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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Christine

Bubbles of Evil

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‘Guard duty... yuk! Who had invented the idea? Standing on a wall for hours upon end, just watching nothing. With all of the Aes Sedai in the tower, couldn’t someone have created a spell of some sort that would make a warning system. Its not like they were doing anything else up there...’ at least, that was what Bruno Valaski thought… early morning watch was a pain. ‘Why should I be up before the sun came out?’ he asked himself. The mess hall was almost done serving when he got off of duty, so he ran to get the last bits of food available. He ran to the kitchen just in time to grab some fruit. He knew that all of the other guards were going into town to get breakfast, and it hurt that he hadnt been invited, but he was used to it by now.

 

Stumbling up to his room, he grabbed two books off of his desk, and walked out, ready to go to the library and sit with the Aes Sedai, reading. He had to be the worst Tower Guard ever... if only he could leave. But Bruno knew that the only way he was escaping Tar Valon was with an honorable death, and if it wasn’t honorable, then his father would bring him back to life and make him die again... but that was the life of a Shienaran.

 

“Ouch!†he exclaimed, his knife slitting his finger as he brushed against it. Funny, he hadnt thought it was there. He glared at the object when he picked it up. “That’s it! I’m taking you back to the armory, where some poor trainee can have you!†He had to be going crazy... now he was talking to weapons. A sigh escaped his lips as he ran his way out of the building. The armory door was shut, which was odd, and he opened it. What he saw was by far the worst prank ever.

 

Sword were flying through the air, knives were jetting to the walls. Bow and arrows worked together, aiming at targets, and axes swung themselves in the air. Throwing the knife into the menagerie, he turned around, running, and left the door wide open. He was furious, and was positive that is was a prank put on by some trainees or an Aes Sedai. It was cruel and hurtful they would do that to him.

 

“Well, I’ll just do something different today!†Into the Ogier grove he ran, ready to sit beside the waterfall and read. Sitting on the bench that was out there, he felt something tugging on his shoe. He kicked it away, idly, too engrossed in his book. He felt something on his back, then heard something flying through the air. Looking up, he saw that it was himself in the air. Branches and vines wrapped around his arms and legs, and, from his upside down position, he saw water demons coming from the waterfall. No, he knew that this could not be happening. No Aes Sedai could put this together!

 

Struggling with the vines, he groaned, furious at himself. “Now is when I need that knife!†He somehow escaped, with the help of a water demon that was throwing rocks at him, which also hit the branches. He ran, hard as he could, stumbling and tripping over things, ready to tell the Commander what he had seen. A scream came from the armory, and Bruno gave up the idea. The back of the yards... it would be safe back there. No one ever went back there to the old graveyard, and it was far away from any source of water and weaponry.

Sitting down, his back against a small stone, he felt something on his shoulder. He wiped the tears off of his face, turned around, and said “What now?†Something slipped into his stomach, and Bruno’s eyes went wide as a skeleton looked straight into his eyes. He felt the ground under him open up, and more skeletons came out. It was the old warder graves... what was going on?

 

Looking down at his middle, he saw a blade straight through. The skeleton pulled it back out, and another one pushed him to the ground. Laying on his face, his own blood pooling around him, he felt another one step on his back and could see the shadow of it on the ground... there was a sword about to stab into his neck, ending his life. How to die... “RUN FOR YOUR LI-“ With that, his head was gone, his words cut short, and his life ended. What sorts of evil traveled on the yards that would end a young tower guards life? Old warders from the dead, flying weapons, and water demons... who would stop the craziness?

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It was a normal day, or so it had started that way anyway. Talyn woke at the crack of dawn and began his normal morning ritual. Breakfast consisted of some warm porrige with some sweet honey and a bit of biscuit washed down with an ice cold glass of fresh milk. To say that Talyn's day would remain normal was an understatement. Somewhere, somehow, things turned weird.

 

The first thing odd that happened was Talyn's newest Trainee was early for their lesson. She had never been early since Talyn had begun her training. She was an odd one in his mind, even odder for a girl. She always came to lessons with makeup and it ran horridly during it. Talyn never said anything and tried not to stare, but sometimes it was hard not to.

 

Talyn was happily going about the lessons when she turned and kissed him full on the lips. Talyn pulled back in utter surprise and stared at the girl. Talyn was so confused that he cancelled the rest of training and made his way to the meal hall. It was safer to be around other people he thought.

 

As Talyn entered the door he heared a load crash and the women in the kitchen scream. He threw open the doors and went inside. What Talyn saw made him forget everything that had just happened. The knives and forks and spoons were dancing around the room as if floated around by strings. Talyn looked around for a pranking Aes Sedai or Accepted to berate, but he only found men and woman of the yard staring at the objects.

 

In the kitchen a woman screamed and the kitchen utensils started to advance on the people in the meal hall. The salad forks were in the first row and the spoons in the second. The knives pulled up the rear and they advanced upon him. Talyn pulled his quarterstaff from his back and went into a guard position. A fork fell out of ranks and flew directly at Talyn's nose. It was an easy block but the fork landed with a thud and stood at the end of Talyn's staff. Talyn sighed as he removed the fork and threw it to the ground. It thankfully lay lifeless. Only a million more peices of silverware to defeat. Talyn laughed at the thought and the battle took full force.

 

Clanging range from around him, others had taken up arms against the mysterious force that was raining down on them. A knife caught Talyn by surprise and he took a cut to his left leg, it stung but was not that bad. Talyn waded into the middle of them and let the void take control.

 

By the time the event was over Talyn had pulled two forks and a knife from his own body. His staff was littered with utensiles that had been successfully dropped. But the remaining silverware that had once been docile just fell to the ground and returned to thier native states. Talyn stepped lightly and kicked a fallen chef knive and it lay dead on the floor. Talyn sat down and started laughing. How odd would it to be to write home and tell them of that he had his first war wound from a spoon.

 

Talyn

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The day had started like so many before it since Corin’s arrival to the yards many years ago. With the light of day now only a ghost like touch on the horizon; deep black filled with pin pricks of scattered lights twinkling above crept slowly over the tingeing of blue where those same stars began to wash from vision. Balance had come full circle to Corin here in these yards; a discipline and a way of life that he held to deeply and measure so much of what he did against it. The elements changed from day to day and year to year though there strategies remained the same. Even days Corin would work to increase and maintain his strength; add power to his movements. Odd days he would work with his speed and reaction times; seeking to enhance and hone them to a fine trait. Never one more then the other. Always seeking the perfect balance between the two to match his skills and abilities.

 

Meditation had become an integral part of life and existence for him. Tonight, unlike other nights, he sat in solitude not far from the falls to worked at enhancing his focus and understanding of the possibilities Lonrick had introduced him too so long ago; early in his trainee days. It was a glimpse through that window and the possibilities within it that held Corin’s interest with an iron fist of challenge. Every year Corin was able to open another small and amazing part of that world as he advanced his skills toward Lonrick’s. It was in this place of peace, the falls a roar in the distance, that Corin experienced how odd this day truly was to be. In a semi secluded corner where the path happened to bend away and around an Apple Blossom tree; Corin sat in silence surrounded by the forests vegetation and a few wild roses. Wrapped in the void and deep in his meditation cycle he could feel the waning kiss of day as it slipped into the darkness behind the western wall; it’s profile low on the horizon.

 

Sinking slowly deeper, past the emptiness of the void he opened himself to feel around him. Emotion he still held outside the darkness but sensations, movements, sounds. These he reached out to; tried to grasp them around him and make sense of them. A bird rustled in a tree above him and off to the left, nesting perhaps. The sound of the waterfall off in the distance rumbled over him as the water did over the rocks in it’s bed. All was well and right, harmony existed around him and he soaked in it’s tranquility seeking more; wanting to feel deeper sensations like that which Lonrick had spoken of. Suddenly there was a sensation; cold, dark, a sensation out of place to the harmony that had existed only moments ago. Faint sounds carried in the crashing sounds of the falls filtered into the darkness that surrounded him. Sounds that also did not match the tranquility of night thus far.

 

Straining Corin sought to separate the additions from the waterfalls voice; isolate that which seemed wrong. Confusion welled up as he struggled to make sense of the sensations. Something told him they were wrong; not of this place, but he could not isolate the sounds to recognition. The sweet smell of wild roses over whelmed his nose; distracted him from the sounds for a moment before he could push them back. His focus was on the sounds; what was wrong with them? Like a Blacksmiths puzzle, as one piece moved to make way for another Corin pulled at each sound to set it into a pattern. As the pattern began to take shape, his mind added pictures to give it life and meaning. The clang of metal against something hard; rustle of vines and leaves; shouts to faint to make words of but the urgency in them held. Something was wrong; a pin prick of pain crashed against the void demanding his attention.

 

His eyes opened and looked to his arm; a small droplet of blood was beginning to form from the puncture on the surface. How in the light did I get that … the though interrupted as another bloomed on his other arm; a rose bush vine laying over it. Where did that come from? As he watched the vine seemed to move; seemed to slowly curl around his arm. He watched in disbelief, there had to be a novice or accepted near by playing this trick. His eyes began to scan the area in search of the white offender. He would see her strapped with that slipper until she sobbed herself silly for ruining his night; he had gotten so close in his meditation.

 

The vine suddenly tightened on his arm as if grabbing him; needles burying into his skin. His teeth clenched through the sudden sharp pain, “When I find you, you are so going to wish you were out at that farm girl†he growled. He reached down to grab the vine wrapped around his arm and felt another move over his shoulder, turning as if to wrap around his throat. A dagger flashed from a sleeve and severed the vine at throat and arm in quick fashion before a blow of thorns met his back hard. Rolling away from were he had been sitting he turned, gaining his feet; his jaw dropped open in bewilderment as the rose bushes seemed to rise up from the undergrowth; vines moving like tentacles.

 

His gasp lasted only seconds before he had his sword in hand, Parting silk removing two vines that reached to collect him. This is madness; I must be asleep. He ducked and moved to the left as two more stretched out to swat at him with their needles. Already his one arm felt on fire from the bushes earlier embrace. Turning he severed several more vines but more seemed to follow. With each flowing movement he worked though the forms in a dance with sweet smelling roses. Sweat formed quickly over him in the pail moonlight as more pin pricks began to form under his clothes were the vine’s strikes had landed before he could sever them. Fire raged in his arm; made it feel heavy and tingly. Glancing down at it while his blade moved through Arc of the Moon he saw green and black discoloration spreading slowly from the puncture points.

 

Pain and blood bloomed on his cheek as a vine whipped across it renting small shallow furrows down it’s surface from below eye to jaw. He drove on through the movements, his blade a blur of glinting metal dripping with the rose plants life flow. Only this should not be happening. Inside he wanted to laugh, so long he had wanted to guard Sirayn. To keep her safe from any harm and here he was about to die by the hand of a rose bush. Irony mingled with the fire that continued to bloom over his body with each new touch from the vines. Desperation and the loss of hope in his own future fueled his exhausted body on toward the plants center. He would welcome the earths embrace after he was sure this plant would never claim the life he had hope to protect.

 

He tried to call out but his voice only came in a horse wheezing sound. He new it would only be a matter of time now before the plant filled him with enough of it’s poison to finish this fight. A tear slide form his eye, mixed with the blood on his cheek; the salt sting not even noticeable amongst the burning sensation of the plants poison. “I have failed you Sirayn ……. Forgive me.†He lunged forward to reach the plants center as the plant shuddered and became still once more. Crashing to his knees in front of the plant his sword tip buried in the dirt near its base a grin slowly touched the corners of his mouth. It was over, the killing strike had not landed but it was over. His hands slipped from the hilt and fell to his sides. Around him lay the strew remains of vines, leaves, and flowers. His left side crashed into the ground as he fell over, his body felt so heavy, breathing felt so hard. The sweet smell of a rose bloom next to him on the ground assaulted his remaining senses. “I’m sorry Sirayn …. I’m sorry.â€

 

Darkness closed in around his vision; blooms and vines, trees and grass all darkening and blending into nothing. “Forgive me mother ….†He floated in the blackness of an abyss; accusations and plots judging him in the darkness of unconsciousness. Outwardly his body lie limp on the tundra floor; irregular shallow breaths maintained life as his body waged it’s own war with the invading toxins. He never heard the shout of another guard or felt the sensation of being carried away toward the infirmary. Only the taunting accusations that kept him company in the dark where grey eyes floated in silent judgment.

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Breath came in steady inhalations to Rosheen, even though she hardly registered the fact that she was breathing at all. Vital as air was, it mattered little as she ran, consistently increasing her speed during her morning run. Had she ever struggled with fifty laps? She could remember the day. There was something peaceful about the way her feet carried her on an on. Meditation. Hah! She needed only this to clear her mind. Only a distance to run, to let her mind roam free, and to finally run thoughtlessly, aimlessly until she felt her throat burned and her legs refused to take her another step. That was when her actual training would begin. She remembered complaining over such a harsh life once, when she had still been a trainee. Amusing, how something she had despised had turned into something she loved so rapidly.

 

Her mind was blank now, all her emotions channelled into a pond, which she had immersed herself in. Everything was clear and fresh. With the spring around her she felt as alive as she ever had. Perhaps this was something she could compare to embracing Saidar… on the other hand… no. She had seen Lyanna smile when she lit a candle. A smile over embracing Saidar, from a woman who had been able to touch it for at least a hundred years. The spring was useful, but it was not necessarily enjoyable.

 

A little puff of breath appearing in front of her disturbed her rhythm slightly. Another little white cloud appeared in front of her lips as she exhaled. She slowed her running, until she stood still in the middle of the trail. Her eyes wandered over to the rising sun, just barely peeking over the horizon. It had not been warm out when she left the barracks, well before dawn, but had it been this cold. Releasing the Spring, Rosheen shivered, feeling the cold for the first time. She stood there in nothing but a pair of training breeches and a plain shirt, and while they had been almost hot as she was running, she felt as cold as a freshly sheared sheep in winter now. Wrapping her arms around herself, she looked around her, only to see chaos enfold itself upon the yards.

 

Screams reached her ears, from several different locations. People ran from the barracks as swiftly as they did from the armoury, but not quite as fast as those who ran from the old graveyard. “What the…†she muttered, starting towards the barracks. She froze when a familiar voice reached her ears. A shout, angry and confused, frightened even. “Corin?†another shout. She was sure now. The barracks and the armoury were forgotten as she ran towards the waterfall. “Fool probably slipped and fell.†She said to herself, pushing aside other thoughts. Something didn’t feel right at all. Those thoughts were shoved aside as well. Practical matters first, speculation later. She burst through a pair of bushes, eager to reach Corin swiftly.

 

And she did, only to find his predicament a little more serious than she had expected. A rosebush was choking the life out of him. Rosheen glanced around her, ready to kick the life out of the trick some Aes Sedai who thought this was funny. She saw no one. Hastily she stepped forward, taking her belt knife in hand. “Stay still!†she shouted, worried he didn’t hear her. “I’m co…†she didn’t get to finish her sentence as something else came to life, and hit her in the side. Rosheen flew towards the waterfall, landing with a loud grunt. It felt as though ten men the size of Llugh had just decided to use her for a ball. She shook her head slightly, trying to focus. With some effort she rose, glancing towards Corin just in time to see something rush towards her.

 

What it was, she couldn’t say. It was gray and brown, and it hit her square in the chest, knocking the air out of her and sending her flying backwards. With a loud splash she landed in the water beneath the waterfall. With a gasp and some thrashing of her limbs she rose above the surface again, panting harshly and clutching at her ribs, which were surely broken. Frantically she looked around, seeing no monster of gray and brown stone. Unless of course that pile of rock was a monster. She shook her head, feeling her consciousness slip away. “Not while… I’m in here.â€

 

It was a struggle to get back to the shore. All the while it felt as though something was holding her back, tempting her to stay in the water. She wrote it off to getting knocked around by… something. Her eyes sought Corin, but she couldn’t find him. Maybe that rosebush dragged him further away from the waterfall. Finally reaching the side, she clung to it, feeling her strength drain from her. This wasn’t working, she definitely needed someone to help her out, and to the infirmary. “Help! I need he…†her shout for help was dissolved in a gurgling noise as something pulled her back into the water, and under.

 

An unseen force was holding her under water even as she twisted and turned, trying to break it’s grip on her ankle. Even in the darkness that enveloped her she could see that there was no one, and yet she was pulled further and further, until she hit the bottom. She panicked when she realised that something intended to hold her there until she choked. With some effort she constructed the spring, wrapping it around herself tightly. Maybe she wouldn’t survive this, but she would not panic. Panic would only bring death closer. Still struggling she felt the strength fade from her limbs. The edges of her vision darkened, and now there was nothing she could do to shake the oncoming loss of consciousness.

 

Nothing she could do, but apparently that which tried to kill her changed it’s mind. She felt a strange pressure at her back as something pushed her upwards, fast. Too fast. She reached the surface, and was thrown out of the water, and onto the dirt next to the waterfall. Somewhere in the distance people were still shouting. Corin. She had to find Corin. Had to… find… darkness took over, immersing her in it’s depths as all coherent thoughts fled her mind, and she slept the restless sleep of those who had looked death in the eye.

 

~Rosheen Tahn Sakhr

Tower Guard

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Guest Faile1987

"I ... maybe you're right. Maybe we can't. I was just being foolish... and ...it was just fool's talk. It's not you at all, I just need to think and ... I'll talk with you again, okay?"

 

Dorian began to feel haunted by those words, cutting into him like a hot knife searing his heart. He couldn´t remember ever having hurt like that. No assassin, no attempt on his life could have done to him what Tiegan´s words had. Nothing could have hurt him more than feeling her shy away from him suddenly, hearing the insecurity and realization in her voice. Realization that she had made a mistake, that he had been right, that he would never be fit to be her Warder, never be able to protect her and fight for her as he should. No, it was almost more than he could bear, still hearing her words ring in his ears in response to what he had told her, what he had had to tell her, sill hearing her run away from him back to the White Tower, back to it´s safety not to see him ever again. Yes, that was what he had wanted, for her to be safe, to get away from him, to forget him. He had thought it would be the best for all of them, the best for her and he wouldn´t want her to get into any kind of trouble just because of him. But as it was now Dorian didn´t only hurt enough for his heart seeming to tear apart in his body, the feeling of rejection, of sudden loneliness. Dorian couldn´t recall ever having felt as lonely in his life as he had now, wanting to yell at himself to leave that now, to drop indulging in sadness and self-pity, but he couldn´t.

 

Even worse though Dorian knew that although he had sent her away, although he had been ready to give up any connection to her just to see her save and secure just had prooved to cause everything he had been dreading. Instead ot having saved Tiegan from any trouble, now and in future, Dorian had caused right the opposite of what he had actually intended. Being heartbroken on feeling her break away from him, on hearing her rush back to the White Tower, he had fatally neglected to keep on his guard. He had dropped it and hadn´t been able to warn Tiegan of the Aes Sedai that had been approaching them apparently after having witnessed their conversation and…more…before intervening and handing them over to the justice of the White Tower. Light, he had soon forgotten about the harshness of his own punishment, hadn´t paid it much mind in fact, but he absolutely blamed himself for having her get punished, the thought of her having to suffer for his lack of caution eating at him and letting him stray restlessness once again.

 

His awareness deeply shrouded in the void, all emotions held back, Dorian still couldn´t find it in himself to let go of his feelings completely, even though he was feeling a numbness spread inside him, leaving him a hollow shell, walking mechanically, sightless eyes gazing into the distance as if expecting to catch something to illumine his ever dark and nonexistent vision. But he knew he would never see anything, had known it all his life and that wasn´t what was eating at him. His blindness was something he was able to deal with, he had had to live with. But what he couldn´t deal with was the blindness clouding his mind. His own stupidity. How could he have been so stupid and just let her go like that? How could he have let it come as far as it had? Dorian could smack himself senseless right now and wourld have been glad for losing consciousness, for losing awareness of what he had done, what his selfishness had caused. He had destroyed everything he had and now he had to live wiith it. Know he had to as there was nothing he could change about that situation. He mustn´t anyway, it was just wrong. All wrong.

 

Dorian felt numb and hollow as he was walking the Training Grounds aimlessly, not even caring not to hit any obstacles or whatever came into his way. He didn´t know where he was headed and didn´t care actually. He just had wanted to walk, to get away from all of it as if walking would have been a way to escape realitly. But he soon had to realize that it wasn´t that easy, far from it actually and that he wouldn´t just be able to get rid of what had happened like of an old worn-out coat. Everything was catching up with him and it almost hit him physcially that there was no way out now, no matter how hard he struggled. He was bound, stuck.

 

It too him a second to realize that he in fact wasn´t able to move and that this wasn´t only his mind playing a vile trick on him. No, those things that bould him where all too realy and searing into the flesh of his arms and legs as they cut deeper. Struggling frantically aginst whatever was holding him, realization that he didn´t know who or what was doing this to him dawning at him and making panic grow inside him, Dorian tried his best to force his emotions into the void as he had done before, to give him room and time to concentrate, but somehow it all didn´t seem to work. He just felt blocked and felt the vines, yes, vines those bonds reminded him of, growing tighter and tighter around him suddenly making his entire skil burn like on fire. Wanting to scream in pain, scream for help, Dorian suddenly felt himself unable to even breathe properly since something was suddenly pressing against his mouth and nose as another rank tightened around his throat squeezing tight and pressing all sweet air our of him, making his senses collapse on him as he suddenly felt himself being moved and suddenly released as suddenly as he had been seized.

 

Being dumped on the ground again, Dorian sucked in fresh clear morning air eagerly, trying to get up on hand and feet, when his hands suddenly toucched something soft and moving, lying on the ground. Crying out faintly, still hoarse, Dorian suddenly noticed that it had been a human hand he had been touching, but not a hand of a dead one yet, that hand had been alive, blood pumping through it if only faintly. And the worst thing was Dorian knew who this hand belonged to, knew it was well as he could a hand having been struck by the weapons it used to carry several timees. “Light, Corin, what –“, Dorian was abruptly cut short, as he was seized again and flew through the air only to be dumped into deep water again and after letting him take a deep gasp of air, whatever had taken him just held him down mercilessly no matter how hard and frantic he struggled.

 

Light, how he wanted to get out of this, how much he craved for just one breath of Air filling his burning lungs. Now he just forgot about all of that though, he suddenly knew he was dying and it was only a matter of time. As his lungs eventually collapsed giving in to the urge to breath against his better knowing, Dorian filled his lungs and suddenly felt the toubh of two people´s hands on him. Two people that he loved above everyone else softly touching him. Tiegan and Danian, his twin brother were speaking to him softly, but insistent: “Come with us Dorian. Come and we will help you, come….†For a brief moment images of Danian, Tiegan, Corin, Deneira, the Warder´s Yard, the White tower, his home in Altara flashed through his mind, memories like scents, noises and touches before everything around him went in a blurr, his senses eluding him as he didn´t even realize himself slowly drifting to the surface of the water, barely enough life left in him to keep up his heartbeat. He had stopped breathing already and soon the rest of him would succumb to the water too. He was lost, there was no way back. He ahd destroyed everytihing and now he was to pay the price.

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Lyssa set the pen down and gazed at the words scribed on the paper, Life seems to be this endless twisting maze, I love my mother and I want to be bonded to her, yet I also want to be bonded and fear she will never want to be bonded to me. So if I want to be bonded soon, do I hope that someone else wants me? I love my brother still, yet how can I after what he did to my mother and her gaidin. He tore so many lives apart how can I love him, or do I love the memory of the person he used to be? My head aches with these thoughts yet in the maze I have come to live in I know I have no answers yet. Standing up she yawned and stretched her arms above her head, her long and lean body taunt as she moved. She looked down at the paper and sprinkled sand on it to dry the ink. Cleaning up the writing area as was her habit she put everything away including her journals which she hide in the secret compartment on her desk. Normally Towet Guards didn't have their own quarters, but there were so few female Tower Guards that the female section of the complex were a quarter full and they all were allowed to have their own rooms.

 

She walked across the room and picked up one of the canisters full of food that she kept in her rooms. Some had herbs, some dried foods, some fresh foods like peapods and green beans. The one she picked up contained dried seaweed which everyone thought she was strange for eating. Sliding the piece onto her tongue she walked back across the room and looked at the portrait of her mother that Jaydena Sedai had given her when she realize that they were mother and daughter. Next to it was a picture of her brother as he had looked when he came to the Tower. Before life had soured him and ruined him. Below it were several statues that Jaydena Sedai had done as well, one was a little warrior that looked like her on a good day, another one was a man that she had once loved. The Aes Sedai had known her well enough to see the feelings in her heart on the trip through the Ways. Setting the statue aside she picked up the one of a Tiger ready to attack, she fondled it as she sometimes did when she was tired and ran a hand over the smooth stone. Suddely she let out a yelp and dropped the stone to the floor. She looked down at her hand where five slash marks marred her pale skin.

 

Lys shook her head and wondered if there was something in the seaweed that she should be worried about. She looked down at the statue and was shocked to find that the statue was gone. Looking around she saw the tiger statue across the room, looking very much alive and growing rapidly in size, it was ready to attack and she wondered what in the Light was wrong with her that she imagined a stone tiger to be real. Taking a step backward her hip hit the sword belt which leaned against the wall, she grabbed it and made her way to the door as she released the blade for it's sheath. Hearing the hiss of the blade the tiger began growling loudly and making his way toward her. She rushed out the door just in time and shut the door in his way. Lyssa knew that wouldn't stop him but she had to gain time to think of how to kill a stone tiger that was now the size of a real tiger. Running down the hall she screamed as loud as she could, "Tiger loose in the Halls, stay in your rooms." She could hear screaming and she knew she wasn't the only one dealing with something wrong.

 

Running out of the building she knew the Tiger would follow her, it had her scent and it meant to kill her. She ran forward, not sure what to do and then it dawned on her what she could do to stop a stone tiger. Running as fast as she could she sprinted toward the pond where the Aes Sedai praticed with the Novices, screaming the whole time to beware of the Tiger. The animal could run very fast and she really had not chance so she had to reach the pond before it found her. The growling had started behing her and the roar of the tiger was coming closer. It has escaped her bedroom and was on her trail. She reached the pond and looked behind her to see a Crouching Tiger! Stepping slowly backward she braced herself, the tiger leaped at her and raked it's claws across her leg. She screamed and thew her body weight into the tiger, knocking the animal into the pond, where it sank to the bottom of the murky water. Grabbing her bloody leg she stumbled forward and wondered if the the horror was over yet...

 

Lyssa Simeone

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Guest Celes

The buriel ground, nobody liked to be here and when they had to it was mostly to mourn those from the past who had given their lives for the Protection of the White Tower. Guards and warders and even some trainees found their last resting place in this soil. Lyv almost never went there and today she could not have said why she went. The day had been full of agitation and discussions with people that never seemed to end. Finally, to seek some quiet, Lyv decided against walking all the way down to the river and chose a calm place a little closer to home. Ralleigh had given her an assignment around dinner and so she had about an hour to herself now. Some calming exercises would free her mind from the stress of the day an it would help her tackle the evening ahead.

 

Starting from a guard stance, Lyv moved her hands in front of her, then slowly took the katana from its sheath and unfolded the fan. Even slower she moved through the forms and felt how a light breeze picked up. It seemed to pull on her and she was not sure what this could mean. She kept going and just decided that the wind had changed direction when suddenly it felt like something or even someone was pulling on her katana. What was going on? She looked over her shoulder and found herself staring into white seemingly blind eyes, covered in part by peeking gray hair. A man, or rather he looked like a man was staring back at her. Suddenly, his mouth opened and as his lips parted she could see yellow teeth baring, he pulled out a hand that was somehow not really a hand. It was covered in old murky swathes of clothing and his fingernails were too long for even a noblewoman. Lyv took a step back and felt the cold suddenly all around her, she started to pant and took very deep breaths.

 

“Who are you?†she asked and sighed deep, trying to close her eyes and quickly opening them again, when she lost grip of her weapon and the risen man took it in his grip. He studied it and his eyes were no longer fixated on Lyv who tried to outsmart him by quickly moving forward and grabbing her katana. He was however, the well trained guard he had been a long time ago and the blade swung over Lyv’s head, nearly passing her ear and hitting her hard over the shoulder. Her arm dropped down and she yelped out in pain. “You can’t be!†she called out and then took a step back, feeling the ground beneath her feet while thinking fast about what she could do. There were no lose branches and aside from the katana she had only a dagger in her boot this evening. She did not expect this kind of an attack and had chosen to pack lightly for a little katana practice. “This is the burial ground…this can’t be…†she murmured when the man stopped feeling the katana in his hand and instead decided to attack Lyv. She reached down for her boot and quickly released the dagger from its sheath. She was just in time to grab it as the katana swung down again, this time clashing on her dagger just before impact. She could feel her hand quiver and jumped back from her assailant.

 

It seemed to go on forever when it was only a half a minute when Lyv was hit again and again, constantly trying to fend off her own katana from the dead warders blows. She pushed her dagger into his ribs, but nothing happened. He just stood there, gazing down at the hole she had made through his dead body as if examining a stain on his fresh coat. She started to walk back again when something hit her in the back. It was the end of a quarterstaff, held by someone Lyv had never expected to be there. Her captain, Ralleigh Taj was standing ready with a quarterstaff, motioning her to take the left flank while he pushed forward. Without another word he moved in on the dead warder standing before them with white eyes and ragged clothes. Lyv was scared but had no time to admit that to herself, all she could do was push her dagger forward and find strength in the idea that she was no longer alone in this. Ralleigh finally disarmed the dead warder and threw the katana back at Lyv. She tucked the dagger in her belt when the dead warder came lunging himself at her. Lyv had been too busy with the weapons to jump away in time and fell on her back, the dead weight literally forcing her to the ground. “Help me!†she called out when Ralleigh came running over and pushed the guy back from her. He did not help her up, instead he focused on pushing her attacker away from Lyv.

 

Then, all of a sudden as if it was the natural next step, the man fell through his knees and then dropped to the ground like a sack of bones. Ralleigh kicked him in the ribs, then pulled on his arm a bit but it did not move. Whatever it was, it had gone back to the land of the dead and was no longer stirring or attacking either of them. Lyv walked up to the dead corpse, now very still and unmoving and pushed her foot against the belly. It was weak and soft and a bad smell erupted from the corpse as they stood there, watching it. As if it had always been lying there, it lay there and all they could do was stare at it. This was the strangest thing ever. Lyv put a hand on Ralleigh’s arm, “Did a dead warder just come to life?†Ralleigh nodded, “A tower guard actually, one who fought to defend these walls a good decade ago, one who should not have stirred up like that.†Lyv nodded, “Thank you for saving my life,†he nodded. “You're welcome Miss Tylin,†then walked over to a hole in the ground that Lyv had not noticed before. “Care to help me put him back in his final resting place, maybe if we do it together he won’t come back up again.†Lyv nodded and set to work, she did not touch the body of the dead guard again, she let Ralleigh shovel him in the grave and then helped him to put dirt over the body. “Strange things have happened, but to see old Gus return from the dead like that, I need a drink, how about yourself?†Ralleigh asked as he looked over Lyv. She was quite pale and nodded, maybe she would start to believe what she had just been through, or maybe it was easier to forget.

 

Lyv Tylin – Tower Guard

Ralleigh Taj - Captain (NSW)

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The day began as it always did for Ursana Tahn Sakhr. Get up, clean up, doubt your life's path, think about THE girl, do laps. Morning practice had been educational as always and he had learned alot. Which meant he had more bruises than blood this time. When he was being slow in a lesson he bled a lot more. Not that his mentor was literally trying to beat the knowledge into his head, but well, sometime the knowledge really was beaten into his head.

 

Mid-day came and he was about to head toward the kitchens for food when he saw his sister running by. Not just running by, but with a look of fear on her face. He was about to follow, in fact his mouth was open to call her name when he was suddenly hit in the back and fell forward. He turned over quickly, expecting to see one of his roommates or a fellow trainee, but there was nothing. Just a stack of lathes.

 

He stood up uneasily, wondering what had happened, when the lathes began to raise in front of him. He looked around, thinking that an Accepted was playing pranks but he didn't see any around him. He didn't have time to think after that as one of the lathes came flying at him. He managed to catch it before it hit him, but instead of a piece of wood, there was a living thing in his hands. The lathe was trying to hit him, trying to slide out of his grasp. He struggled with it and while his attention was diverted the other lathes came rushing at him. He got him hard in the shoulder and once in the thigh but the mindlessness of the wood was in his favor as they bounced away without pressing for another attack.

 

He stuggled for a minute longer with the first lathe and managed to get a strong hold on it when the other two came back again. He slid into Lion on the Hill and prepared for their attack. They continued to strike, sometimes hitting, sometimes being blocked by the lathe in Sana's control. A strong hit to the head made him nauscious and he felt blood trickling down the side of his face. This wasn't good. He had no idea how to stop this fight and he wasn't sure he'd last too long with a head wound bleeding all over him.

 

Another hit to the leg and his knee buckled. He needed to keep focused. Just needed to keep working. His arms were getting tired though from fighting for control of the lathe in his hands and blocking the other two. He became aware of screams and yells from others in the yard and realized that his sister probably needed help. He needed to get to Rosheen. She had been running from or to something. He struggled back to his feet and was ready to start again when the lathes dropped to the ground and the one in his hands suddenly became lifeless.

 

He almost sagged to the ground but realized if he did he wasn't getting back up. Instead he used the lathe in his hand as a walking stick. He had to find his sister. He had to keep moving. She had been running towards the pond so he moved that way, his knee buckling again every few steps. He didn't let his mind wander to what had happened, to what had caused the lathes to start attacking. He kept one thought in his head. Get to Rosheen. Step. Get to Rosheen. Step. Get to Rosheen. Step.

 

And there she was, soaked and splayed across the ground near the pond. He stumbled over to her and fell to the ground beside her, only briefly aware that she was still breathing before he passed out next to her.

 

dmursana.jpg

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Another long day serving the needs of the Tower. Another routine day standing guard on the wall. Shawn’s days were becoming monotonous and he was tired of it. He started each day with his personal training, then breakfast. After breakfast it was duty on the wall or instructing trainees. Then dinner and more training. Shawn loved being a Tower Guard but the routine was killing him. If only something interesting would happen. But, that was the problem with being one of the elite, no one ever dared to attack. Well, not that Shawn wanted the Tower to be attacked, it was just that he was so bored. He needed something, anything, to break the monotony. He didn’t want excitement everyday, he wasn’t an adventurer or anything, just one day every now and again would suffice.

 

Alas, it did not seem that today would be that day. His shift over, he decided to stop by the armory on his way to dinner. He needed some more cleaning oil for his weapons as he had run out this morning. Besides that, he was trying to make friends with the master blacksmiths in the hopes that they’d let him finish the apprenticeship he’d started with Uzziel. Not that there was much left. He was working on his final test to make journeyman when Uzziel had been killed. The problem though, was convincing the men that he could attend to his lessons with them without letting his duty as a guard slack off. He was certain he could, he just had to convince them of it.

 

Shawn was forming his argument for tonight in his mind as he walked into the armory and his peaceful monotony was violently shattered by an axe swinging toward his head. He dodged the attack and unsheathed his swords just in time to deflect a pair of daggers flying toward his eyes. The knives were replaced by four long swords and Shawn prayed his training would be enough to keep him alive. As he fought for his life he was able to catch glimpses of the rest of the room. It was a horror straight out of somebody’s nightmare. Guards, trainees, and servants were all being attacked. It seemed every weapon in the armory had come alive and were wielding themselves, or each other as in the case of the archery equipment.

 

Shawn was outnumbered four swords to two and quickly losing ground. That would be bad enough but he also found himself constantly diverting his attention to watch for other assailants. This couldn’t last long. He needed to find a way to end it. That was when he noticed something that might help. Most of the arrows and crossbow bolts being shot landed, or were deflected, onto the floor. These just floated their way back to the closest bow to be shot again. However, the ones that actually hit their human targets and the ones that landed in the hard wood of the walls stayed put. That gave him the inspiration to try something. Quick as he could he sheathed his katana. Then, trying to hold off three swords with his Wakizashi he grabbed the hilt of the fourth and stabbed it into the wall.

 

It worked. He repeated the maneuver on the other three and shouted out for benefit of the others in the room, “Get them to stop moving and they’ll stay down! Stab them into the walls and tables, anything to stop them.â€

 

Those in the room were quick to heed his advice and together they started making progress toward putting things to right. Eventually he found himself next to the door, where he barely heard a scream for help over the din of the armory. Seeing that those that remained had things under control he left to see who needed help. The scream had come from the back of the Yards, an area few visited as it hosted a cemetery for deceased Guards and Warders. He turned that way, and as he went he saw Ursana, a trainee he’d trained with on the blue team, limping away from a pile of training lathes and toward the Ogier grove. Why would he be going that way? If he was injured he ought to be making his way to the infirmary instead. He opened his mouth to correct the boy when he heard more shouts for help. The trainee would have to fend for himself.

 

He had thought that the armory was a nightmare but it was nothing compared to what he saw when he got to his destination. Skeletons were running amok with weapons and armor. Several of the Tower Guard were here and he shouted above the racket of weapons clanging, “Get them to stop moving and they’ll stay down! Immobilize them however you can!â€

 

Then he saw Lyv go down. “Help me!†she shouted. Lyv, who had welcomed him here to the Tower in her former role as Mistress of Trainees and who had more recently contributed to his training in the Path of Water. He couldn’t let her be overcome. He saw Ralleigh Taj, a captain in the guard already helping her and ran to their aid, afraid they might not have heard his shouted advice. Nearly upon them he tripped over the body of a Guard. As he flew over top the body he saw that it was Bruno Valaski, a reserved Guard he’d only seen once or twice and never spoken to. From the blade sticking out of his throat it was evident he never would.

 

As he flew he collided with the skeletal assailant the captain was pushing back from Lyv. Caught between them it was effectively immobilized and fell apart. He turned to aid another Guard, the voices of the other two fading away as his attention was needed more for the task at hand. Soon enough the skeletons were all dispatched and the Guards were checking each other’s injuries, more than a few limping or being carried to the infirmary. The yellows would certainly have their work cut out of them today.

 

Thinking of the yellows in the infirmary reminded him of Sana. The way he’d been limping off Shawn wasn’t worried he might be lost in the grove somewhere.

 

As he approached the grove he heard muffled screams for help coming from the direction of the waterfall. He ran there to help only to see men and women being attacked by vines and trees and even rocks. He shouted out the same advice as before but as he did so everything stopped. After the noise a moment before the silence was almost deafening. Those present were staring at each other in confusion. Then he saw a body float to the surface from deep below. He swam out and brought the body back to shore. It was a trainee, Dorian he thought his name was, and he was still breathing, barely. A pair of trainees were walking past, leaning on each other for support, and Shawn called them over. “You two, over here. This boy needs help. Carry him to the sisters at the infirmary.†He saw the look in their eye but ignored it. If he chose to have them help the boy instead of doing it himself what was that to them? Besides, he had more important things to do. He still hadn’t found Sana. He could just imagine him out there bleeding to death with no one to even know he was hurt. No one but Shawn. After all the time they’d spent training together he owed it to him to keep looking.

 

He found him before too long, along with the reason he’d come here instead of the infirmary. The boy was draped across his sister, he must have collapsed as soon as he’d gotten there. Next to Rosheen on the other side was Shawn’s mentor, Corin. They were all three of them still alive but he would need help carrying them back to the sisters. He found another trainee nearby, ordered him to carry Sana back and kept looking for more help. Soon enough he found Lyssa Simeone limping around. She was hurt, but she should still be capable enough of carrying Rosheen back. She agreed and they made their way as Shawn carried his old mentor himself to the infirmary. Due to his own injuries several others tried to relieve him of the burden but he went on stoically. He owed it to the man who had taught him so much.

 

He laughed as he recalled his thoughts from less than an hour ago. He had certainly gotten more than enough excitement today.

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