Eye Color: Dark Blue
Hair Color: Medium Brown (Shaved Head)
Height: 6' 2"
Place of Origin: Small farm north of Shol Arbela, Arafel
A cool summer wind blew, jingling the bells at the ends of his braids as Li worked. Li Nuriman was a large boy, larger than most his age, with a muscular build and the height to match. The season was just beginning; the spring snows melting enough to bring the cows out of the barn and into the tri-sided enclosure outside. He had finished most of the afternoon chores, finding only a few eggs under the hens and managing half a bucket from the milk cow. All that was left was chopping wood for the fire. Chop and stack, chop and stack, he soon lost himself in the steady rhythm of the axe and the motions of stacking the wood. Before long he was warm enough to put his coat beside the stack of wood reaching near to the roof, muscles glistening with sweat. Exhausted after the long day of work, Li slumped against the side of the house on the side near to the barn. He twisted against the wood until he found a more comfortable position, settling himself in for a bit of hard earned rest.
Dark shapes in the night greeted him when he awoke. There were two of them, larger than any man, and creeping toward the barn with all the grace of wolves. Scrambling to his feet, Li snatched up the axe as he snuck around to the front of the house. He flung open the door, rushing to his parent's room upstairs and letting out a strangled cry. "Trollocs!"
His father leapt from the bed, snatching up the twin swords that hung from a peg on the wall and drawing them with the soft hiss of steal on leather, all in one fluid motion. "Where, boy?" Li stayed frozen to the spot, his fear rooting him to the spot and stilling his tongue. A sudden terrified moo gave away the beasts' location and with a quick glare, the older man was down the stairs and out the front door. His mother's glare, a match for his father's, finally shamed him to his senses and had Li following close behind, axe raised.
He jumped off the front porch, feet hitting the ground at a run, pounding hard to get to the other side of the house and help his father. His feet slid in the dirt as he rounded the corner, his bulk throwing him off balance and sending him skidding away from the safety of the shadows by the house and out into the open, right into the path of the Trollocs leaving the barn. Both wore black chain mail down to their knees, spikes around their wrists and elbows. One held a heavy sword in its hand, the other a matching sword and a dead chicken. The beast closest to him resembled nothing more than a bird of prey, feathers cresting the top of a darting head, a vicious curved beak dripping with blood. The other, only a few steps behind its accomplice, had the muzzle of a wolf, pointed yellow teeth bared at him.
"Light, boy, run!" Li's father called from the shadows, racing to intercept the Trollocs before they reached his son. The Trollocs got there first, a scythe-like sword slashing across the front of Li's chest. His father's twin blades sent the sword flying away, along with the hand that clutched it. He stabbed the Trolloc twice in the stomach, ignoring Li as he fell back. Li's last blurry memories of the night were of his father killing the last Trolloc as it tried to run away, then grumbling about his useless son as he drug Li inside to be bandaged by his mother.
Li woke up the next day to his mother and father having an argument. It wasn't the first since his brother had left.
"I say we should move to the city! We live too far north of Shol Arbela and you know it. I told you once, the first time Trollocs attacked our farm and you couldn't protect us, we were packing up and moving," That was his mother out in the main room, giving his father the rough side of her tongue.
"Peace, woman! If that Lightblinded son of ours hadn't run off with that band of wandering mercenaries, we wouldn't be having these problems. I trained that boy from the day he was old enough to hold a sword, and how does he repay me? He gets drunk in an inn and swears his allegiance elsewhere, that's how! We were always able to handle the small raids with him here."
"We have more than one son, you know. Jinnah may have been first born, but Li is still our son, too."
Thank you, mother, for sticking up for me this once.
His father's voice had a sarcastic hint to it as he spoke next, "And we both know his worth, don't we." Silence from his mother, then his father started in again. "No, that boy is useless in protecting this farm. As it is I'll have to do his chores while he's healing up. The Light protect me from fool children."
"Shush now, he's only sixteen. He was trying to help. Surely you can teach him as you did Jinnah?" Li's mother again, coming to his rescue.
"No! I'll not train that boy. His clumsy hands could never handle a blade properly. I don't know how he grew so large. He's already bigger than me, and he'll only grow as he ages. And we're not leaving this farm; I don't care how many Trollocs come! Now I'm going into town and I won't be back until the morning, so don't wait up for me." The front door slammed as his father left, followed by the stomping footsteps of his mother as she retreated upstairs to her room.
You wish I had left, instead of Jinnah, don't you, father. It was a simple statement of truth, as far as Li's mind saw it. With a groan, he threw the sheet off him and looked down at his massive chest. Cloths had been wound tight around him and across his left shoulder, keeping his wound from becoming infected. He had taken worse cuts chopping wood and kept going. Hurrying around his room, he got dressed quietly while he gathered his things and waited for dark.
Li snuck quietly across the yard and into the stables on the opposite side of the house from the barn. It was a good thing the Trollocs had chosen to raid the barn instead of the stables; otherwise his plan would never have left the ground. He saddled the largest horse they had, a golden palomino stallion suited for his size, and swung up into place with a grunt. He paused a moment, catching his breath from the pain. The axe he used for cutting wood hung from one of the straps, as well as a blanket roll, a few skins full of water, and a saddlebag with food that would keep after traveling. With a last look at his home, he headed west into the night.
Hours later, after much back and forth deliberation with himself Li finally came to a more formal decision about where he was going. Tar Valon, city of Aes Sedai and Warders. His father had often said that the only fighters in the world better than a Borderlander was a Warder. He would go there and ask to train, like his brother hand gone with that army, and return some day to Arafel to show his father that he was a man and had become so on his own. With a more determined look, Li turned south along the Tar Valon Road.
Weeks later, a very haggard looking Li lead his horse through the city towards the massive White Tower at the center of the island, one hand clutching the reigns and the other pressed against his chest. Dark red crusted the once white cloth, and the smell of infection was plain. If it weren't for the pain, he'd have been more overawed than what he was by the grandeur of Tar Valon. He hadn't thought to take any bandages with him, and what little money he had taken had been spent on food and shoes for his horse. After asking directions several times, he finally found himself at the Warder's Yard.
There, his horse was lead away and he was brought before a woman he was introduced to as the Mistress of Trainees. Swallowing hard and thinking back over his past few weeks of hard travel, he put his case before her, asking only to be taken in as a Trainee. With a look in her eye that said she was measuring every ounce of his size and character, the woman explained what was expected of men and women entering the service of the Tower.
All ties broken, is it? Then so be it.
He knelt in the office, biting back a curse from the pain, and swore under the Light and by his hope of rebirth and salvation to serve and protect the White Tower. The woman smiled, welcoming him to the fold. After that, the pain from the wound in his chest overwhelmed him and the world went black for him.
Days later he woke up in a strange bed in a strange room and feeling very refreshed, if ravenously hungry. But first he had one last thing to do. Making his way around the other beds in the room, he went to the washbasin and mirror against the wall and took out his dagger. Slowly, but with great care, he cut every strand of hair from his head. Finally he ran his hand over the stubble on his head, staring back at the stranger in the mirror. He was no longer Li Nuriman of Arafel. He was Li Nuriman, Trainee of the Warders.