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View Full Version : The Flame to Cairhien, Part 3


RogueSavior
11-05-2009, 03:20 AM
This next part is almost entirely copy and paste, since Danette wrote a majority of the section as she bounced around between characters in her POV. She knows Danette best, so why would I change anything? For your reading pleasure, Part III, with only minor contributions on my part)

A soft breeze blew through the open window bearing on it the scents of wood and freshly turned earth, the construction had long since been stopped for the day, and for the moment all was calm and quiet. Danette stood next to the window staring out over the city, torches lit every street and alley she could see from her window. Further on she could see the silhouettes of the guards walking what they could of the walls.

It was her city.

The thought felt odd as it went through her mind, but Danette dismissed it. A brief thread of fire lit the candle next to her bed and the pool of firelight made the other furniture in the room loom almost ominously. She picked up the candle and went to the single shelf of books that rested on the wall and held the candle up to look at the titles. A smile flickered across her face, some of her favorites were in amongst them. However, her mind did not rest long on the contents of the room. The dress was still laying out, but it didn't make much sense for Danette to put it on right now, so she propped the pillows up and sat back down on the bed, leaning against the pillows as she considered what to do next.

It was obvious that the shadows in her mind concealed a lot more than Danette ever expected, especially if she had been at one point the Amyrlin in the Tower of Light at the Towers. The very thought disturbed her, but she came to the conclusion that it had probably seemed best at the time and had later proved to be a foolhardy endeavor. After she had left the Tower of Light, she had obviously come here for some reason, perhaps it had been a home or something at some point in the past. Danette knew that she was a lot older than the twenty-eight years her reflection in the mirror possessed, but she wasn't sure how much older.

She half-wished that someone was up so they could tell her everything she needed to know, but then what they knew of her may not be the truth. Danette sighed irritably and scrubbed her hands through her hair, she needed to know more. Silently, she tallied up what she did know.

One, her name was Danette Galliana and she could channel saidar, fight fairly well, and if the city around her was any indication she knew a bit of strategy and diplomacy.

Two, most people here knew her by the name Flame, there was something significant about the name, but she couldn't grasp it right now.

Three, this city was hers or so it seemed, the reaction to her walking the halls and streets had been varied but one thing was that they all knew her, now whether they were enemies or friends was yet to be seen.

Four, because of her tenure as the Amyrlin of Light (Danette had very little doubt in the truth of the statement based on Dycin's comments), there existed an enmity between her and the Towers, but just as obviously the majority of the Towers people at least in the lower echelons believed that she was dead--not that impression would last much longer after the girl--Calliste?--told them, unless for some reason they thought she was killed in the tunnel collapse, but she doubted that.

Five, Dycin was her Warder now, but she had not originally Bonded him, someone else had somehow passed the Bond to her.

Six, Gaul and Logain were important names to her, even now she felt a sharp bit of sorrow as she thought the names. They must be (or must have been?) Warders to her.

Seven, Kyra Rahein was the person that she had entrusted with the care of the city, which meant that Danette had very strongly trusted her at some point or another--she would have to be the first person that Danette spoke to. Maybe Kyra would have some hint of the answers to the questions that were starting to plague her.

Who am I? Who was I? And, burn me, what do I do now?

Danette drifted off into sleep with the questions still racing through her head.

Opening her eyes, she found herself in the half-light of Tel'aran'rhiod lost among the piles of stones and the walls of what was going to become Amatsiru. Glancing down, she saw that she wore a heavy dress embroidered with so much goldthread that she could barely see the green beneath it on the bodice and the flames embroidered on the skirt rose all the way to her hips. The gown was heavy and hard to move in and so Danette concentrated until she was wearing a pair of fawn-colored pants, a white shirt, and boots.

Eight, I know Tel'aran'rhiod at least a little bit.

The thought was vague on the edges of her mind as Danette began to move through the Dream. A footstep took her to the outer fringes of the city and she turned to look at it. The city itself held no answers, and Danette turned to go and came up short as she spotted a dark-haired man dressed in black lined with blue vanishing into the woods and she followed.

He always seemed to stay just ahead of her and she never saw his face. Their travels took them through several places and Danette would think that she lost him only to have him reappear just a little ahead to lead her on. The thought didn't occur to her that he was going to lead her into a trap, although it really should have, but for some inexplicable reason, Danette completely trusted the man.

They passed through the Borderlands and even in the Dream the destruction was horrifying. Danette could not seem to go anywhere without seeing the ruins and devastation. "Do you see now what kind of things truce with the Shadow brings?"

The voice was deep and just behind her, but try and she did she could not see the speaker. "Do you see what must be corrected?"

Danette stared over the devastation and felt the bleakness in her heart. "Well, there is nothing I can do about this now," she said, her voice harsh. "I don't even know what I am doing, how am I to lead others? Not to mention that even if the army is bigger than what I've seen in Amatsiru, it's not going to stand against an army that can do this."

"That is not the Danette I know," the voice growled.

"What Danette did you know?" she demanded whirling around.

He wasn't there, but his voice came from the side of her. "Then it is time you remembered who you were."

Then they were off again.

This time they wound up in a barren waste that Danette knew immediately was the Threefold Land or the Aiel Waste as most others called it. "Find some of your answers here," the man said. "Now get out of here before you get yourself killed because you don't know what kind of trouble your running into--not that that's ever stopped you before."

There was a sense of exasperation in the voice and Danette turned to look at him and he was gone. She considered his words and decided that she had enough of her answers for tonight and stepped out of Tel'aran'rhiod.


In the predawn grayness, Danette silently donned the gown the maidservant had laid out the night before. She realized with a start that the gown was the same as the one she wore in Tel'aran'rhiod except red where the other had been green. She wondered idly if she had ordered anything so heavy and ornate. It felt like it was the gown of a Queen, but whatever Danette was, she wasn't that.

There was a click as the door opened and Danette whirled around immediately embracing saidar. The person that entered was a girl completely garbed in white. "The Flame, I must serve the Flame," she said brightly.

The girl was small and slender like Danette with brilliant red-gold hair and had a brilliant smile, but the amber-green eyes above it were empty. Danette felt a chill as she stared into those doll-like eyes, the girl looked quite a bit like her and her hand clenched. Had she known her at some point? Was she a cousin, a niece, a daughter?

Danette wanted to tear out her hair and she would have if it would have brought some sort of coherence to the blackness. She knew so much, but she didn't know how she came to know it. There was a polite knock on the door and Danette called for the person to enter still staring at the white-clad girl like she was a coiled viper. "Amber, please make the bed, the Flame would like it if you did that."

"I'm here to serve the Flame," the girl said brightly and set about making the bed.

The voice was Kyra's and Danette turned to look at her in question. "Good morning, Danette, did you sleep well?"

"Well enough," Danette responded slowly. "Strange dreams, but that's not unusual."

"Do your Dreams disturb you, Danette?" Kyra questioned softly.

"No more than the blackness in my head," Danette stated, her amber eyes distant.

The girl--Amber, Danette corrected herself--finished making the bed and came back to them looking at Danette for all the world like a puppy waiting for her to throw a ball for it to fetch again. "Get some breakfast for the Flame, Amber," Kyra said quietly. "She's hungry and needs food."

The girl immediately left the room and Kyra turned to regard Danette seriously. "So Dycin spoke the truth? You have no memory?"

"I have vague recollections every now and then that fade away. I remember names of people I don't remember meeting, see faces in my mind I can't put names to, or hear names and feel emotions I don't understand--like Gaul and Logain. Why do I feel like I might cry when I hear those names or feel as if I've lost something precious and irreplaceable?"

Kyra was about to say something but Danette continued, all of the confusion and worry coming out in a torrent of words. "I have notions of whether I can trust someone or not, but I don't know why. I can probably tell you the plans of the city, but I don't recall ever working on them." Danette rubbed her temples. "It's like I know everything I've done, but I don't remember actually doing it. My memories are there, but they're not. Then, there are things I don't even have vague recollections of..."

"So you do not remember what happened the day you disappeared?" Kyra questioned.

Danette shook her head. "I woke up in one of the Healer's Halls on the other side of the world and have been journeying ever since," she replied. "I didn't even know of my tenure as the Amyrlin of Light until Dycin told me. If I had, I would not have come within a hundred miles of that Dreadlord's fortress that the Towers are waging war against."

"What?" Kyra exclaimed. "Did anyone from the Towers see you?"

"A wolfsibling called Calliste, an older gentleman called John Snow, and a man from the Sea Folk whose name I didn't get."

Kyra swore softly and Danette gave her a questioning look. "John Snow is the Keeper of the Twilight Tower, the wolfsibling Calliste I only vaguely recognize. Until now, rumors had naemd you dead, but that will be for naught now."

"The harm is done then and there is no use trying to put the wine back in the barrel," Danette stated calmly. "We'll have to take the consequences into consideration in our future plans."

Kyra nodded slowly and then took a deep breath. "I know you have just arrived, but it is my suggestion that you leave soon and find your memory. It's too dangerous for you not to know," Kyra said.

"I plan on it, but first I have to figure out what's going on here," Danette said adn fell silent as Amber entered carrying a well-laden tray.

Kyra gathered some clothing and handed the pile to her. "Have these laundered and when the midday meal is served, return here with a tray for the Flame."


The girl took the laundry and left. After she was gone, Kyra turned her crystal blue eyes on Danette. "To begin with, the girl is--or perhaps was is more accurate--your niece, Amber. She arrived at the camp a time before you vanished, but you did not see fit to tell us anything else beyond that. Second, Gaul is an Aiel and your Warder, but he has been gone for some time. Third, Logain was also your Warder, but he died and no one is sure who is responsible."

The information didn't shake any other memories loose, but at least Danette understood the sadness, even if she couldn't truly understand it. The names, though important, were little more than letters on the blank puzzle pieces that made up her memories.

The woman sitting before Kyra was indeed the same person the Healer had known. She had the same mannerisms, same pattern of speech, and even the same steady look in her amber eyes. However, the air of confusion and uncertainty was not something Danette usually possessed and the people were sure to notice it.

"I assume you have some reports for me?" Danette asked and Kyra suddenly remembered the sheaf of papers in her hand and passed them to her.

The red-haired woman scanned through them and then set them on the desk. "Now, tell me what's been happening in the world outside of Amatsiru."

Kyra took a deep breath. "As it stands right now the Towers have a reward out for any information about what happened to the Tower of Light or connected to it. Once they get news of you, I suspect they'll start a search for you, but I do not think that they will make it public knowledge because it could cause too much backlash. To half or more of those serving the Light you may be a hero, to the others a traitor. Branding you a rebel could cause much chaos and dissention in the world and, Light knows, we don't need anymore of that."

Danette nodded in agreement and Kyra continued. "As for the rest of the world it continues to go on. Tar Valon's in the hands of the Path of the Dragon last I heard, Cairhien is in the fist of the Shadow--"

"What?" Danette exclaimed.

"There has been a lot bigger troubles people have been dealing with. I think many have forgotten Cairhien--or they're waiting to see who would move on it," Kyra stated. "More the latter rather than the former I think."

"Send some people to investigate," Danette ordered. "People we can trust to report just the facts and not get caught."

"But--" Kyra began.

"I don't plan on moving now, but if I do choose to move, information would be good to have," Danette observed.

"Understood," Kyra agreed. "The Borderlands--"

"Are in ruins, but I'm not sure when, how, or even if it is done yet," Danette interrupted flatly. "I saw it in the Dream last night."

"That's more information than Iíve gotten on the Borderlands in a long time," Kyra said soberly.

"We should send--" Danette started.

Kyra shook her head. "I've already sent several people to the Borderlands and none have come back. We haven't the men to keep sending scouts to their deaths. They'll have to be left for now."

Danette looked as if she were about to protest, but then deflated. "I'm no fit spy for this in my current state and you're needed here," she sighed.

"I know it's hard given your affinity for them, but sometimes there is nothing you can do," Kyra stated.

"I know," Danette said. "What is going on here?"

"Things are progressing as well as can be anticipated given the current difficulties, although of late there have been more strangers than normal coming through here."

"Strangers?" Danette frowned.

"The man that came with you, Ven D'Vere, he is a Light Tower Asha'man, but you know more about his presence than me," Kyra answered. "Earlier yesterday there was a party of three. Santomere, an Asha'man of the Dark Tower, a young man with the accent of a Mayener, and an Ogier, but one like no Builder I have ever seen. The young man claims to be the leader, the Ogier his bodyguard, and the Asha'man indebted to him--"

"But you don't believe him," Danette concluded. "What do you think?"

"You can never assume, but I am inclined to believe that they are a party from the Dark Tower, though one wouldn't normally affiliate the Builders with them," Kyra said quietly, "but you never know now."

Danette nodded thoughtfully. "I would speak with these visitors later today, have them prepared."

"Shall we keep both Asha'man dosed with forkroot?"

Danette looked considering. "The Dark Tower Asha'man, yes," she replied, "but see only that Ven D'Vere is shielded securely. After I speak with him I will decide what to do."

Kyra looked doubtful. "Are you sure that is wise?" the Healer asked cautiously. "He is from the Light Tower and may bear you more enmity than the so-called Children of the Light."

"We won't know that for sure until I speak to him," Danette said and rose. "He may have some answers I need. That golden-eyed girl last night, what is her name?"

"She is Phoenix, one of the Shukuchoku, your elite guards," Kyra informed her.

"A wolf sibling?" Danette queried.

"Yes," Kyra replied.

"Can she be trusted?" Danette asked.

"She has saved your life on three occasions and if you asked her to go to Shayol Ghul and free the Dark One she would," Kyra stated flatly.

Danette nodded. "Then ask her to attend me during questioning of the prisoners and Ven. I think I will speak to the young man that would name himself leader first of the three other strangers."

"Wait."

Danette glanced at her in question and she reached out and place her hands on either side of her head and embraced saidar. She Delved Danette carefully, searching for anything to hint at what had taken her memories, but found nothing. She withdrew the weave and stepped back. "Please warn me next time you do that," Danette gritted out and Kyra noticed the dagger in her hand with shock.

"My apologies," Kyra said humbly. "Dycin asked me to see if there was anything I could do to bring back your memory."

"And the diagnosis?" she questioned, putting the dagger away.

"There is nothing physically wrong with you to fix," the Healer sighed. "Mental injuries are not my forte."

"Then I'll have to see about finding the answers for myself," Danette said grimly.

"Where will you start?" the dark-haired woman asked.

"The Threefold Land," Danette replied.

"Why there?" Kyra questioned.

"My dreams say to go there," Danette said. "I'll be leaving after I question our guests today."

"And what do I tell the people?" Kyra questioned. "You can't just vanish again."

Danette looked thoughtful. "Tell them I go to fight the Shadow," she said. "Tell them it is time that we prepared for war."

Kyra nodded and bowed. "As you command."

"May the Light guide you," Danette said.

"I trust the Flame," Kyra stated, "and as long as she trusts in the Light so will I. I'll get Phoenix."

***

After Kyra had left, Danette realized that she was hungry and should probably give some time for the guards to wake the visitors up. The scents from the covered tray were very tempting and she silently sat down and began to eat. She was about halfway through the meal when there was a knock on her door.

She called for the person to enter and recognized the golden-eyed girl from last night--Phoenix, Kyra had said her name was. "You summoned me, Flame?" the girl questioned.

Danette nodded. "I am going to go talk to our guests and would like you to accompany me."

Phoenix nodded. "Of course."

"Thank you." Danette set aside her half-finished meal and stood up. "Well, time waits for no woman, so I'd better get started."

RogueSavior
11-05-2009, 03:21 AM
I really botched this part, if a Mod sees this, please leave this as part 3, 3A as "Part 4", (real) 3B as "Part 5," and 3C as Part 6. Gracias.