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Backslide and New Associates

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51 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:23 pm

"Right?" I can't help the grin that spreads across my lips as I laugh, my approval of her increasing as I glance at the garish house we're about to enter. "I was injured when he first brought me here; bleeding out and barely holding onto my arm. But I swear, I took one look at this god awful place and tried to leave. Damn near died on those steps up there arguing about how some rich bastard with a glass house couldn't possibly have the brains to fix my problem.

"He never did get me in the house while I was conscious," I say with a nostalgic sigh. "I passed out and had to be carried in on a sheet. Poisoned six men before they realized what was happening and had the sense to not touch my skin against my wishes. And then they lost two nurses trying to stabilize me."

I smile a little crookedly as I look at her with a shrug.

"In retrospect, I was probably a little delirious and unreasonable," I admit sheepishly. "I was probably more dramatic than Richard, and I don't have to tell you that's a bloody feat."

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52 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:11 pm

I smirk slightly at his remark, still holding the door shut with the guard standing tensely (awkwardly) just outside. 

"I suppose I should get this over with," I sigh, turning to look up at the guard with narrowing eyes as I gesture for him to step back. "Think you could teach me that poison trick..? I feel like stabbing unwanted hands lacks finesse."

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53 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:27 pm

"I would be delighted," I nod as I switch off the car to get out. The guard tenses when I do, my hand waving him off threateningly as he flinches away without question. Ljuba is halfway out of the car by the time I've come around to offer her a hand out.

"Would you mind if I accompanied you?" I ask politely. "At least until Richard has taken it upon himself to step on my toes and dismiss me so he can indulge whatever secrecy he's up to, anyway."

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54 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:30 pm

I get out of the car without taking the offered hand, shutting the door behind me as I glance up at the house. 

"I'm going to need your help just finding the right place," I say, "and I can't say I'm opposed to being escorted in by someone as unsettling as you, so be my guest."

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55 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:36 pm

"You flatter me," I tease with an amused chuckle as I look her over for the hundredth time. "Really, though, you have any unsettling way about you, as well. It's actually rather appealing... and that mask makes it rather striking, in a peculiar way. A good way.

"With the right motivation, you could be terrifyingly beautiful."

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56 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:42 pm

"I'm more than happy to just blend into the crowd." I remark, following him up to the house as the guard watches us tensely.

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57 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:52 pm

"Also a good choice," I comment as I watch the nervous guard with narrow eyes. He's very agitated when he holds the door open for us, an awkward silence stretching between us as I stand outside waiting for him to go first, stubbornly refusing to put the flighty man at my back.

"You're dismissed, Charles," I finally say in annoyance, the sudden rush of air escaping him with a relieved sigh carrying a not so subtle oh, thank God! before he disappears through another door without hesitation.

"We'll take the stairs to the west," I say more casually as I point Ljuba toward the impressive staircase leading to the west wing.

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58 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:59 pm

Stepping into the front foyer, my eye widens at the opulence of the home, and I can't help but chuckle softly at the in-your-face nature of it. No. Modestly clearly was not a strong suit for the man we'd meet. Walking towards the stairs, I keep a comfortable pace ahead of Lavellan, slowing only slightly as we reach the top of the stairs so he can point me in the proper direction. 

"You said you handle all of the witches, then?" I ask quietly as I slow to walk alongside him. "So I'd answer to you..?"

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59 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:04 pm

"Mm," I respond non-committally, her phrasing the only thing putting me off a more simple response. "I would be your mentor and benefactor. We would work together, as equals. At least until you showed some need for a stronger hand, then you might answer to me."

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60 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:05 pm

"Work together doing what, if I can ask?" I continue, my fingers playing absently with the athame as we walk.

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61 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:08 pm

"It depends on your skills and what work you're comfortable doing, " I respond seriously as I look over at her with a raised eyebrow. "Which brings us to the question: what are you comfortable doing? "

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62 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:09 pm

"Making baubles." I respond sharply, cocking an eyebrow at him, "For street carts."

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63 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:21 pm

"You can make all the baubles you want in your free time," I respond firmly. "But that isn't going to pay for nine grand I burned through filling your cupboards, so I suggest putting some serious thought into what your limits are.

"I'll do my best to work with them," I say a little more diplomatically. "But please do not try to make my life hell by being a stubborn arse. I can find you work preparing components and spells for the others if you don't want to use magic.

"But I still need to know your hard limits," I say seriously. "If you don't want to be involved in thievery, or if murder or human trafficking doesn't sit right with you, these are things I need to know. Otherwise I'll be putting prep for all of the above on your plate."

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64 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:27 pm

"I didn't ask for your nine grand," I scowl as I stop, turning to face him. "I didn't ask to be involved with or indebted to any of you, so if you're looking for repayment, look to the man who told you to spend the money."

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65 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:42 pm

"You don't have to repay anything," I say sharply. "But like it or not, Richard found something on you and now you're here, just like the rest of us - dead to the world, and if you're lucky, staying that way.

"The only thing being asked of you is that you carry your weight," I say harshly. "If you find that request unreasonable, in exchange for whatever Richard has done for you, then you're not as bright as I had given you credit for.

"Make a list of your limits," I snap. "We can discuss jobs after you've had a proper orientation. If I have to ask again, I'll rescind your opportunity to have a say."

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66 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:10 pm

My chest swells with a string of angry remarks queued when a door a few yards down from us swings open and a flustered looking man hurries out into the hall and past us without a word. Turning on my heel, I turn to look at the door, several more men filing out with Richard taking up the rear. Dressed to the nines, much how I vaguely recall he looked when he'd dropped in just a week ago, and with a crystal tumbler of thick brown liquor poised in his hand, I'm able to truly take in the appearance he cultivated so carefully. Much different from the haggard looking bloke in Marnin's kitchen I'd originally met. 

I turn to glance back at Lavellan, the smallest hint of anger there before I turn to look at Richard. 

"What?"

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67 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:24 pm

"Lovely to see you, too, darling," Richard responds with a cocked eyebrow as he pauses at the door, gesturing for her to come in. The charm in his smile never wavers, though I can see a coldness harden in his eyes when he registers my presence. "Where is Anthea..?"

"Why?" I ask coldly. "Trying to be discrete?"

Richard's smile vanishes as I confirm both of our suspicions with the single question.

"Find her and remind her where her orders come from," he says venomously before pointing a finger at me, tumbler in hand. "And you mind your business-"

"If this is another pathetic attempt to micromanage your brother'so life-,"

"I said stay out of it! " Richard snaps sharply as I clench my jaw, an angry hiss sucking past my teeth as I feel the magic flare in my eyes.

"You know he only ever gets worse when you do this," I grind out before shaking my head in defeat as I turn to bow stiffly to Ljuba. "Lady Petrovic," I say rigidly. "I hope we're in better spirits when next we meet."

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68 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:28 pm

I glance back at Lavellan, offering the vaguest nod as he turns towards the stairs before my attention is pulled back to Richard. 

"What is the point of this?" I say harshly, walking towards him as I lower my voice. "Why did you send someone to fetch me like I'm some sort of animal or errand?"

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69 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:33 pm

"I was busy," I respond as I wave my glass in the vague direction my meeting had dispersed in. "Otherwise I would have come myself. Unfortunately that was not possible, and I'm afraid it's rather urgent, soo..."

I raise an eyebrow at her as I gesture for her to join me in my sitting room.

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70 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:37 pm

Sighing heavily, I glare at him before stepping into the sitting room, looking around only boredly at the ridiculously lush interior. 

"What is so urgent you couldn't have just called?" I remark, turning to face him as I stand stiffly just inside the room. "Or are you just in the mood to peacock a bit since I couldn't fully ooh and awe over you the last time?"

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71 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:45 pm

"You're already spending too much time with Lavellan," I sigh sadly as I step over to the bar to top off my drink before holding the decanter up in offering toward her. I shrug and put it back down when she declines with a scowl.

"I have a few things for you, first of all," I say as I go over to pull a painting from the wall so I can open the safe behind it. "I can't give those to you over the phone. They're not terribly urgent, but they might make the urgent bit a little easier to manage... or at least one of the things will."

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72 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:48 pm

"It mustn't be too urgent," I remark sharply, raising an eyebrow as I watch him rifle through the safe. "You can't seem to just say it."

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73 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:58 pm

"Marnin's backslid again," I say flatly, unable to look back at her as I rifle through the papers from the safe. My jaw clenches as I realize I've failed to notice what it was I was looking for several times as I try to keep the lump from growing in my throat.

"It's bad this time," I say dully as I turn to face her. "I left one of my healers with him - she was supposed to call when he's woken up, but she hasn't. I don't know how you did it last time, but he listened to you. He was sober and smiling... happy, even.

"You need to make him happy again. I don't care how." I don't bother explaining what the new IDs and registration cards are as I hand them to her and then go to fetch the dress I had found for her. "Talk to him. Fuck him. I don't care, Lju - just... fix him, please? I can't bear to see him like this."

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74 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:07 pm

"Wh-" I frown, taking the papers stiffly as I stare at Richard. "I was just there five days ago, what happened!?"

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75 Re: Backslide and New Associates on Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:24 pm

"I don't know!" I snap more harshly than I'd intended, my lips pressing together quickly as I step away to finish the full glass of bourbon. "I just visited him, just talked to him!

"That's what I want you to figure out." I'm disgusted with the level of emotion in my voice, but I can't stop the tiny thread of my sanity from fraying as I glare at her with blurred eyes. "I want you to figure out why I can't even talk to my own brother without sending him into a downward spiral. I do everything for him!"

I have to stop, the words choking in my throat as I feel my control threatening to come unhinged as I rub my hands down my face roughly. Instead, I nod silently as I look her over appraisingly.

"You'll be able to get through to him," I nod knowingly as I grab the garment bag again, carefully unzipping it so I can pull the dress out for her. It's not extravagant by any means - he would know it was from me it it was - but it's cut and fabric are flattering in all the right ways, and I find myself nodding compulsively as I look between Ljuba and the dress.

"Yes, yes," I mumble, smiling eerily. "This will fix everything. Get undressed."

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