Cultural Fault
Mon Nov 6, 2006 11:34 (XFF:,

The office was small and cramped, little more than four walls, a desk, and an extremely out of place set of silk tapestries, covered in dust and depicting an epic battle of the red-headed figure which Rune could only assume to be the fabled Lord Dragon. The heavy fabric blocked out the sunlight, depriving Rune of any joy which might have been absorbed in that dismal moment. So there he say, his feet propped against the edge of the cherry-finished desk, his ladder-backed chair pushed back onto it's hind legs with a bored frown and a half-lidded stare.

Blue-painted fingernails drummed upon the black fabric - rough and cheap in it's make - that covered his thigh, his other hand running over the thick blonde stubble which had grown in over the month's journey from Ebou Dar. It was shameful, a disgrace, but with Lelo likely awaiting execution in Ebou Dar and razorblades reserved for more esteemed rank than his own, he would just have to settled for the close-clipped style for now. At least his nails, though clipped short for practicality, still bore the three splotches of color that signified his proper rank.

Even in betrayal, he would not shun his heritage.

With a sigh Rune both his hand and his thoughts from his hair - there were more important matters at hand. Namely, the man seated on the other side of that desk, all business in his high-collared black coat. He was one of the Ashy-men, the final product spun out of this factor of heresy and sacrilege. With perfectly trimmed and greased-back hair, a face that may as well have been carved from stone, and a set of soulless blue eyes, he seemed to suck up whatever light managed to filter in through the gaudy fabric.

"Seanchan," he said simply, glancing briefly up from the spread of parchment laid out over the desk's glossy surface. There was a certain distaste audible in his tone - a dirty twist to the name of Rune's nationality. Even his voice resonated a certain coldness - was this what was made of the inhabitant of this black-walled prison? These men and women seemed as lifeless as those who came face to face with the Eyeless; was this place naught but an extension of the Dark One's touch, and not at all a safe haven for those unfortunates touched by the Curse?

"And nobility, by the air of you. So tell me, why does an enemy of the Lord Dragon come calling at the Black Tower's door?"

Rune arched one dark brow, allowing his chair to settle back onto all four legs with a loud thump. "Enemy?" Rune said, his cracking voice think with Seandar's native drawl. "Excuse me, but when did I hump your mother? I don't recall doing anything to become your enemy."

"Last time I checked," the Ashy-man continued, "Your people collar channelers and use them as weapons."

"And you collar dogs, who have more humanity than damane."

The man almost smiled, a baring of yellow, crooked teeth. "Nobility indeed. We will break you of that soon enough. You're lucky," he collected the papers from his desk, tapping the ends to straighten them before tossing them into the desk drawer, "The M'hael will get the first honor of showing you where you stand."

Moments later, he was being ushered towards the West classrooms. It was already full upon his arrival, full of unfamiliar and likely unfriendly faces, none of which Rune cared to know much of anything about. Not a single one bore any resemblance of feminine persuasion, and there wasn't an eye-pleasing rack to be found.


Still, it was somewhat thrilling to see how they lived, these sub-cultural specimens of poverty and ill breeding. Rune took his seat with a crooked smile, listening as the Me-hail, the head Ashy-man, spoke. He knew little of what was being said - the One Power and saidin were entirely foreign concepts to him, but he listened with interest. Surely he was not expected to use the Curse voluntarily? He had come here to control the Creator's ill strike against him so that he could hide it and return to his family before they destroyed the meager resistance entirely, not to learn how to wield it like a marath'damane.

When his turn came, he stood with an awkward sort of grace, his movements smooth but irregular - he was a tall boy, but his face still held the touches of extreme youth, round and plush. His featured were fine and his muscles untoned - obvious signs of a life of pampered ease.

"My name is Rune Benedict," he spoke solidly, but did not bow. It was not an act of disrespect, but simply a product of his lacking knowledge of this strange culture's etiquette and customs, "Son of Sarva and Rael, of the Imperial Court of Seanchan. I have never.." he paused, his features twisting into an expression of unfamiliarity, "touched the Curse. It is considered vile, impermissible, and men found capable of doing so are put to death."

No more needed be said. Rune took his seat and waited.. though for what, exactly, he did not know.

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