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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Christine

We Goin' SHOPPING! (Arath and then Tai)

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“Oh, Light,” she moaned, rolling over in the bed.  She felt like a boat had hit her or something, and she was hungrier than she had ever imagined being before.  The night before rushed through her head and she looked down to see she was wearing Arath’s shirt.  Sitting up in the bed, Michelle brushed back the long dark hair that had fallen into her face and looked out the window.  The sun was high and she could see it was just past noon.  Lying back on the bed, she groaned, not wanting to move.  She had promised Arath she would stay, but that was going to take a lot more doing than saying.

 

Rising from the bed, Michelle stretched, her arm straining a bit.  Whatever Tai had done to her, it had fixed the injury, but still made her feel invaded.  This power thing was scaring her more than she thought, as having it used AGAINST her was a terrible hold that she never wanted to experience again.  Her eyes looked around her new room and she noticed her dirty clothes all balled up.  She needed to wash those.  Going to the chest to see what was left, she stumbled onto the money that Arath had given her.

 

SHOPPING! That would make her feel SO much better!  She looked around for any clothes to wear, but decided it was time to start accepting this power that her friend possessed.  Picking up the shirt and breeches from the night before, she brushed back her hair before opening up her door.  Looking out into the hallway, she first checked Arath’s room.  It was empty.

 

Going down the hallway, she looked in Tai’s room.  Empty as well, thank the Light.  Michelle slipped down the staircase and into the living room, shivering as the cold air soaked into her bare legs.  She suddenly felt very naked, wearing only Arath’s shirt.  It came down to mid thigh, but she felt almost more confident knowing that fact.  The kitchen was empty, and she noticed that his office door was slightly cracked open.

 

Peaking in the gap, she saw Arath, staring at a book, running his fingers through his hair.  She stood there for a moment, watching him, before he looked up to see her through the doorway.  She pushed it open and smiled at him. “Good morning,” she whispered, their eyes meeting.  Suddenly, the confidence from being half naked was gone. “Is there any chance you can wash my clothes from last night?  You said you could do it, and I need something to wear if I am going to go looking for new clothes.”

 

Michelle

 

 

OOC: Tai, I think he has plans of making you come along once they decide to visit some cities.  We will poke you when it is your turn to pop in!

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Arath looked over the notes he had written in his log book.  Tai's condition was a little disturbing, but still acceptable.  He would keep the voices a secret for now, but had recorded the information in case something happened to him.  You could never be too careful at the Black Tower.

 

He had just finished when the he noticed a flicker of movement at the doorway.  “Good morning,” whispered Michelle, pushing the door open.  “Is there any chance you can wash my clothes from last night?  You said you could do it, and I need something to wear if I am going to go looking for new clothes.”

 

Arath smiled.  Until he put his book down and saw what Michelle was wearing.  Or wasn't.  His smile slipped a little as he fumbled for the void.  He'd need it to channel anyway.  "Sure.  It won't take a minute."  He took the ball of clothing and turned slightly away from Michelle, holding out the shirt first.  It had a large mud stain smeared across the front and back.  Arath raised a wondering eyebrow.  My floors aren't that dirty ... he thought.  It must have been a footprint left by Tai. 

 

There was enough humidity in the air for Arath to do the job right there.  Flows of water worked through the cloth, drawing in water and saturating the shirt.  Air and water on the dirty spots to work out the dirt.  Air and traces of fire to drain the water out and dry out and the fabric.  Another quick flicker of fire and air to warm up the shirt and smooth out wrinkles.  A small globe of dirty water hung in mid air, and Arath launched it out the window where it splattered to the ground.  Quickly checking over his work, he handed the shirt to an interested looking Michelle for her approval and began the process over with the breeches.

 

"There we go.  I hope that will do for you.  I've been trying to figure out a weave that will prevent clothes from getting dirty, but I haven't perfected it yet.  Lost one of my coats to it."

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Arath met her with a smile then stuttered as he saw her clothing.  Michelle’s cheeks burned red and she wanted to shrink away as he looked away.  As soon as those pants were clean, they were going straight onto her body.  "Sure.  It won't take a minute." He took the ball of clothing that she offered to him and turned away.  Michelle looked into the kitchen and grabbed an apple off the counter out of a bowl.  Light she was starving!

 

As she walked back to the office, she saw a ball of dirty water go flying out the window and almost choked on her apple.  She was going to have to get more used to this power.  He held them up for both to see And she smiled to see them perfectly clean.  He had even flattened them and she accepted them as he handed them over. "There we go.  I hope that will do for you.  I've been trying to figure out a weave that will prevent clothes from getting dirty, but I haven't perfected it yet.  Lost one of my coats to it."

 

Taking the pants, she noticed his eyes sliding down from where his shirt ended to her long legs.  Her cheeks turned a bright red and she dropped the shirt onto his desk before pulling the pants on.  The slid up perfectly and as she attached the clasp, she looked up to see him watching her fingers.  Michelle realized that, with his shirt pulled up, her stomach was exposed. 

 

She let her shirt stay up for a moment so he could see the cream of her stomach before she turned away from him.  Breathing slowly and praying for courage, she pulled his shirt off over her head and grabbed the shirt off the desk, pulling it over her head.  She was still covered by the bindings, but irregardless, it was scandalous.  Pulling her hair out from under the collar, she handed his shirt to him.  “Thank you for letting me borrow this.”

 

Michelle

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His breath caught in his throat as Michelle began to dress herself right there in his office.  What in the light was she thinking?  It wasn't decent for a woman to-  His eyes threatened to pop from their sockets as she began to pull the shirt off.  Quickly averting his eyes and turning away, Arath did his best to maintain the void.  It quivered frantically, threatening to collapse, but in the end it held.

 

After what seemed several long minutes, but must have been only seconds, Michelle had thrust his shirt back toward him.  “Thank you for letting me borrow this.”

 

"Any time," he said automatically, immediately regretting the words.  They brought to mind images of situations where she might need it again.  He looked down at the shirt in his hands, then deposited it on his desk.  He'd probably never be able to wear it again without a myriad of thoughts running through his mind.  "Umm ... you must be starving after ... last night.  Your body did six weeks worth of healing in your arm in about six seconds.  Come on, lets go get some food."  He offered her his arm as they walked out of his office.  "Would you rather eat here or at the inn?"

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Arath took the shirt from her as she held it out, and she almost wanted to pull it back to her so she could smell the shirt one last time.  It had felt amazing, wearing his shirt, and she hoped it wouldn't be the last time.  "Any time," he replied, and she felt her cheeks burn.  She watched as he set the shirt on his desk and she couldn't help but think of what could be going through his mind. Was he thinking that he needed to wash it?  Was he just thinking of what to do that day?  Or was he thinking about her wearing his shirt again?  Light, if only men weren't so confusing!

 

"Umm ... you must be starving after ... last night.  Your body did six weeks worth of healing in your arm in about six seconds.  Come on, lets go get some food."   Six weeks worth of healing... All of this power stuff was getting to be rather confusing.  "Would you rather eat here or at the inn?"  She saw his arm offered to her, and before she could stop herself, her arm was sliding into his and she had taken his warm hand.  They both stood still for a moment before she pulled away. 

 

"I umm..." she stumbled for words.  Why had she just taken his hand instead of just resting her hand on his arm?  "I need to grab something from upstairs, but I'll be right back!" she said, turning away and running out of the room.  Her feet continued to carry her up the stairs and then into her room.  Shutting the door behind her, she leaned against it, her heart racing and her breath heavy.  What was happening to her?  This was her Arath!  And she was not some heartsick girl!

 

Going to the chest, she grabbed out her boots and pulled them on, then went to the desk and grabbed her comb.  Pulling it through her hair, she found herself wondering how Arath would like it.  Would he want it free and loose, or perhaps in a braid?  What about back with a Ribbon, or maybe pinned up?  She simply left it down, the long thick waves laying softly on her back.  She grabbed the purse he had given her and held it before herself.  She couldn't accept this.

 

Going back down the stairs, she smiled to Arath as he stood in the kitchen, waiting for her.  "You spoke of this inn last night.  Can we try that?"   He nodded his head, and she held out the purse of coins.  "And this I cannot accept.  It is generous, but I can't take this from you."

 

Michelle

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Arath dumbly watched as Michelle run back up the stairs.  What in the light?  A few minutes later she came running back down to where he waited in the kitchen.  She had her boots on now.  And her purse.  "You spoke of this inn last night.  Can we try that?"  He nodded his head, and she held out the purse of coins.  "And this I cannot accept.  It is generous, but I can't take this from you."

 

Arath shook his head.  "It's yours.  Consider it advance payment."  He laughed at the odd look in her eyes when he said that.  "If you're going to be staying here, you'll probably end up doing the cooking.  I saw how much of mine you left on your plate last night."  He paused for a moment, thinking.  "Or consider it overdue payment for saving my sorry hide in Caemlyn years ago.  I never was able to return the favor, so now I am.  Please don't insult me by turning my gift aside.

 

Opening the door, Arath offered Michelle his arm again, ready to lead the way to the inn and breakfast.

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The purse of coins was between them for a moment before he shook his head no.  "It's yours.  Consider it advance payment." Advance Payment for WHAT?  Her eyes bulged open and she stared at him in shock.  If she was going to end up in his bed, it would not be for coins but because of the feeling she felt when- "If you're going to be staying here, you'll probably end up doing the cooking.  I saw how much of mine you left on your plate last night." 

 

Michelle's cheeks burned as she heard him finish his thoughts.  Of course he wouldn't pay for her to be with him like that.  He didn't even want her like that, did he?  "Or consider it overdue payment for saving my sorry hide in Caemlyn years ago.  I never was able to return the favor, so now I am.  Please don't insult me by turning my gift aside."  Well, that was that, and she tucked the purse into the pocket on her breeches.

 

Arath offered her his arm and she took it, lightly placing her hand on his arm.  As he shut the door behind them, she felt the wind blow through her long dark curls, and she let her head fall back, enjoying the feeling of freedom whipping around her.  Arath paused for a moment, as if watching her, and she smiled as she looked at him.  His laugh that came was deep and happy, and she had to laugh at him, hugging to his arm for a moment as he led the way.

 

Their walk was silent as she took in the Farm in the daylight.  It would be an interesting  life she would lead in this strange strange place, but she knew that it would never be for lack of adventure or amusement.  As they arrived at the inn, Arath held the door open for her as they slipped inside.  The noise that had greated them as they opened the door stopped suddenly as all the men turned to look at them.  Michelle didnt know whether it was due to her in breeches or Arath with a woman, and she felt her cheeks burn bright as all the men watched them.  Arath sort of waved his hand, as if to say continue, and the low buzz of talking began again.

 

They found a table towards the corner, and Michelle slid onto the bench beside Arath.  A woman came up and took their order, which was Ale and the Soup for both.  Michelle had no idea what to order, so she left that up to Arath.  There was still a few eyes on them both, but Michelle ignored them and turned to Arath, smiling.  "So, I was thinking about where we could go for shopping.  No offense, but I highly doubt that you have women's dresses.  You say you can port anywhere, right?  I was thinking Lugard..."

 

Michelle

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Arath considered telling Michelle about Kassian, but then decided against it.  The dedicated would be short on time, and frankly was a little disturbing.  Not the sort of dress maker that Michelle would want to be seeing right now.  He didn't know if she'd like Amadician styles anyway. So instead, he simply nodded in agreement.

 

"Anywhere from Tear to Tanchico to Maradon.  Even Tar Valon if I was feeling particularly stupid.  Lugard won't be a problem."  He paused for a moment, thinking about anything he might be needed for that day.  "I don't believe I'm needed here today, barring any great emergency, so after we eat we can go to the stables and grab some horses."  He smiled as confusion briefly flashed over her face.  "We might be able to cross most of the distance in a single step, but the gateways still need to be opened away from anyone's vision.  Most people don't appreciate channelers stepping in completely unannounced.  Plus the edges of the gates are very dangerous.  They can slice a blade of grass in half lengthwise, so I'd rather not take the chance that someone will be standing nearby.  We'll come out maybe a mile from Lugard, and ride the rest of the way."

 

The soup finally arrived, and the talk slowed down as the delicious smells wafted up from the bowls.  Arath handed the serving girl a silver coin and asked her to bring more.  At Michelles indignant look, he simply laughed.  "What?  You'll probably eat at least three.  Healing does that to you."  Digging into his own bowl, Arath fell silent for a while.  Finally, after swallowing down a particularly hot piece of meat he asked, "So just how much do you think you'll be needing?  Clothes, not food," he added with a grin. 

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"Anywhere from Tear to Tanchico to Maradon.  Even Tar Valon if I was feeling particularly stupid.  Lugard won't be a problem."  Murandy... Michelle hadn't been there since she left over 3 years ago.  Her family was probably starting new families, and she was certain that she had numerous nieces and nephews by now.  What would her parents think of her?  She had left on an adventure, and was now three steps behind where she had been when she left.  Well, that was, until Arath stepped into the inn.

 

"I don't believe I'm needed here today, barring any great emergency, so after we eat we can go to the stables and grab some horses."   Horses?  What in the Light would they need horses for if they could travel straight to the city. "We might be able to cross most of the distance in a single step, but the gateways still need to be opened away from anyone's vision.  Most people don't appreciate channelers stepping in completely unannounced.  Plus the edges of the gates are very dangerous.  They can slice a blade of grass in half lengthwise, so I'd rather not take the chance that someone will be standing nearby.  We'll come out maybe a mile from Lugard, and ride the rest of the way."

 

A horse... Michelle missed her beautiful horse.  She had had to sell the gentle beast for food and rent when her money began to disappear.  The soup arrived and Michelle began to devour her bowl.  Light, she was so desperately hungry, she felt as though she could eat the whole inn.  Arath asked for more bowls, and Michelle felt her stomach swell, as though fat was adding on. "What?  You'll probably eat at least three.  Healing does that to you."  

 

Chuckling to herself, Michelle went back to eating, begining to savour the flavors.  This was much better than the dirt she ate at the inn in Caemlyn.  She could certainly try her hand at working here on occasion, if Arath thought it would be ok.  "So just how much do you think you'll be needing?  Clothes, not food."   Michelle smiled at him and tried to keep her eyes off of the soup.  Light, she was still so hungry!

 

"Well, I was thinking about perhaps another set of breeches.  These are comfortable, at least.  Then perhaps another shirt or two, for working around the house, and perhaps a skirt to go with.  Then, I would only need one or two dresses..."   She let her voice trail off as she thought.  She had always wanted one pretty gown, but that was surely far too much and very wasteful.  She held her tongue, and instead continued on with speaking.

 

"Then, if it is ok, I could use another pair of shoes and some undergarments, and I think I will be ok.  I don't need much," she finished, going back to eating.  She had to make the money Arath had given her count.  She couldn't be wasteful - she was enough of a bother to him already.

 

Michelle  

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Arath nodded as he took another bite.  It sounded simple enough, but from the little he knew of women, he suspected that this simple little list might expand quite a bit before the day was done.  Especially if they were making a trip to Lugard rather than Caemlyn.  She had to have something in mind.  He was suddenly very glad he had another purse with him, this one full of gold.  He felt sure that it would be needed.

 

Apprehension suddenly began to gnaw at him.  Shopping had never been one of his favorite passtimes.  Probably one of his least favorites.  Though it might be fun to see Michelle try on different clothes ... no.  Not something he was really looking forward to.  Bt it would be worth it.  Especially after scaring her so badly the night before.  A hint of a smile play across his face as a thought occured to him.  Perhaps Tai'Dashan had gotten off a little bit too easy for his part in that fiasco.

 

Coming back to his senses, Arath noticed that Michelle had finished her second bowl, and was eyeing his as yet untouched one.  With a laugh, he pushed it toward her.  "One was enough for me.  Though I might just go see about getting something to take along with us.  You might be like this for another couple hours or so."  Pushing his chair out from the table, Arath made his way toward the kitchens.  On his way he caught a young soldier by the arm to have him relay a message.  "I need you to go to the infirmary and tell Dedicated Tai'Dashan that he is to meet me at the stables in ... half an hour.  Tell him to be ready to travel.  A lot."  With a nod the soldier took off toward the Black Tower's hospital.  At the very least, Arath wouldn't suffer alone on this trip.

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Tai sighed and resisted the urge to roll his eyes when the Soldier saluted. He had been practicing one of the healing weaves when the man had came in, and the man was all but bouncing on his toes with impatience. He hated all the saluting and 'Sir's' that he was getting now as a dedicated but supposed what must be endured could be. He assumed it would only increase with rank.

 

"Attack Leader Arath Faringal sends a message for you Dedicated Dashan." The man looked flustered and had that uncertain look about him. A new soldier unless Tai missed his guess. What would Arath send a new Soldier to tell him that he couldn't just tell him tonight? Quickly he motioned for the man to spit it out. Tai blinked when the man relayed the message. A half hour? Travel a lot? What was Arath up to?

 

~Hesitation makes your soup cold~ That was odd coming from the voice. Then again Chaos, the name he had given the voice in his head, had never really made sense. Tai suppressed a shudder at the thought of naming a part of himself, separating it from him and giving it its own identity. What must be endured, could.

 

Once outside he wove a gateway to the Manor. Quickly he ran up the stairs, taking them two at a time. When Arath said hop Tai used the Power to make it the jump that much higher. Quickly considering and discarding black coats, Tai chose one silk, and one velvet. Arath had said a lot of traveling and the Light only knew what that meant. Stuffing them into his saddle bags he grabbed an extra wool coat as well and added that to the rest. Once he had most of his daily needs covered he slung the saddle bags over his shoulder and headed outside. Seizing Saidin, once again he wove a gateway as close to the stables as he dared. The things could be dangerous, he had seen trees and other things sliced as cleanly as the sharpest blade. Jogging up to the stables he whistled to himself tunelessly. He hoped he had not taken too much time. It would be nice if he were early. Arath always did call him eager. Tai grinned and kept right on whistling.

 

OOC: You can have Tai be late (the soldier took a while finding the infirmary) and let out some irritation on him, or you can have him be early, (there when you arrive)  or just arrive when you do, either way works.

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A few minutes later, Arath made his way back to the table where Michelle was scraping clean her third bowl.  Dropping the small package of food the cook had given him on the table he asked, "Are you ready to go, or do you want some more?"  She only hesitated for a moment before shaking her head. "Alright then.  Lets go borrow some suitable horses from the stables.  We better get going before the weather turns on us."

 

A few minutes later they reached the stables where Tai was waiting for them.  A scowl crossed the dedicateds face as he saw Michelle, but he quickly replaced it with an indifferent look.  Choosing to ignore this, Arath spoke cheerfully, "Ready for an exciting shopping trip Tai?"  It was hard not to laugh at the disbelieving expression.  "Go pick a horse," he said to Michelle, nudging her toward the doors.  When she was safely out of earshot he closed in on Tai with a grin on his face.  "What?  You think I was going to suffer through this alone?  Think of it as a penance for scaring her last night."

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Finishing up the second bowl, Michelle felt her stomach growl.  Light, this was unbelievable.  She was more often than not a light eater, yet here she was, gorging herself.  She could already feel the weight adding on.  "One was enough for me.  Though I might just go see about getting something to take along with us.  You might be like this for another couple hours or so."   A couple HOURS?  Oh Light, this wasn’t good… but she couldn’t keep herself from grabbing at the third bowl and dug in as Arath left her for a moment.

 

It gave her a chance to think.  She would be spending the day with Arath, somewhere far away and exotic.  She would be trying on dresses… for him?  Would he want to watch or… she continued to dig into the food, trying to concentrate more on the meal than the day ahead of her.  Would he want to go to some fancy dinner?  What was he expecting for his kindness?  Would something happen on their day?  Scenarios ran through her mind, and she smiled as he came back to the table.  Light, now she was nervous.

 

"Are you ready to go, or do you want some more?"  Michelle nodded her head slowly, a little excited but still anxious for what was to come.  "Alright then.  Let’s go borrow some suitable horses from the stables.  We better get going before the weather turns on us."  They rose from the table and she noted the package of food that he had… Oh light, no, she couldn’t be hungry again!

 

But as he took her hand as he led her towards the stables, her mind left thoughts of food and instead began to think of the evening they could have.  She could see it in her mind… The two of them, bent over candlelight, a wonderful dinner and wine between them, his hand holding hers, and bending in for a kiss and- TAI JOINING THEM?

 

There he was, standing at the stables, and Michelle couldn’t help but groan.  This could not be happening.  He would not spoil their day together.  "Ready for an exciting shopping trip Tai?"  Oh god, and any dress she tried on for Arath, Tai would see as well.  This was terrible.  It couldn’t get much worse. "Go pick a horse," Arath said, nudging her towards the Stable.  She nodded, trying to think more on the horses than on the oaf that was ruining her perfect day.

 

It took only a few minutes to find a beautiful black and white mare.  Going forward tenderly, Michelle found her to be a sweet and gentle horse.  A stable hand ran forward, and Michelle asked if this belonged to anyone.  The stablehand said no, and Michelle asked to borrow her for the day.  With a glance towards Arath, the stable hand nodded, and went to get the horse ready.  Michelle stood beside the beautiful beast, brushing back her long thick mane and checking to make sure the hand did it all right.

 

As soon as he was done, Michelle pulled her own way up onto the horse and rode out of the stable to see Tai and Arath talking.  “Ready to go boys?” she asked, smiling down at them from her throne on a saddle.

 

Michelle

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Tai jogged into the stables and laughed out loud in delight. He was early. His delight was short lived however, as Michelle walked in with Arath and the man spoke.

 

"Ready for an exciting shopping trip Tai?" Tai's mouth dropped open. THIS was why he had almost broken his fool neck rushing to get here early?! A SHOPPING TRIP?! Arath must be joking, he did look as if he wanted to laugh. Then, he turned to Michelle.

 

"Go pick a horse," Waiting for her to leave he rounded on Tai, a particularly nasty grin on his face. "What?  You think I was going to suffer through this alone?  Think of it as a penance for scaring her last night." Tai groaned and muttered darkly about it being Arath's fault in the first place for not telling him she was coming. Now he was going to drag Tai along on a trip for the Light knew how long. Michelle rode over all smug satisfaction and spoke in that sickeningly sweet way she had.

 

"Ready to go boys?"

 

Tai stalked off muttering to find a horse.

 

"Pretentious, presumptuous, self absorbed, spoiled little...." He muttered under his breath.

 

The woman grated him to no end! Every time he thought he found something nice about her, she did something to show how spoiled and rude she could be and set his temper burning again! Not for the first time Tai thought about freezing her bath water solid. And Arath! What had he done to deserve to be dragged into this? Arath brings the spoiled brat back from wherever she crawled out from and...Tai's cheeks nearly heated with shame. He was being rude, if only in his thoughts.

 

~You are not alone in your thoughts.~ Chaos cackled before Tai shoved him aside. Choosing a horse he walked it back to where Michelle was waiting, he would not ride just to put himself on the same level with her. So what if she looked down on him from horseback? Her attitude be burned. His mood was no longer a good one, and it seemed as if the day was only going to get worse.

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