Demetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles
Skimming the Boundaries
Thu Oct 26, 2006 06:39 (XFF:

By the time anyone could react, it was too late. Dai's sword had cut into Kyran's shoulder before any of them could shout or even before the Asha'man could put up any physical defenses. Demetri turned and slammed the shield into place, cutting off the Compulsion from her Warder and the Shienaran gave a sharp cry of distress, pulling his sword free and lunging forward to keep Kyran from falling to the ground. The woman who had performed the weave on her Warder was the same one that Laurian had been talking to—Alexa, and her face was fixed in a snarl of rage a brief moment before Demetri approached her and jabbed her fist into the woman's face.

It wasn't an impressive hit, in most adventure stories the hero hits the villain and they drop to the ground unconscious. There was a satisfying crunch that went along with Alexa's cry of pain and she stumbled back to the ground, her hand holding back the blood that spilled from her nose. "If you ever touch any of my Warders ever again, I'll kill you, Asha'man. Laurian, bind her."

The woman's arms suddenly snapped down to her sides as if held by invisible bonds and the blood ran freely. "Deme, he's hurt badly." Dai said quietly; gone was the distrust and anger in his voice toward Kyran, replaced by concern. Deep and urgent concern. "We need to get him to a Healer. Unless one of you…?"

"No." She replied, her voice tight with worry. Glancing around at her surroundings, she ran fingers through her hair, disrupting the coiffure without regard. "None of us can, but I can Skim us back to the White Tower." Looking down at the unconscious and bleeding Asha'man, she continued, "It has to be the White Tower, I don't know this place well enough to Travel from it, but I know the Infirmary well enough to Skim to it."

"We don't have much choice." Laurian agreed and like a marionette puppet, the other bleeding Asha'man rose to her feet awkwardly and with jerking motions. "And she's coming with us."

Nodding her head, Daigonyt carefully lifted Kyran from the ground as she worked the flows of Spirit into a familiar and easy pattern; in the moonlight the silvery flash of the Gateway slicing open mirrored the hue of the moon and then they stepped through to where a large platform complete with a cot to lay Kyran on rested. The trip back to the Tower was short in length of time but it seemed an unbearable Age as every moan and groan from the wounded Asha'man drew Demetri's concern. Dai hovered over the man protectively, his face stony with fury, his gaze never turning to the bound Asha'man.

Demetri could feel the roiling emotion in him, the guilt, the anger, the feeling of violation…"Snap out of it, Dai. Even Aes Sedai get caught in Compulsion. You're not protected from it by my bond."

He looked up at her from across the prone form of Kyran with anguish in his face and voice. "But—"

"No." She interrupted him before he could launch in a self-abusing diatribe. "There are no 'buts' in this argument, Dai. There is little one can do to protect against a Compulsion attack unless you can channel. Yes, she used your distrust of Kyran to make you do it, but no one's will is strong enough to break free from one."

Dai looked to say more, she could feel it literally, but the Gateway slashed open to reveal the white sterility of the White Tower Infirmary. One of the Yellows was already moving toward them as they lifted Kyran from the cot and into the Tower, pulling him out of the Warder's hands by skeins of Air. "What happened?" Her glance checked over the other Asha'man bound up by Laurian's weaves and dismissed the injuries out of hand.

"Sword injury. Can you Heal him?" Demetri's voice was tight with worry.

The Yellow gave a scoffing laugh, "Can I Heal him. What do I look like? A green Novice? Of course I can. Stand back." As the woman surged with the One Power into a golden nimbus of light, Demetri kept her gaze focused on the weaves, watching with the same wonder she always felt at the tapestry woven. She used all five of the Powers, the new way of Healing Demetri knew, and then Kyran's eyes flew wide open and he gasped before falling back to the bed, his chest heaving as if he'd run a league.

He looked over at the Aes Sedai with a weak smile, "Let me guess, another thirty seconds and I'd be lucky to be alive?"

The woman rolled her eyes and gave the same scoffing laugh. "Again, I'm insulted. You weren't even close enough to death for me to worry about, boy." Kyran's eyebrows raised at the word 'boy', but Demetri knew that the Yellow had worn the shawl for over fifty years. "No, nothing so melodramatic like that. I did leave a scar though. Should the day ever come that you need to impress some woman, there will be a small scar for you to show off."

"Chicks dig scars?" He asked, glancing at Dai.

The Warder's mouth quirked into a little smile and she felt the relief wash away the iciness within him. "Chicks dig scars, Asha'man."

"Oh good." He let his head fall back to the pillow and then rotated it to look at the other bound Asha'man, her mouth filled with a saidin wrought gag, her arms pressed against her sides. Kyran's face darkened and he tried to lift his hand before it felt weakly back at his side. "You tried to kill me, Asha'man Alexa. And if I weren't laying here too weak to do anything but cut you with my witty repartee, you'd be dead by now." The woman's face whitened beneath dried blood and she flinched back, silent. "As it is, you're on a stay of execution right now. Keeper? Can you hold her?"

She glanced around the room, seeing the question in the Yellow's eyes, the indignation in Dai's and the anger in Laurian's. Shaking her head. "No. I can't." Tying off the weave that shielded Alexa from the Source in an intricate binding that would take some time and effort to work though, she spun the threads to open another Gateway, this time a Traveling portal and shoved her through. The Asha'man stumbled and fell to the ground with a soft thump. "Release her, Laurian." Her arms sprang apart and she made to lunge back at them but she was already releasing the weave.

The last thing they heard was a screech of panic before it snapped shut, leaving the four of them in silence in the Infirmary. "Well." The Yellow said, brushing her hands on goldenrod skirts. "I'll just tidy up then, you three can talk to him for a little while, but he needs his rest and then food."

She bustled off leaving them to look at one another, Kyran's eyes both bright and tired. "What's going to happen now?" Laurian asked quietly.

Kyran pinned him with a flat stare, and even in his weakened state, there was a strength and fire in his eyes. "When I'm better and stronger, she'll meet with an accident."

Demetri lowered herself into a chair next to him, speaking gingerly. "I think that we need to address the reason why she tried to kill you, Kyran. I assume that it's because of your involvement with Ronan, but the bigger question is whether she acted alone or on someone's orders." The Asha'man looked at her with bright intelligence in his eyes. "I'm not saying I’m well versed in any sort of politics, but if she acted on her own in order to place herself in favor with the M'Hael, then my involvement in this stops here." Drawing in a deep breath. "But if she acted on his orders to kill you and she used my Warder in which to do it, then the White and Black Towers have a very big problem on their hands."

He gave a small cough into his hand before looking at her. "What if I told you that she acted on her own? To curry favor with Lysander?"

"I'd say you'd need to prove it to me, Kyran." She smiled. "If you know me as well as you pretend to, then you know that I won't take a statement like that on faith. Especially not if it means a possible problem between my Tower and yours."

He didn't return the smile. "That's why I'm asking you to take my word on this." His tone was sober. "The world is in strife enough without having the Tower towers at one another's throats in war. It can't afford it right now, not with the Last Battle looming so near."

"But if she acted on orders from your M'Hael and she used Dai as the tool—" Laurian cut in.

"Then I highly doubt that she used him with the intention to start a war." He looked over at Demetri. "I thought we were clear that Lysander would do nothing to antagonize the relationship between Black and White." She nodded reluctantly. "Then even if she did act on orders to kill me by him, it stands to reason that she didn't act on orders to use any Aes Sedai's Warder to do so. I can't see Lysander being so stupid as to ruin the relations between our Towers through something as inconsequential as my assassination."

He frowned at the last and Demetri asked, "What? What is it?"

He looked up, shaking his head as if to clear it, not push aside her question. "Ronan never said out loud, but I suspect that within the Black Tower there are a number of men and women who work as assassins, but disguise that fact." She waited patiently for him to continue, wondering what he was getting at. After a few moments, he looked up at her. "You were able to get into files that Lysander couldn't and grab some documents. Could you do the same? Go in and see if Alexa was one of those?"

"No." Demetri said after a few moments thought, her lips pressed together in a pensive line. "Regardless of your politics with Lysander, of your relationship with Ronan and all else, those are files that belong to the M'Hael and not you. If I were to break into them again for your personal gain, then that would be breaking about five different rules of custom between our Towers."

There was a wry twist to his mouth as he replied, "That's an interesting standpoint coming from a woman who just handed me information regarding the mark that Ronan was after when she was supposedly killed."

Her face reddened and her back stiffened. "My reasons for that were personal, Asha'man. They didn't involve any political motivations against my leader. Considering what I suspect you want to do with this knowledge, I can't, in any good conscience, break back into Ronan's files to find you a list of names. In fact, I won't."

There was only the briefest of pauses; Kyran's head sank deeper into the pillow, his eyes closing briefly before they turned on her again, brilliant sapphire orbs bright with weakness and a determination. "You mistake me, Keeper, I wasn't requesting or even asking out of favor." She raised a brow in question and he provided her with a tight smile. There was no mirth in it, just steel. Cold, icy steel. "You're going to do it."

"Why would she?" Laurian demanded, stepping forward, hand on her shoulder. "You don't have any right to tell her what to do, Asha'man. As far as I can tell, you've been nothing but problems for her anyway since the moment you showed up tonight. So take your requests and demands somewhere else."

Kryan laughed, and even though he was weak from the Healing, there was great bitter strength in it. "She's going to do it because I have in my possession evidence that she's broken into the Black Tower files with the intention of removing privileged information. And if she doesn't, then I'll turn it over to the M'Hael and let him decide how things will roll after her finds out."

There was truth in his gaze, she could see it and feel it in his voice as their eyes met. He was willing to blackmail her into doing something that could shatter the ties between the two Towers for his own personal information, and if she were caught, it would mean a possible war. She heard Laurian and Dai behind her try to plead with her, the determination in their voices that something else could be worked out, but she saw that there was no compromise in Kyran's countenance. She would do this or he would expose her and to the Dark One with finding Ronan.

"Laurian, there is a ter'angreal in the storeroom, a thin golden bracelet with an intricate knot pattern around the outside. Get it for me." Her gaze was locked on Kyran's as she continued, "You had better hope that when this is all over I don't bring the entire Westlands down on your head, Asha'man. And you'd better hope that if I do find out Ronan's alive, I don't tell her about this."

He gave a harsh laugh. "You just don't understand, Keeper. It would be what she wanted."

"Perhaps, but not at the expense you've pushed it. You'd better start hoping she's dead."

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