Nun Yax Ayin
Life in Chaco Canyon was idyllic to say the least. The youngest of his brothers, Nun Yax Ayin had the biggest heart and dreams, and the smallest figure, or so his elder brothers would comment.
Most of his time he spent studying the star world, the land of the living and the underworld; with this knowledge, he was able to predict the futures of people, places and organizations that sought out his advice. Often he made more than his brothers than in a day of their professions, be it agriculture, housing, pottery, healing or metal working, they did not mind though, as he was always generous in his gifts; mindful and thoughtful.
Their father owned Chaco Steam Baths and was busy year round with visitors from any and every direction. Also, his family owned much of Chaco Villa, which might have caused argument in the Allied Tribes, save for the employment of elder, the wise, the knowledgeable and the prestigious. Storytellers were employed year round from each tribe, depending upon rainy or dry season and discounts were decided meticulously by Nun Yax Ayin; a process that made each stay special and unique, and they always left smiling, happy and grateful.
Nun Yax Ayin enjoyed life and had a unique air about him whether he had hired a musician to play and sing while he drew, a dance troupe to perform during one of his many feasts for special celestial occasions; or one of the many storytellers he employed for each and every occasion, but most often for while he relaxed in the Upper Most Chamber of the Steam Baths, usually reserved for dignitaries, his father allowed him to use the space, as long as he paid full price, which always put a smile on both of their faces.
“Who’s in the Upper Chamber?” At least one of his brothers would ask, on their way home to their family, whenever the lights shone from there.
“Your younger brother, with his musician and storyteller, is working on another project.” Their father would answer.
“Big Man treating his friends again? The rest of us had families by his age.”
“You all needed them as well to keep your focus off the dignitaries wives and daughters; to cook, clean, and wake you up in the morning for work.”
Their younger brother’s favorite storyteller, friend and constant companion was from the far south, from the places of the Great Cities and ballcourts; he called himself Jade and wore a jade jaguar pendant upon his neck at all times and knew every story of his lands.
Nun Yax Ayin, while he enjoyed every luxury of Chaco Canyon and had vacationed with each of the Allied Tribes, his thirst for knowledge could not be quenched, his love for art and food of all flavors and all directions soon inspired journeys along the Great Trade Routes; a last distraction for him by his father who knew one day he would want to leave for the south land’s, at least in this way he could have him around a while longer.
Musician came and went along with the seasons, but ever since Jade came to Chaco Canyon during the wet season two years ago before and had collapsed in a puddle, nearly drowning, from the voyage which claimed all but the clothes on his back and the jaguar pendant; it was pure chance and coincidence that Nun Yax Ayin had looked in that direction to the outskirts of the outer encampment and received the visitor.
The Allied Tribes knew to avoid travel during the wet season, that a person had made it through the deluge of mud, streams and rivers which appeared from nowhere and disappeared just as fast made the Journey of Jade the most popular request of the storyteller for the first year. However, when the story was known by most and the stories of the south began, no one cared to listen.
When Jade mentioned leaving back to the south land’s one day, Nun Yax Ayin insisted he stay on as his personal storyteller and paid him well. Now with a year having past and every story of the south having been told a dozen times over, Jade decided it was time to bow out and leave quietly, Nun was probably too kind to say he was bored of the story collection which he had drawn onto vases he had purchased from his brother, which people were in awe of. So, when he was about to leave that first day of the dry season he was surprised to see the caravan of Nun Yax Ayin waiting to depart.
“So, how many peppers are there in the south lands?”
“At least one for every pyramid in Teotihuanaco!”
The journey might have been boring for most, but Nun Yax Ayin insisted on learning the languages, the customs and traditions of the areas they would be meeting along their way. He picked up Nahuatl quickly; and having bought a season’s worth of wares from each of his brothers before leaving, he had more than enough to keep busy with on the trip, each item would be traded, and they would live prosperously, which always made Jade smile and laugh.
The first half of the voyage was pulled by donkey, when they had been worn down, they exchanged them for llamas; the voyage to Teotihuanaco too ten moons, as they traded the goods for what they needed, and having much to trade for other items as well as gold, metals, jewels, gems and minerals, then, when their cargo had been exhausted they sold the wagons and animals that they would not need.
The city was great indeed, and Jade told and retold the stories of Chaco Canyon and Nun Yax Ayin who was called “Big Man” by his brothers, although, literally translated into Nahuatl was “The Place of the Giants”.
The tale soon spread across the lands from the route they had taken. Nun Yax Ayin soon found out that his good friend was none other than Quetzalcoatl to the people of the south lands, highly revered and never lacked for anything, which then finally made Nun Yax Ayin laugh at his riches as Jade once did.
Soon enough the priest-astrologers began consulting Nun Yax Ayin about his knowledge of the sky, of the lands and of the underworld, to their pleasure and amazement it greatly enriched their perspective as they soon drew out the stories in glyph for the artisans to inscribe upon tablets and to be retold until the Year Ahau.
After a year, Nun Yax Ayin took it upon himself to take the Jaguar Trials to be inducted into the ritual ballcourt games, a thing which was rarely, if ever, undertaken; and afterwards was not allowed.
Spending three nights in the Xibalban caves, swimming the underwater channels from memory; collecting a dozen fruits from the upper most branches of the jabuticaba tree; collecting twenty quetzal feathers and fashioning a head ornament for the high priest; spending one night alone in the jungle, then paddling down the Great River in a small canoe, and all this he did.
Then stepping out of the canoe at the encampment where the Jaguar blessing would be given to Nun Yax Ayin of the Place of Giants, a serpent bit his ankle as he stepped out of the canoe and swam away, out of reach. An antidote could be fashioned, if the snake could be caught, and though all those gathered there searched for it until the last breath and heartbeat of Nun Yax Ayin, it was to no avail.
It was a sad time in those parts, Quetzalcoatl afterwards commissioned a statue of Nun Yax Ayin, kept it near and would talk with him while drinking tequila which he would pour on the statues lips as he drank, in anger every so often blowing full mouthfuls of tequila in the statues face for being so stubborn for taking the trials in the first place, a custom that lived on after Quetzalcoatl had parted from the land of the living.
So sad was the face of Nun Yax Ayin, even in statue form, that after Quetzalcoatl passed away the followers buried the statue with only the feet and ankles showing in warning to the serpent that bit Nun Yax Ayin, that it would be hunted in every corner of the afterlife for all time...