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Mistborn: The Inquisition


According to Plan

Daerra Elariel's Photo Daerra Elariel 18 Feb 2011

The knife was safely stowed in a hidden compartment in the upper most drawer of her armoire. Daerra resisted the urge to glance at it again. Upon ushering her back into the keep, her servants had helped her bathe, and plied her with bread and water. She had accepted the water, and nibbled at some of the bread, but in the end had sent them all away, saying she was fine. Her servants had looked at her doubtfully. After all, Daerra was probably the last person they had expected to come stumbling home from the ball early and completely drunk. They would have suspected something was wrong, but finally, even with her act, Daerra's strong will prevailed, and she was left in peace, presumably to pass out in the bed where they left her.

Her eyes strayed to the drawer again before they refocused on the mirror before her. To distract herself, she began running a brush through her hair, while she practiced her faces. One by one, emotions blossomed and vanished as another took over: sadness, mirth, confusion, innocence, and love. As she practiced, she searched for imperfections, keeping her mind busy with the mental tricks she needed to stay convincing. She would need to be at her best tonight, and the following day. The ball was only the opening act, the set up. Now her plan began in earnest. Flashing through her head as fast as emotions played across her face, Daerra began to picture each and every way her plan could fail. What if Phyra didn't take the bait, and JinJin got distracted, and Mikhail was already on to her, waiting ready when she came to his chambers with her dagger? She pushed those thoughts aside. She had cast her dice. Tonight was the night. She could no longer back out. Mikhail was going to die tonight, one way or another, by her knife, or by Phyra's.

Again, her eyes slipped to the drawer. Lord Ruler, when would JinJin arrive? The ball couldn't go too much longer, could it? She hadn't left that early, and it had been a couple hours at least by the times she was home, bathed, and had her servants convinced she could pass out in peace. What in the world was taking them so long? What if Phyra attacked them on the way home, hoping to eliminate both Aaron and Mikhail at the same time? Daerra wasn't sure if she could bear if her actions tonight caused her to lose Aaron. Though she hated to admit it to herself, she needed him.

One thing, however, she was now sure of. Phyra Venture was mistborn. Her spies had left their reports at her desk, thinking she would read them in the morning, but Daerra had torn through them as soon as it was safe. Death seemed to follow Phyra wherever she went: her tailor and a dueling trainer to name a few. The dueling trainer had been an allomancer too. That coupled with Phyra's rioting, and Daerra's inabiltiy to sense her when she knew she should have were proof enough. It had been clever, Daerra had to admit, to burn zinc without copper at times, to convince others she was only a rioter, but even that was clumsy. What great house could not afford to have a smoker on hand for a liability like Phyra? Furthermore, why tolerate her behavior at all? Had Phyra been a normal noblewoman, Daerra suspected the Ventures would have shipped her off long ago. There was only one reason to keep her around, and that was because they needed her skills as a mistborn.

Once more, Daerra's eyes strayed to the drawer. She knew Phyra had the skills, and the mindset to kill Mikhail, but would she? If Phyra failed to show, Daerra would have to do it herself. She would speak to him first, lull him into a false sense of security. She would make sure he was not burning pewter, which was far from likely. Allomancers had to burn away their metals before sleeping, for if the metals were left over night, they could be poisonous, and Mikhail would be getting ready for bed. Then, when the moment was right, she would plunge her dagger into his throat, stepping back to avoid getting blood on her clothing. She would punch herself in the face, tear her robe, break the window, and scream as loud as she could. When the guards responded, they would find her kneeling next to Mikhail, trying to stop the bleeding, and crying that Phyra Venture had killed her cousin. It wasn't the smoothest of her plans (having Phyra do the dirty work was far more elegant), but it would work. It had to.

Daerra eyed the drawer where the knife was hidden. Tonight Mikhail Elariel would die, by Phyra's knife, or her own. She had nothing to worry about. Everything was going according to plan.

KChan's Photo KChan 30 Sep 2011

Phyra Venture flew through the mists, the tattered remains of her ballgown flapping around her. She'd had to tear the skirts in order to move, but the freedom of soaring above Luthadel was worth it. Besides, she would have had that dress torn off one way or another.

She could still smell the smoke on the air as Keep Casuana burned. Another victory, if an unexpected one. She did hope, though, that those who had wronged her would survive long enough for her to find them. It was her right, after all, to make them suffer for what they had done. And suffer they would. She just had one short stop to make first.

She entered, as usual, through her bedroom window. Nevan might have taken her things, but metals were easy enough to come by. And she had other knives.

With a surge of pewter she tore off what was left of her gown, replacing it with a black, tight-fitted vest and trousers with, of course, her Mistcloak. From a secret cubbyhole in her room she pulled her spare knives, including the one Kaylen had given her, and strapped them on. Her metals came next. She swallowed several vials, then tucked away a small vial of atium she'd been hoarding. Uncle only gave it to her when he sent her on very specific missions, but every time she managed to come back with a spare bead, she'd hidden it away here, just in case something like this happened. She didn't swallow the precious metal yet, though, of course. That would have to wait.

Now, finally, she was ready. They would pay for what they had done to her. Every single one of them.

Phyra leaped out her window and into the mists.

Ellsworth Venture's Photo Ellsworth Venture 30 Sep 2011

"I'm afraid Lady Phyra isn't in her rooms, my Lord," a nervous guard said. "It was the first place we looked, but she was already gone. All we found was this." He held up a bundle of rags that Ellsworth vaguely recognized as the so-called "dress" Phyra had worn to the ball.

"Keep looking," Ellsworth ordered. He was careful to keep his tone moderated. It wasn't this man's fault Phyra was gone, and snapping at his own guards for no reason was a stupid thing to do. "She might still be lurking here somewhere. Put Nevan's quarters under guard, and lock down the keep. I don't want anyone leaving unless I've ordered it. And find my brother." The captain of the guard should certainly know about a rogue Mistborn.

"I'll spread your orders immediately, my Lord." The guard looked immensely relieved that Ellsworth hadn't been displeased with him personally.

"Good. Dismissed."

The guard bowed and left, and Ellsworth sighed, rubbing his temples. Leave it to Phyra to pick tonight to go rogue. What he wouldn't give for Willem to be there already; with the current situation in Luthadel, he really needed a reliable Mistborn again.

As if summoned by his thoughts, a knock sounded at his window.

Willem? he thought. Why couldn't he just use the door, if he was coming in off a barge? It wasn't like he'd gone on any assignments in Luthadel yet. But Ellsworth had learned long ago not to try to figure out how Mistborn thought sometimes. It just gave him a headache. He turned to let his cousin in--

That's not Willem.

It was a smallish girl, crouching on his windowsill. She rapped on the window again, more urgently this time, glaring at him with familiar brown eyes as if demanding to be let in. As if he would happily let in some random Mistborn who showed up at his---

That girl was Camille Deveaux.

No wonder Augustin had looked so troubled at the girl's attraction to Nevan! He was trying to get more out of the bargain for parting with his young Mistborn! And the girl had gone and promptly delivered herself right into Ellsworth's unexpecting hands.

But her presence here brought up a whole mess of other questions. She wouldn't have revealed herself lightly. And where was Nevan? Had something happened to him? He snatched open the window--

"Nevan is fine," she told him, hopping into the study from her spot on the windowsill. "He's on his way right now. I thought of bringing him with me, but that would take way too much pewter."

"Then what in the Lord Ruler's name are you doing here?"

"I'm here on his behalf. He's worried Phyra will do something stupid."

"He told you-!"

"I already figured out she was a Mistborn. It wasn't hard. Don't worry, Nevan isn't giving away House secrets. But isn't that less important right now than preventing a murderous rampage?"

Ellsworth couldn't help but grin, even in the face of this looming disaster. He liked this girl. And she had a point. Fortunately for him, she had also given her an opening.

"And what are you going to do about it?"

"I--" She paused. Ellsworth grinned again. Nevan had delivered this girl straight into his hands, whether he realized it or not, and he was going to milk this opportunity for all it was worth.

"You came here to prevent a House War, didn't you?"

"Well, yes." She didn't sound too sure about that. Ellsworth was pretty sure she had actually come here to help Nevan.

"Phyra has to be stopped, at all cost," he told the Deveaux girl. "At any cost. She's crossed the line this time. She is no longer a Venture, she is a danger to my family and my House. Do you understand what I'm telling you, girl?"

Her expression shifted. She suddenly seemed more focused. More distant and yet acutely in the moment at the same time. "I do." Even her voice sounded empty. "But what's in it for me?"

"You're seriously asking this now?"

"You're using an opportunity that presented itself to you. You could have had your own people take Phyra out instead of me. So I'm doing the same. If I do this, I want a guaranteed alliance between our Houses, and immunity against any retaliation. I'll also be needing some atium."


"Do you expect me to clean up your messes at my expense? Besides, unless you're actually willing to out any more of your Mistborn to me, who else is going to use it?"

"You are trying my patience, girl."

"Yes, I would imagine that I am."

It was obvious she wasn't going to budge, and Ellsworth didn't have time to argue. Besides, he would be budgeting an allotment of atium for the girl soon enough anyways. There was no way he was letting her slip through his fingers.

There was a bigger long-term advantage to just giving the girl what she wanted and letting her play right into his hand, so he ordered her to turn around, and when she had complied, he opened his safe and pulled out three beads of atium. It was a fortune, but Ellsworth wouldn't put it past Phyra to have squirreled away some of her own despite the tight rein he kept on her allowance of the metal, and he couldn't afford for Camille to fail. Both for the sake of stopping Phyra, and because Augustin would be beyond furious if Ellsworth sent the girl to her death.

With the safe hidden again, he bid Camille to turn back around. "We have a deal," he told her, placing the beads in her hand. Her eyes widened slightly when she realized how much there was, but she quickly recovered herself and tucked the precious metal safely away in an empty vial.

"I will report back when it is done," she said in that strange, empty voice.

"See that you do. Dismissed."

She went to the window and crouched on the sill, but paused and looked back.

"Lord Venture? Keep Nevan safe. Please." It almost came as a shock to hear the girl speak like that, both respectfully and with emotion in her voice. She really did care for him.

"I will," he promised.

Seemingly satisfied, the girl he already thought of as Camille Venture jumped out the window and vanished into the mist.

Magnus Venture's Photo Magnus Venture 30 Sep 2011

Sequestered in his study, Magnus laid out large plans of the grounds, revising the rounds or each guard. He spent long hours trying to improve upon them. His mind was particularly clouded this evening. His wife had employed an abmination for who knows how long, and he was left to pick up the pieces. What if that had been found by Ellsworth... or worse -- The Inquisition? Magnus gritted his teeth in anger. It swelled up in his body, overflowing. He cracked his knuckles before bringing down one of his closed fists to his desk, pewter fueling his punch. The desk cracked under the force.

He continued a slow burn of pewter to keep himself from feeling the splinters embedded in his right knuckles. He whipped his head around after hearing someone clear their throat. How long had that guard been there? He stood up and assumed his usual standing position. He held his hands behind his back, clasping his injured hand in the other. "Report," Magnus barked.

The guard stood, straight-backed. He was used to having orders yelled at him. "Sir, Lord Ellsworth wishes to see you. There has been an incident," the guard said, not looking Magnus in the eye.

"An incident?" he asked, masking the paranoia from his voice. Either this was about Rhea, or something completely unrelated. It could be anything...but Magnus' mind jumped to the things happening in his life, rather than their House troubles. "Come on," he said, knowing that guards talk... and they knew the latest gossip. It was where Magnus got some of his information. "I know people have been talking."

"Yes, sir. Lady Phyra--"

Magnus waved his hand, cutting off the soldier. He didn't care what Phyra Venture did. He knew she was a loose cannon. She should have been watched more carefully, whatever it was that she had done. "I don't want to hear it from you. Tighten up security on the perimeter. I want double the guards.. and hazekillers." Magnus wrote out his orders on a piece of parchment and handed it to the man standing in front of him.

"...And get me someone to fix my desk. Dismissed!" Magnus growled.

Once the guard left, Magnus grabbed his coat and shoved it on over his shirt. He picked up his dueling cane and left the room, managing to make good time across Keep Venture to where his brother had summoned him.

He had a servant announce his presence, and then he merely walked in as Camille left. He didn't quite make out who it was, but he knew something important had just happened, and Magnus missed it -- as usual. "We have doubled the guards on the posts around the keep with hazekillers throughout. Do you want to tell me what happened?" he asked, standing so his right hand was behind his back, the left on the dueling cane. He didn't need his brother asking questions about why he lost his temper and took it out on his desk. This could be handled quietly.
Edited by Moru, 31 December 2012 - 02:53 AM.

Ellsworth Venture's Photo Ellsworth Venture 01 Oct 2011

"Phyra has gone rogue," Ellsworth announced simply. "Nevan finally learned the lesson I'd planned for him and put her in her place, and she reacted in spectacular fashion, even for her." He gestured to the window, but Camille was already gone.

"A convenient new ally has fallen into my hands. I've sent her to intercept Phyra, but there's no guarantee the two will even cross paths. For that matter, Phyra might still be here somewhere, biding her time. I've ordered a lockdown - family gets in, but no one gets out - and you know she'll consider Nevan a priority target." He paused, looking up at his brother with a significant expression.

"I probably don't need to tell you this, Magnus, but Phyra is no longer of House Venture. She is a liability, and a dangerous one. That makes her an enemy. Do what you need to do."

Magnus Venture's Photo Magnus Venture 01 Oct 2011

Magnus listened to his brother -- which he seemed better able to do when they were talking about the security of Keep Venture. He looked out the window he saw the shadowed figure leave from when he arrived in the room. His attention was brought back to Ellsworth.

"Understood. Whatever has to be done will be," He said, almost hoping that Phyra would return to the Venture Keep so Magnus could test himself. Everything in life was about testing limits... and this was another one that Magnus would like to test. He had never sparred with a Mistborn before... He made a note to himself to try to make more Mistborn acquaintances...

Under his breath, Magnus couldn't help but add "I could have seen this coming," as he looked back out the window. He sighed and turned to leave. His conversations with his brother were always to the point. Magnus told himself it was because of the animosity between them, but he was never quite sure if that was the true reason. Magnus just wasn't cut out for interactions with other people. He was better off with his maps and his training.
Edited by Moru, 31 December 2012 - 02:53 AM.

Ellsworth Venture's Photo Ellsworth Venture 01 Oct 2011

"We all did," Ellsworth said calmly. He could practically see Magnus itching to face Phyra himself. He had always been hot-blooded, if not as disastrously so as their eldest brother. Still, it was good for Magnus to be able to let loose once in a while. And this was the perfect opportunity. After all, he'd already ordered Phyra's death. All the better to have a contingency plan if the Deveaux girl couldn't catch her.

"Let's face it, Magnus," he continued, "anyone who looked at the girl could see a walking disaster waiting to happen. I knew, no matter how we tried to force her to behave, that one day she would explode. But as it was, there wasn't much I could do about it. I'm not about to start executing family members for no reason, and she'd given me no real reason to take such drastic measures. But then, it's different now, isn't it?" he asked with a slight gleam in his eye.

"Now, I have a damn good reason." He just hoped Camille found her before Phyra did anything stupid.

"I hate to lose a Mistborn over it, but I suppose it's better this way than someone else getting to her and starting another war. It's a shame, really. I think the girl had promise, if she'd only had the sense to put it to good use."

Magnus Venture's Photo Magnus Venture 01 Oct 2011

Magnus looked back over his shoulder at Ellsworth, the man's words holding him to the spot before he left. He stood in the doorway and nodded gravely. Inside, he was itching for a fight. He wanted something to happen, something to get his adrenaline pumping.

"And I am glad that we can have it handled internally," Magnus said. He had no idea who that person was that would help the Ventures, but it was obviously one of their allies... and that was as internal as they could get in this matter. "I hope your new ally can handle the situation.. but know that your Keep is safe either way. If Phyra returns... she will be met with a force she wasn't expecting."

He bade his brother a good night. "I need to go check that my orders were carried out amongst the guards, brother. I will keep up updated."
Edited by Moru, 31 December 2012 - 02:53 AM.

Ellsworth Venture's Photo Ellsworth Venture 01 Oct 2011

Ellsworth nodded. "Good. Do what you need to do; I won't keep you any longer." He already knew the Keep was safe; once he'd seen how Magnus did at the job, he'd been forced to wonder why he hadn't put his brother in charge of the guards ages ago.

He wanted to remind Magnus not to do anything stupid, but well, this was Magnus. He would do what he wanted, whether or not Ellsworth told him it was a stupid idea, so Ellsworth didn't bother. He would have to settle for something else. Though it was still something he meant, of course.

"Good work, brother. The Keep is in good hands."

Magnus Venture's Photo Magnus Venture 01 Oct 2011

Magnus nodded and left the room, deep in thought. He didn't know who their new ally could be, but he knew whoever it was had to be a Mistborn. For once, he wished that he paid attention to what was happening in the Keep other than the guard maneuvers. He was not prepared for the task he wanted to badly. The House would burn in his hands, even the Ventures could be brought down from their pedestal if given to the wrong person. Magnus' psyche delved into self-loathing. He just wanted the title for the sake of having the title. Someone else would do the work; giving himself a false sense of reassurance was the only way to pull through and figure out the real problems at hand. He started to regain confidence as his thoughts turned sunnier.

He walked through the hall, head pointed at the ground. He was hardly aware of his surroundings as he started to clear his mind for the evening ahead.
Edited by Moru, 31 December 2012 - 02:54 AM.

Willem Venture's Photo Willem Venture 01 Oct 2011

The trip from Urteau had taken several days, although Willem had ordered the skipper to make all possible haste, changing out skaa at the waypoints instead of stopping to let them rest. Ellsworth's message had come at a strange time, not part of his customary annual visit to Luthadel. Though his cousin had said nothing specific, Willem had picked up a sense of importance in the summons. So he pushed for more speed. He might have traveled at night by the spikeways to go faster, but suddenly appearing in Luthadel after being reported in Urteau two or three days before would be far too suspicious.

He did not want to linger along the way for his own reasons, too. Willem was not good at farewells; he tended to avoid saying them at all and simply leave when no one was observing. Though his goodbye to Anastaise had been calm and brief - this time, he had brought himself to it, for her sake - it had been hard for him to leave her behind. He brought his work with him on the barge, and filled the hours as best he could, but there were long empty stretches of canal where he had nothing to do but think, and miss her with an ache in all of his being.

He had not even been able to tell her when he would return. Ellsworth had not said how long he would be needed, he had simply told Willem to come - alone. Anastaise had been furious. She had begged him to take him with her regardless, begged him not to leave her behind, but Willem had to stand firm by Ellsworth's orders. Ellsworth did not want Anastaise in Luthadel, and so his wife would have to remain in Urteau. Willem tried to tell himself that at least she was not alone, that she had Irina there with her. But he could not forget the look in her eyes when he had turned away. It was as if something had died there.

When the spires of Luthadel had at last appeared on the horizon, the sight came as a relief. He waited patiently through the line of boats to be inspected by customs at the canal-gates to the city, and then took a hired carriage straight to Keep Venture once the Ministry official had passed them on through. At the Keep, however...

Willem immediately saw the changes in the guard. There were twice as many as usual, and many of them carried no metal. The hazekillers had been at least doubled. Keep Venture was expecting an attack, and a serious one. The ordinary guard would have been enough to keep off most trouble. This kind of defense...this meant that they were expecting trouble from a Mistborn. A patrol came forward to inspect their carriage, though they backed off slightly when Willem stepped down to approach, and allowed the cabman to drive away again. "What is going on?" he inquired of the captain, a tall man in hazekiller leathers.

The man bowed to Willem in response. "The Keep is in lockdown, my Lord; no one except family to be allowed in, and no one allowed out except on Lord Venture's direct orders. It's Lady Phyra...she's gone rogue."

Willem nodded once, then moved past the guards. They let him through, of course. As he went into the keep, taking the shortest route through the corridors to Ellsworth's office, he processed the information he had just been given. So his niece had finally gone completely off balance. He had always known she was unstable, and it did not truly surprise him that she had turned on the family. A weak tool would eventually break in the hand. He only hoped that she had not caused too much damage yet, and that he could take care of the problem before it got any worse.

He passed Magnus in the hallway, his cousin plainly returning from Ellsworth's office. Magnus' chin was sunk down on his chest in thought, and he seemed barely conscious of his surroundings. He did not appear to notice Willem as they moved towards one another, but Willem nodded to Magnus regardless. "Good evening, Magnus," he said mildly, before continuing past him to the office. He would have to speak with Magnus afterwards, regarding his cousin's plans of defense, but Ellsworth came first.

Magnus had not closed the door behind him, and so Willem came to stand in the doorway. "Ellsworth. I am here."

Ellsworth Venture's Photo Ellsworth Venture 01 Oct 2011

Ellsworth's head came up at the welcome sound of a familiar voice. "Willem!" he said, standing up and coming around his desk to greet his cousin. Who had, of course, come through the door, like always. "Lord Ruler, it's good to see you right about now. I'm guessing the guards have told you about Phyra."

Magnus Venture's Photo Magnus Venture 01 Oct 2011

Magnus looked up when he heard his name. He recognized the voice, but hadn't heard it in quite some time. Instantly he recognized Willem -- whom he had never really liked -- and nodded to him. He tended not to like anyone who had more power than himself... and always questioned his own abilities. He had no fondness for his cousin... especially because of the man's loyalty to Ellsworth. He would have to be dealt with if Magnus were to ever seize the title of Lord Venture.

He grumbled a sort of "hello," as he walked by. "Good to see you Willem," He added as a failed attempt to be friendly. It sounded more obligatory than actual happiness to see his cousin. He shuffled out of the hallway, and out onto the grounds.

Magnus needed to check the maps and make sure everyone was doing their jobs. He didn't have time to fraternize with people he hated.
Edited by Moru, 31 December 2012 - 02:54 AM.

Willem Venture's Photo Willem Venture 02 Oct 2011

He had not seen Ellsworth in well over a year. His cousin looked little changed. Perhaps the lines on his face were a little deeper, but otherwise he was just as Willem remembered him. Ellsworth came towards him, a warm welcome in his voice. With the situation he was in right now, he must have been very glad to see an ally. Bringing Phyra down without Willem would be difficult, and could only come at a high cost to Venture.

"Yes, I heard," Willem replied. "It is a good thing that you sent for me when you did. I assume this just happened." The level of activity, and Magnus having been there just before him, and leaving with that preoccupied, thoughtful air...this had not been going on for long. But Ellsworth had known that it was going to happen. Perhaps he had sparked it deliberately. Phyra had been an embarrassment to the House for some time, and he would not have been surprised if Ellsworth had planned to push her over the edge when he sent for Willem.

"How much do we know?"

Ellsworth Venture's Photo Ellsworth Venture 02 Oct 2011

"Enough, I hope," Ellsworth answered. "Close the door, will you? Come in and have a seat, and I'll tell you about it.

"I told you I was using Phyra to teach Nevan a lesson about leadership," he began once they were both seated. "Well, he finally learned it, tonight at the Casuana ball. Phyra was embarrassing herself and the House to an extreme even for her, so Nevan put her in her place, and then there was a bit of an issue with some of the Elariels. One or the other of the two pushed her over the edge, and she left the ball with murder in her eyes. We haven't found her yet, but one of the guards found what's left of her dress in her room.

"Now. Here's where it gets interesting." Ellsworth grinned broadly. "That son of mine has delivered a pretty young Deveaux Mistborn right into my hands. I've sent the girl after Phyra; she left about five minutes ago. Oh, and Keep Casuana is on fire."

Willem Venture's Photo Willem Venture 02 Oct 2011

Willem shut the door behind him and took the chair across the desk from Ellsworth, as he waited for an explanation. He nodded briefly as his cousin mentioned the plan with his nephew. Nevan was reluctant to rein the woman in, and her behaviour had only gotten more and more out of hand. Willem had always questioned whether or not Ellsworth was right to do that, but he had never spoken his concerns. It was Ellsworth's son, and his decision.

Now it appeared that Nevan had finally acted, and Phyra, left to run loose for so long, had reacted against the discipline with a vengeance. She could, perhaps, have been salvaged, reforged into a useable resource, if action had been taken sooner, though perhaps it had been too late; Shokhan had raised and trained her badly from the beginning. It was a waste of Allomancy, but it was certainly irreversible now.

She would be attacking either Nevan or the Elariels. Most likely the latter, first; she would know that Nevan would be ready for her, but the Elariels would not be expecting it. That meant that Willem knew where to find her. He was ready to rise and go immediately, when Ellsworth's further words stopped him.

"Camille Deveaux, then?" Willem asked. Ellsworth had said that Nevan delivered the young woman, and he knew that Ellsworth had been planning an alliance between Nevan and Camille for a long time. "She revealed herself and offered her service? That is interesting."

Ellsworth Venture's Photo Ellsworth Venture 02 Oct 2011

Ellsworth chuckled. "She drove what she thought was a hard bargain for it, but she's played right into my hand. Augustin will likely be furious with me, but I believe I've found myself a daughter-in-law." Ellsworth shook his head again. "I can't believe Nevan got a Deveaux to voluntarily reveal herself."

Willem Venture's Photo Willem Venture 02 Oct 2011

"They all have," Willem replied, "Phyra included, I assume. The Deveaux girl is an unexpected bonus, however. Congratulations, Ellsworth; you have Phyra's replacement." And Willem - once the girl was brought into the House, if her loyalty could be confirmed - might not be needed here any longer. He could return to Urteau, and to his family, soon. It came as a relief; there was work enough to do in Urteau, but it was of a different nature than Luthadel.

In Urteau, too, there was something to hold him. As much as it hurt him to live out that lie, it was worse to be away from Anastaise. She was his home. Here in Keep Venture, there was nothing.

Ellsworth Venture's Photo Ellsworth Venture 02 Oct 2011

"I have," Ellsworth agreed. "If you're up for it, I might ask you to put the girl through her paces when she gets back. I'd like your opinion on her." That said, it was time to get down to business. And before that could happen, Willem needed to be brought up to speed.

"Now. About that summons. Things in Luthadel are tense. You know about the Casuana contract, but it turns out. . ."

Broderick Venture's Photo Broderick Venture 02 Oct 2011

"Well. That was exciting."

"I guess you could say that."

Broderick fingered a slice in his coat. "Bloody skaa," he grumbled. "I liked this coat." He and Nevan both looked an absolute mess. But then, having been attacked by a bunch of skaa rebels tended to have that effect on a young, fashionable lord.

"I'm just glad we're alright," Nevan said. "Do you think Hallis got away?"

"Maybe. I hope so. He was a good coachman. I never realized how far it is to Keep Venture when you have to walk."

"It's better than wasting pewter. We're almost there anyways."

Posted Image

"Lord Nevan, Lord Broderick, welcome home," the guard said, looking at their disheveled appearances with no small amount of alarm. "Please be on your guard. Lady Phyra has gone rogue, and Lord Venture has ordered a lockdown. Lord Nevan, your Lord father will be wanting to know you got home safely."

"I'll go to him straightaway,"
Nevan said. "Are you coming, Broderick?"

"No, I'm going to find my own father. Watch out for Phyra on your way. I hear she bites."

Nevan just rolled his eyes, and then the two parted ways. It took a bit of asking, and a whole lot of telling the guards not to worry about how he looked, but eventually Broderick managed to figure out where he needed to go.

"Father!" he called out when he had spotted him at last, running forward before skidding to a rather clumsy halt. "Father, I heard what happened with Phyra. How can I help?"