Demetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles
Deal with the Devil
Mon Oct 23, 2006 09:16 (XFF:

There was silence around the table as the Asha’man left, but she felt a disturbing sensation from the bond between herself and Laurian. It was mirrored by her own sense of unease at the fact that the Asha’man had told her to tell her chambermaid if she found anything.

“Is it just me, or should he change his name to Asha’man Spooky? Hasn’t anyone told him that the ghoulish look is out this year?” Daigonyt said, his eyes watching the Asha’man’s retreat. She could sense the Gaidin’s distrust.

“Demetri—“ Laurian began.

“Are you going to start tonight, asking around about things?” Dai interrupted, possibly because he didn’t hear the Brown Brother.

“No.” She shook her head. “It wouldn’t do any good. Besides, the information I need isn’t here, it’s out either in Caemlyn or in this place where she was balefired.”

“Uh, Deme, I don’t mean to be glib, but doesn’t balefired mean erased? From the Pattern?” Dai asked; she nodded her head. “Then…isn’t it sort of pointless to be looking for her? It’s not like you can bring her back from that.”

“Asha’man Kyran wanted me to follow up on something that he heard in Caemlyn, I’m not even technically investigating anything.” She responded.

“I don’t think you should get involved, Demetri.” Laurian said in a strong voice. It drew the attention of herself and the Shienaran with some amount of surprise. "I'm just saying…" The Aes Sedai gave a deep sigh and ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. More than that, she could feel his apprehension, a fear to tell her what he knew. "I'm fairly certain that Lurie was one of the ones involved with your capture, Demetri. That's how they knew you were Aes Sedai and could channel."

Her breath drew in with a sharp hiss. "This isn't your fight, Demetri." Daigonyt's words were soft as cold steel and the cut through the haze of rage she felt instantly at Laurian's words. She felt the Brother's guilt and regret through the bond and Daigonyt's presence blazed with determination.

"Who says I'm going to fight, Dai?"

Her words were tense and angry and he shook his head. "I can feel you, remember? I know what you're feeling because it's washing over me like a fiery blizzard. This isn't your fight and you don't know what happened." His brows lowered when she opened her mouth to reprimand him. "Don't treat me like an idiot, Demetri. We both feel what's going on inside of you."

At that moment, she felt a wave of calmness settle over her, soothing frayed nerves, her anger dissipating. "Deme," Laurian said in a gentle voice, his hand laying on hers comfortingly so that she could feel the love suffuse every portion of her being. "Let's talk about this tomorrow, for tonight—"

A sense of coldness suddenly replaced the warmth and comfort as she realized what had just happened. Snapping her head away from Laurian's, Demetri glowered at him, feeling the warmth of her rage come back in full force, feeding life into her. "Did you just try to Compel me, Laurian?" He opened his mouth but she felt the guilt trace a winding, bitter path through the bond. There was little effort of will involved in slamming a wall between them, blurring the bond between them immediately. Both of them. "Don't ever do that again. If you were trying to convince me to set this aside until I've calmed down, then you've failed miserably, my love. And you," Demetri rounded on the Shienaran Gaidin. "It's your duty to protect me when I can't protect myself. Not stop me from finding someone responsible for my near death. I'll sever our bond if you ever try that again."

She rose, staring at both her bondmates through a haze of furious cold. "Find your own way back, gentlemen. Tonight I am here alone." Stalking off from the table, she let the fire inside her feed and burn on the humiliation she'd suppressed, the hurt and anguish that remained in the dark recesses of her mind. Asha'man Kyran had come to her at the right time to bring her exactly what she wanted—a path to retribution for the harm that had come to her and she was going to take it.

The way to Ronan's old office was known to her, the two times she'd traversed it still etched in her memory. Lights flickered with Power-wrought glows along the corners; the Black Tower saw no reason to hinder the amount of Power used, a belief that was pulled from the Age of Legends and not the timid nature of the White Tower. Two turns from the Green and she found herself amid a rise of houses built close enough that only three people could walk abreast between them, and in the dim light of one of the corner lamps, she saw the upright cat etched into the brick and mortar of the building.

Drawing saidar through the bracelet and necklace she kept on herself at all times, she was able to thread the strands of Earth and Fire around the lock to weaken it when she pushed forward. There was a resounding snap with the effort generally ignored as everyone was celebrating amongst one another. Standing just outside the door, she felt with skeins of Spirit, feeling for any errant weaves that she might trigger by stepping foot inside, and found none on the front door. The door to Ronan's former office was also similarly bereft of Wards, although she saw two torn weaves and some scorch marks on the outside of the door that said someone hadn't bothered to work around them and had triggered them instead.

The Asha'man's filing system was contained within a desk drawer that was covered in layer upon layer of complicated weaves that all made up a single devastating ward if it were triggered without disarming it. It was still in tact and it seemed that if the M'Hael had been reckless with the door, he wasn't reckless with the files. He couldn't afford wiping out everything she had recorded by shredding it.

Yet the problem that Demetri grinned at was that although the woman had set a relatively difficult ward on her files, it was crudely built, somewhat instable, and Demetri was probably one of the most adept at warding in the Tower, finding what Ronan had left as merely child's play. A warding system any new Green in the Clerk Division could build with their eyes closed. The woman may have excelled at killing, but she was less skilled with warding. It posed the question as to why the M'Hael simply hadn't found someone adept enough at warding to break through—surely some of those Asha'man of Kyran's cadre would be able to disable this ward. Unless those skilled enough were saidin wielders. In which case even Demetri doubted her skill at disabling weaves she couldn't tell one another from. To her a weave of Air and Fire could be one and the same.

That wasn't the case, though, and she embraced, drawing out threads of Spirit, Air and Fire to first beef up the original shabby ward and then begin bypassing it. The trick on something so simple was one of the first things she'd worked out upon becoming General to the Clerks, a trick she'd passed on to only three or four others in her Division. It wouldn't work on more complicated, tiered wards, but for something like this, Demetri had the threads spun out and she was able to open the drawer within a moment or too. Her fingers moved through the files, looking at the names on each of them until she came to the one that Ronan had been working on.

Mark: Unknown. Description: Average height with honey blonde hair to the waist, slight figure, brown eyes. Reason for assassination: The collaboration in eliminating Asha'man to the Whitecloaks. Last seen: Heading north from Cairhien, proposed safe house in either Caralain Grass or Kandor.

Slipping the paper into her sleeve, she put the drawer back where it had been and then deftly removed her own weaves from Ronan's original ward, leaving it exactly as she'd found it.

She had just stepped from the house when the soft glow of firelight startled her. She was already embracing saidar and readying the shield when the soft drawl of Asha'man Kyran spoke. "Ronan would be proud of you, Keeper. Breaking and entering. And I assume you were able to get past her wards?"

The man's presence had startled her, unnerved her, but Demetri settled her nerves once more behind a façade of serenity on her countenance. "I think that there are a great deal of Asha'man here who know next to nothing about warding. Yes. It was a simple enough matter."

She heard the soft crunch of his boots on the gravel and then a soft laugh. "Simple enough matter. Light, you're either very cocky and arrogant or just that good. No one has been able to get past the ward since she's been gone, and Light knows that Lysander's tried to get to them without destroying the files."

"I put it back the way it was." She replied with as much calm as she could muster.

There was a sigh of relief in the darkness, the cherry glow from his pipe doing nothing to illuminate his features. "Good. He may have control of the assassins now, but at least much of the progress she made won't be tainted by his touch." He stepped forward into the circle of light and gestured, "Why are you after that?"

"This?" Demetri held up the paper. "Because this woman was responsible for something that happened to me a couple years ago. And I want retribution."

"Revenge, you mean." She looked at him sharply, anger stiffening her form. "No, don't get defensive, I know a little about revenge and retribution and I don't hold it against you. Especially not if what I heard what happened is true. I'll make a deal with you, Keeper." She lifted a brow in question, silent and unwilling to speak until he'd made his offer. "I'll help find this mark—you don't have the resources or know-how in order to find her anyway, and you track down my lead regarding Ronan. If she's alive—" he drew in a deep breath and she felt the edge of her anger fade beneath the hope in his voice, "I'll be forever indebted to you. If she's truly dead as you've said, then at least I have closure."

"Why would you do this, Asha'man Kyran? I've done nothing to earn this sort of thing and I know nothing about you, even if you seem to know a lot about me." Demetri gave a small laugh. "Forgive me if I seem a little cautious and suspicious at your felicitous offering."

He was silent for a long moment and she remained equally quiet, knowing he wasn't deciding on whether or not to tell her his reason, but more likely how he would word it for her. "Ronan was a very unique woman—she had a great deal of power in her hands, not with the One Power, but by force of being. And she respected you highly, Keeper. As both a woman and an ally. Had she been M'Hael and you Keeper, I think that there would be great things between the White and Black Tower. Because of that enormous amount of respect that she had for you, I couldn't think of another to come to for help; I believe that you had the same respect for her that she had for you, too."

Giving the man a small smile, Demetri passed the paper over to him, whatever information on it now in his hands in exchange for her undivided assistance. "I did have a great deal of respect for her, Asha'man Kyran. And her death saddens me in a way I can't express to you. I think you're right—if she'd been M'Hael at this moment, the ties between our Towers would have been solid. I'll do everything I can to either give you closure or obtain your indebted gratitude." Walking away from the Asha'man and his softly glowing pipe, the anger that had burned in her entire being had been stoked into white hot embers, ready to ignite when the time was right.

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