Aztlan Picture

This digital painting is a map to the realm of Aztlán, an entire, major setting from the CUETZPALIN Mythos I'm developing. The entire setting of Aztlán is heavily inspired on the Mexica / “Ancient Aztec” Cosmology, from its sixteen districts (although two of these have Mayan names) to its foundation being the primordial waters’ crocodile-like giant Cipactli.
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In the CUETZPALIN Mythos, Aztlán is an ancient land majorly overseen by Huitzopoca (yes, that sounds exactly like a portmanteau of Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca), the god of wind (Ehecatl, or as he prefers to call, Ihíyotl [breath/vital energy] in Ollin [motion]) and war, as well as one of the elemental Macabraic Spirits. The Aztec Confederation is a civilization which lasts for many centuries, even before the ancient Topakhon Wars, and is as well the homeland to the entire kind of the reptilian humanoid Cuetzpalin (the same kind that gives name to the Mythos. Once common in the planet of Tredius, too, after some time they became quite rare except in Aztlán). Not all of Aztlán, however, is managed by the Aztec Confederation and its Teteoh (gods). Most of the Teteoh, by the war, aren’t informed about the existence of the Nine Macabraic Spirits.

Cipactli, the primordial waters' crocodile, is an ancient self-sufficient being as well as an undying source of endless energy that has been captured by the Teteoh Huitzopoca and Chalchihuihtotollin, and acts as the foundation for the entire plan of Aztlán for many millennia. Cipactli's healing abilities have been so far used by the vampiric war gods for generations. Its organism and tissue has helped the development of the reptilian kind of the Cuetzpalin, that part of a warrior culture, breeds several warriors loyal to Huitzopoca generation after generation. It's the suffering of this immortal beast, as well as the sacrifice of the warriors, that both erects and keep moving the civilization. Its existence, however, is unknown to most inhabitants of Aztlán’s upper districts (the underworld cities don’t keep relations with those from above) for a long time, since after the "Underworld wars" (31th to 32nd Centuries a.X [2nd and 3rd Centuries a.I]).

Anyone willing to free this suffering animal would likely destroy the entire century-lasting civilization and crush most of its inhabitants. That’s how civilizations are founded: with suffering and slavery. If anyone is against these things, if anyone do stand for freedom, then this one may also be against its own comfort, and the comfort of many others. The liberation of Cipactli would mean a catastrophe, as well as freedom, and would surely be a violent act which would get out of control and challenge the sovereignty of Huitzopoca, a war god who relies solely on the forms of violence he can control. But the freedom of an individual is a very important thing, and sometimes one must break free from the oppression which society imposes it so that it can free another one. Afterall, freedom is as worthy as it is chaotic and cataclysmical.

From Cipactli's back there grows Aztlán's world axle, the gigantic tree known as Huey Acatl, which end is the sunflower-like Huey Xochitl, having atop of it the altepetl (city-state, or district) Tonatiuhichan, the home of Tonatiuh the Sun God. Here are the altepetl's names and short details, from higher (Huey Xochitl) to lower (Cipactli):

  • Tonatiuhichan: Home to Tonatiuh the Sun God, whose original form is that of a reptilian Cuetzpalin, Tonatiuhichan is mostly inhabited by Cuetzpalin.
  • Yaoyotepetl: City of the Warriors, whose patron god is Huitzopoca. Houses the finest Cuetzpalin warriors, and is an original founder of the Aztec Confederation since the 41st Century b.I
  • Xochiatl: Water-flower, a city-state found among the jungles just begind the Huey Xochitl. Originally watched over by the ancient cihuateotl/goddess Xochiquetzal, since her disappearance in the 29th Century b.I it became watched over by another goddess, Chalchiuhtlicue.
  • Patemalinalli: An old member of the Aztec Confederation, the altepetl of Patemalinalli is found among the deserts surrounding the rocks of the Huey Acatl's upper extension, and is inhabited by the kind of the rabbit humanoids known as Centzonhuitznahua. The Centzonhuitznahua are ruled by an immortal couple of Teteoh, Patecatl & Mayahuel.
  • Nahui-Quiahuitl: Rain Sun, the altepetl of Nahui-Quiahuitl is found at the opposite side of Patemalinalli in the Huey Acatl's rock. An original member of the Aztec Confederation since the 41st Century b.I, it has been ruled by Teotl Chalchihuihtotollin until his disappearance, what has left the peoples of the altepetl, most hunahu (humans), revolted, until a new god, Tlaloc, has arrived in the 39th Century b.I and took charge of it. The entire city is a highly developed fortress.
  • Chicomoztoc: Place of the Seven Caves, originally a secret lab of Huitzopoca, these have been series of caves within the rock of the Huey Acatl, and from there have spawned several creatures, being the place where the Cuetzpalin and hunahu are thought to have been crafted. For centuries, however, it remained uninhabited, until a pack of independent, nomadic hunahu have settled on there, eventually being approached by the Aztec Confederation and being assimilated as a tributary altepetl during the Topakhon Wars. The peoples of Chicomoztoc are known by the Aztec Confederates as not speaking nahuatl, instead, speaking K'iché. Not overseen by any specific god, this village has been the birthplace of heroes and later rebels Hunahpu & Xbalanque.
  • Youalahuan: Night Drinker, the altepetl overseen by Teotl Xipe Totec, as well a place mostly inhabited by hunahu.
  • Tamoanchan: Paradise of the Misty Clouds, original settlement of the Cihuateteoh and Tzitzimimeh races once ruled by Itzpapalotl. Before joining the Aztec Confederation as an original, founding member in the 41st Century b.I, Tamoanchan was part of a coalition of matriarchies alongside Coatepec, but even from that time it was ruled by the immortal Itzpapalotl. After supporting the rebellion of the Centzonhuitznahua, the Cihuateteoh & Tzitzimimeh from Tamoanchan have been hunt down and scattered, with some even escaping Aztlán at what would be known as "Cihuateteoh Diaspora" in the 18th Century b.I, during the late Topakhon Wars.
  • Coatepec: Snake Mountain, the realm of Coatepec has been inhabited by Cihuacoatl (a race of human-Cuetzpalin hybrids) & Centzonhuitznahua alike, and was ruled by Teoyaqminqui and other Cihuacoatl successors, bearing the title of "Coatlicue" for generations, until it became an original founding member of the Aztec Confederation in the 41st Century b.I, a time when Itzpapalotl had one of her nearest allies, the Centzonhuitznahua Coyolxauhqui, put into the position of cihuateotl. Coyolxauhqui would centuries later lead the Centzonhuitznahua Rebellion, from the 25th to 24th Centuries b.I, during the Topakhon Wars, that have been identified as separatist and criminal to several Aztec auhtorities, pressured by Huitzopoca. Coyolxauhqui and the Centzonhuitznahua have been massacred, and the land would be inhabited from then by a handful of Cihuacoatl and a Coatlicue dummy placed by the war god to support his political prestige.
  • Metnal: An area occuppied by packs of foriegner Vovin, such as Vucub-Caquix & his family, and Sothian Aluxob, such as Yum Kaax, who brought from Sothis several Huaca/Quinametzin and another Huehueyolcatl (Cipactli's kind), Yaxcocahmut, who tried to release Cipactli as a mean to weaken Huitzopoca. Rather than a mountain, the territory of Metnal is actually a spike from Cipactli's back, where there grows a tree of immortality, who was once a Quinametzin by the name Chicomecoatl. The occupation of Metnal lasted from the 25th to 24th Centuries b.I.
  • Apanoayan: Where one crosses the river, an altepetl of independent hunahu from the underworld which has been mostly destroyed after Xipe Totec's ascension to godhood (after sacrificing his entire village, eventually uncovering a mine of Cozauhqui and waking Xolotl, the Entity of the Cozauhqui hidden-element main crystal, the Nemontemi Stone) by the 26th Century b.I.
  • Mictlán: The underworld, ruled by the immortal couple Mictlantecuhtli & Mictecacihuatl, and inhabited by the race of the Micteca, the descendants of the ancient Xibalban civilization, from the plan of Xibalba that was originally a part of Aztlán's mainland. Settled in the 46th Century b.I, five centuries before the Aztec Confederation, the Micteca people have more contact with the strange Ahuitzotl than with the higher altepetl, and only became a member of the Aztec Confederation under proper conditions after the Cihuateteoh Diaspora, in the 18th Century b.I, until the Underworld Wars in the 2nd Century a.I, when Micteca & Ahuitzotl teamed up with Xiuhcoatl-producing Ahuitzotl to storm Aztlán.
  • Xoxoauhco Island / Mount Iztaccihuatl: Green Place / White Lady The swamp-covered island inhabited by the eldest Ahuitzotl tribe which arrived in Aztlán alongside Tlaloc in the 39th Century b.I, not an altepetl on its own. The Mountain is a burial ground for a Cuetzpalin princess from Yaoyotepetl who would marry the Topakhon Wars Hero Popocatepetl, if he had not been tricked and trapped by his fellow warriors, returning to Aztlán only centuries later than the war was over, and she was dead. During the Jötunn occupation of Aztlán, what came to be known as Aztlán's Ice Age (15th to 11th Centuries b.I), it was used by them as a test field.
  • Teotlatlauhco Island / Mount Popocatepetl: Place of the Gods / Smoking Mountain The desert island where the Popocatepetl volcano is found has been the capital of Aztlán's "Xiuhcoatl Empire", during the Third Sun Era (10th to 3rd Centuries b.I), when the Aztec Confederation has teamed up with a pack of foreigner Copalli (Xnobius) hidden-element mining Akhs and the local Ahuitzotl into rebuilding Aztlán from the damage caused by the Ice Age.
  • Xibalba: An underworld eventually ruled by Ah Puch & his chosen twelve sovereigns, before its downfall at the hands of Hunahpu & Xbalanque, it was an ancient civilization, even older than the Aztec Confederation, but it has split from the plan of Aztlán becoming another on its own.
  • Oztoman: Hand-made Fortress, the rock where Cipactli is tied in. Apparently solid, it's hollow inside and houses a secret lab and a prison complex created by Huitzopoca and guarded by his avatar, Tepeyollotl. The prison stores Xochiquetzal & Huehueyolcatl Kukulcan, unseen and unknown to all Aztecs & foreigners alike.
This has surely been one of the most detailed, time consuming and patience/endurance-needing illustrations I've worked on so far, so hope you like it.
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