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The house was too empty.  Merdyn hadn't been living there long, and all the fancy frilly things he liked had slowly taken over Nox's small one room mud house.  It was all he'd ever needed but with Mer here it looked crowded instead of comfortable.  But it was still empty without the man himself.  He'd been gone to Tar Valon.  It wasn't long, Nox had been alone before, but Nox had come to rely on the man and his presence.  It was difficult make that change.  Difficult to see his way past the sadness that dwelled when he was alone now.  Mer had become ingrained in his soul and he missed him.


Nox wasn't a pacer, but he felt the itch to move.  To run to walk, just to move, but he couldn't make himself get out of bed.  Mer's scent was fading from the blankets, and Nox tried so hard to preserve it.  The panic was always so overwhelming.  Adrim had tried to occupy his mind with tasks.  Nox had even created gateways to Tear and back, and had wandered the muddy streets for a short time before he had to return home.  Things would be different when Mer returned, he kept telling himself that.


But Nox sank deeper into the despair that was all made up in his mind.  All the bad things that could have happened to Mer, all the things he could be doing - the fear was the biggest part - losing Mer would be like losing a part of himself.  And in that fear Nox saw more fear, how would he survive with Mer gone.  He couldn't exist like this.  In constant fear, in ever perpetual silence, even Adrim was failing at occupying his mind and had given up.  It hadn't been long.  Mer would be back soon.  It wasn't much longer.  Nox curled up in his corner with one of Mer's blankets and his pillow and Nox tried to feel safe and secure, but every time the wind blew across the roof Nox would jump.  Every sound made him withdraw even further.

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                Merdyn stepped onto the Traveling Grounds, leaving the world of Aes Sedai behind. He had to have been the only initiate of the Black Tower that felt awe at the sight of the shining white walls, a stark contrast to the deep black walls of his own home. It had been a lovely meeting with Jagen Sedai, albeit shorter than he’d have liked. There would be time enough in the future for more visits, considering that he had been named a liaison between the two groups. Although, Merdyn had a feeling most of his meetings with the Red Sister would be held through Gateway and not as formal as this past day’s.


                The sky was a brilliant shade of violet as the sun made its way down past the horizon. Merdyn had only been gone a day or two. His time with Jagen had occupied most of the previous day, and the rest of the time had been spent on the streets of Tar Valon, shopping, sightseeing, and, of course, gathering as much gossip as his mind could hold. He had wanted to stay longer, perhaps venture out and see the countryside that surrounded the island, but the ache to be reunited with Nox had never quite left Merdyn’s heart. Funny what love could do to a man.


                Merdyn moved out from the Traveling Grounds and onto the graveled roadway, three parcels floated behind him on threads of Air. One of the paper-wrapped bundles contained a number of tomes that he thought would serve the Black Tower well. Oh, the purpose of joining the Black Tower was to be trained as weapons for the Dragon Reborn, but Merdyn was a touch pragmatic. That couldn’t be the only thing for these men. They had to consider what happened after the Last Battle. Surely, they would need to deal with the threat of the Sean Chan eventually, but there wouldn’t always be a need for weaponized Channelers… At least Merdyn had hoped it would be so.


                There had been a small library at the Black Tower, the beginnings of one, and Merdyn was determined to see it grow. He still had plenty of money and what better way to use it than enriching his fellow comrades? Perhaps he could start teaching some of the younger Soldiers their letters or perhaps decorum or more practical skills like cooking? He had done so with Ful and the boy had seemed happier for it. He was still rough around the edges, true.


                Although it was growing dark, the Black Tower was anything but calm. There was always something happening around the Tower. During the hours of the day, Soldiers and Dedicated practiced using Saidin by building up the village they had created and even the Black Tower proper, Asha'men trained others in the sword and in the Power, the families of the initiates carrying on as they would in their home nations. During the night, well, it was always different. Merdyn made his way past a large, blazing bonfire. The junior initiates saluting him as he passed by. A few of the more daring men called out to Merdyn, asking when he’d return to the Soup Kitchen. He smirked at that.


                “Oh, come off it! The food can’t be that bad!” Merdyn called back.


                Groans and protestations had been the men’s reply.


                He left the village proper and eventually made his way to a copse of trees set close to the southern wall of the Black Tower. The small hut that he had shared with Nox lay just at the edge of the tree line. It was a tad removed from the rest of the men, but Nox was not the most social of creatures. They could work on that in time. Slowly, to be sure. Nox was fragile. Perhaps he had not always been in such a state, but the flaming Taint had done a number on him. Men would never have to fear that horrible curse ever again… Would they ever find a way to cure the touches of madness that plagued their ranks? Merdyn hoped so, but it would have to be another to discover such a thing; he had only average skill with Healing. Surely, to cure something so dark, one would need to be a master of the art?


                Merdyn opened the door and came into the single room hut. That would be another thing to fix. They couldn’t live in such a cramped space for the rest of their lives. Nox and he could build a new house in the village, together. It would be their home, made from the best trees and-


                The packages dropped to ground with a dull thud as Merdyn released the Power.


                Nox was huddled in the corner of the room, pillow and blanket clutched to him as if the armies of the Light depended on it. Merdyn rushed over to the dark-haired man and gently took him into a warm embrace.


                “Love? I’m here. What’s wrong?”


                Merdyn was no stranger to Nox’s moments of madness. True, he did not always know how to best deal with them or how to help Nox get through such spells, but he was learning. Sometimes just being close to him or offering a hug or an ear had been enough. Hopefully, that was all it would take tonight. The sight of his lover in such a state… It was beyond heartbreaking. Curse the Dark One and everything he had done to Nox and the rest of the world.


                Strong. He would be strong for Nox if nothing else.


                “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere, love,” Merdyn cooed as he deposited a kiss upon Nox’s scalp, “Just relax with me.”

Edited by Oddpositions
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Nox couldn't sleep.  He never could when he got like this.  His mind was distracted, gone from the waking world, lost in the fears.  It had been easier when it was only himself.  But Mer made it all better, and like some ghostly vision he came.  He wrapped his arms around Nox and cooed safety and love into his ear.  A soft press of his lips against his hair.  "I can't live like this Mer."  The tears came out, fell down his cheeks.  "You don't deserve this."


Nox mumbled more things, though even he didn't really understand what he was saying.  Everything was pouring out of him as he went on about things.  This, that and everything else.  Nothing made sense.  Not even to Nox. Until he stumbled upon a memory.  A memory so far buried that Nox had almost forgotten it.  He was certain Mer was looking at him in abject horror.  So Nox closed his eyes and leaned into the man he loved.  His voice was quiet and horse from all the nonsense he'd been previously talking.  "If you, we, you bond me I won't ever not know again." He'd know always that Mer was safe, that's what the other wives always said.  They felt the connection could always tell.  Nox looked up at Mer with hopeful eyes.  "You'll always be with me.  Maybe that will make it better." 


But the memory of why he hadn't said yes the first time came back and Nox sank back against Mer and Nox couldn't get out of the way he felt.  Mer would feel the darkness and the despair all the time.  And it would change Mer.  He muttered again.  More nonsense.  The words really lost on the winds.  Some words made sense.  But his mind kept coming back to it could help.  And could was enough.  Nox knew they couldn't live like this.  "You won't leave me if you know how bad it is will you?"  Nox knew it was a stupid question because Mer sat her in the midst of his crisis and he held him tight.  Never left.  Never made Nox feel bad about what happened to him.  Nox begged.  "Please, I want this."   Tears fell faster as he leaned against Mer.  He didn't know how else to live with this.  He didn't want to be without Mer.

Edited by Matalina
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                Tears poured forth from Nox almost as soon as Merdyn had kissed his head. Sorrow and panic seemed to meld together as he spoke, face buried in Merdyn’s wide chest. It was as if the sluice gates had been cranked open and all the emotional pains came crashing down out of Nox’s soul. Had this damaged man ever been in love- had he ever known love? True, unconditional love? No. He hadn’t. Not like this. Merdyn knew the dark details of his lover’s life, and things had been anything but kind.


                Merdyn’s mouth set into a firm line as he reeled his own emotions in. The sight of Nox in such a state was breaking Merdyn’s heart into pieces bit by bit. Oh, how he wished for a Weave that would set this all to rights… But then again, that would be cheating. It would demean their relationship if such a thing could be done. Love didn’t work that way. Life didn’t work that way. Oh, the Power was a marvelous thing, but it was no substitute for the human experience. Merdyn would not be who he was if he could have solved everything wrong in his life with a well-placed weave.


                The thought made him shudder. How different would things be? It wouldn’t just be him if that were possible, it would be the whole world. Light, he might never have even met Nox if the smallest event in Merdyn’s past had differed. What they had now might never have come into being.


                All things considered, Merdyn would give up everything, even this relationship, if it would remove the corruption that the Dark One had inflicted upon Nox. It just wasn’t fair. Nox had done nothing to deserve the lot he had been given in life. The ability to Channel was a gift, why should he be punished just for possessing such a talent?


                The Wheel was a fickle mistress.


                Strong. Merdyn would be strong for Nox. There was no use dwelling on things that could not be changed. The pattern of their pasts was already woven. What they had to focus on was the here and now.


                Nox wanted Merdyn to bond him.


                He had approached Nox about this a few weeks ago, but the man was not ready then… At the time, Merdyn had thought that it would be another few months, or even years before Nox had been ready. He wanted to take things slow, his mental health required it… But then again, the pair had never been separated for more than a few hours. How was Merdyn to know that a two day trip to Tar Valon would set Nox off into the depths of despair?


                You should know Nox. You should have known that without even considering it, you blasted dolt, Merdyn thought to himself as his grip tightened slightly on Nox. Tears threatened to form in his eyes, but he would not let them manifest. Strong. He had to be strong.


                Merdyn had initially offered to be Nox’s Warder. At the time, that had made the most sense to Merdyn. He had wanted to protect Nox. In all the stories, it was the Warder that was gallantly defending his Aes Sedai, protecting her when she needed it most. He had romanticized the idea. That was totally wrong, Merdyn hadn’t been thinking of the issues at hand with a critical mind.


                It really had made more sense for Merdyn to bond Nox as his Warder, in a fashion of course. The Wife Bond… That was an Asha’man discovery. It wasn’t exactly the same thing as the Warder bond, but it had been inspired by the thing. Some of the Asha’men had even used it on those Aes Sedai just a year back. True, they had added a little ‘extra bit’ to the Bond when they performed it on the Sisters, but still it was the same weave. So easy to modify at need, so long as one knew their way around Saidin and what type of changes they wished to make…


                Merdyn took his right hand and lifted Nox’s chin, tilting his head so that the two were looking into each other’s eyes. He spoke quietly, in a warm tone, “If you are quite sure, I shall bond you, love. In the way that Asha’man bonds wife and also in the way that Aes Sedai bonds Warder. With this, we will be as one and we shall never truly be apart from one another. No one can take that away from us. Not even the Creator.”


                Saidin flooded into Merdyn as he opened himself to the Source. A raging inferno of power coursed through every ounce of his being. He wrestled with the energy, bending it to his will and whim. Merdyn pulled out threads of Spirit and fashioned them just so, forming the Wife Bond around Nox; although he did not let the thing settle upon his lover. He thought of the gifts bestowed upon Warders, of the benefits reaped by the Aes Sedai. He thought of strength and resilience, of protection and resistance, and above all, of love.


                By pure instinct, Merdyn altered the bond slightly and layered on a few more threads of Spirit. The Weave grew larger and more complex, shining brilliantly with the power of Saidin. When Merdyn felt that the thing was completed, he lay the beautiful creation upon his lover, his Nox, and kissed the man deeply. Merdyn released the Source.


                Suddenly, Merdyn was aware of Nox. It was as if there was a small knot at the back of his mind, and in that knot was Nox and every emotion that had been roiling through him. Merdyn felt the pain, the fear, and the anxiety. It was almost crippling. Almost. Merdyn steeled himself against the pain. It was worth bearing, if only for Nox.


                Merdyn summoned up every ounce of affection and love he had for this man. He thought of their first meeting. He thought of their days spent together, learning from one another, what it meant to Channel and what it meant to live. He thought of their first kiss on the Training Grounds. He thought of their first night in bed together. He thought of everything he liked about Nox. This man in his arms was smart and attractive and strong. This man was a survivor. He was Merdyn’s entire world.


                All of this Merdyn fixed in his mind and poured through their bond.


                No more doubts. Merdyn was here to stay. Forever.


                Nox was loved beyond measure.

Edited by Oddpositions
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Nox was only partially aware of the words Merdyn spoke to him.  He understood, but not completely.  He'd never truly seen a real bond take place.  Nox didn't enjoy large crowds and the wives never were comfortable around Nox.  His former career made them unease.  His former career made many people unease.  Everyone but Mer.  He didn't seem to care that he'd been a whore before.  Or even a cut purse.  It didn't matter.


The weaves were simple and complex at the same time and Nox saw them before they settled in around him.  And then there was sudden awareness of Mer.  Tears flowed more, happiness and sadness a whirlwind of emotions.  If he could feel Mer, Mer could feel him.  And the deepest darkness inside that was only worsened by the taint.  Every emotions, but there was Mer, sending love and acceptance and he was so happy.  Nox was so happy to have him there.  The only thing he could do was push further into his lovers embrace.  Never apart again.  


But it still terrified Nox.  But he'd move through it.  But the tears didn't stop flowing.  The calm inside him was rising, and being in Mer's arms helped.  When the tears finally dried up.  "I'm sorry I'm so broken.  You still don't deserve this, but thank you."  Nox looked up and reached up a hand and tilted Mer's face to his so he could press a soft kiss to the man he loved and who loved him back's lips.  It wasn't the same as being married.  That thought sort of scared Nox, but this was more intimate than that.  Nox felt safer knowing Mer would know.  But that was also the thought that terrified him most.

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                Nox wept.


                The bond had shown that they were not tears of sorrow, however. Perhaps they had been at first, but the emotions that roiled around in Nox were shifting towards something brighter. There even seemed to be a modicum of serenity edging in there. The change had made Merdyn happy beyond words. He tightened his grip on his Warder- his Warder- that was a strange thought, but a welcome one. Perhaps he might call Nox his husband one day. Perhaps. That would be a conversation for another day. This Bond would have been enough change for Nox, of that Merdyn had been sure.


                “You are not broken,” Merdyn said as he looked intently into Nox’s eyes, “Don’t say that about yourself. Don’t let anyone say that about you. If I hear the men saying-“ He stopped that thought and took a breath. Nox was feeling Merdyn’s own emotions just as he had been feeling Nox’s. It would do neither of them any good if Merdyn grew angry.


                Madness was a fact of life at the Black Tower. No one, not any of the initiates at least, ever commented on the disabilities of the other men. The keyword there being ‘initiates.’ The village contained more than Soldiers and Dedicated and Asha’men. Merdyn had an inkling that some of the wives had been less than kind to Nox. Oh, they would never have said anything in front of Merdyn, but still, he heard the occasional side comment when the other men had been busy at the kegs.


                Merdyn might not have been able to control himself if anyone had called Nox broken, wive or not. That would not have been good for anyone.


                “You are perfect, love,” Merdyn went on in a more moderated tone, “I fell for you and everything that is you.”


                He kissed Nox again before gently extricating himself from his Warder’s grip, “I have a little something for you…”


                Embracing the Source, Merdyn wove a thread of Air and plucked one of the packages from the floor. The small brown parcel floated along on unseen hands and came to rest in the air between them. With another flow, Merdyn sliced away the string and paper wrappings. The bits fell away to the ground, leaving a gold locket and chain in their place, rotating on an axis.


                “I, uh, know you don’t always like new things, but I couldn’t help myself,” Merdyn spoke softly as he made his weaves pop open the clasp on the worked gold locket. Inside was a miniature portrait of Merdyn, painted with a skilled hand.


                Merdyn unbuttoned his black leather coat, shrugging it off so that he was in his shirtsleeves. He undid the laces at his neck and reached in, pulling out a similar locket on a gold chain. With another flow of Air, Merdyn’s own locket opened to show an identical portrait; although it had been of Nox instead of himself.


                “When I left, you weren’t ready for the Bond, so I thought this was the next best way to carry you next to my heart.”


                The portrait of Nox was remarkable in its likeness, indeed Merdyn had had to craft a few discreet Gateways to show the artist what Nox had looked like. Thankfully, Nox was not in the habit of looking up at the sky, otherwise he would have seen a strange man’s disembodied head staring at him. That surely would not have helped his Warder’s mental state, but it had been worth it in the end.

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It was such a simple thing.  The locket that Mer handed him.  But the simple thing made the tears flow again.  He was a wreck and needed things to stop but this was good.  Nox thought it was but the tears fell anyway.  He smiled.  It was happy tears.  Knowing and feeling how Mer felt was shifting the mood, but with one exaggeration swung the other way too.


It was the first time a surge of happiness had swept through Nox and he was uncertain of how Mer would take it.  It wasn't bad.  This was different, and he was going to have to stay in their single room hut for most of the day to process this new shift.  Madness didn't just happen with the bad, but it had always been so for Nox.  This was still madness.  But he'd be okay with this extreme.


So Mer didn't get the wrong impression Nox turned around so Mer could slip it over his neck and tighten the latch around his neck.  Through the tears he managed to speak, however broken it sounded.  "I love it."


Nox leaned back and looked up at Mer resting his head against his lover's shoulder.  "If you go anywhere I'm going with you though. At least right now, maybe it'll be better later, but right now, I'm not leaving your side."  He was probably sounding like an over protective person more like a clingy one, but there was only so much Nox could take at the moment.

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                Merdyn felt the shift in Nox’s emotions sliding into happiness; there was a touch of possessiveness in there too. It only served to feed Merdyn’s own pleasure. This was exactly the reaction he had been aiming for… Well, maybe fewer tears.


                With a tender touch, he fastened the chain around Nox’s neck and kissed the back of his head once the thing was done. Nox leaned into Merdyn and informed him that they would now be inseparable. The idea made Merdyn smile even more.


                “I wouldn’t have it any other way, love; but, we’re not going anywhere for a few days, I think. The meeting with the Red Ajah went well enough. I’ll be contacting them again in a week or so, but we need not travel to Tar Valon unless you’d like to see the city or the White Tower. We can hold our meetings through Gateway. Light, we might not even have to put pants on for these meetings if we position the Gateway properly,” Merdyn laughed at that. He could just see the prim Sister’s reaction if she realized that he was only half-dressed for such an important occasion. Of course, he would never do such a thing… Still. It was tempting.


                Merdyn opened himself up to the Source and embraced Saidin. The raging torrent of energy flooded into his being and he wove a few threads of Air. The packages flew over to the pair and landed gracefully upon their bed. He altered the threads of Air so that they became a blade, and he used them to cut open the biggest package.


                Nine leatherbound tomes spilled out of the brown paper and slid across the patched blanket. Each book was heavy and thick with good vellum paper, some even had illuminations illustrated within. The topics ranged from History all the way up to Philosophy. Merdyn had read each of these books during his tutelage as a young lordling. Any man in the Black Tower that worked his way through the tomes would find himself with a strong foundation for a successful life. There were no Ajah’s in the Black Tower, so why not do better and make sure the Asha’men were as well rounded in their skills as possible?


                “I picked up a few other things in Tar Valon, but these are for our Tower… How do you think the men would feel about learning more? More than just the Power?” Merdyn asked, nuzzling into Nox’s neck. The other package sat just beyond the books, but he didn’t open that one just yet.

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The Red Ajah gave Nox the chills.  The thought that someone hunted them down to kill them scared him, but Nox tried not to think about it.  Mer was a smart man who could use the One Power.  Nox had taught him himself and he knew that Mer could handle anything.  They'd even handled a trolloc together once upon a time.  Though Nox came out worse for wear for it, but still it had been handled.


The books on the other hand those were something that Nox could focus on.  He picked up one of the tomes and started at the beginning.  He loved to read.  Being taught to read was one of the greatest things he'd done at the tower.  "Everyone should learn more no matter what.  But I don't know if the others will agree."  Nox looked up at Mer behind him with a grin.  "Can I be the first one to read them before you give them to the library?"  This was almost as great a gift as the necklace that was hung around his neck.  Nox's hand absently lifted to hold it in between his fingers.  Caressing it like it had always been part of him.  His Mer, his live.  It was another safety net to fall back on.  Mer was always with him.


It had been a rough couple of days with out Mer, but now it was all right.  Nox could feel the man inside his head.  And he tried to think happy thoughts and not wander down the darker paths.  For Mer if not for himself.  "You have a lot of packages, you spend too much sometimes."  It was an absent comment while he started reading the first book's title page.

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                “I couldn’t agree more, love,” Merdyn said with a satisfied smile. He just learned something new about his Warder: the man liked to read. That wasn’t an uncommon characteristic… among the wealthy. Had he learned his letters at the Black Tower or did that happen before? Merdyn made a mental note to ask about that later. He waved a hand over the leather-bound tomes and said, “Take your pick. Is there a particular subject that you’d want to learn more about?”


                Whatever Nox’s answer was would influence Merdyn’s next book purchase. The other initiates might not fancy reading, but if they glimpsed the Asha’men doing it… He would have to nudge Nox into reading the books out in a public space. Once Nox made his way through the material, Merdyn would convince some of the less learned Asha’men to start educating themselves. It wouldn’t take much to manipulate the lot of them to better themselves, so long as none of them realized that they were being manipulated.


                In time, Merdyn could begin organizing actual classes for the new initiates. The Black Tower would surpass the White Tower, one day, in all areas of skill. The Asha’men would be the most powerful, most skilled, most-


                Nox began digging into the first book and made an off-handed comment about Merdyn’s spending habits. He laughed and gave his Warder a sheepish smile, “I know, I know… Old habits die hard. Rest assured that I will only be spending my gold on bettering the Black Tower and our Brothers- for now at least. I have some plans in motion for the future. If all goes to plan, I will have my own estates again, and thus a steady stream of income. We are not hurting for coin yet, so do not worry your pretty head about that.”


                Merdyn embraced the Source and used a flow of Air to open the last package. A sizeable cut of beef laid within, nestled next to fresh herbs and a few garlic bulbs. That was the last surprise: a hearty dinner for the two of them. The thread of Air shifted and the package rose from the bed and came to float before Merdyn.


                “Well, love, I’ll get dinner started while you dig into those books. I hope you’re hungry,” Merdyn said happily and went to the door, the food floating after him. He opened the entrance and found a young man standing upon the steps, fist raised halfway to the door as if he were about to knock. Merdyn cocked an eyebrow and asked, “Yes, Soldier?”


                The young man looked abashed and gave a jerk of a bow, “M’lord. Beg pardon, but this letter came through Gateway. It is for you, M’lord.” He shoved a folded piece of parchment into Merdyn’s hands, gave another jerky bow and ran off before Merdyn could say a word. He looked down at the wax seal and raised his eyebrow further.



                The Alliance?


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Nox shrugged when Merdyn asked him about a particular subject.  He didn't really care.  It wasn't the learning part that he enjoyed it was the immersion, the lack of people bothering him helped a lot too.  With his nose in the book no one tried to talk to him too often.  "I just like to read." It was something he did now that he could, and could keep doing forever even if the Black Tower kicked him out.  It was a skill at least that was better than picking a pocket or fighting forever.  Much like Nox had taken up making gateways.


The comment about his loves spending habits hadn't gone unnoticed and Nox tried to interrupt that wasn't what he meant.  It was not about running out of it, it was merely a comment that Nox had never had that sort of money to just spend.  What he had had always gone towards food or clothes, never anything frivolous as books and bedding.  Though nice warm blankets had been one of his own first purchases.  And Merdyn quickly had found his love of blankets.  Though Nox was still attached to his own.  But he liked the one Mer slept with too, it smelled like him and that made Nox smile and feel safe.  And safe was not something Nox always felt.


But dinner sounded wonderful though it might require moving from his current spot huddled in the corner.  Maybe Mer would eat with him in the cozy little nook a picnic of sorts.  But Mer's preparations hadn't even started when the knock came and he was answering the door.  The soldier handed Mer a parchment and quickly left.  Like Mer would bite or something.  Nox's curiosity got the better of him and he stood up to walk over to his love and look down at the seal.  It looked much like the one that had come before when they'd been requested to dig a well for the Citadel - the Band of the Red hand's strong hold.  "I wonder what made him so afraid.  The letter, or you?"  Or it could be Nox, though he wasn't scary by far, his mental stability was something of a problem with some folks, but he didn't voice that part of it opting to give Mer a sly smile.

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                Nox rose from the bed to join Merdyn at the door. He could feel Nox doing so without even having to glance back. It was the strangest thing. What were the limits to that particular feature of the Bond? Merdyn found himself absently wondering if there was a limit to the distance at which they could detect each other. This Bond could prove to be most advantageous in combat. They would have to start working on joint tactics to be sure, but Merdyn was confident that they could give the Forsaken a run for their coin if the two of them practiced enough. 


                That was a big ‘if,’ but still…


                Merdyn filed those thoughts away for a later date. At present, he had a missive from the Alliance to deal with. Nox made an off-handed comment about the young Soldier that just delivered the letter. Merdyn looked over to his Warder, a wry smile plastered on his face.


                “I guess we can ask him later. He was working the Traveling Grounds when I arrived,” Merdyn said with a laugh as he used a flow of Air to rip open the seal on the letter. He quickly scanned the contents and then started over, rereading the thing a touch slower just to make sure he wasn’t mistaken.


                “Love? Forget what I said about staying at the Black Tower…” Merdyn said as he handed the letter over to Nox. “I am to report to our Embassy at the Citadel tomorrow by first light. Calder Berrick of the Band has need of my services.”


                Apparently the M’Hael was so pleased with how Merdyn had handled the Red Sisters, that he decided to name Merdyn as a liaison to the Band of the Red Hand. It was not an unwelcome development, on the contrary, this was the sort of thing that Merdyn was raised for. It was enjoyable work. Not to mention his sneaking suspicion, which he had for months now, that this would be the purpose that he would serve at the Black Tower. It was only grating because everything was all happening at once. But that's how it always went with these things.


                At least Merdyn was starting to feel important again… If only due to these assignments.

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Nox read the letter, though other than the gist of it it was difficult to decipher, not everyone wrote legibly.  And for a newer reader hand writing not meant to be consumed by others it was all that more difficult for Nox.


Merdyn had already assumed Nox was going with him.  That made Nox happy.  He didn't have to beg or plead to go.  Mer would need a gateway to get there and that was his job.  Though any of the others could do it, and the Citadel had an Asha'man on hand at their embassy.


Though Nox had hoped to enjoy a night in his bed with Mer.  Even if it just meant sleeping.  "Can we leave before the sun.  I really wanted to stay home for one night in our bed."  Nox was sure he would be fine elsewhere, but the need to be home with Mer was strong.  He could feel the panic starting to rise.  The anxiety about sleeping in an embassy bed.  It wasn't a harsh life, but it wasn't his bed.  With his things.  That was the great thing about gateways.  Nox could travel halfway across the world and still sleep in his own bed.  He could open a gateway in his own little hut far easier than anywhere else on the Black Tower grounds.  It was his home, he knew ever nook and cranny of it.  It was his and it made him safe.  Mer made him safe and the thought of not having him made Nox spiral.  He couldn't help it.  





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                Merdyn could feel Nox’s anxiety rising through the Bond. Was it due to the prospect of leaving the Tower? Merdyn was not leaving him again, so it couldn’t have been that. Light, how frequently did Nox feel this way? He had given no indication that these feelings were starting to build up, yet there they were after reading the letter. It had to be that- leaving the Tower- had he been this anxious the last time? No, the last time was because they had Skimmed and Nox had hated that empty blackness. Was the cause of the anxiety always different?


                This Bond was a blessing if only because Merdyn might learn how to quell the anxiety within Nox before it had a chance to take root. With a warm smile, he took Nox into his arms, encircling him protectively and placing a kiss upon his cheek. He could feel their lockets pressing at their chests, but decided to ignore the pressure.


                “We can leave whenever you want, so long as we are not late tomorrow. I admit I don’t fancy the thought of leaving tonight. I’ll cook us a nice dinner, you can read to your heart's content, and maybe we can- um- you know? Enjoy each other’s company before we turn in for the night,” Merdyn said as tactfully as possible. They didn’t need to do that last bit, Merdyn wasn't even sure if he should have brought it up, but physical contact could be healing and being intimate was the closest they could get to each other outside of the Bond.


                Dinner wouldn’t take long, not when Merdyn could cook with the Power. He had set up a little cooking station just behind their modest home for these nights they shared. Unfortunately, no matter how far away they were from the rest of the dwellings, the smells of roasting meat would draw in some of the other men towards the hut. Then again, he could pawn off the leftovers and the clean up onto the others. It wouldn't be hard to chase them off after that. Nox and he were Asha'men after all. The prospect sounded fabulous.





((ready to move on to the next scene whenever you are, Nox :3))

Edited by Oddpositions
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Nox blushed at the words, not because sex was shameful or anything horrid like that.  Nox knew where he'd come from, and he had enjoyed sex probably far more than he should have at the Black Tower where it was his choice.  But it was the way Merdyn said it, all proper and noble like, just like the man himself.  Like it was something bad or unspoken.  But it was the love and the want and desire that made Nox's face flush.


Sex had been part of his life for a young age, the Black Tower had changed it all, and Merdyn even further.  'Enjoying each other's company', as Merdyn put it, was so much more different.  Nox smiled through the heated cheeks and pulled Merdyn close and brushed his lips against his lovers ever so tenderly and with a soft whisper said, "Tonight and every night."


It was a tease, but it made Nox feel better.  Knowing that Merdyn wanted him and now that he could feel Merdyn through the bond, he wondered what it would be like now.  How different would sex be knowing how the other felt.  Nox was eager to learn.  Nox broke away, forced himself to do it his curious mind had found a new topic to latch on to and he stepped away.  "But dinner first.  I can help, spend more time together."


[[ We can switch scenes, let people wonder how their night went ? We can allude to it in the next thread ]]

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