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Demetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles
Of Bonds and Marriages
Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:10 (XFF:

Her conversation with Kyran should have been the end of it for her that night, she should have been able to go back to the Festivities, enjoy herself, perhaps try to apologize to her Warders, and that would be the end of it. But the story would have absolutely no draw if it were as simple as that.

Besides, Festivities were about having a good time all night long, not just in the first few minutes.

The mood of the Festival was that of jubilant merriment; Novices danced with Gaidin in Training, Dedicated swirled around the floor with Aes Sedai. Light, she even saw the Amyrlin toss her head back in unrestrained laughter while she spoke with Elinha over some subject or another. Through the fuzzed bond, she knew that Dai was off to her right somewhere, lost in a sea of woman who enjoyed looking at him and giggled when he turned on the charm full blast. Laurian was moving slowly, and even though the sensations were dulled between them, she knew he was sullen, upset. And if she wanted to be nice to the Brown, Demetri knew she should probably go over and tell him that she was better—that her outburst was over and she was ready to be calm about it.

As her eyes glanced through the crowd, she saw Laurian walking slowly with an Asha'man, the pins gleaming on the woman's collar as she turned her auburn head this way and that, her smile winning and beautiful. Her face wasn't strikingly beautiful, but she carried herself in a way that showed she was confident with herself. Demetri felt a sharp spike of jealousy overtake her in that moment, an uncontrollable sensation she was unfamiliar with. Nearly since the beginning of their acquaintance, there had only been the two of them. Even while she was Accepted and he Aes Sedai, the feelings they had for one another had occluded decency and rules, even if they'd never acted on them until her night of contemplation.

Light, even when she was absent for a year, undercover in the Amayar, he'd been faithful and devoted so that when she returned it had been to happy feelings and a sense of coming home for the first time. And after one fight, after one harsh word from her, he went running for the first woman to pay him attention?

She moved through the crowd, pushing aside Novices who suddenly gasped and curtseyed as she passed by, her face in a glower, her mood dark and dangerous. After two or three steps, people were parting out of her way as if a wind were blowing them aside, instinctively moving from the path of destruction. "What in the flaming Light is he doing?!"

Daigonyt turned at the exclamation, his brows drawn up in surprise, the smile fading slightly on his lips. Then he licked them nervously, blue gaze flickering behind her and then back down to meet it with uncertainty. "Ah—a moment." He turned to whatever giggling girl stood on his arm and murmured something. She gave another soft laugh and nodded her head, moving away. Whatever it had been, the girl certainly hadn't been left without a doubt about his intentions. Light, was it her duty to bond every man-whore she could find? "What in the bloody Light is wrong with you?"

He didn't precisely roar it, such an action would have disrupted everyone around them, but his face was suddenly in hers, eye to eye, nose to nose. "What?" She squeaked in surprise.

"Man-whore? Demetri, I've seen you upset, I've seen you nearly broken by torture. Happy, sad, frustrated, frightened—all of it. I can't truly feel you right now and I can't read your expression But something is going on with you. You've snapped somewhere and you snapped hard against Laurian. A man who has been with you through things no other could go through. Do you think that he's enjoyed being second fiddle to you this whole time? That every time he seems to get a chance to rise within his own Ajah, he's pushed down because of who he's bonded to? First a General to the Green Ajah, then a Keeper."

"He what? I didn't—"

"Know. Yes, I've gathered that. He's gathered that. He's had to watch you leave the Tower without him time after time. He's had to accepted you'd be gone without contact for a year, that you've been captured by the Whitecloaks and tortured before he even knew about it. And then you come back and you're different. Driven. You don't care about what he wants and what he's thinking, only what you're doing for your Ajah." Dai ran a frustrated hand through his head.

"So what? He's going to take the one time I have a chance for revenge as the time to find some other woman?" Demetri demanded.

There was a softness to Dai's face, a regret in his eyes as he answered, "In order to receive some amount of attention? Yes. Someone who will see him as more than just a bondmate and lover who's been taken for granted? Can you truly blame him?"

The Shienaran's words washed over her in a series of sorrowful waves and she stood rooted to her spot, trying not to believe what she was hearing. "He—has he fallen out of love with me?"

"You tell me that, Deme. You feel the bond in him, I don't. I think he does, but you've forgotten about him, pushed him aside. Do you ever talk about what he's done during the day rather than what you've done? He has needed someone to listen to him, talk to him, let him talk about what he wants and dreams about. And if that woman he's with offers that, then it's a safe bet he'll fall out of love with you quickly." His words struck at her through the heart, an icy dagger that cut right into her and sent her spiraling into grief. "You told us we had to find our own way back, Demetri. He's only following what you've said. What example you've set."

She spun away from her Warder before the first tear could fall, running off—away, before anyone could see the Keeper of the Chronicles crying. She leaned against the wall of a building, feeling the cold air on her hot face, the tears that wanted to fall but couldn't. All that she managed was a choked sob that wouldn't even end. It was too hard to even contemplate losing Laurian. Not after everything. Yet as with moths and flames, her eyes continually found him. Laurian laughing with the Asha'man, Laurian dancing with his arm nestled against her slender waist—would she eventually have to see Laurian leaning his head in for a kiss? To see the Asha'man kiss lips that belonged only to her?

Her legs moved again, but this time with purpose, this time in a direction back to a man who had become a new friend this night. "Kyran." She nearly spat out.

He turned, a look of only partial surprise on his narrow features. "Demetri." His gaze flickered to the group of people and back to her. "Her name is Asha'man Alexa Mosvarani from Arafel. She's an Ambassador for the Black Tower and is excellent at what she does."

"What do I do?" Light, but she felt as if she were not even twenty again, heartbroken and uncertain of herself.

He settled his goblet on the table and held out his hands. "Dance with me, Keeper. I'll be witty and funny and you can pretend to laugh at any of my jokes or none of them." She took a step back, her heart hurting too much to say anything but the man was persistent if anything and he followed her, pulling her toward the group. "Please, if you don't, then I'll have to speak to Lysander and have the Black Tower declare war on the White Tower because you insulted my honor." She provided him with the barest of smiles, his words touching on her humor even if it was only the barest thread. "There, now come. And if I step on your toes, you can declare war on the Black Tower for my assault."

She laughed a little that time and let him sweep her onto the floor, the dance they participated in leaving them only themselves to partner with rather than one of the country dances. As they moved and swirled amid the crush of bodies, Kyran asked her, "How did you meet?"

"Because of the World of Dreams." She said simply. He raised a brow in question. "I am a Dreamwalker, just as he is, and I went looking to him for some help. It was shortly after I'd picked up—" she paused and looked up at the man in horror before biting back what she'd been about to say. "It was shortly after I'd become Accepted and had been having problems—so I went to him simply because he was the only one who could show me how to Dreamwalk."

"I hear he used to be quite the Aes Sedai then. Rumors of lingering madness, an obsession with the Dark One touching dreams, all that fun and light hearted stuff." Kyran quipped with a smile.

She frowned at the Asha'man, "Whatever Laurian is, he isn't mad, and his obsession as you put it, holds much credence."

He gave a bow of his head in response. "And what do you think of him now? As he carries Asha'man Alexa across the floor instead of yourself?"

"We aren't married and he's my bondmate." Her words were defensive, but hollow. Sighing, she continued, "He's mentioned it and I've refused. I don't see a reason to marry when we already know we love each other and we're connected in a way that marriage can never possibly hope to compete with. What's the point?"

"Now, aren't those words for some young and ambition White to address?" Kyran replied, spinning her with a firm hand around the floor once more. "Marriage isn't about bonding with one another, Demetri. It isn't about knowing that one is in love with one another. It's saying that you want to be part of them and have them be a part of you. Bone of my bone, blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh. Bonding someone binds two people together in a physical and mental way, but marriage is the union of souls, the intertwining of emotions in a way that bonding can't touch. To some they see it opposite of you, Demetri. That marriage bonds you in a way that bonding can't come close to competing with."

Something of her anger dissipated beneath the onslaught of Kyran's emotional logic. "You sound like you speak from experience. Have you been married?" She knew she'd touched on a sensitive subject when his face froze up, eyes looking beyond her sightlessly and without emotion. "I'm sorry, Kyran, I didn't mean to ask such a personal—"

"No, it's okay." He responded, his voice quiet. The final strains of the music died down and their turning came to an end; he looked around, over her shoulder, face showing some internal determination. "Would you like to sit somewhere and talk quietly?" His teeth flashed with a grin, but it was mirthless. "I promise I won't bite unless you ask."

Giving a soft laugh, Demetri nodded. "I would like that, Kyran, maybe get to know the man who's so in love with a woman he refuses to accept her death, and maybe learn the secret of who you were married to and why you look so sad when you think about it."

The Asha'man's return smile was sad but his eyes were shrewd, "You read people very well, Keeper."

"Sometimes it's my job, Asha'man."

He gave a nod of his head, a flash of a smile of understanding, and held out his arm. "There's a lake a short distance from here on the Grounds, if you'd like to see it. The moon will give it a very beautiful look, if you're up for it." She nodded her ascent and took his arm, letting the Spymaster lead her off. For a time she wanted to forget about her hurt, about what Laurian was doing, about what Dai had said and just enjoy herself. It was too bad she didn't notice how close they had been to Laurian and Alexa and the look on the Brown Aes Sedai's face when she'd walked off on Kyran's arm.

  • Deal with the DevilDemetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles, Mon Oct 23 09:16
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