Kariam Zol watched unmoved as a man was tortured a few metres away.
The dungeon under the castle in which they were located was ancient tens of thousands of years ago, and it was a testament to Amarr skill that it still stood.
Kariam was a paladin on special detachment from House Sarum. An order from the empress herself created a small "wetworks" organization called Faith. Made up of a small handful of the best Paladins from all noble houses, they operated under a mandate of seeking out and destroying those individuals who posed unique threats to Amarr. The answered only to the empress herself, and officially did not exist.
Kariam had been hunting this man, who by many accounts did not exist himself, for months. Now this shadow of the same man was strapped to a chair, naked and bleeding from a growing number of wounds. Here was a man well-versed in the arts of subterfuge and intrigue, yet in the end Kariam's devotion and faith had seem him the victor.
Torture as a means of interrogation was something Kariam found fascinating on a purely intellectual level. The balances of pain, hope and coercion was a delicate ballet between the torturer and subject. Too little and to don't get anything, while too much and the information you get will be tainted. Kariam watched as the man was constantly pressured and questioned for several days. Kariam did not sleep during this, and he took intricate mental notes for future reference.
The man was nearly dead, and even though he was trained to resist torture by the Elders, Kariam's aid was just too skilled. Much that the man revealed was already known to Kariam. The Minmatar went by the name "Eyes", and it was doubtful that he had any real identity. He was a capsuleer, but his implants had been disabled before the torture began so that death would be permanent. Eyes worked for the Minmatar Elders (seven horrible apparitions akin to demons in the eyes of the Amarr), but knew little about their actual operations. Kariam wasn't after anything specific, but this man had to know something of use. Unfortunately he would be dead in a few minutes.
Kariam ordered his agent to leave. Coercion would have little effect now. First removing his white gloves and tucking them neatly into his belt, Kariam unshackled his prey and stood him up on a pool of dried blood. Eyes could barely stay level, and death's grasp was slowly closing around his heart. Kariam placed his hands on Eyes' head and squeezed. Eyes began to scream and howl with pain that didn't seem entirely physical. Kariam's gaze drilled into Eyes, seeking his prey's last, dark secret.
After what seemed like eternity, Kariam suddenly let go, and Eyes fell to the ground, instantly devoid of life. The stoic paladin retrieved his gloves from his belt and left the dungeon, ascending the stone stairwell and exiting the hollow remains of the castle. This isle on Mehkios was virtually untouched by development and belonged to the empress herself as a natural retreat locale. The only artificial structure other than the castle was a landing pad. Kariam's shuttle was being checked by his agent, and Kariam would head to one of the system's station to procure a ship, crew supplies and information to start his next hunt.
Only one word escaped Eyes' mind at the moment of death. This word held connections to concepts such as hope and truth within his mind. It was this word that drove paladin Kariam Zol to the stars, and it escaped his lips as his shuttle took off.
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