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Seeking Redemption (Mark!)
Tue Nov 7, 2006 15:45 (XFF:

The Black Tower was as barren as Jasper had hoped as she set foot on its grounds for the first time in well over a year. Soldiers and Dedicate were passed out in their barracks, and whatever Asha’man were awake were likely taking up residence in the inn common rooms. However stoic and cold, even their lot were known to warm their hearts with a pint of ale and a harlot from time to time. Vulgar though it might be, Jasper was for once relieved that some women would occupy their time for a few silver pieces. It would keep her head on her shoulders long enough to reach Lysander.

And that was all she needed.

Jasper released saidar almost as soon as the Gateway closed behind her. She did not need any extra attention, and certainly not the kind that a substantially strong female channeler would gather if any of the Tower’s select female members did just so happen to be awake. There was no time to waste on distractions, and she set off across the exercise yards at a brisk pace.

The Tower had changed since her time - new buildings stood out amongst the worn and weathered wooden structures that had been there since the time of the Tower's creation. Another long building - which was easily recognized as an extra set of barracks - had been added alongside the several others which use to be sufficient for holding the Tower's trainees. Rows of smaller buildings accounted for the administration - a task which use to follow squarely on the Tsorovan'm'hael's shoulders in the days when the Black Tower was not quite the success it was now.

Jasper slipped into the thin spread of trees between the administrative buildings and the lake, and the building in which her redemption lay - likely sleeping - came into view.

A single man stood out front, a newly raised Dedicated if customs were the same now as they had been before. He stood rigid as a board, his eyes straight ahead. It was an honor to guard the M'hael's door, even if it was a dreadfully uneventful task on most evenings, and the young man seemed to take it with all of the seriousness that had been beaten into him throughout his training.

Jasper had taken the time in Ebou Dar to make sure she looked the part. Her loose blonde curls framed a deceptively perfect face. She was an impossibly beautiful woman - a status which made being taken seriously as an Asha'man all the more difficult. Her black dress bore both of the pins that signified her rank, cut of fine black silk and barren of any gaudy decorations. Only a thin line of silver stitching around the hem accented the fabric, which clung to her form, accentuating a body made of feminine curves and toned muscle. It was not her intention to flaunt her form, no more than a beautiful face made it her intention to use her looks to get her way, but it was sometimes unavoidable. And under current circumstance, it was perhaps for the best. Her cloak covered the blade which hung at her hip - of Seanchan style and etched with the Heron of rank.

Jasper embraced - she would have to make this quick. Her stride as she emerged from the forest was one of confidence and strength, and the Dedicated responded accordingly. He straightened a bit, noticed the double pins, and bowed.

"I'm sorry, Asha'man, but the M'Hael strictly said there are to be no visitors."

"And I have urgent news on the movements of the Seanchan military," Jasper responded, "I assure you that delaying this information is an act of treachery, and I will string your skull up on the Traitor's Tree if you do not move aside, Dedicated."

"But Asha'ma-"


The Dedicated looked confused, and a bit frightened, but nodded after a brief pause. "Yes, Asha'man." He stepped aside, and bowed again.

"Let no one near." Jasper whispered, opening the door with great care, "The very security of the Black Tower is on your shoulders, boy. Understood?"

He nodded, his body visibly tensing. This was the sort of opportunity that young men leapt at - the opportunity to show dedication and loyalty, the opportunity to do something of important.

Jasper almost felt guilty about the beating he would likely receive in the morning.

Lysander slept soundly, or as soundly as any man with such responsibility could. Yet finally seeing him brought questions to Jasper's mind - how did such a young man get to such an esteemed position? Granted, he was not leaps younger than she was, but it was still odd to see him. As she remembered, he had only just begun his training when she left - what had happened to advance him so far, so fast?

She stood at the foot of his bed, her arms folded over her chest and a firm hold on saidar.

"Wake up, Lysander."

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