No sign of acceptance from Tiradates. Maciste felt a shiver of cold down his spine. Fearing he had condemned the woman, a total innocent, a bystander .. his pride had condemned her to be horrifically maimed.
“Get the fucker’s hands.”
The sergeant’s snarl had Maciste’s closest guards grabbing his wrists. Passing each bicep alongside his head. His wrists shuddered at the touch of restraining iron. Shackles clamped around each arm. Then fastened to the back of the collar .. pinning his hands to the back of his neck.
A strange duality. He wanted like hell to believe that he had acted in time. That he had submitted to that ring and slavery and saved her ….. Searching like mad on Tiradates’ face for some sign that he had saved the woman.
After all, he had given himself up .. surrendered in order to save such as her from the likes of this. A gratuitous maiming. Injustice, inhuman abuse. His heart was pounding .. beating wildly .. hoping .. praying he had not messed things up. Looking for that sign like a condemned man searching some hope of reprieve.
It was his own stubbornness that had got this innocent bystander caught up in this madness. He’d been out-played. And now she could be horrendously disfigured. His fault. No other bore the blame.
But at the same time his blood boiled. He wanted to save her. But like hell did he want to give in to this Parthian cheat. His temper raged. That it had come to this. And that he had played the major part in finishing up like this. He had been rash, reckless. Downright stupid. Thinking he was dealing with an honourable enemy. Forgetting everything about their evil empire that he had learned. He had engineered all this himself. Under-estimated their cruelty. Miscalculated their duplicity. And finished up endangering an innocent woman. And managed to wheedle himself in putting on a slave collar himself. Maciste had set this trap for himself. And he had walked straight in.
The soldiers had backed off. They didn’t need to loom over him, he could do fuck-all the save himself .. like this.
The shameful deed was done. Furious at his failure, Maciste suddenly lost it. He grabbed at the collar. The metal studs were hard against his hand. Furious he yanked. Maddened he pulled. Stupid. Futile. Looking ridiculous. But he couldn’t stop himself. Beyond himself. With frustration. With anger at himself. Furious with landing up like this. Pissed off that the enemy had got one over him. Condemned himself to slavery.
FUCKED! He’d never remove it, this hateful symbol, he’d not be able to remove it himself. He shuddered at that thought. He himself would never get it off. Not until this shameful device was removed by them. This evil collar was a symbol of their hold over him. Total domination.
But still, pig-headed, every sense in his being refused to accept this had happened. He fought the collar. He fought this enslavement. He battled with every bit of his manly spirit. He would NOT submit to this. Accept this. NO! No slave!
Straining against the collar was in vain, no breaking free. But everything in his being had to show that he would fight this enslavement. He’d fight back every inch of the way. He swore it. Like hell, he swore it.
Futile. But he let go his fury .. this passion against being collared. His rage against this emblem of his defeat. This symbol of enduring shame.
A slave. Never! A hateful word. A slave collar around his neck. Enough to make him shudder. But hope lay in not giving in. Refusing to accept that the Parthians had a hold over him. Never! THAT Maciste refused to accept.