Today, the Wyrd and Wonder prompt is focusing on fantasy settings inspired by non-European cultures. It’s true that many fantasy books are based on European Renaissance or Middle Ages. But in recent years, both big publishers and people self-publishing stories have published more non-European-based fantasy.

I’ve read some of them. Perhaps the least European of them was Aliette de Bodard’s Obsidian and Blood trilogy, which is set in the Mexica Empire. It’s based on Aztec culture.

Acatl-tzin is the High Priest of the Dead, and his job is to make sure that the dead get the right rites. Sometimes, he also investigates suspicious deaths. Perhaps surprisingly at first, he doesn’t have a high status in his society or even with his family. In the Mexica Empire, people respect only warrior strength and many think that all men should only want to be warriors. Anyone who isn’t a warrior is viewed with contempt. Acatl-tzin isn’t a warrior, and his warrior brother despises him.

Acatl-tzin can do magic but needs blood sacrifices. Human sacrifice is talked about but isn’t shown. Acatl usually uses his own blood for minor spells, he cuts his earlobes open, but he also sacrifices small animals, like birds. The Aztec gods are very much alive and influencing things, but they demand constant sacrifices and rites.