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"I was always running. I did not take enough time to appreciate the good things in my life. Like Ayar. He was god and yet I ran."
―Quila regretting her decision of leaving her husband, 1536[src]

Quila was an Incan woman and a chasqui who uncovered a plot to assassinate Emperor Manco Inca Yupanqui during the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in the 16th century.

Biography

Early life

The niece of a respected chasqui, or running messenger, Quila decided to leave her husband in Cuzco in 1534 to follow her uncle's path, dreaming of one day meeting the Emperor. Despite her speed and stamina, Quila was looked down upon by the other all males chasquis, who constantly told her that she was not a true chasqui and that she should go home to be a good wife. The only exception was Turi, a young chasqui novice, whom Quila secretly took under her wing, teaching him how to read quipus.

By 1536, according to the Spanish Don Gonzalo Pardo, Quila had become the fastest chasqui among those he had seen pass before him, while sleeping off his wine on the roadsides.

Discovering a plot

That same year, after a quipu was passed to a slower male chasqui, Quila stole the message with the intent of delivering it herself to prove her value. However when she read it, she accidentaly discovered a spanish conspiracy to kill Emperor Manco, who was besieging Spanish-occupied Cuzco, with the help of an Inca traitor. Determined to warn her Emperor of the threat, Quila tried to steal Don Gonzalo Pardo's horse to quickly warn Manco. Unluckily, the drunk giant was awake and drew his sword, threatening Quila and telling the Inca that no one was allowed to touch either his drink nor his horse.

However at the same moment, the three other chasqui from whom she had stolen the quipu caught up with her and threw a stone to her head. This act enraged Pardo, who decided to defend the stunned woman and charged the natives. Being half-drunk, he stumbled and knocked himself out.

However Quila managed to hold her attackers long enough for Pardo to wake up and to take care of two couriers with one kick, with Quila strangling the last one with the Quipu. After a brief discussion, they elected to share his horse, as she hoped to pass on the conspiracy message as fast as possible to the Emperor in Cuzco.

Warning the Emperor

Later as they were making a stop in a tavern to drink and let the horse rest, Pardo took the Quipu detailing the plot, refusing to give it back to Quila and telling her that he was going to save the Emperor. As he was preparing to leave, Quila knocked him out from behind, but struggled to retrieve the message as it is trapped below his heavy and unconcious body. Before she could retrieve it however, a group of Conquistadors arrived. They killed the Inca inkeeper, knocked her out and captured them both and their precious message.

As they were held captive by the conquistadors near a battle site, Pardo managed to antagonise their captor, Diego de Cuervo, until a fight ensued, attracting nearby Inca warriors to their plight. They both managed to escape and to reach the city, but the Quipu was destroyed in the process. Enraged by the loss of her proof, Quila accused Pardo of wanting the death of Manco and they angrily parted ways with Pardo telling her that he needed a drink.

The entrance of the palace barred by guards who didn't believed her story without the Quipu, the desperate Quila elected to ask for the help of her former husband Ayar Acar. She waited for his return in their former house until the evening. Happy to see him, despite their split-up, Quila made diner for the bitter Ayar before explaining to him the reason of her return. After hearing her story, Ayar decided to arrange a meeting with his father, Tuti Cusi, an official with considerable political power and one of Manco's favorites, stating that she never lied to him even when he whished she would.

However, Tuti Cusi refused to believe the young woman as he was still holding a grudge against Quila for leaving his son and shaming his family. Worsening the situation, Pardo suddenly bursted into the meeting, drunk. Already not believing Quila due to the lack of evidences, Ayar's father became enraged at the sight of Pardo, accusing Quila of conspiring with a conquistador and sentencing them both to die.

On their way to the execution site in the morning, Pardo revealed that he had infiltrated the Spanish camp near Cusco after leaving Quila. While there, he had discovered that the Spanish allied themselves with an Inca merchant who was also the one who sent the message unveiling the plot and intercepted by Quila. As she was dragged toward Ayar to be executed, Quila finally understood that the traitor was Tuti Cusi, his contacts with the Spanish explaining why he knew Pardo by his name and why he didn't even tried to warn Emperor Manco about a potential threat. At first Ayar refused to believe that his father was a traitor but ultimately realized that she was right as his father only cared for money and power. Professing his undying love for Quila, Ayar attacked the three warriors sent with him by his father, killing them. Believing to be failure, a distraught Pardo told Quila to left him behind and the two Incas left on his horse to save the Emperor.

Saving Manco

Back in Cusco, Ayar and Quila infiltrated the palace through ruse as the Incas were celebrating Inti Raymi, the winter solstice. Reaching Manco's private chambers, Ayar distracted the guards while Quila rushed to save the Emperor who was alone with Tuti Cusi. Spotting Manco about to drink from a goblet given by Tuti Cusi, Quila threw the drink on the floor, believing that it was poisoned, and was knocked out by a guard before she could speak to the Emperor.

Tuti Cusi then revealed his true plan to the injured Quila, to have his hidden assassin kill Manco and his guard and then pretend that he was heroically injured by the fleeing assassin. As the assassin killed the guard and was preparing to do the same to Manco, Tuti Cusi revealed that his new plan was to kill Quila and pretend that she was the murderer. Suddenly, Pardo who changed his mind and followed them to Cusco, jumped on the assassin preventing him from killing Manco. Pardo throwed a knife into the man's heart as he was about to struck down Manco. However, against all expectations the warrior was still able to fight and they engaged into a vicious brawl after Manco was knocked out.

Despite his wound, the tireless killer took the advantage on Pardo and was about to strangle him with his bare hands when Quila freed herself from the grip of Tuti Cusi, biting the hand he held on her mouth and almost cutting off his finger. Rushing to the assistance of the spaniard, the young runner threw her body against that of the killer, projecting him through the window, to his death. Seeing his plan falling apart, Tuti Cusi tried to flee but was captured by guards led by his own son. To thank her for saving his life, the Emperor then made Quila his personal messenger.

Later, as they were parting ways, a redeemed Pardo offered a reluctant Quila to join the Brotherhood, giving her a Quipu with his name on it, to show to the Assassins if she ever came to accept his offer.

Gallery

Trivia

References

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