Monday, June 16, 2014

Stepping up to the Plate

"Well, what can you tell me about the leader of this group?" I asked Belvidon.  "Is there any clue about who he is, or what department he's from?  Anything?"

Belvidon tried to shake his head, but it only toppled over sideways.  "Nothing," he said. 

"What about Fikhos?" I continued.  "What exactly did he tell you when he recruited you?"

"I really can't say, sir," he replied firmly.  "The Leader will kill me."

Niven had given an identical excuse.  I did not like that excuse.  "And you're not afraid of me?" I challenged my new captive.  "What about what I'll do to you if you don't answer the fucking question?"

Belvidon eyed me appraisingly.  "I'm definitely afraid of you, sir.  But not like him.  He is capable of far worse."

Niven had been a little more dramatic about it, but he'd made basically the same argument.  Apparently a seventeen-year-old kid didn't naturally command the kind of fear and respect that was required to keep the denizens of Hell securely under his thumb.  It wasn't a shock to me, but it was becoming increasingly frustrating considering how well I felt I was growing into the role of Lord of the Damned. 

"He is capable of far worse," Torvin said suddenly, agreeing with my uncooperative witness.

I narrowed my eyes at him.  "Thanks for the help," I hissed.

"He's capable of a whole lot," Torvin continued, speaking directly to Belvidon.  "But he's not capable of forgiveness or any real level of trust.  What do you think is going to happen when he finds out you were captured by the Devil?"

Still lying on its side, Belvidon's head murmured, "Nothing good."

"He already threatened to kill any one of you who gets caught or discovered," Torvin pointed out.  "And he'll probably assume you told us something just to be on the safe side.  Face it—you're in over your head.  Your only hope here is to cooperate with us because we're not vindictive psychopaths and we might actually let you out of this alive."

"That's actually a pretty good point," Belvidon admitted sullenly.

I turned back to gaze at Torvin with a new respect.  "Where the hell did that come from?"

Behind us, Sylnie stirred and moaned.  "What happened?" she asked groggily.