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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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James

Crimson, Act II - The Two Swords

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The past few days had been one of frustration in many ways. After the party had found a relatively safe place to camp, Aran and Rosheen had gone scouting ahead to see what the strength was of the male channeler’s forces. Far from him having ten to twenty men of his own, the man had been busy since the party had been dispatched from Tar Valon and had amassed up to a hundred armed followers. Furthermore, the man was calling himself the ‘Bandit King’, either he had a wonderful sense of humour or he was most certainly insane.

 

Not that it had stopped the followers massing, and on the way back to their own camp they had seen fresh tracks, even nearly run into a small band of five or so men making their way to the Bandit King’s camp. Their original plan of ambush and grab was well and truly out the window now. They numbered ten guards and six Aes Sedai, nowhere near the strength required to topple such a force of men. The fact that the local lords had taken no action also bespoke of how interested they would be in committing their retainers to such an attack.

 

Ten Tower Guard against a hundred bandits, Aran had no intention of playing to such odds. While he knew he was rather lucky, at ten apiece they could simply be run down, especially since the quick glimpse they had gotten of the camp revealed they had a number of horses of their own. Open confrontation wouldn’t be feasible.

 

There was another option, though it would no doubt be quite difficult in its own right. Not everyone had his sort of training, especially the Aes Sedai would be a problem. They learnt all their lives to stand out, even their faces were a problem when it came to that. For the past day and a half, he’d been figuring out ways to get around it, but he also had problems with other issues of the plan he’d been thinking of.

 

Namely, it would mean he would have to lead. Something he most certainly did not wish to do, but there it was. No one else in the party would be nearly conversant enough in the manners and the how to do of the role he was thinking of except him. Not that it didn’t present a number of highly amusing possibilities, but he didn’t like the idea of being responsible for everyone. He doubted Rosheen was enjoying it that much either, but she ‘was’ more responsible than himself.

 

They were perhaps only a few hours away from the camp when Aran decided to break the silence. “If we can’t beat them, perhaps we should join them.â€

 

The trip to Murandy had been… eventful, to say the least. Rosheen had had some trouble keeping the Tower Guards under control, but after a stern talking to, they at least had been able to see sense. Aran was an entirely different matter, of course. Even the Aes Sedai had been easier to lead then her friend. Not that he particularly bothered her, but his behaviour towards the white haired Aes Sedai had meant that she was hard to lead, and that was a definite thorn in her side. Still, all these troubles were irrelevant when one took into account their current situation. Out numbered by a small bandit army lead by a male channeller, who wasn’t aware of their presence yet, but for how long?

 

Rosheen found herself staring glumly into the distance, thinking of her options. If she could be sure that the Aes Sedai present could shield the man before he noticed they were in the camp… if she hadn’t seen the way their opponent had a watch around the camp… if she didn’t have freshly promoted Tower Guards in her team, then she would have chosen to attack at night. Kill as many as they could before the enemy realized they were there, have the Aes Sedai capture the channeller. Simple, if a little crude. Effective. But that wasn’t going to happen, because there was obviously someone in the camp who knew what he was doing. The entire situation reeked of failure, and Rosheen would have none of that on her first command.

 

Aran startled her out of her thoughts. “Huh? Join them? What are you…†she shook her head the moment the meaning of the suggestion sank in. “That wouldn’t work.†She laughed then, amused by the thought of having Aes Sedai pose as bandits. “They reek of power and nobility.†There was no point in mentioning who she was talking about. Every single Tower Guard in their group could pose as a ruffian, but the Aes Sedai… “Even if we found a way to hide their ageless faces, they’d still act like a bunch of pretentious wenches. And we’ve both seen that the bandits are nowhere near drunk enough most of the time to fall for that.â€

 

Laughing at Rosheen’s thoughts about the ability of the Aes Sedai to hide themselves, he had to admit that was true. Still, he had been thinking about that. “Maybe, but given a week to work it out of them, it’d be possible. Show them how to hold a blade, or if they’re completely useless have them play the role of wenches or camp followers. They can tie illusions to their faces, and we could do more with the right pigments if someone got close enough that the illusion failed. It’d allow us to keep them close so we had them under our guard, and ready for when we snatched the Bandit King as he has dubbed himself.â€

 

“Their attitudes are going to be a problem though. Especially Muirenn’s attitude. If you hadn’t riled her as much as you did during the trip here… but that’s water under the bridge.†Rosheen frowned a bit. “Still, that doesn’t solve all our problems. Word may have travelled this way, and at least someone in this camp can count. Sixteen travelers, lead by some woman with weird hair? I doubt they’ll put much faith in coincidences.†So if they did this, she wouldn’t be able to lead them when they got to the camp. Her eyes narrowed as she glanced at Aran. “We could of course put someone else in charge. For show, at least. Someone who knows how to act like a thug.â€

 

“She had it coming†Aran muttered though his thoughts were elsewhere, namely on the suggestion that he lead. “If I were to lead, it couldn’t just be for show. I would need the authority, and not just from you but from Muirenn as well. There won’t be any room for second guessing once we’re in there, and if I gave an order it’d have to be followed. Especially if I would be talking us into the camp. No room for them to assert their rank in public or private.â€

 

Rosheen glared at him. “That’s not going to happen, Aran. You’ll get leadership, and we’ll let Muirenn and the Aes Sedai think you’re in charge, but when things go wrong, you answer to me. I’ll even argue with you in the camp when there’s something I don’t agree with. Have you ever seen a group of mercenaries that agreed with each other every step of the way? Besides that, we have too many women. Coming in as two groups that joined together no more than a few weeks beforehand would explain that, and any strange behaviour we might show.â€

 

She didn’t seem to be taking the thought of him asserting control too well at all. “A mercenary captain, or bandit for that matter, leads by strength of character and their sword arm. People might disagree with a captain, but if they disobey they are made to obey, or they’re alternately killed or thrown out of the group. We could argue in public with that explanation, but the decision would have to be mine in the end or any credibility I had as leader would be gone and our cover with it. All it would take is one slip, and it’d be all over.â€

 

“You’re forgetting the fact that we’re going to pose as a freshly formed mercenary group. You’re going to have command because your group will consist of six men who look like they can fight, and two women. Mine will consist of five women who look like they can fight, and three women who look about ready to cry when they break a nail. That’s what gives you power in their eyes, and when we’re in the camp, I will support you because you’re the evil I know, as opposed to the evil I don’t know.†Rosheen smirked at Aran. “It’ll be like having a pack of rabid dogs at your heels at all times, but at least no one will ever see us as a cohesive group that can threaten their bandit king.â€

 

Thinking it over, Aran struggled with it. He didn’t like the idea of having someone challenging his authority if he were to play the role, mainly because when he had played the role he’d decisively dealt with any questions over leadership. On the otherhand, it was doable, though his role would change somewhat. There was also the question of explaining how the group of women had come to be, though female mercenaries weren’t entirely unknown.

 

“Alright then. But challenge me publically in the camp and I will hit you, I’m warning you in advance.†Grinning at Rosheen, a thought occurred to him. “We’re going to have to exercise the Aes Sedai as well, no more riding horses for them. In fact, we won’t want to take our horses with us into the camp I think. They’re too fine to pass for the steeds that’d be there. We can always steal horses for ourselves when its time to make a run for it anyway and that’s less for any pursuit to use. But then, I’m getting ahead of myself. How do you plan on convincing Muirenn to do whats best?â€

 

“Hit me in public and you’ll feel it a month afterwards.†Rosheen said, giving Aran a mock punch in the arm. She wouldn’t go that far in public. She wanted this to work, after all. “And don’t worry about Muirenn. She either tags along our way, or she stays behind. I am not going to risk the lives of ten tower guards and six Aes Sedai just because some crone can’t get over herself.â€

 

“Sounds good, and we have at least a couple of hours for me to think about my speech.†Catching Rosheen’s look, Aran laughed. “Oh come on, I’m giving an acceptance speech. Most of them have a bad impression of me anyway, so no harm no foul if I’m the one telling them that they’re going to be learning to walk and to act the wench. And to think, when all is said and done you’ll be salvation to them when you take back leadership officially, make the journey back for you a lot easier.â€

 

“I’d object, but…†Rosheen shrugged. “I’ll just tell them they have to listen to you as much as they can stand, and expect to get slapped if they don’t obey and grovel.†She didn’t think they’d get a lot of trouble from the Tower Guards though. Maybe Daemon would have some problems keeping his sword sheathed around a male channeller, but she didn’t think he’d go too far. He wouldn’t endanger the mission. “So should we swing by the town to get some paints and suitable clothes?â€

 

“Nah, wait until Muirenn agrees first, then we can use the tower’s purse strings to buy what we need. I don’t want to spend my coin to then find out Muirenn won’t agree, because without her approval we won’t be able to take the Aes Sedai into the camp we’ll need. I think we’ll need to damage our weapons too, put some chips in them and such. Poor enough to not be able to afford whetstones...â€

 

And so the conversation continued until they reached the camp in the early evening. Slapping Rosheen on the shoulder for good luck as the woman dismounted, he took her horse’s reins and went to the picket before dismounting himself. Securing both the horses, Aran wandered over and saw Cairma and Daemon along with Maegan and another Aes Sedai he didn’t know. Taking his ease as he laid down by them, he felt a foot nudge him. Raising an eyebrow at Cairma, it seemed she had questions.

 

“Well?â€

 

“Well what?â€

 

“What did you find out?â€

 

“I don’t like riding horses. Ow! Alright.†Rubbing his rib where Cairma had prodded him none too gently, he spoke of what he and Rosheen had seen while they had been scouting. He chose not to mention what they’d discussed on the way back though, that was up to Rosheen and Muirenn to sort out.

 

 

Aran

Tower Guard

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Rosheen took her sweet time unsaddling Nikos, and storing away the gear she had taken. She had to get the plan she and Aran had designed clear in her head, if she was to present it to Muirenn. Not for the first time during this trip she was glad about travelling with all Tower Guards, and not Warders as well. If there had been warders, the balance between the Tower Guards and the Aes Sedai would have been tipped soon after their departure. As it was most of the Aes Sedai seemed to be content to follow her lead, as long as she made sure that they had an inn to sleep in during the nights. Except for the one Aran had chosen to annoy though. It irritated her to no end, but she knew, just as well as he apparently did, that she wouldn’t spoil his fun. Not while it was still within bounds. She had made a sport out of bothering Aes Sedai herself, not too long ago. But it didn’t help at all.

 

The moods had changed a bit when they had made their camp a few days ride from the bandit camp. The Aes Sedai were eager to move in and snatch up the male channeller, and the Tower Guards present were also itching to get some action. There had been a lot of displeased murmurs when Rosheen announced that she and Aran would scout ahead by themselves, to assess the current situation of the camp. She had already noticed quite a few curious looks sent her way ever since she arrived at the camp. She could practically hear their questions already. “How?†or “ when?†or even worse, “Why?â€. She expected to hear that last one quite a lot before she’d gotten everyone to agree that their plan was the only way to snatch up the ‘Bandit King’.

 

After some pacing, Rosheen decided it was pointless to postpone the inevitable any longer. She was going to have to face the Aes Sedai. She hoped that Muirenn was at least a little more agreeable now that she had had a few Aran-free days. That was one of the main reasons why she’d taken him along on their reconaissance trip. Aside from his knowledge of thugs, of course. She made her way over to the tent the Aes Sedai shared. They were all there, though two of them were just setting down on some pillows. Aran had probably told them she had news. She wondered if she should feel lucky about that. They exchanged a brief greeting, but soon enough Rosheen felt six pairs of questioning eyes on her. It was time to tell them about what she had discovered.

 

“Our original plan won’t work.†She said, starting off with the bad news. “Since we departed from Tar Valon the male channeller got quite the following. That wouldn’t be a problem, if there hadn’t been any mercenaries amongst those followers. Unfortunately there are, and they know what they’re doing. The camp is heavily guarded, and a group as big as hours won’t come within half a days ride from it without them knowing, even at night. Aran and I had a lot of trouble getting in and out of there, and we’re both good at what we do.†She could see some of them were ready to speak, probably to object against her assessment of the situation. “What I’m saying is: There’s no way we are getting that male channeller out of there with the force we have now. So we either wait for the White Tower to send reinforcements, or we do it a different way. I have a way in mind, but if you’d all rather wait two more months, that’s fine with me.†She looked at all the Aes Sedai present, showing them that her resolve was clear. She would not send six Aes Sedai and ten Tower Guards in a suicide mission.

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Ooc: i got permission to npc Daemon.. i hope this is going to be as long as i initially with to make it.. :P i 'sped up' my other part of my post. forgive me, but i wanted to get this goin too despite my sudden writers block.

 

Ic:

 

The journey, as predicted, was rather uneventful. But anyone would have easily have cut through the tension with a knife. The days were long and increasingly grew hotter as they travelled farther south. But the temperature still tapered to a mild or colder temperature in the evening, causing most Aes Sedai to take to their tents. Only a few stayed out as their destination grew closer. Maegan was one of them, taking to reading outside by the moonlight along with the evening. Although her evening reads were filled with far more substantial literature like herb-lore and other various necessities. But, in the end, it entertained her enough to make the days go fast. She stayed her distance from the other warders. Although she has become more familiar with the men over the years, she knew that it was more they feared her more than her fearing them.

 

Maegan chuckled softly to herself with that random thought. She really needed to spend less time thinking in her head without speaking. But with comments like that, it saved face by not saying anything at all.

 

Setting up camp, they promptly separated into groups, a few of the scouting, and many others staying. Deciding that she had enough 'planning' Maegan decided it was best to ask a favour. There was no way she would be able to sneak up on any one in her condition. Channeling or not, she needed to learn to walk in the woods, silently.

 

"Master Daemon Ronshor." The tall, blonde man looked up from his pack as Maegan approached with soft steps.

 

"What can i do for you, Maegan Sedai?" He was all formality, bowing to her. Many still said that chivalry was dead, but there was nothing that could be said bad about this man's manners. Quiet and very private he was, (or so she gathered by word of mouth), but the most reliable in battle. A perfect warder. If he could ever be bonded again.

 

"I request to join your scouting group." Her tone softened, "And to ask a favor." The man nodded stoically, waiting for her to answer without agreeing to anything. "Teach me how to walk in these woods, and in turn, i will shield our sounds so that we are not discovered. In turn, you can help me prevent giving our position away by tripping over a tree branch, and you can scout with out worry of being seen or heard."

 

 

Daemon thought over the favor Maegan asked of him. He knew the woman since her days of an Accepted, when a mentee of his had a crush on her. He did not know what her skills were, but they had time left, enough for him to teach her the basics. Plus having an Aes Sedai in a scounting group could be very useful. This way a fatal overlooking of something related to the One Power could be prevented. Yes, very useful indeed. Plus it will give them something to do.

 

First he looked at her, she was wearing a white short, brown riding skirts and had her hair held back with ribbons. Well if she was going to go on a scouting trip, there were a few preparations to be done first.

 

“ I will be happy to help you, Maegan Sedai. It will be useful to have an extra set of eyes on a scouting trip, especially one that will not miss a detail related to the One Power. But first I need to make some changes in your attire. First, if you have to change you skirts with pants, they can be in the same color as the skirt is. Also your shirt, change it to one of a brownish green color, the white will give you away. And you hair, it has be caught on branches and it can give you away, so tie it in a bun. Then Maegan “ – Daemon skipped her title, they knew each other for long enough to be more informal. – “your training will begin.â€

 

With a smile at the mans change of demeanor (taking off her title) Maegan headed back to her tent to change and for her training to begin. It will be interesting to see what she could learn. Especially since she could not rely on her glasses or the One Power without being compromised. She smiled inwardly, she had chosen her ally well. Daemon will serve without questioning her. The man was simple and loyal to a fault. She only prayed that no one ever abused that part of him. Light forbid.

 

The day continued simply. At first, through Daemon's instructions and Cairma's insight, she followed along very clumsy in the woods. More than once she would barely catch herself as she tripped over a root or a branch she did not see. But by the end of their round, she was getting th hang of it without her glasses. Taking it slow as she moved with the grace that her original step mother attempted to teach her. Although she was an Aes Sedai, she did not walk like the Noble she was breed to be. Until she learned the perks of walking lightly. That night she went to sleep with a smile on her face.

 

~~~~~~~~

 

Only days later, Maegan was frowning over Rosheen's words.

 

“Our original plan won’t work. Since we departed from Tar Valon the male channeller got quite the following. That wouldn’t be a problem, if there hadn’t been any mercenaries amongst those followers. Unfortunately there are, and they know what they’re doing. The camp is heavily guarded, and a group as big as hours won’t come within half a days ride from it without them knowing, even at night. Aran and I had a lot of trouble getting in and out of there, and we’re both good at what we do." There was a pause, “What I’m saying is: There’s no way we are getting that male channeller out of there with the force we have now. So we either wait for the White Tower to send reinforcements, or we do it a different way. I have a way in mind, but if you’d all rather wait two more months, that’s fine with me.â€

 

Maegan shook her head, looking to Perine and to Muirenn. "We did not come all this way to go back with our tail between our legs. What do you propose we could do. It seems nothing but 'out of the normal' will do."

 

Crossing her legs, Maegan watched to see what the other sisters would say, but she was pretty sure none of them wished to give up this easily.

 

 

 

 

 

Mae

AS

~~

Cairma

TG

~~

Daemon

TG - temporaraly borrowed.. ^_^

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Muirenn nodded thoughtfully. The numbers alone meant that something else would have to be done, no matter how much she disliked the idea. But there were a few glaring errors in the proposal Rosheen had laid out.

 

"We cannot use illusion to disguise ourselves. It is simply impossible. Some men, those who have been channeling for a time, learn to recognize when a woman holds the Source. I do not know how they do it, a mystery to us. And I cannot predict when one will know and when not. I will not take the risk of being discovered before we begin. Most outside of Tar Valon and the noble courts do not even recognize an Aes Sedai's ageless features. This far south, and in Murandy no less, I doubt any of these bandits have ever been within a hundred leagues of an Aes Sedai. We should be able to pass undetected. However," she grimaced, pulling her bound white hair to the forefront, "Those of us with white or gray hair will have to color it. There is no way to reconcile a young face with such an obvious marker of age. I assume that you will be able to procure the necessary materials for this, Rosheen?" she barely waited for a quick nod before continuing. "Black for myself, obviously," her coppery Domani skin assured that. She pointed to the other two aged Aes Sedai in turn, "I believe Careane was a blonde, and it will have to be something dark for Aledra." The old Green's hair was iron gray now. Muirenn very much disliked this discussion on age, necessary as it must be. Her lips were not the only ones turned down in distaste.

 

"In addition, we cannot have the party of Aes Sedai split. I understand your reasoning, but if we can manage an audience with this man who calls himself the Bandit King, I must be assured that we have enough Aes Sedai to shield him. I have no way to gauge his strength aforetime," she shook her head slowly, sadly, "I will not have Aes Sedai lost because we assume we can take him with three. All six of us must be in one group. If he is holding the Source when we meet attempt a shield, it may take all six in any case."

 

She disliked sharing so much with one not an initiate as well, but she could see no way around that either. They would need the Tower Guard, and as Rosheen was leading that group she needed to know what could and could not be done. The general may only command your armies in your name, but if you did not share with him all relevant information, even the battle plans of the greatest generals would falter and fail. She thought again how hair fine was the distiction between the Red and the Green. And at the same time how chasms separated the two. Our battle is now, she thought, her resolve hardening.

 

-Muirenn Lina Alianin

Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah

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Rosheen looked from one Aes Sedai to the other as they spoke. For all their calm postures and ageless faces, she found that she could read them. Perhaps spending as much time as she had with Lyanna was starting to pay off. There was a stern resolve in Muirenn that told her she had the upper hand here. She would get them to do what she wanted, even if they thought they were only doing what they wanted. Muirenn’s demands would be easily countered. The faces of the other Red sisters seemed to be just as determined as Muirenn’s, and from the looks of it, they were perhaps even a little more eager to follow Rosheen’s advice.

 

“We’ll have to separate you.†She stated coolly, turning her eyes on Muirenn again. She would stand no chance in a staring contest with this woman, but she would not back down either. She would not risk the lives of these Aes Sedai and the Tower Guards. “You say he may not know what an Aes Sedai looks like, but he’s surrounded by people who may. I will not risk people noticing that one of the new groups joining them seems to consist of women who don’t look as though they even know what a sword looks like.†That got her some snorts and frowns, but she ignored them. Better to push on now than to lose this argument. She would be dancing to Muirenn’s tune for the duration of the mission if she did.

 

“We will separate, but once we are in the camp we will join again. Aran will lead us there, and the group that I will lead will stick close to him. That would make sense amongst mercenaries, because it will be Aran who brought us to the camp, and Aran who arranged our commission with the channeller’s army.†She glanced at the other Aes Sedai. They at least seemed to be a little understanding of the situation. “Within the camp, Aran will win his trust. I’ve seen Aran at work, and I’m confident that he will succeed. The first opportunity he gets he will give me the sign, and I will gather you all. Then you will face him with six Aes Sedai, and not three or four, and you will be absolutely sure you have the upper hand. In the meantime you will stick as close as possible to the Tower Guard I assign you to. In the camp that Tower Guard may very well be the one thing that stands between you and the exposure of your true identity or even death.â€

 

~Rosheen

TG

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Muirenn returned the woman's gaze just as icily. "He has no followers from outside of Murandy. And the last time an Aes Sedai came even as far as Lugard would have been when he was a child. The Tower avoids Murandy for the most part, nearly as much as we avoid Amadicia. There is no one to treat with, and even the Grays gave up shortly after the Aiel War. I am confidant that he has no one who will recognize the face of an Aes Sedai. Even so," she allowed, "with it being near on winter, having the entire group cloaked and hooded would not go amiss."

 

Muirenn looked at Rosheen speculatively, seemingly studying her and coming to some private decision, "You would be surprised at what Aes Sedai are capable of, Rosheen. This is your first command, is it not? I remember my first command well. We were sent to Tear, to convince the High Lords to stop adding to the Great Holding. That was, oh, close on three hundred years gone now. I had much your same enthusiasm then, your idealistic confidences. And it nearly got me and my party killed then. I will not allow the same thing to happen here because of your reckless arrogance. Aes Sedai are not simpletons, neither are they so incompetant in the basics of disguise as you seem to believe. In my years I have brought in over two dozen male channelers for the White Tower, and investigated nearly five times that number. This is not the first time I have had to blend into unsavory circumstances, and I am certain it will not be the last. The same can be said for nearly every woman in this tent. Gray hairs mean something for an Aes Sedai. We live long, and have experienced much."

 

Abruptly her manner changed, dropping into a lilting Murandian accent, "I have been Aleis do Larinda a'Palan, a minor landed noble." Her accent changed again, to the sounds of Saldaea, "I have been Latrella Ahzan, a wide-eyed farmgirl." And again to the simple speech of Far Madding, "I have been Sarinda Aleman, a merchant of middling stature." Her manner changed each time as well, lightning quick. She slipped back into her native Domani accents just as easily, "And I was raised a Domani high merchant," her eyes smokey now, her voice a caress. "Man or woman I could twine around my finger, I learned at my mother's feet the one hundred and seve kisses and ninety-three ways to touch a man's face. Ninety-four for a woman," she turned those sultry eyes on Rosheen, and then in an instant was all Aes Sedai serenity again.

 

"I am no innocent Lieutenant, and neither is any woman in this tent. Do you really think the White Tower would have sent such? If so, you have much to learn if you ever truly wish to become a Warder. The Aes Sedai will not be split. Doing so has too much risk of failure, and that I will not abide. Any opportunity that presents itself we must be able to seize, and immediately. It will not do to have to take time for the six to be gathered. We must be able to be flexible in our timing and methods.

 

"We will infiltrate the camp, as you say, and allow Aran to do his work. In the meantime, he seems a disreputable sort. Have him attend us and give us some teachings in the ways of bandits. And for those few among us who have had no weapons training, I would have them learn at least the basics of using a dagger so that they appear comfortable with one at their hip. That should be sufficient."

 

-Muirenn Lina Alianin

Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah

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Bloody fool of a woman Rosheen thought to herself, listening to the Aes Sedai rave about all her experience and all the things she could do. Fool woman indeed, if she thought Rosheen reckless and arrogant. She crossed her arms, looking determined. “Did you not hear my earlier report about the situation, Muirenn Sedai? The man has drawn quite a following, and few of his followers are full of this ‘reckless arrogance’ you speak of. They know they follow a male channeller, and they know the White Tower will not stand aside to see him ravage Murandy, or any nation.†The urge to sigh and mutter about the stubbornness of Aes Sedai was great, but she held herself back.

 

“Lyanna Sedai herself has taught me much about Aes Sedai and their capabilities, So don’t think I underestimate you, Muirenn Sedai. Just don’t think I underestimate our foe either. When I said Aran and I had trouble getting close without being detected I meant it. I ask you not to underestimate my capabilities either. My Captain has given me this charge, and I will complete it successfully, or the Light may burn my soul. I will not let my arrogance get in the way of our objective.†The suggestion that Muirenn should do the same was clear even though it remained unspoken.

 

“But I am not without reason.†She said, shifting slightly so that she stood in a more relaxed manner. “There are ways to make a group seem as though they are two separate groups, even when they travel as one. The first scout Aran and I have seen was one day from here. That means that as soon as we get half a day closer, we will separate into two different groups.†She raised her hand, indicating that she was not finished yet. For a moment she was worried that Muirenn would speak anyway. “But we will travel together. Aran will lead his group, and I will lead mine. We will be two mercenary groups travelling together towards the source of the rumours about fame and glory, but we will be unwilling to share the prise. The stronger the contempt between the two groups seems, the less of a threat we will appear to them. The fact that Aran and I will be the ‘enemy we know’ will keep us close as soon as we’re in the camp.â€

 

And that was as far as she was going to agree with Muirenn. Together, but separate to the eye. “I will send some Tower Guards to you with the appropriate means to disguise yourself. We will see to the separation when you are ready.†With that said she turned and stalked out of the tent, not waiting for their dismissal. She was agitated by their stubborn nature, and that sentiment only grew when she spotted Aran. No amount of training in the yards ever prepared a person for this kind of thing. He was standing near Cairma, laughing when she approached him. When he noticed her he gave her a questioning look. “Hit me.†She said, gritting her teeth. She was quite sure Vasya never had to do such a thing during his first command.

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"Seemingly two seperate groups but together as one," Muirenn agreed. "So long as our number is not truly split any pretense you wish to assume will be well." The girl had agreed, and Muirenn would not break what pride she had left. It was enough.

 

She nodded to the Maegan as Rosheen left, and the younger woman immediately put up a ward around the tent. Muirenn split the party into two sets of three. Herself, Careane, and Saya would be in one group; Maegan, Aledra, and Perine would be in the other. It was a good balance on each side. And it was only pretense, after all. She would ensure that their tents were placed close together each night, and instructed the other Aes Sedai to insist on the same. Six voices speaking as one might be necessary. They had to be able to link at will without having to scour half the camp for their counterparts.

 

All the details of the impeding mission seen to, she waited patiently for the necessary supplies to arrive. And steeled herself for another encounter with that irritating Tower Guard. But what could not be avoided must be endured.

 

-Muirenn Lina Alianin

Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah

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Aran looked up at Rosheen in a quizzical manner, surely it couldn't have been that bad. "They were a bit troublesome I take it? Just take some deep breaths, you'll be fine. After all, you're all women, you just have to accept that you're all eminently disagreeable by nature. Don't even think about it." The last was said to Cairma who seemed to be contemplating where to hit him to communicate her displeasure at those words.

 

Just bloody brilliant. Aran managed to mistake the meaning of her request. She had thought he would leap at the chance, because of the way she had manhandled him on more than one occasion. “I said hit me, you fool.†She said, crossing her arms in front of herself.

 

Narrowing his eyes, Aran didn't know what game Rosheen was playing at but he didn't want a part of it. He didn't have a reason to hit her, so he wouldn't. Furthermore, he didn't want to begin with, he wasn't quite so handy with his fists as she was. "Don't be so stupid, I don't have a reason to hit you."

 

Rosheen’s voice lowered dangerously when she realised Aran was going to refuse. “You have a perfect reason to hit me. You’re going to give me a black eye because that obnoxious twit of an Aes Sedai called Muirenn won’t accept the fact that we need to enter as two separate groups. This means we’ll all enter together, as one cosy and loving and very suspicious looking group. The only decent reason for us to be a cosy and loving and not so suspicious group is for me to have submitted my group to your charge, which I would not do without a fight. You are going to give me something to show for this ‘fight’, something an Aes Sedai would have healed, if she had been present. But she’s not going to be present, because we’re just a fun, recently formed group of merry mercenaries which has just been through a struggle for leadership. So. Hit me.â€

 

Laughing, Aran got to his feet and looked up at Rosheen. "No, I'm not hitting you unless I have to, and since there are no bandits about to see it there is no reason for me to do it. Get Daemon to do it, the pair of you are handier with your fists than I am. Besides, we could let it wait a few days since it'll take time to train them and travel to their camp."

 

Before Aran had even finished speaking Rosheen stepped forward and gave him a shove. “You are going to hit me, and you are going to do it now.†She shoved him again. “What are you, afraid? Can’t do what you have to, eh? Hit me, little man, or I’m going to call this off and we can all sit here and wait for reinforcements to arrive.â€

 

Letting her push him as she tried to get a rise out of him, to manipulate him into doing it, he spoke calmly. "Listen here you cow, I'm not afraid but I don't see the point. You're not calling it off because there is no choice in the matter, by the time reinforcements got here he could be well on the war path. If this is how you tried to sell things to Muirenn its no wonder we're going back to my idea."

 

Cold fury bubbled in Rosheen as she pushed Aran again. If he didn’t hit her she would call it off, no matter how long the delay. She had her orders. Proceed if it was safe, but don’t take any unnecessary risks. If Aran didn’t have the guts to hit her now he would never be a credible ‘leader’. Another shove. “Now listen here you runt…†she started. That was as far as she got before Aran punched her in the face. Though she had expected it, she didn’t see it coming as he veiled his punch in the movement he gained from her shove. He even stepped into it to give it a little extra force. Rosheen stumbled back, cursing loudly, clutching the right side of her face.

 

“Damn you, you son of a goat, you didn’t have to break my face!†she half shouted, carefully touching her cheekbone to make sure it wasn’t broken. “Sucker punching swine.†She muttered, before straightening herself. It already felt like her right eyelids were swelling shut.

 

“Well, that settles it then. This is your show from now on. You arrange the distribution of the Tower Guards and Aes Sedai.†She turned from Aran and Cairma, and stalked off towards her tent. Halfway there she turned. “Oh, and Aran? Muirenn is your responsibility now. If she messes up, I’m going to skin you alive.â€

 

Watching her wander off to her tent, Aran looked to Cairma who seemed somewhat surprised at the turn of events. "Get the Guard, I'll get the Aes Sedai and we'll get this show started." Grinning, he wandered then to the Aes Sedai tent and threw open the flap to find six pairs of eyes watching him. "Outside, I have an announcement to make and I don't want to say it twice."

 

Not bothering to check their faces, he wandered over by the fire and waited until everyone had congregated about. Even Rosheen had come to join them though she stood a little apart, still nursing her eye. But, she'd asked him to do it after all, he'd just wanted to leave an impression.

 

"First of all." He waited as the last people quietened down "as of now I own every single one of you. That means you too whitey." Lowering his pointed finger from Muirenn, he continued. "We have a new plan on the cards now. We're going to pose as mercenaries, two groups that joined together after I felled the leader of the other group with a mighty blow. That leader would be Rosheen who you can see nursing herself at the moment."

 

"Now, here is the deal. You wenches over there, and get used to being called wenches amongst other names because in that camp you'll get called worse, are going to be intermingled among the guard. We'll show you how to hold yourselves with a weapon if you don't know already and the rest of it. Hair dyes and anything else we can use will be used to not only fix any white hairs but to try and lessen that ageless look. We'll need a couple of people to ride and get us some extra clothing, everyone will be in breeches and armed."

 

"Here is the basic plan for when we reach the camp. Being the marvelous and charismatic fellow I am, I'll convince our King that I'm a wonderful fellow which shouldn't be hard, convince him you're wonderful people which shall be quite difficult, and that he should hire us on. We'll spend a couple of days observing the camp, looking at how their patrols and guards work, how secure the King is and look at the best time we have to snatch him. When the time is right, we snatch him, steal their horses as we ride off so they can't pursue us, get back here where our things are and take him back to Tar Valon. Most of it we'll have to wing as we go along because we don't have the information, but thats pretty much it."

 

"Oh, and you get to do whatever I tell you to starting from now as well so you get used to doing so when we're in the camp. Aes Sedai least able to play the role of mercenary will find themselves acting as my woman, think of it as a motivator. No channeling also, and I think thats about it so are there any questions, praise or other comments anyone would care to make before we get started?"

 

 

Aran

Tower Guard

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Cairma wisely kept her mouth shut as she watched the argument before her with a silent and held back amusement. In truth, she knew and understood the seriousness of this assignment, but there was a level of rather morbit humour that went right up her ally. Aran as a Rebel Leader of misfit mercenaries. Pushing her hair behind her ear, she shifted her wieght as Rosheen took a sucker punch to the face, not even thinking to lift a finger, or a flinch. It did not bother her. In fact, it only brought a hint of a smirk to her face. She held nothing against Rosheen, really she didn't. But it wasn't every day that she saw Aran actually step up to play a fool instead of be the fool. And, if they were to pull this off, her humour may be her own asset.

 

What would a thief believe. A woman that flinched, or a woman that smirked. Of course, she was curious to see how the guards would be split. With the way things were shaping, maybe she would be Aran's Second (for appearance) and Daemon Rosheen's Second. But, it was the matter of the Aes Sedai. Over the past few days, she could see the potential failure by just the way the Aes Sedai held themselves. Especially Maegan Sedai. She had far too small of a frame to be of any use in combat, regardless of basic training. Too much of a bloody bookie. The others there were more hope.

 

But even that could very well be laughable. Since their 'best' was a high-handed Domani. Bloody Domani. (But even her sense of humour was warming up to the idea of calling the woman a wench without consequences. Her inner-demon was smirking at the thought!)

 

Following Aran's orders, she watched from her place near the tent entrance, just behind where Aran stood. Regarding the company before them. Light, they were in for a new headache, and she planned to enjoy ever bit of the insanity. Because she doubted that they would not survive if they didn't find the amusement in it...

 

 

Cairma

TG

 

Next post with Mae coming up!

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ooc. RL is not liking me much so apologies for this quick post, I also give Mae and Muir permission to NPC Perine in this RP if I dont manage to get my act together.

 

ic.The question what was going to take place started into a heated discussion between Muirenn and the Tower Guards. Perine did not interfere. She was not the leader of the Aes Sedai, Muirenn was and she was more than capeable to speak for the other Sisters. None of them could really argue her years of wisdom behind her. And her arguements were true, though it seemed that the young Tower Guard Rosheen was making a good point also.

 

When Rosheen had left Maegan put up a ward on their tent and Muirenn made the group of Aes Sedai slip in two. Nobody argued to the choices. They had barely begun to discuss more when the flap of the tent was pulled away and Aran called inside, rudely as can be for the Aes Sedai to come outside. The six women piled outside.

 

This Aran character was more than a little strange. No matter that they were on a mission and all needed to get into character, she was finding the man's eagerness to insult the Aes Sedai a bit irritating. Perine bit her lip at hearing herself and the others being called "wenches". She really had spent too long time in the Tower to have forgotten the harsh words that could be thrown at them.

 

"everyone will be in breeches and armed." Perine was forced to grimace at this notion. She hated breeches. But knew the moment the man had uttered those words that it was for the best. She knew she would be able to fight in her riding dress, as she had done so many times, but a dress was out of the question for this mission. Breeches it would be. And her hair would also need some dye, the blond and red stripes were too much of a give away.

 

Perine forced a sort of half smile and nod at the mans last words. This would turn out to be a very interesting mission indeed.

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Muirenn raised an eyebrow at the name calling by the Tower Guard, but ultimately, he was correct. She had certainly been called worse than 'wench' in her day. As a Red out hunting male channelers it was often far worse. The moment the mission was completed however...well, that wold be dealt with when it had to be dealt with. As for wearing breeches, well, what could not be avoided must be endured. And acting as the man's mistress? Really! The very idea was laughable!

 

The next step was to find suitable clothing for the Aes Sedai. There was little trouble in that regard. Some quick work with a needle, which, Muirenn had to admit, she hadn't done on her own in quite a while, and breeches and shirts were altered to fit. Her seams were not the straightest by far, but then they were *supposed* to be a disreputable lot, weren't they? She could always get away with letting everyone thing she meant it to be that way. She gave a small smile, if only they really knew. Weapons were a bit more difficult, as most of the Aes Sedai wore only belt knives, and the Tower Guard did not have extra weapons. At least not ones they were willing to hand over to unskilled Aes Sedai to play with. So for the time being, they would practice bladework in shifts, and pick up some passable weapons at the next town.

 

The first order of business, however, was to use the hair dyes that had been found for them. Some quick work over a washbasin and she had raven black hair once again. It had been nearly a hundred years since her hair had any hint of it's natural color. And now as she surveyed the results in a looking glass she could see that the results were striking. Unbound, her hair fell to the middle of her back in dark waves.

 

With the white gone, her Aes Sedai features were much less pronounced unless one knoew what to look for, and she appeared simply a Domani woman in her late twenties or early thirties. On a whim, she borrowed paints and powders from the Green, and it took little time for her hands to remember their early learned skills. Long before she had begun using them to learn how to toss fireballs or weave a ward, her hands had been trained for use as a Domani merchant. And they remembered the long hours put in on rouging a cheek just so and applying brow darkener with a steady sweep. And now as the last touch, she removed her great serpent ring from her right hand with a sigh and stored it away in her belt pouch. No, that would not do. If they were searched it would be discovered all too easily. She strung it on a cord around her neck instead, it being much less likely that she would be patted down in that area.

 

After recieving a once over by the Green, who laughed with a childish delight at seeing the old Red turned into a young Domani, they left the tent together in search of the others and the Tower Guard.

 

-Muirenn Lina Alianin

Domani Wench

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