The next few days were spent waiting. He would give Alia as much time as she needed, or at least until the Great Lord called him. He had taken a sword into his room for Matrim to practice with. It was just large enough that he could practice forms, if not attack and defense patterns. He only wished he had an ashanderei for Matrim to practice with...
...Peaten had chosen the weapon as a Trainee, before he was even allowed to touch a weapon. Trainees were given a course on weapons and armor, the advantages and disadvantages of each. Peaten had chosen the ashanderei because it made use of what would be his unmatched reach as he grew into full maturity. Not only that, but it was an ancient weapon, no longer used by anyone, not even the Warders or Shar Mahdi. It made use of powerful sweeps and precise jabs. There was a sword blade at one end and a thick spike at the other. With two avenues of attack, most people would be confused, though like any weapon, attack could only come from one place at any given time. He sped through his time as a trainee, only a month, to become a true student.
Students of the Tower were finally allowed to train with weapons, though only sword, staff, and bow. Peaten would spend hours fine tuning his body, so every strike was the exact same every single time. He practiced the sword more often, but the quarterstaff, the weapon closest to the ashanderei, was what he practiced hardest. His first true test had come in the Gladius arena. Each month, the Tower held an event meant to test the mettle of it's members. Men and women of the Tower battled for position and showed off for would-be Masters, Apprentices and Assassins were pited against their Masters in order to gain the next level. In his first Gladius, as a trainee, Peaten showed his control of ayende by brutally submitting a classmate. It was the work of a berserker, the animal rage of a Trolloc pummeling a peasant. His next, however, had shown how far his control had come. With his quarterstaff, he had broken his rival, not letting him die, but not letting him pass out without submitting to him. To have killed the man so would have been a failure. He would never again be challenged in a Gladius by one of his peers.
Three months later, he graduated again to the ranks of the senior students. Here he learned survivial, languages of the world, and best of all the rest of the weapons available to him. The instructor of the senior students was none other than the Master of Combat himself, who's task it was to make sure the students were ready to become apprenticed. The Master and his own two Apperntices had taken to drubbing Peaten far harder than any of the others. He would learn later on it was because so many had told him how great he was, he needed to be humbled. And humbled he was. He worked twice as hard on perfecting his craft until even the Apprentices were hard pressed to defeat him. In three years, Peaten was head and shoulders better than any of his peers, and Master Arenos alone would serve as his sparring partner, humbling him again and again, feeding into the fire that was Peaten al'Kar. Once a year, the Gladius gained special significance. The local Trolloc camp and it's group of Myrddraal would join in the festivities. Assassins and Shar Mahdi challenged all sorts of Shadowspawn, local or captured. Captives were fed to the Trollocs. Even some of the Masters were challenged for their position. In one of these, the third since his arrival, Peaten would fight his would-be Master. It was Memnoch, the Apprentice that had found him all those years ago wandering the Blight. He was himself once Apprenticed to the Master of Combat, Master Arenos, and was his prize pupil. Memnoch was a rising star in the ranks, and was soon to become full Shar Mahdi himself. The fight was short, though. With as much raw power and emotion and promise as Peaten had, Memnoch was by far the more experienced and already a blademaster. Peaten had fought well enough, though, that he was accepted into Apprenticeship under Memnoch.
His very first mission as an Apprentice saw him back near Caemlyn, where her had grown up most of his life. While Memnoch fulfilled his mission, the erasure or a deserter, Peaten went back to his family home. His older brother was gone, apparently a Captain in the Children of the Light. His younger sister had gone off to be a novice in the White Tower. Matrim had seen her not too long ago, she was now an Accepted, it seemed. That left his older sister, dying mother, and little brother. It seemed to his sister, Lena, that after Peaten had left, the burden left for Justen had made him mad. When Peaten saw to his brother, he was lying on his stomach in a cage, eyes yellow.
"I have read about this." In the Tower of the Black Dawn. "How long has he been like this?"
"A year now. Is he mad?" His sister had tears in her eyes.
"Not mad. He says he can talk to animals? Wolves?"
"Wolves. How did you...? It wasn't always like this. Justen is still in there somewhere. He will talk like a man once in a while. It becomes more rare as time goes on. We were hoping Serina would be able to help once she is Aes Sedai,"
Peaten sneered. "He is beyond Healing. Go inside. I am going to let him out. He will be happier that way." He kneeled down and took the lock in his hands. Justen growled and shrank back, as if he could smell what his brother had become. "He might attack you. Go!" And she left, crying. With the butt of his sword, Peaten broke the chain. When the door opened, Justen pounced, teeth bared at Peaten's throat. Peaten was too fast though. Instead it was he who had Justen's throat in his massive hand. He dragged his still-struggling brother off into the woods. They stopped in a small clearing. When Justen was small, Peaten had taught him how to set traps here. Justen had always followed Peaten as an idol.
He looked down at Justen who had stopped struggling. His yellow eyes now showed recognition. "Peaten? How?" He stood and embraced his brother and begun sobbing. "I've been having horrible dreams. They won't get out of my head."
"I know little brother. I came to stop them." In an instant, Peaten grabbed Justen by his shaggy hair and spun him around. "They will haunt you know more." He pulled the dagger out of his belt and cut his younger brother's throat. Blood gushed out, away from Peaten. Wiping his dagger clean on Justen's shirt, the threw the corpse to the ground...
... Peaten hated wolves. That was the first time he had ever killed a man. His only regret that it was his own brother was that he was going to take him to the Tower to train. Those filthy mongrels had gotten to him first. For that, and for other reasons, he had begun hunting them in the World of Dreams.
Edited by The Don, 12 August 2011 - 04:08 PM.