Mordeth sat in his simple chamber, unadorned by decoration or ornament. The single, narrow window let a cool breeze through, and it ruffled the single sheet of paper that he held in his hand. For the third time in as many minutes, he read it again, and smiled. From probationary membership, he had been awarded third rank of councillor, charged with keeping the Light Warrirors from slovenly ways. What he had done to earn his lofted postion, he was unsure, other than his revelation of Darkhound's mischief as Dun'Dhorak. It had to be that. Whatever the reason, he was determined not to let them down. He would forge the warriors into an efficient force, dedicated to the light, prepared to stand ready for the last battle against the fearsome femme-fatales of the dark.
As councillor, he had been offered a chamber more befitting of his rank, but had turned it down. Wordly comforts didn't interest him and besides, they tended to distract the mind from more important issues. Some called him devout, some might even call him cold, but it didn't matter. Dedication to the higher cause was the only motivation he needed. Besides, he wasn't entirely without humour, no far from it.
Fetching a fresh sheet of paper, he dipped his quill in the ink and began to scratch a message in his erratic scrawl to Taim. No doubt Taim would be sore over his lowly ranking from their new leader, nevertheless he recognised Taim as a significant new player in the game. Taim had arrived from some kind of extended absence as assertive and full of his own worth as his reputation had suggested. He did have a point on the name issue though - Light Warriors sounded pretty awful - but his timing was not so good. The news of Agelmar's departure on a mission of personal discovery had rocked the organisation, and no doubt stability is what Lord Daylorn sought, but Taim had it right that the time might as well be the present for the name and image of the warriors to change. Recently, they had indeed grown too soft. Just yesterday he had found Jandor and Kerek singing at the bar, some odd song about "rochambeux" or something. Kerak outranked him presently, and so he couldn't chastise him, but he had made it clear that such behaviour from a man in his position was unsavoury. Kerek had just laughed, and began a conversation between imaginary sock puppets. Jandor had been very drunk, and kept mumbling some nonsense about Turbo Wax. Shaking his head, he paused and read what he had written so far:
"Taim, know that as councillor, I now have some influence with our great
leaders, and it would be for the good of the warriors if you approached
them over your ideas in a less confrontational matter. To this end, I offer
you my ear, and perchance I might through my council offer your points
clearly and respectfully to Lords Daylorn and Kerek. I shall make it known
that, as leader of the Tiger ajah, you hold some considerable influence,
and thus are a valuable asset to the light. I shall await your reply with
-Mordeth, councillor of the Light Warriros."
Mordeth sprinkled some blotting sand over the paper, then shook it clear.
Folding it, he slipped it inside his cloak, for he would deliver it personally
to Taim's room.
On a second sheet of paper, Mordeth began to scrawl some ideas for new names for the Light Warriors.....
Abruptly, the door opened into Mordeth's chambers.
Cerise Sedai appeared between the doorframes of the room. She quickly
rearranged her pale skirts and immediately wished that she would have worn
her Blue shawl. Cerise looked at Mordeth's chambers and grimaced slightly.
Why would a man of his power and rank want to keep such a lowly abode?
Perhaps it was part of his way of playing the Game of Houses here in the
Light Warrior's palace. Her own apartments were not guady and tacky, but
also simple, with a few fineries from foreign places that she had collected.
A woman could not live without a few simple pleasures. It didn't matter.
She wasn't here to talk about his "apartments". Cerise sighed softly.
Mordeth looked up startled, and he stood up in front of his small table quickly and gave Cerise a slight grin.
Mordeth: I'm sorry, Cerise Sedai, but I did not hear your knock.
Cerise: I did not knock, friend, I assumed that you wouldn't mind a visit from an Advisor of the Light. There seems to be bit of upset concerning our new friend, Taim. I thought since we are equals, we should share with one another the ways to approach this. No organization can run smoothly without a bit of fellowship and help from an Aes Sedai.
Mordeth: An Aes Sedai's help? Ha! I don't need no stinkin' help. Wouldn't there be something within it for you, Cerise? Blues seem to meddle a lot if I remember correctly.
Cerise: Mordeth, perhaps you'll understand more, whence I tell you something quite interesting. Part of being an Aes Sedai of the Light Warriors is to swear fealty to our Lord General Captain. And so I have.
Mordeth: You swore fealty? Perhaps if you swore fealty to me...
Cerise sighed to herself. This wasn't going exactly as planned. Mordeth
needed to know that she was an equal of his. She also wanted him to see
her as a friend, fellow advisor, and an ally. Pondering, she wondered if
her own Domani skills would have any affect on this man. No, No, she thought,
I can't play the card unless it's very necessary, and tucked the card back
into her belt.
She stood up and poured herself and Mordeth a drink, listening to him. Perhaps, in the name of the Light, this would work out after all....
Mordeth stared at her as she poured herself a drink without asking. For a moment she had appraised him with searching eyes, Aes Sedai eyes, and he felt like a mouse looking at a hawk. But something of his own strength must have given her cause for concern, for her face softened and her cheeks blushed slightly. The news of her oath of fealty was surprising, and inside he laughed at the folly of offering him such information freely. He could use it, if need be.
She took a drink, and frowned at him. "It's water!" By her expression,
it could have been acid.
"But of course. I am a man of simple tastes. Wine is extravagant, for Light Warriors, and extravagance is a futile waste of effort, don't you think? And so to why your here. I suspect you are worried that Taim means trouble for Lord Daylorn. But you must understand him, you see. He is of blunt tone, and sharp words, but it is because he has no patience for diplomacy or tact, not because he means any evil. It is significant that Taim has chosen to join the light, not the dark, who would surely give him the power he demands. I, on the other hand, and maybe you, can alleviate the tension." He picked up his own water and drank deeply. "I say, give Taim the rank he wants" Mordeth srugged his shoulders. "It's all relative anyway. A servant can posess a more brilliant mind than his master, you know. Anyway, I feel I am going to have my hands full, teaching Taim to be more... subtle. I coulld use your help in showing Lord Daylorn that the light needs to be strong, and united. Get him to give Taim some title or another - it doesn't matter what - let's get the tigers on our side. Will you help me, Cerise Sedai? Will you help me unite the light?"
She paused then nodded. She took Mordeth's hand in the offered clasp. He grinned slightly, and kissed it. "My lady, I won't ask your oath of fealty to me, though I would gladly take it, but I will have a promise not to act on your own in this matter, without consulting me first. Agreed?"
"Agreed." She smiled back, then made her excuses and left. Mordin smiled another of his tight smiles. She was young, and over eager, but he could shape her into someone formidable, if she didn't blow it first. At least he had her promise."
As the doors shut behind her, Cerise let out a long and deep breath and leaned against the hall wall.
Mordeth was right. She had been worried about Taim and had sought him. At least he feels that he can handle him. She was comforted by the fact knowing that he would tame Taim, and all would be well with him. However, she did not expect him to ask her to speak to Lord Daylorn. Yet she had agreed to help him to unify the Light. She was more than happy to help him, actually, for that was part of her duties. However, he would also need to communicate with her in order to achieve all of the plans he had spoken of to her. Cerise moved from the wall and wandered slowly down the halls of the Light Palace towards the gardens. Absentmindedly she twirled her Great Serpent Ring on her right forefinger. She could still feel where Mordeth had clasped her hand, and when he had peered into her eyes. Of course he knew that she would never swear fealty to him, yet he made her promise and she had agreed. Agreed to what? she pondered. Cerise would consult Mordeth, but he would also hear what she had to say about matters. After all, they were ranked together to work together for the Light. Sitting on a bench near the azalea garden, Cerise smiled brightly in remembrance. He was a admirable and handsome man. However he seemed slightly... mischievious in his own ways. She did like him, and perhaps she could learn from him, and maybe she was willing to share a few of her own secrets...
Taim's office. Upon it floated the words, 'Can't keep my eyes off the
circling sky,' and then breifly, 'We have assumed control.' They were songs
from ages long past, ages yet to come. He knew this breeze as a begining.
Frustration painted his face. He was a man of honor and power, not one
crossed easily, or twice. Once more he wished his conviction did not run
so deep. He had always stood against the powers of dark, even before the
dark rose to such power. he cursed himself again that in his absence so
much was aloud to change. 'The Tigers first then! They will give me nothing
in return for nothing, so perhaps me bringing in the Bengals will earn
respect.' 'Earn?' that puzzled him. Had he not earned it already? Ariella
would welcome him with open arms and due honor. She was a proud woman and
would not ask, but she also knew his true worth. Once again Taim cursed
himself. He looked down at the missive from Mordeth. 'So it seems that
i do have some support, even if it is from people that would know nothing
about me. Allies are allies though, can't pick em' he thought. Taim never
had much patience with the Great Game. If he sees something as needed to
be done he did it. 'How can I let all these people be led to the darkness
when the problems with the light were so easily fixed? 'A little more time
Taim leaned back in his chair and looked through his window. He could still see the great fortress of the Light through his office. He had a cubicle there, but he had never been in it. All the great captains would probably scorn him now being put so low, but they would see.
He signed his secret message in the customary way,
Taim, High Seat of the Ajah of the Tiger, Taimyrlin Seat, Destroyer of Posts, Flamer of Tar Valon
Kerek sat in a bar, his usual bar, in his usual seat, drinking his usual
drink, wearing his usual style of clothes, talking with his usual companion
Kerek: Hey Jan, I always thought this organization was for having fun and picking on the shadow at the same time.
Jandor: Yeah, me too, but this Mordeth guy is really wrecking it.
Kerek: Yeah, why can't he just leave us to our traditional ways... and I'm still waitin' for that turbo wax.
Jandor: Will you shut up about turbo wax!
Kerek: well just the other day you were running around obsessing with the stuff
Jandor: Really? I don't recall
Kerek: Thats 'cause you were drunk
Jandor: Oh yeah, come to think of it, the whole week's been a blur.
Kerek: Well if you took off that Alcohol patch...
Jandor: Hey, I'm trying to quit, and its the only way
Kerek: Yeah but...
Jandor: Shush, now, we need to talk to Daylorn about Mordeth, maybe he'll know what to do.
Mordeth was almost startled when a nervous servant approached him in
the corridor. He rcognised the man as one of his 'eye's and ears'. Though
he'd only been there a short while, he had quickly been amazed at how even
in the fortress of the light warriors, there could always be found those
whose first devotion was to coin.
"Well, what is it man? I haven't got all day."
"Well, master Mordeth, I was just down at the bar, see, and I don't normally go there much, what with my bowels. My missus, she says that my bowels are unique, she does, and that..."
"The point, man, get to the point!" Mordeth rolled his eyes.
"Well, sir, like I was sayin' I was down in the bar, and I overheard Lord Kerek and soldier Jandor talkin' see, and they was none too happy with..... with...."
"Spit it out man."
"Well, none too happy with you, master Mordeth. See Lord Kerek, he thinks you is spoiling their fun and all that. They thinks you intend to break their traditions." The man hopped nervously from one foot to the other.
"Traditions?" spat Mordeth. "Getting drunk, and looking for Turbo Wax? It's hardly what I call a tradition."
"Lord Kerek, he was real mad, see, spitting fire he was. Said he was going to see Lord Daylorn, he did." The servant held out a greasy palm. Mordeth seemed to stare at it a long moment.
"What? Oh... yes, of course. Here...." He slipped a silver mark into the fellows hand, which quickly disappeared into a pocket in his cloak. "Well done. Now be on your way." He didn't even here the man thanking him as he scuttled away.
"So, too serious, am I?" Mordeth clicked his tongue while he thought for a long moment. Maybe they were right. He had been a little over zealous lately. Perhaps in his haste to appear worthy of his new rank, he had forgotten that whatever else the Warriros were, they were human too. Well, beer wasn't necessarily a bad thing, in moderation. And Turbo wax was a quality product after all. He wondered whether Kerek or Jandor liked to shoot pool. There was a table in the bar area, if he remembered correctly. Smiling a small smile, he headed towards the bar, humming an ancient tavern song quietly to himself.
Kerek stared in amazment as Mordeth strolled into the bar looking quite...
Kerek: There's something different about you Mordy.
Mordeth: Really? What.
Kerek: Well it would probably have something to do with the curve of your lips, if you were anyone else I would swear you were smiling.
Mordeth: Really???? Wow, thats a first.
Kerek: Yeah, so what brings you to somewhere entertaining?
Mordeth: Well I was wondering if you would like to, well heal the wounds between us.
Kerek: You mean like have fun.
Jandor: (from floor) I really should take off the old ones before putting on a new patch.
Mordeth: I guess fun is how you would term it.
Mordeth: Yeah I'm trying to lighten up a bit.
Kerek: Hmm well how bout we get some drinks, and get a better room, something with a little more than the standard grey stone color, I hear the color of your chambers affects your mood.
Mordeth: Really? Wow, well I have to choose something cheerful, how bout orange?
Kerek: Nah, too festive, try white, or a light blue.
Jandor: (from floor) paisley...mumble...stripes...pink...mumble
Jandor: (from floor) mumble...turbo wax...mumble...under bed...mumble
Kerek: What was that?
Jandor: (from floor) mumble...uhh...mumble...oil of flax...mumble...in shed...mumble
Kerek: Ah, well then.