Asha’man of the Black Tower
“They watched for the wrong thing, and forgot when they should have been remembering.”Caban, to Bayle Domon, (The Great Hunt, Chapter 29)
Born off the coastal peninsula of Toman Head, Auden was raised in the watch towers of the Do Miere A’vron — the Watchers Over the Waves. As a child he was serious and scholarly, enamoured of the duties passed down through his bloodline: to sound the alarm when Hawkwing’s armies returned. Prophecy fascinated him, and he absorbed all he could of the various interpretations of the Karaethon Cycle, though Falme was a small town and such scraps of knowledge were difficult to come by. Sometimes he had strange dreams. Even as a young boy he insisted he would live to see the Watcher’s duty fulfilled. On the cliffs looming over the Aryth he learned sword forms from his father, and absorbed the bequeathed wisdom of his people. Together with the others in their tight-knit community, they waited.
When the first ships were finally sighted on the horizon though, everything changed.
The Seanchan punished the Watchers upon their arrival, claiming dereliction of duty — that the Do Miere A’vron were not the guards they had always believed, but that they were meant to await and welcome the Haliene; the Forerunners’ return. In restitution, the First Watcher was suspended in a cage from one of the towers overlooking the harbour, and left to die. When he did, he was duly replaced. In such a way Auden witnessed the murder of his father; it was slow and brutal, and rooted a deep and abiding hatred for the invaders ever since.
Blood washed the cobble-stoned streets of Falme soon after, and Auden took up his arms and fought. He expected to die, but the Pattern wove a different path. Instead, unbeknowst to him, he channeled for the first time.
No one he’s ever told has believed he was present for the Battle of Falme, and bore witness to the sounding of the Horn of Valere. As such he rarely speaks of it these days. But it seeded the first of his obsessions with magical artefacts and the ways they might be used to secure the future; a calling that would follow him throughout his life.
When the dust settled, Auden left the only home he had ever known.
He travelled north into neighbouring Arad Doman, seeking to continue his blood-sworn duty to warn of what was coming. But rumour writhed instead with the foretold arrival of the Dragon Reborn, overshadowing everything else. People were afraid, but not of the invaders on their shore. Unperturbed, Auden recalculated. He was barely a full grown man, with not a penny to his name nor a reputation to brandish in its stead. If the world was to listen, he needed to become someone it would listen to.
Some months later, the Sickness caught up. Wracked with fever, he finally had an epiphany.
He realised that in order to begin building the foundations of power he would need, he must accept the Dragon’s offer to test any man who asked for it. He set his direction for Andor and the newly established Black Tower — in those days still just a humble farmhouse. When he was tested, it was confirmed he was a channeler.
The Black Tower
Auden was a dedicated and ruthless student of the One Power, willing to push himself to great limits in order to make new discoveries. Even the thick miasma of the taint around saidin did not dissuade him. He shared what he unearthed with his brothers, earning a reputation as a teacher among them — albeit one that exacted upon his students the same standards he required of himself. He demonstrated great skill and aptitude, and was often consulted for his opinion. As such he rose the ranks quickly. He never spoke much of his origins, beyond being a Falmen, but many who came to the Tower had things to hide. No one ever questioned him on his past.
He made great use of the Tower’s resources, and founded its modest library, which for a time he lived above. If he was not in the practice yard, this was usually where he could be found. He studied everything. Law, politics, history. By the time he earned the dragon pin he wanted to be ready for the game board of the world.
After earning the dragon pin, among the first new duties he undertook was to formally teach the Tower’s Soldiers and Dedicated. He was exacting in the process, but usually achieved remarkable results, for he never asked for anything he was unable or unwilling to commit to himself. Auden quickly amassed a notoriety for being the Asha’man the trainees most sought to impress. He favoured the brightest and most promising in particular, and was known to lead gruelling patrols along the Blightborder. If he pushed his students hard, he rewarded them well for their devotion too. Camaraderie was worn like a badge. He understood the difference between pushing a man and breaking him.
However sometimes the duties were darker. There were rare times his students proved themselves to be too unstable from the cumulative effects of the taint. When it was deemed necessary by the M’hael, Auden was the one to euthanise them. He always performed the duty personally, and did the job cleanly and without emotion.
Later, he took responsibility for the warders-in-training discovered amongst the White Tower’s flock, among them Kentrillo Orander, one day to become infamous; and Shadow al’Mere, the man who’d later become widely regarded as the Black Tower’s most competent M’hael. He also taught the future Asha’man king, Daryen Daimon. As such Auden grew a reputation for spotting and cultivating talent.
Before long, he was raised to Tsorovan’m’hael under Michael Whiteraven.
Auden served as second until the end of Whiteraven’s reign, and continued to do so under al’Mere. The man quickly proved to be a brilliant and well-loved leader. The Tower flourished under his care, alongside the Aes Sedai he had bonded, Lythia Sedai of the Green Ajah. Auden approved greatly of the changes the two wrought. It was the first time the White Tower had had any notable presence on Black Tower grounds. Before then, Auden had never considered the ways saidin and saidar might work together.
Content that the Tower was in good hands, during this time Auden took duties that toured the nations, seeking to raise the Black Tower’s profile and trust in the wake of saidin’s cleansing. His beginnings were humble. Falme was practically a backwater to the rest of the world, and secluded amongst the Do Miere A’vron he’d had little experience of the Great Game. But he was personable and charming, and he learned. Fortunately for him, he also found a good teacher.
Auden has never openly or privately declared his deeply anti-Seanchan prejudices, and the list of people who might suspect the truth about his motivation and ambition is very small. The Dragon’s peace has always made him uneasy in as far as the Seanchan are concerned, but he has always outwardly obeyed. Yet over the years he has made certain to strike strong links with those countries most entrenched in Seanchan influence. It is said that he is particularly close with the current Panarch of Tarabon.
Interspersed with the role of envoy, he also pursued more selfish ends during his travels; chasing the ethereal gleam of prophecy, and the more tangible gleam of ter’angreal. It is perhaps not surprising to note how often these can be found sequestered in the caches of the rich and wealthy.
An obsession with power-wrought objects has naturally placed him in the Red Ajah’s path on numerous occasions, though it was an encounter with Marjolie Sarand that proved the most notable.
(details of their meeting forthcoming… but essentially they work together studying the OP and ter’angreal, and eventually she asks to bond him)
He did not desire the connection, but he did desire what she knew — and to possess what she could do.
Marjolie Sarand, Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah
Marjolie is former Andoran nobility, a daughter of House Sarand, whose sigil features two golden boars on a crimson background. The House itself has long since been relegated to disgrace, after the High Seat opposed Morgase in the third war of succession — though Marjolie had left for training at the White Tower long before that.
She is tall and fair, with delicate features and a penchant for lace, beautiful hats, and primly feminine attire. She has long been ageless, and she would find it insufferably rude to be asked her age.
Marjolie possesses the talent to create ter’angreal, though she had already been Aes Sedai for years when the knowledge was rediscovered and she realised her gift for it. Her bond with Auden is not publicly known, in part owing to the stigma still present for members of the Red Ajah to do so, especially a channeling man, and in part because they are an unconventional pairing. The two work together frequently in their study of the One Power and the objects made with it, but spend no social time together. As part of their arrangement, she taught Auden on the intricacies of Daes Dae’mar.
Marjolie does not visit the Black Tower, and none there would recognise her.
The Poison Chalice
Shockwaves rent the Black Tower the year the M’hael Shadow al’Mere was assassinated. With the loss, the stability of the Black Tower ended suddenly. His chosen successor, Roal Tambrin, never managed more than shaky control, and Auden returned to the Tower to try and stem the damage. But Tambrin’s rule was plagued. Rumour never quite died as to his allegiances, and there were deep rooted fears of the Dark One’s touch upon the Black Tower. No one could explain what had happened to al’Mere; how such an important and powerful man could be killed in his own seat of power. Auden led an investigation himself, to a cold dead end. In a community of half-mad men, the uncertainty was unravelling.
During these years chaos reigned, with the Dark One’s forces breaching the White Tower’s walls for the first time in its history, led by the Dreadlord Arikan.
Tambrin’s tenure at the helm was blessedly short after that. Privately, Auden called upon the Dragon to intervene, and upon earnest presentation of the evidence, the man was replaced with Larnair. The new M’hael had his work carved out for him to repair the damage, and is more openly ruthless than Auden considers necessary, though he understands why. He chose to cleanse the Tower and drape the Traitor’s Tree as it had not been so bloodily furnished in years. It was brutal, but effective.
In the time that has passed since, the two have disagreed on much, culminating in Auden recently laying down his title.
The Amayar Cove
After the discovery made by Kekura din Anor and Lennox Orander of a treasure trove hidden on Masau’u, one of the islands belonging to the Amayar, Auden tasked himself to lead the project of retrieving and cataloguing the artefacts left behind. The work is being completed incrementally, alongside Marjolie, and will likely span years. But since his most recent conflict with Larnair, Auden has been consumed with the quest, spending long swathes of time dedicated to it. Six months have passed during which he has barely left. It is the longest time he has ever spent in the company of the Aes Sedai who holds his bond. She sends frequent reports back to the White Tower. From Auden there has only been silence.
Dark blonde hair, usually swept back from his face. Strong, chiselled features and cheeks darkened with neat stubble. His eyes are greyish blue, like the sky before a storm. Auden is tall, broad, and well-built. He has a tattoo on his inner forearm, consisting of simple dots. The first was obtained from a sailor at the harbours of Falme.
He has an endless thirst and passion for knowledge, and will sacrifice anything in order to attain it. When his interest is piqued he possesses an intensity and focus that some find intimidating. Once a task is set he will pursue it ruthlessly, though not blindly; he will adjust his methods as needed.
Natural charisma soaks his aura. He is the son of a leader, born to be a leader himself. The maintenance of scholarly interest softens a warrior’s exterior, and he will philosophise at length when the mood strikes him. Auden is surprisingly softly-spoken; a voice others are usually compelled to pay heed to.
His humble and close-knit beginnings stoke in him an easy manner with others. If he is at times brooding, he is also affable. Even soldiers know they may risk a knock upon his door; particularly as he has a reputation for taking interest in those who show the most skill and promise. Auden’s favour is greatly prized among students and peers alike.
Gifts and Curses
In all rebirths, he is born with the talent of Dreaming. Auden keeps much close to his chest, and has not revealed this gift. The astute may notice that he often carries a small journal. The words within are written in cipher.
The signs of madness in Auden are not clear, though he was channeling long before the cleansing. Given his temperament and manner, it’s easy to forget. The effects are there, though.
1st Age: Born as Sören Lindgren.
6th Age: Born as the Norse all-father, Odin.