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Army Wanted (attn: Don)


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The scout that had found her in Baerlon was walking in front of Saira, as he had been for a good couple of hours now. Even though she wasn't getting tired, she did begin to vaguely wonder just how far she would still have left to go.


It wouldn't matter though. She had walked from Kandor to Andor, and had she not decided to take action she'd have kept on walking until Illian. A forest was a small thing in comparison. Still, when they arrived at a small clearing where she could get her first glimpse of what the man had referred to as 'The Citadel', she couldn't help but pause for a step. Even though it was still being built, one familiar with fortifications would have no trouble in seeing the sheer potential it had. Shaking her head to get a pang of homesickness out of her system, she quickened her step to catch up to her guide again.


'Two Rivers', he had called it. She had never heard of the area, but she certainly found new admiration for the Band in being able to keep such a low profile despite its numbers. She noticed the scout had now stopped, pointing at a small building in front of them before going in. Realising that this was going to be it, that she'd traveled halfway across the world for this purpose, she took a deep breath and walked in, hoping, no, determined not to let her nervousness show.


She had passed the point where she could still back out somewhere in Whitebridge.

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Jaem paced back and forth in his office. Being the Commander wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Not like it was in Ehlana's time anyways. Then it was leading attacks and coming up with grand strategies. He had helped with that, he was used to it. Now that the Band had a home base, it was mostly paperwork and dealing with local authorities. Now this. Brigands and bandits and refugees. Burn it to the Pit! What was happening out in the world? In his days growing up in the Two Rivers, he could count the number of non-Two Rivers folk he had ever met on two hands. No one came here. He knew the histories now and it amazed him even more. Not in 1000 years has there been a war here, or any amount of immigrants and vandals. Even soldiers were not safe if they were out alone. The proof lay in the medical barracks. He wasn't a doomsayer by any means, but even he could see something big was coming. Asha'man, Seanchan... the Band of the Red Hand itself was but an example of the past coming back to the present.


He looked at the cutlass on his hip. There were some things that couldn't be stopped with the blade... but there were some that could. Silently he vowed vengance against anyone that ever thought to invade his home. The scum will pay.


As he began to formulate a plan there was a knock at the door. "Enter." As the door opened, Jaem sat down behind his desk. Someone he vaguely recognized as a scout entered with a young woman in tow. The scout stood at attention exactly one foot in front of his desk and saluted. Perfect. Jaem saluted back. "At ease."


"Sir, I guided this one from Baerlon to the Citadel. I..."


"Good. Thank you, Sergeant. You have done well. If we could be alone please."


"Of course, sir." He saluted again and walk out of the office.


He eyed the girl for a moment. "So 'this one'. Do you have a name?"

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Saira, still a bit nervous, tried to take in everything at once as soon as she entered the office. She was still a bit caught up when the Commander -- or officer at least, she assumed that much -- had asked his question, but she could gather from the way he was looking at her that she had just been asked something.


- "Err... Saira, sir. Saira Fujimura, from Kandor."


She ran her hand through her hair, knowing she'd inherited the appearance of her Illianer mother. Still, she felt this was not the time to dwell on things like that, as she had come here for a reason. Digging up everything her mother had taught her about life as a trader, she took a deep breath and started talking.


- "Please allow me to get right to the point... As you may know, Kandor, my homeland, has fallen to the Shadow. I wish to hire the Band to drive them out again."


She fell to her knees then, bowing deeply on hands and feet until her head almost touched the wooden boards. She knew there was no way she could afford to hire a handful of men, let alone an army, with the money she had now. She was intending to play out her full hand, hoping it'd be enough after awakening the man's interest.


- "I know i am likely unable to afford it, but rest assured i will find a way to repay you. My father and brothers are fighting in the Kandori army, i haven't seen my sister in months... March north, and i will do whatever i can to gather the money. I'll rob and steal it if i have to, but Kandor must be freed."


At the end of her speech, her voice was trembling with unfaked emotion. This really was the best she could offer -- the best she had to offer -- and the Band basically the only army not tied down by ties to a country where she'd have a shadow of a chance at getting what she wanted. Still bowed, she looked up, hoping he'd accept yet feeling somewhat afraid of the price he might ask.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jaem sighed. He knew the desperation in Saira Fjimara's voice. He knew, too the weight of his responsibilities. "Off your knees, girl." There as little tenderness left in a man so scarred in every way from life. Still, he was smart enough to know when to at least pretend. He waited for her to stand and gain her composure a little. "It will please you to know, Kandor is liberated." he continued on before the fool girl could stop him. "The place is war torn and full of refugees, I'm afraid, but it stands in the Shadow no longer. However, there are other issues at hand. Kandor is free at the cost of the sovereignty of its neighbors. I understand your grief... we are in the very woods I played in as a child. War is all around us. The Two Rivers, Kandor, even Shienar and Arafel are only small battles, I fear. I am sending a small contingent of scouts and light cavalry to the Borderlands. You do not have to steal your way there. Only enlist."

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"Off your knees, girl."


Saira's heart was pounding in her chest so hard she felt as if Jaem could hear it from there. She shakily got up, expecting the worst, but what she heard was quite the opposite. Her mouth worked when she heard Kandor had been liberated during her time as a refugee, and it took a moment before she realised just exactly what that meant.


While her home country was freed, she understood quite well what Shienar and Arafel were going through right now. Until the Shadow would be driven out of the Borderlands, so that they could form a solid front again, Kandor would continue to be in danger. However, as part of an Army, she would be able to strengthen them, to protect her beloved Borderlands until that time would come.


- "Ah-- Ye-- Yes sir, i will. Where do i sign? I'm from a merchant's family, so i know my way around supply management, and i have some basic skill with a sword my father taught me, and even though i'm a bit afraid of horses i'm sure i'll get over it in time to--"


She realised she was babbling, and forced the flow of words to stop, tensing the muscles of her jaw to ensure her mouth would stay closed until she managed to regain some of her self control. Taking a deep breath -- which helped against the light-headedness she was feeling from the stress -- she looked at Jaem again.


- "...Where do i sign up, sir?"

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