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The AP Test

Guest Arie Ronshor

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Guest Arie Ronshor

We are young, heartache to heartache we stand

No promises, no demands

Love is a battlefield

We are strong, no one can tell us were wrong

Searchin our hearts for so long, both of us knowing

Love is a battlefield




She held a hand out, the remains of a favoured zwheihander in her hands, broken into shards miles away along with a promise to herself that was now being broken. Could it really be that way? Was it really a broken promise? Move on, she had said. It was not meant to be, no heart could change the fact that It was not meant to be. It could not be, not with the way things are.


Especially with the way things are.


When she came back to the Yard she told herself that that was it. All that was could have been or was in firm existence was not enough nor could be and she would have to live with that. She fully knew she could and would live with that. Her life was for the Tower, for Jaydena Sedai. She had walked into the Aes Sedai's room and pledged herself in service to her. It was true that the woman was a strong friend, a key player in this maze that Cairma viewed her life, but there was more to it then that.


She chose to be with Jaydena over being with Aran. It had been her choice, no other, and it was respectable, and only Aran, maybe even Jaydena, knew this. She loved the man, curse him a thousand times over, but she loved him, and now there was no mistaking it that he had loved her too. If it was a moment, fleeting, or if it was everlasting, it did not change the fact that, without a doubt in her mind.


After all, she carried his child.


"Oh light... " She cursed as she buried her head into her hands as she sat in the empty room she shared with Lyssa. What was she going to do? She had not even thought to take tea, it was her first time. Things like this do not happen on your first time. It takes planing for the timing to be right.. Didn't it? But it didn't change anything. Two months passed, no flow, morning sickness, and obsene cravings for salts and cinnamon.


Enough, Cairma. Collect yourself. You're stronger than any of this..


"What am I going to do." She knew of Aran's enemies. Talk in the yard would be bad enough, but she knew of things.. outside.. she suspected... and maybe within the Tower....  




Her own mind felt like a slap in the face as she blinked out of her internal ramblings. The bond was mulled enough with Jaydena's inner tormenting from earilier, and Cairma asked for a little space until she could say something. Burn them, but she may have to leave Tar Valon... Again.


"Will... " She said.. it was the way it needed to be. Of course, there was one person that would need to be updated on this, as she would indefinatly will need their help. She needed Tower support, and the only way she was going to get that...


... through Brand.


"Brand and Isabella."


Resolve met, she stood from her bed and moved to the mirror. Nothing abnormally out of place but a a touch of blood from her cheeks. She was having such a hard time keeping food down. Not much could be done there. Refusing to see an Aes Sedai, as with out doubt, women talk, only Isabella would be able to give her sound advice.


Placing the hilt of the blade once called Beast in the chest by her bed, she walked out of the room. Locking the door behind her and strolled as if without purpose to the Commanders Office in hopes that the Man will listen to her. Crossing her fingers she knocked twice on the door and awaited an answer.




Cairma Vishnu

Bonded BM


Were losing control

Will you turn me away or touch me deep inside?

And before this gets old, will it still feel the same?

Theres no way this will die

But if we get much closer, I could lose control

And if your heart surrenders, youll need me to hold

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Arie Ronshor



The voice of the Commander of the Guard caused a momentary pause before Cairma pushed open the door. It was easy for Brand Ryota to know what sort of mood the woman was in. Undreadable she may be, but the quietness of the womans footsteps told him that she did not want to be heard entering his office.


"Be seated." He motioned for a chair, and as expected, Cairma just shook her head and just stood behind it, her hands unwaveringly loose at her side. he could watch those hands and know that they were taunt and ready to reach for the swords on her hips despite the calm appearance. It was easy to tell she wasn't herself. the confidence that normally held her was stripped away to a fumbling mess.


Of course, only a trained eye would be able to see it.


"Can i get anything for you? A spirit, tea? You drink dark tea, correct."


Cairma shook her head. "Thank you, Brand, but no thank you."


Brand leaned forward in his desk, entwining his fingers together as he looked at her carefully. He only needed to raise an eyebrow before she broke.





She blinked, realizing her sentence started to bleed together, she blushed a little. "Sorry, Sir."


"Since when did you start to call me Sir, again?" Brand showed a half smile in hopes to relax her a little. It didn't help, much, but it showed a start.


"Sorry Brand."


"Better." Unfolding his hands, he leaned back in the chair motioning for her to take a seat. She did, predictable sitting at the edge of the seat where it was the most comfortable. Cairma spent little time in his office, so he suspected she did not know how uncomfortable the opposing chair was and that training only kept her on her toes. He expected as much from her now. Especially after her trip away and the letters she wrote. "You want a command that takes you away from the Tower for anouther year? You have only just returned and have regained command of the Trainee's under you. Is it wise for you to leave this quickly?"


"With all due respect, Brand, I don't think it really is." She paused in thought before continuing. "However, I feel the circumstances just may call for it."


He frowned a little. "Can you confirm this?"




Brand felt a small eye tick coming on, but he knew better than to think the woman was running from things. In fact he had not seen her in better spirits since her and Aran's return. -much to his own chargin... - "I see."


"But I don't feel that it would be best to turn to the Tower in this."


His eyes looked at her for the answer.


"Best not say it here. Walls have ears."


She was paranoid. That was new for her. Cairma was not one for being paranoid. Isolated, but not paranoid. "Isabella sends her wishes. Says she has not seen you in quite some time."


Cairma smiled on cue, as if it was exactly what she was looking for. "I have not visited many friends in Tar Valon since my return. I had a hick-up with a Trainee or two that has kept me occupied. That and my Bonding."


Brand smiled at this. "Congratulations on your bonding to Jaydena Sedai. I fine woman to protect. She has done well by choosing you."


She blushed. "Thank you. It seemed to be the right thing at the time, although I'm sorry to leave the Crimson rank."


"We are sorry to loose you, but you are where the Wheel has weaved you."


Cairma paused in mid-nod. "Maybe."


Brand had to think fast, he felt he was loosing the small step he found with her. "You know, its nearly time for the mid-day meal. I'm sure Isabella would not mind the extra company if you care to join me?"


The breath of relief was evident.


"I would love to, Brand." She smiled, a look that made him a little more nervous of this meeting then he thought he should be. If the woman was really pregnant, than it could cause a few problems. Especially if she was this nervous, no doubt the Father could cause more problems.. problems Brand did not want to deal with.




Cairma Vishnu & Brand Ryota

Grandmaster & Commander of the Guard

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Arie Ronshor

Lay of the Land brought a blessed warmth and relief that visibly calmed Brand as both him and Cairma entered. Cairma was not effected by the feelign within the building as Brand, but she did not reside here not did she find that sort of comfort here. Brand, however, had a wife and children within. The change was not a suprise for her but it always got her off guard. A change that was envied could hardly be it, but there was a wishfulness in her eyes as Isabella strolled gracefully up to her husband, planting a large full-out kiss on his lips. Pulling away, she did not miss a beat to give Cairma a soft friendly kiss on the lips; As always her habit with friends.


"An odd hour for you to be visiting. Come with me and we will have some spirits in my office. Are you hungry? Of course you are." Snapping a finger, she turned to face younger girl. "Go fetch some of those freshly pastries from the kitchen for lunch. Have them brought to my room. Come, girl, today, please!" Hooking her arm around Cairma and winked at her husband, the woman rambled her little nonsense until they reached her office on the otherside of the room.


The room was spacious with images of women on every possible inch of the wall with only enough space for anyone to tell that the room was painted a rich crimson-like red. Had there been fewer portraits, Cairma would have guessed that the wall was textured with what looked feather-like or fur. But the lighting of the lanterns and candles offset any sort of illusion and left Cairma wondering. The majority of the room was taken up with a seating area, a lounge chair and two smaller ones that were padded in old black leather, soft from use and age. A small desk filled with miscellaneous clutter took up a small corner of the room but was left mostly for administrative or business related issues, both of which did not seem priority unless needed. As far as Cairma knew the place ran smoothly so who was she to judge.


Settling in on the lounge chair beside Isabella, across from the the single chair that Brand took, Cairma sipped her tea before Isabella broke the ice.


"What did my husband do this time?"




"What? Unless it is something Cairma did, which she never does as she never gets introuble... "


Carima snorted her tea out of her nose in a slight attempt to hide the demanding laugh. Her? Not in trouble?!?


Isabella smiled and put a hand on Cairma's shoulder. "I was only teasing. It was good to see a smile on your face."


Cairma gave her a half hearted grin, sniffing a little to clear up her nose. "Thanks Isabella. But... "


"No 'buts', dearie." She patted Cairma's shoulder and then moved to pick up her tea. "So, you have a Gaurd under you pregnant, and you want a safe place to hide her?"


That time Cairma did choke on her tea. Brand looking at his wife with an incomprehension and surprise. Isabella merely sipped her tea. "Don't give me that look, Bran. I know a pregnant woman when I see one."


Cairma's heart sank. She had hoped against hope that Isabella could confirm that she was not. What now..


"Well, that makes it a little easier." Brand said, standing up. "I will leave you woman to discuss things. I will return." Leaning over he kissed his wifes brow. "Have an extra tea cup ready, will you?"


"..Sure." She said, a little offset with his sudden leaving but let it slide. Cairma watched him leave, suspecting his next state of actions. Either way, she was promptly destracted by questions by Isabella. Half answering, Cairma wondered deeply as to just how Aran would react to this. How should she react this?!




Cairma & Brand & Isabella

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  • 3 weeks later...

With long strides Brand made his way from the Lay of the Land back to the yards. Even though Isabella had tried to persuade him otherwise, he had some confronting to do. He wasn’t quite sure about his current feelings, but he would describe them as somewhere between seething, concerned and amused. “That son of a goat.” He muttered to himself for the twentieth time.


It wasn’t that he particularly cared about what his Tower Guards did with each other while he wasn’t looking. Light, he didn’t even care what they were doing when he was looking. What he did care about was when one of them did something that would keep the other out of the running for a long time. His Tower Guards were lean, mean fighting machines, and he liked it that way. In fact, he insisted on it being that way. A pregnant Tower Guard was not a fighting machine. She was hindered by a need to be careful, and after that she would be hindered by the need to care for her child.


What bothered him even more was that the Tower Guard, or rather Warder in question was one of high quality. A master in the art of fighting, with a very peculiar fighting style. On top of that he rather liked her. Isabella rather liked her. She mattered something to him, and she mattered something to the love of his life. That made her family, almost. And by the Light, he wouldn’t let some half brigand, half goat get the best of her without paying his dues.


With this in mind, Brand stalked through the yards, his speed making sure that no one stopped him on the way to his destination. Into the barracks he went, and up to the floor where Aran would no doubt be loitering about. A few quick questions in the common room told him the brigand was in his room. Lazing about, no doubt. Brand tried to door first, hearing some faint sounds behind it. Locked. His eyes narrowed for a moment at the thought that he might find Aran there with another woman. If that was the case, there would be trouble.


He fished the master key out of his pocket and opened the door. He moved inside and closed the door behind him, giving his eyes very little time to adjust. He didn’t really need it, as he had already spotted Aran. At least, he assumed that the person-sized lump on the bed was the Tower Guard he was looking for. “So…” he started, pulling up a chair. “What do you have to say for yourself? And keep in mind that you’re going to have to make it good, if you want to get out of this one unharmed.”


~Brand Ryota



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Cracking an eyelid as he heard the person who had entered his room sit down in his chair, Aran was already quite certain of who it was.  There were only so many people that could either pick his door or had a master key, and fewer still who would have simply walked over to the chair.  Brand, though why he was in his room, Aran was unsure.  Certainly, it couldn't be about anything too bad because the man had taken the time to wander to his seat and make himself comfortable before he began to speak.


Caught?  Not likely, and Brand never came and saw him about the shenanigans he got up to, it was always Vasya who visited him for those sorts of infractions.  Vasya had long since given up on punishing the majority of his antics, and those that did go a bit far in the man's opinion were dealt with in ways that didn't result in bruises on Aran's part since some years had proven that they were ineffective.  Had Vasya finally given up altogether?  Impossible, the man was like a mastiff that had a small child in its jaws, once it had a grip it never let go until all resistance had been crushed.


Turning on the bed so he was looking at Brand, Aran frowned as he spoke.  "I haven't done anything and I was comfortable here until you decided to let yourself in.  If you had something on me you wouldn't be fishing like this so go pick on someone who isn't wise to it.  Like Braxton."  The gullible lad, though he'd impressed Aran with his focus, was still very gullible and easy to fool.  It didn't take much to get, well, just about anything out of the boy and Aran had learned a lot very quickly, including a lot of things he hadn't wanted to but one had to take the good with the bad.




Tower Guard

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“Don’t play coy with me, Aran.” Brand said, stretching his legs out in front of him. He might as well get comfortable, as it was this was starting to look like it would take some time. Either Aran wasn’t aware of his impending fatherhood, or he was willing to pretend that he was for Brands sake. Either way, it was going to take a while to get him to admit to anything. Brand sighed softly. He really didn’t get why men were so unwilling to accept that they were going to become fathers. He’d been more than willing to accept all five of his children, and he had more reason to doubt whether he was actually the father of them than Aran did in this case.


Or maybe Aran already had a brood somewhere. For all Brand knew the man could have a wife and twelve children hidden somewhere without him knowing about it. That would explain why he was so distracted all the time. But if that was the case, Brand was going to have to hurt him for putting his paws on Cairma in the first place. Some people… Shaking his head slightly, he decided to focus on reality, rather than what he was imagining.


“If you hadn’t noticed yet, I don’t make house calls all that often. In fact, you will have noticed that I avoid them all together. If this was something that’s public knowledge, Vasya would have been here to bruise you up a bit. If this had involved Braxton, Ginae would be here to stomp on you. What do you think my presence here means?” He got a very blank look from Aran at that question. “It means that you’re every bit as clueless as Braxton, apparently.”


Brand rubbed his forehead for a moment, trying to get rid of the slight headache that was starting. “Alright, let me put this differently. I will use only small words, because apparently the big words are too confusing. This will be a very simple question, to which there can only be very simple answers. Have you knocked someone up lately?” Brand waited a moment, and repeated the question in a different way to make sure Aran caught the drift of what he was asking. “Have you gotten anyone pregnant lately? Stuffed their belly full of child while they were preoccupied? Well?”


~Brand Ryota



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  • 4 weeks later...

Looking at Brand with something akin to irritation, Aran was beginning to become genuinely annoyed with Brand.  He hadn't gone to anyone 'stuffing their belly full of child while they were preoccupied', a charming phrase as any to come from Brand.  He didn't care what anyone in Tar Valon said, or the yards, he'd been with one woman only and they were careful so whoever it was was clearly just after some attention.  Not the first time it had occurred, but he was a big believer in...  Aran frowned as he tried to remember the phrase.  No glove means no love?  No, thats not it...  "I don't care whoever she is in town, I haven't even been hitting the town like usual and I haven't been back that long so you're not pinning anything on me.  I'm not the only short Tower Guard, must've been someone else.  Can I go back to sleep now?"


Brand looked at Aran for a long time before speaking again, and when he did his voice had turned icy. “Really. Not your philandering self, you say? No wenches in town? Good…”  He balled his fists, trying to get the tension that was gathering in his shoulders to fade to the background. He wanted to throw Aran out of the bloody window, no matter what story they were on. “Really, I’m sure she’ll be pleased to hear you’ve managed to keep yourself tucked into your breeches. Now stop being a bloody idiot. Would I be here about some wench in town? My responsibilities lie here, at the White Tower. That’s where your responsibilities are as well, whether you like it or not.”


Brand rose to his feet abruptly enough for the chair he was sitting on to fall to the ground with a loud crash. “Blood and ashes, man, of all the people she could have picked. You know her well enough to realise that she won’t deal with this lightly.” Then again, who would? Out of all the Warders and Tower Guards at the yards, Brand was one of the few who had grown up in a happy family. It was something he still tried to offer to his Guards. Aran was as much an annoying little brother to him as Cairma was a troubled sister. He looked at Aran again, and saw the same blank look on his face. “You really don’t know, do you? Has it really not occurred you that Cairma is carrying your child?”


"What?!"  All pretenses of trying to go back to sleep were gone as Brand's final words hit him.  Of all the things in the world that could have occurred, being told that Cairma was pregnant was not one of them.  Sitting up straight on his bed even as Brand looked down at him, Aran was only half aware of it as the implications raced through his mind.  A child, he'd never even thought of the concept, him having a child.  Of all the things in his life, having a family of his own had never been something he had ever thought of.  Perhaps it was his unique upbringing, perhaps it was because he'd never settled on a single woman until Cairma, maybe it was because after the amount of blood he had on his hands, but it had never entered his mind at all.


Now Cairma was pregnant...  She had to be, Brand would never say something like that as a joke, there was no denying it.  They'd been careful but the answer already presented itself to Aran, it must have been while they were in the Borderlands, the only occasion they hadn't taken precautions.  Who knew?  What did Cairma feel?  What did he feel?  Aran wasn't sure, the best he could determine was that his emotions were like a churning whirlpool that refused to settle.  So many different thoughts, and more than that.  Something felt like it had shifted, and for the life of him Aran couldn't make head to tail of it either.  In fact, the only thing he could produce was a simple question that he needed the answer to more than anything else in that moment.  "Where is she?"


The look of pure shock on Aran's face was not something anyone could fake. Not even Aran, who was pretty good at hiding what he really felt. No, that was the look of someone who had just heard he was going to become a father, and had no idea how to deal with it. It was the look that crossed every young father's face at least once, and at least briefly. Even those who were in stable situations, who had grown up in solid families. There was always the worry, the what-ifs, the but I can'ts. Those all crossed Aran's face, and more before he settled on simple confusion. That was a start, at least.


"She's safe. Isabella is taking care of her at the moment. She only came to me today... I wish she'd done so sooner. We could have helped her through her own confusion, at least." Brand bent over to pick up the chair he'd just knocked over. Though he wouldn't admit it any time soon, he was pretty pleased with the fact that Aran had asked for Cairma before voicing any other doubts. Maybe he had his priorities straight after all. Maybe this wouldn't end up in a terrible mess, after all. A Commander could hope, at the very least. When he turned around Aran was still sitting on his bed. "Well? to your feet, Guard! you have a woman to speak to. And after Isabella is done with you, I'm sure Cairma will want a word as well."


Slipping off the bed and onto his feet, Aran made it to the door before he realised he needed some bits of clothing like a shirt and boots.  Cursing under his breath, he quickly retrieved those items and slipped them on before making his way out the door with Brand who was probably amused at how haphazard he was.  He'd almost gotten stuck in the shirt and it was as if the bootlaces were conspiring against him.  He needed to see Cairma, before anything else he really needed to talk to her.  A child.  Light, what were they going to do?  Isabella didn't even register in his mind as he closed the door to his room behind them.  A child...

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Arie Ronshor


She sat there staring into her teacup, musing silently as the world seemed to carry on without her. Her touch in all of this seemed radical and unforgiving as her tiny grasp of reality spiraled out of control. Shards or doubt were cutting away at her precious control, contemplation and worry prickled her. What was Aran going to say? What was he going to think of her after this? She mused to herself as the teacup in her hand started to shake a little more and more with each thought that passed through her mind. Was Brand going to tell him, let it slip, or was she goign to tell him? What was she going to say to him... She heard very little outside of the thoughts that ran a thousand miles a minute. From her fear of Arans reaction to the inevitable realization.


"Burn me, I'm going to be a mother.. " She looked to Isabelle for the first time since Brand left. "How in Lights name am I going to be mother..."




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Guest Arie Ronshor

It was a question that she had been expecting for some time now. From the moment Brand told her of his suspicions, actually. All women asked it sooner or later, and all women took their own time to reach that point. There was a certain measure of acceptance that was involved in reaching that point. No women ever simply learned that she was with child and accepted that her life was going to change all in one fell swoop. Something like that took a while. When Isabella herself had been with her first child, she had spent a few days walking around in a daze. How in the name of the Light was she ever going to be a mother? someone as utterly unsuitable for the task as she? She smiled at the thought now, thinking that she had done well with all five of her own children, as well as the strays that Brand brought it from time to time. She had a certain knack for the job, as her life partner often said. She had a seemingly endless supply of affection for each of her children, those of her own blood and those who weren't.


In other words, there were worse places for Cairma to end up while pregnant and confused. Isabella leaned over and gave the blonde Tower Guard's hand a squeeze. "That, my dear, is a fairly simple question. You slept with a man without protection, that is how. But I doubt that was actually the question you're seeking an answer for. What you want to know is 'how am I going to take care of the little life that grows within me? how can I love it and shelter it when there is so little shelter to be offered in my life?" She poured the woman another cup of tea. "These are valid questions, and I have no answer for you other than that time will show you."


"People often dread the coming of a child, because they think their lives will change beyond recognition. And it will. From this moment on, your life will never be the same again. You will have to take care with your own body, because it's not just your body anymore. With everything you do you will have to think of the child within you. This may seem difficult now, but you fill find that it comes naturally. You have the proper instincts within you, even if it may take them a while to adjust to the new situation as well." She smiled warmly at Cairma again. "And on top of that you are not without friends who wish to aid you in this time. You are welcome to stay here as long as you need."





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Guest Arie Ronshor

Time goes by and God knows I try to carry on with life

Decide not to hide feelings inside, even though they hurt

Sometimes, I forget to remember you

It’s easy to lock away the pains, don’t want to relive it through

But I stay strong, you taught me how to move on in this world



Cairma was absolutely horrified with the first response that Isabella gave. Slept with a man without protection... Shaking her head, Cairma had completely forgotten how crude the woman can be. Maybe crude wasn't the best word, but blunt didn't seem that far off the mark either. Looking to Isabella, Cairma could not help but from, although it was not in angry, but frustration of her own predicament.


"My life was never mine to begin with. I'm Bonded. I have an Aes Sedai. I have a duty to the Tower and to those that I train. How in the Light am I suppose to take care of a child? I barely have the instincts to train those placed under me, how much more damage could I possibly do to a child?" Folding her arms in her lap to avoid them flailing about, "Forgive me, Isa, but I never had a Mother. The one that claimed to be was a whore in the worst despicable way. She care nothing for me or my brothers, nor my brothers for me as well."


"I might as well be branded and given the Amyrlin's Stole for all the worth it would do me than this child." Obvious Cairma was more upset than her angry words appeared. Lost and confused, ridicule only seemed a more appropriate answer.


"Give yourself some credit, Cairma. You have done well and I doubt Brand or any other would trust you with these responsibilities if they did not think you were capable of them." Cairma didn't look to Isabella as she mulled over the woman's words. As much sense as the seemed to make on the surface, Cairma did not feel even remotely better knowing that with each second that went by Aran was coming one step closer.


She wanted to run. Run far and fast. Driven by the dark one himself if it meant not facing up to any of this.


Deep down, Cairma knew that there was no longer any need to run. Not only could she not do that to herself, but she could not do that to Aran. Especially to Aran knowing how damaging it could be. Thoughtfully, it no longer seemed possible for there to be any form of a relationship between her and Aran. It wouldn't be a matter or trying, or begging or anything more than simply asking. Both of them knew it didn't work. Cairma was married to the Tower. To her bonded Jaydena. And Aran...


Cairma's lip turned up in a small smile. Aran would never settle. There was too much over the mans head, more than Cairma could ever hope to understand, but what little she did she knew that by having anyone close to him they would be doomed for hurt. A lot of hurt. He did not let anyone in. She fought her way in to that little bit of his heart and she would keep it there, safe and unhindered. And they would go their separate ways and no one would be the better.


Or so had been the plan.


With the footsteps down the hall, a series of butterflies decided to preform an like the Caemlyn Circus in the pit of her stomach. With a pat on her hand, Isabella stood and walked over to the door. Cairma couldn't say a word. not a single thing, desperate to ask the woman to stay, or to lock the door so no one could come in. But she stayed planted and silent. Turning her head, Aran walked in. Heart plummeted with the shutting of the door and both alone in the room. She should say something, Say that she was sorry, say that... no she wasn't sorry.. but. ARGH!






Cairma Vishnu

Nervous Warder..

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  • 1 month later...

'Hi' seemed somewhat inappropriate, but for the life of him Aran couldn't think of something that Cairma could have said that would have made the situation less awkward.


It wasn't as if he'd had any experience at this before, if he'd ever had any children before he certainly never knew of them.  He'd never been a parent, he knew full well that he was the least qualified or deserving to be one either.  When taking enough sons and daughters from other people, it felt natural to simply assume that he would never have any of his own.  But, here he was, in a room with a woman who would be the mother to his child, be it a boy or a girl.


She'd made her own choices, but Aran couldn't help but wonder whether this had changed anything.  Probably not, but for now what mattered where the choices she would make now.  Walking over to the nearest seat, he took hold of it and dragged it over to where Cairma was sitting, placing it directly before her so he could sit infront of her.  Something that he did as he took her hands into his own, hands that he hadn't held for sometime now though not for lack of desire.


Feeling her respond, her own hands clutching his, Aran smiled slightly as he looked into her eyes.  He couldn't decide for her, he simply had to give her the choice and whatever she wanted to do, that would be the end of it.  No more doubts, all on the toss of the dice.  All within the here and the now."What do you want Cairma?  What do you want to do?  Whatever you decide, I'll support all the way."




Tower Guard

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Guest Arie Ronshor

"Before you choose, be sure. Be sure within your very being before you commit. Some things can not be taken back..."


She had promised herself many things in her life. Not to let anyone in. Not to harm anouther out of anger. A promise not to force anything on Aran, nor to ask of him anything that he was not willing to give on his own accord. And yet as the former Aes Sedai's words run in her head, she felt a twinge of regret. She promised herself to move on. Forced herself, really. And as the one man that got into her stood before her, no sat in front of her, she felt a little at a loss for words. Did she guess wrong? Too confused, she noted his reserved exterior.


But when her reached out to touch her hand, that fear.. the innate fear that she would be loathed, hated for what she was fled as swiftly as the shadows in the rising sun. She had missed his touch, but even then she questioned it. Questioning everything despite sticking to the simple facts that she knew.


"What do you want Cairma?  What do you want to do?  Whatever you decide, I'll support all the way."


Good question. Had she not felt so desperate for some form of clarity she would have laughed. Since when did what she want ever matter? She had wanted him, but knew better than to ask. Love or not, Duty came first. Both sworn oaths to the Tower, they had a responsibilities. She had a purpose.. Burn her, it had all started to made sense.. ..breathe.. She inhaled and then exhaled slowly, forcing out as much tension as she possibly could without being too obvious.


"I honestly do not know." She gave a half smile, trying to convince herself that it was alright and him. More herself as he seemed okay. But she couldn't tell. Aran was a complex mystery that she understood to a certain extend. But only a certain extent. A thought occurred to her. "But with your enemies, could.. " No, her sentencing wasn't right. She tried again.


"I do not think it would be wise for people to know." ..know that he was the father. "Even you have said that there are enemies that hunt you. Any connection would bring about events that we may not be ready for. Eyes and Ears are everywhere." Something Jaydena often said when she was sure that no one over heard. An Aes Sedai saying, but one that spoke many truths.


The smile slipping, Aran's insight into what was being said afforded him a clarity that he didn't want. The decision was already made and wouldn't change. Hope, as glorious as it was in stories, was not always the stuff that gleemen spun. It could destroy as easily as it could build, and something definitely died in his chest then. Not that it showed in his eyes, no, there was no need for Cairma to see that now. No point throwing what was already done ontop of what was being done, no point at all.


Ruefully smiling instead, Aran nodded. "Then no one will know. I am guessing then that you will leave for a time before the pregnancy becomes to obvious? Will you return with or without the child?"


Cairma's hands pulled away as she felt slapped by his words. Her emotions teetering on the brink of insanity, she dared not afford herself the easy slip into the anger that was as always present and comfortable. If this was it, if this was all that there was, then how could she give up that one last bit of him she could hold? Maternal instincts kicking in the first time since she understood the changes in her own body, she still could not help the slip of a frown.


"With." her blue eyes gazed at his, a wall in place, she didn't trust a single emotion that turned her already upset stomach. "Don't mistake me, please. This.." One hand went to her stomach, ".. will always be yours. I could no sooner lie about this to myself or you than an Aes Sedai claiming the sky anouther colour than what it was. But the risks.." her voice trailed.


Nodding, Aran accepted what Cairma had to say, but inwardly he knew it was different. She had chosen to remain as she was, and the consequences of the choice were simply to be born, there was nothing else to it now. Any idiot could father a child, but he wouldn't be a father after all. The only way to ensure that no one ever knew that the child was his was to give up any claim to it, boy or girl. To never show anything more than the affection of a mother's friend, to never hold the child as his own.


But these were things that couldn't be said, not now.


"I understand." An understanding that was all too painful. "If you ever need anything of me, you only need ask it."


Cairma nodded. Damn it, flaming... all she could allow herself to do was nod. It was done, simple. If only she could tack on 'painless'. She hated herself, denying the one thing she knew, SHE KNEW, that Aran wanted. She hated it, purely and simply hated herself for it. She wanted to ask him if it was the right thing. more so she wanted to join his fight, but how could she fight the battles he could not see, that she could not see? Refusing to be a victim if someone were to hunt him down.. Cairma knew without one ounce of doubt that she would fight by his side wether he asked it of her or not, but she would not risk his heart for the sake of her, or their child. Or do you dare not risk your own, even after offering it up to him once already..? Words that once flowed so easily with him, words of her past, words of anger, more and more words would flow from her lips for him to here and yet she held them in. The coward she was, Cairma held in every bittersweet word she wanted to say.


There wasn't anouther word left to exchange. She had said her piece and did not trust herself with anouther word. Aran moved with fluid movements standing before her as she sat. She looked up to him for a moment but could not bare the weight of her own heart as her eyes dropped, looking inward, as he leaned down to kiss her forehead. He turned, walked to the door, and without pause exited the room. Not one last look back.


A tear rolled down her cheek.


"I'm so sorry... Aran.. I... Lo.."


Her whispers were lost to the silent tears as she fell into the cushioned chair, crying.




Cairma & Aran

Bound and Unbound

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