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~The Feathered Dragon~
Xilonen1
IC Information
Full Name: Xilonen Yaotl Queztalcoatl
Deed Name: Swift-as-an-Arrow-from-the-Sun (Sun-Arrow)
Gender: Female
Age: 20 (Apparent), 505 (Actual; born August 14, 1502)
Breed: Homid
Stream: Mokole-Mbembe
Auspice: Striking
Varna: Unktehi (Mexican beaded lizard)
Rank: 2 (Daughter)
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 150 lbs.
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Brown
Nature: Cavalier
Demeanor: Explorer
OOC Information
Theme Song: "Don't Drink the Water," Dave Matthews Band
Quote: Here I stand, / Poor in money, / Arrogant with pride, / Bold with machismo, / Rich in courage / And / Wealthy in spirit and faith. (From I am Joaquin, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales)
Status: Current Character
Player: Elana


PersonalityEdit

On the exterior, Xilonen is gruff, blunt, and perhaps a little cranky. While she is very polite it is not the sort of politeness that modern people may be used to--she will speak her mind, though she'll be very respectful about doing so. She is the sort to tell a sick person that she hopes they don't die of their illness--they should die on the battlefield, for that is the best death one can hope for. There's a kindness behind the words if you look for it, but most people are likely to be put off by the words themselves.

She is a caring soul deep down, concerned with helping and protecting people. She's more the sort to run after a mugger to beat them up than take care of the one mugged, though; she's not terribly good at showing affection or caring for the sick or wounded. She is a warrior, a champion of Gaia and Sun and Quetzalcoatl, and bound to use her strength to protect those who are weaker (or just in need of protection.)

She is respectful to nearly everyone on first meeting, even Garou. The only exception to this are vampires and other Wyrm-things (though she might be convinced vampires aren't entirely bad if they prove they're trying to keep the city safe for the mortals.) She continues her polite, respectful demeanor even once insulted; attack her, though, or hurt an innocent, and she will be swift to defend the honor of whomever was wronged.

SheetEdit

Attributes:

Physical: Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4
Social: Charisma 1, Manipulation 1, Appearance 4
Mental: Perception 2, Intelligence 3, Wits 3

Abilities:

Talents: Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Dodge 1, Expression 1, Integrity 1, Intimidation 2, Primal Urge 3, Resistance 2, Vigilance 3
Skills: Crafts 2, Etiquette 1, Marksmanship 2, Meditation 3, Melee 3, Survival 1
Knowledges: Culture 2, Linguistics 2, Lore (Mokole) 1, Occult 1, Science 2

Advantages:

Willpower: 8
Rage: 5
Gnosis: 6
Backgrounds: Destiny 3, Familiar Spirit 5, Mnesis 2

Gifts:

Level 1: Bellow, Talk
Level 2: Silver Claws

Merits: Fast Learner (3), Poison Resistance (2), Temperature Control (2)

Flaws: Recently Arisen (3), Mystical Imperative (4)

Freebies Spent:

Attributes: Strength: 5 (Total: 5)
Abilities:
Talents: Integrity: 2, Resistance: 4, Vigilance: 6 (Total: 12)
Skills: Marksmanship: 4, Survival: 2 (Total: 6)
Knowledges: Occult: 2, Science: 4 (Total: 6)
Advantages: Willpower: 5, Gnosis: 8, Familiar Spirit: 1, Mnesis: 2 (Total: 16)
Merits: +7
Flaws: -7

Total Spent: 45 Freebies

Character AdvancementEdit

What Type Who Approved by Finished Slot Status Explanation
Slot 1 Linguistics 3 from Self, Mnesis Luna 3/5/2010 Locked Xilonen is paying sharp attention to the language being spoken around her, and paying attention to her spirit when she translates mentally, to try and learn English as quickly as possible. She's also been using Mnesis and the Gift "Talk" to speak Mother's Tongue, and is trying to use both to learn the Garou tongue.
Slot 2 Melee 1 (Swords) to Eoin Puck 03-08-10 Locked until +learn is finished After the appearance of the Goblin Queen at the tavern Freehold threatening his new comrades, Eoin decided he'd had it with being useless when it came to most combat. Having seen Kristian's skill in fighting, he asked the troll to teach him how to properly defend himself and, hopefully, others. Kristian, knowing he might not be able to complete this request, asked Xilonen to help Eoin in his stead, and she has agreed.
Slot 3 Open
Slot 4 Open
Fst Lrnr Open

Advancement HistoryEdit

Completion Date What Type Who Explanation Slot
Red denotes a +learn; Green denotes a +teach; Gray denotes a retconned +lteach.

FormsEdit

ArchidEdit

Strength (+4): 6
Dexterity (-1): 3
Stamina (+4): 8
Manipulation (-3): 0
Appearance: 3 (From Feathers)

Traits

Feathers, Grasping Hands, Poison Sacs, Prehensile Tail, Spitter, Upright Walking

In Archid form Xilonen is a bipedal reptilian perhaps five and a half feet tall. Her forelimbs end in hand-like appendages that can use tools and weapons, and her tail (which adds another few feet of body length) is prehensile and can be used to grasp objects and people. There are poison sacs within her mouth, a much more dangerous and painful version of the venom she has in suchid form; this venom does 2 levels of aggravated damage in addition to her bite damage, and can be forcibly ejected from her mouth 1 yard for every point of Rage (currently 5). The skin of the Archid form is a deep purple, but much of her body is covered in bright feathers. The feathers on her lower body (except for the tail) are red, while her upper body and tail are decorated in a teal that shimmers more green or blue depending on the light. A green and yellow crest upon her head completes the image of something halfway between reptile and bird.

SuchidEdit

XilonenSuchid

Xilonen in her Suchid form

3' long Mexican Beaded Lizard

Strength (-1): 1
Stamina (+2): 6
Manipulation (-4): 0

The Unktehi have only half human running speed, and cannot swim. Their bite inflicts Strength -1 damage, but is poisonous and very painful; those bitten must make Stamina rolls, difficulty 7 to resist the venom. If they fail, they drop to the Wounded health level, and remain there until the poison has run its course. Creatures smaller or larger than human-size could alternately be killed by the venom, take less damage or not be affected at all, at the Storyteller's discretion.

Specialties & ExpertiseEdit

Dexterity: Swift

Though Xilonen can be graceful, coordinated, flexible--all the things one thinks of when thinking of dexterity--where she really excels is in doing things quickly. She's fast for a Mokole, prone to bursts of speed separated by periods of rest. She's a sprinter; though she might win marathons by simply outlasting her opponents long-term speed isn't her forte. Get in, get things done, get back out to go bask in the sun until the next battle: that's her style.

Stamina: Determined

Xilonen is in excellent health, thanks to a lifetime of good hygiene, good eating and warrior training along with a pedestrian culture. Beyond this, when she gets her mind set on something she is very hard to budge. Resolute and tough, implacable as granite, and just about as stubborn.

Appearance: Bold Demeanor

Xilonen is very careful about her hygiene and grooming and takes special care to dress well. A warrior needs a certain persona, and Xilonen does her best to project that--confident, assured, strong. Her body language combines with her style and appearance to give her a certain overbearing and possibly intimidating energy. It's better if she doesn't open her mouth, though... she'd make an impressive and imposing bodyguard, but diplomacy, finesse, charm? Not her forte. She's more of a blunt instrument.

Crafts: Domestic Arts, Weaving, Gardening

Like any Mexica girl, Xilonen grew up learning how to cook, clean, keep household items repaired, and the like. Her time among the Navajo taught her the art of the loom, which she took to swiftly, and weaving became one of her favorite activities. She's also been a mother, which only adds to the roster of skills. She's also spent a lot of time gardening and caring for plants and the like.

Marksmanship: Atlatl, Bow

Eagle Warriors trained in many weapons, including the altatl or spear-thrower, and bows. Though Xilonen prefers melee fighting, there's nothing wrong with hitting enemies at range. She's been known to coat arrows or darts in her own poison, though as this involves sticking the thing in her mouth she doesn't do it often.

Melee: Swords, Polearms, Clubs

Xilonen's trained with a variety of weapons in her life, from the clubs and lances of the Mexica warriors to the wooden sword-like macuahuitl of the elite. She's even tried out European weapons, under the idea of knowing one's enemy.

Culture: Religion

In addition to her time spent in the cult of Quetzalcoatl, studying the rites and rituals of the Mexica gods, Xilonen has taken an interest in Christianity and Navajo religion both. She finds people easiest to understand in terms of their spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof), as her life has always been so filled with gods and spirits and their concerns.

Linguistics: Spanish, Navajo

Xilonen learned the language of the invaders, and of course learned the language of the people she went to live with after Tenochtitlan fell.

Lore: Mokole

Xilonen's not learned much of the Mokole beyond the basics--she knows the other streams, but the auspices of the Makara and Zhong Lung elude her, and so on. She's focused most on the history of her people and wallow, on the Unktehi and Mokole-Mbembe, and this reflects what little she knows of other Mokole.

Science: Ancient Agriculture

Xilonen's people were rather obsessed with flowers, and Xilonen was no exception. She's studied them, she's learned to grow and cultivate them, she knows what sort of feed they need and how to pollinate them, she's even taken them apart to see what's inside. She knows diseases and how to treat them, she knows about soil rotation and fertilizing, and so on. This extends to vegetables as well--Xilonen and her people were practically vegetarians, and you've got to get the food from somewhere.

Merits & FlawsEdit

Fast Learner

For whatever reason--dedication, smarts, or just a knack for it--Xilonen's always learned quickly. She picks up new knowledge very fast, and often only has to be shown a thing once (or maybe twice) before she's doing it... well, maybe not well, but at least able to start practicing.

Poison Resistance

Xilonen has poison sacs in both her suchid and archid forms. Exposure to this poison, along with a natural resistance in her line, has given her a measure of resistance to many toxins. (As it's taken at 2 points, this reduces difficulties by 2.)

Temperature Control

Xilonen has been meditating all her life, with a specific focus toward control over her bodily functions. She's learned to heat up her body in the cold (to keep from freezing) or lower her temperature in heat (to keep from overheating). This is partly supernatural and partly learned, a talent she's been honing since before her First Change--but especially since finding she was a cold-blooded creature in some forms. Fighting happens in the cold and the dark as well as in the sun, after all.

Recently Arisen

Xilonen's been in the Sleep of the Dragon for 500 years, and has woken to an entirely different world than the one she knew. Though she's no stranger to big cities, she is a stranger to technology and European culture. Social situations and technology confuse her, though they won't forever.

Mystical Imperative

Xilonen made a promise to her familiar spirit, Coaxoch, to abide by certain rules in order for said spirit to stay by her side. Xilonen must follow the precepts of Quetzalcoatl--to not harm humans, to learn and teach, to give of herself. She must also help other spirits of the same type (Uktena).
Specifically, this means several things:
  • Xilonen must not ever kill another human, except in self-defense or defense of another, and even then it must be an absolute last resort. Dissolver-tainted creatures are fine, as are animals, but she has to make an attempt to cleanse a Dissolver-tainted human if she can. This extends to other shifters, and that means Garou, naturally.
  • Xilonen must take every learning opportunity she can, whether she likes the subject or not. This is within reason, of course--she needn't agree to learn Brawl from a BSD, say.
  • Xilonen must teach anything she knows to anyone who asks that Coaxoch deems worthy of the knowledge. Again, this is within reason, and it's who the spirit deems worthy, so she might decide a rather annoying Ahroun doesn't deserve to learn, for instance.
  • Xilonen must help innocents in danger, putting herself in harm's way to protect the weak, the sick, the young and the old. She also must make regular blood sacrifice, three drops every morning at sunrise or when she first wakes.
  • Lastly, she must help Uktena's brood. All spirits of Uktena's brood (and any others Coaxoch decides she likes) fall under this, and any such spirits that are Tainted Xilonen must at least try to find a way to cleanse.
If Xilonen violates any of these rules willingly, Coaxoch will leave, and likely be angry to boot. There's a chance that a mistake would allow for negotiation with the spirit--she really does like Xilonen--but willful violation, or putting herself in a position to have to violate the rules will result in the spirit leaving and calling down the vengeance of other spirits.

BackgroundsEdit

Destiny

Xilonen's always known she was meant for something. People have been having visions about her since she was born, and she's always had the sense she had some duty to fulfill to the spirits. Though just what she's supposed to do is unclear, it's been enough to keep her alive, to protect her from an attack from an Innocent, and send her into Sleep of the Dragon in order to wake at just the right time, in just the right place, to help the Sept of the Looking Glass. At least, she thinks that's what she's supposed to be doing...
Coaxoch2

Coaxoch's most common human appearance

Familiar Spirit

Xilonen has taken the spirit of her former wallow as a companion, out of mutual affection and a desire to protect said spirit. As the last of the old wallow--indeed, the last Mokole of Quetzalcoatl's line whatsoever--Coaxoch has a certain desire to protect and watch out for Xilonen, and the Mokole has proven herself amenable to further the spirit's goals. They are both outcasts, the last survivors of a dead civilization, and such beings need to stick together.
Coaxoch is a horned, feathered water-serpent, though she does like to shapeshift into other forms.
WP: 7, R: 2, G: 10, Power: 59, Charms: Airt Sense, Cleanse the Blight, Flood, Healing, Materialize, Peek, Reform, Shapeshift
Power should be 49.
15 totem points to spend
+2 WP +10 G = 4 points spent. 11 left.
+4 charms = 8 points spent. 3 left.
R+G+WP = 19
+30 power = 3 points spent. 49 power total
--Drab262 02:25, January 18, 2010 (UTC)
I had been told that one starts with 1 point each in R/W/G, essentially giving you 10 points to begin with. Thus, she started with W 4, R 2, G 4, spent 1 point for +3 WP and 2 points for +6 Gnosis. Then spent 4 points on power, for 59.
--ElanaR 02:31, January 18, 2010 (UTC)

Mnesis

Xilonen doesn't have much in the way of ability to look back through Mnesis--she can only access ancestral memory back a millenia, maybe a millenia and a half, and all of that memory is concentrated in Mesoamerica.

HistoryEdit

Why are violence and the sacred so intertwined? Why is death seen as necessary to renew life? ... To us the Aztec universe may appear irrational, terrifying, murderous in its brutality; and yet it is a mirror held up to our humanity which we ignore at our cost. --Michael Wood, In Search of the First Civilizations

On a late summer night in the year we would call 1502, deep in the temple of Quetzalcoatl on its grand pyramid in the city of Cholollan, Sees-Far-by-Many-Suns, Shining the Clutch of the Flowered Mountain, went into Mnesis trance. Farsight was a noted astrologer and had more than once used the gift Breaking the Tomorrow Wall to confirm the insights he could glean from the movements of stars and moon and sun. He combined the astrological knowledge of the Mexica (in modern times known as the Aztecs) and the Gifts of the Mokole to great effect.

The greatest boon to his fortune-telling, however, was something inborn, a gift from Gaia and Sun--Farsight could "remember" the future through Mnesis. He had seen things from his own life, and many strange events from the lives of his descendants. Though this Mnesis was not as trustworthy as that of the past it was still useful, and both those remembrances and all other signs pointed to a great cataclysm coming soon... for the wallow, for the Mokole, and for the entire Mexica people.

So Farsight went into Mnesis trance, watched over by Sings-the-Flower-Song, Concealing of the clutch. He was in the trance long, and when he woke seemed almost mad. Flower-Song made sure to record as much of the Shining's ramblings as she could manage before he fell back into a faint. Farsight said he could see the city burning, the temples pulled down by men whose armor shone in the sun. Not just Cholollan, but all the cities of the empire, even great Tenochtitlan. The Mokole of the wallow would die, he said, but their Mnesis would live on within an Eagle Warrior and Mokole, a child who would be born with the next rising sun.

On waking from his faint Farsight could not clearly remember anything of the trance but a faint image of the Mokole babe he had seen and who he knew he must find. None of the Kin or Mokole were even with child, but it was known there were lost Kin who had folded into the great cities of the empire. A search went out for a boy-child born with the rising sun on that day, the populace told that his birth had been prophesied and he was to be a great priest of Quetzalcoatl--but though many were brought, Farsight rejected every one. Discouraged, he settled in to wait, keeping an eye out always for the boy he knew he would meet someday.

Trouble was, Sees-Far-by-Many-Suns was looking in the wrong place. The Mokole warrior he had seen was female.

On the morning of the day a modern calendar would call August 14, 1502, a young girl was born to a family in the great city of Tenochtitlan. The child was named Xilonen, an homage to the ruler of the week of her birth--Xipe Totec, god of many things including agriculture. In the Nahua tongue Xilonen means "the hairy one," and was the name of Xipe Totec's female counterpart.

Xilonen was the youngest of three children. The eldest became a goldsmith like their father, the second son a warrior. Xilonen was an exceptionally pretty girl, and learned everything put before her very quickly. She was well-educated, though not taught to read and write, as all other girls. Her parents hoped she could perhaps be married to a fine man, perhaps even a noble, and enhance the family's standing.

Strange dreams haunted the girl her entire life. She dreamed of being other people, being a lizard, being a great reptilian warrior. She was somehow different, this she knew, and she held within passion and fervor and all too often anger that others around her seemed to lack. She learned swiftly to moderate these outbursts, to hold herself in check. She was taught to be humble and polite, to be stoic. At a young age she hid away the dreams and pushed down the passion--though sometimes, on a sunny day and especially at sunrise, she found doing so excrutiatingly hard to bear. To help she began learning meditation at the age of five, when it became clear her temper would not be easily moderated, and has practiced meditation nearly every day of her life since. It was the temple of Quetzalcoatl in Tenochtitlan she went to, and she learned from a young priest there. She grew to love the temple, and had a fondness for the priests. Quetzalcoatl was different from the other gods and she felt a closeness to him she could not explain.

Otherwise, however, she lived a normal life in the great city. Tenochtitlan was one of the largest cities of its day, both in area and numbers of people. There were chores to be done, things to be learned, markets and temples to go to. There were no large domesticated animals and so no wheels save for on children's toys--everyone walked everywhere, save those few important enough to be carried on litters. Xilonen learned love of flowers, poetry, music and dance. She watched the deadly and exciting ballgame when her family went. In some ways her life would be very familiar to us, but in others it was very different.

Every year, thousands were sacrificed to the gods. This was not as callous or bloodthirsty as the Spanish would later make it out to be--sacrifice, the Mexica believed, was utterly neccesary for the world to continue. Every 52 years they must make a great sacrifice or the world would end; smaller sacrifices, from humans to animals to blood or tools or ornaments, must be constantly made. The sacrifices were in some ways an offering of thanks to the gods, who gave of themselves that the people might live. Some of those killed even went to death willingly, for there was little better way to gain a fine afterlife than to be sacrificed to the gods--only death in infancy, battle, or childbirth met sacrifice for honor and glory.

At festivals throughout the year, people would take on the persona of the god of that festival. At the culmination of the ceremony, they were killed, as the gods were killed to give the people life. Whatever the true reasons behind these practices, Xilonen grew up believing them utterly neccesary. Only Quetzalcoatl and those associated with him did not demand humans be sacrificed. All the other gods knew that in order for some to live, others must die--and as much as Xilonen might feel kinship with Quetzalcoatl, her family was dedicated to Xipe Totec, who most certainly demanded the sacrifices.

So while it may seem strange that Xilonen's family was joyous when their 12-year-old daughter was selected to become a sacrifice, it is not so strange in context. The girl would be guaranteed a wonderful afterlife. Her family would be afforded honor and upward social mobility in repayment for losing their daughter. And it was a great honor to be sacrificed to the corn goddess to ensure the plants would grow so the people could eat--for the priests had chosen Xilonen to be sacrificed to the goddess whose name she bore, declaring it her destiny from the time of her birth.

Though she was outwardly consenting, and though she was honored and even somewhat happy, something deep within Xilonen screamed in terror and anger. It was not simply the thought of death, which itself held far less fear than one might think. It was that she felt she was meant for other things. Somehow, she could tell the gods would be displeased, that this was wrong--and yet, what did she know? She was a young girl, and the priests knew what they were about.

The day before she was to go to the temple--14 days before the sacrifice--Xilonen was restless and irritable. She tried to hide her feelings, but anger and frustration boiled below the surface. All day she felt strange, and that night she had a strange dream.

She was deep underground, and she could feel the mass of the earth above her as a comforting weight. It was dark, yet that bothered her only very little. She was safe, and there were others around her, sleeping along beside her.

As one they woke, and as one they made their way by touch and sound and smell, upward, toward warmth and light. When they emerged the light was blinding for a moment, but its warmth was joy and rapture. When her eyes adjusted, Xilonen saw that she had emerged from the side of a mountain onto a large plain. The others that were with her were strange creatures, some on two legs and some on four, with tails and claws, nearly every one covered in bright feathers. They led her down the plain, past a small village on a river, to a high hill deep in the forest. The top of the hill was bare of trees, and there the creatures gathered, around a small spring that bubbled up and flowed down the hill toward the ocean. There was a tunnel not far away, and from it more beings emerged--some like the ones Xilonen was now with, but others human, and both of these types carrying small beaded lizards.

The last of these creatures, the grandest of all, Xilonen recognized as Quetzalcoatl. She went to prostrate herself, but the god gestured for her to rise. "You are one of my children," he said, "as we are all children of Gaia and servants of Sun. These are your true family--your ancestors, to whom I have given the task of protecting this sacred land since humans first came to this place. The strongest of them, the shape-changers, have dreamed themselves new forms. Some of the humans lost their way and left me--but the memories remain, and now they live on in you once more."

"Storm clouds gather over the ocean. There are dark creatures coming, dark times. The future for this land is bleak. Already the pain of your brothers and sisters on the islands toward the rising sun cries out to me. Already, strangers are coming and bringing with them the taint of the Dissolver to these lands. You will not be able to fight them. I know you will want to, little hairy one, but you will not win. Remember, when the time comes, that you have other battles to fight. The time of the Mexica passes, but Gaia may yet be saved."

With that, Quetzalcoatl laid his blessing upon the young girl, and Xilonen Remembered. She remembered that she was Mokole, dragon-kin. She remembered that her people had been on this land, guarding and sheltering it, serving sun, for countless human lifetimes. She could only vaguely see back to the time when her people had first come out of the north, could only catch glimpses of the land they had lived on that they had come to call Aztlan. She knew there was more further back, but somehow she was not skilled enough to see that far.

When the vision-within-the-dream passed, Xilonen was in a form like the others around her, standing on two legs. She had a long tail, hands with which to grasp tools and weapons, and the fine feathers that marked her lineage. Quetzalcoatl smiled and said, "It is a good form, worthy of a warrior. Go now, child. Go find my little sister, and your cousins. They have been waiting for you since the day you were born."

When Xilonen woke, it was still dark, and the rest of the house was still asleep. Feeling as though she were still in a trance, she packed up a small amount of food--enough for a few days' journey--and set off without any real notion of where she was headed.

By dawn she could tell that her journey was leading her southeast, toward the rising sun and the pass between the mountains Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl. The road over the mountains led to Cholollan, where Quetzalcoatl's great temple lay, and Xilonen became sure that was her destination.

The journey of over 75 miles took the girl 5 days. Though she was travelling on a well-used road she had a long head start on anyone who might follow her--and they wouldn't know what direction she'd gone in besides. Still, she moved as swiftly as she could, making good time and reaching the mountains in only two days. It was the pass that took the longest, another two days, including one night up in the cold of the mountains. It was there that she discovered a thing which had come with her transformation, augmented by and stemming from her proficiency at meditation. Xilonen could control her body temperature at will. She became cold, and so she simply willed herself to stay warm. Though she still would rather have been in the warmth of Sun's light, it was, she knew, quite a handy talent.

Once down out of the mountains, she continued the walk to Cholollan and the temple of Quetzalcoatl. There were many people on the road, her food had run out, and she was tired and far more dirty than she'd ever been in her life. Night fell, but she could see the city in the distance, and the great temple rising above the others, so she pushed onward. Stumbling and nearly asleep on her feet, Xilonen made her way through Cholollan's streets in the pre-dawn hours, managed the climb up the temple steps, and collapsed in the doorway of the main temple.

Sees-Far-by-Many-Suns was the one to discover the girl. He was taking a turn working at the temple, as many Mokole and Kin did then. The morning star was rising, as it had for many months, though it was nearing the end of its prominence. The morning star, to the Mexica, was Quetzalcoatl, and so every morning the priests of the temple rose early to greet both Sun and Quetzalcoatl at dawn.

At first, Farsight thought the child collapsed in the doorway was merely a street urchin--Cholollan was the second-largest city in Mesoamerica at the time, and there were, as in any large city, those who had no homes. Yet as he reached down to wake the girl, he recognized her features with a shock. He saw the face of the warrior he had seen in his Mnesis quest so long ago, and recognized the child as newly-changed Mokole.

Xilonen was fed and dressed, and once she had told Farsight her story--for he quickly revealed that he, too, was Mokole--messengers were sent to inform Xilonen's parents and the temple that the girl had been led over the mountains by a vision from Quetzalcoatl, that she had been chosen to train and serve in his temple. Then, with the mortals duly taken care of, the girl was spirited off to the wallow.

She recognized the place from her memory-dream. It lay deep in the forest, were few went, and was guarded at all times by the clutch and by agreements with other shifting breeds of the area. The Kin lived in a nearby village, but came often to the wallow. Suchid-born Mokole tended to prefer living in the tunnels beneath the hill, while human-born often lived in the village with the Kin.

The center of the wallow itself was a glade that centered on a spring of crystal-clear and deliciously sweet water. The tops of the surrounding trees were low enough to allow basking in at least some part of the glade at most times of day, and Unktehi are small enough that the clutch, when in suchid, could usually easily fit in these large patches of sun. Beaded lizards spend much of their time underground, though, and a tunnel to one side of the glade led down into a network of tunnels below. Some were sized for humans, but much of the space was only small enough for the Mokole to go about in suchid, the better for the lizard-born to enjoy the protection of earth.

The spirit of the wallow was a horned water-serpent by the name of Coaxoch. She was feathered and could take on vaguely humanoid form, and called herself Quetzalcoatl's sister. Coaxoch was a powerful spirit, who promoted her brother's ideals of intelligence, self-sacrifice, peace, and progress. The wallow and the clutch were there to protect and guide the Mexica, and to remember them when they were gone. She seemed sad; Xilonen remembered (and others of the clutch confirmed) that she had been increasingly so ever since the empire had turned more and more to human sacrifices. War and what she saw as senseless death upset her, though she could be terrifyingly angry in regards to things of the Dissolver.

The clutch and its Kin controlled and made up much of the upper levels of the priesthood of Quetzalcoatl, and had since humans had brought his worship to this place. Coaxoch insisted upon it, although some of the wallow thought she was modifying older traditions. Still, they went along with her wishes, for every one of the Mokole loved the wallow and its spirit and would lay down their lives in defense of both.

So Xilonen was initiated into the Mokole world. She was taught of things before her Mnesis could see--the Last Times, the Wars of Rage, the Dinosaur Kings long before. She learned to read and write (unheard of for Mexica women, but Coaxoch insisted), she learned astronomy and botany, and of course to fight. She was taught as an Eagle Warrior, though she never took on their traditional garb. She proved to be a quick learner in all things; in some cases, she had to be shown a thing only once before she knew it well, and in many others she learned more quickly than any in recent memory.

Early on, Farsight told Xilonen of the vision he'd had, the "remembrance" of the future that had shown the fall of their people. Xilonen at first dismissed what Farsight said, but in time came to see that Farsight's prophecies had a way of coming true.

Soon Xilonen became a full member of the clutch, and went to Cholollan to take her turn in the temple of Quetzalcoatl. She fell in love with the city and its people, with the broad streets and plazas, and the many, many temples. The grandest and largest was the temple of Quetzalcoatl, but the city held hundreds to all different gods. Life was not without its problems--Xilonen was a young girl, with as much Rage as any Garou Ahroun. She learned over and over to hold her swift temper in check, until it was no longer swift in most cases but a slow, cold burn as befitted a creature blessed with slow, painful poison in her bite. She was not well-liked by many save those who knew her, for she was blunt even in her attempts to be properly stoic and polite. She took on the habit of staying silent, lending her beauty and imposing presence to social situations. She achieved the second rank a few months after she had first arrived at the temple, and was given the name Swift-as-an-Arrow-from-the-Sun, for she was fast and agile in many things, physically and mentally, especially for a Mokole.

When she was but 15 years old, Xilonen was paired with a mate chosen for her by the clutch. Chimalli was Kin, and a priest in the temple. He was calm and patient, intelligent, a fine poet, and older than Xilonen by three years. Though there was no real love or depth of passion on Xilonen's side, there was affection, and they were physically compatible. Xilonen had no complaints, she had a good mate and soon was heavy with child.

That her heart lay elsewhere all could see--Xilonen was almost notoriously bad at hiding her emotions or intentions. As a little girl she had fallen in love with Sees-Far-By-Many-Suns, and as she grew the love only stayed. That any such interaction between them was forbidden went without saying; moreover, Farsight, while fond of the girl, was dedicated to his own mate and saw Xilonen more as a younger sister than a possible lover. Still, Xilonen would have done anything the Midnight Sun asked without hesitation, and had come to trust his visions as accepted fact. Chimalli, for his part, came to feel much the same way about his volatile, complicated mate, and the matter sat silently though open for all to see, the sort of thing that lends itself to tragic poetry when those involved have less strength of will.

At 16 Xilonen gave birth to her first child, a girl they named Cuicatl ("Song"). The babe was Kin, and dearly loved by both parents. On this they connected and found common ground. The first year of the child's life was a happy one for the wallow, the clutch, and the temple. Xilonen met Garou--Turtle's children, Croatan--and found them, though strange, likeable in their way. None of them thought their lives would soon drastically change. Only Farsight knew what was coming, and knowing that there was little to be done to save his people, quietly planned to save the Mokole, the wallow, and as much of the knowledge of the Mexica as he could.

It was not long after Xilonen had turned 17, very near to her daughter's first birthday, when word came both from other shifters and through merchants that a force of men had arrived from over the ocean. Word from the north told that the were-ravens were warning of another War of Rage. What was worst was the fact that these men, these Spaniards, had allied themselves with the enemies of Tenochtitlan, the Tlaxcala. Tenochtitlan and Tlaxcala had long fought each other, and Cholula was aligned to Tenochtitlan.

When the first emissaries from Hernan Cortes' expedition arrived, however, it was with a message of peace. Hoping to avoid further wars, the wallow planned to use its influence controlling the priesthood of Quetzalcoatl to negotiate a truce--but somewhere along the way, something went terribly wrong.

Farsight went into Mnesis trance at the wallow before the meeting with the Spanish emissary, to try and see what the future might hold. He found himself locked into struggle with a Dream Hunter and unable to leave the trance. At the same time, credible proof of an imminent attack upon the wallow was given to Xilonen, who rallied the Mokole to defend their sacred land.

In the meantime, the Spanish were told that the army of Cholula was preparing to attack them in their sleep. Whether this was true or not, history cannot say, nor can the Mokole--for every one had left the city, thinking it safe. When Cortes and his men marched into the city in a pre-emptive strike, the power of Quetzalcoatl that the people expected to protect them was not there.

The wallow was indeed attacked--though the force was far smaller than Xilonen had been told. The Mokole of the clutch held off the invading fomor, however, stunned at the ambush through the Umbra, which few of them could navigate. The Kin were safe, the wallow defended. All were relieved--until Farsight woke with terrible news.

He had seen the burned city in his vision. He had seen a far greater force coming to attack the wallow. He had seen, once more, the fall of his people. The only way to save Coaxoch, he said, and indeed the memory of the clutch, would be to put the Mnesis into one of their own and send that person away.

None believed him save Xilonen, and she insisted there must be a way to change the future he saw. Farsight took the clutch, and the leaders of the Kin to Cholula. They found the city burned, with thousands dead and the temple of Quetzalcoatl torn down. Then none questioned him further. They knew they would fall--yet still, they had to try to save their wallow. To simply let it die would be to do the Dissolver's work for it.

And the Spaniards? They had killed Kin in the massacre of Cholula, but Coaxoch would not condone retaliatory violence. Argue though the Mokole might, the spirit made it clear any Mokole who took revenge on the Spanish would lose her favor, and Farsight (by now elder of the wallow) stood by her. Defending the cities and the people was right and proper, but there might yet be a way for peace to be found.

Farsight and Xilonen were the two chosen to carry the Mnesis of the clutch away, should Farsight's vision prove true. Farsight had his special gift, and Xilonen had a young child--and indeed, the midwives thought she might be with child yet again. The Rite of Anamnesis was performed, transferring as many memories to the two as could be managed. The clutch was large then, perhaps twelve Mokole all told (though no Eclipsed or Gathering Suns at all), and so each took on the memories of five others--a strain, but neccesary.

The second wave of attack came only days after the first. There were Garou involved now, strange, Dissolver-tainted Garou. The Kin had been sent away, and the Mokole fought to defend their home. When it became clear the battle was lost, with all but Farsight, Xilonen, and Flower-Song dead, Xilonen convinced Coaxoch to come with them. The spirit pledged herself to Xilonen if the Mokole would follow her rules, and Xilonen agreed without thinking, too caught up in the heat of battle. Flower-Song made her last stand to defend Gaia, and Farsight took Xilonen and Coaxoch into the Umbra through the pond at the spring--the one way the Dissolver-spawn would not expect Mokole to go.

The experience of traveling from the wallow to Cholollan through the Umbra was terrifying, and one Xilonen would never forget. There the Innocents lurked, and what should have been a short, quick trip turned into further battle and nightmare. The Innocent they encountered attempted to steal Mnesis, and ultimately the two Mokole found themselves lucky to escape with their lives and memories intact. They emerged at a lake near Cholula and rested in the burned, forlorn city.

Farsight had been badly damaged by the Innocent's attack and would never be the same. Xilonen gathered up the Kin and took them over the mountains to Tenochtitlan, following Cortes' army. For a time they stayed in the city, and for a time it even seemed that peace might be found. The Spanish had been welcomed by the emperor, though Moctezuma was soon taken captive as insurance against a revolt.

At first, though, Coaxoch had hope that these new people might be good for the Mexica. They demanded the sacrifices stop, and their religion seemed to be one dedicated to peace and sacrifice. Xilonen learned the Spanish language, and learned what she could of their culture and people. She saw her parents again, and her elder brother, as the youngest was long dead in battle. At first, the Mokole and Kin hoped the Spaniards really had been merely acting in self-defense at Cholollan--though Farsight insisted otherwise, that further horrors were to come.

Cortes and the bulk of his army left suddenly, and while he was gone the remaining Spaniards massacred much of the Mexica nobility during a festival. When Cortes' army returned, the people of Tenochtitlan rose against them and drove them out. Farsight insisted that now was the only time to leave, that they must head north to another Unktehi wallow or be caught in the coming siege. Xilonen finally listened to her old and ailing mentor, and took him and the Kin north once more. They would never see Tenochtitlan or their homeland again.

It was a long and arduous trek from Mexico to the land of the Dine, or Navajo, that housed the nearest Mokole wallow. Not all the Kin survived, but most did, including Chimalli and Cuicatl. They found a very different people, people more devoted to peace. Coaxoch approved, and the Mokole and Kin merged into the existing Unktehi wallow. The local Garou were largely children of Uktena and were too busy tending Banes to bother the Mokole. Xilonen's second child was born, a Kin boy named Eztli. The name meant blood, and was for his parents a remembrance of the blood spilled as he grew beneath his mother's heart, blood spilled to let him enter the world.

Life became quiet and peaceful. There were children to raise and new customs to learn. Coaxoch demanded certain things of Xilonen, who complied without hesitation, though sometimes she wondered if she'd been too swift to agree to the bond between herself and the spirit. The small village in which they now lived was very different from the sprawling cities of Xilonen's youth, and she found herself restless. The Dissolver was very far away now, and word from the south said that Tecnochititlan had fallen and the Spanish now ruled Mexicro. Her way of life was being eradicated, the children of Mexica learning a new language and culture. What history would call the Aztec empire was gone, faded into memory.

Two years passed. Xilonen weaned Eztli and took to wandering the desert in suchid form, increasingly bored with "small town life." She was excited when Farsight bolted up from sleep one morning and told her he'd had another vision--that he knew where her true destiny lay.

There was a place to the north, a great city with buildings taller than any either of them had ever seen. Strange people lived there who spoke a strange language. More importantly, though, there was a Garou sept in that place, and its spirit was one of Uktena's brood. The Dissolver would be attacking the sept, strongly and soon, and Xilonen must be there. It was in that place that her destiny lay. Quetzalcoatl's memory would live on in her children--but his present must be furthered by Xilonen and Coaxoch.

Eager for battle, and with the spirit's blessing, Xilonen said goodbye to her mate and children for the last time. She and Farsight struck out to the north. They passed the northern boundaries of the land of the Dine before they found the place Farsight had seen in his vision. And yet, there was no great city, and the Garou were standoffish, and drove the Mokole away. Frustrated, they were about to turn back when Farsight, looking at the cliffs below the Garou caern, realized they were indeed in the right place--at the wrong time.

Crippled as his Mnesis had become, and increasingly fragile as his mind now was, Farsight was driven to ensure his visions came to pass. He knew the Gift and Rite of the Sleeping Dragon--he had intended, someday, to go to sleep beneath the wallow as many elders do. Xilonen could survive the cold where few others could, she spoke three languages now in addition to Dragon's Tongue and would swiftly learn any others. And to carry their Mnesis into the future--was that not what his vision had shown him, long ago?

Xilonen never questioned her elder. If he had made a mistake she would only know far into the future. Farsight convinced Coaxoch to watch over Xilonen. He saw, clearly, the position the stars must be in when Xilonen woke, and sent the younger Mokole deep into the earth. With the proper rites and chants, he bound her there, to sleep until the stars were right, until her destiny was to come to pass. And then, weary, he took his leave of Coaxoch and turned south to return to the wallow and tell the people what had become of the warrior.

Winter caught up with Farsight in the mountains, and he never made it back to the wallow. The last Mokole of the Clutch of the Flowered Mountain passed into memory. The wallow assumed that the elder had been taken by madness and that both he and Xilonen had died in the north. Chimalli mourned, and never took on another mate, though the wallow took care of his children. Eztli became the latent carrier of the last of the Mnesis of the Mexica.

And yet, far north, beneath the moutains of Colorado, Xilonen slept on. As Europeans came and founded the city of Crystal Springs, as the Hope-Drinker came forth not once but twice, she slept on. And as the year 2010 opened, the stars in the winter sky aligned themselves, opening the lock on the rite that bound the Mokole to sleep. Soon she will rise, to see just what it is that fate has in store for her...

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