Herald of the High King
Paris stood on the balcony and watched the guards escort him away. A large cloak thrown over the Hittite’s naked body. A half-dozen palace guards walked him hobbling through the night. Back towards the main gate.
That dowsing with vinegar .. eating into the open wounds lashed open on his back .. that seemed to have clinched it .. finished him off. Robbed of all defiance. Yelping and squirming as vinegar-soaked sacking was roughly scraped over his whip-scorched flesh. He cursed and damned them to hell. Fingers cruelly rubbing burning acid into gaping wounds. For all that Hittite muscle .. for all his proud warrior-posturing .. the fool yelled. Burning skin roughed up with vinegar and sacking. Cleaning out his wounds. Necessarily fending off infection.
Released from his chains, the Hittite had wobbled on his feet. This statue of manly warrior perfection .. on fire with fury and hate. He looked immortal .. for a moment. A quivering god-like statue of incandescent rage. He looked like he might leap into blistering attack. Fuelled by fury. Muscle pumped up with living rage. Then his strength deserted him, the torture broke him. His features twisted. A leg gave way. Crumpling to the floor.
He hissed and cursed out as he was roughly rolled over on to his front. For added certainty, for greater protection .. and to write his reply in large screaming letters .. Paris ordered salt rubbed into his wounds. He fought. The guards struggled to hold him down. A mad animal. A creature gone wild in its near-fatal agonies. Squirming like crazy. Bucking. Legs thrashing. Body twisted, contorted. Howlish cries .. piercing pain .. accompanied by desperate efforts to wriggle free.
But finally hard punches to the back of his head had lessened his fight. Stunned but still calling out in sharp cries as more salt ate its way savagely into his open flesh. Down on the earth, salt rubbed into every seeping wound. Squirming and convulsing. Agony was cleaning him up well. Fighting off infection for as long as it took to stand wobbling in front of the High King.
Paris watched from his balcony until the party disappeared into the darkness. The Hittite could barely walk. His body a mass of burning pains. Weakened by beatings and tortures that had overwhelmed that manly strength. Paris had written agony into every open wound .. dozens of gaping cuts .. cleansed by the savage bite of salt. Bearing the clear message. Paris’ rejection to Agamemnon burned into his muscled Hittite flesh.
The cleansing had finally robbed him of all strength. Strong and bloody-minded though the Hittite was, a pair of guards had to take his arms around their shoulders .. keeping him upright, helping him stagger away. Led without a sound through the sleeping night out of Troy .. departing with his agonies through the darkness.
His legs were weakened by the message Paris had penned to the High King .. etched in his taut-muscular flesh. Needing to be helped away .. palace guards showing him the road .. banishing his tortured Hittite hide from the city. The guards would guide Agamemnon’s herald over the beach, dumping him within sight of the Greek camp. If necessary, he’d have to crawl the rest back on his knees. Conveying the Trojan reply. Paris’ message to Agamemnon etched into his burning whip-lashed flesh.
Finally the darkness had eaten the suffering envoy up. Paris could return assured to Helen’s bed. On the way Hector found him.
“Brother, come. Our father has his reply.”
Paris feigned to understand. He nodded.
“The envoy …..?” Hector queried. “Have you seen him? He seems to have disappeared.”
Paris looked concerned. Hector continued.
“Our father wants to tell Agamemnon he is willing to talk.”
Paris managed not to frown. He had feared as much. That old King Priam had lost the stomach for this war. His father would be tempted to send Helen back. Send Paris’ wife back to her boorish Spartan king. For that very reason Paris had decided to act on his own.
“Disappeared? The herald?”
Paris feigned a look of distress.
“Yes, I heard that too. Disappeared. Gone.”
Paris shook his head.
“I had my doubts about him all the time,” Paris offered. “More spy than envoy.”
He was shaking his head.
“Typical of that snake Agamemnon,” Paris explained.
“Send a soldier as herald. And as envoy of peace that Hittite has been free to wander the city.”
Angry he fronted his older brother.
“Don’t you see? Agamemnon send him to discover the layout of Troy.”
Paris snorted his disdain.
“And now he’s gone. I suspected him all along.”
Paris was shaking his head. At the foul underhandedness of these Greeks.
“Probably he’s back with the Greeks now. Drawing a map for Agamemnon. Ready for when they breach the walls …….”
“A spy? That Hittite? Damn him.”
And Hector swore to himself .. in the next battle .. Hector would seek out that spy. The mighty Hector would give that damned herald his reward. By all that was honest, he’d sever his foul head from his damned Hittite body.