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The Resilient Woman
Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:34 (XFF:

It was either intriguing or insulting, to be manhandled by the One Power in such a way, but Jasper could not quite decide which. It was a predictable course of action, and one which she had prepared herself for. As that shield slammed into place, Jasper made sure not to fight it. The last thing she wanted, and certainly the last thing she needed, was to be stilled by an angry and surprised M'Hael.

Cornered creatures, after all, were the most dangerous breed.

She answered his question with a steady voice, only mildly surprised at his response. Surely her objectives had been kept a secret, but had Poettre really gone so far as to remove any trace of her records from the Tower? It was enough of an idea to almost make her wish the man was still her bondmate, if only to hunt him down if indeed he had put her in such a precarious position. Her training had been severe, at best, and it was not a course that she intended to repeat; it was beneath her to do so. The very idea of an Asha'man, a Blademaster even, taking basic sword and channeling courses, the concept of bending her neck to a Dedicated, it was almost laughable.

But Jasper did not laugh.

She met the M'Hael's gaze with a flat expression, and her black-slippered feet made no move for the door. Her head tilted slightly sideways, a telltale sign of inspection and assessment. For whatever reason, she was sizing him up, taking in every detail that she could gather in the dim evening light.

"They were right about you," she said, lifting her gaze back to his. "I had expected you to be bigger."

"They?" He responded flatly.

"You don't think I would leave the Tower without informants to keep me updated, do you? I may no longer be Tsorovan'm'hael, Lysander, but I am still very much interested in what happens here. Don't worry," she smiled, a gentle curve of her lips that hinted at dangerous secrecy, "None of your Asha'man. None of your Dedicated, none of your Soldiers. Surely, initiates of the Black Tower are.. above corruption.

"No, my informants take out your garbage, they make your food, they wash your clothes and sweep your Tower's floors. You will find that they learn a great deal more about you than any Asha'man likely ever will. So I will tell you again who I am, and perhaps this time you will listen.

"My name is Jasper Kielle, Asha'man and Blademaster, former Tsorovan'm'hael under M'hael Nickolas al'Reed, and the first woman to ascend to the rank of Asha'man, as displeasing as I'm sure that may be for you."

Jasper paused for a moment, staring at this unfamiliar man. Despite the information she had gathered, it still seemed strange for such a young man to be in such a position of power. Then again, she knew better than any that age was no telltale sign of maturity.

"I have spent the past few years developing a double-agent role within the Seanchan military - a role which only Poettre Valis was privelege to knowledger of - and I assure you, you would not be making a wise decision in forcing me to discontinue those relations. However capable the Black Tower may be of protecting itself, a military strike by the Seanchan could be a devastating impact considering the likely proximity of the Last Battle.

With her identity, and her position, explained, Jasper fell to silence. Nothing more needed saying. If he did decide to dispose of her, she had the satisfaction that nothing more would stand between the Black Tower and Shiam Lavore's desire to make a strike against it.

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