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The Dragon Commands (DotNM, Phase One)


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As the Traveling portal closed behind Martyn, the Malkieri warrior took a deep breath, wondering where he was supposed to go to now. He knew who he needed to see, a woman named Salla Alliatar, acting Commander of the Band of the Red Hand. And in his hand, he held a letter bearing the seal of the Dragon himself, which probably meant orders from above.


He could understand how he got to be selected for this task. He had been among those that fought that disastrous battle in Shienar. Narrowing down the options further, he had also been with the group in Tear that had sworn fealty to the Lord Dragon, and had recieved training from him personally. And lastly, his block made him the most expendable of the group, the one that could be missed for a couple of days without an all too great impact on the daily training routine.


Looking over his shoulder, he figured he should be getting off the Traveling grounds now before he would no longer be delivering a letter to anyone. After a few minutes of walking around, he noticed someone that wasn't overly busy, and walked over to ask which way it was to the Commander's office. Some ten minutes later, he was knocking on a wooden door, waiting to be given permission to enter.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The first month of Salla's tenancy as Commander of the Band were filled with paperwork. 


The next several were no better.


Is there any end to this? Salla thought as she pulled another paper from the mountain, scanning through it.  At a glance, it was a resignation of some sort, written in a scrawling hand that was difficult to decypher, to say the least.  Two more reads finally detailed just- "Blood and bloody ashes!" Salla cursed loudly, the echo bouncing off the walls of her office.  Damn Jaem Caran to the Pit of Doom!  Again, Salla's eyes went to the scrawled signature.  Mehrin Deathwatch.  The bastard had never processed Mehrin's resignation!  That meant that wages were still being paid to a man who was no longer in the Band!  Some clerk was living large on that particular salary.  It wouldn't be difficult to track down, at least.


Again, Salla's eyes crawled over the paperwork.  With the exception of a few dates that had been misfiled, there was paperwork stretching throughout the entire tenure of Jaem Caran that had finally been sorted out.  Which meant...  "DAMN MEHRIN DEATHWATCH!" she screamed, causing a clatter from outside.  Apparently the curse had been enough to startle the man on guard out of his chair and onto the floor.  There were years of papers left unfiled.  Mehrin may have been a good commander, able to learn from his mistakes and the mistakes of others, but he was obviously not suited to an office job.  For the first time since she had taken office, Salla wondered what the infantry would have been like if Mehrin had not risen past the rank of sergeant.  His unit alone probably would have been deadlier than the entire Whitecloak army, she thought wryly.  He was probably better off on his own.


A knock sounded at the door, startling Salla out of her world of thought.  "One moment," she called, hoping that her earlier wrath was no longer evident.  No need to take it out on some unsuspecting private or whatever.  It didn't stop her from mounting the steel bracer on her left arm, her middle finger slipping into a built-on ring.  There had been attempts on commanders' lives before, and nobody was going to catch Salla unready.  "Enter."


The man who entered was not a Bander.  The black coat was more than enough to name what he was.  The bracer wouldn't do her any good after all, it seemed.  But still...  "Good day.  What business does the Black Tower have with the Band today, then?" she asked courteously.  The alliance with the Asha'man had sat uneasily with Salla from the start, but she understood the reasoning behind it.

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The guard seemed nervous for some reason, and Martyn made a mental note to not provoke the Commander any more than he would have any commander he had served under. Which meant, not at all. Assuming the Void for this purpose, he completely ignored the light of saidin as usual, knowing that even if he were to somehow want to channel for some Lightbegotten reason, the block would be mercifully keeping him from trying. A fact that he was thankful for more often than not.




As he walked into the room, the first thing he noticed was the steel bracer, it's defensive usefulness apparent, though outside of the Void it surprised him that such things were necessary within the heart of the Band itself. Still, one should always be careful he supposed, as the amount of people he had seen die to carelessness almost rivaled those dying to an enemy blade.


"Good day.  What business does the Black Tower have with the Band today, then?"


Pushing down the memories, he saluted, not wanting to waste time handing her the sealed message with the Dragon's orders written on them. Judging by the stack of papers on Salle's desk, she had more to do today. He did not try to read what was written on them, figuring the woman whose desk they were on wouldn't appreciate it any more than he would have if it had been done to him.


- "Greetings, Commander. The Dragon has sent me to deliver new orders to the Band, and i was told to await a reply to bring back to the Black Tower with me."


Placing the letter on the desk, he stepped back again, standing much like any soldier awaiting orders would have stood. Should Salle look, the seal would be complteely untouched, the letter in a better condition than even the most careful of messengers would have been able to transport it in, though if the female commander was familiar with the concept of Traveling she would know that it would have been unlikely that Martyn would have actually carried said letter for longer than an hour at best.




You've got mail!

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Salla nodded as she accepted the letter.  A surprisingly pristine letter, for any who did not know the trick.  However, Salla had seen the Asha'man arriving at the Citadel before, and she knew how this letter came to her office.  It was entirely possible that the Lord Dragon- the title twisted her mouth in distaste, but that was another thing she could lay at Mehrin Deathwatch's door- had written this only hours ago.  Possibly even less than an hour ago.  The possibilities for this kind of communication were nearly limitless.  Idly, Salla reached for her letter opener, only to find a pile of paperwork.  "Bloody hell," she muttered.  Instead of digging through the pile of papers, she instead closed her left fist, causing the hidden blade in the bracer to spring out.  Breaking the seal was easy from there.


The Band of the Red Hand is to march.  You will send

half of your force into Tarabon, to Tanchico itself.  There,

you will escort with all due honors one Calder Berrick, and bring

him to the Citadel.  The messenger with this letter has another

letter, which will be delivered to him upon finding him.  You

may bring a small support team from the Black Tower, if wished.


-The Dragon Reborn


"Finally," Salla muttered, setting the letter down and drawing out a smaller sheet of paper, on which she quickly scrawled, Order acknowledged.  The Band will march within the day.  Sealing the letter with the Band's official seal, she handed it to the black-coated man.  "You have another letter with you.  I'll take it, then if you would please deliver that to the Black Tower's emissary here to be delivered to the Lord Dragon, then request volunteers.  The Band is marching.  Dismissed, and move quickly, now."


Before the black-coated man- Salla had never asked for, nor received a name- had even reached the door, Salla shouted, "Allyn, rouse your bottom from that chair and get running.  I need the captain-generals of every division in here, and I need them five minutes ago!"  Waiting only for the shouted acknowledgment as Allyn dashed out the door, Salla continued, "Navo, run to the quartermaster and tell him that he had better have the rapid-departure supplies ready!  Cirso, ring the alarm gong!  I want this whole damn Citadel on red alert!  The Band is marching!"


The orders issued, Salla sat back at her desk, waiting.  There was not much to do until the captain-generals arrived.  Absently, her hand sought the slips of paper used for pigeon messages.  As she waited, she scribed a cyphered message.  It was brief, saying only 'Tanchico', but it would be enough.  That message would be copied and sent out to the Band's eyes-and-ears.  Any news that came to them about the city would immediately be forwarded to the Citadel and, thus, her.  It would also send any of the Band's operatives to Tanchico, possibly meeting up with the Band on the way there.  Salla hoped it would find one, in particular. 


The bastard would pay for leaving her with all the unfinished paperwork.


OOC: Post your preparations for departure.  Here we go, folks!

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It was not enough for Tris to suffer in agony while they battered at the door and rang the bell. She had flung the coins straight into her accuser's face, where they hit him in the eye and fell to the ground. Not that she had been responsible for stealing his coppers.


When she had been accused so falsely she didn't even bother denying it. No, Tris turned--or rather snatched--both pockets inside out. She had not expected there to be anything in them, since she was broke and had little food except what was procured from the mess halls in the past few days. But three coppers from the left pocket flew out and described an oval in the air then fell at her feet.


Exclaimations arouse on all sides as her accuser yelled, his eyes fixed intently on Tris. She stood still, wondering where they came from, wondering why she had not noticed the coins in her pockets. Why hadn't they jingle? Suddenly the color rushed to her cheeks and the recruit's face burnt as she uttered a cry in face of obvious fact "No it wasn't me . . . I wasn't taking his stupid coins! I know nothing about those."


"I don't believe you. Thief! Redarms, redarms!" The sight of the enraged man fueled by righteousness seemed to produce a fervor in the crowd as she was taken away to a cell for the night.


Which was why, half-delirious with fright she was hardly able to feel surprise when the guards dragged her out and, bells ringing loudly in her ears, told her she'd be punished on the road when they'd get to her. For the moment there were men and women pitching in hurriedly from every which barrack and still blinking in the dim light she looked for somebody she might knew.

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As he accepted the reply, Martyn glanced at the seal, recognising what he had memorised before setting out on the journey. The woman matched the description he had gotten in both appearance and character, and the seal appeared to be in order as well, so he reached under his robes to pull out the second letter he had kept hidden from onlookers. This one appeared slightly worse for wear for logistical reasons, but much like the first letter the seal was still in pristine condition.


- "As you wish, commander. How many volunteers would you prefer the Black Tower to bring in?"


Though the question would possibly sound a bit odd to a less experienced commander, he was being serious. It was his army experience that told him the Band would have tactical command of this operation, and as such the volunteers that would be brought in would fall under Salle's command even if they were Covai and Arath themselves. And by extention, it was a fairly normal thing to ask just how big this additional detachment was going to be in order to optimise supplies and regiment sizes.




Logistical planning is army work too

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"However many choose to volunteer."  Salla took a deep breath before continuing.  "Many of the Band's eyes-and-ears in and around Tanchico have stopped sending reports recently, so I don't know what the bloody Lord Dragon is getting us into.  I'd think somewhere between six and ten, at a minimum."  With that, Salla was once again eye-deep in paperwork, pen scrawling across blank sheets of paper, orders she'd never thought to be given writing themselves.


It was a full two minutes before Salla realized that the black-coated man was still in the office.  With a sigh, she set her pen in the heavy inkwell on her desk and returned her attention to the messenger.  "This is your first time in the Citadel, isn't it?"  The man didn't respond; the tone of Salla's voice was enough to carry the rhetorical nature of the question.  "From the keep, were we are, if you walk straight past all the barracks in the main compound and out of the fortress proper, there will be a pasture on your right.  Against the wall, you'll find several stone structures.  That's the Black Tower's embassy."  Well, most of them.  There was that one Asha'man who kept a shack in the forest, but that was an unnecessary detail.

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Martyn nodded at the directions he had been given, and walked out of the door again, closing it behind him to prevent a small gust of wind from stirring up the paperwork Salla had been immersed in. After that, he'd make his way over the Citadel grounds in a calm manner, not running, and occasionally slowing to take a closer look at the buildings used as barracks. Knowing the lay of the land would be important if he were to return here again one day, and if he ran, he might miss where he was supposed to be going to altogether.


Nevertheless, he managed to spot several buildings that looked a bit off compared to the ones that had been built in the fortress. Heading closer, he recognised the same sleek walls that were common at the Black Tower, a sign that they had been formed with saidin rather than a human hand. Regardless, this was where he needed to be. After a knock, the door was soon opened by another black cloaked man, this one carrying the symbol of a full ranked Asha'man.


- "Good morning, sir. I bring new orders, the Band is preparing to march."


He took out the letter Salla had given him, and showed the seal to the man. He was then led inside to wait while another was sent to fetch the leader of the embassy in the Citadel.




Still bringing orders



- "Good to see you're awake... So, what happened last night?"


If Tris would look in the direction the voice was coming from, she would see a short, silver haired girl standing at the other end of the door. The red sleeve on her uniform made it clear that she was guarding the door to her cell, though her manner indicated that she was just eager to make some conversation while waiting for someone to come along and judge whether or not Tris was actually guilty of what she was accused with.


Saira looked at the commotion going on in front of her, not really sure what was going on. She had had Redarm duty last night, and though she had been too late to witness the woman being arrested she had been ordered to guard the prisoner until the end of her shift, which would likely be around the same time Tris would be called for official questioning.




Just wants to chat a little

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The wide streets of the Citadel were busier than ever as the alarm gong rang out, vibrating the very air around her. A sea of humanity surged this way and that, capably aided by a variety of horseflesh, carts and wagons though the seeming chaos was, to an eye trained to see past the bustle, very organised.


Elynde wound her way through the jostling crowds heading straight for the Barracks having cut short her sword practice as soon as the gong sounded over the training yards. She moved with much the same sense of purpose she always did, not rushing but not dawdling either. What was it her mother had always said? Something about less haste and more speed if she recalled correctly. It was a true enough maxim.


The recruits’ quarters were likewise a hive of activity with orders being issued loudly by a couple of Sergeants and Privates practically falling over each other in their rush to comply. Elynde kept her ears open as she hauled her pack out and began filling it with the bare essentials needed for travel. She plucked rumours from the excited babble, rumours that got wilder with each telling, but refrained from joining in with the speculations. The prevailing thought seemed to be that the Band was heading westwards but that was as specific as it got. As far as she was concerned, the higher ups would tell them what they needed to know when they were ready and not before, so why fret over it?


A quick glance around told her there were no familiar faces nearby but at this time of day the few people she’d met could be busy anywhere around the Citadel. Checking that her sword and daggers were to hand, she made sure she had sufficient warm clothing. Elynde knew she’d be more than thankful for the change at some stage. The weather wasn’t exactly great and marching was a dirty, dusty, tiring business. A few minutes later and she was exiting the Barracks again, unable to quite suppress the prickle of anticipation along her skin. They were moving. Doing something.


It’ll be good to be back on the road.


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  • 2 weeks later...

"...and so, one half of the Band will Travel outside the Two Rivers here," Salla jabbed a point on the map about two months slow march north of Tanchico, "and march to the outlying areas around the city.  Once there, small teams will be sent into the city to get an idea of the currents of the city, and the location of Calder Berrick therein."  Tapping the map again, Salla concluded, "Once found, a contact chosen by the Band will deliver the Lord Dragon's message, and escort him to the waiting Band, who will then Travel back into the Two Rivers."  There was no debate; the last two hours had been spent nailing out these last details, with messages leaving the war room as soon as an item was finalized.  By now, a full half of the Band would be ready to move out, all awaiting their respective commanding officers to check in with them.


One more time, Salla found herself questioning her decision to stay behind at the Citadel.  There was so much that could go wrong on the campaign, from lack of food to ambush to unforeseen circumstances that couldn't be named.  And, one more time, Salla crushed the doubts.  There was too much for her to do here; she couldn't go haring off across the world in order to avoid paperwork.  Commanders had done that in the past, and Salla was still cleaning up after them.




In the small group of medics going with the Band, Jehryn stood near the back.  A last-minute choice for the party, he was being watched carefully by the commanding officers to ensure that he did not step out of line again.  Not that it was likely.  The punishment they had settled on, a careful flogging, had left Jehryn bedridden for nearly a week, unable to breathe.


Various commanding officers strode through the ranks of the Band, examining their troops.  A lot of veteran fighters had been chosen for this mission, but the vast majority seemed to be raw recruits.  Of course.  It was a simple mission with little chance of severe conflict.  The recruits would gain experience, and they would come out the other side alive, and probably more skilled than when they went in.


Now, where were those bloody Asha'man who were supposed to be opening the gateways?

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  • 3 weeks later...

A.D stood to the back, sometimes she still felt odd not being runing around fixing horses whenever something was up. She petted the nose of her horse when none was looking, while she was trilled to have joined the ranks as she had intended many years now, it was still odd to her, and some things not quite as she had expected. Her hair was braided thightly, and she looked over to where a group of scouts stood, that was where she wanted to be one day. A sad smile played over her lips as she remembered some people no longer here, she wondered how Drea was doing, she had been one of the females A.D. looked up to as sort of elder sisters. Time had passed, and she had grown from a child into a young woman, though maybe more affected by her surroundings then she herself realised.



Aslan tallied over in his head what he had packed in his bag, the notice had been short, so he had had to be quick to go back to cabin to grasp what he needed from there, that his room didnt contain in the citadel, which was most things. He was slowly now making his way towards the meeting place, hoping he wasnt too late, and not sure who was in lead of things on this trip. He looked around and spoted the familiar black coat through the crowd, making his way towards what seemed to be the gathering place for those of his like.


ooc not sure how things too progress, so just posting a general neutral post to place the chars into the rp

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  • 3 months later...

The collection of black coats suddenly spread out before the contingent of the Band.  From his place in the ranks, Jehryn couldn't see exactly what they were doing, nor could he hear the orders being given at the front.  There were sudden flashes of light, half-seen from the corner of his eye.  The front ranks seemed to compress back, as if trying to get away from something.  "What's going on?" Jehryn rasped.


"Bloody Asha'man opened those bloody holes in the air.  Light, but they give me the creeps," one of the heavy infantrymen assigned to the small group of medics grunted.


"Well, then," Jehryn muttered.  "I guess that means we're on our way, then?"  As if in answer, the assembled soldiers in front of him seemed to be moving away.  With an air of hesitancy, Jehryn found himself guiding his horse forward with the crowd.  The holes in the air filled all of Jehryn's mind.  How could he go through that?  It... it wasn't natural!  His horse, as if sensing Jehryn's nervousness, shied away from the strange hole in the air.  I can't do it.  There's no way I can go through... through that!


Just at the edge of hearing, Jehryn heard somebody mutter, "Too slow."  There was a loud slap, and suddenly Jehryn found himself clinging to his horse as it leaped through the hole in the air, accompanied by rough laughter.  "Bastards!" Jehryn cried, wincing even as he did.  As unceremonious as it was, the journey to Tanchico had begun.


OOC: We'll wrap this thread up.  Post going through the gate.  Anybody who wants in can still get in on the later threads on the way to Tanchico.  There will be plenty of time to show that you're there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If those idiots didn’t stop moving backwards, she was like to get squashed. That was the only thought occupying Elynde as she waited with the rest of the Infantry for the massed ranks of the Band to set off. Something was going on up ahead, something no doubt to do with those black coated men and their coldly arrogant expressions if the flashes of light were anything to judge by, but being on foot prevented her from seeing exactly what that might be.


Asha’men they’re called, Elynde shuddered inwardly as the name came back to her though she refused to let any apprehension show on her face. Men who can channel. She shook her head in bemusement. Change.


At last, the press eased and though there was still some jostling for place, it was not long before Elynde was able to walk forwards. Over to her left she could see Jehryn and the other medics, on horseback and surrounded by an escort. The man looked nervous and tense and a few minutes later Elynde was able to see why.


Burn me! What in the Light is that thing? a slight tightening around her eyes and thinning of her lips would have told anyone who knew her that Elynde was afraid. Give her something physical she could fight and she had enough courage for ten men but this… this was beyond her comprehension. What could only be described as hole hung in the air before them, taunting her with its impossibility. A scuffle off to her left couldn’t even drag eyes from the thing but she heard Jehryn’s cry and saw his mount carry him through the “gate”.


Then it was her turn. Clenching her fists, and with the air of someone about to meet the Dark One and all his minions, Elynde flung herself at the hole before she had time to consider her actions.


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