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Dancing Among Golden Leopards (attn. Carys Sedai)

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#41 Elessar

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 06:08 PM

.. Reflected in a Mirror of Emotions ..


Stumbling along the Ebou Dari canal-bridge, pain and weariness taking its toll, flashes from the deadly Palace duel swept through Elessar’s mind..


.. Back and forth they flow, thrusting and parrying, attacking and spinning out of range and moving swiftly from stance to stance, two opponents locked in deadly combat.. A sudden move from the Darkfriend brings his blade arching towards Elessar’s neck. Steel meets steel but the blow is deflected and the the Gaidin sidesteps out of the way of an oncoming strike. He in turn sweeps his scimitar in low and the Shadow figure blocks it and immediately retaliates, bringing his sword up and around in a way that gives his opponent only one blocking-move and one which could well leave him open for new attacks ..

.. Elessar suddenly moves forwards and performs a vertical slash, high to low, but which alters course in midswing. The other blocks the move deftly but the Warder follows up with another hard swing which is parried. Then the Gaidin changes form, performing a diagonal slash which begins low and rises cleanly and on the return swing begins a series of powerful overhand blows. This takes great stamina and strength and Elessar is only able to keep it up for so long. The Darkfriend parries well, however, with powerful strokes, but is driven back on the defensive ..

.. Removing his hand from the golden leopard, standing up again against the wall, he breathes in and out, almost as if testing the air. His gaze falls upon the Shadow swordsman who is attempting to gain his feet, one hand on his blade. Elessar walks toward him, raises his blade and unceremoniously thrusts it hard into the man’s back between the shoulder blade. The Darkfriend cries out in great pain and curses loudly. As he falls backwards, blood gushing out of his mouth, his arm swings out almost reflexively and catches the Warder’s right leg. A sharp knife cuts deeply into Elessar’s flesh and it is the Gaidin’s turn to cry out in pain. Elessar curses loudly and berates himself for not being cautious enough ..


But I defeated him, he thought with great satisfaction. This time I succeeded.

In the distance he saw someone hurrying toward him, rushing towards the stone bridge, and he knew it was Carys. He felt it through the Bond - it was like a light coming ever nearer - and when she was closer he recognized her features. Smiling, he halted about midway across the bridge and waited for her to reach him..

Elessar’s eyes snapped wide open and his whole body stiffened as a flood of healing weaves rushed through him, sweeping away all his pain and his injuries.

Staring at his Sedai, at Carys, he felt a moment of strong emotion, in appreciation for how she had healed his injuries - which, truth be told, were more serious than he had imagined - but even more so for the close and valuable friendship they shared.

Emotions mirrored in her eyes.

He looked away for a second, collecting himself.


“What…What happened?” Carys asked, sitting back on her heels. There was concern in her voice. He turned to meet her eyes, but instead of answering straight away he paused. Looking more closely at her he saw the torn skirts and her scraped chin where there was fresh blood. His eyes tightened. He asked her concerned, what had happened and if she had other injuries as well. He also thanked her for Healing him, yet another time.

As for what had happened to him.. well, what could he tell? Would she understand? Would it all sound like a ‘fool’s errand’? He sighed. There was no point in telling untruths. They were in many ways Bonded in thought and in deed. Carys deserved to know the truth. And so he told her everything that had happened, from the moment he had spotted the Darkfriend until she had come upon him here on the stone bridge over one of the canals close to the Mol Hara square. He told of the deadly sword fight and duel in the Tarasin Palace, of his ‘emotional trial’ as it were and of the feeling and ‘knowledge’ that he had begun to heal himself, by starting to forgive himself for his past ‘failures’, after succeeding in removing this final Shadow-threat to them.

He ended by admitting that what he had done could perhaps be viewed as somewhat.. reckless - he mumbled something about what his old Warder-teacher would have said to him, but his words were unclear - but that it had been something he just had to do, when given the opportunity. “It is difficult to explain”, he added a little defensively, “but I think this was something I was.. meant to do.”

There was a moment of silence after his last words. Elessar got up from the stone bridge. He felt tiredness in his body - the Healing had taken his remaining strength - but no more pain for which he was grateful. He stood there and looked silently down at the canal and at the water flowing by, thinking of how the ‘river of life’ carried you along, smoothly at times and other times much less so.

There was a pulchritudinous poem he had once read, called ‘A Mirror of Emotions’, which spoke of life changes. Of decisions. Of fate. And of New Beginnings. He remembered the words well and they whispered in his mind as he stared down at his own reflection in the water.


A Mirror of Emotions

Look into the Mirror of your Soul
Gaze at the Reflections of the Past
Making good Decisions is your Goal
Finding sound Solutions that will Last

Break the Glass of Wisdom if you Must
Do what must be Done, who can Foretell
Fate may guide your Hand and garner Trust
Throw your Darkness into Mirror’s Well

Listen to the Echoes in the Night
Borne on Winds of awe-inspiring Grace
Start a New Beginning in the Light
Feel the Peace within your Soul Embrace


Finally Elessar turned to face Carys again. His eyes met hers in silence - and he waited for her to speak.

OOC: Included another of my poems here in our story. It fits well in the arc telling Elessar’s emotional journey I think. Enjoy! :)


#42 keyholder21


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Posted 07 December 2011 - 08:54 PM

ooc: very lovely, as always!

The city was strangely quiet, she realized, remembering no people on her way to find Elessar, hearing nothing now. Opening her eyes, Carys stared across at the other side of the bridge. The gray stone was crumbling in a few places – in one particular spot the stone had cracked more than halfway. It marred a beautiful sweeping engraving that peaked and decreased in almost fluid waves. She drew in a breath and let it out again. Water lapped on the stone legs of the bridge which brought her back to the feeling that the city was eerily quiet. There was still daylight – where were all the people?

Turning her head to the side, the Yellow soaked in the coolness of the stone. Her skin felt flushed; her heart still beating rapidly in her chest. The terror she had pushed aside earlier had resurfaced and then fled, leaving her weak. Or was that the Healing? Funny how she could Heal all the day in the Infirmary and still feel as if she could run a mile. Out here, with emotion plaguing her, even the smallest use of the Power could make her feel winded. The bridge held her though, its cool facade making her feel better and calmer. She took another deep breath to follow the one she'd just released and looked at her Warder. He, too, was resting against the stone bridge wall. His eyes were closed and face tilted up toward the sky as he told her about his encounter. The darkfriend. The fight. The wounds. The death.

Drawing her knees up close, Carys toyed with the ripped dress as she listened. One of her knees was poking through a rather large hole in the fabric. She jerked the dress down to cover it, glad to have something for her hands to do while Elessar talked. She didn't want to think about what could have happened had she not been close enough. Part of her wanted to smack him for it, but for all that they were Bonded, she still didn't feel it was her right to tell him what to do. How very un Aes Sedai like, she chided herself. It was quite the story, made all the better for the Warder's storytelling skills. Despite his weakened state and the traumatic ordeal, his voice was still steady and strong, inflecting certain words as if he were a gleeman on stage. She smiled a small smile, thankful the fight had ended the way it did. She had known as she was running toward him that her life was better because of their Bonding. The Wheel wouldn't be so unkind as to strip him away from her so quickly.

He ended by admitting that what he had done could perhaps be viewed as somewhat.. reckless. He mumbled something else, but she couldn't hear it. “It is difficult to explain”, he added a little defensively, “but I think this was something I was.. meant to do.” She nodded, though she didn't say anything. It didn't feel like a moment for speaking.

Carys scrambled to her feet as Elessar got up from the stone bridge. Her knee twinged, but she ignored it, ready for him to lean on her if necessary. Healing always took a lot out of the Healer – but it took more out of the person Healed. The Warder would be tired, weak, and ravenously hungry. She waited as he stood there and looked silently down at the canal. He seemed to be lost in his thoughts, as was – she was beginning to understand – a fairly usual state after a life-threatening ordeal. When everything else was chaos, one's thoughts were all that could be controlled. She held her right arm with her left hand and waited quietly.

Finally Elessar turned to face her again. His eyes met hers in silence. She opened her mouth to say something and then closed it quickly. The fast movement made her chin throb where it was starting to scab over and she winced. Concern rolled through the Gaidin's eyes, but he said nothing. She demurred earlier when he'd asked her about her injuries, preferring to focus on his tale. A scraped chin and skinned hand were nothing compared to what he'd experienced. But in the short time she'd known him, Carys had learned the Elessar forgot nothing and missed even less. Even if she could Heal herself back to perfect in a mere moment, he wouldn't forget that she was injured and hadn't explained why.

“I think we should get you back to the Inn.” Carys said finally, her throat gravelly. She cupped a hand around her mouth and cleared her throat. When she spoke again, it was in her normal voice. “Food and sleep are of the utmost importance right now. As you well know,” she spoke the last softer and with a lopsided smile. Her Warder nodded and started walking. Probing at her chin gently, the Aes Sedai checked the new forming scab with an index finger before she followed the Gaidin.

The two walked slowly along the stone streets, picking their way back through the city. The Yellow was glad for the slow pace, favoring the uninjured side of her body to allow her swollen knee to have some reprieve. She knew she'd need to put cold on it when they made it to their destination. “Elessar,” she said quietly as they were walking, “I spoke to the old woman more after you left. She gave me the message that was left for me. It was ...not what I expected though not without its benefits.” Carys paused in speaking, though her feet kept in time with Elessar's. “But it makes my return to the White Tower necessary. I must speak with my Sisters there.” The last came out more forceful than she intended, passion creeping into her voice so that she almost growled the last. Surprised, she clamped her mouth shut – again bothering her scraped chin.

They reached the Inn a few moments later. The Common Room was approximately a third of the way full. The Innkeeper looked over the two of them, his eyes alit with confusion and interest as they manuevered through the maze of tables and retreated to the fourth floor without a word.

The floor was once again quiet, Carys felt as if the deafening silence was following her. Funny how it could be so comforting in one moment and so frightening in another. As she turned the handle on her door, the Yellow looked over at Elessar currently opening the door to his room. “I never said you're welcome,” she said almost wistfully. “You never have to say it, but I appreciate the thank you. You're quite welcome Elessar.” Her door clicked open and she stepped into her room, closing the door behind her.

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#43 Elessar

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 03:22 PM

.. Embracing a Bond of Hope ..


The city was strangely quiet. Or at least so it seemed to Elessar. Whether it was because few people were around, or because the Warder’s senses were mostly inward-tuned and introspective, he could not say. He walked beside his bondholder along the stone streets of Ebou Dar in silence, lost in thought.

He had been surprised when after telling Carys his story, the chain of events that had brought him injured but alive to the canal-bridge, she had hardly reacted at all. He had not been sure what to expect, but he had expected some reaction. Leandreen would have been angry at him, but mostly for leaving her out of the action: How dare he take on filthy Darkfriends without her at his side! Carrain would have been a little disappointed in him, for taking ‘foolish’ chances. Perhaps their relatively short bonded time together had made Carys unsure how to react, or mayhap she had not felt it was her right to judge him, despite having been concerned for him and probably thinking he had been somewhat foolhardy. Or perhaps she simply had felt that the moment had not been right for speaking?

She had listened carefully and respectfully to his long story and had smiled kindly at him as he had spoken at some length. He had appreciated the understanding he thought he had seen in her eyes, despite his partially reckless action. And having gotten to know her character and her integrity, he had known that his life was better because of their Bonding.

Their Bond was one of Hope and he embraced it to fill his Soul with Light.

Elessar felt weariness in his bones and a great hunger that always came after being Healed. Even so, he was more concerned for his Sedai than himself. She was in some pain though she hid it well. He threw her some uneasy looks as they walked, but said nothing. He would make certain that she saw to those injuries as soon as they were able to. She, however, had been mostly concerned with him from the start. “I think we should get you back to the inn.” She had said, clearing her throat. “Food and sleep are of the utmost importance right now. As you well know..” she had added with a lopsided smile. He had nodded back, thinking that treating her wounds was just as important, but had made no comment and had started walking away from the stone bridge.

The two walked slowly along the Ebou Dari streets, picking their way back through the city. After they had walked in silence for a while Carys spoke. She told him in a quiet voice that she had spoken to the old woman more after he had left. The woman had given Carys the message that had been left for her. It had ..not been what she had expected though not without its benefits. She added, in a more passionate voice, that it made her return to the White Tower necessary; she needed to speak with her Sisters there. Elessar nodded in understanding and kept walking. Their long journey to Ebou Dar was at an end; it was time to return home.

Home to Tar Valon.

They reached the inn a few moments later. The Common Room was approximately a third of the way full. The innkeeper looked over the two of them, his eyes alit with confusion and interest as they manuevered through the maze of tables and retreated to the fourth floor without a word. They both needed rest, but Elessar planned to go downstairs for some food a little later on before going to sleep. He headed toward his room and started opening the door when Carys spoke to him. “I never said you're welcome,” she said almost wistfully. “You never have to say it, but I appreciate the thank you. You're quite welcome Elessar.” He smiled inside as she stepped into her room, closing the door behind her.


.. Returning to the White Tower ..


It was three days later, in early morning as the sun was rising in an ocean-blue sky high above the Altaran Capital of Ebou Dar, that Carys and Elessar started their return journey home to Tar Valon.

Well rested, the Warder led the way on his black stallion Stormbreaker with the Aes Sedai right behind on her gray mare, and with the loyal and sturdy packhorse, which they had named Stayer, bringing up the rear. Food and sleep - as well as a few day’s rest - had indeed invigorated the Gaidin and now he looked as Warder-like as ever, his eyes everywhere and vigilant, his body posture confident and strong as he rode through the streets of Ebou Dar, dark travelling cloak billowing behind him in the wind, his sword fastened at his horses’ side. They reached the northern City Gate and soon they sped north-eastwards along the Great North Road, sometimes also called the Lugard Road, in the direction of Murandy and afterwards Andor.

It was many, many days later, on a somewhat clouded and windy afternoon, that they finally came in sight of the Shining Walls of Tar Valon. Seeing the city in the horizon Elessar smiled in spite of himself. It felt as if he had been away for a very long time. He knew it was not so, not really, but so much had happened lately that it made it seem longer. It felt like coming home after a long absence.

His old Warder-teacher’s words of so long ago whispered in his mind..

This is your home now, Elessar. Starting on your path to become a Warder you leave all else behind. You are of the White Tower now. Your story has just begun.

And so it was that Carys Aes Sedai, Sister of the Yellow Ajah and Elessar Gaidin, Borderlander-bred Warder of the White Tower, Bonded in the Light, rode slowly across one of the many magnificent arching bridges over the River Erinin connecting the island city to the mainland. Fabled Dragonmount rose in the distance and on the city walls high above them the proud banners of Tar Valon - wonderous city of the Aes Sedai - rippled strongly in the wind, as if welcoming them home.