Eleventh Scene 11 : Prambanan Empire, Central Java, May 15th, 1525.

Leaving Pangadaran, the troupe travels westward to the port of Cilacap and spends two nights there. Banyak, troubled by her experience and demands form the tiger-king in Pangadaran, asks for advice from Tikkus. The wise old rat sighs, and tells Banyak that she has greater things to worry about for the time being. "At the moment, you must confront the fears that are within you", he says. "Only then can you challenge the trouble external to yourself".

From Cilacap, the team travels even further westerwards to the seaside village of Baron. From there it is two days journey past the strange limestone mountains of southern central Java to the Prambaran Plain, greatest of the Hindu Empires in Java.

Except it doesn't seem so great any more. The numerous villages that the party pass through seem eerily isolated with but a handful of people living there. Rich soil and sprawling rice paddies seem to be only modestly used if at all. With the mighty mountain Gunung Merapi, the "nail of Java" in the distance to the north, the party reaches the Prambaran plain on at dusk on the second day.

It is a strange place, with over two hundred temples sprawling over thirty square kilometers on either side of the Sungai Opak river. They were build several hundred years ago, explains Topeng, during a political and religious competition between the rival Saliendra (Buddhist) and Sanjaya (Hindu) empires. Interestingly, the competition, according to the holy history, was never military, but rather one of friendly competition.

After making their introductions to the local King, an old and even decrepit man named Ratu Bok, Topeng is most insistent on showing the party parts of the temple complex. It is, he explains, the centre of culture in Java. It is here that the empire from which the Ramayana, the greatest love story of all time, was composed. It was here, that Hanuman, the monkey-god, makes his most common appearances. It is here, he explains, the Majaraphit Empire reached its height some two hundred years ago, controlling all of the archipelago, reaching deep into Siam and extracting tribute from Viet Nam and with permanent
diplomats in the courts of Chinese Emperors.

"Never have these lands had such glory", Topeng explains. "And here", he points, "Here is an example of the magic of these lands".

The statue is of a slender young woman, not surprisingly known as Princess Loro Jonggrang (Slender Virgin), held in the largest temple in the complex. Incredible jewels adorn her body, sparkling emeralds for eyes, and an enormous ruby in her navel.

"Pursued by a most unsuitable suitor", Topeng explains, "Jonggrang mocked him and send she would marry him if he build a temple for her before dawn. The suitor however, summoned earth elementals to assist him in this task, so Jonggrang commanded members of the village to pound rice logs earlier than usual, this being the traditional method to announce the coming of dawn. She then commanded a great fire be lit in the east, to further confuse the gnomes, who abandoned their work
early. The suitor, enraged by her deceit, cast a magic spell, turning Jonggrang to stone, where she remains to this day."

Macrario of course, can hardly believe his eyes. Even in this darkness he can evaluate the value of these gems as being worth in the tens of thousands pieces of silver (or pieces o' eight?).

Robert on the other hand, feels strange in a different way. That statue really is so lifelike, that woman so beautiful. Did she really
just wink at him, or was that a trick of the light?