Excerpt from Forging a Nation:
Moctezuma was consumed with anxiety.
Thirty dishes were set before him at every meal and his bitter cocoa served in a cup of fine gold. But he had lost his appetite.
His Lords kept their heads bowed in the presence of his semi-divine person, unable to speak until spoken to.
On his fevered brow, Moctezuma felt the hand of doom. Reports had come to him of the landing of white men in the great waters to the east.
Mysteriously, tongues of fire had flared up in the temple of a Goddess blackening the blood -crusted walls and destroying the sanctuary.
For several nights the panic-stricken people heard a woman’s ghostly voice wailing across the canals, “My children we must flee from this city. Alas my children, where can I take you? Where can I hide you that you may not be lost forever?”
Moctezuma made his decision: he ordered the finest raiment be sent to the god-intruders, the finest woven robes, necklaces of gold, jade masks, beautiful feathered capes and head-dresses.
Their leader was to be presented with the accoutrement of Quetzalcóatl himself. Ambassadors were dispatched with instructions to welcome the gods with all the respect they deserved.
“I am but the custodian of their domain,” Moctezuma said humbly.
Secretly, he hoped these gifts would halt their march to Tenochtitlán.