Posted June 03, 1999 at the Scriptorium
Category: WoT Third Age
Author: Barid


He was awakened by a soft sound, barely audible. But a warrior cannot let himself ignore the weakest sound. And Arthur always prided himself at being an example for his soldiers. He rose to a seating position on the hard bed, there was someone else in the tent beside him. Sword in hand - he never let it be far away from him, not from the day he picked it up - he jumped off the bed.

"That would be a little use again me, Hawkwings." A deep male voice muttered, despite the tent's total darkness. "Few things would, in truth. But a sword certainly wouldn't."

Arthur founded himself a little reliefed - there were women with strange ideas that tried to sneak into his tent more than once - and a little worried. The voice was full of all the confidence in the world.

A light brusted into existence, and Arthur blinked in pain, his eyes burning as they adjusted into the strong light. The light resulted from a ball of fire, about the size of his fist, hanging in the air without nothing to support it. When he could see again without spots blinding him, he stare at a dark man, easily a hand or two above him. The tallest man Arthur had ever seen. He looked about his forthies, well muscled and dangerous. He cladded himself in plain blue breach and coats, and on the left side of his breast there was a circle.

Arthur had no need to see more than to know who he was facing. Nor to know what that sign held. Half black and half white, what once was the symbol of Aes Sedai.

"So you are Guiare Amsalam," He said lightly. Laying his sword on the bed, the man was right, there would be no use of a sword here.

"That is one of the names I'm using, Hawkwings." The man said. Deep brown eyes captured the light, and made it seem, for an instance only, that fire burned in the man's eyes. "The same as Arthur is one of yours. It doesn't matter now, and wouldn't for many years to come in the future. I've not came here to chat with you about what was, I came here to talk about what is."

"Tomorrow," Arthur made the word as dry as he could. Fear threaten to drown him. Tomorrow would be the final battle. Only one could win, Arthur was almost sure he had the advantage, that he had a better chance to win this battle. To defeat that man who conquered half the known world so quickly. The man whose symbol was the ancient symbol of Aes Sedai on blue background. Guiare Amsalam, the man who claimed to be the Dragon.

"Tomorrow," Guiare agreed, "Without you, your army can never win. I could kill you now, and the battle would end." Arthur took his sword back, if he was to die, he would die fighting!

"Put this toy down, Hawkwings. If I would have came here to kill you, I wouldn't have toy with you so. Whatever those Aes Sedai told you, I'm no more madder than you are. For the time being, at least."

"Then why have you came?"

"To lose," The man replied with no hesitation. "This battle I must not win. My task here has over, you've been dragged out of that rat hole you call home."

"Oh?" He risk no further reply.

"You should be flattered, you know." The man noted, "I wouldn't have done it for anyone, you know. But I doubt if you thank me, duty is a heavy load to carry."

"You said you've came here to lose. You've came to give yourself in. Finally!" He meant to say more, but was cut off.

"Don't be a total moron, Hawkwings. You know I can't do it. If I'm to lose, I shall lose in battle."

"Thousands of people would die, if the Light have its mercy on us. Tens of thousands, if we shall not have the Light's mercy. And you dare discuss pride!"

"Pride left me long ago, Hawkwings." The man replied coldly, "None should know it better than you. For you, for the world, I'm about to give in for something that is dearer to me than life itself. It's not game for me any more than it's a game for you." The man unsheathed his sword, and Arthur prefered himself to die.

"She is called Justice, Hawkwings." The man whispered slowly, it was a long sword, few men could use it as a two hands sword, the man held it in one hald, as easily as he would have held a sabre. "She followed me to many places, in many battles. To thousands of horrors and countless terrors. I took it with me to the Pit of Doom itself! And now she is yours."

"She?" Was the man truly mad? He didn't sound so, but then again, Arhtur met no madman before. "It's like having a wife, hawkwing. Carrying this sword, it's a ter'angreal, one made for me in the Age of Legends. Use it well and wisely, Hawkwings. Never turn it against those who does not deserve it. Remember Aridhol lessons. And remember that whatever I do, I did. Was done for what must be. For if not I, there wouldn't have been you."

Arthur swallowed, there wasn't a single doubt that the man was mad. "Tomorrow would be a day of victory for you, Hawkwings. And the beginning of death for me. Carry Justice into battle. Fight for what is right, and trust no Aes Sedai. They will use you, old friend. Use you until you can be of no good, and then will get rid of you. Goodbye, old friend, old enemy of mine. The wheel of time weave strange combination sometimes, and we aren't the only ones."

Fire bloomed, and the man was gone, and so was the fire ball he ahd created. The sword he named Justice rang as it hit the floor. Slwoly, Arthur took it in his hands, it was lighter than he expected. Hard steel that shined from inner light.

"Justice," Arthur whispered slowly, then fell on the bed and began laughing.


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