"It is decided, then," said a visibly dispirited Moises Lum as Pedro waved the Tatoob's telegram in triumph. "What the Halach Uinic has decided is my charge!"

          "How wise our General is," agreed Colonel Yoac. Victory had made him benevolent, friendly, almost, but at the bottom of his heart he was discouraged that Silvestro, too, had not opposed him, for he saw himself succeeding to the Governor's position sooner, rather than later. "But what he is advising us of about this offering... I cannot figure that out."

          "Can the brujo?"

          "Chankik assures me that Silvestro is a most perceptive jefe and the offering, whatever it may be, will be appropriate." He smiled again. "Perhaps he has brought El Chacol back to face the blue paint and black knife! Perhaps, even, old Bravo himself!"

          "But what will happen now?"

          "The stars, the old writings and the auspices all concur that the day after tomorrow must be the day. The ceremony shall begin at noon, the sacrifice at the moment of sundown. General Kaak arrives from Peto an hour before that. All forces converge at one single point," said Pedro, meshing his hands.

          Moises Lum nodded. "Has the brujo chosen the place for the ceremony?"

          "It must be the temple, half a legua from the city on the way back to Yokdzonot."

          The old stone building that they spoke of did not have a name in any tongue and was completely surrounded by, and almost covered with, the monte. Its status as the nearest of the old walls to the city of Chan Santa Cruz and the ferocious depictions upon its remaining friezes accorded it notoriety above its humble stature.

          "I appeal to you now to release Juan Kui," said Colonel Lum. "There is no possibility that Chankik will require him now. To continue to hold the teacher may be offensive to the General."

          "Let the Tatoob judge that," said Pedro, in whom confidence had taken root since the arrival of Silvestro's message. "If I am mistaken, I shall pay the penalty alone. But, at this time, the teacher may be dangerous... even if he is does not try to disrupt the ceremony. His evil thoughts may cause the Chacs to harden their hearts. A wanderer who carries fever to a village does not think of himself as a murderer, but kills more surely than does any dzulob soldado or bandit. "If General Kaak orders so, he will be freed at once."

          "What preparations must be made?" the Colonel asked feeling, as he did, the hot breath of Lord Kin.

          "The old stones are to be cleared. Candles will be brought, idols carved. As the year is under the protection of tigers, it is ordered that these idols be dedicated to Itzamna. Twelve old women shall join the Oficiales... they will dance to gain the tiger's favor.

          "I have appointed a Teniente to place guard over all four entrances to this place," he continued. "They would die rather than permit disruption of the great blue ceremony." And he said this to the other Colonel with a most unfriendly eye.

          "What is there for us to do now?" asked Lum.

          "Nothing. All that is our duty is to wait and pray that the Chacs will find the blood-offering of the Halach Uinic pleasing to their palates. Time... and Miguel Chankik... will accomplish the rest."