Angelo, Texas

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Summary

"There is something about Angelo that brings us here..." Ramón. John. Huey. Aiden. Within the span of 300 years, four larger-than-life men unexpectedly find themselves in the small town of Angelo. While adjusting to their new surroundings and impacting the lives of those around them, the bizarre truth of their predicament is gradually revealed.

Genre:
Romance / Fantasy
Author:
Mo1961
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Prologue

An unspecified area far north of the Mayan confederacy. 1531. Early Summer.

On a vast grassy plain, two distinct groups of people met. One comprised six armed men, whose skin-clad bodies blended well into the golden landscape. The other was a contingent of brightly hued, feather-bedecked warriors, a woman, and their leader ― around twenty in all.

After a brief introduction through the assistance of the woman―the interpreter―one of the six stepped forward and addressed the gathering of colorful warriors.

“He sleeps. No harm will come to you.”

His avian eyes darted from the warriors to their red-plumed shaman, who stood several feet away clutching a heavy sack to his chest.

“Are those the stones and seeds that were promised?” the man inquired, as he wove his way through the waist-high grass towards the plumed man.

He was immediately stopped in his tracks by two warriors who sprang in front of him, impeding his further movement.

“We come in peace, and brought the sleeping giant as agreed!” the man cried out, alarmed.

Visibly strained by the charged atmosphere, the interpreter’s wide eyes darted back and forth between the two parties as she nervously wrung her hands while translating.

“It is true. You did keep your promise. And we will keep ours,” stated one warrior, looking at the man with disdain.

“That does not mean that you are free to approach The High Priest Xajoj.”

The man glanced back at his five companions, who had remained several feet from the exchange. Even though they were fierce warriors in their own right, they were out-numbered and in unfamiliar territory. They were well aware of the opposing warriors’ fierce reputations, particularly their bloodthirstiness in battle and their eagerness to capture men for slaughter, to feed to their gods.

“My apologies,” the man muttered, disgruntled. With a forced smile, he focused his attention back to the high priest.

“Great shaman, the giant god sleeps. As I have stated before― through this woman here―he can be awakened with blood. The metal collar around his neck will keep him under control.”

The High Priest Xajoj―who had remained silent during the exchange―finally deigned to speak.

“Why do your people trade away a god?” he asked, stepping forward, still clutching his sack.

Mute, the man stared at the high priest. He shrugged before releasing a deep sigh.

“We have no need nor desire to feed and bathe a god in blood. It is not our way,” he replied honestly.

Xajoj eyes narrowed when he looked towards the large figure wrapped in skins, lying on a travois. Handing the sack to one of his warriors, he approached the primitive sled.

“Well… I would not expect one such as you to understand the ways of the gods,” he commented haughtily over his shoulder. The red plumes atop his head bobbed with his movements and a sudden gust of wind.

“Holy One…” whispered the warrior with the sack “Is it wise to do this?”

“Of course!” snapped the High Priest Xajoj. “Who better to serve a blood god than us?”

Kneeling, the high priest pulled back the skin that covered the giant’s face. The youthful features of the god were of a pleasing aspect. From what Xajoj could see within the folds of animal skins, the god had long, straight black hair, which partially obscured the metal collar around his neck. To the high priest, except for having paler skin than the invaders, the god appeared vaguely similar to some of the peoples of the northern grasslands.

With great care, Xajoj raised the god’s upper lip, and seemed satisfied with the sharpness of his canine teeth. Emboldened, he used a thumb and index finger to open one of the god’s exotically shaped eyes.

Bolting upright, the high priest stumbled back in awe.

“What is it, Holy One?” whispered the interpreter in fear, as she also stumbled back, mimicking his movements.

Turning around slowly, the High Priest Xajoj wore a rapturous look upon his face.

“I had hoped… and it is true…” he uttered. “His eyes are grey, like the thunderclouds…”

“Chaac…” murmured several of his warriors. They all fell to their knees, with the woman and the six traders left standing, gaping at them.

“The offering of blood will truly bring blessings!” shouted the high priest. Raising his feather bedecked arms to the heavens, he closed his eyes.

Guided by an inner music, Xajoj’s jade-laden torso rocked from side to side. “Soon… rain,” he stated solemnly. The plumes of his headdress swayed with his movements.

Before the shocked party of traders, the high priest and his warriors began cutting themselves with pieces of flint, turning sections of the golden grass crimson with their blood…

The impromptu ritual concluded as quickly as it began, with the six traders letting out enormous sighs of relief.

The blood offering fell to the earth… and not on the god.

“Well, if the god is agreeable to you, we will take our payment and leave,” their spokesman finally said. After the ritualistic display, he and his companions had enough of the superior attitudes and sanguinary ways of the shaman and his warriors.

The High Priest Xajoj nodded to a nearby warrior, who came forward. He lifted the bag from the grass and approached the trader’s spokesman.

The man struggled to maintain a respectful demeanor and disguise his disgust when he accepted the bloodied bag from the warrior, whose forearms still bled.

“Where did his collar come from?” Xajoj asked, turning back to the skin-wrapped giant and re-covering his face.

“I do not know, great shaman,” the man replied, while opening the sack. “We found him wearing it.”

He pulled an unusual metal headpiece from the bag.

“What is this?” he asked, stunned.

“It is a helmet―head protection―from an invader to our lands,” the high priest replied nonchalantly, while ordering six of his warriors to lift and carry the travois. “Consider it a gift. The stones and seeds are inside, wrapped in cloth.”

When Xajoj motioned another one of his warriors forward, he held out a huge bundle towards the traders.

“Please take this cotton fabric as a token of our appreciation,” he added, in an offhanded manner.

When the six traders prepared to leave after inspecting their gift and payment, the interpreter grabbed their spokesman by the arm. The desperate look in her eyes begged him to take her with them.

It took a moment for the man to realize that the woman was not a kinswoman of the warriors; she was, in fact ― a slave. Not wanting to get involved in her troubles, he pried her fingers from his arm.

However, upon rejoining his comrades, the man soon had second thoughts about leaving the woman behind. He understood that among these bloodthirsty fiends, she had every reason to be afraid.

What if she were his sister? His mother? Or his small daughter?

The woman was too thin for his taste, but she was young, with a pretty face and flowing hair. He did not have a wife for many moons… maybe he could trade something for her?

“What about the woman?” the man asked out loud when he turned to face the high priest.

“What about her?” Xajoj snapped irritably.

“Is she for sale? Can we trade something for her?”

The man saw gratitude, and a glimmer of hope in the woman’s eyes as she translated.

The High Priest Xajoj laughed.

“Of course not. She belongs to Chaac.”

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