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First Leap (Attn: Arath)

Arath Faringal

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I reposted it in the correct board  :)




Tai'Dashan slowed as he approached what everyone he talked to had been calling "The Farm." The dirt path he was on led to ominous, slick-looking, black stone walls. "Looks nothing like a farm." He mumbled to himself. On The outside, The Farm was a formidable looking structure, if unfinished. Through gaps in the strange shiny black walls, Tai'Dashan could see a bustling mass of people. He felt a stab of apprehension as he saw those people moving about purposefully and wondered if he would fit in.


'What are you thinking you goat-brained fool?' He thought to himself harshly. 'You aren't exactly here to make friends. It doesn't matter if they all hate you! You are here to test. Pass or Fail. Period.'


Already Tai'Dashan was missing his trade and his home back in Mayne. He sighed heavily in resignation and walked over to the only building that even looked somewhat familiar, an Inn. Scanning the Inn, his blue eyes finding the door, he saw men walking in and out with those black coats everyone seemed to be wearing. They seemed to wear grim looks as easily as their coats.


'What am I doing here? I probably wont even be able to channel. What good am I, a jewelry merchant, to these strong and confident men? ' He ran a hand through his dark hair and hoisted his pack to a better position. "I'm just tired from travelling and its got me acting like a child, nervous and doubting myself." he grumbled. A woman walking by with a basket of wash, hearing him speak, paused to give him a puzzled look. 'Great, already have people looking at me strangely.' He thought.


A long way from home, having given up everything he owned and loved for a dream, feeling quite despondant, alone and lost, Tai'Dashan sat on an overturned barrel next to the Inn's door and waited for some kind of direction.




Arath rubbed his eyes in his study, tired from reading over training reports. He had been excited for his promotion at first, until the paperwork had begun. Now being an Attack Leader wasn't so glamorous as he'd originally supposed. How did Isha put up with it? Setting down a report on a training accident, he looked out the window gazing at the grounds of the Farm. The inn drew his eye in particular. An escape from the monotany of his day.


Buttoning up his black coat he stepped outside into the afternoon air and set off at a brisk pace toward the inn. As he approached the door he noticed a man sitting on a barrel a little to the side of the door, and looking thoroughly lost. Judging by the man's clothing, he wasn't a soldier. Yet.


Standing by the door he addressed the man. "You look like you could use a drink friend. And if you don't now you may well need one soon." With a sweeping gesture he invited the man inside, and entered himself. Sitting down at a nearby table he waved down a nearby serving girl for drinks, then returned his attention to the other man who looked a little aprehensive. "So. What brings you here? Most people don't come looking for this place, and since you didn't come straight to my office, a recruiting party didn't find you." Noting the blank look in the other man's face, Arath realized he had not yet introduced himself. Holding out his hand he did so. "Arath Faringal is my name. I'm Attack Leader in charge of new recruits here."


OOC: Intro's, first impressions, yada yada yada. Make a good impression on me, since I'm your mentor now   And then we'll get on with your testing and all that fun stuff.




Tai'Dashan had just about convinced himself that he was foolish to ever come here, when one of the many black coated men stopped on his way in to the Inn and offered him inside for a drink.



"You look like you could use a drink friend. And if you don't now you may well need one soon."



Following the man inside he thought to himself, 'Well, there is no turning back now.' The man asked some questions that didn't make much sense, and then thrust out his hand explaining who he was.



"Arath Faringal is my name. I'm Attack Leader in charge of new recruits here."



Well, it sure was nice to be welcomed at least. Tai'Dashan took Arath's hand and smiled, intorducing himself in return.


"My name is Tai'Dashan. I-I heard that y-you guys test to see if men can channel." He stuttered in apprehension at first, growing in confidence with the last few words. "I want to test. I want to fight the forces of the shadow and rid the world of darkness!" His earlier apprehension and doubts faded with his confident words. His startling blue eyes blazing, daring this man in front of him to deny him. "At any cost. What do I have to do?" He finished.




Arath stared at the other man for a moment before responding. "Is that so? You wish to test for Saidin? It is a rare thing indeed for someone to come looking for us. Rarer still for those people to know what they're asking of us.


"Saidin is an amazing thing. A power you've never even imagined before. A power that will destroy you on the spot if you ever lose control. With it you can travel across the world in an instant, lay waste to an army, and a myriad of other things. But it comes with a cost. The light cursed taint for one. Every time you touch Saidin, you touch the vile taint. Many go mad the instant they brush against the thing. And they may be the lucky ones. Even if the taint doesn't drive you to insanity, it begins to tear apart your body. A wasting sickness that consumes you alive. To make it worse, Saidin is addictive. Once you begin to channel, you can't stop. You'll crave Saidin like a man in a desert craves water. And the only way to get it is repeatedly diving through the taint.


"You wish to fight the forces of the shadow? Rid the world of darkness? The cost is to take them in, and make them a part of you." Arath smiled a little at the wide eyed look of Tai'Dashan. "I don't tell you this to disuade you. Light knows we need every soldier we can get. But you should know the truth. If I test you and you can channel, there is NO turning back. Your life will belong to the Black Tower. So, do you wish to proceed?" A small flame sprang into being, suspended in the air between them about a foot above the table. "Or escape while you still can?"






"You wish to fight the forces of the shadow? Rid the world of darkness? The cost is to take them in, and make them a part of you."



Tai'Dashan heard the man's words and remembered a time his mother had taught him something similar, over a gold ring set with a ruby she was crafting. "You see the imperfections in the ruby? That is what makes it valuable. Don't look at me like I just ate a trolloc boy." She chuckled softly and ruffled his hair. "The imperfections make it real." she explained.


His mother had taught him a valuable lesson that day, one that he would hold dear the rest of his life. Flaws make a thing real. Nothing is perfect. The old saying went, "Take what you want and pay for it later, just make sure you have enough to pay your debt."


A small flame hung in the air, as did Arath's words.


"Escape is for cowards and fools!" Tai'Dashan spat as his eyes locked on the strangely floating flame in front of him. It drew his eyes and held his focus almost unwillingly. When he spoke next, eyes never leaving the flame, his voice was silk wrapped steel. The flame dancing in his eyes almost hauntingly, he spoke. "I hear the Dark One is threatening everything we know. And the Dragon Reborn is gathering an army to fight." Arath was struck by the man's sudden intensity. "Sacrifice is something I am no stranger to. I have lost much because of the Shadow." Suddenly the man's eyes snapped up to bore like augers into Arath's, with a voice to match. "What means a little more? As I said, 'At any cost'."


Tai'Dashan's eyes settled almost apologetically back to the flame.




"Very well." Arath was more than a little curious about this man's story. His intensity spoke of much hurt in a short time. But that would be for another time. "I want you to concentrate on this flame. Let the flame fill your mind. No thoughts of the shadow, or Saidin, your family . . . anything. The flame is all that is." Arath wove a small sound ward around them, blocking out the noise of the inn to aid Tai'Dashan's concentration.


The silence dragged out between them for a time, the Attack Leader's focus on his testing friend, the recruit trying to maintain focus on the small spot of fire. Twenty minutes stretched themselves out and passed before Arath felt it happen. A tiny pulse in the flame, and the resonance from the man in front of him. He could channel. His crazy ambitions might well be realized now. Only time would tell.


Arath released the flame and the silencing ward abruptly, startling Tai'Dashan slightly. "It is over. Enjoy your last few moments as a civilian. Have a drink, get something to eat. Once you leave the inn, you will be a Soldier of the Black Tower. A weapon of the Dragon Reborn. A wielder of Saidin."


Arath settled back into his seat and took a drink from his long forgotten mug. "Any questions for me before we start your new life? We'll be heading over to my office for a moment, then we'll get you squared away. Whenever you're ready."




The flame. All there was, all there had been, and all there ever would be, vanished abruptly and with it Tai'Dashan's hopes. He hadn't felt a thing, he had failed. He had tried so hard to see or feel anything, anything at all- Arath's words broke into his thoughts and told him something different. He had passed?


"Any questions for me before we start your new life? We'll be heading over to my office for a moment, then we'll get you squared away. Whenever you're ready."


Shocked, he quickly searched for something to say. Everything flooded into his mind at once. All those nights sleeping on the side of the road. All the money spent just to get here. His hopes to pass and fear of failure, everything seemed to spiral in on his mind and just...disappear. Finally he was calm.


"Thanks Arath," Tai'Dashan smiled. "I think I am ready. Where do we begin?"


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