Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chapter 38: Loyalty and Trust

As soon as Sage enters the office of MorcuCorp's house in Redwood Harbor, Lannister is praising her work in Al Simhara. "You're an excellent asset to the company," he concludes.

"The people of Al Simhara have a very negative view of MorcuCorp," Sage says hesitantly. More than once while talking to the locals she had felt ashamed of her association with her employer, "Madbouli had some crazy idea that MorcuCorp is run by the Landgraab family and the Illsiminati, whatever that is, and that you're trying to take over the world."

Joffrey laughs, with just a hint of bitterness, "World domination has long been the goal of the Landgraab family. We do run MorcuCorp. As for the Illsiminati, that's just a conspiracy theory. As far as I know, anyway. I'm not high enough on the chain of command to know everything."

"We...? You're a Landgraab?"

"I am. Joffrey Landgraab. I apologize for lying about my name when we first met. We don't like to reveal ourselves to employees until we're sure of their loyalty."

"And are you so sure you have mine?" Sage asks, raising an eyebrow, "I did the job I agreed to, but the more I learn about MorcuCorp, the less inclined I am to work for you again."

"I don't blame you in the least. MorcuCorp is probably the most evil entity currently operating on the planet."

Sage starts to speak, then closes her mouth, not sure how to respond to his rather open admission. "I don't understand, are you saying you don't like MorcuCorp? Or are you bragging about it?"

Joffrey leans close to her, resting his hand on her shoulder, "I'm not bragging about it. I never wanted to be part of the family business, and the more I'm involved in it, the less I like myself."

"You could leave," Sage suggests.

"You don't just walk away from MorcuCorp. Especially not when you're a Landgraab."

"Then why don't you work to change it?"

"I am, but I can't do it alone. I need allies. And that's why I hired you."

"You want me to help you take down MorcuCorp?" Sage laughs.

"Nothing so grand," Joffrey laughs with her, "What I need right now is for you to go to Champs les Sims and retrieve some documents for me."

"Champs le Sims?" Sage's voice trembles.

"Is something wrong? You aren't worried about Lefebvre accusing you of stealing from the museum?"

Sage shakes her head, "No, nothing's wrong. My..ex-husband...and I visited Champs les Sims together, and that's when our marriage started to fall apart, I guess. But I'm fine, I can go back there."

Joffrey's eyes light at the mention of her ex-husband, but he says nothing about it. "There's chateau there that belongs to my family. I need you to infiltrate the building and find some documents stored there."

"If it belongs to your family, why can't you just go there yourself?" Sage asks.

"I don't want MorcuCorp to know what I'm looking for, or why. I can't be seen anywhere near Champs les Sims."

"And what happens to me if I get caught breaking into MorcuCorp's property?"

Joffrey slides his hand into hers, "I don't think you will. But if you did, I'd tell them you were working for me," he says, looking her in the eyes, "You're too valuable to lose."

"Me? I can't be the only tomb raider and housebreaker in your employ," Sage says, deliberately missing the subtext. His hand in hers makes her tremble, but she doesn't pull it away.

"You're the only one who's loyal to me, not MorcuCorp," Joffrey answers.

"I do have your loyalty, don't I?" he continues, whispering like a lover as he wraps his arms around her.

"You don't have to seduce me to buy my loyalty," Sage answers, "I want to help you."

"That's good to know, Ms. Bowman," Joffrey says. Then he kisses her, his lips soft against hers. "I'm ultimately after more than just your loyalty," he whispers in her ear as he nuzzles her neck. "But for now, your loyalty is what I need," he continues, business-like, pulling out of her arms.

Sage staggers, feeling faint; Joffrey steadies her, smiling. "This dossier has all the information you need. The chateau is extensively trapped. Only one person has ever gotten past them and gotten out alive, Wane McMottder. After his incursion, MorcuCorp fortified the security system. So be careful in there. Call me, often, to let me know how it's going."

"I will," Sage promises, getting a hold of herself, trying not to look as flustered and confused by him as she feels. She takes the dossier and turns to leave.

"Before you go," Joffrey calls after, "There will be various relics and gems lying about the chateau..."

Sage blushes, "I won't take anything," she says.

"You will," Joffrey laughs, "Take whatever you want. Make it look like a burglary. MorcuCorp will discover the chateau has been infiltrated eventually, it's best they think the motive was robbery."

Sage breaks into the Chateau du Landgraab late at night. Getting by the traps was a challenge, but nothing she couldn't handle. As she's picking up the jewels and other treasures left lying around the house, she wonders why she's putting herself in this position. If she got caught, she could do serious time for burglary. Joffrey promised he'd take the blame, but what if he didn't? Worse, what if this were a set up? Maybe she said too much against MorcuCorp to him and he concocted this whole thing as a way to get rid of her?

She decides that if Joffrey wanted to be rid of her, he could come up with easier ways of doing it, and she proceeds with her mission, finding the documents he wanted in a chest in a locked office at the top floor of the building. Trusting him might be a stupid thing to do, but when she remembers his kiss, his hand in hers, she wants to believe in him, stupid or not.

"I've got the documents," she says when he picks up the phone.

"I was just dreaming about you," he answers, his voice thick with sleep. Sage didn't bother to check the time before she phoned.

"I'm sorry, I woke you."

"Don't be. Your voice is always welcome any time of day or night. I wish you were here with me. Or is that inappropriate for me to say while I'm in bed?"

Sage flushes, "You aren't afraid to cross boundaries," she says, laughing.

"Neither are you. Listen, as much as I'd love for you to hurry back here, I need you to stay in Champs les Sims for a few days. Visit the nectary, look like a tourist. Then hurry back."

Lefebvre put the word out around the village that Sage was willing to investigate dark basements, and Jules Fournier asks for her help searching the nectary cellars for long lost recipes. What she finds is a hidden chamber full of Egyptian paraphernalia. Since it doesn't help him make more nectar, Fournier doesn't care about her discovery, but Sage is intrigued enough to want to consult with her contacts in Al Simhara about it. When she gets a chance to visit Egypt again.

Since she's been spending so much time here, Sage buys a house.

Challenge Notes:

Since I haven't mentioned it yet, here's the roll for Gen 7:
Second Chance (again), 3 kids. Primary career is sports. Secondary careers are Busker, then Inventor.
The goal is awesome, and the Fun is Runs in the Family. I've chosen Brave for the trait. Tearney had it, Sage has it, so it will Run in the Family in more ways than one.
Kieran is probably not the heir. The likely heir is the second child, still not conceived.


  1. Lol... I love how MorcuCorp must know Wane McMottder is Ewan McDermott at this point, since they know about everything he did, but they now call him by the author name. For the lulz?

    If I'm interpreting that correctly, anyway.

    Poor Sage, I felt bad for her, in that chateau with her doubts about it being a setup. Her work has gotten scary.

    I like Joffrey a lot. =) Though I still miss Jeremy, and I'm glad he at least got a painful thought when Sage had to return to France.

    I never bothered to actually own property in foreign places. Though I wanted to put this one Chinese lot somewhere, and there wasn't room... blah. >=(

  2. Aw, why are you making me like Joffrey? I'm suspicious of him, in case he morphs into the Joffrey that I loathe. I'm watching you Mr. Landgraab.

    I like Sage's vacation home! And I can't wait to see the future heir.

  3. Yeah, MorcuCorp knows about Wane/Ewan.
    I'm going with the idea that Ewan used Wane as a pseudonym when writing his books, and so that's what they call him when talking about him to the general public. It's actually going to figure heavily next chapter, so I'll shut up now and make you wait. But I've made a point of mentioning him repeatedly so it's not a Wait, what? moment when it comes up later, lol.

    I don't know how much use my foreign houses will be, but I love having them.

  4. @Giga, I know, I named him after the most loathsome little shit in the world of literature. But it wasn't meant to reflect on his character per se. When I was naming him, I wanted something like Geoffrey (Malcolm Landgraab's dad in SV), and for a last name I wanted something kind of similar to Landgraab And Joffrey Lannister happened.

  5. *releases a sigh of relief* Thank goodness. If Sage had to experience even one iota of what Sansa had to go through at the hands of Joffrey, I was going to be mega sad.

  6. You know, I don't think I'm even capable of writing a character that vile.

  7. (Now I wanna read this book you're all talking about.)

    I'm glad Joffery is opening up to Sage a bit, and I do hope they can escape Moricorp together. I'll give EA this much... that was such a fun storyline to explore when I first played an explorer. If they'd included a contact as attractive and Joffery I'm sure WA would have been a bit more popular among the female crowd <3.

  8. Agreed with Cece, evil characters are hard to write, but fun (and sad, but that's fun for me XD) to read :) What's the book called?

    I love Joffery, much more the Jeremy :) Can I help it that he reminds me of a sim Draco Malfoy XD For those of you who don't read Harry Potter...he's a snooty racist wizard who hates Harry Potter, but I love anything Harry Potter :P

  9. It's a series of books by George R.R. Martin. The series is called A Song of Ice and Fire. The first book is called A Game of Thrones.
    But I'm not sure I'd use the word 'evil' for Joffrey Lannister. He was a very spoiled little boy given too much power too early in life, and it got real ugly real fast. Unlike most of the darker characters in the series, though, you never see him in any kind of sympathetic light. He's always a little prick you want to backhand and tell to shut up.

  10. Ooh, I remember reading those ages ago and then getting fed up waiting for the next book to come out, has he managed to finish the series yet?

    Can't wait to see the plotline in your next chapter!

  11. He did finish, I believe, if there are only four books. My boyfriend's dad recently got me reading them. If you're an HBO fan, they have the TV version of the books I've heard, but not seen. Normally those suck, but since I know little of it, I can't say for sure.

    Also, the Illsiminati--LOL. Joffrey is going to make HANDSOME babies, if that's where you're going with him at least ;)

  12. I laughed at Illsiminati, too!!

    And what is really funny is that when you first introduced Joffrey, I read his last name as Landgraab, and when you called him Lannister later, I thought THAT was a typo!! Haha, and turns out he IS a Landgraab!

    I loved this chapter - I like that Joffrey seems kind of sketchy. Keeps us on our toes!!

    Maddie: There are five books published and two more planned. =)

  13. The Illsiminati actually came from one my quests in Egypt. The Madbouli guy did actually spout a lot of conspiracy theories about MorcuCorp, the Landgraabs and the Illsiminati. I just had to use it, it was too funny.