←  Southbridge Docks

Mistborn: The Inquisition



Datura's Photo Datura 19 Jul 2017

Datura put a hand beneath herself and, with a quick flare, tossed herself from the chair, landing lithely on her toes. She stalked forward, coming to inspect Nessa more closely. She got right up in the girl's face, knowing the proximity could be intimidating.

"Ignas may have dropped you here, darling," Datura said, giving a smile that really wasn't at all friendly, "but it's my decision whether or you get to stay."

It 100% was not. If Ignas said they were taking this girl into the crew, then they were taking her into the crew, but she didn't need to know that. It'd do her some good to plead her case a bit. Datura wanted to hear her sell her skills like her chance at a spot in this crew really was on the line.

"So, Ms. Nessa, what have you got to offer me?"

Nessa's Photo Nessa 20 Jul 2017

Nessa couldn't help but take a step backward as Datura walked right up to her, staring straight up into her face as though trying to look into Nessa's soul. And she had a point; what could Nessa offer, besides her Allomancy?

"Um," she began, her voice barely above a half-whisper. "I'm fast. I'm strong, pretty decent at fighting, and I can climb and get into tight spaces. Like on the boats you work on. And.."

And hold on a minute. Was this some kind of test? Crewleaders usually liked seeing what you were made of, and right now, she was making herself look weak. What use was a weak-willed thief, let alone a weak-willed Thug? She might end up paying for it, but she suddenly felt the urgent need to prove she had some backbone to her.

"And by keeping me," she continued, still in that low voice, "you don't have to explain to Ignas why you kicked out one of the rebellion's Thugs. One he went to the personal trouble of recruiting."

Datura's Photo Datura 20 Jul 2017

Datura nodded, looking pleased. For a moment there she'd wondered if Nessa wasn't going to bring up her Allomancy. It would have been a shame to have had her waste the opportunity to brag.

Though, if this was the girl's attempt at talking herself up, they had a lot of work to do in that department.

Cringing back when Dat approached? Timid voice, hesitant speech? It was a wonder there was no stutter to the words. Sure, there was a slight hint of displeasing Ignas there at the end that could have been considered a light threat, but even that was weak.

Datura clicked her tongue. This was no way for a proper Thug young lady to behave.

"You expect me to believe that a wilting little thing like you is actually a Thug?" Datura said, completely ignoring the fact that Nessa had at least three inches of height on her. "With an attitude like that, I can't imagine you'd be any good. Certainly not good enough to be of real use. Nate, I hope you didn't waste that vial of pewter on her already, did you?"

She made a quick gesture of tapped fingers against her leg, subtle, but Nate was watching for it. Anger. She wanted Nate to push Nessa away from this fearful hesitance. Datura was ready to see what the girl could do. Though he ignored her question, he did give a small nod of understanding.

Come on now, dear. Let's see if you've got any fire in you.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 20 Jul 2017

Suddenly, Nessa's nerves twitched. What did this woman mean, wilting? And then... No good? No use? Was that supposed to get a rise out of her when it was already true?

Except it was getting a rise out of her. For all Nessa should have been shrinking even further under that scrutiny, she felt herself drawing up instead. Just who did this Datura woman think she was? Sitting on a throne? Ordering Nessa to talk herself up, then dismissing her out of hand? Well, if a demonstration was what she wanted, that's what she would get.

She would need to be careful, since she didn't know if Datura was an Allomancer. She didn't want to injure someone who was supposed to be her ally unless they deserved it, and especially not the crewleader. So she dampened her pewter a little, only burning enough to keep her standing, maybe make her a little stronger and faster, and lunged.

She didn't go for a straight haymaker punch. If Datura knew how to fight - and she walked like she did - she'd expect Nessa, a taller opponent, to use her size advantage and look to overwhelm her smaller opponent. Datura could go low, get inside Nessa's reach, and bring them both to the ground.

So Nessa went low first. It wasn't difficult, as close as they were, to shift one leg forward in an attempt to place it behind Datura. In the same motion, she raised her hand, open palm, to shove it towards Datura's chest. From there, she would be able to push Datura backwards while sweeping her legs forward, bringing her to the ground.

She would, anyway, as long as Datura didn't try anything.

Datura's Photo Datura 20 Jul 2017

Datura felt a thrill as Nessa finally made a move toward her. For a split second she was tempted to fully engage, to grab Nessa's arm and go in for a strike. But... perhaps there was something to be said for patience in this situation. Nate was always saying she was too hasty, right?

Perhaps this was a moment that would be better savored.

Rather than moving in, Datura nimbly retreated, a quick flare letting her leap back inhumanly high and quick. A move that wasn't possible without pewter, if Nessa was watching closely enough to notice. Her grin got away from her as she moved out of range, her composure breaking into unrestrained glee.

Nate, overprotective as always, had tensed in the back of the room. She tried to ignore him as he shook his head, disapproving of the theatrics. Well, he could get over himself. Datura was determined to have some fun with this.

"Now then," Datura said, eyes glittering as she dropped into an aggressive stance. "That's a little more like it. How about you show me what you can really do?"

Nessa's Photo Nessa 20 Jul 2017

Datura was a Thug too.

That made this situation a whole lot more interesting, but also a whole lot more complicated - and dangerous. Datura was older and more experienced, and had access to pewter. It was probably safe to assume that she was a better Thug than Nessa then, and more experienced. And hadn't been beaten to a bloody pulp this morning.

By a rough estimation, Nessa's small vial of pewter was already almost halfway gone; she'd needed a lot to get herself moving again, and pewter burned fast. She'd need more pewter to stand half a chance, and she doubted Nate would be inclined to give her more. Datura was too smart to keep it in the open, too; she didn't see any drawers she could rifle through.

So no pewter. There was a window on the far side, so she supposed she could show her ability to make a strategic retreat, if it came to that. Except she had no idea what was on the other side.

The rug, maybe?

There was a rug covering the room between Datura and Nessa. Maybe, if she could bait Datura onto it, she could use it to tangle her up and "win" that way. It was worth a try, and certainly better than trying to engage up close in her state. And so, conserving her pewter as best she could, she lunged towards the shelves on the side of the room and did the one thing she could think of that might create the sort of opening Datura would pounce on.

She began hurling books at her.

Datura's Photo Datura 20 Jul 2017

Datura shook her head, dodging one book and catching a second. "Come now, girl, I thought I challenged you to fight me, not my bookshelves."

She leaped into the air again, twisting sideways to land unpredictably. She sprinted, trying to close the gap again and come up on Nessa's back. As she drew close, she threw herself into a slide, skidding in a sit across the floor and grabbing for Nessa's ankles.

She had nice books on that shelf! She wasn't about to let them get damaged, even for the sake of a good fight.
Edited by FeatherWriter, 20 July 2017 - 04:05 AM.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 20 Jul 2017

She was coming! Now was her---

Okay, she got here really fast.

Nessa spun - how had Datura got behind her so quickly? - struggling to keep her balance with what little pewter she had burning. So the baiting had worked a little too well, and now she was on the run. Great. She'd have to move, and fast.

"Everything's a weapon!" was the only answer she gave as she pushed off with one foot, giving herself a little more pewter to launch herself like Datura had done. Except Nessa's attempt was an awkward, barely balanced jump that had her staggering backward a few steps when she landed. That was close; Datura had almost grabbed her. As for the books, well, that was Datura's fault. If she hadn't wanted to have her books thrown, she shouldn't have challenged Nessa in a room where there were books. Obviously.

But anyways, they were apart again for the time being; now was likely the best chance Nessa would get, even though she didn't like the position she was in. Crouching down, she grabbed the corner of the carpet, flared her pewter for the briefest of moments, and heaved.

Datura's Photo Datura 20 Jul 2017

There was a lovely moment of panic as Datura felt her feet yanked out from under her, starting to tumble backward.

Huh. That was very good. I probably should have seen that coming.

Rather than trying to right herself, instead she threw herself into the fall, trusting that pewter would give her the balance she needed. What might have been a tumble for an ordinary person instead became a handspring, as Datura launched herself backward from her palms and then up to her feet once more.

She came up in a crouch near Nathan, who seemed to be trying his best to stay away from them and out of the melee. He backed a few steps further toward the door.

Datura took a moment to nod her head in a quick concession of a move well executed. "Clever, clever. I like it. How's your pewter level, darling?"

Nessa's Photo Nessa 20 Jul 2017

It worked!

Well, kind of. Datura was thrown off balance for a brief moment, but of course she caught herself immediately and turned the fall into a graceful handspring, landing on her feet like some sort of cat. Meanwhile, Nessa had a fraction of a second to realize that in her haste to make her plan work, she had flared her pewter and pulled on the rug, which meant the entire thing was now soaring impressively across the room and straight at her.

She ducked, and the carpet soared over top of her and settled down like some sort of demented blanket. As she hurried off to the side, seeking a way out from under her plush prison, she heard Datura call out to her, her voice slightly muffled.

"Clever, clever. I like it. How's your pewter level, darling?"

Finally Nessa reached the edge of the carpet and pushed her way out, shoving the carpet to the side. She extinguished her pewter for now, leaving her breathless and unsteady, and her hair was hanging half in her face and half... probably wherever it wasn't supposed to be. She barely had any metal left.

"How do you think?" Nessa asked by way of answer. Nate had only given her the one vial, which was easy enough to burn up just trying to heal her injuries. To try and fight someone like Datura at the same time? Nessa was honestly surprised she'd managed through this with the scrap she had remaining.

Datura's Photo Datura 20 Jul 2017

Datura chuckled, having stood back to watch Nessa extricate herself from the rug she'd pulled. It had been quite amusing.

She probably should have been working towards ending this. As soon as Nessa ran out of pewter, the fight would no longer be fair. Well, in all actuality, it had never really been fair at all, but with pewter on only one side, it'd be even worse.

"You ought to finish up quickly then, hmm?"

Taking her own advice, however, she darted forward, lunging sideways just as she neared Nessa, again trying to come at her from the side. Meathead Thugs always liked to brag about pewter's strength, but how could they not see the truth? Balance and speed were far and away the most important traits one could have in a fight. Everything else was secondary.

Wanting to gauge Nessa's hand-to-hand capabilities, Datura aimed a set of quick body strikes at her, not really looking to do damage, but meant to see how well Nessa could block them.

They could play with props all day, but when push came to shove, Datura wanted to know how Nessa fought.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 20 Jul 2017

Ash/ Datura was coming again, and there was no dodging. She supposed it was always going to come to this in the end, but at least she'd shown she was better than just mindlessly hurling herself into fights she couldn't win. And so, with no other options left to her, Nessa hurled herself forward to meet Datura.

The strikes came quickly, and even with pewter, Nessa could barely avoid them. Dodge here, forearm block here, step back, downward block with her palm, step back again to block outward with her other arm. But each blow fell heavy, pushing Nessa farther back - either with the sheer force of the blow or as she continuously yielded ground to her assailant. Her pewter was already starting to flicker and gutter out. This was it. They'd reached the end of the fight, so Nessa needed to go out with a bang, not a whimper.

It wasn't elegant, or practical, or probably very smart. But from what Nessa could tell about Datura from their fight, none of that mattered in this moment nearly as much as doing something. In fact, Nessa felt the same exact way.

And so, in one flash of light, without bothering to aim or carefully plan for an opening - there wouldn't be one anyway - she flared every last remaining bit of pewter and hurled her very best punch, or what passed for it at the moment, at Datura.

Datura's Photo Datura 20 Jul 2017

Datura saw it coming almost a half second too late. At the last moment, she threw her arms up, crossing to guard. Though she managed to keep the punch from hitting center, it still landed squarely against her forearms, shoving her backwards a few feet. Even with pewter burning, that strike had hurt. It probably would have shattered the arms of a normal person.

Datura slowly lowered her stinging arms and nodded once. Yes. She could work with this.

For a moment she considered darting in again, taking Nessa down handily now that the girl was probably out of pewter. But, she supposed, Nessa was recovering from injuries and probably deserved a little lenience. She wasn't an expert by any means, but there was potential there.

"I assume that was everything?"

Nessa's Photo Nessa 20 Jul 2017

Nessa just nodded. Yes, that was everything. She'd given her all in that last strike, leaving herself wide open and burning up the last of her pewter. She had no strength left, but she kept her hands up in a ready stance anyway, in case Datura decided to end it.

With all her pewter gone, her pain and stiffness came crashing back into her. They seemed stronger than before, though whether it was because she'd just been fighting or because she was fully awake now, she didn't know. Maybe both.

Her anger seemed to have burned up with the last of the pewter as well, leaving her drained and exhausted. It mingled oddly with the thrill of the fight; that thrill was slowly fading but for now it was still there.

The result was that she wanted very much to go to sleep. No, wait. Food, then pewter, then sleep. Yes, that was a much better plan.

Instead, she sank to the floor, landing hard on her knees and catching herself with a steadying hand. Without pewter, it seemed standing was out of the question right now. She just hoped she wouldn't be judged too harshly for it.

Nathan's Photo Nathan 21 Jul 2017

Nathan was there a moment later, holding Nessa up and glaring at Datura. The poor girl had just woken up from who knew how many injuries, and Dat thought the best course of action was to immediately beat her up.

"I think you've both done quite enough," he said, Soothing the sense of satisfied accomplishment he had no doubt was shining away behind Dat's smile. For good measure he tried to push back a bit of Nessa's tiredness as well. No doubt she'd hit exhaustion hard once the pewter ran out.

"She just woke up, Dat. Was that really necessary?"

Datura's Photo Datura 21 Jul 2017

“You are ever over-protective, Nate,” Datura said. “It’s endearing as always, but we Thugs are made of sterner stuff than that. She’ll be just fine.”

She did walk over to her desk, though, grabbing one of her metal vials. She even did it with minimal eye-rolling, which she considered rather more than he deserved for scolding her in front of a recruit.

He had his brass all over her happiness again, too, but she tried to ignore that. The girl would be alright, and it had been a good fight. She didn’t often get a chance to throw down with another Pewterarm, and even someone untrained like Nessa made for an interesting challenge.

Which reminded her…

“Ms. Nessa,” she said, proffering the vial of metal dust and alcohol. “I’d like to formally welcome you to my crew. And so long as you are working in my hierarchy, I find it imperative that you be properly trained.”

This girl could be so much more than she was. All it would take was a little bit of practice and a little more confidence in her abilities. Both of which were things Datura was more than willing to provide.

“So, what do you say?”

Nessa's Photo Nessa 22 Jul 2017

Nessa flinched and instinctively jerked away when someone unexpectedly touched her, but it was just Nate, helping her stand. He seemed worried, and he was being gentle and kept his hands where they belonged, so after the initial moment of panic, Nessa relaxed and decided to accept the help. It was nice to have, really, and when he spoke up for her, she found herself liking him even more. He really wasn't so bad, just like she'd thought before. That was good.

Meanwhile, she cursed herself a little when Datura did pull pewter out of the desk. How differently would the fight have gone if she'd found that? But Datura seemed happy, which was good, and she was offering the pewter to Nessa, which was even better. She downed it quickly and handed the vial back.

What did she say? What choice did she have, really? But then, a thought occurred to her, a strange and unexpected one. Before, she'd been training just because she was told to; because people came and got her and made her fight. But something about her match with Datura, about seeing her own potential reflected back at her in the form of the woman standing before her now, had caused an unexpected shift. A change in attitude that was almost as dramatically stunning as her realization that women could be leaders in the underground.

"I want to train."

Nathan's Photo Nathan 22 Jul 2017

Nate watched Datura open her mouth, that terrible glimmer in her eyes, and he cut her off before she could say anything.

"When you're healed" he said, sternly, staring his boss down until she closed her mouth. "You two can train when she's healed. Is what Datura was going to say, I'm certain."

Thugs. Always overestimating themselves. He'd seen plenty of men go down, trusting Allomancy to keep them alive. Exhaustion and wounds killed people with pewter too. He wasn't about to let that happen here. Even if not for Nessa's sake, Ignas would probably have retribution if something happened to an asset like her.

What a terrible way to think of the world.

"You two can resume punching each other into pulps after Nessa has had some food, rest, and plenty of pewter."

Datura's Photo Datura 22 Jul 2017

Datura crossed her arms, arching an eyebrow as her second talked back to her. He quite annoyingly refused to back down, meeting her stare for stare. He had a habit of getting stubborn at the most frustrating times.

It was usually when he was right though, she had to admit.

Sighing, she waved a hand, dismissing them. "Of course, very well. Find her food and her own bed. Tell the crew if anyone messes with her, I'll snap their fingers. And tell the men to get that ship finished tonight. No one leaves the workfloor until it's done. Nessa, we'll begin training as soon as you're back to mint."
Edited by FeatherWriter, 22 July 2017 - 06:52 AM.

Nathan's Photo Nathan 22 Jul 2017

Nathan nodded, giving a small salute. "As you order, ma'am. It'll be done."

It was always best to flatter Dat's sense of a authority after talking back to her. The ego of a crewleader could be a fragile thing indeed. Still, for this girl's sake, he'd stand up to his boss.

Looking back to Nessa, he gave her a questioning look, wondering if she still wanted support. With pewter, she was probably fine to walk on her own, but perhaps she'd like to lean on someone anyway. He was open to help if she wished it.

"Ms. Nessa. Boss ordered food and bedrest. Sound good to you?"
Edited by FeatherWriter, 22 July 2017 - 06:59 AM.