I mentioned in one of my earliest posts that I once wrote an unpublished novel called The Heart of Time. Actually, it was the first book in a trilogy (probably not such a great idea if you want to get your first novel published). Anyway, I have translated the “teaser” from Swedish to English and maybe I will post the prologue and chapter one in the future. A disclaimer to the Mayanists reading this post; in this fictional book I am using far more traditional Mayanist ideas than I do in my research. Here it is:
Within a cave in the Guatemalan rainforest two looters find a piece of an Olmec jade mask that has been cut into two halves. The mask is located right next to a partly calcified human skeleton with a skull carved with Maya glyphs. After a quarrel with the archaeologists, who discovers their activities, the mask is lost and it disappear deeper down into the crevices. But who was the long dead individual in the cave, and why had the skull all these glyphs? Why had the mask been sawn in half and where is the other half?
Some answers to these questions is found in the deeper ancestral past. The mask, complete this time, reappears in the year AD 644, in the middle of an ongoing coup d’etat at Tikal, center of the old, burgeoning kingdom of Mutal. A boy is born within a small blood red temple, hidden from the violence outside by the misty breath of Mutal’s ancestors. Not far from the temple the newborn boy’s family is wiped out, a gruesome event orchestrated by his own uncle, Nuun Ujol Ch’aak, the new lord of Mutal. The newborn boy’s mother dies in childbirth and the baby and the jade mask are rescued by a midwife who passes them over to her granddaughter, the young girl Wak Ik. As they flee Mutal’s warriors they join the ranks of another uncle of the newborn boy, the ruler of Dos Pilas, B’ajlaj Chan K’awiil.
Little know Wak Ik and the boy, who will be given the name Hun Chuwen, that in their possession they have The Heart of Time, an object cared and revered by a group of priests of Mutal for several centuries. Many people desire the jade mask as it is believed to contain the accumulated knowledge and memories of Mutal’s ancestors. The caretaker of the mask can share the ancestors’ knowledge and predictions about upcoming katuns and baktuns. The only surviving priest is the boy’s grandfather, Lam Nah, who seeks to exploit it for his selfish purposes, which may topple not just Mutal, but the whole World of Forms into chaos. After Lam Nah’s death his companion spirit is assumed to take refuge in the mask. The only way to combat the malicious spirit, which is assumed to be using the Heart of Time for it’s own purposes, is to teach Hun Chuwen how the Formless world of the spirits works. He is trained in various skills, to be able to enter the road of becoming the black jaguar prophet who can control and interpret the Heart of Time. However, the physically weak Hun Chuwen believes his life and health is dependent on the jade mask, which he keeps in a bundle. He also believes it can give answers to who his father and mother were. In his search for his origin, the mask becomes a problem because the only people alive who know who his mother and father really were, are also his main enemies in the world; his uncles, the kings of a divided Mutal.