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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

New Soul for the Shaping (attn MoT)


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Connar D'isharei walked through the garden of the White Tower, adjacent to the Warder's Yard, holding his head up proudly. He had been accepted to train with the warrior's, but he had not worked up the courage to plunge in, not just yet. His green eyes glowed with envy as he watched warder's spar. One day he hoped, no, he would be that good. However, as of now, he still felt out of place carrying twin blades on his shoulders. They were his heritage, but he still had a long way to go before he ranked with Lord Ingtar or his father for that matter.

Connar's burnished brown hair hung low on his forehead as he leaned against a tree. 'Ash', he thought. 'Nice bows come from ash.'

 

However, Connar's thoughts of trees could not keep him from the truth for long. He had to face the Mistress of Trainees today, with her reputation as the toughest Mistress in over a hundred years. And, on top of that, his anxiety had no outlets, no one to talk to.

Connar sighed, and folded his legs underneath him, using the technique his father taught him. Words drifted to him... 'Arch your back. Breathe in through your nose and out through the nose. Exhale your troubles, form a flame in your mind and burn all emotions and then exhale the flame.'

It had been his father's way of dealing with troubles. Connar used it, but only rarely. Now seemed as good a time as any, though.

 

Exhaling one last time, Connar rose. Stretching out his limbs and readied himself to meet the famed (and infamous) Mistress of Trainees.

"Light give me flaming strength," he murmered, and strode across the yard towards the Mistress's office. When he reached the door he took a deep breath, knocked, and held the breath in, mentally gritting his teeth for an onslaught.

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The day had dawned bright without a cloud in the sky; the birds were chirping and a cool spring breeze blew through the yard. It was a perfect late spring day in Tar Valon and Thera was chained to her desk with a mountain of papers facing her, and no end in site.

 

She tapped her foot irritably as her eyes scanned the page. It seemed as if there was always something new to occupy her time; like a trainee caught with an Accepted or worse yet a Novice claimed one of Thera’s trainees had gotten her with child.

It was always something new and each event seemed worse than the last. When she had taken this job Thera had wanted to help mold ad shape the young men and women into warriors, not play wetnurse to hundreds of children.

 

If her morning-after head was not enough to make her head throb, the stack of papers was. Thera set down the page she had been scanning and reached into coat, pulling out her silver flask. Finishing the rest of its contents in one pull, she tossed it into her desk and fumbled around for the other. With her second flask tucked safely away in her coat she set to tackling her pile of reports. No sooner than her hand grasped the first page, a timid knock sounded. Thera shook her red curls with frustration and muttered an oath, before bellowing “enter” at the owner of the sound.

 

Thera did not recognize the young man that entered and her eyes narrowed slightly as she studied him. He had the look of a boy petitioning to come train, right down to the nervous shift in his eye. “Well, get in here boy. I don’t have all day!” she barked. Thera motioned him to remain standing as she walked a slow circuit around the new recruit.

“Your too scrawny by half, but we can fix that, and I am guessing you know next to nothing about those blades you carry?” The last was more a statement of fact, than a question but Thera saw the boy aching to respond. She went to stand in front of him and leaned back casually against her desk, holding her hand up to forestall any words he was thinking about uttering. “It does not matter what training you have received with those blades before you came. Here you are a child, a child who may cut off his own foot if not watched. The sooner you learn that the better off you will be. Now….tell me your name boy and why you want to train in my yards.” Thera settled back and crossed her arms before her chest, waiting.

 

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Connar gulped when he heard the word enter. This as it, he was here. Taking a deep breath he opened the door and stepped in.  He felt that he stepped in to a hunting ground. The Mistress of Trainees looked him over and began to dress him down. What? Too scrawny? He had been considered muscular in his cousin's house and most of the surrounding houses. And he didn't know how to use his blades? Connar itched to answer, to defend himself, but he knew it to be wiser to stay silent. Then she asked "Now….tell me your name boy and why you want to train in my yards.”. The torch had been passed to him, and he couldn't drop it. Gathering himself he answered.

"Yes ma'a... Mistress. My name is Connar D'isharei." He swallowed, the mistress seemed like a falcon, eyeing her prey icily, moments before she struck. Connar hoped that he wasn't the prey. "I've come to train in the yards because it's what my family wished, my mother and father wished that before they died. I want to help the solve the troubles in the world, and the only way to do that is through the Aes Sedai, because they solve the worlds problems. If yu will permit me to train at your yards I ill strive towards the best. I will not disappoint you."

Color rose in his cheeks. He hoped that his answer sufficed. He had answered truthfully and from the heart, and he hoped that more was not required. He waited for her to answer, allowing calm to envelop him.

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His answer was not new, though he was a touch more vehement than most. Thera could see the anger at her insults still burning in his eye, and she arched a brow at his defiant stare. “It would serve you very well to learn that here my word is law, and anything you may have learned before is dust.” She opened her eyes wide, and when the boy did not speak, Thera nodded in satisfaction. She did not believe him truly cowed but at least he was smart enough not to speak. Thera knew he would learn soon enough to step light. That or he would be spending a lot more time in her office.

 

Thera walked around and took a seat at her desk, motioning for Connar to remain standing.  She leaned forward to rest her elbows on the desk and stared the boy straight in the eye. “Since I can tell by your eyes, you believe I am wrong. Tell me, what it is you know and what you have been taught about the weapons you so proudly carry.”

Her voice dripped with venom, but she could not make herself relent.

 

It was a beautiful day and once again she was stuck indoors for the duration. If there had been any hope of her seeing the sun it faded as soon as this young man walked in the door; plus she knew she was not harder on him than any other; though she got the distinct impression that Connar did not see it so.

 

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Connar stayed silent as the Mistress of Trainee's spoke. He knew that it would not serve any purpose to speak, save putting himself deeper into troubles. His certainty that silence was wisest deepened when she said,  “It would serve you very well to learn that here my word is law, and anything you may have learned before is dust.”

 

Connar felt the need for light steps around the Mistress, especially if she as always this... well, cranky. However, he still felt pride. Lord Ingtar and his father had not been light task masters either, maybe softer than this woman, but not too soft. He would show her what he was made of, and it was of sterner stuff, than she apparently thought. He snapped out of his thoughts as she asked him about his weapons training.

 

Connar cleared his throat and his green eyes glinted with pride as he spoke of his training, something he held in very high esteem. "I was trained by my father until he died, after my twelfth naming day. However, I did not receive my own weapon until after my 16th naming day. They were my father's, held form me until I as deemed ready and able to have carry weapons. In truth, I am little more than two years, according to the customs of Kandor, and all of the borderlands. I was trained by Lord Ingtar of the Grey Owl until I left for Ebou Dar, to find what remained of my family, and that quest led me here, to my cousin Kantori's household, to Tar Valon, my eventual destination. The wheel just willed me here sooner. However, after studying with Lord Ingtar and my journey here, I have trained for the past year, on my own, though my cousin's husband did not approve of it. He would rather have me become a merchant, such as he is." Connar paused, hesitant to ask where to find his lodgings, but thought he would go ahead and do so. "Is there anything else that you wish to know? Or that you may have need of me for, or may I find my room?"

Connar hoped that his last question would not seem as impudence, he simply wished to find his bed and meet those he would be living with. He had no intention of returning to his cousin's household, it had been made clear that he had not been welcome there. Though they lived in Tar Valon, there was no love for the White Tower inside those walls, such as there had been in Kandor, where Trollocs, Myrddral and the Dark One were not myths and stories used to frighten children. He almost sneered and then remembered where he stood, such an action could be misconstrued.

Once again Connar pulled himself back to reality, and politely waited for the Mistress's answer. He felt that no more questions should be asked, or any statements, on his part at least. The Mistress appeared to be showing the signs of a genuinely bad (and stressful) day. Having had many of those himself, Connar had an appreciation of the situation.

 

However, Connar understood that he was not helping with the level of stress. He had been told that his stubbornness

and hard-headed ways would get him into trouble one day. He suspected that today might be the day that he had been warned of.  Connar forced all anxiety, or any annoyed feelings at anything the mistress said down, down deep, and banished them from memory. This was her job after all, and she had to do it the best way possible.  Putting a calm look in his eye and allowing the slight grimace to leave his mouth, he cleared his throat.

"Forgive me, Mistress. How else may I help you?"

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Thera barked a laugh at the young man imprudence. Oh he would learn soon enough, but she had a feeling it was going to be a long road for this young man.

 

She leaned back in her chair laced her fingers over her stomach, not releasing his gaze. “ For one still so young,” her lips quirked, desperately fighting a smile “Perhaps there is some forgiveness for your…bold attitude. “ Thera stood and walked around behind the young man removing both his blades. She saw his shoulder tense but she continued on. “ I do not doubt that you can weild this weapon with out cutting off your own foot, but if you think you know more than that I will see that you learn how gravely mistaken you really are.” She placed the swords on her desk just out of Connar’s reach. “As to what else you can do for me. You will complete 150 laps around the yard and after that I will see to finding you a bed.”

 

Most young men were assign only a hundred on their first day and out of those none yet had completed them all, on their feet at least. Boys from the borderlands had always been made of a heartier stock, but no matter how good of shape he was in Thera knew Connar could not complete the full set. There was not shame in that, but perhaps his first failure in the yards would teach him a bit of humility. The boys was almost out the door when Thera spoke again. “Oh and Connar, keep to a run”

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Connar began to walk out the door after the Mistress had given him his task. Then she added, “Oh and Connar, keep to a run”. He understood that this was a test. To teach him humility and so that he would better bend to the training given. But 150 laps! That was crazy. No man alive could complete that. Maybe Artur Hawkwing, if what the legends said was true. Connar took a deep breath and began to run.

 

His feet slapped against the ground as he breathed, rhythmically, in and out, focused only on finishing all his assigned laps. 10 laps went by, the wind blowing in his hair. Connar had ben considered a good runner back home. However, he began to feel the effects of the prolonged run after during the next 5 laps. Not anything major, just a slight twinge in his lower calves. He ignored it, pushing deeper and reminding himself of a song he had heard a gleeman sing in Kandor, once when he was young.

 

Of far off shores and far off places,

where the red-tinged sunsets fall.

Of deep ocean trenches and crashing ocean shores,

where the red-tinged sunsets fall.

Of high mountains and spectacular valleys,

where the red-tinged sunsets fall.

Of the doors to heaven, and the keys to peace,

where the red-tinged sunsets fall.

 

Connar sang this to himself as he pushed on. The twinge in his legs slowly became an ache that resounded every time his feet hit the earth. Warders and other trainees walked by, some noticing him, most did not. Most of them had done something like this before. Connar's rhythmic breathing slowly became ragged, and by the time he had reached 45 laps he rasped like an angry mule. Sweat poured down his face in a thin film.

 

Connar could feel the ache in his legs growing stronger and stronger. His run became a swift jog. For 15 laps he swiftly jogged around the yard, panting and wiping his face. The water that he saw in the horse trough in the far corner of the yard became tantalizing, though it was for animal use. He began to alternate from a swift jog to a brief run and then back to the jog. He quickly began to trot like one of the horse's whose water he desperately wanted.

 

Connar skipped a step upon the realization that he had almost lost count of laps. By one or two only, but it would be a flaw that would not be overlooked if he did for...

Connar's tired legs fell from beneath him as he passed his starting point on his 95th lap. 95th. Had he really come that far. Daydreaming truly did help.

Connar quickly realized where he was. On the ground. In the Warder's Yard. His face burned with humiliation. He would complete his laps. He shuffled along for several more laps before he collapsed once again.  This time his soul burned with determination, and anger. At himself. He should be stronger than this. He should be able to complete this without collapsing. Pushing himself to his feet, he saw some other trainees looking in his direction. He snarled, and pushed on. 100, 101..102... On he ran. Pushing himself to the limit. His ragged breath had long since became a scratchy feeling in the back of his throat, and he began to hack up phlegm. He spat and growled. He would not be bested, not by laps. Not by anything that was given to him. However, his determination, like the strength in his legs began to fail him.

 

110. 11.. Connar collapsed again. He would submit. He would not fight like a rabid dog against those who would help him. He heaved a sigh and tossed himself onto his back. He would learn to be good enough to complete 150 laps. He still would complete them. He rolled over again and pushed himself up and began to jog.

 

He seemed lighter, my second wind, he thought. Finally he reached the 150th lap. His clothes were soaked with sweat, and his arms had scrapes and bruises up and down their length where he had caught his falls. His hair was plastered to his face, and his brown eyes reflected his inner submission. He collapsed at the foot of a post and closed his eyes. Only to open them up again to realize that the sun had long since passed the noonday mark.

"Have I really run that long?" he mused aloud, before closing his eyes again and leaning back with a groan. A light mist began to fall on top of him. Rain. sweet, sweet water, he thought as he drifted into sleep.

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Several hours had passed and Thera sat at her desk tapping her fingers slowly on top of a dusty old book, She had been unable to concentrate and after an hour of reading the same page again and again she gave up. Like always when her mind wandered she stared off towards the tower and towards the other half of herself.

 

Tearing her gaze away Thera glanced at the clock over the mantle and her eyes widened a bit; the boy had been gone far too long even if he’d tried to complete all the laps.

 

Clouds had rolled in over Tar Valon and the sky was just beginning to spit as Thera stepped out of her office. Her eyes scanned what she could see of the yards before she sat off in the direction of the kitchens; asking questions of every trainee she passed. Finally a lank haired young man gave her the information she had been searching for.

 

As she rounded a corner she saw a shape slumped against a post and she laughed. Sleeping in the rain? A good way to begin your time in the yards. With the toe of her boot Thera nudged and young softly at first and then a little harder when he didn’t respond. Finally his grainy eyes met her’s and for a moment he seemed more than a little lost.

 

“Taking a nap Connar? I did not know you like the rain so much. Perhaps some more time in it will do you good.” She did not ask how many laps he’d completed, though she got the feelings it would be close to all.

 

“I can’t let you have a bed just yet, but how about some dinner?” Connar only nodded and Thera stood waiting while the boy groaned his way to his feet. With a quick pace she led him to the kitchens to gather their trays and then stalked back across the now muddy yards to her office. Tossing her oiled cloak over a chair she motioned the boy to a halt. “I don’t want you dripping on my floors, Here” She tossed him a towel from the cabinet by the door. “When your dry take and seat and we can talk training”

 

Once he was seated and a little ways into the meal Thera broke the silence. “ I know why you came here Connar” Thera said around a mouth full of lamb “But what is it you really hope gain by coming here?

 

OCC: Even though Thera ALWAYS speaks in blue I switched to Teal because it gets confusing changing what color a person speaks in each post :D

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Connar lay on the ground, rain falling all around him. He dreamed of running, running 150 laps, all the way in the blink of an eye, being a flash of light, and then stubbing his toe. Connar grimaced but got up, and stubbed his toe again. He slowly realized it wasn't a dream and came to.

Connar looked up at the Mistress of Trainee's.

“Taking a nap Connar? I did not know you like the rain so much. Perhaps some more time in it will do you good.” 

The last thing that Connar wanted to do right now was stand on legs that ached like he had just beaten them with a blacksmith's hammer, the heaviest one on the forge. But he rose anyway, groaning as he sat up and pushed himself into a standing position.

At the mention of dinner Connar perked up. Hot food would be great. But then it hit him.

Dinner? How long have I been out here?

Connar looked up to see a darkened sky, filled with rain clouds that the sun could have shone through, if it was up.

Connar trudged behind the Mistress, Thera, he thought it was, to get his meal from the kitchen, and then trudged back to her office.

She tossed a towel at him and he caught it, grateful he hadn't been asked to do a million push-ups instead, he would have never been able to carry his tray.

Dry, now, he sat down in a chair, grateful for the support it offered. He took a slow bite of his meal, savoring the taste of lamb and rice. He hastily got another bite and began to wolf down his meal.

A ways in Connar realized that Thera had just said something, and so, he tore his attention away from his food and towards her.

He swallowed, half choking and washed it down with a cup of watered wine.

"Mistress, I hope that by coming here I can gain..." Should he tell the truth, or not? Connar quickly decided that it would be in his best interest to speak the truth.

"I won't lie and say that the stories of Aes Sedai and their warders haven't intrigued me. They quite have, and that is one of the reasons why I cam here, glory and valor. However, there are two other reasons. My parents wished it of me. Both of them are dead and the only family I have left live here in Tar Valon, and I certaintly have no intention of speaking with them again. Thirdly, I come from the borderlands, as you know. Aes Sedai are respected there, Trollocs and Myddrall aren't Gleeman's tales, they're threats that we face every day. I know that Aes Sedai are the world's only hope, and that is my main reason for being here."

Connar took a breath and a hasty bite of food.

"As to what I hope to gain by coming here. I hope to become a warder, to help the world. I hope to gain nothing. For myself anyway. I hope for the world to gain everything. But as for myself, I am willing to gain nothing if it means that I can help everyone, most of all Aes Sedai and the borderlands."

Connar bent back towards his food and began to munch once again.

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Thera had completed her meal and was leaning on her elbows staring at Connar. He seemed more dedicated than many boys his age, she had a feeling that he would do well.

 

She allowed him to eat in silence, why not let him enjoy the last few minutes of free time he’d have for a long time to come?

 

“ I am done with you for the night Connar. Take these plates to the kitchen and then you can find your bed.”

 

Thera leaned over the desk and fumbled for a book out of the stack. Letting is fall open she skimmed the pages, before dipping her pen and writing in a flowing hand.

 

“Your in the second building on the right, 3rd room from the end. Sleep well Connar and I will see you before first light.”

 

With that Thera dismissed the boy from her mind, and headed off to her own rooms.

 

OOC: Great Job!!

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Connar sat eating his food. He had given the Mistress her answer, now he would just wait. And eat, of course.

 

The mistress looked at him for a long time, as he ate. He guessed it was because the next few days, no, the next few months maybe even years were going to be packed full of daily activities.

 

As he finished his plate the Mistress. Thera, he had heard someone say, gave him directions to his room, and asked him to take the plates to the kitchen.

"Thank you, Mistress Thera. I hope to do well in the yards." Connar picked up the plates and his things, bowed respectfully, and left her office. Walking towards the kitchen Connar felt a sense of glee and pride welling inside of him,

he had done it, been accepted into the warder's yard! And he would prove that he was worthy too.

Connar dropped off the plates at the kitchens, greeting the dishwasher, and then left for his bed.

He found it without any trouble, the Mistress' directions were flawless.

Others were already asleep in the room, so Connar set his things down beside the bunk and collapsed, the exhaustion from the day stting in.

His last thoughts were of how proud his da and ma would have been.

 

OOC: Thanks, but it was only because I had a great guide!

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