A Friend In Need: Flood or Famine

By the time her son, Ahamapotl I, had ascended the throne of the Empire, Aglethal had been living and in power for a long time. And even though technically it had been her husband, and was at the time her son, who had truthfully been in power, the people were not as stupid as Aglethal and her sisters had hoped they were. The populace knew something was going on, and they were not happy about it. People can feel when they are being fattened for the slaughter; it may be that it's some race memory from when the Devil Dragon Vekheteshaynaralax-Shayna raised humans for food, or wrapped them in the hateful embrace of The Galbrok Tamarind nefarious pods. Whatever the source, the people of the island knew something was afoot. Rumors had been flying around about Aglethal, ever since her first husband, Teotach I, began finding his wives dead in their bowers. Ten had been found dead of various means; snake bites, bee stings, an alligator, quicksand...anything other than a weapon had been used to do the deeds, but for the last. But Teotach the First's final wife to die did not do so mysteriously. She had been stretched across an altar, and her heart had been cut from her body. At the time, people had taken this as a symbol of the gods' distaste for constructing the huge buildings that had taken over the landscape of the islands. Over time, though, people began to distrust Aglethal and her sisters, the three remaining wives of Teotach I. Sure, the three of them threw lavish parties for the entire island in memory of their late husband, and had sponsored the building of medical facilities and agricultural schools. Much good had truly been done by them. But people began to whisper of much evil befalling some, also. Entire communities disappearing; whole islands laid to waste. Dire warnings from the west began to percolate throughout the empire, news of sea monsters and dire beasts rising. Everyone knew of someone that had inexplicably died a horrible, savage death.   And that was not all. The religion in the islands had taken a wicked turn, and the priest class had become bloodthirsty. Prisoners of war were now routinely sacrificed to the couatl in the region, across altars built atop ziggurats that had been erected over the ancient sites of legendary couatl lairs. True, the beautiful creatures made more public appearances lately, but some said they were being coerced by Aglethal and her two sisters. Some even said the blood rites were keeping the couatl under control, somehow. Compelling them to act in certain ways, many of them contrary to a couatl's nature. The people complaining about the treatment of the couatl were also grumbling about the state of mind of their friends and family. A decided torpor had settled upon the population; unless they were working in the fields or livestock pens, the entire population seemed inclined to sit still, even as the sun set and dark set in. Families would eat, gathering food from the communal kitchens, and dining in the yard with the other close by families. They all ate in silence, and then sat as such. Whole families, silently sitting in the dark until they all stood and found their beds simultaneously. These same people lost all personality and humor. Indeed, in many cases, people lost the ability to communicate entirely. Only to follow orders, and indicate 'yes', or 'no'. The affliction became terrifylingly prevalent, and began to be called 'the Gloaming' by the people of the island empire. It seemed anywhere the island could influence rainfall, there were people depressed into silent, mere, existence.   There were, of course, detractors. There were people who refused to believe any of the so-called 'societal regression' dialogue. People who refused to believe there was anything wrong with the way they were living, and that Aglethal and her sisters were the only ones who could save the people from what they dubbed an 'insidious invasion of soft fascism'. Aglethal's supporters, dubbing themselves The Reenlightened, fought tooth and nail against her detractors, oft times with fists and teeth. She stuffed the political offices with her supporters. She influenced the King's concubines and wives through fear and blatant manipulation. For Aglethal, the control became as sweet as any ambrosia her new master Asmodeus had yet brewed for her, and her alone, as he told her. She was his favorite, he always told her, and she believed him. So when the population began to throw rotten food at her, or (when she put an end to that with prejudice), when they would sing mocking songs behind her back, yet worship her to her face, she became livid. Enough of the people did so that, in 2949NG, she cut the water off to the entire population until they apologized in a massive ceremony that involved burning seven prisoners of war alive. She felt much better, after that, for a while; yet once again the population began to mock her for her greed and vanity, and she snapped one day in a fit of pique. Rushing down to the teocalli in a very un-queenly sprint, she flung aside the gates with a word and gesture, and stormed through the great hall. Seemingly flying down the spiral stair leading to the old wellspring below, she ran screaming to the control valves she had had built so many years before. Flinging them all wide open, she reached into the wellspring itself, and retreived a cubit long bottle made of a single pice of silicate quartz. Holding it high, she invoked a name; "DHAOLMECC!"   Across the island, people in their homes began to notice that their clay plumbing was dripping. Then, suddenly, they all burst simultaneously, and the people paniced. Moreover, the livestock all paniced as well and were lost when the sluice gates were overrun by fast rising waters from the irrigation system that was now built into every terrace and worked piece of farmland. The water burst forth from every spout and reservoir. It rose within the rivers and canals, and rain began to drum down so hard it became difficult to see. Men women and children were drowned in an instant; not a single survivor of the tragedy was left unbereft. But that was not the end. Suddenly, after forty days and forty nights, the rain ceased, and the clouds cleared, and the sun began to beam down upon the island empire once again. The islands of the region had been washed clean of nearly everything. Only the largest structures remained, the teocalli, and the palaces and plazas. Homes and hospitals, schools and gardens, all were washed away like some offending growth of fungus. The only survivors were those who had accepted Aglethal's aid, and sheltered within the ziggurats built atop couatl lairs. While there, they either particpated in grotesque blood rites, or were used as a subject of one. They were forced to worship Aglethal and her sisters, and to put aside other gods. In this way, Aglethal stepped away from being a queen of her people, and forced them to accept her as their god and savior. And, for these survivors, that was just the beginnings of their troubles.   The floods had destroyed everything. The crops and the livestock, even the bounty of the surroundiung jungles, all had vanished. Dead and decaying plant matter lay everywhere; wet, matted, and full of insects that soon became a plague of gnats and blackflies. Then came the birds that fed on the insects, bringing with them fleas and ticks carrying all manner of disease and debilitating illness. The trapped and rotting carcasses of animals attracted its own brand of insect and scavenger, and soon buzzards became the most prolific bird on the islands. Huge birds, they quickly became the bullies of the skies. Yet soon enough, even they decided to move on to greener pastures. They needed new things to grow up and die to sustain themselves, and in The Tolmec Empire, everything had been wiped out. In a matter of months, the islands were desolate, and the people enslaved. Forced to perform rites of bloodthirsty savagery, the populace began to emulate their religion, some scholars would speculate that this was to normalize the atrocities they, themselves, were carrying out daily.


The people of the Empire began suffering a mysterious malady that folks coined 'the Gloaming', and worse, Aglethal played her hand and flooded the lands, causing famine and death.

Historical Basis

The chronicler views, or has at least written this, as if it were fact.


The spread of this tale comes in the form of a sea shanty entitled "The Bitch Queen Flood".

Variations & Mutation

In some versions of the tale, Aglethal is often Fey, or sometimes even a Sea Hag.

Cultural Reception

The very few people aware of this story dare not believe it to be true.

In Literature

Only in a very obscure sea shanty.

In Art

There is a painting of a beautiful woman brandishing a quartz bottle hung in the Fourteenth Dean of the College's office at The Bardic College Campus.
Date of First Recording
Date of Setting
5 Janus, 2949NG
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