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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Sam

Silence of the Lambs!

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The shining walls of Tar Valon were magnificent, breath-taking, awe-inspiring—rotten and corrupt. Talon observed them as he again walked through the streets of one the great city, openly and without fear. Tar Valon was the audience chamber of the ‘light’, the White Tower its throne: two symbols of the endless disease aes sedai represent. They were meddlesome and manipulative in ways he might only dream of doing. He admired them in a way: they would commit the ultimate sins to preserve what they believed in and so would he. Only the veneer of righteousness and truth displeased him. Why hide?

 

He knew the Jester was here, through the dream he had observed that much. Where precisely was unknown to him, and after scouring Tar Valon in the dream turned little up in the way of information, other than an enjoyable distraction, he chose to come in the flesh. For all its gifts Tel’aran’rhiod did follow certain unhelpful laws and principles, which he himself was unable to breach. Not a complete loss, he would not attempt to kill Jester in the dream again, but in the flesh, and this pre-emptive arrival saved him some time.

 

Tar Valon was more than Cairhein in every way, bigger, more populated, and wealthier, not to mention the distinct lack of Aiel presence but it lacked a certain something: the smell of home. He could not help but long for the humble streets of his upbringing as he travelled further into the town, his disgust for its opulence growing. As they said: there is no place like home.

 

Jester was an extrovert with a strong personality. Talon doubted that he would attempt to remain hidden for long, if at all and suspected that he would be housed in the most obvious of places. He would be well-known, well-liked, and no doubt have a string women. It was only a matter of time before Talon found him, and when he did, his quest for vengeance would be completed, more or less with the frustrating exception of Rakel, whom he could not discover.

 

It was only too likely that he would eventually find someone he would recognize, but who that person was, was definitely a pleasant surprise: the woman from Tel’aran’rhiod, the meddlesome one who took it upon herself to ruin his fun—and with children! It made sense that she would be here, though she was clearly no aes sedai, else she would have brought the power against him; they always did in the dream, at least once. Foolishness, really. Talon decided he had time for one more distraction, and so he followed her home.

 

Slipping into a house without waking any of the occupants was not difficult. Two main things were required, good planning, and luck. He could have waited outside the house for a week without sleeping and it would not have increased his chances of coming upon them in their sleep. Instead, he waited until he judged the hour most likely favourable and stole into the house.

 

Mother’s were the most difficult to fool, the births of their children heightened their awareness and they could wake at any moment, their minds finely tuned to wake at the smallest sound of disturbance. This did not worry Talon, who was more than secure in his own capabilities.

 

Navigating through the house in darkness was not difficult. There was less variation in the layouts of buildings than people imagined. More often than not furniture was arranged more or less in the same way as anyone else might do it, centred on a room’s dominant feature or set for a specific purpose. A good assassin remembered this. Self-control was also essential to maintain silent footsteps and balance and remain consciously aware of each forward movement.

 

He heard the children first and waited. No companioning mothers’ breath came too. He crept closer. His intention had been to simply kill the mother and leave the children to whatever fate The Great Lord granted them, but she was not in the room, and he now had the opportunity to teach her a far greater lesson.

 

They lay before him, their bare cots emphasising fat, pink bodies wrapped in swaddling. So young and inviting that it made him smile. His hand hovered over the smallest body first, his hand fastening on its throat. There would be no opportunity to scream. Small, pink fingers grasped vainly to his wrist, the tiny body trying to fight off his invasion. It was useless and already he began to feel the struggles easing, the life energy of the boy being released into the cool night air.

 

The other took no more energy than the first. Although his struggles were greater, Talon’s body weight pinned him to cot, while his powerful fingers squeezed every last ounce of life from him. The most notable feature of this young death was the way the boy’s lipped drooped as he tried to cry for his mother. Tried in vain.

 

The deed was done and the mother did not stir. He could kill her too, if he wanted to. No, better that she happens upon the lifeless, self-soiled, corpses he left her to find; yes, the greater lesson. There would be no clues. Once she was given enough time to properly exhaust herself with grief, in Tel’aran’rhiod, the truth would be revealed.

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Spirit

(Watch the green. . .)

 

 

 

 

Clutched tightly to the katana within  her palms, her eyes tightly closed desperately trying to shut all that was within her mind. Confusion. Broken. A form of void that was merely an evanescent whisper of the past. Haunting her dreams, This dream. It clung tightly to the heart of all that she knew and loved, torn so very far away from her. Not even her marriage could bring it back.

 

The Inn Keeper gazed up at the murky sky that swirled around her in its unmade form. It begged her to, pulled at her, taunted her to create within this world the memories of the past. All that had been once a solid formation, a cornerstone of her life. The world of Dreams demand of her to create the forms that it knew she wanted to see. Her silver blue eyes watched impassively as her mind delved the mist, without worry to command with failure. She was in her element, in her place. The one part of her former life that still existed. A place she could still hold sway, and have her imagination soar. Her spirit soar. . .

 

Flicker. . .

 

     |Sharp inhalation. . .|

 

 

The moment Arie had woke that morning a cold sweat cascaded over her skin, causing her light silk night gown to cling tightly to her, had caused her to shiver despite herself. A roaming hand unconsciously touched the place beside her where her husband laid. It was empty. Empty as it had been these past lonely nights since he had been sent to the southern shores. even with his presence she had no doubt that she could have shaken the condescending unease from her shoulders, but without him she felt worse. Dread over the unknown factors, the knowledge of the unknown.

 

The Pattern was shifting again.

 

Pushing her tall lithe body to a sitting position Arie had sat there for a moment allowing the images of her dreams to roll and catalogue as needed. Each finding a place among the chaos that was often associated with Ter'Aran'Rhoid. More often than not with recent years Arie purposely avoided Dreaming. To walk in the dream was one thing, but to allow Dreams to pass over her, to allow her to see what many should not see.. So very close to foretelling, Dreaming pulled at her in such a way that made her ache. Ache for past lives to be renewed and restored. But the price at when she were to gain this was not something she had any desire to pay.

 

It was an ache that slowly drove her mad with each passing day.

 

It was said that an Aes Sedai that was stilled of the One Power did not live long. Either they also went insane from their inability to Channel, or purposely ended their life that very moment without hesitation as to live without the touch was to live without the air one breathed. Frightful and unforgiving was this fact, but she knew how to survive this madness. This creeping insatiable beating of and pulse that was taunting her on the other side of a sliver of glass while her safety catch was off to monitor a much larger fish.

 

The simple fact that she had instilled in any around her was that she had indeed been Burnt Out in the dreadful battle in Arad Doman. Without an Oath to forth truth, to what purpose did she have to lie? That someone of the Shadow had wished her out of the way? What purpose would it serve if none other could. A warder broken, an Aes Sedai unbound, and a small battle lost amongst a far larger more important battle. Her weave was erected and the Light had won.

 

Four years without the touch of the One Power in her body. Four Years of life that would have been but a blink in her otherwise indistinguishable set of years her body had lived was now counted with every mortal breath within her. Four years of a lie that had once kept her safe. Safe from being pulled into the works of the Shadow, of the Light and driven on missions to places she had visited numerous times over the course of her life. To find clues and watch. Always watching.

 

But the Forsaken. . .

 

 

     |A candle that was held in a very steady hand dropped to the beautifully polished wooden floor. Hot liquid wax scattered from it's origin and the flame ignited and burned along each drop, whispering welcome to the scattered debris of children's toys and clothes haphazardly, and foolishly, scattered along the floor.|

 

The Aes Sedai held a Yellow Shawl. There was a string, red and frayed caught along her wrists and that of a shadow. A shadow then multiplied as her screens were muffled and caught within her own breath. Hardly a sound could escape the woman's lips as she scrambled to rip away the entwining red threads that snakes around her neck. The ribbon flickered and bled into black.

 

 

Flicker. . .

 

     |There was not a sound in the room. Familiar soft breaths that had once caught in the air and rippled soft cooing notes were absent. Instinctively, it was a room that held no life save her own.|

 

The day had been live any other. With two small hands holding each of hers, Arie lead Kolin and Kastor closely during her routine walk through the Tar Valon markets. It was not often she brought them into the markets, but her helping hand was not well and could not watch the two young twins that tend to find multiple things to do to make life a little more colorful if their mother or father was not watching them. They had both taken on the looks of their parents one with blue and the other with green eyes and a head of sun bleached blonde hair.

 

They were their parents world.

 

Carefully latching onto them, Arie cave concise and clear instructions to vendors as prices were haggled and purchases were bought. It was not unknown to them that when she was being trailed by two mischief makers that coin would be exchanged the following day. One did not cheat a former Aes Sedai, not one with a reputation as hers, should she ever choose to enforce it. Respected and well treated, the complaints were rare and suited her just fine.

 

Both Kolin and Kastor returned home with their mother for the final time that day. Each with a new toy in hand and bright smiling faces. Forgetting for a moment that their father was too far away. . .

 

     |The cold that swept into her skin was not from the night air. A hand reached out, pausing with hesitation, drawing back the soft blankets she had woven from the forms that now lay in the small little beds that her husband had made in his spare time. Not even a whimper could escape her lips as the forms laid there. Still. Silent.|

 

A child sat surrounded by darkness. A scepter in her hand that was clutched tightly to her breast, a golden crown on her head made of leaves and fresh flowers. She sat there as noises of battle echoed from beyond the darkness. But the little box was safe. Safe for a moment until it started crowding in on her. Her screams and protests lost to the noise outside her shrinking sanctuary.

 

Flicker. . .

 

    |Days. Hours. Minutes. Seconds passed before a word was heard. It was not a word at all.|

 

The aroma from the cinnamon in the sweet rolls that she had only just recently pulled out of her stone oven complimented the Green Advocate quite nicely. It was rare for one to walk in to the Inn without being welcomed by fresh bakery or flora's that may have been clipped from the adjourning garden. A garden that linked more than one building and shared equally between its residents.

 

Today, the children were as rambunctious as they always were. Darting in and out with loud wallops as their mother would gently scold and send them back outside with new twists in terns in the search for the Horn of Valere in the Aiel Waste. Both held very vivid imaginations which led to wonderful recounting of the days adventures at the end of each day. Evenings were a wonderful ending to each day.

 

    |The cry that rang out was almost inhuman, broken and without further definition. It hung heavy in the air without echo or sound to answer the vicious call. Anguish plagued and scarred at the very soul as a mother pulled close two limp lifeless forms. Death had visited that night and had not left the world alone.|

 

The red breasted sparrow sung just a hint off key from a nearby tree. She was joined in by a white wren only branches lower. Together they sung in a harmony that, although a little off balance, flitted well in the dampened sphere in Ter'Aran'Rhoid. Moments later a black flinch added in a new chorus while a the tenor of a gray finch. Voices joined in one after the other..

 

Flicker. . .

 

    |Vibrant colours of gold and crimson casted shadows long and flickering across the spaces in the small room that once held the lives of profound effervescent quality. Diminished and snuffed out as if it were but a delicate candle doused in enormous barrels of rain water. Washed and carried away with the undercurrent of the rivers. The flames raged higher as a body fell to the earth in hopes of being carried away along with the rivers torrents. If death were only so forgiving.|

 

"Sa souvraya niende misain ye." She whispered.

 

Arie stood alone. People surrounded her, shouting and whispers alike surrounded her yet she stood alone among them all as she watched her mediocre haphazardly built life burn to the ground before her eyes. Arie could not look away.

 

Not a tear sparkled in her brilliant silvery blue eyes yet her face was streaked by scores of grief all too fresh to deny. Poised as she was with a straight spine, pulled back shoulders and a high head, nothing of her demeanor showed the inner breakdown of her very spirit and soul as she cried within over what she lost. In one day, she had everything, and in a moment gone.

 

Again.

 

The Wheel turns.

 

    |Flushed and faint a woman stumbles through doorways to the to of the stairs she had only walked up a moment before. A moment, an hour, a life time ago. Flames consumed the whole of the tiered Inn, raging and demanding to take with it every life that had once found happiness and safety within its sheltering walls. Billows of smoke rolled up and down the stairway as she heard her name. Collapse.|

 

Ice.

 

A fortress built of frozen air and snow and a figure stood there untouched by the blistering winds. The room she stood in carried little to no sign of significant fixtures nor any memorabilia to note. A desk of white risen at the front of the room but merely a foot with a single step to allow one to gain access to the larch unadorned chair behind it. Before the desk was a single table that could seat an array of novices but held only 13 chairs. 13 unadorned wooden chairs with a stiff back and hard seat. There was no form of comfort to be found in a room such as this, nor would comfort to be sought.

 

A woman and a Man stood in the room. The man was hazy and held no true form here. The woman. . .

 

The woman was a manifestation of her own likeness. At first. Long flowing blonde hair that had been dipped in ice, her robes were gentle and hugged her thin frame with sleeves that fell, not billowed, along side of her catching even the slightest breeze were there to be one in a room that held no wind. Her demeanor, however, left a question to the similarity as that was were her mirror ended and the glass of differences showed.

 

The two were talking. No, he was talking. She said nothing. She had no need for words. Any in her view would spill their fountain of knowledge at the feet of this woman. There was fear, a vast amount of fear and humility for the woman that stood in the center of this threshold of power.

 

The eyes of the woman turned to her. Acknowledged, she fled.

 

A dream yielded nothing, Arie prayed, but had she walked it, her face would surely have been seen. The dice were rolling less and less in her favour for every step she took in this world. Unsafe.

 

Flicker. . .

 

    |Water, precious water. . . Drink, they said, and it was done for the need to survive. It took her a moment to understand that she had been here before. Fire, broken and something lost forever. Only this time she was angry. Light burn her very soul and sweep her into the Shadows embrace. A hungered passion raged. No more water. There no longer was a need for it.|

 

"Unending, unending. . ." the last of the old tongue lost on her lips.

 

Inevitable, all that was around her woven intricately and has spun into an inevitable spiral of discourse. No longer could she over look or be overlooked. Incapable of returning to one life or the other, she stood there lost. Time no longer important, place no longer of consequence, and life no longer of value. She wandered alone in the streets.

 

Broken.

 

 

 

Arie Yvonne Tarou Ronshor

Motherless

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