Ask Those We Leave Behind

The Gutter Prince

Daeren Olaris

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TerranSteel
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Daeren clenched his teeth behind his lips at Kyriaki’s disdainful words. Sub-human he’d heard before. Monster was rarer. All of it degrading - even for a good cause. Through viper-charmer words, she angled towards sparing the Gutter Prince an immediate and agonizing execution for a delayed one - after fierce torture. It’s the little mercies that make life worth living. In truth, Daeren would already tell that Kyriaki was attempting to locate other prisoners. If they even rescued a single dwarf, elf, or merfolk, it would be worth it to him. Few deserved this end.

Bacchus stared at the northern lady as the gears turned in his dark mind. His aura every bit matched hers in frigidness. Calculating eyes passed over the broad elf that knelt before him before gliding back to Kyriaki. “Very well, My Lady,” the Witch Hunter finally spoke, “We shall take your captive into custody.” The crowd seemed to get the wind knocked out of them. Their religious fervor draining in equal measure to their disappointed bloodlust. “We shall find out what secrets this vile elf holds! Then! Mass justice!” Bacchus shouted. The gathering roared once again at this fresh appetizer. With a wave, Bacchus sent his loyal goons to begin to shoo away his flock.

The drunkard who had guided them there approached the holy Witch Hunter, his hands wringing together nervously. “Lord, I captured the elf in service of the Lady. I know I can manage him. May I… May I attend with her?” Daeren almost rolled his eyes. But surely this man’s guard was better than an actual one. Bacchus glanced over the man and then the Lady Argyro. “Yes, you both shall attend us. We may have questions for you as well.” The drunkard gulped nervously, out of excitement of fear the elf could not tell.

Multiple guards returned after their dispersal of the crowd. They wore a variety of armor, weapons, and clubs. They were thick-necked and thuggish. The Witch Hunter about-faced and gestured with gloved two-fingers for the entourage to follow. Daeren didn’t even get a chance to stand on his own volition. Two meaty and metal-clad arms jerked him upward so hard that he swore they almost dislocated. The blond-elf made sure to groan in discomfort. Wherever the Witch Hunter was taking them, it certainly wasn’t deeper into the city.

@Kashara @Kyriaki Argyro
 
I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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@Daeren Olaris

"The inquisitor wants to ask us questions, m'lady. That's good...right?" the drunkard declared with faux joviality. But she saw the sweat slowly gathering on his brow. "Who knows what this knife-ear was planning. Where there's a knife-ear, there's a demon. We may have saved the town. Maybe the inquisitor will have a job for us. He's got a pretty good gig going." Kyriaki said nothing in response. "Right, m'lady?"

The look she gave him was cold enough to be glacial. "Shut up, and watch the prisoner." Armour-clad, strongly built and thuggish looking guards surrounded them. Probably to guard more than just the prisoner. And so they headed off down the hill. But, as Daeren had correctly suspected, their path did not take them deep into the city again.

Rather it would soon become apparent that they were heading away. The inquisitor mounted his steed, and Kyriaki did likewise. Poor Daeren would have to walk. If he slackened or even slowed for but a moment, the guards would find ways to motivate him. Usually by punching, whipping or kicking him. Perhaps the drunkard would get a hit in to prove his manliness. It probably did not improve the elf's mood when it started to rain.

Eventually they would happen upon an enclosed residence near the forest. Perhaps it had been a villa once, but now it looked dilapidated and rundown. The moment they passed through the gates, they would behold an image of misery. "The former occupants of this place committed unspeakable sins," the inquisitor declared, voice dripping with profound distaste. "But now it has been cleansed of their taint."

The courtyard was lined with shackled and chained beings. Many of them were emaciated and dressed in bloody rags. In several cases, their feet had been forced into stocks. What they had in common is that they were all non-human, save two, who were forced to wear a placard that bore the words: "I'm a degenerate. I shamed my race." Out here, they were exposed to the elements. The dirty rags they wore offered no protection from the biting cold.

A guardsman dressed in gleaming, resplendent armour greeted the inquisitor, bowing his head. "M'lord, welcome back. This is the latest batch. My men are hard at work forcing the truth from the abominations in the dungeon. We even found two perverted degenerates."
 
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The Gutter Prince

Daeren Olaris

Character
Job
Sellsword/Adventurer
Gender
Male
Age
26
Marital Status
Single
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TerranSteel
Joined
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Being forced to march was not a burden. The Gutter Prince had traveled primarily on foot for most of his wandering career. The labor had made him endurable to this in particular. Only recently he acquired a horse. Aldritch, the midnight steed. Daeren’s eyes downcast at the dirt before him in brief memory. What could have been with Anara. The white-haired warrior. A fist punched the elf in the shoulder blade. “Keep up!” Daeren’s thoughts must have slowed his pace. A weaker slap against the back followed. “Yeah, keep up!” Grunted the drunk. To keep up appearances, he grunted in annoyance and brief pain. The more these guards believed he was at their mercy, the less likely they were to exercise their brutality to prove it. At least, that’s how it usually worked.

This lot said elves cast curses. More like the elves themselves were cursed. When it rains, it pours. Literally. The Gutter Prince slouched his shoulders and hair began to cling to his face as water from the sky soaked him. Each bootfall churned the dirt path into slop. The only comfort was that the thugs in chainmail, and the drunkard pretending to be one, had to share in the unpleasantness equally. Daeren chewed the inside of his lip as a scoured relic of prosperity offered itself up to them. A villa that had seen better days. The inhabitants, much like the manor, were withered husks. Braccus claimed this place had been cleansed of sin and vileness, but Daeren could only see evil. A row of desiccated beings, shackled, and brutalized, were too demoralized to even look at the new arrivals for longer than a blink. Even their spirits had been put in chains. The Gutter Prince stared at them from the corner of his eye. He felt even remorse for the humans whose lot were even worse than that of the non-humans. Traitors were always treated worse than enemies. “Eyes front!” Shouted a guttural voice, slapping the elf on the back of the head.

Rain dripped off the finely-polished armor of the guard providing his diligent report. The irony of clean armor and dirty hands wasn’t lost on Daeren, who glanced the man up and down. How many prisoners did this place have? How many elves? The Witch Hunter nodded seriously at his subordinate, “Well done. One was delivered unto us as well.” He didn’t even look back to confirm the hostage. “All the racks must be in use, then. We’ll have to store this one for a moment yet.”

With a flick of the wrist, the guard stood aside with a crisp stance to attention as the Witch Hunter and his entourage proceeded into the main hall of the manor. Or what was left of it. Torches lit up drab and decrepit sight. Torn curtains, muddy floors, and some leaks from the roof itself. Only the central walkway was lit and the rest cast into darkness. The fires provided a visible path to a stone stairwell that curled like an angry snake deeper into the bowels of the earth. Daeren felt his stomach twist with growing anxiety. Already he could hear distant shouts of misery.

The stairs ended in what had likely been a wine cellar of some kind. Or a hold for meats and cheeses during the winter months. Someone quite wealthy has fallen from grace. Make-shift cells had been created to abuse, torture, and keep those who needed purification. Muffled whimpers behind thick wooden doors mixed with the occasional shrill, desperate cry. Divine work was being done here. At the other end of the cellar, one of the brutes escorting Daeren shoved ahead and unlocked a door to a small room. Inside was a table off to the side and 5 chairs scattered about. “In.” The escort grunted. He didn’t even wait for the elf to follow orders before shoving him in. The Gutter Prince fell roughly into the dusty stone floor before being lifted up again and shoved into a wooden seat that creaked under his weight.

The threshold slammed shut and the clanking of keys locked it. Only the drunkard, Kyriaki, two guards, and the Witch Hunter himself remained. He placed his hands behind his back and sized up the trio of new arrivals. “Well, where should we begin?”

@Kashara @Kyriaki Argyro
 
I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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Kashara
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@Daeren Olaris

Outwardly no emotion crossed Kyriaki's face when the witch-hunter made his quip about all the torture racks being in use. Internally, she was seething. How many had perished already? Had Norden only turned this way after her father's death? Or had this evil always been there, just shielded from her sight?

"Your men are so dedicated to the cause. A testament to the faith and an example for all to follow. Were my lady here, she would do all in her power to aid this crusade," she declared, amidst the muffled whimpers that echoed across the cellar.

Daeren was roughly shoved into a cell and locked away, leaving Kyriaki alone with the drunkard, two goons and the witch-hunter. At least his cell had a chair and, while utterly filthy, was not tiny. In the case of some prisoners, the cells were so small they could not even lie down. There might be a rat or two though.

"The elf is a vile sinner, my lord. We can't give him a moment to rest. The racks are occupied, and doubtless your interrogators are hard at work. But perhaps your guards could roughen him up a bit in his cell until there's an opening?" she suggested.

"And we could discuss matters in private. I can give you a full accounting of the vile beasts my lady was hunting. The information may help your interrogators force the truth from the tongues of these wretched creatures."
 
The Gutter Prince

Daeren Olaris

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TerranSteel
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Was it betrayal if one never trusted the other entirely in the first place? Total disbelief dawned on Daeren’s face at the Lady of the North’s request to have him beaten until further torturous options were available. A grimace of true rage and clenched teeth took over from surprise. “You frail, chilly bitch!” The elf snarled. He attempted to rise to his feet but a fist greeted his gut instead. Daeren hunched over as the air fled his lungs. Vomit would have escaped too, if he had eaten anything. Desperately coughing for air, the elf prisoner collapsed back into the chair.

The Witch Hunter only gave Daeren a small glance from the corner of his eye before returning to Kyriaki. “He does appear to require some subduing. They often are found either whimpering and weak or beastial. Was this one found in one of those enclaves, perhaps?” The pounding of fists and brutal grunts sounded off the stonewalls as the guards took their delight on the defenseless elf.

Braccus gave a regal flick of the wrist. “No matter. Attend me, Lady Argyro. We shall discuss what you know.” Even his conversational tone sounded inquisitorial. The door to the ad-hoc cell was opened and the Witch Hunter made to leave. He suddenly thrust out his hand and pressed it against the drunkard who had trailed Kyriaki all this time. “You stay here.” Fewer men looked so dejected. A two-fingered gestured signaled Kyriaki to follow. She would have her audience - but as a guest or a prisoner remained to be seen.

Not that Daeren would see much. Another closed fist smacked into his chest. He hoped this was all worth it.

@Kashara @Kyriaki Argyro
 
I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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Revenant
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Kashara
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@Daeren Olaris

Daeren's rage was palpable. Kyriaki just shot the poor elf a smug look. As he collapsed back into his chair, the Inquisitor's thugs set to work. The pounding of fists echoed across the corridor, joining the cacophony of torment and torture throughout the cell complex. She didn't have much time.

Kyriaki bowed her head demurely to the great witch-hunter, following him obediently. "I am at your service, your Eminence," she spoke. "It is a great shame my lady cannot meet you, but if her noble sacrifice gives me the chance to contribute at least a little bit to making this land safe from heresy, she can rest peacefully, knowing it was not in vain."

The sounds of pounding receded as they moved further away from the dungeons to a more private chamber. No guards. "I've been meaning to meet you for a while, Your Eminence. Once again, Norden is in peril and you answer the call." Her tone was filled with admiration for the great man, the relentless enemy of all that was impure.

"At least this time its lord is loyal. It was you who liberated us from the grip of the heretical Argyro family and its debauched, heathen ways. Governor Andronikus Phokas and Marchioness Caelia Nazaria would not have been able to uncover their treasonous dealings without your intellect and uncompromising zeal. All true citizens of Norden know it was you they have to thank for their deliverance. It's high time you receive the recognition you deserve."
 
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