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Hunting the Hunter

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"Elyas is on the rise."


"I know."


Skechid took a deep breath. The Council of Spies was an informal council, formed by Skechid the Spymaster himself. 12 men, some of the most skilled at the Game of Houses, 9 of whom were either current or former Nobles of powerful Houses. Skechid found that having influential people opened doors far more easily. And now...


"What do we do?" Marchiam Horsha. An Illian former High Seat. Stepped down to pursue his dream of adventure with the excuse of having learnt to channel. Now he worked the puppet strings more efficiently than Skechid could have hoped for. A worthy counterpart.


"Let us take a step back and consider the possiblities." Iranae Karchak. A commoner who had risen to the rank of Attack Leader withint he span of 3 months. Both a testament to his abilities as well as his strength of presence.


Skechid stood up. The room silenced.


"I will bring 4. At most 5 of our newest recruits. They have yet to be touched much by the power of Saidin. And their features can be schooled still. They will fit in. And they will learn." Skechid held up his hand as the room erupted in protest. "With these new members, I can connect with their current contacts and we will hunt Elyas. His fingers have dipped into far too many of our pies and we need to cull back his influence. I've always felt that the best way to cull the flock, is to rid their leader."


"He is a Darkfriend. But more importantly, the rumours of his ability to channel have not been disproven. As you know." Borgrand Harawira. One of the strongest of channelers within the Black Tower.


"We have our tools. And for this matter..." Skechid fingered the five coloured ring on this thumb. "There is no point hiding here. We have to act swiftly. And... I am not afraid to sacrifice whatever it takes to bring this man down." Skechid shook his head. "My mind is made up." Skechid looked to his attendant. "Petain. Go get my 4 fresh recruits. We move out within the hour." The man saluted fist to chest and left the chamber. Skecihd nodded to himself and nodded to the rest. "Council is dismissed."


Skechid shut his eyes momentarily as the men disappeared into the shadows and the darkness of the Infirmary returned to its former looks, the Ward dissolving like the sands of time.

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Tyr stared at the candle over the top of his black linen veil with a look he wore only when concentrating on a very difficult trade deal. Unlike the merchants who normally got nervous from the look the candle stayed there lit- the little flame swaying slightly. Lighting the candle had been easy enough with the little bit of practice he had. Putting it out was harder. Drumming up that little bit of air or water to douse it was frustrating. He sat back in his chair at the sound of someone knocking on his door.He called for them to enter and rose when he recognized the sword on the man's collar. Such emphasis was put on rank here you'd think them all Tairen.


"You're wanted in the infirmary," he was told before the other man left. It was not an altogether odd request-the acting head was also in charge of the infirmary. It was just that he couldn't think of any reason for him to be summoned. It was after dinner which meant free time generally and he had not done anything of late that should've garnered him notice. He shrugged and licked his fingers to put the candle out. He stuffed his hands in his pockets the left closing around the hard shape of a small locket. He'd best be getting on.

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Baren crunched through the thin layer of snow covering the bare ground, his gray eyes set as he eyed the building that he had been ordered to approach. He wore his black coat, as everyone in the Black Tower did, and over the last month had grown used to it. Initially, he disliked the stiff collar but he had learned to ignore it. He didn't even bother trying to tug at it like he used to. The fabric was similar to the farming clothes he had arrived in, but the cut was more military. Just wearing it made him stand with his back straighter.




Baren puffed at his pipe quietly as he listened to the two younger men that he shared one of the small cabins with discuss what they had learned that day during their lessons from a Dedicated instructor. He was older than both by at least a decade, and yet held the same station as far as his place in the Tower. He was still only a Solider, true, but his age often made the Dedicated turn to him when it came to leading the Soldiers. He had become their class leader of sorts, making sure they were all where they were supposed to be on time. It left him little free time of his own, but he was growing to like the responsibility. It gave him a sense of purpose.


He blew the smoke out slowly, watching as it curled into the warm air of the cabin before finally disapating as it eached the ceiling's wooden planks. He sighed to himself and sat up, ignoring the now-familiar ache in his body. The only time he didn't feel them was when he was practicing with the One Power. Seizing Saidin was easier now than when he first started to practice.


A smile touched his lips briefly as one of the boys made a smart comment, but the mirth was quickly lost as a broad-shouldered Dedicated opened the door and eyed the three of them. Immediately, they all stood. Showing proper deference to seniority was more than just encouraged here. Immediately, Baren watched the man's eyes swing in his direction. "Solider Katse, you are ordered to report to the infirmary. Now."




What could they possibly want me with me? Baren wondered for not the first time, a frown creasing the already-present lines on his face. He hurried through the cold evening air, huddling in one himself somewhat as he didn't yet possess the tolerance that the older Tower members had. How they seemed to ignore the cold was beyond him. He glanced to his side and noticed a familiar face, another Soldier like himself, although it was half hidden behind a black viel. It seemed he was heading in the same direction, so Baren let his path naturally meld with the other. "Tyr, do you know what this about?"

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Storm Leader Skechid Aran Teobon eyed the 4 black coated men before him. Two of them were barely into their first month as Soldiers whilst the other two were slightly more experienced, but all four still had that look of normality that many of the veterans no longer had. They were deadly nonetheless, as any who could weild Saidin were. Even at their level, they were pushed to ensure that they could truly be weapons of the Dragon. Few made it past their first year, and those who did were efficient with the Power. They would do. They had to.


"We will travel to the stedding closest to Cairhien. There are horses there waiting for us. The man called Elyas, whom we are hunting, is dangerous. And more so, if the rumours of his ability to channel are true. He will not be alone. We know that he is mercenary and possibly a Darkfriends. It will be dangerous. But it has to be done. You are now part of the Circle of the Fist. In the Black Tower, you are bound to us as secretly as any other and in our Circle I am the leader. This faction seeks out and destroys those who stand in the way of the Dragon. And in exchange, you gain entry to the network of Eyes and Ears that the Black Tower has." Skechid paused and nodded. "I cannot reiterate enough that our missions will be dangerous. So if you wish to leave, you may leave now."  The Ward was not woven and the weaves not set, but Skechid was confident that the men were ready.


He waited to see if any would walk away.

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Tyr shook his head as they entered the infirmary. Barren was a good sort having showed up out of the winter landscape much like himself. He notice two other soldiers were present in the room before them and turned his attention to the Storm Leader. He listened with his head titled slightly to the side and his hands stuffed in his pockets. The more the speech went on the more rapidly he ran his thumb over the surface of the locket hidden there. It gave form to the idea that there were many currents swirling around them. Perhaps Aes Sedai weren't the only ones who played Daes'mar with some skill. He watched Barren out of the corner of his eye hoping for some indication as to how the other man was thinking. He had no problem being a spy. His quiet nature would lend itself to not being noticed... He ran a finger across the medallions at the edge of his veil making a soft tinkling. Yes, this was something he could do with the time he had before madness set in. Merchants hoarded news the same as they did gold. They were also welcome everywhere.


"I will do this, yes," Tyr said firmly despite the soft nature of his voice. He have to accelerate his rate of training. He didn't need another accident like with his sister... Pain flashed behind his eyes for a second.

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This is madness...


Baren thought not for the first time as he listened to Storm Leader Skechid's speech. Baren's features were set as they usually were, the slightest frown touching his lips. He gave no visible sign of his discomfort, but behind that mask his mind raced. A spy? What did he know of spying? Regardless, he had been picked for a reason. So... was this to be his new purpose? His gray eyes turned upwards for a moment, towards the ceiling, although to him he was looking past. Light preserve me.


Baren noticed the younger man, Tyr, beside him glancing in his direction as if to look for any signs of what Baren thought on the matter. He gave no, save for perhaps disapproval with how his arms were crossed over his chest. Tyr was... resourceful. Baren had learned as much with his brief times spent with the younger man. He would deal well in this business. Baren didn't consider himself much of a spy, but his training had proved that he could be shaped into an impressive weapon when wielding Saidin.


His eyes turned back to Tyr as he accepted the charge, and then to the other two men in turn after they each voiced their consent as well. He felt the gaze of the others turn towards him, and after a moment of consideration he grunted and gave a simple nod of his head. He wasn't a man of many words, but if this was what the Tower needed of him then he would accept it. He owed them that much, at least. They had given him a new direction. A purpose to his life once again. With all four of the Soldiers having accepted, Baren turned quietly back to the Storm Leader to wait further instruction.


Forgive me Nari.

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