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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

And Lo and Behold...~Gillie~


ashara
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Springtime.

 

The first flowers had turned out but recently, their colours fresh, each scent more powerful than the first. Rain was an occasional visitor dressed most often in gray clouds, sprinkles here and there appearing almost in welcome of the new season. Birds flocked to the skies, each chirp and song sounding just a bit more mellifluous than possible. For Tar Valon, it meant yet another bout of prosperity- laughter swirled through every corner of the street, rare and common fruits both were arriving in cartloads and trade went on with the usual bustle and bargains. Most of all though, people seemed content. Happy.

 

The first days of the New Year in the Tower meant hope for everyone. For the Novices it brought the idea of Raisings and crossing through the silver Arches, but more than that, it meant being relieved of the chores that they had been pressured with for so long now. The white clad girls seemed just a little happier to her, the smiles appearing more often, the arrogance and tension that had once been, just a little more faded. But perhaps that was what spring did to one’s perspective: It bettered things. For her, Vera, it was her third year of Acceptedhood, the banded hem one she had grown used to and yet something that urged her only to push herself further. As her friend Sasha had told her, life was…blooming. There was really no other word for it- no better description for the way it was turning out; quite like the petals of the rose before her, she found herself thinking as she clipped the rose just a little more until she was satisfied.

 

Today was her first free day in a while. And one, she thought as she rose smoothly from her wooden chair, not to be wasted. Nervously she eyed the thin envelope before her, doubtful still about picking it up. To do…or not to do, that was the question. She had written the letter to her father a week ago, the rough sketches of the letter still lying in her desk, nothing more than crushed balls of paper. It had been with a lot of pressure and pleas that she had found out anything about him through her mother and to give up now and rip the letter….it would be stupid, yes, but it would also be safe. Who knew what her father was really like? Her mother was a good woman, with fair judgement and yet she spoke of him as if he was vile. Or rather, didn’t speak about him at all. Ignorance it seemed was bliss only to a certain extent. Beyond that, you had dreams and wild imaginings that made you want to go past the safe little box you had become so comfortable in. Think beyond, Telcia had once told her. Light, she was trying to. It was purely sudden impulse that made her turn around. Her hand reaching out, she clasped it….

 

Rain had given the weather a weak but pleasant breeze that sailed gently through the streets, raising the hem of a dress here, covering someone’s face with hair there- Vera found herself enjoying it thoroughly, raising her arms slightly as if to touch it. But no. First there was work, then pleasure. Priorities, she thought with a small sigh, letting her arms fall. It occurred to her suddenly as she stared at the envelope that she had no idea how to ‘send’ letters outside the means of the Tower. Quickly, her footsteps came to a stop. She would simply ask then, she told herself reassuringly. Lack of knowledge couldn’t stop her. People looked at her a little uncertainly, suspicious glances coming her way in a razor sharp manner. It was only when she saw the Tower Guard uniform on a man that she decided to move, walking quickly towards his back. “Excuse me,†she started, “I need some help.â€

 

~Vera

As simple as they come

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‘What time is it?’

 

The thought was distant and no more than a whisper as it called to Gillie from the other side of the Void. His rapier’s blade moved in a slow, circling motion along with his ever changing stance. Going from high to low then to a guard, swiftly changing back to the constant moving of his sword, he practiced The Creeper Embraces the Oak.

 

He had finished the nights watch and left the east gate at dawn, heading to the yard in hopes of working out the stiffness of his muscles. On his short journey from the gate to the yard, he had briefly reflected on how much things had changed over the last three years. Once, Gillie had been a very well known Tower Guard, a favorite at the taverns, and a regular sparring partner in the yards. He had come to the Tower on his seventeenth birthday in hopes of becoming a Warder.

 

Now, years later, all he had managed to do was become a Tower Guard. After graduating from the status of Tower Trainee, he had taken on his own students and had found a great deal of satisfaction in being a mentor. Yet, as time slowly passed, he felt a deep and fierce longing to fulfill his promise of becoming a Warder. He had wanted to put to use all his training and become the ring of steel around an Aes’ Sedai.

 

Then… he had fallen in love. Though, the Wheel had other plans for his life, Gillie’s love was torn from his arms in mid-embrace.

 

‘I can still feel her touch… just like the breeze…’ He tried to push the thoughts away and focus on his forms. Even in the Void trying to stop thinking about the warmth of her kiss, so much like the sun’s first ray of light, was proving to be impossible.

 

The Void shattered at the prolonged vision of his lost love consumed his mind. Stopping in mid-form, he went from standing like a tense beast of prey ready to spring into an attack, to a crumpled piece of parchment.

 

“Dame…†Gillie murmured to himself as he slowly sank to his knees. Sheathing his blade, he held his head in his hands and tried to clear the haunting thoughts away.

 

“Even now, to this day, when I see the setting sun turn the blades of grass in our meadow crimson with its last light, it reminds me of your beautiful hair…†They had a favorite place to sit, just outside of Tar Valon. It was a field of green grass and rolling hills. An emerald ocean of land stretching out to the west, it had been the first place he had taken her on the day of their meeting.

 

Then, two years after he lost the first woman he had ever given his heart to; he met an Accepted that taught him how to feel again, to love again. He had never dreamed he would meet another woman that knew him almost better than he knew himself. Yet eventually, she to, was forced to leave him.

 

Since then Gillie had wanted nothing more than to simply be a ghost and haunt Tar Valon, just like the memories of the his two great loves did to him.

 

’ Who knew such sweet moments, my precious memories, could turn so bitter….’

 

On the outside Gillie had put up a false shield of poise and indifference. Over the last few years he had requested only to be assigned to the Towers night watch so as to be able to avoid people. If he couldn’t realize his dream, if he couldn’t fulfill his oath to become a Warder, he at least wanted to still serve the Tower in some capacity. Though his life had become a shell of its former self and he couldn’t bear to share his heart with anyone.

 

Deep down inside, part of him was still the same old charismatic shepherd from the Almoth Plain that loved nothing more than to play his flute, sing songs of the meadow, and on festive occasions to share a dance with a lovely young maid. He wanted to smile again, but somehow he had forgotten what it was like to be happy. He had lost the inspiration that had once named him Gillie, Flute of the Meadow.

 

With the absence of his free spirit, the other side of his nature had taken the dominate role in his everyday life. Tower Guards now addressed him simply as Cole. To those that never knew him in his younger days, they saw him as a silent Guard that did his job with a meticulous perfection. He was never rude to anyone, nor was he harsh in anyway when dealing with people, but everyone that saw him or talked with him could tell he was keeping part of himself distant. He had become Cole the Quiet Night Watchmen of the Tower, and everyone was content to leave him alone.

 

He felt restless and wide-awake, even after a full night of rounds and a morning of practicing the sword. A weak, but pleasant enough, breeze swept through the practice yard, stirring his cloak in a playful manor. Gillie scowled at the invisible wind.

 

“I’m in no mood for this…†he said sourly to the wind. Without warning the breeze turned into a fierce gale that swept his cloak upward, causing it to wrap around his head.

 

A stream of silent dark curses filled his mind while he untangled himself from the garment. As he worked at straitening his uniform again he idly hummed the tune to an old song called, ‘The Laughing Draft’.

 

“I dance where none else step

Turning over both tree bow and green blade

This merry march catches my hearts desire like a net

And when I bluster I can even turn back the bravest nave

For all man can do is use my breath

And though they try, me they shall never catch

 

For I am the wind

And none do I know as master

For I am the breeze

And none can run faster

For I am the storm

And my fierce howl is happy laughter…â€

 

 

Suddenly Gillie realized what he had been doing, and he stopped humming the tune. ‘How long has it been since I’ve sung?’ He was mystified by the realization that he couldn’t remember the last time he had raised his voice in song.

 

A decaying sorrow settled over him. He closed his eyes and turned his face to the damp ground, head hung low. ‘What have I become?’

 

He would have stayed there in misery all day if not for the wind. Once again the blustery breeze swirled all about him, almost pushing him forward. If Gillie didn’t know better he would have thought that the wind was trying to cheer him up, or comfort him.

 

‘That’s just silly…’

 

Yet, for some strange reason he started to feel compelled to do something he hadn’t participated in since he was a child. When he was young his mother had told him the secret of finding new things. He remembered the day vividly. He had been sitting on her lap in the sheep pastures as they were watching clouds…

 

‘Gillie, there will be times in your life when you might need to change, but you wont know how to.’ Her voice was gentle and smooth, filled with a mother’s heart and wisdom.

 

‘What kind of changes mommy?’ he hadn’t really understood what she was saying, but he smiled anyway and snuggled closer against her.

 

‘Well son, that’s just the point. You never know what the Wheel will weave, but it will always turn, and there might be a day in your life where you don’t know where the Wheel is turning, and you will feel lost.†She leaned down and kissed the top of his head.

 

‘If you ever think you’ve lost your way in the Pattern, and there seems to be nothing else that can help you, there is a secret that might give you some guidance.’

 

‘What secret mommy?’ He had turned around in her lap so he could see her face. His mother’s eyes had a distant look in them.

 

She whispered in his ear, ‘All you have to do is fallow the wind.’ Her eyes were focused on the horizon, and Gillie could see they held a soft light deep within that came from her warm spirit.

 

‘Baby… the secret is to chase the wind till you find that you’re not lost anymore...’

 

Once again the breeze swirled about him, almost pushing him forward. It rustled his long dark hair. He thought it felt like someone was running there fingers through it. ‘Just like mother used to…’

 

Without completely knowing why, Gillie started to run, leaving the practice yard at a dead sprint. He did his best to move along with the wind, fallowing the breeze wherever he felt it go. He was a tiller less ship at sea and the wind was driving him to some unknown destination.

 

Gillie ran over the bridge, quickly passing the open gate as he ran into Tar Valon. Racing along the streets, dodging people with an elegant grace born from of years of dancing and sword play, he desperately tried to catch the wind.

 

Suddenly, as he was in mid-step, the wind died away and he was left standing in the middle of the street. His mad dash had left him a little breathless.

 

“Where… to… now?†his mother had never said what to do if the wind stopped blowing before you found where it was you were going.

 

As he stood there wondering what to do next, a woman came up behind him and addressed him.

 

“Excuse me†she started, “I need some help.â€

 

Turning around, he came face to face with a young Accepted. He made a formal bow and said, “I am Tower Guard Cole, how may I be of service Accepted?â€

 

 

Tower Guard Cole

The Quiet Night Watchman

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A smooth bow met her request the instant the man turned. “I am Tower Guard Cole, how may I be of service Accepted?†There was a certain feel of importance these few, politely stated words gave her that made her smile. The man before her was tall, going even by the common standards in height, Vera knew. Grey eyes meeting dark brown briefly before she sunk into a mock curtsey to return his formal greeting, she knew she’d never encountered him before. Neither in the Tower grounds, nor in Tar Valon. Well, there was a first for everything she thought, her mood suddenly soaring. Her tones slightly hesitant as always, she spoke again, “Thankyou, Master Cole. I appreciate that very much. Since I would not have you know me as Accepted Cadsanome,†she said, her eyes twinkling with mirth, “I am Vera.â€

 

What had caused the sudden rush of humour, she did not know. Rather, she did not care much. High spirits, she’d found, were not easily bought. Better to accept than question. Or perhaps, better to accept than question now. “The thing is,†she began once more, gesturing at the letter she had been clutching so protectively, “I do not know where one is to go if one wishes to send a letter,†cheeks colouring faintly in embarrassment, she gazed at the ground as she said the next few words, eyes only rising at the last word,

 

“A letter, that is not connected with the Tower…â€

 

She felt the need to explain herself, even here, in front of a complete stranger, the only thing tying them both together, the only common factor being none other than the ominous building that had glistened in the sun for so a long a period now that it was almost as if the city of Tar Valon was bonded to the name: The White Tower. She wondered briefly what the man in front of her could do if he chose to use her choice of words against her. Trust. Yes, that was the key in this little encounter. The rope that tied everything together. She trusted, yes.

 

Did he trust in turn?

 

~Vera

The things one writes to prolong what could've been a one-lined post ;)

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‘Another Accepted… needing my help…’

 

Gillie was honored bound to assist any woman of the Tower, no matter her rank or station. Of course, Aes’ Sedai and Accepted took president over any other request. So, no matter how much he wanted to be left alone at that moment, there was nothing he could do.

 

‘Duty… Honor… Valor…’

 

The three words spun around in his mind, compelling him into service.

 

‘My life is no longer my own. I gave it to the Tower years ago.’

 

It had been a long time since he last spoke with anyone besides his fellow Guards, let alone a young woman. Gillie didn’t want the flat distant tone is his voice to offend her, but he also couldn’t force any warmth into it.

 

“Miss Vera, I am master of nothing so please, call me Cole or if you wish to be more formal, Tower Guard Cole.†His dark brown eyes were briefly caught by her misty grey gaze before he continued. “As for your letter, if you insist on using another service besides the Tower’s means of delivering messages, please fallow me…â€

 

He started walking north, down a street filled with hawkers selling their merchandise. Men and woman, trays full of the odd bobble or useful object, started calling out to him and the young woman he was with. Gillie made sure he was just one pace to Vera’s left and slightly in the front. Though her colorful banded stole should be protection enough for her in Tar Valon, he was taking no chances about her safety. In his mind, after accepting to give her aid, she was now his responsibility to protect.

 

They didn’t have a long walk from where he had first met Vera and they soon arrived at their destination. The sign above the inn’s door had a golden harp painted against a red background. Gillie had been there many times before, back when he spent ever free day playing and singing in various taverns. He remembered that the inn had been a nice place and served a decent meal. ‘I used to love hot cider they served here…’ . Brushing the flute case at his belt absentmindedly, he walked through the front door holding it open for Vera to pass through.

 

Inside, the place hadn’t changed much from how he remembered it. There were a few more tables than before, and the owner had decorated the place with a couple of old harps that probably didn’t work anymore. He led Vera to the bar and asked the serving maid there if she’d let Mr. Blunt know that an old friend of his was waiting for him.

 

It wasn’t long before a short dark skinned man wearing a red apron came through the kitchen doors. The man searched the faces of the people close to him, and when his eyes met Gillie’s there was a brief look of puzzlement.

 

“Can I help you sir?†Mr. Blunt said, caution thick in his voice.

 

“Do you know who I am?†Gillie replied with a flat even tone.

 

The man looked confused and concerned as he said, “Why no sir. Should I be knowing a Tower Guard like yourself?â€

 

‘Light… the man doesn’t even recognize me…. have I changed so much?’

 

Quietly, ever so softly, Gillie said, “Jim, I always said you wouldn’t know a good flute player even if they were close enough to bite you.†He tried forcing a smile, but it didn’t stay in place. “Don’t make me bite you Jim. I’m in no mood…â€

 

Suddenly awareness came into Jim’s eyes as he broke out in a broad grin. “No… it can’t be…â€

 

Shrugging his shoulders, Gillie simply said, “It has been a long time, hasn’t it?â€

 

Jim quickly came around the bar to stand next to Gillie. They shook hands and clasped each other on the shoulder like kinsman. “May the Light blind me, if it isn’t really you… Gillie! When I first say you, I thought you looked familiar. But that long hair you’ve got now and that scruffy beard… you look like a different person.â€

 

Jim studied Gillie’s eyes for a moment, and sadness touched the edge of his grin. “Are you a different person Gillie?â€

 

 

OOC: I’ve got more to this, but I figured I’d post this much now. I’ve got to run, but I’ll post more later tonight.

 

Tower Guard Cole

The Quiet Night Watchman

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A long silence spread between the two men.

 

Gillie had forgotten that the last time they had spoken he had been clean-shaven with neatly trimmed hair only a little past his ears. After he’d taken to the Nights Watch, he’d stopped shaving and he started to let his hair grow long. Part of the reason was because it helped keep his face warm during the Tower’s cold nights through the winter. His other reason was because he simply didn’t care anymore.

 

He looked at the long mirror behind the bar, and for the first time in a while he studied his own features… or at least what he could see of them. The image of a tall lean Tower Guard looked back from the mirror. Even beneath the beard anyone could tell he had sharp strong features, but now they were blurred by hair. Only two dark brown eyes, stone hard, looked back at him from behind a curtain of dark hair.

 

‘No wonder he didn’t recognize me… I barely recognize myself anymore…’

 

Finally Gillie said, “Jim, all men change.†His forced smile wilted, “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills…â€

 

Jim only nodded his head in understanding.

 

‘I’m sorry old friend, this is part of the reason I never came back. I didn’t want you to see this side of me…’

 

Gillie decided it was time to get on with his business. He turned and indicated the young Accepted, saying to Jim, “This young lady needs to send a letter. She wishes for it to be done discreetly and in an expedient manor.†He reached into his coat pocket and retrieved two gold coins, Tar Valon marks, and placed them in Jim’s hand. “One for your troubles and one for whoever delivers the letter.â€

 

He turned to the Accepted and said, “Miss Vera, please let Mr. Blunt know of any particular instructions you wish for him to fallow.â€

 

After Vera had spoken with Jim, the tavern keeper said to Gillie, “Were still friends, no matter what’s changed.†He pushed the two gold coins back at Gillie. “I’ll not take a single coin from a friend.â€

 

Gillie started to protest, but Jim raised a hand to forestall any argument. “Though…†Jim said, “…I will ask a favor of you.â€

 

Gillie eyed him suspiciously, but nodded his head in agreement. “I owe you that much at least. Very well, name your request and as long as it doest break any of my vows or go against the Tower, and it is within my power, by my honor I shall do whatever you ask.â€

 

A sly grin of victory spread over Jim’s mouth as he said two words that froze Gillie’s heart beat.

 

“A songâ€

 

“Jim… I… I…†Gillie stuttered and tripped over his words as he stood there in disbelief. “…you can’t mean for me… it’s been to long… I… I… haven’t… can’t… I… can’t…â€

 

Jim brushed away Gillie’s meager objections and said, “You promised on your honor! And by the Blessed Light, if you can’t sing or play a song, than no one can.†Jim rolled his eyes in frustration. “I swear you should have been a court bard instead of a Tower Guard, but here you are.†Jim squinted at him fiercely as he said, “And no matter what, you gave me your word. Even if the person I once knew as my friend transformed into a completely different man, there are two things that would never change about him.â€

 

Holding up one finger, Jim said, “One, he’d always be able to play or sing music in some form…†He raised another finger, “…and two, he’d never go back on his word.â€

 

Another long silence spread between the two men.

 

‘Duty… Honor… Valor…’

 

Once again the three words spun in his mind.

 

“As you wish Jim…†Gillie felt tense all over, like a coiled spring ready to explode. Jim only smiled and pointed over to the small stage platform near the hearth. Gillie understood and went over to the platform. Before he took his place on stage, he turned and said to Vera, “Forgive me Accepted, this will only take a moment, and then I’ll be at your service once again.â€

 

Standing upon the stage he reached down to the case at his hip and withdrew his flute. Idly he rolled the slender instrument between his fingers waiting till he could muster up the will to start playing. As he waited for inspiration he thought of his flute. It was made from white bone, and had a wave pattern carved along the sides. Cerianth Sedai, his first love, had given it to him after he had lost his old brass flute.

 

The plan and simple truth was that he still missed her.

 

‘It’s lonely without you around anymore…’

 

With that thought, he dropped the guarded wall he had raised around his heart so that he could once again reach deep within to call upon his gift, his talent for music. Finally he lifted the flute to his lips.

 

Like dried lands that drink up the first rains after a drought, Gillie’s spirit drank deep every emotion he had denied himself. Laying down the Tower Guard, his duty, all that he was, and all he had lost, Gillie just submerged himself for a moment in the music. Softly, he played a sweet melody that reminded him of green meadows and of the day so long ago when his father had abandoned his family.

 

His mother had been devastated but didn’t reach total despair. Gillie on the other hand had wondered off into the meadows, stunned, not believing what had happened. For all his mothers pleading, Gillie had just refused to leave the green fields. So, his mother decided to sit out in the meadows with him, softly singing and playing the flute to pass the time.

 

After almost two days in the meadow, she finally said, in that magnificent gentle voice she had, “My lamb, we can not undo the past. We can not control other people. We must live each day the best we can, taking the good and bad. You will not stay this way forever…†Her words had meant little to him at the time and he had refused to go back home. He remembered her small sigh, and then her kissing him on the forehead before she sang to him her special song. Her voice had been like the first stars of night, so subtle with twilight’s beauty, and then turning bright as the skies would darken.

 

‘I looked upon eyes of Brown Stone

Harder than crystal and sharp as Gray Ice

Here I found sorrow that went deeper than bone

Costly was the bitterness, gained at what price?

Words did not seem to breach the Hurting Walls

My voice was returned silent, only by echoing calls

 

So I played my flute for Deaf Ears

Knowing someone, someday, just might hear

Hoping the captive of Hurting Walls might one day abandon their tears

And face that which is Pain, seeing they can not run from Fear

For Sadness will always fallow in the end

And against Heartache, there is no way to defend

 

But I understand this Mourning Soul

For I too, once was a Wounded Spirit

Who lost a Love and became less than whole

Weeping Droplets of Forever the color Scarlet

Not knowing where my life began

Yearning for the end, to know my life’s sum and span

 

So here I’ll stand watch with you this night

These my last words without the flute

I stand with you, The Despairing, The Torn, The Contrite

Till you speak, I shall stand my vigil mute

Just know you are not alone in terms of pain and loss

Know the state your in will not redeem the loss’

 

 

She had then remained silent, not speaking until the next day when he broke down in tears, falling into her waiting arms. From that day on, she had taught him how to sing and play the flute. She had taught him so much about life; she had been his heart…

 

Gillie’s mind returned to the inn common room. A bitter thought filled him, ‘Mother… I have no heart left…’

 

It was only after he had been lost in memories that he realized he had stopped playing and people were applauding. Jim was beaming at him from across the room, his clapping the loudest of all.

 

Returning to Jim and Vera, Gillie bowed again to the young Accepted and said, “Your letter has been paid for in full and will be on its way shortly. How may I be of service to you now?â€

 

Tower Guard Cole

The Quiet Night Watchman

Once know as ‘The Flute of the Meadow’

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Cold. Light, he’s so cold.

 

A voice like polished glass responded to her mirth, the tones courteous as always, his manner of much appreciated helpfulness. And yet…she found herself straightening in surprise, the stiff words cutting through her skin, making her feel like a fool to have spoken so childishly to him. To a Tower Guard, who was clearly devoted to his duty and nothing more.

 

Why did this strike her as wrong?

 

Suspicion. An omnipresent force that made her wonder. Always made her wonder and consider and then, after that reconsider still. As she followed the man with the eyes of stone, she felt the urge to provoke him, to somehow make him seem human. For all the smooth deadly grace that he seemed to have been born with, he was stumbling through life. No more than a shadow, the distant figure who no one would bother about. There was no colour in him….neither in his face, in his icelike gaze and most of all in those dull polite tones that urged her to do something. It was when she curled her fist in the need of taking action that she remembered the letter she was clutching. It came like a tight slap of the past on her face, making her colour slightly in her frustration. Smooth…she must be smooth. Again she pictured her face in her mind’s eye, evening out the creases silently so that all that was left was a mask. How she hated it sometimes. Whether on herself, or on others, she thought, staring hard at the Tower Guard’s back.

 

A golden harp on a well crafted board met her eyes before she stepped into the inn. It was a certain amount of control she inflicted upon herself that prevented her from looking back to glance at him. Was he ‘guarding’ her? Stiffening slightly as she dismissed the idea, she slowed down slightly so that he could take the lead. Suddenly, she felt more aware: eyes and whispers made their way to her ears and back- perhaps she should’ve worn a cloak. But then again, perhaps she shouldn’t have. The inn ‘Cole’ had led her to was a reasonably popular one she noted, with its fair share of prosperity and willing customers. Exactly how an inn should be, she found herself thinking. Delicately structured harps draped the surroundings with elegance and it was these she studied while she waited beside him. It was only when the summoned Mr. Blunt appeared that Vera turned away from them. Everything about the man, from the wary look in his eyes to his shuffle of walk defined the word caution. Or better yet, she thought with a slightly bitter smile, Suspicion. Irony had taunted her world for many a day now; it would not do to ignore it while it stood fluttering in the wind before her like a red flag.

 

From her ring of hesitance and caution, Vera watched the scene unravel before her almost as if she was peeking through the curtains that lined the inn’s windows. Lowering her head, she smoothened the lines on her dress, wanting badly to appear disinterested and yet, wanting even more badly to know who the man beside her was, with his even tones and masked face. Behind waves of chestnut hair, she strained her ears: “Don’t make me bite you Jim. I’m in no mood…†Was he ever in ‘the’ mood? Perhaps he had once been, she acknowledged as she noted the surprise in the other man’s tone, the disbelief that ringed his voice so clearly and the bitterness that was so poorly concealed in Cole’s. Cole’s- Light, she wish she knew his name.

 

The next turn the day took was a pleasant one in comparison with the grim mood that had layered the previous few minutes. It was with a flash of warmth that she watched the two men shake hands and she smiled slightly as they began to talk. Only slightly though, for once again, she was struck by the tower he had built around himself- it had become him. Merged so that none would be able to tell the difference. It was there in his posture, in his polite tones, in his words but most of all….most of all it was there in his eyes. “This young lady needs to send a letter. She wishes for it to be done discreetly and in an expedient manor.†Inclining her head in greeting, she smiled politely at Jim as he returned the greeting, his eyes resting last on the ring on her hand. Vera was about to protest when she noticed the money Cole had endowed on Mr. Blunt, only to be silenced by a look given to her by Jim, the expression explanatory enough. Briefly she stated the details concerning the letter and it was all the warmth she could muster that she finished her last thanks to him.

 

“I’ll not take a single coin from a friend.â€

 

For a fleeting second Jim Blunt directed his eyes at Vera, almost as if saying: See? There you go. Warming slightly to the man, she watched in perfect silence and thus, Cole and Jim had found themselves the perfect audience. As Cole opened his mouth, just like Vera had done for the very opposite, he too fell silent before the other man. …“…I will ask a favor of you….†She tilted her head slightly towards the left as she watched the two men, only now, there was more than curiousity about the past- there was apprehension about the future. The Tower Guard must’ve felt it himself, for his tones contained more emotion than she had heard before, even if it was only caution that his voice bore.

 

“A song.â€

 

With those two simple words, she found the Tower Guard transform. His posture changed completely, straightening in surprise as he stuttered a reply. It tugged slightly at her heart as she watched his face turn a shade grayer than before- could this not have been her, but a few years ago, under slightly different circumstances? Shayna would’ve easily fit the role of Mr. Blunt, with her glittering eyes and ever to twist comments. Shayna. If only she had been here….she for one, would not have shied away from dealing with men and masks of ice. Knowing Shayna, she would’ve figured him out in the first few minutes of communication. Men liked Shayna, Vera remembered. And more importantly, she thought with a grin, Shayna had liked men. “Forgive me Accepted, this will only take a moment, and then I’ll be at your service once again.†The words came out of nowhere, or so it seemed to Vera as she was tugged back to reality. Nodding, she silently willed the man to understand that it was nothing; that she wanted to see this song crier.

 

 

He started off with a soft lilting tune that made Vera think of morning zephyrs and the mist that hung around the Tower gardens before Dawn, while the sun was still creeping in from beyond the horizon. It changed quickly enough though, with a certain smoothness and subtlety to it that Vera knew no amateur could achieve. It made her want to paint, to sit alone through night and day only to be able to express the notes that held and fell with quick succession. Pain. Colour. Loss. Life. In quiet desperation she skimmed through the pages of the notebook she had carried for so long now, until finally she reached an unused page. With a steady hand, she began to etch the contours of a man’s face…

 

Applause greeted the song’s end and the Tower Guard smiled before he left the small stage until once more, he was the wall. A graceful bow was presented to her and once more the courteous tones slipped by her, a little more expressive than before? She wished. “Walk with me,†she said quietly as she rose to leave, thanking Jim once more before she turned. On the inside, she felt a little unsteady, a little unsure about what it was she wanted to say. For a few minutes they continued to walk in silence and it was only when they reached a few benches that she gestured for him to stop and sit. Slightly shakily she skimmed through the pages of the notebook she had opened but a few seconds ago until it reached a man’s face. His face, infact.

 

“Who…who are you? And who is this man?â€

 

She knew he understood. The question was whether he’d admit that he did.

 

~Vera

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In the span of a breath, Gillie assumed the Void. He floated within the protective shield, his emotions burned to nothingness in the Flame.

 

The memories his song had resurrected had brought him too much pain. He had spent the better part of his life at the Tower working to overcome his physical limits and forge his body into a living weapon. ‘I needed to become as cold and hard as the blade at my hip so I’d be able to overcome any pain…’ Though, no matter how hard he trained, he couldn’t keep his heart from being hurt.

 

There was an old saying that was more riddle than proverb, ‘Though its guarded in a room with no doors, it’s the easiest thing someone can still steal from you…’

 

‘Yes, so it is…’ The old saying rang truer than ever for him, ‘…the heart is the weakest part of me.’

 

A bitter laugh bounced off the Void’s shield. It cried, ‘You have no heart, remember?’

 

Gillie fallowed the Accepted, content to just be fulfilling his duty. Most likely this would be the closed he’d ever be to guarding a woman from the tower, let alone an Aes’ Sedai. Though, he didn’t fallow her for long. Soon he found himself sitting beside Vera on some random bench in one of the many resting spots throughout Tar Valon.

 

Before Gillie could even wonder what it was they were doing there, Vera handed him a small notebook. Upon it was the image of man’s face. Even though it was a simple sketch he was still able to see that the man appeared to be full of life, both the wonders and sorrows of it were reflected in his features.

 

Surprise rebounded off the Void as Gillie saw that the picture was a portrait of himself. ‘It’s me… but… not as I am now… but how I once was…’

 

Vera said, “Who… who are you? And who is this man?â€

 

Without hesitation he said, “I am Tower Guard Cole, a Disciple of the Balance Discipline, one that walks the Path of the Blade, and known as the Warrior of the Last Breath. I am sworn to the White Tower, my life is not my own.â€

 

He was about to say, ‘And this other man has long been dead and buried…’ but that wasn’t the truth. His other side wasn’t completely gone if she was able to see that image of him as he had played the flute.

 

Since first coming to the Tower he had split his personality in two. He made one side of himself driven by duty, sworn to the Tower. That part of him became unwavering in any task, committed on through to the end, no matter what the cost. A perfectionist, he strove for his best, not settling for anything less than excellence. As a Tower Guard he started living in the Void as long as he could, becoming almost mechanical, and always consumed with being perfect. ‘It was the only way to become strong. I had to separate myself from feelings, I had to stop caring. There are things a Tower Guard must do that are not for the weak of heart…’

 

The second side he created in himself was a carefree former shepherd that loved nothing more than dancing and playing his flute. There was a time in his life when everyone knew of his excellent singing voice and skilled flute playing. He had always been one with a smile and kind word, enjoying life in all its facets. Gillie, Flute of the Meadow, had lived each moment to the fullest. ‘I was almost too fragile for the world as the flute playing shepherd…. I was just as compassionate as my mother and grandmother had raised me to be… that was almost another lifetime ago…’

 

Finally he looked Vera in the eyes and said, “That man is a ghost… he’s a fleeting spirit that haunts me whenever I’m not careful.â€

 

He turned away from her and said in a quite voice, “He was once known as the Flute of the Meadow… but no more…â€

 

A deep silence grew between them…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…After long drawn-out minutes, Gillie said, “What would you have of me Accepted?â€

 

 

Tower Guard Cole

The Quiet Night Watchman

Once know as ‘The Flute of the Meadow

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React. React I say.

 

Her will was directed to the man beside her, all her strength and focus bent on shattering the mask that was settled so perfectly on his face. For so long now that too. Too long, from the looks of it. She found herself flushed, her own mask being successfully lost between melody and a hot white anger that was desperate to aggravate. Her hands were pressing into the back of her notebook and she had the strong urge to submit to Saidar. Not that it would come right now, she knew well. Not in her current state. Light, she had never known she could be so easily provoked herself. That too, unintentionally. How would she ever be Aes Sedai if she reacted so easily? Light, she would not even come close to passing the test. Serene. She was supposed to be serene.

 

No, she was no Aes Sedai as yet.

 

“I am Tower Guard Cole, a Disciple of the Balance Discipline, one that walks the Path of the Blade, and known as the Warrior of the Last Breath. I am sworn to the White Tower, my life is not my own.†She could strike him now, she thought listlessly. As hard a slap as there’d ever be. Had she ever slapped anyone? Silence greeted her, both in reality and in her mind. And she disliked it….I am sworn to the White Tower….yes, she knew those words. She related to those words. Had she not heard them herself, but a few years ago from the Amyrlin? Not to mention from a dozen other Sisters. It had been a while since she’d last of her journey through the Arches. Then again, it had been a while since she’d found herself in such a state.

 

“That man is a ghost… he’s a fleeting spirit that haunts me whenever I’m not careful.â€

 

There. She had got what she was looking for. A recognition that there was someone else inside him. Vera fixed her eyes on his face, watching for the smallest change in expression, for the most subtle of creases. She was about to open her mouth and finally say all that she had weighed down by now only to hear him speak once more- this time it was a softer tone and one in which she could almost hear the pain he had blanketed so well. “He was once known as the Flute of the Meadow… but no more…†Loss: a tangle roaming inside her right now, tightening itself quicker and quicker. Loss over Shayna. Loss over Elyssa. Loss over her mother. Was this not the very emotion that haunted the Tower Guard’s words? Covered them in layers so well that even he with his glassy voice and stony eyes could not hide from it.

 

The silence that stretched between the two of them for the next few minutes should’ve been one of contemplation, reconstruction, recollection….anything that meant calmly thinking out what lay before her. Serenity. She would never be serene. Not truthfully so, at any rate. Instead, things went exactly the way they usually went; straight down the road they should never have been on. Her mind was like a piece of string that had been unraveling for so long now, it was to snap. Anger, frustration, impulse, pain- they ruled. They controlled. Somewhere deep in her subconscious was embedded relief that came with these emotions; had they not come, she would’ve been meek yet again. She would’ve thanked him and bid him farewell.

 

Perhaps like she should?

 

Raising her face yet again, she stared hard at him, her eyes glittering with apparent fury as she heard him speak. I dare you to react. I dare you to. She smiled politely at him, a little surprised that she could still do so- Nyssa had taught her well. “I would probably like you to jump into a pond of the most ice-cold water just to see if it would shatter the mask on your face. But that, is just the truth.†Sighing she tried to calm herself before continuing, “Let go. Please, let go. Where did the Flute of the Meadow go?â€

 

React. React I say.

 

~Vera

and she doesn't even know his name ;)

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“This is no mask Miss Vera, it is simply my face. No amount of cold water would shatter it. In fact, I’m quite sure it would just become harder…†His voice was distant and just as cold as the water she suggested he jump into.

 

For the second time that day a strong breeze swept through the streets of Tar Valon. Again the wind blew past Gillie, swirling about him in a playful manor, rustling his hair, and almost gently pushing him towards the young Accepted seated beside him. The memory of his mother’s voice whispered in his mind,

 

‘…all you have to do is fallow the wind…’

 

For some reason beyond his comprehension, he decided to heed the words of his mother, and give the Accepted what she wanted. ‘She says “Let go†like it’s as simple as snapping my fingers to undo the steel bands I’ve forged around myself. I don’t know if I can ever ‘let go’ again.’ The Void shuddered and he was almost overcome by the despair and frustration that raged against the barrier. ‘Though, if she wants to know what became of the Flute of the Meadow, I’ll give her the tale…’

 

His voice was quite as he spoke facing strait ahead, but the wind carried every word to Vera’s ear.

 

“He was wounded… this man… the Flute of the Meadow.†He hid behind the thick walls of the Void as the words spilled from his mouth. Though they sounded frosty and passionless, each one was difficult for him to speak.

 

“He was injured… here…†Gillie tapped his chest to indicate his heart, his spirit. “…deep inside where no one could heal it.â€

 

He shrugged his shoulders in an offhand manor; “The man had never been strong there,†again Gillie tapped his chest. “He knew this and set to trying to fix the problem. He studied and worked hard to get rid of the weakness…†Gillie remembered the years of training under The Path of the Blade. They were hard days of endless physical and mental discipline. He had learned how to drink in the physical pain and shut his mind to emotions. It had been bitter at first, but in the end he had gotten what he needed to. He had started to become a weapon.

 

“The man was ridding himself of all the things that connected him to human emotions. He had need of the kind of strength that can only come from not being able to feel anything, and he sought it as some men seek gold.†‘…and I become rich in that strength…’

 

“He did all this because he had vowed an unbreakable oath, and in his current state he was unable to fulfill that promise. He had been willing to sacrifice everything he had, all that he had been and was, to fulfill that promise… to pay for his debt…â€

 

Gillie paused, lost in remembrance. In his minds eye he could still see his grandmother, she was laying on her deathbed, her life almost gone forever. Then the Aes’ Sedai had come…

 

‘ “It will be a day or two before your grandmother wakes. Healing takes a lot of energy.†The Aes’ Sedai said in a warm voice. Gillie wept openly right there and then. He kneeled down before the Aes’ Sedi and said, “I will serve you however you wish, I am yours….†The Aes Sedi laughed and declined his offer as she left the room. Though, her tall male friend lingered a moment and said, “If you wish to repay her, be loyal to the White Tower. When anyone speaks ill of it, defend it with what happened today.†Then he fallowed her out of the room. Later Gillie realized the man was a Warder. It was that day he gave himself to the Tower, promising to become a Warder that guarded Aes’ Sedai just like the one that healed his grandmother.

 

“Then a day came when the man met a woman that changed his thinking. She told him that he could still fulfill his promise, and keep the emotions he had been desperately trying to get rid of. In her presence he became his old self, a former shepherd of the Almoth Plain that was carefree as a cloud and as free spirited as the wind.†Gillie’s throat tightened at the remembrance of Cerianth and her red gold hair shimmering in the light of dusk as they stood at her balcony… and kissed.

 

“They fell in love…†Gillie tapped his chest again as he continued, “That was the first wound. Not that their love had injured him, but rather the removal of it. She…†He couldn’t bear it inside and the Void trembled. ‘Light!! I must not think about it!!’

 

He quickly gained control of his feelings and burned them in the Flame of his mind, brining the Void back into balance. “…she was torn from him and they never saw each other again.â€

 

A distant voice wept bitterly outside the Void, ‘Rest in peace my love…’

 

“With her, for a brief moment the man had been happy,â€

 

‘Before coming to the Tower, I was happy in my old life… watching the flocks, playing the flute, sitting with my mother and grandmother and just talking.’

 

“His love had given him back his flute, transforming him back into the Flute of the Meadow.†Literally, Cerianth had given him a new flute. It was the very same flute he had played that day.

 

“Yet, with his love now gone, the man went back to the way he had been before. He threw away his heart and filled the empty space with nothingness…â€

 

‘It was the only thing I could do! Without Cerianth, I had lost the will to live…’

 

“Years passed and he was unable to heal the hurt inside. The Flute of the Meadow never stopped thinking about his lost love, but over time he found the determination to forge ahead in life, dedicated to keeping his promise. Somehow, he was able to still play his flute and continue working on becoming stronger. He had found a balance between his mad search for strength and his gentler side.â€

 

‘It felt like I was dieing on the inside without her, but she had given me the means to live on… if only for a while…’

 

“Again, the Wheel weaves as it wills, and it brought a young woman into the man’s life…†She was an Accepted. ‘Just like you Vera…’

 

“She was much like his first love, but this young woman was going to be the means through which he was finally going to be able to fulfill his life time promise.â€

 

‘Milagia… we were promised to each other. I was to be your Warder…I had been so close…’

 

“This young woman’s part in his life was much like that of his first lost love…†Gillie struck his chest with force, making a dull thud sound. “That was the second wound. The man had dared to hope again, for the second time in his life, just to have it crumble in his hands and turn to ash in his mouth.â€

 

Gillie finally faced Vera, his dark brown eyes devoid of any life. “The man’s heart was weak to start with, and he was lucky to have survived one fatal blow there. But, two?†Gillie shook his head, “Two fatal injuries there is more than any man may hope to survive. He lost his heart, his love, his balance, and then his flute.â€

 

He stood up from the bench; his back rigged and strait as he faced away from Vera. “The man once called ‘The Flute of the Meadow’ is dead… or close enough to it. Take my advice Accepted, it ‘s best if you forgot that name and left wondering ghost alone…â€

 

Tower Guard Cole

The Quiet Night Watchman

Once know as ‘The Flute of the Meadow’

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ice.

 

His words cut through her, making her press her nails just a little deeper into her skin as she made an effort to maintain the patient expression she had on. Each hard word felt like a tight slap to her; What are you doing here? Do you actually think you can ‘heal’ this man? Perhaps the way the Yellows had healed you? From somewhere not so far away from the surface of her mind these questions had come, biting down on the thin fierce thread of belief that was newly planted in her heart. A long, malicious silence filled the air as they sat there, both equally bitter and perhaps, just as fierce?

 

 

“He was wounded… this man… the Flute of the Meadow.â€

 

Hope was a ripple of little force in the sea of her mind; an incandescent wire that she coiled around her and tightened as she waited for him to continue. Head tilted every so slightly as was her usual habit, she waited. As he began to narrate his…the man’s tale colours flashed before her mind’s eye, the picture slowly being formed as the details rose from his lips. For a moment or two she savoured the irony that came with the choice of tone in the Tower Guard’s case: the harshest frost for the most painful story. “And he sought it as some men seek gold.â€And then tied it to him, never letting go. It is quite interesting really, she observed, how absorbed one may get with another’s tale-whether fiction or otherwise-she had found that you became a part of it.

 

A quiet.

 

For the first time since he had began his tale, she looked straight at him, on the verge of questioning the silence- had emotion finally slipped past the wall of ice?-only to stop herself and look away after a few seconds. The man was elsewhere, she had realized when she had looked into his eyes, his gaze lost in a glen of memories. The past. It haunts everyone, stalking them as if it was woven into each silhouette, each shadow. It was at this point that Vera came to understand the desperation with which she was trying to help him; there was a certain recognition she found herself looking upon in his walls of ice…she was almost looking at herself. Yes, that was it. She shivered as she remembered the first days of her Novitiate. She had been called…crazy, yes? Bordering on insanity if you preferred the formal statement. It was then when Vera’d come to believe that in their own ways and manners, all people were a little deranged. But then, there had been Telcia….

 

“They fell in love…â€

 

Love. She wished she was in love at times. People who spoke of it made her feel like she was sitting around in the dark, with a door shutting her away from this phenomenon. Occasionally she felt like she was missing out on something the way some of her friends had gone on. Gushing, yes, they had been gushing. And then again there had been other girls who had blushed slightly and said little. But there had always been one thing all of them had in common- the luster their eyes took on. That shine that Vera, to this day, had never quite got in her paintings.

 

“…she was torn from him and they never saw each other again.†Why was it that it was always the most precious, most loved of people that were taken away from us? She thought of her sister, the usual sting with the imprinted memory coming like a sweet rush. Perhaps this was nothing other than dramatic irony? Perhaps. She had realized over time that these were things the world thrived on: drama and of course, irony. It was felt in every little corner, somehow or the other. Even putting aside stories of such bittersweet nature such as hers and the Tower Guard’s, it was felt in every discreet cascade of her environment. A side-long glance brought her enough to support this….it was not really unlike the time she had sat with Nyssa as the ways of Daes Dae’mar were shown to her. On the street before them rose and fell a mass of colours, whether of people or of their minds- they were of variety.

 

The little girl with the flaxen hair and rosy cheeks, sitting armed with her little toy, was watching the woman-her sister if Vera was not mistaken-who was but a little away from her, flowers filling her surroundings. The rosy cheeks and large brown eyes with their prettiness could not hide the jealousy depicted on that face which was directed towards her sister, the flower girl. And while the little girl was drawing affectionate glances from passerbys for her cute pout or the redness of her cheeks, the flower girl had stiffened and had appeared a little more engrossed in her work.

 

 

Did he see also? Turning back to him it was with simple acceptance that she took in the stone wall. He was just that rigid in his ways. “Somehow, he was able to still play his flute and continue working on becoming stronger.†Strength. It was a virtue that everyone was running behind, if of different natures. So long she had struggled to find the strength and patience to reach behind her blindness, behind her disability to find the colour in words. It had never been hard to give into misty vision and a burning throat. She remembered that all too clearly- that and the need to make sure the other girls didn’t notice. A wave of warmth passed over her as she found herself looking back into her first meeting with a girl who had noticed. It had been one of the better days, she remembered.

 

It was with a lot of frustration and sympathy that Vera took in the next words. What did one say to a tale like this, she wondered uncomfortably? Would it be right to say “I’m sorry†to a man like the one beside her? Would it not however, be wrong for her to remain silent? “Two fatal injuries there is more than any man may hope to survive. He lost his heart, his love, his balance, and then his flute.†Lunging at the words that had come to her in reply, she listened on to the bitter man with a constrained patience. Surprise streaked her vision as she watched him rise briskly from the bench, the hint before her one of obvious nature. But now, she would not take it.

 

“He is dead,†she started, looking straight at him, “Only because you let him be so. Life will test you-to some life is only a test-would you have it so to let him be now, after the amount you have strived?â€

 

She paused and then tried one last time.

 

“Would the women the Wheel had once brought you to have wanted you in such a state? Would they have wanted the man they had loved to be nothing more than a fading shadow? The fact that this ghost is still there…what do you think it means?â€

 

 

~Vera

I'm just a fading white flower...

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‘I don’t know what they would have wanted… their gone now… and I am left all alone…’

 

The Void shook violently and slowly he started to lose his grip on the emotionless world. Pain and sorrow seeped back into the old wounds that scarred his soul. Agony awakened anew in his heart at the memory of the two women he had shared his life with.

 

His protective walls had fallen and he no longer held back his feelings. Gillie loosed the chains that had bound his spirit and was once again as free as the wild breeze of the meadow.

 

Moments ago his voice had been nothing but dull formal tones and lifeless words, now it resonated with intensity. Each breath was filled with tenderness and anguish. It was the voice of a broken man.

 

“Why do you care anyway Vera? What do you know about life being a ‘test’?†Gillie turned back to the Accepted with eyes that could no longer shed tears, but longed to weep.

 

“Who have you ever loved more than yourself? Who would you give your own life for without a second thought?â€

 

He walked back to where she sat on the bench. Taking her hands in his, he gently pulled her up to her feet so their faces were barely inches apart.

 

“I gave up my life three times. Once for my grandmother I gave myself to the White Tower. The second time was for Cerianth who only asked that I love her. The third time was for Milagia who asked me to protect her.†Bitterness etched each word as he spoke.

 

“I failed them all Vera. That’s what life has tested me with. Each time I lost a piece of my heart and a part of me died. That’s what it means to truly love another. I sacrificed everything for that love, and I am not sorry for it.â€

 

Gillie’s hands trembled. “If I could live through it again, I wouldn’t change anything. I did what I had to. I do not hide in that emotionless world because of regret, but because that is the price I paid for giving up my life.â€

 

‘I’m just not strong enough to live with the pain, so I tried to destroy everything in me that could feel the hurt of loneliness. I didn’t care if it destroyed my humanity if it let me continue on without the pain…’

 

He started to laugh, but it was not the laughter of joy. It was the sad and horrible laughter that comes from seeing the irony in life and its cruelty.

 

“Not all of my heart is dead and that is why the ghost of my former self still haunts me. Can you guess why I know I still have a heart Vera?â€

 

Gillie didn’t wait for her answer and continued on.

 

“I know I still have a heart… because it hurts.â€

 

Turning away from the young Accepted, he continued his laughter as he started to walk away…

 

Gillie~

Man of Sorrows

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And then, there was satisfaction.

 

It was the perfect line, Vera felt, as she saw the man before her turn from grey and emotionless to the fire-eyed figure who was in front her now. The Tower Guard who she had compared to ice just a while back was now changed; he was angry, anguished but most of all….he was himself. Intensity brought emphasis on his words that made her ache and suddenly it was she who adopted the path of Ice. After all, no Aes Sedai would be seen colouring furiously and screaming in reply? Light, how she hated them sometimes. It was however, when he began to accuse her that the mask began to slip, slowly….subtlely…but failing it was. She had found through time and experience that biting her nails down on the palms of her hands had been a useful escape and it was the sudden warmth that she felt between her fingers that made her open them slightly. Blood. Not much, but enough to have her wondering for just how long it had been that she had been focusing her strength on her palms. As if she needed any more drama, she thought a little bitterly. It was like they were in a play.

 

“What do you know about life being a ‘test’?â€

 

The first slap.

 

“Who have you ever loved more than yourself?â€

 

Control. She must always maintain control. Calmly, she dug into her palms a little harder.

 

 

“Who would you give your own life for without a second thought?†Oh, if only you knew. Before she had a chance to retaliate, she was up on her feet, her hands in his grasp. Grey eyes met the intense brown with a sheet of ice that barely concealed the panic that lay wrapped inside. In a half-second of idle thought, she thought of how strange they must look…..how ironic it was that she had been doing the same a few minutes ago. Yes, this was satisfaction…..that left a taste in one’s mouth. A bitter taste. As his words circled her mind, she grasped the names, pronouncing them in her mind in wonder if she had ever heard the names. Vera wished she could distance herself from this world…..this man so that she think, for just a little period but it was not to be. Not when she had provoked and outraged- nay-she would now feel the outcome. …..That’s what it means to truly love another. I sacrificed everything for that love, and I am not sorry for it….He was talking to her as if she was a child, she realized. A child who had according to him bit into something much too big for her, she thought bitterly. And maybe she was nothing more than the child he was treating her like- her cheeks had slowly turned a delicate shade of red, her eyes barely veiling the defiance that roared inside. Weak. In front of the true test, she had broken and weakened.

 

“I know I still have a heart… because it hurts.â€

 

His laughter rang in her ears as he walked away slowly becoming a parting of the city rush. He would be lost soon, in that crowd. He would be lost and she would not find him because she was weak…..it was so much easier to sit down and think, contemplate and consider defeat as her own. Come, let us embrace. She cooed it softly towards to no one in particular as she felt the colour seep through her. Sitting down, she wondered what Shayna would’ve done. Oh, Shayna! The fool, she muttered. Hitching her skirts a little above her ankles, she broke into a run, not pausing to wonder who indeed she had been meaning.

 

He could not have gone very far…Her eyes sweeped the crowds and eyes that met her vision and eerily enough, none of them seemed very friendly….not even the pretty ones. Especially not the pretty ones, actually. Colours vivid and dull greeted her eyes tauntingly as if saying, ‘You are not going to find him’. Fly........fly! Ignoring the glances, she pushed herself a little faster.

 

It was but a few corners away that she found him, strolling almost pleasantly to the idle eye. Curses ran through her mind of a quick and intense nature as she streaked through the crowd and tapped his back, too out of breath to do more. Not pausing to see his reaction, she broke into a fast string of words, that was barely coherent…even for her.

 

“You said you know your heart was there because it hurts. Well, hurt it will Master Cole….’twill hurt much longer though if you keep it buried…,†she paused to catch breath and continued almost immediately when she saw he was about to protest-“Please! Every wound needs to heal.†Slowly, she opened her slightly bloodied hand, letting the drops fall onto the ground, “And every wound will heal, no matter how long the time duration…no matter how heavy the price.â€

 

And all this time, the crowds swirled past them, almost....oblivious.

 

~Vera

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He thought abut what Vera had just said. Her words were simple and honest as they washed over him with a subtle passion. Now that his feelings were unbound, the emotions he felt were threatening to sweep him away in their currents. He had burned up his frustration and was now left with hollow sadness, and everything Vera said only added to his pain.

 

“I lost control of my words, and they were harsh.†He apologized to the young Accepted. Though what he said had been true, she was not the cause of his pain, and she hadn’t deserved the tongue lashing he had given her.

 

He took one look at her hands and sighed, ‘Milagia cut herself on my sword once when she tried to prove something to me. Why do woman I come in contact with always end up bleeding over something I said?’

 

He quickly tore his left sleeve off and ripped the white cloth into strips. ‘Cerianth had been a Yellow Sister. She taught me a lot about the binding of peoples wounds… but she never showed me how to heal myself…’

 

Without her permission, he took Vera’s hands and swiftly wrapped them in his makeshift bandages. The cuts weren’t deep, but he would not have them become infected. ‘She may have provoked me, but I am responsible for my own actions.’

 

Looking into her grey eyes, he said, “I told you earlier not to call me Master Cole, for I am master of nothing.†A soft smile crept onto his lips. “But it seems you can not call me ‘Cole’ either, for the Tower Guard you met this morning isn’t here anymore.â€

 

He took her arm in his and led her down the street. He intended to take her to the nearest inn and ask for some real bandages and some soap to clean the wounds on her palms.

 

“Vera, you can call me Gillie… I was once known as the Flute of the Meadow…â€

 

Gillie~

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And she had thought it was women who were considered unpredictable. It was only by exerting a lot of pressure on herself that she managed not to look taken aback. Vera had never been one for ever changing moods- once she had dipped into one, she would float in it for a while, tasting, testing, settling. She accepted his apology almost numbly, still unsure about how to drift so quickly into this wave of joy. He for one wasn’t finding it hard; the man before her had changed more still and even in her state of reluctance she could see it was for the better. She remembered abruptly how often she had found herself in the same situation with her sister- Shayna, starting to laugh would playfully pull her hair or embrace her while she, Vera, attempted to sulk or remain in her stolid anger.

 

She could not help but smile slightly though, as she watched him bandage her moist skin. His hands were swift and rather skilled, she noted, as if they worked with experience...how many times had he had to do this before? “I told you earlier not to call me Master Cole, for I am master of nothing.†She raised her head in surprise, ready to attack him only to notice the humour in his dark brown eyes and was thus reduced to nothing more than a warm smile. “But it seems you can not call me ‘Cole’ either, for the Tower Guard you met this morning isn’t here anymore.†Perhaps then, she had helped him after all? No, no, that was not it- he had helped himself.

 

Vera had never had much interaction with men but being lead by the arm now, by a man who had changed dramatically in the past hour or so, was interesting. Looking around she wondered what people must think if they-anyone actually, had been watching them with the halfhearted interest of those who have nothing better to do. What must they think of us? Lovers perhaps? Lovers who had encountered an intense argument, she thought, grinning wryly. And to think she wasn’t even sure about whether anyone was watching….

 

Upon hearing his name, she tilted her head in a slightly birdlike manner to look at him. Laughing softly as she thought of how very different their conduct had been to each other a few minutes ago, she replied mockingly, if a little shyly: “Well, it is very nice to meet you Gillie. I met a man who looked like you just a few minutes ago…you just missed him.â€

 

~Vera

Well, 13 replies are bound to lead to such drastic mood changes. ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

They quickly made their way to the closets inn. A thick wooden sign hung over the door. The image of a bird in flight had been painted on the wood in bright blue. Gillie took a moment to appreciate the artistry and care that had obviously been taken into creating the inn’s sign. It was obvious that the quality was above average and he wondered if the rest of the inn would be as beautiful.

 

Gillie led Vera through the front door and into the common room. The floors were freshly swept and the air was lightly fragranced with what smelled like rose-petal water. All the tables in the dining area were made of a fantastic oak that had been polished till they gleamed. Everywhere Gillie looked he saw nothing but finely crafted objects that had been well taken care of. The place was so clean and immaculate that he started to doubt that it was actually an inn at all.

 

They had only been standing in the room for a moment before a young serving girl wearing a light blue apron came out from the kitchens. She saw them and immediately made her way to where Gillie and Vera were waiting.

 

Bowing the young girl said, “How may I help you good sir and miss?â€

 

‘Even the staff is unusually well mannered. Though…’ Gillie thought it was odd that she hadn’t offered him drinks or food first. The young girl had, if in a round about way, asked to know why they were there without giving the slightest hint of offence or offering them any hospitality.

 

’Smart girl this one. I wonder what this place really is.’

 

He decided that it didn’t matter what the places truly was, but that he was able to tend to Vera’s hands.

 

Gillie returned the bow and said, “We are not here for simple needs or pleasantries. I’m Tower Guard Gillie Cole, and at the moment I am in need of a pitcher filled with clean warm water, a washbasin, a bar of soap, fresh strips of linen for bandages, and some clean towels. This young woman I am with is an Accepted at the White Tower and she has a minor injury that needs attending to.â€

 

He thought the blunt honest truth would serve best in this situation. Obviously this inn was not an ordinary establishment, and while he would investigate its strangeness later, Gillie wanted to first attend to Vera.

 

The serving girl hid her surprise well but her eyes did seem a little bigger as she said, “Of course sir, I will have everything you asked for ready as soon as I can. Please, sit anywhere you like and I’ll be right back…â€

 

True to her word, the serving girl had everything ready and on their table within a couple minutes. Gillie thanked her as he dropped two silver coins into her hand. “Perhaps we could also bother you for a pot of tea?†The girl nodded her head and left them once again.

 

Turning back to Vera, he said, “Let me see your hands again…†He slowly removed the pieces of his torn shirt from around her hands. The makeshift bandages stuck slightly when he pulled them off because the blood had already started to clot.

 

“Sorry if that stung, but it couldn’t be helped…â€

 

To take her mind off from what he was doing, Gillie started to softly sing. His mother and grandmother used to sing this song to him before he went to bed. Even now, Gillie thought he could hear there voices in harmony with his own,

 

“Little lamb that I love

So sweet are your dreams

Little one that I protect

Think of the wonders you’ve seen

The day had dawned bright

Not a cloud for blue skies

Sparkling meadows, what a glorious green sight

As the wind blew the grass, like the seas mighty tiedâ€

 

The cuts on her palm were not deep, but they were slightly curved in a half-moon shape. Vera’s nails were sharp enough to dig flesh fairly well. As he examined her hands he was relieved to see that the cuts would not leave bad scars. He poured the warm water over her hands and cleaned her palms, dabbing away the blood with one of the towels. Gently, Gillie took the soap and began to wash the cuts in earnest with soap and more water.

 

“Little heart that I hold

Sleep sound this long night

Little soul so pure and bold

Know I’m near you tonight

Now the stars burn in a landscape of true dark

And the moon, great warden of night, watches us all

So fear not the fears that little lambs do, my dear heart

For guarding you and I, is the Good Shepherd and creator of allâ€

 

Once the cuts had been cleaned and her hands dried, Gillie took a small clay gar from his belt pouch. The little jar held a paste of crushed and stewed dock leaves, Gray moss, four Sapphire stems, and Masura root that would ease the stinging pain. It was a simple ointment that Cerianth had taught him how to make and that he had used countless times over the years.

 

He covered each cut with the paste and then started to re-bandage Vera’s hands with the clean strips of linen.

 

Gillie turned her hands over to make sure they were wrapped properly and then finally said, “There, it’s finished.â€

 

He took the liberty and poured Vera a cup of tea from the kettle the serving girl had just left. Smiling at the young Accepted he placed the warm cup in her freshly bandages hands.

 

“Now that your hurts are taken care of, it is time for me to also look after something I’ve let go for to long. If you will excuse me for a moment…â€

 

Gillie went to the bar where the serving girl was waiting. He slid three more coins across the countertop and said, “I thank you for all you’ve done, but I’d ask your aid in just one more thing…â€

 

After talking with the girl for a little while, she nodded her head in agreement and led him into the kitchen.

 

 

When Gillie returned to where Vera was sitting he looked the part of a completely changed man. His shoulder length hair had been trimmed to hang slightly below his ears and his beard was gone. The girl had even found a clean forest green shirt for him to wear.

 

For the first time in over a year he looked like the man he once was… if only on the outside.

 

While his heart was still shattered into a thousand pieces, the grin he gave Vera was bright and genuine.

 

‘It’s been a while since I was able to smile…’

 

He poured himself a cup of tea and they sat together in the common room in a blissful silence. Earlier they had both spoken words which had drained their spirits and it felt good to simply enjoy each others company in quiet. They both needed a little respite from conversation before they started down the long road of getting to know each other better.

 

When the pot of tea was all gone, Gillie finally broke the silence and said, “It would seem that I am still at your service Vera.†He laughed and corrected himself, “…or as you put it earlier, ‘the man that looked like me’ was still at your service before he so rudely left. This means that I must continue from where he left off.â€

 

Gillie~

‘A smile and happy heart are like flowers. Both burst open with vibrant life and color to fill the world with beauty and joy. Yet, in the breath of a day they begin to fade and will soon die, never to shine in this world again.’

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  • 2 weeks later...

The setting had changed to peaceful and lulling. It was as if a great wave had rolled over the two of them with an influence so great that its dampness left them tranquil. Although they walked down the streets in silence, there was a certain comfort that had eased into place between them, allowing them respite. And while Vera was at peace, she was surprised as well, for whatever tension and revelations that had occurred previously, Gillie Cole was still very much a stranger.

 

The chosen inn was one, Vera strongly felt, created almost entirely to be appreciated by every single pair of eyes that crossed paths with it. A light perfume tickled her senses as they entered the inn, the sheer organization of things making her realize that they had entered Tar Valon’s very best. The people sitting around were of a quiet, polite manner, and dressed well. Personally, it felt all too proper to be a real inn for her. There were no loud rude bursts of laughter, no mugs of…anything anywhere and no coy staffage. It was a lovely place, she would give them that, but it was also a place she would have to return to better dressed the next time. It was not like she had missed the doubt that had flickered in the girl’s eyes as Gillie introduced them- and yet she was polite. In any other inn, the waitress would have instantly looked her up and down with apparent doubt. A little hesitantly, Vera lowered her defences. She told Gillie once more that it was unnecessary for him to be taking the trouble, but she knew-certainly by now- that he was not going to back down. It made her, for all the protests she had first made, pleased. A secret unfolding of happiness that someone would put in so much effort for something for… her. And still, she was only registering, only trying to understand the change the Tower Guard beside her had undergone. Blinking slightly when he apologised, she drew herself back to the present world.

 

It was just then that a lilting tone reached her ears, the melody soft and sweet. Startled, if pleasantly so, Vera continued to look at her hands as she watched them being cared for. Not one for heavy moisturising or beauty care, her hands were almost always stained with dabs of paint and ink marks. She suddenly noticed that Gillie was singing in rhythm with his work. The song’s rise and fall was tied to what he was attending to. Sheer gratitude in multitudinous amounts flowed through Vera as she noted this small, yet extremely thoughtful action. Awkward as she felt being cared for so, she could not help being lost in his song and voice. It did make her wonder so…

 

“There, it’s finished.â€

 

Was it strange that she was disappointed that he had spoken and that it had indeed, been done with? The songs would haunt her, she knew now. For a moment she wondered what in the name of Light had just happened, but almost instantly she knew that was not what she should be worried about now. Live, for the moment alone. Someone had told her that so many years ago now that she could barely remember the person’s voice or the person’s face, but remember her words she did.

 

“Now that your hurts are taken care of, it is time for me to also look after something I’ve let go for to long. If you will excuse me for a moment…â€

 

Thanking him softly once again, she found a small smile playing on her lips. Waves of warmth roamed in and around her as she took comfort in the deeply delicate inn. For the first time, she looked around as she waited for him to return. Head drooping slightly so that her hair was cover her eyes as she had done so many times before, she began to observe. And found her original observations to be quite wrong. Or just different. There certainly was life in the place. For the man and woman who she had found so immaculately mannered and well dressed were now having a heated discussion, their eyes locked, their bodies leaning forward towards each other. The young woman who had first greeted them had disappeared with Gillie to leave an older, more commanding woman in her place. She was middle aged, but Vera had not seen many women outside the Tower with so commanding a presence. Of a striking appearance, with her bold nose and large ice blue eyes, Vera found herself mortified when the woman looked her way and found Vera looking at her. More disturbingly, she could not turn away. Frozen as she was, the woman seemed the very opposite of her, wrapped in a shawl of calm and authority. It was just then that she felt a tap on her shoulder and slight as it was, it made her want to jump up in surprise.

 

Whatever fear, connection, shock Vera had felt a few moments ago, it changed so rapidly that she was not sure what quite happened, she just knew that it took her by sheer…

 

Had it not been for the fact that she had just spent a very intense hour by the man’s side, thus having his face and his emotions wrought into her mind terribly well, she knew that she would not have recognized him. Clean shaved and with new attire, Gillie Cole had changed not only in manner and thought, but in voice and appearance. It was a sheepish smile that contained such warmth that she could not help smiling back with as much feeling. From the corner of her eye, Vera glanced at the innkeeper, only to find her smiling slightly, as if immensely pleased with herself. Colour and colour and joy and then yet again colour. She was soaring. For while they were sitting together in silence, she had rarely been so content. So serene. Would anyone think they were the same pair that had fought and grappled and dismissed down to towards the left of the inn? For Light’s sake, they were drinking tea together.

 

Laughing when she heard what he said, she replied merrily, eyes glinting beneath the light. “Could we perhaps change it from service to…company?â€

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His smile brightened. “As you wish Vera, I am no longer at your service.â€

 

Gillie noticed that he was not the only one with a changed attitude sitting at the table. The young Accepted he had helped earlier was quite different from the woman that was sitting across from him. Now, as he looked into her gray eyes alight with merry content, he was almost able to forget the fierce anger that had burned behind them just an hour ago.

 

‘Those are the eyes of young woman that has seen to much ugliness in the world, yet still has the innocence to believe that nothing worse lies ahead. It’s a hard road she’s chosen for herself. Being an Aes’ Sedai is difficult and dangerous, and its just as harsh a life living in the Tower among other Sisters as it is trying to live among the rest of the world…’

 

Just then Gillie felt older than his years. He had spent the last ten years in service to the White Tower and he knew how it always had a way of changing anyone that spent enough time beneath the long shadow it cast. During that time he had lived among hundreds of Tower Guards, Warders, Novices, Accepted, and Aes’ Sedai. Gillie knew all to well the way those people lived, how they were slowly transformed from the person they once were into something completely different. It was the way of life at the Tower and as much as Gillie disliked it, all this time he had been trying to fallow that course.

 

‘I am too weak as simple Gillie the former shepherd. Even now, as I walk again in my old self, I feel helpless against the horrors that the Wheel weaves into the world. What good are a flute and a song against such atrocities? With the jaded eyes of the Tower I’ve grown to see how things really are in life. But… still… it feels so wrong… there must be another way to become strong without giving up innocence… without sacrificing one’s heart…’

 

Somehow living in servitude to the Tower always aged a person, even if that age didn’t appear on the face, it forever showed in their eyes.

 

‘How have my eyes changed since I first laid down my shepherd’s crook? What have I become since then? I’m no longer the shepherd I once was… nor am I the Tower Guard I’ve been trying to become… so what am I?’

 

“Truly… it’s been a very long time since I’ve had the pleasure of a young woman’s company.†His laugh was soft and held only a little bitterness. “And, I’m quite sure; it’s been even longer since anyone’s enjoyed my presence. But, what little company I can offer is yours for the taking Vera.â€

 

Gillie felt like he owed her a great debt. While she hadn’t shown him any new revelation to how he should live, Vera had helped push him in the right direction. What she had done, the words she had said, pressed Gillie toward facing the problems he had simple been trying to forget and leave alone. Those problems had been like some horrible infection of the spirit that was eating away his very soul, until that day he had simply been letting it run is course. All the while as it went unchecked, the pain was destroying him.

 

Vera’s actions, whether intentional or not, had caused him to finally stop hiding in his sorrow and look to righting the wrongs in his life. Even if he didn’t know what to begin with, it was a start.

 

‘…and I owe it to this young Accepted sitting across from me…’

 

“I’d like to thank you Vera. I don’t know why you acted the way you did today, but I’m glad for what you’ve done.â€

 

The sincerity in his voice and eyes was as true and clear as any sunrise. “You’ll be a great Aes’ Sedai if you care about everyone you meet like you did for me today. You’ll be an Aes’ Sedai worthy of the respect she is given...†He was gladdened by the thought that maybe one day this headstrong and nosey girl might be able to help influence the world like she had done for him that day.

 

Gillie~

Remembering what its like to be alive…

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  • 2 weeks later...

“I’d like to thank you Vera. I don’t know why you acted the way you did today, but I’m glad for what you’ve done.â€

 

Abrupt as it was, she found she was not entirely startled by this statement. It was in fact, just the sort of thing she could imagine Gillie Cole saying to someone, even when, his gratitude should be directed completely to…himself. She smiled slightly as he continued to speak, for rather than the words touching her, it was the feeling with Gillie spoke that she savoured and would do so when she would be looking back some day. There were few memories Vera had of just a pleasant, calming setting and passionately stated niceties. And even though this was also not one of those, it was a beginning.

 

Studying the table cloth, she pushed back a few strands of hair, her lopsided smile present as it always was when she found herself awkward and yet, happy.

 

“You and I both know,†she said a little gravely, “that I did nothing but act like a schoolgirl with too much curiosity today.†Looking up from the table, her eyes pools of grey defence, she went on, a little quicker this time. “It was all you.â€

 

Stirring her tea, she went on, sincere and grave and yet, more childlike than before.

 

“You could have done this on your own Gillie. Any day. You didn’t really need an overly-annoyingly so maybe?- interested Accepted to hound you.†Smiling much more widely, she eyed the tapestry on the wall behind Gillie with questionable interest before having the last say once more. “It would’ve saved a lot of effort, on both parts.â€

 

Just then, a warm little tune coiled around the room, the tone brave, defensive. Turning to look up this sound, she found a small raised setting in a corner and there sat two men, on the verge of heading into deep melody. A few people cheered slightly, while others still applauded. It was obvious at any rate, that these were no new comers. Not to the world of music, certainly. Thin, skilfully plucked strings lilted a colourful tune as the player cocked his head one way as his greeting to the audience. The flute player broke out in a faster tune and suddenly it seemed that they were competing against each other. Each melody coming a little faster than the first. What struck her though was not the constant increase in pace- it was the grace with which they would transition.

 

A sidelong glance brought her to Gillie’s face.While she did note that he was enjoying himself, what she really studied was how different he looked. How very changed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

‘Am I so truly changed, or is this just temporary?’

 

Gillie found himself at an impasse. On one hand he was still suffering from the effects of the last year and on the other hand he had a small piece of his old self back. He was not completely of the past or of the present. Even though he had regained his smile and was able to lay down the Tower Guard for a moment, he knew he needed something more to sustain him.

 

While this was a good beginning, Gillie still couldn’t help but look ahead and wonder what the next days would be like. To continue on with his duties at the Tower he would have to enter the Void again, he would have to become an unfeeling pillar of loneliness that didn’t care about anyone or thing except for duty.

 

‘The bonds of duty bind tighter than any steel chain…’

 

At the moment he found happiness in the simplicity of sitting next to a fair young woman and listening to the harmonies of beautiful music.

 

‘But I can’t live in this moment forever…’

 

As the musicians played their songs, all of which Gillie knew by heart, he turned his eyes to Vera again and said, “You give yourself far too little credit Vera. Honestly…â€

 

He called over to the serving girl and asked for some parchment and, if they had any available, some red ink. The young girl said that she would bring them immediately. This only furthered Gillie’s suspicions that he wasn’t sitting in any ordinary tavern.

 

‘What tavern carries red ink on a daily basis?’ It was a question he fully intended to ponder later, but at the present he had more important things to think about.

 

He smiled again and shrugged his shoulders, “Vera, you might not believe that you helped me today, but trust me when I tell you that you really did.â€

 

The serving girl brought him the paper and ink he had requested. Gillie thanked her and set about folding the parchment into various ways. He unsheathed his belt knife and made a few small cuts in the paper and then continued to fold it in a particular pattern. While he worked he told Vera a little bit about his past.

 

“I was a shepherd once. My grandfather taught me everything about running the farm and working our trade, but it was my mother and grandmother that really raised me and gave me their wisdom. Unfortunately I inherited my grandfather’s stubbornness, as you can testify to after seeing me today.†Gillie gave her a playful wink before going back to work on his paper creation.

 

“But my saving grace is that I was given my grandmothers kind spirit and my mother’s heart… It shames me that I tried to purge myself of them, but I did what I thought was best. Even though I hated my grandfather for all his brutal ways and callused heart, I respected his abilities. If he didn’t loathe Aes’ Sedai, he would make a great Warder. In him, duty was always paramount.â€

 

It was then, in that instant, Gillie realized what he had really been doing over the past years. Whenever he entered the Void and became Tower Guard Cole, what he was truly becoming was the twin image of his grandfather.

 

He never stopped to think why he had tried so hard to live outside of emotions. It was always the course that seemed to make the most sense. Gillie still recognized his grandfather as an authority figure and as someone that was able to do his job with self-detached efficiency.

 

When he first came to the Tower all the men and women he met were like that. They shrouded themselves in a cold exterior and didn’t seem to care about anything. It was then that Gillie first knew he wasn’t strong enough. He knew he wasn’t as strong as his grandfather and all the people at the Tower seemed to be just like him. So, he had made a subconscious decision to become more like them… more like his grandfather.

 

‘I’ve become the man I hated most…’

 

The revelation was appalling, but he accepted it with quite disgrace.

 

‘So be it…’

 

Clearing his throat he tried to cover up his momentary dismay and continue on with what he had been saying.

 

“My mother was gentile and wise. She once told me to fight harder and strive more for those things which are hopeless in life. She never believed in lost causes. She taught me to always look for hope.â€

 

Gillie brushed the edges of the paper he had been folding with the red ink. He twirled it between his thumb and index finger to dry the damp red edges. Soon he was finished and held in his hand a perfect paper rose. It was another one of the small things his mother had taught him.

 

‘“A rose for all the beauty of life and red for the determination we need to live it…†That is what she always said when she made one of these…’

 

Gillie gave Vera the paper rose and said, “I guess I had forgotten that lesson until I met you today Vera. Life is beautiful, but we need determination to thrive…â€

 

‘I won’t forget again… I promise you mother… by the Light I’ll become a better man than grandfather… I’ll become better than all the rest here at the Tower as well…â€

 

A new song began; a lovely dancing tune. Inspired by the events of the day, Gillie thought he would once again like to dance in celebration of just being alive and enjoying the moment.

 

“Vera, would you care to dance?â€

 

Gillie~

OOC: Sorry it took so long to reply… my computer is acting up again

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  • 2 weeks later...

“That sounds lovely.â€

 

And there they were, turning and twirling, but most of all, laughing. With every lively clap Vera found herself happier and slightly more ridiculous. The day had gone, from being a somnolent trip to a ‘post office’ to a whirlwind afternoon of so many twists that really, it was not so different from…a dance. Slowly, more people joint, all of them playing a unique role in the symphony that was the exuberant melody flowing through the inns. They were each their own, and at the same time, they were together.

 

Gillie Cole was possibly the best male Vera had ever danced with yet. There was certain lightness to his movement that took her gently by the heels at first but would suddenly appear to amaze her, halfway through the twist between here and there. He had a grace that of course, one could suspect had come with the training he had gone through in the past several years but deeper in her mind, she suspected that this was simply something that came naturally to him, just like his music. What fit better with music, but movement to coordinate with it? She could imagine, rather amused as she did so, that he would win over many women with just these two arts, should he want to.

 

Betwixt the occasional turn and constant smiles coming from every corner of the room, there were Vera’s thoughts. Vera’s yet to be forgotten doubts and curiousity. She was intrusive, perhaps even ridiculously so. What was most disturbing about this was that whenever in her past, she had been “prying†she had never done it consciously. She would question, demand and suggest simply because it felt like it was the right thing to do. She enjoyed coming in between and settling things down, no matter how strange the happenings might be; Light, she remembered the times she had told herself that she hated the way she was always dragged into situations. And now, it was a part of her. A necessary filling for everyday.

 

Betwixt the occasional turn and constant smiles, Vera pondered. She wondered about the thoughts that had gone through Gillie’s head when he had suddenly turned over a new leaf. Had he thought of his past? Had he pushed it away? She wanted to help him. Just like she’d felt compelled to doing so, so many other times be it with Gaiya or other Accepted or even Halvie Sedai of the Green. Suddenly she wished she had Aoife with her, Aoife, who would know what to do, having summed up the man long before Vera would have begun to wonder about what on earth was wrong with him.

 

This time however, she would say nothing. She would burst out in a long series of words and emotions. She would learn to surpress herself. She had to, if she wanted for people to believe in her. If she wanted to believe in herself.

 

Thus, she found herself quiescent.

 

Oh well, she had never been the best dance companion.

 

~Vera

Sorry it took so long! :oops:

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