Land of Sweetness: A Pre-Columbian Timeline

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

Loading...
  1. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    *checks Google Images* Well, now I know what a caul birth is.

    I'm a little surprised that Mahpilxocoyotl has a grandson. I'd taken him to be pretty young, but seems like he's around 50 or so?

    EDIT: He's 56, which I'd guess places him well above the median age for the armies he's leading. Are we gearing up for some kind of generational conflict? I can't imagine the generation of Maphilxocoyotl's sons or brothers bending the knee to a "Maya" child raised as a Zapotec.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  2. LunazimHawk Your Friendly Neighborhood Bengal Sultan

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2018
    That’s kind of disturbing but funny, imagine his grandson asking his grandfather about his earliest memories of him, and he pulls out the birth sack.
    Wouldn’t this be a kind of power play on Mahpilxocoyotl’s part, putting his own blood on the throne. I doubt Lemba’s going to look too fondly toward some it, but he’ll remain quiet.
     
    VigilantSycamore, Lenwe and Wolttaire like this.
  3. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Now that you mention it, there is a precedent for this sort of thing. Ah Ek Lemba has installed vassal rulers into non-native lands before, so it's not as though his general installing his own grandson as his vassal is blatantly illegal... and besides, if it keeps occupied Chololtec territory quiet it must be for the best, right?
     
    VigilantSycamore likes this.
  4. Threadmarks: Entry 60: The Fingers' Children

    Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2017
    This is a somewhat spoiler-y entry that fleshes out the family of Ah Ek Lemba's Fingers. It's kinda something for me as a writer, just to have all these new characters organized somewhere. There's a special focus on those individuals who I currently plan to give important roles to in the post-AEL world, even though they're barely toddlers now. Tlamahpilhuiani hasn't died yet, but he will in the next entry.

    * * *

    [​IMG]

    THE FINGERS’ CHILDREN
    In our discussion of Maya historical figures, it is important to understand how Maya names operate. The names of Maya men are “Na+[Mother’s maternal surname] [Father’s paternal surname]”; for women, “Ix+[Mother’s maternal surname] [Father’s paternal surname].” An illustration: a man named Napan Dzul marries a woman named Ixchan Cocom. They have a son whose name is Nachan Dzul. Had he been born a girl, she would have been Ixchan Dzul.

    This resulted in all same-gender siblings having the same name, so the Maya differentiated between them with nicknames, which began with Ah (“He of”) for men and Ix (“She of”) for women. The most famous example of such nicknames is, of course, Ah Ek Lemba (“He of the Black Lightning”), whose real name remains unknown.

    The Four Fingers abandoned their original Maya surnames and passed on “Thumb” (Na’ K’ab’), “Index Finger” (Tuch’ub), “Middle Finger” (Nab K’ab’), and “Little Finger” (Tzahbil) as the surnames of their descendants.

    * * *

    I. Ah Na’ K’ab’, Isatian nickname Huēyimahpilli, was born on the Long Count date 11.6.8, in our calendar 1351. He had only one wife, Ixbalam Hao, who he married in 1377 when Ah Ek Lemba was still a warlord, and to her he remained devoted all his life.

    Between them they had four children, three daughters and a son. The daughters were wedded to three of Tiho’s leading dynastiarchs in their teens and fell off the annals of history. The son, Nabalam Na’k'ab’ Ah Nohol Choa, also married the daughter of a prestigious dynastiarch in 1399, at the age of fifteen. Seven years later, Ah Ek Lemba sent him away to Ācuappāntōnco as a Mouse of the Lord.

    Ah Nohol Choa found little to like in Ācuappāntōnco, where everything was sultry hot and white deer spat on him as they roamed the streets. “The boys will learn nothing here,” he muttered, and so sent his three sons born to his Maya wife—Nachel Na'k'ab' I, born in 1401, Nachel Na'k'ab' II, born in 1406, and Nachel Na'k'ab' III, born in 1413—back to Tiho to be educated by their grandfather. But the daughters stayed in Ācuappāntōnco, a solace to their parents through their exile in this strange southern land.

    In 1416 his wife died while giving birth to their seventh and last child, Ixchel Na'k'ab' Ix Catzimil. Ah Nohol Choa wept bitterly, cursing his infant daughter, and sent away Ix Catzimil to Tiho, swearing that he would never see her again.

    The Mouse was ordered back to Tiho the next year; Ah Ek Lemba was nearing seventy now and wanted to settle old accounts. Ah Nohol Choa arrived to find his one-year-old daughter Ix Catzimil—murderer of his wife! destroyer of his family!—babbling bubblily in the palace grounds. He took out his dagger and moved to slit her throat. It was only by the intervention of his sixty-five-year-old father that Ah Nohol Choa could be convinced that having his daughter forever banned from the palaces and sent to live in the hovel of some petty dynastiarch was punishment enough for the matricide.


    II. The family life of Ah Tuch’ub (11.6.10 / 1353—11.9.9 / 1411), Isatian nickname Tlamahpilhuiani, remains obscure. The man was famous as a womanizer, though Ah Na’ K’ab’ always voiced doubts about how many of those womanized were willing, and not even the admiral himself could remember how many women had shared his mat and how many children those women might have had.

    At the age of fourteen, Ah Tuch’ub took a twelve-year-old Cuban slave as his first concubine. She gave him three sons, the first two of which the Admiral later disowned. The third, Nacuba Tuch’ub (born in 1374), gained his father’s favor and was appointed heir. Once his lord Ah Ek Lemba seized power in the Yucatan, Ah Tuch’ub rarely visited his first Cuban concubine’s room—and when she died in 1379, some said of despair, he did not bother to attend her funeral. He was far too busy with the newest addition to his harem, he said, to give much thought to a flower already long since fallen.

    Once Ah Ek Lemba formally assumed power in the 1382 seating of the k’atun at Tiho, Ah Tuch’ub began to expand his harem by the shipload. Yes, the shipload: entire ships were dedicated to housing his women, each wearing an obscene mockery of her “native dress,” and every night the Admiral would throw beans as dice to decide which women in which ship would warm his mat that night. But he did not love. He laughed when the other Fingers raised the issue, asking, “Do bees love one flower above all others?” When the women grew old—he used the term “worn out”—he expelled them from the fleet. They crowded to Tiho with nothing but the cloth on their waists, and Ixbalam Hao always took them in and found them a place to live.

    From these ships of women there were four important sons, all of them born to foreign slaves: Nakawat Tuch’ub (born in 1381), Natamal Tuch’ub (born in 1386), Natuxpan Tuch’ub (born in 1389), and Nadzul Tuch’ub (born in 1395). Ah Tuch’ub gave these four sons positions subordinate to Nacuba’s, telling them to serve their brother well even when he died.

    Yet Ah Tuch’ub, Nacuba, and Nakawat were all killed in 1411, and Ah Ek Lemba chose to apportion the Pointing Finger’s fleet among the three younger sons. As the oldest of the three, Natamal Tuch’ub succeeded his father’s flagship and took possession of his luxury ships. The moment he assumed authority, Natamal threw his father’s entire harem into the Gulf. The men asked him why, and Natamal said that he wanted to see things drown.

    Ah Tuch’ub and the three sons who succeeded him were brutal and repulsive men, to whom cities aflame were fine art and human shrieking was honey-sweet music. They were the type of people who find burning hatred for everything and everyone, including family; and from the moment of their succession the three brothers despised each other.

    The dozens of other sons and daughters Ah Tuch’ub sired—as many as raindrops in a storm—lived out unimportant and forgettable lives. Many died wandering what kind of man their father was.


    III. The Middle Finger, Ah Nab K’ab’ or Mahpilhuēyac (11.6.6 / 1349—11.9.8 / 1410), had at least ten children between four wives. He had five known sons, of whom the third, Nakawil Nabk’ab’ Ah Tupp Kabal (born in 1388), was considered the most prudent. When Ah Nab K’ab’ died mysteriously in 1410, Ah Tupp Kabal had already been married for seven years, though with no children. Their son came only in 1415, and they named him Nahoil Nabk’ab’. But later he would be called Ahau Tzohom, the Red King.


    IV. Little Finger—Ah Tzahbil or Mahpilxocoyōtl (born 11.6.11 / 1354)—had only three known children, two daughters of whom we know very little and a son who was born in 1385; he was killed in battle in 1406 during Ah Ek Lemba’s Central American campaigns. But the son left behind a year-old son of his own. He had been born with the caul. And Ah Tzahbil saw in his caul-born grandson all his forgotten hopes of kingship and rejected dreams of thrones, and he poured into him all the love he could spare.
     
    moopli, scarletqen, tus3 and 19 others like this.
  5. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    Location:
    Between Gensokyo and Berk
    Interesting. If I were forced to choose, I'd rather sit next to Ah Na’ K’ab’ / Huēyimahpilli than the others, though it's probably better not to talk about his family.
     
    VigilantSycamore likes this.
  6. Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2017
  7. Shahrasayr The Emperor of Dune

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Location:
    Holy Terra, Australis Sector
    Even if Huēyimahpilli's tales are exaggerations of his actual deeds there must be a seed of truth in them. It's actually nice to see a 'monarch' (a regent is closer to one given that Ah Ek Lemba is away in the killing fields) that seems to care about the wellbeing of Tiho's populace and his family. This is despite his son's... misguided attempts to achieve revenge for his wife.

    I have a question though and this may just be laziness on my part but was there ever a 'Ring Finger'?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
    VigilantSycamore likes this.
  8. Somebody-Someone Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2018
    There was no ring finger because Ah Ek Lemba did not have one.
     
  9. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2018
    But nobody knew that it was because he was secretly a cartoon.
     
    barbarism and FossilDS like this.
  10. Threadmarks: Entry 61: The Death of Lord Tlamahpilhuiani, 1411

    Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2017
    THE DEATH OF LORD TLAMAHPILHUIANI, 1411
    Following the success of the Théoloël mission of 1410, Admiral Tlamahpilhuiani and the Tiho fleet were ordered back to the Yucatec port of Sisal. Many of the men had not been in the xōātl cozticatepētl for almost twenty years, ever since the Cuban campaign that had begun in 1392.

    Huēyimahpilli was absent in 1411, having gone south to resolve some thorny matters of Itza succession. Ixbalam Hao, his wife, governed in her husband’s stead, and soon she painted a tēctlahcuilōlli letter to Tlamahpilhuiani.

    The original letters of course do not survive. The following letters are taken from a semi-fictional seventeenth-century account, and while their overall gist may be correct, the details are doubtful:

    To Lord Tlamahpilhuiani…

    [Conventional praise cut out]

    Yet there are queer things that the people hear. I do not doubt that none of these rumors are true, that they have been warped by those who have cause to dislike Your Lordship.

    Here is one thing the people hear. Your Lordship’s men were on the Sisal streets, the people say they prowled like coyotes, and saw a man in his fifth k’atun [one k’atun is twenty years]. His hair was already like foam on the waves, and his face was so ancient that his wrinkles were canyons. Your Lordship’s men said that they had never seen such an old man and wondered how well he would dance. The old man pleaded that his joints were all loose and he had not danced for a k’atun at least, but the men said they would tear up his chest if he did not submit. So he danced, danced in arthritic pain, while all around him Your Lordship’s men laughed. This, at least, is what the people say.

    Here is another thing the people hear. Your Lordship’s men were in the town of Chelem and saw a stooped woman in her fourth k’atun, her great-granddaughter cradled in her arms. She had on a very fine skirt and blouse of Tamaltec cloth, invaluable family heirlooms passed down from her mother and her grandmother and great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. Your Lordship’s men said that the cloths were very nice to look at and demanded she hand them over to them, so they could gamble it away. She explained how long they had been in her family, and besides that she had nothing else to wear; they did not relent; at last they said they would throw the child into the sea if she did not give them the skirt and blouse. The lady wept but their hearts were unmoved, and at the end of the day this venerable lady and her little child went home as naked and as tearful as infants. This, at least, is what the people say.

    Here is yet another thing the people hear. Your Lordship’s men are in want of food and supplies in quantities beyond what the corvée may supply. Rather than purchase these things equitably at the market of Sisal (and it is not as if the Sisal market is some little village fair! The World-Conqueror’s port is stocked with fine treasures from abroad the world) the men have, or so they say, chosen to steal at swordpoint from every man and woman in the market, from the gaudiest businessmen to the meanest grocers. A rich Tiho merchant went to Sisal and returned a beggar with only a loincloth, Your Lordship’s men having taken everything else. This, at least, is what the people say.

    Here is a final thing the people hear, and here I will be brief. Your Lordship’s men are rapists. They do not content themselves with prostitutes, the people say—though the abuse even of prostitutes should not be excusable—but find special pleasure in humiliating and debasing good women of gentle birth. If there is the slightest truth in any of this, all those responsible must be immediately executed. This is all I will say.

    As false as these rumors certainly are, as unconnected as Your Lordship surely is to these barbarities, the hearts of the people are aflame and their voices all roused. May Your Lordship and Your Lordship’s men be aware.

    [Conventional greetings of humility cut out]

    Lady Ixbalam Hao​

    Lord Tlamahpilhuiani sent her back a curter response, in the syllabary:

    To Ixbalam Hao

    I have received your rude letter and remarked on its impertinence, and know that I had it burnt before my men. You are an old woman, you have no business scolding warriors.

    My men are mine, and I will punish them as I see fit. Do not interfere.​

    The abuses at Sisal continued, and soon merchants so avoided the port like the plague (though the plague was yet unknown in this half of the world) that even Tiho, for which Sisal was the main port, was seeing the consequences. Lady Ixbalam Hao painted another tēctlahcuilōlli letter to the Admiral:

    To Lord Tlamahpilhuiani…

    [Conventional praise cut out]

    When the King departed for Cholōllān, he bid my husband, “The people’s hearts and breaths are on your hands, so watch over them well.” And when my husband departed for Tayasal [the Itza capital], he bid me, “If the kingdom is a bird, the common people are its wings and tail; the wings and tail may trail on the filthy ground, but without them the bird will never fly.” And I mulled on those words day after night.

    Now it appears that Your Lordship’s men are clenching the hearts of our people and shuttering their breaths, tearing out feathers from the wings and the tail. Your Lordship is surely unaware, but it is the truth; and now merchants so avoid Your Lordship’s men at Sisal that even the markets of Tiho, two days away, are half-empty now.

    It is true that I am but a woman, as Your Lordship has justly pointed out, yet a woman still has eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to feel, and I feel what I see and hear. The people look to me as a mother; that is what I see. The people speak of Your Lordship with trembling and fear; that is what I hear. This must stop; that is what I feel.

    I ask Your Lordship to leave Sisal and return to Cuba within the next year. The King will also be informed.

    [Conventional greetings of humility cut out]

    Lady Ixbalam Hao ​

    Lord Tlamahpilhuiani wrote back in syllabary:

    To Ixbalam Hao

    Old woman. I have heard that you keep the girls I wore out in some wenches’ pension; ask them what they think of me.

    I look upon the people of Sisal as my slaves. There; I have said it.

    I will not leave Sisal without His Divine Majesty’s express orders; it is the King and God who has sent me here. My fleet will intercept any letter that you send to His Majesty’s camp.

    Do you wish that I leave? Try and make me.​

    Lady Ixbalam Hao painted back in tēctlahcuilōlli:

    To Lord Tlamahpilhuiani

    I have talked often of Your Lordship with the women you have spurned, and not a single one had a good word to say to me.

    There are many grounds on which Your Lordship’s execution would be called for by His Divine Majesty’s laws.

    [Long legal discussion and dozens of examples of Tlamahpilhuiani’s sins and atrocities removed]

    I shall heed Your Lordship’s request [to “try and make me”].

    Lady Ixbalam Hao​

    But, says our semi-fictional seventeenth-century source, the Lady kept this letter in the Tiho palaces. She sent a much more conciliatory painting to Sisal, one that admitted that she was at fault for scolding such a fine warrior and invited him to Tiho to formally accept her apology. Tlamahpilhuiani did not expect treachery from a “wrinkly nagging woman” and came with only a small honor guard that included Nacuba and Nakawat, two of his five major sons.

    The moment the Admiral arrived in Tiho, Lady Ixbalam Hao’s men seized him. In the struggle that ensued, Tlamahpilhuiani’s guardsmen, both his sons included, were speared in the stomach and disemboweled. Seeing his sons dead under him and their guts before his feet, the Admiral could not speak—he could not believe he was not dreaming—as the Lady’s men roped him and dragged the Finger to the pyramids.

    Lady Ixbalam Hao had not wanted Tlamahpilhuiani himself to die, but the news that the most hated of the Fingers was finally facing justice soon spread in all Tiho like wildfire, and the common people all came out to watch. As the Admiral was dragged around like a guinea pig, weeping like the women he had cast aside, the little boys and little girls clambered onto the roofs and aimed. Pebbles and stones and rocks rained down on the Pointing Finger, drawing blood everywhere they fell.

    When the men finally looked back at the man they were dragging behind, they found that the Admiral was already a filthy carcass torn open everywhere by stones. Undeterred, they continued to drag the corpse until they reached the Lady’s palace. There, she read out in a steady voice the letter she had written, as if Tlamahpilhuiani was still alive.

    The people of Tiho, and then of all Yucatan, cheered as they had heard of how their beloved Lady had saved them from the monster off the shore.

    Ah Ek Lemba did not know what to think. Ixbalam Hao had not done something wrong—if anything she had acted according to the law and had salvaged his reputation as benefactor of the people—but his friend, his old friend—yes, Tlamahpilhuiani had not been the best friend, and he was always the bestial sort of man, but still, he had been a friend, someone to whom even a god could pour out his heart—sometimes Ah Ek Lemba doubted he was a god. Only sometimes.

    Late that week, Ah Ek Lemba granted a full pardon to Ixbalam Hao and her husband and apportioned the Admiral’s fleet among his three important surviving sons. Then he called for his flint knife again. Another swift stroke upon his right hand; but the index finger bone would not cut so easily. The god moaned in a most mortal pain, and his servants rushed to him. They saw the bloody hand and the knife fallen on the ground, realized what their king was trying to do, and handed Ah Ek Lemba his knife back. He exhaled deeply, raised the knife again, and struck—the god-king trembled, almost fainted, but still struck and struck until his mangled index finger had fallen off.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
    moopli, Al-numbers, aldonius and 24 others like this.
  11. Fifty-One-Fifty Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2017
    This continues to be my favorite timeline on this site and honestly probably my favorite piece of fiction I've seen for quite a while. Keep up the good work Java!
     
  12. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    "She of the Jaguar" was aptly named. (I get that it's her matrilineal clan's name, not her nickname, but still)

    Also, a little morbid maybe but where do Ah Ek Lemba's chopped-off fingers go? Seems improper to toss them in the garbage bin and call it a day, what with him being a god and the fingers meant to be a representation of a human life. Are the fingers buried? Cremated? Kept as relics, like Buddha's bones and teeth? I really hope they aren't sent to the dead man's relatives.
     
  13. Vuu Resident Serb expert

    Joined:
    May 11, 2018
    Just the fingers?

    Damn, let's crowdfund a time machine for TTLs Saudi Arabia so they can go back there and teach 'em how it's done
     
    MbokDarmi likes this.
  14. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    Tennessee, North American Union
    Signs the population is growing a bit weary of the extended campaigning? Ah Ek Lemba needs to hurry up and turn the Chololtecs into building material for his pyramids.
     
    Soverihn, FossilDS and Wolttaire like this.
  15. Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2017
    They are cremated, yes. Cremation was, IOTL and ITTL, a funerary practice associated with Central Mexico that was introduced to the Maya only in the late Postclassic, and so it suits Ah Ek Lemba's attempt to emulate Nahua language and culture. The original Topiltzin Quetzalcōhuātl was also cremated.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  16. Threadmarks: Entry 62: The Cholōltec War, 1411—1413

    Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2017
    THE CHOLŌLTEC WAR, 1411—1413
    Following the sudden death of Lord Mahpilhuēyac, his army was thrown into chaos. The aquiach’s army rushed south and engaged the leaderless Maya on February 7, 1411.

    [​IMG]

    The Tiho soldiers were encamped in the valley town of Ixtlacāmaxtitlān, on the south side of the Āpōlco River that runs through the settlement. The aquiach led his main force down the hills to the south, while a smaller army waited on the north side of the Āpōlco to capture any Maya who might cross the river. The Middle Finger’s sons did their best to hold their ground, reminding their throbbing hearts that there was no stepping back for a true warrior, but then the oldest son was cut down by the mācuahuitl of a Cholōltec Eagle Warrior and things fell apart. The second son continued to fight even as the men behind him fled, cursing the cowards he had led and proclaiming that his feet, once planted on the battlefield, were as unbudgeable as a tree. Then a giant Otomi warrior came and swung his obsidian-studded club, and the Maya saw with disbelief their captain's arm tumble to the ground. He died soon after.

    The fourth and fifth sons, along with hundreds of their men, decided to flee across the Āpōlco. It was the dry season and the waters were not swelling, thank the gods, but on the other side the Cholōltecs were ready with quivers of arrows and atlatl darts and slingstones in their hands. The river was soon running red. The fourth son was hit on the head by a slingstone and fell into the waters and did not emerge. The fifth son managed to cross, only to be captured by a Cholōltec soldier. He was stripped of his regalia and sacrificed at the Great Pyramid of Cholōllān as a mere slave, not even a warrior.

    Only the third son, Nakawil Nabk’ab’ Ah Tupp Kabal, survived to lead the shattered ruins of his father’s army back to Cempoala.

    [​IMG]

    Following the victory at Ixtlacāmaxtitlān, the aquiach contemplated an attack on the Gulf Coast. If done right, the Tiho war effort could be crippled beyond recovery. But Ah Ek Lemba had abandoned the siege of Zacatlān and was returning to Cempoala to ward off any Cholōltec offensive, and the rainy season was nearing, so the Eagle of Quetzalcōhuātl returned to the sacred city in March. The aquiach was met with another sumptuous welcome, befit a man who had defeated the World-Conqueror’s armies not once but twice. The leading merchants and the chiefs and elders of each residential ward came to pay the priest his due honors, and the best artists drew murals of the victory at Ixtlacāmaxtitlān. The tlalchiach alone, who had been on virtual strike since May 1410, brooded in his palaces and refused to come out. Few people cared.

    [​IMG]

    Ixhuacān and Zacatlān may as well have been cursed for Ah Ek Lemba’s men; they had attacked the former twice and been defeated twice below the walls, and they had besieged the latter twice and twice been forced to withdraw. But what then?

    In the meantime, Mahpilxocoyōtl had captured Lyobaa in August 1410. He followed this up with a conquest of Zaachila, the greatest Zapotec city, in October; by February he had taken the Mixtec city of Yodzo Coo and completed the subjugation of all Oaxaca. The World-Conqueror received the news with a measure of happiness that he had not felt for years, clenched his two fingers and three stumps that had once been a fist, and announced that the army was going south. The king and his Little Finger would attack the Tehuacan Valley from both directions, and once the Tehuacan was secured, the Maya would march on Cholōllān from the south. Not even a man as devious as the aquiach, Ah Ek Lemba said confidently, would expect such a line of attack.

    In September 1411, Mahpilxocoyōtl and Ah Ek Lemba marched into the Tehuacan. The Valley was only lightly defended, especially in the September harvest season, and was soon overrun. Between the Maya and Cholōllān now stood only the fortress of Tepēyacac. A team of porters carried the king aloft to the peak of Mount Citlāltepētl, the highest mountain in all the known world, on the Valley’s northern end. The clouds were arrayed like a white ocean below him, and the altitude was dizzying and the glaciers dazzling, and still, Ah Ek Lemba thought, he could see Tepēyacac below him, and further away a glimmer that could only be Cholōllān. My city that shall be mine again.

    The aquiach had not expected an attack on the Tehuacan, and his prestige dimmed accordingly. He sacrificed in the silence of penance as the tlalchiach gloated and proclaimed that it was he who would be defending Cholōllān in the time of the city’s need. The citizens were little-impressed, but they acquiesced: the aquiach was mired in self-doubt and reluctant to lead the defense, and even the tlalchiach was a priest—he had to be blessed by the gods.

    The tlalchiach took tens of thousands of painted warriors toward Tepēyacac and sent off the aquiach with a small army to Cempoala. Ah Ek Lemba responded accordingly, moving the brunt of his army to Tepēyacac and dispatching Mahpilxocoyōtl to guard the port.

    Ah Ek Lemba met the tlalchiach’s army at the town of Chapōlco. The warriors were so many, the Maya said: an ocean of feathers and armor and men.

    [​IMG]

    The Cholōltec warrior societies led the charge, and at first the Maya appeared to yield. Ah Ek Lemba himself seemed to have fled. The Cholōltecs whooped and scattered into thousands of individual warriors looking for captives to sacrifice. The aquiach would have warned against this, but the tlalchiach was confident in tradition and was more than happy to please the men. But it was all a feint, of Ah Ek Lemba’s favorite sort. Somewhere rang the beat of Tiho signal drums, and the World-Conqueror’s trumpets echoed in response. Then the Maya reemerged, it seemed almost out of nowhere, with a horrid shriek. The tlalchiach’s professional warriors had lost unit cohesion in the scramble for captives and were swept up by the tide of Maya men like pebbles before tsunamis; then the peasant levies saw the banners of their generals and heroes topple, fear seized their hearts, and they began to run. The rout was total. The tlalchiach himself survived only by throwing himself into the Ātoyāc.

    At Chapōlco, the World-Conqueror’s reputation was revendicated.

    [​IMG]

    Yet as Ah Ek Lemba invested Tepēyacac in triumph, news came that the aquiach had defeated Mahpilxocoyōtl at a little town called Quiyahuiztlān (“Rain Place”) and was besieging Cempoala. The king quipped:

    Quiyahuiztlān quiyahui īmezzo Mayah!

    “Maya blood rains [quiyahui] at Quiyahuiztlān!”​

    The men asked him whether he would continue to besiege Tepēyacac (“Nose of the Mountain”) or whether he would withdraw to save Cempoala (“Twenty Place”). The king quipped again:

    Zan centetl yacatl Tepēyacac, auh cempōhualtetl yollohtli Cempōhuallān!

    “Tepēyacac is just a nose [yacatl], but Cempoala is twenty [cempōhualtetl] hearts!”
    The soldiers understood and left Tepēyacac and the Tehuacan to relieve the Cempoala garrison. But when they arrived, there was nothing but impressions in the sand where the Cholōltec tents had once been camped. The aquiach had attacked Cempoala only to draw Ah Ek Lemba away.

    Soon came the rainy season. In Cempoala, day after day, Ah Ek Lemba reviewed the maps of Tepēyacac and the sand models of its defenses, tracing thin lines with his left hand and sometimes with the two fingers that remained of the other. A few hours to the west, the aquiach returned to a resplendent welcome for the fourth time in three years. The tlalchiach trudged back to Cholōllān some days later, to a city cold and most unwelcome. He marched to the palace immediately to sulk again.

    [​IMG]

    In September 1412, as the peasants around Cholōllān and Tiho began to reap their corn again, Ah Ek Lemba returned to the Tehuacan. The aquiach raised the alarm and sent out the call to arms as the Maya army wound up to Tepēyacac. The tlalchiach emerged from the gloom of his palaces for once and announced that, given these urgent times, he and the aquiach had compromised. The aquiach would lead the mainstay of the defense, yes, but the tlalchiach would lead his own armies, and on all things they would cooperate.

    The aquiach sent Ah Ek Lemba a formal invitation to a set-piece battle, and the World-Conqueror accepted. Faced with a mere mortal's challenge, what god could ever say no?

    In the ensuing Battle of Ocoyōcān, on January 11, 1413, Ah Ek Lemba failed to break through the Cholōltec lines and withdrew after a few hours to avoid being flanked. The Tiho army did not rout, and the losses were not severe. Yet it was a defeat nonetheless, the king’s second defeat in four years at the aquiach’s hands, and the men knew that well. The troops muttered on the road back to Cempoala, and the god grimaced at every resentful whispered word and every vaguely doubtful glance.

    The aquiach had sent the tlalchiach to cut off the Tiho retreat to the Tehuacan, and Ah Ek Lemba’s army ran into the tlalchiach’s men as it withdrew to Cempoala. Historians still dispute what exactly the priest-king expected—perhaps he thought the aquiach would have broken the Maya army and his only task would be the mopping up—but the Cholōltec army was catastrophically underprepared, while the Maya, if humiliated, were still in order. In the Battle of Chilāc, the Cholōltecs were annihilated. The tlalchiach barely escaped with his life (for the second time in a year!), was received in public mockery, and went off to sulk again.
     
  17. Derekc2 Marxistball 9

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I'm starting to think that Ah Ek Lemba may only win here by having the tlalchiach, with how humiliated he is and how the narrative has been putting such importance on that, betraying the Aquiach and Choltoltec if he wins at all. This guy is a lot better than I thought he was going to be, since I imagined he was all talk and no bite when he was introduced but has turned out to be Ah Ek Lemba's proper equal in warfare with how he's been able to keep Ah Ek Lemba off balance despite the circumstances he is stuck in.
     
  18. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    How secure is the Chololtec hold over the Tlaxcallan polity and other subkingdoms? As even the Atoyac becomes contested ground (contested water?), they need safety in (and men/resources from) the Nahua north and west more than ever.

    Also, Yodzo Coo is Mixtec? Why are the Mixtecs in the mountains north of the Zapotecs and on the coast south of them at the same time? Is one group a splinter from the other?
     
    FossilDS and VigilantSycamore like this.
  19. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    Tennessee, North American Union
    I suspect the tlalchiach is going to do something (even more) stupid soon and wind up dead. Ah Ek Lemba is probably going to kill him anyway even if he wins by his intrigue.

    And I could strangely see in later centuries a comedy based on the tlalchiach and the aquiach, where the tlalchiach is always undermining the aquiach's brilliant plans.
     
  20. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    Location:
    Between Gensokyo and Berk
    To the tlalchiach:

    Some people ain't good at war. There's nothing wrong about that. So try and direct your energy elsewhere that could help Cholollan before Ah Ek Lemba gets ideas.

    And no, siding with him is not a good idea.​
     
Loading...