When a contest is called 'esoteric' you fear how many people will take part and what will come of it. Such was this contest to create a member of the Houses of Xibulba (the Mayan Underworld). Fortunately several great entries were created. As such voting will run to the 30th of June and will close once again at 6pm GMT. Now with no further ado lets see those entries.
From the brilliant @batkevin74 we have this:
This is totally fictional though based loosely on actual events.
2005, Veracruz, Mexico
“You are kidding, right?”
The wizened little man in the poncho looked up at the director with his ancient eyes and smiled, showing his sparse blackened teeth “No Mr Gibson.”
Mel scratched his hair like a dog with a flea. He exhaled and looked up at the night sky “Can someone, anyone, please explain to me why I’m even listening to…what is your name?”
The old man smiled “Close.”
The man who directed Braveheart turned to his co-producer who he’d met on the Passion of the Christ, “Well Farhad?”
“I say do it,” replied the Iranian writer.
“We are behind schedule Mel.” Farhad shrugged “It’s like when you get flowers in Hawaiian when you land.”
“She-ra wants me to sacrifice a donkey!” screeched Mel “Not you, me!” The old man chuckled. “Oh shut up!”
“If you want your film to succeed Mr Gibson,” said Xibalba “Then you will do this. Sacrifice the donkey to one of the six houses. If you do then all will be well.”
“And if I don’t?”
Xilbalba’s face lost all expression “You will experience success at the cost of happiness. You will drop from the dizzying heights into the underworld and the world will see your inner heart.”
Mel looked the man up and down “You’re having a lend.” The old man looked at him quizzically. “It’s an Australian term, um, pulling my leg…HAVING ME ON! Bruno! Steve! Get this idiot out of my sight!”
Two burly men appeared and took up positions beside the little old man. “You were warned Mr Gibson” and if a puff of smoke he was gone. Mel looked around at his production crew as an ominous and timely crow let out a cry.
2011, CBS Studios, Los Angeles
Dr Phil looked at his guest with disbelief “So…THAT’S how you’re JUSTIFYING your BEHAVIOUR?” He said in his odd Southern drawl as the studio audience applauded. Mel shifted in his chair uncomfortably. "THAT ludicrous story?"
The audience booed and muttered their disapproval. Phil motioned for quiet as he turned back to the movie star who once easily commanded twenty five million a movie. “And so how’s THAT workin’ for you?”
The audience clapped. Mel gave a nervous smile as he pulled out a revolver from his pocket. The audience shrieked and then screamed as the movie star put a bullet through Dr Phil’s bald head before turning the gun on himself.
Xibalba, Mayan underworld
Mel opened his eyes as he bolted upright. He was...well he had no idea actually. The floor was hewn stone; the sky swirled with fire and lightning as thousands of demonic creatures turned towards him…and bowed.
“Greetings Lord Gibson,” rasped a clawed horror as it attached a cape of human flesh around Mel’s shoulders as he smiled knowingly
From @impurestcheese, daughter of Itzel we have this:
The Birth of Onca
The pale skinned Mexican man lashed out with a bull whip, tongues of fire slashing great gouts of skin from the column of chained women. At times one of the women would call out, only to be met with laughs and cackles from the five men and two women who escorted the prisoners to their doom.
"Stop here." A barrel chested man armed with a shotgun snorted.
"You held El Grande," A woman with a P90 slung over her shoulder hissed, "stop walking and listen." She added as a slim man dressed in bicycle leathers and helmet attached an anchor to the leg of the first woman in the chain.
"You are here for many reasons." El Grande stated as the man with the whip moved slightly. "You couldn't pay your debts, your spies for the Feds or the boss simply doesn't want you around anymore. Luckily down here we have a solution, but Mariposa can explain that better."
"Indeed," The woman with the P90 purred as she flicked her ebony ponytail from around her neck, "before you is a cenote, some say that they are the gateway to the Mayan underworld, but I digress. It's forty foot to the water and another one hundred and fifty feet to the bottom of the chasm."
"When does the screaming begin?" A lanky dark skinned man asked as he tapped the riot buckler strapped to his arm with a baton.
"Right now." The whip wielding man stated as he threw the anchor off the edge of the cenote, the women screaming as the weight dragged them off the edge.
"Well we won't see them again." The second woman, this one unarmed save for a small re curved knife.
Dr Elise Cartwright hit the water like a cannonball, the force cracking her ribcage on impact as the nine women in front of her were dragged down to the lake bed below. Her lungs screaming Elise was dragged down, the chain crushing her legs under its immense weight. Not that it mattered as she closed her eyes immense pain wracked her body as a massive hand of stone reached up and dragged her under the ground.
"You awaken oh most succulent offering." A grating voice sounded as Elise opened her eyes. The room Elise found herself in a chamber carved of black rock. Looking down her body she saw that her blouse and jeans had been replaced by a long green skirt and carved Mayan runes across her chest and neck.
"Where am I?" She asked as a completely nude bronze skinned man swam into her vision. "Who are you?"
"I'm Au Puch, god king of Xibulba and you were left for me at my front door." The man stated.
"There has been a mistake." Elise gasped. "This must be some kind of hallucination caused by suffocation."
"A mistake indeed." Au Puch snarled. "The others were full of fear when we feasted on them. You on the other hand were full of something else, something unpalatable. You are brimming over with vengeance and a need for blood."
"I'm sorry." Elise stated as she ran a hand over the tattoos on her body before realizing her nails ended with black tipped talons. "What the..."
"The vengeance and blood lust are traits we find desirable." Au Puch stated. "It is why we decided to do something different to you. We decided that you would be better suited to serve rather than to be a meal."
"Serve? Why would I serve a hallucination?" Elise asked as she got to her feet. "What is going on?"
"We have needs here in Xibulba. We used precious sacred energies to transform you into our assassin, we invested in evolving you into a daughter of Ixchel and as such we want something in return." Au Puch demanded as silvery fingers of energy slithered around Elise. "Failure or refusal will lead to banishment to the canyon of knives."
"You mentioned Ixchel? Who is she?"
"She is the Jaguar Goddess of storms and the rain. While not a resident of Xibuba we looked favorably on her." Au Puch explained. "After she died her spirit came to reside on the House of Jaguars. We used it to turn you into a demi goddess and our fist of vengeance."
"Fist of Vengeance?" Elise asked. "What do you need from me?"
"To kill for us until you repay the energy used to create you." Au Puch ordered. "Starting with those that you naturally hunger for. Deep in your heart you know what we ask of you is just."
"But what about the consequences?" Elise asked as a pool of water formed between her and Au Puch. Looking in the pool Elise saw her face for the first time, staring back at her was a woman with feline eyes that glowed green, rosette markings on her cheeks and long raven hair wrapped in a pair of blood stained leather braids.
"You're a goddess, nobody and nothing can hold you." Au Puch announced. "The names and locations of your targets will be known to you now; El Grande, Mariposa, Cataphract, Whiplash, Bastion, Quartz and the Black Mouth must pay for what they have done to you."
"A goddess?" Elise whispered. "Then I'll need a new name."
"Indeed, Elise is dead." Au Puch hissed. "But Onca is alive. Now rise to the surface and hunt for Xibulba"
"I shall." Onca purred as she waded into the pool. "For I now will strike like lightning to deliver my vengeance."
From the crafty @cbishop we got this:
A bird with a brightly colored beak sits brooding among the branches of the World Tree. He does not look happy.
A squirrel scampers down from the higher branches and stops beside him. He notices that whatever the bird is looking at, it seems to be an infinity away. “Sam?” he asks.
The bird cocks an eye his way only slightly, and greets the squirrel without enthusiasm, “Hello, Ratatosk.”
“What are you doing here?” Ratatosk asked, moving from side to side a couple of times. Sam just looked at him. “Odin wants to know.”
“Odin?” gruffed the bird. “Since when does Odin take notice of any bird besides his ravens?”
Ratatosk scurried to the underside of the limb, as if dodging something. A few moments later he poked his head back around, and looked anxiously at the higher limbs, his head jerking first to one side, then the other as he peered between the branches. Cautiously climbing back to the topside of the branch, he gave one more nervous glance upwards, then stepped a little closer to Sam. “Since the bird is from another pantheon,” scolded the squirrel. “Now I ask again, what are you doing here?”
Sam looked perturbed, and waved his wings towards the messenger. “Oh, quit twitching your tail, tree rat! We all have claim to the World Tree. I know it, you know it, and Odin certainly knows it.” Ratatosk looked horrified, and in a frenzy did a couple of laps around the branch. Sam ignored him as he settled back down on his haunches and resumed his watch into the abyss.
“At any rate, I just came here for some perspective.” Sam glanced at the squirrel who had stopped his scramble to look at him quizzically, then added, “And to get away from Xibalba’s blathering.” He craned his neck downwards and shouted into the abyss, “King of the underworld for millennia on end! And still all he can talk about are the Six Houses! Like they’re the only ones who live there! Get. a. clue!” screeched the bird.
Ratatosk gasped, and his eyes got big. “You live in the nether realms, Sam?”
Sam jerked his head back around to the squirrel. “Why is that so hard to believe?” he demanded.
Ratatosk deflated a little, and answered, “Well, it’s just that…that…”
“That what?” bellowed Sam, stepping closer.
“…That…you-you’re…a toucan,” finished the squirrel. Withering a little further under Sam’s gaze, he added weakly, “You just don’t see many brightly colored netherworlders, is all.” Ratatosk reflexively started scanning the lower branches of the World Tree, avoiding the bird’s gaze.
Sam was fuming. “And why not?” he screamed. “Do you know who I am? I’m thre great god Fallayershnozl! I'm the Pied Piper of morning! Children follow me blindly for the promised taste of something I never give them! There’s no cherry in those loops! No orange! No anything! They’re all the same flavor! But they love them! The love me! Then they beg their parents to buy them more! I say, ‘Follow my nose,’ and those kids will follow me anywhere! Anywhere!” Leaning from the branch, Sam screams again into the abyss, “Let’s see Xibalba do that!” As he straightened back up, his tailfeathers fell away, and the skin underneath was red.
“Uh, Sam…” started Ratatosk.
“Do you know how hard it is for someone from the nether realms to get humans to follow them?” interrupted Sam. “It’s near impossible!” he shouted, throwing his wings wide. As he did so, the feathers at his wingtips flew outwards, leaving more red skin underneath. “I not only got humans to follow me, I got other humans to help me! An advertising agency will sell their souls for a buck…and did,” he cooed. “The love of money really is the root of all evil, you know.” He rubbed his wings together, clearly savoring the memory, and more feathers fell from his wings, leaving bright red skin underneath.
Ratatosk laid his ears back a little, and took a few steps backwards. Sam continued to rant.
“Is that good enough for Xibalba though? Noooo! ‘That’s not the way we do things, Sam.’” More feathers fell away.
“‘That’s too commercial, Sam.’” Great tufts fell away, and nothing but bright red skin underneath.
“‘We already have Six Houses, Sam.’” The toucan began to grow as he ranted, towering over Ratatosk like the World Tree itself.
“‘You’re just a toucan, Sam!’” A second pair of eyes appeared just over his first pair, and they started glowing with yellow energy.
“Well? I’m not ‘just a toucan’ anymore, AM I?” he bellowed, shaking the boughs of the World Tree with his thunderous voice.
“Today is the start of Toucan House! Today marks the beginning of the time of Toucan! Beware, Xibalba! BEWARE THE POWER OF TOUCAN THE TERRIBLE!” The giant red toucan roared with laughter, and his top pair of eyes smoldered with energy.
Ratatosk scampered backwards as quick as he could, and started to climb the World Tree. Toucan the Terrible spotted him, and his voice echoed, “Where are you going, tree rat?” His top eyes glowed brightly, and then energy beams lanced outwards and reduced the squirrel to a pile of ash.
The ash pile smoldered for a few seconds, them shifted slightly, and Ratatosk rose again from his own demise, shaking the remaining ashes from his fur. “You know, that’s not very nice,” he said to the giant toucan.
Toucan the Terrible smiled cruelly and chuckled fearsomely. “Be glad I have use for you, Messenger. Scamper back to Odin and tell him to mind his own pantheon, and Toucan the Terrible will mind his. Tell him to hope that I do not decide I want another pantheon as well. Now begone.”
Ratatosk looked on his former friend Sam in horror. Then he bolted up the trunk of the World Tree, tail twitching the entire way.
Toucan the Terrible laughed, and laughed, and laughed
And finally from the Meso-American @maccyd we got this:
Quetzal woke with a startle, disturbing the surrounding dust of the nearby stone walls. As the dust swirled around him, his senses went onto full alert. His body had become used to this constant state of paranoia, having adapted to his nightmarish lifestyle. His whole body was covered in sweat, although he felt cold, almost like ice.
He scanned the gloom for any movement, but saw nothing scarce the dust beginning to settle. He lit a torch to peer further into the darkness. Its light immediately spread outwards, illuminating a section of the huge room. The room’s glory days had long since passed. Its furniture was now dust and ruin, slowly wearing away. Sections of its ceiling littered the floor, as its structure slowly crumbled. But throughout this mess Quetzal could see no movement. He assumed that it was hiding behind one of the objects, but suddenly he could hear something. Something quiet. He listened.
It came from outside, muffled by the walls. He leaned towards the wall for better hearing. A distant whistling noise could be heard. In confusion, he concentrated on the sound, deciphering its origin. It sounded like…wind?
Quetzal was puzzled, that was impossible here unless… He was taken back with the realisation and quickly began to gather his belongings. The noise grew louder, its eerie tones sent shivers throughout his body, but he ignored it, concentrating on the task. A different noise attracted his attention, however. Something was now inside. He turned and spied a were-jaguar as it entered through a low crack in the wall. It then began to push a rock, attempting to block the crack. Quetzal carefully drew his axe and grabbed his belongings as he slowly began to back away into the dark. The were-jaguar caught Quetzal’s scent and turned towards the being.
Quetzal stood his ground and raised his axe in intimidation. The were-jaguar replied with bared teeth and claws. The standoff continued, each examining the other for the first move or sign of aggression. However, a great vibration hit the room. It was as if a great wave had hit the wall. Quetzal struggled to keep his footing as sections of the wall fell around him. Dust clouded the room, as the were-jaguar went into the gloom dodging falling stone walls as he ran. It ended as suddenly as it started.
Quetzal glared at the battered wall, it must be getting closer. Quetzal had heard of the Great Cold before, but had the luck to never meet it. Stories had that it was a mighty wind, which wandered the city of its own free will. Those unlucky enough to be caught in its path instantly froze to death, barely moments to think their final thoughts. Like everything in this place, it was a relic of a bygone era. A tool used by his lords for terror and entertainment, it had lost any purpose upon its freedom from the house of cold.
Quetzal could feel the chill in his bones, the wind was getting close. He needed to get out of this building before the wind tore down the walls. He ran for the exit, veering between objects, waiting for the quake that’ll precede the wind. It came.
Crash. The very floor felt as if it would collapse beneath him, as he struggled to keep his footing. He persevered, vaulting an ancient bench as he continued to beeline for the exit. Crash. Stone smashed all around him, the dust was now making visibility difficult. Crash. A previously unseen stone slammed in front of him, the force knocking him to the ground. His entire body stung as he slid across the floor, his belongings scattering behind him. He had a decision, chance gathering his belonging, which were necessary for long-term survival or simply abandon them? Crash. As the dust from the ceiling sprayed his head, he hastily made his decision. Crash. He frantically began to gather his belongings, life was difficult enough without them. Crash. He’d have to hurry, the quakes were becoming more frequent. Crash. He became like a machine, shoving goods into his bag without pause. Crash. Finally, the bag was full, but was it for nothing? Did he make a mistake? Crash. No time to think. He began to run for the exit, but a quiet, almost whispering noise could be heard. “Help” it claimed. He followed the source and discovered the were-jaguar from earlier, caught underneath a stone, his body saturated with blood. Crash. Normally, he wouldn’t consider such a thing, this was a place of self-survival after all. But, after these years of destruction and terror it was time for someone to answer those pleas of help often heard. Crash. He unsheathed the axe. The were-jaguar examined him with whatever strength he had left, wondering whether he was freeing him from the rock or his misery. Crash! The wall finally gave way , collapsing like sand. The wind had such power, it almost looked like a solid object as pushed its way through the room. It travelled swiftly and ruthlessly barraged all in its path.
Quetzal withdrew his axe and fearfully began to ran. The exit was so close now, but the speed of the wind could not be underestimated. He glanced back quickly to check its position, but the struggles of the were-jaguar caught his attention. He stared as the beast struggled to free himself until his face became full of fear for the last time, as it became fixed and the creature’s struggles and worries suddenly stopped.
He had no time to dwindle on the remorse of a stranger however, and continued to flee the great wind. However, the wind was nearly upon him and was much swifter than him. He had no hope of reaching the outdoors in time. Desperate, he surveyed the area for anywhere to hide from the ferocious force. To his luck, he spotted an alcove hidden nearby. He quickly dived in, feeling the dust carried forth by the wind behind him. He tried to go as deep as possible into it and then leaned against the side facing the wind. For a moment, there was a brief peace and respite. However, it was quickly undone as the very wall itself seemed to push against Quetzal. He closed his eyes and began to curse the Mayan twins loudly as the very alcove shook and seemed to fall apart, dust and stone showering Quetzal like rain.
This was once a beautiful and magnificent city until the day the twins came. Covered in palaces and temples, the lords of the underworld and their citizens lived in splendour, living off sacrifices from the world above. While magnificent to the denizens, to the world above, it was a place of terror. The lords used much of the city to design traps and tricks to humiliate and terrify any mortals who was brought to the underworld. However, one day they killed someone that they’d later come to regret. His children, the aforementioned twins of legend would seek vengeance on the lords for this deed. The twins were brought to the great city of Xibalba and turned the tricks and games of the gods against them. Eventually, they tricked the two lords for the last time, killing the lords of death themselves. Lost and without leadership, the denizens accepted the demands of the twins to never again take sacrifices. The twins were never seen in Xibalba again, for their victory was complete.
At first, the anarchy was more prevalent than the starvation, various factions and leaders fought to take the death lords’ places. This only rushed the inevitable as the stockpiles ran low. Soon starvation ran rampant as the denizens fought and devoured each other, desperate for survival. Law and order broke down, as did the city. Without care, it began to fall apart, unleashing the horrors the dead lords kept to terrify guests. Soon, the city became the place of nightmare the mortals always dreamt it was.
As Quetzal remembered this, he wondered how much longer the city would last, he didn’t know long ago it was when the twins arrived, but it had seemed like an eternity. However, something else had caught his attention. It was not anything in particular, more so, the lack of it. It had gone quiet, eerily quiet. The wind might have passed while Quetzal had concentrated on his thoughts, but wanted to be sure. He waited a little while longer before venturing out. The room was the same as before, dusty and desolated, however, the wind had caused some redecoration. The far wall, through which it had entered, was barely intact and served better now as a window. The room was also littered with even more sections of the ceiling, making for a cramped space.
Worried about the stability of the structure he left the building to venture for new places where he could rest and hopefully find food. Standing on the steps of the building, he took in the view of the ruined city. Its size was still breathtaking as crumbling buildings stretched as far as the eye could see, a sea of grey and brown, with hints of brightness not yet faded interspersing the scene.
He realized it was unwise to check out the sights for too long and so continued on his journey. He gently began to step over the frozen bodies that littered the street as he thought what could lie ahead. The impenetrable darkness? The never-ending horde? The cut-throat bats? The sentient blades? He wondered how much more lifetimes would he live to see, as a building collapsing in the distance quietly added ambience to his thoughts.
Vote and be Merry