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The Greasy End of the Stick
Mon Dec 11, 2006 4:58pm

The throng of people made Vincilago nervous. Not that he normally found crowds unsettling, but here, in Tar Valon, he knew no one. And the two people he did know might cause the rest of the city to turn on him . Wouldn't that just be the Dark One's luck, to come here for healing and get killed instead?

So he stood there, staring out over the courtyard of the White Tower. It was an effort not to gape at the Tower itself, but he didn't want to seem like some hayseed who'd never seen a city before. Bandar Eban was a fabulous city its own right, with a library that was only outshined by the one here and probably the one in Cairhien. But it was so different than Arad Doman's capital or Maradon, the two big cities he'd seen anything of before coming here. It was cold and the air filled with a variety of scents that made his nose tickle.

The journey hadn't taken as long as he'd feared, helped by belated return of winter. Snow had not begun falling until two days ago, and even then only in flurries. Vin's back was stiff from riding a horse for the three weeks it took to ride here. It had been almost five years since he'd been on one. And his mind was always back in Bandar Eban. He worried that someone might find his healthy stash of gold he'd hidden around the city, then he doubted it. He was always good at hiding what he didn't want people to know.

Vin was lost in thought there in the courtyard, not noticing the wall of man hulking behind him. And as he was facing the east, there wasn't a shadow to warn him of the hands that clamped down on his shoulders. He jerked away to the sound of harsh laughter and turned, his chest rising and falling rapidly. "Burn your eyes, Giles!" he gasped, a cough or two escaping his throat. "You nearly scared the life out of me!"

"I thought you knew better than to let someone sneak up on you," was the giant man's reply.

"Yes," came a feminine answer, and Solisa stepped around her Warder. "I thought you better than a fool, Master Sahem."

His shaggy brows arched, amused and surprised and a little flattered that she remembered his name. Sketching a slight bow, he said, "Even a fool such as myself is worthy of a little amusement, nothing else, m'lady."

She frowned, those cat-green eyes mildly disapproving, but Giles guffawed. Solisa sniffed and said, "I see you've been willing to give up your...skulking ways and seek my help."

"Yes, well....It was much too tempting to resist, Aes Sedai. Even if you get me killed here, I would count myself lucky to find a woman such as yourself to be my downfall." He grinned at her, his white teeth brighter in his grubby olive face. The smile made him look more his age than his graying hair and bruised-seeming eyes did, and he hoped it would charm her a little.

But Solisa remained unimpressed. Instead she stepped up to him, able to look him in the eyes as she stood only a hair or two shorter than him, and placed her dark hands on his head. Vin's skin crawled as she did...well, whatever it was she did with her Aes Sedai tricks. It stopped when she let go of him and stepped back.

"You seem a little better than when we first met, Master Sahem."

"Not being beaten to a pulp first probably has something to do with that, m'lady," he quipped, not particularly caring if he sounded oafish.

"Indeed," she replied with another frown. She had that tail-lashing cat look about her again. "Still, I don't think you're quite up to Healing just yet." The way she said "Healing," Vin could hear the capital H there. "You'll need more stamina, some reservoirs of health that we can call upon during the procedure. Giles and I will, of course, aid you in this, but you'll need to register here as well as seeking Healing. Feel free to give them my name as reference when you do. Someone will give you directions to the Wayward Sailor, which is the inn most of our patients and their families use when they'll be here for a time."

His head spinning with all these details being thrown at him, Vin paused her monologue with an upraised hand. "Wait - for a time? How long is this going to take?" He'd hoped it would take only a couple of weeks, a month at the most, so he could get himself back home.

"Oh," Solisa's mouth formed a little circle as she sighed. "Did I forget to mention that you'll need to be in our care for a minimum of six months?"

"What!" His incredulous shout garnered him a few looks, but right then he hardly noticed. Six months?!? Light only knew how badly that would kill his business! Only the unthinking flapping of his lips kept his mouth from gaping like a fish. "You bloody well forgot on purpose! Burn you, you knew I wouldn't come if I know how long this would take! Waited to spring it on me until it was too late to go back. I - "

The sound of snapping, crackling and popping brought Vin up short. He knew that noise alright; Giles was limbering up for another thrashing. With a quick smile and a short bow, Vin changed his tune. "I'll just be...standing over here in line." He cast a quick glance over at the hulking Warder, flinched back when the man make a fake move towards him, and glowered at the pair's backs as they walked off, laughing. He had to remember not to press them to hard, or they might let slip his little error with that Saldaean sister back in Bandar Eban. A sudden shiver slid down his back which had nothing whatsoever to do with the weather, and waited in line with the rest of the Tower's petitioners for someone to talk to.

OOC: Some nice (or not so nice hee!) Aes Sedai come help a poor fellow out, will ya? :-)

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