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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Challenging the Enemy (Evaluation) Attn Arath


Sangreal
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Sandre stomped away from the barracks with determination written on his face. Trainees stepped aside as he passed through the yards. He was looking for a challenge today and it was time for yet another evaluation. He had breezed through the last few he had and decided that if he was truly going to move on out of the yards he needed someone who would be critical of him. He could think of a few people but one in particular stuck out in his mind. "The Guard." He said to himself. He had sparred that guard. "The single most memorable spar of my life" he said.

 

It was odd to him that a spar fought by both in anger could make him smile as though remembering a childhood memory. Better yet though was that it was the guards day off. Stalking close to the Tower Guard barracks he picked up a few pebbles. He was not suppose to go in the Tower Guard barracks but it was a trainee tradition almost to test oneself after survival class in the arts of stealth against the Tower Guards. There was even a Lieutenant here who had a prized dagger on his wall. The trainees would steal the dagger and put it back as the test. Sandre on the other hand... with the assistance of a few trainees... relocated the Lieutenant's room. The canning he got was worth it.

 

Walking past a Guard at the door the Guard glanced at him. The minute his eyes turned away Sandre was in the door. He knew the way to his enemy guard's room, he had intended to cover his door knob in itchweed but never made it back in to do so. Dodging guards it took him a few minutes to get to the door. He pressed his ear against the door, he heard only gentle breathing. Slipping his lockpicks out of the bracer leather bracer on his left arm that sheathed his throwing knives, a few seconds later he was in the guard's room.

 

He was surprised at how empty the place was. Sandre's own room was crowded to capacity between him and his room mates. Stalking over to the bed a grin crept over his face at what the guard would think to see a fully armed man standing over him... though slightly far enough to away to avoid incoming hurled objects. With the biggest mischievous grin he could muster he mockingly awoke Arath with...

 

"Good morning cup cake."

 

 

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Arath was having a rather pleasant dream. He couldn't quite put his finger on what his dream was about- everything seemed to be happening at the same time, and he couldn't make any sense of what was occuring- but he definately knew that it was pleasant. Therefore, when he was awoken he much prefered to remain in bed. However, in the Guard you were liable to be called upon at any time, and so he didn't throw anything at the intruder. Briefly Arath wondered what a cup cake was, but shook off the thought and his sleepiness and sat up in his bed.

 

He was a bit confused at the unfamiliar sight- it wasn't often that he saw fully armored men in his room waking him up. What made it stranger was that the man was young; he was at an age where Arath couldn't tell if he was a young Guard or an old trainee. The fact that he was in the Guards' Barracks at all made it likely that he was a Guard, but the red cloak and signature dagger were missing. Many Guards did not wear them, but new Guards usually chose to adorn them so that people didn't confuse them for trainees. Also the fact that he was in full armor made the lack of the cloak and dagger more suspicious.

 

Arath came to the tentative conclusion that the young man was a trainee, but that made it more curious that the trainee was in his room, waking him (rudely at that). "What do you want?" His question wasn't exactly phrased in the most polite way, but the other man hadn't been very polite to begin with. Even though he had no idea what the trainee would be here for, Arath still couldn't shake the feeling that he knew this particular trainee from somewhere...

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"What do you want" the guard had said.

 

Sandre smiled. Much had changed of course. Still as riled up as he had the Guard on their duel he would have thought he would be remembered. He knew what would jog his memory though.

 

"Did you ever get a yellow to heal that strained wrist Guard?" He meant it as a jest and his smile proved it. He couldnt help but remember the Guard as a fond friend strangely enough. The look in the Guard's eyes told Sandre that he did indeed remember.

 

Sandre stepped away from the wall. "I need your help with something. They dont exactly want to have me leave the training yards yet but at the same time they are out of classes to teach me in until I am a Tower Guard. If I have to endure one more warder making me hold my breath underwater until I have weaved an entire basket I..." Sandre stopped and shook his head. He was well past learning to control his anger at this point.

 

The smile quickly returned. "Its evaluation time again and they have been sticking me with a trainer who is still bitter about an accident with my throwing knife and his favorite staff from over a year ago. I dont mind a tough evaluation but I want a fair one."

 

He didnt think the Guard was a fool. If he had not figured out yet that he was picking a rival, yet an honorable rival, to give him an evaluation because of its credibility then he would go through with the itchweed on the door knob... though he was well past pranks as well.

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When the trainee made a quip about a strained wrist, Arath found himself remembering who the man was. However, if he wasn't mistaken, they had parted on... bad terms. This made him all the more suspicious about why he would be standing in his room, fully armed. Although, listening to the speech Arath couldn't help but wonder if his memory had exaggerated things a little bit. The trainee had a certain air about him that wasn't quite friendly, but at the same time the words were comfortable, almost as if he were talking to a rival. Arath mentally shook his head; he probably just hadn't gotten enough sleep and was over-analyzing things.

 

So the trainee... Sandre he thought his name was... wanted some sort of evaluation from him to help prove to the Mistress that he was ready to become a Tower Guard. Arath mentally groaned, Sandre couldn't have chosen a few hours later to wake him up? He was on a rare day off and wanted to spend the time sleeping, but he would feel bad if he ditched the trainee. In the end, Arath ended up sighing and pushing the bedclothes to the side. "Alright, wait outside while I get dressed," Arath ordered. When Sandre complied, Arath groaned audibly and stretched to wake his body up. A normal man would not want to spar right after waking up, for obvious reasons, but as a Tower Guard Arath was trained to be combat ready in any situation.

 

If he remembered correctly, this particular fighter tended to be a quicker fighter who utilized all sorts of dirty tricks, but that could have changed since Arath last fought him. Nevertheless, he decided to don only light armor so that he could move unrestricted. He didn't typically wear anything more than light armor unless it was a special occasion anyway. Stepping outside, Arath motioned for Sandre to follow him and made his was to the nearest unused training ground.

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Sandre waited outside while the guard got dressed. Another guard on patrol stopped when he saw Sandre and Sandre smiled at him. He was not suppose to be in here and the guard knew it. With a sniff the man continued on his patrol.

 

When the Guard (He was really going to have to learn his name) stepped out and motioned him to follow he followed only to the door before taking up his walk next to the man. Both scanned the yards for flying weapons (Quite common when new trainees were about) and any other threats.

 

"I never got your name Guard."

 

Both stopped. Sandre wondered where the Guard would want to start. The Spar? The physical fitness test? Academics? (Sandre was confident he would ace the academics as he was a tutor for the trainees) Drill? He grimaced at the thought of drill. It was mind numbingly boring to him.

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"My name is Arath."

 

He didn't say anything more, and instead leaned against a tree as he studied the trainee carefully. From what he could remember of that spar, it had started because Sandre had said some rather nasty things about Aes Sedai. It hadn't ended conclusively, but it didn't have to. The outcome of a fight between a Guard and a trainee was obvious. Of course, the Guard might be having a very bad day and the trainee a very good one, but chances were that he would not have lost that fight.

 

What he remembered of Sandre's fighting style was useless, for it was very likely that he had gotten better. He didn't doubt Sandre's word that he was physically ready to become a Tower Guard. He couldn't know for certain, but he had been decent the last time they had met. Perhaps not good enough to be raised then, but unless the trainee slacked off horribly he should be ready by now. The only thing that Arath didn't have confidence in was Sandre's attitude. He wasn't going to foolishly start a fight with a trainee again just because the fool badmouthed Aes Sedai, but that was a major fault of Sandre's. There were many people in the world who hated Aes Sedai, but a Tower Guard could not be one of them.

 

Arath could be wrong, but he doubted that Thera would be blind to Sandre's tallent. He was a good fighter, and had lots of potential, but Arath also doubted that Thera was blind to Sandre's feelings about Aes Sedai. It seemed like his animosity had gone away, or at least dimmed, but it had been there, which was a cause for worry. Arath had come to accept the fact that his respect for Aes Sedai was borderline-obsessive, but that meant that if he approved of Sandre, few would doubt that he was ready.

 

"You have a choice. An Aes Sedai is in danger, but to save her you have to abandon your friend who will be doubtlessly killed. What do you choose?"

 

OOC: You don't have to choose the "right" answer. You don't even have to 'pass' Arath's evaluation if you don't want to. You'll still advance :)

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Sandre shook his head. Arath remembered that duel alright. He remembered what started it at least.

 

"Arath... even the trainee you fought some time ago would know the answer to that. The Aes Sedai is more valuable by default of how long they live anyways. Were it a choice of twenty men the answer would still be clear. Around fifty I would actual start to consider abandoning an Aes Sedai. Thats not what you want to know though is it?"

 

Sandre tilted his head slightly as he studied Arath. Most felt Sandre's eyes to be too piercing. He did not have kind eyes no matter how much he tried to soften himself. He was like a Hawk looking at its prey. What made it worse was how much he gained with that look as far as knowledge of the other person went. Thera had been angry with him from day one for it.

 

"Arath I learned something that changed me a bit... not completely but perhaps enough. For all their pretense of being as immovable as a stone, I have found the Aes Sedai to be as vulnerable as any other woman... perhaps not as but close. I dont approve of a lot of their methods but that vulnerability makes them human enough for me to offer them my protection should it be needed even if I dont like the Aes Sedai in question. The only area I may still conflict with them is when my talents out weigh a particular Aes Sedai's and her pride tries to force me to go her way anyways. I wont be led by a fool."

 

He was still rough around the edges and he knew it. He would stand up to an Aes Sedai if she was wrong. As long as his role was clear cut from the beginning with an Aes Sedai there would be no trouble. He would lead if asked to lead, follow if asked to follow. However he would not relinquish the role because an Aes Sedai's pride was at stake and allow people to be hurt.

 

"Perhaps you have something a little more challenging?"

 

He never actually said he liked them. He may also be tough as nails when it comes to dealing with them. However he hoped what he had learned was enough.

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OOC: Sorry for letting this thread sit for a week... again... :-\

 

IC: Arath was unimpressed by Sandre's answer. He wasn't openly offended like he was the first time he had met the trainee, but still he was unimpressed. Sandre had improved from when Arath last spoke to him, but it wasn't enough. There was no "abandon Aes' Sedai" option. It didn't matter if a village burned to the ground, if even one Aes' Sedai's life was in danger there was no choice. And to save Tar Valon... well, the whole world could burn. Most of the time Aes Sedai wouldn't allow that to happen, but nevertheless it was a Tower Guard's sworn duty to protect Aes Sedai no matter how high the cost.

 

"I don't think you understand. You are trying to convince me that you're ready to swear absolute loyalty to Aes Sedai. You will swear by the light and hope of salvation and rebirth to faithfully serve the White Tower as long as it sees fit. There is no choice between an Aes Sedai and even fifty men. There is no choice between obeying and disobeying. Many Aes Sedai will allow you to do your duty and trust you to defend them. However, if you don't agree with their methods then too bad. If you believe their pride is too great, or that they are... "a fool" as you put it, too bad."

 

Arath didn't think that Sandre really understood what he was trying to do. Becoming a Tower Guard wasn't about glory or station (although some people wanted to think that it was). It was about defending Aes Sedai. Arath didn't believe that Sandre had the devotion to Aes Sedai to be a good Tower Guard. On the other hand, Arath admitted that the trainee had come a long way though, and he had the potential to be a very skilled fighter. Hopefully with time he would become devoted to the Tower, and it really was impractical to keep him back.

 

"Hm. I hope that your vows will keep you obedient, and keep you from... straying in an unfortunate direction. I want to remind you that you will be swearing the strongest oath possible. With that in mind, you have my recommendaion, if you want to become a Tower Guard the choice is up to you."

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Sandre shook his head. In his mind he vowed never to be put in a situation where someones pride was a deciding factor on a important situation. He admired Arath's devotion but wondered at what point devotion became blind fanaticism. Sandre's problem was that he had enough sense to know that while he may have to swear to protect the Aes Sedai, not every Aes Sedai's decisions would be "For the good of the tower." Sometimes, the mission was more important than any one individual. The trick to proving himself right would be to make himself too valuable and proven to ignore.

 

Sandre nodded in ascent. "Very well Arath. I know the depth of your devotion. While it is admirable it also makes me fear that one day an Aes Sedai may do something to shake that faith or worse. Should that day come I ask only that you remember you have friends who are not Aes Sedai and people other than them that are worth fighting to protect."

 

He was not sure how Arath would take that. Knowing that someone else was concerned for him. It wasnt him in particular. Sandre knew what happened when ones dreams and ideals came tumbling down. He had been there. He had alienated himself from everyone who cared. It had made him the monster he was only now starting to be rid of.

 

Only his eyes reflected that truth. Hardened eyes showed their origins. That he knew pain. A moment of recognition crossed Arath's eyes. (Very good Arath.) Sandre thought. The weakness from the memory was there only long enough to let Arath see that he spoke from experience and not spite, and was gone.

 

"Shall we move on?"

 

OOC Its ok. :)

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Arath narrowed his eyes at the comment Sandre made about having friends outside of Aes Sedai. The trainee was being rather presumptuous, but he chose not to comment. Arath didn't want to have a conflict, because he had already gotten away with fighting a trainee once, and he didn't want to press his luck. Arath decided to continue his little evaluation without interruption.

 

Sandre had proven himself well enough in Arath's eyes when it came to Aes Sedai. He realized that not all men were as dedicated as he when it came to their duties of protecting Aes Sedai, but Sandre was walking the line with his comments about Aes Sedai's pride. Nevertheless, Arath had a feeling that whoever his superior was would deal with that. He had already dealt with Sandre's hypothetical interactions with Aes Sedai, and although his answers weren't as good as Arath would have prefered, they would suffice.

 

Arath decided to inquire about something else next. "Alright. You find yourself in a situation where you are in a position that requires stealth. You and a partner are somewhere where you shouldn't be, and you find an innocant woman in danger. You have to choose between exposing yourself and helping her, or staying put and going on with your mission. Exposing yourself will put not only you but your comrade in certain danger with a high possibility of death. Don't assume that you would be able to fight or talk your way out of it, and you can't confer with your partner before hand. What would you do?"

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"Alright. You find yourself in a situation where you are in a position that requires stealth. You and a partner are somewhere where you shouldn't be, and you find an innocant woman in danger. You have to choose between exposing yourself and helping her, or staying put and going on with your mission. Exposing yourself will put not only you but your comrade in certain danger with a high possibility of death. Don't assume that you would be able to fight or talk your way out of it, and you can't confer with your partner before hand. What would you do?"

 

Sandre frowned. This question had no right answer. It was a question of the limits of honor and duty.

 

"A very situational choice Arath. If it was a just a woman, with all my heart I would want to rescue her, but the mission would have to be completed. She would have to be a danger to the mission for me to decide otherwise... or an Aes Sedai. Just a girl though.If she were alive to rescue after the mission was completed and we had time to plan it on the way back to get her then I would."

 

Sandre looked at Arath intently. (Let him chew on that one.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

OOC: Yeah, the question had no right answer. It was supposed to force him to choose between the "right" thing, that what he's bound by duty to do.

 

IC: Arath frowned slightly as he concidered Sandre's responce. The trainee had avoided the question slightly, but stated that he would complete the mission before saving the woman. Arath supposed that was good enough. Truthfully there was no right or wrong answer to that question, but he had wanted to figure out the trainee's priorities. As far as he could tell, there was no reason to hold back Sandre from being promoted, but at the same time he would need to make up his mind. After all, there very well could be a situation where it was abandon the girl or fail the mission, no exceptions. Nevertheless Arath supposed that Sandre had time to decide. After all, becoming a Tower Guard was only the beginning of the journey.

 

Arath decided that Sandre was loyal to the Tower, although he would not be the typical Guard. And he would do his duty when it was necesary. Overall, Arath couldn't really find much of a quarrel with him. Perhaps he was not quite as devoted to Aes Sedai as Arath would prefer, but that was alright. After all, if they kicked out everyone that wasn't as fanatic as Arath was, their numbers would drop quite a bit. "You can tell Thera, or whoever it is you need to tell, that you've got my recommendation. I think you'll make a fine enough Guard."

 

With that Arath nodded his farewell to the not-quite-guard and made his way back to the barracks. He had some sleep to catch up on afterall. Arath groaned when he looked at the position of the sun in the sky- the conversation had taken longer than he thought. He would have to put sleep on hold- again.

 

OOC: Sorry, I know you wanted another question, but I was sitting at the computer and staring at the screen for fifteen minutes before I decided that there really wasn't anything more to ask. :P

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