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Gabriella In Kytherramne

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andy01

Magistrate
Gabriella, next part

From the time of Alexander at least, the rack was among the most terrible of tortures (perhaps the most: the warrant for interrogation of Guy Fawkes – leader of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament – stipulated use of “the lesser tortures”, and only if these failed allowed the rack).

Used brutally it could dislocate joints irreparably, even tear limbs from the body (as could the cross if arms were nailed too far apart). But a skilled torturer eschewed such crudity; after all, he needed the prisoner able to scrawl a signature or mark, however shakily illegible, on a confession. A true rack-master would draw the process gradually out to inevitable confession and naming of names. Strain increasing very gradually for up to two hours until exhausted muscles could no longer resist. Only then did the real torture begin, the racking of the joints. A true rack-master did not aim to dislocate them suddenly but to increase by tiny increments the strain upon sinews and tissues that were designed to contract and pull, not to be stretched. The unnatural distortion inflamed them, balls of flames ever more intense in every joint, fury that raged between them though stretched muscles, fire piled on fire. And little by little the skilled rack-master at each crescendo of pain would ratchet the strain a little more, a little that meant so much.

And when confession had been babbled, only very slowly would a skilful man reduce the pressure, allowing the bones slowly to settle back in damaged joints, torn cartilage and lining.

A skilled rack-master was hugely valuable to any ruler who had secret enemies (which is to say any ruler). The names of men such as Torquemada[1] and Thomas Norton[2] snake through the histories.

And the greatest rack-masters of them all were the brothers Humilis, Sublimus, Tau and Capitata, and their family name was Crux.

TBC
[1] Motto: "Whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder" applies to the state of Holy Matrimony, not to the Inquisition.
[2]"Rackmaster-General of England" under Elizabeth I.
 

shastar

Tribune
Gabriella, next part

From the time of Alexander at least, the rack was among the most terrible of tortures (perhaps the most: the warrant for interrogation of Guy Fawkes – leader of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament – stipulated use of “the lesser tortures”, and only if these failed allowed the rack).

Used brutally it could dislocate joints irreparably, even tear limbs from the body (as could the cross if arms were nailed too far apart). But a skilled torturer eschewed such crudity; after all, he needed the prisoner able to scrawl a signature or mark, however shakily illegible, on a confession. A true rack-master would draw the process gradually out to inevitable confession and naming of names. Strain increasing very gradually for up to two hours until exhausted muscles could no longer resist. Only then did the real torture begin, the racking of the joints. A true rack-master did not aim to dislocate them suddenly but to increase by tiny increments the strain upon sinews and tissues that were designed to contract and pull, not to be stretched. The unnatural distortion inflamed them, balls of flames ever more intense in every joint, fury that raged between them though stretched muscles, fire piled on fire. And little by little the skilled rack-master at each crescendo of pain would ratchet the strain a little more, a little that meant so much.

And when confession had been babbled, only very slowly would a skilful man reduce the pressure, allowing the bones slowly to settle back in damaged joints, torn cartilage and lining.

A skilled rack-master was hugely valuable to any ruler who had secret enemies (which is to say any ruler). The names of men such as Torquemada[1] and Thomas Norton[2] snake through the histories.

And the greatest rack-masters of them all were the brothers Humilis, Sublimus, Tau and Capitata, and their family name was Crux.

TBC
[1] Motto: "Whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder" applies to the state of Holy Matrimony, not to the Inquisition.
[2]"Rackmaster-General of England" under Elizabeth I.

Excellent description, Andy. That's why even the most masochistic women (and I knew some of them, at least in my surroundings) fear the rack... ;)
 

andy01

Magistrate
Gabriella, next part

Gabriella hung naked on her cross, eyes wide in terror and pain.

The cross that was her rack-master was turning the screws minute by minute, ratcheting the stress in her elbows and shoulders. Those joints were balls of anguish that swelled along her tautened muscles from one source of pain to the next, swelled from shoulder to elbow and, as it merged into the burning there threw oil on the flame, flared back to the shoulder, the agony building every time.

Even rearing up, twisting her wrists on the nails and forcing her weight on broken bones in her feet, could not be worse than suffering the horrors of hanging thus.

But the rack-master had a brother, a hell-born demon with claws of iron. He was hovering, watching like a predatory bird for the sudden move that would reveal his prey. If she moved he would be upon her, gouging and tearing.

To hang was impossible. To move meant terror.

Caught between agony and paralysing fear she hung, ribs dragged outward so she could hardly breathe, her belly muscles heaving to drag air through hurting throat into heaving lungs.

Too little air. It was strangling her.

She could not pull up, her arms had no strength in attenuated muscles. She could not pull up.

She was hung in mid-air and was drowning.

The panic fear of drowning enveloped her.

She dared not move, but her body broke the balance, its panic not hers catapaulting her into motion.

Suddenly she was rearing up, legs thrusting down on broken feet. Weak arms were suddenly galvanised and pulled with the strength of hysteria. Her body was heaved up, head jerking above the level of the beam like a puppet head, and her ribs drove in and out like a bellows as she dragged air in and out of her lungs.

She knew she could not hold that position long. Already her legs were weakening, she could not keep the lock on her part-bent knees that would hold her in that tortured position. Desperately she dragged in air not just to breathe for the moment but to keep her from drowning when she tumbled down again.

Her head was swimming with new air and pain, pain in every part of her body. Her vision was clouding. She could not hold it.

She fell on the nails again, screeching as her body dragged against the wood.

“Oh bouncy, bouncy,” said Herennius. “See those tits bouncing.”

“Little bitch,” spat Mira. “Stupid fucking bitch, she’s wrecked it for everyone. Gods I hope she’s hurting.”

Quintus was torn. He’d liked Ginny; she’d never made him feel small. But the sight of her slim body struggling on the cross was better than any crucifixion he’d ever seen, something he’d probably never see again. Something to drink in – what was that line, something like “Utque bibis, aqua aut undine”, “which do you drink, the water or the wave?” – he’d never understood that line before but now it seemed to have some sort of meaning.

The demon ripped and tore as she fell.

She screamed in terror and pain, strove to tear away as his claws savaged her. Could not escape.

She hung on the cross, the racking beginning again.

The pain building, the terror of drowning rising within her. She had to resist it, had to stay still.

She hung forever, head jerking, the sight of the watchers, of the hillside, of the sky swinging in and out of her vision. And all the time the panic was rising.

Her body convulsed up again, head rearing above the beam, lung-bellows heaving as the demon tore.

Until suddenly she fell, not screaming but flaccid, head bouncing then slumping towards her chest.

“Bitch has fainted,” said Herennius, aggrieved.

TBC
 

Tricia

Governor
She saw her feet walking on the dirt of a road. They were her feet, she saw the silver-blue paint on her delicate toenails but where were her shoes? The feet were dusty, grit between the toes. She saw the pink tips of her breasts, jolting. She saw her thigh as she stepped forward, rounding not under a silk gown but a cotton cloth that reached only to mid thigh. Another step and her other thigh coming forward, the cloth falling away to expose her to her waist. There were livid marks red on the pale inner thigh

So descriptive!!! I love it!!!
 

andy01

Magistrate
Gabriella, next part

Herrenius no doubt supposed her fainting was a release, an escape into blissful unconsciousness.

He was wrong.

Gabriella was falling into darkness, with no end to her falling.

To an underground river where torrential currents swept her through caverns, her body slammed against sharp-edged rocks, tumbled over and over, gasping for air as she surfaced for moments before the current dragged her down again.

It lasted forever before she was flung, as if the current had no more use for her, onto black sand.

Screams echoed around her as she was swept in a crowd as mindless as the river, a crowd so dense that sometimes her feet did not touch the ground as it flung her onwards between red-burning buildings, the streaks of fire streaming in front of her. Flaming beams tumbled in front of her, walls crashed around her.

Screams as the crowd burst from the burning village, as horsemen pounced upon them in the night. Ropes round her wrists jerking her off her feet, pounding hooves dragging her wildly over the ground, tearing her shoulders, her body bouncing on uneven ground.

Red glare and tumbling memories. Light seeping under her eyelids.

Her breasts blurred beneath her, her slender thighs jutting over matted grass.

Pain searing and searching her arms and feet, torrents of fire running up her legs to her shaking thighs.

Something terrible. Worse than terrible. Gabriella shrieked in fear of what had happened to her.

Her head jerked up feebly. Figures in front of her, blurred figures watching. Up the hillside in front of her, the pitiless sky. To the mid-day sun dazzling and cruel in her eyes.

A mid-day sun. But it was only moments since the dreadful night had ended and the light returned. Where had the morning gone?

Her head jerked around and down. A dazzling white robe that a goddess might wear, a goddess one dared not look upon. Her gaze falling to the golden hem of her robe.

Red toe nails beneath. A golden belt.

A robe she had seen before. Seen from below as she crawled in the dust.

In the courtyard of the council chamber after her rape.

Mira.

Mira was there.

In a white robe, gold belted and fringed.

The robe she’d worn that day when Gabriella was raped and bound to …

Her slim thighs slipped apart. She saw her calves, saw her feet bleeding, blood oozing between her toes, onto the matted grass. Black iron heads jutted.

She had been hurled by witchcraft into the body of a crucified girl. Maybe the skivvy Rufius had spoken of.

But the thighs were white. Though the muscles were shaking and quivering she knew them as her own. It was she, she who was crucified.

She had crawled to Mira, begging for help. She had been roped to a beam and driven down a track.

She had been crucified.

But Mira never wore the same dress two days running. Mira would change her costume a dozen times a day.

Gabriella saw Henny standing by Mira, dressed in the pale blue tunic as he had worn when he stumbled out of the council chamber.

She saw the faces clustered around them, the faces that had clustered when she was hauled up on the stipes.

They had not changed.

After that time of black and endless horror they had not changed.

Where had the morning gone?

Horror came as she knew, not realised but knew, that she had not been on the cross for a day. The sky, the mid-day sun, was not her second day. This was the same day she had been nailed and hoisted, crucified. She had been on the cross only two hours.

Her torture had been unbearable, and it was only two hours. And it took days to die on the cross.

TBC
 

Jollyrei

Angelus Mortis
Staff member
This is a classic, Andy! So hard to make the hanging on the cross interesting, never mind erotic and compelling, but I think it is not just me who is held spellbound by this.
My hat is off to you.
:beer:
:very_hot::clapping::clapping::clapping:
 

jedakk

CARNIFEX MAXIMUS
Herrenius no doubt supposed her fainting was a release, an escape into blissful unconsciousness.

I would have supposed that too. Interesting that she transitions from one nightmare into another! I wonder if she would remember that experience when she returned to consciousness? If so, would it be confusing, trying to understand what was real and what was not, since being crucified would be surreal enough and disorienting with all of the agony, fear, and panic at not being able to get enough to breathe?
 

andy01

Magistrate
Gabriella: next part

The house slaves set up tables and laid out fresh-baked bread, small silver bowls of olive oil, cheeses and sausage, olives, tomatoes, grapes.

They snacked and chatted of this and that, breaking off from time to time at some spectacular rise or fall of Gabriella on her cross, laying bets.

Herennius won more than he lost. Rufius lost quite heavily. Quintus lost worst of all; there would be harsh words from his father when he had to ask an advance on his allowance. He was drinking heavily to avoid thinking about that. Cealia Paulina more or less broke even. And Mira simply coined it in; she seemed to know exactly when Gabby would convulse upwards, when her legs would fail, whether her frantic breathing would end in her fainting or just falling on stretched arms.

She popped a last bit of sausage in her mouth, wiped her hands on the cloth her house slave gave her, rose and walked into the hollow, her fine rump swaying under the pleated silk of her gown. She walked up to the sergeant and spoke.

The sergeant shook his head. For some time they argued, Mira insisting, the sergeant stubborn.

The bright young things growled angrily. A watch sergeant was resisting Mira’s request. It would have been unthinkable. But Mira’s influence had waned. Soon she would be in African exile with Herennius; no longer did she rule the roost, not with the partner in her excesses nailed on a common cross, dying beside slaves.

“It’s all bloody Gabby’s fault.” “Stupid bitch, she deserves all she’s getting.”

Mira passed a small bag to the sergeant. He seemed to consider, then walked over to the plump man to confer.

When he returned to Mira, he said: “Well Miss.” Mira frowned angrily at his words. “The aedile says you can have two shots at her. Only two mind. If you try to take liberties, he’ll have you whipped right here.”

Mira was seething with fury. She was tempted to call off the bargain, but it was too late for that. The fat little aedile had her money and there was no way he would give it back. Yesterday she could have … but the scales had shifted and she knew it.

“All right,” she snarled. “You jumped-up bastard!”

Julius picked up a switch and handed it to her. It was two cubits long, thick as her little finger at one end, the width of stylus at the other. The wood was tough and very flexible.

She bent it, flicked it through the air, getting the feel of it.

She moved in front of where Gabriella was hanging, eyes staring in horrified disbelief.

She whipped the switch through the air. It hummed like hornets.

She half turned away, and then she struck, lashing the switch up through a semi-circle between Gabriella’s thighs, landing in a long diagonal across the labia.

The girl’s thighs clamped together and she twisted to the side, screeching at the pain of the switch and then the pain that exploded from the nails as she moved. She fell, hips jerking forward and Mira struck again, this time exactly where she wanted. The switch lashed in the centre of Gabriella’s sex, driving the lips apart, striking her clitoris and the tip curling into her sex opening.

“That’s for me and Henny you bitch!”

Wild was the singing in Mira’s veins, a Bacchante lust to strike again. But she threw the switch down on the grass, turned and walked up the slope to the congratulations of her friends.

Gabriella sobbed at the ultimate betrayal, a helpless, friendless, terrified thing.

Herennius stood up, grinning competitively, tossing a purse in his hand. The sergeant was less obstructive this time, spoke briefly to the aedile and brought his consent to Herennius – on the same terms.

Gabriella wailed as he approached, clamping her thighs together, sobbing and pleading, reminding him of times they had once had.

He waited until her thighs sagged open and then he struck.

Gabby jerked and he missed his stroke, the switch lashing not in the centre but along the inside of her right labia.

With the speed and skill of a practised athlete he struck again, aiming this time for the left inside, so that to the watchers it seemed a planned double whipping, that the missed stroke had in fact been planned. Their applause as he returned was enthusiastic.

So they played Mira’s new game until all seventeen of them had had a turn. It made for a happy competitive hour, applauding skill and gleefully mocking clumsiness.

Soon Mira and Henny would have to go away and the parties would be over, but in the meantime seize the day. This was surely the best party of them all.

TBC
 
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old slave

FELIS RESPICIENS
The analogy with drowning was very well done.

And coming out totally confused; I often dream of waking and getting up, leaving for work (forgetting to dress) then wake up disoriented because my brain says,"You are already awake".

The despair when she realises so little time has passed. That must be one of the cruelist mental facets, written very starkly.
 
I cannot resist from posting how I felt it; this refers to the shocking and brutal experience of the nailing, that Andy described so well in post #96, a few days ago.

This is Gabriella's point of view:

World was upside down, as she was dragged by the hurt-beam. It was just When she was laid down close to the stipe that she noticed that her teeth were clattering from fear:"clath clath clath", her red lips stretched on them. Her senses were so acute, because of the potion they had just given her. Andrenaline run wildly in her veins. Her eyes, wide open, registered any motion around her. And before feeling the nail point on her wrist she felt the thick fingers of somebody grabbing her head and turning it so that she was forced to look at the rusty nail and the hammer which was to fall on its head.

She clearly felt the point penetrate, wedging among the small bones in her wrists, a pain bolt exploding in her head. But it was with the second blow that she felt the nail crush one of those little bones, the point protuding on the inner flash on the other side of her wrist. An entire storm of pain ravaged her body, from head to her feet. Her shriek was inhuman as the third blow ripped her skin and sent the nail to dig into the hard wood...."AAAAAAAHHHH AAAAAAHHH AAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!" She clearly felt the splinters of her little bones move in her wrist.

They kept here there, watching the rusty nail in her wrist, blood pooling in her clawed hand and dripping down on the dirty ground, her body jerking from the pain bolts that kept on exploding again and again in her innermost core.

It was when they turned her head to watch the other nail positioned on her left wrist that she closed her eyes, the remains of her blue make-up on her eyelids making such an odd contrast in that place of torture and death. She opened her eyes again as the point crushed the little bones in her other wrist... "oooAAAAAHHH AAAAAHAHH nnNNNNNNAAAAHHHHHH", her scream piercing the sky, almost not believing that so much pain could be inflicted on another human being by purpose "AAAAAAAHHH AAAAAAAAHHH AAAAAAAAAhhhhhhh".

She kept on screaming, and screaming, and screaming, barely conscious of the suddence silence of the mob, some vague anguish at hearing her agonizing yells spreading in the crowd. But she heard clearly the laughters and the taunts of the guards as the were torturing her: "how does it feel, eh BITCH?" "no more so high-nosed, eh BITCH?" And she felt the glob of warm spit and phlegm land on her cheek, and, immediately after, the sandal of one of the guards crashing just under her ribs. As her lithe body jerked, the nails grated on the bones in her wrist, and another blinding flash of pain exploding in her head, her heartrendering howl long and acute: "aaAAAAAAGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

Sweet kisses
Gabriella
 

andy01

Magistrate
Gabriella, next part

Many of the townsfolk had already left. After all, the best part of the show was over, and pleasant as it was to watch Gabriella’s fine breasts jerking as she struggled for breath and compare their movements with those of the skivvy’s meagre tits, still there was work to be done. So in pairs and little groups they drifted away, re-living in their chatter their favourite moments.

For some the best of all had been just seeing one of they snobs getting her comeuppance. For many it was seeing her raised up on the cross, tits going every which way, legs kicking and sprawling apart, showing the pink – the whores of Kytheramne would be working overtime tonight.

And all agreed the cropping of her hair had been hilarious. A rare treat. Only one man had seen that done before, over in Skrymos. What must she have felt, they wondered, seeing her lovely hair put into a bag to make a wig for Lady Marcella. Perhaps the women could imagine that better than the men.

And when they had finished playing Maia’s Game the bright young things agreed to adjourn to Gabriella’s house to continue the party. Each of them had in mind some things long coveted that they would take as souvenirs, something to remember Gabby by.

Besides, she was no longer such a pretty sight except for connoisseurs of the grotesque. Her face was a distorted mask, black mascara streaking her cheeks and the red juice smearing to make her mouth seem twice its size. Indeed from the edge of the hollow one could often hardly see her face for the buzzing clouds of midges round it.

And Lucia’s gentle work with oils and pumice was quite undone. From a distance, seeing the dark clouds burrowing at armpits and groin, it seemed as if Gabriella had miraculously – though disappointingly – re-grown her body hair.

So off they went, which was a pity for shortly after their departure Gabriella’s legs began to cramp and her response was spectacular.

It was one of the idlers still watching who first noticed the skin of her inner thigh rippling and twitching in a different way. He nudged his neighbour, a newcomer to this pastime. “See that. I told you she’d start cramping soon. Here it comes. Now you’ll see something.”

As she struggled to remain up on the cross, to escape the torture of the rack, a new pain, a new terror smashed into her as her thigh muscles knotted in tearing cramp. The demon had gripped them and twisted, gleefully finding another torture.

Screaming she jerked her knee in and out, disregarding the strikes of pain that flared up her legs in the panicked need to break the cramp. She twisted from side to side, allowing the lounger to point out to his friend the ravaged state of her once trim bottom. Her tender skin had been no match for the harsh wood of the cross. These things were important for the connoisseur.

But she could not shake off the cramp. The demon held the muscle and twisted. It spread to her calf, her slender calf, which turned to another centre of torture.

In crazy panic she reared up and out, jerking wildly to shake off the stabbing sear. But the demon held her fast, gripping the other thigh, gripping her biceps, the horror and agony spreading. She flailed and struggled like a white bird in a trap, but there was no escape.

She fought it as long as she could, then she fell on the nails and hung there, sobs racking her body.

Her ribs dragged apart, her belly heaving to gasp in air, she hung sobbing as her arms were racked, as her thighs and biceps bulged and writhed with the cramps.

As she slowly suffocated, gasping for oxygen, the demon slowly relaxed his grasp, stepped back to let the rack-master cross take over the task of torturing.

Until the panic fear of drowning and the boiling agony of shoulders and elbows set her again on the frantic struggle to rise.

A struggle that became more terrible every time, for though she might yet pull up so sinews were not stretched, so the strained joints recovered a more natural form, she felt bone grate against naked bone, for the synovial tissues were damaged.

Gabriella Sivilla’s crucifixion was entering its final act, a cycle of hanging, racked and slowly suffocating, and of struggling up to gasp for air and escape the dreadful stretching of the rack. Until the cramps tore her and she fell again.

And every cycle would be worse, as the tissues in elbows and shoulders disintegrated so bone scraped on bone. As exhausted muscles cramped worse. As the muscles of her ribs sprained.

And all the time, under the repeating cycles was the constant horror of dehydration. Already the moisture in her mouth had turned to a sticky glue, and every breath rasped her throat like sandpaper. Before the end, all the mucus of her body would have dried. The slick linings of vagina, dry. Her anus, dry. Even her eyeballs, dry, so that the eyelid scraped as she blinked.

And the sun peeled her skin. And the flies and midges feasted.

And this final act would be very long, its climax building over hours and days.

TBC
 

andy01

Magistrate
Gabriella, last part

Nature granted Gabriella a magnificent sunset. The orange ball stretched to an oval as it touched the edge of the hollow, the scatter of clouds glowed red and molten gold.

But for Gabriella it was another torture. As her head had jerked around her neck had seized unmoveable. Her eyes were facing directly into the glare and she could not move her frozen neck. Her eyes clenched shut against the dazzle but still the red glare pierced.

The last few watchers packed up their belongings and departed, walking slowly home in the peaceful gloaming, minds drifting between the sights and sounds of the day and the prospect of the evening.

The watch got their equipment together, going off duty at last. Except for Maxi and the unfortunate Dirennius, assigned to spend the night in the hollow. They gathered sticks and made a fire, sat beside it to eat their supper of cold pease porridge with bacon, and then played dice by its meagre light to pass the time.

Time did not pass for Gabriella. Pain erased time.

There were nightmares that engulfed her, and wakings to racking agony when she did not know if this was a continuation of the wild swirlings of terror or a different universe, did not know what was horror and what crucifixion. Whether in the real world or the nightmare, there was nothing but terror and appalling pain.

It was a long, tedious night for Maxi and Dirennius. It was endless for Gabriella. Time had ceased and there was only pain, constantly changing, always the same for each new moment lasted forever.

* * *

It was a pleasant road from Skrymos to Kytheramne, with its scent of sun-warmed thyme in the meadows and the cool, pine-smelling woods between.

Tiberius Pompeius (his grandfather had been given his freedom by Pompey the Great) was content with life. He had done good business in Skrymos, eaten well in an inn where the proprietor knew him, slept in an almost flealess bed. His mule was well fed and watered.

There had been talk in the inn of doings at Kytheramne. A mass crucifixion … some said three crosses, some said six. One over-excited man said a dozen. But everyone agreed it was women who had been put up. An uprising by the local whores, a conspiracy by the wives to kill all their husbands and take over the town. The theory nearest to the truth was that some house slaves had murdered their master.

He’d been meaning to take in Kytheramne on his way back, but it seemed worth taking a detour there now rather than later. His wares would sell as easily today as some other time. And there might be something to see on the way.

If the women were still alive, of course. They’d have been up two days now, be past their best. But Tiberius was a bit of a connoisseur of crucifixions. Sure the first frenzies were spectacular, but the long-drawn agony was something to be savoured. And with a little bit of luck – given they’d have been up two days – he might see one in her death throes when the lungs ripped apart and the heart hammered and burst. When she turned from living being to dead meat. It makes you think, that moment does.

It was just down the road, the killing ground. He recognised the town walls in the distance. Not a spectacular sessorium, the Kytheramne one, but it had a certain charm. For the observer at least. Crosses set on a hill, particularly the craggy rock site at Dyremne, were more dramatic, but that mean little hollow at Kytheramne gave an intimacy that no other site afforded.

He reined in the mule, clambered down and left the reins trailing on the ground to let the beast know it was to stay there. Paths trodden in the grass showed there had been a lot of people here recently. With any luck the rumours at Skrymos might be true.

Well, as he reached the crest he saw there were not a dozen on crosses. Just two, and both pretty far gone. Though the moaning, the harsh jerking of their chests, the twitching of muscles, showed they were still alive.

A couple of guards were sitting by the ashes of their fire playing dice.

A dozen, no way. They sniggered at his naivety. There’d been three of them, but one went pretty quickly. She was on the town midden now. That one there tried to poison her owner. The other, now she was something else. A big-wig’s daughter, rich as Croesus – and about as unlucky (the man made a sign to ward off evil). Been behind pirate gangs or something. Anyway, the Tribune had evidence enough and we put her up a couple of days ago.

Pretty girl, though you wouldn’t think it to look at her now. Very nice tits, though they’re sagging a bit now. Body’s burned up all the fat, you know. Lovely skin she had, but two days in the sun, well …

The body convulsed. Her lungs were bursting, her heart hammering itself to pieces. The strongest muscle in the body, people said, and it was tearing apart.

Tiberius moved closer, seeing the terror in the bulging eyes. Foam flecked with blood erupted from her mouth. She struggled, terrified, and life ebbed away. Her lifeless carcass sagged.

He tipped the guards with a couple of small coins, walked back to his cart and went about his trade.

The guards wondered if there was any point their staying longer, debated conscientiously then picked up the dice and headed back to town.

The hollow was silent but for the chirruping of crickets and the harsh breathing of the skivvy dying on her cross.
 

old slave

FELIS RESPICIENS
Can't believe there's much horror of dying on the cross that you didn't cover.

Particularly liked the rack-master and the demon.

Bringing in Tiberius was a very effective way to end, all a big anticlimax.

I bet there wasn't much left in Gabriella's house after the momento hunters had been, thank goodness her personal slave had been found a new home.
 

andy01

Magistrate
Can't believe there's much horror of dying on the cross that you didn't cover.

Particularly liked the rack-master and the demon.

Bringing in Tiberius was a very effective way to end, all a big anticlimax.

I bet there wasn't much left in Gabriella's house after the momento hunters had been, thank goodness her personal slave had been found a new home.
Thanks Old Slave. Appreciate your comments on this thread. It hasn't been nice or easy. I am grateful for your help along the way.
 
Gabriella, last part

Nature granted Gabriella a magnificent sunset. The orange ball stretched to an oval as it touched the edge of the hollow, the scatter of clouds glowed red and molten gold.

But for Gabriella it was another torture. As her head had jerked around her neck had seized unmoveable. Her eyes were facing directly into the glare and she could not move her frozen neck. Her eyes clenched shut against the dazzle but still the red glare pierced.

The last few watchers packed up their belongings and departed, walking slowly home in the peaceful gloaming, minds drifting between the sights and sounds of the day and the prospect of the evening.

The watch got their equipment together, going off duty at last. Except for Maxi and the unfortunate Dirennius, assigned to spend the night in the hollow. They gathered sticks and made a fire, sat beside it to eat their supper of cold pease porridge with bacon, and then played dice by its meagre light to pass the time.

Time did not pass for Gabriella. Pain erased time.

There were nightmares that engulfed her, and wakings to racking agony when she did not know if this was a continuation of the wild swirlings of terror or a different universe, did not know what was horror and what crucifixion. Whether in the real world or the nightmare, there was nothing but terror and appalling pain.

It was a long, tedious night for Maxi and Dirennius. It was endless for Gabriella. Time had ceased and there was only pain, constantly changing, always the same for each new moment lasted forever.

* * *

It was a pleasant road from Skrymos to Kytheramne, with its scent of sun-warmed thyme in the meadows and the cool, pine-smelling woods between.

Tiberius Pompeius (his grandfather had been given his freedom by Pompey the Great) was content with life. He had done good business in Skrymos, eaten well in an inn where the proprietor knew him, slept in an almost flealess bed. His mule was well fed and watered.

There had been talk in the inn of doings at Kytheramne. A mass crucifixion … some said three crosses, some said six. One over-excited man said a dozen. But everyone agreed it was women who had been put up. An uprising by the local whores, a conspiracy by the wives to kill all their husbands and take over the town. The theory nearest to the truth was that some house slaves had murdered their master.

He’d been meaning to take in Kytheramne on his way back, but it seemed worth taking a detour there now rather than later. His wares would sell as easily today as some other time. And there might be something to see on the way.

If the women were still alive, of course. They’d have been up two days now, be past their best. But Tiberius was a bit of a connoisseur of crucifixions. Sure the first frenzies were spectacular, but the long-drawn agony was something to be savoured. And with a little bit of luck – given they’d have been up two days – he might see one in her death throes when the lungs ripped apart and the heart hammered and burst. When she turned from living being to dead meat. It makes you think, that moment does.

It was just down the road, the killing ground. He recognised the town walls in the distance. Not a spectacular sessorium, the Kytheramne one, but it had a certain charm. For the observer at least. Crosses set on a hill, particularly the craggy rock site at Dyremne, were more dramatic, but that mean little hollow at Kytheramne gave an intimacy that no other site afforded.

He reined in the mule, clambered down and left the reins trailing on the ground to let the beast know it was to stay there. Paths trodden in the grass showed there had been a lot of people here recently. With any luck the rumours at Skrymos might be true.

Well, as he reached the crest he saw there were not a dozen on crosses. Just two, and both pretty far gone. Though the moaning, the harsh jerking of their chests, the twitching of muscles, showed they were still alive.

A couple of guards were sitting by the ashes of their fire playing dice.

A dozen, no way. They sniggered at his naivety. There’d been three of them, but one went pretty quickly. She was on the town midden now. That one there tried to poison her owner. The other, now she was something else. A big-wig’s daughter, rich as Croesus – and about as unlucky (the man made a sign to ward off evil). Been behind pirate gangs or something. Anyway, the Tribune had evidence enough and we put her up a couple of days ago.

Pretty girl, though you wouldn’t think it to look at her now. Very nice tits, though they’re sagging a bit now. Body’s burned up all the fat, you know. Lovely skin she had, but two days in the sun, well …

The body convulsed. Her lungs were bursting, her heart hammering itself to pieces. The strongest muscle in the body, people said, and it was tearing apart.

Tiberius moved closer, seeing the terror in the bulging eyes. Foam flecked with blood erupted from her mouth. She struggled, terrified, and life ebbed away. Her lifeless carcass sagged.

He tipped the guards with a couple of small coins, walked back to his cart and went about his trade.

The guards wondered if there was any point their staying longer, debated conscientiously then picked up the dice and headed back to town.

The hollow was silent but for the chirruping of crickets and the harsh breathing of the skivvy dying on her cross.
realistic, both in the genesis and the execution. very good descriptions.
 

Jollyrei

Angelus Mortis
Staff member
Great work, both Andy and Gabriella. Some really new elements provided in the story. She may not have been a "nice" person, but in death Gabriella became a sympathetic character. I enjoyed feeling sorry for her immensely. :devil:
GoldPalm.jpg :beer:
 
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