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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

A Warder's Retreat, attn Edana, OTA


Visar Falmaien
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A squad of Guardsmen marched by, their spears slanted casually.  Their night vision was reduced from the lights of the torches they carried.  Although they passed within three paces, they never even saw glanced his way.

 

When they passed and the coast was clear, Visar slowly detached himself from the wall of a building, his fancloth shifting to try to blend in with his changing surroundings.  He darted into an alleyway, his eyes adjusting quickly to the night.  He had avoided detection so far with relative ease, but the hardest part was yet to come.  He knew this city, and he knew its defenders better than most.  Yet even he would have difficulty sneaking past the guards at the gates.

 

The harbors would be easier, he told himself.  Easier to sneak aboard a ship.  Yet he had never heard of anyone passing the detection of both guard posts at the bridge gates.  The challenge was worth the effort of trying, he thought.  It had been too long since he had felt the exhilaration of fear.  Fear of being caught doing something wrong.

 

And he was doing something wrong, he knew.  He was fleeing the Tower, temporarily abandoning his duty to Rasheta Sedai.  At least he told himself it was temporary.  He had felt cooped up in the Tower for too long of late, felt constrained by his sense of duty and what was right.  Felt awkward being the second Warder to Dante, Rasheta's real companion.  He felt her through the bond, getting farther away, and knew that she slept soundly.

 

Once he realized what was going on, staying hidden from Dante would be a different challenge entirely, but with any luck Visar would be long gone before his brother to battle would mount a search.  That was if he cared at all.  His priority was always with Rasheta, Visar knew that.

 

He just needed to be away for a while, he told himself.  He felt the desire to feel real freedom, to taste the outside world and be able to go wherever the winds or his desires carried him.  At least only for a while.  The thought of permanently abandoning his Aes Sedai was practically unthinkable at this point.  Everything Visar had been taught at the Tower, everything he wished to be, ran against that prospect.  But the need for fresh air and being his own man still drew him onward to do this foolish thing.

 

And now only one obstacle stood in the way of his escape.  The gates and the bridge they guarded.  Visar peered quickly around the corner of a building, sizing up the strength of the gate guard.

 

Too many to sneak past or fight, he concluded, and he had no desire to hurt any guardsmen tonight.  That truly would make him a criminal.  He would have to get to the bridge another way.  The walls?

 

Visar scanned the walls nearby, but he already knew that the nearest stairway that was not in the guardhouse was a good distance away.  He started walking, careful to hide whenever he heard a patrol draw near.  Visar Falmaien, sneaking around like a common thief!  Well I am a common thief, or at least was.

 

He reached the wall, and was rather surprised to find it unwatched.  There would be patrols on the wall itself, but the night's shift rarely contained the most attentive of guards at this hour.  In several leaping bounds up the stairs, Visar was up on the wall in the relative safety of darkness.

 

He crept back towards the gatehouse, moving slowly.  Suddenly, he heard footsteps behind him.  Someone was patrolling the wall.  Quickly, he made himself narrow and hugged the nearest crenellation with his body, huddling behind his warder cloak around him so it concealed him completely.  If he was lucky, the patrol would pass right by without seeing him.  But if he made the slightest noise or movement. . .

 

The footsteps drew nearer.  A lone guard walked up slowly, muttering bitterly to herself. As she passed where Visar was hiding, she paused, and turned to look right where he was.  Visar's breath caught.  She may or may not have seen him, but she certainly saw something that caught her eye, and she peered suspiciously at the space he was standing.

 

By the Stone! I'm Busted! he thought in panic briefly, and quickly considered his options.

 

He might not have a hard time overpowering her before she called an alarm, but he did not want to do that.  He would be in enough trouble if he was caught sneaking around the walls.  He could toss his cloak at her and entangle her with it for a moment.  Long enough to dash away and find another hiding place.  But then he would be down a warder's cloak, and the alarm would sound, the entire Guard knowing there was a Warder to catch.

 

But nobody yet knew he was sneaking out without permission, and guardsmen usually deferred to warders, so he decided to try to play this one through.  In a smooth movement, Visar removed the cloak from his face and drew himself up to a confident stance, as if he had every right and reason to be on that wall with the Guard in the middle of the night.

 

"You found me. Good.  I was worried the night shift was becoming lax." he growled, his gruff voice trying to sound like the one he always used on trainees.  With any luck he would be able to talk his way out of this one.

 

-Visar,

acting innocent

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Edana hated Guard Duty. She didn't bother making it a secret, either. She'd rather personally escort possible new recruits to the Mistress of Trainees, hand deliver them, even, than spend one blessed night on this wall. Nights were the worst. Either something happened or nothing happened. She could never decide which she hated more.

 

She paused as something glinted in the moonlight from the shadows, barely restraining the urge to curse. Apparently, this was going to be a night when something happened. She drew closer, hand on the hilt of her sword. The shadow against the wall moved and a face appeared. She tilted her head a second and relaxed her stance...but not much.

 

Visar, she thought, shaking her head. What was it with warders, anyway? Once they got their cloak they stopped realizing that the Guards on duty had just as much training as they did. It irked, she had to admit it.

 

"Sorry to interrupt your vigil, Visar. I wouldn't recommend hiding in corners hoping to blend in. Some of the guards down there are much more jumpy than I am." Did he really expect her to think he was out 'inspecting the troops?' She restrained the urge to roll her eyes, but just barely. What did she care what a Warder, cloak and all, was doing hanging out on her wall?

 

~Edana

Curious, cold and annoyed

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Visar carefully observed this guardswoman, whom he had met briefly through Sandre but had not really gotten to know.  Edana, wasn't it? Watching her stand cautiously, her hand close to the hilt of her sword, made Visar seriously doubt his chances; he had armed himself with only his dagger so that he could move more silently.

 

I don't think I'm going to make it past this one, nor do I have much of a chance of sneaking out the gates. he thought before she replied, annoyance plain in her voice.

 

"Sorry to interrupt your vigil, Visar. I wouldn't recommend hiding in corners hoping to blend in. Some of the guards down there are much more jumpy than I am."

 

Visar grinned in spite of himself.  "I don't think I'll make it a habit." he replied dryly.

 

He glanced once more at the gatehouse, and then slowly shook his head.  Escape would have to wait for another night.  And it certainly wouldn't be guaranteed from this direction.  He would have to sneak out of the city an easier way. Unless Edana was willing to help him somehow.  Indecision clouded his ability to think, and he asked to go with her without really knowing what he would say or do.

 

"Would you mind if I walk with you on your watch?  I don't fancy standing here by myself all night."

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Edana watched his gaze flick about, and barely restrained the shaking of her head. He was restless, that much was obvious. Was it because he was bonded? Dante got this look in his eyes, too, every now and then.

 

"Would you mind if I walk with you on your watch?  I don't fancy standing here by myself all night." Visar asked out of the blue.

 

She tilted her head, the urge to question why he was so fidgety nearly overwhelming. She'd been trying to control that, though, so she swallowed the urge and shrugged her shoulders. "If you want to keep my company while it's freezing cold up here on this wall, I have no problem with it. Maybe you can block some of the wind and I won't go to bed in the morning with an ear ache."

 

She smiled a bit, at that, and turned back towards the direction she'd come. She missed Kennar on nights like this. Where was he hiding these days? No one else played pranks with her to keep the other guards on their toes. They all had some lofty opinion of doing their duty and had the nerve to look down their noses at the very suggestion. She eyed Visar out of the corner of her eye and sighed. She doubted he was any different. Sandre's friend had always been a bit... stiff? She sighed, inwardly. Ah, well, at least she wasn't left talking to herself for the next little bit.

 

"So, aside from checking the troops, what brings you up to this freezing hunk of stacked rocks, Gaidin?" She asked, keeping her tone light. "I'm guessing it wasn't so you could find a cozy nap space..."

 

 

~Edana

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"If you want to keep my company while it's freezing cold up here on this wall, I have no problem with it. Maybe you can block some of the wind and I won't go to bed in the morning with an ear ache."

 

This Edana certainly had a sense of humor for one assigned to such a mirthless job.  Visar chuckled, even while his teeth chattered from the cold breeze from off the river. He had no clever retort for being essentially a wind shield, and so he made none, forcing himself to walk on the river side of her.  He would most likely have an ear ache in the morning, but perhaps he deserved an ear ache, for seriously thinking of just running off.

 

He took one last glance at the gatehouse before they turned back.  Another night, another way, he promised himself.

 

He looked forlornly at the river while they walked a ways in silence, knowing its fast flowing waters were the only physical link that still connected him to distant Tear, his original home.  Everything else had been severed; he had given up gambling and thievery a long time since.  He had even said his farewells to his family, though they now lived nearby in the countryside. But some part of him still desired the thrill of that life, however questionable and uncertain that lifestyle was.

 

His thoughts were thankfully interrupted by his companion's question.  He smirked, wondering who in their right mind would come up here to take a nap.  It was much too cold for that, at least for a southerner like himself.  Perhaps some strange-blooded Shienaran fancied this a warm night!

 

"Visar's fine.  You don't have to call me Gaidin this or that."  He didn't think he deserved any title right now.  Formality in the training yard was one thing, but he would not have it when he was essentially off duty.  "No," he started, fishing around for an appropriate response that was neither the whole truth nor mindless ramble.  His voice stuttered as he continued, plainly shivering.

 

"It was n-not all t-too long ago that I was in the G-guard myself, patrolling these v-very walls, spending a great deal of t-time around that very g-gatehouse." He glanced backward over his shoulder, the gatehouse already completely shadowed from clear view apart from a handful of torches.

"S-sometimes it helps me to think back to those days, when life seemed s-simpler than it-t is now.  Call it nost-talgia if you will, but it helps me k-keep a clear head."  That was coming a little closer to home than he wished, though at least it was vague.  Conversation seemed to be helping him ignore the cold, however.

 

"How about you?  What ill m-manner of luck landed you with this bloody slow shift, all by yourself, too?"

 

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Edana picked up the pace when she heard his stutter starting. It was obvious he hadn't had wall duty in a while and wasn't dressed for it. She smirked a bit to herself. Warders tended to forget that the color-shifting cloak hid them from view, it didn't shield them from the elements.

 

She grinned at his question and looked back at the courtyard behind them as they passed between gate posts. "You can't guess?" She grinned even more broadly and shook her head. "My sparkling personality tends to get me in trouble. The Captain tosses me up here to wander the night alone, my silent vigil in payment to the Tower for whom I will not make the ultimate sacrifice and forever attach myself to one of thyne fine ladies which dwell in their Ivory Tower." She placed her hand over her heart and snorted. "No offense, Visar, but all I've seen from men who attach themselves to one of them is misery. Not even Master Kynwric is immune, for leaving his Aes Sedai here bothers him. He steps beyond that river and he's pacing like a caged bird." She didn't mention that Dante rarely ever seemed to be anything else but frustrated or angry with his Aes Sedai. She had enough to handle with Sandre, she didn't need another woman adding to the difficulties.

 

"Besides, most of the Guards who've been here as long as I have been are well and truly bonded, leaving me with these children who barely know which end of the sword will draw blood fastest. They take their job far too seriously and can't appreciate my sense of humor..." She grinned again and batted her eyes at him.

 

~Edana

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

(ooc: sorry for the very late reply)

 

"My sparkling personality tends to get me in trouble. The Captain tosses me up here to wander the night alone, my silent vigil in payment to the Tower for whom I will not make the ultimate sacrifice and forever attach myself to one of thyne fine ladies which dwell in their Ivory Tower."

 

Visar thought her bitter reminiscing ironically funny, if a bit sobering to realize that he was certainly not the only person having difficulties with the Tower life.  Who would have thought that someone might have trouble for Not bonding instead of having trouble through a bond?

 

"No offense, Visar, but all I've seen from men who attach themselves to one of them is misery. Not even Master Kynwric is immune, for leaving his Aes Sedai here bothers him. He steps beyond that river and he's pacing like a caged bird."

 

Visar didn't dare say much to that.  In fact, he found himself agreeing with Edana, and feeling ashamed for it.  He looked again out at the river, his only escape.  Would it be possible to jump from the wall and swim to the other side?  Visar vaguely remembered lessons about the danger of jumping into water at too great a height. An old Shienaran soldier once told him about someone who did that, jumping from a cliff into a stream to evade trollocs.  The man had broken both of his legs in the fall and had been lucky to survive. And no, Visar couldn't possibly swim across; the river's strong current and low temperature would surely finish him as thoroughly as any other man, warder bonded or not.  That left the bridge and the boats...

 

"Besides, most of the Guards who've been here as long as I have been are well and truly bonded, leaving me with these children who barely know which end of the sword will draw blood fastest. They take their job far too seriously and can't appreciate my sense of humor..."

 

Visar grinned, thinking suddenly of a solution.  It was absolutely insane, and probably wouldn't work, but in the spur of the moment he decided to try anyway.  He chuckled.

 

"I fear I am one of those men of little humor.  For the whole time I have been at the Tower I have always focused so much on my duty, to the Tower and now to my Aes Sedai as well. And yet now I feel like I have not done anything for myself.  I feel like there is something missing and I can't stand it.  To be truthful, I came up here to think, to be away from it all, if only for a while.  And yet still on these walls I feel the confines of that Tower, the restrictions of my duty, all too tangibly.  It's like I have chains wrapped around me."

 

Now for the giant leap off the wall.

 

"You don't seem to enjoy your duty very much either, do you?  Seems to me the Tower has not appreciated your talents at all, much less your sense of humor.  They see a headstrong, wisecracking liability instead of a strong, capable woman who is a natural leader. Why do you serve them still?  What holds you here?  What kind of place honors the service of a woman who should be a captain by punishing them with lone sentry duty?  Why not run off, escape?"

 

Visar didn't honestly expect Edana to be crazy enough to do just that and bust out that instant, but he didn't think she would report him to the guard and arrest him either.  He was just talking this out...just trying to figure out how to solve his desire for freedom.  Even having someone to talk to about it would be a vast improvement to the situation, he thought.

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Edana shook her head slightly at him. As if she didn't know he'd had his head down and his goal focused the entire time he'd been there. He probably didn't realize she'd been here about as long as he had, had taken trainings right next to him. The idea nearly made a laugh escape. It didn't make her miss his longing look towards the river, though. She wrinkled her brow, watching him for a moment.

 

"You don't seem to enjoy your duty very much either, do you?  Seems to me the Tower has not appreciated your talents at all, much less your sense of humor.  They see a headstrong, wisecracking liability instead of a strong, capable woman who is a natural leader. Why do you serve them still?  What holds you here?  What kind of place honors the service of a woman who should be a captain by punishing them with lone sentry duty?  Why not run off, escape?"

 

His words shocked her. Her feet stopped moving and she leveled her eyes at Visar. "I was a Captain once," she said softly, dropping her eyes and looking away. She shrugged, pushing those thoughts away. "It didn't work out."

 

She started moving again. "As for why I'm still here, that's a much more simple answer. Where else would I be? Everything I love, everything I need is right here within these walls. I have a responsibility, even if it's just walking along this wall every night. I have people who depend on me, people who need me around." She paused and looked at him again. "I spent a good bit of time on my own, wandering and taking odd jobs to put food in my stomach. I hated every minute of it. I came here looking for a place to belong and I found it. Once you have that, there's really nowhere to go and no reason to, either."

 

She paused and turned towards him a moment. "Be honest with me, Visar. Have you found that place? Do you have a place to belong? I understand needing space and time to think, but what really brought you up on this wall? Sandre sings your praises, so it can't be ignorance or idiocy. I swear I'll not tell anyone anything, and I'll hope you believe that. What are you after, Visar?"

 

~Edana

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  • 2 weeks later...

Her reaction was not quite what he had hoped.  She was content here, sure that this was where she belonged, and he saw that no persuasion of his would get her to help him escape.  Why he felt he had to escape didn't make too much sense to him either.  He had a job, he had people that cared about him, what more could a man want?  Doubts and indecision swirled in his mind like oil on water.

 

He would not make a break tonight, he decided.  It was too risky, and it was too soon.  Such things required precise timing and more chance of success, rather than impulsive on how much he wanted to leave.

 

"Be honest with me, Visar. Have you found that place? Do you have a place to belong? I understand needing space and time to think, but what really brought you up on this wall? Sandre sings your praises, so it can't be ignorance or idiocy. I swear I'll not tell anyone anything, and I'll hope you believe that. What are you after, Visar?"

 

He stopped with her, and silently concentrated, trying to measure his reply at the same time as being completely honest.

 

"For a long time I've felt that I have," Visar began, "but now I'm not so sure.  I see the man I'm becoming, I've become, and part of me is just not satisfied.  I don't know if I would abandon my charge and my friends even if I could, but the weight of serving the Tower just seems to much sometimes.  It's been all about duty to me, and while at first I thought that duty would be enough, now I know that it's not.  I have to have a greater reason, I have to have some deeper passion than doing my "duty".  Otherwise I'm just going through the motions; it lacks any true meaning or value to me.  I have to want to do this, don't I?..."  he trailed off, uncertain.

 

What was he doing, giving away his doubt so easily to someone he didn't know quite so well.  What was it about Edana that seemed to disarm him, to immediately break his previous resolve to escape and then finally tell the truth?  Her commanding presence as a leader? Or perhaps the fact that she was a woman, and Visar felt more willing to open up to someone who didn't seem as likely to condemn him for being too emotional.

 

His eyes drifted the other way, towards the Tower.  Rasheta was probably wondering why he was some distance away by now.  Could he really abandon her, a woman he truly cared for, just because he didn't feel like he enjoyed being her Warder sometimes?  He felt as if he had made the decision to bond her too soon.  He didn't really know what he was getting into back then, the level of commitment and the sacrifice of time and pleasure involved.  He thought he knew what it would be like, but things certainly hadn't turned out as he expected them.

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Edana nodded in understanding, turning to move along the wall again. "It's not what you expected it to be, then. Sometimes I feel that way, too." She shrugged and looked up at the Tower looming over them. "I can't imagine being tied to one would make things any easier. At least, when I feel caged in, I can convince Sandre that we need supplies in some far away place."

 

She laughed softly and shook her head. "To be honest, sometimes being tied to Sandre is difficult for me to handle. He's always... there! He won't even let me pick a fight, anymore! Do you have any idea how hard it is to argue with someone who's just smiling and giving you that 'yes, dear' smile?"

 

She paused and took a deep breath. "I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, Visar, but I don't. If you weren't bonded, I would tell you to go take a break. Accept some training mission in Mayene, escort a crew of trainees to the Borderlands... anything to get you away from these walls for a bit. It can be tedious, stuck in the same rut every day. Given that you're a Warder and, thus, saved from the lovely duty of walking on this wall all blasted night long in the freezing cold..." She paused and looked up at him. "It must be boring, actually. You're always here, so your Aes Sedai can't be the type to go wandering the world in search of a fight. I don't suppose she'd accept that the Captain begged you to go horse trading in Saldea, would she? I could use a new horse, myself..."

 

 

~Edana

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

(ooc: I had completely forgotten about this! Sorry!)

 

They turned, Edana's circuit of the wall complete.  Time to repeat the process.  Suddenly Visar had the faint impression that he'd rather have little to do in the Tower than have to put up with this drudgery night after night.  Who was he to complain about his situation?

 

"I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, Visar, but I don't. If you weren't bonded, I would tell you to go take a break. Accept some training mission in Mayene, escort a crew of trainees to the Borderlands... anything to get you away from these walls for a bit. It can be tedious, stuck in the same rut every day. Given that you're a Warder and, thus, saved from the lovely duty of walking on this wall all blasted night long in the freezing cold..."

 

A break sounded like a good way to go, but he would need Rasheta's full permission for that, and with Dante being gone just as frequently that might not happen any time soon.

 

"It must be boring, actually. You're always here, so your Aes Sedai can't be the type to go wandering the world in search of a fight. I don't suppose she'd accept that the Captain begged you to go horse trading in Saldea, would she? I could use a new horse, myself..."

Visar grinned.  At least Edana was looking on the bright side of things.  That was something he could surely use.

 

"Not as boring as walking this wall almost every night.  Well I can't promise to buy you a horse if I ever get that chance.  But if you have a night off from this pleasant strolling, I'd be glad to share a drink or two with you some time."

 

Visar took one last look at the river.  Freedom seemed like it would be nice, but if he left dishonestly he'd be betraying his friends, his Aes Sedia, the Tower, and a part of himself.  And that might not be something to easily atone for.  It wasn't worth it, he decided.  At least certainly not with tonight's security.

 

"I'll talk to my Aes Sedai about it.  That's usually a good start; and at least mine listens to me on occasion... Thank you for listening Edana.  I bid you goodnight."

 

After hearing her reply, Visar walked to the closest set of stairs leading down from the wall.  As he reached the bottom, he felt as if a weight had lifted off from his shoulders, and then settled back down again.  He realized suddenly that he was actually somewhat tired.  As he made his way back to the Tower, he could feel Rasheta's worry, frustration, and a tinge of relief as they came closer together.  Not looking forward to a potential confrontation, Visar forced himself to go anyway.  Nothing would be solved overnight, whether he fled or quit or stuck with it, and he shouldn't expect it to.

 

 

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