Sunlight had temporarily blinded him. Quickly Conan realised he was out on the temple steps. A large crowd gathered there looking up at him. Crammed into the square. That drumbeat he had heard when still in the depths of the temple. It thudded ominously still. It had summoned this mob to attend.
Beefy temple guards had entered his cell. Effortlessly his hands were fastened in chains .. locked loosely behind his back. He hadn’t fought, getting away was not the point. Before releasing him, they had covered his nakedness. In effect just a few strips of leather hanging off cord lashed around his hips. But if their priestess wanted to get her hands on things, his covering offered little defence. Perfect! Conan was not aiming on making things hard for her groping hands.
But he was out on the temple steps .. not brought before the priestess. Stood watched by hundreds .. as good as naked. Not what he’d been expecting. As he had been pushed out of the temple, that constant thump of the drum had increased the beat. Like announcing his arrival. As he was pushed forward .. to the energetic drumming .. his eyes closed against the glare .. Conan became aware of jeers. A swell of taunting that was greeting his bare-assed arrival.
This had an ominous feeling about it. A ritual .. before an execution. The mob had been summoned by the drumming of the beat. Summoned to greet him. The criminal stripped to nothing. He felt nervous .. something going wrong. That damned drumming .. a drum of doom. Announcing a ritual. Everyone in-the-know .. except him.
Grabbed by the scalp, made to face the hissing mob. The temple guard addressed the eager-faced crowd.
He shook his prisoner by their hair.
“Thief, murderer. Killer for hire.”
Boos greeted Conan’s introduction. Already anticipating the fun. The drum always summoned them to a good flogging.
“Guilty. Goes without saying.”
The mob applauded. Who needed proof? An investigation only slowed things down. There was little as entertaining as a good whipping to brighten up their lives.
“Tonight the temple priests will decide this scum’s fate. Due sentencing meted out.”
Mockery for a scumbag greeted the good news.
“The drum will announce the execution.”
Not if Conan had anything to do with him. Old-cocky would make sure of that. But still the square resounded with their cheers. This mob didn’t know him. Conan had done them no harm. But life was dull. Here were thrills. A thief was getting his stark-naked hide thrashed for their delight. Cheering .. they were up for a good show. Jeers laughed at this muscle-headed scumbag, jeered his bare-assed predicament. An execution always went down well.
“Punishment starts now. Here.”