It was a constant cycle, the “fiend” in Conan’s cell explained. In. Out.
“Every full moon a fresh tribute is surrendered.”
The bowl of slop was finished. Conan had drunk his fill of the water. Still tied to his cross. The dishevelled man was sat worshipping at his feet.
“That is YOU ……In ….”
His hands stroking adoringly up the lower leg of the man who had .. apparently .. rescued him from this tortured fate.
Conan sought no fucker’s gratitude. Everything he did in life .. it was for himself.
“And with the fresh lunar offering .. the earlier tribute is miraculously brought back to life.”
“Damaged. Used. Suffered weeks of torment in the hands of the Lord of Chaos.”
His lips planted a kiss on Conan’s thigh. Conan squirmed. But he couldn’t thrown the fucker off.
“But restored to life ….. ”
Conan squirmed at having a man’s hand pawing over his leg. Even worse slobbering a kiss on his leg.
“Returned to the villagers. Returned to be sacrificed.”
This arsehole had better get his groping maulers off him. But Conan could only wriggle. There was no throwing off this hand of groping gratitude.
“That is ME …… Out ….”
At the back of Conan’s mind, there was something untoward about all this ceremony. A month down in these caves with the ogre-twins. Then .. apparently .. taken back up top ….? To be killed. And this mad fuckers is grateful for Conan replacing him?
But the tender stroking from the odd-ball down by his feet attested to the fact that this weirdo welcomed Conan’s arrival. Didn’t make sense.
“Returned to be sacrificed.”
Grateful? But the fucker was about to get topped? Sacrificed? Who here was seeing things straight? After a month with the ugly ogres he had completely lost his wits.
“A sign of the powers of the great evil Lord .. he restores the tribute to life. The fresh offering is more to his taste .. he spits the old tribute back. Broken. Will destroyed.”
Conan could see that, the weakling was sobbing down his leg. Glad he was about to get himself topped.
“The old tribute is hauled up from the depths of the earth. To be sacrificed in honour of the Lord.”
The arsehole WAS off his head. And still he clutched in gratitude at Conan’s leg. Conan IN. This motherfucker OUT. And gonna have his guts ripped out. Or something worse ….
“OVER! Over at last …… Tomorrow, ME. Returned to the villagers.”
The prick was sobbing with joy. To Conan, this sounded perverse. Deranged, something weird.
“Tomorrow .. that will be me. Returned to the surface. Returned and sacrificed.”
THAT word again. Fucking-sacrificed. These fuckers had some obsession with the idea. This weirdo-fucker actually welcomed it?
“Tomorrow my suffering is at an end.”
The groping was joined by a kiss to his thigh. Fucking-hell! Conan’s knee tried to give the fucker a smacker back.
“Next full moon, YOU. Returned to the villagers. Returned and sacrificed.”
“You will be replaced by a fresh tribute. The Lord of Chaos will spit you out. And the villagers will make a sacrifice to their Lord.”
Him next? Conan’s turn to have his guts ripped out? Like fuck!
“Tomorrow the villagers will see the warning. Scrawled on my flesh. What happens to a tribute. After a month in the clutches of the Lord of Chaos. See it on my body. Disfigured. Spirit broken. Brutalised.”
The voice down by Conan’s leg paused. But the stroking up and down his lower leg had only intensified. Frenetic.
“A lesson what happens if they fail to offer suitable tributes to the Lord.”
The hand on his leg gripped tight. The head crushed against Conan’s thigh. Recalling the terrors this slobbering coward had known.
“The old tribute restored to life .. if you could call it that. An object lesson in what happens to a tribute. YOU too. Like me.”
Conan sensed a gaze look up at him from below. He refused to give that cocksucker a glance. The fucker down there was sick!
“Soon it will be your turn. After a month. Down here. With THEM!”
Over my dead body, Conan swore. He wasn’t one to get brutalised like this feeble-willed prick mauling his leg. Get broken. Will destroyed. Not him, not Conan. He’d show those ugly ogres. Turned into this slobbering motherfucker. HIM? Conan! Like fuck! He’d not give in like this coward slavering against his thigh. Conan always fought back.
The weakling crushed a tear-streaked cheek against Conan’s leg. Conan shuddered. He had no time for arseholes who bleated at the first sign of a beating.
“It took a while to understand.”
Did this motherfucker never let up? Blithering on?
“Those villagers .. not stupid. Every month the Lord of Chaos demands a sacrifice. Better you than one of their own ……”
He sighed against Conan’s thigh.
“Every month they snatch some unsuspecting prick. You, me. Just passing through … Traveller looking for work ….. Anyone rather than one of their own. Some unwary arsehole offered in tribute. Sent down into the depths. A month tortured in the clutches of the Lord of Chaos.”
Just what had happened to Conan alright. But he swore he’d never be blithering on like this weakling.
“Tomorrow I am returned. They will sacrifice me to their Lord. Marks of a month consigned to His darkness.. written into my flesh. Evidence of agonised torture striped on my body. An evil month in the clutches of the Lord of Chaos. Welcoming death rather than that life.”
Conan felt the shiver through the hand gripping his leg.
“Better you, better me .. than one of their own …..”
The fucker clutched tight. A tear ran off his cheek onto Conan’s thigh.
“My tortured body a warning. Who would want to end up broken like this?”
The voice down below shuddered.
“Or wish this on one of your own?”
The cheek pressed onto Conan’s thigh gave a shiver.
“Better to snatch some unsuspecting arsehole off the street. Me.”
The hand clutched Conan tight.