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PostPosted: June 20th, 2010, 5:38 pm 
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[ I really can't wait to continue with this.. so just a small bump in the mean time :whistle: ]

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O children, lift up your voice, lift up your voice,
Children, rejoice, rejoice..

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2010, 9:02 am 
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The brief silence that hung in the air after Lucius' entrance was nerve-shattering for Adrianna; she had been expecting the office to be empty, only to find Allegra here - standing with both siblings in the same room terrified her. She was, indeed, glad that she was practised enough at hiding her emotions that she could mask this with a thin veil of neutrality.

There was nothing in either face that suggested dislike. Lucius displayed outward thought of impatient curiosity, which Allegra remained pleasantly surprised by her brother's appearance. Adrianna knew beyond a doubt there was something more to the picture, something that she was missing, but she dared not dig any deeper, for she'd seen men executed for what could be seen as the more innocuous of gestures. While she was useful, she stayed alive, and that was fine by her.

“Come now, brother, surely you’re not feeling left out, are you? I was just having a little chinwag with your assistant. Delightful child.”

Allegra's voice and its smooth flow was said to put people at their ease. In this case, Adrianna's skin prickled and she fought back the urge to speak also. For a moment she looked down at her feet in utter silence; when she raised her head again, still making no sound, she felt calmer. The usual speedy trail of ideas and escape routes had started trickling back to her, after been stunned and frozen by the sudden appearance of her boss. There was nothing left in this room for her to do, therefore she had no obligation to stay; however, her presence was needed elsewhere - and that presented the perfect opportunity for her to leave while remaining inconspicuous. Her mind breathed a deep sigh of relief.

“Indeed I am not, sister,” Lucius told his sister, letting his raised eyebrow fall back into place, “Merely curious as to what brought you here at such a late hour when you should be entertaining one of your many followers.”

Adrianna noticed that Lucius had specifically not mentioned what she was doing here; he must have assumed that she'd either succeeded with her mission and was here to submit the report, as was true, or she had failed and was coming to try and save her livelihood.

Lucius himself knew that Allegra could not fail to notice this, coupled with the fact he'd neglected to call her acquaintances her 'friends'. No matter how dazzling and attractive her personality was, he'd just pointed out to the both of them that is was possible she has not one true friend amongst those she sought company. That was sure to sting.

As Allegra moved, Adrianna watched Lucius move over to his desk, seemingly absent-mindedly shuffle a few of the most recent papers and pointedly avoid his chair. As a spectator, she wished whole-heartedly that she could run out of the room, for the tension was unbearable. Her every sense was tingling in a most strange way and she wanted nothing more than to be at home, safe, with the people she cared about the most. That wasn't likely to happen soon.

Once again, the Governor's voice cut through the air in answer to his sister's running commentary. “Of course, you're right. I'm unsure how you get by, being so thoroughly disorganised and disorderly.”
The words passed his lips and were accompanied by a faint smile that Adrianna had only seen him use when the words he said carried great meaning or were used as a threat. Seeing as the latter was somewhat ridiculous, she set about trying to identify the significance in the simple sentence. Her eyes wandered to Allegra as she waited that the retaliatory strike.

“In fact, brother, I came here to see you for a little chat. But I saw your office was empty and decided to hang around and wait – then who should come in but Adrianna.”

“A shock, I'm sure, considering she works for me.” Lucius' reply was cutting, but not wholly hostile. His words were quick, and he had little to fear from those his words hurt. The man sighed then looked up, facing Allegra directly and not disguising the fact she had entered one of his rooms without permission.

“So, what brings you here at such an hour, alone? Surely idle chatter would be better reserved for breakfast.” Lucius checked the clock that hung on the wall. “Which, incidentally, is but a few hours from now.”

As Allegra turned to watch Adrianna, who whitened under her gaze, Lucius gave her a passing glance. She'd faded into the walls again, made herself seem insignificant, and he'd almost forgotten she was there. her presence was interesting, but he'd glean no answers from her until Allegra had left the room or vice versa. Adrianna was far too loyal to give him away during a verbal word-war with his sister, and judging by the petulant expression Allegra had displayed as she watched Adrianna stand as a ghost by the door, it was a fact that annoyed her greatly.

The cigarette Allegra lit was a symbol of her presence. When at a party or notable acquaintance's house, white smoke meant the presence of a wondrous person: Allegra Nylander, the Governor's sister. She certainly was a figure of importance, and not just because of her brother's status; no, she had carved out her own name for herself, as the life and soul of the party, an entertaining, elegant and esteemed woman, to say the least.

To Lucius it was the summation of everything he disliked about his sister: the smoke got everywhere, it being addictive and dangerous, and least but my no means least, it left a funny taste in the air, something akin to bitterness.

Silence fell yet again and Adrianna was left waiting. Having nothing to do with her hands made her nervous, so she near enough twisted them into knots behind her back to expel the feeling. Her breathing was steady, but there was a vague panic in her eyes that anyone could find if they looked close enough.

“My apologies,” she murmured, “I have business I need to attend to elsewhere. The Wardens await instructions and if this is to be sorted by morning I should leave now.”

Quiet as her voice was, it carried in a slightly alarming way. The only other audible noise apart from her voice had been the clock's low, tiresome clunk as time ticked by.

The statement Adrianna had made to the room was vague, but if you were clever enough there were points that could make sense, especially if you had the correct intelligence. The elder Nylander raised his eyebrow, surprised but pleased that the task he'd put in front of her had been completed. In addition to that, she had in her possession a small envelope with contained the short, handwritten report Lucius would have asked for outright had his sister not been there.

Adrianna stepped forward, hesitantly, and laid the small, unmarked envelope on the desk next to where the Governor had splayed his hands. Keeping her eyes lowered and making sure she never even so much as attempted to turn her back, she stepped slowly backwards into her previous position and began to bid them goodnight.

Swiftly, Lucius scooped up the envelope and, leaving it unopened in his hands nodded without much thought. Adrianna knew enough to accept this as the signal that she could leave without being called back and reprimanded for rudeness, so she sidestepped towards the door and with a quiet nod to both siblings, she exited and closed the door behind her.

The quiet click echoed in both the corridor and the office of the Governor.

Abandoning entirely the pretence that he had maintained throughout their little 'meeting', Lucius gave his sister a look of pure venom and asked once again the question that most interested him.

“So, what exactly are you doing in my office in the middle of the night?”

<center>- - -</center>

Her footsteps thudded against the ground in a harsh but rhythmic pattern. A part of her feared that if she left things too long the Wardens would tire of their charge and begin that favourite sport of interrogation and torture.

The doctor she'd met earlier would be held somewhere on one of the lower levels of the Tower, as it was the most heavily fortified building in the underground city. Adrianna had seem many little cells and cages built into the place, but she had, only once, seen one occupied. Often people did not stay in them for very long, either because they had served their purpose or because the Wardens had gotten a little too carried away and the person in question had met an unpleasant and untimely death.

Wardens barred her way ahead. Once again donning the impressive and authoritative mask she used when dealing with her inferiors she flashed her identification before ordering them to move.

A wooden door to her left, unmarked by signs, plaques, or anything other than scrapes and dents, opened and one of the high ranking Wardens stepped out, holding the door for her. When walking past and into the room, she barely glanced at the man. He wasn't important at the minute.

Thirty minutes was the minimum length of time she was there, though it was likely longer; the Wardens understood that her orders came from a high power but they were exceedingly unwilling to follow orders that didn't come directly from the head of their Guild. Luckily the man was in the vicinity and able to restore order, otherwise Adrianna would have had to spend hours making them understand that they either obeyed or were arrested for insubordination. Though she doubted she'd get sleep tonight, Adrianna would be glad to simple get away from this cold, forsaken place.

“One last thing,” she told the Warden that remained behind to ‘assist her in her duties until commanded otherwise’. “The prisoner you brought in. Where is he?”

“Cell Fourteen B on level two.”

“Good. I have questions. You needn't accompany me.”

The Warden had made to follow her as she turned to move out of the room, a wave of poorly disguised glee washing over his face. She did not need or want spectators for this.

When she reached a corridor that was completely devoid of people, she let her thoughts wander as normal. The cell number was burning holes in her thoughts, and the reason why escaped her.

As she walked, her surroundings grew less and less fancy. It changed from impeccable decorations and furnishings to those that were merely adequate, until there was barely anything there. Empty stone passages stood before Adrianna, intimidating and fraught with shadows. Twists and turns took her in patterns too complex and diverse for her to remember; she concentrated on the fact that this part of the building was made to confuse prisoners and make escape night impossible. Fear for the future began clouding her judgement and she had trouble dispelling it.

As she turned another corner, she almost ran head first into a solid door bolted in more than five places. The air that had caught in her throat slowly began to move again and she withdrew the heavy locks and threw her weight against the door to shift it. After half a minute of pushing, the door swung inwards on its hinges and revealed a thin passage, a small lantern and a locked box that contained, among other things, a list of prisoners kept in the adjoining cells and the quickest way out of the tunnels. The electronics that kept it locked were of the highest quality, and that with that fact that ninety percent of the people locked up here didn't have the skills needed to bypass it meant that anyone locked in these rooms was well and truly stuck.

The box she ignored; the lantern she lit then picked up and held before her to ward off the darkness. It didn't take long before she saw something in the distance, a faint glow around a corner that suggested a faint light source other than her own. A sigh of relief betrayed her thoughts, though there was no-one to witness it, save perhaps a spider sitting in one of the cracks in the wall.

As she rounded the corner into the little stretch of passage that ran past the cell the doctor was in. Adrianna hooked the lantern onto a long pole and lit another that was close by. The doctor's cell was small, and temporary, and as Adrianna turned away from the bright light she realised why the designated number of the had spooked her subconscious: she'd been here once before, and back then, the cell had also been occupied.

Alexander Marcus had been in a bad shape when they'd brought him back from interrogation, and she'd only had a glimpse of him, and she suspected his injuries had been worse than they seemed. He and the doctor looked nothing alike, but she could see the same spark of rebellion in the man before her. The idea scared her, but there was absolutely nothing she could do about that at the minute. She'd promised herself she'd stay as far away as possible from any kind of dangerous thoughts of rebellion, and therefore stay safe.

Swallowing old memories and the residue of old emotions, Adrianna sat down on the single chair that stood beneath and just to the right of the metal hook that held the lantern aloft. Not for the first time she felt tongue-tied, unable to say what needed to be said. Steeling herself for a conversation full of unanswerable questions, she broke the silence in a somewhat abrupt fashion, despite her soft tones.

“The Governor has been informed about your situation. No doubt sometime within the next few hours you'll be visited by him or someone with a higher rank than me that represents him. You won't be informed of your rights, nor will you be able to fight for any.”

The more she spoke, the more Adrianna's nerves grew. “Anything out of line and you'll be executed without a thought. You should know that the last man who stood in your position wasn't so lucky.”

Adrianna was all too aware that that was a complete understatement, but the doctor wasn't to know that. He deserved to know what was coming, but she couldn't really explain properly because the Governor's mind was not something she wanted to understand.

<center>- - -</center>

- ETA

It's a well know fact that pleasant company makes time pass faster, banishes the deepest of fears and warms cold night air to a temperature that's comfortable and gently refreshing. That was the feeling that had been growing and engulfing Cameron's senses ever since he'd been reunited with Garnet. It was a strange feeling he wasn't quite used to, and one that he didn't fully understand. One thing he did know about it, however, is that is made the darker parts of his like an awful lot easier to cope with.

Garnet was smiling again now; it was no surprise that he noticed. He knew that after the trauma she'd had in her childhood, a trauma she couldn't properly confront because of her - at best - volatile situation balancing life, work and thoughts of rebellion. He'd known her parents, they'd been good people; he'd also been around when she'd fled in the middle of the night to the only place of solace she had left in the world.

That ahd all changed in recent years. As the eldest of the trio, Cameron had been introduced to a life of work before both Adrianna and Garnet. Not long after, Adrianna was spotted and drafted into working, a little earlier than usual. Not long after that came Garnet, forced into a line of work that suppressed what little creativity the Government hadn't managed to squash out of her. Working life was hard, they'd all come to appreciate that fact - some sooner than others.

The door he'd left through earlier stood exactly as it had before; tall, roughly hewn and scratched, dented and patched up in more than one place. On the other hand, it was no different to any other door on any other street save for one detail: the name carved into it with a sharp blade. The letters were of mismatched size and legibility, some being easily readable in the faint light, others contorted into strange shaped because of uneven lighting.

“I guess we'll have a lot to talk about,” Garnet told him with a smile. “And you know me. I’m good at listening – though this time you’ll have to do your fair share of listening too.”

Cameron laughed, then sobered fairly quickly, remembering the events as they'd played out tonight. “That shouldn't be a problem. After talking so much, I'm sure we'll both need to rest aching jaws.”

He smiled and then stepped into the light of a nearby lamp post, at which point he delved into his pockets to retrieve one of only two keys that would open the door - one for Cameron, one for Adrianna.

Before he'd found it, and before he could make a quick quip to Garnet about how if his coat got any more holes in it then he'd never be able to find anything again, he collided with someone almost a head shorter than him. This surprised him; he let out a small cry of alarm as he grasped the arm of the person he'd bumped into. It was a young woman of a similar age to Garnet, with flowing blonde curls, a face that betrayed extreme relief and a hand supporting her swollen belly.

The fact that she was out at such a late hour in such a condition surprised Cameron more than the fact she seemed to relieved at the sight of another non-hostile human being.

“Hey, are you alright?” he peered down into her face, concerned, but trying to remain distant so as not to alarm the young woman. he glanced back at Garnet with a slight frown a curious shine in his eyes. Something had spooked her, but the only thing he'd heard recently was the passing of the Wardens... there was no curfew, but the young woman seemed to be entirely alone and that wasn't advisable, wandering the streets, alone and vulnerable.

“I'm sorry...” she mumbled. “The Wardens...”

There was no need for her to continue and further; she might not have run into them the same way he and Garnet had, but they'd near enough given her a heart attack.

“Are you injured? I'm reasonably certain that they're long gone by now... are you sure you're alright?”

[All up. :teehee:]

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2010, 6:28 pm 
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Allegra’s quick eyes missed nothing as Adrianna set down the envelope on the governor’s desk; she watched Lucius pick it up without opening it, observed Adrianna as she exited the room, the door clicking softly behind her. It was in this moment that the pretence of amiability swiftly dropped, and both brother and sister could throw off their masquerade masks. An idle smile played across Allegra’s lips at Lucius’ question; and although she noted that his expression was utterly filled with hate, this did not at all alarm her, for they both knew that the feeling was quite mutual.

“What am I doing here?” she repeated the question. This time, her voice held an entirely different tone. It was still smooth and leisurely, but the edges were hard and cold, brimming with disdain. Her expression resembled a beautiful carving of ice, her smile scornful. “You’re supposedly a clever man, Lucius, I’m surprised you can’t work it out for yourself.”

Now that Lucius’s little helper had kindly disappeared, Allegra had no need to pretend that there was any hint of friendship between her and her brother. Only when they were alone could they tear each other to pieces. Having grown up together, they both knew one another extremely well; too well. They had revised each other’s weaknesses since childhood. But they also knew each other’s strengths.

It had always seemed to escape the both of them that had they ever decided to work together, they would have made an excellent working partnership. But as it was, their dislike ran deep, tinged with years of bitterness that could not be overlooked. And when Lucius had been appointed as governor, he had made the ultimate betrayal that Allegra could never forget. He had taken away her chance for a real rank of her own, and so she had had to fashion one for herself, mould her own identity to her requirements. That was what he couldn’t stand; her ability to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, when he’d believed he had burned her out forever.

Allegra moved to stand next to her brother, so they faced each other directly. She ran a cold, disdainful gaze over Lucius. They were so alike in so many ways, despite the contrast of their dark and fair colourings. Neither would back down to one another; not in a lifetime.

Slowly, she lifted up her hands, palms facing upwards, as if offering up her guilt. Her pale skin, her blue veins visible through the surface of her wrists, looked vulnerable, but anyone who looked into her steely grey eyes could see that she was anything but. A mocking smile lay on her lips, and she raised a slim eyebrow.

“You know, Lucius,” she said, “you know that whatever I do, you can’t put a stop to it. You know it deep in your bones, in your very soul – though it’s questionable if you even have one. You made a promise the day our father died. You swore to him that you’d look after your little sister. And you can’t break it; however many people you send to their deaths, you’re unable to go against your word, made at an old man’s deathbed.”

Her smile widened and she lowered her hands. They both knew that it was true. However deep their hatred, the family bond amongst the Nylanders had always been tight. You had to stay true to your family, because you had no one else. Dislike did not matter, let alone loathing. Allegra and Lucius were tied to each other, they had to live their lives side by side, like it or not.

Reaching out, she took a hold of Lucius’s wrist and held it up beside hers. It was an old gesture from their childhood, to remind each other that their veins flowed with the same blood. Swiftly, Allegra dropped his wrist and turned away, returning to her perch on Lucius’s desk. She lit up another cigarette and turned her head to smile at him.

Her change of direction in conversation was so swift it was almost alarming. “I assume you’ve taken in a new prisoner to the tower?” she enquired. “Your charming little assistant seems much occupied. I can only assume how heavily her burden of working for you lies on her – it can’t be easy washing your hands in blood every day.”

~~~

Garnet was about to reply to Cameron’s comment, when suddenly, a young woman near the same age of Garnet collided into him, unsteady on her feet and out of breath. The shock of her sudden appearance nearly sent Garnet herself into a similar bout of alarm, but she soon collected her composure and took a proper look at the girl. She had curly fair hair, and her belly was swollen with pregnancy. She looked frightened, and indeed she professed her fear of the wardens; it was in that moment that Garnet felt a pang of pity for her.

Everyone who had ever known Garnet had always agreed that she was good with people. She was friendly and made even strangers feel at their ease around her, for she had a purely kind heart and a deep empathy. A comforting smile now warmed her features, and she stepped forward to aid Lilly in steadying herself on her feet, laying her hand gently on her arm.

“Don’t worry, the wardens have gone now,” she said. Her voice was kindly and reassuring. “They searched this road, but they’ll have gone to patrol another area by now. There’s no need to be afraid.”

She could understand Lilly’s fear only too well; only moments ago she’d been interrogated at gunpoint by a warden, and it had frightened her enormously. Cameron had known the depth of her fear; he had felt it as she’d gripped his hand almost tightly enough to cut off his circulation.

Garnet looked over towards Cameron. Their night of talking seemed to have been somewhat delayed for now; she had been looking forward to them spending time together, especially as they had been separated for so many long months. But she was not sure if Lilly was in a fit state to be left alone, especially considering the fact that she was pregnant. Garnet could not help worrying that fear might have an adverse effect on the child the young woman carried.

All her life, Garnet had cared about people, whether she’d known them for years or only a few minutes. It was one of her endearing qualities that was utterly unfathomable to people of a more bitter nature than she.

Before looking back at Lilly, Garnet gave Cameron a smile that spoke depths about her feelings and thoughts that words did not need to explain. Her smile said that they would have dozens of more chances to catch up with each other properly. A stranger now needed their help, but that did not change matters.

Silently, inside her head, wishing that Cameron could hear her, Garnet thought, I’ll never give up on you.

Looking back at Lilly, she gently put her arm around the girl’s shoulders. “You don’t look very well. Perhaps you’d like a warm drink and a chance to sit down?”

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2010, 4:53 am 
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Time seemed to pass by slowly but whether it had been minutes or hours since Dylan woke up, he could not tell. His watch, keys, wallet and even his doctor's ID had been taken while he had been unconscious. Those items probably served as 'evidence' or as reward for the Wardens triumphs. Time, though, did not seem to matter anymore in here. Shut out from the real world, time was in this Fortress only a weapon of the Wardens which they could use against their suspects. A long time of solitude could drive men mad, times of hunger could starve them or an extensive period of pain could make them talk. Time was controlled by the Wardens in their game of life and death. And Dylan realised that he had to play it well if he ever would want to stay alive.

The doctor leaned against the concrete wall and tried to clean his face, which was still smeared with blood, with his sleeve but without much success. If anyone was to look at him then he would make a fearsome sight to behold. The wound on his head, of where the Warden had hit him, ached a little yet Dylan could only hope that it would remain uninfected since there seemed to be little means available to the prisoners.

He realised that he could not look too far ahead in time so he did not want to waste time meditating on it. But no matter how long or short the Wardens would keep him in the dark, there would be a questioning eventually. But of what would they accuse him? That he had been curing people with illegal drugs which he had paid, mostly, with his own money? Was this a crime already? Anger once again seemed to seep through him as he thought of the injustice of this world and this government. It was this anger that had made him step over the boundaries of the law to enable him to do, what he thought as good. It was this anger that had not made him reckless, but cunning and cautiously. With all of his whereabouts he had provided himself with many clever alibis; his design had been variable as unexpected. It would have to take a lot of evidence to make it a real case, but Dylan knew that in this republic there was no need of evidence and there was no need of an actual charge: if they wanted you dead, than they would succeed.

There sounded a mechanical click when the lock of his cell was unlocked and Adrianna appeared with a lit lantern in her hand. Dylan got on his feet, looking at her curiously, yet he remained silent until she had shut the door.

“You took your time..”

The words came out unconcerned, at leisure even. His piercing dark eyes took in her calm figure, but he suspected that under her calm façade, there was more, uncertainty and anger, than she made appear.
He listened quietly to her warning words; his whole being was focused and alert on what perhaps could be his one and last meeting with the woman, where his life depended on. She, however, brought no news and Dylan, for a second time that day, started wondering whether she still was willing to continue with their plan.

“The Governor..? As far as I know he’s not the kind of man who humbles himself to speak to the ordinary people. I should be honoured then. It will certainly be an interesting meeting..”

Again his nonchalant tone, as if he tried to provoke Adrianna. He took a few steps closer to her and he noticed how tired she actually looked. Her face was pale and red rims started to show underneath her eyes. She was probably exhausted with long hours of work and responsibilities. How many other ‘suspects’ would she have brought in today?
Again he looked at her with a searching gaze before starting on the subjects which were probably on both their minds, but of which she did not dare to speak:

“But you haven’t come down here just to chit-chat with me, did you now?”

----------------

“I just… didn’t want them to see me.” Lilly tried to explain herself as she noticed the furrowing brows of the man, she ran into. Lilly didn’t even want to think about what could happen if they had seen her. The Wardens hardly needed an excuse to question people whom they encountered, especially during night time. The fact that she was out on the streets, alone, was surely a bit peculiar. And Lilly had done everything in her power to remain inconspicuous.

A sweet and grateful smile appeared on her face as the woman came to her aid. It was not common these days to receive kindness from your fellow men. People were afraid of the terror which took place every day; they were concerned for their jobs and family. Coming to the aid of strangers or a casual talk with neighbours rarely occurred, for all you knew they were an enemy of the state. With one hand still resting on her belly the blond closed her eyes, while her breathing became regular once again; she had finally calmed down.

“I think I’m alright,” she said, smiling at Cameron. “I had a soft landing. You would make a great pillow!”

She understood Cameron’s curiosity. Being not quite tall and with her long blond curls and freckled face she looked younger than she actually was. In her impulsive act of finding help herself, she had only put a coat over long shirt and jeans. She made a curious sight being on her own in the middle of the night.

Lilly caught the glances which Cameron and Garnett exchanged and suddenly felt like an intruder. Whatever they were doing out here in the middle of the night, she had probably interrupted something intimate and she could not help feeling embarrassed.

“No, I couldn’t do that,” she answered gently to Garnett’s offer. “You are very kind, but I wouldn’t want to intrude. I was on my way to the hospital and probably should get going as I have to get back in time.” She pulled a face. “You know... work and stuff.”

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2010, 8:19 am 
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Alone in a dark room with a strange man, Adrianna felt only a little less tranquil than she had done when she'd returned home to find Cameron waiting for her. Sealed away in a room comprised of walls several feet thick and a door made to be nigh impenetrable, she almost - almost - let her guard down. Here, there was no Governor to give distasteful orders, there were no Wardens to disobey and circumvent her authority, what little of it there was, anyway, and there was only an infinitesimal chance of the Governor finding her here. With Allegra present, he'd have to find a way to occupy her for a while until he created a plausible and reasonable excuse for her to be elsewhere while he dealt with the unruly citizen that lay waiting in the depths of the Tower's structure.

It was hard for Adrianna not to get lost in her thoughts at that particular moment in time. So much had happened in such a short period that, even with a full night's sleep, she very much doubted that she'd have had it all figured out by morning.

The doctor, however, seemed to be her polar opposite: despite being bloody, bruised and held prisoner, his voice was nonchalant and his expression was at ease. In truth, she envied him and his view of the world. Tonight, he'd had to face the loss of everything he'd known; he didn't see it quite that way, though, for he saw that he could not fight as he had nothing left to lose. Adrianna felt uneasiness give way to apprehension as she comprehended his fearlessness.


“You took your time...” he told her after a pause that Adrianna used to made sure the door was lodged shut in a way that made sure no light in the room reached the twisting passages outside.

She couldn't very well tell him she'd had work to do, and there was certainly no way she was telling him she'd been afraid, so she remained silent for a minute until she could think of a reply that both fulfilled his curiosity and exonerated herself.

“I ran into a few obstacles,” she told him quietly, focusing more on keeping her voice level than answering the doctor's relentless questions. “If I'd left my post early, questions would've been asked. They would've paid closer attention to me and that would've made things extremely difficult for you.”

The tone she used was firm, but only because she knew the ground she was treading on: around people like the Governor and his sister, the least abnormality in the routine of their inferiors was suspicious, a slight variation in protocol was a sign of guilt or secrecy. This world of politics and rules required quick wits and the ability to dance in a carefully controlled pattern; this Adrianna only just managed, which was the reason her home life had gone dramatically downhill in recent years. All of her energy had been expended keeping her career perfectly balanced between excelling enough to be considered an asset, and slowing her progress enough to allow her tiny conscience some sort of relief from a continuous onslaught of moral questions.

“Certainly he has no intention of conducting himself with humility. I doubt he'll stop the interrogation until either he finds what he wants or until you're... too far gone for him to continue.”

It was possible that tonight could be the doctors last, and Adrianna was pretty sure that both of them knew that. The only advice she could give him was to use honesty, and she doubted he'd take it if she'd given it; she was still the enemy and had practically given up on trying to prove otherwise. The man was clever and always one step ahead of her - she planned extensively and was, usually, prepared for anything her life threw at her, but this man had thrown everything out of the window with his cool and collected demeanour and his bold, outright treasonous talk of rebellion. Perhaps that was why he unnerved her so much.

“But you haven’t come down here just to chit-chat with me, did you now?”

The words cut through the musty air and hit her with a force she couldn't find a name for. Once again he'd accurately guessed her purpose and undermined the secure mask she'd hidden her thoughts behind for years. What exactly was it about this man that got under her skin?

“No, I've... found a small window of opportunity.” she confessed.

She'd been reluctant to admit that she'd seen such an opportunity, but with the doctor's ability to pick apart her plans she'd had little choice but the reveal it. It wasn't exactly a plan, nor would they have time to properly formulate it, for if it did take place, it would be far sooner than expected. To work, Adrianna would need to bypass the Warden's secure perimeter, eliminate the locks and barriers that stood in the way of the exit and, above all, make sure nothing was traceable back to her, otherwise that doctor had lost his only contact. She would protect him as long as she could without compromising how he'd escaped, she'd promised herself, just as long as that meant she could keep her short list of friends and family safe in the process.
Explaining what she'd found was one thing, arranging it into a coherent, working strategy was going to be entirely another.

“In a couple of hours' time there'll be a quiet meeting held a few floors above us. None other than those involved are informed of it, and to cover the comings and goings of the Governors, the Wardens' shift change occurs a few minutes before they are to be assembled.”

There was a pregnant pause.

“In those few minutes there'd be just enough time for you to angle your way out of here and into the open before than can see you.”

If all went well, he'd be free before midday tomorrow; if he took a wrong turn getting out, he'd end up amidst either an awful lot of suspicious politicians or a gaggle of bad-tempered Wardens. The idea of it all made her uncomfortable, at even as she said it her fingers were intertwined in a pattern that spelled out how nervous she was to anyone observant enough to notice. She was yet to create her own alibi, however she'd guessed it shouldn't be too hard: the meeting included Nylander and therefore it was encouraged that she made a cursory appearance to show her loyalty to the Governor she served diligently.

“I'm waiting on you,” her soft voice continued. “I figured you'd prefer to be out of here sooner rather than later.”

Adrianna could hear something pulsing in her ears; it was a minute before she realised that it was in fact her heart, beating faster because of the fear that now ran like ice through her veins.

<center>- - -</center>

The Governor settled for a nasty smile as his sister eyed the envelope in his hand; he knew that she was also fighting an impulse, but it wasn't the same that made him want to laugh, it was a fervent wish to snatch the letter from him and devour its secrets. If keeping the report shrouded in mystery would cause her discomfort, then so be it. He slid the envelope inside his jacket and out of sight before she could say a word and continued as if nothing had happened. There was no way he would willingly let Allegra interfere with his business unless he had something to gain from it.

“And you're supposed to have a woman's subtlety,” he threw back at her, carelessly. “I thought you more mature than to visit simply for the opportunity to spy on my work. Silly of me, I keep forgetting your childish tendencies.”

The siblings' words were all engineered to cut like knives, and they did their jobs well; however both were seasoned warriors in the everyday battle they fought against one another, so neither batted an eyelid. This was just getting started, and both knew that they could each to far worse. If they wanted to sabotage one another, each had plenty of fuel for the fire.

Although Adrianna's presence had meant that one less task had to be fixed, it had also been an inconvenience. Useful as she was, she had a knack for appearing at the most awkward moments when she could have been of more use to him elsewhere. At the minute, he had to both prepare for a meeting with the rest of the Governors that his sister was most certainly not invited to and close the file on whichever matter Adrianna had sorted; the time he had remaining was slipping away and that, if possible, infuriated him even further.

Allegra stood closer now, and the two predators faced one another head on, each knowing the full measure of the other. If any phrase suited them now, it would have been that describing the situation when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. A perpetual war was raging between the two siblings that would not end until both were dead and buried, which would not be for some years yet.

“You know, Lucius, you know that whatever I do, you can’t put a stop to it. You know it deep in your bones, in your very soul – though it’s questionable if you even have one. You made a promise the day our father died. You swore to him that you’d look after your little sister. And you can’t break it; however many people you send to their deaths, you’re unable to go against your word, made at an old man’s deathbed.”

Lucius gave a small, derisive laugh. “That old man was a blessed fool, and you know that as well as I.”
Despite his mocking tone, he felt angered; Allegra, when she couldn't win by other means, usually used their family connection to her advantage. Had he got an advantage to use, he would have pressed it, of course; as he did not, he settled for waiting out his sister's speech with an expression of exaggerated patience. Who had said anything about breaking promises?

“I'm sure you're quite capable of looking after yourself now, Allegra, despite the fact that watching over your welfare has absolutely nothing to do with allowing you to incite a disaster by including you in my line of work.”

When Allegra had, at last, released his wrist, Lucius sat down and kicked back slightly, greatly annoyed but wearing the countenance of a man much more patient and relaxed than he was currently. Dark eyes surveyed his sister, the only opponent that had every fought him and proven herself equal, and he wondered for a minute what she thought she could gain from being here. Information, perhaps.

“You hang such an assumption on very little,” Lucius told his sister casually in a voice that suggested he was taking pleasure in taunting her. “Rumours, perchance? Adrianna is usually preoccupied. Anyone with basic observational skills can see that.”

The smile he wore now was openly daring Allegra to try and probe him for whatever it was that she so desired. Her casual attitude towards him seemed to be there merely to provoke irritation, and for the most part it was failing, although there was a rational little voice at the back of his head that said she's not going to give up, do you really think you can win this without making a mess of your office?

<center>- - -</center>

The young woman Cameron had, literally, ran into seemed to be a little better when informed that the Wardens had all disappeared into the night. No part of him blamed her for feeling more then uneasy in their presence: when faced with them himself, as he so often was at the edges of the city, the mere sight of them made him feel nauseous. Night-time made everything worse, with its exacerbated shadows and eerie silence.

At her joke, Cameron laughed softly and let go of her arm so as not to be deemed threatening in any small way. He was glad to see that she was indeed uninjured, and relieved to see her laugh so easily. human interaction on an amiable level had decreased rapidly in recent years and the city had spiralled downwards into the darkest times it had seen yet: humour and close friendship were precious gifts to be kept hidden somewhere safe, lest them be lost and never recovered.

Cameron caught Garnet's eye for a minute and smiled, catching the conveyed note of understanding that she projected at him. Her own smile was like a reflection of his, so in tune were their thoughts; he cherished how close they were.

The offer Garnet extended to Lilly was one he would've made, had she not gotten there first; Lilly did look as though she needed a minute to collect herself and relax. The protest that she would be intruding was absurd, and Cameron shook his head, still smiling faintly.

“It's no trouble. I'd rather see you rest a while than rush off with the intent of working after a scare like that.” For a brief moment he flashed back to the Wardens that had confronted them not long ago and suppressed a shudder. There really was nothing he had ever seen in this world that unnerved him in the same way as the Wardens and their disturbing obsession with cruelty and violence.

“Are you sure we can't tempt you?” he pulled out the key to his front door then, having finally found it while their conversation continued, and held it up in the light, looking pleased with himself but trying to hide it.

“If you like, I can even walk you home later. Safety in numbers, right?”

The statement was meant as a light-hearted joke, although it was most certainly true in a very literal sense: the Wardens were much less likely to victimize a group of people, because of the repercussions it might have. Isn't it just lovely to live in a place where humanity is reduced to frightened pack animals? Cameron thought bitterly.

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[ Eep! Do I see a potential new ship here? :P

Oh and Melda, Lilly actually meant that she would have to be back home in time, for the next day's work. She does not actually work at the hospital.. I realise that my phrase was kinda vague. :P

And absolutely love the Mentalist! Jane is so cool! :) ]

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PostPosted: June 26th, 2010, 9:02 am 
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[Oops, sorry about that. I fail. :P *runs and edits*
Whatever it is, it's certainly getting interesting! :D

A friend started me on it recently, when a TV channel started showing series one. I am now a fully fledged stalker of Jane and his awesome hair. :D]

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(Hooray for Adrianna and the doctor, and hooray for C&G! :-D
Will, is it okay if Allegra knows Dylan? =) Since she's against the government too, she could have helped him with his work a while ago, since her connection to the governor would have been useful. :-D )

Allegra watched, simply smiling, as Lucius slid the envelope inside his jacket, concealing whatever information it held beyond her reach. It was true enough that she had wanted to know the contents, but it’s unavailability did not vex her too much. After all, she had more means at her disposal to find out things she wished to know. Her smile widened as Lucius mentioned childishness; she did not so much as bat an eyelid. It was a cheap shot of his, and she did not even bother to reply to him. She did not mind allowing him to think that her barefaced spying sessions in his office were her only machinations; they were like a veil to conceal her more dangerous strikes against him, although they did oftentimes yield satisfying results.

Her eyes narrowed as Lucius mentioned their father, referring to him as “that old man”. Whenever he was brought up in conversation, Lucius always referred to him so casually, and this was something that Allegra resented deeply, seeing as her brother had always been the one on which all of their family’s ambitions had been pinned. As a child, Allegra had been made almost a prisoner in her own home, her upbringing handed over to a governess. She had hated being treated as if she was vulnerable, like a porcelain doll; one of her greatest wishes had been that her father would see that she, too, was clever like her brother, and that she also was capable of great things.

“A fool he may have been,” she replied, coolly, “but his wishes were stipulated clearly. You’re right – I’m quite capable of taking care of myself. All I wish to do is to make it crystal clear that despite whatever thoughts you might have about getting rid of me going round in that twisted mind of yours, I am going nowhere.”

The cold steadiness of her grey gaze, never wavering from Lucius, showed that she was deadly serious, as did her smile. There was something quite sinister about her warning to him. Allegra was not about to disappear from her brother’s life in a hurry, whatever his wishes might have been. Leaning forward, she stubbed out her cigarette on an important-looking paper, making an ugly grey scorch mark in the middle of a paragraph of text.

Upon hearing his comment regarding Adrianna, Allegra simply laughed. Here, she had the upper hand. “Oh, do you think so?” she enquired. “For I heard Adrianna myself, speaking into her radio, ordering that some man be brought to the fifth floor of the tower – conscious. Apparently she’ll deal with him there. You see, Lucius, I don’t deal in rumours, I deal in facts. For instance, it’s a fact that if you’re going to visit this new prisoner, I’m coming with you.”

She slid off the desk, not bothering to dispose of the stubbed-out cigarette. “Whatever you imagine, I don’t desire to be involved in your ‘line of work’ – as far as I’m concerned your ‘work’ is ugly and distasteful. But a little bird told me the other day that this man you have under suspicion is a one Dylan Whittaker; a doctor.” She adjusted her fur shrug, raising her eyebrows.

“Really, Lucius – descending to arrest a servant of our great community? I’m surprised you can bring yourself to deprive so many citizens of important medical care.” Her tone indicated that her brother’s actions did not surprise her in the least; as a matter of fact, it was just the kind of thing she expected from him.

~~~

Garnet listened as Lilly turned down her offer of coming inside. Garnet could not help wondering if this was out of any kind of embarrassment of Lilly’s; this made her feel slightly awkward, too, and she gave a quiet, self-conscious laugh. She was grateful to Cameron when he intervened, backing up Garnet’s offer.

She shifted the strap of her suede shoulder-bag slightly; it was starting to dig in to her collarbone. She looped it over her shoulders and head, clasping it loosely to her side instead. Her back was aching from hours of sitting at that desk in the library, piecing together bits of old books, and she would have quite liked to sit down, but she did not want to voice this; Garnet never wished to sound petulant.

She smiled as Cameron found the key to his house. “Wouldn’t you like to come inside?” she tried again. “It’s starting to get rather cold out here, and I know how to make hot chocolate with extra marshmallows – and it’s rather good too, even if I do say so myself.” Her voice held a friendly, joking tone, but she was quite serious. She did not want to see Lilly put her unborn child’s welfare at risk out of mere delicacy.

Already, she had formed quite a lot of empathy for the young woman, who could not have been very much older than Garnet herself. She associated with Lilly’s fear of the wardens. For although Garnet’s cheerful demeanor had returned, that fear was still there in the back of her mind, unwilling to leave her alone in peace. A sudden thought occurred to her. She did not like the idea of taking the walk back home from the Hart’s house; for although Garnet’s house was quite near, she shrank back from the thought of walking the streets whilst the streetlamps were dimmed, with the wardens still on night patrol.

She reached out and gently put her hand on Cameron’s arm, lowering her voice. “Hey, Cameron? Is it okay if I sleep over on the sofa tonight? I won’t be any trouble, I swear; I just don’t much wish to encounter the wardens again.” She did not say any more to try and persuade him to let her be a house guest; on the night her parents had been killed, she had stayed over in the Hart’s living room, afraid to sleep in an empty house. The situation seemed far too similar now, and she would feel much better if she wasn’t in an empty house.

Looking back at Lilly, she gave her a reassuring smile. She didn’t want the girl to feel awkward. “Come and join us for a drink, I insist,” she said. “To seal the deal, why don’t we tell each other our names? I’m Garnet, and this is Cameron.”

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Last edited by ~Goldleaf~ on July 4th, 2010, 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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[That's completely fine by me Goldy. It will make the plot more complicated and exciting! :-D ]

Adrianna’s cool statement about the Governor loomed in the dusty air, threatening and ominous. The doctor was quiet for a moment, hit by the meaning of her words. Or until you're too far gone for him to continue. What she had told him was no news; he had suspected as much about the horrors which took place in the Tower, yet the realisation that perhaps tonight he would meet another side of him whom he’d never met, had not yet dawned to him. Pain and fear could do very strange things with people; it could transform the cleverest men into base beings without morals. How he would react in such a situation Dylan could not tell and he shuddered at the thought of finding it out soon. His mind, though, was tranquil and set on just accepting what was to come his way.

Dylan watched Adrianna’s profile closely as he sat. Her appearance betrayed seemingly no hesitation or doubt as she spoke determined of her whereabouts, yet she was sure not to tell him anything particular. She was no fool.. Dylan thought with a bitter smile. She knew these Wardens and their methods, she actually instructed them. One careless word of him would mean the death of her too.

Finally he forced himself to say something. “Things come as they come. I will not worry over them as nothing is certain yet.”

There was a tensed silence, but Dylan remained silent, sensing that Adrianna'was on the verge of speaking.

A small smile lurked around the corners of his mouth when Adrianna took the bait and revealed her findings, the foundation of a fragile plan that could perhaps lead him to his freedom. It was a smile of relief, relief that this strange woman had not chosen the easy way out. It was also a smile of excitement. Adrenaline once again started to flow through his system upon hearing of this one opportunity which would decide his fate.

His dark eyes tried to catch her gaze but her eyes were fixed on the concrete wall instead. He suddenly wished to know more of her. He wondered what for person was hidden underneath her formal and uncaring demeanour which she chose to wear. She did not believe in this Government. If she’d been a true loyalist then she would have denounced him at once. But had he not peaked her interest in speaking out so plainly? Would she now not take the risk of saving his life? Perhaps he was not the only one who was held prisoner after all.

“So you propose that I will find a way out of this maze of corridors and corners” he started slowly. “Out of this damned fortress, just like that?” He looked at her, an unbelieving grin played at his lips. “And how do you suppose that I achieve that?” he added dryly. “Even with an invisibility cloak I wouldn’t manage it. They have locks you know...”

The doctor watched the brunette once more, but this time his expression had become serious. "Did you also include those obstacles in your plan?"

------------------------

Lilly couldn’t hep but smile at the protest which arose when she declined Garnet’s offer. A sneer would not have been misplaced when she bumped into Cameron. Yet this couple, who seemed both to be about her age, had been worried about her and now even invited her into their house. Secretly, she wished to accept their invitation were it not for her own concerns and the urge to find her doctor.

Lilly lived on her own in small house. Her social life was tiny as there was no family or relatives around. Often on dark night she had felt lonely, having no one to talk to. Her life had shrunk to her long days of work and her occasional visits to the market. Yet now with the baby coming everything would change. Even now she already chatted with the little one, which often resulted in queer looks from bystanders.

“Alright you convinced me,” the blond said with an admitting smile. “I would love some hot chocolate. It’s my favourite drink.”
Her sweet temper seemed to have won from her temporal anguish and haste.
“It’s just that my doctor did not show up on his check-up with the baby and I have had these aching pains in my sides..”

How tempting it was to spill al her concerns now and then. Her worries which she could not vent; her fears of which she could talk to no one. But although she did not distrust this couple, Lilly thought that it would be more than inappropriate to do so and she checked herself.

“My name is Lilly… Lilly Tash,” She added instead when Garnet introduced Cameron and herself. “I live in the east quarters near the Great Bridge. And as for this little one,” she said with a tender smile as she stroked her round stomach. “I’m not sure yet what the name will be.”

She shivered as she threw a last look down the street but then followed Cameron into the house after he’d unlocked the door, relieved to shut out the dark night.

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[ Ooh Melda? :whistle: I'm sorry for being so impatient, but I'm just excited XD ]

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For the first time, Adrianna thought she'd finally given the doctor cause to think about his situation properly; since she'd met him she'd found he was surprising hard to shock into action. For years she had found safety in plans, preparation and logical thinking; she made sure she always had an escape route, just in case. He didn't. That made her anxious; he didn't seem to be giving his predicament any thought at all, and his lack of discernible fear left her feeling somewhat out of place. Despite the fact her job relied on her ability to deal with people, she found it remarkably difficult at times.

A tense silence filled the gaps in the halting conversation. Feeling that she was being scrutinised, she watched the doctor carefully, with only the smallest hint of a frown touching her face. Even with his intimidating height she didn't feel too threatened; after all, he could do nothing to her without harming his chances of escape. Right now, he needed her aid, her influence, and most importantly, her silence. Though she guessed he was clever enough to keep his mouth shut in front of the Wardens and the Governor himself, she felt uneasy about turning her back and trusting the stranger who had willingly put his life in her hands. This was an entirely different kind of responsibility to that she was used to, and it rested heavily on her shoulders.

“Things come as they come. I will not worry over them as nothing is certain yet.”

This sentence confirmed what she already believed of the doctor; he didn't fight things as they came, merely kept an eye out for an opportunity to break free of the bonds that bound him. She said nothing in response, but merely nodded to acknowledge his words.

As she began speaking of her plan, she noticed the slightest hint of satisfaction on the doctor's features; he seemed to have been trying to lure her into divulging her findings. The thought unsettled her, but as she couldn't very well halt in the middle of her explanation, she continued until she'd outlined the basic points of her idea. There was something else in his smile that she couldn't identify, but by now she'd long since abandoned her feeble attempts to understand a man who was so different to the people she was used to picking apart.

Recounting her plan-in-progress took some time, during which she refused to meet the doctor's eyes and she formulated and calculated, adjusting her plan for every problem she encountered. Already she'd found so many holes in it that she was doubting its success; to pull it off, they'd need to be able to co-ordinate their efforts and avoid any obstacles they came across when the time actually arrived. The sheer amount of things that could go wrong made Adrianna shiver.

“So you propose that I will find a way out of this maze of corridors and corners, out of this fortress, just like that? The doctor's expression was one of incredulity.

“And how do you suppose that I achieve that?”

“It's not impossible,” she told her, feeling just a little bitter. “Done properly, it'd be simple enough to execute providing I can account for all who'll be in the vicinity. The halls should be empty. All you'd have to do is navigate away your way outside.”

“Even with an invisibility cloak I wouldn’t manage it. They have locks you know...”

Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Adrianna looked him in the eye for the first time in a long while, wondering vaguely if that was the best counter he'd been able to come to.

“And locks have keys,” she told him quietly. “I'm not a simpleton.”

Young as she might be, she'd had considerable experience dealing with the kinds of obstacles that would face the doctor himself. As she'd proved hours earlier, picking locks was a talent of hers that came in immensely useful. Picking up and misplacing a set of keys or two would not be a hard task, and if she arranged for them to be left in a place where she could recover them later, then she along with anyone else who'd had access to the keys would be practically free from blame. The case would be a complex one for any outsider to figure out, if she managed to plug all the holes. No-one would be able to trace the doctor's escape back to her, nor would the find out he was missing until the next time someone checked in on him. When put like that, it sounded perfect, but Adrianna had the smallest suspicion that she wasn't the only one who thought all of this could go downhill very, very quickly.

<center>- - -</center>

There was no kind of awkwardness or tension in the Governor's movements as he shuffled papers, rearranged and reorganised folders and generally ignored his sister's existence. At present, she had nothing that interested him and therefore he would leave her to continue to play her ridiculous mind games while he actually worked towards something. Though her ever-present arrogance irked him, he'd satisfy himself with thoughts of the scandal that would be the height of gossip when the news slipped out that his sister was interfering with the work of the Government with malicious intent. She'd laugh it off, of course, but there were always those who were sure to circulate rumours that could damage the reputation that 'towered over' his own, as Allegra was quick to remind him.

Noting briefly that his jibe about their father had hit a nerve, Lucius smiled slightly to himself but didn't look up, still affecting disinterest. As a child, a teenager, a young adult, he'd been uplifted by a family who had thought he'd achieve great things; he, however, had been dizzy with dreams of power, and from then had barely thought of anything other than different ways to find more and reaffirm that he already held. It was possible that he wouldn't stop until what survived of this world sat under his thumb, and he was more than content for that day to come. When it did, he'd make sure no-one dared defy him, including his frightfully unruly sister.

“That truly is saddening news,” he remarked, pausing for a moment to let his sarcasm sink in. “does this mean you're actually starting to enjoy my company?”

The smile he displayed now was open, as he knew such an accusation was both as far from the truth as possible and sure to get a reaction from his sister's ego. Allegra might be many things, but she was never subtle when it came to insulting Lucius, at least to his face.

Her face he paid no attention to; her warning he gave no credibility. In the past she'd made a million such threats, none of which had had the slightest impact upon his line of work. The petty war she insisted on waging - of course he wouldn't see this as anything to do with him - would continue until she got bored, at which point it would be dropped for another, hopefully more effective, means of riling him. He didn't spare much hope for his sister's mental health.

To his left, Allegra's cigarette touched down on a piece of paper. Looking up from the document in front of him he raised his eyebrows at his sister, wondering what exactly this sort of behaviour was supposed to inspire in him. Anger? Annoyance? At the minute he felt nothing but vaguely amused; she was confirming his belief that she was a scorned child trying to get her own back on the world.

“That,” he told her in the most condescending voice he could muster, “was an order for the renewal of wine deliveries. If you want to interrupt my business I suggest you develop better aim.”

A moment passed, until Adrianna's name popped up again.

“My my, aren't you a clever little detective?” Lucius got to his feet and drew himself up to his full height, casually, subtly reminding Allegra that he was indeed the elder of the two of them. Such an action would surely annoy her, even if in a small way; it was one of his favourite activities, especially during times of prolonged boredom.

“Well, that's me told,” he heaved a mock sigh. “I suppose you're going to follow me and whine if I disagree? Indeed such a threat leaves me fearful, but...” he trailed off and rolled his eyes.

Now it was Lucius' turn to laugh. “Distasteful? Dear sister, that's simply because you have always sought to keep your hands clean. You did always despise doing your own dirty work.”

“A little bird told me the other day that this man you have under suspicion is a one Dylan Whittaker; a doctor.” Allegra countered, seemingly eager to display the knowledge she had gained.

“Don't you know how unreliable little birds are, Allegra?” he asked in a quiet, bored voice, not expecting an answer.

Lucius' distaste of those who defied the Government's laws aside, he was hell-bent on making sure that all in this underground city complied with his idea of ‘justice’. Doctor Whittaker fit into that category whether he had disobeyed an official law or not; the Governor wanted him punished, and very few people had the power to stop him. His sister was not one of them.

“You would rather I allowed him to continue supporting the black market, rogue pirate organisations and such? I'm sure, though, that you think you know better - do tell me about your medical training, I'm sure it's an absolutely thrilling tale.”

Lucius did not care about his sister's opinion nor want her input on this matter; she was far better suited, in his opinion, to sowing dissension and inventing creative lies. Clever she might be, but she wasn't cut out for his job - she didn't have the nerve to do what had to be done to maintain this kind of lifestyle. If he'd been anyone else, he might have considered that to be a good thing.

<center>- - -</center>

At that minute, both Cameron and garnet seemed to be thinking along the same lines; Lilly had been a little awkward at first, but that seemed to be simply because she didn't encounter kindness from others such as them everyday; common decency had gone out the window in recent years, and you were lucky if you received a polite nod from a stranger as you passed them. Cameron could easily understand Lilly's fright; had she bumped into a heartless stranger or, forbid, one of the Wardens, the greeting she would have received would have been much, much less amiable.

By the look on her face Cameron could tell she was considering their offer, weighing up her options; she was tempted by the thought of an open and friendly place where she could, for once, relax. Cameron couldn't say that he blamed her one bit; these were troubled times, and kindness was rarely shown to strangers who wandered the streets at night.

As Garnet came up close to his side, Cameron turned slightly. Her insistence that Lilly stay was voiced softly, earnestly, and showed Garnet's gentle, loving nature quiet plainly. The two stood facing Lilly, smiling gently, waiting for her to reply - hopefully with an affirmative.

“Hmm, hot chocolate.” Cameron mused quietly, as if picking over the idea.

The question Garnet voiced to him quietly soon after made him smile again, then laugh softly. He wouldn't have turned her away even if he'd had good reason to; she'd make another otherwise empty and dreary night warm. Turning his head a little more so he could look her in the eye, Cameron replied as he usually did, with a small joke and a rhetorical question.

“Would I be able to keep you out if I tried?” he grinned at her. “Don't be daft, of course you can.”

Though his tone was light hearted, he guessed at the reason behind her asking before she'd explained; the Wardens were enough to strike fear into the heart of the bravest of men; had he been made to choose between spending the night alone and spending it with close friends and good company, it would have been by far one of the easiest choices he'd make.

“Alright, you convinced me. I would love some hot chocolate. It’s my favourite drink.” Lilly gave the two a smile that Cameron returned.

“It's decided then,” Cameron said brightly, feeling just a little bit more cheery at the thought of different company for a while. His work meant he spent long periods of time away, and as such though he had colleagues, he had very few close friends.

As Lilly began to recount her reasons for being around so late, Cameron felt a concern enter his mind. He knew very well that he ought to be cautious of strangers, but he wasn't one to be contemptuous or distrusting without cause; he'd listen if Lilly needed to talk, and he knew Garnet would willingly do the same. She was such a social creature.

“Come rest a while, then,” Cameron suggested. “If nothing else it'll make you feel better.”

After Garnet had introduced Cameron and herself, Lilly began her own introductions; as she did so, Cameron moved to the door and inserted the key. The lock was older than he cared to imagine and seemed to grow increasingly stiff every day, but he managed to move it so the door swung inwards on hinges that only squeaked a little to reveal a quiet and empty room. Moderately comfy furniture was laid out in a semicircle around a gas heater, which for the moment remained unlit, and Cameron gestures for the two women to enter before him. He had a feeling that a little warmth, a little gentle conversation and hot chocolate would make the night - and life in general - seem just a little bit more bearable.

[Eek, sorry I took so long. I think I just took the biscuit for being distracted by shiny things. :blink:]

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 6:47 pm 
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[ Melda! I'm so glad you're back! :-D Awesome post dearie! And I luv the interaction between Adrianna and Dylan.. they have such contrasting characters! :)
And wouldn't it be a nice plan if Dylan was to meet Allgra in his cell? Than perhaps she can reveal that she's on his side and when he escapes Lucius might also suspect her..

Aah plotting is so gooood! :teehee: ]

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PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 6:54 pm 
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(Epic post Darky! *nods* :-D

Will wrote:
[ Melda! I'm so glad you're back! :-D Awesome post dearie! And I luv the interaction between Adrianna and Dylan.. they have such contrasting characters! :)
And wouldn't it be a nice plan if Dylan was to meet Allgra in his cell? Than perhaps she can reveal that she's on his side and when he escapes Lucius might also suspect her..

Aah plotting is so gooood! :teehee: ]


And Will, Allegra is going to go down to the cells with Lucius in a while. =) The plan is that a while ago, Allegra helped Dylan to purchase a large number of medical supplies, and that she’s a member of the resistance. Obviously she won’t reveal this in the cells, but she’ll do her best to try and help Dylan, without giving away that she’s connected to him. :-D

Lucius might have Allegra removed from the cell though – which she won’t like one bit! :lol: Anyhoo, can’t give too much away! This is so exciting! :-D

Anyway, I’ve written Allegra’s part of my reply, and I’ll write up Garnet’s tomorrow and get the post up!)

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PostPosted: July 9th, 2010, 12:26 pm 
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[Thankyou! I think I enjoy writing for this RP a little too much. I get carried away. :P

@ Will: I have far too much fun watching them. :D Oooh, excitement. I really can't wait for to start the escape and the very beginning of the development of the Resistance. It should be epic. :D

Also, I don't actually think Lucius could stop Allegra following him if she was determined. This has the potential to be awesome. Such sibling affection, eh? :teehee:

@ Goldy: Fweee! I can tell you that my breath definitely smells baited. ;)]

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PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 6:04 pm 
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(Sorry I've taken so long replying, guys! :hug: )

Allegra watched Lucius move casually about his office, playing his favourite game: ignoring his little sister’s existence. It didn’t bother her in the least. In fact, it amused her that her brother actually believed that this – snooping around his office, making cigarette burns – was all she had. As far as she was concerned, he was welcome to think so very little of her and believe that she was all arrogance and no action. It only made it easier for her to go behind his back, and put in place plans that he would never dream of suspecting. Her smile never faltered. She knew her brother better than anyone – and so she had already deducted that, amidst his display of professional calm, he was comforting himself with the fact that her attempts at “interrupting” his work would reach outside ears. Allegra didn’t care who knew; there were plenty of people ready to feel sorry for her, and jump to the conclusion that the governor was keeping his beautiful younger sister under too severe control. Any publicity was good publicity, and Allegra, for all of her brother’s authority, had a great deal of likeability.

She noted his smile; he knew that he’d made a hit there by ridiculing their father. His smugness was just another thing that Allegra despised about her brother. He obviously felt so secure in his own power that he had fallen in love with his own fairytale of grandeur. She knew that what he had wanted, ever since childhood, was complete control over everything and everyone in his world. Allegra, unfortunately, had fallen under that title, and so had fallen prey to his sickening desire to stamp out competition.

She merely laughed at his comment. The day she enjoyed his company would be the day hell froze over. She did, however, enjoy taunting him. As yet, though, he had not succumbed to her attempts to break down his cold veneer. Allegra liked challenges though. Tonight Lucius seemed to have deluded himself into almost pitying her – a mistake she would soon amend.

He was enjoying himself now, she could tell. She raised her eyebrows as he informed her exactly what kind of paper she had burnt with her cigarette stub, as if she actually cared. “How fascinating,” she remarked, affecting rapt attention. Shrugging her shoulders, she proceeded to light up another cigarette. “Tell me, was it white wine, red wine? I’m simply desperate to know.”

Allegra glanced up at Lucius as he drew himself up to appear as tall as possible. Contrary to his wishes, she was not in the least bit annoyed about the reminder that he was, in fact, her elder. Such an action may have worked when they were children, but now it was only vaguely amusing. But, since he was near, Allegra took the opportunity for what it was, as he so markedly displayed his disinterest in the information Allegra held, and took a deep inhalation of her cigarette, before exhaling a gust of silvery smoke into Lucius’s face. Her expression remained utterly deadpan. Contrary to what Lucius believed, actions like these weren’t attempts to try and damage his work; it was simply good fun – excellent fun, in fact. “I’m glad you think so,” she observed.

“Follow you and whine?” she continued, upon hearing her brother’s next little witticisms. “No, dear brother, you mistake my intentions.” She left it at that, not caring whether Lucius understood her properly or not. She took a step closer towards him and dropped the cigarette on the floor of his office, grinding it under one of her stiletto heels. “You’re right there, for once. I prefer clean hands to ones smudged with the blood of my fellow man – perhaps it’s a little thing called ‘delicacy’. I daresay it’s a trait you don’t possess. But I wonder…” she broke off here, tilting her head to one side, her expression beautifully thoughtful, “…I wonder how you feel you have leave to comment about doing one’s own dirty work. You, who never lift a finger for yourself, but send out your legions of armed men to carry out your work for you.”

Silence and a smile was the result of Lucius’s quip about little birds. Since her brother did not expect an answer, she did not give one. Her sources were anything but unreliable, and Lucius knew nothing of them. She was happy to let him think that information she pieced together was based on gossip. Allegra had informants almost everywhere; she’d once had a secretary of one of the governors working for her, handing her weekly reports containing matters of interest. That particular informant was now retired, but there were plenty more of similar caliber, who paid utmost attention to detail, eager to please Allegra.

Allegra had an interest, professionally speaking, in Doctor Whittaker. Not long ago, she’d helped him to purchase a large amount of medical supplies via the black market. Allegra may not have had an official rank, but she was undeniably rich, her father having left her a huge inheritance. Lucius had not been able to find any legal means of stopping Allegra receiving that inheritance, and so she was free to spend it as she wished. She had met Whittaker in a hospital when going for a checkup, and she had been appalled at the lack of sophisticated treatment for those of lower standing in the community. Allegra was an exception; even Lucius could not deny his sister medical treatment. Wanting to amend the inadequacy of the treatment given to the larger community, Allegra had been generous indeed upon handing out money. She believed Whittaker to be a good man, and they’d established a friendly working relationship.

When she’d heard that he was soon to be arrested, alarm bells had gone off in her head. The intention to keep secrets was all well and good, but the governors had a number of means at their disposal of getting the truth out of people. If those means should be used, Doctor Whittaker could very easily reveal Allegra’s involvement. Allegra had ways of avoiding an arrest; she always pre-planned. But she still did not want to have to resort to them.

“His only crime was to provide impoverished families with decent medical treatment,” Allegra replied coolly. Although her tone held that steely edge it in no way hinted at her deep involvement in this particular case. She was an accomplished actress, and Lucius would never be able to see beyond what she presented on the outside. “But you’re right, of course. I’ve no medical treatment to speak of. I don’t have the right qualifications to my name.”

Oh, he had made sure from early times that she had no qualifications to speak of. If he was so unthreatened by her, as his behaviour suggested, then why had he made sure of this from the very beginning? He’d always known that Allegra had excellent potential, and he’d wanted to crush it. He had always been threatened by her, and they both knew it. It was just one of those things he didn’t care to mention. There had to be a reason why he prevented her from having a job. Jealousy. Paranoia. And an unquenchable need for absolute control.

Idly, Allegra glanced at her watch. Lifting her head, her grey eyes fixed on Lucius. “It’s getting late,” she remarked. “I think you’d better be heading down to the cells. I’m sure you want to be seen as going about your job in a satisfactory manner.”

Allegra was almost glad of the fact that Lucius underestimated her. True, she was not suited to his “line of work”, as he called it – as if it was something respectable – but that was due to her possession of something that her brother lacked: a good heart. Allegra may have been an excellent liar and a skilled manipulator, but beneath it all she had honourable intentions, and a wish to do good. Allegra suspected that Lucius did not even have a heart, and if he did, it had withered and died a long time ago.

Yes, she was glad that he thought that her only strikes against him involved rifling through his office and making cigarette burns. They hid her real objective. The obvious show of disloyalty and carelessness hid detailed plans – they threw the scent off her real devices. Allegra’s mind ran like a complex, well-oiled machine – and it was her ability to plan so clear-headedly, and arrange events with such skilled operation, that made her such a deadly opponent.

She smiled up at her brother with her usual ease and radiance. “Shall we go, then?”

~~~

Garnet felt a wave of warmth wash over her as she stepped inside Cameron’s house, although the gas heater remained unlit. The feeling of safety and comfort she now felt had nothing to do with the usual meanings of warmth and coldness connected to temperature. As the front door closed behind her, Garnet found that a beam had lit up her features. She loved the Hart’s house; she had spent almost as much time here throughout her life as she had in her own home, and if she was honest, she preferred it here. Her house was so empty, and although it was relatively small, it still felt too big with only her living in it. She never felt right when she put the key in the door and stepped in her front room.

She had such a vivid memory of how things used to be in her home. It had been such a happy, vibrant place, filled with laughter and music. Her parents had been popular people, and they’d always been having visitors round for meals and pleasant company. And although the furniture had been poor, only what they could afford on their teachers' wages, the house had been filled with books, with paintings, with ornaments. Garnet remembered the wind chime hanging above their front door, it’s gentle music as the wind hit it.

Cameron and Adrianna had been regular visitors in those long ago days. She remembered bringing them back home with her, how her parents had welcomed them like long-lost children of their own. Garnet had been so happy then, when she’d still had her parents, when home had been a welcoming prospect. The house was still the same, still brimming with books, the same paintings hanging on the walls, but there was something vital missing, the spirit of what used to be.

The Hart’s house was the only part of her old life that hadn’t changed. It was still a home, still a place where two people dear to her lived. Looking around the front room, Garnet hung up her suede shoulder bag on the wall, and, scarcely wasting a moment, begun making herself busy, turning the cold room into something more hospitable.

“I’ll make you guys hot chocolate in a minute,” she called over her shoulder to the others as she darted through a door into an adjacent hallway. She went to the cupboard under the stairs and peered in. She knew this house well, and she knew Cameron wouldn’t mind if she took charge of things a little. She wanted to make Lilly feel as welcome as possible. Garnet came back, carrying several woolen blankets and a couple of cushions in her arms.

She turned towards Lilly and gently wrapped one of the blankets around the girl’s shoulders. She gestured towards the armchair nearest to the gas heater. “You must be cold,” she said, with a kind smile. “Do sit down and make yourself comfortable.” Her blue-grey eyes seemed to twinkle now. “That’s an order, by the way,” she joked. “I’m ever so pushy when I want to be, aren’t I Cameron?” she looked over her shoulder at him.

There was a small pause after those words. Having caught Cameron’s gaze, Garnet found it somewhat difficult to glance away again. She would have liked to say something more to break the pause, something funny, but she found she couldn’t quite manage it. Instead, she cleared her throat, laughed slightly self-consciously, and turned away to light the gas heater.

Once she’d done so, she threw another of the blankets about her own shoulders and went into the kitchen. Peering in the cupboards, she looked for hot chocolate. With a stroke of luck, she found a small pot of it, although there weren’t any marshmallows – Garnet doubted that Adrianna stocked up on little luxuries such as marshmallows, anyway. She found a saucepot and heated some milk and hot chocolate powder over the stove, stirring the mixture together.

It only took a little while. Once she’d poured the drink into three mugs and switched off the stove, she went back into the front room, balancing the mugs on a tray. She set it down on the small table and sat back on the couch, finally giving herself a chance to take the weight off her feet, after such a long day.

It was obvious that she appreciated sitting down quite a lot, for she’d spent the entire day hunched over her desk on an uncomfortable wooden chair, with only one half an hour rest break. She curled up on the couch and hugged one of the pillows she’d brought in, closing her eyes for a moment. She looked very tired. But the moment did not last long, for when she opened her eyes again her smile had returned, and she nodded towards the mugs. “Help yourselves,” she said, her voice filled with it’s usual friendly ring.

That was one of Garnet’s best qualities; the ability to make things seem alright when she herself was going through a particularly hard time in her life. She’d done her best to make the atmosphere warm, friendly, inviting, everything it should be. She was good at looking after people, and no one could dispute that fact. Garnet had always been someone who helped other people, even when she herself needed helping, even when she needed looking after herself.

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Last edited by ~Goldleaf~ on July 14th, 2010, 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 6:23 pm 
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[I guess I should probably give an explanation for my masses of randomness. I've been planning this for a while, hopefully as a slightly different way of an introduction.
As things go along, I will probably be posting bits and pieces, along with my usual replies, and just leave it as a separate narrative. :D]


[font=Times New Roman, serif]<center>THIRTEEN MONTHS AGO</center>[/font]

Before the electrical systems shut down, there was always an awful lot of maintenance to be done. They had to be shut down slowly, for a start: power had to be cut from one section of the city at a time to prevent overloading the circuits and systems; faults had to be identified before the lights were powered up again, to prevent damage to the bulbs - there was many, many lights in the city and production lines were slow and backed up at the best of times. These reasons, among others, were mainly why electricians and people of a similar job description worked at ‘night’ - most of the tasks they were supposed to complete were more easily done in the twilight hours.

As usual, the ‘power down’ routine began at nine fifty-five on the dot: to send the city into blackout mode they'd need roughly five minutes, give or take a few seconds. This was not unexpected, it was procedure; a slow shut-down would stop them simply draining all electrical energy from the mass of tangled circuitry that made up the majority of the lighting.

What was both uncommon and unexpected was the fizzing that was audible even in the streets below the tangle of lights: a noise that suggested something was askew with the wiring above.

Immediately there was a surge of activity down below: men and women in overalls carrying ladders and toolboxes rushed onto the scene, followed swiftly by shouting Wardens calling for order and attention. They were given neither, which only added to their bitterness.

Amidst the chaos, the electrical fizzing stopped, but only for a split second: next thing, there was a small pop that no-one heard, thanks to the uproar in the streets, and simultaneously the light went out and showered the people below with sparks and tiny fragments of broken glass.

Arguments ensued, the most notable being that between the Warden in charge and one Alexander Marcus. We already know this disagreement ended with the latter being dragged away and imprisoned, but he was the only one sent to endure whatever punishment the Governors decided for him. The others, left silent after their colleague's raucous departure, took a minute to regain their wits and continue about their business before the Wardens returned their attention to them and ordered more arrests. Fear was good motivation, the Wardens knew; it kept people obedient, unquestioning and silent.

By now, the ladders had been set up and locked into place, the Wardens had established some sort of perimeter that stopped any passers by entering the street without some kind of warrant or order from someone of power.

Electricians scurried up and down the ladders, first identifying the wires responsible for the surge then removing and replacing the broken bulb with the spare they'd managed to find. As they worked they were scrutinised constantly by the Wardens, who were perpetually searching for a way to discredit the workers. A century ago this kind of behaviour would have been discouraged; now, however, it was simply what the people expected from the government's puppets.

When their business was attended to and the wiring had been successfully patched up, the motley group of electricians began to pack away, all looking both anxious and exhausted. As they gathered equipment, colleagues and their ID - there was very little chance that the Wardens wouldn't haul them in for questioning if they didn't show some proof - a woman turned onto the street. Dark curls tumbled around a pale face, a striking contrast when viewed from a distance, until she slid them behind an ear, out of the way. The expression she was was entirely neutral; she showed no outward sign of disapproval, satisfaction or any other emotion that someone of superior rank would have worn proudly, but nor did she seem entirely like one of them. The electricians that were leaving gave her cautious glances and a wide berth, neither of which she noticed.

Before the woman had gotten far down the street, a Warden challenged her. The cold reply she gave was enough to make him scowl, but he didn't stand aside. Instead, he cursed, which drew the attention of other Wardens nearby; the commanding officer for this small patrol sauntered over with a look of bitter distaste written across his features and demanded the woman explain her lack of co-operation; this she did, quickly and efficiently, as was her tendency. When she'd finished and as the silence stretched out, the paler the Wardens' faces became. After a moment more of hushed words, the woman sidestepped the two Wardens and, without so much as a backwards glance, walked past them to where some of the electrical staff were still packing away. The brunette paused and gave her surroundings a cursory sweep, as if checking that all was satisfactorily ordinary, then turned her gaze upwards. No light flickered, and there wasn't even an audible buzzing noise from the wires as the energy that powered the bulbs surged through them. Green eyes darting from detail to detail, the young woman gave the somewhat disturbing impression of being able to pinpoint anything suspicious or out of place with merely a glance; the fact was incorrect, of course, but the people that were still milling around continued to think so all the same.

The wary and fearful way in which they regarded her was not well deserved; she seemed to sense nothing wrong with this place, and so turned on her heels and left without sparing a second glance for any of them - including the Wardens who had intercepted her earlier. Even though the most pressing issue that would be discussed in low voices over the next few weeks would be a certain Mr Marcus, every so often someone did pause to wonder who that strange woman was and what exactly she'd said that had affected the Wardens so. Something that no-one doubted, though, was that she worked for the enemy: she had a prescence and held a kind of power that was only gained through socializing with the high-born leaders of what was a great nation and now lay as a fractured society.


[font=Times New Roman, serif]<center>TWO WEEKS LATER</center>[/font]

Disappearances rattled the people, this was known to be true. Two weeks, though not a long time, was time enough - in this forsaken place, at least - for family of the missing person or persons to lose hope in ever finding their friend or relative again. After two weeks, they would simply be left, miserable, clinging to the bones of the past, wishing they could turn back time. Such times had been known to utterly destroy those who felt they'd been robbed of someone precious.

Sometimes, not often, this wasn't the case. Not because people didn't care, goodness no; this was because the person who had disappeared was the only one left of their family ‘unit’ and there was no-one left to miss them. In this instance, the person snatched from their life, their routine, would sit and wonder, just for a moment: will anyone actually notice I'm not there anymore?

Alexander did just this. For two weeks that seemed to span a lifetime, he'd sat, alone, in a cell, doing nothing but watch the walls and wait for something, anything, to change. Every so often, maybe every couple of days, he'd have a visitor: some servant who wouldn't meet his eyes or utter a cohesive word to him. Whoever it was would set down a glass of cloudy water and a little food. Time had taught him to ration it, awful as the food was; he needed strength, he needed energy... he really needed a way out of this place. Despite his desperate desire for it, a resigned voice in the back of his head told him it wouldn't come; this accursed prison wouldn't disappear until either he ‘repented’ and joined forces with those he hated or until he was dead. This had left him only one option, seeing as there was no chance - no chance - of him joining these barbarians. They were insane if they thought there was even the slightest chance he might be persuaded, he often told himself, only to be reprimanded by that voice again: of course they're insane. Why else would they lock away their own people?

In the darkness, which came often when the candles left by servants had burned low, noises dominanted the immediate area. Alexander never could hear anything beyond that heavy wooden door, bolted in more places than he cared to guess at and guarded by an electrical system that even he, as an electricial, would not have touched. The surroundings he was stuck in, however, he got used to: he could hear spiders scuttling along the walls; the slightest bang from above him, he heard. Every so often, he heard another noise, one quite different to all others: voices. Above there were voices, indistinct and infuriatingly quiet, but voices nonetheless. This told him two things: he was being held somewhere that people either visited regularly or passed regularly and that it was a place of no mean size. After he'd been taken out of the public eye, down backstreets and alleyways that no-one occupied, there'd been a brief struggle; he'd managed to give one of the Wardens a black eye, he guessed, but at a price. In return he'd received a beating of his own, one that ended with him being knocked unconsious. Luckily for him, he didn't remember much of it - most of what had happened he extrapolated from his extensive collection of bruised and cuts he'd gained during the hours he'd missed. Because of his unconsious state, he'd not seen where he'd been taken and locked up; all he knew was that the inside of his stone cage was too small and it was far too dark when the candles went out.

For days more, Alexander convinced himself that eventually, someone would come for him. Certainly, he was not a fool enough to suspect a friendly face, come to rescue him, but what he did expect was a leader, a notable name; someone who would no doubt be wearing something fancy with a matching expression of disgust. He didn't want sympathy, he wanted someone he could fight against: riotous feelings bubbled inside him, and while he was locked away, alone, he had no-one to vent on, no-one to turn to. As he'd been taken by the Wardens, he'd guessed that pain would be his undoing. Now, he realised that loneliness - in as strange a form as it was - would unravel him much more quickly.

Outside of this place, life will progress, Alexander often mused to himself. This brought back, among other things, that which he missed the most and that which he had taken for granted. As a child and an adolescent, he'd often been scolded for being too outspoken when it came to his views on people or subjects - or, later on in life, politicians and other topics that were considered taboo. Colleagues had often hushed him when he spoke slightingly of those in power, and he regretted that he had ignored them, for their sakes more than his: if his captor, whoever it was, learned of what he'd said to those he might call friends, they would likely face the same fate as he did himself.
His thoughts strayed constantly and, while lying on his flimsy mattress, so thin he could feel the cold floor through it, he found the thing he missed the most was a quiet nights' sleep. Since he'd got here, he hasn't slept through the night; every few hours he shut his eyes with the intention of sleeping of the hunger, the pain, the bitterness, but most attempts were in vain.

Ironically, the day - or night, he had no sense of time in that place - he did, finally, manage to catch a few hours of shut-eye, he was woken prematurely by an obscenely bright light and a figure who was profoundly unfamiliar to him. A woman a good few years his junior stared down at him, holding a lantern aloft with one hand and a roll of expensive paper that bore the seal of one Governor Nylander.

“Good day,” he had greeted her cheerily, “Are you my executioner?”

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