Fanfic:Martyr's Pardon/Chapter Three

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Martyr's Pardon/Chapter Three
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In the common room, the contrast to the atmosphere in the moments they shared in their own room was blatant.

They seated themselves in a corner, and signed to each other when they spoke - sharing private recollections of the past without anyone overhearing. They spoke of times where they had barely managed to escape being noticed as they met after curfew - back when they had been Dedicated and Ji'dar - even Drin'far'ji. They spoke of previous conversations, and - if a bit shyly - a few intimate moments in the Loft and other places.

Lucan tried to avoid the topic of their current journey and did not ask her why she had chosen him to accompany her. All in all, he tried to make her comfortable - make her at ease in his company since he could sometimes read anxiety in her body language. They ordered their meal and drank moderately. Lucan ordered crayfish and was recommended a mulled wine that he suffered through with carefully controlled disdain for shore-bound taste in beverages.

It felt very strange to be here like this, Mouse realized. It had nothing to do with Lucan, actually, but her own history. She had spent a few evenings in the Band of Brothers, but had not otherwise traveled much. For those years of her youth, she had only spent time in the common rooms of inns as a serving girl and even that not much. So, it felt quite odd to her to be in one now, traveling, and not serving but being served.

Carefully, Lucan did not set out on an ambition to get her drunk - both because he knew she would not normally drink anything stronger than cider, and also because the demons that whispered in his ears wanted her to be fully aware of her punishment. If she were to miss out on any details, it would have been all for naught. Furthermore, she seemed too anxious to trust herself with too much to drink. Lucan followed her lead, and behaved like a gentleman. At least as much as a sea savage gentleman of the Black Ajah could muster.

He jested with her some more, but dinner eventually, of course, came to an end.

The pair returned to their room.

On the way up the stairs, Lucan glanced around the common room to see if anyone was paying attention to their departure. Not that it truly mattered, since Mouse's body would not be found in the morning. Both the spillage and the sounds could be taken care of, the sheets and floors cleaned with Saidin and a Weave Against Eavesdropping shutting out the world beyond the walls.

As he climbed the final stairs, Lucan decided that Mouse last day had been a good one. Yet now, by the worth of his eternal soul, he would reclaim honor and reclaim from the jellyfish that which he had stolen. Mouse would forever be Lucan's that night and evermore. She would have died at her own volition - for choosing to be with him after giving herself to the Ji'alantin.

It was time. There would be no more delays. Lucan's eyes blazed in the darkness of the stairwell.

Once in the room, it felt like Mouse's stomach was seeking to escape and the entirety of her body seized up with anxiety. Where she had been calm and at ease, mostly, before, now the feelings of uncertainty and nervousness returned. She moved towards the bed, sitting down and taking off her boots before lifting her eyes to meet Lucan's.

Her gaze told a story.

She knew what was going to happen, it seemed inevitable, and she was not resisting the knowledge, perhaps in fact welcomed it, though there was something like fear, or worry, lingering in the back of the gaze. She was not going to pretend that it was going to be otherwise either, or dance around it. It would be met in earnest. Her hands rose. I hope you will forgive me, she began to sign. I know I will seem awkward and perhaps clumsy to you, but I've never... Words tried to fail her here. If signs could appear to whisper, they would have. This is my first time.

Lucan stood hidden in the shadows, yet his white coat glowed in the dark room. He said nothing.

A severe blush flooded Mouse's cheeks, normally tanned with work in the sun but they had gone pale just prior to the blush, yet she refused to let her gaze move away from his, despite the trembling of her body and the slight glint flashing across the surface of her dark eyes. For a moment, the aging brought by her Warder training and the slightly jaded cover to her expression brought by a lifetime spent trying to overcome pain and fear vanished and showed her for what was still a part of her: a young woman, simply enough.

In the shadows, Lucan's eyes were wide open - seeing truth at last.

The entire world collapsed around him. All the words said and all actions done cascading through his mind in an altogether new light. All the things he had believed had been mere assumptions based upon his own experiences of hatred and atrocious acts. He had believed the entire world capable of the same things that he had suffered and given.

The beasts inside him roared, tried to claw themselves out - coiling their writhing bodies around his control. Saidin came alive in the room, and tentacles of Air shot forward - aimed to close around Mouse. They would hoist her up in the air and tear the clothes from her body.


Lucan stopped the invisible tentacles as they hovered around her seated form - twisting like snakes in order to reach her. They retracted a little, only to shoot forward again, but Lucan's mind barred their reach - restrained them from even touching her. He did not even know what he was doing, since the hurt was still there - and even if his mind understood that the feelings of betrayal had been unfounded, he had been hurt all his life. The abyss in his soul demanded compensation for all the agony - all the injustice done towards him.

Kisane! Have I forgotten? How could I? Yet... This one is just like her. How could I avenge my own suffering, quench the memory of her death... by killing her again?

The tentacles of Air throbbed and snapped before they slowly retreated.

At long last, Lucan let go of Saidin.

His heart beating in his chest, and a bit flushed, Lucan stepped out into the moonlight emanating from the window. He wore a very serious expression as he made his way over to her - crossing the awkward distance that separated them. Still, he did not speak, did not remove his coat. He crossed to the bed and sat down next to her - looking deeply into her eyes.

She felt like she couldn't breathe. Inwardly, Mouse was chiding herself for acting like a silly little twit. She was a Gaidar, for Light's sake. More easily could she face a horde of Trollocs than of the uncharted area of physical intimacy she stood on the border of, or the dangerous intimacy that hung on the air. Her eyes were wide, wider than usual, as they followed him to cross the room and sit down beside her.

What was he going to say? What would he do? (She partially knew that answer, and both it and the details frightened her, but simply because it was unfamiliar territory and no way to learn it but to walk the path.)

"Lysira Viathene," he said and ran his arm around her opposite shoulder, gently pulling her small frame against him - reassuring her and letting her know that she could relax. He would not throw himself at her - respect her exposing words explicitly. "Mouse... "

His free hand brushed back her hair - lingered on her cheek. He smiled to her, suspected that being this close to her, he would only receive a nod of a shake of her head. "Are you sure?" In a way, anything either of them would say at this point would be awkward, and he needed to make her unwind. Though now, he wanted to make her to do so for an entirely other reason; so that she could enjoy herself.

His softness towards her did make her relax, a little. She glanced away in a fashion that could be construed as demure, and this time she couldn't help it, for a moment, but she forced herself to lift her head and meet his eyes.

She nodded and gave one of those strange smiles that it seems only women best give.

Lucan had thought he would give her the kiss of death that night, but the one he lowered upon her lips was one of atonement - in askance of forgiveness for what he had thought her capable of. He would compensate her, in his own way, for not believing in her innocence. For that was exactly what she was - innocent and not claimed by the Ji'alantin or anyone else. She was to be his, forever, and she had even chosen him herself.

He would remember her, always, for the way she had managed to heal his heart that night. And she would remember her first carnal knowledge with a man as something of a wonder. With his experience, he would make sure she was compensated with tenderness - and enjoyment.

It was a bright night out that night.

The moon was full and the window of their room was on the side of the Inn that allowed it to best shine in at this hour, and was almost so bright that it was like a light in the room. Everything was illuminated, and in more than one way.

At present, Mouse lay on her side and was facing the window. She had a good view of the moon through it and that was somehow a comfort. Lucan was directly behind her and his arms were wrapped around her. Her back was pressed against his chest, the air chilling the faint sheen of sweat that still remained and bringing a clear physical sensation to ground her amidst the wealth of things in her mind.

Life is strange, was all that she could think in clear words.

Staring at the moon past the landscape of her hair, Lucan's mind was drifting back to his duties in two Ajahs - but more importantly what kind of repercussions this unforeseen development would have on the layers of plans he had for the Tower's future. A lot had changed, and some ideas of his had become redundant. New doors had opened, and gradually, his foresight traveled through the Lace of Ages - the only kind of unreliable prophecy he knew. It was his capacity of mind, influence, will and gathering of information that dictated how true his premonitions were.

He had never foreseen how he would lay there with the Sige - finally - and still let her live on.

For that was what he would do. She still had purpose to him now, and even if he ruthlessly denied it, she had something more for him. What it was, he could not tell. His capacity for affection had been raped when he was young by Sanael, and he ended up feeling like a leaking hull - where the bilge water just ran away.

In the end, all he could tell was that he had enjoyed himself too that night. It was not like making love to an experienced woman who knew what she wanted, but Mouse's innocence combined with her limber body had been in a class of its own. But it was never enough for him. The abyss was always there - and if he tried to gaze into it, the vertigo made him loose control.

For all things of this nature, Mouse had been fairly innocent. It was not something she'd spoken about to others, even other girls her age and she knew some of them had known enough to speak of it, but she hadn't asked.

The little of it she did know, however, hadn't seemed to have held. Perhaps she had then been fortunate where most girls weren't, as she did not now hurt, nor felt any of those conflicted feelings that she had heard so little of.

Mouse was conflicted, somewhat, but less than she had been before. Some question that she had not been aware of in her mind had been answered. Some door that she had not known was open had been closed, even as others opened. It was hard to know what the source of it was, really, but she felt strangely at peace and content in the moment, which was a surprise in many ways.

Lucan decided to play his part in the aftermath of what they had done - spoke a string of words he had used many times before. He laid his hand on top of her thigh and leaned forward a little. "What are you thinking?"

In this position and with the moon as bright as it was, Mouse was able to 'speak' in return. She smiled a little, almost coyly - like she now knew a secret. I can't say that I know, precisely, she replied with a curious feeling. My thoughts are just a whirl of fragmented pieces of rational thought and emotions, sensations as never before felt.

Mouse felt freer now.

She twisted her head to look back at him slightly quirky expression. Is this how it's supposed to feel, I wonder, or am I just odd?

Her innocence was enjoyable, and Lucan gave her a mock frown. "You are definitely just odd."

Dark eyes rolled and she nudged his abdomen with her elbow - not really, but teasingly. Something had grown lighter in the room; some weight felt lifted now. She knew that it might very well return, as she had no idea what the future would bring. Mouse knew that she and Lucan were... an odd thing, but she felt more at ease now... some tension lifted, some debt repaid.

I'm serious, she signed. Not that I suppose I care if I'm like anyone else, or everyone else, but I can't help being female sometimes and this sort of thing makes a curiosity. It's not like I've ever had anyone to talk to about it all...

Giving her a low chuckle, Lucan began to play with her hair a little. He did not say anything, since he had no answer to how she should be feeling. After-glow conversations were most often filled with truthfulness and talks about deep emotions. Such conversations were, by nature, something Lucan had little to offer. If he told them what he was really thinking, they would not be able to leave the bedroom alive.

"Whatever you feel does have meaning to you, and you alone. No one else can tell you should feel. No knowledge can prepare you or temper your mind for this moment in your life."

Her expression softened out of the set of curiosity or quirkiness when she signed next. What I do know is that... this sort of thing... for most girls... Okay, so she wasn't entirely free of blushing in her words or completely comfortable to such honesty. I know that it can be a bad experience for many girls, but this wasn't, and I know it's not due to anything on my part but your consideration. I thank you for that. It can be a memory I won't regret forever. The smile became wry.

Now Lucan chuckled in earnest and blew some air against her ear - tickling her without touch. "Then I should give you some more memories, so that they will last longer. No, no, I know the Yards have you running all the while, so come over here."

Dawn was rapidly aging and the rays of red and gold that played through out the room, having replaced the dim blue of the moon, were now turning into a warm white light that shone upon the bed. It settled into the room comfortably, lighting all corners of the small room and warming it more and more with each passing moment.

Mouse slept as soundly as she ever had in her life that night, and morning, wholly exhausted but in that pleasant sort of way.

She was, however, a bizarrely alert creature - even in such a situation as this. The streaming light had begun to bring her towards waking, but then a small noise in the hallway brought her the rest of the way. Dark eyes flashed wide open and she looked around. She sniffed the air. It was probably some girl who worked for the Inn, or another patron departing.

Still, she was aware of any noise near by and slipped out of Lucan's arms, and not without some winsome disappointment for it, finding her breeches and shirt. (One was under the bed and some how the other had ended up on the bureau.) As she slid into them, the noise came again. It was a cautious sound, and closer to their door.

Her eyes stared at the wood as if she could bore holes into it.

Lucan woke up when the Sige left their bed, but he did not rise until he realized that she had dressed and suddenly stopped moving. He opened his eyes and squinted against the sunlight. "What's the matter?"

When he spoke, she held up her hand in an alert for caution, and silence. I think I hear a noise outside the door, she signed, but her eyes remained fixed, even while she was pulling her knife out of the sheath in her quiver. I am not certain if the noise comes for our door, but it is drawing closer and seems too soft and slow to be anything but cautious, which makes me wary.

Having been hunted by the Black Ajah at a point in his life, which was ironical given his present position, the natural instinct for Lucan was to seize the Source before a Shield was placed upon him. The Yards trained their Warders well, and if Mouse had reason to be wary, then he trusted her instincts. He could not guess who their foe was, but there was no time to contemplate that factor yet. He did not rise, but pushed himself against the wall so that he had a perfect vantage point against the door.

Already, the first barriers were raised, and a couple of battle weaves.

Mouse tilted her head, staring at the door. She was no longer the prey, but now the predator and she was eyeing something suspicious. The fluid gate of the Warder had now settled in where once had been the awkward movements of an innocent or the languid set of a lover.

To her surprise, however, there was a knock at the door.

Her brows drew down slightly and she frowned. She straightened from the defense ready position she'd moved into, exchanging a brief glance with Lucan, before she moved to the door. She held the dagger to one side, ready to use but out of the way in case this was just some poor tavern girl.

Lucan frowned, since no assailant would care to knock before storming inside. With a sigh, he threw away the blankets and rose - methodically and deftly pulling on his breeches and wrapping his sash around his waist. It was eerie how both their individual training fell in sync, and in meeting Mouse's glance, he nodded for her to proceed.

Mouse opened the door...

...and met the face of her father.

He seemed a very few years older than she remembered, despite the passage of more than fifteen since she had last seen him. Benar Viathene was still ever the Warder, with an expression of granite and his hand on the hilt of his sword.

The expression melted at the sight before him, though.

"Lysira," he breathed. His voice was deep and commanding, just like she remembered, though in her memory she did not often hear it.

The daughter could not speak, but mouthed the word 'father?' just before her eyes widened more than they had been before and she burst forward impulsively, the dagger clattering to the floor, throwing herself up into a ready embrace with the man she had missed all these years.

"My girl!" he exclaimed with surprisingly great emotion. Her bare feet did not even touch the ground as he stepped forward and carried them both inside the room, where he did set her down, and just in time to see a small Cairhienin woman walk in.

There was no mistaking the relation.

Selenirra was, at most, a hand taller than her daughter. She was only just showing the signs of Aes Sedai agelessness around her large dark eyes, though they were not quite as large or dark as her daughter's, and her long dark hair was tied back at her neck. She was slightly fuller in her figure, though not large but more in a woman's figure than her Warder daughter.

"Oh, my daughter," Selenirra breathed, rushing forward to embrace her daughter.

Lucan watched the reunion with a soulless smile, a few plausible explanations for how the Viathenes had found them skimming across his mind. Yet more importantly, he wondered if this was not the perfect opportunity to get rid of the whole family in one strike. The Aes Sedai and Gaidin did not know him at all, and would never know what happened. Mouse, in particular, would not expect anything either.

The battle weaves hovering around his bare-chested form remained as he calculated the situation.

The Aes Sedai had to die first, because she was the most dangerous; then the Gaidin, leaving Mouse for last. The Sige would probably be too shocked to do anything in time for him to weave anew. Had it not been for the plans he had made in the after-glow of the night, where he found further use of Mouse, he would have killed them all in but a few moments time.

Yet he didn't, since his deduction of the future held more promising aspects than a prompt carnage.

He dropped the weaves, and picked up his white coat from the floor. He shook it out and made the first sound yet since the two intruders had come into the room. You should indeed be grateful for this moment in your life, Lysira Viathene. Yet this might be the last time I bestow my mercy upon your soul.

Benar had been the first to realize that there was another person in the room and his gaze returned to being unreadable, though this man was obviously a... close companion to his daughter, and the father in Benar had to remind himself that his daughter was now a twenty-five year old woman and no longer the little girl he'd had to send away to keep alive.

Disengaging from her mother, Mouse smiled apologetically.

Mother, father, she signed. Her entire expression was lit with unheeded joy. This is Lucan Asha'man.

Ever a Warder, Benar stepped forward first and offered his hand. If his daughter was companionable with the man, then he should be. "Benar Viathene," he introduced himself somberly.

Selenirra did not wish to lose even a moment's contact with her girl and had her arm warmly around her daughter's shoulder. "Selenirra," she said in her gentle tones. The resemblance was so great that one had to imagine that if Mouse had a voice, it would have sounded just like Selenirra's.

After running his arms through his coat, Lucan saw the outstretched hand and listened to the needless introductions. He smiled disarmingly to both and shook the Gaidin's hand. "It's a pleasure," he said and made it sound like he meant it. "We have been looking for you two the past couple of days. May I ask how the roles ended up to be reversed?"

"A just question," Selenirra replied. "We have friends in Tehrga and were near by. They told us of a man and a woman, a woman with large dark eyes and dark hair who did not seem to be able to speak, and we could not pass the idea that it was our daughter. We had to come find out."

The joy of the reunited family was breaking down now and Benar made an important connection when Mouse had introduced the man: Asha'man.

"Daughter, have you found the Tower?" he asked, turning to look at her with a new sort of surprise.

Mouse laughed silently, nearly on the verge of hysteria, when she realized how much they had to explain and catch them up on. There would be time for that later, despite the urge to explain all of it. For now, Mouse had to keep herself to the basics, although she was nearly exploding with the need to tell all.

Stepping away from her mother, she walked over to her father and pulled herself up to the full of her diminutive height. Her expression was primarily impassive, as a Gaidar should be, but there was pride in it that could not be denied. Father, she signed. I am a Gaidar of the Grey Tower.

For an instant, Benar and Selenirra exchanged an enigmatic look. They determined that not all would be revealed until they could speak to their daughter alone, as these were not moments to be entirely shared, even if Mouse obviously trusted this Asha'man. It wasn't personal, simply that they had long developed a protective nature.

Lucan narrowed his eyes minutely at the last exchange, spotting the inconsistency in their behavior. Yet since he could not make any guesses as to what they were thinking, he merely filed away the moment for later scrutiny. Anything that the Viathenes we up to were worth noticing.

"That is incredible, my daughter," Benar said. Even with what they knew, it was incredible that their daughter had indeed found her way to the Tower, and had become a Gaidar. Benar's smile held pride of its own, because this was something to be proud of.

"I suppose it's time for us to come home then," Selenirra said, looking to Benar significantly again and then back to her daughter, kissing her forehead in a motherly way. "If our daughter now calls it home, then it shall be our home once again, and we will make plenty of time to catch up on all we've missed in these long years."

The daughter inside Mouse would not be denied and a tear slipped down her cheek. She looked at her mother and then her father, thinking that this all had to be a dream. She would wake up at any time, wouldn't she? No, she couldn't think like that. It was real. They were real.

Hands folded behind his back, Lucan was pleased to hear that the Viathenes had chosen to return to the Grey Tower. How could he not be? For then, they would be immensely easier to keep track of, and Lucan might even have the benefit of learning more details about their undertakings through Mouse - if he could keep her close to him. Inwardly, he chuckled at how his initial plans had changed so many times during the last couple of days concerning the matter of his silent flame.

Yet in the end, he was still victorious. In fact, things could not have worked out better.

His smile lingering, he looked towards Mouse. "I suppose this means that our journey is at an end. I can weave a Gateway from the stables, so that we can return to the Tower." He turned his smile towards the Warder and Aes Sedai. "Should you be willing to accompany us with such short notice, we will naturally wait until you are ready to return to the Mountains of Mist."

The two of you have just made the gravest mistake of your lives...

Lysira 'Mouse' Viathene turned her gaze then to Lucan. He had come with her and had helped her. And though she had shared one thing with him the night before that she could never share with anyone else, she now shared one more thing with him that could never be shared with anyone else, and would be his forever, no matter what the future brought from here: the first smile of her realization that her parents were coming home.