Posted 07 December 2008 - 05:50 PM
Gripped by the hair, it was all Simmen could do not to try to free himself of the black coated man's hand. He doubted that he would have succeeded though, even had he tried: The man's grip was iron, and he doubted that Tmas ever had as tight a...
No, no time for that, came the thought, somewhere, small, but it succeeded in suppressing the rising memories. You're committed now, Horned Ones devour you!
He could not ignore the rising heat, though. As it grew, he started to grit his teeth and moan, to feebly thrash around. Still, the- Asha'man? -had him by the hair, and he was forced to look straight ahead, at...something.
When he had moved through the crowd, people had made room for him due to his smell, backing away from him in disgust: Unwashed, unshaved he was no goodly sight to look at. His smell was worse for the fact that whatever he had eaten on that day- Not now, no, not now! -was spewed out all over his chest; that had to have happened while he had lost consciousness, falling to the ground struggling to merely breathe, panting after having run longer, farther and faster than ever before in his life. He tried to not think about that, instead concentrating on the moment at hand.
If people's expressions had shown revulsion and pity- why pity? -before, now they were decidedly uneasy, backing away from the scene.
Suddenly, the heat vanished. Simmen realized that not much time at all had passed. For him, it had felt like an eternity. Released from the man's grip, he dropped to the ground, feeling weirdly cold now that the heat was not there any longer.
"Interesting, it is", the black coated man announced, in an amused voice. The way he said that...Simmen thought he knew it from somewhere. His head seemed to be spinning, and thinking clearly was beyond him.
"Vomitting again now, no?", the man said, mockingly. "Filth such as you, it might be useful to our Lord Dragon, but I think me I would have left you right here were it not for that. The stench, it disgusts me!" He shut his nostrils to bring his point home. Only then did Simmen realize that with the heat gone, he felt decidedly ill. For some reason, he also felt warmer, now that it had gone by. Which made no sense.
Turning to the rest of the men in black, "Soldier, you don't mind helping this one on his legs, yes?" the Asha'man said to one of them, someone who did not have any pin whatsoever. The man pressed fist to heart and obliged. Keeping as much distance as was possible for the man, he dragged Simmen to his feet.
"Able to stand?", he asked curtly.
"I...uh...guess", was Simmen's reply. Trying not to trip over his own feet, he staggered to where his bow and quiver lay- the Taraboner (yes, that's what the man had to be) had contemptuously thrown it away, for some reason -and took them up again.
"Us, we shall leave then", the Asha'man boomed, adressing both the crowd and what seemed to be his underlings- not only the black-cloaks, but also a jumbled together lot that else likely would never have been on the same spot. "Know then, that these men, they shall defend you and your home against the rising storm. It, they shall ride. Tar'mon Gaidon, they shall win, marching for the Lord Dragon."
With that, the Asha'man gathered their horses, and together with the volunteers- surely they were only there by their "free will"; Simmen did not want to even think about what had forced them to come, tried to let himself be embraced by his miserable state so that he would not be able to dwell on his own reason -with the volunteers, they set out from the village. For the most part, everyone in the column was quiet. Some of the men-in-black, however, with just silver swords at their throat, were talking with one another in low tones, some of them occasionally glancing back at him, as if for emphasis. Suddenly, the Taraboner, leading the black-cloaks, turned around, and with but a few words silenced them.
After some time, when the village and the Tower road had faded away, he halted.
"Make ready for Travelling! Line up, you sows!", Dragon-and-Sword shouted, and in short order the Asha'man forced the men into line. When everybody was arrayed and the Taraboner seemed satisfied, he concentrated on the spot ahead, gesticulating with his hands.
He seemed to do...something...and all of a sudden, a light appeared, and what seemed to be a...hole...in mid-air appeared, showing an empty pasture, and, not far off, something that might pass for a goodly sized settlement. Where they were now, there was not much of a cloud, brisk as it were. Behind that...hole...dark clouds were gathering, not so much as one ray of sunlight was to be seen. The clouds promised more than just a little downpour.
At Dragon-and-Sword's command, the line of men passed through, wherever that might be. Simmen had heard that these...Asha'man were supposed to be somewhere far to the south, in some big City- they always capitalized that, the merchants did. This in no way deserved the name, and if the Father truly had such a strong grip on the weather to be that bad so far south...
"Creator save us", he muttered, clutching his poor excuse for a bow.
Ladies take me, he added in his mind, although he knew that there was no turning back now. He was committed, now.
After they had stepped through, the first flakes began to fall. They were pushed to the village, pushed to what seemed to be an inn. The settlement dwarfed Horn's End, as Simmen realized up close, and although he felt decidedly numb, decidedly...empty, he himself suddenly felt somewhat awestruck. He had stepped through a hole in the air to the Old Duke knew where, and now that he saw this "village" he suddenly felt awed! He wanted to laugh. He wanted to cry, to just lay down and die.
In front of the inn, they halted. Halting in front of them, the Taraboner turned his horse to the lot of them. The other black coated fellows for the most part were already spreading apart, only a few remained with Dragon-and-Sword.
"Welcome in Andor, welcome to the Farm.", he said. This time, he did not use his booming trick. He was heard very well nonetheless. After sitting his horse a few moments in silence, the Taraboner dismounted. The snowfall started to take up.
"Test the rest of that sorry lot, yes?", he adressed his remaining compatriots. With that, he stepped up to Simmen. "You will remain here, no?" Pointing at him, he pinched Simmen. Hard. "You filthy pig, I would prefer to drench in water and then let you remain out here for a bit. Frost, it is good for developing character, no? But no time for that, someone, he will certainly want to have a look at you." With that, Dragon-and-Sword left.
Simmen had a sinking feeling. Bone-deep cold started to seep into him.
Posted 11 December 2008 - 03:22 PM
Arath frowned and asked, "That depends. Did you leave them standing in the snow this time or send them to my office?" The flash of outrage in the other man's eyes confirmed the worst to Arath. "I guess you haven't had enough of recruting then. You're assigned to a party every day for the next week. See that no more recruits get lost in transit next time." Leaving the man fuming, Arath pushed past him through the door.
It didn't take long to find the unfortunate victim this time. A dirty, gangly youth who looked chilled to the bone. Taking a deep breath, Arath started forward. "Are you a new recruit?" he asked, not because he needed that fact confirmed, but merely to direct attention toward himself. When the thin young man nodded, Arath wove spirit into a gateway. The familiar silvery blue flash appeared and rotated into a portal into his home travelling room. Grabbing the boy by the arm, Arath pulled him through and let the gateway wink out behind them. Pushing open the door into the office, Arath motioned for the recruit to take a seat. Settling himself at his desk, Arath began the introductions. "I'm Arath, Attack Leader here at the black Tower. I'll be overseeing your training here and making sure you stay alive." Opening up the log book, Arath fussed around his desk looking for a pen. "So, what's your name and where are you from?"
Posted 12 December 2008 - 01:54 PM
Simmen tried as best as he could to ignore the cold, tapping from one foot to the other, ignoring the goings-on around him as best he could. Suddenly, an Asha'man came upon him, nearly his height- not the Taraboner this time.
"Are you a new recruit?"
Having no other real option, Simmen nodded- somewhat shakily -in approval. As quickly as that, the man grabbed him and pulled him along through another "hole" he created then and there. Gripping his bow, he let himself be pulled along.
Ladies take me, will I ever get used to that?, he wondered dully.
On the other side of the hole, the same dark sky poured snowflakes down upon them, ever stronger, but instead of the huge thing of an inn- huge to Simmen, that was -a single house was there. Through the steady snowfall nothing else could be seen, so it almost seemed that the house stood lonely somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Simmen had no time to notice too much more, as the Asha'man pointed him into another room. The inside of it had a workman's character, the desk, the seats...Simmen found that decidedly odd for one such as this...man.
"I'm Arath, Attack Leader here at the black Tower. I'll be overseeing your training here and making sure you stay alive."
The Asha'man looked at Simmen, then, straight into his eyes. His eyes...they promised ,and had seen, death, Simmen was sure, told of a man that was as like to sow death on a whim as any Lady of the Storms in her wrath. So far, this Arath had been kind enough, compared to the Taraboner, but his green-eyed gaze...that alone was enough to send shivers down Simmen's spine.
"So, what's your name and where are you from?"
"Sim- Simmen's the name, goo- good sir. From Horn's End, in the Black Hills?" Simmen swallowed. He was to be a...recruit, a recruit with men such as Arath and Dragon-and-Sword in charge of him, men as sure to go mad as himself- if they weren't mad already. And Simmen himself would be one of them. Still, he tried very hard not to shake, not to wimper. Ladies' wrath have me if I back out of this! Keep going, coward, or you might as well have not come here at all!
When "Attack Leader" Arath's expression seemed to demand more, Simmen hastily added, "No su-surname for me, good sir. I'm an...orphan, you see. It's custom there..." He fell into silence. This man did not want to hear about his babbling away about the unwritten rules and laws of his home. He knew as well as Simmen that those counted for nothing here. Knew better.
EDIT: "Minor" correction. No truce with inconsistency! *nods*
Posted 13 December 2008 - 02:05 PM
Walking over to the large closet against the wall, Arath began to rummage around for a suitable coat. "So Simmen, do you have any questions for me? If you have any, now's the time."
Posted 13 December 2008 - 02:48 PM
Intensely gazing at his bow, he tried to calm himself down some. He tried to think of the way he had concentrated before loosing an arrow. Calm, aim, loose, calm, aim, loose...To some degree, it worked. His head seemed to be nearly empty of thoughts. Except for one. Death, or madness...What would be more preferable?
The Asha'man's question brought him back to the here and now immediately.
"So Simmen, do you have any questions for me? If you have any, now's the time."
He turned to look at Arath in an instant, bow almost forgotten.
He had wondered about many things, thousands, while coming here, and now they all seemed too stupid and unimportant to bring up- whether it was those holes in the air, the size of "the Farm", for clearly Dragon-and-Sword had meant the whole settlement by that, what those pins were about...Although, there still was...
"Uh, Attack Leader, this Dragon-and- I mean, this one other...man...who brought me here. Did he do something unusual? On the way here his...men...seemed to be arguing about something, something to do with me, I think."
Waiting for Attack Leader Arath's answer, he tried to keep looking at this one's face instead of at his bow or in front of his feet. He could see distaste there, doubtless for all the filth he saw on Simmen and what that might tell about the person beneath all that. Beside that, no other emotion would show. All the while, Arath continued to search through a closet full of black clothes- without a doubt the uniform Simmen would have to wear now that he were to be Asha'man as well. All the while, Arath had at least one eye on Simmen.
Posted 13 December 2008 - 04:17 PM
With a frown, Arath examined Simmen's current atire. Even at his worst times on the Caemlyn streets he hadn't looked so bad as this. Or smelt as bad. With a grimace, he siezed the source. Channeling air, he pushed open the window. A careful weave of air and fire sliced the filth ridden shirt off of the startled man and another flow of air carried them to the window. With a flash of fire, the shirt crumbled into ashes and fell to the mud. "The least of the tricks you will learn here," Arath said with a grin. He tossed the coat at Simmen then added,"I'll see to it that you get another coat soon, and some better clothing. Before you put that on though, you should probably get cleaned up."
Pushing Simmen through the door, Arath led him to his bath room. Filling the tub from the cistern above, he heated the water with another flow of Saidin. Steam soon rose pleasantly from the tub, and Arath quickly gathered everything that would be needed. "When you're done here, I'll take you back to the inn to get something to eat before you start training. So unless you've got some questions, I'll leave you to it for now."
Posted 13 December 2008 - 05:06 PM
"Everything that one does is unusual. I've never understood half the things a Taraboner does, let alone why. And he's the worst of the lot."
So it was another bully, then. Simmen was used to that. In a way.
Somehow, that prospect amused him. He was among madmen now, about to become part of them and still, he was bullied. He could not help grinning, and very nearly burst out laughing. It just seemed too rich that things would turn round and round even here, that it would be the same as back in Horn's End.
Before it came to that, though, the room's window seemed to open all on its' own and his shirt seemed to get off him of its' own accord. Neatly cut by something...hot.
For a moment, Simmen felt panic, thought that the man would kill him now- he just...knew it was Arath doing this. His shock and fear froze him into place, though. As quick as it started, it was done, his sorry looking shirt a pile of ash out on the ground, covered by snow and frost in short order.
"The least of the tricks you will learn here." Grinning, the Asha'man threw a coat at him, which Arath awkwardly managed to catch, saying: "I'll see to it that you get another coat soon, and some better clothing. Before you put that on though, you should probably get cleaned up."
It was done, then. While Arath chivvied Simmen into his bath- the man had a bath?! -Simmen let that thought sink in. Now that he was Asha'man himself, he certainly had duties to follow- the least of which would be to be presentable. Soldiers were expected to be.
While he put a finger into the water to check the temperature- it was warm already; he again knew why, just so -the Attack Leader addressed him once more:"When you're done here, I'll take you back to the inn to get something to eat before you start training. So unless you've got some questions, I'll leave you to it for now."
"None, Attack Leader..." Simmen hesitated, then bowed to Arath in as elaborate a way as he could manage. "...Thank you."
He did not know why he did that. The man's green eyes were likely enough to give an executioner pause- ten executioners -, but somehow, he knew that he was in the "best" hands possible in his situation. The outcome, however, would still be the same. With his bow, quiver and clothes piled in a corner, he brooded in the tub over what the Creator would still have in check for him. He barely noticed that he hummed "The Duke's Last Stand" meanwhile.