A Long Journey

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A Long Journey

Postby Roberto » Wed May 02, 2018 1:40 pm

Present Time

The Sedai always kept the city so clean. Clean and well lit. After all this time it almost seem too clean. Night had fallen over Tar Valon and the Tower Square was quiet, and quiet was exactly what he needed. He wasn’t ready to put on his persona yet. Even after all these years he had a reputation to keep, but he was just so tired. It had been several years since he had been in Tar Valon at all, so he felt comfortable that no one would recognize him as he was. He wasn’t wearing his silver-lined black clothing that marked him for what he did, instead he had opted for utilitarian clothing when he had marched North. His clothes were ripped and dirty from use. His five o clock shadow had been replaced by a beard that was not kept in any way. He hadn’t stayed long enough to even wash in Fal Dara, opting to update Juilin as quickly as he could. He smelled of blood and the blight, still strong enough where he could smell himself. It had done wonders to keep strangers away and no one would look for him in the person he was right now.
He took a quick drink of water and splashed his face whispering “Good boy Aran.” His hound wagged his tail then whined towards someone in the crowd. He was usually so reserved, but it had been a while since he had seen city life. It was time for him to retire Aran, he deserved a life of dog treats and belly rubs. Less than a minutes later he started towards the gate, giving a whistle so Aran would follow. It was time to head south.

Four years ago, on a balcony overlooking Baerlon

“I know this isn’t what we do Juilin, but I joined Thiefbane because you promised that I could fight in the North when I so choose. I know Lord Castor is a Viera, but he’s always given me perfect intel on Malkier and the blight. Darkfriends are massing near Chachin . They are forming an army. I can end it now if I kill their leader. I’m not asking for clan resources. It’s going to be just the pup and me, I’ll handle it myself.”

A table sat between Roberto and Juilin Sander, the most famous of the Thiefbane. Ambrose had just refilled their drinks and they sat smoking pipes as the sun set over the city. Roberto had been requesting for weeks to take this journey north. Juilin knew he was about to do it without permission anyways, but he was asking out of respect.
Juilin took a puff of his pipe, taking a minute before he blew out the smoke. He didn’t look directly at Roberto, but instead watched over the city. “I once sent Rico on a mission that I regret to this day. A Viera was almost the end of him. I don’t want a Viera to be the end of you.”

“Juilin, I’m not the young kid that you brought in. I know I wasn’t ready then, but I’ve earned my stripes on my own. You don’t need to worry about me.” He pointed to his hadori. “You know what this means. I’ve enjoyed the comforts of the south, but in the end my dagger is always pointed home.”

Juilin turned to look at Roberto. The look of awe that filled Roberto's eyes when he had first joined the Thiefbane was gone, replaced with a constant wariness. His smile never seemed to reach his eyes anymore. Being thrown into a war with the Ironfist would do that to anyone. “You have permission, try not to take too long. There’s a bandit that’s been causing issues out that way, take care of him too. Fal Dara has offered a pretty price on his head.”

Roberto finally gave a real smile, “Of course. I’ll be heading out then.” Roberto put out his pipe, turned to Juilin, putting his hand over his heart then to the hilt of his dagger. “May peace favor your sword, until I see you again Lord Juilin Sander.”
Juilin stood up returning the gesture, hand over his heart with a nod. “Lord Roberto Al’Farath, I give you leave. Do your best to return to us, I don't want to have to give away that dagger collection of yours.”

Roberto immediately went to his room, changing out of his Thiefbane attire for more common clothing. Less than an hour later he started towards the exit of the mansion, giving a whistle for Aran, his hound appearing at his heal, and headed north.
Last edited by Cerys on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Awarded

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Re: A Long Journey

Postby Roberto » Wed May 02, 2018 1:41 pm

Present time

He wrapped his cloak around him as he started to walk but before he could leave he heard someone, a woman, calling his name with authority. “Roberto! I know it’s you Roberto, you cannot hide from me, Aran responds to no one else’s whistle.”

Of course, someone would recognize the hound, he hadn't thought of that. Though he believed he recognized the voice, it had a new authority to it. She had never been so outspoken. He turned to greet the person, starting to put on his infamous grin, but instead ended up with a face of shock.

Four Years Earlier

Roberto had a marked, but faded map out in front of him. He was shielding the light from the lightstick by using it from his bag. It was still much too bright, these lands seemed darker than he remembered. Castor had mapped out possible locations for trolloc and bandit camps along the route he was taking, as well as the possible location near Chacin where the darkfriends were likely camping. He knew he was near a bandit camp, but still was a little surprised when suddenly he heard a rustling from all around. He gave Aran two hand signals. Hide. Follow. He put his hands up, and let himself be surrounded. This wasn’t how he had wanted it to go down, but this wasn’t the worst way possible.

“I surrender. I am seeking a passage north to Chachin .” He kept his hands up, but slowly turned his right hand to the side, giving the signal that he had seen used before when he spied on darkfriends. He had hoped letting them live that day had been the right choice, and he was about to find out if it was.

A bandit walked up to Roberto looking him up and down. “That sign. So we had one in the Thiefbane all along. Of Malkeiri blood none the less. Impressive. You can tell your hound to come out. We know who you are Roberto. You’d never be this far north without him.” Roberto whistled, and the hound seemed to come out of the shadows and be at his heels at once. A pat on the head calmed the hound who had been ready for a fight. The bandit continued, “What makes you leave your post?”

Roberto took a deep breath, happy to be asked a question he could answer honestly. “Look around fool. It is time. The armies are massing. I need to be here.” An awkard silence followed for a moment, then the bandit gave the confirmation signal he had seen before.

“Very well Thiefbane, I doubt you’ll find many friends here, even if it was a ruse all this time.” Roberto remembered every one of their faces there, they were bandits and darkfriends. He would not leave the blight without their scalps. With a nod be began to follow, taking off his hadori and wrapping it around the hilt of his dagger.

Several months later he walked through the encampment by Chacin. Every step of the way he had been forced to lie his way up the chain of command. The questions were endless. Why wasn’t he a known darkfriend? Why had he fought in the north so often? Every step had meant more lies, more charm, more convincing. He had prostrated himself before halfmen and dreadlords like. He remembered though. Roberto made sure to remember every name and every face. Every location he was taken to. There was a list, one that he could not put on paper, but a list none the less. Finally, he had convinced the militant darkfriends that he would best suited in logistics. He was here to help organize and run the camp. He was in the perfect place to find out everything.

Time slipped by as Roberto began pulling apart the web that was this army. Killing just one General would be easy, but pointless. He could have done that the first night he was there. This army was too well put together at this point to just cut off one head though, he knew he needed to end the entire staff. They were spread across several fronts, and word of assassinations would spread like wild fire. He needed an excuse to get them all together, all the leadership in one place, and to do that he needed to act like a darkfriend It wasn’t very hard with this group, he wanted to kill them all. His constant anger and animosity was the norm in the camp, it was accepted behavior. The hardest part was having to celebrate supposed victories, his worry could never show on his face.

He leaked intel to Lord Castor, each time giving just a little bit more while his position allowed him to easily set others up for the blame. Distrust was rampant and easy to stoke in this army, and he carefully laid false trails of evidence. The investigators were slow, but they would always find the person he had set up sooner or later. The pleas of “innocence” were real, but they obviously moved him naught. He chose to carry the executions out with his own hand, as was his right for being in charge of the camp. It was his singular joy. Three years passed as he repeated the process over and over again. Seventeen times he executed darkfriends to the cheer of the crowd. Seventeen people that done their best to destroy Fal Dara as they had destroyed Malkier. He had killed them slowly. Seventeen people died painfully as they plead their loyalty to the Dark One. Their cries had brought a wicked smile to his lips. Seventeen days of happiness among the misery. It was those moments that cemented his cover. It was also then that he worried about his own soul.

Finally, the leaks were causing enough of a concern he could call the generals together. It was finally time to lay the trap. The morning of the meeting arrived. He woke early as he always did. One could never sleep heavily in the camp anyways. He strapped his silver short sword and dagger on, lining his sleeve and boots with throwing spikes. He walked the perimeter of the camp with Aran under the pretense of checking security, something he did every morning. This time he had purposely adjusted the lookouts to leave an opening. His escape route was set.

When the time for the meeting approached he entered the main building, Aran at his heels. Aran sat by the two door guards as he always did, warily watching his owner. The major generals of each front sat round a table, arguing as they always did. Now was the time to act. He rose his voice to get there attention. "Generals, there is something we must speak about."
Last edited by Roberto on Thu May 03, 2018 12:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A Long Journey

Postby Roberto » Wed May 02, 2018 1:43 pm

Present time
“Leria… Sedai? You shawled? Wait, doesn’t that take years?” The woman before him was still blond and young, but it just seemed different now.

Leria laughed softly," You know its impolite to ask a woman her age." She removed her slim fitting gloves, and showed him the beautifully worked serpent-ring she had earned alongside the shawl. "I can state that you look like you have seen better days, Do you need something to eat or a place to rest before you move on?"

Remembering his manners, Roberto put his hand over his heart, then to the hilt of his dagger, nodding in respect to the Sedai. "You know what they say Leria Sedai, no rest for the wicked. I have been out of contact, I must report to the head of the Theifbane."

Leria bowed her head respectfully in return, "Juilin and Rico would be unhappy with me if I let you walk away..." motioning to his current state. " like that. You will come with me, and Maura will see you properly bathed and fed before you leave the City." The only passing accepted was pulled aside and she spoke quickly, to have a meal brought to her apartments and Maura alerted to her return.

Roberto looked Leria over, pondering at her change. What he had said to her would have had her bowing in acceptance the last time they spoke. This time, she just ignored his statement and moved on with purpose. He sighed deeply, and as he did he also caught the mix of odors. The combination of stenches almost made him cough. With an evil smirk he nodded towards Leria. "As you say Sedai, I should be more prepared for the city life if I want to blend in. I will heed your advice. Lead the way."

Leria smiled and reached down to pat Aran," I'm sure you'd like a little something too. Perhaps Laras can find you something to gnaw on." She led them both to the Tower and up a floor to her apartment.

Maura stood by the open door and wrinkled her nose," The accepted wasn't kidding that I should open the window." A smirk played across her lips as she turned to Roberto," Behind the door to the left is a bath for you. By the time you are done, your dinner should be here. I'll have new clothes brought for you so that you have something fresh, it won't be your personal effects but enough for you to look respectable."

Leaning into her trusted attendant, "Be rid of the clothes once he is out of them, and bring the bag from the bottom of the dresser in for him." She turned to her desk and called out to a novice scurrying past, "Go to the kitchens, and tell Laras I need a sizeable meat bone."

Roberto let out a snicker. "Yes ladies, I will do your bidding. Is there a razor in the bath as well? I feel I should do something about my hair." Maura nodded," When I was told a man would be bathing, I brought one. But you will have to suffer with her soap. It smells like jasmine." "I have smelled of worse things. Thank you for your assistance mistress. Aran, play." He walked into the bathhouse and the hound gave a playful bark, pouncing on Leria Sedai in an attempt to lick her face. The process took him longer than he expected. He still had open wounds on his side and left arm. His hands shook a little as he started to shave. He took a deep breath, and started the process of trying to look more human than wolf.

Leria's laughter echoed into the bath as she let the dog lick her face and played about, bringing back memories from Baerlon. The novice returned with the bone and Aran gratefully stole away under the desk to gnaw away at it. Maura, brought in a tray of dinner for the Sedai and her friend, and moved to the bathing room to check on him.

He was still shirtless when she entered and she let out a scream," Ay! Why didn't you tell us you were injured... Leave your shirt off for dinner." Maura began her usual prattle and muttering and returned to the main room to fetch the supple of bandages and sutures.

Roberto came out of the bath not long after. His beard was trimmed down, but not shaven off. His hadori held hair back from his face, but it was at least clean. Without the blood and dirt it was easier to see the worry lines that had formed on the face. The gray that was coming out was subtle but visible. Roberto was still a man in his mid 30s, but right now he looked older. The wounds in his side and arm were visible, they had been sutured but by his own hand. They were healing, albeit slowly.

Leria motioned to the plate of dinner that was sitting at the table, and snickered as Maura set herself upon him. " I think you should eat while she fusses over you." A roll of soft bread was taken in her hands as she pulled off a small piece watching Maura prod and clean at the sutures and his wounds, mumbling all the while. " Does it being back memories of my wounds?"

Maura scoffed," Memories? Leria you came back just last night with a gash on your leg from something north of Fal Dara."

"Shawed. Your own rooms. Going north of Fal Dara. It seems I was away for longer than I thought." Leria responded, "The Wheel turns Roberto... some things change, and some remain the same." Her eyes sparkled a moment, "You know what I have been up to... but I don't have your tale."

Roberto looked over the food, took a drink from what had come with it, and settled in to tell the story.

Three months earlier

"Gentleman, there is something we must speak about." 5 generals. Two guards. Seven. He could take seven. "There have been several leaks, and it's been a continual problem that keeps getting worse." He walked to the other end of the table. "The plan to solve the problem is here right now." He quietly draw a sharp, red stone dagger etched with a crane from his sheath. "I was the leak." The closest militant darkfriend general made a strange sound as he placed a sharp, red stone dagger etched with a crane in his back. Before they could even react Roberto had drawn a throwing spike from his boot, letting it arc through the air towards another militant darkfriend general, catching him in the throat. Aran immediately charge the general on the other end of the table that was drawing his sword, grasping on to his arm and not letting him move. Roberto hadn't stopped to make sure the throwing spike landed, he needed to trust his throw and the gargle sound to his side was the confirmation he needed, instead using the confusion to sneak behind another general, placing his dagger in the back of one more enemy. Three dead. Four remained. He jumped over the table, kicking as the general on the other side and flipping him over his char, one of the guards had come with his halberd out, but the other was attempting to leave to get help. With his back turned he made a perfect target as Roberto switched his dagger to his left hand, drawing another spike out from his sleeve, arcing it through the air at the guard. Switching his dagger back to his right hand he drew his short sword as well, he kicked the general he had just knocked over in the head, coming down with his sword to stab him while he was still sat. Three left.

There would be no more easy kills here. His hands were covered in blood. His Hadori on the hilt of his dagger slick with it. These last two generals would die even if it meant he went down with them. Suddenly his left arm was pierced and he dropped his short sword. He had ignored the guard with the halberd too long. "Aran Rescue." The black and tan bloodhound threw himself at Roberto's attacker, knocking him out of the way. Roberto took the time to attack the already crippled general Aran had had just released. He dodged two swings from a sword to close in, stabbing his dagger up into the chest and towards the heart of the general. Before he could get the dagger out he heard a roar from the final general. The man had gone berserk, charging forward and bashing Roberto with his two handed sword. Roberto was able to parry the first but the second swing dug deep into his side. He let out a grunt of pain. Aran didn't wait for him to call this time. He leapt at the final general, teeth bared. He grabbed his throat and ripped, the roar from the general turning into the gurgling sound. Roberto quickly climbed to his feat, rushing at the man with the halberd. He parried it with his dagger at the last second, running up the length of the halberd and putting his dagger through the eye of the last guard.

He had severe wounds in his arm and side, but he could not rest yet. He ran outside the tent. "Attack on the generals! Attack on the generals! Mobilize now!" As his cry was heard, he used the chaos to sneak among the tents. It was time to leave the damn blight.

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Re: A Long Journey

Postby Roberto » Wed May 02, 2018 1:46 pm

Present Day

Several weeks had passed and Roberto was walking through Whitebridge. He had still been able to keep a low profile, though if someone was looking they would recognize him now. Clean clothes and proper stitches had done a lot to help him move faster though. He walked through the side streets when a noise behind him caught his attention. He fell to his knee and pulled his dagger as one flew over his head. There sat Isaah Viera, sitting on the roof of a nearby house, with a grin on his face.

"Castor had said you hadn't lost your touch. Guess he was right." Wary of everything around him, Roberto talked to try to gauge the situation, the Iron Fist were never alone. "I should have known better than to trust a Viera. You knew I was coming." His grin turned more into a smirk. "Of course I knew you were coming. We know as much as you do Thiefbane. In fact, I'd say I know more than you right now. We thought you were dead. I'm not here for a fight. I don't need to kill you before you are even alive." He jumped off the roof, landing on the floor with a neat tumble before coming to stand before Roberto, who was still holding his dagger. "Easy Roberto, I'm not reaching for my weapon."

He took out two pieces of paper, holding them out to Roberto so he could take them. "You'll find my little merc group has new priorities. I am no longer wanted by Andor or the Thiefbane. I think you will find you have some catching up to do. Keep the throwing dagger and pardons if you like. Rumor has it that you are low on projectiles. Hunt me if you want, but know there's no need." Roberto read the pardons for a second, to make sure they were legitimate, when he looked up to respond Isaah was gone. "You say things have changed Viera, but I can tell not by much." With a sigh he walked towards the Whitebridge Bridge and Baerlon.

One Month Earlier

Roberto called for the gate of Fal Dara to be opened. There were not. Finally he yelled, "Get Lord Castor out here. I'll wait." It was just a couple minutes before he heard cursing on the walls. "Open the bloody gate. How many times have you seen this man go North." Slowly the gate opened up and Roberto limped in.

"May peace favor your sword, Lord Roberto Al'Farath. Reports indicate that the major battlefronts are leaderless. Thought you bloody went out with them."

Roberto chuckled. "They didn't get me yet, though I may have lead a couple trollocs to your gates. They were pretty close from the start, and I decided to take the long route." Roberto threw a sack at his feet. "Was that bounty on those brigands still active? I took care of them anyways." Castor didn't quite smile, but there was joy in his rough voice. "I think we can take care of a couple bloody trollocs for what you did. Welcome back. Lancer council is aware of what you have been doing. Your name is clear." Roberto clapped him on the shoulder then took out his other pouch, handing it to Castor. "Here are your maps and my reports on potential positions. I need to go south and check in with Juilin. The job was worth it. May peace favor your sword." He clapped him on the shoulder again as he walked away.

"You may want to take a bloody shower, you smell worse than a decaying worm, bloody fool!" Roberto just waved in response as he walked towards Dog Gate.
Last edited by Roberto on Thu May 03, 2018 12:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A Long Journey

Postby Roberto » Wed May 02, 2018 1:48 pm

Present Time

Roberto got to the gates of Bearlon as the sun was starting to rise. Everything still cast long shadows around him. As he got near the gate one of the shadows seemed to move. Out walked a wisp of a woman, silver lined duster on with the matching hood up. "Took you long enough to get here. I've put off this mission for an hour. I'll see you tomorrow night in the sitting room with some scotch. Reports don't do this story justice. Welcome home." She started to walk away.

"It's good to see you too Theia."

"Of course it is Roberto. Juilin and Rico are waiting for you, so stop taking so long."

"Yes, things are still the same." Roberto sighed then whistled for Aran, walking up to the gates and through the city. As he neared the mansion, he nodded to a man who opened up the archway for him. Aran was left at the front room, being cared for as he hadn’t in years. A shoulder clap and a couple short exchanges later with passing Thiefbane, he walked into the meeting room.

Juilin and Rico sat in the chairs on the northern wall. Juilin looked relaxed, but always on constant alert as always. Rico looked with a mischievous grin, blue eyes bright as he stood up to great Roberto. "Four years is too long Rob. Never again."

Roberto shook his head as he laughed. "Four years is less time than forever. It's good to be back." He shifted his gaze to Juilin Sander. "The Fal Dara contract has been completed as well. The Lancers should be happy with us for a while."

Juilin picked up a package from next to him, unwrapping it and holding it to Roberto. It was a new set of leathers, black and silver lined. On top a duster was folded as well as two exquisite onyx daggers on silver chains. "I read the report Roberto. Leria Sedai had it here before you likely left Tar Valon. She's Sedai now, even as a member of the Brown Ajah she knows what lies beyond the tower."

Rico nodded in agreement before adding, "Now we need your eyes and ears in the south. Things have changed, and we need our best back." He dipped his hand into his pocket before handing Roberto something small, the size of a coin, in a firm hand shake. "Criminals are using the confusion of the Seanchan to cause chaos, dark friends are being found among the dragonsworn, the Children grow ever more fervent, and enemies are everywhere. It is time for the Thiefbane to pay more attention to the world around us." Roberto hadn't taken his eyes off what Rico had handed him. He looked up at Juilin, then Rico, then Juilin again.

"This can't be right. I just got back."

Rico smirked while responding. "Told you Juilian. I know what he is going to say before he does."

Juilin voice grew serious. "Yes, Roberto Al'Farath, it is time you took up this mantle."

Rico copied the greeting he must have seen Roberto do a thousand times, hand over his heart then to the hilt of his dagger, nodding in respect as he spoke.

"Welcome home, Spymaster."
Last edited by Roberto on Thu May 03, 2018 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Long Journey

Postby isabel » Thu May 03, 2018 8:53 am

Wow! This was lovely to read. Your style and plotting is so good! I usually don't like stories that go back and forth in time because it confuses the visuals, but this was surprisingly good to read. I think the only odd note for me was when one of the characters says 'kidding' and I thought okay that's not in Wot lexicon :lol: That aside, would love to read more of Roberto's adventures :)

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Re: A Long Journey

Postby Roberto » Thu May 03, 2018 3:11 pm

isabel wrote:Wow! This was lovely to read. Your style and plotting is so good! I usually don't like stories that go back and forth in time because it confuses the visuals, but this was surprisingly good to read. I think the only odd note for me was when one of the characters says 'kidding' and I thought okay that's not in Wot lexicon :lol: That aside, would love to read more of Roberto's adventures :)

Thank you Isabel for your kind words!

That exchange was actually pulled straight out of an RP exchange I had with Leria for this.

Speaking of that, quick shout out to Leria, the Viera brothers, Theia, and Rico who let me use their characters for my story.

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