|"The Paddler Gods" by David Nathan Allen|
The Paddlers arrived in the Sixth World through a sea gate known as the Blue Hole. They arrived with three of their pyramidal battle barges - The Black Ziggurat, The Lucre Ark, and The Sea Lion - and a hundred great canoes. They soon made friends and formed a firm alliance for trade and protection with the lords of realm of city-states known as The Forest of Kings. This was very much a game-changer for the Olmeca, who have experienced a loss of tribute and influence in the more southern extents of the Mayan lands.
With the consent of the Mayan lords, the Paddlers have built a harbor and shipyards on the Mayan holy island of Cozumel. The Lucre Ark guards the harbor, which is the Paddlers' new home. Sacred to the Moon Goddess Ix Chel, and ruled by its priestesses, the island felt like the just right place for the elders of matriarchal Paddlers to make their new home. Here on Cozumel, they could build new fleets, plan new expeditions of trade and exploration, be fertile and multiply.
The Sea Lion stands watch at the very tip of the Yucatan. Now the Olmeca dare not approach Cozumel by sea. The Sea Lion has an escort of 15 great canoes. Another 20 use The Sea Lion as a trade base for expeditions to establish trade relations with the islanders of the Near Sea to the east.
Meanwhile, The Black Ziggurat is nowhere to be found. She left Cozumel a month after the Paddlers arrived there, setting out on a secret mission with an escort of 15 canoes. Some say she has headed to the East across the great ocean; others say she goes far South.