traitor’s cross


4.  Brotherly chats

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Maciste could tell by the look on his step-brother’s face, Kheir couldn’t wait to blurt out what he had planned.
“Packed  ..  the temple square is going to be bursting  ..  everyone turned out  ..  to see  …”
Kheir’s eyes glistening through the bars.  Shining into the dank dark cell.

The people forced to turn out.  Maciste remembered his morning’s humiliation.  The people had been summoned to appear. Failure to do so would earn them displeasure.  They might not be desperate to see Maciste’s royal arse tanned  ..  they did want to stay alive.
“Soldiers having to whip the rabble aside  ..  to get your sorry arse up on the temple steps.”

Bound, probably in leg irons.  ..  Maciste could hardly make a run for it  ..  Kheir would make sure of that.  And once within the temple square, no escaping fate.  He’d not move an inch.  Crushed in on all sides.  Trapped.

Executed.  On the traitor’s cross.  Naked before his people.  For a crime he did not commit.
How was he going to react?  To this unjust death?  Just meekly take the soldiers’ blows.  Or was he going to stand up to them?  Hit out.  Fight them back  ..  blow for blow.
Or should he go for dying with dignity?  Unjust.  But go down in history for the courage of his dying?  Die with honour.  Because he was done-for anyway?


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in praise of men we’d like to be





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