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The Silence Between (A Secrets in Stained Glass Story)


Comatose
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It's time for possibly our last Secrets in Stained Glass story! This one occurs during Secrets in Stained Glass itself, showing an important scene the main characters didn't witness. Major spoilers for Episode 5 of Secrets in Stained Glass. You can download a PDF of this story here!

If you missed any Secrets in Stained Glass content (there's been quite a lot of it), you can find it all in in our tag. And, for our final bit of content on this miniseries, on September 9th, we will have a Q&A stream, and you can submit your questions here!

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The Silence Between

By Matt (Comatose)

This story takes place during Episode 3: Race to the Bottom, after Lucius and Maevis talk, during Dier and Jenna's meeting.

Maevis maintained a wistful smile as Lucius left her room, though her insides felt more frozen than the lake at the sight of Addison. She moved to her desk while Addison closed the door, trying to order her racing thoughts as she began sorting through the pages of her journal and removing them from Lucius’s book. She carefully tucked the small note she received into her pile of papers, not wanting Addison to see. She had a meeting to get to soon, but for now she needed focus.

It would seem she had one more treachery to uncover.

Addison let the silence between them stretch on a little longer than most before breaking it. That was her way, after all, always watching and listening, only acting when she had to. Looking back, Maevis was surprised she hadn’t realized sooner. “I’ve learned something Maevis… something I think you should know.”

Despite herself, Maevis felt her spine straightening, brow raising, and her lips sliding into a bemused but casual smile, adopting a posture of nonchalant command with barely a thought. Sometimes it scared her how easily she did this—playing a role without intention—but in this moment, she welcomed the opportunity to retreat and hide behind the walls of her intimidating beauty and high station. “Well…” Maevis flourished the next set of pages as she tore them from the binding and set them aside. “What have you learned? I don’t have time for idle distractions.”

Addison flinched slightly at Maevis’s tone, a barely perceptible tell, only noticeable to someone who knew her as well as Maevis did. Or rather, as well as Maevis thought she did. “It’s Dier, Maevis. Apparently he’s killed his father and replaced him with a kandra. Recently.”

He finally did it. Maevis felt her icy exterior falter for a moment as her heart went out to her friend, if the title still applied to Dier. So many years and so much pain, he had been doomed to break eventually. Hopefully it wasn’t too late for Maevis to save Dier from himself. She didn’t doubt Addison’s report—the woman was too smooth to be caught in such a ridiculous lie.

“I’m sorry, Maevis,” Loras confessed earlier that evening. “They were so smooth, so convincing. I was scared, but they promised they weren’t intending to hurt anyone. And I figured, it’s only money, right? And your family has so much of it.”

Addison continued, “I know he was your friend, Maevis, but if he’s in a violent spiral right now, is it really wise to meet with him alone?”

Maevis took a breath, trying her best to mimic Addison’s unshakable calm and master her own turbulent emotions. “I don’t know… I’d say I’m an expert on spending time alone with dangerous individuals, wouldn’t you say, Addison?” The words left her lips sharper than intended, like knives.

“Maevis, what’s happening? I don’t understand. Have I overstepped?”

“When I met her, she seemed nice enough. Time passed and I figured she’d just been dealt a rough lot in life, got mixed up with the wrong people. I could relate. I thought maybe she'll take this opportunity to turn over a new leaf. And you two seemed to get along so well…”

Maevis fought back the urge to start screaming as Loras’s words echoed in her mind, to lean into the same fires that fueled her chaotic relationship with Ches. Easy now. You can’t lose her. You need to know. “Have you overstepped? Well, why don’t you tell me? Where did you get this information? Eliane, I assume?”

“I won’t lie to you, Maevis, but I’d rather not say. If Dier realizes you know… it could put the person who told me this in jeopardy.” Cautious, as ever.

“I don’t think they even stole from you or Solis, truly. I think they were just using your connections to find other marks.”

“So it’s someone you care about then. How noble of you to guard them. If only I could be so lucky.” Maevis grimaced slightly as her haughty tone wavered, threatening to break under the weight of Addison’s betrayal. Harden yourself. You’ve been through worse.

“Maevis, what’s going on? You’re acting…”

“Crazy?”

“Cruel.” Addison’s eyes met Maevis’s, answering her challenge and showing the iron will hidden behind unfailing poise and perfect manners. “You are obviously upset, so stop playing these games and tell me what’s wrong.”

Maevis bristled. Who was Addison to call Maevis cruel? After what she’d done? “Tell you what’s wrong?” Maevis shook her head slowly, turning back to the stack of papers, picking out the short report she’d received from her informant after the incident at the front door. The letter and accompanying dossier that prompted her to corner Loras. “Why so curious? Do you have a buyer waiting to know what dreadful madness is plaguing me? Or are you just hoping to laugh at the petty woes of a spoiled socialite with your secret beau!”

Addison frowned slightly. “Did Lucius say something to you? I know he’s your friend Maevis, but he’s been spreading false rumours about Sylvain and Eliane all night.”

Maevis rolled her eyes at the attempted deflection. “Lucius doesn’t lie to me, Addison.” Maevis glanced down at the treacherous missive in her hand. “If I’ve got it wrong though, please, correct me. If he’s not your lover, who is this Kelsier you've been meeting with?”

Addison froze at the name. Deepness it’s true. A surge of familiar loneliness swelled, nearly overwhelming Maevis. She glanced downward, blinking back tears before they could gather on her eyelashes. Jenna might be her enemy, and if her suspicions about Dier were correct, he was already following Jenna’s lead. Lucius refused to step out from behind his mask, and Maevis would not allow herself the indulgence of dragging Sylvain any further into this web. Julian had already been a casualty of Luthadel’s intrigue, and Maevis would rather throw herself in the lake than let Sylvain suffer the same fate. And now, Addison, the person who had saved her life, both from the fire and from the ensuing grief, the calm steadying presence that Maevis had used as her compass these last few years, was nothing more than a mask worn by a petty thief.

“Who told you that?” Maevis caught the glint in Addison’s dark eyes while they subtly surveyed the room, no doubt looking for easy exit points.

Maevis sat back in her chair and took up a glass of water from her desk. “I’d rather protect my sources. But let’s just say I started looking into a certain gentleman—the one who used to visit through your window in Tremredare when you thought no one was looking—you know, the one with the smile. Imagine my surprise to learn he’s not a gentleman at all, but instead a rather infamous skaa conman. My informant though, she knew we were close, so she didn’t stop there. She sent someone out to Farmost. I know about Loras’s debts, Addison. The ones you and this Kelsier used to blackmail him into giving you access to our entourage as his ‘distant cousin.’ So I think I have this pretty figured out, wouldn’t you say?”

Addison shifted slightly. Maevis felt herself ready for some sort of attack, but nothing came. “Well,” she said, resigned, “it seems you are convinced. Where does that leave us then? As always, you have control, Maevis. I’m at your mercy.”

“I want you to tell me the truth.”

Addison spread her arms. “Then ask.”

Maevis struggled for words. She didn’t know where to begin. “What were you after? What treasure was so priceless that you’d endure two years of pretending to be my friend? Have you just been skimming my family’s wealth here and there, seeing how much you can get away with? Or was it just our connections you were after?”

“Maevis, I… if it was just about the job… I’ve already stayed longer than is wise. The others wanted me to call it quits over a year ago.”

Don’t let her lie to you again. “Why stay?”

“I think you know why, Maevis. Like everyone else around you, I got caught up in your orbit. I became invested in you. And… after we became so close following the fire, I felt… responsible.”

Don’t ask her. Maevis deflated slightly, and glanced down at the informant’s notes again. There was still one thing she hadn’t confirmed. You already know she was using you. Do you really want to know more? “Responsible for what happened?”

“Responsible for you.” Addison’s voice betrayed no hint of deception, and Maevis found herself unable to maintain eye contact.

Maevis turned away, trying to focus on the journal again. “You’re lying.” Her voice came out soft and vulnerable. Pathetic. “I’m nothing but a mark to you.”

“Maevis, you know that isn’t true.”

“You know,” Maevis turned back, channelling the hurt to fuel her anger, “you thieves think we nobles are so callous. But tell me, what kind of person does it take to do what you do? To find a girl who's lost everything, and become her sole confidante, her only ally, her… her best friend. To share her secrets, to share everything with her. To listen as she tells you secret things she hasn’t told anyone else. What kind of person is capable of doing that, all while being prepared to vanish with everything they can carry? How can you invest so much time and feeling for a petty scam?”

“The Final Empire created us both, Maevis. I won’t defend myself to you. But I also won’t apologize. I was forged by the same empire that fills your family’s vaults with unimaginable wealth. I will say this, though: I never had to stay. I might not have been honest about why I came, but I stayed because of you.” Addison held out a hand, and despite herself, Maevis took it. The touch of Addison's fingers felt electric with tension, and for a moment, the two women who were so often in motion held still, frozen in place by their mutual magnetism.

“Maevis…” As Addison spoke, Maevis pulled away. Something in Addison’s voice was too real, too raw. It hurt too much to confront directly.

“We don’t have time for this. I need to meet with Jenna. If you claim to still be aligned with my goals, then I will believe you. But if you betray me in this, I’ll personally see you and your Kelsier dragged before the Inquisitors.” Maevis took out the small note she’d tucked away earlier. “They took the bait, see? They’re scared.”

Addison accepted the page, giving it a quick read before returning it. “Maevis, after everything that’s happened, are you sure you want to go through with this? These people that you risk antagonizing… if they are responsible for the fire or for Ches… it could be dangerous.”

“I have to see this through. I need to know.”

“I think you do know, Maevis.” Addison’s tone was so soft, so soothing, Maevis longed to just close her eyes and believe the conwoman’s pretty lies.

“If not about Ches… then about Jenna and Dier. They… they are… they were my friends.” Maevis inwardly cursed her hesitancy.

“They aren’t good people, Maevis.”

Maevis shook her head, she needed to focus. “And you are? The thief who took advantage of me after I lost my… after the worst day of my life?”

“Maevis…”

“No.” Maevis embodied her grandmother in the command, pulling herself together. “Enough. You’ve made your point. Jenna and Dier aren’t good people. But neither am I.” The venom in Maevis’s voice surprised even her. She took a steadying breath and began taking off her jewels, one ring or earring at a time, leaving only a single metal vial on her person, just in case. It was highly possible Jenna was a hidden Allomancer. Even if she wasn’t, there was also Dier to consider. Maevis had to be prepared.

“Feel free to take these,” she said as she removed her last ring. “They’ll be last season soon enough anyways.” Addison started to speak, but Maevis held up a hand to silence her. “It’s almost time. Wait here for ten minutes, and then collect Jenna, like we planned. If she’s in league with them, she’ll try to resist. She’s virtually impossible to crack—the only way I’ll be able to get any information out of her is to confront her directly, in a situation she can’t deny.”

A hint of a smile graced Addison’s lips. She was no doubt noting the irony having only recently undergone a similar confrontation. “What about Dier?”

“What about him?”

“My source thinks he’s volatile. Dangerous.”

Maevis smirked, starting to feel more in control again as the topic changed. “I know Dier better than he knows himself. If he wants to make trouble, I’ll handle him personally. It’s what he deserves.” The thought of the potential confrontation was chilling, but Maevis pushed on. “If we need leverage, there’s always Eliane, right?” Maevis gave Addison a pointed glare. Even if she could never forgive Addison’s deception, she didn’t really care about the stealing. Things could always be repurchased. But Addison knew too much. If she had been secretly working against Maevis all this time, the delicate game she was playing could quickly become deadly.

“Eliane doesn’t know anything. But…”

“But nothing. She’s a Venture, Addison. She might be young, but she’s one of us. Don’t go soft.”

“Fine.” Addison seemed to retreat, slightly, resuming her mask of calm reserve. “I know the plan. I’ll play my part.”

“Good. I’ll deal with Dier at midnight. We can sort out the rest of this tomorrow, when all this is finished. Keep your word and my confidence, and you will be dismissed discreetly, so as not to attract any Ministry attention. If you need to keep yourself busy, you can finish up removing the pages with my writings from Lucius’s book. He’ll want it back in the morning.”

Maevis rose, moving towards the door. She hesitated, thinking again about the other intelligence she’d obtainedthe report about the man Addison met with the night of the fire. The one she snuck in through the servants’ entrance.

“I started to think she was harmless,” Loras had said. “And then when I realized she might have something to do with the fire, I was so ashamed I just… I just couldn’t, Maevis. It would have destroyed Solis to think he was somehow responsible, even if through me.”

Maevis could feel Addison’s eyes on her back, querying why she was frozen in the doorway. Maybe she can explain… maybe she really didn’t have anything to do with it all. She just happened to be there. The words rang hollow, but with the stream of revelations confronting Maevis today, she decided living with the lie a little longer was preferable.

“Is there anything else, Maevis?”

As she recoiled from the idea of questioning Addison further, something ugly stirred within Maevis, a desire to wound so that she wouldn’t be suffering alone. “It is appropriate,” she said, heightening her tone as she turned back to face her former friend, “for a skaa to make obeisance to a noble when bidding farewell.”

Addison’s face remained expressionless, but Maevis could tell her parting barb had landed. Addison gracefully rose to her feet, and made a proper curtsey. “Of course, Lady Maevis. I’ll see that everything is completed as you wish.”

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(Portrait Sketches of Addison and Maevis by Elisgardor)

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