"And henceforth, he was known as Jeffan the Kickass"

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Story by Jeffan Caliarthan for Project Gaidin's Death Match Week 1.

Over half of the Aes Sedai in the Tower had been killed in the invasion of the Seanchan, and many more Gaidin. The Tower was in a time of mounring shortly following the attack, and three months after the Seanchan had retreated the Trollocs made a small attack on the Tower that harmed them more than it should have, given the circumstances. Unfortunately, this had only been a cursory attack. Soon after, sentries spotted a mass of Trollocs and Myrddraal heading towards the Tower, two weeks away. That was six days ago. The Amyrlin had created a gateway and sent Adriana and Jeffan as far East as she could with five recruits – Aldus, Azi, Jermaine, Ray and Paderic – to go to the Waste and get reinforcements for the Tower.

“We will rest here tonight,” Adriana informed them, “but only for a few hours. We don’t have any time to waste.”

Jeffan and the recruits set up their bedrolls, Jeffan setting up Adriana Sedai’s as well.

“Are you going to get any rest, Aes Sedai? I can stay on the lookout if you’d like.”

“Yes, I would like that. If I were any good at wards I would set them up, but I’m not. I need a little bit of rum before I rest as well. Go to my pack and fetch it for me, Jeffan.”

“Yes, Aes Sedai.” Jeffan went off to her pack, which was near his own bedroll and fetched out her bottle of rum. The other recruits already seemed asleep. He wondered why the Amyrlin had even sent them. Did she think that he wasn’t capable of escorting Adriana Sedai on his own? He shook off the thought and brought the bottle back to Adriana.

“Here you go, Aes Sedai. I’ll patrol the area, although I hope I don’t find anything.”

“May the Light hope that you don’t, Jeffan.” She took a long swig from her bottle and curled up on her bed roll. Jeffan set off to the west.

After fifteen minutes and no activity, he decided to head back to the camp and check on everyone. When he got there, he noticed that one of the recruit’s bedrolls was empty. He immediately looked around, and not seeing anything, checked the other bedrolls to find out who was missing. There was Jermaine, Ray, Aldus and Azi… but no Paderic. Quickly, he woke two of the other recruits, Azi and Jermaine.

“Where is Paderic?” he demanded of them.

“What? He’s right…” Azi pointed to his empty bedroll. “He was right there. I was facing him when I closed my eyes to sleep.”

“And you?” Jeffan asked Jermaine, “Did you see anything?”

“No, Jeffan.” He looked worried.

“What’s going on?” Adriana asked, sitting up from her bedroll.

Jeffan turned to face her. “One of the recruits has gone missing, Aes Sedai.”

“Go in search of him, and be quick. I have a bad feeling – Light hope I’m wrong in it, though.”

Jeffan, after waking up the other two recruits, told them all to split up. He went in search of Paderic to the north with Aldus, while the other three went to the south. After ten minutes, they hear a quiet moaning. Jeffan ran ahead of Aldus and found Paderic lying on the ground with a slash on his chest, the wound already festering.

Aldus ran up to him, crying out in anguish. “Paderic! Hold on. Hold on.” He sobbed into Paderic’s chest while holding his head up.

Paderic mumbled something, dribbles of blood escaping the corners of his mouth. “Tr… Tro… Trollocs.” he mumbled with his last breath, the light leaving his eyes.

Jeffan immediately grabbed Aldus away from Paderic’s lifeless body. “We must go back to Adriana Sedai! There’s nothing you can do for him. The other recruits are back at camp! We have to go!”

Aldus finally relented and ran towards the camp. After only two or three minutes of running, they heard a frantic cry for help from Adriana and ran back even faster than they thought possible. What they saw when they got there frightened them to their very core.

Nearly fifty trollocs, a half of a fist, were pinning Adriana to the side of a boulder. Eagle heads, goat legs, angry eyes, flashes of steel -- they were everywhere. A pig faced trolloc right next to Red exploded in a burst of flame, and then another right after. They were closing in fast, and Red couldn’t hold them back. Jeffan could see the other three recruits – Azi, Ray, and Jermaine – fighting near the rear, away from Adriana. Jeffan looked at Aldus and gave him a quick nod. They rushed into battle.

The first trolloc, not expecting them, fell to a stab in the neck from his sword. Black blood gushed out of the wound, but before the trolloc even fell, another one had its legs cut out from underneath him. Jeffan cut down four more trollocs before they started to notice his presence, his only goal to get to Adriana Sedai and protect her. The Amyrlin had sent him on this mission, had tasked him with escorting her to the Waste to gather reinforcements, and he would not fail.

One trolloc turned and swung at him with its massive blade. Jeffan barely managed to duck beneath it and stab the creature in the stomach, sending it toppling to the ground. Two more attacked him, and twice more he felled the savage beasts. Then he saw a truly horrifying sight.

A circle of ten trollocs had surrounded the other three recruits – Azi, Ray and Jermaine – and were quickly coming in on them, blades out. Jeffan knew that he had to help, but he had to get to Adriana as well. Suddenly, an eagle-faced trolloc stabbed Ray in the gut while the other two were distracted trying to fend off trollocs themselves. Jeffan made his decision then. He rushed towards the recruits.

He slashed at two trollocs from behind, watching them fall to the ground, shouting, or, at least, what passed for shouting from their unnatural mouths. At the sound, the other trollocs looked in his direction and all came rushing towards him. Jeffan thought he was going to die. Then two of the trollocs near the back of the rush fell, and it gave him hope. He slashed at the lead trolloc with his sword, ripping a gash into his chest, and stabbed another through the throat.

Spinning, he saw a trolloc behead Jermaine, a shocked look on the young recruits face. Feeling a rage grow in him, he killed three more trollocs and rushed towards Azi, the young recruit fighting admirably, but with a worried look on his face. He won’t make it, Jeffan thought, frightened. Running as fast as he was able, he rushed towards one of the trollocs behind Azi that had his sword raised above his head, ready to give a killing blow. Jeffan tackled the massive trolloc, throwing it off balance.

He knew that he was probably going to die, but he got up and tried to wildly stab at the trolloc anyways. The trolloc reared up and blocked his blow, knocking the sword out of Jeffan’s hand. Jeffan scrambled back, looking for something, anything to use as a weapon, but couldn’t find anything. As the trolloc raised his axe, a flash of steel from the side of Jeffan’s vision struck the creature in the head, making it collapse on the ground dead. Jeffan looked to his left, startled, and saw Aldus with a grin on his face, his sword arm empty. Jeffan grinned back at him and called out to thank him, but then a trolloc was rushing towards a defenseless Aldus.

Jeffan cried out, telling him to duck, but the trolloc cut off Aldus’ head with a strong swipe of its blade, the grin still on the recruits face. Jeffan got up and pulled the sword from the dead trolloc’s head and ran towards the one that had just beheaded Aldus. He caught him in the back of the thigh, stabbing him through. The trolloc roared and backhanded him, sending him sprawling. The trolloc rushed towards him and not three yards away burst into flame, it’s eye sockets turning black.

He heard a scream from his right and turned in time to see Azi get struck in the shoulder with a trollocs sword. Before Jeffan could get up, Azi used his other arm to stab the creature in the face, causing it to fall to the ground. Azi clutched the end of the spear and pulled it out, and immediately blood started gushing from the wound in waves. He cried out and clutched his shoulder, falling to the ground.

Jeffan looked around, searching for Adraina Sedai, hoping that she could help heal Azi. He saw a red cloak near the body of a trolloc and rushed off towards it. He found Adriana slumped, her breaths quick and shallow, against a massive trolloc.

“Red! Red! You have to Heal Azi. He’s bleeding horribly!” Jeffan lifted up her arm and put it around his shoulder, hoping to bring her over to Azi. “You have to heal him, Aes Sedai! He can’t die like this!”

“I… I have no strength, Jeffan.” Adriana slumped towards the ground, putting all of her weight on him. He laid her down on the ground, her cloak under her head and ran off towards Azi, hoping, praying to the Light that there was something he could do for the young boy.

He reached him while he was still clutching his shoulder, the bleeding less severe, but Azi’s face was paler than the clouds in the sky. Jeffan rushed up and placed pressure on his wound, causing Azi to shout out in pain and bite back tears.

“You just have to hold on a little bit longer while Adriana Sedai gets her strength back. That’s all you have to do. Just hold on, Azi.” He bit back tears of his own.

“Jeff… I’m not going to make it, bro. This has been such a brotastic brotosterone brofest, but I can’t hold on. Go be bro without me.” Azi said weakly, coughing up blood.

“What? You’re not making any sense! Just hold on!” Jeffan clamped tighter on his wound.

“I’ve… always loved you-“ his voice cut off as the strength left his arms and he sprawled towards the ground.

“Azi! Azi! NO. Wake up, Azi. I’ve always loved you, too. Come on, wake up! Red will be able to heal you soon, Azi, you just… you just…” he clutched at Azi’s coat and reared back his head, screaming at the sky in anger and frustration and loss.

Jeffan let go of Azi with a final sob, laying Azi’s hands across his chest. “Rest well, brother.” he said with a final sigh.

He got up and walked back over to where he left Red. Her breathing was still shallow, but seemed to be coming a little slower, which was a good sign. Her pulse had calmed down as well, thank the Light.

“Red, wake up. We must move in case more trollocs come along. We don’t have the strength to fight them if they do.” Her eyes flitted open.

“Yes, we… we must be off. To the Waste.”

“Yes, Red, to the Waste.”

He dragged her up and put her arm around his shoulders, carrying most of her weight. They walked off slowly towards the path leading up the mountain range, stopping periodically so Red could regain her breath. Once they reached the top, they found a small alcove and sat down in it. Jeffan then realized just how sore he was. He could barely move his legs.

“Jeffan, you have to go find the Aiel. I will just be a burden, and we have to find them quickly if the Tower has any hope against the oncoming Shadowspawn forces.” Jeffan began to protest, but was cut off by Red’s glare. “No, Jeffan. You must listen to me. Take my ring and show it to them. They will know what it means and will assist you. Now come here and let me heal you. You’ll need whatever strength you can manage if you’re going to complete this task alive.”

Jeffan nodded his assent and scrambled towards her, barely able to feel anything in his body but pain. Red laid her hands on his head and he felt as if he had been plunged into a bucket of ice water. He came back out of the ice water in time to see Red collapse to the side, unconscious, but still breathing. He looked at her and saw that there was no place for her to safely be in case trollocs came across her. Not that there was any reason for the trollocs to come up this way, but then again, there was no reason for them to come to where they attacked Adriana. He couldn’t leave her here defenseless.

Gathering his strength, he picked up Adriana and put her across his shoulders. If she were awake, she would probably kill him for doing this to her, but thankfully she was unconscious. He slowly struggled a few steps, barely managing to stay upright with the added weight, but slowly grew accustomed to it. He walked off to the East, hoping to find an Aiel to aid them.

He carried her for a few hours, seeing nothing, hearing nothing. He had to rest for awhile. He set Red down gently on the ground and nearly collapsed himself. If he didn’t find anyone soon, they would die out here. Die out in the Waste without sending the Tower reinforcements. He wouldn’t fail. But Light, he had to rest.

Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted movement. He turned just in time to see a brown-cloaked figure ducking behind a small rock. When he looked again, he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, just a rock. But he could have sworn he saw something. He got up and took a few steps towards the rock, and suddenly a figure reared up, clutching a spear. The Aiel was short, with a veil around its face. Jeffan quickly put his hands up, showing empty palms, hoping to show that he meant no harm.

“Please, I mean you no harm. The Aes Sedai,” he pointed towards Adriana “is very weak, she needs help. Can you take me to your Wise Ones?”

The Aiel lowered it’s spear, as well as it’s veil. Jeffan was shocked to see that the figure was a woman. She glanced towards Adriana lying on the ground.

“An Aes Sedai?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yes, Adriana Sedai. Please, take me to your Wise Ones. I don’t know how long she’s going to last.” He tried to make his voice as urgent as it could be.

“Quickly, this way.” The woman ran off to the South. Jeffan quickly scrambled to get Adriana back on his shoulders and ran off in chase of the woman, new strength filling his legs. After half an hour, they reached a small village, stone houses dotted here and there. The woman ran into the first house on the left and Jeffan followed, but just when he was about to enter a large, older woman came out.

“Lay her down, young man.” She demanded in a firm voice.

Jeffan did as he was told, laying Adriana Sedai gently down on the ground before the woman. She knelt down and placed her hands on Adriana Sedai’s head and looked up at Jeffan.

“She is fine, she just needs rest. She is thoroughly exhausted and has spent every last bit of her power.” She gestured to the woman who led Jeffan to the village. “Make her a bed, she needs rest.”

“She’ll be fine?”

“Yes, young man. Now tell me what you were doing out in the Waste in the first place.” She asked in a motherly, yet still stern, voice.

“The White Tower asks for reinforcements. A mass of Shadowspawn is approaching and we’re outnumbered. Without the Aiel, we will be slaughtered.”

The woman got a shocked look on her face and began to speak, but Jeffan could hear nothing. All of the pain that he had felt from the battle, from carrying Adriana Sedai, came back to him in a rush, hitting him in a huge, blinding force. He collapsed while the Wise One was speaking to him, making frantic motions.

Jeffan woke up in the infirmary of the White Tower. He slowly sat up and looked around, seeing the room full of Recruits, Soldiers and Gaidin resting, as well as a few Novices, Accepted and Aes Sedai. An Aes Sedai spotted him, Khisanth of the Yellows, he thought, and came rushing towards him.

“Oh! You’re awake! Adriana will want to know right away. As will the Amyrlin. Do you need anything?” She barked at a Novice. “Get this man some food and wine, whatever else he asks for.” The Novice scurried away in the direction of the kitchens.

Jeffan looked up at Khisanth Sedai blankly. “What… happened? We were in the Waste and then-“

“The Amyrlin will tell you everything, child. Just know that the Tower is safe now, thanks to you.” Khisanth padded his arm gently. She walked off out of the infirmary.

Jeffan was still stunned. Had they won the war, then? He wondered. Had they survived the invasion? It seemed like they had, judging from where he was. He leaned his back against the wall and tried to remember what had happened, but couldn’t. He rested against the hard stone, waiting for Khisanth to return.

Not ten minutes later, the Amyrlin burst into the room with Khisanth and Adriana following. All of those not in beds bowed before her, but she took no notice. She confidently strode up to his bedside and sat down on the end of the bed.

“Jeffan, how are you feeling?” she asked calmly.

“I’m feeling alright, Mother. But, can you tell me what happened? I just remember being in the Waste, carrying Adriana Sedai,” he glanced up at her and she seemed to be smiling, “and then… I can’t remember anything.”

“What happened was that the Aiel arrived right before the Shadowspawn attacked. They brought you and Adriana back to the Tower and helped us drive them back. Thanks to you, the Tower still stands.”

“How did they get here so quickly? The Tower was already so close to being attacked…”

“It appears that the Aiel know how to create a gateway, which is something to discuss at a later time. Just know that you saved not only Adriana Sedai, but the entire Tower as well.” She inclined her head to him. “For that, I thank you.”

“Mother, I did only what was asked of me.”

“Yes, but you did it in a truly heroic way. You are truly one of San d’ma Shadar. I’m proud to have you at the Tower.”

Jeffan blushed, unable to say anything.

Breaking the silence, Adriana spoke. “When you’re feeling up to it, I have a present for you in the form of one of my boy toys. I keep them in the dungeons, so he’ll probably be thankful for a change of scenery. I’ll have him moved to your room when you’re ready.”

A grin appeared on Jeffan’s face, and soon all of them – The Amyrlin, Adriana, Khisanth and himself – were grinning ear to ear, nearly chuckling with mirth.

“Well, just so I get some fun out of all of this, I’m happy.” Jeffan said, thinking of all the things he was going to do to the man waiting in his chambers.