One Four Challenge – week two – May 2015

Robyn at Captivate me created this wonderful challenge of weekly processing a photo four ways. Do check out the One Four Challenge in the reader for all the great submissions. I’m a bit early.

 (previous chapter one)

For those who enjoy reading and who requested more story here it is and I hope I won’t disappoint. For those who don’t I hope the image is a story in itself!!

Chak Ek rising above the trees
Chak Ek (Venus) rising above the trees

The Meeting

Lady Ho Chuen stepped out from the shadow of her loom and spoke softly.  “You have come at last!  My father and the priests have been waiting and so have I.” She invited the young man to sit and servants soon appeared at the door bringing  ceramic vessels filled with hot atole. As they both leaned forward to drink, Smoke Jaguar saw serpent tails of steam curl over her long forehead and into the luxurious black hair that was dressed in high rows on top of her head. Her eyes caught the fire from the torch lamps and flashed like an obsidian knife. He shivered slightly and a gust of night air from the hallway shook the blue green feathers of his headpiece.  Not long ago he had hoped they would marry and an alliance be made between their two cities, but now with the hardships that had come, those wishes had been put aside as the people struggled to make sense of what was happening.

Putting down his bowl, Smoke Jaguar turned suddenly and embraced the woman at his side.  He felt the beating of her heart quicken against his chest like the rushing wings of the quetzal bird whose feathers he wore.  After a few moments she reluctantly broke free and began to speak. “The people are leaving the cities” she said quietly, “The great ball courts are empty and there is talk of worse to come. The priests and nobles have been unable to appease the gods.” Lady Ho Chuen gripped his hand tightly. “Smoke Jaguar, last night I had a dream! The great Kukulkan swallowed the sun and was fleeing from the heavens. A blood rain fell upon our cities and temples.” Momentary fear gripped Smoke Jaguar.  “Aiiie my lady,” he exclaimed softly, “this is a powerful dream!  It must be entrusted to those who will understand  and I have brought the codice   from the priests of  the Wizard’s Well that may shed light on it all”

___________________________________________________

 ____________________________________________

to chapter 3– The Road to the Heavens

also see: In the Jaws of Kukulkan

Background

Somewhere around 900 CE and for unknown reasons ( possible deforestation, climate change, disease, poor government and warfare ) the Mayans began abandoning their cities and the empire and population greatly decreased. Though some scholars don’t like to call it a collapse because a few centers still thrived and remained populated, by the time the Spanish arrived (in the 1500’s) the great civilization had much changed.

I’m using some poetic licence as the most dramatic collapses were in Chiapas and Guatamala but the decline occured throughout the Empire.

Lady Ho Chuen– just for fun I used the name that a Mayan elder gave me that corresponded with my Mayan horoscope using their old calendar. It means 5 Monkey but also clouds were mentioned so  Muyal Chuen or Cloud Monkey was another.  The Mayans often had strange names and numbers were magical.  One king was called 19 Rabbit. The monkey however is symbolic of both the power of illusion and creativity which I hoped was inspiring!

Atole is a central American beverage mix made from corn and sometimes flavoured with chocolate.

Kukulkan is the Mayan equivalent of  the Aztec Quetzalcoatl- the feathered serpent of the sky- his developmental role in the pantheon of gods is shrouded in some mystery but he was a powerful symbol of vision, sacrifice and the state. At Chichen Itza he visibly slithers down the pyramid( el castillo) during the equinox.

Wizard’s Well or more correctly the mouth of the wizard’s well was the city of Chichen Itza.

in keeping with the spirit of the Mayan astronomer priests I layered this PS CC with a night sky background, a touch of blue filter and an art brush for this version.  

60 Comments Add yours

  1. Your love and your knowledge of your subject just shine through. Lovely work x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. again sorry for the late reply, so pleased you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am away to rad more. Just been so busy this week. Sure you know the feeling x

        Like

      2. that’s music to my ears of course lol!

        Like

  2. Breathtaking ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Cougar!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful night sky, Cybele!

    Like

    1. thanks so much Stacy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. afairymind says:

    I love the night effect! A beautiful edit, Cybele. Great story, as well – as always. 🙂

    Like

    1. so glad you liked it Louise!! Stay tuned lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As always, very expressive and powerful writing. Loving the story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. much appreciated Lizzie!! hugs to you my friend.

      Like

  6. Norma says:

    The night sky served perfectly as the mystery ground for your story. I enjoyed the story and loved the effect on the photo. The Mayan civilization is so interesting but only little is known about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so true Norma but lots of theories and of course wonder!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Tracey says:

    I liked the original version, also week one’s submission…but this one is all kinds of WOW!! I really love it! I agree with one of the other commenters…it fits great with your story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s wonderful Tracey- thanks so much- and for reading the story!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lynne Ayers says:

    What a great image to work with! I love the original but your treatments are delightful too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Lynne!

      Like

  9. Such a wonderfully mysterious night image! Each version of this image is so dramatically different – great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Eliza!! I love the place!!

      Like

  10. Just brilliant, Cybele, and no need to apologise for taking artistic licence. That photograph looks like a painting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So pleased you like it Sarah!! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I like the night time feel in the and the stars in the sky. I really like the image.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Ben!!

      Like

  12. Always an interesting series of versions that you come up with. Glad to see you are still keeping up with the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Robert. This is a subject I love to photo and write about.

      Like

  13. Robyn G says:

    Left a comment this morn, but WP ate it again 😜
    Love the night version Cybele! Its gorgeous.. and I have to say Ms 5 Monkey suits you perfectly – Illusion and Creativity! Fab image and words as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 thanks so much Robyn!! I like this mysterious version. I was a bit early but my time seems a bit choppy these days- I’m all over the place! I’m especially pleased if you enjoyed the story too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robyn G says:

        Oh boy, I can so relate to being ‘choppy’ and all over the place! Crazy 😜

        Liked by 1 person

      2. oh yeah!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Not sure about the monkey thing but it has been spoken – that is my animal!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Peter Nena says:

    You have just enriched my day with the story.
    “Smoke Jaguar saw serpent tails of steam curl over her long forehead and into the luxurious black hair that was dressed in high rows on top of her head.”

    I love this description. “serpent tails of steam”–ha! It is wonderful. And then you proceed to describe the lady: the long forehead and luxurious black hair dressed in high rows form part of a point observation. So much emotion is expressed in it. Such admiration. He had wished to marry her; so much is revealed about his life and his people by just this line. Then he hugs the lady and feels the beating of her heart. This completes it.
    It is better than saying “She had a long forehead and luxurious black hair dressed in high rows on top of her head”–which would make the reader question: ‘why are her forehead and hair important?’

    Also, the quetzal simile is great. “whose feathers he wore”–puts the bird in context. You incorporate it in the story instead of just saying “like the rushing wings of the quetzal bird” which would make a reader ask: ‘why the quetzal?’

    You are a wonderful writer, Cybele. I am a fan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my Peter, thank you so much for the analysis!! those details kind of flowed into my fingers on the keyboard and I tapped away not sure how they would translate. Sometimes I worry about too much detail!- but, hey from now on I may run things by you!! Writing about love from a romantic sense and to impart that sense of loving fixation isn’t easy I think. I shy away from it most times so if it is successful I am thrilled. And you picked up on those nuances!! Great minds think alike lol!! You are so encouraging and I am so happy I have your support and feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. wow, such an impressive result!

    ———–
    http://travelingrockhopper.com

    Like

    1. a lovely comment! thanks so much for coming by my blog!!

      Like

  16. Anita says:

    Ah beautiful, Cybele. I feel like the night sky effect and the story work together to portend dark times ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes there is a dark river of mystery that runs through the Mayan story- and ultimate tragedy. Thank you Anita!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anita says:

        You know that kinda makes me not look forward to the next version… 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. oh brrrhahha!!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. sedge808 says:

    i love the blue version

    Liked by 1 person

    1. much appreciated Sedge!! Thank you!

      Like

  18. coolquilting says:

    an amazing edit with this night-time version!!!

    Like

    1. so glad you like it! Thanks Cool!

      Like

  19. Beautiful post – this week’s version is definitely my favourite so far 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. colour me blue happy!! Thanks Lisa!

      Like

  20. I really love what you’ve done again this week. Week one and week two are as different as night and day! 😀 I have a lot of information on the ancient Americas if you’re interested. Here is a link to one article if you wish to check it out. (It is on my church’s website but I’m not proslytizing!) There’s a boatload of information which includes the Mayan culture. https://www.lds.org/ensign/1984/09/digging-into-the-book-of-mormon-our-changing-understanding-of-ancient-america-and-its-scripture?lang=eng

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Linda I am going to check it out. Will get back to you!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a lot of reading! Hope it’s something you find interesting! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  21. svtakeiteasy says:

    Oh Cybele what a stunning result. The night sky and blue filter work wonderfully to add mystery to the image and I like the light on the gate too. May I ask you how you got that night sky? Was it a photo you had taken and combined into this one, or is it a pre-set?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hey Chris, it was an old photo in my background folder. So glad you liked this Chris- hope the story wasn’t too ominous lol! ( though it is!)

      Like

  22. Sue says:

    Love your processing this week, Cybele – truly mystical! And great prose, as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Sue, I’m glad you liked the story too!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Love the night effect Cybele and it works perfectly with your words 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Andrea!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Nurul Lubis says:

    I feel some horor things in the story.. Or it just my feeling due to the pictures above .. the night effect is perfect, Cybele..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a very interesting and mysterious civilization with lots of scary and dramatic mythology!! They only just deciphered their glyphs not that long ago and are still trying to piece their story together. Much of their history and writings were unfortunately destroyed by the Spanish who considered them to be works of the devil!!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. and thank you Nurul!! I like the night effect too!

      Like

Come on , don't be afraid to squeak up!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.