The day started just like every other day. Tepoztecal got up just as he always had. As he walked to the edge of the great city of Tenochtitlan a beam of sunlight caught his eye from the great Aztec temple. That is when he saw it. A massive army of Spaniards were coming over the mountains. They brought things he had never seen before. They rode beasts that looked like deer and they carried sticks with metal on them.

Leading the army of strange colored soldiers was a being riding a white animal. His clothes gleamed in the sunshine, and Tepoztecal had to shield his eyes. “Could this be the day that the prophecy was to be fulfilled?” Tepoztecal wondered. He remembered that it had been foretold that a god, Quetzalcoatl, would return in human form from the east to take back the land that belonged to him. Tepoztecal’s mind raced. “Yes, this was the day, the very day that he should return!”

Tepoztecal ran faster and faster toward the heart of the city. He could feel the excitement pulsing in the air. As he slowed to take a breath, he passed by a little group of people gossiping.

“They didn’t turn back!” an old woman said.

“Who didn’t?” questioned a fellow townsman.

“The white man named Cortez. The Mighty Montezuma gave him gifts of gold, robes of parrot feathers, embroidered cotton cloth and even food. They still didn’t turn back!”

Tepoztecal continued running to his father’s shop which sat upon a hill near Montezuma’s palace. He found his father closing the door tightly to his goldsmith store. He saw his father’s reaction to the scene of the approaching horde of men. As Tepoztecal took a closer look, he realized that dispersed between the white men were members of their rival tribes. In previous times he had only seen outside villagers brought to Tenochtitlan to become sacrifices for the gods.

Tepoztecal was surprised to see men with the audacity to try to enter Tenochtitlan without the approval of the Great Montezuma. He could hear the murmurs of fellow merchants saying, “Could this be the Great Quetzalcoatl?” He could only wonder what fate awaited the visitors. But in his deepest heart, he worried what his own fate would be.

Part 2

Tepoztecal was suddenly awoken by the city bell …one….two… three… four….five. “Phew,” he sighed in relief, “Our soldiers are going to attack a local village.” As his head was just about to touch his sleeping mat again, he surprisingly heard the bell continue to ring…six…seven…eight…nine… NINE tolls! That could only mean one thing…WAR!

With his head throbbing and his body shaking with chills from his fever, Tepoztecal slowly mustered the strength to get up. As his mind raced, he thought back. He remembered how hastily Cortez had taken over Tenochtitlan and imprisoned Montezuma and his court. Montezuma had graciously given him gifts of gold and food but still Cortez asked for more. Then, mysteriously, the Spanish leader had disappeared and now had been gone for 20 days. The Aztecs had been excited that the appointed leader, Alvarado, had allowed them to hold their ceremony even though the Spanish were in control of their city. Tepoztecal had been so disappointed that he could not go to the festival at the Great Temple. The Aztec warriors were going to dance in their festive regalia to worship the god of war, Huizilopochtli. Tepoztecal knew all his friends would be attending the festival, but when his father had seen that Tepoztecal was covered from head to toe with red bumps, he had strictly confined him to his home.

As he hobbled outside to try to understand what was going on, he caught a glimpse of a dazed, confused warrior running through the city screaming,

“The Spanish have attacked our warriors at the festival!”

Tepoztecal struggled back into the house and ran to his father. He looked into his father’s distraught eyes and asked, “What is going on?!”

“Mighty Montezuma has turned against us. Many of our warriors have been slaughtered in the Great Temple. I knew this would happen when he befriended the Spanish. All of our lives are at stake because of his careless actions! We will revolt against him and we will gain back the city that was once ours!”

part 3

“Ready the army!” ordered an Aztec general. “We need every man armed and ready to fight!” Tepoztecal could already see the 300,000 Aztec warriors preparing to fight. They had mustered up every single weapon they could locate.

“Father must you leave?”

“I have no choice, these are hard times and our great city needs me. I must fight to take back what is rightfully ours from Cortez and his men.”

“I will miss you dearly.”

“As will I my son.”

As tears streamed down Tepoztecal’s face he hugged his father one last time before he went to war. He wondered if he would ever see him again.

The battle was long and hard. For three days the Aztecs fought with strength and courage. Their inferior weapons of knives, spears and bows and arrows were no match for the Spaniards heavy duty weapons. They had managed to bring horses, rifles, cannons and steel armor all the way from Spain. Another thing they brought was smallpox,which killed many Aztecs. Those who survived were very weak but still fought valiantly.

After the epic battle was over, Tepoztecal emerged to search for survivors. Everywhere he looked he saw death and destruction. Bodies were strewn all over the temple. Women and children looked for their fathers, sons and brothers. That is when his world collapsed on top of him. There, in a pile of corpses, he found his father’s body beaten and torn up from the battle.

“This can’t be happening, not to me, not now,” he thought to himself.

Sobbing, he closed his Father’s eyes. The world that he knew had been eradicated. As the enemy plundered their precious gold and silver, Tepoztecal could only imagine a bleak future for himself and his fellow Aztecs. Hobbling back through the city, he wept despondently.

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