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Nightmare Fuel / Aztec

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There's a reason nobody will judge you if you choose to skim or skip over these parts of the books. Deliberate Values Dissonance is very much in effect here.

The rituals described by the book in rich detail are fascinating but oh, so many them belong here:

  • The first sacrifice that Mixtli is taken to see by his father when he is a boy: A man is volunteers to be the sacrifice because he's dying of a condition that causes him to have trouble breathing The man is stripped naked and tied spread-eagled between two posts. After a long chant, the priest drives an arrow into the sacrifice's genitalia and twists it. Then the rest of the priests proceed to fire arrows at the man's chest until he dies. It may surprise you to learn that the man dies screaming.
    • Oh, and the ritual music is played on drums and with flutes, the beat sticks of the former are made from human thighbones and latter are made from human shin-bones.
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  • The rain ritual which features music, plenty of dancing, a giant tub and the sacrifice of two slave children, each about four. Before the ritual, the two children, a boy and a girl, are well-cared for and well-fed. But at the ritual, the priest pinches them until they cry because it is believed that the more they cry, the more thunderstorms will come and the more rain will fall. The attendees begin to cry as well but that's not the end of the ritual. A priest then approaches the children and paints a mask on their face that he tells them is so they won't get water in their eyes when they swim in the sacred water. After a bit of chanting, the two children are lifted up to the tub and the priest swiftly daubes the olí paint over their mouth and nose. See, as Mixtli explains, the sacrifices have to die in the water but not because of it. So the two children suffocates as they helplessly splash in the water. By the way, their proud parents are watching the whole time and were the ones who gave them up to be sacrificed though it's only fair to note that they, like everyone else, think it'll earn their children a place in the best heaven so it's more done for love than malice or indifference.
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  • The ritual that Nochípea stood sacrifice to. It is never explained in details how it was carried out but we know it entailed the dismembering of the child. Why? Because we see a priest wear the parts, including her tipílinote  over his tepúlinote , while he performs a puppet show with her thighs.

The same applies to executions seen in the book:

  • The mildest is the garlands method in which the convicted are strangled with cords disguised as garlands. It's not implied to be a quick death.
  • A special shout out to the death of Jadestone Doll as described by Mixtli. Ho boy, as bad as she was, that is still one horrifying death.
    • To elaborate, she wakes up naked in the center of a labyrinth and atop the flayed body of her last victim. Oh, but the body's not completely flayed. Oh, no, no, his head and genitalia is still there because she's not just lying on top of the body: it's lying inside her. Mixtli provides some lovely imagery of how she must have fled from the sight only to end up back there again with Pactli's more and more decayed and insect-eaten corpse. Mixtli gives a chilling depiction of how she looks when she is dragged out by the gardener the next morning: her face and body is bleeding from cuts made by the thorny walls which she likely threw herself against to try and escape or stumbled into in the dark. Her fingernails have been torn off. She's torn out chunks of her own hair with parts of her scalp being visible as a result. Oh, and her mouth is locked in a permanent, silent scream. Mixtli may not be too far off when he concludes that she died because her heart gave out from fright.
      • Oh, and said last victim? Mixtli believes that Pactli was likely flayed alive because the condemned kitchen workers had nothing to lose and no love for him.
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  • Then there's Mixtli's execution of the priest who made the mistake of sacrificing Nochípea while he was away. Mixtli has the man staked out, still wearing the girl's flayed skin, and repeatedly drenched in a substance that causes the skin to shrink as it dries in the sun, causing him to slowly be crushed to death inside of it. Particular mention must be made of the way that the constricting skin forces blood into the priest's penis, until it becomes so overloaded with blood that it bursts like an over-inflated balloon.

But wait, there's more!

  • What really happened to Tzitzi and the disfigured state it left her in. It doubles as a Tear Jerker.
  • The fate of Chimáli can be seen as this: he's castrated and his eyes and tongue are cut out.
  • What the soldiers choose to do to the settlers and especially the children after the death of Mixtli's daughter, Nochípea is an unending source of nightmare fuel. We'll leave it at that and given what you've read so far on this page, that should tell you something. Oh but don't worry, whatever dark things you may imagine won't come close to what actually happens in the book.
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