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Overgrown Lizards!

If you follow my work, especially that related to my original, personal fiction story project - IXIPTLA ("impersonator" in nahuatl) you may be familiarized with the CUETZPALIN ("lizard" in nahuatl), a kind of reptile humanoids native from the outlandish realm of AZTLÁN that also shared the territory of Anahuac (the American Continent) with human populations centuries ago, before they were hunt down almost to extinction, in the years following the spanish invasion of the Americas. You may as well be familarized with SPECTRO, a masked alien cyborg (actually, an A.I. created by an ancient alien who has his own reasons to detest the Cuetzpalin) that's secretly involved with the process that got the Cuetzpalin erased from Earth for a long time. The head of the Saqraruna Organization, that in the modern era has attained control over most of the resources of the Republic of Tahuantinsuyu, SPECTRO, like his predecessor, has a particular distaste for these "noble" overgrown reptiles. But he admits, these Cuetzpalin are even thougher than they look.

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A Cuetzpalin's life cycle starts after it's egg is hatched, and it's found in a small snake-like form, called Tonalcoatl. The Tonalcoatl grows into a lizard creature, that within few years grow into a human sized, dinosaur-like, fully formed Cuetzpalin. The Cuetzpalin usually grows feathers and wings, and after a century, its body gives away to old age, and the Cuetzpalin's mind and consciousness continues on its special organ: the Tonalcoatl (if the Cuetzpalin is irreversibly harmed in a previous point of life, the Tonalcoatl may still live). A Tonalcoatl can live for years, and die, or it can attach to a vertebrate host and keep a symbiotic relation with it for years. In that case, the host gains the ability to telepathically communicate with the Cuetzpalin/Tonalcoatl and even transform into a Cuetzpalin itself. But after some time using these transformative abilities, the host may lose the control of its own body to the parasite, who not only takes over its' "Cuetzpalin form", but also its' original form (be it human or not), thus, in several occasions, masking itself as the previous host's identity. This convenient natural resource has given an evolutionary advantage to the Cuetzpalin over humans and other non-human sentient animals they've shared the land with, building a system of naturalized social privileges, where a Cuetzpalin could extend its lifespans and take the wealth, riches, properties and families of humans religiously reduced to nothing but sacrificial victims - or noble, sanctified martyrs known as "ixiptla" - "impersonators of gods". The reason why SPECTRO and his sponsors detested the Cuetzpalin, however, weren't even remotely linked to the injustice usually committed against other animals (it's always valuable to remember that some Cuetzpalin, even though aware of their evolutionary predisposition for parasitism, abstained from using others and extend their lifespans for ethical reasons. Examples like these shows us that justice depends more on the reasonable mind than sheer instinct or the appeal to natural phenomena, and that reason, emotion, justice and freedom are neccessarily supportive of each other. Wherever one's absent, the others are, too).
    The ability to become a parasitic Tonalcoatl isn't the only special feat of a Cuetzpalin, their blood, the Atl-Tlachinolli ("boiling water" in nahuatl, later translated as a concept meaning holy water, while referring to blood, or even bloodshed, warfare, holy war) has some properties on its' own. This blood is filled with a substance remanescent from an ancient kind of almost extinct giant, self-sufficient beings - the Quinametzin ("giants" in nahuatl), that gives them enhanced regenerative abilities and also dissolves the Hucha*, the substance that compose the deadly Centzonmimixcoa, created from the image and likeness of Tupaq, the Elemental God of Darkness, leader of the ORS OHORELA ("Legislation of Darkness" in the enochian language), an Empire which took part in a 12 centuries lasting intergalactic conflict. SPECTRO's ancestor was directly related to the O.O; and survived the outcome of the war, also being partially responsible for its' resurrection.

*- a quechua term referring to "negative energy", the substance which compose the Yana Phuyu - lit. "dark clouds", referring to the dark matter or the dark energy which hypothetically expands the universe; in IXIPTLA it's the name of a race of darkness-based beings also known as Centzonmimixcoa (from the nahuatl, meaning either "Four Hundred Northerners" or "Four Hundred alike Mixcoatl". Mixcoatl is the Cloud Serpent, a god of hunting reverred by nahua, Mixtec and Chichimec peoples. In IXIPTLA it's the Aztec name for the Elemental God of Darkness, Tupaq). The Hucha is more commonly referred to as Duskoplasm by other traditions)

For centuries, save for one or two Cuetzpalin still roaming the earth, the last remnants of this controversial, yet widely unknown (erased from recorded history) kind were undead, biomechanical units remotely controlled by a Yana Enqhaychu ("living darkness", an artificial, sentient-form of the material darkness, or hucha. When linked to a sorcerer's consciousness, it's called Ehnb Yana Enqhaychu [E.Y.E] meaning "elemental living darkness") owned by the Saqraruna Organization. These units contain the corpses, and in some cases, even the Tonalcoatl of some Cuetzpalin from the Mexica era (or the Fifth Sun Era, which is still our current one. In this specific case, I'm referring to the time of the spanish invasion, the early 16th Century), some of them nobles. Right here, we have the Spinoraurus-like Quappiatl, once the Tlacochcalcatl ("Man from the House of Darts", the highest military title in the Mexica Confederation) of the late Mexica ruler Moctezuma Xocoyotzin (in IXIPTLA, also a Cuetzpalin, or a Nagual - a human able to transform into a Cuetzpalin, not the same as a Cuetzpalin Ixiptla, or host, usually war captives and sacrificial victims). Turned into a four-armed killing machine, this is one of the deadliest units out there. On the right, we have Papantzin, the sister of Moctezuma (and somewhat looking like a Tuatara lizard), who like him has special genes which grant them, besides all the characteristics of a Cuetzpalin, the power of super-speed. Papantzin's transformation, however, precedes the Spanish Invasion: In 1509, during a small raid which took place in the altepetl ("town", or "city-state") of Texcoco (one of the three main components of the Mexica Confederation, or Triple Alliance. The other two were Tlacopan and the most proeminent Tenochtitlán, nowadays City of Mexico), she was captured and killed by two assailants: Citlallinpopoca (lit. "smoking star", meaning "comet" in nahuatl. Originally named Mysta'tal, a member of the original O.O. from the same species of SPECTRO) and Enigma (a Vok, a bird-like being whose original name is Engta'tal and is also a member of the original O.O.'s bureaucracy). These fiends have been summoned by SPECTRO after a bounty hunter which his organization (Saqraruna) hired has travelled to Anahuac and reported the existance of the Cuetzpalin on the area. Under the secret identity of "Ahuitzotl" (named after a kind of beings and an individual), this mercenary, whose name is Autolycus, and whose affiliation is a secret society of assassins known as "Maggioranza" ("majority", not a proper name, this society's name is often translated into other dialects), has reported to SPECTRO about a wealthy civilization run by Cuetzpalin in Anahuac, but he has left Anahuac when the Mexica started war with the southern state of Tahuantinsuyu (Four Regions, the original "Inca Empire") during the time it was ruled by Topa Yupanqui. The Inca, at this time (the 15th Century's second half), were ruled by the incarnation of the same Tupaq of the O.O; in a time he still hadn't full knowledge of or support from Saqraruna. Topa died in 1493, poisoned by his wife, and his minions left the Tahuantinsuyu for the development of their own secret society, while the Saqraruna have finally contacted Tupaq, and planned the downfall of the Mexica civilization they left behind.

Why is it that they've kept Papantzin's Tonalcoatl? It's because without it, her recently murdered body wouldn't manifest the speed powers she has. As a necromancer, Enigma controlled her and manipulated the powers of a Cuetzpalin: using her human form, he had her resurfacing after her death, and faking a conversion into christianity, creating a fraudulent miracle of ressurection, to mask a manipulative necromancy, and in the way, leading the amazed people of Mexico, several of them illiterate (reading is for upper class), to join the new invaders' faith easier, thus destabilizing the power of Moctezuma. With time, these undead units became secret agents working for the Saqraruna, that still could transform into humans, albeit cyborg ones - for the necromancy and E.Y.E control to be automatized, what means, for them to be controlled from a great distance without the necromancer's presence, they needed this kind of technology - they have been employed throughout history to identify possible Cuetzpalin Ixiptla (humans with Tonalcoatl symbiotes) and Cuetzpalin Nagual (humans able to transform into a Cuetzpalin without a Tonalcoatl, or humans who have fully become a Tonalcoatl/Cuetzpalin, and Cuetzpalin able to transform into a human after taking a human's consciousness and body), and hunt them down to extinction. They are SPECTRO's ultimate triumph, or so he thought.

    In 2009, following reports of new Cuetzpalin surfacing, one of them, calling himself Paynal ("fast one") and working alongside the Tonalcoatl of Moctezuma, Papantzin's brother and fellow speedster, these units have been activated once again, and some of them have been bested by the speedster - in the proccess, using his Yaxchilán ("green stone" in a mayan dialect) blades and his Atl-Tlachinolli blood, liberating them from the "Hucha" and E.Y.E.s controlling them, finding out whether or not they possessed a Tonalcoatl or not, thus a consciousness or not, as hollow shells. One of such units was even created after Moctezuma's original body - that of course didn't possess any consciousness. Others who possessed a repressed consciousness, and who were freed by Paynal, were Matlatzincatzin 1, Itzquauhtzin 2, Cuitlahuac 3, Cacamatzin 4 and Petlalcatl 5.

1 Matlatzincatzin (b. 1476 - Tenochtitlán; d. 1522 - Texcoco) is a Masiakasaurus-like Cuetzpalin who served as the Cihuacoatl (lit. "snake woman", a priestly title of the Mexica Confederation) during the reign of Cuitlahuac, Moctezuma's successor. In this position, he was the successor of Tlacaelel Xocoyotzin, and was assigned to this position in 1520, as soon as his brother seized the title of Tlatoani (lit. "speaker") and organized the first resistance to reclaim Tenochtitlán. After his brother's death (possibly, killed by the extand undead units), Matlatzincatzin considered resigning from his position and rather side with the spanish invaders, however Cuauhtemoc convinced him to keep fighting. Not for long, however, was killed in 1522, leaving the position unoccupied during Cuauhtemoc's rule in exile.

2 Itzquauhtzin (b. 1465 – Tlatelolco; d.1520 – Tenochtitlán) is a Brachiosaurus-like Cuetzpalin who served as the Tlatoani of Tlatelolco (a Mexica altepetl ally/tributary), who succeeded Moquihix in 1473, after Moquihix failed at an attempted coup against Tenochtitlán. A tax-gatherer who supported the Mexica rule, Itzquauhtzin was the overseer of Tlatelolco's famous market. In 1520 he's supported Moctezuma and others during the fight with the Spanish, however was killed alongside Moctezuma, Quappiatl and Cacamatzin.

3 Cuitlahuac (b.1476 – Tenochtitlán; d. 1521 - Texcoco) is a Rugops-like Cuetzpalin as the Tlatoani of Tenochtitlán in exile, following the capture of the city and assassination of the previous Tlatoani, Moctezuma, during an intense battle alongside several other Mexican authorities. Following Moctezuma's death, he was the first to organize the resistance which would attempt retaking the city from the spanish.

4 Cacamatzin (b. 1483 – Texcoco; d. 1520 - Tenochtitlán) is a Crocodile lizard-like Cuetzpalin who succeeded Nezahualpilli as the Tlatoani of Texcoco. A young Cuetzpalin at the time of war between Tahuantinsuyu and Mexico, he was inspired by Moctezuma's heroic deeds, and for some time had Moctezuma as a mentor. He was a son of a lesser wife of Nezahualpilli so he wasn't set to become his successor, however Moctezuma has vouched for him, and he became the ruler, much to the disgust of his human half-brother, Ixtlilxochitl Xocoyotzin.

5 Petlálcatl (b. 1489 – Tlatelolco; d. 1651 – Gonawindua, Colombia) is a Majungasaurus-like Cuetzpalin who served as a Mexica warrior from Tlatelolco; later as the Caxcan chief of Xalpa; a member of the "Cuetzpalin Liberation Squad" and a guardian of the Tairona/Kogi people from northern Colombia. Born in Tlatelolco, a tributary state to Tenochtitlán, Petlácatl has been a warrior in the late years of the Mexica Excan Tlahtoloyan, who has accompanied Tlatelolco's ruler, Itzquauhtzin, in supporting Tenochtitlán's defense from the Spanish invasion, on a battle which had Moctezuma, Itzquauhtzin, Quappiatl, Cacamatzin and many more killed. Pelácatl has escaped alongside a group of Mexica who would reorganize under Cuitlahuac, Coanacochtzin and Tetlepanquetzal (who at the time was still captured by the Spanish) in a new Mexica Excan Tlahtoloyan and attempt to retake Tenochtitlán. After Cuitlahuac's death in 1521, Cuauhtemoc would succeed him. After Cuauhtemoc's failure, however, Petlacátl has left again, this time into Zacateca territory, and has become a leader to the Caxcan peoples of Xalpa. The Zacatecas once feared the Cuetzpalin, who were loyal to Mexico, but since the news of Tenochtitlán's fall to the invaders have spread, the remaining Cuetzpalin pursued their own allegiances. Petlácatl has become the leader of the Xalpa Caxcans, in a time of life when he perceived some flaws of the Cuetzpalin Oath to Mexico, seeing it that "the Cuetzpalin, all who were fated to become warriors, should have been spread through other peoples, and not centered around a growing empire" – as he sees, this measure began with Tlacaelel, the historical cihuacoatl, after the Tenochca defeated Maxtla of Azcapotzalco. From his attempts on organizing a secret resistance in Zacatecas territory, he's met the Cuetzpalin Taino renegade Macoel, who would also support him and the other Zacatecas rebels during the Mixtón war, led by he christianized Caxcan leader of Nochistlán, Francisco Tenamaztle, who despite christianized has turned back on the loyalties he was forced to swear to Spain, and rather stood for the rebellion and autonomy of his people. Petlacatl has been one of the first who joined Macoel's squad of Cuetzpalin liberators and alongside him has met Cuauhtemoc, as Juan de Andrade, in the outcome of the Nochistlán Rebellions, which they fought alongside several of the Zacatecas tribes (Petlacátl himself became a lord of the Caxcan town of Xalpa. The Caxcan were one of many peoples regarded as "Zacatecas" by the Mexica) against the spanish, as well their Tlaxcaltec & Mexica slaves/allies. In the outcome of the rebellion, despite it was suppressed, the place was secured by the encomienderos and the influential human leader of the Caxcan, Francisco Tenamaztle, has been arrested, Macoel, Cuauhtemoc and other allies, including Petlácatl have decided to join their forces and liberate other Cuetzpalin & humans of Anahuac from foreigner rule. Eventually, Petlacátl has become the guardian of the Kogi, a pre-columbian people descending from the Taironas, as well oversee the building of their villages in the mountain of Gonawindua, northern Colombia; while Macoel followed back to Mexico (where he'd support the Maya Rebellion of the priest Chilan Couoh). In 1651, the Kogi villages were destroyed by the forces led by the dragon riding Tupaq Chasqui I (secretly, Capac Huari, an ilegitimate son of the late Inca ruler Tupaq Yupanqui ), at the time the grandmaster of the secret society known as the Palarokhian Order, who hunted down the local Cuetzpalin to extinction, and who captured Petlálcatl.

As Paynal, Montezuma, Omepaynal, Cuauhtemoc, Matlatzincatzin, Itzquauhtzin, Cuitlahuac, Cacamatzin and Petlálcatl prepare for battle in the INTIHUACA, where the remaining Cuetzpalin specimens are kept in stasis for a battery of tests under the guidance of the Saqraruna Organization, SPECTRO, guarded by the controlled Quappiatl & Papantzin, offers Paynal a truce: SPECTRO claims he can "enhance Paynal, turn him (either William, a human, or Moctezuma, the Tonalcoatl) into an optimized specimen, a better, faster, stronger lizardman - one who won't need to suffer the conditions of nature such as hunger and disease, but whose genetics will make it stand out". Both William and Moctezuma, however, are just seeing the results of SPECTRO's "optimization", a complete erasing of free will, one they won't admit, and that will never make this proccess worth of anything. As the lies of SPECTRO begin to fall, more Cuetzpalin start to wake, and the world will known, through the superiority of these reptiles, the existence of the civilization of AZTLÁN, their primal sovereignity, and the meaning of freedom, a life free from the chains imposed by the ideologically deceptive, technocratic civilization imposed by the likeness of a life-detesting, foul spirit such as SPECTRO and his associates.

if you appreciate my work and would like to follow it elsewhere, feel free to search for me in these networks:

Trivia: Spectro's original design in 2004 was too much influenced by a certain manga/anime character who also had a line involving "Overgrown lizards". Listen to him here.
The design of Quappiatl, inspired by a Spiniosaur, is remanescent of a villain from old stories I created as a 10 years old kid.
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© 2018 - 2021 Guiler-717
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Miakhano's avatar

Nice characters, even though the artwork itself deserver more refinement.

Buen trabajo, te quedó genial.