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The Lord Ruler's perfect capital city, Luthadel, is doing the impossible: rebelling. Skaa half-breeds are being taught the power of Allomancy, something that the Lord Ruler's obligators said only existed in the nobility. The enslaved skaa, with their murderous benefactor, now fight back against a living god's oppression.

So, the Inquisition was formed. The nobles begin to fear assassination from all sides. The times of nobility Mistborn killing each other are over. The Steel Inquisitors look for aristocrat traitors and insurgent skaa, and the skaa try with all their strength to merely survive. The Lord Ruler's perfect Final Empire is slowly devolving into chaos.

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Mistborn Series Brandon Sanderson
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Shipping

W2 D2 MM Damien Deveaux Tamsin Landell

23 replies to this topic

#1 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 12:37 AM

There was something about the silence during an ashfall that Damien Deveaux found comforting. It wasn't the usual sort of quiet; the world outside seemed slightly muffled, somehow. Damien doubted many people noticed it, but with the appreciation he had for silence, he had come to find himself discerning between different types almost as if he were some sort of connoisseur, like how some men might appreciate the subtle differences between fine wines or cigars.

Though his office would not remain silent for long. He was meeting today with a representative of House Landell, a family rising in wealth and influence and - from what Damien had been told - in control of significant oversea shipping routes. And though Deveaux had their land routes well established, looking into oversea routes as well could significantly extend their mercantile reach. It was a tantalizing opportunity, though of course they couldn't afford to leap on it without careful negotiations.

And so he continued in his golden silence, looking over various documents in preparation for this meeting until a knock sounded at his door.

"Lady Tamsin Landell has arrived for her appointment with you, my Lord," said the servant after Damien had bidden him to enter.

Right on time, he noted with approval, glancing at the clock on the mantel. By the time she was shown to his office, it would be precisely the time they had agreed upon.

"Show her in," he said, and the servant left to do as commanded.

So, Lord Landell had chosen to send his daughter instead of coming in person. Interesting, that. Was he feeling unwell, perhaps? Or maybe hoping to distract Damien with a pretty face? It had been attempted before, back in Urteau. But, in the end, as long as Lady Landell was capable of doing her job, he couldn't have cared less what her gender was.

He would still be cautious, though. Just in case.

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#2 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 14 October 2011 - 01:42 AM

Tamsin had seen Keep Deveaux before; she had even been to the balls they hosted a few times. It did not really change the effect of the architecture. She might be desensitized enough to no longer stare at things, but out of the corner of her eye, she could not help appreciating the details of the complex stonework as she waited in one of the drawing-rooms for the servant who had admitted her to carry up the message to Damien. On the other hand, it did tend to be a little drafty; with all that cold stone, it did not matter how richly you draped it, the air would take on something of a chill.

The liveried man returned after a short while to invite her to follow him, and Tamsin nodded as she rose to go after him. The Keep was hushed in comparison to the times she had seen it before, decked out and filled with music and laughter. Her footsteps echoed through the halls and from the high ceilings, and for a moment she imagined she could feel the years of stone pressing down on her. What kind of place would this be to live? Not pleasant, Tamsin thought, despite its beauty. The Landell house in the outskirts of Luthadel was large - too large for just two people, sometimes - but it was full of odd corners and friendly angles that had lent themselves quickly to a feeling of home. Keep Deveaux was too grand by at least an order of ten.

She turned her thoughts to the man she was about to see, and adjusted the folder that was tucked neatly under her arm. Damien Deveaux was recently arrived from Urteau, and evidently highly trusted by the Luthadel central family. Reputation had him as a stiff-necked, cold man, which meant that reputation did not tell her very much that was useful.

The servant knocked to announce her, and then held the door for her to enter. Tamsin stepped in with a slight rustle from her dark-green skirts, and she got her first look at the man who stood from behind the desk. He fit the Keep quite well, even if he was from Urteau rather than Luthadel. Everything about him looked precisely calculated, right down to his smile. Smiles should not be calculated, in Tamsin's opinion. The effect was rather cold and offputting.

Tamsin dipped in a neat curtsy. "Good morning, Lord Damien," she said composedly, ignoring the impression of facing off against some sort of statue.
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#3 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 02:20 AM

"Lady Landell, it is a pleasure to meet you." He offered a bow, precisely to the degree mandated by propriety, in response to her curtsy. "Please, come in."

He couldn't help but note how she had chosen to present herself. Her dark green-and-black dress was modest in cut as well as color, and much more suited to formal business dealings than some of the frilly creations he had seen in boardrooms before. She was pretty, but didn't look like she had gone out of her way to specifically present herself as such to him, and she carried herself with a self-assured confidence that some of the men Damien had dealt with would envy. That, at least, was a good sign; all outward appearances thus far claimed that she knew what she was doing.

As she approached his desk, he reached out for her hand, not quite sure at the moment whether to shake her hand or kiss it. He would have to gauge her reaction and act accordingly.

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#4 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 14 October 2011 - 02:41 AM

His bow was just as calculated as the rest of him. Tamsin wondered if he had measured the exact angle that propriety required and then practiced it, or if he simply did that instinctively. It would require a great deal of practice to do everything with that same degree of precision, though, which he did do. She suspected it was natural for him to be so unnatural.

Tamsin caught the motion as he began to reach out his hand, and reached out hers in return to catch it halfway. In general she preferred not to let men kiss her hand. It set a different tone, establishing from the very start a gender difference that made it easier for men to dismiss her. A firm handshake and straightforward eye contact gave a better grounding, in her opinion, though once in a while it would put someone a little off-balance who was expecting to kiss and found himself shaking instead.

"I apologize that my father could not attend," she informed him. "He is still a little unwell after the Casuana ball, so I am here in his place."

Edited by Borborygmus, 14 October 2011 - 02:42 AM.

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#5 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 02:57 AM

"I see," Damien said with a note of concern. "I'm sorry to hear he's unwell. Please send him my best wishes for a swift recovery."

So, she had chosen to shake hands. She had done this before, or at the very least, wanted to put them on more of an even footing. Or perhaps both. Either way, it was a relief that Lady Landell was conducting herself in a businesslike manner. It was so much easier - and more pleasant - to work with someone who wasn't simpering or obsequious. And he had seen that from the men at least as often as the few women he had worked with.

"Please, have a seat," he said, gesturing to the chair on the other side of his desk. "Can I offer you anything? Tea, perhaps?"

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#6 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 14 October 2011 - 03:19 AM

Damien proceeded with the formalities, expressing his concern for her father, of course. "Thank you; our doctor says that he will be quite well again soon enough," she replied, "it was only a mild smoke inhalation." She still had a tinge of rustiness to her own voice, though Jansten's was worse at the moment. The doctor had advised him not to go outside except on clear days, and today was an ashfall - not to mention he was still suffering the after-effects of the laudanum debacle.

Tamsin took the folder from where she had it caught in her arm, and set it down on the desk between them as she sat down. "Tea would be quite nice, thank you."
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#7 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 03:44 AM

Damien gestured to the servant, who had been waiting for this; he immediately busied himself serving them both. There was little to be said at that point other than making sure everything was served to Lady Tamsin's preferences, and Damien had never been good at making small talk. It seemed more polite - or, at least, more merciful - to his guest to say little than to subject her to his pitiable attempts at meaningless conversation.

At last, all was arranged, and Damien dismissed the servant. He would call in an obligator if needed, later on, but some people found it more comfortable to do the actual negotiations without an audience.

"My uncle tells me your family is interested in doing business with Deveaux," he said at last when it was time to begin. "I'm very interested to hear your proposal."

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#8 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 14 October 2011 - 05:52 AM

Tea provided a distraction from the small talk, and also a welcome warmth to help clear her throat. Tamsin raised the cup to her lips and drank while Damien spoke, then set it down carefully, in order to take the folder and slide it across the desk towards him. "I have brought a copy of our shipping register with vessels listed by tonnage and condition. They are primarily coasters, of course, but we have several deep-hulled ships that can take the open sea."

"An arrangement for shipping would obviously expand House Deveaux's capability to reach the farther regions of the Empire. Overland routes are slow and arduous; by sending your goods down the River Channerel, and transferring them in the port there, they could be disseminated throughout the coastline and to the Southern Islands quickly and at less expense."
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#9 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 06:09 AM

"And Landell would in return benefit from a contract with a Great House, of course," Damien said. It was a simple fact; there were always families seeking Great House patronage, and at times, the arrangement could prove mutually beneficial. Putting those thoughts aside for now, however, he opened the folder to examine the documents he had been given. They were masterfully written; Damien had no trouble whatsoever deciphering the neat, well-organized information.

"What of the safety and cost efficiency of using and maintaining ships compared to barges?" he asked as he continued his review of the papers in front of him. "Surely that must be rather expensive." And it was an expense that would, by necessity, be passed on to the paying customers. "Not to mention the need to ship by barge to the South before the cargo can even be loaded onto a ship."

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#10 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 14 October 2011 - 06:31 AM

"Of course," Tamsin agreed. "This would be a complete waste of my time if we would not benefit. For your part, barges cannot reach everywhere."

"If you will look on the third page, I have drawn up an estimate of the costs of reaching cities in the various Dominances by the most efficient combination of canal and overland routes, versus using Landell routes. To reach the major coastal cities in the Farmost Dominance, for instance, and from there to ship further inland, it would be less than half the expense of crossing the mountain passes. The difference is less dramatic with cities in the Southern Dominance, but still not an inconsiderable amount."

She paused briefly before adding, "As to safety, Landell has not lost a cargo to piracy for three years."
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#11 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 06:45 AM

"That speaks very well of your security," Damien replied, still perusing the documents. It was obvious Lady Landell knew this business very well from the way she talked, and... did she say she had drawn up the estimates? He looked more closely, and discovered that the vast majority of the documents were in what he now knew to be her hand: neat, precise, and straightforward, elegant without pretense or unnecessary embellishment. In other words, it was just like her.

So, Lady Landell was very much involved in her family's business; she likely worked very closely with her father if she had this sort of knowledge and this sort of effortless confidence in her assertions. Not to mention the authority to come here in the first place; it was beyond obvious that she hadn't been sent here to echo back to Damien what her father had told her to say. It was intriguing, to be sure, but of course there were more important things to be thinking about at the moment.

"What about to storms or poor sailing conditions?" he asked. "I am fully aware that your operations cannot control such things, but surely you agree that it is a valid concern when I am deciding where and how to send Deveaux goods."

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#12 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 14 October 2011 - 07:08 AM

Tamsin nodded. "Insofar as clean hulls and trained crews can minimize risk, we see to that. Ships are wrecked on the Teeth every year, however. We run a salvage operation there - " it provided a fair amount of income as well, retrieving and reselling salvaged goods from other shippers - "and contract for insurance on our shipments with House Valorem. Landell can offer a preferred rate."
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#13 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 08:37 PM

"So I see here," Damien said; his eyes had just fallen on the insurance rates when Lady Tamsin mentioned them to him. She had been very thorough, making sure everything he would want to see was already neatly set out in the papers without giving away any house secrets. It was admirable work; Damien was seeing more and more why Lord Landell had sent her as a representative.

"What of personnel transport?" he asked after a moment. "If Deveaux is to expand via new shipping routes, I won't just need wares to sell, I'll need someone to sell them. Does Landell have the capacity to allow for passengers, or will I need to arrange for their passage separately?"

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#14 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 14 October 2011 - 08:54 PM

It was a little satisfying to see Damien turning through the pages that she had given him in the folder, and reading them in detail. It had been a fair amount of work, and it was obviously not going to waste. It was more satisfying to hear what she was fairly certain was confirmation that there would be an agreement made at the end of this. He was still qualifying with an if, but Tamsin could sense that she had succeeded. This final point was a small matter.

"We don't have any ships outfitted for passengers," Tamsin answered. "That's not to say someone couldn't travel onboard one of our cargo ships, but it would be an uncomfortable passage. We don't do luxury accomodations."
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#15 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 09:51 PM

"I see," Damien said. That would be an additional expense, unfortunately. He would need to look into travel costs as well as making sure everyone - and everything - reached the same place at the same time.

At last, he set the last of the papers back down and looked at Lady Tamsin again. "And why should I use Landell routes?" he asked. "What makes your business better than anyone else's, and why should I sign a contract with you to ship goods I haven't sold yet?"

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#16 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 14 October 2011 - 10:37 PM

"Landell offers reliability," she responded. "Try another shipper and you will hear a litany of excuses as to why it is a month late. We guarantee movement of your goods according to schedule. If you are as thorough as I suspect, you have already contacted some of our current business associates and you know our reputation already."

She tapped her fingers on the edge of the desk. "We can put those markets in your hands, if you want them. Do you?"

Edited by Borborygmus, 14 October 2011 - 10:38 PM.

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#17 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 11:04 PM

Wait, what?

"Oh?" Damien asked, leaning back slightly in his chair. He couldn't afford to look too interested, but he did want to know what Lady Tamsin was talking about. If she could make good on the offer it sounded like she was making...

"Is Landell looking to break into the brokerage and distribution market as well, then?"

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#18 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 14 October 2011 - 11:14 PM

Tamsin frowned briefly, sorting through what she had just said to give him that impression. "No, that is not what I meant," she answered after a moment. "We are not offering that. Landell can put them within your easy reach, but that is all."

Would her father have taken that opportunity, she wondered? Perhaps he would have, but it seemed to her to be too much, too fast. Too easy to slip.
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#19 Damien Deveaux

562
Atium Chandelier
  • Age22

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginUrteau

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 October 2011 - 11:40 PM

"Ah. I see." Yes, that made much more sense; if Lady Tamsin had claimed Landell could deliver those markets into Damien's lap, he might have thought she was painting her offer as too good to be true. Granted, if she had been able to make good on that, it would have been extremely convenient, but thinking about it again, it was too much to hope for anyways.

It was interesting, too, that she took the first opportunity to correct herself, as opposed to jumping on a misinterpretation and presenting it as fact. Honesty like that was difficult to come by in business dealings; it felt almost like a breath of fresh air.

Still, he couldn't just blithely accept any offer that came his way. He had let her give her proposal, and asked her some of the more immediately pressing questions, and now it was his turn.

"Your proposal is a strong one," he began, "but I'm sure you can understand why I can't just immediately accept the first offer I hear." He selected a folder of his own and slid it across the desk to her. "I've heard several proposals since I came to Luthadel, which I've summarized here. As you can see, it isn't a decision to be made lightly. Tornell offers a flat fee, while Armistead offers a lower rate - but by weight - and Germain has waived the cost of insurance entirely." And there were more than those three besides.

Damien settled back, allowing Lady Tamsin to look over the documents for herself, but the unspoken question hung in the air: Could Landell beat those other offers?

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#20 Borborygmus

256
Nessa's Baywrap

Posted 15 October 2011 - 12:41 AM

Tamsin took the folder that he had offered her and scanned it briefly; she knew roughly what their competitors could offer, though Germain surprised her. They must have been growing a little desperate for Deveaux business to have dropped their rates so far, in addition to waiving insurance. "Of course," she replied, setting the papers back down again. "I also understand that time is money. None of these Houses have Landell's record standing behind them." She could have added that Germain gave the appearance of floundering a little by the too-good offer, but she left that unspoken.

"You've seen the rates that we offer in the provided documents." Landell was not in a situation to be desperate. If he did not care to see things her way, then she was perfectly able to walk away from this meeting. She would have lost nothing except for some of her time. "Our offer stands; we are not interested in being the lowest bidder."

Edited by Borborygmus, 15 October 2011 - 12:46 AM.

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