Abla Hazardous, one of the many sub-generals Mevolent had beneath himself and Serpine, came to get him, grinning wickedly. She had a pretty face but for a large, ridged scar running diagonally across her face, a large line over her nose. Her dark dreadlocks were pulled off her face in a tight ponytail and she held bound cuffs in her hands. "Get up, both of you. Quietly. And quickly. Faster. Up!" Finally Vex and Ravel were both up. She beckoned them over. "Grand Mage, be a dear and put your hands through a gap in the bars so I can cuff you. Disobedience will result in severe punishment for both you and your friend." She tapped the Katana at her hip to complete the threat. "If you don't do as I say, I'll be having myself a bit of gory fun with you two." Dexter put an arm up to stop him, but Erskine did as Hazardous said. She had a bit of a reputation for taking her anger over one person out on as many people as possible that that one person knew, loved, protected...Hazardous was a major risk. She slapped the cuffs on his wrists and he brought his hands back to his chest. The cell was then unlocked and he was pulled out roughly and made to wait while Dexter was sealed back in. Vex was currently chained to the wall to prevent him escaping again. The chain was long enough for him to walk just short of the bars.
Erskine was led along to an office similar to those of the sub-generals. It was Trilby Outrage's old office, but it had been cleared. His desk was now pushed against the wall and covered with a wide variety of weapons. One wrist was freed and he was instructed to take his shirt off. "I don't know what you hope to gain from this." He stated cheerfully as he complied, his power still dampened by the other cuff. The shirt was thrown to Esra, its original owner, who stood by the door with a pair of garden shears. He was then forced to sit in a bound chair, his ankles secured to the legs. His other wrist was unshackled and both wrists were secured to the arms of the chair. Mevolent stood there all in white, Serpine beside him in black. They both stood beside Esra and Hazardous was behind the chair. Mevolent came forward.
"We want to know what the Sanctuary's planning and how they'll react with you gone. That's all. Care to help us with that or will we have to do this the hard way?"
Erskine presented his middle finger. "Swivel on it."
Mevolent sighed and reached behind him. "Esra?" His other hand held Ravel's fist closed, keeping the middle digit raised. Serpine's son stepped forward and handed over the shears. They were held to the base of the finger. Ravel shut his eyes and turned away until the pain shot through at the hand. He cried out, opened his eyes and saw the stump where the digit used to be. Blood was spraying out. "Esra." Mevolent called again, sounding bored. Esra stepped closer and healed the stump over.
"You'll live." He stepped away again.
"That was stupid, Erskine. Now all you have to show for it is a missing finger." Ravel didn't see him draw back his fist, but he felt it crunch against the side of his jaw, his head snapping to the right. His head automatically turned at least a little after each hit towards its original position, but each time it began to turn, he was hit again. The fifth time, he bit his tongue and his mouth filled with blood. He was sick of blood already. He was hit a few more times and then let alone. He spat the blood in his mouth down onto the floor, still facing to the right and slowly, cautiously, turned back to look at his attacker. Their eyes met through the veil and Mevolent grabbed a knife. Ravel averted his gaze. Instead, he looked at the assortment of weapons. A shudder passed through him. "Now, as Grand Mage, you know what your Sanctuary is planning against us."
"We're not planning everything. The American Sanctuary is taking care of things first."
"That's a lie, Erskine. Look at me and tell me the truth."
Erskine looked at him. He didn't speak, though. He spat. A blood-stained ball of spit congealed on Mevolent's veil. The knife came down, hammering Ravel's right shoulder into the chair. He screamed and Serpine replaced Mevolent, slamming his foot into Ravel's stomach.
B-J was arranged to sleep through the whole thing. They had slipped sleeping pills into her drink. Serpine was a little worried that Arachne had Overdosed her, but she insisted the girl would be fine. B-J was fast asleep on her bed.
Elsewhere the Irish Sanctuary was just a little chaotic. Ghastly and Mist were trying to maintain order, but it wasn't going too well. They had had to report that Ravel had been taken by their own agents to Mevolent and they were waiting for word back from the other Sanctuaries. Koken'nin of Japan had given the signal that Japan were staying well out of things. That was currently the only response they had. They had no idea where Mevolent's base of operations was, just that it was a castle. They had someone looking through castles at the moment, but there was still a varying level of pandemonium that was about to drive Ghastly over the very edge of crazy. Mist seemed even more closed up than usual. Soon people stopped going to her for answers and Ghastly locked himself in his office to avoid them all.
About half an hour later there was quiet outside. There was a knock on the door and Tipstaff's voice called through, saying Mist had gone home and people were waiting to find out what they were doing.
Mist hadn't gone home. She was walking through the streets, trying to find her own way to Mevolent's castle. To the people at the Sanctuary, it would seem she had just disappeared and yet more panic would be caused. Some might think betrayal, some might think kidnap, and part of her felt sorry for what she had left Ghastly with. Still, he would live providing there wasn't another attack.
Serpine held up a small knife with a red handle so that Erskine could see it. "Do you know what this is?"
"...is it a hug?"
The general laughed. "Afraid not."
"Hugs have blue handles."
"...Yes...thank you for that, Esra..." He gave his son an odd look and held the knife to Ravel's shoulder blade. "So what are your plans? Any plans at all."
"To forget about hanging out my washing. It'll be dry when I get home anyway." The strange look was now directed to him. "You said any plans."
The knife was dragged down across his torso. He hissed between his teeth and accidentally tugged slightly on the knife in his shoulder, bringing out a whimper. The knife was then held dangerously close to his eye.
"I didn't think you had such a sense of humour in these kinds of situations." There was no response. The knife was taken away. "We just want a few simple answers."
"We don't have any plans. The Sanctuary haven't made any plans whatsoever."
Serpine turned as if to walk away but turned at the last minute and smashed his heel into the Grand Mage's knee. He cried out as his kneecap shattered. Something cracked into the side of his head. It was a crowbar, he was pretty certain. It smacked into his good shoulder, dislocating it. Hazardous was smacking every inch of him she could reach from her vantage point with that crowbar. The others stepped back and let her do as she pleased. Finally she was stopped. She stepped away and Serpine stepped back forward.
"What about now?"
"What about now what?"
"Plans. Sanctuary plans."
Erskine laughed. "What have you got behind your back?"
Erskine laughed again. "Oh God, you're going to stab me." He shut his eyes and turned away. "Make sure you get my good side." He was slurring his words a little.
"...Abla, I think you broke him..." Esra mumbled. "I think he's concussed."
"I feel drunk." The Grand Mage replied cheerfully. "I have plans, actually. I'll skin you all alive and turn you each into a suitcase. Maybe I'll make a market in those."
Hazardous looked to Esra. "And here I thought you were disturbing."
Annie took most of the kids on to a new place for their safety. They promised to arrange a meeting point soon. The only child still with Perseus was Reckless Erratic. The little girl refused to leave him under any circumstance. Perseus was guiding the others secretly back to the nearest safe town. The group he was leading would otherwise be led by people with no idea about their surroundings at all. They were all either foreign or had been locked in those cells for ages and no longer knew what was safe and what was certain death. Frivolidad kept close track of these things and pitied these others.
Arthritis tapped Austin on the shoulder. The necromancer turned to him and raised an eyebrow. "Can I, uh, help you?"
"Your name is Austin, right?"
"Yeah." He looked the man up and down. He knew of Arthritis Dank. He was one of Serpine's oldest friends as well as his brother-in-law. Austin had no idea how he had ended up in the cells. "You're Arthritis Dank."
"What's your surname? Just out of curiosity."
"Baritone. Austin Baritone."
"...Your given name was Eddie Hawthorne..."
Austin looked up sharply, mouth forming a grim line. "What?" He asked, sharp and edged.
"Your given name was Edward Gill Hawthorne. You had two older sisters. Lynn, 15 years older than you, and Gemma, 12 years older than you. They took the names Cadence Nightwish and Belinda Diamond."
"How...how do you know this?"
"Gemma told me." Arthritis looked down at him. "At least she told me your taken names. I already knew your given names." He chuckled. "I left when Eddie was three. It wasn't entirely by choice. I was worried he would think I didn't love him, so I wrote-"
"You're my dad?" He sounded disgusted. "That means Esra bloody Sunshine is my cousin! Kill me now!" He froze and frowned. "You never wrote."
"I did! I even delivered the letters straight to your mother. She never let me in to see you."
"...so those were what she was burning..."
Abla Hazardous threw the barely-concious Erskine Ravel back into his cell. She hadn't needed to shackle him for the journey back. They had tortured him a bit more, cut his face, arms, legs, she had gone crazy with the crowbar again and broken his jaw, which Esra had healed and they broke it over and over every time the concussed Mage made the mistake of talking. Dexter crawled towards him cautiously. He could see the bruises already forming amongst the cuts and a nub of bone poking up under the skin where they'd cracked his ribs. "Erskine?"
Ravel mumbled incoherently. Dexter went over to a leaking pipe, caught some water in his hands and splashed it over the other man's face. It was fresh water leaking from the pipe, and not really that much. It leaked through into a drain and served as a supply of running water. Mevolent had decided it was easier to leave it leaking rather than bringing in jugs of water for every cell every day to keep them alive. Ravel tried to raise himself up to get closer to the water, but he was pushed back down gently. Dexter could make out a few faint words now. He could make out enough to understand that the other man wanted a drink. Also he was complaining the floor was wet.
Serpine went to check on B-J. Normally her breathing was loud as she slept. Always detectable from outside the door. This time it was silent. He crept closer, hoping not to wake her if she was still asleep. She was a bit pale. He frowned. Maybe she was cold. Her covers were underneath her after all. He moved ever closer and he realised why he couldn't hear anything.
There was no breath to hear. Arachne had overdosed her. She had probably been dead for a few hours now. He reached out to touch her. Her skin was ice cold to the touch. His daughter was gone. B-J was dead.
The horrors of contextual awareness failure. Upon rereading KotW I found that Vex was an adept and I had written him as an Elemental before...WHY DOES THAT KEEP HAPPENING TO ME?!
...and y'know how I asked 'what did I do to Amadeus Darkside'?
What did I do to Trilby Outrage?! He was an American elder when I first made him, now he's a fat, slobbish Mevolent General...he is nothing like his original copy...I might keep the fatness and addiction to deep fried chocolate when I imagine him as an elder though...deep fried chocolate is amazing...hey, look, I'm babbling...