2.  Rude awakening

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What struck Maciste was a sense of nothingness.  Below him the square full to capacity.  Everyone had come to see his shaming.  Beneath him  ..  a sea of dead faces.  No sigh of outrage at this abuse of their prince.  Not even cheers for Maciste getting his come-uppance.  Nothing.  Worryingly, no reaction. 

No, not reacting.  Not DARING to react.  The empty faces turned on him did not know how to react.  Surrounded by an enemy’s armed soldiers.  They hadn’t jeered him.  Greeting this downfall.  Did that mean they hadn’t abandoned him?  But they hadn’t protested either.  Not understanding how to behave in this most disrespectful of shows.  Because  ..  surrounded  ..  their children clutched to their legs  ..  surrounded by the brutal enemy  .  they didn’t dare.

Whoever had conquered his land  ..  they had made their mark.  Terror.  A reign of terror had browbeaten the people.  That thought rushed through Maciste’s head.  His people were too terrified to react.  What had been done to them   ….?

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in praise of men we’d like to be





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