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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Victory and Defeat [OPEN]


Essy
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The Three-Fold Lan was cold that day.

 

The twenty or so Aiel that had been left in the raid had shivers throughout their bodies.  Some sat, sulking into their knees.  Others sat, staring bleekly into the blistering sunset.  Today a victory had been met, but with a loss that could not be overcomed by no amount of oos'quai.

 

Cenn, the second in command of the raid, sat at the base of a small shrub; flipping his two spears throughout his hands.  His head stared to the ground, watching the occasional ant or beetle that shuffled throughout the sands. 

 

The other warriors didn't stir, no one knew what to do.  Members of all Socities were there, from Mountain Dancers to Blight Raiders.  Cenn, a Hama N'dore, felt HIS balance fail even through his vigirous training.  It was so cold.

 

Several minutes before this, the quick skirmish had stopped.  Twenty five Aiel had been there at the beginning, including the Clan Chief, Ghaul.  One of the greatest people Cenn had known.  He gave him shade, water, and a place to be himself.  When Cenn first came to the Hold, he had been cold and distant.  Throughout the months he had spent here, he had learned humility, humour, and leadership.

 

It was normal at first, maybe thirty Trollocs, one fade.  They dispatched these first, no casualties,  Cenn carefully touched his beard, stained with blood from comrads and trollocs alike.  It's like they knew they were coming for them.  Ten, maybe fifteen Fades came from the shadows of all sides.  They fought, but the fades were very powerful.  Dispatching three or four good Aielmen, one of which was one of his Hama N'dore.

 

The Fades knew who they were looking for, and five of the remaining ones throughout the fighting went straight for Ghaul.  Cenn saw this, quickly shoving his two spears into the side of a Fade, he lept towards Ghaul, "Move, Ghaul!" Cenn cried, but it was too late.  The Fades picked Ghaul, and even despite his spectacular strength, they disarmed him.  Within an instant, they were gone.  The cloaks made them near invisible for a human eye.  Cenn looked around frantically, but he knew it was no use.  He jumped back into the dance and went into a berserk.

 

His spears slipped from arm to arm, slipping into weak spots of the remaining Fades.  Then it was quiet.

 

Cenn tried to lean on the bush he had his weight on.  Finally, he stood.  He knew what must happen.  "Come, we must make our way to the Hold.  The Dragonmount must know what happened." He knew what he must do.  "We will run, and we will not stop until we reach the Hold.  Ghaul is gone, the Shadow has taken him." He knew what he must do.  "Till shade is gone, till water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder’s eye on the last Day.  Ghaul still follows our code." He knew what he must do.

 

He must go to Rhuidien.

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When duty consumed your life, it was easy to forget, or put aside emotions. For all of her life Covina had focused on being Far Dareis Mai, and then when her life’s path had taken another direction she threw her all into being a Wise One. Covina’s duty to her people was ingrained deep within her soul, but her devotion to her husband was stronger still.

 

She had known from the first time she and Ghaul had met, that he was as strong as the Three Fold Land itself, and as stubborn as a mule, but he was also caring, devoted, and kind. Everything a husband should be and more.

 

Covina had tried hard to convince Ghaul that his place was with her, not out on the raid. The foolish man had always put himself in harms way, without care for his own life. If only he had considered how much his death would hurt her, perhaps he would not have gone. For all his tough exterior, Covina knew how much it pained him to think of her hurt.

If only she had been selfish enough to tell him the truth perhaps he would be alive today.

 

….The sun was a golden ball, just cresting the horizon and all around her gai’shain were hard at work while the children swarmed the paths. In the distance the steady clang of the Blacksmiths hammer was accompanied by the sounds of weavers looms. All around the world seemed to go on much as it always had, but not for Covina. She sat staring North, towards the Blight, towards the shade of her heart, her entire world. There was no shame in the tears that streamed steadily down her cheeks, or the sobs that racked her body. Covina felt like a shell of herself, like only a memory. For her people she needed to be strong, but for herself she needed to be weak. Even through all her sorrow her logical voice still shone threw. “It is necessary to grieve, each person does so in there own way and when the pain is gone you will be stronger for it” It was a speech she had given to many widows who had lost their husbands in battled. Somehow it was one she had never expected to hear herself…

 

Gai’shain, Wise Ones and even some Far Dareis Mai had tried to comfort Covina in the time since Ghaul had awoke from the dream, but she always chased them off with adorations not to return. It was her time to grieve.

 

….Her tears still flowed, long after the sun had fallen in the sky. At some point during the day she had forced herself to eat, but that had been for the baby more than for herself. The child growing inside her, the child that Ghaul would never know was the only thing that kept Covina alive. It was her last connection to her husband, a man she loved still and would until her dying day..

 

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Cenn was dressed in a shoufa, as he walked around the Hold.  Some faces were drowned in tears, others had a fearful face of dread stripped across them.  Many of his Brothers and Sisters were in tents, pondering what to do.  Some threw down their spears, and left the Hold in this time of need.

 

He did not enjoy telling Corvina what had happened.  They had entered the hold, silent and mourning.  Corvina could see that something was wrong when Cenn approached her.  "I'm sorry." He had said to her, but she did not hear him.  She appeared to break down, but held strong. 

 

He wished there was more he could do, but he knew it was past him now.  Grieving had snuck into the camp, and only time could heal the wounds that sought so deep within his people.

 

But never the less, he knew that soon he would go to Rhudien.  He knew what would happen then.  He felt the longing within his heart, and the feeling that he was set to be the Clan Chief, to bear the mark of the Dragon.

 

He wished not to break the time of mourning, but he knew the longer they waited the faster the Shadow would move.  The Sigh Blinder knew that they were weak now, leaderless and in chaotic times.  They would strike, soon, if his people did not organize.  These times were crucial.  War was not underestimated by an Aielmen or a Aielwomen, but the loss of a Chief was great for them; especially one as strongwilled as Ghaul.

 

He had led them for a long time, aslong as Cenn had been there atleast.  A good fighter, a good man, he was indebted to him.  But now was not time for grieving, thought Cenn as he made his way to the tents of the Wise Ones.

 

On a normal day, Cenn would be fairly scared of these tents, for a tongue lashing by Corvina was far worse than a blade if a Fade.  He approached the tents, and the Wise Ones looked strangely at him, glancing at his two spears draped on his back, the determined expression across his face, and the shoufa flapping in the wind.

 

He walked past the Wise Ones, they merely nodded at him; they knew what he was here for.  Past the Gai'shan, they ducked their heads to avoid eye contact with the tall Aielman.  He reached her quarters.

 

"Corvina."  She looked up at him, "It's time, Corvina.  I am sorry for your loss, he was a good man, a friend.  Roof and shelter he gave me.  But we cannot daddle any longer, for the Sight Blinder watches our every move.  He knows that we are weak, now."

 

He breathed restlessly, he would dread what he would say next for years on end, but he knew it had to be him.  "We must go.  I will bear the markings of the Dragon.  Ghaul is and forever will be my Chief, but we must press on, Wise One.  I.. I will need you, for you are the Head Wise One, and the Wife of Ghaul.  I must be the next Chief of the Dragonmount Clan." He looked at Corvina, expecting a tongue lashing; one he was truely not in the mood for.

 

"We must go to Rhuidean."

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Covina looked up through tear soaked eyelashes and glared. No one spoke to her that way; even Ghaul had steered clear when her temper was in full boil.

 

Taking her time, she dried her eyes and set about adjusting her unmessed skirts, completely ignoring Cenn’s presence. At least one man would learn he could not be forceful and get his way. Once Covina was sure no more tears would escape she stood and stared the young man straight in the eye. Her voice was as cold as the most frigid night in the three fold land and her eyes shot daggers.

“No one demands anything of me young Cenn” In truth he was not much different in age, but with her position came authority and respect, both of which she used to her full advantage.

 

With an arm still as strong as it was when she was still a Maiden Covina grabbed Cenn’s collar and pulled him close. “It may be that one day the dragons will grace your arms, you have the skill and the heart, but before that day you will learn to respect the Wise Ones and head our advice. Word such as “must” and “I will” will not be tolerated in my presence. For once a Clan Chief will know that the Wise Ones will not be brushed aside”

 

Her words came in anger, but they held a modicum of truth. Covina loved her husband and would until her dying day, but he was the hardest kind of man to handle. The best were not much better than housebroken, but Ghaul caused more headaches than one man ever should. The new Chief in all likelihood would be Cenn; he was smart and passionate and had a strong care for his people. But Covina would not stand for another chief who thought he could go where he wanted, when he wanted and ignore the advice the Wise Ones gave. FOR ONCE a clan chief would know in his heart what it meant to cross and Wise One.

 

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He knew that he would be lashed out the moment he said the words, but he stood his ground.  The things had to be said, for the short amount of discomfort that he would have to uphold would be worth it for his people.  She grieved for his husband, which was understandable; he was an honorable name.

 

He thought of how he could help Ghaul, but he mostly dismissed the thoughts.  If he wasn't dead by now, he'd be in the center of Shayol Ghul.  One of the Forsaken knew what they were looking for; trying to weaken the Aiel by taking off the head.  He grieved for his friend, aswell, but in a different way then most.  He knew that it would be a loss cause to send a force into the heart of the Blight, but one day he would plan to do it.  Not now, they were too weakened and demoralized.

 

Cenn bowed his head as the Wise One effectively tongue lashed him; it was working well.  He pondered the final words that came from the womans mouth, letting it sink in and adjust to himself; "For once a Clan Chief will know that the Wise Ones will not be brushed aside."  In order to have their support, he would have to be obedient to the Wise Ones.  He figured as much, Ghaul never listened to the Wise Ones, and that could be why she feel responsible.

 

He accepted the defeat that the Wise One laid out to him, she had more experience in this type of thing then Cenn did.  He was a warrior, not a politician.  Though, despite the small loss, he looked up and stared into Eqwinas eyes; a fiery passion that very feel Aiel maintained throughout their age.  He dared not stand up to her, but he had to show her that he was strong for his people; they both had to be.  He couldn't be the Chief without them, but alas they couldn't rule without him.  They both had to work together.

 

"Do you wish me to wait 'till you are ready, Wise One?"  His tone was sympathetic, but he offered no apology for his previous outburst; there was no room or time for apologies.  "What do you wish to do?" The fiery passion returned as he stared defiantly into her eyes.

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The urge to throw up her hands and sigh was great, but Covina kept her composure; far better than she had in days past. She would not allow herself to vent the same frustrations to this man as she had to her husband. It felt too much like betrayal. Instead she stepped back and studied the young man; he was of an age with Ghaul and unfortunately had much of the same mindset.

 

Cenn was not Covina’s first choice to replace her husband. As soon as she found out that Ghaul had woke from the dream it was another that leaped to the forefront of her mind. Sadly none of the others would rise to support him, and in hindsight her choice may have been made with passion instead of with a calm head.

 

“I do not know how long we can be with out a Chief” Covina began as she busied herself making tea. “ But I will also not rush into a decision, the person as well as the timing must be right. Proper time to grieve is needed….but there is also a time to stand firm.” The last was a mutter more for herself than for the man in front of her. She motioned to Cenn. “Sit Cenn, and tell me what it is you see for our future”

 

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