Tiradates looked at her. Trembling. Going to prove a useful aid. Gossip-mongering. Blabbing about what she’d seen.
“You see? Your brave prince? Your Menander.”
In those eyes blurred with tears of pain, Maciste saw she wasn’t registering the name. Too scared to be listening.
“A slave. A dog. That is all he is.”
His foot prodded Maciste.
“And when a dog cannot obey, he must be shown.”
Tiradates looked down at the prisoner force to kneel in shame at his feet. With a powerful show of contempt Tiradates spat at the slave. Feeling a satisfaction as his hand grabbed at the near-lifeless prick. Yanking up by their hair, his bear-like claw-grip ripping at the scalp.
“And THIS is what you do with a dog that will not obey.”
His voice rang out. Fear of his authority had the woman clutch at her bare breasts.
Tiradates was no stranger to dealing with enemy. Having them put to death before their troops – he’d done that a few times. How long he took about it, how much he had the screw twisted to squeeze every last scream out of them – that depended on how far they had got up his nose.
And this one .. this over-muscled, over-supercilious one-time prince .. he had really got on his nerves. This stuck-up enemy arsehole who refused to lie down. Who spat contempt back in his face. Even now, after being beaten back down, nearly knocked out, still he was struggling to escape Tiradates’ grip. Still snarling like some wild beast trying to break out of a trap. Prime candidate for a long hard session of being tortured out of his wits. For the satisfaction of hearing him break if nothing else.
Not an option, though. This one was hell of a prize. Vologases would be grateful beyond belief. Tiradates just had to deliver this arsehole back in one piece. He was made! But not behaving like this. Vologases would not thank Tiradates for the gift of a vipers’ nest. This bloody-mindedness was going to squeezed out of him. Vologases was not going to take the kind of looks the sergeant had just got. Defiance like the arsehole had been showing would not be welcome in Vologases’ presence.
Days on the march left .. Tiradates see the sucker tamed. Hard, tough – this prick-of-a-prince seemed an exception for his class of spoiled nobility. He WAS fucking tough. Not just acted it, not just talked it. He’d had the crap beaten out of him .. and still there was no sign of him catching on.
The fucker would be broken, Tiradates was going to making sure of that. Couldn’t torture him to death. Couldn’t damage him. But couldn’t have him acting like this.
HOW? How best to make a start? In his mind, Tiradates could think of nothing better. The stone. Perfect! Had it ever failed? After this dickhead had spent some tortured hours there .. his stubbornness crushed over the stone. Let the sucker answer back then. On a day like this, hot, cloudless sky …. Inevitable …. His will would be broken. All the strength drained out of that mulish will.
The stone. Tiradates had not known it fail. Weaken him there. Going to take some time to break camp, anyway. Hours on the stone .. tortured by day .. suffering overnight. Endless .. pitiless torture. The stone would knock some sense into this cocky fucker.
Tiradates grabbed at his prisoner’s hair. He yanked up his face, high. Showing the woman the face of her defeated prince.
“When a dog can’t behave … when it fails to obey … only one thing to do.”
Tiradates yanked upwards again. Jerking the arsehole up on his knees .. trapped in the painful hold in his scalp.
“Show it who is master .. that’s what you do. Punish it. Whip the fucker. Whip it till it whimpers .. till it cries.”
Tiradates’s sneer tore into his prisoner’s snarling face. The arsehole was looking that he was about to deny that would happen. But Tiradates didn’t give him a chance. He shook any answer-back by jerking the arsehole around by the head.
“And does a stubborn stinking slave deserve more than a dog?”
His face snarled, his hand twisted another wince out the slave-prince’s scalp.
“By the gods, you motherfucker. I’ll see you tamed.”
Tiradates gave a snort at this prisoner. Totally shamed. Brought down so low. Beaten and broken by his men. Seen by this woman defeated and enslaved. She’d spread the word. Humiliated before the very kind of women this arsehole had come to save. By the doting people who thought him some great hero.
Tiradates cast a scornful eye over the stupid fucker. THIS? Their hero. The best they could do? PICK! Stupid. Sauntering in .. surrendering. As if Tiradates was ever going to agree to his terms! Sacrificing his freedom? What fucking freedom? Once he was in Parthian chains? Giving himself up .. for some stinking whores? What an arsehole! Deserved everything he had was coming to him.
“Put him to the stone.”
Tiradates dumped the dumb-arsed prick back down on his knees.
“The stone! Tame the fucking dog.”