The Gold of the Payan King
Let's not forget about the gold," the Captain said. The tone in his voice portrayed a deep level of excitement and the mention of the word gold made me see quickly through my drunken haze. Gold fever has been flowing through my blood for years. Shawn and I were all too eager, despite the amount of alcohol consumed, to hear the rest of the Captain's story"Gold? What gold?" Shawn asked, sounding like a little child at the mention of the yellow metal we had both been chasing for so many years. "The gold of the Paya lads. It's there to this day I'm telling ya. Let me tell you a little story if I may. The Paya have been mining up there in Mosquita near the headwaters of the Paulaya river since as long as they have been walking the earth and they have been hiding it deep in the underground tunnels that are said to be underneath Ciudad Blanca. It is still there as far as anyone knows. Waiting for someone to find it, but there's a catch of course, like all great tales of lost treasure flowing through Honduras." "And what's that Captain?" I asked listening to his take now with half fascination and skepticism. "There is said to be a tribe of Paya or Pech still guarding the area to this day and they are armed with modern weapons machine guns and the like left over from the days of the Contras and they don't want us white people stealing their sacred treasure out from underneath them." "I think maybe I should just go back to prospecting when I return home. I don't know if I can deal with mad natives with machine guns." I said. "Don't let that frighten you to much lad. There's always ways around these things if one is man enough. Isn't that right Terry?" "Yes des right boss man." "But we will get to that part later. You must learn more about the treasure," said the Captain. "Didn't the Spanish try and look for the gold?" Shawn asked. "Yes they did, but they could never get near it. The Paya would butcher them or cut out their tongues so they could never talk again about what they saw when they entered the city. There was a Spanish Priest who was sent by his Jesuit order to try and get into the city, to convert the Pagan Payas to Christianity. He holds the key to unlocking the location of the gold. He was the only one to see the gold and to survive. Let me tell you a little about him if I may. His name was Bishop de Landa and his journey took him to the city back in 1765. "When he first encountered the city the Payas didn't kill him on site because he was wearing a black robe and did not look like the others dressed in armour and branding swords. He was talking about God and he came in peace, which interested the Payan King. All the other Spanish who came near the city were possessed with the lust for gold. Something the Payan King could tell, but Bishop de Landa was different. Even though the Bishop De Landa could not understand the Payan dialect he managed to communicate to the Payan King in other ways." the Captain explained. "How?" I asked, now finding myself hooked by the Captain's incredible tale. "He showed the Payan King his crucifix who took great interested because it reminded him of their tree of life and he decided that the robed stranger was not that bad. The two priests then journeyed deep down into one of the temples and discussed their two religions in depth the best they could. The Payan King then explained to the priest that they worship the sun and the earth and that they are the keepers of the sun's sweat. The priest was very intrigued because he knew the Incas down in South America called gold the sweat of the sun. He also knew about Ciudad Blanca's rumours of gold. He asked the Payan King if he could see it and the king agreed and took him even deeper into the temple to a room several levels underground where he showed the priest rooms of gold that the Payan King and his people had collected over generations. Bishop de Landa was speechless at the amount of gold under the temple. There was enough to fill hundreds of Spanish Galleons and would make his empire even richer. As Bishop de Landa gazed at the gold he felt his religious convictions slip as his gold lust started to come to the surface. The Payan King recognized the look on the priest's face and quickly realized that the black robed stranger was not all that different from the others who had visited the city. He ordered several of his warriors to take the black robe prisoner. Before Bishop de Landa could do anything, he was captured and taken to a different room in the temple. He did not know what was in store for him and was now very scared as several warriors placed him on a large stone slab in the middle of the room and tied his hands down. He tried to plea to the Payan King that he had done nothing wrong, but the king would not listen. He drew a dagger from his sheath and approached De Landa, who was now starting to beg for his life. The king walked up to him and reached his hands into the Landa's mouth and forces the bishop to stick out his tongue. He did as he was told and the king then grabbed it and sliced it off. Blood sprayed all over the priest who screamed in agony. The warriors and the king left the priest alone. De Landa laid in the room for several hours in his own blood wondering why a god of justice would give him such a cruel fate." "Maybe because there is no god," I said. "That I would agree with you, but you must hear the rest of the story." the Captain said. "The Payan King returned to the room and untied Bishop de Landa and took him back out of the temple. He was told in Payan that he was free to go, but would never again talk about what he saw. Once the bishop knew he was not going to be killed, he ran with all the energy he had deep into the jungle. After several days of hard traveling and following the river, the bishop arrived at a small Spanish settlement called Oxnor. He was in very rough shape and could not speak about his ordeal as he had no tonque and was given some paper where he wrote about his experience. He never wrote about the gold instead he saved that for his private writing. You see after his experience with the Paya and Ciudad Blanca, Bishop de Landa was not the same person he was after his blood letting experience. He had lost faith in God and left the Jesuit order forever and told them nothing about what he saw in Ciudad Blanca. He lived the rest of his life in Oxnor where he took a wife and had children. His wife taught him sign language and he was able to communicate again. Several of his descendants still live there and it was from them where I had this story lads. They also told me that the former priest wrote a detailed account of his experience at Ciudad Blanca, which he hid from his family for all of his life. He told them the story about what happened to him but never where the city was. His great grandson believes that he buried the manuscript in a graveyard near an old Spanish church de Landa would visit when he was about to die. They have been searching for it for four generations but you see they don't have equipment like your metal detector over there in those parts of Honduras lads. If you where to come with us tomorrow perhaps we could use your detector to try and locate the lost manuscript. So what do you say lads,are you in? asked the Captain as he finished his tale. "Wait a minute. How is a metal detector going to locate a manuscript?" Shawn asked. "His relatives believed he buried all his religious items with the manuscript as well as his prized large silver cross which would be picked up by a metal detector, would it not?" Shawn and I nodded our heads in agreement. "What do we do if we find the manuscript?" I asked. "Well that's when it will get really interesting. If we locate the manuscript we will try for the city, if tells us where it is. We will split the treasure 25 percent each way. Agreed?" "Sounds good to me," I said looking at Shawn who did not look so confident. "If we do get that far and we do locate the gold how do you plan on getting rid of it?" "I have friends in Tegucigalpa who can solve that problem. Don't worry so much. Gold is not hard to get rid of in any country."explained the Captain. "Can we have the night to discuss this?" Shawn said. "I am supposed to be back in Canada in a week for my job." "Sure you can," the Captain said. "We will sleep on our boat tonight and be back here first thing in the morning." With that the Captain and Terry got up and headed into the Honduran night leaving Shawn and I by ourselves smoking cigarettes and drinking the last of our booze "We have to do it!" I said to Shawn, "it's the adventure of a lifetime." "I don't know. Sounds kind of out there man. I mean come on, a Payan city filled with gold? What are the odds?" "I know it's out there, but come on how many people get the chance to do anything like this? You'll still have two weeks off. You don't have to return yet. We'll just extended our tickets. Go call Laura she'll understand. We have to try this!" "Friesen, I tell you man, this is the last time I ever look for treasure. Man this better be the one. I am tired of getting let down man." "This one makes Pitt Lake look like coin shooting. Let's go with it and see what happens. If anything it's going to be a great adventure. Besides we still have to locate the manuscript and if we don't do that we will be back on a plane to Canada in a couple of days." I explained, "In the meantime I need some sleep I am already going to have a killer hangover in the morning." Shawn and I both returned to our separate rooms at the reef house and I laid in bed that night smoking cigarettes staring at the ceiling fan in my room, feeling like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. With thoughts of treasure running through my mind I had forgotten about the tragic search for the Mitchell Hedges' treasure because I had a feeling that this may be the one. It was too big not to be. I knew I was about to embark on the greatest treasure hunt of my life. The next morning I got up and headed over to the bar of the reef house and lit a cigarette and ordered a orange juice from Alex the bartender and waited for Shawn to wake up. I had a killer hangover but my spirits were high. There was no sign of the Captain or Terry as of yet. Alex gave me a strange look as he handed me my orange juice. "I could not help over hearing your conversation last night," Alex said to me, "are you sure you want to go into the Olancho district? It's very dangerous and more so for gringos. You better make sure you have a gun. It's like the Wild West there and I am not kidding with you sir." "Well you only live once," was my cocky answer. "This is true, but it's better to live as long as possible don't you think?" he said. I had a few moments to think about what Alex said and then David showed up. "Whats going on man?" he said to me. I heard you were leaving with the Captain. "You should stay here, it's safer. Why not try looking for Henry Morgan's treasure that's supposed to be still hiding up near Augusta, the old pirate city?" "You know what David? Every island in the Caribbean thinks that it contains the treasure of Henry Morgan and I think I will have to pass. At least I have not heard of this one and that's what makes it sound good in my mind," I said as Shawn wandered up to the bar looking hung over. "I can't believe you are letting this crazy pirate talk you into going to the Olancho district man!" David gasped. "That's what I thought," Shawn answered, "but what are friends for?" "Well I say you are both crazy!" David said walking away. "I was thinking this over last night and Laura is not going to like this one very much," he said giving me an evil smile and turned to the bar and said, "Alex! I need to use the phone."
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