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Everything posted by Oddpositions

  1. “Hey, no promises, but I will try to do my best,” Aiden said jovially. Nox was well aware of Aiden’s block and the ‘fairy fire.’ There would be no channeling of Fire unless absolutely necessary, but if those little blobs of Fire decided to manifest overhead, well Aiden couldn’t control that. Not yet, anyway. Nox gave him a playful shove with his shoulders, returning the grin. This was nice. This was very nice. Despite the pretense, a morning stroll with an attractive man was just the thing Aiden needed. It made him feel normal. No Channeling, no Atharim, no fans, no family drama, no paparazzi. Aiden’s smile deepened. This was the closest he would ever get to feeling like a nobody and it was marvelous. No wonder so many young stars tended to retire early; Aiden had, but he was beginning to see that he had retired from the public eye in the wrong way. Becoming a hermit had done nothing for him. The peace and the quiet was nice, but it was nothing in comparison to the raw energy of human connection. He immediately began to wish for a ‘do over,’ where his early retirement was concerned. No self-imposed exile. No hiding and cowering. No job hopping. None of that escapist behavior. Night one in the CCD and he should have been out and about, finding Nox, that is what he should have been doing. Carte blanche, Aiden thought to himself bemusedly. Nox went on to describe a ‘Sentient.’ Aiden knew a little bit about them, if only thanks to Rowan. Honestly, the woman got into more mischief than the heroine of cheesy Saturday night sitcom. Aiden knew enough to spot a Sentient, but not much more. He rarely ever took Rowan at her word, but hearing Nox describe some commonalities was enough to give Aiden pause. Perhaps Rowan was less ‘talk’ than he had previously presumed. “So, like, did she freeze him in place, sitting up like that?” Aiden asked before shaking his head and throwing up a hand, “Forget I asked that. Dumb question.” They carried on at a leisurely pace, the streets still hadn’t come to life in the day light. It was well past eleven in the morning, but the Red-Light District seemed to sleep in when the rest of the city was already approaching its lunch break. True, a few random cars and taxis roamed the roads, but not a face was to be seen along the sidewalks or in the shops. “Rowan told me about them, but she’s full of hot air in the best of times; said they could kill you with one touch. Is that how they do it then? I mean exclusively. Just an overwhelming of emotion? No extra frills? You climbed a building. Did she give you the ability to climb walls or was that your innate skill?” Aiden added a touch of heat to his voice at those last few words, if only playfully. Nox was good. Very good. Aiden continued excitedly, “You fell out of a plane!? I won’t press since you’ve got trauma over it, but if you ever want to tell that story to someone, you’ve got an eager listener right here.” Was it in poor taste to get excited over another’s source of fear? Yes – but only when you said it that way. Add five more cool points to Nox. The man had apparently fallen out of an airplane without a parachute and lived to tell the tale. Aiden could only assume it was due to the Power; perhaps an application of Air was to thank. He would probe on that later, if nothing else. Survival techniques through the One Power would be the most useful thing to learn, in light of the threat of the Atharim. “So how are we going to figure that out? What was found out before? I’m assuming we’re not looking for physical evidence. I mean – you know who was involved…”
  2. Merdyn carried on eating his mutton stew as Eb reappeared, unceremoniously. She nodded to them and set her own bowl down in front of her. Merdyn felt a pang of guilt, realizing that he didn’t ask the serving girl to bring one for Eb. Then again, she was very adamant about her lack of hunger. He let the guilt pass and continued working his way through the bowl, now eating at a much more normal pace. The woman’s stomach made a loud, unflattering noise. “Apologies,” Eb said with a grimace. Merdyn’s spoon was halfway to his mouth, but at those words it dropped from his fingers and clattered to the table, spilling a small amount of broth and a particularly fat piece of lamb. His mouth hung agape. Eb sat back in her seat and continued speaking. Merdyn’s mouth did not close until she finished. Nox jumped in with a self-deprecating comment. Well, it was not truly self-deprecating, but the man really needed to learn to give himself more credit. Gateways and Traveling was only one of his many talents, oh he was incredible at it, but there was so much more to him than that. Flashes of memory streaked through Merdyn’s mind. He could still remember every second of that day in the Training Yard, the day that he had earned the second pin. Nox could fight with the best of them, sword or Saidin, it didn’t matter. He was a spectacle to behold. The Creator help any Trolloc or Dread Lord that came to blows with Merdyn’s Warder. Nox shuddered after he spoke and grabbed Merdyn’s hand. The emotions coming through the Bond weren’t strong or dissonant, but there was definitely a slight pang of fear coloring Nox’s emotional state. What could he be thinking of? Surely he wasn’t feeling fright over the use of Earth? “You have many more talents than the making of Gateways and you know it,” Merdyn said to Nox, smiling brightly at him. Love and compassion welled up inside of Merdyn, intentionally, and he made sure that it was powerful enough for Nox to feel it through the Bond. He was not trying to call the man out or give him a hard time, Merdyn just hated to see Nox sell himself short on his own abilities. Most of what Merdyn had learned of the Power he had gotten from Nox. He had so much more to offer the world than he realized. If only he could see himself the way that Merdyn did. Nox was humble if nothing else. Still. As his Bond-holder and lover, it was Merdyn’s duty in life to lift Nox up and ensure that he lived the best life that he could. Embracing the One Power, Merdyn used a few threads of Water and Air to scoop up the spilled stew and depoisited it upon the cloth napkins provided by the serving girl. The table looked as clean as it had before they sat down. He placed his spoon back in the bowl and pushed it all away, his hunger satisfied. “Captain,” Merdyn spoke to Eb directly, “I am going to venture a guess that you know nothing about myself or Nox? We two come from very different upbringings and have different talents and interests. My theories on the matter are varied and colorful. My presence was requested, so I can only assume the true nature of this assignment lies somewhere with what I can do for you lot. I am of noble birth, Andoran if you could not tell by my accent. I have plenty of gold in my personal coffers. Artifacts of the One Power tantalize me and they have become something of a pet project. The Black Tower has named me a liaison to the White Tower, so I have personal dealings with the Red Ajah. I am the only man that has Bonded another man. I am well read and I have many talents and hobbies that one would not expect of a noble. The common folk love me and I can make a roast duck better than the Creator himself.” Despite what he said, Merdyn realized he didn’t have any theories on the true nature of their assignment. He had hoped to discover something, some hint, as he listed out an abriged version of his personal life. Nothing came to mind. The biggest contribution he had made to the Black Tower was an overhaul of the Soup Kitchen and the meager beginnings of a library. Surely, the Band did not need help with either of those things? So what was it? Perhaps they really were there to fix some fortifications. “If I had to bet on it, I would think that the Commander is having difficulties with some noble or ruler. Your Citadel lies within Andoran borders, perhaps you have caught the ire of Adine Sedai? Or perhaps there is a plot to remove her from the Throne? I am sure the Daughter heir still hungers for the crown, although it has been years since I have last spoken with her; I cannot know her mind… I do know the other High Seats were split between the two… Most have come to accept Adine Sedai's rule, but still,” Merdyn said thoughtfully. It had been so long since he was embroiled with Andoran politics, but he still tried to remain informed on the situation. He pursed his lips and tapped a finger against his chin, “The only use I seem to have had for anyone is my skill at navigating the currents of courtly intrigue and political relations. So, if it is not that, I am at a loss. Do you have any theories, Eb? Nox?”
  3. Merdyn felt the curious stares from the rest of the patrons, no doubt wondering what two black coated gentlemen did to cause Eb to run off to the bathroom like that. Were this a few months ago, he probably would have been less than alright with the presumptions. He might have even tried to stifle it by getting the rest of the patrons drunk. That wasn’t Merdyn anymore, not since he and Nox had gotten more serious with their affections. It was better this way. Lucky for them it was easy to tune out such things when the Void came easily. “I am getting hungry again,” Merdyn nodded despite telling Eb the opposite not a few moments prior. He wasted no time in signaling the server to attend them. The menu for the day sounded good enough, but Merdyn did not want to force themselves to wait around for the honeyed duck to finish roasting on the spit. No. A bowl or two of the mutton stew would suffice, so long as there were more bits of lamb than vegetable; Merdyn doubted that would be the case. Pulling his hand free from Nox’s, Merdyn slid his arm around the other man’s shoulders and brought him close – as much as was socially acceptable without bordering on impropriety. A handful of soft gasps could be heard from some of the women, no doubt Cairhienen born. Such prudes those people were. “If she’s not back by the time we’re done with the stew, we will brave asking those women,” Merdyn agreed. The server was back almost immediately, two steaming bowls in hand. She set them on the table and walked off to check on the women. Merdyn ignored them and sampled the stew. He had been wrong; there was plenty of lamb floating along the glistening surface of the liquid. He began to eat slowly, if only to give Eb time to compose herself. “I don’t think we are here just to fix their walls,” Merdyn said quietly between bites, “The M’Hael would have sent Soldiers and Dedicated if that were the case. We’re Asha’man and there’s only two of us besides… What could it be that they want?”
  4. Nox was full of useful information. Aiden had never scene the Power being used – when it was supposed to be - in any of the videos he’d seen on the net, but that didn’t mean anything. He had read conflicting information from second-hand sources. Better to get it from the horse’s mouth and Aiden was still a foal in many ways. “Well, that’s a blessing I’m sure,” Aiden said with a shrug. He dove back into his breakfast, gobbling down the last few morsels. He caught more than a few stolen glances and suggestive grins from Nox. It was funny how quickly things had shifted over the course of one night. True, that had flirted before and toed the proverbial line, but Aiden had never thought Nox the type to become so smitten. It just went to show you how complex people were. Nox had his life’s mission but he had not become so wedded to it that he had forsaken the human experience. Within the hour, Nox was leading Aiden outside back through the side door of the bar. Aiden was only a little self-conscious, wearing the same clothing from the night before and not a spot of product in his hair, but then again, it was a look reminiscent of his Blarney Stoned days: rumpled Rockstar. Some even found that attractive. There was that grin again. Aiden smirked to himself and answered casually, “Oh, of course not. I wouldn’t dare suggest it. But yes, why not make the most of it?” Aiden looped his arm around Nox’s and let himself be led deeper into the city. It was forward, yes, but so was Aiden – once it was clear that his advances were welcomed. Nox broke the silence of the walk, flashing that grin again. Aiden allowed himself another smile and nodded to Nox’s questions, “Of course I want to hear about it. Don’t get me wrong, I dig the mysterious vibe, but the more I know the better. Who knows? I might even be of some help.” A giggle escaped Aiden’s throat. He was beginning to feel down- right giddy.
  5. Merdyn nodded at Nox’s words. Of course, he was right about the matter. It was a bit of a relief. Merdyn had no interest in helping Eb work through her issues – had she been more polite he would have felt the opposite. As it stood, the day couldn’t end soon enough. One would think that he’d have been softened to such things because of Nox. To a point, perhaps, but he didn’t love Eb; he loved Nox. “The Dark One himself could not tear me away from you, love,” Merdyn said to his Warder in the warmest tone he could muster, “Don’t you forget that.” Nox went on, smiling brighter than he normally did. Merdyn didn’t have to probe the Bond to know that Nox was fighting off a spell of his own. Was it due to Eb’s own outburst or another wave of madness? Merdyn assumed the former. He started to focus on his breathing, seeking the void in an effort to pass along a sense of calm through the Bond. He would not let his own annoyances affect Nox; as much as he could help it. “Yes. You’re not bothered?” Merdyn answered in reply to his Warder’s question, “I am trying to calm myself. She has been nothing but short and rude to us. I can deal with that normally, but she is acting as our liaison. Do you think the M’Hael would be pleased if one of us acted as she did towards a member of the Alliance – or Light forbid, an Aes Sedai? No. He would box our ears from here to Shara. I’ve heard the members of the Band are rather lackadaisical, but this is unacceptable. I expect our allies to take their duties seriously.” Merdyn exhaled loudly, knuckling his forehead before going on, “What should we do if she has disappeared? We can’t go back to the Farm so soon.”
  6. “I don’t really know what to think about the Atharim anymore. The Ascendancy himself was a member? And you and Li Tan? I can only assume there are many more Channelers that left the cult. They must not be able to detect us then? I mean, other than your stereotypical espionage. They don’t, like, have a machine that tells you if someone has the gift, right?” Aiden asked in an honest tone. The fact that Aiden did not know about the Atharim until recently really made him feel stupid. How did this shadowy organization escape notice for so long when it seemed that so many people had been members? Secrets were hard to keep, especially the more you told people. They had to have some pretty severe punishments in place to keep their existence under lock and key. They finished their breakfast shortly after and Aiden watched Nox finish dressing. It was depressing to see pants back on the man, but they would serve as a reminder that Aiden would get to take them off again. “Nah, once I’m up, I’m up. I’ll probably end up napping later, but I couldn’t go back to bed right now. Let me come with you,” Aiden said as he began to dress himself.
  7. Ful guided Viviane through the front gates and onto the main property. An unfinished tower stood just beyond, gleaming black in the early morning sun. Copper tiles and stone blocks made up the various homes and shops that surrounded the Black Tower. It was all very severe and so quintessentially masculine. They had indeed made great progress in the short amount of time that they had come together as an organization. Commonfolk and initiates alike went about their daily tasks, not a few offering a polite bow or nod of the head to Ful and herself. Viviane twitched her red fringed shawl with every greeting, a nervous reflex, before returning the greeting with a small incline of her head. “It may not be grand yet, but you’ve got the proper groundwork laid. Be humble, yes, but do take pride in what you lot have accomplished thus far. I do hope that I am alive to see the completed construction of the Black Tower,” Viviane admitted truthfully. Despite owing their progress to the One Power, Viviane was still amazed at how far along things seemed to be moving for these men. Was this an inevitability, the Black Tower? Would a False Dragon have succeeded in a similar endeavor had the Pattern allowed it? Viviane doubted that. The White Tower was too powerful, the common folk too fearful to allow such a thing. This was all due to Tavereen influence. Ful smiled broadly at her as he pulled out a map of the grounds, indicating the dorms. She had no desire to see those. Men were a smelly lot and their living quarters even more so, especially when they had no woman to keep them in line. Viviane had assumed the Black Tower would look more like it’s original namesake, The Farm. She had been wrong about that, but perhaps the dorms would fit more in line with her own assumptions. “Not the dorms, thank you very much,” Viviane said with an emphatic shake of the head, “Perhaps you can show me a class or a lecture? I admit I am no Brown, but I do take education very seriously. If you men are to rise to prominence in the world, I would rest more comfortably to know that you are taking the time to expand the minds of your initiates.”
  8. Eb shot up from the table and scurried off through the tea house towards the back. It had been clear to Merdyn that she was not listening to a damn word that he had said. Really, who was in charge of selecting these people? There had to have been someone better, more qualified to deal with matters concerning the Alliance. Why did the leader of the Band find this woman acceptable to discuss- Then it hit Merdyn. She was having a mental attack of sorts. As if on queue, Nox asked if he looked the same way when he suffered his own spells. Merdyn felt horrendous over the thoughts that he was having of this woman. He was judging her left, right, and center; ever since she showed the first hint of rudeness. How very childish he felt. Merdyn turned his head, looking at Nox with a mixture of grief and guilt. He planted a kiss on his Warders lips and said, “Sometimes… Sometimes, yes, you do.” What should they have done? It was easy for Merdyn to handle Nox when he fell into one of his spells, but he could not handle Eb the same way- that would be weird and incredibly improper. Besides. Did she want to be handled? Nox and he were strangers, they might only make it worse. Then again, maybe the Band did not know about Eb’s… peculiarity… If Merdyn went to fetch someone, things could get even messier. “I…” Merdyn sighed and shook his head. Worry flooded through his brain as he registered Nox’s own feelings, “What do we do? Should we follow? Are you ok? She didn’t upset you, did she? I felt a quickening through the bond.”
  9. A well-dressed, young man came striding out of the gates after speaking quickly to one of the guards. Apprehension painted his face, although it was clear that he was doing his best to hide it. Viviane assumed this to be Ful, the Dedicated assigned to lead her through the tour of the forboding facilities. Showing such emotion, Viviane thought wryly, these men really do need our help. They could learn much from the way we do things. An Accepted would never let a guest see them sweat. Viviane gave a slight bow of her head to the young man, nothing more than his station required, and offered up a polite smile. “You are correct, Ful. You may call me Viviane Sedai,” she went on in a calm tone, “I was only waiting a short while. Thank you for your apologies, and no, I do not require a drink at this time. Perhaps later. The men here are free to accept, however.” Looking over her shoulder, Viviane cocked an eyebrow at the two Tower Guards; they both shook their heads in silence, maintaining a cool demeanor. It was all the same to Viviane. She was sure that they’d break from their post as soon as she left, no doubt finding their way to chat up the Black Tower’s gate guards. Viviane smoothed her skirts out of habit and hitched her red-fringed shawl up a tad higher on her arms. Ful was exactly what she had anticipated: young and green. A weight lifted from her shoulders. “Shall we be about it, then? I am eager to see the infamous Black Tower for myself,” Viviane said as she strode forward, past Ful and almost up to the gates. The Tower Guards stayed put. She paused and took a closer look at the black stone that made up the gargantuan fortifications. Viviane spoke on in a more conversational tone to put the boy at ease, “You men built these walls yourself, I understand? Quite useful, your natural strength in Earth. You have not yet completed your Tower yet, though?” The walls were plain, once you looked past their imposing nature, not unlike the walls of Tar Valon. Would the rest of the property look like the mirror image of the White Tower? She doubted it. It was most likely purposeful that these walls resembled the Shining Walls of Tar Valon. Such imagery would invoke the trust that the common people most naturally felt when thinking of the Aes Sedai. A clever maneuver on the Asha’man’s part. Perhaps they were more cunning than she initially thought. Perhaps not. Viviane would save that judgment for later.
  10. “Earth is no problem for me, although I am a touch better with Fire,” Merdyn said jovially. Eb was clearly on edge. It was a wonder she was not loudly grinding her jaw or some other unattractive nervous habit. She didn’t even order any tea. Honestly, they did not have to come here if she was just going to watch them. He thought they had said as much when discussing the possibility of breakfast… But they were here already and there was little left for it. Merdyn had ordered a pot of Tremalking Black with a dish of honey. The serving girl didn’t take long. She was back within minutes and he spared no time waiting to pour out three cups for the table. This Eb might not have wanted tea, but the least she could do was pretend to enjoy it. There were so many tricks to convey the proper decorum when attending a meeting between allies. Wet the lips with the tea and pretend to drink. Hold the cup to enjoy the warmth and scent, set it down for a time, repeat. It was not secret knowledge. Perhaps she just needed a nudge in the right direction. “Walls should be no problem to repair or create,” Merdyn said before picking up his cup. The heat permeated the cup, spreading through his fingers and down the arms. A surprise tray of wheat cakes was placed at the table by the serving girl on a return trip. Merdyn spread some honey atop one and took a small bite. Perhaps he was a tad hungry. “I can also make Gateways if the need arises for two, although we should have all the materials for walls waiting just beneath our feet, deep in the ground,” Merdyn went on, smiling at Eb. His left hand fell from the table and down onto the seat of the booth, seeking our Nox’s free hand. He clasped it and gave it a gentle squeeze, signaling his unspoken frustration with this woman… But then again, those feelings were already being fed through the Warder Bond that he shared with Nox.
  11. For all her claimed ‘worldliness,’ Viviane had never visited the Black Tower. Not until today. The large black stoned wall loomed before her, it’s heavy doors surprisingly open. Men in black coats sat watch, to be sure, but it was still a shock to see. The openness implied freedom and welcome. The White Tower had made peace with this group, but that did not mean there were not hushed whispers in the hallowed halls of the Tower; whispers about the madmen of the Black Tower and their tainted Saidin. Codswallop is what that was. If the Red Ajah could get over their past prejudices, then so should the other Sisters. If only more of them would come and see for themselves that there was nothing to fear. In truth, that was why she had come herself. Viviane Accylon still held some prejudice in her heart, but Light, she was determined to banish those feelings. She supported the Tower’s decision to play nice with these boys, and yes, she also accepted the new role her Ajah would play… She just never thought that Saidin would be cleansed… She never thought that the Last Battle would actually occur in her lifetime, but these were strange times. The Dragon Reborn walked the land and all things would be remade in his passing- once the Dark One was dealt with. Prophecy said as much. The Gateway winked out behind Viviane, not one she had Woven, she was unable to unaided; two Tower Guards remained as an escort. It was bad form, Viviane knew that, but most could understand her unease. As a sign of good faith, the pair would wait here for her, once she decided to make her return trip to the White Tower. Despite what the escort may have said to the observer, Viviane was still the picture of Aes Sedai calm and authority. A light breeze danced through the air, swirling Viviane’s coiled, ginger hair about her shoulders. The full skirts of her deep violet dress rustled against her legs, dagger sleeves waving this way and that. She held her hands clasped at her waist, patiently waiting for her contact to show. Ful Heart. That young man was a junior member of the Black Tower, not yet having earned both of the Asha’man pins. The thought softened Viviane’s nerves a touch. Surely, this Ful was still green behind the ears. Nothing she couldn’t handle with a few well-placed looks or sniffs. The two guards at the Gate seemed to be speaking between themselves, finally having spotted Viviane and her own escort. They did not come to greet her. Where was their propriety? Their decorum? And where in the Light was this Ful Heart?
  12. Aiden spluttered at the casual revelation about Li Tan. “You’re kidding right? Dear God, they really do have their tendrils hooked into every aspect of society, don’t they?” A shiver ran down his spine as he spoke. Who else belonged to the cult? This was so much worse than Scientology. At least those freaks just tried to sue you and ruin your public life, not like the Atharim whose sole mission in the world was to enact Genocide on every human that dared touch the magic of creation. Nox was ex-Atharim and so was Li Tan. How many more had left the cult? That would be good to know. Such individuals would be incredibly useful, if only for their intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the organization. Aiden didn’t want to go to war with these fools, but he did want to be prepared in case their eyes ever fell upon him… Which they very likely already had. Aiden was a very famous individual who could Channel. He associated with Nox and many other people that he figured the Atharim would like to see dead. Yes. He was definitely on their radar. “Let’s check it out, then, this school of his. Maybe we could learn something or maybe help? After we do your patrols, of course,” Aiden said with a smile. Giddiness started to well up inside of him at the thought of studying with other Channelers. Oh, Nox was good and fine- more than fine- but this was a chance to network and socialize. And Li Tan would be there. Aiden didn’t know him personally, they had only met once or twice at a Gala back in the states, but the man was attractive and kind; a winning combination. Did Nox know the man? Had they killed monsters and Channelers together when they belonged to the cult? So many questions. Aiden smiled wider and gave Nox a kiss on the cheek before digging back into his delicious breakfast.
  13. Splitting the flows… another skill Aiden needed to work on. Oh, he had no problem splitting it two ways, but it wasn’t easy and he had yet to achieve three ways. Nox insisted things would be easier so long as Aiden constantly practiced. So far, Nox was right. It was just annoying that Aiden had yet to master everything. He had never ever found a skill in life that he could not just pick up and perfect within a week. Channeling was different. True, Aiden could learn a Weave after witnessing it once, but that was as far as it went. Nox made a suggestive comment which earned a blush from Aiden. Honestly, the man was more eager than a choir boy in the French Quarter! Not that there was anything wrong with that. Aiden took a plate from Nox, eagerly digging into the steaming food as the message board got brought up again. Nox was probably correct in his assumption about the Atharim; at this point, Aiden wasn’t sure what the mysterious group didn’t know. Something had to be done about them. He could not imagine living the rest of his life constantly looking over his shoulder or wondering if that random waiter at the dinner was an undercover operative slipping some trace amount of nerve agent into his food. “Well screw the internet then. Let’s start a school or something,” Aiden said seriously between bites, “They’re organized. We are not. They will always beat us because of that. Imagine what Channelers could do as a group, what wonders we might be capable of. You’ve taught me so much, and I intend to return the favor if I ever meet another young Channeler, but what if we both die? That knowledge will be lost. Lord, what about the stuff Jaxen has taught me? You didn’t know some of it. How much more don’t we know? Knowledge is power and power is what we need to stop living in fear of some archaic cult.” A tangent was beginning to form, but Aiden shut it down and took a long gulp of his coffee instead.
  14. Aiden did nothing to hide his shock. It was not that he didn’t think that Nox could cook… It was just that… Well… It was exactly that. Considering how Nox lived day to day, Aiden had always assumed that he was a ramen kind of guy. Not that there was anything wrong with that. In an age where magic and the internet is at one’s palm, well, it’s no surprise that certain skills fall into disuse. Aiden knew more people that could not cook than could. The fact that Nox could at least operate a skillet only enhanced his image in Aiden’s mind. What other skills did he have hidden away? Did he only know how to cook breakfast? Or could he possibly be coerced into preparing a turkey dinner? Then there was the matter of Nox’s night terrors- so to speak- there had to be a way to use the Power to help with that. Their problem was that they didn’t network. Aiden personally knew two other male Channelers, Nox included, and knew of a handful of others. Both Nox and Jaxen had taught Aiden everything he knew of the Power, he had not the time or luxury to experiment with it like some others may have. It was a very real possibility that there were things they could do that they had not even dreamed of. Who was to say one could not bend Space and Time with the Power? What were their limits? They had the potential to change lives and they were squandering it on preparing breakfast. Not that Aiden was complaining. Sweat dripped from Nox’s forehead as he worked the skillet with the Power. Aiden cocked an eyebrow, “Are you okay, babe? You’re not sick, are you? I can run to the pharmacy if need be…”
  15. “Rowan said there’s this secret message board- or group or whatever- that female Channelers use to share the Weaves they’ve developed… There’s nothing like that being run for men, is there?” Aiden asked as he propped himself up on one elbow, his other arm encircling Nox’s waist. Considering the threat that the Atharim posed, it was a risky venture to be running such an operation on the web, but Rowan was clearly benefiting from the operation. Aiden didn’t honestly think there was something comparable for men; Sage would have known about that and if Sage knew, then Nox would have too. “I was just thinking that there has to be a Weave to induce sleep… That might help you if you don’t want to take pills or anything. You need to rest regularly,” Aiden said not reproachfully. It was not really Aiden’s place to bother Nox in regards to his personal wellbeing, but it had been made abundantly clear very early on that Nox put duty above self. Aiden found that noble and endearing, but what these hero types always failed to realize is that the world needed them for the long run. It would be all too easy to burn ones self out after a few years of hard living. Another young person would no doubt take Nox’s place, should anything befall him, but it didn’t have to be that way. Aiden had taken a liking to Nox. Who knew if any of this would go past the bedroom? That was life. Although if it did, Aiden would make sure that Nox did more than ‘make do.’ “Otherwise, I am down for another roll in the sheets or accompanying you on your walk… So long as we can grab me a coffee. I am utterly useless without some type of stimulant in the morning,” he said with his own wink.
  16. Aiden opened his eyes slowly, the darkened room coming into focus. He had nodded off in the post-coital embrace of Nox’s arms, whose fingers still danced along the small of Aiden’s back. A shiver shot up his spine and goosebumps manifested across every inch of his exposed flesh. Street lights and a hint of early morning dawn spilled in through the slanted blinds, offering up a means for Aiden to see his eager lover. He yawned slightly before lifting his head from Nox’s taught chest, turning to look at the other man. Nox wore a tense expression, despite the hours they had just spent working out all of their energy into something passionate and beautiful. “Remind me again why we waited so long to do that?” Aiden asked with a playful smirk. As so often happened in these moments, Aiden began wondering what came next? Nox could be hard to read at times. Would this happen again? Did this intimacy herald the coming of something more serious with the man? Aiden doubted that last bit; at least for the immediate future. Nox seemed to be wedded to his duty. There was no time for the follies of love when there were monsters lurking in the sewers of the CCD… But maybe Aiden could help with that? The novel he was working on had been submitted to the publishers, so there was little to do on that front until the promotional tour began. There was also the rumor going around of a Blarney Stoned reunion tour, but Aiden had never committed to anything. I’m getting ahead of myself again, Aiden thought to himself, live in the moment. Let the future unfurl as it will. “You don’t sleep very often do you?” Aiden asked, taking note of the bloodshot eyes and dark circles that had started to form on Nox’s face. He was still sexy despite that, it only seemed to accentuate his brooding bad boy image. Aiden inched up on the mattress until his face was level with Nox’s. He placed a kiss upon the other man’s lips, nipping a bit at his bottom lip. Were that Aiden had known a sleep Weave or something else along those lines. “We can go again if you want? I know a few more tricks that might push you to the edge of exhaustion,” Aiden said in a half-serious tone.
  17. Nox… was visibly upset with Aiden. His own face fell at the look of consternation on Nox’s. The thugs were towed away towards the front and Aiden let his own Weave melt away. He looked around the room and noticed the shock and dismay on the patron’s faces, not a few of them getting up to leave. Aiden cursed himself silently as he realized his mistake. With a quick step, Aiden made his own way out to the front of the bar. A cop was loading the last of the brutes into his car, Nox was frowning. Aiden opened his mouth to appologize but shut it as Nox started to speak. “You really shouldn’t have thrown fire around.” Aiden colored at the words, his face reddening further as Nox grabbed his hand and lead him around to the side door in the alleyway. A tiny little flame sprouted above Aiden’s head ironically. They stopped just outside the door, Nox asking if Aiden still wanted to continue the night. “Oh, Lord above, yes I do- if you’ll have me,” Aiden started to babble, “And I am sorry about being so indiscriminate with my powers. I just got wrapped up in the moment and one thing lead to the next. Please, if there’s any trouble, I will take full responsibility. I’ve got great lawyers. I can pay for any damages to the building. I swear that won’t happen again and- I should shut up.” A long exhale followed. That little monologue made him sound a little too much like his sister, Rowan; she never knew when to shut up. Nox still didn’t look happy, but surely he could forgive Aiden. Crap, I hope he doesn’t feel emasculated over that… Crap, Aiden thought to himself. Aiden shook his head slightly to banish the thought. Nox wouldn’t be inviting him up if he didn’t actually want to, so there was no point in spilling out endless apologies or having such paranoid thoughts. Aiden had to live in the moment and let the past be the past. A goofy smile grew on his face and he wagged his eyebrows at Nox. “Yes. Yes, I still want to come up.”
  18. Merdyn’s eyebrows climbed up towards his hairline at the ‘greeting’ offered to them on behalf of the Band. Was this the Eb mentioned in the missive? He opened his mouth, ready with a snide comment to lob at the woman, but Nox pulled him forward and jumped in before Merdyn was able to utter a word. He closed his mouth and resigned to being towed along by his Warder. The woman jabbed a finger towards the barracks, informing them that they could stow their belongings there. Merdyn did not bother to inform her that they would be returning to the Black Tower at day’s end. Nox pulled out the cloth bag that contained the leavings of their food wrapped in oiled paper and cord. He didn’t exactly offer it to the rude woman, but he may as well have. Merdyn wasn’t sure why this all bothered him so, but it did. Growing up as a noble had hardened him in regard to social situations. Light, even his time spent at the Black Tower had only served to strengthen his backbone. Why should this woman get under his skin so? Perhaps it was due to the prestige he had felt at being called to both the White Tower and The Citadel to serve as an ambassador of sorts. Or perhaps it was the disregard she had shown to both Nox and himself. Or maybe she just had one of those personalities that gave a chafe to one’s good mood. Whatever the reasons, none of them mattered. This Eb, whoever she was, would have to be dealt with as if she were the Queen of Andor herself. Merdyn and Nox were here to represent the Tower and its interests. Nothing more. If Eb didn’t like them, or if she refused to treat them with respect- well, that was of little consequence to the powers that be. They would just have to bear it. Merdyn clenched his jaw and forced a smile onto his face. Nox would no doubt feel the irritation through the Bond, but he would just have to endure it as Merdyn tried to squash the emotions. You are essentially a male Aes Sedai, man, Merdyn thought to himself, Buck up and act like one. Those women of the Tower wouldn’t be cowed by some brutish captain. No. They would be doing the cowing, they would- Merdyn shook his head and banished the thoughts. He was not Aes Sedai. He was Ashaman. What those women could get away with was more than any man of the Black Tower could dare dream of. No. It would be better to woo this woman into compliance. Get on her good side. Charm the living Light out of her. The smile was coming a little easier the more he thought on that. “Oh, yes, we are quite stuffed,” Merdyn called out in a cheerful tone to the back of Eb’s head, “You are more than welcome to the food we brought. Although we would be just as fine sitting with you while you break your fast in the city, perhaps we could have some tea instead while you do so?" This was going to be a long day.
  19. Aiden carefully watched Nox as he wove the shield, memorizing the weave as the thing settled upon the brute. He only needed to see a weave once before committing it to memory. Nox had shown Aiden a number of useful weaves, although most of them had been for battle and the killing of monsters. Everything else Aiden had learned was due to the observations of other men wielding the Power; Jaxen Marveet was first amongst them. There should be a book… or a website or something for us to share these tricks, Aiden thought to himself, Rowan mentioned a message board for the women… We should follow suit. Nox admonished the group of men, smiling at Aiden sometime in between. A second shield slammed onto another man in the group. Aiden moved towards the two shielded men, hands reaching out to take both by the neck. Orbs of ice materialized above the head of a third and shot out at Nox and Aiden, one of which struck at Aiden’s right hand. He recoiled at the blow and started singing on instinct. “Well, you can run like a rabbit, fly like a bee, No matter what you do, you’ll never get away from me,” Aiden sang in an upbeat voice as the light erupted behind his right shoulder. He grasped the Power and deftly began to weave Fire, “Cause I’m right behing you baby, right behind you baby, Well, I’m right behind you baby and you’ll never get away from me.” Countless fireballs erupted into being, swirling around Aiden. One shot out and struck the icemaker in the head, his hair bursting into flame. Two more found their mark on the men that had channeled earlier. The rest of the men took the hint and fled before the rest of the fireballs found their mark. “Well, you can make up your face, dye your hair, No matter what you do, turn around and I’ll be there,” Aiden sang on as he brushed away the glamour that he had taken on earlier and divided the flows, channeling Air and imprisoning the three brutes that remained with bonds around their limbs. Aiden looked to Nox and smiled, “Have you got the police on speed dial?”
  20. Aiden’s eyebrows shot up and he faltered in his song at Nox’s mention of dancing on stage; a great howl preceded this as the Power suddenly vanished from Aiden’s grip at the abrupt stop of his song. The entire room turned towards the commotion and not a few of them gave Aiden a very hard look. He mouthed the word ‘sorry’ to the onlookers and each turned back to their beers and their ogling. Aiden very deliberately avoided turning to look at Nox. “Oh?” Aiden asked half over his shoulder, “You’re constantly surprising me, Nox. I’m slightly offended I wasn’t invited to watch you practice.” Images of Nox in a revealing costume, moving to a primal rhythm flooded Aiden’s mind. His cheeks flushed as the mental scene progressed into something more raw. Throwing his head back, Aiden drank down half of his Stella and silently cursed himself for not grabbing a pack of smokes before arriving. Booze may not have been the best way to cool down, but it was the closest vice at hand. True, he had a joint hidden in his coat pocket, but he didn’t want to feel spacey or sluggish just yet. Shouts from the front of the room broke Aiden out of his bubble. The dancer had finished her set and the stage sat empty, prompting those men to grow impatient. Nox had walked up to the group of trash which had caused the commotion, urging them to chill out and grab another drink- for free no less. Aiden found his voice and started singing once more, “When the twilight is gone and no songbirds are singing. When the twilight is gone you come into my heart.” The light of the Power sprung up from behind. Aiden went on, “And here in my heart you will stay while I pray.” Raging torrents of energy flooded Aiden’s every particle, charging him with the sweet and violent power of creation. He deftly wove Air, Fire, and Spirit into a complex and sizable weave, settling the thing around his entire body, yet not completing the thing. This was his insurance policy, a nifty trick he had picked up from Jaxen Marveet’s performance those many nights ago. “My prayer is to linger with you, at the end of the day in a dream that’s divine,” Aiden kept singing to himself to hold the power. The group of men were openly sneering at Nox. The largest of them laughed heartily and downed the rest of the amber liquid in his mug. “Yeah, and the rest of the night will be on you if there ain’t another skank up on the stage in the next sixty seconds. We came here to see some tail, so make with it or get me drunk,” The largest of the men said. The goon turned to look at Nox and yelled, “Well, what you waiting for pansy!?” He whipped the glass mug at Nox, which narrowly missed his head. “My prayer is a rapture in blue, with the world far away and your lips close to mine,” Aiden sang as he let the weave settle over his body and tied the thing off. In the blink of an eye, his form and musculature swelled to four times their size- at least they appeared to. Anyone looking at him would see a man whose head brushed the ceiling and with muscles large enough to rival The Incredible Hulk. He stopped singing and let the Power wink out; the weave stayed in place. Aiden walked over to the group, trying his best to look as menacing as possible and spoke in a rumbling baritone, “Ya’ll are gonna have to leave if you wanna keep ya’ heads on ya’ bodies.” One of the skinnier men started yelling at Aiden, “Sit down, freak!” That same, little man started weaving Fire. Ah, crap, Aiden thought to himself as he saw the weave begin, Other Channelers.
  21. “You almost sound like you think that I can’t multitask,” Aiden said in a rueful tone. He gave the other man a wink and let him lead the way out to a table on the main floor of the strip club. Nox stood behind him, taking away Aiden’s fun. He found himself hoping that there was at least one male dancer performing, but it was a futile wish. Women were beautiful in their own right, he had even found a few attractive over the years, but there were no urges within to bed a single one of them. Men just had so much more to offer. With a raised hand, Aiden signaled a server and ordered a double whiskey and a beer back. She was back in record time, sliding the glass and the bottle over to him. “Hey, aren’t you-?” She began, but Aiden held up a finger to his own lips and slid a substantial tip over to her. “Yup. Keep that thought to yourself and we can take a selfie or I can autograph something for you or whatever you’d like.” The servers eyes lit up as she nodded enthusiastically, rushing away to tend to her other tables. Aiden figured that a word or two from Nox would keep her quiet, but that would make Aiden look like an arrogant diva- and he was not arrogant. Aiden threw back the double whiskey in one gulp and sighed to himself, scanning the room for the roughians. They weren’t hard to spot. The men seemed to be behaving themselves so far, but that could change quickly. “Heavenly shades of night are falling, It’s twilight time,” Aiden began singing very quietly to himself, “Out of the mist your voice is calling, Tis’ twilight time.” Light sprung up behind his shoulder as soon as the song touched his tongue. It was both amazing and frustrating that he had a Block which required him to perform. He had met other Channelers that could not touch the Source unless they closed their eyes, those same people couldn’t do more than touch the Source since one had to actually see the threads of the Power to weave them; and then another he met had to be almost blackout drunk to do anyhthing. If he never broke his own Block, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing… so long as he never lost his voice or the ability to move and dance. “When purple colored curtains mark the end of day,” he went on singing to himself to hold the Power, “I'll hear you, my dear, at twilight time.”
  22. Hello dear friends ^_^ So, I have a newly raised Red that is in desparate need of some weapons training. Does anyone fancy a little scene together to help train her? I'm open to anyone that wants to play around. if it's any character outside the Tower proper, we can totally come up with a reason for her to be training with them. I don't mind writing a solo RP for the purpose, but it would be much more fun with another player ❤️
  23. Aiden shrugged at the insistence that they walk. Whatever Nox wanted was fine by him, but it was not inaccurate to say that Aiden was a little crestfallen at the walk; he had planned on making full use of the privacy his stretch limo offered them. “Sorry for the false alarm, Coop,” Aiden said to his driver through the open passenger side window, “We’re just gonna walk over to Nox’s. Take the rest of the night off.” Cooper insisted on waiting around for them about two or three more times before finally accepting Aiden’s early dismissal. The man was dutiful if nothing else. They made their way down a few blocks and came to a strip club, turning into the alley and entering through a side door. This is where he relocated to? Aiden thought with a touch of shock. He had offered Nox a place to stay multiple times in the past. Aiden owned a 10 story condominium in Tverskaya and also had a (mostly complete) mansion in Suzdal, but Nox had turned down the offer for both buildings. Aiden could not see why Nox would opt for squalor when he could have luxury free of charge. Nox changed into a security t-shirt and Aiden drank in the sight of his bare torso, not being the least bit subtle. Staff came and went, greeting Nox with warmth and kinship. Perhaps that was it. Regardless, Nox had work to do thanks to the louts that had sauntered in ahead of him. Nova barked down from the stairs and Aiden smiled up at it. “I’ll have to bring Lasher around next time I come through,” Aiden said with a nod up towards the pup, “And if you’re gonna go play mister-strong-man, I think I’ll join you… That is, I think I’ll go enjoy a cocktail out there until you’ve had enough work for the evening.” He winked at Nox, stole another kiss and chuckled playfully, “Besides, you might need backup. Right?”
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