|Summary:||Lord Justin descends into the dungeon below Four Eagle's Tower to speak to their special guest, prisoner Rolf.|
|Related Logs:||All of the logs pertaining to Rosanna's picnic and kidnapping of the women.|
|Dungeon, Four Eagles Tower|
|The heavy iron door that opens, leading down to the dungeon is the first sign that this is not a welcoming location within the Eagles Tower. The stairs go deep underground to a hallway that extends out in a straight line, the depths enough to conceal cries and screams among the torchlit pathways of dirt and stone. Off the main hall are several rooms that lead to their own areas. One such offshoot has a pair of ten foot wells with flat walls for prisoner storage while two more have caged cells. The last area is one large room with shackle bars bolted to the walls and some hanging from the ceiling. In the center is an open area where prisoners can be flayed and punished as needed.|
|June 9th, 289|
With much to do and little time to accomplish it ere the Naylands party will arrive, and the tournament soon after, Justin heads down into the dungeon with the Warden to question their prisoner. The young Terrick Lord is dressed predominately in the black of mourning, his doublet plain and unadorned, matched with a grim face. He speaks a few words quietly with the jailer until they reach the area were Rolf is being kept. The man is set into one of the cage cells, his wounds having been cleaned and tended that they not turn foul, and fed enough if not well.
When they arrive before the cell, the Warden smacks the keys against the iron cage, "Get up! Ye have a noble visitor here tae question ye. Ye be polite, or we'll drag ye out tae teach ye tongue some manners with a hot iron." Justin himself stands back a bit, armed, but clasping his hands loosely behind his back.
The mottled pile of rags and flesh in the back corner of the iron cage flinches at the clatter of keys against the bars. "Ima up. I am. I never tried not to be up!" Please don't take his tongue. Rolf lifts his dirty face, sniveling as he swipes a hand under his nose and slowly rises to his feet with a thick swallow. His eyes are bright and focused, lacking the haze of a starving man. Perhaps even a prisoner's well-enough is better than a peasant's lacking. His gaze goes to Justin's sword before his face, shoulders hunched as he lingers at the back of the cage. "My…er ah. Lord." That's right, isn't it?
Justin gives a small nod to the Warden for his thanks and keeping his place, he simply starts, "I've come to ask you questions that, if you answer them usefully and in truth, will gain you what humane treatment you are due. If you refuse to be helpful, you'll be made to suffer. Do you understand?" His baritone is low in volume but firm, not quite but almost cold. "Now, what is your name?" Simple start.
"Yes, I understand. Yes. I'll be real helpful," Rolf promises, bobbing his hand and fisting his hands in the front of his shirt as a toddler might if questioned. He cringes at even the suggestion of suffering, stepping back. "I'm a good lad. Me lord. No need to make me uh —" His gaze jerks sliding towards the mancles on the walls and the flays hanging languidly at rest on the walls. "Rolf." Simple answer.
"Very good, Rolf." Justin doesn't offer a name in return. He takes a few idle steps from the front of the cage to the side but about 5 or 6 feet or so back from it, "First, what was done with the horses and goods taken from the ladies? Where were they sent, and how many of your group went with these items?"
Dark, squinty eyes watch Justin's pacing from beneath a thick brow, nervously flickering towards the jailer who still lingers near by. Rolf attempts to match his movements, moving opposite to his steps like an uneasy mirror. "I…I don't know. Not so much as all of that, Uncle Rodrygo through I was stupid. The 'orses. Those were kept not too far from the camp to start. I brought thems that remained water meself."
The dark haired Terrick stops, watching Rolf, "You do realize that's not the answer we were hoping to hear." It's sort of almost an apologetic tone, suggesting that now they'll have to bring out the pain. Tsk. Justin eyes Rolf to see if he wishes to rethink his answer or stick to it. "Are you stupid or are you smarter than that?"
"I can tell ye where they kept them!" Rolf cries out, flinching back at even the suggestion of pain. His small eyes filling with tears as his jaw trembles, words quaving as he speaks with a thick tongue. "You'll hurt me me more if I tell ye a lie. I can tell you where they moved them. Well, them's that is left that weren't at the camp. Down to the last step. Horses liked me. I got to help." A tear trails down his cheek. "I'm told I'm awful stupid. Me Lord."
Justin frowns, unmoved by the man's tears and flinching, "Where, then, in detail?"
The meager candlelight of the dungeons casts him a pathetic creature, snivelling as tears roll down his cheeks. Eager for a question that isn't a threat, Rolf quickly sketches out a location a fair distance from where the Bandit's hole was. In his eagerness, he trips over his words and turns a left to the right and then back again, but the land marks he describes seem sound. Finishing with, "That's where ye'll find 'em that's left. Rodrygo said, he said, they were too pretty to —" He stops abruptly, twisting the fabric of his shirt between his hands.
"To eat them?" Justin asks quietly. He frowns, "You know, Rodrygo was wrong to think we let our smallfolk suffer when we ourselves did not. I have lost half of my House in the past year or so. And among the women you took, many of them lost family as well. The Lady Tiaryn lost /all/ of her family entirely to the Ironborn invasion, aside from one other female relative. She barely escaped with her life. We go so far as to offer land to trade for food to feed our people, that you and yours do not starve, nor ourselves. What you have done was a grave crime, Rolf." Justin takes a leather folio from under his arm and opens it up to access some papers within. The Warden steps around to bring the inkwell and quill that the lord may add notations about the landmarks given.
When he's finished, Justin leaves the folio over there on the table, then turns back, "Now, a man among you escaped us. I want to know his name and anything you know about him. Does he have family or friends he might flee to?" Justin then describes Jensen.
"Yes. To eat 'em. Fingers, he butchered one of the fancier ones to start…figured some of the others would be easier to sell." Rolf frowns at Justin's explanation, jaw setting tighly at the suggestion of what the nobles are doing is suffering. It grates against his personal cowardice, tear streaked cheeks and snivelling demeanor. There and gone in the line of his shoulders as they straighten, only to fall again and remain quiet.
"That sounds like Jensen," Rolf says finally.
Well, no doubt their perspectives are different and that can't be helped. "Jensen. And this man, he has family, friends, contacts he might have gone to?" Justin prompts once more before he walks a few steps back around towards the front of the cage cell.
It's a wee bit different when you're the one starving. That horse was good eating. Rolf's beady eyes watch Justin progress foward, mouth curled in a snivelling twitch. "I dunno." He even can't keep his gaze straight as he tells the lie.
"You don't know. That's a shame, for you." It's true he hasn't been starving, yet. Nevermind his efforts to try and keep people from starving. Justin sighs, stopping and turning to look at Rolf, "I have a man who desires very much to torture you. He has put the request in for me to pass it onto my Lord Father. Your only hope that my Lord Father might deny the Lord Regent of Stonebridge this request, is if you are able to tell us so much that we couldn't possibly have further need to question you. Wouldn't that be nice?" Which part would be nice, Justin leaves to Rolf to decide. His own face is devoid of emotion even if he's not unsympathetic to suffering.
Peasants don't see that effort, they feel the burn of hunger in their bellies and listen to their child cry from pains and from sickness and they stand in the fields where their crops grew…just wishing. Rolf's deepset eyes grow wider at Justin's 'choice' and he swallows thickly again, adam's apple bobby as he pushes his back up against the far bars of the cell. "The Lord —" Gulp. His jaw trembles and he hazards, "I might…I mean. I mighta heard him say something a time or two." Maybe. Yes. Surely he knows something. "He's gots kids. Ain't all his but he's gots them."
"Might have? You best be specific, Rolf. I have no desire to harm his family and especially not his children. Things are very difficult and we are trying to fix them. We can not hand out seed to plant that we do not have, when funds are tied up in rebuilding your homes, the town, ships for trade and fishing. It takes time." Justin might as well be talking to himself. He frowns, "Tell me how to find him, Rolf. I won't ask you again so politely."
He really might, at least judging by the way Rolf stares at him suspiciously and without comprehension. "These kids. They're in the bit o' houses down by —" he continues on, listing the location of where Jensen kept his kids, his voice sinking into half a sob. "They're just little." So little. "You don't need to hurt me though, I am helpful I am. I answered everything, I did my Lord." Jaw quaking, Rolf ducks his head in a series of short nods. He did. He did.
Justin gives a nod and steps back to the low table where his folio is laid open. He makes a few more notations, "And I have not hurt you today, have I? You have been cooporative, Rolf. I will make certain that others know and in the meanwhile, I will see no one tortures you. But there may be more questions, later." He is finished here. Justin blots his notes and then closes up the folio to tuck it once more beneath his arm, "I hope there will be food soon, Rolf. Seed to plant and oxen to be lent out and shared to turn the land. I have no desire to see children starve anymore than you do. Whether you believe me, or not." With that, he nods to the Warden and thanks the jailer quietly before he moves to go.
"No, my Lord. You haven't," Rolf agrees thickly. "You're a right gentlemen, my lord. You'll see. I'll be right cooperative. I will, I'll answer any yous give me." He watches Justin with those sunken, shiny eyes and a countenance as eager as dog begging for scraps. "I will!" He calls out when Justin turns the corner, voice ringing alone the hallway after him.
When he reaches the corner, Justin stops. He remembers some comment someone had made which has nagged at him. He turns and looks back to the imploring man in the cage cell, "Rolf, one more question. Did Rodrygo or anyone else in your group ever mention someone else backing or encouraging your actions? Another House, a noble family with interest to see sucha thing happen upon Terrick lands? Think carefully before you answer, Rolf, and only answer truthfully."
Rolf shakes his head in answer, flinging dirty, shaggy hair into his eyes as he does so and wrapping his hands about the bars. He does take a moment to consider his words before he answers. "No. Never would have, I swear it. Not him."
"I hope for the sake of your soul before the Seven themselves that is the most truthful answer you have ever given in your life. And if it isn't, may the Seven render your soul to eternal suffering for your sins, Rolf." Justin says eveningly and cooly. He lingers to watch Rolf for a long moment just to be certain if the prisoner wishes to change his mind, and then the Terrick departs.
The prisoner does not. "I am not lying! I wouldn't. Not to you, my Lord!" Rolf protests quickly, voice echoing against the stone walls with his mewling cries.