Vita est ludus
The thin line between fantasy and reality...













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 2 - Persuasion

Marpenoth 29, 1372 DR (9:00 AM) Szith Morcane: The Inverted Tower

In the morning, Veracity, Tebryn, and Yol study their spell books and Brianna strums contemplatively on her lute. The spellcasters rejoin their companions for breakfast. Hazen snores loudly in the corner.

"What now?" asks Igor. "I was weakened by that ray last night."

"That will wear off," says Tebryn. "That was not that powerful a spell. You just have to wait."

"I'd like to wait for that," says Igor.

"No problem," says Veracity. "We captured the priestess. May as well find out what she'll tell us. I've been looking forward to torturing her." She grins and rests her hand on her scourge. Standing up, she walks over to Hazen and kicks him. "Wake up, sluggard. Let me have your ring of truth."

"Huh? What?" Hazen sits up blearily. "Aww, Veracity. Here. Go away and let me sleep." He pulls a ring from a pouch, tosses it to her, and lies down again with his eyes closed. Soon, gentle snores emerge again from his nose.

Veracity looks down at the priestess. "Let's take her somewhere private. Yol, Brianna, come with me. I'll need your help with healing her."

"I'll help too," says Igor. "If you cure her up, what if she tries to cast a spell to escape? I can punch her and disrupt it."

Veracity looks at him. "Are you squeamish? I want information and I'm not planning on holding back on my methods for getting it."

"Hey! I didn't cower at those quth-marens because I was squeamish! That was cheating magic," says Igor. Veracity rolls her eyes and Igor raises his hands and smiles. "That was a joke. I understood what you meant, and I have no problems with your plan. They were trying to kill us."

Igor scoops up the unconscious priestess and follows Veracity out of the room, Brianna and Yol trailing behind. They lay the cleric on the floor of the arcane guards' room on the first level of the tower.

Veracity examines the unconscious cleric and picks up her holy symbol. "Look. A feminine drow hand with a silver ring around each finger. Kiaransalee. I'll take this. Without it, she loses many of her spells." Veracity pockets the holy symbol. She removes most of the cleric's clothing and firmly ties her hands and feet. She sits cross-legged at the prisoner's side and sets out her whip, her scourge, and her dagger. Putting on Hazen's ring of truth, she looks appraisingly at her subject. "Pretty." Looking at Yol, she speaks. "Heal her, please, Yol."

"How much?" asks Yol. "Using my orisons I can bring her barely conscious."

"No, give her more," says Veracity. "If she's stubborn, I'll damage her, and I don't want her falling unconscious immediately."

"Very well," says Yol. She chants and touches the cleric.

The priestess groans and her eyes snap open. She struggles briefly with her ropes and looks over at Veracity, sitting at her side with a dagger, grinning. She looks down at the whip and the scourge and then up at Veracity's face again, clenching her jaw stubbornly.

Veracity leans over and gently scrapes the edge of the dagger along the cleric's jaw. Her victim flinches back. Veracity puts down her dagger and picks up her other tools, looking at them appraisingly and displaying them to her subject. The prisoner follows all of this with her eyes but does not say anything.

Veracity sighs and picks up the dagger again. Locking eyes with the priestess, she speaks. "You and your team attacked us last night. You are all that remains, because I spared your life. The others are dead and gone. That could be your fate, as well. Or ... you could talk to me. I spared you once, and your life is in my hands. Let's start with something simple. What is your name?"

The prisoner rolls her eyes up and sets her jaw. She does not answer.

Veracity slaps her and nicks her neck with her dagger. A thin stream of blood trickles. Veracity catches some on her dagger and displays it to her prisoner. "You're not cooperating. Let me ask again. What is your name?"

The prisoner remains silent.

Veracity shakes her head and fingers Loviatar's holy symbol. The prisoner's eyes follow her and her eyebrows arch in surprise. Veracity picks up her whip. "Very well. I think I'll enjoy this a lot more than you will. This won't kill you, but long before I'm done, you'll wish that it had. Speak, when you're ready to cooperate." Veracity viciously lashes her prisoner, aiming every blow with precision. Her victim jerks and grimaces, but, biting her tongue, remains silent. Eventually, she gasps and falls unconscious.

Brianna leans forward. "Shall I heal her?"

Veracity shakes her head. "Not necessary. She'll wake up, soon enough. The damage was not serious."

"I can see that you're having fun," says Igor, "but since she's not cooperating, does it really matter? We know where to go."

"I'd like to know more about Dorina's other allies, and perhaps something about what happened in Maerimydra."

"I suppose," says Igor.

The priestess groans and regains consciousness. Her eyes slowly open and she gazes at Veracity.

Veracity leans over her and looks into her eyes. "I don't want to kill you, but I will, if you don't cooperate."

The priestess speaks for the first time. "I will not tell you anything. Given my goddess, why would you think death holds any fear for me?"

Veracity laughs. "We can animate you and send you against your goddess's followers. You may not fear death, but in this way you will personally subvert your deity's will."

"Death is death," says the priestess. "I will serve Kiaransalee no matter how I die."

"There are many kinds of death," says Yol. "Some are more desirable than others."

"Death is death," repeats the priestess. "I am ready."

"Fine," says Veracity. She picks up her scourge and slays her prisoner. Turning to Yol, she suggests, "Speak with dead? I suspect with that spell that she could not refuse to answer questions of you."

"No," says Yol. "I'll save it in case we find someone more useful to question. We can always come back and question her later."

"Very well," agrees Veracity. She and her companions rejoin their friends in the instructional room.

"Learn anything?" asks Tebryn.

Veracity shakes her head. "I thought I was pretty persuasive, but she was obdurate."

"Pity," says Tebryn.

"None that I saw," says Igor.

Veracity laughs. "Let's cure up and head out. Brianna? Yol?"

"Certainly," says Brianna. She heals first Veracity and then Kress with a short tune and a gentle touch.

Yol chants and finishes healing Kress and herself.

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Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com> Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
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