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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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Strange Acquaintances


13 replies to this topic

#1 Gervais Lekal


  • A monkey's uncle

256
Nessa's Baywrap
  • Age36

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 13 December 2011 - 04:17 AM

For once in his life, Gervais vaguely wished he had been at a ball. As he perched on the rooftop of one of the higher skaa tenements of the Sootwarrens and looked out at the dull red glow suffusing the mists where Keep Casuana stood, he thought the occasion would have been very worth seeing. There was no word on what exactly had happened at the ball, but plainly there had been some serious fiasco. After all, the Keep was on fire now. He could smell the acrid scent of it as well.

Unfortunately, he had been kept away from the spectacle under pain of death. What was it that Mia had told him? Your corpse would look wonderful on the top of my Keep! And she had meant it, too, of course; she had been about ready to kill him then and there in the square. Everett Casuana and her new boytoy had kept her reined in, but if he had gone to the ball in spite of that threat, it probably would not have been the most successful venture. Besides, it would not have been worth the utter boredom of most of it.

Oddly, though it distantly amused him to wonder about Mia’s reaction to the disaster tonight, it really did not matter very much. He felt disconnected from it, here in the mists that danced and swirled around him. He watched them idly for a moment, stretching out one hand palm-upwards to see them play. Out here, everything seemed muffled and remote. It was a unique kind of solitude, not like the trapped quiet of an empty room; it was more peaceful.

A soft silken mask covered his face except for his eyes and mouth, and he was dressed in a nondescript overcoat. Gervais did not intend for some Tineye to catch him on one of these excursions and guess who he was. He saw no point in hiding himself further, using steel openly to monitor his surroundings as he watched Keep Casuana burning in the distance.


#2 Zincell

3
Skaa

Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:03 PM

Zincell ran as fast as she could on skaa rooftops. She was tapping pewter, iron, and steel, and filling her tinmind for touch. She wasn't sure if the guard had seen her, but she knew she'd been heard. Maybe they thought she was a noble mistborn, she'd used a fair bit of acrobatics to get in. Still, Zincell wanted to put more distance between her and the wall, just in case.

She kept jumping from rooftop to rooftop, mentally apologizing for the noise to any skaa she might wake up at this hour of the night. Once Zincell was pretty far from the wall, she decided to stop and listen to check if she was being followed.

Sadly, physics didn't agree with her decision. She stopped tapping her steelmind as she ran, hoping to slow down, but her momentum carried her violently crashing into the next rooftop, and then the next rooftop, and the one after that. Ash lifting up in clouds around her as she moved on the darkened rooftops. Anyone burning iron or steel would have seen a handful of metal lines moving around at a ridiculous speed.

By the third rooftop, the girl managed to start filling her ironmind, slowing herself down enough to be able to grab the edge of the building and avoid falling what seemed three stories into an alleyway.

Zincell's case, which had fallen slightly behind her when she lost control control over her trajectory, crashed loudly and violently near the border of the building.

Still tapping pewter, Zincell had no trouble pulling herself up from the edge, and letting herself fall on the ashen rooftop. She was inside Luthadel! She'd done it! If her teachers could see her now... They'd probably scold her, but they'd also likely be impressed. She'd survived for years in the final empire with very little resources, and taught at several dozen hovels. She was-

Suddenly her tinmind for touch filled up. The pain hit her like a brick wall. Had she broken something? She felt as though she'd broken something. Almost instinctively, she tapped her goldmind and what felt like a bruised rib, or four, and a bruised clavicle, and what felt horrible, but was probably just a few hairline fractures, all started to heal up. After a moment, she was healed, though she'd used far more gold than was necessary. She tapped the now full touch tinmind, and once she'd made sure she was fully healed, started laughing. Zincell stopped tapping pewter, not wanting to waste it.

She was alive, and relatively unharmed, in Luthadel, with no one following her. After sitting up while laughing, she let out a long breath as she recovered. It took her a moment to realize there was someone else in the rooftop. Someone who was wearing an overcoat, a mask, and who didn't seem nearly as happy for her presence as she was.

Zincell swore quietly.

Edited by Thoughtful Spurts, 26 December 2011 - 06:07 AM.

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#3 Gervais Lekal


  • A monkey's uncle

256
Nessa's Baywrap
  • Age36

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 December 2011 - 06:36 AM

The movement of blue lines of steel in his peripheral vision alerted Gervais first; someone was coming towards him across the rooftops of the Sootwarrens. It moved in leaps and bounds, unnaturally fast and far; he tracked it as it approached, and then slammed into the side of the building he had chosen with bone-cracking force. He stepped backwards into the shadows of a line of washing as he watched the person pull itself up over the edge, collapsing in a heap and lying there still for a few seconds before breaking into hysterical laughter.

It was a girl, not much more than a child really, dressed in the ragged clothing of a skaa man. From that uncontrolled, clumsy trajectory, this was no mistborn. A pewterarm, most likely, although badly trained or largely untrained. No ordinary person could make those leaps or shrug off a landing that hard, although the mist was not swirling around her right now. She was wearing a lot of metal. Multiple lines of steel connected him to her person. A thief, perhaps, trying to avoid pursuit?

Skaa really made little difference to him. He would have left her alone to go her own way; except that as she sat up, her eyes focused on him. He heard her swear under her breath.

“If you’re trying to run from someone,” he said, disinterestedly, “I suggest you avoid carrying metal trinkets. Steal something less noticeable, or shove it somewhere Allomancy won’t detect it.”


#4 Zincell

3
Skaa

Posted 14 December 2011 - 07:26 AM

"I didn't steal anything" The words jumped out of Zincell's mouth in her now natural half-neutral, half-terris accent before she could stop them. It wasn't stealing if the person was dead, and there was no one to inherit the goods anyway. If you found a clip on the floor, and you took it, that wasn't stealing. And her metalminds had been given to her.

Why was it that the distance from Luthadel was inversely proportional to the amount crime and paranoia? Couldn't she just be a random girl jumping around at incredible speeds? Alright, she could admit that sounded somewhat suspicious, but why was thief the first thing that came to mind?

At least the man wasn't as hostile as he looked from where she was. Zincell wasn't keen on being attacked by an apparent noble allomancer at night in a rooftop in Luthadel. She let out a sigh of relief as she stood up, thankful the case hadn't gone over the border, and stretched her arms with a yawn. That's when she finally realized where the fire was. What the fire was.

"I don't supose you'd happen to know why a Great House's Keep is on fire, would you?" She asked the noble as she neared the part of the rooftop facing the flaming Keep, her hands falling in her pockets like weights. This was quite an exiting night at least.

Edited by Thoughtful Spurts, 14 December 2011 - 08:09 AM.

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#5 Gervais Lekal


  • A monkey's uncle

256
Nessa's Baywrap
  • Age36

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 14 December 2011 - 08:40 AM

Gervais snorted. She didn't steal anything. "Of course," he agreed, "and you're not a halfbreed Allomancer - Terris, or spent a lot of time there. And I'm also a pig with wings."

That accent had unmistakeable Terris tones. It could, perhaps, have explained her temerity; no skaa he had ever seen in Luthadel would act like that around a noble. Though no Terris steward that he had ever seen would, either. She yawned and stretched like a cat, perfectly at her ease. Gervais shrugged dismissively. "I really don't care who you are or what you've done. It's not my problem. I'm simply out here enjoying the view."

He half-glanced outwards again. He was no Tineye, he could not really see the Keep clearly through the mist, only the fuzzy, scattered light of the fire. But it was obvious what was burning. The girl could figure it out as easily as he could.

"Mia Casuana went insane and lit her own Keep on fire. It's as good a guess as any."


#6 Zincell

3
Skaa

Posted 14 December 2011 - 10:24 PM

"But, I'm not-" Zincell stopped herself with a sigh. The man wouldn't believe her anyway. "You know, My lord, for a pig with wings, I ought to say you look magnificent, I think" 

She looked back at the burning Keep and tapped her tinmind for eyesight. There seemed to be a few Skaa around... It didn't look thieves, but perhaps the rebellion? Maybe it was just random skaa setting things on fire... She'd have to figure it out later. She stopped tapping her tinmind for eyesight.

There was a moment of silence. Zincell hadn't had a real conversation with anyone in weeks. She'd taught a few things at a hovel, but the latest few had been particularly uninterested skaa. A chat with a lord would be nice.

If he were going to kill her he already would have. He was probably a lurcher or a coinshot to have mentioned allomantically identifying metals. The man seemed like a good conversationalist. Zincell yawned, and glanced at the masked man again. 

"So, any reason why your first hypothesis is that Lady Casuana went insane and lit up her own keep? Are the two of you not in good terms, or does she just have that kind of a reputation?" she asked looking for his tongue. Even a random noble ranting about current politics would be preferable to the repetitively dull "What's allomancy?" delivered by every other skaa she'd met.

Edited by Thoughtful Spurts, 14 December 2011 - 10:54 PM.

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#7 Gervais Lekal


  • A monkey's uncle

256
Nessa's Baywrap
  • Age36

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 15 December 2011 - 01:15 AM

The Terris girl seemed to have somehow landed upon the idea that he was a good person to chat with. She was evidently set on holding an extended conversation, on a rooftop, in the middle of the night. Perhaps she had mistaken the fact that he was not actively trying to threaten or attack her for a friendly overture. "How very kind of you," he replied coolly, "I'm sure I ought to say I'm flattered by your opinion."

She also wanted to worm information out of him. Gervais was not about to give her any, however she chose to dig. She might be very clumsy for a skaa informant, if she had aspirations in that direction, but there was a possibility she could piece something together.

"My reasons are my own business, girl," he added. "Why are you asking? Didn't your mother ever warn you not to talk to strangers?"


#8 Zincell

3
Skaa

Posted 15 December 2011 - 02:50 AM

"Not actually, I think... And I ask because I'm curious. I can stay away from that topic if you think it private though, my lord. I meant not to intrude, only to inquire."

Zincell chuckled. Her mother had never told her not to talk to strangers, she'd told her to be kind to strangers, and to do what strangers told her. Even more so if the strangers were noble. Maybe he thought she was asking too much and was suspicious. The man already thought she was a thief, so it wasn't much of a stretch.

"So... Read any good books lately?" She asked. Part of her was getting bored. It's not as if any spy, informant or thief would be interested in that, maybe he'd talk of it. Zincell started filling steel.

Edited by Thoughtful Spurts, 15 December 2011 - 06:57 AM.

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#9 Gervais Lekal


  • A monkey's uncle

256
Nessa's Baywrap
  • Age36

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:58 AM

"Inquiring is intruding," he answered coolly. Had he read any good books lately? Who was this skaa girl, and what was wrong with her head? She was moving oddly slowly; her breathing was only half as fast as it had been. Gervais wondered if she was on laudanum, or some other drug.

"You know what? I'm going to guess you're new to Luthadel, because you'd be dead already if you'd grown up here. So I'm going to give you a little...advice, girl." Gervais crossed his arms and gave her a narrow look. "It's only because you're not of much significance to me that I haven't attacked you. That doesn't make me friendly or safe." He half-laughed. "Allomancers are useful to society for two things, spying or killing. So you should assume that's what I'm here on this rooftop for."

"You want to find a good way to die? Talk to any other noble here in Luthadel the way you've been chatting to me. Most of them don't even need provocation. They'll just kill you out of hand, because you're in their way, you're breathing their air, they don't like your face. The Ministry is going to be after you as a half-breed. And your future friends in the underworld, they're no better. They're out for themselves, and they will stab you in the back as soon as look at you."

"Every hand in Luthadel will be turned against you. Keep your head down, and maybe you'll live a few months, a year or two." He shrugged. "Not if you flaunt your pewter the way you have been."


#10 Zincell

3
Skaa

Posted 20 December 2011 - 06:07 AM

Zincell chuckled. The man thought she was a pewterarm. Zincell stopped filling steel to be able to speak normally, and started tapping her tinmind for touch to empty it a bit, while also filling her tinmind for eyesight, now seeing only a bright blur of fire in the distance. While at it, she also tapped her tinmind for hearing, to remain watchful in the night (This was Luthadel after all) and filled her ironminds.

"So you haven't killed me out of apathy. Why that's amazingly kind. Thank you very much for the advise, my lord. It's quite appreciated. I'll be sure to take it into account in the future. Though.... I think you underestimate me a bit, your lordship" She wanted to keep the conversation going, the man had finally loosened his tongue, and it would be fun to see where this went. Maybe pointing out a mistake of his would get him to defend himself, and talk more. Zincell was quite enjoying the nobleman's company, even if he was cold and rude, if only because his accent wasn't one she heard often.

"After all, based on your somewhat erroneous assumptions I'd have to be a travelling pewterarm thief to fit the profile you've created for me, and were that the case I'd have to have survived countless nights out in the mists, countless days of travel, and several times in major cities between the Terris Dominance and Luthadel. Spending such times avoiding obligators, inquisitors, and other nobles to survive. Since you believe me an allomancer, I would have had to acquire the necessary metal to ingest, and allomantic metals are not particularly cheap anywhere in the Empire. Specially not by skaa standards, which you seem to believe apply to me." She said, summarizing what she thought were all his deductions about her. Zincell was quite glad she'd found someone who knew more than she did about things she was interested in. It was always fun to have someone to learn from.

"If I had done such a thing, I would certainly have learnt to keep my head down and to become watchful. Maybe, the reason why I'm such an intruder who has no qualms about speaking to my betters conversationally is something aside from stupidity, or lack of experience." That didn't seem to have crossed his mind. It was always nice to give people something to think about.

"After all, any youth like myself would have never survived such long travels, avoiding execution, and managing to leave city after city without being kept in whorehouses if I were ignorant enough so as to just attempt to befriend every noble I come across. " Zincell thought her logic was sound. If he hadn't already, that meant he didn't want to, if he didn't want to why be scared that he might? There were no factors possibly forcing his hand after all.

“Perhaps I assumed if you were about to kill me, you would have already tried to. After all, you are either a lurcher or a coinshot. Therefore you could have killed me the moment you saw me for as many reasons as you so kindly outlined before. You did say you think I stole something, and if that were the case, what's to stop you from beheading me and taking whatever I have allegedly stolen for yourself?" She said with a smile, though part of her was a bit nervous that she'd reminded him there was nothing stopping him from killing her. She still had a lot of speed saved up though, so if worst came to worst, she could still run away. And health as well, for more injuries. Most of her metalminds were around half full or so, but it always paid to be careful.

"Given that you haven't, it wouldn't be too far a stretch to think that you are a relatively decent nobleman who does not rejoice in the misery of skaa, or at least does not do so to the point of causing it for the sole purpose of witnessing it. The fact that you have so kindly given me tips on how to behave reinforces the idea that you don't really rejoice in other's suffering or at least apparent skaa's suffering"

"Maybe I do not expect friendship at all, and just thought that an intelligent conversation, regardless of whether or not either party is amicable, would be a fun experience. Maybe, though again what do I know? I may just be some crazy girl who goes around escaping dangerous situations by virtue of pure luck, soon to meet her end at the hands of an enraged nobleman. Either way, it's just something to mention."

"Thank you again for the advice my lord. You really are quite kind." She said, looking at the burning blur, just now realizing how much she'd talked. A bad habit picked up from lecturing skaa.

Edited by Thoughtful Spurts, 23 December 2011 - 07:36 PM.

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#11 Gervais Lekal


  • A monkey's uncle

256
Nessa's Baywrap
  • Age36

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 24 December 2011 - 05:32 AM

He underestimated her, did he? Was she actually trying to threaten him, he wondered, or was she just choosing her words remarkably poorly? She was a Pewterarm - she certainly was; she hit the roof with enough force to break the bones of a normal human being - but she was clumsy, and she was wearing metal. That put her at his mercy. Which she mentioned a short while later, curiously enough, while outlining the 'logic' of her decisions.

Did she never stop talking? Or even pause to breathe?

There were several things he might have responded to in her speech. However, most importantly, she had seriously accused him of being 'relatively decent,' and (sarcastically, of course) accused him of being 'quite kind' as well. That was the most egregious error she had made. 'Relatively decent' was an epithet that no one would apply to Gervais, least of all himself.

The girl was standing very close to the edge of the tenement. She had pewter; she wouldn't die from the fall. It would simply make a point quite clear. "I am the fluffy bunny of warm loving kindness," he agreed, nodding pleasantly. Then he flared steel, bracing against the buildings behind him, intending to Push on all the metal she was so foolishly wearing and shove her off of the roof.

Something stopped him; a flash of memory - a startled sound of pain and surprise as a girl was thrown forwards. There was another memory underneath that one, a memory he pushed away before it could become too clear. A woman thrown to the ground, her face bruised and bleeding, and his father's laughter.

The laughter vanished from his face as he stood there staring at her for a moment, then turned his back to leave.


#12 Zincell

3
Skaa

Posted 24 December 2011 - 07:11 AM

The way he'd said that implied he didn't appreciate being called kind. Zincell saw the blur of a man turn to leave, and sighed. She'd driven him away with her ranting.

"My sincerest apologies my lord, I didn't intend to intrude, offend or bother you. My thanks were sincere" She said with a depressed tone in her voice. The first decent conversationalist she'd found and she'd annoyed him away. Couldn't she do anything right? She just wanted someone to talk with. 

Zincell didn't care if they cared about her or not, she was just... tired of people who knew less than she did. For a keeper, Zincell thought of herself as remarkably ignorant. Meeting someone who could teach her something she was interested in was a good thing, and she'd messed up.

"I was only trying to voice a thought regarding your deductions. I honestly think of you as kind, something I see as a strength, your lordship. I'm sorry I made your time here less pleasant" Zincell said sadly, deflating a little, and sinking down into the rooftop with a sad slouch. 

Edited by Thoughtful Spurts, 04 January 2012 - 08:41 PM.

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#13 Gervais Lekal


  • A monkey's uncle

256
Nessa's Baywrap
  • Age36

  • Relationship StatusSingle

  • OriginLuthadel

  • Allomantic StatusHidden

Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:18 PM

Gervais did not turn back as the skaa girl tried some kind of apology, and then babbled more of her idiocy at him. Something I see as a strength. He had rarely heard such a stupid statement in his life before. Her voice had an unhappy sound in it. So she was still interpreting his advice as kindness, and now she affected this tone in the attempt to manipulate him into pitying her? Mists only knew what she had in mind by trying, but it would have no effect on Gervais. He should have pushed her over.

"And I honestly think of you as an idiot, girl. To hell with you," he said coldly, but clearly as he left.


#14 Zincell

3
Skaa

Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:41 PM

"Have a good night Lord Pig-with-Wings, I enjoyed the company" She said with a sad smile at the man with her back to her. He's right. Great way to screw up, idiot. Can't even get into an argument properly.

The man left.

Edited by Thoughtful Spurts, 04 January 2012 - 08:49 PM.

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