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A Bond of Redemption (attn. Myrrhi Aes Sedai)


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.. Not exactly a Peaceful Night’s Sleep ..



Only when the talented gleeman finished the final of his three inter-connected songs did ‘Lady Renshar’ and her Borderlander guard take leave of the Common Room and head upstairs to their rooms. They threw a quick glance at the seated and rather boisterous Whitecloaks as they departed, but the soldiers appeared to take no notice of them as they enjoyed their glasses of ale and applauded the gleeman who was bowing to the crowd in appreciation.


Elessar had been impressed by this entertainer, especially by his epic poem and song of the Children of the Light, and his mind was on the history of this military force as they climbed the stairs to the floor above. Myrrhi walked in silence, seemingly in her own thoughts, and did not speak until they were outside their rooms. Then she turned, facing him and said goodnight. She smiled and he smiled back as he also bade her a good night. He hoped she would have a long, enjoyable night’s sleep. He waited until she had closed the door behind her before entering his own room. Shutting the door, he walked across to the small window on the opposite wall and stared out into the darkness for a moment. From his elevation he could see the rooftops of many of the town’s neigbouring houses and light from candles in many windows. Above the sky was black but with a myriad of shining stars like fireflies on a dark canvas.


Night had fallen on Mardecin.


Taking off his shirt and pants the Warder picked up his poetry book from the small bedside table and jumped into bed. He lay beneath the covers for quite a while reading the songs and poems, enjoying - as always - this wonderful peek into history and myth. Finally he put the book away and closed his eyes. Before he fell into a light sleep, his last thoughts was of the Whitecloaks and the danger they posed to them, Myrrhi and Elessar, on this mission.



Elessar crashed out of a dream and was out of his bed in a second!


It had been a short sleep.


He had had a weird, muddled dream where a woman looking very, very much like Myrrhi had been standing on a stage very, very alike the stage in the Common Room downstairs, singing - in a rather bad voice - “Oh Light, you aaaaaare gloooorious” to the great amusement of the gathered Whitecloaks. There had been something very surreal about it all..


But the sound had awakened him.


The sound!


His eyes gradually getting used to the darkness of the room, he gazed towards the door while quickly putting on his shirt and pants. His sword was on a chair in the corner and he tip-toed across the room to fetch it. Staring hard at the door he listened carefully.. and there, he heard it again.


Someone was trying to pick the lock on his door!



He felt nothing through the Bond to make him believe Myrrhi was awake - she appeared asleep from what he could tell - and he considered the danger she (also) may be in. Perhaps someone was trying to pick her lock too.. He focused on the person outside his room for now. Take care of one threat at a time. Stepping silently up to the door, he stopped and listened some more. The lock was slowly turning..


The Gaidin’s eyes tightened as he stood ready behind the door, waiting for the intruder to make his move. A final click from the lock and then the door was pushed inwards, almost soundlessly and ever so slowly. A shadow moved into the room from outside, barely visible in the dark of the room, a hand raised as if carrying a weapon of sorts..


Another careful step.. slowly.. and then..


The Warder’s arm shot forth, hitting the surprised intruder across the jaw, making him drop the knife with a grunt and lose his balance. Elessar was upon him in a second, his fist smashing into the attacker’s face. The man cursed in pain and fell backwards, crashing against the wall. He lay still, knocked out.


Elessar nodded to himself, then slowly opened the door and gazed outside. A candle lit up part of the corridor further down the hall but partial darkness enveloped the space just outside. He neither saw nor sensed anyone. Through the Bond he felt Myrrhi awake and stirring into action, he felt her approaching her bedroom door. He saw no one outside her room and felt relief. Stepping up to her door he was about to knock when it opened and a concerned Myrrhi, still in her nightshift, stared out at him. Assuring him that she was fine, her eyes widened when he told her of the attacker in his room. She threw a blouse over her shoulder and joined him as they went back to his room and to the fallen attacker.



Lighting a candle on his small table, they stared closely at the figure laying in a heap on the floor.


It was a Whitecloak.


Neither was very surprised, but it caused them concern.


“Seems he was alone”, Elessar murmured as he checked the unconcious man for any further weapons. The knife he had carried lay off to the side and the Warder picked it up and placed it out of reach. “Good thing he was”, he added as he met Myrrhi’s eyes and she nodded back.


“Question is, what was he after?”


It was not necessary to voice the question that was foremost in their minds.


Had they been discovered by the Children of the Light?


If so, why only send one man and not a dozen?



Elessar considered this question for a moment before sharing his thoughts with his Bondholder. She also found it strange that they only sent one man to arrest them, if that were the case.


Could it be that they had not been discovered and that this Whitecloak was a simple thief? Having seen what he presumed to be a noblewoman he had thought to rob them in the night?


It was possible, of course, but neither of them thought it plausible. Perhaps they were becoming suspicious after all that had happened, but it seemed too much of a coincidence that a Whitecloak thief should try and steal from them in the middle of their first night in Mardecin.


While Myrrhi stood considering the situation and possible options, Elessar stepped out into the corridor again and listened and watched for any movement. There was none. He walked down the corridor to the staircase and silently walked downstairs. There was no one about and he walked in semi-darkness across to the windows leading out onto the street and gazed out. He saw no one, the street was empty. Waiting a few moments to make sure, he then headed upstairs again and arrived back at his room. He found Myrrhi standing by the window, her eyes on the still figure of the Child of the Light by the wall. Elessar shook his head slightly, to let her know that he had seen no one downstairs or outside, and she gave a slight nod in response. He then fastened his eyes again on the unconcious figure clothed in white.



Closing the door to his room, the Warder stepped up to his small washstand in the corner and collected a little of the water remaining, in a small glass, and carried it across to their prisoner. Grabbing the man by the shoulder with one arm to get him into a sitting position, he threw the water into the Whitecloak’s face. The man sputtered as he came awake, his eyes opening with a crash, dizzy but partially aware. The man’s eyes widened as he saw the figure of the armed warrior above him and he grabbed for the knife that was no longer there. Elessar’s blade pointed at the Whitecloak’s chest as he shook his head emphatically, a dangerous glint in his dark eyes.


“Remain still, Whitecloak.” Elessar said in a commanding voice. The other man stared balefully back but did not move.


“Now then”, the Warder - in the guise of a noblewoman’s guard - said in a hard voice, “please tell us how it is that a Child of the Light tries to.. rob.. or perhaps kill?.. a noblewoman and her guard in the night.”


“We are”, he added, “very much interested in your.. explanation.”


The Whitecloak saw the steel in the man’s eyes.. but only returned a spiteful look, a sneer on his silent lips.




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Myrrhi sighed and sat on her bed. She couldn’t shake off faces of the Whitecloaks she had seen that night from her mind. She pictured them looking at her with suspicion, just like the patrol leader they had encountered a couple of days before.

I’ll need to be careful on the morrow, she thought. Tonight was a success but only because these men were so deep in their cups. After a good night of rest, things will be different…

A good night of rest…

The Green Aes Sedai looked towards the flowery blanket that covered her bed and wonder whether she’d manage to sleep.

It was not possible for her to have a new bath. The innkeeper wouldn’t like to have a customer having two bath on the same day and it was already quite late. She would need to find something else to make her dark thoughts disappear.

After a short search, she discovered that a couple of books had been left by previous customers in one of the nightstand. The titles weren’t very exciting. The three books she had found were all about the Children of the Light and their history. But reading sounded better than staying like a stick in her bed while watching the ceiling.   


Time passed and Myrrhi felt her eyes sting. She closed the book and turned on her left side, hoping that she would managed to fall asleep. It worked sooner than she had expected. Unfortunately, it was not dreams that she summoned but nightmares.

Elessar and her had been captured and brought in a court of Whitecloak judges. Convinced that they were Darkfriends they had sent them to a very painful death… Before the last strike of her executioner something pulled her out of her sleep.

She couldn’t hear nor see a thing but the Bond told her that Warder was awake and focusing on something. It was by far not enough to assess the situation. The Gaidin didn’t seem to be in danger – it was definitely not like he was attacking someone nor being attacked.

What the h… Myrrhi didn’t have the time to finish her sentence. A crashing noise made her jump from her bed.

Again what she felt through the Bond didn’t make sense. There was no sign of urgency. Shaking her head, she decided that it was time for her to have a look.


 She opened her bedroom door and saw Elessar just behind it, his fist raised as if he had been about to knock.

“What happened?” she asked concern showing in her eyes.

The Gaidin quickly told her about the attack and the man in his room. Myrrhi’s eyes widened as she heard the tale.

“We need to act fast,” she said as she threw a blouse of her shoulders. Together they went to Elessar’s room to take care of the mysterious man.


The mysterious man was not that mysterious. It was easy to see that he was a Whitecloak but both found it impossible to tell what he was after. Alone and armed only with a knife, the man had been crazy enough to go against a Warder. Or, maybe he didn’t know that Elessar was a Warder?

As Myrrhi stood considering the possible options, Elessar went into the corridor. It was completely silent, the inn visitors were all in their rooms probably sleeping. He waited a couple more seconds then came back in. The young Green’s eyes met his. They would need to find a way to interrogate the man.


“A noblewoman and her guard?” the man asked with a grin. ‘Surely a regular guard would not be able to stop me that easily…”

The man looked overconfident. The way he moved seemed to tell that he knew about who they really were.

Myrrhi tried not to react to the Whitecloak’s words. She stayed near the window, her face like stone.

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.. The Art of getting Answers to Questions Unasked  ..



“A noblewoman and her guard?” the man asked with a grin. “Surely a regular guard would not be able to stop me that easily…”


His arrogant, overconfident voice and his contemptous body language made Elessar believe the man knew who they were, or at least had strong suspicions. The Warder exchanged a quick glance with Myrrhi who stood by the window. Her face was like stone, mirroring his, but he thought he saw in her eyes realization that their cover might be blown. He gave her a swift nod as if to convey that they needed to get to the bottom of this, no matter where it would lead.


Facing the downed Whitecloak again, he wanted to wipe that sneering, spiteful grin off the man’s face, but first things first. He had to decide whether to continue the pretense that he was a guard, the Whitecloak’s statement notwithstanding, or to speak truth and admit he was a Warder (which the Child probably suspected) and begin an interrogation. The silence stretched as Elessar held the other man’s gaze, his hard eyes narrowing as he considered their options.


At the same time he went over in his mind what he had surmised regarding the missing Green Sister’s whereabouts. Where could she be? Of all the places he considered plausible, the garrison here in Mardecin came top of his list. The Aes Sedai had been captured in this region according to White Tower sources, and what better, safer place to hold her captive than in one of the garrison’s dungeons? The Whitecloaks would never expect anyone to be able to get unnoticed into the heavily guarded garrison and free her. It was the safest place around.


He could not be certain, of course, but the more he considered it the surer he became. She could be dead already, of course, but he brushed that thought away. They had to act on the presumption that she was still alive. And if so, the garrison was the place they had to free her from. However difficult that might turn out to be. He had still not talked with Myrrhi about this, but knew he needed to do so soon.



He decided to take it step by step.. and see what this Child of the Light knew.


“I am a Borderlander”, Elessar said proudly but harshly. “Perhaps you Southerners are not used to the strong arm of a Northerner..”


“You don’t fool me, Borderlander”, said the Whitecloak with a sneer. “You are more than a guard..”


“And who am I then?” Elessar asked, his voice slightly incredulous. “A hero out of legend?”


The Whitecloak stared up at the Borderlander and his grin grew darker. There was a knowing look in his eyes as he also glanced at the woman by the window for a second.


“You don’t fool me”, the Whitecloak almost spat out. “Yes.. I see I was right in my suspicions. You play your role well.. and perhaps you fool the others.. but not me.”


He chuckled as he waited for the Borderlander’s response, but none came. Elessar just stared hard at the man. The Whitecloak shook his head, then added with another sneer, “I know who you are.”



Elessar felt concern coming through the Bond from Myrrhi but his face betrayed nothing as he continued to gaze hard at the Whitecloak.


“Who are we then?” The Gaidin asked, his grin darker than he felt.


The man chuckled some more, clenching his right fist. “Oh I know who you are.. Gaidin.” His voice was full of scorn as he added, “We have been on the lookout for you.. and your Aes Sedai witch.”


He met Myrrhi’s eyes, glorying in his perceived victory.


As I expected, he knows. Elessar thought as he considered his response. Shall we admit it, or keep up the pretense?


“The others forget that the witches don’t have that ageless face in the beginning..”, the Whitecloak continued, grinning widely, “but I remember.. oh yes Child Serab remembers.. and once I saw you down there in the Common Room, witch” he said, confronting Myrrhi, “and with your big, strong ‘guard’”, now he nodded to Elessar, “I knew that you were the ones who have been described to us, the ones we have been told to watch out for.”


Elessar and Myrrhi stared coldly back at the man, neither betraying their thoughts.


“Foolish of you to come down here”, the Child went on, seemingly eager to gloat, “very foolish.. but good for us. We do love putting Darkfiends to the Question.”


A passionate Light of Truth shone from his eyes now and Elessar was hard pushed not to smack him in the mouth. He controlled himself, however, and let the Whitecloak talk.


The more he spoke voluntarily, the less they would later need to force out of him.



As if he had read the Warder’s thoughts, the man stopped talking and stared stubbornly at the Borderlander, the eternal scorn evident on his lips.


Another long pause followed and when it was clear the man was not going to say any more, at least not without some prodding, Elessar cleared his throat.


“Well.. what do you know about fighting the Shadow, Whitecloak?” He said in a hard tone of voice. “We have fought Darkfriends and minions of the Dark One for ages in the Borderlands. You soft Southerners know nothing of our hardships, you see a bear in the woods and you think it is a trolloc..”


“Lies!”, the Whitecloak spat out. “You and the White Tower witches pretend to serve the Light, but we Children of the Light know better. We know you for the Darkfriends you really are.”


Elessar shook his head slightly, wondering at the stupidity of that notion so inbred in the Whitecloaks. They were, in truth, all in the White Tower Darkfriends or 'Black Ajah', as far as the Children were concerned. It was impossible to make them see the truth, though. It was like speaking to a brick wall. The Warder, in fact, thought a brick wall might be easier to persuade otherwise.


It was not important now in any case. What was important was to learn what else this Child knew.. and how to proceed next.


“So tell me, Whitecloak..” There was obvious scorn in Elessar’s voice now. “If you are so clever and wise.. how come you decided to take on a Warder and his Aes Sedai alone.. in the night..”



The way he said it made it sound like the most pathetic decision ever made. This was deliberate, to goad and try and get a strong reaction from the Whitecloak. The Child did not disappoint him.


“Because I want the glory, Darkfriend..” the man began in a passionate voice, his eyes wild. “I have been passed over too many times.. this time the glory.. of finding you, filthy Darkfriends.. would be mine.”


The Child felt the Light burn in him. He revelled in its glory.


“Of course, I needed some proof.. which I hoped to find in your rooms..” he added, his voice lowered. “I thought to catch you asleep.”


As if daring the Borderlander to contradict him, he hurriedly went on, “With that in hand I would tell my Brothers.. and you would be arrested and placed in our dungeons.. to rot.. just like that other witch..”


Elessar’s face did not betray any emotion, but inside he heard the man’s last words repeating in his mind.


.. just like that other witch..


The Green Sister!


She is here, just as I thought. Elessar nodded to himself. Or at least she was here..



Meeting Myrrhi’s eyes, he saw recognition there too and also felt it through the Bond.


She too kept her face cold outwardly while inside smiling at the news that they had found where the Green Sister was.. or at least had been..


“There is no other.. witch..”, Elessar said tauntingly. “You are just trying to brag. You would not have been able to catch an Aes Sedai. What do you take me for!?”


The Whitecloak ‘took the bait’, as it were.


“Oh yes, there is!” He said, almost salivating as he replied. “We took her, well and good.. She did not expect that, did she..”


His eyes shone, remembering.



“So you put her to the Question, and then after letting her ‘rot,’ as you called it, in your dungeon for a while.. you had the pleasure of killing her?” Elessar asked.


He hoped the man would be only too eager to brag and thereby confirm whether or not the Green Sedai was still alive. Again, the Whitecloak did not disappoint him.


“Oh, she is not dead..” the Whitecloak said scornfully. “She will be soon, I guess, but we want her to embrace the Light first.. she must renounce the Shadow..”


“We are helping her see the.. error of her ways”, he added gleefully.


Elessar definitely wanted to kick the man’s teeth in at that moment, feeling emotions of anger coming through the Bond also from the smooth-faced Sister by the window, but he again resisted the urge.


Now they knew that the Sister was alive as well.. at least for the moment.. and all without the need for a deep interrogation.


Elessar was very pleased with the progress made, but now he needed to speak with Myrrhi alone.



“One other thing..” Elessar said softly, leaning down toward the Whitecloak as if to whisper in his ear, but instead he punched the man hard in the face, knocking him out once again.


He knew he could have had Myrrhi ward them so the man would not hear what they were saying, but knocking the Whitecloak out felt good, he had to admit. The look Myrrhi gave him did not seem overly critical either. From what she had heard of their treatment of her fellow Sister, he guessed she thought he had it coming.


Facing his Bondholder in the room, he said simply, “We need to talk.”


She nodded as he joined her by the window, his mind whirling with thoughts.


They spoke of what the Whitecloak had said and what their next step would be. Elessar admitted that he had suspected that the Children were holding the Sister in the garrison and Myrrhi said she had considered it too. The question now was: how were they going to free the Green Sister? This would not be easy considering the heavily guarded garrison. At the same time, the Whitecloaks would not expect anyone to be daring enough - or foolish enough as they saw it - to break in and attempt to free a prisoner and then escape.


Surprise would certinly be on their side, Elessar argued, but the task itself seemed extremely difficult. Without help, at least. Myrrhi agreed with his assessment but emphasized that they had to make the attempt. Could they somehow make use of this captured Whitecloak, Elessar wondered? Could he help them get into the garrison at least? He would certainly not do so willingly, from what the Warder had seen and heard, but was there some way they could make him?


“What do you think?” Elessar asked Myrrhi, as he quickly glanced at the unconcious Whitecloak lying by the wall. “How can we make use of him?”


An idea was beginning to form in his mind, but first he waited for Myrrhi's thoughts on the matter.




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Myrrhi took another look at the man in front of her. As she did so, she swore to herself that she would do everything in her power to learn a Weave that would make people answer truthfully to any questions she or her Warder would ask. With the Greens, she had learned a lot of useful Combat Weaves but it was not enough. Especially when she had to get information from a prisoner. How many people did we question since I left the White Tower? She asked to herself. It would have been way easier if I had known a Weave like that...


The Gaidin was doing a very good job so far. Working step by step be had managed to pull more information out of their prisoner than she had thought possible.


The man had known who they were from the start. He had known that not all Aes Sedai wore an ageless face, and had been smart enough to match her with the description of the mysterious Green for whom he had to look.  Still, he had fallen into Elessar's trap, allowing himself to be baited into revealing precious information about the woman they had been tasked to rescue.


When the man mentioned her, calling that other witch, Myrrhi felt her heart tightening. Fighting not to betray any emotion, she focused on her Warder. She wasn't sure that she'd manage to keep her composure if she'd look at the prisoner. He sounded like a mad man, a dangerous mad man. Anger was starting to build up inside her, as she thought about what men like these could do to her Sister.


C'mon Myrrhi, at least we know where she is... As she tried to reassure herself, Elessar's eyes quickly met hers. The eye contact help her find back some serenity.


Again, the Gaidin baited the prisoner into saying more. It did wonders. He confirmed that she was alive, at least for a little while longer.




"We need to talk," Elessar said, right after having knocked out their prisoner.


Myrrhi grinned. "That we do," she replied. They indeed needed to talk and it would have been dangerous to allow the Whitecloak to know about their plans. Of course, Myrrhi could have woven a ward but she wasn't sure the prisoner would have handled it well. Maybe his heart would have stopped, or worse, he would have screamed in fear drawing the attention of the other inn visitors.


Leaving the man where he was, Elessar joined the Green near the window. They spoke about their options. They needed to work fast, and use the benefit of surprise.


"We have a prisoner," the Gaidin said. "Maybe we could make use of him?" The man could help them get into the garrison but he would need to be convinced to help them and that didn't sound like an easy task.


"What do you think? How can we make use of him?"


"Well," Myrrhi said chewing her lower lip. "If he had come in his white garb we could have used to enter the garrison... I wouldn't mind to act as someone else than that silly noblewoman."  She made a small pause.

Dressing up as Whitecloaks sounded like a good idea but they would need to find the right clothes before entering the garrison and it would not be an easy task. Their prisoner would certainly not go that far to help them. She told Elessar that she had doubts about the man's readiness to help.


"Why would he trust us? or help us? It is not like we have something he wants ..."

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.. A Threat, a Plan and a Time to Act  ..



Myrrhi replied that if the Whitecloak had come in his white garb they could have used it to enter the garrison. She added that she would not mind to act as someone else than that ‘silly noblewoman’ as she termed it.


She thought that dressing up as Whitecloaks sounded like a good idea but they would need to find the right clothes before entering the garrison. It would not be an easy task. She told Elessar that she had doubts about the man’s readiness to help, and he agreed with her, having had the same thoughts himself.


"Why would he trust us? or help us?” She added. “It is not like we have something he wants ..."



“I agree”, the Warder replied as he glanced again at the unconcious Child of the Light. “He will never trust us.. or help us willingly.”


Turning to face his Bondholder again, he added, “So we will need to use an other tactic, I think..”


His eyes had a mischiveous glint. His tone turned dangerously amused.. and hard.


“I think we need to use threats..”, he said in even tones, “and specifically the kind of threat that would make a Whitecloak’s blood boil..”



His dark eyes hardened as he went across to the small wash stand in the corner and collected some water in a glass from a pitcher. He then walked across to the downed Whitecloak and unceremoniously threw the water in the man’s face. The man sputtered and coughed as he regained conciousness, brushing his hand across his face in momentary confusion. Then his eyes focused on the figure standing above him and he recalled where he was and who this towering man was. Cursing under his breath, he shook his head and gave the Warder a spiteful look.


“Bloody Darkfriend!!” he cursed as he clenched his fist. He threw a baleful look in the Aes Sedai’s direction as well. She looked back at hin, her face hard as stone.


“Oh, shut up!” Elessar said with a sneer as he met the Child’s eyes. “But now that you are back with us..”, he added smoothly but with an obvious dark edge, “it is time you know how you are going to help us.. free the imprisoned Aes Sedai.”


The Whitecloak stared at him incredulously, his eyes wide and his mouth moving though no words came out..



“How can you possibly think I would..” he started disdainfully when he finally was able to speak, his face reddening, but Elessar stopped him in mid-sentence.


“Oh you will, Child Serab..” the Gaidin said in a no-nonsense voice. Elessar’s eyes turned dark and very dangerous. “Or else.. we will spread the word, that you are consorting with.. the White Tower.”


The man’s eyes widened even further.


“Yes, I am sure”, Elessar added in a certain voice, “your superiors will take quite an interest in your association with.. Darkfriends.”


The Whitecloak’s face darkened, his pulse quickened, and a pearl of sweat beaded on his forehead. Elessar stared hard at the man, waiting for his reaction. He had surmised that the only threat this zealous, hardened Child of the Light would take seriously was being named Darkfriend or being associated with them. It seemed he had been right. The Whitecloak cursed as he pointed a finger up at the Warder.


“No one will believe you!” He said emphatically, but his worried eyes and a slight panic in his voice betrayed him. “No one will believe such a preposterous accusation.. that I am a filthy Darkfriend. It is an empty threat! Empty I say!”


Elessar stared back coldly. His voice was just as cold. “Ah.. but will you take that chance.. Child Serab!?”



A decent threat and a knife at one’s throat, usually brought results - and that was also the case this time.


It was a little past midnight, the darkness enveloping the town of Mardecin, and the three of them - Elessar, Myrrhi and Child Serab - all clothed in white garbs, were hiding in the shadow of the garrison wall some twenty or so yards from the garrison gate..


The Whitecloak had cursed and refused to help them in any way, but in the end his fear of being named Darkfriend to his Brothers in the Light overcame his reluctance to help them. That - and the knife Elessar held at his throat. The Warder had forced the Whitecloak to reveal what he knew of the layout of the garrison - including the location of the Watch Commander’s office, the guard’s room and also the dungeon as well as the outside grounds between the wall and the building -, what he could tell about guard routines and schedules, and where to get hold of white cloaks (in a nearby house owned by the Children).


There had been no need for a harsh physical interrogation, something he and Myrrhi both were glad for. Had it been necessary, Elessar would not have hesitated, but he disliked it and preferred getting the information needed by other means, if possible. With the Child soundly gagged and bound in Elessar’s room, they had moved to Myrrhi’s room next door to plan in detail how they would carry out this mission.


They had to move quickly, since this Whitecloak captive of theirs would soon be reported missing. The plan was to use the cover of night for this operation. The darkness would make it harder for them to be seen and at that time of day there would be far fewer Whitecloaks about, on the grounds and inside the garrison. They were to hide by the garrison wall and then, just after the change of guards at midnight, they would act. Elessar surmised that the new guards would be a little less attentive in the first few minutes of their watch, so that would be the best time to move. Getting past the guards, they would then head quickly across the grounds, hiding at intervals behind trees, until reaching the building proper. They would sneak along the corridors and down a level, past the guard’s room, and to a door at the end. A guard would there have to be incapacitated, and beyond that door was - according to Child Serab - some stairs down to the dungeon below. Guarding the dungeon was supposedly two more guards, the final obstacle before freeing the Green Sister from her captivity.


Supposing she was there, of course. And still alive. And able to walk or be part-carried.


There were many ‘ifs’ and ‘supposes’ in all this, and there may be need for some improvisation, but it was the best they could come up with on such a short notice. Escaping the garrison without waking up half the place, was another matter. Elessar knew it might come to killing some Whitecloaks, it might be inevitable if they were to escape, but he hoped they could avoid a mass-incident. He did not want the whole garrison on their tail when they made their escape from town.



Now, as they crouched silently in the shadows by the wall, Elessar wondered if this plan of theirs would meet with success. The truth was, they needed some luck for it all to pan out. But that was the case with most missions and operations. Careful planning, good execution, and some luck.


To be truthful, what concerned him the most, was that this Whitecloak beside them would betray them. He held a sharp knife against the Child’s throat but did not trust him for a minute. Main thing though was for the Whitecloak to get them safely past the guards. Once they were well inside the garrison grounds, his use was not quite as imperative.. providing, of course, he had given them factual information.


His face almost hidden in the hood of the white cloak he wore, Elessar’s eyes hardened.


They had to succeed. Nothing else mattered.


He felt similar determination coming through the Bond from Myrrhi beside him, cloaked as she also was in her white garb. He also felt some tension from her, but that was to be expected considering what was at stake. He gazed through the darkness in the direction of the garrison gate.


It was soon time to move.




Edited by Elessar
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"Threats that would make a Whitecloak's blood boil?" Myrrhi repeated frowning. "What do you have in mind?" Some part of her was surprised by her Warder's words. His eyes had darkened as he had talked and the sight of them - black as coals - had made the young Green shiver. Another part of her was curious. She wanted to know what could convince a Whitecloak to betray his own order. Chewing on her lips, she tried to guess. The man didn't seem to care for a wife nor a child. He didn't seem to be interested in gold... but he was ambitious. "I think I know," she whispered.


Elessar didn't reply. The bond was enough for him to understand that she knew where he wanted to go. He went across the room to the small wash stand. There, he collected water in a glass from a pitcher, before walking back to their prisoner. As Myrrhi made a step forward, the Gaidin stopped in front of the Whitecloak. They exchanged a nod then, Elessar threw the content of his glass on the man's face. The prisoner woke up at once. He sputtered and coughed, alarm showing on his face. It took him a while to recognize the Warder's room.


"Bloody Darkfriend!" he cursed. He looked towards Myrrhi as if she was the one who had drenched him. She returned his gaze defiantly, waiting for Elessar's next move.


When the Warder explained to the Whitecloak that he was going to help them free the imprisoned Aes Sedai, Myrrhi fought not to smile. Very, very clever... but will it work? She wondered. Even if she fully trusted her Warder, she had to admit that his strategy was quite different from the interrogation techniques they had used so far. But the prisoner's wide open eyes and gaping mouth gave her hope.



Myrrhi adjusted her cloak. She enjoyed the man's garb she was wearing. It was much more practical than all these dresses she had had to wear so far as Lady Renshar.


It was a little past midnight and so dark that it was not easy for her to have a complete view on her surroundings. Of course, she could have opened herself to Saidar to improve her senses, but to use the One Power so close to a Whitecloak garrison seemed to be complete madness. Strange tales said that they had devices that could detect the use of Saidar... and she surely didn't want to put these tales to the test. 


Elessar was standing right in front of her, hand on the pommel of his sword and ready to protect her from a very reluctant Child Serab.


"It is time", their prisoner said at last. The change of guards had happened only a couple of minutes before, they would need to act quickly. "There will be nobody around for at least ten good minutes. it's now or never..."


"Alright, let's go," the Warder replied. Suspicion could be read in his voice. Even if what Serab had said made sense, the Gaidin was not ready to trust him. He moved forward, pushing their prisoner to take the lead.


They advanced slowly. Once they were inside the grounds, they moved from the cover offered by the trees to stay undetected. It took them a bit longer than forseen, but they managed to reach the building that housed the cells without encountering anyone. Serab open the gate as silently as a thief could. It made Myrrhi wonder what the man's career had been before enrolling as a Children of the Light.


Once inside, Myrrhi's heard tightened. It was clear, from what she heard, that they were not alone. Steps and voices resonated from far away. As fear crept in her mind, she hurried to stand closer to her Warder.


"We need to stay quiet," Serab whispered as he turned towards his captors. The man looked scared and determined at the same time. He will hate us for this, Myrrhi thought. I hope we aren't creating a new monster...


"Then, you shouldn't make so much noise," she replied with the lowest voice she could summon. The Whitecloak nodded, and moved forward.





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.. ‘Almost in the Heart of the Lion’s Den’: Part 1  ..



Elessar looked at Child Serab and the man nodded.


“It is time”, he said.


The change of guards had happened only a couple of minutes before, so they would need to act quickly.


“Alright, let’s go”, the Warder replied.


He did not trust the Whitecloak and some suspicion could be read in his voice, but he thought the man was speaking the truth regarding the guards. He moved forwards, pushing their prisoner to take the lead. They advanced slowly. The guards’ inattentiveness such a short time after the change of guards benefitted them just as Elessar had hoped and soon they were inside the garrison grounds. They used the cover of the trees as planned and moved carefully towards the building. They managed to stay undetected though it took them a bit longer than foreseen. They reached the building that housed rooms and offices but also the underground cells without encountering anyone. Child Serab opened the gate silently, the knife now pressing against his side.


Once inside, they crouched in a corner of a corridor, waiting. Elessar felt adrenaline pumping in his veins, and his eyes were vigilant as they gazed down the long corridor. They could hear steps and voices that resonated from far away. The Gaidin guessed it was from a parallell corridor, or from offices further along, but he could not be certain. Even so, the place was certainly not bustling with daytime activity which would have made it impossible for them to try this rescue attempt. He felt increased tension coming through the Bond from Myrrhi and felt her moving to stand closer to him. Elessar’s attention was on their captive Whitecloak and he almost waited any second for the man to scream out and betray them. The man remained silent, however, though there was hate in his eyes for the betrayal he was carrying out whenever he met the Warder’s eyes.



The Child of the Light, a somewhat scared but determined look on his face, then whispered that they need to stay quiet. As if that was not painfully obvious, thought the Gaidin as he shook his head slightly. Myrrhi, seemingly sharing Elessar’s sentiment, replied in a low voice that since that was important, he - Child Serab - shouldn’t make so much noise. The Whitecloak just stared back though it was difficult to know whether he saw the comment as a reprimand or no. He then nodded, the ever present spite in his eyes, as he moved forward, Elessar beside him with Myrrhi just behind.


Lights burned at intervals on small shelves some way up the wall along the corridor making it easy to see but it was a touch darker than during daylight hours for which the Warder was pleased. Should they need to make a hasty retreat from this place, which was far from improbable, he would make sure several of those burning candles were snuffed out so it would become easier to flee the place.


They turned a corner and stopped abruptly. Not ten paces away a white cloaked figure stood with his back to them seemingly reading a document he held in his hand. Probably an officer, they figured. Elessar stood rock still and waited for their captive to betray them.. the knife he pressed against the other man’s side remained in place.. but Child Serab kept silent, whether out of fear or for other selfish reasons the Warder did not know, he was just relieved that their prisoner did not ‘blow’ their operation at that moment.


Exchanging a silent glance with Myrrhi, he met Child Serab’s eyes and nodded softly as if to say, ‘you know what will happen to you if you break your word to us’. The Whitecloak faced Elessar for a moment but then gazed toward the officer again. That man murmured something under his breath, then walked in the other direction, holding the document in his right hand, having shown no sign that he had been aware of them. Soon the man was out of sight, having turned another corner.



Elessar nodded to Child Serab and they followed the other Whitecloak down the corridor. More sounds were heard, seeming to come from a room off to the left: the guards’ room. From what Child Serab had explained, that room seemed to be a kind of ‘recreational’ room for soldiers between watches. There would be some soldiers there even at this late hour, but not many according to their Whitecloak captive. It remained to be seen if he had spoken truth.


Sneaking along the corridor, making sure their footsteps were soft and silent, they neared the guards’ room when a sound made them stop. Further down a corridor a voice rose in conversation. Myrrhi, Elessar and Child Serab exchanged a quick glance. Though they could still not see the figures, it was clear they were coming their way. Elessar surveyed the corridor and spotted a door to a room off to the right. He considered their chances if they ‘took care’ of those men coming their way. It would be impossible to do so, he thought, without the soldiers in the guards’ room hearing. They only had a few seconds to consider; soon the approaching men would turn the corner ahead and come into sight. Elessar looked their captive in the eye but the other gave no response so he turned his gaze down the corridor again.


He whispered softly to Myrrhi, if she had any ideas, but she shook her head, relying on him and his judgment in this volatile situation. The Warder’s hand went to the pommel of his sword, ready to unsheath it in a second if necessary. The voices down the corridor became louder.. and then Elessar acted. He pushed their captive forwards and they moved a little quicker, closing in on the guards’ room. They could now hear banter and laughter coming from the room (do Whitecloaks actually have a sense of humour!? was an amusing passing thought in the Gaidin’s mind as he listened to the sounds). Stopping just before thr open door, Elessar took hold of Child Serab’s arm and stopped him in his tracks. Still pressing his knife against the other man’s side, the Warder shook his head at the other man, as if in warning, then very carefully peeked around the doorframe into the room.



Four young men, their white cloaks thrown on a chest of sorts, were seated around a table playing cards, laughing and enjoying playful banter. Two of them had their backs to the door and none of them were looking in their direction and seemed totally focused on the game. Elessar pulled his head back and nodded to Myrrhi and Child Serab. Silently they moved past the door and guards’ room without being spotted. The other Whitecloaks were just rounding the corner some thirty paces or so ahead, their heads close together in conversation, when Elessar rushed up to the door on the right, turned the door handle and pushed the door open.


He ushered Child Serab and Myrrhi into the room before closing it softly behind him. The room was semi-dark but seemed to be some kind of storage room with shelves and boxes in well kept rows. They waited the few moments - which felt like an eternity - until there were steps outside the room and the voices of the coming soldiers were heard from the corridor, waiting to see if they had been spotted. The steps continued, the voices slowly becoming weaker, as the men outside continued down the corridor in the direction of the guards’ room.


Elessar sighed inwardly, his shoulders relaxing a little, and felt a similar emotion coming through the Bond from Myrrhi. They had been lucky.. but as he had thought before, some luck was always needed if any operation or mission was to succeed.


Luck was part of the game.




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.. ‘Almost in the Heart of the Lion’s Den’: Part 2  ..



They stood in silence as a minute or so passed by.


While they waited, Elessar considered whether to leave Child Serab behind in the storage room; knocked out again and bound and gagged. Was it worth the risk of bringing him with them to the cells? He had given them precise directions, and to tell the truth the Warder was very unsure whether the Whitecloak would, in fact, fight his own kind when it came down to it. At the same time, there was a risk leaving him behind, in case he was found by some fluke chance in the storage room, or if he perhaps could get them past some of the guards.


Elessar certainly did not trust the man, but he was reluctant to endager their chances of success by a premature decision. It was a hopeless choice and he felt he might regret whatever choice he made. He knew Myrrhi would support his choice in this matter so the decision was his to make. Cursing under his breath, hoping he was not being a fool, he decided to take the Child with them down to the cells.


After an appropriate amount of time had passed, as he saw it, he faced the Whitecloak in the half-dark and said that it was time to go.


Pressing the knife against the Whitecloak’s side, Elessar softly, ever so softly, opened the door and peered outside. There was no one in sight and no sound of anyone nearby. Only the more distant sound of banter from the guards’ room could be heard. Pushing the door open, he made the Whitecloak take the lead, Elessar a step behind and to the side, with Myrrhi another short step behind. They moved quickly toward the corner and were just rounding it when a tall white-cloaked figure almost stepped right onto them!



The man gasped, seeing in the glimpse of a second the knife pressed against the side of a Brother and a suspicious-looking Whitecloak with the hood closed, and the gasp was mirrored by the three who had not heard him approaching. But just as the Whitecloak officer, eyes wide, looking more closely at the figures before him, was about to shout a warning, Elessar’s sword-hilt smashed into his head and he was felled like a tree. Quickly without thought, Elessar grabbed Child Serab by the arm and forced him to help him drag the unconcious body back to the storage room.


It was a risky move but Elessar could not be certain there was another room ahead where they could place the downed Child, neither could they just leave him in the corridor. With Myrrhi keeping watch ahead and Elessar throwing quick glances behind him, they dragged the Whitecloak back to the storage room, thankfully without being seen, and left him there in a dark corner, bound and gagged (they used a rope they found among the many things stored) just in case, then returned back down the corridor.


As they walked down a second corridor, keeping a lookout for anyone and anything, Elessar began to think they would manage to come all the way to the door that lead down to the underground cells without another incident, when two Whitecloak officers suddenly rounded a corner two dozen paces ahead of them and stopped in their tracks. It was too late to hide this time. They would need an other tactic.


Elessar moved his knife so it was not visible to those men ahead and managed to keep it hidden, as he kept the three of them walking slowly towards the other men, as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Elessar and Child Serab had their hoods down, their white cloaks swirling around them as they walked with confident steps, Myrrhi - her hood still closed - beside them.  Elessar saw the men stare at Myrrhi and he waved in a friendly manner as he approached, smiling. He had to make sure they did not peer too closely inside her hood. They had talked about such a scenario, what to say and what to do, he only hoped Myrrhi remembered.



“Brothers”, he said as he came to a stop, Child Serab and Myrrhi a little behind him, “the Watch is never over.”


Child Serab had told him that this was a normal greeting between Brothers of the Light. The normal response was, “The Watch never ends.”


One of the two men faced Elessar and replied in kind. The other man was staring at the closed hood of the smaller figure, a younger man he surmised, but the Warder quickly got his attention.


“Our younger Brother had a little too much to drink”, he said with a chuckle and a knowing, lopsided grin, nodding at Myrrhi.


“He does not want to be recognized this night by a prowling officer, thereby the closed hood. Safer this way.”


The men grinned knowingly, seemingly buying the explanation.


“We shall get him to his bunk”, Elessar added, “and make sure he sleeps off his drunkenness.”



Elessar recalled from Child Serab’s description of the place that there was a side-corridor reached by a door a little further ahead which led to sleeping quarters for the soldiers.



The Whitecloaks laughed, nodding in understanding, any suspicions they may have had seemingly gone, and Elessar walked the three of them past the two men, exchanging a final greeting, wanting to avoid any further enquiries. When they had rounded another corner, with no sounds of pursuit, he stopped and they all could breathe a little easier.


Some time later, they finally arrived in the corridor which at its end had the iron-door which led down to the garrison cells. A big white-cloaked armed guard stood guarding this door and they stopped a good distance from him, where they could not be seen or heard, in the shadows of the more poorly lit corridor, as they considered how to proceed. They had indeed been lucky so far, the Warder thought, but the most difficult part was ahead of them. First they needed to get by this guard, then they had to face at least one or more guards by the cells.. and then, freeing the Sister and escaping with her.



Elessar exchanged a long glance with Myrrhi and then he whispered in Child Serab’s ear that he better keep up his act and not betray them now, or he would live to regret it.


Their de facto captive said nothing in response, just returned his spiteful but seemingly resigned and fearful look that he had worn ever since they had begun this operation. Holding his knife against the Whitecloak’s back, the Warder faced his Aes Sedai and whispered to her that they needed to decide how to proceed. There were only two choices, really. Two options.


They were nearing the cells now, the most vital part of their plan, and could not afford to make a mistake. He therefore wanted Myrrhi’s opinion. They needed to agree on this. Too much was at stake.


Option one, to talk to and somehow convince the guard to let them through down to the cells (not very probable that this would work, it was possible but they would need a very plausible reason and there was the question of how to get past the guard on the way up with the Green Sister). Or Option two, to sneak up on him (possibly with a diversion) and overpower him (neutralize him, with lethal force, if necessary) and rush down to the cells and do whatever was needed to free the Green Sister (difficult, but if done in the right way, it was possible and with the added bonus that it would make their escape up the stairs to the corridor from the cells below easier).


“What do you think?” Elessar whispered to Myrrhi, as he kept his gaze on the guard standing at attention far down the corridor. “What shall we go for?”




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Myrrhi saw Elessar hesitate. She guessed that, just like her, he was considering to leave their prisoner behind. Of course, he would have to be bound and gagged or knocked out long enough for them to leave the place undetected. And of course, there was also the risk that someone would discover him and raise the alarm. She looked towards Serab, then shook her head, not sure about the best course of action. She didn't like him and was afraid he would betray them before they would manage to reach her Green Sister.


But before she had the time to think further about what to do next, she heard her Warder curse under his breath. He took the prisoner by the arm, sign that he had decided what was the best option.


So, you'll be accompanying us for a bit longer, she thought her eyes still on the White Cloak.


The Green didn't protest. She fully trusted her Warder on these kind of things. It was, after all, the first time that she had to sneak into a White Cloak fortress.




They waited for what seemed to be ages before opening the door that would lead them back to the corridor. Elessar peered outside to check whether or not the path ahead was clear. By chance, it was. He turned as he moved back near into the storage room and made a small sign with his hand to indicate that it was time to move forward. As Myrrhi had expected it, her Warder pushed Serab in front of him so that he would take the lead. Elessar went second and the Green last.


They moved as quickly as could until the first corner where they suddenly stopped, as a tall white cloaked figure appeared right in front of them.


The man seemed to be as surprised as they were. It took him a second too much to understand that some of the people he had in front of him were alien to his order. Indeed, as he opened his mouth to shout for help, Elessar's sword hilt smashed into his head. It was enough to make the newcomer crash on the floor. Fighting not to panic, the Aes Sedai looked around them to see whether or not someone had seen what had just happened but the corridors were empty. As her eyes glided on what laid before her she saw that her Warder had grabbed Serab by the arm, once more, but this time to force him to help him drag the unconscious body to the storage room they had just left.


Myrrhi bit her lower lip wondering whether it was a good idea. Hadn't her Warder just decided that to leave Serab in the same storage room was a risk they shouldn't take? On another hand, they didn't have much choice. They couldn't leave the man in the middle of the corridor, for the first White Cloak to find. Staying silent, moved back towards the storage room. It didn't take her long to find a set of ropes that they used to secure their brand new prisoner.


The Aes Sedai brushed her hands on her tabbart as they went back to the corridor. She didn't dare to channel to set wards around them. They would have been handy, allowing her to know when someone would come in their direction but she was afraid the Children of the Light would have devices capable of detecting the use of the one power. Wards, even when invisible, required an important amount of threads. They would be hard to hide... at least, that was what she thought.




Again, as they rounded a corner, they came into view of not one but two white cloaked men. This time the newcomers were too far to be knocked unconscious. They would need another tactic to get rid of them.


By chance, Myrrhi had pulled her hood low enough to cover more than half her face. Even if she felt that the men had their eyes on her, the young Green knew that they would not recognize her as a young woman without coming much closer to her. Following their plan, Elessar waved at the man and started to talk with them.


"Brothers," he said. " The Watch is never over." One of the man answered with the right line. Myrrhi didn't detect any kind of suspicion in  his voice. The other man was another story. He had stayed silent and was still turned towards her.

As he made a step towards her, Elessar moved to place himself between the young Sedai and the man. "Our younger brother had a little too much to drink," he said with a chuckle.


To confirm his tale, Myrrhi swayed. It drew some laughs. Not wanting to overdo it, she waited a bit before hiccuping.


She had never been drunk enough to find herself in such a state, but she had spent enough time in inns now to know what to do. Her Warder and the two men exchanged a couple of words, before they left convinced that she was a young recruit who would suffer a bad hangover the next day.




"And here we are," Myrrhi whispered. She exchanged a long glance with her Warder. Please, whatever you do, make him help us till the end...


Since her little act, Serab's face had changed. His frown had become deeper and his face whiter. She didn't know whether or not it was a good sign. He still looked resign and fearful but there was something else. Something she couldn't recognize. Or maybe, I am just worrying too much...


Elessar said something to their prisoner before coming closer to her. "What do you think? What shall we go for?" he said.


Myrrhi took a couple of seconds to think about the two options that were open to them. Either they would talk to the guard and try to convince him to let them have access to the cells on the other side of the big door he was guarding either they would sneak up on him and overpower him.


'I am tired of this acting," the young Green said. As the words escaped her mouth, she felt anger building up in her. She wanted to do something. Sneaking had been the best way to enter the fortress but she was not sure she could keep on doing it for long. "I can channel something small enough to make him faint. It would take a while but it could help...."


Seeing her Warder raising his eyebrow, she went on. "Or we do something else... but I am not sure I can pass for a young recruit, once again. I'll have to come too close to that big brute."



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.. ‘Closing in on their final Destination’: Part 1 ..



He saw Myrrhi consider their options and waited patiently for her reply.


Gazing carefully down the corridor, Elessar saw that the huge Whitecloak by the iron-door stood steadfast with his eyes staring straight ahead, seemingly unaware of them in the shadows at the other end.


The Warder went over in his mind what Child Serab had told him of the underground cells and was already thinking ahead to that very crucial part. Turning to look into their captive’s eyes he saw the same spite mixed with fear as before, but the Whitecloak’s face seemed a touch whiter than earlier. Just don’t betray us now that we are almost there, he thought fervently as he stared hard into the eyes of the other man.


Finally the Aes Sedai spoke. It was more of a whisper. She said honestly and without preamble that she was tired of this acting. The Warder felt her slight frustration through the Bond. She seemed a bit more restless than before, something Elessar could well understand. They had succeeded in coming this far through sneaking into and through the garrison and careful acting, but it was becoming a strain and it was a question of how long they could keep it up. She added that she could channel something small enough to make the huge guard by the iron-door and stairs faint. It would take a while, she said, but it could help..



Elessar heard the uncertainty in her voice, as if she were somewhat doubtful if this was the best course of action, and that made him uncertain also. He raised his eyebrow as he stared into her face, trying to gauge how much she believed in her suggestion. She had not used the One Power at all, as far as he knew, since they had entered the Whitecloak garrison and the Warder had suspected there was a reason for that.


Whether the Children of the Light somehow were able to pick up on channeling (it sounded doubtful to the Gaidin from the little he knew, but one could never know), or whether the captive Aes Sedai in the cells might feel the channeling and somehow unerringly, without meaning to, do something that might jeopardize their attempt to free her, he did not know, but he guessed perhaps these were things Myrrhi had considered.


She seemed to see the uncertainty in his eyes, because she quickly added that they could try something else instead.. though, she added, she was not sure she could pass for a young recruit for much longer, seeing as she would have to come pretty close to the white-cloaked guard ahead.


Elessar nodded, understanding how she felt and seeing her point. He looked again at Child Serab, who had his eyes fastened on the huge guard, his Brother, down the corridor, and the Gaidin wondered for the hundreth time if or when the Whitecloak would betray them. Should he perhaps have left him, gagged and bound, in that storage room with that other unconcious Whitecloak?


For a moment he wondered if he had made a mistake there, but there had been no other choice. If he was found in the storage room, the alarm could sound at any second. Brushing away that thought - it was too late to do anything about it - he focused once again on their options. Finally he made up his mind.



“I am getting a bit restless too”, he whispered to Myrrhi as he pressed the knife he held against Child Serab’s waist. “But we should probably be wise about this. Surprising and overpowering that big brute now”, he nodded towards the white-cloaked guard down the corridor, “will be difficult. So I think we should try for the ‘talking and persuading him to let us pass’ option. If you agree, that is.”


There were downsides to this option, as he had thought of before, and he added that he was aware of the strain he was putting on her for keeping up her act a little longer, but all in all he thought it was their best choice.


Myrrhi nodded a bit resignedly, and though he felt some uncertainty through the Bond the way she met his eyes told him that she trusted his judgement.


“Alright”, he nodded a final time, giving her a grateful smile before turning Child Serab around to face him. “As for you, Child Serab”, he said in a low but cold tone of voice, “if you even think of betraying us now.. I will make sure you will never again see the Light of day.”


The Whitecloak stared scornfully back at the Gaidin but it was easy to see from his face that he understood that this was no empty threat. He did not reply but gave a quick nod, turning his face away, in part to hide the turmoil that was going through his mind.



Making sure Myrrhi’s hood was pulled down even further over her face, now covering three quarters of it, and having her walk behind him, he pushed Child Serab forward and headed down the corridor toward the huge guard. About half-way there, Elessar shouted the familiar Whitecloak-greeting to the big white-cloaked man and waved. The other man looked in their direction, responded in fashion and waved back.


“So, you have the honour of guarding the iron-door tonight”, Elessar said good-naturedly as he approached the bigger man. “The most boring watch of all. What did you do”, he added with a lop-sides grin, “to get this lousy deal?”


The big, brown-haired guard with arms the size of logs, grinned back and chuckled.


“The Captain said this was a perfect duty for a man of my stature.”


Elessar chuckled back, as he came to a standstill some three or four paces from the guard. He had shifted the knife so that now it was pressed against Child Serab’s back, well hidden from sight. He felt the Whitecloak captive tense as he tried looking anywhere but at his Brother in the Light.


“Well, Brother”, Elessar said with a dark, knowing grin, “I think you got the short end of the stick.”


The other man shared the dark grin, then turned his stare on Child Serab and on the third figure behind Elessar. Seeing the hood down on this third figure, the guard looked more closely and a touch of suspicion came into his eyes and voice as he said,


“So, Brothers - what are you doing up here at this late hour?”



The story the Warder had decided on was not the best he had ever come up with, it was not the most plausible either perhaps, but he hoped it would be enough. As long as the guard was not too bright or too inquiring and/or overly suspicious, he thought it could work.


He would soon find out.


Elessar leaned forward and whispered conspirationally, “Our young Brother here”, he nodded toward the hooded Myrrhi, “he has never seen an Aes Sedai witch.”


He shook his head and laughed. “Yes, I know it is hard to believe.. but it is true. He has only been with us a few months, and has hardly travelled outside Amadician borders in his life, and he so wants to take a peek at the foul witch down below.. before she is moved.”


“Moved?” the guard asked, surprise replacing unbidden amusement at the story. “No one has told me she is to be moved.”


Elessar, his eyes taking on a calculated look, nodded. “No one is supposed to know”, he whispered, “it is all hush hush.. but headquarters in Amador have ‘requested’ her presence.. so she is to be moved tomorrow afternoon.”


He paused a moment, before adding knowingly, “I trust you will keep this information to yourself.”




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.. ‘Closing in on their final Destination’: Part 2 ..



The guard nodded and seemed taken aback by the news, but his superiors often only told him what he needed to know and little else, it was the case with most guards, so it was not that improbable that this was a decision made and he would probably be informed just before it happened. If he was lucky. Sometimes he was not informed at all in advance.


“Our young Brother here is not supposed to be in this wing at this late hour, he could be penalized strictly, therefore the secrecy and the closed hood”, the white-cloaked Warder said in explanation. He added, “And he really would appreciate it if he was given the chance to take a quick look below.”


At first the big guard seemed sympathetic, but then he tensed, his eyes narrowing as the seriousness of the request registered in his mind, and he appeared about to refuse the request, which was against regulations, when Elessar, having watched him very carefully, put his hand in his pocket and removed several silver coins.


“For your trouble, Brother” he said smilingly as he placed the coins in the guard’s hand. “We will be quick about it, don’t worry.”



“We appreciate it”, Child Serab - feeling the nudge from the knife in his back - said with what passed as a kind of smile, the first words uttered by him there and then.


The guard looked at his Brother in the Light who had just spoken, stared at the Whitecloak who was Elessar, still seemed in some doubt, but then looked down at the silver coins in his hand and made up his mind.


“Alright, but only ten minutes.” He said squarely. “Speak to the Brothers downstairs.”


He nodded to them, making sure they were in agreement, then moved aside and opened the tall iron-door behind him. He gave the hooded Whitecloak, the young soldier, a final glance as that person passed him in silence, head facing downwards and thereby difficult to make out for the guard, but then put any doubt he may have had out of his mind as he closed the door behind him, put the coins in his pocket, and focused on the empty corridor - and his vigil - again.



They walked hurriedly down the spiralling ironmade staircase, not even taking the time to breathe a sigh of relief, all their attention on what awaited them below ground. Elessar felt the rock wall beside them as they descended. His mind was partially on how they were to escape with the freed Green Sister past the huge guard above, but mostly on the coming situation outside the cells.


His knife was still pressed against the Whitecloak’s back and he followed Child Serab down the stairs, Myrrhi close behind him, almost waiting for the man to betray them at any instant. To tell the truth, he was very surprised that the Whitecloak had not betrayed them already. He had not believed it likely that Child Serab would still be with them by the time they reached the cells. As they came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, the Warder turned the man around to face him.


“Where now?” he whispered, gazing into the Child’s eyes. He was pretty sure the man had told him they were to head left at the bottom of the stairs, down a long corridor to iron cells at the end, but he wanted to double-check in case the Whitecloak had intended to deceive them.


The man nodded toward the left. This area was darker than above, with only a few intermittent lights along the walls. A long corridor disappeared into full darkness further along, rock walls indicating that they were well below ground level. Elessar looked in the direction shown by the Whitecloak and nodded to himself.


“That way”, he whispered to Myrrhi. “We are close now.”


He felt increased tension but also excitement through the Bond from Myrrhi. They had spoken earlier of what might face them down by the cells and had agreed that if they got this far they would free the Green Sister and escape with her - whatever it took. He saw determination in her eyes, a determination that mirrored his.



“Let’s move”, he whispered as he pushed Child Serab in front of him. “And don’t try anything.”


The Whitecloak muttered something unintelligible under his breath, but kept moving forwards, the ever-present knife now tight against his ribs.


They were near the cells now. The Green Sister was close by.


We are almost there, thought the Gaidin excitedly, as he moved down the corridor.


They were closing in on their final Destination.



As they neared the end of the corridor, they could hear some banter a little further ahead.


It sounded like two soldiers exchanging humourous, sordid remarks. Elessar felt Child Serab tensing up and pressed his knife harder against the man’s back. The Whitecloak grunted in pain but kept moving forwards. Soon they reached a corner where the corridor turned right and stopped just before the turn; the Warder grabbed Child Serab’s shoulder and pulled him back. In the shadows they waited in silence. Slowly Elessar peeked around the corner, his chin cold against the rock wall, and took note of what he saw. Lights on the wall illuminated a small passage that ended by several dark iron cells. In front of these, sat two white-cloaked guards, sharing banter.


The Gaidin tried to see behind them into the cells but there was only darkness there and deathly silence. The Green Sister had to be there though, possibly chained. Taking in the scene before him Elessar considered their plan of action: It was to approach them, try and talk their way past, and if that did not work. to overpower them. And, of course, hope that Child Serab, their potentially treacherous captive, would not betray them. Then to use the cell-keys to open the cell - and chains binding her - to free the Green Sister. Hopefully she was not in such a weakened state after malnourishment and torture over time that she was unable to part-walk. If he had to carry her all the way out of the garrison, they would be in trouble. They would soon learn what state she was in. Whatever needed doing, he would do.


First things first, thought the Gaidin as he pulled back his head and met Myrrhi’s eyes.


They walked a ways back the corridor and then he whispered to her the lay of the cell-area, the two guards there, and what he had in mind. She nodded in agreement. He felt excitement from her through the Bond, the type of determined excitement that comes with danger but knowing there is no way back, and knew his emotions mirrored the same. Turning his head towards their Whitecloak captive, he only nodded, his eyes hard. There was no need to reiterate the warning. Child Serab stared back in glum silence, restless and displeased by the situation, but did nothing more than stare balefully back. If he betrayed them now, Elessar would kill him if need be. Nothing would stand in the way of their rescuing the Green Sister.



A few moments passed, as they listened to the continuous banter, and then Elessar nodded. Pushing Child Serab forwards again by the knife at his back, they walked up to the corner. Turning it, they were twenty or so paces away from the guards.


“Brothers”, said Elessar in a carrying voice as they approached them.


They rose suddenly from their stools, surprised by these unexpected newcomers. Exchanging the customary Whitecloak greetings, the guards listened somewhat suspiciously as Elessar began to patiently explain why they were there. They looked at Child Serab who seemed ill at ease and at the third Brother with his hood closed, as they listened to Elessar’s words. The Warder was only part way through his explanation, however, when one of the guards, a tall middle-aged bald man who had the air of combat-experience about him, stopped him, doubt clear in his eyes.


“This is against regulations!”, he said in a no-nonsense voice. “I will have to clear this with our Captain. You three, wait here!”


He nodded to his fellow cell guard who seemed a little uncertain by the whole situation, and started to move past them but Elessar, having seen the obvious doubt in the other man’s eyes and realizing the danger, was prepared. As the tall cell guard passed him, he moved and smashed the hilt of his sword into the back of the man’s head and the guard fell like a stone. In the same movement, using momentum and showing his agility, he launched himself at the other cell guard who, eyes wide, only managed to open his mouth in utter astonishment as Elessar crashed into him like a heavy boulder.


Then several things happened at once!


The Warder and the cell guard struggled on the stone floor - and at that moment Child Serab opted to flee! With a cry of anger and wild passion, relieved of the life-threatening knife against his back, he threw himself past Myrrhi and stormed down the corridor! She was after him in a second, however. Elessar did not know how she stopped him, occupied as he was to overcome the last cell guard, but he glimpsed out of the corner of his eye, and thought he heard their captive tumble to the ground close to the corner they had turned a short time before. Punching the remaining cell guard first hard in the stomack and then emphatically in the face a final time, the body beneath him went limp. The man had been stronger than he had looked. Rolling off him somewhat short of breath, pulling himself to his feet, Elessar collected the knife by the wall which had been lost during the struggle.



Checking that Myrrhi was fine - she nodded back at him to confirm - he went over to the first downed cell guard to look for a ring of keys to the cells. He found it hanging on the man’s belt and pulled it free. Together with his Bondholder he stepped up to the cells. There was no sound or movement from within. Looking into the first cell on the right, Elessar quickly saw that it was empty. His eyes moved to the second cell and in the far corner of this cell he saw what looked like a bundle or some shape or figure on the floor, though it was difficult to say what it was. He guessed it was  a prisoner though, it was about the right size, and tried some of the keys to open the cell. The third key fitted the lock and it opened with a resounding click. Meeting Myrrhi’s eyes and mirroring her anticipation he opened the cell door and stepped inside. Walking hurriedly up to the partially hidden figure in the corner, he saw that it was indeed a person lying there. Bringing in a candle light from the wall outside, Myrrhi shone the light directly at the figure and they saw that it was a long-haired woman in a heavily torn green dress.


It was the Green Sister they had come to rescue! There was no doubt in Elessar’s mind.


There was no Great Serpent ring on her finger, but that was to be expected. The Whitecloaks would surely have removed such an ‘artifact of evil’ as they would consider it, either destroying it or keeping it as a trophy, locked somewhere safe. They would see the taking of her Aes Sedai symbol as another way to demean and humiliate her. It could be no one else though. It was the woman they had come for, all the way from Cairhien. He felt rising emotions in Myrrhi also through their Bond.


When they prodded the woman’s back, she did not respond and when they turned her onto her back to see her bloodied, swollen, beaten face and felt for a pulse, they saw that she was unconcious, but alive. There were burnmarks on her bloodied arms and legs and Elessar felt Myrrhi’s fury through the Bond. He felt similar fury himself for what had been done to this poor Sister of the Green Ajah and his hard eyes met Myrrhi’s and promised that they would pay for what they had done.



“We have to get her out of here”, Elessar said, stating the obvious, having unchained her, as he caught the unconcious woman in his arms. “I don’t think I will be able to carry her out to freedom all by myself.” He added honestly. “We are sure to meet some resistance and I will need my swordarm free if we are to succeed.”


They could not rely on Child Serab any more either. Whether incapacitated or dead - Elessar did not know which was true at that moment - he was out of the picture. They only had themselves to count on now.


“Is there any way you can help us?” He asked Myrrhi, as they stood waiting outside the cells.


All three Whitecloaks lay still on the stone floor and there was no sound from above. So far so good, but the hardest part remained.


“With the One Power, I mean?”


He met her eyes squarely. He did not know if, or to what extent, she could aid them with her abilities, there were the Three Oaths also to take into consideration, but felt he had to ask.


“I know it is perhaps difficult and risky..”, he added earnestly, “but we have to take risks now if we are to get her, and ourselves, safely out of here.”


Holding the unconcious Aes Sedai safely in his arms, feeling excitement within that they had managed to rescue her but at the same time concerned about their coming escape, Elessar considered their chances as he waited for Myrrhi to reply.




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Myrrhi could barely believe it. It had worked! Their deception had worked... she hurried down the stairs and found herself right behind her warder. The further down she went, the more she realized that this was only the first step of a whole series that would end up with her Sister being freed. It was a good thing that they had passed that big door but it was not enough. They would meet more people, more dangers, and they would need to find a way out.


From the way Elessar moved, the young green knew that he was still pressing his knife against Serab's back. So far the man had been helpful but who knew whether or not he would stay that way. Wasn't he helping out people he believed to be darkfriends?


"Where now?" the Gaidin asked as they reached the bottom of the stairs. Serab bit his lip and nodded towards the left. Myrrhi sighed of relief. That was the way they were supposed to go from what she had gathered earlier.


So still helping us... she thought as she moved her eyes towards the long corridor they would have to cross. Iron cells were waiting for them at the end of it and in one of them was the Green they needed to rescue.


The place looked dark and uninviting, but they had to go forward no matter what.


"That way... We are close now," Elessar whispered to her. Myrrhi nodded. "So close." she said before pulling her cloak tighter around her shoulders. She didn't know why but she had imagined that they would meet more soldiers, some of them playing cards others patrolling the area. But it seemed to her that no one was around. It made her feel uncomfortable.


"Let's move... And don't try anything," the Warder told Serab. The Whitecloak mumbled something in returned and move just like asked.


It was only when they reached the end of the corridor that they heard voices. From what she caught Myrrhi guessed that there were at least two soldiers near by, two soldier who wanted to have fun. She could hear their laughter and raucous comments. She felt her muscle tense. What would happen to them now? would she still be able to pass for a young recruit. She saw Elessar pulling Serab towards him. He looked around the bend of the corridor to assess the situation.


From what she felt through the bond, the man was reviewing his options. Some part of her wanted to tell him that she could channel and overpower them with the one power but a little voice told her to be careful. Again, this idea of their enemies having a device that would detect her unnerved her.


The gaidin stepped back and his eyes met hers. He carefully described the lay out of the area, then what he had in mind. Myrrhi nodded. It seemed to her that they had thought about the same kind of plan, which brought a smile of her lips.




Everything seemed to happen in a blur. Elessar had slowly walked towards the guards and told them about something being against the regulations. Just like in a dream, the men had moved half surprised half embarrassed. It had taken them a second to realize that something was wrong but they had not dared to say anything. Only one of the guard had made a step forward, doubts showing in his eyes.


As the Gaidin understood what could come next, he immediately reacted to take care of his opponents. Serab saw it as an opportunity to flee. Instead of helping out his comrades, he tried to run passed Myrrhi who stopped him by throwing one of her daggers at him. The hilt crashed on his skull, knocking the man unconscious.




'Are you alright?" Elessar asked the Aes Sedai.

'Yes I am, ' Myrrhi replied with a smile.


There was no one around to stop them now. The Warder went to retrieve the keys from one of the soldier's belt and open the first cell. It was empty. He opened a second door, and there she was. The Green sister they had been looking for. Myrrhi's eyes met Elessar's once again as she felt anticipation filling her heart. She rushed in as soon as the door was open. She hadn't met the other green sedai before. She could only see that she was cairhien and that she had one of these ageless face that all senior sisters wore but it was enough to make her feel happy.... and very angry. Myrrhi felt rage filling her heart. Why would people do this kind of things to a woman who had dedicated her life to become a servant of all? how dared they? She wanted them to pay...


'We have to get her out of here,' Elessar's voice brought her back to reality. "I don't think I'll be able to carry her out of freedom all by myself." The warder explained that would they meet resistance he would need to have his sword arm free.


They discussed they options for a while. The young green had not channeled so far because she was afraid they would be detected but things had changed. She didn't want to be as cautious. She wanted to hurt the whitecloaks and was ready to kill any who would try to stop them. She used her small knowledge in healing to wake up her Sister and to give her some strength. it was not enough to bring her back to full health but it would allow her to be conscious. As the prisoner's eyes opened Myrrhi summoned threads of air to support her Sister. She knew that the process of keeping an grown woman airborne the time they would need to get out would be a tiring task but it was the only solution. Grabbing the pommel of a sword that hung from her belt - since she wouldn't be able to use Saidar to protect nor attack without risking to injure the other green sister - she nodded to her Warder, indicating that she was ready to move forward.


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.. ‘The Great Escape: A Farewell to a Whitecloak Lair’: Part 1 ..



The Green Sister slowly opened her eyes, looking with some confusion and puzzlement up at the Warder who held her in his arms.


Myrrhi’s partial Healing had given her some strength, bringing her out of the depths of unconciousness, but the Sister was still weak and her face was pale.


“You are safe now, Aes Sedai”, Elessar whispered to her as he smiled. “I am Elessar Gaidin and this is Myrrhi Morrigen, your Sister in the Green.” He nodded at the smiling young woman beside him. “She has given you some Healing. We will get you out of this horrid place.”



A little earlier he and Myrrhi had discussed their options. His Bondholder admitted she had been cautious as to use the One Power but saw the need to take more risks now. She confirmed her strong anger at these Whitecloaks who had maltreated and tortured her Green Sister, and Elessar let her know that he felt the same. Then Myrrhi said that though she was not very strong in Healing, she would use what ability she had to wake up the Sister and to give her a little strength. She emphasized that the Sister would in no way be brought back to full health, but it would allow her to be concious and aware.


She also said she would use Saidar and weave threads of Air to support her Sister and thereby de facto ‘half-carry’ her as they made their escape from the garrison. It would be a very tiring task for Myrrhi, but she did not see any other option. Elessar had nodded, seeing the sense in her words. He was concerned it could be too exhausting a task for his Aes Sedai, but they had no other choice from what he could see.



The older Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah was slowly pulled out of Elessar’s arms, carried on invisible threads of Air, until she stood upright beside them. She started to speak, many things naturally on her mind, but Myrrhi hushed her, saying that the time for talk was later, once they were out of this awful prison. She took the white cloak from one of the downed Children and placed it around her Green Sister, closing the hood. The older Aes Sedai nodded, too weak to argue. Grabbing the pommel of a sword that hung from her belt, Myrrhi finally nodded to her Warder, indicating that she was ready to move forward. Elessar nodded back, his eyes determined and his mind already on the challenges ahead.


Taking a step past the Whitecloaks littering the floor, he approached the figure of Child Serab. Behind him Myrrhi stepped with a half-walking, half-floating Green Sister supported by her side. Staring down at the unconcious body of their former captive, the Warder gave him a silent thanks for not having betrayed them until it was too late. They had been lucky, but as he knew so very well, luck was always a part of any successful mission.


Rounding the corner, he continued in the direction of the iron staircase. The two women came just behid him. Elessar soon felt some weariness coming trough the Bond from Myrrhi and understood that her constant use of the One Power to support her Sister was causing her some strain. He only hoped she was strong enough to cope; they were a long way from the gate to the garrison. There was still no sound coming from above, so it seemed the huge guard standing vigil before the iron door had no knowledge of what had happened below. That gave them the element of surprise, at least one advantage in this perilous situation. One could only hope that the guard was alone up there and that the garrison-corridors were as quiet and empty as they had been earlier. It was, perhaps, too much to hope for, Elessar knew deep down.


He stopped as he came up to the spiralling iron stairs and looked at Myrrhi with some concern.



“Are you two coping?” He asked earnestly, also taking in the older Green Sister.


Myrrhi nodded though he could see weariness in her eyes and the other Sister nodded too though her eyes looked very tired and her face was very pale. Even so, there was a spark in both women’s eyes, an Aes Sedai’s iron some might have described it, that betold that they were ready to walk through fire to make their escape. Elessar nodded in satisfaction, knowing a similar spark could be seen in his dark Warder’s eyes.


“Alright”, he whispered, as he stared upwards at the rock walls leading up to the iron door.


He knew that their best chance in getting past the huge brute above would be to use the element of surprise. The heavily built man was armed and would not be easy to get past at the best of times. They would also have to try and incapacitate him without him sounding the alarm. Again it would be a combination of skill, planning, some deception and luck if this was to succeed. Nodding to himself, his hand on the pommel of his sword at his side, he walked a few steps up the stairs.


Still no sound from above. He did not know if ten minutes had passed since they had come the other way - the ten minutes the guard had given them - but he guessed not, since the guard had not come down for them or sent someone down to check. Time had had no meaning when they had rescued the Green Sister.. it had almost been as if time had stood still. Half-way up the stairs, Elessar stopped and turned. Myrrhi and the older Green were keeping up. He whispered a few things so they would be prepared for what he had in mind, Myrrhi gave her approval, pulled down her hood and held onto the side of her weakened Sister, as Elessar walked the final steps toward the level above.



Taking a deep breath, unsheathing his blade, he knocked twice on the iron door. It slowly opened, the face of the big brute Whitecloak guard staring down at the oldest of the Whitecloaks who had gone down below to take a look at the imprisoned witch. Behind he saw the contours of the other two Brothers, both now with their hoods closed. Nodding, mumbling under his breath that they had taken their time, he let them through. Elessar walked carefully into position while Myrrhi and the other Sister swept by the guard, facing downwards.


As the huge guard turned his back to them for a moment to close the iron door, Elessar acted! He had seen the suspicious second glance the guard had given the third person also with the hood down and he knew they did not have time for further explanations. He smashed the hilt of his sword into the neck of the big brute who gasped in pain and lost his balance. The Warder had not struck perfectly this time, however, and this Whitecloak was stronger than the one down by the cells, so his attack was only half-successful. The guard threw out his big thick arm as he cursed, trying to regain his balance, and it hit Elessar in the shoulder. The Warder cursed inwardly in pain but managed to keep his balance as he smashed his fist into the bigger man’s ribs. The guard cursed again and came half-around to swing at Elessar another time.


The Gaidin ducked and with agility moved a little forwards and planted his knife deep in the big guard’s side. This time the Whitecloak screamed in pain and his eyes became wild as he stared in anger at the three Brothers. He understood that he had been duped by these three, Myrrhi’s hood was half-down and the guard could now see that the supposedly young Soldier was, in fact, a woman - a woman! - and he turned to shout a warning. Myrrhi saw the danger and acted! She dived low and smashed the hilt of her sword into the big brute’s right knee. The man screamed in pain and lost balance. He hit out with his fist but Myrrhi managed to throw herself to the side and avoided the punch. As the guard fell, weakened by the knife in his ribs and his half-crushed knee-cap, Elessar smashed his fists into the guard’s face, knocking him out.



The Whitecloak crashed to the floor, his half-pulled sword ringing against the floor tiles as Elessar and Myrrhi looked wearily with consternation down the corridor, waiting for the inevitable group of Children of the Light to appear.


They had to have heard this racket, late hour or no!




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.. ‘The Great Escape: A Farewell to a Whitecloak Lair’: Part 2 ..



The older Green Sister leaned somewhat dizzily against the wall, her eyes weary, her hands clenching, as Myrrhi supported her physically and with the One Power. Elessar waited for the sound of running feet, but was surprised, positvely so, when only one Child of the Light rounded the corner at the end of the corridor, coming their way. The man had a questioning, puzzled look on his face as he gazed at them and at the Brother lying still by the iron door.


“What happened..!?” he spoke loudly with concern as he came closer. “I heard a sound..”


Elessar moved towards him, beginning an explanation, saying that their Brother had had some kind of fit and had just passed out. The Whitecloak, a blond-haired middle-aged man with a long scar down one side of his face, looked toward the downed guard, some scepticism on his face, and then at the others present. Myrrhi had closed the hood of her cloak again and it was not possible to see the older Sister’s face, but even so the Whitecloak’s eyes became very suspicious as he considered the scene before him.


“Who are..” he began, but Elessar had already moved.



He slammed his sword-hilt into the man’s swordarm and the man grunted in pain. His eyes widened in anger and surprise and he stumbled backwards, a cry on his lips. He did not get to shout a warning though, because the Warder was already upon him. Smashing his fist into the solider’s face, he drew blood as the Whitecloak’s nose broke with a cry of anguish. The Whitecloak managed to throw out his arm in desperation and hit the Gaidin in the side, a painful strike that Elessar felt strongly, before he crashed onto the floor. He waved his arms, cursing as he tried to regain his feet, but then went suddenly still. Myrrhi had used a little channeling to make the man pass out. Elessar nodded his thanks to her, knowing that she had had to let go of her One Power-support to the older Sister for a moment to manage this helpful aid, then assured her that he was alright despite the slight injury to his side. They did not wait to see if any more Children were on the way.


Supporting the older Sister, Myrrhi walked hurriedly forward as Elessar took the lead, his sword in hand, his eyes fastened on the end of the corridor ahead. There was no sound of oncoming soldiers but the Gaidin only thought of that as a momentary respite. He felt sure some would have heard the shouts and screams, and a little later, as they were heading down a second corridor, he was proven right. Two armed soldiers came running in their direction and shouted something unintelligible just as Elessar struck out with his sword. It bit into the first Whitecloak’s side, the man screaming as he fell, while the second soldier suddenly tumbled to the ground, one of Myrrhi’s knives protruding from his left leg. Crying out in pain, he tried to pull out the knife, at the same time shouting obsceneties at his attackers.


Nodding his thanks and approval at his Bondholder, whom he felt through the Bond was tiring more and more by the minute, he gave the older Sister an encouraging smile and then turned away from the blood and mess and injured men and gazed toward the end of the corridor. Hurrying forwards again they moved as fast as they were able to, which was not very fast to tell the truth, but they made some progress. Elessar waited for more soldiers to appear but none did. Again he thought of the wisdom of attempting this rescue-operation at night. Had this been during daytime, there was no doubt that the corridors would have been flooded with Whitecloaks by now and the three of them would have been arrested or killed. It still could happen, of course, but as they slowly but surely progressed through the corridors, gradually nearing the exit, Elessar’s hopes rose.



“A little further, but we are slowly getting there”, he whispered over his shoulder at one point to the two following Aes Sedai.


He tried to give some strength through the Bond to Myrrhi who was beginning to struggle from the strain, but he did not know if it worked. The Warder-Bond gave the Gaidin added strength from his Aes Sedai, it was one of its great benefits, but he had never quite understood if it worked the other way around. All his Sedais had been silent on the issue. He hoped Myrrhi was strong enough to keep up just a little longer.


Just as he was beginning to think they had managed to evade any more obstacles, two Whitecloaks suddenly stepped out of the guard’s room. There had been no sound from within and the approaching Elessar had believed it empty. The two soldiers seemed as surprised to see these three Brothers as they were to see them, and when one of the soldiers, a brown-haired younger man, saw Elessar’s blooded sword in hand, his eyes widened and he looked very suspiciously at the strangers.


“What..!?” he began, his hand going to his own sword, while his fellow soldier looked questioningly at the three white-cloaked persons who had suddenly appeared before them.


Elessar threw himself at the first soldier, his sword slashing into the man’s thigh. It happened so quickly, the blade whistling through the air with a Blademaster’s precision, that the man did not have time to react. He screamed in pain at the bleeding deep wound in his thigh and stumbled to the ground as his fellow soldier watched with eyes wide. This man reacted quickly though and unsheathed his blade in a second and swung at Elessar. Perhaps he was lucky or perhaps the white-cloaked Warder was out of balance and out of focus for a fraction of a second, but the blade bit into Elessar’s side. It was not a deep wound but the Warder felt the pain throughout his body and cursed in pain and anger as blood began dripping onto the floor. Retaliating swiftly, he swung hard at the Whitecloak and his blade sliced into the other man’s arm, at the same time that Myrrhi threw her second knife at him. She saw with great satisfaction that the knife had buried itself in the Whitecloak’s thigh.



The soldier cried out, lost his balance, and was unable to defend against the Warder’s swing as his blade brushed the other man’s sword aside and in a smooth move came up with the hilt smashing into the soldier’s jaw. He went down like a boulder, his eyes closing as he quickly passed out. The other Whitecloak lay fumbling with his sword on the floor, in great pain, but Elessar unceremoniously dragged him into the guard’s room and knocked him out. Myrrhi helped him drag the second man in as well, and then she checked her Warder’s wound. He tried to ignore the pain and assured her it was nothing, more than bearable. She found pieces of cloth in the room to bind the wound, it was the best they could do for now since Myrrhi had expended most of her strength on the Healing and supporting of the older Sister. She would look more closely at the wound once they were free of this garrison prison, she said; if she was strong enough, perhaps she might be able to Heal it a little, but for now this would have to do.


Nodding his thanks, Elessar met Myrrhi’s eyes and then they both looked at the Green Sister. She seemed about to pass out but Myrrhi again lent her her strength, holding onto the Green Sister’s shoulder and aiding her with the One Power. They waited a few moments, to catch their breath, before moving again. Hurrying down the corridor, keeping a vigilant look both forwards and behind, they were ready for more Whitecloaks to come upon them at any moment. Some voices sounded some way in front of them, but no alarm had sounded. There was movement in what Elessar assumed was a side-corridor but still no one came to confront them. Turning the final corner before the last corridor that led past the Captain’s quarters, the Warder led them onto what was the final stretch before the exit.


As he walked, Elessar stopped intermittently along the walls and removed the lights, throwing the corridor into semi-darkness. They could see the exit-door a hundred paces in front of them and hope rose in all their hearts. For every step forwards the Gaidin ignored the pain in his side, ignored the exhaustion he felt from Myrrhi through the Bond, and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. He was feeling deep weariness and his arms felt heavy as lead, but he kept on going, his determination to get them out of here giving him added strength.



They were almost upon the Captain’s quarters, when a white-cloaked soldier suddenly appeared out of the door to that room!





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.. ‘The Great Escape: A Farewell to a Whitecloak Lair’: Part 3 ..



Elessar cursed inside.


So close..


The Child of the Light was taken aback by the onrushing Brothers, seeing the blooded sword in the first man’s hand and his deadly gaze. His hand went to his own sword and he cried out a warning to whomever was in the Captain’s quarters as he placed himself right in the Warder’s path.


“Stop!” he shouted in a commanding voice. “Who are..”


He got no further.



One of Elessar’s knives took him right in the heart and he dropped dead to the floor, red staining the pristine white cloak and blood seeping out of his mouth. The Warder was unhappy with the deaths on this mission, but it could not be helped. Most of their adversaries had been wounded only, as Elessar had intended, some more than others, but there would always be some fatalities on an operation such as this. They had to do what needed doing to get to safety with their Green Aes Sedai. That was the truth, however hard and painful.


Hardly sparing a glance for the fallen Child of the Light, the Gaidin focused on the room they were approaching, waiting for more soldiers to appear. Only one person did, and from the golden star or knots on his uniform, a pure white cloak also with the standard golden sunburst of the Children of the Light worked into it, Elessar understood that this was the garrison Captain. Even without the insignia, this man’s bearing spoke of command. He was, in fact, second in command after the Garrison Commander and he was a good swordsman. He came at Elessar, sword raised, saying nothing, his eyes shining with all-knowing Light, and there was a Clash of Swords as the two blades met in a spark.


The Captain did not know who these Brothers were or what had transpired, but since they had just killed one of his soldiers they were obviously traitors and had to be stopped; killed, if necessary. Traitors within their ranks were quickly dispatched. If the outside world learned of dissenters in the ranks of the Children, that would weaken their authority and power. All opponents had to be destroyed. Duelling the big white-cloaked man before him, the Captain quickly realized, however, that his opponent was a very accomplished swordsman indeed and that he would not be able to best him. This admission gave rise to anger within him and part of him wanted to fight to the death, but he decided to live another day. Some might have called it cowardice; he called it prudence. He feinted a right swing but then moved the other way, out of the white cloaked Warder’s reach, and cried out, raising the alarm.



The sound of rushing feet could be heard from afar, but Elessar was already on the move, the two Aes Sedai close on his heels. By moving aside to raise the alarm, the Captain had left a narrow path open and the Gaidin took immediate advantage. In several swift leaps he was beyond the Captain, who was pushed against the wall, and rushed toward the exit, Myrrhi and the Green Sister right behind. As he closed on the exit-door he saw it open and two Whitecloaks ran inside, swords raised. They had not expected to be confronted so soon, however, and were unable to withstand the oncoming rush of the three escapees, though Myrrhi got a hard knock in the side in the process and the Warder received another shallow wound, a bleeding sore, this time in his left thigh. He was tiring and was too late parrying to completely avoid the slashing swordcut from one of the soliders. The Whitecloaks tumbled to the ground, partially wounded and momentarily incapacitated, as Elessar staunchily led the two Sisters stumbling out onto the garrison grounds.


More soldiers were coming swiftly, from the direction of the gate, and Elessar and the Sisters hurried towards the closest trees to hide. They made it just in time! Three armed men in Whitecloak uniforms rushed past them only eight or nine paces away, heading directly toward the garrison building, but in the near-darkness they did not see the three hiding close by. Lights had been placed intermittently around the garrison grounds but only gave a little illumination in the immediate area around the light, so huge patches among the trees and brush were dark and forbidding, which played to their advantage, the Gaidin thought as he stared into the darkness, his eyes slowly getting accustomed to the night.


Elessar and the two Sisters of the White Tower caught their breath in silence as they waited for several moments. The Warder met the eyes of his Aes Sedai as if to say, I know how exhausted you are - I feel the same. But we are almost free now.. we have to keep going, we have to manage this last bit, or else this was all for nothing. The way she looked back at him gave him the impression that she understood and was thinking the same thing. Nodding to her in respect, he glanced quickly at the older Sister - her eyes were almost shut but she breathed and was alive, that was the most important thing - and gave her another smile of encouragement. Then he moved his head around the tree trunk and stared toward the gate. There could not be many guards left there at this late hour, considering the ones who had rushed inside the building, so this was their chance. It was only the confusion of the situation that had delayed the Whitecloaks from coming after them on the grounds, he felt sure. They needed to take advantage of that delay.


“Now!” whispered the Warder to the two Aes Sedai, as he began the final dash towards the garrison gate.



Moments after they started running, there were shouts from behind, cries of alarm coming from the garrison building, but Elessar only had time for what was before them, his complete attention on the gatehouse some fifty or so yards ahead. Where he found the strength for this mad sprint, he could not tell afterwards, but run he did and faster than he had ever done. He covered the distance in what felt like moments, sensing and feeling that Myrrhi and the older Sister were falling behind, but his focus was all on the final challenge ahead, and he crashed into the first gate guard twenty paces before the gate. Swinging his sword at the armed guard, he pressed him hard and then in a lithe move swung hard and followed his strike with an elbow that smashed into the soldier’s jaw, rattling teeth and incapacitating the guard who fell hard to the ground. Elessar was already moving past him toward the gate and saw to his satisfaction that only one man remained there, a soldier with his blade raised, his eyes lit up in the darkness.


“Halt!” he cried, as this white-cloaked Brother came at him with a ferocious swing of his sword, but he was a much lesser swordsman and even with the great fatigue felt by the Warder, Elessar was able to overcome him without too much effort.


The Child of the Light stumbled to the ground, blood flowing from a heavy but non-lethal wound in the side, cursing in pain as he watched the Brother.. obviously a traitor!.. stand above him in silence. As two more figures appeared out of the darkness, the gate guard’s eyes widened in shock and spiteful surprise, as he saw that at least one of the white-cloaked figures, whose hood had fallen down, was a woman. A woman! First it seemed impossible to him, but quickly he understood. It was the witch! The witch was escaping! He cried out in alarm, to whomever was nearby, but only managed to utter a few words before Elessar’s sword-hilt crashed into his head and knocked him out.



Exchanging a quick look with Myrrhi and the Green Sister, neither who seemed steady on their feet, he nodded and bade them hurry. Heavily fatigued and mentally exhausted, the three from the White Tower ran out through the garrison gate and away from the local headquarters of the Children of the Light. They stumbled into the darkness of the night, almost falling several times, along a deserted road, heading toward the place - several streets away - where they had left their saddled horses, ready for a quick departure. Gasping from tiredness and a lack of breath, totally shattered and almost beyond caring, the three white-cloaked escapees fell to the ground before their mounts, on a green patch of ground by a couple of trees beside an old building, and took several minutes to gather themselves. Whistles and a commotion could be heard in the distance, it was obvious that the garrison officers knew by now what had happened and were ready to take up pursuit. Once they could breathe and think again, what felt like an eternity later, they got to their feet and smiling widely, Elessar and Myrrhi exchanged a few words of elation and exileration at having escaped the garrison with the freed older Sister. They would celebrate later, however; now it was time to get away from Mardecin!


Helping the weary older Sister onto a third mount, a dark-brown mare of easy temperament, which they had bought in town for this very purpose, Myrrhi mounted Tempest and brought her horse beside the mare. She would use the little strength - in body and the One Power - she had left, exhausted as she (still) was, to keep the other Sister atop her horse for this flight. She hoped it would be enough. Elessar nodded as he mounted a restless Stormbreaker, gazing in the direction of the garrison. They did not intend to ride very far this night but needed to put some miles between themselves and the Whitecloaks before making camp. He patted the stallion on the back and spoke some soothing words. Then he faced the two Aes Sedai. He nodded. They had to move now!


Leading his warhorse slowly down the next street, which was almost deserted with only a few people moving about at the late hour, he picked up speed as they neared the outskirts of town, Myrrhi and the Green Sister just behind him and to his right. The one advantage they had, was that the Whitecloaks did not know in which direction they would flee. The Children might easily expect them to head straight for the North and Tar Valon - and for that precise reason Myrrhi and Elessar had decided to do almost the opposite. They would instead ride West, in the direction of the nation of Tarabon. Their plan was to finally reach Tanchico, the Capital of Tarabon, where Myrrhi would get in touch with the local Eyes and Ears for the Green, who would take the Green Sister into custody, help and aid her, and subsequently transport her safely back to Tar Valon. This would be safer for her than remaining with Myrrhi and Elessar as things were.


They doubted the Whitecloaks would expect such a maneuver, and they needed whatever advantage they could get, Elessar knew. For he was certain, that the Children of the Light would pursue them; they would not take kindly to losing their Aes Sedai prisoner, not kindly at all.



Once they were outside the town of Mardecin, they galloped along the dusty roads, all holding tightly onto their reins and their legs tightly placed against their horses’ sides to keep their balance in their tired state. The Warder - feeling his injuries, but focused as he was in the Flame and the Void he ignored them for the moment - and the two greatly fatigued Aes Sedai of the White Tower, rushed down the nightly dark paths. It was a dangerous but necessary flight, made even more difficult by Myrrhi still having to support the still weak older Sister. She rode as close as possible to her and only hoped she would be able to keep it up in the leagues ahead. She had never been so exhausted in her entire life, or at least that was the way it felt as she pushed on through the darkness, the continuous use of the One Power tapping her of all her strength. She was determined not to fail, however, and somehow she found hidden strength inside herself she had never known was there. With Elessar keeping a lookout for any danger in front or behind, as well as keeping half an eye on Myrrhi and the older Green Sister’s progress, they sped Westwards, away from Amadicia and immediate danger.


Behind them, not yet in sight but somewhere fairly close even so, Elessar presumed, with hunting parties sent out in all directions, came a horde of white-cloaked soldiers in pursuit, swearing to the Light that they would not let these accursed Darkfriends and traitors get away!




Edited by Elessar
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Myrrhi had almost forgotten about the huge man guarding the door at the top of the stairs. She had been so focused on Saidar and the Green Sister than it was as if her mind had blocked all thoughts about the remaining threats. She cursed under her breath as she saw Elessar quickly moving to open the door and smash the hilt of his sword on the guard. The young woman wished it to be enough to knock the big man unconscious but unfortunately fate didn't comply.


The Warder's attack weakened his opponent, for a while. The man managed to regain his balance and hit the Gaidin.


"No!" Myrrhi made a step back. She reviewed her option hoping she would find a way to help Elessar. Most of her concentration was used to keep the Green Sister standing, and she didn't dare to let go of the threads she had been holding so far.


Another look at the battle told her that the Warder was far from being helpless. While she had been hesitating about the best course of action the Gaidin had managed to plant his knife in the Whitecloak's side. His scream of pain resonated in the corridor. Anger flashing in his eyes, he turned to face Myrrhi. Recognizing her as a woman, he gathered his strenght to throw her a punch. Fortunately, Myrrhi knew exactly what to do. The reflexes she had learned during her training made her roll on the side. Now, it was her turn to smash the hilt of her sword in the brute's right knee. Like an ogre from a fairytale, the man tried to punch the younger woman once more. Myrrhi avoided it, again, leaving enough room for Elessar to intervene. The Warder smashed his fist into the guard's face and knocked him out.




Myrrhi's eyes widened when a lonely Whitecloak made his appearance. The man looked puzzled.


“What happened..!?” he asked with concern in his eyes “I heard a sound...”


Keeping her hood as low as possible, Myrrhi waited for Elessar to reply. Her warder made a step towards the new comer before offering an explanation. He said that their guard who had been his opponent a moment before - and who was now laying at his feet - had had some kind of fit and passed out. The Green wanted to shake her head. She would never have believed such a lie... and nor did the newcomer.



“Who are..” he began, but Elessar had already moved.


This one was dispatched much faster than the previous guard. He didn't even have the time to shout a warning before the Gaidin knocked him on the ground. This time, though, Myrrhi tried something different. Instead of staying aside from the fight, she channeled a couple of thin threads that she sent towards the man's torso, enough for him to fell into unconsciousness.


'We have to keep on moving," Myrrhi said as she started to walk. She was still fit to run and channel but knew it wouldn't stay that way for long. Her Warder nodded, then took the lead, his sword. 


The corridors looked lighter than they had before. For a time, Myrrhi feared that dawn was already peeking from the horizon. I hope it's only my eyes that are getting accustomed to this awful pit, she thought.




"This can be!" Myrrhi whispered as her eyes widened. A man had appeared in front of them as if my magic. The door behind him was much more ornated than the others; which made her think that this man was not a no body. He must have been a high ranking officer.


He would be much harder to beat, harder than the four soldiers they just had encountered. The Green opened herself to channel as much of Saidar as she could.


“Stop!” the man shouted in a commanding voice. “Who are..”


Before he had the chance to go further Elessar’s knives took him right in the heart. "You did it!" she said to her Warder, her hands covering her mouth out of surprise. "You killed him!" She knew she shouldn't laugh but she did. It didn't take her long to focus again in the situation at hand. 'I'm sorry", she quickly added. Deep down, she didn't rejoice about the death of the Whitecloaks. But she had been so scared about what could have happened if the man had bettered them.


They made a couple of steps then stopped in their tracks.


"Let's..." this time it was Myrrhi's turn not to finish her sentence. They had encountered a seasoned officer, but they were not at the end of their journey back to safety. The soldier they would have to face was wearing the golden sunburst of the Children of the Light, sign that he was the garrison's Captain. This time, a simple dagger would not be enough to finish him off.





Myrrhi tried to catch her breath. They were now riding out of Mardecin, galloping as if the Dark One was chasing after them. She felt her Warder's injury and tiredness, on top of her own but concentrated on what was ahead. she couldn't give up. Staying as close as she could to the other Aes Sedai she kept on channeling enough threads of Air to help the woman stay on her saddle. She wanted to give her more but healing was out of the equation, at least for now. They needed to get out of Amadicia as fast as possible. Depending on how the Whitecloaks hunt parties would do, they might need to find asylum before reaching the border. Myrrhi remembered some of the names and location of Green eyes and ears that could house them for a while. But she hoped they wouldn't need to turn to them. What would the whitecloaks do if they discovered people helping two Aes Sedai and a Warder?






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.. ‘Not out of the Woods yet..’ ..



They rode like the wind.


Dust sprang up behind them as they galloped down the forested roads west of the Amadician town of Mardecin, darkness enveloping the region and only a sprinkle of light streaming down from the shining moon high above. It was enough, nevertheless, for them to navigate the roads adequately at this late hour, but they knew they could not do so at length. This was also due to their great fatigue, an extreme tiredness seeping through their bones, after the strenuous previous hours and events.


Elessar, Myrrhi and the older Green Sister they had rescued from imprisonment and worse were heading in the direction of Tarabon, the neighbouring nation to the west. Exhaustion was felt through the Bond and Elessar knew that his Bondholder was drawing on her last bits of strength to keep aiding her Green Sister in their flight. She would not be able to keep it up for long though - using the One Power in such a fashion for such an extended amount of time was extremely tiring, he remembered Leandreen telling him once - and again he just hoped she would cope.


For there was a party of Whitecloaks hunting them, as he had expected.


When the Warder and Aes Sedais were a few leagues outside of town, Elessar had doubled back to check how far behind the Children of the Light were. To his pleasant surprise he had found that they were farther back than he had feared - and fewer in all. They were not going at full speed, covering a wider area, but even so they might catch up if Elessar, Myrrhi and the Green tired and slowed down. Pushing his black stallion, he flew down the roads away from the oncoming Whitecloaks and soon caught up with the others.



Slowing down for a moment, riding close to inform Myrrhi of what he had seen, they cantered lightly through the near-dark as his words sank it.


“They are only a dozen or so large”, Elessar explained. “That is a good thing. I think it means the officers back at the Whitecloak garrison sent smaller hunting parties in many directions, not knowing where we are heading.”


Myrrhi nodded, seeing the sense in his words.


“Had they known we were going west”, he added, “I am pretty sure that small band behind us would have been a large possè.”


The Warder further explained how far behind the Children were and that they were not yet travelling at full speed. Even so, the Whitecloaks might eventually recognize their tracks in the night and increase speed, so the danger was still acute. Meeting Myrrhi’s eyes, he added with honesty that he did not think they would be able to outrun them in the long run. They were simply too fatigued. They would instead have to outsmart them, as Elessar explained.


His Aes Sedai nodded again, understanding what he meant. She herself felt almost drained of energy and uncertain of how long she could keep this up. He recommended that they keep going for another few leagues, but that they then leave the main road and cut across country. It would be slow-going off the roads through the darkness, but safer. And with luck, the Children would be fooled or at least delayed. Myrrhi agreed, it seemed the best plan and she trusted her Warder who had more experience in such matters. Giving a small smile to the older Green who sat weary atop her mare, Elessar nodded in respect and they pushed on.


Some leagues later they found a smaller path that subtly left the main road and headed off into a large field. They led their horses onto this path and stopped. Elessar jumped off his mount and used his trail experience to hide the tracks that showed they had left the road. A good tracker would not be fooled, but in the dark and with the pursuers hurrying it could very well work. When the task was done he mounted his stallion again and they moved through the field, slowly because there was very little light and he did not want to misstep and injure their horses. It would still be a few hours until dawn, the Warder thought, so they would need to move with care. He wanted them to reach the forest at the other side of the field, safely and well. They were just riding underneath the wide tree branches of the first large trees, hidden in the shadow of the forest, when the Whitecloaks reached the point where they had left the road - and kept on riding, the sound of galloping hoofs echoing over the area.



An hour or so later Elessar bade them stop. He felt the exhaustion from Myrrhi through the Bond and knew she was close to falling out of her saddle. So was the older Green. They had to make camp - and to rest. Myrrhi felt unsteady as she dismounted and helped the equally shattered Green Sister out of her saddle. Elessar was extremely tired as well, but he knew that the strain was even harder on the two Aes Sedai. So he helped them both, steadying them as they walked and found a place to sit and rest while the Warder sorted their makeshift shelter. It was a simple one at that, using the dry place beneath some very low-hanging branches to keep them in the lee of the wind and fairly protected from rain, but it would do. They all needed sleep first and foremost, to regain some strength and energy, some vitality, and as soon as they lay down on the sleeping blankets the Gaidin had gathered from their belongings, the Sisters were asleep in moments. The Warder checked the perimeter of their camp-area and kept watch for a good while, before finally lying down for the night.


They woke just before midday, as rays of sunshine pushed in between the tree branches. Elessar’s sleep had been the vigilant ‘half-sleep’ of Warders, but even so he felt almost renewed. The same was more or less the case with the two Aes Sedai. Though Elessar still felt some tiredness from Myrrhi through the Bond, she looked much better and so did the older Green Sister. She still looked weak and thin and pale after her horrible ordeals, but a little more colour had come into her cheeks, the Warder thought, and the hint of a sparkle in her eyes. Myrrhi took another look at Elessar’s injuries and used a little Healing to close the wounds. It was all she was able to do at that moment - she would try to use more Healing on her Sister if she managed - but he was grateful and told her so.


They only had time for a quick meal consisting of pieces of dried meat, some bread and water, before they gathered everything, cared for their horses, and set off again. Since the older Green was a little stronger now, Myrrhi did not have to expend quite as much of her strength or power to keep her going, and their progress was a little faster. Daylight obviously helped as well and made it easier to move through the forest with its multitude of trees, branches, brush, roots, small paths, moss and smaller wildlife.


They kept moving until late afternoon when they stopped by a brook. They dismounted and collected some fresh water in their flasks, also letting their mounts rest a little. Leaving the older Green to rest by a large rock-formation, Myrrhi gave each horse an apple to enjoy and moved across to Elessar, and they spoke about their coming plans. They had agreed to head for Tanchico but it was still some way before they would reach the border to Tarabon. Myrrhi mentioned that she knew of some Green Eyes and Ears in this part of the country who could house them for a little while, if necessary, but that she would prefer if they did not turn to them since it could put them in danger. Elessar listened and nodded to her words.


“I agree”, he said. “We will only use the Eyes and Ears if there is no other choice.”



They agreed to keep going, but to choose paths that lead more south-westerly since Elessar thought they were a little too far to the north, and soon they were atop their mounts again and riding onwards. They had neither heard nor seen any sign of the Whitecloaks and Elessar took that as a good sign, though he guessed the Children by now had reasoned that the witches had left the main road at some point and were looking for them in the forested region. He kept a vigilant eye on their surroundings as they passed through the forest, at times riding a little away from the two Aes Sedai to scout, but he found no threats and they kept going on their chosen course.


At intervals they stopped to rest and after each stop they felt a little stronger though it would take several days before they would be back to full strength, longer of course for the much maltreated older Green. That woman kept mostly to herself, her smooth Aes Sedai face seeming lost and pensive, as if she were dealing with emotional scars and painful memories. Myrrhi spoke to her sometimes and listened, empathy clear in the way her hand rested on the older woman’s shoulder, but mostly she left her alone, understanding that her Sister needed the solitude - and time - to come to terms with everything.


It was early evening by the time they stopped, dusk settling over the region. The forest had gradually given way to small foothills and they found a good spot by a hillside where the huge sides of a stone boulder gave them lee from the wind, and a good place to camp for the night.


“This is as good a place for night-camp as we will find in this area”, Elessar said as they dismounted.


As they tethered the horses and gave them a quick brush-down, the Warder quickly explained to Myrrhi why this was so. He saw in her eyes that she appreciated the added knowledge.


“Also”, he added, “from here we get a good view of the surrounding area and it ought to be difficult for any Whitecloaks to sneak up on us.”


Myrrhi quckly got a small fire going and soon they ate a simple but very satisfying meal. There was not much to say and so they ate in silence, each in their own thoughts. Elessar was pleased to see the older Green eat some more now that she was stronger, but he knew it would take weeks - perhaps months - for her to be fully recuperated, physically and emotionally, after the horrible ordeal with the spiteful Whitecloaks. Aes Sedai were strong women in all ways - the weak did not pass the rigourous tests for the Shawl - but even so they were only human and if broken, it would take time to heal. He knew that very well himself, having been broken in a way, in what now felt like a previous life.



They had gone to sleep early, needing to recuperate their strength, and were about half-way through the night when Elessar suddenly reacted.


A sound!


He had been keeping watch as the others slept and it had been a quiet, uneventful night.


Until now.


He moved a few yards to the side of where had been been standing and looked intensely into the darkness. From their slight elevation he could see a little way, but the dark made it difficult to see far, more difficult than he had, in truth, counted on. His sharp Warder-senses, however, screamed danger! Turning towards the east he suddenly thought he saw a shadow move - and then another.


They had been discovered!


“Wake up, they have found us!” Elessar screamed in warning to the two sleeping Aes Sedai, who crashed out of a heavy sleep with wide eyes, still not totally awake. “Be ready to defend!”


Grabbing hold of his unsheathed sword, the Gaidin stepped out from their little shelter and met the first white-cloaked attacker head on! A few tentative moves and then, coming inside the other man’s guard, his blade tore into the side of the Child of the Light and as that man fell screaming to the ground, blood gushing out of his deep wound, Elessar raised his sword in challenge, ready for the others to take him on.


He saw a shadow - or was it two? - creep in from the other side and head for the women, but he had no time to shout another warning.



At just that moment, another Whitecloak, a bigger fellow, attacked him with his sword swinging, his eyes alight in the night, and Elessar had to parry well to deflect the heavy swordsblows. Back and forth it went, but then the highly-skilled Warder used his agility and combined sword forms in an innovative, complex fashion which took the experienced soldier by surprise. One, two, three - lethal motions that flowed - and the Gaidin’s sword slid deeply into the chest of the Child of the Light, whose wide brown eyes soon lost all the light in the world as the body, dying already, crashed to the ground.


Two more Whitecloaks attacked him then, one from each side; two pairs of hateful intense eyes beneath conical helmets watching this traitorous Darkfriend that they were finally going to kill.


Cloaked in the Flame and the Void, and one with his sword, the Borderlander Gaidin, fairly experienced at fighting in the dark and also with some experience of duelling several opponents at the same time, lost himself in the motions of the Dance of the Blade.




Edited by Elessar
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Myrrhi nodded as she heard Elessar's words. Again her Warder had impressed her. Even if what he had just said made sense, she would never have thought about drawing that kind of conclusion. So far for her, traces of pursuit had been traces of pursuit. They meant that she needed to hurry in an opposite direction. I should keep this in mind for later, she told herself. If the party that is tailing us is quite small compared to the whole group, it means that we have a chance to escape... 


The young woman  kept on following the Gaidin's explanations. His scouting skills had allowed him to discover how many men were after them, and how far behind there were. Even if they were still in danger, they still had hope provided they would find a way to hide. The escape from the fortress had had its toll. To continue running would mean their capture, sooner or later. 


"All right, so we outsmart them..." the younger Green repeated. As her eyes met her Warder, she felt ideas forming in her mind.




To Myrrhi's surprise, the older Green hadn't participated to their conversation. She had kept her distances and looked away each time Myrrhi had tried to ask her opinion. It had unnerved the younger Sedai. Wasn't the senior member of her Ajah supposed to have useful knowledge, especially in this kind of situation?


They traveled for a while on the main road looking for a hiding spot, until they met a smaller path that lead to a large field. They followed it as far as they could then stopped and climbed down their horses.


"Are you sure this will be enough?" Myrrhi asked, not sure whether their pursuers would fall for the deception.


"I think this may work," her Warder replied before explaining that the dark and the hurry their pursuers were in would be their best allies. Moving slowly but carefully they managed to cross the field and to reach to the forest without meeting anyone.


The three companion stayed silent, hoping that the trick would work... and it did. As they got under the branches of the first trees, they heard the sound of hooves. Myrrhi turned her head and saw a small group of Whitecloaks riding on the main road. As predicted, they were so focused on their hunt that they didn't even look in the direction of the small path the three companions had taken a while before. They went on forward, away from the two Aes Sedai and the Gaidin.




It seemed to Myrrhi had centuries had passed before they allowed themselves to stop. Her back, her legs, her arms, her whole body hurt from the ride. Her mind had suffered as well, as she was so exhausted that she knew she wouldn't be able to channel even if her life depended on it. The other Green looked in a pretty bad shape as well. Something in her worried the younger Sister. She had never met an Aes Sedai so quiet before. Even amongst the Browns.


It was only thanks to the Bond that she had felt that her Warder was tired, without it, she wouldn't have been able to guess it. The man helped them down their horses and took care of the camp all by himself. Thanks to him, the two Aes Sedai found themselves sitting comfortably - well as comfortably as it was possible to - and protected from the wind and the rain that had started to fall. Slowly, Myrrhi felt her eyes closing and sleep reaching for her.


She didn't dream that night, she slept like a stone and only work up just before midday. Of course, Elessar had been the first one to wake up. Myrrhi blushed thinking that he had probably stayed half awake ... She wouldn't have managed to do the same. The other Sister didn't seem to have taken advantage of her "good" night of sleep. She looked pale and still looked like a hurt animal. Myrrhi tried to talk to her but she only met resistance.


Before leaving Myrrhi tried some Healing weaves on her Warder, now that she had the time to do so. She offered her help to the other Sister who refused her help. They took a small meal, and went to their horses, hoping that they'd manage to reach the border before the end of the next day.





The day went on nicely. They rode silently and made camp as the sun went down. As Myrrhi helped with the food, Elessar left to scout the area. Using advantage of the fact that she was alone with the older Aes Sedai, Myrrhi tried to talk. It didn't seem to work, at first. The other Sedai was closed like a clam.


"I want to help,"Myrrhi told her. "But I can't do much if you stay silent. The only thing we can do for you is to accompany you to the White Tower.... Are you sure there's nothing else you'd like to see us do?"


"There is ... but you are not ready, " the Sister said.


"Shouldn"t I be the judge of that ?'


Myrrhi was walking on a thin line. She was newly raised but more powerful than the other Sister. She had also been raised very quickly, which meant that somehow, she was higher in the Aes Sedai hierarchy.


"Darkfriends..." the older Sedai started to say. But she didn't manage to end her sentence. The Warder had come back from his scouting and clearly, the woman was not ready to trust him.




“Wake up, they have found us!” Elessar screamed in warning "Be ready to defend!”


It took a while for Myrrhi to remember where she was and what she was supposed to do. She opened herself to Saidar and looked around. Elessar was already fighting with his sword, but more importantly there were two shapes coming her way. With Air and Earth she shaped solid forms that she sent toward her attackers face. The men screamed in pain. Using Fire to light their clothing she placed herself in front of the other Aes Sedai who was cowering with fear.


"Come on!" she urged her, but the woman seemed to be paralyzed. Two other men made their appearance, a wild grin on their faces. Again, Myrrhi used Air to push them away. A ghastly sound indicated to her that at least one of them wouldn't get up.


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.. Finishing a Fight and Departing into the West ..



Fighting multiple opponents, was always challenging.


It meant split attention and being ready for motion and attacks from several sides at the same time. If one of your opponents was with higher skill than you, it made it all even harder still. Thankfully neither of his Whitecloak opponents had Elessar’s hard earned weapons skill. Even so, the Warder had to fight smartly to ensure a positive outcome.


A shadow in the near-dark, Elessar of Kandor flowed in the motions. He used what little light there was and his experience of many years as he focused on his attackers. He struck out at the man in front, a middle-aged Southerner, while aware of the man behind, a younger opponent, sweeping his blade in that direction, parrying a tentative strike while moving swiftly aside because of the first man’s reach. Combining sword-forms in advanced ways, on the offence but without being carelessly offensive, on the defence but not too defensively, Elessar flowed from stance to stance.


Attack. Block. Move. Swing. Deflect. Attack. Deflect. Counterblow.



He was too quick for the Whitecloak, the more experienced of the two, before him. One fast, efficient move and his sword slid inside the man’s guard and swept aside his blade. The man’s eyes only managed to widen in surprise before Elessar’s shoulder crashed into his face, making his conical helmet fly across the ground, the Warder’s sudden leap forwards giving him momentum, as the white cloaked soldier screamed in pain, falling to the ground. Elessar was already moving and the second Child of the Light’s blade, that of the younger man, whistled at his back but only hit air. The Gaidin’s instinct, split attention and awareness had brought him out of that sword’s path and now he followed up with a hard swing of his own blade that the remaining attacker was hard pressed to deflect. He managed to do so, barely, but lost balance - and the experienced Warder immediately too advantage!


He struck out, attacked hard and the younger man was unable to parry sufficiently. His moves were becoming slower, and cursing aloud he tried to counterattack but thereby left himself open. Elessar’s blade slashed high but then came down in a deadly arc and bit savagely into the man’s right shoulder. He screamed in agony and anger, blood flowing from the deep wound, and tried a final wild strike at the Gaidin, but Elessar easily deflected and swept his blade low, slashing into the Whitecloak’s thigh. Heavily injured now, the man crashed to the ground, and his screams stopped only when the Warder’s first smashed into his face, knocking him out.



Only then, as Elessar’s eyes swept through the near-dark looking for more enemies, did he connect the sounds and sights of before from Myrrhi’s direction with what was happening around him. In his deadly Dance of the Blade he had been totally focused on his opponents, but out of the corner of his eyes he had glimpsed light and shouts - fire - and through the Bond had felt from his Aes Sedai the shock of suddenly being thrown into chaos and danger.


Now he saw two white cloaked figures on fire, screaming wildly, flailing their arms, as they tried in vain to remove the flames that engulfed them, and heard Myrrhi’s’voice as two more figures attacked her and the older Green. One of these men was then thrown heavily backwards, a ghastly sound indicating that he would not get up again.


The Warder was already moving.


With great strides he ran toward the Sisters, his blade in hand, and just reached them as the second man screamed, his hands going to his face. Elessar instantly figured that Myrrhi had used the One Power on him. The man was unaware of the Gaidin’s approach as he dropped his blade, seeming to try and get something painful out of his eyes. Elessar dispatched him quickly, the hilt of his sword crashing into the Whitecloak’s neck, felling him like a tree.


Ensuring that his Bondholder was safe and alright - she assured him that she was - he then looked at the older Green to see how she was faring. She seemed to be physically unharmed, but her almost frozen face and the way Myrrhi held around the other woman’s shoulder gave him the impression that things were not that simple. He guessed she was still very vulnerable after the horrors she had been through in the Whitecloak prison, and perhaps this latest attack had only added to that. Seeing Myrrhi’s pertinent look, he remained silent, however, and gave the older Sister an encouraging smile, saying that they were safe now. Leaving Myrrhi to speak softly to her, Elessar walked around the camp-area looking for hidden dangers, then scouted the surrounding area for any more enemies. He did not expect to find any, to tell the truth, but he wanted to be sure. Returning a little later to their make-shift camp, he spoke a little with Myrrhi as they gathered themselves.



“I think they were simply lucky to find us here”, Elessar said as he stared with hard eyes at the Whitecloaks on the ground. “We fooled them back there”, he added, “but they probably doubled-back and guessed at our departure from the main road. Unless this is another band of Whitecloaks, of course, but I highly doubt it.”


He paused for a moment as his words sank in.


“I think you are right”, Myrri said, her eyes pensive. “It seems logical, like you said before, that the Whitecloak officers sent off hunting parties in several directions, not knowing where we were going. It seems unlikely a second party headed this way.” She added. “That would be more likely north-eastwards in the direction of Tar Valon, after all.”


Elessar nodded silently.


“Well”, he said, “for whatever reason, they found us. And now I am sure they regret they did.”


He nodded toward the unmoving bodies, some dead, some unconcious, in the near-dark. The sparse light from the moon above made it just possible to see the bodies furthest away.


“But it also beggars the question”, he said. “if we should break camp straight away and head west, or if we should wait until dawn.” He added. “It’s only a few hours away.”



He met Myrrhi’s eyes and waited for her response.


She seemed to consider the question, and turned her face in the direction of the quiet older Green who sat unmoving some paces away, before meeting her Warder’s eyes again.


“It will be easier to move in daylight”, she said as a matter of fact. “I don’t think these few hours will make that big a difference. Also, my Sister”, she nodded at the older Green, “will be better off with a few more hours’ sleep, I think.”


Elessar listened to her words and nodded in agreement. She spoke sense and it was what he would have recommended. He wanted to ask a little more about the well-being of the older Aes Sedai, but something in Myrrhi’s voice made him stay silent. He felt there was something there that the two women would have to confront - or at least speak about - first.


Standing watch, the Warder kept a vigilant eye on the darkness around them as the two Sisters gradually went back to sleep. An hour or so later, needing some more sleep himself, he entered the half-sleep, half-awake state that Warders were so adept at. The remainder of the night passed uneventfully.



The few added hours of sleep, seemed to have invigorated Myrrhi. The older Green still seemed somewhat pale and reserved - distant was the word that came to Elessar’s mind - in the light of dawn, but Elessar guessed this would be the case for some time to come. They spoke little as they shared a light breakfast around the small campfire, then they gathered all their things, broke camp.and were soon riding toward the west and Tarabon. Their horses seemed pleased to be on the move again and they carried their masters down from the hill-like region and into flatter, forested and agricultural, land.


The rising sun had promised a beautiful day of sunshine, blue skies and a soft wind, and this turned out to be true. Riding across country when that was prudent and along dusty roads when that appeared safe, they put several leagues behind them that morning. They saw no signs of any more Whitecloaks and the Warder believed his surmise regarding the tactics used to hunt them had been right. Even so, they moved with caution and he continued scouting in front and behind them as they travelled ever westwards.


At one point, when the border was a day or so ahead, they agreed to lose the white cloaks and clothed themselves in their ordinary travelling clothes again. Neither said so, but each knew the other was pleased to rid oneself of the filthy white cloaks and everything they stood for. The older Green put on one of Myrrhi’s spare travelling dresses. It was not a perfect fit but it would do until they got to a town where they could buy a suitable dress for the older Sister.



And so it was on a late afternoon a day later, with cloudy skies, strong winds and rain in the air - the weather having changed for the worse the previous night - that Elessar Gaidin, Myrrhi Aes Sedai and the older Sister of the Green, passed the border and rode steadfastly into the nation of Tarabon.




Edited by Elessar
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"C'mon!" Myrrhi urged the other Sister once again. But the older woman didn't move. Her eyes seemed to staring at something far away in the distance, but the young Green couldn't see anything that would require such focus. There were only trees and Whitecloaks around them...


One of their attackers got up on his feet only to be met with another one of Myrrhi's club of air.


"We need to move!" Again, the younger woman received no reply. Anger rising up in her heart, she made a step towards her companion and reached for her sleeve. "We need to go!" she tried again, this time pulling the fabric towards her. The other Green mumbled something, before turning her head towards Myrrhi. Before she had the time to add anything, she felt Elessar approaching. Not daring to look towards her Warder - she didn't want her opponent to know that she would be getting help - she channeled another thread, of Earth this time. The man screamed and stopped in his tracks. His hands immediately went for his eyes, where Myrrhi's weave had hit him a fraction of a second earlier. Unaware of the Gaidin's approach, the man let go of his weapon. It was a mistake but it wouldn't have helped him block the Warder's sword which crashed into his neck and made him fell like a tree.


"Are you alright?" Elessar asked.

Myrrhi replied that she was fine, and as she did so, she let her eyes glide towards the other Sister. She didn't know how to explain what was happening to the woman she had just rescued. She was supposed to be physically fit to walk and to run even. But something had made her freeze at the worst moment. The younger Green helped the other woman in her feet. She tried to reassure her. "Everything is alright," she said. "We are safe now...." Her words didn't seem to help however. Still she decided to keep on talking, as Elessar left them to scout the area around the camp.




For the Warder, the Whitecloaks presence was just a stroke of bad luck. They had managed to fool them for a while, and should be happy it had allowed them to rest for a while.


Myrrhi took some time to think about what he said. "I think you are right," she said at last. Even if she wasn't a white, the Gaidin's explanation was logical. It made sense. She turned towards the other Green, hoping the woman would say something. But again, the older woman was looking away.


They talked some more about the attack, untill Elessar asked her what she thought about their next move. They either could break camp, either wait a few hours until dawn.


"I have had enough of this place," Myrrhi replied. "... but... it will be easier to move in daylight. I don't think these few hours will make that big a difference. Also... my Sister will be better off with a few more hours sleep, I think."


The Warder nodded in agreement. He opened is mouth as if to add something but closed it again after a while. She knew they should talk about the other Aes Sedai but Myrrhi didn't know what do to with her. She was scared.... scared to discover what had been done to the other woman. Scared that it maybe was her fault ... had they taken too long to free her?




Myrrhi wondered how she had managed to fall asleep. The adrenaline she had felt during the encounter was still pulsing though her body when she had placed her head on cloak that she was using as a pillow. Still, she had closed her eyes and found herself lost in dreams of prisons and torture. She had woken up as the first rays of sun had made their way through the leaves of the trees surrounding her. Elessar was awake and so was the other Green.


"Good morning," the young woman said as she got up to prepare the light breakfast they would share before leaving.  Her Warder replied with a smile. The older woman stayed silent. She quickly nodded before brushing the skirts of her dress with a trembling hand.


She and Elessar exchanged a couple of words about the best way to reach Tarabon but didn't talk much further. THey both wanted to break camp as soon as possible. So they gulped down their food, then immediately went to check on their horses. As their masters, the mounts seemed to be happy to be on the road again. Myrrhi patted her mare and got herself ready for the next part of their journey.



As they came closer to the border, Myrrhi and Elessar decided that it was time to abandon their white garb and to put on their ordinary traveling cloaks. They didn't talk about it, but they were both happy to get rid of their filthy white cloaks. Myrrhi thought about using the one power to burn them down but decided against it. They didn't have the time for it.


The young woman lend one of her larger dress to the other Green and picked a brown and plain one of herself. She didn't have to play to the noble woman anymore and wanted to wear something warm and comfortable, hoping it would make her think about happier times.


And so, on they went towards Tarabon.



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.. Reaching Tanchico: End of a Mission ..



They rode all day, almost every day, and only rested their horses at intervals, intent on reaching Tanchico, the Capital of Tarabon, as quickly as possible.


For the most part they followed the main road leading west, a well-trafficked trade route, but at times they diverged and chose other, less travelled, paths. Resting in various inns at times, other times they made their makeshift camps in the wild, a routine they were well used to by now. They spoke little as they rode, focusing instead on making as much progress as possible. Elessar intermittently scouted ahead and behind as before, but came across no danger or threat. It seemed their flight had been successful.


They passed wagons pulled by cattle and some horse-carriages standing by the side of the road, their drivers taking a needed rest, but for the most part they passed common people, often despondent and dejected looking, walking with their heads down, between the towns and cities of the nation. There was a certain gloom in the air, as if winds of uncertain change were washing over the region, but Elessar was unable to learn more of what could be behind it all. Perhaps it was simply hard times, the brunt of hardship, as they had seen and recognized in Amadicia.


On one of their intermittent stops, many days after they had passed into Tarabon, the Warder sat under a semi-clouded sky with his back to a huge oak tree, his eyes fastened on the nearby fields, his mind on this country they were travelling through. He had been to Tarabon a few times before, but the visits had been swift and he had never really had time to take in much of the countryside.


He remembered how books described this nation by the ocean in the south-west part of the continent.


With his impressive memory for detail, words from one such book read years before flashed in his mind..



Tarabon.. is a country situated on the south-west coast of the continent. Its capital, Tanchico, is a port situated there on the western coast on the Aryth Ocean. Tarabon's eastern border abuts Amadicia, and its northern border is with the Almoth Plain. Taraboners claim themselves descendants of the Age of Legends. In fact, part of the Panarch's Palace is still from that time. They also call themselves the Tree of Man. When Almoth still lived, it was rumored that Tarabon actually had pieces of Avendesora. The tree in their banner and sigil celebrates this heritage.


In FY 1006, three nobles of Artur Hawkwing's regional government, Lord Haren Maseed, Lady Tazenia Nerenhald and Lord Boral Amadia, took Tanchico and formed a nation. Lord Boral was murdered, subsequently Haren became King and Tazenia became Panarch. By the time of 500 NE the tradition of male King and female Panarch was firmly established. Tarabon is ruled jointly by the Panarch and King, who are always of the opposite sex. The Kingship is hereditary, and the Panarch is elected by the Assembly of Lords..


 The Panarch wears the Crown of the Tree made of gold trefoil leaves and a stole embroidered with trees. The Panarch is equal to the King in authority, and is responsible for collecting taxes, customs and duties, while he determines how the money is spent. The Panarch has authority over the Civil Watch and the Panarch's Legion, while he controls the rest of the army. She is in charge of all courts with the exception of the High Court of the King. The Assembly of Lords is comprised of actual lords, though the Assembly's only real power is to vote for the Panarch..


 Being comprised largely of port cities, excise and custom are charged in Tarabon. Customs men are marked by a brass key on a chain around their necks. Tarabon has very few sea ships, so it relies mainly upon exports. One of Tarabon's most important products is olive oil. Another main export is fringed rugs, each of which can easily bring in a full purse of silver. It is also known to export fireworks, dyes, and other luxury items..



Elessar thought Tarabon had a very interesting history, and the shared power between King and Panarch was quite unique in the lands as far as he knew.


Rolling a twig between his fingers, he wondered how much of written history was, in fact, true.


‘History is written by Conquerors..’ a critical philosopher and historian had admonished in ages past, and it was difficult to disagree with that assessment. One could only hope that most of what was written down in history through the ages had an element of truth.



Many leagues later, they finally reached the town of Elmora. It was one of the major towns or cities in the nation, a busy trade center bustling with activity and people, situated approximately halfway on the road between Tanchico and Amador and on a major trade route.


They stayed a night in a local inn, resting their horses and enjoying the luxury of a warm bath and a soft bed, and before continuing their journey towards the Capital the following morning Myrrhi visited a local shop and bought a green travelling dress for the older Green. The older woman still seemed a little distant and not very talkative, but appeared to appreciate the new dress, which fit her well, or at least so Elessar thought.


Mounting their faithful horses again, first giving each an apple to enjoy and a caring pat on the side, they then left the town behind, as the sun was climbing in the late morning sky, dust rising in their wake as they rode west in the direction of the Aryth Ocean.




Many days later, in mid-afternoon, as strong winds swept in from the ocean, Elessar, Myrrhi and the older Green arrived, worn but determined, in the city and Capital of Tanchico. Spread over the steep hills embracing Tanchico Bay at the mouth of the River Andahar, the city had three separate peninsulas jut into the harbour: the Verana to the east, the Maseta in the center, and the Calpene nearest the sea. These peninsulas were guarded by a dozen fortresses that surround the harbour, Elessar knew, and each peninsula had a "circle" or assembly arena among its buildings. Riding through the busy, noisy streets of the city, Elessar’s mind was on the city’s history. Beside him a little behind, rode Myrrhi with the older Green at her side.


They looked at all the buildings, shops, vendors, people, streets and monuments they passed but it was difficult for the Gaidin to know if their minds too were on other things. Finally, crossing a large square with an exquisite fountain of a mermaid in its center, they approached the ‘Ocean Mistress’ inn, one of the better establishments in the Capital. They dismounted before the two-story building, their backs grateful after the long ride, and the Warder took their horses to the back and delivered them to a young stableboy to be cared for, before returning to where the two Aes Sedai were waiting. Then, carrying their belongings, he followed behind the two Sisters inside as Myrrhi swiftly got them their rooms.


That evening, after a good meal and some entertainment in the Common Room, Myrrhi and the older Green had a long talk in the private library in the east-wing of the large inn. Elessar, waiting outside the library, did not know what they talked about, but he presumed it concerned the Green’s capture, captivity and other ‘Tower business’. When the two women finally came out of the room, Myrrhi seemed to have a look on her face that was a little more content, as if she had reached better understanding, but neither of the Sedais spoke and just gave him a polite nod as they passed by. Myrrhi also gave him a small smile which he returned.



The following morning, after a breakfast shared downstairs, Myrrhi was visited by a local man, a middle-aged man who could pass for any of the hundreds of men walking up and down the street outside, whom the Gaidin presumed was part of the Green Ajah’s local Eyes and Ears network. They spoke privately in Myrrhi’s room for a little while and then the man left, nodding politely to Elessar as he passed him in the corridor. An hour or so later he returned, this time with a local woman. She had golden hair and brown eyes, not an unusual combination for Taraboners, wore a thin, clinging gown (one could almost think she was Domani), and seemed fairly young though with a stern eye. She hardly acknowledged Elessar as she walked past him but bowed respectfully to Myrrhi as the Aes Sedai invited her - and the man from before - into her room.


Soon after they came out of Myrrhi’s quarters, this time with the older Green in tow. Myrrhi hugged her Sister of the Green and the older Aes Sedai returned the hug though a bit hesitantly. She still seemed somewhat shook up, in Elessar’s view, but when she moved away from Myrrhi, giving the Gaidin a polite nod in the passing, touching his shoulder briefly as if to say thank you, and followed the Taraboner man and women down the corridor and out of the inn, her back straightened as if her Aes Sedai pride reasserted itself. Myrrhi and Elessar shared a knowing look when she was gone, then sat down in her room to talk about the next step.


They had agreed earlier on their journey, and the decision was reaffirmed as they closed in on the Capital, that it would be safer for the older Green to be in the care of the local Tanchico Green Eyes and Ears, who would bring her safely back to Tar Valon and the White Tower, than to remain with them. It could be that the two of them were still hunted by Whitecloaks abroad, Darkfriends even after all that had happened in the months gone by, and the risk of putting the vulnerable older Green in more danger on a long home journey to Tar Valon, was too great. The older Aes Sedai herself had, according to Myrrhi, not protested at this decision and had, in truth, seemed almost uncaring - Myrrhi did not use that word but that was the impression he got - , a sign - Elessar thought - that the older woman was still in shock after her ordeals and needed time to fully recover.


Now she was in the Green Eyes and Ears’ protective care - and would be safely returned to Tar Valon.



Staring silently out at the rooftops of Tanchico, from the elevation of his second story bedroom window that early evening, Elessar thought about everything that had happened to bring them here to this point in time.


He was very pleased that Myrrhi and he had succeeded in their difficult mission to free the older Green Sister from Whitecloak captivity. It had been a difficult operation indeed, but they had succeeded through good planning, good execution and some luck which was always needed on missions of this kind. We did it, he thought with satisfaction and also some pride, as he watched twilight gradually turning into night outside.


Now they awaited further orders from the White Tower.


They had prepared to return to Tar Valon now that their mission was completed, but had a short while before received a new message from the Green Eyes and Ears to wait there until further notice. And so they waited in the ‘Ocean Mistress’ inn, taking advantage of a few days of rest and recuperation by the sea, physically and mentally tired as they were, after weeks and more, of dangers and challenges, on the road.


The rest did them good.




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  • 2 weeks later...

How long is it going to take to reach that flaming place! Myrrhi couldn't help but feel impatient. She knew she should be happy... happy that no more Whitecloaks were chasing them, that danger was far away, that their mission was almost over. But she didn't feel very cheery about it all. A couple of days had passed, days they had spent riding from sun up to sun down. The young Green was feeling tired.


The scenery, by chance, offered enough distraction. The road Elessar had chosen was not a bad one. It went through woodlands and fields and allowed them to meet the usual travelers. Most of them were happy faced merchants, ready to barter anything they could offer... as long as the price was good. Sometimes their path crossed small villages, leaving them the chance to rest in an inn and to enjoy a bath and a bigger meal. But this was taking too long, way too long for her. She wanted this mission to come at an end. She didn't expect the Greens would allow her a long break before sending her to her next mission but she needed some kind of closure.


Her thoughts brought her back to the Tower. She was feeling nostalgic about the place. What would she give to find herself in her quarters? She remembered her early day after she had received the shawl. How many days she had spent thinking about what she should learn next. When she had left for Ebou Dar, she had felt ready, powerful. Now she understood that she had been far from it. She still needed to learn and to improve herself. Or, she would never equal her Sisters.


She shivered at the thought that some of her Sisters were as defenseless as her, if not less. The Green she had saved was proof of it.




Myrrhi watched Elessar as he looked around. The Bond told her that his mind was on the city's history. She remembered what he had told her about it, a couple of days before her arrival. Even if she wanted to fully enjoy her surroundings she felt like she didn't have the right to. Her Green Sister had to come first. The woman was completely broken and even if time had helped to  heal her physical injuries her mind was still a mess. The young Green hoped that they would manage to find a Yellow Sister or at least a wise woman . Someone who would either take care of the poor soul or tell the younger woman what to do.


The inn the Warder had picked was called the Ocean mistress. It was situated near a large square, well known in the city for its fountain. The establishment was cozy and - from what Myrrhi saw - it was visited by some of the richest people in the city. The decoration, the meal, even the outfits of the serving girls were refined.  It had made her feel dirty when she had crossed the door with her travel stained dress. Her first reflex had been to order a bath and ask for a seamstress.


Later that evening, she asked Elessar some privacy and invited the other Green to follow her to the inn's private library. She hoped that the quiet setting would help the other woman to talk. She didn't, unfortunately. Myrrhi tried everything from threats to gentle talk but the Sister only mumbled nonsense. Not knowing what else to do, she used the service bell to call for a serving girl. A little blond haired mouse suddenly appeared keen on answering the Aes Sedai wishes. Myrrhi asked for a wise woman. At first the teenager looked panicked not recognizing the words but as the younger Green explained her what she wanted she started to nod. A couple of minutes later, the little mouse came back with an older lady.


The woman knew enough about healing and traumatic events to be of use. She was not a Yellow but her reassuring analysis gave Myrrhi some hope. After a quick diagnostic and a list of things to do and not do, the woman took leave. she had a lot of patients to take care of, or so she said.




It's only on the following morning that Myrrhi managed to start the next step of her mission. As expected the Green Ajah’s local Eyes and Ears network had noticed her arrival. One of its member came to see her. They spoke privately in Myrrhi’s room for a little and she took advantage of the situation to tell him what her Sister needed. The man was happy to be of help. He came back later with another woman who was supposed to take care of the older Aes Sedai.


Myrrhi hugged the woman who had been her companion for the last few days and wished her a fair journey. The other woman returned the hug hesitantly probably not understanding what was happening to her.  As the wise woman had said, just like soldiers who went through the hardest battles, she would need the help of a healer of the soul. Someone who'd managed to go through the high walls she had built around herself to protect her sanity.



Sleep didn't easily come to Myrrhi that night. She had thought that she would quickly be on her way to the Tower now that her mission had ended. It would not be the case though... not for a long while. They had been busy with their preparations to return to Tar Valon when a messenger had appeared as if from nowhere. The little paper he had handed to Myrrhi only contained a few words. Stay and wait. And so she had unpacked ... she didn't have other choices than to follow her new orders.

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