Ghost of Quetzel: Ghost of the ancient Toltec priest-god who banned human sacrifice and prophesied his return to earth. He was white-haired and bearded.
Montezuma: The more recent emperor of the ancient Aztec empire, who resumed human sacrifice.
Envoys 1 and 2
Ahyitz, Montezuma's senior military advisor
Hernan Cortes, Spanish conqueror of the Aztec empire
A soldier of Cortes' army
Scene 1: Montezuma's palace in Tenochtitlan. His grand suite.
Montezuma lounges on a platform decorated with rich-colored fabrics, gold and gemstones.
Quetzel's Ghost: (Enters from left.) Montezuma, Montezuma. You disappoint me.
Montezuma: (Startles and trembles.) Who are you? What are you?
Ghost: You know who I am. You know. You worship gods who exist only to appease me.
Montezuma: Why? -H-h-how did you get here?
Ghost: I am everywhere.
Montezuma: What do you want of me?
Ghost: Beware. Beware. (Exits.)
Montezuma: (Claps hands twice.) Slave, bring me wine. Quickly.
Slave: O, Master. Your wine.
Montezuma: (Gulps fast.) My the gods preserve me. What have I done? What is it I should fear?
Slave: Your Worship, your two envoys await with news of enemies, old and new.
Montezuma: Show them in. Summon Ahyitz, as well.
Slave: As You command.
Montezuma: What tales of my enemies have you, envoys?
Envoy 1: Venerable One, men who arrived from the east by sea have vanquished your foes, the people of Tabasco. Those victors, headed by a white man with a beard, moved northward and made a settlement they call Vera Cruz.
Envoy 2: They're moving into the Valley of Mexico, toward you, Holy One.
Montezuma: You may go. Ahyitz, I feel perturbed. A white-haired, bearded man. Could the leader of that army be Lord God Quetzel, returned?
Ahyitz: Sir. If you so believe.
Montezuma: He has returned as a vengeful god. What have I done to deserve such punishment? I fear for my life. I must placate the Lord Quetzel. I will send my envoys to him with gifts from my treasure house.
Ahyitz: So be it. Then he would likely visit Tenochtitlan in peace.
Montezuma: (Writes a note on tree bark paper.)
Slave. Give this message to the Master of the Treasure House. Ahyitz, this tells the Master to assemble gold ornaments and necklaces, colored fabrics, and several huge disks of gold and silver for the envoys to carry to the White General-God from the east.
Quetzel visited me today in a vision. It seems that I have displeased him. What have I done to anger Quetzel? I worship untold numbers of gods in his honor, and I give them hearts from human sacrifices. I lead great numbers of raids against my enemies to capture prisoners for their hearts as offerings.
Ahyitz: You regard Him well, Your Worship.
Montezuma: (He groans and beats his chest with his fists.)
That's it. Quetzel had banished the practice of human sacrifice. What I do - I now realize - cannot possibly please Him. He seeks His revenge. I trust that he will be pleased with my gifts of treasure.
Ahyitz: That should help, Sir.
Scene 1: Courtyard of Hernan Cortes in Vera Cruz.
Cortes sits at a small table and sips wine.
Envoy 1: (Enters with slaves bearing treasure.)
Greetings, Most High One. Montezuma, Emperor of Mexico, pays homage to you with these gifts.
Cortes: (Dips his hands into the baskets of jewels, grabs handfuls, and lets them fall back in through his opened fingers.)
Thank you. (Gazes at the cartwheel-size disks of gold and silver with amazement and greed. He strokes them with his palms.)
Such splendor. This is a magnificent land. What says your Emperor?
Envoy 2: He says, "May you live long in Vera Cruz."
Cortes: I say, we must make haste and get to Tenochtitlan. We need gold and silver.
Scene 2: Montezuma's Palace
(Montezuma and Ahyitz receive the returned envoys.)
Montezuma: What message bring you from The White-Haired God?
Envoy 1: He thanks you for your gift of fine treasure.
Envoy 2: When he saw the gold, his eyes grew as large as the golden dinner plates themselves.
Envoy 1: He hastens to Tenochtitlan, O Wise Ruler.
Ahyitz: Venerable One, we need to prepare for war against The White-Haired One from the east.
Montezuma: No. I must appease him further. I will offer him more treasures. I will prepare a palace especially for him and his generals. Lord Quetzel deserves my courtesy.
Ahyitz: As you wish.
Scene 1: Montezuma's palace Royal Court.
Montezuma sits on his Royal Throne.
(Enter Cortes and a his soldier. They bow.) Your Highness.
Montezuma: Quetzel, Great White God of the East, I bid you welcome. Yon palace is yours for the duration of your visit. It is staffed with slaves whose only wishes are to obey your commands and see to your comforts.
Cortes: My thanks, Good Emperor. The gold and silver - where are the mines located? Is there more gold?
Montezuma: There is plenty of gold and silver inmy land. You will be shown where they can be found.
Cortes: That we will. Soldier, seize him! Emperor, as my hostage, you will prevent your subjects from rising against us.
(Cortes physically foils Ahyitz's attempt to intervene.)
Montezuma: My God, my God; don't do this to me.
Cortes: Throw him in the cell.
Montezuma: How I rue the day that I began to practice human sacrifice. Lord Quetzel, forgive me.
Scene 2: A balcony outside Montezuma's 2nd floor cell.
Montezuma sits on a pile of rushes.
(Sounds of fighting can be heard.)
Cortes: (Enters quickly.) Montezuma, your people are revolting. They resent our presence. Speak to them.
Montezuma: Lord Quetzel, I obey.
(He stands and shouts.) My people, Lord Quetzel's people. Treat your White-Haired God with deference. It is His desire to live with us in peace in Tenochtitlan. You are honored to have Him here. I am honored to have him here. I shall cease the practice of human sacrifice. It is His wish.
(Sounds of a crowd shouting.) Traitor! Stone him. Stone him!
(Stones fly at Montezuma and strike him. He falls and dies.)
Loosely based on "History, Myth and Mexico City" by Jocelynwonders. Published by the NextBigWriter, LLC. Booksie.com. 2012.