First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

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First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Lugh » January 11th, 2018, 7:36 pm

Beron Faim
The Tower. That was the very first thing Beron had noticed when he arrived at Hama Valon. No matter where you went in the city, it rose over the walls surrounding it, a beacon of brightness in the sunlight. And if you couldn’t see the Grey Tower, there was no shortage of women in banded dresses and men in uniforms wherever you went. Still the people seemed happy and thriving, and in some ways Hama Valon reminded him of Maradon. Maybe it was the way you could spot an Ashaman, or Aes Sedai as they went about their business; or maybe it was just the pride many of the townsfolk took in Hama Valon.

Beron had made his way to Hama Valon from Saldaea, his mount and bedroll all that he had kept from his time with the royal army. A stipend and letter from his commander lay rolled up into his blanket and he was hoping the letter would ease the doors open for him. He had of course heard tales of the Grey Tower, and he knew he would never be turned away with his skill.

But as he shielded his eyes from the sun and looked upon the gatehouse and walls, then farther up towards the summit of the Grey Tower, he had to admit to a case of nerves. Awaiting his turn in the lineup of travelers entering the Grey Tower, he was shocked to spy clothing and faces from everywhere. There a Sheinaran with his topknot clean and freshly shaven head; over there a sultry Domani woman with a dizzying bosom on display in her dress. Even a Tinker, his clothes as bright as a summer’s meadow was in line.

Eventually the line moved forward to his spot, and as the one guard quickly looked him over the other asked his business. “I am here to speak to the Master of Warders,” Beron said quickly, not wishing to hold up the line.

“Well met Sir, one moment and we will fetch a runner for you. We have cool water and fruit ready there while you wait,” said the Guard politely. He motioned over to a small wooden table, nestled in the shade from the walls surrounding the Grey Tower grounds.

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Re: First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Sunny » January 15th, 2018, 12:59 am

Finn. Just Finn.
Finn grimaced and tugged at the damnable Drin uniform one more bloody time. It was too tight across the shoulders, around his thighs, and against his biceps. Every time he moved more than an inch he expected the ridiculously tailored ensemble to simply rip asunder. There were many things about his homeland he did not regret leaving behind, but having space to flaming breathe while walking (let alone fighting) topped the list of things he devoutly missed.

Other than the annoyance of his clothing, it was a beautiful day and the Seanchan man had been assigned a deeply ironic chore: welcome newcomers to the Grey Tower. He, indoctrinated since birth to believe channelers were the embodiment of everything evil in the world, was now expected to represent a place of training for the same. He supposed he should have considered it a mark of pride that they trusted him with that task, but all he really felt was tired. He may have broken his native conditioning, but witnessing the Amyrlin Seat murder an Accepted in cold blood had a certain forgivable impact on his relationship with his new home. Even if she had been arrested after.

He rewound his hair into a knot at the back of his head as he returned from his latest escort, jabbing the holding pins into place with unnecessary force. Orders. Follow my orders. It wasn’t like he had anywhere else to go. Thankfully the sun had a kinder effect on his mood than the interior of the Tower had. By the time he got back to the gate he had relaxed enough to smile when Corvin waved him over. “There’s a new one for Riahana Gaidin,” the older man said in a friendly tone. “Seems decent enough.”

Finn bowed -an unnecessary honor to give a Guard, but manners required some kind of response- and went to join the stranger sitting at the table. “Light shine on you,” he said, as always aware of his drawl for the singular reason that it sometimes made people uncomfortable and thus required explanation. “I am Finn, a Drin at the Grey Tower. I have been assigned to take you to your destination. May I have your name and your reason for visiting?” Another unnecessary gesture, given Corvin's comment, but if it helped get the man talking that was for the better.
Ooc: in case it isn't clear, his clothes fit exactly like they're supposed to, he just really hates the Westland style. :lol
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Re: First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Lugh » January 15th, 2018, 7:40 pm

Beron Beron had been idly waiting at the wooden table, enjoying the shade and watching the bustle through the gates. He wondered if the stream of petitioners ever ended, the guards dealing with each person quickly and efficiently.

He noted the other man approaching, and having seen the guard speak with him, knew that this man was probably a runner or clerk. As such he stood from the table, hands quickly checking blades and straps while Beron took in the uniformed man approaching him.

I am Finn, a Drin at the Grey Tower. I have been assigned to take you to your destination. May I have your name and your reason for visiting?” the other man spoke, in a drawling accent that was unfamiliar to Beron. This had him curious, for the Borderlands enjoyed visitors from many nations on one form of errand or another, and Beron found after his time in Maradon he could place most accents.

“Peace favour you sword, friend,” Beron said with a nod to Finn. He was unsure of the ranks at the Grey Tower, but his time in the army had taught him to respect any position. You could easily find yourself insulting a rod bearer otherwise.

“My name is Beron Faim, and I have recently arrived from Saldaea. I have come with the recommendation of my captain to offer my blade as a Warder,” he said confidently. “The guard was kind enough to offer me a seat here while I waited, and thank you for escorting me through the Grey Tower. It is impressive in scope, especially at first sight” Beron finished with a smile as he retrieved the letter from his captain and presented it to Finn.

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Re: First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Sunny » January 18th, 2018, 5:27 am

Finn accepted the letter, but did not open it. It was not his place to read missives to the Mistress of Training. Of most interest to him was the other man’s military background. What had he done to be deemed better for the Grey Tower than his own country’s service? “Peace,” he said slowly even for him, his tongue tasting the word as if he did not know its meaning. “And...yours as well,” he said, uncertainty touching his voice despite his best efforts. He had heard others use the phrase, but did not know the proper response.

“The Tower does catch the eye,” he continued in a stronger tone. “It takes getting used to in more ways than one. We won’t be going there just yet, however, because the Gaidin are housed in the Warder Hall to the north. If you’ll come with me?” He gestured for Beron to go first, then fell in step beside him.

“Your captain recommended you?” he inquired after a time, his curiosity getting the better of him. “What does it take to earn such a referral? I have heard of Saldaea -Riahana Gaidin’s family is from that land, I believe- but know very little about it. Do they frequently make alliances with the Grey Tower?”
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Re: First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Lugh » January 19th, 2018, 3:41 am

Beron Beron was surprised to learn that the Grey Tower was not the living quarters for the Warders as well. It made him wonder just how many Aes Sedai lived and worked here. Seeing a tall man walk through the grounds, he spied the black coat and pins of an Ashaman. He had known that both genders built the Grey Tower into the bastion it was, and he wondered if the men lived in the Tower

“Your captain recommended you?” he inquired after a time, his curiosity getting the better of him. “What does it take to earn such a referral? I have heard of Saldaea -Riahana Gaidin’s family is from that land, I believe- but know very little about it. Do they frequently make alliances with the Grey Tower?” asked his escort and he was glad for the conversation. He was doing his best to hide it, but seeing the Grey Tower has solidified the size of the goal he had in mind.

“My Captain was kind enough to give me a letter of introduction yes. With scouts being a smaller part of the whole army, we had gotten to know each other well. So I would hazard a guess that my keen eyes, and discipline were the biggest recommendations,” Beron said matter of factly. He knew that there was great respect amongst the Borderlanders for Gaidin, but it was something that went so bone deep it was hard to explain.

“I can’t speak for all of Saldaea, but I know my own family had sent an Aunt to the White Tower. I had the good luck to serve as guide to an Aes Sedai of the Grey Tower for several moons. Her strength and the strength of the Warder who helped her impressed me; in the Borderlands we are born and live with the knowledge of the Blight and our duty. So to meet people who’s strength made many of the toughest men I know seem like spring calves, was impressive. It also was in part because of some of those who serve here, there are names held in reverence across Saldaea that live here,” Beron spoke with the wistful voice of tales remembered. Gleemen sung of the exploits of the Captain General, and he had often snuck out to the fires to listen to the tales.

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Re: First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Sunny » January 27th, 2018, 5:29 am

Finn listened to the newcomer’s comments with quiet attention. His awe and respect for the Grey Tower were palpable in every word; the Seanchan warrior almost envied the man. Almost. He had felt that way about the Court of the Nine Moons, once. He shook his head imperceptibly, and focused his attention on the curve of the path just ahead. Some things it was better not to think on.

“I know of whom you speak,” he commented with a smile. “Miahala Sedai is a sight to behold. I know very little of her, only that others hold her in high regard,” he chuckled a little, “but she managed to look fearsome even while holding her infant child, so I suppose the stories are warranted. It would be...an honor to work with her.” That was a lie, sort of. His mind glanced sideways off the memory of Jesi’s death and the events beyond. It wasn’t the same as going on a journey, or being a- a Warder. More importantly he had no desire to talk about it with anyone.

They had arrived at the junction for the path that would lead them through the trees to the Warder Hall; Finn nodded his chin in that direction and turned. Something new occurred to him, perhaps a little belatedly, and he felt a stab of juvenile glee. “She is not the only one of her line at the Grey Tower, you know,” he said, keeping his face carefully neutral. “Riahana Gaidin, have you heard of her? She is Miahala Sedai’s daughter. She’s a Blademaster, and used to be the Mistress of Arms. She stepped down a while back and took on the role of Mistress of Training.” His eyes slid sideways to assess his companion. “You’ll be meeting her in about ten minutes.”
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Re: First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Lugh » January 29th, 2018, 5:06 pm

Beron Beron walked with the other man, the questions on his tongue paused as the other man recounted seeing Miahala Sedai in person. And with a babe on her arm no less, that was a thought too foreign for Beron to imagine. One did not expect a figure of legend to walk the same garden paths that their feet trod.

They had arrived at the junction for the path that would lead them through the trees to the Warder Hall; Finn nodded his chin in that direction and turned, “She is not the only one of her line at the Grey Tower, you know,” he said, “Riahana Gaidin, have you heard of her? She is Miahala Sedai’s daughter. She’s a Blademaster, and used to be the Mistress of Arms. She stepped down a while back and took on the role of Mistress of Training.You’ll be meeting her in about ten minutes.”

“Haha, thank you for warning me now, it would do little good to walk into her office and stare like a moonstruck calf,” laughed Beron with a warm chuckle, and wide smile. There were of course tales told of any blademaster, especially in Saldaea where every able body bore a weapon.

“You don’t seem as awestruck by the surroundings, have you been here long?” Beron asked his escort. Knowing who he was going to face soon had him feeling nervous, still there was no sense doubting your path halfway up the cliff face. And so he fell into comfortable conversation, both to settle his nerves and to learn more about a future peer.

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Re: First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Sunny » February 3rd, 2018, 9:57 pm

Well, it seemed this Beron wasn’t easily intimidated. Finn felt a slight swirl of guilt in his gut for even trying, but it faded with the man’s laugh. Neither easily intimidated, nor easily insulted, and a soldier before coming to the Tower. It seemed the two of them had a great deal in common. He relaxed a little...only to stumble, ever so slightly, at Beron’s question.

No. No questions. I can’t- He had to; there was no polite way to avoid responding.

“I’ve been here for some time,” he said finally, but it was plain from Beron’s face that the vague acknowledgment would not be enough. “Long enough to grow used to the more unusual aspects of the Tower. The people of this place...even when things are scary and bad, they have a way of encouraging a man to stick around and keep trying. Loyalty-inspiring, I suppose, but in a different way than where I come from.”

“Where is that?”

Finn supposed he should have expected that question, but that didn’t make answering it any easier. “You have heard of a place called Seanchan?” He asked in return, his tone cautious. “I was born and raised there, and like you I served in my homeland’s army. At first I did so with joy, but some time ago I realized my time and skills would be better spent elsewhere.” He fought to keep his voice steady, but grief and guilt still seeped through. “It doesn’t matter why, not anymore. When my people sailed for this land I found the opportunity to act on my epiphany. So here I am, and here I will stay.”

He was certain he hadn’t even shared that much with Alrim, the Gaidin who had originally welcomed him to the Tower. The Seanchan man studied the path ahead, and tried not to let the anxious feeling in his gut goad him to say anything more he would regret.
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Re: First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Lugh » February 4th, 2018, 6:31 pm

Beron
Beron walked along with Finn, ignoring the questioning eyes from people they passed on the paths.

“I’ve been here for some time,” Finn said finally, and Beron remained quiet as he waited for the other man to speak. He was finally at the Grey Tower and half worded answers would not be enough.

“Long enough to grow used to the more unusual aspects of the Tower. The people of this place...even when things are scary and bad, they have a way of encouraging a man to stick around and keep trying. Loyalty-inspiring, I suppose, but in a different way than where I come from.” Finn stated, and Beron found himself more curious about Finn than sentiments he had expected to hear.

“Where is that?” He blurted out abruptly before he could catch himself.

“You have heard of a place called Seanchan?” Finn asked in return, his tone cautious. Beron stopped flat on his heels, he had never expected the answers to the man’s exotic features would lie across an Ocean. Before he could speak, Finn continued.

“I was born and raised there, and like you I served in my homeland’s army. At first I did so with joy, but some time ago I realized my time and skills would be better spent elsewhere.” Finn said, his voice sounding raw to Beron’s ears as Finn worked to master his emotions. There was pain there, and Beron wondered at the source of it.

“It doesn’t matter why, not anymore. When my people sailed for this land I found the opportunity to act on my epiphany. So here I am, and here I will stay.” Finn finished firmly, and Beron choked out further questions that sprang to his mind. This man seems like a song out of key Beron thought to himself as he tried to recall everything he had heard about Seanchan with the man standing before him.

“I have heard of Seanchan yes, it is a land beyond the ocean correct?” Beron asked, certain that was a fairly safe start. He had heard little else that was good, most rumours of the Seanchan spoke of shadowspawn beasts that served them, and all knew of Damane and the leashes that kept them as slaves. “The army I served worried most about the lands taken, the Damane and how to protect against them. Beyond that I had heard little but rumour and sour talk over bar counters,” admitted Beron as he chewed his lip, trying to reason out his thoughts.

“I suppose most of us think of the Seanchan as invaders, the army that arrived on our shores. While I have no idea what it was like to live or serve with the army there, I can say one thing. I have seen evil and faced shadowspawn, Trollocs and Draghkar on raids deep into the Borderlands. Everything I have heard about the Seanchan states they are disciplined, competent and stiff necked. I cannot stand here, ready to pledge my life to the Grey Tower and state the empire being here is good for all, but do not fear that I see fault or taint in you,” Beron states firmly.

He had seen relatively little of the Seanchan, but he had seen the Trollocs on raids, the terrible rot of the Blight. A good man could do harm if he knew no better, thought Beron as hoped he had not overstepped with the other man.

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Re: First Chord Struck [Attn: Sunny, Roan]

Post by Sunny » February 17th, 2018, 7:30 pm

Finn had learned quickly to keep his true origins to himself. Even at the Grey Tower -especially at the Grey Tower- there were those who could not see past their prejudice to a man who simply wanted to live his life in service to something good. That he had chosen to share his secret with this stranger spoke worlds, though it seemed unlikely Beron was aware. The potential for posturing and lies was there -the people of the Westlands could give the High Blood lessons in cutting subtlety- but the possibility seemed slimmer with each word out of Beron’s mouth.

“There are normal people in Seanchan,” he said softly. “Farmer, merchants, shepherds, lesser nobility, craftsmen, fishermen...the whole lot.” He scrubbed his hands together. “They are no threat...but they are not the one the Empress, may she-” he cut himself off sharply. “They are not the ones who came across the sea...the ones on the ships are exactly as you say,” he finished.

“I am told the Ever Victorious Army tried to crush this city. Twice,” he told the other man in a thoughtful voice. “I know little of the first attempt, but the second was quite recent- I read reports of the matter...before...then read further when I arrived at the Tower. The Empire had,” his breath hitched, “help from the Shadow and somehow we still threw them back...though many were lost.” Too many. Hama Valon had burned to the ground according to what he had read.

“The Seanchan records dance lightly around their defeat,” he added. That ghost of a smile returned, then broadened into an actual grin, dark eyes dancing in the sunlight. “They called the second invasion a ‘tactical retreat,’ and talked about the dangers of elevation and heat as if they had any bearing on the matter. I didn’t have to be a General to know that losing twenty damane and an entire company of the Fists of Heaven in a week was an unfathomable disaster.”

They had emerged from the trees and were walking toward a building that competed with palaces for size, but in comparison to the Grey Tower seemed little more than a squat manor. “The people here fought hard. I’m honored I will be here to fight with them should anyone
dare offer such threat again,” he finished, still smiling.

“Welcome to your new home, by the way. Ahead is the Warder Hall, where you will meet with Riahana Gaidin and get a bunk assignment. Training yards, archery buttes, and stables are all nearby as well. You won’t leave this area often at first, save perhaps to attend certain classes in the Tower itself.”

Light, but he needed a drink.
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