The Flayed Lands is the name for the kingdom of the dead that held dominion over Central America, once part of the mighty Dark Kingdom of Obsidian. When conquerors from Europe came, they destroyed the Flayed Lands and massacred their inhabitants, allowing Stygia to claim the Flayed wraiths' territory. This catastrophic event in both the Skinlands and Shadowlands also led to the Third Great Maelstrom.
The wraiths of the Flayed Lands carved out a large domain for themselves in the Tempest, with many Byways linking it to the Shadowlands, and called it the Fifth Sun. It held beautiful gardens and pyramids forged from the Pathos of the sacrifices they received from the living, and giant temples in honor of their patron gods.
The Four HousesEdit
The four Houses are the social groups of the Mesoamerican dead, each House taking in those who followed particular ways of life; two of the Houses, oddly, both take in wraiths who led opposed ways of life. An agreement among the Houses, each of which represents a distinct deity, is that all four will work towards the betterment of Mesoamerica.
The heads of each House form a council that makes the final decisions over the kingdom. New wraiths are judged and placed in one of the four Houses, where they are expected to follow that House leader's rule and decisions. The original council was killed in the destruction of the Fifth Sun, and the survivors have created a new council to replace it.
House of the WerejaguarEdit
In the beginning, there was Mixcoatl, a king in life who became the most powerful of Mesoamerican wraiths, seeking to unify the people of the world that they might better serve the gods. He organized the other wraiths, refined his Arcanoi, learned to harness the energy of sacrifices, and became the power overseeing the mortal Olmecian Empire. Mixcoatl recognized the deity called the Werejaguar over all other gods and declared himself the Werejaguar incarnate; his wraithly followers became known as the House of the Werejaguar.
The Olmecs became lazy under Mixcoatl's rule, and were therefore no match for a tribe from the north, who easily conquered the Werejaguar. Some escaped, but the Olmecian Empire was finished. Mixcoatl has not been seen since the Empire's fall, and his House has taken no new members. Those few who have survived to the present day are powerful, and committed to Mixcoatl's vision of the unification of all people.
House of Ix ChelEdit
Following the goddess of floods and rainstorms, the House of Ix Chel holds both those who succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and those who failed miserably in life. Ix Chel did most of the fighting against the Heretics when they arrived.
House of Xipe TotecEdit
Crops and war are this deity's focus, and so those who took away or gave life are assigned to this House. In no other House are the differences within the opposite system so pronounced and opposed; Xipe Totec finds itself stalled as members find themselves frequently at odds.
House of Itzam NaEdit
Itzam Na is the name for an immortal iguana who stretches through the sky and bites his own tail, symbolizing the infinite nature of the universe. Wraiths who belong to none of the other Houses are placed here, making this House the largest of the four.
The End of the Fifth SunEdit
As the Mesoamerican tribes spread, the Flayed Lands grew with them. The houses, working in concert, helped the mortals build a complex and vital society. They named this new kingdom the Fifth Sun, in honor of the age in which the Flayed Lands were established. There, the four houses built up an enormous metropolis, with massive temples to their patron gods, elaborate palaces, and even sports stadiums. The Fifth Sun was prosperous. Their symbiotic relationship with the mortal priests provided a constant flow of Pathos, which they forged into one of the greatest empires of the dead the world has ever seen.
The Spaniards arrived in Mesoamerica, unknowingly bringing along Heretics who had fled from the Hierarchy in Stygia. Frightened by this new world, the Heretics decided to make this land their own by leading the living Spaniards into war against the natives.
The Houses did not know what to make of these strange new visitors. Some wanted to follow Mixcoatl's vision and seek alliance with them; others wanted war against these troublemakers. In the Houses' prolonged argument over what to do, the Heretics saw their opportunity to attack, thus beginning a long bitter war. In the end, the Spaniards overwhelmed the Flayed wraiths' mortal kin, and the priests whose sacrifices gave the Flayed wraiths their power died without replacement; with their strength gone, the Flayed wraiths could not defend themselves in their final stand and were utterly destroyed by the Heretics, the massacre serving as the final trigger for the Third Great Maelstrom.
Those who managed to escape the massacre formed the New Sun, a kingdom which they managed to hide from the Heretics with what little power they had left to them. With the loss of their mortal priests, they have had to learn how to gather Pathos as Stygian wraiths do, taking it where once it was offered willingly. They quietly wait and learn from their enemies, hoping for a chance to destroy their conquerors once and for all.