A Friend in Need: So Many Mouths to Feed

Tlacalel spun widdershins round the clearing. It had taken months of practicing, but he had managed just that morning to finish the whirling dance of pomp and showmanship that was the Sunrite. Inspired by the colors and intricate dancing of the region's birds, he let out a final, entreating whistle, before collapsing cross legged onto the grass. Bathed in the light of the moon, he let his heart and breathing slow to a more normal pace, praying softly the entire time. His breath slow, his heart pacing slowly along, Tlacalel opened his eyes with a deep intake of breath... ...and choked as he beheld a pair of femenine eyes not three feet from his. Young, curious eyes, decorated with brash reds and yellows, and lined with turquoise blue. Her flaming red hair somehow enhanced the effect; as if the makeup artist had somehow mastered the art of garish subtlety. The eyes were bold, and intelligent, and full of questions.
"What is it that you are doing?" her voice was low in register, a contralto.
"I am learning the Sunrite, to honor Huitzilpochitli. It is our name for the god of the sun." Tlacalel was immediately smitten with this girl. She must be just about his own age; fifteen summers or so. He found himself stating the obvious in his flustered state, "You are one of the Singers from across the sea," She smiled so sweetly at this, that his heart would surely burst were it to continue.   Her eyes crinkled up at the corners when she smiled. He had never seen that happen, before. Womens' eyes always held at least a hint of fear when they were this close to him. It was a burden for Tlacalel. When she answered, her low voice was breathy with humour at his discomfiture.
"Yes, I am N'giri, disciple of Vekhetmiradonalax-Myra, she who is called Peace Lily." Tlacalel nodded; he had heard of the woman. She was reportedly a gifted healer. "What is this Sunrite, sir..."
"Ah! Yes, of course!" Why was he so tongue tied around this woman? "I am Tlacalel," He paused, suddenly afraid that he would see that fear blossom somewhere deep in her eyes, but they remained playful, and engaging. Her eyes were not looking for ways to comfort or ingratiate herself to him.
"Sir Tlacalel," said she, with a finality that was immensely satisfying to the young man. "Tell me, Sir Tlacalel, what is the Sunrite?" He found himself answering, but he wanted nothing more than to simply gaze at and into her eyes. "It is our sacred ritual to honor Huitzilpochitli, on the solstice," he wanted desperately to impress this young woman, suddenly, but his tongue cleft to the the roof of his mouth and he fell silent, returning her brash gaze with a shy one of his own.
"And tell me, sir Tlacalel, why do you dress in a robe of feathers?" N'giri was astute, he noticed admiringly. "The red feathers depict a rendition of the phoenix, a couatl of sorts, who dies in flames at the end of their life, only to be reborn into those same flames the next morning. They are exceedingly rare; my mother says there is only ever one at a time in any given territory..." He fell silent again. He feared this wonderful lady would think less of him if she found him overly religious. Or, gods forbid, thought him chaste!
She remained quiet, listening, eyes trained on his. There were msyteries behind those eyes that he wanted to hear. There were pains that he wanted to comfort. He continued.
"The solstice begins with a ritual to Chac Ch'een, our god of rain and beloved by the farmers. The rite starts in the early morning, at the pitz field, with the high priest dressed in his best ceremonial attire and leading the event. There are offerings, dances, and prayers until the sun breaks over the peak of Tzinxin Fal, which is when the procession begins. The high priest will disrobe, and lead the march from the ball field to the temple, along the Nahuatl way." Her wonderful eyes crinkled a little at the corners in confusion, so he elaborated, "The grand causeway trhrough the middle of the city?" Her eyes smoothed out and her enchanting smile returned. "King Teotach the First had it built in such a way as to shine directly upon that causeway, which is marked with the times of day upon it. The causeway ends at the doors to the Ziggurat of the Sun of the Sun. There the priest will meet with the offering; a man or woman dedicated enough to learn the entrirety of the hours-long Tonatiuh mitotli, which celebrates the sun by honoring Huitzilpochitli..." Tlacalel trailed off. Her eyes, those wonderful eyes, had become concerned. It had taken him a moment to recognize it for what it was, for it was foreign to him. Her eyes were showing concern for him! His heart skipped a beat. She nodded for him to continue, her attention rapt. It brought the heat to his face. "The offering dances, and if the dance is worthy, the people will be blessed with bounty and abundance that harvest." She nodded in understanding. "And you," N'giri spoke softly, "are one of those who are considered an offering?" Tlacalel suddenly felt seen for the first time in many years. Seen as himself; not his station.
"Yes. Yes I am," Tlacalel replied just as softly.
  And suddenly, they were kissing. The kind of passionate kissing that romanticists never cease trying to describe. A kiss so deep that they were caressing each others souls with warmth, and passion. Their hands soon began to explore each others bodies greedily, and in the brilliance of Selune's light, the two of them became one for a short time. Real love blossomed there, on the remote Tolmec island of Nopaltzin. A real, true and beautiful thing. And, it broke a spell that had been carefully planted, and delicately spread, throughout the whole of the empire. Suddenly, the people of Nopaltzin felt a great weight of sadness lift from their already bent backs. Hope returned to them in an instant, all unbeknownst to the en flagrante couple. So it was that the beginning of the end of The Tolmec Empire was born.
  For, once a spell is broken, the ensorcled know they had been preyed upon. And, they know by whom! And so, the isle of Nopaltzin became the first of the rebels oathbound to destroy Aglethal and her coven. With the help of N'giri and her people, a plan began to take shape, and word quietly spread throughout the realms. It would take some time, but Tlacalel was determined to help his people, and to help the couatl imprisoned below the Ziggurat of the Sun at his island's temple complex. Thier plan was ambitious; its scope, vast. Save them all. Save everyone who could be saved.
  It was a proposition of thousands. The logistics of such a ruse were nothing short of staggering. it would take underground action of the most secret sort. It would also take time, and an entire organization of people, to pull it off. All of these things exponentially improved their chances of being caught in the act by Aglethal and her coven sisters. That would be devastating. In the meantime, however, Tlacalel and N'giri acted as if nothing were wrong, instructing their co conspirators to do the same. They invoked the names of Vekhetmiradonalax-Myra, and Selune, and Oghma, and through information gleaned directly from N'giri's Loremaster mother, the began to invoke the name Daolmecc.
  Even imprisoned, as he was, Daolmecc could hear their entreaties, as if they were coming through a thick, crystal wall. The voices rang against the quartz of his prison, rebounding within, and Daolmecc heard them. Sadly, he sat down in the middle of his plain, echo prone cell with a sigh and a tear of regret falling from his cheek onto the quartz floor of his prison with a soft hiss and wisp of smoke. Daolmecc froze, staring at the small chip in the floor where his tears had fallen...


When the might of The Tolmec Empire began to throw its weight around in Taisha, it of course attracted the attention of the Singers, who sent an emmisary named Myra. A young lady of Myra's entourage named N'giri met, purely by chance, prince Tlacalel as he practiced for the Sunrite, which would happen on the solstice. The two fell in love, hard, immediately, and their joining broke the coven's hold on the minds of the islanders. So, they began to plan a huge rescue along with the Singers.   The odds against them were staggering...

Historical Basis

The chronicler believes this story to be true.


It is a total secret and myth only really told around the The Warmwind Sea.

Variations & Mutation

In some of the worst of the stories, all of the people are actually killed by a coven of hags.

Cultural Reception

Really, the society of laid back surfer types that enjoy telling stories around a campfire are the only people that tell the story.

In Art

Post Impersonationist Clancy G. Clarence's seminal piece, The Empty City, depicts a city of massive stone buildings and working fountains...and zero people of any stripe.
Date of First Recording
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Cover image: Ahuatl's Tomb by H Ogni


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