|Created by||Amanda Huircan-Martinez|
|Affiliation||The Grey Tower|
Gharak is very tall (6'5) and brawny. His skin is a light ebony complexion, and his hair is raven black and shows signs of age, but even so he looks to be around his mid-twenties. What is most peculiar and frightening about his appearance is the colour of his eyes. They are in a pale grey hue and look like polished coins. At a first glance, he is often mistaken for being blind.
Though sternly handsome, Gharak is not a very amiable man. He detests every woman that can channel, and those that can't aren't held in very high esteem by him either. Often he can be considered arrogant, or just plain evil which happens to be the case most of the times since doesn't make an effort to hide his feelings, especially when it comes to feelings of hatred or repulsion. Gharak knows that he is smart, and relies very much on himself and his own ability to scheme. He has it easy in his way to manipulate people, which combined with his deceitful manners, can often result in danger.
Like all Seanchans his speech is slurry and can be difficult to comprehend as his voice has a lulling effect to it, and so it is a little straining to hear him talk. Both sides of his head are shaved as Gharak is a member of the Blood. The fingernails on his two smallest fingers are long and lacquered in a cobalt blue shade, signifying his reasonably low rank among the revered members of the Blood.
Born of the Blood, Gharak lived a good life with his father, Tuerak in Seanchan. His mother, Edrein died giving birth to him. At the age of twenty-one Gharak reached the rank of Commander over a large Seanchan army. Later he followed the ships over the seas and set siege at Falme. Invading the city did not prove too difficult a task, it was what came later that was a bigger bother. Large amounts of Seanchan soldiers grew annoyed and weary from the wait of returning back to their homes, and they disbanded from their commanders and officers. Gharak was forced to drive forth his legions of soldiers and attack the rebels, his own people.
OOC: This biography takes form as a roleplay between Deranih Sedai and Zavian Asha¹man.
The sun shone down on the courtyard, but the air was not precisely warm. Still, Zavian allowed his navy cloak to hang loosely from his shoulders, having no need to clutch it around him; it had been a long time since he had allowed himself to feel the cold. With one hand he shaded his eyes from the glare of the sun, peering at the wide entrance to one of the stables. Why was the groom taking so long to bring the horses? A few seconds after the thought passed through his mind, a clatter of hooves announced the animals' imminent arrival, moments before they were led out into the yard. Striding across to them, Zavian took the reins of both horses with only a brief glance for the groom; the man, little more than a boy, really, bowed deeply and scurried away.
Zavian stood between the horses, much of his attention fixed on his own mount. He had acquired the dappled stallion only a few days before, yet the animal was already familiar with its master; it had been excellently trained. A proper animal for an Asha'man, Zavian thought absentmindedly, patting its soft grey nose. He would have denied any accusations of fondness in the way he treated it, yet already he was beginning to form some sort of a bond with the beast. He needs a name.
Launching himself tidily into the saddle, Zavian settled himself comfortably, still holding the reins of Deranih's mount in his left hand. His Aes Sedai was getting closer by the second; it would only be a minute before she reached the yard. Deranih was fully recovered now, Zavian thought; physically, at least. How long it would take the Green sister to recover from her mental wounds he could not say. His grip tightened momentarily on the leather straps he held; he still held himself partially responsible for what had happened to her. He forced himself to loosen his grip, and instead seized saidin. Just when he knew Deranih was about to come into sight, he wove the flows for Traveling, and a gateway appeared in front of him; little other than rolling, grassy hills could be seen through it. Toman head.
Deranih peered up at the sky, her one eye half-closed against the brilliant gleam of the sun. It was quite a beautiful day, and so she took a moment to let herself be marvelled instead of taking the splendour for granted. After a minute or two she continued down the courtyard, her dark grey cloak fluttering eagerly behind her. The wind blew through the yards and tossed parched leaves up towards the skies, it tore and ripped at the naked branches of the trees, and played with the dry grass on the ground.
The young Green brushed away her fringe from her eyes, but smiled instead of being annoyed. Her hair had grown to almost four inches, and had once more acquired a fiery hue.
Smiling she walked around the corner of the stables and saw Zavian, a Gateway springing up beside him at the same instant as their eyes met. She had known him to have been there already of course, and could feel as usual, his emotions through the bond. Deranih approached him with secure long strides and shot her warder a kind smile at the same time as she took the reins to Autumnthorn. The red mare whinnied cheerfully as her master climbed up on her back, still lacking certain the agility in riding that her heritage robbed her of.
"To Toman Head, Zavian," Deranih said loudly so as to override the roar of the wind. Through the Gateway Autumnthorn and the Green Aes Sedai rode and as soon as they were on the other side they were met by a more pleasant climate according to Deranih. Deranih let her gaze drift down along the green, calm landscape of Toman Head. Behind them was the city of Falme, great and magnificent against the blue Aryth Ocean.
But Deranih was not beguiled into liking by its beauty. Dan'ech had arrived from Seanchan to Falme, and she had told her sister of the things that lay hiding in the corners of the streets and about the soldiers that walked the ground. A grimace appeared on the face of the Aes Sedai as she realized what danger Zavian and she were in, again.
"Let's be careful, and get a little closer!" Deranih had to shout again, for a wind was picking up somewhere to the east of the city, and lightning suddenly flashed in the distance. Dark clouds gathered by the horizon and as they blocked out the sun the atmosphere grew tense with eeriness. The report handed to them had stated that the Seanchans at Falme had divided into two forces. One still following the Empress, and the others known as rebels were anarchists in their ways and were commencing to violent actions towards the Seanchans that were still faithful, and so the Green Aes Sedai and Blue Asha¹man had been sent to see exactly what was going on at Toman Head.
Zavian barely had to touch his heels to his horses' flanks for the animal to move forward at a gentle trot. He guided the stallion through his gateway, the upper edge of the rectangular hole a comfortable distance above his head, and onto Toman Head. He released the weave instantly, and the view of the Tower grounds disappeared behind him. The wind was stronger here, and now Zavian did hold his cloak around him with one hand; not to guard against the chill, but to stop it from flapping.
Surveying the scene in front of him, Zavian was reminded of the last time he had seen the Aryth Ocean. That trip had also been a mission, but of a different sort, to collect a girl Deranih had found in Tel'aran'rhiod. He controlled the urge to grimace; the Seanchan presence in this part of the world had nearly been their undoing then, surely it would only be worse now.
Just as he was about to voice his concerns to Deranih - not that he needed to, really - he noticed something strange. Darkness was rapidly encroaching in the sky only a short distance away, clouds roiling turbulently and lightning stabbing in static flashes to the ground. And the weather was not natural. Despite the self-control all Aes Sedai and Asha'man took pride in, Zavian was not able to stop his eyes widening in surprise.
"That is a man Cloud Dancing," he said harshly, instinctively reaching out to rest one protective hand on Deranih's shoulder. "I can feel the weaves of saidin from here. What under the Light is a man doing channeling, here of all places?" A moment later, realisation struck him; if he could sense the unknown man's weaving, surely that channeler would have felt him weaving the gateway.
A hundred feet ahead of them, the ground erupted in an explosion of dirt as a lightning struck down and ravened the ground. Autumnthorn whinnied and rose to her hind legs, nearly dropping Deranih down on the grass. The Aes Sedai quickly put her arms around the mare¹s neck and held on with all her strength. Without warning, rain suddenly crashed down upon them, adding to the pandemonium even more. The weather grew fiercer, but the foolish horse finally calmed down and Deranih managed to recess herself.
As wide-eyed as her warder, she stared towards the hills, her short hair slicked to her skull and her clothes drenched with water down to her bare skin.
"That's impossible!" She shouted back at Zavian, hands tightly closed around Autumnthorn's reins in case the horse would feel like panicking again. All channelers avoided the coast because their lives depended on it, it did not make sense that a man that could channel would ride straight into Toman Head a place that swarmed with Seanchans and start channeling like any common maniac. The Seanchan people did not allow for channelers to roam freely. Zavian had to be mistaken.
But he wasn't, Deranih could see it in his eyes, his wide dark blue eyes.
"It could be an Asha'man from the Grey Tower, or maybe from the Black Tower!" Deranih added the latter with a touch of trepidation. What their thoughts on Aes Sedai were, she did not want to know, but if it was an Asha'man in danger... "He might be in danger; maybe the Seanchans are attacking him!" The thunder threatened to drown her voice, "We have to see if he needs help, maybe we can save him!" Deranih buried her heels into Autumnthorn's sides, but the mare refused to go forward.
"Come on Zavian!" Deranih shouted over her shoulder and tried to make the horse move again.
As he spurred the dapple onwards, Zavian realised that Deranih's mount was balking. He channeled, a none-too-gentle crack of Air that slapped the mare's flank; it bolted forward, almost crashing sidelong into Zavian. The pair galloped forwards, towards the rise beyond which the Power-woven storm seemed to be centred. Zavian threw up a hasty shield of Air as a fork of lightning crackled down directly above them, thanking the Light that he had sensed the weaves forming. The bolt shattered with a crash on his ward, sparks flying around them before being torn away by the wind.
An Asha'man, Zavian thought as the horses laboured up the slope. He was furious; whether of the Grey Tower or the Black, no man deserved what was surely happening to him at that moment. The Blue dug his spurs in deeper, and his stallion shot forward, Deranih's Tairen mare matching it pace for pace. Barely a handful of minutes elapsed between the time they stepped into Toman Head and the moment they reached the top of the hill.
Zavian had expected to see a one-sided battle, a host of Seanchan surging against a lone channeler, or perhaps a pair of them. Sawing at the reins, he practically dragged his horse to a halt, staring in confusion at the mayhem below them. It appeared that there were two forces of Seanchan, men in their insectile helmets, fighting alongside creatures that surely came from stories...grolm and s'redit, his memory told him, drawing on lessons long ago. Ordinarily, he thought, the two forces would have been evenly matched; were it not for the figure he saw, a man who somehow dominated the battlefield.
"It's him!" He shouted in surprise, pointing at the Seanchan. "He's weaving the winds!" A Seanchan, channeling? A Seanchan man?
Deranih leaned forward, tightly pressed against Autumnthorn's neck. Beside her, Zavian galloped. Lightning flared above them, and rain crashed mercilessly down on their bodies. Panting, the Aes Sedai and Asha'man came up on the hill, and gazed down on the pandemonium below. Deranih gasped and nearly fell off her horse as a feeling of futility hit her. The mighty s'redit charged unheeding into the mass of Seanchan. Men with black tasselled spears fought bravely but disappeared under the hooves of the monsters, only to be replaced by another gigantic weave of Seanchan attackers, the horrible wretched helmets making their heads seem monstrous and insect-like.
"It's him!" Zavian shouted in surprise, pointing at the Seanchan. "He's weaving the winds!" Deranih followed his finger, her one eye landing on a man standing in the middle of it all. He was tall and wide and seemed to be standing on a natural dais made of stone where he directed his troops towards their enemy the Seanchan rebels.
"No!" Deranih screamed, "It's impossible!" It was not an Asha'man, he was Seanchan. The lightning came from him, and the dark clouds were shaping, twisting themselves above him. He was the source of chaos, he was what twisted the weather. Deranih slid off from Autumnthorn, landing on one knee in the wet grass. How could the troops fail to see it? Their screams answered Deranih's question, beast-like screams. They were not aware of anything short of death. Over and over again, men rose from the ground, arrows and spears sticking out of their limbs. But they charged nonetheless, their calls becoming more strained, more painful to hear.
"What do we do?" Deranih shouted up at Zavian.
Gharak laughed frenziedly as he directed the soldiers towards the nearest s'redit. With his black staff he struck down a soldier, his laughter pitching into a shriek. Power flooded through him as his soldiers dragged down the majestic creature, piercing its flesh over and over again until it no longer moved. The Commander Gharak turned his face to the heavens and laughed, rain washing away the blood that stained his ebony skin. A handful of grolm rushed by him, and at his sign they galloped straight into the rebels' legions, spraying the battle-field with more blood.
"That one!" Gharak shouted and pointed towards another s'redit. His soldiers obeyed and charged, but their Commander was no longer watching their attack. His silvery gaze travelled curiously over the battle-field and up the unstained grassy hills. What? His mouth fell open as his gaze fell upon a man no, there were two people standing on the hill. He could see two horses, one man sitting on a great dapple stallion and another person squatting on the ground beside a large red mare. Who are...? Lightning flashed above the couple, illuminating the man on the stallion.
Gharak was static in shock, unable to do more than gape and stare. He could feel the man, feel his presence as if he could close his eyes and still know where he was standing. Danger.
Another stab of lightning shattered on Zavian's shield, and he wove more Air to strengthen it. The other man's weaving felt erratic, uncontrolled, but in a way that was as dangerous as if he had known exactly what he was doing. After a moment Zavian wrenched his eyes away from the slaughter and turned to Deranih, who he saw had dismounted from her mare and was crouching in the long grass. Zavian's stallion was prancing, frightened by the clashes of lightning and the rumbling thunder - it was well trained, but apparently not prepared for this madness - and for a few moments he fought to regain control, calming it as best he could.
"We wait," he shouted back. "I might be able to match the man, but we cannot take on his whole army. With any luck, most of those soldiers will kill each other before we have to face any of them." And he knew they would have to do something; they could not leave this man to wreak havoc. Zavian turned back to the battle, and was shocked to meet the unknown channeler's stare; with saidin in his grasp, he could see the details of the man's face even at this distance. The Seanchan looked enraged, manic... insane.
Before he could think what to do, his attention was caught by movement. Unlocking his gaze from the Seanchan's, he saw a pair of grolm bounding up the slope towards him and Deranih. It seemed they would not be able to wait it out after all. The monsters came on in massive leaps, their clusters of eyes fixed eerily on Zavian and Deranih. "Watch, there!" He shouted; Deranih had probably seen the beasts, but he was not going to take the risk that she hadn't. Zavian drew even more deeply on saidin, and moving his right arm in a throwing motion, a ball of flame the size of a small dog screeched from his hand, slamming into one of the grolm. The creature was knocked backwards, tumbling down the slope and ploughing into a cluster of Seanchan soldiers.
"Watch, there!" Deranih tore her gaze away from the maniacal Seanchan just in time to see Zavian kill one of the two attacking Grolm. In an instant, the Green Aes Sedai was up on her two feet and had her right arm stretched out before her, pointing towards the surviving Grolm. Saidar enveloped her, a gentle embrace but a dangerous influence. The voices of rapture tried to beguile her into drinking more deeply of the One Power, but Deranih was used to it, and overlooked the temptation. She opened her closed fist and shut her eye against the sudden light, as a lightning struck out of the palm of her hand and hit the Grolm straight in its forehead.
Deranih stared wildly around herself, still fully immersed in the euphoria of saidar. She was half expecting to see a dozen sul'dam running towards them, but apart from the Grolm, no one seemed to have noticed them. She lowered her arm slowly and turned her face towards the battle-field again, her one-eye ablaze with exhilaration. But her former statement was wrong, someone had noticed them. Trotting through the mass of dead and dying was the Seanchan channeler, moving swiftly amid the chaos, taking long strides over the twitching corpses of his soldiers and enemies, his eyes intently set upon her warder, Zavian.
Gharak gasped, as fire erupted from the hands of the man on the hill, shortly followed by a lightning from his companion. In confusion, the Commander only stared blandly at what was happening up there until his mind finally settled with an answer, and at once he was down from the stone. With the black staff at hand he walked slowly across the battle, not able to tear his gaze away from the man but even so, a grimace touched his lips, a grimace directed at the woman.
Marath'damane. The armies of the Night. Gharak remembered the stories of the Aes Sedai very well, the people that had come without warning and attacked Seanchan. Them that should all be in leashes like the pestering creatures they were! Many were captured already, fools that thought they could escape the Hailene. Gharak's knuckles cracked as he tightened his grip on the staff. The grass was moist, and it was a little difficult to climb up the hill. The heavy armour that covered his body made the task only more gruesome, so in a feeble attempt to ease the challenge, he tore his helmet off from his head, thus revealing an almost entirely bald ebony head.
"Who are you?" Gharak called loudly so as to be heard over the clamour of the storm, but the winds calmed seconds before he opened his mouth. So his slur was brashly heard against the usual sleekness of his voice. Frightening, almost unnatural grey eyes locked with the other man's dark blue eyes as the seconds passed by. Behind them, the battle continued, but the storm appeared to be ceding.
Zavian felt the tingling that announced a woman channeling an instant before lightning flashed from Deranih's out flung hand; he averted his eyes just in time to avoid his vision being seared by the blinding silvery light. He looked back to see a charred ruin where before there had been a grolm. Saidin still flooding him to the point of nearly being too much, too euphoric, Zavian turned his attention back to the battle. The Seanchan channeler was still watching them, but his crazed expression had become something more akin to astonishment. He knew what they were; at least, he knew what she was.
Suddenly the man began walking towards them, labouring with what appeared to be determination up the slope. The battle went on behind him, but Zavian thought it would not last much longer; one side, the channeler's, he thought, was slowly yet surely overwhelming the others. "We must link!" Zavian shouted, half turning towards Deranih. As the Seanchan drew closer Zavian could feel how much saidin he was holding. Not as much as Zavian would have thought, considering the way he was weaving the weather - a wilder? Perhaps Zavian would have been able to shield him on his own, to cut through that lesser connection to the Power, be he could not be sure.
A few moments later he sensed that Deranih was ready to link, and he seized the Source through her. Channeling in a circle including females was something he had rarely done before, and for a moment he was taken aback. The difference between the torrential struggle with saidin and the sweet embrace he sensed from saidar was enormous. But he did not have time to think about it, and quickly turned his attention back to the Seanchan. The man had stopped, close enough for his shout to be heard.
Zavian did not reply. Drawing in as much of the Power as he could, half again as much as he could alone - Light, but it felt wonderful! - he wove thick threads of Spirit and slammed a shield across the Seanchan's link with saidin. For half an instant the shield met resistance, but then slid into place. Zavian could not help but breathe a minute sigh of relief. Cables of Air trapped the wilder's arms to his sides and held his legs together.
"We don't have long," he shouted to Deranih. "We cannot leave him here - the Light only knows what havoc he might wreak - but if we stay any longer his soldiers will realise he isn't with them. We must take him back to the Tower, and now!"
Deranih whipped around and nodded at Zavian and in a matter of seconds they were linked. She had never linked with a man before and the difference was astounding, almost painful.
Deranih blinked through her shock and stared at Zavian. How could he stand the pain? She could feel the strain, feel the battle her warder fought as he held on to saidin. Together they were powerful, the One Power throbbed like one fierce vein through the two of them. One beat, one rhythm that united them.
The male channeler moved ever closer, but stopped at a safe distance. Then Zavian channeled, through them both, and tied the man. He was drawing so deeply of the One Power that Deranih suddenly became very frightened. How strongly had the Seanchan man been channeling? Through the link and the bond she could sense the emotions of her warder, she could feel his delight and euphoria. Though what Deranih felt as he channeled of saidin was almost unbearable pain.
How could he handle it without losing his mind?
We must take him back to the Tower, and now!
"Alright!" Deranih shouted, "Gateway us back to the Grey Tower! We must find somewhere to keep him there, an empty room."
Gharak winced as if someone had aroused him from a deep sleep. He stumbled backwards from the couple, but found himself to be trapped by some invisible force that kept him nailed to the spot. But he was too shocked to be afraid or enraged. Everything had changed so suddenly. Everything had seemed so loud, so intense just seconds earlier, and without warning it had all snapped away, at the blink of an eye the commotion was calmed. The black clouds begun dispersing, the rain had already gone and the turmoil of lightning grew ever lesser until they were only small flickers on the sky above.
"You..." The Commander's voice betrayed him into a hoarse whisper. Behind them, the soldiers were regrouping, and some were beginning to notice the lack of their leader. The remaining rebels were desperately loping back across the hills, away from the scene and their enemies. They would not get far, s'redit and grolm belonging to the defending Seanchan stalked the traitors, the distance between them growing shorter. A s'redit rider gazed around the land from where he sat up on the mighty creature. His dark gaze landed on the strange couple and the Commander. His mouth fell open.
Deranih stared wide-eyed at the battle-field, the blood from her face draining as she noticed the soldiers that were running towards them.
"Quick Zavian!" She shouted and grabbed the reins of their horses, readying herself to jump through the Gateway.
Scant moments after Zavian had shielded the Seanchan, he realised that the man's soldiers had noticed them, and were now beginning to toil up the slope. The force they had been fighting - the last remnants of which had disappeared over a distant rise - had depleted their numbers somewhat, but there were still too many for him to take on. He could have broken the link and shielded the channeler again by himself - it should be easy enough, if he did not actually have to break the other man's connection with saidin - and that would leave Deranih free to fight. Perhaps they could have managed it... but there simply was not time.
Turning to one side, Zavian calmly channeled. A vertical split of light rotated into a gateway; the hole led into a deep blackness, all that could be seen was a large platform of undressed grey stone. Despite the quantity of the Power he was handling, Zavian did not know this spot well enough to attempt to Travel from it. Thick threads of Air - thicker than he could have woven alone - dragged the Seanchan through the gateway, depositing him on the platform.
"Hurry!" Zavian urged Deranih through; he would not step across until his Aes Sedai was safe. The storm woven from saidin had all but vanished, and although rain still fell and the winds were not yet calmed, Zavian could hear the shouts of the Seanchan soldiers as they drew closer.
Deranih cast one last fearful look at the Seanchans, not able to rid the memory of her first-sister as she saw the rage on their stony faces. Behind her, Zavian called anxiously and the Aes Sedai turned away from the attacking hordes and loped towards the safety of her warder and the skimming platform. As soon as she was on top of the stand Zavian closed the Gateway and they Travelled. It was impossible to tell if they were actually moving, but Deranih knew that they were even though nothing in the black void around them inspired the thought.
Personally, Deranih hated skimming. She was sure the platform would break under their feet, or that for some reason either of them would fall off and disappear into the vast emptiness. Or maybe they would never arrive to their destination and travel on forever through eternity. But with her gaze fixed on the Commander of the Seanchans, Deranih showed no emotion apart from the flicker of contempt that gleamed in her one eye. Despite the ropes of air that kept the man tied to the spot, he was keeping a composure that suited the highest of noblemen. He was, a member of the Blood if not a very high one.
Deranih turned away from the man, disgusted at the sight of him. She shot Zavian a concerned look and set to waiting, waiting for the eternity to pass and let them out of the void.
Gharak wanted to scream as the marath'damane dragged him away from his soldiers, but fear had bundled up into a painful blob in his throat, and a hiss was all that he managed to get out before being situated on top of the stone platform. Where the platform had come from, he could only guess, but it made him even more afraid until the woman entered too, shortly followed by the man. Inside of him, his heart throbbed in the cage of his ribs. It throbbed insanely as if trying to beat its way out of the grips of the two channelers. But in vain.
The Commander took a deep breath, and began to calm himself down. He diverted his gaze from the empty blackness, closing his eyes against it as he waited for something to happen. The woman and the man just stood there, waiting too, but not in the same manner as he did. Be calm! Gharak took another deep breath and opened his eyes but kept them away from the frightening void that surrounded them. Instead he felt the bonds that tied him to the spot, felt them carefully and tried to break them.
It was a futile battle, he could tell after a few seconds of strain. The woman watched him, and Gharak would have winced at her glare if he hadn't been immobile. The trepidation left him gradually, and he matched her gaze angrily.
"Where are you taking me?" He barked, spit flying in all directions.
The Seanchan seemed to be frightened, refusing to let his stare wander beyond the platform and its inhabitants. Small wonder, really; anyone not acquainted with the infinite void of this place - was it a place? - would be. Zavian could feel the stranger struggling against his bonds of Air, but the Asha'man watched impassively. The One Power still flooded through him, both saidin and saidar. He lessened the amount he was channeling, but he still held as much as his normal limits would allow.
Zavian did not answer the wilder's question immediately, just glanced at Deranih. What were they going to do with the man? He was not a normal prisoner; he could channel, had taught himself to channel. The Tower's first desire would be to teach him more, to tame him, Zavian realised, but he knew that would be as easy as taming a Trolloc. Still, perhaps the Seanchan would resist less when he found out the alternative would be execution. At least, that was likely; he could simply be gentled, but even then would the Tower want to turn him loose? Channeler or not, he was still Seanchan.
After only a short time the platform's movement ceased, and Zavian opened a second gateway. Gesturing for Deranih to step through, he wove Air to float the prisoner out into the real world. "The Grey Tower," he said grimly, after he had followed them through the gateway and closed it behind him. After a moment's hesitation he tied off the shield, then released the link, freeing Deranih. He immediately seized saidin again, and actively took hold of the shield once more. He was perfectly strong enough to hold any wilder, surely.
"In the Mountains of Mist. You are going to be here for quite some time to come."