Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

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Andy
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Andy » July 5th, 2017, 5:10 pm

Alrim nodded in response to her words, she spoke sense and it couldn't be ignored. He came face to face with Storm once more and took a few more moments to stroke and interact with her. It was better that she at least be able to know he was no threat if something untoward happened beyond the walls. He got a gentle push by her nose and he smiled and stepped back. He wondered how fierce she must be out in the field for such a gentle creature to have such a might name.

"I would be delighted" was all he said in response to the offer of dinner.

It had been some time since he had eaten with a channeler and had a relaxing time of it. A lot of them seemed to want to get rid of him once his use was up. The Greens, he had observed, tended to be the ones who were more personable. Clearly an Ajah trait. Perhaps it was the fact that they had to deal with Gaidin so often, given their tasks and crusades. Either way he accompanied Tia to the Mess Hall where the world was always loudest and boasting was a time honoured tradition.

"Why did you choose the Green?" he asked her as he picked his food - a deep bowl of what looked like beef broth and some crusty, buttered bread. That was one hand, the bread inside the broth to soften a bit. With the other he took a few cuts of various meats, cheeses and an apple. It was standard fare and he appreciated it. "I mean, it is of course the best of the Ajah's, but I am curious as to what swayed you"

He turned to let another get to the food only to bump into a familiar face that clapped him on the shoulder so hard that he almost lost what he had gotten.

"Back with us again then Bells? Still alive too. Good, good. Come join us lad, we're telling stories about that madness"

"Hello Ulthwin, you bellows blower," he turned his head towards Tia ever so slightly, "if you like tall tales this one's about the best there is. Claims he felled six Trollocs at once with nothing but a knife and spoon"

"All true lad," Ulthwin bowed his head respectfully to Tia, "nice to see you Tia Sedai. I can tell you all about it if you like?" the man let him go then with another clap of the shoulder for good measure. "Anyway, you can't talk lad, learned thing or two about everyone with those tales. Anyway, offer open any time" he winked at Alrim before tunring to begin his tale, voice booming as usual.

Alrim shook his head and looked to Tia, shrugging as he pushed through the benches to find a table near the bear of a man and his tales but not so close as to be drowned out by him. What could he say? He liked the grizzled veteran and his cards and dice had won him a few friends at the Citadel. Amongst other achievements.

"Sorry Tia, he means well. Always has a knack for sneaking up on you too for having that gut of his" he chuckled as he sat down heavily, enjoying the first opportunity to rest his legs for the whole day.
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Roan » July 8th, 2017, 5:17 pm

Tia Sedai
Ulthwin’s booming voice filled the hall as he started to tell his tale. Tia couldn’t help the soft laugh as she followed Alrim to the table, “You don’t have to apologize for men like him. They tend to be the heart of their units, keeping people together when they might otherwise scatter...keeping their mood light when darkness might otherwise bring them down. Or at least that is something my mother would say.”

Setting her food on the table, she sat on the bench opposite Alrim, “I trust her word on such things given her experience out here. There is a comraderie that comes with being either a guard or Gaidin out here that is forged in steel, sweat and blood. While those of us who channel are respected, we’re not quite included in that comraderie.”

Taking a bite of the stew she grabbed, Tia shrugged, “I don’t know if it is something others notice, and I don’t think it intentional. They all know we fight the Shadow standing shoulder to shoulder with them. The difference, though, can be hard to ignore, I suppose.” There was no animosity in her words. . .just a simple mater-of-fact tone.

“So tell me. . .why did you sign the ledger for the Warder Yards of the Grey Tower?” Tia asked before tucking into her stew.
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Andy » July 8th, 2017, 5:55 pm

He listened as he pulled at the bread in the broth, tearing of small chunks to chew upon in thought. He did like Ulthwin well enough, he just had the knack of turning up to try to embarrass him at the worst times. Alrim didn't begrudge that, he just didn't want to hear another rendition of 'The Ram and the Wall' - or whichever title it had now. Tia's words were true enough though, he had to admit. Alrim found it far easier to form bonds with the fighting men than most channelers he knew. They were set part, somewhat.

"I would think she would be right," he conceded, "I like the man, even if he is insufferable at times. Grizzled bear" he shook his head.

"As for comraderie, perhaps something could be done about it. I don't think they really think about it. Maybe someone just needs to tell them. Never was one to believe in divisions. However small" he stated simply, filing away the thoughts for later conversation with a few people. He ran them through his mind and blinked at himself. Not too long ago he'd have exploited division. Strange how time changed things.

He heard the first few words of the knife and spoon story, along with the grumbling and asking for newer stories, and smirked as he continued to eat, looking up to regard Tia when he wasn't shovelling things into his mouth. He was hardly the most tutored of eaters but then he had never had to be. The inevitable question came in the end, as he knew it would do. It always did. Briefly his face had a sad, almost pained expression to it before it vanished beneath his usual countenance and smiles. His gaze flicked to the side, to the soldiers who if tradition was proof would start moving into gambling, drinking and singing soon enough, seeking answers that would like as not never arrive.

"In short, I didn't," he sipped from his ale, "whatever Ravak Gaidin says. He talked about choices with me a while back. Agreed with him once. Think he was talking a load of rubbish to keep me at the Tower these days" he leaned back, a piece of cheese in his hand before he looped it up to catch it in his mouth.

He eyed her, using the convenient break to decide how much to say, if anything. She was a nice Aes Sedai and had been quite open with him. Seemed only fair, as he swallowed, that he gave her the same.

"I came to the Tower under duress. Family wanted me gone. Too much trouble. Petty crime, shame, the usual reasons. Although, if I say so myself, I did a much better job of being disreputable than most," he sighed, "wasted life. It's what my father said. He was right, of course. Sent me to the Tower"

"Doesn't matter now. It was all an act. Or desperation maybe. His one last attempt to make me make something of myself that wasn't all about gambling and crime. I still gamble but these days I try to be the best that I can be. I came here, to the Citadel, for that. Protecting others, sure. But only one way to get better at fighting the Shadow and that's to do it. I've no illusions what my future will be - Blightborder, Greens and soldiers either side. My kind of redemption, you could say" he finished, beginning to eat once more.

It was difficult not to feel that opening up inside, that ever deep hole that never seemed to get filled. The knowledge that he'd never see them again. Estates and money meant little to him. He'd have given it all up if it brought just one of them back. Instead he did what he always did, hide it away as best he could, hope it wasn't noticed and generally march onward and do his job.

"I would imagine that you always knew you'd be doing what you're doing now, no? With a lineage like yours I can see it being practically in your bones. Ever wonder what life'd be like if you'd just done something simple?"
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Roan » July 9th, 2017, 10:04 pm

Tia Sedai
Simple. Was there such a thing as a simple life? Tia wasn’t even sure she knew what simple meant, at least in context to her and her family. “Well. . .there were no guarantees that I would have the Spark, or be able to learn to channel. Truth be told, when my parents decided to return to the Tower, I decided I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my Mother and earn the right to be called Gaidin.

“The Wheel weaves as it will, as they say, and I was found to have the Spark, so off to Novice Whites for me,” she replied with a wry smile. “I hated that dress. Truth be told, I dislike dresses and wearing them only when I must. Needless to say, my time as a learning rank was all the more frustrating for the dresses.”

Her lips twitched as she rolled her eyes and shrugged before stuffing her face with more stew and crusty bread. “As keen as I was to get to the Warder Yards, though, once I was bundled up in Novice Whites, I almost never visited the Yards. I didn’t start learning unarmed until after I had the Shawl. While it is not unusual for other Novices and Accepted to avoid the Yards to learn, given how determined I was to be a Gaidin…” She shook her head with amusement, “I think the Yards became a reminder of what I couldn’t have, though I did come to terms with it.

“Having said that, I think I need to work on my skills with unarmed combat, and I’ve been contemplating picking up daggers. I have a very basic understanding of archery, thanks to Mother, but ranged weapons aren’t as effective as my ability to channel,” she finished before taking another bite of her stew.

Cocking her head slightly, she looked to Alrim, “What is your weapon of choice?”
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Andy » July 10th, 2017, 4:02 pm

"A shame, I suspect one would suit you," he hid his grin poorly behind a hunk of cheese, "alas it shall be but a rarity"

Still it made sense to him, even though she rolled her eyes and clearly had a deeper aversion to the garment than functionality. It was hard to fight in a dress he imagined. He had never tried, of course. He wondered if the other Greens that wore dresses did so for a particular reason. Perhaps they just liked to be eye-catching. A puzzle for another time.

"Sounds like we both got where we are unexpectedly. Somewhat. For what it's worth I am glad it ended up this way. Too many stuffy ones, if I am allowed to say that. We need more like you"

It was simple truth and he meant it. It was a strange transformation that Dedicated and Accepted who would stop and chat to you suddenly turned their nose up after becoming fully raised. It made him wonder what it was they put them through as their final test - and assuredly there was a final test. Then again many who became Gaidin changed too. He hoped that he would not change too much. He supposed he would have to change a little, but he could live with that. He heard the stories come to a close and the beginnings of the nightly drinking begin.

"Cards, ale, words and what smarts I have" he returned her question about weapons, "against people anyway. Tends to be best if you win without fighting and you can get a lot done with the little things"

"As for actual weapons, I use the sword mostly. A bit of dagger and unarmed just in case. Taught by talented people too. Prefer fighting from the ground than a horse but you can't have everything. If you were of the mind I'd be happy to spar with you when you have the time, though if you want the best for unarmed then Dax Gaidin is your man" he conceded alongside the offer.

"Haven't done much archery, never got around to it. Would probably be wise to do so one day. Was thinking of pole arms too, perhaps. Need to perfect what I've got first though. I imagine to do that will take some time. But then time I have" he leaned back, his food finished and the rough beat of a tune from one corner of the hall beginning to rise.

"I have a question for you though, trivial as it may seem. Would you like to have some fun with the front lines before the morning? I do believe they will have dice, drinking, stories, maybe dancing and most likely people falling over to laugh at by the end. Hard lives breed people who enjoy things when they can," he gestured to the beginnings of the traditional nightly amusements, "and it would, of course, go a long way toward breaking down that wall you mentioned. Unless, of course, you don't feel up to it" he tilted his head as he looked at her, the slightly teasing challenge that would probably come back to bite him and bells falling over his face slightly. He never was very good at being proper, respectful and serious. Everyone died beside each other the same, he had learned that all too quickly at the Tower.

If she declined he would join them anyway, once she had decided to retire, if he didn't he'd never hear the end of it from Ulthwin and the rest. He'd stick with her until then of course, Tia deserved as much and he did like her company. But he would never be able to repress the desire to have fun and encourage others into having it where he could. Life was short, at least for him and fighters who didn't have the One Power. He'd take what he could, when he could, before his day came around.
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Roan » July 10th, 2017, 7:17 pm

Tia Sedai
Tia shot Alrim a ‘look,’ though her smile seemed to lessen any venom in said look. “I didn’t say I never wore them. . .they are just not my preferred choice of clothing. There are some Sisters who are fine fighting in dresses, but I like to be able to breath if I’m to square off against someone.” Thoughts went to the dress she wore to Cairhien and how tight it had been around her chest. She couldn’t even bend over without struggling to breath. Why did women think to do that to themselves?

The Aes Sedai paused and listened to him explain his weapon choices as she focused on her stew. After washing down the last bite, she replied, “Sparring. . .I may take you up on the offer if we have time, though I suspect time may not be something we have much of once we head out tomorrow.”

When Alrim asked if she’d care to join him and the others for a bit of light hearted fun, she didn’t even hesitate as she nodded, “I’d be happy to join you and the other has for a bit of entertainment. It’s not like I have much else on the docket for the night.” Just as she finished replying, Ulthwin barked a laugh that filled the entire mess hall. A number of the others joined him in the shared laugh, and she wondered what the joke had been. Perhaps taking part in their camaraderie would indeed help bring down those walls.
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Andy » July 10th, 2017, 7:46 pm

What happened? the thought came to him as his eyes flickered open and the hammer started on his skull.

He rolled sideways and fell face first onto the floor, an oath escaping his lips as he pushed himself up and tried to piece together his memory. Clearly he had been drinking but it was what he had done whilst drinking that concerned him. He had come to the Citadel, met Tia, had some food and conversation and...and...he pressed his forehead against the cold stone of the wall and groaned. He had introduced them to Ulthwin and his group. He wasn't quite sure yet but he had the feeling that it had gone well even if they had done their best to make fun of him and pull his leg.

"Ugly bastards" he muttered to himself as he made his way to the table and poured himself a cup of water, cooled from the lack of fire and the climate.

It tasted like the finest kisses he could ever had imagined. He finished it as he eyed the sky through the slits in the shutters - he had some time yet. Enough to pull himself together and figure out how embarrassed he should be when they set out on their task together. He slumped into a chair and set about puling at the piled clothing upon the table, they did so like to take boots and shirts and...well everything really. The best jests at the Citadel involved making people both uncomfortable and give them the choice to deal with it or run away from it.

At least they won't make me walk barefoot to some poor serving lasses door and ask for them back this time he finished the second cup of water and barked a laugh that echoed painfully. Wouldn't have been surprised if they had gotten Tia in on it either.

His mind scanned through what it recalled and smiled to itself at the fact that his plan had worked at least - Tia had been accepted after the initial laugh, more an acknowledgement that she had made the effort and thus deserved to be given the chance. She had done well enough as he recalled, they certainly had gone easier with her than with him. Stories...something about stories...he groaned and rubbed his eyes. The Ram and the Wall...Light. He had sung too, not too badly but it had been quite the ribald song. Something else....arm wrestling and dancing and...

"Nothing...I don't think. Good. Good" he told himself as he sighed and pulled on his trousers and boots.

He ran through what he had to do before Tia made her way to the stables. Food, wanted to get a few more bits just in case, and because Tia had been a good sport. Sharper weapons after taking them from the armoury. Get the mounts ready. Ask the night watchers if they had seen anything worth noting for their journey. The list seemed treacherously endless but that was what he was supposed to do, even if he felt terrible. Least he could get some food quickly to make him feel better and perhaps some watered ale too.

Still, something nagged at him and made him frown as he finished off another cup of water and decided to give himself a few minutes before stepping out into the cold that would run nails through his temples. He'd still get there before Tia did he wagered, wondering how lucky he was this day.
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Roan » July 10th, 2017, 9:31 pm

Tia Sedai
Tia woke up with a groan. Her head was not at all pleased with her decision to drink quite so much mead the night before, but it seemed the thing to do. Pushing herself to a sitting position, the Aes Sedai looked to the floor and laughed softly. She left a trail of clothes from the door to her bed, and slept in the nude. “At least my bed is empty,” she mumbled, then looked to the bed to double check that it was indeed empty. She felt a sense of relief when she found it was.

The previous night was fuzzy enough that she didn’t want to start the day with any regrets. Not that sharing one’s bed was a reason for regret, really, though she wasn’t one to sleep with someone she didn’t know. Part of her longed for Jaryd’s company, but he was back at the Tower. Now that Jaren was raised, he was likely preoccupied getting reacquainted with the newly raised Asha’man.

One thing the previous night’s entertainment did was take Tia’s mind off of Jaryd and the heartache she felt when she thought of him. She couldn’t help that she loved him, nor could he help that he loved Jaren. One of these days, she was going to have to be an adult about it all and push her feelings aside. She missed the friend Jaryd had become.

Ulthwin and Alrim kept Tia entertained, as did the others that gathered with them all. The group shared in bawdy song and story, though some seemed hesitant to do so with an Aes Sedai in their mix. It took little encouragement from Tia for them to behave as they normally would. Once she assured them she was not one to be easily offended, everyone seemed to visibly relax.

Water seemed to be the Aes Sedai’s friend, as she downed two glasses in quick succession, and felt much more human for the hydration. She took her time with the third, and managed to get herself dressed and presentable just as there was a knock at her door.

When she answered it, Tia found a young girl waiting on the other side, “The Mistress of the Kitchens says your packs have been sent to the stables. She’s got breakfast ready for you and the Ji’Val.”

“Thank you, Alesha. Would you fetch Ji’Val Alrim and have him meet me in the mess hall?” Tia asked.

“Of course, Tia Sedai,” the girl said as she bowed. Not a split second later, she ran off, leaving Tia to grab her traveling cloak. She didn’t need much else, and closed the door to her room behind her. Several minutes later, she found herself in the mess hall.

The Mistress of the Kitchens carried two trays out as soon as she saw Tia, “Heard you drank with the boys last night. Figured you and that Ji’Val could use a meal that would stick to ye. Eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns. There’s two mugs of Kaf waitin’ for ye on the table to yer left.”

Tia gave the woman a warm smile, “Mistress you treat me too well.”

“Nonsense. Just want to make sure ye’ve got enough in ye to last,” the Mistress replied as she set the trays down and walked off.

Alrim joined her a moment later, and Tia hid her smirk behind her mug, “There’s the gleeman now.”
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Andy » July 10th, 2017, 9:59 pm

He had recovered by the time the girl, Alesha apparently, had all but dragged him by the ear towards the Mess Hall. Her vehement desire to get her job done, however, did nothing to help his headache. He had the sneaking suspicion it was done on purpose because the Mistress of the Kitchens was quite protective of her Aes Sedai. Or perhaps it was the bloodline. Either way he rubbed his ear with a scowl as he stepped across the threshold to the hall itself.

As it happened he had managed to get everything done, though how he was not sure. Food was packed already courtesy of the kitchens, with extra. His weapons were easily obtained and they had need serviced, this time courtesy of Ulthwin. A note mentioning how Tia Sedai seemed to look at him so earnestly had made him vow to thump the man when he next met him. Then...he didn't know, probably have a drink with him and forgive him like usual. Even his saddle bags had been stocked and with redundancy. Clearly he had earned some sort of reward, though why he wasn't sure. As he saw Tia, looking much prettier and well composed than he surely looked he also took in the food and sighed, thankful.

"Light send that woman loves either you or me and I'm betting it isn't me" he said as he sat down, just in time to get her first words and they clearly set how she meant to go on. He shook his head, a mistake he learned as his cheeks reddened.

"Here we go, wondered how long. One day I will get that bear back for...being him," he began his food with a snort, "still, was a good night with things to remember. I look forward to being the amusement on the journey. But I am sure I remember as certain Aes Sedai deep in conversation with a handsome Kandori. Yes I'm sure there was that. And...I danced on the table too. Not sure I remember why but..." he sighed, shrugged and began to feel infinitely better for beginning his meal.

"I could use a new cloak but what I do know if that we should have safe journey. At least for the first part of things. Watchmen say they saw nothing all night. Heard nothing. No word. Maybe we get lucky?" he stated, trying to change the subject but feeling sure it would keep returning again and again throughout their time together. And probably beyond.

As he began to finish of his food, a quick eater when in sufferance, and moved onto his kaf his memory threw up another nice memory and he groaned, head trying to bore through the oak table under it. He rocked it this way and that as his fist rapped the wood.

"And I bet them I'd get them Trolloc emblems didn't I?! Ooooh, next time I open my mouth just stuff your fist in it. Please. I'd rather take that. Fifty silvers!" he groaned to himself before pushing himself up and looking at her.

"Something tells me you're going see more fun before the next few days are up," he smiled wryly, "anything else I should know about?" he asked, almost dreading any answer. He drained his kaf and leaned back against the wall, knowing he would take back nothing but that he was still an idiot for that.
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Re: Shadow Scouring [Attn: Roan]

Post by Roan » July 14th, 2017, 2:39 pm

Tia Sedai
Tia laughed softly as she drank a bit of Kaf and shook her head, “The Mistress of the Kitchens knows we head out today and wants us alert as we can be after the night we had. She also wants to make sure we’ve got enough fuel in us because she knows all too well how quickly things can go sideways once you leave the walls of the Citadel.”

The Aes Sedai listened with a wry smile as Alrim tried to tease her for her own actions the previous evening. Truth be told, she had little to be embarrassed about aside from drinking a bit too much, laughing a bit too loud and being as rowdy as the guards, Ji’Val and Gaidin. “You did indeed promise Trolloc trophies, which surprised me since we don’t even know what we will face when we head out.

“The outpost we are heading to has not yet been engulfed by the Blight, and hopefully it will stay that way, but the blasted place has a way of lurching forward without warning at times,” Tia replied. She worked on finishing her breakfast, and when her plate was empty, pushed it aside to finish the Kaf in front of her. “If the ride is quiet, we should get to the outpost by late afternoon, early evening. I’m aiming to get in before dark.”

Tia went to take another sip of Kaf, and found it empty. With a disappointed frown, she pushed the cup aside, “I have developed a taste for Kaf, and I’m not sure it is a good thing. Ah well. We’ll do without for the next little while.” One of the kitchen help came and gathered their trays as the Green Sister stood up, “Shall we head out?”

Not ten minutes later, the Citadel walls were at their backs as the pair headed west. Storm walked at an easy pace and seemed unphased with the new horse walking along side. Looking over to him, Tia smiled, “Glad to see you know how to ride. I think it should be a mandatory thing we teach at the Tower, but then I grew up around the beasts. There are those who would be happy never to lay eyes on a horse. . .and I’m not entirely sure what to make of such people. Horses are gentle beasts, but can be lethal weapons in the right hands.”
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