Monday, November 19, 2012

The Message

Character: Dorei "Twyce" Losom
Game: The Secret World

"So, now it's come to this."

Twyce opened her eyes at hearing the voice. Lorton stood in front of her, his head tilted to one side. He looked taller than usual and Twyce soon realized why. She was no longer tied to the chair, but on the floor, though her wrists and ankles were still bound. Quickly, she pushed herself back against the wall, as far away from Lorton as possible.  If there was one thing she had learned between in her times of consciousness- it was that this man was someone she wanted to stay far away from, especially when that woman, Sibley wasn't present.

He laughed at her actions, a smirk crossing his features. "I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted. Do I really scare you that much?"

She didn't respond. She wouldn't incite him if she could help it. Hopefully her silence would persuade him to leave faster.

"You know, Dorei." He said, crouching down so they were nearly eye level. "You really should answer when I speak to you. After all, you're stuck here now. It would do well to get on my good side."

His words, "stuck here now" caught her attention, but she forced her expression to remain neutral. What the hell did he mean by that? Had Tenji refused to cooperate, told them to keep her? The very thought caused beads of sweat to break out on her forehead. That couldn't be true though. He wouldn't do that to her, she refused to believe it.

Lorton smiled. "Oh, so that caught your attention did it? Well, it's true. There is no 'rescuing' in your future. I will be deciding your fate, on behalf of the Templars."

Twyce's thoughts began to race. Lying or not, this didn't bode well for her. He wasn't pressing for information now, like he had been before, so something had to have changed. But what? Tenji saying screw it? Or had the Templars decided letting her go would be too much of a risk? Regardless of the factors at play, it really did boil down to one inevitable fact. She was at this lunatics mercy. It had always been that way, but something in his voice told Twyce that now it was much more serious.

"So, that being said." He stood back up. "I now have a decision to make. Obviously killing you is one option. I do realize the difficulty of that with your...unique situation, but it's not impossible. What are your thoughts on the matter?"

He waited, but she remained silent. He could kill her for all she cared, it certainly was one of the more attractive options out of the current possibilities.

"Still no reply." Lorton said and shook his head, looking regretful. "Perhaps you can't hear me."

He reached down and grabbed a fistful of hair, yanking her upwards. To alleviate the pain from his grasp, she stood up, but it did little to help. The weeks of little food and water had wrecked havoc on her body, make it difficult to keep upright. Her legs were shaking under the weight of her own body.

"I said, 'what are your thoughts on me killing you?' I expect an answer."

She glared at him, her lips pressed tightly together.

"Stubbornness," Lorton said, in an almost wistful tone. "I'd hope you realized now is not the time for such antics."

His grip tightened, causing her head to tilt backwards. "Perhaps I need to remind you of the situation. You're only hope here is for me to take pity on you. You are not a damsel in distress, no one is coming to save you. There will be no daring escape. You are alone. Now, once again, would you like to die?"

"I'm not going to play your sick game." She finally spat. "Do what you want."

He laughed. "Aren't we big and tough? All of this and you are still showing your claws, I suppose I should be impressed."

Twyce tried to look away from him, but he kept her head still, giving it another forcible yank.

"It's a shame to waste so much spirit..." He looked her over, his free hand running a finger along her cheek. "You just need to be tempered is all."

"Go to hell." She spit in his face.

Lorton wiped at the saliva dripping down his cheek, his expression unreadable. Letting out a small sigh, he shook his head. "Well, that wasn't very smart, was it?"

Before she could react, he grabbed her jaw, his fingers forcing their way into her mouth. Twyce gagged and instinctively tried to close her mouth, but Lorton stopped her with his newly established grasp. The pain was considerable, the tendons in her jaw stretching well past their normal limits under the weight of his hand.

"I could break your jaw you know." He said. "I wonder how quick you'd be with your smart ass responses then. One quick tug, and no more talking."

On the word tug, he gave her chin a violent jerk, causing her to cry out in a mixture of both pain and fear. His other hand was still gripping the back of her head, preventing her from moving. Slowly, but surely, she felt him applying more and more pressure to her jaw. The sides of her mouth began to crack, the action too much for the parched state of her lips. Despite her every effort to stop it, a single tear slid out of the corner of her eye.

Lorton's gaze narrowed, his voice cold. "Getting the message now?"

All she could do was to attempt a nod, which ended up being nothing more than a slight twitch of her head.

"Good. Now, apologize."

Twyce stared at him, unsure of how he expected her to form words. Seeing the hesitation, he gave another jerk to her chin. This time, a distinctive 'pop' could be heard. White hot pain shot through her jaw, like a knife embedding itself into the bone. She let out a choked gasp, her legs buckling.

"I'm waiting."

She wasted no time. Twyce responded with a garbled 'sorry,' the word barely recognizable.

Lorton nodded approvingly. "That wasn't so difficult, was it?"

He finally released her, his hand sliding out of her mouth and letting go of her hair. She crumpled to the floor, one hand cupping her chin tenderly. Pain radiated across her jaw, a persistent throbbing present. She kept her head to the ground and trying to calm her breathing. He hadn't broken her jaw, but she was pretty sure he had dislocated it. She could close her mouth, but her bite felt off

"I think we learned something about each other today." He said. "Along with a valuable lesson for you."

A soft knocking sounded. Twyce heard Lorton walk over to the door and pull it open.

"Sibley, welcome back."

Twyce glanced up. The woman. The one who looked so much like her sister. She took an awkward step into the room, her hands crossed against her chest.

"What happened here?"

"Dorei and I are bonding." He replied. "She's come to realize that manners are of utmost importance."

Something indiscernible flashed across Sibley's face, but Twyce couldn't tell if it was disgust or fear.

"You have a message for her, don't you?" Lorton asked. He looked over at Twyce. "Sibley just came back from meeting with your friend, Tenji."

It was hard not to show the surprise on her face. Still holding onto her chin, Twyce finally sat up. A message from Tenji and they were telling her about it? It could only be bad news then.

Sibley looked at him in surprise. "Lorton, I don't think it's necess--"

"Just tell her what he said."

She sighed, shaking her head. "He asked if you knew where his green jacket is?"

Twyce scoffed. She couldn't help it. His stupid jacket? Out of all the messages he could have sent, he asked that? Was it some sort of code she was missing? At this point, she didn't care. What did it matter, Lorton had it very clear she wasn't going anywhere. The reminder of the conversation caused her to wince. Lorton's gaze never left Twyce, and had she been paying more attention she might have noticed the light that changed in his eye.

"No response?" He continued to stare at her.

"No." She mumbled, trying to keep her jaw movement minimal.

"Speak clearer, we can't hear you."

There was just a hint of edge to his voice, but Twyce recognized it immediately.

"I said no, I don't have a response." Each word caused a fresh wave of pain to wash over her.

"Excellent. Sibley, when you see the Dragon again, you have your message." Lorton nodded. Clapping his hands together he smiled broadly. "I think today has been very productive."

Sibley remained silent, her lips pressed together in a thin line. Giving Twyce one final look, she left the room.

Lorton continued to smile. "We had a rough start today Dorei, but I think you picked it all up rather quickly. We will continue tomorrow."

He was waiting. Twyce nodded numbly, unsure of what else to do, just wanting to get rid of him. For once, luck was on her side. Lorton turned and left, leaving her alone once again.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Character: Taeniel Lenneth
Game: Guild Wars 2

Taeniel was leaving the same way she had arrived -- in the middle of the night.

In the darkness of her room, she stuffed what few items she had brought into her satchel. A few shirts, some pants and socks, undergarments. Nothing fancy or frivolous. Her cloak was hanging on the back of the door, where it had been left to dry, her boots underneath it. On the bed lay two weapons, a worn sword and bow. The sword hadn't been worn by her hand, but purchased like that. It's used condition helping lower the price. The same went for the bow. Taeniel held the hope that when they day came for her to wield those weapons, her attacker would take notice of their battle-worn appearance and attribute it to her. Not true of course, she'd barely knew how to use them. She'd been lucky so far, avoiding any outright attacks on the roads when she traveled.

Packing took her only a few minutes. There was only one final thing to get before she left. The item that had started this whole nightmare. Dropping to her knees, Taeniel reached under the bed, her hands reappearing with a small wooden jewelry box. A gift from her mother on her 20th birthday. How long ago that seemed now. Despite her earlier urgency, Taeniel found herself sitting on the bed. She lifted up her left arm and shook it, which caused a delicate silver bracelet to slide down her wrist. Attached to the bracelet was key, something most people would mistake for a charm. Taeniel unclasped the chain and placed the key into the jewelry box's lock. The lid popped open with ease, a gentle melody filling the silence. It's contents stared up at her. A neat stack of white papers, nearly eligible handwriting scrawled across them. Her father's writing. He never was one for neatness, always in a rush to get his ideas out.

Taeniel sighed, one finger running across the edge of the papers. Of course she had read them. Or rather, tried to read them. The terminology her father used was foreign to her. From what she gathered it was a recipe of some sorts, or maybe directions. But it made no absolutely no sense, and he was no longer around to explain it. All Taeniel was sure of, was that he had wanted her to protect those papers with her life. After all, they had cost him his and her mothers.

She tried not to think about that night. The flames that licked the ceiling, her father covered in blood, him pushing the papers at her. Eight long months since that had happened, and everything Taeniel had known had changed forever. She'd been on the move ever since. His dying words had been brief, but her father had made it abundantly clear that she had to keep moving, that those papers couldn't end up in his killers hands. Whoever they were, she was still uncertain. Truth be told, she tried not to think about it much anymore. All it did was cause more confusion and heart ache. Her father had been a damn doctor after all, what could he have possibly done or known to warrant all this chaos and violence? To cause her to have to be on the move constantly.

Sighing again, Taeniel closed the lid of the jewelry box and removed her bracelet, placing it back on her wrist. She stood up and shoved the box into the satchel, pushing it deep down amongst the clothes. She had arrived at this inn five weeks ago and stayed much longer than she had intended. A human living in a Norn village was sure to draw attention that she didn't need.

She placed some money on the dresser counter. It was more than enough to cover her bill and pulled on her cloak and boats. Grabbing her weapons and satchel,  Taeniel paused in the doorway giving the room one last glance. She wasn't looking forward to getting back on the road, especially out here. Her cloak wasn't very efficient at protecting her from the snow. But there was no other choice. After all, staying in one place no doubt meant certain death.

Quietly, she opened the door and slipped out into the frigid night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Forward Motion

Character: Miri "Sibley" Kalsade | Dorei "Twyce" Losom
Game: The Secret World
Miri returned from her meeting with Tenji more confused then ever. She should have been happy. After all, he'd accepted their terms and agreed to play along. But it was just that fact. Miri knew he was just playing along.  He would be looking for an opportunity, an opening to strike, and then they wouldn't know what hit them. Just like so many years ago. Not to mention his not so subtle warning to her about what side of the line she fell on. From this point forward, every single one of their actions had to be weighed and calculated, less they end up dead.

If Lorton realized this, he didn't show it. Miri found him in the living room when she returned home, a newspaper spread out in front of him, a tumbler of whiskey to the side.

"So, it sounds like we got what we wanted. Mizushi agreed." He briefly looked up from his paper. "It seems you were right about he and Twyce being more than acquaintances. What did you say they were, apprentice and guardian?"

Miri nodded as she shrugged off her jacket. She hoped Lorton had forgotten the fact that they had 'lost connection' for a brief amount of time. It had been stupid to remove her transmitter, even if it was only for a minute. Lorton noticed most everything, and he saw her as potential weak point... There was no point in worrying about it yet, she already had an excuse ready about interfering signals.

Smoothing her hair, she turned and faced him. "Speaking of which, what do you want to do with her? Start drugging her again til this over?"

It sounded harsh, but in reality being knocked out was Twyce's only reprieve while they worked on eliminating Tenji. Miri didn't know how long that would last, the higherups had so many conflicting plans that she focused on her part only, but she hoped it wouldn't be long.

"No." Lorton said, and lifted the glass to his lips.

"'No?'" Miri repeated. "Why not? We have Tenji where we want him. Information would be nice, but if she hasn't given up by the this point, then I don't think she will. We just need to hold her until we're done with him."

He chuckled. "Sibley, I forget how new you are to all this. That girl isn't going anywhere. It wouldn't matter if she took us right to him."

"But I thought--

"She's a murderer. Have you forgot that?" He looked at Miri sharply. "It's our jobs as Templars to ensure her sickness is purged. I don't care if Mizushi directed her to do it, she's not a child."

Miri remained silent, stunned at his words. In a sense, she knew he was right, but to hear it said out loud...

Lorton finished his drink and stood up from the couch.Smiling, he walked over to Miri and patted her arm. "Don't worry Sibley. I know you are soft on the girl, I'll handle things from this point forward."

She stared at him, her brow knitted in confusion. Lorton taking control? This would not end well and she didn't know how to fix it. The higher-ups wouldn't care, they had made it clear that Twyce was expendable. She was on her own and completely clueless.

"I'm sure you understand," he continued. "That because of this, I revoked your access to the room. Can't have you changing your mind in a moment of weakness, can I? From this point forward, you will only be allowed in there when I say so."

Miri took a step forward, finally finding her voice. "Lorton, this is ridiculous. What are you talking about?"

He poured himself another drink and finished it in one sip. "This isn't personal. You will still play your part, don't worry."

She shook her head in protest, her thoughts going a mile a minute.

"Now, one final thing." He put down the glass, eyes meeting hers. "If you ever disconnect me again from your conversations, I will kill you and the girl both. Is that understood?"

"I-It..." She was fumbling for words, only incriminating herself further.  "It was interference."

He waved away her excuse. "We have work to do. You contact the others and let them know Mizushi said yes."

And then she was alone, standing gape jawed in the middle of the living room.


Time had ceased to exist for Twyce. Between the tranquilizers she had been constantly injected with and not being able to see outside, she no longer knew what day it was, or even if were light or dark out. Even when not drugged though, she still tried to force herself to sleep. But without the drugs it seemed useless, whenever her eyes closed all she could see was that day. When all of this had started. Repeating over and over. The mistakes she made. How she had let her guard down. How she had carelessly discarded one of the key points of Tenji's teachings. Always have a weapon nearby.

The more she thought about it, the more signs she saw that could have helped her prevent the abduction. She'd felt strange the weeks before, like she was being followed. Of course she found no proof of this, but the gut feeling alone should have tipped her off she realized. Then there was the actual day it happened. A spectacular failure on her part.

She'd been on her way to the Horned God, one of Tenji's haunts. It'd been awhile since they last talked and she wanted to catch up. She didn't bother letting him know she was on her way, figuring if he was busy than she didn't want to disturb him. Her first mistake. Determined not to get caught in the crowds on the sidewalks, Twyce began cutting through various alleyways. It was unusually chilly that night, so she had a  sweatshirt on. It's hood was pulled over her head, not only blocking her peripheral vision, but also helping her headphones block out the sounds of the street.

Mistakes two and three.

It was only as she entered into the last alleyway that she noticed something was off. That feeling of being watched that she'd been experiencing was back, stronger than before. Her walking slowed, and she looked around. To her surprise, there was actually a woman standing a few feet behind her. Blue eyes and blond hair.

Twyce squinted. Her hand reached up and slowly tugged off her headphones.

The woman took a tentative step towards her. "Dorei?"

For a second, Twyce's vision blurred and she frowned. Dahlia?

No. The woman was moving closer, her face inquisitive. "Dorei Losom?" 

She caught sight of something in the woman's hand. Something that looked like a needle. Her off feeling was replaced by alarm. It was time to move. The faster the better.  She didn't bother to say anything. Just spun on her heel and turned to ran--

--Straight into a man. She moved to the side, but he grabbed her arms, easily overpowering her. Twyce attempted to struggle, but it was short lived. Within seconds of him grabbing her, she felt a sharp prick on the side of her neck. Her call for help died in her throat as the drug began to work it's way through her system. She felt her legs go weak beneath her, then nothing.

Now, here she was stuck in the room and clueless as to what was going to happen. It was obvious this all went back to Tenji. These people thought they could get information on him from her. They were right of course, but Twyce was determined not to let them know it. She figured the best way to convince them otherwise was to pretend like she barely had anything to do with the man, aside from maid like duties. She didn't know if it would actually work. She was well aware that they knew a decent amount about her at least. After all, the man, Lorton had been quick to bring up her 'hits.'

Her head fell forward, and she shut her eyes. It didn't matter, she'd stick her story of ignorance. No matter what the cost.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A New Plan part 2

Character: Miri "Sibley" Kalsade
Game: The Secret World

The clock read 3:15AM.

Miri stared at the bright neon numbers, wishing for sleep but knowing it wasn't going to come. How could it with her thoughts going a mile a minute? Her mind kept repeating the scene from earlier. Lorton slapping Twyce, his thinly veiled threat. All of it had been disturbing, much more so than she'd originally anticipated. She'd been aware of his ruthless reputation when they started working together, but seeing it in action... She didn't know if she could handle it.

Sitting up, Miri glanced over her shoulder at his sleeping form. His bare chest rising and falling in rhythmic motion. When they'd left the room, he had acted as if nothing had happened. Everything was fine as far as he was concerned. Holding in a sigh, Miri reached down to the ground and grabbed her shirt and sweats. She stood up and tugged them on, careful not to make any noise that might wake him. Not that that was a big worry, she'd learned early on in their relationship that it took nothing short of an explosion to wake him from his Ambien induced sleep. She headed for the door, shutting it softly behind her. A long relieved exhale finally left her. It was as if she had reached safety.

Miri made her way into the kitchen. She pulled out a tray and placed a few items on it. Bottle of water, protein bar and a hand towel. As she moved, her mind kept reminding her what a bad idea this was. Lorton had made it abundantly clear that no one, not even her, was supposed to have contact with the girl without him around.  She didn't care. She had to make amends somehow for the earlier scene. Collecting her tray, Miri went to the room and unlocked the door.

Of course, Twyce hadn't moved from where they'd left her. She was still bound to the chair, her head hanging, hair covering her face. She must've been sleeping, because at the sound of the door, she nearly knocked herself over in surprise.

Miri placed the tray down, holding her hand out. "Shh. Please, I don't want to wake Lorton up."

Twyce squinted in the direction of the door. Her voice hoarse, thick with confusion. "Dahlia? Why are you here?" 

Miri frowned. Dahlia? Wasn't that Twyce's older sister? But from what Miri remembered reading, she was dead. The frown took on a hint of concern, but she said nothing.

Twyce was staring at her, confusion obvious on her features. Dried blood was crusted around her mouth, the side of her face swollen and purple. Miri reached down and opened the bottle of water, and poured some on the towel.

Cautiously, she walked over to Twyce, holding the towel out. "Stay quiet, alright?"

She didn't move, and Miri took that as an 'ok.' Leaning over, she began to wipe at the blood. After a few moments of silence, Twyce pulled her face away.

"Why are you doing this? Is this some good cop bad cop routine you guys got going?" Her voice sounded clearer than before, more coherent.

Miri's hand froze. Good cop, bad cop? Did this girl really think she was agreeable to all that was happening? Yes, Miri had started it all, but...

It was a disheartening thought. Her eyes fell. "I never meant for...All of this."

Twyce snorted. "Yeah, I'm sure. Just wanted to have a friendly chat. One that started with you sticking that needle into my neck, right?"

"I didn't have a choice." She replied quietly and began wiping at the blood again. "You don't understand anything that is going on."

"Then why am I here!?" Came the outburst. Twyce yanked her chin away. "This is fucking insanity."

Miri looked at her sharply, then glanced back at the door.

"I told you to keep your voice down." She hissed, before continuing. "This is a means to an end. One I hope you...We, both walk away from."

Twyce stared at her incredulously. "This is about Tenji isn't it? I know it is. I can't tell you anything, he doesn't confide in me. He barely speaks to me unless he wants new socks. Get it? I'm useless."

It wasn't true. Both women knew that. Miri had done enough tracking to know otherwise, and even if she hadn't, the truth was evident on Twyce's face. As big as the girl's bravado was,  fear was visible in her eyes.

"As much as I wish that were so," Miri reached behind her, her hand reappearing with the protein bar. "We both know it's not. Why not save yourself the trouble and just tell us."

"Tell you what exactly?" Twyce said. "You all keep saying that. But even if I wanted too, I don't know what what is."

"Everything Twyce." Miri answered. "You live with the man. He trains you, teaches you. You aren't oblivious to what goes on and don't think for a second we believe he doesn't speak to you. We aren't stupid."

She didn't respond, her eyes falling downcast. Miri held out the unwrapped protein bar. She didn't think she would eat, but to her surprise, Twyce took a bite of it. The women lapsed into another silence, the only sound Twyce's chewing.

"He's using you, you know." It was Miri who broke the silence this time. "It what he does. Tenji's a manipulator. He doesn't care about anyone but himself."

She was surprised at the venom saturating her words, their sharp edge. It was impossible to miss the personal note they held. One Twyce didn't miss.

She swallowed, her brow raising. "Know him well?"

"Better than I care to admit." She replied bitterly.

The protein bar was gone. Miri brought the water bottle up, letting Twyce take a long drink. It was getting late, she'd have to get back to bed soon, incase Lorton woke. Getting to her feet, she reached into her pocket. Her hand reappeared with Twyce's glasses, which she placed on the girl's face.


Twyce let out a snort, shaking her head. "I don't get you. I don't get any of this. It's crazy."

"That's fine," Miri said. "But a word of advice: you'd do well not to upset Lorton anymore. This is his show now, and I can't control him."

"Please." She answered. "What's the worse he can do, kill me? Oh no."

It was Miri's turn to scoff. She stared at Twyce. "I truly hope this is an all act. Just because you can't die, doesn't mean he can't make you wish you could."

Not waiting for a reply, she left the room. Not bothering to drop the tray off in the kitchen, Miri sat down at the desk. Her eyes stared blankly at the folder she had been holding earlier. This is a mess. She thought. A total mess. Why did I do this? The question was pointless. She knew the answer. She could only hope that the ends would justify the means.

Miri sighed, letting her head fall into her hands.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A New Plan

Character: Miri "Sibley" Kalsade
Game: The Secret World

Miri was shaking.

She tried to hide the fact as she walked, forcing her movements to be slow and languid. But there was no mistaking the cold sweat that had broken out over her body. This had been her first meeting with Tenji "Hedoro" Mizushi in how many years and nothing had gone as planned. She had thought -no, hoped- that whatever had been between them had been long buried with time. But seeing him... Hearing him speak. The old memories had come rushing back. Disappointing, really. She'd taken meticulous steps to ensure she wasn't the same naive fool he had once known. So, why did it now that all felt like it was for nothing?

"Sibley. You did well."

Miri paused at hearing the man's voice in her ear. Lorton Karis, her so-called 'boss.' Reaching up, she pressed two fingers against the transmitter.

"I'm glad you think so." She kept her voice low. "However, we didn't get much of a reaction. I'm telling you, he is not the type to care about this sort of thing."

"Maybe. It doesn't really matter. Either way, we will still get what we want."  Lorton replied. "Head here now, alright? Bring the file with you."

She didn't respond. Her hand fell away from her ear and she continued walking. She debated hailing a cab, but she was in no rush to get back to Lorton and his new 'project.' Miri still regretted suggesting it, but there was nothing she could do now. Once he got started, there was no stopping him. She'd have to see this through to the end.

They were staying in an apartment on the east side of the city. A well to-do neighborhood where the people were too obsessed with their own lives to care about anyone else. Upon entry into the apartment, guests were greeted by a lavish setup. Expensive furniture, high art, the whole works. No one would ever guess that they were keeping an 18 year old girl in the backroom, drugged and chained.

It took Miri twenty minutes to make it there. She dropped her keys on the small table near the door and looked around the room. Classical music was playing on the stereo, the light sounds of a piano washing over the room. An empty carafe sat on the counter next to a glass. Faintly, Lorton's voice could be heard in the distance. Miri sighed, steeling herself. Her gaze fell longingly on the carafe. How she wished it wasn't empty.

She went over to a nearby desk and reached into the top drawer. Her hand emerged with a thick manila folder. Lorton's voice continued and she followed it down the hall and to the locked door at the very end. She knocked once and waited. There was a slight click. Miri opened it and slid in.

Compared to the other rooms of the apartment, this room was barren. A cot rested in the corner, next to a cheap nightstand. There was only one light, the windows blocked. A bathroom was connected to it though. The only luxury, if one could even call it that. Lorton and the girl, Twyce, were in the middle of the room. He standing in front of her. She was sitting on folding chair, her wrists and ankles tied.

Miri took in the girl quickly. She looked like the hell. The past month of being constantly injected with tranquilizers and lack of proper food taking effect. Dark circles smudged under her eyes, hollowed cheeks, her hair was matted and stringy. It made Miri cringe.

"Ah, Sibley. Welcome." Lorton nodded at her, looking impeccable as always. He was dressed in a thick dark turtleneck and black slacks. His sandy colored hair swept back. He was tall and imposing, even over most men.

Miri didn't respond and instead shifted uncomfortably. She didn't want to be in here. He knew she hated being in here. He didn't care though, said it helped instill fear.

Twyce was unmoving, her head lowered, staring at the ground. Finished with his brief greeting, Lorton continued on with his interrogation.

"Listen," He knelt down, trying to meet her gaze. "Why don't you make this easy on yourself? Just tell us what you know, and you go free. It's simple."

No answer.  Lorton began pacing. "I don't understand why you are being so stubborn. Why protect him? Why protect any of it? Do you think you are being noble by doing so?"

Still no response. He sighed in disgust and reached his hand out towards Miri. She handed him the folder. Flipping it open he stared at the first sheet and made a clucking noise with his tongue.

"Such a disturbed girl. Put in an institute at 10, tried to commit suicide at 13, stole money from your parents at 16, been on the run ever since. Should have kept moving Twyce, I'm sure even you realize getting comfortable was a mistake. Might have saved yourself all this." He stared at her. "But it's too late, you fell in with the wrong crowd."

He shut the folder and handed it back to Miri. "We know about the murders. The woman in the grocery store, the man at the bar. We know about them all. You think, just because you are initiated, you're safe?"

He paused again, waiting for a response. Miri silently urged her to make some sort of acknowledgement. Lorton had a notoriously short fuse, and it was only a matter of time before it ran out. But Twyce barely moved, the only indication she was even awake was the slow blinking of her eyes.

"We can make all those marks go away though. We can give you a nice normal life." Once again, he dropped to his knees. "Just tell us what we want to know and all this stops. You don't want us to hurt you, do you?"

To Miri's horrified surprise, Twyce laughed. She lifted up her head, meeting Lorton's eyes. "You think I'm scared of you... Of this? Please. Sure the bed is uncomfortable, but I get to sleep all day. No jobs, no chores. Compared to living with Tenji, this is a vacation. Save your weak threats for someone who cares."

Lorton's jaw clenched, but he smiled, giving a slight nod.

Then he slapped her. The back of his hand connecting hard and fast with her cheek. Her head snapped to the side, glasses skittering across the floor, landing at Miri's feet. Miri averted her gaze, cringing. Stupid girl. Keep your mouth shut.

Breathing heavily, Lorton grabbed Twyce's chin and yanked it to face him again. Her lip had been split open, blood dribbling down onto her skin and his fingers, but he didn't move.

"A vacation, huh? Well, I guess we will have to change that now, won't we?" He ran his thumb over the blood, smearing it across her chin and lips. "Find out what makes you tick."

Her eyes narrowed. "Fuck you."

It was his turn to laugh. He did so while standing up, his hand still on her face.

"Maybe." His finger traced the bruise that was forming on her cheek. "We will see."

Releasing her, Lorton turned to Miri, nodding. "Let's go."

She turned to move, but paused and bent over scooping up Twyce's glasses. Pulling open the door, she waited for Lorton to follow. His threat had made her stomach turn. She knew he was ruthless, but...

"Oh and Twyce?" His voice interrupted her thoughts. She looked back to see him paused in the doorway.

Twyce didn't look over, she back to staring down into her lap.

"Don't think you are the victim here." He said, his tone cold. "You're a murderer, plain and simple. You aren't good, you don't deserve mercy. You're worse than the monsters we fight against every day. You know why? Because you have free will, and they don't. You choose this path, and now it's time to pay the price. Remember that."

He didn't wait for a reply, pushing past Miri, he let the door shut. A loud click sounding as it locked behind him.