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Feathered Serpent, The (1976-78)


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Episode 3, originally transmitted on ITV, 5 July 1976

Tozo, servant of Prince Heumac, has tried to convince the Toltec army of the danger facing their master. Unsuccesful, he returns to the city at night and finds Otolmi, the former priest of Quala. Otolmi has found an entrance into the newly-built temple of Teshcata. Tozo hopes to find Heumac using a chart of the secret passages inside.

Nasca has demanded that Emperor Kukulkhan spend the night in the temple communing with the dead to see if they approve of Kukulkhan's decision to wed Heumac to his daughter, Princess Chilmama. Kukulkhan agrees and enters the temple alone. But while he is praying, a statue appears to strike him dead with an axe. In fact, it's Chadac, Nasca's servant, in disguise.

Nasca chides Chimalma on her doubts about the god Teshcata. Then he visits Mahoutec, head of Kukulkhan's army, and tries to persuade him to attack the Toltecs. Mahoutec is unconvinced but agrees to engineer a duel with Heumac on the pretext that he was formerly betrothed to Chimalma and now the Toltec has taken his place. They will fight to the death for her hand, as is the custom.

Nasca enters the secret passages. Tozo trails him to the temple's inner sanctum, where Nasca and Chadac discuss their plans over the Emperor's body. Tozo hears of their part in Kukulkhan's murder and of the attack on the Toltec camp.

Mahoutec finds Heumac and insults the Toltec tribe. Heumac slaps him and Mahoutec demands satisfaction. They will meet when the moon is at its highest for a duel.

Tozo tries to find his way out of the inner sanctum without success, worried that he will be blamed for Kukulkhan's death. In her room, Chimalma prays to Quala. Nasca spies on her through a peephole and determines that she is his enemy.

Mahoutec meets Heumac on the terrace and they fight. Heumac overpowers Mahoutec but refuses to take his life. Mahoutec is so ashamed that he refuses to give the order to attack the Toltec camp. Nasca tells Chadac that Mahoutec must relent or face death himself.

In the morning, Chimalma finds her father's body in the temple. She is declared Empress. Nasca declares that Kukulkhan's plans have found disfavour with the ancestors. He tells the lords that if Chimalma ignores this warning, the dead will wreak their revenge.