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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

A Trip Home (attn: Lor)


_Kynwric_
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Kyn and Lor had spent the night before in not too bad bed for the first time in several nights. Some of the Inns along the highway were getting to be worse than simply sleeping outside. Kyn was glad to be out of the Tower again, even if the trip had been plagued by his having to listen Lor's nagging about this and that. He knew she was merely anxious to be home and see the boys, still absolutely nothing he did besides killing the horses was going to get them there any faster. They had even beaten the guard to the city gate this morning, that had done nothing to improve her mood, having to wait for the gate to be opened. However, they had gotten away at the earliest possible moment and would be back at the farmhouse they had shared for nearly twenty years by midday.

 

The forest surrounding them was unchanged. It still crowded and overhung the road, providing mostly shade for their ride. The forest still made Kyn uneasy, but then he'd been uneasy for as long as the two of them had ridden together, and thus far it had kept them safe... even when he knew it was unnecessary unease.

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Loraine stifled the urge to tell Kynwric he was going too slow. Again. She could feel his irritation mount every time she said something. She sighed inwardly, wanting to get to the boys more than anything. She hadn’t seen them in the year since they’d returned to the Tower and the last letter she’d gotten from either of them had been months ago. Was that when her nagging had started?

 

She could tell Kyn was happier away from the Tower and was glad for that. He was far from relaxed, but she doubted the man even knew how to do that, these days. At least, not since word had filtered through her contacts that she was being summoned back to the Tower. She smiled, just shy of ignoring Kyn’s unease at the forest they rode through. Something about trees made him nervous. Was it that mess they’d run into coming out of Fal Moran a few months ago? “Relax, Kynwric, at least a little. The boys will know you’re tense if they see those lines around your eyes and you know they’ll question you to death about it until you give it up and tell them what’s wrong.” She let her eyes roam over his face, the same face she’d smiled at nearly every morning of the last thirty years. How many people were still happy about that these days? “They’re worse than I am, if only because there are two of them…”

 

 

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"Trees make me nervous..." he paused just long enough to hear how silly that sounded and then added, "... well, close knit forests like this make me nervous. To easy for someone to ambush you... of course that's part of the reason I liked this place for raising the boys. It's easy to sneak about in if you know it and it's also hard to sneak up on someone if you don't." He leaned back in the saddle and tried to let his body relax some, not that he relaxed at all trying to scry out if they were being watched. He really didn't think they were, but Kyn was never one to just let that go... he'd been doing it for far too long. "What do you figure they've been up to?"

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She smiled softly, letting thoughts of their boys linger in her head. Anyone who said raising twins was easy, and active twin boys, at that, had a strange opinion of things. Truth be known, she'd been far less active since returning to the Tower than her boys had allowed her to be for the 20 years she'd chased them. She couldn't resist teasing her warder, though. "Well, if they're anything like their father, and we both know they are, they've likely found at least three skirts to chase and have fought over one of them at least once since we left." She grinned. "That is, once the farm was taken care of and the fields plowed and hoed..."

 

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"Bah, they've fought over no less than two of them. Likely both blondes as well." he fought the urge to smile and finally just gave up and did, smile. "I'd fully expect one of them to want to marry a girl and only have not because they're holding to that promise you made them swear." Kyn knew that promise had been well thought out, she didn't want either of them marrying the first girl they came across. Yet another reason to live here, where up to a certain point children had to have permission to marry. unfortunately both of their boys were past that point and only their mother's threat would hold them. They were coming up on the river now, and would soon be across into the Two Rivers proper.

 

The river crossing went smoothly, the ferryman knowing his business, Kyn and Lor were riding off the ferryboat into Taren Ferry. "So, what'd you bring for them? You know they'll ask..."

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Loraine grinned, having no doubt that he was right about the number and the fairheadedness of the girls in question. She was smiling when they boarded and when the left the ferry, earning no small amount of smiles in return from those others who caught it. She ignored them, except to respond with a nod to a waved "hello."

 

"Is seeing their mother not gift enough?" She grinned as they rode through town. "Just in case it's not, I found a set of ivory cast knives for Corlin and a book for Marus. Do you suppose they'll switch as soon as my back is turned?"

 

 

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"While, for me a visit from their mother is always the perfect gift. I fear the boys are more material in their expectations.  They'll be glad to see you and they'll be expecting a present. And, no, they'll each keep what you've given them. Although Corlin'll be borrowing the book just as soon as Marus has finished it." the ride through Taren Ferry was the same as it always was, tedious. People here seemed to be the tainted by contact with the outside world and not at all what he expected from Two Rivers folk. Of course, Two Rivers folk would be aghast at being lumped in with them and so would the Taren Ferry people. It was hard to believe that the first time he had visited here he thought them quaint... at least till he had reached the heart of the Two Rivers.

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Loraine was glad when they'd made it past the edge of Taren Ferry. The place seemed so at odds with itself that she couldn't help but be very uneasy there. It seemed the people were always trying to cling to their Two Rivers mentality while hungrily reaching for whatever the travelers from other places brought with them. She closed her eyes and inhaled once they were beyond it, though. The familiar "almost home" feeling sinking into her soul. She laughed, shooting Kynwric a look. "Do you remember how much I didn't like it here when we first came?"

 

She'd been so out of her element, far too refined for her neighbors and not experienced enough with daily things to even put a meal on the table for her "husband." "They had a lot of fun bringing me down a few pegs before they helped me, though I'll bet you were ever so glad they did." She smiled, thinking of the first meal she'd made on her own after their supportive "tutoring." He'd eaten every bite and she wouldn't doubt it if he'd dropped off half their crop on their doors in thanks that fall.

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"I recall you seriously reconsidering the suggestion of Amadacia after we got here and saw how... quaint... it was." Now that they were actually between the Taren and White Rivers Kyn tangibly relaxed. He wasn't sure why, but here he felt safer than outside it's bounds. Perhaps it was the twenty years they had spent here, perhaps it was the laid back way the people went about their lives, perhaps it was the quaintness of the place. "Well love, you have to admit, you couldn't cook... you never learned. Of course they couldn't fathom a woman having not learned to cook or a few other idiosyncrasies. But yes, I was ever so glad they taught you how... of course they never did get you to braid your hair."

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Loraine grinned, shaking her head. "I'm far too old to change my habits, Kynwric. I tried braiding my hair once and the long rope hanging down my back gave me a headache. And I sat on it every time I sat down!" She shook her head. "After a few hours, I had to put my hair back up. You'd not have been able to talk to me had I left it down..."

 

She laughed, feeling him relax. "I am glad to be home, too. It will be wonderful to see the boys. Until then, it's simple wonderful not to feel like a thousand eyes are trained on my back waiting on me to slip up..."

 

 

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"Love, you're far too old to be that beautiful too... not that it's stopping you." He looked up the road. "Watch Hill is coming up..." he glanced over at her. "You're Two Rivers safe, right?" Mainly he glanced to her ring finger, making sure that the tell tale ring had been removed. He knew that her shawl, his cloak and the other truly acknowledging items had been packed away since white bridge, but the ring was something she wore out of habit and didn't pack away easily. Much as he still carried his Heron-marked sword. I really need to get a plain replacement for times like this.

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Loraine muttered as she looked down at her hand. Her ring still winked from her finger. In fact, the little pendant she dangled between her brow was still there, too. It was amazing how quickly she fell into her old habits, even after spending over twenty years away from them. She turned and pulled a small sack from her saddle bags, carefully laying each of her trinkets inside. She couldn't take a risk of being identified in any way as anything but Loraine Larind, after all. The pendant labeled her as Cairhienin and noble, to boot! The ring... well, the ring was obvious, even to people so isolated from the rest of the world. She sighed as she slid the pouch back into her pack and nodded back at Kynwric. "All safe now, love. Someday, you'll have to buy me a ring for my finger so I actually look married!" She grinned broadly, though she had to wonder how much longer it would be before the boys started asking questions her oaths would keep her from lying through...

 

~Lor

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Kyn smiled and shook his head, "I'm never putting a ring like that on your finger unless we are married, love. No matter what uncomfortable questions arise from it, I've no idea how we made it through 20 years without someone asking you straight out if we were married." He ran his hand over the scabbard of his sword and pulled a length of cloth from the saddlebags and tied it around it, wrapping the tell-tale herons tooled into the leather underneath. "All set I suppose, really we should have gotten a cart in Baerlon and not ridden horses in."

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She smiled, nodding emphatically. Their neighbors had always been the nosey sort, but somehow they'd never asked her a question she couldn't hedge around without answering. "Maybe we've been together so long, we just naturally act like we're married. I think the only thing they haven't seen is a major fight that has you sleeping by the fireplace for a few nights." She grinned, trying to imagine that for a moment. It was entertaining, she had to admit. "As for the cart," she shrugged and glanced towards him. "If we're lucky, we'll make it to the house before anyone notices we're here. Perhaps we should wait until sundown before heading into Emmond's Field?"

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She laughed at that and sighed dramatically. It was nice to be away from the Tower and so free with her humor. She always felt... stifled within those walls. As if the world were expecting her to be serious far more than she wanted to be. Perhaps that's why she'd enjoyed the trips to the Yards so much in the last year. She sent Kyn a look. "I suppose they'll just be wagging their tongues, then, because I want to see my boys and I'm not freezing my horse's mane off to do it!" She sent him a dazzling smile. "That is, unless, we need to make a stop on the way..."

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Kyn wrinkled his brow and looked toward her. "Stop? Why on earth would we need to stop this close to home?" Then he noticed the smile. "Now wouldn't that just be the thing to get caught doing this close to home. You think their tongues would be wagging from riding horses like we're some sort of  nobility..."

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She smiled as she felt his humor return. "Oh, alright," she said with a dramatic sigh. "We'll be the good older parents that we are and visit the boys as quietly as possible. At least we're avoiding Bel Tine, this year. I'm not sure I could act as old as I'm supposed to look. Not feeling as young as I do..."

 

They rode on for a while and she smiled more, loving the familiar landscape around them. She'd never felt this way about Cairhien, but she was pretty sure that was because of her grandfather. Even in death, he'd managed to destroy any sense of home she'd ever felt. It was only here, with the nosey neighbors and lack of servants that she really felt at peace. Oh, how he'd roll over in his grave knowing I was happy! she thought with a grin. "How long do you think we'll be able to stay before we're hauled back to the Tower?"

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Kyn thought about Bel Tine and how she had made it through nearly 20 of them... he knew she enjoyed them despite her protesting, mainly because she got to dance. "Hauled back? Did you even tell anyone where we were going?"

 

Just then he noticed the glow coming from up ahead, it was the soft glow of a town at night. He nodded up towards it. "Watch Hill... " Kyn felt her amusement and contentment. He knew this place made her happy, despite its lack of trappings or perhaps because of it.

 

 

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Loraine shook her head. "No, I told no one. I can't lie and I couldn't think of a good reason. I simply told Jade we were going to visit some Eyes and Ears that hadn't checked in in a while." She smiled a little vaguely until the familiar lights of Watch Hill glowed before them.

"Watch Hill... " Kyn said, nodding ahead. She sighed contentedly and loosened her grip on her reigns. She hadn't realized she'd been clutching them so tightly.She smiled, shedding the last of the tenseness in her shoulders.

 

"We're almost home, then. Do you want to place wagers on which of your sons will be pestering us about marriage first?" She grinned broadly.

 

~Lor

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"First? That would have to be Marus, Corlin is the one I have pegged for setting off on some grand adventure. You know, Aes Sedai, Shadowspawn and all that nonsense." The town came up on them quickly, more because they had unintentionally quickened the pace than anything else. When they reached the edge of town kyn intentionally slowed the pace a bit, finally stopping at the well in the center of town. "We need to let the horses rest and drink." He said as he slid off the his mount and tethered the horse to the post.

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Loraine tensed at his mention of Corlin's need for adventure. It was a mother's fear that settled into her bones. She'd heard so many mothers uttering the words "...but not my baby!" while she was recruiting for the Tower. She hadn't completely understood, then, but... Light did she understand it now. She knew Kyn had taught them how to handle themselves, even if he hadn't taught them everything he knew. She hadn't said anything because she knew it was always better for them to be prepared. It was just her mother's heart that pounded in fear when she thought of her babies being confronted with a trolloc bent on having them for dinner. The world wasn't as safe as it used to be, not even here in the Two Rivers.

 

She threw her leg over the side and slid to the ground. Even if it wasn't completely lady-like, it was terribly graceful. One of the perks of being her age and having held onto the body of a 20 year old. She was distracted, though, her mind narrowing down to the horror of facing her child and knowing that, some day, he'd start asking questions she couldn't hedge her way out of, anymore. "Do you think we should tell them the truth, Kynwric?" She murmured as he came towards her. "They're old enough..."

 

~lor

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Kyn looked at her, paused what he was doing. "You want to tell our children that their parents are two of the most dangerous people in the whole of the world? That you can destroy armies with your mind and that I've held a pass against a fist of trollocs, alone? Do you not think their egos are big enough for their pants as it is?" He smiled, making sure that she knew it was a joke. Where the boys were concerned it was always best to be certain. "Love, if you think it is the time to tell them then we'll tell them. As far as they're concerned I learned to fight in the army, which isn't a total lie... it just omits which army. Either way we need to tell them before we leave next, I don't think they'll believe the 'dead great aunt' excuse again.

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She tried to smile, truly. She knew he was joking, even if him saying those things in the middle of Watch Hill made her nervous. "If we tell them, Corlin will want to leave... to find his place in the Guild with his father. If we tell them, we'll have to also tell them that Corlin will be the High Seat of Kilaine if I die. He needs to be trained to handle that responsibility, anyway." She closed her eyes and leaned into him, resting her head on his shoulder. "They have so much responsibility that they don't even know about, yet. Marus would make an excellent High Seat, but it falls on the eldest's shoulders. That's once they've gotten over the fact that we've lied to them their entire lives..."

 

She shook her head and stiffened her back. "We must tell them, yes. It's past time they learned the truth and I'm just going to have to accept that I can't protect them from everything." She paused, trying to tilt a smile his direction. "Even if I can destroy an army with my mind..."

 

~Loraine

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Kyn wrapped an arm around her as she settled in against his shoulder. "You do realize that, at this point, you will outlive both those boys by centuries. They need to know what they need to know and not a whit more. And what they need to know is what we decide to tell them. Marus would be happy being a farmer here, Corlin..." He shrugged a little. "He could be content here, but never really happy. Either which way, you never could protect them from everything. One Power or not." He noticed the horses had had their fill and smiled. "Come on love, lets make Emond's Field and then home."

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