Ninth: Pelabuhan Ratu: The Queens Harbour, April 22nd, 1525

With Banyak receiving mental instructions from the Garuda, Robert prepares a hasty and shallow grave for the fallen Portuguese soldier. In doing so he discovers a battered leather-bound notebook and alerts his captain, Macario. A casual glance indicate that these are the rantings of a doomed man, sometimes in Spanish, sometimes Portuguese, but mostly incomprehensible. It is however the occassional use of ???? ????? - "the sacred language" - captures Macario's attention. This is not a spoken language, and very few people know how to read it.

As the party scrambles over the edge of the volcanic lip, their limbs grow tired: "The soma is of limited duration", explains Topeng, "and the subsequent sleep is heavy". Topeng in particular struggles with age and his limp and oft-aided by Babas Bibi. Upon arriving at the beach where their boat is docked the party collapses into a heavy sleep. It is very late in the following morning that the group rises, still tired and somewhat bruised. The Garuda, squawking for meat (at least according to Banyak), is fed some salted fish.

Arriving at Carita village a few hours later Hari Ratnakar is overjoyed to see the Garuda chick and a great feast with dancing and singing is held that night. "Now our village will be protected from the disasters I divine", he claims. "But there were no gems, as you predicted", responds Macario. "Oh, but there are, you just haven't found them", the Priest cryptically responds, and will speak no more on the subject.

Finally able to continue their journey as planned, the group leaves Carita and heads south the following morning. Making good use of the excellent weather and light breese, many leagues are covered until the ship seeks the safety of the natural harbour on the Ujong Kulon penisula, which teams with wildlife, especially birds and various monkeys. At one stage a great panther, is spotted near the shore, but it quickly sulked back into the jungle.

The monkeys prove to be both entertaining and annoying as they, in very unusual behaviour, scout the sea-shore for crabs and shellfish. A group of macaques show a great interest in the caravel as it comes to shore and a couple of brave one's even climb onto the vessel. It is only when one tries to steal some of Macario's precious porcelian that they are chased off.

The following day the caravel navigates around the penisula to the southern side of Java. Here the seas and weather are significantly rougher than those on the west coast, and a great deal more than the north. It takes all the skill of Macario and Robert, and now significantly helped by Wen to avoid substantial problems. Nevertheless once again, good distances are made. During the course of the journey, Babas mentions that these are the southern lands of the Badui and at one point, he points to the sacred Gunung mountain far, far in the distance. A mountain which many of you already know perhaps all too well [see scene 003 and scene 004].

It is on the evening of the third day that the caravel [hey Jason, want to name this boat?] arrives at the fishing town and secluded harbour of Pelabuhan Ratu. A great storm is brewing and the waves are significant even here. There is a great deal of commotion at the village. The remains of wreaths and garlands of flowers are scattered along the shore as are the half-eaten remains of a buffalo. As Topeng finds shelter is for the party he discovers that the rulers have recently converted to Islam, with the local priest becoming a mullah and the local king converting to a Sultan.

The story is indeed terrible; according to the former priest, the great queen Nyai Loro Kidul has just days ago thrown herself from Karang Hawu, the cliffs just west of here, in the hope of appeasing Prince Senopati, the new established Sultan of Yogyakarta. Nyai promised that all of Java would be his as long as he, and all his heirs, perform a marriage ceremony on 1 Suro (New Years day, Javanese calender - which has just occurred). The ceremony was conducted at the hot springs near the cliff and afterwards Nyai Loro threw herself to the sea. A distraught Prince Senopati quickly departed in grief, whilst the villages made sacrifices and offerings to her. However, the gifts of the villagers were apparently rejected. The buffalo was washed ashore with enormous demonic bites taken out of it and the garlands were also washed ashore.

Taking shelter quickly in the local temple (which still has Hindu motifs), the storm lasts for three days. The usually reserved Topeng is troubled by conflicting emotions - the village is clearly Hindu in so many ways and in need of help, but they have converted to Islam. Meanwhile, Macario takes the opportunity to study the Portuguese soldiers journal. When the storm blows itself out he expresses a tale of terrible betrayal, incredible monsters and allusions of great wealth....

Topeng's investigations over the next few days lead him to converse with close members of the Cahayani Bedi Datar's family. Apparently the girl was terribly petulant and overly proud of her educated state. When the Muslim missionary came to the village she argued that that educated Hinduism was superior to the common Islam and claimed that only those with the greatest knowledge and recollection were worthy of leadership and nobility. She swore with Varuna, protector of oaths as her witness, that she would only marry anyone who was able to match her in their ability to recollect the holy books, whereupon she recited, without reference, twenty pages of the Riga Veda.

The missionary casually recited the entire Qu'aran.

Cahayani was so overcome with horror and shame that the morning after marrying the missionary, she lept from the cliffs to her death.

For Topeng, this scene is one of loss of an important village and the discovery that perhaps the Hindu rulers have been too arrogant in their rulership and are now paying the price to the populist and inclusive appeal of Islam. His work however has been noted, and although many remain nominal Muslims, they will also venerate the Hindu gods. Working with the remaining Hindus in clearing and repairing the village, he forms a relationship with one Paurav Garlanka who vows to continue his work. His also successfully encourages the remaaing Hindus to less doctrinairre with their application of caste rules.

Banyak's investigations into the matter confirm and elaborate Topeng's discovery. After talking to some monkeys near the scene of the suicide, the monkeys tell her that Cahayani has been transformed into a sea spirit, a giant hawk-billed turtle to be precise. Varuna is angry that Cahayani cheated on the oath, keeping it true in letter, but not in spirit. Varuna has called upon Rudra, the lord of animals, the lord of the dead and the lord of storms to show Varuna's anger.

Late one night, Banyak goes down to the sea side and her meditations finds herself, guided by Tikkus, making contact with Cahayani, who is now a mighty water spirit. Cahayani has calmed Rudra and the seas will now be calmer for many months. In addition Cahayani will guide Banyak and her friends through the seas to Pangadaran.

For Macario the village is a bit of a disappointment. Trading here is initially even less fruitful than Carita, being an even more isolated place and extremely distant from normal trade routes. They have plenty of fish, which is nice enough, but not something you can store for monetary return in Lisboa.

Wen however notices a healer utilising some foul smelling solution - a mixture of water and sulphur! A short distance from the village are sulphur geysers, and the material is very useful in alchemical preparations, especially rockets (with salt-peter and charcoal). The two Chinese characters are ? ryuu = Sulphur ? and kou ou = yellow. The material is common and inexpensive, so Wen takes the opportunity to stock up.

Babas Bibi and Robert find themselves of somewhat similar ilk in the village. Neither are particularly concerned with the religious fate of the town and neither are particular interested in monetary gain. Instead, after contributing to the rebuilding and cleaning up process, they seek a well deserved rest. Nevertheless Babas, seeks a challenge in knowledge with one of the of the educated daughters of a formerly Kshatriyas family, one Aashiyana Cherupana.

The family, like many members of the community are very impressed and somewhat surprised by Babas Bibi's knowledge of the Book and think that he must come from a Brahmin. When the matter of marriage is raised, they are most pleased and start to make arrangements for the wedding ceremony. The quick thinking Babas, being without money, a home where he can take his wife-to-be and still having commitments to Topeng, claims that he will return in a year and a day with great wealth for the ceremony.

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