Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Saban 15, 998 NE

I...spoke with a Whitecloak today.  They've started coming through the inns in town, checking for vice, as they say, and today they came to the Stag & Lion.  And I--well, I wasn't paying too much attention.  I should have realized something was amiss when Min stomped by all in a taking, but it didn't shift me from my spot next to the rain-barrel where I was writing away, and so...this young Whitecloak comes by, and before I quite knew what was what, he'd snatched my tablet away from me.

He had a wild cast to his eyes, and a mite bloodshot they were, but he was sneering down at me, and he said--

He said it's a ter'angreal.  A thing of the Power.

But that--it's not possible!  I'd never touch such a thing, and there's no reason it should work for me.  No, it can't be that.  And surely it isn't.  The Whitecloak, he said he'd tell his commander about it, but he tossed my tablet back at me and stalked away, wiping his hand on his tabard.  Nothing came of it, and it's been hours.  Surely he told his commander, who must have said there was nothing to it.  He was young, like I say, probably not many months off a farm somewhere, and ready to scrawl the Dragon's Fang as soon as blink.

It put the fear of the Light into me, I'll say that.  But I do walk in the Light, I always have and will, and this--it's just a tool!  Nothing dangerous, nothing dirty.  I'll tell it to anybody.  But still, I think I ought best to...leave it on the shelf for a few days.  It's distracting me from the horses, it is.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saban 14, 998 NE

The winter is clinging on longer than I can remember it ever doing before.  Certain sure it should still be cold, and of course snowy, but there's a...bitterness to it that's more suited to winter's own heart, not the edge of spring and only weeks from Bel Tine.  But, I suppose the weather is the weather, and not much we folk folk can do about it.  Those Aes Sedai in their tower probably just wanted to keep the ice about to chill their wine, aye, that I'd wager.

Still, I wish there weren't so many wolves abroad...travelers say they're bold as you please, coming right into camp and snatching away horses.  And here behind the city walls, we've still got the Whitecloaks--our own type of wolf, and the lot of them rabid, at that...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Saban 7, 998 NE

All done with a day's work, at last, and nothing for it but to pick up this strange little tile again and start tapping.  My fingers have itched for it for days, but we've been busy here at the Stag and Lion, so you really must excuse--

What are you doing, Jarem?  Apologizing to the thing like it's not just close kin to a printing press.

But it's a relief to have somewhere to turn after the week we've been having, Light but it's so.  Min will laugh at me like a Dragon-taken fool, but truth is, if paper were cheaper and easier to come by 'round the inn, I'd've started writing my thoughts down long since.  I only worry what will happen when I run out of ink, 'specially if I've grown accustomed to this release by then.  Well, more the fool I, but there you have it.

I should stop wasting what's in here already.

There's anxiety abroad in Baerlon, and it's not just at the Stag and Lion.  I was home to see Mother and Da three nights gone, and it's on everyone's lips, though Mother tried to keep the talk to lighter things, but that's heavy going when there are Whitecloaks within the walls.

Aye, the Light-blinded, trouble-stirring sons of spavined goats.  I just spat, as I wrote that, as it seemed the proper course.  But that don't change it a hair.  Oh, they come through now and then, it's not like we've not had them in our city before, but even more than ever they're strutting around like bantam roosters, looking down their nose-pieces at us.  There's just a different feel about the lot of them, like the tension in an arm before it shoots out to grab.  My Da's practically up in arms already, but I don't see what can be done.  The Whiecloaks don't break any laws, and it's been since my Da was my age that we last saw a Queen's Guard in Baerlon.  Not that Morgase, the Light illumine her always, ever stints on the tax collectors, so my Da says.

I don't see how you could expect anything else.  We're fairly well-off hereabouts, as a rule, with the ores coming down from the mines and all the fine wool and tabac from down south and the trade between Saldaea and Illian, so of course the taxmen aren't going to forget about us.  But with the Mountains of Mist to the west and the Manetherendrelle down below us, and the bulk of Andor guarding us where we're not hemmed in by old forests, we're not exactly a dewmelon ripe for the plucking--so why waste any soldiers to stand over us?  The queen probably has all sorts of trouble on her other side, with those Cairhienin blackguards, and never knowing if a horde of black-veiled Aiel'll come swarming across the Dragonwall again.  I don't much blame her.

Course, we're kind of perfect for the sort of trouble the Whitecloaks like to deal out.  Whispering in the corners of taverns, turning decent folk against the poor sorry beggars or the herb-women and Wisdoms, saying they might be Aes Sedai or worse.  It's gradual, that kind of war, but soon or late it works.  And for all we stay Andor on the map, we end up bowing and scraping and praising the Lord Captain Commander under his Dome of Truth, a fine fiefdom for the bloody Children of the Light.  We wouldn't be having this trouble if we weren't such a flaming backwater.

On top of that, there's talk of strange shapes moving in the night beyond the gates, but I hardly credit that kind of muttering.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Saban 4, 998 NE

I don't know where the words go that I tap on the grid of this strange flat tablet, which is surely the least of its wonders.  I purchased it off a passing peddler two nights gone, a man what was staying here at the Stag and Lion before continuing on to the Mountains of Mist.  It has all the letters on its little grid, and when I saw it I felt I must have it, being as I'm right proud of knowing my letters, and my da and my mother as well.  It seems a fool thing to have done now, but there it is.  Cost me near all a month's pay, tho' from the peddler's look he might have been pawning a piece of trash for cheap, and lucky to be doing it, too.  I reckon he picks up a fair bit of useless trash, ranging as he does from Saldaea down alongside the Arinelle, and then as far as Ebou Dar, he says.  I'd surely like to see all those roads someday, the Light burn me if I wouldn't.

Look at me, going off like that, setting down my thoughts like they might be worth something to anyone beyond myself.  Min always says I have a big head, and I guess this proves it.  It's just so easy to let myself go with this thing.  If it weren't impossible, I'd wager it's a thing of the Power.  But that's impossible, as I say.

Still, it is a wonder of a little toy, probably made by someone clever up Maradon way.  It's all smooth lines and rounded corners, dun-colored yet somehow shiny for all that it should be dull.  Above the grid of letters lies a square just a little set off from the rest in color, but as I tap my letters they appear as words and sentences and whole blocks of writing up there, black and steady, plain as day. Maybe each little letter-block pushes a carved-out letter against that square when I touch it, somehow, and leaves its mark in ink.  I can't say how, but it is very clever.  It probably has something to do with printing; I hear that they print a great many books in Maradon.  I wonder how I refill it with ink when it runs dry.  Mayhap I should show it to Min--she knows a great deal of life even outside the stable.

Light, would my Da be proud if he saw me tapping away this way!  But I don't think I'll show him yet, nor mother.  Maybe after I've talked with Min.  I like to figure a thing out before I go acting like I know all about it.  Beside that, Da won't be happy what I've done with my pay, proud or not.