The Truth is Out There
From Tar Valon Library
“Madame Aes Sedai, where exactly is it we are going?”
“Please, call me Red. And you do not need to know where we are going. Only that we are on official Tower business and are to maintain a low profile.” replied the Red Sister. “Yes, ma’am.” replied the nervous Soldier.
This was Ivanor Winshaw’s first assignment outside of the White Tower. His orders came in well before dawn that morning. Escort Adriana al'Tere Sedai safely to her destination. SPEAK TO NO ONE! Ivanor distinctively recognized that the writing belonged to his Captain, Deoan Kakarot Gaidin.
If this is such an important mission why not send Red Sedai with a guard of White Tower soldiers? Or a couple of fully raised Gaidin?
It didn’t make sense to send him as the only protection for an Aes Sedai. Of course this was the legendary Adriana al’Tere. Purveyor of rum, leader against the Seanchan invasion, and first-sister to the Amyrlin herself. What “protection” could a Soldier provide to a Sister of that caliber? More likely, she would be saving his hide in the end.
“It appears that we have arrived.” says Red Sedai looking out over a sugar cane fields.
The hair on Ivanor’s neck stands on end as he looks across the fields where large circular impressions had crushed more than half the cane. “By the Light….” cursed the young Soldier.
“I couldn’t have said it better myself, young one. These fields provide 90% of the world’s sugar supply, and more than half of it has been destroyed.” explained Red Sedai. “When I heard the stories about the cane fields, I went straight to Mother and asked for this assignment.”
“But why, Red Sedai? What assignment?”
“My dear dense, Soldier. You really are wet behind the ears. Captain Deoan was right to send you with me. Sugar cane, my dear lad, is the base ingredient for rum. No sugar, no rum. No rum, well let’s not even fathom the thought. Reports from the locals say that a field will be fine one evening, but then by morning the cane will be laid flat unable to be harvested. Let’s set up camp near the one field that has yet to be damaged. Without announcing ourselves to the community, we may be able to catch these creatures in the act.”
“Creatures? You mean Shadowspawn?” gasped Ivanor. This may be more haring than I expected.
Red Sedai replied, “Not Shadowspawn, though none this far south would recognize true Shadowspawn anyways. No, the locals claim that they are creatures from another planet. Hog swallow! I think once this is all said and done, we’re going to have to get some Yellows out here for some much needed healing.”
After making camp, Ivanor and Red patrol the area for any signs of foot traffic around the fields. Finding none, they return to camp. As the sun sets, Red lays down while Ivanor takes the first watch. Two hours pass without incident, when suddenly Ivanor hears movement in the cane field. Touching Adriana Sedai lightly on the shoulder to wake her, he points to the place where the noise was coming from. They both ease up from their positions and pad lightly to the source of the noise.
“Over there, Red Sedai. I see movement.” Ivanor says as he moves closer to the source.
“Let’s see what these goat kissing fools really are!” replied the Red Sister as she stood. A glowing ball of red light suddenly appears over the field, accompanied with a booming voice. “In the name the Amyrlin Seat of the White Tower, I command you to HALT!”
And with that the creatures paused where they were in mid motion.
“Did you bind them all, Red Sedai?” inquired the Soldier.
“A real Aes Sedai should be able to command with authority and expect to be obeyed. Now had one of them tried to run, I would have made a good example for him, her, it… Whatever they are. Now let’s go see these boys up close and personal.” Red Sedai winked and began moving towards the creatures.
As Ivanor approached, he felt more and more apprehensive. These creatures were taller than any man he had ever seen, but were smaller than Trollocs or Ogier. They were all slim and slender, and upon first glance their skin seemed scaly, like a snake’s. Could these be the mysterious Aelfinn that he had heard stories about?
Voicing his thoughts, Ivanor watched as Adriana Sedai closely inspected the face of one of these creatures.
“I’m afraid not, Ivanor.” Ripping the head off one of the creatures revealed a short young man in costume. “Just your run of the mill hooligan. Now tell your friends to show their faces as well.” Red instructed the boy as she bored into his head with her stare. “I love a good prank as much as the next person, but you boys are disrupting these people’s lives much less the rum supply to my quarters. Now tell me what gave you boys the idea to come out here and make such a mess.”
The young man that Red Sedai had captured looked to his comrades for help but they would not meet his eyes. “W…w….we…we were… paid 5 crowns…. apiece… for each field, Aes Sedai. Old man, Porter….. asked us to… to… to help him out.”
“And who is this “Old Man Porter?” asked Ivanor.
“He runs the old corn mill over in Bucky Hill. Said he had a new drink to show everybody, but no one would try it with rum so readily at hand. Please let us go, Aes Sedai. We’re sorry for causing trouble! Honestly! We’ll do anything, just don’t channel on us no more.” With that the youth began to cry.
“For heaven’s sakes boy… Man up! I want you and your friends to head into town at first light and offer to replant this season’s entire crop. Tell them that the Light was shown upon you last night to do this charitable work for them. NOW GET!” Red Sedai ended with her saidar enhanced voice, and set the young boys scrambling.
Looking over at Ivanor with a twinkle in her eye, Adriana Sedai says, “So Ivanor, what’s say we go pay Old Man Porter a visit…”