X. Lords of Ukhu Pacha
All things are games, and to exist is to wager. Know this, and you know the Universe.
Time For The End Of Childhood: The First Teaching
You have suckled at your mother’s teat, and learned simple things from the architects of a simple world, but the night has come for your maturity. It is time that you know your true heritage, which is given to few. You are our Grandchild, many generations removed. Until now, you had thought yourself only human, but you are more and different than mortal.
You have followed the root of the tree down beyond the sunlight. Your forefathers have supped of the blood you have given, dripped down from your slit earlobes and into the earthen bowl of Bahlam. This is good and right, for the blood was given to you in the world of the sun, and you return it to the world of the moon. You have paid the toll of the Initial Gate.
To their world, the world you have known, I would seem nothing more than brown bones and rotting linen, gemstones and dust, reanimated with uncanny power. I am the seed that has sprouted in the tomb, the orange-robed Mallqui! Your eyes trace the lines of my tusked funerary mask and my teeth like old ivory, and see the hollows where my own eyes should be—yet you do not tremble. This is your birthright, this fearless truth.
Sit now at the feet of the Lords of the Ukhu Pacha—the Lords of Eternal Darkness—and listen to our truths, which are the only truths. Remember and obey, and you may survive all tests. Fail, and you fail yourself for all eternity.
Let it be known that Death is greater than Life, for Life is only a moment and Death is the wasteland of time.
Let it be known that Darkness is greater than Light, for Light must sup feebly on fuel to exist, while Darkness is the first and self-sustaining truth.
Let it be known that Evil is greater than Good, for Good is a leaf dancing just beyond your fingers, while Evil is the grass upon which you tread.
Let it be known that Hatred is greater than Love, for Love is no more than the grasping of a greedy child, while Hatred is the assurance of experience.
These are the Four Pillars of the Ukhu Pacha, the World Beneath the World.
The World As It Really Is: The Second Teaching
You have tasted of the bitter vine and let it guide your waking dreams. Now let your vision clear.
The daylight world believes that there is solid ground beneath their feet. This is false. The Earth breathes as an insect breathes, with mazes of tunnels and chambers linked by spiracles to the air above. Tunnels and chambers, galleries and passageways, all these pockets and crevices run through the stone flesh of the Earth Mother, and they are our roads and soft pathways. We may come and go as we please in the places of the upper world, through their sunken rooms and buried highways, their rivers of filth and their forgotten burial sites. Silent and invisible in perfect darkness, we move with greater ease than smoke and ghosts.
Deep in the world-mother’s lungs we have found our own kingdom, the land of never-light between the green above and the void of true Xibalba. We do not dwell in Xibalba, for that is the place beyond places, home of Real Death. Such a paradise is denied to us, for we must work in the world still. This is your heritage.
Xibalba is one of the Other Sides of the world—there is only one world, though it has many facets, like the dice we might carve from teeth and toss against the wall. The day world is drowsy and blind, not cunning enough to see the other sides, but we see all. In time, you will know of these things.
Many places are connected to Xibalba—even in the upper-world city you have chosen to inhabit, there is a bridge upon a river that leads into the deeps and into the nets of the underworld. It is sacred to many, but none have so true a claim to it as we.
We, who are your true family, have built seven great cities in the deep places of the world—the Seven Great Pacari. The fools from Europe thought they were cities of gold that was easily taken, but they never profaned our streets with a single footstep. You now sit and listen in the first of the Pacari, which is Kiakima, and lies far beneath the land called California.
One day, if you are worthy, perhaps you shall pass through the other five Pacari—Kwakina, Matsaki, Hawikuh, Halona and Cibola—and thence to the seventh and greatest of all, the Nameless Pacari. But we are only at the beginning of your journey.
In these Pacari, light is unknown, yet you see. Air is unknown, yet you breathe, and hear my whispered words. All this and more is possible for us. Mighty are the Lords of Eternal Darkness!
The History of the Great Ones: The Third Teaching
We were not always blessed by the Endless Eclipse, my grandchild. Thousands of years ago, we were many mortal families, scattered across a vast and varied continent. Then came to us the Dark Verity, the true and powerful revelation of hidden knowledge that was uncovered by the first two Great Ones of our society: Pozunautzin and Napocahuatl, as they are now called. They journeyed down into the sacred cenotes and undertook great ordeals, of hunger and drowning and more, so they might commune with what we now call Xibalba. In the darkness of death, they found learning that they shared with their bloodline and heirs.
At first, we were afraid, and tried to flee the truth. But when wisdom is in your blood, as it is in ours, the truth chases you like the echo of your own voice. We could not hide from our destiny, for no one can. And it is well we did not, for we were meant to be masters of blood, and gold, and jade, and magic, and death, and most of all, the endless night.
First, we were taught by the wind of the void how to die without dying. In this way, we gave our blood and seed the power of never-life and never-death. We may do as the living do without their weaknesses, and act as the ever-dead never can.
Second, we were taught by the tears of the stars the power of enchantment. We learned words and names of power, songs that hurt and bound, sacrifices that brought sacrifice in return, for my grandchild, pain is the wheel that turns the universe.
Third, we drank the bloody water vomited forth by Zipacna, the roaring great one who is the scar of the Earth Mother, and ate the skull-ridden dung of his brother, Cabrakan, maker of earthquakes. In this way, we were given the instinctive knowledge of earth and metal, gemstone and lava, soil and rock and cave and faultline—all the secrets of the world-body became ours.
Fourth, we stole the nightmares of the Thirteen Creators, and knew how to Truly Create without the need of maize or any of the things they had employed in their holy task—we who are the Lords of Eternal Darkness have our own materials and our own making, and the menagerie of our horrors lives in our underworld and does our bidding.
All of it was bound together by the Final Wisdom. You see, my grandchild, the greatest ordeal of all was only overcome by acceptance. The most important lesson could not be learned by ceremonial death. Such wisdom could only be attained in actual death. And death… is not the end.
We became great and powerful. We dwelt among men, but were no longer truly of them. But no ruler, no matter how dread or sacred or regal, dared do more than whisper our name… and no matter the name of the daylight empire that rose up, we were among its leaders. We were wise, powerful and could never die as the others died.
In the world of the living, much is made of the differences of our kinsmen who have dwelt above ground. Olmecs, Toltecs, Mayans, Incas, Aztecs, and all the peoples born of the many lands that today speak strange European tongues and worship the false gods of the other side of the Earth. We draw no such distinctions. We have always walked in the immortal darkness beneath human feet. Our living blood and our dead blood are both found among mortals around the world, and through our will and our magic, this blood is one.
Yet the sun and its gods and people hate that death which does not quietly rot away. And harsh Laws were made against us by the Lords of the Sunlight World, forcing many of us to dwell away from the gold and green of the upper world.
Many—but not all… Our Elders must stay in the darkness, but many of our Young may live in the world above, sitting in the light and tasting the blue waters of those lands. You have been one of them, and will still be among them. Through you and the others, we take subtle action in the daylight world, spreading our power and our seed as we see fit.
We do not yet have our greatest power in the sunlit world, but together, my grandchild, we will.
The Legions of the Underworld: The Fourth Teaching
Power without purpose is the fuel for another’s fire. We have purpose, and kindle our own flame. I shall tell you some things of who we are, and what we hold valuable, and what we wish to make true.
Know first that our hatred is strong for all who are Heroes. Our gods are the mighty Lords of Death, whose mansions in the blackness of Xibalba are diminished since that long ago night that the Hero Twins humbled them and destroyed the Two Foremost. From that time to this, we have nursed a great bitterness toward all whom the living would call mighty persons of great valor. Valor and might, pah! Cheats and weaklings!
This is not to say that we admire cowardice or weakness. It is instead to know that we have chosen our champions for their six Nighted Virtues:
The Fires of Revenge, which bring an outcome greater than justice.
The Blades of Sacrifice, which share merit through pain and suffering.
The Claws of Fury, which advance in all things through raging action.
The Screams of Intimidation, which overcome the hearts of our foes with fear.
The Brain of Frost, which calms strategy and freezes all weak sentiments.
And the Eyes of Darkness, which see where there is nothing to see, revealing all secrets and stripping away all lies.
Like the great ones of Xibalba, we believe in tests and surprises, for we believe in that which is clever and subtle, not in the bluntly obvious. The universe is a game, and all are players or tokens—there are no spectators.
The learned men of the upper world puzzle about one of our games, the sacred game of the ball in the court. Some think the ball represents our vanquished foe. Others think it is the sun. The truth is, it is both. As you will come to know it in our blind lands, the game is the holy ritual of the death of the sun, and the rise of our majestic power into the upper world. If you are victorious in our games, you shall have more than the flesh of a maiden and a bowl of pulque! The Nine Seats of the Lords of the Ukhu Pacha are for the worthiest, and in all our Great Tournaments, the ultimate prizes are never forgotten. Even the greatest of us all, the God-Emperor Supay, is a magnificent competitor!
Luck is not to be ignored or forgotten. You will find we wax powerful on certain day-cycles—the date called April 1 in the world above, and Tuesday the 13th, are both times of fortune for us. (That second date was once proof against us, but we gambled and won, and now it is ours!) One day that many think is good fortune for us is the hateful first day of their calendar’s “November”—their so-called “Day of the Dead.” It was stolen from us and is an insult to our legacy! No good can come to us from it, and we shun the day world when it comes.
We are given to sacrifices of blood, pain and life, especially on the 52-year Calendar of Sacrifice established by our mighty warrior, Chayutzin Quiquimama-chayutzin. This cycle draw meddlers to our holy rites—in fact, we once were nearly destroyed by a powerful group of seven-times-damned Heroes, a group of masked men of the Mexica lands who called themselves “Los Cinco Heroes Justos.” Yet for the fire and outrage they rained upon our works, they failed to destroy us, for we are crafty as well as mighty!
Our power in the day world has waxed and waned like the dying and resurrected moon, but we are once more at zenith and we must take action in that hateful place and make it our own. But you need know nothing more of this… for now.
There is much more to learn. Most of it you will learn through time and experience. But first, there will be tests. These await you in the chambers and galleries beyond the Fathoming Gate, and for this gate there is another toll.
On the cold rock before you, you will find the jagged spine of the stingray, dry and sharp. It must be made wet with blood and pain. This is your payment to pass the Fathoming Gate and begin the tests.
How is it to be used? Grandchild, this is the test before tests. Take up the stingray’s spine and ask of yourself: How much pain is the truth worth to me? When you know the answer in your heart, offer your suffering to the darkness.
Then you will begin your true journey on the lightless sacbe of your ancestors.
In the darkness, I shall listen to your most sacred agonies, child, and whisper other truths to you. Let me tell you of the other demons who share the universe with us. They are many and perfidious. Some call them “supernatural factions,” but to us they are only players and tokens in the great games. Which is which?
None dredge up such seething hatred in our souls as two “factions”—the Slayers and the Asuras.
Slayers are petty little mortal killers, madmen and children who desire to hunt the hunters and “protect the innocent.” Were there no monsters for them to face, they would be the monsters themselves. Trick them and torture them before anything else, my grandchild.
Asuras… ah, I must gather my concentration… Asuras are truly the demons they call themselves. They are the worst of all, Heroes who walk the day world forever, never aging or sickening, imbued with god-like powers and arrogantly striding every battlefield in search of their prey. They are too powerful and wise to toy with—THEY MUST ALL BE UTTERLY DESTROYED!
Two more such groups are the mad spirits of the Eastern World, brought to us by the Europeans: The Djinni and the Messengers.
You know the false faith of the Eastern World, with its petty cloud-god and happy children’s tales of the Murdered One. You know the older legends of their religion of lies, how legions of servant-spirits rebelled and were punished by other servants. These Djinni and Messengers are only the lunatic remnants of that insane belief system, and their fanaticism and pointless machinations would take the universe off its axis if they only could. They should be avoided or destroyed.
There are also Shapeshifters in the world. They are creatures older than the oldest life, born in puddles of seawater seared by lightning, oozing their way onto black rock under scarlet skies. These things are bacteria made large! Their power is strong, but they are forgetful and simplistic. We despise their ugliness and inelegance, and wish to cleanse the world of their primitive ways. They think themselves indestructible, but the white-hot blood of the Earth Mother can dissolve them.
Aimless Ghosts also dwell in the world. They are closer to Xibalba than we are, and for this we resent them, for they are also ignorant and willful. They have their plans for the day world and so do we, but we cannot both win. Neither of our sides is willing to play the game of war, and so we strive subtly, rolling the dice in places where only the dead and the undead may hear.
We know only a little about the so-called Dream Masters, but they are… troubling. They come from some plane of which nearly nothing is understood, and they feel… foreign. It would be best if they were encountered less often than they are.
We have enemies, but we are not without friends.
The magicians who call themselves the Loa Masters are well-loved by us. Of all the other “factions,” they alone would be welcome in the greater world we pursue in our great games. They know some of the truths of darkness and pain, and they are artists of fear who give us joy in our endless night. Welcome them always, and let them welcome you.
Strange visitors from another world and from across the western ocean, the Time Engineers and their allies the Benevolent Society are also our uneasy comrades. We do not know much about either group, save that the Time Engineers use strange machines to do their bidding and the Benevolent Society are children of the Gods of Fear. But this is acceptable to us, and they know even less about our nature!
The Vampires and their servant-friends the Blood Dolls are also loosely aligned with us, though we let them remain unaware of many things about us. The Blood Dolls are frivolous and simple, being merely mortals who dabble in the powers of darkness, but the Vampires are charming and strong, and many of them have great potential. We were originally under the mistaken impression that direct exposure to sunlight caused their bodies to burst like an erupting bubble, but the sun-death is gentler for them than that…
The rest of them?
The Necromancers are aggravatingly meddlesome. The Adepts are dull in their pedantry and feuding. The Cultists are impatient children. All are useful puppets in one way or another.
My fellow Necromancers, I know we share a common interest in the “naturally occurring” human resurrected of our world, so I have prepared a brief regarding a major grouping of creatures calling themselves “The Lords of Eternal Darkness” or “The Lords of the Ukhu Pacha.” [Hereinafter referred to as “The Lords.”]
The Lords are an ancient tribe-like entity originating in South and Central America, but now present as a global phenomenon. They are highly mysterious, but because they have a very sophisticated social order and complex group customs, they must train and educate their members at great length—which offers many opportunities to intercept information about their nature and their ways.
What we know at this time is that the Lords are a very large group of intermarried families, some of which have been joined together for many centuries. Their genetic profile is robust, and they do routinely bring in outside blood to refresh their lines. As a result, there are two sides of the Lords’ culture: The living family members and the dead family members. The dead are considered elder and have the final say in most matters, but whenever necessary, high-ranking living family members are given control over more modern strategies the Lords wish to take.
The Lords originated in an ancient and unrecorded MesoAmerican culture that has so far eluded archaeological and anthropological notice. They have existed in, and influenced, every major society from Patagonia to Mexico—Toltecs, Incas, Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs, and so forth. The arrival of European colonizers centuries ago brought them into further contact with the outside world.
Today, it is foolish to think that the Lords’ living descendants will only be Latinx and similar ethnic groups that are frequently associated with that part of the world. A human of any sort might be a member of their extended family structure, and could be initiated into their ways.
The Lords began as sorcerer-priests associated with death and night gods in the ancient world. They mastered the power of self-resurrection (what some might call “coming back to life as animated mummies”) but found that their particular form of undeath (there are many, as you know!) rendered them highly vulnerable to daylight. They discovered numerous passageways and vast chambers underneath the surface of the Earth, and have apparently colonized the world far beneath our feet.
These creatures do not require air or light or many other things, naturally, and so they are very well suited to the hostile conditions of the underground world. In their lightless cities, which are evidently no longer limited to their original homelands, the Lords exercise their power by three means:
a) Necromantic and other magicks
b) The creation of bizarre and monstrous “imps and monsters” to do their bidding
c) The actions of their living family members, who are imbued with supernatural powers that can withstand sunlight and the daytime hours
When all else fails them, the Lords of Eternal Darkness can rise up out of the depths of the Earth and carry out actions directly and in person, but they must avoid daylight. At best, the sun reduces them to feeble, crawling horrors; at worst, it can obliterate them entirely.
The Lords are very focused on tests, games and wagers. They claim this is because of their spiritual sponsor, the mythical afterlife-realm called “Xibalba.”
The Lords are unique in that they gladly accept the quaint, outmoded moral designation of “evil.” They consider their ways of existence to be honorable and correct, but just as clearly immoral and unethical as a bottle of sodium cyanide is poisonous. They revel in this bizarre philosophy, seeing their ideology as being a dark reflection of the normal world, much like the way their subterranean homes are twisted versions of the lands we live in. Strangest of all, they have a nearly fanatical response to anyone they consider a “hero”—not merely a celebrity, but someone “exemplary.” This would be amusingly childish (after all, there are no true “heroes”) except that it truly affects their behavior in dangerous ways.
There is, of course, a great deal more to know about these fascinating monsters. Unfortunately, they are impatient with us and are usually uncooperative when we try to approach them. They are much more friendly toward the idiotic Loa Masters, which is really very troubling. The Lords also seem to have a condescending affection for Vampires, who—for whatever reason—do not appear to have much contact with, or interest in, the Lords of the Ukhu Pacha. Perhaps that will change in time.
For the moment, this should be sufficient information to offer some perspective.
Anton Niemann, MD, PhD