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Running with the Devil - A Tale of Beginnings (Attn: Darin and Andular)


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      There was a gust today.

      It was warm, its slender limbs drifting across his body, tender fire sinking into his bones as if the last sweltering bit of heat was fading away with this wind. Erik smiled.


      Summer was breaking into Autumn, the leaves transforming into a burnished gold, if they still remained on the trees. The oddity of the weather had perplexed him. He knew it was Heartbane’s work, no other force in this world save the Creator could touch the Seasons so, but then why have summer break? If the Father of Lies truly wished them dead, what better way than to ruin the crops and bake the land to dust as terrible and contorted as the Blight?

      Word of a Dragon passes as easily on the wind, many a time he had heard the tale, even in Tear where they claimed him ruler and as far as Haadon Mirk where even the thieves and bandits feared him, to save them and then break them all. Could he rival Heartbane for power? Such things that involved the Power unnerved him, even the idea of having an Aes Sedai as close as Manetheren made him uneasy.

      But today was a day for calm and clarity.


      Erik fed his emotions and concerns into the blue flame in his mind. Owen had tried to teach him The Spring, a way of utilizing all of your feelings and thoughts, emotions building to give you the strength and mental lucidity, but it was not for him. Erik hungered for The Abyss, The Void, the nothingness he now possessed. Every worry, every feeling was on the outside, sliding along the outer boundaries as if they were another man’s.


      Erik leaned back as he could hear the footfalls off in the distance. Resting his hands on his knees he worked his shoulder muscles loose. The woods around his cabin were deserted, few wolves and fewer Kin made the trek out simply for the scenery.

It had been strange making the request. Half of him was certain that he would be denied, his absence too long from the Stedding for him to train any fresh Wanderer… But he could empathize with this one.

We all run with our own demons, our own darkness.

“And live to tell the tale after… Light willing.”


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Darin stretched his arms over his head as he rose from his cot in the cozy cottage he'd erected for himself near the edge of the stedding. He'd begun work on it shortly after being accepted, gladly accepting the help the other Brothers and Sisters had been more than willing to provide, Darin never claimed to be a house builder. Nevertheless, he thought he'd done a rather good job. It kept a good part of the Light blinded heat out during the day, but managed to keep a portion of it inside during the night. It was simply furnished, with a small round table unadorned with two equally bare chairs on the side with the small window that let in the dawn light. The fireplace was simple stone-and-mortar, with a thin chimney to let the smoke out. It was cold now, the ashes banked, it was nearly Winter and still he felt most days he could go bare-chested and still be uncomfortable. Of course, comfort had no bearing on a soldier's life.


Darin rose an stepped over to the wash basin, still filled with cold water he'd gathered yesterday from the nearby brook. He washed his face hurriedly, rubbing his hands over the skin kept smooth by the razor he'd kept in his belt pouch from the Children. He may have changed in other ways, but he was still too much a soldier at heart to go around looking like a flaming vagabond fresh out of the woods. He had been at the stedding for all of two weeks now, and while he was by no means the life of any party, he was no longer an outcast either. Speaking of others, Darin abruptly remembered he had a training session scheduled for today. Dressing hurriedly into a plain white linen shirt which he left unlaced, he pulled on and laced his plain wool stockings, pulling over them stout brown woolen breeches before shoving his feet into the same hard leather boots he'd arrived in. Unconsciously his hand reached for the swordbelt he knew wasn't there and he let out a sigh. Too much a soldier. That was what his training session today was for. He was going to learn a weapon beyond the sword. He would still be a swordsman, there was too much battle in him for him to forget that, but the more separation he could put between who he was now, and who he had been, the better off he would be.


Shoving open the wood-plank door, Darin stepped out into a refreshing breeze, a cool, if temporary, respite from the crushing heat, which was made only slightly less by the elevation. As he walked down the lanes that passed for streets, even where the houses were most dense they were several tens of paces apart, Darin headed to the other side of the stedding village, nodding to the others he saw along the way, giving almost no thought to the fact that every one had golden eyes. Almost none. As he walked his right hand kept sliding to the swordhilt he had thrown away the day he'd entered the stedding. It was the sword he'd thrown away, not the swordsman; he'd have a new one crafted when he could find the gold to pay a good smith for it. As he passed through the outer edge of the village and into the more wild elements of the forest, he began to follow his nose more than his eyes, few Brothers or Sisters were out here at this time of day, and only one would be in so secluded a spot. Within minutes Darin was in a clearing, with another Brother leaning against a tree, and if the man was not surprised at Darin's appearance, well that should be no wonder giving the Kin's hearing.


Darin managed a grin as he stifled a yawn before greeting the Brother. "Good morning to you Brother Erik, long days and good hunting. How may I be of service this morning?"

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"Good morning to you Brother Erik, long days and good hunting. How may I be of service this morning?"


      Despite his best efforts Erik knew his smile did not touch his eyes. Hands slid across the crisp bark as Erik stood upright to greet his Brother. Darin stood before him, almost half a foot shorter and as full of confidence as the day Erik had watched him arrive. He had never bothered to ask the man his age, it had never come up, but he guessed the man was perhaps a Winter or two older, no more. He recognized the hardness he had seen in men of war like Owen and his father, and himself now, in this Wanderer. One did not become First Lieutenant of the Children of Light by reading the scriptures, this one knew what the crimson stained battle-field tasted like.

      It was not until he shook hands with the Wanderer that he greeted the man in return. Normal human interaction, how long would it take for him to shake off the odd feeling once more?


    "How has the adjustment been, Brother? I can imagine this is a far tumble from the halls of the Fortress of Light.. It can all be overwhelming.. at times... Your senses included."


    Erik turned his back to the Darin. The woods seemed to open themselves up to him here, his senses drawing in every bit of the world around him. He breathed in the sweet aroma of the grass and wildflowers, hungered for the whipping wind as he moved through its trails and along the banks of rushing rivers.


    "But it is those senses that will help you to survive. To track game, find edible and useful herbs, locate water springs, know when someone is lying." Erik turned back to Darin, gold eyes meeting gold eyes. "It is what makes us who we are, symbolizes our communion with the wolves, what we have all sacrificed to be here. I am to help you hone yours and help you along your journey as a Wolfbrother.

    "We'll start with herbs and senses training today. Nice and easy, nothing even semi-lethal, have to wait until next class for the fun stuff." Erik feigned disappointment, he knew Miryana would have his head on a platter if she found out he had tested out doses of Henbane or Thornapple on a Wanderer.. Light, even some Skullcaps would set her ablaze. "First off though, do you have any questions before we get started?"


    Nightsfire recommended letting the Wanderer ask a question or two, let them breathe easier he had said, let them ask some basic things that will help the lesson go more smoothly. The bloody man had laughed when he saw Erik walking up to him, even harder when Erik had come looking for advice. Better than just jumping in and hoping they swim...


OOC: Erik's six foot and stocky from years of hard labor and sword training, twenty-two, from the Black Hills and blonde, and his wolf name is Night's howl. His companion is Smoke, a gray-black wolf. Cheers.

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  • 1 month later...




Yes indeed. A bump.


Darin will learn Senses if he has to be dragged through the nettles 'til he comes to his.


"And the Creator said let there be a bump. And there was a bump. And the Creator looked at the bump, and said the bump was good."

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