“I don’t know anymore! Please I beg!I told you what I knew- the North Cutter was headed to Stormhaven!”
“If are holding out on me whelp your pain will burn hotter than…”
Ahmad watched the gruesome interrogation unfold but it would end the same; it always ended the same. Ahmad al-Mudill is a kind of talent-scout; trained to look for certain talents that the Brotherhood of the True Flame would value- new recruits and of course potential enemies. Ahmad climbed to this coveted position in the Brotherhood through subterfuge and craft; to be one of the selected was an honor. Not to bear witness to this....
Hovering over the prisoner was a Thuba Mleen; intense and cruel he seemed to be reading the screams as they exited the pirate prisoner; invisible cuneiform of the man’s violent life pressed into the air or was it malevolent prophesy surfaced on the tide of a dire scream?
Known as The King in Yellow Thuba Mleen is an infamous a pirate hunter and scholar of dark powers. His ship- the Sea Sultan is a simple Persian caravel retrofitted with chambers and cells for his sadistic practices. Preferring fine furs and teeth as accents to his outfit, his is known as the Lion only to his closest trustees.
Ahmad stood watching Thuba administer his sadistic urges on the pirate, Thuba’s hand never leaving the familiar bottle tied to his wide belt. Ahmad noted again how Thuba’s hand seemed was always clasped around that bottle, though the King in Yellow was never seen drinking from it.
“Ahmad prop him up so he can read this.” Thuba said as he produced an old book from his voluminous sandy robes. The book had a burned look to it, old as the desert- but the magic it contained had denied the fire and thus has survived the ages. The book listed every sin committed by man.
Propping the book in the empty air; magical forces hummed and held the book in place, it seemed to turn pages on its own.
“I want you to read these pages...” The King in Yellow commanded the helpless and defeated prisoner.
“Do you think he will survive reading form the tome?” Ahmad asked Thuba when they were back on the deck of the Sea Sultan. The night sky was nearing a crescendo of brilliance. Both men could see the glow of Stormhaven along the horizon like a small candle flame.
"Your move." Ahmad said returning his attention to the unfinished game.
“It matters little to me, but if he does he will join the rest of the crew.” Said Thuba. "Check mate."
All around the the two men several 'crew members', all former pirates captives, mindlessly worked the ship from aft to stern absent of free will, for their King in Yellow.