree. We invite you to celebrate with us,” Pedro said.

“We know about the Yaxche tree. It is sacred to your people, the Maya,” Elspet said.

“Did you enjoy your visit to the ruins?” Pedro smiled and looked at Fiona.

In Maya she replied, “It was interesting. I learned a lot about your culture just from being there.”

Tlaloc took them into the back room. “This is my baby sister. She is only ten months old.” He picked her up and gave her to Fiona.

“What is her name?” Fiona smiled at the baby and noticed a head of dark curly hair.

“Her name is Itzel. She is beautiful, no?”

“She is beautiful, yes,” Fiona said.

“Can I hold the baby? What’s her name, Fiona?” Elspet took the baby from Fiona’s arms.

“Her name is Itzel and she’s not even one year old. She’s cute, isn’t she?” Fiona tickled her chin.

Callum had his own baby sister. He wasn’t as thrilled as the girls.

Tlaloc took him by the hand and pulled him outside, behind the house. He pointed to a donkey. “Ampitzel.”

“That’s the donkey’s name? Ampitzel? Can we ride her?” Callum made motions like he was riding a horse.

Tlaloc nodded and jumped on Ampitzel’s back. They took turns riding her until they were called for supper.

Fiona and Elspet played with Itzel and even gave her a bath.

They set up tables in the middle of the village so all members could be together. Each house was assigned a different food. Elspet, Callum and Fiona were allowed to sit at Pedro and Rosita’s table with Tlaloc and Itzel. Down the middle of each table was a platter of food. Pedro said, “Help yourself.” A line was formed starting at one end. They picked up a plate and then could choose whatever they wanted, going all the way around all of the tables until they ended back at their seats.

Elspet filled her plate with almonds, shredded coconut, papayas, shrimp and lobster tail. Fiona took squash blossoms, avocado soup, octopus and tamales.

Callum tried the chiles, maize, guacamole, fried iguana and rabbit stew. They topped their meal off with hot chocolate made from cacao beans.

“I will never be able to drink our cocoa at home again after tasting this,” Elspet said.

“I like the tropical fruit punch. It tastes so fresh. I can taste the papayas in it. Yummy,” Callum said.

“I like this drink with vanilla in it. It has a touch of cinnamon too. It all tastes good. Thank you for inviting us to your village, Tlaloc,” Fiona said. The sun set below the horizon. Darkness crept through the canopy of trees and a slight chill seeped into the air. “I would love to stay here for a few more days, but we must go home now.”

“You cannot go home. It is dark.  You will get lost,” Tlaloc.

“We have a special way of going home, Tlaloc. We don’t need to leave your village,” Fiona said.

“What do you mean? Who are you?” Tlaloc looked sad with tears puddling in his eyes.

“We come from another place, far away. We came to get the amber and now we have to take it back home. People are waiting for us. Our families are waiting.” Fiona sighed. “We have to go now.”

They thanked everyone and hugged them. Tlaloc took slipped the leather chain off his neck. He walked over to Callum and slipped it around his. “This is for you,” Tlaloc said in English. “It is a gift.”

Callum looked at the stone jaguar head. “Thank you.”

Fiona hugged Tlaloc and kissed him on the cheek. “Watch out for those real live jaguars,” she said, smiling. She squeezed his hand.

Elspet, Fiona and Callum walked to Tlaloc’s home. Once inside the small dark room, lit only with two candles, they held hands. “Daleth shapish yam bet.”

With tears in their eyes, they found themselves standing in Uncle Angus’s croft, surrounded by smiling faces.

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