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An Assignment (Sunrise, Laerdya)

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1 An Assignment (Sunrise, Laerdya) on Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:10 pm

It is late Eleasis and the summer heat and humidity has peaked to unbearable levels; a groaning city collectively counts the days down to the first of Eleint when autumn's approach can be felt again. Veshti's mansion is as cool as she can make it, but the marble floors and shaded rooms with wide open windows to the sea breeze can only do so much. Sunrise rests in her rooms, writing letters and trying to beat the oppressive heat.

Veshti enters with a light knock, her smooth forehead knit in a light frown. She sits without waiting for invitation and gives Sunrise a thoughtful look. "You did very well in your internship at the courthouse, and I know you've been anxious for more work since it ended. I have something else for you, but it's a bit different in scope. I've received a request for you to visit the Feytower on the 7th of Eleint, there to report to Wizard Laerdya Siannodel."

This name is known to Sunrise: every citizen of Brilight has heard of the elven wizard. She is powerful and wise and old, and has been working tirelessly to find a cure since the plague began. She is popularly believed to be the city's best hope for relief. Sunrise has only ever heard good things about the elven woman, and has spoken her name with respect when urging the city leaders at her concerts to direct more resources towards stopping plague.


---
She sits up, eyes flying wide. "Wait, really? Did - is it about the plague?" She bites her lip. "Did she ask for me?"


---
"I do not know what it is about," Veshti admits, "though I can't think of much else Laerdya cares about. It's said she barely trances anymore, so consumed is she with seeking a cure. As for the sender: the letter is from Luther, dear." She watches Sunrise, her gaze unreadable.


---
She blanches, then nods. "Maybe he wants me to put my money where my mouth is," she speculates after a moment. "I can't imagine I'm his favorite person after that speech two nights ago."


---
Veshti presses gentle fingers to her temple; a look of distress, though Sunrise has learned this expression is largely feigned for show. Tapping out one of her pleasure cigarettes, she lights it with a firestick and takes a gentle drag on the smoke which threatens to dissipate at the merest touch of air. "Remind me, please? I wasn't present for that one."


---
Sunrise sighs. "Between Feytown and the temples, do you know how much concentrated magical power we have in this city? If we were treating this plague like the threat that it truly is, Luther could be harnessing that. If he threw his money and influence into giving Laerdya the support she needs, bringing in other wizards - and clerics and even good old-fashioned academics, people who study the body and how it works - to work with her, maybe we'd actually know something!" She waves a hand. "Even just how it spreads! We think it's probably not the air - remember when everyone wore masks outside, but it didn't seem to do anything? But even then, we don't know, we're just guessing! But the man who has the power to actually organize a real response to this crisis keeps acting like it's business as usual - until something inconveniences him personally, in which case he slaps a bandage on it and hopes it goes away!"

She runs frustrated hands through her hair and takes a deep breath, calming back down. "Anyway. I... might have touched on some of that in the speech."


---
Veshti takes a sharp breath and closes her eyes. "Well then. Yes. That would explain the summons. I can imagine he may intend that you see his side of things. If that is the case, understand that he is doing so out of courtesy to me. You will behave yourself at the tower, for my sake."

She hesitates, taking another long drag on the soft purplish smoke. "...and you may over time come to feel you have misjudged him. We shall see, I suppose."


---
"I didn't name names, at least," she says with a sigh. "I'll behave."


---
She nurses her cigarette for a long while, drifting and thinking, then stubs out the remainder and moves to sit beside Sunrise. "Luther is not a good or pleasant man at the best of times, and he is under enormous stress right now. I do not like him. But I respect his power and position, and I respect that Laerdya seems to trust him. I know you will be my polite ward, diplomatic to a fault. Good. What you will not do is allow yourself to be alone with him. I cannot imagine he would ask, but men get the wrong ideas sometimes. Understand?" She studies Sunrise with her unsettlingly direct gaze.


---
Sunrise leans affectionately against her for a moment. "I understand. And believe me, being alone with him is hardly a situation I'd desire either."


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Veshti chuckles, relaxing. "Because you are my smart girl, yes," she agrees with a grin. "If it were Elinor being summoned, I would worry."


----
"On the other hand, Elinor is less likely to publicly call out one of the most powerful men in the city," she admits with a small smile. "'Smart' may be relative here."


---
Veshti chuckles. "True. Now if only I could convince you two to make a baby together, I'd have the perfect politician on my hands."


---
"Bah," she teases. "How can you be a perfect politician if you're afraid to piss people off? You'd never get anything accomplished."

Taking a deep breath, she nods. "Okay. Do you know anything else about this meeting? Who else will be there, level of formality, how long it's expected to last, etc.?"


---
"I do not," Veshti admits, and this clearly troubles her somewhat. "The letter is signed by Luther, but it doesn't read like him at all; he would include such things. Instead, see? It is perfunctory to a fault. A time, a location, and this reference that 'comfortable work clothing and shoes will be provided, as well as necessary supplies', which is nice but says nothing about the nature of the work."

Sighing, she taps at her teeth. "Maybe he has a new secretary. But whatever it is, he clearly expects you to work, not just talk. Maybe Laerdya wants to talk to a tiefling? Not that you're the only one in the city and in fact several already live in the Feytower, but I can't think why else she'd want a budding political musician in her laboratory. Do you have a prior career as a chemist you've not told me about?"


---
She shakes her head. "I've been outspoken about her needing more support from the city," she says slowly. "Maybe she's going to ask for something and needs to shore up support? I know I'm not anyone important yet, but I do have the ear of the parts of the city hit hardest by plague... or maybe that's it, maybe she needs information from Westside? Or has a possible cure or prevention that needs to be rolled out with a positive spin?" Frowning, she adds, "Which doesn't explain the 'suitable clothes and shoes' bit, but theoretically any of those scenarios could end up being more hands-on than expected."


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Veshti's frown only intensifies. "I'm not sure I approve of her making you the face of her vaccine for Westside. That's a huge risk for you if it doesn't work."


---
She shrugs. "It's only one possibility; I'm just thinking through the options. Whatever it is, as long as it's reasonably possible I'll talk to you before making any decision, okay?"


---
Veshti considers this, nodding slowly. "I believe that's all we can do. Though I will say that offending Laerdya or Luther would be extremely unwise even for someone like myself." She sighs. "If the job is even remotely reasonable, we're probably stuck with it. Such are the dangers in a life of public service."
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2 Re: An Assignment (Sunrise, Laerdya) on Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:34 pm

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3 Re: An Assignment (Sunrise, Laerdya) on Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:41 pm

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