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Tlanahi Xupan - The Red Summer

For you, the day the war ended might have been a great shame. For my people, it was the day we broke the chains you had laid upon us.
— from Words of the Obsidian Butterfly
  As Twilight turned to Dawn, people all around the Divide reforged their connection to the past, hoping it would advance them toward the future. In the shadow of Inferra's ancient jungle this was not the case, however. Here they fought to destroy what came before as it was the only way for the people to breathe freely.  

City of Gold

  In times long before Oblivion, the south of the world belonged to Theoucal, the golden city deep within the jungle. One of the five great powers of the ancient world, its priest-kings held sway over hundreds of millions of subjects and worshiped their gods in great pyramids of obsidian. Then came the calamity and all that was Theoucal vanished in a storm of fire. What few people survived would emerge from the ashes and start to rebuild.  

Two People United by Chains

  "...Slowly but surely the Daughters of Theoucal rose from the ashes akin to the cities of Illigara and Vardania. But they did not rise on the backs of free man like those in the north. The blood of slaves forged the daughters as it had already forged the mother:  
Teluani

Descending from the old blood of Theoucal, the Teluani were of shorter stature, with light to dark brown skin and broad noses. Believing themselves to have been dreamed into existence by a "Great Mother", they had forged a society based on how close one was to the original dream which could only be determined via blood purity. An expansive caste system had developed from that, in which the Priest-King held the greatest power. Once Oblivion had passed, these Priest-Kings set about restoring their people's old glory, chief among them the rulers of Atzlan, the great temple-city that had survived the end of the world.
Temoi

Fuelling the restoration were blood and sweat of the Temoi. In ancient times, the people of Theoucal had encountered them while exploring the jungles of the deep south. At times taller, with broad shoulders and hardy in nature they seemed the ideal worker and soon tens of thousands were taken north to sweat and die for the masters of the temple-cities. Millions would perish as the Theoucali treated them like animals, for their skin was dark, almost black like coal and they were considered the children of mud and vermin. Even after Oblivion they would continue to serve and die as workers and soldiers, treated like the dirt the Teluani thought they were.
  "...But the situation had changed. The Teluani were not their ancestors, be it in power or in numbers. And the Temoi had spent centuries of servitude learning from their masters, grew more and more organized and assertive. Tensions rose and it was clear that blood would soon water the earth..."
 

One Step to Far

  "...As the Time of Twilight drew on and on, the Teluani grew restless. They demanded to know why their mother goddess continued to hide the sun, why the gods had abandoned their faithful. In answer, the Priests claimed that the gods demanded blood. Blood from those that had fallen of the faith and those that insulted them by their mere existence..."   "...Soon, thousands died upon the altars and in the arenas. Mostly Temoi, but many Teluani that were deemed unfaithful fell victim as well. When after a century of sacrifice, nothing seemed to change the people grew angry..."   "...As if that wasn't enough, the cold northern winds that brought winter and rain failed to materialize. The years that followed, characterized by heat and drought, would become known as the Long Summer..."   "...The year 690 after Oblivion would see the lingering tension explode. A small scuffle between Temoi Slaves and Teluani soldiers exploded into a massacre. Soon half a hundred slave villages were in open rebellion. At first, the rulers of Atzlan did not take them seriously, but as one settlement after another fell to the rebels it became clear that this was no normal uprising..."  

Burning Jungle

  "...When it became apparent that the rebels would not give in easily, the Teluani decided to clamp down hard. The armies of all cities were mobilized, any slave even remotely thought to sympathize with the enemy was imprisoned or executed. In battle, it soon became clear that the Temoi armies, while highly motivated and brave. could not stand against the organized forces of Atzlan. Many a battle was lost, tens of thousands of Temoi died and the survivors were driven deeper and deeper into the jungle. On occasion the Teluani would even burn down vast areas of the jungle to either kill the slaves or drive them out. It was at this darkest of points that a woman stepped forth to change the tide of war..."  

Obsidian Fury

  "...Half-Temoi and half-Teluani, she began to unite the scattered Rebel Armies. Clad in armour of black obsidian and wielding weapons of the same material she fought the servants of Atzlan without mercy. Her spirit and words were full of fire and seemed emboldened by the old spirits of the Temoi homeland. As the conflict, increasingly called "the Red Summer" drew into its fourth year, the rebellion emerged as a unified force for the first time..."  
A Thousand Knives

"...Their tactics changed as well. Rather than challenge Atzlan in open battle, the Temoi struck from deep within the woods. Wherever the Teluani were weakest, the rebels would appear. Rather than focus on area alone, they attacked on a wide front, often targeting dozens of points at once. Atzlan's armies found no real answer to this way of war and within a year, they had been pushed back out of the jungles..."
A Thousand Voices

"...Despite their devastating loses, the Temoi armies had never ceased to grow over the course of the rebellion. Brutal reprisals by the Teluani drove thousands to the rebel cause. Many people of mixed heritage, for over thousands of years there had been many a relation between slave and master, began to join as well after the rulers of Atzlan widened their purges on anyone deemed suspicious..."
Battle at the Serpent's Eye

"...After two years of continuous losses, the rulers of Atzlan decided to commit everything to a single decisive attack. Their armies gathered near a lake known as the Serpent's Eye. Some say that not since the days of Theoucal had there been an army as vast. But the Temoi struck at night and shattered the Teluani host. Many thousands drowned in the lake and never again would Atzlan go on the offensive..."
 

Final War

  "...With the armies of Atzlan scattered, the rebels launched an all-out attack on the enemy heartland. But the Teluani would not surrender easily to the vermin that dared to challenge the divinely ordained order. Atzlan was the greatest fortress in the entire south and its Priest-Kings still commanded many thousand elite soldiers. When the armies of the Obsidian Butterfly, as the Temoi now called their leader, attacked the city, they found themselves driven off time and time again..."   "...A gruelling two-year siege ensued. Many an assault was undertaken by both sides and the once so luscious lands around Atzlan were turned into a scorched wasteland. No quarter was given, as anger and hatred grown over centuries was unleashed between the races. By which means the city eventually fell is unknown although many claim that the Old Gods of the South rose to smite its gates after the Obsidian Butterfly had called upon them..."   "...The last remnant of Theoucal's old glory vanished like its mother had done, in a storm of fire. Temoi and Telauni threw themselves at each other in suicidal rage. Serpent Guards of Xhalatl fought to the last against the Chainbreakers on the steps of the Great Temple. Atzlan's last Priest-King duelled the Obsidian Butterfly at the very top and together they tumbled into the flames as it collapsed under them.  

Into the Dawn Age

  "...Only after the fall of Atzlan did the Time of Darkness end and what became known as the Dawn Age begin. The First Dawn was taken as a sign of the gods' favour and the Temoi rejoiced. But not all was well.   Without the Butterfly there was no one to unite the rebel forces. Some wished to fight until every Teluani and mixed-blood was dead, others wished to make peace with the remaining city-states and others again simply wanted to end a decade of war.   The rebel army broke into many pieces and this division, alongside the one caused by the war, would form the basis for nearly every event Inferra would witness in the Dawn Age. To this day, many a family and city bases their stance in Interra's intricate political system on where their ancestors stood during the Red Summer..."   It is here that the account of the Red Summer, kept in The Book of Xelatl and graciously translated by Archivar Setoris, ends. While more story than factual report, it does give a good overview of perhaps the most important event in Inferra's history. Fact is that social and economic troubles, brought on by a repressive caste system, overreliance on slave labour and exaggerated by drought, caused a massive slave revolt that toppled the hegemony established by the city of Atzlan over the far south sometime around the year 1000 DA. No matter what account you follow, however, it is undeniable that the Red Summer changed Inferra forever.  
Peace? Peace cannot exist if even a single Teluani still draws breath. Ten thousand years of slavery can never be undone.
— from Words of the Red Knife
Conflict Type
War
Battlefield Type
Land
Start Date
ca. 690 ToT
Ending Date
ca. 1 DA
Conflict Result
Temoi Victory. Destruction of Xhalatl's Great Temple. Fall of the Covenant of Atzlan and beginning of the Dawn Age in Inferra.
 
Black Wings   For as important as she was in changing Inferra's history, there is basically nothing known about the woman called the Obsidian Butterfly. Her true name, where she hailed from, how she was able to forge the scattered hosts of the Temoi into a powerful army, in pretty much all aspects she remains a mystery.   A thousand explanations from a thousand people, pretty much everyone you ask will have a different story to tell. The only thing they can agree on is that her title stems from the pattern on her obsidian armour.   Legend and Myth   In the millennia following the Red Summer, many of those that fought over the fate of the Temoi would enter southern myth in one form or another. Be it as gods or merely the agents of greater powers, the descendants of both sides have found many ways to integrate these epic figures into their pantheon.   Most important among them are the hero who freed the Temoi and the villain that tried to chain them: the Obsidian Butterfly and the Last Priest-King of Atzlan. Depending on which faction you ask, they are either agent of order and defender of good or demon send to destroy all that is life.
 
This is a war you cannot win. No man, no matter how might can cage a soul. We will always fight for our freedom.
— Words of the Obsidian Butterfly
Blood for the Gods  
Ritual sacrifice had always been part of Teluani society, even in the ancient days of Theoucal. Blood is said to hold power that if properly awoken can alter the very world.   The Teluani believe that all that is stems from the Great Mother and contains a small part of her essence. To strengthen her in the eternal battle with the Great Devourer , a daily sacrifice is required.   In the decades leading up to the Red Summer, these sacrifices increased in number and savagery. Driven by a desperate need to stave off what seemed like certain doom, the Priests of Atzlan sacrificed thousands of people every day.   Entire villages were wiped out in what was increasingly seen as a pointless bloodletting. The mass sacrifices of those days are seen as one of the main reasons for the outbreak of rebellion.
    Eternal Division   As the Red Summer gave way to the Dawn Age, a new order was emerging among the jungles and marshes of Inferra.   Some Teluani followed the old ways of Atzlan while others began to mix and mingle with their former slaves, forming new societies in the process. Then there were the Temoi that chose to follow the beliefs of Red Knife and would continue to slaughter every Teluani they came across.   In time, new groups of people would join them. From the jungles of the deep south came new, savage tribes while in the north the descendants of Theoucal's old rivals would come by sea. Since the late 29th century, Inferra is a solid part of the Known World.  

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Cover image: by Alexander Sköld

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