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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

The Wolfkin the Witch and Two Rivers


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Nighsfire grumbled as he packed the things he would need for his trip. He had just returned from a meeting with Owen and a cloud hung over his emotions. The Ranger leader had summoned Nights after he had met with Leila and learned of an Aes Sedai in the Two River that the Watcher leader had encountered.

 

Recalling the heated conversation he had with Owen Nights was surprised his argument had not swayed his friend.

 

“Light Owen this is an Aes Sedai we are talking about! You want us to hand ourselves right up to her so she can make the rest of the tower aware of our kind?â€

 

Owen held up his hand to calm Nights and explain his rational once more. “I told you John from what Leila has told me I do not think she will give us up to the White Tower.†His features somber the Ranger leader made it clear to Nights that they were going and the decision was final. “Besides John we cannot let an Aes Sedai roam in our country without knowing her intentions fully. We owe it to the people we have sworn to protect to meet with her.â€

 

Strapping his bastard sword on his back Nights walked out of his cabin into a morning that was filled with grey clouds and the promise of rain. “Just wonderful.†He muttered under his breath. A trip in the rain just topped off this morning he thought as he trudged toward the stables where Owen waited for him.

 

The two men traveled through the mountains the better part of the morning with the rain mercifully holding off. Nights had calmed and he and Owen spoke at length about the caution they needed to take when dealing with the Aes Sedai and her Warder.

 

Quickening had joined them not long after they left and shadowed them in the tree line not far off. Her obvious displeasure at where they were going had been made known to him from the moment he told her who they were going to meet.

 

~This is foolish Nightsfire~ She had told him more times than he cared to count causing him to sigh. Wolves did not like women who could channel and made no secret about it.

 

Nights greatest fear, and in truth many of the wolfkin’s, was that the White Tower would find out about their kind and send Aes Sedai to study them. Owen did not seem to think this would be the case and Nights hoped the man was right. His friend had always had good judgment and excellent intuition so the Ranger put his faith in his mentor.

 

As it neared mid day the rain began to fall. Both Owen and Nights pulled up the hoods of the cloaks as it began to fall harder. Getting off of their horses as they began to descend a steep hill covered in loose rocks they led the animals down. Nights was in front and picking his path carefully when the unexpected happened.

 

Stepping on a loose moss covered rock his footing gave way and the Ranger hit the ground hard and began sliding. The wet stones offered nothing to grab on to and Nights began to slide faster. Cursing he reached for his knife at his waist in the hopes of using it to slow himself. Before he could get it free he felt a jarring impact as he landed on a large jagged rock. His right leg had taken the brunt of the impact and an audible snap could be heard causing him to cry out as his vision clouded.

 

Owen ran to where Nights lay sprawled out wincing and clutching at his leg. Nights shin had been snapped cleanly in two and the pain was excruciating. “Damn it Owen I told you this was a bad idea.†Owen gave Nights a hard piece of leather to bite down on and examined the leg.

 

“On the contrary John if what I know of Aes Sedai’s is true then our meeting might be more urgent now that you have managed to mess up your leg.â€

 

Nights scowled as Owen helped him up on his horse and soon the Ranger leader was leading them on toward the Two Rivers.

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The snap of the bone was clearly audible over the noise of John’s fall, and Owen winced, knowing exactly what it meant. Quickly, he made his way over to John, leaving his horse where it was. As Owen knelt down, he quickly examined John’s leg, and made note of how the bone had pierced the skin, thankfully there was not a lot of blood, but Owen knew if john was to retain the use of that leg, then he would have to act quickly.

As John chewed on the piece of leather wrapped wood, Owen made a crude splint from some tree branches and tightly bound them to John’s leg, although Owen could not reset the bone, he hoped to stop the break worsening and to provide some immobilisation. As John spat out the leather, Owen was pleased he had stayed conscious and quickly lifted the Ranger to his feet, then carried him a short distance to the bottom of the climb, leaving John leaning against a tree, Owen soon returned leading both of their horses which were followed by John’s wolf and Ice and Shadow, Owen’s wolves.

Once John was on his horse, Owen mounted his own and quickly spoke to Ice and Shadow before setting out, heading towards the only person who could help save John. Ice an Shadow ranged out in front of the small party, occasionally urging Owen on, at other times expressing caution, Owen knew they were not happy with his plan, but also realised that John could die if they tried to get back to the Stedding.

John and Owen picked up the pace when they emerged from the broken, hilly terrain they had been traversing, and made their way towards the woods that loomed in the distance.

The trees were not as close together as the ones around the Stedding, but they still slowed the two men, and by now, John’s strength was starting to fail him, and Owen nervously watched as he started to sway in his saddle. Thankfully they soon came across a small trail, one that headed in the direction Owen wanted to move in. The going here was easier and Owen was able to move his horse alongside John’s.

 

“You know John, if I had known you were so clumsy on your feet, I would have made your training a lot harder, perhaps when we get back, you and I should spend some time on Riverwind’s Nightmare? I see you nodding your head, so I take it you agree with me?â€

 

Owen kept the conversation light, trying to keep John focused and awake, giving him something positive to think on. Eventually the two men emerged from the trees and Owen too ka moment to get his bearings. After Leila had told Owen who she had met, the Wolfkin Council had decided to inform the ruling Council of the new Manetheren and ask for a watch to be placed on Adine, a discrete watch. At first they had had to use locals they knew they could trust, there were more of these than an outsider would expect, after the battle of Emonds Field and the support the Band of the Red Hand and the Wolfkin had provided, there had been an up swelling of gratitude from the local population and soon the Council was receiving all the reports it needed.

Owen had seen these reports; Leila had shared many of them with him and neither of them read anything that could be construed as trouble. That was why Owen had decided to visit this Adine; there had been discussions amongst some of the Council members about how the original Manetheren had had an Aes Sedai Queen. Owen suspected they were trying for respectability, not being satisfied with what they had.

 

Just as the house came into view, Owen heard a groan from John and had to grab his friend by the arm, to stop him sliding from his saddle. Quickly Owen dismounted, all the time keeping his grip on John until he was able to lower the almost unconscious Ranger onto the ground. Owen went to his saddlebags and took out two hobbles, which he attached to the two horses and then he went back to John and lifted the Ranger onto his shoulder, and slowly made his way to the secluded house.

Owen knocked on the door; having made sure the man who accompanied Adine was nowhere to be seen. Owen kept his head tilted towards the floor as the door opened, but as soon as he heard a woman’s voice asking him what he wanted, he raised his head, and gazed directly into her eyes.

 

The last rays of a dying sun caught his golden eyes, and made them appear to sparkle as he gazed on Adine; she fit Leila’s description perfectly. They stood out all the more against the paleness of Owen’s skin, something that always had drawn the wrong sort of attention to Owen before he had found the Stedding.

 

“I believe we have a mutual acquaintance, a friend of mine called Leila?â€

 

Adine nodded her head slowly, obviously not sure what to make about two men showing up on her doorstep. Before he continued, Owen heard the sound of a sword leaving it’s scabbard and knew where Adine’s Warder was. “Please tell your friend that we are not here to cause you harm.†Owen paused for a moment to let his words sink in. “Instead, I find myself in need of your aid. You see, my friend here has had a nasty fall, and has broken his leg, after what Leila has told me about you I thought you might be able to help us?â€

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

 

OOC Kaylan: If we place this rp a couple of months after you met Leila, then that would explain you having your own place, and I thought Adine would want somewhere secluded that was easy to defend if necessary…hope that is ok for you?

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All works for me, OG. Whee! Wasn't sure whether to dive straight in, I can edit if you like. Just let me know :)

 

IC:

 

In the months since her arrival in the Two Rivers, Adine had learned several important lessons.

 

You could not trust the children of the villagers you grew up with.

 

Change was inevitable.

 

And a woman in her position had to stay away from black-coated men. Well, she'd learnt that one when she'd travelled to the Borderlands, and while it wasn't for quite the same reasons, the lesson stood.

 

She and Daishell had moved into a small cottage in the woods, not far from the graves of her family. It had caused a bit of a scandal for a few weeks, but eventually it seemed that most of the whispers died down and life in the Two Rivers returned to normal.

 

As normal as it could with all the changes that had happened since she had left.

 

Every now and again one of her relatives would come to visit and share gossip. Almost every time, Dai managed to scare the wits out of them by appearing from nowhere with bare steel in his fist. He'd been particularly adamant about the placement of the cottage, wanting to ensure that it was both difficult to find and easy to defend if need be.

 

Absolutely no regard, of course, for what Adine had told him time and time again. He was right, though, that the Two Rivers were not the same as they had been when she was a child. Nevermind how long it had been, she'd swatted him with the Power the one time he'd mentioned that.

 

A slight tingling feeling alerted her that someone had crossed her Wards, small enough to go unnoticed by the Black-Coats but effective enough in what they did. Dai was, for once, resting in the main room, and Adine couldn't help but smile.

 

She was - had been, still considered herself - an Aes Sedai of the Battle Ajah, she certainly wasn't useless, and it had been a long time since she had had any chance to practice her skills.

 

There was a knock on the door.

 

With a tight grip on saidar, Addie opened it.

 

"What can I do for you?" Her voice was quiet and curious as she regarded her visitors. Not relatives.

 

Brown eyes met gold, and there was the barest flicker of interest.

 

She nodded an assent to his question, feeling her Warder stirring in the room behind her. He was going to give her a talking-to, no doubt about it. When she would let him get away with it.

 

"So. There are more of you." She tapped her lip for a moment then motioned with her head.

 

"Bring him in. Daishell, clear a space, please." He knew what to do when she needed to Heal someone.

 

Not for the first time, Addie found herself considering what a Bond with one of these strangers would be like. But the very idea of a Bond without permission made her sick to the stomach. Not unless there was a dire reason for it.

 

A broken leg was not dire, nor was her own Healing skill so useless that she would need a Bond to allow the job to be finished.

 

Green skirts swept around her legs as Addie strode into the main room of her cottage and motioned to the chair Dai had been sleeping in.

 

"This is going to leave you tired and hungry, it is best if you sit. Provided you can."

 

~Adine al'Thoram Torfinn

Battle Ajah deserter

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The pain in Nightsfire’s leg was excruciating as they made the trek to the small house that Owen brought them too. Waves of nausea overwhelmed the Ranger as he was carried inside the house and set down on the floor. Not fully able to take in his surroundings Nights was aware of a woman leaning over him with an ageless face. He only had a moment to register this before he felt hands on his face and his body went rigid. It felt as if he had been tossed in a icy pond and his skin prickled as he gasped.

 

Nights could feel the bone in his leg knitting together as the wound began to close. Almost as soon as it began it was over and the hands let go of his face and the Ranger collapsed to the ground.

 

Faint voices could be heard around him as Nights felt himself being picked up then laid down on a soft mattress. Exhaustion quickly over took him as his head hit the pillow and he fell immediately to sleep.

 

How long he slept Nightfire did not know but when he finally did open his eyes and glanced out the window next to his bed the sky was dark. Propping himself up on one elbow he ran a hand through his hair and took in his surroundings to try and get his bearings. Thinking back on the events he winced as the memory of the woman placing her hands on his face.

 

Aes Sedai he realized and looked down at his leg. The wound had closed and he could feel no pain. Carefully Nights swung his legs off the bed and put weight on the injured limb. Standing he could hear voices coming from the other room and gingerly he walked toward them.

 

Owen sat in a room with the woman who had looked down on him in his pain induced delirium. Another man leaned against the wall not far off keeping the wary eye on Owen as the two talked. Looking up Owen smiled at the sight of Nights emerging from the other room.

 

“Well John it is good to see you have napped long enough that you can join us.â€

 

The woman turned to face him and Owen introduced him.

 

“John Dunbar may I introduce Adine al'Thoram Torfinn of the White Tower.â€

 

Nights had already suspected as much and giving their host a bow he cleared his throat.

 

“I take it I have you to thank for my recovery Aes Sedai?â€

 

A slight smile tugged at the corners of Adine’s mouth and she nodded slightly.

 

“Then I am in your debt Aes Sedai but I have one question.â€

 

Adine arched and eyebrow waiting.

 

“Do you have any food in the house? I am staving.â€

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While John did his best to imitate a plague of locusts and shovel as much food into his mouth as he could, Owen decided that there was no time like the present to discuss what had really brought him and John to Adine’s home.

 

“I believe you have met a friend of mine recently, a young girl by the name of Leila?†Adine lowered herself into a chair and nodded her head in response to Owen’s question. “It is because of her that we are here. As I am sure you have already puzzled out, Leila is one of those people who have been chosen, chosen for a purpose I feel no need to describe. One of your knowledge and access to things long hidden, no doubt has already come to realise what we are?â€

 

Owen skirted around actually naming himself as a member of the Wolfkin, although he trusted Leila’s judgement that did not mean this Aes Sedai was going to be amiable and provide Owen with the information he sought. “By moving to the Two Rivers area you have entered an area that has been recently liberated from the Shadowspawn that has been infesting this land.†Adine showed no outward response to what Owen had just said, but his senses told him her curiosity was building. “Whereas we are sure you are no threat to our kind, or the peace of this land, it would be remiss of us not to introduce ourselves, and find out what your presence here indicates. I am sure you are aware of the regard we are held in by the locals, they feel a debt of gratitude to us, and to our allies who fought with us and have kept us up to date on what you have been doing.â€

 

A slight flicker of her facial muscles told Owen that he had touched on something that Adine was not too pleased with; her scent went from curious to annoyance and back to curious. “I mean no disrespect by any of this, and I am sure your Warder here would agree with my caution, so please consider you reply and while you are at it I have a favour to ask. Leila mentioned that you knew something of Manetheren, would you be willing to share some of the knowledge with us? In exchange, I would offer some information of my own on Manetheren, something that I feel that you are not aware of, and may be astonished to learn, do we have a deal?â€

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

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Well, these two were quite the pair. Adine didn't know whether to be amused or annoyed with them as she listened to their talking. Well, Owen's talking and John's eating.

 

"I've nothing but regret that I was unable to help with the Shadowspawn situation." She'd often wished that her arrival had been early enough to help, but she'd arrived some time too late. She actually found herself wondering whether he'd mentioned it to make some point, to make her feel that she had less right to be here than them.

 

"I'm more than willing to share my knowledge about Manetheren, but I'm afraid it is only the same old stories that many people would have heard by now."

 

Adine paused for a moment, considering how much she should tell them about herself.

 

"As to what my presence here indicates? I've simply returned to where I grew up for a break from life in the White Tower, and to gather any new stories that have emerged since the last time I was here."

 

She was quite interested in the history of the Two Rivers, and not only because of the fact that she'd grown up there. Being of the Green Ajah - she still considered herself as much, even though she was likely considered a deserter by her Sisters in the Tower - it was interesting to know of a warrior Aes Sedai who had once ruled in these parts. Her Bond to her husband intrigued Addie, too, who had often been the subject of gossip with her single Bond. She was not in love with Dai, of course, but she had been both married and Bonded and could well understand the appeal of such a deep link with the one that you loved.

 

She didn't elaborate on any of what she'd said, particularly the reasons that she was having a break from life in the Tower, rather waiting to see what the two of them had to say. That they had news of Manetheren to share intrigued her, but what interest these men - she didn't know the word Wolfkin, though she had come to an understanding of what they were - had in the place, she could not say.

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Nightsfire listened to the conversation between Owen and Adine as he ate. The cheeses and breads and dried meats the Aes Sedai had provided him just did not seem to be satisfying his hunger. He had eaten enough for three men and still his stomach growled in need for more. Pausing to fill a glass of milk from a pitcher he washed his food down and pushed himself away from the table.

 

Turning his attention to the conversation and wiping the corners of his mouth with a napkin he addressed Adine.

 

“Not long ago we discovered the runes of an ancient city in the mountains not far from here.†Adine looked over to him in interest as Owen nodded his head. “A group of Rangers was dispatched to investigate and we are certain the ruins belong to one of the larger cities of Manetheren if not the capital itself.â€

 

This revelation caused the Aes Sedai’s eyes to spark with interest. “From the depths of one of the buildings we recovered several weapons that without a doubt were power wrought.â€

 

Owen nodded in agreement as Nights spoke revealing the story of the expedition and how in the end a violent earthquake had destroyed many of the buildings at the site.

 

“A few do remain if you would like us to show it to you Aes Sedai.â€

 

Nights did not know how much he should reveal so he decided to let Owen finish and sat down and began to eat once again. Surely Owen had not told her the location of the stedding but how much would he reveal of their plans to possibly raise the Red Eagle once again and unite Manetheren once more. Would Adine be appauled at the idea or intrigued?

 

Outside the sun was beginning to wane and night would settle over the Two Rivers soon. In the back of his mind Nights could feel Quickening not far off in the woods. Her impatience at his presence with a woman who could channel tugged at him and he knew she wanted him out of their as soon as possible.

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"I would be most interested to see these ruins. Could you mark out where they were on a map, if you had one?"

 

Adine did have one. Though it had been many years since she had been in the Two Rivers, her memory had not dulled over the years and she had always been a curious explorer as a child. There were no doubt some details that would need to be adjusted, and she and Daishell hadn't gotten far in verifying her memory just yet - no doubt these men would be able to fill her in much more quickly. Being from Taren Ferry had limited how far she'd been able to wander as a child, and she'd been hoping to fill in those blanks now that she had returned as an adult. Not just an adult, a fully trained Aes Sedai.

 

"From what history tells us, though, the ruins you found could not have been the capital. Eldrene's final attack is said to have destroyed the entire city." Not to mention herself.

 

The story of Manetheren, its fight against the Shadow and final defeat - after a betrayl that was not well known by the general population - was incredibly interesting to her, and always had been. Though her main specialisation had been Borderlands defense, the nation that had once been where she'd grown up had been a large part of the world's defense against the shadow - an example for everyone. Apparently her current residents were doing the same.

 

"Perhaps it is Corartheren or Jara'copan." If only she had access to the great library of the Tower - she had not been able to bring along her reference books. But returning to the Tower was unlikely to go well for Adine, since her ajah no doubt considered her a deserter. She considered herself one, sometimes.

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“We are not so sure Aes Sedai, we have found other signs, some deep under the mountains that lead us to believe this could have been the capital, although it could also have equally have been another city. It is to our lasting regret that we could not retrieve more items than we were able to. The weapons we found, while useful, are just weapons. If we could only have got some of the documents out that had survived we would have a better idea I am sure of it.†Owen sipped at his drink before continuing. “ While I am more than happy to point it out to you on a map, I am afraid we would not be able to allow you to make your own way there. The only way for you to get there would be to traverse across lands that would not welcome you, not if you did not have an escort that is.â€

 

“Just what did you have in mind?â€

 

Adine was all Aes Sedai aloofness now, and Owen could not help but smile at this sudden change in her demeanour. “Oh I am sure you will find our conditions to be less than onerous. I will accompany you, along with John here. The people, who live near the route we will be taking, know us well and if we are with you, they will accept you and not hinder your passage. If you agree to these conditions then I suggest you meet us here.†Owen unfolded the map and quickly pointed out a small valley in the lower foothills of the Mountains of Mist. “ I have no doubt the two of you will be able to get there without any trouble, so if it is agreeable with you we will see you there in two days time.â€

 

Owen

 

The WhiteWolf

 

Ranger Leader

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Aes Sedai were not accustomed to having conditions imposed upon them, and it did not particularly please her that Owen chose to phrase himself in that way.

 

Still, it had become clear that the Two Rivers had changed, and considering that respect for Aes Sedai had been lacking before her departure, she had to take what she could get. The chance to be the first Aes Sedai in the city was enough to make her agree, but she made no pretense at being happy with what Owen had imposed upon her.

 

"I assure you, I am perfectly capable of looking after myself." She brushed at one of her sleeves, as if to point out the green of her dress - but she did now know if either of the men would recognise the significance of the colour, anyway.

 

She was battle trained and well tried, willing to wager that she had been fighting since both of their mothers were in skirts. Addie had spent a good thirty years at the Blightborder, fighting with the most dedicated men and women in this world against horrors that most never even dreamed of. Yes, Adine was perfectly capable.

 

"But I will see you in two days."

 

As far as she was concerned, the visit was over. What the two men thought, though, remained to be seen.

 

~Adine Torfinn

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