Z'bri In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

From the Legend of Lan the Watcher, Fallen Joanite:

From the Legend of Lan the Watcher, Fallen Joanite:

It was a regular night on the Watch; the moon shone through a thin covering of clouds and a light breeze carried a sense of anticipation. Lan Avakin Mara’on stood perched atop his guard tower on the Seven Fingers like a hawk, watching out over the horizon towards the Z’bri lands. An ancestral headband held his brown hair back to reveal a hard face that had seen a life of much hardship and heartache, and his fingers stroked the pendant around his neck belonging to his love; a love long lost; a love that can never be again. Had Lan not volunteered to serve in the Watch during this patrol he would have been hand-picked, for he was one of the best Joanite Watchers due to his keen eye and skill with the sword. Indeed, Lan had proven his worth on more than one occasion with his ability to spot a Z’bri raiding party at over a thousand paces. Tonight he would have to be as vigilant as ever, for there had been many raids recently, much more than usual, and all had mysteriously been able to slip by the Watch’s gaze. If not for Watch Captain Eamon Valda’on’s uncanny ability to appear in the nick of time and stop the beasts, many inexcusable tragedies would befall the people of the seven tribes. Not including the guards on duty getting an earful from the Watch Captain, whose temper has rumored to have worsened since Thom Mary’on was promoted to Templar instead of he. Wishing not to be berated tonight, Lan pushed those thoughts out of his mind and refocused his stern gaze into the darkness.

As the moon rose to nearly its zenith in the night sky, Lan saw a lone solitary figure creeping along the base of the tower adjacent to him — almost impossible to see by any ordinary man. The outline and mannerisms of the body suggested it to be that of Pippin Ariel’on, another Watcher on duty. “What is Pippin doing away from his post?” Lan wondered. “Could he be the cause of the Z’bri raids?” The thought of a fellow Blade of Joan consorting with those evil beings made Lan shudder. He decided to head down and follow Pippin to see what he could discover.

After descending the last few steps of the tower, Lan stood in the shadows of the stairway entrance and peered along the wall constructed of metal, wood, and ancient machines from before the End. A few seconds later he saw movement in the shadows of the makeshift wall and caught a glimpse of the almost boyish face and blonde shoulder-length hair of Pippin. Lan sneaked along the edge of the wall, not making a sound, until he reached Pippin who was finishing up removing material from a decent sized gap in the wall. Pippin was too caught up in his work and oblivious to the fact that Lan was now standing beside him.

“I did not know the wall needed mending Pippin.” Lan said, crossing his arms.

Taken aback, Pippin jumped with a start and dropped a wooden plank he was holding, which made a clutter as it bounced on the ground and finally laid still, “Uh Lan, umm … It-It’s not what it looks like.”

“It looks like I’ve found the source of the Z’bri raids. Eamon will not be happy to hear of this.” Lan replied. He stepped forward to further intimidate the younger and smaller man.

Pippin was rubbing his hands together, “B-But I was directed by Eamon to open a hole. H-He said it was for a special envoy, I swear!” he stammered as sweat dripped from his forehead.

As Lan was digesting this information he heard the clambering of movement from the recently created opening in the wall followed by the snorts and snarls that were unmistakable to anyone who had heard them before. “Z’bri!” Lan shouted as he drew his long sword from his scabbard. As his blade gleamed in the moonlight, a hideous monstrous face, not quite animal, not quite human, poked its head out of the hole, followed by an even more monstrous body. Lan would consider himself fairly large for a human, standing at about 6’3" and weighing about 210 pounds, but this beast stood a good head and shoulders taller.

“Oh dear Fatimas! What have I done?!” Pippin cried as he fumbled for his sword.

He would never have a chance as a giant fur-covered hand hammered into him sending the Watcher to his final resting spot twenty yards away. The foul creature then turned towards Lan with a sickly grin revealing razor-like teeth protruding from bleeding, foaming gums. Lan could feel the always present power which felt like a calm, rolling sea in the back of his conscious, and drew upon it to steel his nerves. The small pang of fear was replaced with a feeling of confidence and eagerness, and he raised his sword horizontally towards the beast and shifted into the sword form known as Lilies Over the Waterfall. “My love, Moiraine, may I hope to join you today,” Lan said to the stars, he then shouted at the abomination, “Let’s dance!” and attacked.

To be continued …


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