|Not part of Riordanverse|
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Warning! This page contains spoilers for The Fire Keeper.
Xib’alb’a is the underworld in Mayan mythology.
Xib’alb’a had many lords. They are Flying Scab and Blood Gatherer (father of Ixkik’) who sicken people’s blood, Pus Demon and Jaundice Demon who make people’s bodies swell up, Bone Staff and Skull Staff who turn humans into skeletons, Sweeping Demon and Stabbing Demon who stab people to death, and Wing and Packstrap who make people die by coughing up blood until they drown in it. Ah-Puch used to be the jefe of all of them, but Ixtab took his place after he waged war with the Mayan Gods and was imprisoned within the Beast.
There are also six fatal houses used to test people's strength, they are part of the oldest areas in the underworld. The first was the Dark House, so dark it drives people crazy. The second is the Rattle House, full of bone-chilling cold and rattling hail that storms every five minutes, each time it gets more violent. The third is the Jaguar House, filled with hungry razor-toothed cats ready to rip out your throat. The fourth is the Bat House filled with bloodthirsty shrieking bats that like to suck blood nice and slow. The fifth house is the Razor House which is filled with blades and razors that moved all on their own. The sixth and final house is the Hot House filled with fires and heat.
The Hero Twins went down to Xib’alb’a after the lords got annoyed by their loud playing. They had to face a series of tests and trials, including going through the houses, but were clever enough to pass each one.
Rosie was sent to Xib’alb’a after being killed by a demon runner until she was reborn as a hellhound. After Zane Obispo defeats Ah-Puch, he is placed in Xib’alb’a by the gods. Ixtab tells him that he's dead and he'll spend eternity pounding stone. But first, he must write his adventure using paper from Itzam-yée.
However, once Zane finished, Ixtab reveal that he wasn't really dead. She tells about how everything she did was to defeat Ah-Puch without having the gods go to war. She also reveals that other godborns have existed before him but have died. She uses a cab to take him to his new home in Isla Holbox.
Zane Obispo, Hondo Obispo, Ren Santiago, Brooks, and Rosie cut through the underworld to get to South Dakota to save Hurakan. However Ixtab finds then and has Zane under go a Death Ceremony to find the godborns instead. Three days later he returns to Xib’alb’a to revert the effects of the ceremony and tell the gods what happened with Jordan and Bird. Ah-Puch is given a lower level of the underworld to rule as thanks for revealing the twin’s plan.
Cells in Xib’alb’a are cold dark chambers with stone slabs. There were rusty iron bars on the door, and beyond that was a gloomy hall that smelled of moldy cheese. Wall torches cast long flickering shadows across the darkness.
But one of Ixtab's private chambers is a small living room with gold-papered walls (from India), expensive-looking paintings, a black leather wingback chair, two gray velvet sofas, and a glass coffee table covered in fashion magazines. It used to be so drab and depressing before Ixtab livened it up. Xib’alb’a also has a spa as well as a place for brain soaks on level five.
The Rattle House contained an icy rush of a stream and dead forest. It can either snow or pour freezing rain here. Below a thinly frozen lake was a fifteen-by-fifteen chamber with ice walls containing big and squishy eyes with black irises. The eyeballs shifted back and forth and probably didn't belong to humans. A nearby rock was a slow elevator leading to both places, a creepy voice in there sang Welcome to the dark side. One way only. What goes down doesn't come up.
- The word "Xib’alb’a" roughly translates as "place of fear." It is sometimes spelled with the apostrophes.
- In some versions, the Razor House is the second fatal house, the Rattle House (or Cold or Rattling House) is the third, the Jaguar House is the fourth, the Hot House (or Fire House) is the fifth, and the Bat House is the last.
- Jennifer Cervantes teased about the Rattle House on Twitter by showing herself at a snowy mountain.
- The Greek counterpart of Xib’alb’a is the Underworld.
- The Egyptian counterpart is Land of the Dead.
- The Norse counterpart is Helheim.
- The Hindu counterpart is the Kingdom of Death.
- The Mexica counterpart is Mictlan.