Fourteenth Scene: The Parting of the Fellowship?

Unsteady on their feet, blinking in the sunlight, the party gathers together, brushing mental cobwebs away as they shake themselves from their weird and dangerous soma induced dreams.

Banyak is particularly wide-eyed and talkative, and many begin to think that she is truly mad. Having carried the remains of a human skeleton (which she claims to be of the seer Maribaya) to the waiting pony, she makes wild claims about being able to see and feel the powers of spirits all around her as well as the ability to summon rats at will.

Whilst Banyak's behaviour seems to be her normal state, just more so, a greater concern is expressed over the state of Babas Bibi. He's completely comatose and cannot be wakened.

Also there is the problem on where to go next. Banyak wants to travel west overland to the land of the Badui and the pu'un to return the remains of Maribaya and lift the curse on her village. Macario wishes to return south to his caravel and trade goods. Wen wishes to return to Bogor and collect his payment from the Hindus. Robert is in two minds; on one level he should go with Macario.. but then there's that strange statue that spoke to him, and Topeng said that the cryptic message suggested they should go north.

What a confusion!

Banyak tries to talk to the other members of the team to continue with their adventures telling of the need to save the animals and life in general from destruction. She says that they can complete their desires along the way, and maybe have more adventures too. Banyak introduces the new tikkus too and tries to explain her new skills.

Wen can be convinced to continue if someone can make a case for some commercial or other advantage to be gained from doing so. We likes this life of heroism, but providing for his family must come first.

For Wen, the quickest journey would be straight through from central to mid-west Java to his family in Bogor. This journey would take about eight days, if you stick to the "road" (a glorfied goat track), although that may be dangerous these days. Beyond that and further to the west is the Badui animists (another two days) and even further west (another two days) is Banyak's village at Carita.

Another alternative is to go south and get to Macario's boat (two days) and then travel around the so'western coast back to Carita (twelve days) and then journey inland to the Badui (two days) and Bogor (two days).

It is difficult to imagine any circumstances where Macario would want to leave his boat behind.

Of course, Robert is itching to travel north and find out what he can about this statue princess...