Click on image
“Suitably housed.” Thrown into a freezing underground hole. Left to rot?
“Food and drink. Of course …” Kheir had ordered it so. Their king had ordered it. The guard dutifully obeyed. The days-old bread was flung through the rusting bars of the cell. It hit Maciste like a rock. With gusto the soldier opened his breeches and pissed in the bowl. A strong stream of piss he had been saving up. Slid through the bars with a sneer.
“You get thirsty .. just give a shout. Plenty more where that came from ….”
It was chilly down in these dungeons. But no one was going to give that much thought .. leaving their prisoner in just his threadbare breeches. Maciste had gnawed on the solid bread .. he needed to keep his strength up. He had slurped down the piss .. he’d suffered worse indignities during military campaigns. And he sat there in the near-darkness .. huddled with his knees up to his chest for warmth. But still the cold and damp settled like a chilled blanket down his back. He’d not get much rest down here.
Kheir in charge. His dumbass stepbrother had grabbed the throne. But Maciste suspected Kheir was fooling himself if he thought he’d have any say. Kheir’s mother was behind all this. He wouldn’t be surprised if she had had his father murdered .. as soon as Maciste’s back was turned.
A flush of hot anger raged through his blood at the thought. That a wife could be capable of such a deed. But Maciste had never trusted the bitch. And if Kheir thought he was boss .. he didn’t know his mother. A woman on the throne? Impossible. But a mother jerking her son by his strings? That bitch had Kheir by the balls. He’d dance to her tune .. or else. Probably finish up like Maciste, son-of-the-bitch or not.
So where did that leave Maciste? Shivering in the dark. Deserted by the gods. Left to rot in a cell?
Since they’d got the jump on him at docking, Maciste had seen no other troops but soldiers from Kheir’s mother’s homeland. Like his country had been invaded. Correction, it HAD been invaded. Maciste doubted all his father’s generals had “fallen on their swords”. There must have been a mass killing. A blood-bath. Probably why the people were cowed, they’d seen the killings. Was there any way out of this mess?
Should he have been suspicious, the moment his ship was docking? Should he have reacted quicker when they strode onto the ship? Walked straight up to him. And a sword was drawn and stuck at his throat. Should he have responded with more than surprise and indignation?
Too damned late to ask himself that.
Left to rot here? No way! Not what Kheir had planned for him. Just a single night to shiver here. What had that captain announced? Maciste shamefully displayed naked on the temple steps?
The people had been ordered to return. For Maciste’s execution the next day. Kheir would pass judgement, that arsehole. Lounging contemptuous on the throne. Decide how best to dispense of the heir to the throne. How to execute “this inconvenience …..”