The pale lizard's followers wish to cut the threads of their own lives, no more shall we wait to die. No more shall we cause despair for those who have done us no harm. We shall cut the threads of our faith, tonight, and leap into the unknown— into the fever-pitch of a full life!Tihuekla Rol is the leader of the Tihuetil, a group of apostates who escaped Ytzklapon and travel to warn others of— and potentially combat— the encroaching pale lizard, the city upon their back, and their plan to devour all of humanity.
My father brought his fist up to his mouth— signalling me to be quiet— as we approached the beaten slave in the street. The sun was setting, the sky painted in purple hues— like the bruises on the strange man's face. I didn't understand why— as my father quietly whispered something into the man's ear and left him food— he was helping him.Her father spent a great amount of time making examples for his daughter to instill his ideals in her. Making sure to treat slaves with respect, praying for those he killed in battle and regaling the young girl with tales of the innocents he refused to kill when sent off to capture a city. He snuck her food during fasting periods, telling her that it was better this way. Eventually she would grow to no longer accept his unorthodox ideals— growing closer to her mother who had, over time, become more orthodox in her beliefs.
I asked him "Why give him food? Won't he rejoin Ytzkla faster if he dies?" He turned to me, and though I couldn't see his face, I could see sadness in his eyes. Quietly, he said these words to me, which forever changed my life. "He can rejoin Ytzkla another day."
Pulled awayKlapnot, she had become a prime candidate to become a yiltz— mentored by her aging mother.
Her mother had instilled in the young woman the values of their faith, and taught her more about tolix rites than most Ytzklaponeu ever learn.
Her mother sought to leave behind her knowledge and values in the youth before she passed on— straightening one assailed by unorthodox influence was an even greater good, she thought. This lasted until Rol's father was killed, shortly after she reached the age of 23.
A Kind Vengeance
This was the greatest lesson her father had taught her. The truth of their society. Tenets, teachings, and values of their faith only mattered as far as they benefited the faithful.
A particular man stuck out to her, now is known as Tihuekla Ruhe, who had snuck into the nearby tolix and returned with a body from the ceremonial burial chambers. The body had, in fact, not been dead— it was the man's brother, barely clinging to life, declared by a yiltz to be good as dead and struck with incurable illness.
Rol couldn't conceal her astonishment at this act— and her surprised gasp nearly made Ruhe drop the body then and there.
I recall in vivid detail the conversation held when I met the first who would join our ranks, Ruhe. "I-I couldn't abandon him, just leave him to die! It isn't right." He had said, bewildered, desperately trying to defend his actions to someone he had never met.In the following few years, their group would grow, and talk of their actions would be on the lips of many Ytzklaponeu throughout the city.
The body's Cluetolxli had come loose, torn wrappings touching the ground. "He can rejoin Ytzkla another day." I said, and picked up the loose wrappings before helping carry the body to his home.
The group began to sneak into battle, aided by members of the military among them, and help innocents escape— or grant them a peaceful death. Of course, many feared them.
The woman stared up at me, terrified, holding her young ones close. I bent over to place my weapon on the floor, but she seemed to believe my Cluetolxli was, itself, a weapon— screaming and clutching her children closer as it bent towards them under its own weight. I couldn't help but wonder, could we truly do any good this way?Another Ytzklaponeu soldier had witnessed a member of the group aiding a small child. She was murdered on the spot, as a sinner. The second time a member of the group was caught, they had been a capable fighter— and their attacker was killed in defense. However, they killed themselves from the guilt shortly thereafter. Clearly this could not work, clearly this was endangering those following Rol, and she knew it could not last. She demanded that the group cease actions on the field, and to instead focus on the survivors— the injured and the slaves.
As rain poured they often fell ill, and even if some avoided illness, they soon contracted them from proximity. It disgusted Rol to her core, as if the very marrow of her bones was subject to seeping rot and poison. Those running the slave trade were even more contemptible than any other she had known before.
It was clear from then on what they must do.
At this point in time, the pale lizard was swimming up the southwestern coast of Rqet, south of Lliaq. This was the time. Less risk of death upon landing, and a shore in sight after months of an endless sea. In the dead of night, they took a number of ytzklaxoli culcatin from hidden stocks collected over the years from various battles, overwhelmed the few guards watching over the slave pens, and broke free those they could. Few hesitated to take the plunge, diving off the back of Ytzkla on cloth wings.
A pledge was made that day, those who remained— numbering around 30 in total, not including the freed slaves— rejected their faith. Each took a new name, prefaced by the title of "Tihuekla." Starting with "tihue" or "thread" and "kla", being the *last* character of their former god's name, Ytzkla. Ytzklaponeu family names are always prefaced with the first three, instead. Together, this effectively means "the end of Ytkla's thread."
And thus, the Tihuetil (Thread-cut) were born.
Maternal TroublesThough Rol had been close with her mother in her younger days, this relationship did not last after her father's death. Her mother blamed his murder on his naivete.
This, of course, did not sit well with Rol. Yet she still tried to smile and nod, listen and obey, yet begin her new practices in secret.
As many teens are, however, she was eventually caught. She had been helping an older slave walk back to their master's house under the weight of goods.
She did not know, however, that the slave's master had been a close friend of her mother— and when she caught her, she immediately went to her mother.
As her mother chose a faithful young man for her to wed, hoping to set her on the right path, Rol immediately challenged the marriage, and was granted freedom by the yiltz who took her case.
She left her mother's care soon after, the two never spoke again.
Too lateThe Tihuetil were too late to save Lliaq. While they had left their nation before The Devouring of Lliaq— they couldn't wish to outrun a beast of Ytzkla's size.
When they arrived, the once great city was already in ruins. They had cast off their Cluetolxli in the red sands when they first landed, had they not done so— those who survived may have killed them on the spot or ran in fear.
They did the best they could to aid the survivors, building shelter, finding food, offering medical assistance when able. As many were capable fighters, they helped keep monsters at bay— though some did perish in the early days.
A nomadic people who pillage and feed entire cities to the pale lizard Ytzkla, their god, upon whom they built their great city.