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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.

Read the full prologue!

Topics on the forum will contain spoilers for the Mistborn Trilogy





Mistborn Series Brandon Sanderson
Allomantic Table, Symbols, and Cartography by Isaac Stewart
Luthadel Images: mking2008
Other Graphics: KChan at 17th Shard
Final Empire, Metallic Arts, and Style Guides by Chaos at 17th Shard
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Coats and Tables

Private W2 D4 LN Eliza Fathvell Caden Hasting Jasun Vallace

26 replies to this topic

#1 Eliza Fathvell


  • Daughter of Lord Fathvell

565
House Sureau
  • Age19

  • Relationship StatusCourting Caden Hasting

  • OriginSouthern Islands

Posted 19 May 2016 - 12:55 AM

Silence reigned in the night outside as the carriage made its way back to Keep Fathvell. Not Keep Hasting, for all it was actually a Fathvell carriage and Eliza had technically picked Caden up. But Caden was a proper gentleman, so suggesting that she drop him off would have been an insult. Besides, they were a couple now, weren't they? It was dizzying enough just remembering that, but she could keep her head well enough to recall the few things she knew about relationships. Of course he would want to take care of her. And while she didn't appreciate being treated like glass the way some of her relatives did, it was hardly a concession to let him see her safely home.

She would just have to make sure he accepted a ride to Keep Hasting once he got her there.

The carriage ride at the moment was simultaneously comfortable and awkward for Eliza. She was far more at ease with Caden than she had been at the start of the day, but how much would change now that she had accepted his offer of courtship? How much would stay the same? How was she supposed to act? She had no idea, and no one to really ask. Felix was likely going to just express shock and confusion that his wild runabout Best Cousin had accepted anyone at all, let alone a refined and polished man like Caden, and would probably tell her it was weird. In a loving way, of course, that only Felix could manage. Aunt Cora would probably either start planning the wedding or chastise her over all the political implications this would cause. Or both. Simultaneously. Somehow. Because Aunt Cora was just that talented. Father... no. She couldn't ask him. Never him, not about this. He still saw her as a child and always would. Jerzen, perhaps? He knew plenty of things, and had been her conscience for years.

Still, regardless of how little she supposedly knew, she had conducted herself surprisingly well tonight. The dances with Caden had been, of course, wonderful, just as she had hoped they'd be. But the real shock was how she composed herself during the chats with his various contacts. She'd gone into it expecting to freeze up like she always did, but having her arm on Caden's reminded her that she wasn't alone. That simple but powerful reminder worked wonders, allowing her to be, well, herself. She'd even managed to make favorable impressions on at least some of them. Granted, a few of them were because they'd had the presence of mind to ask a Fathvell about the wine selection on offer that evening, but she'd impressed even herself with that short discussion on the way increased tariffs had affected private travel between the Islands and Luthadel.

And now they were on their way home, exhausted and starving and out way later than Eliza was used to, but despite all of her awkwardness and hesitation and worries, she didn't think she could be any happier right now. It would work out, right? It had so far, beyond anything she'd dared to hope for, when she had been so sure it would all fall apart. And now she knew for sure that they really were in this together, in more ways than one. Maybe, just maybe, she could even hope, at least a little bit, that whatever they had here would last longer than their war with Colette.

She smiled at Caden, resting her hand over the spot where his handkerchief lay safely tucked in her bag. Yes, everything was going to be just fine.

Posted Image


#2 Caden Hasting


  • Potential Hasting Heir (Hasting Hottie)

334
House Fathvell
  • Age24

  • Relationship StatusIn a Relationship with Eliza Fathvell

  • OriginLuthadel

Posted 19 May 2016 - 05:06 AM

Eliza smiled and Caden felt the corners of his own lips creeping up unbidden to mimic hers. This is too good to be true. All things considered, the entire day had been an incredible success. We are courting now. Our relationship is official. Caden reached down and took Eliza's hand in his own, squeezing it gently. Yesterday, I was one of Luthadel's most eligible bachelors. Now I'm a taken man. The enormity of the decision to make his relationship with Eliza official was not lost on Caden. Single, Caden's attentions at balls could be used to send subtle messages to other houses, and to curry favour with allies. As a potential heir to a Great House, he had always known that any courtship or eventual marriage would serve the purpose of cementing a substantial relationship of blood between two houses. Fathvell was hardly the worst choice--as a new house in the city, his relationship with Eliza could be a good way to cement Fathvell's ties to Hasting--but Caden had to wonder what opportunities for his house he might have been giving up when he handed Eliza that handkerchief.

What would his uncle say? Caden had no doubt that Colette would try to use his rashness to her advantage, claiming that if Caden was intent on being ruled by his emotions, he had not business ruling a house. Thinking of her, he could practically feel her touch on his emotions, rioting his feelings for Eliza to encourage an emotional outburst at just the wrong moment. I need to be strong. Caden needed to become the next leader of House Hasting, and not just for his own benefit. Colette was terrifying enough as a socialite; a world where she wielded true power was the stuff of his nightmares. Would Lord Hasting understand? The Lord's own marriage was a political match; would he begrudge Caden his chance at courting someone he really cared about?

I'm getting ahead of myself. Caden tried his best to slow his thoughts and focus on the present. While he often felt the need to predict and control every possible outcome in a situation, Eliza was anything but predictable, and yet he found that his relationship with her, whatever it became, was one thing he felt no desire to control. He had been rash in choosing to give her his handkerchief, but his decision had also been based on his instincts. Furthermore, he could hypothesize no repercussion so great that pursuing his relationship with Eliza would not be worth it in the end. What would it mean to go on several more years' worth of politically motivated dates, and then seal an alliance with a marriage, all the while watching Eliza end up with someone else?

Worry he might, one thing Caden could not question was how happy Eliza made him. For the life of him, he could not remember the last time he actually enjoyed an event because of the company he kept, rather than for the satisfaction of a job well done. Colette sometimes rioted his happiness when she was toying with his emotions, but Colette's fabricated feelings could not compare to his genuine enjoyment of Eliza's company.

Caden gave Eliza's hand, still grasped in his own, another affectionate squeeze, and tried to quiet his turbulent thoughts so he could reflect on how much he liked this unique woman from the Southern Isles, and enjoy the comfortable silence between them at the end of an incredible day.

#3 Jasun Vallace


  • Fallen Noble

123
Prelan
  • Age30

  • Relationship StatusSecretly Engaged to Lysette Hasting

  • OriginKlessium

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 20 May 2016 - 07:24 AM

Jasun felt numb as he kept pace after the carriage, running as only a mistborn could across the rooftops, tin letting his eyes pierce the mist with ease. It was not the numb of cold. He could not remember ever feeling truly cold out among the mists. Nor was it the numb of fear, the aching abyss of paranoia and anxiety that he knew quite well.

No, this was the numb, empty void of boredom and detachment. It fought to dull his senses even as tin heightened them. To blunt the edge and soften the blow of what was to come. For if he could detach himself far enough, well enough, perhaps he would not feel at all. Perhaps, even better, he would not remember killing them once all was said and done.

He would still remember their joy, their glances, the smiles he could not help but see as he stalked them. The laughs he had no choice but to hear. But if he could not remember their screams, that would be enough. It had to be.

With that thought that he leaped onto the carriage, a coin preceding him to turn the thump of his landing into an extra heavy creak of the wheels instead.

The driver did not notice him, all the better. It meant he got to live. A flare of pewter and a quick pommel strike put him under. Jasun snatched the reins from the driver's loose fingers, dragging the horses to a stop before swinging down to the ground. A few steps to the door and--

Everything had taken a handful of moments, the sudden stop might have confused them, but they might have also thought they'd arrived at Fathvell. Jasun had let them travel for as long as he could, after all. They were unaware, making an easy task easier, but still he stood, staring at the door for a breath. Then another. Then a third.

Then in one smooth motion he opened the door and ghosted through, daggers drawn. The mist curled in after him, and he flared zinc and brass on instinct, laying an oppressive weight of forced calmed and dulled fear.

"I know I shouldn't bother asking this, but please," he said, his voice strained, "Just let me kill you quietly."


#4 Eliza Fathvell


  • Daughter of Lord Fathvell

565
House Sureau
  • Age19

  • Relationship StatusCourting Caden Hasting

  • OriginSouthern Islands

Posted 21 May 2016 - 12:09 AM

Caden squeezed Eliza's hand, and she squeezed his in return. What dream had she fallen into, what fantasy was she living, for him to smile that way at her? She had had her doubts, at first, about the nature of his intentions. Sure, he had held her rather close when they danced at the Casuana ball, certainly closer than she'd ever been held or allowed herself to be held, but the rest of their conversations had been about business. Their alliance against Colette, and how best to go about it. His mention of them attending the next several balls together had been specifically for the purpose of having more time to discuss their plans and exchange information. To see the discomfort on his face when she let her true feelings show was enough to make her think she'd ruined everything.

But something had changed over the course of the evening, or perhaps the night's events had just made him comfortable enough expressing an interest that he'd had all along but she'd been unable to see. It wouldn't be a surprise; she was completely clueless when it came to romance, and Caden was a very private person. She would need to get to know him much better before she could reliably interpret his unspoken signals, and outright asking would make both of them uncomfortable.

Whatever it was, though, she was glad for it. To see Caden smile at her with such warmth and affection on his face made her heart soar in ways she'd never thought possible. But then, she hadn't ever thought she could feel this way about another person, either. Perhaps one day he'd tell her how he managed to find her at her most adrift and see the best version of herself that even she had lost sight of, but for now, she would be content to treasure the fact that he had.

Her instincts were still screaming at her to stop, slow down, come back to reality. To not let herself fall this hard or this quickly. But how could she listen to them right now, when even Caden - who just a few short hours ago had had such difficulty even telling her that he was having difficulty opening up - was smiling at her like this? That smile, so genuine and unfiltered, told her that no matter what happened, they would figure it out.

Together.

That word made her smile all the more, and she rested her other hand on his, squeezing again. As innocent a gesture as it was, that squeeze sent a thrill through her every time it happened. It was wondrous and dizzying and breathtaking, and had her half worried that her heart might stop if he ever wanted to kiss her, but she couldn't let herself worry about that right now. Besides, like she'd just reminded herself, they were in this together. Everything would be fine as long as they had each other.

As if on cue, the carriage stopped.

Eliza looked around, confused. She hadn't paid attention to the distance between the ball and Keep Fathvell because of the circuitous route they'd taken and the fact that she was alone with Caden in the carriage, so she couldn't tell whether or not it was too soon to be stopping, but it was eerily silent outside. Usually when a carriage pulled up to a keep, there would be at least a little background noise going on. Guards exchanging greetings with the coachman, other carriages or horses coming and going, that sort of thing. The stop was usually much smoother than this unsteady lurch, too.

"Get your cane," she whispered urgently to Caden. "I think we're--"

Too late. The door opened, and a man in a Mistcloak entered, mists curling around him and dancing with his fluttering tassels. His knives were drawn, and as soon as she laid eyes on him, a thick blanket of oddly calm fear pressed down on her chest, driving the breath from her lungs. Trying to keep them quiet, probably. She was used to this sort of treatment from the more refined and well-funded pirate crews.

"I know I shouldn't bother asking this," he said in an atypically strained voice for a trained assassin, "But please, just let me kill you quietly."

Yep. Definitely trying to keep them quiet.

Also, this was definitely more than Caden and his cane could be expected to handle. She'd suspected robbers, but this?

Still, despite the oppressive Soothing, Eliza's old instincts leapt eagerly to the forefront. She might not know who this man was, but she did know that of the two targets sitting in this carriage right now, one of them was far, far more likely to have attracted a Mistborn assassin than the other. Hell, everyone here probably knew where this man had come from and who had sent him.

And then there was that strain in his voice. The look on his face, as if he would be sick any second. He didn't want to do this. Which meant they had a chance. And besides, if they did nothing, they'd be dead. If they did something and failed, they'd also be dead. But if they did something, and it worked...

All those thoughts raced through Eliza's head in a second - thank the Lord Ruler he'd chosen to manipulate emotions she was used to having toyed with in ways she was used to experiencing - and only one course of action came to mind that might actually do the trick. And if it didn't, at least her death would be exciting.

Giving Caden's hand one last squeeze, she ripped her hand free of his so she could position herself between him and the assassin, her hand stretching awkwardly across the carriage to further bar the way and thudding awkwardly against the far wall. Ignoring the fact that she'd almost thrown herself right across Caden's lap, she fixed the would-be assassin with the most incredulous expression she could manage. Don't beg. He expects that. He'll tune it out. Don't ever let him see your fear.

"Are you insane?" she demanded, looking him dead in the eye and regretting that turn of phrase as soon as she thought it. "That is a terrible idea! Honestly, what the Deepness are you thinking?"

Posted Image


#5 Caden Hasting


  • Potential Hasting Heir (Hasting Hottie)

334
House Fathvell
  • Age24

  • Relationship StatusIn a Relationship with Eliza Fathvell

  • OriginLuthadel

Posted 25 May 2016 - 05:55 PM

The carriage stopped. Distracted though he was by Eliza's hand in his own, a lifetime spent training himself to think clearly and notice subterfuge while in the grips of extreme emotions, both natural and rioted, allowed him to realize something was odd about that stop. It was too soon for one thing; they couldn't possibly be at Keep Fathvell yet. Was their a problem with the horses? Caden was about to let go of Eliza's hand, open the sliding window, and check what was wrong when Eliza tensed beside him.

"Get your cane" she whispered, "I think we're--"

Caden's cane, leaned up against the opposite side of the carriage, would be of little use in such a confined space. If they were being attacked by bandits or skaa rebels, the knife concealed behind a metal buckle, meant to distract the senses of coinshots and lurchers. Caden's hand froze, inches from the concealed sheathe when the door opened and a Mistborn slid into the carriage. As soon as he saw the mistcloak, Caden knew who was behind this. He had assumed that when Colette said she was skipping the ball to care for her father, she meant that she was going to do her best to poison his ear against Caden while he wasn't there to defend himself. It would seem his cousin had exceeded his expectations; she planned to badmouth him and have him killed all in the same evening.

Caden's hand remained frozen in place, even though his concealed weapon would be useless against a Mistborn. Caden's eyes darted rapidly up and down the cloaked man's figure, noting his stance and demeanor, searching for any sign that the man might attack. Fool! Pewter alone would be enough to overcome Caden's considerable, but mortal, reflexes, and for all he knew the assassin could also be burning atium. Perhaps he could find a way to make sure Eliza survived this mess?

"I know I shouldn't bother asking this, but please, just let me kill you quietly." Caden's ears pricked up at the strain in the assassin's voice. Was Colette forcing him to act against his will? It made sense, after all, he wasn't one of the two remaining Hasting Mistborn. What was Colette using to press him into her personal service? Or, was she using some leverage against the leader of another House to get them to loan her a Mistborn for an evening? He could use that reluctance to his advantage. If he could get the Mistborn to let Eliza out of the carriage, perhaps he could find a way out on his own...

A slight squeeze on his hand was all the warning he got before Eliza acted, shifting her position to completely block the Mistborn from reaching Caden, and vice versa. No!

"Are you insane? That is a terrible idea! Honestly, what the Deepness are you thinking?" Though he hated seeing Eliza risk herself for him, Caden could think of nothing he could do to stop her chosen course of action. Any sudden movements might provoke the Mistborn into attacking. Caden shifted slowly, angling to get a better view over Eliza's outstretched arm, searching desperately for any clue that could get the two of them out of this alive. Watching carefully, Caden allowed Eliza to proceed, while praying desperately to the Lord Ruler for an opportunity to escape this mess.

#6 Jasun Vallace


  • Fallen Noble

123
Prelan
  • Age30

  • Relationship StatusSecretly Engaged to Lysette Hasting

  • OriginKlessium

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 30 May 2016 - 07:45 AM

There was a breath, a beat of silence that hung in the air after the words left his lips. Then Eliza moved, and he almost skewered her then and there. His shoulders twitched as he suppressed the movement, but the motion carried down his entire body so he turned just slightly towards her. His attention very much caught by the girl who'd thrown herself between a mistborn and his mark.

Then she opened her mouth and sassed him, and his throat filled with an odd sensation as he suppressed what he realized was a laugh.

It was just so patently ridiculous. A feeble attempt to stave off her own impotence. His bronze was burning brightly after all, and he heard nothing at all from the pair. Nothing except hammering heartbeats and rasping breaths.

The laughter was not so difficult to hold back, all of the sudden. The urge faded, leaving an familiar emptiness behind.

So as a new silence stretched after her reply he merely stared at her, not bothering to keep the sadness from his expression. Not to offer comfort, it wouldn't. But because he could not be bothered to hide it. They would both be dead soon enough, it did not matter what expression he made.

They could be dead now, but he did not make a move. He needed to do something first, although he was not quite sure what it was. It could not end just yet. Some bit of conscience nagged at him with the ideas of last words and proper deaths. He couldn't give them the latter, but the former?

He let the zinc and brass fade. "I am thinking that you are both going to die very soon and that spending your last moments screaming will not help anyone."


#7 Eliza Fathvell


  • Daughter of Lord Fathvell

565
House Sureau
  • Age19

  • Relationship StatusCourting Caden Hasting

  • OriginSouthern Islands

Posted 30 May 2016 - 08:45 PM

The Mistborn twitched when Eliza moved, and she had thought for sure that she was done for, but he didn't move after that. Instead, he had followed her motion and turned to face her instead of Caden. That was good. If she could keep his attention, maybe she could keep him talking.

The strange sound emanating from his throat also caught her attention; was he laughing at her? She suppressed an irritated frown, but in truth, it was a good sign as well. That meant she'd caught him by surprise, which would make him hesitate even further. And as predicted, he didn't speak or move... for longer than she had anticipated. His expression grew sadder by the second though, until his entire being was filled with sorrow at what he intended to do. He was really reluctant to do this, which was also good, but he was also resigned to their fate.

Still, she'd staved him off this long. They still had a chance to turn it around. She wanted to reassure Caden somehow, but any gesture or look she gave to him would draw the Mistborn's attention back to his original target, and that would be it. She just had to trust Caden and hope desperately that he remembered their conversation on the balcony about how she was used to getting herself into and out of mortal peril as part of her job. Even if it had never involved Mistborn, she'd talked down Mistings on plenty of occasions.

The emotional Allomancy faded, and Eliza almost sighed with relief. She could finally think clearly now, for all he supposedly thought they'd start screaming. But instead she remained calm, pulling her hand back now that she'd caught his attention. Ideally, the motion would draw his eye further away from Caden and keep it on her. She crossed her legs now and folded her arms, assuming a calm, relaxed, businesslike posture. This particular persona she used on contacts who preferred a more casual mood at the negotiating table. Just formal enough to be taken seriously, but otherwise laid back.

"No, it won't," she agreed. "Which is why we're not. Will you tell us by whose word we're being killed, though? Surely you owe us that much, at least."

Posted Image


#8 Caden Hasting


  • Potential Hasting Heir (Hasting Hottie)

334
House Fathvell
  • Age24

  • Relationship StatusIn a Relationship with Eliza Fathvell

  • OriginLuthadel

Posted 02 June 2016 - 06:18 PM

Good Eliza. Keep him talking. It seemed he was getting a front row demonstration of Eliza's negotiation skills. While he would have preferred to observe them at a time when his and Eliza's lives were not in grave nature, he couldn't help but be impressed. As the mistborn responded, Caden a slight panic begin to rise within him, breaking through his calm. Was the Mistborn rioting him, trying to make him more afraid? Settling into himself, Caden analyzed his inner thoughts, paying attention to how his body felt and was responding to his emotions. Years of testing his self-awareness against Colette's sometimes subtle, sometimes overpowering allomancy allowed him to take stock of his emotional state in moments. The fear, he thought, was natural, arising from his concern for his own life, and for Eliza's. Looking back, he realized the calm he had felt when he initially assessed the situation was likely more unnatural. So he's releasing his control on our emotions? But why? Caden expected the sudden release was some sort of ploy, meant to distract them while the Mistborn began to play with different emotions.

A Mistborn who speaks before he stabs, and uses emotional allomancy on a simple assassination mission? I would appear that this Mistborn was not familiar, or at least not entirely comfortable with killing or violence. His hesitation to end things and his reliance on the emotional, rather than the physical metals was telling. Surely he could have used tin, pewter, and steel, to eliminate both of them before they made sound. Instead, he entered their carriage, and tried to use words and emotional manipulation to keep them quiet. Caden realized that, while he knew with reasonable certainty who had sent the Mistborn, he didn't know where Colette had acquired this new ally from. Perhaps he was from a minor house with no Mistborn to train with, and a reliance on the mental metals was his way of compensating?

"Will you tell us by whose word we're being killed though? Surely you owe us that much at least." Caden already knew who had sent the Mistborn, but Eliza's question would be useful nonetheless. The Mistborn had already revealed himself to be relatively transparent in expressing his distaste for the situation, and his failure to hold in his laughter showed a certain familiarity or fondness towards Eliza. Talking about his employer would hopefully reveal the Mistborn's feelings toward Colette, and let Caden know who he had to work with. He wished in vain that he could communicate soundlessly with Eliza so that they could operate in concert. For the time being, he remained in place, calculating eyes flitting back and forth between Eliza and the Mistborn, looking for any opportunity to escape.

#9 Jasun Vallace


  • Fallen Noble

123
Prelan
  • Age30

  • Relationship StatusSecretly Engaged to Lysette Hasting

  • OriginKlessium

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 04 June 2016 - 06:10 AM

Jasun stared as the girl sat back, her posture more business-like than terrified, and worried. The gaze she settled on him was not... right, and it made him nervous. It was not the look of someone sure they were about to die, but it also wasn't the look of someone vainly hoping. Even with tin and bronze burning that gaze unsettled him. His grip on his daggers heightened as he stretched his senses, seeking for anyone who might be coming, but there was no one. When she spoke though, it gave him an inkling, and the nervousness eased. She thought she could talk her way out of this.

How idiotic.

It wasn't anger, but something close, a mix of frustration and exasperation that started to fill him as he stared at her. Were he more charitable, he'd call it pluck, or bravery, or cunning, but now it seemed much more like arrogance. It did not matter how much he did not want to do this, it was still going to happen. She would not change it, but she could at least of the decency to die correctly, knowing it would happen. Not still thinking she could somehow get out of it.

"No one wants you dead." He said to her, and his eyes slid over to Caden, "Only you."

He shifted his weight slightly, measuring the distance to stab the young noble in the throat. But as their eyes met he realized that the man had yet to speak, and some part of Jasun could not help but want him to. He had never spoken to Caden before, had never known much of him or really seen him before this night. He needed to know the life he was ending, whatever tiny glimpse he could get.

"Colette, she sent me."


#10 Caden Hasting


  • Potential Hasting Heir (Hasting Hottie)

334
House Fathvell
  • Age24

  • Relationship StatusIn a Relationship with Eliza Fathvell

  • OriginLuthadel

Posted 04 June 2016 - 07:02 PM

"No one wants you dead," the Mistborn's eyes shifted to Caden, looking at him for the first time. "Only you." Caden tensed as the Mistborn shifted his weight, concerned he was about to attack. As he did, their eyes met and the Mistborn hesitated. Eliza shifted position as well, trying once again to put herself between the two men. Only me. Perhaps he could get Eliza out of this after all. While he was still exploring avenues to get them both to safety, Caden began working on several back-up plans to implement if it seemed like saving himself was no longer possible.

"Colette, she sent me." No title. Most of Colette's regular underlings would know to call her Lady Colette, or, even more likely, Lady Hasting, even when not in her presence. The Mistborn might be carrying out her orders, but he was not her creature, at least not yet. Something in the Mistborn's eyes seemed to call out to Caden. He wants something from me. The assassin obviously had issues with indecision. First he had used allomancy to try to keep them quiet, and then he had quit and started talking to Eliza. Now, he had initially avoided Eliza's question, and then decided to answer it anyways.

"Of course she did." Caden sat back, trying his best to appear relaxed while still remaining alert. He tried his best to meet the Mistborn's gaze where possible from behind Eliza's shifting frame, but did not squirm or hedge. He needed to seem calm and in control of the situation. "It's no secret that my cousin wants me dead. Her desires have always been obvious. You should know, though, that my cousin is not the only one with power in House Hasting. Before you submit to the whims of Colette's ambition, I'm curious to know what you want, and how assisting her helps to to get it."

#11 Eliza Fathvell


  • Daughter of Lord Fathvell

565
House Sureau
  • Age19

  • Relationship StatusCourting Caden Hasting

  • OriginSouthern Islands

Posted 04 June 2016 - 11:36 PM

Eliza managed to maintain her businesslike persona despite the flash of irritation she felt at the Mistborn shifting his focus to Caden. She was trying to have a civilized conversation here, thank you very much, and to keep the other man’s focus off Caden while doing so. It was quite rude of him to bypass her entirely like that. Still, she didn’t want him to get any ideas, so she shifted with his gaze in order to remain firmly planted between the two men.

He confirmed that Colette had sent him, which she had suspected from the beginning, but it was good to know for sure. Unfortunately, Caden continued to draw attention to himself and away from her, the decoy. But then, Caden would want that, wouldn’t he? To see her escape safely no matter what happened to him. But at this point, if Caden died, she would have to as well, even if he could convince her to leave the carriage. She’d gotten too good a look at the assassin, and would be able to describe him perfectly. No, she was in this until the end, whatever it might be.

So while Caden spoke, Eliza took another look at this man. How relaxed he was despite his obvious reluctance, the very slight amounts of wear on his suit, probably invisible to people who weren’t used to looking for that sort of detail, everything he’d said and done. And come to think of it, hadn’t she seen someone who looked like him at the ball? Dancing with…

Aha. So that was it. Aren’t you the clever one?

“And why would she send a conman to do an assassin’s job, I wonder?” she asked on the heels of Caden’s question. It was a good question, and where she was going next as well, but Mistborn were used to hearing people offer all sorts of trades for their lives. She needed a way to make him answer, and so far, her instincts had served her well. The Mistborn looked both surprised and horribly confused, not to mention offended, though the latter was likely feigned. It seemed as if he were about to object to her assessment, but she waved away his protest. “Yes, yes, I know you’re a Mistborn too. No one would be stupid enough to wear that cloak unless they’d earned it. You Soothed us when you first came in, and you managed to get onto the carriage without making a sound. Let me guess, a carefully placed coin on the roof?” She paused for the briefest of moments to let that sink in, but not enough for him to get a word in edgewise, leaning forward slightly and fixing him with a keen stare.

“But your posture isn’t that of a typical nobleman, for all your accent is. You’re too relaxed. Your suit is nice, but a little too worn for most gentlemen to wear to a ball. Though, granted, I doubt many people would notice. They’d probably just see a lower-ranking nobleman, doing the best you can at a Luthadel ball. Which you might be, to be fair; you’re certainly not skaa. But you move like a normal person, not a trained combatant, and even in a relatively straightforward assassination assignment, you default to talking and emotional Allomancy before fighting.” She’d probably revealed herself to him as having shady connections by playing that particular hand, but she hadn’t seen any other choice. She needed to give him pause, pin him to the wall before he could work up the courage to finally end it. Besides, if all went well, perhaps she’d have even made herself a new contact out of all this. And so she smirked, settling back again into her spot in front of Caden.

“So tell us, Lord of the Shadows, what brought you out into the light? And what is so worth having that you’d chain yourself to Colette’s madness, however reluctantly?”

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#12 Jasun Vallace


  • Fallen Noble

123
Prelan
  • Age30

  • Relationship StatusSecretly Engaged to Lysette Hasting

  • OriginKlessium

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 30 June 2016 - 07:51 AM

"Conman? Me? Now that's just insulting I have to say." He tried to deliver the line with casual nonchalance. His grin trembled slightly.

Jasun was not someone who was altogether used to being afraid. Perhaps that was not a healthy sign, given his many different lines of work over the years. But it was still the truth, and as he stood with daggers drawn in front of two people with no way to stop him, it was also true that he could feel a bone deep terror start to creep up into him.

Come to think of it, he was quite sure it had been there for a while, ever since he'd first burst in. Ever since he'd first seen their fear, and now it seemed to have reflected back upon him, taking root and threatening to undo him with the horrible dawning realization that he could no longer deny as they spoke to him, questioned him.

He wanted nothing more to let these two live.

He also wanted nothing more than to silence them forever, and make sure they took his secrets to their graves. He looked at Eliza, trying to see through her eyes a moment, trying to be as terrifyingly observant as she had been to him. It was not so nearly as impressive what his observations told him. She couldn't hear people's heartbeats to judge their emotions after all. All they told him was what he already knew, and as much as her fear seemed to twist a knife in his gut, it also pushed him to act.

"Lord of Shadows," he said, trying for a moment to give the title gravitas and weight, but ended up just snorting. "A bit over dramatic don't you think? Doesn't sound like a title for a person at all I have to say."

He let his eyes slide to Caden again as he continued, addressing him, "Lords of Shadows, now I'm sure they would never get involved with someone like Colette. Too busy being enigmatic and inscrutible I'm sure. But me? I just want to be noble again. And Lysette didn't tell me to speak with you." He wished she had.

He let his gaze switch back to Eliza, and offered her a sad smile "For what it's worth, dear girl, I am sorry about this."

Then he drew back a hand, about to stab Caden in the throat.


#13 Caden Hasting


  • Potential Hasting Heir (Hasting Hottie)

334
House Fathvell
  • Age24

  • Relationship StatusIn a Relationship with Eliza Fathvell

  • OriginLuthadel

Posted 23 August 2016 - 06:59 PM

Caden allowed Eliza to take over the coversation, taking the time to plot his next move, watching the Mistborn for any sign of attack or hint that could provide a clue to prove his true intentions. Eliza's words seemed to trouble him. He's uncertain. But what does Colette have on him? Eliza continued her attempt to keep up dialogue with the Mistborn, displaying an impressive grasp of allomancy in the process. Evidently she was familiar with allomancers as well as pirates. While the thought would have normally been cause for concern for Caden, his recent decision to trust Eliza held. Now to get as both out of this mess. Eliza's comment about being dressed for the ball got Caden thinking. Had he seen this man back at the hall? The clothing and face could have belonged to any number of the minor nobility on the Perrault guest list, and try as he might Caden could not place him, though Eliza seemed to have done so.

All at once the Mistborn's eyes slid away from Eliza to meet Caden's gaze. "Lords of Shadows, now I'm sure they would never get involved with someone like Colette." Someone like Colette? What does he know of her true nature? "Too busy being enigmatic and inscrutable I'm sure. But me? I just want to be noble again. And Lysette didn't tell me to speak with you." Lysette? What did she have to do with all of this? Of course she would direct any ally towards Colette. The Mistborn had been Colette's creature since childhood. Something in the way the Mistborn said Lysette's name made Caden hesitate. He wants to be noble again. I could assist, and being in between Colette and I would allow a Conman like him to negotiate a superior deal. Why is he in such a hurry to end things?

The Mistborn's gaze slid back and he addressed Eliza again. "For what it's worth, dear girl," Oh no you don't. "I am sorry about this." When the Mistborn raised his dagger, Caden was already in motion, hoping that the Mistborn's focus on Eliza would buy him some time. Lunging forward, he did his best to push Eliza to the side while raising his arm to take the knife's attack. As he moved he spoke, trusting the Mistborn's tin-enhanced ears to catch his words despite the commotion.

"How can you abandon Lysette to the whims of that monster? Please let me help you!"

#14 Eliza Fathvell


  • Daughter of Lord Fathvell

565
House Sureau
  • Age19

  • Relationship StatusCourting Caden Hasting

  • OriginSouthern Islands

Posted 24 August 2016 - 03:21 AM

Why? Why wasn't it working? She'd had him pushed back, she could see him cracking, but instead he chose to end it before he could give in. And just like that, there was Caden, pushing her out of the way again and throwing up his arm to defend. Bloody chivalry! I'm trying to protect you!

But, predictably, Caden's plea to let him help fell on deaf ears. Right as Eliza was trying to push her way back to the front, he struck. There was no time left. They'd lost.

"Just how stupid are you!" she snapped. "Haven't you figured out what's really going on here?"

The Mistborn's arm jerked, Eliza's sudden outburst catching him off guard. He'd been aiming to get around Eliza at Caden's throat, but his sudden movement drove the knife off course and into the carriage wall instead, where it struck the padded wood and shattered. Eliza jerked to the side, attempting to pull Caden with her to avoid the flying shards of glass.

Instead finishing the job, though, the Mistborn turned his intense gaze on them instead. What was left of the dagger shattered in his grip as he glared down at the two of them with a strange sort of indignant, questioning fury. That was a look that demanded answers, and now. It was enough to make Eliza's breath catch, though she quickly reassumed her calm facade. Well, her ploy had worked, at least for the time being. Better take advantage of it.

"She's using you," Eliza said simply, "and not the way people normally use Mistborn. Killing Caden will cost you your own life as well." Lord Ruler, it was difficult to maintain a proper negotiation face like this! She had already been off balance while leaning in front of Caden, but between all the jostling of her and Caden trying to protect each other and suddenly having to dodge flying pieces of knife, she was now wedged between Caden and the corner of the carriage, her right arm splayed across him still while her left was shoved against the side wall of the carriage, holding her in place as she met the assassin's gaze with a cool, level stare.

It was almost enough to be comical, if their lives weren't in immediate and pressing danger.

"Tell me, genius, did you get anything in writing from her regarding your deal? Does anyone other than Colette herself even know that she sent you? Lord Ruler, did she even actually give the order outright? No? Of course she wouldn't. She's not stupid.

"And tell me one other thing," she continued, not giving him time to answer any of her first questions. "How many people saw you coming and going when you talked to Colette? On the other hand, how many witnesses could connect you with Lysette? If I spotted you with her at the ball, I guarantee you other people took notice. They saw the way you looked at her, like a lovestruck fool, just like I did.

"Then Caden, Colette's only rival, shows up dead. And you show up looking to claim your prize: a future with Lysette. Except Colette never asked you to kill Caden. You have no contract or guarantee from her, and she's got armies of obligators in her back pocket who are willing to swallow her side of the story hook, line, and sinker. You took it upon yourself to murder Caden to get in her good graces, she'll say. And they'll accept it. You'll be executed for murder, and Colette will be free to inherit Hasting - and marry Lysette off in a far more lucrative contract than you could provide, all the while ridding herself of an unknown variable that she knows she wouldn't be able to control - you.

"Kill us, and you kill yourself. Abandoning Lysette in the process, just like Caden said. But in your haste to seal the deal, you forgot that there's another person involved here who's far more reasonable than she is, and actually trustworthy to boot. Maybe you should sit down and see what he can offer you instead of killing the one person alive who can offer you a viable deal."

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#15 Jasun Vallace


  • Fallen Noble

123
Prelan
  • Age30

  • Relationship StatusSecretly Engaged to Lysette Hasting

  • OriginKlessium

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 11 November 2016 - 05:30 AM

Obsidian blades are not altogether the most sturdy of weapons, and Jasun's dagger was now little more than fragments held together by the binding on the handle. He tossed it out the open carriage door to fully shatter on the cobblestone, and turned back to the pair of them, his remaining dagger still held at the ready.

He didn't strike, but listened, eyes narrowed and fingers tapping the dagger handle in a arrhythmic tattoo, and when Eliza finished speaking he did as she asked and sat, arms folded and legs crossed.

For a further few moments he didn't say anything, just kept staring at the pair of them, turning things over in his mind. His thoughts kept going back to one important thing: he wanted to trust them. He wanted to trust them, and he had not felt he could trust Colette.

Still, there was some things he needed answered, "What did you do to make Lysette dislike you then, if your cousin is so truly horrible? And what can you offer me that Colette can't? I don't see any paper to write a contract, or witnesses to this meeting. Am I supposed to just trust that you aren't going to do as you say Colette is planning to do the moment you're safe? Call me cynical, but I've apparently already had one Great House noble plan to murder me for no apparent reason, and now you two have quite a good reason to want me dead."


#16 Caden Hasting


  • Potential Hasting Heir (Hasting Hottie)

334
House Fathvell
  • Age24

  • Relationship StatusIn a Relationship with Eliza Fathvell

  • OriginLuthadel

Posted 16 November 2016 - 02:31 AM

Eliza resisted being pushed aside, apparently intent on shielding Caden in the same way that he was attempting to rescue her. Her words, spoken quickly after his own, barely registered as Caden braced himself for the impact of the Mistborn's knife. He tensed, mentally preparing himself to feel the stinging pain of the weapon tearing into his flesh, or the bone-chilling warmth of Eliza's blood drenching his fine clothing.

The dagger made a queer tinkling sound as it shattered against the carriage wall.

Caden stopped moving, his joints locking into place. Eliza's body remained awkwardly pressed up against his own, and he could feel the quick pattern of her breath as her warm frame expanded with each inhale. She felt agitated, determined, and very much alive.

The Mistborn's eyes narrowed to slits as he moved from his perch at the carriage door to a seat across from Caden and Eliza. While Caden did not like being trapped in such a confined space with a dangerous assassin, he was hopeful that the mistborn's gesture meant that he and Eliza had a chance of making it out of this alive. Even better, perhaps they could manipulate their position to better enable themselves to flee should the Mistborn change his mind.

One thing was becoming clear to Caden. He could not respond to this threat in his usual manner. The Mistborn seemed to be responding to Eliza's words, which meant Caden needed to let her lead, rather than interrupting her in the name of protecting her. They would need to work in concert to get out of this alive, which meant he could no longer afford to try to rescue her at all costs despite her obvious intention not to leave him behind.

The Mistborn sat and silence, and Caden took the moment to try to slow his racing pulse and breathing and to pull himself away from Eliza into a more comfortable and less scandalous position.
"What did you do to make Lysette dislike you then, if your cousin is so truly horrible? And what can you offer me that Colette can't? I don't see any paper to write a contract, or witnesses to this meeting. Am I supposed to just trust that you aren't going to do as you say Colette is planning to do the moment you're safe? Call me cynical, but I've apparently already had one Great House noble lan to murder me for no apparent reason, and now you two have quite a good reason to want me dead."

While his instincts told him that the Mistborn would respond better to Eliza, the question seemed to be addressed to him. "I'm sorry to say I don't know what I did to drive Lysette to Colette's side." Caden kept his tone soft and measured, hoping to further de-escalate the situation. "Probably I just missed an opportunity to be there for her when she needed support and Colette took advantage. Those two have been thick as theives since childhood, and any attempts I made to build a relationship were too little too late. Colette is... very skilled at reading people's emotions and vulnerabilities. She always has been. It would be all too simple for her to sense weakness and then use it to her advantage, providing needed support to gain a valuable ally. It wouldn't stop there though, once she has people in her debt she exploits every bit of leverage she can, shaping them into her creatures."

Caden sat back, intentionally not answering the rest of the Mistborn's questions and trusting Eliza to take the cue and jump in. He had spoken to the points addressed to him directly, hopefully Eliza could utilize her experience growing up outside of the shadow of Luthadel's fine keeps to relate to the man who had come so close to killing them both.

#17 Eliza Fathvell


  • Daughter of Lord Fathvell

565
House Sureau
  • Age19

  • Relationship StatusCourting Caden Hasting

  • OriginSouthern Islands

Posted 16 November 2016 - 04:40 AM

Eliza nodded at what Caden had said, calmly rearranging her skirts once Caden had moved and she was able to better position herself. He had, of course, answered the would-be assassin's question about Lysette and Colette far better than she herself could have hoped to do. Having, well, been raised with them at all. But then he fell silent. Was he giving her an opening? Inviting her to step up next to him, rather than pushing her into the damsel's role? He had said earlier in the night that she would be able to take up her trade here in Luthadel if she wished, but now he was acting on those words in spectacular fashion. And she was only happy to accept his invitation, especially if it meant an end to the bizarre tug-of-war they had been playing so far. They would face this together. United.

Like the couple they were, she realized suddenly. Well, there was no better time than the present to thank him for his faith in her - by proving him right.

"And if there's one thing I've learned about Colette in my short time with her, it's that she craves control. She can't control you, and that makes you more dangerous than you're worth in her eyes. At least, that's my guess anyway. But we," she smiled, leaning forward a little, "are a little more flexible. We don't want to control you, because that would be stupid to even try, and we don't want to kill you. And frankly I don't think we need to, or would have much luck with it if we tried, unless you managed to change your mind again and came after us again, which would also be stupid.

"For one thing, looking askance at a potential ally, particularly a Mistborn potential ally, is utterly absurd. It might be a little difficult to completely trust each other at first under the circumstances, but that's normal for any working arrangement. We can work around that. And no, we won't ask you to kill Colette. That would be, again, stupid.

"But I don't think you're too much of a risk to us, and here's why: Lysette. Everything you've done so far has been for her sake. You're crazy about her; I could see that from across the ballroom when I first spotted you two looking all lovey-dovey at each other. Whatever you decide to do, it's going to be what's best for her, regardless of what else Caden and I say and no matter how sound our arguments are. But you've already had just a taste of what Colette is capable of - doesn't it make you wonder about her? About what kind of person would send her best friend's beloved to die? Is it really the best thing for Lysette for you to blindly follow Colette's whims?"

She held up a hand, forestalling any argument he may or may not have had at this point. "I'm not questioning Lysette's judgment here. What I'm saying is that Colette is a master manipulator, and that she's made Lysette think that she cares about her when you're living proof that she doesn't. Even if you survived our assassination, where does that leave you and Lysette? Without much of a chance of happiness, that's for sure, and probably in danger. And I think you're beginning to realize it.

"Of course, you've only had a taste. Work with us," she slightly emphasized the word with, distinguishing it from Colette's for, "and you'll have more than enough reason to turn that pretty cloak of yours inside out - for all of our sakes.

"Lastly, on the killing point. I have no idea what your name is. Caden has no idea what your name is. Nobody I asked at the ball when I saw you knew what your name is. And whatever name you are going by is probably assumed, and almost certainly not the same one you booked your lodgings under. And if my assessment of your profession is correct," she added without the least bit of sarcasm or disdain, "you're probably not staying at the type of place that most noblemen frequent, or at least you weren't until you started trying to win Lysette's hand. But in either scenario, it's anyone's guess as to whether the landlord will have your back or rat you out at the first sight of gold. And just in case, you're pretty much definitely going to move somewhere else tonight, to throw us off the trail. With or without collecting your belongings from your current lodging. We have no idea how to contact you or who your associates are. It would take far too long for us to find you, making killing you before you can tell Colette everything almost entirely impossible. Even for the most basic communication, you'll have to come to us.

"Speaking of which. Say you do come to Keep Hasting, or Keep Fathvell for that matter. In doing so, you would inherently be proving that you can at least probably be trusted, since to attack us there would mean instant death for you. You'd be making yourself incredibly and terrifyingly vulnerable, in a situation and setting that is completely out of your control, which is a scenario any sane conman spends his entire career actively avoiding. And in proving that, you prove yourself even more so to be a potentially valuable ally, which - say it with me - would make it stupid to kill you.

"And what can we offer you, you ask? How about security for you and Lysette? An actual working relationship where you're seen as an ally instead of a tool to be used and disposed of? Not being forced into questionable assignments that lead to certain death?

"As for written agreements, I think you and I both are used to working without them, but I'm curious what you would suggest we put to paper, and how we would keep it out of Colette's hands. I will not speak for Caden in this regard, but I myself wouldn't be completely opposed to working something out if the right agreements could be reached."

There. She'd said her piece. He'd asked for what proof they could give, and at this point, she had no other choice but to go all in and lay all her cards on the table. He wouldn't respond to anything else and she somehow knew it. So she'd done what she had to do and now, all she could do was breathe, pray to the Lord Ruler, and wait for his response.

Posted Image


#18 Jasun Vallace


  • Fallen Noble

123
Prelan
  • Age30

  • Relationship StatusSecretly Engaged to Lysette Hasting

  • OriginKlessium

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 16 November 2016 - 05:43 AM

As the pair of them made their case, his hold on the dagger loosened its death grip. Eliza spoke at length and he almost relaxed, although he never stopped the metals burning in his stomach. What they said made sense, especially and most importantly what they said about Lysette. It took a special type of person to befriend someone they met on a rooftop. Very special, but also quite lonely.

And the way Eliza had kept going on about his obvious feelings for Lysette was more than a bit spot on and definitely more than a bit embarrassing. He coughed, rubbing a hand over his face as if he might brush the flush away, and tried his best to seem unmoved. It was useless of course, and by the time she was finished speaking he was staring at her with his head tilted and an amused smile on his face.

"You are very odd for a noblewoman. You will just have to tell me sometime how you learned so much about being a criminal." He looked at Caden. "You are not what I expected, and you are definitely not your cousin."

With that, he offered the dagger to Eliza, hilt first. She took it with a respectful nod, laid it gently on her lap and left it there. Once her hands had left the dagger, he continued with a much darker tone, "Lysette is the one important to me. Remember that. So if you decide to backstab me, do not use her. But, for what it's worth, I hope I did not make a mistake tonight."

With that, he left, only pausing to turn back and say, "If you speak to Lysette, you'll need my name. It's Jasun Vallace. Do with that what you will, but don't look for me. I'll find you soon enough."

Content that he had put just enough of a threat into that sentence, he left without a backward glance.


#19 Eliza Fathvell


  • Daughter of Lord Fathvell

565
House Sureau
  • Age19

  • Relationship StatusCourting Caden Hasting

  • OriginSouthern Islands

Posted 09 February 2017 - 12:27 AM

Eliza waited with bated breath, despite her relatively cool demeanor, while the Mistborn deliberated. Don't let him see how nervous you are, she reminded herself as she reminded herself to breathe normally. You're confident that he'll make the decision you want him to, because it's the only logical decision to make.

"You are very odd for a noblewoman," he said at last. "You will just have to tell me sometime how you learned so much about being a criminal." She just smiled for now; if indeed he did turn his coat, he'd likely find out soon enough. Then he turned to Caden. "You are not what I expected, and you are definitely not your cousin." He almost made that sound like a compliment.

Then he offered the knife to Eliza, hilt first.

And with it, a contract of sorts. At least if he was following the same customs she was. He had not only agreed not to kill them, but also to work with them - with, it seemed, Eliza herself as the primary contact. In return, they were to help him achieve his own goal of marrying Lysette, and also make sure Colette couldn't simply have him killed before that could happen.

Without hesitating, she reached up and grasped the hilt firmly, acknowledging the agreement with a respectful nod. Were this in the Islands, she could have kept hold of the weapon without any risk of offense, but he was already skittish and might not even be familiar with her customs, so just to put him at ease and reassure him that she wouldn't immediately try to kill him, she laid it gently in her lap and folded her hands over one knee.

He continued, of course, with the usual 'This better not be a mistake' threat, and gave them his name. His real name, most likely, from the way he said it. He really was trusting them here - and then he cautioned her not to try and find him. Part of her wanted to ask why he thought she would even though she'd just explained why that was a terrible and useless idea, but it was probably better not to egg him on right now, so she left it alone.

And then just like that, he was gone, having vanished into the mists as quickly as he came. Eliza looked out the window for a moment, then down at the dagger in her lap, then up to Caden.

"Well. That just happened."

She looked down at the dagger again, picking it up this time to examine it more closely. It was relatively plain, with no blatantly obvious maker's mark visible - at least not at first glance in a half-lit carriage. Serviceable and untraceable, just the sort of things she was used to seeing.

And it had been given to her in contract. By a Mistborn who, moments before, had tried to kill them.

"Lord Ruler." This time, it was barely above a whisper. "That actually just happened." The gravity of the situation was bearing down on her all over again, as it often did once she'd navigated her way through a treacherous situation and come out safely on the other side. One wrong word, one wrong glance, and they'd both be dead right now. They very nearly had been. But they'd made it through, together.

She laid the dagger carefully down in her lap again before turning to look up at Caden again. How must he be feeling right now? Had Colette ever acted against him so brazenly? It was difficult to tell; he'd remained as calm as she had during the whole encounter, probably for the same reasons she had. And even if it had happened before, how must it feel to know that his cousin was actively trying to kill him?

"Are you alright?" she asked gently.

Posted Image


#20 Caden Hasting


  • Potential Hasting Heir (Hasting Hottie)

334
House Fathvell
  • Age24

  • Relationship StatusIn a Relationship with Eliza Fathvell

  • OriginLuthadel

Posted 14 February 2017 - 07:04 PM

Caden couldn't help but be impressed by Eliza's argument, and by the sheer personality she invested in her words. It was obvious she was good at this--perhaps even a little too good. Someday he would have to get out of her how she had learned to talk her way out of an assassination and into a new ally.

Despite his admiration for Eliza's performance, Caden kept the majority of his attention focused on the Mistborn, looking for any opening he could find to kill the man and end this threat for certain. Of course, it was a lost cause--for all he knew the Mistborn might have atium, and the allomancer's speed and training would allow the man to outmaneuver Caden in even the most favourable of circumstances. Failure, of course, was not an option, for any failed attempt would certainly result in both Caden and Eliza's immediate demise. It was beyond agonizing, having spent years pain-painstakingly developing his combat skills, to know that any person by chance at birth could have access to power and competency no manner of training could provide.

Caden tensed as the Mistborn raised his remaining dagger, but held back from acting, noting the assassin's posture and body language. Even when the knife was placed safely on Eliza's lap, Caden still did not relax, still not believing they were actually both going to get out of this situation alive.

Just like that, the Mistborn left, and Caden let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding in. Eliza's words, gently spoken, barely registered. She had just saved his life! His earlier hesitations about pursuing a relationship with Eliza seemed callous and foolish in light of her heroism. Had she been an agent of Colette or one of his other rivals, it would have been all to easy to let him die without implicating herself. Not only had she stuck by him, she had saved him, rescuing him from death's grasp with all the confidence of a hero from a children's tale.

They were both alive.

Caden wanted to stand up, jump around, and shout for the joy he felt at just drawing another breath, and that Eliza was still there, drawing breath along with him. A boyish grin crossed his face at the thought, but a lifetime of discipline held him back. Now wasn't the time for celebration. They had just been attacked. There were things to be done. Before he could even begin to sort out how to respond to Colette's attack, he needed to find a way to get them both home safely. The Mistborn had likely dealt with the coachman...

"Are you alright?"

"The driver! What's that? One second. Yes." Caden struggled to respond, trying to multitask as he stood up and made his way out the door to check on the driver. He found the man crumpled in his seat, bearing both a pulse and a nasty head wound. He should have guessed that the coachman was still living, given the Mistborn's reluctance to kill even those who he was specifically instructed to murder.

"He's alive, but will probably need some medical attention" Caden called over his shoulder. "We'll need to find a way to get the three of us home. I don't suppose 'coach-driving' is included in your repertoire of hidden skills?"





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