This is an excerpt from the short story Machu Picchu by Anna Muir (Gwen’s penname)
Comments are welcome!
The folk came in twos and threes, meeting each other on the paths through the mountains just as the sun came up. They sailed across the Pacific Ocean, walked down from the lands of ice and rocks, and hopped from sun-drenched cloud to cloud. They wore silks, furs, and nothing at all. They were pale, ebony, and green. The humans saw them, but didn’t know what they saw.
The mountains were washed in sunshine for the gathering. Usually shielded by fog that stretched from one emerald crown to another at this time of year, Machu Picchu was at its finest for the assembly of the folk. As the host nation for this century, Peru wanted its birds to show off their brightest plumage, and its mountains to stand their tallest.
Making the mountains warm enough for the folk from the Sahara to be comfortable, but
not so warm that the folk from the Artic passed out from heatstroke was tricky. For months Inti experimented, shining on each peak from each angle until he worked out how to create the perfect temperature. That settled, he convinced Jinn to play his flute made from the horn of an auroch so the folk would know where to come.
Jack in the Green arrived first, preceded by the pale jade vines and leaves that he sent forth to announce his coming. For such a large creature he lumbered up the mountains quickly, never stopping to rest or catch his breath. He smiled at Inti, then turned to look over the rows of stone houses and plateaus of farmland stacked one on top of the other…