Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Laman's Legacy: Distractions


TaeaDawn
 Share

Recommended Posts

Exhaustion.  That's all it was.  She was tired beyond belief.  She hadn't slept well the night before the meeting, she never did.  Too much rode on what they were doing, and it was her voice that spoke each time, to remind the others of the price they had to pay.  Of the price the Aiel had to pay for their savage slaughter of her loved one, of all their loved ones.  Luc was a calming force to her, but even his soothing voice failed to ease her nerves on those nights. 

 

Light, this was unbearable.  Luc at least had gotten away and she could take some measure of comfort in that.  Lord Alneau was captive same as her, but he had been holding up well.  He was an old campaigner, which was why she had chosen him in the first place, and he had likely been sleeping like a baby the night before the meeting.  It didn't help much now as they were sleep deprived and being questioned.  Torture hadn't begun but she had no doubt it would start soon. 

 

Point in fact, she had been removed from the others.  In a tent of her own, she waiting with only a single Aiel watching her.  She knew nothing of the savages to call upon help, or mercy.  Ignorance was weakness, her Grand Aunt has said to her once.  When you know nothing, you let others lead you by default.  She was in that position now and had no intention of staying that way.  But how?

 

The Aiel moved slightly and Raina took a deep breath.  She hated what the savages had been doing to her world, but she was able to keep her dislike out of her voice.  "Aiel?  Is there... can I get some water?" She asked.  she didn't know if he would respond to a request for kindness, but it was perhaps best to see what sort of man he was from the beginnning.

 

Raina

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cor entered the tent just as the captive spoke to her guard.

 

Jerking his head slightly to dismiss the other, older man, the tall, young Aiel looked down into the eyes of the woman who had helped cause so much trouble. As the society leader of the Stone Dogs, he was here to make sure nothing untoward happened to the woman before the Wise Ones and Ghaul questioned her. Many Aiel would prefer that she simply died because then she would cause no more trouble, and an “accident” could easily happen if things weren’t watched carefully. Even he had considered it.

 

He wondered why they hadn’t killed her instead of captured her, but for the time being she was causing no trouble… although who was to say what the night might bring?

 

He had been among the first through the door that had hidden the rebels from sight, and if he wasn’t mistaken she had been standing in a position of prominence. Neither the door, nor the supposed secret location had prevented the Aiel from uncovering the band of murderous troublemakers. And they had dealt swiftly with most of those in attendance. But he didn’t really care what her exact rank was amongst the Treekillers or this rebellious group. He only wanted answers.

 

The raid had only been partially successful, for these little Cairheinin were as sly as sorda and had snuck out a rat hole in much the same way. He supposed that was why they had taken so many captives… to find out what trouble lay ahead.

 

Gesturing curtly to the water pitcher on the floor near a rug, Cor said clearly, with a cordial voice that offered none of the coldness that his blue eyes held. “You may have water. But don’t spill any. I am uncertain whether you will die for your crimes, but I do know that you would be punished for that.”

 

Crossing his arms casually, he looked intently at her as she retrieved a small cup and poured herself a drink. She was like a puzzle where none of the pieces fit. These Treekillers’ actions didn’t make any sense at all. Why were they upset that the Aiel were putting a halt to the crime in their city? In fact, unless he was mistaken, many of the Oathbreaker nobles had sided with the petty thieves and wanton murderers that made up the Rogues Guild in order to resist the Aiel attempt at order and peace.

 

It just didn’t add up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Her eyes widened at the thought of being punished for spilling water.  It proved how barbaric they were that they would punish someone for a simple mistake.  What sort of punishment would they give her, for spitting the water in his face?  She shivered even as she thought it, remembering Luc and what had happened to his mother.  Her sweet Luc who shared a background with these savages but was the most gentle soul she had ever met.  She could imagine all too well what a man like that might do.

 

She took a sip of the water, careful to make her movements slow and easy to see.  She had no doubt that any of the Aiel warriors could have her dead before she even saw them moving and she had no desire to make them do anything.  If she was going to die among the Aiel, she would accept her fate and go with the knowledge that she had done what she could for her beloved Cairhein.  If she was to be tortured, she wanted to know all she could about her advesaries. 

 

She filled the cup again and held it up towards him.  "Do you need water?" She asked, trying to give herself a small measure of control by playing the host for a moment.

 

Raina :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cor calmly watched the prisoner as she filled her cup and drank. He also noted the look of utter contempt and hatred that she flashed at him before attempting to school her expression to one of gratitude.

 

These wetlanders wear their emotions on their skins like a coat, he thought for the thousandth time since crossing the Dragonwall the first time. That these Treekillers hate the Aiel, I can understand for what has happened in the past, no matter how wrong they are for it. But to side with murderers, thieves, and other vile scum is like taking a blacklance into your bed chamber. It just doesn’t make any sense.

 

She offered up a cup of water towards him, wearing what she no doubt thought was a look of meekness. But even a blind man would have seen the vitriol raging behind her eyes. No doubt she assumed the Aiel were mindless savages, and had given no thought to the whole issue facing the two peoples. Not thinking is the Oathbreakers biggest problem, it seems to me, he mused silently.

 

Dismissing her offer with a gesture and nary a word, he peered intently into her face for a few moments before asking a simple question, “How can a noble who is sworn to uphold the laws of her homeland be allied to the Rogues Guild, a group of murderers, thieves, and worse? This would seem to defy the whole purpose of your so-called nobility.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was the last thing she had expected to hear from an Aiel.  How could he asked her about taking arms with the Rogues when they were murdering people in the streets?  She tried to contain her smile but failed miserably.  It was humorous really, to be in a tent surrounded by Aiel, waiting to be tortured by their Wise Ones, as her guard asked her about the morality of the situation.  As if he was on the higher moral ground.

 

"The purpose of Nobility is to do what is best for the good of all.  I might not like the Rogue guild, but in this war we are of the same purpose. We must free our homeland.  You obviously don't see it they way we do," she paused to take a sip of water, "but you murder our people without trial because you say he is guilty.  You rule our streets when you have no right.  Do you truly expect us to sit back and let you administer your savage version of justice without taking up arms?"

 

Raina

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

OOC: sorry for the long delay. real life has been keeping me away.

 

She certainly has courage, thought Cor to himself as he observed her response. Her barely contained “righteous” wrath was heartfelt, if entirely misguided. Of course, a spear can kill just as easily from a mistake as it can when thrown true, he nodded sagely, as he considered his response carefully.

 

“You are completely right, at least in the purported purpose of your so-called noble class, Treekiller,” the spiteful emphasis on the word ‘noble’ was evident. “However, you are completely missing the target with most everything else you claim. You throw spears and care not where you heave them. Your noble position gives you a complete disregard for the damage your blind anger and lust for power creates. I would think a so-called noble, who is supposed to have a higher intellect than the commoner, and a more enlightened view of things, would pay more attention to the world around them. But then, I’ve been wrong quite often since coming to the wetlands.”

 

Pausing, he motioned for her to sit, though her eyes flared angrily at the gesture for some reason. Crouching down comfortably on his heels, a position he could maintain for hours, he continued.

 

“Nobles are supposed to do what is best for the good of all,” the young Aiel warrior quoted. “Your words. Yet, here you are, leading your people into a war that no one wants, and certainly a war no one will benefit from. Do you think that if the Aiel were intent on conquering your homeland we would be sitting in tents while Treekillers still lived, armed and defiant?

 

“I certainly don’t see it the way you do,” he admitted. “We found a city corrupt to the core, with its so-called nobles bickering amongst themselves for power like jackals over a goat carcass while the common folk suffered. The Car’a’carn asked us to maintain law and order, though I don’t understand why he cares for this place. But we have tried. Despite constant resistance and loss of Aiel kindred, we have tried to help.

 

“Now those same nobles are in league with the dregs of this city, murderers, rapists, thieves, and worse, in some sort of noble rebellion against a people who were merely keeping those same murderers, rapists, thieves, and so forth from causing more of the trouble which your leaders refused to stop.”

 

Pausing thoughtfully, Cor looked her in the eye. “What I expected was for you nobles to live up to the title and do your job. If you had, we wouldn’t be here now, because it would have been unnecessary for Aiel to patrol the streets. I don’t have the enmity toward Cairheinin that many of my kindred do, but your sense of right and wrong is enough to cause me to understand their hatred of you.

 

“Tell me, do your allies in the Rogues Guild truly represent what is best for the good of Cairhein?”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I do not claim that the Rogue guild is the best example of what Cairhein stands for, but in this they are doing what is best for their fellows.  Tell me this Aielman, is it better to live a slave to someone else, or is it better to be free?  That is what I had to ask when you and your brethren fell upon our city.  I found that I cannot stand aside and live in fear because of an enforced morality code that I do not share.  You claim to give justice, but it is not Cairheinin justice.  I fight because I believe it is better to die, than to live a craven dog at someone else's mercy."

 

It was all she could do to keep more words from falling out, about the injustice of the Aiel attitude towards Cairhein because of the vice of a single man, or the savageness of their enforced justice with neither trial nor mercy.  Cairhein might be all that he said, it might be a den of vipers waiting to take one another out for their own advantage, but it was that way by the choice of those that had come before them and by those that dealt in those ways now.  They did not try to impose their way on the Aiel.  Could he not understand how the Aiel's treatment was insufferable?

 

"And tell me this Aielman, what makes your people and your ways so much better?  What crimes did we commit that you have not committed unto us, tenfold?"

 

Raina Dulcei

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

“Which question shall I answer first? You have so many. Yet so few answers for someone who is supposedly wise and enlightened, don’t you think? But I will address your queries if I can remember them all…” he chuckled, which only served to enflame the little woman even more. If such was possible. She had courage, this one.

 

Pausing briefly to compose his thoughts, he looked directly into her eyes, his sky-at-noon blue ones alive with the energy of the debate, and the hope that he would be able to help solve this problem with the Treekillers in some small way.

 

“If we had wanted to enslave you, Treekiller, then you would be a slave. The Aiel don’t keep slaves, though if you wish to travel to Shara that could be arranged. They treat outsiders as animals, you see. So you are holding up straw men as warriors with that stance.

 

“Furthermore, it appears you have learned nothing. It was the Shaido who fell upon your city. They would have slaughtered you like sheep in a pen had we not arrived with the Car’a’carn and saved you. Yet you still see us as the same. You are blinded by hate and fear, and see nothing you don’t wish to see. Are blind to anything that would make you think.

 

“We have tried to staunch the rampant violence in your streets at loss of our own life, saving those who despise us even when, if not for the Car’a’carn, I wouldn’t share water with you if I stood between ten pools. Yet, still you resist us and see us as the problem.

 

“You call yourself noble, yet you are far from it.” His tone grew hot even as his gaze turned cold enough to brim the room with frost, as he noticed her complete refusal to accept anything he said as truth. Rising to his feet, he towered over her and said softly, like a knife being pulled from a sheath was soft.

 

“I have tried to talk honestly with you, yet you hear only the wind when I speak. You ask how my people are better than yours, Treekiller, and I will tell you. You have no sense of right and wrong. Your Game of Houses has corrupted your sense of justice. You bind yourself to thieves and murderers and call it just and right, while you call those who have not stolen a single copper or killed any who did not do violence the real criminals. Your world is upside down.”

 

Sticking his head out of the tent to see if it was time for the Wise Ones to summon the prisoner, he returned and returned the Oathbreaker’s glare.

 

“How are we better?” he asked rhetorically.  “I ask you. How are we not?!”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Raina laughed lightly at his words. 

 

"You have not stolen a single coin?  What of the fifth of yours that you took from our people?  It is thievery to our people and yet you ignore it.  You walk among our people and think that because you patrol the streets that we are supposed to suddenly live by your words and your code of honor, by your morality.  I'll tell you this.  Explain it to me.  Explain what it was I did, what in my life deserved your attention, that I am here tonight.  Explain to me how the Aiel see it because I am confused and I would not be so ignorant of a people that claim to be so honorable."

 

She wasn't afraid anymore.  If they were going to kill her they would.  She doubted anything would sway them one way or another.  These Aiel seemed to have made up their minds about her people before they ever walked it and it was only the Dragon Reborn who held them at bay. 

 

"Tell me what it is about you that makes you better.  You answer questions and look down your spear at me, but you tell me nothing of you and how you are better than me.  Please, I would like to hear your thoughts."

 

Raina Dulcei

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“The fifth.”

 

Cor’s voice was soft, yet firm. He didn’t know why he was bothering to continue this conversation when the Treekiller wouldn’t listen, but he would give it one last try before the Wise Ones sent for her.

 

“You call the fifth theft. It is not. Would your Treekiller army take only the fifth from a nation it invaded?” He went on, both of them knowing the question was rhetorical, and both knowing the answer to it. “You would take everything you could, like a jackal stuffing its stomach so full it can barely walk, and you would destroy everything you couldn’t take. Much like Trollocs, in fact.”

 

“You know it is true, as do I. I have read your histories, you see. You also know that we Aiel have taken far less than the fifth from your city. We carry what we take, and we both know that taking that much from your homeland would burden us so heavily we couldn’t run.”

 

Pausing to let the thoughts sink in, if she would let them at any rate, he continued. “Aiel don’t steal. You can leave a bag of jewels lying unguarded anywhere in an Aiel camp, and it will be there when you return. The only way a person would pick it up would be to try and return it to its rightful owner. You well know that isn’t the case in Cairhein, where you even have a Guild of thieves,” he imbued the term with derision.

 

“Furthermore, any Aiel can speak to the Clan Chief, or even the Car’a’carn, unlike your nobles who often have nothing but disdain for mere common folk. Among the Aiel, ability is what grants us leadership and authority, not something so ridiculous as how wealthy our parents were.”

 

Looking at her face as if trying to see into her mind, Cor finally said, “You have a right to be angry about an army conquering your city. But we haven’t conquered you, nor will we. The Aiel who are here now, are only here because the Car’a’carn ordered us to help you. Your claims of theft and dishonor are false.”

 

“If I had my way, we’d be back in the Threefold Land right now. We would have left you to the Shaido, and THEN you would get to live in the reality of those fictional things you claim of us. They wouldn’t take just the fifth. They have abandoned honor. They would make you gai’shain for life. Hate them, if you would hate Aiel. But I think you are totally blinded with hate, and won’t let the facts interfere.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She was liking this discussion less and less.  It wasn't that she agreed with him, though there were some things that were honest about his argument.  Cairhien had it's corrupt elements, but so did every city.  If the Aiel were so far above that, then how were these Shaido even possible?  What about the rumors that said that members of their groups, whatever they called them, were actually abandoning them and joining the Shaido.  Not a happy thought. 

 

But what was sinking in more and more, was that their points of view, their entire lives, were completely at odds.  Talking about things on this level weren't helping her to understand them either.  She took a deep breath.  She needed to understand the Aiel.  She needed to understand the people that had taken control of her city, and now her life. 

 

She decided to take a different tact.  "Tell me about yourself."  She said.  He turned to look at her, really look at her and she smiled.  "I don't know that you and I will ever see eye to eye but how can we reach an understanding when neither of us understand one another.  Maybe as a culture we can't, but maybe as people we can.  My name is Raina.  I grew up in the countryside.  I didn't know much about the city when I first came here.  My fiance died on the walls when the Shaido came."  She said, her smile faltering then.  She hadn't planned on mentioning that.  No more than she was going to mention Luc.  She was fairly certain the Aiel wouldn't understand arranging a marriage as she had, nor would he understand that she actually liked her fiance that by now, it didn't matter that it was arranged.  She was looking forward to marrying Luc.  If only they both managed to survive.

 

Raina Dulcei         

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Cor could tell that she had come to the same conclusion that he’d reached several weeks ago. The Treekillers and the Aiel were just too different to ever reach an accord. Their views of the way things should be were simply incompatible. But she had courage, and she wasn’t giving up simply because of a setback. He admired her for that.

 

“My name is Cor. I am a Stonedog of the Deep Shade sept. May one day we all find peace, Raina noble of Cairhein. But I fear that peace won’t be found until we wake from the dream. And this dream is filled with trouble and strife.”

 

Before he could continue his thoughts on life on this side of the Dragonwall, a Wise One entered the tent. “It is time,” she said. Motioning for the woman to follow her, she turned and ducked out of the tent.

 

Cor took one last chance to speak before his duty was discharged. “If the Light wills it, mayhap we will talk again after the troubles between our people have come to a halt.” Escorting the noble to the Wise Ones’ tent where she would be questioned, Cor left her there and returned to his own tent, pondering the strange twists his life had taken.

 

OOC: I think we should end this here, at least until after the LL timeline plays out. Don’t you? Then, if you want we can do some more inter-cultural roleplay or not, as you choose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...