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Letting Slip The Dogs Of Shenanigans [Closed]

Celeste Monroe

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#1
((29 Haring, 9:35; Evening; Hightown; Joscelyn Hawke , Adelaide Orland ))

It was exactly as Kalindra had described: the brute squad spread out on the ground, stomping around menacingly and rushing to investigate whenever a bird rustled in the shrubs, and not a single sodding eye directed past head level.

Not that Celeste was complaining, mind you. Stupid opponents were a gift from the Maker, but stupid opponents could still kill. She wasn’t worried for herself and Josc, or even for Addie. If everything went according to plan, they would have the girl out of there and back at Lady Hawke’s mansion before anyone realized she was even out of her room. But if things went according to plan, the brute squad would be chasing Nicolette and Edwin, and that prospect worried Celeste a bit more than she was used to.

Still, Varric had his people spread around the place, and most of the crew was hovering, as well, ready to step in if things got pear-shaped … and quite possibly even if they didn’t. Sterling’s Really Bad Night at the Hanged Man had raised the bar for shenanigans, and with this likely to be the last caper in Kirkwall for a good while, everybody wanted a piece, and everybody wanted to make it memorable. With that much potential mayhem, it should be no trouble at all for Nico to get herself clear of any fighting that broke out.

Which meant that Celeste really needed to get her head back into her part of this scheme: getting Addie out and digging up the kind of dirt that would take Barrett and Sterling out of play permanently. And if she got the chance to use any of the party favors that she had loaded the pockets of her vest with, damn right she’d take advantage of it.

From her vantage point in the shadows of a chimney on the roof of a neighboring mansion, Celeste took the lay of the land. The trellis beneath Addie’s window had been removed, but others along the side of the house remained untouched. Which meant that Barrett felt fairly confident that he had secured his daughter in her room, and he thought that her sneaking out was the extent of what he had to be on guard against.

Perfect.

Her eyes flickered from the light in Addie’s window along the line of darkened rooms on the second floor, mentally reviewing the layout that Edwin had described. No sign of him yet, and she hadn’t seen Nico since the minstrel had kissed her goodbye an hour or so earlier. That didn’t worry her; if she couldn’t see them, then the morons below definitely couldn’t.

Abandoning her perch, she slipped down into the narrow alley between the two estates and settled into the shadows to wait for Josc.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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#2
She went over what she was bringing with her at least twelve times. Algernon had been running circles around the room thinking he was going to be able to go out with her tonight. She finally asked Bodahn to take him out for a walk right before she was about to leave.

Just daggers tonight. Her sword would be unwieldy for the kind of work they were doing tonight. She put on her darkest leathers, still protective but also rather plain and easier to blend in. Finally, she did her last check and made her way out the door.

Everyone in the house was made aware that Adelaide would be making an extended stay at the Hawke residence tonight. Her mother had taken special care with fixing up a room just for her, and additional security measures were discussed and would be implemented by the morning.

Only people she knew she could trust would be running guard duty on the house, mostly in plainsclothes to not draw attention to the increased number of people milling about.

She casually made her way out into the street, acting like nothing was different than any of her other nightly strolls. She took the long way to the alley she would be meeting Celeste at, making sure it looked as if she was making her way to Lowtown for her nightly Hanged Man jaunt. She cut through alleys once she was out of obvious eyesight, and eventually made it to the alley that she and Celeste had agreed upon.

She settled into the shadows herself, confident her friend was there even if she couldn’t see her. Her voice was low when she spoke, barely audible, “Any sign of our girl?

She highly doubted Adelaide would have access to her balcony even if they had removed the means of her normal escape. But even a glimpse of her through a window would have been nice to know. She wondered if the occupants of the Orland Estate could feel the building storm that was beginning to close in on them.

Signal should come soon, yeah?” She knew it would, but she was filled with nerves, and had to fill the waiting space with something.

This had all the potential to go either terribly good, or disastrously bad. And with Hawke’s luck, the latter felt more likely, no matter how much planning they had put in.
 

Celeste Monroe

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#3
Celeste didn’t have long to wait before Josc slipped into the alley, a shadow among shadows. “Any sign of our girl?” she murmured as she stilled, her eyes on the house and Addie’s window on the second floor.

“Nothing yet.” Celeste shifted out of her place of concealment and joined her friend. A light shone behind the curtains, but Addie had not pushed them aside to peer out. Likely, she had been forbidden from approaching the window, the edict enforced by the watching guards below. There were two of them on the ground beneath, their indolent posture suggesting both a lack of training and a lack of urgency. “There.” A shadow behind the curtains and the faintest shift as the fabric at the window’s edge was nudged back enough to allow the room’s occupant to peer out. No way that she could see into the alley and her soon to be rescuers in the shadows, but she could definitely see the two trolls at their post, and the curtains twitched back into place and stilled as one of the pair looked up, scratching lazily at the crack of his ass.

“He hasn’t moved her.” It had been a possibility - though only a slight one - that would have made things a lot trickier. Normally that was a challenge that Celeste relished, but too much was at stake here. Get in, get Addie, get the evidence, get out.

“We’ll go in there.” She pointed to the last in the row of darkened windows on the second floor. Edwin had said that all of the other chambers on that side were guest rooms that were seldom occupied; entering the one furthest from Addie would reduce the possibility of any guards stationed in the hall outside her door hearing them.

“Signal should come soon, yeah?”

Celeste nodded. “We’ll know it.” Edwin was in no mood to do anything by halves, and Nicolette was a consummate performer; whatever distraction they devised was not going to be subtle. Hopefully it would be enough to draw the Troll Twins away, but Celeste had a few surprises of her own handy if it didn't. She glanced sideways at her companion. The coiled energy emanating from Lady Hawke was something new, but she understood quite well the worry that was gnawing at the other woman. “We’ll get her out,” she promised. It was long past time for Addie to break free of her gilded cage and start living, and that was more than worth some risk.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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#4
Celeste joined her in her hiding spot, which had at least a decent view of the grounds. Josc could not help but stare at those curtains, scared that she wouldn't be in there. That somehow their plan had come unfurled, and she had already been whisked away.

There.” Celeste's single word had her release the breath she had been holding, and she caught sight of Adelaide briefly, peering through the curtains before retreating back inside. Josc glanced down at the idiot guards, gritting her teeth. That the Orland patriarch would treat her so poorly, that he had treated Edwin so poorly. For as much as her family had it's own complications, it was no where near as fucked up as treating his children like pawns and property.

Celeste pointed away from Addie's window, “We’ll go in there.

"Looks easy enough to climb, even without what we've brought," no lattice work, but the walls looked as if they had enough cracks in the stone to traverse. It seems the whole house had been divested of the lattice that she had been using to climb into Adelaide's window at night.

Josc was anxious about the signal, anxious about all of this, which was not normally her style. In almost everything she did, she went in with confidence and swagger, and always came out on top. Well, almost always. Those time's she didn't -- well she had been good at getting away and flipping the bird behind her.

We’ll get her out,” her pirate friend seemed to be able to read her thoughts.

"I know we will, sorry for being..." she didn't get to finish her thought as she heard shouting, and not long after the guards under Addie's window were running towards the front gate of the house. She looked over at Celeste a little wild eyed.

"I think that's our cue," giving the guards a few more moments to get out of sight before going to climb over the low wall separating the estate from the rest of Hightown.
 

Celeste Monroe

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#5
Josc stared up at Addie’s window, tension radiating from every line, the carefree rogue who had helped Celeste prank the shit out of Humbert Bartier nowhere to be seen. Not that she was feeling much different. This was no prank, no lark, but there were similarities, nonetheless: the first step was getting in quickly and without attracting attention. Barrett Orland had removed the trellises that Celeste had been using on her clandestine visits to Addie, but he couldn’t do much about the rough-hewn granite stones that had been used to build the mansion itself, providing a stately and imposing facade, but also providing enough textured surface that a blind man could scale it.

"Looks easy enough to climb, even without what we've brought," Josc remarked when she pointed out her chosen point of ingress, her eyes hungry enough to suggest that she might make a try at it with the Troll Twins still at their post. Contingency plans were second nature, and Celeste already had an alternative in mind if Edwin and Nico’s ploy didn’t draw them away, but as with most backup plans, it was riskier. And if that didn’t work? Well, she’d improvise. Going back to the Wicked Grace and trying again later was not an option; one way or another, they were getting Adelaide out of this house tonight.

"I know we will,” Josc replied to her whispered assurance, looking a bit chagrined, but no less wound up, “sorry for being..." The comparative stillness of the night was broken by shouts rising from the front of the estate; the Troll Twins exchanged a glance, then began lumbering in the direction of the ruckus.

"I think that's our cue."

For a moment, Celeste didn’t respond to her friend, torn as she had never before been on a caper. Little more than a month ago, she had been outraged that the mage underground would put Nicolette at risk; tonight, she was the one who had put the gentle minstrel in harm’s way and in the company of a man that she didn’t fully trust to act rationally. The urge to race in the direction of the outcry, to make damn good and sure that nothing happened to Nico, was strong … but that would leave Josc to get to Addie alone, and no one to search Barrett’s study for evidence while his daughter was spirited away. The rest of her crew were watching out for Nicolette and Edwin, as was Varric; that would have to suffice, because if they missed their opportunity now, they might not get another.

“Go!” She raced behind Josc, scrambling over the wall and darting across the expanse of lawn to the house, then took the lead, ascending swiftly to the darkened window on the second floor. Locked, but the same style as those in Addie’s bedroom, with two panes hinged at the side and latching in the center. A thin strip of metal through the crack made short work of the latch, and Celeste swarmed over the sill into a bedroom whose slightly musty smell suggested that it hadn’t housed a guest in some time. She pulled the windows closed after Josc climbed in, just in case the Troll Twins returned to their duties and actually looked upward.

Creeping to the door, she eased it open a crack and peered down the corridor toward Addie’s room; no guard in sight, but the shouting from the front of the house drifted up the stairwell. The noise would soon rouse Barrett from his slumber; they needed to move quickly. “Clear,” she whispered to Josc, stepping aside to let Lady Hawke take the lead, her senses keyed to any sound or vibrations emanating from within the mansion.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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#6
Josc nearly leapt into action before the guards had moved on, her body tense and poised for sprinting and climbing. But she waited. For Addie's sake, and for Celeste's sake. The pirate had been a better friend to her than she believed she ever deserved, and Josc was of a mind to repay her for all her assistance in this and other things.

Go!” Josc sprung into action the moment the word came out of Celeste's mouth, the journey to the target balcony a blur. Celeste was already unlocking the window by the time her adrenaline lessened enough for her to take things in. She could see the faint light of the fire, hear the estate guards yelling, and hoped all of her friends out there would be safe once they were done.

She climbed in shortly after Celeste, taking in a deep breath and trying not to choke on the dust of the room. She stood nearby as Celeste scouted the hallway. She nodded when Celeste confirmed the hall was clear and slipped into the hallway. While she wasn't the best at hiding, she could be quiet when she tried, and she certainly tried now. It didn't take long to get to Addie's room, her lockpicks already out and working at the door.

"This shouldn't take long," Josc said, and a moment later the door popped open with a soft creak. She slipped inside the room, waiting for Celeste to enter with her before shutting the door behind her.

Josc did her best to remain focused before looking for Addie in the room, "Keep an ear out for Barrett, I'll get Addie ready to go."

She knew Celeste had to go to the man's bedroom, but going in there while he was still in attendance wasn't the best course of action. Hopefully he wouldn't make a stop by Adelaide's room before going to check on the commotion.

Finally, she turned to see Addie in the room, and gave her a relieved half grin, "We're here to rescue you, m'lady."
 

Adelaide Orland

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#7
Day had slipped into night far too quickly. Addie had gone to the window several times, hoping to see a familiar face appearing over the wall, or to see a red kerchief being waved from a nearby house, or...well, anything to confirm that her message wasn’t still sitting in the alleway, wrapped around the stone. Of course, if her message had got through, it was unlikely that a rescue would be mounted in the daylight hours, but knowing that did little to ease Addie’s rising desperation. The guards below had been vigilant enough that escaping on a knotted bedsheet was out of the question. She’d considered trying to drop something on his head to knock him out but the only things heavy enough in her room to do enough damage were also too heavy for her to lift.

Her stiletto was still up her sleeve. She’d changed into the outfit she usually wore to the Hanged Man, and braided her head back tightly, in the hope that if she was rescued, there would be nothing to get in the way. And if she wasn’t - well, she might be able to catch her escort unawares, barge through them and flee. Failing that, she was going to fight. She would not go meekly towards the fate Father had planned for her. A poker had remained in the fireplace, and Addie had been shifting it from hand to hand in readiness for hours now.

The tension was almost killing her. She had to assume Celeste hadn’t received her message, and of course she didn’t want to be taken away, but now she wanted something to happen just so the waiting part of it would be over. Every time a set of footsteps had become audible, she’d tensed, and then felt increasingly drained as they faded away from her door.

And then, long after the sun had set...shouts. Addie’s head jerked up as a scream of pain, then one of rage, sounded from the front of the estate. She ran to the window, but the guard below was still there - evidently he’d been ordered to hold his post no matter what. There was nothing she could see to explain the noise, but now more sounds joined it; thumping, a loud, wet splat, cursing, a series of dull thuds. No swords clashing, though.

The cacophony was such that she almost missed the sound of a quiet clicking noise in the lock.

Addie sped out onto the balcony, hidden by the curtains, holding the poker with both hands. She wouldn’t make this easy for them. However much she could slow them up - even by a few seconds - was time bought against her being dragged onto the Tevinter’s ship.

There was a murmur, and Addie froze, wondering if she was hearing correctly. Because that sounded like Josc’s voice.

"Keep an ear out for Barrett, I'll get Addie ready to go."

Addie peered around the curtain, poker at the ready. Not just Josc, but Celeste as well, and Josc was grinning at her, looking relieved. “We’re here to rescue you, m’lady.”

After a second to confirm that her imagination wasn’t playing a cruel trick on her, Addie bolted towards Josc, wrapping her arms around the other woman’s neck. Fear and relief left her shaking so badly she could only gasp out her thanks, and it took more effort than it should have to make herself let go. “Thank you...thank you! Please, let’s go - he’s so angry, I’ve never seen him so bad, he can’t see any of you…”

If Father knew Josc or Celeste had been involved in this, Addie wouldn’t put it past him to hire the Crows to get rid of them.
 

Celeste Monroe

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#8
Josc made quick work of the lock, but there was still far too much time for Celeste to listen to the ruckus being raised at the front of the house. It sounded like a right donnybrook in progress, and a spark of pride flickered briefly among the shadows of worry, but every second that it went on was a chance for things to go tits up with Nicolette in the thick of it. The crew was there, and Varric, but that didn’t guarantee that nothing would go wrong, and a prospect that she normally relished had her guts knotting up instead. Too much at stake, too much to lose if they failed: Addie’s freedom, Nico -

Then the door was swinging open on well-oiled hinges, and she slipped inside behind Josc, one hand on the hilt of a dagger as she scanned the room, the knots tightening when she found it empty. Had they managed to move her already? No, there’d be no need for the guards below her window if they had … unless it had been a ploy to draw them here while Barrett Orland took his daughter to the docks -

The faintest sway of the heavy drapes that hung over the doors to the balcony caught her eye, and no sooner had Josc spoken aloud than Addie burst from behind them, dropping the poker she’d been wielding to fling herself at Lady Hawke. “Thank you...thank you!” Her eyes were dry, but her voice was thick with emotion, her face pale and drawn with fear. “Please, let’s go - he’s so angry, I’ve never seen him so bad, he can’t see any of you…”

No sounds from the hallway; Celeste stepped past the lovebirds out to the balcony, looking down to confirm that the coast remained clear. “Get her out of here,” she ordered Josc tersely, gesturing to the balcony and the night beyond. “Now. Get a signal to Varric so they know to break off the diversion. I’ll meet you at the Hanged Man with whatever I can find.” Once she knew that Addie and Nico were safe, she could focus fully on making sure Barrett Orland and his bastard of a second son got exactly what was coming to them.
 

Joscelyn Hawke

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#9
Josc was not expecting Addie's hug, so she stood there in brief shock before giving her a brief hug back. It would have been easy, had this not been life or death, to maintain the contact. There'd be time for it later though, and they parted a moment later. “Thank you...thank you! Please, let’s go - he’s so angry, I’ve never seen him so bad, he can’t see any of you…

The desperation in her voice made her angry, and almost made her wish she was the one staying behind. But no, they were going to do this the right way, and get Barrett and Sterling ruined. And that meant that Celeste had to find the evidence.

Get her out of here,” Celeste ordered, “Now. Get a signal to Varric so they know to break off the diversion. I’ll meet you at the Hanged Man with whatever I can find.

Josc nodded, and moved to the balcony edge. She secured the grapnel, and dropped the rope, keeping an eye out for the guards return. "Once we get to the alley I have a cloak and a mask you can put on. I'll go first so I can defend you if any guards decide to come back."

Josc reached over and gave Addie's hand a squeeze before she swung her leg over the rail, then looked to Celeste, "Good luck. We'll all see you at the Hanged Man."

She began to move down the rope, looking up for Addie to start her descent too.
 

Adelaide Orland

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#10
It took Addie a moment to remember she’d sent the message to Celeste in the first place, rather than Josc, and she had a moment for a brief flare of embarrassment before it was quickly swamped by the desire to get away from this place. While the estate had never felt like a home in the way of being a comforting haven from the world, she’d lived there her entire life and she’d imagined that when she finally got away there might be a pang to leaving the familiar behind. Now, she couldn’t get away fast enough.

Celeste concurred. “Get her out of here. Now. Get a signal to Varric so they know to break off the diversion. I’ll meet you at the Hanged Man with whatever I can find.”

“Wait, you’re not-?” No, no time for explanations. Celeste evidently had something else in mind, and Addie wasn’t going to hold up the sailor’s plans by asking a lot of questions. The noise outside had continued unabated for a few seconds, but she didn’t know how much longer she had, and for all she knew the guards - or Father, or Sterling - were making a line for her room to ensure she was still imprisoned. Worry gripped tightly at her chest at the notion of Celeste encountering any of them.

But if she did end up encountering Father or Sterling - well. Neither of them would ever have dealt with a woman like Celeste. Addie had to put her trust in the captain. Nonetheless, she darted across the room to hug her as well as Josc was securing a line to the balcony. “Thank you. Be safe.

Apparently the guard below had been distracted as well; there was no shout of alarm as the rope was extended over the balcony. “Once we get to the alley I have a cloak and a mask you can put on. I’ll go first so I can defend you if any guards decide to come back.”

Addie nodded, feeling the pressure of Josc’s hand on her own gratefully. The other woman went ahead of her, and Addie waited for a few seconds before following.

She didn’t look back at her room; she simply gave Celeste one more grateful glance.

Going over the edge was one of the scariest things she’d ever done. Even though she’d had tumbling and dancing lessons from a young age, she’d never swung from a rope like this before, without even the trellis to help with her footholds. And that was without factoring in her fear that at any moment the guards would return.

There was another almighty bang from beyond the walls and she almost lost her grip, but managed to slither down the last few feet, her breath coming fast with panic. She leaned against Josc, gripping her arms until she felt steady enough to move.
 
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