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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Away From Home (Attn: Rashi/Visar)


Kathleen
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Kathleen wrapped a cloak around her tightly as she started out of the White Tower. It was the first free day in a long time that she had spent going into the city and she couldn't help but grin just knowing that she had a few hours to herself out of the Tower walls. She loved the White Tower, and she couldn't imagine her life without it, but after being stuck in that building for over a decade she loved every chance she got to go to the city. By the time she was to return to the Tower she was always more than ready to get home. To be surrounded by white dresses and other girls in bands and to pass Aes Sedai in the halls to her rooms was actually a very comforting feeling so she really did like returning to it, but a trip to the city was just what she needed today!

 

She wandered the familiar streets, stopped in at local shops just to see what they were selling and then she carried on to the next. She had no real intent to buy anything, just to look at the items they offered and the people who were shopping there. As she was walking by a rather lavish inn she heard a male call out her name. She turned around to see the two least expected people, her brothers. "Hadrid , Jareaid? Is that really you?" Kathleen hadn't seen her brothers in over ten years and the last time she did was the morning her mother died, before they left for her father's blacksmith shop and before she left for Tar Valon. They had never left the town they grew up in and she never would have expected them here. She ran over and gave each one a hug. They asked if she had time to have a drink with them and catch up she told them that she had to be getting back soon but couldn't help but agree to have a little catch up time. She wanted to know what they were doing in Tar Valon, how her father was, if everything was alright back home, and how long it was until they knew what happened that day, if they had known what happened.

 

The three of them went into the common room of the inn, Kathleen was so excited that she couldn't hold back the questions. They sat at a table and Jareaid ordered them some drinks, he seemed so excited to see her and was just as playful and energetic as she remembered. Hadrid seemed a little distracted, not what Kathleen would have expected after not seeing each other for 10 years, but she wrote off his constant looking around and the frown on his face as just being uncomfortable and not knowing how to talk to her after so long.

 

Jareaid told her that they had decided to become merchants a few years ago. Jareaid said at first their father had just needed someone to deliver a few pieces to people in the next town over, so they got to travel. Then someone wouldn't pay them the full price and they ran off with their work, so the boys decided to chase them down. After spending so much time traveling just a little they found that they really liked it so the brother's took up traveling and became merchants. They were surprised at first by the money they made from it, and made frequent trips home to share the money with her father. He had been doing well, the whole town helped him to keep going, and he found a girl to hire for almost no pay to take care of the house, she was staying in Kathleen's room so that is why they didn't have to pay so much. As the conversation went on and the inn started to clear a little Kathleen kept looking at her eldest brother and couldn't understand why he seemed to be getting more anxious and not less. He got up and said he was going to pay for the drinks then he winked at her brother and walked passed Kathleen. When Kathleen began to ask Jareaid if Hadrid was alright she saw a look of pain and sorrow on her youngest brother's face and then she saw nothing at all.

 

As she fell over unconscious Hadrid scooped her up under her arms and Jareaid raced around the table to grab her legs, but Hadrid tossed her over his shoulder and told his brother to run ahead and make sure the path was cleared for the wagon to leave.  The two hurried out to the stable with her where their cart was already to go. Hadrid quickly tied her with some twine they had just incase she came to and tried to jump out. He tied her arms behind her back and her legs together, then tied her onto the side of the wagon he gaged her so if she did come to she couldn't scream. He didn't want to think about her coming to yet, surely she wouldn't use her powers to hurt her brothers, but after 10 years of the brainwashing she must of gotten he didn't want to think about it. She had seemed to know who they were, but that doesn't mean that she wouldn't skin them alive if those so called Servants told her to.

 

With that, he tied the straps one more time and dropped the cloth that covers the back, he knew they didn't have much time so he didn't bother strapping the cloth in place and jumped in front with his brother and they raced through the streets out of Tav Valon. As they got out of the city and onto the other side of the bridge they let the wagon slow to a normal speed, they wouldn't want to get attention drawn more than they gained from the few people in the inn and be followed. Now just to get her home and get rid of the damage they did. I hope she forgives me when she's safe at home, Hadrid thought as he drove her down the dusty road.

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Rasheta was tired, they had been traveling for most of the morning and it was now almost the afternoon. It had been a long ride back from Cairhien and Rasheta was no Blue. She hated going to that cursed city she could not play the game of houses and it amused Adrian to see her try. He was currently amused now and she tried to ignore him. She could see the White Tower and she was looking forward to sleeping in her own bed tonight and she was thinking Adrian was looking forward to it as well. Tonight she wasn't going to do anything but sleep next to him however. She nudged her horse up to ride next to him for the rest of the ride into the City.

 

Adrian requested they stop briefly for something at one of the common rooms, he always liked the food at the Inns better then in the Tower. She didn't mind it was an excuse to put off reporting to Jaydena. Adrian stopped in front of one and was helping her down from her horse when a young man ran up to her. "Aes Sedai, Aes Sedai. You must go and save a girl." Rasheta frowned and asked

 

"What girl? Where?" The young boy looked to her warder then and repeated his request. Rasheta had no patience right now and pulled the boy to face her. "Explain to me what you are talking about." Her voice was harsher then usual and the boy started babbling. "A girl was taken Aes Sedai. Taken away by two men, in a wagon" Rasheta blinked well this was a job for the city guard not her. She said as much and the boy shook his head. "She was wearing the white Aes Sedai."

 

Rasheta paused thinking "White? But that would make her a Novice and Novices were not allowed outside the White Tower...unless." Rasheta looked at Adrian who had the stance of one just waiting for her to give the word and he would move. Adrian was always the one to be ready before she was. She nodded to him and he moved back to his horse. She held her reigns and addressed the boy. "Go to the White tower and inform them that an Accepted has been kidnapped. Tell them Rasheta Sedai of the Green Ajah is already going after them but more help would be good. Now run boy." She mounted up and looked at her warder.

 

"Well my love shall we go?" He sighed he knew how tired she was but he wouldn't say anything. Well not much she could tell he was going to grumble a bit, but she was used to that. She turned her attention back to the matter at hand and they left the city at a gallop.

 

After chasing the remains of wagon tracks for two days Rasheta was frustrated they weren't even sure they were following the right wagon. She said as much to Adrian, and then they rode again. She wanted to find the girl who was stupid enough to be taken and drag the girl back to the tower and then sleep for a week. She was tired of sleeping outside. Adrian stopped her and then pointed. She could see smoke above some trees it was a camp. She prayed this was the one holding the Accepted. Adrian stopped her a ways away and tied the horses to a branch with enough length left for the poor creatures to eat the grass if they wanted. Then they walked toward the camp. Adrian stopped her and snuck off if there was danger he would find out first. She hated this part but he wasn't going to endanger her. He came back and nodded "These are the people we are looking for." Rasheta nodded and they walked forward, Adrian first guarding her.

 

Rasheta smiled brightly at the assembled men she could see the Accepted tied up in the wagon. "Good morning gentlemen. You have taken something that belongs to the White Tower. I am here to get it back." There was a general scrambling for weapons and she turned to Adrian and said sweetly. "Adrian will you take care of this please?" He gave her an annoyed look and sighed as he walked forward. She left him too it and moved around the small camp toward the girl. She used her knife to cut the ropes and said. "Don't be afraid. I'm Rasheta of the Green Ajah i'm here to help. What happened?"

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Kathleen felt the ground beneath her bouncing and shaking as she started to wake. She felt the headache set in before anything else and it wasn't until the ground stopped dead under her that really started to come out of her fog. She realized she was gagged and bound and she tried to reach for the source, but she was so scared and her head was pounding that she was having trouble forming the bud she was so used to not even thinking about anymore in her classes. The flap of the wagon cloth flipped up and Kathleen tried to scream as a shadowy figure entered the back of the wagon. "Kathleen, its ok. Please don't hurt me, its Jareaid," He paused and then in an uncertain voice he added, "your brother."

 

Kathleen's fear left her, at least she knew he wasn't going to kill her, though that didn't make her want to hit him any less. "Sister, please tell me you won't use what those..women taught you to hurt me." Jareaid said as he got closer and untied her gag. "If I were going to use the One Power, brother," She snarled, "I would have done it by now. Untie me, and return me to the Tower at once!"

 

"I am sorry Kathleen, we can't do that. We are taking you home, to see Father. You remember Father right? He'll take care of you until you're all better." "Yes, I remember Father, and what in the Light do you mean ‘until I'm all better'? I am fine. The only damage done to me is this pounding headache and the bruising from these ropes and the bouncing! Now take me back while there may still be time for me to go back and not have you two jailed!" Kathleen knew she had to calm down, they never did listen to her when she was all worked up.

 

She took a few deep breaths. "Take me out of these ropes, please, and we can discuss what in the lig..what you have done and how we can fix this," she demanded. "I can't untie you, but I will get you some food and tell you what is going on," her brother replied.

 

"Tell me first, food can wait." Kathleen wasn't feeling well enough for food, but some water would have been nice. She knew she didn't have much time but she had to find a way to convince her brother to bring her back.

 

Jareaid sat down beside her and began to explain. "When you left we had no idea what happened to you, most of the town thought you killed mother since you left the same day. For a while we weren't sure if you even knew, but the nursemaid said you were there when she died. I know you didn't do it, but others aren't convinced. Father wanted to go after you, but he didn't know where to start, he thought at first you had just left to gather your thoughts, but when you didn't come home by dark we started to worry. He had planned to give you another day to come home on your own while he planned what to do if you were taken.

 

Then he noticed the box was missing and knew you had gone to Tar Valon. He sent us after you a few weeks later, when we had a plan for what to do when we caught up with you. Unfortunately it took us a lot longer than expected since we didn't know the way and we didn't have enough money for the trip when we started out. So that is how we became merchants, I'm sorry we lied earlier but Father told us to get you before you got to the Tower and he told us what to do if you were already there when we caught up. He told us about how they ‘teach' you to be like them, how they strip you of all you are and turn you against your family and how they make you one of them. That is why I can't untie you, sister. He also told us that they do something to you to make you not able to lie, so I know you wont use this...One Power..you called it, to hurt us. I just don't know what all they did convince you of. You remember Hadrid and me and Father but they did teach you to harness this One Power, and Father says that's too much. Now you are family, and we wont loose you! Not to them!" Jareaid slammed his fist down on the wagon floor.

 

"Oh, you fool! You know nothing of the truth. The White Tower is nothing like that! I am there of my own free will, and they have not turned me against anything! It is my choice to stay and to learn." Kathleen tried to say more but her brother cut her off, "Father said you would say these things, he said you would try to trick us! We must get you home to him, he will fix what they have done." Her brother looked so tense and so concerned, Kathleen almost felt bad for him, but she knew what he was saying would make it harder to convince him to take her back.

 

"Didn't you say father told you that they make it so I cannot lie? If I cannot lie than what I just said is true. I want to go back to the Tower, it is me speaking, your sister, please listen to me, and take me back there." Kathleen was starting to feel the hunger and asked how long they had been gone. "We've been gone two days. You keep starting to stir but we weren't prepared to let you up until we stopped, I'm sorry but we have been keeping you out.

 

And perhaps you think you are speaking the truth, or perhaps they haven't done whatever they do fully yet, I don't know. But I know that family should be everything to you. You must miss Father. At least come home with us, see him, and then we can take you back. If you truly are still you at the core and this is truly what you want you will at least see the sense in coming home to see father before returning to the Tower. He hasn't seen you overten years, and he doesn't have many more. Give him the one gift he truly wants, to see his daughter one last time."

 

Kathleen's stomach growled and Jareaid looked at her, "you are hungry. I am sorry. Hadrid will have the fire going by now, I will get you some food, but I can't let you out. I want to believe everything you say, but I know better. You are almost one of them now, and I don't know how far gone you are." He tied the rag back in her mouth and began to walk over to his brother who was tending the fire.

 

 

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A few moments later Kathleen heard a voice in the not to far distance, "Good morning gentlemen. You have taken something that belongs to the White Tower. I am here to get it back." As she heard the sound of her brothers scrambling the same voice continued,  "Adrian will you take care of this please?" Kathleen felt relieved to know that someone was here to help her get back to the Tower, but she did feel scared for her brothers.  As the woman cut the ties free Kathleen was thrilled to hear the words she said, "Don't be afraid. I'm Rasheta of the Green Ajah i'm here to help. What happened?"

 

"They are my brother's Rasheta Sedai, please don't hurt them! Thank so much for coming, how did you find me? I'm sorry for all this trouble, they thought they were saving me, and I didn't know they had come! I was telling them to take me back to the Tower, but they didn't listen." Kathleen knew she wasn't making any sense but she was so worried about her brothers she could barely get words out as she tried to run to help them. She didn't want to go home with them, but she didn't want to see them hurt, they were just foolish boys but they thought they were doing the right thing. She didn't want them to die because they thought they were saving her. "Stop" Kathleen yelled as she ran into the grass closer to her brothers. She wasn't sure who she was shouting to, but she wanted them all to stop before anyone got hurt.

 

"You can't have her!" Hadrid yelled to the warder as he pulled out his dagger, "Grab her Jareaid!" The younger brother began to run to his sister as he pulled out a dagger of is own. Kathleen froze in place, not knowing what to do. "Rasheta Sedai, please help me. Don't let your Warder hurt them!" Hadrid moved closer to the warder with his dagger ready and a look in his eye saying he was ready to kill.

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(ooc: and good to go!)

They were almost home.  Almost.  But it seemed that the Wheel wished them to remain away from the Tower for yet another day.  Adrien sighed when Rasheta decided to follow up on the lead for a missing Accepted.  He wouldn't complain, however.  Life's sidetrips were to be enjoyed if possible, tolerated if not, and there was no use to grumble about it before they saw this through.

 

Two days later, Adrien had difficulty not grating his teeth.  They had finally caught up to a wagon encamped by the road, but it had been a strenuous ride, and that usually meant that Rasheta Sedai would snap even at his attempts to raise her spirits with humor.  They didn't even know for sure that it was the right wagon until he scouted ahead and saw the girl, tied up and gagged in the back.  The men that held her hostage hadn't even properly concealed her or posted scouts to warn them of his coming.  

 

Amateurs, Adrien decided, rather annoyed with the situation, wanting to get this over with so he could find some time to relax with Rasheta.  He returned to his Aes Sedai, confirming that this was the right one.  They dismounted, tied their horses, and returned on foot.

 

Adrien knew the drill.  First they would try to talk things over.  Few men without a deathwish would openly defy an Aes Sedai, and certainly not one of the Green Ajah with her Warder!  But as the men reached for weapons, Adrien's hands flashed to his swords, ready to defend his Aes Sedai from harm.  She gave the word for him to "take care of things" while she saw to the girl, and so he advanced.

 

They were foolish enough to let them come, and Adrien doubted they would have much fight in them to actually challenge him.  He saw no need to even draw his swords.  Rasheta had not told him to kill them, and he never drew his weapons unless he meant to spill blood.  He came almost within reach of the wagon, and planted himself firmly between the kidnappers and his Aes Sedai.

 

"What's the matter?" he taunted them, knowing that if they attacked in anger they would be even easier to deal with.  "Didn't think you'd have to deal with a Warder when you crossed the Tower by taking one of their own?  Why, I have never seen such a sloppy job at a kidnapping before."  That seemed to do the trick, and the men advanced, daggers in hand, but a voice behind Adrien stayed him drawing his own blades.

 

"Rasheta Sedai, please help me. Don't let your Warder hurt them!"

 

Everything after that seemed to happen in slow motion to Adrien's eyes.  One of the men, Jareaid, he learned later, moved to get the girl back, and the other stepped within range of Adrien, stabbing downward with his knife at Adrien's neck.  He reacted out of trained instinct, deflecting the strike with his right hand, while stepping forward to scoop up the man's leg with his left.  He then effortlessly lifted the man up by the leg and tossed him onto the ground beside him.  His grip on the weapon arm still vice-like, Adrien flicked his left hand expertly and disarmed his thrown opponent, already moving to intercept the second.

 

Adrien snuck behind Jareaid just before the brother would have been in range of hurting Rasheta Sedai or the girl, and grabbed the man with both hands at his shoulders.  At the same time, Adrien kicked at the back of Jareaid's knee, yanking down with both hands to have him fall on his back.  The offender's knife having been dropped out of surprise, Adrien swirled around him like a stream flowed around a rock, and quickly scooped up the blade. Turning gracefully around, he returned to his previous position, in between the fallen brothers and the women he protected.

 

Stunned but otherwise uninjured, the two men seemed in no hurry to get back up.  With a huge smile not easily wiped off, Adrien turned to Rasheta,

"I know they're not flowers, but consider these a humble token of my love." he said, as he presented her the two daggers he had taken right out of the attackers' hands.

--Adrien

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Rasheta had barely gotten the gag off the girl when she started babbling. Rasheta tried to calm her but it wasn't working the girl started running toward Adrian saying something about her brothers. Rasheta pulled the Accepted to a stop with air, she was annoyed she didn't have time for this. She came to the girls side and then paused as Adrian defended her against the "attackers". It was always nice to watch her warder fight, he did it so well. She would never tire of it she was sure. Many times when they sparred she got too distracted by watching him. It made for rather unpleasant spills. She pulled herself back to reality and said to the girl.

 

"Child, Adrian will not hurt them unless, somehow they manage to hurt him." She nodded to his swords. "His swords are still sheathed child, when he pulls them out you should worry till then your brothers are safe. He may bruise them a bit but they will be alive for several years yet." As she said this Adrian pulled a second dagger out of one of the boys hands and then came to her and presented her with the two daggers.

 

"I know they're not flowers, but consider these a humble token of my love."

 

She smiled at him and nearly laughed. He was always doing odd things like this. She had tried to break him of it when they first bonded but it had never worked, if anything he did odd things more now, just to see if she would get angry she was fairly sure. She took them and shook her head. "Always the odd one my love." She was smiling when she said it and he knew she wasn't angry, at least not at him. He stood up and she turned to the Accepted, knowing full well Adrian would guard her while she talked to the girl. If the brothers could even get up yet which she doubted. She released the girl from the air flows Rasheta had tied her up in and stopped her from running away by saying.

 

"Child what is your name? And what happened? I expect an answer before you tend to your brothers." She paused and added "if they get up again and continue to try and take you back home." She glanced at Adrian. "I can't promise my warder will not use his swords to teach them a lesson." 

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"Child what is your name? And what happened? I expect an answer before you tend to your brothers." Rasheta paused and added "if they get up again and continue to try and take you back home." The Green glanced at her warder. "I can't promise my warder will not use his swords to teach them a lesson."

 

As Kathleen felt the flows of air release she wanted to bolt to her check on her brothers but she knew better than to flee when an Aes Sedai said stay. Rasheta had asked some questions, and her brothers were still breathing, the Aes Sedai was right, they would live. Kathleen turned to face the Green and smoothed out her dirt stained Accepted's dress. She wished she could straighten the hairs that had fallen out of her braid. She normally left her brown hair straight and down her back, but she had decided to put it up in a braid with a white ribbon two days earlier when she was about to go into town.

 

She locked eyes with the Aes Sedai and began to answer her questions, "My name is Kathleen. I had gone to the city on my free day. As I was walking past an inn I heard someone call my name. When I turned around I saw my brothers. I had no idea they were in town, but they asked if I had time for a drink and to catch up. I didn't see any harm in it, I hadn't seen them since I left to come to the White Tower and I left rather unannounced so I thought I should explain my leaving." She could tell the Aes Sedai was not pleased with what she was hearing, and so Kathleen decided to hurry along in the story. "When we got into the inn we began to chat and when Hadrid," she pointed to her eldest brother, the one the warder had faced first, "got up to pay the bill I felt a sudden pain go through my whole body and then the next thing I remember I was tied up in this wagon and we were stopping. I didn't know where I was, what had happened or who took me." Kathleen paused for a second, dropped her eyes and the shame and embarrassment of what she was about to say filled her and obviously showed, "I tried to grasp saidar," she squeaked, "but I was so scared and my head was pounding..I just couldn't do it. Then Jareaid, my other brother, jumped into the back of the wagon with me." Kathleen gazed back to the Green's eyes and continued, "I told him to take me back to the Tower, but he said he no. I was trying to convince him still to take me back, but they think I've been brainwashed or something and they think that my father can ‘fix' me. I told them I made the decision to go to the Tower myself, and that I want to go back, but they still didn't listen. I haven't eaten and so my brother was just leaving to get me some food. When he came back I was going to try to convince him to take me back, or to just let me go and I'd find my own way back. That is when you showed up." Kathleen was starting to feel weak from lack of food and the pounding in her head was still not getting better. She put a hand to her head and grimaced.

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Adrien and Rasheta shared a grin.  Of course daggers of such dismal quality were a poor gift, and Rasheta was almost used to his silly antics by now.  Almost.

 

He kept an eye on the brothers as Rasheta and the girl talked about what happened.  Half listening, Adrien wasn't sure what to think about these men, whether they were incredibly brave and loyal to their sister in their own way, or incredibly foolish for trying to defy the White Tower.  Either way, they were up now, and eying him warily.  They didn't look eager to charge right into Adrien after he so easily disarmed them, but there was a determined, measuring glare in one's eyes, the one called Hadrid.  That look said the elder wouldn't give up so easily.

 

Adrien felt the need to reinforce his presence, to discourage this one from doing anything stupid.

 

"You should thank your sister for me taking it easy on you.  You might not be so lucky next time.  You try to go anywhere near my Aes Sedai or her charge, you'll get far worse from me than bruises," he said menacingly, his hand on one of his sword hilts.

 

"We just want to help her!" the one called Jareaid shouted, a look of dismay on his face.

 

"You'll help her by leaving her alone.  This is the life she chose for herself, honor that if you call yourself her brother." Adrien admonished.

 

The other one maintained his angry glare, but put a hand on Jareaid's shoulders.

"No arguing.  Come, back to the wagon.  Let's get out of here."

"But Kathleen!" the younger Jareaid protested, but Hadrid cut him off and muttered something in his ear that Adrien could not discern.  Suspicious, Adrien hurried back to Rasheta and put a hand on her shoulder, interrupting what the girl was about to say next.

 

"We should get back to the horses." he said in almost a whisper.  "I see no reason to stay here any longer, unless you've gone Brown and are interested in the local butterflies or something."

 

While he always managed to include some snarky remark, his tone betrayed his feeling of urgency that they should get away from here at once.  The safer they were back at the Tower, the better.  And with patches of dense wood all about, and scattered villages and towns all along the road, there were plenty of places for an ambush, and Adrien was only one man.

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"We should get back to the horses." he said in almost a whisper.  "I see no reason to stay here any longer, unless you've gone Brown and are interested in the local butterflies or something."

 

Rasheta turned her attention to her warder, she felt like rolling her eyes at his Brown Ajah comment but she was distracted by his urgency. She had not questioned his instincts before and she wouldn't start now. She had noticed while she was talking with Kathleen that her two brothers were now apparently running away. Rasheta would have to ask Adrian what he had said to them. She looked back at Kathleen who was holding her head and looking very pale. Rasheta sighed and embraced Saidar and said to Adrian. "Carry her, I will make sure we make it back." She looked around the clearing hoping nothing was going to ambush them.

 

She walked back in front of Adrian making sure nothing was waiting for them. They made it to the horses and Rasheta handed Kathleen a water skin and then dug around in her saddle bags looking for food. She handed it to the Accepted as well. She told Adrian. "She will have to ride with you till we can find her a horse of her own." Adrian was not thrilled with this but he wouldn't argue with her. She mounted up and waited till her warder and the Accepted got settled.

 

They rode on and Rasheta said to Kathleen, "You did well child Saidar is hard to grasp when afraid or tried. Plus you didn't want to hurt your brothers. There is a village not far away we will get you cleaned up and fed properly there." She glanced at Adrian and knew he was probably thinking what she was. If the two brothers had any tricks up there sleeves they would strike at them wherever they stayed to get Kathleen cleaned up and fed. She needed to find the girl a horse too. She had a full day and Adrian would have to stay close to Kathleen. He would not be happy with that but she told him and Kathleen that plan anyway. She asked Kathleen then.

 

"Can you tell us about your family. Adrian will need to know if he's to protect you fully. We do not know if they are done tracking you yet." Rasheta paused and added in a kinder voice. "Write your family a letter too child. They must be worried, I will make sure to send it when we return to Tar Valon." 

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Kathleen watched as her brother's ran off and she felt a pain of sorrow fill her, this is not how I wanted our reuniting to turn out. I wanted to explain.... Kathleen wanted to protest when Rasheta told her warder to carry her but she knew it would do no good and she knew her body was in no shape to be walking even if the horses were close. She didn't know how long she was gone, but she knew she was tied up with her body twisted in what felt like an unnatural way for too long.

 

As the lean but sculpted man scooped Kathleen up onto his shoulders she couldn't help but blush. Some of it was from the surprise of the ease he had in doing it, some from the embarrassment of having to be carried, but she tried to stay still as much as she could, though she did find herself shifting sometimes when he took a step harder or quicker than she expected. Just as Kathleen was beginning to get comfortable in the Warder's arms the trio arrived back to where the horses were tied. Adrian slowly and gently set Kathleen down but the girl couldn't help but feel there may have been a hint of him wanting to hurdle her off his shoulders. Kathleen gladly accepted the water and food Rasheta offered her before the ride and was very thankful for it. She felt a little guilty when she knew she would be riding with Adrian, but of course she knew it was the only way that made sense.

 

Rasheta had asked about Kathleen's family, she had said any information could be helpful. Kathleen had not told many people in the Tower about her past, but they were right they needed to know what had happened. As they rode through the woods and into the town Kathleen told them about her past.

 

"I grew up in a small town far away from any big city. My father is a blacksmith and he was teaching my brothers to be blacksmiths too. They would spend everyday in the workshop or out playing at hunting in the woods nearby. When I was a little girl my mother would tell me stories of Aes Sedai but I always thought of them as fanciful tales, never real. She always made a point not to mention anything about them when my father or brothers were around. I never thought it odd, because it was always that way, until one day when my mother didn't know my father was there she mentioned something about a Warder. I don't remember what it was now, but my father yelled and screamed for hours, calling them all sorts of names. Well, I didn't really think anything of it after that, except that it was odd my father would react like that, he doesn't loose his temper often, you see, but well, life went on and we forgot all about it.A few years later my mother became very ill, no one could tell us why. One day, she called me into her room and told me get a small box out from behind something. When it was opened I found this ring" Kathleen pointed to her own Great Serpent ring and continued, "and a small hand drawn map to the Tower. My grandmother was an Aes Sedai, my mother never told me which Ajah, she must have known I would join and not want to influence my decision." Kathleen smiled at the idea and in remembering her mother, but soon her smile turned to a frown and she had to fight off tears.

 

"My mother told me that when my grandmother died she had entrusted my mother to return the ring. Father wouldn't let her go, and mother instructed me to take it to the Tower, and see it was returned to its proper place." Kathleen paused but she knew she was close to the end of her tale so she tried to hurry along, "Later that day my mother died and before my father and brothers returned home I set off for the Tower. I didn't leave a not because I didn't know what to say. I had intended to drop the ring off and return, but at that time I still didn't really believe there was a White Tower to arrive at. I certainly didn't think that I could ever be an Aes Sedai, but my mother must have known.

 

When I met with my brothers I had no idea they were in Tar Valon, or even knew it was a real city either. They told me in the inn that most of the people in our old town think that I killed Mother, even though they all knew she was too sick to get out of bed for weeks. Then I was hauled away. When I woke up Jareaid told me that father had sent them out over 15 years ago to find me, and he had given the instructions on what to do if I had entered the White Tower. He told them I would turn my back on them, even though we were always taught family is the most important thing. They were told that I would lie to them to get them to return me to the Tower and that the Aes Sedai were forcing me to stay there and that they are hurting me and changing me. I tried to tell them that they are wrong, but they don't believe me. They thought that if they could get me home to father he could fix me somehow."

 

Kathleen wasn't sure if that was enough to go on for what the pair needed to know to protect her, but she was too upset from having it all rush back after not thinking of any of this since her Arches had brought her back to the small town she grew up in. She realized that by the time she had told them her whole story they had made it to the town and were just outside an inn. Soon she would be in a warm room with a real bed. She was looking forward to a nice hot meal, though didn't know if she could enjoy food any more than the small amount she had received when she got to Rasheta's horse. Before any of that, she knew she would write a letter to her father, explaining all that had happened from the conversation with her mother when she was sent to the Tower to her decision to be tested and to become an Aes Sedai herself.

 

(OOC: Sorry its so bloody long! I was like I should insert a link to her Bio as an answer to Rashi's questions :P )

 

 

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Adrien tried to hide the fact that he was slightly discomfited carrying around another woman in his arms, a service which he exclusively gave to Rasheta when she was too tired to walk.  Though almost all of the time his Aes Sedai didn't actually want to be carried so at least this other girl did not try to put up quite so much of a struggle.  As he forced himself to think he was doing this as a service directly for his Aes Sedai, Adrien grinned at the thought of her wonderful stubbornness.  Finally at the horses, Adrien forced himself to gently set the young woman down, only to have her in front of him right again when she had to ride on his horse.

 

Really Rasheta? he muttered to himself in his mind, knowing Rasheta could sense his emotions anyway so she'd get the idea.  You had to make her ride on My horse?  Yours could carry two too you know.  Or do you get some perverse pleasure on seeing me uncomfortable with another woman?

 

Of course, it was best to keep such thoughts to himself, or things would only get worse.  And the situation was amusing enough to laugh at himself, so that in itself was a small comfort.

 

At last, they reached the inn, and the first thing Adrien suggested was for them to get a new horse.  It was too late in the evening to bother people now, Rasheta reasoned, so they would have to take care of it in the morning.  Adrien was tempted to protest, that other people's convenience did not matter considering the urgency that they get back to the Tower as soon as possible, but he did not.  He knew that Rasheta and Kathleen were both tired, and even he could use a few hours of sleep tonight.

 

So Adrien forced himself to mentally relax and ignore that tickle at the back of his mind, ate his dinner, and retired after both Kathleen and Rasheta were in bed.  Adrien drifted off to sleep, waking instinctively before dawn.

 

As soon as Rasheta woke, Adrien helped her out of bed, ignoring her half-asleep protests, and then gently nudged Kathleen's shoulder.  He made his voice calm and reassuring, even if he himself didn't feel so relaxed.

 

"Come Accepted, we need to make an early start to make good time."  He could tell she was still tired, but she admirably did not complain, and both ladies were ready to go in record time.  As they paid their night's fare and left the inn, Adrien remembered something important.

"We'll need a third horse if we're to make it to the city without pushing one of our horses to the limit.  I was able to get a name last night of someone who had a couple of mares he was selling.  Name was Nedd, he's at the second house to the right near where we came in."

 

Adrien glanced around as the sky lightened into day, but did not see any activity that was out of the ordinary.  They didn't have time to go together to get the horse, and Rasheta was a far better haggler than he was with her Domani wiles.  He didn't want to split up like this, but doing it in town was safer, and Rasheta would kill him if he left Kathleen unguarded.  They nodded to each other.  Rasheta would be ok on her own for a short time, and if she wasn't, Adrien would be able to get to her in time.

 

"I promise I'll make sure Kathleen is kept safe.  We'll meet you at the northwest road at the other side of town."

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Kathleen was pleased to be inside when they got to their room. As she set into the hot tub she could feel her muscles loosening and the tension of the last few days slipping away. It was rather late when the three had arrived but the housekeeper rushed to set a bath the dirt covered Accepted. A girl could get used to that kind of influence, though I'm sure they would have offered to prepare a bath for any traveler in the state I was in, she thought as she sinked down into the tub. She knew she couldn't be too long as she did have that letter to write before bed like the Green had told her to do. What to put in the letter? Hello Father, I know I haven't spoken to you in half my lifetime, and I know I left the same day Mother died. That must have been hard on you, but I assure you I only left without telling you because I was going to the White Tower to talk to some Aes Sedai and I know that if I told you  you wouldn't let me leave. She could hardly write that!

 

When she got out of the bath she quickly dried off, she ran the dress through the tub water and quickly channeled it dry, its funny how the first thing she was taught to channel in a practical way, long ago on her first day of the Introduction to Saidar class, was the first thing she channeled when she was out in the real world away from the Tower. I guess the Sisters really do know which weaves are the most important to learn first! Kathleen hoped the Aes Sedai didn't mind her using the One Power, she knew she was supposed to be supervised but she was just in the next room and if she had had clothes to change into she would have left the dress to hang dry. She had no clothes to change into and she had no intention to parade around in front of the Aes Sedia, let alone the Warder, in her stockings. She supposed she could have left the dress dirty, but she really didn't see the harm in such a small use of saidar and she didn't see the sense in having a bath just to get into dirty clothes.

 

When she went back into the main room she sat at the desk and began to write her letter. She told her father everything that had happened that morning, from her mothers fevertalk to giving her the box with the map and ring. She told him how her mother sent her to return it, and how she had been tested when she got there. Kathleen tried to explain all the wonderful things they had shown her and she tried to describe just exactly what her life was like now. She appologized for leaving without saying goodbye and for taking so long to send this letter and how she regretted the way it was done, but she told him how much he will always mean to her, and she will never let the values he taught her be lost. When she finished the letter she sealed it and gave it to Rasheta to hold onto until she could find someone to carry it, and then went straight to sleep.

 

Kathleen was sleeping soundly into the morning, her first full nights sleep since the Arches, and instead of waking before the sun as usual it wasn't until she felt a gentle nudge on her shoulder and heard the Adrien's calm voice say, "Come Accepted, we need to make an early start to make good time." She didn't want to wake, but she knew there was no fighting it so as quickly as she could she got up and ready to go. Kathleen was still having trouble getting her eyes to adjust to the morning light when Rasheta went off to get her a horse. Kathleen had wished she could have gone with her, if this was to be her horse for the ride back she would have liked to have been able to pick it, but Adrien was right, they didn't have time to waste she was gone from the Tower long enough and the others had been gone far longer.

 

Kathleen was following the Warder closely as he was preparing to leave when out of nowhere she heard people shouting, she couldn't make out what they were saying until she heard someone yell, "That one, that girl she's the one we want!" Adrien spun around to step between Kathleen and the one who had shouted but out from behind the buildings in all directions stepped a small group of Whitecloaks holding up weapons. Some had bows, not all of course, but all were aimed straight at the Warder and Accepted. One of the Children called out something Kathleen didn't quite hear but Adrien went for his sword and the arrows began to fly.

 

Kathleen grabbed a hold of Saidar, burn me but I'm not waiting for Rasheta to get back! she thought as she wove fire and air together and hurled it at the Whitecloak whose arrow just missed her shoulder. Kathleen spun around and lost sight of the Warder but she knew he was doing everything he could. She wove thread after thread of air just to clear the arrows but there was so much going on on all sides of her and she wasn't used to fighting so it seemed like more than it really was. After only a few minutes after the first arrows flew Kathleen was stunned to find a sack over her head. She kick and screamed and she tried to weave another flow or air but she quickly realized she couldn't see the threads so she couldn't weave them.

 

Kathleen screamed again and tried to get free but she was no match for the two large men who were carrying her down the road. Kathleen began to panic, she knew Adrien should have been there by now, he should have killed both these men. She knew he would have heard her screams, something must have happened, he must be hurt! Kathleen didn't want to think that the Warder may have died trying to save her, but she knew that if he was capable of stopping them he would have. He is fine, she told herself, he is fine and he will be fine, he will meet with his Aes Sedai and they will get help..he will not die for me, he cannot die for me! Kathleen didn't know how far the men had taken her, or what they would do when they stopped. How could she stop this? Where were they taking her? And the thought that worried her most, what would they do with her when they got there?

 

 

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Rasheta decided the story was interesting, she knew what it was like too loose her mother. She had some years ago, she glanced at Adrian. He was ignoring her and focusing on the Accepted and the road they were traveling. Rasheta didn't exactly blame him, he was annoyed she had stuck him with Kathleen. Rasheta decided it served him right he teased her enough it was his turn. She knew he would find a way to get her back though, he always did. She wondered how the girls mother would know that she could channel. It really wasn't her business but she was still curious, maybe she should have been a Brown after all. She shook her head smiling a little. She decided that focusing on the road was better then worrying about anything else so she ignored both her warder and Kathleen till they arrived at the village and Adrian stopped them at an inn.

 

"It would be a good idea to find a horse now." Rasheta said to the air. Adrian shook his head and informed her that now was too late and they should eat and rest before anything else was attempted. She sighed she hated it when he was right. She just wanted to get back to the Tower and delivered Kathleen back to the Mistress of Novices and return to the Green Halls and stay there. She had a duty right now though so she nodded to Adrian and they all went into the Inn. Smelling the food she was reminded that she hadn't eaten a full meal in a few days and that she was looking forward to sleeping on a real bed. She eyed Adrian but she knew he wouldn't sleep with her, or he would but nothing else would be going on he wouldn't allow that when he had to stay alert. Pity really she thought. He must have known what she was thinking because he gave her a good natured look and she just smiled and ordered the innkeeper to furnish them with two rooms next to each other and a meal. After this she asked for the Accepteds room to have a bath filled in it. Kathleen would get the first real luxury till she became a full sister and could order people around on her own. Rasheta retired shortly after that and waited till Adrian appeared in her room. He was as tired as she was but she moved over and he crawled into bed with her. She kissed him before she laid her head on the pillow pressed her back to his front and fell asleep. She woke up the next morning to him hurrying her up and out of bed. An early morning person she was not and she complained about his treatment of her. He just smiled and ordered her up. She got dressed and ready to go as quick as she could. Then he told her where to find the man with the horses she yawned and he told her.

 

"I promise I'll make sure Kathleen is kept safe.  We'll meet you at the northwest road at the other side of town."

 

She had no doubt he would keep the girl safe, but she didn't say it she only nodded and walked away. She felt the small bit of anxiety in the back of her mind. Adrian didn't like leaving her long, and she knew it wasn't entirely from love. Rasheta had a bad habit of loosing her temper and getting into trouble. Not that she would she was simply haggling with a man about a horse. She sighed and sped up and found the house. She knocked and waited for an answer when she got one she asked after the horse. She was shown the best the man had and she started her haggling. Shortly after she was done with that she felt something odd, someone was channeling. She frowned and looked back the way she had come, she could feel Adrian but he was in his "calm mode" which usually meant he was either fighting or playing cards. If someone was channeling he was probably fighting, she called to the man to take the horse to the inn, she was running before the words were fully out of her mouth.

 

She felt pain bloom in the bond and she screamed in rage. Someone had hurt her warder! They would pay! Her scream turned several people toward her but she ignored them, she raced down the street and embraced the power herself as much as she could handle. Who was it who had dared to hurt Adrian? She saw him at the end of the street he was on the ground and all she saw was blood. If she wasn't bonded to him she would have thought he was dead. She ran to Adrian's side and dropped to her knees, she vaguely noticed that he was bleeding from one of his legs. She would take care of that in a few moments after she delved him to find all the wounds. Some of the people who where in the street said to her "You can't help him he's going to die soon." She ignored them she would heal him in a moment. She found he had a knock on the head and two arrow wounds, those were the biggest worry, he was bleeding from several stab wounds as well. She quickly healed him and then got several of the passerby's to take him to the inn and put him to bed. She sat next to him and trailed her fingers through his hair. He probably wouldn't wake up for awhile yet. She was slowly getting angrier and angrier. Who had dared to do this to her warder! They had taken Kathleen again too. It couldn't have been her brothers, they couldn't have bested Adrian.

 

Shortly after dark Adrain woke up, Rasheta made her touch soothing he would know it was her of course but she knew he could also feel her rage and he needed to know it was not directed at him. He opened his eyes and she asked in a voice so cold she was sure ice formed around her. "What happened and where is Kathleen?"

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For all of Adrien's training, the ambush happened soon and he had barely any warning.  Against ten men, three armed with bows that he could see, there wasn't much even he could do but to try to fight and die with honor. 

 

But he did not feel any better when the Whitecloaks had gone and left him for dead.  He had managed to crawl over to a house wall, and instinctively tried to do something about his many wounds.  He groaned in bitter pain as he yanked an arrow out of his leg.  Shouldn't... have done that...bleeding..losing a lot of blood...Failed...I've failed her..And I promised...fail... were his last thoughts as he passed out against the wall.

 

Briefly as his mind drifted out of consciousness, he thought he felt something through the bond.  Wrathful anger, but loving concern, too.  He didn't know whether to feel grateful that she had found him, or miserable that he had failed her in such a manner.

 

Adrien didn't know how much time passed, but eventually he came too, still in considerable pain, but he could feel that the bleeding had stopped.  The worst of it had been Healed.  Rasheta was right there next to him, somehow both soothing and full of rage.  As he saw her, her voice cut through him sharper than any sword.

 

"What happened and where is Kathleen?"

Adrien's mind whirred as he tried to remember what had happened.  It had happened so quickly, even for him.  He didn't even remember what he had done in the fight.  One minute kathleen was there next to him, somehow redirecting arrows that were meant for him with the Power, and then the next he was down and she was gone.  If Rasheta had not seen her, then that must mean they had taken her.

 

"Whitecloaks."  he said with disgust.  Of all the villainous armed men which could have pulled off that assault, it grated against his nerves that he had been surprised and beaten by those insolent, dogmatic zealots.

 

"We were ambushed, and Kathleen... Blood and Bloody Ashes, they must have taken her!"

 

Adrien tried to get up, and then groaned, the pain from his head and some of his wounds flaring.  And he was so weak and hungry!  He hated how it felt after being Healed...And Healing was not one of his Aes Sedai's greater talents.

 

"Sometimes...I wish I had bonded a Yellow..." he muttered and instantly regretted it, as Rasheta glared at him and pushed him back forcibly onto the bed by the shoulder where one of the arrows had hit him.

 

"Ow!" he grunted.  "I didn't mean it! I swear! Didn't mean it!"

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(OOC: Sorry this is so not good guys, I wanted it to be better, but you both know the night I had trying to write this so its not my best work, but there it is :( )

 

As she sat huddled into herself Kathleen made a point not to show any emotion except anger, and even that she tried to control. In truth she was terrified. She had been scared the first time she had been taken, at the inn in Tar Valon, but then she had all but known it was her brothers and even if it wasn't them she wasn't sure how much real danger she was in. This time was a different story. She knew who had taken her and she knew just how much of a threat they were. Knowing this information only helped calm her slightly, at least she knew her captors. The part that left the most fear was knowing how dangerous they were, but not knowing just what to expect of them. At least she wasn't dead. Yet.

 

She could feel people walking around her and that made her more scared. She did not like being blindfolded, but to be gagged and have her ears plugged on top of did not help. The ear plugs had been added after she got off the horse that carried her and the large man who rode with her. As long as she was on the horse she knew she was as safe as a channeller could be with a group of Whitecloaks who knew what she was. Until they reached their destination all Kathleen could feel was shock and concern about what had happened and what would happen. She had spent the ride running the mornings events through her head over and over, trying to figure out exactly what had happened. How did they find her, how did they know? What had happened to Adrien? He just had to be alright! She replayed it all from the arrows flying all around her, to the men grabbing her and throwing the sack over her head, to them carrying her to a horse and trying to fight her way out while her arms were bound behind her and she was placed on the horse with a large man behind her holding her there. She recalled listening as the other horses joined them and she tried to recall how far they had ridden and in which direction, but she was so upset at time she just couldn't figure it out.

 

When they did stop riding the fear set in quickly. Where was she? Where were they taking her? What would they do to her? How could she get out? If only she could see where she was, or hear what was going on. The worst part was simply not knowing anything. If she had some information, even as simple as where she was or how many of the Children were with her, just the faintest amount of information would ease her. But for the moment all she had was the knowledge that she wasn't dead. Not Yet. She knew better than to struggle as the man she rode with held her arms, now securely tied behind her body, and forced her forward. She knew better than to struggle and put up a real fight, but she didn't have to comply easily so she made he force her a little. He took her somewhere a few paces ahead of where they left the horse and made her duck her head as they entered something. She could feel the air change slightly around her as she entered but she couldn't figure out where she was.

 

After just a minute of being in there she felt her ear plugs and blind fold being released and when her eyes adjusted she quickly took in the large tent she was in. It was a plain room, with only one place to focus. Sitting at the back of the tent was one of the Children in a small, stiff backed chair. There were two Children blocking the door and the man who had been holding her arms was leaving. As he left the tent the man in the chair stood up. "Now, I have heard about what has happened this morning, but I would like to hear about it from you. We'll start with some easy questions, and I suggest you be very cooperative, your life will depend on the answers you give and how cooperative you are." At this point he was right in Kathleen's face and only the threat of her life kept her from spitting at him, but it didn't stop her cold glare.

 

 

"Now, if you walk in the Light, you have nothing to fear, we are trained very well to tell who is telling the truth and who is lying and who is a darkfriend and who is not. If you tell the truth, and you are not a darkfriend then you have nothing to worry about. The questions will be easy ones, so let us begin. What is your name?" Kathleen thought quickly, she didn't want to give them any information that could hurt her or the Tower, but he had to comply as much as she could or her time to figure out her escape would be very limited. "My name is not important, it wont give you any help." She replied coldly. The man looked her over and seemed to be in thought and then calmly replied,  "You have no reason to keep your name from us, as you say it will give us no information, so why hide this, unless you have more to hide?"  Kathleen glared even harder but she didn't want to convince him to kill her by not answering simple questions. "My name is Allys Salian." She lied. He continued to ask her questions over and over, everything from her home town, to what she was doing at the inn, to who she was traveling with, to what had happened that she ended up in this tent with him today, without giving her time to think between questions, seemingly to not give her time to make up lies. Kathleen refused to answer any questions in a way that could legitimately tie her to the Tower or reveal any information that could put the Tower or anyone in it in jeopardy.

 

She couldn't hold back her anger and it was all she could do to answer any of the questions, she only answered when they pressed her. She couldn't keep the glare from her face, and the anger out of her voice. She only told them enough to make them move on in the questioning but never gave out any information that she knew they wanted.  When the man asked her if she were Aes Sedai he seemed genuinely surprised to hear Kathleen tell him she was not. Kathleen knew this probably meant that he knew Aes Sedai could not lie, and knowing that he had heard about the channeling this morning he would be very concerned about how she could say she was not Aes Sedai. Apparently that was the right answer for her as it seemed to puzzle him so much that when he spoke all he said was, "That is enough questions for now, but don't think we are done. The questions will be more and harder next time." He looked at the two men and told them to take her away. He told them to keep her bound, blindfolded and gagged until they had more answers, until she confessed to lying just now and admit to trying to injure one of the Children of the Light.

 

She tried to fight the men as they replaced the blindfold, gag and ear plugs, but with her hands tied behind her back she was no match for them. She was closed off to the world again before the tent door opened so Kathleen didn't get to see where she was, but judging from the smells around her and the feel of the path they took before entering what she thought was another tent, Kathleen assumed she was in a small area of woods with a larger gathering of Whitecloaks than had been in the town she was taken from.

 

How she wished to be let go, to have her sight and hearing back. They must have known that would get to her, as every few hours some one would come to her, take her back to the tent with the man who would take her ear plugs and gag out and ask her more questions. They were usually new questions with some he had asked before, trying to trip her up into changing an answer she was sure. She didn't have a lot of practice with lying, but she did have a lot of practice with having to retain a lot of new information at once and keep a lot of things straight, so she easily managed to keep her lies straight and convincing enough. She continued to give them what she thought was just enough to keep her around, but not enough to incriminate anyone. The longer they trekked her back and forth the more scared and rebellious she became. She would fight leaving the questioning tent to gather more minutes of being able to listen to the sounds around it, to try to judge more of how many men they had and which direction they were gathered. She tried to fight leaving her holding tent to go to the question tent just to by more time with any person, knowing she wasn't alone and that the longer she stayed away from answering more questions the longer she had to live.

 

She needed to get out, but she couldn't see how. She knew there were too many people who would catch her, and surely if she got the chance to run and took it they would use weapons like they had when they had taken her. As the process went on she could feel herself wanting to give in, it had been days of this, all her senses cut off, alone in a tent but if she tried to move she would be placed back on the floor in seclusion before she got to her feet. She had very little to eat and never enough time to sleep as every few hours they would walk her to the questioning tent and back again. It was getting harder and harder to keep her story straight, even with repeating it so much. The only thing keeping her from breaking was knowing that they wouldn't stop at hearing her say she used the power or even if lied and said she was a darkfriend she knew it wouldn't end there. That was just the beginning for them and she knew it. They would demand the names of the ones she was traveling with, as they had time and time again already, she would not give the names, she had said she didn't know them. Which wasn't exactly a lie, she didn't know either of those people, not really. Sure they had told her their names, but to really know someone took more than hearing their name. No, if she gave them what they wanted Kathleen knew it would mean more interrogation, followed by her death and the death of more people from the Tower. She fought on and on, day after day, hour after hour until she had long since lost track of how long it had been. The time that was originally the hardest for her, sitting alone in the middle of a tent with no contact to any of her senses or any other people, was now the time she looked forward to. Her time to try to figure out how to get out of this seemingly inescapable place.

 

Kathleen wasn't sure how long she was gone, it could have been two days it could have been ten. She was sure by now that unless she did something to try to escape or to hurt one of the men no one here would kill her. Perhaps the man she had been answering to didn't really hold any power to kill her, but she didn't know how these people worked. She huddled tight in her holding tent still trying to find a way to get her blindfold off, arms free and find a way out before they catch her.

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"Whitecloaks. We were ambushed, and Kathleen... Blood and Bloody Ashes, they must have taken her!"

 

Rasheta eyed Adrian wondering if he was just pretending to be in pain she had healed him. She sighed he was always playing tricks. The news that Kathleen had been taken was not good. The Whitecloaks would know what Kathleen was, she didn't know if they would know that she wasn't fully trained yet though. She had a brief hope that they wouldn't know for sure she was but then she remembered the feel of the girl channeling and she took several deep breaths. She was getting angry again, she had come all this way and now she had to go further to find the stupid child. She was distracted by Adrian's next comment

"Sometimes...I wish I had bonded a Yellow..."

She turned her glare on him and he quickly repented when she shoved him back onto the bed by his shoulder. Ow!" he grunted.  "I didn't mean it! I swear! Didn't mean it!" She just looked at him for a moment before saying coolly. "Maybe I should pass your bond to a Brown you can be the one to carry there books and sit idle in the barracks." She grabbed his face again and delved him just in case he somehow wasn't fully healed. He was his "pain" must have been teasing her. She didn't let go of his face she touched her forehead to his and took a deep breath, she knew this wasn't the best time to be tender but she had thought for a moment she might loose him. She said softly. "I thought for a moment I would loose you. I can't loose you, don't make me worry again please." She pulled back and stood straight.

 

"Now you need to eat something and I would expect you will eat more then most for the next few days." She turned away and went to give orders to the innkeeper. He would keep them in enough food for three for the next few days. She felt like she shouldn't be doing this she should be trying to follow Kathleen but she needed Adrian to be fully healthy, and fully rested he was no good to either of them tired and still recovering from healing.

 

After she gave her orders to the innkeeper, she left to find out if the extra horse had been delivered they would need it for Kathleen when they found her. The horse extra horse had been delivered and Rasheta petted its nose. "You will have to be ready to run when we get you a rider." She told it softly, the horse nudged her and she laughed. "looks like your ready to go. A few days yet, but soon." She left and went around to find some people to get supplies for the trip they would be taking. She returned to the inn at nightfall and asked if Adrian had been fed all day. The innkeeper told her that he had and she smiled and gave the man an extra coin for his trouble. She went upstairs and was surprised to see Adrian awake. "what are you doing awake?" She glanced at the tray and noticed the food was all gone. She smiled, "you'll eat like that for the next few days." He shook his head. He had been healed before he knew what to expect. She sighed and took her shoes off and then crawled into the bed next to him. "I feel like i'm not doing enough, she's been taken twice and the second time was my fault. I shouldn't have let you two go off on your own." She sighed and let herself feel guilty. Adrian hugged her too him. She hugged him back and then she said "Remember what I said, and don't do anything reckless when we find the Whitecloaks. I don't know how I would go on should you die." Just thinking she might loose him had been painful enough.

 

For the next few days she didn't leave Adrian much, and he ate as much as she knew he would and finally they were ready to discuss how to get the girl back.

 

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Over the next two days, Adrien slowly recovered, all the while feeling both ashamed at his failure and weakness, but glad to have the presence of his lovely Aes Sedai nearby.  If it weren't for her, he would be dead, and even if he was alive, it was a life not worth living without her.  He slept a lot, ate a lot, and wished that the situation would allow more time to take it easy like this.  But sadly, their responsibilites required that they take action soon.  They would need to find the Whitecloaks that had done this to one of their own, an Accepted, a future Aes Sedai that it was vital to protect.  Adrien only hoped that the Children were slow in dispensing their twisted form of justice.  He only hoped that Kathleen would be alive by the time they found her.

 

But with just the two of them, taking on the Light knew how many Whitecloaks was almost unthinkable.  They needed to find reinforcements, which would slow them down even more. 

 

One morning, Adrien found himself awake and feeling almost himself.  Although he had been Healed before, it never seemed quite normal to eat That much food!

 

"what are you doing awake?" Rasheta Sedai asked.  Adrien only smiled.

"you'll eat like that for the next few days."  Adrien shook his head.  That was to be expected, even if it wasn't normal.  That wasn't why he was smiling.  But Rasheta was feeling bad about what had happened, and Adrien couldn't really blame her.  "I feel like i'm not doing enough, she's been taken twice and the second time was my fault. I shouldn't have let you two go off on your own."  Adrien contented himself with holding her close to him, and the rest of the day passed restfully.

-----

 

Finally, enough time had passed and Adrien felt that his strength was recovered.  They were ready to find the girl and get her back.  Time to get down to business.

 

"Ok, the first thing we should to do is to track the party of Whitecloaks down and figure out how to extract her from them.  Then if we need to, we go back and get help from the Tower if we have time."  Adrien didn't allow himself to doubt the plan, even though it wasn't as simple as it sounded. Surely the Children of the Light would have kept Kathleen alive for questioning.  And to get the information they would want out of an Accepted, the Whitecloaks might take at least a week or two before they got anything useful.  Or so Adrien hoped.

 

As they were leaving town on their horses, Adrien immediately noticed that they were being tailed again, and not very professionally.  He motioned to the copse of trees ahead, and Rasheta and he passed through them, Adrien stealthily dismounted and waited for their watchers to show up.

 

Sure enough, two familiar faces rode into view, and it didn't take long for Adrien to apprehend them.  Dragging the two brothers by their collars to present them to Rasheta Sedai, Visar slammed them onto the ground.

 

"Alright start talking.  Why are you two following us again?"

 

The younger one, Jareaid, a look of childish fright on his grown features, spoke up first.

"The Whitecloaks...they have her!"

 

Adrien clenched his fist, resisting the urge to run his sword through them.  He should have known the two would be stupid enough to ask the Children of Light for help.

 

"We know that all too well.  Why come to us?"

 

"Because we thought the Whitecloaks..." The elder Hadrid glared at his younger brother, and they both sat their silent.

 

"You honestly thought the Children of the Light would just let you two take a White Tower initiate from their greedy paws?  Do you have any idea how long they have wanted to put an Aes Sedai to death?  And you have just handed a woman training to be Aes Sedai, your own sister for the Light's sake, into their hands!"

 

They hung their heads in shame at his words.  The elder spoke up, his voice surprisingly calm.

"We were wrong to ask the Children for help.  We thought they would help us take our sister back when we couldn't do so.  Now they have her, and they're torturing her I know it!  We need to save her, and I'd rather she be safe in the White Tower than what she's going through now!"

"So you want our help, then, and you won't try to stop us from taking her back where she belongs?"

 

Hadrid didn't like saying so, but the two brothers finally agreed.  Adrien shared a few words with Rasheta, then spoke up, acting as her voice.

 

"Alright, we'll help you.  But we need to work together if we're going to pull this off.  We need to know exactly where the Whitecloaks have taken her, and anything else you two might know about what their numbers are and how their camp is set up.  And once we get there..."

 

As the plan began to unfold, Adrien wished they had time to go back to Tar Valon for reinforcements.  With just the four of them against this many Whitecloaks, the plan was crazy!  But they didn't have time for anything more ideal or subtle; Kathleen's life was on the line.  Sooner or later the Whitecloaks would grow tired of questioning her, and her identity as an Aes Sedai in training would be more dangerous than her situation as a captive.

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Finally they were moving again, Rasheta had made sure they had enough supplies and they had found out which way the men had taken Kathleen. That had taken some doing but she was Aes Sedai and she had her ways. Adrian seemed to be suspicious of something he motioned her forward and he slipped off his horse. She ignored him and rode on, they were being followed and she knew what Adrian wanted. She stopped some way away and counted in her head to one hundred and then turned her horse back. Adrian she could feel was annoyed she come upon Adrian holding Kathleens two brothers on the ground. She crossed her arms and embraced the power if either of them tried anything she would hold them down for Adrian. After awhile Adrian stood up and came to her.

 

"They set the Whitecloaks on her, they want to help us get her back now, and they have promised to let her go back with us when we get her back." Rasheta's anger was simmering but she held it under control. She nodded her head and Adrian said to the two boys.

 

"Alright, we'll help you.  But we need to work together if we're going to pull this off.  We need to know exactly where the Whitecloaks have taken her, and anything else you two might know about what their numbers are and how their camp is set up.  And once we get there..."

 

Rasheta was was going to be the "distraction." She had a few weaves that would handle that, she told Adrian to do what he could to find Kathleen. She wasn't sure what the two brothers were going to do they seemed almost useless, Adrian had a word with them however and they seemed to know what they were doing. They packed up and moved on.

 

The night they found where Kathleen was, Rasheta caught Adrain before he mounted up and left her for awhile. She said softly, ignoring the two gaping mouths of the boys. "Remember what I said you are not allowed to die. Be careful my love." She kissed him possibly for the last time.

 

OOC: This may change after I chat with Visar. *laughs* Till then I wasn't sure what to do so that's the best I had. Loves you two lemme know what to change. :)

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Adrien was uneasy, yet strangely amused at the entire situation.  Here they were with the two that had caused this whole mess, and now ironically circumstances were forcing them to work together.  As they rode in haste to rescue Kathleen, Adrien was quick to assess the potential usefulness, if any, for the brothers.  He had them shoot their bows at targets at fifty and a hundred paces, and was pleased enough with their markmanship.  But could they really make their mark count if it came to an all out battle with dozens of Whitecloaks?  Even Adrien could not fight so many in one night, which is why he would need Rasheta for back up.

 

Adrien then gave them a few simple tricks on how to use their staves and knives against a swordsman, but doubted they would master the acute sense of timing needed to pull them off. Jairaid was more eager and almost too enthusiastic about learning from a Warder, but lacked the cunning or caution of his elder Hadrid, and by himself would likely get himself killed.  It took Adrien a while to figure out how to use them without sending them on a suicide mission, but eventually a plan formed in his mind.  They would have to serve as a mere distraction to the main event, and if they stuck together and used the skills they knew, they would be out of the camp before the Whitecloaks knew what had happened.  Adrien only hoped that they would not be foolish enough to let a Whitecloak get in range to cut them down.  They might be fools, but they were the fool brothers of the one they were trying to rescue, and Adrien wanted everyone to survive this crazy mission if possible.

 

Finally, after almost three days of riding hard, Adrien was pleasantly surprised to find that they found them.  The Whitecloak camp had not moved much for a few days, from the look of it.  The good news was, they had found them.  The bad news?  They had been there for a while, so sneaking in wouldn't be as easy.  Oh yes, and there were about fifty of them.

 

Adrien took an entire day to scout the perimeter, and at night he stealthily crept into the camp to gleen the location of their Aes Sedai prisoner.  Thankfully, security was relatively lax as the Children weren't expecting someone to get past their picket of sentries.  Adrien returned with three spare white cloaks stolen from an empty tent, and the knowledge they needed: he knew exactly where they would be keeping Kathleen.

-----

 

The night of the rescue, Adrien felt a strange calm as he mentally prepared himself.

 

After reviewing their instructions, Adrien was confident that Hadrid would remember what to do, and hopefully Jareaid would remember to defer to his brother's discretion.  They would be near Rasheta, to aid in her distraction with their bows. If they were lucky, they might take out a sentry or two.  One less for them to worry about, he hoped.

 

It was time.  She came alongside him as he was about to mount up.

"Remember what I said you are not allowed to die. Be careful my love."

They kissed, and suddenly Adrien wished he had more time to spare to devote the night exclusively to her.  But his duty came before pleasure, and so with regret he parted the kiss before he would have wanted to end it.

 

"I love you.  I will be back," he promised.  "And then we can finally enjoy some quality time once this is all over.  Well, have fun with the fireworks, Miss Illuminator" he quipped as he mounted his horse and rode off.

 

Adrien knew that riding into the camp would surely get those sentry's attentions, so he rode around to the escape route.  Dismounting, he tethered his horse in the trees and left the oat bag available to keep him quiet.  He continued the way to the camp on silent foot, his fancloth cloak blending into the night around him.

 

Two hours later, Adrien swiftly cut into the sides of the tent holding Kathleen.  He had already disposed of the sentry guarding her without raising the alarm, and they had mere minutes before someone would notice.  It had taken him longer than expected to sneak past the sentries, and so at any minute now the sky would light up with Rasheta's "fireworks" and other tricks. 

 

"Kathleen.  It's me, Adrien." he whispered to the huddled figure, indiscernible in the darkness of the tent's interior. 

"We've come to bust you out of this place.  Can you stand?  Can you run?"

 

As the Accepted rose unsteadily to her feet, Adrien quickly cut loose the blind, gag, and bonds that held her prisoner, and got to work rubbing circulation back into her ankles.  He also had a sugary biscuit and a small flask of spiced wine for her hunger and pains if she needed it. If they couldn't escape the camp before the alarm sounded, she would need to be able to run, and Adrien would need to have both hands free to deal with the chaos in their way if they could not get out in time.

 

A few agonizing minutes later as he waited for her to eat and ready herself, Adrien heard the first bang.  Too soon!

 

"Come, we need to get out of here now."

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"I love you. I will be back," he promised. Rasheta knew he did she could feel it but it was nice to hear. She would have said it back but he smiled at her and touched her face briefly before adding. "And then we can finally enjoy some quality time once this is all over.  Well, have fun with the fireworks, Miss Illuminator" He mounted up and she stood there as he rode off. He had a job to do and so did she. Miss Illuminator indeed! He would try and ease her fears by making a joke, and reminding her how much she enjoyed her time with just him, now just before a battle.

 

She shook herself and walked toward her own horse, still ignoring the two brothers. It was her job to light the night up with fire and whatever else she could do. She wondered if Adrian had told the two brothers what exactly she was going to do and how tired it would make her. She would do it though because the young Accepted needed to be saved. She heaved a big sigh and rode around toward the point where she was going to be providing a distraction. The two brothers followed her and she dismounted and tied up her horse she wondered if she was going to have to deal with sentries it was possible. She patted Tyr on the nose and then addressed the two boys in a whisper pitched not to carry far. "Listen to me closely I am going to be using a great deal of the one power and when I do its going to take all my concentration. If you see any sentries around take care of them. I can't focus on everything at once and if I die its highly probable your sister will as well." She saw horror register on there faces and she nodded that was enough to scare the two of them into watching her back.

 

It was time for her to go. She slipped away and moved quickly and quietly toward the camp. She heard the rustle of clothes as she went and she paused and waited for a two man sentry to pass. When they did she tied them up in air and gagged them. She left them tied in the shadows of a tree and moved on. She could see the general layout of the camp now and she knew generally where Kathleen was so she twisted to the opposite side of the camp and embraced the power, as she did she started the weave for phantom fire. It would light the camp and the night up, she sighed it would be a distraction but it would also allow people to see Adrian and Kathleen as they ran. She prayed Kathleen hadn't been hurt too badly there was nothing Rasheta could do for the Accepted till she was face to face with the girl and could heal her. She pushed such thoughts out of her mind and used the phantom Fire people started to rush toward the flames calling out. Rasheta lit another part of the camp on fire and then when the chaos was really starting she used Riven earth. That's when cries of "a witch is here." started up and Rasheta looked out over the camp she'd have to leave soon but as it was she would attempt to help her warder and the young accepted if she could see them. She couldn't but that didn't stop her she used Riven earth again and again she was getting tired about the fourth time she used it. The men in the camp knew where she was by now, and the earth opened up around them whenever they attempted to come toward her. Many were covered in dirt. She had thought to walk around but the two brothers had been watching her where she was and she felt like she couldn't move or they may be dumb enough to lose her. She started back through the woods at a run knowing that the Whitecloacks would be quick on her heels after she stopped using the power. She was also without her warder and once she lost her ability to weave effectively she would be at there mercy. She cursed as she went through the woods. She was trying to go as quietly as possible but she heard the sound of arrows going past her and assumed the two boys were doing there job. She pushed on and made it back to her horse she knew where to meet up with Adrian so she was not worried about that. She quickly checked her surroundings and galloped off. 

 

After what must have been an hour she was tired and near exhaustion. She would never show it to anyone but her warder but she was ready to sleep for a week. Neither Earth or Fire were her strong elements and she had used both a lot tonight. She was at the point where she and the others were to meet up and she knew she'd have to heal at least Kathleen later. She didn't start a fire but waited in the shadows, the boys had followed shortly after her so they were the first to arrive. She could hear them coming a long way off. Both almost lost there heads before she realized who it was. She snapped at them to learn to be quieter and to stay out of sight. She waited longer and finally Adrian and Kathleen appeared. They were both on Adrian's horse and he made sure he called to her when he got near. She dismounted and needing some light created a ball of light in her hand. She noticed both Kathleen and Adrian looked the worse for wear. Both were covered in dirt and she assumed that was partially her fault. Kathleen looked like she'd been through a lot and she probably had damn the Whitecloaks. She took stock of her warder and could tell he was in pain in a few places but nothing life threatening. "Put her down Adrian" He dismounted and then helped Kathleen down. Rasheta healed her and then healed Adrian. He caught her before she feel on her face and he held her upright as she said. "You are safe now Accepted. Get some sleep Adrian will keep watch and we will talk in the morning." She added "Your brothers will help my warder."

 

The next morning Rasheta felt better and she nodded to the two boys "Go on you may speak to her. Do not attempt to run off with her again however."

 

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Kathleen was huddled in her tent rocking back and forth going over her story again. My name is Allys Salian. I am from a small village a few leagues away from the town we were in. I was unconscious in the woods and I don't know how I got there. When I woke up I met up with  the man I was with in front of the inn. He offered to travel with me back to the town we were found in. I do not know him, we had just met. We were not sure where our next stop was going to be, but my final destination was home. I do not recall what happened when the Children took me, just that I was too scared to think straight while the arrows were flying at me from all directions. I don't know how they missed me. I was lucky to  step out of the way and to have turned at the right moments. She had been going over and over her story so much in the last week that even she was beginning to believe it. There was really only one lie there, the rest was just omission.  It was all she could do to even recall the truth, let alone the few lies she had told. She had not been eating well and sleep was almost non existent. Her muscles were numb and aside from the few times she was led out of the tent her muscles were constantly bound and twisted. She couldn't stand on her own for long so the Children who did take her out of the tent had to almost carry her. When she remembered to she would flex the muscles in her arms and legs to try to keep some use of them.

 

She kept her mind as focused as she could every time she went out of her holding tent, trying to find any bit of knowledge to help her get out. It was the only thing that kept her from completely losing herself here. She was 250 steps east of the Questioning tent. The men who watched her took shifts, three groups of two per day, the first two were taller than her and almost seemed to squat to keep her from lifting off the ground as they walked. The second pair were closer to the same height, one was a rather robust man and the other almost seemed too thin compared but still he was stronger than Kathleen. The third pair were always the most ruff with her, almost throwing her about as they rushed her forward. She never got the chance to see the camp but from the sound of movements and voices she heard while her ear plugs were out in the Questioning tent she knew there quite a few people. She figured there were more than 30 but probably less than 100. She wished she could pin point the number closer than that, but she found out that she was being held about mid way in the camp. She was surrounded on all sides.

 

My name is Allys Salian, she began again as she rocked in the middle of the little holding cell. She stopped short when a man entered the tent and she felt her heart flutter. She wasn't expecting anyone for a long while longer. Something new was happening. All she could think was that they had finally gotten what they needed to kill her and they were here to take her to her death. As the binds that tied her began to loosen and the cloth across her eyes fell she began panic and almost didn't make out what the man who had entered the tent said,  "Kathleen.  It's me, Adrien. We've come to bust you out of this place.  Can you stand?  Can you run?" 

 

"Kathleen?" she squeaked cautiously as her heart pounded. When the Warder came into focus and the words sunk in Kathleen threw her arms around the man and quietly cried, "Adrien! You're okay! You are okay, and you came for me! Thank you, thank you so much. I'm sorry for all the trouble I've put you though, I never meant for any of this to happen. I can't believe you came for me!" She was so delirious she forgot about the danger they were in but Adrien quickly quieted her down and gave her some food. She was so greatful for the little bit she had time for but she didn't get a chance to say anything. Just as she was swallowing the last little bit of food the sky above the camp lit up in fire and Kathleen could sense the use of Sadair. Rasheta, she thought excitedly as Adrien rushed her off.

 

Her eyes hadn't had time to adjust, and her mind was in no state to take in what was happening. She wasn't used to moving around without being held. She wasn't used to having all her senses to guide her it was strangely overwhelming to have so many things hitting her at once. The chaos of the sky on fire and the Whitecloaks running everywhere was too much for her take in. She tried to stay close to Adrien and follow where he led but there were times where she couldn't process anything and she lost track of him and just ran in the direction she could sense the channeling.

 

When they got to the end of the camp Kathleen made sure to keep focused on Adrien and followed him straight to his horse. He helped her up onto it and as he climbed on behind her it was all she could do to stop from passing out. The surge of energy she had gotten from the food and from the joy of seeing Adrien alive and the excitement of finally being able to get away from the Whitecloaks was wearing off and she slumped back into the warder's chest as he rode. She hoped he didn't mind too much, she knew he was uncomfortable with it, but she just couldn't hold herself up any longer as she slowly fell in and out of sleep.

 

When they finally reached the Aes Sedai, Adrien helped her down from the horse and she was thankful to be caught before she fell. The Green healed her and Kathleen felt the tingle of the healing weave flow into her body. "You are safe now Accepted. Get some sleep Adrian will keep watch and we will talk in the morning. Your brothers will help my warder." That sentence alone filled her with more joy than she'd had in what felt like a life time. You are safe now Accepted, she repeated in her head. How sweet to be called Accepted again. Your brothers will help my warder. Her brothers were safe, and they knew the truth now and were helping her. That sentence was almost sweeter than the draw of Saidar. You are safe now Accepted.

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They left the tent at a leisurely stroll, Adrien supporting Kathleen with his arm just in case.  No need to fight out if they could just walk out.  But with the way the night sky was lighting up in a most unnatural way, the Whitecloaks were scurrying this way and that, and suddenly it appeared out of place to walk without a more urgent manner.

 

"What are you doing with the prisoner Child... Child Dryen?" one of the guards stopped them, suspicious as to why Kathleen was out of her tent.  Thankfully Adrien looked like someone the man recognized, or this would have ended really quickly.

 

"Transferring the prisoner to a safer location, Sir!"  Adrien tried.  He was truly bringing Kathleen to a safer location, but it was in true safety as a free woman, and not as some Whitecloak's interrogation tool.

 

The first guard to stop him let him pass, too concerned with joining the ranks to counter the "Darkfriend" threat.  Adrien caught snippets of what the Whitecloaks thought they were facing.  Half the Tar Valon army and a dozen Aes Sedai by the sound of things.  Adrien smiled at that, filled to the bone with pride and love for Rasheta.  His Aes Sedai was amazing enough to seem like twelve of her peers.

 

But fairly soon their jaunt turned ugly as several Whitecloaks stopped them.

 

"Where are you taking her here?  She was to remain in her tent!  The Darkfriends are just out there" shouted their leader, whom Adrien quickly realized with alarm that he was the commander of this fine brigade of overzealous brutes.

 

"Her tent's been attacked, and I'm escorting her to safety, sir!"  Adrien started, but another man interrupted him, exclaiming,

"Her bonds, Lieutenant!  They're removed!  And she doesn't have her blindfold or gag!  Who is this man, does anyone know him?"

"Identify yourself or be killed, Child...?"  The commander began.  Adrien tried one last attempt, but he was already reaching for his swords.

 

"Child Dryen, Lietenant!  I must have been mistaken by my orders, I'll return her straight away..."

 

"Dryen?  Impossible!" one of the others exclaimed.  "I just saw Dryen get shot with an arrow back there!"

 

"An imposter!  Kill him! Seize the..." the Lietenant began, but could not finish his orders as Adrien cut viciously into his neck, blood and man spewing to the ground.  The others already had their swords out as Adrien danced with them, his swords almost invisible as they flashed between them.  His opponents went down, but Adrien was struck twice, one nasty gash in his forearm, and another in his ribs that his mail stopped.

 

"Come on!"  he yelled to Kathleen, who had miraculously been unharmed, and he took her to the side in between a few tents to avoid another squad of men careening to the source of the battle.  Moments later earth swallowed the lot of them. A few minutes later, they reached the safety of the trees with no further incident, and Adrien helped her up on the horse before mounting up himself and dashing to the rendezvous point.

 

"Rasheta! We're here!  She's alive!"

Arriving safely, Adrien quickly dismounted and helped a barely conscious Kathleen to Rasheta, who was also on the verge of exhaustion.  She healed both of them, and just as she was about to faint Adrien ran up and caught her.  She spoke words of encouragement for Kathleen and gave the charge of protecting them to Adrien and the brothers, who looked frightened but none the worse for wear.

 

Adrien ached to gently comfort Rasheta to sleep, but they didn't have time for that sort of thing now.  Five men armed with swords came rushing over the hill, and the brothers buckled, clearly about to route.  Adrien needed to assist, he knew.

 

"Hang in there, my love!  We're not out of the woods yet.  Mount up and stay awake for as long as you can!"  helping Rasheta mount up, Adrien dashed back to Jareaid and Hadrid.

 

"Stand your ground men!  Aim calmly and surely at their chests, then drop your bows and pick your staves up!"

 

Surprisingly, the two men did what he said, and they loosed their arrows, both making their mark.  One man went down right away, his grunt of agony barely audible from where they were standing.  Four left, one with an arrow sprouting out of his chest.  He'd fall eventually, Adrien hoped.  The brothers picked up their staves, bracing for impact.  Adrien formed their center, his swords at the ready.

 

"Let them come to you!  Remember, thrust before they can reach you!"  The four men, winded from the charge, fell right on their waiting weapons.  Adrien disabled two right away, and turned to assist the brothers.  Hadrid dealt one of them a sharp thrust to the face, the man's neck snapping back as he fell back to the ground, most likely dead.  Jareaid had misplaced his staff, and only had his dagger against the other's sword.  As the man swung his blade to split the younger brother's head in two, Jareaid raised his dagger with two hands, blocking sure death.  He forgot to finish up with a thrust of his own though.  But he had given Adrien just enough time to throw his shorter sword, which quivered in the back of the last attacker.

 

Retrieving his blade, Adrien nodded smugly to Jareaid.

"That was Half decent."  The smith frowned for a moment, then broke into a wide grin.

 

"Come on you two, time to get out of here!"  They ran back to their horses where Rasheta and Kathleen were waiting, and rode off into the night.  Thankfully, no more Whitecloaks were seen pursuing them.  They had probably had enough dealings with Aes Sedai and Warders for one night.

 

The next morning, they woke in a wooded glen, well concealed from all but the keenest eyes looking for them.  Adrien made sure the horses were ok, then returned to the tents, where the brothers were with Rasheta Sedai.

"Go on you may speak to her. Do not attempt to run off with her again however."

 

Adrien stood back casually, his work for the time being finished as he listened to the brothers reconcile with their sister.

 

 

 

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Rasheta watched the two brothers speak to there sister and she turned to Adrian and asked him if he would go for a short walk with her. She was going to give the family some time to catch up. The boys wouldn't try and run off with Kathleen again, Rasheta could tell that by how they looked at her Warder. He must have impressed them a great deal. Adrian was still wearing his fancloth and it made him blend into the trees around them. She squeezed his arm and he gave her a smile and followed her a short distance away from the family.

 

Rasheta stared off toward the direction she knew the White Tower to be and she addressed her warder. "When we get back to the White Tower I'm sleeping for weeks." She glanced over at him and added "You can comfort me into sleep." He started laughing and she smiled it was good to make him laugh for a change. She hadn't had much time to see him laugh lately. They had been busy in Cairhien and the journey back to the tower had been done as fast as they could go. She hadn't had time to recoup from the Cairhien trip when they had gone after Kathleen. She walked to him and hugged him and just breathed the man in, she couldn't imagine either of them smelled very good but at the moment she didn't care, she wouldn't do this in front of Kathleen but for the moment she just stood there and said. "I'm so glad you got Kathleen away from the Whitecloaks. I was sorry you were injured though. If I had gone with you. You wouldn't have been." She leaned back a little and added "although it would have been harder to get around without being seen. I know I get in the way." She watched him smile again and she rested her head back on his chest and just stood there for a moment and then pulled away, they still had work to do and they still needed to get back to the tower. She was curious "What did you tell the two brothers to get them to respect you as much as they do?" She crossed her arms and added "You seemed friendly with the Accepted. What happened since I asked you to carry her?" She couldn't decide if she was amused or jealous, she didn't like him touching another women even if several days ago she had ordered him too. He didn't get a chance to answer as she heard twigs snapping and she twisted toward the sound. Kathleen appeared with her brothers and Rasheta said in a quiet soothing voice. "Ah child it looks like you are better after a nights rest." She turned to the brothers and said "Go on boys Adrian will help you get ready to leave. I'm afraid i must return Kathleen to the Tower it cannot wait." The two brothers nodded and hugged there sister. Adrian walked past her and she grabbed his arm and said quietly "You'll give me a report on what happened later." He nodded and she turned her attention back to Kathleen.

 

"tell me what happened child." She said gently. "Adrian only remembers a little of the fight the day you were taken." She paused and added "he was badly hurt when I found him so that is to be expected. I would like to know more though." She added "And don't worry you are safe child. I will not let them take you again."

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Kathleen was a little nervous to be alone with her brothers, the last time she was it didn't go so well. She knew they wouldn't try anything stupid now, but where was she supposed to start. Part of her wanted box both there ears and part of her wanted to weep on their shoulders. Kathleen spent a good amount of time with her brothers talking of everything from what they were trying to accomplish from taking her from Tar Valon in the first place to filling her in on what happened between her leaving the clearing with the Aes Sedai to her brothers helping save her from the Whitecloaks. When she heard it was them who went to the Whitecloaks for help in the first place she almost did hit them, but she knew they didn't know what would come of it. They asked her what the Children had done to her and apologized for their mistake. She thanked them for finding the Aes Sedai and Warder and helping get her back. She did spend some good amount of time chewing them out for all the danger she put them all in and all because they didn't take the time to find out what was really going on.

 

She explained what it was to be Aes Sedai, explained what really happens at the White Tower and what she was working toward. Then they talked about what she had missed while she was gone and asked her brothers to go back home and tell their father about all that had happened to her after she left and to apologize to him. She wished them luck with all they do in the future and when they were done catching up and clearing up the holes of what had happened for each other after the last few weeks they hugged each other and Kathleen had their blessing to go back to the Tower. They walked together to meet back up with the Aes Sedai and Warder.

 

When the boys left to get her brothers ready to head back out on the road Kathleen began to answer Rasheta Sedai's question. "I'm will do my best to answer your question Aes Sedai, but I am a little foggy on what really happened that day. It all happened so fast I'm not sure I really new what was happening at the time, and I spent much of my time in the Whitecloak camp trying to reenact that day and hide what I did remember. All I remember for sure is after you left to get a horse for me, your Warder and I began getting this packed to be ready to leave when you returned. I bent over to pick something up and I heard a voice call out something like 'there she is' and before I knew it we were surrounded on all sides by Whitecloaks.

 

Some of them had crossbows, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to see how many there were because the arrows started flying at us. I know I am not supposed to use sadair without the presence of an Aes Sedai, and I know I'm not supposed to use it to attack but I was scared and given the extraordinary circumstances I did throw a ball of fire at one Whitecloak who almost hit me with an arrow, and I did use air to redirect as many of the arrows that I saw were going to hit your Warder or myself. I understand if you need to punish me for this unauthorized use of Sadair, but I wasn't about to stand by let Adrien or myself by killed when I knew I could do something to help.

 

They started moving in and there was so much going on that I couldn't keep it all straight and I was just watching for arrows when two men grabbed me and covered my head. I screamed for Adrien and I tried to kick and squirm away from the men but I couldn't get away. When Adrien didn't come I was so scared for him. I knew something had to have happened to him. I was so mad that I let him down and that he could have died drying to protect me. I am so sorry for getting you and your warder into all this trouble for me. I should have known there was another reason for my brothers to be in Tar Valon. I should have known something was wrong when Hadrid was so quiet in the inn we were having drinks in.  I am sorry that I don't remember more about the ambush, it just happened so fast and came out of nowhere, I don't know how they surrounded us so fast." Kathleen noticed she was rambling again and she bowed her head slightly and stopped talking.

 

She looked out at the horizon in the direction of the White Tower, how she wished she were there already. She wished she had never left. In an odd way she was a little glad to have gotten the chance to use that much of the One Power in a real life way and to travel the little bit she did. After not being out in the real world for years it was almost nice to be

able to have this experience. Now that she was safe and knew she would soon be on her way she could almost enjoy the journey. She had often day dreamed of the days she would be out traveling the world as Aes Sedai and the adventures she might have, but after being captive twice she was starting to consider not leaving the Tower again. These last few weeks seemed adverture enough for a life time. The only thing that saved her from death in the Whitecloak camp that she could tell was that they probably didn't have permission to kill her with out a confession, and that she was able to lie to them to keep the truth from them. When she was Aes Sedai and out in the world again she could not be Allys Salian, and she could not claim to not be Aes Sedai or use to be able to use the Power. She had a few more years ahead of her before she had to worry about coming back out and she knew the odds of having this much trouble was very slim.

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"When we get back to the White Tower I'm sleeping for weeks."  Adrien grinned at that.  He suspected he would have some helping hand in that.  "You can comfort me into sleep."  Adrien's smile turned into a laugh.  Of course he would 'comfort' her to sleep, provided that comfort didn't keep the two of them up the whole night!  Good thing they had a few weeks to perfect the art of comforting.  That is if business didn't call them away somewhere else.  It had better not...

 

As she embraced him he folded his arms around her.  It was good to just hold her again.  He knew the possibility of him dying while protecting her was ever present, but the Light knew that this last week had had some uncomfortably close calls!

 

Of course, she had wished she had gone with him.  It was true, they did make a much better team together, especially when they were fighting.

"Next time, my love, we will ride into battle together, and there will be no one to stand in our way."

 

"What did you tell the two brothers to get them to respect you as much as they do?"  Adrien shrugged, almost as baffled as she.  He supposed he was reaching that intolerable stage where other men couldn't help but look up to him.  But he didn't dare say that to Rasheta.  He could only bear her teasing him so much about how wonderful a Warder he was, when really there were many more accomplished men in the service.

 

"You seemed friendly with the Accepted. What happened since I asked you to carry her?"

 

Adrien resisted the urge to roll his eyes, and made to grin mischievously.  In truth, absolutely nothing had happened between him and Kathleen, and Rasheta would undoubtedly have known if there had.  He had been uncomfortable enough with her riding on the same bloody horse as he.  "Oh, many things.  You'll never know," he teased, and was not surprised when Rasheta sent him off to aid the brothers with their preparations.  She didn't seem to have a ready quip to that one!

 

Adrien consulted with the brothers about what their plans were as he checked their horses and made sure they had supplies for a week's journey.  They didn't seem too sure themselves, Hadrid wanting to go back home to the farm, and Jareaid wanting to continue touring cities.  Cairhien seemed to be next on their list. 

"Well, if you call yourselves merchants, you might have to travel to Tar Valon again some time, and for reasons other than visiting your sister.  Business is booming there along the river, and they say these days that Tar Valon marks are just as valuable as Andoran currency.  As long as you don't go kidnapping hapless novices on a romantic escapade, you would be welcome to come to the city, I imagine.  Just don't expect me to give you a tour.  I'll be busy."

 

Jareaid has the good nature to laugh at that, but Hadrid only scowled, muttering something about home first.  He kicked his spurs into his horse, and the brothers rode off to the south.  Adrien wondered if he'd ever see such a blundering pair again.  Hopefully not.  He stode back over to where Rasheta and Kathleen were talking.  Rasheta spared him half a cool stare, perhaps still displeased about his cryptic comment earlier.

 

Adrien's smile faded as Kathleen related the events of the ambush.  That was a terrifying time, and he had almost been taken from this world.  Almost.  His blank expression led to a concerned frown.  What was that rumbling sound?

 

As Kathleen was staring at the Tower, Adrien recognized with alarm what that sound was.  His voice was dead serious and urgent.

 

"Horses!  And moving in fast!  We need to get going!"  Adrien leaped onto his horse and spurred forward, telling Rasheta that he would try to figure out who it was.  How in the Bloody Light did those Whitecloaks catch up to us, let alone track us! I thought I had created enough false trails to confuse a wolfhound!  Adrien topped the small rise and stopped.  The party of horsemen were almost upon them, and they would not be able to get away in time.

 

Without explanation, Adrien turned back toward Rasheta.  She and Kathleen had fearful, expectant looks on their faces.  Who was it? they almost screamed with their baffled expressions.  Adrien abruptly burst out laughing.  It was just too good a joke to keep inside.  Him getting all worked up over horse hooves; his own Aes Sedai wondering if they were in another life threatening battle...Their faces, the epitomy of confusion to suddenly hear him laughing!

 

As much as he tried to, Adrien couldn't stop laughing to explain to Rasheta and Kathleen what was going on.  He finally gasped,

"See...for yourse-he-helves Ahahah you should have seen the ha ha looks on your fa hey ces!" he pointed towards the rise.

Soon after, the horsemen topped the rise and rode toward them at a leasurely pace.  Adrien had recognized the banner immediately, as well as the ugly faces of a couple of guardsmen he knew.  It was the rescue party from the Tower, come to escort them home.

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