Tepahtihqui Momoztla Nohhuian

Sorry for the funky name. According to http://www2.potsdam.edu/schwaljf/Nahuatl/eng-nah.htm it means "the doctor is everywhere every day," though I know I mangled the grammar (Nahuatl uses compound words to show relationships but I wasn't about to try and decipher how that works). It was either that or El Hospital General, but that show's name barely changes in translation. :)

Doctor Juan has been spending his off time in a clinic that is near Quetzalcoatl's mansion but far enough out that those who want to get to it don't have to make their way past layers of policia and Sur XIII (one of the gangs in the Mexican Mafia). It started as an outreach program quickly ballooned as El Tepahtihqui, the locals' name for him, can perform miracles with magic and science that modern doctors can only dream of. Even Itzpapalotl has taken to working there one day out of three, though she stays in the back to avoid terrifying or accidentally bumping the patients.

However, it took less than a week before the word spread back to the gods. Now more and more the tlaloques are arriving with wounded from the war against Coatlicue. The tlaloques are four minor rain deities that work for Tlaloc. Though less than four feet tall, the "rain dwarfs:" have a speed and and strength which makes them excellent field medics. In ancient times they carried whole mountains worth of corn to Tomoanchan to feed famished mortals, and did it without sweat or complaint. Though they did dye the corn blue, white, yellow, and red to match their skin colors.

The hospital was once one of Quetzalcoatl's office buildings and consists of a large stone platform with four buildings around its perimeter. One end holds a small stone pyramid, inside which is a Chac Mool where Dr. Gutierrez and the faithful members of his staff perform daily devotions. Opposite it is a mess hall with passable food that tastes better because its made by volunteers and free for any of the convalescing people in the hospital. Along one side runs a long narrow care ward made from a two-story building which was once filled with cubicles. On the opposite end are Juan's quarters, though his stamina and extreme sense of duty mean he's rarely found there.

Everything is built of solid stone, with only a small amount of carved ornamentation. Despite the characteristically Central American architecture, the compound carries the unmistakably institutional aura of a hospital rather than a shrine. A whiff of disinfectant creeps through the air. Outside the platform, herbs grow in tidy rows, each in its own bed. Most of them were created using the Fertility Purview, to Dr. Gutierrez's designs, though he had to provide Quetzalcoatl with the specifications as he has yet to master the creation of new plant species. They produce a wide variety of divine narcotics, antibiotics and other medicines. Beneath the surface, unbeknown to anyone but Juan, his father, and his father's trusted aids, sleeps a typhonian spectacled caiman. The giant crocodile is 600' long from the tip of its tail to the point of its longest tooth, but it has spent the last several centuries asleep. Should the need arise, it can be awakened and commanded by anyone of Quetzalcoatl's bloodline, carrying the hospital at a rapid and tireless pace.

The Eagle Warriors spend most of their time uncomfortably roaming the ward as makeshift nurses. Though not highly skilled, they are unquestionably loyal and will even empty the bedpans of patients with explosive diarrhea with little more than the slightest hint of a sneer. There are also several human assistants, trained nurses and one doctor, all of which came to debunk the clearly fraudulent claims of the so-called Tepahtihqui. They stayed to learn once they saw what was being done here.

The sudden gale-force wind strews leaves and branches throughout the hospital, bursts through doors to send patients’ charts flying and knocks unwary spirits ass-over-teakettle. A moment later, six figures occupy the hospital’s plaza. A giant, easily 60 feet tall, lies on a litter made from two tree-trunks and vines. His skin is a swirling gray, and his hair whips in a nonexistent wind. A cloud-hued bandage wraps around his waist, and dark wetness seeps through. His eyes crackle with lightning, and serpents of lightning wrap around his forearms. Massive ornaments of turquoise adorn both ears, his lower lip and a broad collar of silver-gilt leather. This giant wavers in and out of consciousness and looks profoundly ill as well as wounded.

Next to him stand four younger versions of this giant, only 40 feet tall, each carrying a club of ice and a spear twined with lightning. They wear headdresses of black and green feathers, as well as loincloths and mantles of dark gray that look like windows into a rainstorm. Ornaments made of ice pierce their lips and ears. One of the giant warriors shouts, “Bring forth the Everywhen Surgeon! He will heal our father, or everyone here will die!” His voice roars like a storm-wind. The sixth figure is a young woman, human-sized, dressed in a storm-hued tunic with a necklace of hailstones, a belt of lightning-serpents and her hair bound back with a turquoise clasp. She has no weapons but carries a large gourd and a wicker hamper.

The wounded giant is Nacom-Cakulha, Commander Lightning (one of Huracán’s vassals), with his four sons North, South, East and West Lightning, and his daughter, Center Hailstone. Huracán is the primary avatar of Ehekatoyaatl, the Titan of the Sky. Ehekatoyaatl and his avatars are still trapped in the prison the Aztecs forged for him, but his minions walk the earth and fight on the side of Coatlicue, though for the most part they're fighting against the gods, not alongside the The Mother of Gods.

Dr. Juan readies himself for battle, grabbing his shield and asking the tlaloques to run and inform Quetzalcoatl of the situation and request his assistance.  He does not wait long to approach the giants and assesses the health of the fallen one as he does.  In front of the Giants he instructs his Eagle Warriors to assist those knocked over from the winds and to escort them to some momentary safety. Before responding to the giant's demands, he instructs the mortal staff to head to the back of hospital and continue working.
 
"How dare you bring a threat to my hospital demanding assistance. This is a place of healing, but I can assure you should battle ensue here today right now, it will not only be patients who die here today. Allow me to inspect his wounds more closely"
 
The wound itself was clearly made by an oversized maquahuitl, but the gash festers, and lines of corruption extend from the wound to Nacom-Cakulha’s heart. As Juan suspected, the weapon must have carried some form of poison. Juan knows how to keep Commander Lightning alive, and the titanspawn will probably heal on his own in a few weeks. In the weeks of convalescence, however, the Atzlánti would certainly notice a giant, high-ranking titanspawn patient. Maybe the Atzlánti would be cunning enough to mount a surprise attack quickly enough to avoid destroying the hospital... Maybe.

The magical venom is destroying the storm giant’s heart. Healing him quickly requires a heart transplant from a similar being of comparable Legend, or two hearts from beings of lesser Legend. The only options, really, are two of Nacom-Cakulha’s children.

Poison and the large obsidian-line clubs were a common occurence among the Aztecs, but one very famous member of the pantheon leaps to Juan's mind: his uncle the Smoking Mirror, Tezcatlipoca, Lord of Misfortune. Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl have been at odds for centuries, though in the beginning they were co-creators of the various worlds of the Aztec pantheon. If it was Tezcatlipoca who struck down this giant, he would be very displeased to learn his poison has been defeated and the titanspawn saved.
 
"I see what happened here. I know exactly how to heal your father. However what is it you are expecting of me?  To threaten my well being and my hardwork to save your father? You understand we are at war right now.  I don't place much value on the war, but I would need something more of value and substance then a threat of a fight to assist you."  
The woman sets her hamper down and holds her hand up to stop her brothers, who are ready to begin killing the innocent. She approaches Juan, "I am Center Hailstone, and you are very brave. But your bravery cannot save these lives." She waves to the convalescing humans and supernaturals in the ward. "Only your knowledge can do that. Save my father before the Atzlánti arrive and we will leave in peace. Fail and the sons will avenge the father on this place."

"The wound is not what your father needs assistance from in his recovery. The poison has reached his heart already and is working to end his existance. It will require two of his children to effectively complete the transplant and heal your father effectively.
 
"I can perform this operation here, but which two of you will end thier own existence for thier father's?"
 
"I will also not work under the threat of attack. Center Hailstone may observe me work to ensure your father's safety, but the remaining brothers will have to step outside."

They talk among themselves briefly and the discussion turns to an argument as their ambition vies with their zealotry. Nacom-Cakulha taught his children to obey his every command, but with him not able to give orders it seems his hold on them is not strong enough for them to embrace death willingly. The discussion turns from "you should do it" to "you will do it" and it looks like a fight could break out in the ward at any moment.

"Brothers, your father's condition worsens, bring him out to my garden let me select some herbs to ease his pain, while you discuss what needs to happen." 

North, East, South, and West Lightning stop arguing long enough to each grab one of Commander Lightning's limbs and pull the larger giant outside, and then go back to bickering. Just as it is about to erupt into violence Center Hailstone shouts them down, her voice as loud as gale force winds tearing down a forest. "Silence, idiots! Father is dying and you will save him!" She shakes the rage off and turns calmly to Juan. "Clearly the doctor must choose the most appropriate candidates. Which are best suited to the honor of sacrificing themselves so that Commander Lightning might live?"

Assess health shows little difference between them. They are all uninjured, though recent scars show signs of having been in a battle and recovered through Self-Healing. The only abnormality is East Lightning's clear physical addicition to teónanácatl, the Aztec name for psilocybin mushrooms, a.k.a. "shrooms" these days. It's strange though, as psilocybin is not normally an addictive substance. In fact, the Center for Disease Control rates it lower than aspirin on the toxicity scale. That addiction makes it less likely that Commander Lightning would survive the operation if East's heart were used, but the strange nature of occult medicine and the principals of contagious magic suggest that a ritual might be incorporated into the surgery which would transfer that addiction as part of the heart transplant.

Dr. Juan selects herbs that will only provide superficial comfort to the titanspawn and slowly applys them. He then points to North and South to sacrifice themselves and selects herbs to place them to sleep so the operation does not cause them pain.  
 
Center Hailstone's forceful speech coupled with Dr. Juan's decisive and firm selection convinces the two zealots to lay down their lives for the cause. North and South Lightning stride over to their father and flank his head and salute, drawing their quauhololli (heavy maces) and using them to beat a short staccato rhythm on their shields. They then kneel and lower their heads.

East and West Lightning step up behind their brothers and reach down. With a grunt and a heave the heads are torn from the bodies. Blood sprays the garden and drips from the truncated spines as the two bodies fall limply to the ground.

As they do, Juan's voice rises and the song his mother sang him to sleep with as a child pours out.

Xicochi, xicochi,
Xicochi, xicochi
Xicochi conetzintle
Xicochi conetzintle
Caomiz hui hui xoco angelos me
Caomiz hui hui xoco angelos me
Caomiz hui hui xoco angelos me
In angelos me in angelos me

Alleluya alleluya


As he finishes the first verse of Xicochi Conetzintle (Sleep, O My Child), he sees the strange juxtaposition between his Catholic mother's faith and the ancient divinity that is his father. Growing up it was just a comforting balm after a long day, then later an annoyance he suffered through for her sake even though he was "too old for that sort of thing."

As he sings his heart rate slows, his breathing relaxes, and his thoughts calm. Looking past the skin of the giants he watches their hearts and breath slow as well as the lullaby takes hold. One by one the giants slump to the ground, with only Center Hailstone having enough presence of mind to look shocked before she too drifts off to sleep.

The eagle warriors easily bind them and get their weapons, but the giants are 40' tall and the warriors don't have the strength to move them. The tlaloques could move the giants, but it would be slow, so Juan decides to simply wait. There is little danger of the giants waking, so he goes about the business of offering up the life forces of the two volunteers to Quetzalcoatl. He strips the chests bare and slices through to the massive ribs, which he is able to spread using the jaws of life he requisitioned for use in surgery on the larger casualties. The hearts themselves are as tall as him, and it takes three eagle warriors to deposit them in the chac mool.

The first heart, that of Commander Lightning, splits open easily under his scalpel, and the giant's blood flows through the ancient statue, sending its essence on a direct path to Quetzalcoatl. As he cuts into the second his father, in his feathered serpent guise, flies down out of the sky and lands lightly, having shifted back to human form.

"I was worried when I first received the message of the giants' arrival, but it seems you have things well in hand. What happened here?"

"Commander Lighting was injured fighting one of our brothers, and they came here seeking medical attention having heard of the work that I am doing here. I informed them two would be needed to perform the operation to save thier father's lives. After the titans killed thier brothers I manipulated the other three into a slumber and they are here. I don't know what happened to our brother that fought the titan spawn, I have the others back here, I figured you could question them yourself before we end thier existances." 
"That's quite a tale. I was going to wait until you were more prepared, but today's actions prove you are ready to be a full-fledged participant in this war. After you've attended to your patients, please meet me at the mansion."


After attending to his patients, Juan returns to his father's home. Jesus answers the door as always and takes Juan up to the attic and out through a window onto the house's long roof. Quetzalcoatl is up top and has an altar laid out.The altar is solid gold and adorned with a symbol Juan has never seen before: two feathered serpents twined around an ceremonial knife. The symbol is very reminiscent of a caduceus, though with darker undertones thanks to the implications inherent in a sacrifical blade being part of it. "I had my art department draw this up for you. If you don't like it, they are at your disposal. Every god needs a sign."

Quetzalcoatl hands Juan an obsidian blade and explains. "The last time we spoke was an affirmation of my blood in yours. This time cements your blood with that of the universe." He takes Juan's drum and calls forth the cuauhtli, then beckons for one of them to mount the altar. Happy to be chosen, the warrior does as he has been told and lies down to await an honored death.

Seeing Juan's reluctance to cut into an innocent without surgical need, Quetzalcoatl puts a hand on his shoulder. "Miho, yo sé que esto no es lo que eres. Las viejas costumbres no siempre se ajustan al nuevo mundo. A medida que paso en su papel divino, este ritual de transición mostrará el universo lo que eres y lo que representan. Simplemente porque sus antepasados eligieron la vía de la sangre por el poder no significa que usted tiene que hacerlo, ni cualquiera que sabe que lo espera. Haced lo que queráis, y sé lo que eres." (translation)