Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. I am merely telling a story in her world for the fun of it.
A/N: In most cases, Mayan words are pronounced like Spanish words. The main difference is that "X" is pronounced like "SH", and that there are several other differences in the use of glottalized consonants. "Tz" has no real English or Spanish equivalent and "Dz" is just a glottalized "Tz." If people ask for it, I will post a pronunciation guide in the second chapter.
Also, although magical spells and terms are capitalized in the books, I have chosen not to capitalize them for several reasons. One, with the amount of foreign terminology that I will be using, it would be offsetting to capitalize everything. Two, this is from Ginny's POV and I have made magic a much more commonplace, almost background, element of the story. Capitalization would draw attention to it, and I prefer to make it no different than her sitting or talking. Lastly, the visual appearance of writing with too many capital letters can be jarring to readers and editors.
Kneeling in the center of the chamber, Ginny ran her hands over one of the stones, feeling the slight tingle that indicated a protective spell. Usually, she would consider that a good sign. Magic meant they were on the right track in a room, but this entire room had that feel. She had been pacing around it now for two hours, touching every surface, feeling the living breath of magic that permeated every square centimeter of the room, including the dome overhead.
The room was circular. It measured thirteen yards across, and the ceiling rose from the floor in a dome. It was a perfect hemisphere, seamless with no doors, except for the hole in the stylized sun that was carved at the apex of the dome. A rope ladder dangled from the aperture. The floor and ceiling were carved with intricate reliefs that told the Popol Vuh, the story of creation. In the center of the room three round rocks, that had been green at one point, were evenly spaced in a triangle around an intricately carved, circular center stone a yard across. A few flecks of color still showed in the crevasses, giving them a sickly hue.
The air was musty and damp, but not oppressive like a newly opened tomb. Beyond the dust and dirt and the lingering scent of sweat, there was a fragrance of life and lush growth that came from the air circulating in from the outside. It masked the remnants of the stale air that would have been in the room when her team had first opened it two months ago. In another few months, Ginny mused, the room would smell no different than the ruins a hundred feet above her.
Brushing a stray lock of red hair out of her eyes, Ginny chewed her lip in thought. She was frustrated, and it was making her irritable. The team she had assigned to this tomb was reportedly one of the best from Egypt. Taking their past successes to heart, she had given them Itzamna in the hope that they would acclimate to their new locale. Part of their failure was her fault. She was the Curator for Central America, and the six curse breaking teams in the area were her responsibility.
In general, she was excessively lenient with new teams because the Maya were difficult to understand, and they used a very different brand of magic than most ancient cultures. A room such as this would have stymied any rookie team. Although, she reminded herself, a rookie team would have asked for help before spending two months testing a room. Obviously, the entrance to the burial chamber was hidden here, but the question was where and how. Pulling out her wand, Ginny tapped the stone in front of her and whispered the revealing charm. For a moment the stone glowed blue, and a subtle pattern of obscured colors appeared, hidden within the light. Instead of remaining visible, as she expected it to, the light flowed outward from the tip of her wand and dissipated in the surrounding stone tiles. That was very interesting, and she wondered why she had not been informed of that effect by her team.
"Stupid choice," Ginny said, berating herself. She had been so certain that this site was no different than Becan. They were within miles of each other and laid out in the exact same manner. The only difference was that, unlike Becan, this site, which she had named Itzamna because of the hundreds of iguanas that basked on the temple steps, was warded by very powerful and very old Muggle repelling charms.
"That should have been your first clue, Ginny," she told herself, shaking her head. She should have let Bashir's team handle this one.
"What was that, Curator Weasley?" a voice asked from above.
Squinting at the opening in the dome, which was lit with a soft blue from the light crystals her teams used, Ginny could see the shadow of a thin head and shoulders looking down at her. Although shadowed, she recognized the man. "Nothing, Wendal," Ginny said. "I'm just working out the problem with myself."
"I always thought the goblins were crazy giving a curator position to that child, but I didn't think she was crazy." Ginny heard the disparaging comment and the laughter that followed it, thanks to the remarkable acoustic properties of the Mayan structure. However, the architecture was the last thing on Ginny's mind as her temper flared. She cursed Satterfield and his lot daily.
This team had been nothing but problems for her since they had arrived six months ago. All of them, except for Wendal Coombs, thought a thirty year old witch was a joke as a curator. Although Ginny had been a curse breaker since graduating from Hogwarts, and she was responsible for two of the five largest recorded finds in Gringotts history, few of her colleagues, especially the older crowd, accorded her any respect. No, this team came from Egypt, and the Senior Curator of Egypt was the most influential wizard in Gringotts. And since Lord Alfred Satterfield, the team leader of this group, was a personal friend of Senior Curator Smythe, she now had to deal with them on her own turf.
Ginny snorted at the title. Satterfield was an arrogant berk who liked to pose with his borrowed title. He was the uncle of the actual Lord Satterfield. His nephew was eight, however, and Alfred had taken on the onerous responsibilities of the title until his young ward came of age. Still, if the rumors were to be believed, the young heir would not have much to his name after his uncle's dalliances and liberties with the title in Egypt. Ginny was certain that less-than-savory improprieties had forced Senior Curator Smythe to protect his old friend by sending him half way around the world to become her problem.
Because of that, this group of gadabouts thought they were better than every curse breaker in the Americas and that Ginny was little more than a well paid babysitter. Gritting her teeth as another wave of raucous laughter rolled over her, Ginny tried to focus her attention on the tomb, but it was futile as another 'child' comment was bandied about.
Ginny was well aware that she was the youngest curator ever appointed, and the only witch to ever serve in the position. In the wizard dominated field of curse breaking, Ginny had to prove herself constantly to every new curse breaker who came into her territory. Most learned to respect her and her abilities, but some were entrenched in their beliefs and ended up shipped to another location or dead because they refused to listen.
As Curator of Central America, Ginny was responsible for all the sites in Mexico and Central America, and she was entrusted with the management of six separate teams of curse breakers. As much as the other curators complained, she was curator for a reason: the goblins liked her results. By the goblin's own admission, she was the best they had seen in decades, even better than her older brother Bill, and the damn Egyptian treasure hunters were treating her like a little girl playing dress up. Even her brothers had stopped doing that by the time she was fifteen. Of course, she had to teach her brothers a lesson before they did.
Well, Ginny decided, if they thought she was just for show, she would remind them why she was curator. She grinned maliciously. She was certain she understood the secret of the room and could get to the burial chamber. She doubted they would be impressed with her knowledge, but when she claimed first rights as the Curator and split the fee among all of her teams, they would be humiliated at the least. The goblins often punished curse breaking teams that needed a curator's help in opening a tomb.
"Wendal, why don't you come down here?" Ginny asked cheerfully. "I need a sounding board."
There was silence from the antechamber, followed by the skittering of stones, and Wendal's long legs swung into the room. He expertly caught the ladder and climbed down to stand on the floor, grinning sheepishly. He was uncomfortably tall for a curse breaker, standing almost a head higher than her brother Ron. But where Ron had broad shoulders and a muscled body, Wendal was stick thin and flexible, like an overgrown bowtrunkle. Unlike the often nasty wood imps, Wendal Coombs was a jovial fellow whom Ginny liked. How such a soft spoken, and rather intelligent, Hufflepuff like himself had ever gotten involved with Satterfield and his mob was a mystery to Ginny.
With a few long strides, he was standing beside her, with a slightly puzzled, yet eager expression on his face. "How can I help, Curator Weasley?"
"Ginny," she corrected absently, and then expounded at his worried expression. "In the field, call me Ginny. Curator Weasley has an office and a pile of paperwork that is months behind. Out here, I'm just one of the guys."
"Sure thing, ah, Ginny," Wendal agreed despite the brief flicker of his eyes over her chest. "So what can I do?"
Motioning towards the center of the room, Ginny began to walk and talk. "Did you read the cultural packet I provided your team?"
"Yes," Wendal responded, his voice becoming firm. "It was fascinating, actually. I have spent so many years in Egypt that getting such in-depth information on another culture was a real treat. The Maya are quite distinctive in their view of the world. Additionally, their mathematics and astrology could possibly provide many breakthroughs in arithmancy. When I am done with this tour, I am actually thinking of researching it and presenting it to the Department of Mysteries. I am certain a thesis on it will