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Chapter 1
Lunar Eclipse
It was the night of the Lunar Eclipse when a beautiful young
princess named Inkala was born. Her life was spent in the midst of the
gentle undulations of waves, the green forests of carob trees, and in the
shadows of anchored reed boats
(Caballitos de Totora)
that lay still on the
shores of the Pacific Ocean. She lived with her parents King Chimu and
Queen Wari.
A few years into her young life, Princess Inkala was struck by
misfortune. One morning as usual, her mother, Queen Wari, had gone
out for a swim. While she was walking along the shore, the tiny harpoon
of a cone snail stung her foot. The venom of this snail is so powerful that
it causes instant death to its victims. Queen Wari was no exception. Her
heart failed as she took her last breath with her face on the sand.
After the passing of her mother, Inkala had taken refuge in her
memories. Feeling alone and depressed, she would spend her days and
nights inside the Palace of Chan Chan. Her father, seeing that his little
princess needed cheering up, decided to gift her with a small pet. It
was an alpaca brought straight from the Andes region. The princess
simply named her “Alpaca.” Like Inkala, Alpaca was motherless,
so the two comforted each other, sharing the same deep pain. Not
long after, they became the best of friends.
A few years later, when Inkala was fifteen, she and Alpaca took
their customary walk to the beach just outside of the city. Yet, on this
particular morning, Princess Inkala fixed her eyes on the
horizon and said, “I feel like something bad is going to happen. The
sky’s so gloomy, and there’s not a single bird flying. We even had a
lunar eclipse last night.”
“You always worry about the silliest things,” Alpaca said, “Like
whether the sky’s filled with stars or not, or if there are any birds around.
My dear, you know very well that strange things tend to happen with
the weather during this season. Still, it doesn’t mean that something bad
is going to happen.”