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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

From Darkness, Light... From Light, Darkness (EMPY WINNER)


Telcia
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Telcia shook hands firmly with Master Laughlin over the still wet ink on a contract scroll. Nearby several men in his employ nodded in approval and even one or two clapped. The deal was fair, tighter on her end than she would have preferred but Iussi’s father had been in ailing health for some time and had lost his bargaining positions within the major trade circles some time ago. Lucky for her, Iussi’s stunts at the races in the name of the Queen and her socializing both inside and away from The Kin, had proved most advantageous.

 

Taking her copy of the parchment and rolling it carefully into the scroll case, she stepped lively back towards her carriage. The city streets of Ebou Dar were bustling and the port hummed with life, the smell of salty winds and sunshine filled the air; all in all it should have been a perfect moment, but something wasn’t quite right. Telcia couldn’t put her thumb on what “it” was but it was strong enough to make her pause and look slowly around the area, her hand drifting towards her dagger as her heart began to race just a bit faster than normal.

 

Women, children, dogs, cats, fish, carriages, horses… and him. Her eyes locked on his even through the endless ebbing sea of people and for a moment it was like they were the only two people in the world. She knew him… but his name, what was it?

 

She struggled for the name even as the mountain of a man strode towards her with a carefree but focused gait. It was only as he paused before her and bowed, that she knew what to call him by thanks to memories of what must have been his father or grandfather... Rasputin; “Good Master Felar, what a most,” she hesitated and smiled, still trying to shake the growing feeling of unease in her stomach. “…unexpected surprise. What brings you to Ebou Dar this fine afternoon?”

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Ebou Dar, there was something about it that Rasputin never really liked. Most likely it was how quick the people were to spill blood in the streets over the merest slight. So short tempered, and the Rahad was a disgrace with the violence that was tolerated there. Even though he fought for chaos, the Fortress was quite orderly. No violence occured there, no crimes were committed there, if anyone violated the law then they paid for it in full. But then, the people of the light usually paid their faith lip service, a token acknowledgement at best. People of faith were rare, people who could not only acknowledge principles but live by them.

 

It was such a person that he had come to Ebou Dar to meet, a woman who was a lightlover of that there was little doubt. She was also atypical, an Aes Sedai who had taken a husband and had children of her own. That was the reason why he had come, his own daughter an Aes Sedai as well as his wife, he also had his limits. His master was one who crossed them, time and time again and now that he had joined with Osan'gar he had become worse. The Shadow's purpose was to restore balance, it wasn't to indulge in wild whims and fantasies that were senseless in their violence. And senseless it would be to experiment with twins who were but babes.

 

There she was ahead, and she had spotted him within moments. He had altered his appearance slightly, but there was recognition in her eyes all the same. Dangerous, but a risk he had to take nevertheless. Tania would expect no less of him, and he expected it of himself as well. Bowing before her, he was surprised that she remembered his last name, though clearly she made the same mistake as Arette when she mistook him for a blood relative. Smiling warmly as he straightened, he rumbled his answer in a friendly manner.

 

"Mistress Dyfelle, it is a pleasure to see that you are well. I have come to find you so that we might speak, I bear news that you would hear. Perhaps here where there are many ears it may not be the best place. Would you know of a place we may speak in private?"

 

 

Rasputin Felar

M`aeshadar

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Telcia hesitated. She didn't like going alone with any many to any place, but most especially men she didn't know in towns she was still becoming aquainted with. Yet, how could she refuse him? A son or grandson of a servant of the Tower and one Arette had trusted so implicitly?

 

"Of course." She managed. "There is an Inn near here called The Tradewinds who has a wide variety of teas and whose drinks aren't as watered down as some you'll find nearer to the inlet. I think we can find a quiet room there if the topic is a brief one."

 

Again she pauses before adding, "However, I would be a most terrible hostess if I didn't offer the hospitality of the Dyfelle Mannerhouse to you. It's not as lovely as the Queen's Palace but I'm sure we could make you more comfortable than most inns would be able for the duration of your visit. In fact I'm certain my husband would insist on it if you've traveled all this way just to share some news with us." She motions towards her carriage offering him to join her for the short trip, her driver already opening the door for her as she approaches. "Just this way Master Felar."

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If luck was on his side, then perhaps it would only take as long as the carriage ride to impart what he needed to with Telcia. Bowing slightly and gesturing for her to lead the way, Rasputin trailed behind the woman with the ageless face as they approached her carriage. A simple warding against those would listen in would be more than sufficient. He would have to mask his power and invert his weaves so that no others knew, but those were means that were available to him so therefore he would use them. The driver holding the door for them, Rasputin waited for Telcia to enter the carriage and seat herself before following suit, inclining his head to the driver as he passed.

 

Making himself comfortable as the door was closed behind him, Rasputin was quick to note that the pair were not alone. Another pair had already been in the carriage, twins in fact, the same twins that were kidnapped from their mother sometime ago. At least a couple of years old, they were inquisitive children, especially the boy who quickly made his way over to the seat next to Rasputin as he decided to find out who this stranger was. Laughing, Rasputin wrapped an arm around the child and sat him on his right leg as he waved Telcia off who was reaching for the child. "Do not worry, I have a child of my own. Better happy than fussing."

 

"But, I am hoping that we will only have to speak briefly as I am here on borrowed time. If you could give us some privacy it would be greatly appreciated." Waving his free hand about, Rasputin could feel the goosebumps along his flesh as Telcia embraced saidar and presumably warded the carriage from sound escaping it. The telltale was when sound failed to penetrate the carriage, as if the outside world didn't exist.

 

Thinking for a moment, Rasputin decided time was a more important factor. Handing the boy back to Telcia, she took him as he closed the curtains on the windows. There was enough light in the carriage to be able to see each other well enough, but it would be difficult for anyone outside to get a glance within. With such measures taken, Rasputin leaned back in his seat as he spoke. "I am here to bring a warning to you for the sake of your children. You may have recovered them but you might not be out of harm's way yet. Now I am going to do something, and for all our sakes I hope you choose to be reasonable."

 

Seizing saidin, Rasputin was expressionless as he wove wards of protection around himself even as he dispensed with the illusion that he had woven. The changes were subtle, but there was no mistaking him for a son or grandson. It was Rasputin Felar who was sitting in the carriage with her, a man who should have been old and wizened or lost to the passage of time, yet he was little changed from when he had first appeared in the Tower as the husband of Tania Ramsey.

 

 

Rasputin Felar

M`aeshadar

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Telcia controlled herself admirably despite the utter fear that ran cold through her blood. With Jamal in hand and Jelene pulled up onto the seat she threw together the strongest shield she could muster, attempted to tie it off, and began thick ropes of air to hold the mad man in place.

 

Mad Man.

 

Male Channeler, like Jamal might one day be… like his father before him. Oh Light! She couldn’t let them know how scared she was. She couldn’t let them see her mistreat him. She couldn’t throw them to safety though; they would have to stay here.

 

But what would this man do? Could she hold him alone? Light but he was old for a Channeler. He should have rotted away by now but he looked just fine, as handsome as the first time she saw him leaving the Keeper’s Office. How could that be possible without…

 

The thought made her want to sick-up, to flee with her children under her arms and fire blazing a trail behind them to engulf the unnatural and twisted being who sat an arm’s reach from them. The twisting in her gut got worse and as she stared across the carriage the ropes of air fizzled and faded … and the shield, failed to make contact with him no matter how much of the power she took into and redirect.

 

The sweetness of Saidar burned and ached in her, pulsing like her heart behind her eyes and in her throat making her body temperature rise. Surely, she prayed, he’d fail to hold the shield at bay… but as time went on and the heat became near unbearable and the fear of burning out settle upon her more firmly than the fear for her children and her soul… she let the weave die without a word.

 

If they were going to survive, she would have to use her brain and not her brawn. Her only positive thought through it all was the hope that this man (who might be one of the Forsaken for all she knew at this moment) wasn’t nearly as politically savvy as she.

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If Rasputin had been capable of registering surprise, his eyes would have gone wide as he felt the sheer amount of power unleashed. He knew she was one of the stronger sisters that the Tower had once had under its authority, but knowing and experiencing it were two different things. There were few who could have pushed him as she did, but he held firm. Feeling her air weaves dissipate upon his wards, it was the shield that concerned him most. Rather than trying to force it back on her, he simply held it with all his might, not letting it slip even a smidgeon closer to him than he was prepared to tolerate.

 

It seemed far longer than it was, but there came a point where she realised her effort was futile and she relented. Unable to smile with any feeling, Rasputin disdained affecting a warmth he was unable to feel from within the void as he spoke. "Very good. Now, I am here to give you a warning or two for your children's sake, as well as some information. In return for that, you shall give me several promises. You will not communicate to anyone in any way that you ever saw me or we spoke. You shall not communicate the information I give to you or have revealed with me unveiling myself to you or anyone else. You will not channel upon me, and you will most certainly not attempt to cause harm to my family. If you can agree to these things, as Arette did, we shall continue. If not, I'll wipe your mind of the memories of our meeting and it shall be as if it never happened."

 

“Before,” she began in a calm stately tone, “this goes any further I think it wise that my children take their daily nap now. You wouldn’t want to underestimate their ability to remember and mimic and I refuse to give you further need to visit again.” Deftly she wove to thin threads of spirit and held them at the ready to set weaves upon the children to speed them off to dreams. Harmless but effective enough to keep them save from being accused of knowing or communicating too much later. “By your leave?”

 

The man across from her nodded but once, his eyes as cold and empty as the barren lands just north of the Borderlands, and indicated he had no issue with her request. Turning first to Jamal she smiled at him and said in a gentle motherly tone as she laid the weave upon him, “Hush now… rest your eyes a while and when we get home I shall take you out to play with the ducks near the pond.” She ran her fingers through his hair as he smiled and his eyes sagged lazily shut with no concern that there was danger about at all; confident in his mother ability to protect and care for him.

 

She wished she felt as strongly.

 

Jelene watched Jamal fall to sleep and looked defiant about a nap, her pouty bottom lip already sticking out in an angry way. “Not tired!” she demanded and the weight of guilt filled Telcia. She was doing something she’d never wanted to do but it was for their own good.

 

“Of course not,” She reassured. “Perhaps though you could keep an eye on your brother for me in the World of Dreams and see that he’s unharmed?” She offered. “I would hate for him to wander off and find some sort of adventure without you.”

 

Jelene smiled. “Want TarTar!” She squeeled and Telcia couldn’t help but smile. The girl had actually remembered the name of the world of dreams from the story she’d told a night ago! Simply amazing. Indeed, it was best the children sleep through this.

 

“Of course. Close your eyes now.” She kissed Jelene. “Mommy loves you both very much.” And with that she let the weave fall upon her daughter and within moments the girl, also, lay her head on her other leg and slept peacefully.

 

Reassured her children were safe she looked back to the monster in the carriage with them. “There is no form to Chaos… I would ask you how I’m to trust a word you speak but I’m certain the answer would be something suitably dire or cryptic in the realm of a simple… ‘you don’t or you can’t’ … so I’ll save you the trouble.”

 

“Men don’t travel hundreds of leagues simply to offer information they don’t have a personal need to share… most certainly I can’t believe someone in the service of your Master would do anything out of the kindness of their heart and so I’m forced to the conclusion that you are willing to make agreements and caveats as well.”

 

“If I agree to these terms will you agree to spend the afternoon with me in conversations so long as the conversations fall under the aforementioned terms you’ve laid out?”

 

Watching Telcia with her children reminded Rasputin of his own. Not Cara, the girl whom he had with Tania in this life. Another lifetime ago, when he had a wife who had born him five children. Children he had been able to raise and watch as they matured. So unlike Cara who he saw so little of, but one did what was necessary. But then Telcia turned to him and the usual disdain a lightlover had for one of his allegiance poured out. How little she knew, heart in the right place but serving the wrong master. But he was secure in his faith, that was what mattered.

 

"No. I will stay as long as I can, but I would rather not attract attention. For your sake as much as my own, I'm here for the safety of your children. You know me for what I am, so you may deduce what my wife is. For the sake of one mother for another she has sent me here, much as she sent me to Arette who is now in Illian. I had to relocate her after her home was attacked. She is with Con's family for the meantime." That much information he could give away freely, in hopes that would encourage her to make the right decision.

 

"But, I will hear oaths and promises before I continue. And do not try to split hairs with them, if you cannot give the oaths in whole then don't give them at all."

 

 

Rasputin Felar

M`aeshadar

 

Telcia Dyfelle

Mother

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A thousand thoughts raced through her mind. Tania Ramsey a Black? Oh Light, no! Arette attacked because of her children somehow & she made deals with the Shadow? How deeply had she been dragged into this? What did the Shadow want? What game was this? Could he make her forget things? If so why all this trouble? A master of the mind surely could simply have made her aware of the warning without revealing himself so either he is lying about the mind mastery or his connection to her is suppose to be strengthend by this talk. He meant to build trust, especially with the free offer of information, but to what end?

 

He, no doubt, knew she was weighing and measuring the words of the oaths. She could never give her word lightly and most especially not to a Dark Friend. Looking down at her babies again she knew the full weight of her responsibility to them. She knew how much they meant to her and to the world and she wished nothing more than to simply wake in her bed and find this all had been a terrible nightmare.

 

Closing her eyes, looking up and opening them she found the man still sitting before her. "I see." She managed, testing her numb tongue and mind. "You know the face of my enemy and if I do not make these oaths in complete, I will go on in ignorace ... which is, unacceptable. However, if I make the oaths... I can tell no one of this and thusly only improve my lot in life only by knowing the name of the monster who forces me to be ill with fear every moment I'm not with my children." She shakes her head sadly.

 

"A sorry prize for one who dared to wear the Crimson Banner and claimed to be a stout defender of the Light. It seems that the Pattern means for my failure as an Aes Sedai to be complete and utter despite centuries of work to avoid that very fate. I suppose it's true, there is no avoiding a foretelling..." She let's out a self-disgusted snort and let's her eyes look down on her babies again trying to take comfort in the choices she'd made.

 

True to his word Rasputin remained utterly silent. In fact, she wondered if he was even breathing as he waited motionless for her own inner demons to win the war that he'd only had to make the first & last mortal strike in. It seemed she had no leverage but the sad prayer that he was bluffing about the mind wiping but, unfortunately, it seemed a reasonable claim. How else could they have gone so long in the Tower without being known?

 

"I'm a fool for trying to win a game of Snakes and Foxes." She mutters wrily, her fingers playing in Jamal's hair and the other hand resting on Jelene's back. "There is no advantage to be had here, no true one. And by this I learn, and in the same act show you, the price of my immortal soul." The last is spoken in dispair, as if she had always believed that there was nothing for which she'd give her soul. Now she understood Sirayn's own brand of madness and her dedication to the Tower. Now, it finally made sense and she found her fears for the future of the Tower to be founded in fact. As easily as she had been manipulated, discovered, and likely controlled... so could anyone else who had a price.

 

She hated herself in that moment but could not bring herself to any other realization accept the bitter acceptance of the fact that she would go anywhere, do anything no matter how depraved or vile... in the name of her children. It was a terrible moment moment, no more than a heart beat or a breath, that seemed to span an eternity. It was the moment that Telcia truly saw the face of her enemy, the face of the Dark One, and what horrified her most was that he looked back with her own eyes.

 

No, people didn't 'fall' to the shadow; by the point they were in the reach of it's darkness... they leapt. Willingly. And in that, there was power, great and terrible power. It was for this reason, good men had to fear. And no other. The shadow has nothing left to live... or die for. It's mission is all and to it, it's members are soul bound loyal without compulsion or requirements. This is the power of the Dark One and if she was to fight it, she'd have to review carefully all the things she had ever considered she *knew* about it.

 

As she let her head lift slowly she came to look upon him with a deep hate and resignation, her voice overflowing with venom that might have shaken even Muirenn to her very core with the completeness of it's abyssal tone. "But you may also take back to your Master, with this news, the bitter warning that should anything happen to my children... I will have ample time to wage a full and complete war with no concerns or hesitations such as love or mercy for my enemies."

 

Beneath her both children shifted as if they could feel her agitation. Closing her eyes and pushing the overwhelming emotions from her mind again, she made herself calm and seemingly without care. Ice.

 

"Now, the matter of oaths;" She drew breath, "I will not communicate to anyone in any way that I have seen you here in Ebou Dar today or that we have communicated in anyway on this date." But if I ever see you again we shall rework our deal or not if you are a fool...

 

"I shall not communicate the information I receive from you today unless there is a reasonable way I can have learned it to share with others in order not to expose your involvement; nor will I share anything I've learned about you during this visit." She paused and continued.

 

"I will not channel upon you while you are in my presence this day, and I will do nothing to bring harm to Tania or your children or grandchildren should any exist. These things I swear to you in the name of the Light and under the eyes of the Creator..." she whispers after the oath is sworn, "...may it have some measure of mercy upon me..."

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Rasputin waited in silence, unfeeling as he listened to Telcia think aloud. He only had basic concerns from within the void; self defence, extracting the oaths he required from her to impart his warning or to take matters into his own hands and cover his tracks. Even though Arette had asked him this favour, and Tania had likewise asked it of him when he had spoken to her of it, he wasn't going to endanger his own family. That was not an acceptable outcome, nor was endangering himself. He took enough risk as it was, if she could not take some as well then there was little point to him sticking his own neck out.

 

Yet the oaths came, not as he had spoken them but after a time he decided that they covered what he needed. If they didn't then she would regret it terribly. Releasing his grip on saidin, the emptiness was replaced with a slight smile as Rasputin relaxed. The only way she had to strike at him now was with a weapon and he was confident enough in his own ability to not be worried by the possibility. Besides, he'd hooked her with the information he offered or otherwise she wouldn't have agreed. "The Light is a lie, but I shall trust that your oaths are not. And I'll not take any such message to my Master, it is he who I have come to warn you of."

 

That certainly garnered her attention. "Word of what happened in Arad Doman spread and unfortunately found its way to my master, Aginor." Pausing to let that sink in, Rasputin continued. "I'm sure you know the stories, the realities are worse. He found the idea of twins with the chance to grow to channelers intriguing. Unfortunately, he no longer heeds my council so he planned to take a pair of children. Since you were traveling, he decided to try Arette instead. One of my agents foiled his, which he is not aware of, and reported the matter to me."

 

"I spoke with Tania and she asked me to take the risk. I arrived at Fernhill only minutes before Aginor's second attempt came, he sent some of his... followers, to take the children." His lips twisted in distaste at the thought of them, Rasputin didn't even bother to mask it. They were crazies, just like their master Aginor. For a prized mind of the Age of Legends, Osan'gar had made a habit of attracting all sorts of defectives to his cause. "After a battle we made our escape and after some travel we made our way to Illian. As I said before she hides with the Stavrosi there in the meantime."

 

"She asked me to come here and carry to you the warning I gave her, as did Tania. While I hope that this has just been a fleeting fancy of Aginor's to be forgotten in favour of one of his other endeavours, you should be on guard nevertheless. He has become more unpredictable and if I aid you openly I reveal my hand. I think you can understand why that would be unwise on my part." Smiling as he saw that she wanted to ask questions, Rasputin gestured to her as he said. "This must be a bit for you to take in, ask what questions you may have. Bear in mind I want my stay with you to be as quick as possible though. I do not want to attract suspicion, or attention onto you for that matter."

 

 

Rasputin Felar

M`aeshadar

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Telcia heard the name of the Forsaken and she repeated the comforting mantra that had been sung to her like a hymn since the time of her entrance to the Tower. Words used to comfort scared novices and fearful, blind, and foolish servants... sealed away, indeed.

 

Instinctively, her hands held to her children a bit tighter and the twisting in her stomach was becoming increasingly painful, to the very point that between it and the warning being given, she didn't realize she'd broken into a thin sheen of sweats.

 

The monster went on explaining despite his sworn aligiance to the Shadow, and as he outlined the danger he had put his family in to come here, she couldn't help but feel pity for the thing. He had, after all, been a man at some point... a father and a husband. Her own fears filled her; how easily might the tables have been turned in another weaving of the Pattern?

 

Knowing how she felt about her own family she wasn't sure she could return his favor. That, in and of itself, might have seemed an innocent and honest assessment... but it was also frightening. It meant she might be a colder and more vile murderer than the man before her.

 

"I realize the danger you're in, that your family is now in and I thank you for the risk you've taken." She eeked out in a more frightened tone than she had hoped to speak in. Trying to steady the tremor in her voice she continued, "... it's not too late though. It's never too late. Not for you or for Tania."

 

She could already sense the rejection of her offer coming and so she thought better of pressing the topic and quickly added, "If something ever changes, I'm sure you'll remember my offer still stands."

 

What protection could she offer him really? She could bearly think of how she would protect her children and they had not sworn oaths or made themselves known to the Shadow as this man had. The horrible thing of it was that the most mercy and help she could probably offer to him was a slit across his throat the moment he had resinded his oaths of the shadow and prayed for forgiveness; for surely the shadow would not give a merciful or swift death for the betrayal. However, death would likely come... eventually; and that WAS a terrible thought.

 

Light but her head spun now. She could scarsely focus. It was as if the walls of the carriage were breathing and she could hear the sliding of cloth on cloth filling her ears. Rubbing her temple she forced herself to focus and continue, "I could ask a thousand questions about the Forsaken, could come up with a dozen things that might matter in the hour it might come for my children but... I doubt that will avail me little. However, there are four questions that have bothered me for some time now and perhaps you have answers to them."

 

Her muscles tightened, she felt fit for a bed and a long rest, her eye sight blurring now and distant sounds seemed to boggle her mind now; all heard as if they were speaking through water though. She'd never tried to ignore it like this before; now that she could call this pain by it's name, she marveled at how long she'd forced it back. She couldn't lose focus now, not even for a second or she might never see her children again.

 

Saliva came slower to her mouth than before, making it hard to speak. Surely the look on the man's face that broke his icy facade, meant that he knew something wasn't right with her. She held her hand up to forstall a question and stop her from getting her own answers.

 

"Ah... I,..There were two girls who shared a room with me at the White Tower when I was a novice one by the name of Melanie Tarou and the other Jeleane. For some time now I've feared their deaths weren't the simple accidents they were claimed to have been. I... I have had too many reasons to suspect that Melanie was pushed and that someone helped Jeleane to burn to cinders but never a reason why or a suspect. Knowing about the Black Ajah gives me possible answers, but if you were to confirm for me, if you knew..." She worked her lips again forcing wetness to her tongue which felt as if it was sleeping in a dune of sand.

 

"My husband," she tried to clear her throat as the next came out scratchy. "Held at the Tower until gentled but then he was sent to a farm that could have been a prison instead of to me as my Ajah Head claimed he was. Lied to... like me. Kept from me even as the disappearance of my children drove me back to the Tower to find him gone & my Ajah Sisters seemingly unaware of why."

 

A trembling hand reached into her purse and pulled out a small glass vial that bore the Flame of Tar Valon on it's base. "And the last... poison. Someone gave this to a man who kept my children. He gave it to them in the hour of their rescue and nearly sent them back to the Creator's sheltering palm." Her voice was gravel by this point, pain evident on her face and in her eyes. "...who..." she forced the word, eyes locked on his, determined to hear his answers and see him gone before a word of this latest Foretelling crossed her, now, dry lips.

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Rasputin only half heard Telcia's questions as she spoke, he was more concerned with what she herself was doing. The first clue had been her rubbing her temple, then her eyes seemed to go unfocused for a moment but she cut him off before he could say anything. Not that it did her any good, every word that emerged from her lips was strained and taut, as if each word would be the last. When she finished asking her last question, the vial looked as if it was going to slip from her hands. "What is wrong with you?" Embracing saidin, Rasputin barely caught a shaking arm as Telcia leaned forward even as he prepared to delve her. Poison?

 

He touched her and she wanted to crawl away. Her head hurt so very badly that she could almost swear to seeing Melanie's muddy and bloody body sitting next to him on one side and a burned Jeleane on the other. "Please... answer and... go." She would have asked him to leave but with both girls looking at her with such desperation, she couldn't deny them.

 

"Shush." Ignoring Telcia's attempts to win free, Rasputin kept his grip on her with his right hand while his left hand pushed her so her back was straight against the seat. Ignoring her vain protests as she attempted to push him away, Rasputin let his delving weave sink into her. Nothing, no cause that was. Her body was under immense strain, her heart beating irregularly as if it were on its last legs. Between it all, Rasputin wasn't sure what to do but before he could make a decision, he was thrown clear back to his own seat as Telcia spasmed, her arms lashing out and knocking him away with a strength she did not possess.

 

 

Rasputin & Telcia

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For one brief moment she was herself, able to feel and think and speak and then it all shut down. Something heavy pressed upon her mind and heart until she could feel the blood in her body pressing and rushing and trying to reach outward as if she might explode. Her vision went dark and suddenly she had no energy at all but could feel herself move and act in ways that shocked her. Helpless to resist the desire of fate and creation any further, her foretelling rushed out of her like a dam being broken by a massive wave larger than Dragonmount itself.

 

Her white eyes settled upon the thrown form of her companion, her pupils rolled completely up under her eyelids; her voice clear, calm and commanding spoke in a perfect dialect of the Old Tongue not heard in this part of the world for many lifetimes. While it could not be proven without her pupils, it seemed as though her gaze was locked keenly upon the man across from her as the first utterances resonated in a deeper tone from the very bowels of her diaphragm.

 

{Old Tongue} "I see you Scourge."The word was clearly a name, not a description and the phrase was a greeting as much as it was a declaration of the man's inability to hide from the voice's all seeing eyes. "We sit again together to share in the bounty of balance as it was, as it is, as it will be again. Dark Archon your words whispered honey light hope, impossible in these times and here I sit... Scion of Light shrouded in darkness by your hand, to share dark tidings in this the time of tides."

 

If the voice knew fear, or understood the position it was in, it was undetectable outwardly. An assurance came across in the tenor of the voice, a knowledge that were the form it spoke through to shatter and fade; some things time alone could not change.

 

"Hear me & know... Listen & You Will Be Prepared... Heed & Survive to Thrive with the thin times come again & balance is in children's hands once more;" If one were so inclined, if it was even possible, the figure that once belonged to the mind of Telcia Dyfelle became more focused and intense; leaning in closer to the man before her.

 

"Stallion is steeped in Shadow." She passes one hand over the other causing the dim light there to shadow and shade her own palm. "Roses wilt in its shade." She closes her hand suddenly and tight, snapping it like the solemn finish to a killing blow. Deadly in it's fatal decree.

 

"Bloodrunner shall arise anew." She lifts her head as if he might see her eyes from their seats tight under her eye lids. The look is near madness made physical. "Scourge shall fight for what was won." Then smoothly, as if she knew how she looked to him, her head tilts to the side slowly, as if she herself were amused by the words coming out of her lips; as if she did not know them until the very instant they were spoken.

 

"Even now," Slowly, as it to assure him she meant not to attack him, she reached upwards and pulled her marriage dagger from it's sheath. "Heart's Legacy teeters," Laying her finger on its edge she traces the line slowly and intimately like a lover. "...precariously... on the precipice... of Fate's... dull... & aged edge." At the end she pulls her finger away with only the tiniest nick into her flesh & the blade clatters to the floor, forgotten.

 

"Blood feeds blood." She offers to him her hand.

"Blood CALLS blood." She manages a twisted smile as blood begins to ooze from her nose & ears staining her free strands of blonde/silver hair pink on contact.

"Blood is, and blood was, and blood shall ever be... this I foretell." {/Old Tongue}

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When the first words began to spill from Telcia's lips, any chance of holding onto saidin was lost in that moment. That was a title she should not have known, and a voice that was clearly not hers and a dialect she should not have had a command of. All that showed where the whites of her eyes yet they seemed to stare at him, but furthermore they looked into him. To say he was unsettled would have been mild, to say that he was shocked and a touch fearful would have been more appropriate. Yet even in the heart of that there was recognition, there was deja vu.

 

He knew this woman, long before he had laid eyes on her and he hadn't even known it. Listening intently as Telcia poured forth the dark prophecy that spilled from her whether she wished it or not, everything that was said he committed to memory. Everything that was said unsettled him even more, Bloodrunner, that was a name that should never have needed to be spoken again. Dark prophecy could not be disputed, no matter whose lips it flowed from it was without flaw. What made it worse though is that it had no conclusion, it didn't say for certain who would win or who would lose. But then, Shadow prophecies didn't need to, unlike the Light they didn't aim for what had to be, they usually spoke of what could be.

 

Catching Telcia for a second time as she collapsed forward, this time she was unable to fight it as she was unconscious. The blood flowing freely from her nose and her mouth, Rasputin pulled her onto his lap so he could hold her upright and tilted her forward slightly so the blood wouldn't clog up. Seizing the One Power with a viciousness that he rarely used, he bent it to his will as he let saidin flow into her, shifting and swirling into weaves that sought to undo the damage that she had done to herself. Even if he hadn't recognised her, he would not have wanted to let someone with such a talent die. They were rare, rare enough that they were to be protected regardless of their affiliation for they could be used by either side.

 

But then, he did recognise her. Flesh reknitting at the touch of the power, the next thing he did was trickier but lowering her forward further, he diluted the blood that had begun to dry and block in her nose and mouth so it ran freely. Reaching into a pocket of his breeches, he withdrew a handkerchief and soaking it with a thread of water he used it to clean her up as best he could. So help him she was a mess and he understood why as well, the more powerful the foretelling the more adverse the reaction by the foreteller as the body coped to deal with the voice of prophecy flowing through it.

 

Spirit was the last thing he wove, using it to prod her to consciousness. Not that it helped, her expression was blank and unaware but Rasputin released saidin and continued working at her face as best he could to clean it, particularly around her nose so she could breath more easily. She'd awaken to her surroundings given time.

 

 

Rasputin Felar

M`aeshadar

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She’d been falling and falling and searching for some purchase upon which to stand when all the sudden, in a flash of cold, the world rose up beneath her. She shuddered, sputtered, and choked on the lava that had been filling her body’s many orifices.

 

She hurt everywhere and as the pain slowly was beginning to abate the feeling of having run across the face of the world from ocean to the spine, filled her every limb. She was bone weary, more deep and true than she’d ever been. Her voice filled her mind but the words weren’t clear, nor could she bring herself to care about what she had said exactly though she knew at one time it had been of the utmost importance to do so. For now all that mattered was that she’d been pulled back from the brink of death…

 

Pulled.

Again. It was a feeling she’d hoped not to experience again until her time was done. That day, clearly, was not today.

 

Soft linen pulled across every line in her flesh, gently wiping the now cooling blood from her face so she could breathe. Her eyes felt caked with it through and she couldn’t make all the worrisome thoughts be silent long enough to recall who it was that held her.

 

His hands were gentle despite their size… his… a male had saved her. Was it? Could it be? “Why,” her voice was weak. “…did I wait so long?” She wheezed questioningly as she pulled her eyes apart, their lashes sticking to each other tight, filling her bloodshot and blurred vision with bits of drying lymph and blood.

 

“Skechid,” She breathed the name. “Brother." There was a love in the tone, a love that carried the weight of words never spoken. Her lips moved to speak again but instead she closed her stinging eyes and fell more deeply into the arms that held her and lay quiet for a time, organizing stray ideas and memories as the hands worked with an expert ease upon her.

 

She could hear other soft breathing nearby. Her Children. Jelene, Jamal. They were sleeping. She had put them into that state with the One Power. Yes, that was it. They were in the carriage waiting for her to return. They had been out signing the Laughin deal and…

 

Rasputin’s face filled her mind, him standing cold through the crowd, him pulling the drapes shut, his words about the Shadow, her promise, and his warning. She trembled and gooseflesh covered her arms as fear returned and she knew it wasn’t Skechid who held her. She could scream for having let herself be so vulnerable but no, it wasn’t all her, it was the will of the Light. It was the pattern that decided when, where, and how. She’d been the fool for not sending him away sooner and instead trying to fight the course of time and fate. It had nearly killed her once before and once again it seemed to have done the same.

 

Turning her head she opened her eyes to see her children sleeping quietly on the seat across from her a bit tussled but no worse for the wear. With the weave they were under they’d sleep a long and deep healing rest through almost any disturbance. Turning she looked back up at her unexpected savior. Her eyes, pained as they were, now beginning to see him more clearly.

 

“You…” She sounded hoarse still but her tenor would have let him know she could see him for who he was now. The you was almost as accusitory as it was a statement of who she was talking to. “saved me.” She swallowed. “Why?”

 

The question was as valid as any she’d ever asked. He was Shadow. She was Light; sworn enemies. She had power and would use that power against him and his allies on day and in this moment weakness he could have been completely rid of her without having left any evidence of his own passing or involvement. She, like other foretellers before her, would simply have died from the shock and strain of her vision.

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It started with a bit of movement, then words that betrayed that she hadn’t completely recovered her senses. Skechid? Brother? That would bear looking into, he had already come to the conclusion that he needed to learn as much about this woman as possible. He knew her thread now, if he was right then anything and everything could be used, would need to be used.

 

It wasn’t long after that Telcia realised where she was and who was holding her. How the tone changed, and it seemed that she was just as confused as Arette was. Then again, Arette had also been more flexible, she had been able to assume things whereas Telcia either couldn’t or more likely didn’t wish to. It was always so difficult for Lightlovers to grasp that their faith was misplaced, but then he hadn’t come to proselytise. Then again, maybe that would be a good idea all things considered.

 

Turning the handkerchief about to a clean section, Rasputin continued tidying her face up as he continued, most of the blood was gone now. “There is much about the Shadow you don’t know, Telcia Dyfelle. There are those sign their souls out of greed or envy, they seek immortality and glory in equal measure. Those sworn so are fools, but they are a necessary evil. Strange turn of phrase I know.”

 

Smiling slightly, Rasputin offered her the handkerchief so she could blow her nose as he continued. “Then there are those of us who serve the greater good by serving Chaos. When we free the Great Lord, the pattern won’t be remade in some apocalyptic dark image, things shall be restored to the way they were before existence was imprisoned within the wheel. We do what is necessary, and letting you die would not only be unnecessary, it would leave your children without a mother. It would defeat the point of me coming here to warn you for the safety of your children would it not?”

 

”Come on.” Helping Telcia up from his lap, Rasputin set her on the space next to him and propped her against the corner. She was still white as a lily and shaking like a leaf. Having noticed a child’s cup earlier in the boy’s hand, Rasputin retrieved it and only held saidin long enough to fill it up with water.

 

Holding it out for Telcia with his right hand as he used his left to steady her by her shoulder, Rasputin prompted her softly. “Here, don’t drink all of it at once.”

 

 

Rasputin Felar

M`aeshadar

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Telcia accepted the cup, though it felt like another person doing so. Sipping slowly and breathing through her freshly cleared nose, she tried to ignore the faint ringing in her head and the bone deep hunger that the healing had left. She could scarcely recall what she'd spoken now. Words, phrases but it didn't make any sense at all. It was as if she'd foretold just for this man; the understanding wasn't suppose to be hers at all. The only thing she could rationalize was that this meeting, somehow, was destined by the Creator and planned in the Pattern for longer than either had been alive.

 

Could it be she was suppose to help this man somehow?

 

Wetting her lips, her eyes avoiding his, she tried not to protest against his words. Instead, she hoped, that talking with him would give her a better sense of him and what her role here really was. What did the Light require of her? Had her part been played in the Foretelling or was this the first of many future meetings with this man or others like him? Was she strong enough to be the tool for such a miracle? Did she dare hope that she might help save this man's soul and with him a Sister of the Tower? Or was this just how the Shadow slipped too close to the soul of the weak to poison the heart with honey lies?

 

"It seems ages ago now," She whispers into the cup. "I was in white still when I took my introduction to Saidar classes." She chuckles softly, careful not to hurt her throat or head any further with shaking.

 

"Come to think of it, Arette taught that class." She pauses thinking of how to share this carefully guarded secret of her past. "A lot of my teachers figured I was destined for the Brown Shawl. In truth, I meant to wear one until..." She couldn't bring herself to share that detail.

 

"I changed my mind." She decided that was more diplomatic. "The Sedai, they weren't fond of me at first, I think. Beyond the fact that I had a blood relative in the Tower already & reminded them of lives they denied themselves; I challenged things in my own way for the time before I learned what it meant to be an Aes Sedai of Tar Valon... and again after I remembered who I was once more." Lowering the cup she stares into it still.

 

"One lesson comes to mind now; Arette had started topics about Saidin and Saidar... the Age of Legends... the Shadow and the Light. We were supposed to write a paper on the topics and discuss it the next day. I sat up all night thinking; I confess a sleepless night full of curious ideas which I still hold onto in a fashion even now. Oh, yes, my ideas in class the next day did win me Arette and Mellyn's appreciation but my thoughts written on the paper won me a trip to the Mistress of Novices."

 

"Pull... and Push." She breathes the phrase. "The Light and Darkness were represented upon the Great Seal, not just Saidin and Saidar; that was what I had written. Not that Saidin had been evil per say, but the iconography was symbolic for the necessity of two forces moving in concert to propel the Wheel of Time forward... the Wheel which weaves the Pattern, a Pattern read by Fortellers, Dreamers, Viewers and others of that fashion."

 

"The theory continued pridefully to state that perhaps the Age of Legends wasn't a state of perfection... but an unnatural state that one Age prior had created and the Age of Legends people had either forgotten about or had secreted away. That if the Age of Legends had been so very perfect, what need was there for more power? Was that not a display of greed or envy? Are these not emotions we associate with the Shadow? I pointed out that, perhaps, the force existed long before any bore had been dug and had been subdued somehow by the people of that time or the Age before leaving the world in a terrible place of misbalance to the side of Light which likely had problems we haven’t even considered." She let her words sink into her own mind for a moment, the first time they'd been spoke aloud in over two centuries.

 

"The theory had proposed that the Shadow had a purpose, created by the Creator to help life continue onward in spite of our own unnaturally destructive urges. That death, all dark things, they had purpose in our lives and the world. Well, needless to say, to them the paper was an unforgivable sin & so it was burned. The only record of its existence remains with me, in here." She touches her head. "Were it not for the Yellows I'd still bear the scars from that birching." She sighs.

 

"I've never repeated that story to anyone but the two women I loved as I love my own blood family... the two I tried to ask you about before I lost my senses. Jeleane and Melanie." Setting the cup aside she slowly looks up, to avoid feeling faint, and into his eyes deeply & truly for the first time. The act left her feeling naked to him, as if she was somehow more venerable than she already was. It was an act of trust, the only bit she could force herself to at the moment.

 

"Master Felar… even in the wild, where a Lion keeps the balance on a herd of Deer, the Lion is still a foe not to be trifled with. One doesn't simply jump to the service of a Lion without expecting the Lion to one day turn on them when it best suits the Lion's needs."

 

"I know I don't know you well enough to say this for a fact... but I think we both are aware that something bigger than us brought us to this strange place in Time. I hope that you're not going to ignore that fact or be overly generous in your estimation of how much control either of us may have over it either now or in the future. Just as I'd hope that you won’t continue to be with your estimation of your power to keep the Lion at bay should its eyes fall upon you and see you for prey."

 

"You've helped me today & you've protected my children... I know you are all too aware of what that might mean to me." She drops her voice again letting her fingers absently trace along her bottom lip. "We're pawns in this war, you & I. We can only do what is right in our hearts & regardless of our choices the Wheel will turn... unending; but you DO have a choice. You always have a choice. I’ll not forget that, or what you did here today.”

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Rasputin listened in silence as he allowed Telcia to speak. A bit deeper than the usual Aes Sedai, though all things considered that wasn't so much of a surprise now. It also meant that she was open to thoughts, or at least the door was ajar. Maybe he could wedge his foot in there and force it open a little more. Well, not force it but convince her to open up a little further, after all the struggle in the end came down to the matter of change. For Chaos to win, all it needed to do was upset Order, to change the established vision, even the shifting the course of a single leaf as it fluttered in the wind was important if it was the right leaf.

 

And this was such a leaf, fragile and adrift in the swirling eddies of the pattern. Not a necessary one, but any change was a good change, any upset of the status quo was correct. But further thoughts were put aside as Telcia summed up her thoughts, choice indeed was important but she was mistaken if she thought the Wheel would always turn. The Wheel would be destroyed and in the destruction of the collar that wove the fate dictated by the Creator was the only hope for man's freedom. Perhaps he could enlighten her, especially now while she was more open, before she pulled up the defences that had been ingrained into her since birth.

 

"You're almost right." Smiling slightly as he held her gaze for a moment, he then took up the cup and refilled it quickly. He only needed saidin for that task, he needed his feelings and every other part of him to continue the conversation though. Releasing saidin as he handed her the refilled cup, he qualified his comment. "What makes you think that the Creator created the Shadow? Why would the Creator need to fear a lesser creation? Why does the Wheel exist and why does it turn at all? Why are there seven spokes for seven ages instead of nine, or four, or ‘the light’ forbid, thirteen?"

 

Rasputin only left a slight lull for her to consider his words before he continued. “Believers in the Light will rarely accept any questioning of the basic tenets, that the Creator is a supreme being and that things are meant to be as they are. Why? When you ask questions, you get a birching instead of answers. Does that really sound like a reasonable belief to you? This is how things are and if you disagree then it will be smacked into you until you know better?”

 

“It’s a rather odd reflection of the Light itself, or rather, Order.” It would have been easy to slip into a simple recital, but Rasputin steered clear of that in favour of a more personal tone. “While you can accept that the Universe is one great entity, it is made up of opposing yet complementing forces. Saidin and saidar as you noted push and pull, much in the same way that Order and Chaos do, the beings we know as the Creator and the Great Lord.”

 

“To gain some real understanding of them, you need to discard notions of good and evil. These beings are so vast and alien that to try and apply human morality to them is not only useless but its self deceiving. But, I haven’t proven that they are equal powers, have I?” Smiling slightly, Rasputin warmed to the subject. “Hasn’t it ever struck you as odd? That the Creator should be the supreme being yet the Bore must remain closed or the Great Lord shall destroy all?”

 

“Which is another lie.” Points were now emphasised with hand gestures. “The problem is this. Chaos is both a destructive and creative force, it changes things. Order is its opposite, it always seeks consistency and to maintain the status quo. Now listen carefully, this bit is important. When it comes to time and the pattern, chaos is the creation of new threads, new ages, new possibilities for the pattern. Order shapes and gives consistency and permanence to these things, it keeps the pattern from flying apart.”

 

He supposed he should let her ask questions, but when she didn’t say anything, Rasputin continued on. “Now, for reasons we shall never be sure of, though I have my own ideas, the balance was upset. Chaos was forced outside of the pattern. For reality that meant two possible outcomes, stasis or repetition. For the sake of brevity, we’ll skip the explanation of why stasis was not an option, so instead we have repetition. The Wheel isn’t there to spin the pattern, its a collar.”

 

“Nothing we do is new.” Regardless of what you believed, that much was true. “Our Ages come and go but they repeat themselves, and if the Creator has its way, we will continue to repeat them. Names may change, appearances perhaps as well, and yes we have some ‘limited’ ability to make choices. But whenever anything changes too much, the wheel spits out ta’veren to ‘correct’ us, to bring us back into line. Why do you think the Dragon always brings so much death and destruction? And other ta’veren like him? Human beings have the inherent ability to make their own choices, to weave and guide their threads as they wish, our threads don’t naturally repeat themselves. They need to be forced into submission, to be coerced, or if need be sacrificed to maintain the repetition. If you like, it’s the Creator’s way of birching the pattern for stepping out of line, and all of us with it.”

 

“We live in a fractured reality, and until the Great Lord is released and Chaos is returned to its former place, we will continue as we have. We will continue to commit our past sins and have no choice but to repeat them until the balance is restored.” Now was the time to wind it up. “You’re wrong, the wheel will not turn forever. Some day it will be shattered and Chaos will be restored. Change is inevitable, some day the ta’veren will fail or better yet they will be subverted themselves and the chaos they sow will help break the wheel. When that happens, be it this age or the next, mankind will have its freedom. Then our children will be able to live their own lives instead of what Order has deemed for them.”

 

“But, I didn’t mean to preach. I have to admit it can be a hard habit to break nevertheless.” Taking the cup from her when he noticed she was finished with it, Rasputin smile was a little sadder as he continued. “I guess the reason I’m telling you this is... I know your thread as it is inextricably linked with mine. Some threads are always woven together and this meeting is no accident. And, now that you have given me a glimpse of my possible future, it is only fair I return the favour."

 

"One day you will kill me."

 

 

Rasputin Felar

M`aeshadar

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I can hear what you're thinking,

All your doubts and fears,

And if you look in my eyes, in time you'll find,

The reason I'm here.

 

And in time all things shall pass away,

In time, you may come back some say.

To live once more, or die once more,

But in time, your time will be no more.

 

In Time by Mark Collie.

 

 

 

 

How does a woman know the nature of a soul?

Is it weighed and measured just as the qualities of goods bartered for?

Is she the best to judge herself or can that alone be known by the Creator?

Did she think she was Light loyal because no other option had been shown to her?

Could her heart be more dark than she could easily admit?

 

His words kept coming and the less she could argue his logic with all she’d learned and seen in the world the more fearful she became. But why? Because the Dark One would swallow up the world? Did she really fear the Shadow because of that, or was there something else? What did she truly fear?

 

Questions of herself, her beliefs, her fears, and to what she held tightest to suddenly filled every empty place in her mind pushing aside other ‘more important’ thoughts. She hated this man for making her doubt one of the only things she’d ever really known for sure in her existence. She hated him for making things more complicated than they already were and for forbidding her, with baiting and switching of her children’s safety, to do it. This was likely his plan after all.

 

Or was that simply the easy and comfortable ‘truth’ she made for herself in this moment of panic?

 

For a long while she sat quiet, flashes of hundreds of memories flooding her mind like the barrage of fire and lightening on a battlefield that might well have been her soul. All the truths and lies she knew, re-examined with this new information in hand. In truth she’d questioned a lot these past years. Her faith in the Tower as an institution had been shaken and destroyed… replaced with a knowledge of her place in the Light and strengthened by her family & friends. Yet… here was a man with words that made her question the Light and promised she may yet lose the dearest of her family; her babies.

 

She hated him.

She wanted to kill him, perhaps that would stop his words from being true.

Maybe she could go back to her simple life if he was gone.

Her hand itched to reach for the Dagger around her neck.

She hadn’t promised him she wouldn’t attack him with her hands.

She could. She knew it.

 

Even as the imagined blood sprayed across the bodice of her gown, his words crashed down upon her like a great wave of a late fall storm: She would kill him. No words had ever rung more true to her and it was in this moment she, once again, looked inside. Had she been the character in some great being’s repeat performance of a play she’d endured for Ages; Free Will give so long as the play wasn’t disrupted too much.

 

Unable to look at him, disgusted by her urge to kill a man who had come to help her, she let’s her body slump once more. A new kind of exhaustion filling her. In a weary but confident tone she speaks, “I’m not a murderer.” As she said the words she almost wept for knowing they were true. “I’ve caused death in defense, by accident, even been an agent of destruction at the request of suffering man… but I’m not a murderer.” She had to prove to herself that she was good, that she was pure still in some way… “I will not help you to leave this cycle unless you ask it of me. You have my word on that.” She knew the promise would hold so long as her oaths did and some part of her hated that she’d said it; already thinking it was a mistake. Another, smaller and meeker voice, rejoiced.

 

“Some bindings give us freedom Master Felar and some freedoms bind. It is a wisdom I’ve learned from my Oaths. Ask your wife some time, I suspect she has a similar unique perspective to share with you on the matter. As Chaos is not inherently evil… neither can Order be. If this truth is to be accepted then we must also accept that it is we, men and women, who foul it up.” She slowly turns to look at him as she pulls away from him.

 

“Fades… Trollocs… Dark Friends and their senseless & murderous ways; no better than White Cloaks who zealously slaughter & terrorize people over that which they don’t want to understand. The White Tower who teaches women to serve all by separating them from that which they’re meant to serve; removing all humanity and joy from them until they are old bitter husks of what they once were, unable to empathize with anyone outside their sheltered empty world of books, fabricated half-truths, and vaunted self-importance.” The words came out in a torrent; rage pent up over what the Tower had done to her family, and her, for two centuries and longer if you counted Muirenn.

 

Light but it felt good to say it.

She really was free.

The weight of a Shawl and Ring were gone… but what had she traded them for?

 

“I’m not sure there is a good side where men are concerned, Master Felar. Perhaps there never was & the idea of the Light in this world is nothing more than a child’s story grown to the point of faith so that all men might have something to hope for in the face of adversity and strife.” She admits reluctantly. “But men need hope. They need something to assure them that a new day will come when the night is darkest. They need something they can wish to be that is something more than themselves; something good. If that light in all our hearts faded completely…” her voice trailed off into silence for a moment as she organized her last thoughts.

 

“I can not be a servant to or adherent to a Cause or Ideal which has used Tools such as the Dark One has used to win this war. Perhaps the world is as you say… full of terrible truths and things which I am not yet aware; I am certain, in fact, that it is. One day, no doubt, I may lament my inability to stop that which is cosmically beyond any one man to address.” she hesitates. “But for all that I can & can not change; in the end, knowing what I will and won’t stand for, this matters most. The nature of my soul, the power over that which I can govern… these things require my attention. It is for this reason alone that you have my word about slaying you despite the urges that I will not deny are present within me even in this very moment.”

 

Looking to her children she sighs, some hope refilling her as her dizziness abates. She wanted her answers, to who had endangered the children… to who killed Melanie and Jeleane… and so much more; but this had to end. She couldn’t keep at this and still face herself in the mirror when next she sat before it.

 

“We’ll meet again.” The words are a statement with the certainty of her foretelling, perhaps a minor one even now in this moment. “Give my best to Tania.” She looks to Rasputin with sincerity, a distant hope that there was yet a chance for him and Tania both to be saved from the fate they'd dove head long into for whatever pitious reason they'd chosen that path. “I mean that.”

 

With that she begins to tend to her children, the glass vial she’d shown to Felar all but forgotten about, lost in a sea of her darker urges, fears, and unanswered questions about life, the soul, and a most uncertain and terrifying future that lay ahead.

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  • 4 months later...

That had not been the outcome he had been expecting.

 

Watching silently as Telcia turned back to her children, Rasputin could have sworn he had felt something shift in the moment Telcia made her promise. What, he could not precisely say, but he was certain that it had happened. Feeling the coach slowing down, Rasputin reached for the door and let himself out even as he took saidin and resumed his visage. Stepping onto the cobblestones as the coach slowly rounded a corner, Rasputin shut the door and began to make his way down the street to lose himself from any observers there might be.

 

Change.

 

He had changed the pattern without knowing, or rather, he'd influenced Telcia enough that she had done it herself. Her destiny was to be the one that ended his life, yet she had bound herself against such an action and in that binding she had refuted the very order she fought for. Not that it was final, the pattern could yet find a way to circumvent the binding she had placed upon herself to allow for her destiny to be fulfilled, but until then he was safe from the path that order had written for him.

 

That did not save him from the possible path that chaos had presented though. If Bekkar'sorei lived, and the dark prophecy said he did, then he was a threat that Rasputin would have to contend with. They had once shared a master, but Bekkar'sorei had remained true to him while Rasputin had remained true to chaos. But, if chaos wished for them to clash, then they would do so and they would discover which one of them would remain fit to serve, which one of them would carry the Shadow's standard into battle against the Light.

 

Fear was not something that Rasputin had felt for a long time, but the thought of a confrontation with Levan Korgasz was something that made him worry. After Manetheren, Levan had become unbridled chaos, a bane upon the world that was unpredictable at the best of times with only his master to rein him in. As powerful as himself if not a touch more, Levan's fury was something only a very few wouldn't fear. When he had been granted the True Power by the Great Lord... The saa had marked him, marked him true and marked him mad. An avatar of chaos, if he won he would lay waste to the world without restraint nor care.

 

Finding a deserted cul-de-sac, Rasputin was quick to dispense with his disguise and to bore his way through the pattern, far away from this place. It would take a few jumps, some of which possibly fatal, but no one would be following his trail no matter how skilled they were. And in the meantime, the hunt for Bekkar'sorei would begin.

 

 

Rasputin Felar

M`aeshadar

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