Metaworld Chronicles



Chapter 275 - Land of the Risen Sun


A note from Wutosama

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The founders had named it Qusqu, from "quasqu wanka". In the tongue of the Amara who came before the Inca, it meant the rock of the owl.
In Quechua, it stood for the navel of the world.
After the Beast Tide, it stood fast as the centre of the Empire, Tawantinsuyu, made manifest on earth by the grace of Inti, the ever-burning sun, bringer of life. It was here, from the cyclopean fortress of Sacsahuamán that Inti, scion of the Yupanqui and the Capca lineage, received the benediction of his father and the paramount chieftains of each region.

With his tight, muscular body painted a thin layer of gold, Inti looked every inch the namesake of a sun-blessed being. At only twenty, his mastery of both the Mageocracy's magic and the craft of his people were well-lauded by his instructors at Cuzco National University.

Prominent with his ridge-line nose, deeply set almond eyes and a sensual mouth, Inti was told by the High Priestess that he resembled Manco Cápac, the splendid repeller of the Spanish and the saviour of the Empire. Inti didn't doubt it, considering the mana that burned in his blood, though he was much taller than his ancestor, standing as tall as the mountain-maize at harvest time. It was the Cloud Puma's milk, his mother had told him. When he was a babe, his father had received the benediction of the Sun God by wooing the legendary beast.

"My Son, Inti." His father, Achiq, paraded him across the spacious circle of the throne once more. The throne room of Sacsahuamán wasn't like that of western monarchs. It was a circular plateau where the Sapa Inca stood shoulder to shoulder with his companions.

The lords of the four Suyus each stood.

"Inti, make us proud." Caquingora, chief of the Qulla, Magister and Magistrate of the south-east, gave his blessings by anointing Inti with a spot of gold.

"Inti, may your warmth be eternal." Huaman of the western region, placed his hand on the young prince's chest in a similar manner.

"Inti, show the world that we are strong once again." Suyuntu, Magistrate of the north-west Chimú, gave his approval in gold.

"Inti, I wish for a team of grandchildren." Manco, Magistrate of the Antis tribes of Peruvian Amazonia, made his peers burst into heartfelt laughter as he dabbed at his son-in-law's torso.

"Yes, not a year longer, I too wish for grandchildren." Inti's father slapped his son's back. "Tica has waited for you for too long! When I was your age, the Mama Cuna forbade me from leaving the temple until we had an heir!"

"Please do not joke about that, esteemed father." Inti felt his golden skin burn with embarrassment as he slipped into his training tunic. He thought of Tica and acknowledged that there were few girls as beautiful as the daughter of Manco, nor as intelligent and magically-gifted. She would make a great Queen, easily better than him as the Sapa Inca. Still, he knew he was yet inexperienced, and the idea of being responsible for children of his own frightened Inti. What if he was to raise an ineffectual, lazy, or greedy king? What would happen to the four corners of the Empire? What of the threat from Amazonia?

"Until Tica is with child, our daughters cannot become concubines," Huaman complained. "Inti, have some consideration for this old man. My youngest is already older than you! She will be an old maid!"

Inti laughed drily, turning from the roaring of the older men. With great strides, he escaped from the Throne of the Sun.

"He's a good boy." Suyuntu of the Chimú nodded with approval. "We will be a proper Sapa in the future."

Achiq sighed. "Yes, but first comes the competition. Has the Committee approved of Amaru's proposal?"

"They have," Manco answered. "But to send Inti and Tica into that place. You are a braver king than I, Scion of the Sun."

"Ah, but Inti is the son of the Son of the Sun, hahaha." Achiq slapped his oiled thighs. "Like glittering gold, Inti will outshine all else!"

Cuzco was the bellybutton of the empire, and at the heart of Cuzco was the Plaza of the Sun. The original plaza was a part of the exhaustive temple complex leading toward Coricancha, the Grand Temple of Inti, but then the Spanish had converted it into a Weapon's Plaza where the colonists could gather in the event of an attack. For two centuries, the plaza had been full of Spanish buildings, but the Spaniards did not know that in the Andes, the great serpent yawned every other decade. When inevitably an earthquake occurred, all the Spanish buildings collapsed, while the Inca's so-called "primitive" masonry remained.

In the centuries since the Inca's return to the seat of Tawantinsuyu, the invader's buildings had been dismantled. What remained was only the square-shaped administrative district, which had been incorporated into the city's restored architecture.

Halfway to the plaza, Inti stopped to greet a pedlar selling achira, a roasted sweet-root. Inti refused the pedlar's offer of a free snack and paid the man a thin stick of crystal as compensation.

The pedlar kissed the prince's hand, then became instantly surrounded by citizens who wanted the same roots that the prince had bought. Inti may be dressed in his training attire, but his face was well known to the citizens living between the temple and its serpentine thoroughfare connecting Sacsahuamán with the city below.

When he passed a troupe of young girls, elaborate in their floral attire, they bowed their shoulders and giggled at the unadorned clothing of the prince. Behind the girls was a string of long-lashed llamas in ceremonial guises being taken up to the fortress. The Apu, the mountain Spirits, were kind of late, and Illapa, the god of seasons, was unusually generous with the rain.

A few of the girls wore their hair in new styles, Inti noticed, that and they wore the rubber and leather shoes popular in the northern continent. Inti would love a dozen pairs of these Nike and Adidas attires, but he was the prince of a country, and it would not do to demean his own country's craftsmen. All of Inti's clothing was hand-crafted by the Virgins of the Sun- girls elevated by the state religion.

Further down, passing a small square, he saw a group of boys in jeans and embroidered tee-shirts, listening to music from a quasi-magical device called a recorder which replayed sound. It was a European invention, though he could see that this particularly colourful model was a Japanese variation.

"Inti!" The boys stopped at once and bowed.

"Don't mind me." Inti ruffled the hair of the eldest. "I am just passing through."

"Inti, father managed to barter for books and lumen-recordings from America, through the Aztec Pocteca traders. Do you want to borrow some? I bet you haven't seen the new ones yet."

"I'll drop by if I have time, Palta," Inti promised, he indicated to the recorder and the thump of jazzy bass coming from the sound-emitting glyphs. "What does your father, the Magistrate, think about the music of the rocks?"

"Ah, he doesn't understand." Palta slicked back his hair with both hands. "Silas is the King of Cool! Baby!"

"Do you like our King best or the American King?"

"Can I like both?"

Inti burst into mirthful laughter.

"I suppose you can." He nodded to the bombastic beats coming from the device, so different to the court musician's lilting flutes. In the coming decades, the perils of keeping the Empire's culture balanced would be a task for his shoulders. For how long could their isolation keep his people innocent? Though Inti knew the tireless sun shone on the Andes his people, there were limits to what a nation of only twenty-million people could do against the ravenous hordes of Amazonia. Had the Spaniards not invaded and quashed their gods and temples, ravaged their population, perhaps their present condition wouldn't be so precarious, but alas, a dashed urn lost its milk forever.

"Inti! There you are!"

Down the hill, between rows of white-washed, mud-brick houses, the looming shape of an enormous young man approached.


"Sir Tupac." The boys bowed.

"Inti!" The man now arrived was enormously muscled, with legs like tree trunks, shoulders like that of a bear's, and a tapered waist like a puma. "There's trouble in the market; some foreign Magistrate is harassing Tica."

"Ha!" Inti snorted, not in the least worried. "We'd better hurry before she loses her temper."

"Coya Pasca will have my head if she gets into trouble again." Tupac parted the crowd like an ice-breaker. "By the Moon, these bumpkins who come into the city should be properly educated before they are set loose."

"Ah." Inti patted his friend's back. "The Empire has yet to elevate all of its regions; we are as much to blame as they, no? Is it not our fault that they do not know the proper etiquette?"

In the north-western corner of the Plaza lay the Hall of the Healers. Unlike the grand wing of the same name that occupied Coricancha, the Healer's Hall was next to the market square and was a modest structure of four storeys. The upper level was the priestess' lodgings, while the lower level was devoted to the ailments of the ordinary citizens.

It was here that the candidates for the Aclla Cuna, the future Priestesses of the Sun Temple, plied their mystical craft. The majority of them were young women taken from the four corners of the empire, selected for magical talent, intelligence and beauty. At any given time, tens of thousands of them laboured in the many halls dotting the Empire's townships, providing mundane and magical care.

"Girl, what say you?" A man sat one-legged on a llama-wooled stool, the other perpendicular displaced to show off his swagger. "A commoner's life is too poor for a gem like you."

"Sir, I am dedicated to Inti," the girl replied demurely. "I am not for the likes of you."

"Then you'll be a virgin forever." The man smacked his lips, causing his followers to laugh. "I am a District Official of Chinchasuyu, do you know what that means? It means I control a whole town! A hundred thousand labourers work under me. Come with me, and I will make you my concubine. I'll treat you no worse than my first wife, better if you bear me a child."

A crowd had gathered by now, forming a semi-circle just outside the plaza area of the Healer's Hall.

"Master Kayara." One of the man's guards was growing more nervous by the minute. "The Temple of Inti is visible from here."

"Ah, Antay, why do you worry so?" The man called Kayara patted his knees. "This is a healer's hall. These girls are from common stock, don't you know? The daughters of the named Inca are all in the temple proper."

"Sir Kayara—"

"Antay, enough." Kayara raised a hand. "Tell me, girl, who is your father."

"A retired soldier…" The girl lowered her eyes. She had a button nose which made her appear younger than her years, and her llama's lashes were long enough to give him heartache. Even attired in the rough smock of the virgin's tunic, he could sense her ripening body beneath, guess at her pliant limbs, wide hips and full breasts. "He has grown too old and fat to fight."

"Hahaha…" Kayara laughed. "See? Antay, you worry for nothing."

"Still, I wish to be left to my duty, esteemed Sir."

"Girl." Kayara changed his tone, evidently growing impatient. "Is your father discharged?"

"Discharged, sir?"

"From the military."

"I don't think so." The girl looked up, and her obsidian orbs were like two pools of darkness refracting the noon-light from the windows. "He's been wounded, many times though."

"I see." Kayara clapped. "I can discharge your father if you come with me. I'll give him the title of a tiller, but he can retire in my estate, hmm? How's that?"

The girl looked around her. The other virgins were silent. A few of them were smiling strangely, which Kayara took to mean their jealous approval.

"Please allow me to decline."

"Oh, no, no, no." Kayara stood over the girl, resisting the urge to place his hands on her waist. If he left here and now, he was sure some other noblemen would take the girl by tomorrow. She was a fantastic treat, a thing of divinity, a fertility goddess. That she had remained undiscovered until he passed by was the will of Inti himself. "You see- the hand that gives also takes. If you refuse me, I will have to report your father for desertion. Your family will receive punishment for dereliction of state duty. Your father will have to make up for his time with hard labour, no? Could his old body take it?"

A foreboding silence fell over the temple.

Outside, the crowd collectively parted, though Kayara was well-absorbed in his theatrics.

"Do you not know of the Sapa's love for his people?" The girl challenged him. "Do you not know that Inti is fair?"

"Haha." Kayara shook his head. "But the Sapa is in his fortress, and Inti hangs high and far. I am and here and now."

"That's funny," a voice came from behind Kayara. "I was only six blocks away."

The District Official turned his head.

Something blotted out the sun.

Or rather, it was a caramel giant whose sleeveless tunic strained against his frame. He wore a breastplate of tanned llama hide, paired with gold-studded wrist-cuffs and military-style boots. Quickly, Kayara glanced at the man's mantle, noting the checkered patterns there that informed of his Qulla origins. From the blue dye, he could see the man's unimpressive rank.

"Warrior." Kayara kept his cool. "Is there a problem?"

"You need to apologise and present yourself to the temple," the giant intoned loudly. "Inti is forgiving, but not THAT forgiving. Repent while you can."

A murmur of agreement resounded from the crowd.

"Is wanting to give a young woman a better life a crime now? Are you a Temple Arbitrator?"

The question seemed to confuse the warrior.

"Tica?" The giant scratched his head, addressing the object of Kayara's affections. "What should I do?"

"Oh, so you know each other?" Kayara grew annoyed. "Is this what this is about? Antay! Get rid of him."

Against Kayara's expectations, his usually infallible guard captain had transformed into a golden statue, one that profusely perspired.

Kayara frowned.

"Sir." A young man not nearly as impressive as the giant dipped his head. "Can we talk outside? You're in the Healer's Hall; the girls need to attend to the citizens. While you debate with Tica, there's a line waiting outside."

"Who are you?" Kayara frowned. The young man was in a training uniform of white woven llama wool. It was good quality, but it was the sort one saw anywhere. In his eyes, this must be another young noble, at worst a high-ranking one. "No, we can talk here."

Someone sniggered from the crowd, followed by a dozen snorts.

Kayara felt the hair rise at the back of his head. He knew the citizens of Cuzco were haughty- but weren't they looking down on him too much? He was an administrator!

To his surprise, the young man stretched out a hand to the girl and pulled her away. Before he could violently object, she fell into his arms, and the two dashed for the plaza.

"After him!" Kayara was regretful that such a bounty would escape beneath his nose. Pushing his useless captain aside, he led his entourage outside, stepping into the sun.

"HALT!" came the sound of the giant from behind him. A terrible pressure emitted from behind Kayara, there was a growl like that of the puma. In the square, the crowd parted like mist cleaved in twain by the sun.

Kayara halted, not because of the beast behind him, but because of what now stood in front. The polite young man now stood with the sun above him, with the wide avenue toward the temple silhouetted against his body. Where the two-storey golden disc of Sun Gate refracted the light, Kayama saw for a moment, Inti himself.

The mana of radiance poured from the young man's body, filling the plaza with warmth, dispelling the cold air of the mountain valley. The girl in his arms giggled mischievously, her eyes bright with worship.

"You are—!" Kayama realised too late. The cleansing light filled his heart with clarity, and in its luminance, he cursed his weak desires.

All he could do was turn toward the temple, kneel, then place his head against the brickwork floor.

"Official Kayara Taruca, I will recommend you for two years of labour to temper your desires and learn the heart of the people. After that, you may return to your position, pending review from the Kuraka Bureaucratic Committee. For now, please report yourself to your Suyu's Kuraka."

"I. Kayama Taruca. Obey the will of Inti." Kayama trembled before the sun. "I will dedicate myself to the Empire and return to the land to learn its ways. You are merciful and wise, my prince. Please forgive this fool. Antay! You will be my guard. Take me back to the province!"

Without another word, Kayama removed the mantle from his shoulders, took the signet ring from his fingers, then unstrapped his official's wrist-band.

He then turned toward the palace, knelt once more, then rose to his feet. Turning about-face, Kayara then began the long trek back to the northern province. His guards followed, not knowing what else to do.

"Inti!" a voice cried out from the crowd.
"Good work, Inti!"
"Inti the wise!"
"Prince Inti!"

A plethora of raised caps and jubilant cries answered Inti as his giant companion rejoined the duo.

"Your father, the Magistrate Antis, is a retired soldier?" Inti asked the girl in his arms.

"He did retire from his position as the General, and he is growing bulbous like a yam. One wonders if he might run into the Pishtaco at this rate."

"Don't let him hear that... why didn't you introduce yourself properly," Inti whispered his fiancée through the Message bangle, a handy invention, one he had fashioned into the style of a traditional Quipu bracelet. "The Coya Pasca told you this would happen if you worked with the commoners. The nobles love to recruit concubines from the temple."

"Isn't that obvious?" Tica's smile was as brilliant as the noon-day sun. She kissed his hand as the people's cheers turned into sultry demands for royal grandchildren. "Everything I do, Inti. It's all for you."

In Hawaii, the Honolulu Tower sat beside the port authority, an extension of the Oahu naval base.

Its original name was the Inouye Tower, after its resident Tower Master. When Magister Inouye vacated due to health complications, the Tower's name was auctioned off to the highest bidder. Now, travellers floating past its concrete facade could not help but gaze at the enormous characters clinging to its sides in garish purple and orange, spelling out the letters "FDX".

"Can we go outside?" Gwen caught the clerk processing their passports. Unknown to most of her peers, she was already wearing a white halter-top two-piece underneath her dress.

"Ah…" The clerk began to sweat, feeling as though a man-eating Sphinx was proctoring his answer. "No… Ma'am."

"WE CAN'T go to the beach?" Gwen pointed to the floor to ceiling window panes, beyond which was the ultramarine ocean. "Its right there! How far is Waikiki from here? Ten, twenty minutes? I could fly there in five."

"Ma'am, your multi-pass isn't authorised to travel on U.S soil," the perspiring clerk explained. "You can't leave the Tower's transitory grounds."

"Ridiculous!" Gwen protested. She could smell the brine-scented sea outside. She leaned in close so that her face was a few inches away from the man's face. "Surely there's somewhere close within the Tower's domain we can dip our feet?"

"Er…" the clerk relented. "We have a rooftop pool in the VIP section, but—"

"How do we get there?"

"It's for VIPs…"

"How does one become a VIP?"

"You have to be an FDX premium member."

"What is that?"

"If you carry freight with us and spent over 20,000 HDMs, you'll receive a VIP membership for free. FDX provides the best global logistics for the transportation of maritime goods into and from America—"

"Hold the infomercial," she stopped the young man. "I thought this was the Honolulu Tower."

"It's the FDX Tower."

A few of the female clerks giggled behind the man talking to Gwen. Jiro wiggled his brows at them, eliciting another bout of laughter.

FDX? Gwen googled her memories. F for Federal—? Something clicked.

"Federal Express?"

"Yes, Ma'am, that's us."

"FedEx owns a Mage Tower?"

"We're just the sponsor, Ma'am. The state manages the military and the administrative wing. You're in the commercial wing. FDX is also an official sponsor of the IIUC…" The young man looked at the airhead sorceress with an expression of infinite kindness and patience. "Would you like to know more?"

"No…" Gwen sighed. "You're sure we can't just fly by Waikiki for half a day?"


"Not even for ready crystals?" She made the universal sign for "Ka-chin!".

"You have to apply for an upgraded transit-pass, it'll take forty-eight hours."


She returned to the lounge, sat toward the sun, and faced the lulling sparkles reflecting from the ocean. Her mind, however, had drifted onto other matters.

So, a corporation may "own" a Tower?

America. She thought to herself. You big, bloody, beautiful ripper!



A note from Wutosama

 Chapter Ref ::   

Bonus ::  Gwen's Outfits 
Glossary and Magic System :: Glossary 
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My photos from Machu Picchu after doing the Inca trail (the guy in pic is my guide) 
We stood on the Sun Gate at sunrise after 4 days of walking 9 hours, worth the effort! 
Willy you legend, hope ya got married since then. 

SURVEY TIME! Here's an interesting survey made by Itaywex (Discord)
Once date is collated we'll make an info-graphic! 

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About the author


Bio: I write on the phone and edit at home. Times are tough!

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