Chapter 2: Hard Time In Hell
A few hours had passed since Lotor's arrival on the slave planet Carnos. He rubbed his shoulders and his back. His body still ached from the attack. There were moments when he thought his head was going to fall off. He was beginning to wish it would just to be free of the pain. He would soon discover that things were about to get a lot harder than the youth could possibly have imagined.
"On your feet slave. Time to go to work." Said Kargos as he approached Lotor's cell.
He didn't respond quick enough for Kargos's liking. A painful electric shock suddenly surged through his body.
"That was a warning. The next time I won't stop." Kargos warned withdrawling a long, electronically charged spear from Lotor's cell. Not wanting to get shocked a second time, Lotor begrudgingly did as he was told and got to his feet.
"Give my men any trouble, and you'll get a lot worse than this shock spear." Kargos growled as Lotor's hands were chained in front of him. The young druel's eyes shot daggers at his captor. But what could he do now? Nothing, he could do absolutely nothing.
"All right slave, get moving." A guard commanded.
He was led by the guards to a cave where hundreds of slaves were forced to tirelessly work mining lazon. Ironic it was that he now would be harvesting the very material used to make the powerful lazon sword he once owned. Led in chains and forced to wear a slave's outfit, he had never felt more humiliated in all his life. He was given a crude pick like tool and ordered to start digging at the lazon walls.
He looked at the thing and scowled. "This thing is too dull. The least you can do is give me something sharp." He protested.
The next thing he knew he found himself punched in the back. So hard in fact that it knocked him flat on his face. He pushed himself to his knees. Blood ran from his mouth. The guards gave him a menacing glare.
"Be thankful we give you anything at all to use. I could make you scratch the walls with your bare hands if I please. Now shut up and get to work!"
"When I get out of here I will see to it these filthy beasts pay dearly for this humilation. Then father, then it will be your turn." Lotor thought gritting his teeth and started driving the pick into the wall.
As he started mining he noticed dozens and dozens of faces suddenly went straight toward him. Their eyes all narrowed showing their anger and hatred toward him. He tried to ignore them. He didn't think they'd be brave enough to risk the guards ire by starting a fight with him. He thought wrong.
As he started boaring into the wall he felt a punch to his left shoulder. He dropped his pick and turned around ready to fight. There were five men starring him in the face. None of them looked like they were worried about what may happen to them.
"Well well, boys. It looks like we have an esteemed guest in our humble abode." One man said arrogantly.
"Mind your own damn business slave." Lotor growled and took the pick back into his hands. It might have been too blunt to effectively dig into a wall, but it could still do plenty of damage on flesh and bone.
"Ohhh, seems like someone hasn't learned his place yet." Another man jeered.
"Keep it up, and I'll put you back in yours." Lotor warned.
"I think his highness here needs a reality check." The first man challenged.
The guards and Kargos looked on with wicked anticipation. "It's been a while since we had a good show around here. The king said to let them have their fun. We just won't let them kill him."
They watched as the fight was about to begin. Lotor advanced forward as the five men in front of him started backing off. An arrogant smirk graced his features thinking he still had the power to push the slaves around. He didn't pay attention to the four men who were coming behind him. Before he could make a move he felt his arms grabbed by four pairs of strong hands.
Caught off guard one of the slaves in front of him kicked him violently in the stomach. His picking tool was flung to the ground. Lotor struggled to free himself from the four men who now restrained him. He managed to force two of his captors into their comrades. But more men began surrounding him. They formed a tight circle so he couldn't escape. They began to close in on him.
He felt three fists hit his stomach, face and back. Despite the blows and the pain, he lashed out viciously hitting anything that moved. He managed to scare a few slaves off. But for the few that he did drive away, several more took their places. A barrage of relentless punches, kicks and head butts drove Lotor to the ground. All too quickly the small mob subdued him and beat him mercilessly. The guards watched with amused faces as the slaves continued to take their frustrations out on their former master. Kargos let the frakus continue for a few minutes until he decided Lotor had taken enough punishment for the time being. He sent in guards with shock spears to break up the frey.
As soon as they started feeling the painful electric surges through their bodies, the angry mob dispersed as quickly as it had gathered. Lotor was left laying in a crumpled heap. He lay cringing and groaning in pain. His face was bloodied. He clutched at his stomach and chest. The guards looked unmoved by his suffering.
"Put him back in his cell. He'll do us no good at the moment." Kargos ordered.
The guards forced Lotor back to his feet and dragged him back to his cell. They shoved him forcefully back into the small chamber and closed the door before locking it. Lotor lay on the ground heaving and gasping for breath. He'd taken many a beating in his young life, but this seem to hurt him worse than any he'd recieved in the past.
His head ached. His legs shook from the spasms throughout his body. His long white hair was now stained with his own blood. He was fairly certain that he had a few cracked ribs. It was a miracle none of them were broken. Fortunately for him drule men had strong bodies and could withstand a thorough pounding.
"Damn you...father." He muttered under his breath.
On planet Doom Zarkon sat on his throne looking out into his throne room with a contemplative stare. Haggar had brought up a valid point before he had Lotor exiled to planet Carnos. He no longer had an heir to his throne. He would have to find a new bride who would give him a replacement. And this time he would make sure this child did not grow up to be the star crossed fool his first son was. For the time being he would hold off plans for attacking planet Arus.
He summoned his official royal envoy to meet with him in the throne room. When the messenger arrived the old king had a wicked smile upon his face.
"What is your bidding sire?" The envoy inquired.
"I want you to send word to the father of Princess Coralle. I have a proposition that I think they will find most interesting. I wish to arrange a meeting with the princess and her father as soon as possible." Zarkon ordered.
"It will be done your majesty. I will send for them immediately." The envoy answered. He bowed and departed from the throne room.
Haggar, over hearing the discussion entered the throne room curious as to what the king had in mind.
"I thought you were going to plan an attack upon planet Arus and destroy Voltron once and for all." She said.
"I will take care of Voltron and planet Arus soon enough. With Lotor out of the way I can plan a flawless attack that will finally rid the Drule Empire of our most hated enemies. But the matter at hand now is procuring a new heir to take the place of my worthless son." Zarkon replied.
"But how do you plan on getting a bride so quickly?" Haggar asked.
"I am sending word to our allies Princess Coralle and her father. I had planned on joining our two forces through a marriage between she and Lotor. Our planets can still be united through a marriage between Coralle and myself. And I have every confidence that she can give me an heir worthy of my crown." Zarkon answered.
"I agree. Princess Coralle would be a splendid choice for your queen sire. Surely she will bear you a son that will be as ruthless and merciless as you sire." Haggar replied in agreement.
"I am staking the future of my kingdom and the Druel Empire upon it." Zarkon said.
Lotor was asleep in his cell. Somehow through the pain he managed to rest his battered frame. The only thing that took his mind off his agony was picturing the face of his beloved princess in his dreams. Imagining her sky blue eyes, her golden blonde hair and her warm smile gave him some comfort.
"Allura, if only you would love me. If only you would let me love you." He thought.
Some time passed and Lotor found himself rudely awakened from his slumber by a pair of brutish hands. He felt his body yanked upward as he was forced to his feet. The pain that was just beginning to fade now surged through him with new strength. Every muscle in his body was jolted to a state of tension making him hurt as if he'd been attacked all over. He found himself face to face with Kargos. The ogre master smiled evilly at his prisoner. Of course, Lotor wasn't in agreement with his keeper's twistedly cheerful disposition.
"So, how does it feel knowing how the other half lives?" He asked snidely.
Lotor wanted to tell him exactly what he felt, but decided he would not dignify the question with a responce.
"Just so you know, those slaves who pounded you nearly into the ground were people from planets you conquored. King Zarkon has seen fit to let them get a little pay back on your sorry ass. The only reason you're alive now is the king doesn't want you to have an easy time in your last days." Kargos informed.
"I intend to make sure you know suffering beyond your imagination. And just when you think it's going to end, it will start all over. And after a while when you've been exhausted beyond all hope of recovery, then and only then will I be merciful. And even then, I will watch you beg me to kill you." He stated.
"I wouldn't beg you to kiss my ass." Lotor growled. That responce promptly got him back handed in the jaw. He fell to his knees and was yanked back to his feet by two guards. He began to struggle even though their iron grip prevented any hope of him getting away.
"You think you can survive Carnos, boy? This planet breaks bodies. It breaks, wills and it breaks spirits. And you will be no different." Kargos snarled.
"This hellhole may have broken others, but it will not break me." Lotor protested defiently.
"You'll break. I will personally see to that. There are only two ways slaves leave this planet.If I see fit to transfer them to other assignments, or they leave dead." Kargos replied.
"You should have killed me the moment you took me off planet Doom. You'd better kill me now, or I will kill you later. I swear it." The drule youth warned.
"I'll kill you when you beg me too." Kargos answered getting right in Lotor's face.
"That will be the biggest mistake you ever make." Lotor growled. The hate in his expression was clear, but Kargos could have cared a less.
"Put him back in the mines. For now keep the other slaves away from him."
The flag ship arrived on planet Doom carrying Princess Coralle and her father. She was escorted by her serving maids and a host of elite royal guards. King Zarkon stood at the entrance to the hanger awaiting his important guests. The beautiful red haired princess and her father approached and bowed respectfully before the king.
"Princess Coralle, I appreciate your coming to meet with me on such short notice. You are looking as lovely as the last time I saw you my dear." The king said graciously.
"It is good to see you again your majesty." The princess replied.
"Ahh, I see you have learned our langauge. Come. I've arranged a banquette in honor of your arrival. I have a proposition that I think we all shall find mutually beneficial." Zarkon said.
"I hope so. My daughter was completely heartbroken and humilated after your son refused to marry her." Her father spoke with a somewhat skeptical tone.
"Yes. I wish to apologize for his rebellious behavior. I was as embarrassed and shocked as the both of you. He never was the son I'd hoped he would be." Zarkon said.
"Was?" Princess Coralle asked.
"Yes my dear. Lotor is no longer here. I'm afraid the prince grew so out of control I was forced to deal with him in a most extreme and unpleasant manner.The result of which I do not think bears repeating in your presence." Zarkon answered.
"Such a waste. He had such potential. It is a shame he would not listen to reason. I had hoped he would have changed his mind and married my daughter. The two of them would have been a great asset to the Druel Empire." Coralle's father commented.
"That is why I have asked you both to meet with me. Come with me and I will explain everything." Zarkon said as he escorted his guests to the banquette hall.
Lotor pounded the blunt edged pick into the lazon wall. Sparks flew as small pieces of the mineral fell into a trough spanning the entire length of the wall. The mineral deposits moved on a conveyer belt inside the trough moving it along to be processed.
He kept his eyes focused on the wall so he wouldn't see the dozens of eyes gawking at him as if he were on display for their entertainment. He hated it. Hated every minute, every second of it. He'd always been the one watching them. Now he was one of them. He started pounding harder and harder against the wall. He gritted his teeth as his anger began to rise. Many stopped working for a moment to watch him banging out his frustrations. He fought to keep his eyes on the wall. He didn't want to see the smug expressions he was pretty sure many displayed at seeing him reduced to one of their kind.
"What do you think you're doing? Back to work scum!" One of the guards barked forcing the workers to get back to their tasks.
Lotor smirked thinking he'd won a small victory against the workers. A sharp sting to his back however; reminded him it was anything but a victory.
"Don't think that was done for your sake slave. Now get back to work." The guard ordered.
His back stung from the lash he'd recieved. Never had anyone man or beast dared to strike him with a whip. He was usually the one doing the striking. But regardless of how it hurt, he went back to mining at the lazon wall.
"My father is going to pay dearly for this." Lotor thought to himself.
"Princess Coralle, I've arranged for your father and yourself to come here so that I may aquire your hand in marriage. With our two planets united, I feel certain that Planet Arus and more importantly the Druel Empire's greatest threat, Voltron will be rendered completely powerless. Of course I require that you will be able to produce an heir to inherit my kingdom, but in return you will have unlimited power at your disposal. The complete and total support of the empire will be yours. I know I may not be handsome and young like Lotor was, but I can assure you your efforts will be richly rewarded." Zarkon proposed.
"Our planets will be united, and our power will grow even stronger. I accept your proposal King Zarkon, if it pleases my father." Coralle stated looking toward her father.
"I accept. When shall the ceremony be held?" He asked.
"As soon as possible. I want to be sure our planets are properly united so that we may launch an attack upon Voltron and planet Arus. This time, no one will stand in our way." Zarkon declared.
"Very well. We shall prepare for the ceremony at once." Coralle's father answered.