The sun shone through the dirty window. A dingy glow fell on the round table under his bronzed arm. His black hair, pulled back in a ponytail, revealed sharp facial bones and a muscular jaw.
He sat very still. It was a learned habit. Before coming to this place, he had been free to go anywhere, anytime. Of course, being in charge of the wind made that pretty easy. Then, the foreigners had come to his domain. Their gods had taken over. And, his followers had dwindled. Finally, he had come here.
In a way, he was like every other resident. He tried not to think of what awaited him if he was unable to stay here. Aside from that, he stayed mostly to himself, partly to avoid causing a disturbance. He still remembered the last time he energetically waved his hand. The mess had taken hours to clean up.
Ehecatl heard footsteps approaching from behind.
“I think we are ready,” his friend said.
“Are you sure?”
“I spoke with my nagual,” Tezcatlipoca replied. “He is very wise in the old lore. He says it is possible.”
“Quetzalcoatl, Zeus, and Odin swear it can’t be done,” he replied carefully. “Are you absolutely sure we can do this?”
“What do they know,” Indra said disdainfully, stepping up behind Tezcatlipoca. “All they can say is you can’t do this, and you better not do that. They just want to be in control of everything.”
The Persian’s skin was slightly darker than the two Aztecs, and his body a bit wirier, too. Except for his accent, it was nearly impossible to tell that they came from different places.
‘The old foundation can be expanded on,” the Persian said with authority. “It was built by a god, it can be expanded by a god.”
The three of them smiled at each other. Ehecatl nodded.
“All right, then,” he announced calmly, trying not to move in his excitement. “Get the others and we will begin.”
The six members of the team sat or stood around the table studying the plans. Indra had started the idea. The Persian was always on the outside of things. The chief reason was his resistance to authority, and influencing others to do the same. In the mission, though, good or evil, all gods were welcome—as long as they had some followers, somewhere. Once all of a god’s followers were gone…well, everyone tried not to think about that.
Indra had pitched the idea in several circles. Most thought renovating the old building was a good idea. The idea of more living space was very appealing. The building was old. The rooms were small, usually overcrowded. But, they laughed at the idea of expanding the foundation.
The Aztecs hadn’t laughed—well, not all of them. They had listened carefully.
They asked tough questions. Then, they went off to think about it. Trying to find out if the foundation could be enlarged proved a difficult matter. Actually doing it was even more questionable.
Indra looked at Ehecatl. The thin, obviously muscular, god was standing nearly motionless at the corner of the table. His motions were very slow and calculated. Indra knew of this one’s weakness for human women. More than once he had thought that the Aztec would never run out of followers because of his relationships.
Next to Ehecatl was Tezcatlipoca. There was a darkness in his eyes that Indra thought intriguing. The god of night was always playing the part of a magician, or a shape-shifter. He had held authority over all things material among the Aztecs. His talents would be invaluable for their plan. Indra watched as the Aztec traced a set of lines on the plans. Indra wondered what was behind that furrowed brow. He did not understand the Aztec tongue, much less their thoughts.
Atl stood at the other end of the table, with Nalinalxochi the sorceress. Their movements were a direct contrast to each other. Where he was fluid and graceful, hers were shrouded, short, and subtle. The god of water was unafraid to go anywhere, whereas she kept much hidden, waiting the time to use her skills for best advantage. Her secret jealousy of her brother’s power and position in the Aztec pantheon was no secret, either. She had been quick to join the group, once she found out about Quetzalcoatl’s resistance.
In the shadows at the far end of the room, Loki sat on the floor. Indra had an affinity with the Norseman. Neither of them was popular among their own kind. And, they thought very much alike. A smile drifted across Indra's thoughts as he considered their plan. He was careful to keep the smile from his face.
He gave Loki a slight nod. The Norseman smirked in reply.
“So, we are agreed,” Indra asked the group.
Everyone looked at Loki. He responded with a blank who-me look.
“IF he can pull of his part of the plan,” Nalinalxochi said warningly, “I will have no problem doing mine.”
The other three nodded. The sorceress had spoken for all of them.
Loki snickered and waved his hand.
“You get the building ready,” he said smugly. “I will deliver the ancient drink.”
Atl looked confused.
“It was called a drink among my pantheon,” Loki explained, sounding bored. “It is the ancient stuff the universe was made of.”
“Then, let us begin,” Indra pronounced.
Indra mounted the stairs. Loki left the room, and the building. The other four watched Loki disappear outside. They exchanged a questioning look, and followed Indra up the stairs.
One room after another, they made their way through the top floor. First, they emptied the rooms at one end of the top floor. Then, Tezcatlipoca would touch a wall. Having power over material things, he altered the wall’s makeup. Then, Nalinalxochi would cast a spell on it. Atl would then cause the wall to flow a few feet across the room. One by one, the rooms were expanded. Then they went down the stairs to work on the next floor down. Finally, they stood on the ground floor.
They smiled at each other. It had gone smoothly. In fact, there hadn’t been a problem at all. Quickly they stepped outside.
Ehecatl began to breathe on the walls, from an angle—being careful not to blow the whole building down. Nalinalxochi stretched her hand towards the wall. She mumbled a few words. Pieces began to break off and were quickly carried away by the breath of Ehecatl. As the inner wall came into view, the sorceress mumbled a different incantation. The wall would solidify again. Section by section they moved from the top down.
“I have found what we seek,” Loki announced coming around the corner of the building.
Giant though he was, Loki was almost lifted and carried away by Ehecatl breath. He grabbed the corner of the building as the Aztec stopped blowing. Loki hit the ground with a solid thud. He stood up, rubbed his left elbow, and stared darkly at the Aztec.
“Well, where is it,” Atl asked impatiently.
“I will need help retrieving it,” Loki replied looking a bit foolish. “There was a bit more to this than I realized. A minor setback, I promise.”
Four sets of eyes stared at him. Though no one would admit it, they were suspicious. Loki’s reputation was well known. No one, among any pantheon, had a trickster reputation like Loki.
“I’ll go,” Indra said with an indignant sigh. Now, everyone stared at him suspiciously, too.
“Look,” he said defensively, “ I’m not doing anything here. I was the idea man. Remember? Besides, we are only half done…Who else could we send with him?”
Still suspicious, the others agreed. They watched the Persian and Norseman go around the corner and began working again.
The sun was just setting as they worked across the wall. The first two sections blew away uneventfully. Then they reached the outer wall of the great room. As the brick and mortar from the first section blew away, a score of gods and demi-gods poured out of the building.
A Greek grabbed Ehecatl by the shoulder. “What are you doing,” he demanded.
With a hiccup, Ehecatl turned to towards his accuser. Instantly, Apollo flew backwards about 30 feet. He would have gone farther, but a tree stopped him. The Greek fell to the ground with a cry. Because his breath was turned away from the wall, the last load of masonry did not get blown away from the area. Instead, it fell on a group of North Americans, the last to exit the building.
“What is going on here,” Quetzocotl demanded, hanging precariously out of a window. Seeing his fellows were the center of attention, he winced.
“Please, tell me you did NOT go through with this plan to expand our building,” he asked painfully.
The four didn’t answer. They knew the wrath of their leader. The Four did all they could not to look at Quetzocotl.
“And WHAT were you going to use to expand this structure,” Quezocotl asked sternly. “Since there is no more Creation dust, I assume you had something in mind…”
He let his voice trail off with an expectant tone. Atl’s face was the first to register surprise. Ehecatl and Tezcatlipoca looked at each other in shock. Nalinalxochi, conjurer to the end, did her best to hide her emotions. But, her widening eyes gave her away.
“I see,” he said, his face red with anger.
“Gather your things,” Quetzocotl ordered. “You will sleep outside until the damage is repaired. And YOU will repair the damage. Is that clear.”
The four Aztecs scanned the building. Their faces fell farther and farther as they realized the extent of what had been done that day. Dejectedly, they shuffled inside and up the stairs.
They were confronted with a jumble of stuff on the first landing. With a puzzled look, Ehecatl began to rummage through his own things littering the hallway.
“Hey!” he shouted suddenly. “Whose rooms did we did we just take out?”
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