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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Ghaul

New start ( oh Eqwina dear ... )

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  The tip of his father's bokuto was now an all to familair sight for Kastor. Well at least this time the old man was satisfied with just holding him in check instead of hitting him with the practice weapon. People have often told him that his father now lives for him, and Kastor was sure that his father loved him, like any parent would love their child. But the old man sure had some strange ways of showing it!

 

  "Have you had enough, Kastor?" - the even voice did not hold anything, neither a mockery nor a taunt.

 

  "Heh, I thought that you already knew that us Ronshors do not give up" - with a grin Kastor gripped his own bokuto tightly. Now, if he could find a way to last a bit longer this time. Unlike him. his father was holding his bokuto in one hand, so perhaps ...

 

  Kastor's first attack was a quick overhead slash. The plan was to overpower his father's defense. However, the old man was not to be so easily bested. He raised his bokuto so not to parry but to deflect his son's attack and use the enrgy to launch his own. Kastor was now in danger of being hit so he had to act fast. And so he did - he charged forward, going inside the arch of his father's strike, body slamming him. As Daemon took a forced step back, Kastor brought his blade up in a diagonal slash. The older man sidestep the bokuto and grabbed his son's wrist as it reached it highest point. Alarm bells went off in Kastor's head. Daemon quickly put his foot behind Kastor's right leg, and moved in to presure the young man until he tripped. As Kastor fell down, Daemon sweeped in to pin him down.

 

"Well, that was something new from you." - said Daemon to his son, who grinned.

 

"You noticed, eh?"

 

"Yes, I noticed how you took the kodachi from my belt as I moved in to bring you down. If you're quick enough that might save you, but you will have to aim a bit lower. Not for the lungs but instead the liver or intestines."

 

  Kastor was a bit confused. His father stood up and held his hand out. Kastor took it and got back up on his feet

 

"But it makes sense to go after the lungs - you can't breath you can't fight."

 

"That is so, but in a combat situation a man can ignore a stab to the lungs. It will be a minute or so before his breathing is affected, and the adrenaline ruhs will mask the pain. However, a stab to the liver, stomach or intestines will cause a lout greater pain, and it will also instinctively cause your opponent to curl up. Still good attempt on your side, Kastor"

 

  The older man took a look skywards, then moved his attention back to his son.

 

  "It seems that lunch hour will be over soon, Kastor, so I will have to go back to training my disciples. And I believe you have other duties as well. I will see you for dinner, Kastor."

 

  With that his father turned and walked away. And with him went the small number of people who watched their spars. They were usually disciples of his father. So Kastor got busy with his lunch. So far it was just another day, not different from the one before. What he did not know, however, was that this time there was also someone else who has watched him and his father. And he also did not know that he has managed to catch the interest of that person

 

 

  Kastor Ronshor

 

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Eqwina’s days in the Tower seemed to drag on, and her responsibilities were beginning to weigh on her. Though it was known to no one but herself and Corwin, she was the head of two Ajah’s and that was more than enough for anyone without being a Sitter besides. She had been considering giving up her seat in the Hall, though in her opinion there was no other Yellow worthy of stepping up to take the job. So, she bided her time and kept her eyes open for anyone who began to show promise at taking her place.  She’d also started thinking about venturing out of the Tower again, an event that would surely cause more rumors.

 

In the little free time she managed to find for herself she combed the Warders yard searching for a companion who might help her on her travels. The last several months she’d been gathering quite a courtier of young men who helped her with various tasks, though with the exception of Kennar there were none that she could leave the Tower with. Not with any hope of bringing them back alive. Her life was a perilous one and the man she took with her would need certain skills. He had to be not only strong and brave, but he needed to be as skilled with his weapon as he was with his mind. It seemed that too few men met those criteria these days. Only the old masters seemed to have what she wanted, but the hope of bonding them was nearly none. Most already had Aes Sedai, or had gone into retirement and refused to see any Sister. So, on her free days she watched the yards for any who may develop the skills she desired.

 

In the Warders Yard you could find the best teachers in the world, and so it was their students that Eqwina watched. Thera did not teach many classes, but several of her students were passable, and the Masters Cairma and Daemon also had a few that had caught her eye.

 

It had been a true shock to see Daemon again after all these years. They had never been close, though everyone in the Tower knew of him, and his story. Her heart had gone out to him when she’d heard of the tragedy. the death of Arie had bit deep, as it always did when a Sister passed away. Pausing a few yards away from where the practice was taking place Eqwina smiled to see Daemon working with one of his students.

 

The young man was tall, though standing only 4’10” Eqwina was not a good judge of such things, and he was well muscled. He seemed to handle his weapon credibly, and she thought she’d heard praise from Daemon. The old man was not free with complements, which meant the boy was probably better than she’d just seen. If she could not have a master, a student of one as great as Daemon would be much desired.

 

Once she was sure that Daemon was well out of sight, Eqwina walked out from under the shade of the trees and approached the handsome young man. “You seem to do well against a Master for one so young.” Knowing the effect her ageless face often had on men, she added a slow friendly smile; hoping it would put him more at ease. She knew that if she wanted a chance at having this young man at her side for any period of time, the first order of business was trust. You had to make them trust you or there was no point in going on. Lucky for Eqwina, her angelic face radiated innocence and her girlish good looks always made men stare.

 

“I would know the name of one so skilled as you, if you please?” It was phrased as a request, but on Tower grounds it was as good as a command.

 

 

Eqwina al'Caupthn

On the Prowl

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  Now let's see, Kastor took a bite of his sandwich, what did we learn today? Well the first thing was that in addition to the eyes on the back of his head, his father seemed to have eyes on his abdomen too. He was holding the bokuto with one hand so obviously he was not relying on power. Now, his father was fast, and at this stage he was more deflecting Kastor's attacks then directly confronting him, so speed over power was a logical choise, but there was still something not quite right. For one handed strikes, they sure did hurt!! Now where was this strength comming from? Hmm ...

 

  “You seem to do well against a Master for one so young.”

 

It was not often that you hear such a lovely voice, like a girl who just might be interest to flirt with you, so Kastor made sure to pay much attention to the person who the voice belong to. And that was a good decision. The voice came from a petite woman, with long black hair. She was quite curvetious, and it took a serious concentration of will on Kastors side not to allow his gaze to slide on the curves of her body and instead concentrate on her face. And to be honest - her girl like voice was fitting to her face. The lady in front of him, even though she had the ageless look of an Aes Sedai, she could easily pass for a girl that you would love to take to a dance and perhaps steal a kiss or two from. For a moment Kastor was wondering if he shoul wrap his arm around her waist and lead her off for a dance, but then again, she was an Aes Sedai.

 

    "Well, I am glad you have liked my performance, my Lady, though I fear I have a long way to go before I trully manage to make the Grandmaster break sweat. But I am actually quite pleased with my performance today. And it is definately not every day, that I get him to admit that I was actually on to something! But please excuse my babbling, my Lady. I have not even introduced myself yet"

 

  Kastor stood up and held his hand out for the lady. As she reached out for the handshake Kastor took her hand, but instead of shaking it, he almost touched her knuckles with her lips. True, he did breach protocol a bit. He was supposed to wait until she offered him his hand, not to surprise her with a kiss during a handshake. But most women did not mind such small surprises every now and then. He was hoping that she would not either.

 

  “I would know the name of one so skilled as you, if you please?”

 

  So far so good - her voice did not show that she was displeased. And the smile that made her green eyes sparkle also did not speak of displasement.

 

  "My name is not to a secret, so I see no reason why not sharing it. I am Kastor Ronshor, my lady." - Kastor could see the interest in her eyes when he mentioned his family name. - "Yes, I am related to Grandmaster Daemon Ronshor, if that is what you're thinking. I am his son, in fact. And may I have have your name, my lady?"

 

 

  Kastor Ronshor

Attempting charmcasting

 

 

 

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Eqwina studied the eyes of the young guard, as his eyes explored her form. It was merely one among many advantages to being a beautiful woman.  She would be forever grateful to Drak for teaching her how to use her abilities and looks to her advantage.  While the men studied her, it gave her time to study them in return. Though while they were looking at her with lust; she was studying at them for any clue about who they really were. You could tell a lot about a person from just the way they dressed, and the way they held themselves in public and countless other tell tale signs that the common person did not notice.

 

As he spoke, Eqwina only listened with half her mind. There was something familiar about this boy and she was rarely wrong. She was sure that she’d not seen him before, she would have remembered such a pretty face and still she was sure that she knew him somehow. Smiling at his lips brushing against her skin, Eqwina did not pull away from his touch. This boy obviously knew that she was Aes Sedai and still he was brave enough to attempt this kiss; that made a light sparkle in her green eyes. It seemed as if her time watching the Grandmasters students was about to pay off.

 

‘Oh yes’ she thought to herself, she and this boy could have a bit of fun. Eqwina had come to welcome someone who could challenge her both in wit and strength. There were so few men in this world who could do either. Even as she thought that her mind went out to Corwin, and she once again felt the lack of their bond. He’d been the only Warder she’d ever taken and even knowing that he was still alive did not ease the pain at losing him.

 

“Yes, I am related to Grandmaster Daemon Ronshor, if that is what you're thinking. I am his son, in fact. And may I have your name, my lady?” For a moment Eqwina’s eyes grew larger and had she been anyone other than an Aes Sedai she would have gaped. His son?! Quickly she plastered a smile on her lips, but there was a predatory gleam in her eyes now.  She had never expected in all of her searching to find a child of a bloodline as great as Ronshor. Not many Warders fathered children and so often they were the last of their house, unless they had brothers to carry on the family name.

 

A child of a Grandmaster Warder and an Aes Sedai, it was almost too good to be true

 

Wicked plans rushed through Eqwina’s mind in the moments it took for her to utter her name. “I am Eqwina al’Caupthn of the Yellow Ajah.” She now had her sights set on young Kastor, but she did pause at considering what Daemon might think. Eqwina remembered him as a strict man, and she may not be to his liking for his son. Daemon had too much honor to ever stop his son from serving her, but she decided it would be best to make a good impression.

“I did not know that Daemon’s son was in the Warders Yards. It seems for all my breadth of knowledge I have managed to miss a few very important bits of news.” Her small smile and the flutter of her lashes said that Kastor was the important news she’d been missing. “I am glad that I am finally educated as to your existence. I cannot pass up to chance to speak with someone such as you. Perhaps you would like to take lunch with me in the city?”

 

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  Well now, the name Ronshor sure has caught this lady's attention. This was not the first time Kastor has seen the effect of their family name. Obviously there was a lot more to his time here in the Tower than what his father has told him. Now he would love to hear his full story, and that of his mother - Arie Tarou Ronshor. But alas, if his father was laconic when asked about his history he was literally mure when Kastor asked about Arie. Though on second though, it was perhaps better that his father did not tell him. If the truth turned out be as impressive as what Kastor imagined then who knows what expectation would be set to him by his peers. And even worse - what expectations he would have set for himseld. As if he did not have enough to live up to already! The name Ronshor did bring certain bonuses, but it also came with a responsibility.

 

Though perhaps Eqwina's interest in him was not fueled only by his name. Kastor noticed her look - like a cat looking at a mouse. Add to that her smile and the slight flutter of her eyelashes and Kastor was getting quite the different picture.

 

"You're name is quite elegant, as befiting a lady like you, Eqwina Sedai." - well then, if Eqwina Sedai did not seem to mind the game, play on! - "But alas, I will have to turn down your invitation for lunch. The lunch hour is almost done, and my day is is quite full. The Gaidin tend to keep us busy. However .. "

 

Being an Aes Sedai, Eqwina was practically impossible to read. But Kastor could feel her eyes on him, keeping track of his actions. And so far, even though it was just a hunch, he thought that she was quite amused of this situation. So what he was about to do might not be as foolish as it first seemed.

 

  "However, I will have about two free hours around dinner time. Perhaps you would not mind sharing dinner with me, Eqwina Sedai? I do not know if I will be allowed to go into the city at that time, but even if permission to go into the city is not given, you company will more than make up for that."

 

She was an Aes Sedai, after all, and he was a Tower Trainee. Sooner or later Kastor would have to meet and deal with Aes Sedai. So why not start with one who is friendly and so beautiful that Kastor would not mind a dance or two with her, Aes Sedai or not!

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With a small effort Eqwina kept the smile on her face when Kastor refused. She was a woman accustomed to people jumping when she snapped, and having men scurry to do as she wished. It was a small blow to her ego, but one she was willing to suffer for what she hoped would be a greater reward. Her endless scheming always had room for another pawn, for another player, or another victim depending on how the cards fell; she was not sure where her new young friend would fit in, but she was sure he would.

 

Watching him, watch her was nearly the most fascinating thing she’d learned beyond his surname. It seemed in addition to courage he had his dad’s powers of deduction and reasoning skills. If he had in fact grown up in the Warder’s Yard he would know that Aes Sedai planned and plotted with everything breath, and yet he went forward nearly as carefree as a young lover. It showed that he had determination another one of the important skills on her list. 

 

“It would be my pleasure to dine with you Kastor. You may tell the Master at Arms that I have requested your presence. I am sure he will allow you leave.” Often of late she had borrowed Tower Guards for this and that, it would come as no shock to the man. Giving Kastor another small smile she told him the name of a small Inn where they could have a fine meal. “I will meet you at The Gardeners Delight as soon as the Tower Bells have rung. I hope that I shall see you there."

 

Before he could offer her another smoky gaze, or flirtatious comment she swept away back towards the Tower, her mind reeling. She did not want to seem too eager, lest the boy starting thinking above himself, but she could not allow her usual cold demeanor either. This would be a delicate balance, this game.

 

Her hours back in the Tower were filled with codes and ciphers, and passing messages along the various channels so that none of the other Blacks’ new that they came from her hand. While she could recite the name of every Sister sworn to their Master and the names of the entire Supreme Council few knew anything about her. Eqwina’s heart was often from the Tower, and she’d been careful through the years not to give away herself to any more. The messiness with Corwin had almost caused her downfall, but with that quietly handled she was back on stable ground.

 

The sun began to set over the walls of the city and Eqwina changed into a gown slightly less modest, but covered herself decently with a linen cloak. Reaching into the pockets sewn into her dress she checked on her small vials of herbs and poisons, and made sure her dagger was in place. Even the security of Saidar was not enough from someone in her dangerous line of work. Stepping out of her room she reset the warders and exited the Tower. The Gardeners Delight was close to the tower and used often by Sisters who wanted time away from the dining halls of their rooms.

 

When she arrived she was shocked to see another from her Ajah sitting in a far corner with a young man. Nodding to the woman in respect, the other Sister went so far as to bow slightly from her seat. She was only a newly raised Sister and so she showed Eqwina all the respect due to an Ajah Head and Sitter. Walking up to the Innkeeper she inquired about a private dining room, but to her dismay it was already in use.

 

Choosing a spot as far from the young Yellow as possible, Eqwina sat with her back to the wall. With others of her Ajah present she would not be able to play her game exactly as she wished. Her reputation made her strict, but fair and few had seen her enjoying herself since Corwin “died”.

 

Watching the sun sink through the windows, Eqwina ordered a glass of wine and waited to see if her latest interest would arrive.

 

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  Today was a day full of surprises for the young trainee. As he was making his way to the Gardeners Delight he was trying to run a recap of all that has lead to this. Obviously Eqwina Sedai had seen him spar with his father, and perhaps overhead the end of their conversation. She obviously has often requested Tower Guards or Trainees to help her out with various tasks since the Master at Arms cleared him to go into the city without any problems. Even his father has given him the green light to go! Though the old man did warn him that Eqwina is an Aes Sedai, and that she can easily be his great grandmother even if she looks as someone slightly older than he is. He also warned him, or he actually forbade him to be precise, to try any of his games on her. Eqwina Sedai, he said is an Aes Sedai who has recently experience the loss of her Warder and she should be treated with respect and understanding. Well Kastor didn't show any disrespect for her, and what his father called "his games" seemed to actually help Eqwina Sedai deal with her sorrow. So what his father saw as disrespectul behavior was actually helping. Plus, Kastor had more ideas on hos to cheer up. On his way to the tavern, he stopped in a toymaker's shop. He wasnted to make Eqwina Sedai a gift, something to take her mind of and make her smile. She needed to smile more. She had a beautiful smile. Kastor choise a plushie of a cat, who has the same green eyes like Eqwina. With the gift chosen and bought he hurried towards the tavern, as he did not want to late. As he reached the tavern, he took a while to make sure he was looking ok. His hair was tied in a tail, a habit he copied from his father, he was wearing a a suit of a blue coat and pants, he looked good in blue. The collar of his white shirt took him a moment to straightned, and with confidence Kastor pushed the door open and walked in.

 

  He took a few steps back and looked around for Eqwina Sedai. She wasn't at any of the tables near the door or at those in the middle of the room. A bit further in Kastor's gaze fell upon a woman who he thought is an Aes Sedai, and soon his suspicions were confirmed as he spotted the serpent ring on the woman's finger, but it was not Eqwina. A few more moments spent in exploration resulted in him spotting the lady he was looking forward to meeting. Eqwina Sedai was sitting on a table near the far end of the room, with her back towards the wall. As Kastor neared she smiled at him. It was hard to say what impressed him more - her genuine smile which made her look like a girl his age, or her golden silk taraboner dress, clinging to her body, acsenting her curves and hinting at what it hid. Eqwina was indeed a beautiful woman, who obviously knew how to dress to her beauty will stand out. It took a a bit of willpower for Kastor not to stand and stare but instead to bow to Eqwina Sedai with the respectful bow the Tower Guard used.

 

"I was looking forward to tonight, Eqwina Sedai, as our little chat today was most pleasant. And I must say that you look absolutely gorgeous tonight. The dying light sometimes takes away from a lady's beauty, but for you it has the opposite effect - it only enchances it. And I hope you would forgive my delay, I just wanted to pick up a little gift for you, Eqwina Sedai" - before she could react, Kastor took the kitty doll he bought for her and placed it on the table. - "I hope you like cats, Eqwina Sedai"

 

  Kastor Ronshor

Trying hard to impress a lady

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As the evening faded to night the common room began to fill will people from the city. There were a few Tower Guards, and Warders out with their Aes Sedai; she was sure she even saw a few trainees’ she recognized trying to stay mostly out of sight. She shook her head ruefully at the latter; if they truly wished to remain uncaught in their drinking they should have picked a less notable Inn.

 

Ordering a second glass of wine, Eqwina paid for the first and told the young barmaid to have two dinners prepared. As always the smells coming from the kitchen were delicious, and Eqwina was growing hungry. She knew that Kastor would come; the look in his eye guaranteed that, but she was slightly upset that he was so late. Though she would allow him some leeway in this; unless he’d been warned he had no idea how important she was. No one honestly knew the depths of her power, a fact that often rankled her when things were not done to her specifications. If all the little Novices and Accepted she taught had any idea that death hung over their heads, they would not be so quick to disobey. Shaking her head, Eqwina took a long sip of her wine and ran through a Novice exercise to clear her mind. She’d been growing broody of late, and if she wasn’t careful she could fall into an awful temper. Tonight was the night for more delicate arts that anger would make nearly impossible.

 

Each time the door to the common room was opened Eqwina glanced up; but did not stare enough to be obvious. People would think it strange enough for her to be dining out with a trainee, without her seeming overeager. With her years of experience in intrigue and dissembling no one in the common room ever looked at her twice.

 

When Kastor finally did arrive Eqwina spread a smile across her face as he crossed the room to meet her. She preened under his lingering gaze and feigned great delight at his gift. Reaching out to pick it up, she examined it looking into its green eyes that matched her own and stroking its plush fur. “Truly she is wonderful Kastor, but your presence was gift enough.” Motioning for him to take a seat, she laid the small gift in her lap to keep it from prying eyes. “I have always wished to have a cat, and now I have one to call my own.” Awarding him with another smile, she reached up to unpin her cloak. Now that Kastor has sat down, he’d managed to block her from sight to most of the room. It made her able to make full use of the gown she’d donned.

 

She enjoyed the intensity of his gaze, and she moved slightly to further draw his eyes. This young man seemed keen on wooing her, and she was tempted to allow it if it would gain her knowledge.

 

“I have already orders us meals, would you like a drink?” Gesturing to the waitress she allowed Kastor to order, and waited for his drink to be brought before saying more. “While we wait on our food, why don’t you tell me more about you? I am anxious to know how one as young as you can do so well against Daemon.”

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  The smile on Eqwina Sedai's face was worth the time spend choosing the cat doll, and the price Kastor payed for it. She really needed to smile more, though Kastor was not quite sure how to tell her that yet. 

 

“Truly she is wonderful Kastor, but your presence was gift enough. I have always wished to have a cat, and now I have one to call my own.”

 

  With the cat safe in her lap, Eqwina motioned for him to seat. As he sat down, he was in for a surprise. Eqwina removed her cloak and now her Kastor could enjoy, literally, her choise of clothing for tonight. And they way she moved told him that she has noticed his attention, and that she did not mind it. For a moment, Kastor was not sure if he was the hunter or if he was the one being hunted in this game, but in all the games that were really worth playing, the roles of the players involved often changed.

 

  “I have already orders us meals, would you like a drink?”

 

Gesturing to the waitress she allowed Kastor to order. Kastor order a glass of wine, red wine and waited for it to be brought. Once his drink was in his hand Eqwina spoke.

 

“While we wait on our food, why don’t you tell me more about you? I am anxious to know how one as young as you can do so well against Daemon.”

 

  The mention of his father name made Kastor once again run his father advice through his head. It was indeed sound advice. Thankfully their current topic did not put Kastor in danger of poking the wound Eqwina Sedai had.

 

" I will answer your question in a moment, Eqwina Sedai, but first I would like to propose a toast" - he raised his glass. - "To your health, Eqwina Sedai, and to your beautiful smile! I hope I will be lucky enough to see it often from now on"

 

  As the glasses clinged and both had drank to the toast Kastor continued.

 

"You pay me a compliment I do not deserve, Eqwina Sedai. The spars with my father are mostly a desperate struggle, usually in vain, on my part to remain unstruck. But I dare say that my father's efforts spent on training me are starting to bare results. I have lived with my father in the Barracks for a bit more than 13 years now, and he began training me soon after that. I guess the work he did in those 13 years is responsible for me being able to atleast delay the inevetable at this point defeat at the hands of my father. I still have a long road ahead of me, but I dare say that I have made my first steps on that road. And I believe that they have not be unsure stagger either"

 

  Kastor made a pause to take a sip of his wine. It seemed that it this point the musicians decided to play a tune. It was a quite a popular dance melody. And Kastor began tapping out the rythm with his free hand

 

"Such tunes usually manage to bring even the worst dancers on the dancefloor. They have such an effect even on me. Truth be told - I would love to ask you to a dance, Eqwina Sedai. But they are too many eyes here, too many people who know who you are. I can not imagine what rumours will be started about you if they see you dancing with a trainee, and I do not wish to cause any harm to you and your reputation." - he took another sip from his wine. - "So please, excuse me for rambling, Eqwina Sedai. I hardly give you the chance to say a word - so please, tell me a bit about yourself. All I know about you come from my father and he said nothing besides that you a Sitter and the Head of the Yellow Ajah, and that I should treat you with the utmost respect. Sounds advice indeed, and I intend to abide it. But you're the first Aes Sedai I exchange more than a greeting with, Eqwina Sedai, so I hope you'll pardon my curiousity."

 

Kastor was being honest. Eqwina was indeed the first Aes Sedai he has exchange more then greetings with. And she has caught his interest, just like it seemed he has cuaght hers.

 

  Kastor Ronshor

 

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There was always a certain sadistic pleasure Eqwina derived in bending men to her will. She’d come late in life to knowing the effect a woman could have on a man. Nevin had been her first love, they’d met when she was only a girl and though they’d been together 10 years she had still been an innocent girl when he’d died. It was not until being taken by Drak, a Dreadlord she’d met in the Blight that she’d fully lost what was left of her innocence. She was introduced to a world of torture and deceit that she had never dreamed existed. Ever since, Eqwina had never hesitated to use her womanly wiles to gain a means to an end.

 

Keeping the smile on her face, Eqwina touched glasses with Kastor and smiled at his coquettish grin. Oh yes, he was intent on wooing She was not yet sure what she would gain in getting involved with a Grandmasters’ son, but she knew that there would be a world of opportunity to get to Daemon himself; and there was no telling where that could lead. Many years since Eqwina had learned that it was important to make connections, and build relationships….you never knew when you would need a favor.

 

“I cannot say that I have seen much of your training these last years, but I did see you today and perhaps your road is not as long as you think. You have a great talent in you..much as your father did at your age.”  The comment aged her, but Eqwina knew that in the end her sustaining beauty would far outweigh any hesitation in the boys mind. The talk of dancing made Eqwina smile. She was usually a reluctant dancer, as she hadn’t had much experience, but it was one way to get closer to someone while in public. Still, Kastor was right..there were too many prying eyes.

 

"So please, excuse me for rambling, Eqwina Sedai. I hardly give you the chance to say a word - so please, tell me a bit about yourself. All I know about you come from my father and he said nothing besides that you a Sitter and the Head of the Yellow Ajah, and that I should treat you with the utmost respect. Sounds advice indeed, and I intend to abide it. But you're the first Aes Sedai I exchange more than a greeting with, Eqwina Sedai, so I hope you'll pardon my curiosity."

 

Finishing the rest of her wine Eqwina motioned for another. “ It seems as if your father has kept himself very well informed.” Nodding graciously at the girl who brought their drinks she took another long pull and started idly tracing her fingers along the table. “I cannot say all that there is to know about me in one night. My life has been far too long to be covered in only idle chatter. Perhaps though, you and I will have other chances to speak?” Winking at him, she drank a little more wine. A slow warm feeling spread through her veins, and crept into her head, making Eqwina feel even more alive. She was most at home when on the hunt, and this was turning into quite the chase. “ I can tell you that I am enjoying my evening, and hope it is not the last we spend together. I do not have the gift of telling the future, but I have a feeling that there is a future for you and I.” Glancing around the room she noticed her fellow Yellow settling her tab and making for the door. A few other sisters had left, and all that were left seemed too engrossed in their own business to notice hers. Once the door had firmly closed behind the Yellow Eqwina reached across the table to clasp Kastor’s hand; her thumb gently stroking his skin.

 

“I do not think a dance would go amiss. It may be that if you asked I would say yes.” Finishing off her wine she lay aside his gift and waited with a small smile on her face for him to ask her again.

 

Eqwina al'Caupthn

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  Well now, this was certainly better than most of his nights. Which consisted of his father and him doing a recap on the days training, reading and some lessons in hand to hand fighting followed by first aid and herbalism class. Often that was more out of nessesity than anything else. But tonight Kastor got to enjoy the company of a true lady. The was something about Eqwina that simply drew him, and it was not just her beauty. She was, well - friendly! And quite different from most of the Aes Sedai he has met so far. Why most of them would actually grab him by the ear and drag him to his father had he done half of what he had done so far!

 

  “I cannot say that I have seen much of your training these last years, but I did see you today and perhaps your road is not as long as you think. You have a great talent in you..much as your father did at your age.”

 

  When his father was his age, he had been in the Tower for a short time, about an year or so. Kastror did note the fact that obviosuly Eqwina Sedai knew his father. True, that comment aged her, but he was not concerend about that. Being an Aes Sedai, it could very well be that Eqwina Sedai was old enough to be his grandmother or older. But her looks and wits made it easy to ignore her age.

 

  "It seems as if your father has kept himself very well informed.I cannot say all that there is to know about me in one night. My life has been far too long to be covered in only idle chatter. Perhaps though, you and I will have other chances to speak? I can tell you that I am enjoying my evening, and hope it is not the last we spend together. I do not have the gift of telling the future, but I have a feeling that there is a future for you and I.”

 

    Kastor managed to successfully supress a smile. He was glad to hear that Eqwina Sedai was enjoying her company, it did let him know that he has not overstep any boundries in his flirting. If anything, Eqwina Sedai seemed to enjoy it as much as he did.

 

  "First, I would like to thank you for the compliment, Eqwina Sedai, though it is yet to be seen how long the road ahead will be. Perfection is an ongoing art, this is a saying I hear often around the Yards. And perfect ladies, such as yourself, deserve perfect warders" - a small pause was made in which Kastor got to enjoy his drink and seeing Eqwina wonderful smile again. - "And I was hoping that this will not be the first and last evening, we spend together, Eqwina Sedai. I must admit that I have had a wrong idea of Aes Sedai before I met you. I always thought there will be more ... distant, and cold to a degree. But you have proven me wrong, Eqwina Sedai. You've proven to me that Aes Sedai can also be open, warm and friendly"

 

  But still she is an Aes Sedai, something Kastor did not let slip his mind. Who knew what was it exactly in him that caught her interest. Perhaps it was his father, perhaps it was Kastor himself, perhaps something entirely different! But still, an evening spend in the company of Eqwina Sedai was a pleasure! Time flew without noticed, and the Tavern was starting to empty. He was not the only one who noticed this. Eqwina's fingertips ran gently over his hand as she spoke softly

 

  “I do not think a dance would go amiss. It may be that if you asked I would say yes.”

 

 

  Kastor listened for a moment to the music. Right now it was a slow, lyrical track - not bad, but not quite what he had in mind. So he smiled at Eqwina Sedai.

 

  "Oh I would definately ask, Eqwina Sedai. But I do think that the current music is suitable for a lady such as you. You're more fiery than this."

 

  Even if she was disappointed by this development she did not show it. In a few moments though, the music changed to a more lively tune, often played at Carnavals. This was much more like it! Kastor stood up, walked over to Eqwina Sedai, bowed respectufully and held his hand out.

 

  "Would you please dance with me, Eqwina Sedai"

 

  Shooting him with yet another dazzling smiles, Eqwina Sedai took his hand

 

  "It would be my extreme pleasure, Kastor"

 

  Eqwina Sedai was a gracious as she looked. Extremely light on her feet, and she did not seem to have any trouble to let Kastor lead her in the dance, something quite surprising for an Aes Sedai, or at least for the idea Kastor had of an Aes Sedai. And idea which, as the gorgeous Eqwina Sedai has proven tonight, was in need of a serious overhaul. Kastor caught himself thinking that he would not mind spinning Eqwina Sedai for a dance or two more, but all good things were good in moderation. As the dance came to an end, Kastor applauded his dance partner.

 

  "Amazing, Eqwina Sedai, simply amazing! It seems your talents just come one after the other!"

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There are some paths that you chose in life, from which there is no turning back. They are paths that can lead to only one end, and you must learn, when you make those choices to see them to the end without regret. Eqwina had spent many years living with great pain and regret; she had felt that giving her heart so willingly to Nevin had been a grave mistake. A mistake that she would never recover from, and yet slowly over the years she learned that to be false. She’d once again found love and had given her heart to another, only to have it trampled on once again. This time though the loss of love did not smother in her grief, but it helped to show her that nothing good could come from giving her heart away.

 

Eqwina had come to realize that the relationship she’d shared with the Dreadlord Drak, had been the most uncomplicated and the most thrillingly satisfying she’d ever known; and the glaring difference was that while she had surrendered herself to Dark completely she had never given him her heart. Ever since Corwin’s “death” she had used the ‘Drak philosophy’…there was nothing wrong with physical pleasures as long as you kept your heart locked away. Truly, she was becoming cold hearted, and she was beginning to delight in the capture of men. There had been a few mutters that perhaps she’d been born in Arad Doman, not Ebou Dar but Eqwina met them all with the same turn of phrase. “We give and we give of ourselves, we swear our lives and our hearts to causes and to the Tower, but our bodies are still our own.”

 

There were many Aes Sedai that disapproved of this line of thought, but many of the younger girls saw the logic straight away. Being a Sitter protected her from any retribution, though she’d never acted in a way to bring any. Eqwina was accustom to stirring up talk, and yet skilled at staying out of the lime light. She was a master at manipulation and yet still she couldn’t help but get caught up in the thrill of the hunt.

 

Allowing Kastor to lead her out to the dance floor, Eqwina fell into step with him, allowing him to lead. She was only a fair dancer, but could keep up with a partner quite well. A few heads turned to watch them twirl across the floor, but quickly turned back to their own conversations. Many of the Sisters left in the Inn were Green Ajah and they thought all other Aes Sedai strange to not fraternize with men. The song ended and Eqwina smiled up at her young partner, taking another step closer; the hem of her skirts brushing his boots. This close she could feel his breath on her face, and smell his sweet scent. “I am only as good as my partner, Kastor.”

 

The music started up again, but Eqwina allowed Kastor to lead her back to their table. He was proving to be a formidable partner, and one she was anxious to learn more about. This time as she gained her seat she scooted closer to him so that they were sitting next to each other instead of across from one another. She did not yet know what use she could make of the young man, but she was far to intrigued to let him go. “Tell me, what do you think of Aes Sedai? You and your father seem to have different views. I never remember him dancing in all his time in the yards.Do you wish to be bonded as well?”

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When Eqwina Sedai moved in closer, so close that he could feel her, it was an unexpected but most welcome surprise! He was quite tempted to put his arm around her shoulders, but there were still quite a few people from the Tower present. He could not risk getting Eqwina Sedai in trouble, or get himself in trouble. So he just leaned towards her, both to hear her better and so they will touch just slightly.

 

“Tell me, what do you think of Aes Sedai? You and your father seem to have different views. I never remember him dancing in all his time in the yards.Do you wish to be bonded as well?”

 

This was a serious question, so Kastor answered seriously

 

  "My views on Aes Sedai were developed watching the Sedai in the Yards, and watching the few who visited my father. Even though they claimed to be his friends they acted distant, and had a demeanor about them like they are superior. They also seemed to always have this or that suggestion, always for the benefit of me or my father. So I learned pretty early on that an Aes Sedai will always have at least two plans in motion. But I also learned something else. For all the power they have, they are still women, with all the strenghts and weakness of normal women. Though most seem not to like this fact. The views on Aes Sedai of my father are similar. Though his are jaded from his previous experience with Aes Sedai. I am sure you have heard of my father's story, Eqwina Sedai. It does not seem to be a secret in the tower grounds. Or perhaps you mean my rather frivolious attitude towards you, Eqwina Sedai? Well, I guess I am just like that. Plus, you're the first Aes Sedai who exchange more then a few words with me, and the first Sister that I can trully call friednly."

 

  He wasn't quite sure what Eqwina wanted to hear, so he went with the truth. It was his experience and observation that this was the best tactic for such an occasion

 

"As for bonding - I would not mind being bonded. Who knows, if I survive all of my father's training, I might become a warrior who is capable of keeping an Aes Sedai safe. Then perhaps finding an Aes Sedai to trust me with her life will be easier"

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There were many ways in which a person could be considered bold, and Kastor seemed to fit many of those ways. He certainly knew how to handle himself in public, and knew when not to push. As they spoke quietly, she could feel his breath brushing her face and she knew that he was caught. If he was bold enough for this, perhaps he would be bold enough to be of real use to her. A man who was in love was ten times as likely to do a woman’s bidding as one who simply enjoyed your company. It was too early to say, but she thought perhaps that this one was going to be quite smitten.

 

Enjoying his soft touch, and the almost hungry look in his eyes she pressed her hip more firmly up against his.

 

Kastor was no more suspicious of Aes Sedai than many man, and far less than some, but she was pleased that her little act was breaking down his barriers even farther. As he continued on to the subject of bonding Eqwina mused over how much she would enjoy this child.

 

“I think that you will find I am not a typical Aes Sedai. As I said earlier, my story is far too long to tell in one evening but my life has been….quite an adventure. I would still advise that you mind yourself with every Aes Sedai you meet, but no doubt your father has already given you that advice.”

 

Reaching out her fingers gently traced the stuffed kitten he’d given her and she smiled again. “You should also know that weapon skill is not the only thing Aes Sedai look for in a Warder. There are other traits that are..equally…as important. I believe that you will have no trouble finding a bond, even without your family name.” Leaning across the table Eqwina’s lips gently brushed Kastor’s cheek as she reached for her glass of wine. It was a well disguised move, that she didn’t think anyone else had noticed.

 

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For a moment, various plan and analyzes ran through Kastor's head. What could the kiss mean? Was it a kiss at all? Was it just an innocent slip or a carefully planned move of ... of what? Seduction?  Intrigue? Building up a way to his father? He knew what he wanted it to be, but what it trully was was as of current unknown to him. And in the midst of all that, Kastor was still have the most enjoyable night he has had in a looooong time! And while he was wondering what it might be that Eqwina Sedai was up to, he was also wondering on how to make this night as enjoyable for her and it was for him. He waited for her to reach for an utensil, and his hand darted forward, hiw fingertips caressing the top of her hand. From the side it would look like they have, by coincidense, reached for the same utensil.

 

"Well, yes Eqwina Sedai, I am aware that skill with the Blade is not the only measure by which an Aes Sedai chooses her warder. But the criteria vary for each Sedai. Some just need a pair of strong arms, others are looking for a confidant, and some even want an outlet for their passions from time to time. Though I can not help but wonder, what exactly are you looking for in a warder, Eqwina Sedai"

 

  In this moment, with Eqwina Sedai looking quite happy with the way the night was developing, Kastor realized that he was right in his choise of gift. Eqwina did look like a cat right now, a happy cat at that. Though he was not yet clear if on whether he was the mouse or not 

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Apparently this young man was far more than simply an extension of his sword. She’d come to realize that Kastor was nearly as lethal as his father, and every bit as intelligent. It would make him a viable associate as well as a greater threat.

 

 

“..what exactly are you looking for in a warder, Eqwina Sedai" For a moment Eqwina’s smile faltered, and she broke the young man’s intense gaze. He couldn’t know how inflammatory of a question that was, but the blood ran hot in her veins all the same. Taking a few moments Eqwina straightened her skirts, and rearranged her drink on the table just so. Once she was sure that her eyes were no longer bleeding fire she met Kastor’s eyes again, though this time she did not smile.

 

 

She’d never know what she wanted in a Warder, not until she’d found Corwin. Now she did not know how he could ever be replaced. Even another master or the son of one would never be the same. Her eyes drifted slowly East, and for a moment she was sure that across all the miles Corwin was looking back at her.

 

 

“There are many things I look for, when I look for a man to share so much of myself with.” Taking a long slow drink from her goblet, she calculated how much to tell. Even though she was not bound by the oaths, she always preferred to tell the truth when she was able. It was all to easy to get used to the lies, and then any number of mistakes could occur, but could she trust this man with her inner most truths. Looking into his eyes, she saw his fathers honor and decided that she could take a small risk with him

 

 

“You know of Corwin Narshoba? He has been the only man to whom I was ever bonded.” The words hung in the air for a moment after she said them, but she didn’t allow them time to fester. “I know that I need a man whom I can trust, that above all else I think. I also look for a man who is willing to tell me the truth. So many men are afraid to stand up to their Aes Sedai, I could not be bonded to one of those. He has to be very skilled with his weapons, that goes without saying; but he also needs to be able to speak to people and be adaptable to all situations as my life often leads me down…strange paths.” Drumming her fingers on the table, she wondered what Kastor was thinking about what she said. She had been honest, and transparent, two things that she very rarely dared to do, but at times complete honesty was necessary to gain someone’s trust. And Eqwina had decided that she wanted Kastor’s trust.

 

Eqwina

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  And there it was, he struck a raw nerve. Kastor felt as idiotic as when he hasn't felt since he was seven. Hi brain was working fast in damage control mode, wondering if he had hurt Eqwina Sedai too much. He knew that Aes Sedai could control their emotions well, but for her to react like that, he must have made a huge gaff.

 

  “There are many things I look for, when I look for a man to share so much of myself with.”

 

Her voice made him stop. She sounded different. So Kastor just kept quiet and listened.

 

  “You know of Corwin Narshoba? He has been the only man to whom I was ever bonded.I know that I need a man whom I can trust, that above all else I think. I also look for a man who is willing to tell me the truth. So many men are afraid to stand up to their Aes Sedai, I could not be bonded to one of those. He has to be very skilled with his weapons, that goes without saying; but he also needs to be able to speak to people and be adaptable to all situations as my life often leads me down…strange paths.”

 

  Kastor knew Corwin Narshoba, or at least he has heard of him. His father has spoken of Corwin. Deamon described him as a excellent blademaster, outstanding man and a good friend. There were very few people of whom his father spoke that way. And Eqwina Sedai - well she seemed to be hurt deeply. For the first time Kastor was certain that there was nothing hidden, no double meaning to her words. His hand reached out, and he took her hands in his, holding them.

 

  "First I wish you apologize to you, Eqwina Sedai, for poking a fresh wound. And then I wish to thank you, for trusting me with something so personal" - the relationship between an Aes Sedai and her Warder was indeed very personal, on par with the relation between friends. - "Upon my blade and blood I swear to you, Eqwina Sedai, that I will not betray your trust"

 

  His eyes and his gentle yet firm hold on her hands said in addition what he did not voice.

 

  "I'm here for you, Eqwina Sedai, I will be your friend."

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The word friend was not one Eqwina had in her daily vocabulary. She’d had friends during her early years in the Tower, as a Novice and an Accepted; but they’d long since all fallen away. Among her own Ajah she was at its head and so many of the women did not feel it appropriate to befriends her. In her Darker Ajah there was no such thing as friends; only women that you used to serve your own desires.

 

Friend… pondering the word Eqwina wondered if Corwin could be called a friend. He’d spoken his mind to her whenever he pleased and yet he was always the first to come to her defense.

 

Looking into Kastor’s eyes she wondered what kind of friend he would be, and if she could truly ever be his friend in return? Would he run if he knew who she really was? If he knew her heart was black and cold? If he knew that she was a killer? Would he have offered up his friendship so willingly if he knew the blood that stained her hands?

 

For several moments she simply sat there, unsure of what to say. Usually she never hesitated to use people up and cast them aside, but none of them had ever used that fated word…friend.

 

“I believe I will value you as a friend Kastor. I would like to offer you my friendship as well…but.” Reaching out to grasp his hand in hers she spoke the unequivocal truth. “But I do not know what kind of a friend I would be, I’ve had no experience there. Not since I was much younger than you.”

 

Being honest and vulnerable was not a habit Eqwina wanted to get into; but in order to experience the pleasure of a friend she was willing to take this small risk. After all, it was the risks that made life worth living.

 

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  Kastor smiled. Right now it felt like Eqwina Sedai was a girl his age. And as far as friendships were concerned he might indeed be the older and more experienced one. Funny what twists the Wheel had waved for humans sometimes ... suddenly he had an idea. Yes, it was quite possible that she would like this, after all, so far she has demonstrated a wonderful sense of humour.

 

  "Well then, Eqwina Sedai, perhaps I can be your Mentor in the art of friendship" - his cheeky tone and the little flames of amusement in his eyes did give away his intentions to a degree. - "And your first lesson will begin right away. Just let me take care of the bill first"

 

  With that, Kastor summoned the serving girl who was waiting their table, and asked for the bill. Having payed the bill and given the girl a tip. Kastor stood up and held his hand out for Eqwina Sedai

 

  "Just follow me, Eqwina Sedai, you shall see that being a friend is not hard at all"

 

  Helping Eqwina up and  helping her with her cloak, and after taking a look to make sure that there wasn't anyone from the Tower left in the common room, Kastor took Eqwina's had and led her outside. He led her back to the Tower, being careful of who was around to see them. But it was late, it was a night of the new moon, and with the hood of her cloak raised, it was not possible to tell who it was that Kastor was leading. Of course once they neared the Tower gates, Kastor let go of Eqwina's hand. After all, his plan was not to embarass Eqwina Sedai. Having crossed the gate, and when out of sight, Kastor took, Eqwina's Sedai hand again.

 

  "Please follow me, Eqwina Sedai, I would like to show you a special place."

 

  With that Kastor led Eqwina Sedai into the Grove, deep in it, close to the Great Trees. There was a secluded place, hidden by the bushes and shrubbery. It was calm here.

 

  "This is where I come when I want to clear my mind or to reflect on something. It's a magical place, that I wanted to share with you. And here is where your friendship lessons will begin."

 

  Kastor layed down on the ground and took a look at the stars. His eyes then moved to Eqwina Sedai. He patted the grass next to him

 

  "Just lay down and look at the stars, Eqwina Sedai, that's part of what friends do"

 

 

  Kastor Roshor

Teacher ;)

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There was a certain measure of discomfort that Eqwina was willing to experience in order to gain something she desired; and yet as Kastor settled their bill she was not sure she could go this far. One of the first things Drak had taught her was to accept pain, and to understand that anything worth having would cause you pain, but he’d never mentioned blows to her ego.

 

Unlike many Aes Sedai, Eqwina was willing to admit that with her titles and power came a fair amount of ego. She was accustomed to the finer things in life, and to being in charge and any breach in that painful. Watching the gold pass from his pouch Eqwina took a deep breath and set to calming her roaring nerves. She was letting go of many of the rules that had bound her life, but it was not happening without a certain amount of pain.

 

Allowing Kastor to lead her out into the night, Eqwina said nothing. As he took her hand she smiled at him and shook her head slightly. She was willing to indulge his game for now, after all, ‘no pain no gain’ and she had a feeling that knowing Kastor would grant her a great gain.

 

As the shadow of the Tower loomed over them Kastor let go of her hand and Eqwina felt a small pang of regret. For a moment she’d been taken back to the time when she and Nevin had walked through these every gates; ready to face all the world had to offer. Now, decades later Eqwina was looking out of very different eyes and yet somehow the same familiar tingle surged through her. Could it be possible that there was still some part of that innocent young girl left?

 

"This is where I come when I want to clear my mind or to reflect on something. It's a magical place, that I wanted to share with you. And here is where your friendship lessons will begin."

 

Eqwina had been to this place before, but never for such an innocent purpose. The last time she’d felt this grass beneath her feet it had been to initiate another young member of her Ajah. Shaking her head so that her hood fell down her back she eyed the soft ground next to Kastor.

 

“Aes Sedai to do not lay on the grass with jumped up trainee’s” she said haughtly. “I am after all the head of an Ajah, not a young girl courting.” Kastor’s face seemed to fall in the moonlight and Eqwina smiled. “But, if you say that this is what friends do I will give it a chance. After all I do not wish to fail as your pupil.”

 

Laying down on the soft grass she arranged her skirts to properly cover her ankles and stared up at the stars. When was the last time she’d done that? Surely it was when she was still a Novice, ignorant and naive to the world. This young man was certainly making her take strange chances….

 

Eqwina

feeling….free, but cautious

 

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  “Aes Sedai to do not lay on the grass with jumped up trainee’s” she said haughtly.  “I am after all the head of an Ajah, not a young girl courting. But, if you say that this is what friends do I will give it a chance. After all I do not wish to fail as your pupil.”

 

  Kastor almost shook his head at her comment. But then again, Eqwina Sedai had gone through a bit of a shock, as Kastor suddenly changed from his serious and calculating to his carefree persona. And she has taken the change quite well, to be honest.

 

  "True, Eqwina Sedai, as a Head of you Ajah you're to be given the proper respect you deserve. But right now we're not a Head of Ajah and a jumped up trainee. We're just two friends. And friends do not need to be always formal  with each other, so I hope that you would not mind if in future talk I miss your honourific. Only when in private, of course! After all, some things are to be kept on private"

 

  Kastor's gaze last turned to the stars again. He was often wondering about the stars.

 

  "You know, Eqwina Sedai, I have always wanted to ask someone this question, but I have never had the opportunity to ask anyone. The stars in the sky - they seem to be constant. But nothing in our world seems constant. Mountains can erode with time, shores can shift. And yet the stars seem to be constant. I wanted to ask you, have the stars changed since you first looked at the star filled sky, Eqwina Sedai?"

 

  Kastor

carefree

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There was a cool seducing breeze that tickled her face, making her shiver with cold. She was not a foolish girl any longer, she wielded such power that the average woman would have collapsed under the weight. Each day she deftly danced the currents of Daes Dae’mar, and pulled the strings to a hundred different plans and plot, and yet a young boy’s sly smile had wooed her into a compromising position.

 

If one of her colleagues saw her lying there, much of her credibility would be lost; but she didn’t stir a muscle. Watching the tiny wisps of dark clouds pass over the stars, Eqwina felt very free. For the first time in years she’d ceased to scheme. Kastor’s use would become clear to her, but why shouldn’t she enjoy herself while waiting on divine inspiration? After all, any use of the boy would have to be subtle, less she attract the attention of his father. The Old Grandmasters were not men to be trifled with.

 

Corwin’s face formed in the stars, looking down at her with grim distrust; the expression she’d seen most on his face. He personified all the danger that the Grandmasters represented to her.

 

"You know, Eqwina Sedai, I have always wanted to ask someone this question, but I have never had the opportunity to ask anyone. The stars in the sky - they seem to be constant. But nothing in our world seems constant. Mountains can erode with time, shores can shift. And yet the stars seem to be constant. I wanted to ask you, have the stars changed since you first looked at the star filled sky, Eqwina Sedai?"

 

Pulled out of her introspective revere, Eqwina turned her head and was shocked to see Kastor’s blue eyes staring into her own. How long had he been staring? Not answering him right away she studied the way his golden hair seemed to glow in the light of the moon. It made him seam nearly angelic, with the clouds dancing in his clear blue eyes. “Are you implying that I am so much older than you?” Smiling just slightly she reached out and brushed a few strands of hair from his face.

 

“There is nothing constant in this world Kastor, except perhaps the stars. In all my long years I do not ever remember the changing of the stars, except with the seasons. The unchanging stars and death are the two rocks on which we can all rely; for not even the power of Saidar can save you from the inevitable.” Eqwina shivered again, but this time not from the cold breeze. It was the cool hand of death that made her quiver. She’d willingly dealt out death many times, but never without a pang of regret. For even the most useless of creatures deserved a chance at life. It was the one soft spot in her otherwise blackened heart, and she knew that it was the memory of Nevin that kept her from killing too freely.

 

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  “Are you implying that I am so much older than you?”

 

 Kastor did not move a muscle as Eqwina reached to remove some loose strand of his hair from his face. He usually wore his hair tied in a tail, a habit he has picked up rom his father.

 

 “There is nothing constant in this world Kastor, except perhaps the stars. In all my long years I do not ever remember the changing of the stars, except with the seasons. The unchanging stars and death are the two rocks on which we can all rely; for not even the power of Saidar can save you from the inevitable.”

 

 She was right, he had to admit it. Not even the Aes Sedai could escape the final port of call for all humans - the grave. His gaze turned out to the stars again before he spoke.

 

 "I do not mean anything cheeky with my question, Eqwina Sedai, I am just curious" - he grined - "My father always says that I am part cat, and that my curiousity will get me in trouble one day. Controling it is one more lesson I must learn. Though perhaps you can help with that. After all - this is one more thing friends do - helping each other out, my young apprentice in the art of friendship"

 

 As he said that he turned to Eqwina, winking at her. As it turned out he turned his gaze to her just in time to see her shiver in the breeze. Kastor cursed himself in his mind. The night was not cold yes, but under her cloak, Eqwina's dress did not over much protection from the elements. So he stood up, took off his cloak and carefully draped it over Eqwina.

 

"There, this should keep you warmer, Eqwina Sedai"

 

 It was it this moment that his gaze fell on her face. In the moon light, and with her petite stature, Eqwina Sedai looked like an young girl. A carefree young girl, if even for a very brief moment. But at the same time she looked worried, as if she was fighting with something. And the outcome of the battle did not seem to be in her favour. Almost without thought, Kastor's hand reached up and gently caressed her cheek. Almost instatly, her gaze shifted from the sky to Kastor.

 

 "I'm here for you, Eqwina Sedai. Whatever it is that troubles you - I'm here"

 

 She did not move to avoid his touch. If anything, it did seem to Kastor that she was smiling at his touch. And there was something about her, about the way she spoke, the way she acted, the way she looked. For a while, Kastor just stood  motionless, just looking into her eyes. Then he started leaning in. Slowly, but without hesitation he keptleaning in, until his lips brushed Eqwina's Sedai lips. Then he kissed her. Evn though she was an Aes Sedai,possible more powerful than what he could imagine and burdened with responsibility mathcing her power, kissing Eqwina Sedai seemed like the most natural thing to him right now. And so he did.

 

 Kastor Ronshor

Stealing a kiss

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Staring up at the star strewn sky, Eqwina was surprised to find Kastor’s shadow standing over her. The moonlit night, the memories, and the wine had given her mind time to wander and she was feeling light headed. A dangerous predicament to be in with such a cheeky young man.

 

Standing up, she draped the cloak around her shoulders; looking down as it puddled on the soft grass. It made her appear to be a very small child playing dress up. Likely only adding to the image that she was decades younger than she was.

 

"I'm here for you, Eqwina Sedai. Whatever it is that troubles you - I'm here"

 

It hadn’t been that long ago, when Corwin had uttered those same words.. “I am here for you, Eqwina.” While wrapped tight in her arms in the troughs of passion. Warm fingers caressed her cheek and she could feel the rhythm of her heart speed as it always had when Corwin was near. Tearing her eyes from the sky, and from the past she looked up to see Kastor’s face filling her vision.

 

Lips as soft as any she’d ever felt brushed her own, and Eqwina did not pull away. A steady thudding beat in her ears, and suddenly she felt as if she’d lost control of her prey. She was no longer the hunter, but the hunted. How had the situation changed so fast? She felt as if she’d been duped by the Power, or caught in a vicious plot. “But who would be clever enough to use this young man so effectively? Her enemies were many, but she didn’t believe that any could reach her on her home ground.

 

When Kastor pulled back she saw the almost anxious look in his eyes; and her sudden fears were not allied. Was he anxious at having just dared to kiss an Aes Sedai? Or because he was worried that she knew that he was a ploy? Not pulling away from his touch she gave him a very small smile.

 

“You almost made me forget that I am a woman and an Aes Sedai. I thank you for seeing me as something more than just my ring; but I do not think you have any idea of what kissing me could mean for you.” Her meaning was of course two fold; and his response would tell her much. “ Do not get in over your head, my young friend.” Reaching up to his face, she gently brushed his cheek, but as he smiled her nails dug into his cheeks. Not hard enough to draw blood, but hard enough to hold him still.

 

Her emerald eyes gleamed as the moonlight danced across them. “ You have given me a wonderfully memorable evening, Kastor.” Standing up on her toes she brushed his lips with a gentle kiss.

 

Eqwina

Regaining control of the sitation

 

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  Kastor could not help but smiles as Eqwina sedai warned him not to get in over his head. Well he had no such intention. And yet perhaps kissing her was not indeed the smartest thing he had ever done. She was, after all, an ...

 

  His train of thought was interupted as Eqwina Sedai first held his head in her hands, then reached up to kiss him gently on the lips. For a moment, Kastor put one hand around her waist, both for support and closeness then withdrew it as Eqwina Sedai parted the kiss

 

  “ You have given me a wonderfully memorable evening, Kastor.”

 

  He smiled and bowed respectfully.

 

    "And you had given me the best night I have had since I have been in the Tower Ground, Eqwina Sedai. And I hope that this will not be the first and last night that I will get to enjoy your company. I will even promise to behave next time and not attempt to steal any kisses without your permission."

 

  The tone of his voice and the wink got Eqwina Sedai to laugh.

 

    "And I would also like to thank you, for the perfect ending of this night" - he offered her his arm - "I hope that you would not mind if I offer to escort you to your quaters, Eqwina Sedai"

 

 

  Kastor Ronshor

 

 

 

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