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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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Strength and Shadows

W2 D2 NT Vivian Elariel Daerra Elariel

1 reply to this topic

#1 Vivian Elariel

High House Noble
  • Relationship StatusIn a relationship

  • OriginLuthadel

Posted 06 July 2017 - 04:43 PM

After two years of imprisonment from House Sureau, Vivian now thought that home might be even worse, with these moronic mistwraiths in charge of her house.

She left the meeting with the elder Elariels, her blood boiling. Why didn't they see? One of their own, in the first tier, no less, was stolen from them for two years. What would they do? Nothing. Of course. Why was Vivian so surprised? They never sought to free her. They thought she was dead, of course, but Elariel had the largest spy network in the Final Empire. What if they knew, and just decided to let her die?

We have the situation under control, Vivian, Lord Alistair had said. Stay in the keep for now. There are many factors in play.

Remembering those words made Vivian furious. I will not stand by, Vivian thought. I am no girl tied up or in a cell any longer. Sureau must perish.

As she walked through the Keep Elariel, she noticed the mists had already been out for a long time. How long had she argued with them? Then, she later noticed that no one followed her.

No handlers? she thought. Finally, after this entire hellish day of being home, she could walk around the Keep by herself. She had some slight bit of freedom.

She looked out an archway to the misty towers of the Keep. She could, perhaps, just leave Keep Elariel, and take down Sureau herself. Not tonight--she would need to recover her strength. But she could do it, eventually. Vivian was surprised to find that she had a deep desire to leave immediately.

Unfortunately, Vivian staying in the keep made sense. She was emaciated and in no shape to show herself around Luthadel, in noble society or otherwise. That's why she hated it so much. It made sense. Everything the Elariels said had its logic, but it was so wrong. Wasn't it?

Why wouldn't they listen, Vivian thought. She remembered long ago, in what felt like prior to the Ascension, that Lord Alistair trusted her. What had she done differently this time? What had she done wrong?

"Why. Won't. They. Listen!" After Vivian said the words, she was shocked they came out of her mouth. It appeared no one heard her, fortunately.

What is going on with me. Control yourself.

But why should she have to?

The Elariels would sit in their Keep and watch all of the Final Empire burn, and their membership die in the process, if it eventually advantaged them. There was a certain to pragmatism to that strategy.

It was different when Vivian was the casualty in their ludicrously long game of shelldry. Would Alistair like it if he was tied up, tortured by the Sureaus for months? Nearly starved to death? But Alistair wasn't even taking action with his own son murdered, so Vivian guessed Alistair wouldn't give a damn if it was himself in that place.

Vivian bit her lip and found she clenched her fist.

Calm down, a part of her thought.

An image flashed into her mind: Andrew Elariel, his limbs stretched across the torture device, shirt and face bloodied. Spikes entered his sides. For some reason, Myra was pouring whiskey onto his open wounds. But there, Andrew's perpetual confidence had finally faded as he knew the end was near. He Soothed, and the Sureaus just plunged spikes into him deeper. Torture made the smirks go away.

Then Vivian imagined Keep Elariel in flames. Sureau Mistborn soared over the keep with impunity, murdering all the guards. But no Elariel Allomancers came to stop them. All the Elariels stood like statues as coins flew into their skulls. Lord Alistair stood on a balcony overlooking the destruction, and did nothing as the keep fell. Eventually a Coinshot hit Alistair, and his corpse fell off the balcony into the flames.

When would the Elariels act? How many Elariels would need to die? Would Tremredare need to besieged! Deepness, if the Lord Ruler himself called them to arms, would they!

Vivian noticed a piercing pain in her chest. Her heart raced so rapidly it seemed to burst from her chest.

Lord Ruler, she thought, quickly holding herself against the hallway walls. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

A lantern on the wall a short distance away from Vivian cast a shadow of her. The shadow was not distorted and was similar to Vivian's height. She stared at its darkness as her heart rate fell, and she was left deflated.

Vivian had to be strong. Weren't things supposed to be easier, free from the Sureaus and back home? Now she let her emotions reign free, spewing them out like the Ashmounts flung ash. That was no way to be a noblewoman.

What is wrong with me?

Vivian had always thought she remained strong in the face of the torture of Sureau. Yes, they had weakened her, near the beginning, but like a metal with impurities, she had got stronger, or so she had thought.

Was that all lie? Two years ago, she was a good noblewoman. She could hide her emotions. She could be personable. She could persuade most, and advance her goals, even if just a little. She had loved talking with people and the small daily battles she fought with only words. Where was that skill now? She thought that she would still have that in her, even after two years. She did successfully convince Myra to help her eventually, but clearly Myra was a joke of a sparring partner. Elariel and the other Great Houses were something else, and they still remained as sharp as ever.

She looked again at her shadow on the stone floor. That shadow was her: it was shaped like Vivian Elariel, it moved like Vivian Elariel, but inside, it was empty. Weak.

Perhaps the Sureaus broke Vivian after all.

Vivian wiped tears away from her eyes. When had she begun crying?

I... I will just have to work harder, she thought. The metal of her soul had rusted, but Vivian would just have scrub the rust off and remake herself. Somehow.

Exhausted, she walked towards her suite. Along the way, she saw Celia's suite.

Celia! How had Vivian forgotten? She was free now. The criminal Elariel leadership allowed Celia and Vivian to say some scant five words prior to their meeting. Considering how big a fuss Vivian made over that at the meeting, clearly she was losing her mind now, for not immediately searching for Celia.

Well, that could at least be fixed. Hopefully Celia would not be furious with her for Vivian's delay. Vivian couldn't imagine how hard it must be for her sister, who idolized her so much, to have struggled with Vivian's apparent death, only to have all those emotions flare back up. Oh, Celia, Vivian thought.

Vivian knocked on Celia's door. There was no answer. Maybe Celia was already asleep. Cautiously, Vivian tried the doorknob, which was unlocked. Darkness covered the suite. Celia, it seemed, was not there.

For a moment, Vivian thought the worst, suspecting some Sureau assassins--but she immediately found that ridiculous. Celia could take care of herself. She wasn't on some Allomancer strike force--she was a Soother--and so probably was somewhere in the Keep. Even if she wasn't, she was a wonderful, grown woman. She would be fine.

Vivian lacked the strength to go search the entire Keep for Celia, so, resigned, she left the suite, and started to go to her own rooms.

See you tomorrow, sister. Vivian blew a kiss towards Celia's doorway. I miss you so much.

Vivian strode back to her own suite. It'd been converted into guest chambers for high ranking Elariels in her absence, her personal effects gone. She had spent much of the day locked in there before the Elariels spoke with her, so she did not think of the suite fondly. But oh well. Vivian could at least get rest in a real bed. It had been two years since she'd done that.

She opened her door, but instead of being greeted with darkness, the outer rooms of her suite were bright.

And there, sitting in a small chair in an alcove used for putting on makeup--which was in plain view from the suite's entrance--was Daerra Elariel in a nightgown, combing her hair. Vivian froze for a moment.

"Cousin," Vivian said after a too-long pause, mustering up as much warmth as she could in her voice, "it is wonderful to see your face again. I'd thought I would never see any Elariel again. However." Vivian walked over to give Daerra an embrace. "I do believe you have made a wrong turn. This is my suite again, you see."

Just what Vivian wanted right now: some verbal sparring with Daerra, who no doubt used two years of Vivian's absence to become the sharpest obsidian knife.

Lord Ruler pray that the Sureaus had not stolen all of Vivian's strength now.

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#2 Daerra Elariel

  • Heir's Sister

Looking Good in Red
  • Age23

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 21 July 2017 - 01:55 AM

"Lady Vivian's conference with your father and uncle has finished, milady." Daerra removed her brush from her hair and rose immediately. There was no time to waste. She had achieved too much in Vivian's absence to risk losing it upon her return. She needed to establish the balance of power soon if she was going to be sure the scales were tipped in her favour.

"Thank-you Ellis." Daerra's maid, and distant cousin, was one of Daerra's most trusted servants. Ellis had been the daughter of one of Daerra's governesses, and the girls had known each other since their childhood. "You have someone monitoring her?"

Ellis nodded, and helped Daerra into a loose silk robe and slippers before leading her outside.

While each member of the first tier occupied spacious suites, all were in the same part of the keep. Daerra's plan depended on her arriving at Vivian's rooms before Vivian got there. Ellis had stepped out the distance between Daerra's and Vivian's rooms, and compared it to several potential meeting locations earlier that day. Even if Vivian headed directly to her chambers, Daerra should still beat her there, but the thought did not stop Daerra from quickening her pace every few strides just to be certain.

When they arrived, Daerra set up at Vivian's vanity, and immediately began fixing her appearance. She needed to look casually disheveled, to further the fiction that she was using the room as an extra dressing room, and to imply that Vivian was not worth preparing for. At the same time, she couldn't stand the idea of giving Vivian the satisfaction of picking out even the most minute of flaws. Her hair needed to fall correctly and her gown should be draped just so. While Daerra worked on her pose and practiced her facial expressions, Ellis set about ensuring the room was properly lit.

Ellis was in the back corner, and not readily visible when Daerra watched the door swing open to reveal Vivian over her reflection's shoulder. She had hoped to have Ellis be combing her hair when Vivian arrived, but some things could not be helped.

"Cousin." Vivian's voice seemed hollow, despite her feigned warmth; her usual charisma seemed to have deserted her. A weakness Daerra intended to exploit. "It is wonderful to see your face again. I'd thought I would never see any Elariel again. However." Vivian closed the distance between them. "I do believe you have made a wrong turn. This is my suite again, you see."

As Vivian spoke, Daerra continued to run the comb through her hair, motioning for Ellis to join them. Instead of rising to greet Vivian, she swung around in the chair and handed Ellis the comb so she could continue where Daerra left off.

"Wonderful, is it?" Daerra spared a moment's glance for the mirror. "Yes, I suppose it might be, compared to Nadia and Myra Sureau. I'll try not to let the compliment go to my head." Daerra kept her face expressionless, choosing not to colour it with any particular emotion. She wanted to keep Vivian guessing, and her cousin would surely still remember some of Daerra's usual tricks. She met Vivian's eyes, watching her face, her posture, searching for clues she could use in her manipulation. Her attack required delicacy and precision if it was going to have the desired effect.

"I won't be long, don't worry. I know you need your rest, poor thing. But why not stay a while and catch up before bed, hmmm? After the company you've had recently, surely mine will be a wonderful change."

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