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Filling the Days
[Image: Devika-Sedai.jpg]
Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah

Devika stood with hands clasped for the rest of the proceedings. It was wasteful, allowing Jorin the chance to speak, and Devika did not enjoy watching the evidence of their long-standing connection, or the knowledge he so gleefully hoarded and used to dangle in sport. Or the fact the Dragon still allowed him to prevaricate over the question, and yet again provide no answer. The name meant little; just glimpses into a foreign past. Yet her lips twitched in dislike when she realised the story revealed which of the damned she dealt with.

When she looked at him before, Jorin had had the effrontery to nod at her like this was some collaboration of efforts. She could not say why he desired the outcome, beyond that he must have some scheme at the ready. One she would not be regretful to crush. Her presence darkened as the man drew closer, then even dared to lay a finger. Had it been anyone but the Dragon himself, Jorin may well have lost the digit, but it would be disrespectful to act like the Dragon could not defend himself. And perhaps it served well for him to feel the sting of this man’s insubordination one last time, and so heed her own warnings from moments ago.

Either way Jorin had no power here. The dying throes of his insult felt like the beginnings of a child’s unruly tantrum.

When the Dragon’s permission was granted she nodded gravely. There was no smugness in victory, and she had never cared for the act; much as, for once, its recipient was well-deserved to suffer it.

“I have another request. One of the Maidens, if any of them might desire the honour of becoming the Dragon’s Spear instead of his shield. There will be places it is unwise for me to take him, and I could use another pair of trusted eyes.” It did not need an answer now; those women were proud, and Devika liked them, but most would be understandably resistant to leaving the car’a’carn’s side. Afterwards she glanced at Jorin’s unsettlingly jovial expression, and finally added to the Lord Dragon, “Do you wish to witness?”

But by then his attention was required elsewhere. She imagined he found it a relief to defer the duty, and Devika only minded in as much as it delayed what must be done. She inclined her head in acquiescence before she swept from the room, Jorin and his escort in tow. In the anteroom beyond, an Asha’man was occupying one of the seats, the Dragon’s guard all atwitter with handtalk from their various stations. Devika could not understand the signals, but she did not need to, judging by the smirks and fluttery looks. He was tall, handsome, blonde – and likely in the unknowing midst of a discussion about what strong babies he would produce.

“Asha’man Thayn,” she said in passing. The Ajah kept ledgers once, detailing every man to enter the Black Tower and so record evidence of his particular madness. Whiteraven had hated that scrutiny; petitioning his sister at every turn to shrug aside the Red’s purview over his men, and of course the bloody Blue had capitulated by making things difficult. Which likely explained the utter chaos of the place since. Such practice may have changed since the cleansing, but this was a face old enough to have known the Dragon in his youth and the Asha’man’s farmhouse in its infancy. Old enough to remember the Reds of old, too. There certainly weren’t many of those left.

“Assassinated, demoted, assassinated.” She counted them off slowly upon each finger, voice sultry soft with mocking admonishment. “My condolences. And congratulations, perhaps?”

But it was a thread to pull on later, and she did not linger.


Rooms were kept for her at the Stone, though she rarely had need of them. As such nothing of import was left in them, but they were lavish with Devika’s particular tastes. The Sirideáns shared both ancestral blood and trade with the Seafolk, and even today Mayene stayed rich on the domination of Sharan shipping lanes and oilfish. The furnishings within were rich with exotic and travelled flavours, deep jewel colours, and the hinted scent of spices. She released the Maidens at the threshold and allowed Jorin the freedom to wander within. Much to their blatant amusement for such a seemingly intimate invitation.

When she closed the door and turned, it was to look Jorin up and down anew. “Most men do not consent to this. None that I recall have ever accepted their fates calmly. But I have seen men beg for it before, thinking it would cleanse them of their madness. It did not, of course. It just made them less dangerous to us, and to the people they loved.”

Jorin knew nothing of madness of course. Nor, did she imagine, of true and selfless loss. Those men suffered greatly for all their good intentions, and most succumbed to final acts by their own hand. In self-sacrifice they relieved the world of a heavy burden, but it was not one Devika would name as fair. She spoke the words with compassion for the fallen and not as a tyrant, but neither was there regret for the part she played. She watched Jorin in open interest for the mystery he presented; allowed a brief pause to see if this wolf would continue the charade of domestication. It made no difference to the outcome, of course. But she had considered the story he told the Dragon during their walk.

She lifted a hand to beckon him closer, and so take a soft hold of his chin. The touch was not necessary; it was to see if he would allow her. To see if he was really willing to make this trade for freedom. Suspicion did not make her trusting, no matter how pitiful he appeared, and if she was afraid she hid it entirely as she met the bloodshot eyes of a man bound to the Dark One himself. He was sly with it, but compliant all the same. She suppressed a shiver.

Then saidar filled her.

The weave was only spirit. Many years had passed since she had last had need to perform this particular duty, but she was deft with it nonetheless. His severance was clean and mercifully quick, but it was an act that also knocked the air straight from a man’s lungs. Jorin stumbled backwards as though suffering an unexpected, physical blow. She might have warned him but for how wily he was with his claim to superior knowledge, and surely one of the Forsaken would not be unfamiliar with the weave or its effects. His breathing laboured tight and coiled in recovery and she followed him with a step forward, as though to steady his fall. But of course he had been a fool not to anticipate more. As she grasped his chin once more, Jorin’s expression shifted substantially; into genuine alarm and frank accusation. "Stop. What are you doing?"

The second weave was also spirit, and came on the heels of the first. Only this one she had never woven before, and had never intended to on another soul. But the Wheel Weaves, and Devika was ever its servant.

Only then did she step away. There was no apology in her dark eyes. Just an acclimation of her own.

“Hm,” she said, one brow aloft. “You really are hungover.”

"Does that mean you're going to Heal me now? It's the least you can do after violating me."

But for now she only sank into one of the plush chairs and crossed her legs, languid as a cat who’d just let the mouse dart from beneath her paws to see what it might do. She would call it a necessary evil before she called it a violation, especially on a man who could not even claim ownership over his own soul. If anyone could claim to be violated, it was she, for a sacrifice made in the name of the Light. “What do you wish me to call you now? For I will not call you Ashtaroth.”

"You figured it out. Good for you." He smirked at her. "But why not? That's my name."

She did not deign a response to such a stupidity, though she considered it might suggest he intended to be less circumspect with his secrets now he was not directly beholden to the Dragon. It was Jorin who would suffer for it though. In the realm of the Light, and certainly in Tear, that name was as good as a death sentence. And those were only the practical reasons to shun a moniker chosen by the Dark One himself. Her eyes narrowed a little in displeasure, but ultimately she made a dismissive gesture with her hand. She asked from courtesy.

“This need be only as difficult as you make it.”

[[Jole’s dialogue written by Jaxen]]
[Image: Jole-1-e1691662502530.jpg?w=387&ssl=1]
Chapter 8: Shit. Okay, new plan. 

He’d never seen the barbaric act performed. It wasn’t needed in the height of his Age, and during the War of Power, it was simpler to obliterate someone then cleave their power. Jole expected it to be unpleasant, and he steeled himself for the ordeal.

It was like getting your spine ruthlessly torn from your back.

He staggered and barely prevented himself from falling; he refused to give Devika the satisfaction as he mentally tested the truth of sensing the One Power just beyond the reach of his grasp. Each breath he took sent searing pain through his ribs like he couldn’t catch his breath, and he wrapped an arm around himself in order to right his balance, but before the shock of the Gentling could fully recede, she tilted his chin again. The look in her eye said she was far from finished, and the One Power surged through his body once more. "Stop. What are you doing?"

In the moments that followed, he remained in silence. He snapped only because he couldn't unleash the tension that gripped every muscle tight, promising vengeance he couldn’t act upon.

Even when he looked away from the woman, he sensed her staring back at him, malevolent and cautious. Instead, he paced, stealing glances at the door that otherwise offered no opportunity for escape, and he rubbed his chin while his mind sifted through the options.

As he turned back, he acknowledged that he’d been outmaneuvered. She’d interpret that as frustration, but mixed with his anger was the smug contemplation of a burgeoning new plan. 

“Hand-Chosen by the Great Lord of the Dark to be a ruler of the world forever.” The announcement was proud but colored with a tone of mockery.

He fixed the dead of his eyes upon Devika’s.

“Forsaken by the Light.”



“These are my names.”

“But my favorite is Jole Addam Messosin.” He listed them one by one, finally bowing with the nonchalant grace of one accustomed to applause upon uttering his birth name. He doubted if history even remembered it; most of the Chosen’s were long forgotten.

He took a fresher breath, steadying himself for what he assumed would be rejection in some form or another.

He began to wander around the room, picking up random objects and examining them before haphazardly placing them back in their original positions. His nimble fingers brushed along drapes, and he ran his hands over the luxurious textures of the décor. He glanced out of the window, surveying the vast expanse below the fortress's towering walls and the distant horizon. A nod of approval accompanied his glance. "I should've been given this room," he declared. It was a significant upgrade from a dungeon, but Jole had never so much as spent a night in shackles.

Then he leisurely sprawled out on her bed, still fully clothed, crossing his booted feet at the ankles and placing his hands behind his head, making himself quite comfortable. Yet he remained vigilant, watching for her reaction. He knew that little might be visible, but he now had an advantage, being able to sense her responses to his provocations.

“I would never have done that, you know.” He squinted thoughtfully after he said it. He did much he never imagined doing, perhaps he ought not to say never, he mused, and shrugged the thought away.

“What do you plan to do next? Hmm? You will need my cooperation at some point, and I have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle. So, I will make you a deal.”

His lips twitched with a sly smile.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
[Image: Devika-Sedai.jpg]
Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah

Devika watched him pace. For all her apparent ease, the tension strung her through in those long moments. His emotions were thorny and layered, and she spent no time trying to untangle them into sense. Whatever this man felt was likely as duplicitous as the lies dripped from his lips, and she would trust none of it. His listing of names made her blood run cold, yet she only looked back with chin aloft. She had meant what she said – the manner of this new “alliance” depended entirely on his willingness to be reasonable. A name to call him by was one small token towards that end.

“Jole, then,” was all she said in response, simple as that. The declaration came easily. Meanwhile he continued his foray about the room, ingratiating himself to comfort in a way she presumed was meant to irk her. Despite that knowledge, Devika’s brow lifted haughtily in response, mostly for his boots on her sheets. She was watching every move like she was stuck in a cage with a wild and slightly dirty animal, and apparently he had the manners of one, but for now she only wished to see his reactions unfettered.

“Seized upon an advantage, you mean?”

She did not know whether he meant the severance or the bonding, but either way she dismissed the claim of moral highground, especially from a Forsaken. Given the opportunity, none would have done differently. This was a war.

At his words she only made an indication that he continue. If he expected her to be offended by the notion he was in any position to bargain with her, for he certainly wasn’t, then it proved unfounded. By the slight curve of her lips she was even curious to give him the chance. She rested her chin upon her hand, one slender finger aloft against her cheek in a pose of patience. As it happened he was not entirely wrong about her needing his cooperation; she did. But she also knew she would have it, whether he offered it or not. The bond between them assured such things as obedience, if he would not know it yet. But she preferred honey over the whip.

“I have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle. For instance, after you Heal me, I will go for a haircut and shave at the Baths. I expect company whenever I want it, and I could use new clothes. Frankly, you don’t want me to get bored.”

Somehow it did not surprise her that he began with frippery and self-indulgence. He left the bed and squat before her chair, looking up into her eyes as if he could peer into her very mind. Devika stared back, though it was not entirely comfortable to do so –  it was a pointed reminder that the connection worked both ways. Yet she had not acted without understanding the sacrifice it required, and she would not baulk. Certainly not now the deed was done.

“I can feel your Power, your connection to the Source.” His eyes sank to her chest, but it wasn’t the displayed skin that they roamed. His voice was darker when he continued. “I may be unable to touch the Source myself, but I am not without Power. Can you feel it - Him - in me?” Those eyes, which had seen so much, returned to hers, boring as surely as the Dark One’s prison dug ever deeper into the Pattern.

“My soul is a conduit to Him, and now you’ve bonded yours to mine. You keep me happy, and I’ll keep the wall in tact.” He moved away, that same chin that she tilted so seductively now angled with newly revealed arrogance. “Because the moment I tear it down, you’ll feel the sheer magnificence of His power, beg Him to take you, and you’ll swear your oaths then and there.” He gave a pointed look, one that reminded her he still summon Myrddraal that very night.

“And I don’t think you want that.”

She was still for a moment more, considering both his words and his manner of delivery. Jole swapped personas like the mask of costume. It was chilling; this juxtaposition of frivolous, lazy Jorin, and the three-thousand year old Forsaken who smirked beneath his skin. When she lowered her hand, it was to rest both arms comfortably. Negotiation was in her blood, but she had always been blunt in the Mayener way.

“I have no objections to your being presentable, and Light knows I do not care who you bed. Whatever luxury you wish for yourself,” she waved a dismissive hand. “Hm, I do not care to forbid it. But the work will come first, and if your dalliances cause trouble, they will end. There will be no begging off with a headache, Jole. No more pleas nor demands for healing because you choose to spend your nights sodden. I do not mean to spend another thirty years allowing the Shadow more time to grow. We are going to hunt them out, you and I, and destroy them. Work the Lord Dragon should have set you to long ago.”

To that end Devika would be utterly ruthless. There was a shine of it in her expression; the devotion of one who recognised little boundary in her pursuit of the Light’s purpose, including this one – using the Dark One’s own sworn man as a weapon. In the undeniable force of her goals, Jole could be a tool or a hindrance; either way she claimed responsibility for this risk the moment she petitioned the Dragon for control of him. For the rest, she did not know whether he spoke true or not. There was hardly a precedence upon which to draw wisdom. But for the mere chance it might be possible she must consider it a threat, though. All the more reason to insist on the accompaniment of a Maiden: a failsafe against the prospect she might ever be used in such a way. Better dead than Dark.

The resolution in her was undiminished.

“You think it is a bonding of souls?” She made a sympathetic tsk as she rose from her seat, smoothing the skirts over her hips. His so-called deal fell too close to the threat of betrayal for her liking, and she did not appreciate such bribery. Why not simply enact it now? It would grant the freedom his glances at the door seemed to indicate was his desire. No clarity came from his emotions. He was going to be trickier than she’d like to handle. But she expected, as with most things, it must simply come down to choices. If, at least for now, this was Jole’s best one, it said a lot for the doors slammed shut in his face. Or perhaps his ultimate intentions. He must be accustomed to the long game. He’d been playing it for three light-forsaken decades already after all.

“You should know,” she continued, “that the bond of an Aes Sedai comes with certain benefits. Stamina, for one.” Her eyes cut a sly look and small smile as she languorously moved to readjust some of the ornaments he’d touched. “But you should also know that if I were to die, the hole it would rent in you would likely send you mad from grief. And I don’t think you want to risk that, especially not on top of your other recent affliction.”

The last thing she moved to adjust was him. The look in her eyes was steel and fire, though the touch was matronly soft as she straightened the collar of his dishevelled shirt.

“Thirty years the Dragon’s plaything, and now you find yourself Gentled and bonded by the Light. How much favour do you think that will really earn you with your master? The other Forsaken have left you here to rot forgotten. You might see me as a jailor, Jole, but I would urge you to see me as your liberator. When the other Forsaken come for you, you might be glad to have me on your side. How our partnership goes is entirely up to you.” She did not use the phrasing without calculation, though neither was it disingenuously meant. He had no choices here, but understanding that would only make him desperate, and desperate men did foolish things. She would treat him exactly how he allowed himself to be treated. But one way or another, she would have what she needed from him.

“Soon you will know despair. Men survive longest when they have a reason. I am offering you that. Now who is the dreadlord you spoke of, and why do you believe he will be a weapon for the Lord Dragon?”

[[Jole's dialogue written by Jaxen]]

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