Topic: Undesired Nobility

He had this dream many times before.
A temple. Old. Stone. Dark. Dim lights. Chanting. Dark robed men in a circle over something..a table? Altar? He couldn't see. But he knew. Knew he had to run...run....but he couldn't. How could he not run? Scared. So scared...Had to...had to before they....

Francisco Mendoza woke with a start. Sweat rolling down his young face, dropping slowly onto the bed sheets. His pillow stained in a dark spot, almost a puddle. The chambermaid rushed in, almost breathless and very very worried "Master Mendoza, you have had the dream once again?" she asked, bowing her head slightly.  He waved his hand as if he were not a noble and they were equals. "Please, please Rosa. My family has employed yours for generations. You do not have to bow. I'm simply a boy." Her face contorted slightly, and she whispered "But-but your father-the head of house..he.." Francisco sighed and hung his head. Wisps of black hair fell down into his eyes and he brushed them aside. "Yes, yes. Of course. Father would never approve. But the dream, Rosa...the dream...."

-"Was simply a dream and nothing more, boy." Francisco froze-his father's voice, icy and firm crept down his spine. "Now-to bed with you. We have business tomorrow. You will come with me while I travel. On foot. A rarity for the elder Mendoza, Francisco wondered why his father chose to walk. He knew father preferred the carriage. "I shan't come in here again without cane in hand to remind you. To sleep, Francisco. Come Rosa. Escort me to my room." Rosa lit a candle, bowing to Francisco. "Yes m'lord. Buenas noches, Francisco" she whispered.
Francisco slept a dark, empty, dreamless sleep the rest of the night.

The next morning, Francisco woke to hear the curtains being drawn, letting light into the room. The dark wood furniture casting a slight shadow, the paisley designs. Garish, the boy felt. But it was not his desire to have such things. The light streamed, flowing and glinting. Casting shadows from the dark hues of green and blue from the hand painted walls. His large bed, tall and covered in exotic sheets from a man in India whom father paid to import were just as intricately colored in reds and yellows. A...mandala, he recalled the man said it was. Beautiful and large enough that Francisco felt he could get lost in the intricacy of it. Rosa entered with a basin of water. "Your father waits for you in the dining hall. Please, do not keep him waiting young master." Francisco looked down.

He never liked going with father-always so dull, so droll. He would much rather keep to himself in the study, or better-the library. The tomes his family had collected over generations of traveling...nobility at times, did have advantages. Francisco dressed, tucking his shirt into his pants, placing his braces atop the shirt, and stuffing his hair into his favorite driving cap. Lacing his boots (Which father never approved of him wearing with his daily attire) he slipped on socks, then pulled his feet into his footwear and walked down the hall. Long, wood lined. Gaslights lit the hall-his father had gas lines installed in most rooms of the house now. "Way of the future" his father said. Francisco was wary of such things-gas was combustible. He didn't like fire all that much, really. The lights flickered, licking up the sides of the walls like flaming tongues. Illuminating the molding, intricate and carved by hand from an Italian artisan that of course, his father had brought in to do the very deed.

He walked down the flight of stairs. Big, spiraling. A huge set on the opposite side led to the other side of the sprawling estate. His side-his side, was separate. Portraits of Mendozas past lined the stairs, well kept. Waxed, polished, the banister easily made for a young boy to slide down. But he would not. Not while father was here. The giant chandelier hanging from the ceiling added to the apparent decadenceo of the main hall. Several maids and a butler bowed to him as they briskly walked to their daily duties. Walking to the left, he entered the dining hall.

Equally large, equally well kept. Huge windows akin to the Versailles-his father did envy it so. The lights flickered up the walls, and he found his mother sitting calmly at the table. "We were just starting to eat, dear-" "You're late." his father said sternly. "I wouldn't have your mother wait so long." he smiled at her. The one person who could always calm father-Francisco's mother. A gentle, kind soul. How could she ever stay with such a man? Warm and caring, it felt as if the world was illuminated by her presence.

"Come, sit. Let us eat and depart. Ramone!" the chef came scampering out. Gaunty, tall. His two assistants stood next to him. "For the Master and his family we present this morning's meal-a humble serving of rice, with some nice beans, plantains....chorizo" the man paused. "And for the young master, an egg atop his toast" Francisco was, if nothing else, a healthy eater. His father grumbled. "Very good, very good. Go on Ramone. " Ramone hurriedly left. Francisco's father called behind him the dozens of feet to the kitchen "Find some pheasant for dinner Ramone-it was rather good last time."

They finished silently, only when Francisco asked for avocado and tamales for lunch to take with him, did Ramone hurriedly run back. Francisco's father spat. "Peasant food." His mother smiled gently at him. "What would you call our breakfast, dear? We enjoy the same foods as we had when we were young, and our families were noble as well." He grumbled. "Yes, yes. Now let us go, Francisco. The day is no earlier and I have far too much business. Francisco fidgeted. "Father-do I have to go? I would much rather just read..."

"You see Isabella? This is why the boy will never learn the ways of the world. He always reads in the library. I swear if those books weren't family heirlooms...." "Antonio, Amor, please. Be kind to our boy. He simply does things differently than you do." He sighed. "Yes, yes. I suppose." Francisco's father sighed. "If you don't want to go..but you have to leave the manor. Go out into the city. Do something. Here." Antonio handed his son some money. Take that, and go find something to entertain yourself." Francisco smiled. "Thank you father." He didn't care for the money-but anything to avoid being with his father during business. "Let's walk out together, boy. I will be back by mid afternoon, Isabella. Tell the staff to mind their work." Isabella smiled. "Of course dear."

The two men walked out together. Through the giant doors, into the mid-morning sun. "Ay. Too hot for this jacket, but no matter. Better to be over dressed, than under." The gentleman said, eyeing his son. Francisco sighed. "Father..." Antonio stamped his cane to the ground, gripping the gold ball at the end. "Do not take that tone with me boy! You present yourself as a noble in action and aesthetic. Or you SHOULD. You do not." They walked down the lawn, lined with trees and a huge fountain of a jaguar. Well paved stones lined the walk, tall, well manicured trees stood at attention, as if to remind Francisco of his father even in a slightly more natural environ. "Apologies, father." Francsico said.

When they arrived at the giant iron gate, with a stylized "M", the two guards bowed, opening it for them. The tall white walls surrounded the estate, keeping it separate from the rest of the city. "Now I take my leave. Behave yourself, Francisco. I shan't come to get you from the police this time."Francisco sighed. One lousy thief..."Of course, Father." He walked in the direction of the city....

"There is one thing you must remember about me as your life may depend upon it someday-I am definitely a mad man with a box!"

Re: Undesired Nobility

Huh, this is quite interesting! Can't wait to read more smile

Re: Undesired Nobility

Mexico in mid-summer was hot. Too hot, Francisco felt. Cooler buildings were better, but always crowded. And he did not care to travel the distance to find a beach. Nor did he wish to deal with peers, especially with some of their animosity toward nobility.

He wandered down a narrow street. It was dark, oddly. Too dark for such a sunny day. He thought, just for a moment, he saw a shadow darting down another corridor. He continued walking. Foosteps? Calmly, he continued walking down the street. He could hear the bustle of more populated streets but here it was quiet. Eerily quiet...The footsteps seemed closer, closer now...Francisco hurriedly walked down into the next narrow street, passing through a busier one in the process.

He stopped. "The young Mendoza runs...nobility does not run, does it young Mendoza? a voice echoed. He looked around. No one? No windows. The buildings made of clay were solid walls in this part of town. Perhaps the roof. "You will not find me, young Mendoza. The voice seemed almost playful, edging on taunting. "He knows nothing of his family, and yet he dreams. Oh how he dreams. The young Mendoza and his dreams which he does not understand"...the voice seemed to be all around him.

Francisco put on a brave face. "Who are you? I am a Mendoza! You have no right-" "What is a right? Right to what? To speak? To tell you things you think you know? You know nothing, boy. Young Mendoza knows nothing...his family and their secrets, lost in generations. But the dreams, oh the dreams.." the voice seemed to sigh. "Do you wish to know? To make sense? You will never know here, young one. Never in the city of a conquering Spaniard. Deeper, deeper...that which is untouched by the ones who trampled over the Meshica." numerous voices whispered,  echoing the word Francisco knew nothing of.

"Meshica? Who? The only people I know the Spanish defeated were the Aztecs." The voice hardened. "Vile name for a people. Spaniards know nothing, and called all the great nations under one vile name. Reflecting nothing of the culture and ancestry. The proud warriors, the god-kings, the priests and nobility...nobility like you, young MENDOZA" the voice said softly again..more faintly it seemed.

"Maya, Inca, Zapotec, Mishte, Meshica, Nahua. These are the people of this great land..and there are more to the south, young Mendoza...so many people and they even live here, in this city, in this very area...secretly living. without voice...but you need not know that. You need to travel farther. deeper. Into regions forgotten by those claiming civility under a guise of brutal enforcement of Catholic order.." the voice whispered. "Travel and learn the truth. Stay and know nothing. The decision will lay with you . What will the young Mendoza choose?" and just as suddenly, the voice was gone....

Francisco left the small street, running onto the bustling adjacent plaza. Who was that, and those people...why him? How could anyone know about his dream? Only Rosa knew, and his father...More questions than answers. He needed to speak to his father when they returned home. Francisco walked through the streets of the city, contemplating what the voice said. He arrived back at the manor in late evening.

"Good evening, young master. Your father awaits." The guard whispers. "He is quite...upset at your late arrival." Francisco hurriedly runs to the house, almost knocking over the guard at the door, and falling into Rosa in the process. "Rosa! I'm terribly sorry. My father is..." "waiting for you in his study, young master. He is very upset." She looks down and walks away. He notices as she leaves, that she has a large bruise on her cheek.

Arriving in his father's study moments later, Francisco pardons himself. "Father, I apologize" His father glares at him.  "no excuse boy. You missed dinner, worried your mother and I was going to send out the guards to locate you. You are lucky you arrived when you did, but I will not be so kind." Antonio sat down in his chair, taking his drink. "Did something happen, perhaps? Are you well? " his father looked..concerned? "No, father. Everything is fine, I asusre you." "Good" the old man sipped his whiskey and paused.

"Francisco..we try. I try. We sent you to the best schools that were created and financed by the Church and the Spanish royalty. We gave you all you needed, wanted...are you not happy here?" "OF course I am father..I just." Francisco paused. "What do you know about our family, father? Our heritage, ancestry?" He expected anger, but instead received sorrow. Antonio's face revealed pain, suffering. Heavy knowledge of things perhaps left alone. "Some things are left to the annuls of time, boy. Some things must be unsaid but never forgotten and you, my boy will do well to remember. Put that thought out of your head, and we will never discuss this again. Understood?"  Francisco sighed and hung his head. He removed his cap and walked out of the study. "Yes, father. Goodnight"

"There is one thing you must remember about me as your life may depend upon it someday-I am definitely a mad man with a box!"

Re: Undesired Nobility

(glad you like it!)
It was late. The moon hung in the sky like a bright, ghostly lantern. Whisps of fog hung in the night air. It was beautiful. Haunting. Francisco loved the night. He never knew why. He supposed it was due to the dreams...
He placed his pack on the desk. Threw in some clothing, a pair of military-issue knives his father had gifted him a year ago, on his fifteenth birthday.  Rope, a lighter, a small bottle of alcohol, a thick blanket made of rough wool. Goggles, his money clip stuffed with all the bills he had. He tucked his favorite watch into his pocket, the one his grandfather had left him, and almost left, but remembered to take some notebooks and pencils. The knives, he reasoned, would sharpen the pencils well.

His father may not want to tell him anything, but he would find out. Even if it meant disobeying him. He never liked it here. He felt restricted, suffocated by the very thing his family had enjoyed for generations. He heard a knock. Whispers. "Young master-it is Rosa. I and some of the other chambermaids-we would like to come in." Francisco opened the door quietly. "What is it Rosa?" She entered hurriedly. "We heard noise from your room, are you..what are you doing?" she asked. "I am leaving Rosa. I'm sorry. I can't tell you more. I can't stay here. I just..I need to go." He grabbed his pack and threw it on his back. "Your father-he will be furious!" She whispered tensely. The other chambermaids whispered in agreement. "He will surely send out a party to find you!" Francisco smiled. "Rosa, I thank you. You always took care of me. When I was young..you were always there. Kind and gentle Rosa. Tell my father I've gone to travel, as a young man should. I will return when I feel I am ready . I will send word soon as I can. I will be fine." Rosa kissed Francisco's forehead. "Surely you will, young master. Do be careful, wherever you go." He left the room. "We will be sure to keep your room as it is until you return. " He smiled 'Thank you Rosa. I'll be back soon, I hope." He slid down the banestor and found himself face to face with Ramone.

"Too loud! What is wrong with you, traipsing about the manor while master is sleeping? He will take his cane to you!" The chef nervously looked around. He smiled "I know what is happening-you are leaving, aren't you? I knew it the moment you returned home. Your father had the same look in his eye.." he stopped and closed his mouth. "unimportant. For you, young master. Take this." He handed Francisco a large, wrapped parcel. "What is this, Ramone?" Ramone smiled knowingly. "Your favorite, of course. Tamales. Enough if consumed as rations for two weeks." Francisco hesitated. "They will keep. Do not worry, young master. They were made for exactly this purpose. Now, go! Before..."

Footsteps. Francisco froze. Who now? Who else? At the top of the stairs, stood his mother. "Oh, my sweet boy. You're leaving." she whispered. It carried well down the steps. She gracefully glided down the stairs, walking toward her son, embracing him. "Your father will be quite angry to find you gone, and without consent at such a late hour!" Francisco hung his head. "Do not worry, my son. I won't say a word" she smiled softly, kissing his cheeks and squeezing him tightly, as only a mother could.  "Be well my son. Take something to send letters with. Or at least to telegraph us." "I have, mother. Thank you." she smiled. More footsteps and a voice-"Isabella. Come back to bed." She stood up. "your father! Go! Go now, Francisco. I will go to him, make sure he's unaware of your departure. Quickly now." She climbed the stairs just as gracefully. "Coming dear. The guards thought there was a coyote. But the dogs were barking into the night, it seems." she called to him. Francisco smiled, and darted out the door, down the lawn, through the gate and into the dark city.

"There is one thing you must remember about me as your life may depend upon it someday-I am definitely a mad man with a box!"

Re: Undesired Nobility

The bar was empty the time of night. Except him..always drinking until he passed out onto a table. His gruff appearance prevented him from having anyone approach. If they dared, a simply grunt and flash of his teeth would send most men running. His facade was nothing short of fearsome. Long, black hair tied into a ponytail. Big thick beard, scar running down his left cheak.

Julius was a man no one dared fight,and no one asked to drink with. And, he reasoned, this was fine with him. Who the hell gave him this damned job anyway? Bastards bailed last minute, too yellow to even give him a proper apology and his normal fee for cancellation. 'the whole lot, ungrateful" he spat, taking another swig of tequila. "If I run out of money before I run out of booze, someone's getting hurt. Badly." While rough and tumble, Julius was quite capable at his craft, and in the skies, his piloting of small aircraft was unmatched in this hellhole.

Francisco entered the dimly lit bar. He didn't know where to go, but bars were always a good source of information. This place was tiny and unassuming. No outside seating, no well kept glass windows. A simply wood door, with holes open at all times to let air and light in. A mural on the back wall of mescal, and barely enough candle light to keep a person from blending in completely with the shadows. Stools lined the bar, and a few booths were crammed next to the wall.

Some tables stood in the middle of the floor, empty except one with a scruffy looking guy drinking straight from the bottle. Francisco approached the bartender. "Excuse me-I need some informacion" the barkeep eyed him. "Yeah, who don't nino?" Francisco took out a 50 peso bill. "I need a pilot. Good pilot, Willing to take a long job for me. I'll pay well.." The barkeep laughed. "Hey, Julius, this little boy needs a pilot-think you can oblige?" He chuckles. "But hey-his money's good here." Taking the bill, he puts it in his pocket.

The scruffy guy looks up. "Pilot? You? Where you going boy? Daddy ask you to get a job or somethin'?" Francisco calmly said "I need to go into the jungle. I'm traveling. Starting tonight. I need someone capable to" "The jungle? Are you shitting me? I'd rather stay in this dump than go back to that one." Julius lit a cigarette. INhaling deeply. He kicked his feet onto the table. 'You don't have that kind of cash boy. just got back from there. Some of that is savage. I heard stories...headhunters of the Amazon. Big crocodiles. And the natives in this country don't exactly take kindly to outsiders. so either you're real fucking stupid, or you got a death wish. Either way I aint takin no baby somewhere to get murdered. I'm not THAT heartless."

"Yeah you are Julius. Shut up and take the cash-you need it. Or are you going to pay back your bar tab with all those tired old stories you keep regurtiting night after night?" Julius finished the bottle and threw it straight at the bartender. It curved right, and hit a bottle of whiskey. "Dang. Missed. Too much to drink. Fine-I'll tell you what boy. You have a reason to go into the belly o' the beast, fine. You better be prepared for that business. It changes ya. now, help me to my ship and let me sleep off the sauce, and we'll go wherever your tiny boy heart desires."

Franciscos muttered "thanks" and walked out of the bar with him. They walked to the edge of town, to a medium-sized dirigible. "This is my baby. You better make sure she don't explode or nothin' or I swear you are buying me a new one-bet your daddy can do that, yeah? Good. Then let's board and I'm going to sleep. And don't you think of waking me up before I decide, or I'll make whatever beating your daddy gives you look like a slap on the wrist. Night."

"Night" Francisco said, thinking this might not be the best idea after all.
He laid down on the deck, unfolding his blanket and laying on it. He drifted off to sleep.....

..."He's ready." "Is he?" "no" "he's too young". "look" "he can hear us you know" numerous voices. "Where am I" Francisco thought. "What are these" "Doens't matter-you can only hear us." "Why'd you tell him that? Now he'll just be confused" "Who cares? It's just a dream. Besides. Who can see us?" "Everyone shut it. " Francisco tried to focus..couldn't see. A temple? Stone again? Torches? Nothing..drifting..."better that he sleeps..."

Francisco woke the next morning. Julius staggered out of his cabin, located square in the middle of the ship. "You ready boy? I'm making coffee if you want. No-you're a wee boy. You're probably still drinking milk. You know where you're headed because I sure don't, and I'm the damn pilot? Francisco thought. "You have a map..." "Julius. Just call me Julius. Yeah I got a map. OF where? Here? Take it" He throws the map at Francisco. "Thanks." Francisco opens the map, placing it on the floor. Now that he has a chance, the ship is well kept. CLean, pretty nice. Almost new, it seemed. The wheel looked like it belonged more on a boat, but who should say anything? Francisco didn't feel like being injured for making a coment about this guy's vessel. It was nice, prerty big and well made it seemed. "The Yucatan-that's where I need to go first." Julius looked at the young man. "Need? What? Why? You know what ? I don't give a crap. Just hang on, we're raising anchor . Should be there in 4 hours depending on wind speed.

The view from the air was incredible. Unlike anything Francisco had ever seen.It was breathtaking and Francisco uttered 'Wow".  To which Julius responded "ain't seen a damn thing boy. Wait until we get closer" The tiny little dots and squares they saw by the city faded, and eventually even the city and town dots were gone. The forest, lush and green, bright expanded for miles. A sea of greens and more greens, Julius lowered the ship once in a while until it was barely over the tallest tree. Francisco could see animals now and then through small openings in the forest, but not much. "So have you taken many trips to the jungle?" Francisco asked, Opening the parcel Ramone gave him and taking a good sized tamal out before closing it and putting it back in his pack. "Never you mind kid. Too many, Rathern ot discuss old business. Look." Julius pointed with his knife. There, just jutting over the tree tops stood several old stone pyramids. They looked startlingly familiar.

"Where are we?" asked Francisco. "Do you know any damn thing?" Julius asked? We're flying over the Yucatan now. That's where you wanted to be, right? This is Copan, one of the cities of the Maya. Hope you know why you're here kid, because I'm landing. Only place I can here. It only gets more difficult in other places, and I don't feel like having to pick twigs out of my teeth to fly through a jungle for a little snotnose" he paused. "Be careful. The natives aren't violent, but that doesn't mean they're going to give you a welcome party. He lowers the ship slowly next to one of the old pyramids. It was covered in vines. Trees uprootedd stone, vines covered some of the struture. The jungle had taken back what it had once ruled. And man?

Two small boys approached the ship as Julius anchored it. "How long we here?" he asked Francisco. The young man straightened his cape and stood up. "Not sure. I won't know..I don't know, much really." Julius snickered. "Got that right son. Now I can catch my food, but I expect to be paid if I'm catching yours, and I still haven't told you what I'm going to cost ya." Francisco pushed a few bills at the grizzled man. "Here. That good for now?" Julius pulled out a knife and ran it over the money. "Yeah. Real good. For now boy." smiling, Julius grabbed a rifle and two pistols. Tucking the pistols into holsters, he threw a pair of bandoliers on and the rifle onto his back. "Now we're ready" let's go. The two wandered into the jungle depths. west of the pyramid.

They could see smoke, but smelling it was even more evident. The sticky, humid air hung just above the ground, and the scent of wood and vegetation was palpable. Animals chirped, buzzed, screeched and rustled all around. Francisco knew nothing of his and yet felt at home. "Sh. I hear somethin'." Julius whispered. A rustle, and a man stood from behind some brush. "Why have you come to this place?" he asked. Julius looked at Francisco. Francisco looked blankly at the man. "I...I don't know." "You have no business here. Leave." the man said. Julius was silent. "Look-I'm supposed to find...I don't know..something. I'm here for a reason." It didn't even occur to Francisco that this man spoke fluent Spanish. "Now, now. Let the boy come. He came for a reason" an older voice was heard, and through the brush stepped another, much older man. "You come, sit. We will talk." He glared at Julius. "You will leave your weapons or do not come with us." Julius muttered. "Just leave them at the ship-these people..""shut it, kid. You don't know any of them, and I don't think you know what the hell youre getting into. So just shut it. I'll wait by the damned ship."

Francisco continued on to the small village. A few huts in the woods, not much more. The elder man gestured to the fire. "Sit. Talk. Why did you come here?" Francisco hesitated. "I had dreams...dreams I can't explain and a voice.." The old man sat as Francisco explained it.The recurring dream since he was little. The voice in the alley-the dream on the ship. The old man was curious, and scratched his salt and pepper hair. "Hm. You were drawn here by the past." the elder man turned away, taking a pot and placing it on the fire. "We can help you here. For now. But then you can get help elsewhere. You will stay with us for now. Then, you will go to Jalisco. It is west of here. Other side of the country. That man may stay but-no guns. If you choose to let him stay. "Let him? " Francisco thought. "How else would I get to Jalisco? Or anywhere else i need to?" The man smiled "You are thinking that you would need him to travel. We have other methods. Slower, but more learned. Why are you here?What do you seek?" the old man asked. He removed some long, round seeds and placed them on a rock heating over part of the fire. "Perhaps you do not yet know why you are here. Then we will see why. Do not be afraid." the man placed the seeds onto the rock. Francisco thought. He felt as if Julius should go. This was something he needed to do alone.

He excused himself and walked to the location of the ship. It wasn't as far as he'd thought. "You can go. I should be here. I'm going to stay a while." Julius was puzzled. "What? Stay? Are you insane? With them? Why?" Francisco replied "I'm not sure-but I know I'm supposed to be here. You can go. Keep the change. If I Need you..I don't know..." "No need-if you need me out here you can't telegraph or write me." You find a way to contact me-you know where I'll be. Good luck kid. Try not to get killed-wouldn't want daddy to get all huffy." Julius smiled. See you around some time, I hope."

Francisco returned to the village, to see the man removing the seeds. The young man from before pounded them into dust with crushed sea shells and mixed them with water. Evening was coming, and as the young man kneeded the ball, he looked at Francisco. The young mn was thin, and fairl muscular. He didn't look happy to see Francisco and wasn't happy with his work, either. The elder man said "thank you. You can rest now." He made a flattened ball shae out of the dough. He placed it on the hot rock and let it sit there for a while. "My son doesn't care for outsiders. The last time someone came to the village..." the man seemed distant. "No matter-you are not like them, I hope. Now we wait."

Night fell and the man sat with Francisco by the fire. The ball of dough was dried out, and the man carefully removed it from the smoldering wood with the stone slab on top. He placed it into a bowl. "Excuse me...sir...are we gong to eat that?" the man chuckled. "No no..." he crumled a piece from it, about the size of an American quarter. "Do you have a pipe? No? Oh, well." the old man took out a long pipe, placing the crumbly mixture in. He then placed an ember on top, holding it in his calloused, rough hands. He breathedi n slowly, exhaling. "You-do this." he motioned to Francisco to do the same. "Good. Keep going." When the pipe was finished, the elder said "now, lay down and close your eyes. Tonight you will learn why you need to be here.

"There is one thing you must remember about me as your life may depend upon it someday-I am definitely a mad man with a box!"

6 (edited by KinichAhau 2010-07-24 00:26)

Re: Undesired Nobility

Francisco lay down next to the fire and closed his eyes. He drifted...slowly...somewhere not of the physical world...
Brilliant visions of fantastic plants and animals. All shapes and colors. Vivid, almost tangible he thought. His body floated through this wonderous land and he took it all in. Bright irridescent trees of reds, blues, greens and purples.
"You have come..young Mendoza.." a swirl of golden light fluttered around him, like mist. "The youngest Mendoza...quite the young man indeed." the voice seemed playful. "And yet why have you come, boy? Why are you in this place?" Francisco spun around, trying to get his bearing in a world he did not know. "Where am I? Why am I here? This can't possibly-" "be real? Oh the arrogance of humans...the voice said a little darkly. Always unaware and yet so certain that which is not seen does not exist. You are everwhere, and yet nowhere at all. You are not alive, but not dead. You are in a between-world that many people, including yours" the voice paused "knew to exist. For all of the modern science humanity still denies the existnce of places such like these. The scientific mind, indeed" the mist expanded outward, higher. Growing and pulsing. Flowing. Fluid and solid, not and existent.
"But..how? I don't understand anything. I came here because my father.." "...refused to tell you the past of Mendoza? Oh, the Mendozas. How noble they were and yet a secret, a secret...one they consider so dark....Embrace that which your father could not." Francisco stopped "Wait-before you said "your people. My people? My people were from Spain. Antonio de Francisco-" "did something which he should not have by Spaniard society. Disgraceful and hit it, but yet it can never be hidden for here you are..." the voice echoed.
"Viceroy de Mendoza? He...what did he do?" The voice whispered "are you ready boy? Can you embrace the truth of your ancestry? Very well....Antonio de Mendoza...."
Francisco opened his eyes. It was still night. The fire flickered and warped. Light was there which should not be. The old man knelt before Francisco, looking at him inquisitively. "What did you see young man?" "Francisco brushed his hair back. "Wh-where..how? I'm back here" He sat up. "I went to a place full of numerous colors, beyond description. Animals, plants far as I could see. Nothing I have seen in any text is like that. Nothing. I don't even think some of those creatures exist!" The man paused. "You saw animals and plants of colors that defy description...You must have been at the edge, between Middleworld and Upperworld." Francisco scratched his head. "I don't....."
The man smiled. "You don't have to understand it yet. Take your time to process and understand the information you were given. " The man sat down on the ground next to Francisco.
"And..how do you understand Spanish? You speak it very well. All of you do. I wasn't sure if you would understand." The old man smiled, drawing from a pipe deeply, then exhaling. "Your ancester, Sr. Antonio de Mendoza was sympathetic to the people of this country who lived before the Spaniards invaded. He set up many things, and even allowed the Church to build schools, requiring compulsory education as part of the annexation. So we were taught much like you. Perhaps not as well, but we speak Spanish just the same. Do you intend to stay? or will you go? For that matter-should you? And where would you after you left?" Francisco thought. "You mentioned Jalisco before...but that's a long trip without an airship. I think I should stay a while. I need to understand why happened. What I saw. The voice..it told me that Antonio de Mendoza made a "mistake". One that Spaniards would have thought a blemish and so it was never spoken of, but all Mendozas know it."
The old man crouched, poking at the fire. "I do not know-the Mendoza line is nobility, and most common people were not given information regarding the personal history and so forth. But you are here, yes? And for a good reason I think." The old man grasped Francisco's shoulders. " I think you need to know more about our people.About those who come before you. What you took...why it was necessary. I will show you the ways of ah cut." He paused. You may know it as the ways of a curandero. Curanderismo."

"There is one thing you must remember about me as your life may depend upon it someday-I am definitely a mad man with a box!"

Re: Undesired Nobility

I promise to read this as soon as I have a little spare time!

Re: Undesired Nobility

{please do!It's going to get loooonnger!}
It had been...a fortnight? Francisco didn't know anymore. The hard ground felt softer under his feet. The Elder had told him part of his training as a yerbalista-an herbalist- was to feel the plants under his feet. The very soil, the jungle as it communicated with him. "Yerbalista? I thought you said curandero, Elder" Francisco had learned quickly that to speak and learn directly from the village Elder was not only highly esteemed, but as such the Elder was approached with respect. "No different from Eurpean culture" he thought. The Elder gave pause and spoke calmly. "I use terms familiar to a Spaniard, as I know your upbringing is from the larger cities. Here, we have many names, and many different specific methods of treatment." "You mean like, doctors? SO curanderos are like doctors? Or shamans? Perhaps both?" The Elder replied "It would be more accurate to say as a curandero we may be a shaman, but as a shaman we may not be curandero. Curanderos may heal specifically with knowledge, rather than a divine hand." Francsico nodded. His face was a little scruffy from the time he'd spent thus far in the village.

IT was a small community-perhaps 30 members total that comprised the village. It was old-older, the Elder said, than the Spanish occupation and older still, But no one was certain how long the village stood there. Men, women, children. Hunters, curanderos of various methods. But no shamans. Francisco was curious and the Elder's sad reply, was that the last shaman had passed. With no lineage left, the shamanistic traditions of the village had left with his soul. His wife lived in the hut they shared, but she knew little of her husband's work. Francisco found this saddening. More than he'd have expected. He'd spoken to her a few times-she was a kindly woman. Ready to engage in conversation at a moment's notice, and always telling him to eat more. She reminded him, Francisco realized, of his grandmother in many ways. He would meet many more women like her in the coming years. Unfortunately she spoke only in a language he didn't quite understand. He knew a few words, picked up from listening intently to the Elder, but not enough to pass for any conversation.

The Elder worked him hard. Every morning he woke up at dawn to find and pick new roots, leaves, or the like for the day's work. The Elder would show him something, say what it did and Francisco intently wrote it down. A full description with a little drawing. He wasn't the best artist, but he knew what it was that he'd drawn. "And what does this do?" the Elder would ask. Francisco was expected to reply quickly, and with the name of the plant, its properties and what it would treat. He'd become quite good at this by now, but at first he would always stutter and pause, much to the frustration of the Elder.

He would finish at dusk, when the fire from inside the huts and the large fire in the middle of the village burned brightly. Francisco liked it. He felt good being here. The stars were bright, and when the Elder gave him a little time, Francisco would walk around the temple complexes a few miles away. Every now and again he'd find a hunting party from the village and they'd take a jab at him for not coming to hunt as a man would. His response was always that the Elder required him to work and he would gladly attend a hunt if he could at some point.

Days passed. Weeks. He had no idea how long it had been now, but he'd adjusted well to the schedule and requirements imposed on him. He could climb trees that when he had first been told to do so with little difficulty at all. He could name most of the dozen or so plants without issue. But there was one issue. The Elder's son.

He never liked Francisco, and was very honest about his distaste in a "Spaniard" as he always called Francisco. The boy stood about the same height as Francisco. Perhaps a year or two older, but far more capable a man in this setting. He hunted with the men, and was always quick to get in the last word when the hunters would poke fun at him.

It was early morning one day, and Francisco came to the Elder with the required herbs and plants that he'd been told to obtain. "Thank you, boy. You can go. I give you the next few days to do as you wish." Francisco was surprised. He tucked his hair behind his ear (it was quite long now) "Why, Elder?" The Elder smiled. "A young man should have some time to enjoy by himself. You have worked hard since you've been here with little complaint. I honestly didn't expect you to be so forthcoming. So enjoy your vacation. I'll work you twice as hard when you return." smiled the Elder.

Francisco chose to walk to one of the local sites. He walked along the large stone buildings, covered in vines. He ran his hands down the cold, gray stones and wondered what the buildings had looked like before the jungle had taken them back. Birds sqwuaked, chirped, and made other sounds. He was used to it now. The jungle sounds. Jaguars at night now and again. A few would attempt to enter villages. Some villages, he was told, revered them as gods walking the Earth. They were welcomed, and offerings laid out so the gods may bless the village.

This village had its fair share of what Eurpeans might say was heresy, or blasphemy, even devil-worship. Francisco actually liked it. He felt more connected to it somehow, that it felt better than worshipping a God in a church. Not that he took issue or offense either way, simply that he found this more enjoyable. More tactile, hands-on.

He arrived at a large, rectangular pit-like area with two round circles on either side, dozens of feet higher than the bottom of the area. "I wonder what it is." he said aloud. "Its a ball court-the Mishte used them in games. It was said that any team who lost would die. Sacrificed to the gods." the young voice said. Francisco knew who it was already- the Elder's son. "Oh. Thank you for telling me. I had no idea. Do you know more? I'd very much like to hear more about the area." The young man sneered. "Do you know why I don't like you, Spaniard? You always walk around here...Acting so nice to everyone. I know how you really are. They just..they don't know yet. So I'll show them. The side of you that all Spaniards have. Vicious. Domineering-as if you're so righteous in the subjugation of my people. And others too!" He shouted. Francisco was confused. If he seemed that way.. "Maybe we can talk? I mean. Sit down. Just..I don't know. I don't think I am the way you think I am."

"Shut it! I don't want to talk! You want to learn so much ? Do you? You want me to be nice to you? Then fight me." Francisco was confused. "Fight?" he'd never fought a day in his life, except fencing lessons when he was younger. It didn't seem like the young man was referring to a rapier. "Yes. Fight. You will fight me. Then we will see how you act. I will see your Spanish arrogance." he spat. Francisco didn't like this. But if it meant they'd get along.... "Very well. How will we fight?" The young man threw an object at him. It was long like a spear, but wooden. Francisco ran his hand over it. The end had black glass-like rocks. Obsidian blades. Very common for most peoples who lived in Mexico before the conquest. "Ow!" Francisco looked. His finger was bleeding. He'd ran it over the blade too hard. "Yes, it's very sharp. Best to be careful or else you might" the young man thrust at Francisco "get" thrusting again "hurt!" Francisco blocked with the middle of the spear.

"Not bad so far, Spaniard. You avoid injury well. How about this!" he lunged at Francisco. His thin, muscular frame was very fluid and flexible with the spear. He attacked as if it were part of him, an extension of his arm as he thrust with it. "Dangerous-he could really hurt me if I hesitate-woah!" Francisco narrowly avoided being stabbed in his right eye. "Ow! That-" he felt something warm run slowly down his cheek. A long, thin, elegant line had formed where one of the numerous obsidian blades had grazed him. Luckily it was only one of them. "Fine-you want a fight? Let's go!" Francisco thrust and ran toward the young man. He tried to recall his training with a sword, but this was a spear and sword work wasn't working well. He kicked at the young man, trying to block and strike. Block and strike. "You are clunky. You fight as if the spear is a tool and you are simply using it. No wonder my people would best yours in combat without a gun!" Francisco was getting tired of this.

"Enough! Stop calling me Spaniard!!!" he shouted, lunging at the young man. The young man blocked deftly and the smooth obsidian bladed tip of the weapon now stood at Francisco's throat. "Yield or I will give you more blood to clean. And it's a long walk to the village." the young man said. Francisco, panting, dropped it. The young man was panting as well. "You fight well, even for a Spaniard" he said. "If you learned to wield these weapons properly, you would be a great warrior." was this..a compliment? "What..why are you...." The young man sat down on the floor and Francisco followed suit. "You are no challenge. Not worthy. I overestimated your skill. You cannot fight a child!" the young man laughed. Francisco reached into the pouch he now carries with him at all times, and took a fresh leaf to stop the bleeding. He held it to his face. The young man was scratched and bruised a little, but no blood. No blade wounds. "Call me Chak. You are called...Francisco?" he took Francisco's hand firmly in his own and held it. "I will teach you to fight like a true warrior. Only a man of heart would only cease a fight when a blade is at his throat. You have my respect."

When they returned to the village, tired and bruised, the Elder questioned them both. Neither would speak of the fight. The Elder simply smiled and went to attend to a villager in need.

"For I am the first and the last. I am the silence that is incomprehensible and the idea whose remembrance is frequent. I am the voice whose sound is manifold and the idea whose appearance is multiple. For I am knowledge and ignorance. I am shame and boldness. I am shameless; I am ashamed. I am strength and I am fear. I am war and I am peace. Give heed to me. I am the brightest of light and darkness black as pitch. For I am the one who alone exists, and I have no one who will judge me."