5 Know your place
“Still missing the point, dickhead?”
Again Tiradates ordered this prick-of-a-prince dragged to his feet. He was breathing hard, shocked. It looked like the guards holding on to him were doing him a favour. Holding him up till his legs found their strength again.
Tiradates snarled coarsely at his dumb-ass prisoner. Big muscle-headed arsehole. Wandering in all naïve. Thought he could set his conditions? An offer? Negotiate?
“Your surrender for the women? C’mon, you big dick. What you got to offer? What you bargaining with?”
Tiradates looked his prisoner up and down. Big bruiser, muscled in all the right places. The fucker could fight, he had guts. But fuck-all between the ears.
“You have nothing to bargain with ….”
Maciste saw a smirk paint this general’s face. He was still panting. Mainly from the anger thudding through his blood. Furious with this general. That Tiradates was looking as if he had won. Furious with himself. Carelessly .. by surrendering like this .. Maciste had offered Tiradates the upper hand. Angry at himself, Maciste squared his jaw. His eyes slitted in anger. Refusing to give up.
Tiradates thundered on.
“You are NOT surrendering. You are taken captive. My prisoner. That’s what you are. Fuckhead!”
His gaze tore across the face of the prisoner. Then suddenly he felt irritated. Again this fucker was looking like he objected .. was going to protest. Didn’t the arsehole know when he was beaten? This one-time prince was in no state to go around bossing around. That beating had shown the fucker where he belonged. Down in the dirt. Kicked. At Tiradates’ feet. Stomped on. And if this arsehole was too thick to understand, there was plenty more where that came from …..
“MY prisoner. Get it?”
Tiradates’s eyes hardened at the firm muscled chest lifted in defiance. Was this fuckhead refusing to be lie down? His glare took in the flat muscular stomach. True, no podgy also-ran brat from some well-to-do family, this one. The bags of rocks in his belly did not get there by chance. But .. with all that fighting power bristling ..what was this sonovabitch going to do? He wasn’t walking out of here. He repeated his words.
“You are prisoner of the empire. My PRISONER. Get it?”
Maciste felt his blood rising .. irritated by that smirk of superiority.
“You want I make it crystal clear. PRISONER.”
Tiradates saw the scowl deepen. Smirking he used the word again.
“Know what we do with our PRISONERS? Arseholes taken in battle?”
Maciste knew well enough. But still Tiradates reminded him.
“Sergeant. Help this dimwit out. Fuckers we capture .. what do we do with their stinking hides?”
Maciste heard the sergeant gloat.
“We make the fuckers work, sir. Work ‘em into the ground. Slaves.”
Maciste knew. His men taken in battle had been forced into the service of the empire. Heavy-duty. In quarries. Down in the mines.
“You are my prisoner. Want me to spell it for you? C-A-P-T-I-V-E. YOU, you stinking useless piece of pig-shit …. “
The general’s eyes were ablaze with persistence. Answering this dimwit’s stubborn refusal to grasp the truth.
“I decide, arsehole, ME. It’s ME that decides what you are, prick.”
Tiradates’s stare bore like daggers into his captive’s face.
“Once a prince. Now a prisoner.”
Tiradates paused. His face twisted into mocking hate.
“And THAT .. THAT fact alone .. makes you a slave. Slave of the empire.”
Maciste had miscalculated. “Prince Menander” was surrendering. There were protocols. But Tiradates didn’t play by the rules. Stupidly forgetting Tiradates didn’t speak that language. He played other games. And Maciste was up to his neck in it.
“Told you, shit-face .. what we do with prisoners.”
Maciste knew. The slave quarries. Abysmal life. Starved. Worked to death. Most did not last long. The chill realisation hit Maciste .. of what he had blindly walked into.
“Get it? SLAVE!”
“SLAVE! SLAVE! SLAVE!”