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May 21, 2022 2:35 PM
kaz ellie and fate inej cause problems on purpose (and on accident)
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"We just need to prove it first."

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"Assuming anyone so gullible is capable of learning."

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"True... Concrete benefits might be a better first lure, then."

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"I'm not sure I approve of my pretty face involved in concrete benefits."

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Giggle. "Leave it for your most faithful lieutenants?"

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"If they're faithful, they should be rewarded."

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Very fond smile. "Part of why you're the best boss."

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"Indeed."

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Grin. 

And onwards?

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They've got a long road ahead of them still.

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Over a week, even at a pretty fast pace, and there's more villages towns the farther away from the Fold they get, but Ravka is still clearly mostly rural, struggling with bad harvest after bad harvest, their wealth nearly useless in the face of the difficulties the Fold and mountains pose to importing grain. 

Os Alta looms on the horizon soon enough, though. The city has two major rings - with smaller loops within those, from long ago years when stone walls still made sense to build around your cities as they grew. Now the city is protected by towers and pallisades that block enemy but not friendly sight, earthwork slopes worked subtly into the landscape, the bulk of the town's essential business tucked away behind them where cannonfire will struggle to reach. There's supposedly caverns carved into the earth, a basement under every house and a chaotic warren of tunnels stretching between many of them. 

(Enemy armies haven't reached Os Alta since the days of the Black Heretic, but the city has a long memory, and none of the mighty stone walls of yesteryear were left unbroken by Fjerdan cannons.)

 

They'll need to figure out a way to get an audience, now - the Darkling's horses are recognizable, and this place is the center of Ravka's might.

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"Inej, scout ahead. Try to find us a way in."

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"Yes, boss."

She confirms rendezvous plans - and slips away, towards the Little Palace.

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The main entrance is well guarded, of course, but around towards the rear things spread out a bit- training fields, a little wooded area, a small lake.

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The wooded area is best for her to do her initial observations from - to get used to the ebb and flow of the place, the tiny secrets that reveals. 

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She sees the Grisha come and go, training their powers or their bodies, or simply taking the air.

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And one Grisha in particular, in an unusual black kefta, running laps around the lake.

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She knows something of what the colors mean - and that there's no formal word on what color kefta the Sun Summoner wears, but the Darkling's colors are black. 

She's pretty sure that girl isn't the Darkling.

So Inej, of course, starts paying more attention to her. (They're not planning on kidnapping the Sun Summoner, but, well - they'll have more to take to the Darkling if Inej can get more concrete ideas about threats here. Even if they can't find any other crews who came this way - she can always identify the gaps in security she would've taken advantage of.)

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A glint of light flashes off a bit of metal around her neck as she rounds a bend.

Looks like her path is going to take her fairly nearby Inej.

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She's pretty sure necklaces like that aren't standard Ravkan fashion... And it looks strange - 

- Like it incorporates antlers, perhaps.

She shifts slightly to get a better look.

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...It's pretty distinctly more of a 'collar' than a 'necklace'.

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...Inej has complicated feelings about that. Though it's a very useful secret.

She focuses a bit on evaluating what kind of backup the Sun Summoner has, if anyone else is watching over her - Inej has already slipped past numerous guards, and she always pays attention to if she's being watched. 

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There's a couple Etherealki in blue coats keeping an eye on her from a distance, one with silver embroidery and one with red.

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An assassin would be sacrificing their own life probably, if they even got this far. And Inej is unusually good, but not so arrogant to assume there's no one better - 

And many assassins would gladly sacrifice themselves to deny Ravka their Sun Summoner.

She evaluates the girl again - the heft of her kefta - bulletproof, she knows, and that collar could turn away blades very well - but her head and flashes of her neck are exposed, and bullets aren't the only threat in the world. 

Is the girl ever out of the direct line of sight of her minders?

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For brief stretches, but she's keeping a fairly consistent pace.

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