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Mistborn: The Inquisition


Dropping In

Nessa's Photo Nessa 27 Dec 2011

Quiet. It was too quiet.

Nessa lay awake in her hospital bed, staring up into the darkness. With no Smoker nearby she was unable to burn pewter, so her injuries throbbed painfully. She wanted to sleep, but the tranquil silence of the hospital ward was driving her mad. She was used to crewmates carousing through the night or snoring obnoxiously, not this infuriating silence. The only reason she'd been able to sleep in her room in the shop was sheer exhaustion from her training, and now she didn't even have that. She'd been forced to lie here in a bed for days like some sort of lump, "resting."

Nessa was beginning to think Ignas was just punishing her for wandering off.

Time felt like it had frozen. But as much as she wanted it to speed up so she could burn pewter again, she realized she was beginning to dread the morning. The doctor woman would come back then, and while she wasn't as brutal as the other nobles Nessa had seen, she was still a noble, and thus not to be trusted. Even worse, they might send one of the other Smokers from the shop instead of Perrin, or even Maks, leaving Nessa with a practical stranger while Trev pestered her. The more she thought about it, the more she realized she needed to get out of here.

No sooner had the thought occurred to her than she was sitting up in bed, stifling a moan as her body protested the sudden movement. Grateful that she hadn't burned off all her pewter like they'd told her to, Nessa stood up and pulled her shoes out from under the bed. She wouldn't burn it unless an emergency came up, of course - burning metals without a Smoker was always dangerous, no matter what - but it was a comfort just to have it there. Particularly as she opened one of the hospital windows and slipped outside.

The change was instantaneous. Nessa inhaled the night air deeply, ignoring the pain it caused her and thanking the Lord Ruler that the mists were thin tonight. There was always some light in Luthadel coming from somewhere, if you were in the right places at least, and combined with the thin mists, she could almost actually see.

Of course, a street thief like Nessa was used to crawling around in the dark. She was slow, and cautious, but also silent as she crawled out of the window and ducked into a nearby alley. The silence of a city asleep thundered in her ears, but it was a different sort of silence than the stifling stagnation of that hospital. This silence was alive. Breathing. Thriving. Rats chittered and scampered away at her approach, a coach rattled by a couple streets over, and far in the distance a man cried out in either fear, pain, or both. But still, despite those sounds and others like them, it was quiet.

Quiet, yet still exhilarating.

A few alleys over, in the transition between the hospital and one of the shadier parts of the city, Nessa found what she was looking for: a pile of crates and boxes piled up against the wall. One of the best things about a city like this was how closely everything was packed together: once she'd made her way up the boxes and onto the roof of whatever building they were next to, she had any choice of buildings to jump onto, thus avoiding the nastier types of character who lurked in those alleys at ground level. Nessa really didn't want to tangle with them tonight.

Being out in the mists again reminded her of her flight with Perrin, which in turn made her wonder how safe she really was up here. Could Inquisitors fly like the Mistborn could? Would a noble Mistborn, flying around above her, stop to kill her on their way to wherever? It was a disconcerting thought, but given that she hadn't been attacked up here yet, she decided her chances were better on the rooftops than dealing with the nasties down below.

Of course, it wasn't easy. Without the benefit of tin to guide her way, and with less light in this part of town, Nessa's progress was painstakingly slow. She crept across each rooftop slowly and carefully, balancing as best she could and hoping to catch sight of the next rooftop over. That was her rule: if she couldn't see it, it was too far to jump onto. She had to retrace her steps a couple times, having hopped her way onto a dead end, but she made her way slowly but surely across the city in what she hoped was the direction of the shop.

But the mists were cold, and a few hours into her flight from the hospital she found herself soaking in the warmth of a randomly chosen chimney. It was probably a forge of some sort, judging by the warmth that radiated through the roof and soaked into Nessa's bones. Had it not been a monumentally stupid idea, she might have been tempted to sprawl out on that nice warm roof and fall asleep to the sound of the city.

The very thought made her yawn, which meant it was time to start moving again. Surely the sun would rise soon, meaning she would have to return to the streets, and she was certain she was so covered in ash that it would draw attention. She wanted to be as close to the shop as possible before sunrise. And so she walked away from the chimney, towards the edge of her current roof and the point where she would jump onto the one next to it.

And promptly cried out in shock and pain as her leg fell clear through the roof, which gave way beneath her in a series of sickening cracks and snaps. Growling a curse, she tried to pull herself free, but that only weakened the roof even further, and the next thing she--

The world turned upside down, there was a loud series of groaning and crunching sounds, and suddenly everything jolted to a stop as a new, sharp pain shot through her. Even a few minutes later she was only aware of a pile of wood and metal around her as she lay on something hard - the floor, maybe, or a table? - and her head was spinning so badly she could hardly think. Old injuries and new throbbed in unison, and a wave of nausea swept over her as one coherent thought occurred to her:

She needed to get out of here, but how was she going to move without risking exposure?

Eythen's Photo Eythen 03 Jan 2012

Carry the two...or is it rounded off? No, wait, that's only if..

Eythen groaned quietly, a deep and resonating rumble, as he cupped his forehead in a hand. He loathed mathematics, with every fiber of his being. At least, the kind involved with finance and bookkeeping. He had committed to memory several dozen formula for metals, allomantic or otherwise, and those sort of calculations came easily to him. But this....this was like trying to explain metallurgy to a koloss.

Or so he assumed. Having never had the displeasure of meeting one, he only had the assumptions of their base intellects to go off of. It was a terrible thing to do, really. Maybe they were quite intelligent, and merely never given the chance to express it as such due to their supposed brutish, horrific appearances..Eythen knew all too well how it felt to be judged by appearance alone, as well as what one was supposed to be. Did koloss feel the same remorse over being so judged?

The self-indulgent philosophizing was cut abruptly short by a sudden clashing of sounds that needed no tin to be heard...though likely it was involved. Rising from his seat in the back office of the forge, a cloud rose around him as a hammer sailed soundlessly into his palm, calloused fingers wrapping around the handle. Someone was breaking into his forge...his home.

Someone was about to have their night ruined.

There were no heralding creaks or groans of woodwork as he made his way into the room; he knew every board and nail in this building and how to move just so across them. A sprinkling of tin into his internal fire ensured he needed no flame to see clearly, but what he saw gave him pause.

Where he expected some thief or thieving crew to be looting his stock or perhaps searching for a safe to crack, instead he found a young woman, laying haphazardly on one of his worktables. Judging by the hole in the roof directly above her through which the mists flowed in and began to swirl about the room, as well as the slow, almost agonized motions with which she attempted to move...this was no intentional forced entry.

Hammer lowering to his side, he took a more audible series of steps closer, cautiously, observing her ash-stained form...slight as it was. A thief, perhaps, but either a very poor one, or one having a worse night than he had intended to give an intentional one. Her breath was ragged...a bit raspy even..and with a stoke to the forge within him, the tin revealed darkly colorful marring on her skin, all but hidden beneath the ash.

"I have a door for visitors, you know....granted it is generally locked this late at night." He began quietly, attempting to make his voice as lacking in malicious intent as one could be. Moving across the room slowly, the hammer was set down quietly upon a bench, and he began to stoke the smithy's forge for light and warmth.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 04 Jan 2012

Someone was coming. Lord Ruler, someone was coming. Nessa tried to pick herself up, but her body protested and refused to move. In hindsight, she probably should have used pewter to break that fall. Just for an instant. Though it was sort of hard to keep your head about you while falling through a roof.

The footsteps came closer. Nessa struggled to pull herself up; she had to get out of here before---

"I have a door for visitors, you know....granted it is generally locked this late at night."

.... what.

"Maybe you should lock your roof," Nessa said weakly, then promptly realized that that didn't even make any sense. "There's a hole in it, you know."

So far, the owner of the voice didn't seem to want to kill her. That was good. Maybe she could keep whoever it was talking until she could escape to the safety of the shop.

Eythen's Photo Eythen 04 Jan 2012

"A locking roof. Interesting proposal, admittedly. And yes, I did notice the newly remodeled state of my roof, thank you. Trying to decide if I like it or not." A few hearty pumps of the bellows, and the forge was casting a warm glow throughout the room, enough to remove the need for tin, though he still went about lighting a lamp or two for the sake of his 'guest'. Not everyone was accustomed to working solely by forge-light, after all.

"So. It is a bit late, as I said, but what do I owe the pleasure of this visit to? Here on business? I am running a special on shutter hinges, if you find yours damaged for some strange reason. Seems to happen fairly often around here." Room sufficiently lit, Eythen rose back to his full height and moved towards the worktable, offering a hand to help the struggling girl off of it. By the look of her, one hand would be all he needed. It was a fairly common problem for many a skaa, but when in the world had this girl last had a meal?

Nessa's Photo Nessa 04 Jan 2012

The glow of a fire grew slowly, flickering on the walls and filling the room with amber light. She couldn't see any smoke, but she could smell it. It choked her and made her eyes sting, distracting her from the horror of the fighting at hand, but even the sound of her own heartbeat couldn't drown out the screams of pain and terror that filled the keep. No matter where she looked, she could see Ignas's shadow. The shapes and shadows of the men she'd fought. Killed, even. The terror in the eyes of that poor Terrisman.

A large shape loomed above her in the growing light.

No. No. No.

"No!" she shrieked, shrinking away. Pewter burst to life within her, seemingly of its own will. With her pain dulled and her body strengthened, she skittered back across the table.

But with the reduced pain came a clearer head, and by the clearer light of the lamps that had been lit, Nessa could see that they were obviously not in Keep Casuana, and remembered that this was not that day. Taking a deep, shuddering breath, she extinguished her pewter and looked warily up at the large man. Just because this wasn't that day didn't mean she could let her guard down. She'd better start talking again too, to keep him occupied. Pewter or no, she didn't want this fellow coming after her.

"I mean," she finally managed in a low voice, "I don't like being touched. No offense or anything."

Eythen's Photo Eythen 04 Jan 2012

"None taken." And there it was. The shriek, the terror in the eyes. He swore he was going to begin wearing lanterns on pauldrons just so nobody was ever frightened by his looming shadow ever again. For now, he just sat down on one of the stools. He was always less imposing while seated.

Granted, he was just being foolish. Given her reaction and the...surprising speed with which she had shied away considering her apparent condition, his appearance was likely a very small factor.

And then, just like that, she seemed frail and weak again, just as he had found her, the sudden burst of strength leaving her body heralded by the return of labored breathing and grimaces at aching movements. It was almost as if..

Shaking his head, Eythen shrugged softly. "I cannot say I am unaccustomed to startling people." He said with a small smile. "So again I ask, what can I do for you tonight?

Nessa's Photo Nessa 04 Jan 2012

What could he do for her? Was this man serious? Nessa sat there on the table, looking with suspicion at her impromptu... whatever he was. Host? Captor? Nessa wasn't sure.

"Not killing me would be a nice for a start," she said with a slight shrug.

Eythen's Photo Eythen 04 Jan 2012

"Well, you would be in luck there. I am a blacksmith, not a killer. The only things I beat on are metals." Getting up from the stool, he moved a ways across the room and grabbed another, setting it on the far end of the workbench. Re-seating himself, he gestured towards the piece of furniture.

"I think you'll find that a bit more comfortable than my workbench. Since it seems unscathed, I do feel compelled to ask if you yourself are unharmed."

Nessa's Photo Nessa 04 Jan 2012

Nessa blinked, puzzling through what this man was asking. Finally she managed to work it out, but she still wasn't quite sure she believed he was really asking if she was alright. What did a stranger care about her? Besides, there was one other thing.

"I just fell through a roof," she told him, still in that quiet voice. "How do you think I am?"

She decided to remain where she was for now.

Eythen's Photo Eythen 04 Jan 2012

"I would imagine you are in a bit of pain, possibly suffering from broken ribs at the very least, so frankly I am more than a bit confused as to your resistance to aid." Replying just as quietly with a shrug of his broad shoulders, Eythen turned on the stool to toy with something on the end of the table she was not occupying.

"Granted, I do not make a habit of falling through roofing, so perhaps I should defer to you on that."

Nessa's Photo Nessa 04 Jan 2012

This man was very strange. He didn't seem angry with her in the least. Though, of course, that could just be a ruse to get Nessa to accept his so-called "Assistance" and walk right into a trap. No, thank you. She would stay right where she was.

"I told you," she said again. "I don't like being touched. Besides, I don't even know you."

Eythen's Photo Eythen 04 Jan 2012

"Yes, you have made that rather clear. Hence why I am not attempting to touch you. I am still no less concerned for the girl who just fell through my roof. I suppose I am a bit peculiar like that."

He chuckled softly, setting the sheet of tin he had been bending down. "Ah, but father would be shocked by my manners, as you just pointed out. My name is Eythen, I am the owner of the Goldheart Forge...that would be the building to which you so graciously added a skylight, of course."

Nessa's Photo Nessa 05 Jan 2012

"Good to know, I guess," Nessa said in response to the introduction. She didn't give her own name, of course. Names were powerful things, especially in the underground, where information could often be wielded with a far more devastating effect than any weapon. No, she didn't want this fellow to be able to trace her.

But she did need to keep him talking. And while it probably wasn't the smartest thing to ask, she couldn't take it any longer. She had to ask.

"Aren't you angry?"

Eythen's Photo Eythen 05 Jan 2012

"Angry? Of course I am. We live in a world where even skilled workers such as myself are second class citizens because an uncaring, oppressive 'god' says we are while he plays favoritism. A world that was said to once be bright and full of life and color is now nothing but ash and depression." Eythen replied quietly, voice full of rising contempt.

"Compared to that, what is a broken roof? That, at least, I can fix....Anger is like a fire. If you let it grow too much, it will consume everything."

Nessa's Photo Nessa 05 Jan 2012

Lord Ruler, what have I just fallen into? This man was clearly out of his mind if he was speaking openly about things like that. Did he want to pull the Inquisition down on him? Insanity!

"Um, right then," she said, scooting herself over to the edge of the table so she could hop down. "I'll just be on my way. Thanks for not killing me, I guess."

Eythen's Photo Eythen 05 Jan 2012

"Thanks for dropping in, been awhile since I had a visitor. If I had known you were coming, I could have prepared a light meal." A soft laugh, pushing away from the worktable and rising to his feet. "The remaining steak likely would have made for passable baywraps, I think....Anyway, let me show you to the proper exit, hm?"

Trev's Photo Trev 10 Jan 2012

It was well past the normal hours of the clinic, but the harridan who operated it had given way under the case that he could not get free from work until late at night. It meant that Trev could safely move through the streets, under the cover of the mists. During the day, an able-bodied skaa man going about Luthadel without an obvious purpose or task would stand out like a koloss. So it was not until the middle of the night that he came to see the young pewterarm that Ignas had recruited.

And it was not until the middle of the night that he learned she had disappeared. The assistant left behind as night watchman for the hospital had fallen asleep at his post, and when Trev startled him awake by hammering on the door, the man had no idea where Nessa had gone. Her bed was empty, and a window had been opened from the inside, though, so it was not difficult to figure out where she had started, at least. How long she had been gone, though, and where she had gone, was another matter. He was going to have to track her down, and Nessa had been living on the streets for a long time. She would be good at covering her tracks. Tonight was not proving to be a good night.

It would have been helpful if he had tin. As it was, he had to prowl around with a lantern outside the hospital for a little while before he found what he was looking for. He had gotten lucky; Nessa had made a rookie mistake. While there were hundreds of skaa who went around barefoot, not many could afford to wear shoes. Nessa, on the other hand, had a pair of shoes; he could pick out the tracks of a girl's small soles in the ash without much difficulty. And then Trev began to follow in her footsteps, closing the sides of the bull's-eye lantern he carried with him to keep others from spotting the glow in the mists. Ferret scampered along behind him; he had brought the animal along to see if she cheered Nessa up a little, but it would have been better to leave her behind. She would only get in the way of this. It was too late to do anything with her, though.

The trail took him to a back alley, and then up and onto the rooftops of the Sootwarrens; then from there he patiently followed her meandering path over Luthadel. She seemed to have some idea of a direction, as it took him towards the commercial district, and he wondered, as he looked down at the prints returning from doubling back on themselves, if she was trying to make her way back to Ignas' hideout or if she had somewhere else in mind. There weren't many places left for her to go. Not after what her old crew had done to the poor girl.

In the end, after a good couple of hours of hunting, he caught up with her. He had not expected to find her so soon, but she had been moving slowly – she was still sick and injured – and Trev had to have been close behind her from the start. She was on a rooftop, a dark silhouette poised to leap to the next.

And then there was an ominous crack, and she plunged downwards as the roof collapsed beneath her. At first she was trapped by one leg, but as she fought to free herself, she fell through the rest of the way.

Sudden fear for the girl came over Trev, his mind coming alert with the spike of adrenaline. This was the commercial district. These shops and homes beneath him belonged to the lower nobility, and Nessa had just fallen into one of them. She would be presumed a thief.

He kept his quiet calm despite his worry, however. There was no shouting, no screaming, no alarm whatsoever. The shop was not empty; the smoke rising from the chimney and the glow through the windows proved that. But if Nessa had not yet raised the alarm despite her accident, Trev was not about to go charging in and do it for her. He needed to find out what the situation was before he did anything.

He chose the closest point between his rooftop and Nessa's to leap lightly across. Trev crept along the roof softly, up near to the point where she had fallen through, making certain that he followed the line of the rafter. The wood between them was weak and rotten. Stepping on it was another mistake that Nessa had made; it was why she had fallen through. Trev was heavier, but the rafter could support his weight. He took each step carefully, knowing that the room below was like a sounding-chamber. A sudden deposition of weight would give him away to the people in it. A slow and sure motion kept him silent, instead.

And he listened to the exchange between the two underneath him. He could not see them, but he could hear them fairly clearly, voices floating up through the hole in the roof. The deep-voiced man was no threat, not as long as he was talking – and Trev heard enough to be sure that he did not mean any immediate harm to Nessa. Flying in the face of what would be expected from a man whose home had just been invaded, the man seemed to be trying to put her at her ease. Perhaps he was mad, but it was a harmless kind of madness, and it was working in their favour at the moment. Still, he needed to get Nessa out of there as quickly and quietly as possible.

So instead of taking the offensive and dropping in through the roof behind Nessa, Trev made his way off the roof as quietly as before, dropped down to the street, and went around to the door of the shop. Then he knocked quite politely.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 12 Jan 2012

Nessa's stomach growled at the mention of food, but no way was she going to get pulled into that trap. It was easy to poison food, and there was no way she was going to take that chance. But before she could refuse, there was an unexpected sound.

Was someone... knocking? What in the world could bring someone to a smithy in the middle of the night? Nothing she could do but wait and find out... and maybe plot an escape.

Eythen's Photo Eythen 12 Jan 2012

"A friend of yours?" Eythen joked lightly at the all-too-unusual rapping at the door he had just been approaching. He doubted the attempt at humor would ease her caution any, the girl was like an ironclad fortress. He did not even need tin to hear the piquing of her stomach's interest at the mention of food, yet she remained stalwart.

He supposed that was for the best, though. At least for her. She was undoubtedly a street skaa, and a cautious skaa was a living one. Even in his position of comparative luxury, this held true.

And it was with caution he reached to open the door, overlooking his stock of metals. Even an inquisitor would know how to knock, he was sure. Just a matter of whether they had the manners to.

Trev's Photo Trev 22 Jan 2012

Before the door opened, Trev was ready. He stood slightly lopsided, unthreatening, a worried expression on his face. Ferret, obediently perched on his shoulder, kept still, but she came alert with curiosity as the door opened and the shopkeeper peered out.

Trev hadn't expected to look so far upwards. The man towered over him by more than a foot. If push came to shove, though, Trev could shove a lot harder than appearances suggested. Big or not, this blacksmith would be easy to handle. He hoped things wouldn't come to that, he didn't think things would come to that, but it was there on the outside of his mind as a possibility.

The man was blocking his view of the room; he could not see Nessa from the doorway. "I'm looking for my daughter," he said, concern - that did not really have to be manufactured - heavy in his voice. "Her name is Faya. Have you seen her?"

He dropped his shoulder just a little, and Ferret climbed down his sleeve. Landing on the ground, she slipped past the blacksmith, her tail bottle-brushed with excitement at being loose in a new place. She paused just inside, then darted up to Nessa.
Edited by Comatose, 27 January 2016 - 04:31 AM.