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All Dreams Must End


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The Hold had never been Krachend's home. Whenever he could get away, he would disappear into the Three-fold Land. He had always felt at ease amidst the endless, sun-scorched land, the blistering heat, the dry wind, and the native creatures his only companions. It was out here that he was able to think. And as he jogged, Krachend was thinking really hard about why he had agreed to his raising as the Sovin Nai society leader. His training under Argono had not gone to waste, and he felt that he was doing a good job, but Krachend did not want to be in charge. He wanted to be in the front, giving his all. He wanted to wake from the dream in the midst of battle, not of old age remembering when he had been able to dance. Maybe I should just resign, leave the Hold, and live the rest of my life in the deep deserts. Fight to live and die proud. Who would he appoint to be his replacement, though? Boran? The man was suited to lead; Krachend wasn't.


Night was falling for the fifth or sixth time since Krachend had left the Hold. A pity, really. Krachend wanted to put as much distance between the Hold and himself as he could. He had nothing against those with whom he lived, far from it, but Krachend was too accustomed to solitude to enjoy the closeness of the Hold. Navigating himself carefully through a pile of rock debris, Krachend crept to the larger outcropping of rocks, their sides pitted from the sandblasting of three thousand years of wind. The lower edges of these were often marked with small caves where-


Coming up short, Krachend listened. There were voices eminating from nearby. Silently, Krachend settled himself close to the ground, becoming part of the lengthening shadows of the night. Crawling would take longer than walking, but he'd stand less of a chance of being spotted until he was close enough to see what was going on. For a time, the voices went silent, causing Krachend no small amount of surprise when he started topping a ridge to find the source of the noise below. 'Sources' was the more appropriate word. Ten men, all dressed as algai'd'siswai of the Shaido. What they were doing in Dragonmount clan territory was obvious from the number of goats they had penned up in one of the caves at the base of the rocks. Light blast them! Ten of them, and one of him; Krachend would not survive that dance if it came to-


Under his weight, some of the rocks on the rise came loose, rattling down into the camp. The Shaido were immediately on their feet, looking around for the culprit. And spotting him. Outraged cries went up from the men, who were pulling veils over their faces even as the ascended the ridge after him. Even as he slid down the back end of the slope, Krachend knew that there was no way that he was going to get away. They were Night Spears, and more apt at working in the dark than Sovin Nai. One particularly careless specimen stood up on the ridge, revealing himself against the light of the Shaido's now-bright fire. It was the work of a moment to draw one of the many knives hidden upon is person and hurl it into the man's chest. He let loose a bubbling scream as he fell. Nine left.


Krachend allmost didn't hear the man creeping up behind him, but a fortunate shift in the rock under his foot alerted the Sovin Nai, who spun to catch the Shaido before he planted his long knife in his back. Allowing a grim smile to come onto his face, Krachend struck the man with a stiff-fingered blow in the throat, pushing him away before driving his heel into the man's face. Eight. Unfortunately, it seemed that those eight had learned where their comrades hadn't. They had surrounded him.


"Surrender, Sovin Nai, and put on the white. There's no shame in surviving," one of the men called out. Somewhere else in the circle, another began drumming his spear against the rawhide buckler on his arm. This was taken up by the others in succession until Krachend was surrounded by the steady thrum-thrum of spear on buckler. The sound of death.


With a deep breath, Krachend closed his eyes and listened to the drumming. His heart, the beats of the spears, the silent rhythm of the night, all became one. Krachend had made his decision. "Such a lovely beat," he muttered, lowering his arms to his sides, his eyes to the starry night. His left hand opened, dropping the three spears he held to the ground. Mentally, Krachend inventoried what he had. His spears were on the ground, his bow was useless. He had lost all but two of his throwing knives in the scuffle with the last Night Spear. It was him, his belt knife, and Sovin Nai. The drumming continued. "Such a beat." Krachend's eyes leveled at the man before him, his smile invisible beneath his veil. "It would be such a shame to waste it."


On the word 'it,' Krachend's arms had come up in front of his chest, each hand seizing onto the throwing knife that was hidden in each sleeve. Hands shooting out to either side, the glimmering darts flew true, and two more of the Shaido fell dead. Calm, cool, unhurried. Krachend's hands went to his belt, closed around the twin handles that made up the weapons of the first society of the Sovin Nai, had given them the name of Knife Hands. Krachend's voice held laughter as he said, "Let us dance, you and I." His laughter remained unstifled, even as the first arrow pierced his back.




The sun appeared the next day, illuminating a band of Dragonmount clansmen on the path of a Shaido raiding party. Several goats had been stolen, and they meant to see them returned, and the Shaido either dead or in white. They did not expect to see what they found, though. The ululating cry of a Maiden brought the entire group into the rocky debris on the slope of a great rocky outcropping. After a moment of silence, one of the men muttered, "I guess somebody did the job for us."


The area in question was littered with bodies, eight Shaido, and one Dragonmount. Another cry came up from nearer the stone outcropping: "We've got two more dead over here, both Shaido!"


"Light, ten of them? Are there any other Dragonmount clan?"




The man leading the party blinked in surprise. Ten men... apparently ten had proven to be too much for one man to handle and survive. "They had him surrounded," one man muttered, his eyes surveying the carnage. "The two with the throwing knives in their chests died first. Then the man with the bow let loose, I think." Breaking away from the scene, the man continued. "He then..."




...turned on his heel, his eyes locked on his next target. With a wild cry, Krachend hurled himself across the circle, which moved with him, keeping him centered as the archer drew again. With a sudden stop, he reversed himself, diving onto the man opposite the 'targeted' man. Sovin Nai plunged into his chest, piercing heart and lungs. Like an animal, Krachend pounced on the next man, even as the next arrow found his shoulder. The man was good, fending off Krachend's fierce onslaught with buckler and spears. That is, until Sovin Nai found the man's elbows. Even as his arms fell limp, the twin blades intersected at his neck, accompanied by a spray of blood as the severed veins and arteries.


Again, Krachend spun, another arrow suddenly protruding from his thigh. A spear entered his belly, and the offending arm was nearly severed by a heavy blow from Sovin Nai. An underhanded strike opened the Shaido from pelvis to chest. Even as the man fell dying, trying to keep his intestines from leaving, Krachend was moving to the next man. He could feel life leaving him. His limbs were already becoming sluggish. It was why he couldn't stop the knife that slashed across his chest. An upward stab, though, took the man in the heart. His hand numb, Krachend let the left-hand blade of Sovin Nai stay in the man, his right hand shooting out to hurl the other weapon into the advancing Shaido. The blade embedded itself between the man's eyes. As he fell forward, the blade drove through his skull, protruding from the back of his head grossly. And another arrow pierced Krachend's chest.


Slowly, his head turned to see the archer drawing back again. The next shot would be his last, the man could probably tell. His aim centered on Krachend's heart. With what seemed like mind-numbing slowness, Krachend's hand darted to the long knife at his belt, and as the other man released, the knife severed the bowstring and buried itself in his neck. Then, in the same motion, Krachend's hand twisted, moving palm-up into the path of the arrow, his hand closing on the shaft. "Light, ten years of trying and I succeed now?" he muttered, collapsing under his own weight.


Numb fingers crawled their way to the handles of Sovin Nai, wrapped around the leather-bound hilts, slowly withdrew each, pulling them close to their wielder. Lying back, Krachend looked again to the stars. It was strange. The tearing pain in his stomach was gone, and the dull agony of the arrows and the knife slash were gone. "Krachend?"


With a wide smile on his face, Krachend answered, "Yes, Father?"


"Come along, son. The fire's up, and Mother's got dinner on. You don't want to be late, do you?" A hand passed into Krachend's vision. Slowly, he reached out, his own hand wrapping around the calloused and scarred hands of his father...




"Would you look at this!" one of the warriors called out as he pulled aside the Dragonmount clansman's veil. His dead, staring eyes saw nothing, but a warm smile still rested on his face. It was only then that somebody noticed the weapons by the man's sides.


"Look! It's Sovin Nai!"



OOC: Krachend was my first character at DM, and writing this post was extremely difficult. Unfortunately, I had lost touch with him as a character, and no matter what I did, I couldn't bring him back in my mind. As he was my first character, I was loathe to end it like this. I had considered simply having him leave, flee into the Waste and live his life in solitude. However, I had to ask myself, "How would Krachend choose to go?" It's been a blast RPing with you guys, but this chapter is done. I'm going to try to write another Aiel character, but I won't guarantee anything.


'Til shade is gone, 'til water is gone

Into the Shadow with teeth bared

Screaming defiance with the last breath

To spit in Sightblinder's eye on the Last Day.



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