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Should Have Taken That Horse (Tomo's Arrival)

Leala Sedai

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Tomoyuki stared at the town surrounding the Black Tower. Well, what he could see of it any way. There was a large gate blocking the way. The shock of traveling such a long way by Gateway was washed away now that he had visual confirmation that this place existed. His trip from Cairhien to Tear had been very introspective, and it almost seemed like the recruiters in the city recognized him on sight. He still wished he would have taken an offered horse to Tear. But his conscience told him that the man offering it to him wasn't in his right mind in the first place. The other man probably had more use for it than Tomo. So, he had walked the whole trip from his hometown to the coastal city. It was an experience, seeing the ocean, but it didn't last long. The recruiters had told him that the Black Tower was actually in Andor. He had been tempted to throw his hands in the air and just start a new life there, but the other men explained that he could get there by way of Gateway.


Now he stood before a project greater than he could have imagined. He saw people moving around in between spaces of the unfinished wall. Men walked around in black coats with various pins tacked onto them. Others were engaged in what looked like weapons classes. The small knife strapped to his wool pants must have seemed so small to and insignificant to what these men were doing. He felt a strange tingling sensation on his arm, too. Strange. Taking in a breath and letting it out, the small Arafellin and Cairhienin man strode the remaining distance to the guarded gate. He wasn't exactly sure what to say to the guards, so he decided to weave his words and see what reactions they had. "So...this is the Black Tower, is it?" he half asked, giving his voice the inflection that he was also half-joking. Of course this was the Black Tower, there was a gigantic black wall in the works around the place. The two guards that he had addressed glanced at each other and back to him.


"What's it to you?" the one on the left asked sharply, no humor in his eyes.


So, this was serious, then. He nodded, changing his tone to a serious one as he said, "I'd like to enroll." The humor and askance disappeared from his eyes and he looked the man in the eyes, standing as straight as his heavy bags would let him.


Without a word, the guard on the left departed, inside the gate. The other didn't budge. And so Tomoyuki waited.

Edited by Leala Gymorraine
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  • 2 weeks later...

Gavin was at his usual spot practicing with his halfspear when one of the gate guards found him. The Soldier paused nearby, waiting for Gavin to address him. Some other Dedicated and Asha'man liked to put on a big show with those of lower ranks. In the case of the highborn that had come to the tower, it was a means of holding on to what they had willingly given up by coming here. In the case of the lowborn, it was simply pretending to be better than everyone else. Gavin was not one of those, so he didn't make the Soldier wait long.


He leaned the halfspear against a nearby tree stump, and picked up his coat. Despite the cold, weapons practice works up a sweat, and Gavin still hadn't mastered the trick of ignoring the weather. Besides, there's no need to get a good coat sweaty. "What do you need, Soldier?" Gavin asked.


"New recruit at the gate, sir," the Soldier replied. Gavin sighed. For all that he was making strides here at the Black Tower, Gavin still had reservations about men channeling. Some went mad on almost a weekly basis. Some were half-mad. Gavin knew it was only a matter of time for all of them. The bonfire that broke the world was already mostly rebuilt; adding more kindling would not help matters.


Pausing in his introspection, Gavin realized the Soldier was still standing there, waiting for a response. Gavin sighed again. "I'll go get him," Gavin said, but paused. "Just as soon as I get a drink of water. Another couple minutes wait won't hurt."


After donning his jacket, and grabbing a mug of water, Gavin worked his way towards the gate. The Soldier that had fetched him still had not returned, and Gavin made a mental note to have someone teach him not to shirk his duties.


Two people stood at the gate. Haver stood there, the enormous Saldean man looked menacing, but that was his normal look. The other person at the gate was a rather short young man, dressed for traveling. He looked nervous.


"Haver, quit scaring off the recruits," Gavin joked at his large friend. Haver grunted in acknowledgment, smiling at Gavin. "Light Haver, you're so ugly, we should just send you into the Blight. The Dark One himself will surrender just so he doesn't have to look at you." That actually got a laugh out of the big man.


Haver replied, "That's funny, coming from a man so weak and small that his bones barely support his own weight. We should send you to the Blight. That way the Dark One will laugh himself to death while watching you try to fight." The two friends laughed with each other for a moment, then Gavin realized why he had come to the gate.


"Well friend," Gavin said, "you continue guarding the wall. You're large enough that you're practically a wall yourself, so it shouldn't be that hard. I'll take care of the fresh meat." Motioning to the new guy, Gavin started walking into the compound a short ways.


"Well now, so you're here. The big scary Black Tower. Before I let you go any further, I need to know two things. First, have you been tested?" Gavin paused a moment, but the recruit didn't say anything. "I'll take that as a no. Second, I need to know your name."

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