Fighting the Right Battle
Tue Sep 19, 2006 19:58 (XFF:

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 simple stupidity. Today, he was an Accepted, not a Gaidin-in-Training, and thus he must be prepared to fight obstacles of the One Power. No Aes Sedai would send a dangerous creature at any normal Accepted. I just need to think with the saidin instead of steel.

The instant Adrian’s body gave way to the taint in the air, the threat had been removed, and the Accepted had quickly recovered. The incident had greatly warned him though. Next time he wouldn’t be so stupid. On his feet again, Adrian’s first act was to test the mist about him, and, finding it harmless, again continued his search for Sirestes.

Reluctantly, Adrian brought the bond into his full attention. He felt his partner’s irritation and impatience feeding towards him, and smiled grimly. So he wasn’t alone. Adrian could also tell that his partner had been much more successful in following the bond than he had been, for Adrian could tell that Sirestes was approaching him rapidly.

Crossing his fingers, Adrian began to head towards the direction of Sirestes. As he did so, the mist about him lifted, and he could plainly see that he was located in the middle of a massive labyrinth. Every few feet lay an exit from the center, each path looking more alike than as Adrian went along. The bond helped him eliminate nearly all the paths, but was not conclusive enough to narrow his options down to just one.

What now? Adrian thought. Should I sit here and wait it out for Sirestes to make it, or do I risk getting lost down one of the possible passageways?

Adrian continued in this vein of thought for quite some time before he realized his primary mistake. He was thinking like a Sei’Tar again. He needed to think in terms of the One Power. Doors he hadn’t known existed suddenly burst open for him. Of course! Adrian knew many weaves that sought out specific items, one would work perfectly here.

As it happened, just as Adrian prepared to commence a weaving, Sirestes burst from a passage on his left, looking as Adrian had supposed: irritated and impatient. No words were exchanged between the two, the bond took care of that.

The pair picked a path at random, Sirestes leading slightly. Adrian didn’t mind. His body remained tense, waiting for the attack to happen. Would it be one of steel, or something that Adrian needed to combat with the One Power?

The path they were traveling on abruptly ended, allowing them to traverse it without assault. Adrian thought that a little bit strange, but perhaps all the Aes Sedai were preoccupied with other struggling pairs within the obstacle. To their increasing nervousness, Sirestes led Adrian through three more passageways without incident.

Midway along the forth passage, a Trolloc appeared in front of them. Instantly, Adrian reacted, reaching for his dagger, and throwing knife in his hand. However, as he reached to protect himself, Sirestes blocked him, choosing to attack the creature with his axe.

Annoyed, Adrian stepped back, waiting for his turn to fight. It never came. Well, if Sirestes wanted to handle it…. Adrian retreated down the path, studying his ‘Warder’s’ fighting techniques. As he did so, he noticed finally noticed the weaves of One Power around the Trolloc. He smiled to himself, amused at finally seeing what was going to be thrown at him.

Suddenly the Trolloc had enough of Sirestes and turned for Adrian. Glad to have his chance to battle, Adrian reached for the dagger again. No such luck. Sirestes struck down the creature and it dissipated where it stood. Frustrated, Adrian sheated his weapon and hurried down the path. It wasn’t completely the fact that Sirestes had done all the fighting that frustrated him - it was also that he had once again neglected to use the One Power. This could really become a hindrance.

The incident with the Trolloc seemed to make them fair game for obstacles on the course. Just around the corner, they came to the first of three checkpoints. Adrian stopped to study it.

“There’s a ward here,” he told Sirestes. “We can’t cross this line until I disarm it. Be on guard, and when I give you the signal, we run like the Dark One’s chasing us, because it’s going to start that landslide of rocks.”

Focus now, let Sirestes take care of the corporeal distractions. So, blocking out the sounds of a scuffle behind him, Adrian focused on the key to the ward. Crossing the line would cause all the support on the boulders to be removed, definitely blocking the checkpoint. So all that Adrian needed to do was find some other support for the rocks so they could break the ward. Okay. He could do that.

Channeling, Adrian blazed an arch of Earth, Air, and Spirit across the tunnel, encasing himself and Sirestes within it. The rocks would fall, but they would be able to cut through the middle unharmed.

“Okay!” Holding his breath, the two of them dashed through the archway. Immediately, the rocks began to roll, but Adrian’s weaving held fast. Checkpoint number one defeated.

An following ten minutes of wondering, fighting off half-hearted obstacles, they arrived at the second checkpoint: a gorge. Gorgeous. Sirestes looked at him, and Adrian knew that he would have a hard time convincing the other to walk across an invisible bridge. Adrian himself would have a hard time walking across such a bridge.

At that point, Sirestes attention was distracted by…flying bladders of water? Adrian resisted the temptation to fight further. He needed to cross the gorge. Obviously, a bridge of some sort was in order, but he wanted something to show that it was solid. Frowning, he began to channel. When he finished, before him lay a tightly spun bridge of Air, Water, and Spirit that had the illusion of being solid enough to march an army across. Adrian doubted it could support more weight then the pair of them, but there was no need for Sirestes to know that.

His illusion worked. The Sei’Tar confidently crossed the gorge, apparently preferring heights to being drenched by water bladders.

Two down, three to go. The pair began navigating more paths. This time the obstacles were directed at Adrian. In one passage, acid rain began to fall that forced the Accepted to put up a shield of Fire and Air. In another, the temperature began to drastically rise and Adrian combated it with Water and Spirit. However, the heavy use of the One Power was beginning to tire him, and he began to doubt if he could guide them through a final obstacle. To his surprise, he could feel only confidence from Sirestes, if a trace of mild irritation still lingering from earlier. It bothered Adrian that Sirestes might be able to sense his own tiredness. This bond thing really wasn’t for Adrian.

As it turned out, the third checkpoint wasn’t all that intimidating, just a simple rock wall that needed to be moved. Sighing, Adrian again forced himself to ignore the physical attacks, while he channeled and made a portion of the wall transparent. Exhausted now, he guided Sirestes through to gain the final checkpoint.

On the other side lay an opening to the end of the labyrinth. The pair hurried towards it, Adrian blessing his stars that there were only three checkpoints. Extended channeling really wasn’t Adrian’s thing. Really.

  • Only Ghosts of Real ThreatsSirestes Sei'Tar, Thu Sep 14 12:59
    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 ... more
    • Fighting the Right Battle — Accepted Adrian, MuC, Tue Sep 19 19:58
      • 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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