←  Southbridge Docks

Mistborn: The Inquisition



Nessa's Photo Nessa 16 Jul 2017

Nessa's head hurt. Well, actually, everything hurt.

She didn't remember much from today, and what little she did know took a few minutes to come back to her through the fog. Right, she'd gone for a walk during the executions, and she'd been found by her old crew, the ones Ignas had kidnapped her from. Harn and Thane, leading a group of toughs, had surrounded and overwhelmed her, hauling her before the crewleader, Crooks. He'd promised to let her go - after teaching her what happened to traitors - and then everything went dark under a haze of blood and pain.

And then, the warmth of pewter. She'd fought to keep it from surfacing, knowing what she knew now about how easy it would be for Inquisitors to find her, but it had welled up within all on its own, preserving her life, but at what cost?

But it wasn't an Inquisitor who found her. She couldn't remember who at the moment, but she did remember dead silence as she was picked up off the ground and carried somewhere. She must have fallen asleep or unconscious, because now she was tucked into a soft bed somewhere. The shop, maybe? She blinked her eyes open at long last, her vision swimming, and looked around.

This wasn't the shop.


She was in a bunk, looking up at the one above her, while a lamp somewhere gave the room a dim light. It seemed empty, at least what of it she could see, which was fine by her. She was too tired and sore to deal with people trying to kill her, at least until she found some pewter; she must have burned through the last of hers while she was out. She supposed it was kind of strange that she wasn't panicking right now, because shouldn't she be panicking right now?

Eh. She'd panic later. For now, she may as well enjoy this nice soft bed until she had to fight for her life again.

Nathan's Photo Nathan 17 Jul 2017

Nate sat forward as he saw their 'guest' stir, flaring his brass for good measure. Ignas had said she was a Thug and the last thing he needed was a panicked Pewterarm tearing things apart. It wasn't even close to a subtle Soothing, but he didn't need it to be. He just needed her to not freak out long enough for them to explain.

He'd intentionally picked a bunk to sit on that was not in her immediate line of sight, hoping not to startle her as she came to. The bed creaked as he shifted though, setting his book down beside him.

"Morning, friend," he said calmly, watching to see how she'd react. "Or rather, good evening, to be more precise. How are you feeling?"
Edited by FeatherWriter, 17 July 2017 - 09:34 PM.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 17 Jul 2017

Someone was talking, and somewhere in the room, a bed creaked. Nessa shifted, her gaze eventually focusing on a man she didn't recognize. He didn't have spikes or tattoos that she could see, and wasn't immediately trying to kill her. That was a good sign. She still felt calm, oddly enough; was that because she was actually as safe as she felt right now, or was he doing that Soothing thing that the Inquisitor had done just the other night? It was hard to tell, especially with her head swimming as it was.

"Sore," she finally answered, letting herself flop back onto the pillow for now. Why did Allomancy have to make life more confusing? It was supposed to be for hitting things. "Hungry. Confused. Who are you, and where is this?"

She almost asked where her friends were, especially Perrin, but even with her head pounding and everything else hurting, she could tell that wasn't a smart idea. These people still might be enemies, after all; better not to let them know she had friends - or who they were.

Nathan's Photo Nathan 17 Jul 2017

He chuckled. She seemed calm, though that was to be expected with how hard he was pushing down just about everything she could be feeling right now. That was all he needed though. The brass was doing his job. With everything she'd likely been through, some inner calm was probably a blessing. He didn't know many details of what had happened to her, but anything that would lay a Thug out like that couldn't have been enjoyable.

"You can call me Nate," he said by way of introduction. "You're currently in the south bunkroom of our crewhouse, on the Southbridge Docks. You were, ah... dropped off by a mutual acquaintance of ours."

He eased off the brass, just to see if he could get a feel for what was actually happening emotionally through all of this. He had some pewter to give her, but he wanted to gauge how she was doing a bit further before offering that gift.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 17 Jul 2017

A crewhouse, huh? But whose crew? He mentioned a mutual acquaintance, but it was somewhat hesitant. She narrowed her eyes at that, starting to feel the panic and suspicion creep back in around the edges. She pushed herself up, groaning as her body protested, so she was sitting on the edge of the bed. Her eyes darted quickly around the room, assessing what she had to work with: an oil lamp for light, a bunch of bunks that were probably too heavy for her to fling around even with pewter, at least in her current state, random people's belongings, and only one exit that she could immediately see.


But this Nate person seemed perfectly content to just talk, and he still hadn't pulled a weapon or tried to kill her. That was a start, she guessed; maybe if she tried to stay calm for now, she'd be able to get some more answers. And for all she knew, even if she bolted, there could be guards right outside the door anyway.

"Who?" she demanded. Wait, no. She shouldn't ask like that; he might get angry at her. What would Maks do? He always managed to stay level-headed, even when she was bothering him. He'd probably want her to take a deep breath and talk like her best imitation of a reasonable person, at least until she had no other options. So that's what she did, trying her best to take the edge out of her voice. It mostly worked, but it still had an uneasy note to it, which irritated her.

"I've met with lots of acquaintances today, and some of them I'm not so friendly with anymore."

Nathan's Photo Nathan 17 Jul 2017

She started to look a bit flighty as he let up, so he gently pressed fear instincts down again a bit. Not nearly as far as they'd been suppressed before, but just to take some tension off. He purposefully kept his demeanor casual and calm. Soothing wasn't mind control, and there was a good chance she was going to figure out what was going on here soon, so he needed to keep things from escalating.

"Who are we?" he asked, not sure which of her questions she'd meant earlier. He'd answer both. "We're a smuggling crew, led by a lady who goes by Datura. If I heard correctly, I think you might be working with us for a little while.

"As for who dropped you off..."

He wasn't certain what her relationship was with Ignas, but it seemed wise to be respectful. He might not like the man, but so long as Datura was working with him, he wasn't going to badmouth a boss. Especially not to a crew newbie.

"Well, he had some interesting tattoos across his face. Had you slung over his shoulder when he walked in and asked us to see you get patched up."

Nessa's Photo Nessa 17 Jul 2017

Another wave of calm settled over Nessa, and she breathed a little easier. It didn't completely take the edge off, but she felt a little more in control of herself now. She felt a little proud of that, and couldn't help but wonder if Maks would be too? If she ever got the chance to tell him about it. That thought made her more than a little sad.

When he described who brought her in, though, she couldn't help but be a little incredulous. Was he implying that Ignas had brought her here? That would explain the dead silence that had rocked the room before she completely lost consciousness; Crooks and company would have thought they had a real obligator in their midst. Instead of a homicidal traitorous one, which wasn't that much better.

"Say his name," Nessa insisted, keeping her voice level but trying to put in some of Maks's firm, but not demanding, tone. It didn't quite work. "If you say his name, I'll know you're telling me the truth."

Nathan's Photo Nathan 17 Jul 2017

Nate sighed, nodding. "It's who you're thinking of. Ignas. Our crew works with him as well. I believe you've been relocated here for a little while. I assume to help keep you away from, well, whatever did this to you."

He leaned back against the hard wall, looking around the bunkroom. The mattresses were thin, the pillows not great, and there wasn't anything resembling a decoration, but that was standard.They weren't luxurious, but as skaa crews went, this wasn't bad. Dat tried to run her crew well and that included keeping their amenities in good repair. He wouldn't particularly like sleeping in here, but it was a good place.

"I think he believes we might be able to help you out, as well."
Edited by FeatherWriter, 17 July 2017 - 09:30 PM.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 17 Jul 2017

Nessa sighed when Nate mentioned Ignas, though she wasn't sure if it was a sigh of relief or frustration. On one hand, she hadn't been caught by the Ministry or passed off to one of Crooks’s associates, but on the other, Ignas. Could she ever really trust anything he did or said? Still, maybe she could begin to trust this Nate person. He was nicer than Ignas, at least, though that wasn't hard to accomplish. And he'd given her the confirmation she'd asked for, which counted for a lot.

“All right. I'll stay put, for now, at least until I know more. And I won't throw or break things or fight anyone unless they pick a fight first.” She sighed again, pulling her legs up onto the bed and wrapping her arms around her knees.

“I obviously have no idea if you can help me or not or with what, but I'm pretty sure Ignas didn't move me here to protect me. He doesn't really seem to care about whether I'm safe, just whether I do what he wants. He only stopped Crooks’s cronies from killing me because he needed his Thug back, and he probably moved me here to separate me from-- from someone I was getting close to,” she finished, blushing. “He didn't like whatever it was that was happening between us.”

Nathan's Photo Nathan 17 Jul 2017

Nate listened, nodding along as she spoke and quietly filing away things that seemed like useful information. Crooks, some kind of feud with an old crew, a budding relationship to watch out for. All good things to keep in mind while trying to get Nessa fitted into the crew. Any of those things could come back to cause trouble at some point.

"Not breaking things or fighting is appreciated," he said with a smile. "I suppose I can give you a quick primer on rules around here. Always a little more important for a Thug. Basically, someone picks trouble with you, feel free to rough them up, but it's appreciated if you leave them in working condition. Or, you can bring grievances to me, Dat, or one of the floor leaders and we'll take care of punishments.

"Killing crew is off-limits. No matter the situation. If something comes up and someone needs to be taken care of or shuffled off, Datura will handle it. You take matters into your own hands, and there'll be consequences.

"Other than that, follow orders and don't get on the boss' bad side and you should be fine. We're a good crew, take care of our members, and we work to keep things fair around here. Datura runs tight ships, so stay in line and you'll do great around here. Sound like a plan?"

Honestly though, the girl didn't have much to worry about in regards to getting on Datura's bad side. With the way the crewleader's eyes had lit up at the prospect of having another Pewterarm around, Nessa was probably more in danger of becoming Dat's favorite than anything else.

Which, could be dangerous as well, but... probably in entirely different ways.
Edited by FeatherWriter, 17 July 2017 - 09:30 PM.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 17 Jul 2017

Did it sound like a plan? Nessa considered for a moment, but really, what choice did she have? She was deep in someone else's crewhouse right now, having been put there by Ignas of all people. If she tried to escape, go back to the shop she knew, she'd likely be removed from the Rebellion at best - if she even made it that far. And while she didn't really care one way or another about rebelling, she did care about the people at the shop. Her friends, she realized suddenly. She actually had friends, or as close to it as possible. Maybe, if she did what this Nate fellow wanted, he'd put in a word for her and she could go see them again. That would be nice.

They'd probably determine her role later, since she wasn't good for much of anything right now. And while Nate promised her a good crew, well, other people had as well, and that wasn't always the case. But he seemed to believe what he was saying, and the room full of bunks was certainly a step up from pallets on the floor. That was something. Besides, for whatever reason, she wanted to believe him. That didn't mean she did, not all the way at least, but wanting to was a nice - if scary - feeling.

And so she just nodded. She did, however, have one question.

"Is there food?"

Nathan's Photo Nathan 17 Jul 2017

"I can do you one better," he said, easing the Soothing away to almost nothing. She seemed to be in cooperative enough spirits now.

He held up a glass vial. "Since you've promised not to break anything, the boss thought you might want a little pewter in your system, hmm?"

He tossed the vial in her direction, then stood up, the bunk creaking beneath him. Walking across the room, he offered her a hand. "Since you're awake, Datura would like to speak with you. I'm sure she'll have some food around, too. You like baywraps?"

Nessa's Photo Nessa 17 Jul 2017

Nessa caught the vial, snatching it out of the air, and in the time it took Nate to get up and cross to where she stood, she had it open and emptied. Didn't want to give him time to change his mind, after all. The familiar warmth flared to life within her, and she sighed in relief as the aches and stiffness bled away. She tried to ration it - she had no idea when she'd be getting more - but she wasn't sure how good of a job she was doing at that. Hopefully they'd give her plenty, since they'd probably want her working sooner rather than later.

Nate offered her his hand, and at first she just sort of stared at it, wondering what to do. Would he be offended if she didn't take it? Would he think she didn't trust him yet? Well, she still sort of didn't trust most people, and could he blame her for that? It probably wasn't a trap, not when he'd just given her pewter, but--

"You like baywraps?"

Nessa nodded, and hesitantly - carefully, too, with her pewter burning - placed her hand in his, letting him help her to her feet. As she did, something stuck out in her mind. She couldn't recall if he'd mentioned it before, but just now, very clearly, when referring to Datura, he'd used the word she.

"Your crewleader. Um. I guess it's our crewleader now, huh? Anyways. She's... a woman? Women can be crewleaders?"

The thought was entirely foreign to her, in a way that someone who'd worked the mines their whole life might feel when watching their first sunrise. In the crews she'd worked, women were, for the most part, good for two things: impersonating noblewomen, and providing the men with the sort of company they usually had to pay for. She was terrible at the former, and had fought men for trying to get the latter. But to have a woman in charge? Not only making the rules, but having people listen? Not being discounted, pushed aside, or used?

It was a foreign thought, yes, but also incredible.

"I want to meet her."

Nathan's Photo Nathan 18 Jul 2017

Nate caught the edge of eagerness in her tone and paused. He'd been worried about Datura taking too much of a liking to their new recruit, but now he reconsidered. Perhaps it was the other way around he should have been afraid of. Down that path lay nothing but trouble.

Datura was just about as close to family as anyone to him other than his wife, but Lord Ruler save them all if he had to deal with two of her.

Somewhat selfishly, he Soothed a bit of that Datura-centered excitement away. It probably wouldn't do him any good, but he had to try, right?

He shook his head as he led her out into the main warehouse area. "Well, you're in luck then, because she's also quite interested in meeting you. As for women being crewleaders, if you ever feel like losing a few limbs, feel free to try telling Datura what she can and can't do."

There was legitimate work on the floor today, and the crew worked at refinishing the wood on the shipping barge currently docked in their warehouse. One wall opened to the Channerel, with part of the flooring was open water just wide enough to pull a barge in to dock. They did do actual ship repairs in this house, maintenance, things like that.

Of course, with the captains they had arrangements with, they were sure to clean out those nooks, crannies, and secret compartments full of lovely goods that the Canton of Resource tended to overlook when taking inventory. They left payment behind and when the captains came to pick up their ships again, they all shook on it and knew what had really happened.

Today though, it was just varnish. As Nate walked toward the stairs up to Datura's office, he reached out over the room, blanketing the tiredness and boredom among the crew, and wiping them away. One of the floor leaders—a senior crew member who knew of Nate's abilities—gave him a nod of thanks as the Soother headed up the stairs.

At the top, he stopped by the door, turning back to Nessa. "Ready?"
Edited by FeatherWriter, 18 July 2017 - 03:42 AM.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 18 Jul 2017

Nessa gaped as they stepped out, revealing a large work floor that was currently housing a canal barge. Nate hadn't been exaggerating when he'd said this crewhouse was in the docks, had he? Scratch that; it pretty much was a dock, with work and living quarters attached. So they were shipwrights? But Nate had specifically called Datura their Crewleader, so where was the real operation? Were they smugglers using this as a front, or was the whole ship thing a legitimate business while they did other, more lucrative work on the side?

It was almost strange being in a place like this; her old crews had mostly hid in the shadows in safehouses and hovels, unable to put on a believable front for more than the occasional job. Lan's shop had been the most legitimate-looking front she'd been a part of, but even that had been a small operation consisting of only a few people. Most of the rebels who stayed there were posing as household staff or simply sleeping upstairs and sneaking out to work. This operation, by contrast, seemed absolutely massive. Did Datura run all this as well, or just the rebel side of things?

On the work flow below, men still toiled, varnishing the wood of the barge despite the late hour. Whoever had put this order in probably wanted it done quickly, and it was easy enough to make skaa work through the night. Though, judging by the amount of people here, maybe they actually had enough to take proper shifts. And everyone seemed to be doing something. It was oddly comforting to know that even if she wouldn't be much work at infiltrating society, they could at least maybe use her to move heavy things. When she wasn't doing rebel things, anyway. Maybe that way they'd keep feeding her.

They headed up a set of stairs, stopping at a door at the top. Nate asked if she was ready, and surprisingly, she found that she was. She wanted to meet this Datura, and find out why everyone seemed to think Nessa would benefit from being here.

So she nodded, turning her eyes toward the door.

Nathan's Photo Nathan 18 Jul 2017

Nate knocked on the door, the guards there stepping aside as they recognized him.

"Boss," he called, though it always felt weirdly formal to call her that. Had to keep up appearances for new crew, though. "New girl's awake. I know you wanted me to bring her up."

"Bring her in, then," a voice came, muffled, from the other side.

Nate opened the door, holding it for Nessa and ushering her in.

Datura's Photo Datura 18 Jul 2017

If there's one thing Datura was certain to never mess up if she can help it, it was a first meeting.

Especially when that meeting was with someone as interesting as the girl Ignas had brought to them. Sure, Dat had gone to see her while she was sleeping, but that didn't really count as a meeting, of course.

Meetings were all about making the right impression.

As she called for Nathan to open the door, she was draped, as usual, across her overly large chair. Elbow propped on the right armrest, resting her head against her hand. One leg extended down toward the floor while the other was kicked up over the other armrest. A good position to display the long, almost skirt-like leather longcoat, the nice one with the blue silk lining.

She'd practiced finding the a good pose, dammit, and it had taken time to find the best one. She wasn't going to waste it.

"Bring her in, then," she called, trying to sound imperious and commanding.

She hoped Nathan was Soothing away everything but awe and fear from this girl as she entered. He probably wasn't because he was boring like that. But hey, a girl could dream.
Edited by FeatherWriter, 18 July 2017 - 05:48 AM.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 19 Jul 2017

They walked into the room, and Nessa stopped dead.

Datura lounged across - yes, across a massive chair, a long coat spread out underneath her like a banner. She somehow looked carefully posed and completely effortless at the same time, with every strand of hair and thread of clothing perfectly arranged. She dominated the entire room, somehow making it look like even that chair, which was impractically large, seemed like it was made for her. The aura of power and control filled the entire office in a way no other crewleader could - not one Nessa had ever seen, anyway. Even Ignas just menaced people into submission, while Perrin charmed them over to his side. Datura... just made you feel like you should follow her. Of course you would, because why wouldn't you? That's just the way things are.

In other words, she was incredible.

Suddenly, Nessa was acutely, uncomfortably aware of how she herself seemed in comparison. Malnourished and gangly, with limbs too long for the rest of her and no womanly figure to speak of. Absolutely caked in blood and ash from her beating earlier, her hair tangled and filthy. You'd never know they'd scrubbed it just the other day, or that Maks had given her brand new clothes. Those were filthy now too. She looked - and felt - like a rag that someone had picked up off the street. But that's what she was, wasn't it? Ignas had literally found her on the streets and dragged her into the rebellion.

She finally shuffled into the room enough to let Nate to come in behind her, but stopped again as soon as he had room. What was she doing in a place like this, really? Was it a mistake? Should she even be here? How could she have possibly thought she could meet a person like this?

Of course, it was too late now. She was here. There would be no backing out.

Datura's Photo Datura 19 Jul 2017

Datura grinned at the shock on the girl's face as she entered. It was absolutely perfect. Dramatic preparation paid off, once more.

She pointedly ignored Nate rolling his eyes behind her.

"So this is the stray that Ignas has dropped on our doorstep, is it?" She tapped her chin, making an obvious show of looking Nessa up and down. "She doesn't look like much now, but I think I can see something that resembles potential in her."

She tapped a hand against the chair. "Care to introduce yourself, girl?"

Nessa's Photo Nessa 19 Jul 2017

Potential? What? What was Datura talking about? Oh, wait, she was addressing Nessa. She should probably answer.

"N-nessa," she said softly, looking very intently at the floor between them. "Ma'am."

Well, now I just sound like an idiot.