La Noche Triste - Conquest of Mexico

March inland...
Part 3 of the Spanish Invasion

We dared not charge them except all together for fear they might break our ranks, and when we did charge them there were more than twenty companies ready to resist us, and our lives were in great danger. For they were so numerous that they could have blinded us with clods of earth if God, of His great mercy, had not aided and protected us.

--Bernal Díaz del Castillo

...and war with Tlascala

With a couple of thousand Totonac guides, porters, allies and/or hostages, the conquistadors marched inland. The Tlaxcalans were fierce enemies of the Aztecs, an enmity which would make them Cortés' staunchest allies in the coming war and earn them a special tax exemption throughout the 300 years of Spanish colonial rule. At first they believed he was in cahoots with Moctezuma and they opposed him with tens of thousands of armed warriors. They had several pitched battles and many skirmishes. Thousands of Indians were killed, and most of the conquistadors were wounded; Díaz reports that they used the fat of dead Indians to dress their wounds, no other dressing being at hand. A Tlaxcalan general sent emissaries to sue for peace; when they turned out to be spies, Cortés had their hands chopped off and sent them back. Eventually, the Tlaxcalans sued for peace.

The victory of Cortés' small band over the vastly more numerous Tlaxcalans, whom the Aztecs had been unable to conquer in 100 years, must have been shocking news to Moctezuma.