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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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Olivia Fathvell


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#1 Olivia Fathvell


  • Legal Consultant

356
Looking Good in Red

Posted 31 August 2015 - 05:17 AM

Still not totally happy with her, but this is what I've got so far. Let me know what your thoughts, especially if you think I should add or cut anything.

Olivia has only arrived in Luthadel recently (as in, the day of the Perrault ball, or perhaps the day before), so her history goes right up to the present. Sorry for the length!

I'm still figuring out what my plan is for her, but I think I would like her to start doing legal work for the Fathvells again, once she gets established in Luthadel.

Olivia Fathvell
Legal Consultant



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Name/Handle: Comatose
Contact: Yup!


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Name: Olivia Fathvell (nee. Patresen)
Type: Noble
Age: 49
Gender:Female
Place of Origin:Fadrex
Occupation:Legal Consultant
Relationship Status: Widowed (Fabian Fathvell).

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Olivia is tall for a woman, standing about 6’2”. While her height makes her seem thin, in actuality her build is quite solid. Though not usually prone to bouts of vanity, she does indulge by dyeing her hair to keep her natural auburn colour from going grey. While she despises the vanity she perceives as weakness, her hair colour is one of the few physical features she likes (and one she shares with her sister), and she can’t stand the thought of losing it. She applies make-up when going out in public, but her routine is not nearly as extensive as some other women.

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Olivia inherited the intelligence, tenacity, and determination of both her father and mother, and she learned the arts of intrigue and deception by observing the struggle between her parents. She has strong leadership skills, and excels at coordinating others. Despite these talents, Olivia is not well liked by others, who either see her as cold and professional, or domineering and bossy. Olivia has always been insecure about her appearance and social skills, and emphasizes her intelligence in both practice and conversation to try to compensate for her perceived deficiencies. Spending most of her life living in fear of either her father or her husband has made her slow to trust others.

When given a task, Olivia will stop at nothing to achieve her objective, and is not afraid to bend the rules in order to get what she wants. At heart, Olivia is a problem solver, who prefers finding solutions and making problems disappear instead of searching for the root causes of those problems. Olivia has always struggled with being a supportive figure to others, as her natural tendency is to ignore opinions and feelings, and jump straight to suggesting solutions.

Olivia is a precise writer, and excels at writing contracts, finding loop-holes, and negotiating deals. Despite these talents and her considerable intelligence, Olivia often struggles to pull of grander plans or ventures on her own, preferring to do more specific detail work while letting someone else worry about the big picture. A workaholic, Olivia has difficulty discerning her own emotional needs and taking care of her mental health.

Since her husband’s death, Olivia has become incredibly paranoid, and lives in constant fear that her secrets will be exposed. Her paranoia drives her to extremes she did not think she was capable of reaching. Deep down, she worries that she is slowly becoming a monster worse than what her father or husband were.



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Special Skills: Writing, legal analysis, drafting contracts, negotiation, debate.

Strengths: On the whole, Olivia is a competent and capable individual. She excels at work that requires a close attention to detail. Give her time, and she can draft a contract without any wiggle room, or find the perfect loop-hole. In professional settings, she works well with others. She has a strong work ethic, and is much disciplined. Olivia is a highly focused and driven individual, who, despite her many mistakes and failures, is still very good at getting what she wants.

Weaknesses: Olivia is often blinded by her own plans or desires, and gets so focused on a particular objective or desire that she fails to consider other possibilities. She is prone to jumping to conclusions, or assuming that the first theory she comes up with is always the correct one. Self-conscious about both her appearance and her social skills, Olivia often pushes people away before they have a chance to get close, and usually comes across as a snob or a braggart. She also very detached from her own emotions, and often fails to realize when she is upset or angry until it is too late.

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Olivia Patresen was the eldest daughter of Lord Olyvar Patresen and his wife, Lady Lyna Patresen (nee Elariel), born in 869. Her parents were married young, for political reasons, binding the first family of House Patresen more closely to their Elariel cousins by marrying their heir to a daughter of Elariel’s first tier. Lyna Patresen, a rebellious woman especially by the stringent standards of Elariel, had little love for her new husband, and sought to defy him at every opportunity.

Olivia grew up caught between her two parents, but allied with neither. Her sister, Amneera, who was seven years younger, became the family’s golden child who Lyna, Olyvar, and Olivia all doted on. While Olivia sometimes resented her sister’s easy way of garnering affection from others, she also acknowledged her own role in pushing people away. Growing up watching her parents continually betraying one another, Olivia could not help but resolve to depend on no one but herself. On the whole, she was an independent child who preferred to spend time alone reading or exploring to spending time with other children. Her sister, Amneera, was the one exception to the rule. From the time her sister was born, Olivia had a strong protective instinct. However, she also found it difficult to relate to a sibling who was so much younger than her. Amneera became someone to protect and defend against the machinations of others, rather than a friend. In some ways, it seemed to Olivia that Amneera was her daughter, and their parents were threats to guard against.

At the age of ten, Olivia failed to snap. She took her beating in stride, but could not help but notice a subtle shift in attitude from her father. Within a night, her once endless potential had lessened slightly. She was no longer a potential allomancer, and Lord Olyvar could already see that he would have difficulty making his defiant eldest daughter into a suitable wife. After this time, he moved towards focusing his attentions on his younger daughter, Amneera, grooming her into a suitable political tool.

As Olivia grew into her teens, she threw herself into her studies rather than the traditional feminine arts, studying mathematics, medicine, law, and business. She also began writing creatively, and began to dream of writing a novel one day. After her debut, she became known for bringing stacks of books to balls, and refusing the company of young men her age in favour of her studies or her writing. When she did choose to socialize, Olivia was more likely to favour the company of obligators or even Terris stewards to her fellow nobility.

Though disinterested in romance or balls, Olivia had a keen political mind and a healthy interest in Patresen’s political and business dealings. Her father limited her participation in Patresen business ventures, but as she grew into adult hood, and her marriage prospects began to decrease, Lord Olyvar slowly began to relent and let her become more involved in negotiating and drafting contracts and alliances with other houses.

The conflict between Olivia’s parents came to a head in 893, when Olivia’s mother vanished without a trace. Here and there, clues were found that Lord Olyvar may have had something to do with his wife’s disappearance, but no claims were pursued. Olyvar put his spies and informants into over drive, trying to find any evidence that would exonerate him, and to bury anything that incriminated him. Lyna’s defiance was well known to the Elariels, and so in the absence of evidence to the contrary, they believed Olyvar when he claimed she had run away. Due to Lord Olyvar’s station and influence, and Lyna’s troubling reputation for going her own way, the Obligators agreed it was not in their interest to investigate her disappearance, especially after Lord Patresen made a generous donation to several ministry projects in Fadrex.

Olivia remained unconvinced of her father’s innocence. At the same time, she also knew her mother was anything but blameless, and could not imagine that her cunning, determined mother might be dead. She began to gather what evidence she could of her father’s involvement, but remained undecided on what she would do if she found anything concrete. Olivia had not bonded with either parent, so any loyalty she possessed was to her house as a default. While she often disagreed with her father, she acknowledged that generally he did a good job of managing their house’s affairs. While having the Inquisitors drag him off for the murder of his wife would be satisfying, a scandal of that magnitude would hurt House Patresen’s standing.

Lyna’s disappearance did change one thing for Olivia. Before, she had viewed her father as an adversary or obstacle; even during her snapping ritual she had never really feared him. With her mother gone, sometimes Olivia could not help but imagine that some hidden malice lurked beneath her father’s glares and looks of disapproval. She began to regard his actions with an extra layer of suspicion and mistrust. She strove to become an asset to him, so that life without her would not be too temptingly convenient. No matter how hard Olivia worked, or what she did to secure her position within the house, she was unable to shake or ignore the idea that one day her father might kill her.

Her grand scheme originally began out of self-preservation. Fearing for her life, Olivia began to secure the loyalties of her underlings for herself personally, rather than to her as her father’s agent. She began making efforts to develop a rapport with her contacts and business associates, assuring them that she, personally had their best interests at heart.

As she began to gain more influence, however, Olivia began to realize she wanted more than to secure her position with the house. Despite her youth, or perhaps because of it, she already felt she could do a better job of ruling than her father. Olyvar had already named a cousin his heir, as he felt that neither of his daughters was up to the task.

Speaking with other young members of the house, Olivia began to realize she wasn’t the only one who felt her gifts were not being managed properly. Many of her generation felt they unfairly shouldered most of the day to day management of House contracts and business, while the older members took all of the credit and reaped the benefit of the profits. The dissatisfied young adults of House Patresen began to see Olivia as a sort of figurehead, and began to support her in her efforts. As she gained more support and stiffened her resolve, Olivia began to refine her objectives, and eventually decided that the best option, both for her and for her followers, was to break off from House Patresen and form a new House, taking some of Patresen’s top contracts and allies with them in the process. Olivia also began securing the loyalty of as many of the House Allomancers as possible, conscious of their importance if she were to protect her house from outside domination.

To avoid suspicion, Olivia continued to let her father think that her mother’s disappearance had brought her back into line, channeling her continued fear that her nightmares might be true and her father could be a killer. To this end, when negotiations began surrounding Amneera’s marriage, Olivia began to distance herself from her sister as well. While Olivia’s spies did not instill her with any confidence in Canler Lekal’s character, at least Amneera’s marriage into a Great House, and the importance of that marriage to Patresen, Lekal, and Elariel, would keep Amneera safe from Olyvar. Not wanting to jeopardize the negotiations or Amneera’s future with her schemes, Olivia urged her allies to hold off making their move until after the wedding. Part of her felt like she was just making excuses to make herself feel better for abandoning her sister because she knew she could not take Amneera with her, but Olivia tried her best not to dwell on these thoughts. Amneera was popular at court in Fadrex, and she would do well in Luthadel on the arm of the heir to a Great House.

The wedding came and went. Olivia did not accompany her father and sister to Luthadel, choosing instead to stay behind and solidify her plans. Her farewell to her sister was formal and subdued for the most part. A single warm embrace was their only gesture of affection. And then, just like that, Amneera was gone, and Olivia was left alone with her scheme.

Her father returned home a day ahead of schedule, barging into Olivia’s apartment with guards in the middle of the night.

“Is it true?” he demanded, as Olivia forced herself into wakefulness, ordering her groggy mind to be alert. “Are you leaving?”

Olivia froze as her mind went through all of the possibilities. Someone had betrayed her, but who? It might not have been a betrayal, perhaps her father had heard from one of the contract holders Olivia had approached to discuss her move. Still, she would have to proceed carefully if there was a possibility that someone was leaking intelligence to her father.

“I’m waiting for an answer! Or are you going to just stand there and play dumb?”

Olivia’s eyes narrowed at her father’s tone. The weapons and armor of the guards glinted in the light of the torches they held. Were her nightmares coming true? Had he woken up her mother this way, the night she vanished?

“How DARE you defy me in this way!” he snarled, taking her silence as an affirmative answer. Striding forward, he ripped her covers and sheets from her bed, throwing them into an untidy pile on the ground. “You little fool. You’ve jeopardized everything !”

“No,” Olivia got up from her bed, standing proudly despite the fact that she was only wearing a thin shift. “I’m trying to save everything from the incompetence of you and yours. I will be a thrall to you no longer, and you can bet that I have others who feel the same way lining up to support me.” As she spoke she strode towards her father so that she could look him directly in the eye. “You cannot control me!”

It felt good to stand up to him, after almost two years of living in fear. Even so, Olivia could feel her heart racing as adrenaline surged through her body. Her father was enraged, that much was clear, and Olivia found his rage strangely invigorating. She knew she was tempting fate by defying him this way, and how simple it would be for him to have her killed at this point, but strangely, she didn’t care. She could feel her fear of him slipping away.

Lord Patresen held his daughter’s gaze for a moment, then looked away. “Just watch me,” he spat. He left with his retinue, already shouting instructions for rooting out traitors to the house. He left two guards behind to guard the door, instructing them not to let Olivia out, or anyone else in.

When he was gone, in full view of the guards, Olivia went to her wardrobe to retrieve a robe and some slippers, and then set to work, knowing her time was limited. As she exited her apartments, one of her father’s men fell into step beside her, no doubt instructed to see who she would approach. Knowing her father, Olivia was certain that the guard was just a distraction, and that he would have several more spies watching her while staying out of sight. He wants me to lead him to my co-conspirators. Determined not to let that happen, Oliva began forming a plan.

First, she visited several family members who were not involved in the scheme. She woke them in the middle of the night, and then conversed with them. Most were annoyed and baffled by her behaviour, and some grew quite angry when they began to think she was wasting their time just to cause trouble, but in each conversation Oliva was sure to through in bits and pieces that could be mistaken for coded messages. Slowly, she began to visit a few key family members who were a part of her faction, using her tail to let them know not to speak freely, while delivering the message that her father was on to their plan.

As the sun’s red light began to peep in through the windows, Olivia finally began to feel as if she might stand a chance. The allies she had managed to get messages to could start contacting the owners of the contracts they wanted to take with them. Getting involved herself would only draw her father’s attention to his vulnerable points, and so, Oliva was forced to wait out most of the day in isolation. Unable to sleep, she took to roaming the halls of the keep, trying to mislead her father wherever she could, while looking for any hints of how her allies’ efforts might be going. By now, the entire family seemed to know that something was going on. People bustled through the halls, eyeing each other with suspicion. One by one they all passed Olivia by, ignoring her as if she was a stray animal wanting food or an invalid pan-handling on the street.

In the end, her plan failed, as one by one her father either won her fellow conspirators back to his side, or found other ways to get rid of them. The contracts and alliances that Olivia had worked so hard to take with her remained firmly in her father’s grasp once House Patreson’s business partners learned that Olivia had lost her support base. Olivia was forbidden from leaving the keep, placed under constant supervision, and barred from participating in any House business. After all of her hard work, Olivia found herself left with nothing. Her mother and sister were gone, the chances of her marrying out to another house were decreasing year by year, and now she was unable to work or participate in the political scene at balls. After a few months of imprisonment, Olivia realized she had no choice but to take matters into her own hands, and retake control of her life.

Her new plan was a simple one. She informed her father that she intended to join the ministry. Though she was a tad old to start training as an acolyte, the Obligators were always eager to welcome prominent members of powerful houses to the fold. Joining the ministry would give her an opportunity to work again, get her out from under her father’s thumb, and it would provide her with a good excuse not to be married. Her father was quick to see the benefits he would gain, including a way to get Olivia out of the house without causing a scandal, and to prevent her from trying to gain any form of power again. Obligators had their own power structures, and supposedly did not involve themselves in the struggles of the nobility.

Olivia moved to Austrex where she studied with the Obligators as an acolyte for almost six years. She focused on legal work, intending to join the Canton of Orthodoxy, or the Undercanton of Arbitration. At several times during her studies Olivia was offered the opportunity to shave her head and earn her tattoos, but each time she found a way to delay, finding ways to show her superiors that, despite her hard work and dedication, she was still not yet ready. Her sister, Amneera, attempted to contact her several times, but Olivia ignored every letter, not wanting to remember all that she had lost. Even the news that Amneera had given birth to a healthy baby boy, and that Olivia was an Aunt was not enough to bring her out of the new life she had chosen for herself.

Her studies were interrupted when new evidence began to implicate her in her mother’s disappearance. Olivia suspected that her father, concerned that her failure to become a full Obligator meant she was reconsidering her decision to leave the house, was responsible for the supposed ‘evidence’ appearing so suddenly. There was never enough of it to do more than fuel rumours, but that was all it took for her superiors to become concerned. Eventually, one of the obligators who had charge of the acolytes advised Olivia that it might be best if she discontinued her education, so that the ministry could avoid any future scandals.

Having spent the last six years lost in her studies, Olivia found herself without a single friend or ally to depend on in Austrex, and knew that her father would never allow her to return to Fadrex. No doubt he had more false evidence and rumours ready to destroy her if she tried to return. With the help of one of the few old contacts she still kept in touch with, and one of the Obligators who had been sad to see her leave, Olivia found work as a legal consultant, drafting contracts on a small Merchant Vessel that shipped goods from Tavira to Austrex. The ship in question was owned by the powerful Fathvell family, who were, according to rumour, interested in expanding their influence outside of the Southern Isles, and had their sights set on Luthadel itself. Not wanting to emphasize her connection to her house, Olivia let herself be known simply as Lady Olivia. Slowly but surely, her many years of studying and extensive business experience began to pay off, and she started to move up the ranks, eventually securing a permanent position working for the Fathvells in Tavira itself, overseeing the employment contracts and skaa loans for dozens of trading vessels.

Not long after Olivia settled in Tavira, she received an invitation to tea from a woman she had never heard of before. The Southern Isles were full of wealthy people—nobles, skaa, and everything in between—living under false names, and so Olivia decided to accept the invitation to avoid insulting a potential acquaintance. Having not attended any sort of society event in years, Olivia found herself out of practice as she chose an outfit and styled her hair for the tea.

When she arrived, her host, who went by the name Lady Opal, ushered her into a private dining parlour, where a second guest was waiting for tea to begin. While she did not recognize her host, Olivia felt a chill run down her spine as she recognized the other woman in the room.

It was her mother.

Lady Lyna Patreson, or Lady Isolde, as she was now called, laid out her entire story for Olivia that day. Apparently she and Lady Opal, another former member of the Fadrex elite, had been lovers before and during Lyna’s marriage to Olivia’s father. Together, they laid plans to escape Fadrex, fake Lyna’s death, and implicate Lord Patreson in her supposed murder. While their plans to bring Olyvar down had not come to fruition, the rest of the plan had worked, and the two had been living in relative luxury, using funds embezzled from both of their families, in the Southern Isles ever since.

While she never allowed herself to fully trust her mother again, Olivia began to relish the chance to socialize outside of work with people she had something in common with, and she soon became a frequent guest of the Ladies Opal and Isolde. The two women’s relationship was an open secret in Tavira, and while not openly accepted or acknowledged by the fashionable set, the two ‘friends’ had managed to secure positions of middling importance in the Taviran social scene. With their help, Olivia began to receive invitations to social functions. At first, being back among her peers felt strange to Olivia, who had become used to being treated as a hired underling. However, Taviran society was far more fluid than the rigid hierarchies of the inner dominances, and Olivia often found herself rubbing elbows with high lords and ladies whose houses stretched back generations and retired skaa thieves and pirates at the same event. In time, she too began to find her place, becoming a familiar face among the island elite and the criminal underground.

She first became acquainted with Fabian Fathvell at a ball, though she had run across his name many times in her dealings with House Fathvell. Fabian, a bastard both by birth and by attitude, was first cousins to Dastand, Lord of House Fathvell, and the most powerful man in the Southern Isles. In Fabian, Olivia found an intellectual equal and a confidante who seemed to understand her. The two hit it off from the beginning, and Olivia soon found herself working under Fabian directly, as he worked to prevent the underbelly of the Fathvell family business from jeopardizing the house’s ascent. Fabian had a brilliant mind, and a talent for getting his way no matter who stood against him, whether that meant taking advantage of a crucial piece of leverage at just the right moment, or by working a well phrased threat into a tense negotiation. While Olivia had experienced feelings of attraction to other noblemen before, no one in Fadrex or Austrex had ever captured her attention like Fabian did. He was a constant enigma; every time she thought she was beginning to understand who he was underneath the professional attitude and well laid schemes, he continued to surprise her.

And together, they could work miracles. After a life time of seeing her own well laid plans struggle and fail, while working with Fabian Olivia finally began to see her skills used successfully as their plans came to fruition again and again. There were aspects of every assignment that Fabian kept back from her, but speculating about what pieces of the puzzle he was keeping hidden only intensified the mystery and increased Olivia’s interest in Fabian. As time passed, she began to imagine the life they might have together. Bastard or not, marrying Fabian would secure her position in Tavira, and she would no longer have to be concerned about finding work elsewhere if the Fathvells decided they no longer needed her services.

They had been working closely together for a little over a year when Olivia brought up the idea of marriage, and was surprised when Fabian laughed in her face. When his laughter subsided and he realized she wasn’t joking a bemused expression crossed Fabian’s face. He explained that he hadn’t realized she had feelings for him, and that he perceived their relationship as professional and platonic.

“Come now, Olivia. Romance is a useless fantasy for those silly fools we mock at balls. It’s a tool to be used to manipulate others. I have to say I’m surprised. I did not think of you as someone so prone to be taken in by sentiment.” He paused to take a sip of wine, and Olivia noticed as his lips quirked into an amused smile. “In fact, I’ve always respected your professional attitude. One of the things I admire about you is your ability to stay on task and not take things personally.”

Olivia did her best to contain her emotions as the two quickly returned to work. Inside, however, she found herself in turmoil. After all these years, she thought that she had finally found in Fabian someone who could really understand her. How could he not see how well they complimented each other? Reliving Fabian’s mocking smile again and again in her dreams quickly turned her feelings of respect and affection into a festering resentment. How dare he reject her, and pretend that what they had meant nothing! Olivia began to suspect that something might be preventing Fabian from acting on any feelings he might have for her, and set about investigating in her free time. Her status as an employee of his house might have been an issue elsewhere in the empire, but with his illegitimate birth, her noble pedigree, and the relaxed social mores of Tavira, that seemed to be a flimsy excuse. Her work with Fabian had provided her with many contacts at all levels of Taviran society, and Olivia began to put together a small network of spies to keep tabs on Fabian and find out what secret he might be hiding. She began to see the shroud of secrecy around Fabian’s activities and motivations as some sort of test, and believed that if she could prove to him that she could handle the darkness in his life, that she belonged at his side, he would finally admit his feelings for her.

Eventually, her investigations began to turn up information. Her agents began to inform her that Fabian was routinely meeting with young, attractive, men, who, to Olivia’s knowledge, were not connected to any of Fabian’s business for House Fathvell. The fact that she could never catch him meeting with the same person twice seemed to confirm that the rendezvous were not business oriented. Thinking of her mother’s life-long affair with Lady Opal, Olivia began to suspect that the reason Fabian refused to return her affections might not be something she could change.

Still, Olivia persisted, thinking that maybe, if she could best Fabian at his own game, she could prove herself to him and win him over. Once she had enough proof, she brought it to him and gave him an ultimatum: marry her, or let the world find out he preferred men to women.

Fabian’s cold eyes twinkled with amusement. “Come now Olivia. You must admit, this is a tad heavy handed, even for you. Do you really want to blackmail me into marrying you?”

Olivia kept her face composed, knowing Fabian would be searching for any sign of weakness. “Like you said, sentiment and romance is for fools. You belong to a powerful family in this part of the world. Who knows, House Fathvell could become a Great House in the next decade. Right now, my continued prosperity is reliant on your whims. If I want to climb higher, I need insurance that you can’t tire of me and cast me aside.”

Fabian licked his teeth behind closed lips as he mulled over what she said. “A practical motivation. I suppose I am to believe that your earlier expression of sentiment was a fabrication meant to achieve a similar goal?” Olivia held her ground, forcing herself not to break his gaze. “Surely you must see your current plan has even more flaws than your last one. Why should I care if you make your theory public? You know better than anyone that the rules work differently here than they do in the rest of the empire.”

“That would be true, if House Fathvell was only interested in the Southern Isles. You know better than anyone that Dastand has his eyes set on Luthadel. When it is time for Fathvell to move up in the world, it must fit in with the other houses. The elite of Luthadel will be poised and ready to find a reason to undermine House Fathvell’s credibility. While it might be permissible for Lord Fathvell to bring his bastard cousin to court, do you really think he would risk bringing you along with that sort of scandal hanging over your head? You may act non-chalant, but you are just as ambitious as I am. Being at the forefront of the political scene is your bread and butter. You would never give Lord Fathvell cause to shuffle you aside and leave you behind in Tavira if Fathvell ascends.”

Fabian remained silent for a time, never letting that infuriating half-smile leave his face. “I suppose you are correct. While I do not share your certainty that your word will be enough to brand me unfit for the high society of our mainland peers, I did not get where I am today by leaving things to chance.” Olivia eyed Fabian suspiciously. She realized that deep down, she hadn’t really expected this plan to work, and she certainly had not believed it would be so easy to win the normally obstinate Fabian over. I’m missing something, but what?

Fabian seemed to see some of her doubt. “Having second thoughts? Or were you hoping for some sort of proposal? You’ll have to forgive me for not getting down on one knee. These trousers are favourites, and I wouldn’t want to risk ruining them. But come, let’s celebrate our impending nuptials. I’ll order us some more wine, and we can make arrangements with the Obligator in the morning.” Fabian opened the door and made arrangements with the skaa outside to send for wine and a light meal. “Now that I think of it, making you an official part of the family will make things far more convenient. I really have enjoyed working with you this last while, and it would have been a shame to go our separate ways in a few years if Dastand’s plans come to fruition. And we’ll be able to have late night meetings without finding excuses. This almost makes me wish I had given the idea more thought when you first brought it up.”

Fabian nattered on, and all the while the nagging feeling that Olivia was missing something continued to grow. She thought she was going to best him, to force him to comply with her desires. She had expected him to be angry or resentful, or at least defeated.

“We’ll keep the ceremony small, I suppose? No need to draw undue attention, after all. Just an Obligator and a few close friends and relatives, hmmm? And no need for all that fuss with the clothing and food. We are both busy people, after all. We can’t afford to have distractions.” It was as if he was enjoying himself. Despite her better judgement, Olivia began to wonder if Fabian might actually have feelings for her. Maybe he really had wanted to marry her all along. But that makes no sense! Soon the conversation turned back to work, and when Olivia woke up the next morning in her small rented apartment, she could hardly believe what happened was real.

They were married a week later. Olivia’s things were moved into Fabian’s apartments in the Fathvell manor in the morning before the ceremony. Olivia went through the day in a sort of daze, still trying to figure out what kind of game Fabian was playing. In hindsight, her plan to blackmail him into marrying her seemed to be the height of foolishness. For the life of her she could not fathom why Fabian was giving in to her demands. Throughout the day she kept expecting him to stop suddenly and reveal his compliance was all part of some big joke meant to humiliate her, but the punch-line she feared never materialized, and the day passed by without incident.

“Now then, my darling wife, I hope you don’t mind, but I planned something a little… unorthodox, for a wedding night.” Fabian continued to grin. He’s laughing at me. Olivia felt a sinking feeling in her stomach. Fabian’s expression was on the one he always wore after successfully duping someone.

“Fabian,” she hesitated, still hardly believing where she was. “We don’t have to… I mean, I know what your preferences are. A pledge before an Obligator is binding in at of itself, and it’s not as if I will be producing any heirs at my age. There’s no need to proceed further for the sake of tradition. You’ve performed your part of the bargain. Your secrets are safe.”

“And skip the grand finale? My dear Olivia, I wouldn’t dream of it. Besides, I’ve prepared such a lovely gift, just for you!” Still grinning like a child on his birthday, Fabian held open the door to his… their bedroom. Hesitantly, Olivia stepped inside, and barely stopped herself from screaming.

A young man, naked and covered with cuts and bruises, knelt in chains in front of Fabian’s bed. Various weapons on tools gleamed menacingly on a sturdy wooden table nearby. Olivia resisted the urge to vomit, and tried to avoid looking at the man. Though he was gagged, his eyes still seemed to plead with her, begging for release.

“You’ve been torturing him…” Olivia took a breath, trying to order her thoughts. Fabian always had an uncanny way of getting information out of people. Part of her had always expected that sometimes he might use torture as a method, but she had never dreamed that he would carry out such work himself. “I don’t understand, do you need information from him?”

“Oh of course not. You know I take my job very seriously Olivia. I never play when I should be working. This one is entirely for my own amusement.”

“I… I don’t understand.”

“Come now, Olivia, you’re a clever girl. You have all the pieces, now put them together.” Fabian paused to scratch his chin as if deep in thought. “How about some wine, hmmm? We did just get married. We must have a toast to our happy life together.”

Olivia remained silent as Fabian bustled over to a separate table and began pouring two glasses of wine. “I’m sorry to have let you labour under you mistaken assumptions about me, but I couldn’t jeopardize the big reveal. I have to say, you impressed me Olivia. My discretion has always been a source of pride for me. It’s not often someone manages to keep watch on me without being detected.” Olivia remained motionless as Fabian handed her a glass. He shrugged and set it down on the floor next to her. After taking a sip from his own glass, he set it down on the table with the gleaming tools, and began removing his jacket and vest. “I can even see why you reached the conclusions you did. When you find the human body as fascinating as I do, there’s nothing more satisfying than studying a prime specimen like this one, and men are so much more useful than women. All those tears and attempts to garner sympathy grow tiring rather quickly. Young men are always so sure of themselves, they think they are invincible. They try to pretend they aren’t afraid, that what I do doesn’t really hurt them. Watching them break, and guessing when it will happen, is half the fun.”

Olivia felt sick. This isn’t real, this isn’t happening. The Fabian she knew couldn’t be capable of this, could he? She was having a nightmare. Then why can I smell that man’s blood?

“Who is he?” Despite her best efforts, Olivia could hear the quaver in her voice.

Fabian shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe he’s a pirate’s bastard, or perhaps the heir to a conman’s fortune. My people know what my tastes are, and find one’s whose disappearance won’t be looked into. Law enforcement here on the isles isn’t what it is on the mainland. His family might miss him, but they won’t risk drawing attention to themselves by making a fuss. They’ll just assume he was mugged or met some other unfortunate fate and move on with their lives. I assume I’ll miss the benefits of living on the fringes of civilization some day, but that just gives me all the more reason to enjoy them now.”

“I was wrong. About you… I was wrong. Why did you agree to marry me?”

“Because I know you, Olivia dearest. If I had turned you down again, you would have done one of two things. Either you would have spread your little theory about my sexual preferences, making my peers inconveniently curious about what I do in my spare time, or you would have realized you were missing something and kept on digging to you found the truth. Of the two, the second seems more likely to me, but the result is the same. I would have lost your valuable services, and my way of life would have been put into jeopardy. My dear cousin might have his suspicions about me, but if he knew the full extent of my little hobby, his conscience might force him to take action against me. As things stand, I clean up House Fathvell’s messes so he doesn’t have to get his hands dirty, and he ignores it when random skaa go missing, or that I always seem to be in need of new clothing. That would all change if my actions started to reflect badly on House Fathvell, which is why I thought it best to simply marry you and avoid all that rubbish.”

“Why reveal yourself now? I could still turn on you.”

Fabian shrugged. “You could. But I’m guessing you won’t after you see what I can do to people who turn against me.” With practiced grace, Fabian reached out to grab a small silver knife from the table and paced over to the man. “It’s actually refreshing to share all of this with someone. Perhaps there is something to this whole marriage thing after all.”

As Fabian moved the knife towards his prisoner, Olivia turned and fled for the door, only to find it blocked from the outside. Behind her, the man moaned in pain, his screams muffled by the gag. Weeping freely, she crouched on the ground, and put her hands in her hears trying to block out what she knew was happening behind her. At times she could dimly hear Fabian calling out to her, asking her to come watch. She ignored his treaties, and remained, crouched and unmoving by the door, terrified of what she would see if she turned around. Eventually, exhaustion hit her and she fell asleep, and her nightmares took over for the one she was living through.

Olivia woke up in Fabian’s bed. Her skin crawled at the thought of that creature carrying her while she slept. After a moment of panic during which she ascertained that she was still wearing the gown she had worn for the wedding, and that she had no injuries, Olivia hesitantly lifted the covers, and peeked out into the room.

The man from the night before was still there, or rather, his body was. One look at what was left of him was enough to make Olivia vomit. Just as she was beginning to recover, the door swung open and Fabian strolled in, humming to himself as he carried her a tray with breakfast on it. He paused to lock the door firmly behind him.

“Ah, excellent, you’re awake! I hope you don’t mind I let you sleep in a little. Last night seemed to take a lot out of you. No time to dawdle though, you know we have a busy day ahead of us. It really is a shame we don’t have time for a honeymoon, but maybe we can pencil something in next summer?”

It took time for Olivia to adjust to her new life. Everyone who knew her could tell that something was wrong, but Fabian simply told them she wasn’t feeling well. They never spoke of their wedding night, or of his hobby again, and Olivia suffered in silence with the secret. Being near Fabian made her feel physically ill, but she forced herself to continue working with him to keep up appearances. Over time, things started to almost seem normal for them, and they fell into a routine.

Olivia lived in constant fear that one day, Fabian would tire of her, and in her last moments she would discover the full extent of the agony and terror the man from their wedding night had felt. Being married to Fabian made her previous fear of her father seem childish. Olyvar Patreson was many things, but he certainly wasn’t a killer. Her petty squabbles him seemed like child’s play compared to the daily struggle for survival that was her marriage to Fabian. There were times when Olivia could almost pretend that their wedding night had never happened, and that maybe they really were just a husband and wife, working together to protect their house from its enemies. All it took was remembering the desperation in the poor man’s eyes to reveal her fantasy for the lie that it was. If Olivia had worried that her father might kill her someday, she became certain that her husband definitely would.

Eventually, she realized that remaining married to a monster like Fabian could only result in her death, whether by his hand or her own, and began to develop yet another plan. Many times, she found herself too paralyzed by fear to act, but forced herself to proceed once the fear had passed. Even if getting caught meant death,that would only be the early arrival of the inevitable if she did nothing.

The main wrinkle in all of her plans was the Fathvell family. While he was not popular personally due to his tendency to unsettle people, Olivia was keenly aware of her status as an outsider within her new family. Like and house who intended to succeed in the Final Empire, House Fathvell took care of its own, and was wary of outsiders. Despite her Patreson heritage, her circumstances prior to her marriage caused her in-laws to see her as an ambitious upstart clawing her way to power by any means necessary. Olivia tried to make friends and allies, but many were annoyed by her domineering personality, and her decidedly professional demeanor did little to earn their friendship. Olivia knew that if something happened to her husband, she would be the first person the Fathvells looked into and take vengeance for killing such a valuable member of the family. If her plan was going to work, she needed a way to avoid suspicion completely. As the years passed, she continued to plan and wait for an opportunity to present itself.

That opportunity came when House Fathvell finally started making its long anticipated move to Luthadel. Olivia realized that the only way to be certain House Fathvell wouldn’t inquire too far into the circumstances of Fabian’s death would be if doing so might jeopardize their ascension. As Dastand prepared to bring his family to Luthadel, Olivia put her plan into action.

Olivia started by making travel arrangements for the two of them, and then ensuring that business came up to keep Fabian behind, knowing that he would insist she go ahead to get things established in Luthadel. Then she paid a sailor on the transport vessel, one of her contacts from her days working with merchants, to help sabotage the ship so it would have turn back after a day’s travel to make repairs. Meanwhile, another of her contacts snuck her of the ship and rowed her to shore before the damage was discovered. Her intent was to finish with Fabian by the time the ship returned, and be safely aboard with an alibi that would withstand at least passing scrutiny.

She found him with a victim, just as expected. Fabian was surprisingly sensitive about her aversion to his habit, and seemed to avoid his indulgences when around her. Her spies had informed her that, whenever they were apart, he arranged to meet-up with an unsuspecting young man with some consistency, usually under the guise of some job opportunity.

She had to knock for several minutes at the safe house door, and call Fabian’s name, before he answered. When the door finally opened, his face widened in surprise. “Olivia, what are you doing here? I thought you had left?”

“There was a problem on the ship, and it had to return to harbour. Something came up, and I needed to speak with you.” Olivia clasped her hands in front of her, trying to keep from shaking.

“Yes, well that’s nice of you, but you can probably see that this isn’t really a good time for me.” There were small flecks of blood on his face and shirt.

“This will only take a moment. It’s about the contract with Lucretion’s men. I… It’s sensitive, so I’d prefer not to discuss it out in the hall. I normally wouldn’t bother you, but it’s urgent and… I think I can manage it if I just don’t look. I can close my eyes while you steer me in perhaps?”

Fabian tilted his head as he studied her. Olivia could tell her nervousness was obvious to him, but hopefully that would work in her favour. After all, he knew how she felt. It would make sense for her to be nervous in this situation.

“Very well.” His tone was disappointed, like a child being told he had to put his toys away and return to his studies. “Just give me a moment, will you? I’ll have to clean up a little first.”

Olivia breathed deeply after he shut the door in her face, trying not to imagine exactly what Fabian was cleaning up. You can do this! she told herself, as she fiddled with the knife she had concealed in her sleeve. The blade was coated with a vicious poison made from a water plant that grew in marshes and riverbeds. Fabian had told her about it once, and apparently a single ounce in the blood stream was enough to kill a man. Standing there waiting, the knife and poison combined began to seem like overkill, but she had no desire to see if her nightmares would become realities if she failed to kill Fabian with her first strike.

Eventually, Fabian let her in. After that, it was over quickly. She waited until his back was turned, and then she killed him, stabbing her knife into his back. The first blow sent Fabian collapsing to his knees as the poison entered his blood stream. Olivia drove her knife into her husband’s back again and again until her face, gown and arms were all covered in his blood, and he stopped moving. Then, she took her knife and left her husband lying in a pool of his own blood. A sound distracted her as she moved towards to the door. Turning, she caught sight of Fabian’s victim for time. She had been avoiding him at first, and then killing Fabian had commanded all of her attention. The man, though obviously bruised and broken in more ways than one, was still very much alive, a fact that Olivia had not accounted for.

“I’m sorry.” Her voice came out cold and dead sounding. She knew what she had to do. If the Fathvells found out what she had done, her own life would be forfeit. Clumsily, she took her knife once again and slit the prisoner’s throat, and then watched him die as well. Afterwards, she would tell herself it had been a kindness to end the poor man’s life, rather than let him live with what Fabian had done to him, but she never quite convinced herself.

After that, Olivia left the safe house for one of her own hideouts. There, she washed, changed out of her clothes, and then dumped her gown, gloves, and the knife into the sea. She met her operative right on schedule, and snuck back on to her ship without incident.

When the ship returned to Tavira to make repairs, Olivia Fathvell was greeted with the news of her husband’s death. The story she was given was that he had been mugged. As expected, it would seem that the Fathvells wanted to avoid the scandal that would be caused if it got out that one of their own had been found dead next to a man who was obviously the victim of excessive torture.

Olivia postponed her trip to Luthadel indefinitely, made funeral arrangements, and did her duties as Fabian’s widow. In between choosing decorations and receiving visitors, she also quietly had the sailor who had sabotaged the ship and the contact who had rowed her to shore killed. After killing two men with her own hands, it was frighteningly easy for her to give the order. She told the Fathvell assassins that the men were enemies of the house, and that Fabian had been in the process of arranging their deaths before he met his own untimely end.

No matter how many loose ends that Olivia tied up, she could not help but be paranoid that she was missing something. Eventually, she decided it would be prudent to leave Tavira, and try to make a new life in Luthadel. Without Fabian, her position within House Fathvell was uncertain, and she found that her old associates were beginning to avoid her, and that people were avoiding sending even simple legal or contract work to her. Not knowing where else to turn, Olivia wrote to her sister Amneera, fully expecting to be ignored or rejected. To her surprise, her sister’s reply was prompt and undeniably supportive, insisting that Olivia come and stay with her in Luthadel. Knowing that visiting her sister in Luthadel was the best excuse she could hope for, Olivia immediately wrote to accept, and then set about making preparations for her move.

To their credit, the Fathvells were more than courteous, offering her a place to stay in Keep Fathvell, or a manor in one of Luthadel’s satellite communities. Olivia thanked her inlaws for their kind offers, but insisted that she would be quite well taken care of by her sister at Keep Lekal for the time being.

Her reunion with Amneera was strange. In the wake of the attack on the Casuana ball and Mikhail Elariel’s assassination, Efram and Adalae had been sent on a pleasure trip away from the capital for their own safety. After apologizing for their absence, Amneera did her best to describe Olivia’s niece and nephew, sharing little anecdotes and stories from their childhood. Any time the conversation turned towards Olivia’s life since Amneera’s marriage, Olivia made excuses or changed the subject, letting Amneera do most of the talking. She could tell her sister was a little hurt that Olivia was refusing to share anything about the past quarter century, but for the time being she seemed content to pretend as if they had not been estranged for half of their lives.

When it came time for Amneera to leave for some social engagement, she surprised Olivia by grasping her hand tenderly. “I can tell these years have not been easy for you, Olivia, and I understand if you do not want to share your experiences with me. Just know that I am here for you, and that you are welcome to stay here as long as you need. It may feel like we have become strangers now, but we are still family. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.”

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(A scene from this character's viewpoint. Take care in picking a scene. It could be a scene from the past or it could happen practically during current events. In any case, write something important to the character so everyone can truly feel the character)

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