• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

TheAnguishedOne

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Yup :) Which begs a question - which one would you prefer to get first guys: next chapter, dev diary or the "special update"​
I'd prefer to see the "special update" next. If it deals with India as I'm predicting, that'll mean more dev diaries. :)
 

eliaspays

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I vote dev diary.
 

varetta

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Obviously I would prefer a triple surprise. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

But if I have to chose..I would go with the normal update. Followed by the special one.
 

Attalus

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I'd vote special update. (Once again nobody agrees in the good ol' Senate :p )
 

McGrey

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All three would be great! The next chapter is proably the best, depending on what's in the special update and dev diary and how it's linked to the chapter.
 

varetta

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I'd vote special update. (Once again nobody agrees in the good ol' Senate :p )
This looks more and more like a real senate.. :p
 

CzokletMuss

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Alrighty then, we shall start with the special update.

This looks more and more like a real senate.. :p
Oh yes, I'm definitely getting the vibe of a classic Senate session, just like in this Blues vs Whites debate:


;)
 

CzokletMuss

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THE BLOOD MOON




A man was sitting alone on a stone platform in a moonlit room. The man was naked, with symbols of the People and marks of the Serpent tattooed on his hefty body. Without opening his eyes, he reached out his right hand and took teonanacatl from a wooden bowl. He began to gnaw the mushrooms, honey dripping from his sharpened teeth. When he finished, he took a wooden cup filled with bitter xocolatl and drank from it. Then, with eyes still closed, he put the cup away and straightened himself.

Inhale, exhale.

Stillness filled the dark chamber and only shadows were slowly moving on wrinkled face of the man as the moon continued its journey on the night sky. The stone was cold, the silence deafening - but the man was patient. He was listening to his beating heart, tirelessly pushing blood through his old veins. The burning sensation in his stomach was gradually fading away, as was the room around him: a sure sign that monanacahuia began. There was no turning away.

Inhale, exhale.

The man's breath slowed down even more. Toxin filled his body, now stiff and unwilling to obey him. He was ready.

Inhale, exhale.

Suddenly the darkness deepened. The moonlight dimmed, as if the moon was obscured by clouds. The man started shivering and shaking, his heart beating quicker and quicker - the time has come.

Inhale, exhale.

The light changed and the room was filled with strange brown glow. The man was sweating, his muscles tense. Twitches were dancing on his scarred face.

And then...

Inhale.

In red light of the Blood Moon the man collapsed convulsing violently, his eyes rolled back in his head.


Earless slaves put gently the lavishly embellished sedan chair on a grassy meadow. The man, now wearing simple hunting apparel, got out and looked back at the jungle from which emerged now cuauhocelotloani carrying his trophy. He turned toward a large group of people wearing ornately decorated clothes, hiding from the sun in a shadow casted by a lone tree. A woman holding small baby feeding on her breast was sitting on a wooden chair, surrounded by servants holding feather fans providing relief from the burning sun. As he approached them, she rose from the throne, her jade earrings and necklace shining in the sunlight. The man stopped several paces from the woman, dried blood on his apparel now moistened by his sweat. The woman was looking at him unfazed and only her green eyes were betraying her happiness. Two warriors approached them and carefully put the trophy between the pair. The woman gazed for a brief moment at carcass of jaguar, his black fur stained in blood and his neck unnaturally twisted. She took a step forward but before she could say anything, the baby started crying.

The sun was dying.

The slaves, warriors and servants alike began to whisper prayers as they saw it slowly being consumed by blackness, changing shape and fading. Darkness fell on the meadow as the sun became an ever-thinning crescent. The man, unfazed by the terrible spectacle, turned back to the woman who with fear in her eyes was trying to comfort a crying baby. The man opened his mouth - and then the sun was no more.

Suddenly a strong wind blew through the meadow. Leaves on a lone tree were rustling in the blast as thousands of birds were flying away from the jungle, squawking in terror. Slaves and warriors alike fell on their knees trying to hide from a howling wind. The woman reached out to the man, her black hair flowing on the wind - and then the man remembered.

Exhale.

He turned away from the woman and faced the black sun, rising his hands high above his head.

- Titlaca Aztlan!

Gusts of cold wind picking up dust moved through the meadow like waves, causing the man to lost breath for a brief moment.

- Heed the words of your servant, oh Lords of the Night!

Distant screams could be heard as companions of the man still gathered around the chair watched in terror how frigid gale was wreaking havoc on the lush jungle, leaving whole trees leafless whenever it swept through.

- Chalchiuhtlicue! Crawler in the Deep! We bow before She of the Jade Skirt!

Suddenly the wind ceased completely. Leaves and branches picked up by the roaring storm were silently falling onto the ground but to the dismay of companions of the man as soon as they reached it they began to decompose, momentarily turning into ash. The man extended his arms to the black sky.

- Tlazolteotl, Eater of Filth! Whore of Two Faces!

The whole jungle was now decaying unnaturally fast, thick trees falling down and rotting completely before they even touched the ground. Birds shared their fate as they died mid-flight, decaying as they were plummeting towards the dying forest leaving trails of colorful feathers.

- We make offerings to She Who Thirsts! Hear me, oh Plague Mother!


The man was interrupted again by screams, this time not of horror but of pain. He briefly looked behind him. Under the decaying trunk of a leafless tree his slaves and warriors were kneeling in pools of blood dripping from their flayed faces. The skin coming off of the rest of their bodies as they were writhing in agony, their exposed muscles twitching violently and bursting. Decaying flesh was falling off their bones and turning into ash just like the dying jungle. With pale face the man quickly turned away from his men - he didn't have much time. The man raised his arms and intoned.

- Coyolxauhqui, the Limbless Lady, Painted with Bells! Mictlantecuhtli, Lord of Bones! Prince of the Dead! We give you-

A small hand caught his left arm by the wrist with an iron grip. The man turned away from the red ring of the sun furious but froze. In place of her green eyes were now two gaping holes in a bleeding, skinless face. The woman was holding carcass of the child covered in maggots in her arm. She tried to say something but when she opened her mouth a swarm of vermin got out of it it and spread on her face. The man pushed her away with revulsion. The woman felt on the ground and collapsed into bloody splash of bone and flesh which almost immediately turned into ash. The man raised a hand to his lips and looked at his red fingers - he was bleeding from his nose. He quickly raised his arms to the black sky but before he could say anything the sun sent a flash of blinding red light.


When the man opened his eyes, the meadow and all his companions was gone. Where once was jungle was now a barren desert without a single trace of life. Even the sky was gone, replaced by the darkness of the night. The man was alone on the dead surface of the world. He raised his hands.

- Tezcatlipoca.

The red ring of the sun disappeared as the blackness momentarily spread from it to the whole sky extingushing all stars - and then rushed towards the man. He gasped seeing how desert was vanishing before his eyes.

- Tinoteoh itleyo Huitzilopochtli!

The world disappeared from beneath his feet, consumed by darkness. The man was floating in a featureless void. There was nothing left - but he knew better. He said the Name.

He wasn't alone.


The man couldn't see Them - no man could - but he could hear Them. The hissing. The rustling of feathers. Movement of squamous bodies. And the whispers, the unintelligible whispers which flooded his mind as easily as a deep lake can fill a wooden cup. The man couldn't understand but he could feel. Their tenebrous presence filled his mind with primordial wrath and malice and lust. But above all else - with hunger. Overwhelming, insatiable hunger. The man spoke into the void.

- Our Lord the Flayed One, Master of the Near and the Nigh, thine obedient slave stands before thee. What are thy orders? What does the Night Drinker command from Mexihcah?

No response came from the darkness. The silence was deafening. The man could only hear his beating heart, tirelessly pushing blood through his old veins. Suddenly the barrier separating him from the void was broken and there was only darkness.

And then the man saw.


There was a great lake in a valley and in the middle of it there was a swampy islet where under a lone cactus dwelled hundreds of small snakes. The snakes were fighting and devouring each other in a squirming, hissing pile of squamous bodies. Among them one stood out - a feathered serpent with scales red from the blood of his prey. As the fratricidal fight continued it became obvious that the feathered serpent is winning and with every devoured snake he grew in size. Soon all other snakes were consumed by him and the predator had no more prey to feast on. The serpent, now as big as man's thigh, slithered his way atop the prickly pear cactus where he spread his wings and jumped, gliding to another islet on the lake. The small island was covered in cacti in which lived dozens of birds. As soon as the feathered serpent reached the island and retracted his wings the feast began. Helpless against the giant snake, one by one the squawking birds were devoured by still growing feathered predator - the serpent could not be stopped.

Then a squawk unlike any other was heard. Out of nowhere a great eagle made of gold appeared and attacked the serpent with his talons. Both animals began fighting with each other - claws and beak against poisonous fangs. But although soon both the serpent and the eagle were bleeding from many wounds it seemed that the fight could go on forever, for neither could defeat the other one. The eagle appeared to be unaffected by poison dripping from serpent's fangs and while the serpent lost many feathers, his giant body was barely affected by it. As the fight continued both animals grew in size and soon the whole island was devastated by their struggle, cacti and carcasses of birds ripped apart.

Suddenly the man realized he has something in his right hand. He raised it and looked at the shining object: it was an egg made of gold. But as he was gazing at the egg he realized that it was not an egg - it was a city.


The gilded city hidden beyond monumental walls was massive. Thousands of buildings made of stone were huddled along giant avenues, hundreds of strange ships anchored in ports. Birds were singing in its gardens and the landscape was encrusted with innumerable statues and monuments. Towering above the gilded city was enormous building atop which lied a golden structure resembling eggshell cut in half. The building itself surrounded by complex of edifices of imposing size. The city was magnificent, its glory and size rivaling the unmatched Tenochtitlan.

The man crashed the egg in his hand.

The eagle shrieked as the feathered serpent bit him in the neck and fell on the ground. The bird was still trying to hurt his enemy but his claws and beak could no longer make any harm to the snake. The serpent wrapped around the squawking eagle, his fangs still injecting poison in bird's veins - and with a loud crack broke his spine. The eagle was still alive when the serpent started to devour him his feathers covered in his enemy's golden blood.

The lake and the valley disappeared as did the sky and the whole world. The man was floating in empty void but he was not a man anymore - he was the feathered serpent,. He could feel the metallic taste of eagle's warm blood as he was feasting on his dying enemy.

And then the Darkness answered.

- TLAMICTIZQUE TEOCUITLACUAUHCAXITL


The man opened his eyes. The empty chamber was dark and silent as it was before the ritual. His body was almost as cold as a stone on which he was lying down, his muscles stiff. He touched his lips and looked at his fingers. Red. The man slowly got on his feet and approached the small altar and took an obsidian blade lying on it. He approached the stone stairs leading below to the entrance to the chamber and went down the stairs clumsily - his body still refused to listen to him. As he emerged from the corridor naked and still covered in tattoos he stopped, waiting for his eyes to accommodate to the night.

The man stood on the top platform of the Great Temple, still red from the blood of ten thousand slaves sacrificed in preparation of this night. Below him was Tenochtitlan, stretching to the horizon with its innumerable temples, houses, islands and canals. Hundreds of chinampa gardens were floating on a calm waters of Texcoco. Although a home to hundreds of thousands among the People, the magnificent city was covered in darkness and appeared to be completely emptied. The man raised his head and looked at the dark sky were shined a pale moon. He took a deep breath. The Blood Moon was no more - the Gate was sealed and They could no longer visit the Fifth World and walk among the mortals. He took a deep breath.

Facing the moon, he raised both arms to the sky holding the blade in his left hand. With one quick cut the man slit his right palm. Warm blood was dripping from his opened wound on the stones of the Great Temple. The world and the People were safe for now but for a price. Tlaxcaltiliztli was demanded by Them and he had to obey. He didn't know whether what he saw was a vision of the present or of the future, for beyond the Gate there was no time. It didn't matter. Whether it was him or any other huetlatoanimeh, dead or unborn, now or in a hundred years, their duty remained the same. The man showed his sharpened teeth when he raised his right hand even higher, as if he was trying to touch the moon shining above the silent city.

The Gods must be nourished.

 
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TheAnguishedOne

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The night is dark and full of terrors....
Love the special update. Not what I was expecting, but still amazing. The Imperium fights to survive, but the Xenoi fight for the world...
 

CzokletMuss

The Emprah
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Thanks :)

Dev diary is going to be released tomorrow.
 

Enlil

WTWSMS - Lead Designer
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Fantastic! I saw the Lord of the Near and Nigh epithet, and I was quite happy. Well done on mentioning truly one of the most important of all the Nahuatl gods.
 
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luciusmalfoy012

Captain
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It would be good to ease back into things with the dev diary, then the 'special update' and then the chapter as such
 

McGrey

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This is a realy nice dark and spooky update. Well written!
 

Blogman66

Second Lieutenant
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Gave me shivers as I read it, great teaser for what's the come!