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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

The Morning After (Estel and Ged)


Guest Faile1987
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Guest Faile1987

~Estel~

 

Estel rolled over in the blankets, murmuring unintelligibly. Unconsciously she moved her arm, searching for a warm body that was not there…

 

That was how she woke up. No shocking, sudden memories of yesterday, no temper tantrums, no dramatic fainting, just disappointment that she hadn’t woken up next to Orion. She sighed deeply as she probed his Bond, trying to discern his emotions and convey that she was alright and not hurt… just sleepy. Unfortunately, the Bond was fuzzed by distance and it was impossible to tell what he was feeling or whether he understood or could feel what she was trying to tell him.

 

Only once she had done that did Estel turn to the second ball of emotions sitting in the back of her head. The events of yesterday, and their implications, did not come crashing down on her like she knew they would for some, neither did it come at a slow steady trickle. Instead, she had never actually forgotten but had rather chosen to ignore it for the time being, not in hopes that it might go away- she wasn’t quite that stupid anymore- but rather to be able to calm herself first so that she wouldn’t cry and scream like some of the others.

 

She prodded the knot of emotions, feeling a great many things despite the fuzziness caused by his unconsciousness. At this current point, His mind was at peace, though no doubt had she been awake earlier she would have felt Him experience a multitude of nightmares. Despite this, though, there was still the underlying grief and exhaustion that had overwhelmed her yesterday on the field.

 

By the Bond, He was nearby. For the first time since waking, the Blue studied her surroundings and came to the certain conclusion, based on the tiny white-sheeted bed, heavy white curtains surrounding it and the sick-yet-cleanly ambience common to most buildings of this function, that this was the Black Tower’s infirmary. From what she could tell through the Bond, He was quite possibly in the next bed over.

 

Standing, she realized that someone had taken her clothes at some point after the battle. Modesty had never really been a particularly high priority on Estel’s list and quite truthfully, what was modesty when her mind had been so thoroughly raped? However, she wasn’t about to leave the comfort of her “room” stark naked lest He invade more than just her mind.

 

Wrapping a sheet around herself, Estel pushed her way through the curtain, finding no one else in the sort of corridor formed by numerous other curtained beds like hers. Like she had figured, He was in the next bed over and was indeed deeply sleeping.

 

For the first time, she managed to get a good look at Him. Exhaustion and injury held his face in a pasty near-death hue that, in combination with the weakness she felt through the Bond, put her in a fear for her life. Just the memory of Matthias’ death set her heart to racing and her lungs to near-screaming and this time she was on the wrong end of this Bond. Bonded to an Asha’man, a man who could channel, despite the Cause she had devoted her life to, the concept seemed foreign to Estel.

 

~Ged~

 

Sometimes he felt as if he was dissolving. As if he didn't have any solid form anymore. He felt things, hands that touched him, pain when they picked him up, cold, warmth. He even swallowed when they tried to make him drink liquid, but he wasn't aware of the fact that this was happening to himself. It wasn't his own body anymore, a body crushed by its loss of power to maintain himself and held down by weakness unlike anything he had experienced before. His body had disappeared, maybe it was wrapped just like a caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon, is seperating itself from the world surrounding it and simply waits.

 

And yet he wasn't alone, no matter how much his weakened body and mind begged for some relaxation. The images never left him. The images of flames and people that would never leave him had almost become something like old companions. Something to expect to show up whenever he was alone with himself, whenever he closed his eyes. Yet now he was visited by others as well. In the midst of the battle again, he tried to talk Noy out of fighting. Tried to safe him, protect him from the fate that was waiting for him, its claws sharp and open to catch its ignorant prey.

 

"Light Noy!", he heard himself shout, murmuring in his unconsciousness. "Don't go...they...you know you'll die. They will kill you! God don't you know how much I love you?"

 

But all he got in response were dark unseeing eyes, pitiless and emotionless as he spoke in a tone that shattered Ged ultimately. "You think you can talk about love? You who have forgotten me? No Ged, if you love someone you don't forget them..." He turned around, his shadow whisking out of his presence being replaced by Adem who just shook his head and stepped out of the fighting, leaving him alone as Ged told him to run. Running he did, but away from Ged. Away never to be seen again. Leaving him alone with everything. Alone in his safe cocoon. Alone with the ones that should haunt him forever.

 

"Don't leave me...", he felt himself crying, thrashing as pain seemed to pierce his heart. As he saw her eyes again. Eyes that looked so much like his sister's. But his sister had been dead for years. He had forgotten her. Another one he had loved and forgotten. Her eyes were replaced by Adem's. His by Noy's. Eyes looking at him in horror and accusation. Everything blended into one as light blinded his view and his eyes snapped open as though responding to an unheard summons.

 

 

His eyes opened to darkness. Darkness that seemed to swallow everything, unlike night, this blackness made him unable to discern anything around him. He simply couldn't see. No matter how much he strained his eyes, blinking, waiting for his vision to return. It didn't. Despite his weakness panic welled up inside him. He couldn't see!

 

Feeling his breath come out in panicked gasps, Ged wanted to scream, wanted to cry, Light he even wanted the images to come back as long as he would be able to see something again. Yet his eyes refused to serve him just as his body did. He wouldn't even have been able to scream let alone rise from his bed. His body seemed to weigh tons, pinning him down to where he lay. The only thing that still seemed to work was his consciousness. Consciousness that suddenly was interupped by the presence of...someone else. Emotions. Agitation. Wonder. And fear. Most of all fear. Fear that he knew. Fear not of him but for him if strangely so. Fear he had thought he would have felt for the last time in the battle. Fear he had wanted her to feel as she experienced his death. Yet he didn't die. Yet she was still there. The Bond was still intact, the awareness of her penetrating the haze around him. She was near. He felt her as if she was standing right next to him. Light he could almost smell her fear and irritation, but why couldn't he see her?

 

Ged swallowed, fightng back panic and desperation forming a lump inside his throat, but he couldn't stop the trembling of his hands as he tried to will his body to lift them, to try and reach for her in the darkness that surrounded him, swallowing everything but her presence.

 

"I...", he made himself say, fumbling for words that seemed to escape him just has his physical strength seemed to float away. He knew he wouldn't be able to keep this up much longer. Maybe the blindness was what came before death. But before it was over he had to speak. No matter what he had to, even though he wasn't sure of his coherence at all when he whispered. "I...I'm sorry... you...I know you're here someone...Aes Sedai. I..." Light, I can't see you!, he wanted to yell at her, but didn't. His hand slumped back on the blanket covering him. "You...you don't have to be afraid", he finally said. "It's already getting dark...it...it will be over soon...I'm sorry...for...for what I did to you...I...", he broke off mumbling, trying to lift his hands. Trying to find her in the dark. Trying to find the only comfort that seemed to be left to him, even though receiving comfort from her side seemed less than likely. It would be over soon....

 

~Estel~

 

She figured that his words were meant to comfort her. At least, that’s what he seemed to be conveying through the Bond; remorse for he’d done to her. Unfortunately for him, these words missed their targeted apology by miles. Instead of forgiveness or even feeling reassured, Estel seethed.

 

“You bastard.” she hissed at him through clenched teeth. “You Bonded me! Fool, you Bonded me without even knowing what a Bond was? A hundred times the fool but a homicidal fool as well, if you die boy, I die too! If you die on me without dissolving this… this carnal Bond, I swear I will haunt your soul till the Dark One himself couldn’t torture you more than I. You don’t only hold my life in your hands, but my Warders too. If you…” The growl that cut off her words was best described as feral. “Two innocent lives die with you boy, think of that before you die.”

 

Despite her anger, fear matched it. She didn’t want to die. There had been points in her life when she had but right now, Estel would rather live. Her fear was so strong that Orion, through the Bond blunted by distance, felt it and feared also. Had the two been closer, the mirror effect would have sent the Blue into a panic attack but as was, their combined fear, bouncing back and forth between the two mirrors, amplified by each other kept growing and growing. Unable to control her breathing, Estel found herself panting for a moment, her eyes gone wide like a cornered animal.

 

~Ged~

 

Despite his weakness and despair, his lips curled in a sneer. "Do you think Noy wanted to die?", he asked, regaining control of his voice, unbidden tears welling in his eyes, yet didn't fall. Smiling regretfully, Ged knew that he didn't want to kill her, nor her Warder. Even now he could feel the love and worry for this yet unknown man who was nothing but a second, but very remote layer of emotion for him. Light, the last thing he wanted to do before or even by leaving this World behind was more killing, but what was his choice?

 

Closing his eyes, he tried to make his breath come in and out in a regular rythm, forcing his lungs into cooperation as he sighed deeply, feeling a pang deep inside himself. A pang of guilt because of what he had done to her and whoever this man was, as well as a pang of anger. Of grief for Noy who had been taken from him in such a way. "I'm not one for repaying like with like...", he added slowly, feeling his voice being about to fail him. "I...I don't want to kill you and yet...I can't dissolve the Bond...you...you wouldn't want to be bonded with...", he discared the thought. Stupid...of course she didn't want to be bonded to anyone of his kind. Yet he was one of that kind. He had taken this over and now he was about to finish it, once again feeling helpless and desolate, for the umpteenth time this very day. Sight still hadn't returned to him, though he felt more than physically blind. The very moment he had cast the Bond on her, his mind seemed to have been switched off. Reduced to what he feared most. Reduced to pure hatred and anger. Anger that could destroy anything and no one knew that as well as he. After everything that had happened in Baerleon he had come back to the same conclusions again...

 

Conclusions that made him drift away, made the eyes return. Noy and his mother looking over him. Their disappointed and accusing eyes cutting deeper than anything ever could. They were back. Demanding him to obey. Not to fail them again.

 

"I...I wo't...I won't fail you again, Mother...Noy...I love you...I always have...", he closed his eyes, for a moment feeling himself burning up despite his own shivering. His mind brought him back to the present.

 

He still couldn's see her, but he could feel her presence, her frustration, her scorn, anger, but most of all fear. Naked fear for her life. Hers and the man she seemed to love beyond all else. Ged grimaced painfully, his hand opening and closing as though reaching for someone in the darkness surrounding him. He had never been the vengeful kind. His grief for Noy had blinded him, he knew and fatally so. He didn't remember anything but casting the bond and painfully relieved every moment of Noy's death ever and ever again as his thoughts collided with the fear and near panic he could feel in the bond. Suddenly he knew what he had to do. What Noy would have wanted him to do.

 

"I...I guess I just can't die then...", he whispered, smiling genuinely this time. "I...", he sometimes went uncertain again..."Can...I mean...I know but...can you just...can you just stay here and...", he didn't even get to finish his sentence before any coherence that he had left was ripped from him. He didn't know what to say. What to tell her. He knew what she wanted from him and what this bond at done. He couldn't make it undone. Yet he wouldn't be able to survive alone...he didn't know why but somehow he knew that he would die as soon as she left. He had to try though...he had to...for her, for Noy, for..."I'll try...", he croaked, his tongue licking dry lips. "I will..." And laying there with closed, sunk-in eyes he did just that. Trying.

 

~Estel~

 

“Try?” Estel repeated, her tone as dry and harsh as the Aiel Waste. “Am I supposed to be comforted by your “I’ll try?” Blood and ashes, boy, weak as you seem your “try” would end up with you dropping dead in the next moment and me and my Warder besides.” The Blue had to stop and calm her breathing, lest she end up screeching at him.

 

“As for your Noy,” all scorn was inflicted upon that unfamiliar name “did you think I had much choice? Am I not allowed to wreak my own vengeance for my Sisters whom you killed and the Tower men you slaughtered? Noy,” by her tone of voice, she counted his name as a synonym for coward “he at least had a chance against saidar. Unlike the men poor Tower Guards and Warders the two of you mindlessly slaughter. Am I to feel bad for a “murder” when the he would have done the same given half the chance?”

 

Hazel eyes glared at his pale, drawn face with the same contempt she had so often received from her Sisters. “You have some convoluted ethics, boy, if you think what I did was murder.” With growing apprehension, she probed the Bond and sneered again even as her fear welled up anew. “Weak.” sneered Estel. “I might as well go find the nearest knife and make a quick end for myself rather than have you drag this out. Besides, then you could feel the snapping of this Bond that you threaten me with.”

 

This blond boy could go on claiming he was non-vindictive all he wanted, Estel really didn’t care. The truth of his statement was yet to be seen, but unlike his claim, Estel had never been one to let a wrong go unpunished and she would make whatever remained of his life absolute misery.

 

~Ged~

 

Scorn rising inside him, emerald eyes gleaming with disdain, Ged once more regretted being in this kind of state before her. This very moment he wanted nothing more but to strange her. Strangle this woman, careless about the effects it would have on that Warder of hers, on him or anyone. "Be silent about things you are so ignorant of, Aes Sedai", he hissed, putting as much bile in her title than his raw voice could manage. "You know nothing. You and your lot of the White Tower. You don't know anything about us and yet you come here causing...this." He had to swallow hard as images of blood and gore arose in his memory, hazy moments of the battle that seemed to be mere soundless images as he had lain there, unable to move, unable to escape death's embrace. Yet the Creator hadn't taken him back. Should he be thankful though? What was this but a prolonged time of slow wasting away? Everyone knew how his likes found their end. Even she knew, even through her fear and anger streaming through the bond she knew. It might be a better choice just to close his eyes and surrender to the dark, never to wake up again.

 

"Maybe", he suddenly said aloud. "Why don't you just go and find the death that deems you most suitable? Why don't you just spare both of us this rotting waste, why don't you give this Warder of yours a quick death? Why don't you grant him this mercy if you love him so much?" He couldn't keep a sneer from his beaten features. A sneer that didn't last long before he slumped though, shoulders sagging back, his pillow and blanket seemingly drowning him.

 

"I can't tell you want to do", he whispered with a sigh, barely restraining the stream of tears that was about to culminate in his eyes. "I wish I could help you and make this undone...I wish I could make so much undone...If it would be for me I'd take Noy's place...", he closed his still unseeing eyes. Somehow he hadn't even noticed his blindness anymore. He just hadn't cared to bother. Had it already come that far with him? How long till he'd cease trying? How long till nothing mattered anymore? And yet he had made a decision.

 

"I won't kill you nor your Warder", he stated as if it was the simplest thing in the world not to die despite his more than precarious state. "I know it won't come that far unless you kill me now", he chuckled humorlessly. "Seriously, you'd do me a favor with that, but I guess...I guess that's not really of interest to your and...what's his name anyway?"

 

~Estel~

 

“Don’t think it’s not tempting, boy,” she sneered “no matter the effects to myself. Then again, I’ve always been vindictive.” Estel offered that small piece of information about herself as both threat and in thanks for promising to at least try and fight this battle, so different from yesterday’s. If they were going to make this work at all, and it appeared there was no way out of this relationship without all of them dying or some sort of miracle, they would have to know enough about each other to avoid stepping on fingers they didn’t know were there.

 

“As for my Warder,” her heart ached for his comforting presence and she hated that He felt it through the Bond “his name is Orion. We’ve been Bonded for, somewhere over fifty years now… closer to sixty actually.” She didn’t add that he was blind or any other details about him, the only information she shared would be used to make him feel worse about killing the pair of them.

 

The Blue probed the Bond, looking for some way to draw out information about Him. However, all she found was exhaustion, pain, grief, anger and self-loathing. The last was an interesting emotion to attach to a channelling male as they were so often stereo-typed as self-righteous monsters who feel they have the right to hold others’ lives in their hands. Self-loathing; an emotion Estel was intimately acquainted with having tried to take her own life on more than one occasion and having recently been dissolved to a snivelling wreck at the feet of a crippled midget. Light, no doubt He could feel her own lingering self-loathing, as much a part of her soul as her constant anger and resentment, though she doubted He was interested in much except Himself just now.

 

“That’s your question. Now I get mine. Who’s Noy?”

 

~Ged~

 

He knew there was more to it. Things she tried to conceal from him, yet her heart betrayed her with the surge of emotions linked to this name…Orion…that were suddenly filling the Bond. Oh there was a lot more to it than she wanted to admit, yet Ged’s mind wasn’t fuzzy enough to become incapable of doing the guesswork it needed to connect emotions to movements, to a twitch in her face, a light in her eyes. Oh he would find out the rest eventually. It might be work, but he would know, even though he’d resent to dig in her private life. Well, there wasn’t much privacy left now anyway. He had made sure of that. Light what had he done…Yet there was no use of fretting over it. What had been done was not to be mended so both of them had to make the best of…

“…Who is Noy?”

 

He felts as if she had slapped him. He should have seen it coming and yet it hit him hard. It hit him harder than anything to be confronted with what he had tried to deal with so many times before only to find realization dawning to him and being too late. So long too late…

 

For a while he didn’t say anything, empty eyes gazing into space, unaware of anything going on around him, only seeing Noy fall over and over again. Noy falling. Noy kissing him. Noy waking up next to him. Noy holding him, telling him to hold on. Slapping him not to take the easy way out, but keep on trying. Noy’s eyes telling him he had given up on everyone and himself most of all. Noy’s eyes staring at him accusingly for what he had done…

 

“I forgot him…”, he whispered finally, “I fell…I didn’t…I just didn’t remember…nothing…gone…I killed him…Light I loved him so much…He…I’d give anything…I’m not better after all…failed…”, he trailed off, trying to clear away the incoherence, making his voice steady to reply as if he had already forgotten what he had just said. He knew she could feel it though. Self-loathing. Regret. Love. Grief. Light, his mind was a mess…

 

Despite himself he felt himself breaking into the first genuine smile in he didn’t recall how long. “He certainly would kick me to get up moving and stop whining as I am right now”, he said, his voice soft, tender as though he was seeing Noy’s face directly in front of him, as though he had forgotten that he was but one more cold body lying out there in the dust. “He always pushed me to go on. Wouldn’t let me down. We were…one…The others didn’t like it of course, but we couldn’t help it. It was just..us…nothing else mattered. Light, I’d have gone to the end of the World for him…” Ged trailed off, finally brining his awareness back on the Sister who still stood next to him and his eyes suddenly went cold. “So don’t tell me how much you love Orion. I know how it works and at the end…At the end you lose those who you love most of all…At the end you’re alone…Love. Memories. Life. We used to share all of that and now…now I can’t even bury him…” He paused, his eyes filling with a mixture of contempt and a silent, helpless plea. He knew he had said too much, but then again, given the nature of the Bond, what point was there in trying to hide from her what she could plainly see in the chaos of his emotion, in the emptiness that the loss of Noy had ripped into his heart. A hole that would always be there just as the memory of him was there. And he wouldn’t lose it again. He would never forget.

 

“Do you know what I mean now? You’re not the only one who is scared for her love. Yet I lost what has been most precious to me, I know how it feels and I still don’t have any Light-forsaken intention to do the same to you, you understand?” He nearly yelled the rest at her, before he broke down coughing and wheezing for breath as his body betrayed him again and his shoulders sagged. He did understand and he hoped she would too, but she was stubborn as a rock. Light even more stubborn than Noy had ever been…Noy,..

 

~Estel~

 

She didn’t need his words; his explanation. It came in the silence; the tears in his eyes and increased tightening of his face. Why did he bother with words when everything was passed more clearly through the Bond; no words or facial expression could be deeper than waves of emotion bowling her over, trying to force her to empathise- she would have none of it.

 

Of course, Estel’s shock helped in distancing herself from his familiar emotions. She was half tempted to blurt out a redundant “Noy was a man?” but he spoke in time to cut her off, keeping her from stupidly embarrassing herself. Her new Bondmate had been in love with a man? Revulsion filled her at the mental picture of Ged sleeping with a man who looked disturbingly like Orion. The Blue fought the impulse to retch but didn’t hide her sneer of disparagement. She had heard of similar things going on between her Sisters but somehow two women was so much… less wrong than two men.

 

Contempt filled the Bond and she left it glaringly obvious on her face lest he miss it. “Don’t compare my Warder and I to your…” she snapped at him, “and I don’t understand, neither do I want to. I thank you for your conviction to stay alive for my and my Warder’s sakes.” It was almost a sneer, insinuating he was weak to even think of letting go. Such comments from her were hypocrisy considering how many times she had thought of suicide and had even attempted it. Truth was, she could empathise but was ignoring this just as she had always ignored the truth.

 

Truth, her greatest fear. The adage “the truth will set you free” mocked her as she cowered from it, afraid of its destroying her. “You can’t handle the truth.” Nobody had ever actually said that to her except her mind but everything in her life implied it; everyone. Light, her entire life was built, chased, pursued; its purpose was a lie! How could she face the complete destruction of everything she lived for? What would happen to her if she admitted that her past seventy years of work was less than meaningless and in fact counterproductive? Illogical and inept as she was with maths she was left with this simple equation: she had placed her work, that being the right for male channellers to remain alive and complete while they showed no signs of madness, above own son, when she lost her son to her own failing she had tried to kill herself but was persuaded out of it; therefore if she should lose her purpose there would be no reason for her to live.

 

Estel was a natural coward. She did not like to face the things she feared and like every normal human being, she feared death. It made no sense to her to risk death simply to “be set free” by the terrifying truth that everything she knew and cared for was a lie. Simple as that. To say she didn’t feel any guilt for her hypocrisy or wince at her inconsistencies would be lying. But we’ve been through this- Estel loves lies; her comfort lies away from the truth.

 

Despite all her shortcomings- oh, the many shortcomings- for one of the first times in her life, Estel was going to attempt to be the Aes Sedai she should have become seventy years ago. Aes Sedai did not let any situation, even being Bonded by a male channeller on the brink of death where his death would lead to her own and that of the one man she loved despite many more shortcomings in that area as well, she had to- would take control of the situation. The Blue had spent too long as the kicked puppy, now was her chance to show the Tower and the Order that despised her that she could be and act as Aes Sedaish as they.

 

He was so weak and Estel knew better than most how weaknesses could be exploited. She would show no mercy, no weakness of her own and would wrap him around her finger- though in a different way than her country women pulled men around by leashes. Estel knew from experience how self-loathing could control a person.

 

She let disparagement flow through the Bond freely.

 

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