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

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

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Member Since 03 Apr 2018
Offline Last Active Jan 10 2019 11:50 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Lara - Skaa Smoker

11 July 2018 - 01:10 AM

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Lara knew that she should be grateful for what she had. It was drilled into her as far as she remembered. Lara had a house to live in, however small. Her mother’s job didn’t pose a major risk of death or exhaustion. Food, even if there was never quite enough of it for optimal health, wasn’t too much of a problem. Compared to the vast majority of her skaa neighbors, she lived a good life.

Still, she found her bread rather bland. Her own clothes were so plain. The shop she lived in was small, dingy, and smelled like sawdust.

All her childhood, Lara wondered whether she was meant to be born noble. She hated the streets and the inevitable filth that would cover everyone like smudges of her precious ink. She hated how hard she and her family had to work to stay out of trouble. She would sigh as she worked on her blouse or vest, perhaps to be sold to a noble, or maybe to a thieving crew.

Mabel, Lara’s mother, ran the family shop. On the surface, they were mere craftswomen, talented but otherwise mundane. What the Ministry didn’t know (or so Lara hoped) was that their shop also functioned as a hideout for rebels, thieves, and various assorted skaa who could scrape up the money needed to rent it. Occasionally, Lara even met people with the strange powers that only nobles were supposed to have. Despite her constant pestering for stories and information, she only learned the basics of how Allomancy worked.

One day, Lara was out on an errand. She was just returning home when she noticed some people gathered outside her window and decided to investigate. She almost screamed, but she couldn’t.

Surely the scene must have been an illusion. A trick of the light. Insanity. Lara had seen many gory scenes of skaa being killed, tortured, and raped, and she was obviously careful about staying in line and surviving. Applying the concept of “death and torture” to two of the very people she knew and loved, however, was a whole new realm of emotion, one she simply couldn’t take.

There were two Inquisitors standing inside Lara’s dining room. Her mother was moaning in pain as she was being beaten. Her sister, Mira, was yelping like a frightened dog and resisting as much as she could. Lara herself was holding her breath, heart pounding in her ears, eyes glued to the room through the narrow vantage point she had at that distance.

Lara’s instincts told her to run toward her home and save her family, but the rational part of her told her that of course it wouldn’t work, I’ll die along with them, the Inquisitors will catch me. So thus Lara stood in the center of the road, awkwardly still. Suddenly, the beatings stopped. One of the inquisitors pulled out a small object that was hard to discern from her distance. It glinted with the red daylight streaming into the room. As Mira was restrained, it looked like she was being forced to drink something.

Lara couldn’t hear what the Inquisitor said next, and then there was a pause. The Inquisitors then went for what Lara was sure were the killing blows. She turned and blindly ran away through the streets, for she couldn’t take it anymore.

Just when she was starting to gain enough lucidity to realize that running like that would cause suspicion, she bumped into a stranger. A nobleman, and very evidently so. Lara cringed in anticipation of the inevitable beating. A silky baritone was what came instead.

“Oh, excuse me. Are you all right? You’re crying.”

Lara stared at this man in confusion. She obviously couldn’t admit that her mother had just been killed, since the Inquisitors may very well learn that information and hunt her down as well.

“Hey, you look a lot like someone I know,” said the stranger. Why isn’t he making my day worse yet? Lara thought.

“I just lost someone,” Lara mumbled impulsively, as though sharing the news would help the situation, and as if the stranger would care.

“I’m sorry,” said the nobleman. “I did, too. I think I’m on your side.” He said this in a hushed whisper, while making sure that no one important - seeming was nearby.

He and Lara were walking. In the same soft tone, he said, ducking into an alleyway: “You probably have something more important to do right now, but you’re always welcome in here.” He pointed to an obscure door in said alley. “Just say that I showed you this place. My name’s Lane, by the way. You have a name?”

She stared at Lane for a few seconds, wondering whether the concern on his face was genuine, before whispering, “Lara”.

Lane then went away to continue whatever it was that he was doing, leaving Lara alone, confused, and experiencing the full force of her loss for the first time. She had nowhere to go now. She wondered whether the door in the alley was a trap, but after thinking and moping for a while, she figured that she was desperate enough to risk entering. The people who would actually care if something happened to her were, after all, dead.

The wooden door opened to a room with a table full of arguing skaa. It took about a minute for one of them to notice the confused, tear-swollen girl pressed to the door closed behind her. The room fell silent as Lara apprehensively approached them.

“What was his name? Lane, I think? He told me… He showed me this door, and told me to tell you that I’m welcome in - Who are you, anyway?”

“First tell us - who are you?” said a shortish, stocky man with a mustache. “And what can you offer us?” There actually wasn’t any antagonism in his voice, just curiosity.

Lara shrugged and fought off a fresh gathering of tears as she remembered how adrift she was now. After briefly introducing herself, she was led into another room by two of the men. “Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you,” they said, although saying that was unnecessary, since Lara felt as though she had nothing to lose.

One of the men, who looked not much older than her sixteen years at the time, fed her a vial of metals, and with the help of the other man burning tin, it was determined that Lara was a Smoker.

The people then explained to Lara where she was. This was a rebellion cell, working to overthrow the Lord Ruler. They kept asking, Are you sure you want to do this? You could get yourself in danger. You can leave us if you want, if you keep our existence a secret. Lara decided to stay.

She joined them not only because she didn’t have anywhere else to go, but because this mission gave her a chance to make herself a better, more comfortable life. Lara stumbled upon this new purpose to the world, this chance to possibly do something important. Clouded by the death of her family, even the high risk of danger (which Lara normally shied away from) seemed negligible compared to what the had just gone through.

Lara’s new work started with simple errands. The jobs were tedious if required at all, but she found them exciting nonetheless. She was working for the rebellion, after all. Lara may have lost everything, but at least there was an opportunity for revenge.

Once Lara demonstrated that she could sew, the crew members gave her a new task: to make appropriate clothing whenever a disguise was needed. She also proved to have a keen mind for managing money and logistics. This, combined with occasionally Smoking other crewmembers, became her routine.

Lara loved the thrill of sneaking alongside her crewmates on their nightly missions. She was delighted whenever she was allowed to take part in major decisions and planning, and of course, there was no downtime more relaxing than her weaving loom and sewing equipment. One thing that she came to detest, though, was combat training. It didn’t take much observation to see that Lara had neither the strength, coordination, nor will to fight. The crewleader still insisted that she learn some rudimentary self-defense, and those workouts quickly became the least enjoyable part of her day.

Her hardest task of all was adapting to this strange new family. Often, Lara missed her old life so terribly that she was furious at the world for throwing her into this fate. Even when she didn’t, she had a deep, lingering feeling that she didn’t have enough closeness in her life. The crew was kind, wonderfully kind. They did everything they could to bring Lara into their group and let her truly belong. Bit by bit, she felt her heart mend and let her friends deeper into her life. Still, they felt like just that - friends. Not quite family.

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Lara’s needle expertly dove in and out of the fabric, the deeply familiar motion somehow both soothing her and making her long for home.

No, Lara reminded herself. This is home now. Better get used to it soon. If I ever will.

She forced herself to push these thoughts away and focus on the peaceful monotone of the uniform she was working on. She settled into a rhythm as she stitched.

“Lara?” The door to her room creaked open as Lane stepped inside. “I’d like to talk for a bit. I think.” His slight smile seemed forced, as if he was nervous about something.

Lara turned around in her chair. “Come in,” she said.

“I’m sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, and this may not be the right time to ask.” Lane started.

“Go ahead.” Lara had a feeling she knew where this conversation was going to turn.

“What was your mother’s name?”

I knew it. Mother. Lord Ruler, how I miss her. Name. What was her name. “Mabel,” Lara croaked out. Now Lane would probably try to comfort her, tell her it’s all right, except it wasn’t.

As she looked up, though, Lane’s eyes actually widened. His next question was spoken more softly.

“Do you know who your father was?”

“My mother was married, briefly. Her husband died soon after my sister was born. I don’t remember anything about him.”

Lane sighed. “You see, Mabel - I knew her. I miss her too.” Lara raised her eyebrows. Lane then started rambling, barely even pausing for breath.

“We were both around twenty when we met. You see, my brother thought I was too softhearted for my own good, and he dared me to sleep with a skaa without someone making me. I ran into Mabel’s shop, saw her, she was beautiful - Lord Ruler, she was beautiful - I rented her room for the night. I think my brother assumed I was with a whore. I talked to Mabel all evening and kind of felt bad for what I was about to do, because she was such a sweet girl and so interesting to talk to. When I asked to sleep with her, though, she actually said yes, even though she didn’t have much of a choice, as I could have raped her or threatened her and I probably wouldn’t have, but Mabel couldn’t know that. So we… had an affair. I was supposed to kill her afterwards. I didn’t kill her. I visited her again, occasionally. But one time, I came, and she opened the door, and shook her head and closed it, and I understood that this wouldn’t be happening anymore. I think she was pregnant, or she was worried that we would get caught, or both.

“You look so much like her, Lara. I guess we can never really know who your father technically is, but I’ve always wanted a child.”

Lara froze, blushing slightly. “I think it would be nice to have a father,” she whispered.

Then she was unsure. Lane was still almost a stranger. He’d shown her compassion without making her uncomfortable. Lara liked this gentle nobleman who had taken her in and made her laugh amid her darkest times. It was, however, an odd, awkward feeling to take a near-stranger and cautiously try on the label of “father”.

“I think it’ll take a ton of getting used to,” she slowly said. “I mean, you’ve been awfully kind to me and I’ll never thank you enough. I just…”

“It’s okay, Lara. You’ve recently gone through a lot - I don’t want to be too forceful with this thing. Please, just think about it.”

After an awkward hug, Lane crept out of the room, leaving Lara alone with her needle and her spinning head.