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Borderland Misery( Attn Sieve)


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Dark clouds hung low in the sky, making noon feel like the dead of night. The swirling rain felt like needles on Kabria’s skin and each peal of thunder rang in her ears. Only the lower part of Kabria’s face was visible beneath her well-oiled cloak; showing her lips pulled back in disgust. Through the rain she couldn’t see past the end of her horse. Only the bond she shared with Perivar allowed her to know that her Warder was near. Her only glimpses of him in the past days had been when the forked lightning lit the sky’s.


Embracing Saidar Kabria wove a small cover from the rain and extended it outward until both she and Perivar, and their horses were shielded from the rain. “We cannot keep on in this for much longer. We are soaked to the skin and poor Blade is miserable.” Rubbing the horse affectionately Kabria pushed back her hood so she could better see the skies through her shield of air. “How much farther until we reach any town? Village? Or Shanty that has an Inn? I have refused to sleep in a barn, but if we do not reach one today I may be forced to change my mind.” Through all of his frustrations with the storms, she thought she felt a hint of amusement in her normally serious Warder. No doubt he was amused that she had been the one to insist on going forward in spite of the storm and now she was the one willing to crawl into any hole to escape the elements. “I warn you my heart, now is not the time for jokes. All I wish from you now is your knowledge of these lands.”


Listening to Perivar’s instructions, she allowed him to take the lead. This time she held on to Saidar, allowing them cover from the elements for a time. She’d been to wary of being tired should an attack happen to hold Saidar the past few days, but she was so wet and cold that she was ceasing to care if a Trolloc came and stuck her in a cook pot. “At least that would be warm” she muttered to herself as she urged Blade closer to her Warder.


It took most of the day to reach the town Perivar had mentioned, and she had long since had to let go of the Source or she would have been too tired to even ride. Dismounting and giving very specific instructions to the groom, Kabria walked up the rickety steps to see what kind of Inn they had found.

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On the outskirts of Tifan's Well, both Kabria and Perivar dropped the hoods of their rain soaked cloaks as borderland custom dictated. Only a fool would wish to be taken for a Myrddraal. Myrddraal were a reality here, not just something from a gleeman's tale. It still amazed him that the majority of southlanders thought of them so. The absurdity of him made him shake his head. No doubt the townsfolk had noticed their arrival, most would already be armed and ready to dispatch any shadowspawn or bandits that threatened their town. You would not live long in the borderlands if you failed to remain vigilant. Tifan's Well was a small farming town deep in the grasslands of Arafel though it was not exempt from raiding.


The small borderland town was comprised of buildings with strong constitutions and steep tiled roofs. The former was so it could withstand a raid and provide a defensible position for the townsfolk, the later was to repel the snow that fell during the harsh borderland winters.


Kabria's mood perked up a bit as they made their way to the stables forcing him to release some of the tension he had been holding. His mood was foul enough to match the weather. Perivar grabbed their saddle bags as Kabria gave the groom strict instructions regarding the care of their mounts. Her voice was probably sharper than she intended, a result of being soaked to the bone. The cold rain had her near to shivering. The groom took it in stride as he eyed Perivar's color shifting cloak and Kabria's seemingly ageless face. Their was no hiding what they were from borderlanders. The coins she handed the groom brought a smile to his face followed by a stammer of thanks.


Ascending the wooden stairs they entered the common room of the only inn in town called the Broken Plow. Tifan's Well was off the beaten path therefore they did not see many travelers. As a result the inn was more quiet than they were used to. A few patrons spoke over a mug of ale or mulled wine and a meal while others played at dice or stones. One woman danced, the bells in her hair keeping time with the music from a flute which was played by a man in farmer's clothes. Candle light flickered about the room while whisps of pipe smoke wove their way around objects in the room 'til they dissipated.


The patrons barely noticed their arrival though the rotund innkeeper hurried over to the soaked newcomers. His bulk jiggled along with the bells in his braids as he half skidded to a stop making a bow that threatened to tip him over all while offering a formal greeting. He looked them over listening intently as Perivar made his requests. "As you wish, my very best rooms. It may not be as big or lavish as you are used to but it is clean and well kept." Perivar assured the man it would be fine. "Right this way if you please." He insisted on carrying their belongings though Perivar indicated that he would see to them. The innkeeper relented when he realized that Perivar would not be swayed. "As you wish, this way" he said then showed them to their rooms before leaving to make preparations for their baths and a meal to follow. The man appeared to be a one man show.


Within half an hour they were both neck deep in their copper tubs. As he laid there Perivar felt the stress leaving both their bodies though a remnant still remained. An Aes Sedai was never completely free of stress, therefore neither was her warder. Perivar enjoyed the momentary silence knowing it would soon be broken. Kabria's wheels were always turning, like a merhcant's wagon that never reached its destination.

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A chill that had sunken into her bones was slow to release as she sunk neck deep into the copper tub. The water was just short of too hot and it felt like a small slice of heaven. Scrubbing off the layers of mud and grim, Kabria soaked herself until her fingers were shriveled and the water had gone tepid.


Hot baths were a luxury that was not often found when traveling in the Borderlands; she certainly had not expected to find them in this tiny out of the way Inn. The Broken Plow had proven to be much more than it first seemed in many ways; it was small but clean and well maintained, the rooms had a permanent chill from cracks in the thick plaster but large fires burned in every hearth, and the food was warm and rich and was as good as she’d had in Inn’s ten times the size of the Plow. After they had finished their meals she made sure to send her most sincere complements to the cook.


Politely refusing the offer of red wine, the Inn’s best at no charge, they retired early to their rooms. The constant rain and endless days of riding had left them no time to plan their next move. Their original purpose in the Borderlands had passed and they were left with a choice; to return to the Tower and await another reason to venture out, or find their own purpose.


In this part of the world there was always need of Aes Sedai; an Kabria’s early life with the Sea Folk had given her a love of travel and freedom. She was young yet for an Aes Sedai, having just recently achieved the ageless face; and was often watched more closely when at home in Tar Valon. It was a fact that annoyed her, and often she chose to stay away in hopes that when she returned she would no longer be seen as a “new” sister.


Crawling up on to the small hard mattress, Kabria tucked her legs under her and leaned back against the wall. “So, what now my Warder? We’ve gathered and sent back the information we were sent to retrieve and are now left to our own devices.” Not often did an Aes Sedai defer to her Warder, but her relationship with Perivar went much deeper than even the bond could provide. He was the love of her life; he was her perfect match in every way and she hoped someday he would be her husband. The woman beneath the Aes Sedai would do anything to keep him happy, but her reasons for asking his opinion were more practical than love. Her heritage was in Kandor, but she’d never lived in this part of the world. Perivar had grown up with death at his door. He knew the dangers and perils and where they could do the most good.


In the secret chambers of her heart she silently wished that they could go and see his family. She hadn’t had a proper family of her own, and it was wonderful to be welcomed in to one as she had Perivar’s. It would allow them to spend their days as carefree lovers, and courtiers; but her Warder was far more practical than sentimental and she was sure that there would be another purpose to this trip.

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  • 2 months later...

“So, what now my Warder? We’ve gathered and sent back the information we were sent to retrieve and are now left to our own devices.” Her musical voice was so intoxicating that it made the rasping sound of the honing stone on steel seem distant. He almost laughed though that would have been out of character for him, he had been told that he was far too serious at times. He was not too serious, he just took his duty to heart. He did not respond immediately choosing to admire Kabria's beauty while he pondered the question for a moment. Light she was beautiful both inside and out. Her radiance was uplifting.


Their own devices the words lingered in his mind forcing him to smile. There was no such thing, theirs was a life of service. Service to the known world via the White Tower. Very little time was left for pleasure or for relaxation for that matter. Perivar was not bitter, not in the least, it was just the truth of their circumstance. They were not the only ones, their were hundreds of other Aes Sedai and warders.


He felt the edge of his sword as he spoke. "I am concerned with the reports from the border towers. It is far too quiet. There have been far too few reports of raids. I don't like it." They both spent a significant amount of their time in the borderlands. The lack of activity in the borderlands was disconcerting. "We need to see for ourselves. I suggest scouting the blight border from Saldaea to Tarwin's Gap."


They spoke well into the night, planning every detail of their excursion...



They left the grassy plains of Arafel crossing into Kandor without incident. The terrain became more harsh the more north and west they traveled. It took roughly a week to make their way into Saldaea. They saw very little during their travels outside of the villages other than Saldaean patrols or merchant caravans. They continued to travel going all the way to Worlds End before making their way to Maradon. Hopefully their contacts in Maradon could shed some light on the calmness along the Blight.


The moon seemed larger and sharper in the dark night sky. Grey and white clouds danced across the otherwise clear sky. The Saldaean night was cool, though southlanders would have called it cold. A crisp breeze made his color-shifting cloak flap slightly as they traveled along the well used road to Maradon. It was well into the night when they passed through the gates into the city proper.


The next afternoon Perivar found himself astride Nightdancer following close behind Kabria as she conversed with the assembled lords and ladies. A dozen of each jumped at the opportunity to go hawking with Kabria. He detected a hint of annoyance though Kabria remained outwardly serene as ever. She had insisted that they call on the queen. To do otherwise would be improper as well as insulting to her majesty. Even so Perivar wished they could have avoided it. Fortunately her majesty was out of the city visiting her estates. Unfortunately the more prominent lords and ladies felt the need to make up for her absence. Their was no time for hawking and feasting...unless one of them had information that they could put to use.

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  • 1 month later...
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For a moment as he studied her, Kabria could feel the struggle within him. His love for her shone like the sun, and yet nearly of equal importance in his heart was the duty he felt. It was duty to her and to the Tower and a duty above all to the Light. Many women would have felt jealous, but not Kabria for she knew that he would feel the same flowing from her. Their love was an ever delicate balance between passion and doing their duty, they walked a knife’s edge much of time but their honor always led them to fall on the side of what was right.


Fighting against the Dark One and for the White Tower.


During even the best of times there was need for Aes Sedai along the Blight; for it was there that the Shadow never rested. “That is a long Border for just us to scout, my heart. I suggest we start near Shol Arbela, in Arafel. From there we are close enough to ride to The Gap if we are needed, but not too far from Kandor or Shienar.”

Late into the evening they debated and planned, only lying down to rest with a few hours of darkness left. Waking before the sun, they were ready to ride before any other patrons from the Inn had left their beds.


It was grim news that they were going to investigate, and yet Kabria felt a small thrill. They had a purpose again! She never felt more alive than when she was able to inflict damage to the Dark One’s plans.


Kabria chose their path, but it was Perivar who set their pace. He kept them at a trot that the horses could maintain for hours, stopping to rest only when Kabria insisted. She could feel impatience in him. He was worried about what they would find, but it was up to her to make him exercise caution. Arriving too exhausted to help would do them no good.


In each Inn that they stopped that asked careful questions, but everywhere it was the same.


The Blight had grown quiet.


The people saw it as a blessing, many voicing that they were defeating the Dark One at last, but the soldiers saw it differently. You could see it in the haunted cast to their eyes. It was much the same as the look in Perivar’s eyes. The men of the Borderlands fought with their every breath and when there was nothing to fight they did not know what to do.


Leaning close to Perivar she laid a hand on his arm. “I think we should stop here for at least a day to resupply and rest the horses. Perhaps continuing on to Shol Arbela is not our best course of action?”

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