Herald of the High King
“Where was I?”
Paris was still seated on the throne .. settled in to write an answer to Agamemnon’s peace offer. Written on this muscular torso, Agamemnon’s Hittite herald.
Lukka had had his top sliced away. Left standing in just a leather kilt, the one Agamemnon had kitted him out with .. to fit Lukka’s elevated role as emissary.
Feeling his dignity challenged, Lukka drew himself up tall .. feeling the chains to the clunky manacles sway. He stuck out his chest. The image of the plucky Hittite soldier clear in his mind.
Paris was still gazing over Lukka’s muscled torso. Looking over the tall warrior.
“ … what exactly was Agamemnon’s offer?”
Lukka had seen a guard go over to the wall. Selecting an ugly whip. Thick, sinewy, leather, .. a bludgeon. And then he had disappeared behind. Lukka was no fool. He readied himself.
“Ah yes …..”
Paris was seated easily on his throne, eyes scouring over Lukka’s bare torso.
“Agamemnon has dropped the demand for Helen’s dowry to be returned.”
He nodded sagely.
Lukka grabbed at the chains on his manacles. The whoosh of leather filled the air. The force of the blow from behind knocked him forward. The smack of hard leather across his shoulders flashed across his face. He fought against the shock. He bit down on the pain. Burning across his back.
Unconcerned Paris continued.
“Out of the question. Returning a wife’s dowry? That was never going to be.”
Paris perused the scene, sat calmly in his finery, the embroidered tunic running up revealing long athletic legs.
Lukka was beginning to pant. His heart had picked up the pace. A burning was settling into the skin in his back.
“Yes. Tribute? Agamemnon foregoes a tribute from Troy.”
“Are we losing this war? He thinks he can offer terms? It is Agamemnon losing. Have they breached our walls? It is the loser who pays tribute.”
He nodded again.
“A winner has nothing to pay.”
Lukka clicked. Paris’ nods were the signal.
“No tribute to be paid?”
Behind a whoosh of air. A warning. The oncoming rush of biting hard leather.
“Tell Agamemnon that is laughable. Rejected.”
Pain took a giant bite out of the breadth of Lukka’s muscled back. Force jarred him forward. Pain arched his back. A pained yell pounded at the dam he had built in his throat. Biting it back down. The brave Hittite. Refusing to let out the cry.
Annoyed, Paris nodded again. Another threatening whoosh. Paris would have his due .. the Greeks’ cry of pain. A sting of evil leather overlapped the stripes in Lukka’s shoulder. He leapt to his toes. Shocked by the cutting evil slashed into his shoulders again. Before it had hit, he’d thought he had felt a trickle down his back. Blood or a rush of sweat.
Blood? Whipped? That thought only galvanised his anger. He bit down on his clenched jaw. Going to fight, in any way he could. And he saw this Paris wanted more than anything to hear his cries. Predictably he saw the flash of frustration on the prince’s face. Lukka awaited his next nod. Paris wanted the Greeks to suffer for daring to make this offer.
The Trojan complied, he nodded again. Lukka gritted his teeth. Clamping his jaws together. Pig-headedly refusing the Trojan what he wanted to hear. A burning slash nearly took his breath away. But still a tough soldier’s doggedness denied Paris his cry.
“Next. Helen is to be returned to Menelaus. The condition to end this war.”
Paris’ eyes were burning with evil fire. His gaze slashed across Lukka’s bare front. Seeing the muscled flesh glisten. Examining the rush of sweating flesh. Lukka knew to expect another nod. The fury in Paris’ eyes promised it. His own mind’s eye imagined his back. Ugly wounds, evil burning welts.
Pain tore across the middle of his back. Lukka cursed. A curse locked in his head. He could not afford to open his tight-clenched mouth.
A stinging bite ripped out of his side. The whip’s force across Lukka’s back wrapped itself around the side. Pain rushed in tears to his eyes. Shock twisted his torso under the shock.
Paris nodded with each reply. Again the whip cut an evil path through the dungeon air. Smacking Lukka on one side. The guard had got into his stride. His hits smack-on target, they came with fresh resolve, repeatedly. The leather bit sharp into the sensitive skin of Lukka’s side. Then it was yanked back. The bite into his flesh was tugged backwards. Tearing skin from flesh. Biting through flesh at the bone.
Lukka yelled out. A stinging bite taken out of his tender side .. searing pain as the whip was tugged back and slashed open his flesh. Unwelcome that yell. Unwanted. But scorching pain broke through the barriers of his resolve. Like a burning torch inserted into his side. Dowsed with fiery oil. Pain threw his head back. Pain unlocked his throat. Lukka could not hold it in.