On His Face Is A Map Of The World (Lulu)

When channelers need to channel and don't want to risk breaking the Tower into a million pieces, this is where they go.
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Matty
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On His Face Is A Map Of The World (Lulu)

Post by Matty » July 24th, 2016, 1:09 pm

Nathaniel Carridus The black uniform did not suit Nathaniel, at least not to his eyes. The man was used to wearing loose, freer clothes than this. The trousers were too fitted, the coat buttons constricting, not to mention the boots were heavier than he liked. But this was the life he had chosen, and in spite of the questionable fashion choices that came with it, the new Soldier did not have any regrets.

The decision to learn to channel had come to Nate slowly, because honestly he’d been more interested in learning to hit people with a quarterstaff than anything else, and he was too occupied with the idea that his brother could channel, and he couldn’t, than to consider that just because he hadn’t sparked didn’t mean he couldn’t be trained. If he was going to have any chance of bringing Reuben into line, he was going to need to be able to meet him on the battlefield with the same weapons. A stick wasn’t going to cut it against weaves of Fire.

So far his training had been tough, but not more than he could handle. The routine was not dissimilar to that the Drin went through, it was just that Nate did less hitting people with weapons and more throwing rocks around with Saidin. Or trying to. Nate found it much easier to make them explode than to toss them about but he needed to practice all of the different weaves, which is why he was here this fine morning. He had a private lesson with a Dedicated, someone Nate didn’t know and didn’t really care to either, he was just here to learn after all. Any friends he had made as a Drin didn’t seem to carry over to being a Soldier, and that totally had nothing to do with that scrap he’d had with Carlos, at least he told himself it didn’t...

The training grounds were fairly quiet at this time of the morning but Nate didn’t mind the early start. He needed as much time as possible so he could learn to channel properly, so there was no point in wasting time. There was this whole frustrating “no channelling unsupervised” thing which made sense but still felt ridiculous to the fellow, seeing as there was no way he could make any decent progress if he didn’t try to do this himself in his spare time. The void was there, the warm light of Saidin was easily accessible to him now, but Nate needed to form the weaves and get the experience down. How could he do that if the Tower insisted on holding his hand all the time?

But Nate was no fool in spite of the frustration he felt. In the middle of the training grounds he was not about to practice so instead, he did some stretches whilst he waited and kept himself warm in the chilly morning air. It was going to rain at some point, the air had that horrible heavy feel to it Nate never experienced in Mayene, but lessons were never cancelled because of a bit of water. Or a bit of cold. Or a bit of anything unpleasant, that Nate knew of. Even an attack on Hama Valon had done nothing to disrupt things for too long. He leaned down, stretching his left leg and then his right, working the muscles into something resembling readiness. Funny how channelling could tire the body out in a way that running and sparring couldn't, even without moving all that much.
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------ Murdock -------------- Nathaniel --------------- Maever -------

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Re: On His Face Is A Map Of The World (Lulu)

Post by Brad » July 24th, 2016, 2:16 pm

Lucien Mantear
Lucien rose at the crack of dawn, though he'd been awake long prior. His dreams had been harsh in the time since his return to the tower; rent with images of broken bodies and smoking holes across Hama Valon. Every day he closed his eyes, he saw bodies strewn like so much detritus across the streets of his home, saw the charnel tapestry of a once-radiant power-wrought bastion reduced to a sanguine mess of strewn vitae. Gore and violent memories of horrific murder stained his conscience black, with guilt the greatest and most dominant feeling therein. He could barely get a moment's reprieve from the veritable stream of images that assailed his waking mind, let alone the graphic morbidity of his macabre subconscious. A malaise of self-loathing had settled on the towering Dedicated, an inescapable feeling of utter failure. He had been gone, and his family--his new family, his family in the path--had been butchered like cattle in a slaughter. And you said travelling was frivolous.

Gritting his teeth and ignoring the sly voice in his mind, the Andoran Lord pulled himself from the mattress--seeking the void and the sweet rush of saidin. Immersed as he was, his worries faded to a backdrop, momentarily silenced by the explosive torrent of the male half of the one power. Collapsing mountains of ice and blazing rivers of fire washed away and crushed his doubts. Power. He had such power at his fingertips. He would see the tower avenged, with the strength he possessed. Weaving air to pull the bed back, settle the sheets, and push it back into place--his feet marched him over to the small wash basin at the far corner of his room, away from his door and near to the window. A flow of fire heated the cold liquid within, and he bent to wash his face of sleep of weariness, setting in to shave and scrub his teeth with salt and mint. Throughout the ablutions, he considered the people that brought the water--the servants, likely having lost family themselves.

Did they set blame at his feet? Did they, too, see him as an inadvertent cause for the despair that afflicted them? The pain that the Tower, and all of Hama Valon, had suffered? Grimly, he concluded his ministrations to his appearance and turned, moving to his cupboard to pull out the ironed black coat of his station. Hung proudly, he laid it on his bed, staring down at the smooth black fabric. Do you truly deserve to call yourself Dedicated, Lord Mantear? A shake of his head followed yet another vicious thought, and he pulled off his sleeping clothes, taking his black breeches from the hangar and pulling them on--socks following. Distraction. He needed a distraction. Seeking his boots from their place, polished and kept on a mat near the door, he drew them to the room's lone chair and desk; pulling each boot on and lacing them deftly. Satisfied, he rose and went to his coat, lifting it with flows of air and opening it, his arms sliding into the sleeves. Releasing the flows, he saw to buttoning the coat, his eyes turning to the mirror above the wash basin.

The pair of deep bright blue eyes that stared back at Lucien were haunted, riddled with a guilt that consumed them, and a simmering, cold hatred that suffused them. Hatred for the Seanchan, hatred for the mercenaries so eager to take their coin. Hatred for the suffering, for the Shadow, for all that sought to perpetuate and continue conflict in an already wounded world. Violence was a means to an end; a way to enforce a greater good, a greater peace. Violence should not have been used to cause undue pain. What had Hama Valon done, to deserve such ire? He would see the Seanchan and their allies pay, and pay in blood. He would teach them the price of slaying innocents. The Light would have its vengeance. Justice was the better path, but the better path was for the deserving--there could be no redemption, only recompense. Only a return. He would never kill an innocent, or a non-combatant; it was a violation of his honour. But for the soldiers that perpetuated such horrors as to unleash damane and to'raken on children? He would see a price paid in blood.

Pinning his silver sword to his collar, he nodded to his reflecting and brushed back his dark blonde hair with his hand, turning to the door to his room and stepping out. If memory served, he was due in the channeling yards some two hours hence, to train a new Soldier--a Drin'fari'ji turned channeler. Not the most expected path to it, but not precisely unheard of. Channeling always took precedence over Warder training, especially in men of strength. Marshalling himself, he released saidin with an involuntary sigh and strode forth--nodding with a smile for each servant, Accepted, Dedicated, or Novice or Soldier he passed. Of course, the numbers of the latter four were near to non-existent. Few were up so early, with lessons only truly beginning later in the morning--but he had no desire to loiter in his room while waiting for his student. Instead, he moved swiftly through the tower, out of the Dedicated quarters at the outer edge of the tower, near the blue gardens, and towards the channeling yards. He let himself breathe the air, soak in the faint acrid smell of smoke still staining it, the signs of battle as of yet untouched.

It was a stark reminder, in truth, of what the price of his hubris had been. Never again shall pride stop me. He vowed, bowing his head with a murmured "Aes Sedai, Asha'man," in deference to a passing group of both and their warders. Warders seemed to be on high alert, following the attacks--prowling the Tower grounds and city like agitated wolves, jealously guarding their den. The Asha'man and Aes Sedai weren't much better, shawls and sashes worn amongst many with little to no attempt at hiding it. They weren't simply declaring their Ajah, they were using it as a means to smooth over their feelings of assault and violation. A means to remind themselves of their power, and their authority. It was not the most ridiculous notion, but it still made Lucien's lips purse when he noticed it. It only served to further concern the Novices and Soldiers, and that was hardly the appropriate course for leaders to take. Of course, as a Dedicated himself, he'd never dream of vocalising such to his superiors. The vast majority of whom you could destroy at a whim, Lord Mantear. Does your power not give you superiority?

A curl of the lip followed the venomous thought. Strength in the One Power might dictate social standing, but it was not something that he sought to concern himself with. Tower politics held no interest for Lucien; he was strong enough that nothing save a direct order from the M'Hael, Amyrlin, or Gaidin and Gaidar captains could merit his obedience--and once he was raised, he would be far, far from the tower. Perhaps a visit to falme, first. The thought brought a wry smile to his face, one that only barely touched his sunlit blue eyes. Coming to a halt at the channeling yards, he sought somewhere to relax where he wouldn't be seen, and settled in to wait--leaning against a shadow column and glancing at the sky. Roughly an hour and three quarters until the lesson began. He nodded to himself and resigned his mind to contemplation, running over his lesson plan and his intent for the morning. Basic uses of the five flows, perhaps some practice with precision combat weaves, but nothing too complex. Basic earth and fire, fire and air, water and air, and spirit with all the aforementioned. If the soldier was a Drin, he might have an affinity for it.

The sun passed subtly in the sky, and Lucien took note of his student arriving a little earlier than expected, looking none too thrilled about being there, though perhaps it was simply the hour. Immediately, the man began doing stretches to warm himself. Wryly, Lucien shook his head, preparing himself. The man had been training to be a Warder--no need to be gentle. He'd probably feel patronised if he was. Assuming the void, the Dedicated banished all thoughts from his mind, swept all his emotion--his rage, his guilt, his amusement, his excitement, all of it into the flame. He floated in his mind, free of the baggage that afflicted him for that moment, free of the worries. Taking a breath to centre his building calm, and fully absorb it, he opened himself to the warmth of saidin as if just over his shoulder, and seized the source. Even as it filled him, rush in like an avalanche of ice and volcanic eruption of fire, he wove--spirit to forge a shield--and sent it rapidly for the new soldier, completely cutting him off from the true source; erecting a barrier with the full force of his strength behind it. What followed next was a few simple weaves of air, to lock his arms and legs and lift him from the ground, very gently floating him two feet from the pavement.

Lucien stepped out from his pillar, walking calmly towards Nathaniel despite the force of the power blazing inside him. Surely, he was a beacon--a raging font of raw, glorious power. The strongest soldier in years, he'd been told. Destined to be one of the most powerful Asha'man alive. Perhaps that were true; if so, the Soldier surely felt it as much as the Dedicated did, felt the gloriously implausible amount of the one power that flowed through him like an ocean. "Just like that, Soldier Carridus, you're dead." The Andoran lord said calmly, a little smile on his lips as he stepped out and in front of the man. "As you know, this lesson is in one power basics--but for some reason, you were given to me to teach, and I'm afraid I'm not in the habit of treating men like porcelain." Shifting the flows, he lightly lowered the man to the ground. "You were Drin'far'ji prior to donning that black coat, and I intend on breaking any semblance of your warder instincts out of you. Too many men reach for a sword before they reach for saidin, and that moment's poor habit can be the difference between life--" he unravelled the shield "--and death." Smiling, he turned, gesturing to some set up straw dummies, four in a line.

"We will begin simply. I know you can already embrace saidin, but I do not know your proficiency." Lucien could see them clearly with his power-enhanced sight, make out the cracks in the seams wrapping the straw in place within their sacks. "Start on the far left. I want you to use each of the four elemental flows on each of the dummies. Air, Fire, Earth, and Water. Each dummy has a sword and shield; you will disarm them without breaking or severing a limb. Draw as much of the power as you can safely hold when you start. You must learn precision as well as restraint." To Lucien, it was simple pragmatism: the Tower had been attacked. It would be attacked again. The enemies in the world would not take pity on any of them--Soldier or Asha'man--just because of how they were taught. So why hamper a Soldier? Why pretend at something he was not? The man had been a Warder-in-training. He already had a talent, an instinct, for warfare. Use what you were given. Give men what they wanted. Nathaniel Carridus was a blade, a dull one, not yet ready for war. Not yet ready for the war, the one Lucien knew every Asha'man, Aes Sedai, Warder, and free soul in the word would have to fight.

For the Shadow knew neither mercy, nor restraint. Vengeance, he thought coldly, immersed in the void and the blazing rage of saidin inside his body. I am the Light's Vengeance.

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Matty
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Re: On His Face Is A Map Of The World (Lulu)

Post by Matty » July 24th, 2016, 3:01 pm

It was frustrating to say the least, that Nate was surrounded by Warders, and now Asha’man, who could toss him around like a bag of flour and he was expected to simply roll with it. The concept of being beaten bloody in the name of training was a ridiculous one not shared by many, and from what he could gather it was more of a Black Tower thing. Was Reuben having the tar kicked out of him with Saidin, in the name of becoming a weapon? Nate hoped not but it was impossible to know. All he could do was focus on his own studies.

These studies apparently involved being carried around like a rag doll. Nate didn’t notice the shield until it was too late, his own awareness not on par with most people’s as of yet, though he could see the weaves of Air as they locked his arms and legs and hauled him like he was floating away. What was a man to do in this scenario? Unable to channel, unable to move, all Nate could do was let it happen, a look of irritation crossing his face but being rapidly smoothed away as he came face to face with his teacher. The man was holding Saidin and he could feel the aura of menace now he was close enough to, but it was hard to say how much he was holding. More than Nate could handle, that was for certain.

No, he did not like this humiliation in the slightest. But he knew that commenting on it would only delay his training, and that really the Dedicated could do whatever he liked. From his tone he sounded like some lord or other, which only meant he would be doubly obnoxious. Light! Nate was most glad when he was back on the ground, and he snapped into the appropriate salute his training as a Drin had beaten into him. Even if he wasn’t especially keen on this fellow already, he was his teacher, though he had no idea what his name was. Admittedly, as long as he taught him, the tall man could be called whatever he bloody well pleased.

He couldn’t say that his warder instincts were necessarily a bad thing. They were what made him more than just a weapon with the Power. But this wasn’t a lesson for hitting people with his staff, it was for using Saidin, so that argument could be kept well away from this. Sure, he knew how to disarm someone with his weapon, but with the Power? Not so much. The four dummies he was supposed to be dealing with would experience the latter. “Understood sir,” he said. The instructions were clear, and he was no fool so he could at least attempt to follow them. How successful he was remained to be seen.

He went through the motions of seizing Saidin, letting the power fill him to that point of ecstasy he had come to learn would move further away over time as his training developed. Fire, Earth, Air, Water, this was the order he would work in. It was how comfortable he felt with the different flows from best to worst, and he wanted to at least show some competence before he got to his terrible Water weaves. The Soldier stepped forwards and flexed his hands, taking threads of Fire and weaving them together. He explained his rationale as he wove. His voice was cold and detached, not how he liked to sound at all, but it was what it was. “In order to disarm, I will make the weapons too hot for them to hold. They will be forced to let go, or burn themselves on the metal.” Of course the straw dummies were, well, straw, so they burned at the hands instead of simply dropping dramatically. That was good enough for Nate. No breaking or severing limbs, just making them a little toasty.

Next up was Earth. The temptation was to knock the opponent over by unbalancing him, then running over and kicking him in the head. But he had to do this with Saidin, not a well placed boot, so he just went for knocking the dummy over instead. Weaves of Earth shoved the ground up beneath its feet and as it landed on its back, Nate used Earth to cover the dummy’s forearm and legs to pin it in place.

Air was probably the easiest in theory, but in a typically male fashion Nate was not all that great with Air and Water. He used threads of Air to grab onto the sword first, tearing it from the dummy’s hand unceremoniously, before tugging the shield away afterwards. That was the simplest way to disarm, at least to his unimaginative mind. He didn’t see why he couldn’t just break their arms, that would make them drop their weapons. Oh well, that was the exercise.

Last and certainly the least was Water. Ugh. Nate looked the Dedicated’s way briefly, about to apologise for his lack of experience but then he held his tongue. This was what he was here for, to train, and he wasn’t going to be an expert right away. Apologising wasn’t going to improve his weaves. Apologising wouldn’t disarm this dummy. Weaving Water unsteadily, Nate formed a ball of water. It took very little water to drown a man and Nate was pretty sure that choking a man would distract them enough to make them drop their weapons. Probably. He wanted to put him in a ball of water larger than his head but those weaves simply weren’t forming, so he made do with smothering the water over the straw’s nose and mouth area. He couldn’t form weaves to do anything more offensive so that would really have to do.

That done, Nate stood with his hands behind his back, and turned to face his instructor to see what he had to say about his various methods of disarming. The fact that the fire dummy was still crackling at the wrists, the earth dummy was on the floor, the air dummy was stood there a little stupefied and the water dummy was, er, wet, showed that he had disarmed each one of them. Well, the last one might be a little more tenuous but Nate was here to learn and all that.
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------ Murdock -------------- Nathaniel --------------- Maever -------

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Re: On His Face Is A Map Of The World (Lulu)

Post by Brad » July 25th, 2016, 1:51 pm

Lord Lulu
Lucien watched Nathaniel embrace the source, or rather, felt it--like an aural distortion that afflicted him subtly. He could feel the other man's strength; a torrent of the one power that raced through his body. Strong. He'd do well, in the days to come. Turning towards the dummies, he nodded as the Soldier spoke--considering his words. Sensible, he mused to himself. He uses logic rather than brute force. That'll be the tactician in him. When the weapons burst into flame, the Dedicated suppressed a wry smile, appreciating the directness of the flows and the way they were worked. It was a suitably effective method, even if it did leave the dummy's hands smouldering. He wouldn't deduct the man for that; it was inevitable, with wood. "Well done. Most would struggle with fire, you may be surprised to learn. They tend to forget that simply because we use wood for dummies, regular swords won't be. It was a sound move."

When the Soldier moved on to Earth, the Dedicated watched with interest. Too much rumbling of the earth, and the whole thing would come crashing down--but too little, and the dummy would remain stationary. It took a great natural affinity to find the balance just right, and when Nathaniel wove, Lucien observed critically. The flow of the weaves was solid, and the way he stirred the ground precise. Not enough to break legs or dangerously impair a body part, yet more than forceful enough for the intent. The dummy was unearthed, and an approving 'hmm' was offered. "You have a deft hand at weaving Earth. I'm assuming you're using the order in which you're most naturally comfortable; but nonetheless, it's commendable. You'll do well, with such precision." An appreciative eye was cast over the fallen dummy, analysing its position and body. In tact save for some unavoidable tufts of stuck out straw, and relatively unharmed barring the fall. The Dedicated saw nothing to infer that Nathaniel had failed that part of the test.

The disarmament of the dummy with air was an affair that was relatively simple for the Soldier; wrap flows around the blade and shield and rip them away with little ceremony. A less engaging performance than the previous two, but logical and easily in keeping with the strictures and rules set out prior to the commencement of the exercise. He would not judge the man based on style, but instead on effective use of the power. Lucien was not his father, to pass judgement based on criteria not properly conveyed to the individual undergoing any test offered to them. He would treat Nathaniel with the respect due a man of capability; and the Soldier certainly was that. When he used water, Lucien waited with intent to see what he did. This one was harder. Many forgot that water, when concentrated and pressured enough, could be quite a powerful weapon--a thin enough and strong enough stream of water could cut more surely than any steel, and do so quite effectively, absent the need for sharpening.

The way that Nathaniel chose to approach the issue, however, was itself inventive. Suffocation, while perhaps less effective against a channeler, was rather ingenious with the assumption the dummies were regular foes. A man could swipe and swipe at a channeled ball of water all he desired, but it would do naught to decrease the pressure pushing him towards unconsciousness--or death--with inevitable progress. Smiling in approval, he nodded, turning to the Soldier with a slight nod. "Good. You implementation of the elements was well-thought out. Now, before we go further, I'd like to see you combine elemental weaves to destroy each of the dummies. You have six potential combinations to use on the dummies; fire and air, fire and earth, fire and water, earth and air, earth and water, and water and air. I want to see how you choose to go about this next phase." He motioned to the dummies. "I want you to kill them, either through destroying their torsos, or decapitating them." He wove air and lifted the fallen dummy, the one that had been knocked over with earth, tying off the weaves to keep it upright. "When you're ready, Soldier. Try to use a unique weave for each dummy, and remember, restraint. Too much saidin at once and you could do far more damage than you intend."

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Matty
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Re: On His Face Is A Map Of The World (Lulu)

Post by Matty » July 26th, 2016, 12:28 am

Nate was certainly happier to be in a lesson where he wasn’t being tossed around like a sack of flour, and where the effort he put in was actually appreciated. He wasn’t so foppish or insecure that he required positive validation for every little thing he did, but channelling was undeniably difficult and who didn’t need a word of encouragement from time to time? Besides which, Nate enjoyed using his Earth and Fire weaves. He wasn’t the strange sort of fellow who got a thrill from causing destruction, but it was satisfying to be able to disarm a man without ever having to touch him. As someone who had experience of back alley brawls, he could get used to this hands-off approach.

But not too used to it, mind.

The next task was not something he would do so well in, and he knew this from the moment it was laid out for him. Combining elements was all well and good when you knew what to do with them but some combinations – namely those without Fire – he was simply not all that practiced in. But that was what this training was for. Nate saluted, giving an “understood sir,” before turning to face his opponents once more. The individual fibres of the straw were visible to him even from this distance, the faint whiff of charred straw tickling his nostrils from the first dummy he had attacked.

He weaves threads of Fire first of all, knowing that he was going to start with those straight away. Nate knew what he wanted to do, sort of, it was just a case of... doing it. Hah. Easier said than done. But he was going to be a weapon, and that meant using his weaves offensively, something he had no qualms doing but he was lacking in the experience.

First of all he used Fire and Earth together. He got down onto one knee to put his hand to the ground, concentrating on the soil and rocks around the first dummy. The dummy began to tilt and then fall as the floor around it grew molten, smoke rising from the heated straw until as it fell into the sloppy pit Nate had made, it burst into flames. Not what would happen with a real person, but if they were wearing metal armour they would be cooked alive. Nate wore a small smirk as he moved on to his next weave, getting back to his feet with a confident lift of his chin and a straight posture.

Fire and Air combined to make a sweeping gust of flames, flames which slashed angrily at the second dummy and criss crossed its chest with angry burn marks. It did not withstand this onslaught for long, not because Nate was particularly powerful, but because it was straw and fire together. What else did a guy expect to happen? It set ablaze as well, and Nate moved on to Fire and Water. It was strange how the two together formed ice, but it was what it was and Nate rather liked the idea of using Fire in a slightly different way. A somewhat crude way, as his preference for Fire was countered by his disinclination for Water, but the weaves formed together and made a block of ice around the next dummy’s head. The weight of the heavy water was enough to threaten the balance of the dummy, but Nate didn’t plan on giving it enough time to topple over without some more assistance. The only problem was, from here he was using elements he was less happy with.

Earth wasn’t so bad, but Earth and Air? What was he supposed to do with that? Nate did look at his instructor ever so briefly as if he was going to find some answers in the Dedicated’s posture or something, but then he shook his head and went for it. Using Air to cut a dummy’s head off seemed rather pedestrian, but he could always open the earth and then plop his target in there. So that is exactly what Nate did – the ground tore apart beneath the dummy and Nate shoved it in, ice around its head and everything, sealing it up again with a finality that was quite satisfying. It wasn’t quite combining the elements, just using the two together, but it would have to do.

Earth and Water was much the same as Earth with Fire, at least to Nate’s mind. Turning the ground to liquid soup was all he could really imagine doing, so it was with a bit of chagrin that he formed the weave of Earth and Water, liquefying the ground. Of course this dummy didn’t burn like the first one did, it just sank into the floor looking a little sorry for itself. Nate used Earth to solidify the ground when this dummy was up to its torso in the quagmire and supposed that ought to do for now.

This left... Air and Water. Blood and ashes. What did a guy do with Air and Water? Blow the dummy to death?.... phrasing... he looked over the dummies as he played for time. The first, ablaze and melted in earth and fire; the second, also on fire thanks to the scores across its chest; the blank space where he’d removed the dummy by burying it alive; and the fourth and final one, sitting there up to its torso in the ground. “Any recommendations on Air and Water, sir?” he asked in his cold voice, having come to the conclusion that he had nothing to offer in this department. It wasn’t being self defeating or pessimistic, it was simply a lack of experience and skill, something he recognising but did not appreciate.

All in all he thought it could have gone much worse than it did. Nate still held on to Saidin, controlling the torrent of power with an ease he didn’t realise he had achieved until very recently. It was good to know he was making some progress, though he wasn’t controlled or strong enough to be a Dedicated by a long shot. Not yet. Nate didn’t settle or get complacent; he was going to try his damn hardest to get made a Dedicated, and then Asha’man, so he could go and kick his brother’s sorry ass.
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------ Murdock -------------- Nathaniel --------------- Maever -------

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