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ooc for reference check this if dont know gate to the blight https://dragonmount.com/forums/topic/23764-mainplotline-progress-story-wise-1000-ne/?tab=comments#comment-677238 ___________ Elmira looked at the note, what was the woman thinking, or her mother she guessed but she never goten used to that, in her head her fostermum was mom. It was too soon, she had been away already enough from the litle ones and now she wanted her to make another trip up to that lightforsaken gate, oh she knew the official story and all but still. Also the risks going there, she was so close to Tar Valon, and with a warder poping by unanounced with an Aes Sedai, it was too risky. She closed her eyes while her mind realed, she might serve the dark but it had mostly been in the smaller ways, helping with messages, shiping of objects, now and then sheltering someone but that was before the farm was bought. She knew she had to go though, there was no way she could not, the woman was not only her mother, but high ranking enough that if this wasnt personal, then defying her would not come cheap. She knew she had some leeway staying under the radar so no one would know who she was, the woman aparently did hold some odd affection for her children, though she also knew she had been unsuccessfull returning her long lost brother. Elmira wished in part she had had the chance to see him, but knew that probably as he escaped and in the way he grew up before M'bela found him, well it would been a risk. She had no doubt given half a chance the boy would kill both her and the kids, well maybe he would keep them the way he had been and raise them to the light, who knew. Tomorrow, tomorow would have to be soon enough, she promised Toby they would play cards tonight, and she wanted to put Nemi to bed herself before going, also had to get a friend to come out from the village close to Tar Valon to watch the kids while she was gone, and the horses. She chewed her lip, what a mess. ________ Elmira sat on top of her gneldring, the horse was a sturdy one, at least this trip hadent taken her too long, though the horse had not loved the smell of shadowspawn as they crossed the border they had not seen any. Thank the dark one, she was sure she had been watched, but she had not seen a one, however it had not taken long before she had a human escort. She looked at the man departing and back to the gate infront of her and the guard, she sighed and showed the note attached to the letter she had gotten and was showed inside. She was biting down on dry biscuits and an apple as she waited in a front room to see M'bela, aparently she was out in a meeting, and no one seemed to be keen to let her wander, so she was stuck waiting. She finally heard footsteps and the tall woman who was her mother entered, Elmira wasnt small herself, but her biological mother trumped her by and inch. M'bela was silent as she walked past just motioning for her to follow, she was used to this from her, always strict on aparences in public. The door slamed shut behind her as they entered as spacious office before she could close it, Elmira jumped, she would never get used to that feeling, channelers, one would think growing up in Tar Valon she did, but she didnt like the idea of what it made them capable of. "Sitt!" Elmira grabed a chair, and waited patiently as a cup of tea was flowed infront of her, she knew better then to step her on the toes and causiously asked "What may I help you with mother?" M'bela looked at her daughter, the woman never fully accepted her as her mother she knew that, but it didnt change her feelings towards her, the girl was her cub, a weakness, but also a link to her past and good memories. She tilted her head looking at her, she was unsure how she would react, but she was none to pleased with how her brother had acted, and while it was not something she had given completely up on, her duties to the the great lord had put her plans to bring him home on hold a bit since he ran off. She was not going to loose more grip on the rest of the family then needed, her daugther in secretsy had been a nescesity before, but with how things had changed she could now bring her closer, and she could keep an closer eye on her grandkids. She may be cold in other ways, but she had grown up without a family, and hers did mean a lot to her, even if she could not show it, the thought of having the children around brougth a smile to her lips. Oh, she knew otherwise she was no fan of the noisy bastards, but these ones were her blood, it made it different. "I think its time you and those kids were out from under the shadow of the witches in the White Tower and their city" Elmira grew cold as she heard the words, she had a bad feeling about this, what was she up too, what did it mean. She liked her peacefull farm life, would she be reasigned now to other duties, taking her away from the kids more or what was going on. She looked at the other warily "What do you mean?", she sipped her tea but it had gone tasteless. M'bela looked at her daughter, it seemed she was not taking the news too well, she knew the girl better then she knew her, and never had a problem reading her. She had no patience for stupidness though, "The cover up with the farm, your old history, its no longer needed. The shadows peace means you can safely join me here, I do know you like your horses, but we need food here too, I found a farmland you can use, but you will live in the village, its safer for the litle ones for now untill everything is set up and calmed down around here" "No!" Elmira sudenly went pale as she realised what she said, she closed her eyes, this was not how she would solve this, she could see the darkness in M'belas eyes as she grew anoyed, she had to be carefull here. "No, please, its a good set up, the kids no one know about them and its safe, and Toby may inherit the farm some day, and.." she was cut off with a motion of the others hand waving her arguments away and eyes telling her to be silent. "I could not keep you and your brother with me, he was lost, and only the great lords luck saved you. Neither of you got to aspire to what you could have been, it was just as well with how tings was you couldnt channel, but things have changed" she looked sternly at her daugther "You are still young and can still work the ranks if you desire to, or you can farm as you grown so fond of, I will not hold what you learned to hold dear and make you happy against you.." her voice soft a moment, it was just how it had had to be "..but do not doom your children to the same, for all you know one or both of them may have a talent for joining our ranks in different ways, and the younger they start learning the better. I will make sure they have good teachers so they have a good chance at coming earlier into their own, then was posible for you guys." M'bela considered the topic closed "I will send someone back with you, and I asume you have a chart at that farm place you can bring anything that is of sentimental value, everything else will be suplied for you here. You can go rest, I sugest some sleep as I arranged for a return this evening, I'd have you travel here, but its not wise to open gates that close to the white tower curently" She rose and walked to the window looking out, signalising that Elmira was dismissed. ___ Elmira looked at the sky, she wanted to scream but there was so many people around, and she was not sure going outside the walls would be smart. She could see no way around this, taking the kids on the run a life on the road wasnt a life, the farm was their stability it was her sons future. But no more, she followed someone too a room and lay down looking into the roof, there was no escaping her mother, she had climbed to far in rank, her hands had too long a reach, and she knew all too well that her mom had not even given up on her brother. No, fighting M'bela on this was senceless, this was a batle she neither had the resources or rank to do anything about, especially with the shadows peace meaning she couldnt even seek refuge in another section of the shadow and maybe get cover for a while. Not to think about the danger it could place her kids in, she closed her eyes, move up here, leave everything she worked for, curse them all, for the first time she wished she never heard of the great lord. __ Elmira looked at the farm, she been through it three times, her friend would mind it while the letter reached the owner, would look after the horses. Part of her wouldnt mind bringing some of those, but if she was to disapear without trace with the story she cooked up, it was better not to. She had blamed finding love, and needing to go so they wouldnt be delayed in delivering merchant wares. Nemi thougth of it all as an adventure, but Toby had a lot more questions. She didnt blame him, he had been raised to one time take over the farm, he had learned so much about horses from that warder and adored her even if he was starting to learn of being on different sides in the grand spectre of things. They were both packed up in the wagon, Nemi was blinking rapidly to keep awake, but Elmira knew tiredness would soon overtake her, Toby just seemed thougthfull, and she wasnt quite sure about what he was thinking, this had been his home his entire life and he would in a few years start becoming a young man. She worried how this would affect him, his grandmothers plans certainly differed from those she had had for him. She heard the driver shout and crack the whip in the air, and the wagon started rolling, she looked one last time taking in the view of the farm, then turned her head leting her hood fall forth and turned her horse to follow. Another chapter of her life closing.
Corik sat outside on a bench in the courtyard. The newly risen sun shown down on him from behind, casting his shadow out in front of himself. A gentle breeze stirred his red hair. He did not notice, his focus was on the book he held, unopened, in his hand. Most mornings were spent in training. To know the sword had been something he had always thirsted for. It motivated him and his dedication had been rewarded. He was far from a blademaster but he knew how to fight. He was no easy opponent and he would only get better. The philosophy of the Children of the Light was something that some spent more time on than others. In Corik’s eyes it was simple. Aes Sedai, dragonsworn, bandits, thieves, and those that opposed the children were all darkfriends. It was his job to find them and deal with them. It was unavoidable. The light could not live in harmony with the darkness. One or the other would prevail and the other would fail. While his superiors did not necessarily disagree they desired Corik to have a deeper knowledge of the Children. It was because of this that he held a book in his hands instead of his sword. Lothair Mantelar, he had known the name of their founder but little about his life. He opened the book and began reading about a time before the children when the world was torn with war and an order of priests emerged known as The Light.
It had been a few days since Merdyn and Nox had become a ‘thing.’ They didn’t really have a label. That was fine. What label could they have? Exclusive? That went without saying. Nox wasn’t going to be sleeping around on him, and Merdyn’s heart would not let him look elsewhere. Not that he wanted to. He would have liked to considered them betrothed, but that would be too soon, and that also operated on the assumption that Merdyn could find someone to wed them eventually. Did they even need someone to wed them? Merdyn was disinherited and Nox had no legal claims outside of the Black Tower. The only thing a wedding would do was seal them together with words, a more mundane Warder bond. Perhaps the M’Hael would do it for us…… And there I go again… Getting about five years ahead of myself. Thank the Light I don’t drink anymore, otherwise I'd never be able to keep my thoughts to myself… Then again, if I was still a lousy drunkard, I doubt Nox and I would have gotten together… Nothing more than a little bit of watered wine with dinner and that’s it, nothing harder, not for the rest of my days… Small price to pay to be with someone you love so much. He had moved a chest of his clothing into Nox’s house the day after they ‘sealed the deal.’ The man had been all smiles since then. Oh, he had assured Merdyn that he would be a thunderous ball of emotion, but that nimbus cloud had yet to show it’s ugly head. Everything was coming up Merdyn and he couldn’t contain his excitement. Before Merdyn had confessed his feelings for the other man, he had done small things here and there for Nox in an effort to cheer him up. There were times when his lover had shut down, but he was able to pull the man out of it each time. It made him feel good about the future. So, today he decided to surprise Nox by sprucing up their love nest. Merdyn should’ve asked, it wasn’t his space, it was Nox’s. But Nox had also said that Merdyn could share it with him. Opening the door and shuffling in, Merdyn let a bundle fall from his arms. The sack burst open as it hit the ground, silken pillows with a matching duvet, curtains, and a few small pieces of art spilled out of the jute sack and onto the floor. Earlier in the day, Merdyn had covered the wooden floor with his favorite carpet; it was large and heavy, with a red-and-blue Tairen maze running along its edges. Mother had given it to him ages ago. There were other touches of Merdyn throughout the room. A golden candelabra stood in the corner, offering a warm glow to the room. Elsewhere sat various books from around the world, Sea Folk porcelain vases, and even an antique piece of Cuendillar; it was shaped in the form of a panther, the Gilyard house symbol. Merdyn had even hidden a few sacks of gold, silver, and copper beneath one of the floorboards. It never hurt to have a secret stash of coin on hand. Without missing a beat, Merdyn channeled air and brought the items out of the sack. With a deft touch, he scattered them around the room. The bed became more inviting and luxurious with its new additions, the windows looking bigger with their floor-to-ceiling curtains, and the walls more vibrant with the paintings he set upon them. Merdyn dusted his hands, feeling very proud of himself. Nox’s simple cottage was starting to look like a real home. True, Merdyn’s own chambers were now stark and bare; but he didn’t intend to spend much time alone in those rooms anymore. This was his new home. With Nox. Thank the Light Nox had to teach a few new recruits today… I’d never get this all done if he wasn’t preoccupied. Oh, I cannot wait to see his face! The place looks incredible! A palace almost! Nox deserves it. He deserves the entire world! If only I could give it to him… No… This will have to do for now… Light, I love that man. Merdyn picked up the jute sack and spun on his heel. The next step in the plan was to run over to the Soup Kitchen and fix them a lovely lunch. He’d have it all set up here, atop a brand-new tablecloth and even more Sea Folk porcelain. Nox’s heart would melt at the sight of it, Merdyn was sure of it. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to fetch the lunch; the door to the little ‘love-nest’ started to open and he knew it was his lover on the other side of that big door. No one else would bother barging in unannounced, save Adrim… But then, Merdyn didn’t actually know if Adrim would show up unannounced. No. It had to be Nox. Plastering the biggest smile he could muster onto his face, Merdyn stood there with open arms, waiting for Nox to enter the house. Merdyn was planning on giving him the biggest kiss possible… And maybe more… If Nox was touched enough by the redecorating.
That hasn't gone as he'd thought it would. The anxiety built up as he walked to his house. His breathing was rapid and his heart was beating into his chest. Nox wasn't sure this was a great idea. But it was the only one he had. Merdyn would be by. Maybe. He hoped. The paranoia played out in his head, all the bad things that would happen. He could see them playing out in his mind. He hated the paranoia. Hated the anxiety. Hated feeling worthless. Nox opened the door to his house and he waved his hand all the candle lights lit. It wasn't a romantic scene he was setting thought it was an interesting scenario that Nox tried to focus on as he sat down on his bed and tugged off his black boots. He unbutton each button on his black coat slowly and methodically before folding it carefully and setting it on the bench next to his bed. Nox tugged on a black tunic that hung open half way down his chest. Waiting was going to be hell. Nox tried to focus on other things, but he kept coming back to all the things that could happen. The worst fear was Merdyn would come in laugh at him, make him aware that he liked men. And laugh because he did. Every childhood fear, every john who treated him like a waste of space. Every kid who beat him. Nox waited... and his mind fell farther.