Sorine Sedai frowned, thumbing through the little book between her fingers and wishing that it had contained anything - anything - more than what it did. She had experienced obstinate students before, of course. One did not get through decades of being Aes Sedai without experiencing more than a few stubborn individuals. The decidedly rebellious streak that this particular Drin was showing was not unusual, but not acceptable, and now she was going to be forced to take measures. Glancing down at the parchment on her desk, she finished scrawling the last line and folded it neatly, using a weave of Fire to melt a drop of pale blue wax on the flap. She pressed the head of her serpent ring into it, then cooled with a tiny weave of Air.
The next session of class, she made note for him to stay, waving away an over-excited Novice intent on brown nosing her way into extra commendations. After the room was silent of the last students' footsteps, she fixed a cool, collected gaze on him.
"I take it you aren't enjoying your Daes Dae'Mar lessons, Drin Johan, being that you have actively worked against participation? Please elaborate - is it the subject matter or your relationship with the other students that have resulted in this abysmal development?"
Johan returned the gaze, for once managing not to flinch away. That was, thankfully, one of the useful things the Tower was actually teaching him: how to be stronger and how to stand up for himself. His confidence had certainly grown, and, whilst he was still not comfortable around channelers, they didn’t conjure up the same level of fear they initially had. They couldn’t hurt him. They could do absolutely nothing to harm him. The worse that could happen was that he was sent to the Mistress of Arms’ office, and then hopefully he’d be able to explain why the lessons weren’t working for him. He wasn’t prepared to speak to the Aes Sedai. She didn’t need to know anything about him.
For a moment, he just stared at her, tempted to cross his arms, but then he simply shrugged his shoulders. There was a hint of stubbornness in a voice, a note of defiance that he couldn’t quite stamp down on as he replied. The rich needed to think beyond their own bloody arses.
“I thought I was participating, Aes Sedai. Unfortunately, the Game isn’t always predictable, and my character couldn’t deal with it, and he died.” Again, he shrugged his shoulders, his gaze on the Aes Sedai, almost daring her to tell him different. How could people play games whilst other people starved? “I can’t do anything about that. Life doesn’t play by the rules. It’d be going against the whole point of Daes Dae’mar to do something predictable, wouldn’t it?”
Nothing changed in her face as she spoke, but internally she groaned. He was going to be one of those students - arguing their way out of everything.
"Indeed, the Game is unpredictable," she said calmly, nodding. "You're quite right about that. Since your character has expired unexpectedly, there are some results that now must be attended to. Your House has no heirs, so there is no one to make negotiations or protect the landholdings. We can reasonably assume that Camblin, the opposing House, will make a move on your properties."
She scribbled a few lines on a parchment to her left and then pulled several pre-cut slips out from under her desk.
"Of course, the other houses will need to be notified of these changes. These are announcements of the death of your Lord and the subsequent takeover of Camblin. Since you no longer have a player with which to interact, it will be your responsibility to deliver these to each of your classmates." She handed the stack over to him. "They have been pre-written for you. I would ask that you think about whose deliveries arrive first, but I am under the impression that you are disinterested in the politics involved here, so just see that they get to the other students, will you?"
She was worried he would dart straight for the nearest exit, so put a hand gently on his arm. This boy had something beneath the surface she couldn't quite grasp, and she momentarily wondered what secrets his future Aes Sedai might discover, should he be Bonded. He was intelligent, but unwilling to excel.
"After you have delivered the writs, please hand this over to the Mistress of Novices," she said, sliding the note sealed with her ring across to him. "It is, as you surely suspect, an explanation as to why you have suddenly found an abundance of time in the center of your day. While I should technically expel you from the class for being anti-participatory, I have asked instead for the dispensation to take you with me on my next visit to Cairhien."
If the House had no heirs, Johan wanted to say, then it made no sense for him to be the one to deliver the news. He was dead, so what did it matter to him if the other players weren’t informed? Dead men didn’t care. Whoever was House Camblin needed to take that responsibility, but all Johan wanted to do right now was escape and get back to his other, far more important lessons. It was his unarmed class next, one of the few things he actually enjoyed and excelled at, and he didn’t want to be late, so he took the slips with a small, polite smile, deciding that he would dump them as soon as he could. The messenger had got eaten by a Trolloc! Or he’d fallen off his horse and then being eaten by a passing Trolloc.
He just… couldn’t make himself comply. He didn’t want anything to do with Daes Dae’mar. Delivering the messages would be showing support for the whole thing, taking part, and he wasn’t going to do that. He wasn’t going to go along with the so-called lords and ladies and make it easy for them. The Houses didn’t need to be notified. They wouldn’t die if they weren’t. The news wasn’t important, unlike food or water. What did it matter if House Camblin took over? A couple of lords or ladies would get their knickers in a twist because oh, what a shame, they hadn’t been able to take the riches for themselves? What a bloody shame indeed! Johan tried to bite down on his bitterness. The whole game was stupid and pointless.
He turned to leave, but stopped when he heard her next words, freezing completely and just staring, unable to process what he had just heard. Take him with her to Cairhien? He didn’t want to go to Cairhien. He didn’t want to see the nobles playing the game for real. He didn’t want to see how different it was from the Rahad. He didn’t think he could stomach it.
But, of course, he said nothing. He knew how pointless it was to argue with an Aes Sedai. It also wasn’t his place.
“I’ve changed my mind,” he said instead, though not before sketching a quick bow in acknowledgment. “Lord Nobody left a will. He gave all his money and property to the poor folk around him.”
And then he paused. “May I ask when you will be going to Cairhien?”
She couldn't help it -- the corner of her mouth twitched up as if she was about to smile, and a twinkle of amusement made its way into her crystal blue eyes.
"How generous of him," she said calmly, holding out her hand, porcelain palm up. "I suppose I won't need you to deliver the writs, then. I'll have a proclamation announced in class." She gathered the stack and shuffled it into a desk drawer.
"I will be going sometime soon, I should think. I'll be arranging it with the Mistress of Arms directly, so it's not something you need to concern yourself with - I'll make sure the things you need are packed, and notify you before we go. We'll be Traveling, of course, so the whole thing will be very smooth." She couldn't help but secretly delight in the fact that Johan seemed to have gone a bit green around the edges at the mention of the city.
"We'll be visiting a minor noble house that shares an interest of your late Lord," she said, standing and gesturing him towards the large wooden doors to the hall, which opened gently with a nudge of Air.
"In the meantime, I'm sure the Mistress of Arms will have plenty to keep you on your toes." With that, she turned and glided out of the room without so much as a backward glance. If she looked at him, she might start laughing at any moment.
It was something he needed to concern himself with, because he was determined not to go. He didn’t say anything, though, in reply, and instead kept his face as blank as he possibly could as he watched her leave.
Bloody Aes Sedai and their bloody games, but he wasn’t going to let himself be a part of it. Never. As soon as his training was over he was gone.
1 post • Page 1 of 1
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest