THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ
BOOK NINE: BOOK of the JAGUAR PRIEST
CHAPTER FORTY TWO
The mob assembled before the cathedral, eager to put it to the torch. "Where is the Halach Uinic?" some asked. Others cried "Gone!" "Pedro Yoac is our jefe," still others declared. "Where is Yoac?"
Pedro Yoac bulled his way through the crowd to find Adam Chol exhorting those who had not picked up a torch to do so. "Enough!" he declared, and Adam Chol slipped away, his purpose accomplished.
"This was our church," Pedro told the mob, "stolen from us by the Mexicans, who used it in a vile manner in the days of Santa Cruz del Bravo and, through treachery, influenced our General to make it a house for spies. The church of the Holy Cross is blameless, it is we who are at fault. Carry the books and writing instruments outside, all of the furnishings, and make a pile for the burning, but do no harm to the church. It is to be made pure for the return of the Cross. Juan de la Cruz shall see how we have prepared his home, and will provide us rain.
A great cheering arose, for Pedro Yoac, as the bonfire was started in the plaza. The Oficiales carried out the tools of education and fed them to the flames.
"Where is the teacher?" someone called out.
"Throw him upon the fire!"
"No! The Chacs would be insulted."
"Take him to prison," ordered Yoac, dispatching a sergeant and a cabo. The particulars of the blood-sacrifice were unknown to him, but suspected. If Miguel Chankik wanted the teacher, he would have him.
The soldados returned with Moises Lum. "He says that we had no authority to arrest the teacher, so we arrested him. You are Halach Uinic now, all the Oficiales and the village jefes stand with you. Here is your traitor."
"Is this how you take power for yourself?" asked Moises Lum. "You are a popular man now, but what shall you do when the General returns? Are you prepared for war?"
Pedro Yoac gritted his teeth and paced back and forth before the flames. "He was not here in our wanting. Our land is dying with drought and he remains in Mexico. Are we to wait... would you have him return to a city of skeletons? What would you do?"
"Telegraph him," the Colonel replied.
"We have already done that. And there has been no answer."
"We only sent a message to Merida. This time, we must go directly to Mexico. To the President. The General is to be informed of what we are doing, and be given the occasion to reply. There is a way to do this... from Peto to Campeche. The jefe of Sacalaca told me that there is a line to Mexico City."
Pedro Yoac thought about this. "You may do it," he finally answered. "But, if the Tatoob does not reply, I shall assume that he is dead. Perhaps his boat has gone down... the sea is a treacherous thing. It will take a few days for the rainmaker to be ready. Release him," he said to the soldados. "Keep the other one." A new thought occurred to him. "I will not allow the chance for treachery. We will go to the telegraph together. We will send a message together... or not at all."
And the message the Colonels sent Silvestro, care of President Venustiano Carranza in Mexico, was this: "Your urgent attention requested. Drought remains. Ceremonio chico useless, we proceed with great blue ceremony. Please approve."
"Now," said Colonel Lum, "the Mexicans will have no cause for treachery, for they do not know the meaning of the blue ceremony. This will go directly to the President, who will inform General Kaak."
"And in the interim," said Colonel Yoac, "I shall direct Miguel Chankik to begin his preparations. You will not hinder me and you'll keep your liberty. Agreed?"
There was no more that Moises Lum could do. Only the Tatoob would stop the blue ceremony. But after, no matter the outcome, he knew that he could not trust Pedro Yoac. And if Silvestro did not return, he would have to flee. He had relatives among the followers of Francisco May, to the north, and Juan Bautista Vega, the jefe of Payo Obispo.
Either success or failure of the blue ceremony would seal his fate. And though he was only a Jefe Militar, not a xaman, he offered a small, pitiful prayer of his own for rain, directing it to be carried, with the chalky white smoke of burning books, to Gloria.
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