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An Unexpected Solution
Tue Aug 1, 2006 12:54 (XFF:

The second convict could not have been more different from the first. He was a young man, nearly Toren's equal in height, but with thin and wiry build - all angular knees and elbows. His blond hair was cut short, and he never quite closed his mouth, which made him look like a predatory animal. "Whadda you want?" he sneered as Toren approached. Then, just to make sure there was no misunderstanding the disdain he felt towards the Soldier, he added, "You ain't even cute like the last one. I don't have to do anything you say."

Toren looked the convict in the eye. There was a time when he might have backed down from a confrontation like this, but ever since the battle with the Seanchan something had changed in Toren. He walked a little taller; it was a little harder to fluster him. "By all means, try to resist," he replied evenly. "It seems as though you've figured out that this exercise is about trying to make someone act differently and do things that they might not choose. If you don't do anything I say that means I'm doing something wrong, and I need to know that before I get myself killed."

"Yeah, well maybe I'll just kill you myself," muttered the convict. It was an empty threat, and they both knew it. The convict sat down cross-legged and facing away from Toren. Toren centered himself in the Void and grabbed a thread of saidin, wrestling it under his control. He began to weave the threads of Spirit, imitating Asha'man Saudade’s demonstration, and let the weave settle around the convict’s head. There was a feeling of sullenness and barely contained aggression, but Toren couldn’t make out the details of what the man was thinking. The individual thoughts were like fish underwater, shadows flitting to and fro, and never quite where they appeared to be.

Get up, and walk towards the Traitor’s Tree. Toren tried to impose his will over the convict’s mind. The man didn’t move.

After about a minute, the convict finally turned around and looked Toren in the eye. “Cut that out! You’re giving me a bloody headache.”

Toren saw that most of the other students had already motivated their convicts to start moving. It was starting to look like he didn’t really have the talent for Compulsion, and he was going to have to come up with an alternative method to carry out this part of the lesson. “Look here,” he began to explain, moving so that he could address the convict to his face. “I’d say I’m sorry, but you wouldn’t believe me. Anyway, I’m going to keep doing this until you agree to do what I say. On the other hand, if you cooperate, I can make you feel like this.” He re-created the Air weave from earlier in the lesson, filling the convict’s minds with waves of happiness. The man lay back in the grass and started humming contentedly. “You have a choice,” concluded Toren. “Do what I ask – you’ll feel great. Don’t do what I ask – your head hurts.”

The convict opened one eye and looked up at Toren. “I ain’t doin’ nothin’. If you didn’t have those bloody witch powers, I’d bust your face so good, your own momma wouldn’t recognize you.” He closed his eyes and lay, unmoving, in front of the classroom. Toren released the “glad” weave and tried Compulsion for the second time. The convict gave a barely perceptible grimace but continued to lay with his eyes closed. Time passed. Toren was now the only student who had not moved from the starting point. Suddenly the convict jumped up, facing Toren with raised fists. “Get out of my head or I’ll break your nose!” he cried, almost a wail. He took a wild swing, which Toren easily dodged before immobilizing the convict with bands of Air.

An idea was starting to form in Toren’s mind. “I’ll make you a deal,” he explained. “You’ve made it clear that you want to fight me and I’m willing to give you that chance. No magic, just fists. If you win, you get the chance to bust my face and make me look like an idiot in front of my instructors. If I win, you’re going to do what I say for the next hour.” He dropped the restraints and the convict rushed forward with a snarl.

The convict made his initial attacks with unrestrained ferocity. It was clear that his single goal was to land some punches on Toren, and he gave little thought to defending himself. One hit opened a cut beneath Toren’s left eye, and another would develop into an ugly bruise, but his Black Tower training enabled Toren to dodge or block most of the attacks. After a short while, the convict began to tire. His attacks became slower and more predictable, and his previously poor defense became non-existent. A right-left-right combination to the jaw landed the convict on the ground, and Toren took the advantage of the pause to wipe the trickle of blood from his cheek.

When it became clear that the man was not getting up, Toren started to weave a globule of water over the convict's head. Water was Toren’s weakest element and he idly wondered if he could have walked to the well and back in the time it took him to complete the weave. When he released it, the water splashed over the convict’s face and the man awoke with a splutter. He sat up, rubbing his jaw. “Ok, fair’s fair,” he said, grudgingly. “What do I gotta do?”

“Nothing difficult,” replied Toren. “We’re just going for a walk.” He started towards the Traitor’s Tree, and the convict fell into step behind him.

  • Part II: Stretch Your Legs!Asha'man Quine, MuC, Fri Jul 14 16:28
    That Quine was pleased with the progress was an understatement. Above all else, she was delighted with the fact that there was no opposition. Not one recruit raised a point of moral resistance,... more
    • An Unexpected Solution — Soldier Toren Swain, Tue Aug 1 12:54
    • Revenge, of a sort.Soldier Ceto Amaya din Marin, Sun Jul 30 17:38
      Ceto Amaya was still somewhat disturbed from the first part of the lesson as Quine handed it over to Saudade, who began to explain the second part. Saudade instructed them to step outside; once the... more
    • Walk This WayAccepted Medaea sur Yvaine, Mon Jul 17 08:29
      With the small class filed out of the rooms, a light breeze touched on Medea's face and tugged at her hair gently as she listened to the instructions of the Asha'man. The convinct she'd been toying... more
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