Tlilpotonqui (Tleel po TON k)
The party had driven the beasts to the edge of the cliffs, the kill was swift. Tlilpotonqui smiled broad and warm. It had been a fine day. His smile faded as he spied the crescent Moon already hanging delicately in the sky. The west was fading to pinks and golds. In his excitement, he had forgotten the time. He fell back, letting the party get well ahead, and turned towards the cliffs. As the last rays of the Sun faded he dove towards the rocky waters below...
A blessing and a curse
The battle was lost. The warriors, pressed to the steep edge of the mountain, had only the sea below to turn to. As the sun set, a black feather descended upon Tlilpotonqui and transformed him. His feet lifted from the ground and curled into talons. His face elongated and formed to the helmet he wore. His arms gave way to a great feathered span and Tlilpotonqui took to the air.
He flew from the edge of the cliff, through open air and back again. He crossed high over the battle lines and descended behind the enemy and upon their leader priest. Tlilpotonqui's talons tore through the man's chest, and flew back to his own ranks. When the sun rose to great the new day, the enemy was defeated and Tlilpotonqui stood, once again, as a man.
Tlilpotonqui (Tleel po TON k) 'Feathered in Black', was born of a noble household and a warrior line. Born during a total solar eclipse it is said that a sign of favor, a turquoise comet, graced the sky. As thanks for this fortune his father dedicated him to the god Huitalilopoclotli (weet sel o POK tl'e) 'blue hummingbird', the sun god of war and the resurrected warrior. Taught to fight from an early age, Tlilpotonqui had a gift for weapons that flew through the air. He took his place among the warriors at the age of 15. His right of passage at 17 was joyously celebrated by his induction as an Eagle Knight. By the age of 21 even the eagle knights, peerless infantry that breeched the most daunting defenses, were awed by his abilities. It was said that he moved as swift as the comet on the day of his birth and was shielded by the darkness of the eclipse.
In honor of his patron god, Tlilpotonqui adorns his Yaomitl (yao MI tl ) and Tepoztopilli (te pOSH tO PiL le) with turquoise feathers to resemble the streaming comet that signified his birth. His shield, too, was adorned on the edges with feathers of turquoise. The center bore the image of the sun, half covered by feathers of black.
Weapons: Tlilpotonqui's favored weapon is the Atlatl (AY tl AY tl) a grooved paddle which he expertly used to hurl darts and small spears. The Atlatl was etched with images of his god Huitalilopoclotli and the god of the city Quetzalcoatl. In battle, he used the weapon to disable his opponent. When a more lethal blow was warranted the projectiles were tipped with venom to ensure a quick and inglorious death. When pressed to close quarter combat he abandons his projectile weapons for the Yaomitl, a short lance tipped with obsidian.
The Tepoztopilli (te pOSH tO PiL le), A wooden lance toped with obsidian is Tlilpotonqui's weapon of choice for hunting. He wields this nine foot lance with great accuracy and can penetrate flesh and bone from 150 yards.
Armor: Tlilpotonqui wears armor made of tailored cotton that has been soaked in salt water and dried for added strength. The armor is decorated with gold and brightly colored feathers. His helmet in the shape of an eagles head painted and decorated with feathers of turquoise and black, the beak of the eagle acting as a visor on the helm. He carries a round, wicker framed shield.
Eagle Warrior Skills:
The Eagle warriors are peerless infantry and masters of projectile weapons. They are adept at both long range and close quarter Military Tactics. Though not as proficient as the priests, the Eagle Warriors are granted knowledge of religion and ritual that is denied to standard warriors and commoners.
Skills: Having been granted education granted by the priests, Tlilpotonqui has mastered astronomy and the painting and pictographs of the native language. He is also practiced in Chinampas (chI NAM pas), 'Floating Gardens', a skill he obtained through his desire to be in harmony with the earth.
After his first transformation Tlilpotonqui developed an instinctive tracking sense. Increasing with each transformation, he can easily track any creature, on land or in the air, no matter the weather. His hearing and eyesight have grown unnaturally keen. He discovered the ability too expertly weave feathers into tapestry like designs, a talent he uses both to adorn his armor and to tell stories of the gods.
Mannerisms: While on watch, Tlilpotonqui has the odd habit of obsessively preening the feathers on his amour and weapons. He has an eerie habit of not blinking as often as one would expect. He is uncommonly curious and loves shiny objects and jewelry. His fascination with shiny objects extends to his obsidian points and he will only reluctantly leave one behind on the battle field. He's fearless of any height no matter how unstable it may be and is extremely claustrophobic.
When interacting with new people Tlilpotonqui tends to be wary and to speak only in short phrases. Once a friend is made he is much more social and will speak freely. He has a tendency to be very territorial of his friends and will defend them at any cost.
Tlilpotonqui is not able to control his transformations. He is always an eagle by night and a man by day. He is extremely defensive about his curse and always disappears before the sun sets. Since the first transformation only those closest to him have ever seen him change.
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? Responses (11)-11
I'm a sucker for the hero type. We need some examples of him in a plot though. Any hooks you have would be a nice addition.
I assume he is connected with your other Aztec sub, right?
They are as connected as night and day. This started out as something for Muro's scroll (but I didn't know Muro wanted short blurbs when I wrote them). I will be glad to add a hook or two and to expand on the connection and duality of the two characters. Any other information people are interested in?
These are my first subs, so please comment freely.
Updated: Any advice or suggestions would be helpful.
You have managed a 'unique voice' on this piece. It went from a were-eagle blurb, to a juicy expose of an entire world. The verisimilitude is superb! I also like that you took it a bit from a historical lesson perspective and nudged it slightly into fantasy's direction.
No more advice needed! Wulf has done just fine there! Wrap it up and release it to the masses!
I like how you sprinkle the sub with details of the Aztec culture. Granted, these are the exceptional heroes of their folk, but you can feel their society behind them.
Also, the NPC itself has plenty of quirks and enough detail to use. Like it even better than the other one. Will there be an article on the Aztec, so we can learn more about them?
Thank you Manfred!
I am working on the setting at the moment. That will have more information on culture.
I think an 'article' may be a bit much but I am happy to answer any questions. :)
The eagle warriors are playable units in the Age of Empires II expansion pack, the Conquerors. While most would use this sort of line as a precursor to a pointing out of things that most people have already figured out (aztec influences) I would point out that the eagle warriors and elite eagle warriors are exceptional soldiers and fighters! The one thing is that having armor of cotton strenthened with salt water is that their armor is quite vulnerable to most weapons and is more ceremonial that functional in nature.
As a side note, I would remove the pronunciation guide from the submission title, but leave them everywhere else.
One source that I read suggested that Aztec cloth armor was fairly functional against the weapons they encountered. Because they didn't have steel weapons, they depended on bludgeoning weapons and weapons edged with obsidian. Against these weapons, the solidly packed cloth of the armor could be effective.
A few of the Spanish conquistadores supposedly adopted the Aztec armor as more comfortable: They wouldn't have done that if it didn't work.
Good! Love the tone here.