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Lesons of the Past ((Attn: Edvar.))


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Sereth couldn’t help it; his grin was face-splitting. If he was three hands taller, with long drooping ears, one might have mistaken him for an Ogier. As it was, there was little mistaking a black coated man with a silver pin, but that was a whole other issue. Now, why was he grinning so much harder than normal? He’d sent for Edvar, a man he’d decided to take under his wing. Teach him all that he could, and there were so many other things besides Saidin that he could teach Edvar. Today, he had selected History. What history exactly, Sereth hadn’t decided upon. Still, the boy would walk away with a grander knowledge of what made the world what it was today. That he was sure of, or rather he hoped for. There was always the option that Edvar wouldn’t care… Well, Sereth had his ways to get around that as well.


First order of business however, was setting up a place to learn. He’d decided on the clearing by the forest, it was familiar to both of them. Still, it was hardly a grand classroom, with no place to sit but the battle ravaged ground. As such, Sereth embraced the source. Riding those currents of molten ice, and fighting down the vile taint were second nature to him by now. Still, it never lost its feeling of exhilaration. He doubted there were many other things that could feel this wonderful. All of that however, was of little consequence to the Dedicated, as he began to weave.


For the hundredth time, he wished he were stronger in Earth as he raised twin blocks of clay about five feet away from each other and another four and a half foot block in the center.  They’d do for his plans, as he wove air razors, cutting the slabs of soft clay into the shapes of chairs, each with a slightly arcing back, to follow the spine and an indent in the seat. Lifting the soft clay gently, he wove fire into them to harden the back and bottom. Using water to draw out the moisture from the back and seat, while adding a hint of fire, he created mobile, comfortable seats that would mold to the user. They even had proper neck support.


Taking a deep breath, he cut away huge slabs from the table, giving leg room underneath, and making the entire construct rest upon a thick column in the middle, and supporting the table top with air, so it didn’t curl under its own weight. Repeating the trick with fire, he fired the table.  He wondered briefly if he had time to cut a map into the top, but when he looked up, he saw Edvar approaching. Sighing, he took the slabs of cut, still soft clay, and moved them a good ten foot away, setting them into a crater, weaving a mesh of  water to keep them soft. He might have use for them later.


Releasing the source, he waved to his student. “Greetings!” Sereth motioned for him to take the left seat, while he moved for the right. Settling in, he was satisfied to feel that the chairs were, in fact, quite comfortable. He took the opportunity to catch his breath, while the soldier settled in. “I do hope you like the seat, we’ll have to take special care not to touch these when we practice.  Sereth briefly embraced the source, to push his chair forward, and then released. Finally satisfied with his position, the dedicated rested both elbows on the table, and clasped his hands. “You are well on your way to learning Saidin, and from what I can tell, you are also learning the sword. You are becoming exactly what our Lord Dragon Reborn wants us to be; perfect weapons. Still, I want you and I to be more, much more. I will teach you a portion of what I know of history. I thought it might be fun, to let you ask questions though, what regions history would you like to know? Oh, and ‘none’ is not an answer.” He gave Edvar a wink, and continued. “If it is within my knowledge to do so, I will answer any questions you have. So, ask away, soldier. It’s an order.” Laughing, he waited on Edvar to respond.

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Waking in the barracks for the first time was a bit disorienting. For a moment, he had been unsure of where he was or why. He had quickly recognized the black coats the others in the barracks were wearing though. After washing in the basin and donning his own black coat, he had been about to leave and try to figure out what he was supposed to be doing when a messenger had arrived for him. He was to meet the Dedicated who had trained him yesterday, Sereth, by the forest where they had gone before.


It took him a little bit to figure out exactly where that was again, but now he approached the meeting place. He saw the man close by, standing beside a table and chairs, of all things. He was also smiling quite broadly. Calling out a greeting, the Dedicated motioned for him to take a seat as he himself sat in the other. Curious to see where this was going, he complied.


“I do hope you like the seat, we’ll have to take special care not to touch these when we practice." At the mans statement, he realized with a sense of wonder that the man had created the table and chairs with the Power. He briefly studied them before turning his attention back to Sereth.


“You are well on your way to learning Saidin, and from what I can tell, you are also learning the sword. You are becoming exactly what our Lord Dragon Reborn wants us to be; perfect weapons. Still, I want you and I to be more, much more. I will teach you a portion of what I know of history. I thought it might be fun, to let you ask questions though, what regions history would you like to know? Oh, and ‘none’ is not an answer.” The man said with a wink. “If it is within my knowledge to do so, I will answer any questions you have. So, ask away, soldier. It’s an order.”


He considered what the man had said and thought of what he knew on the subject already. "Well.." he said. "I think I have a pretty good grasp of the nations themselves and the general history of the world. What about organizations though? Perhaps I should know more about the Aes Sedai? Or the Whitecloaks? Are their others I should be concerned about Dedicated?"




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Sereth nodded, it was understandable. "Well, yes, organizations in the world. Wise choice. There are a few that should be at the front of your mind. Though one, I fear, I can only tell you what all know. That being the Shadow, I fear the ignorance we have of them will one day undo us." His voice grew solemn, thinking not of doom, but in truth, of the wealth of knowledge that he could never learn. Oh, the great thinker has run into a wall? So sad... He locked his jaw, slamming the voice into the back of his mind. He was growing coherent. This could turn into a real issue...


Though one for another time. "The others are the White Tower, the Black Tower, of course, the Band of the Red Hand. As we often ally ourselves with them, the Children of the Light, the Aiel, who I know precious little about honestly, and the Wolfkin. The last you may very well have never heard of, yet from what I can tell, they are our allies. They are men and women with golden wolf's eyes, with their nose and ears, and can commune with the beasts. Truly fascinating, and has not a lick to do with the Power. Throws a bit of a wrench into the whole, "The power is the origin of existence" theory, no?" His grin returned, it was nigh impossible to keep him unhappy for to long.


"I'll start with the History of our own Tower, so you’re not out of the loop on any references you might hear. We were founded around a year before the Lord Dragon Reborn pulled Callandor out of the Stone of Tear, by a false dragon whose name isn't ever really mentioned. He was defeated in battle by another man, who also claimed to be the dragon. He was a dreadlord of the highest caliber, a forsaken defeated by Jarron al'Tanin, the Lord of the Morning himself, when he drew the Sword that can not be touched. The second in command, called the M'Hael, you might recognize the title? Swore fealty to the Dragon, and the dragon gave Amnesty to all male channelers. He would have been a rather large hypocrite if he had not, don't you think?" A laugh escaped his thin lips, eyeing his student to make sure he was following.


"The Lord Dragon then began the current chain of events, that I'm sure you've heard at least rumors of. Taking over half the world with the Aiel, fighting all over the place, making decrees that make nobles cry, and pheasants cheer. We are oft allies with the Band of the Red Hand, an elite military group. You'll meet some members more than likely, we even built them a fortress. Friendly with the Wolfkin, and are currently in negotiations with the White Tower, on account of they tried to raid us. They were however, expecting a group of perhaps 50 men." A chuckle rolled out of the Dedicated. Edvar had seen the Farm, there were far more than 50 men.. "We mostly operate in Tear, though our little Farm is outside of Camelyn. Recently our own Attack Leader Arath Faringal struck down a Forsaken with an absolutely magnificent bolt of lightning in Illian. I was a soldier at the time, and can't honestly claim to have seen it. Still, it must have been spectacular, no?"


Sereth sat back, resting his arms on the chair's rests. "Thirsty? I am." He embraced the source quickly, straining water from the air, and using fire to draw out the heat forming cups of ice to chill, and filling with another straining weave. With air he floated the cup over to Edvar. "It's cold, so you may wish to use air to drink from it, or water, or whatever you prefer. Now, back to business. Are there any questions, comments, or would you like me to move on? I find the whole thing terribly fascinating." He lifted the cup with his own flow of air, and took a sip. Delicious.

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He started with the Shadow. An appropriate topic considering where they were and what their purpose was. It seemed he knew little of the forces of the Shadow however, and he actually seemed disappointed by this. Then he noticed that strange look on the mans face, the one he was beginning to associate with madness. A chill went down his spine, but he remained seated, and Sereth seemed to come back to reality.


The man continued and on these other subjects, he seemed incredibly knowledgeable and Edvar gave him his full attention. Even so, he had a hard time keeping up even though he had heard references to much of it in rumor. He had not, however, heard of these.....wolfbrothers. Golden eyes? Communicating with beasts? He kind of doubted it, but Sereth seemed convinced, even fascinated by it.


Then he moved on to the Black Tower itself. He had heard of the Dragon, and some of these False Dragons. He had even been in Saldaea when the False Dragon he had spoken of was rising in power. He had avoided that though, thinking that Aes Sedai would find them and Gentle them. It seemed, from the Dedicateds description though, that they had indeed tried, but had obviously failed.


When Sereth asked if he was thirsty, he shrugged, preferring to continue, but then paused as the man wove Water and created cups made of ice, filling them with water. He accepted the glass, but set it aside. "No, I find it quite fascinating." he said. "Please continue."

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Sereth nodded. "Yes, history is an interesting topic, particularly in a world so fascinating as our own. Wonderful things like the Ogier and the Power, mixed in with the horrible tales of the Shadow and its minions. It'd all make a rather fascinating book." His eyes grew misty for a moment, not his traditional look of madness, but simply loosing himself in his thoughts. He thought of all the tales that he had heard of as a child, fed to him on a silver spoon by his old grandmother. How they had all seemed so mystical, that he could scarce believe a word of it, and just how many turned out to be the complete truth.


He snapped back into reality, apologizing. "When you have a head as big as mind, its quite easy to get lost." I could be your guide.. This time he kept his face schooled, not wanting to let his student know of everything that occupied that head of his. "That is however, almost the entirety of the history of the black tower. We have only been around for a few years, you can't expect us to have such a legendary history like that of our ivory counter-part. Let us start in with another organization of recent birth, or perhaps I should say rebirth. The Wolfkin. Someday, you may be taken to the Citadel, a base for the Band of the Red Hand, and nearby is the stedding the wolfkin call home, in the Mountains of Mist."


He wrapped the cup again in flows of air, and took a long drag, savoring the chill as it passed through him. He wondered who besides Aes Sedai had chilled drinks in this summer heat. It was almost worth the insanity plaguing him. "The Wolfkin are an old thing, I've heard mutterings that they are older than the Power. Yet history seems to have forgotten them and their yellow eyes. I don't know the full history behind the group, only around the time of Manetheren, the Mountain Home. In the war, the wolfkin kept to their rule of secrecy, but let slip vital pieces of information that they and their animal companions had collected. Though, the leader of the Wolfkin was summoned to the King of the Mountain Home's chambers, and my teacher told me, when he left, he carried a man named Korum al Aemon al Caar, a man of royal blood with yellow eyes."


Sereth gave him a moment to absorb the information, he knew he often spoke to fast for people. Or assumed they knew some key point in a discussion, when to often they did not. "Then the Wolfkin fought in the Trolloc Wars alongside Manetheren's armies, and trained with them. When the Trollocs marched on Manetheren itself, wolfkin fought in the battle to save it, and were defeated along with the rest of the men. I'm sure you've heard of how Queen Eldrene used the power to scourge the Mountains of the Trolloc infestation, and from there they seem to drop off radar." He sighed, again thinking of all the information he didn't know. So much history, philosophy, things of the power, all of it. It was truly..depressing.


"Recently, they have reamerged, in the old Mountain Home. I know little of their activities, yet they seem to be quite friendly with the Band, and we have no quarrels with them. I am truly sorry of my ignorance of them. If there are any questions you have, let me know. I could tell you what I know of their abilities, before I move on to the next organization."

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Edvar wondered if Sereth had been a gleeman or a Court Bard at one time. He sure seemed to talk like one. He seemed to enjoy it though, and he could hardly fault that, after all, it was rather fascinating. He stayed silent as Sereth became lost in thought. The man quickly snapped back though and apologized, his face carefully neutral. He wondered what the man had been thinking about that he wanted to hide, but he shrugged it off. He had enough to worry about for the time being.


He was a bit disappointed when the man said there was nothing more to learn of the Black Tower, but he knew that Sereth was right. It was, after all, fairly new. He remained quite attentive however, as Sereth described a bit about the Wolfbrothers. The story of Korum al Aemon al Caar especially interested him though. He had not heard of Manetheran until he had gone to the borderlands. There, it was a respected legend. He had thought though, that the last king of Manetheran, Aemon al Caar al Thorin, had died without an heir. It would seem that the heir had not had anything left to inherit though. A sad story that, but one worthy of respect.


He listened to the rest of what the man said about the Wolfbrothers, but already his mind was moving on to other stuff. "Tell me about the Band, and the White Tower. Though everyone knows of the Aes Sedai, most people seem to know little about them. I would thing that we should know as much as possible about them, being what we are." he said.

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"Ahh, well, I'll save the band for another time, suffice to say, they are an anti-shadow army, and our allies. I had to cut the lesson short, but I know you've got boulder training later today, have fun making things explode." He tossed Edvar a wink, thinking of how many times he'd performed that exercise, and how he hated being forced to use the Power as a weapon. He knew that it was capable of such wonderful things... yet all he was taught was how to kill. It was another hole in his education he thought he'd never be able to fill...


"Your right, the White Tower is one that we should know the most about, and one, I believe the history of would take far to long to teach. So, I shall tell you more of Aes Sedai themselves. I doubt you'll ever run into their own set of initiates and adepts, but Sisters men like you and me are bound to encounter. In fact, I have had lessons in negotiation from a lovely Grey Sister." He laughed, remembering waking Annias at a ridiculously early hour, and making her breakfast to make up for it. "First of all, the Aes Sedai are not a unified group as we are in the Black Tower, for we have only one purpose while they developed many. They are in fact split into several Ajahs, factions if you will, denoted by colors. Each Ajah has quite a different purpose." He made a note to speak slowly, as this was truly important. Some of this information might save his life some day.


"First and foremost, if you ever see that Ageless look with a red shawl wrapped around her shoulders, run, dodge, hide, evade. The Red Ajah is devoted to cleansing the shadow from the lands, hunting darkfriends and the like. A noble purpose, however, that is not their favorite festivity. Nay, the favorite pass time of these man-hating wenches is stripping us of the Power." He grew angry as he spoke, releasing the source before he lost control, and curling his fingers into a tight fist. He took a deep breath, and assumed the void to stifle his rage, and released. "Sorry for my outburst, I didn't used to hate them. It's just... the source is so wonderful, even with the taint. I couldn't survive if it was taken from me." His face was solemn, his eyes closed.


Another breath, and he spread that grin again, "Ah, oh well, shouldn't have to worry about that to much anymore, right? Safety in numbers and all that lot. On to another Ajah, lets see, the Grey Ajah. The peacemakers, negotiators, and  the like. More likely to use you than the others, and that silver tongue of theirs might make you think it was your idea. Again, I warn you to be cautious. Though Annias Sedai seems nice enough. Next comes the Yellow Ajah, the healers of the group. An entire group dedicated to the singular purpose of aiding those in need, quite noble. If I had any talent for the art, I might try to start the same thing here, but I must say, if you break a leg its best to go to another. I might accidentally cut it off." He scratched the back of his head, a nervous habit he'd developed long ago. Catching himself, he curled his fingers around the arm of his chair once more.


"Next comes the blues, the travelers, and world-seers. They are out in the world, doing whatever business they must. Next is the Green Ajah, the battle Ajah. Devoted to waiting on Tarmon Gaidain, and slaughtering shadowspawn, darkfriends, and dreadlords alike. In the Trolloc Wars, they were the pride and joy of the Aes Sedai, even the leader of the White Tower was Green, and took the field. Her body was found, surronded by her four warders, with at least six corpses of dreadlords surrounding her. Truly amazing. The book worms of the Aes Sedai are the Brown Ajah, devoted to the collection and use of knowledge as a whole, though most probably specialize. I would truly love to meet one, and learn all that I could from her. It'd be an amazing experience. Finally, we have the White Ajah, devoted to logic. Fascinating to me, as I fancy myself a philosopher, but I imagine a discussion between me and a White Aes Sedai might grow quite...heated." Another laugh burst from him, thinking of that conversation.


"Do you have any questions?I know a little more of the Ajahs, or should I continue?"

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He nodded, it was good to know who your allies were. The Wolfbrothers and the Band would help them if need be, and they were in negotiations with the White Tower. He wondered about the others, but could only say for sure that the Shadow was their enemy. Possibly the Whitecloaks too. Then Sereth was speaking again.


He seemed to know a lot about the White Tower. The Reds confused him a bit though. Were Reds allies for fighting the Shadow or enemies for hating men like him? The Grays the Yellows and the Blues seemed useful, but it was the Green that caught his attention. They seemed to be kindred spirits in a way.  He seemed to remember meeting a Green once, but he couldn't place it. Maybe he would meet one again. It seemed probable in this line of work. The Browns and the Whites though seemed useless to him though, with Tarmon Gaidon on the horizon.


"Do you have any questions?I know a little more of the Ajahs, or should I continue?" Sereth said. "No." he replied. "I would like to continue. What has the White Tower been up to recently? And we still haven't spoken of the Aiel or the Whitecloaks." he paused. "Sorry. Its just that I think this is stuff I should know. Thank you for taking the time to go over this stuff with me." He wasn't exactly sure if Sereth had been told to teach him or he was doing it on his own, but he appreciated it nonetheless.


He seized saidin and grabbed the cup of ice with a flow of Air and took a sip to wet his throat. Then waited for the man to continue.

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((So sorry about the delay, I've been incredibly busy getting things sorted out with school and life, not to mention the weather has made my connection go nuts..))


Sereth shook his head at the boy's choices. "You seem to be more concerned with learning of our enemies than anything else, Edvar. I suppose it is useful knowledge to have, though it seems easier just to say you are a man who channels, no one will ever accept you." His voice was light as he spoke, but the chill in his eyes revealed his sentiments on the subject. A horrid truth, yet, a needed one. Their kind had broken the world after all...


"Still, let us continue. I fear that you may know more of the Tower's activities than me, at least outside of the tower. I've been in here for a few months, and news grows stale. All I can tell you is that they recently attacked the Black Tower, with a small force expecting perhaps fifty of us, and we won. They have sent Annias Sedai of the Grey Ajah to negotiate there return, and future relations between the two Towers, but you know the White Tower. It is never enough for the Aes Sedai to keep their fingers in one pie."


He organized his thoughts for a moment, weaving fire into the ice, and dragging out the heat. Taking another air aided sip, he started to speak. "As for the Aiel and Children of the Light. The Aiel are the People of the Dragon, and as such, they are sworn to fight for him, as are we. Though I can't tell you what they think of us, easier to get the emotions out of a rock it is, I can say that we are allies, if only in cause. As for the Children.. well they hate the Power. They hate women channeling pure Saidar, as for tainted Saidin... Well, in their minds we are all darkfriends of the vilest sort. We will rip the world asunder, though in all truth it may very well happen when Tarmon Gaidin comes around, and yadadada. In short, yeah, not so good." He chuckled to himself, thinking of the Children. Everyone called them white cloaks, would people start calling the Asha'man blackcoats? It'd be an interesting day to be sure.


"Now, if you have nothing else to say, you may leave. The man teaching you how to blow up boulders today isn't the most pleasant one, especially for those who are late to his class."

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He almost laughed as Sereth shook his head and commented on his choices of interest. First rule of combat he thought. Know your enemy. He nodded in agreement to Sereths next statement though. The world would hate them. No matter how much good they might do, the world would despise them all, just for being born with an ability others hadn't been born with.


The news of the recent failed attack by the Aes Sedai shocked him to the core. The White Tower, who all but ruled the world for three thousand years had attacked them and lost? And badly too by the sound of it. It seemed they actually held Aes Sedai prisoner here. Unbelievable.


Then Sereth was moving on though. He spoke briefly of the Aiel. The fabled black veiled Aiel. He had fought a few of the in Shienar and the legends of them didn't fall much short of the truth. They were unmatched in combat. The few times he had faced them he had fled after the battle because he had been forced to channel to defend himself from them. It was good to know they fought on the same side now.


It seemed that he knew little more of the Children though, then he himself had. They were most definitely enemies. They would have to face them sooner or later and he was not looking forward to it, though in truth, he despised them as almost everyone else seemed to.


Then he seemed to get a bit distracted and said "Now, if you have nothing else to say, you may leave. The man teaching you how to blow up boulders today isn't the most pleasant one, especially for those who are late to his class." He stood and thanked him for his time and the cold water, then hurried to the next class.

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