As written by the hand of Kheldar
28th Day of Danu, 999 NE (continued)
A strange sentiment, I must admit. There was still a difference
between the real confinement I had experienced a couple of days ago, and
the mental confinement I found myself in recently. At any rate it was a
clear indication that it was long past time to have a moment to
With these thoughts in my mind, I wandered through the
festively-looking city. Even though the flight from the Tower (how else
could one describe that) had a much larger impact on the world, it was
strange to experience how much of an effect the last month had had on
me. Considering that I can only recall a pleasant stay at Furlan's estate
(even though Beh'larah is vehement on this point), little of real
consequence has happened directly to me.
Sure, there were a few dabblings with the Whitecloaks, but those were
usually settled by use of the One Power - not really my area of
expertise (thank the Light!). And it is true that sometimes my skills at
stealth had proven convenient, but the consequences of getting caught
had seemed similar to when I used them in the Tower: little a clever
wording on my part wouldn't alleviate into something far from
Ah, well. With a smile I thought how this all might constitute the
emotional growth of a character. Obviously a side-kick in this story,
only to be called in to deal with the practicalities that were his
specialty, I grinned to myself. And where would such a character go on
his one free day of the year, I wondered with an evergrowing smile.
The obvious choices would be the library and an inn. Funnily enough,
looking at it from a distance actually helped me find a purpose for this
day. I caught myself grinning again - haven't been doing that now for
close to a month, so my mood is definately improving. Back to my
fictional character of me: he would of course face a difficult choice.
Library or inn; knowledge or comradery?
It being the last day of the year helped enormously with the
decision. A library would probably be closed for the festivities. And
people were yearning for good tales by a hot fire - except that in this
heat there was no reason for fires. And it had been long - too long -
since I had a chance to take the role of storyteller. I needed some
practice at least. To the inn it was, then!
And it was true, I needed the practice. I am sure that had another
storyteller heard me, not only would I have been disgraced, but also I
would have been evicted from my position. As it was, it was barely
at an acceptable level. My elation at filling time as I saw fit quickly
evaporated. Of course, some thoughts kept going through my mind, which
was a hindrance to the performance, but it was equally clear (for an
entertainer at least), that my skill had withered due to
Luckily I only asked for a token compensation. I am pretty sure that
I would have been shunned otherwise. Still, this left me feeling vaguely
annoyed. I could do much better than this, and I made a plan to work on
At dinner time, I rejoined the rest at The Blessing. As it turned
out, they had visited the Queen and almost followed my plan (which was
derided by Isana) to the letter. As I hadn't proposed it, I could of
course in no way claim any credit for it, but I did feel somewhat
vindicated. Yes, yes, that is petty once again, I plead guilty.
The outcome was that our little group would escort the Queen and
Prince tomorrow. Fine by moi, as the old (supposedly) Seanchan saying
goes. But before that there was the little matter of a party at the
So, after waiting yet again for the ladies (honesty compels me to
mention that this consisted mostly of waiting for Eleya) to "powder their
noses", the five of us made our way to the palace. As this would be just
a good time as any, I made sure Tryane was announced as Eadrica Sedai.
The effect was disappointing: it seemed to startle Tadra more than it
did Tryane. Tryane had also changed much in the last month.
Although I felt somewhat uncomfortable at celebrating the Feast of
Light in such a public fashion (I can only imagine how the people-shy Tadra
must have felt), it was, all in all, a nice party. There were even fireworks,
and the Queen's sense of aestethics is quite a bit more refined than
that of Raab Kirklin.
At around half past two we made our way back to The Blessing. I half
expected Isana to pop up once more and ask how our preparations had
gone, but she remained an unseen figure. That meant, of course, that we
could all go to bed and attempt a good night's worth of rest.
1st Day of Taisham, 1000 NE
Most of us slept a bit late, and since we were expected at the palace
at half past twelve, we were in a bit of a hurry. For once, we did not
have to wait at length for Eleya. Perhaps that was a resolution for her
for the new year. It would be quite appropriate at any rate, and the
first day of the new year is traditionally a good day to start new
With a slight grin it hit me suddenly that Raab might also have some
faith in that and that he intended to begin his reign over Ebou Dar
today. If he believed that, he would find out to his demise that he had
left our little group out of his planning!
Speaking of new things to start, today would be a fine day to start
training wielding two weapons in a combat situation. The few times I had
been in a fight, I felt a bit empty-handed with merely one dagger. In
the same vain, maybe a more potent weapon would be better - then again,
how often did I land myself in such a serious fight that I needed to
ponder such ominous thoughts?
A short while later the five of us had integrated themselves into the
Queen's following, and we rode through crowded streets to the theater.
The crowd was held at a distance not only by the Queen's men, but also
by military men in the unmistakable uniform of Mat's private army. Now
there was a tell-tale sign. At least the Queen had taken the warning
Without incident the entire host arrived at Queen Tylin's House of
Arts, or whatever pompuous name the pompuous prick had dreamt up. The
inevitable red cord and the equally inevitable Raab Kirklin were
awaiting us. After a long-winded speech by Raab, during which many a
yawn was stifled, the Queen had a short address, which was quite
obviously more appreciated by the gathered crowd. Then, the ritual
cutting of the ribbon followed, and then the most unexpected thing
The Queen beckoned us to join her. So it came to be that the Queen,
on Raab's arm, Beslan, and the five of us were the first to enter the
new building. The doors were closed very suddenly behind our backs, and
Raab jumped a bit to the front, turned to us and shouted, "Korenne
Instantly, the memories of what had happened at the Furlan estate
came flooding back in gory detail. I remembered being patched up, could
see in my mind how we were all forced down once again, how the little
boy, despite his pleading, had been sacrificed. My nostrils were filled
with the foul reek of the place. My hearth almost broke for the boy.
The memories had a mesmerising effect upon me. I was effectively
disabled. As my mind had to deal with the multitude of emotions running
through me, it had no attention left to command my body into action. A
detached feeling noted that this careful plan had in fact trapped my
mind. Unfortunately this was not a trap out of which one could think his
way. Tears streamed down my face as I had to face and conquer all
emotions that had been summoned by Raab. All the horrible memories that
Furlan had created.
I cannot say how long this lasted. When I came round, the doors were
still closed. Several unfamiliar folk stood as if they were held against
their wishes. I took out both daggers and attacked the nearest foe,
meanwhile screaming for Mat.Although my attack was executed quite well
(today was indeed a good day to start this, I thought in the back of my
head), it inflicted such a little amount of damage that the enemy stood
His mistake, because that moment I could see how he became locked in
that position. I turned round, expecting one of the Accepted to have had
a hand in this. And then I saw the reason for the attack upon my
emotional equilibrium: Furlan stood there. I raced to him (clipping some
invisible wall of air in the process) and slashed at him. There was a
dull noise as my daggers hit an invisible wall of supercondensed
I looked around, and saw that the fight was effectively over. All
enemies were locked in inmovable states. The Queen and Beslan were
furiously hacking up one of the attackers, who was quite dead and had
been for at least some time by the look of his wounds.
"Your majesty," I said in a stern voice, but then I noticed Eleya's
white-drawn face and the large bloodstains on her dress. I rushed over,
filled with worry, although she was still standing on her own.