Dax Elia was far away, but close enough that Dax could feel both guarded joy and intense irritation rippling through their bond in bands of blue and orange. He knew without being told that both were meant for him, a non-verbal demonstration of her conflicted feelings about his many long absences in recent months.
It had been too long since they had spent quality time together. He knew it had been too long, and he knew he deserved whatever reprimand he would receive when she finally got away from her duties to find him. He missed her, he missed their children, he missed his bed and warm baths and some semblance of order in his life, with shocking fierceness.
Light help me, I’m getting old. It wasn’t as scary a prospect as it had once been, and he let the idea settle around him like a cloak as he began to unpack his things.
Before he could fully relax into the warmth of being home, however, a distinctly unwelcome presence disturbed his pleasant afternoon.
Neither tall nor short, fat nor thin, dark nor light, Callum Brenelle could probably get away with murder in broad daylight, by simple virtue of being utterly unremarkable in every way. He wasn’t a terrible human, all things considered, but Dax had seen more of the other Gaidin than he had of his lover of late and thus he found the man’s existence offensive.
“What do you want?”
“Lady Lyona Trakand requires a Blademaster to accompany her and her Aes Sedai advisor from Whitebridge to Hama Valon,” Callum said. “She insists on taking the ‘long way’ with as light a guard as possible in order to better absorb the experience, and her father is concerned for her safety. Unfortunately, you are the only Blademaster currently in residence.”
Dax’s eyeroll incorporated most of his body. “Tell Daddy-dearest to have their pet Aes Sedai sling his precious spawn through a Gateway and get it over with.”
“If you think I walked all the way over here from my office to insist on your presence, knowing you would violently hate the idea, without first exploring every alternative possibility...you are an idiot.”
“Fair,” Dax conceded. He took a deep breath, savoring the scent of Elia that permeated every square inch of their shared living space. “I haven’t seen my family in so long I’m worried they won’t flaming know me anymore, Callum. Can this wait until after supper?”
“I’m sorry, truly,” Callum said, spreading his hands in a universal gesture of helplessness, “I’ll make sure Elia Sedai knows I forced this and when you get back I’ll leave you be for a good long while. Fair?”
Callum offered his hand, and Dax shook it with visible reluctance. “I will knock your teeth so far down your throat your ass will do your talking for you if you try to welch on that promise,” he said in a conversational tone, “and that’s not counting whatever El does to you before I get back.”
Forty minutes later, Dax had bathed and dressed himself in clean clothes, packed his bags with fresh supplies, handed them to a servant for delivery to the Traveling Yards and sent another servant to fetch his horse and riding gear to the same place. He also took the time to write an actual, real letter to Elia, and left it propped against her vanity mirror where she could not miss it. It was a simple thing, as were all his missives, but he hoped his sincerity and the promise of time to come would carry them through yet another separation.
That reminded him of the packet Callum had given him, the one that supposedly gave more information about the Drin who would be accompanying him for “a needed change of pace.” Farah Kattan wasn’t a typical Drin, apparently, but Callum had declined to explain further, other than shoving some folded documents in Dax’s hands and ordering him to read when he got a chance.
Perplexed, but painfully aware of the ticking clock, Dax headed for the Traveling Yards himself.
Two horses and two women waited for him there. One was clearly an Aes Sedai, and one bound by the Oaths at that; her ageless face gazed at him with well-disguised impatience. The other, holding the reins of their mounts, was smaller, short-haired, and clad in gray.
“Farah?” Dax asked, just to be sure. “I’m Dax. Ready to go?”
OOC: I looked through your posts and the last you mentioned Dax, they were on good terms, he was just “absent” so I’m running with that. I also have no fucking idea who’s running the Warder Yards right now so I’m NPCing. Whoop whoop.
Also...uh...I left a lot vague on purpose. Feel free to fill in whatever detail / twists you want. <3
The World outside the Grey Tower is a vast place.
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