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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

The Passion of Apathy {Attn Kura}


TaiDashan
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Shadar sat alone in a large dark room. The room contained one chair which he currently occupied and a mirrored stand lamp at the far end. He had been sent a note from Arcon. It had brief instructions and if it had not had a particular phrase he would have never have come under these circumstances.

 

He had been given explicit instructions that under no circumstance save threat of death was he to channel. He was to leave his blades in his room and dress only in his robe. He would find the room marked in rough charcoal and enter. Immediately he was to go to the back of the room without delay and find the chair in which he now sat. On it would be a blindfold which he was to don as soon as he was seated.

 

So, in silence he waited. His ears strained for sound, the lamp at the far end of the room was a dim flicker behind the blindfold. Going through the exercises he achieved the Void. Like bugs, fear and confusion skittered lightly across the surface of the Void. What was Arcon up to? Why the vulnerability?

 

Arcon had asked him to do things before that had not made sense, but afterward turned out to be a lesson. This was most likely another of those, but Shadar could not help but feel uneasy. After the incident with the fadeling, Shadar had realized that even Arcon was human. That thought had shaken him at first, but it had been a needed crash back to the hard ground of reality. Arcon was a Father of sorts, given to him by the Great Lord to guide him in His service. That did not mean he was perfect.

 

Out of the darkness he heard a sound and bit back a question to strain for another sound.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Arcon had kicked the pebble, letting the sound skitter through the dark room. He knew the emotional state that Shadar was in, and he needed to end it. He needed Shadar focused, under control. A jumpy assassin gets caught, and that was not what Arcon needed. At least, unless he planned for Shad to get caught... "Shadar." His voice was gentle, fatherly. He knew how Shadar felt about him...

 

"Shadar you have done well over the past couple years, advancing quickly under my guidance." He let the praise roll off his tongue, sincere but at the same time sounding almost trivial... "Yet you seem to have been broken, that callous man that I picked up and took under my wing gone, and it has been gone ever since your test for Adept." The words would sting the man, that much he knew. Shadar wouldn't be able to handle Arcon leaving him to flounder... at least without killing the dreadlord.

 

"Normally, I would toss you away, a tool that has lost its purpose should not be kept. But this is you, Shad, my friend, my student... I will give you the chance Shad, to reforge you into a superior blade, to serve, and to live out your life as you have chosen. But to do this, I must ask you questions, know you intimately. In order to reforge you I will need to melt you down my friend. This will not be easy." Arcon had used those words before, and knew Shad would know how much he meant them.

 

"Who are you Shad? What have you been through? What broke you in the test?" Arcon paused... "And what are you so afraid of? What scar has left you jumping at the shadows?" His voice was gentle towards the end, concerned and filled with sincerity. "You can grasp how hard this will be, but I promise you will be stronger for it, under control of your emotions. You will be Thakan'dari Steel by the time I am done with you tonight." Arcon had never sworn an oath to Shad before, and even more strengly he didn't have to fake the conviction. Arcon didn't want to think of the attachments he had made to the man...

 

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"Shadar" Arcon's voice was gentle but had him nearly jumping out of his skin at its suddenness. "Shadar you have done well over the past couple years, advancing quickly under my guidance...." Shadar had heard the like before, he knew how well he had done. Oh he held no illusions of greatness, the praise was simple truth. Arcon had never been one to use flowery praise unless to manipulate.

 

"...that callous man that I picked up and took under my wing gone, and it has been gone ever since your test for Adept." Shadar frowned. Arcon sounded disapproving. That fact hurt him more than he would like to admit.

 

"Normally, I would toss you away, a tool that has lost its purpose should not be kept. But this is you, Shad, my friend, my student...I must ask you questions, know you intimately...This will not be easy." Shadar knew that Arcon would not use these words lightly. Usually when he said that it would not be easy, the lesson left shad gasping for air or bone weary. But this would not be a physical test....

 

"Who are you Shad? What have you been through? What broke you in the test?"

 

The question hung in the air like cold steel. Fear threatened to crush the Void. He had sworn to himself he would not speak of his test to anyone. Partly to hold his emotions close, partly to keep the pain at bay...

 

"Hel-Hello?" croaked the man quietly. Fear drew his voice out in a quavering croak as his head swung from side to side, searching the darkness. Shadar approached silently from behind. He drew his daggers and tensed himself, preparing to strike. Suddenly Galan whirled, oil spilling from the lamp as he grew in size. Shadar froze in the ring of fire that now surrounded him and gazed up at Galan, now 3 times his size.

 

"You!" his voice boomed. "How many times do I have to tell you? You goat-brained son of a Trolloc?!" Fear sliced through the Void and Shad almost lost the Source. His skin pebbled and he wove without thinking. Lashing out at the weaves he could not see. He did not catch them all however. Invisible blows of Air struck him from every direction, pummeling him. All was black outside the ring of flames, but Galan loomed in his sight. Tears streamed down his face as razors struck him from every side. Inside him something snapped...

 

The memory flashed across his mind and unbidden, tears started to seep into the blindfold.

 

"You can grasp how hard this will be, but I promise you will be stronger for it, under control of your emotions. You will be Thakan'dari Steel by the time I am done with you tonight."

 

The comparison to the steel forged on the slopes of Shayol'Gul was not lost on Shad. He unclenched his jaw he had not known that he had been clenching. Where to begin?

 

"Arcon." He said, his voice strained with emotion. You are the first person in my life I have come close to trusting." Silence hung thick in the air. "The Great Lord took my parents and gave me you, to guide me in his service...Ask me and I shall answer."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Arcon nodded, accepting the responsibility that Shad was offering him. A surrogate father... who would have thought it was in me? He knew though, that this was the strongest bond he could forge, if the most risky. He could never throw Shad away, not after tonight. To do so would form a vendetta that would end with one of them dead... and with Shad's strength.

 

"Thank you Shadar. I swear on the Great Lord and my own ambition I will not fail you in this." It was the strongest oath he could give, both of the things he dedicated his life to in a single oath. It was stronger than a hope of salvation and rebirth for a light fool, it was the core of who he was. What made him Arcon Dadread.

 

"I knew you were hurt when I first laid eyes on you, you seemed emotionless, but I knew they were simply buried deep. A twitch of your eye brow, your lips, they would have been the equivalent of a man screaming for soldiers to stop playing with his wife... We will start there."

 

Arcon pulled up a chair, sitting in a few feet in front of the man. "Someone or something hurt you, I doubt it was the loss of your parents... Tell me Shad, what was it? What happened to you? Show me if you can... I have shown you the weaves." Arcon had his own weaves ready, razors and clubs of air inverted so that Shad could not see them. He would use them if needed, if Shad got to far out of control. Knock him out, heal him, and try again. They needed to get through this, had too.

 

Arcon would not loose Shadar. He wouldn't loose a man who considered him his father; he wouldn't let a man he thought of as a son go...

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"Thank you Shadar. I swear on the Great Lord and my own ambition I will not fail you in this."

 

Shadar nearly gasped in relief as Arcon spoke his Oath. For one who knew Arcon, there was no stronger. Fear abated slightly. He heard the scrape of a chair and felt Arcon's unseen presence settle in front of him.

 

"Tell me Shad, what was it? What happened to you? Show me if you can... I have shown you the weaves."

 

He had spent days weeping uncontrollably in front of this man, raging about his rooms throwing and breaking things. Still, he was loathe to cry in front of him, to show such weakness. He swallowed hard and his hands crept slowly to the knot at the back of his head. He bowed his head and slowly untied the cloth, pulling it from his face and resting it in his lap. A crystalline tear hung irritatingly from the corner of his eye before plunging to the black cloth below.

 

Standing, he turned his back to Arcon. Seizing the Source as he turned, he wove Air to push aside his chair. He needed room to weave. His voice was currently locked in a struggle for its life with his throat, the one threatened to be strangled by the other. Shadar closed his eyes for a brief moment and drew deeply on the Source. He would need every ounce of practice he had done to make this work.

 

Weaving the needed elements, Shadar began with painting brief scenes of illusion. Showing his town back home, the day Galan met him. He wove Galan, in all of his fatness. His home where he took Shadar, the belt he used to beat him. The cabinet always full of liquor, the nightly beatings. In the Void it was easier. He showed that final night, the fear and all the hatred finally rising to a climax. His plans for Galan, the knife he had used...Shadar wove the butchery with a sense of satisfaction.

 

He wove the brief scene during his test, including the feeling of hopelessness as the Dreadladies wove to kill him. The fire, Galan towering over him, all of it.

 

When it was done he turned to face his Mentor, his friend. Words were still beyond him, so he simply waited.

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