Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I really like Asmodean. I have searched everywhere and have not found a single Asmodean fanfic anywhere. So I though that if anyone else had ever tried to find one and failed, they would need to look no longer. I finally finished this fic. But I still say there should be more Asmo fics out there for Asmo lovers to read.
I wish someone more talented would write one so you guys could get some better material, but I gave the best I had on this one. I thought I kinda rushed it a bit, but sorry, it would have taken forever to do a really detailed Asmo fic. In a way I kinda went through the entire fifth book. And as you all know Fires of Heaven is not a light weight.
So, tell me what you think and if you guys like it, I'll give it another go and write a few more Asmo's.
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to RJ unfortunately.
So long in the Dark
Asmodean strummed sadly at the harp in his hands. Every so often he would halt his music and run his hands over the well kept wood. It was worn, he cared for it if he could care for anything. Music was, or rather had been, why he was tied to the Dark Lord. He did not stumble over the name often now. Indeed a great many things had changed. Most of them he did not know what to make of. Al'thor… It was this man that had his thoughts so jumbled.
Burn him, the taint was strong now. Stronger now that he knew he would eventually go mad from it, just like al'Thor. Playing a mournful tune on the harp, Asmodean sighed and leaned back on a tasseled cushions. Or maybe he should not curse him, it was either the Dark Lord's anger or the chance that he could end his life as he chose on the day of the return. Al'Thor had given him that choice at least.
The weaving that the al'Thor boy had put on his tent was no longer there, he had stopped using it a while ago. "I trust you like a brother until the day you betray me." Those had been his words. He had obviously done nothing since that would require him to replace the weaves. Plucking at the chords, Asmodean recalled the night the dark hounds had come. He was certain it had been shadowspawn, the faint sulfuric smell had nearly screamed of the pitch black hounds. There were no paw prints to mark them so they might have bypassed him completely…or al'Thor could have been there. In any case, he remembered the dreams he had had more than anything else. Terrible things that had kept him awake for nights.
There was another time too, after the dark hounds, shadowspawn had attached them and he remembered a fear so intense as to start babbling when Rand entered his tent. The chords let out an odd thrum, halfway between a squeak and a squeal, It halted Asmodean's thoughts in quick order. Rand… He had never called al'Thor by his name before and he did not respond well to Lews Therin. Remembering the way he blathered on made the man's cheeks grew hot. But the truth be told, the reason he had gibbered so, was to try and make…Rand…see that he really would have done something if he could have. You're becoming soft. Asmodean flinched at the thought, maybe he was.
Sitting up from the cushioned floor, Asmodean straightened his coat. He would be coming for his lessons soon. A pang of disgust shot through his when he realized he was looking forward to it. There was really nothing to look forward to, the man was not civil most of the time anyway, though it was a relief not to pretend, not to hide. But he did not have anymore time for and more thoughts when Rand swept in.
Rand made his face hard as a rock as he lifted the tent flap and strode in. Asmodean was waiting for him. Sitting and plucking an odd chord on his harp. A small smile startled him. The man had smiled at him before but always wryly or something of the like. This though, this was something entirely different. It had the feel of an acquaintanceship to it, not of the Dragon Reborn to Forsaken.
Compressing his lips into a tight white line, Rand sat cross-legged on the floor and spoke more harshly than he intended. "Teach me." He just barely caught Asmodean's wince. What was wrong with the man? He could not sense any illness in him, maybe the taint was catching up with him. It was a thought that made his stomach twist. What would that be like, a mad forsaken teaching him tricks? Best not to think about it too closely, but he would have to watch him closer now.
The session went well enough in any case, though he had had to nudge the man a few times when he trailed off, playing odd tunes on that harp of his and looking to be lost in his own thoughts. Sometimes Rand caught him staring when he thought he might not notice. If the man had his mind on other things, Rand could not really blame him. His mind kept wandering as well.
Asmodean had become increasingly…pleasant was not the word, but it came close. He was less arrogant, with Rand more than anyone else. Rand did not know if it was a ploy to catch him off guard, or he was merely losing the will to live. He knew all to well what the man now felt tenfold every time he opened to the small amount of Saidin. It must twist the knife every time he opened up and received the full force of the taint but only half the life. But there was nothing to be done for it.
When he turned, Asmodean was studying him. Locking eyes for a moment they both become still. Asmodean's hands fell unmoving on his harp and Rand made his face go as hard and cold as he could. He was up to something, those eyes held no malice, no anger…but almost sadness. It was gone in a moment though and Rand was not sure it had ever been there. It was Asmodean who looked away first.
"I think that is all for today Jasin." Rand knew his voice to be wintry, he was not even trapped in the void. I must be hard. Stifling a frown of curiosity when the man flinched, Rand rose and began to walk to the edge of the tent when Asmodean's voice rose just enough for Rand to hear if he strained, but he caught the words nonetheless. "No one is so long in the dark that they cannot come back to the Light. Do you believe that Rand?"
Rand said nothing, he did not even look back at the man. "We will continue our lessons tomorrow Jasin," and the tent flap closed.
Light, what did he mean by that? No one is so long in the dark… Rand's mind did not need to think of this now. The Shaido should be the biggest thing on his mind, not a shielded forsaken. But it still invaded his thoughts, even with the battle coming up. Shaking himself Rand set himself to a task, he needed to go check the tower and the looking glasses.
Rand went about all the endless responsibilities that the Car'a'carn had, it was all automatic and his thoughts were not all there. He did not see Asmodean at all the next day, the man usually was out somewhere playing that depressing music for anyone who would listen. He couldn't blame the people for not wanted to listen, It was mostly songs and melodies to make even Lan stop for a moment, well…maybe not Lan.
Asmodean stayed in his tent all that day, he did not see any reason to come out. And as unreasonable as it seemed, he needed to think. It was true that he thought often, but not like this. No one is so long in the dark… Was it true? He was no longer connected to the Dark One and if any of them came after him he had the choice to fight back or end his life. Death was not as looming now that he was uncertain of where he was going.
When he had been linked to the Dark One he had been terrified of dieing, eternity in the pit of doom was not a relishing idea, the very thought made him shiver. But now what would happen? Lying aside his harp, Asmodean poked his head out from the tent for a moment, night was falling. Things were going to heat up tomorrow, the Shaido would grant them no quarter and neither would they. As he undressed and lay in his pallet, memories came back to him. The night the Draghkar came. He had been terrified, they were vile creatures that by rights should have been destroyed long ago, never even made. Not only of the Draghkar made his mouth go dry, Rand had been more the cause, he was not sure what the man would do when he came into the tent. He looked ready to do murder if he had not given the right answer. He still remembered the man's words. "Well for you that you didn't. If I had felt you full of Saidin out there tonight, I might have killed you." Even now Asmodean flinched, he had thought of that, and wasn't so sure that Rand would not kill me on the spot even then if he so much as tried to feel at Saidin, so much as thought of it.
Shaking his head as if to forcibly loose the thoughts from his overly worked mind, Asmodean pulled the rough wool blankets up to his chin and rolled over, blowing out the lamps and closing his eyes. The present was enough to think about, let the future worry about itself.
It was now, on the day that the Shaido would come, that Asmodean sat in Rand's tent, listening to Lan and Mat talk. It was all very interesting to listen to the boy spout of battle knowledge like an old scarred campaigner, or maybe a general of an age where he knew battles and knew them well. But this young Mat seemed only a handful of year, or at least to Asmodean he did. Not over twenty five naming days or he would eat his boots. He had stopped playing by the end of it. If he had not know better, he would have said one of the finest generals was standing before him right at that moment.
Asmodean did not start his playing when Rand suddenly ducked into the tent. He listened to his conversation with the warder before he turned to him. He was shocked when Rand suddenly spoke to him. The man never took any notice when they were in the company of anyone besides themselves. He started to put on a smile somewhere close to friendly when Rand commanded in the harshest tone he had ever used with him before. The half smile slide off of his face when the words slashed home. "Play march of death." His tone could have made ice seem like bathwater, "Play it unless you know a sadder. Play something to make your soul weep. If you still have one."
Asmodean swallowed the sigh he wanted to release and gave his best toady smile that lacked all enthusiasm and began to play. He wished he were anywhere but here. Asmodean remembered when he had first learned to play the song, he could play it better than anyone else living. Years had only lent him the time to improve it, it would bring tears to his eyes before he had gone to the shadow, but since then, it had become his anthem. Rand nodded satisfactorily and turned away. Asmodean hoped his face did not mirror his soul. He did have one, and it was weeping.
The battle was fairly uneventful for Asmodean, he was eventually drug from his tent to help tend the wounded. Moiraine was a forceful woman and Asmodean found himself with water bags slung over his shoulders in short order. He did not particularly mind the job, it was better than waiting it out in his tent, and certainly better than fighting. Even if he did channel to help Rand, the man would most likely kill him than do anything else.
It was late that night when they brought Rand in. He was still there helping in the tents with the wounded. Dark circles lined the skin under his eyes and he yawned cavernously. Rand was unconscious and bleeding from small wounds all over his body. Asmodean started to turn away until he saw the dark wetness at Rand side, the old wound had broken open. Clamping his teeth together with a sharp click as he forced a yawn back down. It would be difficult to take hold of Saidin while tired, not to mention dangerous. But the Aes Sedai was tired and would not be at her full strength. Asmodean took hold of the male half of the source and fitfully channeled. His meager healing was not much, but it did help, he knew that much.
Holding his gaze and the weaves until he was sure that he had done some good, Asmodean let go of Saidin and slumped wearily to the ground. Moiraine picked up where he left off and in no time at all they were both being carried to their tents. Standing on legs he was sure would not support his weight, Asmodean stumbled and staggered to his tent, but he did not get there. He was snatched up by Aviendha and a gaggle of other maidens. "Egwene says that that you spend much time with the Car'a'carn, come." he was not given a choice, he was almost carried off to Rand's tent. He noticed through a haze of sleep that the Aiel woman was talking to him again. "He trusts you I think, you will help me talk some sense into him when he awakens." This was not a question either, but there was doubt in Asmodean's face that Aviendha could not see. Just how far did Rand trust him?
Asmodean managed throughout the entire night to only snatch up a bit of sleep. He was kept awake by the unnerving stare of the Aiel woman every time he tried to nod off, how did the man ever sleep with her in his tent at night? No wonder he always looked so tired in the mornings. It was light out now, the night was over, maybe he could sleep now. Stretching out on the tasseled cushions, Asmodean had closed his eyes for not a second when Aviendha prodded him sharply in the ribs and he awoke with a start. Rand was waking up.
Asmodean did not quite know how it happened, but a while later he was holding Rand's horse and Aviendha was clambering up besides the man, looking as if she was the only think keeping him in the saddle. Asmodean felt the same way when he swung up onto his mule. He nearly fell out of it, though there was none to hold him up. He erected himself as quickly as he could, hoping Rand and anyone else did not notice. He all but cursed aloud when he saw Rand's eyes flick away from where their gaze had been settled on him.
The reached Cairhien in good time. Not that Asmodean noticed, he had to straighten again once they stopped, he had nodded off once more. Rand looked at him oddly and the only thing he could think to do was smile, rather blearily and lopsidedly, but friendly nonetheless. Rand started and his eyes widened for a fraction of a second before he swung his gaze to whom ever it was that he happened to be talking to at the moment. Only this time, after he was done speaking, he dismounted and entered the palace. Asmodean was the last one off of his horse, but was allowed to stay close to Rand, as close as he could, which meant at the rear with the other Tairen High Lords and lesser lords. The maidens did not let anyone besides Sulin, Enaila, Lamelle and Somara get close. Aviendha was right at his side, but the maidens considered that to be her right and she could do with Rand whatever she liked so long as the maidens got to treat them as they wished as well.
He was, however, allowed to come up on the dais with him and the maidens. It seemed that playing the bard had lent him the right to be near the Car'a'carn. It was soon over though, the procession was quick, Rand was hard and the Lords and Ladies fell like dominoes.
In the weeks that followed, Asmodean did not see much of Rand besides a few encounters that left him more disheartened with each meeting. The lessons continued, but Rand was cold and distant, though he could not blame the man. Asmodean thrummed a few sardonic chords and seized the source, it was dangerous, but Asmodean did not care. It was the only life he had left. He lay back on the cushions in the room he had been provided with, it was near Rand's apartments. What would he have to look forward to? What did he accomplish by living, could he really follow Rand for the rest of his life?
Asmodean put his harp besides him and rolled onto his back, letting one arm fall across his stomach and bringing up the other to cover his eyes, would anyone notice or care if he stopped the emptiness now? He already planned to open his veins on the day the Dark One returned. He could not leave Rand, how many of…them would be waiting for him, waiting to deliver his penalty for his traitorous ways. Asmodean uncovered his eyes and stared up at the ceiling.
"Traitorous ways…" He thought aloud. "No one is so long in the dark." Asmodean sat and rested his elbows on his knees, laying his head into his hands with a small moan, "What am I going to do."
"You could start with releasing." Asmodean started and half got to his feet in a split second and let go of Saidin just as quickly. He sat back down, trembling with fear. "How long have you been there? I-I swear, I was not going to do anything, I can hardly lift a cup, you must believe me!"
Rand nearly winced, anyone could clearly hear the panic and terror in the man's voice. "Not long," he lied, "only the last part." Asmodean looked wary, but nodded. Rand did not say anything more concerning the man holding Saidin, he had just received enough of a mouthful to chew on for a while. Without another word, he nodded and left the room.
Asmodean lay back on the ground once Rand had left the room, a wheezing laugh racking his body until tears streamed down his face. But his last words before he fell asleep, the deepest sleep he had had since before his oaths to the Dark Lord, were clearly heard by Rand who leaned slumped against the closed door. "I walk in the Light."
It was the last thing that Asmodean expected to happen. Oh he expected Lanfear to get revenge, just not now, not this way. He was so sure that she would have given anything to make Rand come back to her. No, not Rand, Lews Therin. If it had been Lews Therin, she could have crawled back begging to be taken in. Not with Rand though. If she could not have him, no one could. It had been more than a shock when he and the boy Mat have been sent flying by the blast of Saidar. It drove the wind from his lungs and colorful pin pricks of light danced before his eyes. It was over soon though. The Aes Sedai had doomed them both by sending them into the ter'angreal doorframe. He did not know quite what happened next, but he kept clear of Rand and let him sit for a while before he had enough courage to go to him.
Asmodean ran a hand along the length the sword hilt. The last time he had worn a weapon had been too long ago for him to remember. It felt awkward at his hip, but toying at the hilt gave him something to do in his anxiousness. Rand had allowed him to accompany him to Caemlyn along with his maidens and other Aiel guard. That in itself was surprising, he would have thought that the man would keep him as far away from a chance to escape as he could. But strangely, Rand had been increasingly…civilized. It was a pleasant change, one that Asmodean found to be reassuring.
They arrived in Caemlyn much to quickly. Wary did not even come close to how he felt right then. Rahvin was close, too close form comfort. A thousand miles would be too close for comfort. But he was not going to turn back now.
It started quickly, Myrddraal and Trollocs poured into the ranks of Aiel and soldiers. Asmodean attempted to fight with his sword, but he had never been very good at weaponry. He kept it out for appearances, but he fought back with every fiber of his being, Saidin flowing into him as much as he could get. It was hardly enough to keep them at bay, but it was keeping him alive. The difficult part was trying to stay out of the way of the lightning strikes. They would be deadly just as sure as if they had been real lightning and not Saidin. It was going well enough for now, Asmodean allowed himself a small smile and looked about at his surroundings, and that's when it hit. He did not even feel the bolt that struck him dead center, he was dead before he hit the ground.
Rand blinked in pain as the light assaulted his eyes. Not the light of Balefire, but from the lighting raining down on them. As soon as he had put the shield in place and achieved decent enough eyesight to look around, Rand took in what was happening about him. His throat constricted when he saw Mat's form, smoldering and lifeless. His eyes widened at the site of what was left of Asmodean, he took a step forward before he realized it and then took another. Only the harp case identified the figure. Rand's stomached wanted to heave and empty itself. That he should feel so for a forsaken astonished him. But a voice in the back of his head corrected him. No, not forsaken any longer, you heard him. Rand bowed his head and turned in a different direction, and he saw her.
Aviendha lying there tore a cry so pain filled that he was sure even the Trollocs paused. Rahvin would die this day, For Aviendha, for Mat, for the Maidens, and for Asmodean. The last name came without a flinch. As he strode off, tears wanted to come, but Rand did not let them, there would be a time for mourning after vengeance.
Breath filled his lungs with a deep shuddering breath. Asmodean peered about him in amazement. What had happened? He must have been knocked out by the lightning striking so close. There was none now, he could feel Rand's weave. Picking himself up carefully, he dusted off his clothes and took up his harp case, it had fallen off his back in the fall.
He drifted away from the fighting, he was a bit dazed for some reason he could not fathom. He heard a delighted laugh from a ways behind him and he turned sharply to find Rand whirling the girl, Aviendha, around in a circle. He tired to hug Mat too, but he was more wary of his friends affection. Asmodean listened as he spoke. Glad to see them alive? Sudden realization hit him like a lightning bolt, as it were. Balefire… That had to be it. Asmodean pressed a hand to his stomach. He had died? In that moment, Rand caught his eye, the man nodded ever so slightly, a small smile on his lips. He knew he was wide eyed but he did not care, Asmodean returned his smile, albeit shaky and nodded as well. Rand broke eye contact after another moment to hug Aviendha once more and turned his attentions to the fight.
Asmodean passed a hand across his face. He was immensely glad to be alive and felt that he should like to stay that way for a while. He would not be able to talk to Rand now, he felt that there might be some things to discuss after recent events later though. A small smile rested easily on his face, being brought back in such a fashion let him feel that he had indeed come back to the light. Yes, there would definitely be some changes now. But first, some decent wine would calm his nerves a bit. Asmodean found a small door that looked as if it might lead to some sort of pantry, the place was a rabbit warren of doors and such, but he might get lucky. As he fumbled with the handle and tugged at the door to make it come loose, Asmodean had time for one last thought before death once more claimed him. I walk in the light…
It had been two days and there was no sign of the man. Rand was sure he was dead, and his fools hope was dieing, he knew it to be true. He would not run away, he would not have killed himself, he was dead. Rand huddled on his pallet of blankets and rocked himself back an forth, reciting the list of maidens, he knew them all by heart. When he finished the list of the dead he paused, a tear slowly slid down his face and onto the woolen blankets. When he started again, a new name headed the lists. He spoke it silently to himself…Joar Addam Nesossin.