Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.
Tonauac awoke to the sound of gunshots. His head pounded, his brain pulsing inside the skull. He blinked his eyes, trying to clear his cloudy vision.
All around him lay the dead and dying in their own pools of blood. He saw one man fruitlessly trying to stop the river of blood draining out of what remained of his left arm. He saw another man right next to him, shot dead from a thick black crossbow bolt embedded in his skull.
Tonauac slowly stood up, the wasteland of dead all around him. Warm bodies lie mangled upon the steps up the Great Temple, some gathered in piles, and numerous appendages were strewn about with no clear owner.
Thousands lie dead, and Tonauac knew who killed them. Picking up a maquahuitl from the grasp of a dead Tlaxcalan, Tonauac traversed the battlefield, stepping over the bodies of those he had grown up with. He saw men he had gone to school with, men he had laughed with, men he had fought alongside. Tonauac wept as he ran through the heaps of bodies, the thousands upon thousands dead proving to be too much to him.
He climbed up a staircase, leaving the plaza of death. He walked through the city as the survivors of the slaughter ran across the causeways and streets, spreading news about the massacre to anyone who didn’t already hear the gunshots.
Tonauac didn’t know where he was going, but he knew that he traveled a long time down the streets of the city. All he could see in his mind were the mangled bodies, the bloodied corpses, and his broken people over and over again in his mind in a sickening cycle. He had to find the one who did this. Him. The one whom he had trusted to maintain peace in the city, who he had taught and was in turn taught things from him.
He who was his friend in a world that was becoming increasingly unfriendly.
He looked up at Pedro to see a bloodied knight. His visor was torn from the bolts on his helmet, exposing the shock of blond hair that streamed out of the helmet like the midday sun. He wore a shield, the rims dented and splintered. His blade, Fátima, bathed in blood. Mexica blood.
Tonauac gripped his maquahuitl with both hands, his face contorting in a mad rage. He took step after step forward, intent on slashing his weapon through Pedro until he was no more.
Out of the overcast sky came a sudden crash of lightning, striking the top of the Great Temple. The thunder immediately rumbled, shaking the ground under their feet. The heavy rain came seconds after, the drops running down Tonauac’s curtain of hair and bouncing off of the gunmetal curves of Pedro’s armor.
“Tonauac, I didn’t want this! You showed me the path of peace, I get that now. What we started today will never end. It will never truly heal. I admit that.”
Tonauac continued forward, his knuckles white around the handle of the maquahuitl.
“Stop! We can stop the bloodshed, that's all we can do now. Don’t make me take another life this day.” Pedro raised his shield.
Tonauac halted, his face a pale and his eyes rimmed with red.
“It always had to end this way. I was never friend, never mentor to you in ways of Mexica. I was spy, planted in heart of Spaniards to learn your secrets. The war that begin now will be lost, all Spaniard killed. I know Spaniard strengths....and weakness.”
Pedro shook with renewed vigor.
“You know nothing! You know nothing about us! This war will end with more Mexica killed, more than you can possibly imagine! There are more of us coming. Hernán will return any day now with four times as many men as before. Your savagery will be put to an end, your barbaric lifestyle ceased forever, and your people sent to Hell, where they belong! The ground on which we stand will one day be New Spain.”
Pedro rushed forward, swiping at Tonauac with his blade. He dodged it easily, pacing circles around Pedro.
Tonauac whirled his weapon, readying for the chance to strike.
“As we fight, the garrison readies. Within a day we will have twenty thousand warriors, who will ambush and crush your leader. We not kill your men, will drag them back kicking and screaming to be sacrificed to Gods.”
The two stayed silent for a moment, circling eachother, waiting for a false move. The rain continued to pour down around them, making the stone tiles slick.
“Was any of it real? The friendship, the good times?” asked Pedro.
Tonauac didn’t answer.
Another bolt of lightning hit a building nearby, startling Pedro.
Tonauac pounced on him, slamming his weapon down onto his exposed face. Pedro barely was able to bring up his shield, embedding the maquahuitl into the buckler.
Pedro roared, reaching down to his waist for his dagger. Tonauac struggled to pull his weapon from the shield, finally freeing it as Pedro jabbed the thin dagger into Tonauac’s calf.
Tonauac rolled back, crouching on the ground in a ready stance. Pedro slowly pulled himself from the stones, his armor clanking.
“So, what happens if you kill me? More Spaniards still come, and your people still die. So why all the trouble?”
Pedro grabbed Fátima from where it had clattered to the ground.
“In name of the Gods, Tonatiuh, you kill one man, I kill you.” said Tonauac, reciting the words from that morning. He gripped the maquahuitl tighter than ever before.
“Ha! Oh I remember that, sure. Your little vow for revenge. Tell you what, Tonauac, I’m going to give you one last chance to save yourself. Give up now, accept your fate, and serve Spain under my command. This is a one time offer. Please accept Tonauac. You might have been a backstabbing traitorous spy, but I wasn’t. I like you, Tonauac. I don’t wanna see you die here today. What do you say? Will you bow to the Spanish crown?”
Tonauac darted forward, kicking the knight to the ground. He stood on top of Pedro, holding his arms down. He watched as Pedro squirmed to escape, his eyes widening in fear.
Raising his maquahuitl above his head, Tonauac uttered a single word.
A gunshot cracked, lighting up the air with a flash.
Tonauac’s arm’s laxed, the maquahuitl falling to the tiles beside Pedro. Pedro watched as what was left of Tonauac’s skull crumbled into pieces as his headless body flopped to the ground, smacking the flooded cobblestones.
Pedro wiped the pieces of brain and bone from his cheeks, shoving Tonauac’s legs off of him.
“Little late there, don’t you think?” said Pedro, getting back on his feet.
Hernán Cortés passed the smoking arquebus back to the Spaniard riding next to him, quickly grabbing the reins to secure his frightened horse. He smiled to Pedro.
“I wanted to see what the savage had to say. Grab a horse Pedro, we’ve got work to do.”
Pedro looked down to Tonauac with a frown, his growing pool of blood mixing with the rain.
“What a shame. I really liked him.”