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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Recognising a need (Attn: Arath: Closed)


Covai Seriba
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Covai stared at the candle burning away on the desk in his room. Idly swirling the wineskin in his hand, he tried to remember the last time he had ever drunk himself to unconciousness, or even just to sleep. The pale moon light coming in through the window did little to sooth his mood in the early hours of the morning. Ninety six men dead under his command. Fifty nine Asha'man, thirty four Dedicated, and three Soldiers.

All of them lives he should have protected.

 

Raising the winskin to eye its contents, Covai winced. He still had the brusies from the day before. But it was no shadowspawn that had caused these wounds. Wives, daughters, lovers, children. They had all wanted answers, and they had wanted them there. He still nursed a cut from a particularly nasty slap from a Domani woman, and he had nearly lost his knee to the son of a Tairen and his wooden sword. Smiling sadly has a took a mouthful of the wine, Covai realised he had even lost count of the fists that had pounded against his chest in futile frustration. He hadn't the heart to defend himself from any of the blows. The sheer amount of tears he had seen today reminded him of how little distance there was between sadness and anger, and they deserved what little solace they could find, even if it was at his expense.

 

Momentarily raised from his depression by a knock at the door, the Storm Leader raised his head. "Come in."

 

Whilst he wasn't surprised to see Arath up this late, he was a little surprised it wasn't someone else coming to demand answers from him. Still, maybe his friend had. The Attack Leader knew better than to argue with him in from of the troops, but he also knew Covai well enough to speak his mind in private. It was something Covai was usually grateful for, but wasn't sure if he could give his friend any answers this night.

 

"Couldn't sleep either I see?" Covai nodded in response to the question. "After today....." Covai sighed and shrugged. "I'm still trying to figure out what in the world went wrong. There's no way things should have turned out that way..." Covai let his voice trail off. Recorking the wineskin, he tossed it across the room to Arath. "Here, looks like you could do with a drink as well." Covai nodded towards the chair for the man to sit.

 

"So what brings you here this late Arath? Don't sugar coat your questions either. We lost at Shienar, and we lost badly. Now's not the time to worry about stepping on peoples toes or pride."

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Arath caught the wineskin and took several large swallows before he spoke.  "You look like you've had more than just your toes stepped on.  Aren't you going to get that looked at?" he asked, pointing at the gash on Covai's cheek.  He sighed when the Storm Leader didn't respond.  "I just came from the infirmary.  Three more soldiers and an Asha'man died from their wounds in the last hour.  Couldn't survive healing and didn't stabilize on their own."  He took another swig before tossing the skin back.  The silence stretched uncomfortably between them for a long while.  It was hard to find anything to say in the wake of the disaster that had befallen them.

 

"How are we supposed to beat that?" he asked suddenly.  "They couldn't have outnumbered us.  We must have had them at least ten to one, and they still tore us apart."  He slammed a fist onto the table in front of him.  "Blood and ashes!  Over one hundred of us dead, and we can't even confirm that we killed a single bloody dreadlord!"

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"So thats what we're calling them? I wish we could have thought of something....less impressive sounding. Still, they earnt the name yesterday." The admission tore though Covai's gut, but there was not helping it. He was still drained from everything that had happened. Even more so but what he had realised......

 

"They had circles Arath.. " Covai's anger had turned to resignation hours ago. He had spent the whole night running through the day's events in his mind, and still couldn't come up with a way to have changed things "We resisted the concept of the Forsaken roaming about, and the Black Tower was taken over by one. It's not that far a stretch to imagine some of them have been gathering their own channelers to them. If two of the Forsaken teamed up....well that circles of men AND women, plus access to weaves lost since the Age of Legends......" Covai didn't even need to finish the rest of of his arguement. Light, it wasn't even an arguement, it was just something that had to be voiced out loud.

 

Eyeing the wineskin, Covai tossed it back to Arath. He had had enough to drink. He left the silence to stretch before finding the strength to speak. "I'm going to go talk to Jarron." Covai could feel the atmosphere in the room shift. "We sat back when those damn Aes Sedai turned up here last time and now that fool Brent is in charge. I'll be damed if I'm going to let that happen a second time. Besides....." Covai paused for a moment. It took all his strength to swallow his pride before he said what was unthinkable to him just a few days ago.

 

 

 

 

"We'll be needing the help of the White Tower when we go to fight them a second time."

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Arath slumped back into his seat and hefted the wineskin.  He knew that this was inevitable.  He had seen the attacks leveled against them in Shienar.  Or rather, had not seen some of them.  Saidar.  Logically, this was the only option available to them.  He took a long drink, draining most of what remained in the wineskin. 

 

It might be the only option, but he didn't have to like it.

 

"Covai ... I don't know if it will work.  It needs to, but after what's happened in the last year ..."  And a lot had happened to further hinder relations, nevermind the three thousand years of the Red Ajah hunting down men who could channel.  The Aes Sedai attempt to kidnap Jarron and the subsequent battle at Dumai's Wells.  The more recent incident with the dozen Aes Sedai captured at the Black Tower itself.  There would be more than enough hard feelings on either side to make an alliance impossible.

 

"Do you think the Aes Sedai will go with this?  Brent's handling of things the last time we dealt with them might be ... problematic."

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"That why I'm not involving him in this." Covai quickly rose a hand to halt any interruption. "I'm going to see Jarron. Brent can go back to a fishing boat for all I do care" Covai's Illanier speech made the sarcasm in his voice all the clearer.

 

"The Dragon is the only one who can lead us as Tai'Mon'Gardon. Thats why the Black Tower exists. Brent doesn't control the Tower, the Dragon Does. And if he thinks otherwise....I'll kill him if I have to." Holding his hand out for the wineskin, Covai could feel the wine was starting to take effect. Still, he knew it wasn't just the wine that was doing to talking. He had never liked the Illianer, but it was the man's attitude after their return from the boderlands that had solidified his committment.

 

The silence that followed as he waited for the wineskin, as well as the look on Arath's face prompted Covai to continue. "I mean it. You weren't there at the Fall of Tear, but there's no doubt Jarron is the Dragon. He's the only one who can handle the forsaken.." Covai paused and grinned. "..assuming there's no lighting bolts around at the time. If you want, you can come with me. I don't think you've ever met him in person, have you?"

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Arath shook his head.  "No.  The only chance I had was at Dumai's Wells, and I was in a coma for months after that.  One hit on the head and I lost the chance to meet the boss."  Arath tried to chuckle at that, but with the turn this conversation had taken it was all but impossible.  Kill Brent.  Arath hoped it didn't come to that.  The M'Hael was immensely strong, more so than either Arath or Covai.  He had proven his strength already when he had killed the previous M'Hael, a man far more skilled than Brent. 

 

Arath tossed the nearly empty skin to Covai.  "So when are we going to go speak with Jarron?  I suppose it's about time I did meet him."

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Covai nodded before downing what was left of the wineskin. "Then you can come with me." Truth be told he had been so preoccupied in the aftermath of that battle he had forgotten that Arath had been knocked out cold. He still didn't feel comfortable admitting that fact, let alone voice it outloud.

 

"Dalinarius and Andar were the only other ones present when we presented ourselves to the Dragon at the fall of the Stone of Tear. They had been the core of the Tower long before I came along." Covai's mind was starting to wander, and he had to pause to bring himself back on track.

 

"I plan to go in the morning. I've got a few ideas where he may be. We'll start in Tear and work from there. If the Asha'man stationed there haven't heard anything, then it's going to be a bit hit and miss until we find him." Covai suddenly realised he was biting the inside of his lip. Running his fingers through his hair to try and soothe himself, Covai stood up and headed towards the door. "C'mon, it's time we break out some of the good stuff before we go. I guess the important things can wait a few extra hours."

 

Grabbing the candle of the desk as he passed instead of relying on Saidin in his state, Covai decided to change the conversation topic before the seriousness of everything sobered him him.

 

"So tell me Arath... ever wondered about the air speed velocity of an unladen Heron?"

 

 

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Arath nodded as he thought on Covai's words.  Now that he thought about it, almost none of the men at the tower had met al'Tanin.  Those who had were mostly gone.  It was odd to think that so many of the old pillars of strength were no longer around.  Even stranger to think that he held their rank now.  Maybe it was fitting in a way.  The Aes Sedai were a relatively stable group, calm like Saidar was supposed to be.  The Asha'man, a chaotic, ever changing group to match Saidin.

 

More than grateful to change the mood of the conversation, Arath followed Covai out of the room.  "So tell me Arath... ever wondered about the air speed velocity of an unladen Heron?"

 

Arath pondered the unexpected question for a moment.  "What do you mean?  A Tairen or an Amadician heron?"

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"A Tairen Heron of course. Amadicia don't even have herons...do they?" Covai scratched his head as he passed through the doorway. Truth be told he had never been to Amadicia. He did like their attitude towards Aes Sedai though. They almost has as little tolerance towards them as he did. Their outfits let a little bit to be desired though.

 

"Speaking of wierd things, ever been to Arad Doman? I've got a craving for their funny food. I've only had it twice, and despite those weird little sticks they use to eat, I'm a fan. You feel like getting something to eat?"

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