I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Hama Valon, the city around the Grey Tower.
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Welcome to Hama Valon! The aptly named 'mountain guard' is the city that has grown up at the gates of the Grey Tower at the western edge of the Two Rivers. Like all cities, there are quiet quarters with pleasant inns, such as Elman's Creek, which used to be the nearest village when the Tower was young, but was absorbed as the new city grew; its Band of Brothers Inn is still a favorite relaxation spot for many of the Tower's denizens. And again, like all cities the world over, there are less pleasant places--narrow, nameless streets that house hells and other houses of ill repute. Most of the city falls somewhere in between, with hawkers crying their wares in the streets, respectable shopkeepers ready to serve you, and petty cutpurses happy to follow you.

Novices, Soldiers, and drin'far'ji must be accompanied by a chaperon when outside Tower walls or they risk being picked up as runaways and duly punished.
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Sunny
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I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Sunny » January 4th, 2018, 9:07 am

Jaryd
“I have ten reports from Saldaea, a dozen or more from Illian and Murandy, and..well, you don’t want to know how many from Arad Doman. They’re all claiming to have seen Mo- I mean, Ninya. I put them all here, sorted-” Jaryd stood staring at a massive painting, his hands clasped behind his back. When he turned to face the speaker, the young Aes Sedai cut off so fast she nearly gagged on her own tongue. “What is it Jaryd?”

Jaryd shook his head, waving away her concern and the basket of reports she tried to hand him. “Ninya’s long gone, Nessalin. Doves don’t fly as quickly as an Aes Sedai Travels- you know that. We need to be looking at ways to counter what she knows of us when she attacks, not engaging in this pointless effort to track her down.” He strode to his chair and tugged his coat off the back, swung it over his shoulders and headed for the door. “A Green would be better for tactics, but if you are 100% certain the Tower will bloody explode without a Red’s tender ministrations, find Marten. I'm out.”

“But-”

He closed the door on the woman’s objections and walked away. Every step he took felt like a new burden being lifted; by the time he realized where his feet were taking him, he felt nearly good as new. Sun -winter-pale, yet bright and encouraging- streamed through every window, and he found himself grinning as he reached the stairs and took the steps three at a time. Passers-by gave him curious looks and the Altaran just nodded a greeting and kept going.

Eventually he slipped into the infirmary antechamber. The sleepy-eyed Dedicated at the desk stood to give him a bow just shy of disrespectful, then waved vaguely toward one of the halls leading to the inner wards. “Asha’man Jaren will be back there.” Jaryd arched an eyebrow, giving the lad a visual once over as he walked past. The Dedicated immediately began fidgeting with his cuffs. Amused at the impact a single glance could have, Jaryd went where directed.

He found Jaren peering at a row of neatly labeled glass bottles in a room full of similar shelves. The Red caught his shoulder against the doorframe and let his weight rest there, simply watching with appreciative eyes as his lover moved about. When Jaren finally turned to the door, Jaryd wiggled his fingers in greeting. “Is there any chance you can escape to the city with me...right about now?” he asked. "I haven't seen nearly enough of you since we got back from Tar Valon."
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Re: I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Elan » January 6th, 2018, 1:19 pm

Jaren
Jaren knew he had company though he hadn’t heard anyone arrive — and in his experience, there were not many people in the Tower could move so silently. Johan was one, but with Johan, Jaren had the advantage of the bond to keep the Warder from sneaking up on him. Right now the bond told him that Johan was somewhere in the general direction of the training grounds, and that meant the person watching him in the doorway was most likely another Altaran. Jaren smiled at the bottles on the shelf, but finished his task before turning around to face Jaryd.

His smile brightened a notch at the sight of the Red. “Escape?” he repeated, eyebrows raised slightly. “Is the situation that dire?” But though his words were humorous, he had to admit that the choice of phrasing sounded about right. Jaryd was undoubtedly wrestling with vastly different problems demanding his attention, but Jaren had his fair share of people trying to subtly keep an eye on him, to make sure that he was alright after his experience in the White Tower, and though everybody meant well, the particular brand of concern got really old really fast.

He quickly scribbled a few final notes on the list in his hands — unsurprisingly, the recent events had dramatically increased the demand of such herbal remedies as were used to ease anxiety and promote peaceful sleep — then placed the list on top of several other such lists. They weren’t yet dealing with a shortage of herbs, exactly, but they were going to have to employ the services of Plantweavers to replenish the stores once the appropriate season came…

No, that wasn’t something he could do anything about today and he pushed the thoughts of herbs from his mind. “…Yes. Let’s go,” he said, taking Jaryd’s hand in his, “please, before someone comes up with an emergency that Amathie can’t deal with on her own.”
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~ Jaren ~ Mael ~ Delaine ~

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Re: I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Sunny » January 6th, 2018, 7:21 pm

Jaryd
Dire? Jaryd’s lips twitched up in a flickering smile as Jaren’s eyes turned back to his paper. He had only a moment to contemplate which smartass response to give before the Andoran’s hand was wrapped in his and Jaren was actually agreeing to go. Creator, oh yes please. Perhaps the situation had been dire in truth; tension Jaryd hadn’t known he carried washed away like footprints in a tidepool.

The Red shifted, his free arm sliding around his lover’s waist to pull them together. His smile grew until he thought it might split his face as he studied the pale eyes he had grown to love. “It took me fifty years, but I’ve learned that if I simply walk away they squawk and complain like angry seagulls, but somehow they always find solutions on their own,” he told the Yellow in a laughing murmur. What a relief that discovery had been!

Jaren was warm and smelled amazing and he was happy and if they didn’t move they wouldn’t be leaving at all because Jaryd would be far too busy rediscovering everything else that was good about his lover and damn the consequences. This was simply fact, like the sun rising in the east or spring following winter. Jaryd made a sound halfway between a laugh and a curse as he loosened his grip on the other man. “Do you want to change before we go, or shall we simply scamper off like naughty children?”
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Re: I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Elan » January 7th, 2018, 6:56 pm

Jaren
Jaren let himself lean lightly against his lover, his forehead against Jaryd’s as he gazed into the dark eyes; beautiful, warm, full of life, like everything about Jaryd. His smile widened as Jaryd spoke; again, the words might be humorous but the issue was real, and Jaren was glad Jaryd had learnt that, even if it had taken decades. Jaren could understand and sympathise with workaholic tendencies — sometimes ensuring that things were done properly meant doing them yourself — but in the long run, especially in a job like Jaryd’s, it was far from healthy.

Not that Jaren wasn’t guilty of late nights working, himself, and undoubtedly would be even more so if he didn't have Jaryd to go home to at the end of the day. We could be such a disaster, he thought, a little wryly, both trying to save the world in our different ways, but somehow… Somehow it worked and Jaren sure as hell wasn’t complaining.

Jaryd’s question broke him out of his reverie, and he gave a soft chuckle. Suddenly the idea of leaving the Tower — leaving this very room — felt irrelevant; as long as he had Jaryd right there, it didn’t really matter where right there was… But no, that would have been a sure recipe for disaster, anyone could walk in at any time. “No, let’s just go.”

Reluctantly, he detached himself from Jaryd. The first stop was to let someone know he was going out; the Infirmary would manage without him, Amathie would still be there, and knowing Maever, the First Weaver was never far either, but it would be bad form to just sneak out without letting anyone know. Then he grinned and turned to Jaryd again; they were free to go and the Tower would just have to survive the afternoon without them.

Out of the Infirmary and out of the Tower itself, into the bright, crisp winter afternoon. “Are you sure you’re warm enough?” Jaren asked with an innocent grin; it was no secret that Jaryd preferred the summer and felt more at home in temperatures that made Jaren want to just lie in the shade with a cool drink.
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Re: I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Sunny » January 8th, 2018, 1:17 am

Jaryd
Outside was colder than anything had any right to be. Jaryd let go of Jaren’s hand and wrapped his arms around himself without a second thought, bracing himself against a chill wind that cut through both his coat and his training. Blood and bloody ashes, this was my idea, he thought, bemused. Maybe we could just go to our quarters with a nice fire. No. As warm and cozy as that image was in his head, he wanted to be away, even if it meant freezing his bones to dust.

“Are you sure you’re warm enough?” Jaren’s voice was light, even teasing; Jaryd’s eyes slanted sideways at his lover to see the most perfectly innocuous smile and a twinkle in his eye. Oh the Andoran knew exactly what he was doing with that comment. Jaryd tried to glare daggers at him, but couldn’t maintain it for longer than a breath. He started laughing.

“I may freeze my bloody balls off before we make it to the gate, but there is zero chance I am going back inside that building, so don't even try,” he told Jaren between chuckles. It took a great deal of willpower to force his hands away from his body and relax, but he did it. “Besides, you keep me plenty warm- what do I have to complain about?” His fingers crept back between Jaren’s and squeezed.

He took a resolute step forward, then another. Once they were moving again, the cold was less pronounced. “That said, I will never understand why a bunch of rebellious youths chose to build their play tower on top of a frigid mountain instead of somewhere a little more hospitable. Maybe less accessible to armies, I suppose?” He had read about it once...in what felt like another lifetime. He couldn’t remember the details, and didn’t really care.

Jaryd shook his head, then brushed unruly curls out of his face. “I suppose it kept them out of trouble with Andor at least,” he commented. Then he looked at Jaren through his eyelashes. “Though if we had settled further west, perhaps I would have met you sooner. A vinyard seems like a place a thief like me would want to explore.”
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Re: I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Elan » January 9th, 2018, 7:28 pm

Jaren
Jaryd’s fingers wrapped around his again, and Jaren squeezed back, smiling brightly. The day was gorgeous and so was Jaryd, and Jaryd was right in that it had been entirely too long since they’d taken a day just for themselves like this. He felt the kind of sheer undiluted delight he hadn’t felt since before Tar Valon.

And that was interesting because he’d thought himself fairly well-adjusted. He had all the resources of the Yellow Ajah, he had Jaryd and Johan and all his friends… But as a Healer he should have remembered that trauma could be deceptive; it wasn’t always about endless nightmares or soul-crushing despair. He’d never even realised he was missing something until he felt it again, squinting at the sunlight that made the snow-covered landscape too bright, hearing the laughter in Jaryd’s voice…

Right now, life was good. Well, there was still a rogue Amyrlin and several Dreadlords at large, but… that aside, life was good, and Jaren was determined to do everything within his power that it stayed that way.

“Perhaps,” he replied. “But perhaps not. I spent most of my adult life on the road, remember?” He flashed another, disarming smile. “At a risk of sounding hopelessly sappy—” not that he sounded sorry at all, nor was he trying to, “—I’m just happy we did meet.” He raised their joined hands and planted a quick kiss on Jaryd’s knuckles. It occurred to him only after the fact that anyone could see them — like that Accepted coming at a brisk walk along the road from the direction of Mar a’Mael — but he didn’t care. “Are we going somewhere specific?”
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Re: I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Sunny » January 12th, 2018, 7:57 pm

Most of my adult life on the road… As teeth flashed and lips caressed and Jaren took him apart with a few casual words, Jaryd found himself wondering what it would be like to just travel for the sake of traveling. The last time he had been on the road without a destination he had been hellbent on escaping the Black Tower and anything to do with the One Power at all. That had not been enjoyable by any definition of the word. Somehow he suspected the experience was quite different with a companion.

Perhaps that was why when Jaren asked where they were going the Altaran’s jaw worked for a moment before he managed to sort a response from the jumble of words in his head. “I hadn’t thought that far ahead,” he admitted at last, his face heating up despite the cold. “But-” and he cocked his head to the side and gave Jaren a slow look from head to toe and back up again, “I have a few ideas. Maybe-”

He cut off to acknowledge an approaching Accepted and the smooth curtsy she gave. Her eyes dropped to their joined hands and widened slightly. When she looked up, Jaryd caught her eye and gave her a decidedly non-Asha’man-like smile. She flushed and seemed at a loss for words. Jaryd just shook his head as they walked past. It was still strange to have strangers watching him like that.

The entire exchange took less than a breath. Jaryd turned to Jaren with a laugh. “That’s it, we’re going to the lower city. It may be a little rough around the edges, but I know a place we can eat and dance and just...relax. Sound good?”
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Re: I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Elan » January 20th, 2018, 10:14 pm

Jaren
Jaren spared a smile at the scandalised Accepted. He might not have much of a reputation himself — or did he? he wasn’t aware of one, at any rate — but Jaryd certainly did, and their present behaviour was likely rather difficult to reconcile with that reputation. That was a nice thought, somehow. They could afford to be human and even behave accordingly, every now and then. The Shadow’s best efforts hadn’t taken that from them.

“That sounds perfect,” he replied, though truth be told, he probably would have said that whatever Jaryd suggested. Not that that made it any less true; anywhere where they could just be and enjoy each other’s company sounded pretty damn perfect right now. “Besides,” he added, flashing an easy grin, “I trust your judgement.” And he had to admit that now he was curious about what passed for ‘a little rough around the edges’ in Hama Valon, a city where the Aes Sedai and Asha’man were never far.

He’d never enjoyed seeking out the rougher establishments for the thrill of it, like some of the people he’d used to associate with before coming to the Tower; they had never seemed to realise just how badly they stood out from the usual crowd or how idiotic they looked trying to blend in. Jaren had gone with them once and the most exciting part of the evening had been herding his drunken friends safely back to their inn afterwards. The memory elicited a wry snort. Was he old enough to be thinking of those times as ‘youthful escapades’? Probably not.

But unlike the spoilt youths Jaren had used to hang out with, Jaryd knew what he was doing, and Jaren did trust his judgement.
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Re: I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Sunny » January 27th, 2018, 6:55 am

Jaryd
Jaryd looked Jaren up and down with a pleased smile. His lover looked so happy, genuinely so; it took the Red’s breath away. He bit his lip, took a breath...and released every vestige of the reserve he usually carried with him. The Void went with it as well as his concentrated effort to ignore the cold, but that was, he realized abruptly, completely acceptable. Enduring the weather was simply a part of being human. It was certainly a price he was willing to pay to see Jaren’s eyes light up.

“Very well,” he said cheerfully. “Follow me, my love. East market is a bit of a trek.” When they moved forward their hands shifted until Jaren had Jaryd’s hand caught in the crook of his elbow and tucked against his side. Jaryd did not pull away.

Midway down a broad thoroughfare lined with shops, the Altaran turned to the side suddenly and stopped at a large-ish window. There he exchanged coins with a young woman in purple who stood inside; she ducked away and returned with two clay mugs filled with steaming liquid. Jaryd smiled, complimented her hair, then slipped her another copper before taking the mugs and passing one to Jaren. “Cocoa,” he said by way of explanation. “Don’t ask me where it comes from, but trust me- it’s delicious.”

And that’s how they ended up sipping sweet chocolate and chatting about nonsense as they strolled through what passed for the ‘rough’ part of Hama Valon, completely oblivious to the odd glances they got. At least- Jaryd was oblivious. He was so wrapped up in the man at his side that a cutpurse could have robbed him blind and he wouldn’t have noticed.

Eventually they reached his intended destination. Jaryd glanced up at the sign -The Laughing Tomcat, it proclaimed, with a truly terrible rendition of a cat painted below the uneven letters- then tugged Jaren inside.

Inside was warm, light, and loud, and bustling with activity. It was neither as orderly as the Band of Brothers nor as dour as some of the bars closer to the docks. The entire place had an air of acceptance to it, as if whatever happened, would happen, and the tavern would continue regardless. There was a very large man lounging by the door as if he had nothing better to do, but Jaryd knew better. He had seen Iko drag troublemakers out with one hand in the past, with little more effort than a child carrying a doll. The other occupants were clearly at ease; some already boisterous from drink, others only just beginning their evening.

A blonde woman who could easily have enveloped both the slender Asha’man in her bosom and barely noticed the addition to her mass bustled over as the door swung shut. “You’ve finally brought your friend, have you?” she asked Jaryd with easy familiarity. “It’s about time I met him. And aren’t you just a handsome one,” she added in an approving tone, turning her attention to Jaren. “My name is Mari, dear. You need anything, just let me know. For now I’ll get you both something to drink and be off. You’re in luck, by the way, there’s a Glee man tonight. He’s just setting up right over there. Have a seat, dears, I’ll be right back!”

And with that she was gone, leaving a slightly breathless duo in her wake. “Pick a seat,” Jaryd said, eyes dancing with amusement. “No one here cares too much what we are,” he added thoughtfully as they moved toward a table, “but if you want fewer stares, you might remove these.” He touched the pins at Jaren’s throat with the tips of his fingers.
Whoops, it seems Jaryd had a lot to say. <_<
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Re: I want to see you dance again [Elan]

Post by Elan » February 5th, 2018, 11:11 pm

Jaren
The cocoa was delicious, just like Jaryd had said, and Jaryd was gorgeous— well, he always was, but somehow he was even more so in those rare moments when he let go of the Void and the protection it offered. It was rare for him to let go like that, especially outside the privacy of their quarters, and every time it made Jaren realise again just how lucky he was to have such a remarkable person in his life. Even though the crisp winter weather was decidedly not his element, Jaryd had such a warm, vibrant energy about him that, to Jaren’s eyes, made him shine brighter than the sun.

Jaryd led him through the bustling streets of the lower city, and Jaren was torn between taking in the sights and paying attention to nothing but Jaryd. Hama Valon was never exactly homogeneous in its populace, the city was home to people of many ethnicities and cultures, but the diversity was even more pronounced here, in the colours and cuts of dresses, in the hairstyles and jewellery and accents. And it was beautiful.

The Laughing Tomcat tavern, where Jaryd brought him, continued the theme of diverse and vibrant life combined with a warm atmosphere. Jaren was a little bemused by the welcome by the woman who introduced herself as Mari, but he took it in stride, giving a bright smile in response, and that was all he had time for before she bustled away again to fetch drinks. Jaren chuckled softly. “I can’t say that I’ve ever been welcomed into a tavern quite so enthusiastically. I take it you’re a regular here.” He didn’t need to see Jaryd’s nod of affirmation; this whole place was very… very Jaryd.

They sat down at a table, a little out of the way but not too far from the gleeman. “No one here cares too much what we are,” Jaryd said, “but if you want fewer stares, you might remove these,” indicating at the pins on Jaren’s collar.

Jaren gave a slightly wry smile. “The uniform is rather distinctive even without them,” he said, but plucked the pins off his collar anyway and slipped them into his pocket. Without thinking he caught Jaryd’s hand, fingers twining together. “It’s funny how I’ve gotten so used to it, I don’t even think about it anymore. I rarely have reason to explicitly not look like Asha’man… And the uniform is stylish enough, I don’t have to decide what to wear in the morning,” he added with a grin. There were people who looked amazing in the Asha’man uniform — Tristram came to mind, and Mael in his more severe way — but Jaren wasn’t one of them; blue was more his colour, but he liked the convenience of the uniform.
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~ Jaren ~ Mael ~ Delaine ~

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