As day gave way to dusk, and the shadow of Dragonmount grew longer and darker over the city of Tar Valon, two riders crossed the south bridge over to the island-proper where the White Tower stood in all it's majestic glory. The Aes Sedai was broad of hip and shoulder, her shape exagerated by her lack of height. Her
iron-grey hair was pulled back into a tight bun, and decorated by a single brown ribbon, to match the brown of her shawl. Deep set brown eyes glimmered moodily from her wheather beaten face, as she guided the tall chestnut roan over the last span of the bridge with expertise, gained from long years in the saddle. Beside her, a tall, lean man rode on a grey horse, seemingly paying no attention, though his blue round eyes flickered maniacally, seeking peril in each and every shadow. His blonde hair was cropped short, he bore a bushy blonde mustache and his pale complexion was highlighted by the redness of his cheeks. Idly, as he rode, he pucked
the petals from a many-petalled wild-flower.
"He luvths me. He luvths me not. He luvths me..." chanted the man in a high-pitched effeminate voice.
"He doesn't bloody love you Percy. I told you that!" interrupted the stocky Aes Sedai. "I would have thought the words 'If you touch me again, I'll kill you' made that pretty clear!"
"Oh, Gladyth, he wazth jutht playing hard to get!" chirped Percival the Warder. "I know when a man izth interethted, Gladyth, I jutht know!" Percival added, clappeing his hands. "Now, where wazth I? Oh yeth! He lovths me... He lovths me not....."
Gladys Sedai shook her head, sending shockwaves through her many chins. Sometime's she found her gay warder almost unbearable, but he just happened to be the best warrior in the known world. His wrists had a slack suppleness that many of the other warders lacked, and he skipped with immaculate grace from one stance to another, gliding with the balance and poise of a Sa'sara dancer. And boy, could Percy dance the Sa'sara himself! Many of the sword forms widely practised by other warders were shunned by Percival in favour of his own creations. "Python slithers between the boulders" was his latest creation, and she shuddered at it's meaning.
"....he luvth me not. He luvth me. He luvth me not..." Percy stopped his chant as they approached the vast courtyard before the tower. At this time of day it was thronging with tradesman and couriers and petitioners making their way to or from the tower in the last light of the day. In his hand, a single limp petal hung from the tortured stem of the wild-flower. Frowning at it, he pouted his lips for a moment, then giggled. Gently, he tore the petal in half.
"He luvth me not." Discarding the last petal with a happy flourish, he clapped his hands excitedly for the second time in as many minutes. "HE LUVTH ME!" clap, clap, giggle "Gladyth, he luvth me!"
Gladys Sedai rolled her eyes and sighed a long, deep sigh of resignation. "Yes Percy, if you say so. If you say so."
"Oh Gladyth, cheer up! We're here! Back at the tower, after all theezth yearzth!"
"Oh whoopee. My cup runneth over." Gladys muttered.
"Gladyth! Thtoppit! Youthe been thulking like that thinth thith morning. Is it becauth I uthed the latht of your rouge? I promith I will get you thome new rouge tomorrow, Gladyth."
"No Percy, it's not the bloody rouge."
"Well what then?" he asked in a voice so high that it made his horse dance nervously.
"Nothing. I'm just tired, that's all. Let's get inside this damn tower so I can sleep in a bed for once."
Gladys could barely conceal the lie in her voice. How can I tell Percy we are in love with the same man? she thought to herself. Lord Cecil of Safer is quite the most handsome and charming gentleman I have ever encountered. Percy was looking up at the tower now. And he has a cute pair of buns, besides! she thought quickly. She wished Percy hadn't used the last of her rouge, when she felt her cheeks aflame.
"Ooooh, I do luvth the tower, don't you Gladyth? Quite the motht gorgeouth erection." said Percival, unaware of her private shame.
"Percy, if you make that joke just one more time...." The promise of two-hundred-and-forty-pounds of enraged Aes Sedai falling upon him seemed to make even Percival the Invincible quail.
"Well.... thumtimezth Gladyth, you are no thun at at all!" squeaked Percy, rolling his eyes. They rode in silence across the courtyard, and Gladys reached into her saddle bags for a water skin.
"Damn," she muttered, upon feeling it empty. "Percy, have you any skins left?" she asked pleasantly.
"Ooooh, talking to me now are we?" said Percy in an injured voice. "Not 'Thorry Perthy for being a right mitherable heffer, can I have a drink pleathe' oh no, that would be too much to athk."
"Percy, look..... I am sorry alright? Now, have you any skins left? I am parched."
The tall blonde warder arched an eyebrow, then made some show of looking in hi saddle bags. "Well, letzth thee now.... I'll have to count them. One thkin..... two thkinth.... three thkinth....."
"Percy! Don't you dare! There are young girls here!"
To his credit, he managed not to say anything. Instead he held out one of the skins to her. As Gladys took it, and began to unstopper the bottle, he stroked his mustache in thought.
"You know, Gladyth, I think that Lord Thethil from Thafer wazth quite a handthome and charming gentleman, didn't you think?"
"Mmmm," mumbled Gladys as she gulped the water.
"Quite a thexy lil' pair of bunzth, too! I'd love to 'Theathe the Thword' in him!" grinned Percival.
It was great timing. Gladys convulsed just as the stable hand came over to take the reins of their horses, and spat a mouthful of water over the unfortunate man. Percival collapsed into helpless giggles, clapping happily, and his horse nickered delightedly. And thus was marked the arrival of Gladys Sedai and her warder, Invincible Percival, to the White Tower.
by Darkhound aka Shadar Canine aka Petyra