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Talaban Morenae, Gaidin
Into the Blight
Thu Dec 28, 2006 00:09 (XFF:

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 returning it to the wizened old man who stood beside her. Alisse ay Elnore ay Eldrene was well into her third century of life. Retired until recently, she had spent her years patrolling the Borderlands with her three Warders, functioning as a border ranger of sorts, one of the Amyrlinís own agents at the far flung corners of the world. Unfortunately, matters of great importance had arisen and Alisse had been recalled back to the Tower six years ago. Still, she knew the Blight better than any Sister alive and it was into the Blight she was preparing to ride now.

Clustered around her were five other ladies. All Greens. Each face was faintly visible in the pale light of dawn. She smiled tightly, the long, pale scar across her left cheek rippling with the motion. Irene, Ribela, Lessis, Sausann and Viuris. All of them were old enough that age showed despite their use of the power. Though Alisse was the oldest, the rest were not far behind. Eyes met eyes, silent understanding pervading.

It was not well known but each of the seven Ajahs all had their own reasons for coming to the Borderlands. Of course there was an overarching Tower agenda but the way politics played out, it ensured that each Ajah always assigned its Sisters with some additional tasks on each trip.

In her years roaming the blight, Alisse had spent much time within the ruins of Malkier. Within the skeleton of the once-great city, the aged Sister had discovered one of the greatest treasures ever. Buried deep under the rubble of the seven towers sat a small, secret vault. It was filled to the brim, not with gold or silver but with treasure of a different sort. Within its walls, on shelves of carved stone, sat hundreds of tiny artefacts, all related to the Power. The collective presence of the angreal in the room alone was enough to make any Sisterís head giddy with the resonance in the Power. The Green Ajah had been careful with the find, never removing more than twenty pieces during any one trip so as not to rouse suspicion among the other Ajahs. Now, it was time for another retrieval trip.

The sun rose further into the sky, its rosy glow touching the tops of the clouds, banishing the last traces of night. Alisse nodded to Rahien. The aged Malkieri barked an order. Moving quickly, the Warders lined up. It was something Alisse did out of habit. She knew without looking that there would be exactly twenty four men, nineteen of which were bonded directly to one of the six Aes Sedai. 3 were hers, the rest belonged to her Sisters. The un-bonded Gaidin had been assigned by Jield. Specifically requested for their weapon skill as much as their discretion. She touched each warrior, delving carefully to make sure all were at the peak of their abilities.

Talaban stood near the end of the line, first among the un-bonded Gaidin. He knew few of the bonded Warders, all showing age as much as the Sisters themselves. This was not his first trip with Rahien, however, and Talaban knew appearances could be deceiving. These Warders could easily take men half their age. Alisse passed the last of the Warders, smiling gently as her fingers brushed Talabanís shoulders. The Gaidin shivered slightly as the chill of the delving weave ran through him. The Aes Sedai moved on.

Certain that they were ready, Alisse motioned again and the Warders moved, mounting up and getting into position. All present knew what their roles were. Six of the Warders peeled off, moving ahead and to the sides to form a simple scouting screen. The rest repositioned themselves around the Sisters as the Aes Sedai spread out into a staggered line. They rode away from camp, cutting straight toward the Blight.

Talaban controlled the Shadow with his knees, correcting the stallionís movement as the massive black warhorse thundered along the flat plains of Kandor. Isabelle rode to his left while Burkama rode further in front, the three Gaidin forming a spacious triangle around Alisse. To either side, similar triangles galloped.

He had been on similar missions with Alisse Sedai and Rahien Gaidin before. Talaban knew where the Sister was headed. It was why he had made sure to don the armour. The horses covered the ground swiftly, eating up the miles until the reached the edge of the Blight. Here, all dismounted for a short rest. The Gaidin drank mostly, though one or two chewed on dried jerky. The Sisters merely went around, washing the horses of fatigue before clustering together again.

Talaban found a shady spot beneath a nearby tree and sat down to wait. The sun was not yet high enough.

He emerged from the Gateway, squinting slightly as he took his place in the defensive perimeter. The noon sun beat down on him, turning the black silk into a veritable furnace. Sweat poured but the hadori on his forehead kept his eyes clear as Talaban scanned the surroundings.

They were directly south of old Malkier. The Sisters had Travelled east to the blight above Shienar. The shortest distance across the Blight to Malkier. No one dared to Travel directly into the Blight, so it was from the borders of Shienar that they rode in. The scouts were already away, their fancloth cloaks shifting to hide them as they spread out in the distance. The Aes Sedai rode together now, clustered close within the protection of the Gaidin as they travelled across the Blight.

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    • Into the Blight — Talaban Morenae, Gaidin, Thu Dec 28 00:09
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