Another entry in my Returned Maztica series:
Counterpart culture: Tarascan state
Dragon ruler: Long Shadow of the Desert (deceased, but not gone), an ancient male blue dragon who was a sibling to the rulers of Pezelac and Kolan. Since a young age he had a deep fascination with magic, and when he claimed dominion over Huacli he spent much of his time searching for the ancient copper plates occasionally unearthed in the land, which sometimes contained inscriptions of spells or other arcane knowledge. Eventually, their trail led him to Mictlatepec, the City of the Dead, where he claimed the Talisman of Perpetual Life and the Knife of Perpetual Service from its undead ruler.
Many years later, enraged at the death of his sister Swift Huntress of the Plains, he joined in the assault on Cerico, but all his arcane might availed him not when he was tricked into falling into a pit filled with spikes and chains hindering his escape while he choked to death on mercury fumes. His slayers swiftly moved on to the other battles raging throughout the region, but when someone thought of looking into the pit again the next day, his corpse was gone - transformed into a wraith by the Talisman, he fled north by night, sensed as a shadow by the towns he flew across, but never seen.
And he remains unseen by the living to this day, but after a few months of establishing his new lair in Mictlatepec he made his presence felt again by sending out his Shrouded Ambassadors to the cities of the living.
Religion: All the gods are worshiped in Huacli, and the fervor of the prayers is matched by the fear in the hearts of the people - though few of the priesthood dare agitate openly against their ruler, and those who do tend to vanish quickly. The hardest hit have been the priests of Maztica, who can sense the unnatural presense spreading across the land more than most. Meanwhile, those clans who have turned to ancestor worship during the Godless Time have seemingly gained new favor in their ruler's eyes, and their warlock-priests are treated as near-equals by the Shrouded Ambassadors.
Economics: Trade remains vigorous among the Huacli city-states, especially now that the multi-hulled ships of the Ocean Masters have returned after a century's absence and are connecting the coastal cities once again with points north, south, and west. However, their ships rarely linger for long, for there is always the danger that one of the Shrouded Ambassadors might appear and demand something - be it trade goods, coin, or people. And what they demand, they get - and take with them to Mictlatepec, never to be seen again by the living.
Meanwhile, someone is producing copper plates engraved with potent necromantic spells. No one will admit knowing where they came from, but for those so inclined they can be had for the right price when asking the right people. As a result, more and more aspiring necromancers are flocking to Huacli - and few dare raise a hand against them.
Politics: Long Shadow of the Desert wants revenge - revenge on those contemptible, upstart, living humans and traitorous Dragonborn. But building up his undead armies and plunge Maztica into a new age of darkness takes time, and thus he is content to let the mortals fight over it first... to better harvest their corpses. His first goal is to retake Ixtal from Nexal, and even if he is confident of beating the brood of the Viperhand in a straight fight, he wants to weaken their defenses and their unity first. Once their will is broken, the cities of Kolan are ripe for the picking - and then only Kultaka will stand in his way before he is ready to confront the coward Queen of Far Payit.
Meanwhile, to build up his strength at home, he is subtly encouraging the people of Huacli to embrace death and undeath - while everyone can be turned into zombies, those who choose undeath out of their own free will can become much more powerful servants. And they need not fear the Shrouded Ambassadors if they join them...
Finally, Long Shadow of the Desert despertately seeks the remains of his sisters. After their deaths their corpses were taken apart and taken as trophies and souveniers, or sold to the highest bidders - and finding the parts is a difficult and maybe impossible task. But his minions are willing to search all of Maztica for them if necessary - and if they can find just enough, the three of them can be together again once more...
Mezo-American adventures in Maztica, the True World.
The Book-House: Find Maztica products.
The Book-House: Find Maztica products.
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- Jürgen Hubert
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