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Mistborn: The Inquisition


Meetings with Meaning

Valerre's Photo Valerre 21 Mar 2014

Valerre grumbled as he set down the handles of large cart he was pulling. Daphne looked over her shoulder, a concerned expression on her face. Likely just worried about our precious cargo. Valerre knew Daphne would be worried about him as well, it was just that he was in too foul a mood at the moment to acknowledge the fact. His drinking the previous night had caught up to him, and he was suffering from a nasty hangover. Furthermore, not only had Daphne woken him up before noon, she had also required him to pull her cart for her all the way to the docks!

"That should be fine, Valerre." Daphne strode over, and set the two covered baskets she was carrying down on the ground next to the cart, and checked the canvas covering to make certain it was not in danger of coming loose. Satisfied, she turned to Valerre, and offered him some water from a canteen she carried on a sling over her shoulder.

"You don't have anything stronger?" Valerre didn't bother to dodge as Daphne gave him a playful swat on the arm. "What, water is great an all if you're thirsty, but it's not going to get me through an afternoon with those two morons you've decided to meet with."

"Valerre, you promised you would be kind. These people could, particularly the noble, could be valuable allies for the rebellion. It's our job to make sure we can trust them first." There was a warning in her tone: Don't mess this up!

Well, Daphne was Daphne, and that meant Valerre would just have to suck it up and try his best. "Yes, yes, I'll be on my best behavior, and all that rubbish. You didn't say I couldn't insult them behind their backs though. Besides, For that lummox, 'Moron,' is barely an insult. Indeed, I'd say I was being generous..."

"Valerre..." the look in Daphne's eyes stopped him mid sentence.

"Yes, fine, whatever," he said with a scowl, gulping down some more water. Lord Ruler, when would his head stop pounding?

Moving into the shade with Daphne, Valerre sat down where he could keep an eye on the cart and the baskets and waited.

Delve's Photo Delve 21 Mar 2014

Delve walked reluctantly towards the end of her alley when she heard familiar voices. Why she had ever decided that this was a good idea, she would never know, but at least she was already at the docks today. It wasn't as if this was out of her way, but it made her skin crawl. Nothing was riskier than helping the rebellion. Not to her, at least.

After following the two with her eyes until they stopped, Delve pulled the front of her hat farther down and stayed where she was. She didn't want to seem to eager, but Devin was reliable. She would show up a little late. She counted as high as she could, and then did it again before stepping out of the alley. She didn't trust these people in the least, and so it was best to just get it over with.

None of this set up made any sense to her, and she wasn't sure how to approach them. Why did they have to be meeting in the middle of the day anyways? Wouldn't night be easier? At least then she could approach without any nagging suspicions that they would look suspicious. She glanced up from the road to try to catch the eye of the woman. Daphne, was it? Delve really should have been paying more attention. She wasn't sure if it had worked, and so she approached the shade instead, keeping her eyes on the ground again. Seeking out shade was not uncommon on a bright day like this.

Alright. Time to change. Devin...Right. She thought, isolating the moments in the conversation from the night before when she had shown some kind of personality. He wasn't hesitant, but he was respectful, and she had shown some wit when talking to Wilor, so that would have to be a part of this as well. Therefore, Devin would speak first. He was a little uncomfortable, however, and she would try to attribute that to the company, and not the location. Her eyes darted around and then she spoke quietly. "Miss." He said, nodding to Daphne, almost like a respectful head-bow, and ignoring Valerre for now. Nothing she had done had indicated that she liked him very much. Devin's uneducated, but smart. Probably uses correct words and such. "You planning on explaining whatever you want us to do here? It doesn't seem like the best place, though you know best, I'm sure."

Wilor Zerrung's Photo Wilor Zerrung 25 Mar 2014

Wilor had been able to arrange Sevk as his driver for the day, so, after the bit of business he had had to take care of, Wilor had Sevk drop him near the docks. He told Sevk not to wait for him and to return to the town house for the day.

As Sevk drove off, Wilor ducked into an alley where he had hidden a sack with his "skaa" clothes. He hurried and changed, keeping his daggers and coin pouch, but leaving the rest of his clothes. Wearing his cloth breastplate, he Lurched up to the top of the building, dropped his sack of noble clothes and returned to the ground.

Wilor rubbed some ash onto his face and messed his hair. He strolled along down the alleys towards the arranged meeting spot at the docks. He saw Devin arrive just before him and begin talking to Daphne. "Good day," Wilor said with a smile as he approached them. "How are all of you today?"

Daphne's Photo Daphne 06 Sep 2014

Daphne smiled at the greetings. "I'm very well, thank-you Wilor." Though the man had done a decent job of disguising himself as a skaa, he still lacked the proper bearing. There was something in that defeated posture that Daphne hated so much that could be difficult for those who hadn't lived as a skaa to replicate. Wilor' stroll was casual, and his demeanor seemed bright, leading Daphne to wonder how much of his interest in 'helping' the rebellion was still part of some sort of game or thrill seeking mission for the young noble. Nonetheless, she supposed she would find out soon enough.

"As for our work today, right now its pretty simple. We have to deliver these supplies to a secret location. I'll give you more instructions when we arrive at our destination. For now, I'm certain Valerre would appreciate it if you gave him a hand with that cart. He's been complaining all the way here." Thankfully, Valerre remained mostly silent, only grunting in reply as he gestured for Devin and Wilor to pick up and pull the cart, while he himself opted to take the lighter of Daphne's two baskets.

"Well then," she said, not commenting on Valerre's laziness as she picked up the other basket. "Follow me." Making sure the two men were doing all right with the cart, Daphne made her way through the busy streets, keeping watch for opportunists who might try to steal their load. For the most part, some combination of Wilor's impressive frame and Valerre's dark looks kept away most of the trouble, leaving Daphne to only swat away a few grasping hands from her own basket. After taking a few turns off the main road down a few shadowed alleys, they reached their destination.

"Well," she said cheerfully, "here we are! Before we go in though, I want to warn you that what you might see could be surprising, depending on what you were expecting." Daphne supposed she could have explained more thoroughly what they were doing, but she also felt surprising Wilor and Devin would improve her ability to guage their reactions and feel out their sincerity. "Once we are inside, we will be distributing the contents of the cart and baskets to the people who are there. Try to act natural, like this is just a part of your weekly routine." Taking a breath to center herself, Daphne turned and opened the door, leaving it open for the others to follow.

The inside of the building smelled of death.

The building was one large room, and was falling apart. The roof had several holes large enough to light the entire place naturally, and the ground was covered in puddles, likely rain water mixed with waste considering the smell. Dark forms huddled in corners and shadows, eyeing the new comers with distrust. Upon closer inspection, Devin and Wilor would see the various injuries that rendered these people unfit to work: the remnants of disease, severe injuries, missing limbs, or in some, a despair so deep no amount of rioting could create even a spark of happiness.
Not wasting any time, Daphne removed the cover from the cart outside, revealing more baskets like the one she and Valerre carried. Each contained a different type of food item: breads, cheeses, boiled potatoes, and a few of dried meat. Motioning for the others to begin distributing the food, Daphne took her own basket and began to do the same, taking care to watch the others as she did. Some of the squatters rushed forward to receive their helping. Daphne led the way, hoping her new recruits were watching as she sternly refused to give anyone more than their fair share.

After the initial rush died away, and people realized that seconds would not be an option, Daphne began circling the room with her basket, handing out helpings of the bread in her basket to those who were unable, either because of injury or attitude, to come and greet them at the door. As she went, she offered kind words and a smile to the people she passed, both those to whom she was offering food and to those already eating who she had been stern with moments before.

While this mission did actually have some utility for the rebellion--some of the loaves in Daphne and Valerre's baskets had messages baked inside of them that would be passed to rebellion operatives in the area--Daphne had taken over this particular rebellion operation and tried to turn it into something more. It wasn't much, the rebellion couldn't afford to feed essentially useless mouths on a regular basis, but Daphne hoped that her visits could at least give these poor souls some measure of hope that there really was good out there in the world.

As she went, Daphne began to spot some familiar faces that she had missed in the initial rush. While the location of these little drop offs changed every time, evidently word was spreading enough to allow some to follow her movements. While Daphne was happy to see at least a few warm smiles in the sea of despair, the familiarity also worried her. She had known from the beginning that her little initiative couldn't last forever; that eventually she wouldn't be able to weasel the extra food out of the rebellion, or that her charity would be noticed by the nobility or the ministry, but she had hoped it might last a year at least, if not more. However, if the number of faces she recognized were any indication, she likely only had a few visits left, before she would have to turn the job over to someone else who would not be able to be so generous.

Daphne smiled and handed out a piece of bread to a young woman who was moaning in the corner. The woman barely seemed to notice Daphne was there, and continued to moan.

"I can stay and make sure she eats," said an older man who reached out a hand to take the bread from Daphne.

Daphne appraised the man briefly. In all likelihood, he was only pretending to be generous in order to get an extra loaf for himself, leaving the girl with nothing to eat. No, Daphne told herself. I can't think like that. How could she expect to bring hope to people if she only saw the darkness in them? Nodding in gratitude, she gave the man her warmest smile and handed over the bread, forcing herself to trust that he would do as he said. When she checked back a while later, she spotted him, still crouched beside the girl, holding a smaller piece of the bread out and coaxing her to eat.

"Well," she said to her companions when all of the baskets were empty and they had left the building. "How was that for your first afternoon working for the rebellion?"

Delve's Photo Delve 08 Sep 2014

Delve cast a dark glare at Wilor as she moved towards the cart. There were so many more productive things she could be doing right now, especially since she wanted to actually stay alive. Helping the rebellion was more on the list of things to do if she wanted to die slowly and painfully. However, she would do it this one time and then she could get out of there and never see any of these people again. That was, if the idiot Wilor stopped coming to see her. She doubted she would ever be totally rid of him.

When they finally stopped, Delve frowned a little. What exactly were they supposed to be doing? Thankfully, Daphne answered that question quickly. "Well," she said in a surprisingly cheerful manner for the surroundings, "here we are! Before we go in though, I want to warn you that what you might see could be surprising, depending on what you were expecting. Once we are inside, we will be distributing the contents of the cart and baskets to the people who are there. Try to act natural, like this is just a part of your weekly routine."

Distributing the contents of the carts? What exactly was in them?

They entered the building and Delve was first taken aback by the smell. And then she saw the people and she had to fight to keep her emotions buried deep in her soul. The cart was uncovered and some of her emotions turned to anger, but she continued to bury them. Her face displayed nothing of the struggle of keeping her emotions at bay and she instead showed only what was expected of her. Shock, a little bit of horror, some anger, but nothing else. Nothing of the personal turmoil that was awakened in her. And why? Why should she feel like this? She was never like these people. Sure, she had seen her fair share of despair and had had terrible things happen to her, but she had never been like this. Of course these people got food from the rebellion. She had just never needed that kind of help.

In order to keep herself from dwelling on the things she wanted to keep hidden she took a basket and began to distribute it to the people. Devin was warm to the people. He smiled a little at them and spoke kind things, and none of Delve's inner being was shown to them. Devin was optimistic and happy to be doing good. He felt a need to help these people, now that he was over his initial shock. Had Devin been a real person, Delve was sure the rebellion would love him.

The rush died down and Delve took another basket hesitantly, as if not sure what to do now. Devin needed to be eager to do good, but hesitant about it. He wasn't a do-gooder. He was a pessimist and this needed to be a conversion that could be believable, but also not so much that he couldn't get out of it. When Daphne began to move around the room Delve followed a little bit, not straying so far from the cart as she was, as Devin was now a little uncomfortable. She continued to distribute food, and kept Devin up even though she wanted out. She had had enough of this place. She avoided thinking to much about the different people she talked to. The less she thought, the better.

Finally they ran out of food and left the building. Delve was glad of the cleaner air and the less depressing aura, as well as a new thing to focus on. "How was that for your first afternoon working for the rebellion?" Of course Daphne would ask about that. How would Devin respond? Obviously he was changed, in a rather good way for the rebellion, but how to seem enthusiastic and yet still get out of doing this again...

"It was...enlightening. I never imagined the work the rebellion actually does. I just thought it was a bunch of meaningless fighting and death." Devin said finally, "But that was actually very kind."

Wilor Zerrung's Photo Wilor Zerrung 11 Jan 2019

The woman rebel, Daphne, Wilor thought was her name, assigned Wilor and Devin to pull the cart. Everything Wilor had ever been taught told him that this was inappropriate; a skaa giving him assignments? Wilor shoved the thoughts aside, those were exactly the prejudices he hated and wanted to destroy. Still, taking orders from anyone not an important noble was a . . . strange feeling. After a second, he went over and lifted the cart. He glanced to Devin, about to make a joke about his new position in society, but the expression on the woman-dressed-as-a-man's face stopped him short. There was no conversation as they followed Daphne down the various dock alleys. Click, click, click, Wilor counted the cart's tire clicks along the ground as they hit intervals of three. It made it easier to deal with the fact that he was meeting rebels and it was daylight and he was dressed as a skaa. The paranoia of a passing nobleman deciding to stop him and beat him for no reason began to encroach on Wilor's mind. Click, click, click. He pushed all the thoughts away, just counting tire clicks.

Click, click, click, "Well, here we are! Before we go in though, I want to warn you that what you might see could be surprising, depending on what you were expecting." Daphne stopped them in an alley that looked just like the rest to Wilor. He much preferred the view from above on the rooftops. "Once we are inside, we will be distributing the contents of the cart and baskets to the people who are there. Try to act natural, like this is just a part of your weekly routine." Wilor's confusion at what exactly it was that they were doing was intensified when Daphne opened the door. Death wafted out and he stopped a gag just before it left his mouth. He'd never smelled something like this before. Daphne took her basket inside and opened the cart so that Wilor and Devin could follow her lead. Wilor grabbed a basket of potatoes and followed her into the dimmer room.

The sight inside the room matched exactly the smell from the door. Wilor had seen skaa beaten before. He'd seen beggars and he'd seen soldiers fight and wound each other, but this was not any of those. This was humanity's hellhole. He couldn't stop himself from gasping as he processed the variety of wounds and injuries. Swallowing thrice, Wilor stepped forward. This was a pathetic meeting for the rebellion, but if it was what he was assigned to do, then he'd do it. Daphne made sure no one had seconds of the food, so Wilor turned the other direction and began passing out his potatoes to the skaa on the other side of the room. He kept a tight smile on his face, but inside, he was appalled. Appalled at the Lord Ruler, the nobility, the skaa, himself.

How did people who called themselves noble allow something like this place to occur? How did God? Skaa were still human. But even if they were animals, dogs weren't kept like this. How did the skaa tolerate this? Humans fought back when treated poorly. Wilor couldn't understand how the poor people he passed potatoes to accepted this. The biggest shock to him was his own thoughts. He felt all his life's teachings and his research into skaa colliding and he was struggling to sort what was right.

Wilor's eyes continued to take in the various skaa, glancing everywhere, never once finding a smile in the room. Aside from Daphne. Wherever she went, the skaa were brighter, their loads just a bit lighter. There was almost a physical trail that marked Daphne's path. That woman was a ray of light, an angel visiting the depths of hell here. He wondered what made her different. How did she do it? Valerre and Devin too seemed to be chronically downcast. But Daphne beamed! She was skaa, right? She was what he wanted to fight for. The others were almost too depressed. They might not even want freedom if they were offered it. But it was skaa like Daphne that fueled Wilor's rebellious passions.

Wilor retrieved another basket and continued the work of delivering food until the cart was empty. They left the mass of huddled skaa and returned to the alley. "How was that for your first afternoon working for the rebellion?" Daphne asked him and Devin. Wilor nodded at Devin's answer.

"Definitely kind. I . . . I've never imagined something like that. I'm more suited to the bloody aspects of the rebellion, but that was good," Wilor replied. "How? How do they live like that? Why don't they fight? And, why do you?" he asked, targeting the last part at Daphne. Today had completely confused him, he'd even managed to forget about his knives.

Daphne's Photo Daphne 05 Apr 2020

Daphne sighed. "If it was all fighting and blood and death, I'm afraid the rebellion would not have lasted as long as it has. The Lord Ruler has allomancers and armies - physical confrontations place him at advantage. Don't mistake me, raids and assassinations do have their place, much though I'd prefer they did not, but they can't create change on their own. I often wish the rebellion did more work like this, even if it feels like stopping an Ashmount eruption using bolts of silk."

Daphne looked over the two new recruits, noting their reactions, and trying to discern the emotions hidden behind their expressions. "That's the key though, is to remember not just what we have to do to survive, but why we do what we do. Some get distracted by ideas of vengeance or justice, but that's just not productive. We will never overthrow the Final Empire via force alone. If we want to change our circumstances, we need to change ourselves, both skaa and noble."

Daphne took a breath, steadying herself, taking care to speak discretely despite the passion she knew was rising in her voice. "You asked how people live like that? The answer is they don't. Those people in there are not living. The hard truth is, unless things change, they might as well be dead. At least then they would not suffer as they do. The truth is that Ifight because it's the only way my people can survive. Our bodies may live on like livestock, but our identity, our culture, our souls are dead or are dying. I fight because the other option is extinction. The other option is that - what you saw in there. Those people cannot fight the darkness anymore, and it's not their fault." Daphne spared a nervous glance at Valerre, wishing again that she could know for certain he was going to be all right, and that his own darkness was not close to overcoming the man she loved.

"I won't accept death of any kind, and so I need to strive for change. That is the only option for me." She glanced momentarily at Devin and then met Wilor's eyes. "You have options. Your kind may not be facing extinction like ours is, but you and yours will need to undergo a change in heart if me and mine are to stand a chance." Daphne took a breath, steadying herself, and lowering her tone. "I will not let you or someone like you endanger what we have been working for, so let me ask you: why are you here, and what do you hope to accomplish?

Wilor Zerrung's Photo Wilor Zerrung 06 Apr 2020

Wilor kept eye contact with Daphne for a couple seconds as she met his gaze. No, no, no, keep looking, fool, his right dagger said. Wilor began moving his gaze around again. Even though no blue lines from his constant iron burning moved towards them, he mentally cursed himself for losing vigilance even for a second. This woman had some fire to her. He hadn't really expected that. The books he read and his experiences with Sevk had prepared him for normal conversation with skaa, but he had only seen passive, almost languid skaa. Daphne, and even Devin to some extent, had something else though, something that he felt inside too.

After making sure he'd covered his entire field of vision, he looked back into Daphne's eyes for just a moment. "I'm here for the same thing you are. Equality." Keep moving. he reminded himself, eyes darting away from hers and scanning again as he continued. "The nobility is filled with pompous idiots, entitled and wasteful. I want skaa to be able to eat. I want to be able to help them, help you, to be able to do something with life."

The nobility was ridiculous. Few of them were worth talking to unless you had an interest in house politics, and Wilor didn't. "Maybe even help the nobility, those who are smart enough to be useful, slap back into reality and leave their feasts and politics to actually help people." Tap, tap, tap, he tapped the pommel of his left dagger thrice.

"Giving bread was great, and helpful, I'm sure. But bread once won't keep the skaa living. They need to be able to get their own bread. So I guess, that's what I want. To help the skaa and nobility even out so everyone can have a chance to live, as you said." Wilor smiled, hoping to ease the discomfort his wandering gaze typically gave others. He rapped his knuckles together thrice and flared iron for strength. "I want in."
Edited by Mailliw73, 06 April 2020 - 04:03 AM.

Delve's Photo Delve 08 Apr 2020

It was difficult for Delve to not openly scoff at these talks of equality. Equality was the dream of idiots and fools. However, when Daphne talked it was hard to not pay attention, even if she herself did not entirely agree. What was skaa culture? All Delve knew was fear and oppression, and looking around this room, she felt no different. Perhaps under all the death there was some form of culture, but it was not something that Delve had ever known or hoped for. She decided that she didn't like thinking about it. It was too hopeful and all she needed to know was how to survive. She didn't want to be in this situation where she would be called upon to do anything noticeable, and she didn't want anyone to try to make her hope for a better future.

To distract herself, she shifted her attention to Wilor, attempting to not let herself get caught up in Daphne's optimism. He seemed almost as uncomfortable as she was to be around so many people. He seemed to be constantly scanning the room, as if anyone here had the presence of mind to attack him. His ticks, the constant tapping and checking his knives, was distracting to the point of almost irritating. She wondered how someone who lived in such comfort had developed so many defensive habits. She supposed it was related to the noble in-fighting, although she was surprised that he did not have a bodyguard of some sort.

Time to find a way out of this situation. She was not so dedicated to this character that she had created that she was willing to risk her own safety to help. At least, that was what she was going to keep telling herself. This had made her almost want to have the same sense of goodness and purpose that the others had, and that was dangerous. At least Daphne seemed more interested in recruiting Wilor than she was in Delve.

"I've done what I said I'd do, then." Delve almost forgot to continue the mannerisms she'd been adopting, another sign that it was time for her to find a different part of the city to reside in and get away from these people. Delve gave Wilor a half-smile, trying to make this look like Devin was reluctant to leave, before addressing Daphne. "I'm sorry I can't be more helpful, miss. Everything you're talking about sounds great, but I guess I'm still too focused on survival than preserving life and culture. Besides, I doubt I could be much help."