Palaimon is the Alpha (the leader with the highest rank) in the first centaur herd the reader meets in the Sons of Apollo series. His namesake in mythology is the deified son of Io and Zeus. I chose this name because it means “the wrestler.” Physical strength is the means by which a centaur earns his rank and position in centaur culture. Among his kin, Palaimon, son of Arktos, has a reputation as being unbeatable. Initially conceived as a supporting character with a minor role, his character grew as the story developed until he played a much more pivotal and occasionally a seemingly villainous role. He has become one of my favorites.
Just for fun, I wrote an alternate book blurb as if book one were from Palaimon’s point of view:
While Palaimon would prefer to have nothing to do with men, his younger brother, Petraios, has gotten it in his mind that because the Oracle of Apollo promised him victory in a competition of men that he will go to Olympia to compete in Zeus’ festival against the renowned demi-god, Hercules.
It’s a bold and even brash move from his diplomatic brother, but it should be entertaining to see men put in their place. And he’ll be there to bail his brother out of trouble if it comes to that.
Winning the contests won’t be the difficult part. Getting into the contests will be the difficulty. But if anyone can convince the Hellanodikis (the chief judge of the contests) to permit a centaur to participate, it’s Petraios. Since they were young, Petraios has had an uncanny and even annoying way of befriending mankind and making them see his point of view.
Competing is a silly waste of time when it would be much quicker to steal the Princess away from her easily accessible garden, but Petraios insists on doing things his way. The hard way. He wants to compete among men as an equal, which is also a silly notion since centaurs were meant to be superior. They’re stronger, bigger, and faster. Even among men the most revered tutor in the art of warfare is a centaur. But mankind has forgotten what the centaur, Kheiron has bequeathed to them in knowledge and skill. Their debt to him is great, but they have not repaid in kind. No, mankind has decided that centaurs are the enemy.
Under the influence of the centaurs’ political enemies, the Taraxippoi, men have even begun to teach this philosophy to their daughters. Since Kheiron’s death and Ixion’s disgrace, it has become increasingly difficult to find willing mates among women. Women are taught to fear and loathe the centaurs. If the centaurs are unable to mate, they are unable to reproduce. If there are no women to bear their sons. The centaurs will eventually die out, and cease to exist. Admittedly it is one of the more effective tactics of the Taraxippoi in their campaign against the centaurs.
Palaimon’s destiny, as promised by the Oracle, is to find a solution to the problems of centaurs. To end the curse of Ixion. But this will not be accomplished through the daughters of men. Centaurs need mates of their own race. A female born to their own race. The kentauris, she will be the answer, the end to the curse of Ixion. She will redeem the centaurs from extinction. That is Palaimon’s lifelong quest, there’s just one problem, the centaurs cannot father daughters.
Ensuring his brother’s participation at the festival doesn’t start a war becomes the least of Palaimon’s worries when an arrow from the bow of Eros convinces Palaimon that perhaps the Princess is worth stealing after all.