Dirus had been taken some hours later, a pair of medicae came into the room, wheeling a stretcher behind them, the sister had gone oddly quiet, and didn't resist. Though Louise could swear she heard some of the prayers she knew so well coming from the stretcher as it squeaked its way out. After several hours of waiting, she started fiddling with the chains on her arms. Apparently they weren't very well fitted, or at least they hadn't particularly been fastened to anything. A couple of quick and painful pulls and she slipped her wrists through the manacles, which left her hands lightly torn but stinging. After that, she decided to go for a little bit of a walk. The hallways were cramped and only moderately lit. Occasionally a crewman would pass her, notice the small tattoo on her cheek, and make a quick sign with their hands. Soon, the hallways got wider, the lighting better, and definitely more crowded. Louise was forced to duck into a large side-room by a heavy work-servitor that had decided to head through her rather than around. She swore under her breath at the servitor before turning to look at the room, a man in green was standing at the window, he seemed to not have noticed her. Then she looked beyond the room, to the window, and what she could see outside it. Slowly she moved to the window, never taking her eyes off its contents.
Louise stared through the glass, her mouth hanging open in a silent 'ah.' Before her, the planet hung, suspended like a toy, a blue-green orb in a sea of stars. "Is it always like this?" She turned to the man standing beside her, his armor marking him as one of the guardsmen that were included in the Inquisitors retinue. Louise vaguely remembered him as being there when she had been... inducted. He occasionally looked at her from where he was standing. His beard, speckled with gray, reminded her of her fiancee.
"It can be, miss, times like this make you forget what had to be done to get to it, or why we're here." Louise judged it best not to pry, he didn't seem to hold anything against her and she preferred to keep it that way.
"I've never been... in 'orbit' before." There were so many new words and concepts, they were mind-boggling. Planets, systems, an entire galaxy to live in, she had never thought of it. Though there was a lot of information that she still wasn't apparently cleared to know. She felt like the moment could last forever, the line delineating day and night spreading across the planet, cities on the dark side sparkling like private star-systems.
"It's obvious, you seem to be okay though." He offered a hand, smiling. "Name's Perrin, Perrin Miltyk, at your service."
"Louise... Valliere," Louise decided to skip the honorifics of her name. She hoped he didn't notice her hesitation. "At your service." She finished. Perrin smiled, causing Louise to look back at the planet quickly.
"Well, at least you're a well mannered young girl. The last Sister we had was quite the hellraiser. Couldn't go a day without something either catching fire or exploding." At that mention, Louise's grin became slightly fixed. If she didn't need to cast spells, then there would be no explosions...
"Thank you," another hesitation, "Would you like to be called Perrin, or by your full title?"
"That's a first, a Sister asking me how I would like to be called-"
"Oh, I'm not a full Sister yet, but that's no matter."
"If I was allowed to finish, you could call me Perrin." The guardsman chuckled at Louise's expression of relief and slight embarrassment. The pair of them both hopped, however, when they heard a voice behind them.
"Miltyk, and Valliere, just the pair I was looking for." Inquisitor Havenrocks sharp features appeared, reflected in the window. "Though I hadn't expected you to get loose m'dear." Louise rubbed her wrists, the stinging had gone away and the slight cuts had sealed very quickly. "Now, Miltyk, you are to teach this girl how to fight. She was receiving good reports on her close quarters drill, but her aim with anything other than a flamer leaves something to be desired." Louise cringed at the slight reminder of Dirus' current predicament. Perrin started to ask:
"Yes lord, is there any specific training you wish, or shou-" Havenrock shut him up by talking over him.
"I leave it in your capable hands. Just remember not to wound her too badly, even if she did kill that xeno with a knife, she's still new to it." At this, the guardsman glanced at Louise with a very interested expression on his face. "I do also believe that your friend will soon be out of surgery. If you want to see her, I would suggest waiting as the medicae have told me that the sedatives will take some time to wear off."
"Killed a xeno with a knife eh..."
"It was just after close-quarters drill. It tried to kill me, even though I couldn't see it fully, its footprints told me enough. I realize now that I was incredibly lucky."
"I would say so. No knife-fight is perfectly clean. Tell me, where did it get you?"
"It got my stomach, tore the muscle up quite badly, but not uncleanly. It was fully a week before I was able to move around, and however long it was up here. Not painful now, but still stiff."
"You were lucky, most of the time it's worse. Now, since you have a few hours, I'll show you some better tricks. If you thought that cut was bad, the things I've seen." Perrin shuddered as if remembering something terrible. "Nevermind, I'll show you to the small armory."
"Lead on... Perrin." Louise followed the man out of the room, doing her best to keep her mind off of certain things. [i]'you know, in this light, he does look kind of like Wardes.'[/i] She grit her teeth and tried to think of pink manticores.
Osmond stared across the desk at the four people now sitting in his office. The Void Day release from classes had been completely subdued, few of the second-years had felt like celebrating the lack of school. It wasn't mourning, just a sense of unease, as if something even worse was coming. He knew he could recognize Count Wardes, even through the disguise. The other three, they looked like mercenaries, though the blonde woman seemed tougher than the others. A shame she was wearing pants, the old man thought as he scratched Motsognir between the ears. "And what brings you to the academy, Monsieur Wardes, I had not expected a visit from yourself." Wardes snapped back:
"You know exactly what brings me here Osmond." The Lightning Count seemed quite agitated.
"Well, with the most recent events, I would assume it would be because of the disappearance of Miss Valliere. However I had hoped to keep the conversation light, so as not to arouse suspicion, prying ears and all. You seem particularly well-traveled, are you sure that you wouldn't like some tea. My secretary, Miss Longueville, is very good."
"No thank you sir, but you are right," Wardes closed his eyes and calmed down. "I wish to investigate her disappearance, preferably without raising suspicion."
"Then I would suggest that you speak to the Professor who was overseeing her class that day. Professor Colbert can show you what happened. He can also show you the strange device that appeared in her stead. It seemed familiar, but barely." Osmond could remember something similar from long ago, but his memory wasn't what it used to be.
"If Professor Colbert could help, please tell me where he is."
"At this time of day, on this particular day of the week. I would suggest the Fire tower, where he normally teaches and works."
"Thank you headmaster." Wardes stood, gesturing for the others to follow as he strode out the door. His once confident and proud step lower and more uncertain. Osmond smiled to himself as he lit his pipe, trying to commit to memory the sway of the female mercenaries backside as she walked out the door.
Colbert stared at the canister, it took up most of a worktable just by itself. He readied a crowbar to pry open the end, where it seemed to be more segmented, when someone knocked on the door. He put down the crowbar, removed his smoked-glasses and went to open the door. "Ah, hello, you're lucky you caught m- Oh, good afternoon Count." He said quickly, ushering the group inside.
"I have been told that you were present during the... incident." Wardes said, seating himself in a convenient chair. The woman with Wardes glared at Colbert, though he didn't know why.
"I... I was supervising the Spring Ceremony that day, yes that is true."
"Do you know exactly what happened? Tell me the whole story, I wish to hear it from an impartial eyewitness."
"No I don't know, Miss Valliere started her chant, it was different from the usual one, but the words are less important than the actual spell itself." Colbert gestured for the others in the room to seat themselves at nearby tables, which the musketeers did. Colbert had known enough soldiers to be able to tell one at sight. "Her wandwork was well practiced and didn't waver for an instant. She completed the spell, then the explosion happened. At first I thought it was simply another failure, like so many other teachers had reported. The smoke cleared, and all that remained were her shoes and that canister behind you." Colbert gestured at the shell on the table. "I was about to attempt to open it again, see if there was something inside, when you knocked. Would you like to help?"
"If this was in Louise's place, it might hold a clue."
"I can certainly hope so." Colbert put on his face-mask in case something caught fire and hefted the crowbar again. "Now, if you could hold the side while I pry the bottom off, it will keep the object from slipping." Wardes and Agnes moved to the side of the shell, gripping it as tightly as possible while Colbert wedged the prybar into the pin-gap. "Pull!"
The pair twisted, trying not to budge the steel case while the professor heaved on the crowbar. Nothing budged, nothing shifted. "Oh well, I'll simply have to cut my way through. It was a good try though, thank you Count Wardes, and your... lady." He dropped the tool on the table next to a very large augur arrangement. "Now, since I have told you all I can, is there anything else you would like to know. There isn't anything that I could find in the Vestry court despite my most careful surveys."
"No Professor, please continue to attempt to open that canister, we will be staying for a short time, so if you happen to find anything, do notify me." With that Wardes and the three musketeers left the room, the door closing with a quiet *chunk.*
"Now, to get down to some serious work." Colbert donned the mask once again and started to set up the augur.