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Character Ponce

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Buried It Deeper - I

((Capital of Verden, Grand Hall of the Verdish Inquisition))

--Two Weeks Ago--

He appeared young, unassuming, but in truth, he was wise far beyond his years. Those with minds tempered enough could see the look in his eyes, provided he wanted them to. It was a look of a man who had witnessed death just as he caused it. But, alas, he now appeared as his earlier, much more ignorant self. Ponce de Gezzadro, former soldier within the Verdish army, albeit with some slight revisions. He had his original beaming green-hazel eyes, kind but knowing, however, his wild hair was uncharacteristically colored brown, a look that befitted him more as a supposed child of Verden. Before him stood the great and monumental building, the Grand Hall of the Verdish Inquisition. At the base stood a great fountain, and in its center was the statue of a man, splitting into a greyed serpent with a greatsword made of stone. A path wrestled its way around the statue to make its way to the main entrance, and he eyed those grand double doors. That was where he wanted to go.

He approached a nearby guard and looked up and down at his ornate suit of armor. He wore a hood and plated pauldrons at the shoulders. The man was well equipped, though not nearly as well equipped as Ponce figured an Inquisitor should be. He was only a door guard, after all, the heavy hitters likely resided inside. He had heard the stories, tales of how the Inquisition had destroyed the powerful and terrible undead wizard, the Dread Lord Galathus Mal Kelmoran, through nothing more than intuition, military might, and sheer willpower, and all this he heard when he was but a lowly soldier. They told stories of how the Inquisitors were fearless, his superiors had, how they dispatched the enemies of Verden with minimal casualties and zero remorse. The Ponce today knew better. They were just normal humans, albeit fanatically devoted to the Crown, all with many toys to use amongst themselves and many lives to give for their cause. The battle of Kelmoran must have been a blood bath.

"Excuse me, sir, is this the Grand Hall?" He asked, his accent all but imperceptible. Over the years, his need for that accent had all but dissipated, and with it, the accent itself. However, he could pull it back out again if need be.

"Ah...yes!" The guard spoke, looking over his armored shoulder, "This would be the Grand Hall of the Verdish Inquisition. Home of the Inquisitors. It isn't open to visitors as of now, though."

Ponce looked wistfully to the building, then back the guard.

"So there's no way in?"

He took a moment to truly process what the young man had said, but once he did, he looked incredulous.

"What do you mean to-"

Seeing where this was going, Ponce raised his hands, eyes wide, "Nononono- you misunderstand sir," Ponce said with a chuckle. The warmness in his voice caused the guard's dire expression to soften a bit.

"I simply want to know more about the Inquisitors! I'm just a soldier, you see, and I've always wondered if there was a way I could do more for the Crown..."

The guard looked knowingly at him, nodding. Ponce glimpsed at the guard, catching the sympathetic look on his face. He was getting close, but he knew he would have to push it further.

"I know that they aren't taking any visitors but...if I could just...see the mural inside, you know, the battle of Kelmoran, the founding of the Inquisition. I think I could find the strength to keep myself going."

The Inquisitor's eyebrows raised, expression once again dire and worried, "How do you mean?"

Ponce sucked air in between his teeth, hesitating at first, before speaking, "Things have been...hard...at home. My mother, she's fallen ill. I've done my best to watch over her and pertain to my duties, but it is hard to serve my King and my family all at once. I just really wanted to see what my ancestors accomplished, maybe their strength might inspire me."

He looked hopefully at the guard, like a child looking to a father, pleading for just a peak. But he had to be sure. His face straightened as he focused, and he looked down as he did, seeming as if he was losing hope. In actuality, he was pushing his psyche forth to enter to man's own. His downcast eyes glazed over, cold and sharp like a scalpel. He slowly edged into the Inquisitor's mind like a knife, penetrating its fortress walls and piercing through to his inner consciousness. He could hear and feel his thoughts, and through them, he probed. They passed him, countless like stars in a grand field of space. The tides changed as uncertainty bled into remorse. It was now that he would plant a seed of emotion. He whispered into the man's mind.

What if time ran out? How would that make you feel? Ponce's lips moved but the words were only heard within the man's mind. Ponce looked up at the man to see if his seed was bearing fruit. The man's eyebrows raised with uncertainty as he wrestled with what he wanted to do and what he knew he should. Ponce frowned, his gaze growing colder and sharper as he fed that little twinge of artificial emotion in the man's head, and it surged and grew until...

"Alright. I think a single peak wouldn't hurt much. We'll just have to be quick, " He spoke with a smile and a wink. Ponce returned the smile appreciatively.

"Follow me." The Inquisitor guard said, and the two sped off. He was quiet, his face stern as he broke the rules of his order solely for the sake of Ponce's inner peace. In truth, it was not something he enjoyed, but like the Inquisitors had their convictions to their Crown, Ponce had his own conviction, and he would allow nothing to get between himself and that.

The foyer was a grand and spacious room, the inside of the building was indeed just as intricately designed as the outside. The walls held various works of art and trophies, all inspired by war. It was then that Ponce truly internalized what these Inquisitors truly were, weapons of war who did their best to normalize and justify their actions. Great and powerful beings destroyed and desecrated, their image reduced to a "work of art". Murder and bloodshed was their art. They must have thought themselves harbingers of justice. To Ponce, they were no more than a glorified hit squad.

Hiding his frown, Ponce walked steadily behind the guard, appearing possibly more contained than the Inquisitor himself did. He averted his eyes, being sure not to meet any gazes. They began up the stairs, and Ponce eyed an ornate single door that sat behind the foyer balcony. There, he thought, and just as he had he heard someone behind him call out, "Brother Frey,"

The man whose name he assumed was Frey turned on the stairs, looking at Ponce and then the Inquisitor behind him.

"Yes," He started, "Brother Cassius?" He finished once he had placed the origin of the voice.

"Who is this young man, we're not taking visitors today." He asked the corners of his mouth raised slightly. It's always worse when they smile while they're being intimidating, Ponce thought.

"Him?" Frey simply asked, looking the young man up and down. The other Inquisitor nodded, before turning his gaze to Ponce. He thought to work that same magic on the young man, in response Ponce's eyes narrowed in annoyance. Going there already, Ponce thought he'd carry it all the way out. Yes, this man was but an insignificant pest to him, and he'd vocalize it.

"I am on important business, " He started, a look of arrogant confidence and poise shielding him as he searched for his next words.

"I need to speak with the Arch-Inquisitor, " A term he was sure he had heard at some point long ago.

Inquisitor looked at him, brows furrowed," Well Arch-Inquisitor Rowan isn't in right now. She's actually out on business. Why would she have called you here if she was going to be busy?"

Ponce frowned, eyes raised, and placed his hands on his hips, "What she is doing at this hour is unimportant. It is imperative that I speak to her now. If she will not be seeing me now, I will simply wait for her."

With all the air of an aristocrat, Ponce turned in a huff and once again proceeded up the stairs, Inquisitor Frey making to follow his lead.

"Wait."

Ponce frowned, and turned around again, brows vexedly low, "What is it now?"

"Who are you supposed to be? To be storming into our hall you must be quite important."

Ponce drew his head back as if deeply offended.

"I've come on behalf of the Crown, the fact that you do not recognize me is deeply disturbing."

"I've never seen you before in my life."

Ponce let out a small grumble, this man was beginning to be a pest. He strode down the stairs and towards Cassius, his sharp gaze piercing deeper with every step. His mind dug into the Inquisitor, and once he felt he was deep enough, he simply spoke three words.

"You are wrong."

The man's eyebrows raised, Ponce's mental abilities taken immediate effect. He could read fools like him like a book, and he had just splashed ink its pages.

"But...I thought- I could have sworn-"

Ponce, turned, his face still very much cold and serious, "While you get yourself together, Inquisitor Cassius, I'll be awaiting Arch-Inquisitor Rowan's return."

With that, he turned away one final time, and the two made their way up the stairs and through the ornate door. Ponce could feel Frey's gaze upon him and glanced over.

"I've never seen anyone talk to Brother Cassius like that. How did you do that?"

Ponce shrugged, eyes wide and distant as if he himself did not know the answer.

"A skill I have I suppose. Is the mural...this way?" Ponce asked, pointing around a corner and speeding up.

"Hey, wait," The Inquisitor called as the young man disappeared around the corner. Ponce could feel his uncertainty as he wondered why he had even let him in, but it was far too late now. The corner buying him more than enough space to prepare, Ponce drew his hand back. Just as the Inquisitor came around the corner, Ponce struck, his hand gripping Frey's hooded head. There was a slight flash and the air distorted around the two as Ponce forced his power into the man, overloading his consciousness with thoughts that were not his own. When it became too much to bear, the Inquisitor's mind would shut down, forcing him into a state of unconsciousness as he struggled to process every thought. He went limp and gave way to gravity without a fight, and Ponce allowed the man to fall into his arms, before gently placing him down. He then reached into one of his pockets and pulled out a small red ball the size of a gumdrop. He looked at the ball, focusing and thinking, and with a blink, he now held in his hand a fresh bottle of ale. He uncorked it, and turned the man's head before pouring the liquid onto his mouth, and dripping some onto his clothes. Finally, he laid the bottle down on the ground and let its contents spill out onto the floor. Standing, Ponce looked over the scene, and it was to his satisfaction.

"Thank you, Frey." He simply said, before turning on his heels and approaching the door they had walked through.

"And now starts the clock."

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