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RP:A bit of unpleasantness - the Butcher interrogates an elf

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Background

The Mouse, director of a shadowy organisation, had issued a call for a member to interrogate an elven woman for information regarding a mark's whereabouts.


The Butcher, taciturn as ever, volunteers to get the job done.


A caged cell, in parts unknown

Rowen the invisible rat is hopping along much like a tiny kangaroo. The sound made by her locomotion must be rather odd. The compulsion to move in this manner is a side effect of the suspiciously cheap potion of invisibily she has quaffed. Another such is her annoying bout of hiccups. 'The Mouse.' greets the butcher with."Good day to- hic- you monsieur -hic -Valentin. Here are the - hic -keys to our guest's cell. Jelko told me -hic- there are a number of items in the adjoining room to help with persuasioin, perhaps a nice meal and a song will put her in the mood to help us?" The deluded little rat has not checked out said persausion room herself, it is of course a very well equipped torture chamber, complete with rack, and various drugs and potions. The rodent director uses her psionic powers to levitate a heavy iron key ring with several keys for the cell, torture chamber and various chains over to the vampire.


Valentin had tromped into the building, following the directions he'd been given, a hint of raw meat filling the air around him. The dour Butcher's shirt seemed new, as did his apron - despite the smears of gore it had already accumulated. Valentin carried a metal box in his left hand, one which seemed to have no openings save for a small sliding section on the top. When addressed by the peculiar voice, the butcher narrowed his eyes "The blimmin' Mouse, I take it. Got quite the blimmin' sense o'humour, sendin' a blimmin' revenant after me, y'banker. Got holes in me which aint proper repaired, innit." Valentin grabs the keys out of the air "So what's the story with the bint we're questionin'? Anythin' in particular y'need out of 'em?"


The Mouse laughs "Ashen really is a fine fellow when you get to know him, he is a paladin of the great Daedria, you know, hence his natural -hic - desire to make you hole-y. We just needs to find out where the elf Merion is hiding, and what circumstances, like does he have guards, or magical wards to protect him. I -hic- will not be taking part in the interrogation, as suprem...er I mean as director I have far more important tasks to attend too. Good luck mister Valentin, I hope you -hic- and your client Hagaliad both have a good day." With that the little rat will bound away, leaving the butcher to his work.


Valentin grunts, and when the room smells empty, mutters "A blimmin' Paladin? No wonder I didn't much like th'banker. Paladin an' revenant? There's a fecked combination, an' ain't that th'right of it." Shaking his head, the butcher unlocks the door, and goes to inspect the 'interrogation room' and its 'guest'.


In an otherwise empty cell to the left of the torture chamber is a youthful looking female elf with long blonde hair. She was sitting crosslegged on the floor, but leaps to her feet on seeing Valentin in next room through the bars, her cell is more of a cage in many ways. Hagaliad glares at the butcher, a mixture of fear and anger evident in her face. "I demand you release me at once! Do you know who I am? I have friends in high places, I am a good friend of Queen Myrall, and of the bishop of Cenril!"


Valentin casts a dour look at the woman. Damn yappy things, elves. Still, maybe that curse would be a blessing today. If the annoying blimmin' thing continued being this talkative, then maybe the butcher could get the answers needed and go home before the day was done. "Luv, y'could be queen high muckity-muck o' toff castle, an' it wouldn't help you none here. Fact is, mam'selle, I'm here t'get some answers from you. An' we can do it easy." A pause, as the butcher looked around at the various serrated and spiked implements hanging neatly on racks along one wall "Or we can do it hard." The butcher pats the metal box. "An' either way, luv, we'll get our answers. An' maybe a few more besides." Valentin scratches a shaggy muttonchop. "A'right. First things first." Valentin starts chanting, completely ignoring anything else the elf might say, as a shifting cadence of sussurating syllables writhe around the room like serpents. The room darkens as the shadows gather, and the cell in which the woman stands develops a ritual pattern of shadows - lines of sorcerous bindings woven with sigils and runes. Once the shadows have aligned into the correct formation, the chant shifts, gains a crackling dissonant quality as Valentin binds the shadows with the pyrumbral tides. The shadows take on the appearance of flames, and the ritual circle is scorched into the floor of the cell - woman's feet, should any part of them stand on the shadows, would feel a tremendous heat, as if red-hot coals were beneath her. When that part of the ritual is complete, and the circle is formed and ready, Valentin speaks to the woman. "A'right luv. Now's y'chance to do things the easy way. What we want t'know is all about y'friend Merion: where is 'e hidin', what're his defenses, does 'e use magic, does 'e have guards, what are his plans over the coming week." Valentin stares at the elfmaid impassively, no hint of emotion colouring his coarse features.


Hagaliad silently follows the butcher's eyes as he regards the various brutal devices. Shehas been regarding the various horrific instruments of torture through the bars of her cell ever since she was captured. Such a pleasant view for the prisoners was obviously in the mind whoever planned the architecture of this place. She is therefore already very afraid of what is to happen to her. Though not skilled in the arcane arts herself, the treeborn is familiar enough with magic and it's effects, one of her closest friends is a firemage. She therefore takes great care not to move from her position within the shadow-circle. The frail elf is not without courage. Valentin will likely not find it easy to get her to betray her cousin's hiding place. In contrast to her loud bluster of a few minutes ago she now speaks quietly, her voice trembling. "What do you want with Merion?"


Valentin scratches his jawline idly "I imagine, luv, given that folks like m'self have been called into things, that Merion is goin' to die. Maybe quickly. Maybe not." Valentin sets his metal box down on a table. "The question is, mam'selle, are you planning t'join him in that, or were you thinkin' that livin' a bit longer might jus' be the ticket. Y'got a choice right here: Tell me where he is hidin' right now, an' you get to miss out on some unpleasantness. Fail t'tell me, or tell me a lie, an' I start workin'. At which point it'll take a blimmin' good healer to make y'pretty again once I'm done." Valentin quietly starts another incantation, the words hissing softly as a whisper, while he waits for the elfmaid's response.


Hagaliad had suspected that her cousins life was in danger, she had also expected the vampire to lie about the matter, and been ready to try to catch him in the untruth. His answer leaves her speechless for a few moments. "Thank you for your honesty. I' l l" She is shaking more violently with fear now, looking once more at the huge number of, in many cases bloodstained objects, diabolical harbringers of pain positioned throughout the room. Finally she speaks again. "If I were to so easily betray Merion's location to those who wish to slay him, I might retain my skin-deep beauty, but my soul would surely be a terribly ugly thing."


Valentin shrugs, and pulls out a small glass test tube as he finishes his incantation. The butcher slides the small apperture at the top of his metal box open and passes his hand over it as the sound of something rustling inside can be heard. He wraps his hand around the test tube a moment, speaking a few more dissonant necromantic verses, before finally responding to her determined speech. "As y'say. Hard way it is." Valentin reveals the test tube, which now holds a trio of small larvae. Resembling a grotesque cross between maggot and leech, their most distinctive feature is their maw, lined lamprey-like with sharkish teeth. "These are called Gravewyrms, luv. Like termites for flesh. An in short order y'goin' to have these crawlin' round inside you. Chewin' away at you, all painful-like. Won't be fun." While he speaks and holds her attention with his dour gaze, Valentin's shadow shifts, an outline of a malevolent grin cracking the silhouette of its head, and a cleaver forms in its hand. An old form of shadowmancy: and with the speed of a winter night falling, the shadow whips the cleaver to cut a light slash across the shadow of the elfmaid's wrists. Assuming her attention has remained on Valentin and his 'pets', the elfmaid would find a shallow cut appear across her wrists - nothing life threatening, but enough to scatter some of her blood onto the ritual circle and activate Vandon LeRouge's Crimson Shackles. As the eponymous crimson lights flare around the elfmaid's wrists, the elfmaid would feel a sensation akin to having her wrists pierced through by dozens of nails. The elfmaid would find those Shackles impossible to break or shift, fed as they are by her own lifeforce, and controlled by the necromantic butcher. Valentin explains "I got to do somethin' else rather painful so's you don't move while I apply the little blighters. Of course, you could call this another chance t'come clean with th'information I need, innit. Where's Merion"


Hagaliad shudders as she regards the creatures, more with digust and revulsion at the idea of having the foul gravewyrms devouring her from the inside, than from fear of the pain, though she has no doubt that it will hurt like hell. The wyrms teeth look incredibly sharp. Suddenly the elf cries out with shock, at the unexpected stinging pain in her wrists, 'what accursed magic is this, he didn't even get anywhere near me with the blade.' Her frightened thoughts run through her mind. 'What else is he capable of doing to me?' The pain from the cuts is of no great consequense, buts as a few crimson drops drip to to floor, her interrogator's purpose is revealed. Those cruel arcane shackles of crimson light, wrap tightly around her wrists, immobilising them. The fragile elf lets out an involuntary, animalistic scream of pure agony as it feels as if red hot nails are being driven deep into both her wrists. "No!" she screams at her tormentor through her pain.


Valentin waves a hand as he exerts his will over the necromantic construct controlling the crimson shackles, causing the intensity of the sensation to drop right down to what could be considered 'bearable' levels. "Shame, mam'selle. Things get pretty unpleasant, here on out. Sure you don't want to save yourself the grief?" Valentin opens the barred door, now that the elfmaid is sorcerously restrained, and approaches, showing her the gravewyrms in closer detail as they writhe around each other, their carapaces gleaming slickly, their greyfleshed maws full of little teeth.


Hagaliad stops screaming as the pain in her wrists dimishes. The treedorn feels sick at the sight of the disgusting wyrms, the tiny monsters seem to her almost like the physical embodiement of sickness, disease, torment and death. It occurs to her that perhaps she could kick out at the torturer, since her legs are as yet unrestrained. Almost the woman does lash out at him thus, but fear prevents her, fear of how much worse this man could inflict on her were he actually personally angry at her, rather than just doing a job of work. She squirms, trying to get her body as far away from those horrible little beasts, though the powerful shackles aroud her wrists will not allow her much movement. "Get them away from me, please!" From her voice it is obvious that she is panicking, not entirely rational.


Valentin holds the gravewyrms up, staring at the elf impassively, reading the conflicting emotions with a predator's cold intuition "I can make these things go away, luv, without a one of 'em burrowing into your delicate meat. But you have t'tell me what I need t'know. An' you might want t'do so now before I get bored o'waitin', innit. I'm a busy man, lots t'do. Can't waste too much time here on smallfry like y'self."


The elf squirms in fear and loathing. "Please, please don't hurt me. I cannot betray Merion knowing he will die, please have mercy. I can get you money perhaps if you spare my cousin and I." She is weeping, fratically trying to escape one of the terrible options before her, telling the assassins where they can find and kill her kin, or having those foul beasts with razor sharp teeth burrowing into her soft flesh."Please!"


Valentin shakes his head. "Y'not listenin' properlike." The butcher waves a hand and concentrates for a moment, causing Vandon LeRouge's Crimson Shackles to flare for a few seconds around Hagaliad's wrists, sending a wave of intense pain through the elfmaid. Another wave of the hand corresponds with the discomfort returning to minimal levels, and Valentin speaks in a matter-of-fact tone, as if explaining something to a child "There ain't no mercy t'be had from me, luv. An' there ain't no gold as will divert me from this task. There's only one outcome: you'll tell me what I need to know." A pause "The only question left is how much pain and damage y'goin' t'experience afore I get the information." Valentin's impassive gaze locks onto the elfmaid's, and he directs another wave of agony through the elfmaid via the sorcerous energies of Vandon LeRouge's cruel ritual. Given the minute amount of energy this ritual drained from the elf, she could last days in pain before her lifeforce gave out entirely. "Last chance, mam'selle. After this, I get nasty. Where is Merion?"


Hagaliad's wrists feel like they are shackled with red hot iron as Vandon LeRouges arcane restraints do their cruel work. An involuntary, animalistic scream of agony is torn from the frail elf woman's throat. When he pauses, and slowly explains her situation to her, she pants for breath, her body sagging little though she is held up on her feet by those same diabolical magically constructed shackles that just caused her such torment. Valentin's pitiless, cold stare into his victims eyes, is in many ways worse than the terrible pain she just suffered. It promises, no let up, no mercy, just a relentless desire to get the information he desires. Knowing, from that hard cold look, more than from his words that begging will not help her case. She just shakes her head, then her screams fill the torture chamber once more as the terrible magical torment is reactivated.


Valentin shrugs, then passes his hand over the vial containing the gravewyrms while the elfmaid screams. A whispered cantatus binds the essence of one larva with shadow, and then Valentin causes his own shadow to extend out to briefly cover one of the elfmaid's hands with a slightly chilled touch. When the shadow retreats the elfmaid will feel a sting as the larval gravewyrm, now transplanted to the back of her hand, latches on. As the sorcerous shackles keep her hands mostly stationary, the hungry gravewyrm starts chewing a small hole in her flesh. The initial sensation is like needlepoints jabbing and scraping, and then the grub burrows in. It would be an unsettling feeling, having something alive and squirming inside one's flesh, its teeth setting off both deep and surface pain receptors as it fed. For now, with just a single wyrm feeding, the elf's hand is safe in the short-term from being rendered down to the bone, but the process has already started. Valentin, watching with a clinical fascination, remembers to reiterate his question "Where is Merion?"


Hagaliad retches as the loathsome little creature begins to consume her soft flesh. Though painful, the physical pain is not intense enough to make her cry out. The psychological effects of having the diabolcal wyrm burrowing in to her are terrible howver. She squirms, panicking, calling out."Take it out! For Sven's sake, please take it out!"


Valentin deliberates. At this point, the elfmaid had proven to have something of a spine, and if given an inch of respite, would no doubt recover a mile. Still, it would not do to overload the girl with unpleasant sensation to the point of incoherence. The butcher, and Scleratus of the Necromancer's guild, keeps a level gaze on Hagaliad. There was an area of study which he had started delving into after the disappearance of both Thanatos Domina and Magister Letum of the guild meant he was unsupervised. Linked closely to his 'hidden whispers' was the Necromantic field of Phobomancy. And a little experiment in fear magic, Valentin felt, would certainly be appropriate. To outer appearances, Valentin was ignoring the girl's pleas. However, the room starts to darken further as Valentin compels the shadows to cavort on the walls in the wash of sorcerous red light. Hints of shadowy centipedes crawl around the room, and the cell rustles with the hint of chitin slowly rasping against brick - a sound inspired by the emanations of Valentin's own wyrmpit in Cenril. Valentin does not say a word, merely looks at the elfmaid as the shadows creep, waiting for an answer to his question. And while Valentin waits, he slowly builds upon the sensory aspects of his first complex attempt at phobomancy, drawing on his magical reserves to keep the 'Hidden Whispers' building up a quiet orchestra of insectoid chittering as the gravewyrm starts to chew inside the base of the elfmaid's thumb where the meat is thicker.


The unfortunate elf girl feels her horror, terror and disgust increasing moment by moment. This accursed room seems to be crawling with unnatural, demonic red centipedes, she can hear them moving, see them covering the walls. The terrified woman even imagines she can feel them crawling all over her body. As the gravewyrm enjoys its meal of the pad of he thumb, she cries out in pain. The writhing woman in desparation, tries lying to her tormentor, giving a false location for her cousin's hiding place, she shouts. "He's sought sanctuary at the court of the dwarven king and queen, in Craughmoyle." Hoping the royal palace, deep underground, will be far too well guarded for her tormentor to easily disprove her story. She looks pleadingly at Valentin "Please get them off me." She refers to the non existant centipedes. "Get that foul maggot out of my hand, please." Tears are running down her pale cheeks.


Valentin scratches a shaggy muttonchop. This was the bit where things would get interesting. "Well luv, here's the thing. I'm about t'go on a little holiday. But I'm not actually goin' to leave the room. Instead, mam'selle, I'm goin' t'hijack a shadow, an' go crawlin' an' flyin' an' in myriad ways get m'self down to Craughmoyle. An' for all that time, that little wormy is goin' to stay in your flesh, until I confirm y'story." Valentin pauses, causes the chittering, rasping sounds to centre around the girl more closely as the shadows now hint at spiders as well as centipedes. "An' if I cannot find Merion down in Craughmoyle, I ain't goin' to punish you. I'm jus' goin' t'ask you again. An' then you'll give me a new address. An' I'll go on -another- little shadowy holiday. An' your pretty flesh will continue to get chewed up until your hands are nought but bones unless I find Merion on one of my trips. Y'get me, luv? Am I crystal? I'll give you a moment to think about it. Rack your still-pretty little head to make sure you didn't maybe misremember where Merion is." Valentin stops to let Hagaliad speak - and the gravewyrm larvae continues to chew, having made a tiny little burrow inside the flesh of the girl's hand where it could proceed at leisure towards the bone, before working outwards. Gravewyrms tended to leave the skin until last, finding it too dry by comparison to the rest of a creature's flesh.


In the elf woman's phobomancy corrupted fevered imagination, she sees a huge centipede fall from Valentin's mutton chop into her hair, and feels it begin to crawl over her scalp. She has some training as a healer, and knows full well that before long, the ravenous little beast devouring the muscles of her hand will reach and consume the tendons attaching the thumb muscles to the bone, the ligaments holding the bones together. The damage then will be irreprable, her thumb will dangle useless for the rest of her life. She whimpers in terror, but still, she has great affection for her cousin Merion. They had played together in sage forest, almost everyday, as children. Bravely deciding she can sacrifice the use of her thumb, to save him, she nonetheless screams in agony, as the horrible little beast munches its way near a nerve ending. "He is in Craughmoyle. I am telling the truth. Please, please take it out, save my hand, I am begging you!"


Valentin shakes his head "No can do luv. The gravewyrm don't come out until I've personally witnessed Merion's location, innit." The butcher, ignoring the elfmaid's discomfort and growing panic, quickly determines the best way to handle the next step. What Valentin proposed to do required concentration and sustained use of mystical reserves, albeit only a small amount. Still, given how long he would likely take to reach Craughmoyle, the butcher did not want to rely upon his own reserves. With a wave of his hand, more shadows dance on the floor of the ritual circle, taking the shape of additional sigils and lines. Valentin then chants, once more binding the pyrumbral tides to sear new markings into the circle, before piercing his own thumb again with a sharpened fingernail. Stepping over, Valentin swiftly squats to press his thumb onto the initiator sigil, and the function of the circle alters. Hagaliad would earn a slight respite as the crimson shackles seem to cause less pain - but she would also feel a little bit nauseous as a tiny fraction of her life energy is drawn from her by the crimson shackles and then transformed by the ritual circle into mana to be fed into Valentin as he shadowquested. The butcher settles himself into a seat, gets comfortable, and hisses out an invocation to bind some of his own essence into a small shadow. "Alright luv. I'll be back anywhere between three hours and three days." Valentin shows his fangs, to let the girl understand he is undead "An' don't worry, lack of food won't discomfort me, an' I came prepared with me own bevvy for when I return, so don't go thinkin' I'll accidentally kill you from thirst. There ain't goin' to be rescue or respite from that little wormy." A pause " Now, if you suddenly realise Merion's moved address, luv, jus' say 'I Found Merion', an' I'll halt m'spell and we'll have another little chat." Valentin then closes his eyes, so that the only sensory input he receives is from the little shadow, which he then sends speeding off out of the den, seeking some Craughmoyle-bound trader whose shadow he could hijack for starters.


The druid Hagaliad has some experience of channeling her own life energy, by choice in order to heal the sick. She is therefore all too aware that this monstrous, heartless being is stealing the lifeforce from her. The frail elf is helpless to prevent the vital force being violently torn from her. As he grins, and shows his fangs, a new fear is added to her myriad woes. Does this brutal creature intend to feed on her to steal her life's blood also? She is filled with horror as it occurs to the woman that he might plan to enthrall her, to completely destroy her will, and make her an eager to please slave. On hearing 'I'll be back anywhere between three hours and three days.' and his cruel assurances that he will be most careful not to let her escape her suffering by dying, the wretched victim sinks even deeper into despair, part of her thumb has gone numb now, as the wyrm has destroyed the nerve, leaving her imagination free rein to worry about the unknown further damage the flesh eating worm may be causing. After a few minutes of such psychological torment, she shouts. "I Found Merion."


Valentin had found a rider heading westwards, and had hitched to its shadow when his ears register the druid's words. Releasing the shadowbindings, Valentin opens his eyes and blinks as he adjusts to using his own senses again. Staring at Hagaliad levelly, the butcher comments "Well mam'selle. Something jog your memory?"


The frantic, terrified victim screams at Valentin. "He's hiding out in Venturil, in an old abandoned shack,near where the wild fendoree roam. Please stop it, please let me go I am telling you the truth!" Her whole body sinks with shame, as Hagaliad is filled with guilt and self loathing that she has broken, and betrayed her cousin's location to those who want him dead.


Valentin narrows his eyes. It could be another act, but then, the consequences would remain the same. "So, luv. We may be getting somewhere. Now, describe the shack where he is hiding, what his current defenses and abilities are, as well as who and what he has protecting him. Do that, and you get a break from being wormfood." The chittering, rasping sounds start up again, as the walls again hint at numerous coiled centipedes lurking in the shadows


The woman is consumed with guilt, but feels there is not much point in withholding the details, since with her previous statement, she has effectively signed her cousin's death warrant. "The shack is broken down, derelict with an old broken cot. My cousin is an extremely skilled archer, and can cast various enchantments on his arrows. When last I spoke with him, he had only his loyal wolf companion to protect him, but he spoke of perhaps hiring mercenaries, or asking the Desert Legion, based in Chartsend for protection. ...Please sir, get that worm out of me, please... and get rid of those other horrible red crawling things....I'll co-operate." Merion, meanwhile, unaware that he has just been betrayed is sitting outside the broken down shack, cooking himself a fine breakfast of bacon and eggs.


Valentin makes a note of the details, and strides across to take firm hold of the elfmaid's hand. Seeking with a tendril of shadow through the bored-out tunnel in her flesh, the butcher locates his 'pet', and intones a sussurating verse, binding the gravewyrm's essence with shadow. The butcher steps back, reaches into his pocket, and retrieves the glass tube containing the other two larvae, holding it in the shadow of his hands. A moment later, the shadowbindings are released, and the tube is once more home to three of the gravewyrm grubs "It is done. I'll have a natter with my associates - give 'em the information an' let them go have some fun in Venturil. For now, you'll be stayin' here, just in case. If you're particularly well behaved, you may get to live, or at least have a quick, clean death. Can't say fairer than that." Valentin pauses to muse a moment "Of course, if it turns out you lied, and we go to Venturil on a wild goose chase... well. After we get the correct information out of you, I'd be feedin' you to a full swarm of these luvverly little critters." The butcher pats the metal box, from which rasping sounds can be heard. Valentin focuses a moment, spreading shadows on the cell floor as he chants to once more bind shadow with the pyrumbral tides. A few moments of black flame later, and the cell floor is home to a scorched expanse, as opposed to the neatly seared ritual circle. Hagaliad then finds herself free of the shackles, and no longer being drained of her lifeforce. "Well, it has been a productive day, luv. You might want to get a little sleep." Valentin tips his hat to the elfmaid politely, and turns to leave, picking up his metal box.


The terrified elf girl whimpers wretchedly. "I told you the truth sir, I'll be well behaved, I'll do as I'm told."She sounds like a frightened child for a moment, before once more speaking like a rational, if frightened adult..."Please, I beg you, urge your associates to spare my life. There is no need to kill me, sir."


Valentin walks out with an unhurried pace, saying as he leaves "Well, y'got at least a week, an' if your information was good, y'may just be so lucky as to live." Certainly, the butcher was not too concerned about being called to account for his actions, and should the girl live and send people after him, well, a man could never have too much sausage meat. Valentin, after ensuring the cell and room are locked and secured, tromps off to give his report.