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  1. Lavinya was bone weary, for several reasons. She was being worked like a slave, for starters. That vile woman, Jocelyn, seemed to go out of her way to find demeaning chores that Lavinya may not have hated so badly given the luxury of Saidar to aid her, but of course that was still forbidden. She thought that Rion alone may eventually crack in that regard, as it seemed his spine was held up entirely by that damned wife of his. Aside from the back-breaking chores she was forced to complete from dawn until dusk, she had barely been sleeping, terrified that the moment she closed her eyes Linten would once again invade her dreams and seek the revenge he had promised her. The marks from that night had faded from her skin, yet they were forever embedded on her soul, imprinted so vividly on her memory. In a way the enforced labour was a relief, occupying her mind lest it stray to thoughts of torture and deep seated fear like she had never experienced before. Today however, she could not afford to allow her exhaustion to overtake her. It had been a bitter if brief struggle to get out of this particular chore, and she had failed miserably. Damn Rion! She was aware now that somehow in his bonding weave he had used compulsion, forcing her to obedience along with the deprivation of Saidar. There was nothing else that would prompt her to wander alone in the woods once more. She was all too painfully aware of how vulnerable it made her, how easily Linten had ensnared and tormented her on that first occasion - and that was not even in the dreaming world. It had been a small triumph, the wound to Linten's thigh. If she had her way, it would not be his last either, but the odds were severely stacked in his favour. Perhaps he wasn't in the woods today, she thought hopefully, gripping the small, dull axe in front of her as though it were a deadly sword; her only means of protection. The lack of Saidar made her feel as though she were stark naked, open for even the smallest of twigs to wound. Thankfully that were not completely true, though her fine silk was not suited to such labours, now stained and worn. It was a house-wife's dress now, despite the alluring cut of the cloth. Lavinya's eyes darted left and right as she moved, not bothering to feign Aes Sedai serenity. She was scared, and rightly so. What grated the most was the large stack of firewood that had sat behind the house, neatly chopped and ready for use. But no, it was not good enough for Jocelyn. She wanted her out of her sight. And while that thought would normally suit Lavinya fine, she was truly terrified of being left alone in the woods as prey for the hunter, namely Linten. Every small sound made her start; a bird in a distant tree, a twig snapping beneath her slippered feet, shouts from the farm not far away. Lavinya hated feeling so helpless, hated being so scared and jumpy. Linten had stamped out the last of her remaining confidence it seemed, completed what Corin's rejection had begun to unravel. Corin. Her head bowed as she thought of him, many many miles away, playing attendance on the woman to whom he would belong. She'd spent many hours pondering the identity of the mystery woman, and each time her mind would return and fix on an image of Sirayn. It could have been many other Greens, yet somehow it seemed to fit. How could a lowly, rebellious Aes Sedai like Lavinya think to compete with the master puppeteer that was the Amyrlin? Corin was not so shallow as to love purely on looks, and was likely attracted to all the things Sirayn was that she wasn't. Powerful. Strong. A master of Daes Dae'mar, among other things. Lavinya was mediocre in comparison. At best. It seemed a cruel irony to think that she had struggled to protect them both from the monster that was Linten, when they were both no doubt happily cloistered in the tower, thoughts of the lowly redhead the furthest thing from their minds. She was ten times a fool. Gritting her teeth against the ache in her heart, Lavinya hefted the axe and moved toward an old, fallen tree, preparing to vent all her emotions on the dead wood. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Frustration could not even begin to describe the emotion coursing through his veins as Linten continued to pace back and forth along the narrow path he occupied. Two days, it had been two days since he had woken in his bed, the sheets turning a deep red as his leg flowed life's essence out onto them. Lavinya had been stronger then he had expected in her dream control. The benefit of it being her dream and not the true dreamworld of Tel'aran'rhiod her main saving grace. His folly had cost him more then the bloodying of his sheets. She had learned some of the dreams ways, the belief that controlled thoughts could shape it to her will. It would matter not next time. The next time he met her in the dreams it would be in Tel'aran'rhiod where he held the advantage. An advantage he planed to make full use of should she be alone. Even the tantalizing thought of the many ways she would pay in the dream could not calm the burning rage still seething in his bones. He had worked a deal with an acquaintance. Whether it was her hate for Lavinya that over powered her caution or the hint at a truce with her husband that won her allegiance, in this one matter Linten didn't even waste the breath to ponder. There would still be no truce between Rion and himself, regardless of how much his wife tried to build the man a backbone. The gamble had paid off and Jocelyn had agreed to ensure the redheaded witch was in the woods today. After two days of avoiding him in everything that was not outright public. He was finally going to get his hands on her, the thought alone caused a small tree next to him to compact in the middle under a fierce weaving of air before toppling over. She was going to pay for it all. Her insubordination, her witchery, her attack on him, for the blood on the White Tower's hands as they killed his kind. All of it he would place on her and she would know agony and suffering before he was done. Want as she might, even in her begging he would never allow her the sweet release of death. Never again as long as she was leashed to the Black Tower. She would long for death, fear both day and night, and know that what ever Linten al'Dracain wanted of her she would give gladly or have it taken from her. A small thrill at that last thought tickled him briefly in it's passing. As if the wheel worked to answer the vengeance surging within him his ears caught the faint sound of movement; paused to listen to the soft timid steps near and stop. She was here, she had finally arrived in the woods and through the wheels blessing entered into the same area as he. He need only follow the movements once they began again and he would have her. A weave ready to set around them Linten made painstakingly slow steps toward the last location the sound had emanated from. There was no way she would escape this time. He wanted her, needed her, would have her at all costs. The movement began again and he slipped in behind it's location; eyes finally finding the flash of red tangles and tattered silk. Setting the weave that would restrict sound a smile grew on his face. The worn and rusted axe held in pause over head as the sounds of the yard suddenly died. The weave could be worked to allow sound in but not out; a delicacy in the weaving he was not about to waste time on. Besides the added fear that should be rising in her soul right now was a gift for his amusement. Polish jade, the sparkle of thrill danced merrily in his eyes as they watched the timid form try to close in on itself, a slow circle of panic, the axe still over head. He could easily seize her with flows of air, walk out and beat her mercilessly; the anger coursing through him demanding just that action. But that would only supply a broken body, not enough for the humiliation she had caused. No, his goal was a broken, devastated mind. A soul given up on all but the bitter taste of suffering. A wide wicked grin held his face freely, as he stepped from the covering of foliage and waited for her turn to carry her eyes to his presence. “So we meet again my pet,” possessive emphasis leaving no doubt that she would forever be just that. Her identity in the world lost to a new role. “You will not need that,” Linten's hand flicked at the air between them as if swishing a fly. A flow of air knocked the axe from her grip and sent it haphazardly bouncing into a thicket. “Uttut, I don't believe I gave you permission to leave just yet.” His voice remained flat matter of factly, belying the anger that seethed under the surface. Flows of air seized each wrist and bound them around a tree again.; the embrace no doubt familiar to Lavinya. Her punishment was only but beginning. A long and deliciously releasing time Linten had planned for her. Two days of planing and waiting accumulated into this moment of beginning. Walking slowly up next to her his fingers traced her spine lightly from waist to nape before seizing her red hair and jerking her head back. “You were a very naughty pet the last time we met. To falsely offer as you did of yourself and not complete was a grave mistake. But to attempt harm to your master,” his voice had remained frightfully calm and detached until now as he leaned close to her ear and allowed the heat of his anger to brush it delicately.”That is unforgivable and must be corrected immediately.” Releasing his grip, Linten moved around her slightly to ensure she could watch what he was about as he collected a long tender willow branch from the tree and began to peel it. “First we will soften your resolve with a firm yet gentle reminder of your place in this family. Then I will have what you so enticingly offered but withheld at your last meeting. Make no mistake, there will be nothing to stop me from taking it this time. And when my needs have been slaked, then, then we will punish you for your violence against your master and any other man who wears Black. We have nothing but time to spend together to ensure you learn your lessons well witch. You will be a pet to those of the Black Tower; find existence only in the kneeling and completion of our every whim and desire to your fullest. Aes Sedai you no longer are.” He lifted the willow, checking it's shape and length. “They have turned their back on you, you are our pet now.” He tested the peeled willow lightly against his hand before bringing his eyes up to lock with intensity to her own, his voice once more transitioning from casualness to something caressed by pure vengeance. “Shall we begin, I have been looking forward to this for two days now; much thought have I put into your teaching for today and the rest of your life.” Breaking the contact Linten moved slowly from her view to position himself behind her. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wood chips were flying sporadically from the gnarled old tree, about the best the blunted axe seemed to be able to manage. Lavinya didn't particularly care. Let her return with mere twigs and chips for her royal goatkissing highness Jocelyn - she certainly wasn't expected to complete the set task with the useless tool she had been given. Anger, fear and frustration were coursing through her just as sweat was trickling from her brow as she launched herself at the tree. She wished it were Linten she were attacking, wished it were Rion and Jocelyn, and all the other darkfriends that called themselves the Black Tower. She hated them, hated what they had done to her, hated what they were continuing to do. She hated being afraid and helpless, hated her own cowardice that had made her run from her home in the first place; hated that she was not good enough for Corin. Hate whack, hatewhack, hate whack whack WHACK!. So blinded by her own thoughts and feelings, Lavinya didn't instantly noticed the moment sound disappeared. It was only when she made to give an almighty swing that she paused, striking her as odd that she could no longer hear the shouts of battle training, explosions and swords ringing. Panic was approaching rapidly, it's cloak open before enveloping her completely beneath its heavy folds. Something was wrong, very wrong, and she had a sinking feeling she knew what. She should run now, turn on her heel and flee, but fear had her firmly in it's grip and refused to allow her to move, eyes darting around wildly for the source of the weave she could not see or sense but knew must exist. Please be someone else...anyone else! But it seemed her prayers would not be answered, as Linten stepped into view, grinning in that way that sent shivers of dread down her spine and caused the suppressed nausea in her stomach to rise. Any thoughts of self defence were slashed away as the useless axe flew from her grasp. She was completely at his mercy - this was not her dream, she could not channel, and light knew that she could not run away. He is going to kill me! The thought was rather hysterical in her mind, and her lips clamped shut on a wail of terror. He is going to kill me out here like an animal, and no will even care. Her feet found themselves at last, useless though it turned out to be, Linten catching her with lazy flows of air and harnessing her to the nearest tree, the bark rough against the thin silk of her gown. Tears were already flowing freely over her cheeks, overwhelmed with complete despair as she was. He could do anything to her, everything he had threatened and more, so much more. A strangled sob escaped her parted lips at his touch, gentle and vile before yanking at her tangled mass of hair. Lavinya knew why he was here, knew she was to suffer for what she did to him. Yet to hear him speak it only increased her sobs. She was beyond any thoughts of pride at the moment, focused only on her fear of the unknown. Her eyes were wild as she watched him strip a flexible young branch, fully aware of just how much pain it meant for her, what suffering he was planning to inflict on her body. Bile rose in her throat and she desperately stamped it down. Let him have his fill and perhaps he would be content and move onto some other prey. Let him think her broken, light knew she was close enough to it. She shuddered though as she recalled just what things she had said to him, the silky promises of physical pleasure and fulfillment. Revulsion flooded her, churning her already delicate stomach. She did not want to lose her breakfast in front of him, like she had the past two mornings. It would be like the ultimate low, if it were possible to sink further than where she already was. He departed from her sight, and she closed her eyes in renewed horror, body tensed and waiting for the stinging kiss of the branch that must surely be about to fall, her abdomen tightening all the more at the thought of the imminent kiss...her downfall came when she opened her mouth. To plead, beg or even refute him she did not know - what came instead was far more unsavoury, burning her throat as she lost the inner struggle and disgraced herself, leaving a mess on the tree and her bodice. Weakened and pathetic, Lavinya sagged, supported only by the invisible bonds at her wrists and the rough tree. Light, let him laugh and be done with her, her humiliation was already complete. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Linten took a moment to relish in the sounds of her gentle sobs; the shake of her shoulders as misery and futility ravaged her mind. This was what he wanted, what he had envisioned for them all. The witches would know fear and suffering for those who did not bend to the will and needs of the Black Tower. After years of running, hiding, fearing the touch of a woman who may vary well turn out to be a witch the male channelers would have there revenge. The sweet sound to his ears needing only a few finalizing touches. A new flow of air began to form, to weave before him, it was time to add a little screaming and begging to that wonderful soft sobbing sound. Aggravatingly before he could complete the weave Lavinya sicked up all over the tree she embraced and the upper bodice of her tattered silks. Shocked disbelief froze his hand, the weave dissipating before it could complete. He had thought it all through, knew the suffering she would face; had stewed in it for two days and now this. Disgust twisted his face as he stared at the unsavory heap sagged against the tree. Useless. She was useless to him in her present state. Two days of plans had just been dashed on the rough bark of a tree. He began to pace back and forth, A caged animal watching for an opening, thirsting for a release. But each time his eyes glanced over and fell on the revolting sight it only server to increase his agitation. The branch bounced lightly off his palm as his thoughts whipped in chaotic swirls of disjointed emotions. What options were available to him now, the day could be set aside for a new one; their binding to the Black Tower ensured she would be around for a while. He could not leave her as she was, no doubt that bleeding heart Rion would coddle her the moment he laid eyes on her and believe any vial trick that slipped from her mouth. He moved closer and paused in mid step, the stench wafting a light touch to his nose as it wrinkled in distaste. Of all things he had not counted her as weak in resolve of her dinner. But it seemed he was destined to be surprised by the witch, by both of them; taking a moment to focus the anger he had wanted to vent on Lavinya's physical presence into the knot at the back of his mind; the new presence he shared with Faile. She would get the brunt of his anger today it seemed, if Lavinya could not find her stride again. Taking a moment he mentally undid the knots in the weaves holding her wrists to the tree and watched as she fell back and over to her side in a disgraceful heap. It might have provided a small measure of satisfaction if there had not been that acidic and pungent smell wafting from her. Though she appeared to have given up the fight, her actions in the dream had marked her as one not to be readily trusted. If it was a trick it was exquisitely executed if not revoltingly designed. Setting the branch to lean on a clean tree, Linten took a moment to free the line of small buttons adorning her back from their loops and pushed the silk covering down, dragging her from the stained and tattered remnants of the dress and briefly thought of burning them. A weak stomach could and would be believable, but the loss of her dress a harder story to tell. Free from the initial coating of her own internal digestive juices; Linten stepped back from her again and began his weaving. Air and water met and wove as he worked to pull some of the moisture from the air around them; a small thread of fire adding heat to warm it's touch. The small bucket sized collection he let leak over her face and the front of her small cloths hoping to at least dilute the stench of bile that had soaked through the silks outer of her dress and permeated her small clothes. If it did not work then they too would find there way to the pile left at the base of the tree she had painted. Even that would not be a total lose, something he had envisioned happening today anyway. “Well, now that you are done with breakfast shall we continue to work on your education,” his eyes twinkled with his now simmering anger as he watched her stirring. If she was broken there was no sense in beating her into uselessness. First he would have to determine her degree of brokenness before he decided on his next course of action, “or do you believe you can pass the test correctly now?” His hand reached back from where he squatted looking at her. Closed instinctively around the base of the striped branch and waited. She had already proved her cunning in the dream. He would not allow her such an easy attempt at his life again. Linten & Lavinya
  2. Brows knit in concernation as the form writhed beneath the thin white sheets. A simple walk a long a forest trail. Bird's in song and flight filtered shadows across the surface of the forest floor in a strange dance with the darken shapes of leaves and branches caressed by the wind. By all accounts it was a picture of serenity and tranquility. A scene from his childhood perhaps, how long ago that felt now. Linten moved along the edge of the trail, multiple black forms behind him. Patrols were one of the few time he got to see the relaxed countryside around the Black Tower of death and poison that he now called home. Since his return from the Blight Isha had kept him on somewhat of a short leash. He was never allowed to travel far from the grounds without accompaniment and was constantly training. Truth be told the later was more his own doing then that of Isha his mentor. But the man had a hand in it to a degree for sure. Even before he had stumbled across the three men in the Inn. Before he had even decided to make the journey back from that nightmare. Linten had resolved himself to the hardship of training to reach the Dragon pin. Only once he had it firmly in place would there be little in the way of men to answer to. There was still a level of rank and such. But with the pin came a greater degree of freedom and self direction. Tension pressed down between his shoulders and his attention swept fully to his surroundings. Something seemed out of place. He had been here before; had walked this patrol many times. But this time it seemed different, like there was something amiss yet he could not place a finger on it. The hairs on the back of his neck raised as he felt an overwhelming urge to panic. The place smelled of death and destruction now. The scent in glaring contrast to the tranquility his eyes drank in. A brief yell brought his head around as chaos erupted around him. not again ... please not more of them again. Lurching up right, deep darkness filled his vision; breath coming in labored gasps. He could feel her presence, the mild terror and fury at odds with one another filtered from the knot in the back of his head. He could draw a straight line between himself and the location of Faile. It had been a dream. A dream they most likely had feed off one another's emotions. He lay back down damp with a sheen of sweat into the knotted bed sheets. The side of his fist smacking the wall lightly as he worked to regain control of both his breathing and his emotions. Since he had foolishly followed the rest and bonded the Red he was having a great deal of hardship separating his own emotions from that of the witch several feet away. The games in the woods earlier in the day was suppose to have helped him gain that control. Help remind him his emotions and thoughts were his and Faile was nothing more then a slave at his bidding. His time with Lavinya had helped cement the feeling and draw strength in it's knowledge. Strength quickly turned to dust in his hand as he struggled most of that evening with the infuriating Red in his head. Tomorrow he would take Faile for a little walk perhaps and beat some submission into her hide; perhaps a few mars to that smooth skin would bring her to heel a little better. Normally he would have stabbed the ball in his mind with more malice and hatred. But this time he left it, worked to ignore it's existence. She was sleeping and he did not need the struggle to continue by walking her. He had other quarry this night and lying here staring up in the dark at a ceiling he knew was there but could not see was doing him no good. Practicing some breathing techniques Isha had shown him back before the trip to the north. Linten slowly began to calm himself down once more and let sleep begin to embrace him once again. It's touch was simple and fleeting at first as he began to toss trying to find comfort. Thoughts tried to find his mind and carry him from his purpose but he managed to slip free from them one by one until his breathing became that deep regular flow of sleep. The muscles of his body twitched several times as sleep tried to embrace every fiber of his being. Darkness bloomed with a million stars surrounding him. But this was no ordinary night's sky. The Stars no familiar blanket of pinpricks high over head in the charcoal expanse above him He floated here amongst the lights, surrounded above and below; walking among them like the creator himself. Here he was neither asleep nor awake. From wandering eyes he would look like he slept and dreamed in his bed. But in this place he had begun to learn that here was no rest for the body or the mind. His fingers reached out to brush the surface of a light near him and retreated before the surface made contact. Covai had warned him of the consequences of falling into another's dream. The man had said he was not trained enough to face the strength of a dreamer in there own dream and it would take time and practice to be able to draw them out of there own dream and into his. Further frustration. Linten was like a dry and thirsty sponge when it came to the world of dreams and it's many skills and talents. He soaked up all that Covai would share with him but the man seemed to take agonizing pride in making him proceed slowly. He had no time for slowness and caution. This to him was like the Dragon's need for the men and there training of Saidin. There was little time for hand holding, he needed to gain his skills and strength quickly. He floated through the field of lights, each indicating a dream, as they winked in and out of existence. At one time he had to envision himself actually walking on a black carpet to be able to move amongst the dreams. Now he was no longer sure if he floated past them or they past him. It mattered not really. The whole purpose was to find the light that was linked to the person you needed. In a sea of thousands it was near impossible unless you had visited them before or they had strong feelings toward you. The first allowed for recognition on it's presence and a sense or almost familiarity of feeling. But the second was what he sought this night. The second seemed to cause the light to pulse and grow in your vision. It drew you to it, or it to you. Again he was not sure but the end result was all that mattered to him at this moment. He had need of a certain dreamer, one that had promised to hold him in her dreams. Frustration began to mount as time seemed to stretch on, his searching yielding no fruit. But time like so many things in Tel'aran'rhiod never passed the same. It was only at the point of almost giving up; anger surging in him as Linten envisioned some of the ways Lavinya would pay in the morning that he noticed a twinkle of light that seemed to remain a constant distance from him in his wanderings. Curious, he focused on the star and the small expanse of blackness between them shrank to near non existence. The suddenness of it reverberated the need that he felt to find her and he hoped the need she had to be rid of him. If this was indeed the dreams of Lavinya then his night was to become fruitful, if it was not then she would pay tomorrow. His hand skimmed just above the surface of the light as he took a moment to prepare his mind. There had been a lot happen in that short exchange in the woods; a lot that could have happened. A small heated smile touched his lips as he remembered her naked form. Slowly he lent forward and viewed into the light. Jumbled images, dreams that held no beginning and always changed before their end played out before him. Lavinya was a constant throughout, an indication that he indeed had found the correct dream light. Observation began to record several key bits of information that he felt would be of use in the future. Not all was directly tactical in his pursuit of the Amyrlin, some was marked for further use against the redhead in his play sessions. One common face that seemed to re-appear in the various fragments was a man, light hair in a Tower Guard's Red Cloak. There seemed to be some connection to him, though she never let the dreams finish there stance on his future. Each time they seemed to draw them near it would flash to chaos or pain of one kind or another. Perhaps the man had been her warder? Scenes of their forest time both correct in action and incorrect made up many of the chaotic fragments that filtered throughout the dreams. He was going to need a lot of rest after this to calm his mind or he would have a splitting head ache. All he could think in the background was how ironic it was that they thought the men mad. It was then that the images seemed to stabilize and a possible full sequence began to play out. It was of the forest visit again, only this time she held her demeanor in perfect form. He chuckled how her shattered mind stretched to grasp a false reality; a method to cover the cowardice that had taken her in the real world. A chuckle brought short by the change in the play. He watched as his form was beaten down and then lashed to the tree, the tree branch becoming a glowing rod of heated steel that sizzled against his back with each strike. Agitation renewed itself and took control of his thoughts. If she was so bold as to completely take dominance in the dream then she would surely be foolish enough to try it in the waking world. It was time to bring a little nightmare to her grand courage. But as he tried to think on the right way to create the terror he sought to fill her with he unconsciously lost his positioning; leaning into the light he was suddenly pulled into it's world. OOC: He is still somewhat loose with his control so feel free to occassionaly take control from him. After all its your drea, that he has invaded. Smile Linten al'Dracain BT Dedicated Keeper of a Dark Purpose Bonded to Faile Sedai
  3. Life was not progressing well. Lavinya had done more work in the past few days than she had in years. Her hands were calloused and raw. That wife of Rion's, Jocelyn, was a tyrant, and it aggravated Lavinya all the more, knowing just how similar their personalities were. She had ordered Lavinya to scrub floors, chamber pots, clothing - anything and everything. She cooked, she sewed, she even chopped the wood and made the fire with a flint and tinder. What good was it being a channeler, if you never ever used your power? Being forbidden to channel saidar was weighing heavily on her, like an addict suffering from withdrawal. Rion seemed to note her despair from time to time, and gave her permission to at least embrace the source for short periods, though never when Jocelyn was around, and sadly that wasn't often. To top everything off, she was still suffering from the most awful nausea. Life was miserable. Lavinya plodded sullenly towards the woods a little way off behind the house. She had been sent to collect firewood, and as much as Lavinya hated it, she didn't mind the chance to be alone with her thoughts. She was hardly free though, she still had the intrusive bundle of emotions interfering in her head. Slowly she was getting better at ignoring them, the first few days had been awful, everything Rion seemed to feel she had been unable to help but reflect, not sure where he started and she began. It was supposed to be someone else in her head, someone she loved and trusted. But nothing went the way she had planned. Nothing at the Tower, and nothing here at the light forsaken Black Tower. Depression had been trying to take over Lavinya, but thus far she had managed to keep a handle on it. She didn't want to give Rion the satisfaction of knowing just how broken she was inside. This bloody expedition was supposed to be an escape from her problems! What a joke that was. Lavinya halted her steps as she heard a snap, like someone had just stepped on a stick nearby. It couldn't be Rion, she could close her eyes and point to exactly where he was, somewhere near the inn, she reckoned. But if he was all the way over there...who was out here, away from all of the buildings? A cold shiver of dread ran down her spine. Lavinya To say things were proceeding as planed would have tasted a lie upon his tongue and set an already and continuing fowl mood straight to the thunderhead of an enormous storm. The bundle of emotions that twisted in the back of his head still spoke defiance, though a thread of fear had begun to form. A thread that was wrapped and caressed by loathing. He was no longer sure whether all that loathing was reserved for him; it had slowly begun to change inward as if centered around the witch. A fact that should have brought a smile to Linten but was lost in the other multitude of problems swirling around his being. A large part of the latest reason the deep furrow sat his brow was the petite witch in the care of his mentor Isha. If there ever was a women who needed the right side of the back of a mans hand, it was her. To add to the unbelievability of it all, his mentor did nothing to the precious doll in his care. She challenged him constantly and blatantly went against his wishes and orders. Yet all she ever received was a slightly stern look, Linten had received worse, and the equivalent of a plea to listen. A plea of all things!! One hour, just one hour with her and Linten would remove that haughty smirk from her face and put her on her knee's where she belonged. But no, instead he had to suffer through watching the fiasco while his mentor flashed challenging looks toward him. Daring him to touch even a hair on her head. Surely there had to be away to separate them for a spell. To hide the emotions and feelings he would elicit in her from his mentor. The question was how. He had thought to ask Isha at one time about the possibility of doing just that. But now with the man all but accusing him it was a question best left unasked. Finding yet another day of no reprieve in the place he was to call home. Linten slipped back into the woods surrounding the farm to work through the problems of life and the new opportunities just outside his finger tips. His meetings with the newer arrivals and some of those of the lower ranks were beginning to bare some fruit though it was still far less then Linten wanted or needed at this stage. The end result meant that the man had to continue to dance around in the Black Tower and that light cursed fool Rion as if the man were deserving of his rank of Ashaman. While he himself still sat the lowly dedicated rank and scrounged for any scrap of knowledge he could get. He was certain Isha was beginning to suspect something and had purposefully slowed the rate at which he transferred knowledge to him. There was nothing he could prove of course, but the feeling was there. A feeling coupled with the way his mentor seemed to watch him. Like a man watches a viper in an outstretched arm. All this had accumulated to have Linten resting quietly against a tall leather leaf contemplating his next moves when the faint sound of movement pulled his ear. Ever since the surprise attack from the witches he was always on guard. It was bad enough they appeared to know where they were. Couple that with the fact they too could travel and the Black Tower now held some of there number as slaves. It was not a far stretch to believe they would return in numbers to retrieve that which had been their own. That was part of the reason Linten believed he had to act fast. He did not know, none of them did, how long before the witches returned for there sisters. He had much work before that happened. Rising slowly he watched the women approaching. Though her hair was damp and matted with exertion already today, he recognized the red locks of the witch who had dare face him in the yard. He had promised to teacher her and knew Rion would be far to lenient. He had dome some checking around and from all he had heard and seen it was Jocelyn that had her at the choirs. It made sense. The women was strong, far stronger then Rion. Couple that with the jealous possessiveness of a women forced to share any part of her man with another women and it spoke volumes of who would have her put to task. Still Jocelyne was limited in her resources and goals. Where she sought to punish the witch for sharing her husband, Linten sought to break her will and put her in service to the Dragon Reborn under his own control. Knowing they should be safe for a little while at least, Linten seized Saidin and fought the raging torrent covered in that sickly vile oil that coated him and would remain as a remnant once he released the One Power again. With Saidin rushing into him he forced the threads of air and spirit into a weave he had watched performed a few times. Slowly the weave set and the air in a 50 foot square solidified to allow nothing in or out save that of air itself. If she decided to holler it would do her no good. Next came a few inverted weaves. Like a trip line these would alert him to anyone approaching. After all the witch was bonded to Rion. The man many risk his own peace with his wife to aid the women if he thought her in trouble. He was not yet ready to face Rion in the open just yet, soon, but not just yet. Satisfied that all was in place as he wanted he tied the weaves off loosely and turned his full attention on the redhead and the games he had been planing. Reaching above his head he snapped a twig from the tree he lent against and watched her freeze. A slow crooked smile played at the sides of his mouth as he watched her trying to calm herself. He could almost feel the rise of fear in her though he did not hold her bond. Slowly her head turned as her eyes sought out the source of the noise and the brief look of panic as they found him leaning against the tree with no warmth in the smile that held his lips. “How nice of you to come and play little one,” the branch still held some leaves on it's end that slapped in rhythm against his opposite upturned palm. So many things he had wanted to try, to learn, to know. Here was his first true chance to begin some of all that planing and see just how much a witch could take before she broke. The branch still swishing in an arc to meet his hand in rhythmic continuance he began to move forward. “I was afraid you had perhaps forgotten our little meeting in the yard. But I see by your eyes you remember my promises.” The smile slipped crueler ten fold as his eyes wandered over her frame. “So much to do, it is a shame I don't hold your bond. We would not have to worry about time then. Perhaps I should bond you as well?” A chuckle from deep within floated to the surface edged in ice. “A small weave and a kiss. Would that not be a lovely thought?” Linten al' Dracain BT Dedicated Forcibly bonded to Faile A dark man with a dark secret Lavinya froze as her eyes met the source of the sound, trapped in his gaze like a hare in a huntsman's snare. Instinct taught her to reach for the source, and inevitably despair followed the latent realisation that she wasn't allowed to, and thus couldn't. Swallowing nervously, Lavinya tried not to show her fear, and valiantly tried to ignore the branch Linten casually slapped against his palm. He was trying to intimidate her, no more. He wouldn't touch her. Yet try as she might to convince herself that Linten was merely playing a game, she could not make herself believe it. She should just walk away, go back to the house. Jocelyn's wrath would be easier to contend with. Lavinya's skin crawled as his eyes roved over her frame, filling her with disgust. She had always enjoyed the affect her body had on men, had even played on it many a time, but the look in Linten's eyes filled her with revulsion. Refusing to give him satisfaction of any kind, Lavinya gave him a scathing glare, only to have it falter as he slowly walked forward. Forcing her frozen limbs to move was difficult, but she did not want him any closer. She contemplated turning her back on him and leaving, but one did not show a rabid dog their back. A weave and a kiss? A fear like she had never known began unfurling in her stomach, yet she desperately fought it, slipping back to another time, another place... Dreams, Dreams Of when we had just started things Dreams of you and me It seems, It seems That I can't shake those memories I wonder if you have the same dreams too. The littlest things that take me there I know it sounds lame but its so true I know its not right, but it seems unfair That the things are reminding me of you Sometimes I wish we could just pretend Even if for only one weekend So come on, Tell me Is this the end? ...it seemed so long ago, when she was happy. When she had smiled last, had been held and kissed. That was the way life was supposed to be. A happy ever after, with Corin by her side, their love binding them together stronger than anything else. Their first meeting, the way they joked and bantered. For the first time in a long time, he had seen the woman behind the shawl. Their first kiss...that wonderful night under the stars...that was right. Everything that had happened since was a disaster. She had lost the love she thought she had, had lost her freedom...and from the look in Linten's eye, the worst had barely begun. Corin! Things would have been drastically different if he could have just loved her as much as she did him. Then she wouldn't have fled, wouldn't be cowering before a madman. "Don't touch me." Lavinya hissed, eyes filled with scorn and contempt as she took another step back from him, fumbling again for the sweet life of Saidar that evaded her grasp. If only she could channel just a small amount, she would show him what true skill was. The smile that never quite met Linten's eyes was chilling Lavinya, who took another step backward, to find herself trapped between a tree and his advancing figure. Panic suddenly bloomed inside her, blocking out all else as she struggled to breathe, picturing the branch whipping at her skin, those cruel hands on her throat. With a strangled cry, Lavinya turned to run. Lavinya Trapped Pure fear, he let it was over him; reveled in it's beauty. Now he truly wished he held her bond; could feel the wash of it through his mind and body. The shielding weave he had held at the ready he now let slip from it's status. No tingle touched his skin. Rion had forbidden her to channel and forgot to mention she could if she felt her life threatened. A small miracle, but a welcome one. It would mean he could focus completely on the task at hand. A solid wall of air pressed her back against the tree as separate flows lashed her wrists to the trunks sides. Secured for now he released the wall pressing against her and tied off the weaves at her wrists. “Oh don't worry my toy. I will not be the only thing touching you.” His voice dripped with excited anticipation. So many idea's sped through his mind he was almost at a loss of where to begin. His steps finally halted as he drew up in front of her, almost as close as a lovers embrace. His eyes drank in the waves of fear that glistened through the dark brown pools she would witness this all from. “Where is this all controlling facade when the touch of Saidar is withheld from you?” His voice was low and soft, but it was anything but warm. His finger tips brushed across her forehead, trailing lightly over her high defined cheeks and rest lightly on her throat; his thumb resting on the opposite side. “See how softer you can be when you are not caught up in pretending you are better then the rest of us?” His eyes drifted lower to the heaving of her chest as adrenalin surged through her body readying it for flight that would never come. White teeth showed briefly before his gaze returned to her eyes. “More then one man has lost himself to your charms I'm sure. But I assure you I will not.” The branch continued to tap against his leg. “We are going to have a lot of fun while you are a guest at the Tower. I plan to learn much about you and your sisters, and you are the luckiest of them. Today you get to help me learn.” A small flow of air, razor sharp, sliced through her dress and bit lightly into her thigh. He watched the sudden widening of her eyes, relished the turmoil she must be feeling, and kissed her lightly on the forehead. “Yes, we are going to have so much fun.” The hand that had rested on Lavinya's throat tightened a fraction to actually grasp it. “You will answer my questions and tell me what I want to know. If I believe you, the grip gets looser, if I don't.” His hand closed hard for a moment and then returned to the light pressure. “It gets harder. But,” his eyes flashed with heat, “if you pass out then I claim what ever prize I wish until you regain consciousness.” His eyes dipped to her chest again briefly. “What does a woman feel when a man channels?” _________________ Linten al'Dracain BT Dedicated Keeper of a Dark Purpose Bonded to Faile Sedai The air was forced out of Lavinya's lungs as she was pressed back against the tree by an invisible force, though she new it had to be Saidin. Fear was chilling her to the bone, raging through her veins as she struggled against her bonds. It was no use though, she was held secure and helpless. Bile rose in her throat, and Lavinya forced back a scream. No one would hear her out here, and even if they did, would they care? She was a prisoner, not an honoured guest. Lavinya's skin prickled with revulsion as Linten stepped closer, so that he was almost pressed against her. There was such madness rampant in his gaze, that Lavinya couldn't hide her own terror, or the pulse that beat rapidly at her throat. His fingers reached out, touching her in the parody of a lover's caress, and Lavinya struggled again, longing to move out of reach. Nausea was surging in her stomach, a mixture of fear and revulsion. About to snap her head away, his hand paused on her throat, and Lavinya froze, closing her eyes and swallowing convulsively, praying that he would be satisfied with her game and leave her be. Her eyes flickered open to catch his gaze devouring her form. Never in all her years dressing this way had she felt so exposed and dirty. A stinging pain lanced her thigh and Lavinya gasped, eyes widening in shock. She was shaking with her terror, increased all the more when the madman's lips brushed her skin, making her want to recoil, when suddenly her air was cut. Eyes rolling wildly, she continued to struggle in vain, lungs burning for their denied breath. A lone tear formed in the corner of her eye as she panted gratefully. Suddenly she began to realise that this was not a game, not a matter of pure intimidation. He meant every word. She swallowed, trying hard not to think of those hands roughly groping her flesh, his body pressed to hers. Her eyes flickered as she tested her bonds again, knowing it was hopeless. She contemplated avoiding the question, but that could prove fatal, and she could not lie. "I feel nothing." She shuddered, imagining the taint oozing into her from her invisible bonds. "I cannot see your weaves, nor can I even tell you are channelling." Her voice trembled, and any other time Lavinya would have been disgusted with herself. "Now let me go. Please," she added hastily. Nothing? Very interesting … if she spoke truth then they were in fact worse off then his comrades. At least they could feel when the women channelled. He would have to see if he could rein in Faile enough to have her touch the source at varying times as he worked to gauge the distance and strength of the sensations they felt. He eyed her closely again, but the panic and fear was too strong in her for it to be a lie. “Good,” he nodded satisfied, “good this arrangement will work out well. But I am not inclined to part with your company so fast. After all we are just getting to know one another.” The fingers of his hand at her throat brushed lightly at her collar bone as if in an embrace. The broken end of the branch came up to tap at his lip as he studied her gaze with a quizzical look now painting his face. “Your sisters back at the tower. They set watches and wards on the Tower and grounds, or only on their personal things?” It was a fair question. One that would aid him in the future when he would have to travel there to collect other guest to play with. He knew the yard buzzed with their soldiers and personal guards, warders if he remembered correctly. But they were insignificant while he held the power of Saidin in his grasp. Relief poured through Lavinya as Linten seemed satisfied, making her feel pathetic at her own weakness. She had been afraid he would hurt her, and she still was, but now she felt wretched. Now he knew that she couldn't tell what he was doing, had revealed a vulnerability. She shivered as he caressed her bare skin, irritated at her body's betraying response, hating him and hating herself more. The presence of the branch had not been forgotten by Lavinya, and she eyed it warily as he continued to question her. Was it just a scare tactic? Would he actually use it? She was afraid he would, but still she could not so easily betray the Tower to a crazed man such as this. Looking for a way to evade the truth, Lavinya tried again in vain to turn from his touch. "I don't know of all the bloody wards in the tower." She spat. "I am not the Amyrlin Seat." She had set aside her duty for only one man before; she would not do it for this wretch. Ahh, her back bone. She had found it again … well that was not going to do if he was to get the information he needed. His eyes flashed deadly for a moment. But then, he could get something else he wanted. Followed by that cruel smile once more as his hand tightened slightly on her neck. His voice dropped low, challenge heavy in its tone. “I did not ask you if you were the Amyriln Seat, nor did I ask you if you knew all of the wards. Witches are creatures of habit. You know the answer to the question and this pathetic excuse for loyalty will not help you here. Here you are my slave,” the end of the branch switched across her cheek reddening it, but not enough to leave a lasting mark. “My pet, and my toy,” the branch still in his grasp rub roughly over her as his hand swept from thigh to shoulder. “No one will hear you here, and no one cares for where you are. Do you think Jocylen really cares if you return or not? Here you are mine.” The words emphasised as his lips came near her ear. “As long as you are at the tower I will find you and remind you that all of you are mine.” He stressed his ownership on her before nipping her ear. “Now let’s try that again. Are the wards spread throughout the Tower and yard or are they kept to their private matters? The trust in the men, strong enough to leave them to raise the alarm and not wards?” He squeezed her throat harder for a moment to remind her of how precious air was. “If you pass out, I will claim what I please.” Lavinya's head reeled from the shock of the blow, pain blossoming on her cheek. Never in all of her life had she been so demeaned, struck in such a manner. Her whole body was taut with her anger and riddled with astonishment. All along, she had somehow convinced herself that he wouldn't truly hurt her, but the strike was a reality shock, forcing her to realise just how precarious a position she was in. Her body twitched as though to escape as his hand roughly travelled her body, and a whimper escaped her lips as his breath tickled her ear, his breath caressing and stirring a response within. Oh how she hated him! She wanted to lash out, to rent his flesh with her nails, to kick and scream and strangle him. Instead, she dropped her head, as though defeated, tears stinging her eyes which were closed in mortification. How had it ever come to this? This was a blow to her pride, her freedom...never had she been so helpless or terrified. Lavinya contemplated remaining silent, but her cheek throbbed, reminding her of the cost of disobedience. How could she betray her home, her life? The only bloody thing she had left? She had no friends, no love, no joy. All she had was her bloody duty. Keeping her gaze downcast, she answered haltingly, aware of the calloused fingers on her throat. "Any Aes Sedai possessing intelligence wards her quarters." Lavinya swallowed, wanting to say no more but knowing she must. "Everything of import is warded and guarded." And again she fell silent, praying for release, wondering if anyone ever heard her prayers. Linten, Asha'man, & Lavinya, Aes Sedai Linten pondered her words carefully for a moment before releasing his grip on her throat and patting her shoulder as if rewarding a faithful dog. “Interesting ... very interesting. So the women do not entirely trust even those sworn to them. This mistrust; very powerful if stirred correctly.” His eyes cut back to the downcast face. Good, still moldable; that or a witch trick. Either way, we will know soon. ~She's Aes Sedai! She's one of them, kill her. Kill her now before it's too late.~ The voice echoed in his head with it's urgency. Linten's eyebrows drew down briefly before ushering the voice back to a distant buzz. Who ever the person was who shared his, they had certainly had an issue with the witches at one time. Taking a moment to relish in a wave of pure hatred that he feed to the not in the back of his head, Linten slowly walked around the tree pondering how next to approach the overall goal. “Tell me my pet. Since you are so concerned that I do not believe you the Amyrlin. Who is the rightful holder of that title?” His voice was soft and low. As if he was comforting a scared child. He remained outside her vision unless she turned her head to seek him out. But his eyes never left the view of her face. Soft and warm, flesh that was designed to be embraced; to be flush with the heat of joining. A lurid smile tried to pull it's self to view on the corners of his mouth. But staved it off, allowing instead a hint of the heat to light his eyes. Lavinya felt a small rush of relief as Linten released her, though she knew he wasn't done with her yet. She felt like a fly, caught in an inescapable web, while the spider toyed with it's prey. Light, why couldn't he just stop the game? Let her go? Beat her, and be done with it! The constant state of fear had her tensed, her stomach churning inside of her. Maybe he didn't plan to release her...even if she told him all she knew, he likely wouldn't believe her. He would still beat her bloody, light, would probably kill her. Lavinya felt desperate, panic surging within her. Die? She should welcome death. She had nothing more to live for, not anymore. Everything she had ever held dear had been taken from her. But the will to survive fought through her depression. What was she to do? "The rightful holder of that seat..." Lavinya paused, struggling within herself. She couldn't betray the Tower, couldn't betray Sirayn. For once in her life, she would have to stand strong, and sacrifice herself. Funny, she had always thought that playing the martyr would be somehow more dramatic and thrilling. "The rightful holder has a stronger hold over me than you could ever have, you bastard." Lifting her head defiantly, Lavinya glared darkly at her captor. She wasn't broken yet. He stepped near, and instead of cowering as she wanted to, she spat, the spittle landing on his cheek with a satisfying splat. Oh, how she loathed him. Linten & Lavinya Of all the emotions that could have swept him at that moment. It was shear amusement that struck out a strong and resilient cord. Amusement at the sheer lunacy of the woman. She was trapped with not a stitch of assistance to be found or hoped for, and yet she preferred to try and draw the ire of the man that held her captive. He could feel the warm saliva slowly slide down his cheek and drip from his jaw. A sickly sweet smile crept across his face as he moved even closer to her. “My delicious little pet. If you wanted to swap spit all you had to do was but moan my name.” His hand closed on a fistful of hair and wrenched her head back with suddenness. His lips sealed to hers as she tried to gasp at the sudden yank. The moment lasted only a flash in time. But it was long enough to create the mock of a lovers kiss before he released her, his teeth nipping her lip, and stepped back slightly; his hand returning to her throat. Her breathing was slightly labored again after the surprise of his movement and choice of response. But his eyes remained on her face and resisted the urge to dip lower. “Now little pet. You have had your little rebellion. Now it is time to answer what is asked of you; unless of course you secretly do want to offer this body to my use.” His free hand trailed down from her shoulder and sat on her hip as if ready to draw her near. “The harbors are watched, as are the bridges. But how closely watched are those leaving Tar Valon? An average peasant walking out of the city. Would they be stopped?” He brought his head close to her ear, his breath fanning the light wisps of hair. “Tell me truthfully and I will loosen one bond. You already know the prize for lies and refusal.” Lavinya had no time to ready herself for Linten's reaction, though in truth she had known he wouldn't let her outburst go unpunished. The longer their meeting continued, the more certain Lavinya became that he wasn't going to simply release her from his cruel game. Instead, he gripped her hair, yanking her head back cruelly as he pressed his lips against hers, stealing what she had given no man freely since Corin....light! It was as though the creator was mocking her for that union, for her utter folly. Had she not suffered enough? The kiss - if the blatant possession could be called that - didn't last long, but Lavinya knew the violation would live on in her mind, the sharpness of his teeth bruising the soft flesh of her lower lip. Her skin crawled as his hand roved over her body as though he were it's master, his dominance making her want to scream and weep at the same time. Still, he was offering her some relief, or was it just more of his game? Her brain turned over quickly, summing up her options, her tongue idly touching her bruised lip before hurriedly fleeing back into her mouth lest he see the move as encouraging. "Aes Sedai cannot lie." Lavinya admitted, though she doubted whether he would believe her anyway. How much to tell him? How much could she give away without weakening her home? "There are guards at the gates, and they are well trained." Would they stop a lone peasant? She didn't think so, but hardly wished to tell Linten that. At least he had left off the question of who the Amyrlin was. For now, Sirayn's identity was safe. Linten nodded slightly at the side of her head as he took in the few brief words. So much resistance and game play. He was going to thoroughly enjoy playing with this one. The tip of his nose nuzzled lightly at her neck as his mind wandered through thoughts and plans on how he could secure further access to this little gem. Approaching Rion was out of the question, but perhaps if he approached Jocelyn. There was a protective fire about her over Rion. As much as it was annoying to find out earlier on. It now lent to his advantage in a far greater way. That same protective prowess would also be infused with possessive nature. Possessiveness over a rare and most intimate gift he had shared with her that he now shared with another as well. Yes, Linten was sure Jocelyn would not be taking this well. Almost the equivalent as sharing the rest of him with a mistress. He could play that subject subtly to her. Perhaps, if done delicately enough, he might even bring her around to his own thoughts on the matter and secure an unlimited amount of time and access to this treasure. He chuckled softly near her ear before withdrawing his shaking head from near her's. “You are an interesting study my pet.” The chuckle held dark undertones and his eyes radiated a growing desire. “I offer you an out. A chance to gain a breath of freedom or a tumble into complete servitude and you find a thin line to walk.” Linten pulled a tendril of Fire from Saidin and wove it deftly while his eyes tried to burrow into her skull through her own. As the weave took form and settled around them the air seemed to increase greatly in temperature. It felt as if they stood in the middle of the barren yard during the hottest of afternoon summer days. Perspiration that had only been sporadic with her exertions now began to form a light sheen to her skin. “So my pet, how shall I deal with your aversion? You know the consequences yet you only repeat back my own words. I do not recall collecting a mime bird today. Yet this is what tries to pass before me. Tell me, shall I pluck the bird clean and cook it for stew?” A flow of air released the first few buttons at the top of her dress. “Do you so worship the opportunity to have me as a bed partner that you go out of your way to incite me to take you?” ~You are mad boy!! Mad I tell you. Someone save me from this madman who seeks to kill us all!~ Shut up!! There is nothing she can do and everything I can. You fear these witches yet they are simple flesh and bone. Blood courses through their veins as ours and they pass from this time when it is lost as do we. ~They are Aes Sedai you fool. Help! Someone please save me from the madman inside my head. He plays with a viper in his hands like it was a piece of candy.~ Linten thrust the annoyance in his mind back into the dark with a hiss. It took a measure of conscious control not to snap her neck with the added tension in his mind as his grip closed a measure tighter around her throat, dispassionate eyes still locked to her own. “The kiss was but simple and barren compared to the kiss offered to you on the battle field. Perhaps that is the kiss you truly desire from me. Is it that you want to share a bond with me before the bed?” He could imagine the wheels spinning wildly in her head behind those dark brown pools as she sough out a way to appease him with out loosing her self or betraying her precious tower. “I did not ask if the gates held guards or even the level of their training. The question before you is will they stop a lone peasant leaving Tar Valon proper?” Linten's lips twitched to a crooked smirk. “Your answer or we see how long you last as the amount of air you receive continues to shrink.” Lavinya shrank back from Linten as much as her bonds would allow, repulsed at the idea of taking him for a bed partner willingly. It was rapidly growing warmer, perspiration beginning to bead on her brow. Obviously another cruel trick with Saidin. Lavinya struggled to feel the power, to sense Saidin, see the flows, anything - but they were as invisible to her as the bonds holding her to the tree. It frustrated her, knowing he could tell when she channelled, when she had no clue to Saidin except its effects. And right now it was getting hot, and now she was more exposed to his filthy gaze. Bile rose in her throat as she imagined being bonded by this animal. She hated Rion, but that was nothing compared to what she felt for Linten. To have him in her head, as he violated her body...she shuddered involuntarily. Was it worth it? Protecting her home, to save herself humiliation? Then again, there was no guaranteeing that he wouldn't take what he wanted anyway. No, she had to stay strong. If only she could grasp saidar! She could cut the flows, and beat the goat-kissing trolloc bloody. Lavinya could sense Saidar, like warmth behind a cloud, but try as she might, she could not reach out and touch it. That was worse than anything he might do. Lifting her chin in a show of defiance, Lavinya remained stoically silent. The pet had found the strength to challenge her new master and that would never do for the plans and experiments that Linten had need of her for. If it were not for her possible usefulness then he would have relieved himself of her sooner. But until he had the answers he needed and formulated the plan to transition the White tower to Black control she would remain in his eyes like a mouse to the hungry hawk. “Tell me,” his voice took on a dangerous edge. “Are you so uncaring of your own body that you would offer it to anyone who decided to take it? I thought you witches had more fight in you. But it appears I was wrong, you all are truly designed and desire to be at the feet of men.” Fire and air wrapped together and the weave settled to the air next to her drawing moisture out and cooling it to almost ice. The thumb nail sized droplet moved silently from behind her sight to press to her heated flesh at the cleft of her neck and flow down in a rivulet guided by her cleavage to the flat of her stomach. He watched as she tried to gasp in air from the shock but the continuing grip on her throat made it more of a whisper then a true gasp. Changing the weave at her wrists he pressed her down to kneel before him. Arms now bound behind her back; a new weave wrapping her ankles together. “You will find I am no gentle lover when it comes to witches. But then you look the type that prefers it to be not so. You will please me with answers or your body. The choice is yours. But if you doubt all else know that I will get those answers from you before you ever see the shining peaks of Tar Valon again.” Caring about my body has brought me nothing but heartbreak and loneliness, thought Lavinya. If I had never betrayed my duty I wouldn't be in this situation. Linten would never know that his words helped her firm her resolve. She had always put herself first, above her duty and responisbilities. Now was the chance to prove that she was worthy to wear the shawl, to call herself Aes Sedai. Still, she didn't know just how far Linten planned to push her, and she had a sudden feeling that she was only experiencing a hint of his madness. Ice cold water suddenly touched her overheated skin, eliciting a gasp as her skin prickled, her body betraying her with it's reaction to the touch as the droplet moved in the parody of a lover's caress. Lavinya swallowed and fought a tide of answering heat as she was forced roughly to her knees with the invisible bonds, hands bound behind her, highlighting even more just how exposed she was to his eyes. Her breathing was ragged, her chest heaving as she desperately weighed her options. Please him? She would never please him! Anger and despair fought one another inside her, pushing her to hysteria. She would kill him! In her mind she was freeing herself, using the branch he had struck her with to illicit her own cruel revenge...but these thoughts weren't helping her. In the end, stubborn pride and hate won out. "You are pathetic." She spat with a sneer. "Is this the only way you can get a woman to look at you? To take her by force?" Lavinya forced out a harsh bark of laughter, bitter to her own ears. "No wonder, I doubt you are man enough to please a woman. They only moan in revulsion." It was vulgar, but so was he, and Lavinya had the desperate thought that if she managed to make him angry enough, he would beat her and go, and leave off with his questioning. The witch had sealed her own fate after the first few words. Her rant about other women and their revulsion slide past as determination to see her pay bloomed bright in his eyes. His hand clamped down harder on her throat. He watches as her eyes bulged slightly while she squirmed to find free flowing air. A quest that was fruitless. Twisting the weave he released one hand and laughed hauntingly as it raced to claw at his own. Desperation in her eyes and movement to find that sweet breath of air before blackness took her. He watches with a growing pleasure as her struggling began to subside and her hand slowly became a weight upon his own. As her eyes began to roll back in her head he leaned in close to her ear. “Now it is play time my pet.” With one firm squeeze her body went limp before him. Releasing his grip he removed the bonds of air and roughly evicted her from her clothes before using flows to once more strap her to the tree, this time facing it in a firm embrace. Collecting the branch from were it had fallen earlier he tested it's flexibility and then sent it hurtling against the now exposed skin of her back. It took only two such lashes before she stirred once more and the grin returned to his mouth. “Did you enjoy your nap? I wonder, how long were you not with us? Did anything happen? It is said that as a person passes out they sometimes utter secrets, things they desperately want to keep. I can say that rumor is true. I think now it is time for a new question as all my previous ones have been answered.” The branched lashed across the top of her buttocks. “How many of your sisters can access the dreams with any form of angreal?” His voice was once more light and relaxed as the branch fell once more. “Do not play games with me or we will repeat the prior activities.” She was going to die. Suddenly her bravery seemed nought but utter folly as the hand on her throat tightened, cutting off her airflow. Tears of fear and desperation ran unimpeded down her cheeks as her hand clawed at his, seeking freedom from his grip, too caught up in her fight for survival to notice the missing bond. Nails met flesh, but still no air. Everything began to spin and grow dim, her body slowly giving out on it's struggle...I don't want to die alone... Vague pain roused her, groggy and disorientated. Another harsh blow brought full consciousness, and along with it panic. Rough bark chafed her naked flesh as fire raced over her spine. A sob caught in her throat as she struggled to free herself, the familiar voice washing over her and filling her with terror. Oh light...what had he done to her? Anguished tears ran down her cheeks. She was naked, and she was in pain. She had imagined he might try to take her physically, but that she could fight the whole time, but this, to take advantage of her unconsciousness...this was beyond anything she had envisioned. This was far, far, worse. What had she said? He said she had answered his questions, but the monster could well be bluffing. Lavinya yelped in pain as the branch lashed at her exposed flesh. She had been thinking of attacking him with that branch before passing out, evil, wicked things...had she somehow told him her thoughts? Was this his twisted idea of payback for her vicious fantasy? She had to stay conscious, whatever she did. She could not let him make her that helpless again. "I don't know!" She near wailed, pain and fear befuddling her thoughts. Gone was the dignified Aes Sedai. Had he used her body for his own pleasure? She didn't know. A scream escaped her lips as the branch whistled through the air onto her naked flesh once more. "Please!" She begged through her salty tears. "I swear I don't know! A few maybe...please let me go!" Satisfaction permeated him at her screams and begging. This was more the woman he had sought to make of her .... at least to set her to the path he would guide her feet on. “Go? But we are just getting to know each other so intimately well.” The branch whipped into action again from his arm and hand. But this time he brought it's cruel caress to the tree next to her head. Many thoughts swarmed his mind, and he picked the ones he would use carefully with urgency. He did not want to repeat her defiance again so soon. “I have a task for you.” He let his hand holding the branch fall to his side as he stepped up behind her, his free hand brushing back the hair from the side of her face and then finding it's place on her hip. The flesh there was warm to the touch despite the exposure, only then did he remember the weave that he had used to heat the air around her. A smile pulled the corners of his mouth and added anticipation to his voice. “When I release you, if you behave as I have requested, you will complete a task for me this night and every night hence forth. As you drift off to slumber land, you will think only of me. Focus your thoughts on me and dream of me.” His voice took on a thick husky edge. “I can help you visualize a dream if you need one,” his hand pulled lightly at her hip for a moment. “Or you can create your own. But you will do as I say,” his lips brushed the edge of her ear. “Won't you my pet?” No! She screamed inwardly. No, I will do nothing that you say! You are vile and cruel and revolting, and I am not your pet! Yet she could not bring voice to the words. Instead she shed bitter tears, her body shaking with the sobs as she nodded her head reluctantly. Whatever would gain her freedom, she could deal with. The humiliation was beyond compare, naked and bound and entirely at his whim. She needed to get as far away from him as she could, and she never would, the way things were progressing. Just thinking about his hands peeling her clothing from her skin without her knowing was motive enough for her to agree, without words at least. Fat chance keeping him out of her dreams tonight anyway, or any other night for that matter. Lavinya had never endured such horrid treatment, had never feared for her life in this way. Her Arches had been tough, her testing terrifying, but they both paled against the horror she was forced to endure now, Linten’s hot breath fanning her cheek, his hand resting intimately on the naked flare of her hip. “I will dream of you as you say, just please, release me!” Lavinya choked back another helpless sob, resting her forehead against the roughness of the bark. “Please, before Rion comes looking for me.” Linten & Lavinya Unseen tension eased in his shoulders as a relaxed, a genuine smile settling into place on Linten's face. He had secured the first part of his needs and plan. The witch's dream would be like a beacon to him when he touched the dream world again. From there he would have unrestricted access to her. No more sneaking around to find her isolated and alone in which to carry out their conversation. Diversion had proved it's worth here. So tied up in knots over what would happen to her fair form and the secrets she may have loosed, that she probably did not even realize the trap was before her. No doubt realization would set in once she again had time to think. If not it would with their first meeting in the dreams. He placed the stick to lean against the tree near her knee, the hand that had rested intimately on her hip moved to stroke her hair gently. He stepped back slightly, allowing her some space between them. “You know,” his eyes surveyed her from head to toe as if purchasing a fine horse. “Once you get past that little piece of cloth and ring they have chained you to. You realize how truly striking you are.” Linten's hand patted her head lightly as if praising a child. “You have done well my pet.” Moving back from her Linten pulled an earthen chair from the forest floor while his hands collected the discarded items of clothing that he had strew around the area in his haste to have her out of them. His fingers took in the softness of the fabric and the gossamer transparency to some of it. How different things might have been between them if she were not a witch. With a slight sigh of lose he settled into the chair. His hand waved as if to scatter an insect and the weaves of air that bound Lavinya to the tree dissipated. “If you run I will bind you again, and there will be a payment to exact.” His voice held none of it's malice or dark under tones it had before. Instead it seemed light and inconsequential, as if this was some ordinary meeting and the talk was of the weather. Looking back at her still huddled to the tree. A quizzical draw took his brow briefly; his mind pondering some of the future plans he had laid out before this wonderful gift had been dropped into his lap from the Creator. It lasted only a short span before it was swept away as if it had never existed. With reluctance inside he tossed her the clothes, a part of him still very much enjoyed the view of her smooth form. “I think perhaps you should sit briefly before returning to Rion.” He could not help the slight edge that took his voice at the mention of the traitors name. “Let us discuss not matters of your home but perhaps of my own for a spell while you rebuild your strength. Jocelyn will expect to see you carrying that wood back in your arms if you are not to anger her further.” Another chair rose from the earthen floor of the forest in front of him smaller and slightly to the left. His hand motioned toward it as dry dead timber around them stacked it's self neatly at his side. With that Linten waited with what patience he could offer his pet at the moment, but his eyes never left her form. Even as she looked briefly for somewhere to dress and found nothing where his eyes would still not be on her. She would defiantly heat his dreams tonight when he finally allowed true sleep to take him. The bonds had dissipated, but Lavinya remained huddled by the tree, fear and a loathing for him to see more of her body staying her feet. She wasn't fool enough to try and run; he could channel and she could not. She knew all to well how easily he could tangle her up in air again, and the light only knew how he would punish her for such an insolence. Instead she watched him warily over her shoulder, rapidly gathering her clothes and holding them to protect her modesty, though in essence the action was pointless - for all she knew he had already claimed her intimately. The thought brought a fresh surge of nausea which she fought to keep in check as she looked for some privacy to dress. Looking between the earthen chair and her clothing once more, Lavinya resisted the urge to scream at her tormentor. Knowing she had little choice, Lavinya began to dress, hands shaking so much she fumbled with the buttons on her gown more than once, to the obvious amusement of Linten. Glaring at him she turned her back, using the moment to close her eyes and try to find some calm, practising an old novice exercise to bring some clarity to her terribly harried mind. Mustering all the arrogance she could in her nauseated state, Lavinya turned back to Linten. Her legs were unsteady and the material of her gown drew fire against the welts on her back, but she somehow managed to look regal as she strode to the makeshift chair and sat stiffly, fixing the madman with a stony, unreadable stare. She was still Aes Sedai. She wasn't screaming now, and she certainly wasn't begging. If only the serenity weren't just a facade. "What do you wish to discuss, Linten?" Lavinya asked stiffly, for all the world as though she hadn't just been abused and broken to the point of begging for release. Amusement played at his eyes as the woman slipped into a good semblance of regality; as if pulling on a cloak. She sat her chair stiffly; if in complete control. But he doubted that she had recovered so quickly. If she had he would deal with it in turn. But for now there were other matters to attend to, and not just how well she could present herself under duress. Though he did make mental note of that. It would come in handy in the future he was certain. For what? He was not sure, many of his plans were liquid motion; changing from day to day. But he would find a use for it. “I can not imagine Jocelyn is too pleased with the fact her husband shares such close intimacy with another woman. Even though it is not physical.” His eyes roved over her again. “Well at least for your sake I hope it is not physical. If you think Jocelyn is hard to deal with now, let her think you are sharing him physically and no one will be able to save your life.” Leaning back a quizzical look took him as he pondered just what her role in the White Tower was and the channels he may open through her. He could approach it again, but he had told her they would talk of his home now and not her's. If he was to keep her in the palm of his hand then he would need her to feel she could at least trust something. “All of us from that day will have the nightmares to remind us. Those of us ordered to bound your kind more so. Tell me,” every great cake needed a few broken eggs. But how much to reveal to her about the undercurrents and his own chaotic relation ship with Rion would be a delicate dance. The less the better, “does Rion treat you fairly? No doubt he will be curious as to the emotions you have no doubt flooded him with. Belief that Jocelyn has over worked you in jealousy perhaps. It would be best at any case. He is less likely to add to your discomfort if he believes it is his wife who has issued you justice.” The conversation reminded him of the cold dark knot in his own head. A knot that had changed slightly, curiosity seemed to abound in it. But the moment slipped quickly as she must have realized the change in him. Scorn filtered back to him; ironically it made him feel more at ease. Witches were never to be trusted, if it had remained changed he would have been worried she was up to something. As it were, she would pay before the day was out just for being in his head if he found no other reason. The thought of sharing not only Rion’s bond but a physical relationship with him was rather sickening. He was a married man! And he was likely insane from tainted Saidin, not to mention an evil darkfriend who was holding her against her will. Jocelyn’s insecurities were unfounded, but who knew when they may play to her advantage? Best to keep silent on that thought, she had very few cards to play in her position, and she didn’t want to reveal her hand, especially to someone as light forsaken as Linten. But his words brought her attention back to the knot of emotions at the back of her head. She had not thought of what may have been filtered back to him, though now she could well sense his alarm and curiosity. He wasn’t approaching, perhaps her struggle for calm had aided somewhat. Would he have cared anyway? Likely only because he too would feel some of what she had just gone through. The welts on her back were still smarting, but they were a dull flame now. “I find it hard to believe you actually care about how fairly I am being treated.” Lavinya fixed her tormentor with a flat stare. “I don’t know what you would call fair, but he has yet to violate me.” Her lips twisted with hatred and her gaze gained heat, but she managed to refrain from adding anything further. She didn’t want to encourage Linten to take a hand to her again. She needed to keep her wits, not lose them in a fit of rage. There would be time for that when she was alone; for now she needed to get away from this madman in one piece. “If Rion asks me what went on this day, I cannot tell a lie.” Lavinya watched Linten carefully, noting the slight tightening of his jaw and wondering just what caused it. Was it the thought of him being found out? Or perhaps a result of her impediment as he would see it. Either way, she filed it away in her mind for later perusal. “In fact, I don’t see why I don’t tell him the whole tale, perhaps he would see fit to keep me safe.” Lavinya highly doubted any madman could keep her safe, but at least Rion had a wife to think of. Keeping her face smooth, Lavinya hid the fact that she was bluffing, smoothing a wrinkle from her lap as though there was nothing unusual about the conversation. Rion ..... why did it always have to come back to that traitor. If she thought she could find sanctuary in him she would pay for the misjudgment a hundred times over. Likely the fool would find away to protect her. But he was not about to let the witch know that. Her backbone seemed to find strange times in which to reveal itself. She was going to be a wonderfully fun toy to play with in the dreams when he found her star from amongst the many. The thought added just the right edge of cynicism to the smile that pulled the corners of his mouth. Gently a weave of air once more settled on her, like a belt it held her to the chair but did not add pressure. So she didn't think Rion would violate her. Rising slowly Linten began to walk around behind her. “Yes they say you can not lie. But they also say that an Aes Sedai can speak around truth so smoothly that you would believe the information as truth. Make the wrong conclusion to which they do not need to correct you from and did not actually lie in it's answer.” He stopped behind her and gently brushed the hair back along one side revealing the soft nape of her neck and the delicate shape of her ear. She really was a dish to be devoured and Linten knew before her time here was over he would indeed enjoy her sweetness. But the day was already to short now for that. He would reinforce the thought in the dream and then perhaps enjoy her at their next meeting. Leaning once more to brush lips next to ear and neck he watched her reaction carefully. “He has already violated you. He holds your bond and Jocelyn hates that. She can make Rion do things he would otherwise probably not. If I was to inquire it of her and offer certain assurances in return, I am confident she would have Rion pass your bond to me. Then what happened earlier between us under the watching of the tree's could be enjoyed even more on levels that transcend the mere sharing of physical pleasure. Something you are very well designed for.” A free hand trailed fingers lightly over her shoulder and down her arm. “Fingers entwined,” his slipped between her own, “gripping in the throws of passion and release. Can you imagine how wonderful it will be when he passes your bond to me?” Linten set his lips to her neck, teeth grazing it's tenderness. “Tell him the truth or let him figure it out and you will seal yourself to share a bundle of nerves hidden in the mind with me. The choice is yours. Either way I enjoy the offering.” A sickening warmth had wrapped itself around his words. Lavinya stiffened, loathing and repulsion coursing through her as Linten’s breath fanned her neck, taking liberties and causing her skin to pimple in a betraying manner that made her hate herself all the more. She hated too, that she could agree with this monster on anything, but it was true – Rion had already violated her in the most disgraceful of manners. It went beyond rape, beyond a beating. This was invading her mind, her emotions, not to mention the compulsion she was almost certain he had used. How else was she so obedient, at merely a word? Evil darkfriends, the lot of them! But Rion really was the lesser of two evils. Lavinya briefly contemplated how much worse it would be to have Linten in her head, the madness rife where Rion’s emotions rested quietly; his emotions as he touched her, beat her, used her…Lavinya shuddered. No, she could not let him into her head, could not bear for her bond to pass to him. Her fingers separated, trying to move away from where Linten was tangling his insistently to prove his point. Lavinya pointedly moved her hands away, folding her arms beneath her breasts though she knew it would do little to deter him. She herself knew she could avoid telling the truth without lying as adeptly as any Aes Sedai, but she had hoped he wouldn’t have realised that. A foolish hope. Still, there was no way she could reveal the day’s events to Rion or even Jocelyn without suffering, that much was clear. “I offer you nothing. You take.” Lavinya said, though there was less fire in her tone than before. She was trying to pacify him and escape, not provoke him to further violence. “Rion will not hear of the day’s events from my lips.” A deep soft chuckle rumbled up from his throat to slide over the edge of her ear as she pulled her hand from his; arms crossing under her breasts. His grin increase ten fold. Was she truly so flustered that she did not realize the action only lifted them and emphasized the cleavage under his view from over her shoulder. Or perhaps she truly did want him to draw her in to a release of the flesh. Many enticing thoughts floated through his head as she made her verbal commitment. She was tied to him now in layers she would not realize for a time. A time that he was going to make good use of for both his original goals and a few new one's that had filled his mind since gaining access to this little charm. “Good ..... Good girl,” he leaned back, his hand stroking her hair again briefly before moving back in front of her. He would have to have her back soon if he was to sneak back into his room and get the rest he needed before the nights adventures. Besides he had another toy to play with back there and after this favorable adventure he was infused with new confidence to face Faile and break her as he had begun with the shapely witch before him. With a wave of his hand the weave of air vanished around her. “You are right, I take what it is I want, as I have today. Remember that well.” he sat back into his chair, eyes intent on her's. “If you prefer to avoid the violence and forced situations then I suggest you come next time more open and accepting of your new position. That is,” the smile pulled strong at the corners of his mouth. “Unless deep down you prefer to be taken?” “The wood is your's to return with and perhaps save yourself at least a little of the wrath Jocelyn will have waiting for you. But remember,” his finger came up to wave at her. “You will dream of me tonight and all nights hence.” With that taken care of he simple sat back and watched her, waiting for her next reaction, waiting to see if she would leave right away with the offered freedom. Or if she was still engaged to the game they had in motion already. The chance to study her in such a simple setting was invigorating. Lavinya relaxed slightly as Linten’s touch at last disappeared and he moved a distance away to the chair. His closeness was disturbing; sending waves of nausea mixed with repulsion and a betraying tinge of excitement at having such attention from a man. Lavinya scowled darkly, turning her head to avoid his gaze. What woman would enjoy being taken? All her life, Lavinya had called the shots, leading men on a string as they danced to her tune. To have the control taken from her and turned back at her was disconcerting to say the least, but there was a flutter of…well something in her stomach at the thought, and it terrified her. What kind of person was she? She was losing her wits. Next time…he sounded so very sure that there would be another time. Well, Lavinya certainly had no intention of giving him the opportunity to encounter her alone again, though Jocelyn had been sending her out daily, even when they didn’t need the wood. She would have to find a way around it. Obeying that little fool girl grated on Lavinya more than she liked to admit. Lavinya eyed the wood before turning her calculating gaze back to Linten. Was this another part of the game? Was he toying with her again? Almost hesitatingly she rose, as though certain she would instantly find herself bound once more; but nothing happened. “I have no doubt you will haunt me in my sleep always.” Lavinya muttered, hastily dropping to pick up as much of the wood as she could carry, aware that with her arms full she was again more vulnerable to Linten’s touch, but she felt nothing but his eyes upon her as she knelt in the dirt, further ruining her torn dress. How was she going to explain the tear? Silence, she thought. Silence will be the only way. Rising awkwardly, Lavinya peered over her load long enough to give Linten a hard stare before walking slowly away. Her legs wanted her to run, the dull ache of pain on her spine also tried to spur her on, but Lavinya forced herself to stay calm, taking measured steps. She would not give him the benefit of watching her run away in fear. A strand of air caught her once more, a cat playing with a mouse. She refused to turn and face him, the smile still happily planted on his face. “Perhaps next time you could wear something a little more appropriate.” Mind games, they were a new love of his and in this case they were even more fun then with his mentor and the ranks of the Black Tower. He would have to arrange another game of stones with Jocelyn and perhaps drop a suggestion or two on some chores her redheaded slave could do. Something that would allow him more access to her in seclusion. Her mind would be his, but there was more then the dream with her so near. He released her once more sure she was stewing inside. “Take care not to twist an ankle, I'd hate to have to visit you in the infirmary. Though I suppose I could bath you to help get you on your feet again.” A pained expression crossed Lavinya’s face as she was halted, fumbling her grip on the wood. Would he never leave her be? Refusing to even look his way, Lavinya held still, waiting to either be dragged back and beaten or released. Hopefully he would eventually grow bored with her. The only problem was, there was no way to know how long his attention span was. Wear something more appropriate? Valiantly biting back a scathing retort, Lavinya pictured herself in something akin to armour, likely it was the only thing suitable for a man like Linten. Did he honestly expect her to meet him in a gown she would normally reserve for someone she was trying to attract? Someone like Corin?...Fighting back a fresh wave of depression, Lavinya kept her back to her captor and refused to take the bait, sile
  4. Murders have run rampant through Tar Valon and more specifically the White Tower's Training Grounds. Tower Guards and Trainees have been downed by the foul hand of one woman. One woman dared tread on the toes of the elite and now pays the price for such fidelity. Rumors run the course of the city of what this person looks like to what her motives were. It's time now for the trial to begin. The yards have all but ceased their training as the trial begins. It seems as though the whole world is set out in the yards where the trial is to be held. We sit and watch, listen and pray to the Creator that this woman is convicted! OOC: This is for IC watchers and silent debates, please no OOC debating here, a thread will be opened for that. The Trial can be seen here: *insert link* Mat
  5. If an outsider looked upon the two women riding at even pace toward the village named the Black Tower, they wouldn't have been able to read any signs of agitation or nervousness from the demeanour of the Aes Sedai and the Tower Guard holding upright the peace flag. The Gray Sister had thrown behind her hood to reveal a smooth ageless face and underneath the practiced facade her stomach was on knots like every time before an important negotiation and even more so now because of who would sit behind the other side of the table. Annais tried to remember everything Estel had told her of her observations and go through once again her instructions and the background information. An agent in Caemlyn had reported that there were four hundred men in the Black Tower by counting supply carts but Sirayn Simeone and the Sitters had believed that only a few of them could channel. And as a result they had sent eleven Sisters and Tower Guards there to investigate and observe. Aes Sedai were hardly the sneakiest people there were and with such a crowd it had been impossible to not spot them. Unbidden and unannounced as they had come, it was no wonder that the Asha'man had thought it was an attack although what they had thought such a small party could accomplish was beyond her. But after Dumai's Well and thousands of years of Gentling, the male channelers didn't have much love lost for the White Tower. She prayed from the bottom of her heart that none of Asha'men bonded to the Aes Sedai hadn't found out of the secret orders of field Gentlings that the Sisters were to perform if they encountered mad male channelers. She wondered again how many of the Sisters had actually known of the orders when the Sitters hadn't and what on earth had Sirayn Simeone been smoking the day she had decided to go against the Amnesty the Dragon had given to the Asha'men. Estel had kept her secret but if anyone in the Black Tower knew, it would make her work even more difficult than it was already when she had to balance between being reconciliatory and maintaining the Tower's dignity. Light, there were five hundred male channelers. She would be all alone there save for Mia Stavros and even Mia couldn't help her and even less the captured Sisters. They relied on her, the whole Tower relied on her and she had to suppress viciously her doubts that she just couldn't do it. The Sitters had trusted her and when twenty one powerful women agreed on something, you just had to believe it. And she had been on rough spots before. Novice excercises, they were good. She just had to concentrate on her breathing and feeling the wind on her face, being the wind in a corn field and river held by its banks. They were starting to get closer to the Black Tower and she could pick out the unfinished structure of the black wall and some buildings behind it. Such grandiose plans they had. The wall ran for eight miles and would enclose four square miles of ground. Nowhere was the wall finished yet, nowhere more than twelve or fifteen feet and none of the towers and bastions had been more than begun. Estel had told her that the ground was marked off for structures the Asha'man claimed would one day dwarf the White Tower. Typical male thinking. But for now they lived in barracks and houses scattered in between where the married men and their families lived. It had sounded so very normal and Annais had to admire the love that wouldn't turn its back even when the husband turned out to be someone who was destined to go horribly mad from channeling one day. There was a large gateway leading to one of the wide streets and she directed Strider toward it. She could make out two black cloaked forms, one on each side of the gate and as they neared the men, she noticed the silvery glimmer of a sword pin on their collar. It marked them Dedicated. She stopped her horse and looked down upon a sour faced older man who was chewing tabac. "I am Annais Nevell Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah. I have come to speak with the M'Hael. Where can I find Dalinarius Traachenshield?" The man blinked a few times and exchanged a look with the other guardian. Then he spat a brownish slobber to the ground. "Dalinarius ain't the M'Hael no more", the Dedicated grunted and Annais was proud of herself for managing to not let her shock show. Maybe this was the start of their strategy to get her upset but it just couldn't be true. Leaders didn't change in few days all the sudden like that. "Excuse me?", she asked with an elegant arch of an eyebrow. "Something wrong with yer ears, Aes Sedai? I said Dalinarius. Ain't. The. M'Hael. No more. Got it?" Bloody flaming balls of the Dark One. This couldn't be happening. Dalinarius had been trained by the Tower Guards. He had been somewhat symphatetic toward the White Tower and Annais had been preparing her whole negotiation strategy based on what little she knew of him. And how she would have to face a total unknown who would likely have alot more negative attitude. If there even would be any negotiations. Dear Light, things were truly going to the Pit of Doom in a hand basket. "What happened to him?", she blurted and the man looked at her with disgust. "That ain't none of yer business, wi..." "Forgive Marten here", the other Dedicated chimed in giving a stern look at the other man. "He is just an unpleasent bastard. The new M'Hael Brent Enios will receive you, Annais Sedai. He has left us orders to escort you there. Marten, you will stay here and I will go." Relief flooded into Annais when she heard that she would at least get to speak with the new leader. Maybe there she would find out what had become of Dalinarius. If there was some kind of an internal strife in the Black Tower, there might be some way to utilize it. Or then it could endanger the negotiations completely. Brent Enios... it sounded like an Illianer name and she looked at Mia questioningly. The woman nodded and Annais was fairly certain that it was a confirmation about his nationality. It would have been good to know more but if wishes were fishes, everyone would cast nets. She did not like entering situations entirely blindly but she had been given some time to complete the talks. Now some of it would have to be spent to get to know the other party and she prayed that the negotiations would turn out favourably. "Thank you Dedicated. Please lead the way." She urged her dappled mare to follow the blackcoat and reached for her saddle bags for the small box where she held her cigars. She needed a smoke badly and in a situation like this she would allow herself one. She didn't even care if it would be percieved as a sign of weakness but she had to reach her calm again. "Young man, would you offer me fire." It wouldn't be polite to channel herself here unless she was given the permission to do so and she wasn't going to use a tinder box now. The Dedicated stopped on his tracks and gave her an astonished look. A small flame appeared on top of his opened palm and Annais reached over and lighted her cigar. "Thank you", she murmured. Despite her mental preparations it was still frightening to see Saidin wielded so casually but she would have to get used to it. The first lungful of smoke was blissful and she was feeling much better and surer of herself by the time her small cigar was almost done with and they approached the house where the M'Hael resided. Annais would have expected something much grander but the furniture they passed was fairly simple and seemed to have been gathered from many different places. She tried to smooth herself by noticing small details but it would have been an understatement to say that she was nervous by the time the Dedicated knocked the door of the M'Hael's office. A deep voice called them to enter and the door revealed a stocky man sitting behind a large desk. He looked like an image of a soldier and his beard that left the upper lip bare definately confirmed his origin. Smiling slightly Annais inclined her head and begun the short speech she had prepared in a hurry. "Greetings M'Hael Enios and congratulations on your promotion. I am glad that you received me despite the recent changes in the Black Tower's chain of command. I am Annais Nevell of the Gray Ajah and this is Mia Stavros, the Tower Guard who delivered the earlier message. Before anything else I would like to express my sincere condolences for the losses the Black Tower suffered due to the misunderstandment caused by the party the White Tower sent. May the Light shine on their souls and the Creator shelter them on his palm." She bent her head reverently and stood silent for a moment to respect the dead. "The White Tower wishes for good relations with the Asha'man as we will have to fight side by side in the near future. I hope that our negotiations will be able to return some goodwill between the White and the Black Tower." Annais Nevell Gray Sister
  6. Poetic Death no more speach, but their souls are screaming when life is taken, the soul will rise no more heart beat, but the fire is alive from warm flesh, to a lifeless cold no more sight, but they can see the sorrow eyes are closed, but truth burns through no more life, but my memory is full friends are gone, but memory be true The battle was over. Death scattered the playing field like broken chess pieces that could no longer be given name to. Her eyes carefully turned and looked over each face. It was all a blur to her in more ways than just her eyes. The glass that once settled on the bridge of her nose was shattered on the ground among those that were dead. Man, Woman, Aes Sedai... Age gave no heed nor warning to the toll.. the cost for the lives lost this day. Each a thread that influenced so many in turn were now cut, ripped away from the pattern to be woven into the next age. -Light Guard Us..- The Battle may be over, but this war was far from completing its cycle. -How many more of us will die?- The numbers and percentages that only caused a damp cold under her skin. Maegan Ryanne shivered. Aes Sedai, and yet the tears rolled down her cheek as the pain of loss was no longer kept from her face. The one that held her bond would have felt her pain instantly, there was no longer a reason to hide it. However the pain was not consuming. It was a comfort. To stand amongst the dead knowing that once again she survived to fight anouther day. What would be the price for her life be this time? How many more times would she be able to cheat death? For it to pass over her as her thread continued to spin weaves in the worlds Pattern. When would it end? These were questions often asked but never voiced, never answered and never in need of an answer. Instead of letting the inner monologue fester in her mind along with the dull numb of confusion, fear, and hatred that settled in the back of her mind Maegan settled on a course of action. Action was better than silence. The day was not over regardless of whether it was moon or sun overhead. The day was not over until all could be laid to rest. "A shovel, if possible." She spoke to one that was still standing, her bond-holder useless and sitting on the ground. She could feel his eyes watching her. Maegan paid the boy no mind. "Why? So you can attack us with it instead of your bloody power?" The man sneered at her. She could hear the pain that laced his hate and sarcastic words. "What is your name?" "Req." He was surprised. "I am Mae. These are my sisters. My brothers." Her words soft and held no more emotion than the pain and compassion that she felt. "And they are yours." "You are not one of us." "My bond to one of you suggests otherwise." Tilting her head she repeated herself, "I requested for a shovel. I wish to put my family to rest. Unless you have objections to me digging a few holes." The man glared at her before turning around braely muttering a -No.- and walked off in whichever direct he intended. Pausing Maegan took a moment to rub her right temple as her mind worked furiously. Without her spectacles seeing was harder and with the amout she challenged she was not entirely drained but the excursion of channelling, sparing and noe being unable to see along with an unintelligible bond in the back of her mind was causing a headache to form. There was too much chaos to sort through that even the Highest could grasp it all in the moments that followed the wake of its end. The worst part was that there was very little way to know what had caused such an outcome. Toiling Maegan frowned as she stood there separating her thoughts and emotions into the Void to keep her bond holder from becoming too curious. Unknown to Bonding and what it all entailed Maegan had no wish for one so young to know or even see a glimpse of the inner workings of the Tower. Replaying the Halls orders over and over again in her mind, she could not recall any plausible reason for the Hall to send so many Full Sisters to unlock the mysterious information that each Eye and Ear was receiving from Caemlyn. The possibility that the E&E's were miss informed to this degree was highly underestimated by all of them, but that left no purpose for them to leave. Maegan silently fumed, feeding it into the Void. She had only agreed to join the company to oversee and take notes. Were there to be any Male Channelers it would be departmental for one of the Red Shawl to be among the masses. Thus lead to both her and Muirenn signing their name into the roaster. Now the Eldest was stilled. Stilled! She shook her head as Req returned, passed her the spade, and then left her alone. Alone to stand amoung the rubble and chaos of death that lay at her feet. Stealing away one past moment, she whispered a prayer that she had not spoken since she had been a child in her fathers house. A prayer for the Living. A Prayer for the Dead. A prayer that the Creator of Light guard them in the final days to come. A prayer to feel less alone. Maegan Ryanne Sedai The Highest Now you still speak of day old hate Though your whole world has gone up into flames And isn't it great to find that you're really worth nothing And how safe it is to feel safe... The things we do just to stay alive Day Old Hate - City and Colour Poem - "Poetic Death" - Vespera "Ves" Renard (BFF)
  7. Patrols were definitely one of the worst of the chores assigned. In Serge's opinion, anyway. They required so much...effort. Especially with the bizarre weather recently. It was much too hot to be tromping about. Even with that supposed 'trick' to forget about the heat, he could feel a trickle of sweat roll down his ribs. Wearing wool in this heat. It was worse than summer in the Perfumed Quarter! Well, maybe not worse. Andor didn't have that rather...distinctive...smell of the docks. But back home no one was as foolish as to wear wool during the dead of summer. Black wool. He was brought out of his silent misery by one of the others who had quit moving and put a hand out. Serge looked up and saw what had made the others stop. A gateway was spinning open, but Serge didn't feel saidin being channeled. He scratched at his forearm. This wool itched too. Or maybe it was the bugs. He stared as the gateway opened, and nearly a dozen women on horseback came out. A dozen women. Through a gateway. Aes Sedai. They must be Aes Sedai. Or agents of the Shadow? He had never seen an Aes Sedai before, so he had no idea what they were supposed to look like. But they had appeared from nowhere. Wasn't that proof enough? He grasped saidin immediately, hearing a buzz of conversation from the others, and it seemed that someone was shouting orders, but he couldn't make them out over the general din. He felt others grabbing hold of the True Source as well, and then there was something trying to come between him and the source, sharp, cutting. He lashed out instictively and it shattered. He heard cries from the others and a fireball streaked outward, impossible to tell from whom, and exploded in the middle of the Aes Sedai group. A small knot of men with swords detached themselves from the women and ran at the men from the Black Tower. And then, it was chaos. -Serge Karminov Dedicated of the Black Tower
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