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DRAGONMOUNT

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Letters Home Attn: Loraine and Edana


_Kynwric_
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    Kynwric and Edana had been gone for a week now, travelling overland towards the leading edge of the invading Seanchan army. They had eventually found the vanguard and then circled around the army to see what could be found in its wake.  Edana had not been his first choice to carry on this mission, of course his first choice had been to go alone, but he had reservations about bringing a trainee along on a mission that was so imprecise in its parameters and goals. They was nothing that could be for certain laid out other than that they were to find out as much as they could about the Seanchan and how they operated.  That she would have to continuously ferry letters back to the tower and then return to the occupied lands and find him again was also heavy on his mind. The first couple nights they were into the occupied lands Kynwric and Edana had merely rode here and there trying to figure out what was happening, how the occupied people were faring and carrying on.

 

My dear Loraine,

 

    Things here amongst the people are much as you would have expected before the invasion. There is no great change in the peasant’s or freeman’s life. They farm or toil as they would have before. The only all encompassing change is the oath of loyalty that they have been forced to speak. Apparently great example was made of some who refused the oath and it cowed the remaining population quickly. Other than the oath and a change in who taxes are paid to, there seems to be no other effects of occupation. These Seanchan have even left the local government in place, answerable to a military governor until some sort of civilian government takes over. All in all it is very efficient and gives little reason for the people to care who their ruler is. We’ve seen nothing of the ‘Ever Victorious Army’ as they are styled since we crossed into the occupied lands. I can say that the Seanchan use some amazing creatures in their military, something you would expect to see more in the blight than in a human army. I’ll write more on these when I have something concrete to pass on.

 

    There is little else to tell that you cannot find on your own. I have heard tell of a ‘resistance’ group working some days away and I will eventually make my way there to see whether there is truth to the rumor. For now be content and know that I love you as ever.

Yours always,

Kynwric

 

    Kyn then sealed the letter with the wax and ring he had been given and passed it off to Edana. “Not much there yet, but it’s a start.” He paused for a moment as he thought. “It should take you three days riding there and three back. Once you’re outside the occupation you can call upon our eyes and ears for fresh horses if you need. I’ll be here seven days hence and wait for two before I move on. If you arrive after that wait here and I’ll check back three days later. If no one comes, well, then be safe and fare well.” Then he picked up the stick he had been prodding the fire with and sparked it to more life.

 

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Edana stood by as Kynwric wrote the missive he'd asked her along to carry back to the Tower. She'd never met his Aes Sedai and had to admit a curiosity about the woman who would hold this man's bond. It entertained her while she waited on him to finish the letter. Kynwric was a large man, so his Aes Sedai must be a large woman to compliment him. No small-boned, diminutive woman would be able to match the strength of his personality. She'd have to be as handy with a blade as he was and Edana knew she was a Green. Just the thought of him bonded to a Brown or a White was enough to make her smile.

 

Out of the corner of her eye, she watched him seal the letter and turned back towards him. He handed her the letter without even looking up at her and she stashed it in the inside pocket of her coat as he spoke. “Not much there yet, but it’s a start. It should take you three days riding there and three back. Once you’re outside the occupation you can call upon our eyes and ears for fresh horses if you need. I’ll be here seven days hence and wait for two before I move on. If you arrive after that wait here and I’ll check back three days later. If no one comes, well, then be safe and fare well.”

 

Edana nodded stiffly. She knew he didn't trust her, but there wasn't anything she could do about that until he learned that, when it came to Tower business, that's all she was; business. "Understood, Master Kynwric," she said formally and watched as he went back to poking at the fire. He was worried, but she wasn't sure what about. They hadn't found anything in their travels that would put that frown on his face. There wasn't anything she could do about that, either, though, so she bowed slightly from the waist and dismissed herself. "Light be with you," she murmured as she stepped out of the tent.

 

The trip back to the Tower was pretty uneventful. She kept her path zig-zagging across the forests and plains, smiling as the familiar tower of Dragonmount appeared in the distance. She stopped for food, but took care of her horse enough that he made it back to the Tower. She'd have to borrow another for the trip back out, but hers needed the rest, anyway. It was the morning of the third day when she swung her leg over the back of her horse in the stable outside the Warder's Yards, smiling as she tossed the reigns to a stable boy and swinging her bags over her shoulder.

 

She headed straight for the Tower, though, not bothering to stop to drop her things off. If the response was urgent, she'd have to rush right back out, after all. She found the Green halls easily enough and was directed to Loraine's quarters by a Novice scurrying away. She nodded her thanks and knocked on the Green's door, glad when the woman didn't make her wait long before she answered.

~Edana

carrier pigeon

 

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Loraine tried to smile at the trainee carrying the letter from Kynwric, but she wasn’t sure she’d managed it. The report laying open on her desk made her hands shake as she accepted the letter. She looked up at the woman, a little surprised that this trainee wasn’t as young as those she’d seen before. “Thank you, trainee,” she said, taking a moment to be cordial.

 

”It is a pleasure to finally meet you,” the trainee said with a smile. ”I must admit, you’re not what I expected Master Kynwric’s Aes Sedai to look like.”

 

That made Loraine’s smile genuine and she shook her head, waving the woman to a couch. “I hear that quite a bit, actually. We’re more alike than we appear, though.” She eyed the letter in her hand. “Would you like to wait here for my reply or freshen up? I have news that needs to be returned to Kynwric quickly, so I’m afraid I can’t offer you more than an hour or two’s rest, at most…”

 

“Actually, if you will allow, I would like to take a bath and arrange for a fresh horse. I’m not terribly good at waiting quietly and I would only distract you if I stayed.” The trainee smiled and Lor felt there was more to this woman wanting to get back to the barracks than just a bath and a fresh horse.

 

“As you wish,” she said softly, smiling. “I shall have a reply in two hours. Make sure you get a full belly before you come back. Your return needs to be a swift one, I’m afraid.” She watched the woman stand and move back towards the door. “I will send for you when I’ve done with the message. Who shall I ask for?”

 

The trainee blushed, only just then realizing she hadn’t introduced herself. “Edana, Aes Sedai. My name is Edana.” She smiled as Loraine did and nodded as she disappeared through the door, closing it softly behind her.

 

There wasn’t time to waste on the trainee, though, and she hurriedly opened and read Kynwric’s message. Her heart pulled at his closing remarks and she sighed, still not happy about not being able to be with him on this trip. Oh, the argument that had ensued over that issue! She pushed those thoughts away and moved back to her desk, reading the report she’d just received again before beginning her reply.

 

My Dearest Kynwric,

 

I have disturbing news from just East of you, I’m afraid. My contacts in that area claim that the “resistance group” you referred to is beginning to do more than resist. One report claims they attacked a small party of Seanchan soldiers a few hundred miles from where they have been reported to be. This puts them much closer to you than a few days and, if they continue to move, you will have the Seanchan on your horse’s tail sooner than you’d like. Please proceed with caution, but continue towards that resistance group. We must learn of their intentions in order to justify soldiers being assigned to assist and guard them.

 

I am curious about these creatures you speak of, so please send word of anything you have on them. We cannot afford surprises if the Seanchan think to move on the Tower.

 

I pray this letter finds you in good health and easy mind, my love. I cannot promise that it will remain so very much longer…

Yours Always,

Loraine

 

She sealed the letter with her ring, a twin of the one on Kynwric’s finger and sighed as she set it aside. She’d promised Edana two hours, after all. If the woman hadn’t earned it, yet, she was about to.

 

~Loraine

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Edana sighed, seeing Sandre still hadn’t returned to the Tower. She hadn’t expected him to, but it still felt a bit empty with him gone. She washed and dressed, repacking her bags and feeling a little more lonely for not having run into anyone in the barracks. It was the middle of the day, they were all either eating or training. She felt silly for missing them, but it didn’t change the fact that she did.

 

She walked to the stables, offering to help the stable boys get another horse ready. They turned her down, telling her she looked tired and that she should sleep. She sighed, having to agree with them. She left them with a smile, a wave, and an extra coin each for their help before making her way back to her bunk. She stretched out, listening to the familiar sounds of training and allowing them to lull her into a soft sleep.

 

She was jolted awake as a rather loud girl banged on her door, yelling her name and demanding that she come and get this message. There were some rather evil consequences spilling from the girls’ mouth as Edana swung open the door, bags over her shoulder, and snatched the letter from the girl’s fingers. She didn’t bother apologizing, as she nudged the Novice out of the way and made her way down the hall. She smiled as the consequences started rolling off the girl’s tongue again and she paused to smile at wave at the end of the hall. Light, Novices are terribly annoying! she thought as she left the barracks and headed for the stable.

 

Loraine had said it was urgent, so she wasted no time in bursting into a gallop outside the gates of Tar Valon. She leaned in to the horse, remembering Kynwric saying to use their eyes and ears for fresh horses as she needed them. It pretty much gave her leave to run the horse pretty hard. He’d also said it would take three days to get back. She debated not stopping the first night, but having crossed more land than her first trip, she took advantage of the lead to pause for a quick dinner and a nap before continuing. She stopped at one of the eyes and ears who gave her permission to sleep in the barn loft overnight. It was hardly the most comfortable thing, but she didn’t need to be comfortable to get a few hours of sleep in. The farmer’s wife not only fed her a good meal for dinner, but also had a warm breakfast packed for her before she left the next morning.

 

The next day was a little more hectic, though, as the terrain changed. She was afraid she’d have to stop again as the sun set. She shook her head, though, determined to find Kynwric before she stopped. Loraine had said this was urgent, so…

 

Something flickered in the corner of her eye and she turned, sword drawn to face it. She sighed in relief seeing Kynwric’s face dappled in the setting sunlight. “I bring word,” she said as she slipped to the ground and sheathed her sword. “Your Aes Sedai said it was urgent.”  She pulled the letter from her coat pocket and handed it him. 

 

~Edana

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Kyn was standing just out of the small clearing that was to be Edana and his meeting spot. When she came galloping in and turned the horse about to get a good look around herself he stepped clear of the trees to be met with the tip of her sword. He held his hands up and smiled. "You made good time." He said as she slid down from the horse and sheathed her sword.

 

“I bring word, your Aes Sedai said it was urgent.”

 

Kyn took the letter and tucked it into his shirt. "Come, I've found a place to use as a base of operations for at least a couple of more days." And he led her off through the woods to a woodcutter's shack that had obviously been abandoned for some time. Once the horse was secured and they were inside Kyn sat down to read the letter. Hmming and nodding to himself as he read. Finally he finished and handed the letter over to Edana. "She is confirming what I have been seeing. The Seanchan are more active here the last couple of days. Their is something afoot and it seems this 'resistance' is moving our direction and the Seanchan are even more active. It is something the farmers have been commenting on." He nodded towards the back part of the shack. "You can sleep there, I've a letter to write and you'll need your rest for the ride." He left her to eat, sleep or whatever she wanted while he wrote.

 

My dearest Loraine,

 

    It is much as you said, the Seanchan have been growing more and more active in the area here. Whether it is either in response to the resistance or some other military goal I do not yet know. I have not yet met anyone who knows more of, or how to contact the resistance.

 

On the creatures, the first is approximately the size of a horse, and looks like a cross between a cat and a lizard. It has bronze scales, six-clawed feet that can grip stones in a road, and three eyes. I learned that the Seanchan call it a Tarm and having seen one I would say that it has better speed than a horse and is used in a scouting capacity.

 

The other creature I have to mention is a Grem. Again, I learned the name from a farmer. These are are the size of large bears, only with the gray green coloration and skin texture of leathered frogs. Like the Tarm, they have three eyes. These creatures seem to be used in battle, how I am not certain. However, horses are skittish around them to the point of being uncontrollable. That is something to be accounted for should battle become necessary.

 

Edana has done well thus far, you can pass that along to Eqwina should you wish.

 

          Yours always,

          Kynwric

 

Kynwric again folded and sealed the letter and then spent the rest of the evening in thought until he finally went to sleep. In the morning he handed the letter to Edana. "Check the shack when you return. Under the hearthstone and I'll tell you where to meet."

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Edana nodded, happy to be free of her burden, even if only briefly. She hadn't signed onto a pleasure trip and she knew it. She followed him into the cutter's hut, nodding in appreciation that such a place was in such good condition for having been abandoned. Or was Kynwric just that good at repairs? She shook her head and sank onto a little bench pulled up to the rough table. Kynwric read the letter, but Ed was too full of energy to sit still very long. When Kynwric passed her the letter, she raised her eyebrows in surprise, but didn't hesitate much more than that to take it from him. Apparently, the woman hadn't added anything too...

 

She scanned the letter, blushing a little at the obvious affection blatantly scrolled out in the neat hand of a lady. She pushed those thoughts aside, even if they made her think of Sandre a moment. Could she ever write such flowery things to him? Her brow knotted, but she forced her mind to focus on the warnings in the woman's letter. "She is confirming what I have been seeing. The Seanchan are more active here the last couple of days. Their is something afoot and it seems this 'resistance' is moving our direction and the Seanchan are even more active. It is something the farmers have been commenting on." Edana nodded, agreeing, though she was pretty sure Kynwric didn't care whether she agreed or not. She was a messenger, after all.

 

"You can sleep there, I've a letter to write and you'll need your rest for the ride." He nodded towards the back of the hut and it was all Ed could do not to run out of the room. Now that she'd rested, her body was screaming for rest. She controlled herself, though, saying "Thank you, I'd like that," as evenly as she could before rising and walking towards the back, pausing to sling her sleep roll over her shoulder as she did. Kynwric would wake her when she was needed. Until then, she planned on getting in as much sleep as possible!

 

 

******************

"Check the shack when you return. Under the hearthstone and I'll tell you where to meet." Kynwric had said that morning as he handed her the letter she was to carry back to Tar Valon. She nodded, giving him a small salute as she swung her leg over the back of her horse. "Until then," she said, turning the horse and heading back to the Tower. The ground was becoming familiar, so her time was getting better. It was easier to keep her eye out for things that had changed, too, though the direction she was heading seemed to be avoiding the changes the letter Kynwric showed her had spoken of. It was another uneventful trip that landed her on the Green's door again a few days later. How many more of these trips would remain uneventful?

 

~Edana

 

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Loraine smiled up at Edana as she returned, but she looked exhausted so she dismissed her quickly after being handed Kyn’s letter. “Until morning,” she offered, half-wondering if the news she had should wait that long. She couldn’t afford for Edana to die on the way back to Kynwric, though. He had to know what was coming his way.

 

She unfolded the letter, scanning its contents with her fingers to her lips. Light save us, she thought, grabbing a sheaf of papers and tucking the letter inside. She hurried from her room, closing her door absently and forcing herself to control her stride. She entered the library a few moments later, catching a Novice and sending her scurrying for a few large volumes as she headed down another row of books, plucking one and another off the shelves.

 

Hours later, she pushed a few stray locks out of her face and sighed. She pulled a fresh sheet of parchment from the stack and started writing her letter…

 

Dearest Kynwric,

I have spent the hours between receiving this letter and now researching these beasts you speak of. There is very little I can tell you about them, unfortunately. I’m sending you my notes on the subject, sketchy as they are. I hope they are of benefit to you. I pray you gather information enough to supplement this in your travels so that we may be better prepared when the time comes for us to battle them.

 

I am giving Edana the night to rest, for I fear, from the tone of your last letter, that she may need her strength for more than currying letters.  I hope this action does not cost you greatly, in the case that you have needed her service while I’ve let her rest. I will pass along your commendation to Mistress Thera, though I am holding my breath until you’re back to deliver the news yourself. I have become quite a control monger in your absence and I find that having no control over the environment you find yourself in is distressing me greatly.

 

Please come home to me, soon.

~Loraine

 

She sealed the envelope, making sure her notes were folded into the parchment, as well. She closed her eyes and sighed. “What have we gotten ourselves in to, now?” She murmured as she picked up her things and headed back to her lonely quarters.

 

~Loraine

 

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Edana rolled her shoulders and looked up at the sun. She’d been in the saddle for three hours since her last stop, an eerie feeling making her slow her pace a little. It took her a while, most of that three hours, but she realized what made it odd as she watched the sun move. There were no sounds. No birds, no breeze moving the tree leaves, no rustle of animals in the brush. If all the little woodland creatures were hiding…

 

She gasped and turned, jerking the reins on the horse around as a bolt slipped past her arm, barely missing her sleeve.  Her sword was free of its scabbard as her eyes searched the brush. Nothing moved. She cursed, kneeing her horse on at a faster speed, her eyes continually searching the brush along the path she was following. Another bolt whizzed past her ear and she turned her horse the direction it came, bearing down on the culprit at ramming speed. She heard the rustles, then and swung out of the saddle as she entered the brush, her blade swinging. Arath would’ve been pleased that she remembered a few forms, though most of her swords movements were much less than planned.

 

By the time she backed towards her horse, three brigains lay at her feet. She turned and swung back into the saddle, spurring the horse onward again. The adrenaline began wearing off and she moaned, looking down at blood appearing through tears in her clothes. She didn’t have time for extensive evaluation, however. She altered her path, deviating from her normal route to shake anything that might be following her. She prayed it was just luck that had landed her within striking distance of the trollocs, but she had no way of knowing for sure.

 

She finally saw the hut, and slipped from the saddle, leading the horse to the stable and forcing herself to tend him before going inside the hut. She sighed at seeing it empty, but made her way to the cot in the back, sinking on it and slowly removing articles of clothing until she could see the wounds.  She took stock, but exhaustion started pulling on her. How long did this trip take me? she wondered as she lay back on the cot. Her eyes closed and she tried to think…

 

***

With a snap, she sat up. Pain sizzled through her side and she groaned, but she didn’t lay back down again. She eased off the cot, pulling her shirt on and her trousers, but not tucking anything in. The sun was setting, but she had no idea how long she’d been asleep. She cursed, though, knowing that time was far too precious to spend it sleeping. Not with the thick letter Loraine had given her, and the worried look in the woman’s eye.

 

She went to the fireplace, reaching for the hearthstone and pulling it away. Sure enough, there was a dirty scrap of parchment stuck underneath. She groaned, angry at herself for screwing up. She pulled the parchment out and looked down, her hair falling around her. When had she loosened it? She focused on the note…

 

~Edana

 

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Kyn arrived back at the hut mid-morning, he had seen the horse wandering and retrieved it. He had then entered the hut cautiously, just in case this was not whom he had had been expecting. When he saw the satchel and sword he had known and was ready to give what for when he saw Edana sprawled on the cot. Kyn checked her over, alive, good. Leaving Edana to sleep, Kyn took the letter from her pouch and went  to the other room and read it and then read it again. When the sun was about to set he walked outside to pull in some dry wood for the evening and was pleased to see Edana awake again when he returned. he could see the startle on her face when he pushed the door open, "Good to see you awake." He set the wood down beside the hearth. "I think you can ignore those instructions."

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Edana relaxed, seeing Kynwric enter again. She noted the letter resting on his pack and shook her head. She needed to hide them better, perhaps. He'd obviously been here for a while. "It's good to be awake. I Think I ran that horse to ground getting here. Your Aes Sedai looked worried and asked me to 'make haste.' I assume the letter held bad tidings?"

 

She straightened up, then tossed the note in her hand into the fire he was building up. She didn't mention being asleep. "I should warn you that I was set upon by brigands about a day's ride out of Tar Valon. The seemed rather well organized, but easily dispatched, even for me." She moved away, towards the pile of dishes. "I brought a coffee pot this trip," she offered, fetching it from her pack. "It may well work better than the tin cups you've been using..."

 

~Edana

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Kyn nodded at the news of brigands. "I'd be more concerned if they were up to your skill. I think they were likely just brigands and saw you as an easy mark. I doubt there is a concerted effort to stop what we're doing. Next time through you'll have to vary your route." He settled the wood and stoked the fire some as Edana went to get the coffee pot. "Ah, for some properly brewed coffee, thank you."

 

He let Edana prepare the coffee, he re-read the letter and put it away. "Loraine does not say much, it appears that these creatures are not to be found in Tar Valon's library." He took to the cup that was offered when the coffee was brewed. "Tomorrow we find the resistance. I've narrowed them down a good bit and made a couple of preliminary contacts. Tomorrow I want make contact with the resistance itself, see what they're about... and see if they're real."

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Edana brewed coffee the way her father had taught her. Most of her memories were actually of her brothers teaching her, but they'd said he was teaching her long before he died. Was it strange to think of that now? She poured two cups of coffee and passed one to the older warder before settling down in a chair to sip her own.

 

"Tomorrow we find the resistance. I've narrowed them down a good bit and made a couple of preliminary contacts. Tomorrow I want make contact with the resistance itself, see what they're about... and see if they're real."

 

Edana looked up, her brow wrinkling. "We, Master Kynwric? Forgive me, but I thought I was on this trip as a messenger. Not that I'm opposed to assisting where I can, of course," she was rambling. She bit her lip and took another sip of coffee. He'd sense that and throw it back at her, so she braced for it, waiting on his condescending response.

 

~Edana

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"We, Master Kynwric? Forgive me, but I thought I was on this trip as a messenger. Not that I'm opposed to assisting where I can, of course,"

 

Kyn just nodded. "I know." he sipped the coffee he had been handed. "The resistance isn't too keen on the outsiders. I don't think they'd turn down material support from the Tower, but I don't think they'd want anyone snooping around. As such we're going to make contact, we're going to learn what we can and then we're going to leave... from there I may send you with another letter. Mainly we're looking to find information on the Seanchan, their tactics, their critters and what they're after. The resistance itself and its working are of little concern to me. I doubt they're much more than brigands under the cloak of legitimate resistance. You're coming with me to add some legitimacy to my cover, a man traveling alone is suspicious. A man traveling with a woman is less so." He knew the next was going to just be the crack that killed her. "You're going to have to pretend to be a normal woman Edana, not a caravan guard, not a swordswoman, not a Warder... just an ordinary woman." He didn't spell it all out for her, he'd decided to just let her figure out what all that meant.

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"You're going to have to pretend to be a normal woman Edana, not a caravan guard, not a swordswoman, not a Warder... just an ordinary woman."

 

Edana flinched, looking up at Kynwric over the rim of her cup. "What do you mean a real woman?" she asked, her tone flat. She wasn't taking offense, she was just pretty sure she didn't want to hear the answer. Sandre had asked if she owned a dress, too. What was it with men thinking a woman needed skirts to feel 'real?' "And where do you propose we get a dress out in the woods as we are? I've never worn a skirt in my life and you're expecting me to act as if I have?"

 

Her head was shaking, her thoughts searching for holes in his plan and latching on to anything she could. She'd spent her life denying she was a girl and now he was forcing her to it? This was not going to go well...

 

~Edana

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"I said normal, and never said a word one about a dress. So, put the venom away." He had experience with women who came to the yards and usually the last thing they wanted to hear is that they were female. "We'll work with what we have, but a woman trained to use a sword at that level is an oddity in the Tower, let alone outside of it. I am saying play the farm-girl, woman... whatever. Don't wear the sword and don't look like your gonna kill the next man who asks you to dance. Most men will look right past you and not consider you a threat if you don't shove their noses in it, that can work to our advantage."

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Edana chewed that over for a moment while she sipped her coffee. She'd worn that sword so long, she doubted she could walk without it. Would her awkwardness get in the way? She could strap it on the horse, perhaps. Maybe on Kynwric's horse it wouldn't look so out of place. She mulled these things over and finally nodded. She doubted he was really giving her a choice, but her going along with it willingly would be better than arguing about it. Not that he'd argue with her about it. She pushed aside the slew of curses she heaped on him for his arrogance. He was truly odious about it.

 

"If you'll allow me to strap my sword to your horse, it should be close enough to not make me a liability should we get set upon by brigands. I've a pair of knives that can easily be concealed, too..." she tilted her head as she thought, tapping the rim of her cup. "I will even attempt to be meek and mild-tempered, if you think it'll work..."

 

She fought off the grin that cracking a joke usually was paired with. She doubted he'd see the humor, anyway...

 

~Edana

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"Meek..." He cocked his head to look at Edana, ignoring the humor. "I'd like to see that. That variation is acceptable, it even makes sense." He nodded, "I'm going to check traps, maybe we'll have meat for supper. Rest for now." And he picked up his sword and a short bow and disappeared out the door, returning  a few hours later.

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Edana stared after him, barely restraining the urge to mutter under her breath. She should've known he'd have jumped on that. He was probably laughing at her. He probably needed to go check traps so he didn't do it right in front of her. Oh, she'd show him just how meek and mild-tempered she could be! As soon as she calmed down, anyway.

 

She sighed and stood up, stretching and wincing at the pain still lingering in her side. Old wounds, she thought, making her way back towards the cot. She tucked her shirt in and pulled on her boots. Kynwric had said rest and she knew it was most likely because she wasn't going to get much of a chance for that for a bit once they left. She moved back into the other room, dropping onto a chair and propping her feet up. The fire was small, but it entrancing as she stared into it.

 

She thought about many things while she sat there. Sandre kept entering her thoughts, so there was a lingering smile on her lips when Kynwric returned.

 

~Edana

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Kyn came in through the door and found Edana sitting there staring into the fire. "Something must be good..." He said as he set the hares on the table and began to clean them. Kyn went about the shore of cooking dinner, including a good bit of roast coney. He handed Edana a plate and settled himself in front of the fire. "Nothing like a good meal before setting out. I doubt we'll be back here."

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Edana felt pretty useless as Kynwric started cooking, so she busied herself with a fresh pot of coffee. She thanked him as he passed her a plate and nodded slowly. "I thought as much when you left earlier. If Loraine Sedai's messages were any indication, I believe this will be a rough trip once we leave this place."

 

She ate quietly, still not completely comfortable with Kynwric. He'd only ever been gruff and told her what to do. So far this trip hadn't shown her anything different. How did a woman like Loraine handle him being quiet all the time??

 

~Edana

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Kynwric nodded. "I gathered as much, dealing with the resistance will not be pleasant. Unless I miss my guess. And after that the hard work begins, scouting the Seanchan in earnest." He leaned back against the wall of the cabin. "I hate this mission..."

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Edana blinked at the admission and eyed Kynwric. Had he meant for that to slip out? It seemed rather... personal, for him to say out loud. Why did he hate it? Was it not having Loraine here? Was it all the scouting and not much face-to-face confrontation? He didn't strike her as the kind who played games well and that's all this seemed to be. She wrinkled her brow, but looked away.

 

Finally, she couldn't take it, anymore. She had many things, but patience with her own thoughts wasn't one of them. "What is it that you hate about it, Master Kynwric?" She asked, setting her plate aside.

 

~Edana

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He sighed, he shouldn't have let that slip out, but there was no reason to hid from it now. "It isn't for me to do. This should have been assigned to a Tower Guard, or someone independent who knows the area. My place is with Loraine, it has been for going on 40 years. I know she's safe in the tower, but that doesn't change that I swore an oath to protect her... it had nothing to do with the Tower."

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Edana raised her eyebrows. She'd heard of Warders loving their Aes Sedai before, so that wasn't much of a surprise. That love usually came after the bonding, though. At least, that's what she'd understood about it before now. He looked uncomfortable admitting it, so she tried to change the subject. "If it helps, I shouldn't have been assigned to this, either. Trainees don't get this much responsibility, much less this much freedom. I didn't get time to ask why I was assigned, when there were guards sitting around the Yards picking their nails with belt knives when I left."

 

She sighed. "If it had been Caemlyn they were after, I'd have understood it. I know Caemlyn like the back of my hand. This," she waved her hand around her. "I barely know my way through the woods, and I use Dragonmount as my guide to find my way back to the Tower. I realize I'm close to the end of my training, but," she shrugged. "Even I know I shouldn't be out here like this. I'm more of a liability if we get cornered, than anything."

 

~Edana

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"That is an easy enough question to answer. I asked for you, you're diligent and hard-nosed and get things done. You can ride, you can handle a sword and you can make things up on the fly. All of which were necessary qualities for this mission. that and you are about to be raised Tower Guard, I think you'll find that in the outside world titles amongst warriors matter little, reputation on the other hand matters much."

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