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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Arath Faringal

Out of the Dragon's Mouth

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The silence stretched out between the men in the utter blackness of ... wherever this place was.  Outside the pattern he supposed.  If not for the power raging through him, Jarron al'Tanin would have thought he was alone.  Only the soft sounds of breathing, of a man shifting his stance, told him that we was not.  In the near silence, the Dragon Reborn's thoughts churned noisily in his head.

 

He could have simply travelled.  It would have been faster, but he wanted the time to think.  Rushing into things was a good way to die.  He had accepted the alliegence of the Asha'man, but now wondered just how far that alliegence stretched.  He may have cowed the group that had sought him out, but he also saw just how quick they had been to defend Covai from him.  To a man they had seized Saidin, even knowing what might happen to them.  He may have been able to take all of them, in fact he was sure of it.  But how many were at the Black Tower now?  Arath had mentioned some 400 at the battle in Shienar.  Perhaps three times that many?  A thousand mad men he had set loose upon the world, all ready to turn on him should he do the wrong thing.

 

In spite of that, it wasn't fear that had prompted him to bring Callandor.  No, it was the need to reassert himself as the leader of his pack of dogs.  It struck him now how badly he had handled things with the Asha'man.  Or rather, how he had not handled things at all.  After Dalinar had been killed he had never once visited the place, had hardly given it a second thought.

 

His thoughts were interupted as he felt the platform beneath him come to a halt.  Flows of spirit reached out and opened the gateway that led them out of the darkness, and onto the grounds of the Farm.  Covai and Arath led their group through first, an honor guard for their leader.  Letting the gateway collapse behind him, Jarron followed them into the large structure that loomed before him.  A miniature palace?  Brent was getting carried away with himself.  No, by the end of the day they would all know.  HE was the Dragon Reborn.  HE was the Lord of the Morning.  They would learn who they served, or they would die.

 

"Lead on boys," he said, a touch of laughter in his voice.  Laughter that did not touch his eyes.  "Lead on."

 

Jarron al'Tanin

The Dragon Reborn

 

~~~

 

Brent Enios paced in his office, outrage making it almost impossible for him to maintain the void.  Saidin pulsed beckoningly just out of sight, but he ignored it.  He might lash out and kill someone just for the sake of satisfaction.  "Covai no be having the position to defy me," he muttered to himself for the hundredth time.  "This do be MY Tower.  Burn him to bloody ash!"

 

The door to his study suddenly banged open, and he whirled about snarling, ready to start yelling for whatever reason.  He didn't have a chance to though.  A young man with the silver Dedicated pin stumbled in, panting as though he had been running.  "M'Hael, Storm Leader Covai has returned and-"

 

"I do no want to be hearing anything about the bloody man!" roared Brent.  "Unless you be here to tell me he be dead, I want you to-"

 

"But sir, the Lord Dragon is with him!"

 

Words died in his throat at hearing that, but his blood began to boil.  Brent simply stared at the uncomfortable looking Dedicated for a moment.  Fighting to not explode in anger again he spoke quietly.  "Very well.  Go tell the Storm Leaders to gather in the council room.  If you be seeing any of the Attack Leaders, tell them as well."

 

As the other man quickly fled the study, Brent turned around and slammed a fist on top of his desk.  The sturdy thing trembled and creaked under the weight of the blow.  "I swear, if do be costing me the Tower ..."  Well, there were things he could do to have his revenge.  Adjusting the collar of his coat, Brent hurried off to the council room.  The Black Tower belonged to HIM, and he intended to keep it that way.

 

Brent Enios

M'Hael

 

OOC:  Sorry this has taken so long to get started.  You can post your reactions to seeing the group arrive, and follow them in if you dare.  I wouldn't try to speak up or ask for an autograph though ...

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Darkness closed in as the portal behind them winked out. Gazing out into the dark, Tai had the feeling of a vastness that made him uneasy. edging further away from the darkness at the edge of the platform, he bumped into Simmen. Muttering a soft apology, he clung to Saidin and tried not to focus on the strange moving sensation. After what seemed like ages they stopped, he wasn't sure how he knew that since nothing changed. It just felt like they ceased to move. The Dragon's hand rose and the blackness split in front of them.

 

Tai blinked in the relative brightness of the Farm as he stepped out near Brent's monstrous living quarters.

 

"Lead on boys, lead on."

 

Tai looked at Arath and Covai, unsure of where they were supposed to be heading. A few men wandered around but none seemed to know that they had arrived with the Lord of the Morning. Today was going to be interesting...

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Kelitor was walking through the Farm with his black coat slung over his shoulders and shirtless after weapons practice. He was doing well in the Farm and getting along surprisingly well with the Soldiers in his barrack. After four days of intense training, he'd realized that the howling winds in his head were actually the One Power, or how he visualized it, and he was able to take hold of it sometimes, although he could barely do anything with it.

 

Without warning, he felt the winds of Saidin rise up in his head, he stopped and looked about questioningly, surprised by the sheer quantity of it.

 

 

Suddenly, a Skimming gateway rotated open about a hundred yards off, in the center of the Farm and a number of black coated men stepped out, including the Attack Leader, who'd gone off for a day somewhere.

 

He nearly stopped breathing when he saw the final man emerge. Dressed like a noble, no one would have known who he was but for what he bore. A shining crystal sword.

 

The winds of Saidin in his head seemed to twist and howl in time with the beat of light within that sword, and he shuddered, pulling his eyes away. The Asha'man had told him about angreal and sa'angreal. So what was the Lord Dragon doing here with Callandor, the greatest of all those attuned to men?

 

He looks like he's going to kill someone... Suddenly Kelitor realized he was reaching out to the True Source in his fear, and he forced himself to stop. And also to stop gripping the sword hilt at his side. The last thing he wanted was for the Dragon Reborn bearing a sa'angreal to think he was threatening in the least.

 

Suddenly he remembered he was naked to the waist, and as he backed away slowly he carefully shrugged into his coat, careful not to jingle the bells he wore in his braids. Don't stand out, don't stand out, don't stand out... he repeated in his head like a mantra.

 

He reached the doorway to the Inn, and stopped, watching the group of men, with the Lord Dragon overflowing with transcendent amounts of Saidin, and he shivered, wondering what it must be like to drink so deeply of the True Source, what was going to happen, hoping for some sign from Attack Leader Arath that all would be well.

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Geirrin cursed his bad luck once more as he stood on the platform enroute to the light knew where.  The silence was deafening, his heart felt as if it may pound right out of his chest. Everyone seemed intent on keeping to themselves, sounds of shuffling feet were quickly muffled by the darkness around them.

 

Finally the platform stopped in the pitch black.  There was nothing at all that gave any indication that they were in motion other than the fact that they knew they were.  Suddenly Saidin was channeled, flows of Spirit leached out making an opening that let in the light.  Geirrin's hand went up out of instinct to shade his eyes though he could not see beyond the opening.  Where were they? he wondered.

 

Still shading his eyes, Geirrin felt himself being ushered through the opening.  He squinted trying to let his eyes adjust to the light.  Seconds later he was able to determine their location.  "Bloody fish guts!" he murmured to himself.  For right before him, looming larger than ever was the M'Hael's bloody palace.  Ooh how he hated that place.  Of all the possible places they could have travelled to it would have to be here.

 

The Lord Dragon's voice shook him from his thoughts. "Lead on boys, lead on."

 

Muttering to himself he said "How do I keep bloody slipping from one net only to get caught in another?  Bloody fish guts!"  He needed a stiff drink, no a dozen at least, and he needed them now.

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Silent and tense.  That was the best way to describe the council room when Jarron stepped inside.  The M'Hael was seated at what was not quite a throne behind a huge stone table, waiting with a open sneer on his face.  The way Brent's gaze flickered back and forth between himself and the two officers who accompanied him, Jarron was unsure who the venom was for.  Either way, it was unacceptable.  Seated to either side were a handful of other men, the lightning bolts embroidered on their sleeves marking them as Storm Leaders.  A scattering of other with flames had to be the Attack Leaders.  A few late comers filtered in behind them and stood around the edges of the room.  Good, he thought.  They all need to hear this.

 

"I've heard about your ... efforts ... in Shienar, Brent.  I must say, it's a little disappointing."

 

The Illianer's face turned an interesting shade of red as he fought to control himself.  "My Lord, the failure in Shienar do be the fault of the two men beside yo-"

 

"The failure lies wholly to blame with the man who ordered the attack!" Jarron roared.  "I do not recall giving the Asha'man the order to mobilize."

 

"I do no recall ever recieving orders from the Lord Dragon, for anything," Brent said, his voice low and dangerous.  "It do appear that you had abandoned us.  I did what needed to be done."

 

It was Jarron's turn to sneer.  "Yes, leading a hundred of the Asha'man to their deaths, while failing to protect a country that has now fallen to the Shadow.  Masterfully done.  A testament to Guardians."

 

Brent rose from his throne, shouting.  "You do no understand-"

 

"No!  You seem to have forgotten!"  Jarron siezed the source, pulling Callandor from his back.  There was a collective intake of breath, and everyone in the room seemed to shrink back.  Jarron's power amplified voice almost shook the room.  "The Black Tower is MINE to command!  The Asha'man swore fealty to ME, in the Heart of the Stone!  You go as I command, when I command it!"  As always, he had to mute down the voice in the back of his mind, which urged him to draw deep from Callandor and slaughter every last Asha'man.  He needed them.  "You are my weapons.  My tools to do my bidding.  Though it seems your effectiveness is less than I could have hoped for."

 

He paused for a moment, steeling himself for what was about to come.  The thought of it churned his stomach, especially after all that had happened to him personally, but it had to be done.  Releasing the voice amplifying weaves, he continued calmly.  "I have no use for the Asha'man if they are unable to fight the dreadlords for me.  Attack Leader Arath tells me that you aren't even sure if you killed any of them.  Is this true?" he asked, turning to Arath.  Tight lipped, the Attack Leader nodded.  "I'm also told that the dreadlord formed circles, which were responsible for the defeat."

 

"That do be what they told me," said Brent, the sneer returning to his face.

 

"Then it would appear that I have little choice."  He brought Callandor up and leveled it at Brent.  A surge of Saidin made the blade glow like the sun, and Brent's face paled.  "You will make peace with the White Tower."

 

Jarron al'Tanin

The Dragon Reborn

 

OOC: Unless you're part of the group arriving from Tear, this meeting is only open to Attack/Storm Leaders.  Lets here some uproar.

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Sereth Arian followed the Storm Leader Covai through the hole in reality. He couldn't believe what was happening. Though he still didn't personally like the man who formed the skimming platform, he had to say he respected him, and, as all people were, cowed by his presence. All of these thoughts were in his mind as he followed Covai, recognizing at once their destination. Oh... Oh my. This, this will be interesting...

 

For the umpteenth time today he swallowed the urge to ask any questions. Though he was no longer the ranting child who viewed Saidin as some great beast to poke and prod at, he would ever be curious. Ever the philosopher, the historian, but most of all, a student to the world. These answers will come in time Sereth, just let them lie for now. Much unlike that previously mentioned boy, he was fully aware of his surroundings, and when they were within the room of the M'Hael, he was fully aware of the glaring, raging illinair.

 

He stood firm as the man spoke back to the Lord Dragon, Sereth's hands tightened into a white knuckled grip upon the sword on his hip, an unusual move, seeing as how he almost never appeared to be aware of the instrument. The Dragon's rebuttal however, forced the air from his lungs. So much power... He could incinerate us all. What truly took him back however, was the Dragon's proclamation.

 

Peace with the White Tower! Finally! Floodgates of possibilities surged through his mind. Talking with Aes Sedai, who lived for hundreds of years, the bookish browns, the logistical whites, the world wise blues, the anatomy wise yellows, the negotiators of the grey, the battle hardened greens... And the reds. The women who hunt his kind. It was... a sobering thought. He'd taken lessons from a grey in the arts of negotiation... Maybe that would help. Still, it was worth it. The Library of Tar Valon was actually an option now...

 

His attention was ripped back to the present, preparing himself to defend from what was bound to be one angry M'Hael...

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Geirrin stood at the back of the room shielded from seeing the Dragon or the M'Hael by the gathering of Storm and Attack Leaders.  Their words were lost on him as he wondered if this day could get any worse.  As if the thought were a summons a buzz filled the room.  "Peace with the White Tower!"  He heard another man say.  The words echoed throughout the hall.

 

"What under the Light"  Geirrin exclaimed to himself.  All he knew of Aes Sedai was that they would still anyone who could touch Saidin without batting an eyelash.  Now they were being asked to make peace with them.  For the first time in a long while he wished that he was back in Tear in his small fishing village up to his elbows in fish guts.  His heart pounded as he looked around seeing some men whose faces were red from shouting and other with faces so pale that they must have seen their deaths at the hands of the Aes Sedai.  Surely the White Tower would not honor any agreement between them.  This could not go well.  They may as well have signed their own death warrants.

 

Geirrin did what he always did as a child when he faced danger, he laughed uncontrollably.  His laughter sounded loud in his ears but it was drowned out by the commotion in the hall.  His laughter would have turned to tears had he realized what a pact with the White Tower truly meant. 

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Tai crowded into the council room close behind Arath and the Dragon. Tai had not had the occasion to go to Brent's 'quarters' often, and had seen the man himself even less. In his stay at the Tower he thought he might have seen Brent in person twice. Living with Arath however had painted all the picture he needed of the man, and while M'Hael he may be, Tai had a disgust for the man that he had not felt since the Taint.

 

Brent sat behind a monstrous stone table with more men ringing the table. Tai briefly wondered how many were his in truth. He hardly had time to consider before the Dragon's voice rang out, eliciting an outraged response from the touchy, arrogant M'Hael.

 

"I've heard about your ... efforts ... in Shienar, Brent.  I must say, it's a little disappointing."

 

"My Lord, the failure in Shienar do be the fault of the two men beside yo-"  Tai was surprised at the title Brent gave the Dragon, he had half expected an oath from the look on his face. He nearly muttered an oath of his own in response to his comment, Arath was right. The man would blame anyone to keep his hide whole. Luckily the Dragon cut him short.

 

"The failure lies wholly to blame with the man who ordered the attack!" Jarron roared.  "I do not recall giving the Asha'man the order to mobilize."

 

"I do no recall ever receiving orders from the Lord Dragon, for anything," Brent said, his voice low and dangerous.  "It do appear that you had abandoned us.  I did what needed to be done." Tai's jaw knotted with the effort of not releasing the acidic comment that had risen in his throat like so much bile.

 

"Yes, leading a hundred of the Asha'man to their deaths, while failing to protect a country that has now fallen to the Shadow.  Masterfully done.  A testament to Guardians." A blow for the Dragon, Brent was oblivious however. To Jarron's might or to his station. The fool was mad with his supposed power. Launching to his feet he began to shout.

 

"You do no understand-" Suddenly the dragon drew Callandor along with Saidin, forcing Tai to step back to clear a space.

 

"No!  You seem to have forgotten!" Jarron's power amplified voice almost shook the room.  "The Black Tower is MINE to command!  The Asha'man swore fealty to ME, in the Heart of the Stone!  You go as I command, when I command it! You are my weapons.  My tools to do my bidding.  Though it seems your effectiveness is less than I could have hoped for."

 

Tai resisted the urge to cover his ears as the onslaught rolled like thunder around the room, threatening to deafen them or pull the roof down on them. Maybe both. Suddenly the Dragon spoke again, this time without the weaves. His voice was deafening in the silence, even without the weaves.

 

"I have no use for the Asha'man if they are unable to fight the dreadlords for me.  Attack Leader Arath tells me that you aren't even sure if you killed any of them.  Is this true?" Tai looked to Arath, this had been complete news to him until today. Arath nodded, obviously wanting to say more but holding back. "I'm also told that the dreadlord formed circles, which were responsible for the defeat."

 

"That do be what they told me," said Brent, the sneer returning to his face.

 

"Then it would appear that I have little choice."  He brought Callandor up and leveled it at Brent.  A surge of Saidin made the blade glow like the sun, and Brent's face paled.  "You will make peace with the White Tower." The room went up like a kicked anthill, everyone talking at once.

 

~No, never them..he has gone mad! they will kill us all, Kill him...DO IT NOW~ howled Chaos in the back of his head. Tai ruthlessly crushed him mentally to the back of his mind. For once he wondered if Chaos may be right...

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Seyneru was walking slowly down the road towards the dining hall when something to his right disturbed him.  Seyneru turned around to find out where the sensation of Saidin seemed to be coming from.  There seemed to be a rent, somewhere, opening.  He just couldn't see the opening.  Seyneru was showing great promise, his strength increasing greatly by leaps and bounds.  The problem was more of his skill.  He was far from dexterious, being rough in his weaving.

 

Suddenly, a hole to blackness appeared in the grounds.  From his readings, and prior experience, he knew that it was probably called Skimming.  But what caught his attention was not so much the weave in itself, but who was weaving it.  Enormous amounts of Saidin were being woven.  Far more than any Asha'man he knew could managed.  So much so that it overwhelmed his senses and blanked out his mind.

 

He turned to see a group of Asha'man emerging from the portal.  The first two were Arath and Covai, Asha'man who were well known and respected by the majority of the Black Tower, a stark contrast to the good for nothing M'Hael Brent.  However, the figure that attracted the most attention was the figure who Arath and Covai flanked like an honor guard.  Silence rippled as heads turned and mouths dropped.

 

The man in between was Jarron al'Tanin, the Dragon Reborn.

 

Seyneru saw a crystal shining sword blazing in his hands before the party went inside Brent's palace in the Black Tower.  But even from outside, distant as he was, half-trained as he was, Seyneru could still feel the power of the Sword of Callandor pulsating inside the palace.

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Simmen could not decide what could have been...worse: The darkness all around, the power flowing through himself, acid flames scourging his soul, a flood of mountains crashing home inside of himself, the men around him, the Asha'man, he one of them, all vibrating with what must be the One Power...

 

The Dragon Returned himself, Jarron al'Tanin.

 

Simmen did not know where they were headed, what place they were in...he knew one thing for certain, though: He dared not step closer to the edge of where he was...standing.

 

 

Finally, they exited the darkness. Through a gateway. They were back to the Farm.

But why, Light and Creator be good?

 

He could not fathom what by the Pitt was going on, but still he followed the group of black-coats at the Dragon's order:

"Lead on boys," that with a tone close to laughter. "Lead on."

 

 

They proceeded to the M'hael's quarters, where Simmen had been headed to earlier on, what seemed thousands of winters ago.

The M'hael...Simmen had heard of the man, but never seen him. Before this day, he would have shrunk away at the mere look of the man. A cruel man.

Yet merely wooden compared to al'Tanin, the Dragon.

 

"I've heard about your ... efforts ... in Shienar, Brent.  I must say, it's a little disappointing."

 

Isn't Shienar somewhere north? That was one of the few thoughts that went through Simmen's head, distantly, while he stood pressed in among the other men come with the Dragon Reborn.

 

"You are my weapons.  My tools to do my bidding.  Though it seems your effectiveness is less than I could have hoped for."

That Simmen knew already, else he would have...he stopped that thought right there.

 

It dawned on him that this must be about the disaster that everybody seemed to know yet hush about.

What can possibly kill channelers except...?

 

"You will make peace with the White Tower."

That with the Sword That Was Not A Sword pointed at Brent.

The power that seemed to run through the blade seemed a bright flame to Simmen. The room erupted in outrage.

 

...Peace with the Ladies? Father and...

Simmen did not know what to make of it. The White Tower, the Light's will itself in the world, making peace with male channelers...? Those doomed with Storm-wrought Saidin?

 

Yet, he remained silent...only then did he realize the tense air in the room, those that must have been all Asha'man both in rank and name, marked by lightnings and flames around Brent, the M'hael. The group he was with, around the Dragon...

I'm not afraid to die...

 

Yet he wondered whether he would die now by the hands of a madman or those of the Dragon...

The mountains of flame that were saidin continued to envelope him, call to him, trying to crush him with a weight thousand times greater than any mountain. The taint continued to sweep through that which was Simmen.

 

He tried to recall within the nothingness how he had weaved Air on the day he had left his old self behind forever, ready for the worst.

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The silence in the room lasted only until the momentary confusion had passed.  Once everyone realized that the M'Hael wasn't about to be killed, the council room exploded into sound.

 

"Peace with the Tower?! Are you mad?!"

 

"How can you be serious?"

 

"Peace?  The Aes Sedai would sooner gentle the lot of us!"

 

Once his own heart started beating again, and his anger with it, Brent added his own voice to the roar.  "Even if we do be attempting such a foolish thing, how do you be proposing that we do this.  I do no believe we can simply walk into Tar Valon and be requesting an audience with the Amyrlin.  You do be mad if you think we be doing this."

 

Jarron's face contorted in rage, and he channeled.  Quicker than anyone could follow, a weave of earth and fire swept out around Callandor which flared like the sun, and he brought it crashing down on the massive stone table.  The centerpiece of the council room shattered into dust and tiny rock chips with an earsplitting crack.  "I did not make a suggestion Brent.  I gave you an order.  You WILL find a way to make peace with the White Tower.  If you have to crawl to Tar Valon and beg the Amyrlin on hand and knee, we will have a truce.  I am trying to unite the world against the shadow.  Tarmon Gai'don is coming.  The first blows may have been struck in Shienar.  And I will not tolerate another failure like that."

 

An uneasy silence settled on the room as everyone stared at the remnants of the table.  Not a perfect silence this time.  Everywhere, men were muttering under their breathes, trying to convince themselves that they had heard wrong, or working out the possible consequences of such an action.  Others looked to be on the verge of tears.

 

Brent's face was turning a more livid shade of purple with every passing moment.  "If this peace be so important to you, then why do you be leaving it in my hands?  Why do you no go to Tar Valon yourself?"

 

"Thousands died, Asha'man included, to keep me from being carried to the White Tower.  I need to be free to prepare the world for what is coming, not locked in a cell beneath the Tower to dance on Aes Sedai strings.  You're more likely to succeed because you're less important to them."  Jarron paused to look around the room.  He saw doubt in the eyes of almost everyone present.  Honestly, he couldn't blame them.  He didn't like this any more than they, but it needed to be done.  "These are my orders, guardians.  Will you see it done?"

 

It was hard to tell who was more surprised, Jarron or Brent, when every man present saluted with fist to heart, pulled by a ta'veren's will.  Some looked surprised at themselves, plainly wondering why they were agreeing to a plan they didn't like.  Jarron's lip twitched as he hid a smile.  About time it worked for me.

 

"It is settled then.  You have a week Brent.  If I do not hear of an agreement with the White Tower before then, I will be most upset."  He stirred the pile of dust and stone fragments with the tip of Callandor.  "I don't think you'll want me to be upset the next time I come here.  One week Brent.

 

"I am returning to Tear.  You will notify me when this is done."  Flows of spirit reached out into the familiar form of a gateway, forming a black hole in the air.  Without a word or a backwards glance, the Dragon Reborn stepped through his portal and let it wink out behind him.

 

Leaning back in his throne, Brent closed his eyes took a few deep, steadying breaths.  They didn't help much.  When his eyes opened they settled on the small group behind Arath and Covai.  "Get out.  And do no be speaking of what you be hearing here."

 

OOC: Okay guys, this one is pretty much wrapped up.  You can post your final reactions before being chased from the room.  And I'll be starting up the next one soon.

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Gerrin's laughter ceased as the earsplitting crack filled his head.  Instinctively his hands went to his ears and he ducked.  For at least the third time today he thought he was going to die.  The Dragon Reborn's words echoed through the chamber. "I did not make a suggestion Brent.  I gave you an order.  You WILL find a way to make peace with the White Tower.  If you have to crawl to Tar Valon and beg the Amyrlin on hand and knee, we will have a truce.  I am trying to unite the world against the shadow.  Tarmon Gai'don is coming.  The first blows may have been struck in Shienar.  And I will not tolerate another failure like that."

 

Mutters and ramblings broke the silence though Geirrin held his tongue.  He stared as Brent foolishly spoke back to the Dragon Reborn.  The M'Hael was a fool!  Words went back and forth until finally the Dragon Reborn addressed the room.  "These are my orders, guardians.  Will you see it done?"  Without conscious thought, Geirrin saluted realizing then stared around the room realizing that everyone had done so.  In the course of an afternoon they had become the Dragon's men, sworn by oath and held by a power beyond his comprehension.

 

"Get out.  And do no be speaking of what you be hearing here."  Brent's words rang out and Geirrin made it a point of being the first one out of the room.

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The room erupted with outrage, it was palpable in the air. Voices started shouting regardless that the Dragon had just given them an order. The Illianer erupted as well, his native accent thick in his throat.

 

"...You do be mad if you think we be doing this." Tai frowned. That was probably not the right thing to say to the Dragon. He barely had time to think it however before a blaze and an earsplitting crack thundered in the room. Amidst dust and rock the Dragon's voice dripped acid from his lips "I did not make a suggestion Brent.  I gave you an order.  You WILL find a way to make peace with the White Tower....Tarmon Gai'don is coming.  The first blows may have been struck in Shienar.  And I will not tolerate another failure like that."

 

Silence settled around the room for the most part, men muttering to themselves. Chaos scrambled for the source and Tai forced him back with an effort. The voice was mad! He almost chuckled at the thought, of course it was..just more so than usual!

 

Brent changed colors again, putting a chameleon to shame. "If this peace be so important to you, then why do you be leaving it in my hands?  Why do you no go to Tar Valon yourself?"

 

The question was ridiculous. He knew it and so did everyone in the room. The Dragon, the Hope of the world, could not simply walk into the tower...especially not after Dumai's Wells. Tai was surprised when the Dragon answered.

 

"Thousands died, Asha'man included, to keep me from being carried to the White Tower.  I need to be free to prepare the world for what is coming, not locked in a cell beneath the Tower to dance on Aes Sedai strings..." Jarron paused, turning his attention to the rest of the room, some men looked at him uneasily. Tai knew it had to be done, knew it in his bones. From the conversations with Arath, to the proof of Shenier. "These are my orders, guardians.  Will you see it done?"

 

With passion and conviction he saluted the man, fist to heart his eyes shinning. He would serve this man to end the Shadow's reign.

 

"It is settled then.  You have a week Brent...I don't think you'll want me to be upset the next time I come here.  One week Brent." The comment was made more ominous by the stirring of the dust of the council table with Callandor. "I am returning to Tear.  You will notify me when this is done."

 

And he was gone. Through a gateway, the Dragon had left the building.

 

With Brent's angry command, Tai did the same.

 

OOC: Sorry couldnt help it  :D

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Nobody spoke for a time in the council room of the Black Tower.  The Storm and Attack Leaders stood in a vague circle around the pile of dust which was all that remained of the large stone table, the victim of the Dragon's fury.  The M'Hael, Brent Enios, sat in his throne where the head of the massive table had been, fuming in silent fury.  "This do be madness," he said finally.  "If we be going to the White Tower, they be gentling us all."

 

"He did not say to throw ourselves upon their mercy," said Jarin Deon, a Domani Attack Leader.  "There must be some way to make peace with them."

 

"Agreed," said Haykes Pedrion, a Shienaran Storm Leader.  "Surely the White Tower can be reasonable about this?"

 

"Reasonable?" snorted Brent.  "They do have three thousand years of 'reasonable' history with our kind."  He turned his gaze upon Covai and Arath.  "This do be your fault.  How do you suggest we be handling this?"

 

Arath shared a glance with Covai.  This was something they had discussed between themselves, but had not had a chance to bring up with Jarron.  "I believe we stumbled upon the answer last time we met with them," said Arath calmly.  "Bonding."

 

"Fool!  Even if they agreed to this nonsense, they would demand that we be their slaves."  This time it was Tenim Wulwind who spoke, a minor noble from Cairhien and one of Brent's lackeys.  "I don't fancy only being allowed to channel under the eyes of a Red jailer."

 

"Wulwind do speak the truth.  Even as our prisoners they did act like be owning the place."  Brent didn't bother to hide his contempt with the idea.  "They will demand no less than total control if we be trying that."

 

"And if they came to us?  Would you demand any less than total control?"  Covai snorted.  "Not everyone is as bloody uncompromising as you Brent.  If we present this to them, they will most likely see the need.  I would be willing to lead a delegation myself."

 

"I think Covai is right," said Haykes.  "If we reach some sort of arrangement to have bonds going both ways, it will force everyone to treat each other fairly.  There can be no controlling side or else this whole thing will fall apart."  There was a murmur of agreement from around the room.

 

"No," said Brent with finality.  "You do be mad for even considering this.  I will no allow the Black Tower to be destroyed by your foolish fancies.  I will no allow the Aes Sedai to control any of us."

 

Arath took the opportunity to speak up.  "Then I assume you 'will no' be following the Lord Dragon's order?"  Brent's gaze should have killed the young Andoran on the spot.  "If you have any better suggestions, I'm sure we'd all love to hear them."

 

"We are Asha'man Brent," said Covai loudly, walking over to stand at end of the dust pile opposite Brent.  "Guardians.  We stand to protect the world from the Shadow.  That is our entire purpose.  We must use whatever means are available to us to fight the Dark One, and if that means siding with the Aes Sedai, than so be it.  Sacrifices must be made.  Do not be such a damned fool Brent.  If the back biting dreadlords can come together to stand against us, why can we not stand together against them?"

 

There was a moment of silence as Covai stepped back beside Arath.  The Attack Leaders all nodded in agreement with his words, and many of the Storm Leaders seemed to be mulling it over in their minds.  Finally, Rorol Baldere, a Saldean Storm Leader spoke.  "I say we put it to a vote.  All those in favor of Covai's plan, to negotiate bonds with the White Tower?"  Rorol's own hand went up, along with those of Covai and four of the other Storm Leaders.  "Any opposed?"  Four hands went up, Brent's included.  Rorol turned toward the M'Hael.  "Six in favor, four opposed.  The Light help us, but we will make peace with the White Tower."

 

All around the room, men shifted uncomfortably as they realized their course was set.  Some looked eager, others let out resigned sigh's and fell back into their seats.  The M'Hael glared murderously around the room at all those who had voted in favor of the idea.  "You do all be fools.  I will no let the Aes Sedai control me like a puppet."  Rising from his throne, Brent stormed out of the room, the three Storm Leaders that had sided with him hot on his heels.  "This do no be over," he said softly to himself.  "I will no allow it."

 

OOC:  Not as well done as I would have liked it, but I didn't feel like writing out so many POV's.  Got the important stuff though.  I'll be posting the next part in a new thread soon.

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