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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

A stumbling arrival (Kelitor's arrival)


Kelitor
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Suddenly, the black coated man pushed off from the wall and stalked over to him, scattering locals from around the fountain as he came. Finally he was standing just in front of Kelitor, glaring down with crazed dark eyes, muttering to himself.

 

He was a Taraboner, with rather unkempt mustaches giving him the appearance of some unusual walrus. His coat was black and none too clean, and a pin in the shape of a sword, and some weird serpentine beast, in gold and silver, rode high on his collar, and Kelitor found himself staring at the pin of the beast oddly mesmerized.

 

Suddenly, he realized that the man's last mutter had been directed at him.

 

"What?" He asked uneasily,

 

"Light blast you for a fool, boy", the man snarled, "I asked if you could."

 

"What?...." Kelitor thought uneasily, edging away on the fountain, ever so slowly inching his left hand across his lap to where his sword was belted.

 

Quick as a serpent, the man's hand lashed out, and with almost appalling strength, actually pulled the burly youth upright, staring into his eyes.

 

Now Kelitor was feeling scared. There were exactly five people who'd been able to manhandle him that easily since he'd gained muscle in the forge: His master who was a blacksmith, the local Lord, whom some said had been a Warder for the Tower, and his three closest friends, all of whom were nearly as large as he.

 

Suddenly the mad Taraboner snapped up a finger between them and without any warning, a flame spurted up. The Taragoner giggled "Well boy, if you won't tell me, I guess we'll just find out! Now look into the flame and we'll see, we'll see, we'll all see!" He cackled a little madly.

 

"Oh.... I must have the Dark One's own luck...." Kelitor thought, realizing he must have finally managed to stumble upon an Asha'man. "No way I could get someone who I could talk to. I had to stumble over one that'll probably blow my head off any second now..."

 

Staring into the flame, he had no idea what in the name of the Light he was supposed to do... so he just hung there in the Asha'man's grip and stared at the flame, for what seemed like hours...

 

Until suddenly, dozing off, hypnotized by the flame, the Asha'man crowed triumphantly and dropped him into a head, waving the flame over his head and howling "I knew it! I knew when I saw the boy staring at us that he could feel it! Ha!"

 

Grabbing him up, the Asha'man winked at him "Time to go now then!" he intoned almost normally. And spinning him back around to face the fountain again, Kelitor gasped: The fountain was totally obscured by a window floating in midair, showing what appeared to be a hill overlooking some village.

 

The Asha'man began herding him towards the hole, and Kelitor knew there was no way under the Light that the man was going to let him return to the smith to make his apologies, or return the leather apron he still wore. With a groan, he temporarily tore himself away from the Taraboner, dashing back around the window, which was oddly not visible from this side, and snatched up his bundle of meager clothing. He quickly striped the apron off, and hearing tittering giggles behind him, quickly flung on a clean (somewhat) shirt.

 

Finally he gave the leather apron and stew bowl to one of the braver matrons, one of the locals who hadn't fled the site of his trial with the Asha'man and begged her to return the bowl and apron to the smithy at the City Guard barracks and explain what had happened. Without waiting for a reply, he spun on his heel, bells clinking, he strode back to the Asha'man, who wore a sneer openly.

 

"Boy, you'll have to learn not to grovel for lickspittles like them. We can channel. They can't. Lesson one: Don't keep the Black Tower waiting on cattle." And with a contorted smirk, he reached out and flicked Kelitor's ear like a child.

 

Kelitor reminded counted to ten, reminding himself all the while that the man could reduce him to a smear on the cobbles, and never be made to account for it, before nodding.

 

"Well, no more wasting time, boy! Arath will be waiting for you...."

 

With that, Kelitor was all but flung through the Gate, across the continent, and onto the Farm, wondering who the hell this "Arath" was...

 

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Walking quickly, to avoid being driven like some beast of labor, something he was beginning to suspect this Asha'man to view him as. His suspicion wasn't alleviated by the way the Asha'man kept smirking at everyone else in site and then back at him, like he'd won some great prize by bringing him here.

 

After a few minutes of hurried walking, he realized that their destination was one a large building straight ahead, and had the appearance of some importance: men bearing enormous stacks of paperwork kept scurrying in and out.

 

Huh... It looks surprisingly... boring. I guess even the infamous "Black Tower" needs clerks.

 

But then he saw one of the clerks stop, stare into space, and suddenly a hole rotated into midair, leading into a black void, broken only by what appeared to be a simple wooden platform. Kelitor shuddered, trying to put the image of that emptiness out of his head.

 

Finally, he and the Asha'man reached the main building and a closed door.

 

"Here", snapped the Asha'man, and the door slammed open on its hinges, rebounding from the inside. Damn fool... Whoever, this "Arath" is, he's not going to like him channeling his door like that... Unless that WAS Arath...

 

With a hopeless wry smile, Kelitor minutely adjusted his sword in what he hoped looked like a professional manner, touched his braids to make sure his bells had survived the events of the last half bell or so, and stepped inside to meet this "Arath".

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OOC:  Sorry about the delay.  Things just kept happening every time I tried to reply before.  :P

 

Arath disliked being in Brent's 'palace' to do his work.  It was far more comfortable in his own home.  But this office was 'more conveniently placed' he was told.  He'd fought hard to resist the urge to retort that distance was hardly an object for men who could Travel, but had managed to hold his tounge.  Brent was in a foul enough mood lately.

 

Perhaps this was for the better though, since the Asha'man who came back from recruiting parties were being especially rough on his door today.  For the fourth time that day his door sprang open seemingly of it's own accord and slammed into the wall.  He couldn't help but grimace, even though he had reinforced the door with a weave of earth and air.  He still half expected it to explode under the blow.  If it had been the door of his own home, heads would have been rolling.

 

As it was, Arath simply lounged at his desk with a bored expression on his face as the newest recruit was ushered in.  Usually Arath liked to try and guess the nationality of each recruit before they said anything, but the bells in this man's hair clearly marked him as Arafellan.  Stifling a sigh, Arath motioned to a stool in front of his desk.  "Take a seat," he said, glancing at the door to see if any more were following.

 

"I am Attack Leader Arath.  I'll be overseeing your training here at the Farm.  And you are...?"

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OOC: Its ok, things happen sometimes

 

Kelitor glanced around wide-eyed, trying not to stare too much at the man behind the desk, who, thank the Light, looked a great deal more sane then the man who had brought him.

 

With a sigh that brought his attention whipping fully back to the man behind the desk, who said: "Take a seat..."

 

Kelitor gratefully sagged into the chair sitting in front of the desk. It had been a long day so far, and he was feeling more then slightly rattled. If anything else happened, he wasn't sure how he was going to manage to cope. He already felt a little bit like his eyes were popping out of his head a little bit. He almost jumped when the man spoke.

 

"I am Attack Leader Arath. I'll be overseeing your training here at the Farm. And you are...?"

 

"Kelitor Varashan" he managed to stammer out. "I'm from Arafel, I think I can channel... and a man just picked me up out of Shol Arbela and brought me here through a giant hole in the air after making me stare at a flame he made out of thin air."

 

Oddly, finally sharing the fact that he could channel with another man made it seem more normal, and he managed to un-tense a bit in the chair to listen to what the Attack-Leader had to say.

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Arath nodded as Kelitor managed to get out a few words.  "Yes, you can.  That flame was part of the test we use to see if a man can channel.  If the Asha'man hadn't felt anything in you, you wouldn't be here now."  He paused for a moment, seeing the big question in Kelitor's eyes.  "And 'here' is in Andor, just south of Caemlyn.

 

"So then.  A few things you will need to know.  First, listen to and obey anyone with these at their collar."  He tugged at the collar of his own coat, showing the silver sword and gold dragon pins.  "The sword indicates Dedicated rank, the dragon, Asha'man.  If you see anyone with these," he added, lifting up his arm to show the embroidery on his sleeves, "you had better hop if they even think toad.

 

"Also, you will be saddled with a lot of chores as a Soldier.  You will perform these duties almost exclusively with Saidin.  You had best learn to cook with it as well.  After tonight you won't get another hot meal until you can cook it with the one power."

 

Arath paused for a moment, pondering.  Most everything a man needed to know about the Black Tower needed to be experienced.  There was only so much that one could be prepared for verbally.  Rising from the desk and moving to a large closet on the opposite side of the room.  As he began to rummage through the hanging coats for a suitable looking one he asked, "Do you have any questions for me?  Now is the time to ask."

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Kelitor watched the Attack Leader nod "Yes, you can. That flame was part of the test we use to see if a man can channel. If the Asha'man hadn't felt anything in you, you wouldn't be here now."

 

Kelitor felt an odd buzzing in his head at the Attack Leader's words, he'd been pretty sure he had the ability, after all the things that had been happening at home, his sickneess, and the way that Myrdraal just exploded in the final raid before he finally left. But still, hearing someone say it with such certainty, and hearing it from someone who would know was strange.

 

"And 'here' is in Andor, just south of Caemlyn.

 

Kelitor felt like his eyes were going to come clean out of his Light-scorched skull.

 

Light man, that Asha'man brought you through a hole in the air, WHY would you think you were even still in Arafel?!

 

Kelitor swallowed hard, only to be brought back to reality when the Attack Leader continued:

 

"Also, you will be saddled with a lot of chores as a Soldier....

 

"Crap." Kelitor thought

 

"You will preform these duties almost exclusively with Saidin. You had best learn to cook as well.... Kelitor gave a mental shrug: He wasn't such a bad cook as was... although women always whined that he should eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat, but that only went to show how little women knew of what a man needed. Blacksmiths apprentices didn't get as big as they did on carrots.

 

"...After tonight you won't get another hot meal until you can cook it with the One Power." Kelitor tried very, very hard and barely succeeded from uttering a word that would have gotten his head thumped by the Wise Woman back home, and he still knew that his face was clearly horrified

 

Learn fast then, you stupid ox. he snarled at himself.

 

The Attack Leader paused then, and rose, and started rummaging through a closet.

 

"Do you have any questions for me? Now is the time to ask."

 

Kelitor hesitated, he was almost terrified to ask in light of the fact that he had just been told that he would be eating cold meals and likely bathing in cold water until he learned how to heat it himself, but he had scores of questions, ranging from inane to actually relevant:

 

Were there any here his age? Any Arafellin? Would he make friends? Would he continue his apprenticeship? Would anyone smack his head if he had more then a single beer a day? Were there any women at the Black Tower? Is this the sort of place where he'd get flogged for stealing a kiss? How long did it take to learn? Would he do well? Where would he sleep and eat? Did he get his own room? How the bloody hell was he supposed to learn? Didn't men who could channel go mad?! How was that handled? He liked books, were there any books? Was he allowed to visit home? Would he meet the Lord Dragon? What about the Aes Sedai? He'd heard that there was a whole group of them that hated men who could channel.

 

Kelitor swallowed all of those questions down. He could figure all that out later, but still he decided to venture one question, and fingering the simple hilt at his side diffidently asked the Attack Leader's back: "Will I get to learn to use a sword at all?..."

 

 

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Arath couldn't help but laugh.  Of all the questions he could have asked ... "That's kind of up to you.  You will be having lessons in the sword, but some of the Asha'man tend to ignore it.  Prowess with a blade seems less important when you can call lightning or throw fireballs.  But yes, if you wish to learn, you will."  Tossing a suitable looking coat to Kelitor, Arath siezed Saidin and channeled the simple weave of fire that made a fiery blade appear in his hand.  "Even with this you're more likely to hurt yourself than anyone else, unless you've learned what to do with it."

 

Letting the blade vanish, the Attack Leader returned to his desk and sat down on it.  "You'll get another coat soon, so take care of that one in the mean time.  You'll be free until your first class this afternoon.  I recommend getting something to eat at the inn, and acquainting yourself with the grounds.  You'll be housed in one of the soldier barracks to the north at first.  Five big long buildings all right next to eachother.  You can't miss them.  Ask anyone there and they'll be able to show you where to go."

 

Arath thought for a moment, and not coming up with anything else to add, motioned toward the door.  "Unless you have any other questions, you're free to go."

 

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Kelitor listened to the Attack Leader laugh with an odd sense of relief. He wasn't entirely sure what was funny, but it was good to know that Asha'man had some sense of humor, and it wasn't the insane cackle of the Asha'man who'd found him in Shol Arbela.

 

"...That's up to you. You will be having lessons in the sword, but some of the Asha'man tend to ignore it.

 

What?... Kelitor thought in mild shock How can you not know how to use good steel and still call yourself a man? These southlanders certainly have some odd notions...

 

"Prowess with a blade seems less important when you can call lightning or throw fireballs."

 

Oh, that makes sense I suppose

 

"But yes, if you wish to learn, you will."

 

Kelitor caught the coat out of mid-air, glancing briefly at it, hoping he wouldn't broil in it. And then something made him look up, and he saw Arath holding what appeared to be a sword carved from golden flame and his jaw nearly dropped.

 

"Even with this you're more likely to hurt yourself then anyone else, unless you've learned what to do with it."

 

Naturally, how the hell could I do that and not burn my hand off?! How does he?!

 

Arath released the blade and it winked out, and he returned to his desk and sat.

 

"You'll get another coat soon, so take care of that one in the mean time. Hopefully one made of something lighter then wool. He hated wool, unless it was winter, and this was Andor. Wool would probably kill him

 

"...You'll be free until your first class this afternoon." Kelitor couldn't help blinking This afternoon?.... That's fast. They certainly are efficient.

 

"I recommend getting something to eat at the inn, and acquainting yourself with the grounds. You'll be housed in one of the solider barracks to the north at first. Five big long buildings all right next to each other. You can't miss them." At this now Kelitor couldn't help restrain a slight rakish grin.

 

Barracks huh... He thought, well that suited him just fine. Better then being placed in some home where women would hound him constantly about being too young for good strong drink, despite the fact that he could drink more most of their husbands, and curfews and such.

 

Maybe it'd even be fun.

 

"Ask anyone there and they'll be able to show you where to go." The Attack Leader gestured to the door.

 

"Unless you have any other questions, you're free to go."

 

"No sir, thank you sir. I think I understand, I'll go find those barracks now."

 

And with a nod to Arath he stood with a smile and hurried out the door to find the barracks, and feeling almost excited to learn.

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