Koreauras hated wetlander cities, he decided. He crouched next to a chimney and watched the street below, completely unobserved by the crowds passing by. These cities were packed full of people, their noise, and their stench. This city was the most foreign thing he had seen in the wetlands since crossing the Spine of the World. He had managed to travel all the way to Caemlyn unobserved, and had no intention of changing that.
He had been told by Sorilea, the Wise One of his hold, to seek the Carâ€™aâ€™carn here in the wetlands. He suspected that she had chosen him for this task more for his own personal benefit than for any other reason. He had grown up benefiting from her wisdom; she had taken personal interest in his life when his mother died from a Shaido spear while he was still a very young boy. The Shaido had attacked his hold, and in violation of tradition, custom, and Jiâ€™eâ€™toh, had killed his mother. He and his sisters were too young; he had been only 5 years old, while his sisters were even younger. Sorilea had always known of his restiveness and agitation growing up. He had always been restless, always searching for something that he could never put words to, looking to find that missing part of his life. Koreauras had never been as settled as his older first-brother, Tornasan. Tornasan had wisdom beyond his years, an assuredness that suited him well for the society that he had chosen, the Tain Shari. Being a True Blood suited his brother well, Koreauras knew that Tornasan would do well with them. But somehow Koreauras knew that there was a greater meaning to his own life than what he had experienced so far, a greater destiny that had not yet been defined. Sorilea had known it too, and had sent him to seek the Carâ€™aâ€™carn, but both he and Sorilea knew that he was here to finally find himself.
He watched the streets below, the observer that was unobserved, and reflected on his journey. The Tree-killerâ€™s lands had been disappointingly easy to travel through unseen. He had hoped to dance the spears with some of their warriors, awaken a few from this dream called life, but he had managed to pass through their borders without a single confrontation. Andor was no different, though he bore no animosity towards them. The wetlanders here in this place named â€œAndorâ€ were just as blind as the Tree-killers, seeing right past him without having seen him. He was a Shaâ€™mad Conde, of a society known more for its fast striking and fearlessness than its stealth, but this was ridiculous. He had expected some challenge to his presence within the wetlanderâ€™s holds, but here he was in the wetlander city of Caemlyn at the order of Sorilea, whom he had grown up trusting implicitly.
Koreauras was tall and wiry, even for an Aiel, and had inherited his fatherâ€™s broad shoulders. His bright red hair was cut in the traditional fashion for the Algaiâ€™dâ€™siswai, short, with a tail running down the nape of his neck. Clad in the Cadinâ€™sor and shoufa of his people, he blended in well with the brown tile of the roof he observed the street from. He had been crouching here for hours, unsure of exactly why he had chosen to enter into this wetlander city. A few days previously, Koreauras had overheard some wetlanders discussing that the â€œfalse Dragon Logainâ€ was to be paraded through Caemlyn, and seemed to attach particular significance to this event. He somehow thought that perhaps with this â€œfalse Dragonâ€ parade that the wetlanders spoke of, he could find a path that would lead him to the Carâ€™aâ€™carn. He was here a day before the scheduled parade, but no path had revealed itself yet.
Koreauras continued watching the street below, watching the passerby with interest. He watched a powerfully-built Andoran warrior walk toward the tavern he was currently perched on, the warrior just as oblivious to Koreaurasâ€™ presence as all the others. The dark-haired warrior had the walk of someone who knew battle, and certainly looked angry enough to want to jump into one. Koreauras watched him enter into the tavern, which by the sign below him was apparently named â€œThe Queenâ€™s Palmâ€ with a crude painting of a hand clutching a rose upon it. Koreauras disregarded the warrior as he disappeared from sight. He had not been seen, so the warrior would have to find someone else to fight today.
Koreauras looked back out onto the street, and was startled to look right into the eyes of a young woman staring directly up at him from the street. After all this time in the wetlands, he had finally been seen, and Koreauras was chagrined to discover that it was by a wetlander barely old enough to be considered a woman, traces of the girl she once was still lingering in her features. He observed her observing him, and regarded her carefully. Although young, she was beautiful. Her chestnut-colored hair cascaded down her shoulders, framing the delicate features of her face. Her skin was reminiscent of a copper tone, a distinctive color that Koreauras had never seen before. Although her clothing covered her to her neck, boots and wrists, it was never-the-less scandalous, clinging closely to her body. It revealed nothing, but hinted at so much. Koreauras had never seen a Domani before, and didnâ€™t know he was looking at one now. She was captivating.
He mentally recovered from the distraction that she created, chiding himself for allowing her to divert his attention. He looked her over again, and gauged her threat potential. The only weapon that she had was a dagger tucked into one of her boots, with no other weapons apparent. Her dress would not allow much else to be concealed, so Koreauras dismissed her as a threat, knowing that her dagger would not reach him, and figuring that if she was going to raise an alarm or call attention to his presence, she would have done it by now. He looked away from her, gauging the other passerby on the street, trying to keep alert for possible threats. It took an effort of will to not let his eyes drift back to the young woman watching him in the street, but he quickly found a reason to focus his attention elsewhere: He was not the only one that had his attention on her. Eight armed thugs were keeping a close eye on her, and judging from their demeanor and unkempt clothing, they did not have her best interests in mind. They spoke amongst themselves, the lechery painting their features and making their appetites obvious.
The thugs were not unique in being interested in her either. A very well dressed swordsman with two blades strapped to his back was watching both her and the thugs in the street. The swordsman certainly had money; dressed in silks, lace, and fine wool, he was more immaculately dressed than any other wetlander Koreauras had seen before. Koreauras recognized him as a Shienaran, the topknot hairstyle speaking more of his heritage than the clothing he wore. It was readily apparent that he would not be an easy target for the thugs, he had the grace and dangerous ease of an accomplished warrior. A scar across his chin enhanced the look of his combat ability without detracting from his features. The swordsman suddenly rushed forward into the road, his eyes intent upon the thugs in the street. Koreauras looked back to the thugs as they hurried after the young woman, then back to the young woman herself.
Koreauras winced inwardly. The fool girl was walking into an alley right beside The Queenâ€™s Palm alone, unaware of who followed. She headed right into the dim alleyway, a perfect spot for the eight thugs following her to attack her unobserved. In a heartbeat, Koreauras veiled and sped across the rooftop to above where the girl was, the sound of combat already echoing from below. Koreauras focused as he ran, seeking the Oneness that would aid him in battle. Excitement and eagerness for battle fought with the Oneness for control of his actions, and Koreauras allowed himself a small inward smile as he leapt from the roof into the alley below.
It was finally time to dance the spears.