Shadow

As promised the accepted Egwene made a portal to Cairhien for us to pass through. “Us” being Nealyn Sedai and me and Grimm and his maiden Niasha. Apparently the Asha’man ruffled too many feathers to stay among Aes Sedai in Salidar for much longer. I am sure they were as glad to see him go as he was to leave. The portal Egwene opened was an actual portal and not a platform that would transport us to our destination. The portal opened inside of an aiel tent near the city. We attracted quite the attention when all crawled out of the small tent and I was glad that Niasha intervened before the aiel became hostile. We made our way to the city and the royal palace. Nealyn Sedai had some business with the Dragon Reborn although I did not know what exactly it was. Grimm arranged an audience and Nealyn Sedai had the nerve to actually sugest that I remain outside during the meeting. I know my sword would be of little use against a male channeler of the Dragon’s power or his dozens of aiel bodyguards but under no circumstance would I allow her to enter that room without protection. I do not care what others say but any male channeler is a threat. Nealyn sedai allowed me to enter with her but instructed me to remain near the entrance. I have learned that at certain times arguing with that woman is like trying to convince a river to run uphill so I agreed. What she said to the Dragon Reborn startled me and had I been standing next to her I would have advised her to act differently than she did. She said that she had been sent by the White Tower of Salidar to act as an advisor to him. She was to help him and guide him should he need it. Why for the love of the Light they asked this of Nealyn Sedai I cannot say. Normally a member of the grey or blue Ajah would be sent on a mission like this and I understand that sending a blue would be difficult but I have seen more than enough capable members of the grey Ajah in Salidar. Nealyn Sedai is of the brown Ajah, this is part of their tasks. Maybe they chose her because she hails from Cairhien but then they should have gotten to know her better before sending her on this mission for she is the first Cairhienin woman that I have known that lacks their typical subtlety. Whatever the case may be the Dragon refused her initial offer and said that he would only allow her presence if she swore fealty to him. I did not think that she would accept, Nealyn Sedai is not the kind of woman that bows her head easily. She swore the vow however. She now serves the Dragon Reborn and so I too now serve him. I cared little for him before this but now what little respect I had for the man is all gone. He lacks the proper respect for others. An Aes Sedai should bow for no-one. He should be thankful for the help she offers but instead makes demands. He is a fool if he generalizes the behavior of the red sisters that captured him towards all Aes Sedai. I would expect that of a common farmer but not of the man who is going to lead us to victory against the Shadow. He should know better.

After Nealyn Sedai made the vow we were given quarters in the royal palace. I took enough time to familiarize myself with the building while Nealyn Sedai was researching various topics at the royal library. I asked several aiel to watch over her for the short time that I was gone. We had a few quiet days and then Grimm showed up with a large slab of rock from a building in the city. On it was the print of wolf’s paw, somehow it was burned in to the stone. I did not immediately recognized it but together with Nealyn Sedai we managed to figure out the print belonged to a darkhound. We alerted the aiel about the presence of these deadly predators inside of the city walls and went out to hunt them down. I figured they might be hiding in the sewers and wanted to go scout alone but Nealyn Sedai insisted on joining me. I am glad that she did because we ran in to several of the beasts not long thereafter. Grimm and Nealyn Sedai made quick work of the darkhounds but the sewers got damaged a little in the process. After we returned to the palace Nealyn Sedai returned to her studies and after making sure she was safe I went in to the city. First I alerted Rhuarc, the aiel in charge of keeping the city safe, that I was going to cause a little trouble at an inn. Then I went in search of an inn with a bouncer good enough at his job to impress me. It took a while but finally I managed to find the man I was looking for. I caused some problems by harassing a barmaid, I apologised to her later and compensated her for the trouble, and in the fight that ensued the man was actually capable of hitting me. I returned later wearing my cloak and a heron marked blade and still the man had the courage to tell me I was no longer welcome. I apologised to all parties involved and told the man that I wanted to make him an offer. If Nealyn Sedai approved I wanted to train him as a Warder. With the Tower broken there are almost no recruits left and I fear for Nealyn Sedai after my death. As she is keeping me alive Owen must keep her alive. That is his name, Owen Bornhald. I should have asked for his last name then too but…. He agreed to meet with Nealyn Sedai and the next day I informed Nealyn Sedai of my intent. Her thoughts on the matter were clear even if she did not speak them out loud: “no other warder, ever again.” It took me all day but I managed to convince her to come with me in the evening. We met Owen and even though he was nervous I think she liked him because she actually spoke to him as if he were a person. Even when he revealed to be the son of a whitecloak commander did she not dismiss him. I have high hopes of the kid. Several days later he arrived at the palace. He agreed to train as a warder and so I can sleep a little sounder.

A few nights later I awoke from my sleep to find the room empty. My bond with Nealyn Sedai was still strong but there was something odd about it. I went in search of help but the entire palace and even the city were empty. All I could find were a few people who disappeared as soon as I tried to talk to them. Finally I met a young woman who was in the same situation I was in. From what she was wearing I could see that she too had woken from her sleep to find everyone and everything missing. I think the only reason I still had my sword was that I keep it in my hand while I sleep. The woman’s name was Karin and she was from Saldea. She had long black hair and eyes that could pierce the soul. She was beautiful and by the grace with which she moved I could tell that she was trained as either a dancer or a swordsman. Although I would never have guessed that she was a blademaster. She said that she had arrived in Cairhien a few days earlier and was looking for her father. Because we could find no Aes Sedai we decided to search for an aiel Wise One. They are the closest thing they have to an Aes Sedai and it would have to do. We found an Wise One and after consulting with others they informed us that we were stuck in the world of dreams. I asked them to inform Nealyn Sedai which they did, and then asked for a way out. They told us to enter and exit the Ways, mystical portals tainted by madness that were once used to travel great distances in a few days. Although dangerous we agreed to try it and after equipping ourselves with dream weapons we went in search of a portal. We found one in the garden of a noble and were just in time to see a Myrdraal and four trollocks pass trough it. Two trollocks remained and after waiting a while to see if more would come we fought them and won. I was injured only slightly during the combat and Karin wasn’t hit so we immediately entered and exited the ways. The plan worked, we were back in the real world. Karin wanted an audience with the Dragon Reborn so I promised to introduce her to Nealyn Sedai. We went to her inn to retrieve her possessions and there I noticed the heron on her blade. I asked to prove to me that she was worth it so we decided to duel. Her very first strike hit me on the chest. She went past my defenses easily and by the way she made the cut I could tell she was the real deal. As a reward I handed her the power wrought blade I had been carrying for a while. Only a real blademaster should carry around a blade marked with the heron. After the duel I noticed she carried a pendant shaped like raven. I asked her about it and she said that it had been a present from her father. I told her that ravens are seen as minions of the Dark One, something she apparently did not know. I find this strange because all borderlanders are supposed to know this, but I could see that she was telling the truth so I just warned her about carrying it openly. It was nice to meet someone who is not an Aes Sedai, a male channeler or an aiel but a borderlander such as myself. All in all the night wasn’t that bad. I introduced her to Nealyn Sedai as promised who in turn directed her to Grimm who arranged an audience for her. I hope the Dragon Reborn can help her.

Shadow

Wheel of Time Smiling_ST