Ex Mari: Interrogation of Gannel
Follow up to the ending of the Ex Mirum Trans Mare prp. If you want in you'll need to contact Rysen
July 7, 2019, 7 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - House of Questions - Cell #1
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The cell has inquisition guards posted at the doors, while the prisoner himself is seated in front of a table, shackles on his wrists. He'd clad in a thin cotton shift, a pair of cotton socks on his feet. His hair is touseled, oily curls spiking up in random directions. His bronze skin has a pallor to it, as if he has not had much sun recently. His eyes have dark circles under them, and he is muttering under his breath in Eurusi, though the volume is very low.
Rysen arrives in the cell with Rukhnis at his side. The Crovane lord's face looks solemn and he comes to stand across the table from Gannel, waiting for others who wish to join or observe the interrogation to enter the chamber. "Hello, Gannel," he says in his deep, resonant voice. "We mean you no harm. We wish to ask you some questions."
Rukhnis follows Rysen into the cell, keeping just a fraction of a step behind and one side to him and treading even more silently than usual, if that's even possible. Her eyes flicker here and there about the cell as if not wanting to rest on any one thing, but finally, inevitably, they slide towards the prisoner and the subject of the interrogation to come, and lock darkly onto him. Listening to him mumbling under his breath, her mouth tightens briefly, but no other expression crosses her face.
Faye comes from her office, which is only a few steps away. She gives a nod to the Confessors guarding the door and then to the others gathered in the cell, before her eyes focus coldly on the prisoner. She has been in plenty of interrogations before, so it's all familiar territory. "Does he speak Arvani at all, or is it just Eurusi?" she asks. "I'm good either way, but it might indicate how cooperative he's being."
There's absolutely no hurry in Lora, who comes in last of all. She's accompanied by a little brown wren, who sits perched on her shoulder, idly preening a lock of the woman's hair, and who may set the tone for her presence. She is here to observe and it shows in the way she looks around, a slow visual exploration of the little room and its contents before settling on the young man at the table. It's there in the way that she keeps close to the wall, not leaning against it, or even touching it, hands instead clasping tightly together.
The young man, likely no older than eighteen or so, peers at Rysen, head falling to the right, then the left. There is no comprehension in his face and he babbles something back in his native language. He tries to shrug, but the chains around his wrists keep the motion minimal.
Rysen sits down across from Gannel, and gestures for Rukhnis to take one too. With his grey eyes still fixed sadly on Gannel, he says to Rukhnis, "Please translate what I say, Rukhnis. We will try to help you in any way we can, Gannel. Can you tell me what you remember about where you grew up? Your homeland?"
Faye gives a nod to Rysen at his aside, before she turns back to the young man. She says something to him in a cool, quiet tone.
Faye says in Eurusi, "You do realize that we can make things more comfortable for you if you're cooperative, don't you? The Inquisition can protect you if you're worried about grasping fingers from Eurus."
Gannel looks to Faye and his lips curl back in a bit of a snarl. He speaks in a scornful tone, shaking his head before he leans back against the chair, huffing a little.
Rukhnis rubs her palms lightly across her tunic, a small gesture but one that nevertheless breaks the stillness of her stance. Very reluctantly, and without removing her gaze from Gannel, she eases herself carefully into a chair beside Rysen. She gives a small nod of her head, starts to say something, then stops and looks over at Faye. After waiting for the other woman to finish speaking, she translates Rysen's words for the prisoner, rather tonelessly.
Rukhnis says in Eurusi, "We greet you, Gannel. We are willing to help you in any way we can. We wish to know more about you. Can you tell us anything about your homeland, your family, your upbringing?"
Maybe this is fascinating stuff. Maybe morbidly so. Certainly that is all the interest Lora can muster for it: the rapt sort. In some respects she is the sole audience for it, but as audiences go there are none better, attentive and silent enough that she'd blend into the wall if somehow capable of it. Instead she looks on, gaze drifting betimes to others as they speak, but she is primarily intent upon Gannel.
Faye gives no obvious reaction to Gannel's snarl, instead letting Rysen and Rukhnis take the lead on the interrogation. There's no sort of expression of surprise or insult from her, as she is patient enough to see how this will play out. She looks rather bored with his scornful tone, in fact, instead glancing to Rysen to see what he will do.
Rukhnis says in Eurusi, "For my part, I am not interested in helping you." Her tone is blunt and impassive as she speaks to Gannel, but her fingers have curled slightly where they rest against her legs. "I only translate what these others wish to make known to you. You are mad, and I do not think you can have anything at all intelligible or intelligent to say to us, about your so-called Prophet or anything else."
Turning her head very slightly towards Rysen, Rukhnis says, "He does not think we can give him any help, asking in turn, Can we bring him to the flowing sands, where the grains sear away the flesh and promises are whispered on the winds?" Her lips curls slightly, as if it were distasteful to her to even have to speak these words herself.
"His reward," Rukhnis concludes, with equal distaste, "he says awaits him in the next life."
Gannel tilts his head back to look up at the ceiling. He speaks again, slipping back into that sing-song he adopted in the hospital. He seems to be disasspciated with anything that is currently happening.
"Please ask him," says Rysen, "why he believes he deserves a reward in the next life."
Rukhnis presses her lips tightly together as Gannel begins that sing-songing litany, and a look of deep unease passes through her eyes. Nevertheless, at Rysen's request she turns fully back to face the boy and speaks to him in a sharp, flat tone.
Rukhnis says in Eurusi, "Gannel. Why do you, of all people, merit a reward in the next life? What have /you/ done?"
Rysen takes out a quill, ink and a cheaply bound folio from his leather holster. He dips the quill in ink and writes in the folio, and hands it to Faye. "Please show this to Lady Lora when you have had the chance," says Rysen.
The boy looks to Rukhnis and shakes his head, before it lolls side to side, when he speaks there is still that sing-song quality to it.
Faye looks over the folio then passes it to Lora, before her gaze looks back to Gannel. She says a few sentences to him in Eurusi, quiet and seemingly honest.
Faye says in Eurusi, "Gannel. If you truly believe you speak for the Prophet, this is your chance to share with us the things we should know. We don't get much current information from Eurus, except for people like you who have traveled from there. Why not tell us what you know about the Prophet of Sands and the Dune Emperor? I don't suppose you've ever seen him?"
The looks Gannel casts to Faye is the most teenager look ever. He siiiiiiighs and shakes his head before murmuring back to Faye.
Rukhnis appears to struggle not to say something else to Gannel as Faye speaks to him in turn, her hands clenching into fists against her legs, and her mouth tightening. As the exchange between the two ends, she leans forward sharply and fixes her gaze intensely on him and speaks forcefully, her brows drawing together to make a deep furrow in her forehead.
Rukhnis says in Eurusi, "What reward can an ant even hope to gain from a lion, then? The lion may drop scraps along the way, but he surely promises the ant nothing more than whatever it can glean on its own, if it is not outright crushed by the lion as it attempts to. What can you possibly hope for, to make everything you have done worthwhile? How could you come to be like this, from the life you had before? What could possibly induce you to become what you are now?"
"Thank you," murmurs Lora as she's handed the folio. It offers something like a distraction, something else for her to look at. To frown at in fact, as she does, running over the words a couple of times as if intent upon committing them to memory, though the net result is the appearance of a very fine line that appears between her eyebrows. It is eventually passed back, though that pensive look does not go away even as it leaves her possession. A slow breath is drawn, then, as if she's preparing to say something, but Rukhnis asks these questions and thus she does not, and folds her hands again.
Gannel turns a look on Rukhnis and asks something with the false compassion of the truly self-righteous.
Rysen glances at Rukhnis with a look of concern. "We must learn, first and foremost," he says softly.
Faye levels a look at Gannel, giving him a few words in Eursui. She listens to Rukhnis' questions with some interest, before listening for a response.
Faye says in Eurusi, "If you don't even know the Prophet's teachings to pass them along to people who have never heard them before? What good are you? Are you able to vouch for the Prophet or not? If you say you are a digger and a maker of tunnels, how do you even know what the lion asks of you?"
Rukhnis says in Eurusi, "It is all very well for /you/ to choose that, for yourself. But not all desire to be scoured hopelessly into oblivion as you do."
Having snapped a final response to Gannel, Rukhnis clamps her mouth shut again and exhales sharply through her nose.
Rysen relinquishes his seat and comes to stand near Lora, watching Gannel, Rukhnis and Faye with a look of concern. He leans to Lora whispers something.
What can Lora do but tilt her head at Rysen? It isn't quite a nod; it is slow, measured. Though after a moment she murmurs something back, gaze returning to Gannel.
Gannel looks to Faye and asks her a question, apparently content to end his discourse with Rukhnis for now.
Rukhnis crosses her arms tightly over her chest as she continues to watch Gannel with fixed intensity and to listen to both him and Faye. The expression in her eyes is an odd one, sharp and smouldering and angry, yet with some dark uneasy undercurrent playing beneath it, of anxiety or uncertainty or perhaps something else as well.
Rysen frowns slightly and nods to Lora, saying something quietly in reply.
Faye says in Eurusi, "I do not speak on behalf of my gods, but when asked to articulate their teachings, I can. That is all we are asking of you, Gannel. Not that you justify your beliefs or anything you do. Whether you are following what you believe are lies or truths. But explain to us your beliefs and how you know what to do to follow the Prophet. That's all."
Then Faye turns away from Gannel and glances to the others. "I'm not sure if this is getting us anywhere. Maybe we should leave him locked up and on bread and water rations for another couple months." She may not be entirely serious on that suggestion, based on her tone.
Which, perhaps, makes it Lora's turn. There is one more slight tilt of her head toward Rysen and then she steps forward. One, two, three paces: the room isn't big enough for more than that but it brings her close enough that she can stand and look down at Gannel. And she does, with some very cool neutrality bordering almost on boredom now. She may've been rapt before, but after all of this maybe she's disappointed.
Lora says in Eurusi, "You do not actually know anything, do you."
There is a huff from the boy and he tries to cross his arms, but cannot given the shackles. He starts to mutter and tugs on his restraints.
Rysen's gaze moves from Lora, and after her brief statement, to Gannel.
Rukhnis's fingers drum against her upper arm in a slow, measured rhythm. All her attention is still on the boy across the table -- he might as well be the only other person in the room, along with Faye's voice. She doesn't even bat an eyelash as Lora adds her own remark in Eurusi. But as Gannel speaks again her eyes widen a little and some of the colour drains from her face, leaving an ashen undertone to her skin. After a long moment of stillness in which Rysen's words don't even seem to make an impression on her, she leans towards the prisoner again to the most fractional degree and says something to him in a low voice that has the just the ghost of a tremor in it, so faint it might almost be imagined.
Rukhnis says in Eurusi, "How did you learn of these things? Who told you of the Prophet in the first place, and began all this? Who?"
Faye glances over to Lora as she makes a comment to Gannel, and while she looks like she might say something else, she gives a nod to Rysen, willing to let another strategy be attempted.
Gannel looks to Lora as he hears her speak Eurusi and he hisses, muttering more to himself than anyone else. He speaks up then, answering them as a group.
There's no tremor in Lora's voice. Her hands link together, one set of fingers holding the other like bits of chain, motionless. There is one sidelong glance for Rukhnis as she asks her question, but it is Gannel that she addresses, still with that touch of very mild disappointment.
Lora says in Eurusi, "You. Made yourself. An instrument of the Prophet's will. You are a fool. The Prophet has no will but that which he serves. Were you hoping he might notice? Might see what you had done? Might reward you?"
Lora's words seem to be the last straw for the boy and he surges up to his feet and tries to lunge at her. A few issues: There is a table in front of him, and those shackles. He leans in hissing and growling trying to lift his hands as if to do violence, enough that the guards are moving forward in an attempt to further restrain him.
Rukhnis's eyes light with a sudden fury at Gannel's spoken response to all of them, and she jerks a couple inches up from her chair as if she were going to deal him another blow like the one she had given him the last time around. But the motion is aborted almost as soon as it's begun, and she subsides back into her chair once again and simply listens to Lora speak, watching soundlessly even as Gannel then immediately mimics something of her own furious motion, except moreso. But having schooled herself to stillness again she only watches, as her eyes continue fairly to glitter with a hatred that seems oddly to be directed at something beyond the prisoner himself.
Rysen's face is an expressionless mask. He watches Gannel strain against his shackles without the least bit of surprise, seemingly completely distant and lost in thought. His hand passes slowly over the tattoo on his left forearm.
Faye gives a resigned shake of her head, looking to the others. "I'm not sure if irritating him is helping or not. What can you ask him about this so-called thirteenth daughter? What I've heard about it is quite confusing and seems improbable, which is why I wonder if there has been some misunderstanding or mistranslation."
Rysen nods in agreement with Faye. "Gannel is undoubtedly a tool. Due to his youth and the actions he's already taken, we can be sure there is nothing he can tell us about the Prophet that is not better learned from other sources. The woman on the ship, the darksteel, the reason Gannel was on that particular ship in the first place - those things might yield greater insight into the Prophet's plans for Arvum," he says in a distant voice.
Rukhnis makes a quiet grunting noise, possibly in response to Rysen, but otherwise remains both silent and still, waiting with that look of distant antipathy for whatever comes next.
Faye gives a small shake of her head, then looks back to Gannel with a skeptical expression. In the pause in the questions from the others, she asks her own.
Faye says in Eurusi, "Gannel. What is this nonsense about the thirteenth daughter on the ship? Was it you who called her the daughter of the Dune Emperor? Whose daughter was she? Was she just some sort of lie or fantasy used to impress the faithful who were being transported on the ship? I somehow feel like the Prophet wouldn't approve of people making up stuff like that for their own benefit."
Lora checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 48 higher.
There is an almost birdlike tilt to Lira's head as she continues to study Gannel, mouth pursing very slightly. She lets him struggle with the chains for a few moments, watches, her own fingers moving finally as if in sympathy, one set twisting a little at the ring worn on the other hand. She's quiet for several moments, as others speak, as Faye asks her questions, then adds some of her own.
Rukhnis opens her mouth as if to say something, then grunts quietly again and leans aside to speak softly to the others.
Lora says in Eurusi, "You are no Huntsman. You are no Magister. You are just a boy. Tell us about the darksteel. Tell us about the woman. Tell us about the Will of the Prophet that you so brazenly suggest was aboard the ship. Tell us something and perhaps you will prove that you are not simply desperately hoping that the Eye of the Prophet falls upon you."
Gannel peers at Lora, head tilting to the side. Her words penetrate that rage, that feral desire to destroy what is in front of him. He snorts through his nose and grumbles.
Reigna is overheard praising Kael.
Rukhnis has lapsed back into a brooding quietude again, watching, listening, a still and silent shadow. Her gaze is fixed on Gannel as it always has been, but her eyes seem almost to be boring a hole through him as she seems to stare off at something visible only in her own mind's eye.
Lora tilts her head the other direction and leans forward ever so slightly to murmur something to Gannel. There is a momentary pause, either for her reflection, or for his, but it's followed by a few more questions, but a little shake of her head.
Lora says in Eurusi, "You're so very wrong, Gannel. I do believe. I know what the Prophet wants. Do you?" The pause is very, very brief. "How do you know the Prophet's will was aboard the ship? All you have given are words for children."
Gannel just stares at Lora, shaking his head. He actually slips into Arvani for his final words. "You speak circles. I am done."
Faye falls quiet again, watching Gannel's expressions. Then finally she asks the others, "Are we sure this woman was actually on the ship? Did anyone actually see her? Maybe she never actually boarded it, and the story about her was cover for the darksteel." When the young man finally slips into Arvani, she rolls her eyes. "Perhaps not your average teen," she suggests.
The Confessors approach and begin dragging Gannel out, and proving again his perversity, he sing songs, "What is real, what is lies, the only truth is in the Prophet's eyes..."
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