Centehua swung his club blindly in an adrenal fueled haze. He felt it connect with a wet crunch into the side of the large beast that had bowled him over. The creature leaped backwards, its claws removing most of Centehua's woven cotton armour in the process, leaving only tattered scraps covering his bruised chest.
Centehua could see the creature they had been tracking these last two days clearly against the flickering campfire. The creature that had dragged three pregnant women from their homes in the dead of night, it seemed at first glance to be but a great jaguar. Something was wrong with its face however, despite the vicious wound Centehua had delivered to its brow, he could see something was wrong with its face. Its one remaining eye was a smoldering ember of coal; its maw dripped a constant stream of blood that evaporated into steam upon touching the earth. As Centehua stared at this beast, he heard a slight rustle in the bushes behind him. Centehua was shoved out of the way as his old friend Chimalli rushed to his aid, taking his place in the shredding claws of this second great jaguar. Centehua, in a moment of clarity struck out once quickly the injured Jaguar as it lurched towards him. Inside the blur of a split second his legs were bleeding and one of the jaguars was wheezing in heap, blood pouring from its stove in skull. As he leaned his back against the rough bark of a damp tree, facing the second beast, he called out to his companions 'Acamapichtli! Shoot her now!'
But Acamapichtli's courage did not hold, and he fled into the night. Atl followed a second later, his bow discarded by the now dimming camp fire. As Centehua prepared to journey to Mictlan with Chimalli, he saw the broken bones and bloodied flesh of the injured jaguar knit and heal before his eyes. All of this had been for naught.
Tezcatlipoca is a demon god of terror, lord of the night and patron of sorcerers. By night, his brides stalk the darkness as jaguars of unnatural size; by day they do not exist in the physical world at all. Their maws drip with the blood of Tezcatlipoca, a potent mystic poison against those who exemplify the light of order and civilization; Their eyes burn with dark magics enabling them to truly see people as they really are; to know what beats in their heart. The brides feed on terror and cowardice. They maim or kill the weakest and most beloved in communities to inspire panic, aided by a supernatural musk they seem to exude. When warriors march out to hunt them, they may find the hearts of their companions falter. Those who allow any fear into their heart will find they cannot control themselves when their courage is called to the test. This plague upon the morale of soldiers make an infestation of the Brides a great worry to kings and warlords. Those without fear, who often seem to be amoral treasure hunters with no true concept of danger, are the greatest nemesis to the Brides as they can only be harmed by those without fear. The high priests warn not to bring cowards with you however, as the brides will heal and rejuvenate upon the sweet aroma of terror. Rarely will brides hunt alone, but it is known that only seven will exist at any one time, and rarely all in the same location.
The Labourers Under the Volcano
1 hour ago