This soul is a story of destiny being shaped by the life you are born into. That circumstances of one’s birth and the events that unfold are more powerful than independent will. It’s unknown if his is a soul that is filled with a core of darkness or one of light. Every age in which he is spun lends to great ambiguity as to what sort of creature emerges. In one turning of the Wheel, a man is born who goes by the name of Arikan. What follows is his story for this Age and this Turning.
Regardless of allegiance and masters served, the soul’s personality is largely unchanged with each spinning. He focuses intently on a goal and will sacrifice morals to achieve it. He is selfish and manipulative, but not so merciless as to be without the capacity for empathy. As a result, his cunning yields effective results. Perhaps in compensation of a soul powerless to achieve its independent will, he craves power and attention. A workaholic, he does not tie himself to other people and finds the thinnest relationships distracting. This is not to say he will not serve a master, and in fact can be very loyal when he chooses.
As a thread, he usually is born with the spark to channel. Sometimes he is quite powerful a channeler and others less so, but in all threads he is a dreamwalker. It is that talent that is his defining trait and attracts the attention of rulers, gods, kings, masters and in the 2nd and 3rd Ages, the Dark One himself.
The Dark One’s trap
In one turning of the wheel, at the time of the 2nd Age, he lived a life seeking prestige. His exploits of Tel’Aran’Rhiod via unethical pursuits landed him a position of honor, that of a governor of one of the Dominions. Years into the war, his position transformed into one of a military general, and it was at this time a former friend was tasked to recruit him to the Shadow. Asristin refused to switch sides despite the obviously waning war. As a result, the Shadow resorted to more supernatural means to convert him. He was taken to the heart of dark power where his thread was subjected to a type of compulsion only the power of Shai’tan could enact: death and resurrection as a new creature. One hopelessly loyal to the Shadow. It was the echo of his strategy throughout the remainder of the War of Shadow that inspired Arikan’s siege of Tar Valon in the next life.
A troubled child
As a result of the Dark One’s reconstruction of his thread, when he was reborn in the 3rd Age, while the Dark One’s hold on reality remained: he was born a darkfriend.
Little is known of Arikan’s origins. Even he himself has forgotten the details. His mother was a prostitute in the city of Tear, who for one reason or another opted to keep this particular child where others were not so lucky. She found raising a son born to darkness difficult, and her own child frightened her. Thus, when the Shadow found him, he was immediately initiated into their legions and never looked back. He was 14 when he first murdered someone in the name of the Shadow’s interests. He took to the work swiftly and passionately. He was 18 when he first channeled.
“You can take your bloody, Light-kissing flame and go burn your bloody mother with it!”
Furiously, he refused to participate in this ridiculous exercise any longer, and stood from the table, kicking his own chair out from underneath it as he did. Mutters of curses continued.
“I am not done with you until I say we are done,” came a calm reply from the man across the table. The room was dim, and the sole window indicated it was after nightfall. Only a small fire and a few candles burned.
“Oh believe me, we are done.” Arikan deftly drew a sword, impressively smooth for one his age. In one graceful motion the withdrawal turned into an attack as he lunged into the beginning of a form.
The man at the table shook his head.
Arikan gasped as he suddenly felt a noose close around his throat. His body lifted, dead weight hung from the invisible bondages at his neck. They slid up under his jaw. The sword clattered from his grasp. The freed hands tore at the bonds, but there was nothing to grab hold. Shock wore off quickly as the reality of the situation sank in. His feet stretched. Trying to reach the floor.
Thoughts of shock turned to those of escape. His eyes swiveled around in his skull, searching for something to reach with his boots. His fingers sought some sort of knot to undo around his neck. But soon thoughts of escape slowed to those of revenge. His feet and hands started to tingle with numbness. His vision began to blur and as his weight seemed to get heavier and heavier he found too little energy to continue. With the last of his vision he saw the man at the table calmly sipping a glass of wine, pretending the suffocating victim was not even present.
Finally, he stopped struggling and he hoped his neck would snap so the pain would end.
As soon as he stopped struggling, he collapsed to the floor in a great heap. He gasped for air, but his lungs burned like retinas did in the sunlight. As he lay, cheek against the cool tile, he heard a voice.
“Stupid. What good did you think a sword would do against me?”
Arikan hated that calm voice, but he didn’t want to give the man the satisfaction of seeing him suffer any longer. By sheer force of will and thoughts of revenge, he pushed himself to a shaky stand. He wanted to reach to his throat for reassurance, but withheld that movement as well.
“I see I have your attention.” The man smiled a twisted smile and reached to sip his wine once more, nodding toward the chair that was once occupied by Arikan.
Arikan left his sword on the floor and retook the chair, his eyes staring hard into those of the one who tested him. Suddenly a flame appeared between them both and he tried to empty his thoughts, difficult considering each breath and swallow of dry spit still brought pain. This time, though, he thought he felt something.
The Dark One’s loyal servant
As a channeler and dreamwalker, Arikan moved through the lands like a deadly whisper. Under many aliases, his effects caused wars and toppled peace treaties. His long life taught him patience, and he would often stay in one place for years before abandoning the identity. Many nations were his targets. Once infiltrated, he undermined stability, propped up darkfriend alliances, and disrupted strongholds of light wherever he went.
(920 NE) Ebarin Jarene
(920 NE) Ebarin Jarene
Amadician Lord that worked to negotiate the transformation of the royal palace into the Fortress of the Light. The change of power set up the Children of the Light to all but rule the nation of Amadicia afterward. His time here taught him much of the ways of the children, knowledge he later used to great effectiveness.
(957 NE) Jeremel Nessad
(957 NE) Jeremel Nessad
Under-Lieutenant of the Children of the Light. He kidnapped Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar, King of Illian, when he was a young ruler countering the expansion of the Children of the Light during the Whitecloak War. He disappeared for several days and returned with a broken nose and a change of heart.
The horse drew no extra eye. Average flesh, worth the coin to buy it, but suitable to a Hundredman or Under-Lieutenant’s salary. The saddle bore signs of use, but the normal wear of countless mounting. That the horse was led by the reigns by a man striding ahead did not call at any of those on the sidelines: some repairing armor, others eating, chores orderly performed, chaos contained. But those men who found themselves glancing toward the one walking so purposefully among them shrugged off the sight as yet another captured darkfriend led for judgment.
Jeremel primarily ignored any salute presented to him along his procession, though once in a while he grimly checked the cargo born by the animal he walked. His arrival at the camp’s center was unannounced, without fanfare, only with the exchange of salutes, fist to cloak overlaid across his heart and a short bow.
“Inform the Lord Captain Under-Lieutenant Nessad has need of a judgment under the Light.”
The trooper glanced at the presumed need for judgment and gave a silent nod, only to disappear into the pitched tent, turning the oiled cloth to a glow from the soft light of lampstands flickering within. Jeremel scanned the open area around them, meeting the eyes of others standing guard as he did. None of them recognized his face, though the ranks were clear in armor and cloak, his own included. A few of those squinted through the night shadows at the cargo, but like the squadmen of the camp, dismissed both he and the presumed criminal just as quickly.
Flaps flung back and the Lord Captain himself emerged, scowl grazing across Jeremel as well as the reason his night was interrupted.
“Cut him loose.”
Jeremel met his superior’s gaze and promptly saluted, gloved fist bounding to heart with a bow, and silently obeyed the order. Within two steps the long line of steel was withdrawn and sliced cleanly through the rope connecting saddle to the frayed wrists of the man dragged on the ground behind.
“Get him inside.”
Two troopers immediately obeyed and the criminal withdrawn to a holding tent, tied to the center pole, his own weight hanging unconscious against the bonds. Still alive, but if any stock were put into the split skin across his face, the half-clotted wad of blood slipping down his throat or the off-set jaw jutting to one side he appeared to have put up quite the attempt to resist arrest.
Both the man responsible for capturing this criminal and the officer to whom he reported followed, were relieved of company, and examined their captive.
“Didn’t expect you for another week Nessad.”
“You honor me, Lord Captain.”
“Prove its him.”
Nessad knelt, the pooling of the snowy cloak on the floor hiding the mud-caked blemish of a long, hard ride. A fist full of the criminal’s hair and he pulled the limp face up. It was a young face of a strong man, probably 10 years behind Jeremel. His coloring was dark and he wore a short beard oiled to a point. Might have been called handsome, certainly noble, but hints of regality were hidden behind swollen eyelids and a blacked nose which would never sit straight again. If this weren’t enough, Nessad thrust the head back and swiped at the mud and shit cakes against what was formerly a very nice shirt. His fine robes were shredded but a sigil was apparent. Three leopards sewn on black were barely made out, the silver dulled by his drag to this tent.
Nessad took to his full height again. He was not done. A half-recognizable face slightly reminiscent of a given description was hardly evidence. Clothes could be faked. So, he withdrew his final prize from his among own person and offered it to the Lord Captain. It was a ring. A sigil ring. That did it.
“How’d you do it?”
Nessad did not answer. He had his ways.
“You will not have so many liberties, Under-Lieutenant, once the Lord Captain Commander is done with you.”
Nessad shrugged, confident no such thing would ever come to pass. 10 years or so and he would move on, arranging his own ‘death’ so as to not be branded a deserter. Easily by now, he was well practiced at such arrangements. Jeremel Nessad would probably die in the next few years, after this business between Amadicia and Altara was concluded. Pity, he always liked that name.
The Lord Captain took his exit, and he was alone with his captive, who stirred himself awake again, eyes rolling their first swollen look around.
Jeremel watched, amused, but was not completely heartless. The man deserved to know where he was and be properly greeted.
“Welcome to Sormaine, King Mattin.”
(975 NE) Emorian Dimas
(975 NE) Emorian Dimas
High Lord of Tear who made sure that support from Tear was weakened prior to the Aiel invasion of Cairhein.
A large manor with a wide patio overlooked a well manicured slope. Beyond lay a calm, blue bay, a part of the ocean that had cut its way beyond the breakwaters a league out. A man appeared to lounge on this patio, leaning against one of the columns and taking in the view, occasionally sipping at a glass of wine. Not an overly tall man, but dark-skinned with equally dark hair and eyes, a touch of arrogance in the way he leaned against that column, enhanced by the ripples of lace exploding at the wrists. He wore the puffy striped sleeves of a Tairen Lord’s overcoat. The eyes of High Lord Amalric Tamison saw more than the green landscaping and blue bay; they saw something that made him nervous, even a touch of sweat slicked his brow.
“Ready for a refill?” The namesake of the Dimas Manor announced his arrival, given his fellow Lord enough time alone with his thoughts; but never too alone. The man frowned into his cup, but to Dimas’ surprise, he did not throw the empty vessel aside. He lay it gently on the balustrade and turned.
Amalric turned slowly, the voice of his host was correct, but void of the council’s accent, hardly the sounds of Tear at all. He found the correct face though. Tan skin and dark hair, beard oiled to a short point, padded silk coat, gold thread, tight breeches and silver-worked boots. Taller and broader than Amalric was High Lord Emorian Dimas, wafting an amused presence not undermined by the lace at his throat and perfume at his wrists.
“Try this vintage.” The High Lord delicately placed a new glass before Amalric, who eyed the liquid suspiciously with a long sigh. While he retrieved the new glass, Emorian took in the view, and tugged the gloves from his hands. He took care to avoid touching them further, placing them aside with a handkerchief for protection.
“Bit extreme for a woman, isn’t it Dimas?”
“Hmm?” He turned to regard his fellow councilman. “Suppose it would be. If this was about my wife.”
What was that accent? It almost sounded common. But of all the accents to fake, why study the commoners? “You knew from the beginning?” High Lords dueled over lesser offenses than stealing each other’s wives in the night.
Of course he knew from the beginning. Lady Dimas found the order to betray her husband’s bed curious at the time, but took the role fondly, enjoying the game while she could. Emorian was glad to be rid of her, honestly.
Amalric picked up the glass and examined the liquid, finding it to be no different in appearance to the previous wine, before looking once more around the perimeter of the patio. “And the hunting trip?”
“Unfortunate accident. We did all we could.”
“Then what’s it about!” What was that blasted accent!? He downed the wine in one swallow and raised the empty glass in defiant salute before tossing it over the edge. His pride be damned.
His gray eyes flatly followed the glass, throwing hints of the sun as it flew out of sight. “Cairhien is about to be invaded.”
“Not by us, Lord Tamison. Aiel.” Emorian sat, lounging in one of his patio’s cushions, crossing his legs leisurely. “Tear will send a good army to aid the Cairhienin, we cannot have savages threatening our trade, can we? Assuming Laman takes the bait and draws them away from the border.” He said as in after thought.
“Yours would be ranking command, at least 25,000 Tairens. I anticipate a Third Covenant and out of the nations within range to get troops to Cairhien in time, probably 2nd or 3rd in command of the entire Alliance, depending on how many Shienar can afford to send south of the Border. You would have amassed an enormous army at your fingertips.”
For the shock of this unanticipated news, Amalric was taking it fairly well. “And you want the command?” The entire council suspected Dimas when he showed up, one of the youngest of them to win High Nobility in the last century, rising in council rank steadily year after year. Many years later, he looked much the same, if not exactly the same.
Emorian gestured, Amalric might as well take a seat. They had a minute or two to kill. “Of course, but that would be rather obvious, don’t you think? No, Astoril will inherit in your absence.”
“Astoril Damara!?” Indeed Amalric sat, finding himself light-headed as Emorian nodded, waiting for the drink to take effect. As host to this little soiree, the apparently youthful High Lord found some amusement in revealing his plans to the dying, always had, people tend to react in interesting ways to surprising news when facing the grave. “Astoril will be lucky to conjure 10,000. It’d be easier to ballast and dump every soldier into the Sea of Storms!”
“Oh? Is that how you would have preferred it?”
Amalric rubbed his head, having sent enough of his own to watery graves. There was a reason he didn’t refuse the second glass of wine.
Emorian continued. “Rest assured. Tear will be in good hands, Lord Tamison. Cairhein will likely come through the war thinner, but that’s the point.”
The High Lord looked up, finding his breathing to be labored now. “What is the point then? Lord. Dimas.” He spit the title back.
High Lord Emorian Dimas rose and slowly paced his way forward, lightly grasping his hands behind his back and randomly fluffing the lace at his wrists as he did. “Cairhien has grown far too powerful of late. No one nation needs too much power. The Congress likes to spread the risk around.”
Amalric fought to remain upright and collapsed backward. His breath quickened. Out of all that was revealed, the woman, Aiel, Cairhien, Astoril, only one thing really bothered him. He had to accept his fate, but he had to know. “Are you even from Tear?” His dark eyes rolled up at the blue sky one last time.
Emorian turned and watched his fellow councilman die. The body rolled to the ground in a crumple of silk and lace. Arikan was too late the answer in time, but with an amused smile, he did anyway. “Of course. Can’t expect a High Lord of Tear to be anything but Tairen.”
(1000+NE) Darius Stowyn
(1000+NE) Darius Stowyn
Asha’man of the Black Tower. A natural learner and effortlessly obedient, this apparent former soldier arrived in the Black Tower and advanced swiftly. The transfer of power from Whiteraven to al’Mere grew the Black Tower’s stability and arms. His sole purpose was to undermine what was built by Shadow al’Mere. He was away from the Blight for a year during the mission, but the work was necessary. This culminated in betraying and assassinating the M’Hael through the combination of compulsion, poison and deployment of a Gray Man. Darius disappeared shortly after the funeral pyres ceased smouldering.
Concrete. Brick. Iron. Cast into a structure by the bonds of Saidin to outlast even the longest of lives. Including his own. Its towering flames were close enough to touch by those black silhouettes surrounding the pyre. Guarding the Guardian, those eight men called this final watch. Making sure the body kissed by flames was watched to the end. Honored Asha’man all surrounded by the remainder of their numbers, respect and honor fortifying the mourn from their faces, a spread from the emboldened young to the seasoned veteran. Fools they all were.
One such guardian with otherwise noble pins guarded with gray eyes eclipsed in the monotony of the consumption. Seeming in strength and face in the peak of life, Darius waited, lethargic to the tediousness of his current identity. Yet seeing victory where others saw another broken crank in the gear of war spurred his motivation to remain in the role. At least until he could return to his true mission in the belly of the Blight.
Those Chosen to Rule the World Forever
(985 NE) He was one of the first brought before the Chosen when Lord Ishamael returned. Arikan was first introduced to the still concealed members of the Black Ajah at these gatherings, but where he spent the last 200 years moving across the nations, his focuses were quickly redirected. He became a Dreadlord in earnest, amassing forces in the Blight for the coming Last Battle. He spent many years building the Dark One’s strength, both in numbers and in orderly obedience. The forges were hotter than ever, and decades passed in the blink of an eye. These were the years that his status and rank were acknowledged. The release of the remaining Chosen from the prison at Shayol Ghul accelerated his service. He was loyal to Demandred, specifically, but it was Ishamael, and later Moridin, that he aspired to serve. His skills as a Dreamwalker, Dreadlord and General of tens of thousands of Shadowspawn culminated in the greatest assault on Tar Valon in its 3,000 year history. It was his intention to rank among the Chosen himself. This ambition hinged on the success of destroying the White Tower. The Lord of the Dark gave Arikan his chance to prove himself, and the rest of the Chosen stayed out of the battle as witness to his great success or utter failure. None believed he was capable.
The dying light of dusk cast dim outlines of furniture and walls, but otherwise, the apartment was dark. Some chairs, a sedan. Books orderly lined some shelves. The place was currently habited, though not by the man lounging in one of those chairs, foot resting on opposite knee and apparently far too relaxed for the likes of a simple chair. A keen man would note the chosen position, view of the entering hallway, and angle against the window and remaining light; Likely, any sitting in such a manner had one purpose and it wasn’t friendly.
An orb of light burst through the door then ahead of its creator. His only movements were to cease thumbing at the pommel of a dagger resting bare against his knee. Then the woman who was responsible entered. As he planned, she did not see him yet, and he hadn’t need of vision to warn of her approach; he sensed it.
She checked her face in a mirror, then tossed some belongings on a short table, milling about the furniture until the room came to life as the lamps and fireplace lit, again, not by his hand, but rather, by hers.
In the flood of light she suddenly saw him. To her credit, her surprise was frozen on lips parted, but control held back the gasp. She “straightened, seeming to accept he wasn’t jumping up to kill her.
“Melodramatic, aren’t you?” He did not answer in turn, eyes watchful, but resumed thumbing the hilt of that dagger on his knee.
She sniffed at his silence, but in the tension that hung on the air, each further examined the other. It was the first time both glimpse the open face of the other. She was ageless, as they all were, but young in Arikan’s standards. A mop of brunette hair was piled on her head. She wore one of the red dresses her claimed Ajah was so proud to own.
Her steps cautiously drew her across the room, her room.. past the furniture, skirt grazing over the red scrolled carpet. They were in the Red Ajah, within the heart of the White Tower itself. They both wore silk, his coat likewise as red as her dress. Though the remainder of clothing was black and all heavily threaded with gold, hers was far less ornate. He raised that dagger an inch off his knee in warning then, a move which halted her cautious progress forward.
“You will not tell me what to do in my own apartment!”
She eyed that dagger, then the man who ordered her while barely moving an inch, then rolled her eyes and frowned. An unattractive combination for her.
“He told you my name then?”
Yes. Though it was unnecessary to how he came to be sitting in her apartment.
She exhaled, masking that face of hers in nothingness.
“Well He told me Yours too.”
She was testing him, just as he was her.
Lairona laughed. Arikan’s clothing, the dagger, the chair, neat hair, clean shaven. Her comment was not without regard.
“You think you’re the next Chosen, don’t you? Look at you. All blacks and reds. Wearing His colors.”
His grip closed over the blade of that dagger he’d been thumbing.
He stood. He had no need to use the dagger. But there was something special in the eyes when its point pricked soft flesh.
She tensed, that face of hers hardening into a stone mask but otherwise held her ground. She had the instinct to recoil at his sudden approach, steps which never hesitated, though she found herself surprisingly submissive once the dagger was pushed against her ribcage. She did gasp then, but there was no cry of pain. Every muscle in her body tensed tight as a board. Waiting for it to stab through to the lungs. He held her there a moment. It happened so fast, she barely realized it when he withdrew, but it was all she could do to contain the rippling sensation snaking upwards from her toes like lightning.
Visibly shaking, he gestured that she take a seat, and she immediately complied despite her better judgment. When finally she forced herself to look at him, she was not at all surprised by finding his eyes dull and expression hard, she sensed them for herself.
“Stop shaking,” his first words were clipped with expectation of orders obeyed. Then he returned to the chair. “We are going to talk about my plan.” The sensation that caused her to shake dissipated instantly, but to her horror, the cluster of menacing emotions now inside her head was permanent.
The Battle of Tar Valon
The Battle of Tar Valon took place on three fronts.
Land: 50,000 Shadowspawn surrounded the island city. Dreadlords and Dark Channelers entered the city proper and sought to destroy watch towers at the bridges. Roads of the One Power transported tens of thousands of Shadowspawn to the walls, which were breeched easily.
Tel’Aran’Rhiod: Lairona Sedai of the Black Ajah was the only other dreamwalker among the Shadow capable of offense against the Light’s equivalent, namely Corele Sedai and Rikela Sedai. It was Lairona who was the face of the battle. Her moves tied up the Light’s dreamwalker defenses as decoy during Arikan’s primary offensive.
The primary offense: Since shadowspawn can not be transported by Gateways into the heart of the White Tower, the General devised a means to insert them behind the walls of Tar Valon using the World of Dreams. He himself was creating the portals in and out of the World of Dreams, which the Shadowspawn traversed within a pocket of the pattern he found and manipulated. For the first time in history, trollocs were deposited onto the grounds of the White Tower. His plan was to follow, destroy the Tower from within, and stand atop the rubble as victor.
However, Lairona was bested by Rikela and Corele Sedai. She was captured and yielded to the interrogation to save her own skin. In doing so, she revealed Arikan’s plan. Corele immediately departed to find and stop him. After Corele’s departure, Lairona tried to escape. She was killed by Rikela during the attempt. Thus Arikan knew the very moment she died. He learned of the betrayal when Corele appeared within the pocket moments later.
Arikan faced off against Corele. His anger nearly crushed her, but not before Corele destroyed the protective pocket Arikan used to transport the trolloc hordes. Arikan was forced to redirect his attention to saving the priceless fold in the dream, a pattern that could not be recreated once lost, but things were set in motion he could not prevent unraveling. The pocket was gone, and Corele fled. That left him one choice. To enter the White Tower alone, but Corele’s diversion gave her enough time to return to the waking world and call the alarm. When Arikan stepped out of the Dream, he faced a line of some of the Tower’s greatest defenses: Aes Sedai and Asha’man alike. It was in this battle that his face and identity was revealed. When it was clear that not even he could defeat so large a group, he fled for his life. The whole of the dark army was destroyed as a consequence: some 50,000 shadowspawn nursed to strength over a decade, gone.
To this day, he blames Lairona’s betrayal and Corele’s destruction as the reason for his defeat.
It was unknown even to him why his life was spared following the defeat. Yet none really know the horror of the Dark One’s punishments until they faced it for themselves. He came to realize that there was a fate worse than death. What happened to him in Shayol Ghul was one such destiny, but furthermore, for a soul begging to serve a master, what happened next was it.
It was while he was without resources, access to the darkfriend network, and actively pursued by the Chosen that he was captured. This time not by the forces of darkness, but by one of the Light. Lythia Sedai possessed some capability to shield him even he didn’t understand. He woke to find himself a prisoner at the bottom of a mine a mile from the surface.
The change from choking heat to biting chill was wearing thin, he thought. When random moments of consciousness gave him the ability to construct such thoughts. At least his location was easy to reason out: his pupils failed to recover even a flicker of light, his cheek and chest pressed into sludge slicked across an uneven terrain. Stone, he recognized, cold and dripping wet. It felt like some of the dungeons he’d traversed, but this was emptier than any he’d ever walked. The silence was defeaening. Confined to a hole, the air smelled of windless decay. It was repulsive.
If he wasn’t already familiar with subterranean environments, he’d swear the temperature was Power-manipulated. And this Light forsaken cold sludge everywhere! It felt like it was seeping through every pore of his skin. He drew his legs up to his chest for some warmth, grimacing at the feeling of bare thighs trailing through the slimy clay. Thoughts of tel’aran’rhiod and revenge flickered the edges of that flaming forest of vacancy spreading across his mind.
As negative a turn as life recently took, no anxiety over potential abandonment tipped the shit scale any further. He knew his own importance even as he meant to hide his worth like he would strength in the Power. That instinct during his youth paid off in the end, to hide strength until the right moment to play your hand. Whoever was coming, he would play their game just as deliberately, though he imagined it would take less effort to persevere this time. They wouldn’t leave him here to die. Someone would come. Eventually.
(Post-Battle of Tar Valon) Edwin Natin
Under the guise of a commoner, mentor and alias, Edwin befriended the dreamwalking warder Vladamir Armendariz through the World of Dreams. He was slowly compelling Vladamir through the dreamwalk to investigate Lythia Sedai in the waking world. He intended to find out where he was being held captive and use Vladamir to free him. This plot was rendered unnecessary when he escaped through the use of the True Power.
Arikan had dreamt once more the dream he did not remember, though this was one of the worst. The panic and dread within him drove his mind away, back to a place he could drift… the Gap of Infinity. Forever the blackness went on. Small points of light, like pinpricks in the blanket of the night, twinkled on and on into infinity. This was the gap between planes and from the gap he could find his way into other Tel’Aran’Rhiods if he so chose. The gap was also a threshold to be crossed when entered by a wrenched hole in the Pattern otherwise known as a gateway. Skimming through the blackness brought him here often in the past.
He chose to leave this existence of drifting and enter Tel’Aran’Rhiod fully then, taking the idea upon himself to sit atop the White Tower and wait, in case any happen to cross his path…
His domain, Tel’Aran’Rhiod, was elusive. Among the masters of old, the majority trembled in their fear of its magnificence with but a few competent within that glorious abyss. Old though Arikan was, he was not a relic of the Second Age; he wasn’t that old. A Master though? Well. He did not tremble.
He tracked the Stalkers of the Dream. He watched the Unseen Eyes. He fashioned the warp of the Dream’s Pattern to his will. He penetrated the Layers of the Gap of Infinity. First among men of this Age, he explored other Tel’Aran’Rhiods and each of their Gaps. If these deeds a master made, perhaps he was worthy of the title.
He would think upon these things in the dark hours to come. Now, he jerked awake with the shocked rasp of one uncontrollably caught in another’s Nightmare. Reality’s relief dawned slowly when mind commanded flesh to slap both hands across the boring pain in his side. Delayed horror fading when fingers found only the pinprick of a blood spot, not the hilt of a dagger. His dagger. It had been with his own blade she stabbed. So why when wounds taken in the Dream transcended into the physical was he left with barely a scratch?
A Master of the Dream World? Yes. Yet that wine cellar was not completely in Tel’Aran’Rhiod. Neither was the slabbed, piecemeal corpse lying within or the young, detached girl responsible for its dissection completely a part of it. A portal inside perhaps? A wormhole between? It felt like being inside a pocket, but how had she managed to pull him in against his will? Why was he helpless to watch what unfolded through the mask of his own eyes? And more importantly. Who is Elsae?
He had energy enough to sit, waiting against the slime slicking the cold wall as calm evolved into the irony of coincidence when the corpse from The Dream walked in. Imagine his surprise to see the face from Elsae’s dream living and breathing in front of him now. A vision? Prophecy? More to the surprise, that face belonged to the uniform of a Questioner. One of the Hands of the Light? Interesting.
“Welcome.” The greeting scorned. it would be amusing turn of events if he was ignorant of what the Questions did in rooms like this.
When the Inquisitor finally spoke, his tone was even and almost friendly, although it never quite touched his eyes. “Greetings, child. You shall refer to me as Inquisitor. You, are child. Once you learn matters, I might deign to let you have my name. Perhaps one day, you will earn a name too, but how long that takes is up to you.” He turned then, a few deft flicks and tugs of gloved fingers releasing the intricate knot that held the satchel shut, and the lid was flipped open, a brief flash of various tools neatly arranged to the inside flap, and surely more waiting within.
“Know child, that not even one as sullied and abused as yourself are so far gone that the Light will not embrace you, should you prove yourself deserving. Unlike some of my brethren, I do not relish in what I will do to you, nor will I shirk away. It is the end goal we desire, you and I, although you do not admit that to yourself yet. For you know fear, under all that arrogance and hatred.” He undid the clasp holding his cape in place and deftly spun it from his shoulders, folding it over in what would seem a long practised manner until it was a neat bundle to be set atop the satchel and opened flap, just enough space to accommodate the cape without it getting sullied with the squalid cell.
“Understand that I desire your redemption. Desire it so much that I would deign to work in the company a witch of the Tower.”
The rules are simple. Speak only when I address you. Ask permission to speak when I address you. You will address me only as Inquisitor. You will do anything you are told. You will only act when told. There shall be daily routines, and you shall do these without complaint or hesitation as you are told. You will make no excuse and tell no lie.” He set the removed items by the door, and turned to face him again, “Now. Strip, boy. You do not deserve clothes, as you are but a tool of an abomination. As you return to the Light, as you regain your humanity, you will earn the right to clothes.”
Arikan held his arms up. “Strip? Why, do you see something you like?”
He relaxed, laughing that he should consider touching so tired and anorexic a man, fully aware just which tier among the world’s grand players one of his kind was ranked.
“What are you Hand? Compared to the majesty that is my Master? What can you do to break me? When I have broken others with more elegant means than yours? When I’ve been remade by the Great Lord of the Dark?” Memory of fearing the Eyeless Father warped momentaril. A soul ignited in Lake of Fire; one bleeding even now that the thrill of saidin’s power on the periphery was too far to seize.
“You’ve short work, Hand. I freely admit my allegiance.” He stared proud as one who encountered one of his own; a headsman to the grave digger. “When I’ve groveled under Shai’tan’s weight and choked on the firesands at the Pit of Dhoom tell me why I should waste one of my immense thoughts on your childish name-calling.” He smirked.
“If you want me stripped. Come do it yourself.”
He intended to use Vladamir to find out about a girl named Elsae, whom he encountered in a strange place in the Dream. One that felt familiar but he did not quite understand. Nor did he understand how she pulled him into it against his will and they never having met before. However, following a deal stricken with Talin Sedai, he will use Vladamir to alternate ends.
A deal stricken
What started in the Second Age was undone when Lythia returned an object to his hands that held his soul. What the Dark One held firmly in his grasp was released, and Arikan was free to choose his allegiance. He vowed to never bend a knee to another. His loyalty to the Dark One dissolved, replaced with the obsession of revenge and a willingness to do anything to achieve it.
Following his escape from Lythia’s torturer, he landed deep in the countryside of Tear. It had been a thoughtless destination. Conjured from some buried memory. The effects of the torture settled to quick and near-fatal consequences. A Yellow who had been in the region followed the disturbing rumors to the farmstead where she found the remains of an emaciated man dying from infection. It was obvious he’d been subjected to torture, and she quickly deduced his real identity. Their deal was struck, and she healed him.
Allies & Enemies
Current Incarnation: Adrian Kane
2nd Age: Asristin Kyrineas Somneus
5th Age: Azazel
6th Age: Morpheus