The priest was sitting at the small table in his room, eating what passed for breakfast in this place, and quietly contemplating what the new day had in store for him. Without warning, the door burst open and slammed against the wall. Standing in the doorway was a man wearing black leather, his hood pulled forward to help hide his features.
Erik walked into the room dragging a moaning man by the collar. Once inside the room, he dropped the unconscious man to the floor and then reached back and pushed the door shut. All of this the priest watched with wide eyes and a gaping mouth. Erik then turned to look squarely at him.
“There are two things we need to reach an understanding on immediately. First, my name is irrelevant.”
“Who are you?” the priest stammered.
Erik frowned at the man. “The second is that calling for the guards will not save you,” he said as he pointed to the body on the floor.
“Guards!” the priest shrieked as he bolted up from his chair and tried to push past the rogue. Erik reached out and grabbed the front of the priest’s robes. He then stuck his foot behind the priest’s and pushed him backwards, causing him to trip and fall heavily to the ground on his back. Erik knelt next to him, keeping his hand pushing down on the priest’s chest.
“I do not have time for this, and therefore you do not have time for this,” Erik said in a calm, quiet voice.
“What do you want?”
“I am looking for someone. A woman. She has been moved multiple times and each time it seems to be by your orders. You will tell me where she is now.”
“Her surname is Larethian. Blonde. Blue eyes. Where is she?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Erik’s left hand lashed out and slapped the priest’s face. If anything, it seemed as if the priest’s eyes got even wider.
“Do not lie to me,” Erik said in his still calm voice. “You know where she is and you will tell me.”
“I promise, I have no idea what’s going on.”
Erik frowned again. His free hand reached behind his back and pulled a knife from his belt. He brought the knife around and placed the flat of the blade against the priest’s chest.
“I have been tasked with finding this woman. I have been given the discretion to use whatever means I deem necessary to do so. You will tell me where she is or I will end up doing something that you’ll regret.”
“I promise you that I won’t.”
The priest looked into Erik’s eyes and there was a subtle shift in his body language.
“Do you know who I work for?” the priest asked with a sense of bravado.
“I do. And I do not care.”
“You should care,” the priest retorted, trying to look angry though not quite being successful.
“I don’t care. And that should worry you more. I know who ordered all of this. And they will get their due when the time is appropriate. But for now, it is just you and me and my very sharp knife.” Erik dug the tip of his blade into the fabric of the priest’s robes and pulled slightly.
“You don’t know what they’ll do to me.”
“Perhaps. But I do know what I will do to you if you make me wait much longer for the answers that I need. I have been charged with retrieving this woman and as such, we are both on a deadline.” Erik put noticeable emphasis on the word dead.
“You don’t understand,” the priest said, his false bravado fading.
“I do understand that unless you tell me what I need to know right now,” Erik started, pulling his knife a little to tear open the front of the priest’s robes, “then life will be very difficult for what is left of you.”
“Left of me?” the priest repeated, panic edging into his voice.
“Left attached anyways.”
“I can’t tell you.”
“You will. Because if you don’t, I will maim you here and now. But you will live. Long enough for me to visit again soon, where I will take a little more from you. And it will continue like that, where I will come looking for you every so often, to take another piece of flesh. And you won’t know when it’s going to happen. And you won’t know where it’s going to happen. You will only know, with undying certainty, that it is absolutely going to happen. And nothing you can do will stop it.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“You are wasting my time and your’s,” Erik responded, pushing the tip of his blade into the priest’s chest. “And you don’t have much time left. I will start with your finger. They say that the pain eventually goes away, but I can say from experience that it never really does.”
The priest looked up into the cold eyes of the rogue who was leaning over him. His mind raced as he thought about what was said in that passive, unnervingly calm voice. He felt the tip of the knife starting to pierce the skin of his chest. Then he closed his eyes and shuddered.
“She’s in the maw! They had me move her into the maw!”