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Pain was all that seemed to filter through as she was moved into the wagon.  She knew it was a wagon because she had been told before that it would be, but focusing her vision seemed to be too much for her.  She wanted to lash out at her captors, but the necklace around her neck made it impossible.  In fact, the thought of hitting anyone made her violently ill, much to the dislike of the Darkfriends carrying her.  One dropped her arm and as she fell to the floor, kicked her viciously.  The other scooped her back up, being aware of his mistress's gaze, and continued on.  She was placed in the bottom of the wagon and as the movement stopped, so the pain subsided enough that she was able to open her eyes and look at those around her.


Rosheen was looking tired but none the worse for wear.  They must have healed her.  She had felt pain from her Warder even if she hadn't seen anything.  Her own body was unhealed and every breath was painful.  There had been no questions, nothing for her to give away or to fight for.  The leash on her neck was placed without word and as of yet she didn't understand what they had truly been taken for. 


Duram had been true to his word that they would live through it, but he hadn't tried to interfere with their torment.  Part of her hated him for keeping his hands off, but another understood that there was more at work than just him.  She was missing something important, something vital, but her attention was waning as pain flooded her senses. 


Rosheen was pushed towards Aramina and her Warder was beside her then, her hands pulling at Aramina's face to look her in the eye.  She tried to give her a smile, but failed.  She felt a surge of affection for the woman who had sat by her side through all of this, hoping that there would be a time when she could make up for all of this, for not being able to protect her from it. 


The Dreadlady moved closer and Rosheen put herself between them, though they all knew that it would do no good.  Aramina couldn't weave and could barely move.  Rosheen might be able to take on any guard they had, but she couldn't fight the One Power. 


"Why?" Aramina managed to croak out as the other woman came closer.  "Why release us?"



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  • 2 weeks later...

Unbound. The lying, deceiving, devilish bastards had left her wrists and ankles unbound, because they knew Rosheen wouldn't struggle. Wouldn't harm them. Not when she'd seen an apt demonstration of what that necklace could do. That collar. As if her Aes Sedai was a slave that they would trade off as soon as they could. So while her anger was almost enough to overwhelm her worry, and while her muscles were tensed to a point where they'd no doubt start to ache soon, she did nothing. She walked to the wagon on her own accord. She got in without urging. She sat down next to her Aes Sedai, without killing anyone. The spring had been an elusive thing ever since they had first been captured. She had no way to hide her rage and her helplessness from Aramina. Some warder she was. First hint of danger, and she'd allowed Aramina to get captured. Some warder...




The warrior and the Aes Sedai were placed in the wagon, a little less gentle than she had instructed, but it was of little concern to her. As long as the end results were the same. Besides, she couldn't blame her underlings for feeling a little violent. The mohawked woman had given them hell, until they managed to collar her Aes Sedai. The Aes Sedai had given them hell up to that point. After that, things had improved a great deal. She had healed the warrior. She had a long task ahead of her, after all, and Nyssa wanted to make absolutely sure that her message reached the right ears. That was the same reason why the Aes Sedai wasn't healed. She also wanted to make sure that the right message reached those ears. Now it was time for a little more subterfuge. The Aes Sedai provided a decent starting point for the conversation.


"We have no quarrel with you, Aramina Sedai, or with you, Rosheen Gaidin. We merely require your service. You will deliver a message to Sirayn Sedai." The Amyrlin Seat. What a joke. "You will tell her that she is to stay out of Kandor, if she values the lives of her underlings. You may tell her what she can expect if she does send her armies here. We can't use her involvement, and the things that are at play here are too big for her to grasp in any case. Tell her that if she values her position, she will abandon the borderlands. She can only lose more here." She turned to the pair of dreadlords. "You know what to do. Leave them outside of Tar Valon somewhere, and then come back here. We have work to do." She walked away from the Aes Sedai and the warder, leaving them behind in confusion. Duram didn't care about Kandor, or Arafel. What he did care about was the confusion their actions would cause among the leaders of the White Tower, and among the other Chosen. It was a successful mission. It was time to go home. Without further ado she opened a gateway, stepping on the skimming platform. Her children were waiting for her.




"Useless." Rosheen muttered, referring to their situation as well as the comments given by the dreadlady. She talked a lot, but she told them nothing. The Forsaken had taught his pet well. The cart started moving, through some kind of gate. The scenery changed instantly. Rosheen recognised it well enough. Tar Valon, or close to it at least. The wagon stopped. Another gateway appeared, and the dreadlords walked through it, disappearing. She would remember their faces though. She turned to her bondmate again. The pain she felt was easily spotted on her face, if not through the bond. "What now?" she asked. She had to ask. Though she'd been through a lot, Rosheen had never dealt with having her bondmate in the back of a wagon, bound by some strange collar that kept her from channelling.


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What now?  The thought reverberated through her mind, pushing past pain and anger, fear and the terrible guilt at having failed both the Amyrlin Seat and her Warder in all of this.  They were both alive though and close to home.  Whether it was Duram's word that kept them alive or some other intervention she had no idea.  The words of the Dreadlady meant little.  It could have been a thousand things, or none at all.  Words to confuse, or true warnings that they knew would be disregarded because of the manner of their delivery.  Her mind was too foggy still to think clearly and she doubted she would be doing so anytime soon.  At least, not until a proper healing had been done and someone could take off the light forsaken leash around her neck. 


Her hand went unconsciously to her neck and flinched away before she could actually touch it.  She had tried that at first, to take it off.  They had warned her what had happened and had laughed as the pain wrecked her body when she had tried anyway.  There was no pain she could describe it to, except perhaps the fear that the leash would never be removed and she would never be free again.  Tears filled her eyes and she pushed them back, tried to push back the emotions that she was afraid her Warder was reading all too clearly.


She felt at the bond, felt the steady strength there.  She had learned far more about the bond and what it could show her in the last few days and though she knew her Warder had doubts, she knew that there was no better person to be at her side.  She only hoped she could live up to the other woman's expectations.  If they could get her free of the damn leash.  If not... there had to be a way to get Rosheen free of her if it remained on.  She would not keep the woman leashed to a useless woman who could no longer claim to be Aes Sedai. 


The bond gave her clarity though, something tangible in her own mind to help clear her head enough.  "Get me close to the Tower.  If we can get close there are a few sisters that I trust to help us.  You'll have to leave me somewhere and find one of them.  Either the Amyrlin Seat, Lillian Sedai of the White Ajah, or Annais Sedai of the Gray.  Bring one of those three and they will help us."


Even as she spoke the words she was surprised at herself.  Sirayn she had trusted more than any other.  If she had been given time to think about who she trusted most she wasn't sure she would have come up with those other two names, but she found it was unexpectedly true.  Lillian who she had long worked with and even longer watched.  A woman she owed a great deal to after Duram's revelations.  Annais.  How long had it been since she had thought of the woman as a friend?  More years than she had been Aes Sedai if truth be told.  But Annais was not the sort of person to turn her back on anyone in need.  She was perhaps the only person who understood what had happened to the young Accepted Aramina had once been that would explain the cold woman she had become. 


She put a hand up to the collar again, her message to Sirayn Sedai that she could only hope could be undone.  Leashed, like those filthy Seanchan and their damane that she had heard of.  The Leashed Ones.  It was what she had become now.  Light help her.  She had to put her faith in others now.  She had one thing that comforted her though.  She had no doubt Rosheen would be able to find one of the others and she would bring them back.  There was more strength in that woman's will than any she had ever known. 


In a strangely affectionate moment, she reached out for Rosheen's hand and gave a small smile.  "The creator blessed me the day he sent me to find you."  It was all she could give right now, but Rosheen deserved to know the faith and trust she had in her, especially after what they had been through together in so short a time.


Aramina sur Dulciena


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