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Asha'man Kyran, Spymaster, NPC
Hiring Some Help
Wed Oct 18, 2006 09:20 (XFF:

“I didn’t want anything in particular, Demetri.” He responded with some surprise to her question. “To be honest, I remembered your visits from times past and thought to renew our acquaintance. With Ronan gone…” Kyran frowned at the rush of emotions he felt. He knew that he and Ronan had had an attraction, feelings for one another, but why this ripping in his heart at the thought of her death?

“Balefire?” The Keeper—Demetri—said, one pale brow lifting in question. Despite her friendliness, Kyran sensed a comfort in her own power, offset by the warmth she exuded not only to her two bondmates, but to himself as well. “My curiosity is more than piqued, now. I won’t and can’t get involved, but maybe you can tell me what happened.”

He shrugged and took a pull on the ale—it was meaty and just the right temperature. “She went into the Caralain Grass after someone and all that we were able to tell with our Tracers was that she fought against a woman—Lurie Abijah. It looks like Ronan was defending herself until Lurie used balefire. They crossed the streams and eradicated one another.”

The Brown Brother, Laurian, tapped his finger against a lip. “That’s the one you asked me about last week, isn’t it?” Kyran nodded. “If I had any clue why you’d been asking I would have offered help.”

“I don’t think it would have mattered. From what I could gather, I sent her that information only hours before she was killed.” Kyran tapped on his lip in thought, the slender finger offering no assistance to his thought. “It’s just very hard to think of her as dead.”

Demetri paused, looking over at Laurian and then to Daigonyt Gaidin. “Is there something you wanted to speak to me about in private, Asha’man?” Kyran looked up at the woman in surprise; although he hadn’t said anything, she’s intuited his desire.

It was his fault, he supposed, for assuming that intelligence and intuition couldn’t be separated. From all accounts of the Green Aes Sedai, she was smart, but in an average sense, but her cleverness balanced where she lacked. She knew people, the way she had turned his deductions into nothing more than a parlor trick was more than evidence of that and he’d underestimated the Keeper. He’d wondered at her swift rise to power and as she sat staring at him over the table while obstreperous sounds assaulted them, Kyran knew that she possessed skills he couldn’t possibly have imagined.

“Yes,” he finally responded, drawing in a deep breath and glancing to the two men who looked at him as if he were a pit viper. “I promise no harm will befall your Aes Sedai, and if you want to stand just a couple feet away in hovering protection, I’m comfortable with that.” He raised his blue gaze to meet the steely reserve of the Keepers. She had power inherent in her just as Ronan had, and just like Ronan, the woman was hardly sentient of it.

“It should be all right.” Demetri said quietly, but it was still loud enough to be heard above the music. Laurian stood without hesitation, but Dai glowered at him a moment before standing and looming with every inch of his well muscled, handsome body. It drew the attention of two women just off to the side and Kyran heard the pleased sigh. “Would you like to spin a ward?”

Kyran smiled, shaking his head. “No, I think the music and sounds of revelry will mask our conversation well enough.”

“Meaning the less attention we draw to one another, the better. But won’t your M’Hael see and be suspicious? I can’t imagine that you’re much in favor with him considering who you’d been loyal to half a year ago.” She pinned him with her blue-green gaze, a stare that exerted more force on him than he cared to admit to anyone.

Again, Kyran was struck by the woman’s cleverness, the way she looked inside of things and saw to the true heart of the matter. “If he does, it’s of no matter. I can lie, even if you can’t, Demetri.”

“Then what unsettles you?”

“I’m not entirely convinced that Ronan’s dead.” Voicing the words was hard, they nearly stuck in his throat, but the moment they left his lips a weight lifted from his shoulders. In admitting she was not alive, he was denying the possibility of her death.

She cocked a head at him, a golden tendril slipping to the fabric and resting there lightly. “Why do you say that, Asha’man? You said so yourself, she was struck with balefire. No one survives that.”

“The Tracers said that two streams of balefire hit one another, and yes, Lurie was eradicated from the Pattern, but Ronan’s was a stronger weave. It’s possible she diverted the balefire—“ Demetri was already shaking her head. “What?”

“Have you ever used, balefire, Asha’man?” Kyran responded with a negative shake to his own head. “It’s not like throwing fire at fire, it’s not like pitting wind against wind. If the weaves touched Lurie, then they most likely touched Ronan as well.”

“But—but what if Ronan’s weave of balefire was strong enough to unravel the Pattern enough to undo the effects of the balefire?”

Again, she pinned him with a penetrating gaze, she wasn’t looking at him, she was looking into him, which made him less surprised when the woman asked, “What have you left out? Why are you sitting there holding out so much hope, when there’s no hope to be had?”

Lysander would probably have his head for revealing anything of this magnitude to the Keeper, but he needed her assistance. If Ronan was out there dodging the Black Tower, then it meant she wouldn’t be on the alert for Aes Sedai. “Some members of the Black Tower who perform specific tasks—“

“Assassins, you mean.”

“Yes, assassins. And some of our spies.” Kyran agreed quietly. “They will take on an identity. An alternate persona that will let them—“

“I know what it means, Asha’man.” Her interruption was brusque. After a pause, she continued in a soft voice, pride coloring her words faintly. “I worked in a similar capacity for the Green Ajah for a time. The aborted revolution of the Amayar was one of my assignments.”

Shock brought his thoughts to a halt. “That was you A—“ He broke off, unwilling to say “wow” in front of the Keeper. In front of a woman who had performed a miraculous feat. “Yes, I knew about the revolution, but we couldn’t get anyone in there. Amazing, Demetri. Ah, yes, so anyway. Ronan had a persona in Caemlyn that went by the name of Elena Morgayne. Last week there were rumors of someone calling herself Elena Morgayne stopping into Caemlyn before leaving again.”

“And you think it was Ronan? But why would she use an alias that you know? If she’s running from the Black Tower, wouldn’t she use a different name? A different house other than one that you no doubt own?” Demetri countered.

Yes, she was sharper than he had ever expected, and this pleased him. “That’s precisely why I didn’t investigate it. Ronan is smart, very clever. If she was running from us, deserting the Black Tower, she wouldn’t use an alias that is well known among many of the higher ranked members of the Black Tower. Which makes me think that it was either a bad rumor or someone posed as her for some reason or another before going to ground.”

The Aes Sedai tapped her fingers on the table lightly in time to the music, gaze drifting off to the crowd wheeling and dancing but not seeing them. After a few moments of silence, she turned back to him. “I suppose I don’t know why you’re telling me this.”

Distaste twisted Kyran’s lips. “Lysander gave the investigation a cursory glance and then stamped the death certificate with his seal. There was no love lost between either of them for a variety of reasons and I think that he’s very willing to pronounce her dead at the slightest chance. If she’s gone, then I think his motto is ‘good riddance’. He probably wouldn’t even chase after her if she intentionally deserted.”

“I didn’t know.” She said softly.

“Well, Black Tower politics like that aren’t public, especially not to people who are our tenuous allies.” Kyran quipped.

“No, I mean, I didn’t know you two were involved.” He blinked. Again with the mind reading! “So what do you want from me? Further investigation?”

“Yes. In any way you can provide, Keeper. You have Eyes and Ears—“ she gave a short snuffling laugh at that, burying her face in her cup rather than look at him. “And I’ve been ordered to put this to rest. If I try to use my resources to track down any tiny lead, it’ll be treason and I don’t doubt that Lysander would put my severed head on the tree, weave lights into my empty sockets and call me another Bel Arvina decoration.”

“Gruesome, Asha’man.” Demetri said with a slight smile. “What makes you think that I want to get involved in Black Tower politics? If your M’Hael thinks she’s dead and all you have is a tiny lead like this to go on, I could cause tension and strain between relations in the White and Black Towers. Lysander is polite to us, but it’s obvious he thinks we’re a liability to him. Only our strength that comes from our age and history keeps him from spurning us.”

“Because you like mysteries and puzzles that people say can’t be solved.” Kyran shot back, using his own sense of intuition. He’d seen how her eyes had lit up at the prospect of investigating it. “As for relations—well, he can’t hang and behead you and like you said, he wouldn’t break relations with such a strong ally. Not over something so small.”

She smiled a little at that and simply nodded her head before waving Laurian and Dai back to the table. The hulking Shienaran descended rapidly on them, his beautiful face fixed in a glower while Laurian merely cast the Keeper a curious look. She waved both aside, looking at Kyran while he looked back at her. “I’ll help. But they are involved too. They’re my bondmates.” She gave a smile, tapping her lip in an almost identical fashion as he had. “You know, we could circumvent this whole thing and you could be bonded to me, Asha’man.”

Panic gripped him. Light, he’d nearly forgotten she was a Green beneath it all! Making an effort to smooth his face, he smiled but it was forced. “I am honored by your offer, Aes Sedai, but you and I would not do well together for long periods of time. Besides, I don’t think your Gaidin likes me very much.”

“Bloody right I don’t.” Daigonyt Gaidin growled at him.

Laughing Demetri responded, “Well ,that’s your loss then. How should I contact you when I have information? I can’t just Travel here whenever I find something out.”

Feeling back in control, Kyran said, “Give it to your maid, Myrial. She knows how to get hold of me.” As he stood and bowed, it was well worth the panic she’d induced to see the shock and surprise writ all over the Keeper’s face when he’d named one of her main chaimbermaids as one of his informants. Well worth it, indeed.

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