A short Sammael tale, set before the attack on Illian. Naturally Sammaelcentric and a little insight on his thoughts and feelings at the time.
Better Than Each and Every One of You, A Sammael Tale
By Cat Alex
Sammael stood, looking over his city, yes his city, of Illian. His heart burned fiercely as he surveyed all that was rightfully his that he had managed to take from the foolish and stupid king that now sat in his chambers, unable to lift a finger for help. A slow, measured grin spread across Sammael's face and he turned away from the battlements he was atop. He made his way down now with a stony face. There was much work to do before he could claim everything. The rest of the Chosen would have to be disposed of; Graendal would be the last and if he was careful enough she would never know what hit her.
His boots tapped rigidly on the stone step as he descended in a militarily manner, his ice blue eyes narrowing as two guards stared at him. To them, he was still Lord Brend, if changed a little. Now he owned the city he rarely bothered with a disguise and no-one dared question him anymore.
Power. Sammael couldn't help but love and revel in it. The scared glances of those guards, the king never daring to meet his eyes when he came to get some answers, the praise the city had for him when he walked the streets with a portion of Illian's army in tow. The awe, the fear, the admiration... all wrapped up into that glorious feeling of pure power - as pure as the power he wielded in /saidin/. There was no worth in life, in Sammael's opinion, unless you had endless power to command. Without it, Sammael was nothing but another channeler. In the past, thousands of years ago, he had been worth little to many and it made him bitter. Even now Sammael could taste the bitterness on occasion; when he saw Demandred, when he saw the Dragon Reborn glimmer in Al'Thor's eyes, the supremacy Ishamael had over the rest of the Chosen. It all built up over the years to the point Sammael had become crueller than he had ever been. A failed marriage didn't help, either.
Sammael grimaced at the memory as he entered his new fortress and eyed every person he passed with scrutiny and disdain. No-one could be trusted; especially not his partner in crime, Graendal. She would be dealt with in time, yet his dislike of offence over defence kept her alive for now. They still had plans to enact and would not aim to kill her just yet. His footfalls sounded heavier than usual; he was clearly angry at the unwanted memories swirling in his mind. Sammael always liked to have a loud presence, especially since he always had a problem with his height despite being far taller than average. He stood over six feet tall, yet the thought of being short plagued him. It was a nuance that could potentially get him killed should he be incited, but Sammael thought he was better than that. He thought he was better than everyone.
He entered his elaborate chambers, filled with items preserved from the last Age he had managed to find. Fine art, some articles of clothing and a variety of angreal and t'angreal strewn about, as well as more unknown items that even Sammael was amazed they had survived. In his room, Sammael felt prepared for anything. The amount of useful items he had found since he had woken up pleased him greatly and gave him a superior sense of power and protection. Few could get past him with this kind of artillery to hand.
A sigh escaped Sammael's lips and he sat down in one of the most expensive chairs he could find in all of Illian and gazed at his reflection. He looked a little more worn today - he had spent some hours up on the windy battlements, looking to keep Illian well defended as possible. He had held saidin for quite a while in order to enhance his sight, which over time drained him. His icy eyes were as alert as ever, but his face craved sleep. Sammael was by no means ugly; he was handsome, save the livid red scar that came down from just above his right eyebrow all the way over his right eyelid and slithered along his cheek before coming to a halt at the bottom of his jaw. It had been an extremely messy wound at the time, but Sammael had not cared. He was too incensed and on the edge to want it healed. At the time he wanted it to remind him of what Lews Therin had done, so the revenge would be as sweet as when he received his wound. But with Lews Therin dead, all he had left to kill for revenge was what Lews Therin had had inside of him - being the Dragon Reborn. And since that now lay in Al'Thor, all Sammael had to do was kill him and recoup some of the vengeance he had sworn on Lews Therin. It wouldn't be as sweet as killing the actual man who had given him the scar, yet it would be all Sammael could ever get back. The scar did not mar his handsomeness, but brought out his carefully proportioned features with finesse. He had a square cut beard that added some maturity to his young-looking complexion, yet his eyes counteracted the youth with ease - cold, hard chips of ice that had seen countless battles and had slaughtered more people than could be conceived, whether by his own hand, or through his lack of care leading to starvation, illness and so to death. He neither cared about the amount of people he had killed directly or indirectly, nor how handsome he was. He was not vain about his face, like Rahvin. Sammael only cared of stature. In his eyes, height equalled power. He was convinced he had seen this phenomenon with his own eyes, since he was passed over in Lews Therin's ranks for taller men such as Demandred, which eventually led to the hatred shared between himself and Demandred. And Lews Therin himself had stood at six and a half feet, making Sammael feel small and powerless. But now who was laughing? He had Illian at his command, several plans at hand and Al'Thor's life to forfeit in good time, while Lews Therin had gone mad and killed before dying piteously.
But still things nagged at him. His height, his past, an assurance of his power. He always needed reassurance as to his self worth, which without it led to jealousy and mistakes. That was why his marriage had failed spectacularly. He had known Ayah Riya Laudare for years before they went out and eventually got married so she became Ayah Janin Laudare. There had always been problems with his jealousy if she so much as looked at someone else, but she had talked it through with him and things had been fine. When the war began, things got worse. Every single little thing she did only served to increase his paranoia. Sammael became convinced that Ayah wanted someone taller than he, despite the old playful comments she used to give him about him being too tall for her small five foot three height. It didn't matter - dark forces were at work on Sammael's mind and eventually Ayah fled their house, unable to cope with Sammael's extreme behaviour any longer. He only saw her once more; a dead body that had been killed at the hands of Demandred's forces. Another reason to hate the man with a passion.
Sammael was in conflict with himself. He was better than everyone, but felt inferior to some. He knew he was a stronger channeler than Demandred - almost all of the Chosen were - but tactically Sammael became uncertain. They played very different games, he the defender while Demandred was a calculated risk taker and attacker. He wanted to kill Demandred, but questioned his ability to do so.
He stood and shook his head. He didn't have time for this. Sammael's face hardened and he headed to the king's chamber. He felt safe that no forces could enter Illian with ease and if any channelers tried anything, the webbed channelling alarms he had set across the city would alert him instantly. Life was good and it could only get better, Sammael reasoned. The past was gone and now all he had was the future to look forward to. Ruling the world forever, killing Al'Thor and picking off the rest of the Chosen before they could get him, leaving him the sole ruler of the world. A grin flitted across his lips as he marched to the king's chamber. Yes, life was looking good for him. Plans had fail safes, his city was protected and he was in power; the intoxicating feeling of power engulfed him, making Sammael feel like he could take on the world. But Sammael always failed to acknowledge his weaknesses and in refusing to face his flaws, was sure to slip up in the future. This did not cross or bother his mind as he entered the king's chamber to find the king rather frightened of his presence. Ah, another well of power surged in Sammael's chest. Little things gave people such grandiose feelings of being in control, in power. But it was bound to come crashing down eventually. Was it better to be unaware of a futile fate? For Sammael, he was comfortable in the knowledge he was, for now, better than each and every one of them.
AN: One last note - I know it's never mentioned that Sammael had a wife. But the fact is, very little is known about them from the last Age, and I hate to think that they did nothing and had no-one in their lives at any point, so I tend to elaborate (see Defining Lives for some of my other elaborations). Hope you enjoyed, would be pleased about some constructive criticism, or praise!