Land of Sweetness: A Pre-Columbian Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Every Grass in Java, May 31, 2018.

  1. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    not sure how many instances of something like this happening in otl but who does question a god?
    VigilantSycamore likes this.
  2. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2018
    No I mean, instances of people acting rational in politics in otl are quite rare. Ot actually makes quite sense for Little Finger to be terrified of his friend and master even if he loves him.
  3. Somebody-Someone Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2018
    I honestly doubt that Little Finger ever believed that Ah Ek Lemba was a god. I think that he will probably go warlord.
    AnonymousSauce likes this.
  4. FossilDS lanfang republic best republic

    Nov 12, 2015
    Monmouth, Democratic Republic of New Jersey
    Seems like Ah Ek Lemba has finally met his match. Not really much else to say, just eager to see what happens next.
    AnonymousSauce and Wolttaire like this.
  5. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Oct 30, 2014
    Man, imagine how terrible it would be if this letter really was a forgery by the aquiach but then Ah Caanal Che really killed himself over it. And the tragedy of Ah Ek Lemba finding out one of his last remaining friends from his civil-war-ridden childhood is now dead "on his orders".

    and man, imagine a whole genre of yucatec paintings springing up to try and capture this moment, each painting trying to outdo the previous one in sweetness and subtlety while not subtracting the least bit of venomous and tragically misattributed intent

    ohohoh man that would be really bad
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  6. MbokDarmi Titisan

    Jul 14, 2016
    Ngisor Langit
    kill yourself

    t. Feathered Serpent, Eagle of the
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  7. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Tennessee, North American Union
    Finally caught up, nothing else to say but that this is a brilliant timeline and among the most educational here in addition to being among the most well-written.

    I love how the tlachiach is such a moron he ends up dragging down the aquiach with him. He's probably going to get knifed soon and his death blamed on Ah Ek Lemba.

    Sure would be. The entirety of the Chololtec realm would be drowned in blood. Ah Ek Lemba would build a pyramid of skulls that would top Timur's. And he'd build one for every town.
  8. Threadmarks: Entry 58: The Death of Lord Mahpilhuēyac

    Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2017


    No one has a home on earth, alas!

    Already you hold in your hand

    your flaying knife;

    You give pleasure to the god.
    Nahua song
    The dry season sun was bright on the leaves. Cypresses tall in colonnades—and behind and between them firs and pines, the shade under them strangely green, the sunlight through their needles filtered fine—a gentle breeze, and with it the scattered trace of some highland flower on the nose, butterflies on the chase—the quivering of twigs and branches, and the sough of the wind that passed them through, background music to which the orioles chirped in tune, birdsong music on the flute of the winds—and look! everywhere he saw every shade of green, a yellow-green of ceiba leaves and a black-green almost viscous, the green of old moss on ancient trees and the green of new sprouts of beans, green trees that were short and green shrubs that were tall—if only he was a poet! then he could put into words all that he could see—the garden of Ixhuacān was a well-tended one.

    Lord Mahpilhuēyac reclined on the frescoed walls, his head on the sandaled feet of the painted warriors. Ironic, he supposed. Ixhuacān’s flesh-and-blood warriors had cowered at his feet, but now it was he at the feet of Ixhuacān’s warriors, even if these two-dimensional warriors had flesh was paper and their blood was in paint. Ironic, ironic—

    Mahpilhuēyac did not like that his thinking was so disjointed.

    He looked up at the sky through the garden canopy that was its sieve, nodding at the dry light that the leaves colored green, and saw a flower—but no, it was flying, and flowers do not fly—it was a butterfly—and the butterfly flitted up and was lost in the leaves. The people said that butterflies were the souls of valiant warriors, and Mahpilhuēyac wondered how many butterflies owed their lives to him, how many eggs and larvae his ceaseless wars had hatched. And it was pleasing that dead warriors became butterflies and not bees, because butterflies had no queen, and it would have been terribly unfair if his soldiers had to submit and obey even after death. But the butterflies were equals, all siblings and twins, and when he died he would join his fellow butterflies to feast with them on nectar and never to lord over them.



    “Do not die.”

    silence, then

    “No one has a home on earth, alas!”


    “Son, do not take up arms against the king. He is right and I am wrong. I deserve a head broken in with stone and wood, and he does me great mercy to grant me this death.”


    “I tell you this because I trust you to listen to a father’s last plea. Your brothers—they are more impulsive. Serve the king well, he is a good man and a good prince. I do not know if he is a god, but the men think he is—a general is the father of his men, humor them.”


    “I am pleased that I have made friends on earth.”


    “But we killed so many people.”

    And so many memories—memories of skull towers, of flayed princes, of human flesh wrenched apart. And a son beginning to sob.

    * * *

    In December 1410, Lord Mahpilhuēyac engaged in gladiatorial combat with a captured Cholōltec prisoner. As was customary, the Lord was armed with a real mācuahuitl, the prisoner with only a feather-studded club. But Mahpilhuēyac slipped on mud and fainted (though some witnesses said that he fell intentionally) and the prisoner battered him to death with his feather-club before men could be brought in to save the general. He left behind five sons.

    Ah Ek Lemba heard the news a few days later. His face was blank. He called for a dagger and took it to his right hand. A single stroke: his middle finger rolled to the ground.
  9. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    Between Gensokyo and Berk
    So the letter was a forgery.

    Flutter in peace, Lord Mahpilhuēyac.
  10. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    Ah Ek Lemba will realy become the god of war now
    VigilantSycamore likes this.
  11. Vuu Resident Serb expert

    May 11, 2018
    You mean "die under unusual circumstances, and have his Empire explode, but be remembered far and wide as a pretty damn good strategist"
  12. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2018
    I don't think anger is gonna make him a better estrategist, and is not like he has a lot of room for more brutality, how could he salt the earth harder?
  13. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Oct 30, 2014
    Nothing in this chapter explicitly proves or disproves the letter was a forgery. Could just as easily be that Ah Ek Lemba cutting off his finger doubles as a direct admission that he "cut off his finger" (told Mahpilhueyac to die) and as self-punishment for letting jealousy get the best of him.
    VigilantSycamore and aldonius like this.
  14. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    what about burning "his" city to the ground? Just to take out some of his anger and just for fun leave some salt behind
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  15. Roger II Well-Known Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    This makes me sad :(
    Wolttaire likes this.
  16. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    I can't wait to see someone turn this into a tragedy/ play
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  17. LunazimHawk Your Friendly Neighborhood Bengal Sultan

    Feb 3, 2018
    This is just shakespherian levels of depressing. The part about Lemba mutilating himself, must of really hit him hard.
  18. Threadmarks: Entry 59: The Fall of Lyobaa, August 1410

    Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2017
    After the crushing Tiho victory at Yagüi, the high priest of Lyobaa ultimately surrendered to Mahpilxocoyōtl in August 1410, allowing the Little Finger to inch closer to Cholōllān.


    [A ceiba is a tall tree that grows in Maya country, such as in Tiho; an ahuehuete is a tall tree of Central Mexico, such as in Cholōllān.]

    It felt bizarre to have someone look him in the face.

    No commoner dared face the huìa tào, the high priest of Lyobaa. Who would, when he was the greatest of all Zapotec priests, oracle of the god of the Underworld? They always looked down, fear on their eyes that fled his gaze, their skin pale and dotted with goosebumps. But not Lord Mahpilxocoyōtl. The Maya met his eyes with the pride of a conqueror, and the priest had not seen another man’s eyes for so long that he had almost forgotten what eyes looked like and the experience unnerved him.

    The priest fidgeted with his fine cotton chasuble, letting his fingers trail over the cloth pumas and eagles and hummingbirds embroidered in red and blue. Then his hand dropped to the jaguar skin that coated his feather-stuffed cushion throne, rubbed the coarse hair, rose back to his chin. His fingers sank into his beard and tugged on the strands. But he was too fidgety, and the general was smiling—he saw his anxiety and was mocking him, and this would not stand—he let his hand fall back to the cushioned jaguar pelt and reminded it to stay there.

    Mahpilxocoyōtl sat on a smaller jaguar-pelted feather-cushioned throne, the one normally reserved for the most powerful Zapotec monarch, the king of Zaachila. The general’s hands toyed with the jaguar’s paws. It was mildly comforting, mused the priest, to see that his own throne was still the largest in the room. It told him that even captured by the Maya, Lyobaa remained his city, the beating heart of the Zapotec priesthood. For how long he did not know, and perhaps tomorrow Mahpilxocoyōtl would cross his legs on the priestly throne where he was seated now. But tomorrow had not come yet, today was still today, may every day still be today.

    “Your city fought well, Your Holiness.” said the Maya. His Isatian was colored with an accent that was hard to understand, but the priest’s was too, so they could hardly begrudge the other.

    “Your men too, my lord.”

    “Mictlān [Place of Death] was aptly named.”

    The priest had nothing to say to this.

    “Your Holiness’s mitre is crooked.”

    The priest rearranged the cotton mitre on his head, and he thought his heart might burst. He caught himself evading the general’s eye (as if he was the priest and the priest the commoner!) and mentally slapped himself.

    “No need to be nervous, Your Holiness.”

    “I am not,” the priest growled back, briefly paused before adding, “my lord.”

    “No need to be aggressive either.”

    The huìa tào said nothing in response but only glared at the general in the faint hope that if he glared strongly enough his eyes might bore holes in the other’s face and finally shut him up for good.

    “And there’s no need to stare either, Your Holiness.”

    The priest shook his head imperceptibly.

    “Your Holiness, I come here to propose a deal.”

    “I listen, lord.”

    “There were once two ceiba trees growing side-by-side. Then the two trees began to compete. Each would strive to be the taller and to beat down the other with its branches. Eventually the ceibas had grown so tall that their trunks could no longer support them, and they toppled to the ground, both on the same day. And the whole earth trembled when the two trees fell. What happened then, Your Holiness?”

    “I suppose that once the ceiba trees no longer blocked out the sunlight, all the little bushes would thrive.”

    Precisely. Another analogy, Your Holiness, if you will excuse me. Two turkey cocks fight each other on a sandy field. Then the fight is indecisive, and they leave. Who won the fray?”

    “The turkeys will no longer bother the sand on the ground; the sand won the fray.”

    “Indeed, Your Holiness. When ceiba trees fall, the little shrubs rejoice; when turkey cocks leave, it is the sand’s day to reign.”

    “And, my lord, if it is not two ceiba trees that fall, but a ceiba and an ahuehuete?”

    “It is much the same, Your Holiness.”

    “I understand. But, my lord, how certain are you that both trees will fall, that the cocks will wear each other out?”

    “I am a man of swords, Your Holiness, as much as Your Holiness is a man of gods. I know such things of shields and arrows, and I am sure that both sides will lose this war.”

    “You doubt your god, then, my lord?”

    “Your Holiness, I doubt he is a god.”

    The huìa tào nodded, felt his mitre slip out of his head, and reshuffled it. He thought Mahpilxocoyōtl was smiling and told himself that that was paranoia.

    “Feel free to take off the mitre, Your Holiness, it encumbers you—”


    And now it was Mahpilxocoyōtl’s turn to be silent.

    “So what is your plan, my lord?”

    Lord Mahpilxocoyōtl’s hand went to a bag that hung on his robes, and out came a layer of dry and crumpled skin.

    “A caul?” The priest could not conceal his surprise. “Is it yours?”

    “My grandson’s, Your Holiness. He is five years old now.”

    “If I were not a priest and could marry, how much I would envy you, my lord! Children born with the caul are always favored by luck.”

    “Indeed, Your Holiness. And my grandson was fated for kingship, the horoscopers say.”

    There was a pause, an impasse where the lord expected the priest to speak but the priest did not want to speak, and at last Mahpilxocoyōtl said:

    “What does Your Holiness say?”

    What was best for the gods, best for the people of Lyobaa, best for himself (but no, he ought not to think of himself, a priest was but a servant)? What would spare the people from becoming extensions to Tiho skull racks, the images of the gods from exile far away?

    Compliance would.

    And when Ah Ek Lemba died and Mahpilxocoyōtl died, the child could be disposed of.

    “The horoscopers read the stars, and the stars are the gods, and the gods are whom I serve. My lord—” here the priest grasped for words—“My lord, I hear what you ask and obey. I will train the child in the science of kingship. When the Cholōllān ahuehuete and the Tiho ceiba fall, when Nahuas and the Maya tear each other apart, I will help the boy establish a new kingdom here, here in Oaxaca. Your grandson will become a ruler unlike all others. I will make sure of that.”

    “Your Holiness, swear an oath by your gods.”

    The huìa tào hesitated.

    “Why the hesitation, Your Holiness?”


    “Your Holiness, if not for me, you were already a head on a pole, a skull on a rack. Grant me this favor due one by whom you lived.”

    The priest reflected, swallowed, and said,

    “Then let us swear.”

    The two left the priestly quarters they called the Hall of the Columns and walked to the nearby shrine. Before the effigy of the death god Coquebila, they burned incense and offered the pea-tiny hearts of hummingbirds in sacrifice. Then the huìa tào knelt to the ground and kissed the earth and swore:

    “I will watch over and guard your grandson as long as I am here on this earth, and I will see to it that he becomes a lord, a king, a master of men. This I swear before the ever-watching eyes of the gods of the days and the gods of the nights, of Coquebila Lord of Death and Xonaxi Quecuya Lady of Death. The gods know that I will keep my word; now I kiss the earth in token of it. And whenever I look at the earth I will remember this vow.”

    And Mahpilxocoyōtl and the huìa tào shed their own blood for the gods.

    Night fell, and the priest of Lyobaa wondered of the day. He had sworn an oath. It was not an oath he had wanted, but he had sworn an oath, and to the gods to boot. Blood had been spilt. And an oath to the gods was an oath to the gods, above all for a priest.

    The child was in his care, the child with the caul, and he was bound to make him king.

    The huìa tào ordered the servants to prepare the boy’s quarters and retired to his cushioned mat, to troubled dreams.

    * * *

    The description of the habits of the huìa tào (lit. “great watcher”) or high priest of Lyobaa—including the cushioned throne with jaguar skin and feather stuffing that was the largest seat in the priestly palace, their strict celibacy, their cotton gown and chasuble decorated with beasts and birds, pointy white mitre, and sandals of colored thread—comes directly from the ethnohistorical source Geográfica Descripción de la parte septentrional del Polo Ártico de la América by Francisco de Burgoa in 1674.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  19. Vuu Resident Serb expert

    May 11, 2018
    Why do I have a feel that the "the child could be disposed of" part will not happen, because he will unironically show excellent stateman skills?
  20. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018