• Solo • Liar, Liar

Sabine investigates a safehouse for Gray.

21st of Ymiden 716

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Sabine
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Liar, Liar

Liar, Liar


Timestamp: 21st of Ymiden, 716
Location: The Crown (Hightown), Andaris

Trial Three: House is still quiet. No one in, no one out. Neighbours are beginning to give me strange looks. Hoping they don’t call the Iron Hand – do not want to explain this to Bram.

Or, Ilaren forbid, my mother.
Ink blotted the page of Sabine’s journal as she tried to balance it on her lap while she wrote. She had taken to capturing the details of her investigation on paper while she watched the home. In theory, the notes served as a memory aid. In practice, the notes were a good way to look busy and avoid appearing overtly suspicious

Still, that didn’t mean she’d been able to avoid suspicion altogether.

Sabine glanced up from her notes and met the gaze of a pale, black-haired neighbor who, under the pretense of gardening, had been keeping an eye on her all morning. He was a tall man, with a well-trimmed beard and a skeptical expression. This time, rather than ignoring him, she shot him her most innocent smile.

He stared back at her, stone-faced.

...and that's exactly why I haven't approached him for help.

Sabine had first visited the two-story house fourteen trials earlier, shortly after Gray asked her to investigate. It had taken her several breaks to find the damn thing, hidden as it was within the maze of twisting laneways and expensive-looking homes. It also didn’t help that, although Gray had given her its address, the house itself had no identifying information. No number, no mailbox, nothing but stone and darkened windows. She’d ended up walking past it twice before finally putting the pieces together.

On that visit, night had fallen by the time she found the house, and so she wasn’t able to do much more than observe its shadowy appearance. Later that evening, she’d written that,

The house is conspicuous exactly because it doesn’t stand out. It is plain, compared to its neighbours, and the gardens are simple and overgrown. Dark windows, plain stone, no people in sight.
It took some time for her to be able to return. Between the chaos of the Arena and the resulting mystery surrounding the Blue Cloaks, Sabine had been working overtime at the Gazette and had barely given a second thought to the investigation.

It didn’t help that Gray had disappeared shortly after Kala removed the arrow from his shoulder. She had stopped by Ye Olde Inn several trials after the incident, but was told that Gray hadn’t returned since the 13th. According to the steward, he sometimes left the city without notice and she shouldn’t be too concerned.

Still, would it have really been that much extra effort to leave a note? To give me a heads up? To offer some sign that he wasn’t dead or jailed?

Ass.


But despite Gray’s extraordinary lack of consideration, Sabine had managed to dust off her injured ego and move forward with the investigation. The trial before, on the 20th of Ymiden, she’d spent several breaks scouting out the house from beneath a shady oak. Not a single person came in or out and, aside from the stone-faced neighbour and several passersby, no one even came close to approaching it.

This morning had not been any different, and she was getting sick of waiting.

Across the street, the neighbour spared her a final glance and retreated into his home. Without delay, Sabine blew softly on her notes to dry the ink, snapped the journal shut, and tucked it into her leather bag. She slung the bag over her shoulder, stood, and strode towards the smugglers’ house.

She’d had enough boredom for one morning.

Sure, Gray had warned her not to approach the home, but it seemed deserted and she might be able to save them both a headache if she was able to get in and poke around. Besides, if he was just going to disappear without notice then she felt perfectly justified in taking liberties of her own.

Sabine rapped loudly on the door.

No answer.

She knocked again, with more urgency.

Nothing.

Sabine shifted her bag higher up on her shoulder and reached for the doorknob. It was worth a try. Maybe they hadn't locked the door. Maybe the lock had rusted away. Maybe-

“Oi! What do you think you’re doing?”
word count: 750
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Sabine
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Liar, Liar

Shit.

Sabine plastered a wide smile on her face and spun around to deal with the world’s nosiest neighbour.

“Hi!” She tilted her head to the side and fluttered her eyelashes in an obscene display that would have made a whore blush. “I’m looking for my… uncle.”

The man crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes.

Clearly, that meant he wanted to hear her tell the full story. Far be it for Sabine to deny him.

“See, my uncle sent me a letter,” she began. “Well, he sent my whole family a letter, but made special mention in it for me. He asked me to visit him - it’s been twelve arcs since I’ve seen him, y’know. Real hard guy to get a hold of, my uncle. My father’s side of the family is all like that, really. His two sisters, his mother, his other brother—” Sabine broke off with an embarrassingly high-pitched giggle. “Oh, but you don’t care about that.”

She tossed her hair, careful not to smack him in the face with one of her braids, and racked her mind for what to say next. Despite telling stories for a living, it felt surprisingly difficult to make one up on the spot.

Though, to be fair, the stories she told were (usually) true.

And there was very little giggling involved.

“Anyhoo, my uncle sent me this letter and told me to visit him here. He didn’t specify a time, though, so I thought I’d pop by and see if he was around,” she said. Her words were followed by a rather pitiful shrug. “I’ve been waiting for him to come home for a while. No luck yet, as I’m sure you noticed, so I decided to try the door and see if I couldn’t wait inside instead of out on the grass.”

“Hm.” The neighbour’s skepticism radiated from him like body heat. “I haven’t seen the man who lives here in a while. William, was it?”

She nearly agreed, but held herself back at the last moment. It was probably best not to name someone she didn’t know. The man seemed well-versed in setting traps, if his fake disappearance inside his home was any indication. “I just call him Uncle,” she said brightly.

He stared down his nose at her for a moment before nodding slowly. “Why don’t you come have a cup of tea with me while you wait?”

“Oh, no. I couldn’t.” Sabine shook her head and moved to take a step back, only to be stopped as he placed a hand firmly on her arm.

“Please. I insist.”
word count: 451
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Sabine
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Liar, Liar

The false smile faded from her face and her shoulders stiffened. “Get your hands off me.”

“I’m not going to hurt you, dear,” he said, rather unconvincingly. “I just want to talk.”

“I’m not coming with you.”

His grip tightened. “Then we’ll talk here. You look familiar. What’s your name, girl?”

“It’s… Kala.”

“Your full name?”

Sabine racked her brain for a last name that wasn’t hers. “Kala… Qe’ryn.”

She’d quickly learned from her first encounter with Gray that giving out her real name in a potentially dangerous situation was a terrible plan – especially when it was as distinct as ‘Sabine Qe’azour’. So rather than tell the truth like she had last time, she combined the names of two women she knew and threw them under the carriage, instead.

Not her proudest moment, but she hadn’t expected that telling an improvised lie under pressure – especially such a simple one - would be far harder than it looked.

Still, it wouldn’t have mattered what name she gave him. The man shot her a look that made it clear he didn’t believe her. “I know you’re lying, ‘Kala,’” he announced, just in case the two weren’t on the same page.

“I don’t know what you’re talking-”

“Don’t act surprised. I don’t know what you’re doing skulking outside my neighbour’s house, but it’s definitely not visiting. He hasn’t been around since Ashan.”

She opened her mouth to argue.

He narrowed his eyes “Don’t. I know he’s not your uncle. You’re a terrible liar. A family member doesn’t stalk someone's home for two trials before announcing themselves.”

“I-”

“But don’t worry - I’m not going to call the Iron Hand,” he said, loud enough to make Sabine look around in alarm. “Not today. But that doesn’t mean you can continue to case the place and rob it when I’m not looking, girl.

“If the house is broken into… No, scratch that. If I even see a piece of broken glass nearby, you can bet I’ll be going right to the Iron Hand with a description of your appearance and an account of how you’ve been hanging around here for trials. Got it?”

Sabine could do nothing but nod.

The man released his grip. “Now get the hell out of here. I better not see you on my street again.”

She hiked her bag up on her shoulder and stepped around him, breaking into a run the moment she was out of arm’s reach.

This was not how she’d expected things to go.

But despite the man’s threats, he’d given her exactly what she wanted. He'd said that the house hadn’t been touched since Ashan. That meant no one would be around when she came back.

Though perhaps it would be best to wait a few trials before returning...
word count: 501
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Liar, Liar

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Points!:

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: NA (solo thread)
Structure: 5/ 5
Knowledge:

Writing: Keeping handwriting legible
Writing: Description of small details
Investigation: Keeping a record as a memory aid.
Investigation: Building up a profile by viewing over time
Deception: Appearing to be doing something else to avoid suspicion.
Deception: Fill in the details to make a story sound truthful.
Deception: Don't make up names if you don't need to.
Deception: When you need to make up names, think fast!
Storytelling: Family history
Storytelling: Lots of details
Storytelling: Avoid tripping yourself up on names.
Detection: Consideration of things in context.
Location: Smugglers' House
Smugglers' House: Conspicuous because of it's ordinary nature.
Smugglers' House: Empty since Ashan
NPC: The ornery neighbour
Gray: Sometimes leaves without warning

Loot:
Nope.
Fame:
-1 (suspected of being nefarious!)
Magic:
These points may NOT be used for arcana

Overview:

General comments. I loved reviewing this thread - especially since I'd reviewed "Sleuth", too, it was great to see. It was a fun, fab read. I am, as always, in love with the way that you write ~ you weave a story beautifully!
Story Great! Good pace, lots of detail. I really enjoyed it.
Structure Excellent, no worries.


Please do PM me if you've got any questions or if there's anything I've missed!
word count: 221
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