“Lord, after this I sought out certain of my friends who had loved me in my youth and my mother also while she lived, revealing myself to them. We made plans together, but before aught could be done in earnest, it was needful that I should see my father Upanqui. While I was waiting till he had recovered from the stroke that fell upon him, some spy betrayed me to Urco, who searched for me to kill me and well-nigh found me. The end of it was that I was forced to fly, though before I did so many swore themselves to my cause who would escape from the tyranny of Urco. Moreover, it was agreed that if I returned with soldiers at my back, they and their followers would come out to join me to the number of thousands, and help me to take my own again so that I may be Inca after Upanqui my father. Therefore I have come back here to talk with you and Huaracha.
“Such is my tale.”
THE FIELD OF BLOOD
When on the morrow Huaracha, King of the Chancas, heard all this story and that Urco had given poison to his daughter Quilla, who, if she still lived at all, did so, it was said, as a blind woman, a kind of madness took hold of him.
“Now let war come; I will not rest or stay,” he cried, “till I see this hound, Urco, dead, and hang up his skin stuffed with straw as an offering to his own god, the Sun.”
“Yet it was you, King Huaracha, who sent the lady Quilla to this Urco for your own purposes,” said Kari in his quiet fashion.
“Who and what are you that reprove me?” asked Huaracha turning on him. “I only know you as the servant or slave of the White-Lord-from-the-Sea, though it is true I have heard stories concerning you,” he added.
“I am Kari, the first-born lawful son of Upanqui and by right heir to the Inca throne, no less, O Huaracha. Urco my brother robbed me of my wife, as through the folly of my father, upon whose heart Urco’s mother worked, he had already robbed me of my inheritance. Then, to make sure, he strove to poison me as he has poisoned your daughter, with a poison that would make me mad and incapable of rule, yet leave me living—because he feared lest the curse of the Sun should fall upon him if he murdered me. I recovered from that bane and wandered to a far land. Now I have returned to take my own, if I am able. All that I say I can prove to you.”
For a while Huaracha stared at him astonished, then said:
“And if you prove it, what do you ask of me, O Kari?”
“The help of your armies to enable me to overthrow Urco, who is very strong, being the Commander of the Quichua hosts.”
“And if your tale be true and Urco is overthrown, what do you promise me in return?”
“The independence of the Chanca people, who otherwise must soon be destroyed, and certain other added territories which you covet, while I am Inca.”
“And with this my daughter, if she still lives?” asked Huaracha looking at him.