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Icy sweat dripped down Vincente’s spine as he waited, head bowed before Ubel. He prayed the overlord would extend his left hand so Vincente could kiss the ruby thumb ring.
In public, everyone said Ubel was strict but fair. In places where whispers will not be repeated, Vincente had been told Ubel destroyed all who crossed or disappointed him.
The stone floor stole away heat from Vincente’s knee, where it braced him before the steps leading to the throne. He kept his eyes trained on the hem of Ubel’s black fur mantle. The supplicant could feel Ubel’s eyes bore into his back. The bastard’s fingertips no doubt were steepled as he considered Vincente’s report. How often had he seen others in this exact position and laughed internally at their foolishness, seeking mercy from someone with none?
He never mocked them, like some of the court did. Ubel tolerated no other assuming his power. Only he granted life or death, kindness or abuse.
At long last, the cloth in front of him shifted. He felt Ubel’s hand rest gently on his head. Vincente started to raise his head and hands so he could grasp his salvation, when his head was shove so hard it continued until it met the stone steps.
Before he could recover, Vincente felt a nailed boot pressing down between his shoulders. Standing facing his audience, grinding the cleats deep into Vincente’s back, Ubel asked, “What shall I do with this dog?”
(words 244- first published 4/14/2013; republished new blog format 7/10/2016)