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Livin' the life.
Fri Dec 8, 2006 18:42 (XFF:

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 was utterly familiar to Tsuga, and she reveled in this feeling of fitting for a few moments before being jostled from behind and cursed loudly. Startled back to reality, she moved aside to allow room for the rest of their party, and watched as they poured through, mostly in single-file, though occasionally a brash youth would charge through abreast someone else, and Tsuga would catch her breath as they came mere inches away from touching those shimmering sides of the gate. She’d never seen anyone do so, and she had no desire to find out what would happen if they did. Just to be sure, she surreptitiously edged her sturdy mare a bit further away.

At last, the last few people stepped through and the gateway winked out of existence. There were a few beats of silence, and then Jield’s voice rang out, commanding them to divide again into their proper sections – Aethan’Tar, Sei’Tar, Gaidin and Gaidar, and Aes Sedai. Tsuga maneuvered to join the cluster of her fellows, and when the commotion settled down, the Head Gaidin began speaking again, explaining to them what would be going on.

“Aethan’Tar will be divided into pairs. You will do your chores together, share a tent, and in the event of battle, you will guard each other’s backs.” He rattled off the pairings, specifying that there were to be no boy-girl couples, and when the Aethan’Tar had moved off, he addressed the Sei’Tar. “Sei’Tar, you will be placed under a bond emulation with an Aes Sedai. While we are here, you will act as that Aes Sedai’s Warder, and the first authority you answer to is theirs, followed of course by the Gaidin and Gaidar. You will be going into town with the Aes Sedai, and when you are released each day by your Sisters, you will help with tasks around the camp.”

Tsuga’s attention faded out at that point, as he moved on to the Gaidin and Gaidar. She was somewhat confused that he hadn’t named off their partners, but as the groups began to break up and move off, the Sei’Tar noticed that there were Aes Sedai circulating in their group now, and before long, she was approached by a rather petit woman with the tell-tale ageless face. The Sister – a brown-eyed, brown-haired woman with a childish, smiling face – adjusted her gray shawl and looked Tsuga up and down critically. At last, she introduced herself as Sister Solaris, and Tsuga exchanged the pleasantry.

At least she warned me first, Tsuga reflected. Although “get ready” hadn’t been much of a warning, she had had time to brace herself before the dizzying, disconcerting feeling of being inside someone else’s head – and having someone inside hers – hit. She swayed in her saddle, gripping the horn instinctively, and blinked several times to clear her vision. The Aes Sedai watched her coolly, and when she saw that Tsuga had recovered, she began speaking.

“You will pitch your tent near mine, as well as pitch mine. I do not have a Warder already, so I’m afraid you’ll be on your own. After the gear is set up, you can occupy yourself for the day. We are leaving after first light in the morning and going into town. I expect you to be ready.”

With that, the Sister rode away, though Tsuga could trace the woman’s progress with her eyes closed, feeling along the link that now bonded them, though she shied away from untangling that knot of emotion now in the back of her mind. She had enough issues, and certainly had no desire to pry at someone else’s thoughts if she didn’t have to.

Tsuga moved off to where everyone else was heading – to tend their horses – and dismounted. She’d always been taught that the horse was more important than you were. The horse could determine whether you lived or died the next day, and a well-tended horse would serve you well. Before you took care of yourself, you took care of your mount. With these values so engrained into her, she didn’t even consider taking care of the tents yet. Instead, she removed the tack from her chestnut gelding and rubbed him down thoroughly before she watered him and left him with his night’s food.

Only when she was sure that he was properly settled for the night did she remove the essentials – her pack, bedroll, and tent – from the straps securing them to the saddle and make her way through camp. By following the new connection, she was able to locate her Aes Sedai with little difficulty, and the woman handed over a rather large tent by Tsuga’s standards, and pointed to a cleared piece of ground. She deliberately didn’t ask how it had become so perfectly level and clear, and instead set down what she was carrying and began setting up the larger of the two tents – not an easy task by yourself. After about her third try, she looked up in exasperation, glared in the direction that her Aes Sedai had disappeared, and as she turned back to the task at hand heard someone curse mightily. She whirled around, eyes searching, and spotted the source of the . . . language.

It was a Sei’Tar that she recognized from the Tower, though she’d never really spoken with him. His face was beet-red, and he looked ready to kill. He, too, was struggling with an Aes Sedai-sized tent. With only a moment for consideration, she dropped the tent pole she was holding and strode over to him. He didn’t seem to hear her, and kicked mightily at the flat canvas. Only when she cleared her throat did he start and turn around, looking torn between humiliation and murderous rage. “I’ll give you a hand, if you’ll return the favor.” The boy – he was somewhere between boy and manhood, with the looks still of someone who had not yet reached maturity – let out a gusty sigh and nodded.

Between the two of them, both tents went up fairly quickly, and as they stood looking at the finished products, Tsuga had a thought. “How about helping with our own tents, too? Be a lot easier.” This was promptly agreed upon, and with little further incident the last of the four tents was erected. With their task finally accomplished, they parted ways, and only then did the Aes Sedai that had approached Tsuga reappear and walk into the tent without so much as a “thank you” or “well done,” though the Sei’Tar could sense a smug satisfaction through their bond – but how could she do that, when she was specifically avoiding that tangle of thought and emotion? But whether it was for Tsuga’s accomplishment or the Sister’s approval of her choice of a “Warder,” she wasn’t sure. Oh well; she was now up to her own devices, and she could already hear the clack of practice weapons. Eager, she set off in search of the noises, only to be intercepted on the way by a Gaidin.

“Sei’Tar, right? You’re chopping wood for the fires tonight. Get started.” An axe was shoved into her hands, and she was pointed to a clearing that had apparently been created by a huge tree that had fallen some time ago. Several other trainees were already hacking away at the immense branches, and she joined their ranks, finding her rhythm easily. She was no stranger to chopping firewood, and in fact found a great deal of security in the easy swinging motion. Not to mention the feeling of power and satisfaction each time the blade cleaved wood, each time a limb split from the tree or was broken apart into manageable pieces.

The day passed quickly in this manner, and before long she realized that it was getting harder to see where she was aiming, and that her companions in the clearing were beginning to talk more (there had been a steady chatter going this whole time, but now it had grown significantly louder) and move away. She leaned her axe against the remnants of the tree and stretched backwards, hands on her lower back, and listened to her spine pop. She straightened and rolled her shoulders, moving her neck from side to side to loosen the tension. Her clothes were soaked with sweat, hands splintered and calloused, and her muscles were satisfactorily sore and stiff. She’d done a good day’s work, and as she gathered up her axe and what was left of the wood – Aethan’Tar had apparently been dragging it off as it was chopped, which she’d only vaguely registered throughout the evening – and trailed back into town, she found herself grinning, tempted to break into one of the songs that soldiers often sang as they went about their work. These same songs she had been hearing for as long as she could remember, and now they floated to the fore, and she found herself humming as she returned the axe to a Gaidin and dropped the wood on a pile of other logs.

Dinner would be ready before long, and she could smell the meat cooking, which caused her stomach to rumble loudly. She’d never realized how much she truly missed the atmosphere of camp life, being on the move or in a group of her comrades, until she had been dropped back into again, all unsuspecting. The air of camaraderie, the cheerful jests, the dicing games going on in the shadows and the conversations and clack of practice weapons all made such a familiar air of sights and sounds, the music to which her life had always danced. The smells were so familiar – horse, sweaty men, leather, and cooking food – that she found herself lulled into a sense of security by them, and as she walked past a group of Aethan’Tar trying to trade duties for the morning, her humming broke into song – one with rather lewd lyrics, but a catchy tune all the same. Even more than returning to her homeland, the atmosphere of the camp made her feel as though, at last, she was where she belonged.

OOC: Stopping here because I'm not really sure where to go from now. The soonest I'll be able to continue will be Sunday, meh.

  • 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
      • 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
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