A torture chamber is a torture chamber is a torture chamber, but this one is startling on many counts. First, it is kept swept, mopped, and scrubbed within an inch of its life. Second, it is brightly lit by powerful mirrored overhead lamps. Third, it usually smells more like a surgical suite than a pit of despair. The equipment consists of many, many pieces of sharp, shiny chrome: drills and knives and aspirators and needles (oh, my!). Several tables with powerful restraints -- from leather straps to solid pieces of metal -- and blood gutters scoured to a mirror finish form the centerpieces of the room. The tables can be moved into many positions and angles, including facing each other.
From afar, Rowan peers. But I assume no /large/ reflective surfaces?
You paged Rowan with 'Nope. Leetle ones, but nothing big.'.
Kelsey pushes furtively at the ragged remains of her clothes, the change of locales unforttunately giving her a few seconds to feel the full brunt of her injuries from the silver spikes and the Urge Lord Love-in.
The gruesome foursome guide Kelsey and Rowan -- both with silver collars 'round their necks -- and Andreas -- who is handcuffed -- into the Hive's Playroom. They pause in the doorway to give their charges a few moments to take in the instruments of their impending fate.
Rowan has somehow managed to force himself back down into homid, despite the presence of Kelsey right next to him. He doesn't really blanch at the instruments -- just looks thoughtful. Although there's a tension in his movements that wasn't there, a moment ago.
Andreas looks from item to item with an air of professional appraisal, twitching slightly as particular gadgets stand out. "We...well-stocked. My compliments to your purser."
Kelsey walks right over to the tables, subtly bracing herself against one of them with an arm while she inspects the instruments. Her breathing is shallow and her face a little pale, but she observes coolly, "Clean, too. Good. I don't suppose I could get cleaned up before we start?"
Argent cracks the knuckles of his right hand and nods to the
big woman, Bane, who takes Rowan's elbow and leads him to one
of the black-tiled tables, which is canted almost upright. Then
Argent says, "Thank you, we aim to please," to Andreas.
He glances around proprietarily for a moment and then, in response to Kelsey, says, "Actually, no. I think we need to get started immediately. Why don't you pick up that drill? I'll ask the questions, you just help with the physical things. I think you need to see more of how we operate these days before you try your own interrogation techniques." The drill indicated has a fairly large bit.
The black wolf moves up into crinos to block the doorway, while axe-man takes up a position behind the tables. Argent encourages Andreas to move over to a table next to Rowan's.
Kelsey brushes a stray lock of hair out of her eyes with head and shoulders bowed, then lifts her eyes and gives Argent a bemused glance. One eyebrow makes a subtle hop. "Thought you'd say that. Perhaps later." She picks up the drill and moves to the head of Andreas' table obediently. "Any particular information the boss is looking for? And who, exactly, are 'we'? All I could find on the Shadow Lords comes from -their- books." Her former friends receive a glittering smile.
Rowan mutters, "Well, you did /ask/ if we had less than sterling folks," and doesn't resist /too/ much when he's manuevered around. He seems to be waiting for something. Or maybe he's just terrified of that damn sound drills make.
Andreas shuffles over to the appropriate table, eyeing Kelsey suspiciously. "You're pretty clueless for a messiah. Chrome-Boy, are you sure you've got the right prophecy?"
Argent affixes Andreas to another nearly upright table, while Bane makes sure that Rowan is firmly attached to his: steel-reinforced leather straps over chest, waist, and knees, followed by straps at the wrists and ankles. Both of them move with quick, professional skill.
"'We,' my dear girl," Argent says, meeting Kelsey's eyes piercingly, "are the Urge Lords. Long since have we abandoned the pretense of merely lurking in shadows. We dance with the shadows. We copulate with the shadows. We *are* the shadows." He muses for a few moments as he tests the restraints on both tables. "Possibly, you had not reached a sufficient level of trust within the Shadow Lords to know that we go back a long time." Argent smiles cheerfully at Andreas. "Not at all. We shall see, shan't we?"
Rowan jerks out of his reverie for long enough to ask, "And who's the screamer?"
Kelsey nods quietly at Argent, taking in his gaze steadily with a sudden bleak expression devoid of charm. "I didn't know," she says in a low voice. "But I came to a few conclusions while I was on leave, about the way things should be." That said she drops her eyes and faces the human, not looking Rowan's way at all now.
"No one you'd know," Argent informs Rowan curtly. "And right now, I stop being Mr. Nice Guy. I ask the questions, you answer, or you suffer. Do we understand each other?"
Perhaps Rowan /has/ no sense of self-preservation. "What, we can't get introduced? I imagine we're going to have a lot in common, in the next couple of hours."
Andreas winces instinctively.
Kelsey stifles a suggestion and simply waits for orders, fingers of her free hand tightened against the edge of Andreas' table. Her knuckles tighten a little more at Rowan's innocent blabbing, but she steels her face against it.
The silver arm backhands Rowan, leaving a painful red mark across the left side of his face and a sensation that the jaw *almost* broke. Argent's eyes have narrowed and his face looks at least ten years older suddenly. Without a word, he examines Rowan minutely. "Kelsey Eisenmann," he snaps. "Put the drill down and pick up the knife to your left. Then come here."
Bane pats Andreas on the head lightly, almost affectionately. It seems she enjoys people who wince appropriately.
Rowan's head knocks quite hard against the table as he's belted, and he turns only slowly back to watch the silver armed man, pain showing in his eyes -- and his mouth, obviously. It's not just pain. There's a lot more fear there than there was just moments before.
Kelsey is at least partly expecting the snap of hard metal against flesh and bone, and only registers it with a slight knitting of eyebrows. Then she picks up the implement as instructed and moves briskly to stand beside the Urge Lord, shaking her head faintly at Rowan.
Rowan, for once, just stays quiet, watching Kelsey -- and her knife -- intently.
Kelsey pages: Silver blade knife, or regular?
You paged Kelsey with 'Regular.'.
Kelsey pages: Oh, cool.
From afar, Kelsey . o o (Oh well, it's non-agg. It'll heal. They don't want him dead yet, after all.)
Argent smiles a thin-lipped, cruel sort of smile as Kelsey obeys. "Now. Kelsey, set the blade tip between finger and fingernail. Any finger. So, Alder, or whatever your name really is -- yes, we tried to search for you the easy way -- tell me how many supernaturals are living in and around the town of not-Vienna?"
Kelsey moves down the side of the table and takes Rowan's right hand in hers, stooping slightly and lifting it brush her mouth against the fingertips in a light kiss. As she lowers it again she brings the knife into position, getting it settled with the tip under the smallest fingernail.
Rowan is too busy staring in confusion at Kelsey to find the appropriate amounts of pain for a moment -- and then he's biting down hard on his lip, face contorting. "Didn't take a -- census," he manages, after a short time.
Argent's voice is gentle. "Tell me about the ones you know."
Bane maneuvers Andreas' table so that he has an unblocked view of Rowan.
Kelsey starts to edge the knife into the finger slowly, pressing his hand down against the table with her free one. She glances over at Andreas and back to Argent with a raised eyebrow as he speaks, making a silent suggestion.
Andreas pages: Is the knife silver?
You paged Andreas with 'Nope. Normal.'.
You paged Andreas with 'They don't want him dead, after all. Just in a lot of pain.'.
Andreas pages: Hurmph. Lucky him. Must be nice, this not being considered baggage.
Rowan's lip starts bleeding, just a touch. Back hunching slightly in his pain and/or anger and/or distress -- it's hard to tell. He also doesn't quite seem able to talk, for the moment -- he's too busy trying to keep ahold of himself.
Argent glances over at Andreas with a raised eyebrow. "Any help from you? Any ideas?"
Andreas heaves a sigh. "Fiery face of Phoebus...at least three wolves in the town, besides this motley pair. Couple-three kin, including at least one cat. A whole nest of ghosts. If there's more, they're shy."
Argent nods thoughtfully at Andreas' words. "Would you like to add anything, Mr. Not-Alder?"
Bane thoughtfully checks Andreas' restraints and slightly loosens one that seems too tight.
Kelsey pauses in her ministrations after giving the blade a bit of a twist, looking at Rowan's face searchingly.
Rowan bites his lip again at the twist. He also doesn't seem to be paying particularly close attention to Kelsey's own face, except that his back manages to hunch slightly less. After a pause to get his breath, he shakes his head. "I dunno everyone. /I/ just got there. The ghosts is the main thing keeps bugging /me/."
The silver arm seizes Kelsey by the back of the neck, fingers tightening in her hair. "What about you?" Argent hisses into her ear. "You've been surprisingly quiet in all this, while you've supposedly been 'trying to contact us for weeks'. How many have you met? And what types?"
Kelsey turns to meet his eyes steadily. "At least two very powerful elders: Gaia's Sentinels; Dusk and Dawn. A fox-changer who calls himself White Face. A number of kinfolk who appear to be assisting them, and at least one old Bear-woman. And the caern follows Stag and Raven, two fairly old and well-established Totems, from what I hear."
Kelsey pages: The last is actually referring to Lock Raven, Kel's own sept of origin. ;)
Argent looks inquiringly at Rowan. "So, she says there is a well-established caern there. Is this so?"
Rowan's main moment of surprise -- and it was brief, and mostly only in his eyes -- came before Argent looked back to him. "It's certainly old," he agrees, blithely.
Kelsey's voice comes low and soft, faintly reproaching. "Rowan. Answer the question. Tell them about Rusulka and Glittering."
Rowan shakes his head, mute, though now he's actually looking at her.
"Yes, *Rowan*, answer the question." Argent's free hand closes on Kelsey's and he guides the knife blade in an intricate spiral along Rowan's arm, the edge so sharp it leaves a small crease in its wake that springs bright blood a second later. The silver hand stays tight in Kelsey's hair.
Bane leans close to Andreas' ear and whispers something.
You paged Andreas with 'Bane makes several very lewd suggestions involving things she might do with Andreas if he supplies everything he knows. She seems to like him. ;)'.
Rowan grits his teeth. "I can't fucking /talk/," he manages, "If you're carving little /patterns/ in my /skin/."
Kelsey's breath quickens as Argent's hand guides hers, gaze slipping out of focus. She is mute and pliant now, following the Urge Lord's lead as if learning a new dance.
Andreas's eyebrows slowly lift until they look like arches.
"Perhaps you're right," Argent says amicably. He turns the knife and Kelsey's hands so that the tip of the blade rests against the pulse in the left side of Kelsey's throat. It scratches, lightly, just enough for blood to bloom there as well.
Rowan doesn't seem any happier about that -- in fact, he's quite clearly got to repress some changing instincts, since he stands stock still and breathes hard, clenching and unclenching his fists. That collar hurts!
Kelsey holds very still, except for the rasp of her breath. She seeks Argent's gaze again, challenge mixed with the barest taste of fear, and overall a thin veil of a smile. She licks her lips once and waits for his move, almost daring him with her eyes.
Argent smiles, glances down at Kelsey, then looks back at Rowan. "Tell me about Rusulka and Glittering," he suggests in a honeyed voice. The point of the knife skitters sideways in a precise sort of way, opening a longer line of blood.
Bane grins at Andreas' expression and goes on to add something more.
Rowan pages: Oh, fine, /make/ him go frothy.
You paged Kelsey with 'That look from Argent was very... complex. It could be admiration, as well as a "you aren't fooling me a bit". Maybe. Possibly. Or maybe he's just insane.'.
The Dancer, given as he's currently bulging into glabro and, therefore, choking, doesn't seem particularly capable of telling anyone about anything, and especially not /these/ people about /those/ things.
Kelsey's fingers stir in Argent's hand as he guides her against her own flesh, but she's not really trying to divert his aim, in spite of a faint tremor. It's more of an acknowledgement. She is watching the Urge Lord intently now, neck muscles tensing and making the blood spring more brightly.
Argent glances over at Bane and grins. "Stop flirting, Bane. Or are you making promises for his good behavior?" Bane has the grace to look a little abashed, but not much. The man with the silver arm -- who looks very much older than the youth he seemed a short while ago, but only in the eyes -- returns his attention to the matter at hand. "You really should try to calm down, *Rowan*." After a moment of studying the bulging Glabro, he shrugs, and draws the knife down Kelsey's throat, over her collarbone, and partway down one arm. The blade drives in more deeply as it goes, until Kelsey can feel the bite into her muscle at the end of the sweep. Then he gently extricates the weapon from Kelsey's grip and hands it to the axe-wielder. "Heat up the brand, Archie," he instructs the one-eyed axe-man.
Kelsey shudders but still doesn't try to defend herself, leaning back against the man holding her by the hair. "If I may," she says meekly, trying to keep her own voice calm. "One of them told me the old ones had managed to get a vampire chained to the caern's heart, who helps protect it. Rusalka. Glittering is her Garou keeper. Apparently both have been here for a long, long time, and are powerful, and the others all revere the old one like she were some sort of divine hero."
Oh. Look. Pain. To someone other than him. Sadly, even Kelsey's perfectly sane and rational lies don't quite keep Rowan from erupting into Crinos, not at all in control of himself, going right for Argent.
You paged Andreas with 'Bane made a few even more lewd suggestions before being chided. Of course, now Rowan's gone boom.'.
From afar, to Weatherwax, Andreas, and Rowan, Kelsey oops. a) I don't think Kel would've finished that speech, if Rowan's exploding, and would've cut off about at "One of them told me..." b) I don't think Rowan could get into crinos before going unconscious (at least i hope not. :)
Andreas pages: Boom, pop, splut...many words apply. Oy.
Rowan pages to Kelsey, Weatherwax, and Andreas: Actually, he can, sayeth Wwx.
Where there was just a little blood before, now there's a lot. Blood blood blood. And fur. And more blood. Splattering joyfully as Rowan splits open his neck around the collar. He's not down, not really, and he manages to pop the leather restraints as well. Argent holds Kelsey between him and Rowan, while Archie Axe-man moves in from behind and the black wolf crinos moves in from the door.
Kelsey instinctively twists in Argent's grip with an incoherent cry: anticipated pain is one thing, but a maddened crinos flying at you is another thing altogether.
You paged Rowan with '6 down, possibly have done more nonagg,
but that doesn't really matter. He can blow WP to maneuver.'.
From afar, Kelsey checks something. 4 agg from the spikes, 1 from being flung around b y Happy Urge Lord Funhouse, and maybe another half from the cut to her arm? Kel's bled a lot. Probably as wounded as Rowan, yes? As in, one step away from passing out, held together by willpower more than anything else?
Long distance to Kelsey: Weatherwax nodsnods.
Rowan is surprisingly coordinated for an enraged beast out of legend, as he attempts to duck around Kelsey's twisting and slash at Argent's more vulnerable lower portions.
Andreas writhes at his bonds helplessly.
Argent takes a heavy slash to his thigh, which makes him grunt in pain, and manages to twist away from a second blow. He backs up, dragging Kelsey with him, and lets the black crinos and Archie move in on Rowan. Bane remains where she is, standing next to Andreas, limbs loose and ready to spring.
Kelsey is frozen for a painful second as the tableau unfolds, and there's no one to see the sudden set to her jaw, pained awareness in her eyes. At that moment she takes one small step to the side and shifts, throwing herself at Rowan with a dreadful choking sound that might have been a snarl.
From afar, to Kelsey and Weatherwax, Rowan cackles. Oh, lordy.
Rowan, Kelsey removed from specific danger, is relieved of any need whatsoever to think, and he resumes his manic attack at whoever's not Kelsey. Kelsey herself is probably attacking his back by now, and doesn't seem to be a relevant factor in whatever equations his brain is making. 2+2 is, perhaps, beyond him at this point, after all.
More blood. Lots more blood. As Kelsey now chooses to split her neck open around the silver collar, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Unfortunately, her semi-conscious, bloody, snarling form is under Rowan's claws, which confuses matters radically. One of Rowan's wild swings takes a chunk out of Archie's abdomen, which he seems somewhat annoyed by. Another swing catches the wolf under the chin, laying bare white bone. Archie reluctantly turns his axe so the flat of the blade clubs the back of Rowan's head, hard.
You paged Rowan with 'That'd be 2 nonagg to the head. Trying to knock Rowan out, for some reason. :)'.
From afar, Rowan hsm. So how much would reasonably knock him out?
You paged Rowan with 'Dunno. 2 could, if you wanted. Or if you want to continue another round before being clubbed down like a harp seal, you could. ;)'.
Andreas pages: I'm probably getting spattered by folks' blood left and right, yah?
Long distance to Andreas: Weatherwax nodsnods. Yeah, lots of blood.
Kelsey was actually throwing herself in front of Rowan, unlike those with more to lose in current circumstances. She doesn't make it, however, and goes crashing to the ground skidding into his legs in a pile of bloody black fur as he twists to strike at enemies.
Rowan pages: Aw. I like random desctruction. Ok.
As tends to happen, those who attract the attention of a frenzied Crinos get the attention of said Crinos next, and indeed, Rowan turns his claws to Archie, with no hesitation at all, and no compunction about axes hitting him on his head. (It's his least vulnerable spot right now, after all. His brain being gone, and all.)
From afar, Rowan leaves you free to WHOMP him as much as you wish. Kaboom!
Archie, unfortunately, takes quite a blow from Rowan, which lobs him across the room, sending racks of shiny instruments crashing to the floor. The wolf, however, takes the opportunity of Rowan's back being to him and clubs him across the skull with one huge paw. This drops Rowan like a stunned elephant, and he sprawls inelegantly over Kelsey's unconscious form. In the silence that follows, Argent minutely examines his wound, sighs, and looks over at Andreas. "I suppose this will delay their questioning. Would you like to tell me everything you know right now? I'm in a rather bad mood." He gestures at the bloody wreckage on the floor. "Get those into holding cells, and put... tighter collars on them. I want collars that would pop their goddamn heads off if they try that again. Of course, we may not need them once our friend here talks." He turns a rather thin smile on Andreas.
Andreas gulps audibly. "I-I'd like to please point your attention to the fact that I'm a wandering merchant? Not a local?" Nervous eyes dart from one bloody Rorschach pattern on the wall to the next. "Which isn't to say, mark you, that I don't have valuable information. Merely that it, umm, is of a different width and breadth than theirs. Sir."
Argent's tight face softens. "Yes, yes, you've been most accomodating. And this situation is, understandably, unsettling. I will allow you to go to your cell unharmed, supplied with pencil and paper. You will write down everything you know about the supernaturals of not-Vienna, the caern there, and these mysterious people known as Rusalka and Glittering. If I am in a better mood when I read it, I will be merciful to you and these brats. Which could mean a clean death, or could mean the Paths of Madness, or possibly even freedom. But I am annoyed now, and I would do you permanent harm if I attempted to question you. And, as you say, you have valuable information."
Andreas's breath escapes in a sigh that seems to shrink him at least a shirt size. "Unsettling. Yes. I-I-I-I'll do my best."
Argent nods and limps over to a chair. "Bane, he'll walk on his own. You carry the girl. You," he points at the wolf, "carry that annoying, compassionate pansy." He looks back at Andreas. "Don't give me any trouble. I doubt that killing you would give me any real pleasure right now."
Andreas bobs his head obsequiously. "It'd definitely ruin my day, too, Sir."
Bane and the wolf carry out Argent's orders, leading Andreas out a different door than they entered and down several flights of rough-hewn stairs. Four cells are carved from the living rock here, and their doors are solid steel, inlaid with silver. A small window in each door peers out into the circular room at the center. They replace Kelsey and Rowan's collars and toss each into a different cell. Andreas, they show into a cell, tell him the keyword to activate the light in his ceiling, and give him paper and pencil. Each door is closed and locked. A swarthy guard sprawls in his chair at the table in the center of the room, and he rises to mutter briefly over each lock. With a final, rather scary, come-hither look from Bane to Andreas, the pair leave, and silence falls.