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16+ Violence

Alvarado Pt.4

by GodfreysBouillon

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.

Tonauac sprinted through the packed crowd in the main plaza as fast as he could, knocking down all in his path.

The Mexica people were stirred into an uproar as Tonauac toppled carts, crates, and the people themselves in his frantic dash to the enormous double staircases of Great Temple.

He pushed through thousands, not daring to stop to rest or see if the Spaniards had arrived yet. He couldn’t let his people die, not like this. Not at the hands of a man who was too impatient, too blind to see how peace can be achieved. Not at the hands of a man who was once his friend, even just minutes ago. Ten thousand of the greatest Mexica nobles and lords from the city and the surrounding area gathered together to celebrate, Tonauac had to make sure they lived.

Tonauac’s mind froze with fear as he reached the beginning of the left staircase, looking up towards the summit of the pyramid.

The sacrifice had already begun.

He clambered up the steep, chiseled steps, tears streaming down his cheeks. The entire gathered crowd, thousands upon thousands, was now fired into an uproar. Tonauac was seen climbing the staircase, an insult to the sacred sacrificial process. They called out for him to be stopped.

Tonauac watched as the feathered priests chanted, dancing in circles around the glossy sacrificial altar. He heard the captive’s screams as the head priest, dressed in a coat of black and gold beads, shoved his bloody hand into the man’s open chest, searching for his heart.

With a sudden pull, the priest ended the captive’s screams. He ripped his heart from the inside of his ribcage, watching the thick veins and vessels attached to the organ tear and break as he slowly pulled his arm back. Thick, dark blood gushed out from his chest, pouring over on all sides of the altar.

With a piercing shriek, the head priest held the still pulsing heart over his open mouth, letting the blood squirt down his gullet.

The circle of priests gathered around the convulsing body of the captive, grabbing hold of his arms, legs and head. They pulled long saws from their waists, and began sawing the captives appendages off.

Tonauac felt two Mexica guards grab ahold of him, dragging him down the steps of the temple.

He called out with all the strength he could muster.

“Halt the ceremony! The Spaniards, they will kill you! They’ve betrayed us! Flee the plaza! They’re coming, raise the garris-” The guards cuffed him on the head, knocking him senseless.

The disgusted guards threw him to the stone tiles at the base of the pyramid, leaving him to the anger of the crowd.

Enraged by his mad dash and sacreligious climb up the Great Temple, the people beat him with their canes, kicked him with their wooden sandals, and blinded him with the greasy scraps of their meals.


Pedro ran through the city, Fátima in his right hand, a brass bugle in the other. Tightly navigating the complex windings of the causeways, crossing multiple bridges and artificial islands, sixty of his men followed closely behind.

Finally they rounded a corner, and the sight of ten thousand Mexica nobles and lords gathered in the plaza stopped Pedro in his tracks. The noise was deafening as the men chanted and cheered as the captive was strapped down to the altar on the Great Temple.

Pedro turned around to the infantry, sliding up the visor on his intricate helmet so his men could properly understand his commands.

“Follow me down these steps to the plaza! Keep your weapons in their sheaths, and act like we’re just on another patrol through the city. And for all that is holy, don’t hurt a soul unless I blow this bugle! There’s a chance we might be able to return to the palace without a single drop of blood spilled. Onward!”

The Spaniards moved down the stairs, armor clanking. They quickly spread out to block off all the other stairways that led down into the plaza complex. The plaza was completely surrounded, and the crowd was too engaged in the ritual to notice.

Pedro squinted to look up towards the summit of the Great Temple, the dark overcast sky a twisting and thunderous backdrop to the ghastly scene. He could see the circle of priests dancing around the dressed-up captive, chanting and burning incense.

Then he beheld another sight. An enormous figure was pushing through the crowds, toppling over the prepared carts and baskets of the people.

It had to be Tonauac.

Pedro watched as he clawed his way up the steps, but it was too late. The head priest, with a slow, dramatic flair, drove his obsidian dagger deep into the captive. The crowd roared.

Tonauac continued up the staircase in vain, slowly coming to a stop near the summit as he realized it was too late.

Pedro shook his head in despair. He didn’t want to have to do this, but it needed to be done.

Pedro raised the bugle, slowly drawing it to his lips. He saw Tonauac get dragged down the face of the pyramid, and thrown into the crowd. All Pedro could do was pray that he’ll escape the chaos that was about to ensue.

The conquistadors around the plaza watched Pedro closely, waiting for the signal. Their gloved hands were itching at their swordbelts. The Tlaxcalans had smartly integrated with the crowd, waiting to ambush the nobles.

The two wings of crossbowmen and arquebusiers waited high up on balconies overlooking the plaza, taking aim at the nobles below.

Time froze for a second as Pedro drew a deep breath before giving all his lungs could muster into the bugle. The blaring note echoed across the plaza for a beautiful moment before being drowned out by the string of gunshots and heavy thuds as crossbow bolts and musket balls ripped through the crowd, the projectiles killing multiple men in their paths. The Tlaxcalans ripped out their maquahuitls, beginning a greedy killing frenzy.

Within seconds the entire plaza erupted into chaos, the screams deafening. The thousands of people watched their wounded bleed out on the ground in front of them. Soon they were either huddling together in masses, running amok through the festival, or trying to climb up the pyramid steps for safety. As the arquebusiers and crossbowmen reloaded, some of the smarter nobles in the crowd ran for the stairways on all sides of the plaza.

Pedro watched as a group of two hundred nobles made a mad rush in his direction, coming closer every second. Pedro gave a quick glance behind him, seeing only ten of his men covering the escape with him. He’d have to make do.

“This is it! Hold the stairway, we can’t have any escaping! Form a shield wall, cut down any man that approaches!” Pedro grabbed the buckler out from behind his back, quickly strapping it to his forearm.

The nobles slowed as the Spaniards prepared to hold a defensive. Picking up discarded crates and baskets from the plaza ground, they quickly distributed makeshift clubs amongst themselves. The two hundred, newly armed, resumed their charge against the Spaniards at the stairwell, joining in one singular cacophony of terrible screams.

Pedro raised Fátima high in the air, watching the beautiful gleam.

“Hold the line! Cut them down! ¡Santiago!” The swordsmen joined his cry.

Two nobles crashed into Pedro’s shield, nearly sending him sprawling backwards. He quickly regained his footing, cracking one across the temple with the rim of his buckler. Sliding Fátima under one’s legs, he jerked the blade upwards, disemboweling him. He collapsed to the ground, the tattered strings of his large intestines spilling out under him.

More of the nobles crashed against his shield, frantically banging the surface of Pedro’s armor with their sticks and clubs to no avail. Pedro battered them back with his shield, before stepping back and letting them trip and flounder in the bodies of their comrades. Fátima darted back and forth, tearing down more and more of the men. Pedro felt his men supporting him from behind, and could hear the gurgled screams of the nobles as they fared no better against the infantry.

Another string of gunshots rang out across the plaza, the smoke from the arquebus barrels gliding down from the balconies and into the square.

Pedro slammed his shield against the forehead of a noble, crushing the skull inwards. Just as he was about to finish the man with a quick slice to his neck, a pair of strong hands dragged him down into the growing wall of dead and dying around the staircase. Pedro fell to the ground with a clatter, losing Fátima under the shaking body of the man with the crushed skull. The hands tore at his visor from behind, completely ripping it off the hinges. Pedro quickly beat at the hands with his shield, hearing the fingers crack and break just inches from his face. The man recoiled in pain, and Pedro rolled over to face him. The man sat in a ball, staring at his bloody, mangled fingers. Quickly crawling over to Fátima, he slid the sword out from under the body.

Just as Pedro was turning back to face the mangled man, another noble fell on top of him, what had once been his head now a stump squirting blood all over Pedro. He pushed the body off of him, finally rising back on his feet.

Pedro watched as the arquebusiers let another volley loose into the crowd, killing fifty more of the nobles that pushed against the exits. The entire plaza was littered with bodies, torn apart by the bullets, bolts, or the hungry obsidian blades of the Tlaxcalans. Pedro searched the plaza, hoping every one of the exits had been guarded. He counted three that were still blocked by his brave men, but the other two were completely open, the nobles pouring out to escape the Tlaxcalans who continued to cut them down.

Their situation was compromised, it was time for a tactical retreat. Pedro searched the ground for the bugle he had dropped before the charge. Dodging more nobles as they charged against his remaining five men, he saw a golden glint under a pile of broken corpses. Digging through the pile, he tore it from the grasp of a Mexica noble who had been using it as a weapon.

Bringing the bloodied, bent instrument to his mouth he signaled the three notes for a retreat. The sounds were corrupted from the pool of blood that sat inside the mouthpiece, but they rang out across the plaza nonetheless. His men formed up a circle around him as they moved back up the stairs, the remaining nobles leaving to got take one of the open exits.

Pedro, his voice shaking from the carnage, spoke to his remaining men.

“Disperse and gather all our men. Tell them to retreat back to the Palace. We’ll hold out there until Hernán returns with reinforcements.”

The conquistadors, their armor and weapons splattered with hot blood, broke off in different directions, leaving Pedro to himself.


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1013 Reviews

Points: 120182
Reviews: 1013

Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:47 pm
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alliyah wrote a review...

Wow, this is an intense scene. You do well with describing this chase.

I found parts to be almost problematically gruesome, like why does this person care so much about this one person and yet can be so callous about the rest of the carnage around them?

It is certainly an interesting topic for a story.

Some areas I think you could expand a bit in:

-> The descriptions of the religious significance of the sacrifice, this is vital to most sacrificial ceremonies, and without this, the sacrifices don't have much context. There's not a lot of reference to appeasing the gods in here, so I think there could be a bit more of that as it's the main importance of the sacrificies to begin with.

-> second you've really nailed the physical descriptions, they are interesting and really engaging - everything just happens smoothly and as a reader I can see it all happening in my mind -> however I think you could do a bit more with describing the emotional internal dialogue of our narrator. I wanted to hear more of his panic as he's hurrying along, rather than just the facts of his journey - this helps a reader feel empathy with what they're reading so that they care to continue with reading. You could say it will give a sense of schadenfreude to the piece - as readers like to be engaged with the emotions of the characters they're reading about.

Good luck in your continued writing, sorry that this was short, but I didn't see a lot of obvious issues. I also like your use of images, but I think you should source them if you don't already in the piece. Let me know if you had any questons!


Hello and thank you for your review!

To start off, I'm glad the chase scene worked well, that was something I had to repeatedly fix and work on, and even now I still believe its a bit awkward. But oh well, perfection is an unreachable notion

And what do you mean by problematically gruesome? Is that a good or bad thing because I can see that both ways. Gore istnt exactly meant to be unproblematic. Its meant to induce problems and emotions in both the main character and the reader.

Also, Who was it exactly in your phrase 'why does this person care so much about this one person and yet can be so callous about the rest of the carnage around them?' And how can I fix that?

The importance of the sacrifices and the reasoning for their methods is explained in previous chapters, which Im not sure you've read. But I guess at least a bit of a reminder in this chapter would be needed.

I like your words on the emotions instead of actions, and I think you're talking about that chase scene through the crowd? Like I said that still is awkward and incomplete, and thats just one of the reasons.

The images are not mine and I will never say so, and I of course would source them if I was working on something professional but I didn't think it was needed for something as casual as a YWS piece, you know?

Thank you so much for your words, very kind and instructive.

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19 Reviews

Points: 1317
Reviews: 19

Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:05 pm
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AlexaBWill wrote a review...

Good morning! As a history lover, I was really excited when I saw this piece in the Green Room. One question I have right off the bat is whether those pictures are yours? If they are, that's incredible, and you are truly talented, but if not, I think you should probably source them.

As far as your actual writing (because that's what we're all here for), I found it captivating from the outset. Although I haven't read the preceding parts of this story, I was still able to understand what was going on fairly well.

"Not at the hands of a man who was too impatient, too blind to see how peace can be achieved. Not at the hands of a man who was once his friend, even just minutes ago." - This is one of the parts that stood out to me early on. I don't know if this is addressed in previous chapters (I'm assuming it is), but it provides a good insight into the character's motivations.

One thing that stood out to me that I might change is that some of the descriptions are a little off-putting, for example, "the glossy sacrificial altar," "With a piercing shriek," "letting the blood squirt down his gullet." The first one I found odd because I think "glossy" is completely unnecessary and kind of a weird descriptor, and the next two stood out to me because they're concerningly dehumanizing, which leads me to my next point: I haven't extensively studied South American history, and I know there is a lack of information due to the Spaniards destroying a lot of it, but the way you described the sacrificial ceremony was concerning, because it really did feel dehumanizing. Just make sure you're doing your due research when writing about another culture, because the last thing we need is more misinformation.

The prose itself was fine, but I couldn't get past the oddness of your descriptions of the native people, and once again: I haven't read the whole work, so I don't know what you're going for, what perspective you're trying to take, but I would just be more careful with the way you're describing things. At the moment, it is kind of hard to read, to be honest.

As far as actual technical writing skill beyond the narrative, however, I think you're fine. I would just work on toning down your descriptions a little bit. You only need to describe things if they add to the narrative meaningfully, and there were quite a few spots where it just didn't.

Thank you for your review! Its always good to come back to surprises like this, really brightens my day.

The pictures are not mine and I never claimed them as such, and I never would use them for any professional work that I was to put out. But on a casual site like this, I didn't see the problem.
I'm surprised you were able to understand enough about the storyline just from this one chapter, as I did not write it that way. But good news nonetheless.

The descriptor words you mention I have to disagree on however. I have been praised multiple times by others on that same style of description. Glossy could be changed to shiny perhaps to represent the polished black obsidian altar, but the others I see no problem with.

Dehumanizing? Think about it, what is more human than death itself?

If you don't like those descriptor words because they are too gory, then I suggest you move on to something else in all due respect.
And yes, every action depicted in the sacrifice is real, documented history put on to the page. Personal accounts by both Aztecs and Spaniards from centuries ago is what I based the entirety of this story on.
I pride myself on historical accuracy, and you have no reason to worry about anything being false. If you don't believe me, you can look yourself at the festival of Toxcatl, a real Aztec holiday in which the climax of this story takes place, and look at the sacrifices that happened on that day.

What else do you have problems with about the native people's descriptions? I presented everything in a fair way to contradict so many stories about this era in which there is a cliche of the Spaniards being evil greedy bad guys and the Aztecs being peaceful happy villagers.

I thank you for your words on the actual technical flow, as that is where I struggle with most often. Your words have brightened my day and I thank you once again! :D

AlexaBWill says...

I actually didn't mind the gory part of the description. I don't know if I put this in my original review, but the part saying "With a sudden pull, the priest ended the captive%u2019s screams. He ripped his heart from the inside of his ribcage, watching the thick veins and vessels attached to the organ tear and break as he slowly pulled his arm back. Thick, dark blood gushed out from his chest, pouring over on all sides of the altar." I actually thought was one of the best descriptions. I write with gore in my own works. That's not the issue. With the glossy thing for example, why not describe it as polished black obsidian? That gives it so much more imagery and meaning than "glossy."

I also wasn't saying you *were* inaccurate because, as I said, I generally don't study South American history. I'm just aware of the issues that arise when people write about it, so I'm really glad you're taking steps to ensure historical accuracy.

Also, if you're intending on portraying the Spaniards as heroes, or in a different light, then your descriptions work just fine. As I said, I haven't read the rest of your piece, so I was just commenting on what I saw.

Once again thank you and I hope you dont think I was just ridiculing your review, I loved your response and your questions. I'm just glad we both understand.

The altar description is something I can change, as I dont think I ever actually specified that it was black obsidian and if so, thats my fault. I'm glad you have no problem with gore, its an important part of any writing involving action and I hate when people leave it out. Its a great tool to shock your readers and give them a deeper sense of the story.

The Spaniards aren't exactly meant to be portrayed as heroes either, although perhaps I am biased because I'm part Spanish myself and deeply enjoy their history.

Thanks again, you have a wonderful night

If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.
— Noam Chomsky