a king’s promise


4.  Brotherly chats

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Maciste saw his stepbrother glowering at him through the bars. Safely out of harm’s way. Gripping tight on rusty iron. Crushing the bars tight in his frustration.

Kheir wanted Maciste scared. He had come meaning to see the warrior-prince cowering before him. Hoping Maciste would beg, plead for his life.  A request he’d contemptuously deny. Crawl. Cringe. Beg. But Kheir would settle for his brother looking scared.

What he got was scorn.  The sight of a stepbrother looking far from beaten. Stripped of clothes. Robbed of dignity. But eyeing him back with disdain. Muscular defiance as sharp as the cut physique.   Not intimidated. Not cowed ..  huddling chilled in his dungeon. A powereful brother standing up to him  .. defying him with fully-muscled manly might. Who’d break his neck if his hands could reach through these bars.

Kheir gripped their protection in anger. He’d promised himself much better. Frustrated by the sneer on Maciste’s face.  A scene as if their positions were reversed. It was Maciste looking down on him.  Maciste was playing the winner.  It was Kheir’s face being brutally backhanded with the victor’s scorn. Like Kheir was an enemy beaten, broken and scared.


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in praise of men we’d like to be





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