It was quite unfortunate; the prisoner was still asleep, in chains, on the chair, in my room. The general consensus felt like it'd be a mental search for the information, nothing to really keep me awake at this late hour. I was very tired and attempted to sleep in my leaf-hammock, which I hung between the two bedposts, while Dratharz conducted his silent investigation.
It was quiet for a long time, the only sounds being a sniffle, yawn or a few whispers of questions and I eventually fell asleep. My mind drifting off toward a dre— SLAP! the whipping sound of a cheek rippled across my room and I leapt out of my hammock. My eyes wide and bloodshot. I dove under the human bed and hid from sight, attempting to see what was happening.
It looked like the mental probing was over and the physical questioning was about to begin. Our prisoner was stirring from his induced slumber. I snuck out of the room with a small whisper to the Professor, "Don't hurt him." I didn't want to have some horrid experience be on my conscience concerning torture. I understood we needed answers to questions, that Professor Fraus needed answers, but torture was not worth that. Not to me anyway, I questioned the others' moral sympathies. I didn't remember what they were previous and why I would join what might possibly become miscreants or degrading individuals. However, the thought was inconsistent with the treatment I had received even when my actions themselves were erroneous. I shook it off and found the pillow downstairs that I had originally been provided. My mind having a difficult time slowing down. But, eventually, the night wore on and sleep did come.
That morning, I woke to everyone having baggy-eyed zombie walks, except interestingly enough the Professor. I was well-rested though, and had already had my morning duel. I checked in on our prisoner, just to… find out what happened. He didn't look injured or beaten thankfully. I was glad. It scared me, those thoughts, those dreams. The only way to stave off the darkness…
"Alright, now we're going to put him back," said P. Fraus. He stood in the doorway as I was looking over the prisoner. He had some cheese and a bit of bread that he began wrapping in some cloth.
"Thank you," I said.
"It wasn't my intention of harming him, not unless he posed a greater danger to us anyways. But, we did find out that he is part of the group that was looking for me. He said, 'We wanted to kidnap him to have a nice chat.'" He paused momentarily as he thought about the words, "I doubt the chat would've been of any nicety if they could capture me."
"What else did you find out?"
Dratharz came into the room, his voice filling my mind, "A few other things, but most importantly, the fact that they found the Professor's home. They know we're here. I cleared his mind of the details of the capture and subsequent questioning, but we're going to send him off with the last words we gave him."
The Professor nodded, "He'd better stop looking for the Professor."
Dratharz gave me a few other tidbits that were discovered. The man had said he worked inside the citadel, which didn't bear good tidings. If a secret organization was operating here in Heartfell trying to find the Professor, it wasn't safe. I decided I should try to verify some parts of his story.
"I can trace him, see if he really does operate inside the citadel."
Airelinna turned the prisoner visible, turned him over and set him down onto the cobblestones where the Professor had stabbed him. The bag of food was placed on his chest as I started back earlier than the rest.
I could feel him move. My mind reminiscing to the feeling I had during training where my spell pointed a cold needle in my head. It swung around and around with my head. Always giving the direction of my target. I decided to meditate and sense where he was. Fighting the impulse to do something actionable as I needed to focus on the spell.
Our "friend" was probably indeed correct about him being a part of the citadel. He spent his time mostly in one location, moving away for a short time and then returning. I couldn't perceive what he was doing, but if he made any report about his experience, he wasn't dead. It could be a while before that happened. I reported my findings to the Professor close to midnight. He was studiously examining some papers and a brew he had going through his alchemical equipment.
I hid from the Professor again, our daily game becoming a vicious competition at this point. I hid amongst the various clockwork toys and trinkets. I was quite sure that I had succeeded in passing his gaze, when at the last moment, his eye flashed and he stared directly at me.
I couldn't believe it.
We made our departure from Heartfell, most business and research having been completed. Airelinna told me we were heading towards Riverfell again, but eventually our course was corrected and we made our way Northward, towards the Professor's keep.
I thought we were going to take down a ferocious hydra in the desert, but perhaps throwing any followers off our trail would be just as well. . .