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Mistborn: The Inquisition


A View of the City


Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 28 Jun 2009

Ash fell from the sky.

It was a light fall, barely noticeable, but it still managed to shroud the city of Luthadel in a somber cloak of gloom. True, the whole city was already stained black; what difference did more ash make? It kept the skaa busy and out of the nobility's hair. And with the unrest some people saw amongst the skaa, keeping them busy was probably a good thing.

At least, if one believed the rumors.

Nevan Venture, however, just sighed irritably as he looked out across the sprawling mass of black that was the Imperial City of Luthadel. He was standing atop the Old Wall Bridge, looking out at the city and feeling thoroughly frustrated. Much of his family were increasingly high-strung because of the supposed skaa rebellion in the city, and some of his best friends were starting to get in on it as well. He wasn't stupid; he knew full well that Skaa Allomancers had attacked a few nobles. But surely anyone who looked could see that most of the skaa were just too beaten down to rise up and revolt. The few upstarts that did cause trouble would be caught by the Inquisition, and that was that.

And so Nevan had decided to go for a walk to clear his head. The mood had gotten so tense inside Keep Venture that morning that he just needed some time to himself before returning to his studies. And then there was his lunch appointment with Charle. It would be good to see his brother again; their separate duties had kept both of them far too busy for visits lately.

Nevan was also slightly irritated because of the ash; he had chosen to wear one of his distinctive ivory suit coats today, and was forced to cover it up with a cloak to keep the ash off, or else let the garment get dirty and have to buy a new one. He was tempted to remove the cloak anyway, if only to spite the ash.

Spiting the ash? he thought to himself with a rueful shake of his head. All this tension must really be getting to me if I'm spouting off nonsense like that, even if it is only to myself.

And so he dallied in his place on the bridge, staring out at the city, so immersed in his thoughts that he had no idea he was no longer alone.

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 29 Jun 2009

Eriaan was definitely not a morning person. She rarely slept well, having to deal with the constant threat of her fellow crew members getting a little too frisky. Not to mention the fact that her dreams were riddled with horrible memories from experiences in her past; even the dreams of her daughter were painful. Generally, Eriaan could squeeze in at least four hours of sleep before waking up abruptly in the dim, gray light of the morning.

She had left the safe house early this morning, not wanting to get assigned the task of preparing breakfast for the crew, which believe it or not, was often a task that she was assigned. Just because she was a woman did not mean that she enjoyed, or even could cook. Whether or not she had a purpose to be out this early, Eriaan did her best to slip out of the dank safe house before anyone else in the crew was awake. This morning she actually had a reason to be out this early, though.

As a spy, Eriaan had spent years building up relationships with contacts, even creating a semblance of trust with a few of them. These people were the closest things that Eriaan had to friends, but she knew that for the right price they would sell her out, just as she would them. One of her contacts, an old woman by the name of Mari, had left a message for Eriaan at her safe house the previous night. Apparently she had come across some information that she thought would be useful to Eriaan. So, knowing that Mari preferred to meet in the mornings, Eriaan had set out with a purpose.

She wore a simple dress, fitting to her pretend station as a minor noblewoman; she had to keep up her persona as a noblewoman almost anytime that she was out and about Luthadel. What a disaster it would be if someone she knew recognized her while she was in her Skaa clothes. It was a dull blue in color, but it looked beautiful on her nonetheless. Her brown hair was pulled back into a loose bun, and she wore a shawl over her shoulders, to keep the ash and cold away. Mari had requested to meet with Eriaan atop the Old Wall, a short distance away from the bridge. As Eriaan climbed the stairs to reach the top of the Old Wall, she lifted her dress just enough so that it wouldn't brush the ash covered stairs.

Eriaan reached inside herself, checking to make sure that she had enough tin in reserve to last her for the next few hours. Satisfied that it would last her until she returned to the safe house, Eriaan burned the metal slowly, not wanting to blind herself in the morning light. She paused for a moment after hearing the sound of boots scuffing the stone ahead of her on the bridge. There was a man standing alone on the bridge. A nobleman by the look of his bright ivory coat. His back was turned to her, so Eriaan couldn't identify the man.

It was odd for a nobleman to be out here by himself, so exposed, especially after the attacks on the nobility just a short time ago. Eriaan knew that there were still countless rumors flying around at the balls talking about who would be the next target for the Skaa rebels. Perhaps this nobleman thought himself immune to what was going on, or maybe he was actually looking for something to happen. Either way, Eriaan was curious. And so she walked onto the bridge closer to the man. When he didn't turn at her approach, Eriaan coughed loud enough for the man to hear, hoping he would take notice.

Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 29 Jun 2009

Nevan reacted instinctively to the unexpected sound of someone behind him, shifting his grip on his dark, hardwood dueling cane as he turned to face the source of the noise. Even as he prepared to move to defend himself he readied his Pewter, cautious as ever about using the metal out in the open.

But it was only a young Lady, perhaps a couple years younger than he by her face, and of a minor station. What on earth was she doing out and about by herself? She had been walking - there was no sign of a carriage or horse - and she had no attendants with her. Very odd indeed. Of course, he was walking by himself as well, but it just seemed stranger for a Noblewoman to be doing so. Still, he didn't want to frighten the girl, and she didn't seem to be a threat, so he relaxed his grip on his cane. His Pewter, though, he kept ready just in case.

"Oh, good morning," he greeted the Lady with a polite nod. "Lady.... Yastrel, right?" Yes, he thought that was her name. His mother was quite insistent that he know as many of the Luthadel nobles by sight as humanly possible. "I apologize if I startled you."

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 01 Jul 2009

Eriaan's lips twitched into a quick smile when the man, who turned out to be Lord Nevan Venture, reacted to her cough. It was a natural reaction, of course, but she would have bet a bag full of boxings that his mind had jumped to the attacks on nobility by Skaa for at least a brief moment. Nearly every noble that she'd come in contact with recently had either directly or indirectly made mention of them, or alluded to the fact that their family was beefing up security.

"Oh, good morning," Lord Venture said adding a nod. Eriaan returned the greeting with her own polite nod and was somewhat shocked when Lord Venture greeted her by name. "Lady.... Yastrel, right? I apologize if I startled you." Eriaan couldn't recall ever being introduced to Nevan before, but the fact that he knew her name told her that he was, or at least his family was, still a huge player in the political scene in Luthadel. Eriaan was pretending to be a minor noble, very few people knew her by name. She couldn't deny that it was a little gratifying that Venture addressed her by name.

She wanted to laugh a little at his apology; if either of them should have apologized for startling the other, Eriaan should have been the one doing so. After all, she was the one that had come up behind Venture without his knowing. "Your apology in unnecessary, Lord Venture. In fact, I feel I should apologize to you for sneaking up on you."

Eriaan closed the gap between herself and Venture, and turned to look out at the city as Venture had been doing before she had arrived. There was a peacefulness to this morning. Though nearly everything in the city was the same dull brown or gray, she still thought that Luthadel was beautiful. Perhaps she only felt this way because life outside of Luthadel was simply too boring for her, but regardless, she thoroughly enjoyed life here during the few moments that she could push the constant pain of her heartbreak to the side. "It's a beautiful morning, don't you think, Lord Venture?" she asked, deciding to keep their conversation on a safe topic, that being the weather.

Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 02 Jul 2009

Nevan shrugged, resisting the urge to lean up against the bridge railing. The ash was bad enough falling from the sky; he didn't need to totally destroy his coat by grinding the stuff into the fabric as well. "It's nice enough," he replied simply, gazing out across the city. "I could do without the ash, but I'm just glad to be outside for a time."

He paused, glancing over at the Lady next to him. He didn't know much about Lady Yastrel save her name; despite his mother's tutelage, he just was more interested in books and administration than he was about who was where when. Particularly when the person in question was of a minor enough House to not be seriously offended if he didn't know exactly whose manor she had been to when.

"And you?" he asked. "A young Lady such as yourself must find this a particularly fine morning if you're willing to brave the streets alone." Whether he believed the rumors or not didn't matter; it was still odd to see a young, low-ranking noblewoman out and about completely unattended, particularly considering the amount of people who did take the stories to heart. Either she could take care of herself, or there was someone hidden nearby to take care of her. Either way, he would have to be cautious.

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 02 Jul 2009

"It's nice enough, I could do without the ash, but I'm just glad to be outside for a time." he replied. Eriaan nodded in agreement. It certainly was nice to be outside, and alone, for a little while. Oddly enough, being outside, sometimes out in the crowded streets or in the markets, was the only time that Eriaan really ever had to herself. In the safe house, there were always other people there and privacy was unheard of. When she took on the idenity of Alea, she was more often than not trying to find someone, so being alone then was also rare. So up until she started talking with Venture, she had been having that precious alone time that she always sought.

"And you? A young Lady such as yourself must find this a particularly fine morning if you're willing to brave the streets alone." he observed. Eriaan couldn't help but grin. For who she professed to be, it was extremely odd that she was here seemingly all by herself. No noble, unless perhaps they were mistborn or desperate to be alone, came out into Luthadel alone. But Eriaan was far from what Alea supposedly was. She had grown up on the streets, defending herself, finding her own way. She was comfortable out here alone. Of course she was wary and constantly alert, but this was her natural environment; she thrived here. So it didn't surprise her at all when Venture made the observation that she was here by herself.

"Who says that I'm alone, m'lord?" she asked with a small smile on her lips. "Coming here alone would be stupid. The filthy Skaa are constantly on watch for any noble out and about Luthadel unprotected. They think that because they've successfully assassinated two nobles they can take us all." Eriaan paused and glanced over her shoulder to the direction from whence she had come, "Help is never far away," she said before turning back to look at Lord Venture, "But I do like to at least have the illusion of being alone. Sometimes that's all that I can manage, what with servants and parents constantly 'looking out for my well being'." She reached up and tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "You aren't alone this morning, are you?"

Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 02 Jul 2009

Nevan listened to Lady Yastrel's explanation. So she had someone tailing her for safety, did she? She had better hope that anyone who decided to attack her would be slow enough for help to arrive. That is, if she really couldn't take care of herself. His own experience hiding his abilities as a Misting were proof enough that people rarely let slip just how much they could take care of themselves, and he had the advantage of being a male with a considerable reputation as a duelist. A Lady would have to be much more careful. Her question as to whether or not he was alone, of course, made him grin mischievously.

"Well, of course I'm not," he answered quite simply. "You're standing right next to me."

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 04 Jul 2009

Venture's response, and his boyish grin, to Eriaan's question caught her off guard. She hadn't expected a Lord with such a high reputation to have a sense of humor and actually show it. A confused smile crossed Eriaan's lips, and she couldn't help but allow herself to laugh. A polite and dainty laugh, of course.

She looked at Venture, studying him. Perhaps there was more to this man than met the eye. But he was like all nobles in one point: he considered Skaa less than animals. They were disposable tools, and loosing one wasn't anything to cry about.

"I stand corrected," she smiled again, "And why, if you don't mind me asking, are you here this morning? Surely you couldn't have known that you would be graced with my presence."

Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 05 Jul 2009

"Oh, of course not," Nevan replied, still in his usual straightforward manner. "You, my Lady, are somewhat of a pleasant surprise." He winked, and turned his gaze back out over the city, letting the comment hang in the air.

"I actually came out here just to get a breath of fresh air. Such as it is," he added as he brushed a bit of ash off his ivory coat in a somewhat irritated matter. Something told him she might want a bit more of an answer than that out of him, but he said nothing more about it. Part of his silence on the subject was born out of a reluctance to speak gained from what little he had absorbed of his family's training, but mostly he just didn't feel like talking about it.

"And you, my Lady?" he asked, returning to his more conversational tone. "Surely a young noblewoman such as yourself wouldn't take to the streets just to get a good lungful of ash."

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 05 Jul 2009

Again, Eriaan was confused. Was Lord Venture always this prone to flattery? Perhaps evening flirting? Whatever the case, this time, she didn't allow her confusion to show on her face, she just blushed and tittered as any flattered noble lady would do. She took to studying Venture's face again as he gave some lame answer as to why he was out and about this morning. Eriaan couldn't deny that Venture was an attractive man. And while Eriaan considered herself tall for a Skaa, Lord Venture stood nearly a foot taller than she. She could only imagine that dancing with him would make her arms extremely tired from all the reaching upwards she would have to do. But then again, from what she'd seen at previous balls, Lord Venture was one of the best dancers on the floor. Definitely a surprising trait of his. He moved with such grace and poise, it almost seemed unnatural.

"The lungful of ash is an added bonus to my walk," she said, returning the playful banter, "But aside from some good exercise, my purpose this morning would probably seem quite boring to you, I'm afraid," she paused briefly, forming her next words carefully, "I'm out to pick up some lovely pastries from an old Skaa woman that I'm fond of." Eriaan smiled calmly, "The poor old woman's nearly blind now, but she served my family when I was younger and taught me how to bake. And call me sentimental, but I think I'll visit her once a week until she finally dies."

Part of what Eriaan had said was true. She was semi-fond of the old, blind bat that she was visiting this morning, and more than likely, Eriaan would be visiting her once, if not more, a week till she died. Good information is hard to come by, and when you find someone that you can trust, even a small amount, you hold onto them like there's no tomorrow.

Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 05 Jul 2009

Nevan blinked. "Pastries?" he asked rather bluntly, his obvious surprise showing through his usual manners. "I have to admit, I wasn't expecting that." A young Lady out visiting a nearly blind skaa woman for some pastries? The idea definitely sounded odd to Nevan, and undoubtedly some of his family would immediately jump to conclusions.

Then again, Nevan had developed a certain attachment to some of the servants - mainly the Terrismen and Renault, his father's aide - who, since their high rank (for servants) allowed them to work directly with the Ventures themselves on a regular basis, had become valued for their work and their advice. For a low-ranking House such as Yastrel, who would not be able to afford such rich servants as Venture, perhaps something similar had happened with a skaa woman in this case. It was still a little odd, though. He had barely paused to notice which skaa was which at Keep Venture. He'd just have to accept her answer now; maybe he'd figure it out later.

"If she was baking for a noble House," Nevan continued after a moment's pause, "she must be very good indeed. Perhaps you'll give me the pleasure of sharing some time," he added with a wink. He didn't actually expect her to do any such thing, of course - though it would be just his luck if she showed up at the next ball with a basketful of the things - but she would likely forget all about it before long anyways, so it didn't really matter.

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 05 Jul 2009

There was that wink again. Perhaps Lord Venture had something in his eye? "She's one of the best in Luthadel, and we'll have to see about sharing. I'm quite protective of the pastries, and I don't give them away to just anyone," she said. It was definitely time to change the subject; she was beginning to feel a little foolish. If she continued speaking of pastries, Lord Venture would probably start to think her slightly 'off', and Eriaan didn't need him spreading rumors about her amongst the nobility, ruining the small reputation that she had.

There was a pause in the conversation. Eriaan glanced at Venture, then down at the front of her gown. She brushed a few flakes of ash off before they could settle into the fibers of the gown. After clearing her throat quietly, Eriaan scrounged around in her brain for another thing to discuss with Venture; the pause in the conversation was now turning into an awkward silence, and those were never fun.

"I must admit, Lord Venture, from all the things I've heard about you, and from things I've surmised by observation," she paused, looking at him again, "You are not what I expected at all." And he truly wasn't. Though it was a pleasant surprise thus far. "What I mean to say is, you're not nearly as stuffy and stuck up as everyone makes you out to be. In fact, your sense of humor is refreshing," Eriaan said, completely truthful. People had been right about his direct manner, but they had neglected to mention that Venture wasn't the typical nobleman. Venture was the first that Eriaan had spoken with that allowed this much of his true personality to shine through. Most stayed hidden under their protocol and manners.

Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 05 Jul 2009

Nevan grinned, allowing himself a bit of a chuckle at Lady Yastrel's observation. "Well, now, that's just high society for you. The women have it in their heads that they have to act like puffballs - no offense intended - and so everyone assumes their brains are made of fluff as well. And when a man behaves with the 'dignity and manners' befitting his place as heir, people only see a stuffy old man in the body of a nineteen-year-old.

"We act as we're suspected to," he continued with a shrug, "and so everyone sees what they expect to see. But! Sometimes - once in a very great while - someone comes along who surprises you. Times like... well, like this morning, for example."

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 05 Jul 2009

Eriaan smiled at Venture, "Well, it's been a lovely surprise meeting the true you, and not the stuffy-old-man you." And she half meant it. It was nice to meet a noble every now and then that didn't fit the mold. Though, Eriaan had yet to meet a noble that broke the mold, in that they sympathized with the Skaa, perhaps even supported them in the Rebellion. From what Eriaan knew of his family, Venture was definitely not the type to break the mold that much.

"I wonder, though, Lord Venture, is this the way you act towards a member not of your House when your mother is around? Somehow I suspect the answer is no." She allowed herself to laugh a little. Venture's mother was known for being very proper, and seeing as he had known Eriaan's 'name', she had a feeling that he had been taught that it was important to know as many people as possible by name.

"My own mother, I'm sure, would most likely be appalled by the fact that I'm here speaking with you, seemingly all by myself. Nochaperon, oh the horror!" She said in a mocking fashion.

Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 06 Jul 2009

Well. She claimed to be surprised by Nevan's behavior, but this Lady Yastrel certainly wasn't anything like what he'd expected, either. She was bold, outspoken, and seemed a little rough around the edges compared to the flawless courtly manners of the higher-ranked noblewomen. Then again, he probably looked a little "rough" to her, speaking so frankly to someone he barely knew. But well, that was just the way he was. People would just have to get used to his behavior when he didn't feel like putting on courtly manners.

In response to her last comment, however, Nevan gave a mock sigh and shook his head. "Now, there you go again. How could you possibly be talking to me alone? The very fact that you're here talking to me means that you're not alone. Unless you really are alone, of course, which would mean that I'm actually not here at all and you've just been standing here talking to empty space all this time. That's probably not very good for your health, you know," he remarked, eying her suspiciously.

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 06 Jul 2009

Eriaan smirked, "Perhaps I am delusional, Lord Venture. It would make for interesting gossip at the next ball, now wouldn't it?" she laughed. Eriaan glanced towards the end of the bridge, hoping that her contact was willing to wait for a short time longer. She was having a rare moment of fun speaking with Lord Venture, but she needed to reminder herself that this man was exactly the same as all those who had made her life miserable, and cause her heart to break.

She felt a stab of pain when the memory of her daughter resurfaced, as it often did whenever Eriaan felt like she could finally forget about it. Eriaan turned away from Venture for a moment so that he wouldn't be able to see the pain in her face. She felt guilty for trying to push aside her daughter's memory for a few moments of happiness.

Eriaan sniffed quietly, after a moment, calm and collected once more. She turned back to face Lord Venture again, "So will you be attending the Casuana Ball? I hear it will be an event to remember."

Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 06 Jul 2009

Nevan was just about to ask if Lady Yastrel was all right, but before he could speak, she turned back to him and asked about the Casuana ball. If there had been anything wrong in the first place, she must not want to talk about it.

"Oh, of course I am," he replied in answer to her question as to whether or not he would be attending. "It'd likely cause a scandal if I didn't go, you know," he observed bemusedly. "Why, I even have a date already." At least, he was very sure he did - he had left before the reply to his invitation had come - but he very highly doubted the answer would be no in this case.

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 07 Jul 2009

"A date? So which lucky lady will you be escorting?" she asked, truly interested. Often, if someone was escorting, or being escorted, it meant that something political was in the works. No marriage was ever simply based on love; if there wasn't an added bonus in the marriage, like a new ally or contract, then the marriage wouldn't happen. And Nevan Venture was a highly eligible bachelor, so who ever he was taking to a Ball was probably of interest to his entire family.

"It's a shame that you won't be free for a dance, from what I've seen, you're quite light on your feet," she smiled. Actually, she considered Venture to be one of the better dancers that attended the Balls.

Nevan Venture's Photo Nevan Venture 07 Jul 2009

"Ah," Nevan sighed melodramatically before a grin interrupted his acting, "this is true. Perhaps another time, then.

"But as for my date.... well, now. Who indeed?" Nevan asked with a mischievous grin, as though pondering whether or not to say anything more. "Should I tell you? Or should I perhaps let it all be revealed in due course?"

Eriaan's Photo Eriaan 09 Jul 2009

Eriaan grinned at Venture's attempt to avoid answering her question. "Well, you could try to be mysterious about it, but I could very easily just go to a court gossip and find out this afternoon just as easily as I could find out from you," she grinned, "So the choice is yours."

She paused for a moment, "Though, I'm sure I could just try guessing who you're escorting."