ARC 2 - Chapter : Interrogation
The interior of the barn looked like something out of a horror movie. The red morning light forced its way through the gaps in the siding, compositing glowing crimson stripes across everything within. The very atmosphere felt like it had been drenched in blood, and if Tucker had his way, that notion might be a reality in a short while. But, it wouldn’t be his blood that littered the place.
Wyatt Colton was tied to a support beam beneath the hay loft. Dust motes drifted lazily in front of his drooping features. He had been unconscious since Tucker pulled him out of the Knawbone Crypt.
He wouldn’t be unconscious for much longer.
Tucker unsheathed his short sword, its blade gleaming in the light. He leveled the weapon in front of him and wrapped his free hand around the thickest part of the blade. Summoning one of his Mage abilities in order to superheat the steel, Tucker used Flamethrower until the steel was as red as a blood orange.
Then, without hesitation, he pressed the blade against the side of Colton’s face.
The man came-to with a wounded cry. It didn’t take more than a touch of the weapon to fully wake the con-artist, and Tucker waited until steam rose from the sword before taking it away.
Colton strained against the ropes binding his hands and feet around the support beam, and sweat rolled freely down his forehead when he realized that there was no escape.
“W-where am I?” he stammered. Then his eyes registered Tucker and they widened when they saw his orc features. Fear gripped the man and he suddenly stopped trying to step forward, but rather, he shrank against his bindings. “What do you want with me, orc? Please — don’t harm me! It wasn’t my fault. I was overpowered!”
Tucker couldn’t help but grin at how frightened Colton appeared. He had never experienced such power over someone before, even when he and Shenna faced the two highwaymen robbing people at the bridge to Sorrell. This was a different situation entirely. Those highwaymen had every chance to run away. But, Colton had nowhere to run. He wasn’t going anywhere until Tucker got some answers. And the man would provide them if he wanted to make it out of the Meadows’ barn in one piece.
As if encouraging him to continue the scare tactics, a text alert appeared in the lower portion of Tucker’s vision.
New Skill: Interrogation. See Codex for more information.
He didn’t need to know how to intimidate Colton. That part came naturally, and even felt good after what he had gone through down the crypt. But, maybe there was something that he didn’t know about that would come in handy. He activated the prompt and a longer explanation filtered before him.
Gathering information is an integral part of your journey through Acaedia. Some people, however, will not divulge their knowledge unless they are bribed or interrogated. Depending on how resilient your subject is, you may need to adjust your technique. There are three main types of interrogation at your disposal. These are physical, mental, and emotional. Each come with their own pros and cons. Some tricky subjects will respond better to one of the varieties and not the others. Choose wisely. In some cases where the wrong interrogation method is employed, the subject may become impenetrable and require a recess before the session may be started again.
Staring down at his sword, Tucker knew instinctually that physical interrogation was having a great effect on Colton. The glowing sword had started things off. But, there was also the surprising effect of emotional interrogation at work — and Tucker hadn’t had to do much to pull that out of Colton. The man was practically whimpering at the sight of Tucker’s face, though he didn’t know yet who Tucker truly was. Colton had only seen Tucker with his helmet on. Now that Tucker wasn’t afraid of hiding his identity, his rough, blue orc visage came in handy. Tucker liked the reaction.
Physical and emotional interrogation at their finest. Instill fear in the subject and convince them that only information will get the pain to stop.
“Good,” said Tucker as he lowered his sword and dragged the pointy tip along the hay-strewn floor. “It’s about time you’re awake. I bet you thought it was all over for you down in the crypt. You’re lucky I’m forgiving…and that I need information out of you.” He grabbed a short stool and dragged it over, taking a seat in front of Colton with a smile. “You and I are going to have a little talk, Colton.”
The man’s heavy breathing slowed a bit, then recognition seeped into his expression as he blinked a few times.
“You’re the armored Mage from down in the crypt!”
“Yes,” answered Tucker. “My name is Tucker, but I bet you forgot that. You thought that I was just another number to add to your ledger. But, something tells me that you won’t forget who I am after today. The same for all the people in Castlederg and Sorrell that you’ve swindled. I’ll give you a chance to make amends. Do you think you can do that?”
Colton pressed his lips together and immediately started to withdraw, putting up a mental shield.
“You think that because you knocked me out that I will just come quietly? You don’t know who you’re dealing with, orc.”
“And you don’t know who you’re dealing with,” Tucker shot back. “Already you’re at a disadvantage.”
Colton raised an eyebrow.
“Really? How so?”
Tucker looked the man directly in the eye.
“Already you haven’t come quietly at all. You just said that it wasn’t your fault. You were overpowered. What wasn’t your fault?”
Colton continued to scoff.
“I don’t have to tell you anything.”
You’re going to play that way? thought Tucker. I’ll play that way if you want.
He rested his sword against his leg so that he could remove his leather gloves. This was mostly for effect. He didn’t have to take them off for what he was about to do, but seeing as Colton responded so nicely to his face, Tucker wanted to further that effect by rubbing his bare hands together.
With a flick of his fingers he conjured up a glowing ball of flames, roughly the size of a grapefruit. The tongues of fire spun in place, hovering just an inch above his fingertips. A sound like a blowtorch being ignited permeated the barn, and two brilliant spots of orange light reflected in Colton’s wide glassy eyes.
“Something tells me that you’re going to tell me everything. Do you know what that thing is?”
Beads of sweat collected on Colton’s eyebrows and dripped into his eyes. He looked as if just the sight of the flames in Tucker’s hand was going to boil him alive. Tucker didn’t plan on being quite so brutal, but he wouldn’t hesitate to inflict pain on Colton, especially since the man was the first one to legitimately take one of his three allotted lives.
He reached out his hand, bringing the flames closer to Colton’s face. The man trembled, appearing to cling to his stalwart silence. But, eventually he broke down.
“W-what is that?” he asked.
Tucker smiled and observed the floating ball of flame.
“This glowing orb is a spell I can cast called Flamethrower. You saw me use it down in the crypt, but that was in a much larger arena. However, in such close quarters like this, a tiny ball of flame can do a lot of damage. Especially when everything is made of hay. I could ignite the floor beneath you in an instant and cook you alive. Is that what you want?”
Gasping breaths escaped Colton’s lips as he continued to shrink away until there was nothing left. Any more effort and he might rip the support beam from its place and bring the entire place crashing down on their heads.
Finally, he answered Tucker.
“That’s not what I want,” he said. “But, you can’t expect me to just rat out everyone I’ve worked for. My life will be over the minute that word gets around that I’m the one who ratted them out.”
“Your life will be over either way. Look at it in another light. If you answer my questions and give me a good lead, I can take out those conspirators before they have a chance to even reach you. Then you can just serve out your sentence behind bars somewhere with your life intact.”
“So, that’s where this is headed, is it?” Colton said, appearing deflated. “I’ll spend the rest of my life in a dungeon no matter what I do.”
Tucker sat back, bringing his spell with him.
“I’m trying to work with you here. You can make this easy, or I can make this much, much more painful.”
Colton’s eyes were illuminated by the Flamethrower once more. Then, with slumped shoulders, he sighed.
“Fine. I’ll talk.”
Another alert flashed briefly in front of Tucker.
Interrogation and Persuasion Skills Increased! Any information you retrieve will be automatically added to your Codex.
His XP meter also rose a few points, encouraging him that he was on the right path when it came to Colton. A man like him could be intimidated with the physical. He enjoyed his luxuries, so the chance of pain was enough to get the ball rolling.
“Good,” said Tucker, preparing to start with the questions. Before he could, however, Colton had a flash of resilience.
“But, I’m not telling an orc like you everything!” he added. “You don’t deserve it, being an orc.”
Tucker released the tension in his fingers and the ball of flame extinguished. He narrowed his eyes as he replied.
“I’ll be the judge of that. Now, let’s begin. What wasn’t your fault?”
Bio: I have been a writer pretty much from the time I could hold a pencil and scribble letters. I am looking to develop my craft and better my storytelling. I am a huge fan of fantasy and horror in all their incarnations. When I'm not reading, I'm usually hunting for Legos. You can find me trying to decipher the mini-figure blind bags at the local big-box store.