Again Conan tested the bonds trapping him on the cross. The “fiend” that had been lurking in the darkness turned out to be no more than some unkempt dishevelled man. He looked half-deranged.
“Last full moon it was me.”
Clearly once well-built. Muscular physique. Now the muscle clung to his bones. Not eaten well in weeks. And whatever manly spirit might once have burned in his soul .. it had burned out. Been burned out.
“This moon .. it is you … your turn.”
He gave a deep sigh.
“Thank the gods.”
Conan thanked no fucking-gods. He was still pinned to this X-shaped cross. And there seemed little chance this burned-out arsehole was going to set him free. Running scared of those monsters that had dragged Conan here. Scared of his own shadow.
Given a chance, Conan would have given the prat something real to worry about .. for not releasing him. But something had got to him, eaten away at the fucker. No way could Conan expect any help from this prick. He spooned tasteless slop into Conan’s mouth. Offering water from a flask that the HU-MAN’s had left behind. An act of kindness. But that was as far as it went ….
And all the time he was looking over his shoulder .. towards the bars of this cell .. as if fearing the appearance of something he feared. Those brawny morons? Or worse?
“Every full moon the tribe delivers up a sacrifice. Fail to deliver ….. and the Lord of Chaos will descend on them.”
The arsehole spooning Conan slop trembled. A surprising contrast. The prick looked like he could take care of himself .. once .. before ….. Now this stinking coward was running scared.
“Offer no sacrifice and he comes to them in wrath. Takes their best, snatches their finest for himself. And wreaks his fury on the tribe for failing him.”
Conan frowned. He had no time for fucking-gods, waste of fucking-time. Never came up with the goods when you needed them. But it was good that he was getting filled-in on what this madness was about. But he swore that no one could ever reduced the warrior in him to this state. Strong physique, muscled, a redoubtable warrior in a fight, this fucker spooning him food looked like once he had been a man. Now he was just the husk of what he had once been. No one would do that to Conan!
He took another spoonful. It tasted of nothing. But it filled a hole in his gut. Kept his spirits going. Conan had tried a dozen times to wriggle himself free of these ropes binding his wrists to the cross. All he had got were burning grazes for his efforts. But he wasn’t giving up hope. Again he gritted his teeth, his biceps peeked, his shoulder muscles burned with the effort. But again he finished up puffing as he expelled his gasp of effort. No luck, again.
Fucking-Lord of fucking-Chaos .. what the fucking-hell was that? Sounded like some mumbo-jumbo crap to him. But it had the villagers scared. And this madman feeding him slop gave another fearful glance over his shoulder at the bars. Dreading those ogres had overheard him filling Conan in on his fate.
“They live in terror of that. A visitation from the Lord of Chaos. Best to comply. Better to find someone else .. some stupid traveller passing through .. not offer up one of their own.”
He sighed for his own misfortune.
“They grabbed me, just a stranger passing through. Wrong time, wrong place .. for me. They’ve snatched you. Same fate. Offered in tribute to the Lord of Chaos. Better than sacrificing one of their own.”