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Life in the Big City (Survival Training)


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The sun was just reaching it's apex as Jasen walked through the yards towards the trainee's barracks. He hummed a nonsense song as he moved down the dirt path, happy that he was doing something other then guard duty or patrolling. Not that spending days on end in the area surrounding the city wasn't fun, it was just that nothing really happened that led to excitement. There was little banditry in the area due to the fact that people all over feared Aes Sedai, and the world of war had yet to move close to the Shinning Walls. Today, however, was different. Tonight he would not be sleeping out under the trees, using his cloak as a blanket and a saddle for a pillow. Tonight he would be spending the night in the greatest city in the world; Tar Valon. For tonight he had new orders from the Mistress of Trainees to teach the next generation of Tower Guards about the darker sides of the civilized world. While it wouldn't be the greatest fun for them, Jasen was just bubbling with happiness over the opportunity to do this. It was for this reason he hummed as he walked.


Entering the square building, he moved to find all the rooms of those he was taking out. As he walked down the hallways, he remembered his own time here under the tutelage of Raissa. It was not something he ever wanted to do again, but the memories of the friends he had made and the times they had were bright spots in his life. Moving to the first door, he posted this note. Meet me at the the Broken Anchor inn in Tar Valon by 2 o'clock. I will not leave you directions to this place, nor do I think you will know what part of the city this inn is. You are free to use whatever resource you want. This is going to be your first test in learning about the city. In most places you will travel, you will not know much about the seedier aspects of the city, but will need to be able to negotiate within them. You will not bring any sort of item that could connect you with the tower, nor will you bring your sword. All you can bring is a dark, nondescript cloak with a hood and any weapons that you can hide underneath it. If you don't make it in time there will be a consequence. Good Luck. Jasen Pontean The note fluttered as he walked away to the next room.


As he walked away from the yards, Jasen looked around the city. He remembered his own city adventure all those years ago wit Raissa. He had been so confused at first, having been raised on a farm back in Andor. The memories of running through the streets, getting approached by gangs, and just feeling so overwhelmed by the mass amounts of people. He wandered through the city towards the south harbor, where the Broken Anchor was located. As he got closer, the buildings stopped seeming so mystical in construction and became smaller, more close together. Where you could see lots of people wandering about earlier, less and less moved around the smaller streets. Finding himself at the right place, he turned down an alley and headed towards a dark sign with a picture of an anchor connected to a broken chain. He went inside and sat down. A serving woman came over and handed him a mug of ale, which he pushed off to the side without taking a sip. He had been here before and knew just how terrible it tasted, and didn't want his mouth curdled when he had to talk to the trainees. Leaning his chair against the wall, he threw his cloak over his head, crossed his arms, and began to wait.


Jasen Pontean


ooc. All right, feel free to make your way to the inn in whatever manner you want. You can work together, go it alone, talk to strangers, anything that you want. If you want to be late, go for it, if not, hurry up and get here!

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Arriving to his room after a long morning of training he was surprised to see a note on the door. Taking it down carefully he read it and his excitement grew. Rushing into his room he grabbed his black cloak, shed his sword reluctantly, then grabbed his long knife. Making sure his knife was firmly attached to his belt and was out of site just behind his left hip, he set out for the city.


At the gates he showed the Tower Guards the note and they let him through laughingly telling him, "Good Luck!" Not sure why he would need luck in Tar Valen he made his way through the town. It was noon which gave him a few hours to try and find the Broken Anchor. Thinking quickly he decided it would be in one of the dock areas. So picking a direction he headed out on his newest mission.


While he walked through the crowded streets close to the White Tower he thought briefly about the events of his recent trip into the Tower itself. It had been a nice trip until... His thoughts were interrupted by a tugging on his money pouch. Reacting quickly he grabbed the hand that held his pouch and twisted it. Then he reached for his long knife and placed it against the...child's throat! A child was trying to steal from me!? He put his knife away and reattached his coin pouch more securely. Then he shook the child gently and said, " Don't ever try that again, if you need money go to a stable or inn and ask for work! Now scram!"


Realizing that things were starting to look differently, he pulled his cloak closer to him and walked more briskly. He knew he was taking too long as he glanced at the sun. Making a quick decision he stopped the next person he saw and asked for directions. He was amazed at the response he got.


" You want to go there!? Are you mad!? If they don't kill you, you'll be lucky if you come back with anything at all. It's just a ways down that way, and don't say I didn't warn you! Fool!"


Now he really began to wonder if this note he had was real or fake. Either way it was obvious someone was testing him and he didn't know enough of cities to know what were the right and wrongs here. Moving more quickly now he headed in the direction he was told, while eyeing everything like a hawk. To people he passed it was obvious he was uncomfortable and nervous at being in this part of the city. Some eyed him with amusement and some with calculating looks.


Finally he could see a sign showing an anchor with a broken chain, he could just make it out as he was a few streets away yet. Rushing on the verge of running now, he went towards the Broken Anchor. As he passed through the next street and just entered the alley he was slammed against the wall.


Fear hit him instantly, but he had been bullied by his bear-sized brothers his whole life so his fear quickly turned to anger. He reacted, like he had so many times before, quickly and quite unfairly. Bringing his knee up, he slammed it into the man's groin and watched as he went down. Not waiting, and doubting the man was alone, he kicked him in the head then moved back against the wall to see how many others there was.


Two more hulking men bearing daggers and wearing sailors clothes moved to either side of him. Remembering his own knife, he pulled it and darted to the man on his left, and thankfully towards the inn. The man dodged to the other wall and he felt the presence of the man behind him just as he felt a blade bite into his lower back. Stumbling, he lashed out to the man dodging him and barely grazed his arm. Then he spun to face his attackers while weakly stumbling backwards, he knew he had to reach the inn or he was a dead man.


The man who stabbed him was moving forward now and was joined by the man with the cut arm. Behind them the man he had kneed was getting up. Making a desperate move, Gaidan launched himself forward while slashing for throats. The sudden attack forced the two before him to stumble back quickly and the fell backwards onto the last man. Taking advantage of the situation, Gaidan turned and ran headlong into the inn.


Slamming the door behind him, he strode quickly to a seat and took off his cloak. Ripping his shirt off he looked behind and down at his back. Seeing the wound, barely, he balled his shirt and pressed it on his wound. Then he looked around for the supposed instructor with a pained, glaring stare.


Gaidan Hatori, Trainee of the Warders

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Melenis read the note slipped under her door for what had to be the hundreth time. All you can bring is a dark, nondescript cloak with a hood and any weapons that you can hide underneath it. She winced at the words, but no matter how often she looked at them they weren't planning to magically change the wording. She thought on what to do, before getting an idea.


There were some clothes in the wardrobe from the previous occupant of her room, left behind for being little more than rags. They would do nicely. Wrapping strips of cloth around her weapon, she ultimately ended up disguising her ashandarei as a rather shabby looking walking staff. Mouthing a silent apology to her grandfather, she tossed a dark brown cloak around her shoulders before moving out.


Judging by the name of the Inn, she guessed it had to be in the Docks, and set about walking through the district. Avoiding the darker alleys, she walked through the streets as if she had done so for years, the Void coming in useful once again. A couple of men eyed her over, ultimately deciding against making a move due to her calm manner, giving them the impression she was perfectly capable of defending herself. She heard them mumble about a better target in one of the alleys before the three ran off.


After almost an hour of walking, a casual glance in one of the alleys revealed a sign with the Inn's name on it. Passing the three men from before -- apparently nursing some wounds and a hurt pride -- she walked into the Inn. Noticing Gaidan sitting a ways off, she walked over to his table before sitting down, looking at him from under the edge of her hood.


- "I take it you haven't found Master Pontean yet?"


She'd lean back slightly, holding her 'walking stick' close to her, her stance a silent offer to help Gaidan, should he ask. She felt somewhat guilty for taking the weapon along, but she really couldn't have left without it, not considering what it meant to her. If this Jason Pontean they were supposed to meet disagreed... well, she'd just have to deal with the consequences and be done with it.




Not wanting to leave her weapon home

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Saeric frowned at his note and threw it in the corner. He couldn't take his sword. He pondered. No, a mace would not be well hidden under his cloak, not would a spear, nor a bow, or anything useful. He was mostly limited to daggers. He grabbed two curving daggers and slipped them in his belt. He pulled his cloak on, the brown one with the ratty fring on the bottom, and strode off down the halls with a purpose.


Once in the city, he was rather lost. Broken anchor sounded like it should be in one of the harbors.But which one? North or south? I'll try north. As he grew closer, the smell of fish and boats grew stronger.  As well as the smell of the people. He had been told Tar Valon was pristine. They had obviously never been to north harbor. He wandered the north side, getting rather annoyed with the tingling on the back of his neck that seemed to tell him he was being followed. He hated asking directions, but it was getting late. He finally found a woman who knew where it was. It was in south harbor. If he could have, he would have kicked himself right in the butt, or maybe the head. Off he went towards south harbor.


The feeling of being followed disappeared as he grew closer to the center of town. He saw a sign with an anchor on it from afar, but also saw some street toughs hanging around. One had some bandgae around his head and had a slight limp, from what he could tell. Looks like one of the other Trainees met up with him already. Saeric went two streets down then went up and came around the other side and disappeared into the front door. Gaidan and melenis were already there, plus a few others he couldn't remember the names of. What was next in this grand adventure?


Saeric Talvus

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People went in and out of the door to the Broken Anchor. You could tell which people belonged; they had a certain sort of swagger, a glint in the eye that only developed after spending a great amount of time in some of the more dangerous parts of the worlds cities. These people all went off to their own places without hesitation, they knew exactly what they wanted and where they could get it. So when the first trainee came in Jasen could spot him in a second. The young man seemed to be injured, but it wouldn't do to help him before everyone was there. The young man sat down and kept pressure on his chest, waiting for something to happen. The next trainee came in, a young woman with an impressive looking "walking stick." He stared at it and sighed. Trainees never learn. I think I'm going to have to punish the poor girl. It took a little longer for the third trainee to walk in. Of all of them this one looked like he would need the most help blending into this sort of crowd. But thats what he was here for, to teach these ignorant young ones how to blend in with all lots of life, and to keep themselves safe in the uncivilized parts of the civilized world.


Jasen decided that it was time to go over and talk to them. Motioning a serving girl, he called her over. "I need you to bring over four doubles of brandy to that table, a towel and a hot bowl of water. Thanks." Pushing his still full mug off to the side, he threw his hood off and walked over to their table. Grabbing a seat out, he sat down and threw his cloak over the back. All their eyes turned immediately towards him, all filled with curiosity. "I'd like to introduce myself," said Jasen, "I'm Jasen Pontean and I am your instructor for city survival. First things first, Hatori, take off your shirt." The young man stripped off the stained shirt and exposed the gash on his chest. At the same time, the serving woman came over with the four dented tin cups and a steaming bowl. Setting it down, Jasen pointed towards the towel and bowel and said "Clean yourself off. Rule number one of operating in a big city, never have blood on yourself or anyone your with. It sets alarms off in peoples heads and panic always ensues in the nicer parts of town. If your in the dingier areas, there is a good possibility that someone might come  in and finish the job, with your purse being the goal." The young man picked up the towel and cleaned up, the water slowly turning to a pale red. The wound itself didn't look that deep, but it would sting like fire while he moved. While Gaidin was finishing that, Jasen looked over to the other to the other two. "I take it you are not injured? Good. Each of you grab a cup, and Hatori, when you're done, do the same." Each person at the table picked up the foul smelling brandy and looked into the murky brown liquid. Raising his cup Jasen looked around the table. "Let us toast to your training and to the creator. May you all come back in mostly in one piece." With that, they all tilted their drinks down their throats and fought like hell to keep the vile stuff down.


Once the cups and bowl were away, Jasen brought out three pieces of parchment, folded and sealed with an blob of wax lacking any design. "Here is your first task. I don't care whether you work together or separately, all I want is that they get completed as quickly as possible. Inside are the locations of three buildings, each with a package I want you to retrieve for me. They are small and easily carried. The catch is, there will be guards inside and outside of the buildings, and will try to stop you. I do not want you to kill any of these guards if they attack you, or cause any mortal wounds. Each of these packages will be on a table in one of the upstairs rooms and I am sure you will recognize them when you see them. You are not to open them, but to bring them directly back here without anyone following you. If you are chased, I would recommend using the alleys and roofs. Inns and and warehouses can be good places you can hide for a seconds rest. Break your pursuers line of sight as often as possible, and then put as much distance between you and them. Thats all the advice I will give you, for the best teacher in the world is experience. Lets walk to the door and I'll see you off." The four of them got up and walked over to the door. As they did, Jasen motioned towards the innkeeper that he would be right back. The three trainees went out the door, but before they could all leave, Jasen grabbed Melenis by the arm. "One second there young lady. Thats a mighty fine walking stick you have. However, you might not want to have it if your running. Let me hold on to that while your out." She looked pained, but reluctantly handed it over. Pulling out a knife, he cut the rags off the top of it revealing a gleaming blade. Looking at Melenis sternly, Jasen shook his head. "I said no large weapons. You disobeyed my directions and will pay the penalty when you get back. Now move along as fast as you can." She turned around and ran ahead, but not before Jasen saw the embarrassed expression on her face. Jasen turned back into the inn and sat down at the table, wishing that there was something he could do to pass the time. Perhaps the dice game in the corner...


Jasen Pontean


ooc: All right, have fun with this. Like the first time, improvise and let your imagination take you where you will.

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Melenis shuddered at the murky liquid as much as hearing she needed to leave her weapon behind. While the message she had gotten implied as much, she gave a brief nod at hearing she was to be given a penalty for disobeying Jasen's instructions. She wouldn't try to squeeze out from under it, it was a risk she had willingly taken, and would have done the same thing the next time similar instructions would have come up.


Grabbing a random piece of parchment, she ran towards the door before slowing down to a walk just before heading outside. The sooner she'd finish the assignment, the faster it would get her her weapon back, but given the area she was in, running through the streets might cause people to think she had a reason for running, and she wanted to have a good reserve of stamina in case that happened.


Once in a relatively quiet alley, she casually thrust her hands in her pockets, breaking the seal on the letter in the process. Looking around, she'd take the letter out as if checking for directions before walking on in the direction of the designated building that her target was supposed to be in.


Despite not being a thief, she was already trying to set up a plan of what she was going to do. Not being detected -- or at least not be recognised as a thief -- would be her first priority, once that was done she'd need to see against just how many guards she'd be up against.

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Gaidan winced every time he touched the wound as he cleaned it. He had taken worse beatings from his brothers back home but never before had he been cut. Finishing the cleaning he listened to Jasen, their instructor, give the information about the next part of this training. He knew he would be hard pressed to complete this test while he was injured but Warders do it all the time. It was expected that a Warder would push forward even if he was only alive by a thread.


So he bandaged his wound and put on his shirt and cloak. Stood up and winced in pain once more before assuming the Void and forcing the pain to the recesses of his mind. He picked up a piece of parchment and then he followed everyone to the door and watched as Melenis rushed to the door and only slowed as she reached it. So much for working together. Taking his time he opened the seal and read the location, it seemed to be house next to a blacksmiths. That would work to his advantage, he grew up a blacksmith's son so he knew how smokey it was and how many objects could be used to fend off or startle opponents in one. If he hadn't been in the Void he would have grinned from ear to ear!


Walking briskly as if he belongged in this part of the city he strode out and headed back to the main part of town. He saw that the ruffians who had started on him earlier were gone so he went with a bit more confidence then he had arrived with. It didn't take him long to get back to the center of the city at all.


Once there however he realized just how difficult it was going to be. It was dark now and most people were heading indoors. The pain from his wound was starting to seep into his Void as well leaving a constant, trobbing pain pounding in his lower back. Asking directions for the Blacksmith's shop he was instructed to the upper East side just before the locals docks.


So he made his way over there well past midnight and looked around from an alley. He watched the house that held his package for some time and was impressed as well as disheartened. There were at least six guards outside, and he had seen roughly the same inside making a dozen guards! There was a balcony that wrapped around the entire building and where it came close to the blacksmiths, it was only a few feet. An easy jump for someone who wasn't injured, but it was his best bet as the guards didn't seem to worry about that approach.


Moving quietly and quickly he made his way around the backside of the blacksmiths using alleys. Climbing the barrels of water and iron to the roof was a chore as the pain increased in his back but he managed to make it quietly up and over to the edge. Crouching down he looked for the Guards that were patrolling the balcony, and was grateful to not see them. He looked down to see the guards below and was even more relieved to see them half-asleep at their posts.


Moving quickly he sprang to the balcony's railings and felt a shot of searing pain break his hold of the Void as he thunked into the railing. It took all he had to hold on as he dangled completely exposed agony shooting through his entire back and blood started pouring down from his wound. It took what felt like an eternity before he reclaimed the Void and then it only numbed the pain a little. Slowly he climbed over the railing and leaned heavily against the wall breathing harshly.


If he hadn't been in the Void he would have missed the single set of footsteps approaching from around the corner. Moving quickly he reached the corner at the same time as the other did, only he had his knife pulled out as the guard's face went wide with surprise. Gaidan slammed the butt of his hilt into the man's temple and barely slowed his slump to the floor. The pain threatened to break the Void once more before he forced it to subside. Failure is not an option!


Moving quickly now he rushed inside and seeing the 'package' on the table he grabbed it just as another guard come walking sleepily into the room. Gaidan know he couldn't fight any more, it was all he could do to stay moving and finish this training! He turned and ran out the door and around the corner. Without stopping to think about the footsteps that started pounding after him, he half dove and half jumped for the blacksmiths roof. Rolling along the top of the building left waves of burning through his back and shattered the Void altogether.


He stumbled off the roof and bounced down the barrels, breaking one that was water on the way. Stumbling, he pulled himself forward in a crouching position that he was struggling to make an upright running motion. After a moment he managed a lurching upright run as he went careening through the alley. He could hear the footsteps behind him and he went as fast as he could. He was losing focus though as the loss of blood and pain took its toll on him.


He saw an open warehouse and stumbled inside searching for a good place to hide. Seeing a huge stack of crates he sqeezed in between them, barely realizing he needed to leave no trace. So he wiped the blood off the crates and barely managed to tighten his bandage before hiding under his cloak.


He woke much later and was very weak. Managing to sqeeze back out, he stumbled out of the warehouse and realized it was almost midday. It took him until around supper time before he stumbled into the Broken Anchor and promptly fell gripping the package tightly.


Gaidan Hatori, Trainee of the Warders

OOC: Please don't minimize the injury! I want it that way for another RP! Thanks!

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Analysing the building was actually easier than Melenis had imagined. There were quite a few guards, but it was clear that they felt secure in their numbers, and were far from alert of what went on around them. That still didn't make it easy though, as they still eyed people sternly that didn't keep walking fast enough to their liking, but to one almost living in the Void like Melenis was, the signs were painfully obvious.


What had Jason said again? When chased, stick to the alleys and rooftops? The alleys she could understand, though she figured that to a woman, the alleys would be as dangerous -- or even moreso -- than having the guards catch her. Thus, the rooftops were the only option worth considering in her eyes. Finding a place which provided her with some decent footing, she scrambled on one of the district's tiled roofs and started walking to the building where her letter said the package would be.


Lying down, she crawled towards the roof, peeking through one of the windows from the building across the street until she noticed a small bundle propped on a table. The window was open as well, but it all looked a bit too easy to her. Considering the amount of guards in the streets, it wouldn't be far fetched to assume there'd be more inside the building as well.


Getting an idea, she slid back to where she had seen a broken rooftile, and took her boots off. Placing the tile in her left boot for safekeeping, she tied her shoelaces together and jumped from one roof to the other. Though she winced slightly from the impact despite the Void, it managed to make her landing all the more stealthy in comparison to the sound her bootsoles would have generated.


Still barefoot, she lowered herself at the side of the building, near the corner. Taking out the piece of tile now, she flung it at the window, a sharp crack of tile hitting wood being heard as she dove around the corner again, out of sight from the guards that were now rushing into the alley.


She climbed into a window, noticing an open door that spoke volumes on what the guards previously occupying the room must have been thinking. Snatching up the package, she wasted little time in climbing up the roof again, still barefoot to make as little noise as possible while reducing the chance of slipping on the sometimes loose tiles. Once she had reached a safe distance, she sat down again, putting her boots back on.


Much to her surprise however, her left boot didn't seem to fit anymore. She let go of the Void for a second, and winced in pain as she noticed her sprained ankle. In the Void earlier, she had failed to notice the pain as she ran, and her attention had been too focused on detecting pursuers to pay much attention to her slightly swollen ankle.


She slid down on the ground as carefully as she could, biting off an oath as more stabs of pain made their way up her leg. Still, she remembered what Jason had told them about blood, and wrapped herself in the Void again as her body cried unfelt tears while appearing to walk as if she were perfectly fine.


It felt like an eternity until she finally reached the Inn, and when she walked through the door she had so much adrenaline in her system that she didn't even notice Gaidan lying on the floor. Control of the Void had been lost half an hour ago, and she had gotten used to the taste of blood in her mouth where she had bitten through her lip trying to keep her face blank.


Sitting down at the same table again, she felt as if she was tense enough to punch out an angry bear. Her movements were almost robotic, and she ordered a double brandy, throwing it back in a single gulp. Much as she expected, it took her mind off of the blinding pain in her left ankle, and she ordered another. And another.




Just wants the hurt to stop.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saric had waited ot see what the others would do. It seemed that each was going his own way. He opened his letter and slowly examined the contents. He got up and sauntered over to the door. Melenis and Gaidan were already gone from sight.From the directions, it seemed his target building was relatively near. It would likely be hardest to get into. He walked down two streets, then turned into an alley. Using holes in the siding at foot and hand holds, he quickly scaled onto the roof. He kept low to the one side, so as not to draw attention.


He drew near the building. Three floors and the bottom floor appeared to be a weaver's. It was a busy alley, so he could slip in unnoticed, but the guards were likely on the second and third floors. He snuck down roofs a ways, jumped across the street, and snuck back up. No need to draw attention. The windown nearest him was open, but he needed to be on the third floor. Once agin, he used his dexterity to scale the building. The window on the top floor was also open, and he didn't see anyone in the room. The package was there, wrapped in brown paper sitting on the table. He stuffed it into his shirt and climbed out the window.


Having just scaled the building, his hands were getting kinda sweaty. Just as he was completely out the window, both hands slipped from the frame and his fell down to the roof beside, slid down the lower roof, and landed on his back in the alley behind the building. As he tried to pick himself up, he realized that he had yelled as he fell and had landed on an old crate, which smashed. That was unnecessary noise. As much as his back hurt, he took off like a bullet down the alley before the gurds came after him. Turn as often as possible.


He arrived back at the inn, last once again. He was winded and his back burned. He sat down gently and ordered whatever Melenis was having. It seemed to be helping her.



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Jasen was idly tossing some coins that he had won from the dice game together when the first watcher came in. His name was Sam Cartwright and his job was to watch over the young trainees in their missions today, making sure they didn't cause to much trouble or get hurt to badly. He had several other Guards under him doing the same thing, all in the name of teaching. The young ones weren't to know of their presence, for the whole purpose of this exercise was to teach them how to survive by themselves. Jasen waved him over and the man sat down. A maid came over to bring him a drink but Sam waved her off. Unlike Jasen, he had some reservations about drinking while on duty. Chuckling to himself, Jasen took a swig of his wine, just to show that he could, and shuddered. Perhaps Same has the right idea not drinking in a place like this. Light but this is horrid swill! Putting his mug down, Jasen turned to the plainly dressed Guardsman. "So, how do our avid explorers fare in their task?" Sam leaned back in his chair and started to talk. "Well, they don't seem to be doing to bad. One of them is pretty badly cut across the chest, and might need to be taken in if he starts to truly falter. I have Jess keeping a close on him and if it looks like he can't handle it she has orders to bring him back to the yards to see a healer. And you know how Jess is, always protective of those she feels are in trouble, whether they are in it or not." Jasen grumbled at this. The woman could be a pain sometimes, and had clubbed him several times when he and others were just having a friendly scuffle. "Anyways, besides him, the others don't seem to be in that bad of shape. They're banged up pretty bad, and won't be feeling good in the morning, but they'll survive. They should be back here shortly if they can remember how to get here. You certainly know how to pick holes in the wall, you know that Jasen?" "Aye, but these are the places where the most fun is to be had." Jasen's eyes passed over a dark stain on the floor that didn't quite look like spilled wine. Well, if not fun, at least they had the most excitement. "Thanks for the report Sam, make sure you and the others keep an eye out on them for this next task. If they do any damage or upset people, make sure everything is sorted out. I'd rather not have to deal with the higher ups because some green horn accidentally destroyed some poor man's livelihood while running around the city." The other guard stood up and laughed, slapping a full purse from his belt. "I know the drill just as well as you. Toss enough coins to people and they'll forgive just about everything. Well, I'd better get going, those kids of yours should be coming here any second, and it wouldn't be good for them to see me talking to you like this. I'll see you back in the yards." Waving good bye, Jasen was just able to shout out a hurried thanks before Sam walked out the door and into the street.


The dice game didn't really hold his attention after that, but Jasen continued to play just to have something to do. The stakes were low enough, just coppers at the moment, that he could afford to let his mind wander while he tossed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the first trainee come in. It appeared to be Melenis, and the girl went straight to a table and sat down. She looked tired, but by the bulge under her cloak, she appeared to be successful. She immediately started to order more of the swill they called brandy here, and Jasen smiled. A girl after my own heart... It was only a minute later that the second trainee arrived. Saric walked over to Melenis and they exchanged a glance but nothing else. Jasen could tell the two were drained of energy, anyone with two working eyes could see that. The tavern maid came over with a tin cup for Saric as well, and the two young warriors tapped cups and threw the fiery liquid down their throats. Another round was put in front of them, but before they could get the brandy to their lips Jasen walked over and grabbed their arms. "It wouldn't do to have you go back to the yards drunk, know would it? I don't think Mistress Thera would take kindly to you at all. Now, did you get the packages I asked for?" They both nodded and produced the brown wrapped parcels from under their clothes. With a smile, Jasen sat down and pulled the two packages toward him. He didn't open them yet, for the fourth member of their little group had not yet arrived. He was about to ask the two where Gaidin was, when the door burst open. The young man stood for a second, and then fell to the floor. Jasen was out of his chair and over at his side in a heart beat. This was the man Sam had said who was beat up the most, and Jasen could see why. Picking him up, he waved off the inn keeper and set him in a chair. A third wrapped object was on the table, and after Gaidin gave Jasen a weak smile assuring him that he was all right to continue, Jasen sat down and opened the paper.


In the first package was a nice shirt stemmed pipe. In the second was a leather pouch of tabac, not from the Two Rivers unfortunately, but not bad either. In the third one brought in by Saric was a book, Voyages with the Sea Folk. Smiling, Jasen thumbed the pipe full of tabac, lit it with a splint, and leaned back puffing happily. He could see the jaws of those around him drop. He knew what they must be thinking, that they had gone through all that trouble to just bring him back something to smoke and read! Chuckling, Jasen took the pipe out of his mouth and began to talk. "I'm pleased to see that you have all made it back here more or less intact. I thank you for getting my things, it was awfully boring sitting here without anything to do. And since I don't see city guards or other people crashing through that door right now, I take it you were able to avoid being followed back here. Congratulations, your journey here is almost over. Now, you know the Tower is not one to send out it's people unprepared in the world. Very rarely will you go some place without proper funds. The Tower tries to take care of it's own, but what it wants and what happens in the real world are two very different things. Sometimes you might be stuck in a city with limited to no money and you will still be expected to provide for both yourself and your Sedai if you become a Warder. Your final task is this. You will be sent to acquire a list of goods from around the city, from food and clothing, to other, more specialized things. You will not have enough money to cover the costs of everything and will have to find a way to get it all. This means bartering, working our arrangements, trade, and perhaps even stealing, although I'd always keep that as a last resort. When haggling with someone, it doesn't pay to be confrontational or rude. People will just walk away from you if you try and scare them or demand things from them, remember that." Reaching into his coat pocket, Jasen pulled out three small purses with three more letters attached to them. Handing them out to each person, he turned to Melenis. "Since you insisted on bringing your weapon here even after I told you not to, I decided to take some of your money and play dice with them. I'm not very lucky in that aspect and I lost it all, so your going into this challenge a little poorer then the others. I won't allow that as an excuse for failure. Get back here as quickly as possible, because it's almost time for dinner and shops will be closing soon. Now, be off with you and let me read and smoke in peace!" With that, Jasen put his pipe back in his mouth, opened the book, and pretended to start reading. The trainees looked at one another, and Jasen watched them over the rim of his book walk out of the inn in a pained line. He hoped they all made it back safely and without causing trouble. They weren't the only ones who had to worry about Mistress Thera. If she thought he was endangering the health or minds of her trainees, he would have hell to pay. And the kind of hell she would lay on him made Jasen shiver down to his boots.


Jasen Pontean


ooc. Pick out what kind of items you want to get, how you want to get them, and then hurry back to the inn. You're in the home stretch!

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Melenis didn't move much after Jasen had stopped the third cup of brandy from reaching her mouth. Looking at the cup, she realised the man was right: getting drunk would serve no purpose. Quite the contrary, it would be counterproductive, as intoxication would lead to oversights that would prove to be disastrous. She watched the other trainees leave, yet made no attempts of her own to get up and leave the inn.


- "Master Pontean? My apologies, but... i can't."


It wasn't that the task she had been given was too hard for her. Even though she didn't have much experience with haggling, she had made due with little ever since she was a child, and was used to not spending money on needless things. The throb in her ankle was starting to drown out the brandy as well now, and even though it annoyed her greatly, she was unable to continue with any chance of success.


- "I... sprained my ankle about an hour ago. Can't even gather the focus to form the Void any longer... Ten more minutes of walking and i can't even look straight anymore."


She took a deep breath again, knowing that if what Jasen said was correct, her limp would get her jumped by thieves before she'd even make it out of the alley. Her ankle felt more than a little swollen in her boot, and she had the feeling that doing even as much as standing up would cause her to collapse on the spot. Giving up before she'd endanger the lot of them would be the most logical course of action in her mind.




The one with the badly sprained ankle

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gaidan wasn't sure how much more he could do right now but then he remembered Rasheta. He needed to train and make himself stronger in order to protect her. So he took Jasen's drink and downed it in one long gulp then took his coin and list. Looking the list over he saw that he needed a sword, knife, some herbs and two sets of clothes. One for him and one for a woman, his Aes Sedai maybe? Standing up was easier now that the liquer was taken affect, it also allowed him to resume the Void. So he put the coin pouch in his belt after adding the remaining coin from his family and walked out.


He cautiously checked for any obseservers or thugs and then moved briskly down the street while ignoring the aching pain in his back. Once he was out of the thug area he started asking for some cheap shops. He knew he couldn't afford expensive stuff and that cheap weapons were usually better then the expensive ones the nobles wore.


He was in luck! The cheaper part of town was close by and it didn't take him long before he was in front of a cheap but well run blacksmith's shop. Walking in he quickly judged the poorest yet good blades. Choosing to get two short swords after his recent forms training was easy and just as costly as buying a longsword. Then he picked a decent knife and went to the blacksmith. He just smiled as he pulled out his coin pouch and said politely, " It is five gold pieces total but I was wondering if you could let me have these for four? I was injured and robbed of my other pouch yesterday and only have ten gold left." Then he moved his cloak to reveal his blood-drenched shirt. " As you can tell I need to still buy herbs and get fresh clothes sir. Any help you could give would be much appreciated and I swear I will come back and repay you once I can earn the money."


Then man had started to frown until he saw the blood. Then he got a concerned look on his face and said, " Three gold lad. I hope you keep you word to repay my kindness later. You seem like a lad of your word and you obviously know your way around a blaksmith." He took his gold walked Gaidan to the door and pointed at a herb shop, " Show the lady inside your injury and I am sure she will help you. Good luck lad." Then they shook hands briefly and Gaidan moved on.


Walking down the street was a little more effort now that he had his swords on his back, but people moved out of his path. He may not know many forms but he still walked like he knew what to do with those blades.


Reaching the herb shop, he paused a moment and then walked in. A woman looked up and seeing his pale face rushed to him, " What can I get you lad? Are you hurt?" Holding a hand up in a staling gesture, he smiled ad revealed his wound. She instantly sat him down and made him strip his cloak, weapons and shirt. Then she cleaned and put a mush of herbs on his wound, " You should see an Aes Sedai about this. You got this when, yesterday? I can ease the pain but not heal it and it will leave a nasty scar if you don't get their help." She finished bandaging him then and looking at his shirt, tossed it and brought him fresh clothes. They were brown and faded but servicible.


As he put them on he thanked her and said, " You are most kind. I will give you the remaining seven gold I have if could spare a dress and shift and some herbs that are on this list." He pulled out the list and handed it to her along with his pouch. She set the pouch down and walked around her shop gathering the three herbs listed on it. Then she set them down and left the room again. When she came back she had a dress that seemed like it would fit Rasheta, although it wouldn't hide her beauty. Then she said, " This stuff is worth about eleven gold but it is obvious that you have run afoul of some bad luck so I will accept your offer and give you some advice. Seek healing from an Aes Sedai and then leave town and return home. You are too young to have brought a lady friend here and unless you can do more then swing that sword you will be dead in a week. New people either travel in large groups or wind up dead in these poorer parts. Good luck lad." With that she ushered him to the door and locked it once he was out.


Putting on his cloak and swords quickly, he realized he had probably just paid way more then he should have but he was tired and injured. He made his way back to the tavern while keeping one hand one the hilt of his new weapon. Once there he walked in and set the list and items on the table. " I am keeping the clothes for me and the weapons since I was injured and need them. I also used what remained of my own money from my father." Then he slumped in a chair and downed Jasen's current drink before saying in a whisper, " I will need Healing when we get back and if possible I want to request Rasheta Sedai as I have already promised myself to her."


Gaidan Hatori, Trainee for the Warders.

In love with his Promised!

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Saeric took his purse and list and quickly scanned it over. Three throwing knives, a meat pie, a braided rope, and a dustcloak. He looked into the purse and counted what he had. One gold Tar Valon crown, and four silver Tar Valon marks. That should be enough if he played it right. He limped out of the inn and followed Gaidan to the cheap part of town. Even in Tar Valon, the grandest city in the world, there was a cheap market. He spied a woman with a cart seeling meat pies off in the distance, Gaidan had found a blacksmith, and a small tent selling weavings was right nearby. He decided he would go there first. The man was eager to show Saeric the goods he had to offer. There was a dustcloak and a braided rope here, but the rope was ridicoulously expensive. He paid the two marks for the cloak and left the rope. He would go back for it if he couldn't find another.


The blacksmith seemed to be in a generous mood today. He sold him the throwing knives for his gold crown, and he even got a few copper pennies back. And the knives were well made. The woman selling pies took his coppers in exchange for a steaming hot beef pie. It smelled amazing, but he wasn't going to eat it just yet. "Do you know of somewhere I could get a cheap braided rope, by chance?" he asked the pie woman. "The only place I can think of is that man in the tent back down the road, just over there." saeric just harumphed quietly to himself and went back to the tent. "So you're back, are you? Still interested in that rope?" "Yes, I am, but I only have two silver marks. Is there any way you can lower the price?" The slim man stroked his chin and pondered a second. "It depends. What are you willing to give in exchange?" It was Saeric's turn to stroke his chin and ponder. He didn't really have anything. Well, he did have the seashell charm his sister gave him when they left. He didn't want to part with it, but it didn't apear there was any other option. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the white and blue shells. "Oooh, those will do very nicely. I'll even do a straight exchange for them." "What if I give you some of the shells with the marks?" "Yes yes, that will do." Sae untied the string, slipped off half the shells, and handed them over to the merchant. He got his rope and headed back to the inn. Upon entering, he sat down at the table, placed his objects on the table, and put up his feet on the stool across from him.


Saeric Talvus

Slightly emotional atm

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  • 2 weeks later...

As hard as Melenis tried, she realised that there would be no way for her to finish the class and remain mentally sane. Not when the assignments included negotiating with shopkeepers, anyway. She tested the limb once again, wincing painfully at even the slightest pressure, and shook her head. Reluctantly, she slid the money pouch back over the table to Jasen again, the look in her eyes speaking volumes. She wanted to continue, she really did. But with her ankle, the odds would be stacked against her the second people realised she had some coin on her.


Jasen called for someone sitting in a corner of the tavern, telling her that he was going to help her get back to the Yards. She simply nodded, almost literally pushing herself up from the table as she reached for the ashandarei Jasen was handing back to her. Using the weapon as a makeshift walking staff, she limped out of the tavern with her assigned bodyguard, hoping the man wouldn't be getting into too much trouble because of her. There were some tense moments with the seedier looking people in some of the alleys, but fortunately for her the man sent with her packed a fierce glare if their reactions were any indcation.


Slowly but surely, she arrived at the Grounds and the infirmary with little trouble. Once in the Infirmary, Jasen's improvised bandaging was replaced by more durable ones, and the medic allowed her some time to rest before examining her ankle further. If it looked too bad, he'd make a request for an Aes Sedai, though Melenis started drifting off from exhaustion halfway throughout his speech. Her final thought before falling asleep was to remind herself to apologise to the doctor when she woke up...




Finally back again

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Jasen watched as Melenis limped out of the room. He felt terrible about not being able to help her further, but some things were out of his hands. The door closed behind her and Tarem, a fellow guardsmen, and Jasen collapsed into his seat. Light but it was hard to deal with trainees getting injured under your care. Well, frankly it was hard to watch anyone get hurt when they are reporting to you. He had seen it before today, and those experiences did little to make future ones hurt less. You just had to move on with what you could change, and pray for what you couldn't. Seeing as it was starting to get late, he snagged a passing serving girl and asked her to bring him a plate of the stew he smelled simmering in the back. He didn't know what it was, and didn't feel the need to ask. Expect the worse and you'll always be pleasantly surprised. The girl hurried back with his order, and Jasen relaxed back into his chair and absently tapped his feet to the music of a bittern, drum, and flute that was just beginning to play. He had time to kill until his students got back, and hopefully that was all that was killed.


His plate had just been cleared away when Saeric walked through the door. He seemed to have all of his items by the full hands and smile on his face. The young man's feet clomped on the floor as he walked over to the table where Jasen sat, obviously tired. He fell into his chair with a sigh and tossed his feet up on a stool. Jasen grinned. Well, one down, two more to go. I'll be damned if that Melenis is going to get off easy on this one. "Everything go all right?" he asked Saeric. The young man nodded and Jasen tossed him a smile. With a wave, he had a cold glass of water brought for the lad, and another brandy for himself. The young man had succeeded, and so he had cause to celebrate. Before he was able to toss the fire down his throat Gaidan stumbled into the room. He looked less then well, but still he was on his feet. With a pained expression he walked over to the table where Jasen and Saeric sat and sat in a seat with a pained expression on his face. His hand reached out and grabbed the drink which sat in front of Jasen and drank it down. Jasen didn't say anything. The trainee obviously had a much greater need for the numbness that the brandy could deliver then Jasen himself did, although he had better be careful or he would hurt himself further with the stuff. "I will need Healing when we get back and if possible I want to request Rasheta Sedai as I have already promised myself to her." Jasen nodded. "Aye lad, you can have anyone you desire to heal that slash across your chest. Now, lets get you two to your feet and back to the yards so you can get that healing before we have to carry you the whole way." Putting two fingers in his mouth, he let out a loud whistle. Immediately three guards joined them, two from outside and one from within. "You two help with Gaidan, I'll grab the goods and Yolanda, you can give Saeric a hand should he need help." The three guards nodded and they began their march out of the inn. On their way out, Jasen flipped a golden Tar Valon mark to the innkeeper. "Thanks again for your help, old friend. I should see you soon." The innkeeper grinned. "I do hope to no see you to soon, you always bring trouble around yourself Jasen. The light shine on you." With that, they were out the door.


As they moved through the streets, Jasen rummaged through the bags he carried in his hands. Each trainee seemed to have grabbed everything they had been asked to get, although the meat pie was cold and slightly squished. He pulled that out and began to munch on it. The stew had been good enough, but it didn't stick to the ribs like a good old fashioned meat pie. The grease dribbled down his chin as he walked. Swallowing, he began to talk. "Well, it seems like the two of you have everything I asked for. You two have done well today. You performed better then I thought you would, although you seem to be a bit more worse for wear then I had hopped, but that can't be helped. Now you know just how dangerous a city can be, and will be on guard when you are in one. Also, keep in mind that this is Tar Valon. Other cities might not be as kind. Places like Lugard are not as forgiving as the what you'll find within the white walls. Don't let this scare you, just be ready." They were approaching the yards now, the great height of the Tower shadowing over them like a silent sentinel. The men in the red cloaks of the guards waved them through and the entered the yards proper. Raising his hand up for a halt, Jasen addressed the group. "All right you two, consider yourself passed. You have completed city survival and are now ready to explore something new. You two, take Gaidan to the Tower and ask to see Rasheta Sedai. I think she would like to see the young man about a scratch on his chest. Yolanda, you'll follow me with Saeric to the infirmary. I want you to get looked over so I can be sure there is nothing wrong with you before I release you back to training. Come, night's upon us and I mean to be in bed before third watch!" The group split apart, but not before the two young men shared a smile together.


It only took a few questions to find out where Melenis was staying in the infirmary. Jasen couldn't imagine what could be going through her head right now, being left back while her fellow trainees completed their training. Jasen knew how he would have felt, and didn't think that it was far off from what Melenis was feeling right now. He moved through the dark hallways until he reached the room he was looking for. 21H. Gently opening the door, he peered inside. The room was dark and silent except for the steady rhythmic breathing of someone asleep. Good, I won't have to wake her to do this. He tip toed over to the bed and withdrew a wash leather purse and a note. He placed the two on the bedside next to Melenis' head, so that she'd see them when she awoke. Carefully walking out so as not to wake her, Jasen left the room. As he walked back to his room, Jasen was confident that he would see the girl within the next day. He was sure the note he had left with rouse her spirit and get her going. If you give up and don't complete something that you started, the memory of it will stick with you and haunt you forever. You'll never know what could have been. I don't want you to have regrets when you're older, especially not ones that are associated with me. When you get this, I expect you to finish the training we started and get back to me before the evening bell rings tomorrow. The list is here as is the money. I don't expect you to fail. He hadn't signed the letter, for there could be no doubt to who could have sent it. Crossing the dark yards, Jasen headed towards his bunk. He had to get a patrol ready for tomorrow, and wanted all the sleep he could get before dealing with that.


Jasen Pontean

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When Melenis woke the next morning, one of the first things she noticed was something she didn't notice. For some reason, the ankle that had given her trouble to the point of almost passing out the night before was giving off no signs that anything was wrong today, and she couldn't help but look to check if the limb was even still there. When it was, she let out a relieved sigh before gently moving her foot a bit to see if it held up to some movement. There were the bandages there to remind her that it hadn't been her imagination or a bad dream, but to have it heal overnight was unexpected to say the least.


- "Ah, good morning trainee. You came in yesterday with several torn tendons in your foot, so we had you Healed. You may try it out yourself, i'm just here for the checkup."


Melenis' eyes shot up to see the doctor standing in the door opening, and she instinctively pulled up the sheet to cover herself before noticing she still wore the same clothing as yesterday. Shooting a questioning look back at the doctor, the man simply shrugged.


- "You came in gripping that weapon of yours so tightly we couldn't pry it off of you. Rather than call in help to change your clothes, we simply decided to leave you be. We've had a busy night yesterday."


Nodding, Melenis calmly put her feet on the floor next to her, testing her (formerly) injured ankle gently before hesitantly standing up. Healed or not, she realised the hard part would be learning to trust her foot again, and that was something only time would heal.


Looking around, she only now noticed the purse and note on the bedside, and as she read the note, she started to smile. Now this would be exactly what she needed to get her act together again. Though still having a chance to pass the class was a good enough reason in itself, she generally hated leaving unfinished business behind, making Jasen's words unnecessary, yet very much appreciated.


Thanking the doctor after she had gone through a series of final tests, she took her weapon from where it had been propped up against the wall -- she figured she calmed down after this Healing thing was done to her -- and set out towards Tar Valon. Though she still felt bad in breaking Jasen's order again by taking her ashandarei with her, she knew she'd have felt worse if she left it behind.


With her spirits high, she walked over to the first store. Rather than pay however, she asked if she could do some chores, recieving some of the items as payment. So Jasen had given her less money? She'd outdo him even if it would take her all day! The shopkeeper took her out back, showing her a number of crates, and telling her they had to be stacked along the walls in such a way that he would still be able to reach the ones at the back.


Two hours -- and a lot of dust -- later, she called the shopkeeper again, showing her the work she had done. Looking over his reorganised storage, he was pleased with what he saw, and gave her a length of rope in return. Despite him offering her a job, she had to decline, even though she felt she couldn't really tell him she was training to be a Warder. She figured the man knew though, this wouldn't have been the first time people from the Yards would find their way to his shop.


Crossing one thing from her list, there were four others. Essentially having recieved the rope for free meant she saved quite a bit of money, and she decided to return to the Yards for lunch. After the bell rang again, she wasted little time in leaving the practise range, heading towards the next thing on her shopping list.


Mentally making a quick checkup on her schedule, she realised she simply lacked the time to work in all of the stores for the items, regardless of whether or not they were even looking for someone. Looking at her list, she guessed what the most expensive remaining item was, and headed out to find a store that sold it. Though the shopkeeper in question was less friendly than the one from that morning, she nevertheless managed to finish the tasks she had been given, which managed to net her a reasonable discount.


Loking at the position of the sun, she realised she didn't have much time left, and two more items to go. Fortunately, the third shopkeeper still had some in stock, and after some brief haggling Melenis bought the item. Though, lacking a shopkeeper's experience, she hadn't managed to take much off, it was barely enough.


Wasting little time in returning to the Yards, she actually ran the last stretch, knowing if the sun was any indication she was threatening to be late after all. It took some asking around, but she managed to find Jasen sitting in the infirmary room she had woken up in that morning. With a somewhat proud smile, she put the items on the bed so that he could see them more closely. At the end, she pulled out the wash leather purse, upending it on the bed as well.


Two copper pennies rolled out.


She had done what he had asked, and had made due with what she had been given. Though for honesty's sake she had had far more time than the other Trainees, but that evened out her lack of starting money. She felt relieved for that, with what she knew about haggling it would have spelled disaster if she had had to buy what she had now worked for during most of the day.




Got there on time.

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