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Soldier Laila
Interview with a Seanchan
Thu Jul 6, 2006 16:50 (XFF:

At the moment, the only thing that Laila wanted to was sleep. Just sleep--to curl up in her semi-comfortable bedroll and sleep through lunch, dinner, and guard duty. Quite a few other Asha'man were doing just that at the moment, she was certain. In fact, she had just finished a quick meal and heading to her tent when a messager snagged her in passing and brought her before Brigadier-General Kakita.

Kakita was tall, even for a Borderlander--an immense mountain of a man, easily over six feet tall, without a pound of fat on his muscled frame. Infamous for his unflappable outlook on life, the man had earned a reputation for being a rock of reliability within the chaos of battle. Laila watched his topknot bob over the desk as he scribbled a note on a paper. It was an honor for a lowly Soldier such as herself to be called before the Brigadier-General, but at the moment, she held no desire for attention. Just sleep. She held herself rigidly to attention; her legs would wobble if she allowed herself the slightest slack. Light, what is taking the man so long?

At last General Kakita sat back with a sigh, handing an aide the note with a few muttered instructions. As the aide hurried out of the tent the Asha'man regarded the Soldier standing across the desk with mild interest. "At ease, Soldier; take a stool, please. Your instructions are simple and I hope this will be a quick meeting." Suppressing a moan of relief, Laila quickly sat down in a nearby stool. "Soldier Laila, I want you to interrogate a prisoner."

Relief transformed into horror. "Sir--!"

General Kakita cut off her exclamation with a dark look from under his lashes. Laila shifted uncomfortably and looked away under that black gaze, and after a moment, the Asha'man continued, seemingly amiable as ever. "Shortly after the battle one of the Asha'man sighted a raken and brought it down. The rider survived in fairly good condition, and is being held prisoners right now." He cut his eyes towards her once more, but she could see that the hardness in them was meant for another. "He was carrying this message." The Shienaran pulled out a scroll hidden within his coat and handed it to Laila. The girl unrolled it and read its contents. The message was quite short:

Battle going well. Help not needed. Continue to watch the seashore for further Asha'man incursions.

Laila glanced back at the general, seeing the expectation in those dark eyes. "Tower forces are in trouble."

"That's right. We need more information, but obviously the man won't cooperate. He actually tried to kill himself, but fortunately his captor managed to restrain him. I want troop numbers, supplies, damane, and above all, location--and you're going to get that information out of him."

Laila bowed her head, trying to think of a good excuse. There's no way I can do this! "Sir, I--I mean, I'm just a Soldier. I'm not qualified--"

"You're qualified if I say you are." Asha'man Kakita shifted in his chair, and though his face remained calm, she could see the impatience in his body. "The other Asha'man and Dedicated are occupied, and you're the best candidate among the Soldiers." He leaned forward and fixed her with a look. "I don't have time for this nonsense. You're going to get that information from him by the end of the day. He's located in the eastern part of camp, in the tent separate from the others. Now come here, I know you're tired. I know enough of Healing to take care of your exhaustion."

Wearily, Laila rose to her feet to bend over the desk, supporting herself with her arms. "Most qualified?" What does he mean--Oh, surely not. His fingers dug into her scalp, rough and strong. A wave of heat washed through her body, causing little beads of sweat to pop out on her forehead. In moments the exhaustion drained away. She stepped back from the desk; already the general had turned back to his notes, scribbling yet another letter down. Laila hesitated, then uncertainly began: "He'll recognize me as a traitor as soon as I--"

"You're making excuses again, Soldier. I don't like that." Asha'man Kakita's voice was deceptively quiet. He didn't bother to look up.

"Yes, sir." Laila backed away hastily.

But the general's voice seized her once more just as she was leaving the tent. "Oh, and Soldier?"


"Time is of the essence here. You may...pressure the man if he doesn't respond quickly enough."

Laila froze, then jerkily nodded. "Yes sir." She ducked out of the tent.

  • Lone SoldierSoldier Laila, Sat Jul 1 16:28
    The Power pulsing through them, men and women alike. They are one-- knowing each other, knowing every thought, every breath. For now, no words are necessary. A slash of silver light, cutting the air... more
    • Interview with a Seanchan — Soldier Laila, Thu Jul 6 16:50
      • Interview with a Seanchan, Part TwoSoldier Laila, Sat Jul 8 20:16
        The Asha'man that had captured him had bound him with the Power after he wriggled free of the rope to make a mad--and futile--dash for the clifftop. Now Yuril sat alone in the dark tent, sweating... more
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