Only Ghosts of Real Threats
Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:59 (XFF:

Life would be easier, he decided, if the fellow would just stand bloody still. As it was, he did not know where Adrian could be–past anything the emulated bond told him, at least. Due north-east, and so he followed a series of winding passages, only to find that the fellow was now closer to the west. And so Sirestes followed again, treading forth, though Adrian was still moving about. Light! It was a very narrow brand of frustration he felt, as if he was enclosed or shackled, unable to send any message to Adrian to tell the Accepted to stay where he flaming was.

This part of the task took him a good ten minutes, winding and twisting through the passageways while the bond slowly told him that his partner was getting gradually closer. Eventually, they met in the center of the maze, and Sirestes was well-nigh of panting with frustration. And so they began.

Sirestes could not decide whether he or Adrian suffered the more difficult task. At least the Accepted had the course of his duties splayed out before him, performing a series of channeling tasks that, given Sirestes’s experience with the Power, certainly didn’t look too difficult. Well, the bridge of Air would certainly give him a run for his money, Sirestes did not doubt, and disabling a ward might be a tad meticulous . . . but really, after that, it was a rock, and that required little more than a mass amount of Fire or Earth to send the mess exploding. Not entirely too intricate.

He, on the other hand, did not have the benefit of knowledge in one’s task. Jield and Demetri had given him no warning better than to expect the unexpected. Sirestes, venturing into the heart of the maze with Adrian taking up the rear–for it would make for ineffective protection to have the fellow run into danger with Sirestes walking far behind–could say truthfully that it was the unexpected with which he was now faced.

Traversing through path after generic path, Sirestes began to note the possibility that there might not be anything in here–Light, but they’d been walking for nearly five full minutes! This curiosity was reflected in his emulated bond with Adrian. His grip on the axe handle grew slick; Light, but if the whole thing had been a farce, Sirestes thought he might lose it. Blood and ashes, if never before, he truly needed a drink so he could–

He heard it.

Raising his axe, Sirestes shifted to the offensive, watching as a figure stalked round a bend, glaring vilely at him. It was a terrifically wicked looking beast, its head a twisted parody of an eagle’s, with tiny lit sapphire eyes and a hooked beak. Its body was covered in matted brown fur, and its arms were like juggernauts unto themselves, muscled and hispid. This, he knew, was a Trolloc. A bloody Trolloc. And they told me it would be harmless! Trollocs bloody killed!

Hastening forth, not allowing doubt even the smallest amount of leeway, Sirestes raised his axe, refusing to give Adrian a chance to spring ahead. The Trolloc reared its ugly head and came lumbering forth, but Sirestes kept his axe in perfect form, coming in from his strong side for an assault on its arm. The beast appeared to deke out of the path of Sirestes’s assault, careening in the direction of Adrian, and blossoms of awareness arose in the emulated bond on the part of the other fellow.

Turning tail, Sirestes held his arm up, giving the axe a heavy toss in the direction of the Trolloc’s back. The sound of impact was loud and obvious, but the axe did not embed itself; it merely fell to the ground, not even touched with blood. Without warning, the image of the Trolloc appeared to melt away. Gone. Like that. Heaving breaths, Sirestes stared at the very spot where the Trolloc mere moments prior had been standing. Unbelievable.

“Spirit and Air,” Adrian said pointedly, blinking in Sirestes’s direction. “It was nothing more than Illusion wrapped around a body of Air.” The Accepted was right. Demetri must have channeled a motion-sensing ward into the framework to have the weave unravel upon itself at the first sign of an attack against it.

The pair progressed smoothly from there. Casting sidelong glances at Adrian, he could not help but notice that the fellow was being less than amicable toward him. In fact, if the bond held any hint of truth . . . the fellow was feeling something very negative, and Sirestes could not help but feel that it was directed at him. Well, it wasn’t as if Sirestes had just saved him from what he’d thought was a Trolloc or anything!

Continuing through the maze, Adrian performed his odd tasks. Wards, boulders, and even a gorge had to be traversed, and Sirestes faced myriad other creatures in the process. Some were Illusions in the same idiom as the Trolloc, such as artificial Myrddraal and Darkhounds, while others were vastly different. He had to do a tricky bit of evasion to steer clear of a bladder of water before it emptied upon his head, and Sirestes was forced to absolutely shove Adrian out of the way to avoid the satchels of water that were being tossed–with the aid of the Power, no doubt–from an alcove in one of the walls. Light.

Jield and the Aes Sedai are nuts, he concluded decisively.

  • A Fight Without SteelAccepted Adrian, MuC, Sat Sep 9 19:51
    The world spun. Adrian tried to fight it. Breathe, he told himself. Don’t let it get to you. Just breathe and wait. It can’t spin forever. But the spinning refused to wane. On and on, until Adrian... more
    • Only Ghosts of Real Threats — Sirestes Sei'Tar, Thu Sep 14 12:59
      • Fighting the Right BattleAccepted Adrian, MuC, Tue Sep 19 19:58
        I failed, Adrian thought miserably. Failed. I just don’t fail. I can’t afford to fail. Not now, not ever. He stared at the swirling mist around him, berating himself over and over again for his... more
        • Credit earned!!Taryn, Wed Oct 11 16:57
          Granted, Sirestes is the only one who actually GETS credit, but still!! Good job!
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