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Strength Chronicles, The: Hero of Mordac
|Hanging from his chains in his dungeon cell, Estus could hear the roars of the Queen's spectators. He knew the more they roared, that Goliath was in trouble. "Would Goliath still be strong enough to defeat Maciste?" he worried. "How could he help him?" He closed his eyes and prayed to Lord Mordac.
While he was praying, a small, glowing blue orb of clouds appeared in front of him.
"Estus," said the orb, "I, Lord Mordac, have heard you." Estus raised his head and opened his eyes as best he could.
"Goliath has broken his vow and has been defeated by Maciste in the arena. The Queen has won the Gordian Challenge," said the deep and strong voice from the orb.
Estus's head and heart sank but the news was not unexpected to him. Just then the door to his cell unlocked and Axus entered closing the door behind him. He looked up and saw Estus looking at the orb. Axus drew his sword and raised it to slice the orb but what looked like a wave of clear power emanated from the orb and hit Axus in the chest, throwing him against the door, closing it and stunning him. He slid down the door onto his ass.
"But all hope is not lost for the people of Gloth, Estus," the orb continued, "Will you take up Goliath's fight and with it, the risk of your death?"
Estus was surprised. He was no hero. He loved Goliath, worshipped him and served him tirelessly knowing his love would never be returned. But become a hero? How could he? Meanwhile, Axus began to regain consciousness.
"How could I, Lord Mordac? I am not even a solider and look at me. I can barely see or stand." Axus stared at the two in awe and fright.
"Do not doubt my power!" said the god sternly. "For I will heal your wounds and pass the power of Goliath onto you if you will take the vow freely and so long as you abide by it."
Confused, tired and in pain, Estus tried to think. A thousand thoughts and feelings raced through his mind. That strength! That physique! That sacrifice. Maybe for a short while. Just to avenge Goliath and to help here. But what of Maciste?
"You will need to use all your willpower to succeed in this task and you must focus on the Queen and her death. Your strength will be greater than Maciste's!" assured the orb.
Estus said, "Yes, I accept and take the vow."
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