El Centauro de la Conquista

Here’s a thing no one has asked for, and that thing is the unedited prologue to my current work in progress “Lord of Poison“! Recently I gave it out as a teaser during SaS Con (SaS Con 2021 is gonna happen in February!) over the weekend, but I’d love to now give it to all of you! Without further delay: Lord of Poison – Prologue – El Centauro de la Conquista

“This color seems off, wouldn’t you say?” the scruffy-faced man asked into the room. He was eyeing a large canvas in the center of the room which was dimly lit; the canvas was floating in space as the man walked closer to inspect it. “See?” the man asked but sounded more desperate for an answer. “It’s all wrong. Fuck!” he cried out.

“Would you scrap this and start fresh?” a voice rang out from the man’s right side, “You have been working on this piece for many cycles. Would it not feel like defeat to throw this one away?” the voice asked.

The man placed his hand on the yet-dried paint and began to feverishly smear it deeper into the canvas “IT’S ALL FUCKIN’ WRONG!” he screamed at the voice.

“You needn’t yell at me, friend. I was only asking a question.” the voice said in an attempt to calm the artist down, “And besides, you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, right? You can start over, I won’t judge you.” the voice said reassuringly.

The artist held his right arm out and summoned his painting tools which quickly appeared next to him. The artist scoffed as he rummaged through the paints “Judging is all you’ve ever done, what makes this time any different eh?” he muttered under his breath.

“You make me out to be some sort of villain, Fernando!” the voice called out.

“Aren’t you, though? You come to my space with your stupid fucking quips and then act like you’re doing me a favor!” the artist named Fernando accusingly called out.

“Need I remind you that you’re in my space, somehow, and you ask me about the color. It’s not my fault you’re a hack!” the voice shot back.

Fernando quickly threw a can of mint green paint towards the voice as they pointed their brush at the voice “GET THE FUCK OUT!” he screamed.

The room began to softly illuminate with an ethereal golden hue becoming slightly brighter as it grew closer to the artist, “Tell me, Fernando, why do you paint these ghastly figures?” the golden silhouette asked.

Fernando finished summoning a new canvas and turned to the golden form “They remind me of home…” the artist said as he began to trace the figure from the discarded canvas.

“Home…” the golden form trailed off.

“Yeah, home…” the artist quietly said when he began to think of the word. It seemed like a distant dream and he could remember the sensations vividly; the smells most of all came flooding back to him and Fernando swore he could actually smell them. The artist glanced back at the entity and looked them up and down “I s’pose you don’t got a home, yeah?” he asked.

The entity walked closer to the canvas and traced a finger along the edge “This one will be correct.” they proclaimed.

“How d’ya figure?” the artist asked.

“Just a feeling…” the entity stated calmly.

“Great, now you have feelings.” the artist scoffed as they continued their work, “Also, you avoided my question.”.

The entity placed their arms behind what Fernando assumed was a back as they walked away slowly, “You answered your own question, I believe.” the entity said somberly.

“That why you keep coming here?” Fernando asked accusingly.

“Among other reasons, yes.” the entity stated.

Fernando set his tools down and turned to look at the golden entity.

“Have you ever felt like you were more than you are now, Fernando?” the entity questioned.

The artist stood there for a moment “The phrasing seems off, but I think I got it…um…” he began to think “I can only be what I am in the present, why bother with what I am in the future?” the artist finished.

The golden entity turned around to face the artist “The answer of one who has accepted their fate.” the entity disappointingly said.

“Fate is sealed.” the artist interrupted “Even with our tech we can’t escape that. It was written in our stars two millennia ago, and I’m just ‘ere for the ride! Gods willing I’ll be remembered for some good, ya know?” he finished.

The entity quickly got in Fernando’s face with their arms outstretched “GODS?! They’ve abandoned you, Fernando!” they yelled, “They’ve abandoned all of you…” they finished as they let the words sit as if they were clogging the air. Fernando turned back around and picked up where he had left off on the canvas.

“Do you actually believe in these gods, Fernando?” the entity questioned.

Fernando continued to sketch on his canvas “The Plumed Serpent rested in the seas as they looked upon the Heart of Sky, together they contemplated the dawning of man. The earth rose from their word alone. The mountains pillared from the earth and shot towards the sky. The Heart of Sky then began working on the deer, pumas, jaguars, rattlesnakes, and the guardians of bushes. ‘You precious birds; your nests are in the trees and bushes.’ they proclaimed as they formed the homes for the winged animals.”

The entity scoffed as they stood there listening to Fernando’s story.

“The animals were commanded to give praise to their gods, but couldn’t speak. Only squawks and howls came from their mouths and thus were doomed to have their flesh eaten. The makers still needed parishioners so they tried again but this time they used mud.”

“Mud? How crude…” the entity interrupted.

“Well, the mud didn’t look good and displeased the makers. The mud beings attempted to speak but quickly crumbled and disintegrated in the waters.”

“And then what?” the entity demanded.

“Oh, so now you’re interested??” Fernando yelled back.

“I just want to know how this tale ends, Fernando.”

The artist sighed and scratched their head before lighting up a cigarette.

The artist took a long drag and exhaled it into the room “Well, Heart of Sky called upon the diviners, Grandfather Xpiyacoc and Grandmother Xmucane, to help them form a person. The diviners told them to make the people out of wood. The wooden people could think, speak, feel, and multiply but sadly they had no memory of their builders, no memory of Heart of Sky and were thus destroyed in a great flood. Those who survived were eaten by the animals who became the monkeys.”

“What a rediculou-” the entity tried once more to interrupt before Fernando hushed the golden form.

“After their multiple attempts at creating people failed the makers tried once more at forming life, and settled on using dough made from corn. They could do everything the wooden people could do, but they could remember their makers and give their praise for life.”

“Are you finished?” the entity questioned, “Because that is the most ridiculous origin story I have ever heard, and I thought I had heard them all.” the golden form mocked.

“And how do you think humans came to be?” Fernando sarcastically asked.

“Does it matter? Tell me, Fernando, what is the moral of that story?” the golden entity asked the artist.

“To remember who we are, to remember where we come from and to be thankful for the life we have.” the artist confidently answered.

“No.” the golden entity stated bluntly, “Not at all. The moral of the story is humans will always need to be lorded over.”

The golden entity suddenly began to frantically look around before running around the room in a panic. “WHAT?!” they yelled before fading away leaving the artist alone looking on in shock.

Fernando rushed towards the entity’s last location and looked around as he inhaled more of the smoke before the cigarette began to glitch slightly in his hand.

The artist shrugged his shoulders and looked back to his sketch. A centaur was on top of a hill with it’s front legs in the air, holding a rosary in their left hand and a sword in their right. The artist took another drag of the cigarette seemingly forgetting his previous interaction.

The artist continued the work.

And that’s it! I hope this gives you a little insight as to what I’m going for with Lord of Poison, and I can’t wait to be able to show everyone the finished book hopefully around late Spring/early Summer 2021!

Concept art for the book’s cover

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