hanging the plan

The Lure of Prophecy
Posted Wed, Dec 1, 2004 by Sha'mad Conde

Quahlen also seemed to sense her distraction, and adjusted his sword for a quicker draw while he was riding toward the inn. His muscles seemed to almost tense up without actually moving. Koreauras could tell that Quahlen was prepared for battle at a moment’s notice. He had seen that same readiness in many of his fellow Thunder Walkers, and felt reassured that Quahlen would fight well in whatever conflict that may arise.

Quahlen nudged his horse closer to Mallah and said in a low voice that Koreauras could barely hear, “Channeling?”

Mallah nodded, pursing her lips and peering intently at the second floor window. “It is well I took the precautions I did. I just hope that they are enough. Ah, there they are.” She indicated three rough looking men standing near the entrance to the inn, watching a gleeman eat fire nearby. The Gleeman capered about, entertaining a small crowd with his antics and daring. Koreauras had seen a similar act before, Gleeman occasionally traveled out to the Three Fold Land with their stories and songs. He wore a multi-colored cloak that fluttered in the breeze and advertised his profession, in the typical Gleeman fashion. This particular Gleeman was pretending to fight off a burning rod as it forced its way into his mouth. The rod would make its way down his throat before coming back out, extinguished. The small crowd applauded and threw a few coins as the Gleeman bowed with a flourish.

The three rough looking men began heading toward Mallah and Quahlen as soon as they saw the Aes Sedai, ambling towards them with a look of experienced warriors. They did not wear armor like many wetlander soldiers did. They were all armed with swords that had the look of heavy use; however they still looked well cared for. Scars decorated their features; these men were familiar with the dance. One of the men had a cleft lip from an old injury, the disfigurement helped to enhance his fearsome appearance.

The others rode forward to meet the three waiting men, while Koreauras studied the window that had attracted Mallah’s interest more closely. There was nothing noteworthy about the window, but he had little doubt that the trap that they were supposed to walk into was in that room. As the others dismounted from their horses to meet the three men and make introductions, Koreauras began making his way toward the inn, studying the features of the place. It would be easy to make his way to the roof, and from the roof, over to the second story window that had attracted Mallah’s attention. He began forming a plan.

The others were still talking about what they were going to do when Koreauras turned back to them. “I will be there with you to dance the spears, but I am not going to blindly walk into this trap like a wetlander.” With that, Koreauras turned and began climbing the side of the building, the wetlander construction providing numerous hand and footholds, ensuring a quick assent. He was on the roof and quietly running across the shingles before the others on the ground could really even react; they were still gaping at him as he slipped behind one of the many chimneys of the inn.

He shrugged the pack off of his shoulders and knelt down to begin digging through it, making a quick inventory of what he had brought along. He knew what he needed, and he knew he would have little time before the others made their way to the room with the window that had drawn Mallah’s attention. He pulled out a length of cord and measured it carefully, gauging the distance from the chimney to the end of the roof, trying to compensate for the additional distance to the window below the roofline. He wrapped one end around his waist and tied it to himself, then secured his pack to the chimney by running the other end of the cord through the shoulder straps and tying the other end to the chimney that he stood next to. Taking an extra precaution, he tied the pack to the chimney itself using some of the extra cord. The cord wasn’t meant to take his weight, but it would have to do given the circumstances. Making sure that all the knots were secure, Koreauras crept over to the edge of the roof above the window. He looked back at the ground where his companions stood, and noted that they were no longer where he left them. He quickly clambered down the wall beside the window to look inside. The muffled sounds of combat were already reaching his ears from inside the room.

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