In which Twigs employs unconventional methods to solve Lady Montilyet’s misfortunes.
Twigs Lavellan was in a bouncy mood. She and the others had
just returned from a minor mission in the Hinterlands with no casualties and
relatively little effort expended. It was a rarity these days, and she felt
inclined to ask Lady Montilyet for another tutorial on Wicked Grace while the
atmosphere around the fortress was light and carefree.
The scene upon entering the lady ambassador’s office turned
her sunny disposition on its head.
“What the f…?” Twigs trailed off as she took in the
scattered books and papers, overturned furniture, and deep gouges in the
woodwork of the bookcases. The ambassador herself was in a similar state, her
raven hair coming loose from its elegant coif, framing a face that was
unusually pale and shaken. “Lady Montilyet, what happened?”
“It seems the House of Repose decided to pay a visit. The
guards arrived in time, but… I should have guessed the assassins would
infiltrate the servants.”
“Are you alright?” Twigs’s hands clenched into fists. She
could feel a blaze of anger rising within her. How dare they attack one of my people? And in MY house, no less?
She forced herself to loose the tension in her shoulders and crossed the room,
approaching her political advisor. She tripped over a fallen chair in the
process, but quickly regained her footing. Smooth.
“I am fine, Inquisitor. Do not trouble yourself,” Josephine
replied, though her voice betrayed her frayed nerves. She swept a strand of
hair from her face.
“I’ll tear them to pieces!” Twigs gritted. “They’re just a
guild. We have an army. Why can’t we
just wipe them out?”
“Inquisitor, the resources we have built are not for
personal use,” Josephine admonished. “We will not risk the lives of our
soldiers on such a trivial matter. Additionally, addressing such a delicate
situation with brute force could destroy much of the political groundwork we
have laid. The assassin’s guild is very old and respected. There is no telling
who among our allies would withdraw support.”
“Your life isn’t a ‘trivial matter,’ Josephine,” Twigs
replied, frustrated at her inability to beat the problem into submission. “but
even I can see that you’re right. Just tell me what I have to do.”
“Tell me, why should I allow you to pollute the Orlesian
nobility any more than it has already been muddied?” Minister Bellise asked.
“What could you possibly offer me to make this favor worth my while?”
Twigs searched her mind for an answer. There were only three
thoughts in it, as per usual, and one of them was “Ask Cole whether farts are
actually spirits leaving the body.” That wouldn’t do.
“An unforgettable night,” she replied, arranging her
features into what she hoped was a sultry expression.
“Forgive me, Inquisitor, are you having some…” The minister
dropped her voice to a stage whisper, “intestinal
Twigs dropped her sultry expression and tried for a roguish
grin instead. “Hardly, Madame. I was imagining the… favors… I could do for
Minister Bellise eyed the Inquisitor, unsure of whether to
be amused, aroused, or disgusted. The offer was an intriguing one, she had to
admit. Her husband was a bore, and the side benefits she had taken to bed had
only so many tricks up their sleeves.
“Admit it, Minister… You’ve never before entertained someone
quite like me,” the elf spread her fingers and bowed theatrically. “I could
make your head spin.”
It was too good an offer to pass up.
What on earth is she
doing? Minister Bellise watched the elf busy herself about the ornate
bedchambers. Steel rods? Should I be
The Inquisitor had shown up with an armful of claptrap and a
sack full of carefully wrapped dinnerware, for reasons yet unknown to the older
woman. Perhaps the Inquisitor was paranoid about being poisoned, and needed to
bring her own dishes? It was not unheard of, but still…
“Prepare to be amazed!” The Inquisitor gestured with a
flourish, a steel rod in her hand. Is she
into consensual domination? Will she cane me with that rod? I’m too old for
this shit! The older woman began to panic. Just as she was about to ring
the bell rope for a servant to come put a stop to the ridiculous charade, Twigs
Lavellan placed a dish on top of the steel rod and began to spin it.
You’ve got to be
kidding me. Minister Bellise could not find the words to accurately
describe her feelings, at least not out loud. If anything, it would disrupt the
elf’s concentration and leave a mess of broken crockery for the servants to
Gradually, Twigs added more spinning plates to her act. She
set two rods down, still spinning precariously, and picked up a spare plate
with her right hand. With her left, she opened a very small rift. She hummed
the plate through the green portal, closing it immediately afterwards. With a
sly look, she opened a second rift on the opposite side of the room. The plate
flew through it and was caught by the elf in a deft move that surprised the
minister. She had no idea anyone could disrupt the veil for purposes of
entertainment… How had she discovered this? Was it dangerous? She found the
prospect positively thrilling.
Twigs closed the second rift and gave the other plates a
spin, lest they slow enough to topple to the floor. She gave one a quick tip
with her hand, flipping it into the air. A rift swallowed it instantly and
closed, another opening in the floor. The plate fell upwards into Twigs’s
hands. She collected each of the other spinning plates this way until she had
the full stack in hand. Addressing her audience, she bowed deeply and proceeded
to lose her grip on the pile of plates. They fell to the ground with a crash.
Shards of crockery flew everywhere.
“Fenedhis!” cursed Twigs. “Oh, Minister, I am so sorry. I’ll
clean this up.”
“I- There is no need, Inquisitor. Leave it for the
servants.” Minister Bellise waved off the Inquisitor, shaking her head. What a strange elf this one is. How does the
Inquisition accomplish even half of what they do?
“I suppose a lordship for the DuParaquettes is out of the
question, now.” Twigs hung her head, shamefaced.
“Oh, no, Inquisitor… You delivered on your promise. It may
not have been what I was expecting, but… I shan’t forget this night anytime
soon, I can guarantee you that. I will ratify your documents in the morning.” The
minister found herself oddly charmed by the Inquisitor’s glorious capacity for non
sequitur. She would have a story to top all others at her next state dinner.
“You did it, Inquisitor! Minister Bellise granted the
DuParaquettes a lordship, and now the contract on my life is nullified. I am
relieved, truly… but…” Josephine hesitated, stray tendrils of hair blowing in
the sea breeze. “I have heard that she is a… difficult woman to please. You
must owe her a great debt.”
“Uhm, no, not really. I have… ways.” Twigs rubbed her neck
uncomfortably. Had Val Royeaux’s docks suddenly become very warm? She wasn’t
“You don’t have to tell me now, Inquisitor, but perhaps
“Oh, I’ll definitely show you at some point. I’ll… I’ll make
your head spin.”