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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Lih-Lyh

New training (attn: Nox, Open)

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Having breakfasted on mashed eggs with tough, toasted pieces of baked bread, Ful smiled appreciatively at his start of day. This morning, he knew he was being tested. This was responsibility and he better not mess it up. It was his moment to prove to his newly assigned mentor Nox that he had the makings of greatness. 

 

Ful was an intense, quiet young man; his dearest ambition was to become an asha’aman since months ago when he first enrolled. Attack leader, a veritable giant in stature and rank Baijan’m'hael Isha Talcontar had personally selected Ful to join his household as his student, and in the first few months had become almost a father to Ful. A stern, crazy father, perhaps. 

 

Quick, long strides took Ful from Isha’s house, past the wooden-gated courtyard where the wind moaned and into pathway toward the Farm. Isha’s house stood a mile to the Farm, directly between battlefield and ‘town’. Newly rebuilt after its destruction in the battle with Aginor, the fortified structure had been fully occupied when Ful first came. With Isha came Dedicated Linten, ruthless and calm blonde, the two women who lived with them -Eqwina and Faile, bonded aes sedai. It had been a big house back then, made even bigger now that it stood empty except Ful’s room.

 

Ful pursed his lips. He felt pain for thinking about people he couldn’t meet anymore . . . it was almost unbearable. Time to put the past behind him.

 

The dark capes of the night sentries, the distinctive dark uniforms of their order, were lank and stiff with dried mud. The men turned bleary, puffy eyed gaze at Ful dressed in his white singlet and black leggings, faces slack into recognition and waved him through, wearily waiting on their replacements at the picket. Somebody sighed perceptibly when Ful crooked a wry grin at the tired guards, patting his daggers as he passed.

 

Not for the first time, Ful felt like sighing himself. He should re-focus on advancing his training. Since Isha had gone, Ful had been paired with a new teacher he was to meet at the hilltop. Which meant all his previous work with Isha was wasted in terms of his career here.

 

There was no set duration to the training of an asha’aman. After education in Saidin and basic weapons training, a soldier received the rest of his training in the field, and promotion to dedicated, then full silver pin and black coat level was a judgment matter for the commanding officer, who served as mentor to several soldiers. Of the asha’aman’s various duties, the main job was to disperse discipline and inspiration, adding to their ranks with those who deserved it. 

 

Ful reached the hilltop and caught sight of Nox. Tall, pale, lean and powerful, the asha’aman had intimidated others. Unless madness or death claimed him first, Ful felt Nox would one day become an attack leader in his own right. Until then, he tutored new soldiers with endless enthusiasm. From what Ful heard about Nox, whose reputation had preceded him - Nox could be trusted to be fair. After all, Nox's students were known to have rose to full rank quickly.

 

“Sir?” Ful’s voice was a sudden intruder into the gentle calm. He continued, his heart in his throat. “My name is Ful Haert. Reporting for training."

 

Ful Haert

Soldier

 

Edited by Lih-Lyh
edited that part about Nox being raised quickly. Sorry, must've been mistaken. Leaving the intimidating part though. :D

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[[ first:  Nox didn't raise ranks quickly.  Because he felt he wasn't ready the anxiety and change send him into panic attacks and Adrim waited until Nox could handle it.  I also find it kinda funny you think he's intimidating, my good ole happy go lucky guy intimidating hehe. ]]

 

Nox was getting a new student today.  One with prior training.  Today was more about assessment than anything, but Nox was not certain how this would all go down.  He stood on the hilltop where Adrim told him to meet the new man, boy?  He hadn't gotten much more than a name.  So when the voice behind him called him sir, Nox nearly chocked.  He laughed softly to himself.  Sir?  "Nox.  Not sir." he said before he turned around and appraised the boy before him.    Nox gave him a wry grin and sat down in the drying grass, the morning dew still wetting the ground but he didn't care.  "Let me see what you've got."  Nox seized Saidin and carefully wove a ball of light.  He expected the boy to follow along.  After one, he'd make a different one, something harder, until the boy could either no longer make it, or he was too tired.  Either way he would be assessed.

 

 

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Ooc: haha, edited the previous post. :)

 

“Uhm, yes . . . Nox,” Ful was surprised by Nox’s friendly grin when he stopped in front of Nox. Guess he shouldn’t really believe everything he heard. They could be pulling his leg.

 

Ful smiled back. 

 

Ful was slender and gracefully slight by comparison to the asha'aman. Just a boy, and a frail one at that. He had inherited his refined features from his mother. He wished he had taken after father instead, like his brother. Father was a well made man . . .

 

Ful took a deep breath and channelled. He could channel reliably by now. He felt the oily-ness everywhere in saidin, it was there to keep him on his toes, forcing his stomach to twist. Every time he channelled, Ful felt fear in his bowels, in his gut, in his throat.

 

Quickly, once he drew saidin, Ful set to following Nox’s example and wove the ball of light, tied it off and released the power.

 

He knew this weave, as it was one of the first taught to him by Isha.

 

There was little time for basics and induction. Isha had shown him the ropes, and then when the real fighting had started, took care to keep Ful away from it. He remembered, also, watching Isha drill his men in combat. It was a genuinely terrifying display of speed, skill and aggression. Like others in power, asha’amen had closed ranks and secrets of their own.

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[[ The taint on saidin has been cured.  There should be no oily feel to saidin anymore, but I'll verify that with a WoT expert so no need to edit.  This is my very first time teaching saidin fyi!   Unless you are retroactively doing this, but still the BT has only been around for at most 2 years. ]]

 

[[ gonna use https://aliciawilkerson.com/dev/opweaves.php this plug in your # the strength is what you bought your points with fyi ]]

 

Nox watched as he did the first weave easily.  It was a simple weave, and one of the first you learned because of it.

 

Nox tested his earth, first by creating a whole in the ground and then filling it [[ pitfall and variation on shaping ]]  the skill getting increasingly more difficult with each weave.

 

The higher he went the more weapon like the weaves would become - there were after all weapons of mass destruction.  It was what they were trained to be.  Air Razor, the fine sharp blade was not one of Nox's strengths but it would test his students use of air as well as his skill level.

 

One of his favorite weaves was the elemental blade, there were many variations, the light being the hardest one for Nox to create as his air and water ability sucked in comparison so he wove a blade of fire.  "Pick your poison. Impress me."

 

 

 

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Ooc: great, thanks for confirming. Cleansing the taint changes everything . . . yes it’s in the current timeline not retro. :) Also I found out form the website Ful won’t be able to travel haha. He can learn to heal though.

 

Morning dew lingered on the grass.  

 

Ful was perspiring from the warm wet air. He stood in front of Nox, hands behind his back, carefully watching. Nox wove quickly, surely. As if the asha'aman could do it blindfold. Ful copied the flows as Nox instructed, frowning in concentration as he did so.

 

Pitfall. Ful’s hole in the ground was small and pretty shallow. It looked pitiful next to Nox’s. Nox tossed his weave at the ground and it erupted, kicking up rock. Ful strained to do the same, breathing hard. Then they shaped the earth with their flows, filling up the pitfalls this time.

 

He felt significantly better doing the air exercises that came next. It came easily, the air razor. He cooked using this weave all the time, chopping, dicing, mincing vegetables in Ful’s house. He was pretty proud of how sharp the edge of his air razor had become while he practiced his domestic chores.

 

"Pick your poison. Impress me.”

 

At this choice, the boy hesitated a moment, thinking. Ful needed to weigh his options here. He realized his weakness in fire. It made sense to summon a sword of air, by weaving water and spirit together. But his priority here was to pass the assessment with flying colors. He had to decide if he should go with an elemental blade he felt confident to create - the sword of air, or one that was more difficult. His mind knew he was being tested and should go with air and water to ensure success, but his heart wanted to try the blade of light.

 

“Nox, I’d love to try a blade of light even though I’m weak in fire." He replied, rigid at attention. “It'd more impressive if I can do it, since it involves all the elements."

 

Ful reached out and felt saidin filling his body. Air and spirit came quickly, easily. Making the flows of fire and earth was more slow. This was the hardest one in the series - the weaving was more complicated than he was used to. After some time of struggling with the complexity of all the elements, when Ful’s weave was almost done, it collapsed. He failed to hold it.

 

Oh well. Ful grinned ruefully. He summoned a blade of air, completed the exercise and turned back to his new mentor. “Suppose I’m not ready for that yet."

 

Ful Haert

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Nox smirked at his comment about not being ready.  "It's better to try and fail then to not try at all.  That is how you learn.  Adrim told me, 'A failure is nothing more than an opportunity to learn.  The only time a failure means you failed, is if you failed to learn from it.'  Nox stood up and tucked his hands into his pockets to refrain from touching the boy.  Not everyone appreciated his need to touch.  

 

"So in that vein what did you learn?"  

 

Nox wove the light elemental weave very slowly.  Not only to show Ful, but to also do it correctly.  Air and Water were not his strong suits and they slipped from his grasp if he tried to show off with them.  And this was hardly showing off.    By the end of the slow monotonous weaving Nox was wielding a sword of light proudly in front of him.

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There was something wry and amusing in Nox’s eyes as he welded the blade of light; he asked, in a voice which carried effortlessly. "So in that vein what did you learn?"  

 

Ful frowned, thinking the question over. He had kept attentive and still during Nox's demonstration; but his face betrayed his emotion: that earnest hint of determination, more than a little surprise- at the patient understanding and friendly attitude his new mentor exhibited. Ful's former mentor Isha was hard and prickly, moody - more likely to smack Ful with air than any playful scolding. He didn’t want Nox knowing about Isha; it wasn't fair to compare the two. He couldn’t bring himself to ask Nox who this Adrim was.

 

Ful stared at Nox levelly, looking up to meet the taller man’s gaze. Nox had elaborately separated the elemental flows; kept his weaving slow for Ful’s benefit it seemed. He wondered what Nox's expectations for his students were.

 

“Yes,”  Ful said slowly. He paused, and then repeated the word. “Yes, I see where my mistake was. I’m happy for the chance to try again. Failure is a compelling reason for learning. It’s a great honor for me to be enrolled here, so that I may learn.”

 

Saidin was effective, but addictive. He felt the heady rush of power as he called upon the elements again. This time, he laboriously corrected where before he had fumbled. If he practiced a thousand times maybe it could be done faster. It was done. Ful beamed with pride at the blade of light between his hands. 

 

“Learning new things every day.”

 

Ful Haert

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[[ sorry for the delay poke me next time it's not the weekend and I've gone more than two days without posting for you. ]]

 

Nox grinned at the boy.  He should be proud of himself.  "Well done."  Nox had a pretty good assessment of the boy's skills.  Failing at the sword didn't mean he wasn't skilled but it gave him an idea of where to start.  But there was nothing like testing stamina that putting you to work.  They all worked and they worked hard.

 

Nox wove a gateway to a place he went to often.  It was empty of people who might get hurt, but the work needed doing regardless.  The long winter caused an avalanche to happen in his favorite secluded spot.  The rocks could be used for building materials and training at the same time, it just needed to be transported.  And Nox hadn't had any time to start, or any new recruit to torture with it in awhile.  It loses its charm for all involve because Nox has to keep the gateway open to transport the fallen rock to the quarry at the Black Tower. 

 

Nox stepped through the gateway and beckoned Ful to follow.  "Come, we've work to do."  When Ful was through  Nox lead him to the stone pile.  Some were little, others large.  "You're job is to move the rocks from here to the quarry."  Nox opened up another gateway that lead to a rock quarry  not far from the hill they'd just left from.  "I'll hold the gate open and when we both tire we can grab a swim in the creek near by to cool off before we head back to the Farm."

 

[[ Don't let this just be a training thread.  We can have anything happen.  A group of bandits, a runaway horse, make something up.  If you can't think of anything I can get something to happen in the next one.   But think of a situation where the OP can help or hurt our situation. ]]

Edited by Matalina

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Ooc: thanks, will do! 

 

In the end it took almost three hours for them to transport most of the larger rocks out of the way and to the rock quarry on the other side. The smaller ones Ful had piled neatly on the other side, but did not move over to the quarry.

 

Nox led the way up to the stone pile himself, the remnants of natural disaster. Then the tall asha’aman wove a gateway which led to a rock quarry Ful had been to before when they rebuilt Isha’s house the third time. Ful seized saidin and lifted one of the fist sized rocks carefully with a thick flow of air. Ful knew those who had the strength to perform gateways were rare, even here. He’d never be strong enough to do this no matter how long and hard he trained.

 

In this manner, they both trained - Ful moving the larger stones through the gateway; Nox maintaining the gateway instead of tying off the weave. Ful was impressed that the asha’aman kept up the gateway which required concentration and skill for the entire duration of Ful’s training.

 

Finally, when there were only smaller fragments left. Ful sat down on the muddy slate and took off his boots. Fatigue washed over him. Then he staggered into creek, flopped in, welcoming its coolness on his body, on his face. Tension sloughed off him as he laughed. It was over.

 

He frowned when he saw in the distance a small thatch of straw and - was it ? - yes, a waving arm. What Ful thought was moss floating in the water had been in actuality hair. A small boy by the size of that arm, no more than eight years, maybe six. Squinting he drew upon saidin once more, and with similar flows as he had lifted the rocks he lifted the boy up out of the water onto the ground. Then he heated the air and dried the other who coughed, arms still struggling against forces upon his body he couldn't see. The little blonde boy who fell in now looked terrified at having been saved. Ful realized belatedly maybe it was better to swim toward the boy and rescue him that way.

 

Ful Haert

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               “You say they went through a Gateway to move rocks?” Merdyn asked another Soldier in the Tavern. With a hand scratching at the back of his head, Merdyn rose from the table and pushed his stool back in. “Well, I guess I better go join them…”

 

                I wonder if the Aes Sedai are trained in such a manner… moving rocks with the One Power… Oh Light! This is real! I am a member of the Black Tower! Ha. If only Father could see me now. He’d probably disown me… if he hasn’t already…

 

                The other Soldier nodded to Merdyn, and he too rose from the table, wasting no time in finding another member of the Black Tower to converse with. Merdyn straightened his coat and rushed through the doors of the Tavern. A blue sky greeted him. Such a strange sight. It seemed like only yesterday that the Dark One was holding the weather hostage. After months of grey skies, Merdyn had resigned himself to never seeing the Sun again. Imagine his surprise when he awoke one day to find this blessed blue expanse that stretched out above him.

 

                It surprised Merdyn that he had actually taken clear skies for granted. Who knew that something so mundane could have such a significant impact on one’s life. It’s not like Merdyn just sat around staring at clouds… Still… When one was confronted with gloomy weather day in and day out, it was only natural that melancholy took hold.

 

                And with melancholy comes poor morale. The Dark One will win if everyone on this planet becomes resigned to that possibility… I refuse to let that happen. I will ascend the ranks in the Black Tower, and I will be there for the Last Battle. The forces of Light will win! We have to win.

 

                It did not take long for Merdyn to find the Gateway. All he had to do was look for a big hole in the air that had no reason to exist.

 

                Merdyn was shocked when he saw his first Gateway. It was in Tear, right before coming to the Farm. No one told him that the Black Tower held such knowledge. All his life, Merdyn had known that Travelling was one of the lost weaves from the Age of Legends. He had read about that and more in his father’s library. So much had been lost after the Breaking. It was a travesty. Think of where humankind would be if they hadn’t suffered such a cataclysm! That was another reason he had to fight for the Black Tower.

 

                Never again would humanity be pushed to the brink of extinction and robbed of all that they had built in this Age. The Dark One would fall. Merdyn was sure of it.

 

                Through the Gateway, Merdyn sensed channeling in the distance. He made his way in that direction only to be met with an odd sight. Nox and Ful were there, he had expected that, but in addition to the pair was a young child. He was a blonde youth, and if Merdyn didn’t know better, it would appear that Ful was using the One Power to dry the boy off.

 

                “I am so sorry for my tardiness. Had a bit too much of the drink last night. Thus I overslept. It shall not happen again, Master Nox. I promise you that.” Merdyn dropped to one knee and saluted Nox in typical Andoran fashion, with a fist to the ground and another to his chest. He couldn’t help glancing at Ful and the child.

 

                Shall I be proper here? Ah, to the Blight with propriety!

 

                Merdyn rose from the ground, not waiting for Nox’s response. He looked from the child, then to Ful, and back to Nox, “Were the lot of you not practicing with Saidin? Not that I’d mind a fresh dip in the stream… who’s the kid?”

Edited by Oddpositions

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Nox was torn.  Too much was going on.  A late student - like really late.  Who smelled like the tavern.  Nox lived in one for years he knew the smell anywhere.  It stuck to your clothes like mud and was harder to wash away.  He'd thrown the clothes away the moment Adrim gave him fresh clean ones.  And he didn't frequent the tavern not even for a relaxing drink.  So his 'i slept late' was a crock of dung.  

 

But there was a boy and he was fighting against the bonds Ful had used to save him.  Nox shot the new comer a glare.  He thought they were taking a dip?  They had been working their tails off for the past several hours and now he comes in 'oh i'll take a dip'.  Nox's blood was boiling.

 

But first there was other matters to attend to. Nox rushed to the boy and knelt down in front of him.  "It's alright.  No one's going to hurt you."  

 

Nox seized saidin and with practiced precision he cut the weaves Ful held.  A lesson if either boy saw, a challenge if they had not.  Nox let the power go the moment the weaves freed the boy.  Nox looked at the new comer and frowned, "Fetch some wood for a fire, and do it manually."  Punishment for being late.

 

Nox looked to Full.  "I keep a blanket under the wayward pine over by the rock pile.  Fetch it please."  The boys suitably sent off on chores Nox returned his attention to the fallen boy who was still shaking.  Fear, cold, whatever it was Nox wasn't going to make it worse.  "Soon as we get you dried and warm we'll go find you parents alright?"

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                Merdyn was no stranger to cold tutors. He had dealt with many different personalities growing up, so it was not hard for him to bite his tongue. He hadn’t been entirely truthful with Nox. Yes, Merdyn had slept later than intended, but his head was pounding all morning. If he came to lessons on time, there was a very good possibility that Merdyn’s mouth would get the best of him.

 

                Instead, he descended to one knee and gave Nox a bow before moving on to his task without another word.

 

                Guess I shouldn’t have been laughing about the rocks… I hope he doesn’t expect me to use my bare hands to chop a tree down. There’s got to be a hatchet around here somewhere…

 

                Merdyn looked around the site for a few moments before resigning himself to gathering fallen branches. If there was a hatchet around, Nox must have it hidden, and if he had intended for Merdyn to use one, he would have offered.

 

                Mother always used to say that physical labor built character… ugh.

 

                It wasn’t too bad at first. Merdyn was still able to enjoy the clear skies and the sounds of nature while he sifted through the tree-growth. Before long, however, his heavy coat and pants had retained enough heat for beads of perspiration to begin dropping down from his brow. He hated sweating. No matter what you did, you always felt uncomfortable while you were caked in the stuff.

 

               Merdyn’s breathing started to grow heavier as he lugged bundles and bundles of branches back to Nox and the child. He tried to stifle his breathing when he was back around Nox. Merdyn was to train his body to be a weapon. Weapons did not tire so quickly.

 

                Got to do better.

 

                Dropping to his knees, Merdyn arranged the largest branches he could find into a cone-like structure. Dried leaves and moss went into the base. The next twenty minutes involved Merdyn embarrassing himself with a small piece of flint and steel. He struggled to make even the slightest spark, and no one offered him help.

 

                How did I ever survive the journey to Tear? Nox is probably fuming that I’m taking so long with the most basic of tasks…

 

                “There! Ha!” Merdyn exclaimed as the kindling erupted into a small flame. He was so satisfied with himself that he almost forgot to stoke the fire. The fire almost went out before Merdyn rushed to fan the embers, the logs catching quickly after that. Blood flushed Merdyn's cheeks as he realized how foolish his reaction must appear.

 

                Maybe Nox won't say anything about that... Must get in his good graces.

 

                Brushing dirt from his knees, and wiping his sleeve across his brow, Merdyn rose from the fire and backed away to give Nox, Ful, and the child some space. He assumed a stance he had seen others make around the Tower, hands clasped behind his back and feet slightly stretched apart. Merdyn kept his gaze lowered somewhat, making no sound, and waiting for Nox’s further instructions.

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Dizzy, his heart pounding, Ful almost fell back out into the sunshine and wind of the shore. He thought he might pass out, or worse, vomit. He knelt down with his back to the hot stonework and breathed deeply, aware of how cold his skin was - despite the dry singlet he put on. He tried to focus his attention on something other than shaking. Nox cut his threads. Not the feeling of shield slamming down between Ful and saidin, but still his threads unraveled, dissipated.

 

I saved him! I saved the boy! Ful was almost beside himself with the fact. He stared at the shivering boy, basking in every moment of the brief acknowledgement. He’d always wanted to be a hero . . .

 

Ful regarded the asha’aman now: the lean cut of his intense face that matched his expression. Did a flash of annoyance cross Nox’s face? He had half-seen this just now, doubting his eyes. A newcomer, a refined looking soldier Ful did not recognize had introduced himself as Merdyn. The soldier was pale with closely cropped hair the color of honey and trimmed beard. He was also older, maybe 20’s, well built and tall.

 

Ful rose. He felt light-headed. Despite the months of training he endured after joining the black tower, he was still out of shape. A young boy playing at being a soldier. Today’s exercises drained him.

 

“Okay,” Ful said. He went to the pine over by the indicated spot where Nox kept the blanket and retrieved it. It was standard issue black with thick, sheep wool. Ful handed it to Nox who seemed to have a calming effect on the boy Ful saved. Then he moved closer to the fire Merdyn started, rubbing at his arms. 

 

“Feels great, thanks.”

 

Ful Haert

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Nox hadn't expected the late comer to actually start the fire, but he didn't say anything as he struggled with the flames.  Nox almost felt sorry for him, but he smelled like tavern and had arrived after all the work had been done.  If he'd done that with Adrim, there would have been extra work made.  But Nox wasn't going to make more work, he'd find something else and right now there was more to do with this lost little boy.

 

Ful was exhausted and he had every right to be.  He had worked hard.  Nox put his hand on Ful's shoulder and if he'd been a few years older he might have sat down next to him and warmed him.  But that was a different life.  Nox sighed and looked at the little boy who was greedily looking at the fire.  He must be hungry.  

 

"I'll be back."  Nox left the three boys by the fire and found his wayward pine, he kept things to snack on, there weren't many things to stow away.  There was a few strips of jerky left in the pouch but that was it.  It would have to do.  

 

When Nox returned he looked at the late comer and motioned towards the fire.  "You aren't a servant."  The tho the boy looked as though he might have had one at some earlier point in his life.  Much like Rhys.  Rhys made him smile, that was a different story too, he pushed thoughts away and  offered the fallen boy what was left of his stash.  He greedily took them and Nox sat back down next to full. 

 

Nox grasped Saidin and warmed the air around them all.  Ful could probably use a little more warming and the boy too.   A lesson to be made from this.  "We've warmed and fed him, what should we do next?"  Nox didn't make it sound like a question he was asking advice on but one like he's just given a lecture and now it was their turn to acknowledge things.

 

What would you do if you found a boy fallen in the river?  He thought to himself.  Nox was fairly certain the boy didn't have a home.  His clothes were ragged, his hair was mess and littered with bugs.  He'd been out a long time.  His body was bone thin and he ate like he hadn't eaten in three days.  Nox's stomach ached in acknowledgment of the situation.  He remembered the feeling all too well.  He remembered the hunger filled days, the sleeping in the dirt only so that he could stay warm.  He remembered other things too... things he only did for pleasure now... but then it had been a way to make money.

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                Merdyn nodded to Ful and smiled, but blushed at Nox’s comment. Of course, he wasn’t a servant, but he wasn’t an idiot either. Nox was higher in the Tower than he, and Nox was also here to teach Merdyn (although he had apparently squandered the opportunity for the day.) There were too many moments in the past where Merdyn hadn’t shown his tutors proper respect (that comment to Nox about swimming being the most recent.) He had learned, although not always remembered, that he should walk lightly around his tutors until he discovered what type of person they were.

 

                Was Nox a gentle soul wishing only to see his brothers of the Black Tower succeed? Was he an angry man with a dark past? Or had he learned to channel before the Taint and was now fighting the effects of madness? Merdyn didn’t know and hadn’t bothered to pry before this ‘class.’

 

                “My apologies, Master Nox. I am still learning my place here. I’d rather show you too much respect than too little.” Merdyn moved over to the other three and eased himself down to the ground. A sigh of relief escaped his lips as he took the weight off his feet. Upon sitting, Merdyn noticed that the entire area around the fire was suddenly warmer. Much warmer than any campfire could typically make it.

 

                Blood and ashes. I did make a nice fire! There might be hope for me yet!

 

                A soft breeze picked up and blew the scent of burning logs at Merdyn’s face. His eyes began to water as smoke assaulted them. Merdyn used it as an excuse to turn to face Nox, Ful, and the young stranger.

 

                “Oh, plenty I would imagine. I’m no medical expert, but one should Delve him to be sure there are no unseen injuries. Although, I don’t know how to Delve so that probably isn’t the most fabulous suggestion on my part… If the boy isn’t going to talk, we should bring him back to the Farm. His parents might live in the village nearby. If they don’t, we surely have enough space for him to stick around. Who knows? He might end up channeling one day. What better place to find himself? The wheel weaves as the wheel wills.”

 

                That would be too convenient, however. Merdyn was well aware that there was probably nothing extraordinary about this young child. Most likely he was just a victim of circumstance. That was depressing to think of. If this child was homeless or orphaned, then they had a duty to see to his care.

 

                “I’d ask him if he was chased here, but I’m sure he wouldn’t be this clam if there were a Trolloc on his tail. No, I’m sure he’s orphaned. Perhaps living in the forest. Let us bring him to the Farm and see if we can’t make him more comfortable there. He could do for a wash and some new breeches. Perhaps he will find his tongue in that time and will tell us of his trials and tribulations. It doesn’t look like he’s had a good go at life thus far.”

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Chewing on the strips of jerky, the little boy Ful rescued smiled, but the fear in his eyes and the wariness on his face diffused the power of expression and diluted the youthful exuberance of the boy. Painful.

 

“Not so easy,” Ful sighed. His heart sank as he stared at the blanketed boy. The child, hunched and frightened by his brush with death, the invisible flows. Determined to keep the strangers in the dark as to what he felt even as his ragged body was warmed and fed, savoring the sweet smell of the fire and salty taste of meat. “We can support him in what he decides. But he needs to tell us. His name. His feelings. His decision, town or farm." 

 

Probably it was the first time he'd been given a choice, a chance.

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Nox looked at the boys as they decided how best to help the nearly downed boy.  From his reaction earlier Nox wasn't sure delving was a good idea.  "I don't think we should use the One Power again.  He didn't like the restraints Ful used earlier.  We don't need him to ..."  Nox could remember a time when any adult who caught him like that what his reaction would have been.  There wouldn't have been any screaming but there would have been a lot of struggling - biting, hitting were the least of the injuries that the other would expect.  

 

He agreed with Ful's assessment that the boy needed to speak for himself.  At least some indication of what he wanted.  Nox hadn't been given much choice when Al'tar took him in.  He hadn't been given any choice... not any good ones anyway - either work the brothel or be punished.  And at the time the penalty for stealing was losing a hand.  Nox shuddered at the idea.

 

Nox shifted himself so that he was kneeling before the boy.  "We won't hurt you.  We want to help. Where do you live?  Are your parents nearby?"  He tried to be as friendly as possible, but he kept his distance too.  Nox knew all too well how precious personal space was.

 

[[ First person to respond can make something up!  Or he can not talk either way, surprise us! ]]

Edited by Matalina

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                Nox and Ful suggested that the decision lay in the boy’s hands. Merdyn didn’t see anything wrong with that, so long as the three of them got the child to safety. The child was uncomfortable with the One Power? Understandable, but that could mean many things. He may have never been exposed to it, or perhaps a Dark Friend had been chasing him, or maybe… There were just too many possibilities.

 

                Don’t use Saidin on the kid. Got it.

 

                Merdyn moved closer to Nox and the child. The Asha’man was trying to coax the boy into talking. It seemed like it was going to work, but just as the child began to open his mouth, his eyes grew wide, and a look of panic came over him. The hair on the back of Merdyn’s neck stood straight up.

 

                Oh no…

 

                The boy looked around frantically, eyes searching the tree line for something. Merdyn spun around and began looking as well. He knew that feeling well.

 

                “Uh… Nox? Ful? I don’t think we’re alone anymore.”

 

                Merdyn reached for Saidin, letting the torrent rush into his body. He was shocked that it happened so quickly, he usually had to reach for it and fumble around for a few moments. Not now. Panic threatened to take hold. He wasn’t sure how he knew, but somewhere in the trees, Merdyn could sense something vile. He had felt it a few times in his life, and every time it ended in Trollocs or other nasty Shadowspawn coming after him.

 

                Although Saidin came easier today, Merdyn still struggled with the threads of the One Power. With an effort, he readied a weave of earth and another of air. The first, if Merdyn didn’t screw up, would turn some of the soil at his feet into jagged spikes. The second weave would lift the earthen spikes up and hurtle them in any direction Merdyn chose. So long as he didn’t screw up.

 

                Without much more warning, two Trollocs burst out of the Treeline. They both had the heads of wolves, but one had the hooves of a bull, and the other had a beak in place of a muzzle. They were grotesque, and they were running straight for them. The boy immediately ran off in the opposite direction, breaking away from their little gathering.

 

                Merdyn struggled but was able to successfully complete his first weave. The ground beneath their feet began to shake, but that quickly subsided. Six points rose from the ground, looking almost as if there were another person beneath them, pushing the spikes through the soil. When they emerged, the earthen blades appeared to be about half a pace in length. They clattered to the ground as they finished forming.

 

                The second weave was another story. Merdyn tried to make it work, but he just couldn’t grasp the threads of air. Sweat began to trickle down his forehead as he tried to force his will upon the blades.

 

                Ha! There!

 

                The weave slipped into place, but the outcome was embarrassing. Merdyn’s weave of air did nothing more than nudge the blades a few handspans toward the Trollocs.

 

                “Are you kidding me!? After all that!?”

 

                Merdyn was so mad, he almost kicked the stupid blades. Instead, he grabbed two of them and waited for a clear shot at the Trollocs. If the flows of air would not behave, he could at least make use of his first weave. Too bad they were around so many trees, otherwise Merdyn would’ve conjured a few fireballs. He never had trouble with those.

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Despite his hours on duty, Ful Haert was suddenly awake again. Merdyn was right: they were not alone. There was a desperate moment of confusion as Ful tried to make sense of the two trollocs. They burst from the tree lines and Ful fell back before the attack, cursing his luck; it was all he could do not to cower in the face of this monumental clash. The noise level was painfully loud and the ground trembled. What were trollocs doing so far south?

 

The blond kid he rescued had started to break toward the stone quarry away from the fight. Ful caught him by the arm. “What in the blazes are you doing, boy?” Ignoring the close blasts behind, he threw them both into the cover of the river bank and hugged the child to him. 

 

He got up to see Merdyn fighting, engaging the trollocs with his earth daggers and cried out, “You’re mad! Let Nox worry about the beasts! Here is our problem.”

 

Protect this boy was Ful's priority. Ful did not save the child so he could die now. The asha’aman would protect them. Or they’d need to call for help. He managed to brace himself against the stonework and began weaving. A shield around them, keeping the boy’s head low. “Come on, you’re safe. I promise.” It was a soldier’s promise. Simple. And true.

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[[ Sorry guys on the delay I really have no excuse other than I didn't feel like it.  Next time I delay more than a few days after a weekend please feel free to remind me.  Sometimes a kick in the butt helps the writing. ]]

 

A trolloc?  Here?  Blood and Ashes!

 

Merdyn tried to fight, but the boy was just that a boy.  He was trying and Nox didn't blame him for it, actually he admired the man's intuition even if he should just thrown up a wall of air to protect himself.  Nox did that for Ful and the boy behind him.  Or at least he started to when he noticed Ful doing the same thing.  Nox smiled.

 

Anxiety and panic should have been the first thing that came to his mind but for once it was clear.  It was always clear in a fight, always had been.  The power sang in his ear, it called to be used.  Nox wove as fast as he could then shoved his weave into the earth and it erupted around the Trolloc's feet, it grew quickly and encased the trolloc in stone until it was nothing but a rock filled with Trolloc squishiness.  

 

Nox called out.  "Shield of air now."  Even as Nox started weaving an explosive weave at the trolloc encased in rock.  Shards would fly everywhere once the weave was complete, he was trusting that the boy would get the weave up in time before his was completed in five... four... three... two... one...

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[[OOC: No worries @Matalina ! I saw you mention in one of the OOC threads that you weren't in a rush to post. Understandable. Thanks for taking care of the Trollocs :D ]]

 

                Everything seemed to be happening at once. Ful started screaming at the kid and then at Merdyn. The Trollocs were snarling and charging, closing the distance between them and Merdyn’s group with ease. He could feel Saidin being channeled behind him, but he did not risk glancing in that direction.

 

                Must be Ful. It better be Ful.

 

                Merdyn’s hands were dripping with sweat. Anticipation gripped him like a goaler’s noose. Death was charging at him. If Merdyn made even the slightest mistake now, it might very well cost him his life. Nox was powerful, and he knew much more than Ful or Merdyn, but Merdyn had come to understand that you couldn’t count on people when you needed them most. That was why he reacted the way he did, weaving together blades of soil. Better to go down fighting than to be slaughtered cowering.

 

                With an effort, Merdyn hefted the spike in his hands and threw it at one of the Trollocs. It didn’t even make it more than ten paces out.

 

                Light, I must be out of shape… I thought the Tower was to make me tough… It has to be all that pie… Here I am thinking about how fat I must be when there is real danger afoot! You are ridiculous, Merdyn Gilyard!

 

                With a start, Merdyn felt Nox channeling now. Merdyn hadn’t caught what he said, but he was hearing him now.

 

                “Shield of air now!” Nox yelled out as weaves began to form.

 

                Wait… I’m terrible with air!!!

 

                There was no time for it. Merdyn was still holding Saidin, that delicious torrent of energy threating to sweep him away like silt in a hurricane. Without thinking, he began the weaves to shield himself. As he finished off the weave, the shield materialized and quickly sputtered out. Air seemed to ripple around him as the weave dissipated.

 

                “Five… Four…” Nox called out.

 

                Light! Light! Light! I’m about to be obliterated!!!

 

                Merdyn tried again, weaving the flows just so. The shield shimmered into existence. Merdyn exhaled in relief.

 

                The shield disappeared again.

 

                “Three… Two…” Nox kept going.

 

                Obey me you stupid element! I am a channeler of the Black Tower, heir to the High Seat of House Gilyard! I will not be denied!

 

                Merdyn bit down on his bottom lip as his resolve strengthened. He had been through too much for it all to end now. Life was finally getting better! Merdyn was finally making friends and figuring out his place in the world! He was making great strides in his learning, talents he didn’t know he had were now manifesting. Life was going well for Merdyn. Things were a lot better here than they were back home, although no one would believe it if he said so. He would not die today. He could not die today.

 

                Merdyn took another deep breath and began the weave again. The flows of air were greasy upon his palms, almost as if the energy could feel the sweat upon his hands. Gritting his teeth, he moved the flows into place, working as quickly and delicately as he knew how.

 

                Stone erupted from the ground and encased the Trollocs, halting them mid-stride. Merdyn exhaled in relief.

 

                Wait… Nox never said…

 

                “One…” Nox called out as if answering Merdyn’s thoughts.

 

                Panic welled up inside of Merdyn as he finished the weaves and a shield woven of air fell into place around him. Somehow he knew that it would hold this time.

 

                Merdyn collapsed to the ground, shaking and sweating from the stress. Whatever Nox was planning on doing, Merdyn was safe from it now.

 

                …Doesn’t Nox need a shield too?

Edited by Oddpositions
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Ooc: lol! your post made me laugh :)

 

Ful Haert embraced the boy - about ten years he reckoned - with fury and conviction, like he would never let go. Nox called for them to put up air shields. Ful looked up, not breaking his hug. 

 

Ful looked around as bits of earth walloped in front of him - the shrapnels ripped by explosively, and he tried to shield the boy and himself. The same weave ripped the two trollocs to pieces, screaming, howling as shrapnels embedded themselves in their earth/stone prisons. The aftershock of hot air crisped their bodies.

 

Merdyn was behind a shield and remained miraculously unscathed. His knees gave way so he was on the ground, but he was alright. So was Ful. He got up, crunching over the debris and calling to Nox. “We’re fine!"

 

Dropping his shield, he looked the boy over quickly, checking for any signs of hurt. “You’re alright.” The boy pulled away from Ful.

 

“Let me go! I want,” the boy hissed through clenched teeth, his face terrified hot tears filling his eyes “to return to town now. I want to be back at the orphanage, to be inside the wall. Now!"

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Nox let loose the explosion and then immediately shoved earth into the ground and a wall of rock erupted in front of him. A few shards of rock from the exploding trolloc made it past him and pierced his arm and leg.  Blood and Ashes!  Nox stumbled backward and dropped to the ground on his rear.  His feet giving way from the exertion as well as the momentum of the shock wave produced.

 

He heard Ful say they were alright and then an unfamiliar voice demanding to go home.  Nox smirked.  Of course, now he talks.  Nox laughed and fell backward and laid his head on the soft grass.  "I think I'd like to go home too.  But I need to rest before I go anywhere."  Nox knew better than to try to go to sleep now, he was probably in shock from the shards in his extremities.  But he was tired and cold and he knew he was going to have to make a gateway to get home.  

 

Saidin churned in his head, he hadn't lost the power but he would soon.  Nox wove a small gateway, barely enough for the boys to crawl through.  He wasn't sure he could make it that far either, but he had to.  "We will take the boy home after you take me to Adrim.  No questions move."  Adrim would fix it.  Nox tied off the gateway just before the power slipped from his grasp.  He was so tired and so cold.

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                It was entirely unfair that Merdyn did not know Healing at that moment. He had the potential to do so, but potential did not solve problems. Merdyn was useless to Nox. That feeling burned at Merdyn. He hadn’t been there for Kyllian, the one true love of Merdyn's life, when Kyllian needed him most; and now he wasn’t there for Nox. He did not know Nox well, but the man was respected around The Farm.

 

                Nox did not kick Merdyn out of lessons earlier that day, even though Merdyn showed up late. Any other tutor would have told him to go take a cold shower, refusing to teach him for the day. He had often been told that ‘if you can’t bother to show up on time, you can’t possibly bother to learn!’ It was the drink. The drink always got him into trouble. Nox had still welcomed him, oh, there was a tightness to his voice, but he had accepted Merdyn today. That was enough to earn Merdyn’s respect… for now.

 

                “We will take the boy home after you take me to Adrim. No questions move.” Nox had ordered. Merdyn had no choice but to comply, despite internal protesting.

 

                Who’s Adrim? Must be an Asha’man I have yet to meet… Light, there’s more of us than I had first thought! Hopefully, this Adrim can help. If Nox trusts the man…

 

                Merdyn nodded at Nox’s words and bent down to help the child through the tiny gateway.

Edited by Oddpositions

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Ful clambered over the tied off gateway, encumbered by Nox. He heaved himself up the stonework after Merdyn who was helping the boy, and took the hurt asha’aman with him, dragging him through the gateway. Nox’s fingers were cold, his grip weak.

 

A tall lean figure in a long dark coat greeted them at the base of one of the tents. Ful counted the pins, and snapped to attention. 

 

“Adrim?” 

 

He asked the man. The asha'aman had the sort of long, high cheek boned face that made everything he said seem chilling and dark. There was also a star tattoo under his left eye. In the bad light of the evening, his grim look was drawn out, taking in Merdyn, Ful, the blonde child, and the injured Nox. 

 

“Go on, Adrim’s inside that tent.”

 

“Ah! Thanks."

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