Story set in Ancient Maya Empire - uses fantasy elements
|Ikal raised his axe, shielding himself from the jaguar’s growls. The jaguar would be a sacrifice towards Bahlam, to protect Ikal’s city from danger. They stood, circling each other in the dense jungle that surrounded him. Two stones surrounded the old forgotten temple of the Olmec’s. Ikal’s warriors howled, cheering him on. The Jaguar was surrounded by its family, growling and lashing out. Fire torches had been lit. Ikal pulled off his eagle helmet, throwing it to the ground.
He’d deal with the Jaguar the way the Gods demanded.
I will honour the Gods.
I will be eternal.
Ikal charged at the jaguar. It’s deep amber eyes glowed in fury. The jaguar leapt onto Ikal, trying to pin him down, roaring with its stinking breath. Ikal slapped his shield into the Jaguar’s eye. Roaring with fury, the claws clasped and ripped Ikal’s face. Ikal spat, before kicking the jaguar to the ground. The jaguar growled, summoning its strength. The two ran at each other, leaping into the air. Ikal slammed his club into the jaguar’s mouth. The jaguar crushed the club, swiping its claw into Ikal’s neck. Ikal fell to the ground, rolling.
Ikal felt the jaguar’s eye prey on him, like a hungry snake circling the mouse. Ikal summoned his strength, whatever was left of it. He moved towards the jaguar, staggering and collapsing at each moment. That jaguar is too powerful! He’s ripped my face; he’s made me weak in my legs. Bahlam bless me! He muttered his prayer to the God of the Jaguars. The jaguar let out a tremendous roar, running towards him. The sharp obsidian stone hinged at his waist.
The dagger! I had forgotten it! Thank you Ah-Cun-Can!
The four legs descended upon him like a spider’s web. Ikal slammed his dagger into the jaguar’s stomach. It collapsed, trying to run off. Its heart had been cut. Blood split as the jaguar howled in pain. Ikal turned to his men. ‘Surround the jaguar! Don’t let it escape.’ his warriors surrounded the jaguar, and they showed no mercy. Each one banged the jaguar to death, beating it until it’s cries trailed off into the distance.
Ikal gestured to his warriors, dissolving away like a flood. He picked up the jaguar, and placed at it the shrine of Bahlam. The huge stone figure held a trident, with its diamond eyes glowing. The huge jaw of Bahlam stretched out loud, eyes fierce. The jaguar awoke, as the warriors began to chant prayers. It moved, before roaring, vanishing into smoke. A Macuahuitl appeared tall obsidian razors etched onto the golden sword.
Bahlam is impressed with me. Thank you Bahlam! Though…Siyah K’ak is no easy ruler to please. And someone I hate pleasing. It’s a shame such a fine sword will have to go with him.
Ikal turned to his young brother, so far had been impressed with the whole ordeal. ‘That was…amazing Ikal. I wish I could fight with you. Let me be the warrior next time.’
Ikal packed his belongings. ‘No. It is too dangerous for you. Mother objected it. But it was your persistence that I brought to Tikal.’
His younger brother frowned. ‘So what if mother says anything, I want to serve Siya K’ak!’
A very dangerous glare from Ikal leapt onto his brother’s face. His brother withdrew back. ‘You will not serve Siya K’ak. He is not the immortal ruler anyone would want to serve under. Stay away from him.’
His brother’s voice trailed away. ‘Yes…brother.’
Ikal nodded, carrying the sword with him, accompanying his troops as they walked towards the city of Tikal.
Pipes and flutes fluttered sounds of music into the air. Ikal’s troops were celebrated with the festival of warriors, flowers and petals thrown upon them. Beautiful woman giggled, while one or two flirted with the soldiers. As they walked through the city’s streets, they arrived into the plaza. Huge pyramids painted red surrounded them, with mazes and complexes making the city. Siya K’ak stood, dressed in a huge golden dress, summoning the will of the Gods. His war paint depicted black and orange on his face, his face full of scars. He was a man built like a boulder. A man banged the bronze bell. The crowd stood silent. Surrounded by his advisors, nobles, generals, the ruler of Tikal slowly descended from his steps.
Siya K’ak raised his hands. ‘Praise the Gods! Ikal of the Mountain has destroyed the feared Jaguar.’ A roar went up from the gathered crowd. ‘Should we not honour the troops? Reward them with tribute!’ he said, smiling. A procession of beautiful women carrying plates full of golden treasures, the troops one by one were given it. Siya K’ak saw Ikal bowing, nodding. Ikal displayed his golden sword as the crowd roared.
Siya K’ak grinned, before his smile vanished. ‘However, one of your soldiers will need to be killed.’
Ikal felt a jerk. ‘Killed? We sacrifice hundreds of people daily. Why one of my soldiers?’
Siya K’ak shrugged. ‘To join me, you must prove your loyalty! Guards, seize one! Ah…yes. The young one.’ He said, as the guards seized a young warrior from his ranks.
Ikal fumed. ‘He is innocent. He did nothing. He is my brother.’
Siya K’ak sighed. ‘I did not expect soldiers of Tikal to dis-obey me. You know what the fate is. You know that the people require sacrifice. Killing a jaguar will not satisfy me, or the Gods.’
Ikal gulped. They would take his brother quickly before he had a chance. He tried to move before Siya K’ak’s powerful shoulders stopped him. The soldiers took his brother, moving him up the stairs. Ikal ran to them, trying to move them. But the buffed soldiers did not give any attention. Siya K’ak walked up until they reached the sacrificial altar. A group of priest’s chanted prayers, as four dogs growled.
Ikal turned to Siya. ‘Leave him! I beg of you, leave-’
Siya K’ak’s powerful grip on his shoulders prevented Ikal from doing anything. The senior priest wore a feathered plum dress, chanting a prayer. He stabbed it into the young man. His brother scream’s pierced Ikal’s ears. The four dogs growled, waiting to jump in. His brother screamed as his heart was cut out.
Ikal let free of Siya K’ak’s grip, kicking two of the dogs as they jumped to their deaths. The two dogs instantly came and tore into his younger’s brother legs. ‘No!’ Ikal screamed. The buffed soliders held him, making him watch the demise of his brother. Siya K’ak smiled. ‘Do you not see? I am a God. I am eternal. Your brother is sacrifice for the Gods. At the end, whatever was left of his brother lay in blood, the body parts thrown over. The dogs had been killed.
Forgive me, brother. I could not save you. Ikal struggled to hold back his tears, raging. Siya K’ak smiled. ‘I am making you into a man, and if that means killing of your family members, and if the Gods demand it, then so be it.’
Siya K’ak stared at the sword with pleasure and greed. ‘Who gave you this sword?’
Ikal answered somberly. ‘Bahlam, King. He was pleased with my sacrifice and thus granted me the sword.’
Siya K’ak nodded with approval. ‘That jaguar was the worst in hurting the subjects of my empire. Tikal cannot remain plagued with such menaces around us. Now, come, let us walk to the temple. I have something to talk with you.’ He said as they climbed up the small assembled stairs, that seemed to reach up to the Heavens. Siya K’ak sat on his throne, as his wife, Queen Kabal accompanied him.
Ikal wondered why Siya K’ak had called him. If the Ajaw wants me to train his armies, then he can fuck off. He will end at my sword one day. I will avenge you brother. Siya K’ak began. ‘Ikal, you’ve proven yourself worthy in my eye. You are blessed with Bhalam’s blessings, but you could use your talents to a much better use. Join me, and Tikal shall rule the entire landscape of the world.’
Yet you deposed of the previous King, putting yourself on the throne. There is no point in serving with you. Ikal coughed, before answering. ‘King, I am honoured by your offer, but I only think of serving Tikal. I will not become a General.’
Siya K’ak’s eyes furrowed, his mouth twitching. ‘You are making a mistake. I implore of you, you will be rewarded with riches, women! The blessings of the Gods come through me.’
Ikal silenced himself. He would let Siya take no as an answer. There was no way he would work with a tyrant. The ministers and priests gathered around the court murmured amongst each other. No one had dared defied Siya K’ak in such a humiliating way. Fires burned in pot, as the coloured room full of feathered serpents and spears began to rattle with energy. The storm clouds began to gather, a great vortex swirling in the distance of the temple. Siya K’ak’s eyes glowed, his hands bursting with energy that resembled poison.
Siya K’ak bellowed. ‘Traitor! I showed you the path to the Gods. You refused my generous offer. I will exile you to the underworld!’ he said. Siya K’ak transformed into a fire serpent hissing. The priests bowed, while the ministers scrambled down the long ten thousand stairs. Ikal grabbed his golden sword, kicking a guard to the ground as he seized his shield. The fire burned close, touching his face, crackling like a sharp knife.
Swinging his sword like a club, Ikal yelled. Siya K’ak hissed, bellowing out a hurl of fire in the temple’s room. Ikal crouched beneath his shield. The fire’s impact burnt his arms. The shield began to burn with itself. He winced. Waiting. Siya K’ak’ belched out more fire. Ikal’s arms began to tremble, sweating. His face poured down buckets of sweat. Siya K’ak stopped. The fire serpent’s eyes glowed with the intensity of red jewels, as it moved down close towards the shield. ‘I am offering you one last chance. Join me or end up like your brother.’
Ikal swung the shield into the fire serpent’s face, slapping it. ‘Never! I will not be complacent as I was when you sacrificed my brother.’ He said, running away. The fire serpent hissed, laughing. ‘You won’t run far. I will have you, whether you refuse, or whether you agree! One day you will see my way.’
Ikal ran, knowing that it was going to be the end if he jumped. It is better than me serving a tyrant! He ran, skidding himself as he collapsed, falling down. The ground seemed farther away than he could imagine. A jerk went in the air, as a huge blue headed eagle grabbed him. Bahlam appeared, wearing a huge feathered suit, using his trident to blast Siya K’ak with vortexes of energy.
Ikal sighed, before closing his eyes.
The Great God, Bahlam stared at the wounded warrior that lay on a bed of soft gold. Holding his spear at one hand, he gestured to his female servants, putting blankets of hot water onto his head. Huge waterfalls built on both sides of the mountain palace poured down water into the clouds. Bahlam sat on his throne, waiting for the mortal to awake. Ikal awoke, his head splitting. ‘Where am I….’ his voice trailed away, seeing the Great God smiling at him. Ikal hestitated, for mortal eyes was not meant to touch or talk with the Gods.
Bahlam scoffed growling. ‘Don’t be so hesitant in front of me mortal. You’ve done what no mortal could. You stood against Siya K’ak. He is the opposite of good and light. He is evil. And he will not hesitate to kill you once you have served your purpose.’
Ikal wondered what to say. ‘I…must thank you, Great Bahlam.’
Bahlam raised his hand. ‘Spare me the theatrics mortal. Your name is Ikal, son of Jana, from the great mountain city of Copan. You were raised in Tikal, but never knew of your roots. They don’t call me the Jaguar God for nothing.’
Ikal nodded. ‘That is correct, great Bahlam. But Siya K’ak will not be easy to defeat…not after he killed my brother.’
Bahlam nodded. ‘He was young. He did not deserve such a fate. I will make him meet you once this is over. But you must defeat him. Siya K’ak is planning an attack on Copan. I will make sure you get to the mountains.’
Ikal asked. ‘How do you know this?’
Bahlam laughed. ‘I’m a God aren’t I? Don’t question the Gods!’
Ikal smiled softly.
Bahlam raised his hand, as a squadron of ten thousand jaguar warriors emerged from the rumbling of the mountain palace. The jaguars held huge axes, wearing gold plated armour, roaring. They were not humans pretending to be jaguars. They were actual jaguars. Bahlam smirked. ‘I’m the God of the Jaguars. We’ve lived in this earth for many years, even before the first human was made. These warriors will accompany you to Copan. But they will not touch anybody.’
Ikal bowed. ‘I cannot thank you enough, great Bahlam.’ Suddenly he felt the powerful clasp of the God touching him. An unspent energy burst within him. Ikal found himself being transformed into wearing golden armour. Moving, the energy that had swiped within him felt easy to move. He ran back and forth. The realization dawned upon him. He had the powers of a God.
Bahlam raised his hand once again. ‘You will need a warrior to help you. I give you a man that has come from the farthest reaches of the world. Kanara!’ A great booming man came from the ranks of the jaguar army. Muscled, strong and holding a massive boulder, he threw it into the ground. The jaguar roared, whooping and laughing. Kanara let out a big laugh, towering over six foot. ‘You’ve summoned me from my sleep. What’s all this about? Why is the army summoned?’
Bahlam grinned. ‘To defeat Siya K’ak.’
Kanara’s scowl grew by the minute. Ikal guessed that the two hadn’t had a pleasant history. ‘That bastard took away my family and threw them into the underworld. Who is going to lead them?’
Bahlam gestured with his spear. ‘The mortal.’
Karana scoffed, before bellowing into laughter. ‘A mortal? How can he fight against Siya K’ak?’
Bahlam shrugged. ‘He had his brother killed and survived Siya’s serpent form. No one else can do that.’
Karana kept quiet. Bahlam nodded. ‘Leave now! And do not come back until Siya’s body is on my throne!’
Karana clasped Ikal’s shoulder. ‘Better listen to what the God says. We leave now!’ he said. A horn blew into the air, birds flocking. The jaguars roared, shouting at each as they gathered in formation, walking into the caves that would lead them to Copan.