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Talocan Mesandril, Gaidin
Honour to serve, I stand ready...
Mon Dec 4, 2006 12:52 (XFF:

The sun bore down on the rider making his way into Tar Valon. Dusty, dirty and worn, the scalp-locked horseman wound through the throngs of people on his way to the White Tower. As he reached the last stretch before the Tower, he stopped his horse. The crowds were almost completely thinned out by now, torches were being lit as the sun began her final salute to the day, sliding behind the Dragonmount to the West. He looked up, watching the darkness slipping up the flanks of the tower and had a sudden flash of foreboding. For a moment it had looked as if the Tower was sinking into the darkness, that the last bastion of hope against the Dark One was fading into the night.

Shaking his head against his own fancies, Tal rode on. It had been a long time since he had been within the Tower. Nearly a year had passed since he was last within the walls. The only place he had called home since his teens. A smile flickered across a careworn face. More scars and aches now than he'd had when he'd arrived, but few from carelessness and fewer by far on his back. He had never turned and ran. Mrydraal, Darkfriends, Trollocs, Whitecloaks, bandits – he had faced them all. Truth be told, he'd thought he was going to die on more than one occasion, but he was still here. Perhaps this time I will stop for a while? Maybe I shall rest and find old friends again...

Tal had been wandering for a year, on diplomatic missions, guarding Aes Sedai, carrying messages and even travelling up to the Borderlands, where he had visited his family in Shienar. He rode into the Tower, passed by the guards and swung out of his saddle in the stables. A stable boy was there in an instant, taking his reins as Tal undid the girth and straps on his horse. Sliding his saddle off the horse and then swinging it onto the rail, Tal did not demonstrate any of the weariness that filled him to the bone. Calmly he stripped his saddlebags, quiver and horse bow from the saddle, and then made his way to the Barracks. A serving man pointed him to an empty room in the Barracks and Tal entered and sat on the bed with a sigh. A real bed! How long has it been this time? He stretched and then grunted as a tight muscle twinged. With no more time wasted, he cleaned and sharped his weapons, finishing with his sword. He took his time over this, checking for nicks and blunt edges, removing the hilt furniture and checking the tang for signs of wear or stress. After the blade was cleaned to his satisfaction, he packed it all down and made his way to the baths. Passing the noticeboards, he saw there was a message up from Jield, the Head Gaidin, detailing an expedition in a week's time. An expedition to the Borderlands, eh? Tal smiled to himself as he walked through and into the baths. No more travelling for this Shienaran! I'm taking some time out for a while. Good meals, comfortable beds, no more wet mornings – some quiet time. Maybe I'll go visit the White Bridge Inn again? I wonder if they still serve that snapper in red wine...

He was still musing to himself on the way back to the dorm. Clean, freshly shaved and feeling refreshed, there was no excuse for not noticing the Aes Sedai in the corridor. Three Greens stood talking, all in the way as he moved towards them. The raven-haired Domani woman he vaguely recognized, but could not remember why. One of the others looked Andorran and the other had an Aiel look to her, but he did not recognize them. As they saw him approaching his hackles stood on end. All three smiled at him as he neared them and by this point he felt like a rabbit in front of a fox. He nodded to them politely and tried to walk past, but the Domani had her hand on his chest before he'd taken another step.

“I heard you were back in the Tower, Talocan. I'm disappointed that you did not come to see me the minute you got back. Perhaps I should make sure that you want to come back next time?” She looked up at him from under lowered lashes and with a sharp shock Tal remembered her. She had been raised shortly before he had left the Tower the year before and had been dropping hints about bonding him almost straight away. Even so, her name eluded him for the time being. In Shienaran society, no man should be impolite towards a woman and so despite his misgivings, Tal stepped back and bowed, one hand across his chest, his opposing foot sliding out behind him a small way. He stood again and looked down at the women.

“Honour to Serve, Aes Sedai. I stand ready. What would you have of me?” He stood tall, nearly two meters in height, black scalp lock falling over his left shoulder. Green eyes gazed down at the woman without a hint of emotion, weariness or weakness. His face was tanned and marred by a scar or two, but was still youthful. His eyes told another story entirely though. An old man's eyes gazed at the Aes Sedai. Eyes that had seen friends slain, a lover lost, villages razed, men, women and children dead.

The Domani flinched for a moment, perhaps seeing something in his gaze that was not meant for her. Then to cover her nervousness, she stepped aside with a smile. “I will find you later when you have rested. Perhaps you can tell me about your travels over a glass of wine?” The other two Aes Sedai glanced at her and she flushed slightly, her lips narrowed as she watched him.

Tal bowed to the Aes Sedai again, more of a nod of his head, and strode off. Anger bubbled beneath his calm exterior again and more than one servant flinched from his unseeing gaze as he made his way back to his rooms. Not back two hours and already they play me. I am a man, not a lute! No plaything for some woman who has not walked the borderlands! No puppet to have his strings pulled!

He walked past the boards again and this time stopped to read the message from Jield Gaidin. Without any hesitation he scrawled his name on the list in his poor handwriting, and stalked off down the corridor. His face was calm again. If I am to be hunted by her, then I shall lead her a merry chase. Let her follow me into the Borderlands and I shall see what she is made of. Perhaps she is made of sterner stuff than I have seen...

Tal rose with the dawn on the morning of the expedition, but took longer to get down to the Travelling Yards than he'd anticipated. Already there were Aethan'Tar and Sei'Tar there! His horse had been brought from the stables and most of his equipment was already on the saddle - shield, bow, arrows. He attached his saddlebags, along with his bedroll and hung his helmet from the saddle horn. Already armoured, Tal adjusted his weapon belt, axe and short sword balancing each other on either side. His longsword was slung on it's baldric on his back, the hilt rising over his right shoulder like a cobra raised to strike. Far more weaponry remained out of sight, all sharpened and ready to go. In the Borderlands, one could never be too prepared.

Listening to the younger ones, he felt mild amusement at the hesitancy in some of the voices. He introduced himself to Zekian and then stepped back, checking the straps on his armour and watching the other Gaidin. There were a few here he recognised. He knew Tsuga, now a Sei'Tar, from training her in Improvised Weaponry when he was last in the Tower. He didn't recognise any of the Aes Sedai present at all.

He loosened his shoulders absently as he watched the people gathering. This could be interesting to say the least. Some of these look a trifle green for my liking, but others seem competent. Hopefully this trip should be fairly uneventful...

  • Section Wide RP: To the Borderlands (All!)Jield Pilaweth, Head Gaidin, Fri Dec 1 02:14
    As far as Jield knew, everything was ready. All of the horses had been well-fed and loaded up with supplies and were waiting, tied up, in the field closest to the Traveling Yards. Allowances had been ... more
    • Roleplay Finished! (Credits)Jeremy, Sun Jan 7 17:53
      Nice work all that have participated! Now, here are the word counts for each character, and I will be emailing you seperately for your credits and what you want to put them towards! =) Tsuga Sei'Tar... more
      • Got a bit carried away.Crael Aethan'Tar, Sun Jan 7 23:21
        I actually wrote that much, I think I got a bit carried away there. Shows how much more enjoyable that was than chemistry revision! Adam Crael Kantar Aethan'Tar
    • Readying To LeaveKael Zesiro, Aethan'Tar, Thu Dec 28 14:55
      Even though his time in the Training Grounds could be measured in weeks, and he didn’t know many of those around him, he had heard many rumors about an upcoming excursion of sorts while those around... more
    • Homeward bound?Crael Kantar Aethan'Tar, Sun Dec 10 00:16
      Crael glanced at the notice board as he walked past on his way to the training grounds for yet another couple of hours of getting beaten into the ground with his mentor’s practice blade. His sword... more
      • But Where is Home?Crael Kantar Aethan'Tar, Sun Dec 10 10:25
        About half an hour, probably longer of struggling with the overly active horse, he’s gonna be a nightmare to ride before I work all this excess energy out of him. Crael had finally managed to get all ... more
    • Section Wide RP: PodianJield Pilaweth, Head Gaidin, Fri Dec 8 12:06
      Jield’s eyes surveyed the campsite and as he looked over those doing their tasks he nodded in satisfaction; everything was going right to plan so far. They were currently in Kandor, camping a mile... more
      • ArrivalTalocan Mesandril, Gaidin, Sun Dec 31 08:44
        As soon as the gateway opened, Tal spurred his horse through, alongside two other Gaidin. They quickly spread out and scouted the area, finding nothing amiss. They were near the small town of Podian, ... more
        • To bond a warrior...Tianna Ithami, Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah (MuC), Sun Dec 31 08:46
          As Tal walked away from her, Tianna started trembling. She sat down on the log that Tal had been resting on when she'd found him and clenched her hands together to stop them shaking. Asides from... more
          • To stand ready, to fight, to fall?Talocan Mesandril, Gaidin, Sun Dec 31 10:27
            Tal felt his face twitch into a smile, an expression long unused. Tianna was trying hard to suppress the triumph she was feeling at bonding him, but it was still leaking out around the edges. He... more
      • Home in the country and home in the companyCrael Kantar, Sat Dec 30 13:56
        Crael smiled, he took another deep breath and his smile grew. He felt at peace here, almost at home. He squeezed Brutus’ flanks lightly to urge the horse on from the gateway to allow other through.... more
        • A Visit to a Place from the pastCrael Kantar, Sat Dec 30 13:58
          Crael had to admit the tents were pretty good, far better than he had expected and a luxury in comparison to what he had been used to in the lancers when they often made do with simply finding a... more
          • Luck, Armour and a feeling of belongingCrael Kantar, Sat Dec 30 14:00
            Just a couple of minutes later Crael was thanking the Light for the training back in the lancers that allowed him to get the barding on Brutus and everything else he needed done so fast or he would... more
            • Once more into the breach...Crael Kantar, Tue Jan 2 07:43
              Crael was the one who was laughing now, the Gaidin who had suggested that he train in armour would have been pleased at Crael’s efforts, for the past two days he had done just that. Most of the... more
              • A brush with deathCrael Kantar, Tue Jan 2 08:47
                Crael battled on as the clash of arms around him seemed to drag on interminably, underneath his armour he was drenched with sweat and Brutus’ flanks were increasingly warm to the touch. The battle... more
      • Getting A PartnerKael Zesiro, Aethan'Tar, Fri Dec 29 13:42
        Soon enough they were readying themselves to be off. Some of the Trainees, and most of the Gaidin, had their own horse, but Kael did not have the luxury. Instead, he mounted a horse that belonged to... more
        • Wood And WaterKael Zesiro, Aethan'Tar, Fri Dec 29 14:25
          The next morning began by dismantling the tent that he and Stephan had put up the night before. Like most things, it seemed easier to take apart the tent than it had been to set it up. Not that Kael... more
          • Food And TalkKael Zesiro, Aethan'Tar, Sun Dec 31 13:07
            Setting up the tent that night was harder than it had been the first, the two of them sore all over from the work. But, instead of being sour about it, they were both still in good spirits. They... more
            • SparringKael Zesiro, Aethan'Tar, Sun Dec 31 13:46
              “Hold your sword looser!” Stephan told him, as Kael bent to retrieve the practice weapon from the ground for what seemed like the hundredth time. The Gaidin were still watching over them spar, true,... more
              • A Walk In The Town And What Is To ComeKael Zesiro, Aethan'Tar, Sun Dec 31 19:05
                Both he and Stephan were able to have a good night’s rest that evening and early morning, without any tent collapses. Before they had both gotten to sleep, Stephan had apologized for the pain he had... more
                • Into The BattleKael Zesiro, Aethan'Tar, Sun Dec 31 20:59
                  A daunting feeling of panic could be sensed underneath the forced calm that was over Kael and Stephan. This would be their first battle, as the Head Gaidin said it would be for many of them. The two... more
                  • AfterwardsKael Zesiro, Aethan'Tar, Sun Dec 31 21:02
                    The battle was over…Kael couldn’t believe it. Breathing hurt, he realized then. That wasn’t the only hurt; many cuts on his body stung, but none of them were near as painful as the pain he felt each... more
      • The Hunter becomes the HuntedTain Aethan'Tar, Tue Dec 19 00:59
        The resonating twang of a bowstring split the silence of the wood. The sun was on its last legs and was slowly sinking behind the horizon. A soft pleasant breeze played across the wood as the young... more
      • Last hurray?Talaban Morenae, Gaidin, Wed Dec 13 10:29
        The chilly winter wind blew, sweeping through the high mess hall of the White Tower as Accepted and Novices alike shivered in their calf length dresses. This was merely the early stretches of winter. ... more
        • Into the BlightTalaban Morenae, Gaidin, Thu Dec 28 00:09
          The night air was dry here. Much drier than in Tar Valon. Alisse Sedai felt her throat itch slightly. Of its own accord, a water skin materialized in front of her. Taking it, she sipped before... more
          • Safe deposit withdrawalTalaban Morenae, Gaidin, Thu Dec 28 00:12
            Isabelle breathed deeply, taking in the sickly sweet scent of the Blight. The cloying aroma did not bother her. Perversely, it was the smell of home. After spending more than half her life in the... more
            • Strangers in the nightTalaban Morenae, Gaidin, Thu Dec 28 00:13
              The thrum of galloping hooves ceased abruptly as the riders pulled up beneath the first real trees on Shienaran soil. For several minutes, there was no sound save for the wheezing of the horses.... more
              • Blue on blueTalaban Morenae, Gaidin, Thu Dec 28 00:14
                Into the forest both figures went, each dancing nimbly across the soft ground, the stranger picking a rapid path deep into the woods with Talaban hot in pursuit. On and on they went, until, finally,... more
                • Deja VuTalaban Morenae, Gaidin, Thu Dec 28 00:16
                  Talaban hissed slightly at the sting of the antiseptic solution. Rael murmured something meaningless as he ran the swab across the scalp of his fellow Gaidin. He alone among the entire corps knew of... more
      • What Would Warders Wonder?Kat Tenzin Sei'Tar, Mon Dec 11 13:58
        Kat bowed as a Gaidin moved forward, the fancloth spilling behind him with the motion of his forceful stride; the Aes Sedai with plain features and hair that seemed to have little life in the thin... more
      • Livin' the life.Tsuga Sei'Tar, Fri Dec 8 18:42
        It was a homecoming, in a sense. The gateway dumped their group just outside of a town very near the border between “civilized” lands and the Blight. The sights, the smells, and the feel of the place ... more
        • Just jump right in.Tsuga Sei'Tar, Thu Dec 14 07:09
          Spring had come to the Borderlands with a vengeance. The snow had melted in all but the most stubborn of passes through the mountains, and the bright green shoots of new growth showed everywhere.... more
          • Dazed, grazed, and confused.Tsuga Sei'Tar, Mon Dec 18 17:58
            She was mentally exhausted. Physical drain was something she was used to – and indeed, it was an integral part of her day-to-day life – but this much strain on her mind was not something that she was ... more
            • Surviving the morning after.Tsuga Sei'Tar, Wed Dec 20 19:44
              Tsuga hissed, half-rising off the bed and propping herself on her elbows as she twisted her head around to glare at the Aes Sedai probing at her back. “Be still.” The Sei’Tar grumbled and lay back... more
    • Theoretical Consipracy TheoriesKat Tenzin Sei'Tar, Wed Dec 6 06:22
      Sergey gave the fabric a flourish and Kat felt her stomach churn as her eyes tried following the fancloth. "Stop that." She said, the snap in her voice weak as Kat felt her stomach protest with each... more
    • Late ArrivalTain Aethan'Tar, Tue Dec 5 03:21
      The sun sank slowly behind the tree line as Tain, for the last time, placed arrow to bowstring. Taking a steadying breath he leveled the longbow he had borrowed from the armory, on the target. Before ... more
    • Honour to serve, I stand ready... — Talocan Mesandril, Gaidin, Mon Dec 4 12:52
    • The thrill of danger.Tsuga Sei'Tar, Sun Dec 3 14:52
      Away from the Towers. It wasn’t something that Tsuga had been expecting. The Head Gaidin had approached her a few days ago and told her about a large excursion of Aes Sedai traveling – of all places... more
    • Taste of Anticipation...Alasdair Tienth, Aethan'Tar, Fri Dec 1 14:19
      “Oh, for the wretched love of Grace and Glory.” Alasdair’s groan sounded clear across the gravelled yard, ringing in the ears of his opponent. Breathing heavily, the youth signalled for a pause,... more
    • SepiaTyaoris a'Kador, Gaidin of the White Tower, Fri Dec 1 04:32
      There was naught but ashes in the gray hearth. However, the unmoving air that lay within the walls’ confines was a reprieve from the cutting chill of what lay outside them, and although the latter... more
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