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Via's Arrival at Tar Valon (ATTN: MoT)


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The carriage rolled through the gates of Tar Valon having just past the bridge he jumped down off the back as it slowed to a stop out front of a modest but respectable inn seemingly populated by merchants from all corners of the land. His aunt had paid the driver before hand and gave him a small purse with 10 silver pieces and a note. He walked off down the streets of this strange new city. The driver called out goodbye but as Via didn't turn he just shrugged and grumbled about strange folk and let him be.


Via walked down the strange road and read his aunt's small curving writing as he walked dodging carts, horses, carriages and people as they came closer out of unconscious awareness as he read,


Dear Via,


With the death of your father due to your actions; you understand, you can no longer stay with our family. It's not safe for you, for me or my son to have you living here where you've been so known to the criminal element. Please accept this small amount of silver I could gather up and let it be some help in starting a new life in your new city. Please do not rely too heavily on your father's sword for it has brought you nothing but death which will eventually be your undoing as it was his. There is a place for people like you in the world and you can do great things... Follow the life of the shield, not the sword.

With terrible amounts of love,


Auntie Sahar


Folding the paper over he put in it his coat pocket. He was modestly dressed in a pair of dark brown slacks and a simple white shirt and dark brown coat with simple arming sword with a blackened wooden grip and a brown scabbard. He adjusted his large knapsack on his shoulder that contained 3 change of clothes and what little remained of his food packed for the trip along with a shaving kit.


Looking up, his eyes widened as he examined the city proper for the first time. Its huge size dwarfed him as he took in its foreign architecture, strange residents and the looming White Tower, standing tall over all like a finger of the creator. It was beautiful, clean and people seemed generally happy. If only everything in life was like it was on the surface...


Shifting his pack on his shoulder with his left hand he rested his right on his sword hilt and walked off through the city in search of a cheap inn to stay at until he could work out his aunt's somewhat cryptic message. At least it was cryptic to him for he knew little of life outside of Caemlyn and nothing of the affairs of The White Tower.

The prospects of living in such a large city were large in themselves; for Caemlyn was large and footpads were aplenty surely a city that made his old home seemed small would keep him busy in his work for months maybe even years as city guards were surly the same the world over doing the best at what they may but often keeping the streets only to a certain level of safety.


He frowned thinking it might take him weeks yet till he learnt his way around a place like this. Getting to know where the trouble spots were and where he could make the most amount of difference. That was his ultimate goal and has been his goal for the last 9 years. Violent men preying on unsuspecting women just like his father who had killed his mother so many years ago. He would protect, he would save.. Maybe this was why his aunt had sent him here. A city of this size offered him the chance to really make a difference.


He realized he was fingering the pummel of his sword and stopped, gripping the wooden grip. He had helped in his own way cutting down the footpads in Caemlyn but surely in a place like this his skills were more needed as was suggested in his aunt's letter.


Stopping in the street his nostrils filled with the scent of fresh steak and pastry as a large barrel gutted man rolled a cart with fresh pies down the road. He wasn't particularly hungry but his watering mouth got the better of him. Strolling over he re-adjusted his pack and forced a smile the best he could, "Just one, my friend" My friend was one of those phrases he found was usually good to slip in before you started asking questions.


Handing over a sliver for the pile he got back a small mound of lesser coins which he casually dropped into his pocket. Being handed the savory he took a bite out of it and almost cringed at its fatty slightly undercooked texture, "Mmm! Just like my aunt's back home...Thank you... Say... working on the streets selling you must have a fair amount of thievery to worry about." The merchant laughed, "Thievery... you obviously are new to this city!" and he trotted off down the road leaving Via there with pie in hand and a puzzled look on his face.


Perhaps he would have to buy a few cheap drinks in a few cheap taverns and see what he can find out about the workings of this city and where the biggest difference can be made. One would think that the pie vendor would be adept to spotting the city thieves but obviously from the hawkers reaction it was worse than it seemed.


It seemed funny to him as he walked through the bustling streets of Tar Valon, why did his aunt emphasize in her letter that she didn't support his work yet send him to a new city where he could 'do great things.' Maybe someone in this city could shed some light on the whys and hows.


That evening he frowned stepping out of a tavern. He’d lost count how many he’d been to but he’d spent half his coins buying drinks left right and center and still the most he had to show for it was a few laughs in his face and the occasional advice to visit a training yard near the large tower at the city’s center. He certainly didn’t want to spend his days guarding city gates but with depleting funds and no family to rely on he might just have to do that. Hopefully hunting tonight might prove more successful. Relieving a footpad of a couple of coins made no difference to him. Stealing stolen money was helping contribute to its prevention. He had always rejected the philosophy out of hand but it may have to be the case.


He shook his head and walked back into the inn, “The Last Stand… the borderline irony…” he realised me must’ve been mumbling as he looked up and saw the inn keeper smiling back at him polishing a shiny steel mug, “decided to stay for another round did’ja?” Via’s head lightly shook and he quietly asked, “Do you have any rooms for rent. I can pay up front.. by the night. Not sure how long I’ll be able to stay…” the Inn keeper’s smile broadened a fraction and he put the mug up on the shelf, “Pay up as you leave, I trust you… You have a look about you…” Via forced a smile and the inn keeper offered to take his bag upstairs.


Via handed him the bag and bowed his head with a quiet, “Thanks” and then slipped out the door back onto the bustling street. The sun was dimming and he thought to himself, “Tonight’s the night.. One way or the other I’ll find what I’m looking for.” It amazed him at how seemingly ignorant people are of the crime in their own city. Some actually spouted, “Footpads don’t exist in Tar Valon” which was about as ignorant to him as wanting peaches for dessert.


First he headed south and hung around what Tar Valon considered dock side taverns which as it turned out were just as well kept as the inner city taverns. He kept to the shadows all night and didn’t even see much of the city guard but there wasn’t so much as one cutpurse the whole night. Dropping down into his bed two hours before sunrise he lay awake puzzling over how a city could be so large and be so devoid of crime.


Yawning and swung his feet out of bed and blinked his eyes several times. He Looked down to find himself still in his clothes from the night before. Thankfully he had had the presence of mind to take his sword belt off before laying down.


Walking over to the a mirror with a wash basin beneath it. He tested the water, which was left for him last night. It was at room temperature but warm enough. Taking off his shirt he threw it on the bed before dunking his head down into the large bowl in front of him. Holding it there for about thirty seconds, he pulled his head out and shook his head with a refreshed joy. He pushed his hair back and raked it with his fingers to get it to sit right. He walked over and found his pack sitting in the corner of the room.


Walking out of The Last Stand, he felt like a new man. Clean shaven and his just above shoulder length hair raked back and still drying.  He cracked his neck and took in a deep breath of air. A new day, a new city. It almost felt positive before he remembered where he was walking. With no crime that he could find and no family he was running dangerously low on money and the only answer that was running through his head was the training yard near the tower that he heard so much about.


Pulling the letter from his coat pocket again he re-read it as he was walking, “There is a place for people like you in the world and you can do great things... Follow the life of the shield, not the sword.” This particular line irked him as he had no idea what she was talking about. But as she’d told him in the past, “The pattern has a place for us all and whether we like it or not we fill in the big picture” As he lowered the letter again he looked up. The tower looked a lot bigger first hand than it did at other parts of the city. He tried to guess it’s height and shook his head almost in wonder. It wasn’t till he looked down he realized where his idle walking had brought him. The entrance to the much mentioned training yard. He wasn’t looking forward to the gate duty it almost certainly involved but it was better than selling pies. At least this way he might get to find out the real trouble spots, convinced there must be some. And hopefully be able to really make a difference, opposed to his failed foray the night before.


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  • 1 month later...
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“I seem to have a rush of young mean wanting to give their lives.” Thera pursed her lips and gave an irritated shake of her curls. Today was another one of her dark days. “ Do you have any idea what it means to train here? To pledge your life to the tower? To be both a sword and a shield?”


Thera paused studying his face, looking for some sign that her understood the seriousness of what she’d said.


“Well, I don’t suppose you do. I was in my third year here before I really new the full weight of my commitments” A glimmer of movement caught her eye and Thera muttered a curse before turning on her heel and grabbing a young trainee by his collar. “Do you have nothing better to do than to gawk at me? If I see you lazing around again you’ll have more than the rough side of my tongue to deal with.”


She turned back to the Youngman. “What’s your name child? Provided you are still interested in training in my yards”


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  • 2 weeks later...

Suddenly as if out of nowhere he was was approached by a curly haired well dressed woman who he assumed ran the yard. He was about to say 'Hello' but before he could offer a fake smile his eyes widened as he took in the enfilade of words like 'pledging your life' and 'full weight of commitments' and 'being a sword and shield'.


She barated a young trainee and then turned her gaze back to him. He readied himself for another torrent self-important blather but aside from calling him child, she limited her wrath to two simple questions: His name and his commitment.


He looked at her outwardly showing a display of respect although he felt none. Not that he dis-repected the woman but he knew better than to judge people on their first apperance. It had cost him a few scars in the past and he had realised this was a woman not to be under estimated or under respected, even if she did see her job as important as the Queens personal guard.


He inclined his head and spoke quietly though he prefered it when he didn't have to when he did it was never loud, "My name is Via Than, son of Meacham Than of Andor." he repressed a sigh at his fathers name as he felt a stab of pain in his heart. He looked up to avoid letting it show he looked her in the eye and nodded gently, "I am still here and willing. My sword is The Tower's.."

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