“Pizarro did all he could, or pretended to do all he could, to save the Inca’s life, but in vain. His followers demanded it, and Atahualpa, brought to trial, was found guilty and sentenced to be burned alive. On the 29th of August, 1533, his fate was proclaimed in the great square of the city to the sound of bugles, and two hours after sunset he was taken to the stake.
“Atahualpa left this hall loaded with chains! He passed through this door on his way to martyrdom!”
Once again the red priest left his rude rostrum, walking here and there through the crowd, evoking by deed as well as word the last hours of the last Inca. The silence was intense, and his voice, alternately grave and impassioned, rang out like a clarion note.
In the sad story, the Indian orator had omitted all that showed, the immense courage of the Conquistadors and the cowardice of the Inca’s followers. Everything was attributed to the treachery of the Spaniards.
“So Atahualpa died at the stake!”
Menacing and prophetic, the priest turned toward the spot where Christobal de la Torre and his companions, hemmed in by the crowd, had listened, as motionless as any of the faithful present.
“And I say unto you, cursed be all the sons of those who came to us with a lie in their hearts! They shall die like dogs, and never know the blessed palaces of the Sun. They shall die unblessed, the liars who say that Atahualpa abjured his faith! The Son of the Sun remained true to the God of Day!”
There was a threatening murmur in the crowd. Round the Sacred Stone, it grew to a roar. How dared those strangers come there at such a time? Centuries of slavery can never bend backs so low that they will not straighten at certain hours. The descendant of Christobal de la Torre had met one of those hours.