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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Doubts and Betrayal Attn: (Eqwina)


Talavin
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One would think that an organization of warriors dedicated to fighting the Shadow would have better things to do with their time than gossip. However, that would be a very wrong assumption. No one gossiped more than a group of men and women forced to stand guard at a wall all day. The best way to pass the time was to listen to the news travelling through those gates, and no news travelled faster in the Yards than the death of a Warder.

 

Arath had no reason to expect that this day would be different from any other day; it was a cloudy day, but warm enough that it wasn't dreadful. In fact, it was the type of day that would pass unremembered by those who had lived it. The fact that he was assigned to guarding the Tower Gates made the day even more forgettable. It was perhaps for this very reason that Arath found himself paying much more attention to the gossip travelling through than he normally would. The news that a Warder had died shocked him of course, he had been familiar with the man. Corwin was one of the first people that he had met when he started his days as a trainee (although he didn't meet the man so much as run away from him).

 

The death of a Warder was tragic, but what the masses were more interested in was the Aes Sedai. Apparently she was a Yellow, and that made people wonder even more. After all, very few men died when a Yellow was around. Even though the gossip was travelling at light speed, there were still some facts that eluded Arath. For one, the name of the Yellow Sedai was a mystery. In fact, it wasn't until near the end of his shift that Arath was graced with that particular knowledge.

 

"Aye, it was my good friend who told me, who I would trust with my life. He heard it from his sister, who is friends with a maid who works in the Tower. She heard it from another maid who was cleaning a Yellow's room. She told her friend who told my friend's sister who told my friend who told me that she overheard a couple of Aes Sedai talking, and that the name of the Sister is Eqwina Sedai."

 

There was more chatter after that, but the world seemed to shatter around Arath. His first reaction was worry for Eqwina- he knew that loosing a Warder was very hard. However, after that initial reaction was through, Arath realized that he had no idea Eqwina even had a Warder. No, the fool of a man must be mistaken- Arath knew Eqwina; he knew her very well. If Eqwina had a Warder she would have told him. However, as the man continued to swear to the Light that every word he spoke was the truth, doubt began to creep into his bones. Surely Eqwina- kind, sweet, Eqwina- would have no reason to lie to him... right?

 

The rest of his shift seemed to pass slowly, as if every instant was a lifetime. The boring job gave him all the time in the world to loose himself in his own thoughts, and loose himself Arath did. His initial skepticism seemed to wear away with every passing breath, like a burly mountain being washed away by the sea. Arath's heart began to beat faster. If Eqwina had lied about having a Warder ("Had led him on without the slightest remorse" a small voice whispered) what else had she lied about? Did she even plan on telling him, or was she planning to allow him to continue making a fool out of himself?

 

Mutinous thoughts continued to rape his mind, until finally the torturously long shift was over, and Arath was free to leave. He pushed the accusing voices to the side of his mind; after all, he only had rumors to go by. Surely if he went to Eqwina she would be able to explain everything- to eviscerate his foolish doubts. His feet traversed the well-worn path to Eqwina’s room, following the same steps that they had taken many times before. What was initially a calm controlled journey grew frantic the closer he got to his destination- his steps matching his erratic heartbeat.

 

Looking back on the incident, Arath would wonder how they ever let a man in his state into the Tower- let alone the Sedais’ rooms. Nevertheless, doubts continued to assail him as he burst rudely through Eqwina’s door, crying: “Eqwina! Are the rumors true?”

 

OOC: Yeah, I kinda went all out with this one ;D

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Her writing desk had always sat facing the Southern wall. It caught the best light and gave the best view of any window in her room; but now that view was more of a curse than a welcome break from daily stresses. Sat in a shadowed corner near her favorite window was Corwin’s armor and weapons, a constant reminder of her fault in his death. Had she only been not so set in her ways she may have been able to keep him alive….. But her stubborn pride and fear at allowing anyone to close had not allowed her neck to bend. For that she would carry the pain of Corwin’s death to her grave. It had scarred her more deeply than even the bond would have allowed.

 

Glancing down at the paper on her desk Eqwina shook her head and crumpled it, tossing it to the floor. The ink had run and her hand had badly smudged the page. Tearing her eyes away from the weapons she walked over to the wash basin and scrubbed the now dry ink from her hands. There was nothing to do for the spots she’d made on the silk. Almost mechanically she walked to her dressing chambers and changed into another dress almost the exact same shade of pale gray. Ever since Corwin had killed himself she hardly been able to don an outfit that was not a shade of Black or Gray.

 

She was expecting her cursed secretary any time now; the meetings with him were always onerous to say the best. He thought far too much of himself and pushed her father than she thought proper most of the time, but he was a useful tool none the less. When her door burst open she turned to assail Kennar with her tongue and stopped short when it was Arath that burst through. He was lucky the wood didn’t crack the way it rebounded from her wall; her plaster wall had not been so lucky.

Assuming a less stern face she smiled coyly at the young man and shook her head. She was never quick to anger with him, always she acted more like a woman courting than an Aes Sedai. It was out of necessity and a love of ‘sport’ that made her hang on to the love-struck little Tower Guard. He worshiped the ground that she walked on and every woman enjoyed pure adoration and love. Today though, only pain and panic shown in his eyes.

 

Gliding across the room Eqwina shut the door and gently led Arath deeper into her sitting room. Roughly he pulled his arm away from her and posed his question again. “Are the rumors true?”

 

“Rumors?” Her voice was light, like a feather on the breeze. “You know I work far too hard to pay attention to Tower gossip. What rumors?” She tried to lead him to a chair and for a moment pure hatred was displayed on her face as he refused. This was not at ALL the young man she’d grown accustomed to toying with. “Fine, if you insist on pouting like a child. Don’t sit, but you still must explain to me what rumors you mean.” She was no longer to flirtatious and casual, the egomaniac part of her did not like being spoken to so harshly.

 

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Kennar reached for the door latch then froze as he heard voices inside.  One voice he knew belonged to the little Aes Sedai while the other voice belonged to a man.  Curiousity tried to win him over, he considered waiting to enter so that the conversation did not alter from his presence.  Kennar sighed in frustration as he knew that he could not remain outside the door as anyone that saw him would know he was up to no good and likely advise the little Aes Sedai that he had been eavesdropping.  No that would not go over well. 

 

Dressed in his Tower Guard uniform, Kennar pushed through the door then bowed properly as befitted an Aes Sedai then nodded respectfully to the Guardsman.  Kennar had seen the man about though knew very little of him.  It seemed he would have to learn something of the other man.  After a couple of days in Eqwina's service it barely irritated him to bow to the little wi... no the little Aes Sedai, he had to break that habit before he slipped in front of her.  His face was emotionless as could be, he was simply a Guardsman in her service going about his daily duties in the Tower.  So be it that those duties were more clerical in nature.  Who would tell an Aes Sedai how to use a Guardsman that had been assigned to her.  "Pardon the interruption Eqwina Sedai but I have those pages from the library that you asked me to retrieve."  His tone was respectful and he smiled just shy of warmly at the tiny woman as she directed him to lay them on the corner of her desk. 

 

Kennar bowed then backed away toward the small writing desk that he used when she had need of his services.  From there he could see her though the other Guardsman's back would be to him allowing him to watch the man.  Picking up the packet of work to be done he addressed her again.  "Would you like me to get started on these Eqwina Sedai, or"  Again his tone was unwavering respect though he shot her a meaningful look that flashed quickly to the Guard then back to her.  "or would you prefer that I take my leave and return when you are not busy?"  At the moment he would have preferred the livery that servants of the White Tower wore though the uniform of a Tower Guard was nearly just as good.  Nobody paid any attention to servants, it was as if they were just a fixture or a piece of furniture.  Then again as a Tower Guard you could walk about the Tower armed and people would talk just as much in front of a guard as they would a servant. 

 

That and who knew if this Guardsman would recognize him from the yards.  Kennar was very ordinary looking though he did not want to take any unecessary risks.  It would strike the other Guardsman as odd if he remembered Kennar training in the yards then fuond him in Tower livery.  It was not an everyday occurrence that a Guardsman suddenly dressed in Tower livery.  What would happen when he returned to the yards to train?  So for the time being he would keep his Tower Guard uniform unless an assignment required a different manner of dress.

 

((OOC: sorry had to rewrite a lot of it for consistency with another RP))

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

OOC: No problem, feel free to listen at the door if you’d like ;D

 

Arath clenched his jaw when he heard Eqwina trying to play coy with him. Another time it would have infatuated him, driving him further under her charms; however, he was on a mission and he would not be distracted. Her next, more patronizing remark had him sitting down with cold eyes. He was a man and he would not allow the Yellow to treat him like a child. Arath felt like a fool- had Eqwina really been leading him by the nose the whole time?

 

He was about to lay his accusations at Eqwina’s feet, and demand an explanation, when a man came in. Arath was too far gone in fury to comprehend what the man asked, nor did he care to know. Another young Tower Guard entering Eqwina’s quarters? Just how many was the woman hiding from him? Perhaps she was courting the entire Warders Yard behind his back? Perhaps they were all having a good laugh at his stupidity? Without giving the Aes Sedai a moment to reply he cruelly responded: “Be gone; I have things to discuss with Eqwina Sedai.”

 

The moment the man had exited Arath launched his tirade. “A Warder, Eqwina? How long were you planning on keeping this a secret from me? Were my intentions not clear enough? Did my obvious hopes of being bonded to you somehow escape your notice?” If Arath had been thinking clearly, he would not have dreamed of verbally assaulting an Aes Sedai, especially not Eqwina, but anger had a way of clouding a man’s mind. He could not think but for the accusations- any cognitive prowess that would have gone to logic and sense instead manufactured more and more fantastic scenarios.

 

What was worse than the anger though was the hurt. Arath had practically worshiped the woman- she had taught him so much about Aes Sedai and about himself. Arath’s pride didn’t let him acknowledge the pain that the betrayal caused him, and instead turned it into anger. Anger was good because with anger he didn’t feel hurt, and without hurt he didn’t feel humiliation. “What explanation can you possibly give me, Eqwina? I mean, it’s not all that hard to mention that you had a Warder, is it?”

 

If Arath stopped for an instant he would realize how unfair he was being. He was confronting Eqwina about rumors, attacking her and not even giving her a chance to get a word in. He had no proof of their accuracy, and was making a fool out of himself. Unfortunately, Arath didn’t stop, even for an instant- his traitorous mind was cooking up scheme after scheme, each one demonizing Eqwina more and more.

 

Arath opened his mouth to continue his barrage, but found that there was nothing left to say. Somewhere in the middle he had rose from his seat, and was staring down at Eqwina angrily. His entire body was tense, as if he was holding himself back from shaking the woman, demanding answers. He tried to hold onto his anger, yet his body betrayed him, causing tears to prickle at his eyes pathetically. Arath cursed himself with the strongest oath he knew for his weakness- right now he needed the strength to see this through.

 

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One of the first lessons she had learned from Drak was to make the most of a bad situation. Any situation could be turned to your advantage if you only looked hard enough, he’d said. Suppressing a sigh Eqwina knew she would have to look very hard indeed. Months of coddling and cooing with this child were about to go for not because of Corwin’s highly public death.

 

Shooting a meaningful gaze at Kennar she nodded, giving him his approval to leave. He wouldn’t go far, not when she may be in need of his services. Maintaining her calm she wrapped Arath in flows of air and shoved him several steps away. She detested her small stature and did not appreciate anyone looking down on her, least of all a worm of a Tower Guard. “Arath! I will not stand for such a tirade from you, I do not care how hurt your feelings are. Now sit down and you will have what explanation I choose to give.” Her eyes said that it was more than any Tower Guard deserved, receiving explanations from an Aes Sedai. Still, there may be some hope of saving her plans, so she continued on in a much softer tone.

 

“Corwin was my Warder.” Releasing the flows of air Arath flopped down in the chair. “But our relationship was not a typical one. Why do you think he was never around? Corwin was a dangerous and volatile man; I couldn’t trust him too near me.” For a moment Eqwina’s stomach clenched, but she beat down the emotions harshly. “Had I been able to bring him close I would have dissolved our bond, but these matters are never simple. I did not tell you because I know your foolish head Arath, and you would have been no match for him.”

 

“ I did what I did to protect you…to protect us.” She said the last like a lovers caress. Eqwina did not like to lose, and she was not going to give up her ‘pet’ without a fight.

 

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