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A meeting with the colorful ones...(attn minty mine and eventualy tinkers)


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Liitha was waiting outside the stables, as her mentee came about she nodded in greeting and mounted. She barely waited till he was in the sadles before directing her stallion towards the exit of the yard, they both knew what was happening, and there was no need to break the early morning quietness with chat. Six months back in the yards she had figured he was ready for a trip outside Tar Valon, for some camping experiences.


It wasnt untill they left the busy streets behind and rode over one of the bridges that she turned to face her mentee. "Ready?" she smiled to Kopair, they had spent the months since his return practising and undusting unused skills from his absent. And then moved on, he was just about back on track now, and though learning would be involed in this trip it was also an reward for good achivements so far.


The plan was to spend the better part of the day riding randomly away from Tar Valon, then set up a camp and use that as a base for hunting, as well as other nature skills, herbs of common knowledge for medical use and food, tracking, finding ones way when lost and so on.


In fact she was looking forth to it herself, and if she had to say so even the horses seemed positivly eager to be out of the city.

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Kopair woke early that day, eager to be about his business.  He stared at the ceiling for a moment, listening to the sound of his roommates' sleeping in the other bunks.  Moving swiftly but quietly so as not to disturb the others, Kopair dressed and belted on his sword and dagger.  He then looped his quiver of arrows across his back and grabbed his bow.  He was as ready as he'd ever be.


Leaving the barracks he moved across the yards, the early morning mist swirling around him.  He did not move toward the stables though, not yet.  He had another meeting to make first.  Moving through the mist he finally arrived at the sparring grounds, where he found Zevaria awaiting a morning work out with her mentor.  He wasn't here yet though, so for a moment they were alone.


They spoke few words, as he wasn't going to be gone for very long, only a few days. Still it was a hard parting, as they'd spent the last few months spending as much time as possible together.  Finally though they drew apart and he went to the stables.


Arriving at the stables Kopair nodded in greeting to Liitha and then quickly saddled Rascal and packed the supplies he'd made ready.  He didn't feel much like talking right then, and got the same feeling from his Mentor, and so in a companionable silence they headed out of the city. When they crossed the bridge and were finally out of town, Liitha turned to him.


"Ready?" she asked.


Kopair gave a grin and nodded. "I'm ready when you are."  He gave a look back at the White Tower, gleaming in the early morning sunlight, and his heart gave a pang, but he quickly mastered the emotion. "Though I want to be back as soon as we can, I'm ready for some time away from the Yard."

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Liitha smiled at the answer, it was all good. She waited till they where out of the suburbs and then took off from the road, allowing the horses to streach their legs over a field as they run east towards the mountains. She wouldnt go as far as them, but it was a no man's land and would do well for hunting, less houses ment more prey.


They ate in the sadles that day, changing between trot and walking to save the horses, untill they came upon a small clearing, it would do well as a camp and she descided to stop earlier then originaly planed. All in all they still had crossed some distance, and it could allow for an evening hunt, as well as seting some traps.


As soon as they unsadled and taken care of the horses she left the rest of the bagage unpacked, they could fix it when they came back. Diging into her bagage she found skinlaces, tossing a roll to Kopair she setled down crosslegged on the ground. "You made snares before?" she quickly instructed how to cut the leather, and to do the preparations posible before going out. "Now one last thing before moving out, you never know what will happen out there, so fill up your waterbottle whenever you got the chanse, and.." she dug into her sadlebags and came out with a pouch she fastened to the back of her belt, then pulled out a similar tossing it to Kopair. "Imidiate suply's, bandages and some other handy things, as well as some all around usefull herbs in labeled bags. Small easy to take with you, but can turn quite handy in case something does happen. In the days to follow you also are gonna use some of the skins to make new bags, and we'll collect more herbs for drying to fill it up some more." she smiled.


"well then lets go.." she walked out into the woods not waiting to see if he followed, light was diming quickly and they had to hurry if they where to have any chanse, her bow was hanging over her shoulder as she moved quietly through the woods, though also keeping an ear out for Kopair, he was doing fine she barely could trace him by the sound.

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Kopair checked to make sure he had everything secure, with nothing banging around to make noise, and then moved after Liitha into the growing twilight. He'd been hunting several times before back home and knew it was important to be quiet. He'd been fairly good at it already before coming to the Yard, and his training there had only improved it. He knew he barely made a sound, and Liitha was a silent shadow gliding ahead.


Soon the pair of them arrived where some brush extended toward a nearby stream and they found several likely looking animal trails to set traps on. Signs of rabbit, squirrel, and other small animals, as well as bigger, were all around though difficult to make out in the dim light.  Moving quickly they set the traps, Liitha giving silent instructions on the proper way to place them.


After setting the traps Kopair moved to the stream to fill his waterskin, beeing sure to go downwind of the traps so as not to leave his scent in the area.  Liitha motioned for him to hurry and stood waiting for him in the darkness.


Dipping his water skin into the river he filled quickly and then turned to leave.  The darkness made the landscape sctrange and he tripped at one point. It took him a few seconds to find the place he'd left Liitha, but finally he found her.  Keeping silent still, so as not to scare any animals in the area, they soon returned to their campsite. Kopair busied himself with unpacking the gear and setting it up while Liitha gathered some firewood and got the campfire started.


"So what do we do with ourselves tonight?" Kopair asked as he worked. "This close to Tar Valon do we need to worry about keeping watch?"

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Liitha put the ketle over the fire to make teawater, and tossed crackers and dried meat to Kopair. "Yes of course we need to, you should make it a habbit to always do so if posible when traveling, and when not make sure to teach yourself to sleep lightly and by your sword. Your horse should also be trained to keep a watch out, their hearing is bether then ours and if trained properly should be able to rouse you." She bit into the meat and chewed. "How we use the time to reavaluate your time since the return, are you settled in, how do you feel your training is going..any questions? or anything else you'd want to talk about, I am a listening ear if you need to"

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Kopair ate slowly as Liitha talked about the need to keep watch.


"Yes, I've begun to work with the stable master on Rascal's training. He said that he has the potential to be a good warhorse. He said that in a couple of years he should be fully trained." Kopair gave a small laugh. "I used to dream about being some gallant fighter on a tall war horse. And now, who knows?  It could come true?"


Kopair muched away on his food for a little bit longer, thinking about Liitha's last words.  So many thoughts ran through his head, but one thought rose most above all. Veria.


"I've gotten pretty well settle back in.  Met back up with some old friends, and even got myself a new roommate.  I think my training is going well.  I had an... interesting experience a few weeks back. An Accepted named Zevaria was in the Yard. Apparently she decided she wanted some combat training. She's even gotten herself a mentor among the Tower Guard."


Kopair paused for a moment, remembering that day with a smile, before continuing. "I was standing around talking with some friends, and she was running laps.  We couldn't help but notice her, she's," Kopair coughed nervously "very noticeable.  I'm sure you know how some of the guys in the Yard can be. They couldn't help but make comments. She overheard my reply and instead of getting mad, was interested. She asked if I would train her in hand-to-hand combat.  It was an interesting afternoon to say the least."


Kopair fell silent for a few moments, staring into the flames of the campfire, but it was clear he wasn't done speaking. He gathered his thoughts, remembering well the feel of her skin, her body, as they sparred. And then of course what happened next on their date to the Ogier grove.  Finally Kopair spoke again.


"We met a few days later on her free day. We had a date in the Ogier Grove in the city.  I think I've found a new purpose to be in the Yard. I think I want to be her Warder.  I think...  I think I actually may be falling in love with her."

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Liitha frowned, "I am glad you enjoyed yourself but you should have told someone, while on freedays i belive accepted can meet you if you got conecting freedays in the town.." she scratched her head, "..well they are not allowed into the yard without being in the company of an Aes Sedai, on erand for one, or on official training." There was no way around it, "Your friend should know this, if she want to train she'll have to aproach the rigth authorites so she can get a mentor."


This was not good, perhaps it was luck she had taken him out now, if someone else had discovered it beforehand. All in all her mentee was a good boy doing most things in the best intensions, and the last thing she wanted for him was more troubles now. Liitha was convinced he was sincere in his wish of becoming one of the guards already before he had told her of the posibility of becoming a warder.


"Unfortunantly time can not be turned back, but we should talk to your friend when we get back I think, its bether she fix this herself, for alls sake then it being discovered out of turn by one of the Aes Sedai.." and with her luck one of those bloody strict ones. She loved her occupation, but the Aes Sedai was not always the easiest to be around, and like most people there where many personalities. As such Liitha soon had learned to keep a look out for who to in particulary stay clear of is posible.


"On another note though.." she smiled, "I am happy on your behalf, I was once promised myself.." it was a long time since she had thougth of the accepted that she had cursed over the first few times they met. "Just take a piece of advice and step carefull, some of them can be a handfull at time, and your accepted is still in training, the Aes Sedai is not done with her yet.." it was said in a jokish voice yet there was some truth in it.

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Kopair started for a moment as Liitha talked about things being against the rules.  She must have missed what he said.


"No no," he said hurriedly after she finished talking. "I think you misunderstood me. She does have a mentor, a Tower Guard.  I think she said it was Ursana. So she was in the Yard for a legitimate reason.  Don't worry, I'm not going to let a woman get me kicked out of the Yard, no matter what I feel for her.  We only ever meet when she's training in the Yard, or on Free Days."


Kopair sighed and leaned back, closing his eyes for a second.


"I know what you mean about them being a handful though.  She can certainly have her moments," he said with a grin. "I can't help myself though."


Finishing his food, Kopair dusted the crumbs off his hands and then looked around into the darkness. "So what is the plan for tomorrow?  And I'll take first watch if you want."

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Liitha was relived to hear, "I am glad to hear that, and if it is the path you are seth upon I wish you the best of luck. I been there myself, but the right one havent come by my path, and it is talk of a lifetime...for as long as it lasts" she gave an ironic chuckle, it wasnt as if their ocupation was the rigth to enter for planing a long life, yet one took what pleasures was there, and it sertainly wasnt worth puting oneself at missery.


"I guess we'll start by checking the traps, and then post near the watersource, the prey will come down to drink. I guess after that we can practise tracking after we made sure to hang what prey we had up so it wont decay, and in the evening we can work on preparing the skin and whatnot." She tugged the blanket out of her bags, "Wake me if you feel sleepy"

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Kopair nodded and stood up.


"I'll go for as close as four hours as I can make it, then wake you."


Kopair walked into the blackness at the edge of the firelight and stared off into the darkness, letting his eyes adjust to the dark. As he studied the night-shrouded landscape around him his thoughts turned once more Veria waiting for him back in Tar Valon. He knew that no matter how much of a handful she might be in the future, and from what he'd experienced of Aes Sedai already he had no doubt she would be, he knew that wherever he went his home was with her.  He felt the emotions flowing through him and embraced them, wrapping himself in the spring, and bringing himself into sync with the world around him. He could feel the darkness around him. He could feel Liitha behind him preparing for bed.


Deciding this would be a good time to get in some practice.  Putting both hands on the hilt of his sword Kopair assumed the ready position called Leopard in the Tree, then quickly pulled his sword free in a striking maneuver called Unfolding the Fan. From form to form he flowed, losing himself in the fluid movements, like Liitha had taught him. He let his attention float in the waters of the Spring though. His body moved through the forms automatically, but his awareness was focussed on the area around him.

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When awoken she took a walk around the camp to walk off her sleepyness, then setled down with the horses, they were good company. The morning went by as espected, and as soon as the traps where reset and the prey hung and esanguinated, they moved out on hunt, circeling a hill and agreeing to meet up on the other side after she had given him some quick instructions for plants to look for.


They had dinner on a couple rabbits after meeting up, and agreed to cross back the same way to get back to camp before eveningfall, and that the first one back where to move out and check the traps.


Coming back at slower pace with her shoulders hunched down by a deer she found herself first back, so Liitha went to find the traps, the dusk was coming and she wanted to get them reset before full dark was upon her.


It was with a frown she found herself back in a still empty camp lighting up the fire. Even barred down with prey Kopair should be ariving soon, in fact she had expected him to be waiting when she came back from the traps.




evening/night 2 feel free to get lost if you want to ;)

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Kopair enjoyed his day with Liitha, hunting and going over various wilderness survival skills. It helped to keep his mind focused, learning these new skills.  After dinner he headed out on his own, deciding to explore some of the side paths he'd noticed during the day.


He soon found himself on a small animal run through some thick vegetation. Large bushes and more mixed with a thick growth of trees to make for hard going.  He knew he was still heading in the right direction though as he recognized some landmarks nearby through breaks in the trees.


Darkness began to fall though, and as it did the landscape seemed to change. Suddenly he lost all sight of any landmarks, and the thick undergrowth lost in the shadows played tricks on his eyes, causing him to trip several times before he began to get the hang of it.  He still felt he was heading in the right direction though.


Finally he broke out of the trees into a large clearing. Looking around he realized there was nothing within sight that looked remotely familiar. He was lost. Cursing himself for a light blinded fool he scanned the night sky trying to find his direction. He realized soon though that it was a foolish mission. Though he could tell north from south, it didn't help him any. He had no idea where he was in relation to the camp anymore. Everything looked completely different.


Well, it was no use worrying about it. He'd simply pass the night here, and in the morning he was sure he could find his way back. Moving back to the trees he began gathering wood to make a fire.  Suddenly, after a few minutes of gathering, he dropped the wood he'd gathered and cursed again.  He'd forgotten his flint and steel in his saddlebags, which were back with Rascal back at the camp. He'd forgotten to transfer them to the survival bag Liitha had given him.  A few minutes later, as he searched for a spot that looked like it might be out of the wind where he could huddle down, he curse as he realized another thing he'd forgotten. He'd not passed a water source on the trip back, and his water skin was running low.


Taking a sparing drink from the skin, he burrowed into a screen of bushes that provided some shelter and attempted to put himself to sleep. It was going to be a long night.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"When I was a young man,

Carefree and fetching man,

To my love I ran

Thru' the fields of rye.


Oh she was a young lass,

Pretty and laughing lass,

To me o'er hill of grass

To the fields of rye.


There I did confess,

To her my love confess,

To me she did say yes

There in the fields of rye.


Now we're not so young,

Neither our love so young,

But strong as when wedding bells rung

'Cross those fields of rye."


Menno was more than happy his hearing was failing and he could not really hear his reedy tenor send flocks of birds into flight.  At least he was still on pitch- hopefully.  Hobbling through the woods and leaning heavily on his cane, the Mahdi, dressed accordinling in brilliant lime-green breeches and a red sweater that could have been mistaked as a Queen's Guard uniform if not worn in conjunction with the green breeches, hunted.  Now, being Tuatha'an, he certainly wasn't hunting anything that drew in breath, but rather some carrots and maybe a late potato or two.  This close to the river, it was still marshy enough for carrots, but he'd find some higher ground if he had any hope of finding potatoes.


A patch of vegetation caught his eye and his remaining, yellow teeth broke through his lips.  Carrots, perfect!  Using his cane to drop gently on his knees, it took both hands to pull the few roots out of the ground.  He really should have taken one of the younger men with him, arthritic joints really didn't do well in this chill weather and his knees were beginning to throb dully already from the damp soil.  A low moan heralded his getting back up and wincing with every step, Mennot stubbornly refused to go back to the wagons and headed further up the gentle slop.  If he could find the right soil, there was sure to be plenty of potatoes for Nacoya's stew.


Not so deaf as to miss the rustling in a bit of bush a little ways away, Menno crept as silently as his cane would allow.  What he found was a young man, seeimginly bunked down miserably and shivering against the cold.  "Hey there, lad.  You don't want to be sleeping there, eh, still marshy here.  Groundwater will seep straight through your cloak."

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Kopair dozed off and on in the night, sleeping lightly, aware of the world around him and shivering as the chill grew. His cloak was tight and thick, but the cold breeze cut through it easily.  He tried to lose himself in thoughts of Veria, but he kept getting distracted by the fact that there was a tree root in his back and his left leg was possibly being eaten by a small animal disguised as a stone.


It was starting to get light out, but Kopair was finally drifting into real sleep when he heard singing in the distance.  He roused himself and looked about, but the singing ended and he thought he must have been imagining it.  He huddled back into the scant shelter of the underbrush and tried to ignore the cold.  He heard a rusting approach him and he tensed, his hand gripping his sword hilt under his cloak. He knew that rustling was not from an animal.


The rustling grew closer and then stopped.  Kopair let the Spring surround him and he felt a presence nearby. Felt that presence study him for a moment, but Koapir was not prepared for someone to speak. He almost jumped from the shock.


"Hey there, lad.  You don't want to be sleeping there, eh, still marshy here.  Groundwater will seep straight through your cloak."


Kopair didn't let the aged sound of the voice lull him. He rolled quickly, over and up onto one knee, his hands on the hilt of his sword, tense to perform Unfolding the Fan.  Thankfully he was trained well to assess a situation before reacting, and it held him in good stead today. He blinked for a moment as he took in the figure before him.


A bent and gnarled old man with a cane regarded him, dressed in red and green that clashed violently enough that Kopair had to blink again.  It was enough to tell him what he needed to know.  Light! A Tinker. At least they were harmless.  Kopair released his sword hilt and stood, brushing leaves and dirt from his clothing as he did, giving the man an embarrassed smile as he did so.


"Greetings sir," said Kopair, bowing formally as his tutors in the Yard had taught him. "My name is Kopair, in training with the Tower Guard on a trip from Tar Valon with my Mentor. However she and I separated on our trip back to our camp last night, and in the darkness I lost my bearings. I agree with you, it was not an ideal place to camp, but it was more sheltered then most places I could find around here in the dark."

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  • 1 month later...

One moment the boy appeared as docile as a lamb, the next there was a sword pointed at Menno’s ample belly.  Barely a flicker of fear went through the old man, if this was his time, it was his time. “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills” and the Tuatha’an let its current push them along like leaves in autumn.  He had lived a good, full life and was nearing the time for the Wheel to take him as was.  Besides, Menno had had his share of weapons pointed at him in his day; thus far he was still alive.  Rather than fear, sadness permeated his otherwise still cheerful exterior.  When would everyone understand that peace and violence were a dichotomy—one could not bring about the other!  It was like breeding a pair of donkeys and expecting a horse, one would only get another donkey.


“You’re an excitable lad!  Now, put that thing away—or better yet, throw it away!  Judging by you demeanour, though, it is the only way you know and the way by which you live.  Pity.  Whatever your choices, I pray that you learn better before it is too late and before all the youth is boiled out of you.”


Menno laughed at the boy’s etiquette.  “I’m no Lord, lad, don’t be calling me “sir” or bowing to me like some king.  I’m Menno, prefer that name to “sir”.  If you need some place to sleep, you can come back to the Wagons with me.  Nacoya and I will be more than happy to put you up for the night.”  He glanced at Kopair, shivering with cold.  “Hmm...well, I’m still looking for some potatoes for my wife’s stew, which you’re welcome to, by the way.  So if you could help me, we’d get you warmed up and fed a lot faster.”

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Koapir blushed at realizing he still held on to his sword and quickly sheathed it.  What was he thinking, holding a sword on a bloody Tinker like that.  Liitha would be rolling on the ground with laughter if she'd seen.  He considered Menno's offer. At this point he was so turned around his best bet was likely to find someplace to hold up and wait for Liitha to find him.  He knew she'd worry eventually and come looking, find his tracks, and catch up to him quickly.


"Thank you Menno. That is a kind offer, and I'd be glad to help you in your search. I haven't eaten anything since some time yesterday, and after a night being attacked by a root and a stone, I think helping you with putting together a meal is a fine idea."


Kopair joined Menno and they began to move through the forest, looking for the potatoes the Tuatha’an needed for today's meals.  With Kopair's help they soon found them, as well as a few other herbs and veggies that might come in handy, and soon Menno lead Kopair back to the Tinker's camp.  He wasn't sure what to expect, but hoped they were all as welcoming as Menno seemed to be.

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  • 4 weeks later...

“For some sort of soldier-type with the White Tower, you sure don’t know much about roughing it in the woods, boy.  Rule number one, never sleep in a depression like you found here; always go up to higher ground, else you’ll find yourself wet and that’ll make you sick.  Also lots of bugs around standing water, those carry diseases and you really can’t afford that if your own your own, eh?”


The old man and the boy searched through marshy forest and soon Menno’s little bag was stuffed full of thin carrots, potatoes, celery and even some of the last asparagus of the season.  Add some chives and an onion or two and they’d be feasting on vegetable stew tonight.  So the odd pair trekked back to the wagons with all the ingredients.


To the normal eye, the combination of purple, gold and lime green covering a wagon would have been enough to set them dizzy or nauseous.  For Menno, it was home.  He hobbled up to the wagon while his wife came down to meet him.  Nacoya seized the bag greedily and was busy riffling through it before she noticed Kopair.


“Oh, hello there!”  She blinked once, eyed his sword with distaste and the shrugged.  Being the quintessential grandmother, every child in their caravan was “her” granddaughter and grandson, the elderly woman smiled and practically dragged the boy into the wagon.  “Come, come!  I’m making bread!”


Menno followed them into the wagon.  Nacoya practically shoved Kopair into a seat at the table, nailed into the wall to avoid it being bumped around while the Tuatha’an travelled; Menno sat across the table from the Trainee chuckling.  “We may follow the Way of the Leaf, but Nacoya is forceful in her own right.” 


The woman shushed him, smiling.


“Make yourself useful and get the jam.”


By the time Menno had the jam on the table, which really only took a minute, there was a steaming loaf of bread sitting, waiting to be eaten.


“Help yourself, son.  And while you eat, I’d be interested in hearing what’s going on in Tar Valon these days.  Haven’t been up there for a few years.”

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