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  1. Kiyi's fingers moved rhythmically, deftly, in the manner of one doing a thing so habitual that they no longer need to pay much attention to their task and indeed, her mind was occupied elsewhere. Embroidery was one of many skills she'd been taught by her mother, and it was her mother she thought of as she worked now. It was so often the case these days; wondering whether or not Margaere had completed her journey to Amadicia safely, how she was faring there, and did she miss her daughter much? Kiyi tormented herself with that last, still ambivalent over her mother's choice to go to the one place Kiyi herself could not safely go. With a sigh, she inspected the wooden hoop and its contents, checking the floral pattern gradually taking shape on the taut canvas. The colours were vibrant, pretty, reminiscent of a summer's day. It was to be a gift for Carina Sedai's study... a poor recompense for all the Sister had done, but Kiyi hoped she would like it anyway. The previous day had been exhausting. Bone deep tiring. Hours and hours of practising the weaves required during the test for the shawl. All 100 of them. In order. Just as she had done dozens of times since her Arches. First under Carina's watchful eyes and then under Nynaeve Sedai's gimlet gaze. A fond if rueful smile curved Kiyi's mouth as she considered those two very different women. Not people to be trifled with. Hard some might say, in their own inimical ways, and those people would not be wrong. But there was such depth and complexity to the Sisters that few knew about. Kiyi wasn't entirely sure how she would have survived her years in the Tower without them, conscious as ever of a deep seated gratitude to both the Brown and Yellow. "Still," she muttered under her breath, "they make the most conscientious task masters!" It had been late in the evening before Nynaeve had allowed her to return to the Accepted Quarters, and the bed she'd been yearning for; yet knowing that there were too few hours of sleep until she had to be up and at her tasks again. A sudden perfunctory rap on her door was swiftly followed by the entrance of the Mistress of Novices and Kiyi stood hurriedly, dropping a precise curtsy. Larindhra Sedai's ageless face considered her in silence for a moment and then she spoke the words Kiyi had waited so long to hear. “Kiyissalle Chevra, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. The Light keep you whole and see you safe.” The woman turned on her heel without waiting for any response, already heading off down the corridor, and Kiyi hastened to catch up. It wouldn't do to be judged and found wanting for something as silly as tardiness or inattention. Not now. Not when the world was suddenly within her grasp. She schooled her face to stillness and calm as best she could, breathing deeply and refusing to let her fingers curl into the material of her dress despite their instinct to do so. She was not an inexperienced Novice any longer. Somehow, she had to wrap herself in serenity and calm before she reached their destination.
  2. Ooc ok let's get some partying on, been way too long since last. Liitha shook the dust of her cape, she looked forward to being inside, she hoped the wind of the mountain would soon turn and take the smell away. She had spent the afternoon helping out patrolling, and by now normally would be heading back to the Brown quarters, but not tonight, Cara was busy with her books. Liitha wasn't sure what it was she was investigating and with the mood she was in she was not about to ask. She knew to stay away when she was in this mood, so she was heading for the nearest inn to get an ale, and see if there was some better company to find. She folded the cape up over her arm as she headed in to one with jolly music going on, seemed just what she was in the mood for tonight. After getting an ale and ordering some stew she headed over to a table in the middle to sit down and wait to see who else would be wandering in after a tiresome shift.
  3. Following this: **** Aiden had gone to the Master at Arms following the ironic situation of the fight with Giles. He was an idiot. He had no proof. And his mother was a well known Warder, his father too. Bloody people think he could be a darkfriend? It didn't matter that it was true, but not in anything other than word of mouth. The Dark Lord hadn't called him specifically to do anything yet. Though there was always that possibility. But he was a nothing, son of a darkfriend. No one even knew his mother was bad. Very few had found out who she was when she was here last. That was so long ago. She'd been dead most of his life now. And it was sad. He and the Master at Arms went to Mistress Loari in the forge and the daggers were presented. She had looked at them fondly saying I remember them. She looked at me and laughed. His belongings were given back to him pending a formal investigation, but so far his words spoke the truth. Aiden didn't know what would happen next but it didn't matter. It was back to business as usual until then. Aiden was sure people had heard all about it by now, and he wasn't looking forward to explaining himself over and over again. It sucked Tayln had gotten caught, he'd never really met Taylor's brother, but the idiot had gotten caught. So stupid!
  4. There was not a single black thread in all of Tar Valon. It would not be found on a seamstress' thread rack in a housewife's basket. Aes Sedai did not wear black at all, and that tradition carried into the grand city itself. No one wore a lick of the color, not in lace nor cord nor thread. Yet, Tar Valon had men dressed in black coats not only in the city itself, but the White Tower. Well, their uniform was black, but they certainly weren't wearing it now. But it didn't change the fact that it was their uniform, marking them. Oh, they had not walked through the city, no, but remembering it made her head ache. Jagen wanted to rub it away, but she stayed her hand. She could feel Aslan there. A man, bonded to her. A man who had bonded her. A man, using saidin, had… Jagen looked up at the sky. It was overcast, and for this she was grateful. It matched her soured mood. She had been trying to calm herself since that… incident. She had had one other meeting with that man, one that was shorter than me expected, perhaps. But today, that had to change. If she was to be bonded to him, whether she liked it or not, she had to get to know him. It had taken her a week to finally decide to have a second meeting. She did not wear her shawl today which, though she had been Aes Sedai for a long time, was unusual for the woman when she met with visitors or guests who were not of Tar Valon. She smoothed her dress, one of maroon and cream brocaded clinging silk, walking down a main corridor in the Tower. She had sent a message through a White Tower servant to Aslan, to have him meet her at the Tower's main grand entrance. The Taraboner—in her people's style of dress, with her hair in dozens of braids and a veil over the lower half of her face—inclined her head towards an old couple, perhaps petitioners who were seeking Healing or some other matter. Well, in truth, Jagen was older than them, but she was always grateful not to look the part. She passed through the main hall and made her way to the Red Quarters. From here she chose a sitting room available to the sisters who did not want to meet in their rooms. The room held a dozen comfortable chairs and had two marble fireplaces. A servant was tending a single, lit fire when she entered. Jagen dismissed her with a short word. Now she would wait. The Sitter pursed her lips, her jaw tight; it was not the waiting she minded, but the thought of being in a room with a man who could channel. Oh, she could, if she really wanted to, sever him on her own. But such a thing was against Tower law, and she'd be severely punished. Perhaps even stilled herself, and sent to a farm for the rest of her life. It was not worth it. Not unless she deemed him dangerous. At least here, where novices, Accepted, servants and visitors went about their daily tasks, she would not be alone in meeting him again. In public she felt more at ease and more in control. Soon enough, the Asha'man entered. Jagen turned to face him, standing regally. Jagen needed to appear strong; she was strong, she reminded herself. "Enjoying the city, Aslan?" She asked in a way of greeting. It wasn't a friendly tone, but neutral as she could make it.
  5. OOC: This is a WT approved Retro-RP taking place after Kathleen Sedai takes over Elessar Gaidin’s Bond from Carys Sedai IC but before they head out on their Borderland-journey in the previously posted RP “A Bond of Emerald Grace”, and much before Elessar’s later adventures. The Prologue below (which consists of several re-posted former IC-posts) sets the stage for this new Retro-RP. PROLOGUE To Pass A Bond: Part 1 ►▼◄ Elessar’s life was filled with dreams. Or so it felt. Much more so than normal. And he wondered why. Perhaps it was all a result of his constant restlessness these days. His feeling of stagnation as a Warder in the White Tower. His need for some action.. to do something. Anything. His worry about Carys. Thinking about her, made him aware of the emotion that was her at the back of his head, and as so often these days she felt weary to him. He shook his head in concern and placed his sword, which he had been sharpening, beside him on the bench there at the outskirts of the Warder’s Yard. Clouds were spreading across the sky above Tar Valon that early afternoon, mirroring his troubling thoughts. A soft wind was rising from the south, making the banners atop the Tower walls slowly ripple, and it seemed that a storm was coming. Looking up at the grey sky, the Gaidin waited. ● He was a man six foot three tall with a fairly dark complexion, short dark hair and hard dark eyes. He had a strong build (a result of hard physical training over many years) and also some battle-scars, most prominent was one across his abdomen. In fury over the death of his mother and his inability to prevent it, he had shaved off his forked beard (so common in Kandori men) long ago and had never re-grown it. Touching his bare chin, as his eyes roamed the heavens for a long time looking for the bird of prey he seeked, he wondered if he ever would re-grow his Kandori forked beard. He did not think he would. He had made his choice and he would abide by it. There! High above, coming in from the east, he saw the bird float on the currents high above the Aes Sedai city, as he had seen it on several occasions in the past three days. He followed it with his eyes as it flew off into the west. A bird of prey. A free soul. A small smile touched his lips and he reached for his blade. To be out in the world again. Doing his Warder duty. Carrying out his sworn service. Outside. Where he could contribute. That was his inner wish. To feel needed. ● Carys. His thoughts often stayed on her. And on them. On their Bond. On his worries. On his frustration that there seemed nothing he could do to change things. He was dutibound to serve Carys in whatever capacity. Part of him felt it was wrong to even question this. Wrong to complain. Do your duty and stop whining! that little voice in the back of his mind said. He listened only partially to the voice. This was complicated. As things often were in life. It had been days since he’d last seen Carys - a quick hello as she was instructing an Accepted on how to set a broken bone - but it felt like months in truth. If he were honest with himself, the closeness that they’d acquired on their travels had now melted into an awkward acquaintance type feeling. The distance between them was palpable and he didn’t know how to fix it. So, in a way, it seemed to him that they avoided each other. She stayed busy in the Infimary - and he spent his time…anywhere else. It was, Elessar thought, almost as if the memories of their time together - their travels and adventures in Cairhien, Ebou Dar, and with the Sea Folk - had happened in another life. And, he supposed, perhaps it had. It was different then, he thought, as he stared silently out at the ever darkening sky from the window in his Tower room. Out on the road, I was needed. I could carry out my duty and service - and I did not feel restrained. She needed me back then. He truly missed those days. With Carys at his side, as it had been with Leandreen many years before, he had felt as if he could make a true difference in the world. That he could excel as a Warder. Now, trapped in the Tower, he felt almost useless. That was, perhaps, an unfair notion and he would never say anything like that to Carys, of course, but recently he had struggled to suppress the feeling. ● Shifting his gaze to a pair of young Warder-trainees going through the forms some way off to his left, his mind returned to the present. To his concerns. To his tension. To his growing unease. His mind was occupied with heavy thoughts that burdened him and so he turned away from the trainees, taking with him the blade he had trained with that afternoon, and headed resolutely for his room. It is going to be awkward. The thought bustled in his mind as he walked. For both of us. He and Carys were going to dine together this evening. She had invited him. And he had known straight away that this was going to be more than a mere meal shared together. They had avoided each other for too long and it was time to speak out. She had not said as much, of course, but he felt sure this was the case. They had, after all, not spoken for what seemed ages. How did we drift so far apart? he wondered for the hundreth time. When did we stop confiding in each other? Inside he knew the truth. He had admitted it to himself a few times, but still part of him denied it. Her work in the Tower takes all her time now. And I cannot function well locked up. I need to be outside. In the open. Only there can I do my duty: to protect and serve. That is my life. Even so, he was bound to Carys and his duty lay with her. I swore on my life. I will not break my oath. It seemed hard, very hard indeed, but there was nothing to do but grit his teeth and steel his heart and serve as he was honour-bound to do. ▀▄
  6. For PART 1 of this RP-thread see ->> ----------- PART 2 .. Revisited by Memories and Wounds that never Heal .. ►▼◄ Elessar was lost in Dreams and Memories.. ● The days had passed by, one day flowing seamlessly into the next, as they had waited at the ‘Ocean Mistress’ inn, in the city and Capital of Tanchico by the Aryth Ocean, for new orders from the White Tower. They had certainly needed the rest after their months of travel and hardship, facing Darkfriends and Whitecloaks alike, their persistent efforts leading to the successful freeing of the imprisoned Green Sister from the Whitecloak stronghold not long ago. By now, however, both Elessar and Myrrhi, his Bonded young Aes Sedai, were becoming restless and ready to get on with their next mission for the White Tower. Since they had been ordered to wait until further notice, it was apparent that they were not returning straight away to Tar Valon. The Warder had ambivalent feelings in that regard; part of him had looked forward to getting back to the White Tower after their many months of strenuous travel and adventures, but another part knew very well that he had always been happiest as a Gaidin on the road, away from the restricting Tower and Warder grounds, on missons and adventures with his Aes Sedai(s). It was difficult to know how Myrrhi felt, she did not speak about it during their talks and he did not press her, but as the days passed Elessar found he looked more and more forward to receiving word of their next mission and waited with anticipation for the Tower messenger to arrive with instructions. ● A strong southern ocean wind beat insistently against the windows of his room at the inn one late evening, a forerunner of a coming storm, darkness enveloping the skies in all directions as night embraced the region, but the Bonded Warder heard or sensed nothing of this as his mind was back in the Borderlands, deep in memories of the past, re-living a visit made years before.. ● .. A strong morning breeze makes the colourful red-on-white background, star-illustrated Telcontar Banner beside the Estate Main Gate ripple with abundant life - as Elessar Gaidin and Kathleen Aes Sedai of the White Tower ride through the imposing gate and onto the front grounds - almost as if welcoming a lost son home... Memories.. ..Elessar, in his distinct Warder colour-shifting cloak, and Kathleen Aes Sedai, his Bondholder, in her green formal riding dress with a green fringed shawl around her shoulders depicting her Ajah, entered the manor house together and received respectful bows from the members of the Telcontar family. “Welcome to our house, Aes Sedai - we are honoured”, said a tall broad-shouldered man in a friendly and respectful voice, beckoning them inside. Valdherien Telcontar, lord of this manor, was a hospitable man. He wore silver chains over a formal dark-blue coat cut in the Kandori fashion, muted silk trousers and Borderlander footwear. His beard was in the distinctive forked style of his countrymen, he had two jewelled earrings in each ear, there were some gray patches in his dark hair, and his jaw protruded a little more from his tanned face than was the case with Elessar, but even so it was not difficult to see that the two were brothers. They clasped shoulders in heartfelt welcome, though Valdherien’s eyes were slightly hesitant, a look which the Warder returned. The moment passed and they joined the others - Valdherien’s wife Leonorah, a tall beautiful Borderlander woman who wore a stylish Kandori dress with a necklace made in an intricate pattern known as the ‘Kandori snowflake pattern’, and their two daughters, leading the way - as they headed down a hallway and into the main lounge. “Father?” Elessar asked his brother, in an uneasy voice, as they rounded a corner, and Valdherien, with a sigh he was unable to repress, replied that their father was out in the gardens. Elessar nodded and said no more, but inside he was debating with himself whether it would be wise to postpone the confrontation with his father, or simply get it over with. He had not decided by the time they reached the main lounge and his older brother bade them seat themselves in the ancient-looking chairs in the room and have a drink. On the walls were old paintings depicting Borderland history - scenery, towns, Borderlander warriors and battles -, paintings that Elessar knew from old had been passed down through several Telcontar generations. His age-long interest in history and battles had been born in part due to these old paintings and the small but distinct library of history and story-books that resided in a different part of the manor. ● After drink and some polite conversation Elessar excused himself, with a quick nod at his Aes Sedai which was returned, and headed out into the gardens. His unease increased as he walked toward a lonely figure standing some way off, tension he was sure Kathleen would feel through the Bond, but he had to get this over with. He had been in doubt whether to wait or - possibly - avoid the confrontation, but in the end had decided that this was the only way. He had to deal with his father at some point and he was tired of this chasm of anger and distrust which had developed between them. As he neared the lone figure, standing by an apple tree, he recognized his father’s features and posture. The old man turned around and faced his son in silence. He looked just as Elessar remembered him from his last visit several years before, though perhaps a touch frailer. Saamlin Telcontar, a proud man of dark skin with angry dark eyes and a hard face, stared angrily at Elessar but said nothing. Of all the brothers Elessar had always resembled his father the most, also becoming the martial son his father had always wanted - and nurtured. Elessar, however, thought it might be this very sameness - almost like a mirror image - that had driven his father from great pride in his son, as he had travelled to Tar Valon to become a Warder of the White Tower, to great, unyielding anger at him - and perhaps himself - for Elessar being unable to save the youngest son Vehran from drowning. It had happened on his first visit home a few years after finishing Warder training, during a forest trek in one of Kandor’s several valleys. Vehran and he had gone swimming in a Borderland river there, the currents had been strong - stronger than they had anticipated - and Vehran had accidentally slipped and knocked his head on a rock, disappearing flailing into the rushing water. Elessar had heard his brother’s scream but had been too far away to do anything, and by the time he reached his brother’s body, carried by the frantic stream further downriver, and got it out of the water, it was too late. His father had never forgiven him for not saving Vehran’s life. “You were the older brother, it was your responsibility to take care of him, Elessar! How could you not see the danger!? How were you, a trained Warder, unable to save him!? It is on your head. You are no longer a son of mine!” The harsh, bitter words rang in Elessar’s head still, even after so many years. And perhaps his father was right. He blamed himself for his younger brother’s death, even if perhaps unfairly, another sin weighing down on his soul.. ● Elessar tossed and turned in bed from the painful memory. He was swiftly drawn back to that time at the Telcontar Estate, back to the painful confrontation with his father.. ..The Warder turned away from his father’s accusing stare. He stared silently into the orchard of apple trees, flowerbeds and grassy grounds that enveloped the estate. Compared to other Kandori estates, of greater noble families, this was a fairly modest sized estate. Even so, it would have been considered a fair sized estate in some smaller countries and to a young Elessar it had, at the time, seemed the world. It was the world to me, he thought. For a while. In his mind’s eye, memories flowing, he was back in these gardens on a beautiful spring afternoon, the sun shining from a cloudless sky, a young Borderlander boy running freely around in play, face full of boyish glee, his two brothers at his heels - one older, one younger, but all three in many ways the same - none of them with any cares in the world.. ..Screams of delight and childish banter between brothers reaching out from the past, echoing in Elessar’s head.. ..”Wait for me, Elessar!” screams Vehran as he tries to catch up with his two elder brothers. “Faster, Vehran!” shouts Elessar as he tries to get to the Tree before a panting Valdherien. “Elessar, I will beat you..!” shouts Valdherien as he runs shoulder to shoulder with him. “Never!” screams the ever competitive Elessar back, as he storms ahead for the narrow win. Soon all three brothers lay laughing, gasping for air in the grass before the Climbing Tree .. ● Fond memories.. the Calm before the Storm.. Without turning, his eyes fixed on the Climbing Tree of his childhood some way off, Elessar said in a clear, strong voice. “Father, I am sorry.. but we must end this!”. His voice cut through the wall of silence between them. “This anger, this hatred.. will not bring Vehran back.” Vehran, I am sorry, he thought. My brother, forgive me. “Blame me all you wish.. I blame myself also, though I did what I could.. but please, let us end this strife. It’s been too long. It is destroying our family!” It is destroying you, he added in his mind. He clenched his fists and calmed his thoughts, trying to find the Flame and the Void. It was a struggle due to his inner distress. His father remained silent and Elessar could feel his eyes boring into his back. Seconds stretched into what seemed forever, the Warder waiting for the outburst that would surely come, but there was only silence. Just as Elessar was certain his father would not respond, the prolonged silence was broken by a malevolent curse. His father spat another curse and leaving obscenities in his wake he stomped off toward the manor without looking back. Elessar sighed, shaking his head sadly, and turned in time to see the figure of his angry father in the distance, closing in on the manor buildings. I tried. He thought in abject misery. Blast! But I tried! He had known that his attempt at reconciliation might not succeed, that this ..chasm.. between them was perhaps yet too deep, but he had hoped.. Perhaps his father simply needed more time. Perhaps.. ● When he returned a little later to the manor’s main lounge and exchanged a quick glance with his brother, the other man shook his head slightly, in that way letting Elessar know that their father was not there but gone for the time being. The Warder nodded resignedly, releasing some tension, putting the matter aside for now, then turned to his Bondholder. Meeting her eyes, his mood lightened. “Will you join me, Kathleen Aes Sedai”, he asked, using her formal title to give her added recognition and respect, “in the gardens. I will show you the Telcontar family estate.” There was pride in his voice and in his step - pride in his family and in her - , the pain of the confrontation and the loss temporarily put aside, as he led his Bondholder out onto the grounds.. ● When he woke early the next morning, with soft light from rising sunlight barely escaping the very dark clouds in the horizon and rain, pushed by heavy storm winds, hitting the window of his room hard, Elessar was in a daze, his head heavy, echoes of his aching, ever difficult dream-memories swirling in his fogged mind. The pain of the past at the Telcontar Estate up in his native Borderlands was a lingering memory, a painful moment - and part - of his life, one that had intermittently revisited him over the years, and he wondered not for the first time if that emotional wound would ever heal. ▀▄
  7. Tar Valon. Merdyn could hardly believe that he was finally here. The sacred city nestled on the banks of the River Erinin, Dragonmount looming dangerously on the horizon. The second largest city in the Westlands; the seat of Aes Sedai power. Men and women came to this Ogier-designed city for petitions, healings, and guidance. As an Asha’man, Merydn felt a tinge of guilt over his awe at the sight of the brilliant white buildings. Being the son of one of the High Seats of Andor, Merdyn should have visited this place long ago; but life had never steered him in this direction. Merdyn Gilyard was a man that had a Talent for Traveling; boring a hole into the Pattern, he had found himself stepping out just a few yards from the Shining Walls that enclosed the city. The walls in question were said to be impregnable; oh, they looked like Cuendillar, but Merdyn knew better… Although one never did know what the future held. Perhaps a Sister here wound find themselves with the Talent to create such a thing and then, perhaps, the city of Tar Valon would be truly protected from any outside forces. Merdyn pocketed the thought for later, it would be a handy suggestion to offer up to the Red Sister he was slated to meet with today. He had all sorts of those ideas stowed away. Asha’men were ‘new’ to the world, true, but youth often sprung innovation. Merdyn had vowed to himself to prove to the Sisters just how useful the Black Tower could be, if only in their ideas for the future. It had taken the better part of an hour or two, but before long, he was stepping into the White Tower itself. The city that surrounded the Aes Sedai stronghold had reminded him of Camelyn. It made him homesick. One of the other brothers back at the Black Tower had estimated that Tar Valon had housed over 500,000 citizens, not including the Sisters; a number that put the population of the Farm to shame. Oh, the Black Tower was thriving, and more came seeking refuge every day. It would take another generation or two, probably several or more, before their numbers reached even half of that, but still, it was something to think on. Nox had not come with Merdyn; his heart ached at being separated from his true love, but as an Asha’man, there would be times where duty would separate them. It was moments like these that Merdyn had wished Nox would consent to the Warder Bond… At least then Merdyn would always know that Nox was safe, alive, and where he may be; they would never truly be separated again. Now was not the time for emotions. Now was the time to act the professional gentleman, putting his best foot forward to represent the Black Tower. With a stiff upper lip, Merdyn entered the Tower and was lead off by a young Accepted wearing the typical stark white dress banded in the colors of the seven Ajahs. The M’Hael had named Merdyn the official liaison between the Black Tower and the Red Ajah. The thought scared Merdyn slightly; the two groups had enjoyed tense relations at best. The Reds were known for Gentling men such as Merdyn, it had been a shock for everyone when the Ajah had bowed to their ideals and started Bonding men of the Black Tower. It was something that spoke of the Ajah’s commitment to the Final Battle. If they were to overcome any of this, they would have to work together. There had been a time that Merdyn would have willingly been Bonded to a Sister, even a Red, but that time had long since passed. He had Nox now, and although it would’ve done wonders for relations between the Towers, Merdyn would no longer allow such a Bonding to happen. Nox held claim over his heart and soul, if there were one person in the Pattern that held the right to Bond Merdyn, it was Nox. Today, Merdyn was to meet with a Jagen Sedai. She was a high ranking member of the Red Ajah. The plan was to enter into talks concerning both group’s mutual interests and how they may come together to work better as partners on this hellish road to Tarmon Gai’don. Merdyn was the face of the Black Tower so far as the Reds were concerned, and he relished in the opportunity. He was a tad nervous, but life as a noble and being groomed to become the next head of the Great House of Gilyard… Well, Merdyn was more than equipped to deal with these talks. The M’Hael had made the right decision in naming Merdyn liaison with the Reds. There was no doubt in his mind that the talks would go well. With any luck, they would wrap this all up over tea and he would be back home in the arms of Nox before nightfall. Merdyn was genuinely good-natured, there was nothing to hide here, and he honestly hoped for the prosperity between the two Towers; surely this Jagen would see all of that. And if all else failed, Merdyn had brought seven fat chests of gold with him, to honor each Ajah.
  8. Heart racing, Edana rolled out of the way of the blade falling towards her head. She lifted her sword defensively to block the kill-shot to her skull, the hard stone floor bruising her knees as she scrambled for enough room to find her feet again. Something caught on her foot, and she tugged on it to pull it free, only to feel it tightly wrapped in whatever had caught it. She growled in frustration, unable to look away to see the cause as her attacker, a tall, dark haired swordsman with no small amount of skill, started swinging at her, again. She parried them all away, by the end, swatting at the sword to unbalance it as fatigued pulled at her arms. He hacked down on her, heavy blows that bore her to the ground as exhaustion took over her limbs and she dropped to the floor under them. She panted from exertion, sweat beading her brow, and a scream of frustration and pain filling her lungs as the blade came down one last time, pain exploding in her head. Wish a gasp, Edana jerked herself awake, her fingers touching the pain in her forehead as she opened her eyes to take it in the room around her. It was her room in the barracks, a spartan space with very little furniture. She'd cracked her head on one of the four pieces she owned, a small set of drawers that stood next to her bed that contained her maintenance kits for her weapons and a few odds and ends she'd picked up over the last few years here in the Yard. She cursed, realizing she'd fallen off the bed, the blanket she'd been sleeping under wrapped around her foot, trapping it. She eased it off her foot and rolled to sit on her backside, her knees bent and her forearms braced upon them. The moon glittered off of a blade laying on a table on the other side of the room and she grimaced, looking away quickly. It was a heron-marked sword. The smooth double edged blade was heavier than she liked her blades and the hilt was a hand and a half for a normal sized man. It wasn't balanced or fitted for a woman. It wasn't made for her. She'd taken it from a dead man three months ago. The nightmares had haunted her ever since. The Captain hadn't believed her capable of defeating a Blade Master and he'd questioned her and checked her story with Kynwric multiple times before giving up and accepting that she'd done what he'd considered impossible. She'd killed a Blade Master. She'd gotten lucky is more like it. She'd never admit it to the Captain, but she felt like a fraud every time she held that sword. As if he knew it, the Captain required her to add it to her nightly kit while she was on duty. He said it gave hope to the others, that if Edana could manage it, anyone on that wall could do it, too. She had worn it every time she'd left this room ever since, mostly to rub salt in his wounds about it. He didn't have to know she felt like a fraud. It was bad enough she was living with it. She rubbed her eyes and looked out the window at the pitch black sky and sighed. There was no way she was getting back to sleep, now, and only one way to make sure she was exhausted enough to catch a nap before her shift on the wall came due. She rose and dressed quietly, taking time to wrap her legs to keep the pants from flapping on top of her boots and her forearms to keep her shirt from tearing under her vambraces. She laced her armor steadily, finally lifting the dreaded sword from the table and sliding it home into the sheath at her hip before walking out of her room, out of the barracks, and out into the yard to find a pell demanding death. The pells were far enough away from the sleeping quarters that she wouldn't wake anyone and maybe, just maybe, she could convince herself that she was good enough to have earned the sword she was using to destroy the thing. She stood in the moonlight, closing her eyes and feeling the air move around her. She pictured a stream, smoothly bending and moving along its banks and moved through sword forms without touching the pell in front of her. She made the movements more of a meditation, a function of breathing more than fighting. She searched for peace among the comfort of the shifts in muscle and weight and, when she found none, she stepped forward and brutalized the pell, instead. She heard movement behind her, but didn't stop until she was sure the movement was drawing closer. She turned, sword slashing in a flat arch from her hip to ward off whomever was wandering the Yard at this unfathomable hour. She pulled the shot short as Kynwric stopped just out of her reach. She straightened a bit awkwardly and slid the sword home again, swiping her hands at her face which bore the tell-tale tracks of tears she hadn't realized she was shedding. "Master Kynwric, to what do I owe the pleasure? Don't you have a wife to keep warm on a night like this?" ~Edana
  9. The night had been long, or it had felt like it. But it had also given Corin a great deal of time to think and make some decisions. A few of which he did not like the answers even though he knew there was little in the way of options open to him. Some he was not sure he ever would accept again; no matter how much faith she had in him. He still did not understand or comprehend how a person could control another’s dream or what this dream world that Lavinya had spoken of was. But he did know the fear that was on her face and in her voice. A very real and petrifying fear that had gripped her like he had never seen before. How he was suppose to fight and protect her against something he couldn’t understand or even touch was a puzzle he would need a lot of time to work on. It had taken a goodly portion of his mind all night and his only solution to date was what he had laid out around him. The small court yard in the rear of the Inn to which they were staying in was not the Tower training grounds and had little in the way of offering beyond that of a small patch of green in which Corin presently sat. He had left as soon as Lavinya had awoken and seemed comfortable enough with the light to let him go. He had made one stop in his room to collect a few items and one where the Red Guard was camped to collect a few others. That had made for an interesting conversation with the captain, but in the end the man had relented with his request. All that thinking and morning bustle had born the fruit of his present placement in the yard and the array of deaths edges that fanned out from a point centered directly opposite him. At the moment they served no purpose, not until his new unaware student arrived. While he waited Corin sought peaceful contemplation in the one place he found beneficial for such a quest. Sitting cross-legged on the grass and enveloped in the separation of the void, Corin took the time to go deep into the void as he had when he was learning from one of its masters. When it came to need for fighting and the Great Game, one only need immerse themselves shallowly in the void: enough to separate from the distractions of the body and mind to accomplish the required task. But the master of the void who had taught Corin had also introduced him to deeper levels. Places where contemplation became easy and the connection with the world around began to blend into one entity. He never reached the same depth as the master that taught him, but he had spent far less time in its study and embrace. This deep level of separation he had not visited in a long time, allowing the chaos of life to interfere with his daily journeys; journeys that would now require a great deal of clarity and thought. He had passed quickly through the separation of emotion and thought, through the flame into itself. All came easy and natural to him now, rarely did he even think on the process. But this morning he had. He had taken the time to walk the passage into the void slowly and deliberately. His goal was a deeper depth, a place he had not visited in a long time. Breathing in deeply once more Corin let the blackened quick of the candle grow to surround him; blackness and isolation. Everything was nothing and nothing existed in the center of that darkness. He breathed again deep in his chest as if his very heart drew the breath on its own. Felt the flow of air fill his nose; a cool pooling behind his eyes. The pressure of it pushed at the walls of his lungs and diaphragm as if to remind him of his limits. For a lasting moment he held the breath within, savouring the growing warmth in his chest as his body heated the air; then released it in a long slow silent sigh. As the breath left his body it carried away the last vestiges of self and internal chaos. In the emptiness that remained he floated as if a stick on the surface of the ocean. Here there was nothing and everything. The wash of sunlight across his face held the gentleness of a butterfly kiss and the warmth of a lover’s lips. The smell of the grass and the dirt beneath it a solid earthy anchor to hold him steadfast and offer him a sure footing. This was the levels he sought. The place he had not visited in far too long a span. The jumbled puzzles that plagued his mind once more slithered across the glassy dome surrounding him. He watched each one with fascination; a child’s curiosity. The world outside held so many complex and meaningless requests of him. Why did it have to be so? Misplaced trust flickered on the outside before fading back into the abyss. He had placed a great deal of trust in Sirayn. Too much in fact, allowing himself to be distracted from true purpose. If he had resisted the worlds follies of that relationship and listened more deeply to what was not said would she still be here with them? Even deep within the void, an answer to that question would never surface. That was the work of the Wheel as it was with all things. Once the wheel had spun out the fate there was nothing mortal man could do to reclaim it. It was an acceptance he knew he would have to accept even thought for now he could not. Soon he would have to close that chapter of his life and allow the Wheel to use him as it needed once more. As much as he continued to fight the thought he was slowly beginning to realize that the Wheel had not finished with his thread and it’s interweaving with Lavinya. His only hope now was that it was not his intense wool headed stubbornness to accept the new path the Wheel was trying to weave him to that had cause the remove of Sirayn’s thread. Even deep in the isolation of the void Corin could feel another part of his heart slowly die and harden. He made a poor offering for Lavinya but the Wheel did not seem to see it the same way. In answer to his unvoiced questions, his skin brought note of movement in the flow of air. Small currents and eddies announced the movement and the slight floral scent tinged with vanilla named it Lavinya. Without opening his eyes he indicated to a place across from him centered on the fan of bright edges. There was a pause before he felt movement again; the brief cast of a shadow across his face. To what reaction she might have had to his silent indication he did not know. It was not necessary, only that she was here and kept an open mind. He took a few more moments in the peaceful separation to mentally prepare himself for their dance. They had found a measure of common footing and last night seemed to cement their present truce even more. He Hoped it would last, she would probably not believe him if he were to say it, but he hated fighting with her; especially with her. “I see you have found my note, are you ready to learn?” Corin opened his eyes, his face was soft but traces of emotion and exhaustion were beginning to edge his features as the tranquility of the void slipped from him.
  10. OOC: Ok so I’m bringing her back! *is excited* She is about 35 years old at this point. She will be going white. IC: Ara put down her book and stood. Stretching she felt her back crack. She had been sitting to long and her head was filled with the history of the economics in Ebu Dar. It was a dry subject…but she new it was good to know about different countries. She had a Class to teach in about 30 minutes. Gathering her brilliant red hair into a twist she gathered her things together. AS she walked to the classrooms she thought about her time in the tower. She knew he time for raising would be soon…She had spent long years as an accepted and knew from her talks with sisters and the Mistress of Novices that her time would come soon but unexpectedly. She had thought long hours on what Ajah she would join…She still was undecided…but she knew two called to her. Brown or White? It would have to decided upon under meditation and deep contemplation. Arriving to her class she taught about the One Power to a group of Novices. They were just beginning so did not see much success. Even though they were not progressing in the touching of the source, they were intelligent girls..asking good questions and learning facts quickly. She was please with their sponge like brains unlike some classes she had to teach. Some of her classes were gossipy girl who needed a penance for wasting time. As she dismissed her class she picked up and used the power to quickly dust the board. Turning around she was surprised to see the Mistress of Novices standing there.
  11. Aeveryn had finally surrendered to the urge to leave the white tower. Ever since reaching the shawl, she had felt the urge to go ride somewhere. It had been her sense of duty that had kept her in her Ajah‘s quarters though. She had waited for some sensible purpose, some actual reason that would require her to leave the white tower. But her waiting had been fruitless. She had found herself standing at the large windows of her sitting room for hours, staring beyond the vague landscape on the other side of the Erinin and she had felt the longing to go there. Still, it seemed to be a waste of time. Often she stood there and contemplated if her hesitation to leave the tower was based on her trying several times as novice and her being punished severely for her attempts. But then one last summer day she had just done it. Some of her belongings had been packed for some time. That one morning she just left. That had been two weeks ago. It felt good to be on the road again, and she did not mind it very much that she was on her own. Well, someone to talk to like Vera Sedai or Rossa would have been good. But for the moment, she was too consumed with the sensation of freedom to be irritated to much with that. Her horse was a fairly young charger and you could tell the beast was almost as unused to be ridden as she was to ride. Well, she had been a skilled rider, but the last time she had sat longer then an hour atop a horse had been thirty years ago. Sometimes it seemed that had been another life, or a memory of something that had not really happened. But as long as she was calm, her gelding was easy too and she hoped they would manage to get along well enough for now to get used to each other. Aeveryn was slowly making her way down in an south-western direction ever since leaving the tower and as she rode she was searching for signs or landmarks she would remember from when she had taken this route to the tower, but it seemed everything had either changed or her mind was barren. Casting an eye up against the sky she checked to make sure her dark blue coat was near. There were some dark clouds up above and the last blue flecks of sky had passed by early this morning. She had the distinct feeling it would still rain later on. She just hoped it would begin when she had reached some tavern or inn. For a moment she considered her divided shirts and rearrange the dress she wore. She wondered if it had been a mistake to only take along silk for a travel like this. It was a riding gown, but somehow she now wished she had taken some woolen gowns as well. Maybe she was imagining things, but she did feel as if she was utterly overdressed for this undertaking. Rossa had taken her to the dressmakers and while she had been first rather irritated about the gold she was spending - her gold! She had to admit now that she really did think every penny had been worth it. Well she had taken a liking for silk and even for these tiny embroideries. Her main consideration was now that the dress might wear too quickly. She realized she had been engrossed with her dress for too long. And the moment she looked up she realized it had been a grave mistake. A lone rider was up ahead on the otherwise solemn and perfectly empty road. Normally there was no reason to be afraid. She was a woman, all right, but not as she had been when she had come to the white tower. She was a full sister now. She wore the ring, even if she had left her blue fringed shawl in her saddle bags. Leaving that in the tower had never occurred to her. Differently to some other novices and accepted she had never trained with the warders in the yards. But right then, even with Saidar at her disposal, she suddenly wished she had. Her face never changed a fraction, but even without power enhanced sight she was certain the rider up ahead was a whitecloak. Embracing Saidar destroyed her last hopes. She could see the man‘s eyes clearly, and the symbol he carried proudly on his bristling white coat. For an instant she contemplated to run, or try to avoid coming any closer to him. But for that it was too late. She relaxed only a little as she realized she did not yet have the agelessness features to her that would be tell-tale to his kind. Keeping her face smooth she rode on. But silently she prayed her travels were not yet over.
  12. 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
  13. Shawn reclined against a tree, marveling as he usually did at the beauty preserved here in the old Ogier Grove. It had been by the lake here in this grove that he had first met with Rosheen to learn the philosophy of the Spring, and here he was waiting so he could pass that knowledge on to her brother of all people. He did not usually take the time to train others in the philosophy he'd chosen to follow but he'd done it a few other times so when Ursana asked him he was glad to help out. Aran, the boy's mentor, was more than capable of teaching him this lesson himself, but he'd left the Tower for some reason and had asked him to help the boy out while he was gone. So here he sat fighting sleep and waiting patiently for the boy to arrive. Would he be an eager student, ready to learn what Shawn had agreed to teach, or would he be one of those arrogant fools that thought they knew better? Knowing Sana as he did he suspected the day would go well. What could be keeping him?
  14. Laughing, Aran handed over the bottle to Lachlan to drink from. It had been an eventful day first with their arrival, and there had been other issues as well. The man’s ‘advisors’ had certainly protested, or tried to until Lachlan had stated infront of everyone that he was making them his new guard. That and there would be a council tomorrow, which his puppetmasters were basing their plotting from what had been eavesdropped. Tonight, at least, was safe. While the others hadn’t really cared to become acquainted with the male channeler, Aran found himself taking a liking to him. He didn’t seem to have a mean bone in him, and he seemed content to simply have someone to talk to he didn’t fear. So, Aran didn’t mind keeping tabs on him, in fact under different circumstances they could have been friends. Problem was that as the hours had passed and the moon had started to rise, that’s exactly what was happening. Outside the tent, there was only a person or two keeping watch, the Tower Guard of course. That was their duty, and acting a role or not the Aes Sedai with them weren’t fit for it. They didn’t know how to push through the boredom like they had learned day after day for years on the wall. But they had kept things under control at least, they hadn’t drawn suspicion to themselves like Aran had feared they might. “Hey hey hey, give that back, my turn for a swig.†Snatching the bottle back from Lachlan, Aran proceeded to help himself to just that before speaking. “So what did you do before all of this anyway? Scribe? Farmer?†Aran Tower Guard
  15. Looking upon his band of brigands, Aran was rather proud of the job they'd managed to achieve. They'd managed to chip away most of the sheen and polish the people had. That had been a particular achievement with the Aes Sedai, of which Aran was thoroughly pleased with himself. Oh, other people had done the majority of the work, but he'd overseen it all and was quite happy to take the credit for it. After all, he was the source of all good things. "Well my little troop, we've traveled far enough and, being about half a mile away from the camp as we are, I wanted to say a couple of words. You all look terrible, so you've done quite a good job. Remember that when we get there, you don't let anyone push you around. Don't wander off by your own either, and in particular, don't even touch the one power." Grinning, Aran continued. "Of course, there is one final thing that hasn't been done, we have yet to pick my wench for the next few days. After careful consideration, deliberation and divination, I've decided on..." Aran pointed to Muirenn. "...My little cherry over there. Now that thats done, we can continue. And remember, don't let anyone push you around." It was late morning by the time they reached the camp. As far as such camps went, it was actually rather organised. People clearly sat with their own groups though, and looking as they were they weren't bothered as they walked in. A bottle in hand, since they'd started walking, Aran had steadily worked his way through the better half of it. Not even tipsy, that wasn't how he was acting. Pointing with the bottle, he started giving orders beginning with Rosheen. "You! I want a camp set up, see to it woman. The rest of you go with her except... You, you and you. No need to look at me like that, you can come along too, but find another one of these bottles and bring it along." Having pointed out Daemon, Cairma and Muirenn, the last was Maegan who for all intents and purposes was his little sister for their little deceit. Slipping an arm around Muirenn's waist and letting his hand hang low, Aran led their little troop in search of their quarry. It didn't take them long to find the rather large tent that their Bandit King called home. The guards looked none pleased at their approach either. "Get lost." "I'm here to see him, my band have decided to join up." "Congratulations, he's in a meeting, go away." Letting his arm fall from Muirenn, Aran took a couple of steps forward with a winning smile. "Get out of my way, now." "I'm not going to te-" The man sank to his knees with his hands buried in his crotch, and as the other one scrabbled for his sword Aran punched the man in the throat. Smiling brightly as he turned to his fellows, Aran took the bottle Maegan was holding with a grin. "Come along." Stepping inside the tent quickly, Aran watched as a table of five men turned and looked at him. "Which one of you is the king?" "That'd be me, who are you?" "Catch." Tossing the unopened bottle to the man who spoke, the man caught it easily enough as Aran continued. "Your guards are really rude, they wouldn't let me in even though I came bearing gifts." Taking a spare seat at the table, Aran threw his feet up as he grinned. "My name's Arry, and these people are some of my band, the rest of which are making camp outside. I was wondering, how much money am I going to get if I fight for you?" Looking over at Muirenn, Aran crooked a finger at her. "Over here my cherry." Aran Tower Guard
  16. It was the trees under the pale moon that awoke Lillian from hear dreamlike trance. For the past two days, she had traveled with her mentor ever since her punishment had been given. For having escaped the White Tower and Tar Valon in the night, she had earnt herself a place at the farm until the White Tower deemed her ready to return. Yet that was hardly the reason why she was lost in her thoughts so much that the past two days that she hadn't even realised they were close until they'd turned off the main road and made for the treeline they were now entering. Passing into the woods, she couldn't help but feel a bit disorientated. The moonlight broke through the foliage occasionally, disrupting her thoughts as they tried to return to what had dominated them for the past two weeks. Mother... Father... I'm sorry, I'm so sorry... It was the cobblestone walls that won her interest back after perhaps twenty minutes of scattered and fragmented thoughts. Three feet high, they ran either side of the trail that they followed. Behind these walls, newly tilled fields could be seen though what they were sown with Lillian couldn't say. The only thing she could make out was an apple orchard to her right a bit further down the road yet by the time she did so, a much more important sight caught her. The farmhouse, the place where she would now live. It looked no different from any other farm, though the face of the building was broad and rimmed by a verandah that ran its entire length. On it she could make out the dark outlines of a few chairs, though the focus shifted as they turned left and towards the stable. A two storey building, it loomed high yet strangely enough the doors were open and a light came from within. The reason for it became obvious as they crossed the threshold, a lady awaited them inside. There was no other way to describe it in Lillian's mind as she looked at the woman openly in the same detached manner she had viewed everything else so far which betrayed she wasn't entirely there. The woman had curly light brown hair that came to her shoulders, and as Lillian dismounted she realised that she had a few inches on the other woman. Yet the woman was much more solid, presumably from work on the farm, lending her more physical presence. Half hearing Halvie Sedai's command, Lillian took the reins of both horses and led them away to the stalls. By the time both of the horses were unsaddled and both settled down, both her mentor and the stranger were gone. Confused, she hefted the saddlebags and carried them to the table near the entrance. Laying them down there, she sat on the stool nearby and quickly forgot where she was, remembering where she had been... Looking up as she felt someone watching her, Lillian looked unwaveringly at the woman who had returned, though her mentor was not with her. Directions were easy to follow, though between her thoughts and the weariness that had manifested itself over whatever time had passed while she'd been in the stable, she was only noticed passing through a couple of doors before she found herself before a bed. She didn't even need to be told. Slipping out of her clothes down to her shift, unaware as to whether the woman was still there or not, she crawled under the covers. Rest eluded her, though for how long she could not say, nor counted. Yet even the worst despair can be engulfed in the merciful embrace of sleep, as it was now. Lillian Tremina Novice of the White Tower
  17. The past few days had been one of frustration in many ways. After the party had found a relatively safe place to camp, Aran and Rosheen had gone scouting ahead to see what the strength was of the male channeler’s forces. Far from him having ten to twenty men of his own, the man had been busy since the party had been dispatched from Tar Valon and had amassed up to a hundred armed followers. Furthermore, the man was calling himself the ‘Bandit King’, either he had a wonderful sense of humour or he was most certainly insane. Not that it had stopped the followers massing, and on the way back to their own camp they had seen fresh tracks, even nearly run into a small band of five or so men making their way to the Bandit King’s camp. Their original plan of ambush and grab was well and truly out the window now. They numbered ten guards and six Aes Sedai, nowhere near the strength required to topple such a force of men. The fact that the local lords had taken no action also bespoke of how interested they would be in committing their retainers to such an attack. Ten Tower Guard against a hundred bandits, Aran had no intention of playing to such odds. While he knew he was rather lucky, at ten apiece they could simply be run down, especially since the quick glimpse they had gotten of the camp revealed they had a number of horses of their own. Open confrontation wouldn’t be feasible. There was another option, though it would no doubt be quite difficult in its own right. Not everyone had his sort of training, especially the Aes Sedai would be a problem. They learnt all their lives to stand out, even their faces were a problem when it came to that. For the past day and a half, he’d been figuring out ways to get around it, but he also had problems with other issues of the plan he’d been thinking of. Namely, it would mean he would have to lead. Something he most certainly did not wish to do, but there it was. No one else in the party would be nearly conversant enough in the manners and the how to do of the role he was thinking of except him. Not that it didn’t present a number of highly amusing possibilities, but he didn’t like the idea of being responsible for everyone. He doubted Rosheen was enjoying it that much either, but she ‘was’ more responsible than himself. They were perhaps only a few hours away from the camp when Aran decided to break the silence. “If we can’t beat them, perhaps we should join them.†The trip to Murandy had been… eventful, to say the least. Rosheen had had some trouble keeping the Tower Guards under control, but after a stern talking to, they at least had been able to see sense. Aran was an entirely different matter, of course. Even the Aes Sedai had been easier to lead then her friend. Not that he particularly bothered her, but his behaviour towards the white haired Aes Sedai had meant that she was hard to lead, and that was a definite thorn in her side. Still, all these troubles were irrelevant when one took into account their current situation. Out numbered by a small bandit army lead by a male channeller, who wasn’t aware of their presence yet, but for how long? Rosheen found herself staring glumly into the distance, thinking of her options. If she could be sure that the Aes Sedai present could shield the man before he noticed they were in the camp… if she hadn’t seen the way their opponent had a watch around the camp… if she didn’t have freshly promoted Tower Guards in her team, then she would have chosen to attack at night. Kill as many as they could before the enemy realized they were there, have the Aes Sedai capture the channeller. Simple, if a little crude. Effective. But that wasn’t going to happen, because there was obviously someone in the camp who knew what he was doing. The entire situation reeked of failure, and Rosheen would have none of that on her first command. Aran startled her out of her thoughts. “Huh? Join them? What are you…†she shook her head the moment the meaning of the suggestion sank in. “That wouldn’t work.†She laughed then, amused by the thought of having Aes Sedai pose as bandits. “They reek of power and nobility.†There was no point in mentioning who she was talking about. Every single Tower Guard in their group could pose as a ruffian, but the Aes Sedai… “Even if we found a way to hide their ageless faces, they’d still act like a bunch of pretentious wenches. And we’ve both seen that the bandits are nowhere near drunk enough most of the time to fall for that.†Laughing at Rosheen’s thoughts about the ability of the Aes Sedai to hide themselves, he had to admit that was true. Still, he had been thinking about that. “Maybe, but given a week to work it out of them, it’d be possible. Show them how to hold a blade, or if they’re completely useless have them play the role of wenches or camp followers. They can tie illusions to their faces, and we could do more with the right pigments if someone got close enough that the illusion failed. It’d allow us to keep them close so we had them under our guard, and ready for when we snatched the Bandit King as he has dubbed himself.†“Their attitudes are going to be a problem though. Especially Muirenn’s attitude. If you hadn’t riled her as much as you did during the trip here… but that’s water under the bridge.†Rosheen frowned a bit. “Still, that doesn’t solve all our problems. Word may have travelled this way, and at least someone in this camp can count. Sixteen travelers, lead by some woman with weird hair? I doubt they’ll put much faith in coincidences.†So if they did this, she wouldn’t be able to lead them when they got to the camp. Her eyes narrowed as she glanced at Aran. “We could of course put someone else in charge. For show, at least. Someone who knows how to act like a thug.†“She had it coming†Aran muttered though his thoughts were elsewhere, namely on the suggestion that he lead. “If I were to lead, it couldn’t just be for show. I would need the authority, and not just from you but from Muirenn as well. There won’t be any room for second guessing once we’re in there, and if I gave an order it’d have to be followed. Especially if I would be talking us into the camp. No room for them to assert their rank in public or private.†Rosheen glared at him. “That’s not going to happen, Aran. You’ll get leadership, and we’ll let Muirenn and the Aes Sedai think you’re in charge, but when things go wrong, you answer to me. I’ll even argue with you in the camp when there’s something I don’t agree with. Have you ever seen a group of mercenaries that agreed with each other every step of the way? Besides that, we have too many women. Coming in as two groups that joined together no more than a few weeks beforehand would explain that, and any strange behaviour we might show.†She didn’t seem to be taking the thought of him asserting control too well at all. “A mercenary captain, or bandit for that matter, leads by strength of character and their sword arm. People might disagree with a captain, but if they disobey they are made to obey, or they’re alternately killed or thrown out of the group. We could argue in public with that explanation, but the decision would have to be mine in the end or any credibility I had as leader would be gone and our cover with it. All it would take is one slip, and it’d be all over.†“You’re forgetting the fact that we’re going to pose as a freshly formed mercenary group. You’re going to have command because your group will consist of six men who look like they can fight, and two women. Mine will consist of five women who look like they can fight, and three women who look about ready to cry when they break a nail. That’s what gives you power in their eyes, and when we’re in the camp, I will support you because you’re the evil I know, as opposed to the evil I don’t know.†Rosheen smirked at Aran. “It’ll be like having a pack of rabid dogs at your heels at all times, but at least no one will ever see us as a cohesive group that can threaten their bandit king.†Thinking it over, Aran struggled with it. He didn’t like the idea of having someone challenging his authority if he were to play the role, mainly because when he had played the role he’d decisively dealt with any questions over leadership. On the otherhand, it was doable, though his role would change somewhat. There was also the question of explaining how the group of women had come to be, though female mercenaries weren’t entirely unknown. “Alright then. But challenge me publically in the camp and I will hit you, I’m warning you in advance.†Grinning at Rosheen, a thought occurred to him. “We’re going to have to exercise the Aes Sedai as well, no more riding horses for them. In fact, we won’t want to take our horses with us into the camp I think. They’re too fine to pass for the steeds that’d be there. We can always steal horses for ourselves when its time to make a run for it anyway and that’s less for any pursuit to use. But then, I’m getting ahead of myself. How do you plan on convincing Muirenn to do whats best?†“Hit me in public and you’ll feel it a month afterwards.†Rosheen said, giving Aran a mock punch in the arm. She wouldn’t go that far in public. She wanted this to work, after all. “And don’t worry about Muirenn. She either tags along our way, or she stays behind. I am not going to risk the lives of ten tower guards and six Aes Sedai just because some crone can’t get over herself.†“Sounds good, and we have at least a couple of hours for me to think about my speech.†Catching Rosheen’s look, Aran laughed. “Oh come on, I’m giving an acceptance speech. Most of them have a bad impression of me anyway, so no harm no foul if I’m the one telling them that they’re going to be learning to walk and to act the wench. And to think, when all is said and done you’ll be salvation to them when you take back leadership officially, make the journey back for you a lot easier.†“I’d object, but…†Rosheen shrugged. “I’ll just tell them they have to listen to you as much as they can stand, and expect to get slapped if they don’t obey and grovel.†She didn’t think they’d get a lot of trouble from the Tower Guards though. Maybe Daemon would have some problems keeping his sword sheathed around a male channeller, but she didn’t think he’d go too far. He wouldn’t endanger the mission. “So should we swing by the town to get some paints and suitable clothes?†“Nah, wait until Muirenn agrees first, then we can use the tower’s purse strings to buy what we need. I don’t want to spend my coin to then find out Muirenn won’t agree, because without her approval we won’t be able to take the Aes Sedai into the camp we’ll need. I think we’ll need to damage our weapons too, put some chips in them and such. Poor enough to not be able to afford whetstones...†And so the conversation continued until they reached the camp in the early evening. Slapping Rosheen on the shoulder for good luck as the woman dismounted, he took her horse’s reins and went to the picket before dismounting himself. Securing both the horses, Aran wandered over and saw Cairma and Daemon along with Maegan and another Aes Sedai he didn’t know. Taking his ease as he laid down by them, he felt a foot nudge him. Raising an eyebrow at Cairma, it seemed she had questions. “Well?†“Well what?†“What did you find out?†“I don’t like riding horses. Ow! Alright.†Rubbing his rib where Cairma had prodded him none too gently, he spoke of what he and Rosheen had seen while they had been scouting. He chose not to mention what they’d discussed on the way back though, that was up to Rosheen and Muirenn to sort out. Aran Tower Guard
  18. Midnight found The Yards the site of a phantom concerto as crickets played their mournful tunes to whoever happened to be awake at that hour. The clack-clack of a late training session provided the percussion, teacher and student moving from one form to the next in different degrees of expertise and grace. A bull frog called to his mate from his hiding place beneath a bridge crossing a carefully landscaped pond and the wind whistled across the reeds on the far end. In the barracks, trainees dreamed fitfully as their minds danced to the music of the summer night. On the walls, a masked woman found solace in the starry sky, lost in deep thought, and a man lay awake in bed feeding dark desires into the Flame and Void. Every ear that the music touched was caught in silent reverie, all except for two sets. Two sets heard a completely different tune. "I will not be treated like a child who was raised only this morning, Commander," Sheena said flatly from her seat in front of Alin's solid oak desk. The room was well-lit, though there was no disguising the late hour. She hadn't slept much in the days since she'd begun planning this expedition and the note signed by Sariene informing her that a Tower Guard had been assigned to travel with her was the icing on an exhausting cake. Despite her weariness and frustration, the Blue held her temper in check for once as she regarded the Master at Arms levelly. "Again, your concern and that of the Hall are both appreciated, but I have worn the shawl for longer than you have breathed air. I will not be needing an escort on this trip, nor do I have the time or energy to babysit some runt with his mother's kitchen knife." "I am afraid it is not my decision to make, Sheena Sedai." He spoke the honorary with an emphasis that could have meant anything or nothing at all. Sheena ignored it, her mind intent on resolving this issue before her scheduled departure the following morning at dawn. "I have my orders and I intend to follow them. For the last time, there's nothing to be done." Her lips thinned, the only indication her annoyance was quickly turning into frustrated anger. The hold on her temper slipped, only slightly but enough to heat her cheeks. "If you wish to take it up with the Hall, that's your business. I do suggest you refrain from waking them at this hour." Sheena opened her mouth to speak, but he spoke over her. "With all do respect, Aes Sedai, there is nothing left to discuss. If you will excuse me, I am going to be." He stood and motioned towards the doors, his face carved from the hardest of stones. Sheena sat motionless, her eyes icy and her face white and devoid of signs of the flaring temper inside. "Your orders are ridiculous and I will not be inconvenienced by them. You may choose whomever you like to carry out this preposterous act of protection, but do not think I will forget this insult to my character." She cut off her words with all the spite she felt, her indignity flushing her cheeks. Sheena stood from her seat, not sparing the wool-headed buffoon of a man who served as the Master at Arms another look. The concert was cutoff abruptly at the sound of a door slamming followed by muttered curses as Sheena made her was back to the Tower in a fury. She stormed past the few men and women awake at that hour, servants in their livery and Aes Sedai or Tower initiates running some late night errand. The few glances directed at her back were those of people long accustomed to her stormy personality. She ignored those, too, as she headed to her rooms in the Blue Quarters. When she finally lay in bed, she stared at the ceiling until the gray of predawn crept in. She hadn't slept a wink. "Light, please tell me Alin gave the assignment to a mute," she croaked before getting out of bed. "This is going to be a long trip." A sea of dried grass and parched shrubs extended for miles to either end of the River Erinin as Ella's Rose made its way south. The mid-summer sun beat down on its crew and passengers with the fervor of high noon and doing nothing to help with the seasickness that still plagued a few of those unaccustomed to traveling on water. An occasional breeze stirred, doing little more than rustling a loose-fitting shirt. One of the sailors shouted suddenly, bringing Sheena back from her rumination and to the scorching reality of her surroundings. Serena stood beside her, the hood of her pastel-colored cloak pulled up over her head to provide some protection from the sun. While the heat didn't touch either of them, they were both subject to sunburns like anyone else and Sheena's talents in Healing were little better than those her friend. Feeling Sheena's eyes on her, Serena looked over and smiled warmly but said nothing. The two had been friends on one level or another when Sheena was raised only shortly after Serena herself and Sheena was glad to have the woman's company. She smiled back and turned her attention to unscrewing the lid off of her waterskin before taking a drink. Serena's warder stood close by watching everywhere and everything that moved and Rosheen sat opposite of them leaning against a barrel sharpening a knife. Thera was a dutiful woman so far as Sheena had seen, though the two had not spoken much. The way Sheena saw it, a Warder's place was with her bondmate and not conversing with other Aes Sedai. For many years now, she had had only limited interactions with Warders and Thera was no exception. There was more to her aloofness, she was sure, but that was a line of thought Sheena did not wish to go down. Rosheen, on the other hand, did not belong in their party anymore than the red-faced street rat Alin had chosen to serve as her protector, not in Sheena's mind. From the young woman's own aloofness, she was very much aware of how Sheena felt. Sheena had made it obvious to the Tower Guards that they were unwelcome and if they had been offended by her unapologetic stance, they did well to hide it thus far. The White Tower was still within sight when Sheena had put them in their place, telling them exactly what was expected of them. The boy, Aran, was below deck and it was just as well. He had a glint in his eye that Sheena had seen in any number of annoying Novices who found it difficult to shed the airs instilled in their noble roots. If anyone would be trouble, it was him; Rosheen was just another annoyance. She had been allowed to travel with them on the understanding that she had business in Whitebridge. What she would do once they reached that point was none of their concern. In the moments after the first shouts announcing their imminent arrival in Aringill, the ship had burst to life as the crew prepared the ship. Sheena said a silent prayer of thanks as she made her way to the room she shared with Serena to fetch her things, grateful that she had only emptied her stomach the first night they were on water. She could remember days when her stomach rumbled at the very sight of water. To think that she was able to make it all the way to Aringill without any major incident was a good sign. She wasn't sure she could bear the humiliation of clutching the deck railings day and night. What she was sure of, though, was that she was anxious to be standing on dry land and the sooner the better. OOC: A bit long, but it got us pretty far. We're finally underway! Post away ladies and gents! Edit: James here, was on west board but meant to be south the way the map is currently drawn. Sorry Cale, would've told ya but ya'd already raced off :)
  19. Time moved swiftly when your mind was occupied and Yrean’s had been occupied much of late, first the disappearance of Gaea, although this had not hurt as much as it might considering there had been a cooling off between the pair. Then there had been Mat’s disappearance and even though she had left Yrean a letter, he still found it hard to believe what she had written. Thirdly there was the training with Dorian, which had become friendship, something that had surprised Yrean at first, but as Dorian forged ahead and became the person he did, Yrean had come to respect him, he had a lot of strength and stamina, as well he was able to put up with Yrean’s sense of humour, which many had not. Now though it was time to start anew. Yrean had been informed that he would be training a new recruit today, one who went by the name of Faerthines, a strange name, and one Yrean had not come across before. As he was leaving the Barracks, he made a mental note to ask after its origin when he met the man. As he entered the Yards, Yrean was greeted by another warm day, one that promised to bring forth sweat in abundance from any foolish enough to venture out into it’s heat come midday. As it was, this early in the day, the heat had yet to build up, and was more than pleasant, this was the time of day Yrean loved best, the early morning quiet, that held the promise of things to come. Yrean headed for the Armoury, it was where he had arranged to meet Faerthines, and he hoped the man would not be late. As it was he showed up just after Yrean did and the two men exchanged pleasantries then Yrean led the way into the armoury, today’s task was a simple one, show Faerthines the different types of weapons that the Armoury held, and see if the he could decide on which two were for him. Yrean Stavrosi We are Grey. We stand between the Light and the Shadow Mentor to Dorian and Faerthines. OOC: Estel, a list of the various weapons can be found here http:// http://www.gaidin.org/armory.php Pick two, but obviously not Power Wrought SwordsJ
  20. Shawn was sitting in his room just staring at the walls. This would be his last day in this room, his last day as a trainee. Today was the day he'd been waiting for for over four years. He'd arrived at the Tower at sixteen and now he was ready to begin his service as a Tower Guard. Yesterday afternoon Ginae had called him into her office, given him the good news, and explained his part of the ceremony. She'd explained that he needed a Tower Guard and an Aes Sedai to stand for him and he'd spent last night arranging it. His mentor, Corin, would stand on behalf of the Guards and he'd arranged for Christine Sedai, of the Green Ajah, to stand for the Tower. He laughed as he thought of how she must have reacted to the request he'd asked a novice to deliver for him. He'd simply reminded her of a favor he'd done her and asked for the same in return. He wasn't sure if she'd even remember him but the letter she sent back agreeing to come said that she did indeed remember him. It was nearly noon. Shawn dressed in the nicest clothes he had, the blue on blue uniform from his time as Captain of the blue team of trainees. He was no longer a trainee but neither was he yet a Tower Guard, and besides it was the best he had. He was halfway down the hall when he rushed back to his room. He'd forgotten, he was to arrive at the ceremony unarmed. He left his swords on his bed next to his other weapons, his clothes, and the rest of his meager belongings. Dene had offered to come by while he was gone and move his things into the room they'd be sharing. Taking a moment to calm himself again, he girded himself in the Spring and made his way to the ceremony at the Glade of Remembrance. OOC: Please each post your reactions and arrivals. I'll then post the ceremony in one post and then Krelsa can assign me to a squad. Thanks.
  21. A scatter of solitary stars up in the sky, touched here and there with fading tints of rose, heralded messages flying to several different folk. Like the spider at the heart of a great web Sirayn twitched the strings she had tied to people of ambition, cunning and wit, devious folk who, like her, would stop at nothing to achieve their ends; and obediently, small spiders in turn, waiting in her shadow to realise their full promise, those summoned came to her call. The seeds of secrecy scattered far across a citadel just starting to fall into slumber. Scarcely a whisper stirred among the ivory white corridors, a spell of footsteps in the silence, a shift of shadow maybe while folk flitted across open spaces, nothing to warn those who lived nearby. One by one the recipients of her terse messages entered her quarters. Installed in a soft white chair near the fire Sirayn watched with a cool grey gaze, fingers lightly steepled, while they came to her; from the youngest only a few decades to the shawl, to some whom she had known for a century and more; Green Ajah in the most part, with a trio to make up other colours, they stood for a great sweep of generations and causes. Their loyalties lay with her now, of course, or otherwise she would not have involved them with this at all. The mission she had in mind for them was not illegal as such; but it required a certain discretion of which she deemed few truly capable, not to mention another uncommon quality, being trustworthy. Few would dare to interfere in her business at all of course. Tradition dictated otherwise and her own standing was strong. Nevertheless, it was with a certain satisfaction that Sirayn noted the arrival of all those sisters she had summoned, from Domani youngsters Lavinya and Christine to Serena, once of Saldaea, Alyria the Mayener and of course her Cairhienin counterpart, Aramina sur Dulciena. Sisters. A slight inclination of her head, fractionally more than she would have granted those of similar rank had they not been sworn to her. Their courage in breaking long held custom deserved respect and, besides, one did not scorn those few one could trust. "Thank you for attending me this evening. Take a seat if you will." A careless gesture indicated chairs set out ready for their gathering. Fire leaped bright and blazing in the grate; its heat warded against the night's cool. "I have a certain task which I intend to trust to you all." Sirayn cut straight to business, though her gaze remained just as sharp on those gathered to her. "There is work to be done over near Cairhien. Something which, shall we say, requires the kind of judgement only Aes Sedai can exercise properly. I shall not be leaving Tar Valon myself and I think you will perform this task commendably in my absence, in which, I trust, you will not disappoint me." "I imagine everyone will know that the city of Cairhien," briefly she looked toward her fellow Cairhienin, both as composed as ever, "is currently held by Aiel and other madmen purporting to be pawns of the Dragon Reborn. The truth of that is open to question; however, what is indisputable is that strife and hardship has hold beneath the Topless Towers at this moment, resulting in a great many refugees. Near this city they have been massing and causing some difficulty to the local town folk. There is, possibly, some danger of an uprising. I am tasking you with investigating this refugee camp, the problems within and restoring some measure of calm to the region. I need not remind you that the whole place is swarming with dangers which may not scruple to target Aes Sedai. This is your official mission. Should anyone trouble you I trust you can think of other reasons. "You will also be visiting a holding in the area. If my information is correct, there is a woman at the Rashad Ranch who is skilled in certain helpful substances; drugs, herbs and poisons, if I may be so blunt, in the supply and use of which I am greatly interested. You will locate her, negotiate with her for a supply of whatever poisons and so on she will agree to send, and otherwise see what you can learn from the area. This is your real mission. You will not fail it." Briefly she paused measuring the responses of those present. These were good women, some harder than others, a few highly skilled at trades she did not herself practise, and all useful to her cause. "The party will be led by Aramina Sedai." She had not yet confided in the other woman exactly what she intended, in her experience it was best to conceal all from Cairhienin as much as possible given their subtlety and cunning, but as expected Aramina sur Dulciena gave no outward sign of startlement. She rather thought this one would make it into the Hall before long. She had that marked out for some others gathered here as well; not that she could overtly place those in other Ajahs, but there were more discreet moves she could make, and lack of caution could frustrate her plans as easily as any other. "Are there any questions?"
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