|Occupation||Asha'man of the Green Ajah|
|Affiliation||The Grey Tower|
|Affinities||Spirit/Air, Fire, Earth, Water|
Following the years spent at the Grey Tower Val has changed due to circumstances. In appearance his facial features have begun to take on the agelessness that comes after channelling the One Power for years. Patrolling the region for bandits and blackguards has led to less chalky complexion while also serving to remove the boyish innocence that loomed about him in his youth. His height has remained relatively the same though in the later years of his young adulthood he’s filled out even more. Most noticeable has been the transformation from a large, lumbering man to a weapon forged in the shape of a human. Thickness born and hewn by a fierce obsession with fighting has capitalized on Val’s natural size, making what had once been just a large lad into a menacing warrior. Of the past traits only the brown eyes remain though nowadays they burn with barely concealed anger. Where once Val had taken time to keep a specific style to his hair he now prefers allowing locks of black to fall to his shoulder, making only the smallest efforts to tame the wild mane.
After a childhood spent entertaining the whims of others, the laden anger that had been buried beneath the fear and shame has surfaced with empowerment granted by the ascension to Asha’man. Self-control and courtesy are things no longer worth abiding in Valadin’s mind. Directness and a penchant for inciting hostility has become a commonplace. Where once only the prospect of remaining out of the way and beneath notice, the freshly appointed Asha’man is only concerned with the pursuance of strength refusing to be distracted by little else. Forgetfulness has lessened instead the sharp memory of those wrongs done to him in the past haunt with surprising frequency. His boyhood curiosity has dwindled to only things concerning war though his love for animals hasn’t faded.
Aside from violence and self-loathing, the one shining beacon that has become a source of warmth in an otherwise bleak outlook is the Sister Nykkolaia Zeran. Since the early days of being a Soldier their bond has grown and through it Valadin has learned the sensation of belonging to another. Only in her presence do the black feelings recede—retreating in the face of a thing unknown until his meeting her: love. As a result while death no longer scares Val nor does he place much faith in his responsibility to the Light, Valadin has sworn to return from every battlefield no matter how dire the straits. In this way, his will to survive is fortified, making him unhesitant when faced with seemingly insurmountable despair whether in battle or in life. Aside from Nykkoalaia’s company there are few who make the flames of the resentment and anger die down and those are the few Val calls friend otherwise solitude is his preference.
Known to those familiar with him as ‘Val’, Valadin never hoped for much being from the Four Kings.
Having never known his father and mother made him somewhat of a mystery to fellow townsmen, but the inclination to seek out his roots never gripped him. Since as early as he could remember he worked in the stables tending to steeds of all manner. As a boy he cherished the peaceful times spent among his animal friends, their predictable responses giving him solace as he worked well away from the other stable hands and was rarely called upon to attend to the needs of the inn’s guests. Those times didn't last and Valadin would cherish their memory dearly in the coming years.
Excitement and importance always stemmed from Caemlyn with the settlements snapping up the dregs; his village was no exception to this rule even as a major trading post. For young Valadin the innate monotony of village life was accepted and while his peers boasted of their desires to join the Queen’s Guard, Val was content examining the Seiera flowers in his spare time from working at the Dancing Cartman. Honest and usually well-mannered he quickly became a favorite amongst the stable boys as merchants would recognize him by name despite his reclusive temperament. He'd always suspected it was because of his indifference to the glamorous wares that the merchants carried that he curried such favor; that and his inexplicable gift at playing Stones though he never accepted profits for his victories.
It was this talent that earned him the notice of a daunting sellsword who not only noticed the boy’s skill at the game, but commented on his imposing physique as well. No stranger to plying questions, Val courteously deflected the query before hurriedly excusing himself. Believing the encounter to be nothing more than chance he thought little of it until on a hazy mid-summer day old Saml, the innkeep, mentioned a patron who wished to have their horse unsaddled for the night. Upon receiving his guests in the stable yard, Val found himself faced with the sellsword who had questioned him many moons ago and with dread found he was not a mercenary at all, but a Warder; an Aes Sedai companion. Panicked and knowing nothing more than the stories told about Sisters, Valadin fled the Four Kings. His flight took him south of Caemlyn Road into Lugard where he was captured by a Murandian slaver.
Years passed after his capture as the young man continued to grow and after being sold many times for many purposes Valadin found himself in the employ of a caravaneer northward bound to Caemlyn. Having little choice in the matter Val passed through his hometown to find himself a stranger amongst his own people. No one recognized him behind the mask of years that endured hardships had impressed upon him. It was on route to the Andoran Capital that the caravan stumbled upon an Aes Sedai and her Warder travelling by carriage. Again he traded owners though the transaction mattered little anymore, but the moment they were alone the Sister, young in every aspect save her eyes, revealed herself to him.
Not immediately placing the woman and her stoic guard he allowed the Sister to examine him. The revelation that he possessed something called a 'spark' changed little for Val as he didn't know what that meant. Labor was labor and his time under the crack of a slaver's whip had taught him that not to ask questions. By now self-mastery had become second nature to him and his eyes remained downcast in all conversations. It wasn't until the Power was mentioned that anxiety set in; everyone knew nothing good ever came from the Power or those that wielded it. Aes Sedai were tolerated because of their command of it and the Asha'man were feared because of their wanton use of it. Even more worrisome, he learned, was that this 'spark' meant that he could learn to use the Power as well.
As if sensing his fright the Warder stepped to the forefront. Even without seeing his face, Val was immediately aware of the powerful presence surrounding the man. In a rich and deep baritone the Warder introduced himself as Jandal of the Borderlands. Jandal explained that it was at his behest that the Sister met with Val. Not understanding at first Val waited in solemn silence. Again with an unnerving comprehension of Val’s state of mind, Jandal revealed to Valadin that he was not simply a Warder trained at the Tower, but also a man who like Val could wield the One Power. The knowledge that a man who could use the Power—an Asha’man—had taken interest in him struck like a physical blow leaving him breathless. White-hot anger erupted at the misfortune that constantly seemed to find him. What did the Creator have against him? Why couldn’t the Dark One leave him be? As quickly as the surge of energy had come it drained away leaving Val spent where he stood. For a time no one spoke and the only sounds were that of the swaying plains spreading outwards from the main road. In hushed whispers the wind spoke in tongues that no would could fathom, but Val imagined they were telling him there was no other choice.
A new life bloomed before him. Alien in its shape and nature Val somberly accepted that there was something specific fate had in store for him as his entanglement with a world of myth and legend grew. Almost certain that the Creator cursed his existence, the Aes Sedai's offer was accepted. Reluctantly Val found himself trudging towards a new home where the simplicities of the stables would be long forgotten…and very much missed.
- Soldier (26 May 2015)
- Dedicated (17 August 2015)
- Asha'man of the Green Ajah (12 January 2016)
- Master of Soldiers (19 June 2015)