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Christine

The 53 year old Virgin- Part 1- I only have eyes for you!

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Deneira always blocked out the rest of the world when she was training. It was just what she always did. As soon as she entered the void, she just danced with her blade, and no one could stop her. She wouldn’t concentrate on anything else, just her blade. At 22, she was still a new Tower Guard, and she enjoyed the freedom. She loved to just run through forms and movements, whether they be advanced or beginners. It was a time that she centered herself and meditated with her blade. It was early in the morning, and already, Deneira was working hard.

 

She ran for a while, just running. She ran through the trees, she ran along the wall, she ran across the yard. She just ran. It was another of her daily exercises. She could run for hours, because she didn’t have to think. She just was. She would run, and breathe. Everyone saw her, and they all knew that she did it daily. It was just how she was.

 

But something wasn’t as it always seemed in the yard that morning. There was still the laughing trainees, picking on someone, and a new boy that was trying to endure his first few days. There would always be the watchful eye of the commander and the Mistress of Trainees on the yard, and of course, a few warders. But this morning, someone else was out in the yard… and he was staring at her.

 

Deneira had noticed it when she got back from running, and smiled at the man. He was older, not much, and she knew who he was. Alriand… a GrandMaster. He was the warder of a Yellow Sister, Lwena. The pair of them were famous. Now, she would have understood if she was staring at him. He was practically a legend. But his eyes were on her. Who was she? Yes, she had had a few male friends in her bed, and she was one of the newest Tower Guards, but nothing worth more than a glance. So who was she to him?

 

She continued on with her training, and was stopped by a few trainees she knew. They conversed for a while, and she caught up on the latest trainee gossip. She knew her friends would be raised soon, so she tended to keep in touch with them, knowing that when they were all the same rank, their friendship would truly be renewed.

 

She kept looking up on occasion, and he was occasionally glancing at her. At one point, their eyes met, and they were held there until someone went to him, talking, and broke his attention. Next time she looked up, she gave him a smile, and headed for the mess hall. It was strange, that this man would look at her. But no words were uttered between them…

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When Alriand rose in the minutes before dawn, he stretched briefly and then sat down to meditate as he had always done. The cold morning air seemed to penetrate him, though. And today he truly felt it, though he had known it for a while, that the Spring within in was… less than before. He seemed mire cold inside now than he had been in a long while. When he was younger he felt a lack of control of the Spring, for he felt the guilt and grief of his father’s death. Alriand hadn’t fully come to terms with this even now (though he thought he had), but it wasn’t this that made him feel empty now. He did not know what it was.

 

He continued his meditation.

 

He then dressed in his well-worn garments and slipped his sword through one of the frogs in his belt. His father’s katana always reminded him of what he was doing here; of why he was here. He left his room.

 

In the back of his mind he felt Lwena, always there, frequently busy. The infirmary was a great deal to run, and because she was the First Weaver she had many more things to take care of. But he felt more distant from her now, for some reason. This cold he felt within seemed to create a wall between them. He tried to ignore the feeling and press on. He fed it to the Spring, but it still stayed.

 

He walked down to the yards. Today he had no one to train, and no assignments to manage. He sat by the barrack and looked out among the trainees and Tower Guards teaching them. He noted the progress (or lack thereof) of many of them, as well as the progress of the Guards. Some were meant to be teachers, and others had a harder time, as it had always been. He didn’t approve of some of the teaching method of some, but he could do nothing about it. More and more he began to see most of the Guards and Trainees becoming military-oriented. Alriand had stayed away from that frame of mind and way of training since he was very young. He wouldn’t allow himself to become just another expendable part of the whole. He had some long time friends who had devoted themselves to the hardening of the emotions so as to become mindless servants and killers and he wouldn’t let that happen to him.

 

And he saw trainees teasing one another and smiling. He sometimes worried that they didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.

 

As he looked across the yards, he saw one newly raised Tower Guard doing laps. She ran far and long, and did not slow. As she passed closer to him, he saw her more clearly. And his eyes lingered upon her for a long moment. There was something about her… he could not explain it. When she had returned from her running, he found himself watching her again. And she saw him and smiled. And for a second, he felt less cold.

 

She continued with her training, and Alriand decided that sitting and watching other train was not the best thing for him to be doing. He walked to the Armory (which was not far from where the young Tower Guard was training) and helped them reorganize some things. But in between hauling things around the armory and taking them in and out, he found himself glancing up at this young woman. In one moment their eyes met and he stopped all he was doing. They held the gaze for a long moment, and then a trainee approached him looking for something in the Armory, and the moment was broken.

 

The day passed and he didn’t see her again. But her image kept coming up again and again in his mind. He made his usual visit to Lwena around evening. He enjoyed his time with her, as he always did. But he felt less connected than normal. Something had been stirred within him today. New feelings were arising.

 

That night he lay awake in his bed. He could feel inside of him something pulling at him. He wanted to see the girl again. Even just to look at her. That night many thoughts entered his mind. Thoughts of her that part of him wished would leave and part of him wanted more of. His mind turned back and forth through the night until he fell into a deep sleep of many dreams.

 

~ Alriand

Bonded to Lwena

GM

Virgin

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Deneira had seen him once, and she figured that that was the end of that. She continued on with her week, fine, getting up every morning and doing her routine, then repeating it again before she went to bed. She thought about it once, just pondering how weird it was that he would glance at her, let alone give her any attention, but the idea that he was thinking of her was… unimaginable.

 

But she saw him again. It was just over a week later, and she was repeating her morning routine. She was just getting back from her run when she saw him. Getting some water, she saw him, and his eyes were on her. She looked over her shoulder, and saw no one, then looked around the yard some. Strange… the yard seemed more empty than usual. She wondered who would make the first move, and she glanced away, pretending she was looking at her weapon.

 

Walking toward the training area, she moved into her first step, something basic, and it flowed into her next form. After a few minutes, she paused, wiping the sweat off her forehead. He was still there, just watching her. She felt like she had an audience, and continued to show off her moves. After another few minutes, she had to stop from the heat.

 

When she looked up, he was walking towards her. Light, what did the man want with her? The idea popped into her head that he wanted to teach her a new weapon. She knew he was the only one that used a whip, but she wasn’t planning on using that. Perhaps he just wanted to congratulate her on being raised. Often, the higher ups were the last to tell of any gratitude or praise. They all worked on their own time.

 

She tried to brush back the loose strands of hair on her face. Her weapon was returned to her belt, and she waited for him to speak. Perhaps she had done something wrong, and he wanted to correct her. Or perhaps she was in trouble. Or perhaps he wanted something of her. Or perhaps… perhaps she should just ask him.

 

He seemed to be a little worried, almost as though something else was on his mind. She smiled at him, and he came to stand before her. â€Good morning.†Bowing, she spoke. â€Good morning sir, anything I can help you with? He was most certainly her higher up.

 

 

Deneira

Tower Guard

Not a Virgin

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For the next week, Alriand kept thinking of her. It lessened with time, but it was always there. The days passed with little news out of the usual, but there still seemed to be a part of him that was… discontented. He almost wouldn’t admit it to himself, but his better senses let him know. Something wasn’t quite right.

 

He had seen no sign of her in the yards where he was for more than a week. He wasn’t looking for her, but he kept an eye open in mind of her. His duties led him into Tar Valon and around the Tower, but they never met.

 

But one morning when the yard was rather empty (many Trainees had at least one day off at some point) and he was sitting enjoying the silence, she was there. She was finishing the same warm-up she had been doing when he saw her last. She was making her way to the well when she noticed him. She seemed slightly surprised to see him there again. Alriand kept his gaze steady, though he did not mean to. He wasn’t very conscious of himself at that moment. There was something about her that drew him in.

 

After getting her water, she stepped out onto the dry, bare dirt of a training circle and continued her practice. She stepped fluidly into her first exercise, but every now and then glanced back towards Alriand, who sat off to the side, not close, but silently observing her. Her moves were still fresh and were not yet honed, but she had spirit in them.

 

Alriand realized that if he has going to meet her, now was the time. Without too much thought, he stood and began to move towards her. Strangely, his nerves were now taking hold of him more than they had in a long while. His training had tamed them, but now that he was walking into a situation he had no plan for and did not really know what he wanted, he felt a bit nervous and worried.

 

Giving him a smile as he walked up, he decided to speak first. â€Good morning.â€

 

She bowed and said, â€Good morning sir, anything I can help you with?â€

 

“You’re not bad with that blade.â€

 

“Thank you, sir.â€

 

“But you could use some work… just something new.†Alriand picked up a short broadsword from a weapon rack nearby and tossed it to her. He then took one for himself. “Perhaps this would change things up a bit for you.â€

 

She placed her sword on the ground. Alriand walked to the center of the circle, a little unsure of where he was going with this but willing to continue. “The main difference you need to worry about is the distance. It’s now much different, so you’ll have to deal with closer maneuvers.â€

 

He then went about teaching her the parries, cuts, thrusts and so forth. During the time, he noticed her becoming more comfortable around him. A few times he had to show her positions manually, moving her arm this way, or turning her wrist over with a gentle yet firm lead. When he touched the bare skin of her hands, he felt a rush within him. But instead of pulling away from it, as he once would have done, his fingers were only slightly hesitant to leave her. And then he noticed the looks she was giving him. They were not uncomfortable, but rather kind and… more than kind.

 

After the lesson, which was not too long), Alriand felt compelled to see her again, and just asked straight out, “Do you have any plans for later?â€

 

~ Alriand

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“You’re not bad with that blade.†Deneira’s face blushed dark. She didn’t expect a comment like that from a GrandMaster. At the same time, what exactly could you expect of them? They were a different type of warder- a different type of fighter. They were the elite, the perfect… the head honchos. And here was one, talking to her, the youngest Tower Guard.

 

“Thank you, sir.†She just looked away, and she knew that her moment to shine was already over. His words quickly ended it, faster than she expected.

 

“But you could use some work… just something new.†So that’s why he was over here… he wanted to teach her. Well, she most certainly couldn’t turn it down, even if she wanted to. He picked up a short broad sword, and tossed it to her. Then he took another one, and she looked at the weapon. It was heavier than her blade, and it was straight, with a double edge. Hers was made for being quick, with only one side sharp, yet this one relied on strength. It was different, and yet somehow the same. “Perhaps this would change things up a bit for you.â€

 

She took her sword and placed it on the ground, against the building. He walked to the center of the training ground, then stopped. She stood close by, watching, with her new weapon in hand, as he begun their short lesson. “The main difference you need to worry about is the distance. It’s now much different, so you’ll have to deal with closer maneuvers.â€

 

He taught her different moves, and she quickly forgot the fact that he was a Grand Master. After a few minutes, he was just another friend, like Lyv or Aran, who were teaching her different moves they had already learned. This man was no different in her eyes. And she didn’t treat him any different either. He would move her into a form or a position, and his hands would go over hers, or he would move her hips with his hands. She smiled at him whenever he looked at her in surprise, and his touches lingered on her.

 

The lesson came to an end, and it was about mid morning. They were putting away the swords, and she picked up her scimitar, and as she was going to thank him, he spoke up “Do you have any plans for later?†She looked at him in shock for a moment. Was he asking her out on a date or something?

 

Deneira looked away for a moment, then looked back. She felt like a mess, sweaty and dirty, and she definitely looked like one. Taking a glance around the yard, she looked back at him and put on a smile. â€Not yet, no. Why, is there something I should have planned for later today?â€

 

He smiled, and looked her straight in the eyes. After a few moments, he spoke. "No, it's good to take some time off. Maybe you'd like to accompany me into the city sometime this evening?" Accompany him into the city? well, of course she would. How could she turn him down.

 

Laughing softly, Deneira blushed a color. She smiled back at him, and nodded her head. “I would love to accompany you into town.†They agreed to meet back there at dusk, and from there make their plans. She was still a little surprised by what had happened in her morning, but she was more than certain that her night would be even better.

 

Deneira

Tower Guard

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Alriand walked back to the barracks with a new life in his step. He felt a flow of excitement within him. He had accompanied women into the city before, but not like this. Not when he had feelings like these.

 

In the evening he made a visit down to the Infirmary to see Lwena. He felt a little uncomfortable around her now, for he hadn’t told her of this young woman he met. He felt as though he were keeping a secret from her. But there’s nothing to tell. Nothing to be ashamed of, he told himself. He had kept a secret from her before, and that was one of the worst things he had done.

 

In his room he selected his wardrobe of a long silk tunic of dark green and black leather boots up to his knee. His pants were mostly covered by the green fabric, but were black.

 

At dusk he walked down to the arranged meeting place, now more nervous than before. She was already there.

 

“Good evening,†He said and bowed his head out of courtesy. “Where shall we be off to? I had heard news of a new tavern that just opened its doors tonight. The will be having a wine tasting, if you would be so inclined…?â€

 

~ Alriand

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Deneira didnt know what to do. She was going on a date, of sorts, with none other than a Grand Master! She had no dresses, and couldnt remember the last time she had worn one. She knew that she should, but of course, with her luck, she had not had a need yet to wear one. Quickly, she had gone to Lyv, begging for the help of her dear friend.

 

Not telling what exactly was going on, she recieved the help she asked for, and even a dress and a few pieces of jewelry. The dress was a little loose, but it was gorgeous... the blue silk was wonderful, and the sleeves were light and flowly while the top was cut low and the waist was small. The diamond around her neck sparkled, and with the help of many pins, her hair was twisted up, a few ringlets falling down from it.

 

When Shawn had entered their room, right before she was leaving, he stared at her in shock. She smiled at him, and softly kissed his cheek. "I'm going out with..." She couldnt tell him who. "... someone speical. Dont wait up for me, I might not be back till morning." He nodded and watched her leave. Lyv had already disappeared, probably into town to drink with their other friends. Deneira was ready.

 

Smiling as he approached, she slowly walked forward to him as he looked her over. Her eyes, too, were glancing over the person before her. He was so handsome, so elegant, and such a gentleman. She would have never guessed his age, and she returned the smile she recieved.

 

“Good evening,†He bowed his head, and she did the same, forgetting to curtsy. "Where shall we be off to? I had heard news of a new tavern that just opened its doors tonight. The will be having a wine tasting, if you would be so inclined…?†She smiled happily, and nodded. "That sounds perfect!"

 

He offered his arm to her, and she lightly took it, smiling up at him. She didnt know if they were friends or what, but she felt amazing on the arm of this man. He was a warder, bonded to some Aes Sedai, and she knew that there was perhaps some rule she was breaking. Of course, she didnt care. This was completely different from anything she had done before, and the butterflies that occupied her stomach going wild that night.

 

They made it to the inn, and they had talked the way their. A little about training, a little about gossip, and some about the weather. She didnt know what exactly he expected of her, and kept her mouth shut, which was extremly rare for her.

 

The door he opened for her, and they stepped inside. After getting settled in, the tasting began, and she never left his side. They were laughing, talking, and smiling. Deneira couldnt remember the last time she had done something like this. She felt at ease with this man, and so excited. It was so new to her, and so different, yet she felt like their friendship was completely natural.

 

As they were sitting together, she quietly asked him a question that had been tugging at her the entire night. "Why did you invite me out tonight? And why did you talk to me in the yards today? Dont tell me it was because of my lack of proficiency in all weapon forms." Her smile became a soft laugh, but her eyes were serious, still asking him the question.

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The night at the inn continued and they drank wine and talked, and time passed without them knowing it. He found himself becoming less nervous about being around her and close to her (though he it didn’t show much) as time went on. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was her. She was now closer to him than before, and her laughter and delight was making him feel rather at ease. She seemed so open with him.

 

After a round of tasting had been done and the hosts were preparing more, the tasters were sitting and conversing over the heavy wooden tables in the candlelight. It was in this lull that she leaned close to him and quietly asked something she seemed to have been keeping in the back of her mind for some time.

 

“Why did you invite me out tonight? And why did you talk to me in the yards today? Don’t tell me it was because of my lack of proficiency in all weapon forms." Her gaze remained on him her smile turned to a gentle laugh.

 

Alriand felt his senses heighten slightly as she leaned close to him, and he took in her scent. Her smile warmed him more than the wine. He returned the smile and laugh, but he broke their gaze, looking down into thought, trying to phrase what he wanted to say.

 

“Well,†he started, “It was not a lack of proficiency,†he looked up and gave her a slight smile. He wasn’t sure what to say next. He wasn’t sure yet, why he invited her out to the city. So, as was his custom, he went with the truth. “I don’t know. There was something about you…†Looking into her eyes, he saw what it was. “It’s that look,†he said softly, “That’s it.â€

 

At that, she stared at him, a bit in shock, her mouth hanging open just slightly. Her face quickly turned rose. She quickly turned her face down, trying to hide a smile and hold in laughter with her hand over her mouth. Alriand was unsure of what to do, as he was left there, hanging in uncomfortable silence for a long moment before she gave him a nod, at least acknowledging what he had said. Embarrassment flooded through him.

 

By now they were serving the next wine, and he was able to shift his attention to that. He downed this glass pretty quickly, trying to get over the previous moment. The night continued relatively well, and the discomfort that had come up, ebbed shortly afterwards.

 

After the dinner and lots of wine, they walked out into the dark streets. The dim lighting of the lamps that hung throughout the streets gave everything a warm touch that fit the mood. Contented a slightly tipsy (Alriand almost never drank that much) they wandered back to the tower. She was leaning against him for stability most of the way, which Alriand quite liked.

 

A while (and a few wrong turns and many laughs) later, they came upon the tower walls. The guards gave them an odd look, as if they weren’t sure what to make of the two of them together, and then bowed their heads. It made Alriand became a little worried, but any assumptions they made he could easily defend. He let his worry go.

 

As they approached the barracks, they slowed. “Looks like we made it,†Alriand said. “So…â€

 

She stepped in to him, “So…â€

 

The moment held itself in place for what seemed like minutes. Her eyes flicked from his eyes to his mouth and back. She leaned in closer, and Alriand felt her breath on his mouth. All at once he felt something in him telling him to stop. Lwena was there in his mind. Snapping out of the trance he was in, he pulled back. “I…ah…thank you for the lovely evening.†His manners were well ingrained. “Good night.â€

 

And with that he passed the doors of the barracks and rushed upstairs. His mind raced. What was he doing? What was he feeling? …I want her… He decided he was too tired and tipsy and it was no time to make decisions on where he stood or what he wanted. But it was more that he’d rather not think of this at all. Though he couldn’t very well just leave things as they were. He wasn’t sure what would happen.

 

~ Alriand

Doesn't know what he's doing!

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The night at the inn continued and they drank wine and talked, and time passed without them knowing it. He found himself becoming less nervous about being around her and close to her (though he it didn’t show much) as time went on. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was her. She was now closer to him than before, and her laughter and delight was making him feel rather at ease. She seemed so open with him.

 

After a round of tasting had been done and the hosts were preparing more, the tasters were sitting and conversing over the heavy wooden tables in the candlelight. It was in this lull that she leaned close to him and quietly asked something she seemed to have been keeping in the back of her mind for some time.

 

“Why did you invite me out tonight? And why did you talk to me in the yards today? Don’t tell me it was because of my lack of proficiency in all weapon forms." Her gaze remained on him her smile turned to a gentle laugh.

 

Alriand felt his senses heighten slightly as she leaned close to him, and he took in her scent. Her smile warmed him more than the wine. He returned the smile and laugh, but he broke their gaze, looking down into thought, trying to phrase what he wanted to say.

 

“Well,†he started, “It was not a lack of proficiency,†he looked up and gave her a slight smile. He wasn’t sure what to say next. He wasn’t sure yet, why he invited her out to the city. So, as was his custom, he went with the truth. “I don’t know. There was something about you…†Looking into her eyes, he saw what it was. “It’s that look,†he said softly, “That’s it.â€

 

At that, she stared at him, a bit in shock, her mouth hanging open just slightly. Her face quickly turned rose. She quickly turned her face down, trying to hide a smile and hold in laughter with her hand over her mouth. Alriand was unsure of what to do, as he was left there, hanging in uncomfortable silence for a long moment before she gave him a nod, at least acknowledging what he had said. Embarrassment flooded through him.

 

By now they were serving the next wine, and he was able to shift his attention to that. He downed this glass pretty quickly, trying to get over the previous moment. The night continued relatively well, and the discomfort that had come up, ebbed shortly afterwards.

 

After the dinner and lots of wine, they walked out into the dark streets. The dim lighting of the lamps that hung throughout the streets gave everything a warm touch that fit the mood. Contented a slightly tipsy (Alriand almost never drank that much) they wandered back to the tower. She was leaning against him for stability most of the way, which Alriand quite liked.

 

A while (and a few wrong turns and many laughs) later, they came upon the tower walls. The guards gave them an odd look, as if they weren’t sure what to make of the two of them together, and then bowed their heads. It made Alriand became a little worried, but any assumptions they made he could easily defend. He let his worry go.

 

As they approached the barracks, they slowed. “Looks like we made it,†Alriand said. “So…â€

 

She stepped in to him, “So…â€

 

The moment held itself in place for what seemed like minutes. Her eyes flicked from his eyes to his mouth and back. She leaned in closer, and Alriand felt her breath on his mouth. All at once he felt something in him telling him to stop. Lwena was there in his mind. Snapping out of the trance he was in, he pulled back. “I…ah…thank you for the lovely evening.†His manners were well ingrained. “Good night.â€

 

And with that he passed the doors of the barracks and rushed upstairs. His mind raced. What was he doing? What was he feeling? …I want her… He decided he was too tired and tipsy and it was no time to make decisions on where he stood or what he wanted. But it was more that he’d rather not think of this at all. Though he couldn’t very well just leave things as they were. He wasn’t sure what would happen.

 

~ Alriand

Doesn't know what he's doing!

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She laughed quietly at her question, kind of wondering if she really wanted to know the answer. Perhaps this night wasn’t what she thought it would be… perhaps he was just being friendly… but she couldn’t help but think, and hope, for more. He returned the smile, and their eyes held perfectly. She felt lost, just staring at him. The table was silent, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. It was almost as though just sitting there, looking at each other, was saying things. She didn’t know what, yet, but she knew that they were talking. He looked away, and she glanced down at her glass, taking her last sip.

 

She almost thought he wouldn’t answer when she heard his voice, and her eyes darted back up to look into his. “Well, it was not a lack of proficiency,†His eyes met hers, and she smiled. She had just been complimented by a Grand Master… amazing, no one would believe her. He stopped talking, and they held eyes, as he slowly spoke. “I don’t know. There was something about you…†He looked back into her eyes, and she was confused. Something about her? Light, that could mean anything! “It’s that look,†Her look? “That’s it.â€

 

Her jaw dropped open, and she stared at him. She could feel her cheeks burning, but she couldn’t move her hands to cover her cheeks. That was definitely something, and most certainly not something she had prepared for. Looking down, she smiled and covered her cheeks and mouth with her hands. A nervous laugh escaped her lips, and she tried to push back the blush. Nodding slightly, she smiled, feeling… perfect. the way he was acting… it was so different, so weird. What he flirting with her? She dared to not think that.

 

Dinner and everything finished, and he was a bit tipsy. She had drunken a lot too, but she was certainly used to it by now. After all, she had been drinking for about five years, hard. She wasn’t that drunk, but he didn’t know that, and used it to her advantage. Leaning on him, he practically wrapped his arms around her as they walked. She felt so content in his arms as he held her, and on occasion, had to hide a gasp as his hands brushed her stomach or buttox. Was he flirting with her, or just too drunk to know better?

 

They got into the tower, and made it to her barracks. Was he coming inside with her, or what? She knew that Shawn wouldn’t like that… perhaps his room would be better, unless he stayed with that Aes Sedai he was bonded to. The idea she would get in trouble passed through her mind, but she shook it away. “Looks like we made it.†She nodded slowly, and turned to look at him, smiling softly. “So…â€

 

She was so close to him, she knew he could hear her heart pounding. “So…†She was practically touching him, their lips were so close. If either of them moved forward even a tad, their lips would be together. She didn’t know what to do, and he moved, pulling away. “I…ah…thank you for the lovely evening.†What? He was leaving… not even a kiss…“Good night.†He ran into the building, and went up the three flights of stairs to the Warder rooms, leaving her there in shock. Her chest was still rising and falling, and she didn’t know what to do. Had he just denied her? Perhaps he was just too drunk to know better… but she knew that she wished she was in his bed at that moment.

 

She went to her room, and there sat Shawn, waiting for her. He looked questioningly to her, and she shook her head. “I don’t wanna talk about it.†He nodded his head, and she almost thought she saw a tear, but her own thoughts consumed her as she went around pealing off the dress and slipping into bed, naked. Shawn had seen her naked plenty of times, it was no shock to him, she knew.

 

The next day, she looked around for him everywhere. Had he just disappeared on her? Where was he? The next day was the same. By that night, she was certain he had forgotten her. After all, she was just a Tower Guard, and he could have anyone he wanted, including that aes sedai of his. She just tried to push that night and her feelings out of her mind, and tried to occupy herself. It was three days since she saw him when she went into town, looking for something to do. She just walked along the streets, looking at vendors, and talking to people she knew.

 

â€Deneira?†She heard his voice, and her heart stopped. She turned around from the window she was looking in, and saw him looking at her. “Sir, how are you?†He looked a bit nervous, and so was she. She didn’t know what to say, and he just muttered something. They stood there in an uncomfortable silence, and spoke at the same time. â€Are you busy?†“Want to do something?†They both smiled and laughed, nodding their heads. â€What to do…†He said, looking around. She turned, and saw a bathhouse beside the store window she was looking in. She looked back at him, and their eyes met, nodding. “What about this…†What was she getting herself into?

 

 

Deneira

So many men, so little time!

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He’d been trying not to think of that parting a few nights ago. He’d been trying to push it from his memory, partially because of his embarrassment and partially because he knew that if he took this further it may not come to such a pleasant state.

 

This day he had been running an errand for Lwena, taking an order of herbs to an herbalist on the far northern side of the city. He was on his way back to the Tower, and after dodging a rather reckless carriage and cursing lightly under his breath, he looked up to see young Deneira gazing through a small shops window.

 

“Deneira? He heard himself saying. He hadn’t meant to say it at all, not to mention so loud, but for some reason he wanted her attention. She turned looking slightly startled, and said, “Sir, how are you?â€

 

“I am well.†He said tightly. He felt himself become self-conscious. There was a long pause before they both spoke: â€Are you busy?†“Want to do something?†They each let out a nervous laugh, releasing some tension from the moment. There was another long moment before he filled the silence with, “What to do…†Deneira looked about and her eyes fell on a nearby bathhouse. They looked at each other and she suggested, “What about this…â€

 

Alriand felt himself become slightly more nervous than he was to start with, but…something in him said ‘yes’. “Alright.†He said. “I could use some relaxation. Though I take on few students, I have endless duties on the yards, as I’m sure you do as well.†As they walked into the building, as though he didn’t know what he was doing, or why he was doing it other than…he wanted it.

 

The round woman behind the counter in the common room greeted them warmly, always taking to new customers. “Good day to you both! She nodded to each of them. “I’m afraid that we are rather full today, but we do have one room that’s not being used at the moment.â€

 

Alriand saw the opening to get out, and his hesitation to the idea of this got the better of him. “Oh, well then we can come anoth-“

 

“It’s fine,†Deneira broke in, “We’ll take it.†Alriand felt his nerves rise again, and he could feel Deneira’s eyes on him.

 

“Right this way.†The proprietor motioned for them to follow her. They went back down a few halls, and every door they passed had tendrils of steam reaching out from beneath the threshold and searching upward.

 

The door towards the end of the hallway was opened for them. Two copper tubs sat in the middle of the room, and over the large fire in each of the two hearths were large vats or heating water. The woman called for two of her helpers to come fill up the tubs, and they quickly did so.

 

“Enjoy yourselves…†The proprietor said as she began to shut the door, “And if you need anything, I’m at your service.â€

 

The dark wooden door shut with a click. Alriand turned to Deneira. “Shall we?†She asked. Alriand’s mind raced as he removed his long coat. What am I doing…?

~ Alriand

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He looked at the building for a moment, and she was shaking. Would he say yes? Would he say no? What was she doing? “Alright. I could use some relaxation. Though I take on few students, I have endless duties on the yards, as I’m sure you do as well.†She nodded her head, and they walked inside. A woman greeted the, and confidence returned to Deneira. She was here with him, and she would have a good time, no matter what happend. If all else failed, at least she would enjoy a relaxing bath, and with company to talk to.

 

“Good day to you both! I’m afraid that we are rather full today, but we do have one room that’s not being used at the moment.†Deneira glanced at him, and he tried to get out of it. “Oh, well then we can come anoth-“ “It’s fine,†she said quickly. She had just gotten up courage, and she didnt think she could do it again. “We’ll take it.â€She looked at him, ready to hear a protest. But he nodded his head. “Right this way.†They followed the lady as she led them back, and she could feel his eyes on her, and her heart raced.

 

“Enjoy yourselves…†The woman was leaving them in the room. “And if you need anything, I’m at your service.†Deneira nodded her head, and the door clicked shut. She turned to look at him, afraid to be alone with him. She shouldnt be there. Yes, she was single at the moment, but still, she shouldnt be doing THIS. “Shall we?†Alriand began removing his clothes, and she turned away, going to her bench to remove her clothes.

 

She didnt look back at him as she ran to the bench, her fingers pulling at the laces on her boots. She quickly pulled off her socks along with, and removed her shirt, leaving her in the bindings she wore as undergarments. Her fingers shook as she undid her belt, and she undid the button on her breeches. Pushing them down, she remained in her underwear and bindings, afraid to turn around. The tie in her hair, she undid, shaking out the waves. His eyes were on her, she could feel it.

 

Her fingers were shaking, and her lips were quivering, and she didnt know why. She had done this before, but for some reason, it felt... different. Not exactly bad, but not exactly good. It felt like something was missing, or there was something she had forgotten. Or perhaps it was the way she felt around him. Her heart was picking up speed as she undid the laces on her bindings, and as it fell off, she stood in only her underwear. They slipped off too, and she ran to her tub, stepping in as he looked at her. “It feels amazing... hurry up before the water gets cold!†She could hear her voice shake, and she tried to put on a smile. The way he was looking at her, the way that his eyes held her... she felt so special. Yes, Shawn made her feel like that, but Alriand was new and exciting. She didnt know what it was about him, but he was so much better.

 

He slipped into the water, and she couldnt help but watch him. The age old body was covered in scars and rips, from old battle wounds to examples of training in the muscles. She was amazed at how he looked, when she knew he was almost twice her age. “So, how goes things for the Grand Masters? Training going ok? No trainees running around terrorizing the city?†She tried to make conversation, but anytime she opened her mouth, she was afraid her voice was shaking. What was this power he held over her?

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As Alriand slipped off his long coat he felt an excitement pump through his veins. He calmed himself slightly through the unconscious summoning of the Spring within him. He unbuckled his belt that wrapped over his tunic and slipped his fathers sword from his frog, leaning it carefully against the wall. He removed his boots and socks, everyone being carefully placed on and around the bench. Unbuttoning his tunic, he took it off and hung it on a hook.

 

Before he pulled his shirt over his head, he hesitated. He was afraid, for a moment, of showing his scars. There were battle scars and a few training scars, but what he felt most self-conscious of were scars given to him in Tear…by the Children of Light. He was at the hands of the Questioners many years ago. He was helping his friend Nuiteri with some family issues, and Lwena was with him. But somehow he let himself be captured… and it was then that he almost wished he were dead. He only ever wished this for himself after his father’s death and when he was at their hands. Eventually Nuiteri and Lwena managed to find and rescue him.

 

The memory of that time washed over him, bringing back sharp pains, though he did not show it. No one had seen the scars of the acid or spiked knives before. Pushing beyond it quickly, he removed his shirt and felt more exposed than he had in a long time.

 

Turning slightly he caught sight of Deneira, wearing almost nothing. His eyes held for a long moment before he turned them away, slightly ashamed but wishing he could look again.

 

After removing the rest of his garments, he slid into the tub, trying not to look at Deneira, being as modest as he could about the situation. ‘Come on,’ He thought, ‘She’s a Tower Guard! If you were assigned to the same baths in the Tower, you’d have to do it! It’s no different than that.’ …But it was.

 

After a long pause, she spoke, “So, how goes things for the Grand Masters? Training going ok? No trainees running around terrorizing the city?†Her voice gave a hint of a quiver. Alriand had not noticed until now. He’d been so involved in how strange he felt that he’d not been paying attention to her. Now that he saw her, she seemed almost as nervous as he.

 

He suddenly realized it would probably be more polite to answer her question (however mundane) rather than stare at her. “Fine,†He spat out quickly, “Everything has been going well. As for trainees, I’m not sure. It’s not my place to watch over them, really. Just keep them on the right path when training.â€

 

The conversation died when she nodded her head in response. The steam rose, clearing his lungs and making him relax. They sat in silence for minutes. He stared into the fire in the hearth.

 

At length, he heard Deneaira. “That scar on your chest…what was that from?â€

 

Alriand glanced down to see the mark on his skin. It was a burn mark; acid. His memories of the questioners came back him. The wound did not look so bad as it once had, but its impact mentally was as potent as ever. His right eye just barely twitched.

 

“It was from…†And he knew now that he could tell the truth, or cover it up, “It was from Tear.†He found the truth spilling out. He had kept deep secrets hidden from Lwena before, and he had regretted them. Perhaps he had learned his lesson. Or perhaps he just wasn’t thinking. “When I was younger, almost your age, I traveled to Tear with friends and my Bondmate.†There was another long pause as he lost himself in thought, and then he spoke again, almost as through a dream, “And the Children of Light were there. They found me and…questioned me.†A deep pain was in his eyes, and shame for what had happened. He had never gotten a chance to strike back at them, and he had wished for revenge for so long. Ever since his father’s death when he was 15.

 

A cinder popped in the fire, and he was quickly brought back to where he was. “It’s nothing now.†He said with a finality that even he didn’t believe.

 

~ Alriand

V for reVenge!

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He stared at her for a few minutes, and she glanced away, afraid of what he was thinking. Light, what kind of question was that? He had to think her to be the most boring Tower Guard in the yard. Light... what was she supposed to do now? She waited, and he finally spoke, “Fine.†He seemed mad almost, or at least... confused. “Everything has been going well. As for trainees, I’m not sure. It’s not my place to watch over them, really. Just keep them on the right path when training.†She smiled at him, and nodded in acknoledgement, and he settled back in his bath, ignoring her.

 

His body was covered with some weird scars. They werent normal... they looked like he had been burned, and some of the others looked like a beating, almost. What secrets did this man hold? “That scar on your chest…what was that from?†She mentally smacked herself. Light, she shouldnt have said anything. Had she hit a cord with that? She should have been quiet. He looked down at the burn mark, then looked off into the air.

 

“It was from…†She wanted to stop him, and tell him he didnt have to tell her. She didnt want him to tell her if he didnt want to talk about it. “It was from Tear.†Tear... she knew that no Aes Sedai was ever welcomed there. A warder... light, this story could not be good. “When I was younger, almost your age, I traveled to Tear with friends and my Bondmate.†He was silent, and she watched him. He seemed to be in his own world. “And the Children of Light were there. They found me and…questioned me.†Light, he had been beaten. The Children of the Light would have killed him if they could of. She knew he was hurt, and she wanted to cry for him. She had no idea...

 

He suddenly snapped back to himself as a cinder popped in the fire, and he shook his head, pain in his eyes. â€It’s nothing know.†She wouldnt believe that for a moment. It was most certainly something, and it wasnt good. She pitied him, and immediately tried to think of something that would make him laugh. “Well, I have a story too. Do you remember about three years ago, when Ginae’s hair was dyed blue?†He nodded. Of course he remembered. It was one of the greatest pranks over the past five years. “Well, of course she blamed Aran, because he was with her at breakfast, and was mad at her for some Aes Sedai training or something like that. Thing is, Aran had an accomplice!†Alriand smiled. “For a bottle of spirits, I helped him drug her and was the one that dyed her hair.†Alriand started laughing. Good, that was the point.

 

“Aran and I were friends after that. I wanted to have some fun, and most of his pranks required an accomplice. Of course, I returned the favor. Lyv, you know her, right?†Alriand nodded. Of course he did, she was a GrandMaster, even though Deneira forgot that on occasion. “Well, she remembered the prank, and knew that I had helped him. You know how the two of them were running around blue for a few weeks?†This instance had happened only a few months before. “Lyv and I had poured dye all over him, and then she fell on to him, which resulted in her becoming blue also. Lets just say, I like to color.†She winked at him, and he laughed again. Setting back, she smiled to herself, proud that he had left his solemn mood, and that everything seemed to be lightened. She didnt know what to say next, so she relaxed back in her tub.

 

Silence came over them for a while, and she got an idea on how to make him laugh. Jumping out of the tub, she heard him cough as she ran over to the towels, naked and dripping with water, and picked one of them up. Wrapping it around herself, she went back to him, the other one, which was his, in hand. “What would you do if I dropped this in the water?†He made some comment, and she went over to her tub. While standing at his, she had taken a few looks into it, and had liked what she had seen. She was certain that experience had also helped him. Leaning on her tub, she held his towel above it then, smiling, dropped it in. “What are you going to do now, GrandMaster?†Her eyes twinkled, and she was ready to fight for her towel.

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