Suddenly, everything made sense. He hadn’t anticipated it, hadn’t known, but somehow he had inadvertently walked into a great confluence. The golem’s quick explanation, and the appearance of the other heralds, including his father’s, set his mind turning. So these two, the fascinating woman and the ordered man, were the children of gods. Which ones was as yet unclear, but if the father’s themselves were coming, he would find out soon enough.
The imminent arrival of the deposed Lord of Creation neither disturbed nor embarrassed Tepiltzin, as it seemed it did to the other two. In fact, it thrilled him. Since his realization of his heritage, he had been left mostly to his own desires, a dark Prince whose goals were those held by his father. He had spent the intervening years sowing discord, panic and pain, reveling in the desecration of virtue and the rise of vice that he inspired. His Father had been proud. Not that he had acted solely out of a desire to please his father. Far from it. He was, in more ways than one, a true child of chaos and vice, an image to make any parent proud. Now, however, Tezcatlipoca had a task, a test of Tepiltzin’s piety, one he would not fail.
The presence of the other Scions did not particularly upset him either. He had always known of the other arrogant Pantheons, a small gift of knowledge he had gained from his father’s mirror. The other gods were weak and spineless, squeamish inbreeds who chance had elevated beyond their right. They would fall, unable to face the Titans arrayed before them. Only the Atzlanti knew where true power lay, and knew what must be done, what must be sacrificed to ensure the continuity of the world. No, no, let the other scions pay homage to their pathetic fathers, ignorant of the truth of their existence. Let them wallow in their ritual and their halfhearted sacrifices. Their blood would be shed before the end, fuel for a new world. For if the blood of mortals could hold such power, what of the blood of Gods? Tezcatlipoca knew this. He had sacrificed his own foot to save the world, and in so doing, ensured its existence beyond doubt.
Tepiltzin straightened up, the headache forgotten, relaxed and smiling. He ignored the golem and the wraith, and found his way to a table nearest his Father’s herald. He had encountered beings like that before, when they had carried messages to him from his father. They were a construction of the gods, imperfect re-creations of beings found in the smoking mirror to serve as messengers. Those in the mirror were manifestations of fate, invisible and intangible, at the same time existing and not. They were inscrutable, never part of the events portrayed, but always present, watching, or waiting or perhaps even pulling the strings. He pulled the knife from its sheath at his back and opened his palm. With the blade tip, he cut a small incision along his palm, not deep but enough to elicit a line of blood. With the flat of the blade, he gathered the beads, standing them along the sharpened edge. He then closed his palm. It wasn’t a lot of blood, hardly any in fact, but it was a gesture. He placed Xiuhcoatl reverently on the table before him, hilt towards the center, blade towards him and sat, the entire ritual an act of fealty and respect for the arrival of the gods.