←  Silver Quarter

Mistborn: The Inquisition


Mutual Interests

Eliane Casuana's Photo Eliane Casuana 23 Jul 2017

Eliane could have sworn that her exhaustion had become a tangible thing.

A solid mass, a substance with weight to it, a creature that had climbed up her back to settle itself across her shoulders. It was heavy, thick, and viscous, like a syrup she had to wade through with every motion.

Stress and confusion could be motivating at the onset, but after a while, one just got tired.

One day wasn't enough time for the city to settle after being shaken so profoundly. The streets felt it, same as the keeps. Something had changed yesterday night at Keep Casuana and the details of what had really happened were as damaged and hazy as she imagined the smoke-filled halls must have been. Everyone thought they had the story of what had occurred, but there were too many stories and not enough of them lining up.

Well, one thing was certain. She planned to keep digging, to find some kind of truth in all of this mess. The rebellion in particular had her interest. She'd gotten a few compelling tips from her network regarding their involvement, and she had one contact in particular who believed he could track down a cell that had been connected to the attack.

That was something she could use. Not just for her own gain—though she wasn't against having some extra boxings in her pockets for putting good intel in generous hands—but also just because it was the right thing to do. If these were skaa with Allomancy, and if they really had done something as audatious as attack a Great House keep in the middle of a ball, then they needed to be shut down. She could help that happen.

Besides, though it had been years since she'd used the name Casuana herself, she was surprised to find there was still some old House loyalty within her. She knew some of the Luthadel Casuanas now and she found that she liked them. She wanted the House to be able to recover from this. She wanted to help, even if they didn't know she was one of them.

Regardless, all the confusion and trying to investigate had worn her out. She'd left the Wraith's Whisper in the hands of one of her employees for most of the day, only really coming in to check on the bar late, close to closing. She'd felt a bit guilty for abandoning them all day, so she was helping now with some of the closing tasks.

Even if nothing sounded better than going to lay down in her bed upstairs.

She hefted the sectioned crate, trying to keep the old boards from digging into her fingers, and pushed the back door to the alley open with her backside. The empty bottles clinked and jingled as she jostled them, a discordant set of chimes.

Ash crunched softly underfoot as she stepped outside, placing the box above her on a high ledge, away from where prowling skaa might be tempted to steal it. There weren't many skaa that wandered the Silver Quarter, and certainly not this late at night with the mists out in all their strength, but placing things out of immediate line of sight was just wise. Their nearest glass factory would send someone to check for boxes in the early morning.

That task finished, Eliane simply allowed herself to stand for a moment, cool mist tickling her skin. It swirled slightly in a gentle current, pulled by her bronze. It always made her want to stop burning, to let the mist pass her by and stop reminding her what she was.

But even ostensibly alone, she couldn't take the feeling of blindness she got without it. Better to draw the mists than be caught unawares.

Camille Deveaux's Photo Camille Deveaux 25 Jul 2017

The body slumped forward, and Cassi shoved it to the side, out of her way. Lord Ashton Fortier had always been a proud man - too proud to kill his skaa women properly, too proud to admit when his house's finances were stretched too thin, and too proud to pay the informant who was helping him pull his indebted Lord and brother out of the gutter. He'd decided that Cassi had outlived her usefulness, and it was time to wrap up a loose end.

And given Cassi one to wrap up instead, in the process. His death had been a quick and quiet one; as soon as she saw him draw his knife - even without tin, the motion was unmistakable - she'd struck, springing from the shadows with a blade of her own and burying it deep in his gut, then slicing his throat to finish the job. He didn't have time to scream, or counterattack, before it was over. He bled out on the ground next to her as she wiped her hands on her cloak. All it did was smear blood around and get ash all over her hands, but the fabric had absorbed a little of it at least.

Of course, now she had to decide what to do with the body. She couldn't leave it here; the proprietress of the Wraith's Whisper was one of her favorite clients, and having something like that discovered in her back alley would be inconvenient. On the Landrums' Luthadel estate, perhaps? It wasn't too far from here, and it had been rumored in certain circles that Lord Ashton had been having an affair with Lord Landrum's daughter, a woman almost half his own age. A couple carefully planted rumors, and everyone would be whispering that clearly one of the Landrum men had flown into a protective rage at catching Lord Ashton sneaking into darling little Ludmilla's bedroom.

As Cassi was debating this course of action and planning for any possible contingencies, the door opened. Cassi shrank back into the shadows, holding her breath, but it was just Lea, bringing some bottles out for collection. Warm, golden light spilled out into the mists, which swirled and played around her as usual. Cassi had known from their first meeting that Lea was an Allomancer because of that, but was still working on which type. She didn't dare burn bronze herself in case Lea was a Seeker, and while she'd first suspected tin, now she wasn't so sure; Lea didn't seem to see as well in the dark and the mists as a Tineye should. Best to assume bronze, or even that she was Mistborn, just to be safe.

Still, this presented an excellent opportunity. Lea was one of Cassi's favorite contacts, and while they hadn't had an appointment set up for tonight, they no doubt had plenty of new material to do business over. And so she called out, in her low, scratchy voice.

"Evening, Lady Wraith. What brings you out here by yourself? Miss me?"

Eliane Casuana's Photo Eliane Casuana 25 Jul 2017

Eliane started, feeling an instinctive jolt of fear at the sound of the voice, the rush of adrenaline that came from assuming you were alone only to find out it wasn't the case.

She relaxed slightly as she recognized the voice a moment later. Though only slightly. Cassi had always been a good contact and well-informed source, but the woman was skaa. Skaa didn't survive outside of the system without being dangerous, and Eliane knew better than to underestimate anyone from the streets. Especially not on something so feeble as a friendly rapport in past dealings.

Still, she was reasonably certain that Cassi was not here to attack her tonight. This was probably a good thing, to be honest. Though she'd spent all day trying to connect the dots within her network, she'd never turn away another potential source of intel.

She turned, offering Cassi a bartender's smile, the kind designed to put a person at ease. "'Lady Wraith,' hmm, Cass? I might just steal that. Got a good ring to it. I'm out here because chores have to be done, and someone's got to set the bottles out if we want them picked up. I might ask if you're the one who's missed me, since you've conveniently turned up here late at..."

Through the shifting mist she hadn't initially made out what exactly Cassi's surroundings were. However, that lump on the ground at her feet had an unmistakably human shape to it, and wasn't moving. Looking more closely, there were ashy blood stains on Cassi's cloak and... Lord Ruler, is that a bloody knife in her hand?

It appeared that it was, and a tiny bit of Eliane's panic returned at the sight of that. On instinct, she flared her bronze, but felt nothing. Thankfully. She kept her voice steady enough however, as she frowned in Cassi's direction.

"Is that a corpse?"
Edited by FeatherWriter, 25 July 2017 - 08:11 PM.

Camille Deveaux's Photo Camille Deveaux 25 Jul 2017

Cassi grinned at the obvious panic on Lea's face, even chuckling a little at the question. This was exactly the kind of reaction she loved; it added to her reputation in the underground. Have a frightening enough reputation, and nobody dared cross you or sell you bad intel.

"As of a few minutes ago, yes," she answered with a shrug. "Poor fellow thought killing me was easier than paying up. He thought wrong." She held up the knife, letting the light from inside the bar glint off the blood covering the blade, and winked.

"Don't worry, he'll be gone before morning. Consider it a favor for one of my favorite clients."

Eliane Casuana's Photo Eliane Casuana 25 Jul 2017

Eliane tried to school her expression into something like stern disapproval as she shook her head. "And you had to meet with the poor sot and kill him in my alley? My bar's going to get a bad reputation if there's murders around like this."

She clicked her tongue, but tried to crane her head to get a better look at the body. Hard to make out much in the dim mists, but she thought the clothes looked somewhat fine. A meeting in the Silver Quarter would indicate a noble, anyway.

"As for that favor," she said, still eyeing the victim, "how about you let me know who he was, at least. Since I was kind enough to provide your setting. He anyone worth knowing?"

Camille Deveaux's Photo Camille Deveaux 25 Jul 2017

Cassi paused, thinking it over. She supposed it wouldn't hurt to let Lea know the truth, and anyway, her reputation wouldn't benefit if she hid the killing too well. Let the public think one thing, and the underground, another. That was a good way to settle this.

"Ashton Fortier," she finally said, wiping her blade off on the fellow's trouser leg. "Brother to the Lord of the house. He was trying to bribe and blackmail his way out from under the mountain of debt his brother accumulated mismanaging the family's investments and finances. I guess he decided I knew too many of his secrets, but I wouldn't call him worth knowing. Unless you've got the right customers for it, anyway. Either way, with him out of the picture, the whole family will probably crumble before long."

And good riddance, if they were really that weak.

Eliane Casuana's Photo Eliane Casuana 25 Jul 2017

Eliane nodded, filing the tidbit away. It was probably the truth, and it'd be easy enough to find out if Ashton Fortier had disappeared overnight. She'd never done business with him. Some Lords preferred skaa informants for the very reason they preferred skaa whores: just kill them off when they became inconvenient.

Hadn't turned out too well for Lord Fortier, though, it seemed.

"Of course," Eliane said, leading the conversation toward more important matters, "seems like these days, any of those high and mighty Houses could be on the verge of crumbling. After what happened to Casuana last night, I've got a feeling none of them are feeling particularly safe. Hear a lot of interesting things about what happened at that ball."

She caught Cassi's eye, raising an eyebrow, certain the other woman would take the hint. I know things, you know things. Care to trade a few?

Camille Deveaux's Photo Camille Deveaux 25 Jul 2017

Cassi's grin deepened. And so we come to it at last. Everyone would be chomping at the bit for information about last night - both Cassi's customers and Lea's. If they could trade some good secrets here, both of them stood to do quite well for themselves, and they both knew it.

"As do I. And not all of it happened before that skaa Mistborn attacked."

There. That should do pretty well to gauge what Lea already knew.

Eliane Casuana's Photo Eliane Casuana 26 Jul 2017

Skaa Mistborn. She resisted the urge to shudder. Noble Mistborn were bad enough, but skaa with Allomancy simply sounded like her worst nightmare. She could only imagine the kind of chaos a Mistborn and skaa Allomancers attacking the ball must have been like.

"This rebellion seems to be better equipped than it has been in the past. I have a friend of a friend who knows one of their recruiters. Or, did. I assume most of them seem to have gone to ground following an attack like this. But my source says they've been expanding operations, pushing influence in ways they haven't before. Whatever they're up to, the attack on Casuana isn't going to be the end of it. I'd stake my name on them attacking again like this somewhere."

She declined to mention that her own investigations from a few months ago had led to a deeper discovery: the location of a possible rebel cell in the Twists. An odd turn of phrase from a young man with a little too much to drink had induced her to keep an eye on him and, after a quick and careful tail, this nondescript building in the slums.

She'd been watching it personally on and off since she'd heard of it, but now that the rebellion had made such a major move, she wanted to be certain before she told anyone. Casuana would be the ones she wanted to sell to, if she could get a safe meeting. Taking information about skaa rebels to the Canton of Inquisition could net her a small reward, but nothing like what a Great House would pay for intel on a group that had directly attacked them.

She needed to be wise about this. Play her cards right. It was a difficult line to walk.

Camille Deveaux's Photo Camille Deveaux 23 Sep 2017

Cassi nodded sagely, letting the predatory gleam shine through bright and clear in her expression. Lea was dangling half of an almost-offer right in Cassi's face, and she was eager to find out if this "connection" of hers was the real deal. It could be invaluable to the Inquisition, which meant of course she had to investigate. Had it been anyone else, she may have been far more skeptical, but Lea's information was solid, far more so than many of her other contacts. It was worth probing further, at least.

"Though not for a while, if they know what's good for 'em," she said, keeping one eye on Lea and one on the pretty way the light from the bar glittered across the blood accumulated on her blade. It really was quite lovely; she rarely got to appreciate such a sight.

"The slums'll be crawling with Inquisitors for days; it's a bloody pain trying to make my appointments." She snorted in disdain for good measure, even though she in reality had no such difficulties. A mistcloak, carefully planned costume changes, and a professional understanding with her favorite Inquisitor ensured that.

"There'll be executions too, mark my word, and Seekers sniffing about and tighter curfew enforcement and all that; they'll be lying low and licking their wounds for a while yet if you ask me. Not that we should be any less vigilant for it, of course, and the Ministry as well as Casuana themselves'll pay a pretty penny for any leads. If any of the rats so much as sneeze, there's good money to be made, for all of us, if the Ministry doesn't catch wind of it first."

She grinned, then set to wiping the blade on the edge of her cloak. Surely, eventually, she could get it somewhat clean, and the effort gave her something to do while she let her words sink in.