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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Maybe this isn't such a good idea ((Attn: Kabria))


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A cool wind blew steadily out of the North causing Perivar's color-shifting cloak to dance about as they rode toward their destination.  Perivar paid no mind to his flapping cloak or the cool afternoon air which crept its way through every stitch of his clothing.  His attention was focused on their surroundings and keeping Kabria safe while trying to battle the other thoughts racing in his head.  The task of keeping Kabria safe was becoming increasingly difficult by the day, difficult enough without other distractions.  More often than not she seemed to forget that she was Aes Sedai not the Warder.  Sometimes he felt as if she were trying to protect him more than he was her.  When he jokingly brought up the matter she just laughed at him telling him he was being ridiculous.  Her words were more colorful than his.

 

Perivar had been quiet most of the day, not odd behavior for him but it was obvious that something was bothering him.  Dutifully he studied the trees on either side of the hard packed dirt road hoping to keep his mind busy though it did little to stop the worrisome thoughts that kept forming in his head.  Even working the forms had not kept them at bay.  He had not been this unsettled in a while. 

 

The clip-clopping of their horse's hooves rang out and melded with the sound of rustling leaves on the branches of the trees that lined both sides of the road.  They swayed to and fro with the breeze making it seem as though everything around them were in motion.  Perivar heard the birds as they chittered away on those swaying branches.  He caught sight of the occasional squirrel gathering nuts or hopping from limb to limb.  He would have noticed even more had he been able to form the void though the disturbing thoughts would not stop their assault on him.  He had been unable to force his emotions into the flame of late which meant he could not assume the void.  It had him on edge.

 

All around them greens clashed with yellows and browns and a variety of other colors to make up the landscape.  Another time he might have stopped to take in the scenery, it was breathtaking.  Sharing that with Kabria in his arms would have been magical though it was not to be.  As beautiful as Arafel was, it was an extremely harsh land even to those accustomed to the cold climate and the frequent raids by shadowspawn.  It had become even more harsh in recent years, moreso than he had known as a child.  The troubles with Shienar had taken a toll on the land and he was not trusting of anyone save for Kabria at this point.  He had seen enough death, destruction, and foul deeds to leave him sufficiently jaded.  He did not have much faith in the good will of people in general.       

 

Without looking back Perivar spoke, being on edge his tone was much rougher than he had intended.  "I don't know how I am to protect you when you charge into every dangerous situation as if you are some queen of battles.  You are more than a queen in my eyes though you are not immortal Kabria!  I admire your bravery, honestly I do but you make my task of keeping you alive and well decidedly difficult.  If you...if anything..."  His words trailed off, he couldn't even finish the thought nor keep eye contact with her.  It was enough to make his stomach turn.  Turning away he cursed himself for speaking without thought.  He cursed himself for bungling his words.  He should have said what he truly felt.  He needed her, more than she could ever have imagined.  It went way beyond love or the fact that they were bonded.  In simple terms she was his world.     

 

North and West they had travelled for days toward his childhood home.  Toward the place where he used to call home, that was before he met Kabria.  Now home was wherever she was.  The beautiful pale haired, blue eyed, quick witted Aes Sedai with the sharp tongue and compassionate soul was his whole world.  He would die for her though he desperately wanted to live to spend the rest of his life with her. 

 

Stopping Nightdancer in the middle of the road he turned to face Kabria giving her no time to respond.  The pain that was so evident looked odd on his hard face.  "I'm sorry, I should not have spoke to you so.  Please forgive me."  He very nearly pleaded with her.  Sighing he finally got to the point.  "I'm not so sure that this is a good idea.  It has been a long time since I have seen or even spoken to my parents.  Perhaps there is no reason to visit now.  I am bound to the White Tower not the Borderlands.  Maybe we should go on to Kandor and search for your grandparents?"  Hundreds of scenarios had run through his head since they decided to visit his parents though most were unpleasant.  His life now was completely different, he had grown and changed immensely.  Perhaps this was a bad idea.         

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Kabria’s hands flexed on her reins, and she patted Blade as if the stallion had shown nerves. Glancing at Perivar from the corner of her hood she studied his face, trying to read what lay behind his eyes. It was unlike him to have such swinging moods, and frayed nerves.

 

As Aes Sedai she was practiced at appearing calm, even when her moods were bouncing, but a calm face did nothing for her inside. She often counted on Perivar to be her rock, to be her serene pool of calm in which to draw from. Without his calm, her eyes had grown tight and her mask of serenity was a thin veneer. Every night when they stopped she tried to pry his feelings out of him, using her sweet reason, and even Saidar, but every night he denied his feelings. Though she could feel them ragging through the bond.

 

Not hiding her nerves as well as she hopped Kabria spurred Blade for more speed and was met with a snide remark. "I don't know how I am to protect you when you charge into every dangerous situation as if you are some queen of battles.  You are more than a queen in my eyes though you are not immortal Kabria!  I admire your bravery, honestly I do but you make my task of keeping you alive and well decidedly difficult.  If you...if anything..."

 

Sniffing and turning Blade so she would not have to look at him, she chose to ignore his outburst. This was not the first, and when she’d reacted to the others screaming matches had followed. The only light in their increasingly dark travels was the making up. It was always so much sweeter after a fight.

 

Not feeling like making up she ignored several attempts, until he forced her to listen. By giving her the choice of stopping or running him down. Folding her hands on the pommel of her saddle she eyed him coolly, ignoring the pain flowing through the bond and painting his face.

 

“Perhaps if you learned to talk about your feelings you would not feel the need to snap at me like a bear with a sore tooth.” Twitching her reins she met his gaze levelly and fought down her growing compassion. All of her Sister’s had told her that at times a Warder needed a firm hand, something she rarely used with Perivar. Otherwise he could grow to insolent and be even harder to manage. Kabria did not think of her Warder as only a tool, but at times like this the advice seemed necessary.

 

“I love you Perivar, and I know that this is hard for you, but we are continuing on. Your mother has a right to know what happened to you.”Holding her ground she waited for his conceding nod, before allowing some of the ice in her eyes to melt. LIGHT! She would be happy when he could find his calm again!

 

Riding Blade up next to him, she didn’t stop until their knee’s touched and she could lay a hand along his cheek. “I will not ask you to introduce me to them, telling them of your new life will be enough; but you must go home. At least once more.”

 

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His dear sweet Kabria always saw through the facade.  In mere moments she had gotten past all of the fluff to the heart of the matter.  She even gave him a pass by going easy on him over his childish behavior.  Perivar was convinced that she knew him better than he knew himself.  It was almost unsettling.

 

“I love you Perivar, and I know that this is hard for you, but we are continuing on. Your mother has a right to know what happened to you.”  Grudgingly he nodded after a few moments of silence.  In response the ice in her gaze melted a trifle.Her reaction left him bewildered.    Was that a brief flash of relief that he felt through the bond?  Did she truly think that he might turn away now?  Ooh how he wanted to but deep inside he knew he couldn't.  They had come this far, too far to leave now.

 

Lost in thought he had not noticed her closing the gap between them until their knees touched.  Her hand on his cheek sent a shiver through his body.  It was like being touched by a woman for the first time.  “I will not ask you to introduce me to them, telling them of your new life will be enough; but you must go home. At least once more.”

 

Reaching up with his left hand he caressed Kabria's cheek.  "I am not sure why I have been so blessed to have you in my life.  Truly your love is more than I deserve."  Savoring the moment he waited a few heartbeats then smiled at Kabria before dismounting.  "We will stop here for the night while we have enough light to make camp.  There is not another village between here and my parent's manor house."  He refused to call it home.  He scanned their surroundings before adding "This is as good a spot as we are likely to find."  A copse of trees stood amidst a meadow of tall grass and wildflowers.  The trees would help provide some cover as well as relief from the elements. 

 

Perivar helped Kabria dismount holding her tight for a moment before seeing to the horses and their belongings.  Perivar continued their conversation while he worked.  "It is not my home any longer.  It stopped being that when I left many years ago."  There was no sadness in his voice, it was simply a matter of fact.  You are my home now my love he whispered.  "I am not sure there is a reason to visit."  He purposely fumbled with a strap on his saddlebag to by himself some time to think.  "Things have changed, what if I am no longer welcome?  Some may feel that I abandoned their cause?"  A foolish notion but what if?  If someone uttered an insult he would be bound by honor to react.  "With all the trouble we have seen and heard of, they might not be too pleased with the White Tower."  He was grasping for straws, trying to find any excuse not to return.  A fool could have seen through his pitiful excuses. 

 

Perivar saw to the horses and their belongings then setup up their tiny pavilion in the copse of trees.  When he emerged from the pavilion he found Kabria working on dinner.  She seemed to be using every ounce of her concentration on preparing the meal.  Her meals had improved greatly over the years but she could still be touchy about her cooking ability.  Jokingly he said "I do not look forward to seeing my family but at least we will eat well."  She shot him a look that promised him retribution which only made him laugh out loud.  A heartbeat later a switch of air caught his bottom.  He winced then resumed his laughter rubbing his bottom as he went about searching the copse for more firewood.  He loved his fiery little Aes Sedai, loved everything about her.  Kabria uttered something but he could not make it out.  When he turned she had a pleased smile on her face.  Clearly she felt as if she had gained the upper hand.  It was good to see her smile. 

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Kabria gave Perivar a brief smile and leaned into his touch. It had come so infrequently of late unless there had been a fight. It would be detrimental if she were ever seen taking comfort in such a tender action, but out here in the middle of nowhere so near the Blight there were no eyes to report her most grievous weakness. Too often with Perivar she found her knees growing weak, and her heart began to beat wildly in her ears. How had she been so lucky to find such a love?

 

"We will stop here for the night while we have enough light to make camp.  There is not another village between here and my parent's manor house." Kabria would have sighed, only she knew it would do no good. They could not make the manor before darkness and this would be a more comfortable campsite than one found on the fly. "This is as good a spot as we are likely to find."

 

Thanks to training from Jasine she needed no help dismounting, but it was always a pleasure to be wrapped in his arms. As his strong hands tightened on her waist her heart reacted to its cue, and when he pulled her in close her knee’s trembled. Love really was like a rose, beautiful and yet adorned with thorns. 

 

Starting on the fire she listened to Perivar while she worked. It was rare for him to open up and she was not about to interrupt. "With all the trouble we have seen and heard of, they might not be too pleased with the White Tower."   Scoffing Kabria shook her head. Even if they were upset with the loss of a son no Borderlander would harbor ill will towards the White Tower. Often it was the Aes Sedai, the Green Ajah that helped to keep the Blight at bay. Fighting wherever it was hottest and never allowing an inch of the Blight to gain hold. Not wanting to spend another evening screaming she kept her thoughts to herself and decided to start on their meal.

 

Her abilities had improved ten-fold in the last several years, but even she had to admit that Perivar was a far better cook. Home making would never be her forte. "I do not look forward to seeing my family but at least we will eat well." Kabria bent from the soup, letting the spoon drip over the hot coals and shot Perivar a look of death. Growling at his laugh she embraced Saidar and wacked him with a switch of air, hoping dearly that it would leave a welt. It would serve him right to ride the last miles to his parent’s home with a sore bottom. “Fool Man!” she muttered as she began to serve up their food. Into his dish she added a little something extra, and smirked. ‘The heat should keep him warm’ she thought as she added a few more hot peppers to his dish.

 

Smiling for all she was worth she watched as he took his first bites and was shocked when he hardly reacted. She herself enjoyed spicy foods, but that much would have scorched her tongue. Snatching the bowl away from him almost as soon as he was done she cleaned them quickly and tucked them away. With her back to him she preformed her Novice exercises and tried to find her calm, but it was hard with the bond still surging.

 

Sitting down next to Perivar she scooted closer until he reached out to wrap his arm around her, then she laid her head on his chest. “Home is what you make it I suppose. As much as it pains me to admit it I would no longer feel home on Shenesta’s decks, any more than I would in a palace in Illian. Still..” She looked up at Perivar through her lashes. “..there is a need to go back. You cannot move forward until you have let go of all the other ties that bind you.” Part of what she was saying came from the books she loved so dearly, and other parts were taken from conversations with her Sisters. They said that to truly be Aes Sedai you gave up loyalties to your homeland and put feelings for those places and their people aside. It was a task she had not yet been able to do. “I feel the protest in you Perivar. I know that you are mine and no other, but you still have half a heart at home. If you did not you would not feel so many nerves about returning.”

 

Pushing away from him she leaned up and brushed his lips with a kiss, her blond hair falling forward to caress his cheeks. “There is no shame in that.” She whispered, and leaned in to kiss him again. Settling back down on the ground she shifted trying to find a comfortable position. Home may be wherever Perivar was, but she would be happy to sleep in a bed again. Her slender frame was not built for sleeping on hard ground.

 

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Perivar sat on a log staring off into the distance as Kabria tried to make herself comfortable.  The fire crackled throwing sparks up into the sky but he did not stir.  Kabria's words still lingered in his head.  She was wise beyond her years.  Was that something that came from being Aes Sedai or was it just that she possessed wisdom beyond his comprehension.  How did she always know what was troubling him when he did not know for sure himself.  No doubt she was right though he didn't want her to be.  It seemed like a betrayal.

 

He was certain that Kabria sensed his discomfort through the bond though she remained silent while he worked it out in his head.  Guilt riddled Perivar, he felt like he betrayed her.  All this time he thought he was over the feelings that drove him to return home.  When he became Kabria's warder he thought his needs were fulfilled.  Little did he know there was a nagging feeling residing deep within him that he never realized.  Before Kabria it had been so obvious but now it was so covert that he never understood it for what it was.  He felt even worse now, as if he was betraying Kabria and all that she meant to him.  What man could ask for more than she had given him.  She was his world yet somehow it was not enough...

 

Perivar occasionally stood and did rounds of their camp.  Other nights Kabria would take turns with him so he could rest an hour or two though tonight he knew he could not close his eyes.  Little did he know that his restlessness and his emotions flowing through the bond made it difficult for her to sleep.  Not to mention that he kept talking to himself.  That and the fact that she never slept well outside.  Kabria always said how she was not built to sleep on the hard ground and she was right.  Kabria was very fit, she did not have much padding on her body at all.  She had curves in all the right places though, her figure drove him wild.  Combine that with her striking looks and passion for life made her seem as if she emerged out of one of his dreams.  The more he thought of her the worse he felt, the more he felt like he betrayed her.  It was tearing him apart.

 

He did another circuit of the camp talking to himself as he walked.  He could not sit still.  "I have no right to feel this way!"  He was furious with himself.  "It is not my fight any longer yet it still burns inside me!  I have betrayed everyone!  My parents, our people, and most of all my love for Kabria!  I have more than any man can ask for yet I am not completely content, Why?!?!"  Surely this was something beyond his own control so he asked the Creator.  In his fury he did not realize that he had been shouting.  "Is this some foul scheme by the Dark One?!?!"

 

Walking back to the camp he found Kabria sitting.  She was wrapped in her blanket staring at him.  He felt her concern through the bond.  "You are still troubled my Love."  She spoke, the concern was plain in her voice.  Guilt riddled him to the point where he wanted to do anything but face her.  Sitting down he let it all out.  "I'm sorry but I thought it was over.  I did not understand what was wrong until you reasoned it out.  I have not conciously felt the pull since you came to me years ago when I was on the brink of losing myself.  I thought it was gone but it was lingering deep inside all this time but I could not recognize it for what it was.  I'm sorry."  Standing her turned to go though Kabria's silken hand touched his stalling his efforts to leave.  Once again he was about to walk away when he knew the right thing to do was to stay and talk.  Another thing that Kabria had taught him.  So many things that he could never repay.

 

Turning again to face her he sat still holding her hand though this time it was his gripping hers as if he could absorb some of her strength like she could with him.  His other hand reached for her face, his fingers gently caressing her silken skin.  "I'm sorry my love."  Pain wracked him, he wanted to crawl under a rock and die.  No he wanted to live a long live by her side fulfilling her every need and desire.  "You are more than I deserve and I know it.  It hurts to know it, to know that I am less than you deserve."

 

Perivar paused for a moment, his head ached.  "Before you came to me I always felt as if I betrayed my family, my people.  I know that I had no choice but to come to the Tower.  It was my father's decision yet that matters little in my mind.  When I became yours I thought was purpose was fulfilled, the need to go north and fight the shadow seemed to have subsided.  My life and all that I am is yours.  To follow you wherever you lead, to do your bidding as you see fit, but somewhere deep inside there is still the pull to go north and fight the shadow with all that I am.  I swear that I do not wish it to be so yet it is there.  I didn't see it for what it was but now that I do I need to rid myself of this feeling.  I am not fully yours until I can do so.  It is not fair to you.  All my focus needs to be on my service to you.  It has to be so."  He stopped speaking and became withdrawn.  The guilt and pain threatened to rip him apart.  He had to find a way to come to terms with his feelings.  Something that he had never been good at. 

 

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Kabria tossed and turned on the ground. Rolling to remove one rock from her ribs only to be cursed with another; the frustration and guilt flowing through the bond was enough to make it a restless night. Still, she wanted to give Perivar his time. She had planted the seeds to point him in the right direction, but it would take him to make them grow. In the past she had tried to push him to a decision and it had always ended badly. Especially with this, he needed to come to it on his own.

 

A reflection of the pain he was feeling showed in her own eyes as he apologized, again and again, trying to make her understand. If he had only paused for a moment he would have known that once again she’d known all along what he needed to do. Furthermore he would know that she intended to be by his side every step of the way.

 

Reaching out Kabria laid her hands gently on each temple, her fingers massaging slow circles until she felt some of his tension leave. Not slowing the gentle touch she tried to make him feel how much she believed in him. Pushing love and adoration in great waves, confidence and tenderness, making sure he knew with every fiber of his being that he was far from a disappointment to her.

 

“You are a great fool Perivar, but you are my great fool and I love you.” Brushing his lips with a kiss she slowly began to massage her way down his arm, working muscles that were growing tight from a long journey on horseback. Her fingers never ceased their dance along his body as she talked. “You are a man of great honor and I have known all along that someday this journey would come. My only hope was that I would be good enough to ride by your side, and to help you fight. Your battle is my battle, and I will fight the shadow with my last breath just as you will.”

 

“The question I must ask you is, am I worthy to ride with you?” Perivar told her how brave she was, and how skilled with her weapons and with Saidar and yet he always found ways to protect her and shelter her. He seemed to feel as if she was made of glass and she wondered if he would want that kind of responsibility in the Blight.

 

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Kabria's tender touch began to relieve the strain on his mind and body.  Why she cared for him so still confused him.  Perivar was convinced that no mortal man was worthy of Kabria.  She was a gift from the creator, it must be so he thought.  The feelings that shone through the bond amazed him.  How could she love and adore him so.  It should not be possible yet there it was.  He felt as if he let her down on so many levels yet the bond told he that he was everything she desired and then some.

 

Kabria's words washed over him stimulating his mind like no one else could do.  Her fingers continued work over his tired muscles and her kiss breathed life into him.  Adrenaline surged through his body, he felt more alive than ever.  He could climb the highest mountain with her by his side.  He felt like he could take on the Dark One, crush the shadow in one blow.

 

Perivar was elated, he felt larger than life itself.  “The question I must ask you is, am I worthy to ride with you?”  What he felt through the bond blindsided him.  She was truly worried that he did not feel she was ready to face what had to be faced.  Shock gripped him, the moisture in his eyes seemed to leave his mouth dry.  He had to wait to speak.

 

"I am already the luckiest man alive to have you by my side.  I can think of no one I would rather have with me to face life's trials.  It is both an honor and a blessing that you are willing to stand by me.  You are a borderlander my love, in heart, body, and mind.  You are far more than any man deserves.  Far more than any man could wish for." 

 

As always he was worried that his words were not enough, too simple, nowhere near elegant enough to do his feelings for her justice.  Golden veins of love, pride, and sheer joy surged through the bond.  What she was feeling through the bond should be enough to convince her in spite of his simple words.  Perivar pulled her close holding her body against his gently though firmly enough to feel his strength.  The feel of her so close to him sent shivers throughout his body.  The feel of her along with what he sensed through the bond was marvelous, it was so amazing that it almost hurt.       

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It was only moments that passed, but even a moment could feel like an eternity when you waiting on such an answer. The swelling of his heart answered as well as words ever could have, but she didn’t stop them from coming.

 

The ecstasy of feeling worthy in his eyes washed over her and she cried of a few tears of her own. “I do not think I will ever be able to tell you how much those words mean to me.” To be called a Borderlander and to be counted among their bravery was enough that she could die happy in that moment. “I have always wanted a land to call my own and I feel privileged to be counted among one of those you trust by your side in the Blight Perivar Tarigan, Lord of Heart and son of Arafel.” Smiling at him she fell into his embrace and held him until sleep took her.

 

She woke with the sun, not surprised to see Perivar already awake and with dark circles painting his eyes. Even Warders were not the Light made flesh and needed rest, but she didn’t say a word. On the eve of meeting her own family she may very well spend sleepless nights. The tugs of family ties, and the pain of feeling as if you may no longer belong could be a great burden.

 

Kabria could feel his unsettled stomach and didn’t bother to offer him breakfast as she prepared her own. For a time she enjoyed the silence in the early hours; a time when even lands wracked by the horrors of the Blight were at peace. Perivar seemed to feel the silence and didn’t say a word until they were a few miles farther down the road. “It won’t be much farther now.” The tension in him was palpable and Kabria gave him an encouraging smile. “All will be well my heart. The Wheel Weaves as it Wills, but I do not think your own mother will be our demise. There are too many adventures for us yet to face to end skewed on the end of a kitchen knife.”

 

It accrued to Kabria that she knew little about the woman who had raised the man she loved. Was she a warrior? Fierce and as hard as the Waste? Or was she a delicate flower? Ruling her house with smiles and quiet words? She opened her mouth to ask when around the bend a large house came into view. She drew her horse up next to Perivar’s, and stopped to stare. So this was where Perivar called home.

 

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The restless night passed ever so slowly in their makeshift camp.  His breath misted to mix with the clouds that skittered across the moonlight sky.  All through the night he continued to feed the fire in hopes of keeping his dearest Kabria warm.  She had grown somewhat accustom to the colder climate though the nights could be bitter.  She would not complain but knew spending nights on the cold hard ground were not to her liking.  As is anyone truly enjoyed them but some did not seem to mind.

 

If he had his bearings they were an hours ride from the Shol Arbela – Chachin road.  When Kabria woke Perivar had their things stowed and ready to go within the hour.  Even though he was not eager to get to their destination, he had no desire to lay about.

 

Wearily Perivar took to his saddle to continue their journey.  He kept to himself again running all the possible scenarios through his head.  When they reached the road he broke his silence.  “It won’t be much farther now.”  Was all he said.

 

Kabria tried to lighten the mood.  “All will be well my heart. The Wheel Weaves as it Wills, but I do not think your own mother will be our demise. There are too many adventures for us yet to face to end skewed on the end of a kitchen knife.”  Perivar chuckled loudly, “You have not met my mother, yet.  My father walks cautiously around her, something he would not even do for the Amyrlin Seat.”  He said with a smirk and a shrug.

 

Two hours after crossing the road he came to the familiar bend around which would give them their first glance of his former home.  Perivar let out a breath he did not realize he had been holding.  From here only the tops two floors of the manor house were visible.  The rest of the small town on his father’s estate was hidden by the surrounding landscape.  Turning Nightdancer Perivar climbed a rise to the north so they could get a better look at his parent’s estate.

 

When they topped the rise Perivar stopped Nightdancer draping his reins over the saddle’s pommel.  He scanned the horizon for a few minutes before sliding from the saddle.  He walked over to Kabria to help her down from Blade though he still did not say a word. 

 

Walking to where they could get an unobstructed view Perivar finally broke the silence.  “It seems different than what I remember but this is it.”  He studied the landscape for a while, it seemed odd somehow.  Larger perhaps, even his childhood home seemed odd, at one time he thought it the most beautiful building in the world.  What once seemed palatial now appeared simple and plain.  His time traveling and residing in Tar Valon had shown him an entirely different manner of architecture.  Everything in the borderlands was simplistic, built for a purpose with an emphasis on defense and security.

 

The Manor House consisted of three stories of stone and mortar built in the center of what could only be described as an outpost, a small walled in city using the term city very loosely.  His former home which was built on high ground had grown since he left yet it seemed small in comparison to places he had come to know as cities.  It certainly did not hold a candle to the likes of the grand city of Tar Valon let alone Shol Arbela, the city of a thousand bells.  Farmland surrounded the outpost to provide the citizens with the means of supporting themselves.  During raids or hard times the farmers would come inside the walls.  At full capacity it held less than 500 people.   

 

“My father’s estate runs from the Shol Arbela – Chachin road, which we passed two hours back, to the Blight.  It is not visible from where we stand but you can see it from the watch towers in the outpost.  It is only an hours ride to the north.  From this spot here his land runs to the border of Kandor.  Most of our people are down there in the town though there are a few settlements scattered about his estate.” 

 

The nostalgia overcame him for a moment so he took her hand in his bringing her this way and that like a little boy sharing some of his childhood memories.  Pointing to a creek running near the town he said “My brother, Laval and I learned to swim in that creek down there.  Well he tried to drown me and I tried to swim.  He was bigger than me then.”  The thought made him smile.  “We used to swing from that large oak on the bank, the one that splits in the middle with the thick branch hanging over the water.”

 

Turning to the west he pointed to a meadow.  “Over there in that meadow is where we trained our warhorses.”  He was surprised by the fond memories that returned.  Turning farther south he said “In that forest we used to hunt for days on end.  Mother said on several occasions that she was convinced that we were not going to return.”

 

Glancing at Kabria he probed the bond searching for any hint of what she was feeling.  She seemed interested, a smile adorned her beautiful face though his childhood had been vastly different than hers.  The last thing he wanted was to make her upset, he did not want her feeling uncomfortable by him reliving days of his past.  He knew she wanted to know about his past but he was worried about her recalling her less fortunate past. 

 

“Shall we make our way down there?” He asked suddenly uncomfortable.  “Certainly we have been spotted by now.  The Commander of the Watch will be curious to know what we are about even though we are only two people.  When they discover you are Aes Sedai the town will be all abuzz.  Hopefully I will not be recognized until we reach my parents.”  Perivar doubted his luck could go that far.  Hoods could not be worn inside the town walls anywhere in the borderlands but perhaps the lack of braids would confuse some.  Hoods could not be worn but he could don his helmet.

 

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Kabria could not make herself care if his mother was a Trolloc as she stared at the vast estate, surrounded by what appeared to be a small city. Even all her years in Tar Valon had not made her comfortable with nobles. She’d rarely thought of Perivar as one, but seeing where he’d grown up he took on a new dimension in her mind. Perhaps the large manor on the hill did not belong to his family?

 

It had been a fool notion from the start, but a small knot formed in her belly as Perivar began to lead her around; spilling out stories from his childhood and early life.

 

Kabria wondered if being Aes Sedai was enough to counter the fact that she was the illegitimate child of a maid and noble who was raised by Sea Folk. The tattoo’s barely hidden by her gloves suddenly burned under her skin, and for the first time she regretted their presence. Hitching her cloak tighter she cursed the scoop neck of her dress that displayed her tattoo’s so proudly. Perhaps there was still time to change? “Certainly we have been spotted by now.  The Commander of the Watch will be curious to know what we are about even though we are only two people.  When they discover you are Aes Sedai the town will be all abuzz.  Hopefully I will not be recognized until we reach my parents.”

 

Swallowing hard Kabria pushed back the hood of her cloak, and tried to appear clam as she remounted Blade. Her face was not yet ageless, though she was beginning to see the first signs in herself. As they started down the hill towards the small city, and the manor beyond Kabria wished for the ageless face and a few gray hairs, it may have made her task easier.  She eyed Perivar quizzically when he donned his helmet, but didn’t say a word. She was too caught up in finding a way to flee, or too fain sickness to care what he did. “Light cure this bond!” she muttered to herself. Perivar would know if she tried to dissemble, he could already feel her fear. …..Or would if his belly were not turning summersaults.

 

As she led the way to the gates people within the walls stopped to stare. Some pointed and whispered behind their hands. As was proper for Gaidin Perivar rode a measured pace behind her and to her right. His horse was close enough that he could reach out and touch her, but she still felt exposed out in front all alone. They reached the large open gate and Kabria drew rein.

 

The calm in her icy blue eyes said that she’d stopped of her own accord, and that it had nothing to do with the watchmen with crossed halberds barring their way. Casually Kabria removed her green leather gloves and crossed her hands on her pommel, leaving the golden serpent exposed. “Has the world turned so on end that Aes Sedai are denied entrance to a city in the Borderlands?”   She was proud of how calm she’d sounded, given the tumbling of Perivar’s belly and the butterfly’s in her own. The weapons were dropped and the men turned red and stumbled over each other offerings apologies. She waved her hand as if it say it had been a simple mistake and addressed herself to the first to regain composure. “I am headed to the Tarigan Manor, good sirs. I am sure Lord Tarigan will be pleased to learn that the watch is being kept so well.” Her complement and small smile set them off into another flurry of stammers, but she waited patiently for them to be done. Keeping her hands still was becoming a chore as the desire to ride began to ache in Perivar. If he’d only be willing to expose who he was they could have been on their way much faster. Finally the men recovered enough to allow the pair to pass, but news of her arrival had already spread like wildfire. People stepped willingly out of their way and they passed through the crowd with ease.

 

Drawing rein at the gates at the base of the hill she glanced back at Perivar, but he seemed content in his place. “Good day Captain.” She addressed the man with three knots of rank on his shoulder. “I am Kabria Sedai. I wish to see Lord Tarigan.”

 

Light be damned! She wished to run! The guards exchanged looks and they were led into the manor without a word.

 

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Perivar donned his helmet then took up his normal position, one expected of a warder not a lover.  Hopefully none would recognize him, the nasal piece and cheek plates should be sufficient to disguise his features.  That and no one here had seen hide nor hair of him in well over five years.

 

Perivar stared at Kabria's back, she seemed nervous.  Was his trepidation at returning affecting her now?  The butterflies in his stomach quickly turned to large bats.  This had all the potential of going very wrong.  Perivar was concentrating so hard on not getting recognized that his missed everything that Kabria had said.  Before he knew it they were being ushered into the great hall.

 

There at the other end of his room in ornately decorated thrones sat his parent's surrounde by their retinue.  Even from this distance his father looked to have aged drastically.  His once brown hair was now laced with grey and his large brown eyes had dark bags under them.  He still looked as strong as ever, he still sat the throne with a straight back.  His face still held that same strength that Perivar had always admired.

 

His mother on the other hand looked more fierce than he remembered and that was saying something.  By the glare of her eyes, she looked as if she were ready to take on the Dark One by herself.  His mother was a beautiful woman, her face was striking.  She was of average height but possessed a sturdy frame.  She fit a dress well though she would not have looked odd in a suit of armor.  No wonder his father always took care when addressing her.  Noting the look on her face, Perivar fought the urge to take Kabria's hand and retire from the hall.  He was convinced that this was not going to go well.

 


 

Lord Terval Tarigan sat in the small ornately decorated throne idly tapping the fingers waiting on the Aes Sedai to arrive.  He would receive her with all the respect due an Aes Sedai.  As always he would offer whatever assistance she required.  His family had always heeded the call whenever the White Tower requested aid.  Aside from Malkier, the White Tower had always assisted the Borderland nations when the Shadow reared its ugly head.  He was not sure that dead Malkier could have been saved had every Aes Sedai in Tower arrived on the field of battle. 

 

Unfortunately as of late they seemed to be occupied with other business.  The troubles between Arafel and Shienar still lingered like the smell from a midden heap.  He glanced at his wife then touched her hand.  "Be easy Laurelin, I'm sure Kabria Sedai will give you news if there is any."

 


 

The Lady Laurelin Tarigan was leaning forward in her throne as if she were ready to vault from her seat and charge the Aes Sedai and her warder.  Her face looked as if she had been chewing rocks.  A serving woman offered her a goblet of wine though she waved it away without even looking at her.  Her undivided attention was one the young Aes Sedai that was making her way to them.  She cared nothing for this Aes Sedai or whatever aid she was going to request.  All the Lady Tarigan cared for was news of her son.  When she found him she was going to beat him senseless for not keeping in touch.  She had been worried sick ever since he left and the little she had been able to learn had not set her mind at ease.  Laurelin reminded her husband daily that it was he who sent her youngest son away from her.  As much as it was tradition and the right thing to do, she was not going to let him forget her displeasure.

 

"Be easy Laurelin, I'm sure Kabria Sedai will give you news if there is any."  Furiously she rounded on her husband.  Unlike her husband, her voice was loud enough for the whole room to hear.  "She will not give me any useful news Terval!  She will be just like the rest.  If anything she will say he is alive and well to the best of her knowledge, to the best of her knowledge Terval.  What kind of answer is that to give to a mother who sent her son to serve the White Tower."

 

Glancing back at the aisle she saw the Aes Sedai and her warder approaching though they would be dealt with later.  She still had more venom for her husband rounding back on him she picked up where she left off.  "Maybe she will have some little tidbit of information like the last that showed her face in our hall.  I've heard a rumor that he may be bonded.  Bonded Terval!  Bonded to an Aes Sedai and I have no idea who or of what ajah.  If this Aes Sedai cannot give me a solid answer about his whereabouts and his current situation then I am going to Tar Valon to see the Amyrlin Seat.  I will get the answers that I seek."

 

Turning her focus back to the Aes Sedai and her warder she frowned at each in turn as the introductions and courtesies were made.  Why did the warder have his helmet on?  It covered his features so that she could not make out the face.  It couldn't be Perivar she thought, the boy was too tall and lacked the twin braid which was customary for Arafellin men.  Certainly he should have removed the helmet once inside as a sign of respect.  If this Aes Sedai could not control her warder better than this than she should not have come at all.   

 

As soon as she the introductions and courtesies were over she fixed her light brown eyes on the Aes Sedai.  "What do you know of my son?  I'm sure it is nothing like all the rest.  Please do not bore me with rumor and idle speculation.  I demand to know where my son is!"  almost as an afterthought she grumbled about the fact that the warder was wearing his helmet inside the hall as well as being in possession of his weapons.  It wasn't proper!  Her husband interjected trying to take some of the sting from her words.  Why was this Aes Sedai smiling at her so!  Ooh she was going to pay the Amyrlin seat a visit and she would learn of her displeasure first hand!

 


 

Perivar heard the heat in his mother's voice.  This was a good time to leave he thought, before either of them could utter a word.  Best to leave his mother fuming than to face her.  He would not be surprised for her to confine them to their quarters until she had words with each of them.  If she found out they were more than Aes Sedai and warder, more than lovers, she would have more words for them.  He hoped his mother would relax and get to know Kabria.  He was certain she would come to love her as much as he did as long as she gave her a chance.

 

Kabria listened to the tirade absorbing it like a rock getting pounded by waves.  Her nervousness seemed to change to something else.  Not defiance, not exactly but a smile formed on her face.  Light she was beautiful but what was she up to, his mother did not look pleased.  Turning to smile at him she said in her musical voice "Gaidin, remove your helmet."

 

As commanded Perivar nodded then said respectfully "As you command Aes Sedai."  Perivar leaned his head forward to remove his helmet.  Bowing to his parents his unbound brown hair spilled past his shoulder obscuring his face.  "Greetings Mother, greeting father it has been a long time."  Straightening he brushed his hair from his face with one hand while he held the helmet in his other as the room let out a collective gasp.  Shcok was plain on many of their faces though some were studying him as if they didn't believe it.  He had grown taller, he looked older, and his braids were gone.  "Now you know my whereabouts, I am alive, well, and in the service of Kabria Sedai.  I assure you there is no Aes Sedai I would rather serve."  He heard his name echoed through the hall then someone ran out of the room to tell the others that he had come home.

 

Perivar smiled back at Kabria then stood closer to her as his father ordered the retinue from the room so that they could be alone.  His mother looked from Kabria to him and for the first time in his life his mother was speechless. 

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The dignity that Kabria had struggled to find the last weeks lay on her like a cloak, and she swept into the hall with her head held high. No mother would appreciate such a long time with no word from her son, and as expected Perivar’s mother had a bit between her teeth, and a sore tooth to boot. 

 

Having her first look at the pair she could now see them both in Perivar’s features and personality. His impassable calm was clearly inherited from his father, and his fiery temper from his mother. He also had his mothers striking beauty, even if he did not see it; and something of her unrelenting passion. Quickly stifling that train of thought Kabria allowed the tirade to wash over her. She said not a word and made no reaction to the disrespect. Any other who had spoken to her so would have already been quartered and drawn, but she did not think putting this woman in her place would be easy. That…and it would not be the best way to start relations with a woman who could be her mother-in-law someday.

 

Smiling as graciously as she could she ordered Perivar to remove his helmet and took a step farther to the side. At the first shake of his head his mother’s eyes left her, and it was Perivar’s turn to receive the eagle’s gaze.

 

The servants were cleared from the room, and Laurelin began to study them both; her eyes more disapproving with each pass. Only Terval seemed to relax, and in fact his eyes held a hint of a smile as he studied her.

 

Perivar seemed content to stay silent after his little speech, and he didn’t flinch under the scrutiny, though Kabria could feel his nerves through the bond. Deciding to break the silence Kabria began to explain how they had come to bond. She left out some of the more intimate details. “Lord and Lady Tarigan perhaps you would like to know how your Perivar came to be bonded?” It was a question, but she gave neither any time to answer. “We met when I was still an Accepted, nearing 4..no almost 5 years ago. I knew at that point that I was bound for the Green Ajah and I was in search of a dagger. He was kind enough to offer his assistance and we have grown a great friendship ever since. As soon as I was able I bonded him, actually it was here in the Borderlands almost a year ago.” Realizing that it may upset them that their son had been so close to home and not even attempted to see them she pressed on. “We were on an important Mission, sent by the White Tower and under the leadership of another of my Sister’s.” She glanced at Perivar and gave him a secret smile, remembering fondly the first few nights after the bond. Their relationship had grown to new heights in those days. Before she could blush Kabria broke Perivar’s gaze and returned to trying to put his parents at ease.

 

“I know that Perivar has been lax in his correspondence. I intend to remedy his lack from here forward, I assure you.” With the weight of the White Tower behind her words perhaps her promise would put their minds at ease.

 

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Laurelin glared at her son as he spoke waiting for an opening so she could upbraid him.  Her glare seemed to have no effect on him, he was no longer the boy who feared his mother.  They must have fed him well for he had grown.  Her glared changed so now she appeared to be studying him.  Why had the fool disguised himself on entering the gates?  It would have put her mind at ease right from the start to know he was here.  It was just like Perivar though, he probably thought it all very funny.  What happened to his braids, who was responsible for their removal.  Had the Tower insisted upon, no she thought, she had seen other Arafellins with their braids intact.  Was it his Aes Sedai that made him remove them?  If so she would let Kabria Sedai know of her feelings on that matter.  He was still her son, the second son of an noble Arafellin Lord.  He was sworn to the Tower but he should not forget his lineage.  Also typical of him he offered no excuses or apologies for not writing or sending word that he was alive.

 

Typical of Perivar he spoke as few words as possible, actually he had said a bit more than she expected which made her wonder.  The fact that he spoke highly of his Aes Sedai meant he was rather found of her.  Just how found of her was he?  If his words hadn't been enough then his loving smile for her said it all.  It was as if he proclaimed his love for her in front of a public audience.  So they were more than Aes Sedai and warder?  That was just like Perivar.  So who was this Aes Sedai who stole his heart.  There was no denying that she was beautiful but was she worthy of her son? 

 

Laurelin's attention turned back to Kabria Sedai as she spoke.  Of course she wanted to know how her son came to be bonded!  Laurelin would not let them leave until she was certain that they were a match.  After all she had had a wife all picked out for Perivar and a marriage ceremony arranged before her dear husband sent him away.  She was angry that she was not involved in the selection of the Aes Sedai that he bonded.  Surely his mother should have had some say in the matter.

 

Laurelin Tarigan sat on the edge of her throne leaning forward as if to draw more out of the Aes Sedai.  She wanted to know every detail of their life together.  Four or five years they had known each other!  A lot could happen in that time.  They were in the Borderlands a year ago and did not visit or send word.  She was furious...important mission or no, they should have sent word at least!

 

“I know that Perivar has been lax in his correspondence. I intend to remedy his lack from here forward, I assure you.”   Laurelin Tarigan laughed out loud, the sound of her laughter echoed through the hall.  "You will stand surety for Perivar writing more often! I was worried you were going to tell me that you wanted to return him to our care!"  Again she laughed at the thought, Kabria Sedai was in for a rude awakening if she thought to control Perivar.  The boy was beyond stubborn.  "I gave birth to him, raised him for sixteen years and I would never dare stand surety for anything relating to that boy except for his appetite for food and trouble.  He is as stubborn as they come, why he is so hard headed that he has no need for a helmet!  Nothing man ever made can crack that boy's skull.  I wish you all the luck trying though.  You have a better chance of getting him to open a book."  Again she chuckled softly at the thought.  Her Perivar had always ditched his lessons, he wanted to be a warrior not a scholar.  He had told her so often enough.

 


 

As if on cue servants came rushing into the room carrying trays of food and drink to the main table in the hall.  The scent of a variety of food and drink wafted in the room after them.  Terval Tarigan stood fixing Kabria Sedai with a warm smile.  "Please join us at the table.  I am sure you have worked up a thrist and an appetite trying to rein in our boy.  His mother is right, he is as stubborn as they come.  I really don't know where he got that from.  Let us sit, eat, and get to know each other better.  We have much to discuss then you can retire to your quarters for some rest before the ball tonight."  Carefully he shot an adoring look at his wife who returned an icy gaze his way.  At least he did not mention where Perivar got his temper.

 


 

Perivar was content to remain silent frowning at his mother poked fun at him.  He was spared the need to defend himself when the servants brought the food in.  It smelled delicious, he forgot all about his mother's comments.  Instead he concentrated on resisting the urge to go sit at the table and begin feasting.  His stomach rumbled as the smell wafted over to them.  Since bonding his appetite had diminished, well not actually, he could go longer without food yet he still enjoyed eating his share and then some.  It seemed like a day later when his father finally rose asking them to sit at the table.  He escorted Kabria to the table then held the chair for her helping her get settled.  Perivar wanted to touch her, kiss her forehead, any contact would have sufficed yet he had to remain proper in public.  Next to keeping Kabria alive it was one of the toughest tasks of his service. 

 

Perivar sat to Kabria's right.  Servants moved around the table filling goblets as Perivar got settled in.  Even though he could not openly show his affection for her he could at least put her plate together for her.  Setting the plate in front of her he received a warm smile and a word of thanks.  When he sat back down next to her she briefly touched his leg.  Even brief as it was, her touch sent a tingle through his body which he tried to mask by taking a sip from his goblet.  Spiced wine spilled down the front of his coat and he bit back an oath.  "Sorry, it appears I have yet to learn how to drink properly."  His face felt like it was burning. 

 


 

When Perivar spilled his wine his father laughed.  "I hope for Kabria Sedai's sake that you handle your weapons better than that goblet of wine."  As soon as the laughter subsided his father asked "So what brings you here Kabria Sedai, is it personal or Tower business?"

 

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Kabria could not decide if Perivar’s mother was poking fun at her, or just Perivar. Either was a short trip to her bad side, but for now she let it pass. Her nerves were still on end and any loosening of her tongue might well get her banished from the city, and she reminded herself that this woman did love Perivar.

 

From somewhere in the depths of her stomach a spark rose in her belly, had she been less wise she would have thought it was jealousy. Stamping it down with her other emotions Kabria nodded to Laurelin. “I have found him to be stubborn Lady Tarigan, but having the advantage of Saidar and the White Tower at my side makes him most amendable, most of the time.” She could have said that holding the strings to his heart made him even more so, but she still was not sure what Perivar intended his family to know of their relations.

 

Kabria could not say why but she felt warmed by Lord Tarigan’s smile. She accepted his gracious offer of a meal with a warm smile. Ignoring the extra glares it earned her from Laurelin. She had come to learn that some women were jealous of her beauty, but she suspected that this scrutiny ran far deeper than petty jealousy.

 

Accepting Perivar’s offer of an arm she shared a secret smile with him, out of eye shot of his parents. She had been unsure of what to expect from this day, but it seemed to be going better than she could have hoped. There had been no explosion at her tattoo’s or their bonding, and no one had mentioned his lack of braids.

 

All of the food was warm and deliciously spiced, a thousand fold better than anything she had cooked on their journey. "So what brings you here Kabria Sedai, is it personal or Tower business?"

 

Pausing with a bite of food halfway to her mouth Kabria set down her fork and dabbed delicately at the corners of her mouth in order to buy herself time. Strictly speaking the business of the missing Green Sister was not sealed to the Ring or too the Ajah, but she didn’t think her finding or the battle she and Perivar had faced would sooth a parents nerves. “We were on Ajah business in Shienar, and when it concluded we decided to make the trip here. I have always wanted to see the whole of the Borderlands and with a Warder as knowledgeable as Perivar it was not a chance I could pass up.” Taking a swallow of her wine she tried to make her voice light.

 

“We have long journey from here. First to Kandor and then to Illian, but we will be journeying to the Blight first. All I ask of you is a few days to rest to recuperate from our long travels.”

 

There would be more questions and explinatoins given, but Kabria sent a small thanks to the Light that things had gone so well so far. If only they would stay that way.........

 

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Perivar was happy that none of the questions had been directed his way.  He feverishly dug into his food hoping to avoid notice.  He felt odd about not telling his parents about his love for Kabria.  Perivar wanted everyone to know, he wanted to shout it from the top of Dragonmount yet it was not something they could openly put out their for the world to know.  For some odd reason he and Kabria had not discussed just what they would tell his parents regarding their relationship. 

 

An odd mix of love brighter than a mid day sun and guilt flowed through the bond.  He was unsure what he should say or not say.  Would she feel uncomfortable if they knew being that they were not wed or worse would she feel slighted at him not announcing his for her?  It was something they would have to discuss before the evening.  Tonight there would be a ball in their honor, for the arrival of an Aes Sedai as well as for his return.  Hopefully they would have time to speak before the ball.  He did not want to do or say the wrong thing.

 


 

Laurelin was about to start the questioning when her husband beat her to it.  Of course he would not ask the important questions.  Terval was far too kind and proper to do so.  To the Blight with his flaming honor!  Perivar was just like him in that regard.  She studied Kabria Sedai as she dabbed her mouth then spoke.  Laurelin heard every word though she non-chalantly studied the tattoos on the Aes Sedai's hands.  They did not bother her yet she wanted to know what they represented.  She was curious of the woman who had stolen her son's heart.  She was going to learn as much as she could.

 

Much to her chagrin Kabria gave a typical Aes Sedai answer.  Just enough to not be rude yet completely devoid of any details.  Was she worried that they would learn of their son being in harms way.  Perivar was forever in harms way.  He grew up in the Borderlands after all.  Not to mention the boy never cared a bit for his own safety.  Laurelin was almost certain that was one of the reason that Terval sent Perivar to the Tower.  More than likely the boy would have been dead by now had he remained.

 

"...we will be journeying to the Blight first. All I ask of you is a few days to rest to recuperate from our long travels.”

 

Laurelin nearly choked on her wine.  "Alone!" She asked far louder than was proper but she was his mother!  Her husband waved his arms for her to calm down which resulted in a glare for him.  She would not hold her tongue when it came to her son's safety.  Lower her voice slightly she went on.  "I am sure you are confident in your abilities but is it wise to go alone."

 

Perivar had tried to interject yet his mother shot him a look that said to be quiet then spoke right over him not leaving him an opening.  When she finally finished he spoke despite his mother's wishes.  His defiance earned him another sharp look from his mother.  "Mother, we are quite capable of surviving in the Blight." 

 

"Is that so."  Laurelin responded giving him a look that promised harsher words later.  "Perhaps your time training at the White Tower has only swelled your head!"   

 

Turning her attention to Kabria she waited for an answer from her son's Aes Sedai.  She had only just begun her line of questioning but she needed to have this all out before the ball tonight.  Tonight would be for celebrating, she wanted to enjoy the evening with her son and his...Aes Sedai.  The more they sat together the more certain she was that they were lovers.  The way Perivar seemed to protect Kabria spoke volumes.  Never before had he defied her(his mother), openly at least.

 


 

Again Terval was the voice of reason.  Smiling warmly he spoke respectfully.  "Kabria Sedai, I believe what my wife is trying to say is that perhaps you should take some of our soldiers with you when you travel into the Blight.  The Blight is ever changing.  Perivar has been gone for a while, surely he will need some time to get accustomed to it again.  Having some extra men with you will not go amiss should things get ugly in there.  I wish his brother Laval were around for I would send him.  Unfortunately he is with the King's men patrolling the border with Shienar."   Terval wanted to ask her about those troubles though he doubted she could tell him more than he already knew, which was not much other than there was trouble.

 

Turning to Perivar he said "I nearly forgot to mention, you are an uncle now.  Your brother's wife, Jala, she gave birth to twins while you were gone.  They are three now, a boy and a girl.  The boy's name is Perivar. Jala and Laval both agreed that it was a fitting name.  You have to see him, he is a strong little boy.  Their daughter, Ava, she is a doll.  You will see them tonight I am sure."

 


 

Perivar felt poleaxed, he had been gone so long and had no idea that his brother had children.  Suddenly he felt bad for not keeping in contact with his family.  As shocked as he was by the news he felt relief at knowing a boy would carry the Tarigan name.  Since he and Kabria could not have children he was hoping his brother would.

 

Perivar had been so occupied with is own feelings that he completely missed Kabria's reaction.  How would she feel about the children?  About the lack of their own?  Perivar grabbed her hand under the table holding it gently while rubbing her hand with his thumb.  "That is great news, I can't wait to meet them both, and Jala, I haven't seen her in years."   

 

 

OOC: edit - I used the wrong color for Perivar, duh!

 

     

 

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Kabria knew for sure she had made a slip with Laurelin began to shriek. It was a stately shriek all the same, composed and full of anger, yet it conveyed her concerns quite clearly. Perhaps when they were on better terms she would ask the woman how she managed such a feat. Setting down her wine goblet slowly Kabria reached under the table to grip Perivar’s hand. Perhaps her prayers of thanks for a quiet evening had been spoken too soon.

 

“Lord Terval, Lady Laurelin I assure you that Perivar and I can traverse the Blight safely. His skills and knowledge coupled with my own make us as impenetrable as ten of your wonderful soldiers. I am sure you can understand? You see, the One Power is not without limits. I can extend the protection my presence offers a short way, keeping those with me safe, but I can only do it for a few. I would not want to waste your good men for our short trip.”

 

Giving a small smile she tried to make herself meet both their eyes. Meeting his mother’s was far harder than she could have wished. “I wish to offer my congratulations on the birth of you grandchildren. I apologize that your son could not be here. At that time his coming and going was controlled by another, harsher woman.” Squeezing Perivar’s hand she gave him a reassuring wink. When she turned back to the table both of his parents had ceased to move. Quickly she tried to recall what she’d said, when she remembered a scandalized; highly un-Aes Sedai, squeak left her lips. “Oh no no…There was no impropriety! Thera Trakelyn is the White Tower’s Mistress of Trainee’s. I have heard she is a hard task Mistress, and my own encounters showed me that she is indeed fierce, but she is the best. That is why she is in charge of training young Warders and Tower Guards.” She got the distinct impression that only her status as Aes Sedai and her lack of ability to lie allowed them to believe what she’d said.

 

Unless she was mistaken his mother was already suspicious. Laying her silverware on her plate she gave a gracious nod to the maid that reached in to take it from in front of her. The table was quickly cleared of dinner, and an assortment of cheeses and small cakes were laid in its place. Kabria felt completely stuffed but not wanting to appear rude she took a few pieces of cheese and more of the spiced wine. Her head was slightly fuzzed from the first two she’d drank, but having a fuzzy head was preferable when the Lady Laurelin Tarigan was staring at you over steepled fingers.

 

Finishing her wine and her cheese quickly Kabria prepared to make a quick exit before another line of questioning could begin.

 

“I would like to thank you for your hospitality, and for the wonderful meal, but I would like a chance to bathe and change before this evening. Would it be possible for one of the maids to show me to my rooms?”

 

With a snap of Terval’s fingers a maid was summoned and in a short while Kabria was undressed and soaking in a hot bath. The maid that was to attend her, Janie, chattered on while she soaked. Wanting to know about Kabria’s tattoos, and what life was like in the Tower. She asked about what adventures they’d had and how far they had traveled. Each question was rattled off in such quick succession that Kabria could not get in a word. The woman did talk a lot but she was good at her job, even while talking about how handsome Lord Perivar was, and raving about his shoulders she had Kabria bundled in a towel and sitting in front of a large mirror while she combed her curls. Allowing the chatty woman’s talk to wash over her Kabria tried to remember all that had been said at dinner. She could not discern whether or not she’d made a good impression. Surely if she had Perivar would have told them that they were more than just Warder and Aes Sedai. 

 

“Hmm?” Janie gave a laugh the shook her small frame and repeated her question. “Pardon Aes Sedai, but I asked which dress you wish to wear? I pressed the only two in your bags suitable for a ball. The dark Blue slashed with cream and the deep Green.; My pick would be for the blue it will set of your eyes beautifully and Lady Laurelin has lent you her jewels for the evening. As a welcoming gift. There are sapphires for your hair and a necklace of silver to match.” Giving a laugh of her own Kabria only nodded and took it with as much good grace as she could muster as Janie chatted her into her dress.

 

A few hours had passed in the time it took to bathe and dress. Janie was efficient, but she also would not allow Kabria to leave her rooms until she was satisfied that she looked perfect. She had even used small vials of powders and creams to highlight her eyes and make her lips appear even fuller. All the while chatting about how many young lords and ladies would be in attendance, and how they would all swoon at the sight of her.

 

As soon as she had passed Janie’s scrutiny Kabria bundled her out of the rooms, expressing the desire to be alone. She’d had to tell the girl several times and even then she was afraid she was going to have to use Saidar to make her leave. It was why she’d never taken on a maid, aside from not intending to be in the Tower much, she had heard that wearing the shall counted little with them.

 

Pressing her ear to the door she counted slowly to 30 before opening the door and peeking out into the hall. Janie was gone and the hall was empty, but she had no idea which direction to try. The manor house was large and Perivar could be anywhere. Sighing, she shut her door and began to pace the length of the room, kicking her silks skirts furiously.

 

She wanted the Lord and Lady to like her for who she was, not what the shawl made her. It seemed like an impossible feat in the Borderlands that saw only the ring. Still she had to try. Something else was bothering her…….. she had felt a pang of jealousy at hearing about his brothers children and his wife. She could be many things to Perivar, so why could she not also be a mother and wife? There were customs they would have to break, but no laws? Why had Perivar kept their relationship from his parents?

 

By the time Janie returned to escort her to the ballroom she had run through all those questions and more. All she wished for was time alone to be with Perivar to ask him why he hadn’t told his parents, and why he didn’t want kids.

 

Beating all of her emotions down harshly she forced a small smile onto her lips as she heard the man announce her presence. Sweeping into the ballroom with her head held high and her back straight she paused a moment to allow everyone to bow before her eyes began to search for her bonded. He was in the room somewhere to her left, but with so many people crowded into the space she couldn’t catch a glimpse of him.

 

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Perivar watched Kabria leave the hall.  His heart sank to the depths of the world's core at her departure.  The lovesick look must have spoke volumes for his mother broke the silence. 

 

"You love her don't you?"

 

Perivar nodded "Yes I do mother, more than my simple words can explain." His father smiled at him and it warmed his heart.  More than anyone his father wanted him to be happy.  His mother looked poleaxed.

 

"You are a fool then Perivar, she cannot love you.  Not in they way you want her to." 

 

"There are no Laws or customs in the Tower that forbid loving your warder.  Mother, I assure you that she loves me.  I cannot reveal the inner workings of our bond but believe me I know for sure that she loves me."  He smiled then chuckled slightly  "I don't understand it myself but it is true.  I can't say why she loves me but she does."

 

"Then she is a fool..."  His mother exclaimed.  "And I was coming to like her."

 

"You were!" He half shouted  "Mother, I have seen Whitecloak questioners go easy on their prey!"

 

"Easy Perivar, you are grown now but you must still show respect." His father warned him emphasizing his words with a look of caution.

 

"I am sorry but you have not exactly welcomed her with open arms."

 

"I am your mother Perivar and it is my right to make sure she is right for you."

 

"Mother that decision is mine.  I appreciate your concern but I ensure you that I could search the world and never find another woman that I would rather be with.  You should like her mother, she has the heart of a Borderlander.  She does not like to discuss her past but she is half Kandori.  She is beautiful, passionate, kind, intelligent, strong in both body and mind.  I could go on forever."

 

They went back and forth for a while before his father rose motioning him to follow.  Before they left his mother he said "I ask that you not say a word to anyone.  It would be best if we kept it our little secret."  As he began to walk away his mother chimed in "Are you going to marry?"

 

Perivar turned staring at his Mother deep in thought.  "I am not sure Mother.  I do not know if that is what she desires.  It is not customary but that is not the issue.  We have simply never spoken of it."  Perivar frowned, angry with himself for not knowing.  His mother smiled mischievously, she intended to find out!

 


 

Perivar and his father walked to the balcony that overlooked the courtyard.  It was a gorgeous day and the view was absolutely breathtaking.  It made him think of Kabria.  His father noticed the smile on his face and beamed at him.

 

"You truly are in love aren't you.  Are you happy?  You look well, you have grown.  They must feed you well.  How was your training."  Perivar could tell that his father was making small talk.  He did not know how to brooch the subject.  His mother would have just asked directly without beating around the bush.

 

"Yes father I am in love.  I am happy as I can be.  I have always eaten well, you know that." "What you really want to know is whether or not I am upset that you sent me to the Tower."  He could see his father's shoulders loosen as if a great weight had been removed.   "I didn't get it at first but over time I came to understand your reasoning.  I still feel a yearning to come back and fight the Shadow along our border yet my place is with Kabria now.  My swords goes wherever she is.  That is my life now.  She is my world." 

 

"Good, perhaps you could tell your Mother that.  She has held it against me ever since.  Not a day has gone bye without her reminding me.  You have done our family proud Perivar."  He said then clapped him on the shoulder.

 

They continued to discuss evenst since Perivar left.  Perivar wanted to leave and go to Kabria but he had not seen his father in so long.  Perivar desperately wanted to speak to her before they attended the ball as there was much for them to discuss.  As his luck went his time ran out.  He barely had enough time to change and make it to the grand hall on time. 

 

When he entered Perivar was surrounded by old friends and acquaintances, all of which wanted to ask about his time in Tar Valon.  He answered as best he could though he was focusing on Kabria, trying to probe the bond.  She was coming closer, would she be angry with him for not escorting her to the ball.  He should have gone to her.  With his head still he spun his body follwing her direction.  Standing on the tips of his toes he tried to spot her over the sea of people barring their way.

 

Perivar excused himself then began walking in her direction.  As he approached he found Kabria conversing with his mother.  Kabria was stunning, it made his jaw drop.  She always looked beautiful but he had never seen her in a ball gown with all her finery.  Golden veins of love and passion pulsed wildly through the bond while his heart tried to pound out of his chest. 

 

When his mother caught sight of him she waved him away.  Light what was she doing?  He yearned to be by Kabria's side, his heart ached.  He wanted to touch her, to drink in her scent.  Kabria smiled warmly then gave him a look and a nod of her head saying that she was fine by herself.  Before he had a chance to move he was flooded again by those who wanted to hear about their exploits.  What was it like in Tar Valon?  Have you met the Amyrlin?  What is it like being a warder?  The questions were endless.  In a matter of moments he lost sight of Kabria but he could have pointed right to her.

 


 

Laurelin spotted Kabria Sedai and made a bee line for her.  She looked striking, her gown was lovely and the jewels she lent her matched perfectly.  She could see why Perivar had fallen head over heels for her but she was not certain that Kabria loved him so.  Perivar seemed sure but what did he know. 

 

Laurelin touched Kabria's wrist telling her how lovely she looked.  Her retinue made a circle around them so that everyone gave them space to talk.  She knew that some of her ladies could hear them but she did not care.  They had been in her service so long that she trusted them.  No one outside of their circle would be able to see.  They would just assume it was idle chat.

 

"My son told me a lot about you when you left.  It's a shame you could not have stayed.  I didn't think the boy was capable of it but he loves you..."  Laurelin smiled at Kabria as she indicated that she knew already.  "Though I presume you already know that don't you, yes of course you do."  She paused slightly though not long enough for Kabria to grasp the opportunity to respond.

 

"He says that you feel the same but I don't know how he is so certain.  He wouldn't tell me how but he ensured me that he knew it for fact.  Is it true?"

 


 

ooc:  You are far better at writing from a female pov so feel free to grab her from me...

 

 

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Before she could start excusing her way through the throngs of people, Lady Laurelin was on her like a hawk. Forcing a smile on her face Kabria gave a nod of respect to her lovers’ mother and tried to keep her eyes from searching for Perivar. She could feel him watching and just as Laurelin waved him away, Kabria gave her nod of assent. It wasn’t until she allowed him, did he walk away. After all, she could handle one middle aged woman alone.

 

"He says that you feel the same but I don't know how he is so certain.  He wouldn't tell me how but he ensured me that he knew it for fact.  Is it true?"

 

“I am sorry my Lady Laurelin, but I do not feel the need to make my love life a public affair.” The woman may trust her retainers, but Kabria could not. “If you do wish to discuss it further I would be more than happy to retire with you? Until then all I will say is that Perivar is my friend, my sword, and…” Her voice dropped to a low whisper, but all the love she felt shone in her eyes. “..my life.” Bowing her head and giving a small dip to her skirts she excused herself.”Pardon me Laurelin, but I would not want to monopolize your time. It may not have been the best way to handle the woman in public, but really mother or not….she could only expect to push an Aes Sedai so far.

 

As she made her way across the large room she stopped to chat with Terval, and be introduced to his son. Kabria remarked that’ strong men must run in the family’, but silently she wondered how an entire family could be so handsome. Accepting the Lord’s hand Kabria allowed him to lead her to the dance floor, and she found the kind older man to be very light on his feet. The ice having been broken, so to speak, young man after young man drew up the courage approached her and were kindly turned down. She knew Perivar’s temper and didn’t want to risk igniting it in a room full of his friends. With a small smile and a few kind words none of the men walked away feeling rejected or disappointed.

 

When she finally found a way to excuse herself she used the bond to guide her to her beloved. A crowd of dances twirled away from her to the sweet sounds of a harp, and there she saw Perivar. Tall and broad shouldered in an embroidered coat, and clean shaven. Her heart leapt into her throat and she had to struggle hard not to blush. He truly was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen. So much so that it took her a moment to notice the dark eyed beauty draping herself on his arm.

 

Her face started to grow red for another reason as he offered her his arm and led her to the dance floor. Apparently she had made some noise for the Lady Laurelin, who had appeared at her side, felt the need to comment.

 

“That young beauty is Lila, the girl he was to be betrothed to before his father sent him to the Tower.” Her voice was so light that Kabria would not have been surprised to see her feet a foot off the floor. “An arranged marriage? Laurelin nodded “A marriage I do not think he would have found onerous. Studying the two of them dancing Kabria couldn’t help but stare at the woman’s expansive and exposed bosom, much larger than her own. And her large dark eyes, and simmering hair, in short she was perfect. “Did he know this had been arranged?”

 

Instead of answering her question the Lady Laurelin excused herself, using the same wording that Kabria had used nearly an hour before.

 

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Once the men had there questions answered the ladies replaced them all wanting to dance.  He did not account himself good looking but being a lord in his own right and a warder must have made him more appealing.  None of them could know that he was taken and he could not tell them.  That left him in quite a predicament.  To refuse to dance would have been an insult beyond recompense.  The whole time he danced his eyes left his partners in search of Kabria.  Several times he misheard or completely missed what was said to him.  By the end of the night they were going to think he was dense if this kept up.

 

Perivar could sense her frustration followed by a brief moment of relief which told him that she had escaped his mother.  What had his mother been up to?  The bond changed again and he spotted her dancing with his father.  Kabria appeared to be enjoying herself now.  Somehow he had to make his way over to her.  Perhaps they could slip away to the balcony over the courtyard for some time alone.  He still wanted to speak with her about...them.

 

Before he knew it he was face to face with Lila.  She had grown into a beautiful young lady though she did not hold a candle to Kabria.  Kabria was a woman, beautiful in so many ways that nobody could compare.  To put it simply,  she was the sun in his sky.  Lila asked him to dance to which he agreed.  He was trying hard not to turn anyone away.  Women could find insult in even the most polite refusal so he danced with all who asked.  When the song was over what he felt through the bond shocked him.  Light what had happened now.  When he found Kabria he noticed his mother walking away from her.  Light what had the woman done now!

 

Kabria looked like a volcano that was about to burst.  Respectfully her took her arm in his leading her to the balcony where they could speak privately.  A few couples were enjoying the cool night air after working themselves into a sweat while dancing.  A polite request for them to give the pair privacy was all it took.

 

Perivar did not know where to start so he simply asked "Are you alright my love?"  He felt hot from dancing.  He could have formed the void and ignored it but he did not like doing so when he was around Kabria.  He did not want his emotions dulled, that could lead to trouble.  He unbuttoned the top two buttons of his embroidered coat while he waited for her to speak. 

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Finally Perivar raised his head from chatting with Lila. Even in her head Kabria invested the name with scorn. She didn’t deserve the title Lady! She was a hussy and a tramp! More proven by the roving eye that watched Perivar leave the dance floor. Sadly being Aes Sedai prevented Kabria from throttling the girl from one end of the dance floor to another; so all she did was arch her eyebrow and accept Perivar’s arm. She was not about the let the girl think she cared.

 

Kabria refused to look at Perivar as they walked out on to the balcony. The night was cold and she shivered, but she found enough concentration to make it recede. "Are you alright my love?"

 

“You appear to be quite warm. Did you work up a sweat dancing with Lila? Her voice fairly dripped with venom. “She is quite pretty, and that bosom! Any man would work up a sweat with her in his arms.” Turning away she walked over to the balcony and stared out into the cold Borderland Night. The sky was clear and the sky full of stars, but for once Kabria did not stare at them in wonder. All she could think about was how if his father had not forced him to the Tower Perivar would have a beautiful wife, and children and a life of privilege. He would step into his father’s role; and step into greatness. The city was not large, and as far as nobles went his family was not that powerful, but they did have great honor. They sent soldiers against the Blight and for years had kept it at bay.

 

She felt jealous of the life he could have had, and anger at herself for taking him from it. He deserved more than a life in the saddle and death at his door. Still that gave him no cause to lust after that girl where everyone could see.

 

“For reasons you know well Perivar we cannot make our love public, but that is not reason for you to flaunt your former betrothed in front of me! She felt confusion and shock flowing from him. “Your mother told me that you and Lila were to be married! Everyone knew, and yet you danced with her! And they way you looked at her!!

 

She was not shrieking, but her voice was higher and her heart was racing. If she thought she could shriek with the same dignity as Laurelin she would have tried.

 

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As soon as she spoke he knew she was angry as if the bond hadn't already informed him.  Her words dripped with venom.  Not again her thought, not tonight.  For the love of the Light he did not want to fight again.  "Kabria" was all he had time to say.  Reaching for her hand he missed it as she emphasized her displeasure with him by turning away and walking farther out onto the balcony.  The worst part was that he was confused, he didn't know what she was so angry about.  He had danced with a number of women so why was the fact that he danced with Lila such a big deal?  Why had she even learned of Lila's name and why was it significant?

 

What Perivar felt through the bond made no sense at all.  What in the name of the light was going on?  He wanted to walk to her, to touch her, to hold her but he had to be careful.  Any number of guests inside teh hall could see out onto the balcony.  “For reasons you know well Perivar we cannot make our love public, but that is not reason for you to flaunt your former betrothed in front of me!" 

 

"What!" He muttered but his words were too soft to make their way to Kabria's ears.  Shock and confusion warred within him.  Desperately he tried to grasp hold of what she had said when she flung more words infused with venom his way.

 

“Your mother told me that you and Lila were to be married! Everyone knew, and yet you danced with her! And they way you looked at her!!" 

 

"What!...Betrothed!...Lila!..." Perivar wanted to shout, confusion, anger, frustration and a myriad of other emotion assaulted him.  He could feel the blood rushing to his head.  "Light and peace Kabria! Whatever are you talking about?" 

 

His concern for her surged through the bond.  "Are you ill? Do you have a fever?"  Walking over to Kabria he placed the back of his hand gently on her forehead, it felt cool.  "Has the madness from Shienar suddenly struck you!"  Perivar gently turned her head to face him so he could stare into her eyes, she looked fine, well better than fine but what had gotten into her.  "Kabria, for the love of the light, please tell me this is all just a joke!"  He kept staring into her eyes looking for a sign of what was amiss.

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Kabria hissed as Perivar’s hand reached for her forehead and with a quickly wove switch of air she lashed his knuckles. “Do not play dumb with me Perivar Tarigan. You have proved time and time that you are far from that.” With Saidar still flowing through her she used another strand of air to pull the large screens closed over the doors from the ballroom. They did not provide complete privacy, but at least she would feel less exposed.

 

People had noticed her small display with the Power and some had turned to stare at the now closed doors. Lowering her voice of necessity Kabria spoke quietly, but through clenched teeth. “Your mother explained to me that before your father forced you to go to Tar Valon you were to be married off. Your parents and hers had matched you, and found you to be the perfect couple. You cannot tell me that you didn’t know of the ‘to be’ Blessed union? You cannot tell me that you did not admire the then young woman? You cannot deny that you filled your eyes with her just now? You cannot tell me that you do not notice how beautiful she is?” With each accusation her voice grew harder and so did the feelings through the bond.

 

She was jealous and furious and nothing short of a miracle could stop her tirade now that it had begun. “You have missed out on much by being bonded to me, and there is much I may not be able to give you. Do not lie to me Perivar and tell me that you have never thought on what it would be like to have a home and a hearth, with a little wife and children playing at your feet! Well I may not be able to give that to you, Light knows I would love to be your wife and a mother, but how can we.”

 

Walking away from him again she tried to compose her thoughts. All her emotions were coming too fast for her to discern. She wanted to scream and cry all in one breath and Aes Sedai serenity be damned. Even months ago she would have done all of those, and more besides, but the longer she wore the shawl the more the inherent serenity that went with it sank into her.

 

“Perivar, just go back inside to your family and your friends and to Lila. We will speak of this another time.” 

 

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Perivar felt both angry and sickened by the accusations she was flinging in his face but he tried to remain calm.  Even with the curtains closed he had to be careful not to raise his voice.  Perivar was so mad that he wanted to walk away but he knew he could not.  Nothing good ever came from him leaving.  He learned that at great cost to himself.  Angrily he pushed aside the memories of that fateful night.  He never wanted to relive that as long as he lived.  Pain, the likes of which he had never felt before wracked him. 

 

Crossing the distance again he made his way to her planting himself in front of her so that she had no choice but to look at him.  Through clenched teeth he spoke so as not to raise his voice. 

 

"I will not leave and you know it!"  Fury surged inside him mixing with the pain from that night.  He couldn't push that away but at least the memory never came.  He was not sure he could hold himself together had it reared its ugly head.  He was so mad that his body trembled.  Forgetting himself he asumed that they were behind a warding and he began to shout.

 

"Look at me Kabria!  Look in my eyes and you will know my words are true!  Feel it through the bond!  I knew nothing of a betrothal.  I knew Lila no better than I knew any other girl, less even.  She did not fill my eyes, not now or ever. I will not lie and say she is not beautiful but she is nothing compared to you! Nothing!" 

 

Perivar took a step to walk away then turned quickly on his heels. "It is not her I love, it is you.  If you could stop this foolish game for a moment you could feel it.  What in the name of the Light has gotten into you.  You have the ability to know my love is true at anytime if you only let yourself!  I have never given you a reason to doubt my love for you so why now!"

 

"I have missed out on nothing Kabria, never have I given you a reason to think that I have.  I dreamed of being bonded to you, the days I spent as a Tower Guard waiting for the time to be right just so I could be yours.  I ached every moment we were apart.  I longed for the day that I could be your warder and that dream has come true.  It is all I ever wanted, I have asked for nothing more from you.  Perhaps I have not given you everything that you desire!"  It was childish of him to say it that way but he was not thinking clearly.

 

Brushing the sweat dampened hair from his face he continued.  Frustration and pain plainly showed on his face.  His voice was barely audible when he spoke.  "Yes I have thought of a home and hearth, of a wife and of children...with you Kabria."  He took her head gently in his hands so he could stare into her blue eyes.  "With you Kabria"  Perivar had been so angry earlier that he missed her words describing how she would love to be his wife and the mother of his children.  Had he heard that it might have stopped him dead in his tracks to stare at her incredulously.

 

"If you don't believe me then I don't know what else to say."  Turning he began to make his way toward the curtains.  He was not in the mood for the evening's festivities even though they were partially in his honor.   

 

 

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Kabria listened to Perivar rant without saying a word. Her heart sank the more he ranted and her anger grew the more he proclaimed. Was he trying to convince her with his words, or himself? Always he tried to solve their problems by confessing his love for her, rarely addressing the issue at hand. Which in this case had been his mother, and Lila. His mother had been anything but warm and welcoming, and now she had caused this fight. More and more she was finding it hard to tolerate the Lady, let alone like her.

 

When she finally spoke her words were quiet, but she knew Perivar heard. “Walk away Perivar, as you always do.” He stopped as if he were going to speak again. Perhaps he was going to start on another proclamation, or perhaps a rant, but Kabria did not wait to find out.

 

Over the music and a gaiety of the ball their ‘conversation’ had not been overheard, and many people smiled at her as she swept past Perivar and back into the ballroom. Behind their eyes she could see the question..’What did the Aes Sedai need to speak privately about with her Warder?’ 

 

Walking up to the first young man who’d been brave enough to ask for a dance after Terval she allowed him to whirl her out on to the dance floor. It was not out of revenge that she danced with anyone who asked, until her feet hurt. It was a way to keep her mind occupied, and off the mess that had been made of the evening. She could not excuse herself early, that would raise suspicions and be considered rude…so..she danced. Many times her partner’s skill outmatched her own, but she smiled and tried to follow their lead the best she could.

 

Several more times she found herself in Terval’s arms. She enjoyed talking to him, as much as she did dancing with him. He was a wise older man, strong and yet sensitive, immovable and tender. All the things she had imagined in her own father.

 

At last, slowly the guests began to say their goodnight. Some retiring to rooms that they had been granted in the Manor and others began the ride back to their Inns or homes. Feeling that an acceptable amount of time had passed, Kabria excused herself for the night. Before heading out with Janie she stood up on tip toe to kiss Terval’s cheek. It was completely un-Aes Sedai to do such a thing, but the ballroom was almost empty, not too many people would see. “Thank you Lord Terval, it has been an enjoyable evening.” On the way out Kabria stopped to say a few words with Mother Tarigan.

 

“Thank you Lady Tarigan. Your generous hospitality will be remembered.”

 

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“Walk away Perivar, as you always do.” The words infuriated him to no end.  If she did not believe him by now than she never would.  She could easily have felt it through the bond, she had to know his words were true.  What under the Light did she expect from him!

 

Kabria walked past him through the curtains and into the ballroom.  He wanted to shout, out of anger and frustration, out of pain.  Pushing the curtain aside he watched her walk further into to the room.  He wanted to shout her name, shout his love for her in front of everyone.  The thought that she doubted his love tore him to pieces.  It was nearly more than he could handle.

 

Perivar watched as Kabria took the arm of a man whirling out onto the dance floor.  Pain wracked him as the memory of that night returned.  No matter what he did he could not forget her infidelity.  Perivar stormed out of the room leaving behind a few angry guests who were rudely brushed aside.  It was bad enough that he was rude to the men but being terse with the women who only wanted to dance was unfathomable to an Arafellin.  Perhaps he had lost who he was, once there was a time when he possessed a strict code of honor.  He walked out disgusted with himself.  If not for who and what he was his conduct would never have been tolerated.  That knowledge made him feel even worse.

 

Perivar hurried to the stable insisting on saddling Nightdancer himself which caused a little commotion and hurt feelings amongst the stablehands.  Riding out of the stable he heard his name shouted.  He would never forget that voice but it did not belong to Kabria so he cared little.  On he rode through the streets like a wraith.  Sliding to a stop he ordered the north gate open.  As soon as he could fit through he spurred Nightdancer on.  North they rode as fast as Nightdancer could negotiate the rough terrain in the night. 

 

Less than an hours hard ride he stopped on the edge of the Blight.  The vision of her dancing with the man in the hall brought on the disturbing thoughts of that night.  It was the worst time in his life, it would not go away.  Nightdancer stamped a hoof eager to be on with it.  "You have a deathwish too?"  Perivar asked his faithful warhorse.  The only one who had been true to him all along.

 

The sound of another horse approaching caught his ear long ago.  Perivar continued to stare North.  As the rider neared his heart sank.  By the sound of the horse trotting he could tell that it was not Kabria's Blade.  He did not care to speak to anyone but her.  "What foolishness are you about tonight?"  Laval's deep voice pierced the night.  Riding up alongside Perivar his brother stared at him.  "You know that you cannot go in there alone, not if you want to live that is." 

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