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Mistborn: The Inquisition


Mutual Assessments

Aaron Elariel's Photo Aaron Elariel 24 Jan 2012

Aaron yawned. He'd hoped, after his second late night in a row, he'd finally get a chance to sleep in. Apparently, that luxury was one only unimportant noblemen were afforded, and heirs like him were so busy they were expected to get up early every morning. He and his mother's visit to Keep Tekiel had eaten up most of his morning, and they returned to find Keep Elariel in chaos. Apparently, his cousin Vivian had miraculously turned up again, after being missing for around two years and being presumed dead by most of the house. With people still buzzing over Mikhail's assassination, Vivian's return had only fanned the flames. Reasons for her disappearance ranged from being abducted by the rebellion to going on a spy mission for the ministry in the outer dominances.

The most prevalent theories, however, all involved the Sureaus, which made Aaron suspect they must have had something to do with it, though the Ventures and Hastings were also popular suspects. Aaron, however, knowing that he had only Daerra to blame for Mikhail's murder was more inclined to believe the Sureaus were involved. Alistair had apparently ordered that Vivian be kept secluded until he could figure out what to do with her, so for the day intrigue and rumor reigned in the Keep.

"I must advise you to pay attention Lord Aaron. You must pay attention to your uncle's dealings if you are going to replace him one day." Odairn again. Apparently it was his new duty to be Aaron's personally slave driver. Aaron was grumpy enough to rant and rave at the terrismen, however Odairn was always the model of behavior and never gave Aaron an opening. He was always pushing and prodding him to stay on task without going overboard and causing him to snap. Aaron was growing increasingly certain the terris steward had access to some mystical eleventh allomantic metal that gave him unlimited patience.

"Careful, milord. You're nodding off again. You wouldn't want to damage your uncle's opinion of you. He's an observant man, and I doubt your inattention is going unnoticed."

Aaron rolled his eyes and turned his attention back the the proceedings. He was seated in his uncle's study, observing a hurried discussion between Lord Elariel and his most trusted advisors. Aaron's father was notably absent, having a prearranged engagement with Lord Landell. While this conference seemed to be happening just then by happenstance, Aaron was willing to bet Alistair would be glad to have some plotting out of the way before his brother returned.

Finally, Alistair waved his hand, shooing the others out. One of them, Vivian's father Nolan, lingered. As the most prominent member present besides Alistair and Aaron, he likely hoped to discuss what was to be done about his daughter's reappearance in more detail. Alistair met his presumption with a look that left no room for argument and Aaron, Odairn, and Lord Elariel were finally left alone in the room.

"Well nephew. What do you think of today's excitements?" There was always a hint of boredom in Alistair's voice, the sort of weariness that came with too many concerns and an over-abundance of experience dealing with them. It was this attribute that made Alistair so cautious in his dealings, and was why he was so difficult to catch by surprise.

Today, however, he seemed genuinely tired. Aaron couldn't say he blamed him. His son and heir had died less than two days ago, and with all the ensuing chaos, Alistair still likely hadn't had much time to mourn and come to terms with his loss.

And it's all because of Daerra, Aaron thought glumly. He still had a hard time believing his sister had been the cause of so much chaos. He was beginning to wonder if Daerra wasn't behind everything. Perhaps she had been the one to kidnap Vivian. Daerra had been there the day of the attack two years ago...

He was startled from his thoughts when Odairn's foot discreetly came crashing down upon his own.

"Apologies uncle..." Aaron said, realizing he had again become lost in thought. "It's just... there is a lot to take in. I think I'm still taking everything in."

Alistair held his gaze for a moment, sizing him up before nodding. Every motion he made was economic, never using more energy or attention than was needed. "Yes. I suppose there is. I can't expect you to step into my son's shoes so quickly." If thoughts of his newly deceased son discomforted him, Alistair showed no outward signs. He had been born an Elariel and raised along side Aaron's father. Every hint of weakness was well hidden. "I'm afraid, however, that we have no choice. Our position has always been a delicate one. Now more than ever we cannot afford to be weak. Lady Vivian's return from the dead certainly hasn't helped things."

Alistair paused for a moment, his glance slipping back towards Aaron. Aaron shifted uncomfortably, wondering how he was bearing up under his uncle's scrutiny. Finally, Alistair spoke again, so softly Aaron barely heard him. "I almost wish she would not have returned at all. I can't afford to say so in front of her father of course. He'd take it personally, you see. He wouldn't understand." Alistair shot Aaron a look that made it seem like he had just asked a question.

"I... I think I understand. Vivian's return has complicated things. It's not her return you dislike, it's the controversy she's bringing with her."

Alistair was interrupted before he could respond by a knock at the door. As he had given no physical indication whether or not he approved of Aaron's answer, Aaron was left not knowing whether or not he had guessed correctly. Upon his uncle's invitation, a fifth tier servant entered and bowed respectfully.

"My apologies, Lord Alistair. There is a Winston Elariel here to see you."

"Ah," said Alistair. For a moment, he caught his nephew's eye, and Aaron could swear he saw the barest hint of a smile on his uncle's lips. "Very well. Send him in at once."

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 24 Jan 2012

Winston checked his silver pocket watch again. I wonder how much longer it'll be till the meeting finishes.

His mind wandered, tracing the events that lead to now. His thoughts found their way to the news that he'd heard last night while on the barges. Fire at the Casuana Ball, public executions, the chaos that was ensuing, the Inquisition. When dawn broke and the mists had cleared he convinced the skaa pulling his barge that it would be worth their while to get him to Luthadel quickly.

Within sight of Luthadel the barge came to a checkpoint, where the Canton of Inquisition checked through the cargo and the papers. There was a brief moment of tension when they found his crate of 'ledgers' but after a quick word with the overseeing obligator, presenting his authentication papers again, he was let go.

After getting off the barge, he'd had to arrange for a carriage to take him to the Keep, and finally during the late afternoon he'd been able to get through the security checkpoints to enter the central keep. He eyed his escorts, two guards in semi-formal military dress, as they stood on either side of him while he waited in the hallway for Lord Alistair's meeting to finish.

After a few moments longer the doors to the study opened and several men walked out. Winston felt the tin in his stomach burn into life, making the details around him that much sharper. He made sure to keep track of their faces and expressions, mentally logging the information away to write down later. When the flow of men had stopped he approached the servant near the door.

"My name is Winston Elariel, I'm here to see Lord Alister, I have news from Tremredare."

The servant turned towards him. "Lord Alister doesn't have the time to see you, he's.." he broke off as yet another man exited the study, stress obvious to Winston's tin enhanced eyes. Once the man had passed the servant continued, "..incredibly busy. Whatever news you have you can write down in a report which he can read later at his leisure." his annoyance showing through, deviating from a servants training.

Winston paused, and stared at the man. His hand reached into the portfolio case pulling the appropriate piece of paper from it. He held it out to the servant to take, and dropping his voice an octave said, "Read."

The servant blinked, tentatively taking the paper from Winston's hand. His eyes moved back and forth reading each line on the paper. To the servants credit he kept composure, his training taking over, formality returning. After he finished reading he returned the paper and responded, "I'll see if Lord Alistair is available."

He turned and knocked, and after a few seconds a voice called forth. The servant entered the room and said "My apologies Lord Alistair. There is a Winston Elariel here to see you."

"Ah. Very well. Send him in at once."

Winston walked through the doors, stepped in a few feet and bowed towards the man behind the desk. He rose and continued walking forward stopping a few paces away from the front of the desk. He took a brief moment, noticing the young man and Terrismen off to the side of the room. If they are here I can't exactly discuss things openly. Well then...

"My Lord Alistair. My name is Winston Elariel, I come here at the behest of your dear cousin Lord Hector." He reached into his inner breast pocket pulling out a sealed letter. "My letter of introduction," placing it on the desk, he paused and made eye contact with the head of House Elariel, "I hope to be of service."
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:04 PM.

Aaron Elariel's Photo Aaron Elariel 27 Jan 2012

Winston Elariel? That can't be right... Winston Elariel was a member of the first tier, heir to Lord Hector, the overseer of Elariel operations in the entire Western Dominance. He was also secretly House Elariel's Tremredare Mistborn. Every time Aaron had seen the man recently had been in Tremredare, as Winston coming to Luthadel would leave the Elariel holdings there unprotected. On top of that, his cousin was a few years older than Aaron, whereas this man was at least two or three years younger, of not more. It was true Aaron hadn't seen his cousin in a few years, but it didn't take a genius to know the man in front of him was not his cousin.

"My dear cousin. Of course," said Alistair, taking the documentation in hand. His eyes flicked over the page dismissively, obviously only skimming it, before setting it aside for later.

Aaron was still trying to figure out who this so-called 'Winston Elariel' was. The original Winston Elariel was a hero to the house, so Aaron guessed it was likely a fairly common name, especially in the western dominance where the original Winston had remained when Lord Daeron made his move to Luthadel. At least, he was pretty sure that was how it went. He'd never been the best at history. Aside from a few notable exceptions, all the names and dates seemed to blend together one him. What he really liked were the descriptions of the raids and assassinations...

"Aaron, this is your distant cousin, Master Winston, a memeber of the fifth tier," said his uncle, answering Aaron's unasked question. "According to Hector, he has considerable talent for someone his age, and may be of use to us." Alistair's calm collected eyes seemed to spark for a moment. It was the look of someone who had just fit two pieces of a puzzle together, and Aaron wasn't sure if he should be excited or concerned. As quickly as it appeared, the look was gone as Alistair turned back to face Winston.

Those eyes... thought Aaron. They were dark, like his father's, but for a moment, Aaron had seen a hint of Daerra in his uncle. Daerra's eyes were one of the only places her mask ever slipped enough for Aaron to see through. They were the weakest point of her facade, but even Aaron, who knew her better than anyone, had trouble figuring out what those calculating eyes hid behind them. He'd always seen the similarities between Daerra and his father. They had the same drive, ambition, and spark of ingenuity.

Aaron had always thought his uncle was cautious and boring by comparison. He's survived as Lord this long... perhaps he is an Elariel after all. Alistair had managed to best Aaron's father in the past, although that was never talked about anymore. He was obviously very capable and knew what he was doing. Which means I'm the only one who doesn't...

While Aaron was thinking, Alistair was continuing his introductions. "This is my nephew, Lord Aaron Elariel, heir to the house title."

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 28 Jan 2012

This is my nephew, Lord Aaron Elariel, heir to the house title.

Aaron, heir? What happened to Mikeal? If Aaron is heir, did Andrew maneuver his son into position? That doesn't line up, Aaron is too nervous, too uncomfortable, or perhaps that belies the truth. No formal training deception training, or at least he doesn't exhibit the signs. Winston's thoughts started spiraling out of control thinking of different worst case scenarios. What happened during my journey here?

Winston face however just accepted the information in stride. Whatever had happened, Alistair had not shown any outward signs to distress, not that he would with other people around. His mind refocused thinking of his orders from Hector "You are to aide my dear cousin in anyway possible." I'll have to find out what is going, and see what Lord Alistair needs me to do.

His tin enhanced ears heard the door behind him creak, someone was leaning against the door. His left hand automatically moved, making the covert sign that there was someone listening in on the conversation. Only to realize moments later that the covert signs and codes might be different here in Luthadel. More things for me to learn more about. Can't use the subtle signs, guess I'll have to make more overt signs. He shifted his left shoulder back towards the door, pointing with one finger.

"My lord, I may be mistaken and forgive my lack of tact, but I heard from outside that Mikeal was heir, did something happen?"
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:04 PM.

Aaron Elariel's Photo Aaron Elariel 07 Feb 2012

It took Aaron a minute to piece together exactly what Winston was doing. It's some sort of code... is there something going on outside? Aaron hadn't heard anything, but then, he had been focusing on his uncle. He had said Winston could be of use... was he an allomancer perhaps? As a member of the fifth tier, Aaron couldn't think of many reasons for Winston to be called to Luthadel, but talent with allomancy was definitely one of them.

I'd know of him if he was mistborn, so would that make him a tin-eye? Or a seeker perhaps. That would explain why he could sense something outside when Aaron could not.

Alistair didn't even blink, taking the revelation in stride, obviously understanding a great deal more than Aaron was. "I would seem we need to get you caught up on current events. Would you be so kind as to get the door and let Eugene in. I'll send him for some refreshments."

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 07 Feb 2012

Eugene? Must be the man at the door. He met Lord Alistair's eye searching for anything that might show that something was amiss. But the body language was professional as possible.

He turned towards the door, turning so he could take a slightly better look at Aaron and his Terrisman steward. Confusion played across Aaron's features while the Terrisman was the perfect steward.

He walked back to the door opening it. Eugene, the doorman stood a step away from the heavy wood door. Guess he heard Lord Alistair. Winston motioned Eugene in, taking a look down the hall. There he spotted the two guards that had escorted him from through the central keep, and two other men father down the hall. He spent a moment committing the men to memory, already thinking of all the notes he needed to write down.

Winston turned again, catching the end of Lord Alistair's orders for Eugene. Eugene bowed and exited, the two guards who had escorted Winston up followed him as he walked through the central keep.

Winston closed the door and resumed his place in front of Lord Alistair's desk. "Thank you my lord, permission to speak freely?"
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:05 PM.

Aaron Elariel's Photo Aaron Elariel 07 Feb 2012

What is going on? Aaron took a breath, trying his best to compose himself. He didn't think his uncle would be pleased if he looked like a complete buffoon. Now, more than ever, it was becoming increasingly clear how important it was for Aaron to behave himself. He'd always laughed away other people's negative perceptions of him before, but now that he was heir, those things mattered. I'm important now... he realized. Daerra's dream come true. He almost wished it had been his dream as well.

"Permission granted." Alistair was still talking to Winston, and Aaron forced himself to pay attention.

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 08 Feb 2012

Winston spent a brief moment preparing what he was going to say. He reached into his vest pocket pulling out the black book looking at what he had written down from what he observed during his trip from Tremredare.

"I have the manifests for twelve barges that were being run by Hassau that will arrive in Luthadel tomorrow. Also, D'Aubinge is going to meet their quota with House Atherton on paper, but the manifest and the shipment are not going to line up, the difference is going to be 100 pounds of grain missing." Winston turned the page, "Those are the two pieces of information of note that I have, I acquired several other manifests from barges we docked near, and other information that was given in explanation to obligators during check points."

Winston settled his eyes on Aaron and continued speaking, "I also noted today, as I passed through the halls of the keep, seven men of the third tier or higher who have what I assume to be illicit affairs, based off of their complexion and the shame and sated lust. I'll begin drafting a report and the rest of my findings soon, but my writing set was damaged on the journey here. It still works for now, but I'll be more efficient when my nibs are straight."

As he said this he watched the new heir's expression, the remnants of shock and surprise were fading, but confusion still played across his features. Albeit everything was fairly well controlled, but not well controlled enough for someone of his stature. He needs training. But there is no malice, nothing sinister about him, just confusion.

He continued speaking turning his attention back to the House Lord. "Also as Eugene has brought to light I need to learn the Luthadel primers and codes. But as it stands I know that something is wrong, you spoke of current events. As I walked through the halls I heard rumor that Vivian Elariel has returned? But that wouldn't have anything to do with the movement of the heir title." Winston reasoned out, "Then I assume it has something to do with the fire at Keep Casuana?"
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:05 PM.

Aaron Elariel's Photo Aaron Elariel 08 Feb 2012

Again, the hint of a smile played across Alistair's lips. Whether it was one of approval or of amusement, Aaron couldn't tell, for it vanished almost before it began. When things turned back to Vivian and Mikhail, Aaron expected his uncle's expression might slacken as he was reminded once again of his son's death. His expectations were disappointed when Alistair's features remained frozen in perfect composure. An Elariel to the core.

Taking out a piece of paper, Alistair took out a pen and then began to scrawl out a note. "Only reports regarding sensitive matters, such as relations with the other Great Houses and internal house conflict need be reported directly to me." Alistair's tone was even, but Aaron caught the barest hint of reprimand in it. "Unfortunately, I do not have time to deal with all of our lesser enemies directly. While Hassau and Aherton might be major enemies for Hector in Tremredare, they have little influence in Luthadel. I'll arrange for you to be incorporated into the proper channels, and receive your information distilled in reports from your new superiors."

Alistair didn't even look up as he gave instructions, continuing to scribble away with his pen.

"I'm going to give you the names and contact information for the man in charge of collecting information about houses like Hassau and Aherton, as well as the woman I have analyzing gossip like your tidbit about some of our less discreet family members. There will be others with expertise in these areas who may approach you and ask you to turn over any information you have. I am telling you now you are only authorized to report to the people on the list I am giving you. No one else can be trusted."

Alistair looked up from his paper for a second, fixing Winston with a studious glance, before turning back to the page. "I'll also give you the name of my head of information. He'll get you up to speed on our coding system. Remember, anything pertaining directly to Elariel's relations with the other Great Houses and internal house loyalties is to be reported directly to me and no one else. Everything else will have to be put through the proper channels."

Finishing up his notes, Alistair pushed the paper to the edge of the desk for Winston to take. "The identites of these Elariel agents are highly sensitive of course. I'll expect you to destroy this note as soon as you have memorized your instructions." Wiping his pen clean, Alistair turned to Aaron. "Officially you'll be serving as both guard and aide to my nephew. You are to assist him in handling contracts, advise him in your areas of expertise, and watch for any dangers to his safety. Viridian Demesne is responsible for his personal security, so any threats should be reported to her as well. I'll trust you to remember that while Lord Aaron will be your student in some ways, he is still your superior. You must not correct or contradict him in public. I hope I have made myself clear."

Yes Uncle. Aaron stopped himself from answering for Winston. He wasn't sure how he felt about being tutored by a man who was not only lowly ranked, but also quite a bit younger than him, but he supposed he would need the help. He was more concerned by the fact he would have yet another pair of eyes on him at all times. Between Winston and Viridian, he's nightly escapades would dwindle into next to nothing!

"Now then," continued Alistair, apparently taking for granted Winston acceptance. "I think I've wasted enough time here. Master Winston, I'm sure you will do an excellent job. As I have other matters to attend to, Lord Aaron can fill you in on recent events. Odairn, I have need of you. Meet me in the contract room. We'll leave Lord Aaron to get acquainted with his new assistant."

Aaron watched Odairn rise and follow Alistair out glumly, then turned to study his cousin Winston, rising to shake the man's hand. From his initial impression, Winston seemed to be a cold, shrewd business type, with very little appreciation for nonsense. Exactly the kind of people Aaron tried to avoid. Perhaps I'm being too harsh, he scolded himself. His uncle was known to expect perfection and value professionalism. Maybe now that he was gone, Winston would loosen up.

"So," said Aaron, giving Winston a warm smile, "Where should I begin?"

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 08 Feb 2012

Winston listened to Lord Alistair's orders accepting both reprimand and orders as befit his station. Then Lord Alister turned towards Aaron, making the signal that seemed to imply that Aaron should not see the contents of the note. I'll have to figure out a way to retrieve that note without Aaron seeing it's contents.

"Officially you'll be serving as both guard and aide to my nephew. You are to assist him in handling contracts, advise him in your areas of expertise, and watch for any dangers to his safety. Viridian Demesne is responsible for his personal security, so any threats should be reported to her as well. I'll trust you to remember that while Lord Aaron will be your student in some ways, he is still your superior. You must not correct or contradict him in public. I hope I have made myself clear."

Guard, aide, assist, advise, watch. Winston made mental note of his orders reading into the words and internalizing his mission. Winston watched as Lord Alistair left the room, terris steward in tow.

Aaron rose from his chair moving across the room. "So, Where should I begin?"

Aaron was holding out his hand to shake. Normal customs dictated that as a lower tier member he was not to shake the Heir's hand, but rather bow instead - a handshake would indicate that they were equals. But still the hand was extended. He looked at the man in front of him, and studied him in more detail now that Lord Alistair wasn't in the room. The man he was assigned to.

Now that Aaron was standing Winston could tell that the man was sore and tired, although the lack of energy was artfully covered up with a smile. Still Winston couldn't help but feel that there was some sort of naivete about the customs of the house, and the breach of etiquette that he was now proposing.

Winston decided that he would not breach etiquette, and bowed instead. "I beg your pardon Lord Aaron. It is beyond my station to accept your handshake." As he rose he noticed the expression of disappointment on Aaron's face. Why would he be disappointed? I kept to protocol. Winston wondered.

"Back to catching up on current events, perhaps you should cover the ones that have led to your current status as House Heir."
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:05 PM.

Aaron Elariel's Photo Aaron Elariel 08 Feb 2012

As Winston bowed, Aaron awkwardly withdrew his hand. This was obviously a man of formality. Well... this is going to be fun... How did he begin to explain about Mikhail? That his sister had arranged for Aaron's mistborn date to murder their cousin so he could be heir? Not only would he implicate himself, there was no telling what would happen to Daerra. Alistair might even turn her over to the Inquisitors. As much as her actions bothered him, and as impossible it seemed to forgive her, he still couldn't bring himself to turn against her.

So, though he hated himself for doing it, he told the story she would have wanted him to tell instead. "He... that is Mikhail... died the night of the ball. He was killed." The man he had grown up sparring with was dead. His cousin who had always striven to be the best he could be, so one day he could continue his father's legacy, and bring greatness to Elariel, would never see his dreams come true. Now, Aaron had inherited those dreams, whether he wanted them or not.

"I'm sorry... it's just... complicated. I think I'm still processing it all myself," Aaron ran his hand over his head. The shorter hair still felt strange beneath his fingers. More professional, his father had said. Aaron just thought he looked less like himself.

"Mikhail was to be set up with Phyra Venture for the Casuana ball. Nevan, Lord Venture's heir, was escorting Camille Deveaux, and uncle has been anxious about an alliance forming between their two houses. So, he arranged for his heir to take a member of the Venture family to the ball as well." That part was easy. A simple statement of fact. Aaron hadn't known he had been Phyra's second choice until afterwards. But Daerra must have known. Somehow she had figured it out, and learned exactly which pressure points would make Phyra Venture break down and take Mikhail down with her.

"The problem was... Lady Phyra has... had somewhat of a reputation here in Luthadel. As the only female of Lord Ellsworth's immediate family, she was our only choice, but after some consideration, Lord Alistair and Mikhail decided it was best if he did not escort her, lest she damage his reputation." Aaron left Claudia out of things. She no doubt blamed herself enough for forcing her father to break the arrangement. She didn't need people whispering in the halls about it as well.

"After speaking with my father, it was arranged that I would take Lady Phyra to the ball instead. As second in line, I was still of similar rank to Lady Phyra, but my reputation was less important to House Elariel. I..." I played my sister's games for her, following my instructions perfectly. I insulted her. Publicly humiliated her, then shamed her by asking Marisha Nathar to dance with me instead. Marisha had been his friend, and he had used her and put her in danger. He could blame Daerra all he wanted, but it was his fault he hadn't seen through her plan sooner and stopped it.

"We had a falling out... an argument. It was rather public, and not my proudest moment. I'd rather not talk about it." Aaron took a seat. He hoped those refreshments would arrive soon. Talking about the Casuana ball was making him want a drink.

"Phyra flew off the handle. It turns out she was House Venture's mistborn. As the rebels attacked Keep Casuana, she fled the keep and went rogue, deciding to take revenge on everyone who had shamed her it seems. She started with Mikhail. Lady Claudia and I were the ones who found him, dead on the street like some common skaa." For a moment, Aaron found himself back at the scene. Mikhail staring lifelessly at the sky, with an obsidian dagger in his chest.

"If another Venture mistborn hadn't stopped her, I very well could have been next, or perhaps one or all of the women Mikhail and I danced with. The woman was insane." Aaron shook his head, lacking any more words. Not only did he not know how else to describe Phyra Venture, he also didn't know how to proceed without giving away Daerra's part in everything.

"Apparently, the dagger belonged to Kaylen Hasting, who is also apparently a mistborn. We met with the Venture's during the execution yesterday. They say they had nothing to do with it, using their mysterious second mistborn's intervention as proof. They say Phyra was acting on her own, perhaps aided by Kaylen. He's conveniently missing. Either he did have something to do with things and fled, or the Hastings are hiding him. Personally, I don't know what to believe..." Kaylen going missing had been unexpected. How many others had Daerra snared in the death trap that was only meant for Mikhail?

"I'm sorry. I'm still taking everything in. If my explanation satisfies you, I'd rather not talk about it any more."

There was a knock at the door, and Aaron did his best to push away his melancholy. If he wallowed in it, he was afraid it would devour him. "That must be our refreshments."

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 09 Feb 2012

He's lying was Winston's first feeling He has too much guilt for his part in events. To Winston, Aaron was showing too much nervousness, like running his hands through his hair, a nervous tick that showed throughout the conversation. Winston started rationalizing thinking Of course I'll need to observe him more to establish a better baseline for his emotions, to be sure of this before I report to Lord Alistair.

Winston moved to open the door as befit his station, but halfway to the door he realized that he still had yet to retrieve the note that Lord Alistair had left for him. I need to get that note. He opened the door and Eugene moved into the room, tray of pastries and beverages balanced carefully on top of a silver platter. Eugene made a move to place the tray of refreshments onto the desk, next to where the note was. As he got closer to the desk Winston took longer stride trying to intercept the note before anything could be gleaned from the sensitive document. He quickly scooped the paper from the desk, folding it, and carefully tucking the paper into a vest pocket. As he looked up he caught Eugene's interested stare.

He decided to ignore the stare instead turning to Aaron and asking, "Aside from those events is there anything else that I need to be informed of?"
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:05 PM.

Aaron Elariel's Photo Aaron Elariel 10 Feb 2012

Aaron observed Winston's hasty retrieval of his list of instructions with mild interest. He was obviously a secretive one. If he was mistrusting even a harmless door man like Eugene after his first day, he was obviously well acquainted with how House Elariel ran, and should do just fine in Luthadel.

Before he answered, Aaron began perusing the tray, pouring himself a glass of wine and helping himself to a pastry. After a moment's hesitation, he passed by his uncle's chair, even though it would make more sense for him to sit there, and took his old seat, beckoning for Winston to join him. Somehow, it felt... presumptuous to sit where Alistair, and Mikhail on occasion, had sat before him. It made him feel unworthy.

He waited until Eugene had left and the door was safely closed before resuming conversation, hoping to make Winston more comfortable. "Just that, after two years of being missing, my cousin Vivian has returned. It seems the Sureaus might have had something to do with it, but I don't know for sure. My uncle hasn't been letting her talk to anyone. Likely, he'll brief the family tonight sometime."

Aaron broke off, idly scratching his head in thought, piecing things together. Daerra would have seen the implications he was now considering instantly, but he required a little more time to puzzle through it all. "With Venture, Hasting, and Sureau all damaging their neutral diplomacy rating within days of each other is troubling, to say the least. There might be some interesting times ahead for House Elariel."

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 10 Feb 2012

Interesting times... That didn't sound good, interesting meant that events would occur and that meant that there would be unpredictability.

Now that Eugene was out of the room, and Lord Aaron was preoccupied with a snack, he retrieved the note from Lord Alistair and began to read his orders, committing the entire thing to memory, moving to burn the crucial information with Lord Aaron as a witness.

As Lord Aaron finished his snack, Winston began to think on all the information that he had just absorbed. Great House politics are so much more complicated than what happened in Tremredare. His mind began to wander brushing on the information that he was keeping memorized until he had time to write it down. Something sparked as a potential conversation starter.

"Interesting times" he muttered, "Do you know about the preparations for the Ball in five days? Our house is hosting it if I do recall."
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:05 PM.

Aaron Elariel's Photo Aaron Elariel 14 Feb 2012

Aaron shrugged. "Vague outlines and general arrangements have been being made since our last ball, with things getting more specific as the date draws nearer. If we plan too far in advance, mostt of the more specific elements end up being changed half a dozen times, at least. Sometimes it's based on a new political development, sometimes it's in response to what another house did, sometimes it's just to keep people guessing. For all I know, uncle has several plans of action ready to go, each with a few contingencies in place. I don't usually pay attention to the planning until the week before, when things start getting finalized."

Aaron glanced out the window. The red afternoon sun was shining brightly, and seemed to beckon him out to enjoy it. Why did he have to be tied up with duties inside all day? For that reason alone, he almost found himself looking forward to his next training session with Viridian.

"I'm sure if you inquired of the right people, you could discover the meal plan and the music arrangements. Now that the Casuana ball is over, those can be confirmed now that we know we won't be mimicking the Casuanas. There have likely been some dates arranged as well. I'm not sure if anyone knows anything more than that. With..." Aaron paused. Stimulated by a familiar question, he'd sunk right back into the persona of the flippant, uncaring Aaron. Gossip about what the next great house ball would be like was always a hot topic in Luthadel, and he'd grown used to giving a similar response every time it was Elariel's turn in the rotation.

Then all at once, coming back to recent events had shocked him out of it, reminded him of who he was supposed to be. I can't be that person anymore. It's time to grow up. My house needs me. Almost unconsciously, Aaron sat up straighter, and adopted a more formal tone. "With everything that's happened with Mikhail and Vivian, I'm sure any plans that were made are now being adjusted accordingly, if uncle has even had time to approve such things with everything else that is going on." I should know more, Aaron realized. He was heir now. The days when he had drifted through life without paying attention had to end. Worse, he couldn't rely on Daerra to keep him on track any more. It was time to start taking more responsibility, for the good of his house. And how in the world do I go about doing that?

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 14 Feb 2012

Winston watched as emotions played across the face of new assignment. They jumped from a calm resting point when talking about Luthadel ball gossip, to restlessness when looking out the window. And then he changed posture, to Winston is seemed as if a marionette had it's strings pulled on. Aaron sat up, bringing the spine into a straight line, his chest squared to his chair, chin slightly turned to the air, the posture of a proper nobleman, the posture of the newly appointed heir.

But it was Aaron's eyes that captured Winston's attention, where the rest of his body had obeyed the commands demanded by etiquette, the eyes seemed to fight for something. Winston flared tin, the world around him jumped into existence flooding his brain with information that it previously hadn't processed. Winston's mind picked up on the pocket watch ticking away in his pocket, the feel of his clothing, the stiffness of the papers stowed in his breast pocket. All this information absorbed and processed in a second, as his mind fought to channel the stream of information his eyes began to pick apart the details of the man in front of him. Winston watched those eyes move, moving slowly and fixing on nothing in particular. Those were the eyes of someone in deep thought, someone who wasn't sure exactly what was going to happen, and because of that uncertainty they had fear. But despite that fear there was some sort of underlying resolve, something that he hadn't seen for years.

I haven't seen that expression since Winston officially became an official Mistborn.

While one part of his mind had been analyzing Aaron, another part had been keeping track of the conversation, storing it with everything else that he would write down later today. That part of his mind expressed concern about Aaron's lack of faith that Lord Alistair would be able to do his duties, but Lord Alistair's orders superseded that concern and instead he kept quiet at the slight to Lord Elariel's abilities. Winston was here to watch the heir, to gather information about him and the movements of the house around the heir. So Winston kept silent and waxed his tin to a more manageable burn.
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:06 PM.

Viridian Demesne's Photo Viridian Demesne 15 Feb 2012

From her vantage point, perched with all the stillness of a stone gargoyle above the window ledge, Viridian Demesne could see the entirety of the Garden as it was spread out beneath her. It was an intricate maze of flora and fauna but the pattern repeated itself, forcing her to locate more unique landmarks and commit them to memory for reference. She surmised the sight ought to have filled her with awe, and yet she felt more appreciative memories of a single shelving of books than she did of this extensive expanse.

The Demesne garden's were insignificant in comparison to these grounds, a fact her mother would have cringed to know. Much about the Elariel's manse put her own residence in perspective. While her own library contained more than a few tomes not likely to be found elsewhere, the Elariel's library was larger by many rooms, and there was even an entire wing of the house dedicated solely to the act of bathing.

It was certainly a change of pace, and as in all things, a change of scenery brought with it new theory's. She had considered her ascension to Demesne house heir primarily a failure. It had stirred nothing, cut away blood ties that might have been of value in future experimentation... perhaps being house heir was not enough? Perhaps it was simply not desirable to command anything less than the respect owed a leader of a Great House?

The question was purely academic at this point. Murder and scheme for advancement had failed in the past, it was only prudent to train her energies toward less explored avenue's of opportunity. Nerid Nathar represented the greatest of her options, however Aaron Elariel was an experiment of it's own merit.

Her first instinct upon having been offered the Elariel heir had been to refuse. She had assumed there were more logical positions to undertake, however on further introspection, she had come to the conclusion that placing herself in position so near another for an extended period of time might move her to feel something... anything would do.

Murmuring voices continued to draw her attention from the open window below. The instinct to burn tin was there, but suppressed. For the present she had agreed to take on duties as Aaron's protection, not to collect information on Elariel politics. If there was need for her to know what was occurring in the other room, she would be made aware. If she at any point felt curious she might also choose to listen in, but for now she was more concerned with the repeating pattern of the Elariel Garden's and committing those passages to memory should ever she be required to use that knowledge in defense of her Lord.

She had taken to burning bronze at all times for Aaron's safety, and so she was alerted immediately when somebody in the other room flared tin. Meeting or no, she acted. Stepping off the skinny outcropping she spun a half circle as she dropped, catching the upper edge of the window sill and using her own momentum to vault through the opening into the conference hall to land in a half crouch in the open space within.

A quick scan of the interior found Aaron face to face with a man she had not yet met. Her charge did not appear to be concerned, but neither would he be aware that the other was flaring his tin. She unfurled from her stance with almost feline grace and stalked purposefully toward the pair, announcing "Lord Aaron, if my intrusion is unwarranted please accept my apology, however I have detected a flaring of tin. My mandate requires that I investigate this matter and evaluate the danger posed."

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 16 Feb 2012

Winston heard something from the windowsill outside. His immediate thoughts turned to either a Mistborn, Coinshot, or Lurcher. He looked out the window with caution, ready to serve interference for Aaron's escape, but what he saw outside was not exactly what he was expecting. A slender hand gripping the stone sill, which was soon followed up by a slender woman who landed in a crouch. She was obviously skilled, and probably a Mistborn.

Winston immediately brought his tin back to flaring levels, his mind processing the fact that she had paused after entering the room, making it less likely that she was an attacker. Her eyes scanned the room, looking briefly at Winston before finally settling on Aaron.

While she spent a moment studying Lord Aaron, Winston took a closer look at the woman in front of him. She was attractive, hair kept at a practical shoulder length, but still long enough to add to her femininity. Her eyes a striking green, pupils still constricted slightly but slowly expanding as they adjusted to the slightly darker room. His eyes moved downward noticing the tight black clothing and the well toned muscle underneath. His ears heard steady even breathing through nostrils, and then the gentle clink of glass against metal, drawing his attention to her hands. Two bracelets, one on either wrist, with small vials attached to them. In the red light of the afternoon sun he saw the gleam of copper and bronze flakes settling back to the bottom of their vials, revealing that each vial had a mixture of several Allomantic metals. Mistborn he thought to himself. He also noticed her left hand was missing the fourth and fifth proximal digits.

She stalked forward, muscles roiling with feline grace and strength, her slippers whispering of silk as she moved across the floor, right up to Lord Aaron. She stopped and her voice hitting Winston's ear drums like a roar, "Lord Aaron, if my intrusion is unwarranted please accept my apology, however I have detected a flaring of tin. My mandate requires that I investigate this matter and evaluate the danger posed."

As the result of his training Winston betrayed no hint of the sudden assault on his senses, but rather let the beat of his pocket watch serve as a steadying metronome, a stable constant which brought his mind through the pain. Winston turned part of his attention to Aaron, maintaining his flare, still looking at the woman in front of him.
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:06 PM.

Aaron Elariel's Photo Aaron Elariel 16 Feb 2012

Aaron had been in the process of finding something else to say in hopes of breaking that slightly awkward silence which had begun to settle in when Viridian came hurtling through the window. She still hadn't forgiven him for his nightly escapade last night, and Aaron was willing to bet he wouldn't be able to sneak away again any time soon.

With these two both watching me, I may never get time to myself again. Which was probably precisely his uncle's motive. Not only would Aaron be protected at almost all times, he would also be watched, limiting the amount of influence his father or Daerra could have over him. Not that I'd be speaking to Daerra anyways, he reminded himself.

"Ugh... no... no it's no problem Viridian. Lady Viridian. I mean, there's no problem here, and it's no problem that you intruded. Not that you were intruding." Aaron took a quick breath, collecting his senses. He had to stop letting himself be startled so easily. It's like I'm on a mission he realized. Infiltrating secure manses and keeps using only iron was dangerous work, and he had to be on guard and ready to react at all times. The more time he spent as heir, the more he realized poltical situations could be much the same. Except here, he didn't have iron to catch him if he fell.

"What I mean to say is, there's no apology necessary. Actually, I should probably introduce you two, since it seems you'll be working together anyways." Aaron stood, so he could make a formal introduction. "Lord Winston, allow me to introduce Lady Viridian Demesne, heiress of House Demesne, and my personal mistborn body guard and relentless task-mistress. Lady Viridian, this would be Lord Winston Elariel, of the Tremredare Elariels. He's been called here to be my personal assistant, among other things. Please, feel free to add any duties or honorifics I've missed."

Winston Elariel's Photo Winston Elariel 17 Feb 2012

Winston continued to endure through the assault of his senses as he maintained his flare, until Aaron mentioned that he would be working with the woman. He slowly brought his flare back towards more manageable levels, and everything became darker and less vibrant.

As Aaron made formal introductions Winston thought to himself, So this is Lord Aaron's head of security. I wonder how capable she is. Then with his mind not as focused on controlling the flow of information he picked up on something. Lord Aaron showed no surprise at the mention of flaring of tin. Has Lord Alistair informed Lord Aaron of my abilities? Winston thought back to the events of the day, at no point had he seen or heard information pass between the House Lord or the House Heir. In the end Winston decided to revisit that peculiarity later, and made his own introductions with the lovely Mistborn lady in front of him.

"Pleasure to meet you Lady Viridian. And Lord Aaron does me great honor in his introduction by omitting that I am simply a servant of House Elariel. As head of his security however I believe that you should know this." As he finished Winston brought his tin back to a low flare, enough to detect the micro-expressions that would doubtlessly permeate the conversation, as preparation to prove the credentials Lord Hector had bestowed upon him. "Here is a copy of my credentials and work experience," Winston pulled a paper from his portfolio, handing it to Mistborn, "and as Lord Alistair seems to not have shared my credentials with you yet" Winston pulled another sheet from the leather-bound portfolio, "here is one for you as well Lord Aaron."
Edited by Lanscaper, 13 February 2014 - 06:06 PM.