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>Sandcat RPG stuff >Wheel Of Time Campaign >Chapters (Session logs) >Session 20 (Kheldar)

Session 20 (Kheldar)

Played on 2005/02/20

As written by the hand of Kheldar

11th Day of Taisham, 1000 NE (yet again continued)

Luckily, Eleya was able to weather the blast and entered the room. A few moments later, she emerged again, lifting a sturdy chest. After careful examination I was assured that there were no weaves triggering on the opening of the chest. I handed the broom to Eleyah, sat down and examined the lock. Challenging, yes, but definately within my possibilities. Within half a minute I have opened the lock - either I have overestimated this lock or underestimated my abilities.

While I continued to play with the now opened lock, Eleyah removed a stave from the chest. Quite probably an angreal of some kind. We found the rest in the main room downstairs, and shared our findings with them. I kept to the side, playing a bit with the lock. A small part of me reminded me that it was past time to depart. Then again, unpleasant situations had a remarkable tendency of being solvable by this group, so I was not particularly filled with dread when a loud series of knocks sounded at the door and a voice boomed "Open in the name of the Queen!".

So, I had been right - it was past time to depart. Be that as it may, we would manage. Lord Gaebril and a number of guards made an appearance. There was one lady of quality with them. She had the bearings and markings of an Aes Sedai. Interesting, this changed the stakes and indicated serious opposition - for there was no doubt what the red lining of her shawl indicated. Beh'larah, Tryane and Eleyah were exposed as Initiates by this Voniel Sedai. Lord Gaebril seemed quite angry over this, which still is ridiculous. After all, Tower business is Tower business, and it does not concern him in the least by whom Tower business is carried out. Voniel seemed inclined in the same direction.

This reminded me that the rift in the Tower was not just an a difference of opinion. For all the words spoken by Egwene Sedai this was a conflict, ever ready to burst out into skirmishes. Reconciliation was not the number one priority for most Aes Sedai. And neither was it for Beh'larah. She took an openly hostile stance towards Voniel, even to the point of not according her the respect she is due as an Aes Sedai. This was somewhat strange - Beh'larah knows and understands the reasons for this respect better than most - but it was symbolic of the depth of the breach.

We are marched off to the inn for questioning (Tryane with a little detour to release Branla from her hold). Tadra was more cranky than ever. Although she and Beh'larah were barely able to walk, Tadra refused my aid in a grumpy manner. Getting blasted to within an inch of her life certainly did not have a pleasant effect on her mood. Beh'larah, supported by Eleyah, seemed to fair a bit better. Her eyes were blazing with an inner zeal, roused by the meddlesome involvement of the 'Red' Tower in our business.

I dropped the lock somewhere, as I knew enough of its secrets and the current situation might demand my attention. The inn was cleared to accomodate our gaolers. Voniel and Gaebril seemed bent on interrogating the ladies at the present, despite their obvious need for a good night's rest. I sat myself down in a corner and started playing my flute, much for my own distraction as to add make some feeble statement of resentment. What better way was there than to play 'Hawkwings shepherd boy' (a song about how a shepherd boy survives all the mistakes of all leaders surrounding him, declining Hawkwing's offer of a post, but being frequently visited by Hawkwing for advice, which is better than that of the short-sighted advisors at court)? Then again, I daresay it is an old song, and I doubt few now know the words beyond the second couplet, let alone grasp the underlying message.

As Voniel began her questioning, Beh'larah acted as the wayward thread ruining the weave. I had never before seen her act so strongly on an issue. She thwarted Voniels attempt at questioning with her cocky attitude, making a brave stand. Voniel Sedai struck her down for it. Beh'larah's body had not yet recovered the trauma's endured in our battle, and she fell down unconscious. I jumped of the couch and rushed over, like Tryane and Eleyah did. I believe I even cried out "Are you out of your mind!"

We put Beh'larah on a couch and attended her for a bit. Tryane was staring Voniel down, but kept some of her calm. Her manner towards Voniel clearly indicated that Tryane accorded her the respect due, due to her trials in becoming an Aes Sedai. But she was vehement that we were in the right: there was unsanctioned channeling outside the Tower. We investigated and persisted - as we should have (according to Tryane). We were attacked in our most recent investigation, and therefore counterattacked. Voniel responds with a sort of "we'll see about that" attitude, and leaves us for the night, claiming that she will go to investigate Tryane's statement.

As soon as we have put the brave Beh'larah to bed, our thoughts turn towards the ter'angreal we still possess. Advice from the Amyrlin Seat would be more than welcome at this moment. I notify Tryane that I would like to know if we should risk an escape attempt or if we should just remain put and let events unfold. Recent events are relayed through the ter'angreal, and all we can do now is get a good night's rest.

The Flame of Tar Valon has found time to reply to our questions. Her message is simple: Lord Gaebril is a suspected high-ranking Darkfriend. It is unclear how he garnered the assistance of an Aes Sedai, but, seeing as he is an important Darkfriend, our suspicion should also be rised against her. We are urged to come to Tar Valon as soon as possible.

An escape plan was quickly made. Our goal was evident: the Ways provide the fastest route to Tar Valon, and the easiest manner to loose any pursuers. To cover our departure from the inn, Eleyah would provide a thick fog and a slide-like slate of air from the window. The plan worked marvelously, even though the appearance of fog in the dry, warm environment should have been a dead giveaway that someone was using the One Power to create a cover. We regrouped at the edge of the fog, and carefully made our way to the alley where the entrance to the cellar housing the Waygate was. Naturally, we were forced to take detours from time to time, but we arrived without being pursued.

Unfortunately, the cellar was blocked! The air in front of the doors had that familiar particular feel to it. Tryane cursed, when Beh'larah remarked 'oh, no problem.'. Apparently she had deemed it necessary to guard the Waygate from the other channelers. We hastened into the cellar, and I was anxious to enter the Ways in order to cut off possible pursuers. There was a discussion on how to leave the Waygate guarded, which took entirely too long. I repeatedly pointed out that this was one of the first places where our adverseries would search for us, but to no avail. The momentum had passed, and the Initiates once more used words instead of actions. They demonstrated a complete abscence of awareness of any of the concepts of a successful escape. I had never had escaped from imprisonment by an Aes Sedai before, but haste would seem of some value!

Finally, Tryane opened the Waygate. Tadra and myself immediately made our way to jump in, when the slightly open doors revealed not the silvery shimmer, but a blackened, rotten, putrified darkness. A terrible moaning became audible. The Dark Wind...

Suddenly, an intense wave of despair assaulted my already high-strung emotions. I fell down, dragged myself under the broken stairs and cried. It took some moments before I regained a measure of control over myself. Somehow, the terrible sight was gone - the Waygate was closed. I tried to leave the cellar, but bumped into a wall of air. Tryane was already shouting at Eleyah to remove that blockade. Yet again, the Initiates chose an inappropriate moment to reflect and discuss, instead of taking decisive action. They had grown since we left Salidar, they may have acted the part of full Sisters, but they still have much to learn before they can become full-fledged Aes Sedai.

It was as if Eleyah was totally oblivious to what had happened. I remember that I even for a short time wondered whether she was in league with the Dark Wind - crazy, I know, but it was she who denied us light, fresh air and distance from this horrid experience. And I do not use the term 'denied' lightly here - she had been implored, asked, begged, commanded and requested, but she simply ignored Tadra. Little wonder Tadra and myself started digging our own way out.

This was definately an Ogier's Task if ever I heard of one. Finally, the Initiates reached the inevitable conclusion that the Ways were thus sealed to us, and that we would leave the town through the nearest gate. As soon as the blockade was removed, Tadra and I went outside. We quickly agreed to meet eachother outside the city. Then Beh'larah changed before my very eyes! I had heard of channelers being able to use the One Power to disguise themselves, but never had seen it being executed from so nearby.

We soon reached the southwest gate of the city. While I was contemplating how to walk through the gates unnoticed, Tadra just set out and walked through. She was not hindered. Beh'larah, resembling not even remotely her normal self, was also able to go unhindered. So I took a chance and walked through the gate.

Naturally, I was questioned. Luckily I was able to recall the surrounding topography of the city, and I gave the name of a nearby village, where I would go visit an imaginary brother. The guards warned me to be careful of highwaymen, and I was allowed to depart. Phew!

I met up with Tadra and Beh'larah at some distance of the city walls. A little later, Tryane and Eleyah appeared. They too had been questioned, and Tryane had said she was going to some nearby village. She was having some sort of fit over that now. It was not done for an Initiate to lie, but in order to keep her word, Tryane had to visit that village. Beh'larah pointed out that she had already lied, but she did not see it that way. Finally, Beh'larah furiously exclaimed to Tryane that we were not going to that village. Beh'larah was not going, Tadra was not going, Eleyah was not going and Kheldar was not going, so "we" were not going!

Tadra of course had to remark that that village was now off limits to us all, otherwise Beh'larah would have lied. This remark broke the tension, and Tryane came reluctantly along, vowing to return and pay a visit to that village.

We left for Aringill. Our plan was to buy passage on a boat heading for Tar Valon. However, Aringill was also quite far off. Therefore we purchased horses at the earliest convenience. This was quite expensive, and some of us had to go bareback, lacking the funds for a saddle. However, we managed and in this fashion we started our journey.

19th Day of Taisham, 1000 NE

We had been travelling for a couple of days, when shortly after our morning break (horses need breaks occaisionally) the air cleared. A cool breeze wafted by, the atmosphere became more and more moist, and the temperature started to drop. We were experiencing the return of winter! The Initiates conveyed that an enormous surge of the One Power had accompanied the change. Barring further evidence, I decided to mark this as a victory for Light.

22nd Day of Taisham, 1000 NE

We've covered quite some distance in this period. It has taken us a mere eleven days to arrive in Aringill. Eleyah quickly located a barge, but the haggling did not go well. She returned somewhat downcast. Even if we were to sell the horses, the five of us together could hardly muster enough funds to buy passage for one of us, let alone all five. Moreover, Beh'larah seemed intent on retaining her horse and the one she bought for Tadra.

I reminded Eleyah that it is not uncommon that the Tower settles the bills of travelling Sisters. Tryane was afraid that the captain would abuse such a carte blanche, to charge the Tower much more than the actual cost. I reassured her that extortion of the Tower would be a bad idea: after all, no captain would want to make an enemy out of the Tower.

So, we returned and Eleyah instructed the captain to take us to Tar Valon. The barge was heavily loaded with our horses, and the captain managed to muster the courage to ask Eleyah whether these could not better be sold. Beh'larah insisted on taking her horses along, so Eleyah instructed the captain to sell the other horses for no less than they had cost us. He grumbled a bit about this, but was not about to refuse a perceived Sister. He does mention that he is not yet ready to cast off, and that departure was planned for the next day.

10th Day of Jumara, 1000 NE

After long days of sailing towards Tar Valon, we finally arrived. In reality, if circumstances were extremely benificial it would have taken us another day at the very least. But I noticed that there was a prevalent wind blowing in the right direction, and that the river occaisionally flowed in the direction of the mountains instead of the sea. No doubt the Initiates were as anxious to return home as I was. As we disembarked, the captain thanked me for providing some entertainment to alleviate the long hours. I replied that I am merely happy to practice my craft, and that his crew constituted a rewarding audience. Nevertheless, the crew seems much more relaxed than most crews would after such a voyage. Perhaps they will not even spend all their money in one night tonight...

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