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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Lavinya

To Fear the Light of Day (Watchers side rp closed)

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Lavinya was bone weary, for several reasons. She was being worked like a slave, for starters. That vile woman, Jocelyn, seemed to go out of her way to find demeaning chores that Lavinya may not have hated so badly given the luxury of Saidar to aid her, but of course that was still forbidden. She thought that Rion alone may eventually crack in that regard, as it seemed his spine was held up entirely by that damned wife of his. Aside from the back-breaking chores she was forced to complete from dawn until dusk, she had barely been sleeping, terrified that the moment she closed her eyes Linten would once again invade her dreams and seek the revenge he had promised her. The marks from that night had faded from her skin, yet they were forever embedded on her soul, imprinted so vividly on her memory. In a way the enforced labour was a relief, occupying her mind lest it stray to thoughts of torture and deep seated fear like she had never experienced before.

 

Today however, she could not afford to allow her exhaustion to overtake her. It had been a bitter if brief struggle to get out of this particular chore, and she had failed miserably. Damn Rion! She was aware now that somehow in his bonding weave he had used compulsion, forcing her to obedience along with the deprivation of Saidar. There was nothing else that would prompt her to wander alone in the woods once more. She was all too painfully aware of how vulnerable it made her, how easily Linten had ensnared and tormented her on that first occasion - and that was not even in the dreaming world. It had been a small triumph, the wound to Linten's thigh. If she had her way, it would not be his last either, but the odds were severely stacked in his favour.

 

Perhaps he wasn't in the woods today, she thought hopefully, gripping the small, dull axe in front of her as though it were a deadly sword; her only means of protection. The lack of Saidar made her feel as though she were stark naked, open for even the smallest of twigs to wound. Thankfully that were not completely true, though her fine silk was not suited to such labours, now stained and worn. It was a house-wife's dress now, despite the alluring cut of the cloth. Lavinya's eyes darted left and right as she moved, not bothering to feign Aes Sedai serenity. She was scared, and rightly so. What grated the most was the large stack of firewood that had sat behind the house, neatly chopped and ready for use. But no, it was not good enough for Jocelyn. She wanted her out of her sight. And while that thought would normally suit Lavinya fine, she was truly terrified of being left alone in the woods as prey for the hunter, namely Linten.

 

Every small sound made her start; a bird in a distant tree, a twig snapping beneath her slippered feet, shouts from the farm not far away. Lavinya hated feeling so helpless, hated being so scared and jumpy. Linten had stamped out the last of her remaining confidence it seemed, completed what Corin's rejection had begun to unravel. Corin. Her head bowed as she thought of him, many many miles away, playing attendance on the woman to whom he would belong. She'd spent many hours pondering the identity of the mystery woman, and each time her mind would return and fix on an image of Sirayn. It could have been many other Greens, yet somehow it seemed to fit. How could a lowly, rebellious Aes Sedai like Lavinya think to compete with the master puppeteer that was the Amyrlin? Corin was not so shallow as to love purely on looks, and was likely attracted to all the things Sirayn was that she wasn't. Powerful. Strong. A master of Daes Dae'mar, among other things. Lavinya was mediocre in comparison. At best. It seemed a cruel irony to think that she had struggled to protect them both from the monster that was Linten, when they were both no doubt happily cloistered in the tower, thoughts of the lowly redhead the furthest thing from their minds. She was ten times a fool. Gritting her teeth against the ache in her heart, Lavinya hefted the axe and moved toward an old, fallen tree, preparing to vent all her emotions on the dead wood.

 

 

 

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Frustration could  not even begin to describe the emotion coursing through his veins as Linten continued to pace back and forth along the narrow path he occupied. Two days, it had been two days since he had woken in his bed, the sheets turning a deep red as his leg flowed life's essence out onto them. Lavinya had been stronger then he had expected in her dream control. The benefit of it being her dream and not the true dreamworld of Tel'aran'rhiod her main saving grace. His folly had cost him more then the bloodying of his sheets. She had learned some of the dreams ways, the belief that controlled thoughts could shape it to her will. It would matter not next time. The next time he met her in the dreams it would be in Tel'aran'rhiod where he held the advantage. An advantage he planed to make full use of should she be alone. Even the tantalizing thought of the many ways she would pay in the dream could not calm the burning rage still seething in his bones. He had worked a deal with an acquaintance. Whether it was her hate for Lavinya that over powered her caution or the hint at a truce with her husband that won her allegiance, in this one matter Linten didn't even waste the breath to ponder. There would still be no truce between Rion and himself, regardless of how much his wife tried to build the man a backbone.

 

The gamble had paid off and Jocelyn had agreed to ensure the redheaded witch was in the woods today. After two days of avoiding him in everything that was not outright public. He was finally going to get his hands on her, the thought alone caused a small tree next to him to compact in the middle under a fierce weaving of air before toppling over. She was going to pay for it all. Her insubordination, her witchery, her attack on him, for the blood on the White Tower's hands as they killed his kind. All of it he would place on her and she would know agony and suffering before he was done. Want as she might, even in her begging he would never allow her the sweet release of death. Never again as long as she was leashed to the Black Tower. She would long for death, fear both day and night, and know that what ever Linten al'Dracain wanted of her she would give gladly or have it taken from her. A small thrill at that last thought tickled him briefly in it's passing.

 

As if the wheel worked to answer the vengeance surging within him his ears caught the faint sound of movement; paused to listen to the soft timid steps near and stop. She was here, she had finally arrived in the woods and through the wheels blessing entered into the same area as he. He need only follow the movements once they began again and he would have her. A weave ready to set around them Linten made painstakingly slow steps toward the last location the sound had emanated from. There was no way she would escape this time. He wanted her, needed her, would have her at all costs. The movement began again and he slipped in behind it's location; eyes finally finding the flash of red tangles and tattered silk. Setting the weave that would restrict sound a smile grew on his face. The worn and rusted axe held in pause over head as the sounds of the yard suddenly died. The weave could be worked to allow sound in but not out; a delicacy in the weaving he was not about to waste time on. Besides the added fear that should be rising in her soul right now was a gift for his amusement. Polish jade, the sparkle of thrill danced merrily in his eyes as they watched the timid form try to close in on itself, a slow circle of panic, the axe still over head. He could easily seize her with flows of air, walk out and beat her mercilessly; the anger coursing through him demanding just that action. But that would only supply a broken body, not enough for the humiliation she had caused. No, his goal was a broken, devastated mind. A soul given up on all but the bitter taste of suffering. A wide wicked grin held his face freely, as he stepped from the covering of foliage and waited for her turn to carry her eyes to his presence.

 

“So we meet again my pet,” possessive emphasis leaving no doubt that she would forever be just that. Her identity in the world lost to a new role. “You will not need that,” Linten's hand flicked at the air between them as if swishing a fly. A flow of air knocked the axe from her grip and sent it haphazardly bouncing into a thicket. “Uttut, I don't believe I gave you permission to leave just yet.” His voice remained flat matter of factly, belying the anger that seethed under the surface. Flows of air seized each wrist and bound them around a tree again.; the embrace no doubt familiar to Lavinya. Her punishment was only but beginning. A long and deliciously releasing time Linten had planned for her. Two days of planing and waiting accumulated into this moment of beginning. Walking slowly up next to her his fingers traced her spine lightly from waist to nape before seizing her red hair and jerking her head back. “You were a very naughty pet the last time we met. To falsely offer as you did of yourself and not complete was a grave mistake. But to attempt harm to your master,” his voice had remained frightfully calm and detached until now as he leaned close to her ear and allowed the heat of his anger to brush it delicately.”That is unforgivable and must be corrected immediately.”

 

Releasing his grip, Linten moved around her slightly to ensure she could watch what he was about as he collected a long tender willow branch from the tree and began to peel it. “First we will soften your resolve with a firm yet gentle reminder of your place in this family. Then I will have what you so enticingly offered but withheld at your last meeting. Make no mistake, there will be nothing to stop me from taking it this time. And when my needs have been slaked, then, then we will punish you for your violence against your master and any other man who wears Black. We have nothing but time to spend together to ensure you learn your lessons well witch. You will be a pet to those of the Black Tower; find existence only in the kneeling and completion of our every whim and desire to your fullest. Aes Sedai you no longer are.” He lifted the willow, checking it's shape and length. “They have turned their back on you, you are our pet now.” He tested the peeled willow lightly against his hand before bringing his eyes up to lock with intensity to her own, his voice once more transitioning from casualness to something caressed by pure vengeance. “Shall we begin, I have been looking forward to this for two days now; much thought have I put into your teaching for today and the rest of your life.” Breaking the contact Linten moved slowly from her view to position himself behind her.

 

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Wood chips were flying sporadically from the gnarled old tree, about the best the blunted axe seemed to be able to manage. Lavinya didn't particularly care. Let her return with mere twigs and chips for her royal goatkissing highness Jocelyn - she certainly wasn't expected to complete the set task with the useless tool she had been given. Anger, fear and frustration were coursing through her just as sweat was trickling from her brow as she launched herself at the tree. She wished it were Linten she were attacking, wished it were Rion and Jocelyn, and all the other darkfriends that called themselves the Black Tower. She hated them, hated what they had done to her, hated what they were continuing to do. She hated being afraid and helpless, hated her own cowardice that had made her run from her home in the first place; hated that she was not good enough for Corin. Hate whack, hatewhack, hate whack whack WHACK!.

 

So blinded by her own thoughts and feelings, Lavinya didn't instantly noticed the moment sound disappeared. It was only when she made to give an almighty swing that she paused, striking her as odd that she could no longer hear the shouts of battle training, explosions and swords ringing. Panic was approaching rapidly, it's cloak open before enveloping her completely beneath its heavy folds. Something was wrong, very wrong, and she had a sinking feeling she knew what. She should run now, turn on her heel and flee, but fear had her firmly in it's grip and refused to allow her to move, eyes darting around wildly for the source of the weave she could not see or sense but knew must exist. Please be someone else...anyone else! But it seemed her prayers would not be answered, as Linten stepped into view, grinning in that way that sent shivers of dread down her spine and caused the suppressed nausea in her stomach to rise.

 

Any thoughts of self defence were slashed away as the useless axe flew from her grasp. She was completely at his mercy - this was not her dream, she could not channel, and light knew that she could not run away. He is going to kill me! The thought was rather hysterical in her mind, and her lips clamped shut on a wail of terror. He is going to kill me out here like an animal, and no will even care. Her feet found themselves at last, useless though it turned out to be, Linten catching her with lazy flows of air and harnessing her to the nearest tree, the bark rough against the thin silk of her gown. Tears were already flowing freely over her cheeks, overwhelmed with complete despair as she was. He could do anything to her, everything he had threatened and more, so much more.

 

A strangled sob escaped her parted lips at his touch, gentle and vile before yanking at her tangled mass of hair. Lavinya knew why he was here, knew she was to suffer for what she did to him. Yet to hear him speak it only increased her sobs. She was beyond any thoughts of pride at the moment, focused only on her fear of the unknown. Her eyes were wild as she watched him strip a flexible young branch, fully aware of just how much pain it meant for her, what suffering he was planning to inflict on her body. Bile rose in her throat and she desperately stamped it down. Let him have his fill and perhaps he would be content and move onto some other prey. Let him think her broken, light knew she was close enough to it. She shuddered though as she recalled just what things she had said to him, the silky promises of physical pleasure and fulfillment. Revulsion flooded her, churning her already delicate stomach. She did not want to lose her breakfast in front of him, like she had the past two mornings. It would be like the ultimate low, if it were possible to sink further than where she already was.

 

He departed from her sight, and she closed her eyes in renewed horror, body tensed and waiting for the stinging kiss of the branch that must surely be about to fall, her abdomen tightening all the more at the thought of the imminent kiss...her downfall came when she opened her mouth. To plead, beg or even refute him she did not know - what came instead was far more unsavoury, burning her throat as she lost the inner struggle and disgraced herself, leaving a mess on the tree and her bodice. Weakened and pathetic, Lavinya sagged, supported only by the invisible bonds at her wrists and the rough tree. Light, let him laugh and be done with her, her humiliation was already complete.

 

 

 

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Linten took a moment to relish in the sounds of her gentle sobs; the shake of her shoulders as misery and futility ravaged her mind. This was what he wanted, what he had envisioned for them all. The witches would know fear and suffering for those who did not bend to the will and needs of the Black Tower. After years of running, hiding, fearing the touch of a woman who may vary well turn out to be a witch the male channelers would have there revenge. The sweet sound to his ears needing only a few finalizing touches. A new flow of air began to form, to weave before him, it was time to add a little screaming and begging to that wonderful soft sobbing sound. Aggravatingly before he could complete the weave Lavinya sicked up all over the tree she embraced and the upper bodice of her tattered silks. Shocked disbelief froze his hand, the weave dissipating before it could complete.

 

He had thought it all through, knew the suffering she would face; had stewed in it for two days and now this. Disgust twisted his face as he stared at the unsavory heap sagged against the tree. Useless. She was useless to him in her present state. Two days of plans had just been dashed on the rough bark of a tree. He began to pace back and forth, A caged animal watching for an opening, thirsting for a release. But each time his eyes glanced over and fell on the revolting sight it only server to increase his agitation. The branch bounced lightly off his palm as his thoughts whipped in chaotic swirls of disjointed emotions. What options were available to him now, the day could be set aside for a new one; their binding to the Black Tower ensured she would be around for a while. He could not leave her as she was, no doubt that bleeding heart Rion would coddle her the moment he laid eyes on her and believe any vial trick that slipped from her mouth. He moved closer and paused in mid step, the stench wafting a light touch to his nose as it wrinkled in distaste. Of all things he had not counted her as weak in resolve of her dinner. But it seemed he was destined to be surprised by the witch, by both of them; taking a moment to focus the anger he had wanted to vent on Lavinya's physical presence into the knot at the back of his mind; the new presence he shared with Faile.  She would get the brunt of his anger today it seemed, if Lavinya could not find her stride again.

 

Taking a moment he mentally undid the knots in the weaves holding her wrists to the tree and watched as she fell back and over to her side in a disgraceful heap. It might have provided a small measure of satisfaction if there had not been that acidic and pungent smell wafting from her. Though she appeared to have given up the fight, her actions in the dream had marked her as one not to be readily trusted. If it was a trick it was exquisitely executed if not revoltingly designed. Setting the branch to lean on a clean tree, Linten took a moment to free the line of small buttons adorning her back from their loops and pushed the silk covering down, dragging her from the stained and tattered remnants of the dress and briefly thought of burning them. A weak stomach could and would be believable, but the loss of her dress a harder story to tell. Free from the initial coating of her own internal digestive juices; Linten stepped back from her again and began his weaving. Air and water met and wove as he worked to pull some of the moisture from the air around them; a small thread of fire adding heat to warm it's touch. The small bucket sized collection he let leak over her face and the front of her small cloths hoping to at least dilute the stench of bile that had soaked through the silks outer of her dress and permeated her small clothes. If it did not work then they too would find there way to the pile left at the base of the tree she had painted. Even that would not be a total lose, something he had envisioned happening today anyway.

 

“Well, now that you are done with breakfast shall we continue to work on your education,” his eyes twinkled with his now simmering anger as he watched her stirring. If she was broken there was no sense in beating her into uselessness. First he would have to determine her degree of brokenness before he decided on his next course of action, “or do you believe you can pass the test correctly now?” His hand reached back from where he squatted looking at her. Closed instinctively around the base of the striped branch and waited. She had already proved her cunning in the dream. He would not allow her such an easy attempt at his life again.

 

Linten & Lavinya

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Somewhere in the fog of her brain, thoughts were swirling, pushing through the haze with their irrelevance and drawing her attention from her surroundings. It seemed Lavinya was mildly amused with the new low she had discovered, the fact that one of the vainest women in the White Tower could now be slumped by a tree, scarred, bedraggled, and covered in her own filth. If they could see her now, she thought, would they point and laugh? Or turn away in disgust. A sudden urge to laugh struck her, but she stifled it with a sharp click of her jaw. Perhaps she was going insane herself, slowly driven mad with her own fear and despair. At least she hadn't lost control of her bladder yet. Would that be next? Could she sink any lower?

 

It took some moments for her to focus her thoughts on the imminent danger that was Linten. When had he released her? Lavinya closed her eyes and stayed where she was. Maybe he was so disgusted he had left her, though the rough hands that suddenly started tugging at her gown told her otherwise. She was shaky and weak after being sick, and though she wanted to protest most vehemently, perhaps even take heel and run, she allowed Linten to complete his task, showing nothing other than a brief stiffening at his touch. He stepped from her, holding her stained gown like it was a dangerous viper like to bite him, and Lavinya huddled into herself, clad only in the almost transparent cloth of her shift. Water appeared, drawn from the air, and Lavinya gasped as the warmth splashed across her face. Why? The question thrummed through her head as she scrubbed at her face, entirely thrown off guard with the simple act of letting her wash. What was Linten playing at? Why did he care what she looked like? Was this all a ploy to disarm her? Whatever the reason, she was begrudgingly grateful, though no less wary.

 

Linten spoke, and Lavinya was well aware of the anger that simmered just beneath the surface. Anger at her for thwarting him or for himself and his assistance she did not know, but it renewed the fear in her stomach, stirring nausea again despite being empty. She had to think. She could not let Linten control the game so easily - she had once prided herself on her intelligence, and it was high time she started to use it. Silence stretched between them as she took stock of the situation, a trembling hand wiping the remaining moisture from her chest as he eyes flicked to the branch, lovingly ensconced in its master's hand. Lavinya lowered her gaze, mind racing. Maybe, just maybe, she would find relief if he believed her cowed suitably. "What do you want of me, asha'man?" Her voice was low and soft, dejected even. Just take it one step at a time and keep your wits! She swallowed, face partially hidden by the tangled curtain of her fiery curls. If she could stall him long enough, someone would come looking for her. Wouldn't they?

 

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With an air of caution still holding his body like a coiled spring ready to release, Linten watched Lavinya's small movements. The unsteadiness of her hand as it rose to wipe the collected water drops from her chest. The dart of her eyes almost hidden under the descended collection of dampened curls that draped her face in a dark red. The silence stretched between them as they studied each other. The cornered rabbit watching for any opening offered by the hunting mountain lion. He noted how her eyes briefly touched his hand's joining to the bare willow, a grin wanting to find it's home once more on his face. Interesting, perhaps not completely broken. Or perhaps broken too much. This might turn out to be an entertaining test after all. Linten still existed for the challenge, he enjoyed the other parts of life, but it was the challenge that now held it's sway over his ways more oft then not. Her soft question to him edged with what could be acceptance of her position touched that approving place in him. The corner of his mouth twitching slightly as if to repress a smile.

 

She was still dangerous, her recoveries in the dream still vivid in his own mind; the phantom ache in is leg where she had plunged the blade working to remind him of the viper he played with. Still what was life without the edge of a dance. A dance that would eventually see her at his feet in complete servitude and submit ion, or a discarded corpse used for his immediate purpose and wrung dry of any information he found useful. Rising slowly, Linten's grip on the branch remained firm yet light. The flexible willow could be whipped into a smooth flowing movement in the blink of an eye if the need arose. He watched how her partially hid brown eyes followed him from under their curtain of curls. A marvelous view if beheld at his feet as in the dream. A sensation stirred in him briefly and he let it fall away, still not sure of how far she really had slipped; how much of the game she still played. “What do I want of you,” his voice holding a slight twinge of humor about it. “A very open question for a Domani women in wet clinging small clothes in the silent isolated distance of this forest covering. Indeed what do I want of you?” His eyes twinkled as he slowly circled her, careful to avoid the fermenting dress and painted tree. “What would a man want of such a creature?” His hands clasped behind his back, the one holding the branch outer most should the need arise for it's involvement. “What could a man, sworn to the Dragon want of a woman sworn to a Tower; sworn to hunt the very kind he had become?” He completed his circle and stood at ease in front of her, his eyes locking to her own once more. “I want what I have always wanted from you, from any of your kind. I want complete acceptance, your servitude in it's entirety; fealty and submission.” He took a calculated gamble. He laid out formation that could be held and used subtly to steer her to were he wanted allowing him to gauge her reaction; her brokenness. “Answers to my questions, assistance to my plans and strategies.” His eyes slowly and deliberately trailed over the wet clinging shift as it hugged her form in translucency. “Perhaps other offerings you had played at earlier before drawing the blood that now stains my sheets.” He could not help the smile that touched his face at the sarcastic thought of it. Indeed she was dangerous now in her dreams. But this was not her dreams and she held little power now for the moment.

 

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Lavinya barely stifled the urge to try and cover herself, to shrink away from the gaze that crawled over her skin like some sort of slimy worm. Any woman with any knowledge of the world could guess what he was alluding to and be disgusted, yet somehow Lavinya stayed still. She was what she was, countless men had seen her equally dishevelled and disrobed, though none had been quite like this, she thought dryly. Still, she would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her distaste. Let him think her beaten and biddable, it was the only chance she had of formulating a way of escape. Silently she watched him while he was before her, not turning his head as he slipped past the corner of her vision and behind her. She didn’t need to look; she could sense him as well as hear him, could feel his unwavering gaze burning into her as though a tangible thing.

 

Fealty. He expected her fealty? It was laughable – what on earth would induce her to remain loyal to him? Didn’t he have enough sense to know she would betray him at first opportunity?  He was not a complete fool, no doubt he figured to beat her into submission. Well, she could not deny that it would work while ever he had access to her, but what if things changed? If she could somehow manage to avoid him, to be rid of the Black Tower for good, she would sell her very soul to get her revenge on him. She needed time, time she was afraid she did not have. If there was a way of knowing when they would be freed (she tried not to think that it may be never), she could at least hope to stall him long enough that she had to give nothing of essence; yet she knew she could not hold him off for long. Was there any other way?

 

The smallest of smiles curled Lavinya’s lips, one devoid of humour. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?” She brushed her curls out of her eyes with one hand and looked at Linten directly, the branch still in his hand visible in her peripheral vision. “You think to have me swear fealty or suffer at your hands, yes? You don’t particularly make it a pleasant prospective, asha’man. What could I seek to gain by bending my neck to you?”

 

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The corner of his mouth pulled up slightly, a slow dark smile growing across his face like that of a sunrise. His eyes dances with unhidden mirth, a deep, dark chuckle beginning slowly to rumble up from his chest. “My pet you do entertain me.” His gaze broke briefly as he shook his head in fended disbelief. She had a long way to go if she though to change their arrangement by attempting pity. He branch tapped lightly against his leg before lifting. His eyes came up to meet hers again, the sardonic grin still full fit to his face, as he slowly sunk to a crouched position before her. The branch lovingly nestled between his folded arms remained mated to his hand for quick reaction. “Tell me my pet,” he voice portraying affection not unlike that shown to one of a simple mind. “Are the games afoot really that different?” His hand reached, finger tips brushing at damp fiery curls and they trailed across her fair cheek and down to her jaw. “Are we really that different you and I?” His thumb lightly traced the ridge of her high cheek bone. “Your sisters of the Blood cloth seek to destroy any man that can touch the One Power. In fact they not only hunt them tirelessly and unceasingly. They use their haughty deception tricks and tender eyes to lure those men and the lands they live in into their treacherous lies. Fill them with the belief that it is all for the betterment of the Age.”

 

His fingers slid lightly along her jaw, his thumb brushing across her full lips as he spoke. “A slight of hand if you will. Promise the sweets but deliver only vinegar when they are least suspecting it, his fore finger tapped the end of her nose lightly before returning to his crossed arm. “Actually it would appear, if anything, that you and your sisters of blood and death are more wicked and vile then even me.” His eyes continued to study her, though the outright malice in them had dimmed. “True, I have made it a goal to hunt the Red who have persecuted us all these long years. To hunt the sisters of blood and their comrade's in arms who held the power to correct hat injustice. But I do not wrap that up in a clever disguise of lies, half truths, and pretended care to help them. I hide in the shadows only due to it's necessity for survival.” Both his face and voice took on a more quizzical matter of fact expression, “can you honestly tell me if the coin had fallen on the other side. If we were the supposed great vindicators of the age gentling you dangerous women would you not seek self preservation?”

 

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Lavinya found herself growing angry as Linten spoke, smiling at her as though she were a dim-witted child. It was that anger simmering below the surface that threatened to escape and lash out as he dared touch her again in the parody of a lover’s caress, yet despite her many flaws Lavinya had learnt her lesson and wisely kept her mouth shut. The Red Ajah performed a necessary service, there was no debating that, just perhaps the methods employed. Lavinya herself had never really cared what they did or who suffered as a result, though now she found that any small amount of sympathy she may have felt for a man cursed with the one power had been obliterated at the hands of the man leering before her.

 

“We are very different.” She said calmly, looking Linten in the eye, her smooth features belying the fire that danced in her eyes. Words of defense for her sisters rose to her lips, but a sudden flash of understanding halted them. Lavinya smiled. Her captor was fishing for an excuse to beat her, was deliberately riling her temper. He wanted her to fight him, to argue and defend, to give him cause to inflict whatever punishment he saw fitting. She was determined in that moment not to give him the pleasure. “But I think you already know that, just as you are well aware that I am of the Gray Ajah, not the Red. I am not the one who has dedicated her life to hunting you, nor do I care for your plight.” Lavinya shrugged one slim shoulder, smile still in place. “If you are looking for an excuse to beat me I suggest you save yourself the energy of conversation. Unless, of course, your threats are all an elaborate ruse to indulge yourself in stimulating conversation?” Yes, it was always going to be a smart move to tease the crazy man with the weapon. But when back into a corner, what did she have left but insanity?

 

“I will grant you one similarity though Linten – we both have the strong urge to survive without bending to another.”

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Noting the sharpened look in her eyes, Linten tensed his grip on the willow slightly. But remained still otherwise, his face at ease as his pet spun out her response. It bordered on defiance, reeked of challenge, but was in whole contrast to her posture and outward appearance. So, not so broken perhaps. Enough control to sharpen the tongue and fend it's emotion on the presentation. The willow moved slightly as she spoke of survival, an involuntary twitch; his ingrained sense of survival wanting to draw an arcing line across the smooth high cheek bone of her face. But, practiced patience was beginning to finally take hold in him; the long hours of training bearing fruit. He stayed the movement though his mind had already conjured up the bright red line that would have marked the delicate flesh.

 

“Yes, and that is why you still draw breath.” His tone was matter of fact and his posture remained relaxed. “Had you been of the Red you would have faired far worse by now, the bond being carried by another you would most likely be dead.” He rose to his feet, eyes continuing to study her face. “It's a pity you were not of the Green. At least then we could swap some battle techniques and I would have a better chance of assurance that you were knowledgeable in the arts of the bedroom. But then again,” a broad smirk broke across his face like that of the first rays of sun breaking over the plains at sunrise. “You are Domani, and they have such a more prominent heritage in that art.”

 

Unfolding his arms, Linten drew the stick over to Lavinya's face, traced the gentle curve of her jaw, the sweep of her neck. “I wonder what it would have been like if we had met under different circumstances, different times. No doubt it would have been a thing to experience.” The tip of the willow followed the neckline of her shift to it's center. “But dreams are for many things, and in our time, our age, we can not afford them to such whimsical ideals can we.” His words were more idle chat then true question though he paused briefly as if she might answer them. “So my pet,” the stick returning to his side. “What shall we do? Shall we debate the politics of White and Black, skirt around the edges of plans and defenses. Perhaps loose our thoughts and conversations on that of the flesh, though I am not so sure you are quite so willing as of yet.” Let us see how she reacts to this face. “You are Gray, perhaps you would like to speak on how a diplomat would resolve this. I leave the floor, so to speak, to you. What will you?”

 

Lavinya & Linten

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His words grated, and oh how he had to know it. Still, Lavinya managed to keep a hold on her tongue and her temper, fragile though the hold was. She saw his words for what they were – bait – and refused to bite, despite the vicious retorts that came to mind. Let him try to engage her in acts of lust; she swore he would not emerge unscathed. Lavinya lowered her eyes to hide somewhat of her inner fury and disgust as the stick caressed her skin with a growing intimacy she despised. She hated him, more than she’d ever hated anyone or anything. Hated the vulnerability of her position, hated the smile that twisted his mouth, hated the voice that rumbled low and taunting.

 

Oh but he seemed to know so well how to draw her irritation and ire! Lavinya looked up involuntarily, her dark eyes clashing with green, so similar and yet so different to ones she loved. To insult her very purpose as a Gray, to carry on the charade of conversation while she was held captive, half naked and unprotected – it was maddening. Lavinya gritted her teeth and sought for calm, but it was elusive. “There is a time for diplomacy, and betimes there isn’t.” Lavinya kept her eyes downcast and forced a chill into her words she didn’t feel in the fiery pit of her anger and fear. “Some situations render diplomacy fruitless. I would call this one of the latter. It is impossible to negotiate on one side only. This is tyranny, pure and simple.” Lavinya smiled a feral smile and met Linten’s eyes, ruining any show of brokenness she had attempted. “And tyrants deserve to be hunted and gentled for the mad beasts they are.”

 

 

Definitely not so broken as she had last let on, he decided as the heat returned to her eyes sharply; the glare filled with her hatred for him. “Interesting,” his voice was light and distant as his mind ponder the options. Idly the stick began tapping at his leg once more. “Well my pet, you certainly have a desire for the harder side of life. I offer you two paths to choose from and all you speak of is venomously refusing the first.” He shook his head slightly as he observed her again, the singing light just out of sight answering his call. His eyes still fixed to the feral look in Lavinya's he drew out a thread of translucent spring. With it came the gut wrenching stench of the taint that flowed over him like a thin film of rancid oil. His eye tightened slightly as the taint hit him and relaxed once more after the initial onset had passed. “So be it my pet. You make your choice through your denial and at times the only true understanding of discipline a pet will understand is to live through its choices and consequences.”

 

The thread of air began to form a pattern as he wove it between them and watched its intricate lace touch Lavinya's head then melt to her form. With delicate slowness she was lifted from the ground before him and placed back first against the tree once more. He watched as her eyes widened while her hands where drawn back behind the tree, wrists pressed together. “It may be a hard lesson to learn, but it appears it is a lesson you must. Your actions show you do not believe my threats and therefore you will have to live through one to know that they all are real.” Releasing the stick he moved closer to her, as her feet seemed to find bindings to a root off to each side of the tree. His hand collected her chin, directing her face and her vision to his own. “This time you will remain conscious.” His eyes held hers for the span of a few breaths while his words, both spoken and implied, sank into her mind and began to work. Another thread of air began to loosen the small clothes from her slowly as his hand turned her face to the side stretching out her neck against her will. Leaning forward he let his breath play across her exposed throat, let it trail along her flesh until his lips met her now bare shoulder leaving a lovers bite mark.

 

He could feel the tension and resistance radiating from her, could almost sense the rising panic that must be building mixed with the anger she often exuded. As his breath trailed back up her neck he nuzzled his lips behind her ear, “this time you will know that your body's reactions betray your composure and give life to the lust buried within. Even more so, you will know who that reaction is for.”

 

 

Lavinya was tired of playing Linten’s games, but from the moment she was hoisted from the ground by threads she could neither see nor feel she longed to return to the relative safety of his poisonous words. She had never been more furious, hating her helplessness yet hating Linten even more. But within that anger fear was spreading, and as she found herself securely spread-eagled a roiling sense of panic threatened to engulf her. She struggled in vain as Linten held her chin, her heart hammering in her chest. She wanted to scream and beg, but oh no, she would not give him the satisfaction, not whilever she had any control over her faculties. His eyes were filled a cruel and gleeful light, and Lavinya had never wanted to scratch someone’s hateful face so much as when he told her of his intent.

 

Squeezing her eyes shut, Lavinya struggled to fight the overwhelming panic as the last vestiges of her clothing were stripped away. The hand on her face hurt, but it was nothing to the caress of his breath across her naked skin. In a way it was worse than a beating, hot tears leaking from beneath the tightly shut lids as his teeth met her skin and her filthy, betraying body broke out in goosepimples. She had never been more disgusted with herself. “You are mistaken,” she spat, struggling once more to escape the kisses being trailed enticingly over the column of her throat, “it is not lust but revulsion that you will see. You are not a man; you’re a coward, a rabid dog!” Twisting as far as she could, Lavinya spat in the direction of Linten’s head and hoped to hit her mark.

 

 

Linten reveled in her resistance, her struggle to both resist him and escape from him. It was wondrous, so at odds to the pimpling of her flesh beneath his breath. She was stubborn and feisty, all the sweeter once she broke. If it just happened to take a longer time to break her, so be it. He was still having fun and perhaps he could send this witch back to the tower with a present she would really despise. A few tiny droplets of spittle glanced across his cheek as she tried to spit on him. It brought a deep chuckle from his throat briefly. “Come now my pet, you can drop the game. I know you want this as much as I.” There was no warmth in the words, but they dripped with promise and lust. “It is good that they sent you here to me.” His lips moved closer to her ear; voice no more than a breath in volume. “I know the darkness you crave deep down where even your sisters can not look. I know what it is you dream of but are afraid to ask. Your desire is dark and I will help ease your stress, with me you can embrace those dark desires. I will help you.” With that he took her savagely with only the trees to record the carnal scene.

 

His breath still ragged, Linten began to tuck his shirt back into his trousers, knocking a couple bruised leaves from folds in the material. With an absent minded glance he waved a hand in the direction of Lavinya and watched the flows of air pinning her to the tree dissolve. He had no worry of her retaliation, at least not yet. But he had made sure there was distance between them anyway. If he needed he could  wrap her up again before her hands could reach him. His face still felt flush and body warm in it's after glow. The struggle at the beginning had only excited him further, but now he was far too mellow to press further questions on her of the Tower hierarchy. There was still many more meetings between his pet and himself. Plenty of time to press for those; instead he leaned back against a tree and watched as she worked to recover herself.

 

 

Lavinya had no warning as the bonds that held her helpless dissipated, leaving her to fall into a pitiful heap at the stump of the tree on hands and knees. She was shaking and damp from her commingled tears and sweat. Coherent thought was beyond her at that moment as her body still tried to come to grips with the violation, her breath coming in huge gulps as silent sobs continued to rock her frame. Never had she felt so vile and dirty and…Lavinya retched violently as bile crept up her throat and she purged herself for the second time that morning. Wiping the back of her hand over her mouth she struggled for composure, deliberately ignoring the stare that seemed to burn into her skull even at this distance. At least she had managed to bite back her screams, she thought with little consolation as she pulled her soiled dress over her head to cover her shame. It was dryer now at least; though the smell left much to be desired. But she would wear it a hundred days if it meant she could rewind the clock and undo the damage inflicted on her soul.

 

 

Being taken against her will was horrifying on its own; what scared her more was the way her body had wanted to react to the unwelcome touch. He was clever in his torture, using her senses against her to make the impact of the act all the more devastating. She had been denied complete satisfaction, but that was part of the domination, and a small mercy, truth be told. She felt wretched as it, hated that the words he had spoken had managed to strike a chord in the darkest places of her soul. It was not all cunning seduction though; the fresh bruises blooming on her skin beneath her clothing were testament to that. If only she had kept her troublesome mouth shut…but then she was certain that nothing she could have done would have saved her in the end. And who would say if he would try it again? Lavinya refused to look his way as she felt a wave of curiosity and concern that was not her own invade her mind. Rion. Blood and ashes but he must have felt the whole thing, what she felt anyway. And it was not pretty. She considered for about half a second telling him but dismissed the ridiculous thought. She was not to be trusted, and if nothing were done Linten would no doubt go out of his way to punish her for her runaway mouth again. No, she must deal with this on her own.

 

Her head tilted as she sensed Rion moving, no doubt to detect the cause of the recent terrified and disgusted emotions, eyes flicking to Linten’s recumbent position through the tangle of her hair. Something stopped him from drawing closer though, no doubt that deranged wife of his wrapping him around her finger again. Lavinya didn’t know if she was relieved or annoyed by the lack of a savior. What happened now? Linten made no move to restrain her again, but neither did he speak. Lavinya had lost much of the will to fight anyway, but there was enough loathing for Linten beneath the volume of shame and disgust at herself to keep her going. Let him think what he will, she would not speak. Silently she looked away through the trees in the direction of Rion, making no effort to flee. If she was lucky he would be sufficiently satisfied now to walk away and leave her in peace. If only she believed in luck.

 

Her back bone had softened once more, her tongue remaining still for a change. It quirked a pull at the corners of his mouth as a smirk began to make itself known to the world on his face. “So my little pet. You can restrain your tongue when you truly want to.” He chuckled as he collected the stick and walked around to stand in the path of where her eyes had been looking. “Does he summon you. Does he worry over your present state of mind?” He glanced back over his shoulders to look at the sagging heap of the women who had challenged him a short time ago. “Perhaps you tried to call out to him, enlist his aid.” The deep seeded hatred of the man who held Lavinya's leash began to seep into the last few words; his smirk turning to a hint of disgust.

 

He looked back in the direction she had a moment earlier, come Rion. Come if you dare and face an equally fitting fate. It was an old contention that he wanted to rectify but knew his hope in that department would be fruitless. Sure he had convinced Jocelyn to continue to send Lavinya to the forest so that he could take care of the witch. He knew Rion didn't have the stomach for it and Jocelyn would despise sharing Rion with anyone. But it was that same woman that would keep Rion safe from Linten's grasp as well. Like a double edge sword she cut both sides. For now he would settle for the Aes Sedai prize in his grasp. Revenge would come later, with luck. Tapping the stick against his thigh, Linten made his way around behind her and back to the tree he had leaned on earlier. “He is weak and will never come to your rescue. You should know that by now, go ahead. Feel for him; with all the emotions that have flooded your mind where is he? Does he come to check on your well being or does he leave you to my games?”

 

The easy dark smile had returned to his face as he watched his words sink into her. She, as a negotiator, had no doubt used the span of silences to her advantage many times before, But he was no stranger to interrogation, something she was just beginning to get a glimpse at.  Squatting down to be closer to her eye level and the dark glances he noted from behind her draped and matted hair, Linten offered her one of those relaxed knowing smiles. “So, now you see how your body reacts. How it truly craves the dark lust you try to deny. Had I chosen to keep you on that plateau you would have screamed my name in delight as you have before.” Now let her stay silent if she can. A poke here, a prod there, each comment designed to attack a different emotion; a different defense. One way or another she would show her true colors and they would begin the dance again. It was the dance that was the sweetest part. A mind and soul broken was delicious, but it was in the breaking of it that Linten thrived. It was the process of breaking her that he found so intoxicating. Years of pent up frustration of being hunted; of always having to hide what he was. This was the payback she and her sisters deserved, and once she was broken .... then she would be a suitable tool for the Dragon Reborn, only then would she be suitable.

 

Lavinya & Linten

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No help was coming. Lavinya had believed herself resigned to that fact for some time, but knowing it so surely as she did now that Rion seemed to have closed her off from his emotions once more was a heavy blow. She was totally alone, and utterly defenseless. No warder was seeking to avenge her, no close friendships with any Aes Sedai would spur anyone to look for her, least of all one of the other captured sisters. What was going to stop Linten? She would have to find a way. Find a way, or die trying. She would never surrender to the animal that called himself a man.

 

It disturbed her how well Linten seemed to read her thoughts; she had slipped too far from controlling her features. The smile that said he understood her inner turmoil was sickening, Lavinya looked away from the smug expression, struggling to reign in her temper at the baiting words. She had never screamed that hated name in delight and never would – they both knew it, but hearing it still rankled. It was deliberate, of course, a clever ploy to force Lavinya to break her silence and lose what little remained of her precious control. No doubt looking for another excuse to punish her, though why under the light did he need an excuse? Lavinya dismissed the idea that he had a conscience, it was likely more fun to play his cruel games than abuse her outright without provocation.

 

Lavinya would not be a willing participant in his games; she blatantly ignored his prods. Eyes focused on the ground in front of her, she raised her voice only enough to be heard, it’s tone flat and emotionless. “Someone will notice I am missing soon, will you let me go, or do you wish to be discovered having your fun?”

 

 

The chuckle erupted from within before he could stifle it out of shear surprise. It rumbled up and made a life of its own, twisting into a sardonic laugh. “You amuse me pet .... sometimes you truly do.” He shook his head slightly to settle the humour and set his expression back to blankness. “Missing you,” the words were delivered in cool dismissive tones of lecture, like a lesson for a child slow of wit. “You actually think someone would care about your existence enough to miss you and come searching.” Linten made a small tsking sound as he rose to look down at the heap before him. “Other then perhaps some close allies in black that might be interested in your physical talents at pleasing regardless of how you presently look. I would not place any hope on someone missing you unless you wish to place it falsely. Even your sisters here will not come to your aid,” his eyes scanned the low hanging head of his pet for any indications of how deep any of his words might be cutting, but the mass of knotted red tangles hide her expressions to well from view. It mattered not, either she would believe him or she wouldn't. One way might make the final acceptance of the breaking easier then the other. But neither would keep him from completing his goal.

 

A quick image passed his mind and lit a deviously warm smile inside. He let none of it touch his face and turned to look casually toward where he knew his home to be, a home he would never be able to visit until all the witches were safely on leashes. “My pet, you are alone and will always be alone. Your only existence is to be my pet. If it were not true would not Corin come to save you?” He added a slight emphasis on the man's name, almost as if he felt sorry for her. She had given him much in the way of information in their sessions already and this side attack was purely for his own pleasure.

 

She knew he was trying to bait her again, but it didn’t make it any less tempting to retort and give him the satisfaction. Corin…always he tormented her with her weakness for the man. He used his name and even his face in her dreams, taunting and tormenting, all in the name of breaking her for his sick pleasure. Would Corin have come to save her? Not now, of course. He didn’t know where she was, nor would he be inclined to chase after the woman that meant nothing to him, not in the light of Sirayn. Her lips twisted bitterly, but she kept her face hidden behind the veil of red curls. What if things had been different? What if he were her warder, like she had intended? Likely he would have been killed when she was captured. Light, anything was more bearable than that. Even Linten. At least Corin was alive. And happy. Probably deliriously happy, dancing through fields of flowers with Sirayn. Argh.

 

“No, he would not.” Lavinya lifted her head and gazed blandly at Linten, not letting him see the torment her imagination had been inflicting inside. “He knows I am a big girl – I can take care of myself.” She smiled then, and it felt strange on her face after so much anguish. Maybe he would think her on the brink of madness. She felt like she was going mad. “Just like I can take care of you. You think you have me dancing nicely on your string, don’t you? Maybe I enjoy playing the victim, maybe I revelled in you forcing yourself on me. Oh I see the doubt in your eyes…you like to think you are in control but you are wary of me, even as I sit here, weak and helpless as a kitten. Yes, I know you would like me to be weak, but not so weak I don’t try to fight you.” Lavinya pushed her hair aside and lifted herself to her knees, sneering at Linten even as her stomach curdled at her words. The Oaths might be perceived as limiting, but there was a great deal of room to manoeuvre around a lie. There had been nothing false in her reactions, in her horror, but planting the seed of doubt was imperative to maintaining any vestige of control. “You were there, you saw how I could not deny the passion in my flesh…” Oh but it made her sick just thinking of her wretched body and its blind responses to his touch. “Then again I doubt you are accustomed to the sensation of a woman finding ecstasy in your arms, so maybe you really did not know.”

 

Lavinya rested on her heels, the sneer suddenly replaced with a thoughtful expression. She would suffer if he managed to maintain his balance, of that she was sure, but if she was lucky she could put him off just enough to be released. Well for the moment, anyway. “You know, come to think of it, you are right. I doubt anyone here truly cares about me and where I am.” Resting one elbow in her other hand, Lavinya tapped her chin with one grubby finger. “But I wonder what conclusions would be drawn should we be encountered like this? Surely not the truth, a mad man harassing a helpless woman…but more likely they would think like you. That I am surely seducing and beguiling you. That you are weak enough to fall for my charms. That you are becoming so besotted you will find a way to free me. Oh yes,” She smiled viciously, “I can see how anyone would draw such a conclusion. And how you would be considered too dangerous to be left in the presence of an Aes Sedai…you know, just in case ,” she dropped her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “No one would believe that a scantily clad Domani was actually the victim of rape rather than the master of a successful seduction.” She shrugged delicately and inwardly braced herself for the physical blow that must be coming. “But you would know such things better than I, surely.”

 

Linten & Lavinya

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