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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Arath Faringal

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  1. "Of course," Arath said, nodding in agreement. "You'll be returning to regular duties as soon as possible. The number of new Soldiers is always increasing, and we're hard pressed to find enough men to train them. There are nearly a thousand of us now, but too many are not trained well enough to fight off a Tinker, let alone anything more dangerous. And come to think of it, I'd be interested in learning a little about your particular talent. I've run into a few problems with some of my work that you might be able to asist me with." Giving his report one last disgusted glance, he continued. "But that will have to wait for a bit I'm afraid. Time to catch you up on recent events. "I told you that Dalinar is dead, killed by Brent Enios. Well, Brent's coup was triggered by an incident with the White Tower. Thirteen of their sisters, and a number of warders, travelled to the woods outside the Farm, right on top of a guard patrol. Within moments, it escalated into a full scale battle. Several soldiers and dedicated were killed, along with a few of the Aes Sedai. The rest, we captured, by forcibly bonding them. A couple of days later, Brent staged his coup, saying that Dali was too lenient on the Aes Sedai." "A month or so later, another Aes Sedai arrived and negotiated the release of the captives, in exchange for the White Tower formally recognizing us. Brent caved too easily, but we followed his orders and released all of them. Things slid downhill from there with Brent. He grew more irritable and unpredictable. Then ... Shienar. "A recruiting party in the southern parts of the borderlands came back early and told us that Shienar was being overrun. We gathered up 400 men and Traveled to Fal Moran. A couple of hours later, a little less than 300 of us came back. Dreadlord circles controlled the entire region, and we couldn't stand up to them. We found out the next day that Arafel had been overrun as well. Brent's final mistake it turned out. "A couple days after the battle, Covai and I reported our failure to the Lord Dragon. He ordered us to make peace with the White Tower so we could stand together against the Shadow. When we attempted to go to Tar Valon, Brent and his closest supporters attacked us." Arath did not like to think of that fight. It had been a close thing. "Once we recovered from that, we went to speak with the Amyrlin, and the Red Ajah, and negotiate an alliance. Surprisingly, they agreed. To make a long story short, we're now allies with the Red Ajah ... bonding each other as warders." Arath shrugged, as though it was simply an oddity. "I bonded the head of their Ajah as my warder, in front of the Amyrlin and a number of Sitters." He paused for a moment, trying to think of anything he might have missed. He was pretty sure he'd at least touched on all the important parts. "So ... anything you'd like me to elaborate on?"
  2. Arath noticed the aprubt change of subject, but let it go. It wasn't likely that the conversation would remain civil if it continued along that path, and he needed to build up ... if not a friendship, than at least a civil alliance. As the Red Sister brought up linking, Arath simply shrugged. "There isn't really much that I can tell you about it. A few of the sisters who visited us last time were willing to attempt linking with some of us. From what they told us, there is virtually no difference between adding a man to a circle and adding a woman. So long as you're ready to handle Saidin that is. Women have to be the ones to add people though. Even if I'm controlling a circle, I can't add anyone to it." He paused for a moment, wondering if he had forgotten anything. "As for the taint ... I know it can be removed. I can do it, for myself at least. Though I'll be the first to admit, I'm not quite sure how it happened ..." Arath trailed off as he realized what he was feeling through the bond. She must think I'm mad, he thought, almost laughing to himself. "I suppose the only way to explain this is to show you. Link with me, and I'll show you what I mean."
  3. OOC: Well that was a lot less involved than I thought it would be About half an hour later, as Arath was finalizing his latest report to the rest of the Guardian Council, he heard a tap on his door. "Enter," he called, not taking his eyes or pen from the paper. He would finish this thing if it killed him. And it might just come to that. His assignment in Tar Valon was one headache after another. Tossing his pen aside as he scratched in the last words, Arath shook his head and sighed. "I can't bloody stand this stuff. I spend more time writing about leadership than actually leading anything anymore. I'm more afraid of the next report than I am of the taint these days." Motioning to the chair on the opposite side of the desk, Arath leaned back in his own seat and locked his gaze on Ragnar. "So tell me then, what have you been up to since you left? You said you only wandered as far as Murandy, but I can think of an awful lot of trouble someone can like us can get into between here and there."
  4. DM Handle: Delrian Contact Info: luciddragonofthestars[at]hotmail[dot]com Character Count: 1st Character Name: Delrian Nastean Nationality: Cairhienin Age: 24 Physical Characteristic: black hair, green eyes, 5'6", 160 lbs. Physical Description: Delrian has short black hair, cropped close to his head. He has dark green eyes under a strong brow that seem to perpetually have dark circles underneath, which make him always look as if he hasn't had enough rest, or is perhaps haunted by something. It also gives him a somewhat imposing stare for a man his size, and is easily his most notable feature.. He has the smooth, pale skin common to Cairhienin and a strong, square chin. He has a series of scars on his lower right ribs which he keeps hidden. He might beconsidered handsome by some, although his stare somewhat ruins the effect, but otherwise is a airly unremarkable looking Cairhienin. Profile: Delrian is a stoic young man. Cairhienin to the core despite his humble origins, he is skilled in the art of observation and in controlling his emotions, enough that some believe he has hardly any emotion at all. He can be stubborn and determined, and yet can feign humility and deferentiality with ease. He is not especially zaelous of any cause, Delrian is a pragmatist, and will often change his position if he thinks there is some advantage to do so. Personal History: The Nasteans were a modest family living in the city of Cairhien. His father Alric was a pikeman in Cairhien's army who was killed during the Aiel War, as was his uncle who ran a small inn in the Foregate called the Rosewood. The inn was badly damaged in a fire during the sacking of Cairhien and Delrian's uncle and three cousins were killed. His mother Theodora sold their house to pay for repairs to the modest two-story inn, and they along with his older brother Rudric moved in there to manage it. As soon as he was old enough, Delrian began performing many tasks around the inn; currying horses, cooking meals, turning down rooms, even donning the white apron, though usually it was his older brother who performed that task, the rare times when their mother was not availiable. Rudric also did most of the dealing with merchants, purchasing food and drink. He often joked that Delrian's face would frighten them away, but he began teaching his brother the art of barter, as well as the Cairhienin way of clearing on'es mind, hiding one's emotions, and observing even minor details. Rudric often said Daes Dae'mar was life's blood for Cairhienin. Knowledge is power, he said, and since one couldn't know what was useful and what was not, the key was to absorb everything and give away nothing. Delrian didn't have a difficult upbringing, but there was always a somberness, a darkness to him. He rarely smiled, though showed cordiality and pleasantness quite easily. Even as a boy, he had his characteristic dark circles under his eyes that no amount of rest could dispel. He always worked hard, never complaining. Living in the Foregate seemed to make him try all the harder to become a proper Cairhienin, as did of course his natural demeanor. Listening to tales, gathering information, bartering it grudgingly for even more information, more knowledge. He learned how to glance across a crowded common room and be able to recite what each patron wore, where they came from, sometimes even what they were doing there. He had no real formal weapons training, though Rudric taught him how to defend himself with knife and quaterstaff, even if he was clumsy at best with either. Delrian did however become quite adept at wrestling, a neccessity as his brother was known by friends of theirs as the 'half-Aiel', based on his extraodinary height for a Cairhienin, as well as his adeptness with his fists. Delrain had debated joining the Royal Army for years, as five generations of his family had before him, but he always hesitated at an army life, especially serving an army that may have to face black-veiled Aiel. However, events over the past few years began to change his opinion. The Dragon Reborn leading the Aiel across the Dragonwall, armies swearing in his name, battles raging across the land. However what convinced Delrian to leave his home was much more mundane. When the Shaido crossed the Dragonwall, they razed the Foregate, and while Delrian's mother and brother fled unharmed, the Rosewood was again burned to the ground, their livelihood ruined. So while Rudric and Theodora found work in the city, saving their coin to once again rebuild, Delrian sold his father's armor, bought a scraggly horse, a shortsword and some supplies, and set out for Tear, to join the armies of the Dragon Reborn. He had made good time, avoiding towns as often as possible except to buy supplies; to spare himself the temptation of wasting his coin at inns. He slept on a bedroll in copses and under hedges, and through the journey was unplesant, he was nearing his destination. A few hours' ride outside Tear itself, he came across a merchant's wagon with a handful of guards. Right then, the wagon was stopped as a small host of brigands materialized out of the woods around the road. They slaughtered the merchant guards with crossbows and pulled Delrian off his horse before plundering the wagon. The brigands worked quickly, obviously conscious of their proximity to the city. The merchants were spared, as was Delrian who obviously was not considered a threat, especially after he had been cudgelled and stripped of his sword and horse. Still, a man kept a crossbow trained on him and Delrian felt shame that he had not fought, had not resisted somehow, when that small patch of road erupted into chaos. Fire blossomed all around, the ground erupted, winds began to whip. Half a dozen of the brigands fell right there. The man watching Delrian burst into flame, and his crossbow loosed, sending a bolt deep into Delrian's side. Even as his legs gave way, his periphrial vision dimmed as though he was suddenly in a tunnel or at the bottom of a well. Is this how it all ends? he wondered, as the well was covered and darkness became all. Ice water rushed over and through him, saturating his consciousness and stabbing into the darkness. He heard sounds, voices, indistinct but gradually coming into focus. His side was a sea of fire, fire which was rapidly extinguished by the cold. The sounds became more distinct. '...and that one, Dedicated?' 'He lives, barely. Healing was never my Talent, and he did lose a lot of blood.' Delrian opened his eyes, slowly. His vision swam and he saw double, but gradually things came into focus. A sun-haired man in a black coat, a pin at his collar in the shape of a sword. And those eyes! Delrain had been told he had am imposing stare, but Light, this man's eyes unnerved him. Like being nose to nose with a hawk. The man scowled faintly at something. He held Delrian's head between his hands. He realised he was laying on the ground. He moved as if to stand, but his arms and legs felt like jelly. His stomach growled as if he hadn't eaten in days. 'Indeed, he lives. Seems to be some fight left in him, yet. Get him back to the city. Make sure he's fed and find him a bed. He'll need plenty of food and rest.' 'Yes, Dedicated.' Another man in a black coat, a Tairen with nothing on his collar, saluted fist to chest from a few feet away, and strode over to help support Delrian. Behind the man, Delrian saw a... a hole, inside the hole were buildings and people, yet all around the hole was road and woods. The man called Dedicated made as if to rise, but hesitated, staring deep into Delrian's eyes into his soul. 'And, once he's recovered... have him tested.' The man smiled darkly. 'If he is willing, of course.' 'Yes, Dedicated.' His smile deeped, like a wolf eyeing a hen. 'Welcome to Tear, boy.'
  5. Arath walked silently alongside Ragnar for a while, not sure where to begin. Had he really been gone so long? "Dalinarius is dead. There was a rather large incident with the Aes Sedai a few months ago, and in the aftermath Storm Leader Brent Enios pulled off a coup. Dalinar was killed before anyone had really figured out what was going on. Brent became the M'Hael, but didn't last for long. Covai and I killed him just a few weeks ago, after he went mad and attacked us." Knowing he had just raised for more questions than he had answered, Arath shook his head. "It's a very long story ... several of them really. What's important to know right now is that there is no longer a M'Hael at the Farm. Seven Storm Leaders form a council which answers directly to the Lord Dragon. We divide up the responsibilities that the M'Hael once had and keep things running. The Attack Leaders take care of the day to day affairs underneath us. "As for the Borderlands ... I'm in charge of taking care of that mess. That's an even longer story though, and I'd rather not tell it out here in the cold." Easy as it was to ignore the elements, there were still there. A smart man would get out of it as soon as he could, regardless of whether it bothered him or not. "Since there's no M'Hael," Arath continued, "you can give your report to me. After that, I'll brief you in full on what's been happening here. Drop your things off, get something to eat, and meet me at my office in half an hour. Any of the soldiers can show you where it is." OOC: Anyone else who might want to jump in, now's your chance. Even to simply escort an ex-Storm Leader around.
  6. Arath nodded. "We did get them. And most are still with us, thank the Creator. As for your quarters, they're probably just as you left them. Skechid returned not long ago and found his place untouched. Seems the men get a little worried about moving into a former Storm Leaders place." He shrugged. Considering everything else the men went through, a little paranoid superstition wasn't that bad. "Things have changed a lot since you've been gone," the Storm Leader said, starting off toward the Asha'man barracks area. "Some good, some bad." He paused for a moment, then added, "More bad than good probably. Between the Aes Sedai, the Dragon, the Dreadlords in the Borderlands ... it's a bloody mess."
  7. Arath took his time as he walked the training ground, observing the progress of the Soldiers and Dedicated that he had been training only a few weeks before. Odd as it seemed, he kind of missed it. Dealing with foolhardy Soldiers, and Dedicated who should have known better than to make some of their stupid mistakes ... it was far less stressful than dealing with Aes Sedai. He'd been spending more and more of his time in Tar Valon, so this chance to be ... home ... was a welcome break. Making his way past the western side of the training grounds, close to the stables, Arath noticed a familiar looking man leading a horse into the newly rebuilt structure. Curiosity getting the better of him, the Storm Leader closed in on the stables, reaching them just as the Asha'man emerged. It took a moment, but Arath recognized the newly returned member of the Black Tower. "Ragnar ... this is certainly a surprise. Though in light of recent events, I can't really say why." Ragnar had been a Storm Leader once, back when Arath had still been in training. It seemed as though the pattern was drawing everyone together again. It made Arath ... apprehensive. "How have you been? WHERE have you been?"
  8. So is this a dreadlord bio, or a run of the mill darkfriend with uncommon luck?
  9. Arath could barely contain his disgust. Not that it really mattered, since Zarinen could certainly feel his emotions bubbling around in her own head, but he fought to keep a lid on it. Outrage and loathing raged inside, but he kept it out of his voice. "Did you ever wonder why things happened as they did? Why the Asha'man bonded all those Aes Sedai by force?" He paused for a moment, waiting for any response. When none was forthcoming, he continued. "I bonded Serena after she tried to drown me, shield me, and burn me. A random explosion blew us both away from the battlefield. When I came to my senses, she was on top of me with her knife driven into my shoulder. A few more seconds, and she would have finished me off entirely. "What I did, what most of us did, was end the battle in a way that kept anyone else from dying. And every single day thereafter we were screamed at, cursed, reviled as monsters and rapists. And in the end, we let them all go. We used the bond to save your lives. And you'll use it to end ours? It is not the taint that makes a channeler a monster Zarinen." "When it comes to 'dealing with us'," the Storm Leader said, voice flat and emotionless, "I have more experience than any of you. Than any ten of your ajah. I've had to destroy more of my friends and trainees in the last year than your whole ajah has in the last thirty. We do not need, or want, your assistance in this. The only comfort that any of us have is knowing that when our time comes, our brothers will take care of us. We will not be thrown to the 'mercies' of the Aes Sedai." "No, Zarinen. We would prefer to not be 'dealt with' as problems that need fixing. We came to you seeking allies we could trust to watch our backs, not plant a knife in them. The dreadlords are already doing an admirable job at destroying us without the White Tower adding their part."
  10. DM Handle: Rags Contact Info: Vandar30@gmail.com Character Count: This is the only one Character Name: Ragnar Nationality: Andoran Age:by now...mid 20's Physical Characteristic: 5'8" 170 lbs Brown Hair Brown eyes. Physical Description: Lean and toned. He has had sword training and it shows in both his attitude and movements. Personal History: Ragnar's father was a guardsman in Andor who died during the Aiel war. His mother soon followed. He was sent to live with his uncle who told him nothing of his parents. Can't currently recall the town, but I'll Rp it in when I find my old info. His father had earned the Heron. His Grandfather is a Warder and Grandmother his Green Aes Sedai. (Previously approved, up to you if you want to OK it.) He discovered his ability to channel when the head Guard of his Uncles estate was killed for teaching him the sword. He called fire, killing his uncle and the ensuing out of control fire burned down the house and surrounding trees. He wandered until he began hearing rumors of a gathering of channelers. Arriving at the Tower he trained and was at last recollection an Asha'man. After his training Ragnar discovered he was capable of working metal with the One Power and began producing common swords and other weapons with Saidin. During this time he met a woman who came to the tower and he fell for her. He learned to work metals more delicately, creating several pieces including a lifelike rose of Gold and silver that he carries with him. The woman betrayed him, and it crushed him. He attempted to destroy himself, but was stopped by Feran and others. He also was involved with meeting the Aes Sedai when the original treaty was being established. After time spent brooding, Ragnar left the black Tower, supposedly to recruit others like himself but more to escape the memories. He has come back to the Tower now because he feels he may be needed in the coming days. He's a harder man than the one who left the Tower.
  11. Arath looked at the offered gemstone with a frown. "You've not been that big of a burden. I really don't think that ..." he trailed off at the look Michelle was giving him. There was no way for him to win this, he could already tell. The best thing to do was shut up and do as she said. Taking the offered stone, he stuffed it into his belt pouch with a sigh. Well ... she couldn't very well complain about what he might plan to do with the stone. This was definitely not the last she would ever see of it. "Fine ... but if we find another one I'm making you keep it." As it turned out, they didn't find any other gems washed up on the beach. There were a number of small glistening stones of different types and colors, but nothing that was quite gemstone quality. Frankly, Arath wondered how the sapphire had managed to find it's way there in the first place. Still, it was a strangely enjoyable activity to pass the time, combing the beach for the hint of any exciting treasures. A chill breeze picked up after a short while, and Arath resorted to Saidin once again to keep them both comfortable. A complex barrier of air and fire shielded them from the wind, while warming the air in a bubble around them. It made the day almost seem like late spring. After another hour or so of beach hunting and pleasant conversation, Arath decided it was time for a change of pace. "So," he said, turning to face Michelle, "what do you feel like doing next? We still have a lot of time to do whatever you'd like. I don't suppose you're hungry yet?"
  12. A little concerned that he may have just upset her more, Arath followed slowly behind Michelle, far enough away to give her her space, close enough that his water warming weave would still work for her. She walked in silence along the waters edge, until suddenly she stooped down to scoop something up from the sand. "Look Arath! Isn't it beautiful? What would it be doing out here in the sand?" Curious as to what would have distracted her so much, Arath quickly closed the distance to examine the object. It was dirty, covered in gritty sand that stuck to much of it's surface, but from what he could see the stone was a deep blue color. Using weaves of water and air, Arath pulled a small globe of sea water from the swells at their feet and raised it in the air between them. At his urging, Michelle hesitantly pushed her stone into the water, where Arath began to swish and swirl it around. A moment later he released the water, letting if fall away with most of the sand and leaving the shiny stone suspended in the air. "A sapphire ..." he remarked with surprise. "Tai mentioned that raw gemstones sometimes wash up on Mayene's beaches, but I wasn't sure I believed him. I certainly didn't think they'd be so large." Releasing his air weave, Arath let the stone drop down into his hand and turned it back over to Michelle. "Quite the find there ... what do you plan on doing with it?"
  13. Glad that she was enjoying herself some, Arath followed Michelle down the beach as she chased birds of all things. "Arath, you don't blame me for what happened, do you? Do you blame me for being so scared?" He frowned slightly. "Why would I blame you? What happened wasn't your fault, and I understand completely why you would be scared. I grew up with all the same stories that you did about male channelers. My first few days at the farm were terrifying. By the end of my first week, one of the other recruits I arrived with went mad ... he set another Soldier on fire ... he would have turned on me too if one of the Dedicated hadn't been quick to act. I could barely touch Saidin, let alone do anything with it. I wasn't able to defend myself at all ... completely helpless." Realizing that this might not be the best conversation to be having, Arath tried to get to his point. "What I mean to say is that I understand how you feel. But trust me when I say that letting that fear paralyze you is worst thing that you could do. Refusing to live because of fear of what might happen ... how is that any better than dying?" Looking back up the beach, Arath reached out with flows of air and picked up their discarded shoes. As they landed in a pile a bit closer to them, he turned his attention back to his friend. "I found that I had to just focus on the pleasant parts of life, not exactly ignoring the dangers, but not living as slave to them."
  14. "You'd be surprised at some of the things I remember," Arath said with a shrug. And so would he apparently. He had no idea what she was talking about. Oh well. Returning the hug, Arath led the way back toward the water. Pulling his boots off, Arath took a step into the water, narrowly avoiding a shiver. The sea water was far colder than he would have expected from the warmth in the air. But it wouldn't remain that way for long. Seizing Saidin again, Arath wove thick cables of fire, threaded through with spirit, and dropped the weave into the sea. The water immediately began to heat up, the bitter cold subsiding enough for the water to be tolerable. It was a difficult weave to get correct. Too much fire and the water might boil or flash into steam. Too little and the tides would overcome the heat entirely. It was a balance, like so many other other things about the Power. It didn't take long before Michelle joined him in the water, seemingly delighted with the temperature change. "I'm glad to see you enjoying yourself," he said, kicking at a small wave that swirled up around their ankles. "Glad to be away from the Farm I take it?"
  15. It took a strange kind of person to willingly show a known thief where she lived, but by now Arath was beginning to expect strangeness from Michelle. Not that he intended to ever steal anything from her. Except maybe part of her lunch from time to time ... that bread was pretty good. "Thanks. I'll keep that in mind." He looked up at the building that Michelle was living in. It was pretty nice looking. The sort of place he'd never be allowed into. Not that he really had a reason to go inside. Still ... it was nice to know where he might find a friend. "I guess I'll see you soon then?" When Michelle disappeared inside, Arath made his way back to more familiar parts of town. There were still a few hours left to go make a few coins ... wherever he might find them.
  16. Arath tried to voice his approval of the bread, but his mouth was too full to do more than mumble. He simply nodded instead, quickly chewing down the mouthful of bread and cheese while Michelle spoke. When he finally managed to work the too-large mouthful down, he grinned and finally paid his compliment. "Tastes like your employers made a good choice. Where did you learn to make this?" Laughing, she took another bite of the bread. It was the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Thank the Light she had been a good student in Lugard. "Our Housekeeper taught it to me, actually. My family wasn't rich by any means, but both of my parents were busy, so we had a housekeeper that took care of the cleaning, the laundry, and the cooking. It was her family recipe and given that she had no daughters, she taught me how to bake bread, decorate cakes, do sewing and beautiful stitching, and all the things a real mother should." Especcially given that her mother was always too busy to have the time of day for her. Arath took another appreciative bite of bread. "So what made you want to do this for a living? What do your parents do?" Taking a small bite of the cheese, she thought about how much she wanted to share. Was there any point in really explaining her parents? She didn't even understand them, so how was she supposed to describe them and have someone else try to understand them. "Well, my parents were Silk Merchants. Well known in Lugard, actually, to the upper class. Me, well, I didn't have a love of trying to sell products. I like working with my hands and creating something beautiful and tasty at the same time." "Well, I think you made a pretty good choice. If everything else you make is this good, you should do fine. If the bakers you work for ever let you escape that is." He laughed as he took another bite. "I wish I could cook half this good. And a place to cook I suppose." Michelle had to smile to herself. It did seem as though they wanted her to cook constantly. Thank the Light they were giving her a day off a week, and a second one every other week. She liked the hard work, but until she could pass her recipes onto them, she would be constantly busy. "The place you live doesn't have a kitchen? My apartment does but I am always too tired to cook at the end of the day. I would rather just pass out. I could teach you though, if you wanted. It isn't that hard to toss some spices in a pot." "Maybe ... though the few times I've ever tried cooking I didn't make anything but a mess. Anything that required mixing and patience never ended well." Arath shook his head in mock sadness. "If you couldn't put it on a stick over the fire, my father couldn't cook it. I don't do much better." Laughing, Michelle imagined her brothers attempting to cook. Light, they were yelled at for even looking at the Kitchen door way back when. she was certain that they stuck to a fire as well. "Well, just because you cook it over a fire doesn't mean it can't still taste good! You just have to pair it with other things! Take for example any piece of meat, put it on a piece of bread, add a slice of cheese and a few vegetables, the vegetables being raw or cooked over a fire as well, and you have a healthy tasty meal." Thinking about it for a moment, she just laughed and shook her head again. "I would suggest not cooking over a fire in the city though. Perhaps you should stick to the market place." "Good idea," Arath agreed. "Much better to leave that kind of dangerous job to the experts." Laughing, Michelle finished up her last few bites of bread and cheese. Her sides were starting to hurt from all this smiling and laughing. "Never fear, as long as I am around, I shall keep you well fed." Finishing off his own bread, Arath dusted off his hands and picked a pair of apples from the basket, offering one to her. "Sounds like a good deal for me." Taking a bite of the juicy fruit, Arath fell silent for a little while. Not really caring for the silence, he tried to prod the conversation along again. "So when you do set up your own shop, where do you think you'll do it? Here in Caemlyn ... back to Lugard?" Accepting the apple, she smiled and took a bite. She had just a little cheese left and took a small bite of it, enjoying the flavor of the sweet apple with the salty cheese. Something about the combination of the flavor was just heavenly. "Heh, you seem to have more faith in me than I do. If, Arath. If I am fortunate enough to set up my own shop. And here in Caemlyn I think. Or perhaps another city. Not Lugard though. Lugard is the past..." A past she wouldn't return to. The air felt like pure evil, and she had no real family left there. At least none she would return to. No, she prefered the bright beautiful city of Caemlyn, and having friends like Arath. "And what are your plans for the future?" Not quite sure how to answer that, Arath took another bite to stall for time. His plans for the future didn't extend very far beyond where he'd sleep for the night, or where to hide from an angry pursuer. "Well ... I really don't know. I'd like to get an apprenticeship with one of the smiths in the city, but that's a lot harder than it sounds. There's no shortage of people looking for the same thing." He shrugged, not quite sure what he would do. "I haven't really thought about it much lately." Michelle thought about it for a moment. He had mentioned before that he used to work in a Smith. Even if he could find a position, he was clearly out of shape for the work. "I know you like Caemlyn, but why not go elsewhere to look for work? There is plenty of large towns that could probably use an Apprentice Smith. Just start traveling and see where you end up!" She highly doubted he would ever do that, but it was all she could think of for ways for him to work as a blacksmith. "If that doesn't appeal to you, you may need to look for a change in career..." "Yeah ... well ... I didn't really mean for things to happen this way." That was certainly the truth. By the time he'd figured out what was going on in those first days since running away from the mess he'd left at home, he'd been driven to desperate acts. Things had just grown harder the longer he'd been here, until he'd simply fallen into a survival routine. It was getting easier ... though he wasn't sure if he wanted it to be. "Going elsewhere might work, but I wouldn't know where to go. Travelling is hard enough when you know where you're going ... as I'm sure you know."
  17. Well, lunch certainly didn't sound like a bad idea, though Arath doubted that she was having as much trouble finding her way around as she let on. By all accounts, Caemlyn was one of the most organized cities in the world ... far better than her native Lugard. Still ... who was he to make a fuss over whatever little white lie she might be telling when he had already set her up to think she had found him by chance? "I guess I can't say no to that," he said with a shrug. Pushing off of the wall, Arath led his companion up the street, headed toward the Inner city. "Most of the 'beautiful sites' are in the Inner City ... stuff they say the Ogier built." Arath wasn't sure if he believed in Ogier, but that was how the story went anyway. "Lots of interesting buildings there ... worth spending some time looking at at least once. But there isn't really a lot to DO there, unless you're disgustingly rich, or a noble. Most of the interesting stuff is in the New City. These markets, most of the inns ..." It felt strange to be talking so much. He'd never really done that before, though he found it became easier the more he did it, and the less he thought about it. Michelle asked a few questions here and there, but mostly listened as he led her around to what few places he was familiar with. A strange statue shaped fountain, of what Arath assumed was an Aes Sedai, water pouring from her hands. A large square where a gleeman or two could be found most days. About half an hour into the tour he even stumbled upon a large rose garden that he hadn't even known existed. "So ... I'm running out of ideas," Arath said as they took in the sight of the rather impressive garden. "Is there anything in particular you wanted to see or do?"
  18. Arath nodded. "I would imagine so. I've heard that even the land around Mayene is watery ... they call it the Drowned Lands or some such thing. Swamps I suppose, but mostly to the north. But yes. Lots of water." Arath appraised Michelle quickly, noting that she'd managed to clean herself up very quickly. She looked quite nice, though he tried to keep his looks discreet. In light of her recent troubles, he doubted she would appreciate any such attention. "Are you ready to go then? We shouldn't really need anything." Walking quickly to his own room, Arath shucked off his black Asha'man coat and grabbed a more casual one. It felt strange. He rarely wore anything else anymore. Heading back out to the hallway, he gave Michelle a smile and led her downstairs to the Travelling room. Siezing Saidin, he slowly and carefully began to weave, holding the image of the destination firmly in his mind. Light send the description was accurate enough. Otherwise this wouldn't work. As the last thread fell into place, the familiar blue line split the air, and the square portal rotated open to a sandy beach which looked far more inviting than the frigid snow drifts of Andor. With a grin, he waved Michelle through, quickly following behind her. Light willing, everything would go well.
  19. Things with the Storm Leader went a lot more smoothly than Arath could have hoped for. He'd been all but banished from the Farm for 'however long he needed'. It certainly paid to have friends in high places. Making his way back to the house, Arath went over the plan in his mind. Not that there was much to it ... there were simply a few things to remember. The location that had been described to him to travel to by Tai was clear in his mind, as well as suggestions for other locations to visit. The biggest feature of the day was the total lack of planning. Being able to do whatever sounded interesting at the moment ... that was nice. Hopefully Michelle would agree. Climbing up the stairs again, Arath heard Michelle open the door and saw her peek around the corner. "So? Are you going to spend the day with me?" Arath shrugged. "Depends on how long you can stand me. Covai basically told me to come back when I wanted to. Don't think I want to push that limit, but ... we have at least a day." "So ... I don't suppose you've ever been to Mayene before?"
  20. "You know ... staying out of trouble. Mostly." Arath shrugged and returned her smile with a nervous grin. "I had an ... interesting situation I had to deal with, and you'd moved by the time I was able to get back to your inn. I can't imagine why, but the innkeeper wouldn't tell me where you'd gone." Arath made a show of examining Michelle's burdens, even though he already knew exactly what she was carrying. "You look busy now, but I think I promised to show you around the city. If you haven't already figured it out in the last few days that is ..."
  21. So far, this day was looking very much like the last few since the attack. Michelle was being stubborn about everything, not leaving the house at all, not leaving her room unless Arath was there ... and not even that when Tai or Aria was around. Things felt ... tense. There was no other word for it. And it was beginning to wear on Arath. Despite all his best efforts, nothing seemed to help the situation. In fact he might have said that things were getting worse. He was about to give up on breakfast, again, when Michelle's door flung open. Even though she still wasn't wearing the ring, it was plainly obvious that she was starving, between the look she gave the plate and the noises her stomach made. But she simply put the plate on her desk and returned to her bed. The same as she did every time. Stubborn ... After it looked as though she was going to ignore him again, Arath turned with a sigh to make his way back downstairs. As he stepped through her door, a small sound made him turn around, just in time to be tackled in a crushing hug. "Please, don't go Arath. I am going insane inside this house. Spend the day with me, please." Arath didn't say anything for a moment, simply returning the hug. That was a pleasant change at least. And it so happened that he'd been thinking about the same thing the night before. She needed to get out. Away from the house, and away from the Farm. Where to go was a bit of a challenge in the middle of the winter, but surprisingly, help had come from the most unlikely of places on that account. "I'll make you a deal," he said, breaking off the hug and looking down at his friend. "You, are going to sit down and eat that." He gestured to the plate of food on her desk. "All of it." She looked defiant for a moment but said nothing, waiting for the rest of it. "While you're busy with that, I'll go speak with Covai and inform him that I need a day off." That might be a little tricky, since Asha'man didn't get 'days off', but Covai was aware of the situation already, and was usually more accomodating. Usually. "However, if there's anything at all left on that plate..." Arath let the threat hang with a small smile. He doubted he'd need to worry about that.
  22. Arath was out the front door before he felt the knot of awareness spring up in the back of his mind. A torrent of emotions and feelings raced through it in rapid succession. Surprise, confusion, a hint of excitment ... and through it all an underlying sense of fear and anger. He tried to keep his own emotions calm and stead, so that it wouldn't overwhelm Michelle, but the connection was severed a few seconds later anyway. At least she had been willing to give it a try. Leaving his own ring on, just in case she should change her mind again, Arath set off toward the central Tower. There was a mess in the woods that needed cleaning up.
  23. He knew he should have put that discussion off until later. Now she was on the brink of hysterics again, and this time it WAS his fault. Bloody fool ... You knew this was a bad idea. About to admit defeat, Arath arose from his seat and took a step toward the door. Then he paused, an idea forming suddenly. It might not be any better than his last one, but at least it didn't involve channeling at Michelle. Siezing Saidin, he wove the complex pattern of spirit to open a gateway. Working very carefully, he placed the final threads, and a small window opened up in the air in front of him, leading down into his basement workshop. Satisfied with the gateway placement, Arath reached through the small hole in the air and opened a box on his workbench, pulling out a small velvet pouch. Feeling the contents inside, he withdrew his arm and let the gateway collapse. Loosening the pouches drawstrings, he dumped the pair of white gold rings onto his palm, shifting them around with his thumb. This was the last thing he had to offer as far as security went. Not quite as good as actually bonding, but it was the next best thing. And in Michelle's eyes, it would probably be the better option. Maybe. Slipping one of the rings onto his own finger, Arath took his seat again and reached out for Michelle's hand. She resisted at first, mumbling something into his pillow, but eventually she relented. "I'm sorry I brought it up. I'd never do anything without your permission though. I have another option for you though. You don't have to accept it, but at least this way there isn't any channeling." It still involved the One Power indirectly, as all ter'angreal did, but he wisely kept that point silent. Pressing the other ring into her hand, he closed her fingers around it. "This will have some of the same effects. Not quite as effective, but it would be your choice. You could take it off whenever you wished ... or you can just ignore it entirely. It's up to you." Hopefully she wouldn't throw the ring out the window or anything like that. That would be more than a little frustrating.
  24. Remaining silent for a moment, Arath considered her questions. They were legitimate concerns, and not ones he had answers for. At least not answers she would like. "You're safe in the house. I have protections placed on it that let me know instantly if anyone channels at the house, or if anyone other than you, Tai, or Aria comes in or out. I'd be here within seconds." That was all well and good, but only a half solution at best, and both of them knew it. She would be safe inside the house ... provided she never left it. Which wasn't bloody likely. Reluctantly, Arath sighed and began to tell her about the other option. "There ... is another thing I could do, though I don't know if it's a good idea ... especially right now. Do you know anything of bonding?" She looked confused. "Like ... a sibling bond? Or what?" Arath grimaced and shook his head. "No ... I mean ... Like the link between an Aes Sedai and her Warder." Michelle just shook her head, still not understanding. Blood and Ashes ... I didn't want to have to spell it out for her ... Well, the best way to do it was probably just to do it quickly. "It's a thing of the Power. A link between two people so that they can ... feel each other. They can always find each other, and know if the other is safe, or in danger. If you want ... I can do that. Create a link between ... us."
  25. Arath hesitated for a moment as Michelle spoke. He'd been meaning to leave her alone to get the rest he was sure she needed. And take advantage of the break to go clean up that mess in the forest. Instead, he walked around the bed to the big chair in the corner, and sat down facing Michelle. She looked miserable. "I can stay for a while. But I'll need to go ... take care of something soon. But I'll wait with you until you fall asleep."
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