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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Sam

Aran isn't getting any!

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Rory Sedai. Fantastic. She didn’t feel very Aes Sedai though, nor Accepted, nor Novice. No, she was the same Rory she had always been with a few minor lessons learnt along the way. Something grander was supposed to have happened, she was sure, some kind of inner transformation upon ascending to the level of full sister that would . . . do something. Instead, Rory Sedai went along as she always had, only now no one told her what to do except for Rory Sedai, which was nice. Oh, and Darienna, but then, some things never changed.

 

All by herself she decided to pursue training in the combative arts and all by herself she had done so. Not quite all by herself she chose Aran. He appeared to know what he was about, and he was a guard of the tower, warder material or some such, not that Rory really wanted one of those, a lot of added responsibility; a lot of added bother. No, she and Saline together could face most anything and they had Lillian if they couldn’t.  What need did she have for an over-bearing and mothering individual with a sword? None, that’s what.

 

Melee combat was attractive in its own way or Rory would not in the yards now waiting for her first training session to begin. She supposed that is what they were called, training sessions. Saidar was more powerful than anything shaped from the bones of the earth, stronger than most things, yet she really wanted to have that, too. She was not the most powerful member of the Green Ajah, far from it, and the more skills she possessed the better she could compensate for this deficit.

 

It was winter still; the air was cold. Rory did not have to see her breath rising to know that, the prickle against her skin was more than adequate proof. She was dressed in pants, sweet, glorious pants, as well as a blouse and shoes and that was pretty much it. A jacket would have been nice but if she were going to be doing anything physically strenuous she would only regret it later; therefore, she decided not to bother.

 

Saline was a little concerned about all this, she knew that. Saline did not trust this Aran fellow, having heard some less than savoury things about his relations with the tower.  She would not give her anything to worry over; there was no reason to do that. Having made a deal with Aran she would see it through and so would he and that would be that. It needn’t be complicated further. It was nice to know that Saline would be looking out for her, or more accurately, keeping an eye on Aran.

 

Aran was late: an excellent start. Where was he?

 

 

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A waterskin in hand, Aran was fairly happy despite everything being as it was.  Earlier, the day before, he'd been substantially unhappy as the Mistress of Trainees had left him with no choice when it had come to taking on another student.  Indeed, he'd been thoroughly put out at the prospect of taking on another student, an Aes Sedai no less.  That meant a painful series of months ahead, or it would have if he'd had any real intention of heeding the Mistress of Trainee's warning to make sure that he didn't slack off.

 

Indeed, he'd taken his time this morning when it had come to, well, everything.  Sleeping in had been glorious, as had the luxurious time he had taken bathing himself and the mess hall!  Why, he planned to tell the woman all about it, in fact she was in his sight now.  She seemed a little impatient, probably because he was nearly an hour later than it should have been.

 

Yes, today was going to be a great day.

 

Smiling as the woman noticed her when he neared, the inevitable question of where he had been and what had taken him so long flowed from her lips.  Yes, she was definitely a touch testy now, all the better as far as he was concerned as he spoke hesitantly.  "Well, you know, I'm a very busy man and there are so many things I have to do.  I was just jam packed full of jobs today that took longer than I thou-"

 

Sighing as if realising that Rory wasn't buying it, Aran shrugged as he abandoned the pretense.  "Alright.  I knew you were here.  You know where I was?  I had a roll.  It was about a foot long, had cheese and bacon and tomato all melted together inside it over a fire and I ate it while I drank from this waterskin here and the roll was delicious, because I knew you were waiting here."

 

"In fact, I have to say that I don't like Aes Sedai.  Never really have, and looking at you I don't think I'll like you either.  You have a flabby arse, you have chubby lovehandles and in a few years your arms will doubtlessly resemble chicken wings.  In fact, in a few years you'll need a bench to yourself just so you have some elbow room for those chicken wings you doubtlessly munch on.  Seriously, do you singlehandedly depopulate farms of their livestock?"

 

Looking her up and down rather obviously, Aran added.  "Do you even know how to run?  Light, if my time is going to be taken up by students, it should be by people that actually have a hope of using a weapon without stabbing themselves.  The only time you've probably even used a blade would be a knife to carve up your last roast pork, the one you ate singlehandedly.  Having said that, I would be surprised if you even bothered with a knife.  You look like you didn't even bother killing the pig, just ate it whole, did I just see it kicking against your stomach in a desperate bid for freedom?"

 

"Ugh."  Averting his eyes from her, Aran added.  "Seriously, am I going to have look at you during this farce?  If I'd known it was going to be so bad, I would have brought a wineskin instead.  Just go away, really, go to the Mistress of Trainees and ask for someone else to train you, anyone else.  I'm going to end up too busy retching in disgust to teach you anything anyway."

 

 

Aran

Tower Guard

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Rory was grinning so hard that her mouth hurt; the last comment made her laugh loudly, and merrily.  It took her several minutes to compose herself from his initial outburst which had been, without a doubt, impressive. Her laughing pains travelled down to her chubby lovehandles. She wondered if he’d made it all up on the spot of if it was rehearsed. Aran almost earned his freedom with that performance. Almost.

 

She may have been twice as old as he was but she still had no idea how to respond. What did a person say to something like that? Uppity like only a sister can was a possibility, as was giving in to his demands and visiting the Mistress of Trainees with a complaint or six. Neither of these options would hasten the training she was really quite certain she wanted.  No, she’d decided: stuff him.

 

“I cannot be saying I no do be warned about you.”  She raised her arms, looked at her belly and then behind at her own backside to make sure Aran was talking a lot of rubbish—he was. “I do be sorry my body no do be pleasing you, but look on the bright side: you no do be doing a lot for me either.  Do be working out for both of us that, as I no do be here for you to look at, and besides, you no do be my type. Sorry. Don’t worry, even if you know do be used to talking with a woman you no do be paying for, I be sure I can run you through the basics.”

 

“My name do be Rory Sedai, but you be calling me Rory if you be of a mind to, or I be tempted call you Aran Tower Guard, maybe.”  That being said, the young Aes Sedai extended her hand on the off chance that her new mentor, and he was going to be whether he liked it or not, we take it and they could get something done.

 

 

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"You can be calling me the Creator and no be offering me your hand, I no be knowing where its been and I no be teaching you, it no be happening."

 

Refusing to take the hand that was offered to him, Aran looked away.  She might have had the humour to laugh and that would have been ordinarily promising, but he really REALLY did not want to take on another student.  He didn't like taking on students, teaching took time even with his particular teaching style that was designed specifically to free up as much of his time as possible.  Others felt compelled to watch a student do their every lap, every single lathe stroke and whatever else they did, not him.

 

No, he really didn't want another student, even if it was an Aes Sedai that might possibly have a sense of humour.  It was just a matter of making her angry, or failing that, being harsh enough with the training that he made her request another mentor who would be a lot nicer and respect her and all those wonderful things that other mentors did with their students.  Nevermind that the babying made them ten kinds of useless, one had to be cruel in order to be kind when the situation demanded it.

 

"Look, I'm sorry, but you're just too ugly.  I have standards, and you fall exceedingly below them.  I bet you do not even shave your armpits.  In all seriousness, you would need to have a talent for it and you'd need to at least look fit and you are neither.  Only going to spend my time on 'worthy' material and you just aren't it.  Go to the Mistress of Trainees, tell her that I have deemed you unworthy of instruction and that you need a mentor that is more likely to treat you with respect, kindness, babysit you and pretend that you're making progress with a weapon while you flail it around like an idiot."

 

Folding his arms, he shook his head at her.  He'd maybe get her to give up before they started, maybe.  "Definitely not.  And so you know, I don't need to pay for company and you know you want it."

 

 

Aran

Tower Guard

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Mocking her accent was one thing, but doing it that badly was altogether another. She winced as he pronounced every deliberate syllable. Rory had expected trouble, she had been warned specifically that there would be trouble and wasn’t so much fazed as amazed that he would continue to try have her on.  Terribly persistent he was. Now, if only he would teach her with the same level of commitment displayed here.

 

She grinned again at the second part of his monologue; especially, flailing it about like an idiot. She fully intended to do that, but again, that is why she was there to be trained. For that little remark she would make sure to come off as useless a student as she possibly could, not that this would be hard. Spite was a wonderful thing if used in constructive ways.

 

When he at last fell silent she simply stared. The last line in particular was somewhat out of place and Rory was unable to decide whether to laugh or . . . what. She chose a middle option, to wear a very genuine bemused expression bordering on a frown. Such a strange thing to say, no doubt said for that reason, as well as the belief that it would be difficult for her to respond to it, which held some truth.

 

“. . . If you do be referring to you teaching me, then I do be supposing you be right in that I want it. If you do be meaning that in any other way I do be having to tell you: there no do be anything you have that I be wanting. You do be having at least one added appendage that I be preferring to do without.  Good? Good.

 

“I could be going and speaking to the Mistress of Trainees if I be wanting, that’s fact. But I assure you I no be asking for a replacement, no sir, you no be that lucky. I be telling, maybe, some of the things you do be saying while you do be teaching me. That way I do be getting to watch and enjoy whatever punishment she do forcing upon you.

 

“Shall we begin now?”

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"Can tell the Mistress of Trainees that you want to smack her buttocks red and raw until she asks for more for all I care."

 

Aran was definitely not happy about this, especially since the Aes Sedai was blithely grinning like an idiot like they had just won a prize.  Yes, because telling the Mistress of Trainees anything would accomplish wonders.  Nevermind that it wouldn't concern Aran in the slightest because he'd done far worse.  With any luck, if the Mistress of Trainees heard she'd remove Aran from the training roster herself, though that was unlikely.

 

And of course, the proud exclamation as to her sexual orientation.  Yes, because having sex was such a vast achievement.  Well, maybe it was in Rory's case, an unkind thought but one spurred on by the woman's unwillingness to avail herself to another teacher, any teacher.  No, now it seemed that he was well and truly stuck with this farce, but if he was going to do it he was going to have to make a half decent go of it.

 

Besides, he could still have fun with it.

 

"In that case, you need a weapon."

 

Turning about, Aran walked away, leaving Rory with little choice but to follow.  But it wasn't the armoury they were going to, indeed they went to the gardens that were on the Tower grounds instead.  If Rory had held any dreams of holding anything resembling steel, they were going to be dashed well and truly.

 

Eureka.

 

Reaching down to a fallen branch, Aran took out his knife and it wasn't long before he divested it of the twigs that came from it.  A simple two and a half feet long, it more than suited the purpose that Aran expected of it.  Sheathing his knife and tossing it to the woman, he pointed to it as he explained the situation in case it wasn't obvious.

 

"That is your new weapon.  In your spare time, you can strip the bark off it and oil it so it doesn't become brittle.  All wooden weapons have to be oiled to avoid that or otherwise they're more prone to snap where the oil helps keep them supple.  You'll be practicing with that stick when I feel you're actually fit enough to use it.  That being said, that will most likely be some time."

 

"Now what questions do you have?  Or shall I return to something vastly more important than your training, like sitting down?"

 

 

Aran

Tower Guard

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Rory held no such preconceptions as Rory had no idea what weapons training entailed, other than the use of a weapon. Somehow, though, she concluded that a branch picked up from the wet earth was not the commonly used substitute for any kind of weapon, except maybe a broom or a mop. On the chance that she was wrong she phrased her question very careful so as not to cause offence. “This . . . ah . . . this do be what I am going to use? I no do be thinking I be using a stick; possibly a lathe . . . ?”

 

Rory smiled helplessly. There was not a lot she could do without calling Aran on something she wasn’t even sure he had done and she couldn’t really do that without risking more difficulty. She did not need any more difficulty. Rather, an expression born of both utmost confusion and gratitude passed over her face. “Thank you. What type of oil do I be using to keep it, anything in particular or do it no be mattering?”

 

The question was a little pointless but she felt herself compelled to say something and it was the only think coming to mind that didn’t sound ridiculous. She certainly had not expected to be given a stick, and definitely not one picked up off the ground that she had to prepare herself. No point worrying about that though, she wa here for training, after all, and couldn’t be expected to understand everything.

 

“I be having one other question, yes. What next . . ., sir?"  Rory had a sudden prophetic realisation: Aran was going to be the death of her if only he could; she hoped she could avoid giving him that opportunity.

 

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He'd get rid of Rory yet, Aran knew it was possible.  He'd just have to think of something that would drive her to go pester someone else for her training.  There was plenty of time till tomorrow after all, if something didn't come to mind by then he could simply run her into the ground daily until she broke.  That was as simple a solution as any, and it was easier than thinking of something more complicated.

 

Yes, that was definitely looking like a better option.

 

The question about what oil to use simply had Aran raising an eyebrow at the woman who blithely continued on to ask what was going to happen next.  The sir didn't help, it simply served to reinforce his role as the teacher.  But, if that were going to be the case, then a simple sir was not going to suffice.

 

"Do I look like a sir?  I actually do things with my day, unlike people whose names are prefixed with Sir or suffixed with Sedai.  You can call me Master Aran and as for what oil you need you can go to the armoury and ask, they will provide you with the correct oil.  Be sure to work it thoroughly, if that stick breaks then you won't be training with a weapon at all.  Go now and don't bother me again today.  Turn up an hour after lunch tomorrow.  If you're late, then I'll go do something else and you can wait until next week before beginning."

 

Turning, Aran walked away as he called over his shoulder.  "Try wearing something that doesn't make you look so fat either.  And nothing expensive, or so help me you can run about in your small clothes."

 

And that was that for the day with Aran.

 

 

Aran

Tower Guard

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“Whatever you say, Master Aran.” Rory wandered off shaking her head, laughing and swinging the stick about. Aran was without a doubt one of the most difficult people she had ever met, and she could tell that one right off having been considered rather difficult herself at one point. At least he was going to give her training. That was a start.

 

What the whole stick thing was about she didn’t know, but there was no sense in complaining. Certainly she would learn something from it and maybe it was all a test to see if she really wanted training, or something. She doubted it though; he did seem very genuine in his wish to be quit of her. This wasn’t too big of an obstacle for her.

 

If Aran handled a weapon in the same manner he handled trying to get rid of her she couldn’t help but learn something useful. There were some sisters who would not have ignored his jabs so easily. Aes Sedai had a tendency to believe their own mystique and consider themselves above other people, above being criticised, insulted or taunted. Rory considered herself a very lucky woman who was given a gift and then taught to use it.

 

That was that, then. She would return tomorrow, early enough to make sure Aran actually showed, otherwise she would go look for him and she certainly wouldn’t wear anything fashionable, not that she intended to anyway. What a strange thing to say. It was definitely time to grab ale and maybe tell Saline all about her first encounter.

 

 

 

 

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