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Strength Chronicles, The: Hero of Mordac
|The next day, Goliath, Estus and Markus entered the city. The city was crowded with visitors who came to celebrate the Festival of Arkyll. The men approached the palace gate. The gatekeeper recognized Goliath from just looking at the size of his build and let them in and said, "Our Queen is awaiting you Goliath. I shall take you to her."
The men entered the throne room. The Queen sat on her throne at the end of the room with Maciste standing at her right side akimbo at her side with two bulging hairless tan pecs above them. He dropped his arms as Goliath approached.
Estus gaped and could not believe the size of Maciste. He had never seen any man come close to Goliath in size or shape. His 17 inch (43 cm) gastrocs poked out from behind his lower legs, his quads were large, lean and hung down like he had a second knee cap. His six pack abs were large and cut. His forearms showed all his vascularity and his triceps and lats hung wide. He had 25 inch (63 cm) shoulders with bulging delts and an 18 inch (46 cm) thick neck. His eyes traveled up to Maciste's deep blue eyes. Maciste's cold eyes caught Estus's stare. Estus's heart leaped and his eyes jumped away from Maciste's piercing stare. Maciste smiled.
"Goliath" said the Queen. "We heard of your pending visit and we welcome you to Gloth for the Festival of Arkyll."
"Then you know I am here not to celebrate, your Majesty, but to present the Gordorian Challenge to you. Your rule has been cruel and it must come to an end."
"Hubris does not become you, Goliath. If this were not the Festival of Arkyll, I would have my guards cut you down as you stand before me. But I am bound by the rules of the Gods and I accept your challenge. Who is your sponsor Goliath or do you plan to rule my kingdom yourself if you win?"
"My sponsor is Arellus, former head of the Senate. Name your challenger."
"Yes, Arellus. I should have known. Remind me to have him killed when this is over. Well, my challenger shall be Maciste who stands here at my side. You will find him a formidable opponent."
Goliath eyed Maciste who tightened his muscles and flared his lats to show off his size. Goliath was unfazed.
"As is the custom, you and your friends shall stay here tonight. As you know no harm will come to you and your Sponsor for we respect the rules of the challenge. You will attend a dinner in your honor tonight but without your man-servants."
"So be it," said Goliath and the guards showed Goliath and his two companions their separate palace rooms.
After Goliath left his room for evening banquet, guards came to the room of Estus. Estus let them in expecting supper. There at the door was instead stood the husky muscled Captain of the Guard, Axus, and his men. "Come with me, Estus." "Come where?" asked Estus. "You will see�" replied the captain as he turned around to leave. "I am not going anywhere with you," snapped Estus. The captain swung around and landed his fist across Estus's jaw knocking him out. Estus was a well developed man of about 5 foot 10 inches (178 cm) in height and 180 lbs (82 kg). He was broad shouldered and lean and muscular like an athlete. But the punch surprised him and the guards carried him to the dungeon where his limbs were hung from chains. The captain threw water in Estus's face to awaken him.
Estus stared at his captor. "Let me go," he said. "This is a violation of the rules!" "Well, not quite," said the captain. You see the rules only protect the warrior and the sponsor, not any of their friends." Estus's eyes narrowed in anger. "Now Estus, we know that there is a vow Goliath gave to Mordac and we need to tell it to us." Estus's eyes widened with surprise, then he realized he needed to control his expressions. "What are you talking about?! I know of no such vow. Just wait till your Maciste meets Goliath in the arena tomorrow. He will be crushed." "Ha!" laughed the captain. "If you don't cooperate with us, that man over there is going to make you cooperate." In the corner of the cell was a large, fat, hairy bear-chested man carrying a hot glowing steel rod. "I will never tell you anything because there is nothing to tell," said Estus. In his mind he knew he would not betray the man he loved. His torturer approached.
At the banquet, the food platters were immense and numerous. Wine flowed freely to the guests. Goliath was hungry but regretted that he did not insist that Estus and Markus be able to attend.
Maciste did not eat with the guests. He stood by watching Goliath's every move and pondering. He scanned Goliath's physique to compare it to his own. He admired how Goliath's biceps moved so smoothly and visibly under his thin skin as he drank his wine. Maciste thought he looked slightly smaller than Goliath. Would he be able to overpower Goliath in the contest? Clearly Goliath had a physique that rivaled his own. But he knew larger does not always mean stronger, for he had taken down giants many times larger than he was with his own strength. And what was this super strength that Mordac had given him? How powerful was it? Why was it given to him? The Queen had been giving Maciste a brew from the creatine plant over the past week which she said would increase his strength. Would it be enough? If Goliath were to lose the gift, would he still be strong or would he be a weakling? These and other thoughts ran through his head.
As Maciste was pondering, Axus came up to him from behind and whispered in his ear. Maciste grinned widely.
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