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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Sam

Illian is mine, bwwahwhahwhahwhah! Attention Arette, dear!

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Emelia awoke. With bleary eyes she wriggled out from her travel cloak, yawned loudly, and blinked rapidly. The sun was in her eyes and she couldn’t see. She momentarily considered the idea of trying to burn the sun but she was too tired; maybe later. Her clothes were a mess; she discarded them. There was no one left alive to see her unclothed body, and if she encountered anyone, they wouldn’t be alive for long. She would find new clothing. Yes.

 

She clambered out from the cocoon she built herself sometime the previous evening. It looked just like her, only bigger, and a different colour.  There were other such statues and a very beautiful throne. After all, she did claim this particular district as her queendom and a queendom needed statues. And parades. She would work on that.

 

She wandered the street, rubble and indefinable pieces of melted substance on both sides.  She scolded herself. Next time she was going to drink a little less. Did she really do all this damage by herself? She decided no, it was someone else and when she found them they would pay. There must be a clothing boutique somewhere. Maybe she should go back for her rags . . . no, no a queen could not be seen in rags.

 

The whole city would be hers once she ousted the residents. No one seemed much to care and there was plenty to burn. Last night she had performed an experiment. Turns out anything will burn at the right temperature. Even water . . . sort of. That actually disappeared which was terribly delightful. One day she would tell Sera that.

 

Ah yes, Sera. Imagine how proud Sera would be of her when she was invited to . . . Emelian, her new city. There was going to be banquets and . . . stuff, but there was much work to be done still. All of these buildings had to be remodelled and decorated. Someone had really burnt the heck out of them. Somewhere in the centre there would be a monument. A giant flame ought to do: something she would find meaningful and appreciate.

 

She found a clothing store and congratulated herself. She had known it was there all along. A few moments later she strolled out wearing a flashy green number. It was sparkly and pretty and the way the skirts swished as she moved was pleasant. Oh well, off to find some food, or maybe more of that delicious ale!

 

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The street looked like a smaller version of the destruction in the Tammuz Square and it made Arette very grim. Illian did not need another insane and evil channeler on loose. The element that had been used predominantly was Fire and that hinted strongly to a male channeler gone wild with the Taint. She would have to go and speak with Master Faringal again and after arresting Marden, she really didn't look forward to it. The hearing would be in just few days but despite that they would have to work together on this case. It had to be a male channeler as no female save for a Forsaken could be this strong with Fire. But Ja'varan was dead, she had seen it with her own eyes, so this had to be something else.

 

Arette cast a worried glance toward the three men with her. She hadn't wanted to take Leon, Luca and Bernd with her in case that the channeler still hovered at the scene. There was nothing that they could do and she would have to protect them in addition to herself, the city and the innocent bystanders - although wise enough people steered clear of the street. But no, the three had refused to stay behind and Con likely would have been displeased if they had, so they would just have to cope. And hope that the channeler was long gone. It was time to ask some questions and shed some more light into what had really happened.

 

Emerging to another street that was quite quiet, she spotted a woman in her mid twenties coming out of a clothes store. She had curly black hair and boyish figure and she did not like a native Illianer. What caught Arette's attention was that the woman was a wilder. And she held Saidar of all things. It made her frown with displeasure and disapproval as wilders were supposed to be subtle and not draw attention to themselves. But if things would go badly, she might be able to Shield her. She was stronger after all. It was too big of a coincidence that the wilder was here now. As unlikely as it was, Arette had to be certain that she wasn't the one.

 

"Young woman! Excuse me." The wilder stopped and Arette walked a bit closer keeping a slightly wary distance. "I am investigating the unfortunate events on that street." She pointed to the direction of the debris. "Were you in the vicinity last night? If you were, did you see anything?"

 

Arette Stavros

Exiled Brown Sister

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Young woman. Emelia giggled. She was older than the oldest normal person, probably. She did not know how her age compared with others of her kind; she and they weren’t suited for each other. More often than not they would attack her without warning and she had no idea why. A burn first, question later policy would have been smart, yet she did look good in her dress and what was the purpose behind looking good if everyone died before getting a look. Her skirts swished several times.

 

Unfortunate events? The other woman looked strange. Some people may have described it as ‘ageless’; Emelia did not understand what an ageless person would look like. To her, the stranger appeared like a doll of porcelain, crafted, fake; unnatural; not a person at all. She knew then, that she looked upon an aes sedai. Having heard stories, but never seen one before now, Emelia always thought she would be afraid, or nervous in their presence. She felt nothing but curiosity.

 

What unfortunate events could the other woman be referring to? She was pointing towards her handiwork and nothing was amiss there. Emelia would know if there was. And then the realization dawned. The other woman was talking about her handiwork; she found this funny and began to giggle behind her hand.

 

“That’s not an unfortunate event, silly, that was me! I did that. Give me time and I’ll have a palace over there. You’ll see. A queen needed a palace, after all and it is a good spot.”

 

 

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Young women often tittered, but there was something in the way this one did it that sent shivers down on Arette's spine. The ominous feeling just grew when the woman giggled like she had said something funny when she brought up the destruction wrought on the street. She listened with disbelief and first tinge of fear when the green clad apparition went on to blithely confess that she had done it. And the worst thing was that Arette believed her. She had to be a Dreadlady, one of Ja'varan's, who envisioned herself to be the Queen. Insanity, pure and simple. And she was holding Saidar so Shielding her was impossible. Arette was only a tad stronger than she but there was no telling of her skill.

 

She glanced quickly at Leon and prayed that he got her meaning. He would have to go and get help, the Asha'man preferably, as there was nothing that Con could do here except get hurt. She had been a fool to come here alone, even though no one could have predicted this. The four of them would just have to make it out alive and she needed to play time.

 

"A queen, hmm?" Arette struggled to keep her voice neutral. She was dealing with a complete lunatic, who had destroyed a whole street by herself, and who was ready to do some more blasting any moment now. Why her? She was no bloody Green or Red Sister. She just wanted to have a peaceful life. "It is an honour to meet you." Please let her not sound sarcastic or just plain out scared. "I have met rulers before but never one like you. If I may ask you, why did you choose to have your palace in Illian? You are not originally from here, right?" Keep her talking and not channeling. She doubted that the woman would let go of Saidar, likely she would get quite agitated if she was even asked to. Hurry slowly, Leon, or this mental might feel threatened.

 

Arette Stavros

Aes Sedai Advisor to the Queen of Illian

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Emelia smiled with a small glimpse of sharp, even teeth. It was not a pleasant smile. Emelia knew a game when encountered one. Emelia liked games. She did not remember how many people she had killed in Illian so far, nor how many she allowed to speak first, but not one person had treated her with courtesy or respect. No, and when a porcelain witch was the first to do so, one was bound to become suspicious.

 

Is this why I should fear her? Unlikely, game-playing was for children. Children—and what was that word—bureaucrats? If that was where the aes sedai power lay, Emelia was going to be disappointed.  They were supposed to be like her, channellers, they called it. She remembered. The old one had harped on about saidar and taints and all sorts. Emelia had paid little attention.  None of that was important.

 

Her thoughts of the old woman led to her death, and awakened desire.  Her cheeks began to warm. Not here! Her inward message went unheeded and the heat spread throughout her body, causing her breathing to become shallow and rapid, her eyes to glisten and her hands looking desperately for something to occupy themselves with.  When her forehead became damp with perspiration and the heat of her body rose as steam into the air she knew she would have to move fast.

 

“Illian chose . . . me, of course. I do not really remember how I . . . got here. But now that I am here, I do not wish to leave.” She waved a burning hand in a vague direction, “They accept me here. I can be myself without anyone . . . chasing me. It is refreshing. There is no one else around, except for you, why should I not rule then, in the absence of all others? I would be a good . . . leader.

 

“I am not originally from here . . . no. I do not remember the city of my birth it was a long time . . . ago. My parents died in a fire, and I travelled a lot . . . afterwards. I may as well be from here as any other place. It makes no difference to . . . me where I hang my hat. Oh, darn. Where did I put that . . . anyway?”

 

 

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The smile was more showing teeth than a friendly gesture and Arette prepared her defense. She would better be ready to embrace Saidar in any heartbeat now. The other woman begun to look quite strange: quickened breathing, feverish eyes and hands fluttering nervously. She actually sweated and was that steam that she emitted? Frightening. She despised herself for actually feeling worried for her for a moment. That was what a good Wisdom did but insane pyromaniac wilders weren't worth wasting concern, they just needed to be stopped.

 

But not yet, she'd need backup. So she needed to keep talking. Soothing words and voice, just like the one she used when her daughters were agitated, might help. So she had been chased. It was no wonder with the kind of destruction she could wreak. Arette would just have to find out if she had some connection with Ja'varan. "A shame with the hat. Where did you last see it at? Maybe you can just get a new one."

 

"And people, other channelers are kind of busy right now. There was some trouble here just few days ago, you see. A channeler who pretended to be a Queen of Illian even when she wasn't. We had to kill her in a quite a battle." And what cost taking down just one Forsaken had taken. So many people dead. "She was burnt alive in fact. I bet that you would have liked that. A shame that you weren't there. You never met her, this Ja'varan or Serashda or did you?" She had no idea how the woman would react to that. Her guess was that she would get either fired up or be amused by someone getting burnt.

 

Arette Stavros

In a tough spot

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A channeller who pretended to be a Queen of Illian even when she wasn't. We had to kill her in quite a battle. The expression on Emelia’s face halted, her body ceased all movement. For but a flicker in time she appeared to consider, watching Arette intently. The hair upon her head began to waver, the hem of her dress caught in breeze without source. No breeze; heat. In that moment Emelia struck.

 

A sphere of heat, discernable as ripples in the air, expanded around her. The roar from her mouth was accompanied by a raw of whooshing fire as the sphere combusted with a surge of flame. Arette, standing too close, was tossed like a child’s doll, as was anything else caught in the blast. The ground around Emelia had been blasted smooth, and in places, glassy.

 

Emelia scanned the area but was unable to ‘spot’ her foe. She could, however, sense the signature of power and knew her to have survived. That was no concern. Emelia didn’t really like this part of the city any way. Through experience she knew that there were only so many places for an enemy to hide, and that those places weren’t nearly as attractive while burning.

 

Random buildings, objects, and even empty spaces, shook with sudden and violent flame. Emelia could reshape the city afterwards if she had to, but she would not be stopped. More fires erupted; magical in nature they could be tied off and required no fuel to burn. Like an abstract painter she splashed red everywhere until wherever she looked was smouldering flame, burnt ash, dripping iron and puddles of stone.

 

She felt desire as the flames rose behind her eyes, awakening her. She wanted to flee, to revel in the shadow of fire alone and without audience. She was not that kind of girl. But before she could give in, bathe her pale limbs in orange glow, she had to eliminate certain threats. Emelia laughed, though she knew the situation was not funny.

 

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