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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

To Correct An Injustice [Attn Annais]


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Where two or more gathered, eventually rumors and stories would surface. It was human nature, a part of life that was a surety even in this age. Some stories were just that. Stories made to entertain or divert attention, others were sprinkled with information that held value to one person or another. It was this sprinkling that had first caught the attention of the form that stood in the shadow of one of the few buildings with a direct line of sight on the Inn. It had started as a rumor barely spoken, a hushed message passed from one ear to another. But in the end the grim news had indeed been proven true and first hand observation only served to heat the blood further. That fool of a man who had swiped victory from the very hands of all that was beginning to become right had allowed a witch in to the yard. But that was the least of Brent's follies in Linten's eyes. It was not bad enough he had let her in. But she had been given free rein to move about the Black Tower's areas, freely conversing with anyone she choose to spread her poison to. All this and unbound as well. No leash to keep her in line, no shield to protect the men, no compulsion to keep her from causing certain disaster.

 

No the bloody fool had stepped well beyond his double crossing nature regarding the whole Dalinarius affair, when he had taken all that Linten had worked for and stolen it away. Reducing his plans back to the shadows. Once more to figure out a way to releave the controlling directorial force of office and instate a man that could be trusted with the men's best interests. Linten had thought he had found that person in Brent. He himself would never try to take the role of the M'Hael. Far too foolish an endeavor. He preferred to control quietly from the shadows, the master pulling the string of the puppet figure head. To take the position of the M'Hael was to place a very large target on one's back. Something that had never sat well with Linten, only the puppet in this case had cut the string and presumed to think he could run the place on his own. Unfortunately more had fallen in under Brent's banner then he had expected, for a gruff soldier he was turning out to be quite a politician.

 

But to allow the witch such freedom could not go over looked. He had noted how she had begun to find favor with some in the ranks, even the access she had secured to one of the bounded witches in servitude to the Black Tower. It was far too dangerous having her here, loose and uncontrolled. It was past time in Linten's belief that this latest witch be brought properly to heel, as would all her sisters before the Great Last Battle. The Dragon Reborn needed both towers to gain the victory this age needed to survive, and he was going to make sure the witches were firmly in line and at heel when that time came. They could not risk joining for the battle only to be gentled the moment battle was over by those treacherous women. They had proven their colors for years, they had no compassion or mercy for any man that bore the spark.

 

Jade green eyes sparkled momentarily with heat as two people stepped out of the Inn once more. Both were women though only one could channel the other, a Warder, a witch sympathizer really was at her side as they moved down the steps and back out into the yard. No doubt hoping to gain access to yet another one of the witches now in servitude. The slating black shadow from the building at his back cut ridged lines in the hard packed clay of the yard. It bulged at one point and gave birth to a new shadow, smaller in size but perfectly matches to the man who's clothes matched it's dark and unrelieved color. Linten timed his steps to meet the pair just shy of middle ground. He still was not sure what words he would use when they finally met. Most of that would happen as the conversation progressed, and relied heavily on her. If the witch recognized him from descriptions then it would be an entirely different conversation. Working with great concentration he consciously softened the expression on his face and prepared to play a part he despised in others.

 

Coming to a halt just before them and off to the side so as to force there attention away form their original path Linten made a respectable bow, even if it was shallow and rather quick. The likelihood of even bleeding heart Rion offering up the simpering foolishness this woman would have been accustomed to was not likely in the openness of the yard. Besides it was all he could do to complete that without wanting to reach out and grab the woman by the throat. “Good day Aes Sedai. I hear you are looking to converse with members of the tower and perhaps the w, the women bound here.” He glanced around quickly as if trying to ensure no one was watching. He hoped it would be enough to cover the brief hesitation. He had come very close to calling them witches. They were, but it would have ruined the whole facade he was attempting. In his work to obscure his true intent he had even removed the silver sword from his collar that would have marked him with the Dedicated rank. It was safely tucked into his pocket for now. If he could get her away from such openness and prying eyes it would return to his collar. “I may be able to help you with that if you are willing to follow me. I know where one is at work right now.” A false smile pulled the corners of his lips up in a hesitant smile as if perhaps he was more nervous then he was willing to show. Now it was truth time, time to see if his facade was either good enough to fool her for now or at the very least enough to keep her from recognizing who he was outright but enough to invoke her curiosity.

 

 

 

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The three days Annais had already spent in the Black Tower had helped her to get a bit better picture of the place and the people who inhabited it. She and Brent had discussed for hours every day but they had an unspoken agreement that the negotiations wouldn't really be forwarded until she had given the formal apology. Tomorrow she would, she had already decided that. She had prepared enough versions of the speech that it would have to be decent by now and address the most important points. Maybe about half of the Asha'man would meet the speech with stony disapproval and the rest would be tentatively willing to accept what she said. She still hadn't been able to figure out what exactly had happened to Dalinar as no one had volunteered to speak of the topic and she hadn't dared to ask. But there were friction lines and tensions, if only she could work out who and why of it all.

 

But that was why she was going to Rion again to ask if she could speak to Lavinya again. She was worried about the woman, her Gray Sister hadn't been herself at all even though she wouldn't speak of it. Rion seemed like the best possible Bondholder in a situation like this so it couldn't be him. Maybe it was the wife, Jocelyn. Annais had felt her suspicion keenly every moment she had spent in their house. She very much hoped that Rion would be home or her visit would be futile. She likely should get someone to escort her again as she wanted to respect Brent's wishes but Sereth was on his lessons.

 

Looking around the inn yard, Annais barely spotted only one man who stood in the shadow of the building. He walked to meet them half way and from his determination and lack of any pins, she deduced that Brent might have sent him to specifically guide her around. Likely the Soldiers were asked to report later what she did and said but they were still a kinder option than full fledged Asha'man, or Light forbid, few of them hounding her like jailers. The man seemed friendly enough but there was something that Annais couldn't quite put her finger at that set her on slight edge. Had his slight pause and rewording hidden the word witch? His words seemed to be implying that he had come to her out of personal interest but the last part had her hesitating. Maybe Brent had arranged her a way to meet another Aes Sedai. But would he do that after telling her that she should speak with the Bondholders first?

 

"Good day to you too, Soldier. You have heard correctly and I thank you for your offer of help. I am Annais Sedai and this is Tower Guard Mia Stavros", she pointed to her companion. "Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with? And did the M'Hael send you to escort me or is this just personal curiousity? Which one of the Sisters would you take me to see? M'Hael Enios instructed me that I should speak with their Bondholders first so is he maybe somewhere at the vicinity?"

 

Annais Nevell

Usually trusts in the good in people

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Linten's eyes darted to the other woman with Annais and measured her quickly. Warders were a dangerous animal if not properly planned for in advance. He would have to work out a reason for Mia to be separated from them before he could properly introduce himself to Annais. The problem would be what? What might tempt a warder away from their charge? More likely what could convince and Aes Sedai to send their warder away? It was a puzzle he would need an answer to before they arrived at his chosen location.

 

Raising his hands before him as if overwhelmed he stepped back slightly. “So many questions, I wonder if perhaps that is part of the reason so many here do not trust.” A hint of acid threaded around the words and was gone. “Perhaps if we could walk and talk I can answer some of the inquisition you have laid on me. But I believe it would be more trusting if perhaps we shared the roles of questions and answers.” Turning on heel he motioned for the sister and her guard to join him and stepped off at right angles to the path they had been on. He had several buildings and a small clearing to come up with a reason for Mia to depart before they would make the wood line. “I have indeed been sent to escort you Annais Sedai. But really for the most part it is personal curiosity that has brought my feet here.” Personal curiosity as to how well you can mediate your way out of submission in whole. The whole addressing her by title when he knew her true heart's desire was to see the men of his kind severed from the source and rotting in some distant corner of their great White Tower made him want to retch.

 

His glance cut once more to Mia, “it was probably wise to have brought a woman for your shield and not a man. He would not have faired well with those of the yard. Some might even have thought violence against him. But with Mia, it helps to dissuade those thoughts. As she does not have the look about her from the One Power, she will find easier passage among all the men of the Black.” Linten's eyes resumed there casual glancing at the first couple of buildings they were passing. “I suppose you have already been told what most of our meager buildings are used for so I shall not bore you with a repeat. But I wonder if you might perhaps answer me a question in kind. Infirmaries in the White Tower. Here we have little more then a corner in a shed. The few we have with the gift have to move to were the patient is. In your Tower, it is said they have a special building filled with white linen where the Aes Sedai of healing ply their trade and teach others below them in your rank structure. If this is true, are there many that work there to heal those of the Tower and those not?”

 

 

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The Soldier's gaze lingered on Mia and Annais was fairly certain that he measured her as a potential threat. It was understandable in the current circumstances, she supposed but Mia had been instructed firmly to harm no one unless she absolutely had to and even then reconsider. Any further incidents in the Black Tower could be spark to oil and she had gotten enough scare with what Mia had done to Brent. It had been advantageous in many ways but it shouldn't happen ever again.

 

The man's reaction to her flow of questions made her frown slightly but she quickly contained her expression. She didn't like the undertone of his voice and she had been perfectly polite and asked only what was rational. But then not everyone in the Black Tower were like Sereth and Rion. Annais was reluctant to go anywhere with the man until she got some answers at least. And he spoke alot of trust but didn't offer anything of himself or his motives, not even a name. That certainly wasn't a very strong basis to build on. But he was walking on already so after sharing a look with Mia who looked disapproving, she merely shrugged and motioned the Tower Guard to follow. They would stay on sight and nothing would happen.

 

After a moment he finally told her that he had been sent to escort her and it relaxed the Gray a bit. She was slighty surprised by the reaction the man described a male Tower Guard receiving. In a way another female was more dangerous as they could have tied an illusion weave on her to hide and ageless face. But even the most experienced Green wouldn't have been able to imitate the air of menace and clear expertise and unity with the weapon and the woman carrying it. Annais nodded that she had been given a tour and being told what the buildings were for.

 

His line of question definately was unexpected as she wouldn't have pegged this man down as someone who was interested of Healing. But sometimes you couldn't choose and if he had some Talent in the field, the Black Tower certainly would utilize him ruthlessly. "Your description of our Infirmary is correct. There is indeed a separate building for healing and tending the wounded and sick. The Yellow Ajah is one of the smaller ones because Sisters who join it usually have more than just desire to help those with ailing health. To function to their best capability as Healers, Yellow Sisters need some Talent in that area of channeling and rare women have it. Most Aes Sedai can Heal to some extent but there is a limit to it. The Yellows are usually stationed in the Tower and people from all over the world travel to us. But some Healers do journey across the world and many pair up with the Green Sisters in the Borderlands. But yes, the Tower offers Healing to anyone who asks and we even receive pets in need of such attention."

 

"Is there something more specific you would like to know, Master...?" The question about his name was clear. "I will try to reply to my best ability but healing arts are not my strongest suite. And if I may ask a counter question, what fascinates you so with the topic?"

 

Annais Nevell

Gray Sister

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  • 4 weeks later...

Linten listened to Annais's explanation of the Yellow Ajah and there ways. It was even mildly interesting that they accepted animals for healing. But he did get a good deal of information to benefit his future plans. He now had confirmation that the Yellow's mainly operated out of the infirmary and were a small Ajah. Both very good points to note as was the fact that only a handful would be out traveling at any given time. With healing being a rather special gift in the Power it meant that a blow to the Yellow would impede the White Towers ability to wage war on the Dragon and the Black Tower. Ignoring the few birds loose from the cage, those could be rounded up by small hunting parties later, the flock was nested together and ripe for the plucking. A faint smile played across his lips briefly at the thought, lost to his companions eyes as they followed his back. Passing the two building the space opened briefly to three more arranged in an almost semi circle. Beyond them was open ground and garden before filtering back into the thickening folds of trees. It was likely that the fool of a M'hael had warned her to not leave the grounds of the Tower yard. That being the case she would most likely not pass the last row of building. Then there was the guard, how to dispense with the guard without raising an alarm and spoiling the fun he might otherwise introduce this simpleton to.

 

“Healing is a very interesting art if you think on it. Knitting flesh and bone back to one in a broken and battered body. Such gifts should not be taken lightly I would think.” Stopping in the middle of the opening no closer to any given door, Linten spun on heel to face his prey once more. His eyes had settled back to a blankness again. His skill in the art of facial deception was growing but still not the level of an Aes Sedai. Tightness remained around it's edge and spoke of a suppressed emotion. But his control was sufficient to keep that emotion ambiguous; forcing the mind of the observer to attempt to pinpoint which emotion it hid. “As I have indicated, our healers are few in number. Each one a treasured commodity that energy and opportunity must be invested in as we have precious little time.” He forced himself a weak and simple smile to create an illusion of concern over the topic. In reality, it was very true. But there was no way for sure for her to know that unless the bleeding heart figurehead they had placed in control of the Black had spilled out all his knowledge to her already. If not, when he was done with her, likely she would not believe most of what he had told her. “You will wait here while I fetch her from the garden area yes?” He nodded accent while speaking as if to obviously try and convince her of a rightful answer. Sometimes drawing from his simple farm heritage help to create the facade of the simple minded farm boy he had once been. Turning to go he hesitated briefly. “Umm ... Aes Sedai.” Oh how he hated that word. They were slaves alright, slaves to be on knee at the foot of the Black Tower.

 

“I will return with your sister and her,” pausing briefly to ensure he made no further slip of tongue he settled on his wording before continuing. “I will return with the Asha'man and the Aes Sedai bound to him for your interview and permission seeking. On our arrival,” he turned sideways to be able to glance at her in fended concern. “I will escort the Asha'man back to those buildings,” his finger indicated the two they had just passed. “Allowing you time to converse with your sister. Granted the Asha'man agrees to it. But,” once more his eyes fell on the weapon in flesh at her side. “He has lost several friends and almost his life to the hands of those like her that came on your initial attack. It would be wise if she was not in this courtyard when we return. I wish no further blood shed over this already heated situation, as I am sure you do not.” His flat eyes returned to Annais's to measure her acceptance or disbelief. He almost had her now, if need be, the foolish woman at her side could be quickly disposed of. A benefit of so many already channeling in the area for practice. Another brief pulse of light from Saidin would be hardly noticed.

 

 

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The slight unease which cause Annais was unable to pinpoint grew as the answers to her questions were not forthcoming, and they kept walking closer and closer to the edge of the Black Tower grounds and small woods. Her companion whose name she still did not know chattered on about Healing. He certainly wasn't someone she would peg as a person to tend sick but then the Talents were not reliant of suitable personality. Annais mmm'ed politely to show that she was listening and encouraging him to keep talking. He regretted that the Black Tower had so little Healers and she nodded emphatetically as it was the same problem the White Tower had: Healing was a rare Talent indeed.

 

Annais gave no inclination for yes or no as the young man asked her to wait while he fetched the pair. She was still considering backing out. She had gotten no information at all and she didn't know who she would meet. She had an inkling that that was how her 'guide' liked it. Strange, considering that he had been the one to approach her in the first place. There was something buried here and she just couldn't grasp what it was. Or then it was all just her imagination and slight paranoia and she would come across horribly impolite. The boy seemed harmless enough but there was that something that set her on guard.

 

His explanation why Mia should wait a bit further away was logical and Annais found her resistance easing slightly. She wondered if the Asha'man who had suffered such losses at the hands of Tower Guards would even let her to speak with the Aes Sedai bonded to him, but she was quite certain that the man wouldn't do anything to her. It would mean risking the displeasure of the M'Hael and certainly Brent wouldn't let anyone unreliable to remain Bonded to the Sisters as they were valuable negotiation assets.

 

The lack of names and knowledge still bothered her but she nodded at the man. "I understand and I have no desire to cause any confrontations because of past dealings gone wrong." Turning to her companion, she continued "Mia, you should go and wait beyond those two buildings. I will merely converse with the Asha'man and the Sister. And I will stay at sight." Annais didn't expect mutiny in the matter but Mia's behaviour with Brent had been so unexpected that she couldn't be quite certain.

 

Annais Nevell

Gray Sister

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Glee tried to pull at the corners of his mouth as Linten watched Annais give Mia her orders and the warder, if not without certain looks, take her leave as commanded. Things were turning out nicely for the hand he had played at the beginning. Brent may not have the backbone or stomach for what was needed with these witches, but that did not mean the rest of the Tower followed his lead. In fact Linten had begun to hold a nice little collection of ties that he willingly used when he needed to help sway certain plans or thoughts. Brent still held the majority, though thankfully only a handful of those that had backed Linten in the beginning had mutinied with Brent when the old M'Hael had been disposed of. As long as the fool made no seriously fool hearted agreements or covenants with the witches Linten was happy to let him sit the puppet the former had become in the end. The time was not right to outwardly challenge the man. Besides, much more could be accomplished from the shadows, most assuredly while there sat a semblance of honey at the head to draw the witches into those shadows.

 

“Very good,” he nodded his head briefly to Annais for what he hoped would be the last time less he feel the advantage to use it in the future. “I shall return in a moment. Please wait here until I do, it would be unwise to wander here alone.” With the last a slight smirk did appear, but it could hold any number of meanings with his last words. Turning on heel he stepped out at a quick pace for the edge of the building in front of them and disappeared around it's corner. It was now time to put what little time he had into action and see what metal this negotiator was really made of. Slipping the sword pins from inside his tunic, Linten reattached them to his collar and mentally prepared himself for the swift changes that would have to take place at the beginning of their next meeting. Any slips could result in a rather unfortunate incident with the witch. Incidents that would be hard to explain to the present ruling puppet. He knew the weaves well but still took the time to go over then all the same. Taking a final deep breath Linten seized Saidin and fought it's icy currents as they tried to pull him under. With the power of Saidin coursing through him from the singing globe just out of sight he quickly prepared the two weaves he would need initially and then turned back toward the space between the buildings.

 

With the dark look of power and command firmly entrenched in his eyes and posture Linten strode around the corner and into the open space containing Annais. Without hesitation, as his eyes first fell on her again, he forced the shield of pure spirit weave into place followed by a weave of air, it's razor sharp edge pressed firmly into the tender skin of Annais's neck, just short of breaking the skin. “Do not call out witch. Say nothing and offer only reassurance and calmness into any bond you have with that woman else you see the ground at your feet red with your own life's flow.” Dark harsh edges clipped his words and held the tone of his conversation. He left no doubt in presence or voice on who he believed was in control of the situation. “You have two choices, consider yourself privileged, you can step inside that building,” his hand indicated to the far left of the three sitting at the edge of the grounds. “Or die where you stand. Make no mistake those are your only two options, negotiation is not one of them.”

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The bad feeling just grew stronger and Annais almost asked Mia to not go after all. But that would make her look like a coward fool and she couldn't show weakness in front of these particular Asha'man. They wouldn't dare to do anything to her. They might try to foil things with Brent and the White Tower and there would be a backlash but they would harm themselves more. If they did something, Brent would be forced to react and take them out. It was hard to not shift and glance around when the man whose name she still did not know vanished into one of the houses.

 

Annais was getting truly annoyed when the man returned with the sword pin attached to his collar and without the Asha'man and Aes Sedai he had been supposed to go get. She was about to announce that she would leave when she was suddenly Shielded and a harsh edge pressed against her neck. Her first reaction was shock and surprise that he really thought he could get away with something like this. First flutter of fear came when she realized that he likely was beyond caring and possibly insane. It was very good that he thought that she and Mia were Bonded; that misconception might save her life. She held herself deathly still under the blade of Air. It wasn't much of a choice that he offered.

 

"I will go inside", she said firmly forcing her voice to remain calm. She begun to step slowly as he directed her. If he had intended to kill her, he would have done it already. So he likely wouldn't slash her throat for asking a question. Why did he need her to go inside? "What do you think you are achieving by this?"

 

Annais Nevell

Gray Sister

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