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A New Day, A New Home(Open Arrival)


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The light rain that had started quickly turned to pelting ice as Taren do Aron a'Murray came over the last stretch of land and finally passed into view of the White Tower. It had appeared from no where, parting the very clouds around it to shine like the sun, a burning white beacon lighting the land around it. He stared, nearly gaping, as he rode over the last mile, They will never believe. Taren had left home after saving for over a year to make this journey. His and his Uncle's dream to see him away to the tower and become a Warder, not just any swordsman, but a Warder. He had trained as a small boy with his Uncle, but a farmer who had once been a soldier could only teach so much. Once that little his Uncle knew was gone there was only one place left.


Riding across the bridge and into the city itself was as much a surprise to Taren as seeing the Tower for the first time was. People here walked in the open, no one watching their own backs and some not even carrying swords. A man in Lugard would not be able to walk without watching his own back for much more than block, not that far even without a sword. Tower Guards walked the streets, he had seen some posted at the bridge, but they paid little attention to him. Or so it seemed. Tower Guards were trained with the Warders, but Taren's aspiration was not to be some silly Tower Guard, no adventure wasn't in the Tower, but outside of it. He needed to to be a Warder.


Taren finally decided upon an inn, The Woman of Tanchico, as he wandered through the front he tried to convince himself the reason he was staying there that night was because he was tired, not scared. Scared of what? He had made it this far and if he wanted to be a little nervous about even trying to become a trainee at the tower well he bloody well could be. Taren finally picked a bench and sat down in the corner as Saal, one of the serving girls, took his things off up to his room. Another serving girl came out and offered him a cup of hot spiced wine which he gladly excepted and left her a small tip as she curtsied and made her way back to the kitchen.


Money is running low these days, truth of the matter was that Taren would have only one night to have any sort of fun at all. His money was near gone, so near that he would have none left after this night, so going to the Tower really was his only choice tomorrow. Taking a sip of wine Taren sighed, he'd have to stop making excuses soon.

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After the incident at the yards where Edana had made her biting comment, Saline had suggested they go to a place she knew. D'Ashan more than suspected she felt bad for the comment and wanted to make up for it. After all, it was originally only meant to be a game. The place she showed him however, had a taste much more rich than he had ever been exposed to. If he had not been so upset by Edana's comment, he would have been more than impressed.


The smoke-den of the Tanchico Woman was every inch as plain and moody and shadowy as its name. But Saline Wastrel, exiled nobility, of Tarabon, looked round about her through the smoke of her pipe, and felt magnanimously that this was a good place to have lunch, despite her initial misgivings, that she was very zen with the world.


It was magnificent.


If it was ever allowable for a woman of seventy to give herself up to rigorous drinking and smoking, Saline might have been excused for doing so, at that moment. A half hour ago, she had just seen something that had meant to be fun take an unexpected tumble.


The young man involved the tumble faced away from Saline; and Saline, when looking at him, could see that all was not well with him. He was pale. And it was his curious reserve he had which now made her look again. The quiet had drawn Saline’s notice upon him, and she thought perhaps a place outside the Yards would encourage talk.


Or maybe they needed something more than talk. She reached into the pocket of her white breeches for a quill and scratch-paper. On it she scribbled, “learnt anything, shortstacks?” and slipped the note to their serving girl to hand him.


The serving girl handed him a scrap of paper. Confused he looked at it trying to make it out. D'Ashan had never learned to read. As a thief you had no real need for such things. Rich people didn't wear signs that denoted them so. He had told Saline that he did not know how to read, and instead of ridicule she offered advice. During his lessons in the Yards she had stolen him away for an afternoon of reading and jokes, teaching him to read.


Slowly mouthing the words to himself and going over the sounds in his head he eventually made out the question...and roared with laughter. It was just like Saline to call him shortstacks and it helped to break through his foul mood. He was not good enough at letters yet to write so he settled for turning to face her and sharing a grin through the smoke.


"Getting there." Was all he said.


Saline snorted. "You have a perfect set of hands for writing, peanut. Use 'em."


"No, my hands are reserved for other skills" he said with a waggle of the brow. "They are all that is MAN."


"Forgive me if I'm not impressed."


"Forgiven. And you should be. Watch, this will dazzle you."


"I don't want to watch." But D'ashan knew, despite her words Saline was interested. She was immensely curious learning the nature of all things. He gave her a minute to come around, counting out the seconds in his head. Then the Aes Sedai continued, "if it's a trick I'm a fast study. A former student of mine Aurora was also street, and taught me how to lockpick. Then she had no privacy as a Sister 'cause I'd always bother her and put cream on her face while she's sleeping. She's taken to cheap tricks though. I once got a bucket of ice down my back upon entering. Say, what are you doing?"


"Eating oysters. It's 4 in the afternoon and I'm very hungry."


"Where's my trick?" She demanded.


"Here" he plonked out three shells he'd just cleaned from the dish "oh also gimme one of your beans."


She gave him the bean readily "I do not like to say this in such a hallowed place, but it's inedible anyway. Hard enough to chip teeth."


"That's perfectly fine." He took the bean, placed it under one of the shells and began sliding them around on the tabletop.



"Why are you talking so fast?"


"People get distracted and can't keep up. Ever wonder why those rich folks spend so much on art during the public-sells?"


"Your street voodoo doesn't work on me. And people always play the dealer because they think they're smarter than you. In our case, they'd be right."


"Hey, I'm so smart I could be mildly retarded" he replied. All the while D'ashan had been deftly sliding the shells in every which way with his hands. "Which shell is it?"


"The one on the left."


He checked, then swooped up the shell to reveal . . . nothing. "Nope. What do you know! Looks like I'm smarter."


"The one on my left!"


"Hah." He checked, "Still no. Bean's under the middle shell." As she examined the shell he jerked a thumb back to himself, "winner!"


"No way, smoke must've gotten to me. Try again, try again!"


Numerous rounds later D'ashan was in a much better mood. "Heh, you should just give up you know."


"Not until I win!" She said, eyes trained stubbornly on his hands moving the shells.


"You suppose there are risk lovers in the world?"


"Of course there are," said the Aes Sedai distractedly. "Risks are inevitable."


"No, no, I mean the people who really love to take risks. Simply can't resist them."


"You should see some of my Sisters."


D'ashan & Saline


Ooc: Right, D'ashan's a trainee (he will look slightly bruised as he just finished swiping a blindfold) and Saline's an Aes Sedai (red, but she's not wearing her shawl at the moment). Feel free to notice their commotion or eavedrop (Saline has an ageless face and said Sisters) or come play (for money, maybe?). And welcome to the Yard. :)

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The weather outside had gotten much better around midday, the pelting rain had stopped replaced by a luminous overcast sky. However, Taren was not paying much attention to the outdoors instead he was focused elsewhere. The woman that walked in was all the Aes Sedai calm and confidence he had ever heard and then some. Her honey and amber braids marked her Taraboner, her skin was pale and if he was not so sure of her being Aes Sedai he would've said her eyes had a hint of sadness. She had a quick conversation with Saal before moving to join a younger man, She cannot be that old? The man had the look of a brawler he'd seen in Lugard, spent his days trying to catch those who thought to steal from some merchants stall. He paid little attention to the man, the Aes Sedai held his attention, but how could she possibly even know why he'd traveled this way? Taren nearly jumped out of his chair when the brawler shouted.




The people in the common room all grew silent turning to watch and gather round as the two played their game. He'd seen it done in Lugard, most of the time people would ignore fools like this. People trying to scam you out of your money, but Taren had learned himself how to watch for tricks. Pay more attention to the hands than to the shells was one such tip. Many in Lugard would remove the bean from the shells while they shifted so you would never have a chance to win, but Taren's suspicion was lifted after he revealed the bean in the middle. He could've slipped back in, but the man didn't look to have the deft hands required for such a feat.


Taren felt something in the back of his head tugging at him, trying to pull him away? Not knowing whether he was following that tuggings will or completely ignoring it he moved to join them. He planned to rid himself of his money this night, but maybe he could even win a little. Who know how his luck would turn this night? Pulling a chair from the table next to theirs Taren turned it backward and squatted, running a hand through his shaggy brown hair he smiled at the both of them and tossed his bag of coins on the table.


"Room for one more?"

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Is it time that the wheel turns . . . Or the track that it leaves behind?


There was a light wind and whenever it stirred the trees, they sent a fresh shower of the day's rain to patter on the wet ground. Inside, before the softly crackling hearth fire, stood a brown-haired man who had been at the periphery of their circle. This man asked if he could join then, then laid down a pouch heavy with the jingle-jangle song of fortune.


Saline's worries was slowly disappearing behind her, in the past, fading like footsteps in the rain. She would have to worry about Rory another time. Right now she was relaxed and D'Ashan appeared similiarly poised for a challenge.


"Sure, come on," said Saline with a friendly gesture, withdrawing from her seat to the corner to watch as D'Ashan grinned, enjoying the attention he drew from the crowd. "My name is Saline and this trickster here is D'Ashan. Please, do something that wipes the grin off his face."


"Righto," said D'Ashan grinning to himself in a rather pleased manner. He seemed unperturbed by the Aes Sedai's request or his new customer as he slid the shells around and talked too fast for everybody 'cept the drunkards to understand. But the stranger watched the trainee like a hawk and managed to guess the right shell.


Surprised at the tables being turned, Saline laughed and clapped.


"Well, color me impressed D'Ashan. Our volunteer has won your trick. Now we have to pay his bills here." Turning again to the stranger, still laughing Saline said, "That was delightful. I kept losing rounds, tell me, is it beginner's luck or some mythical skill of perception that you're using Master . . .?"


The serving maid had dropped by with their bills.


"Saline luck has nothing to do with my tricks. We can tie it back to the risk lovers."


As Saline settled the bill for the three of them D'ashan picked up a coin. "It's funny really," he said cheerfully "flip of a coin for example. I used to flip silvers to earn money and favors. Wasn't much, but people would pay maybe five coppers to earn a silver. They think they can beat the odds, see. Fifty-fifty. Coin has two sides. Heads, tails."


"So according to the pattern shouldn't it all even out in the end, if you keep going?"


"Aye, it should if you keep going, but even if the house played fairly, you'll lose out in the end. Nobody's rich enough to keep going forever."


"How come?"


"Your principle. The sum you have is finite. Whereas you'd pay something like five coppers for an opportunity to play in the first place. Sooner or later it'll chip away any fortune."


"So the only way to win . . ." she said slowly.


"Is to quit while you're ahead, Saline." D'ashan said, finding himself capable of supreme confidence whenever it came to how he earnt his living in the past. "Won't you say that's a wise recourse, Mr... what did you say your name was?"


D'Ashan & Saline

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Taren had been watching the Aes Sedai, Saline was it? Taren had been paying attention to every word that passed between the two, but at the same time trying to appear to watch only the shells or the serving girls that passed by. If he had thought them strangers before that thought has vanished as the two clearly talked now as friends, Even Aes Sedai had friends. Her words were filled with all the regal and poise he had imagined from an Aes Sedai, more Queenly than any Queen even and able to make rulers dance on strings. Smiling only slightly Taren nodded his head in a bow as his winnings were passed to him.


"Is to quit while you're ahead, Saline. Won't you say that's a wise recourse, Mr... what did you say your name was?"


"I didn't," Taren replied with a quick look at each, trying not to look nervous.


Aes Sedai and Warders traveled the world and were welcomed in nearly every land. Able to come and go where ever they pleased. Besides this was Tar Valon and people came from all over the world to learn from Aes Sedai, after all Saline was clearly Taraboner, and clearly one of them could tell at least for where he was from. Well...possibly.


"As for luck, likely some of that yes. Skill of perception? That would be a stretch," Taren scratched his chin where his face was rough with his unshaven stubble. He'd fix that as soon as he woke in the morning, "Where I am from Saline Sedai men play these games to steal your money, and the trick is being played on the fool who does not watch the dealers hands. The hands are where the movement is at and the hands is where you would find your answer. Obviously, as...Dashen?...D'ashan was it?...D'ashan pointed out it boils down to taking your risk."


What he said next came from his Uncle, a soldier who had served in war and came back only because of his fathers sacrifice. The man had raised his own, taught him all he knew.


"Risks are everywhere, you step out of your bed and you are taking a risk at stubbing your toe. You can only hope to meet these risks with enough left in you to take it."


As the words left his mouth they rang in his ears and he knew it was time to stop running. Slowly he rose his eyes to meet hers, this risk might consume what was left of him, Light burn me I came all this way to be a Warder and I'm hiding from it.


"Saline Sedai, my name is Taren do Aron a'Murray, I have traveled here from a small village just outside of Lugard in Murandy. I have come to train in the Tower, I have come to be a Warder...It's just I'm not sure where to start."


((OOC: lol I meant to leave one of these on the last post. Feel free to throw some dialogue in for Taren now if you want. He has been nervous and to you probably hasn't been hiding it well, he's very tired so he wouldn't be able to keep the greatest hold on his emotion. Proceed however you like and I'll deal with whatever you think is a fitting outcome for how Saline would deal with this.))

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  Behind dense cloud cover the sun would be just passing noon as Shawn pulled his hood down closer over his head as a shield from the icy rain and entered Tar Valon for the first time in six months.  The time away had been good for him and he'd finally gotten control of his emotional state after the mess Dene had left him in, it was time to return at last.  The cloak he wore was not the bold red that would mark him as a Tower Guard for he would not wear that until he'd seen the commander and returned officially.  Instead he wore a simple gray cloak that served its purpose well of protecting him from the rain.  He was nervous about returning to the Yards but knew that waiting any longer would serve no purpose, he was as ready as he'd ever be, but there was no telling how he'd react if he saw Dene again too soon.  If she'd even returned at all.

  He guided Blaize straight for the Tower, resisting the temptation to stop for lunch in the city.  The Commander would not be expecting his return for several months yet so he could easily stop and wait another day, but he was too duty-bound to do so.  His place was at the Tower and he would report back before allowing himself to enjoy all that this city had to offer.

  Reaching the Tower he entered by a seldom known back gate that led straight to the stables.  He left instructions for Blaize's care with the stableboys and made his way to the Commander's office, avoiding as much attention as was possible.  His return would be noticed eventually but he preferred to avoid the questions as long as he could.

  The Commander welcomed him back warmly and offered him his choice of rooms in the barracks.  But Shawn declined and offered an alternative for the Commander to consider.  A short discussion with the master at Arms later Shawn received permission to move his few belongings into a storage room in the back of the smithy and Yards gained an automatic security guard for the armory and forge.

  With his things settled but still having no desire to interact with his fellow Guards as yet Shawn made the walk back into the city for dinner.  He wore black pants that were well-tailored but still provided plenty of room for movement and a bold blue vest, loosely tied.  With swords on his back, his Tower dagger at his belt and throwing knives on armbands around each bicep he cut an imposing figure.  Over it all he wore the dark red cloak of a Tower Guard, no longer embarrassed or ashamed but actually taking comfort in its familiar weight and feel.


  When he reached the Woman of Tanchico he acknowledged the innkeeper and seated himself at a table in the back corner to observe and see what diversions the night might bring.  As evening came the serving girl came round to light the candles around the room and Shawn stopped her from lighting the ones near him, allowing him to sink hidden into the shadows.  He pulled up his hood to prevent the light reflecting off his shaved head and settled in to enjoy his one of his favorite pastimes, people-watching.


  Interestingly enough he was soon being entertained by an Aes Sedai and a young man playing a game at a table almost directly in front of him, completely unnoticed by them as they were so wrapped up in each other.  Then they were joined by another young man and things got even more interesting.


OOC: Was going to jump in and answer Taren's request for help getting to the Yard but decided to wait to enter the conversation until after Saline's reaction and subsequent question is posted.

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Saline sat up abruptly. This was shocking news.


"No, really? Taren my boy, this is, this is . . . priceless."


She slid another pouch into the pipe and began puffing at it once more. Despite the smoke, the Sister seemed confused. She had the air of a philosopher of truth who has been baffled. Her eyes roamed the room discontentedly.


"I always wonder though," she hated to give pain, but she felt she must be honest "why is it that you warder types feel the need to be warders in the first place?"


It was a fair question, posed to both of them but she felt embarrassed all the same. She withdrew coyly into the cushioned recess. Presently the serving maid returned, and Saline took the opportunity to order a nice bottle of apricot brandy.


Saline Wastrel

Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah

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"I always wonder though, why is it that you warder types feel the need to be warders in the first place?"


Well, Shawn couldn't sit back back and watch the Red, for that's what she had to be, Sister dissuade the young man from his quest.  The talk he'd just had with the Commander had given him a fairly good idea of where things stood and he knew they needed to be actively recruiting, not sending people away.  Besides, saving the young man from the Sister and escorting him into the Yards might score Shawn some points with the new Mistress of Trainees whom he'd yet to meet.


Shawn cast his voice to be heard above the general hubbub of the room and interjected himself into the conversation, "Excuse me, Aes Sedai, but perhaps I would be better suited to answer that.  And afterward perhaps show the young man how where he might one day join the ranks of the most elite fighting force in the world."


Drawing the attention of all three of them he removed his hood and caught them with the icy blue eyes that never failed to draw the attention of every man or woman who happened to be ensnared in their thrall.  He let the silence drag on for a moment and then stood and calmly walked over to their table.  Yet still he waited, until the silence was almost deafening.  When he sensed that he was about to lose them he finally spoke again, "Aes Sedai seek to serve the Creator and defend the world from the Dark One, but it is our job to protect the Aes Sedai.  As I said, we are the most elite fighting force and we train as hard as we do to protect not just the Tower, not only every Aes Sedai, but every man, woman, and child in the world.  If you ever find yourself facing shadowspawn you will want a Tower Guard in front of you Sister."

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Ah, the exuberance of youth.


When the blue-eyed Guard, for he had declared himself as much when he mentioned taking Taren in, spoke up Saline recognised that fervor. Unless she was mistaken, Saline had thought as much. Very rousing, reaffirming speech reserved for Yard recruits. He seemed passionate about what he was saying, as though to persuade himself as well as the others. It was almost enough to make her silent. In lighter moments, had she been sat before a cheery fire with an intriguing book, she might not have spoken.


"Well put and well met, Tower Guard." Saline said, naming him for Taren's benefit "I'm not so eloquent as our new friend and protector here. But I will make an observation, having never signed up myself. The decision to enlist as trainees, to one day be Tower Guards, then again as Gaidin or Gaidar, is not a plunge easily taken."


She waited, looking at D'ashan and considering how to best break her opinions to her young friend. As conversation resumed in the tables around them, Saline murmurred in a lowered voice so that only their circle would hear. "I am not trying to discourage anybody. The world needs heroes, this is what you're told but, at what cost? How many people have to die facing the giant for one hero to stand, triumphant whereas the other, hundreds, thousands of stories are not sung, nor remembered? It's definitely the moment where you're on your own to decide. But I want to share some information you might not have been privy to, not even you Sir Guard," she smiled, a teasing tendril of smoke escaping from the upturn corners of her mouth, "it could be my bias as a Red Sister, but my hope is that it would help you all to think for yourselves."


One of the advantages of being an Aes Sedai is rarely being interrupted while telling other people stuff. A benefit Saline was quite grateful for, right about now. Her thoughts were on the asha'man bonding the Red Sisters as she went on "there are places no Tower Guard can follow, yet Sisters must go. An Aes Sedai learns to take care of herself or himself, and will continue to act in self-preservation so that there would be something to spare for another day of serving the world, unless she has lost her use to the Tower in any other way but to sacrifise her body to the cause. This is why, even though we haven't the physique or time to train our bodies as you do yours, from the time when we are Accepted we will train in self-defence and other aspects of arts without tapping the Source. I'm not saying Sisters do not need help from Tower Guards. Technically Sisters can go where they please. But the Tower keeps tabs on us anyway. We are considered political and economic investments. Assets, if you will. To be protected by Tower Guards, even if our errands are personal. Many of the Sisters' tasks tend to be. We are placed on pedestals then blamed when we turn out to be still human. There's nothing fun about being constantly surrounded by all this suffering when you're no miracle worker. Aes Sedai are not as together as they seem. Factions and squabbles threaten to tear the Tower asunder at times, in attempts to separate, to distance Sisters so we could spent our days empowering one agenda over others. I know all too well the imperfections in my person, and know there are even more flaws I don't know about yet possess anyway. No doubt I'll find out. I know my Sisters make mistakes too. Most Aes Sedai didn't really volunteer for this. We're found. Told we're needed. And now most of us are, though powerful in our own ways, just struggling to keep our lives from falling apart. Some chose lonely paths. Others banded together in benevolent ventures that are equally as violent to the common folks because we say we know better, when nobody knows." Look at Estel Liones, the Blue had such issues with everybody around her. What about Lavinya Sedai? Saline would not have put up with all the crap she had to at the moment. And herself? Abandoning Rory like a bleeding coward. All those people, looking to them, looking to me . . . we are the world's last hope? "But in the end there is the expectation from those we serve, see, we're good enough to be of use . . . not good enough to be trusted."


"Hard as people are on the Aes Sedai, at least most of us have longer lives. Things are easier when you have more time. The Wheel, however, tends to be less forgiving timewise to warders. I knew a warder who was around forever. A phenomenal fighter, positively deadly with dual katanas. He was bonded to a Green but she died, and he was basically considered a 'failed' warder for not having protected his Sister. He was scarred and injured, having bled pints for the Tower. But the Tower praised him for decades of work then decided not to take good care of him afterward. After all, people reason, what is a Gaidin without his sister? He went into exile, was bonded again, this time to a healer, this Yellow Sister named Eqwina, and ended up committing suicide from what I gather." Saline did not mention having found Corwin alive again in Katar, having been released from his bond . . . or whom he had been on the run from. He wouldn't say. She had given her word not to tell anybody, not even Corwin's daughter. It was not her secret for sharing. "Not exactly the most comfortable life. Or this Tower Guard I heard of, not a friend like the warder I knew. Used to run in very high circles. Some say he was very intimate with an Amyrlin by the name of Sirayn. He was, oh, widely considered a very sharp player of games. Now he has been passed on to a Gray Sister without his consent. But never mind that. After the death of this former Amyrlin. An instrument, a tool to be sharpened and wielded without emotions. Ever since he broke out, then returned to the Yard he has been compelled to guard those who watch him, eyes from above that are always watching." And the only reason I know what little I do about Corin is from Lavinya Sedai, who has him on a tight leash as it is. Saline added, to herself.


"Life within the Yards is not one for finding your soulmate, as lovers go. Even the romance and occasional flings between Tower Guards are scrutinized and discouraged. Life is so much shorter for you lot. You will have no chance to establish a lineage. And for some, their threads are cut very short. In face of protecting the Sisters your lives means nothing. And even if the last battle is won, what happens after?"


"Sometimes, not often. Aes Sedai will take on their warders as lovers. While not encouraged, it's not exactly discouraged either. Think about it, there used to be armies of men loving each other so the idea is they would rush to protect what they cherish . . . Ask me if they survived, I dare you. Also, on that note, Aes Sedai live for a long time, meaning most of them will go through several Warders. Even if your life gets extended by the benefits being bonded lends you, death will come for you. It is not a life for anybody who wants their own life or body. Your goal is to die in protecting the Aes Sedai, and Aes Sedai attract danger. You need to be able to surrender all you have. For what? That's what all three of you need to figure out. Maybe you're on the way to figuring this out already during your training. But after all this, do you still want to go on? Are you sure?"


"It's not just the training. Plenty of other guards and fighting units around the world become the best of the best. It's not fame and glory, romance, personal triumph, or legendary immortality in the books. Your work is always overshadowed by your Aes Sedai. You're at her beck and call. Ever been in love? If you fall in love again? Doesn't matter. You're taking the plunge when you're so young, and this is terrifying. You haven't lived, and it's already on your own to give up possibilities. True, with surrendering comes power extended to you via the White Tower, but that will take a colonization of your minds. And bodies, obviously. The more docile you are, the more useful you will be to the Tower and it will discipline you if you will not play puppet since it has political investment in you. I just want you to think for yourselves, see. Some Warders are perfectly fine and willing to surrender all they have and more. But not everybody will die in heroic defence of their Aes Sedai. Dying is easy. Living with what you've chosen, and what's been spun for you by the Wheel . . . not everybody is cut out for that type of giving. Is this life really what you want?"


"Ah but our dear old serving maid has come back with some much needed restoration," Saline popped the cork, "how about a glass? Anybody?"


Ooc: cheers Shawn, Taren's in good hands

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The moment the words left Taren's mouth he felt like a fool. Looking around he realized he had stood up after revealing himself and the look Saline gave him was enough to send him straight back into his seat. Bloody fool, not bothering to look before you leap, It took Taren a moment to realize Saline was speaking while he was busy mentally berating himself.


"Why is it that you warder types feel the need to be warders in the first place?"


The question came out leaving Taren a little taken aback, but another man walked up from the corner before he could get a word out. The man himself appeared a weapon, poised as though to strike at a moments noticed. He was every bit the image he had been brought up to believe Warders were. The conversation between the Warder, a Tower Guard Saline said eventually but trained with them nonetheless, and Saline as though he were not there yet each trying to drive home a separate point. The Warder clearly felt Taren should be shown the way to the yards, but possibly only because their recruiting might be low? And Saline seemed to be discouraging him against it altogether, or perhaps just urging him to truly think over why he has come all this way?


"No," Taren spoke finally as Saline requested if anyone else needed drink. "I thank you each for your help. To my Tower Guard friend, I would like it if you could show me to where I may enlist in the morning."


Taren had come this far, he would not be turned aside so easily. His Uncle's wish had been to see him to the Yards, moreso it had been to see that Taren was happy. Losing a father wasn't easy on a young boy, Taren would do this because...Because why? Vengeance? What am I after?


"And to my friend, Saline Sedai," Taren shifted his gaze to her. "I appreciate what you have tried to stress to me, but I worked hard for the coin to make it all this way. Lugard to Tar Valon is no walk in the park. I had all the way here to think of why I had come, what I was after. In Lugard, the city guard counts for practically nothing since the Kings rule only stretches that far, and in the worst of times not even there. It's home to brigands and thieves, I lived in fear as a young boy after my father left and the only man I ever saw that even the thieves walked wide of wore a strange color shifting cloak. I'm no good at inspiring people or at talking reason, on the farm I grew up on the only thing that makes the man worth his salt are the two hands he's born with."


Taren glanced down at his hands, they were dirty from travel and covered in calluses.


"The sword is all I ever knew growing up, my father died by it Saline Sedai. And so shall I. The least I can do is make sure it is for someone or something. If we have no purpose in life then what have we?"


Taren was a bit surprised at the croaking of his own voice, he hadn't felt sad about speaking of his father in a good many years, but he though he felt now what his father had felt when he fought in the Aiel War. Rubbing a hand through his shaggy brown hair Taren took a large gulp of his wine, finishing it off.


OOC: Sorry it took me so long to respond. Nice to see you two kept it going a ways.

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"Well, at least you're persistant" Saline said approvingly. "And it's still a little early for the bubbly I suppose, although it is generally conceded that a dash of the essence can provide just what is needed on such occasions."


"Such as after an arduous journey from Lugard to Tar Valon. The king has weak control over his capital, even, yet trade always flourishs." Saline agreed, knowing how the Murandy slums could be. She drew at her pipe meditatively, turning things over in her mind. "You will learn to be eloquent; being such a man as a Warder will incorporate such education as etiquette and communication skills. As for your lovely question concerning our purposes in life. I'm still trying to figure out what we have to live for. Ourselves, I suspect. While thinking of others."


Saline glanced over to where her trainee friend D'ashan had sunk moodily into a chair. It was plain even through the smoke that D'ashan had his troubles and was bearing them without grace. He was scowling absently at the table-cloth. "I teach etiquette at the Tower sometimes. You're all welcome to join my class. In the meantime you both look you could use some rest and there are people who will be worried if I do not return D'ashan by his curfew. I'll be seeing you lovely people  later. Come, sunshine."

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  It seemed from her speech that the Red Sister had given this subject much thought and consideration.  She seemed to even be questioning her own role and purpose at the Tower.  Shawn was taken aback to hear a Sister attempting to dissuade one from entering the Yards,  But he kept the shock and all other emotions from reaching his face, feeding them instead into the Spring.  He soon realized the purpose of her speech was to make sure both the trainee that was with her as well as the new recruit knew exactly what it was they were getting themselves into, ensuring that they were dedicated enough not to desert when things got tough.

  She seemed to almost be addressing him with her speech as well, though she could not have known what a waste that was.  It had been four years since he'd sworn his oaths to the Tower and even if he'd regretted the choice he was now duty-bound to see it through.  But he had made no hasty decision but had thought long and hard about his choice.  His recent time away had if anything served to strengthen his resolve to dedicate his life to an often thankless job despite the costs and to focus his energies on training so as to make himself a most effective weapon for the Tower to wield.

  But this Tower Guard she mentioned, the one she described as a 'very sharp player of games', the one that was rumored to have been intimate with the former Amyrlin, could it be his old mentor Corin Danveer?  If so, it was a disturbing bit of news indeed to hear that his bond had been passed without his consent.  More than disturbing it was downright distressing to think of the Sisters doing that to anyone, moreso that it was done to a friend.  He determined to find Corin and offer what help he could, though he knew how stubborn the man was and wondered it it would be accepted.

  She likewise had no way of knowing the effect her mention of flings between Guards would have on him, and he barely succeeded at keeping such thoughts from being made known by his often too-expressive face.  It had taken six months to regain such control over his emotions, but he knew it would be much longer yet before he was truly haled of his loss.

  When Saline Sedai had left Shawn regarded the young man before him.  "Taren do Aron a'Murray, you seem to be as ready as one can be without actually knowing the things you will one day experience.  But take heed of the wise counsel you've heard here today and continue to think it over in the weeks and months ahead.  Now, if you are ready I suggest you gather your things and I will escort you to the Tower.  Tonight you will meet the Mistress of Trainees and be assigned a room and then tomorrow you can get a fresh start as you begin your training in earnest."

  Shawn waited outside for Taren to gather his things and motioned for him to follow when he came out.  "I apologize Taren, but I realize I never properly introduced myself.  The name's Anwashawn Ellasser, though most folks just call me Shawn.  If you ever find yourself in need of assistance, or if you wish to discuss further the warnings Saline Sedai gave, please don't hesitate to seek me out.  Truth is, I'm not that hard to find, for I have no life outside the Tower.  I can nearly always be found either on duty, training myself or others, or in the forge."

  Shawn chuckled at the incredulous look on the boy's face, "Yes, the forge.  See Taren, in addition to my duties as a Guard I also serve as a Smith, doing custom work for my comrades."

  Shawn had led Taren all the way to the office of the Mistress of Trainees and knocked on the door, hoping she was in and curious to see who it was and if he had met her before.

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OOC: Things are getting really busy for me lately so I'm trying to be as active as possible, hate to keep this waiting one me >.<


Saline had called him persistent, perhaps that was the word for how he had come this far. Persistent, determined, he wouldn't let his family down. This future was as much for himself as for them, to serve the White Tower. When she had left the Tower Guard took only a moment before speaking. Apparently this man intended to see Taren away to the Mistress of Trainees this moment and that he would stay in the barracks that night, Well no fancy inn I suppose, Taren thought disappointedly. I had hoped for one last night, but I will live staying in the Tower Grounds tonight.


Rushing up the stares he gathered his bags and made his way out to the stable to fetch his horse before making his way toward the front where the Tower Guard had been waiting. He gave his name this time, Shawn he said to call him, before making his way toward the Tower. He went on about his duties and how he served as a smith in his free time, a way to give back. What was it this man thought he owed? Before long they were in front of another door as Shawn gave a knock on the door Taren did not at all feel nervous, strange he thought he would've been bursting with unease and excitement. Instead the only feelings inside Taren this moment were sadness, he was beginning to miss family, and fear for the fact he might never see them again.


When the door opened Taren followed Shawn in, he was prepared to meet this Mistress of Trainees either way and it was far too late for turning back now.

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OOC: I was bumped to this...sorry for any wait.  :D


IC: The hours of her day filled with work always seemed to drag on, while the times she spent with Lyss flew by in a blink. It was the bad to balance the good she supposed, but it was the hours in between either that truly had Thera in a taking.


Ever since she’d first seen Serena Sedai again she’d hardly been able to sleep. Only the necessity of caring for Lyss and the responsibility of her job kept her from going completely crazy. Every day she entered the Tower proper and combed the yards, hoping for another glimpse of raven hair, or emerald eyes that shined like fire. Did she still love her former bonded?


Scrubbing her hands across her eyes Thera went in poured a small goblet of wine. She had taken to drinking again, though she was always conscious of how much she consumed. She had no intention of spiraling out of control as she had before. Sitting back down at her paper strewn desk Thera sighed. Another two hours or more before she would be done. “Talk sheers no sheep” she muttered to herself and set to reading the next report. Her eyes had just started to scan when someone knocked and entered her room.


She knew she was out of sorts when a new trainee caused her a flash of joy. Then again…anything was better than reading reports…Almost anything.


‘Good-day Shawn. Bringing in strays now? I didn’t think you the type.’ Standing she motioned the would be trainee to have a seat. “I suppose I can have a look at him and see if he passes muster.” Ushering Shawn from the room she set to finding out the new young man’s name and where he’d come from.


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