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Mistborn: The Inquisition

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Damage Control

Sheldon Hasting's Photo Sheldon Hasting 06 Jul 2014

Lord Sheldon Hasting sat behind the large desk in his study, staring unblinkingly at the four individuals gathered in front of them. On the desk rested an ornate obsidian dagger upon a bloodstained white cloth. It had arrived from Keep Venture in the early hours, while Averill and Lysette were out looking for Kaylen, who had yet to be found. When dawn's coming mandated a shift in search tactics, the two Mistborn had returned to Keep Hasting, and Sheldon had promptly dispatched them to wake his two heirs. Caden and Colette had arrived at almost the same second, tense as they always were when breathing the same air as one another. Their argument had stalled temporarily, however, upon seeing the knife on his desk.

"Do you know what this is?" he asked quietly, after heirs and Mistborn alike had been given a chance to get a good look. He always spoke quietly these days, but this was different.

"Obsidian dagger," Averill said immediately, in his drawn-out, monotonous tone. "Hasting make. If I'm not mistaken, one very much like this was requisitioned by Kaylen recently." The way he pronounced the boy's name harbored no pretense of fondness.

"If Kaylen had it, then why is it here?" Colette asked, speaking almost on top of Averill, who shot her a dirty look because of it. "And why is it covered in blood?"

"This dagger was sent to me by Ellsworth Venture. It arrived just before dawn. Mikhail Elariel is dead, and this knife is the murder weapon."
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Lysette Hasting's Photo Lysette Hasting 06 Jul 2014

Lysette had been to the ball. She danced and talked to her friends and spent the night being the perfect noblewoman. Then she had been out all night trying to find her idiot cousin who had been his usual anti-social self amongst the nobles and then disappeared without an explanation. Why it was her job to reign in his insanity, she could never guess... but that's why she didn't make the rules.

Lysette roused Colette from her bed, and summoned her to Sheldon's study and when that task was complete, she nearly fell asleep waiting for Colette and Caden to show up to the meeting. The only thing stopping her from drifting off and snoring in the corner of the room was the fact that Averill was in attendance. She had to be on her best behavior.

Caden and Colettte were probably arguing on their way, lockstep, to the study, knowing them. Colette probably rushed to get decent enough to be seen outside of her room and practically ran the whole way here. Just so she could say she was better than Caden.

It was not often that Lysette was asked to stay up all night and then sit in a very... warm room early in the morning for a meeting. She was usually asleep hours earlier, and the lack of sleep made her more than slightly cranky.

"Mikhail Elariel is dead, and this knife is the murder weapon."

Lysette's jaw gaped. Not only was her cousin the direct reason she hadn't gotten to come home after the ball to sleep, but he was also trying to start a war with the Elariels that somehow also involved the Ventures and who knew who else? What's worse is Lysette saw many sleepless days in her future. Kaylen was officially her least favorite entity in the Final Empire. More even than her Mistrwraith nemesis.

"What does that mean?" Lysette asked, before she could stop herself. "Is he trying to start a house war?"
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Sheldon Hasting's Photo Sheldon Hasting 06 Jul 2014

"It's possible," Sheldon said, studying the four of them across his desk. "Word has already come from my informants that the deed was actually done by Phyra Venture, a Mistborn in case any of us had our doubts, who is now dead - apparently by Venture hands. But that knife is clearly ours, and was found on her person after her death."

"Could she have killed Kaylen and taken the knife to implicate Hasting?" Averill asked.

"That is also a possibility. All we know right now is that the Elariel heir is dead by Venture hands, and his blood is on a Hasting knife. Venture claims Phyra acted on her own, and that they killed her for it, but it's too early to determine what really happened. Either way, we're all involved in this mess now."
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Caden Hasting's Photo Caden Hasting 22 Aug 2014

Caden's gaze shifted towards Colette involuntarily, before he managed to shift it back to his Lord Uncle. Colette had danced with Mikhail at the ball. Could she have had something to do with his murder? Perhaps her dance had been some sort of signal to Kaylen. Colette had never seemed to hold much sway with their rebellious cousin before--there was a reason Lord Sheldon had kept him out of Luthadel for as long as he had--but that didn't mean that Colette would have been unable to sway him to her side. The question was what advantage did she intend to secure by having Mikhail removed in this way, and how could she use the situation to hurt Caden's standing?

Right now, however, was no time to voice unsubstantiated suspicions. If Colette had left any evidence of her involvement, Caden would find it. Until then, he had to hold his silence. It would not help his standing with his uncle to point figures at Colette while their house was in a crisis.

"I suppose we must assume the Elariels know about this?" he asked calmly, running through lists of names in his head. He had little clout with Daerra at the moment. Aaron had always been friendly to him, and though they were hardly close, perhaps he could be a way into the House's good graces. Aaron is heir now Caden realized, as he took Mikhail's death and Elariel's preference for male heirs into account. It was hard to think of a man who seemed to care so little for politics falling into a role that Caden was being forced to fight tooth and nail for.

"You said the Ventures took the courtesy of returning this dagger to us. We can only guess that they might have also showed similar courtesy to the Elariels in pointing it out to them as well?" It made sense, of course. With Phyra implicated, the Ventures would do whatever they could to shift to blame away from themselves, and implying Phyra was working with one of their rival houses could be the perfect way to do it.

"I suppose it does not matter though, even if they don't know yet, they'll know soon enough." The Elariel intelligence network was legendary. Only the most well guarded secrets ever stayed free of their clutches. "What matters is what we do next." Caden spared Colette another cool glance, but continued speaking before she had the opportunity to jump in.

"Uncle, I would be more than happy to spearhead the efforts to repair relations with House Elariel. I can start working on a plan of action immediately so that we can hopefully repair the damage before the Ventures are able to turn the Elariels against us." As a powerful neutral party, no house wanted to be on Elariel's bad side, especially with tensions between the two largest factions in Luthadel politics growing steadily.
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Colette Hasting's Photo Colette Hasting 01 Sep 2014

Out of the corner of her eye - because why wouldn't she be watching him out of the corner of her eye? - Colette saw Caden's gaze shift in her direction. Just what did that mean? Did he think she had something to do with this? What possible reason would she have had to kill Mikhail Elariel? She was actually disappointed he had been murdered; marrying him would have been a good second choice to taking up leadership of Hasting if getting rid of Caden proved too troublesome. Of course, she wasn't stupid enough to think Caden had anything to do with it. Even if he'd had any reason under the sun to do the deed, he thought himself too good to get his hands dirty.

If she had her way, that would be the end of him.

But now wasn't the time to be worried about her bastard cousin, she had to remind herself. The Elariel heir was murdered, and Kaylen - that incompetent fool! - had managed to drag them into it somehow with that stupid knife of his. His ostentatious tastes had always been something of a running joke to the court since his return to Luthadel, but Colette certainly wasn't laughing now. He may as well have draped Hasting colors over the body!

But... maybe that was the point. In all probability, only members of Venture and Hasting had seen this knife, and likely only high ranking ones at that. It would be easy to spread rumors that Venture had commissioned a counterfeit Hasting knife for Phyra to use in the murder.

But then why kill her afterward? It seemed strange to waste a perfectly good Mistborn, though Phyra could be described as neither "perfect" nor "good" in any context. Unless, perhaps, they used a fake death to wash their own hands and remove a stain from their image at the same time? But would Phyra consent to being contained like that?

Of course, while she was thinking her plan through, Caden managed to speak first. Of course he did; he would take any chance he got to overstep his bounds and encroach upon her authority. But then, how else would he manage to usurp what was rightfully hers?

"Acting too quickly when we still don't know enough of the facts could be disastrous," she snapped. "Father, I will begin investigating this at once and report back to you with the appropriate plan of action."

"You are both correct," her father said with a tired sigh, "and I want you both working on this."

Well, it was something. At least he wasn't ordering her to work with Caden. But her father wasn't done yet.

"Averill, Lysette, have you noticed any clues in Kaylen's recent behavior that might indicate how he got us into this?"
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