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In Secret Pleasure, Secret Tears [open!]

Posted: February 20th, 2016, 2:28 pm
by Matty
The House of Hope was a fitting name for how Murdock was feeling that day. Determined to do something different to the rigmarole that was Tower chores, he had made sure to request to spend some time here instead, now he could head into Hama Valon without supervision. He had every intention of continuing his learning here, supplementing his skills with a bit of hands-on experience of the wider community.

It was all very lofty and grand sounding. What a lovely man that Murdock fellow was, they would say, so attentive and kind, but sad as well.

The truth of it was that Murdock required a distraction, and as a father of four he was well used to a great deal of his time being taken up by children. And so that was why he chose to visit The East Building, the Mar siolin’an. The House of Children or something like that, or so he was told (he spoke no Old Tongue). He figured that he could fill some gap in his life by attending to these children, looking outside his own issues in order to do some good for the orphaned.

They were used to visitors, so Murdock’s overly tall, skinny form limping in with his stick was met with polite curiosity but no fear. Trust was clearly something there was a lot of in here, and thanks to the Aes Sedai tending the place Murdock supposed that was a natural byproduct of their environment. He had wanted nothing more than a safe zone for his girls when they were growing up, so he could relate to that well enough.

So a small room, set aside for private meetings, was procured and made available to Murdock. He sat down behind the table with a grateful sigh, and a few suggestions from the Aes Sedai had the children popping in to see him should they so please. One of the things about this place was that for all the visitors and helpers, many of those in authority were women – the Blue Ajah was prevalent here – so sometimes they needed a man’s touch. Oh, there were men, and Asha’man of the Blue Ajah, but they wouldn’t turn away someone who was offering to be an ear and a bit of a Healing hand should the need arise. Occupy Murdock, occupy the kids with a non-confrontational figurehead, give the grownups a bit of space, what could possibly go wrong? Everyone won.

Murdock wasn’t a young man. He wasn’t someone for the girls of that age to swoon over, nor was he so grizzled as to look like he would snap at the slightest provocation. There were some who would feel comfortable going to him with any issues they might have, and for some hours Murdock humoured them. “I don’t think my friend likes me as much as he likes my other friend.” “I have this strange burning sensation when I use the privy.” “I think I’ve twisted my ankle but I was climbing the roof and don’t want to get into trouble...” a whole array of queries. Murdock Healed without probing too deeply. He talked about their problems without the threat of being too interfering, as he would be leaving later that day and who knew when he would come back?

There were three chairs in the room. One for himself, and he sat slightly sideways so his long, injured leg could stretch out. The other was for whomever saw fit to come visit. The third, in the corner out of the way, was where Murdock imagined Giselle to be, looking over him and smiling whenever he used Saidin to Heal a wound or Delved a child who needed examining. I should have brought along some honeycakes or something, Giselle would have liked that as well. Saidin held firmly in his grip as he Healed without much of a thought, the weaves springing to life as soon as he thought of them. None of the injuries he encountered were too severe, and he drew on all five elements in order to fix up even a small bruise or a cut.

“Much better,” he said whenever someone was Healed up and ready to go. Sometimes he was even talking about the child.

Re: In Secret Pleasure, Secret Tears [open!]

Posted: February 21st, 2016, 2:13 am
by Steven
Keiran Taravin Being back in the Grey Tower had Keiran more than slightly overwhelmed. It wasn't so much the loss of freedom, he was a Dedicated after all. The hustle and bustle of Tower business was a change of pace. The summons he'd been expecting for days had yet to come, but he awaited it patiently, resigned to whatever fate may be coming his way. The M'Hael hadn't explicitly mentioned assigning Keiran a penance for his semi-traitorous abandonment of the Tower, but how could he not? Leaving the Tower without a word, creating a smoking crater in the center of Cairhien, and then returning as if nothing was amiss. Surely the Hall would demand explanation, and assign a penance to alter the course of his future. Anyway, it was no use stressing over.

Keiran strode leisurely past the Warder Yards to see if he could spot Kaci in practice. She was nowhere to be seen. He walked past the stables on his way to the main entrance towards the city of Hama Valon. A familiar stable-hand stopped him, tall and thin, with pleasant features and fiery red hair. "Dedicated Keiran! Glad to see you and Quinn back." Quinn was the mare his father had given to him on his nameday, a Domani Razer with streaks of black and white. "She's the fastest horse I've ever been on. I take her out to exercise, but I think she's really exercising me!"

Laughing, Keiran agreed, "She's a tough one to handle. If she hasn't thrown you, that's a testament to your riding skill! I appreciate you caring for her."

"It really is a pleasure, anything you need, I'm your man." The young man was earnest, Keiran could see the excitement in his face. Quinn was an incredible horse.

Keiran sifted through the purse tied at his belt. The purse had grown of late, and he was feeling generous. He pressed a gold coin into the stable-hand's palm and grasped his shoulder. "Truly, thank you. Feel free to take her off of Tower grounds to run in the countryside, she will really open up when all she see's are miles of green grass." The look on his face was worth the coin, and more. "The Light illumine you, brother." Keiran left the young man with his mouth agape. A smile crept across his lips as he approached the main gate.

His own thoughts were quickly drown out by the welcome din of quick conversation, children running and screaming at one another, vendors hawking their wares. Hama Valon was still a half haphazardly built city, though the areas closest to the Tower were being improved and renovated every day. There were now more solidly built stone structures this close to the Tower than there were when he and Kaci had left. Spotting his destination, Keiran ducked in to a small shop off the main road. The air smelled fantastic, sweet pies and fresh breads filled with meats and spices and cheeses. He asked for a larger cloth sack filled with anything that children would like.

Through the glass panes protecting the delicacies from snatching fingers, Keiran watched the pudgy proprietor grab handfuls of delightful biscuits and pies, rolls and pastries; all of the things Kaci and he used to steal from Marta in the kitchens back home. A pang of homesickness overcame him with the thought. It had been a long time since he had returned to Caemlyn. Of course, he could open a gateway and visit at any time. That was the source of his real guilt, why had it been so long?

Finished, the jolly man behind the counter handed Keiran the sack in exchange for a piece of silver. The man pulled a purse from his pocket and turned to the scale, but Keiran interjected, "That will be it, good sir. Keep the rest, use it to put a few smiles on some faces with a treat today. Deal?"

"Of course, Master Asha'man, of course. Always looking out for your lessers you are, if only we could all be the same, eh?"

"Dedicated still," Keiran corrected, "but I agree, we would live in a much better world were that the case. Good day, sir."

The man nodded his head and smiled, "I can never keep them straight. Black coat's a black coat! Good day to you too, Master Dedicated. Come again soon!"

Keiran stepped back out onto the street and into the sun. It was crisp and cool, but the sun was shining like it would on a warm summer day. He almost wished the black cloak over his shoulders had been left on it's peg in his room at the Tower. Sack of treats in hand, Keiran turned down a side street in the direction of the House of Hope. When they had returned, Captain Mikael of the Freedom Guard and informed them of their progress in the city. The Guard no longer occupied the Lion's Rest, instead an imposing fortress of glass and stone to mimic the impressive architecture of the Grey Tower was being built near the city wall. Of course, the fortress would be lacking the One Power wrought splendor of the Tower, but the artisan-ship was superb nonetheless. The Freedom Guard had grown threefold in their absence, and already the incomplete fortress was enough to hold them. Kaci was infuriated that she lacked any free time to go and see her men, the Warder Yards had been particularly harsh on her absence.

Before he knew it, Keiran was walking through the broad open doors into the entrance hall at the House of Hope. Children were playing as their caretakers struggled to maintain the order of the place. Seeing the place always made Keiran's heart soar. No child should be left alone and wanting. Without a word, Keiran seized saidin. Flows of air encompassed the sack of treats, lifting it from his grasp. Thin tendrils snaked their way into the sack to grab the treats. One by one they lifted from the sack; to the children, seemingly of their own accord. Even with simple flows of air, Keiran struggled to move more than 5 or 6 independently at a time. By now, the children were screaming at one another, laughter filled the air as they chased the treats flying through the air around the grand hall. Each time a treat was caught, another flew from the bag in its stead.

Even Keiran was laughing now. A small crowd had gathered to watch the excitement. The entire scene was ridiculous really, but there was no better feeling than bringing joy to these abandoned children. As each child snatched a treat for themselves, the excitement began to die down. The sack finally emptied, and it was over. Some of the children cheered or squealed, a few of them clung to Keiran's arms and legs, speaking too quickly over one another that he couldn't make out a single word. Still seizing saidin, Keiran used the same flows of air to lift the children grasping at his arms, each step he took dragged a child clutching to his legs. It was hard work, physically and mentally. With each passing week his ability to manage multiple flows improved, but it was always a strain. Finally, nearly worn out, Keiran released his hold on saidin.

"Alright children, enough now. Run along and play, I've work to do!" A few of them moaned slightly in disappointment, one protested all together. A shapely woman with a broom came and swatted them away, barking orders. Keiran grinned at her.

"Be welcome, Dedicated. It's always good to see two of you learnin' types in a day." She nodded thoughtfully to herself.

"Two, Mistress?"

"Aye, there's a fella' in there, been healing some scrapes an' bruises, lendin' an ear." She lowered her voice, "Some o' those things them Aes Sedai aren't likely to." Keiran shook his head at her, she smiled, clearly pleased with herself. "E's in that room there." Keiran gazed in the direction of her finger. A door stood half ajar into a small room beyond. He closed the distance and peaked his head in.

A black haired man sat across a sturdy table, a short-cropped beard covering his chin. Keiran always felt a stab of jealousy at the men with facial hair. He had already resigned himself to the fact that he would likely be smooth faced forever. The man wore the same black coat of all Tower initiates, the pin of a Dedicated catching the light as it always did.

"Good afternoon," Keiran remarked. "I'm Keiran. Didn't expect to see another Dedicated here today!"

Re: In Secret Pleasure, Secret Tears [open!]

Posted: February 21st, 2016, 8:53 pm
by Matty
Something was happening outside of the room, something Murdock couldn’t see. One moment he had a small queue of children waiting to see him and the next, there was nobody, and the cries of excitement frown down the way alerted the Dedicated to something more enticing than himself. Not particularly proud or prone to bouts of jealousy, Murdock simply let the child who was currently tugging his ear to go and see what all the fuss was about. It gave him some time to think, and he stared at the corner of the room as if Giselle really was sitting there, in spite of not needing to use Saidin now. “You’d like it here. Lots of children to give love and attention.” He smiled a little, though it stopped before reaching his eyes.

His time was interrupted as some young upstart poked his head into the room, too tall to be one of the children- ah. Black coat. Sword pin. A fellow Dedicated. Murdock’s dark eyes trailed up the man – what he could see of him – before he nodded his head and eased himself to his feet. “Light shine on you Kerian,” he said formally, “My name is Murdock.” At this point he ought to have explained what he was doing here, maybe even offered some sort of friendly remark about how lovely it was for another man of the Grey Tower to be there, but he instead took up his walking stick and made his way towards the door.

The truth of it was that Murdock had no idea how to talk to other Dedicated. They were either too young and foolish to be allowed off their mother’s apron strings, or too old and grizzled to be suitable company. Maybe he fell into the latter category now but the simple fact was that he didn’t know how to talk to other men very well. Women? Yes, he was used to being bossed around by them all the time, such was the way of Far Madding, but other men? Not so much. And Keiran seemed to be little more than a boy to his eyes, someone who ought to be at home learning his father’s trade if his mother allowed it, not learning to channel at the Grey Tower.

“I came to visit and see if I could assist with any Healing matters,” he informed the Dedicated, finding that keeping it formal and business related was accomplishable. “The children need someone they can lean on sometimes.” He did notice the children toddling about with various sweetcakes and other treats, and it didn’t take a clever man to know the source of such things. Well, that was certainly one way to buy their affections... but Giselle did like honeycakes ever so much, and would have approved of such tactics. Maybe there was an uneaten one he could have, pretend he was giving it to some child and eat it himself. He’d been channelling after all and channelling could be hungry business.

“Helping children is hard work,” he muttered as he looked around for somewhere he could get some water from. “The children seem to know you, do you come here regularly? Why?” The abruptness of the question was not intended to be quite so direct, and his somewhat distant tone as he looked around the building said he wasn’t being blunt necessarily on purpose.

Re: In Secret Pleasure, Secret Tears [open!]

Posted: February 21st, 2016, 9:40 pm
by Steven
Keiran Taravin Keiran smiled at the honorary greeting. As the other Dedicated slowly stood, he reached for a walking stick. Keiran studied him a moment, the man was not much older than himself, not by Channeler standards anyway. A wound maybe? A mental note was made to ask the prying question when they became more acquainted. Murdock's eyes betrayed little emotion, though a small smile played across his lips. It wasn't a particularly cheerful smile, one that hid a sad memory perhaps?

Keiran was quite good at reading others, a skill honed under the tutelage of his Grandmother. She was known throughout the Caemlyn Royal Court for her extraordinary perception, a trademark of Taravin women throughout the centuries. Kaci possessed the ability, but lacked the patience. Keiran on the other hand, spent much of his life silently studying the world while standing by his sister's side.

Murdock walked through the door with a sidelong glance at Keiran, a momentary glimpse of something, disapproval maybe, evident in his expression. Peering down at his clothes, Keiran wondered if he had donned the wrong coat, or placed the Sword pin on the wrong side. With a mental shrug, Keiran dismissed the thought. It was clear the other Dedicated was uncomfortable in his presence, a reaction that was not uncommon. Keiran took it in stride, determined to change the other man's opinion, whatever it may be. He listened intently as Murdock spoke. His tone was frank, but pleasant. The abruptness of his question, "Why?", seemed almost accidental, or maybe disbelieving.

Keiran quickly mulled over his own response. There were, after all, any number of answers he could give. "It's a passion my sister and I share. Orphaned children have no place in the world, unless someone like us gives them one." He chose to leave out the parts about the Freedom Guard, or his own privileged upbringing. Those weren't really his business anyway.

"I haven't seen you around before, Murdock. I was raised to Dedicated a little over four years past, but I've been away for almost two. Have you been at the Tower long?" Keiran recalled that he had been a Soldier for only three. The time had flown by like a dandelion in the wind.

Re: In Secret Pleasure, Secret Tears [open!]

Posted: February 21st, 2016, 11:19 pm
by Matty
Murdock gave the shorter Dedicated a wry glance at his answer. It was probably an honest one, a little pretentious and probably from a compassionate place... but he liked to help people and enjoyed visiting, that much Murdock could tell. Was he a fellow orphan, he and his sister? It seemed a little bit, well, Murdock didn’t know the man but he didn’t come across as someone who grew up in a place like the House of Hope. Murdock was no noble, nor was he familiar with the ways of the world wider than Far Madding, but he could tell when someone was cut from a richer cloth than someone else. Reading people might not be his strong point but he’d seen enough fellow trainees at the Tower to discern some simple information.

He wasn’t really sure what to say to Keiran’s next comment. He hadn’t been hiding intentionally from the other man, and if he was going to insist on being away then of course Murdock wouldn’t cross paths with him. Someone else might have asked how a trainee could be away from the Grey Tower for so long, but Murdock didn’t. It wasn’t his business and frankly, it wasn’t of interest to him. “Two years,” was his brief reply. Two years as a Soldier was not all that long, but he’d been at the Black Tower beforehand so that had to count for something, or so he was told. He’d come to the Grey Tower knowing a fair number of basic weaves thanks to their much stricter teaching methods there. Strict enough that there were fatalities – even for those who didn’t channel.

Murdock offered no other reply for the moment, his thoughts getting away from him and back to Giselle as he walked down the corridor he found himself in. It was broad, opening out to areas for the children to socialise together under the watchful eyes of those who ran this place. Limping his way along, he was still looking for some water.

“Oh,” he looked to his side and realised that the Dedicated was still stuck to his side for some reason. “Are we supposed to know every other trainee? If so, I’ve failed miserably at that.” In fact, Murdock could safely say he hadn’t made a single friend so far. It wasn’t intentional, it was just how it had happened. He’d been so focussed on his own studies and being alone with his thoughts that he hadn’t really made the effort to reach out to others. Mirin Sedai would love to know that, wouldn’t she? But honestly, there were a lot of people at the Grey Tower and Murdock did not have the time for a lot of them. Young, naive, childish, some of them were simply overgrown boys. Including the Asha’man, in his opinion.

A small gaggle of children was trailing after them at this point. Murdock tried to ignore them, and for the most part they were quiet, but they were certainly following. Keiran had quite the little fan club, he or his treats did anyway. Murdock gave the younger man a look, both eyebrows raised. Then he looked back at the children, “say, could one of you fetch a thirsty Dedicated a mug of water?” he asked, and a brief scuffle broke out before two of the boys went to do just that. Did they expect to carry the mug together? Light. Better that he sent them than tried to walk, he’d had just about enough of that. Rather than complain about it and take a seat, he kept silent on the matter and instead leaned against the wall with his weight mostly on his good leg. “So Keiran, you must find it very rewarding to be here. What do you do with the children exactly? They seem to like you well enough.” He could act like he was getting tips, but really he was trying to gauge what it was other trainees did here in case he became unnecessary. There were only so many scraped knees in need of Healing at any one time, after all. It wasn’t a question based on jealousy, more a curiosity and a need to ensure he was seen as being useful to the Master of Soldiers – regardless of how little he truly felt the need to impress the man, he had to show he was capable of being Raised.

Re: In Secret Pleasure, Secret Tears [open!]

Posted: February 22nd, 2016, 12:39 am
by Steven
Keiran Taravin Keiran watched as the two boys ran off to fetch Murdock a drink. He smiled at their ability to make a game out of even the simplest tasks. Such was the way of children. His thoughts strayed to his own childhood, the games Kaci would make up for them to play. The world seemed so much different now, darker. He knew now that danger lurked at every corner, and most were blind to its presence. As Asha'man, it would be their place to know, to keep watch, to protect and defend all of those too clueless, too powerless to do so themselves. They were somber thoughts, brought on by the harrowing events of the last several years.

Keiran was brought back from his own thoughts as he realized he had ignored the Dedicated's question. "Play with them mostly. I like to make sure they are happy, and having fun. Sometimes I tell stories, ones that were my favorites as a child." He thought back to all of the stories Kaci had written, where they were the heroes. There were so many fond memories, and the charcoal drawings he had made to illustrate them. He almost laughed to himself, and wondered if the two of them would ever do that again. This time, they had enough adventures to write them true. Keiran had a charcoal drawing of the Fade from years before, hanging in his wardrobe as a reminder of what was at stake. Happy thoughts faded to ones of darkness and Shadow too often of late.

"I have a lute. They like to listen to the music. Sometimes they dance." It had been quite awhile since he had played his lute, however. There were so many things to do, it hadn't crossed his mind lately. Absently, he wondered of his fingers would be out of practice. An image of Estel entered his mind, he hadn't seen her yet since his return. In fact, he hadn't seen any of his old friends. How is she? he wondered. His own musical abilities would never rival hers. Estel had the fingers of a Court Bard and a voice to bring her listeners to tears. To himself, he promised to seek her out. Is she Accepted now? He almost asked Murdock if he knew, but Keiran doubted that he did.

"My old mentor taught me some Illusion weaves, to pass the time. The older children love them. I could teach you some if you'd like? They are quite simple. Luckily none of them have ever blown up in my face." Keiran grumbled the last bit, "Not like those flaming Wards."

Re: In Secret Pleasure, Secret Tears [open!]

Posted: February 22nd, 2016, 11:50 pm
by Matty
A father ought to be happy to play with children and keep them happy, but Murdock couldn't see himself taking care of children in the same way. Not if they weren't his own at least, as it would appear he lacked the level of compassion such activities required. Healing, he could be useful. Offering a friendly ear, he could fill a needed function. But playing? Anyone could do that, and do it better than he. The tall man didn't mind if Keiran played his bloody lute until the cows came home, it kept the children happy and he didn't have to do it himself. Everybody won.

But illusion weaves, hrmm? Murdock had little experience with them. His strength in the Power, whilst unpredictable as it often was for men, appeared to be barely average, and he lacked any real skill at anything. He wasn't particularly dextrous, his offensive weaves were quite unremarkable, and his Wards were so-so. The only thing he showed any real knack for was Healing, though his desire to heal animals was still nothing more than a desire. He was actually rather reluctant to test his improved skills on any animals, in case he returned to that cycle of death he had caught himself in, and some busybody such as Ravak found him again.

Though he could always hide in Hama Valon and practice his craft elsewhere...

"I have very little talent in anything that doesn't involve putting people back together," he said matter of factly, "but I'll entertain the notion that I can learn something more. Let's find somewhere to sit and give it a try." After his water of course. The two boys had apparently come to some sort of agreement where they could both give him a mug of water each, thereby fulfilling his request for a drink and both of them could fulfil it. It was rather sweet he figured, in a naive sort of way. Murdock took one of the mugs with thanks, and passed it over to Keiran before he had the other for himself. "I can't carry both," he explained to Keiran with a nod down to his stick. "Let's find somewhere to sit. Boys," he tried to sound light and airy, "have you seen illusions before?" Sadly, light and airy was more like... unintentionally spooky, and the boys looked at one another before turning to regard the rest of the children who were loitering nearby.

"I HAVE!" one of the girls declared. "THERE WAS A BOAT!"

"Inside voices please," Murdock said politely, trying not to wince at how loud she was. "Here are some chairs, let's sit down and see what we can do, Keiran. If all else fails someone can find you a lute, and-" he broke off as the two boys ran away, presumably to find a lute. Oh well, there was something to be said for their enthusiasm he supposed. Murdock was simply glad to sit down again and stretch his leg out. "Please don't blow up in my face, it might amuse the children and you would have to keep doing it to keep them happy." He gave a toothy grin from his new seat, and the children swarmed to sit around them as if ready for a show.

Re: In Secret Pleasure, Secret Tears [open!]

Posted: April 14th, 2016, 6:15 am
by Steven
Keiran chuckled at Murdock. A weave gone wrong, blowing up in your face, is most unpleasant. His eyebrows had suffered the consequences more than once. Eyeing the gathering crowd in front of him, Keiran took a seat next to the other Dedicated. The excitement in the children’s eyes brought a grin to his face.

Seizing saidin came as easy as taking a breath now, it was a more a part of him than ever. Keiran didn’t bother to hold much of the Power, only what he needed. His strength had grown earlier in the week. His private lessons in battle weaves from Jaryd Kosari were progressing well, pushing the boundaries of his skill, and his strength.

Keiran gave Murdock a nod to let him know he was going to begin. He took care to weave slowly and methodically. Starting with a thick strand of Fire, he wrapped it tightly in tiny flows of Air, compressing the weave almost flat. The weave moved to the floor and settled over the shadow of a caretaker, standing watch over the crowd nearby. Carefully, he introduced the tiniest sliver of Spirit. Keiran pointed, directing their eyes to the caretaker, whose eyes now betrayed the slightest bit of fear. Keiran grinned, and the entire crowd erupted in laughter as the shadow pulled away from its owner and began to dance. The flow of Spirit splayed out like a spectral skeleton within the shadow, driving its dance.

With a glance to Murdock, and a nod to make sure he was following along, Keiran directed the dancing shadow back to its owner. It dove at her. Keiran repurposed the weave, removing the Spirit and filling the gaps between the flows of Air and Fire with even more thick strands of Fire, seizing more of saidin to do so. The entire tapestry of Fire and Air lifted from the floor, mimicking the outline of a gateway. The children gasped. To their eyes their caretaker had winked out of existence. It was a more difficult weave, not one of the one’s he had learned from Asha’man Phil.

Keiran took a breath and wiped his brow, expecting a sheen of sweat but it was dry. One of the children near the front had a toy boat in hand which sparked a thought. Standing, Keiran brushed his chair aside with flows of Air before taking a few steps back. The empty space in front of him filled with strands of Fire, spiraling their way around one another in a braided fashion. Flames roared to life in front of him, a thin ward around the children shielded them from the heat. In the Void, Keiran barely felt the warmth. Murdock would have to assume the Void or move away. Maintaining both weaves was straining, and Keiran doubted himself for a moment. Only a moment though, he was having too much fun to quit now.

Introducing small, tightly wrapped balls of Water to the flames produced a steady cloud of steam. Quickly, Keiran surrounded the Steam with Air, shaping it in the likeness of a massive Seanchan tallship. Keiran wanted to make the ship seem to fire its cannons, but maintaining the weaves was becoming difficult. Letting the flames dissipate, Keiran dropped the ward. The ship floated steadily above the children’s head. He guided it around their heads in circles, speeding up as it circled higher. As some of the children cheered, Keiran directed the ship towards the stone ceiling above their heads, smashing the weave against the hard stone. With a crack, the ship vanished and a fine mist rained down on the crowd. Keiran smiled.

Re: In Secret Pleasure, Secret Tears [open!]

Posted: April 14th, 2016, 9:21 pm
by Matty
Fire, Air and Spirit were all comfortable elements for Murdock. Healing used a lot of Spirit predominantly, and he was one of those men who didn’t have trouble with Air like some. Of course, his Water weaves left something to be desired... the man watched carefully as Keiran pointed to the caretaker and used these weaves, unseen to the children but visible to him. He could see the way he made the shadow move, and he couldn’t help but grin at the sight. There was an element of the unknown which came with magicians and illusionists that he had always admired, at least privately, but just because he saw the machinery behind the curtains didn’t mean Murdock couldn’t enjoy what he was watching. Maybe the children and their delighted squeals were having an effect on him too.

Murdock was especially impressed with the way Keiran made the woman “disappear”, his teeth showing as he grinned in a rare display of amusement. The powerful force of Saidin was normally used for destruction at the Black Tower, and seeing it being manipulated for such a lighthearted purpose was a strange but welcome comfort to Murdock. It was almost like Healing, but with less of an obvious purpose. Sure, these things could be used to confuse and manipulate, but right now they were simply funny to witness. When you spent so much time working on how to be effective with your particular talents, that could be easy to forget, the whole “fun” aspect.

No doubt an Asha’man would argue that the Power was not to be toyed with, that they had better things to be doing than making people look like they had disappeared, blah blah blah, but there were no Asha’man here at the moment. If there were, Murdock didn’t think Keiran would be using quite so much Fire for his next weave...

It was hot, sitting so close to it, but Murdock wasn’t going to move now he was sat down. He had a bad leg, for Light’s sake, he couldn’t just go hobbling around like that. Instead, he pulled a face and seized Saidin for himself, imagining Giselle in the crowd of children watching the tall boat above their heads. Now that was impressive, there was no doubt about that. Murdock looked at the weaves Keiran used but unfortunately, he wasn’t really getting them even now he had Saidin to hand to help him concentrate a little better and ignore the heat. Illusions might not be for him. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

By the time the boat had crashing into the ceiling, the children were in an energetic frenzy. Oh Light. They were bouncing where they sat, clapping and crying out for more. It was all very sweet, but now they were looking Murdock’s way and what in the Light did he have to offer them? He Healed, and that was probably it. He was a Dedicated, not a dancing monkey for their amusement, but Keiran had just done a fair bit of channelling and it didn’t seem fair to make him do all of the work.

“What?” he asked, when the children were quiet enough that the next stage of the performance was nigh. “I can’t do that.” He gestured upwards at the ceiling where the boat had disappeared.

That didn’t seem to be enough for them, as they were still looking at him intently. One of them coughed.

“Alright, let me think...” Murdock grumbled to himself, looking inwards to see what he could think of. What would his daughters have enjoyed? A bit of quick thinking and Murdock drew on enough of the Power to grab a couple of flows of Air, with a little bit of Fire. Glowing balls of light were one of the first things learned at the Grey Tower, a far cry from throwing rocks at the Black Tower. But they were good for practicing with and now as Murdock tied the weaves for the balls of light, they ought to suffice for now. Gentle pastel colours accented the different balls and Murdock made about ten or so before he grew bored, patting them towards the children. They were safe, they were a little warm and too hard a squeeze would put them out, but it took little effort to actually make them in the first place. Suitably distracted by this, Murdock turned to Keiran. “Those were some excellent weaves,” he complimented the man, “I’ve not seen anything like it before. I don’t think I could copy those any time soon but making people disappear might have some uses.” He scrubbed his chin and drank the rest of his water before reaching for his stick, “I can’t pick them up on the first try though. I’m not one of those prodigies, I’m a little too long in the tooth for that drivel. Shall we go through them together again? You do that, and I’ll show you some Delving or Healing if you like. Unless you can do that already.”