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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

An Incident in the Tower


Grimmlocke
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Baran walked out of the Tower and onto the grounds it occupied, belting his sword back around his waist. He looked around, almost contemptuous of what seemed to him to be the gardens that surrounded the White Tower. It was a sharp contrast to the Black Tower, which was surrounded by training fields scoured by the Power and the buildings that housed the Asha'man. It was soft, softer by far than the conditions he was used to. Even their newest recruits only slept two to a room. He was a Dedicated, and he still shared his barracks with a handful of other men. He shrugged irritably and self-consciously touched the sword pin on his collar. How much longer until he received his Dragon? He hungered for the thing, for the glory that went with it.

 

He stepped off towards the exit, fully intending to leave. He had delivered the message, there was no need for him to stay here, in the home of the Witches, any longer. As he walked, Baran had to wonder if the mission was supposed to be a lesson. Was he supposed to learn humility from the work? Was it supposed to teach him that the Aes Sedai weren't his enemies? He hadn't been allowed to wear his sword inside the Tower, and a good many of the Aes Sedai that he had seen looked at him like he was some kind of monster. Whatever he had been supposed to learn, the one thing he had gotten from the experience was never trust the Aes Sedai. Enough of them viewed him and the other men like him as a threat, a madman to be Gentled or killed as soon as the Last Battle was over.

 

Lost in his thoughts, Baran almost passed by the man standing in the grass, his eyes on the ground. Almost. When he did see him, it made him stop right where he was. He had seen that kind of man before. He had seen that hopeless look in the eyes of dozens of Soldiers who were unfortunate enough not to die when they burned the ability to channel out of themselves. Looking at him, Baran realized that this man must have been one of those men the Tower had Gentled! The man looked up at Baran as though he hadn't been standing there, staring at him.

 

"Help me?" The words were filled with a quiet desperation that made Baran shudder to hear the man speak. He obviously didn't have much time left before he simply stopped eating and died. Unless the Aes Sedai were force-feeding him. The idea of forcing a man to live on after ripping the will to keep going from him curdled his stomach.

 

"What do you want me to do, man? I can't very well fight a way clear for you." Not that he was even sure he would if he could. The repercussions from killing White Tower personnel would not be good for either Tower. Besides, the man would just wander off and die even if he did get him out. The man was already dead, his body and mind were still struggling with it.

 

"You have a sword. Use it. Please." The man almost begged, forcing Baran to step back. The men he had seen hadn't been this far gone. They just seemed listless, tired. This man yearned for death. But it was obviously what he wanted, and Baran wasn't sure he wouldn't ask the same thing if he could no longer touch the One Power. His mind reflexively flinched away from the idea, refusing to let him ponder something so terrible.

 

He had half-drawn his sword before he even knew that he had decided to do as the man requested. He paused, looking at the man.

 

"Are you sure about this?" The man nodded and went so far as to bend slightly, offering his neck to Baran. Baran just shook his head and drew the rest of his sword, raising it up above his head. The man closed his eyes and gave a grateful sigh of relief. It was enough to send a tingling sensation through him, to make the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

 

"What are you doing?" Something hit Baran with enough force to bowl him over. He lost his grip on his sword as he fell, and the inertia of his fall carried the weapon a few feet from him. He seized Saidin as he stood, refusing to allow the foulness of the Taint to show on his face. His eyes settled on a young Accepted even as she tried to Shield him. He was strong enough in the Power now that most Accepted would have trouble Shielding him while he held it. He shrugged off her attempt and gave her his best blank stare. He found that a blank stare worked well to disconcert people, especially if they were worried about the person doing the staring being a madman. It worked, and she backed off enough for Baran to speak.

 

"I was doing what this man asked me to do, no doubt what he's asked you to do as well. Really, you people have already killed him, so why not just let me finish the job if you don't have the stomach for it?"

 

The girl did her best to look indignant and confused at the same time. "What? We didn't do anything to him, you blockhead! He did it to himself and his family brought him here to see if we could help him. We can't of course, but the least we can do is make him comfortable, not kill him! Besides, the Three Oaths prevent us from killing anyone but Shadowspawn or in defense of our lives."

 

Baran rolled his eyes. "You know just as well as I that an Aes Sedai can kill someone without doing it herself. What else do you have Warders for? And you're not even an Aes Sedai yet, so why can't you kill him?"

 

The girl flushed and opened her mouth for a hot retort but closed it again as he opened and closed his thumb and forefinger in imitation of a human mouth. Her face darkened even further, and he felt that tingling along his skin again. He had been taught about it before, of course, he had just never felt it. This was the feeling of a woman holding Saidar nearby. He tightened his grip on Saidin and wondered how well an Accepted to fight. Before they could get to it, though, another woman's voice called out for them to stop.

 

The tingling across his skin stopped almost immediately. He looked over at the Aes Sedai coming nearer and glanced away long enough to channel air, lifting his sword from the ground and bringing it to his hand. He sheathed his blade and waited for the tongue-lashing he was no doubt about to receive. Not that he worried about what these women thought of him. He was more worried about what would happen when he got back to the Black Tower. He already had a reputation as a bit of a madman there. He wasn't mad, though. Not yet. He knew it. There were still things he had to do before he could die.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The food on her tray was ridiculously cold and congealing by the time she returned to it. Frowning, the Aes Sedai embraced the Source and reheated her breakfast for the third time that morning. It wasn’t as if she paid any attention to the taste of it anyway; she was obsessed with finding a new method of Healing, and anything else was a mere distraction.

 

The papers in front of her were crisp and new, covered in her own hand. They were products of more than few late night study sessions in the Library. Any novice or Accepted that thought studying ended when they attained the shawl were sadly mistaken, though it was rarer for a Yellow to be found in the center of knowledge than for a Gray or White. Carys paid no attention, however, to the looks she received from initiates and Sisters alike. She merely found the books she wanted and settled in to research her topic.

 

Before long her breakfast was finished and Carys had pushed the tray to the side so she could focus better on the information contained in her papers. She felt as if she was on the brink of discovering something that had been lost since the Age of Legends; as if she needed only one more piece for it all to make sense. Her fervor grew as she underlined a few phrases, making her slide forward to sit on the edge of the chair, with her elbows on her knees.

 

Upon finishing the read-through of her notes, Carys still felt elated with what she had found, she just hadn’t found enough. Wrinkling her nose, the Aes Sedai stood and crossed the room to set her notes on the desk. Time for a break. she thought, deciding that some fresh air would be advantageous to her cause. It would also give her an opportunity to ensure that her patients were doing well, as she could wander by the infirmary on her way out.

 

The Yellow made her way to the Infirmary, nodding to girls in white and banded hems as they curtsied, nodding or waving to other Sisters as they passed. She checked in with the Yellow on duty, who promptly informed her that her patients were fine and then shooed her out with a firm word and wave of her hands for it was well known that Carys spent more time in the infirmary than any other Yellow Aes Sedai. She was a hard worker, and dedicated and so rarely left. On those occasions where she did, her Ajahmates were steadfast in keeping her out, so as not to burn her out of her love of Healing.

 

She gave a chagrined smile to her fellow Yellow and left the infirmary without giving any trouble. Her plan had been to walk in the Garden, but found herself meandering toward the front of the Tower. Shrugging, Carys decided that fresh air was fresh air and any part of the grounds would be food enough. She stepped out from the shade of the Tower and into the daylight.

 

Though not as busy as it had been in the past, the anterior grounds of the White Tower were still bustling with activity. A fairly heavy troupe of messengers, Aes Sedai, Warders, Accepted, and townspeople were out and about, carrying on daily business. The Yellow walked down the steps and set off at a moderately brisk pace – anything less would just be a waste of time.

 

As she walked, Carys allowed herself to watch the people instead of dwelling on her current preoccupation. It was amazing what one could glean just by watching those around her. There was a woman who walked with great jubilation, a messenger who -evident by his step- disliked the message he was carrying, a ship captain that had just completed his first voyage to the Tower, an Accepted who was fuming at ….a Black Tower member? Furthermore, a little behind the pair stood a Gentled man with a look of pain on his face. Where are the Warders? Or the guards? she wondered.

 

The situation appeared to be rapidly losing control. Carys picked up her skirts and rushed toward the small group. “Whatever it is you are about to do, stop it right now!” She yelled ahead, speaking to no one person in particular. Seeing the glow of Saidar around the Accepted, the Yellow frowned and embraced Saidar herself. Slowing as she reached the trio, Carys dropped her skirts and glanced between the girl in the banded dress and the male channeler. “What is going on here?”

Edited by keyholder21
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  • 2 weeks later...

Rasheta was returning from training one of the new Greens in the use of the power as a weapon. Her ears were still ringing from the loud booms the girl had made with misuse of the power. She had contained most of the sound to the garden where they trained but it still had hurt her ears. She had ordered the girl to continue training and also ordered another newer member of the Ajah to watch her. Rasheta had enough for one day, she was tired and oddly hot. She tucked some of her hair behind her ear, it had come out of her braids while training. Again an oddity, it wasn't as physical as training with the Warders but that was the way of it sometimes. It was times like this that she wished she didn't have to train the new girls. Other times she remembered how it was necessary because the Last Battle was coming, but the girls were not always as willing or eager to put in the correct amount of time it took to master a weave. Most of the Greens were preparing to stand beside the Dragon on the last day, and do whatever they could. She knew she would be there with Visar and Dante by her side. Some of the Greens had just gone green for the men, it was sad but true. How they passed the imitation Rasheta would never know.

 

She wandered around the outter section of the Tower and suddenly she heard a shout, as well as someone embracing the power.

 

"Whatever it is you are about to do, stop it right now! What is going on here?”

 

Rasheta picked up her skirts and ran toward the noise. She came upon a sister of the Yellow Ajah, Rasheta didn't know her name, an Accepted and two men. Rasheta wasn't sure, but she could guess at least one of the men was from the Black Tower. She dropped her skirts and nodded to the Yellow. "Do you need my help? Or do you have things in hand?"

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The sense of tingling continued, which meant that either the Accepted or the Aes Sedai who had approached them was holding the Power. Neither possibility made him want to release Saidin. He continued to cling to it with a death grip, tightening it even further when another Aes Sedai made her way over to them. He looked between the three woman, sure that he looked like a fox cornered by three dogs. He didn't like being outnumbered, especially not here of all places, and especially by Aes Sedai. He had heard that some men had even allowed themselves to be Bonded to the Witches, not an idea that he found especially appealing. One of the Aes Sedai asked what was going on, and the Accepted answered even as Baran began to open his mouth, pointing at him with an accusatory finger as she did so.

 

"He was going to kill Eben, Carys Sedai! You remember Eben, the burned-out man we took in?" Her finger swept to the other man, turning into an upturned hand mid-sweep. "And he seems to think that it's some sort of mercy."

 

Baran nodded his agreement with her statement.

 

"Better a quick death than...that." He nodded again towards the man, Eben, who was staring at the ground again, barely aware of his surroundings. Suppressing a shudder, Baran looked back at the three women. "Men like that die anyway. Why not give it to him with some dignity than forcing him to waste away for want of the Power?"

 

He stared at them for a moment longer before realizing that he had forgotten to introduce himself. He forced the grimace from his face, forced a smile to replace it, though he wondered from within the Void if it didn't still look like a grimace.

 

"But I have forgotten my manners. I am Baran Dholwin, Dedicated of the Black Tower."

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The accepted was the first to speak

 

"He was going to kill Eben, Carys Sedai! You remember Eben, the burned-out man we took in?" Her finger swept to the other man, turning into an upturned hand mid-sweep. "And he seems to think that it's some sort of mercy."

 

Rasheta had to agree it was a bit of a mercy. The poor man would forever be wanting to touch the power but couldn't. It was almost as bad as being stilled for a woman. Rasheta thought, or just as bad. She wasn't about to say so unless the Yellow sister needed her imput for anything. She was just here in case the young man who could still channel tried anything. Not that she would know till it was too late probably, but she'd still do what she could. The young man said what she was thinking shortly after she thought it.

"Better a quick death than...that. Men like that die anyway. Why not give it to him with some dignity than forcing him to waste away for want of the Power?" Rasheta found herself nodding and stopped, things would progress however, the sister first on the scene wished them too. As a Green she was slightly interested in just how much control of the power the young man in front of her had. Could he do the same kind of things Arath could? She'd been on a trip with that man and he was dangerous. OF course all of the people who could channel were in one way or another. The male channlers were simply not bound to any oaths.

 

"But I have forgotten my manners. I am Baran Dholwin, Dedicated of the Black Tower."

 

Rasheta spoke first but not to Baran, she turned to the Accepted. "Go now back to your studies child, but first report to the Mistress of Novices and tell her everything that's happened. She will decide if you are to be punished or not child. Now run!" The girl picked up her skirts and ran. Rasheta turned back to Baran "I'm afraid we cannot allow you to kill the young man behind you. Much as it would be a mercy to do so. This is a sister of the Yellow Ajah and she will decide what is to be done from here."

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ooc: Okay ya'll, remember that I'm just getting over Writer's Block, so please go easy on me *g*.

 

---

 

Carys maintained her frown as another Aes Sedai stepped up to the group. Rasheta, the Yellow recalled, remembering the other woman from her trips to the infirmary for her Warders. Visar and Dante had both been to the infirmary a few times, and Carys had even Healed Dante once. She nodded shortly to the Green, keeping her eyes and frown on the young man in the Black coat and the girl in the banded dress.

 

It wasn't a surprised when the girl answered first. Tower initiates were taught from Day One to obey an Aes Sedai and wearing a banded dress meant that this particular girl had at least five years experience of obdience; her face suggested that it was more like ten. Opening her mouth, the Accepted pointed an accusatory finger at the man from so-called Black Tower as she spoke.

 

"He was going to kill Eben, Carys Sedai! You remember Eben, the burned-out man we took in?" Her finger swept to the other man, turning into an upturned hand mid-sweep. "And he seems to think that it's some sort of mercy."

 

Carys bit the inside of her cheek, struggling to contain her anger. This man was going to KILL the other? On White Tower grounds no less? One of her charges? She flicked her eyes between the two men and the Accepted, forcing herself through novice exercises to calm down. If her silence seemed to make them uneasy, so be it. She was halfway through opening the rosebud for a third time when the man in the black coat spoke his agreement.

 

"Better a quick death than...that." He nodded again towards Eben, who was staring at the ground again, barely aware of his surroundings. Carys's heart went out to the other man. Words couldn't describe how she would feel if her ability to channel was ripped away. If her ability to Heal was gone forever. "Men like that die anyway. Why not give it to him with some dignity than forcing him to waste away for want of the Power?"

 

Furious, the Yellow bit the inside of her cheek again, this time with much more force. The coppery taste of blood filled her mouth and she instantly froze her face into Aes Sedai serenity before it betrayed her actual emotion. The nerve of that ...boy! Playing with the lives of others as if he were the Creator! Carys flickered through the rosebud exercises rapidly, the flower doing little for her current state of emotion.

 

For his part, the boy looked momentarily chagrined. Whether at his actions, or because it had drawn the attention of an Aes Sedai, the Altaran wasn't sure. She watched as he struggled with whatever it was – replacing his grimace with a smile that gave the same attitude.

 

"But I have forgotten my manners. I am Baran Dholwin, Dedicated of the Black Tower."

 

Carys swallowed and prepared to speak. However, Rasheta spoke first. Interestingly, she ignored the young man and turned to the Accepted. "Go now back to your studies child, but first report to the Mistress of Novices and tell her everything that's happened. She will decide if you are to be punished or not child. Now run!" The girl picked up her skirts and ran. Only after the girl had left, did Rasheta turn back to Baran "I'm afraid we cannot allow you to kill the man behind you. Much as it would be a mercy to do so. This is a sister of the Yellow Ajah and she will decide what is to be done from here."

 

Again, the Green exhibited surprising behavior. Carys locked eyes with the other Aes Sedai for a moment before nodding and turned back to the black coated boy.

 

“She is correct. You are not permitted to kill that man! While I cannot imagine the agony of living without saidar, that does not mean he should be condemned to death. There are other things to stay alive for.” She switched her gaze from Baran to Eben. “There are other things to stay alive for.” She said again, softer this time.

 

“Eben, why don't you go back to the infirmary for a meeting with Camwigen? She can explain to you some of the things she and I have been finding in the Library.” The man nodded sadly and turned away from the group. Carys felt her heart clench and suddenly felt so frustrated with the limitations of the One Power.

 

Turning back to Baran, the Yellow resteeled her gaze. “How dare you! HOW DARE YOU! You try to take another man's life when he has no way to defend himself? And on White Tower grounds! Are you mad already boy? You don't crawl into a bear's den smeared all over with honey, and you don't come to the White Tower and dictate to Aes Sedai on how to treat those who have come to us in need!”

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Baran stood stock still for a moment, shocked. Not at being dressed down by an Aes Sedai, he had been expecting something like that from the moment she had shouted at him and the Accepted to stop what they were doing. Not because his attempt at dissembling had failed. He was obviously not going to get anywhere with honey with this woman. No, he was surprised because an Aes Sedai, someone who by every account he had heard should have been serenity and poise incarnate had lowered herself to the level of shouting at him. If not for the Void, he would have been grinning like an idiot. The distancing nature of the Void made sure his mouth only quirked in a smirk. Outside the crystal shield of the Void, beyond the amusement, lurked anger of his own. He gave it voice, though the Void again made sure that the words were empty of passion. His quiet, cold tone made for a stark contrast with the woman's own heated response.

 

"How dare I? How dare you, Aes Sedai? You, who belong to a...sisterhood that has hunted and murdered men like me since the Breaking? That man asked me for his death, something you seem unable to do. Not surprising, since you lot seem to have been unable to do it for thousands of years. You and those like you have killed us and then pretended that you did not, that it was the 'will of the pattern' that we die. How many, Aes Sedai? How many corpses does your White Tower hide behind it's skirts?" The Void trembled, and Baran wondered for a moment if it was about to break, about to shatter and leave no buffer between him and the Source. He concentrated and brought his anger back under control, at least enough to steady the Void before continuing.

 

"And after we win the Last Battle, what then? Do you honestly expect me to believe that you won't turn around and stab us in the back? That you won't try to Gentle us all in one place while we're still regaining our strength?" His smile was gone now, and he realized that his grip on Saidin was causing him pain, that he was dangerously close to either channeling or burning himself out.

 

"So yes, I do believe that I have the right to dictate to you the treatment of men who by all rights should be my Brothers in the same way you two are Sisters." He looked between the two of them.

 

"We are dead from the moment we touch the One Power, I have no illusions there. I know that I will go mad, that either my fellows will kill me or my body will rot away until it can go no further. Still, every man has the right to choose his own death. When I die, I hope it will be a quick one. I would not wish your kindness upon any Asha'man, Aes Sedai. So no, there is nothing to live for but death."

 

He turned his head to look at Eben's departing back. "I could kill him even now, regardless of what you would permit. I am holding Saidin. It would not be the first time." He turned to look the Yellow Sister in the eye. "Or would you have me break my word? Would you even take that man's last choice away from him? You claim to serve all? You hypocrite. How does forcing that man to live serve all? Or does it simply serve your conscience?" The glare he shared between the two of them should have burned right through them and into every member of the White Tower.

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The Yellow sister, Carys Rasheta thought she said her name was, told the man to go on and see another Yellow in the infirmary. He got up and walked away and Rasheta watched him, he seemed sad. Carys had spoken to him softly and told him there were things to live for. Rasheta wasn't so sure after losing the ability to use the power after having it made anyone want to seek death. She was a little surpised when Carys yelled at the remaining channler.

 

“How dare you! HOW DARE YOU! You try to take another man's life when he has no way to defend himself? And on White Tower grounds! Are you mad already boy? You don't crawl into a bear's den smeared all over with honey, and you don't come to the White Tower and dictate to Aes Sedai on how to treat those who have come to us in need!”

 

Rasheta put a hand on Carys arm, it was not going to do any good to get him angry with them. "Be calm Carys," Rasheta murmured to the Yellow. She was going to say something else but Baran spoke first and just as angrily. Rasheta gripped Carys arm harder to prevent her from doing anything too rash and allowed the man to speak.

 

"So yes, I do believe that I have the right to dictate to you the treatment of men who by all rights should be my Brothers in the same way you two are Sisters. I could kill him even now, regardless of what you would permit. I am holding Saidin. It would not be the first time." He turned to look the Yellow Sister in the eye. "Or would you have me break my word? Would you even take that man's last choice away from him? You claim to serve all? You hypocrite. How does forcing that man to live serve all? Or does it simply serve your conscience?"

 

Rasheta moved herself between Carys and Baran, embracing the power she made a weave to keep the surrounding tower from listening in on the conversation and then did another which caused a loud boom to reverberate through the space she had just made. It caused Baran's attention to shift to her. "Now now" She said coolly. "Do not succumb to name calling. I do not care what you think we are guilty of." She shook her head. "Here I thought you had more honor then that in the ranks of the Asha'men. You disappoint me child." She narrowed her eyes and continued softly.

 

"As to what happens after the Last Battle, I would say your first priority would be living through it. Not what comes after. As a member of the Green Ajah I don't expect to live long once the battle starts. I have come to terms with this. I suggest you do so as well and not worry so much about the aftermath. Why did you come to the Tower Baran if it was only to yell and threaten Sisters in the tower that is a poor reason."

Edited by Rasheta Ardashir
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If she had still been a novice, Carys would have stomped her foot or pulled on her hair at the frustration this boy was giving her. As it was, she gritted her teeth and forced herself not to scowl. It was rare that she lost control, but nothing cause that quite like threatening the life of one of her patients. Barely pulling Aes Sedai serenity back over her features, the Yellow crossed her arms beneath her breasts and stared daggers at the boy in the black coat. Her eyes bulged at his smirk; her fingers itched to slap him across the face, but she remained still, nails digging into her palms at the effort.

 

Rasheta placed a hand on her arm and Carys looked at her with force. “Be calm Carys,” the Green murmured. He began speaking, and Rasheta gripped her arm harder. Apparently the other woman expected her to do something rash. She was passionate, not an idiot. Baran’s argument floated to the two Aes Sedai, cold and detached. Did he think that was going to intimidate her or Rasheta? Both had spent decades around Warders, men who were older, more frightening, and much better versed in remaining aloof. She looked at the Green, who undoubtedly had more experience with Warders and Black Coated men than Carys herself and saw nothing but Aes Sedai serenity. Baran’s voice rose in pitch and emotion as he spoke of the ‘horrors’ of the White Tower, snapping her blue-eyed gaze back to him. Carys sniffed at the statements rolling off his tongue. Sometimes one had to make the difficult choices, carry through with difficult decisions in order to save the world. Does he not understand that the men would have killed anyone?! The women then did what they had to do, just as the women now were doing what we have to. Besides, I couldn’t care less about what they are doing, I just want to Heal. Mind your own business KID!

 

He paused then, and when he began again, his voice was cool once more. The Yellow tried not to roll her eyes. Again with the icy demeanor. His rant continued; carrying on about the Last Battle and Gentling. Carys quirked her eyebrows as Baran spoke. Honestly, it sounded like he was whining. She’d had a rough life too, before the Tower and things weren’t always sunshine and rainbows, but she didn’t go running to the Black Tower crying foul. Your lot in life was yours and you had to do the best with it that you could. Killing a man just because he asks does not serve that purpose. Her heart leapt again at the threat toward Eben, but Carys maintained her now outward calm. She would not give the boy the satisfaction. Calmer than before, now that she knew she was dealing with a simple child, Carys opened her mouth to respond.

 

She snapped it closed as Rasheta moved between her and the boy. A glow sprung up around her and the Green deftly wove a ward around the three of them and then a thunderclap into the space. Carys wiggled a finger round in her ear to try and stop the ringing; Baran’s gaze moved from the Yellow to the Green. As his gaze lit upon her, the other Aes Sedai spoke coolly and with much more grace than the boy managed.

 

“Why did you come to the Tower Baran? If it was only to yell and threaten Sisters in the Tower then that is a poor reason.” Rasheta asked with narrowed eyes and an edge to her voice. Carys nodded, agreeing with her Sister’s question. “Yes, praytell why you are deigning yourself to mingle with us hypocrites,” the Altaran added, as if she were admonishing a child. He spat on thousands of years of White Tower rule and yet stood on the green grass of its grounds, stood in the very shadow of that looming Tower.

Edited by keyholder21
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"Boy? Child? Really, Aes Sedai, who is calling who names?" Baran said, heaping contempt on the two women. He shook his head, trying to clear it after that ridiculous display. He had felt the woman Embrace Saidar, had been sure that he was about to be Shielded on the spot, but instead all that had happened was a simple thunderclap. He hadn't seen the Weave, but the lack of birds flying from trees, of people running to see what the commotion was, told him that something had been done to keep the noise of it from leaving the small circle the three of them had formed.

 

"As to surviving Tarmon Gai'don, of course I don't expect to. I just told you I don't expect to survive that long, though it would make sense for you to not want us to think about the aftermath if you were planning for it yourself. And when did I threaten either of you? You speak, Aes Sedai, but you don't listen." He shifted his gaze to take in the two of them, both as smooth-faced as any Aes Sedai he had seen. True, he hadn't seen many, but the ones he had seen all had the serenity to match those ageless faces. Still, he had made one shout, had broken that serenity if only for a moment. Even better, they were both plainly not as calm as they seemed, if their speech was any indication. Their barbed replies spoke of irritation, of guarded hostility. He had heard the Aes Sedai had invented The Game of Houses, but he had learned enough even in his simple village to understand the meaning of words.

 

He blinked, wondering, reining himself in again. Maybe that was only what they wanted him to think? No, better not to make this more complex than it was. They wanted to know why he was there. He could keep the information from them, but why? It would serve no purpose other than frustrating them. It would have been amusing, but foolish as well.

 

"Why am I here? I was delivering a message, as ordered. Believe me, I do not enjoy being here at least as much as you don't enjoy having me here." He paused again, fingering the hilt of his sword as he gathered his thoughts. "And just so you know, it isn't the executions that bother me, Aes Sedai. It's that you kill men and pretend it isn't murder just because they live a little longer. You lie to yourselves to without lying, and accuse the Asha'man of having no honor. Is it name-calling if the name fits, or is it simply naming?" He finished, staring at the woman in Yellow, more because she seemed to be the weaker of the pair as far as control went.

 

Normally, he would turn and leave, but he wasn't about to turn his back on these two, especially when he wasn't even sure he could get through whatever the Sisters had done to keep sound from escaping.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rasheta didn't allow her thoughts to appear on her face but she was getting annoyed with this man, Baran, she was thinking now was the time to Shield him and take him to some cells till he calmed down some, that was more or less against Tower Law, or she thought it was. She didn't spend enough time within the Tower to know all the laws and the do's and don'ts when it came to the Black Tower men. Baran spoke then of his mission

 

"Why am I here? I was delivering a message, as ordered. Believe me, I do not enjoy being here at least as much as you don't enjoy having me here."

 

Rasheta embraced the power again and released the weave holding the conversation to the three of them. "Well if you have already delivered your message you should be on your way." She paused and added in a rather more patronizing manner. "Although child there is the issue of you trying to kill an unarmed man on the Tower Grounds." She embraced the power again and slide a shield into place.

 

"Come along child, its time you were judged by the Aes Sedai for your actions." She turned her attention to Carys and continued. "I think we should put him in one of the lower rooms in the tower. He will be safe there, out of the way. We can go and inform the Amrylin and she can in turn get in touch with whoever it is who is her equivalent for them." She nodded at Baran, she turned her back on Baran tying off the weave for the shield as she did. He would follow or not as he would. If he didn't Carys would deal with him.

Edited by Rasheta Ardashir
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Baran stiffened as soon as he felt the Shield slam between him and the Power, ostensibly because that was how channeling men were supposed to be treated in the Tower. He didn't recall any such restrictions on Aes Sedai back on the Farm, but then he hadn't seen any there either. Probably afraid they would somehow be infected by Saidin. He probed at the Shield, trying to force the panic he felt building down. He gripped the hilt of his sword as soon as he found the...point of the Shield hard. She wasn't holding it. Fool woman. He probed further, quietly thankful for the lessons he had learned in Arath's class. He just had to break free long enough to channel a way back to the Black Tower. A Skimming platform would do as well as any, he supposed.

 

He ignored the woman's digs, as she obviously wasn't interested in any real conversation. More interested in putting him in a hole somewhere until she could get enough Sisters to Gentle him. Why the Black Tower had ever allied with these women was beyond him. No, he wasn't going to go with them unless they dragged him off. He tried to think of something he could do to distract them while he worried at the knots of the Shield.

 

"Judge me, Aes Sedai? You speak as if I've committed a crime instead of trying to give aid as requested. After all, while I would hardly be the first channeler to kill an unarmed man in the White Tower, I would probably be among the rare few who did so by request." He smirked again, though it was a more half-hearted one this time around. He was busy trying to break free, after all. "I have made no aggressive moves towards either of you, so there is no reason to Shield me unless you have some other reason for doing so." He kept the smirk up, hard as it was while wrapped in the Void. This Shield was...different than the one Arath had woven, different than the ones any man had woven around him. It made sense. He had been told all the time that men and women channeled differently from one another, that even the weaves were different. It would just take him longer to work the Shield out.

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Carys looked back at him coolly, face complete with Aes Sedai serenity as Baran stared at her. She'd already lost her temper once; she certainly wasn't going to do it again. The petulant child was whining again, spouting off ridiculous accusations about how she and her Sisters were murdering men by Gentling them. Her body wanted to shudder at the idea of being cut off from Saidar but she still refused to think of it as death. Those books with accounts from the Age of Legends spoke of Healing anything short of death and whilst being cut off from the Source may feel like death, it was not. If he'd been more rational, Carys would explain to the boy that she was frantically searching for a way to reconnect Eben and others like him to the Source. But she wasn't about to explain herself to him now. Not after the way he'd acted toward Eben, toward her and Rasheta.

 

Speaking of the Green, the look in her eyes was fierce now. No longer did she seem the same woman who gripped Carys's arm in order to calm her. No, the look in her eyes now made the Yellow out to be the calmer of the two. She dropped the eavesdropping ward and Shielded the man. Carys couldn't help but let the tiniest smirk appear on her lips as Baran stiffened, before regaining her composure.

 

"Come along child, its time you were judged by the Aes Sedai for your actions." The Green said firmly, looking the black coated boy in the eye before she turned to look at Carys. "I think we should put him in one of the lower rooms in the tower. He will be safe there, out of the way. We can go and inform the Amyrlin and she can in turn get in touch with whoever it is who is her equivalent for them."

 

Carys nodded, pleased at the idea. Baran needed to understand that threatening to kill! Murder! Someone on Tower grounds was unacceptable and would be met with strict punishment. She had no doubt that the Amyrlin would agree with her. The Aes Sedai stood up for those who wouldn't stand up for themselves. Eben was lost for now, but at least he couldn't hurt anyone. The Reds had Gentled him at the beginning of his craziness, before much of him had been lost. Carys made a mental note to work with him later, testing her latest theory. If only the flows that she sank into him would connect to Saidin somehow. If I Heal his connection, would it still be Tainted? She played over these thoughts, tuning out as Baran spoke again. I wonder if he realizes how much of a spoiled brat he sounds like...

 

Rasheta started walking, her back straight and her head forward as she moved away. She was not the type to look back and see if they were following her. Carys swept her gaze over Baran from head to toe. Crossing her arms, she asked dryly, “Well, are you going to move, or are you going to make me make you?” Much to her surprise, and a little displeasure, the boy finally moved forward. His gaze cut to her, but her serenity remained. That had worked once, but it wouldn’t work again. She fell into step beside Baran, torn between walking ahead as her position deserved, and staying behind so as to keep an eye on him.

 

They entered the Tower a few yards behind Rasheta. It appeared that she was going directly to the Head of the Greens, and from there the Amyrlin, leaving Carys to take the Dedicated to his cell. The Yellow made a mental note later to discuss that with Camigwen, but she made no hesitation or sign other than that. Pointing ahead silently, she instructed Baran to go down a long stone staircase into the basement of the Tower. She’d taken this one because the stairs ended in a hall full of cells. He’d see nothing more than that. Walking over to the nearest open door – the second on the right from the staircase, Carys pulled the iron door open and motioned for Baran to step in. He did this calmly as well, his mask that stone face once again.

 

Closing the door behind him, the Yellow nodded to the Sister at the end of the hall – on Shielding duty for an Accepted that had come out of her Arches in a crazy state. While she wasn’t assigned to that case, it was very intriguing. Making another mental note to ask about that situation, she glided up the stairs and made her way to Camigwen’s office.

Edited by keyholder21
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  • 1 month later...

Rasheta turned around to watch Carys for a moment but the sister had things well in hand waiting for Baran to do as he was told. Rasheta then turned and went into the Tower. Carys could take Baran to his cell till the rest of the tower decided what had to be done. She did pause to check which way Carys took him so she would know later. She then went in search of Amena, the current Captain General as Jaydena was still in the strange sleep they had found her in. That had been a bit of a blow to the Green Ajah, but they had worked quickly and now they were continuing more or less as before if not being a bit more vigilant. What would Amena say about Baran? Rasheta wondered but she shook off the gloomy thoughts and turned her steps to the Green Halls.

 

She found Amena in her room, Rasheta shut the door and said. "I'm sorry for bothering you Captain General but there is a problem a man from the Black Tower has come on the grounds of the White Tower and has tried to kill one of the gentled men. Carys a yellow found him first, the man had threatened one of the Accepted. Carys has taken him to one of the cells. I do not know what is to be done with him but if you wish to question him." She left the sentence unfinished to allow Amena the chance to speak.

 

"I will take you too him if or when you are ready." Rasheta added.

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It was dark in the cell. Not pitch black; the front wall and door were simple bars of steel, allowing light from the torches in the hall to filter into the room. Still, they had gone down enough stairs to make Baran feel as though he were back in some mine, back underground. He had to face forward, towards the bars, else he felt as though he had been in a cave-in. It had been one of his greatest fears as a child, to be buried alive in the rubble after a mine collapsed. He knew friends who had lost fathers, some of who by now would no doubt be dead in cave-ins themselves.

 

With little else to do but watch the Accepted down the hall, Baran continued to work the bonds that held him from the Source, pressing his awareness into the cracks and crevices the Sister had left in the knots she had tied in the Shield. There would be little he could do once he got this off but run or fight and die. He was not ready to die yet, so he would have to skim from here back to the Black Tower. There was little doubt that he would escape punishment for this, the leaders in the Black Tower having bound themselves to the Aes Sedai. Still, they most likely would not kill him.

 

A buzzing in the back of his mind tried to distract him, but he ignored it, just as he ignored the way he hungered for Saidin, almost needed it's touch, needed to feel the oily touch of the Taint seeping into his bones as he fought against being scoured from the face of the earth.

 

He ignored it all and worked to free himself from the predicament his adherence to what he had been taught had found him in. He snorted to himself as he remembered what he had learned back in the Black Tower. Give aid to those who request it indeed!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Amena propped her head in her hand and, not for the first time, wished she had a Warder around to bounce ideas off of. She doubted she could handle one of the children the Yard was putting out these days, though. She really could use someone as used to battles and wars and... stuff as she was who could read these growing reports of attacks in strange places and help her make sense of them. Oh, sure, she could go search out one of the Sitters or older sisters, ones whose eyes held the same cold deadness as they discussed issues like these that hers had taken on so long ago. However, she wasn't comfortable enough with them looking up to her to do so. Not to mention, she was pretty sure they didn't look up to her, at all, but merely tolerated her sitting at Jaydena's desk until the woman woke up and took it back.

 

She pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed. It wasn't like she didn't wish that nearly every day since she walked in the room and found the woman off in dream land.

 

A knock on the door pulled her from her thoughts and she looked up as Rasheta entered the room. "I'm sorry for bothering you Captain General but there is a problem a man from the Black Tower has come on the grounds of the White Tower and has tried to kill one of the gentled men. Carys a yellow found him first, the man had threatened one of the Accepted. Carys has taken him to one of the cells. I do not know what is to be done with him but if you wish to question him."

 

Amena blinked a moment as she processed what Rasheta had said. An Ashaman had tried to kill someone on Tower grounds? Much less, one of the gentled men that seemed to be haunting the place? She pushed herself up from her desk, the weave sealing the more sensitive reports in the box on her desk coming as more of a habit than a conscious action as she moved towards her. "I will take you too him if or when you are ready."

 

"Did Carys witness him threatening the Accepted or was that the story the Ashaman told to explain himself?" Amena held the door as the pair of them moved outside into the corridor. Her voice was low and she truly hadn't cared much about checking her appearance before she grabbed her shawl and closed the door behind her. Her hands were smudged in ink and, to be honest, her hip ached a little today, which made her footfalls uneven. She didn't notice either, however, as she followed Rasheta along the dark walkways that would lead them to the cell she spoke of.

 

~Amena

Captain General of the Green Ajah

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  • 4 weeks later...

Baran continued to wait in the cell, worming his way through the Saidar-woven Shield preventing him from touching the One Power. He leaned against the bars of his prison, his eyes closed as he concentrated on maintaining the Void, on forcing back the sheer terror that gibbered and scraped along the Void as though trying to shatter his concentration. The buzzing at the back of his mind was growing louder as well, as though a swarm of gnats were hunting him down. He ignored them all and concentrated on his work.

 

It was much harder breaking a Shield when he had to feel blindly for the knots instead of being able to sense them. It was much more involved, and it did not help that he had to keep himself from scrabbling at the knots of the Power that held the Shield together. Still, he was making progress, something he had not expected to make much of. It was, after all, his first experience with countering a female channeler's weaves.

 

Focused as he was on his task, he did not hear the low voices coming up the hall, did not hear the quiet footsteps of slippered feet of Aes Sedai as they padded towards his cell.

 

He wondered if any of the Storm Leaders would even come for him if he failed to escape. Light, he had heard the rumors about him in the Tower, heard the whispered accusations of madness as the Soldiers and other Dedicated tried to explain his "erratic behavior". This would no doubt simply feed those rumors. He frowned at the thought for a moment. He could use the rumors, maybe turn them to his advantage, but he would rather not be suspected of insanity at every encounter. He would not be able to do anything great if he was not trusted to perform his duties.

 

"Light burn you to ash, Baran Dholwin." He swore at himself as he lost his grip on the knot he had been working, his awareness snapping back from the crevice he had found and back into his body.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The air in the corridor felt cooler than that in Camigwen's apartments. The First Weaver kept her office at an almost stuffy level of warmth. She claimed it eased her old bones. While there must be some measure of truth in that statement, Carys had always thought of it as ensuring everyone else was just slightly off kilter. Not that anyone who entered didn't know the trick of ignoring temperature levels - but the stuffiness is not something expected in an upper level of the White Tower. Especially a room with wide double doors leading out to a revoltingly large balcony. A balcony like that would have been perfect for the birds in her rooms, as well as some of the smaller cages - each complete with an injured animal she was nursing back to health. That reminds me... she thought as she glided her way back down to the cells below. Motioning to an Accepted walking by, the Yellow gave strict instructions on whom needed feeding and what to feed it. Luckily the raven haired Accepted, Ashara, had attended some of the animals in Carys' suite before. She had a sharp mind for details.

 

Once the instructions had been carefully, but rapidly, given, Carys trailed down the last stairway to find herself once more at the boy's cell. She was not surprised to see Rasheta in front of the cell, as she had also been ....involved... with the situation, but the Altaran was surprised to find Amena Sedai staring through the bars at the Dedicated. The elder Aes Sedai wore the blank slate of Aes Sedai, but Carys could tell by her stance that her hip was bothering her again. Yet another interesting situation that she would never have been privy to had she not been a Yellow. Not that she'd ever considered any other Ajahs. Sure, she'd been instructed to and she had done the research, but she'd always known she was going to be a Healer. Blinking her eyes a few times, the younger woman returned to the task at hand. Her surprise at finding Amena in front of his cell was nothing compared to how she'd felt when Camigwen had told her to do as she saw fit. The woman always wanted to be involved. There must have been something very large on her plate for her to dismiss a situation with a Black Tower member. Oh well, I suspect she'll find out about it soon enough. I doubt it's long before the Hall is convened.

 

Stopping lightly on her heels in front of the cell, Carys looked over the boy before turning to the two Greens. He actually looked pale and slightly confused to see the three of them standing there. Carys resisted the urge to smirk. Perhaps he's finally realized the hot water he has stepped into. Nay, ran into. She kneaded her hands together and kept them resting lightly in front of her as she regarded Rasheta and the elder Green. Lowering her voice to a barely audible level, she spoke to the Sisters. "I've sent an Accepted to the Amyrlin informing her of the situation. She is aware that I, at least, would be down here. He looks to have calmed down and mayhap is even regretting his earlier actions, but I don't think you'll get much information out of him. Just my observation."

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Baran blinked, surprised to find three Aes Sedai gathered around his cell. Had he been concentrating that hard? He must have, to have missed the three ageless faces staring at him. He thought back, trying to remember what all had been said while he wasn't paying attention. He didn't like missing information when people were talking about him, and because he could channel, he knew that they would have been talking about him. After a few moments of careful thought he decided he hadn't missed much. They hadn't been there that long. He had only been thinking for a moment.

 

He gave his most winning smile and gripped the bars of his cell, still idly working his way into the chinks and creases of the Shield that held him. It was difficult to concentrate and talk, he had not practiced doing more than one thing while weaving enough, most likely, but it seemed he would be forced to do so here. If, no, when he got out of the cell, he decided he would practice that a bit more diligently. Swallowing the anger that threatened to well up at his treatment by these women, he forced himself to be as civil as he had before. He would not stoop to the level of these women.

 

"Greetings, Aes Sedai. How may I help you this fine day? As you see, it doesn't seem I'll be going anywhere for a little while."

 

Baran gestured to the three walls of his cell with one hand, the other gripping the bars as tightly as they could. He would show these women his strength. If he was going to die, he would die facing his executioners, with a smile on his face. He smiled, and tried not to grind his teeth.

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  • 4 months later...

After Rasheta had gotten the Green Ajah's Ajah head and brought her to the cell where Baran was being held. Carys informed them that she had sent a Novice to find the Amrylin. Rasheta wasn't sure what the Amrylin would tell them to do but it would be an interesting day, of that Rasheta was sure. Baran spoke next saying.

"Greetings, Aes Sedai. How may I help you this fine day? As you see, it doesn't seem I'll be going anywhere for a little while."

 

Rasheta didn't like his easy tone, but she didn't make a comment about it. She let the others speak and she watched the happenings. Carys seemed calm on the outside, but Rasheta was sure something was going on in the Yellow's head. Rasheta wondered if the Yellow would be good in a fight. Rasheta knew that Amena would be. Although it would be hard if he could channel they wouldn't know what he was doing till it was done. She sighed an interesting day indeed. She was going to speak then when she saw that the Amrylin was coming. The woman was preceded by her Keeper, both women had been raised from the Red Ajah, Rasheta wondered what they would do with Baran. She didn't have long to wait to find out. The Amrylin spoke to him for a moment then ordered that he be released. Surprised Rasheta didn't say anything at first but then she said "But Mother.." She only got that far before the other gave her a pointed look and Rasheta nodded "Yes mother." She and the others stepped back and released Baran from the cell. Rasheta watched him impassively with the Amrylin and the others. She waited till the Amrylin dismissed them all and she walked back to the Green Halls wondering what had just happened. She couldn't question the Amrylin but it was strange to just let him go.

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  • 4 months later...

Baran stepped out of the cell, shrugging his shoulders self-consciously. He could almost feel the eyes on his back, could almost see the Aes Sedai glaring at him as he straightened his clothing and dusted himself off. Looking around, he was surpised to see shock on some of those ageless faces, and even more surpised to feel the emotion echoed in his own mind. It had been a strange conversation with the Amyrlin, made even stranger by the other Aes Sedai, some of whom had some rank within the Tower, if the way others deferred to them was any indication.

 

"My thanks, Aes Sedai, for your kind hospitality." Baran quipped, making a leg to the collected women in clumsy irritation of the bows he had seen other Asha'man perform in the Black Tower, though they usually did so for the occasional sweetheart or wife. Perhaps the taunt was not the best of ideas, but he couldn't keep himself from it, his injured pride demanded some kind of revenge, however small it may be.

 

He turned and began to walk, forcing his legs to stiffness in an effort not to quicken his pace. They may have been able to Shield and cage him, but he wasn't about to give them the satisfaction of seeing him run! He only got a few steps away before he was nearly waylaid by a Novice and Accepted, the pair of them making sure he made his way to the exit, and no other location within the Tower. He supposed they wanted to make sure he didn't fulfill his promise to that man, or whatever was left of the man after what had happened to him.

 

He soon found himself back out in the yard he had been in before, and looked around for a moment before turning back to his escorts. "My thanks for your assistance. The Light shine on you both." He couldn't help himself. Some old habit, so deeply ingrained in him from his early years back home, forced him to mumble the curtesy to the pair, though their expressions changed the beginnings of irritation into amusement.

 

He turned back and Seized on Saidin, relishing the feel of the One Power as he never had before. After another moment of simply enjoying the feel of being alive, he began to weave a Gateway. Inside, a small platform of bare earth, like the floor of a hovel, hovered in an expanse of black. He blinked for a moment as he felt the Power quaver in his grasp, nearly losing control as the gateway lurched and wavered for a second that seemed to last centuries. Then it was back under his control, and he stepped through hurridly, hoping no one had seen his brush with death aside from his escorts. He allowed the Gateway to close as the platform carried him through space without the sensation of movement, Skimming the Pattern back to the Black Tower. As the Gateway into the Travelling fields opened, he held no illusions that he would be in trouble. He just hoped he didn't end up executed.

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