An empress of a Mayan Empire. Only young but already she has magic powers: she can turn her heart to an eagle, her mouth to a horn and her legs to trees.

She presides over the forest and all it’s creatures.

Today she gathers her army in the depths of Chunta’s cave. Their body paint reflects gold and silver on the red clay walls. The leather straps around her arms feel like an armour of ten steel shields. They dance by the fire which dances with them and they raise their sights.

The forest will not fall. The majesty will not crumble.

Out they fly, transformed and led by the empress.

Hundreds of gold and silver starlings in murmuration over the humid lush land. The shapes they form are symbols of victory. And in the distance there it is. A swarm of black and grey like smoke. Their warrior song is drowned by the incessant drone coming from the dark cloud. It is as if night has fallen but no stars this time. The jungle is on fire behind the darkness.

Soon they are enveloped. The dust chokes the empress. She is trapped – the precious bounty.

She loosens their hold and, with a final struggle, she is released.  She falls and falls through the clouds, holding on to her faith until she landed with a thump on the mossy ground.

Getting up she looks ahead of her.  How can the forest have such a clear path?

The leaves seem to flatten before her.

A tiger? She swore she saw flashes of orange and black cutting between the trees.

She runs, branches whipping at her arms, the floor seemingly smooth, not a thorn stands in her way.

The jungle is thick and dense but she knows her way.

A flash of light.

She trips.  Searing pain shoots up her thigh. She pulls out the sharp branch and limps along – out into grassland. Blood drips down her leg, she grasps her thigh. Her head begins to swim, she tumbles.

Long grass. Open sky. An eagle flies across ‘Go on’ it urges.

A sticking feeling in the small of her back, she feel underneath and pulls out a rough ruby.  She holds it to her wound and pulls out more and more rubies until the injury disappears.

Standing tall once again. Another tiger’s flash and she’s off. Whipping through grass. Tack tack tack. The sky pink now. She flies with every leap till she reaches the summit.

Air. Space. Magnificence.

Breathing behind her. He’s arrived. As promised.

She feels his gentleness. She turns. There the massive figure stoops. Cowering? No. Bowing! To her? She wants to run over and pull him up, it he hurt? She needs his strength. Of all things she needs him to be strong. But wait, his eyes. She looks at him and sees a calm wisdom. Yellow and black piercing eyes, matching his yellow and black striped scales.

His huge figure rises up.

‘I am here. Divine one. I am here for your bidding. Set me free. Let me be your force. The force you constantly deny, hide, mistrust. Let me free. I do not cower. I bow to your Divine Grace. I bow to the wisdom in you soul.’

Slowly she moves over to her enormous dragon, his body writhing with energy and passion, and presses the rubies into his forehead.