The words had barely left Arlynn's mouth before she realized that they were the wrong words. The world still did not make any sense. She felt queasy, the room was spinning around her, and her answer had come from a place that was not connected to her training. Sluggishly, she cursed her addled mind, though even that lacked any strength. Great Lord, but the man was strong. Still...
It took an effort that would have moved mountains, but Arlynn pulled her mind into the present an gave Deathwatch a dazed smile. "You won't escape, big man," she stuttered, the effort of making words adding to her dizziness. "We will... always be there. Waiting." There was a lead weight settling into her body, a slight coldness creeping through her veins. It was working. "You can't stop... the ine... vitable."
There was a moment, an odd moment where the big man's face went empty, as if he was considering something. It passed quickly, and it was replaced with a coldness that seemed to creep from his grasp around her wrist and throat and into her body. Slowly, he lowered her from the ceiling, but still held her above the floor. He held her gaze for a moment, the coldness radiating from him like a bizarre oven. Then the look changed to something worse. Deathwatch smiled, and the grip on her throat released completely. Arlynn dropped from where she was held against the wall, only to bounce against the iron grip held against her wrist.
Her broken wrist.
Agony coursed its way up her arm and exploded in her head like an Illuminator's display. Deathwatch didn't even react. "You are a Darkfriend," he said in a voice empty of anything human. "You probably have allies watching for your return. By now, they know that you failed. However..." During the pause, the coldness in human form lifted on her broken wrist, dragging even more pain out of the limb. "However, you cannot afford to scream, can you?"
Discipline kept Arlynn silent, but a growing terror pressed down the creeping coldness that was the poison coursing through her body. "If you scream," Deathwatch continued, his voice still empty of emotion, "you risk drawing attention to yourself, a woman dressed in grays, blacks, and browns meant to hide you from prying eyes." Her eyes crept up, finding the face of the grave itself staring back at her. "Anybody who found you would know you for what you are, and your friends who are waiting for you cannot call the alarm, either. Finding the body of an assassin would bring... unwelcome questions." As if to prove his point, Deathwatch quickly jerked up on her arm, on the broken wrist. Another wave of pain coursed down her arm, but she kept her jaw clenched around the scream. The barest moan was all that escaped her mouth.
Deathwatch smiled icily. "More, your friends can't say anything to the watch, either. Doing so would bring too much attention to themselves." The big man turned suddenly, causing her body to swing back and forth on the broken bones of her wrist. There was no hiding the intense pain that crossed her face, pain stronger than anything that the poison could overpower. Deathwatch's free hand reached to the window, and with a pull that caused Arlynn to swing even more from her broken wrist, he pulled the wires away from the catches. It took him no effort to push the window open.
Arlynn had enough time to realize what was about to happen before Deathwatch shoved her out the window, leaving her dangling three stories above the street by her broken wrist. "You can't scream," he- no, not he, it- said. "Your allies can't raise an alarm." Slowly, he began to swing her by the hand. In a moment of numb disbelief, Arlynn looked up at her arm, at the point where she was swinging. A point that was well below her wrist. It didn't take long for the grinding, stabbing pain to burst in her skull, dragging a keening wail from her. A wail that she kept clenched tight behind a locked jaw.
The smile that suddenly turned darkly jubilant told Arlynn all that she needed to know.
The rocking only grew it speed and strength, and it was all that Arlynn could do to not scream as bone ground against bone, tore apart muscle and tendon and vein. She was certain that she could feel her arm stretching out, straining without the structure that should have held it together. The numbness from the poison was not even noticeable against the grinding, stabbing pain...
And then, at the top of a swing, the iron grip around her wrist released, and Arlynn felt herself flying through the air and down the alley. Her body was turning, and the pain eased enough for her to focus on the cobblestone that made up the ground. She had enough time to admire the precision that Deathwatch had used in throwing her before her life ended in a sickening, wet crunch as her skull cracked against the cobbles.
Mehrin made sure to smile as coldly and madly as he could down both directions in the alley before he pulled himself back into the room and closed the window and curtains behind him.
Then he collapsed back into the chair, fighting the overpowering need to vomit.
He was not a cruel man. He did not enjoy causing pain and suffering. He did not live to bring misery to the world. But he was a tactician, a strategist, and he knew how to use an advantage that was given to him.
He nearly lost the fight again.
There were hot tears coursing down his face, his breath was coming in gasping sobs. Even so, the rational part of his mind was telling him that he had done the right thing. Mehrin Deathwatch had a reputation for violence, for bringing pain and suffering. If he could make the Darkfriends behind this attack afraid of bringing the Deathwatch down on them, maybe he could eliminate an opponent from a stones board that was becoming increasingly complicated. The fact that the voice was right did nothing to help.
He was a killer. He caused pain and death. But he had never done anything to make it worse. He had never stepped on a dying man's throat to watch him suffocate, even though he knew several who had. He had never stabbed more than he had to stab to kill a man. He had never burned a man to hear him scream, even if he knew others who had. He killed to survive, and he did not make people suffer, even if they deserved to suffer.
Belatedly, Mehrin became aware that he had an audience. "I-" he started before another sob stopped him. Calm, deep breaths. It's done now. Nothing to do but move on. The thought did nothing to calm him. Another deep breath.
"Ayrik is back," he managed after a time. "At least we know who we're dealing with." His voice was raw, his throat tight. You would make a horrible Questioner, he thought, trying to ease his tension. "Go-" Mehrin cleared his throat. "Go back to sleep. I need to think, and the Darkfriends won't dare make a move against us tonight. "