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Survival in the City (OPEN)


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Darkness enveloped her like a cloak, and only the wind whipping through her sunset red curls made her more than shadow. Had there been a real need to hide she would have pulled her hood up to hide her face keep her truly hidden, but her students deserved a chance to see her coming. They were all young and still mostly untrained in terms of city survival.


Shifting her position slightly deeper into the alley, Thera pulled her cloak closer. The night was cold, not short of freezing and she was anxious to be back indoors. In truth the cold did not bother her, at least to no real degree; and it had not in all the years since Serena had bonded her. That did not mean she enjoyed nights out in the cold.


Her student’s instructions had been very simple. “Find me before I find you” She had marked out a four block area of streets, and told them that she would remain in one area until one of them found her, or she ‘captured’ them. There were only a few students, but already the exercise was taking longer than she could have wished.


Before beginning this training class, Thera had informed the guards of what exercises she would be running and which nights. There was very little crime in Tar Valon. Much of that had to do with the Aes Sedai, few men would cross them openly, and the rest came from the studiousness of the tower Guards. Any suspicious activity was quickly put down, and Thera had not wanted any of her students to get scooped up for skulking around the streets after dark.


Coming from the opposite end of the alley she was hidden in she heard soft footfalls. Putting her hand on her belt knife she listened intently, she had left her sword back at the Inn in which she and her students were staying, but a smart woman never took foolish chances. After only a few steps into the alley the footsteps stopped, and Thera shook her head. These trainee’s still had a lot to learn. Walking on the balls of her feet she ghosted down the alley and grabbed her young student before he could make it back out into the street.


“Go back to the Inn and wait. We will discuss your mistakes when I get back with the rest of your class” The young man flinched, even though Thera had tried to make her voice mellow, many of her students were still too in awe of a female warrior to hear anything but insults in her rebukes.


She moved a few streets over and set to waiting on the rest of her class…..


Thera Trakelyn


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Of all of the training excercises that Rekinu had been involved in, this was by far the oddest of them all. When they had arrived for the class in the morning, Thera Trakelyn had simply informed them that they would be working on City trainaing, and to come that night. She had further outlined the scope of the exercise, and then informed them that they were to work alone, but to search for her. Their task was to find her before she found them. After explaining everything, she dismissed them to prepare for the night.


This is my kind of activity! Though Rekinu. Though searching for someone to catch them, or to get them was not something he had done before, his life in Shol Arbela taught him quickly how to avoid the other street rats, and how best to get away silently when discovered by... less savory people. Getting ready for the night, Rekinu went over his equipment. He was at a loss of what to bring, due to never having equipment before, but he opted to leave his heavier clothing, though it would be cold. He selected his tightest fitting pants, and a loose shirt, both lightweight. Shol Arbela was much further north than Tar Valon, so he was comfortable with not having more. After that, he opted on taking with him a coil of rope, and his knife. They would be working in dark alleys, and it was best to be prepared with a weapon of some sort!


Having a couple of hours to spare, and there not being any rules against it, Rekinu decided to wander around the chosen area during the day to scope it out. He guessed that most of the students would be wandering around towards the beginning, and that they would be all fired up to be the first to find the instructor, so he decided to find a food place to hole up until the wandering people lessened. Having someone else go for Thera at the same time as him would NOT do at all. After some searching, and rejecting all of the locations he had found as unsuitable, he found an Inn with an overhand over the side of its chimney. it would be higher than any light in the area, and would be perfect for him to use to be hidden for a time. After another half hour of searching, it was decided. The inn was the best location that was high enough to give him a view of what was going on.




That night, at the time, Rekinu walked with a few of the other trainees toward the target zone, before splitting off. He darted into an alley, and followed it to the other side of the section. It would not do to be followed or have his spot located by anyone, secrecy was the key here. Rising up the back of the inn, he scrambled quietly for the top. He had removed his shoes, and his feet soon remembered their dexterity, and he arrived at the top with some minimal noise. Rounding the chimney, he entered the little cove, and noted with satisfaction that the chimney was quite warm. It helped to drive away the chill of the evening, and reminded him of his formet life, sleeping on the side of a bakery. In fact, it even smelled like the Inn keeper or his wife were baking some this evening! He breathed in deeply, sighing. He allowed him a moment to remember those times with a small bit of nostalgia, before shaking his head. He needed to stay alert, and watch. There were about ten other students, and he could see two sneaking by at any given moment. He decided that he would wait until there were none for a full holding of his breath.




An hour later, he was ready. The number of students had thinned considerably, but there were still a few stalking about. Rekinu went down the back of the inn, and dropped to the ground lightly, rolling to the side, to make himself flush with the wall. He waited to ensure that he had not disturbed the guests that were in the room before continuing on his way.


As he snuck around, prowling, he tried to think of where Thera would have hidden, or where he would have hidden if he were trying to be discovered, yet hidden. An alley would be best... the most secure position. So he started to search each one, eventually he would find her, or maybe she would find him...


A short time later, he decided that rising up on the roof's might be a more fruitful way of searching. As he was looking, he saw her! She was moving in an alleyway, probably tracking someone. Rekinu went for it! He slunk foreward, ready to jump down, when he stepped on a stick. *SNAP* He flinched, knowing that it was lost. Thera whirled around, he weapon whipping out faster than Rekinu could blink. "Thank the Light!" Rekinu thought. She didn't look upwards, and he beat a hasty retreat, moving to the other side of the building, dropping off the edge as fast as he could. He rolled rolled to the side, coming to his feet in a run, heading down the opposite direction than Thera had been heading. trying to get out of where she might look for him. Coming around the corner, he melted into the shadows, speeding off. Coming to a halt, at the end of the building, he rested his hands on his knees. He was now fueled with the desire to catch her unawares, he knew that he could do it, if there were no light forsaken twigs in the way!


Trying again, he circled back, coming up to the alleyway a second time. He kept his breathing shallow and even, though his heart was racing. He waited long enough to ensure that Thera was still in the alleyway, before rolling forward into the alley way, sprinting toward her position.

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One by one Thera’s students fell. It was not that they were inept. Many were quite skilled with their weapons, were passable woodsmen and trackers, but searching for someone in a city was an entirely different beast. In the wilderness you could be the only man for miles, but in a city, especially one as large as Tar Valon you could hardly take two steps without bumping into another body. Thera had tried to give them some advantage by holding their first lesson while the rest of the Island slept, but even that had not been enough.


The brunt of what she would strive to teach them over the next several nights was how to assess situations and decide who was a threat, it was an essential skill in surviving in a city.


Having found her last student Thera pulled up the hood of her cloak and made the short walk back to the Inn. The plump Innkeeper gave Thera a knowing smile and handed her a mug of warmed cider as she made her way to the private dining room he’d set aside. She had been teaching this class several times a year for the last 5 years and every time Thera entered alone. The old man knew that all her students would fail this first night, he often joked with her that the first time one of her students found her it would be time to hang up her sword and come work for him.


“I guess I get to keep my sword Master Thanen, you will have to look elsewhere for a new serving girl.” As she entered the small private dining room Thera wiped the smile from her face, and gave her students a very level look.


“Had this been your only test you all would have failed, luckily for you this is only the beginning of what you will learn from me.”


Thera was known as a strict task Mistress, but those students who worked hard would often come to learn that she had a gentler side. As if on cue three plump older serving women bustled in setting down trays piled high with smoked meats, and plump potatoes, and warm crusty bread.


“While we eat I want each of you to tell me what you expect to gain from this class, as well as what mistakes you made this evening.”


Settling down at the head of the table Thera filled her plate and waited to see which of her students would step up first.

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When he had dashed into the alleyway, Thera had been waiting... somehow she had gotten behind him... Now he was waiting with the others for the last student to arrive. He did, and sat down with the others. 'At least I wasn't the first to get found' Rekinu though grimly. 'I didn't do so well either...'


After a time, Thera came in, with a strait face. Telling them that they had all failed, she mentioned that she wanted them to talk about what they had done wrong while they ate.


Thinking a minute, Rekinu rose to his feet, bowing slightly to Thera once he was positioned correctly. "I would like to go first" He said. At her nod of approval, he continued, raising a finger on his right hand with each sentence. "I was slow in starting my search. Once I started it, I was non-committal about my approach. Once I started my first approach, I was non-observant about my surroundings. Upon my second approach, I didn't verify things were the way I had thought they were supposed to have been"


Thinking about it a little while longer, he nodded. Yes, those were his major mistakes, though she probably would voice a few more once he was done. She always did. Thera was a hard person to please, but that didn't stop Rekinu from trying to cover his bases as well as he thought that he could have.


"Those are my main mistakes" Rekinu said clenching his right hand. He then sat down, and waited for the next student. Besides the food on the table had such an amazing aroma that he could not focus on other things anyway.

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Torvus rushed with some of the other trainees at the beginning of the exercise, trying to find Thera on the streets. However, it was cold out, and as he was unfamiliar with this part of the city, Torvus knew he stuck out like a sore thumb.


He briefly considered trying to go for the rooftops and get a better vantage point, but it was freezing out, and he hadn't brought anything to climb. He paused to think. Where might Thera be? If she was any person of sense, she wouldn't be out on the streets; practically no one was out on the streets at this time of night because of the cold, they were mostly holed inside in their houses.


While Torvus briefly considered searching houses, that might not be taken well by the residents, and he doubted that Thera would risk getting complaints to the Tower about barging into people's homes while they were sleeping. So that left. . . the inns!


Torvus quickly hurried to the nearest inn, and decided to pass the night in style. He ordered a mug of ale with something strong in it for the cold, and since he finished that quickly, he ordered another one. He was going to sit down to wait, and so he started to head over to a corner that would give him a good vantage point to be able to see anything that was going on.


He did that for a while, noting the flow into the inn, and that very few people were leaving. He heard the innkeeper complain about rats again. Apparently there was one scuffling about on the roof, he was saying. Torvus heard a few loud scrapes. A rather big rat, he thought. Perhaps it was something else, or perhaps it was a trainee! Or even Thera!(ooc: this is them hearing Rekinu on the roof! LOL)


Torvus got up, too curious to stay put and investigate. He felt the cold draft of the door opening, shivered, and thought better of it. He turned back to the bar to order another drink. But before he was handed the mug of steaming hot liquid, a hand tapped him on the shoulder.


"Found you, trainee," said Thera Trakelyn. Torvus struggled to say something, and then growled in annoyance.


"Yes, you found me," he agreed disappointed with himself. If he had only been in position over by his seat, he would have seen her first! He reached for the drink, but the Mistress slapped his arm.


"That's for me, right?" she asked, or rather demanded. Torvus gritted his teeth, but he even had to admit that was funny.


"Why, sure, Mistress Thera," he conceded with as blank a look as he could manage, though it probably was less than enthusiastic. At least she wasn't ruthlessly chiding him for drinking "on the job", at least yet. It was amazing how prohibitionist some of his trainers were. What was wrong with enjoying a few drinks on a cold night?


He waited with an increasing stream of trainees coming in from out of the cold, and shared a laugh or two at how they were found out. And then Rekinu stumbled in, one of the last of them. Looked like everyone lost the first round. But perhaps that was to be expected. They then stood together to receive Thera's lesson.


At least food was part of the bargain, which helped to round out Torvus's stomach from the drinks. Though he had to eat slower than the others, or his belly would burst and the table would turn into a rather unpleasant mess. That wouldn't do, not at all.


Rekinu started by explaining what he had done wrong. Torvus nodded, somewhat interested. Rekinu sounded like he had done a decent job at sticking to a good vantage point, and had just been unlucky with the timing like he had. Torvus raised his hand.


"I might as well go next," he said. "Torvus here, and while I think I had a good strategy over all. I knew that it would be mainly only us outside, so I thought I'd blend in with what everyone else was doing, which was huddling inside from the cold. I thought I'd just wait inside and wait for Thera to come in with a trainee and "find" her then when she wasn't looking."


Torvus got some angry looks from the other trainees. Some muttered "cheater" under their breaths, but he heard them. His lips twitched, but he said nothing. Let them think what they wanted; the game didn't require they stay outside, now did it? He continued with his explanation.


"However, I was not patient enough to stick to the plan and got curious when I heard a commotion outside. And then I turned my back to the door," though Torvus did not explain that he was ordering a drink, which might anger other trainees even further. It was best to be diplomatic with this sort of thing. "Which was where Thera came in. So. . .stick to your strategy if it's a good one, and don't turn your back to the entrance and exit of a place or you could get surprised. Did I make any other mistakes, Thera?" he asked her. He didn't think he had, but perhaps the trainer would have some sort of perspective.



-glad he didn't waste his time outside

Edited by Visar Falmaien
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Settling into her meal Thera refrained from comment, while her trainee’s listed out their mistakes. Most were judicious and honest in admitting their faults; though she could tell for some it was harder than others. Ego was a common problem among trainees in the White Tower; among the Tower Guards and Warders as well. When you were the best of the best, and trained by warriors who were known world wide to be the most dangerous it was hard to keep your swollen head in check. It was for that reason that Thera was always so critical of her trainee’s. They needed someone to push them to be their best, and someone who would force them to go on when they didn’t believe they could. It was an effective training method, though it often led to bitter feelings once they were no longer in her charge. Sadly Thera did not have too many friends among her former students.


Once everyone had finished their meals, and the spiced wine and cheeses had been brought Thera responded to their first lesson.


“By and large I was pleased.” Taking a sip of her wine she hid the small smile that appeared on her lips. “Though I do have just a few general comments. Torvus was correct when he said that you need to stick to your chosen course of action, second guessing yourself is a surefire way to get yourself hurt. Though you must also be ready to change your plans as circumstances change; which they often do.”


Thera hated to lecture, but there were a few things they needed to know before their next lesson. “I believe that it is easier to learn to survive in the Wilderness than in the City. The skill sets that are needed are much different. A flint and steal can save your life in the woods, though it is very little use in the city. Unless of course you intend to commit an arson.” Standing up to stretch her legs Thera pulled out her pipe and went over to the fire to use a twig to light it. “Your best weapons are your eyes, ears, and your ability to blend in. Your time as a Tower Guard or Warder may see you to many different lands and you will need to be able to disappear in any of them. I had asked you all to pack what clothes you thought you would need for survival. Tomorrow at first light I want you to don those clothes and set to blending in. Tomorrow our little game is harder, and the rolls reversed. All you have to do is to avoid me until dinner. At which time we can meet back here.”


Many of the students looked a bit surprised, but each of these exercises built up to the final test. It was a hunt that sent them through the city to rescue an “Aes Sedai”, they would have to use all the skills they had learned to make sure their Aes Sedai survived a night in the City. “Before you all retire for the evening I would ask that you spend a little time on one of the following activities.” She gestured to the basket by the fireplace. It contained books on strategy, a few games of stones, and blacksmith puzzles. It was important that these students learned to be weapons, but they would need their brains as well as their weapons to survive.


Thera Trakelyn

Pleased with her students


Post about your chosen activity for the night, as well as your adventures in avoiding Thera in the crowded city.

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It was a simple enough exercise Tris thought... really just an elaborate game of hide and seek he thought and oh how niave he was.


Tris set out behind his friends Torvus and Rekinu early in the exercise trying to buy time to think the prospect threw. He had only packed two medium length belt knives on either hip and a length of rope for climbing. He wore stout dappled gray woolens that where fairly quiet and warm being as the night had a dense chill about it.


As the exercise continued Tris Grimm split away from the main group he had a briliant idea on how to find Mistress Thera. He would use a techinique he had picked up when he wanted to slip away from the local bullys of his home town. He would always walk in the crowd and blend with groups of people (easy enough if you look as if you belong there). So Tris set out ghosting his way into a group of men who where heading towards an inn.


He relized quickly that his plan was going to lose steam...the streets where to empty to blend into the crowd!!


"What to do what to do?", Tris thought to himself, "I need to follow behind a trainee wait for Mistress Thera to catch them and effectivly use them as bait."


Nodding to himself Tris set out to his duties. He tried to get in position behind one after another recruit but each time the opportunity came and past with another disgruntled recruit returing to the inn and Thera Trakelyn ghosting away into the pitch black of night.


Tris saw that Torvus was caught by Thera now it was down to Rekinu, one new recruit and Tris. Tris felt his best bet would be to follow the new recruit being as Rekinu was far better at street survival than the new recruit (plus Tris wanted Rekinu to do as good if not better than Tris)... the young recruit stumbled as Thera seemed to rise up out of the shadows in the middle of the street!!


Dumbfounded the new recruit started heading back to the inn... at this moment as Thera turned the corner into a street Tris bolted to suprise her from behind. When he stepped onto the street he shouted "I got yo.....!??" He stopped midsentence... she had vanished into thin air! Just then Tris felt a tap on his back wheeling around he saw Mistress Thera with a wry grin on her face. She nodded and Tris bowed his head in respect before bolting off to the inn.


Mentally chastising himself Tris arrived at the inn around the same time as Rekinu. After hearing both Torvus and Rekinu give their speeches on what they did wrong Tris decided he should go next.


Rising to his feet he said, "My main mistake was not surveying my surroundings and the walking blindly into a ambush. I should have known better than to suspect that you would be distracted by catching one recruit and for underestamating you Mistress I am deeply sorry." Satisfied with that humbling answer the young Grimm nodded to himself and sat down.


Tris Grimm

-Tired, cold, and hoping his friend Torvus will play stones tonight

Edited by SwordSworn
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After the others had taken turns talking about their mishaps, Thera went on to say some more. “I believe that it is easier to learn to survive in the Wilderness than in the City. The skill sets that are needed are much different. A flint and steal can save your life in the woods, though it is very little use in the city. Unless of course you intend to commit an arson. Your best weapons are your eyes, ears, and your ability to blend in. Your time as a Tower Guard or Warder may see you to many different lands and you will need to be able to disappear in any of them. I had asked you all to pack what clothes you thought you would need for survival. Tomorrow at first light I want you to don those clothes and set to blending in. Tomorrow our little game is harder, and the rolls reversed. All you have to do is to avoid me until dinner. At which time we can meet back here.”


Rekinu was surprised. He had supposed that the next day they would repeat the activity, in order to try to put into practice things that they had learned tonight, but she was the teacher of course!


Thera ended the conversation offering a basket of things for them to spend their night on, and the motioning to them to come and pick something. As many of the students pressed forward to get their activity, Rekinu waited until the throng had calmed to take his turn. When he got there, it took him some time to decide, as there were many choices. Most of the others were busy with their games and puzzles, so he decided to pick something that was for a single person. Rekinu knew that he was not good with books, but he selected an imposing book on Small Battle Strategy, and a blacksmith puzzle as well for good measure.


After going to a corner, Rekinu looked over the book. It certifiably was a big one! The biggest he had ever held, though that meant nothing as he had not done a whole lot of reading. He remembered his time as a hired hand with the merchant train, one of the others had taught him how to read, even lending him a book or two from time to time for him to practice on.


It was slow reading, but he selected a portion on how to face a small group of opponents, and how to make the appropriate responses based upon their decisions. It took him a better portion of the evening, but finally he finished it. He set the book aside, before rubbing his eyes vigorously. After retrieving a drink, he turned to the puzzle. It was an intricate piece of work, and it took him better than an hour to figure out how to get it off, and then another 10-15 minutes to get it back together. Streatching as he rose, he got up to put away his things and head to bed. Some of the other students had already headed to bed, but there were a few that remained up, working on their games of stones, and a couple had started a game of dice as well. Rekinu headed to his assigned room, to hit the sack, sinking greatfully into the bed. It had been a long day, and he needed to be his best for the next day.





The next morning found Rekinu already in the streets. He knew that hiding all day would be out of the question, however, he was used to crowds. He was nimble enough to move in them without causing any concern, but now, due to his training, he was also able to move much faster. As he started, he moved about freely. It was not very busy, and he was confident that he would be able to be prepared for anything with the throng as slow as it was. As the day wore on, he grew more cautious, and more alert. The crowds gained in number, as did the possibility that Thera was near. This was much more harrowing than the previous assignment, as everyone was suspect. Rekinu had heard about Thera's abilities to conceal herself, and that she was a master at disguise. He saw Thera once, and quickly got away. He wasn't sure if she had been trailing him or not, but he wasn't going to stick around to find out!


Hours later, It was late evening. Rekinu was sore, and tired of worrying about everyone being an informant for Thera IF they were not Thera themselves.






He melted into the shadows again, to go around the block, and she was there yet again. It was late evening, and Rekinu knew that his time was up yet again. However, as he trudged back to the inn, he knew that he had done relatively well. When he got back, he was going to wait for Thera to arrive as well, but his stomach got the better of him. As he ate, he picked up the book from the day before, and started searching in it to see if there was a section that was about sneaking, or remaining hidden.


Rekinu Alasayaar,

tired trainee

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