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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Laman's Legacy - Crimson Stains & Black Veils


James
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The new dawn kissed the tens of spears that became hundreds, the hundreds that became thousands, the thousands that moved as one as they converged on the eastern gates of Cairhien.

 

All of them marched with a single purpose, vengeance, vengeance for the crime that had been committed against them.  Prisoners stolen from them in the middle of the night, thousands of their people lying ill in their tents if not murdered by the work of poisoners who had infiltrated their camp, for the deaths of many gai’shain, for the slaying of a Wise One, for the ambushes of their warriors by thieves and cutthroats in a city they protected at the Car’a’carn’s order, a city that conspired with the murdering scum against them.  For Laman’s sin that condemned these Wetlanders above all others, they marched.

 

Penetrating the city without resistance, there was not a single person to oppose them, only the wind stirred upon the walls.  The streets were likewise cleared and an unnatural quiet pervaded them, as if there wasn’t a man or woman to be found.  Indeed, the nearby buildings that were searched revealed that they had indeed been abandoned, not a single soul to be found.

 

Breaking into a number of columns, the Aiel began to spread throughout the city along the main streets, small groups breaking off to sweep the smaller streets in turn.  No resistance, not a single person in sight, every hearth stone cold as if abandoned hours before.  Even as they moved into the Trade and Financial Quarters, they encountered nothing.

 

And then IT happened.

 

A roaring curtain of flame erupted within the city, slicing down the middle of a major street within the midst of the Financial Quarter.  Then another, then more and more until most of the streets the Aiel used to advance were gutted by flame, leaving many corpses in their wake.  Missiles rained from the windows of buildings and the rooftops, ranging from arrows to bolts, flaming bottles of oil to caltrops.

 

The few streets that were not gutted by flame were turned into bottlenecks, Cairhienin of all creeds armed and ready to hold the positions.  Most gatherings of such couldn’t hope to last man for man against the Aiel, but they could bleed the Aiel before falling back and covering their trail with flame and caltrops.  After every few blocks, a new line would form and more streets would be fired and the process would resume itself.

 

Of course, it never enjoyed quite as much success as the initial encounter.  Aiel learned quickly not to stand in the middle of the street and to proceed more cautiously, using as much cover as they could.  Others climbed onto the rooftops to engage the Cairhienin there and to give cover with their bows in turn to those making their way through the streets.  As the Cairhienin withdrew to their new lines, some would occasionally be isolated from the rest by the flames and cut down quickly, yet the lines remained intact.

 

The Aiel being made to bleed for every block they took, the Cairhienin suffered no less.  What their people lacked in skill, many made up for with hatred, a hatred born from having lived under fear so long that fear had become meaningless.  Not compared to the intolerable nature of the reality they had lived under for so long.  Their nation held by their hated foe, those who had betrayed their friendship, ravaged their land twice and even killed Cairhienin within the streets of their capital with impunity.  No more.

 

Although the battle was decided by a number of factors and turns of fortune, a turning point was to be found on a small street as the day approached noon.  A place called Caraf Street…

 

 

* * *

 

“You’re certain?”

 

Getting a nod from Aventari, Aran got to his feet and brushed the grime of the cobblestones from his pants.  He’d been fighting since the Aiel had first sprung the trap, in order to keep their strength up they’d formed two lines essentially.  They’d taken turn rotating, one line would prepare behind the line that had engaged the Aiel, and then they would pull back and the next line would fight the Aiel while the line that pulled back was reinforced with reserves and prepared themselves for the next ambush.  It was also a good chance to get a breather, but it seemed time was up.

 

“You think they are trying to lure us out?”

 

Turning to Rakel at her question, Aran looked to Aventari who responded.  “Yes.  They press on the same part of our line, and it is the point that always breaks first.  The pressure there means we have to throw our best there, if our best break then our force will break.  By the same token, if we lop off the head of the snake, the snake dies.  We shut them down there, we can turn this battle.  Rip their heart out, they will falter.”

 

Looking down the street where men were preparing themselves for the next attack as they barricaded the buildings they were taking refuge in, Aran bit his lip as he thought on it.  “I don’t think we can win this battle, brother.  Even if we manage to break the Aiel spearhead, they will return and with Asha’man.  We can’t stand against both.”

 

“And we won’t need to.”  Aran saw a rare thing on Aventari’s face, a smile.  “Victory isn’t exterminating the Aiel, victory is winning our city back for our people.  Sometimes you have to step back in order to step forward, lose in order to win.  But if we shatter that Aiel spearhead, we save lives, we blunt the Aiel and they will withdraw, regroup, that’s more time for the Dragon to arrive and rein the Aiel in.”

 

“And what if he doesn’t?”  Aran frowned.  “What if the Dragon chooses not to intercede?  Chooses not to rein the Aiel in?  And the Aiel get to the docks where we are still sending people across the river?”

 

“Then our people will be massacred and Cairhien will cease to exist.  Better to die as Cairhienin than to live as a captive people, as nothing.  And if there is anything we do well, its play the Game.  This time we play for all or nothing, Cairhien will live or die at the toss of the dice we have made, and now we must toss the dice to see whether we can spare our people the worst of it.”

 

Aran chuckled grimly, going up against the best the Aiel had to offer was going to be suicide, for both sides.  “When did my brother become such a patriot?  People will wonder how Cairhien’s most notorious assassin ever became the man to lead rebellion against the Aiel.”

 

“When the Aiel pretended to be any better than me.  Come, we have work to do.”

 

 

* * *

 

WHOOOSH!

 

“CAIRHIEN!!”

 

The war cry sounded by Aventari was taken up by all Cairhienin; Rogue, Son of Cairhien and those who had simply chosen to fight on this day alike as they boiled out of the houses onto Caraf Street and loosed missiles from the rooftops at the Aiel below.  Cut off from their fellows by a great curtain of flame that sliced the crossroad in twain, the Aiel who were isolated were quick to move to the sides of the street and raise their bucklers while others took cover behind them with their bows and arrows.

 

Suppressed by bolts and other missiles from the rooftops and ambushers in the buildings, the Aiel weren’t able to concentrate on the charge directed at them.  Missiles flying between both sides, arrows and bolts, daggers and hatchets, flasks of flaming oil were also hurled at the Aiel as the Cairhienin who spilled into the street from the bottom floors of houses and charged the Aiel line.

 

Some fell, but others closed the distance and it wasn’t long before Cairhienin steel exchanged blows with Aiel spears.  There was finesse and brutality in equal measure to be found as some of the finest fighters quickly tore into each other, the cobblestones beneath their feet quickly becoming slick with blood and littered with corpses.  Amongst the fighters, the leaders of both Cairhienin and Aiel seeking out the other, thinking to finish it once and for all.

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Bragen pulled his sword from the corpse of yet another Aiel, and looked for his next target. The whole street was a mass of confusion, a press of bodies and a deafening noise that made no sense. Another Aiel detached from the throng and moved toward Bragen, thrusting forward with his spear.  Bragen countered it easily with his sword, Parting the Silk meeting the thrust and pushing the spear aside. The blade quickly slashed up in Low Wind Rising and the Aiel barely defelcted it with his buckler. The Aiel, staggered by the force of the blow he blocked, gave a clumsy thrust once more, and Bragen was ready for it. He stepped aside from the spear easily and the Aielman's eyes widened in shock as The Swallow Rides the Air opened his throat.

 

Bragen stepped aside, letting his latest opponent fall. He watched as nearby an Aielman made short work of two of his former brethren in the Rogues. One of them was his best friend Rael. He'd make the ignorant savage pay. While he was still distracted Bragen launched into the jumping spin attack known as Thistledown Floats on the Whirlwind, aiming to take the Aielman's head. He'd pay for daring to place foot on Cairhien soil.

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OOC: my apologies for the delay, man. i had to build fence all day on Sunday. it was unexpected, and i am sorry. but hopefully, you're not too pissed.  ;D

 

 

Too many Aiel had already died this day with the cunning, and ruthlessly efficient, sneak attacks that the Treekillers had sprung on them. Their ingenious stratagems had taken the Aiel completely by surprise, and the dead had piled up swiftly before his spear brothers and sisters had adjusted. Since then, the tide of the battle had turned, but the outcome was still in doubt. The Car’a’carn’s insistence that the Aiel only respond to those who attacked them first made things into a bloody morass of street fighting, house to house, roof to roof, with no way of knowing what the next corner held until you stuck your head into the hornet’s nest.

 

It was brutal, and the butcher’s bill rose swiftly on both sides.

 

The clan chief, Ghaul, had decided this was the place where the turning point of the battle would be, and Cor led the hammer that would fall on the Oathbreakers like an avalanche.

 

He danced the spears while the pipers played. Moving as fluid as water, he spilled blood more freely than he would ever think to do with any other liquid. He washed the spears in the blood of countless Treekillers. The tiny Cairheinin were like fevered rats, minds riddled with fear and anger, they were striking out at anything they could until they woke from the horror that must be the dream they lived. Still, thousands of rats were vicious, even if most were as unskilled with a blade as he would be with a sail.

 

As his spears kissed the body of yet another Treekiller, he burst into the open and saw a short, but incredibly thick Cairheinin slice open a Stone Dog’s throat, the last gurgled breath of life escaping but unheard in the din of battle. The man looked like an anvil, and he shoved aside the body of the Aiel like it was nothing.

 

Cor had no time for mourning, as two more Oathbreakers attacked him from opposite sides, he rolled out of their path, coming up with a backhanded slash across one’s hamstring. As that one fell, he parried the other’s thrust with his buckler, and spun down the man’s arm. Looking him square in the eyes, his spear entered below his chin and tapped the inside of his skull. Shoving the corpse aside, he finished the screaming man who was holding his half-severed leg with a mercifully swift spear thrust to the heart.

 

Only instinct saved him, as he dodged aside from the attack of the flying Cairheinin Anvil. Somehow, the two of them had entered into a wide, vacant opening in the conflict, and angrily hot brown eyes from the powerful Treekiller met the icy cold blue eyes over the veil of the much taller and lankier Aiel.

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Guest nephitess

IC: With his sword, Larms defended him self. The Aiel was quick and He was out of breath. The fighting had been going on for hours. Fire rained all around and the dead filled the gutters. Parrying a thrust from the Aiel spear, Larms stepped back and tripped over a body. Still holding his sword he was able to block a hit that would have been deadly…then like a flash a familiar form jumped over him and took the Aiel's attention from him. Getting up quickly, he saw the face of the dead person he had fallen over. Sadness filled him as he knew the face. It was his childhood friend, Malten.

 

They had played as boys charging around with toy swords. Playing at battle and war they though they were heroes. Little did they know then what a devastating thing war was. Blood, pain and sorrow filled the battle field. Anger welled up in him like a volcano ready to erupt getting steadily close to the explosion every second.

 

Mere seconds later he saw the Aiel who he was just fighting with fell his companion. It was enough to push the boiling point. With a yell he took his sword and ran for the black veiled vermin. 

 

 

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Ripping his dagger clear from the sternum of the corpse as he shoved off into another man that sought to take advantage, Aventari smoothly crouched low beneath a thrust from the left as he replied with a vicious hack.  His hatchet sinking into the man's kneecap and lodging itself firmly, he didn't bother trying to keep hold of it but instead let go and pulled another from his belt as the Aiel fell, only to be finished by Tessa.  That was paid little mind in turn as he snagged an Aiel's buckler with his axe and, yanking it clear of the man's body, stepped in close and ran the man through with his dagger before shoving him off into another opponent in turn.

 

There was little thought put into the process of killing the Aiel that came within reach.  For Aventari, killing was something he had done all of his life, no real mystery or aversion to it.  Life was fragile to begin with, and the lives of the Aiel as far as he was concerned were worthless.  Well, perhaps not to prophecy, but he had lived through the first Aiel War as a child, he'd seen the destruction that had been left in their wake.  Not just the city, once a jewel without peer that had now been cast low, but the very people of Cairhien had forever been changed by the incursion.

 

Never had Cairhien been defeated so thoroughly, and never had experienced a betrayal that was keener than that of the Aiel.  Of all the nations, it was Cairhien alone that had given them any sort of assistance.  The Cairhienin people had never broken their bond with the Aiel, there had been but a single man who had done so and Laman's sin was used as a justification for war against those who had been friends.  There was nothing crueler than a betrayal by a friend, for one man's crime everyone had paid the price.  Barbaric, base and despicable, those were a few of the many words that came to Aventari's mind that were synonymous with Aiel.

 

Not that Aventari pretended to be above despicable acts, indeed, he knew that by the common man's morality, he was someone who would ordinarily be viewed with fear, disgust and mistrust.  An assassin who killed for coin and managed the largest underworld empire in the Westlands was not exactly someone who commanded respect and love.  But then, he never pretended to be better than what he was.  There were many excuses he could have used for what he did, but he did not, he had embraced the life that he had been given.

 

The Aiel on the otherhand, twice they had ravaged their city.  Twice they had made the city theirs, but this time they would not keep it until they wished to relinquish it.  This time they would be forced to leave, they would pay for the crimes they committed against his people and Cairhien, his city, would stand on its own two feet once more.  That or his city would die on its own two feet, proud and unbowed, rather than dying the little death until it was but a whisper, a hint of a memory of something that was once strong and worthy of remembrance.  Strange thoughts from a man who killed for naught but coin, but Cairhien was his home, he would have no other.

 

There he is...

 

It only took a moment to recognise the man who was but twelve feet away.  Ghaul, the Clan Chief of the Aiel, the man that he had been searching for the moment he had become embroiled in the melee.  Smoothly slitting one man's throat and lodging his hatchet in a maiden's chest in succession, Aventari began to work his way towards him, his brother's and sister's protecting his approach as they pushed forward, killing anyone that came near them even though two had already fallen.  They would not, could not, stop now, not when the quarry was near.

 

 

Aventari

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Bragen scowled as his slashed missing taking the head from his opponent. Landing beyond the Aiel, he spun around and fell into the basic guard stance Lion on the Hill. Seeing the Aiel readying to fight he let himself laugh with contempt.

 

"So savage, you think you can take me? Let's see how fast my sword can find your gut."

 

The savage said nothing, as Bragen knew he wouldn't. Bloody Aiel never let themselves do anything fun.  With a snarl he leapt at the Aiel, his sword flashing in The Wood Grouse Dances, short, quick thrusts and feints as he tried to feel out this new opponent, feeling for weaknesses.  The Aiel fought well, with a smooth quickness that showed great skill.  Bragen knew he'd finally found himself an even match, and he didn't like it.

 

Bragen decided his only chance was all out attack.  "CAIRHIEN!" he cried at the top of his lungs, and began with Low Wind Rising, aiming a slash at the aielman's middle that was turned aside by a quick spear block. With a growl on the return swing he launched into a series of powerful overhead thrusts called Striking the Spark as he tried to overwhelm the Aiel.

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The underbelly of a bloodsnake could hardly have been redder than the splashed cobbles upon which he walked. Scorch marks decorated the outer walls of buildings. Arrows—broken and intact, swords and spears lay scattered amongst the dead and dying. What alarmed him was the number of Aiel corpses and the number of Aiel among those who would not live behind the day, twitching and squirming beneath the feet of the combatants. Muad had no intention of willingly committing himself to the front lines of this affair.

 

The Car’a’carn might well be destined to lead the Aiel to glory; thus far all Muad had observed was how easily they could lose to determined commoners and Wetlander rabble: and they were determined. The Aiel were the superior warriors, siswai in hand, shoufa bound—clearly, but no one had told the enemy this and they fought with a passion Muad had never encountered in tree killers.

 

The vanguard was for the brave, the young and the stupid. Let them test their spears against Wetlander steel; he was content to remain safely out of the thickest pockets of combat. Twelve was the number of lives he had taken by defending himself when necessary and targeting only those who were already distracted by combat.

 

As a member of Cor Darei, fighting in the face of the sun was not his preferred method. Perhaps he would return with a band of his brothers under the cover of the stars. Thus far he had fought with caution foremost and he would continue doing so, aiding his brothers in their times of need, or wherever an extra spear would lessen the danger of defeat.

 

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A spear gliding over her shoulder as she drifted slightly to the right, Rakel threw herself directly into the Aiel, crashing into his buckler but it wasn't his chest that she stabbed for.  Her dirk finding his right armpit, she reached for weapon arm with her free hand even as he began to fall.  Spinning as she pulled, she swung the corpse into the legs of an Aiel who tried to get the drop on Aran who was engaged with another and was in turn killed by Karli who was shadowing Aran's movements, making sure that anyone got behind him didn't get the chance to take advantage while Rakel guarded his left.

 

It wasn't that they could pick each other out by sight, all of them were garbed in simple black cloth that hid all their features save their eyes, mouths and tips of their noses.  Ontop of that, some of them wore armour, though not the like that was found on the normal battlefield.  Dark leather bracers and shin guards, items that could easily double as weapons and some also wore jerkins though she was not amongst them.  It could have been considered a mockery of the Aiel, in much the same way the Aiel were mockeries of decent people, but then she was half Aiel to begin with so she supposed she was the greatest mockery to be found.

 

Leaning back as a spear thrust at her chest, Rakel caught the spear and as it was pulled back, she followed it and planted her dirk in the man's hand.  Ripping the spear from his grasp, she thrust it up with brutal efficiency through the man's jaw and into his skull.  Yanking it free, she briefly sparred with another Aiel before opening his throat and lodging the barbaric weapon in another savage's sternum.  Drawing another dagger from her belt, this one a little heftier than her previous dirk, she didn't hesitate to toss it at the next man before her before throwing herself at another man barehanded.

 

This one was smart enough not to use his spear and instead shunted her with his buckler.  The punch that he leveled over it caught her cheek solidly and as she reeled back he responded in turn as he shed his buckler and tackled her.  Her back smashing solidly into a wall, her head whipped back into the stone but she managed to keep enough sense of mind to slip to one side, otherwise the steel that followed would have spilled blood instead of sparks.

 

Scissoring her legs, she caught him by the back of the knees and caused him to fall though he took another swing as he tried to sheathe his blade again.  Catching his hand with her own, her entire body jacknifed as she drew the attack aside, the blade breaking on the cobblestones from the force of the impact.  She barely got an arm up as, turned to the side as she was, he attempted to slip an arm around her throat to strangle the life from her.

 

With only a hand free, she grabbed his two smallest fingers and with sharp cruelty broke them with a single twist.  Pivoting and lashing out with her other elbows as the grip relaxed, the blow caught the man across the temple and knocked him to the side.  This time he got no chance to strike again, a chop at the base of his head disabling him with a sickening crunch.

 

Relieving a dagger from the man's belt, Rakel didn't hesitate as she threw herself back in the fight once more.

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Loosing another arrow, Adeline cursed as it flew just shy of its target.  Or rather, the treekiller crouched just in time for it to caress his hair.  Still cranking his crossbow in complete disregard for the melee that was being fought at the other end of the rooftop between a few of his fellows and some of the Cor Darei that had made their way up there.  Nocking another arrow between her curses, that one find its mark as she caught the man in the shoulder.  It didn't matter that the shot in itself wasn't fatal, the force of the impact knocked the man backwards and he lost his footing, tumbling out of sight and no doubt to a sickening impact on the other side of the building.

 

Not that Adeline's thoughts were consumed by the corpse's nosedive, indeed, she didn't think at all.  All she did now was feel, feel sheer rage at what the Treekillers had done.  Ever since they had taken Cairhien and driven the Shaido away, claiming the fifth as they were entitled, they had done their best to help the sorda.  They patrolled the streets to keep people safe because so many of their soldiers had died against the Shaido, they sought to maintain order and peace because that was what the Car'a'carn wished of them.  Even despite the fact that the ones who called themselves Cairhienin were unworthy.

 

No, despite their animosity they had done the right thing, yet the Treekillers attacked them.  Their thieves and their leaders alike struck from the shadows in the night, indistinguishable from one another and little to distinguish them to begin with.  They ambushed then hid away amongst the others like cowards, unwilling to show themselves for what they were and using their anonymity as a defence because the others would not point them out.  Whether because they were afraid of the Rogues or them, it didn't matter, the fact was that Aiel died every night because of their silence.

 

And this morning...  So many of her sisters dead or incapacitated, barely able to breath and having to be tended to by the Wise Ones, a number of them likewise deceased or barely holding on from whatever poison the Rogues had secreted into their camp.  Not only had they done so, they had also stolen away the prisoners from under their noses, as if to give an insult to the vast injury done to them.  No more, the Treekillers were a degenerate race, ruled by the worst traits that were possessable and unredeemable to the last.  First Avendesora, now this, there was only one thing left to do, destroy them utterly so what good there was in the world could flourish.

 

Loosing another arrow at another mark from the rooftops, Adeline's satisfaction at finding her target was lost as she felt a massive fist punch her left leg.  Spinning on her right, it was only when she hit the ground that the agony of the blow sank in as a shameful scream escaped her lips.  A bolt, it had punched right through her leg and its barbs sat against the inner thigh, everytime the bolt moved in response to her it sent a new wave of agony through her body.

 

Feeling hands grasp her beneath her arms and others craddle her legs, Adeline savagely bit her lip as she suppressed her instinct to howl as she fought the pain.  She almost succumbed until the jarring impact of being set down against a nearby wall gave her new clarity.  As one man ripped the left sleeve of her cadin'sor clear and used it to bind her leg to slow the flow of blood, another gave her the bow she had dropped and for that she was grateful, even if she didn't realise who it was.  Retrieving another arrow from her quiver as the men left her, it was with will that she pulled back on the string and released another missile at the snipers above.

 

She'd fight until she woke from the dream.  Kill every last one of them.

 

 

Adeline Naroqua

Far Dareis Mai

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Parrying the wasp like stings that his opponent served him, Luc retreated a couple of steps, encouraging the man to chase only for his head to be shorn from his shoulders by the Arc of the Moon that his grandfather quickly served upon him as the Aiel from his blindside.  The next one overeager, Luc scored the man's thigh after a brief exchange as the Kingfisher Stoops, the man hobbling back behind his comrades as another quickly took his place.  Wincing as the man's spear left a neat cut along his right forearm, he intensified his attack and with a powerful blow his sword bounced off the edge of the buckler that was raised too slowly and took the man's left eye and nose which erupted in a spray of blood and bone as the man fell to one knee as he raised his buckler over his face.

 

Sweeping the man away with the Low Wind Rising, Tower of Morning angled slightly to the left as he swept the next attack aside to then as the Ribbon in the Air left his blade tinged with a new coating of blood.  The fighting style was different to fight against, but a short spear was a poor match for a sword in the right hands.  He'd ben training all of his life for this, for even as he'd taken up the sword to one day be a swordmaster, in his dreams he had always hoped to avenge his lost uncles and a mother who had died giving birth to him, a mark of shame and the proof of a crime that had stolen his mother's life nine months after those of his uncles.

 

It was a random thought that came to Luc as he struggled with another Aiel, this one far more careful than his compatriots.  What if his father was amongst those he was fighting?  Would he recognise him?  Luc doubted it greatly, and to be honest, if his father was amongst those before him, he would not have hesitated in the slightest to slit the barbarian's throat.  His grandfather had told him many times, how full of life he was, how he got it from his mother, how she'd been so full of life until Cairhien had fallen and the city destroyed.  She had never been the same again, because of what one faceless bastard had done to her.

 

It was a cruel reality to know that if his father had not raped his mother, he would not have come to be.  A focal point of a very real pain that had been with him since he was old enough to appreciate why his mother wasn't there, and why he was at part to blame.  The half of him that was the degenerate and base was also the part that made him so distinct, alien, that ensured that he would never be accepted for what he felt, for what he believed in.  That his great height and blond hair marked him as much an Aiel as the spear wielders he fought, only his clothing and choice of weapon outwardly revealed him to be different.

 

It was that cold rage that helped give him focus as he fought, that left no room for doubt in his mind that what he did was right as he clove a man's hand from his arm and ended his existance by disemboweling him with a disgusting ease that betrayed all too clearly the fragile nature of life.  They had their people to defend, they had their city to reclaim, they had their very identity and pride to fight for, the thing that made them what they were.  He had only his grandfather, the last of his line who had lost all of his children to the Aiel to protect, he had to live and survive because he was all that his grandfather had left.

 

But if the wheel wove a fatal fate for him, then he would not go alone at least.

 

 

Luc Alneau

Bastard Scion of House Alneau

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Cor waited coolly for the Anvil, as he called the man in his mind, to come to him. This foe was no easy meat, else he’d already have lain cooling on the ground like so many of his brethren-in-arms. The taunt was boring and deserved no response, although the tall, young Stone Dog would have enjoyed hearing something amusing. These wetlanders have no sense of humor, he acknowledged  randomly in his head, in the moment before the Anvil’s muscles tensed for an attack.

 

The shorter, thicker man’s initial attack was nothing more than a series of feints, probing for weakness. He is careful, admitted Cor, as he calmly parried, giving nothing away, and refusing to step backward even a single step.

 

“CAIRHEIN!” the Anvil bellowed, and with a tremendous swing upward that would have cut him in two had it touched anything other than air, charged toward him. But not patient, sighed the Aiel discontentedly. That is your mistake, Treekiller. Time for you to wake from the dream.

 

A series of powerful overhand blows rained down at him, the bulging muscular forearms and wrists sweeping the sword through the air with a frenzy that would have lopped his head from his shoulders without giving the blade pause. If the steel touched him. But then, it was the Treekiller’s problem that he didn’t succeed.

 

The straight-ahead, all-out assault was certainly furious, but Cor calmly shifted his feet, and turned out of the path of the powerful charge, ready to wash his spear with the blood of the Oathbreaker as he passed by, out of control, and thus out of position. But the Anvil was more agile than Cor had given him credit for, and managed to parry his spear thrust at the last possible moment.

 

Smiling behind his veil, his blue eyes twinkling happily at the worthy challenger, Cor moved in to end this dance.

 

OOC: feel free to end this if you want to, bcxanth

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Bragen scowled as the Aiel refused to rise to his taunts. He knew it would be that way, but it was still one of the things that annoyed him the most about the savages. They were emotionless bastards.

 

His attack foiled by the Aiel's quickness he turned aside a return spear thrust and dropped back into a defensive stance, considering his options.  The Aiel he'd fought before now had been easy pickings, but this one was tough. He could almost respect him for it.

 

He felt himself tiring. He wasn't used to fighting for this long, but the Aiel didn't seem to be showing any signs of fatigue. This needed to end quickly, or he was dead.

 

Low Wind Rising, his sword starting low and arcing up toward his opponent's chest. The Aiel parried the stroke easily, as he knew he would. He changed stroke in midswing, launching into Wind and Rain, a series of short jabs and overhand overhand blows, trying to catch an opening in the Aile's guard. The accursed savage was too quick though.

 

The moment of truth came.  As he attempted to launch into Whirlwind on the Mountain, his blade seeking the savage's neck, he realized he'd made a fatal mistake. As his blade flowed toward it's target his foot found a loose cobble and he stumbled. That was all the opening the Aiel needed.

 

Swiveling to the side, the spear sliced up and took Bragen's hand off at the wrist. The Aiel quickly followed through, the spear twisting in mid stroke to slice open Bragen's throat.

 

Clasping his remaining hand to his throat, Bragen gurgled as blood began to flow down his chest. He staggered, his mouth moving in one final attempted insult toward the savage. He staggered again, and fell face first to the ground. Blood quickly pooled around him, and he didn't move again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

  ooc: Ok, I waited for long enough. Time to post and what's comming is comming

 

 

  The roaring flames behind them told Ghaul that his hunch was right, the treekiller did mean to use what the men of the Band of Red Hand called Divide and Conquer. Immidiatly all that could be thrown against a man was thrown against the Aiel who were caught within the walls of fire. However, the treekillers seemed to underestimate the Aiel as much as the Aiel have underestimated them. It was now the time to exploit that advantage. The second wave of the Aiel would have began it's roof top advance by now, and it was up to the first wave caught in the melee to serve it's purpose.

 

  The Aiel clinged close to the houses, bucklers raised to cover the ones who fired upon the treekillers. From this close, there was not much of a difference of the weaponry, the composite shortbows the Aiel used and the crossbows the treekillers used both left fighters dead decimated. The battle has becomed just what Ghaul feared it will become - a bloodbath. What he had in mind now had to be done and done quick. So he tore out the left sleeve of his cadin'sor, revealin the Dragon tattoo on his arm. The creature reflected the light of the fires and was like a beacon, announcing to one and all the position of the Clan Chief. And the treekillers were well aware that this tattoo ment. Several were killed for copying that tattoo, and the Aiel who did that were later hanged as the laws of the Car'a'carn dictated. And soon, the tattoo had it's effect. A group of people detached from the main body of treekillers and headed their way. Dressed in all black, they were cutting their ways through the ranks of the Aiel with ease compared to the other treekillers. And by the looks of it, they were heading for the group of society leaders around Ghaul. Well if they were looking for them, they would not have to wait. With a few gestures in hand, the group was on their way. The colision was head on and echoes of steel were heard from those in the vicinity.Shortly  the cries of wounded and dying on the city streets were joined by cries of wounded and dying on the rooftops, the second wave of Aiel have arrived, and all was yet to be decided.

 

 

  Ghaul

 

OOC: As they say, better late then never

 

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Raising his blade before him in time, Luc Alneau's right leg swept back and around as the spear thrust and charge came.  As the spear haft slid across his blade, there was no hesitation on his part as he reached out and grabbed the man's wrist.  Pulling the man's arm high as his blade dipped low, raking across the man's ribs, the returning slash hamstrung the man as the tip severed the flesh behind the Aiel's kneecaps.  Releasing the man's arm as he fell, Luc's final blow was delivered with both hands on his blade, decapitating the man with a disturbingly elegant arc that returned him to a guard position that left him ready to face his next opponent who thought to take advantage of his distraction.

 

Dropping onto one knee as the thrust passed overhead, blade sheared through flesh and bone as his counterstroke seperated the man from his right foot.  Standing up even as the Aiel toppled over, a quick stab finished the man, and Luc had a bare moment's respite to take stock of the situation.  It was butcher's work, there was rarely a chance for finesse within the grand melee that overwhelmed the street in every direction he looked.  Here, a Cairhienin cleaved through an Aielman's spear arm and there an Aiel spit a Cairhienin on his spear, ripping it free from his victim's chest as he moved to his next target.

 

Lost in the flame and the void, while he wasn't capable of emotion, if he had been then Luc would have been glad that Raina wasn't present.  She had seen a few things, but he doubted that she would ever be able to completely comprehend what was going on around them, how cheap life was.  There were many reasons that she had formed the Sons of Cairhien, like the loss of her betrothed, but for him it was different.  He had lost his mother, his uncles, including those whom he had known as brothers, his entire family had been destroyed by the Aiel except for his grandfather, the last of his House.  For him, there was no shortage of reasons to kill the Aiel that stood before him, no matter that their blood coursed through his veins and his visage was much like the ones his foe hid behind their veils.

 

How different he was to his grandfather who was over a foot shorter, so much older and sadder than Luc.  Yet his father fought all the same, his blade matching Aiel spears for each stroke and thrust and leaving barbarians dead at his feet.  Luc knew that he would never be able to live as his grandfather had, surrounded with so much sorrow, and that was why he fought all the harder.  For a land where, if he had sons, they would not die before him.  For a woman he had grown to love more and more, to keep her safe so she did not suffer the same fate as his own mother at the hands of the Aiel before him.

 

An Aiel claimed a Cairhienin's hand and throat with ease.

 

Charging at the man as his blade hung low at his side, Luc parried the thrust aside and dropped his shoulder into the man's chest, sending the man stumbling back a number of steps.  An Aiel attempting to take advantage had his weapon caught as Water Flows Downhill before the Low Wind Rising claimed his hands.  Kicking the disabled Aiel aside, Luc advanced on the other Aiel who was now ready for him, buckler raised and spear waiting.

 

Luc wasted no time as his blade sought the man's life.

 

 

Luc Alneau

Bastard Scion of House Alneau

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There was no hesitation on Aventari's part as he opened another Aiel's throat that stood between him and Ghaul, second only to the Car'a'carn amongst the Aiel.  If he took the man's head, the Aiel could be routed, and it would give time for the Dragon to arrive and rein his Aiel in.  They had caused so much trouble that the Dragon would have no choice but to intervene, that or they would have made a stand worthy of their people, so that all would know that the Cairhienin would not bow to those that perpetuated crimes against their people.  An odd point of view for the master of a criminal organisation so vast that it could be found throughout the Westlands, but everything was dictated by the times.  What else would bring an assassin that was for more at home in the shadows to the forefront of a battle with his family surrounding him, dying to protect him so that he could bring an end to this travesty of justice that the Aiel paraded.

 

His hatchet in one hand and long dagger in the other, as the pair closed there was no time spent on circling as Aventari immediately engaged and trusted his family about him to keep him safe from others that would intervene on the part of their Clan Chief.  His axe meeting the man's buckler firmly, his dagger diverted the stabbing spear in the same moment as he attempted to close, to give the man as little opportunity to use his height and reach as possible and to allow him to use his weaponry to the maximum effect.  Yet his weapons were only extensions of himself, and he fought with more than dagger and axe, using his body in every way possible to attack and harry the man, his feet lashing out and using his shoulder where possible to try and topple the man over as his opponent weathered the attack.

 

One oathbreaker from the group in black took particular interest in the clan chief, not that Ghaul minded. He has long lost track of how many treekillers have fallen before him today, but as a testimony of their number was the blood on the blades of the spears he carried, and on his buckler. This treekiller was different though, if nothing else his hatchet and knife were as bloody as Ghaul's spears. The man initial charge  was followed by a bodyslam, which was countered by the chief of the AIel. The greater height and mass which Ghaul had compensated the lack of momentum so neither man was thrown off balance.

 

However Ghaul was not abput to leave the initiative to the treekiller. A quick burst of stabs made the man in black freeze in his tracks and then attempted pass under Ghaul's spear. A good kick from the clab chief made him change his mind though as he jumped back. When he landed he saw the blade of Ghaul's spear flying towards his head. With a speed of reaction which won Ghaul's appriciation, the man managed to block the spear with his two weapons, but that left him expose to the clan chief's punch which was flying towards his head. The man was quick, and managed to escape the punch in time only for him to counter attack.

 

His hatchet almost catching the man's cadinsor as he twisted, the kick that Aventari then lashed the man with was caught by the buckler.  Letting the right leg he was standing on collapse as the man tried to spit his left leg on the spear, he rolled back and onto his feet only to throw himself forward as the man advanced, a knee hammering into the man's waiting buckler as the Clan Chief took the brunt of the flying knee that was thrown at him.

 

Easily landing on his feet, Aventari immediately rolled to the left to avoid a thrust that would have meant certain death and was on his feet in time to sidestep another attack as he lodged his hatchet in the man's buckler.  Letting it slip from his hand as it remained embedded in the buckler, Aventari ducked another attack as he slashed with his dagger, the tip just catching the rim of the buckler and deflecting it.  His following kick catching a similar attack from Ghaul midair, Aventari advanced as Ghaul did, pushing against the man and using his dagger and bare hand to equal effect to frustrate the larger man to try and reveal a weakness that would quickly end it all.

 

A gasp escaped Aventari as he felt like he'd been solidly punched in the stomach, but he did not stumble back even as his weapons slipped from his fingers.  Looking down to find Ghaul's spear within his chest as he coughed, shock was overwhelmed by a purpose as what reserves of strength he had left returned to him as he reached for Ghaul's hand with his own and pulled himself along the haft of the spear until his chest met the man's hand.  Removing his right hand as his left helped him keep steady, he caught the man's gaze with his own, the Aielman might have thought himself victorious, but even as his life ebbed Aventari was certain that he would find victory from beyond the grave.

 

But he would not go quietly either.

 

Grabbing the Clan Chief's throat with his freed hand, the death grip only lasted several blows from the buckler that drove him to his knees.  Aware of the dark cloth that he had wrapped his face in being pulled away, the sounds of the battle and everything else around him seemed muted as he looked up once more at the man who had killed him, the air freely caressing his face.  Had the Clan Chief expected horns and scales?  What was it like for the Aielman to find his mortal enemy had been nothing more than a man of eminently average appearance, a face that looked no different to any other and was thoroughly forgettable?

 

Not a concern for Aventari as he felt his hair grabbed as he was held upright.  Barely holding onto consciousness as the world darkened before him, he spat on the man's cadinsor in defiance.  He chose for himself how he met his end as the blade before him was raised high in much the same way as he had lived, on his own terms, even as the kiss of death rushed to meet him.

 

Then it was done.

 

 

Aventari

Rogue Guildmaster

 

OOC:  Stani is going to post after this, but essentially Ghaul just decapitated Aventari with a long dagger with a bit of hackage.  Those of you (like myself) still writing stuff, get it written because once Ghaul has his part done, I'm going to wrap this phase up and then get Phase 4 up as soon as possible.

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Waiting had never been her strong point.  Waiting in a safe house far from the fighting while the men and women she had gathered fought alongside the Rogue's guild against the barbarian curse the Dragon Reborn had bestowed on their beloved homeland was far worse.  Her temper was flaring and unlike the Grand Aunt she often tried to emulate, Raina Dulcei had never learned to control her emotions.  Her place was in the fight with the House of Alneau but both men had asked her to stay aside and she had no choice.  Those that could fight were, and her blade was only likely to get her killed.  The skills that had led her to help create the Sons of Cairhein were useless now.  Unless they failed.  If they failed, it would be up to her to find a way to fight the scourge of their homeland some other day, some other way perhaps. 

 

She was not alone in her suffering as other wives and daughters, children too young or the elder who were too weak to fight were sent off to other safe places throughout the city.  Not alone, but perhaps the one that showed the most misery for all to see.  Every life that bleed it's last on the streets was on her hands.  Every child gone fatherless was because she had charged them with the cleansing of Cairhein.  Every breath she took was an endless torture, waiting to find out if she would lose a second fiance to the Aiel who had given him to her in the first place.  Ironic that he should fight his own kindred, hatred instead of compassion from a man that Raina thought to be one of the most gentle she had ever met.  Ironic that while he fought for what they both believed in, she wished only for him to be back safely at her side.  Ironic that her future marriage, arranged to seal the Alneau House to the Sons of Cairhein, had brought her to this place where she would have gladly fled the fight just to keep Luc safely from it. 

 

That was not what the Pattern had weaved for her though.  She had to see this thing through.  So, she did the only thing she now could.  She waited.

 

Raina Dulcei

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Two-handed grip on his long sword, Talon drove the blade deep into the chest of his fallen enemy, even gram of weight forcing it deeper. The savage grasped at the blade in a vain attempt to save himself—coward; the abrasive texture of stone reassured the assassin that this one, at least, would pose no more threat. “Apologies for waking you so early, sir” he spat; the tone mocking as the bow that followed.

 

There was no time for respite as another of the savages moved towards him. Long sword against spear was not the most favourable of matchups; the only buffer against a feeling of shame for how unfamiliar spear fighting was to him was the sense that his opponent was equally disadvantaged. At least, this is what he told himself.

 

He countered a spear thrust but his dagger was too short to take advantage of the brief opening before his veiled enemy recovered. Leading with his long and battering the spear haft with countless thrusts and strikes he waited for the spear to be reset in a way that may cede him some advantage. For savages they certainly held themselves well. Hopefully the other rogues, those entertained by the prospect of open combat were faring better than he. His opponent slipped, of all things, on the blood-soaked stones. It was all Talon needed to lunge forward, the cold steel of his dagger biting hard.

 

Grasping the handle of his dagger he gave it a tug to free it. It didn’t budge. An arrow skittered across the cobbles in front of him, followed quickly by a second that struck the skull of his dead opponent, the shaft bobbing back and forth. He liked his dagger but not quite that much so he darted backwards hoping a slight veranda would obscure his eligibility as an arrow post.

 

Before he realised what was happening a tall, willowy shape launched at him, spear aimed for his torso. His sword came up in time to turn the thrust but the impact still sent him slamming into stone wall, knocking the breath from him momentarily. His new opponent, a female by the conformation of her body, struck hard and fast but the close quarters impeded her ability to strike.

 

It was a wrestling match. Cross guard against spear haft but he was the physically stronger, or was meant to be; that didn’t stop woman from trying to dash his brains against the wall. With a shove he managed to dislodge her but she came back fast, he wasn’t convinced her feet had even touched the ground. Turning this new offensive with his blade he released it, the sudden lack of resistance sending the woman lurching forward. He had time to admire the form of her throat as he rammed her forehead into the wall, repeatedly. That was, until the sun seemed to disappear over head.

 

Talon turned quickly to stare into the belly of the biggest man he had ever seen in his life. “Oh ... you’ve got to be joking.” A foot like a sledge hammer connected with his breastbone; his vision exploded with sparks and his back bounced off the stone. He lost his footing. This new threat held no spear, and it was easy to see why not. Talon suspected one would only hinder his destructive abilities.

 

He rolled out and behind the giant, coming to a stand at his back. In the moment it took him to decide how to proceed, two ogier like hands gripped his shoulders and threw him, effortlessly, into a pile of ... something wooden that broke, there was no time to check. Shakily he stood—that had hurt—and attempted to block another foot with his forearms, they stung so bad that he almost believed they were broken.

 

Speed was his ally and he used it to land several hardy blows; they didn’t seem to have a lot of impact. Again and again he found himself on the ground and he was tiring fast. He lay on the ground, waiting for the inevitable deathblow and when it came he surprised the tall man by wrapping his arms around his neck and his legs around his belly. In response the tall man reared like a horse and sent him crashing back into the ground. Talon wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to walk straight again but he couldn’t loosen his chokehold. Several slams, headbutts and curses later the giant was still and lifeless.  It took supreme effort to crawl out from beneath him.

 

Talon’s eyes were drawn to the centre of the melee. As such things often occurred time slowed and he watched Aventari fall. He rushed forward, heedless, but there were too many standing between he and his mentor, and he was out of time.

 

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Death screamed in celebration, as hundreds perished to please her. Blood fountained the cobbled streets, spilling life’s liquid in honor of the dead and dying, like oos’quai in the tents after too many skins had been drank.

 

In the midst of the carnage, Cor could have been Death’s most fervent disciple, his spears sending soul after soul into the afterlife, waking them from this dream-turned-nightmare. In a cacophony of madness, he was a sentinel of cool composure, like a pool of still water disturbed only when its peace was violated. His fluid movements held a lethal grace, like a blacklance’s strike, and many felt the bite of his spears’ fangs.

 

The battle lines had long since lost their structure, and small pockets of combatants were born, lived, and perished without mourning as adversaries died and others swarmed to take their place. Immersed as he was in the immediacy of the conflict, a part of Cor noticed a man swatting aside Aiel as if they were buzzing  biteme. Washing his spear in the crimson river of another Treekiller’s death, the young Stone Dog saw the tall, blond man dressed in black dispatch a Maiden almost without effort.

 

He is one of us, thought Cor, as he noted the man’s height and coloring. The man was head and shoulders taller than his black-clad companions, like a rooster among hens. He is mine.

 

Cutting through the intervening crowd like steel through silk, his eyes caught those of the Aiel-who-was-not, and saw recognition flash. Today is a good day to die, Cor thought as his buckler caught the man’s sword. The duo fought with the fury of fallen gods, each strike precise and perfect, neither gaining an advantage nor losing one despite the chaos around them.

 

Blades kissed like angry lovers, as time stood still or flew by. One couldn’t be sure in a moment like this.

 

They might have danced for eternity had not the randomness of war intervened. A dying man bumped into the black-clad swordsman, momentarily disrupting his movement. It was all Cor needed. His spear buried itself in the almost-Aiel’s chest.

 

The sudden weight of the soon-to-be-dead man pulled the spear down with him as he fell. Cor, in a strange moment of tenderness, caught him and eased the blond swordsman’s body to the ground, blue eyes over a black veil looking directly into blue eyes in anguish.

 

Looking back, Cor never would understand why he did it, but before he rose to renew the fight, he spoke softly to his strangely similar almost-kin. “I am sorry, brother. But you were on the wrong side. You should never have picked up that sword.”

 

Pulling his spear out as blood poured a life’s hopes and dreams into the dust, Cor turned away, unaware that his foe still lived.

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Pain.

 

Rage.

 

These were the things that threatened to overwhelm Luc as the spear was ripped from his chest.  Having lost the flame and the void with the blow that had narrowly avoided his lungs, rage was all that he had left to draw upon as the Aiel turned away.  Rage for the way that the Aiel spoke of him and his people, to address him as brother when he had nothing to do with the Aiel or their degenerate race save the blood that flowed through his veins.  He had no brothers left, the Aiel were the ones who had stolen them from him, from his family.  A family that was now only him and his grandfather.

 

His foot lashing out, he caught the back of the Aiel's ankles and knocked him clean off his feet.  Already raising his sword as the Aiel fell, there was little chance of the man being able to deflect his counterstroke as he stabbed as the Aiel's back met the cobblestones.  Rewarded with blood as the blade sheathed itself in the man's gut.  The angle left the blade pushing up into the man's chest as it slipped from Luc's fingers.  He still had control, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to focus.

 

There was still enough left to spit on the man as he forced himself onto his knees.  "Rot in the Pit you bastard.  You and your filthy race."  Reaching for a dagger at his belt, he was kicked on his back as another Aiel interceded.  There was no way that he could defend himself from the blow that was to come, and Luc didn't try to turn aside as the spear was raised.  Instead, his mind was only consumed by one thought.  A willowy woman who was nearly a foot shorter than himself, eyes that could be as icy as the harshest winter or warm like the waters of the Erinin and reddy brown hair that she often wore loose.

 

A blur of motion.

 

A scream of rage.

 

The Aiel staggered out of Luc's vision as he clutched his side, with his grandfather entering view.  Feeling arms wrap themselves around him and pull him to his feet as his grandfather held off those that would advance, he noted that his grandfather ripped his blade from the Aiel on the ground none too gently so he would have two blades to wield against those who came against him.  He wanted to tell his grandfather not to worry about him, to continue the fight, but all he could do was lay limp in the grasp of those who hauled him away in the hopes of saving him.

 

Luc was certain that his wounds were too grave, but there was little to be done about it now.  It was in the Creator's hands.

 

 

Luc Alneau

Bastard Scion of House Alneau

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  This oathbreaker seemed determined. Determined to either kill Ghaul or die trying. Well, Ghaul had no intention of dying yet so if this man had a deathwish, the clan chief was happy to comply. The man in black has just avoided a punch from the clan chief, and was on the defensive, but he was far from beaten. Having forced the man back, Ghaul continued his attack. The slash of the spear was sidestepped and it was only Ghaul's reflex of rapidly turning to face his opponent that saved him from seeing the hatchet a bit too close. The hatchet once again dug into his buckler and this time his opponent seemed to have tried a different tactic. Not pulling away his hatchet, he tried to weigh down the buckler, limiting the clan chief's movements and finishing him off with his dagger. Being at disadvantage, the clan chief had to act fast, and so he did. Grabbing the man's hatchet hand, Ghaul put all of his weight in a kick to the man's abdomen. The twisting motion of the kick also saved him from what could have easily been a lethal stab to his throat, it now left a slice on the right sleeve of his cadin'sor. The kick did separate the two man, though both were in an akward position. The man in black was staggering back while the clan chief was half turned with his back towards him. Ghaul's was less akwards, as he could still launch himself against his opponent, and so he did. The oath breaker recovered just in time for Ghaul's spear to pierce his chest.

 

  For a few moment, the stabbed man just looked at the spear in his chest then his gaze turned to Ghaul. And to the Aiel's surprise, the man started pulling himself along the spearshaft, until Ghaul was within  reach. His right hand grabbed the clan chief's throat and it was not until three striked from the chief's buckler hand that the grip was lost. Grabbing the man by the hair and letting go of his spear, Ghaul removed the black cloth around the man's face. The moment he saw the man's features he knew who was he fighting. The gleeman that entered the Aiel camp on the night when the prisoners were freed. Much attrocities were commited that night - a Wise One was killed, and many gai'shan was slaughtered. And even though there was nothing to indentify him as the Rogue's Guild leader, Ghaul was sure that this man was Aventari.

 

  "You lost, Aventari"

 

Ghaul reached for his belt and grabbed the hilt of his knife. The first slash sliced the man's arteries and breathing pipe, awakening him from the dream and spraying the clan chief in blood. The next three ones severed all the tissue, his head not connected to his body only via the spine. The next slash cut the rogue's heads off his shoulder compleatly, leaving Ghaul with a grizzly throphy.

 

It was only now that he looked around himself and picked up his spear. He was surrounded by Aiel warriors, his spear brothers and sisters.The group in black was nowhere in sight, they must've either been killed or pushed back. The Aiel were pushing the treekillers back, who seemed to have suddenly suffered a dire blow to their morale. Tossing the head to one warrior, shouting at him to put the head on the end of a spear and to raise it above the ranks, the clan chief jumped back into the melee. The tides have shifted in favour of the Aiel, but the carnage was not yet done.

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Shaking her head slightly as she came to, the noise of the conflict about Adeline penetrated her consciousness as she opened her eyes.  Becoming aware of the throbbing pain from her leg even as she tried to shove aside the woozy feeling that threatened to take her back to a state of torpor.  Unwittingly let a groan slip, she could still see people fighting on the rooftops, but missiles were no longer flying from the rooftops at the Aiel below, those that were up there fought with swords against the spears that came for them, too close to her fellows and the Cor Darei would be able to take care of those they faced.

 

At least she still had her bow in hand.

 

Levering herself with her good leg and her free hand, Adeline managed to use the wall at her back to get herself to her feet.  Not a good idea as the blood attempted to rush back down into her leg that had been tied off, but she persevered nevertheless, the battle was not yet won and she could not wait and allow others to fight in her stead.  So she inched her way back towards the fray that was still warring fiercely with the wall to hold her up, retrieving an arrow from her quiver and knocking it to her bow as she did so.  There would be an opportunity to make use of herself yet, she just had to be ready for when the time presented itself.

 

Lev.

 

She could recognise him by the shape of his figure and his cadinsor easily enough, facing off against a pair of Treekillers.  He was barely keeping them off as there was no one to aid him, the others tied up with their own opponents as they fought as hard as they could, the sorda fighting harder than Adeline would have ever expected of them to withstand their spears so, refusing to wake from the dream they had embraced, the nightmare they had created.

 

One of them ended up on Lev's spear as the feint the man launched became real and then became his doom, yet the other sought to take advantage as Lev's spear was stuck in the corpse's chest.  There was no hesitation as Adeline brought her bow to bear and loosed her shaft, catching the man's shoulder and sending him spinning to the ground even as he woke from the dream, giving Lev time to clear his spear from the corpse so he could defend himself from the next attacker.

 

At least, Adeline assumed so as she collapsed to the ground, the sudden movement had been without thinking and the pain from her wounded leg was too much as she fell to the ground.  Yet before the darkness claimed her, an indiscernable boom rolled over Cairhien even as the Treekillers ran from the Aiel spears, a tantalisingly familiar voice that escaped her as she slipped away.

 

*    *    *    *    *

 

The turmoil of the Day of Black Veils was ended with the Dragon's arrival in Cairhien.  Finding that the Aiel had taken the battle to the streets of Cairhien itself, there was little to do but call them back as the Car'a'carn, to bring an end to the fighting as his voice was amplified by the power and carried across the city.  The Aiel withdrawing and taking their dead and wounded with them, it was only after the Aiel had withdrawn to outside the city that the Cairhienin in turn went to reclaim their own dead from the streets.  Yet it was not a broken people that did so, even though they had lost the battle.  It was a people whose anger burned even brighter for what had happened, even as they buried or burned their dead, easing the passing of the dying and saving those they could.

 

For too long, the Dragon had concentrated on Caemlyn and the consolidation of Andor that he had not taken note of how things had intensified in Cairhien over the past couple of weeks.  With a bloody massacre on his hands, the poisoning and atrocities against the Aiel as well, the situation was well beyond ruined.  All that was left to do was try and pick up the pieces and put them back together as best he could.  The first step being to approach those who rebelled, yet half the Cairhienin court was missing, either dead or in hiding and the only way to find them would be to send in the Aiel once more, which would precipitate another battle.

 

There was only one peaceful possibility left, and so the word was spread throughout the city.  On the morrow at midday, the Dragon would grant safe passage to any who would speak for those that dissented to surrender themselves before the Sun Throne and plead their case as they wished.  A second rebellion like that which had happened in Tear amongst some of the disgruntled nobility could not be allowed to come to pass.  Enough damage had been done that it was not to be exacerbated further if it could be avoided, every man and woman able to wield a weapon at Tarmon Gaidon could not be wasted now.

 

Yet whether further bloodshed could be avoided would be discovered on the morrow.

 

OOC:  Thats the thread wrapped up, will get the final one up soon :)

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