A novel that explores the injustices that Native and African Americans faced in history.
| This book was written for my APUSH class last year. I picked the topic of "torment and injustices" that Native and African Americans faced during their lifetime. All of the characters belong to me and the story is classified as fiction, however, I did a lot of research for this history and tried to make it as realistic as possible and fitting for the time period. Since the file size was too big to post the entire book as one, I will have to post each chapter separately. I hope you enjoy! If there are any questions regarding the story, I will happily answer them! I also apologize in advance! In future chapters, some parts are in Spanish. Spanish isn't my first language and I'm still learning, so I am sorry for any mistakes! I also use a lot of Nahuatl words, which is the language of the Indians.
The Aztec Realm
The first part of this story takes place in Tenochtitlan, Mexico. There is a typical Aztec family that adored their lives before the arrival of the Spanish. The Tlatilpa consists of the clan leader Cuetlachtli, his wife Atlacoya, and their three children, Cuetlachtli II, Huitzilli, and Ahuiliztli. Despite being the youngest out of his two brothers, Cuetlachtli was still promoted to leader. This is because Cuetzpalli, the oldest, has a great lack of respect for others.Centenya, on the other hand, is weak and lacks the ability to lead such a legacy. Atlacoya, an Aztec woman and noble, recalls the wonderful life she once had. This story part takes a drastic shift when a Spanish conquistador Roman de la Cavalleria comes in. Then, the story turns into the complexity of Indian lifestyle in their own land, which is now controlled by the brutal Spanish.
I often recall the thriving life I once had as an Aztec noble. My husband was a prodigious warrior, displaying a grand proficiency in combat and strategizing skills. My oldest son was his inner shadow, training under his wing and mastering the same prowess. My daughter, what a blessing she is. She had true talents in weaving, always did her chores, and assisted the men of the family alongside me. Her purity was enough to make her a priestess. And my youngest son, my world. Just a little older than a toddler, one frightened to hold a weapon and to even come in contact with the smallest of insects. Perhaps it was just because he was a child, or he would rather not fight. Either way, I protected him within and outside our home.
I owned a business in the capital of Tenochtitlan in which my daughter provided a helping hand. Our weaving capabilities allowed us to fabricate the traditional Aztec attire, helmets, and other gear for the nobles; typically dazzled within feathers and comforting as cotton. My husband brought back artifacts rich in minerals for us to use to make jewelry. We received numbers of gold for our handicraft, both from males and females that could afford our prices. With our rewards, we can easily access any groceries at the markets that we did not grow at home.
Most of the day my husband was away. He was out with his brothers and other fellow nobles conquering territories. If not that, he was training our eldest son or hunting animals to bring home for a meal. I loved him dearly, and as a loving wife, it wasn't abnormal for me to think that sometime, he may not return home. My nightmares, my greatest fear, was losing the man I love, and the children we raised together. I did not rely on my husband for protection, I would simply feel too much anguish if I were ever to lose him, specifically, if he were to die protecting me. When my mind was flooded with those thoughts, I would often disregard them after some time. Cuetlachtli was one of the strongest amongst the Aztecs, and I had faith in his strength.
We named our son after him, Cuetlachtli II. He felt an obligation to protect his sister and me if and when my husband passes in the future. He also had the need to train his younger brother when he is older so he could defend himself rather than relying on him. Even if Cuetlachtli II wished for him to be more confident, the bond of love they had for each other was unbreakable. Ahuiliztli admired his older brother, and one day wanted his fears to be replaced by courage.
Huitzilli aged quite fast. She was already fifteen, and soon a man would be asking to marry her. My husband was protective of her and anxious for this moment to come. Our bloodline had to continue, but what he feared was his only daughter getting hurt. Any man would want her with her amount of potential in cooking, weaving, cleaning, and her business experience.
Our family would worship the gods almost every day. We would visit the temples and statues in order to offer sacrifices to them. This way, we were vowing our loyalty to them.
My life was one that was envied, one that I cherished more than anything. I had it all once, and now, I am left with nothing.
Chapter 1: Atlacoya
"Nantli!" Ahuiliztli screeched, hiding behind me. I spent most of my day out on the maize fields and my youngest son often accompanied me. He was still attached, refusing to be alone in our house.
"Icniuhtli," Huitzilli called out to her younger brother. "It was just a worm, you will be fine." She seemed to roll her eyes. Even if she loved him dearly, his clumsy, easily-frightened nature sometimes vexed her. She knelt down to get a closer gaze at the three crops we were growing; corn, squash, and beans.
Each vegetable relied on one another in order to grow properly. The maize needed nitrogen within the soil it was planted in, which beans replaced. For bean plants to grow correctly they need rigid support in which the corn stalks were able to provide. The leaves of the squash were able to shade the soil, increasing the amount of moisture while restraining the weeds from getting in. Our harvest of these crops was usually successful and plentiful.
"How do they look, Cihuaconetl?" I asked my daughter.
"Fortunate as ever. Tahtli will be proud when he returns." She replied with a smile. "What meat do you think father will bring home today?"
"Either a wild turkey or rabbits. We could have turkey tortillas or Mixiotes for supper." We all favored Mixiotes as our favorite dish and probably wouldn't mind eating them for the rest of our lives. "Can you see if we have any maguey leaves in the house? I'm sure your father will bring more home, but perhaps I could start dinner early."
Mixiotes required any meat, particularly rabbit. It was a barbeque recipe that is cubed to the bone and prepared over an open fire. It was drizzled particularly with spicy seasonings and peppers. Typically, the meat was wrapped with the outer skin of the leaves of the maguey plant, which was responsible for giving it most of its flavor.
Huitzilli returned to the garden. "Yes, not very much though." She answered. "You can't do much without the meat being brought home. Entertain my brother at least, I will pull the corn and grind it in preparation for tomorrow's meal." She offered. She was willing to sacrifice hours of her day because she knew how attached her younger brother was to me. Rather than playing and distracting him, we often switched roles so I could occupy my son.
"One day, you will make a great mother and wife, Huitzilli," I remarked, picking up my youngest child and holding him in my arms. Ahuiliztli almost immediately clung onto me while I approached my home and entered it.
We played Patolli for hours. Even if it was centralized on gambling, it kept him satisfied and engaged for hours. It was a game played with a cross-shaped board and was mostly based on luck and skill. Objects that were placed in a bet ranged from plants to stones, and even one's own life if you were older. A player would use beans, and depending on how you throw a dice will determine your next move. Each player would receive six beads of one color and would all start on the board. Another color of beads was selected by the competitors in order to keep count of their points. Rolling a five would give the player a chance of moving their beads ten spaces while rolling a one allows the player to have a chance on the board. If one fails to get one, they would lose a bead as a result. Rolling a one each time would give the player a chance to put another bead on the board. In order to win, a player would have to move all of their beads along the board and earn a point by taking a bead from their opponent.
It was all about strategy, and for being a four year old, my son proved his intellect through this board game. Most of the time, he would win against me.
With the setting sun, there was an open door. My husband would try his best to return around the same time every day. "Atlacoya, we're home!" Was his usual greeting when he entered our home. He knelt down on the floor and leaned in to kiss my cheek. "Patolli again?" He couldn't resist a chuckle. "You lost to our boy again?!" He teased.
"He's good, Cuetlachtli!" I refuted his teasing with a pout. "You had a long day, sit down and relax. I'll finish the preparations for dinner. While I do that, play a round of Patolli against him. You might lose..." I stood up from the floor, picking up the several rabbit corpses my husband brought home.
"Poor bunnies..." Ahuiliztli mumbled with a frown.
"Fine, I will test out his skill for myself."
"Thank you for bringing home more leaves, by the way!" I shouted, walking into the kitchen to grab the maguey leaves. Our fire was typically used in the front of the yard where I would roast the meat. While my daughter was still grinding corn to make tortillas for tomorrow, I walked outside and assembled the fire. With a large stick, the rabbit corpses were held over the fire to cook.
"Nantli," A voice called out to me from behind. It was my oldest son. "He is still as innocent as ever."
"Cuetlachtli II," I started, taking my eyes off of the fire for a moment. "Your brother is still a young boy. There isn't anything I could do."
"I disagree. I know you adore us all, but you're spoiling him too much. We can't defend him forever. You said he displays his proficiency in board games. What if he presents the same strategic skills in combat? He is uncomfortable taking a life away, I understand that. But that may be his only option one of these days in order for survival. We can take it slow, starting with bow and arrow lessons around the backyard. If we don't, his life will be at stake. I'm sorry to say that, but it is the truth."
I hated to admit it, but he was right. "Half of it is my fault..." I lowered my head with a frown. "He is my little boy, I don't want to lose him."
"The outside world is huge, and you're terrified of losing him. But, that is why father and I will protect him until he is comfortable defending himself. He deserves some adventure in his life, and that isn't going to happen if he's inside playing Patolli all day." Cuetlachtli II explained. "By the way, I think you're overcooking the rabbits."
"Mictlan!" I yelled, pulling the stick away from the fire. I waved it continuously in the air, wanting to put out the leftover slaves. They weren't completely burnt, but it definitely put shame on my legacy of cooking. "Thanks for distracting me!"
"Ma xinechtlapohpolhui," He apologized.
We walked back into the house after I crisped the maguey leaves. I walked into the kitchen, using a knife to chop the cooked rabbits into smaller pieces. Then, I used the leaves to wrap up the meat and use additional spices. "Dinner is ready!"
We all sat together and ate Mixiotes. My husband and two sons typically ate more than my daughter and I; their appetites were much larger than ours. After all, Cuetlachtli and Cuetlachtli II spent most of their hours staying active around the world, many without home cooked meals. When the two of them came home, it was almost a battle between them on who could devour more food. We were all abundantly fed and were thankful for what we had. To our surprise, Huitzilli made us dessert that night. She preferred to prepare the sweeter dishes with cocoa beans; producing chocolatl, or chocolate. She made us chocolate avocado truffles, each of us eating two each. Afterward, it was time to put our youngest son to sleep.
My husband and I took our son to the living room, where all of us would sleep on mats. Ours was slightly bigger so it would fit both of us. Cuetlachtli knelt down to our son, leaning in to kiss the top of his forehead. "Pilli," He started. "Moztla. You will begin bow and arrow training with your mother in the mornings, and with your brother and me at nights. Your curfew will be extended slightly in order for you to undergo your tutoring."
"But I don't want t-"
"You will not be killing animals yet, Ahuiliztli, After you show improvements, we will then progress. Trust me, we'll take it slow."
The boy pouted but eventually agreed with his father. "Fine...Cualli yohualli."
"Nimitztlazohtla," I whispered, tucking him in with the blankets I weaved. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
My husband wrapped his arms around me, a smile forming across his face. "You were right..." He admitted. "He's great at board games. He beat me five times in a row..." He whispered. "If he can put those smarts into combat, he will be a legend."
"See! I told you!" I boasted. "He needs to learn how to defend himself, yes. But we shouldn't force a path on him that he doesn't necessarily want... He has to be his own person, live his own life."
"Of course he does. Either way, he is a Tlatilpa, he is an Aztec. Nothing will change that."