07.23.3013: Sibling Secrecy
Summary: Nitrim summons his sisters to help him play spygames.
Date: 23 July 2013
Related: A Game is Afoot
Anabethe Nitrim Reena 

A Small Hotel Room in Volkan
See Log
23 July 3013

The meeting place is carefully selected. Luring both of his sisters to a small hotel near the Waygate on Volkan, Nitrim waits in the open doorway with a lit cigarette in hand. Taking turns gazing up and down the hall in silence, he eventually glances back to the table he's set up in the rather middle-class room and the drinks he's set atop it. After having given the room a rather thorough once-over, the young, blonde Khourni is rather certain that once their meeting starts it will be a private one.

Reena got the strange message and the directions on where to meet her brother. She arrives, under cover of a hooded cloak made of old, worn wool, which does well to disguise whether she's noble or citizen. She raises her eyes when she approaches the room and a brow arches at Nitrim as she slides past him through the doorway.

Anabethe does no generally sneak around. It's not really her thing. But when her brother wants to meet and goes through so much trouble to keep it quiet, she manages all right. Her tattoos are off, leaving plain skin, and she wears an entirely unremarkable foot soldier uniform with a pair of dark glasses and a hat. It isn't enough to fool someone who knows her or looks closely, but it's enough to make her not stand out so much. "So, that was intense," she says blandly once Nitrim clears the room.

Closing the door to lock them all inside, Nitrim slips the cigarette back into his lip and moves to lean against the wall. "It comes and goes, the intensity. Sorry to call you guys here on the hush-hush, but you might want to get a drink. First things first, though…" Nitrim starts, casting a frown over to the two of them. "One. I need you guys to swear to me on your lives that what we talk about here is private. This could get me killed and I'm not interested in any of us carrying around that guilt and TWO…" He pauses for effect. "…I know I've been really sneaky, hard to get a hold of, and keeping a lot of secrets lately. I haven't meant to be so distant from the two of you but I'm going to tell you everything that's going on, right here, right now. I just want your word to me that you'll keep it quiet."

"We are family, Nitrim. If you ask for my silence, you get it," Reena says with a slight shrug. She lowers the hood of her cloak and unclasps it, leaving her in a simple gold and green dress. She looks over to Anabethe, curious about why they're here, before she moves to get a drink.

Bethe shakes her head slightly to Reena; she doesn't know what the story is either. Shedding hat and glasses on a side table, she works on unbuttoning the uniform jacket. "Same caveat as always, Nitrim," she replies evenly. "If I have to say something to keep you safe, I will. But barring a threat to you or the realm, you have my silence. So what's this about?"

"I'm about to get involved in something dangerous to me that Father can't find out that you know about. It's the sort of thing that could end up getting me killed if this goes wrong, so I need you two to know about it ahead of time." Nitrim doesn't play his normal, silver-tongued routine and gets right down to basics. "Of course, this is the first of two things I'm into. We'll get to the other later." He pauses for a drag and crosses the room, tapping the ashes away into the ashtray in the center of the table. "Princess Janelle and our cousin Lord Magnus' wedding is something that she doesn't want. The Sauveur might be thinking the Khourni are looking into a power grab, and not a fucking one of us but Magnus has a clue as to who's pulling the strings here because it was Father that asked me to look into this; he doesn't know either. Before the other houses start to get ready to skullfuck us over bad politics, I've been asked into this from Landing once I'm wed." A pause. "We need someone to be looking into this from here, too."

Reena brings back two drinks, handing one to Anabethe, as her eyes follow her brother. She stops in her tracks at the news and grimaces. "This is a dangerous game father is playing. If he didn't arrange this wedding with King Emund, who did? Who would have the authority to broker a Khourni marriage with the Sauveur Princess, if not Jevon?"

"Is there a reason Dad isn't just calling Magnus to the carpet and asking for it?" Anabethe takes the drink from Reena with a nod, arching a brow at Nitrim. "There's not a lot of options. It'd have to be Dad or Emund. Or…" She pauses, brows furrowing as she drinks. "Unless Godfrey's overstepping something," she says reluctantly. "I mean, I'd rather him than Cindravale for Knight Commander, but if he's taking advantage of Emund, then he isn't any better off than Janelle."

"It's not Father." Nitrim says with a degree of finality. So rare it is that Nitrim comes to his father's defense, that he seems rather sure of it. "Father arranged for the marriage of Soleil and I and gave me the option of going now or finishing off my squiring. When he told me that he didn't know who convinced Emund of the match with Janelle, I had to choose now." With a sigh, Nitrim shrugs off his coat and drapes if over the back of a chair. "It might be Magnus, but if it's someone else he's asked me to find out what the fuck Magnus is up to and figure out if he's going to get us all in a great deal of trouble with the other houses. So, this means I'm going to be spying on the Crown Princess' betrothed, our cousin." A beat. "And you can't tell father you know this because this will only work better if he thinks I'm acting alone. The less people he's talking to about this unless we find some sort of evidence, the less suspicion will be drawn to him. What's even worse is I just had a prophetic-feeling dream about three drakes fighting over an eagle. If other Awakened had it, then there's no way this isn't going to start murmuring around."

"I don't think Godfrey would be that stupid, Beth. He would have to know that this sort of a move would put Khournas at odds with everyone. What good would that do him?" Reena asks, her brow furrowing as she settles on a chair. "Ah, one of father's choices that isn't a choice," she murmurs with a smirk. She tilts her head at the dream explanation. "Interesting. Three drakes fighting. Father, Magnus, and someone else? And don't worry, Father believes my hands to be impossibly busy at the moment, as I sent him a proposal regarding a charity effort I want to establish. How can I help?"

"I didn't think it was Dad," Anabethe shakes her head, pacing along the perimeter of the room. "Dad's got other things to do than try to maneuver for the throne. Otherwise he would've been pushing one of us at Emund," she says with a tip of her chin to Reena. "Three Drakes, though." She catches the inside of her cheek between her teeth, brows furrowing. "I think Godfrey's got to be in there. I mean, Ellinor could be a part of it, but she's technically Sauveur."

"I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I think the third drake is me. I know that sounds egomaniacal, but I'm one of the few people in the house that appreciates Janelle. That, and of all things I've been working behind the scenes for a while to keep an eye on the situation and by the time Father had ordered me to wed I'd already, in my sneaky little way, let Princess Janelle know that if she had needs in Volkan I would be there for her. By now everyone's heard that she hates Magnus. She's got a lot of powerful friends."

Nitrim moves to the window sill and leans back against it, thumbs hooking into his belt buckle. "I need you guys to do some digging. Maybe someone here has a hand in this? Magnus has roots and friends here, maybe habits, maybe more. If something is going on the last thing we need for it to be is traced back to the Blackspyre or thrown at Father's feet. The time for protecting ourselves is coming, I fear. Whatever the fuck this is, we need some answers yesterday, and I can't be everywhere at once."

Reena sips her drink as she settles back in her seat, smoothing the iridescent pale green of her dress with her free hand. "I'm living in Landings with you, brother. But I can try to visit home whenever possible and poke about. Perhaps, if father approves my project, I can have a family dinner to explain it to all our loving relatives to garner donations from them, liquor them up, and hear what I can hear."

"Honestly, I don't remember the last time I even saw Magnus," Anabethe wrinkles her nose. "But I can ask around, see if I can hear anything from the others." She's quiet for a moment, taking a drink. "Although, if we're all going to be entirely honest here, I kind of like the idea of getting a little more heft in things. I'm just saying. I sure would like to have Janelle under someone's nose where she can be watched. Magnus seems kind of clumsy even to me, though."

"I'm going to need you to watch my back, Reena. You can move around a lot more easily than I can right now, fuck you can leave as you need to, but in a couple of months I'm going to be a Sauveur. So I'd like to work together from Landing, but yeah, whatever you can do to try to dig up whoever this is that bent Emund's ear into thinking this match is a good idea or why would be a godsend." Nitrim leans out, trying to wrap an arm around Reena's shoulders.

"You know, Bethe, I told Father I assumed it was him and he laughed and told me why the fuck would I want her here?" Nitrim sidelongs to Anabethe, cocking a brow. "Think about this. This is Father. Father sent me of all people to Landing because whatever's going on here might just have him sweating, and if he's sweating I'm sweating." Not that Jevon would admit to sweating something. "We've got Chantry disappearing, we've got dreams left and right, and we've got really weird things happening in Landing. Bethe? Magnus would never suspect you'd spy on him. Maybe this is going to end up being just for laughs and we'll never talk about this at the dinner table, but if it's something big…" Nitrim tsks, clucking his tongue against his teeth.

"I also want to let you know that on the side I'm working with some other Awakened, creating an early-warning network that investigates these dreams outside of political lines. There's been enough evidence that we've dreamed things before they happen, and it might be nothing at all also, but at the least we might score some serious intel-hits by doing this. That's also a secret. Tell no one." Nitrim flattens his lips, eyes widening. "Who would have thought I'd have all of this energy after giving up sex and drugs, eh?"

"Well we could always have dad marry Michram or Ellion to Janelle. They, at least, are main line Paramount and would make an iota of sense for a royal match. But Magnus is so far removed from any line of succession, if I was Janelle, I'd be very, very insulted by the banns." Reena swirls the drink in her glass as she ponders idly. "Very well, we can wheedle our way into company who might be in the know in Landings, and I'll play go between for you both." Reena smirks at her brother. "I think being engaged suits you."

"Sure, you know. Bethe is just a big, dumb, blunt object." Anabethe smiles faintly, raising her glass in a tiny salute before she drinks again. "I'll see if I can talk to him. You know, let him know how glad I am to have someone in the family close to Janelle to keep an eye on her. Though I'd rather talk to Emund," she admits. "Guess he's going to be a little bit busy, though. But if Dad doesn't know who suggested it, Emund must. He'd at least know who asked for it."

"I'm just so fucking hesitant of asking the source yet, because if someone's pulling the strings there's no telling who in the room might be responsible." Nitrim sighs, dropping into a chair. His ringed hands come up to scrub at his face for a second, wishing away all of the ache. "Alright, so now you guys know exactly what I've been up to and why I haven't been around. I've been a little crow these last months, and now I'm getting married." Deep breath in, deep breath out. "Thank you, Reena. Soleil and I have reconciled. I'm not half as worried about her shoving me off a balcony as I was a few weeks ago. I'm really trying to do this right, now, and apparently that means sneaking around in a way I didn't use to equate as sneaking around."

"In truth, I'm mildly relieved. I thought you called us here to dispose of a body, or confess you knocked up a citizen or something," Reena teases. She pauses and taps her chin. "Do you think Janelle has any idea who set this up? Does Soleil know that?"

Anabethe's brows furrow at the talk of weddings, and she falls silent the way she does when she knows anything she's going to say is going to come out wrong. Setting her glass aside - with liquor still in it, no less - she goes to lean against the window, looking out over Volkan.

Nitrim's eyes fall to Anabethe, watching her brows with mild concern. There's a barrier there and he knows it. "I've caused enough trouble, Reena, it's time I start trying to fix things rather than break them." He replies, trailing off as he watches Bethe move. When he looks back to Reena, he gives her a frown, which is short lived as he whips a hand out to bap her thigh. "Okay…so here's the part you both need to hear. When the announcement was made I think Janelle found out from the news. I don't think she was happy, fuck, we've all heard the rumors. She's not happy. It was so bad that Soleil actually came to me to ask a what-the-fuck because Janelle thinks the Khourni are making a power grab." He pauses to let that settle in. "Janelle has friends in the Vale, the Ring, Arboren…" He trails off. "I don't think Janelle knows what the fuck is going on, either, and recently the Cindravale were shoved out of the Crown Council. See the trend? I'm sure they do, too."

"And it isn't father orchestrating this," Reena says in a puzzled tone. "Damn, someone is trying to set everyone at Khournas' throat. The real question is, if Khournas was set upon by the other Paramounts to stop an alleged power grab, who would benefit most?" She grunts at the bap to her thigh and swats him back.

"Not our fault if we actually bother to connect to the rest of the planet," Anabethe grumbles at the window. "What're we supposed to do, just sit alone and let the Hostiles pick us all off one by one? So we're made some alliances, so what?" She crosses her arms over her chest, letting out a heavy breath. "The whole point of making alliances is making friends with everyone, so that no one gets up in arms about it."

"Bethe." Nitrim says, head swiveling from Reena to his eldest sister. It's the you know better than that tone. "I've heard about a dream where a knight is being executed, but not everyone had it. There were others that did, though, more than one. I've still got people searching for someone who tried to warn me something was dark was happening in the Chantry and he has gone missing, too. Fuck, Bethe, we've had this conversation. It's not all rainbow sherbet out there. There's something going on, and all of the numbers add up right now that if that something is orchestrating a situation that royally fucks Volkan, I'm going to be the poor Sauveur bastard being told to watch it from the sidelines." Nitrim's eyebrows tip near the middle as he lets out his main concern. "I might not be able to help you directly much longer, but I'm always gonna have your backs, okay?" A long pause settles over him. "Father asked me to do this. This wasn't my idea. If you don't trust me, trust that."

"I'm guessing it's no one in Cindravale. They just married into Sauveur and have someone betrothed to one of our vassal heirs. Hurting us would hurt Ibrahm and their own representative," Reena posits. "And I don't see Arboren steering Emund wrong, Lady Eryn is too close to him. So if I had to put down money, I'd say Orelle has their fingers in this, some way or another."

"Hey, all I'm saying is-" Anabethe stops, nodding toward Reena. "Someone can try to make it look like we're grabbing for power all they want, but we're not, and as long as we're keeping up with our relations with the rest of the planet, no one's going to actually do anything because they're all going to figure we're allies with them, too. Who's going to pick a fight with us right now? No one." There's a pause, as she makes a face. "Though this drake thing is going to cause more trouble than all the rest of the gossip, honesty. "

"The Citadel, Chantry, and Palace will received concerned letters. Every Awakened that might have had it is going to possibly view this as us tearing down on this eagle. This will get back to Janelle, and this will get back to Emund." Nitrim rises from his chair and stubs out his cigarette. "What I'm worried about is that if all of this speculation builds, and it builds to the point where the other houses believe that we're consolidating power and pushing them out of the game, then all it will take is one well placed sabotage and we'll be fighting a war on two fronts. We've got the factories. We'll have the Princess." Nitrims eyes scan their faces. "Or, you know, Magnus is just really persuasive and he bagged himself a Royal Princess. Well…done…Magnus, right? I'm not saying we should be pissing ourselves. I'm just saying that I agree with Father it's worth looking into, and again, please, don't get me killed by spreading this around. I remembered each of you well every birthday."

"Please, I like my head attached to my shoulders. I am not stupid enough to breathe this to the gods, let alone Havenites. This is walking the narrow wire between political push and treason, if it is actually a set up to bring down Khournas," Reena points out. "Whoever is doing this will likely go to any lengths to make sure they remain in the shadows."

"Except we stood behind Emund, not Janelle." Anabethe grimaces, pulling her ponytail over her shoulder and twisting it around her hand. "Mess," she mutters. "But I'll find out what I can. Nitrim…take care of yourself, okay? Just because you're marrying one of them doesn't make you one of them. You're Khournas, blood and bone. You're our brother, and you'll always be our brother. Don't let-" She stops, choosing her words. "Don't let anyone in Landing change that."

"Oh come on, Bethe, she's not going to change that but if I'm going to be in that House I've got to make friends and allies and I'm starting with Ellinor and Soleil. If someone's trying to punch the Khourni out to make a power vaccuum, we're all in trouble." Nitrim steps over to his sisters, and each in turn he offers a hug. "Just watch your backs and…try not to forget that we can't rule out Magnus and Godfrey until we know better. We might have enemies from within until we know otherwise, so be careful who you confide in, if anyone at all okay? I don't want to lose either of you."

Reena returns Nitrim's hug. "We'll be careful. If anyone starts giving you the evil eye in Landings, I'll have your back. Well anyone other than your bride-to-be. She's scary, you're on your own there."

"Rule out Magnus and Godfrey?" Anabethe arches a brow as she returns her brother's hug. "Godfrey's my prime suspect right now, honestly. But I'll be careful if you'll be careful," she promises. "Also, really, who exactly do you think is going to beat up your big sister, huh?"

"Shit, Bethe, I can take you from fifty feet away." Nitrim winks as he pulls back. Thumbs in his belt, he moves towards the door and stands beside it. "As for Soleil, you guys know I actually like this girl, right? She's just enough crazy to make my crazy make sense. Besides, she's watching my back at Landing too, and she's someone you can trust when it comes to me. I'm…happy father chose this. It's making sense of my life."

"Well, that's good to hear. At least someone in the family will marry happy," Reena notes. She sets her unfinished drink aside and stands to put her cloak back on and pull up the hood. "Should we leave in increments?" she asks. Clearly she is okey dokey with all the cloak and dagger. If they had any idea of how much undercover work she'd been doing in the last week.

Anabethe makes that 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all' face again at the mention of Soleil. "Just take care of yourself," she settles on, managing a faint smile.

"Yeah, Bethe you take left, Reena you take right. I'll clean up here and head out in a bit." Nitrim says, hanging near the door long enough to allow the two of them to pass. Each of them gets a squeeze of their arms as they go. Once they do and he's left alone, Nitrim lets out a deep sigh and reaches for the garbage can…

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