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Session 11 (Kheldar)

Played on 2004/11/14

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 myself.

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 harmful.

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 unattendance.

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 that.

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 palace.

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 things.

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 serious.

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 happened.

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 Nighbliss!"

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 there laughing.

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 air.

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.

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