Completed Knives in the Dark

Lyssia D'avore

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Thunder rolled over Dornoch, great booming blasts that rattled windows in their sills. Spring brought with it many things in the great city - the return to outdoor activities, the warmth blowing in off the Savannah and, with that warmth, the start of the monsoons. Those storms rolled in off the plains, great towering pilars of clouds wide at the base and at the crest, and lightning flickered through the column and stabbed into the rain-soaked grasslands below. Sometimes, ther storms were terrifying in their own right.

As was appropriate for a nation born of war.

Lyssia did not pay attention to the thunder, or even register that there was weather moving in. All of her thoughts went back to the little place she had bought. Or rather more importantly, to what was inside. She had not dared remove it from the safe since she had collected it with the assistance of thieves - don't think on it don't think on it don't think on it - from the Ki'onte residence in the inner city. The storm over that excursion had taken weeks to die down, and although they never caught the culprits involved in the break-in, the Guard and the Army were both on high alert. Adora had made a public statement that state secrets had been stolen, and that it posed a threat to the city itself.

But Lyssia knew otherwise. Lyssia knew what it was she had taken, and although the specifics of it were somewhat murky, the general thrust was clear enough. Adora had been instrumental in the removal of her family. The exact why of it was as clear as mud, but she was beginning to have her suspicions. Ki'onte was after the Dynast herself, for some reason. There were threads there that the young Sidhe could not tease apart yet, threads woven in with Vel Anir - everyone's favorite boogeyman - and with some other outside source that she did not know.

She made her way back towards the inner city, lost in thought and on autopilot. She did not know what to do with the information she had, did not know who she could trust. Or rather, she knew of only one person she could trust...but she did not know if it would be kind of her to bring him into the fold. Her thoughts and feelings towards that particular individual had not clarified themselves any, either; it had been months since the rather dark moment of her life when she had hit the bottom of her world, and since then she had visited multiple times. She did her own things, and had to hanbdle her own affairs - she had regained a measure of her independence, even if her circumstances seemed little better.

The Captain, though, remained an enigma she could not understand. Trust, but not understand - not the way he regarded her, nor her own tendency towards being exceptionally harsh and fickle at times with him. Honestly she did not know why he put up with it.

But this is dangerous, she thought to herself. Thunder cracked, but she ignored it. Dying is a thing he lives with every day - he is in the army, after all - but there are things worse than dying. She was keenly aware of this herself; her life for the last two years was evidence of the alternatives being even less desirable. At best, he might just find a knife in the dark waiting for him one night. At worst?

Having his whole life stripped from him. Having his name defamed. Worse. Nobility tended to keep out of the affairs of the common woman or man, so long as they did not stick their noses where they were not wanted too often. The army, though, was ever a tool for the elites to use. A tool that turned in the hand was no tool at all.

Lyssia blinked as something cold, wet, and hard struck her, looking up. Towering clouds obscured the sun here, there, and then finally completely. Blue-white light flashed, lightning lancing to ground somewhere out of the city. Fast, cold drops of ran made big wet spots on the paving stones, creating spots of dark blue on the wool dress she wore. The storm held little interest for her, though; she could feel it in her bones, an extension of self that would be hard to describe to another who was not of her lineage.

I need help. She set her jaw in that stubborn way of hers, and resolved to get the help she needed. There was only one she trusted implicitly - for reasons she did not really understand - and whether it was dangerous for him or not, she had no one else to turn to.

So it was that she ended up on the doorstep of the Captain of the Pegasi, with one of the infamous spring cloudburst dumping torrential rain so hard that the drops stung, one hand raised to knock on the door...and hesitating as water streamed down her back, between her breasts, across her face and into her eyes so that she had to blink constantly to keep the floor at bay.

Should I? Is this...is this right? That smug look on the Bursar's face, the knowing look of someone who is having their way with little obstacle to it. Despite the fact that she had cast her out and destroyed her family...Lyssia knew she could not stand by while that vile woman tried to usurp the Dynast and replace her, not especially when outside actors could be involved.

She knocked on the door as thunder pounded the city and rain flooded her gutters.
 
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Elijah

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"I'm sorry girl but it's for your own good," Elijah grimaced as he closed the upper partition of the stables and bolted it firmly the shut. The winds were already picking up and driving the first droplets of rain against him like a blunted arrow. He could hear his horse whinny from behind the thick timber and paw at the ground but she would settle soon enough; far safer for her in there than it was flying amongst the clouds in this weather. It was just his luck he had the suicidal pegasus who enjoyed this kind of weather. The storm howled and beat its fists against those still unlucky enough to be outside but the soldiers bore it with stony faces. Equipment was carried inside or lashed down securely, flood defences were being hurled in and set up around the main barracks where most tended to gather during these storms.

It was an excuse to drink together.

When he had been a young cadet he had enjoyed the Monsoon days the most. No training, no chores. The older soldiers had gathered them round the fire and fed them beer until they had passed out where they could find a bit of room. It was a warm and happy memory and one he shunned. Captains brought the mood down even on days like this and he didn't want to deprive the youngsters of those treasured times.

His cottage was cold when he finally wrestled the door shut. Dripping water over the flagstones he squelched his way over to the fire and with fumbling fingers built it up. Warm light spilled out into the open plan room that made up his living and eating area all in one causing Eli to sigh in relief. With the room heating up he begun to peel off his layers which were soaked through. Coat, jerkin and vest all went into the sodden pile topped off with his shirt. He was just preparing to peel off his breeches when the thunder boomed and almost eclipsed the knock.

Who in the Goddesses name was out in this?

Grabbing up a towel to dry his dripping hair he hurried back to the door and creaked it open.

"Lyssia?" Elijah stared, stunned, at the figure on his doorstep as lightning lit up the world behind her. He grimaced and stood aside, hand tightening on the handle to keep the door from being ripped from his grasp. "Come in, quickly."
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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The wind rose, but she bore it until the door opened. The lightning was a near constant things - it was going to be one of those storms - and she was just beginning to think she should go seek shelter when the door opened. She did not have to be told twice to come in; she brushed on by quickly to get out of that pelting, cold rain, and left a trail of water behind her as she did.

She was still filled with misgivings about what it was she was doing, and knew she could simply not speak on the subject, and face it herself. Only...the task was insurmountable on her own, and her own word held no weight in the courts. She would need others to assist her, and of all the people in this city she felt - for some reason - that Elijah would be the only one to offer her aid.

Even so, she was restless right from the start, ignoring his questions and his looks. The room was familiar enough to her, but she kept close to the door, pacing quickly, to and fro. Mulling over her options and casting the occasional sharp-eyed glance to the soldier, eyes as unreadable as ever. She stopped mid-stride, and stared at the captain. Much larger than she was, she had to look up to see his eyes. He, too, was wet and must have just come in, but she was still running water and leaving a puddle beneath her.

"I...," she began, and then cast a look round the room. She did not expect to see anyone else here, but it paid to be careful. "..."

A particularly large crack of thunder made her jump as it rattled everything in the house. Gathering herself, taking hold of her jittery nerves - its a goddamned thunderstorm, not a fire elemental, she reminded herself ruefully - she looked back to the soldier once more. "I...need your help," she said. But I do not know if I should be doing this, or...or...
 
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Elijah

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"Hello to you too," he chuckled under his breath as she breezed past him like she owned the place. Lyssia liked to remind him often she was no longer a lady - especially if he slipped up and addressed her as such - but she seemed to have forgotten to tell herself that. The way she talked or how she commanded a room as soon as she entered was an ability possessed only by the rich. Elijah wrestled the door shut again before following her.

Lyssia pacing and lost in her own thoughts was something he had grown used to. He had also learnt it was easiest not to speak when she did so or suffer the accusation he had made her lose her trail of thought, or worse, receive one of those looks. So instead he padded back to the fire where he had been undressing and hung up the sodden clothes over the flames.

"I suspected that would be the only reason you would brave a storm like this," his tone implied how insane he thought her for taking the risk. "Would you like to take your cloak off at least and have tea or are you intending on asking and throwing yourself outside if I say no?"
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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She blinked, and the level of her discomfort was made evident by her not seizing on the comment about throwing herself outside. At least she acknowledged the comment of her cloak, which she unfastened and wordlessly handed to the soldier. Her hand remained extended after he took that cloak from her, as though she had forgotten that she had raised it.

With a visible start and a shake of her head, she dropped it.

"I...did not know if I should come to you," she said without acknowledging anything he had said. The hesitance in her voice was quite audible. "Not that I distrust you, just.."

Just you have done more for me than anyone else has done since everything went sideways. Took me into your home, albeit briefly, endured my sharp tongue and stubborn ways. All to be repaid by putting you in great danger. But he was a soldier, wedded to the dance between life and death, even if this was now peace time. For now.

"I can trust you, right? I know I can but...I want to hear it. Hear you say it with your own lips and not just with my own mind," she continued.
 
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Elijah

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Elijah hid his smile at the presumptuous way she held out her cloak; did she even realise how much of her noble pedigree still clung to her? He wasn't a servant and most treated him as Captain of the Guard with respect. They most certainly wouldn't have expected for him to hang her cloak. Yet he did it with no arguments, hooking it over to the line alongside his other clothes to dry out over the fire. As he pegged it out he listened to her stumble through her words. No doubt she had tried to figure out what to say on her way over here so why was she struggling now?

His brows furrowed and slowly he turned as the lightning lit up the room once more almost a second after the thunder shook it. It wasn't what he had thought, or hoped, she had come to speak about.

"Of course you can trust me," he should have picked up on her movements more. Jumping at every sound or flash of light, the way she paced and tied her tongue in knots. "Lyssia, what's going on?"
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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She looked away for a long moment, a range of emotions flickering across her delicate features. He said she could trust him, but the question had never really needed to be asked. Was it more for her peace of mind? Or was it some odd way of asking for permission to bring him into something far greater - and far more terrible than he could imagine.

"Treason," she breathed out. "High treason, against the Dynast herself," she added after a moment. She turned to face him, and her face held a haunted look that was only made more intense by the flashes of lightning. The storm outside was just getting warmed up, having sprinted across the plains; wind-driven rain beat at the windows with enough force to rattle them in their casings.

She began pacing, giving every indication of just how highly strung she was right then. Back and forth, mindless of the dress clinging to her uncomfortably. Ignorant of pretty much everything, really.

"I knew there was more to what happened with my family," she muttered half to herself, half to him. "But...but I can't tease it all apart yet. But I know - I know - that there are dark deeds afoot." She paused, and looked up at him sharply with luminous eyes. "You believe me, don't you?" Please, I have not gone mad! "I have evidence....but I don't know who to take it to. Who to trust..."
 
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Elijah

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Elijah snatched up the sword which had been resting against the wall without seemingly realising it.

The Captain of the Pegasi was usually a calm individual, stoic in the face of emotion and calm when it came to the tides of battle. However, the word treason seemed to shake him from the usual reverie Lyssia had seen him in. The man who stood before her was not Elijah who had sat beside her bedside for days whilst she recovered, nor Eli who had made bumbling excuses to visit her at that little restaurant in town to ensure she was doing well. No, the person who stood before her was every inch a man who had climbed his way against the odds to the one of the most coveted positions in the army. A man who took his duty to protect seriously.

"Who, Lyssia?" he spoke so low it was barely audible over the crash of thunder that rumbled above them like an ominous drum beating the start of war. It looked as though he had every intention of marching out into that storm right then and there and separating the head from the beast with his own two hands.

Lightning slashed the room in half with its brilliant blinding white light.

"Who?"
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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A fleeting moment of sharp concern, that she had misjudged him despite his sincere words. Elijah stood ready like a naked blade, even though the room only held the two of them. She stared at this new man, the one that had been switched out for the uneasy, awkward soldier that she had known before.

The brilliant flash of light was enough to dislodge her. Rather than immediately answer, she resumed pacing, fretting with her skirts as though they were important, muttering under her breath. It was as close to panic as he would have ever seen her, although it was nothing compared to facing down the fire elemental.

"Many," she said distractedly. "I always knew Mother had nothing to do with this. I have not been idle," she continued, pacing back and forth. "I..." She cast a sidelong look at him, slowing in her stride, and then forged ahead. What was done, was done. "I hired some thieves to help me break into one of the Bursar's estates, looking for evidence. You recall the ordeal at the Ki'onte manor in the inner city a week ago?"

She did not wait for a reply. "No names. There was a wall panel that hid an old stone stairway that led below the basement of the estate. We found weapons - swords, bows, crossbows, spears - and armor, among the other supplies stored down there. A manifest, as well, with seals of Oban and Vel Anir, and some others I could not recognize." A pause. "I took the manifest and any other loose paper lying around, and then we escaped." Pointedly not going into details of how they had done that, considering the alarm that had been raised.

She stopped, and looked at Elijah with hard eyes. "You know what this means, yes?"
 
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Elijah

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War.

There was very little else it could mean. If Lyssia's evidence was correct, which was not something which he doubted he noted with surprise, then the Bursar's were not only playing the Game of Houses with other Bursars to created a more direct line to power. They were inviting external armies into the Dynasty to remove the Dynast and her family by force, no doubt with the ludicrous idea of implanting one of them as the new Dynast instead. Oban wouldn't allow that to happen; the kingdom despised women and believed those who possessed magic should be killed or chained. Vel'Anir might have favoured equality amongst the sexes but their prejudice for any race other than human would see a genocide amongst two-thirds of their population. And that was without knowing these other powers Lyssia did not recognise - what of their plans for Dornoch and the Dynasty?

"We need to tell the Dynast," Elijah said flatly, his fist still encircling the hilt of his blade so tightly the whites of his knuckles pressed against his skin. "I need to tell the other Captains," he reached for his shirt and seemed surprised to see it was still wet, though he began hurriedly pulling it on. "If there is going to be an invasion alongside a rebellion we'll need to gather in the armies out in the tribal lands."
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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"Wait," she hissed at him as he pulled clothes on. "Just wait. We cannot simply go to the Dynast without any evidence. Do you really think She will listen to a single word from the mouth of a supposed traitor's daughter?"

Admitting it hurt, but it needed to be said. She had no credibility with anyone beyond the man she stood with; all of what she'd had had been dashed against the cruel rocks of reality, broken like a cavalry charge against a spear wall. At best, she would be laughed down for the accusation for the ludicrousness on the face of it. And that was the absolute best she could hope for.

"They do not know it was me that broke into the Bursar's residence, and if I do not return to my place and gather the documents that I collected, they will just arrest me as a thief and trespasser. And then, later, when no one is looking..." A knife, in the dark, where she could not avoid it. Or poison. Or strangling. Anything and everything to bury the knowledge in her head. She looked up at him with eyes filled with fear at the prospect of being left to the tender mercies of the vipers that were coiling themselves round the Dynast.

"You are right in that we need to get the information out...but we need to give them the actual evidence and not just our words." And even then, she was not at all sure that it would matter. Elijah was in grave danger, now, as she had drawn him into the fold whether he wanted it or not.
 
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Elijah

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Elijah's eyes flickered between Lyssia and the door over her shoulder. Torn. He had never felt that way before. Duty had always come first, even more so after Samantha had died. Whether the evidence had been gotten illegally or was coming from a disgraced noble wouldn't have - shouldn't have - bothered him. All that mattered was protecting the Dynast and her family. If he was a good Captain, if he had still been that man, he would have pushed past the sidhe right then and headed out despite the storm to warn the other Captains. Unlike Lyssia Elijah was a respected member of the army. They would believe him.

But they would still punish her.

Reluctantly he released his death grip on his sword and threw it to the side like it had burnt him. He just didn't trust himself not to still go running out into the storm.

"What..." he blew out a breath and tried to regain some decorum. "What do you suggest we do?"
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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She let out a breath she hadn't been aware she was holding. Punishment would come, sooner or later, but in the service of the greater good - and in service to her own selfish desire for vengeance - it would be a worthy penalty to pay.

"We need to go back to my place and get the documents. I didn't want to bring them with me for the obvious reasons," she said. Obvious to her, though, had little to do with the weather and everything to do with the fact she could not defend herself if confronted by anyone who knew she had those documents. The thieves had said they would not let so much as a breath of this pass their lips but...well, they were thieves. One in particular a distrustful, lascivious type that she did not like even more for some reason. "They can deny the truth in those documents, but it will be much harder to do that if we show up unannounced with wild accusations about leaders within the nation."

Most would have a difficult time believing that such scheming could occur. Oh, that the bursars schemed among themselves was widely known, but the eternal bickering that went on round the throne itself was in-house, among rivals and not with foreigners. Ulike Elijah, she did not think even Adora would stoop to the level of bringing foreign swords-and-bows into the capitol, let alone onto Erdeniin soils...but receiving arms and other forms of assistance in exchange for favor further down the road? Why, that was certainly a possibility.

Thunder cracked outside.

She adjusted her still wet clothes as though it would do anything to make it more comfortable, and squared herself. "We can go now; the sooner, the better. The longer they are in my place, the greater the risk someone takes them. I can't believe she would know I had a hand in this but..."

But the elites in the city had networks of informants, and eyes and ears everywhere. That nothing had happened since that night did not mean anything; it was possible that Adora Ki'onte had already begun battening down the proverbial hatches, laying the groundwork to refute any accusations before they had a chance to do any damage.

She made for door without even asking if he would come along, taking it for granted that he would. Mannerisms of the nobility, indeed.
 
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Elijah

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"Lyssia," the crash of thunder punctuated his words followed quickly by the crack of lightning. The Captain moved past the smaller woman and put his hand firmly on the door to keep it shut. There was nothing more he wanted than to get this evidence, tell the Dynast and see those responsible ousted from their positions. Whilst he did nothing his Dynast was in trouble, his home was in trouble. Yet to run foolishly into the monsoon might result in both their deaths and then there would be nobody who could prevent that. His sword hand instinctively groped for the missing hilt at his hip almost in search of comfort - or maybe because he believed it might save him from the wrath she was no doubt about to release upon him.

"The storm is too bad. You'll be of no use to the Dynast if you get swept away in this," nor me, the little voice in the back of his mind whispered. "Nobody is going to be out tonight," he continued and planted himself betwixt her and the door like a stubborn oak tree. His eyes critically ran over her drenched appearance and instead he reached out to turn her towards the fire again.

"Come to the fire before you get a cold."
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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She stiffened visibly at his turning her round to go the other direction in a way that simply balking her desire would not have achieved. At least one positive effect, though; the fear that had her pacing and fretting went right out the window and found itself replaced by the familiar, albeit unwelcome fires of anger.

"A cold," she said in a dangerously flat tone of voice that lowered the temperature in the room at least a few degrees. "A little water and a little wind, and a little cold..."

She spun round suddenly and hit him in the leg, mostly because it would be undignified to try and hit him in the arm. It smarted - like punching an oak tree, and she had to hide the fact that it hurt behind a hail of words. She might hit like a girl - a particularly weak one at that - but she could cut stone with her tongue.

"Do you have any idea what all of this means?" It might have been a hiss, it might have been cold, slow, and deliberate as though speaking to a child. Might have been both, truth to tell. "If the Bursar has any inkling at all who it was that broke into her manor..." Despite herself, she swallowed. "These aren't soldiers, Captain, and they will not play straight. Or honorable." She paused for a moment, and then sneezed and fixed him with such a look. Just daring, daring him to say something.

She had to know. She had to know it was her, and failing actually knowing, she might just go and check anyway. "If they break into my home and steal the evidence, we have nothing. I don't think she knows...but Adora is not one to take chances. She will look at every option, and eventually..."

Her tone had gone from icy anger to a tremor of unease throughout the entire diatribe. She knew she was not a brave individual, knew that she could not stand in the face of dire threats...but she had no choice, this time. She had already pulled the loose thread, and if she didn't unravel it all, it would snarl her up and lead her to an early grave. Elijah would be a most unfortunate casualty caught in the crossfire, and even now, she still felt a twist in her soul for having brought him into it.
 
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As she whirled on him like a tiger caught by the tail, he quickly dropped his hands and stepped back to give her space with his hands raised in the imitation of surrender. His wince when she hit him had nothing to do with the fact she had hurt him. Her position had been all wrong with the thumb tucked into the clenched fist and he could only imagine how her hand was now feeling. It was that which he focused on to keep himself from raising his own voice in retaliation. Pain and fear could make someone act... The excuse lamely trailed off in his own mind. There was no escaping the fact that her temper was a part of her whether it had a rhyme or reason to it.

Elijah took a deep breath and tried to marshal his own emotions. What was it about her that got under his skin so badly? He was not a man to leap into a fit very often but it was as though she knew the combination to press to send him into one.

"I know, Lyssia," he rumbled in a gravelly tone and pulled his bushy brows into a disapproving frown. "I have fought enough enemies inside these walls and beyond them to know that," she seemed to forget his career since the age of 18 had been in the Dynast's service. This was not the first traitorous plot to fall into his lap and he doubted it would be the last. He cast her a cold look then pushed past her to go back to the fire. If she wanted to go charging about in the storm then she would be doing it alone, he lied bitterly to himself.

"Nobody is going to go out in this, come and get warm and stop being so gods damned stubborn for once."
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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She felt utterly torn, and could put no reason to it. Every instinct demanded that she rush out and deal with the threat before it got ahead of her, and yet the voice of reason seemed to reside in the man she shared this room with. Never mind the more complex questions about the man himself, his relation to her, and ...and that was a whole muddled thing that made no sense.

She grit her teeth, though, when he brought up the stubborn thing. "I am not being stubborn," she said stubbornly, lifting her chin ever so slightly. Thunder cracked, and she jumped a little. Wind blew through the open door, rain making a puddle on the entry as it blew in. She absently closed the door, unconsciously conceding the point he was making. "You have to understand that I am mired deeply in this, and eventually they will come for me. If I have no proof...then I can be made to disappear with little risk to them."

She turned away from the unnaturally deep shadows gathering round the doorway, and turned to step into the room proper. "What am I to do?" She said seemingly to no one.
 
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Elijah

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"If you think for one moment--!" Elijah rounded on her with such force it surprised him enough to cut his own words off. He had no reason to be getting quite so upset over her perfectly valid concerns and yelling at her would hardly do any good in convincing her of staying put. But Gods did she get under his skin. With effort he swallowed the rare burst of passion and continued in a much more mellowed and measured tone. "If you think for one moment, Lyssia, that I would let anything happen to you in regards to this -- or anything -- then you do not know me very well at all."

Eli gave her one more look and then turned his back to her and returned his attention to the fire. If he looked at her anymore he would just get angry once more at the thought of her being hurt. It was part of why he had wanted to go straight to the Dynast herself; the quicker she knew, the quicker Lyssia could be given protection. But he had to focus and think like the Captain of the Pegasi and right then the biggest danger to his information source was losing her to the raging storm outside.
 

Lyssia D'avore

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She didn't flinch back at his sudden movement. Never once did it cross her mind that he would raise a hand against her, nor bring physical harm to her in any way; using his words like a scalpel was possible, but it was already quite clear she had the edge on being a ruthless harridan when it came to the exchange of words. The raised voice that he started with very nearly triggered exactly the exasperatingly stubborn response the man sought to avoid; screaming at her to stay put would, in fact, very nearly force her to do the exact opposite and in short order at that.

His admission was stunning, and she couldn't say why. He had once before proclaimed that he would do the same for any citizen of the Dynasty, but she very much doubted that it was a truthful statement. She was incapable of understanding why - had spent hours agonizing over the reasons, and failed to pick apart any motivation behind them.

"So you say," she said unsteadily. Some other strong-headed fool might protest at needing to be defended, but Lyssia knew the truth of her situation. "Sometimes you do not get a choice in things happening though," she said and then suddenly stopped, standing stock-still. She had entered the room, could feel the warmth of the fire at her front...and a cold draft from behind.

The front door was open again, rain once more pooling on the stone entryway. Lyssia turned and looked back to Elijah, eyes confused. "I closed that, didn't I?"
 
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Elijah

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Elijah opened his mouth to protest against her words or ease her fears - he hadn't quite decided which - when she drew his attention instead to the door. A frown of his own descended over his face like a cloud and once more there was a subtle shift from a simple man to a honed warrior. The sword was back in his hands though he told himself it was nothing more than the wind and her inability to lock a door properly. In four long strides he was across the room but he didn't immediately shut the door. Instead he cast his head out into the rain and peered through the murky darkness beyond. Only the foolish or the desperate would be out in a storm such as this.

Slowly, Eli withdrew back inside and locked the door once more. He firmly drove the bolt in place this time too. Just to be cautious, he told himself.

"A fine example of why going outside in this isn't a good idea," he huffed and put a hand on the small of her back to draw her back to the fire and away from the door.
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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She stiffened at the uninvited touch, and the wildcat prepared to unsheath her claws. It didn't matter that he was right; in fact, the fact that he had the right of things only seemed to make her stubborn streak worse. She did not really understand what it was in the Captain that brought out this quality in her. It was a mystery.

The only warning she had was motion caught out of the corner of her eye. Despite the fact that she was not a fighter, she had been trained in a certain level of self defense, primarily awareness of her surroundings. One of the shadows in a corner of the room shifted, and then something dull flew at her. She stopped, resisting Elijah's hand for a moment, and felt the sting of something brushing against her throat. The knife sailed across the room before burying itself in a wall.

Shocked, Lyssia raised a hand to her neck. A thin trickle of blood wept from the barest scratch where the knife had hit her, blood glimmering with all the magic it contained. Even as she turned to look where it had come from, a grunt of annoyance issued from the shadow.

"Being sporty?" the nameless woman said, identified by voice alone. Shadows wreathed her so that she seemed amorphous; no weapons were visible. "Captain Elijah, I suggest you stand aside. This woman is a traitor to the Dynasty, and has been marked for death. Do not make me add your name to the warrant."
 
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Elijah

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If Lyssia had not stopped then Elijah would have hurled her back by her clothes.

The Dynasty's assassin's were a hard thing to detect and often not before it was too late but he knew he had felt a presence. Something ... wrong. It was a sensation he always got when working with one of them as though they had become something other. He had never found out what the training was the assassin's went through; it was a highly guarded secret and not one anyone with sense dared to question. Some wondered if even the Dynast herself knew. The problem with assassin's was, however, that any of the Bursar's could use them too.

Smoothly the Captain slid in front of Lyssia. The blade still hung from his hand in a non-threatening manner and he arranged his face into the usual blank mask of a soldier.

"I will need to see that warrant."

Tension made the air between them so thick you could have sliced a knife through it. The woman watched him carefully but made no move to retrieve the warrant.

"She is a part of an ongoing investigation that is of State Importance, if you have a warrant for her arrest it best be signed by the Dynast herself. If it is then I will take it up with her and ask why she has given you contradictory orders to my own."
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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"It was not by Her hand that this warrant was issued," the woman said. There was little emotion in her voice, which was not particularly surprising. Those in the direct employ of the Dynast were often selected at birth and trained from the moment they could walk. No ordinary member of the military could rise to those positions closest to the Dynast herself, those that guarded her and did the knife work of an empire. "I leave her in your hands for now, Captain Elijah."

There was a pregnant pause. "Do not interfere with the others, Lyssia D'avore. The shield of blood does not protect you, and neither will the Captain. against interfering with the will of those that serve the Dynast."

"What do you mean, the others?" Lyssia asked suddenly, hand dropping from the thin thread of blood on her neck. A flash of lightning, brilliant blue-white, illuminated the cloaked figure in the corner, and the resulting clap of thunder drown her words out. No answer came, and the presence was no longer there. A window stood open nearby, rain blowing in in torrents to pool on the floor as the storm raged on outside.

"What...what did she mean..." she began, taking a step forward. Suddenly, she stiffened. "No! They cannot...they cannot have those papers! They are the only evidence...!"

She turned to run for the door. She had to get back to her place, to make sure they didn't take the inciminating papers away to be destroyed. She had little doubt that Adora was behind the attempt on her life, but her life was meaningless if the woman managed to eliminate the only proof sheh ad of the ongoing treachery.
 
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Elijah

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Elijah's grip didn't relax on the sword even when the assassin left through the window. It wouldn't be outside of her abilities to dupe them into relaxing and thinking she was gone with a little bit of theatrics. His eyes roved around the room with cold methodical care, piercing every shadow or hint of movement being caused by the window now howling through his home. There were too many options for her to hide, too many places where another knife could be thrown from. He realised, with a jolt, that it was anger that was focusing him to such a razor point.

It was only when Lyssia began to grow hysterical that he was drawn from his own thoughts.

"Lyssia--!" she was gone before he could stop her. The front door banged violently against the wall leaving a sizeable dent where the handle met paint. Between that and the window the wind used his living room like its personal playpen, picking up anything not nailed down and throwing it about the place in a frenzied temper tantrum. Shielding his eyes against the lashings of rain now soaking his floor he wrestled the window shut then dove out into the storm after the lunatic woman.

"YOU'LL GET YOURSELF KILLED!" he shouted over the noise but when he caught up he didn't grab a hold of her to turn her back. Instead he just focused on putting one foot in front of the other.
 
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Lyssia D'avore

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His words were drown out by the lashing wind and rain. She would not have heard him in any case, though; she had the evidence that she had bled for in her mind, the thing that had nearly cost her her life to obtain. Possibly more than just her life; dealing with the kind of unsavory individuals she had been forced to to procure them was not an experience she either relished nor desired to repeat.

So much at play, so much running in circles round her mind. If they found and took the manifest, the papers, the orders that were carefully written out and signed off by underlings of the Bursar herself, then she would have nothing. Her possession would prove that she had been the one involved in the break-in, and while they would never, ever have used them as evidence to bring her to court and to justice, it would not stop them - the ethereal they, the ones moving in the shadows, the cabal if you will - from stamping her out. This whole ordeal already marked her as a threat to powerful people in the city, and if a warrant for her death had not been signed already, it would soon be.

The assassins of the Dynast were certainly not the only tools available to someone as powerful as a Bursar. Lyssia tried not to think too much on that; the mere thought of standing against such odds while she herself remained powerless made her weak in the knees. Cowardice awaited at every turn, threatening to turn her round and send her fleeing into the world for safety.

Several times in the hell-for-metal run through the storm-torn city, she stumbled and fell hard, bruising knees and elbows, scraping hands. The wind was such that her slight frame was easily bowled over, and the rain soaking into her cheap dress made it weigh a tone. She kept on, though, doggedly determined to make it into the relative slum she had set up shop in.

The three story building she had purchased came into view, and the winds had blessedly calmed some even though the rain still drummed on. Lyssia paused across the street, gasping for breath. Each breath sent a stab of pain through her side, and she could not hide that hurts...or the fear.

Her place stood dark, across the way, and despite the storm, a pregnant silence seemed to hum in her ears.
 
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