When they drag you before the lord emperor, Tiradates had scoffed, my face will be there to mock you.
When you are summoned into his August presence, in chains and rattling leg irons, the Parthian general had taunted his prisoner, look into my sneering eyes and feel my welcome.
When Hellgate delivers you up, a broken man .. for condemnation, sentencing, execution …. Remember, it is me you have to thank.
When the lord emperor asks who had delivered him the rebel prince, the last runt of his royal line …. It is me you will see standing in triumph. It is me who will offer up your life.
Tiradates had enemies at court. Not born of noble birth. He’d risen to position by merit, by talent, he proudly told himself. But that only made things worse. He wasn’t “one-of-them.” This scumbag of a prisoner-prince, though, …. he’d never learn that.
Those scheming courtiers had sent his prisoner to Hellgate .. denying Tiradates his victorious entry to the court. But he’d show them. He’d claim his victory back.
The lord emperor had summoned the rebel back from Hellgate. Here, in front of the whole court, Tiradates would offer up his prize. Menander, rebel prince. Captured by Tiradates. Offered to the lord emperor by his loyal general Tiradates. The royal line finally crushed .. thanks to Tiradates. The lord emperor would be pleased. His favours would flow.
Maciste was still playing a part. He’d endured a harsh captivity, he’d agonised in Hellgate. But still he was hoodwinking them. He was not the royal rebel. They weren’t torturing the rebel prince, at all. Only Prince Menander’s mercenary.
Tiradates thought he had made his name, he claimed he’d captured the rebel prince. That capture had ended the war, Tiradates was boasting. But Maciste had got them fooled, all the Parthian scum.
How best to use that fact?