View Full Version : The Flame to Cairhien, Part 3b

11-05-2009, 04:05 AM
Rather, this is part 3C

Silently, she left the cells and made her way immediately to the rooms that she was informed the Ogier was staying in. The guards jumped as Danette appeared at the door and bowed deeply. She smiled at him and very calmly knocked on the door of the room the Ogier was staying in. This conversation shouldn't take too long hopefully, Danette merely wished to know why the Builder was traveling with a Dark Tower Asha'man in her lands. The guards had told her that the Ogier was unable to speak but she wondered at it, but the Builders had their own way of doing things

The door opened and Danette was momentarily startled by the Ogier's appearance, he was indeed far different from any other Ogier she had seen. He also appeared to be much older than most of the Ogier she had met.

"Kiserai ti wansho," Danette said politely, her amber eyes silently assessing the Ogier, the scars he bore in no way seemed to really mean he couldn't talk. "Can you actually speak and were just following the puppy's lead, or do I need to have writing materials brought? It's been a long time since I spoke with an Ogier."

She smiled though it was somewhat wry, she could not remember talking to an Ogier at all, but knew she had at some point in the past. She also realized she had forgotten to introduce herself.

The Ogier hesitated, then answered "You are a perceptive woman Mistress, I am called Gnarled." enhancing his pronunciation to make it obvious that he did have some speech impediment, even if he was not mute. "You appear to have control over the situation. What are your intentions towards Ambrok?"

"I am called Flame at this point in time," Danette told him. "Currently, the puppy has sworn an Oath that turns him into my puppy for all intents and purposes," Danette didn't see the need to conceal the facts. "We shall see how strongly he holds to it, if he fails in any part of it he will die."

Danette stated it simply, neither to frighten nor enrage just a fact.

"The one that concerns me is the Darkfriend that is currently residing in my dungeon," Danette said calmly. "Arriving with a Darkfriend in this particular territory is akin to being a Darkfriend yourself. Being what you are, you have been granted a benefit of the doubt, but you never know in this day and age who serves the Shadow and who serves the Light. Those in the Towers," there was that derisive twist to the word again, "namely the so-called Tower of Light claim to follow the Light, but even they are in doubt. I also would know how one such as yourself came to be traveling with a spoiled puppy and a Darkfriend."

"Mistress Flame. A fitting enough name, I suppose. There has never been an Ogier who walked in the Shadow. There is an equally old proverb that says one should keep their friends close, but their enemies closer."

Danette smiled slightly. "I have heard and oftentimes used that particular proverb myself. Sometimes it's interesting to see what category the people fall in, sometimes it's not the one you think."

She tilted her head to regard him with steady amber eyes. "Of course as interesting as your answer was, it didn't answer my question. How did you come to be traveling with Ambrok and the Darkfriend? I'm not buying the tale of your being his guardian. Any way the dice fall, the Darkfriend's life is forfeit--those that walk in the Shadow do not depart this land peacably. Your answer on this will likely decide your fate, Ambrok has already chosen his."

Gnarled harrumphed, making a particularly grotesque thrumming of his damaged lips. He glared at the Flame. "Ambrok believes he knows of trouble to the Empress of Seanchan. I, too am... was Seanchan. If the Shadow is involved..." He cracked his large knuckles noisily as he clenched his fists.

"I play at a dangerous game, Mistress Flame. I use the Shadow as they try to use me. The Asha'man was my watcher. If he is to be disposed of at last, I will interrogate him. He WILL tell us anything we want to know."

He arched an eyebrow. "You DO want to know what Frenzy is up to before she finds you, don't you?"


Danette cast about in the darkness of her mind, searching for an association, but the only thing she came up with was a snippet of one of the reports she had read earlier this day, a snippet that gave the name Frenzy as the one known as the Dark Amyrlin. Her amber eyes narrowed as she considered things.

He had admitted to associations with the Dark Tower, and by Danette's own laws his life would be forfeit, but there was more advantage to be gained by letting him walk than seeing his head on the headsman's block--and Danette had identified a loophole that she may or may not have intentionally placed in the law.

He could be useful.

"By the laws created by my own hand, friend Ogier, what you have just told me now should seal your death warrant," Danette stated quietly and held up a hand to stall any violent reaction the Ogier might have to her statement--if he was from Seanchan it was quite possible he is--or rather was--one of the Gardeners.

She continued quickly, but spoke in the same calm, controlled voice she'd been using the entire interview. "However, if I were to treat everyone who ever stepped into the Dark Tower as a Darkfriend there would be many more lives other than yours considered forfeit," Danette murmured, somewhere deep in her echoing mind, Danette understood the necessity of using what you could to advance a cause, "including my own. In another time, I was called Danette Galliana."

Danette let her old name hover in the air, waiting to see if the Ogier would identify it.

The Ogier shrugged. "Danette? Flame suits you better. Eastland politics are confusing. But I knew you would recognize my unique position."

Danette smiled slightly at his comment--the name Danette Galliana was still hers, but now she was Flame for all intents and purposes, the Ogier showed no recognition for the name of the former Amyrlin of Light. Danette smiled inwardly, it was probably best all things considered. "As for what Frenzy plans, chances are he will know nothing more than what we do," Danette said calmly. "She is careful that one."

The information slipped up somewhere from the depths of her mind. "You may question him if you so wish," Danette stated, though she'd never been one to approve of torture, but information was the key here--information was something she needed and didn't have nearly enough of, if the Asha'man had something even remotely useful that she didn't know now, it would be enough. "It would be appreciated if you used normal methods before resorting to extremes."

"In the first matter, we must learn how the Asha'man came to Travel us to this place. He still thinks we travel together in his Mistress' service. I can convince him to share all he knows with me. He must know his life is forfeit. But he will tell me things he would die protecting from you. It must be done now. The longer he waits, the more convinced he will be that I've been compromised."

"If I could I would trust you completely with this matter," Danette said, "but even were you to foreswear any promises you made, it would still be regarded with much suspicion were you to question him on your own. I do not intend to question your word, friend Ogier, but if you made any promises I cannot be sure of you because an Ogier does not break his word."

Danette looked considering. "Perhaps I could rig an invisibility ward on myself before you go in for questioning, his mind though is likely foggy from the tea we have been feeding him so he may be less likely to notice me. I will neither say or do anything except merely listen, but I have my interests to protect as well."

Use whatever channeling tricks you like. He must believe he is alone with me. Twenty minutes will do. If he hasn't revealed all he knows by then, I will use forceful methods." He grinned, a horrible rictus that crossed his face.

"I will say things that make you angry. It is to prod him. DO NOT REACT." His voice boomed, causing a startled silence to settle over the room and nearby hallway.

Gnarled gestured to the door...

Danette left the room first and murmured some orders to the guards and then sent Phoenix on her way. "Thank you very much for your help today, Phoenix," she told the girl gently. "Go grab some breakfast and rest for a little while, I do not believe I am in danger currently--and if danger does comes..."

A wolfish smile crossed Danette's face. "If danger does come, I'll handle it on my own."

Phoenix nodded and left and Danette silently waited for the Ogier to come out, when he did the soldiers would form up around him and lead him to the dungeon where the darkfriend was being held. As soon as they were on their way and almost to the dungeons, Danette would place herself behind a "screen" of sorts that would conceal her. She warned the soldiers in advance just in case, and then waited.

Danette trailed the Ogier, allowing him to storm into the Darkfriend’s cell before her.

"Santomere. What in the Pit of Doom happened? You were supposed to bring us to Cairhien. Do you know where we are?"

Danette had used the Ogier's huge frame to conceal herself--it was very easy, and for once in her life Danette didn't mind being as small as she was. A rueful smile curved her lips, but she remained silent, wondering what kind of revelations she would get by listening in on the conversation--and wondering if she would still be able to spare the Ogier after those revelations.

She hoped it would be so.

Silently, she settled back to listen.

Danette had expanded her patience quite a bit over the course of her lifetime, but that was by no means enough to cover this. Silence had dwelt in the cell too long and she was all for hanging the Darkfriend now so she could get on with things, but, with effort, she controlled her immediate reaction and waited impatiently for something to happen.

If it wasn't soon, the Darkfriend was going to die...

The Darkfriend looked up at the Ogier. "Have they released you?" His eyes accused.

"They might," Gnarled grumbled, "if I can prove I'm no Darkfriend." He shrugged. "This Danette means to keep her existence a secret from everyone, including our Mistress. Who is she, Santomere?"

Santomere looked about the room. "They could be listening you fool. Best not to speak." He turned his back to Gnarled.

"OH I'M A FOOL?" Gnarled roared. "YOU brought us to this mudhole. Is this some plot you've snared me in? Does she want me to do something? Or are you just incompetent?"

Santomere glared at Gnarled. His mouth curved in an odd smile, the first like it Gnarled had ever seen grace his face. "I am quite competent, Ogier. I have many Talents. If an Ogier had the same he might see the Web that has brought him here."

Gnarled frowned. "They won't let you live, and I can't help you escape," Gnarled said.

“So what will you do then Ogier? Turn your back on us already? Two days of service? Is that all your pledge is worth?" He spat at the Ogier's face but it fell short and dropped to the ground.

Now, Gnarled grinned, taking special care to contort his features in the most hideous way possible. "Now?" He answered. "Now I find out what Frenzy plans."

Gnarled began with a punch to Santomere's head that sent him crashing into the opposite wall. He lifted Santomere by the head, one huge hand cupping his skull. "YYYYYYYARGH!" Gnarled roared as he swung the Channeler around and hurled him at another wall.

The interrogation took several hours. Gnarled screamed at Santomere, and Santomere screamed as well, if for different reasons. Santomere was remarkably strong-willed, probably because he knew his death was imminent. He obviously held some things back, but even so, he told Gnarled many things about his Mistress and Danette, whether she knew of the Flame's existence, about other Shadow Leaders and the Towers, and of the Dark Amyrlin's plans for Gnarled.

ooc: Frenzy can detail any info Santomere has coughed up about Gnarled or Danette or Ambrok here.

When it was done, it would have been difficult to say whether Santomere or the scant furniture occupying the cell was in more pieces. Gnarled knelt beside him and pressed his ear to what was left of the man's face to hear his last whispered words, so faint, even Ogier hearing had trouble discerning them inches away from his throat.

"Amm....auk..." Ambrok. Gnarled raised a fist and shrieked "YOOOOOU BASTAAAAARD!!!" His fist descended again and again until the stone floor beneath cracked just as Santomere's skull had.

Finally he stood up, wiped Santomere's brains on his tunic and kicked the door off its hinges. He stalked out without a word for Danette.

Danette quietly left the cell, keeping her dress out of the spattered blood as much as possible and dropped the weave that kept her concealed and considered what she heard. She stopped and spoke to the guards, requesting that they do a thorough cleaning of the cell and dispose of the body, there wouldn't be a Darkfriend execution today.

The Ogier hadn't so much glanced her way and Danette considered her course of action and then caught one of the one of the soldiers in the hall. "If the Ogier wishes to leave allow him to go, but make sure anything that could cause trouble is hidden from his eyes," Danette said. "I don't care if Frenzy knows about a half-built city here, but she needn't know specifics about the city."

"Is he a Darkfriend?" the soldier asked, looking after the Ogier suspiciously.

"I think he is not a Darkfriend, merely one desperate to find or do something and willing to go to whatever lengths he has to in order to do it," Danette replied. "I cannot agree with entering an alliance with the Shadow to do it, but we do as we must at the time it happens."

"What about you, my lady?" the guard asked. "He could deliver word back to the Towers..."

"Word is going to reach the Towers any way we look at it whether by the mouth of the Ogier or by the mouth of John Snow and Calliste, they saw me while I journeyed," Danette said quietly. "I wasn't planning on hiding forever, this is just a little sooner than I hoped."

At least she figured it was, Danette admitted to herself, it seemed like the right thing to say.

"We could just--" the guard left it hanging.

Danette shook her head fiercely. "No," she said forcefully, "the Ogier himself hasn't done anything wrong and if we hang him or execute him just on circumstantial things we'll be no better than the Children of Light and we are not the Children of Light."

The guard nodded, his face paling slightly at her tone of voice and Danette swept out of the dungeons. She walked up to her room and changed into a pair of black breeches with a white shirt and a black coat with small bits of scarlet and gold embroidery. She checked her bags, which had already been packed and then slung them over her shoulder.

She walked through the halls and noticed the looks on the people's faces as she passed and quietly spoke to them assuring them that she was merely going out to further their cause and giving them words of encouragement. Finally, she reached Kyra's office.

Inside the taller woman was going over a sheaf of reports and she glanced up immediately as soon as Danette entered. "You're leaving already?" she asked.

Danette nodded. "I have to find answers, Kyra," she said quietly.

"I've sent summons to Kyohaku, she is a Healer well versed in injuries of the mind, she could help you I am sure," Kyra said.

"I don't know that she could," Danette said quietly, "this Kyohaku, however, may be able to help Amber."

"So you're going to leave without being treated?" Kyra frowned.

"You said yourself, I'm as healthy as I can be, I just have a lot of blank spots in my memory," Danette said, "I have to go to the Threefold Land, something's pulling me there. When I leave there I'll let you know where I am going. Meanwhile send some of the Shukuchoku to Cairhien, I aim to see that city taken out of the Shadow as soon as I can. The Ogier that is here now, I have given orders for him to be able to leave as he sees fit, I don't know how well you can keep him from finding out specifics about our home here, but I'd like him to find out as little as possible. I don't care if Frenzy finds out about the city, but I do care that we keep our people safe. If worse comes to worst scatter them into the forest, cities can be rebuilt lives cannot be replaced."

"Do you seriously see that much trouble coming?" Kyra asked her soberly.

"I don't know what I see," Danette said, "I'm operating on an instinctual level and am preparing for the worst, get word to the villages as well. For all I know, the Towers will declare me renegade and come down here like an avalanche, or they'll keep my reappearance quiet and send assassins. Although with the troubles that are brewing right now, I am not sure if they'll bother with us yet."

"As you requested, every man, woman, and child in the city that can be has been trained to fight, they will not find us easy taking no matter who they send after us," Kyra pointed out.

"I have no doubt they'd defend it to the last, but I don't want to lose more lives Kyra," Danette said, "there's a war coming and we're going to need everybody. We have to be prepared, both Chaos and Shadow are threats and we have to be ready to face it."

"And Towers?" Kyra frowned.

"We'll leave them alone for now," Danette said. "I do not know if they will give us the same courtesy, but I have no intention on moving on Towers, it could prove the strengthening that they need to continue this ridiculous truce. I will not give them an excuse to band tighter together."

"As you command," Kyra sighed. "We will continue to train and await your return."

Danette nodded grimly. "Remember if they come, disperse, we'll rebuild again later. Send word to Ven d'Vere, Ambrok, and Dycin that I will be leaving soon."

Kyra nodded and Danette left, making her way to the stables. She'd already left orders with the kitchens to put supplies in the stables for their journey.