Wheel of Time
Tylin might have thought that the night ended too quick but midnight had long since passed when Raimund returned to his room. Grianne still wasn’t back. He could feel she wasn’t far off and that she was enjoying herself. Having met the boy’s mother Raimund could guess Beslan’s intentions although few men would dare to act on them towards an Aes sedai. The boy was confident, Raimund had to admit that. The next three hours Raimund had started thinking about everything that had happened and for some reason he had gotten scared. Something wasn’t right, didn’t feel right. He was missing something. The fear had quickly turned to anger, first at himself, then at the queen and Beslan and finally at Grianne. How could he protect her when she wouldn’t even allow him to be stay with her. He was just about to go find her when he could feel her coming towards him. She entered the room with an amused smile on her face. “Did you have fun?” Raimund grumbled “Fun? I guess you could call it that. The same kind of fun a rat in a maze has or a bear that is forced to dance at a carnival. At the very least not the same kind of fun you and Beslan had.” Her eyes widened just a little and her smile grew even further. “Hush, don’t behave like a child. You had a job and you did it. Besides you had to make up for your stupid remark earlier today.” Even though she was reprimanding him he could hear she had trouble not to start laughing. For some reason she couldn’t hide the truth from him as well as she could from others. “ok, I guess I deserve that. But you know I don’t like people like Beslan. Vipers is what they are. They smile to you in your face but turn your back and they draw a dagger.” Grianne finally gave in to her amusement and started to laugh. “I know, I know. I also know that you felt so uneasy during dinner that I had a hard time concentrating. I would have loved to have seen your face.” Raimund’s anger disappeared as he saw her laughing. “Oh I bet you would. Tylin has some strange ideas about Warders by the way. I wonder where she has gotten those.” “On a first name basis already are you? It is important that the Queen is kept occupied and away from my affairs while I’m here. Tylin is known for her candor with men so I may have led her to believe that our bond gives you certain advantages other men do not have.” He nodded. “Which is true, just not the ones she thinks. Alright I’ll play along but I hope it will not take too long. I doubt if she will take no for very long and my oaths only go that far.” Grianne frowned “You and I both know you will do whatever it takes. Besides, this is not a job most men would find offensive. I bet I could find a dozen others who would be more than eager to take your place in her bed.” “Then find them.” “Why are you being so difficult?” “Because I do not like this place. I know there is danger, I can feel it but I cannot see it. And Beslan…” “Beslan isn’t dangerous to me. I held his hand for an hour and he told me everything I wanted to know. Should I give him a kiss he would personally open every door in this palace for me and tell me what is inside the room.” “No he would not, he is not like others, he knows how to play your game. He is a man who knows what he wants and those men tend to get angry when they don’t get it. Besides, you are an Aes Sedai. You should not behave like this. If you want to know something you simply order the person to tell you. No, I will not let you alone with him again.” Grianne straightened her back. Although she was much smaller then Raimund she seemed to tower over him. Her eyes could shoot lightning as she looked at him. “Don’t you lecture me on the way an Aes Sedai should behave Raimund Ka-Hal. In case you do not know you catch more flies with honey then vinegar. I know what I am doing and under no circumstances should I explain or justify my actions to you gaidin. I know my role but it is clear that you do not know yours so let me clarify it for you: you follow my lead.” Raimund’s head sank between his shoulders. “I know, I am sorry. I spoke without thinking. It is just… I wonder if you haven’t chosen the wrong person to protect you. I have no talent for this. I cannot protect you from an enemy I don’t even know exists.” Grianne’s expression softened. “I made no mistake. I chose you because I knew you were the right man to accompany me. I remember the day you arrived at Tar Valon and although you probably do not remember me I was one of the accepted who always came to your training sessions. I was very glad that no other Aes Sedai bonded you and that you agreed to become my warder. I know this isn’t exactly what you wanted and I know you get bored with my work but trust me when I say that it is important. And don’t worry about Beslan, you don’t need to be jealous of him.” Startled Raimund looked up. “Jealous? Of him? Never!” “You are a fool if you think you can hide the truth from an Aes Sedai and an even greater fool if you think you can hide it from the sister you are bonded with. I will hold you hand too if you want. Or was it the kiss part that upset you? Raimund grinned. “I think it was the whole range of things he has in mind.” He allowed Grianne to push him back on to the large bed behind him. For a moment he wondered if he shouldn’t check all the doors and windows like he usually did but her next words erased the last of his worries. “Lets see if any of the stories I told Tylin are true?”
Raimund finally fell asleep exhausted with Grianne in his arms. The events of the day had been running through his mind for hours after she had gone to sleep and for the first time since leaving Shienar he felt at home. His home was where she was, he was her Warder and more. He closed his eyes in utter satisfaction….only to open them again in horror. It felt like a sword had been run through his head and heart. He could feel the cold spreading through his body, death was near. But he didn’t die. For some reason death stayed it’s hand. In the second it took Raimund to wake up his senses was bombarded with information. He could feel the salty sea breeze come through an open window, could smell the filth of a city cramped full of people. He could feel his arms covered in a warm liquid and his nose told him it was blood. Light poored in from the window and the door which was also open. He tasted his own fear as he started to realize what had happened, still unwilling to admit it fully. He turned his head to the left and had to fight the urge to gouge out his own eyes. Lying next to him,half in his arms and in the same position he remembered her falling asleep in, was Grianne. A silver dagger was stabbed in to her throat and now nailed her neck to the bed. Everything in her throat was cut and her neck was broken so death would have been almost instantaneous but still her eyes were open and a look of utter surprise lay on her face. Raimund shrieked and jumped out of bed. His torso and arms were covered in her blood and in utter disgust he tried to wipe it off with some of the bedlinnen. He stared at her for only a few seconds but to him it seemed like hours. Every moment they had spent together flashed before his eyes, the night before went by in horrific slow motion. His training kicked in and he drew his sword and started to search the room and hallway, nothing could be found. He only stopped searching when Beslan arrived with a dozen armed guards. Apparently a day had gone by and neither the guards nor the local thief-catcher could find anything. The Queen came by to offer her condolences but Raimund hardly noticed. What did he have to do now? He had failed? How would the Tower react? How would his brother react? And most importantly: how could he live without Grianne? It was like trying to live without your heart or without a soul. He was her Warder, in life and in death. He would follow her wherever she went. Killing himself was out of the question though. No, he would die fighting the Dark One. He would travel in to the Blight and…
Something tugged at Raimund, something familiar yet strange. For a split second Raimund thought it was Grianne but he quickly realized is was someone else. Grianne had made precautions, she had passed on his bond. Raimund had heard of this happening but normally the Warder was consulted. He knew little about Grianne’s life at the Tower and knew almost no Aes Sedai. He now was bonded to someone he did not know.
“Come to me.”
Raimund was in no state to fight the compulsion. He gathered some basic supplies, took his horse and started to ride. Nothing mattered anymore. He needed to get to his new charge but she was far away. Maybe he could die along the way.
The dream faded away to darkness.
The voice sent ripples of light through the black velvet curtain that covered Raimunds mind. The ripples slowly turned to cracks and the more he focused on them the bigger they got. Finally the darkness gave away and Raimund opened his eyes. “Finally. Took you long enough. Done screaming are you? Must have been some nightmare.” A tall man sat on the ground not five feet from Raimund. His hair was grey and trimmed short and his clothes were that of a hunter. Next to him lay an axe and a shortbow, both seemed well maintained. His own possessions Raimund found on the other side of a small campfire. The man saw him looking at it and grinned. “Don’t worry son, I am not going to rob you. You can have those back any time you please. Sorry about the bump on the head by the way, I couldn’t tell if you were going to cause trouble.” Raimund tried to get up but the world started spinning and he quickly put his head back down again. “Easy there, don’t think you should move too much yet. I’ll give you some soup as soon as it is ready. Now tell me, if you feel up to it, what is a Warder doing way out here without an Aes Sedai?” Shocked Raimund looked over to his backpack. It was still closed and looked untouched. “how did you know?” The man laughed and pointed at the backpack. “Is that where you keep your cloak? I didn’t see it if that is what you think. I usually wear mine but now it’s over here.” In one fluent motion the man got up and put on a Warder’s cloak. “Takes one to know one eh?”