The crack of the lash echoed throughout the dungeons of the king of Bahteel. The coppery tang of blood wafted on the breeze as each stripe opened more flesh on Kehnan’s back. The hulking warrior strained against the thick iron chains binding his arms to a wide archway. His massive thews flexed to the point of bursting, yet even his strength could not win him respite from the unrelenting whip.
The torturer stopped to rest his arm. Kehnan’s breath came like a horse, echoing through the cavernous dungeons. He growled, “I vow that I will tear your heart from your chest, Lovro!”
“Is that supposed to frighten me, Kehnan?” asked the smaller man. The fine silks of his robes marked him as a man unused to the hard labor of beating a man to death. “You gave me your vow that I would have the skull of the leader of the Sisterhood of the Lioness on a post by now.* And you vowed that the champion Sabit would be my willing captive by now.** Yet both of them roam free! Your vows mean nothing!”
Kehnan glared at his captor. “I have sown the seeds, but you do not allow them the time to ripen! Even now, Sabit hunts Meriama for you. She has never failed to bring down her quarry. Once the leader of the Sisterhood is dead, then I will resume draining Sabit’s essence until she accepts you with open arms. Give me time!”
“You think me a fool, Kehnan?” replied Lovro. “The Sisterhood banished Sabit nearly a fortnight ago, yet Meriama still breathes! She has made a fool of you.”
Kehnan’s eyes grew wide as the news of Sabit’s betrayal wormed its way into his mind. Lovro smiled to see the mighty warrior struck dumb by the actions of a woman. He sauntered back to his whipping spot, letting the long leather lash unspool upon the floor.
Suddenly, Kehnan let out a roar like a wild beast. Pulling tight on the chains that held his arms spread, Kehnan kicked his legs forward and his head back. With a speed that defied his size, the big man braced his thick sandals on the top of the stone archway, his long black hair hanging so low as to touch the flagstones. Hanging upside-down, he pushed with massive legs while pulling his bound arms together. His whole body trembled with the effort. His wounds bled down his back, over his neck and scalp, dripping from the tips of his hair.
The groan of bending iron rang out as the iron staples holding the chain to the wall gave way. Kehnan fell in a cloud of dust. Lovro stepped away, terrified at the strength of his former prisoner.
From the warrior’s fallen form came a voice as dark as the grave, “No one makes a fool of Kehnan and lives! Sabit will pay for this!”
*-Sabit’s mission is detailed in Wayfarings of Sabit: Sisterhood of the Lioness.
**-Kehnan’s attempts to weaken Sabit are detailed in Wayfarings of Sabit: Bazaar of Death.
Wayfarings of Sabit: Bandit Queen is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon, https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller, or at http://ipressgames.com/fiction/.