“Not like that, you stinking arsehole.”
Yothin was just as dismissive of the guards as he was with his victim, Maciste had noticed. It was his way of ensuring they kept on at Maciste. Yothin was on their backs all the time, insulting them, goading them. Successfully having them breathing down Maciste’s neck every minute of the day .. for fear of retribution from Yothin. He was their worst nightmare as well.
Maciste sensed a shiver of irritation in the guard’s hand that had been mauling around at his chest. But the cretin did not dare say a word. Or show any sign of annoyance at being talked down to.
“I said, work up his tit ..,” Yothin hissed. “Not his god-damned chest …”
Had he ever met a cretin so stupid? Yothin made himself clear. Growling with disdain.
“The nipple, fuckhead! Work it up.”
Maciste gave a sharp intake a breath. His own sense of annoyance at getting played. The pawing hand had quickly moved over to his nipple. Keen to please. Eager not to anger. Groping Maciste there wildly between fingers and thumb. Arousing it, squeezing the stiffening nub between finger and thumb. Getting Maciste groped and clawed, the guard anxious to win himself back into favour.
Maciste was irritated at getting caught out by yet another trick Yothin was trying on him. Was there no end to the tricks Yothin would play? Back in that sweat-box .. before the heat had robbed him of any chance to think things out .. he’d hoped to out-smart Yothin .. come up with some ingenious way of fooling him. But before he’d come up with anything workable ….. here he was again. Ambushed victim to Yothin’s sadistic moves. Intent with his dying breath to see the emperor’s prize slave broken.
Maciste had spent a full-day slaving away .. carting those sodden sacks up the ramp .. getting heavier with every trip. Stumbling .. getting the lash till he crawled to his feet and struggled the ponderous weight back up onto his shoulders.
Then when the accumulated heat had squeezed every last drop of energy out of him, Yothin had ordered him fetched. Strung out again over the grill stone. The burning heat in his back gritted Maciste’s teeth together, his body temperature soared .. he had no fluids left in him to cool him down.
Annoyed with himself at letting Yothin get the jump on him again, Maciste crushed his eyes tight closed. Fighting the escalating heat in his body .. wondering what fresh trick his tormentor had come up with. There was a routine of a type to this Hellgate. But it seemed much more like variations on a theme called torture.
One step ahead of him, it seemed .. this Yothin was always coming up with ways to keep Maciste hopping.
“This pile-of-shit .. we have it only on loan .. care of the lord emperor’s pleasure. Highly prized.”
Yothin’s voice hovered above Maciste’s head .. his mockery taunting in the air. But the pain from scorched flesh in his back kept his eyes crushed closed. Teeth gritted.
“Now how does a lord mark his prize possessions. His prize bull. His champion pig?”
Maciste refused to look. But he knew what Yothin was on about. He had seen them, he’d glimpsed them dangling from Yothin’s hands. Pinned down on his back, unable to move a muscle and Yothin was taunting his sight with the symbols. The mark of a ownership. The sign of the beast.
Like a buffalo had a ring pierced in the nose. To control it, to lead it to market. To drag it to the fields to work. Thick metal rings. Ringed like an animal .. reduced to a level with the beasts. Maciste brought down to the level of an ox. With that irritating groping going on around his nipple, Yothin’s plan was clear. An ox’s nose-ring pierced through Maciste’s flesh.
A sharp pain made Maciste hiss. The shock wrenched open his eyes. He looked at his chest. Yothin’s hand gripped one of his long needles, the length of a finger. Sharp but thick. As much a skewer for piercing meat as a needle for embroidering fine designs. A coarse skewer to gouge a hole through human flesh.
The skewer had jabbed him in under the nipple. Maciste had jerked. Pain dug out of tough resilient muscle. The aroused nub was stabbed through with a thick skewer. Jabbed in and forced out the other side. Maciste threw back his head, he hissed. He focussed on the glare of the overhead sky. He focussed on nothing .. through gritted teeth. His breathing quickened. He panted rapidly to beat off the grinding hurt.
Yothin waited his time, waited patiently. He let the prisoner absorb the act. Letting the indignity seep into his soul. Stuck like a pig .. pierced through his nipple. Yothin watched, he observed. He studied the grimace on the face of his victim as realisation bit home. As he understood he was to be pierced by those ox-rings.
The victim’s emotions swayed between hurt and lurched to anger, his jaw set firm, determined to put up a fight. Yothin sucked in the sight of his captive’s growing anger at the indignity. He was refusing to look. But Yothin knew his mind’s eye saw what he refused to look at. His manly chest impaled on a thick coarse skewer .. stuck through the aroused nipple.
Patiently he waited as the helpless fool felt his blood rising, the needle dug in under the nipple. Yothin could not resist giving it a slight twist, the rough edges gouging through nerves. Grabbing his attention. Scraping away at his dignity. Rewarded by a torso twitching to his will.
But patiently he bided his time. He could afford to let the message of what this slave was to endure sink in. Pierced through the tit, coarse ox-rings dangling off his once-proud manly chest. The lord emperor’s beast. Gratifyingly Yothin’s eyes eagerly followed a thin dribble of blood trickling down the side of his prisoner’s chest.
Muscled, mighty … marked as a beast. An ox. Subject to the Parthian yoke. Shamefully bearing the mark of the lord emperor. Implanted in his once-manly flesh.