The wind had grown stale and the twisted trees, with their stained leaves brought a weird sense of a homecoming. Melayna turned to the trollocs who were feasting on the remains of a couple of the prisoners they had brought up from the Southlands - funny to think of the Blight as home, but each step brought them closer to the darkened Towers of Tha'kan'dar, where she could finally be free from these prisoners and the stench of the trolloc cookpots. Her lips curled into a thin smile as the screams of yet another prisoner was cut short by the sickening crunch of club against flesh. She reached out to the Source and wove a thin trickle of Air, almost laughing at the howl the trolloc let out. "Leave the rest alive, the smiths in Tha'kan'dar will need them", the prisoners looked to Melayna with something close to gratitude in their eyes. Fools, ending up in the cookpots would've been a mercy to what was to come.
The embers were still faintly glowing as Yahra and her patrol of Deathwatch Guards rode into the campsite. They had been following the tracks of the trollocs for some days now, never getting too close for their scent to be picked up. Incredible how well these Shadowspawn are able to pick up scents, more beast than intelligent beings, Yahra mused, as the Captain and his men secured the site. Yahra carefully avoided looking too close in the abandoned pots, although the burnt limbs spread besides the embers were more than enough to send her stomach churning. She turned to the two women trodging behind her. The silver necklaces around their necks reflected the fading light. "Prepare yourselves, this marath'damane is no ordinary one as those in the southlands. Those who have turned to the Shadow seem to be more skilled in the Power than those fools who call themselves Aes Sedai, but we must bring her back to the Empress, may she live forever. Strong Damane will be needed in the time coming."
The massive fireball hit the ground where she had been standing only moments before. How had they been able to come so close without her sensing their presence. Screaming at the sleeping trollocs to kill the intruders Melayna reached out to the source and quickly wove a shield of Air as a volley of arrows came flying from the nearby trees. She knocked the arrows from the air as she sent flames running throughout the surrounding trees, the satisfying screams of the hidden archers piercing the air. She quicly dodged left and rolled onto the ground as the ground started to break open, flames coming from underneath. So they had brought Aes Sedai with them, she could deal with those.
She searched out the treeline and found what she was looking for. Aes Sedai were rarely prepared for Battle, even those fools who saw themselves as Green Ajah. She quickly wove a trickle of Earth throughout the ground, heaving it up and prepared another weave of fire to burn the Aes Sedai to a crisp. The ground stopped its shaking and the Aes Sedai stood firm sending two flows of fire directly towards her - impossible, the Aes Sedai she had faced had little knowledge of actual combat. She sprang to the side as the fireballs exploded around her. Melayna sprang into a sprint towards the channeler, she almost saw the weaves before they formed, a Shield, She smiled as she charged the channeler, while preparing her own surprise. She sliced the weaves of the channeler and that had the expected reaction, the channeler stood still for a moment not understanding what had happened. Although only a small trickle of the True Source was allowed to her, Melayna knew the surprise of seeing the True Source corrupt the weaves of Saidar and she burned the channeler to a crisp as she stood dumbfounded not realizing her mistake.
Turning to her campsite she noticed many of the trolloc corpses burning, so there was another channeler among them. She sensed the source being channeled on the opposite site of the camp, she started towards her target, lashing out with weaves of fire and air towards the soldiers who charged at her with spears raised. Ah, the sound of dying men would never get old, she thought pleasantly. Not caring if she killed some of her trollocs, her weaves spread out throughout the camp burning both trolloc and men alive. She cackled gleefully as another group of bloodcovered men charged her, picking one of the trolloc corpses up with flows of Air she set it alight and hurled it at the charging men. The bloodlust ran through her and she missed the small rock flying through the air, carefully aimed at her head. All went dark.
Blinking, she awoke to the groans of men and the smell of sweat and blood. Her head ached something fierce, and it took her a moment to make out the figures moving around her. Men, not trollocs.
"She is awake, mistress Yahra," a soft voice spoke from behind her. A tall darkskinned woman walked towards her. "Ah good, finally awake I see!" the woman spoke with a slur, making it difficult to make out the words, "so what does our newest damane call herself? If you behave I might let you keep your name."
Melayna could only stare at the tall woman, this filthy human did not know her? "I am Melayna the Dreadlord and I will make you suffer more than you can imagine, you and all your filthy excuses of soldiers. I'll rip your families apart and make you watch as I let my trollocs have your kids for sport!" she lurched over coughing as the pain of a thousand needles bore through her skin. Her vision blackened for what seemed like eternity. "Melayna? It is a good name for a damane. You are now the property of the Empress, may she live forever. If you stop your whining I will even give you a sweet" the tall woman smiled at her, "I am Yahra and I will take care of you for now."
The pain returned even worse this time, her blood felt like it was boiling. Even the soldiers who were busy preparing the horses stopped as her shriek pierced the morning light. "Ah yes, you will not try to embrace the source unless I tell you. Do you understand?" Melayna sobbed silently and nodded her head. The tall woman patted her head and pulled out a piece of hard candy. "There, there, you are safe now. This will help a bit." She stuck the candy in Melayna's mouth. Tears streaming down her cheeks, Melayna sucked the candy. It did help.