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Author Topic: Ash to ignite. [Jarek]  (Read 1409 times)

Ash to ignite. [Jarek]
« on: November 01, 2019, 01:53:07 PM »
[ july 847 ]

Everything was being laid in place. They each had their own objectives, and they would be carried out fully. It was ambitious, but nothing would stand in their way. The Walls weren't prepared for this, no matter what some might believe. Being in the Military Police, along with the disguise he took to the streets, Quirin had heard plenty of civilian chatter. The Walls were far more protected now, apparently. The Garrison wouldn't slack off again, they said.

How little they knew.

Striding into the Valdeze residence, his Military Police uniform perfectly smooth and proper, Quirin knew exactly where to go. Guard duty was something of a speciality of his, and he had long ensured that any appearance around the Valdeze family wouldn't be suspicious. It allowed for any actual work, or the odd emergency. He knew very well that none of his peers, nor those he answered to, would pry. Meeting here also meant that they had their own territory, so to speak. Nobody to overhear. No interruptions.

He had been given time to consider the actions before him, of plans laid out. Now that he knew exactly how to arrange them, and the time approached to put them in action, he had a report to give. Whatever Jarek thought of it, Quirin felt assured that it would go as he wished. After all, he would be the one putting his life on the line. Risking both detection and life.

Re: Ash to ignite. [Jarek]
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2019, 11:42:55 PM »
The meeting had drawn on for far, far too long. Lord Saintirel was full of propositions and ideas, as though an alliance forged at the eleventh hour could save his ailing house. His only daughter had been twice married already, but had not produced a single living child. If the rumours were to be believed, her last loss had put her on bed rest over a month ago, and she had yet to rise from those stiff, stinking sheets. Likely she never would. Jarek watched the ageing man's hands tremble faintly as he sifted through his papers, his droning voice drilling into the noble's skull. Still the young man smiled, and indulged, and hosted unfailingly. When the Saintirel name was extinguished, their worldly wealth - for what it was worth - would likely be subsumed by the Valdezes. Lord Saintirel had always wanted a son, and it was too easy to step into such a playable role.

The familiar, handsome figure of Quirin was a gift in that moment, as the pair of nobles lingered by the open door to Jarek's grand study, the younger working to delicately end their meeting. "Officer Drexler," Jarek greeted brightly. "Lord Saintirel was just leaving." He tilted his raven head, offering his unwanted companion a dazzling, vaguely apologetic smile. "I am afraid I have some pressing matters to attend to, but I shall give your propositions due consideration. Perhaps we could meet again next week?" The older man nodded eagerly, too plainly revealing how desperately he sought to make connections with the Valdeze family, and offered a rather colourless farewell. His gait was stiff and unsteady as a servant dutifully stepped forward to lead him from the sprawling manor. Jarek watched until Lord Saintirel's stooped, retreating back turned a corner, then focused his attention on Quirin. The officer was immaculately turned out, carrying himself with confidence within Valdeze walls. And why not, when his loyal service had seen him spend countless hours across the noble family's residences? He had earned that self-assurance.

"Your timing is impeccable," Jarek smirked. Even as he spoke, there was a subtle shift in his expression. Quirin did not require the same charade as everyone else. "Please, come in." Stepping into the study, the noble immediately breezed over to the large desk that dominated the space, leaving the officer to close the door behind him and ensure their privacy. There was much to be discussed.

Re: Ash to ignite. [Jarek]
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2019, 12:33:34 AM »
The sight of Lord Saintirel was no surprise, and Quirin painted the practiced, easy smile of respect as he approached them, stopping at some distance to bow swiftly. Respect mattered so very much, and he would not be marked on it. Nor would he have wanted to - he had no patience for these matters, but they were Jarek's business, and any minute assistance he could give would be duly given. He didn't need to say a word, his eyes speaking for him; subservient understanding, an acceptance that unless the lord had anything to say to him, he would not address him first.

His silence continued until Jarek spoke to him directly, that being the cue, the hint that they were quite alone. "Am I not always impeccable, in all that I do?" he replied, his own charade relaxing as he entered the study. Here, above all places, he could be himself. Truly, entirely. There was no mask needed in this safety, in the company of perhaps the only noble he wanted to command him. The door closed with a click, and with it went the outside world. In this room, the pigs and the pests didn't exist.

"I envy your patience, with those matters," Quirin added, a casual smirk in turn to him. He wouldn't forget his place, nor would he overstep; there was no harm in a playful joke between them. Before business reigned, and so it did. "I've prepared everything in my power to, setting foundations first. With your approval, I'll begin to finalise all that I need." Every shred of preparation mattered. He had been given a puzzle, and now he was set to fill the very last pieces of it. "Shall I begin?" A question of courtesy, an assurance that he was ready to, and an allowance for Jarek to both retain control and have such a chance to get any news of his own.

Quirin Drexler was nothing if not devoted.

Re: Ash to ignite. [Jarek]
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2019, 12:24:58 PM »
Am I not always impeccable, in all that I do?

That earned a wide, white flash of teeth and an affirmative nod from Lord Valdeze.  A chuckle, its sound rich and low, followed mere moments later, elicited by the gentle jest.  “Dear Lord Saintirel lives on just to spite me, it would seem.”

The study was quiet, its walls shrouded by orderly bookcases and cabinets, the floor sumptuously carpeted and soft underfoot, adding to the stillness.  A handful of treasures and curiosities – precisely positioned – peeked from shelves.  On one wall a silver sword was mounted, its rain-guard and cross-guard glittering with small, dark gemstones.  On another, there hung a large and detailed map of Paradis.  Cloistered away from the world, Jarek basked in the residual heat from the taxing meeting with Lord Saintirel – and in his newfound, very much desired company.

From a sideboard, the lord produced two crystal glasses that sparkled coldly in the light.  Wordlessly he decanted drinks for them both.  “Elderflower and raspberry,” Jarek said simply, sliding one tumbler across the desk.  The flavour of the pressé changed, depending on the season, and on what was being grown in the gardens of the Valdeze estate.  The fruit was picked only by trusted servants, and prepared into beverages by a carefully selected team of long-serving kitchen staff, and then tasted first by someone whose life was dispensable.  Because one could never be too careful.   

“Marvellous,” Jarek smiled in response to Quirin's summary, taking a seat behind the desk, the fingertips of one long-fingered hand dancing lightly against the rim of his glass.  A low-burning ferocity smouldered in his noble features, his expression one of anticipation and high expectation.  Quirin Drexler was an exceptional individual, a rare and ruthless breed who was motivated and meticulous in every task he undertook.  Only one as seemingly infallible as he could be trusted with something of this magnitude.  “Please, do go on.  You have my complete attention.”

Here they were, cats in a city full of mice.

Re: Ash to ignite. [Jarek]
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2019, 09:04:06 PM »
"It seems so," he commented. There were many ways to fool people into believing 'old age' had taken such frail creatures, but the doctors seemed to be improving in their knowledge. No doubt they had tests which would cross out plenty more. Waiting was frustrating, but often necessary. He had no doubts that Jarek wished to be seen as above reproach.

Taking up the tumbler, he sipped from it, and gave a nod of gratitude. Ever the wonderful host. There were certain luxuries that the barracks didn't quite always allow for, not without pests and narrowed eyes. Trips to the Valdeze manor reminded him of what he missed - it wasn't impossible to wrangle a home of his own and to remain there, but he suffered what he did for a reason. To be as invisible as he could. Just another soldier. While keeping his claws sharp in his squadmates.

He was entirely relaxed now, as permission was given to go ahead, with Jarek's attention.

"The Falkenrath home no doubt is laid out as those around it - though I was unable to get blueprints for that exact building, I'm satisfied that a lack of visible additions suggests that it will be accessible as expected," he began. It was important to gain access to the home above all, and to be sure that there were no easy escape routes. All of it had to be covered, and he had done his part in preparing for that. "Matthias Axmann - do you remember him? Such a star in the underground. His ticket out has been secured, and I've sent him to scout Utopia's homes. He'll be our little distraction, the looter who will begin a chain of break-ins. A chancer." One who would be easily blamed. A robbery gone wrong. Of course, security with the underground might well be increased, but he was confident that the Military Police will have more than that to worry about.

He moved on swiftly. "Following the call to arms, I will ensure that I've been spotted, in the company of Fischer, Rosenstein, and Weber. Together, we will approach the house under cover. I will have Weber keep fighting and draw out a battle with a nearby titan, or else draw one nearby, that will ensure no civilians notice us. Fischer and Rosenstein will take the front door, while Axmann the back." Plans had already been drawn, though he had not shared particulars with his squadmates, nor Fischer. It had to be foolproof and approved.

"We will enter once the wife has been confirmed to be inside," he said, a trace of smugness in the tone. He wanted her to be there. If this research was so important, he was confident that the wife would attempt to salvage some of it. With the lack of time before showdown, he couldn't afford to waste time on profiling the woman. "Falkenrath himself will no doubt be in battle. Their son will be a useful tool to threaten."

He had no interest in bothering with a child. Nor any particular want to keep him alive, his own amusement providing the idea of the brat's fate. "Once the research is secured, stolen, or destroyed - depending, of course, on its contents - I will ensure that the wife is killed. Axmann will follow, eaten by the titan, or else another. The child will be taken by Fischer and evacuated. He'll have no memory of it, he's far too young." He sniffed. Brats were always useless. "It provides Fischer an alibi, as well as assist in her promotion." She was a potential liability, though at present he saw no reason to doubt her.

"Once the house is clear, Rosenstein will bring as many documents as we can find to one of our friends - I think Thrane should do. Weber will take whatever's left, perhaps to Vledder. Neither seem likely to pry. From there, they can finish the delivery." Splitting the load will provide each of them with alibis and few evidence of collaboration. Thrane and Vledder were both expendable, their main uses being in easy access - without suspicion - to their king. It wouldn't implicate Jarek in the slightest.

Quirin's eyes glittered. "Any further loose ends will be taken care of. Whatever the losses of Utopia District, they'll spare not a thought for Falkenrath's supposed ingenuity. And as we have the research, blocking any attempts will be far easier for the Church of the Walls." He bowed his head, indicating that he was quite done. Nights of dreaming, days of wondering, weeks of eagerness had led up to this point.

His plan lay in the capable hands of their knight.

Re: Ash to ignite. [Jarek]
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2019, 05:51:44 PM »
Violet eyes, of a rare shade all but synonymous with the Valdeze name, rested on Quirin the entire time that he spoke. If there was any weight to Jarek's gaze - unguarded, captivated, calculating, ravenous as it was - the soldier did not balk, meticulously marrying objectives with the necessary tools and acquired knowledge. It was an art form, one of which Quirin was a master, and a beautiful thing to witness.

With the singular focus of a hound with the scents of gunshot and blood in its nose, all that existed in his world at that moment was the man at the other side of the desk, and the plan that he so articulately and concisely delivered. Jarek leaned forward, his absolute attention trained on his capable companion. A slow, dangerous smile played on his lips as the future unfolded in his mind's eye. Preparations melded together to form chainmail, and the noble mentally tested for weakness, tugging at the links, seeking any elusive blindspot.

The supporting cast had been carefully selected, every conceivable measure being taken to ensure this operation ran as smoothly as possible. The Falkenraths would be entirely unsuspecting; Jarek did not flinch at the mention of murdering the engineer's wife, nor felt any flicker of concern for the small child who would be caught up in the impending horror. They did what must be done for the greater good, blood spilt in the name of order.

"Absolutely," Jarek murmured his approval. "There can be no loose ends." As well Quirin knew, the noble trusting him to keep everything neat, contained, controlled. That was what this all boiled down to - control. No suspicion would darken his door, his stained hands would appear clean, and so many birds would be felled with a single, almighty stone. And how satisfying it was to know that, in the service of their king, the Valdeze family would profit. Employment could be offered to those displaced by the tragedy, necessity driving them to a life in the mines or factories, and Meera would have an opportunity to dutifully rub shoulders with the filthy masses, serving in soup kitchens and makeshift medical centres. Disgusting work, but excellent for their public relations.

"Exquisite," Jarek remarked, as Quirin bowed his beautiful blond head, speaking as much of the plan as the soul who devised and delivered it. "Quite exquisite." How fortunate they were that stars had aligned, that fate had intervened - or perhaps mere chance - had placed them both in the same place at the same time, permitting them to breathe the same air, to serve the same cause.

"He will be most pleased." There was no need to elaborate, not when Quirin knew precisely of whom he spoke. Jarek regarded his companion plainly, fingertips dancing on the rim of his glass once more, the crystal singing softly, quietly, at the touch. "Your preparations are thorough, to say the very least. Whatever variables exist beyond our control, I have faith in you, and your ability to manage both the unexpected and undesired." If only there was feedback to be given, beyond mere approval. Quirin's devotion and attentiveness made for seemingly ironclad groundwork. Now, they were ready for implementation. "This is progress," Jarek smirked lazily, as though they weren't on the brink of shaking the foundations of their world.

Re: Ash to ignite. [Jarek]
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2019, 04:00:19 AM »
The judgement was not delayed, and he did not expect it to be. Still, he supped, delighting in watching the plan sink in and further approval given. There would be no rejection, simply because there was nobody else who could take on such a task. Quirin had no interest in examining the morals of such a plan - death did not disturb him, it delighted him, the child's ignorance would be fun to play with - and that made him such a danger, a predator, stalking his prey. Each step of the plan was another flex of his claws.

Together, under Jarek's careful intelligence and immeasurable influence, they were quite unstoppable. And that was why he ensured his protection.

"I'll ensure all is prepared for the day," he simply said, cold eyes sparking with amusement. There was so much he could be privy to, that he could ask, but he did not. He had his place, and Jarek had his. To tie one another together, to forge a trail to be followed, would be both foolish and insulting to them both. He had no doubts that, were he ever to become a liability, there would be ways and means for his pedestal to crumble. There was no doubt about his capabilities, and he was quite certain that the ingenuity of the chess pieces together would find a way to bring him down.

The king had his ways, and they needn't be so obvious.

His gaze lingered on the noble, the smirk easily matched. "Your faith is appreciated endlessly, sir," he uttered, sipping once more from tumbler, though his eyes did not leave the man. There were many things he owed him: a life, most importantly. Unlike any could ever imagine. None would understand. Yet he could, and he did. Perhaps his loyalty to this cause of theirs was bruised, tarnished to lean far more into some sort of... devotion painted black.

"I will, of course, be at your beck and call once it's over." His presence would continue to be ordinary, dullards like Lord Saintirel would always spot his lingering, and they would think nothing of it. He was a guard first and foremost. It was hardly uncommon for one such as the Valdeze family be in need of his services. While all ends would be tied, he had to ensure his persona was remarkable and unblemished as always. "I'm certain the panic will no doubt result in some entertainment."

That he would be only so pleased to provide. « Last Edit: December 19, 2019, 04:00:37 AM by Quirin Drexler »

Re: Ash to ignite. [Jarek]
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2020, 03:19:10 PM »
Of any and all who lived and breathed, Quirin could be trusted to make the necessary arrangements, to have everything prepared.  Jarek inclined his head in gratitude, gracefully removing his finger from the rim of his crystal glass and allowing the quiet hum to fade into silence.  “As is yours,” he echoed quietly, with sincerity that was not feigned.  Their objective was a dangerous one, the work discreet and sordid, staining their hands and hearts a similar shade, and binding them with threads that none could see.  Endlessly. Jarek added, echoing and savouring the word, violet eyes glittering as they rested unflinchingly on Quirin.  Their task would be a test of the officer’s fortitude and willingness – and of the noble’s own – yet Jarek felt there was no doubting the outcome.

I will, of course, be at your beck and call once it’s over.

“I am ever glad to hear that, Officer Drexler.”  Without an unwanted audience, there was no need to suppress his smirk.  How pleasing those words were, to know that this capable man’s loyalty was not to the Valdeze family as a whole but to him personally.  Jarek revelled in a blossoming sense of power, even in the knowledge that it was one he would not abuse.  Quirin was too cunning, too valuable, too desirable, to be misused.  The dark-haired noble did not shy from their burning eye contact, delighting in the quiet ferocity of that blue gaze.  In the coming days their teeth would be bared against the world and, when all was said and done, Quirin’s presence would arouse no suspicion, his proximity providing an opportunity for them to evaluate their position and to theorise on the next move their king would make.

With the mention of entertainment, anticipation flashed in Jarek’s noble face.  He enjoyed a sip of his drink, knowing that his leisurely movements would do little to disguise the excitement he felt burgeoning within his chest.  “I must confess, I am more than a little envious,” Jarek’s voice was low and unhurried as he set down the tumbler, disinterested now in its contents.  “While you bask in a crucible of fire and blood, I shall no doubt be in the company of laborious dolts such as Lord Saintirel.”  There was an edge of dark humour in his voice.  Leaning forward a little, he languidly propped up his noble head up with a pale hand, attention never leaving his loyal companion.  “I will make do with ruffled feathers and clutched pearls, with an impotent and fearful aristocracy.  Alas, it is my duty.”  The smirk that so often danced upon Jarek’s lips widened.  “I request only that you regale me with every terrible detail upon your return.  That, and that we make our own entertainment.  Your diversions are always so immensely… satisfying.”

Re: Ash to ignite. [Jarek]
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2020, 07:59:25 PM »
To be trusted by a man such as Jarek Valdeze was an honour, one that he would not shun, nor ignore. He embraced it, an eager darkness edging his smirk as he returned it, a sort of vile glee in the idea of diversions. Yes, he could provide them. Each time they would be more bloody, and far more steeped in a horror the most of the Walls could not possibly comprehend. It would be beautiful in their way, and horrific in others.

His attachment to the knight was perhaps a little more blanketed in rotting engagement than he'd first thought.

"I'm certain you'll survive through them, especially with the thought of promised riches," he remarked. They were not ordinary riches. No gold need sparkle between them. It would be that high of pleasure and the cloak of death to shed and embrace. "And I promise, you will hear of every detail. I will recall it all for you."

Quirin leaned ever so slightly forward. "It is a shame you can't accompany me, but I swear to you, my liege, that I will provide every song of blood and touch of death, as you want, when you wish." There was no higher assurance than that. It was in his power, and it would be done. So too would it be enjoyed by them both.

Beyond measure.


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