Fenros sat on the cold ground of the cell. Trying to figure out why this was happening to him. He had multiple theories, the most prominent being the king was tired of Fenros being so close to Eleanor. Finally finding a way to get Fenros out of the picture.
While he openly supported the king, and did nothing that would say otherwise. It was well known he and his family had a different mindset about nobles and royalty and how they should act but whenever the king ordered them to do something they would do it.
The only thing that would have been ‘treason’ towards the king, was his loyalty to El. If it was between the kings life and El’s, there would be no hesitation. He would save El every time.
Was this recent attempt the reason why? How he just left the king behind? He ordered the princess’s extra guards to stay behind though, there would have been. No reason for her to stay in the danger. He didn’t know if there were other assassins vying for a shot.
But that still didn’t make sense. He wondered what it could have been. Perhaps he was framed for some reason, by who though was the question. No one explained where they got their ‘intell’ from.
He mind was starting to hurt and grow more confused trying to figure this out without being told anything. He rested his head back against the wall he sat with his back to and sighed irritably. Deciding to not think on it.
His mind did turn to El though. His eyes closed as he imagined her smile… her crystal blue eyes that sparkled as she did, to even that glint of mischievousness that sometimes flickered behind her eyes when she had an idea that only made his day more complicated.
He wondered what she was doing…. was she still resting? She did love her sleep. Did she even hear what happened yet? Was she already trying to figure out a way for him to get out? Knowing her she probably was. But He hoped also she would not risk her father's wrath for him.
He realized In this moment, that if the king indeed was bent on seeing him as a traitor… he might not see her again, even on the day of his...execution. Not that he would want her to see that anyways.
It was a grim outlook, but it was a realistic one. Very rarely did those who were accused of treason lived. It was unheard of really. He did have regrets, and wished that he could see her once more. To see her smile. But more importantly, that she will be safe from harm after he was gone.
He was pulled from his thoughts when two guards opened the door. Two more guards with crossbows were clever enough to stand far back enough in case he tried anything. They all knew how dangerous he was even without a sword.
Forced to chain his arms and legs, he was then shuffled to the royal inquisition’s torturing chambers. Instantly he could smell the remains of burnt skin and the thick smell of blood.
He looked around quickly before he was shoved into a chair and arms were shackled to the heavy oak chair so he could not even move them an inch. Despite him knowing this, he still tested it. Trying to see how much he could move or somehow ‘magically’ break them with his strength.
He also looked at his chair to see if he could somehow use something on it. But there wasn’t much to use, and the chair was designed to be heavy anyways.
Eva couldn’t help but being bit nervous. As if the yesterday’s assassination attempt hasn’t been enough, the investigation suddenly took a spin into places she would have never thought to find herself in. She had just accused the princess of being a traitor and now she was headed to question her bodyguard, an esteemed knight, a son to the Duke Allaway, ruler of Khunrith. A man who most likely created an entire underground rebel organization, plotting to overthrow the rightful ruler of Tricaelia. ‘The Undaunted’. Eva smirked. Only an overly confident and egoistic person would name a secret group after himself. Then again, that is exactly the type of person Fenros seemed to be. Always throwing smiles around, joking and flirting with every woman in the five-mile radius, acting as if the world belonged to him. Eva remembered very well of how he mocked her when they met in the castle on some occasion, mention casually how beautiful she looked that day. Oh, how badly she wanted to take a knife back then and shove it inside his body, just to erase that smug smile from his face. She never thought she would actually get a chance to do that.
However, there was something else she was worried about. She knew from experience that people who were this dedicated to their treasonous acts didn’t give up easily. Some were extremely hard to break, and Eva knew Fenros would be one of them. Everyone would break eventually if they were locked up for weeks and the inquisitor came in every day, causing pain and taking parts of their bodies until there was barely something left to send to the gallows. But she didn’t have that luxury, this matter needed to be solved as soon as possible. She could start cutting him to pieces, but the problem was that king wanted his execution to be very public. And while the crowd tolerated bruises and occasional broken bones as a sign that the prisoner suffered some pain even before being executed, more obvious signs of torture might raise questions whether the person really was guilty and whether the confession wasn’t forced. She had to use some more subtle methods. ‘But if he doesn’t talk,’
she thought to herself, gritting her teeth, ‘I’m gonna take a saw and cut his fucking hand off myself.’
She entered the room with Garret right behind her and sat down as he started to unpack the tools. There was no need to make it a show this time, this man would not be intimidated by such simple act. The air in the room was thick and hot and it got even worse when the fire was started in a small fire pit. The smell of burnt skin was still quite strong, the prisoner could probably recognize it, but she couldn’t tell if it had any effect on him. After all, he must have known a lot about the inquisition practices, and yet he was looking relatively calm. “Sir Fenros Allaway,”
she said, sneering over the word ‘sir’. “I don’t know if you remember me, but I am inquisitor Eva Gallard. I believe you know why we are meeting here under these… circumstances.”
She waved her hand at the table with all the torture instruments. “Let’s be honest with each other. I am quite impressed of how you managed to keep your actions a secret for so long, so I’m going to give you a chance that not many people get. If you tell me everything right now, you can go back to your cell and your execution will be painless. Well, mostly,”
she added. For anyone else this would be an irresistible offer, but she knew he was not going to take it. “You have to know,”
she leaned towards him, “that there is no rescue coming. The king had already made it clear that he doesn’t want anything to do with you anymore, aside from watching you die. No one can help you, not even the princess.”
She stressed the last word, trying to see how he will react.
Fenros looked forward when Eva and the massive man named Garrett walked In. The latter began to unpack the instruments of Eva’s craft while she started talking to him. Clearly she did not like him already. She introduced herself, and he said nothing for the moment. Of course he knew of her. Being in the inner courts all the time and seeing her about the castle. There were a few times he complimented her on her beauty, though it seemed that she took it as an insult at that time.
He didn’t say a word as he focused on what she would say, hoping that he would figure out exactly what it was. He only grew more confused. What was she talking about him keeping his actions a secret for so long? He racked his brain but could not even get what she was talking about.
Was it about the assassination attempt? Did they think he was behind this? He looked genuinely confused at what she was saying. But when she mentioned the king wanted nothing to do with him anymore. If it really was about yesterday. He wished the king did get shot. Hell he would do it himself now.
He sat up as straight as he could, his eyes never leaving Eva’s. She was trying to get him to just confess to something like she knew about it. He already knew the princess would not be able to do much. Though his fears were confirmed. He was going to die.
He leaned foward as well, his look serious as he got close to Eva. “I have no clue what you are even talking about….”
he has a smirk come on his face. "Unless this is about me hitting on you. I mean I got the hint after the second attempt. Don’t need to go all crazy on me, even though I don’t understand why you don’t believe me when I said you looked beautiful.”
He said trying to throw her off balance. His last chance on getting out of here was to get this woman to like him enough to believe him. Cause clearly she didn’t care about facts or truth. “If it’s about the stolen pastries I admit, I took them because the princess asked. The cook gets way to bent out of shape when the princess spoils her appetite.“
he continued, sitting back in his chair. Shrugging. “ Of course he is only concerned about her health, so I understand if he is mad at me for allowing it but honestly this is overkill. “
He raised an eyebrow,”....Unless …it’s neither of those, then that never happened.”
He coughed as he said it quickly. “So instead of trying to intimidate me, tell me what I did and we can clear this all up.”
He said in an irritated voice.
Eva kept a smile on her face as he talked, not showing how enraged she was. She didn’t expect him to confess, but this was truly outrageous. Even now he wanted to make fun of her? It took all her strength to just keep herself from grabbing a knife and cutting that stupid smile off from his face.
She raised one eyebrow. “Believe me, I haven’t even began trying to intimidate you. It seems to me that you don’t fully understand the gravity of the situation yet. But that will change, don’t worry.”
Her smile was almost sincere. “I only wanted to make the situation easier for both of us, but if this is how you prefer it, well,”
she shrugged, “your choice.”
She got up and grabbed a paper from the table. “You are accused of conspiring against the throne and orchestrating a plot to assassinate the king. I believe you are familiar with the king’s signature and personal seal?”
She held the paper in front of his eyes and let him read the few lines. “So, until you have something relevant to say…”
She nodded at Garret. “He is all yours.”
The big man smiled and cracked his fingers before burrowing his fist into Fenros’ stomach.
Fenros narrowed his eyes at the woman as she tried to explain that things would get worse for him. Like he thought, no matter what he said, she wouldn’t believe him. He took a few low deep breaths as he prepared himself. Glancing at the paper she showed him. But before he could say anything she allowed the giant to punch him in the gut. He involuntarily bent forward as the air was literally knocked from his lungs.
He waited but nothing happened, he was given time to catch his breath again. “ The king can sign or seal any papers he wants, it doesn’t make it any more true if the accusation is false.”
He said. Looking to Eva. “I, as well as my family has served the king and his kingdom always.”
He glared. “Who accused me? What proof do you have?”
He demanded of her.
Eva just laughed, shaking her head. “You are not the one who will be asking questions here.“
She watched as Garret punched Fenros over and over, focusing mainly on his stomach, but also adding a few hits into his face for good measure. She looked as uninterested as possible, picking some dirt from beneath her fingernail, reminding herself she need to trim them again. Too many things got stuck behind long nails in this line of work, it wasn’t worth the effort to keep them long and nicely polished as it was usual amongst the highborn ladies.
After few minutes she lifted her hand, halting Garret’s next move. “No more smart comments?”
she looked over Fenros who was trying to catch his breath. “Good. It’s a small progress, but it’s something. You see, it’s a good thing that you mentioned your family – I am not sure how long will the Duke be able to keep his title and position when his son will be executed as a traitor to the crown.”
A small knife in her hand cut his shirt, revealing his muscular chest. “I want to know who else is behind this, who else in the Vanguard or near the king is a part of your little conspiracy?”
The branding iron was glowing red, ready to be used and Eva used her weight to press is against his skin as hard as she could. The smell of burnt flesh once again filled the room, but this time it wasn’t followed by any screams of pain. Eva angrily watched as Fenros clenched his fists and bit his lip, causing more blood to run down his chin, but he didn’t make a sound.
She gave it a few more tries, all with the same results. Even though part of his chest was now covered in ugly looking burnt spots, he didn’t give up, and when she asked him her questions again, he just repeated what he said before about being innocent. She didn’t even manage to erase that stupid smirk off his face completely, which nearly drove her mad.“It’s obvious,”
she said, wiping the sweat off her forehead, “that we need to take a bit more personalized approach. You are so proud to be an excellent swordsman, aren’t you. I do believe you need all your fingers intact to hold a sword properly, is that right? Garret,”
she turned to her assistant, “he is right handed.”
Some parts of the process still required brute force, and she was happy that someone was here to provide it. He took a small hammer off the table and tried to pull one finger out of Fenros’ clenched fist. When he was unable to do so, he just shrugged and swung the hammer, hitting the top of the fist.
The short scream that finally came out of his mouth was music to her ears. “Did you know there are twenty seven bones just in your hand?”
She leaned towards Fenros to take a closer look at his hand, that had already begun to swell. “My assistant here broke maybe three or four now, so we still have plenty more to go. And that’s just your right hand.”“You are wasting your time,”
Fenros mumbled through clenched teeth. “I already told you I don’t know anything.”
Fenros wasn’t a stranger to pain, despite having a somewhat peaceful duty of protecting the princess, it didn’t mean he still didn’t get hurt. He nearly died once while being her bodyguard. Many of the scars still showed on his body.
He focused himself to ignore the urge to cry out. Only made her more mad, but he didn’t want to give her the pleasure she sought out from it.
But by the time she had her ogre break his sword hand. His mouth was bloody. Not just from the punches he received, but from biting down so hard. He looked up at Eva clearly tired but Defiance still danced in his eyes strongly.
Eva snorted. Was there really nothing she could do to make him talk? “You are not in charge of this, are you? It’s her. She has you wrapped around her pretty little finger and you would do anything to protect her. Did she promise to take you to her bed if you kill her father and brother?”
Eva whispered into Fenros’ ear. “I don’t blame you, she is beautiful and rich and she would became the most powerful woman in Tricaelia.”
Eva straightened up, carefully stretching her leg. “I’m curious if she will be as resistant to the pain as you are. Maybe I will even let you watch,”
she added with a wide grin.
The air about Fenros changed. The hint of a smirk was gone. She had just insulted and threatened to harm the princess. He felt his blood begin to boil. His hands gripped the arm of the chair, despite the pain that shot from his broken hand. He ignored the pain, the woman ears were deaf to his story, there was no way they were ever going to listen to reason. She enjoyed causing pain and not finding the truth. He couldn’t just sit here anymore.
He hung his head. Seemingly defeated. “The princess had nothing to do with this! She did offer herself to me, and if I wasn’t chained I would slap you for insulting her. She is NOTHING like other nobles. Who are greedy, backstabbing, power hungry lazy pieces of shits. She has no desire to harm her brother or the king. Unlike… “
he stopped for a moment only for her to take a step, as he sounded like he was about to reveal who really was behind the assassination. ”...Her brother who constantly looks to further his own gain. Even against the kings wishes…”
as she was close enough he lashed out, delivering a hard kick with the sole of his foot to her thigh just above her knee on her bad leg.
Eva leaned towards Fenros, unable to hide the excited look in her eyes. Finally, she seemed to have hit the right string, despite all his strength and resilience, she had found his weak spot. Who would have thought all it took was to mention the princess? She took a step closer in order to hear him better, her eyes hypnotizing his bleeding lips. His movement was so fast she only saw a blur in the corner of her field of vision. She didn’t even have time to realize what was happening before a huge explosion of pain erupted from her knee. The only reason she didn’t scream in pain was because the muscles between her ribs refused to cooperate and let her breath. Her back arched, fingers desperately scraping the stones on the floor.
Her vision was blurred but she still recognized Garret rushing to help her, turning his back to Fenros, who used this moment to attack, using the heavy chair as a weapon.
After all the years of beating someone on the chair, the arms and legs were slightly loose, and helped with breaking the chair over the back of Garrett. Free, suddenly he stumbled and fell on his side, but he scrambled up as Garrett got up faster than he.
Despite his pain, Fenros was able to duck away from Garrett who tried to restrain him and deliver a sharp uppercut to his jaw with his right palm. Groaning in pain as the jolt traveled up his arm and caused him to pull it back while Garrett was knocked backwards. This gave him enough time to grab the red hot iron poke used on him and aim it at Eva. The tip just an inch or so from her neck, the heat starting to burn her skin despite the iron not touching her.
He pushed her over with his foot. So she was looking up at him. His eyes were full of hate and anger towards the woman. He looked to Garrett as he was getting up, indicating his poker and not to move. “Enough. I am tired of your sick and demented pleasure. You threatened the Princess, I cannot allow that to go unpunished.”
He said coldly. “I’ve told you I’m innocent-”
He started to say when the doors bursted open. Guards poured into the room, he saw one of them raise his crossbow and ducked behind a table that was knocked over in the brief fight, the bolt embedding into the wood. This gave the guards an opportunity to surround him and disarm him, shoving him to the ground face first. Fenros tried to fight, but he couldn’t at the moment.
Eva couldn’t turn her head to see what exactly happened, she only heard the noise of struggle, but the fight was short. Fenros, while desperate, was tired and outnumbered. He didn’t really stand any chance at the sudden rush of guards. Eva swallowed the blood that filled her mouth, she must have bit her tongue. Garret knelt down next to her and gently massaged her back. She could scream now but swore to herself that she would not give him that satisfaction. The worst cramps in the most of her body passed in few minutes, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to get up on her own for hours, not even talking about being able to walk.
She rolled over to look at Fenros. His face pressed against the cold stone floor with a knee of one of the guards as he watched her with hatred in his eyes. “Stop it,”
she growled at Garret, panting heavily. “Give me the fucking hammer.”
Crawling sent more waves of pain into her body as she dragged her useless leg behind her, but she barely even noticed it. Their faces were on the same level now as she stopped just outside of his reach. “Everything. I’ve done to you. I will. Do to her. Hundred times. Over,”
she hissed at him through clenched teeth. The hammer was surprisingly heavy, but she managed to lift it and swing it against his already broken hand. The vibrations from the hit ran through her entire body, nearly making her lose consciousness. She felt a strong pair of hands lifting her off the ground and carrying her away.
Fenros let out a clenched yell as he felt more bones breaking in his hand. “IF YOU LAY A FINGER ON HER I SWEAR-.”
He screamed as he was roughly pulled up and dragged out of the room.