Long Way Down
build it up
Zady was so antsy the whole time you were in Antiva City that it started to make you nervous. Clearly not one content to sit idle, whenever the two of you crossed paths, Zady was always trying to do something to keep herself busy: suggesting building upgrades to the innkeeper at Warden HQ (better stone for the chimneys, laundry chutes, trap doors), stealthy repairing or reinforcing the wood beams in the stables, discreetly freshening up old or shoddily-executed carvings on the balusters and fireplace mantles, challenging people to arm wrestling contests. Always something. Most days, you could find her poring over maps and blueprints so old they looked like they were going to crumble in her hands, making notes in a journal with the stub of a pencil. Somehow, without ever seeing her do it, she also constructed a perfect – and perfectly stable – replica of Vigil’s Keep from several packs of playing cards.
Despite following in her father Voldrik’s footsteps as an architect and builder, Zady takes more after her uncle Dworkin in terms of temperament: insatiably curious, wildly inventive, and maybe just a little bit reckless. (Seriously, you heard her making the argument for installing trap doors in the inn more than a few times, and you’re not sure if the subject finally dropped because she found something else to do, or because the innkeeper finally caved, but there were definitely a whole lot more rugs on the first floor when you left than there were when you got there).
One night, Zady and Evangline got shitfaced in the common room and had an animated, hours-long conversation about different techniques for refining lyrium and the properties of the final product produced by each of them. The Warden broke the conversation up when Zady suggested a particular crystal type could be used “like stained glass, but with built in ambient music,” and you’re pretty sure she’s been keeping them apart ever since.
At night, Zady would sit on the stairs with a piece of slate balanced on her knees, blocking the way up to the second floor. After a few nights, you realized it was a game: She would sketch out the blueprints for a building in chalk, and on her way to bed, Zady’s twin sister Zenna would pause, examine the schematics, then mark an X on the spot she’d plant an explosive to bring the whole building down. Most nights, Zenna won. Some nights, she would stare at the board for a few long minutes, then hand Zady the chalk back, ruffle her hair, and say “nice one” as she squeezed past her to go upstairs to bed.