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Hang Him Out To Dry [Closed]

Adelaide Orland

Noble
Noble
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
65
#21
Celeste stepped into the cellar and surveyed the contents with the eye of a real connoisseur – not of the impressive labels on the front of the bottles, but of the actual contents. With little hesitation she plucked out a Tevinter white, and then a red. Addie had not drunk much Tevinter wine, but what she had, she had enjoyed. Which was more than could be said for a great number of the small amounts she had been allowed at Father’s parties. To be honest, she had never rebelled against that measure much because she had no desire to, given how appalling his taste was.

“These will do for this trip.”

Addie nodded agreement – Celeste would have a better idea than her of how far they could push this – and she headed back towards the door, only to hesitate at the sound of footsteps outside. She then flinched back a step or two as Sterling’s voice rang through the doorway. “…won’t be long. I’ve got friends all over Lowtown.”

Oh Maker, he wasn’t alone. The second voice was more boisterous than Sterling’s, and it belonged to one of the many noble sons that Father had measured for her beau. Thankfully, he hadn’t even got anywhere near Father’s exacting standards, which meant that his family owned less land than Barratt Orland would like. Nonetheless, he remained part of Sterling’s circle of friends, despite having more common sense than most of them. “And they’re all laughing at you right now. Just keep your head down for a bit. You can make inquiries later.”

“Right now I’m less interested at getting back at them – although I will, make no mistake about that – than at Father. I get assaulted and he cuts me off! And gives me a lecture, like I’m a wayward child!” There was a clatter that strongly suggested Sterling had thrown something across the room.

George’s voice sounded weary. Addie would hazard a guess that he’d been living through a version of this conversation multiple times since the news broke. “And that’s why you’re pinching his wine? To teach him a lesson?”

“That and to get some money. How am I meant to live, without the pittance he deigned give me?”

“Sterling’s pittance could buy a few of the flats in Lowtown,” Addie murmured. “He just thinks it’s not much because he spends it all in a couple of days each time.”

Then the words sunk in and she scurried back from the door. The cellar was big but there weren’t many places to hide. She didn’t want to be caught in here, not by Sterling, and she definitely didn’t want Celeste to be seen. She flapped her hands at Celeste, indicting she should move back into the shadows, doing the same herself, and held her breath as she waited. The door creaked ajar, and Addie released a passable imitation of the sommelier’s creaky bellow.

“Who the flames is coming in here now? Get out!”

The door slammed shut again on a muffled curse. Even Sterling was afraid of crossing Mamfrey, who had proven himself perfectly unafraid of the Orland heir, and absolutely willing to tell on him to Father. The footsteps retreated, and Addie sagged against the nearest rack. “That was far too close.”

And also…somewhat exhilarating, if she was honest.
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
201
#22
Their exit was interrupted by approaching footsteps and the sound of voices … one of which was decidedly familiar.

“How am I meant to live, without the pittance he deigned give me?” Sterling groused to his companion, who sounded more impatient than sympathetic at his plight.

“Sterling’s pittance could buy a few of the flats in Lowtown,” Addie pointed out in disgust. “He just thinks it’s not much because he spends it all in a couple of days each time.” Her expression changed from disapproval to dismay as it became obvious that Sterling’s intended destination was the wine cellar. She backed away from the door, gesturing frantically to Celeste to hide as she tried to wedge into the nonexistent space between two racks.

It wasn’t going to work. They might be able to evade a casual glance in the door, but anyone who entered was going to see them. Celeste set the bottles against the wall and crouched, one hand dipping into a pocket for a smoke bomb. If Sterling saw her here, he might assume that she was simply continuing the campaign from the Hanged Man, but if he saw her with Addie … well, that wasn’t going to happen, and she tensed as the handle on the door turned, readying for the throw -

“Who the flames is coming in here now?” Celeste twitched, wondering how in blazes she had missed a third person in the room with them. It required a double take to confirm that the crochety-sounding bawl was indeed coming from Addie, and a delighted grin spread across her face. “Get out!”

It worked! The door jerked hastily shut, disgruntled oaths fading along with hasty footsteps.

“That was far too close.” Addie heaved a relieved sigh, leaning against one of the racks for support.

“And that was bloody brilliant,” Celeste congratulated her, releasing her hold on the smoke bomb and rising from her crouch, giving the girl an admiring look. “Where did you learn that?”
 

Adelaide Orland

Noble
Noble
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
65
#23
Addie was trembling as she leaned back against the racks. Never had she come so close to Sterling finding out what she was doing in her free time these days; let alone tried something so bold in order to evade trouble. Itching powder and sleep powder and fart bombs all ensured that her presence was never even guessed at; this had been enormously risky. And yet she couldn’t help but feel proud, especially when Celeste congratulated her.

“And that was bloody brilliant.” The sailor rose to standing, giving her a look that a younger Addie would have traded a thousand gold in order to gain from her parents. It felt worth all the more now coming from somebody she had reason to respect. “Where did you learn that?”

Addie grinned, shyly. “I had to learn a few old plays, growing up. I enjoyed reading out all the parts and changing my voice around to match them; I used to borrow accents and such from the people I knew in real life. I didn’t know it’d be a useful skill at any point.”

She’d known she was a decent mimic, but Maker’s breath she had taken such a gamble with this one. Her eyes were shining as she glanced back at the door; no sound from beyond came, so she gripped her bottle again tighter and scuttled towards it. “Let’s get back to my room. I think that’s about as far as I’m willing to tempt lady luck tonight.”

They made it back without further trouble, but Addie still closed the door quickly behind them, just in case. And stuck a stop under it. Now safe from further intrusion, she flopped on the bed and started opening the bottle. “What was your escape plan, for that? I literally couldn’t think of anything else except yelling and hoping he fell for it.”
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
201
#24
Elation and terror fought for dominance on Addie’s face as the voices of her brother and his crony retreated, and Celeste could see the tremors that shook the girl’s frame as she sagged into one of the wine racks for support. It had definitely been a close call, and Celeste was delighted at the quick thinking that her young friend had displayed … to say nothing of the unexpected talent.

“I had to learn a few old plays, growing up,” Addie explained, beaming bashfully when the sailor congratulated her. “I enjoyed reading out all the parts and changing my voice around to match them; I used to borrow accents and such from the people I knew in real life. I didn’t know it’d be a useful skill at any point.”

“Oh, I could definitely think of some uses for it,” Celeste assured her, adding with a wink. “Some of them are probably even legal.” She had no intention of leading the girl into a life of crime, but Red Jenny capers generally skirted the edges of that line.

“Let’s get back to my room,” Addie suggested, heading toward the door, still holding the bottle of wine that Celeste had passed her. “I think that’s about as far as I’m willing to tempt lady luck tonight.”

Celeste followed with the second bottle in hand, back up the stairs and through the corridors. They encountered no one, and when they were safely back in Addie’s room, the girl closed the door and wedged a stop in place for good measure before collapsing onto her bed. “What was your escape plan, for that?” she asked as she reached for a corkscrew. “I literally couldn’t think of anything else except yelling and hoping he fell for it.”

“Smoke bomb,” Celeste replied, withdrawing the small glass sphere from her pocket and showing it to the girl. “Push here and it lets the chemicals inside mix, then throw it on the ground hard enough to break it. Lots of smoke, but no fire. They’d have known that someone was there, but not who. Shove them inside, lock the door and run.” She shrugged. It would have been almost as risky as Addie’s ploy. Not getting caught would not have been enough; for Addie’s sake, she could not even have been seen, particularly in Celeste’s company.
 

Adelaide Orland

Noble
Noble
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
65
#25
Celeste could think of other uses for her abilities as a mimic, but didn’t specify. Addie didn’t push for more details at the moment as she normally would have. The brush with danger had been much too close and her nerve had been all but used up; they needed to get back to her room, and then she could have a measure or two of wine and refortify herself. She had certainly taken more to alcohol since meeting Celeste and Josc than she used to, and so far it had failed to have the damaging effect on her life that her father had warned her about.

Once they were safely tucked back behind the door and it had been wedged shut, Addie asked Celeste how she might have escaped the situation. The captain, as ever, had had a plan.

“Smoke bomb.” She produced a small vial from her pocket and Addie took it as carefully as she was able, studying the contents. Two different substances were held in suspension from each other, a thin wavy line of glass denoting where they were separated. No wonder such things could cost a fair sum; besides the chemicals, the glassblowing technique alone would be a difficult one to replicate.

“Push here and it lets the chemicals inside mix, then throw it on the ground hard enough to break it. Lots of smoke, but no fire. They’d have known that someone was there, but not who. Shove them inside, lock the door and run.”

Possibly it would have been safer than Addie’s technique, but she didn’t relish the idea of pushing past Sterling and hoping that he didn’t see the giveaway edge of a hem whisking around a corner as the smoke cleared. “At least we didn’t have to waste one of your grenades,” she smiled, finally feeling some of the tension beginning to unscrew itself from around her bones. She popped the cork on her bottle, started to pour it into the glass at her bedside, glanced at Celeste and then took a swig right from the neck, like she might do.

It even felt sort of natural, even if she then coughed a bit as some found its way into a lung rather than her stomach. Eyes watering, she held out the corkscrew to Celeste. “Where do you plan to go, once your ship is fixed?”
 

Celeste Monroe

Shenaniginstigator In Chief
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
201
#26
Addie inspected the grenade that Celeste produced with keen interest, remarking that it was good that they hadn’t wasted it.

“They’re here to be used,” Celeste replied. “Keep it, stash it away,” she urged the girl when she started to hand it back. “Plenty more where that came from.” Dax generally spent the first couple of nights in port making sure the stocks were kept up; he’d had ample opportunity to practice his craft on this trip, and had turned some decent coin selling the excess. She trusted by now that Addie wasn’t going to use it for simple mischief. Slowly but surely, she was helping her young friend build an escape stash, which she was increasingly sure would be needed.

Addie used the corkscrew with a practiced hand and started to fill her glass, then gave Celeste a sideways glance and swilled a prime Orlesian vintage straight from the bottle. Celeste chuckled as she coughed and lowered the bottle, accepting the corkscrew in turn. Opening her own bottle, she lifted it in a toast, then chugged from it in a similar fashion (without the coughing); the girl already knew how to pour wine, how to let it breathe, how to sip it like a lady; time for her to learn other important things, like how to let her hair down and kick back.

“Where do you plan to go, once your ship is fixed?” Addie wanted to know.

“Antiva,” Celeste replied without hesitation. “Have to pick up my first mate and cabin boy.” And damn, she missed them both. “Then Rivain for the rest of the winter. Warm sun, clear water, sandy beaches …” She leaned back against the bedpost with a sigh. Soon.

She took another swallow of wine, regarding Addie thoughtfully. “You’re welcome to come along,” she offered. The steadily growing impatience to be away from Kirkwall was increasingly tempered by the concern that her departure would leave Addie trapped in the same city as her asshole father and prick of a brother. “Josc can come too,” she added with a little grin. She wasn’t entirely certain what kept Lady Hawke chained to the City of Chains, but the sweet thing sitting across from her was undoubtedly at least part of it. “We can even bring you back in the spring.” After they’d taught her enough about fighting to let her bitchslap Daddy and Sterling into line.
 
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