Takes place during Messing with Mevolent
Niccolo Croatoan was a secretive man. Aside from Aretha, not a soul in existence, dead or alive, knew of his existence, and he liked it that way. No one ever came to him for help, no one ever tried to kill him, and most importantly, he never had to care about anyone. Rule number one: don't get involved.
The order of the rules changed periodically, based on the circumstance. And at the moment, don't get involved was without a doubt the most important- and only one he had the misfortune of saying he wished he had followed. Why he let himself get attatched to Aretha, he still didn't quite know; and regret was an alien emotion to him, he guessed that was what he was feeling right now. What he couldn't tell for sure was, was it regret that he had gotten close to her, or regret that he had ever let her come to this damned place?
He had always been an observer; always sat on the outskirts of life, looking in. Often he would watch people suffering. It had never bothered him before. Hell, he got off on watching torture sessions most of the time. But when it was her screams that echoed off the walls... Niccolo wasn't sure that he could take much more of it.
He scuttled over the ceiling in the form of a spider, following those raw, animalistic shrieks to their source. The room was small, made of cold stone, and had no windows. He had to slip in through the small crack under the old mahogany door; it was the only place even a spider would fit. Aretha was strapped down to a table in the center, and he stared as Mevolent carefully selected instruments off of a metal cart in the left corner.
As he poured over the various weapons, he questioned her. All the basic things- "Who works at the Sanctuary with you? What actions are they going to take? Where can I find the Grand Mage?" Croatoan was sure Mevolent already knew the answers to all of these, anyway; perhaps he just wanted to make her a traitor, or it could be that he simply wanted an exuse to torture someone. Niccolo himself had been guilty of that, in the past...
Aretha never said a word. Every second he wasn't cutting into her flesh, she used to catch her breath. He poked and stabbed and twisted and carved, and it felt like her screams would never stop. Eventually he finally gave up on her talking and picked up a rusty scalpel; the least offensive weapon he had picked up all day. He tucked a finger under her chin, tilted her head back, and carved a circular symbol lightly into the left side of her neck. Croatoan just knew that was going to be problematic...
Tesla's screams had died down, and it was all she could do just to breathe. If she was left like that for much longer, between shock and blood loss, she would die. That was his cue to break her out. But then the door opened, and none other than Serpine and Death Rose stood in the doorway. Mevolent was clearly done, however- at least for the time being- and as soon as he moved her into a cell Niccolo would take her far, far away.
Rule number one: never let Aretha suffer like that again.