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The Lord Ruler's perfect capital city, Luthadel, is doing the impossible: rebelling. Skaa half-breeds are being taught the power of Allomancy, something that the Lord Ruler's obligators said only existed in the nobility. The enslaved skaa, with their murderous benefactor, now fight back against a living god's oppression.

So, the Inquisition was formed. The nobles begin to fear assassination from all sides. The times of nobility Mistborn killing each other are over. The Steel Inquisitors look for aristocrat traitors and insurgent skaa, and the skaa try with all their strength to merely survive. The Lord Ruler's perfect Final Empire is slowly devolving into chaos.

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The First Step

Private W2 D4 LA Daerra Elariel Lorena Elariel

9 replies to this topic

#1 Lorena Elariel


  • Noble Smoker

124
Prelan
  • Age16

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 20 May 2014 - 01:40 AM

Lorena was incensed. She wished, just for a moment, that she really was Mistborn. Surely if she was this- this atrocity would have never happened. It was just an offense of the highest order! Completely unacceptable in every way! This would not do at all! At all!

"What do you mean it's taken." She said to the attendant, her voice laced with venom, "I booked a private bath weeks ago. What to you bloody mean they're all taken?!"

"It's the ball, my lady," The servant said, obviously uncomfortable, "Everyone is preparing for it-"

"Yes. Like I should be, because it's my debut!" Lorena ground her teeth, this was insufferable! She'd have to go to the commoner's bathing room like she was some sort of lowborn fifth tier! This was supposed to be showing the world how important and amazing she was, it certainly shouldn't start this way!

"I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do." The servant still looked uncomfortable, but she didn't cower or look to remedy the situation in any way. Ugh, why couldn't she be a Mistborn? Then the woman would be falling all over herself to get her a room.

Whatever, she'd just go in the -- she shivered -- common room, to bathe. She turned and started walking down the hall, but was soon stopped by a different servant, what did they want now? They'd already said all the rooms were filled.

"My lady, due to tonight being your debut, special arrangements have been made. One of the private baths has been prepared for you."

Lorena kept her surprise from showing on her face, the other servant had been very emphatic about there being no more rooms, and how did this servant know who Lorena was? Wait had she just asked that question? Of course this servant knew who Lorena was. She was the best Smoker House Elariel had! Yes, best not to question her good fortune.

She followed the servant eagerly, and soon arrived at a private bath, she entered and stopped dead when she saw that it had an occupant. A very important occupant. On reflex, Lorena swept into a picture perfect curtsy, deeper than she usually bothered with, because as important as Lorena was, even she had to be respectful to the heir's sister.

"My Lady..." She was thinking as quickly as she could, what reason could Lady Daerra have in seeking a private conversation with her? Because that was what this was, after all. A sneaky, behind the scenes conversation.

Lady Daerra wanted to use her, obviously, but for what? If she needed her to Smoke for her she did not have to go to such lengths... So what? There was only one way to find out.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, to what do I owe this honor?"

 

 


#2 Daerra Elariel


  • Heir's Sister

354
House Raisaal
  • Age23

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 20 May 2014 - 02:22 AM

Daerra stood gracefully as the door slid open and positioned herself as the servant ushered Lorena in. She pulled her hands away from the tie at the waist of her robe as if she had just finished tying it, and folded them primly in front of her, accepting Lorena's hurried curtsy with a polite nod.

A week of work had brought Daerra to this moment. It had been simple enough to get things going, but if she was going to benefit from any of her work up until this point, she needed to win Lorena over to her side in secret, before Andrew got his talons into her.

Daerra greeted the girl's query with a bright smile, making sure it reached her eyes. She'd done her research on young Lorena, and knew the girl was self-centered and ambitious. If Daerra was to make use of her, she would need to win her over early on, while also making certain Lorena was prepared for the types of subterfuge Daerra would require of her.

"The pleasure is all mine, Lady Lorena. And please, do call me 'Daerra,' or even cousin. We are family after all." Daerra gestured for Lorena to take a seat as the servant closed the door. The woman was one of Daerra's agents of course, the same one who had ensured Lorena's original room was booked by someone else. Daerra had done her part too, of course, exclaiming to her mother in a public part of the keep about the benefits of a good bath before a ball, trusting in their mutual status as trend setters to help the baths fill up more than usual. The servant would return later to attend Lorena during her bath, but for now Daerra wanted the young Smoker all to herself.

"It is your debut, after all," Daerra continued, taking her own seat without waiting for Lorena to follow her suggestion, "And debuts are such special days. I remember mine quite fondly. And when I heard cousin Vivian had requisitioned the bathing chamber you had booked one such short notice, I felt it was my duty as a woman of our house to make certain your preparations went as planned. A girl never forgets her first ball, after all." Vivian hadn't actually requisitioned Lorena's room. Daerra didn't even know if her troublesome cousin would be taking a bath at the moment, as she was finding it difficult to have the woman followed since her return to the keep. Still, if Daerra was having trouble keeping track of Vivian, she trusted others were as well, and it made her feel better to blame Vivian.

"I trust your preparations are going according to plan? You must be incredibly excited." Now was the moment of truth. If Lorena could signal she knew Daerra was up to something, then perhaps she could be of use. On the other hand, if she took Daerra's kindness at face value, then she obviously could not be trusted. Daerra watched the young woman carefully behind her perfectly feigned smile and falsely bright eyes, and waited to see what she would do.



#3 Lorena Elariel


  • Noble Smoker

124
Prelan
  • Age16

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 20 May 2014 - 02:54 AM

There was something like a thrill that went through her when Daerra called her 'Lady Lorena'. Not Lorena, or cousin, or Lori, or some other kind of diminutive, 'Lady Lorena'. That's what she wanted everyone to call her. To hear it come from Daerra's lips was like music to her ears. She listened to the rest of what Daerra said with rapt attention, moving to sit down next to her -- close, but not too close -- keeping her expression positive and friendly.

She looked at Daerra's face, with a smile that reached her eyes and kindness etched across every inch, and saw it for the lie that it was. This did not disturb her in the slightest, indeed a very genuine smile appeared on her face. She only knew it was a lie because it had to be, not because anything in her expression gave it away. That was amazing, Lorena was sure she could not do the same, as great as she was. It was... admirable. And it was also a test.

"You are too kind, my Lady." She said, her smile fading into something far more demure, she did not take the invitation to call Daerra by something else, not yet, that might make it seem like she believed Daerra was just being kind, right? Best to show she didn't buy it in the slightest, "I am indeed very excited." There was no need to feign her excitement as she said the words, they were the truth after all.

Her eyes had drifted down, to show respect, to be demure, but they snapped up to meet Daerra's as she said the next words, "Is there anything I can do to return the favor you've so graciously paid me?"

Tell me what you want, she thought, wishing she could just say that, but surely that would lower Daerra's opinion of her if she was so obvious, Tell me what use you have for me and I will gladly fill it. To be used by a first tier Elariel was a great honor, it was a foot in the door of House Elariel's politicking. It was the first step to becoming as important as she wanted to be. She needed to show Daerra that she was worthy of it.

 

 


#4 Daerra Elariel


  • Heir's Sister

354
House Raisaal
  • Age23

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 20 May 2014 - 03:19 AM

Even as Daerra finished speaking, she could see Lorena had some understanding of the situation. There was no mistaking that posture combined with the eager energy that seemed to infuse every one of Lorena's movements. It would appear Daerra's sources had been correct when describing the girl's ambition, for there was no mistaking a natural climber catching the scent of an opportunity to move up in the world.

Daerra's test was about more than just seeing if Lorena could read the situation accurately. She also wanted to read Lorena's reaction, to see how Lorena chose to correctly answer the puzzle. Her response ended up being very close to one Daerra herself would have chosen. The use of continued formality despite Daerra's invitation to show an understanding of place and station, the playing up of the excited debutante persona to camouflage potential weaknesses, and, of course, the use of body language and eye contact to ensure an otherwise subtle message was understood; all were old tricks in Daerra book, but that did not make them any less impressive. The response would have been a tad direct had they been in public, or had Lorena been unsure of Daerra's true intentions, but in private it showed that the girl was confident in her abilities to read her situation, which was exactly what Daerra wanted.

Now to shake things up a bit. Lorena had shown her talent with subtlety. Now it was time to see what else she could do.

Daerra tilted her head to the side, making her study of Lorena more obvious, and then let her façade drop completely. When she spoke, all hints of warmth or familiarity vanished. "You're good, I'll give you that. I suppose you'll do." The compliment came first of course. It needed to if Daerra was going to use Lorena's ego to her advantage, but she had to see how the girl reacted to being slighted. Insubordination now could mean betrayal later on, while blind obedience would mean Andrew would have little trouble turning her.

"Let's see how good you really are though," Daerra continued, shifting her weight in the chair to get more comfortable. The change in posture mirrored her shift in tone, from, the informality reinforcing the absence of the usual rules of propriety. "What can you do to repay me, hmm? What use are you to me anyways?"



#5 Lorena Elariel


  • Noble Smoker

124
Prelan
  • Age16

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 20 May 2014 - 03:50 AM

She was happy she'd chosen the subtle approach when Daerra complimented her. Good, she was doing the right thing, she could play the game correctly. This was good. But Daerra's words cut deep. Deeper than they should. For a moment, she had thought the game had ended, that Daerra would tell her what she wished of her and Lorena would fulfill it beyond her wildest expectations and wonderful things would happen, but no. The game still continued, it just was being played differently now.

A vague part of Lorena wondered if, with Daerra, the game ever truly ended.

Still, what use was Lorena to Daerra? What use could she be? Yes she was beautiful and amazing, and witty and fantastic, and smart and wonderful, and so many things pointed in her favor, but those things would, unfortunately, mean little to Daerra. So what was she to her? Nothing? But no, Daerra would not go to such great lengths to speak to her if she was of no real use. It would be idiotic, so...

"I suppose my usefulness comes from the fact I am an unknown. My importance could be my relative unimportance." It galled her to say that, but that was the only thing that came to mind, "I can be missed, forgotten, overlooked, and all the while I can be watching and listening to the very people who dismiss me."

People like you, she wanted to continue, You are great and mighty and dangerous, but even someone like me can injure you, can't I? So who is supposed to overlook me, my Lady? Who am I to listen in on? But no, that was too much of a threat, that would be bad to say, especially to presume that already she knew what Daerra wanted of her. She kept her peace, and tried to take any threat from her words, because they did toe a line. Her tone was the same it had always been, formal and polite, but her eyes showed how interested she was in what Daerra had to say.

 

 


#6 Daerra Elariel


  • Heir's Sister

354
House Raisaal
  • Age23

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 20 May 2014 - 04:48 AM

Lorena maintained her composure, and the interest in her eyes implied she was still interested in what Daerra had to say. Her words, however, were less satisfactory. Lorena was far too self important to hide behind any false modesty. While Daerra did plan to use Lorena's lower station to her advantage against Andrew, the girl would have to learn to use both her strengths and her weaknesses to her advantage if she was going to succeed within the House, or out in Luthadel as a whole, and modesty was certainly not one of Lorena Elariel's strengths.

"I don't buy it," Daerra shrugged. It would seem Lorena, like any self respecting social climber, bore some resentment to the betters who refused to acknowledge her merits. Daerra could make use of those feelings of course, but they also represented a danger. If she could turn those feelings against Andrew, she could strengthen Lorena's loyalty to herself. However, it also meant Lorena could just as easily turn on Daerra if it suited her. Daerra's job was to make sure betrayal was not a desirable option.

She needed Lorena to feel valued, and to feel that Daerra recognized that value. At the same time, Daerra had to make certain not to inflate the ego too much, lest Lorena's aspirations grow too big, leading her to think she could afford to betray Daerra's trust or break off their working relationship. If this was going to work, Lorena had to need or think she needed Daerra more than Daerra needed her.

"I mean, it's true, there are many who dismiss you. Your station is what it is, and you know as well as I do the importance of rank within our family especially." Daerra readjusted again, straightening her spine and leaning forward, adopting a tone one of her tutors might use. She had to show Lorena some of what she could teach her, a taste to whet the girl's appetite for more.

"Do you think I am dismissing you then? Am I missing or overlooking the girl who I went to such pains to speak with privately? Would I waste such effort on someone who is unimportant? Do I use people of your rank because I know my enemies and rivals with dismiss them? Absolutely. I have servants on every major family member's staff doing just what you describe, including the one who brought you here."

Daerra leaned back, again making her study of Lorena obvious. She wanted the girl to feel judged, hoping that her natural confidence would kick in and cause her to strive to measure up to Daerra's expectations and standards. "I don't believe for a second that you believe what you just said. And that's a problem. If you are going to lie to the people I need you to lie to, you need to be believable. That means giving people what they expect." Daerra held back, not wanting to give too much away too soon. "We can work more on that later though, as I can already see you have potential. Right now, I want to know why you think I went through the trouble to meet you this way, and please, no more lies. I know you think more highly of yourself than that. If I wanted you to lie to me I wouldn't be here. I want to use you, that's obvious, but why you? What makes you special to someone like me? What unique facet of your being or situation makes you valuable?"

Daerra was genuinely curious to know what Lorena thought, but she was still more concerned with seeing how the girl thought and reacted then what she actually said. As far as Daerra knew, Lorena still wasn't aware of the key reason she was soon to become valuable to Daerra, but that didn't mean she couldn't puzzle out something close, or something else that perhaps even Daerra hadn't thought of. Andrew certainly wouldn't miss the liability Lorena represented, but Daerra was counting on his arrogance and dismissive attitude to work much in the way Lorena had just described, and to use that to her eventual advantage.



#7 Lorena Elariel


  • Noble Smoker

124
Prelan
  • Age16

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 20 May 2014 - 05:32 AM

Lorena was very confused by Daerra's response, false modesty? Lorena had only been telling the truth. It galled her, the truth, it was unfair and merciless and it did not care about what she deserved, merely what she was. Was Lorena truly so good at seeming self assured that she had fooled Daerra? Was she truly so good an actor? That was... interesting, Lorena wished she could use this knowledge to her advantage somehow, by keeping it secret, but could find no way to do so. The truth, however, would be useful to her, if she showed Daerra that she had fooled her, perhaps the woman would respect her more.

"I was not lying." Lorena said, and she let her true feelings show, shrinking slightly against Daerra's judging gaze. She was sure, so sure, she could measure up, but what if she couldn't...? That was always the question floating around the back of her head, what if? What if? What if? But no, it was time to tell the whole truth, since that was what Daerra wanted, "As much as it annoys me, I am unimportant. I want to change that, I want to become important, but for the moment I am... not." She let her expression show how sourness over that fact. It was not fair. But it was reality, Lorena was the queen at lying to herself, but she did not think it would help in this situation. Daerra wanted the truth? She would give it to her.

"I can name a thousand things that make me special." She said, "But only one of them has any real bearing on the situation, my Allomancy." She tilted her head, she was going to be the best Smoker House Elariel has ever had. But... why would Daerra need to meet Lorena in secret to get her to Smoke for her, that is what she did not understand. Unless... unless her unimportance was helpful. Unless Lorena was supposed to be dismissed and overlooked by someone... "You wish me to spy on someone I am going to Smoke for... Lord Winston?" Why did Daerra want to spy on him? He was her brother's aide, was she trying to keep tabs on Lord Aaron in some round about way? She kept her confusion from showing on her face, she kept it a polite mask, she had let enough true emotion cross her features. It was time to show Daerra she could hide the truth as well.

 

 


#8 Daerra Elariel


  • Heir's Sister

354
House Raisaal
  • Age23

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 27 May 2014 - 03:34 AM

Daerra appraised the girl in front of her in a new light. Lorena's assertion of her insecurities sounded genuine to her ear, which was surprising given her earlier reading of the young woman. On one hand, Lorena could be trying to seem weak, to make Daerra underestimate her. On the other, if she were telling the truth it could mean she viewed the opportunity to work with Daerra was worth revealing such a weakness. Whichever was the case, Daerra knew how to proceed. She already intended to watch Lorena closely, and not to underestimate her, and no matter how loyal to Daerra's cause Lorena might seem, Daerra wouldn't trust her until she earned it, and even then not enough to enable a betrayal. As for insecurities, as long as they posed no threat to the mission, there was no greater tool Daerra could use to her advantage.

Daerra held her tongue during Lorena's dialogue. She correctly identified her Allomancy as a distinctive characteristic that could make her of use, and that that use would most likely be to spy. While she did not identify the target she did point out someone who Daerra had cause to be interested in, but did so hesitantly, sensing that Daerra would not waste such attention on someone as lowly as Winston. While Daerra was interested in the movements of her brother and all of his minders, she had better plans for Lorena.

"Very good," she said when Lorena had finished. "You've correctly identified a suitable use of your talents, and a target who might interest me. As for your significance or lack-thereof, I appreciate your honesty. Others, however, may not. Even if what you say is true, it does not seem that way to the people you interact with. I've had my people interview a number of them and while all of them noted your ambition and sense of self importance, most blamed these things on the inflated ego of a spoiled child rather than compensations for hidden insecurities. Remember what I said earlier, to lie effectively you must give people what they expect. If people do not think of you as insecure, then they will be less likely to believe you are, even if you are telling the truth."

"But, the lesson in deceit aside, like I said earlier I am impressed with your talent." Compliments would prey as well on insecurities as they would on ego in Daerra's estimation. In fact, if Lorena really was being truthful about her feelings, Daerra might be able to bind her more closely to her side than expected. Arrogance created a desire for positive reinforcement, but self-doubt created a need for it, as well as a need to improve. If Daerra could establish herself as both a source of positivity and improvement, she could hopeful instill a sense of dependence within Lorena that would reinforce what loyalty she could bring out.

If only father could see me like this, she thought. Why couldn't he see that she understood his technique better than any soother? She had watched him control people with their own emotions for as long as she could remember, and had studied exactly which emotions he chose to manipulate since the first day she had learned to do so with bronze. She knew the relationships between initial and consequent emotions, and had learned to create them without the aid of alomancy. Despite her accomplishments, her father continued to dismiss her, which was why she needed to have him removed if she was going to move up within the House.

Daerra's inner musings remained hidden, leaving not a hint on her face as she continued to speak to Lorena. Now to throw in the curveball. Lorena thought Daerra was only interested her as a spy. While she was partly correct, it was time to stir things up and make her second guess her hypothesis. "I intend to take you on as my personal ward, and mentor you in the arts of a true Elariel noblewoman" Daerra stood gracefully from her chair and offered her hand to Lorena. "Would you accept my tutelage?"



#9 Lorena Elariel


  • Noble Smoker

124
Prelan
  • Age16

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 08 September 2014 - 03:48 AM

Lorena listened with rapt attention to what Daerra said. Any advice was important to listen to, there were few better teachers of how comport yourself then a first tier Elariel, especially one like Daerra. Yes it was going perfectly fine, and she was keeping her expression perfectly composed while still being interested until Daerra gave her the most amazing news she had heard her entire life.

She. Was going to be. Daerra Elariel's. Ward.

Somehow. Somehow. She kept her jaw from dropping, or from throwing her hands up in the air in celebration, or jumping up and hugging Daerra in celebration. She was proud to say it wasn't even a near thing. But it was there. She managed to keep it out of her expression, she thought, maybe.

Thought she had to be honest with herself, there was no way, no way at all she would have expected this! After all, she didn't know what she could have done to catch Daerra's eye. What was it? What had she done? How could she replicate it and gain even more favor? She needed to know. So that meant she had to act.

She'd only been frozen a few moments before she reached out and took Daerra's hand. Not so bad, surely, considering how shocking the news had been. It took a few more moments, however, to make sure she was in control of her voice. It would be most embarrassing if she squeaked in excitement when she spoke. Thankfully the words, "Of course, my lady. I would be honored." Came out smoothly, and she somehow managed to not add 'but why?'.

 

 


#10 Daerra Elariel


  • Heir's Sister

354
House Raisaal
  • Age23

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 09 September 2014 - 05:07 PM

Daerra kept her amusement well hidden as Lorena mastered herself. It would not do to demean or insult her new ward at this stage in the game. While Lorena's ability to keep her composure was impressive enough for a woman of her age and experience, the time she took to keep it made it obvious she was containing her emotions would need to be reduced if she was going to be convincing. To Daerra, the minor tics and body language hinted of Lorena's elation despite her measured countenance, meaning the girl would have to improve if she was going to serve Daerra's purposes.

Daerra squeezed the girl's hand warmly as Lorena offered her gratitude. Right now, she needed affirmation, and Daerra wanted to observe her a little longer before she brought her deeper into her confidences. It would be better to leave her in the dark for the time being, as Lorena's genuine surprise upon being ordered to smoke for Andrew would be far more convincing than anything she could feign. For now, Daerra needed a simple assignment that would allow her to evaluate Lorena's skills in action, while preparing her for what was to come.

"I'm glad," Daerra replied warmly after a moment, giving Lorena's hand one last squeeze before releasing it. "But I warn you, my expectations are high, and I do not take failure to meet those expectations lightly. Perform well, and I will be able to teach you much, as well as introduce you to some of the most powerful men and women in Luthadel. Fail, and I will ensure you never have to opportunity to do so again." Daerra paused, giving a Lorena a direct look to ensure she understood before continuing.

"Most important of all, is loyalty. I will expect you keep me appraised of all relevant information you gather, either at social gatherings or here in the Keep, and to keep quiet about whatever you find until I give you leave to share. I will also expect you to keep my confidences, even if doing so requires you to mislead or deceive another member of our family. While you may still have today to prepare for your debut, for future balls you will be expected to report to my chambers and assist me with preparations before beginning your own. At balls and functions, you will share my table and my company whenever possible. During the day, if you prove yourself, I may also require you to accompany me while I perform house business. Finally, if I ask you to perform a task, I will expect it to be completed discreetly and without objection. Questions or requests for clarification are acceptable, but only so far as they increase the likelihood of your success. In return for the successful performance of these duties, I will introduce you into my social circles, educate you in the ways of court, and be your advocate when opportunities arise to move up within the house. I will make myself available to offer you advice in your own endeavors, at my discretion."

Taking another moment to guage Lorena's reactions, Daerra sat back into her chair, and gestured for Lorena to respond. "I trust my terms are acceptable?"







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