They say the first gods were white men who came from over the sea. They were emissaries of the Winged God, who created the fifth sun for man and brought justice, mercy, and the light upon his wind. Today I have gazed upon their faces.
I know them to be savages and the tales to be false.
We came upon the rocky shores on the 13th House of Tlaxochimaco. A chill mist hid the sun from us and the priests took signs of great portent. The gray sea rocked gently against the gunwales of the great balsas. The shrill cry of birds indicated that we were approaching landfall. By late afternoon, our lookouts had espied a bay with calmer seas, which we took as harbor to moor the boats.
The sea here is fed by many rivers and at low tide there is much mud so as to make it difficult to navigate to the true shores. Two men were lost trying to navigate the flats to shore, having been sucked beneath the sands, so the landing party waited for the higher tides of nightfall to board the canoes. The shore leads to a remote place. Brackish water soddens the nearby land and it appears that no people make there homes there regularly. We came upon some primatives foraging for shell fish in the sands, and after some simple communication with our guides, bright bearded men of the longships who owe fealty to the Speaker of the Three Cities, they directed us southwards towards a settlement.
Our party was greeted with much fanfare upon approach. A speaker for the tribe's chieftain, a woman of great import, invited us to settle in among them for a feast. Our warriors and scholars were offered meat of a great many surprisingly bland animals, and vegetables that were stewed or boiled into pulp. They do not take atolli with their meals and know little of the chillis used to spice the bounty of Cinteotl. One of the men shared a hot chilli and caused much suffering to our hosts. He was beaten for his impudence and offered over to the queen for punishment, but she declined his sacrifice.
After the meal, many gifts were brought to us, and a great show was made of the queen bequeathing her torq or necklace to me. Several other trinkets, bronze and tin bowls and simple beads were offered to us. We returned the tribute with a few pieces of gold, which caused rejoice amongst the primatives. We were welcomed for the night.
The people of this land call themselves Briquatines, or High People, which they take after the name of a local goddess. They make most of their weal through pastoral pursuit, moving strange, slow beasts that look as small clouds through pastures. From their hide, they make their clothes and they take meat from the shank, which is hearty if nothing else. They trade often in hides and ironwork, and keep currency in salt. To their gods they make sacrifices to swamps and springs, sometimes people but usually livestock or metal work, much of which is conquest from the neighboring tribes.On their highest feast days, they make visits to rings constructed of small stone slabs to honor their gods and ancestors. They are simple monuments, but are treated with the same reverence as the
Our guides assure us that they are a simple people, easily dominated, and that they pose no threat to us.
The days go by here under much cloud, offering little light and cold, sour water upon us. We made trade of more gold and simple weapons to the Briquatines for their furs, which greatly improve the warmth offered by huacaya coats we have brought. This emboldened the primatives and they attacked us in the night, but their numbers were disbursed by discharges from the firesticks. The next day the queen came and made us offerings of slaves and gifts to assuage our anger, which we have taken to relieve the burden of our tlacotin porters. Concluding an agreement of peace among us, we left a garrison here to protect the entry of more great balsas into the harbor, while I resolved to bring the men south among other tribes.
Our guides have raided these lands for years and know much of the simple culture they share. Where we go, they barter for us, exchanging modest amounts of gold for food stuffs and information. The small chieftains of these places make gifts to us in their metalwork and pottery, which bears peculiar patterns of twisting curves and lines that cross themselves. They also seem to take great pride in broad chested riding alpacas, which they use for war and transport. We have procured many of them, as well as able riders to teach our soldiers. Occasionally they make war on us after sharing gifts, attempting to take firesticks or sacred items from the priests. We have been forced to massacre no few of them in order to pacify their perfidy, but still more we take as allies and conscripts like the Briquatines we first met.
This land smells of wet alpaca. The cold is bitter and grows long as the days short. Truly, if this was once the land of the gods, they have since left it to darkness.
At the end of a great river, the tribe there tell us of lands beyond the straits. When the fog lifts there are hints of other shores. I have asked the guides to procure ships for us, and they assure us that they have kinsfolk among the primatives and can extract the best materiel from them. Having been declared incorrigible by his former master before we set sail, I had set little stock by Sven. Truly he has earned his value since. Should the worst befall us, I will have him set free upon my death.
Sickness takes hold of the men here. Still more is passed on to the primatives. The commanders worry that the coming season will destroy our host, but I assure them: we have feasted with Huitzilopochtli. We have promised him the sacrifice that is his right every fifty two years. Even should the land turn pure white as the natives claim, we stand dauntless in the face of the end of the fifth world.
To the east it is claimed that there is an old empire. Sclerotic, impotent, weak. It bows under the weight of its own venal decay, holds much riches, and is the gateway to the new world. Albin and his kin have taken much booty from them. Still more remains. A new Flower War is upon us. The end of the fifth world is approaching, and Huitzilopochtli demands his due. I serve the Tlatoani and Quetzalcoatl. I bring their justice, mercy, and light. I will pacify these barbarous people and bring civilization to their savage lands.