Interlude 2: Citla Tecpatl

In the depths of the jungles of the Great Ball, the wild human tribes still thrive; they are constantly at war with each other and the tribes of wild elves that they coexist with. Alliances are formed and broken regularly, and though all else shifts and flows with blood, one thing ties the tribes together as one people: Tecpatl—Stone Dagger—the pyramid temple to the gods and the order of priestesses of the same name.

All the tribes of the jungles sought to please their gods, girls were brought to the temple just out of infancy in hopes they would bring honor to their tribes and be picked to join the order. Human and elven sacrifice were brought in hopes that it would bring strength and victory to the tribes. This is the heart of the culture, religion and government of the savage peoples of the jungle, this is where Citlatecpatl, Paladin Champion of Pelor had her beginning.

A warrior of the wild elves had been taken prisoner after a skirmish and was brought before the High Priestess, he was to be sacrificed if the priestess found him a worthy gift for the gods, if he was not his
tongue would be cut out and he would become a slave to the Tecpatl, but as she approached him and saw a glint of untamed fierceness in his eyes, a vision passed over her, a child to be begotten of two races,
trained by two races, to be a hand of the Tecpatl and the gods. The elf was taken to her chambers and with the seal of blood ritual, the child was conceived in darkness: bearing the sins of the people on her soul and an undecided destiny.

She possessed a wild beauty even from the earliest years of her child hood, but under the golden exterior lay a strong iron will and strength of mind, body and soul, and these were enough to hide the shine of her golden heart from the Tecpatl who would have made it cold and dark as they trained her in their ways while the wild elf trained her in the art of sword play, and though his tongue had been taken from him, he taught her love amidst the permafrost that infected the hearts of the Tecpatl.

And so it came that the child grew under the schooling of the two worlds, and she came of age, displaying the abilities of the warriors of long ago, the warriors that earned their place in the heavens as stars. On the eve of her coming of age ceremony he watched as she sparred some of the young warriors of the tribes and felt an overwhelming sense of pride. He knew it would be the last time he saw her, but he found that it did not matter any more, he would have rather have died at the hands of the Tecpatl a thousand times then have forsaken the last fifteen years of training and knowing his daughter even if she would never know the truth of who he was. The priestesses had told her that her father had been sacrificed when she was born. In a way, this was a truth, the day she was born was the day that they had cut his tongue and made him sterile, but this did not matter any more, none of it mattered any more, tonight was her coming of age, tonight he would be sacrificed to the heathen gods that dwelled in the temple Tecpatl. When the priestesses came for him he went without struggle, sending his silent prayer out to any god that would listen.

The sound of the ceremonial drums grew, the wild elf’s skin was painted and marked with sacred runes, and a mask was placed on his face; a mask marked by the symbol Citla—the star, the mark of the ancient warriors who left the earth through the gate of the sun to continue their battles in the sky. He was taken to the altar, and the ceremony began, the drums beginning to crescendo more. The High Priestess chanted the ritual and those that were full priestesses echoed. Flames leaped up around the altar, and from the darkness of the temple the girl entered, dropping the thin robe to the ground as she approached the altar. Her nakedness was to represent her lack of name, and this night she would be clothed. She stood above his body and began her own chant, the high priestess handed the ceremonial dagger to the girl. She raised the dagger, and an overwhelming sense of wrongness hit her, but the ceremony had to go on, she could not go on nameless. The dagger went into the wild elf’s chest and the blood flowed as she pulled out the heart, still beating and held it up to the sky. The priestesses painted her body with his blood and the colored paints, marking her with the symbols that were her name.

“Nehuatl Motoka?” she shouted. It was a question not merely asking her name, but who she was in total…
“Citlatecpatl” declared the high priestess… Star of Tecpatl… Warrior of Tecpatl… The priestesses chanted the name and the high priestess lifted the mask from the wild elf and placed it on her daughter’s face. And as the girl looked down at the body and saw his face, her world seemed to crumble about her. The chanting of her name faded about her, the high priestess’s chanting seemed to turn to laughter, she looked about her, she looked at herself, a terrible voice seemed to be speaking to her, urging her to stay, to take this as her destiny, but her heart was about to burst… the wild elf, her tutor had cared for her and now he was dead by her hand.

She ran.

The chanting of her name seemed to continue to echo in the back of her head. Through the forest she ran, the voice followed her, the chanting… Citlatecpatl. Running and running until she was too tired, too cold, two torn to run any longer, and she collapsed in the ruins of a lost temple…

…Everything was bright and golden, the ground was gone though she felt that she could not stand up by herself. A hand reached out to her, and she took it and he helped her stand up. He appeared as man to her, in golden plate armor and he wore a helmet that was liken to a stylized sun face. She could see his eyes beyond the helm, they were warm and reminded her of the wild elf. They seemed to sparkle with kindness as she looked on, and he removed the mask that was on her face, and she walked with him through the sun and into the battlefield of the sky, and as she did the sorrow and guilt of the death of her mentor passed from her…

She awoke in a temple of Pelor, though it was months later. A group of priests, led by a paladin had found her when they were making pilgrimage to the ancient temple. Her wounds had been deep, but in the temple of Pelor, in the service of Pelor she found her forgiveness. The priests taught her how to read, write, and speak common, of the teachings of Pelor though she knew that she knew all that she needed to know of him, he was the gate to the stars for which she had been named. Five years passed, and her wounds, both emotional and physical had healed, though they left scars and she was knighted as a full Paladin of Pelor and sent from the Jungle temple, far across the land, to both serve as a protector of the temple in the Deserts of Ossecus, and help remove the threat of the undead that infected that land…

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