“The Interrogation part 2”
After finishing a rough circle of arcane symbols the male Pelosian chants a few words summoning a misty, indistinct humanoid form floating gently within the chalk marks.
Speaking clearly with noticeable indignation “Citizen Hyrmina, I am Dyrkius Reeseus, Third Tail, Amphipolis Pigeon. Your attempt to compel my honesty has failed. No matter: I will debrief you truthfully and willingly. Had I not been interdicted these past few days, I would have been able to do so earlier.”
Unfazed by Dyrkius’ attempted seizing of the initiative, Hyrmina asks “Do you have a writ?”
“In my belt pocket.”
With a nod from Hyrmina one of the guards sheaths his sword, retrieves the writ, shows it first to Hyrmina then to the misty figure. Which a few moments latter gives a distinct nod.
Satisfied, Hyrmina continues the interrogation with Ione. “And you? What brings you to this fine province?”
“Ione of Saria. I’m in Scupi Province because it is far away from The Empire. Also, I’ve heard interesting rumors about former residents.”
“Very curious. Saria? It is not familiar to me, part of the Empire? And exactly what rumors?”
“No, it is an independent city-state, town really, in the N. Wildlands. That Vervigis once had a lab in the badlands West of here.”
Raising an eyebrow towards Ian at that last remark. “Ian Ikase, corrupting the young and innocent with tales of fame and fortune are we? But for now I’m far more interested in how you came to be wearing Citizen Thebe’s armor?”
Ian smiles broadly but remains silent.
“Well, we’ll get back to that. Ione, thank you for your cooperation. Please escort her away.” A guard gently stands Ione up and walks her out of the room.
“Now, you three, quite a ways from the Dune Sea trade routes wouldn’t you agree?”
Djinn, Qazir, and Tariq respond with their names and “to hunt”, “seeking the wisdom of Nature”, “with my cousin”.
Hyrmina asks into details of what ships they traveled on where they stayed, when and for how long. All of which she seems to confirm with the ghostly figure who nods affirmation to each inquiry.
Appeased, she asks of no one in particular. “Sandmen do not leave survivors. Yet you live. Why? And how? Do you have some ability to abjure their powers or drive them away?”
First again Dyrkius answers “I do not know why they attacked, and I have not found enough evidence to form a strong hypothesis. I have some ability to drive away any foe. And as for being alive, I am surprised by that myself.”
Tariq and Djinn continue to provide minimal, almost defiant answers, “I do not”, “I know not”. Although, in a moment of honest confusion regarding the sandmen Tariq shrugs and says “They seem to come from nowhere, and to return there again when their killing was done.”
“And what about you Thukiri? Does your kinship with the desert extend to sandmen?”
“Well, to be precise, I don’t believe these”sandmen“, as you label them, ever did attack me. I fell victim to the hyena men’s ambush. Some time later I opened my eyes to Djinn cutting the ropes that had bound me. Dead hyena men lay strewn haphazardly about in the telltale fashion of battle. I myself never saw the sandmen. It is reasonable to assume that they never saw me, and were therefore unconcerned as to my fate.”
“Where were you heading when the sandmen attacked you?”
“This I do not know. The hyena men were transporting us somewhere, but the destination is unknown to me. Moreover, as I was unconscious for the entire time they were carrying us, I have no idea how long, or in what direction we were traveling.”
Djinn adds “North, we were taken North for two or three days.”
Outside the sandstorm subsides and the room brightens considerably. Workers in other rooms start sweeping away the accumulated sand dust kicking up clouds of it. Causing the female guard to sneeze and cough for a minute. The misty figure fades. The male Pelosian moves to recast his spell but Hyrmina waves him away.
Focusing on the Babrem “Where is the hyena men’s camp? How many run with this pack? What brought them this far south?”
Tariq, “I do not know. They ambushed us among some ruins, in the desert. I was wounded, very near death. I know nothing other than I was captured.” Shrugs again.
“I also do not know. All I can say is that the”ruins” appeared to be natural. A large forest of toppled and broken tree trunks as hard as stone.” offers Qazir.
“Still being quiet are we?”
“Nine citizens are dead or missing. Your silence is irrelevant. Infront of the Council tomorrow the information will be extracted from you.”
“Ikase is too preoccupied with his trial please take him away so that he may consider his defense.” The same guard as before takes him away.
“Citizen Dyrkius, can you enlighten us regarding the hyena men? Perhaps you hired them to attack the caravan?”
“Of course not! I’m insulted at the insinuation. Citizen, I nearly died out there. In fact, I’m as shocked to be alive as I am by your treatment. As to your question, I do not know anymore about the hyena men.
In bursts a fat, bald middle-aged Pelosian male wearing priests robes and a red sash with gold trim across his chest. “Did they find it?” Looking at the survivors. “Did you find it? The box?” Seeing their confused expressions he begins moaning to himself “Oh, they don’t have it. We’re doomed.”
“Trypho!” Asserts Hyrmina.
“But, the box, the box. What are we going to do?” Trypo’s foot long black “goatee” shaking with panic.
“Come here let’s discuss things.” Says Hyrmina as she gives a signal to the female Pelosian who closes her eyes.
Hyrmina and Trypho move to the far corner and have a short discussion. Trypho leaves no less agitated. With a touch on her shoulder the Pelosian opens her eyes again.
“Excuse Trypho the heat makes him a bit excitable. Back to business, what did you do with Citizen Thebe and Citizen Aeson. Under what authority did you seize their equipment?
Dyrkius “I am sorry but they died in the initial ambush. We buried them as best we could. But time was of the essence if we were to survive ourselves.” We took whatever we thought might help us to survive.”
Qazir “The dead have no concern for, nor need of possessions. Those guards gave their lives defending us, the members of the caravan; I cannot imagine their spirits would then balk at giving their breastplates in service of the same cause.”
“And the other members of Desert Condor? The seven other guards.”
“My best guess is that if they did not survive, their physical forms lay buried beneath the sands waiting to be reclaimed by the desert’s embrace. Although, it is possible that whoever, or whatever attacked the caravan took some or all of them prisoner.”
Tariq “I am sorry. I know of no other survivors of the caravan.”
“So, you all claim to be innocent victims? Who just happened to survive an ambush while nine veteran citizens, all the workers, animals(save your camel), and wagons have conveniently disappeared from the face of Dirt?”
Dyrkius exclaims “Absolutely we are innocent! There were two damaged wagons, their animals, a couple camels, five gnomes, and about seven other workers with us. All were dead. You have not found those or the other wagons? I lost some of my own property I was hoping to recover.”
“No, our diviner was only tuned to Thebe’s breastplate. Which we found dumped with Ikase and surrounded by the tracks of the hyena men leading us to you four. Other patrols found Ione just outside of Blood Rock but no trace of the caravan.” Hyrmina responds, uncharacteristically distracted.
“They likely are all buried at the site of the ambush. We found the water wagon roughly a half night’s travel from the carnage. Farooq is more intelligent than most camels and no stranger to sandstorms.”
“Yes, four or five days out of Scupi a great sandstorm suddenly hit us. The wagon master foolishly did not immediately halt the caravan. We became scattered. During the chaos we were ambushed.” Answers Tariq.
“By giants, a type I am unfamiliar with.” Adds Djinn.
Ignoring him and impaitiently demands “Who else is working with you? (Even with the hyena men you could not have successfully attacked the caravan.)”
Standing up again Dyrkius shouts “I have no idea what you are talking about! As I told you, I am a student and a loyal citizen of The Republic. I refuse to say anymore. I demand representation. I am Dyrkius of House Reeseus! I demand the respect I am entitled to!”
“Very well, we shall continue tomorrow in the Council Chambers. Till then.” Hyrmina bows slightly and then rushes out of the room.