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Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
243
#1
((28 Haring, 9:35; Late morning; Following this thread and this note; Nicolette O'Hara , Joscelyn Hawke , Edwin Thatcher ))

Maker, but she was beautiful. Celeste couldn’t get enough of looking at her, eyes drinking in every graceful line, fingertips reaching out to caress her in the morning sun. Every sailor’s dream, and she was all hers.

After three months, the Wicked Grace’s masts were once again secure in her deck, her rigging back in place, sails gleaming white and ready to be hoisted. Her decks had been scrubbed, all her fittings polished until they shone. Celeste could almost feel the decks thrumming beneath her feet, her ship straining at the ropes that bound her to the docks, eager to be slicing through the waves once again. Just a shakedown cruise outside the harbor to make sure everything was in working order, and then -

“Cap’n?” Dax strode up the gangplank, looking puzzled. “Woman just delivered this.”

Celeste took the muddy scrap of paper that he handed her, frowning. “Addie.” The scrawl was barely recognizable as her writing, the cipher a quick and dirty version that was the only one that Celeste had taught her. First letter transposed one letter over, the second two, the third three, all the way through the alphabet and start over, no spaces between the words. It could be enciphered and deciphered without a key, and it was a bitch for anyone who didn’t know what they were looking for to figure out. “Who delivered it?” she strode to the rail, looking around.

“Didn’t recognize her. She said she found it in an alley.”

“Shit.” That couldn’t be good. Turning, Celeste ran to her cabin, passing Nicolette on the way. She could decipher the first word as her name, but she’d need a quill and parchment to finish it. She laid the paper on her desk and set to work.

“Son of a motherfucking bitch!” She started swearing before she had finished the first line, and by the time she was done, she had worked her way through all the languages she knew and was on the verge of inventing her own curses on the spot. “All hands on deck!” she bellowed, whirling away from the desk and charging back out, her pulse throbbing in her temples. “Addie’s in trouble,” she told them, holding out the deciphered message. Most of them had met the girl at the Hanged Man and had been thoroughly charmed by her innocent enthusiasm (Bailey had been highly disappointed to discover that her affections were firmly turned toward Josc).

“He’s selling her?” Sorcha exclaimed furiously. “What a piece of shit!”

“We gonna kill him, Cap’n?” Piotr asked, his eyes blazing with hate.

Tempting, oh so tempting, but - “First thing we need to do is get her out of there,” Celeste told him, reading the note again. “Kali, get to the Gallows, tell the Knight-Commander that you heard a rumor on the docks that a Tevinter ship smuggling lyrium is going to be docking in the next few days.” Having templars swarming through his ship just might be enough to make him turn around and head home, and it would damn sure slow him down.

"Dax, start pulling together a payload." Their resident alchemist specialized in grenades of all kinds.

"What kind?" he wanted to know.

"Some of everything." Killing wasn't off the table just yet. “Bailey, get to Hightown and tell Josc what’s happened, tell her to get her ass to the Hanged Man. Sorcha, Piotr, get over to the Orland estate and watch it. Just watch it,” she repeated, looking straight at Piotr. “Don’t let them see you and don’t do anything else until I get there. If they move her, you follow and send word to the Hanged Man. Go!”

“What do you want us to do?” Brannigan asked after they had scattered, gesturing to himself, Young Torgun, Stubby and Nordstrom.

“Make sure she’s ready to sail,” Celeste replied grimly. “We may have to leave fast and with some passengers.”

She turned to Nicolette. “This could get ugly,” she warned her lover, taking her hand. “I’m going to the Hanged Man; Varric will know how to find Addie’s brother, and we’ll figure out what to do from there. If you want to stay and help them get the ship ready, that’s fine, but if you want to come … I could use your mind.” The minstrel’s quick wit and creative ideas were something that she had grown steadily more appreciative of, but beyond that, just having her there mattered.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
154
#2
Nicolette had seen Celeste in many moods since the start of their acquaintance with each other, but she had never seen her so sunny as she had become since the masts finally arrived. Almost everybody had pitched in to get them installed, and those who could not helped with the finishing touches to the ship, preparing her for departure. The excitement had seeped into Nicolette and even she had taken on some smaller chores in making the vessel look pretty, and she had helped Bailey sweep the last dregs of sawdust into the sea when it was done. Now she watched Celeste with mingled fondness and amusement as her lover traced the rail in a familiar manner. The Wicked Grace had been a lovely vessel even minus her masts. Now she was a thing of beauty.

She could have watched Celeste’s delight for hours, but fate did not provide that opportunity. Dax appeared, holding a scrap of paper, and Celeste took it with a murmured exchange before heading right for her cabin. Nicolette almost followed, but caught Dax’s eye and left Celeste undisturbed for the moment although she was bursting with questions.

It did not take long for an answer to arrive. The cursing that emanated from the cabin caught everybody’s attention and then Celeste came out on deck like an avenging fury, bellowing for everybody to attend. “Addie’s in trouble.”

Nicolette had met Addie on a couple of occasions. She had found her to be very sweet, and she had had a lot of sympathy for her plight; forced to masquerade for her family each day, with no say over her own destiny. But she had been able to make some strides towards that freedom, and it seemed as though it had been sharply curtailed. Her father, the man who should love her, was selling her off, presumably for defying him.

Celeste was whip-smart and never more so than when presented with a challenge. First she came up with a plan to hinder the ship that would be sent to fetch Addie, using the templars, no less. She issued orders left and right, for alchemical supplies and for a watch, and to prepare the ship, and the crew scattered quickly. Addie had made a positive impression on everyone, and nobody wanted to imagine her being carried off against her will. Nicolette hesitated, wanting to do something, but unsure how she could contribute.

“This could get ugly.” Celeste’s fingers wrapped around her own. “I’m going to the Hanged Man; Varric will know how to find Addie’s brother, and we’ll figure out what to do from there. If you want to stay and help them get the ship ready, that’s find, but if you want to come…I could use your mind.”

For once, Nicolette needed no time to pick her answer, although she felt a tiny twist of pleasure at Celeste’s reasons for asking her along. “I will come with you. I could not stay here and wait, I would wear a hole in your mended decking. One moment.”

She sprinted for her cabin to change her clothing, picking up the practical set she had used to infiltrate the landlord’s house. Within less than a minute she was back out again, daggers at her hips, ready to go. As soon as everything was sorted she went down the gangplank and headed straight for the Hanged Man alongside Celeste.
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
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87
#3
Varric knew the news couldn’t be good as soon as he saw their faces. Celeste’s moods could swing from laconic to devious to exuberant as easily as the wind shifted, but in all the years since Daniel had introduced him to her, he had never seen her look this utterly pissed. Beside her, Dancer’s pretty features were set in a grave expression, but vexation crackled in her eyes.

Thirty seconds later, Varric was pissed, too.

“I sent Bailey to get Hawke,” Trouble told him, and he nodded. No way would Josc not want in on this. “Do you know how to contact Edwin?”

“Yeah.” He gestured, and Murph left his spot helping Corff behind the bar to attend to his real job. “Find Coins and tell him to come here right now, but nothing else, understand?” If the young hothead found out too soon, he’d more than likely charge straight over there, which was undoubtedly what his asshole father was hoping would happen. Time for Varric to teach him another lesson: revenge was a dish best served cold.

And oh, Varric was feeling icy right about now.

“Upstairs,” he ordered, leading the way to his suite and pouring three glasses of whiskey. “Got a plan?” Not really a question; Trouble always had a plan. Whether it was a good plan was a bit less certain. Her enthusiasm sometimes ran away with her, but that was where he came in.

“Killing the fucker came fairly quickly to mind,” Celeste growled, dropping into a chair and taking up one of the tumblers. She’d do it, too; like Daniel, her good nature was nearly boundless, but when it ran out, very little was off the table. “But that would probably cause more problems than it would solve, damn it.”

“That it would.” She was thinking. Good. A murdered father would put the weight of suspicion squarely on the daughter trying to escape an unwanted marriage.

“So we get her out.” Celeste’s lips curled into a wolf’s smile as she took a sip of whiskey. “And then we make him wish he was dead.”

“More satisfying that way,” Varric agreed. He just hoped they could convince Coins of that.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
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Posts
56
#4
When Bailey had arrived at her house, for a moment she believed that maybe Celeste was pulling her into more shenanigans. That was until Bailey recounted what was going on. She left him in the foyer, briefly, as she collected her weapons.

There was part of her that didn’t want to wait, to go right to the Orland Estate and do what she had done many times already in Kirkwall. Cut her way through an obstacle. But she was also aware that when she did that, sometimes the object of rescue was destroyed -- or killed.

So instead of letting her more chaotic nature take hold of her, Josc strapped on what she’d need if they did go storming the estate as quickly as possible, and high tailed it to the Hanged Man. Algernon was eager to go with her, but she had him stay behind. If they were climbing walls, her precious pup wouldn’t be able to follow them.

She took every shortcut she could think of to get to the Hanged Man, the look on her face making anyone who tried to approach her wilt. She barreled through the door when she arrived, only pausing long enough to notice that Celeste, nor Varric, were in the main room.

She pushed through the crowd near the door, and took the stairs up to Varric’s room by twos, and didn’t knock when she entered. She didn’t even think to close the door behind her as she moved towards the gathered group, “So, are we breaking down the front door or we going in quiet?

She paused, “If we’re going in quiet, I’m going to need a drink first.
 
Posts
63
#5
It’d been nearly two months since he’d reunited with his sister, and still Edwin was no closer to getting her out of the hell they’d once called home.

It wasn’t for lack of trying, either. He’d told Aveline back when he’d been oh-so-helpfully volunteered to aid with the Coterie investigation that he was only doing it because it aligned with his own goals. While there were a good many other reasons he’d decided to stick it out, he’d made certain there was still time.

Time to live something resembling a normal life, yes, but also time to ensure his sister could do the same. And once the investigation had been put to bed with any ties the Orlands might have had to them too murky to make a case, he’d redoubled his efforts.

If not for Aveline, he might well have snuck into the estate and done something about it himself. But she’d sold him on the mostly lawful approach thus far. Ruining Barrett Orland would be a great deal more satisfying than simply slitting his throat in the dead of night, after all. And… he’d made a promise to Addie. He’d said he wouldn’t let it consume him, and so he wouldn’t.

Promise or no, he was growing restless. The longer she stayed in that house, the more dangerous it became. If she ever showed her hand too early--if she ever slipped, even once--who knew what Father might do.

Only Edwin, really. Only he’d been aware of the true extent of Barrett’s cruelty. But Addie was smart, and she’d bought herself this much time. There was no reason to doubt she’d be able to hang on.

Poring over shipping manifests, bills of sale, and endless sheets of accounting until his eyes began to cross had gotten him no closer to his goal, though. He’d had to leave the papers last night, yet resuming his perusal this morning wasn’t yielding any results beyond the obvious: Barrett and Sterling were involved in something they didn’t want the authorities or the trade guilds knowing about, but he still had no idea what.

He was considering a walk and a bit of food to clear his head when a knock sounded at his door. Edwin stilled his breathing and listened, hearing only the impatient shuffling of feet on the other side. The hairs rose on the back of his neck as he reached for his dagger, holding it so that it was concealed by his forearm.

“If you’re selling something, I’m afraid you’re wasting your time,” he called out. No change. Flinging the door open in a sudden burst, Edwin prepared to sink the dagger into the stranger’s shoulder if need-be. He stopped when he saw the young man standing on the other side. “--Murph?”

“Varric needs you at the Hanged Man. Says it’s urgent.”

Edwin started to ask for details, but stopped himself short. If Varric wanted him to have further details here, he’d have them. As much as the secrecy fueled his paranoia, he understood it. One didn’t build the network Varric had by conveying every little detail via notes and messengers.

“Armed?” he queried. At Murph’s noncommittal noise, Edwin grabbed his dual blades. “All right then.”

Murph’s pace back to the Hanged Man wasn’t slow, and so neither was Edwin’s. With every jostling step, his heart beat faster, harder, to the point where he was nearly out of breath by the time they arrived. That didn’t stop him from quickly ascending the stairs to find Varric.

Varric, and a number of other people, all of whom he’d either met personally, or knew in passing. His gaze fell to Josc first; the tension in her body, the barely-contained fury in her eyes. Then to Varric, whose face was like stone--every line etched into a cold surface.

Those two alone stole what breath was left in him. “What’s happened?”

Aveline. She would have let him know if there’d been trouble; one last blowback from the Coterie. Ice ran through his veins just the same. But then his gaze moved to Nicolette, a woman he hadn’t seen in what felt like ages now. And finally to Celeste.

“Addie,” he mouthed, all of the color draining from his face in an instant.
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
243
#6
Josc blazed in before Celeste’s ass had time to warm the chair she was sitting in, the look on her face making it plain that she was in much the same frame of mind as Celeste.

“So, are we breaking down the front door or we going in quiet?” she demanded breathlessly.

“Still deciding,” Celeste replied, nudging out a chair with a foot and jerking her head toward the open door. Corff would see to it that no ears were glued to the door, but still no need to advertise.

“If we’re going in quiet, I’m going to need a drink first,” she declared. In answer, Varric poured two fingers of whiskey and slid the tumbler across the table.

“We go in with a plan,” he told her firmly, and Celeste nodded her agreement. She was as fond of winging it as the next Jenny, but the stakes were a lot higher here, and with Nicolette and the rest of her crew involved, not to mention Addie’s life at stake, she would be moving a lot more cautiously than she would if it were just her own ass on the line.

“Got a couple of ideas that could work,” she said as footsteps pounded on the stairs outside; a moment later, Edwin burst in.

“What’s happened?” he wanted to know. His eyes swept the table, taking in who was present, and he put it together fast. “Addie.” The word was more breath than sound, and he went white as a sheet.

“Sit.” The word was spoken in a soothing tone, but was no less a command for that, and Varric sent another glass of whiskey across the table to the final place.

“We’re getting her out,” Celeste promised him firmly. “My crew has eyes on the place; they’ll let us know if anyone takes her anywhere.” She slid the deciphered note across the table. “She managed to get that out,” she told them with a note of pride. “By now, there should be templars waiting to search any Tevinter ship that ties up, which should buy us some time on that end. We do this smart, we can make the ‘Vint think that your asshole of a father reneged on him, which should keep them both busy for a bit. And if we can prove that he actually sold her -” Her lips twisted in a mirthless smile. “That could be the thing that takes him down.”
 

Nicolette O'Hara

Prominent member
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
154
#7
Events unfurled fast, although not as fast as Nicolette would like. Looking back, treating this as a story, it would be skipped until the group was gathered, the council commenced, and the plan worked out. Living it was agonising, as every second they spent not formulating a plan was another second closer to a young woman being wed off against her will. But at least they were moving, and even when they had to stop in order to fill Varric in on what was going on, somebody else moved for them. A dispatch was sent to Edwin, and they were hustled upstairs and given drink. “Got a plan?”

“Killing the fucker came fairly quickly to mind.”

Nicolette examined how she felt about this. Lifelong committed to avoiding any and all violence (not always successfully), she expected Celeste’s statement to cause some revulsion in her. None occurred, and that knowledge helped steel her further. Although she was glad they would be avoiding any killing tonight. It would cause too many problems.

And it was not as though anybody would expect her to do the killing.

So we get her out. And then we make him wish her was dead.”

“More satisfying that way.”

“He must have letters.” Nicolette could not contribute to the martial strategy, but she could think about other aspects. “Something that shows he was in communication with a Tevinter merchant, which is already enough to make many people uncomfortable. Or at least uncomfortable if it is out in the open,” she added. No doubt quite a few rich people in Kirkwall had their associations with slavers and their ilk, but to be caught at it publicly would spell a trial by mob. “We need to see if we can find anything of that kind, as proof. It is even better if he spells out his plans.” He could not have relayed everything by mouth, surely.

The next person through the door was not Edwin, but Josc. Although that was hardly surprising. Nicolette had occasionally caught glimpses of her and Addie together, looking like a beautiful romance story in progress. If so, this was the part in which trials and tribulations came in to cause conflict, and Nicolette did not care for it one bit.

Eddie arrived, and was quick to blanch as he swept his gaze across their faces. Varric ordered him to sit, and then Celeste laid out the plan. Or part of one. “We’re getting her out. My crew has eyes on the place; they’ll let us know if anyone takes her anywhere.” She handed over the note that, by mostly luck, had made its way to the ship. “By now, there should be templars waiting to search any Tevinter ship that ties up, which should buy us some time on that end. We do this smart, we can make the ‘Vint think that your asshole of a father reneged on him, which should keep them both busy for a bit. And if we can prove that he actually sold her - that could be the thing that takes him down.”

Nicolette nodded. “He will almost certainly have a lot of guards within and without the estate. Ideally we would want to draw them away rather than engaging in a direct confrontation, or it could get bloody quickly.” Something she was keen to avoid. “I think ideally we would want at least two infiltrating parties, one to fetch Addie out, and the other to search for the evidence. With Addie being free a priority, of course.”

She felt as though she had little right in speaking to a group of people far more versed in combat than she was, but what she did have was an imagination, and she put it to the task now, the gears of her mind whirring as she started to work through the potential troubles and how they could be avoided.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

Prominent member
Canon Character
Noble
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Posts
56
#8
Still deciding,” came Celeste’s answer to her first question, and Josc turned to close the door as indicated before taking the proffered seat. She was tense, so there was no slouching today. Hells, she was half perched in it, one leg on the seat, the other propped against a chair leg.

Varric was calm, which he was good at being. He helped keep her from doing some majorly stupid shit before, and this would likely be no different. He passed her a glass of whiskey, and she gladly took a drink, “We go in with a plan.

Celeste spoke up next, but was soon interrupted by the heavy plod of footsteps and someone new entering the room. Edwin had arrived, and once he saw who was present she was nearly afraid he was going to fall over faint. “What’s happened?

It took just a couple of heartbeats before it hit him, “Addie.

Varric was already directing him to sit, but Josc got up and put a hand on his shoulder to try and ground him. She lead him over to the seat next to hers and helped the glass Varric sent his way reach it’s destination.

We’re getting her out. My crew has eyes on the place; they’ll let us know if anyone takes her anywhere.” Celeste pressed a note towards them, which Josc glanced at as Edwin picked it up, “She managed to get that out. By now, there should be templars waiting to search any Tevinter ship that ties up, which should buy us some time on that end. We do this smart, we can make the ‘Vint think that your asshole of a father reneged on him, which should keep them both busy for a bit. And if we can prove that he actually sold her -

Her expression was similar to the way she’d seen mischief play on her features before, but there was something missing in it. Still, there seemed to be a resoluteness to everything she said. “That could be the thing that takes him down.

That is a wonderful use of templars, Celeste.” Josc said softly, giving the captain a weak smile.

He will almost certainly have a lot of guards within and without the estate. Ideally we would want to draw them away rather than engaging in a direct confrontation, or it could get bloody quickly.” Nicolette spoke up then. “I think ideally we would want at least two infiltrating parties, one to fetch Addie out, and the other to search for the evidence. With Addie being free a priority, of course.

Josc rubbed two fingers over her forehead. The first thought she had was to set something on fire near the estate, but there was no telling how flammable some of the older High Town houses were, and she had no desire to cause a complete disaster for innocent bystanders. Still, perhaps something small and controlled nearby, just enough to get some attention.

I want to be part of the extraction,” that wasn’t exactly what she planned to say first, but there it was. “I’m better at keeping people’s attention in case they come across us than being sneaky and hunting down something.

She took another drink, “As far as distraction, maybe a cart fire near the estate in an alley, with people making sure it doesn’t spread? Or some well flung excrement at the outside guards?

She sighed, “I’m not so good at the ‘not charging head first into a problem’ thing.
 
Posts
63
#9
Varric said one word, and Edwin supposed it was the right one. With Josc's help, he did sit--or collapse into a chair, perhaps--despite every cell in his body vibrating with a mix of rage and panic. He felt dazed, so much so that it took him a moment to understand why a glass had suddenly appeared before him. When that registered, he drank the thing in one go, the liquid turning to ash in his mouth.

“We’re getting her out,” Celeste said, looking at him in particular. “My crew has eyes on the place; they’ll let us know if anyone takes her anywhere.” A note was slid across the table. Edwin squinted at it. Some kind of cipher. “She managed to get that out. By now, there should be templars waiting to search any Tevinter ship that ties up, which should buy us some time on that end. We do this smart, we can make the ‘Vint think that your asshole of a father reneged on him, which should keep them both busy for a bit. And if we can prove that he actually sold her - that could be the thing that takes him down.”

"Sold her?! Who would--" Tevinter ship. Maker's breath. Their father had done many heinous things in his lifetime, but this... "Wonderful. Our family fortune was built on the backs of slaves," he said through gritted teeth, "why not come full circle."

Josc made a weak quip on the nature of templars. It was admirable, really. The only humor Edwin had left in him was biting sarcasm.

“He will almost certainly have a lot of guards within and without the estate. Ideally we would want to draw them away rather than engaging in a direct confrontation, or it could get bloody quickly.” Nicolette said. Was she one of Addie's friends now, too? Or was she connected in some other way? It didn't matter. She was here. “I think ideally we would want at least two infiltrating parties, one to fetch Addie out, and the other to search for the evidence. With Addie being free a priority, of course.”

As much as he wanted to look after his own sister, Edwin already knew which party he would be better suited for. None among them knew the estate--or Father's paranoid tendencies--better than him.

“I want to be part of the extraction. I’m better at keeping people’s attention in case they come across us than being sneaky and hunting down something.” Josc had paced herself, and she took another drink now. “As far as distraction, maybe a cart fire near the estate in an alley, with people making sure it doesn’t spread? Or some well flung excrement at the outside guards?”

Edwin barely managed a snort when she said she wasn't good at not charging headfirst into things. "I never would have guessed."

More sarcasm, but there was some affection in it. The very fact that she was here and was willing to risk everything to free Addie spoke volumes. Any doubts he had about Josc's sincerity when it came to his sister seemed pathetically trivial now.

"We might need someone there to tie them up a little longer," he said, his mind finally beginning to process something other than panic. "And it goes without saying that if a distraction's going to work, the city guard can't be milling about. I can send word to Aveline. She'd want to know, and she can perhaps alter the patrol schedule without drawing too much suspicion upon herself."

She couldn't be involved directly. Not at this juncture. It would compromise her position. But he suspected they were going to need her soon after this, to help keep Addie safe and to ensure Barrett Orland got what was coming to him. It was perhaps the only reason he wasn't suggesting just going in there and slipping a knife between the man's ribs... though it was tempting.

"As for the infiltration... I know the estate, and I have a good idea of where to look for the agreement, and any correspondence that came before. His study is the most obvious place, but it's doubtful. My best guess is the library or his bedroom. Well hidden, but not impossible to find." He'd done it before, many years ago when digging up the documents necessary to practice forging his father's signature. "And we need to find it. Otherwise he's going to be a problem for all of us."

The thought of just killing the man crept through his mind again. So too did the fact that he might be presented with the opportunity, should Father or Sterling stumble upon him. Almost preferable, since it would draw attention away from Addie... for a time. Either way, he wasn't leaving that estate without something deeply incriminating that his father couldn't wriggle out of.
 
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Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
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Posts
243
#10
The discussion unfolded pretty much the way that Celeste had anticipated that it would. Varric didn’t say much yet, but she could all but hear the wheels turning behind his impassive expression, and when he did speak, it would be worth listening to.

Nicolette brought up the likelihood of incriminating correspondence somewhere in the house that would be worth trying to retrieve along with Addie, and suggested one team to serve as a distraction while the other went in. Considering they’d had exactly zero chances to confer on the way over, Celeste was damn pleased, and gave her lover an approving nod and smile.

Josc declared her intention to go in after Addie, which was both expected (if it was Nico being held, Celeste doubted she’d be showing the same level of restraint) and welcome. Edwin was a much more unknown quantity; his initial idea of bringing Aveline in around the edges was a good one, but the hungry glint in his eyes was hard to miss as he went on:

"As for the infiltration... I know the estate, and I have a good idea of where to look for the agreement, and any correspondence that came before. His study is the most obvious place, but it's doubtful. My best guess is the library or his bedroom. Well hidden, but not impossible to find. And we need to find it. Otherwise he's going to be a problem for all of us."

She knew his reasons, and if she were in his shoes, she’d likely have been gone already, but she didn't like it, and as she was casting about for a diplomatic way to tell him that, Varric spoke up.

“Your father will be expecting you, Coins … maybe even hoping you’ll come so that he can finish what he started. And you may know the estate, but you’re a con man, not a thief; you’ll do Addie more good on the outside.”

“We can use that,” Celeste put in. “He’s expecting you, so you and Nico work with my crew to stage a fake rescue attempt to draw off his thugs. I’m betting that he won’t dare call the guards to report that the son he tried to have killed is trying to rescue the daughter he’s selling into slavery.” She quirked a sardonic grin. “You get them to follow you through a few alleys, and my crew - and Varric’s - will make sure that none of them gets back any time soon. Josc and I will go in after Addie; I’ve been there enough to know my way around, and I’ve got plenty of experience at finding things that rich assholes want to keep hidden. Just tell me where to look.

“No killing. Not yet.” Her green eyes echoed the warning in her voice as she regarded him. “For Addie’s sake. Anything that happens tonight, he’ll try to pin on her, so we keep it clean. Nobody dies, nothing but the correspondence taken. Once she’s away and safe -” Her lips curled in a tight smile. “Then we take him down.” It was going to keep them in Kirkwall for even longer, but she was going to see this one through.

“The letters from the ‘Vint will be good,” she went on, “but what will really throw the torch on his pyre will be what’s going to be on that ship when it docks: letters from him to the ‘Vint, with his seal on them.”

“I know a guy who works in the harbor master’s office,” Varric put in. “As long as we’re not lifting cargo, I can get him to send us word when it arrives.”

“We won’t take so much as a potato from the galley,” Celeste promised. “Think that would work?” She glanced between all of them, but it was Nicolette that her eyes lingered on. If there were any holes in the plan, she trusted the minstrel to spot them and tell her.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

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#11
Nicolette had formulated a vague plan, and it appeared to have been met with approval; Celeste gave her a quick smile, and Josc was quick to volunteer for the role of helping get Addie out. That did not come as much of a surprise. And it would probably suit her talents best, although Nicolette had to admit she had never actually seen Josc be stealthy. “As far as distraction maybe a cart near the estate in the alley, with people making sure it doesn’t spread? Or some well-flung excrement at the outside guards?”

Edwin snorted. So did Nicolette, although she wrinkled her nose a little. If that was the course settled on, she might elect to be watchman of the group. However, she had no objection to being part of the distraction rather than either of the teams going in.

It was with not a little unease as well that she listened to Edwin declare that he would want to infiltrate as well. It did make sense, although it presented a huge risk if he was discovered, and it seemed unlikely to end well if he ran into his father or brother. Varric echoed her concern, and she nodded as Celeste told him to work on the distraction instead. A chase through some alleyways would be enough to keep the majority of the guard distracted, so long as they did not stray too far from the estate itself and risk the guards returning to their posts too soon. Celeste decreed that she and Josc would head up the infiltration.

“No killing. Not yet.” This was directed solely at Edwin, although Nicolette could imagine Josc not being adverse to sticking a dagger into any jailors of Addie’s she might encounter along the way. “For Addie’s sake. Anything that happens tonight, he’ll try to pin on her, so we keep it clean.” For now, at least. Nicolette had been around Celeste long enough to recognise the determined gleam in her eye. It appeared they might not be leaving for Antiva quite yet, after all.

There was another factor that Nicolette had not considered; that the Tevinter ship would also carry proof of Barratt Orland’s dealings. It would be worth searching the cabins there as well; however…Nicolette chewed her lip as a snag occurred, and when she looked up she realised that Celeste was watching her.

“Retrieving anything from the ship will be difficult. Templars are going to be all over it from the moment it docks.” A Tevinter ship was already cause for concern even without the mention of lyrium that Kali had sent their way. “I imagine they would take the captain and crew off for questioning, but they would likely leave a guard. I would not try approaching it on the same night we go to release Addie. I think – sorry, Edwin – I think we need to have somebody retrieve the letters first before she is freed; the moment Barratt realises his plan’s been realised, he will be arranging to destroy any existing proof of it. Or do both at the same time, which spreads us a little thin.”
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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#12
This situation made her feel almost helpless, despite there being an obvious plan in the making. If it had just been her, well, she might have charged in the front door. Or maybe through the basement if she could have found a door that led to it from Darktown, like her home had.

"I never would have guessed." Edwin said when she mentioned her fault. She gave him a weak quirk of her lips.

"We might need someone there to tie them up a little longer," Edwin started formulating his own ideas on the rescue. When he mentioned Aveline, Josc frowned just a little. This wasn't something she should really get involved in. "And it goes without saying that if a distraction's going to work, the city guard can't be milling about. I can send word to Aveline. She'd want to know, and she can perhaps alter the patrol schedule without drawing too much suspicion upon herself."

That was wisest. If she came out as corrupt it could ruin all the work her friend had done for the guards. Though she had a feeling most of her men would stand behind her in any sort of investigation. She let out a breath, returning her focus to the matter at hand. If Aveline wanted to participate, Josc wouldn't stop her. Edwin offered up his infiltration skills, which involved intimate knowledge of the estate itself.

Varric voiced his concerns, which were valid, but Edwin's knowledge of the layout could be crucial to getting the information they needed to take down his father in the non-violent way. Celeste saw Lord Orland's expectation of his prodigal son as a boon, and useful distraction. Josc leaned over the table with her empty glass, and tipped it to their host hoping for a little more to drink while Celeste continued laying out her thoughts.

No killing. Not yet.” Celeste had a serious look, and despite wanting to murder the man herself, Josc knew it was the right thing for the moment. “For Addie’s sake. Anything that happens tonight, he’ll try to pin on her, so we keep it clean. Nobody dies, nothing but the correspondence taken. Once she’s away and safe - Then we take him down.

She leaned over and bumped Edwin's shoulder, just a little, hey, it's gonna work out motion. She had to believe that. She hoped he did too.

I know a guy who works in the harbor master’s office,” She doubted there was a single business in this city that Varric didn't know someone. “As long as we’re not lifting cargo, I can get him to send us word when it arrives.

There was an agreement to not steal anything, and Josc gave a not in agreement to that. Not like she wanted anything from a Tevinter ship anyway. No telling what was in the hold. Nicolette brought it back round with a little more sobering thoughts. “Retrieving anything from the ship will be difficult. Templars are going to be all over it from the moment it docks. I imagine they would take the captain and crew off for questioning, but they would likely leave a guard. I would not try approaching it on the same night we go to release Addie. I think – sorry, Edwin – I think we need to have somebody retrieve the letters first before she is freed; the moment Barratt realises his plan’s been realised, he will be arranging to destroy any existing proof of it. Or do both at the same time, which spreads us a little thin.

Josc grabbed her chin for a moment, and thought about all her various friends in Kirkwall. She didn't want to wait too long. Addie was likely locked down like a damn prisoner, and she couldn't bear the thought of her in that position. Then she remembered a friend that was in town. "I know someone who can get on that ship, get what we need and off of it before anyone realizes he is there. It could help us speed things up a bit, and make sure we won't be waiting longer than absolutely necessary."

She grumbled at the thought of waiting. Josc wanted to go right this minute, but she knew that things would go better if they went into things with a better idea of what they were doing. She didn't think it would take much to convince Zevran to help them out, and if need be, she had quite a bit of money she could toss his way.
 
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#13
The looks of those around him told Edwin his plan wasn’t going to be met with resounding approval. Some small but persistent part of his mind told him to just ignore them and do all of this on his own, but he knew that was doomed to fail.

“Your father will be expecting you, Coins,” Varric pointed out, and Edwin’s lips pressed into a thin line, “maybe even hoping you’ll come so that he can finish what he started. And you may know the estate, but you’re a con man, not a thief; you’ll do Addie more good on the outside.”

“I’m whatever I need to be,” he said tersely, “you of all people should know that.”

“We can use that,” Celeste said, presumably of his father’s vested interest in him not being alive. “He’s expecting you, so you and Nico work with my crew to stage a fake rescue attempt to draw off his thugs. I’m betting that he won’t dare call the guards to report that the son he tried to have killed is trying to rescue the daughter he’s selling into slavery.” The city guard. No. The many people in his own employ who had no sense of anything beyond the coin greasing their palms? Absolutely. “You get them to follow you through a few alleys, and my crew - and Varric’s - will make sure that none of them gets back any time soon. Josc and I will go in after Addie; I’ve been there enough to know my way around, and I’ve got plenty of experience at finding things that rich assholes want to keep hidden. Just tell me where to look.”

Edwin shook his head. He didn’t like this. He could tell her, draw her a floorplan, but it was less efficient than just doing it himself. And the idea of just being a distraction while other people did the work he should have taken care of… it grated more than he was willing to admit.

“No killing. Not yet.” Celeste’s gaze was pinned fully on Edwin, and he didn’t bother averting his own. “For Addie’s sake. Anything that happens tonight, he’ll try to pin on her, so we keep it clean. Nobody dies, nothing but the correspondence taken. Once she’s away and safe, then we take him down.”

Did they think he was clueless? That he didn’t know the risks or potential consequences? He might have done something rash upon first hearing about this--had he been alone to do so--but he was here now, wasn’t he? Arse firmly planted in this seat, listening to a plan he disagreed with while Addie was a literal prisoner in her own home.

Josc gently bumped his shoulder, as though she knew what he was thinking. Perhaps she did. He’d become more prone to wearing his emotions where everyone could see them lately. Or rather, he’d reverted to that state, as that was always who he’d been before Starkhaven. It was enough to keep Edwin quiet as they talked through the necessary information on the Tevinter ship.

“Retrieving anything from the ship will be difficult,” Nicolette pointed out. “Templars are going to be all over it from the moment it docks. I imagine they would take the captain and crew off for questioning, but they would likely leave a guard. I would not try approaching it on the same night we go to release Addie. I think – sorry, Edwin – I think we need to have somebody retrieve the letters first before she is freed; the moment Barratt realises his plan’s been realised, he will be arranging to destroy any existing proof of it. Or do both at the same time, which spreads us a little thin.”

Her apology was met with a measured breath and an even more terse expression on Edwin’s face. It wasn’t that he disagreed, necessarily. His father hadn’t gotten to where he was by being careless. He was smart and ruthless and yes, he would absolutely burn any evidence and seek to persecute everyone involved--including Aveline, if he somehow got wind of the guard patrols being redirected.

There was a chance he could get Addie back legally if they didn’t cover every possible means to do so, and just thinking about it made Edwin sick. But there was something underneath all of this talk that he couldn’t come to terms with--not without saying anything.

"I know someone who can get on that ship, get what we need and off of it before anyone realizes he is there. It could help us speed things up a bit, and make sure we won't be waiting longer than absolutely necessary."

Edwin waited, letting whoever wished to respond to that do so. He almost wished he hadn’t finished his drink in one go, but he wasn’t going to request another. He needed to be clear-headed for this.

Leaning back in his chair, arms folded over his chest, he finally spoke. “You're all worried I’ll kill him, if given any chance whatsoever. You don’t want me in there not because you don’t think I can escape, but because you think I won’t even try.”

Something about it stung, though Edwin could admit that line of thinking was a bit hypocritical. He wasn’t entirely sure he’d leave Barrett alive if confronted. But there was one factor that made it much more likely.

“I’ll go along with this plan, because it’s what’s best for Addie. The second it stops being that…”

He didn’t think he needed to finish that statement, though he wondered if they would take it as a threat. Edwin had no plans to throw caution to the wind at any point. He would do what was best for his sister, and if that meant diverting from the path once it no longer led to her, he would do it.

Pushing up from his chair, Edwin moved over to a desk where Varric had some parchment and a pen. Presumably not his best, though they certainly didn’t need to be for this. He took two pieces, then grabbed a third for Josc, along with the pen and inkwell.

“His bedroom’s on the second floor,” he said, beginning to sketch the layout of said floor. “I haven’t seen the inside of it in awhile, but he isn’t especially fond of change, so I doubt it will matter.” He drew in some blocks to represent various pieces of furniture. “The dresser’s here. Check for false compartments. Same with the desk, over here. The wardrobe will have all of his coats, if he’s been foolish enough to stuff it in a pocket, but Mother’s jewelry box is in there, as well, and it has a false bottom to it.”

He made space on the parchment to also sketch the library, telling her it was on the first floor--things she likely knew if she’d been in the house for any length of time, but he couldn’t take any chances. As such, every possible table or desk worth searching was noted, and he let the ink bleed onto the paper to form a thick dot on the box he’d used to represent the bookcases.

“There’s a book in his collection: A Treatise on Business. It’s a tedious, self-aggrandizing tome of nonsense written by a supposed ‘self-made’ man who was already rich when he began his quest to become richer. My father loves that book, and if the letter isn’t anywhere else, it will be there.”

He wrote the letter to Aveline after that. Short, simple, and unsigned, but with words she would easily recognize as his. He passed the pen on to Josc then.

“Let’s say everything goes to plan,” he said once he finally spoke again, “what then? She’ll need to be kept safe, and everyone else will need to keep out of his sights.”
 

Celeste Monroe

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#14
“Retrieving anything from the ship will be difficult,” Nicolette observed pensively. “Templars are going to be all over it from the moment it docks.I imagine they would take the captain and crew off for questioning, but they would likely leave a guard. I would not try approaching it on the same night we go to release Addie. I think – sorry, Edwin – I think we need to have somebody retrieve the letters first before she is freed; the moment Barratt realises his plan’s been realised, he will be arranging to destroy any existing proof of it. Or do both at the same time, which spreads us a little thin.”

Well, that explained the minstrel’s trepidation. Edwin wasn’t going to like it … Celeste didn’t like it, but she couldn’t argue with the logic, though fuck only knew when that ship was going to arrive. Varric, at least, knew somebody who could give them a heads-up when it did.

"I know someone who can get on that ship, get what we need and off of it before anyone realizes he is there,” Josc declared, her mouth set in a determined line. “It could help us speed things up a bit, and make sure we won't be waiting longer than absolutely necessary."

“It’ll let us go in after Addie at close to the same time,” Celeste agreed, looking to Edwin. He was the one wild card; she knew the rest of them well enough to be able to anticipate what they might do.

He leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms and glaring at them. “You're all worried I’ll kill him, if given any chance whatsoever. You don’t want me in there not because you don’t think I can escape, but because you think I won’t even try. I’ll go along with this plan, because it’s what’s best for Addie. The second it stops being that…”

He trailed off in what he no doubt thought was a significant manner, and Celeste opted not to ruin it with a ‘No shit?’ observation, though her expression was undoubtedly speaking volumes. Everybody was wound tight, and they wouldn’t accomplish anything by sniping at each other, but lone wolves were disasters waiting to happen.

He pushed out of his chair abruptly, striding to Varric’s desk to snag parchment, quill and ink, then began to sketch, talking as he did so. “His bedroom’s on the second floor. I haven’t seen the inside of it in awhile, but he isn’t especially fond of change, so I doubt it will matter.” Celeste cocked her head, watching as he sketched in the positions of the furniture. “The dresser’s here. Check for false compartments. Same with the desk, over here. The wardrobe will have all of his coats, if he’s been foolish enough to stuff it in a pocket, but Mother’s jewelry box is in there, as well, and it has a false bottom to it.”

She nodded. All pretty standard hiding places. Money couldn’t buy imagination, apparently.

“There’s a book in his collection: A Treatise on Business. It’s a tedious, self-aggrandizing tome of nonsense written by a supposed ‘self-made’ man who was already rich when he began his quest to become richer. My father loves that book, and if the letter isn’t anywhere else, it will be there.”

She shook her head with a snort of amused disgust. “Every rich asshole south of Seheron has a copy of that one.”

He scrawled out a short missive, then passed the pen and a sheet of parchment to Josc. “Let’s say everything goes to plan,” he began, “what then? She’ll need to be kept safe, and everyone else will need to keep out of his sights.”

Celeste drummed her fingers on the table thoughtfully. “If we time it right, we can have each of them thinking the other one has her,” she mused, turning over the possibilities in her mind. “That’ll keep them occupied for a bit. Once we get those letters into the hands of the guard, he’s going to have other things to worry about, but I can probably throw a few more distractions his way.” She glanced to Varric, a smirk lifting one corner of her mouth. “Might need some financial backing.”

“Consider it done,” he agreed. The things the Friends of Red Jenny would do with an ongoing bounty for pranks on the House of Orland would likely provide fodder for a book or two.
 

Nicolette O'Hara

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#15
As expected, Edwin appeared singularly unimpressed with the idea of leaving Addie at the estate for a second longer than they had to. He would go along with it, but only to the point where it got her to safety; if the situation turned against them, he would make his own decisions. Nicolette’s experience of springing people from prisons was limited to the stories she had told, but even she knew that doing that could cause things to go wrong. She glanced at Celeste’s face. Her lover’s disapproval was clear.

For the moment, however, Edwin was on board with the plan, and quickly began sketching out the layout of the relevant parts of his father’s bedroom, along with issuing directions as to where the valuable information might be found. That done, he quickly passed pen and paper to Josc. “Let’s say everything goes to plan. What then? She’ll need to be kept safe, and everyone else will need to keep out of his sights.”

Celeste’s expression had shifted to thoughtful. “If we time it right, we can have each of them thinking the other one has her. That’ll keep them occupied for a bit. Once we get those letters into the hands of the guard, he’s going to have other things to worry about, but I can probably throw a few more distractions his way.” She glanced at Varric. “Might need some financial backing.”

“Consider it done.”

Nicolette brushed her thumb against her lower lip in thought. Celeste’s comment had given her an idea. “It is a long shot, maybe – but could we perhaps use a few people posing as the delegation sent to fetch her? After all, nobody would be coming from the ship itself, not with everybody under arrest while it is being searched. We would still need other distractions, to ensure nobody ventures near the study while it is being searched. But I imagine somebody as wealthy as this Tevinter nobleman appears to be would send others in his stead rather than come himself. It would also give us a clear line to walk-” or carry, she would not put it past somebody like this Orland to drug his own daughter to ensure an easy handover – “Addie right out through the door. It would be risky, however,” she conceded. “Either way, somebody will have to break in to conduct part of the search.”
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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#16
It’ll let us go in after Addie at close to the same time,” Celeste responded to her, and she nodded. It might take a few hours once things were adjourned before she could get a message to him. Isabela might be able to help her find him faster, so of course her mind hones in on everything she'll be needing to do to get him involved.

Until Edwin started talking again, “You're all worried I’ll kill him, if given any chance whatsoever. You don’t want me in there not because you don’t think I can escape, but because you think I won’t even try. I’ll go along with this plan, because it’s what’s best for Addie. The second it stops being that…

Josc could understand to a point, even if Addie wasn't involved, what had happened to Edwin at the hands of his family was something she would have sought revenge for. But once Addie was safe, there were other things they could do to assist him -- and Addie -- in taking them down. She watched as he walked to the nearby desk, bringing back paper and quill, sliding her a piece as well. Edwin began describing and sketching out the layout of the house. “His bedroom’s on the second floor. I haven’t seen the inside of it in awhile, but he isn’t especially fond of change, so I doubt it will matter. The dresser’s here. Check for false compartments. Same with the desk, over here. The wardrobe will have all of his coats, if he’s been foolish enough to stuff it in a pocket, but Mother’s jewelry box is in there, as well, and it has a false bottom to it.

She had been to the Orland estate, but her focus had been on Adelaide, from the party she attended, to the times she had climbed the lattice to fetch her for a night out. Edwin asked something then that made her turn to face him more. “Let’s say everything goes to plan. What then? She’ll need to be kept safe, and everyone else will need to keep out of his sights.

"She can stay at my estate. I can keep her safe while the fallout hits." Josc said firmly.

If we time it right, we can have each of them thinking the other one has her,” Celeste's wheels were still turning, “That’ll keep them occupied for a bit. Once we get those letters into the hands of the guard, he’s going to have other things to worry about, but I can probably throw a few more distractions his way. Might need some financial backing.

Varric agreed with the suggestion for more distractions, and Josc tossed her own contribution in, "I can fund whatever we might need."

It is a long shot, maybe – but could we perhaps use a few people posing as the delegation sent to fetch her? After all, nobody would be coming from the ship itself, not with everybody under arrest while it is being searched. We would still need other distractions, to ensure nobody ventures near the study while it is being searched. But I imagine somebody as wealthy as this Tevinter nobleman appears to be would send others in his stead rather than come himself. It would also give us a clear line to walk Addie right out through the door. It would be risky, however. Either way, somebody will have to break in to conduct part of the search.” Nicolette's idea was an interesting one, but as she had said it could be risky.

Josc took a deep breath, "My only worry there is if it didn't work, Orland would firm up his security more than he already has, and it would put anyone who was inside in more danger. Whoever participated in that scheme would really have to do their research."
 
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#17
It was difficult to sit amidst a room of people talking about rescuing his sister and know he would perhaps have the smallest part in the whole affair. It wasn't about being the hero. Edwin wasn't anyone's hero--not anymore. It was about righting a wrong he'd committed eight years past. He should have refused to leave. He should have never left her alone in that house.

Realistically, and divorced from the emotion that assailed him, Edwin knew it would have changed very little. He could have been the model son, and still Barrett would want to get his money's worth out of Addie. That wouldn't have ended well. It might still end in such a way, but he had no say in it here.

Varric had said he trusted him--to an extent. Enough that they got on well. He didn't think the dwarf would hesitate to have him followed if he thought Edwin might take a detour to the Orland estate tonight.

He wouldn't. Not tonight or any other night. Not alone, at least. But that didn't keep him from feeling helpless.

“If we time it right, we can have each of them thinking the other one has her,” Celeste said. “That’ll keep them occupied for a bit. Once we get those letters into the hands of the guard, he’s going to have other things to worry about, but I can probably throw a few more distractions his way. Might need some financial backing.”

Varric and Josc both spoke up, one offering funding, the other offering that and safe harbor. It was good to have so many people who cared about his sister. He had to remind himself of that. These feelings were irrational and could be sorted through later.

“It is a long shot, maybe – but could we perhaps use a few people posing as the delegation sent to fetch her? After all, nobody would be coming from the ship itself, not with everybody under arrest while it is being searched. We would still need other distractions, to ensure nobody ventures near the study while it is being searched. But I imagine somebody as wealthy as this Tevinter nobleman appears to be would send others in his stead rather than come himself. It would also give us a clear line to walk Addie right out through the door. It would be risky, however. Either way, somebody will have to break in to conduct part of the search.”

"That would spread us too thin," Edwin said quietly. It wasn't a bad plan. Overwhelm them with a barrage of distractions. But every lie fabricated heightened the chances of them being found out, and the fewer people together during this operation, the more danger the estate's guards would pose. "Unless there are more people you trust to play the part."

Ordinarily Edwin would have relished the chance to play that role. That wouldn't work here for obvious reasons, and even if he was completely unrecognizable to his family--not completely out of the question, considering how long it'd been--he didn't have the stomach for it.

"My only worry there is if it didn't work, Orland would firm up his security more than he already has, and it would put anyone who was inside in more danger. Whoever participated in that scheme would really have to do their research." Josc's words had a weight behind them that was in stark contrast to the typical carefree attitude he'd seen from her.

"We'll have one chance at this," he agreed. "Everyone who is a part of it needs to know the score, but they also need to be able to improvise. It won't go off as planned, no matter how much we prepare." He hated this; hated waiting. "In a perfect world we would have ample time to scout the estate and know with absolute certainty what this deal entails. We'd have time to gather everyone and everything we need. But I know my father. He won't do anything to harm her value," he said the word with contempt, "but he will make her life miserable in the meantime."

This was Barrett's last chance to impress upon her that she'd failed him as a daughter; to make sure she knew she'd "brought this upon herself." Absently Edwin wondered what their mother would think of this, but she'd never stood up for Adelaide or any of her children before. Why in the Maker's name would she start now?

"So," Edwin let out a breath as he prepared to rattle off what they'd established thus far, "with a reduced presence from the city guard, Nicolette and I can draw out Barrett's personal guards. Josc will go after Addie, and Celeste will get the information needed to prove the existence of this deal." He frowned, his forehead wrinkling as he directed his gaze to Nicolette. "You're right. Someone will have to keep him occupied for all of this to happen simultaneously."
 

Celeste Monroe

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#18
Ideas were being pushed around and beginning to align; Varric was good for coin, Lady Hawke was willing to hide Addie at her estate and Nicolette floated the notion of sending in a false ‘Vint delegation to escort Addie out the front door. Damn, she was getting better all the time.

Edwin looked dubious. "That would spread us too thin," he pointed out. "Unless there are more people you trust to play the part."

"My only worry there is if it didn't work, Orland would firm up his security more than he already has,” Josc added, “and it would put anyone who was inside in more danger. Whoever participated in that scheme would really have to do their research."

“I trust my crew,” Celeste told them confidently, “and I’ve got just the one to head up that part.” It had been a while since she’d involved Brannigan in a caper, but she was confident that he’d be quite willing to assist.

"We'll have one chance at this," Edwin warned. "Everyone who is a part of it needs to know the score, but they also need to be able to improvise. It won't go off as planned, no matter how much we prepare. In a perfect world we would have ample time to scout the estate and know with absolute certainty what this deal entails. We'd have time to gather everyone and everything we need. But I know my father. He won't do anything to harm her value," his lip curled on that word, "but he will make her life miserable in the meantime."

“She’s strong enough to take it,” Celeste asserted calmly. She didn’t like it, but Edwin was seeing the child he’d left behind years ago, not the resilient young woman that Addie had grown into. “Because if we rush in and botch it, it’s going to take that much longer and be that much harder. Between Varric and I, we’ve got the muscle to get her out by force, if need be -” She looked to the dwarf, who confirmed with a grave nod, “but the risk of someone getting hurt - or dead - in the process goes way up. Better to take some time and lay a plan and a backup or two.”

"So," Edwin huffed out a breath, "with a reduced presence from the city guard, Nicolette and I can draw out Barrett's personal guards. Josc will go after Addie, and Celeste will get the information needed to prove the existence of this deal." Blue eyes came to rest on Nicolette. "You're right. Someone will have to keep him occupied for all of this to happen simultaneously."

Celeste started to bristle, tamped it down. The minstrel was capable of deciding what she was and was not able to handle … which wasn’t to say that she wouldn’t have his guts for garters if he risked Nico needlessly to get to his sister. “If by ‘him’, you mean your father, a ‘Vint delegation at his door should hold his attention if we do it that way. If not, we go in at night, while he's sleeping.” She drained the last of the whiskey from her tumbler, ran her finger thoughtfully around the rim. “He wouldn’t have sprung the trap if he didn’t think the buyer wouldn’t be here soon,” she mused, glancing to Josc. “How long will it take to find this friend of yours?”
 

Nicolette O'Hara

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#19
Nicolette ventured her idea somewhat hesitantly, and was not surprised when Edwin pointed out that it would make them vulnerable – as well as potentially giving Addie’s father a warning that somebody was onto his scheme. If that happened, it would make it much harder for them to extract Addie. However, Celeste had a crew’s worth of loyal people on her side, so the idea was not vetoed altogether. Nicolette tried not to be too pleased about that. She was far more concerned about what state Addie would be in the right, as well as how much time they had left. Nicolette slide her gaze to Josc, who was controlling her agitation well. She had to be running a close second to Edwin in desire to make Barratt Orland pay for what he was doing. Even Celeste’s assertion that Addie was strong enough to deal with whatever he could throw her way offered little comfort. Still, Nicolette thoroughly agreed with her lover that it was better to take the extra minutes to lay a proper plan.

“So. With a reduced presence from the city guard, Nicolette and I can draw out Barrett’s personal guards. Josc will go after Addie, and Celeste will get the information needed to prove the existence of this deal.” Edwin turned his gaze on Nicolette. “You’re right. Someone will have to keep him occupied for all of this to happen simultaneously.”

Nicolette did not particularly like the slant on that word, although it did not necessary infer what she thought it might. How was she to draw out the guards and distract Barratt Orland at the same time? Before she could answer, Celeste pointed out that the delegation should be doing the distracting for him. “If not, we go in at night, while he’s sleeping. He wouldn’t have sprung the trap if he didn’t think the buyer wouldn’t be here soon.” Then, to Josc, “How long will it take to find this friend of yours?”

Actually, thinking on it – “Do you have any suggestions for keeping the guards distracted? Are they to be scared from their positions, or lured?”
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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#20
There was more mulling over of the situation. Josc got a hold of the quill and ink Edwin had been using and began writing her note as everyone continued. It was coming together well enough if they could get the manpower for it. Which Celeste thought she had people in her crew that could pull it off. Good, she wasn't sure many of her friends could be considered for playacting at Tevinter's. Though there was an amusing thought that flitted through her mind at Fenris giving it a try. If it hadn't been a serious mission, she might have at least approached him just to get a rise out of him.

"We'll have one chance at this," Edwin's concerns mirrored hers quite a bit. "Everyone who is a part of it needs to know the score, but they also need to be able to improvise. It won't go off as planned, no matter how much we prepare. In a perfect world we would have ample time to scout the estate and know with absolute certainty what this deal entails. We'd have time to gather everyone and everything we need. But I know my father. He won't do anything to harm her value, but he will make her life miserable in the meantime."

She’s strong enough to take it,” Celeste said evenly. Josc was of a mind to agree, but that didn't mean she wanted Addie to have to go through that misery. “Because if we rush in and botch it, it’s going to take that much longer and be that much harder. Between Varric and I, we’ve got the muscle to get her out by force, if need be, but the risk of someone getting hurt - or dead - in the process goes way up. Better to take some time and lay a plan and a backup or two.

If it was botched, Josc would go in herself and get her out, hell or high water. She kept that to herself, in case she was seen as a liability as well. There was no way she'd let Addie stay a prisoner when she could do something about it.

"So, with a reduced presence from the city guard, Nicolette and I can draw out Barrett's personal guards. Josc will go after Addie, and Celeste will get the information needed to prove the existence of this deal." Edwin seemed to realize the necessity of that part of the plan, "You're right. Someone will have to keep him occupied for all of this to happen simultaneously."

If by ‘him’, you mean your father, a ‘Vint delegation at his door should hold his attention if we do it that way. If not, we go in at night, while he's sleeping.” Too bad they couldn't sneak in and tie him to his bed gagged and blindfolded for a servant to find in the morning, “He wouldn’t have sprung the trap if he didn’t think the buyer wouldn’t be here soon. How long will it take to find this friend of yours?

"A couple of hours at most, hopefully." If he was still in the city, but he hadn't mentioned leaving yet. "Should be quick enough to arrange, so once we know if the ship is in port we can get rolling on all of this."

Do you have any suggestions for keeping the guards distracted? Are they to be scared from their positions, or lured?” Nicolette said after a moment of mulling things over.

"I know I'm not participating in that part of the plan, but lured might be best? The men I've seen at the estate when I've been for visits don't seem to be the type to easily scare. Well, all except for one of the gate guards who froze up when Algernon and I walked past one late afternoon."

She grinned a little, "Doesn't seem to keen on dogs that one."
 
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