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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Rescue Mission (ATTN: Lor, Kat, Kyn)


Jagen Sedai
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Jagen held up a second apple to Vega, her bay-colored Tairen mare, only to have the bigger Aldebaran try to push her over to take the apple. Vega snapped at the stallion, who jumped to the side. Jagen frowned at them both and offered Vega the apple again. After a moment, Aldebaran came up slowly for his, and she obliged.

For the first time since she had attained the shawl, Jagen thought back on her oaths. She had nearly mentally dismissed the part of the third one where they announced they could use use the One Power in defense of their Warder. Yet here she stood, bonded. Bonded by him, and herself returning that bond. She could feel Aslan fairly close by. Would she truly use the One Power to defend him? She was not particularly attached to him, except, of course, with the One Power. However, she mused that she could indeed save him if it became necessary. Besides, the Sitter had no wish to ever experience the loss of a Warder; she had heard stories of such and saw Sisters in that very situation, and was not sure herself how she would handle such a situation.

"Aldebaran, it takes him a bit to wind down after a good ride," the Sitter mentioned.

"I can see," Phaedra replied, petting her own horse's nose before closing the door. The other woman, slightly shorter than Jagen, had a strong hooked nose and gray, tilted eyes. Her red dress matched the dark red shade of her hair, much darker than Jagen's own. The other sister latched the stall door and pet her horse once more, and the two fell into step with the other.

"I am thinking now that we have Traveling, it would be a small matter to house our horses outside of Tar Valon's walls so they can be in bigger fences while we are in the city. This would be good for them, yes?"

"Hmm.. not all, I think, but some. It would be nice to rotate them," Phaedra agreed. "Is this your next project, Jagen? After the Last Battle, perhaps?" she half joked. Phaedra had a much-needed sense of humor for the Tower, Jagen thought, though not everyone appreciated her taste.

 

The two Reds, who'd just finished riding and spoiling their horses, were headed up the path from the stables when a girl in the servant's livery came running around the bend and full speed and out of breath. At seeing the two sisters, she slowed and nearly collapsed, thrusting a rolled up piece of paper. She half bowed, half fell over. "For... you... Phaedra.. Sedai... came.. immediately..."

Phaedra took up the parcel and broke the wax red seal.

"Go sit, girl, catch your breath," Jagen bid her. The servant did so. Jagen watched Phaedra's face go from serious to outright hard.

"Come with me, Jagen." She followed silently. If Phaedra had not been the Red's Highest, she would have tried to figure out right then what was in the letter. Instead she decided to be patient as she could in this situation.

 

When they were finally inside the Tower, Phaedra lead her not to the Red Quarters, but the closest small room that was usually reserved for Sisters recieving visitors to the Tower. The Highest closed the door, embraced saidar, and channeled a ward. Then she handed the paper to Jagen.

 

'The bugs have caught a white snake. I have seen it caged and suffering with my own eyes.'

 

Jagen raised her blue eyes to meet Phaedra's. The Highest's lips tightened momentarily.

"A white snake, that is a Sister," the Sitter said, and after a brief pause, "The bugs... that is the Seanchan invaders?"

Phaedra nodded. Both had heard of these people who chained female channelers with some ter'angreal--that had to be what they were!--and of the armor that often made people think of beetles. Jagen let out a breath.

"Who do you trust, Jagen?"

She thought, rossing her arms. "Tesarene," she stated.

"Not a fellow Red. No. I will send you--I'm presuming you wish to go?"

"You know me well, Highest."

Phaedra only nodded. "But not another Red. I will only risk one. And I do not feel I am risking you at all. I have confidence in your abilities, and this is bordering Tarabon and Falme. It is on the edge of Seanchan-held territory. The question now is, to bring young sisters whose faces do not have the ageless look, or to bring experience?"

"The veils, they will help with the faces," Jagen said, who wore her homeland's style even to this day, "and the Seanchan, they are not familar with agelessness for Aes Sedai. They look only for the ability."

 

"I do not even want to send sisters." Phaedra shook her head slightly.

Jagen embraced the source. She wove the One Power around herself deftly, a weave she had practiced many times since being taught it. Phaedra watched her, then smiled. The ability to sense her own ability to channel disappeared. "With your soldier's attitude, Jagen, it's sometimes a wonder you did not go to the Greens. I am glad you did not."

Jagen only raised her eyebrows at that. She let go of the Source.

"Loraine, she will be wanting to go, I'm sure, and she is a Sitter." And Green, Jagen silently added to herself.

Phaedra nodded in agreement.

"I'll have you go ask her personally," the Saldaean added. "There is no time to waste, Jagen. I have a vile taste in my mouth just thinking about it. Find a third sister, as well."

"Another Green," Jagen stated, half insistent. "Now, it is not the time for Ajah politics but safety." The Greens would get credit for this rescue if pulled off, but it was a Red leading the mission and who received the news.

"And what of Aslan?" Phaedra asked.

Jagen's lips ever so slightly twitched. She dearly hoped...

"He will stay here," the Highest said, and Jagen gave a curt nod. In truth she was relieved.

"I will be asking Loraine to chose another Sister she trusts. Perhaps one we both do," she added.

"May the Light shine on you Jagen."

The Taraboner inclined her head and turned, leaving the Highest. She wasted no time making her way to the Green Ajah's home.

 

The Sitter grabbed up a servant near the Greens' quarters and had her show the way to Loraine's room. She knocked briskly, putting away her riding gloves she realized she was still wearing. "Not how I pictured this day to proceed," she told herself with a grin.

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Kynwric was idling in one of the lounge chairs inside Loraine's study, within her rooms, within the White Tower. He fidgetted with the book he was 'reading', having not turned a page since he'd sat down sometime ago. He really did despise being cooped up within the walls here, and wondered how much of that was down to upbringing and how much from the things that had happened to him and Loraine in their time here. Finally he set aside the book and rose from the chair, intent on finding something to do, something active, when he heard a brisk, efficient knocking at the door. Turning away from his boots, and without lacing his shirt up... it was his room too, after all... he crossed the carpeted floor to the main chamber door. 

 

He opened it causally, not expecting a Red Sitter to be on the other side, and a grinning one at that. He scowled a little, turning his eyes on the servant who had shown the Sitter the way and sending her scurrying off. "Jagen Sedai, a unexpected pleasure. Is there something I can do for you?" He said pausing a moment, to recall his manners, and opening the door wider, "please do come in and have a seat, I'll go fetch Loraine." He gestured to one of the armchairs across from Loraine's preferred seat, waiting to shut the door until the woman had entered. He then strode off into the bed chamber, shutting that door behind him and saying before it shut, "Lor, Jagen the Red Sitt...." 

 

Behind the door he continued, "...er is here for you, and no, I don't know what she wants."

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Loraine pushed the last pin into her bun, sighing at the streaks of white that were finally visible in her hair. An average woman would be dead by now. Her eyes flicked to the edge of the mirror where the sword she dangled from her brow in battle hung and felt her lip quirk. She was far from average. She heard Kynwric moving in the other room and her smirk became a smile. There was much she was thankful for in that area. 

 

She heard the knock on the door and her brow furrowed. She didn't get visitors much these days and she wasn't expecting anyone. She fastened the Kasiera in her hair and adjusted the gem to the center of her forehead as she heard Kynwric answer the door. Jagen? her brow furrowed deeper as Kynwric walked through the door, leaving the woman in her sitting room. Politics being what they were, a Red anywhere in the Green quarters was strange, though one Sitter to the next wasn't unheard of. What could they be up to now?

 

She eyed Kynwric as he came in and noted his unbuttoned shirt with a quirk of her eyebrow. Amusement danced in her head and she shook her head at him. "I see your manners are full of charm and grace today, Gaidin," she smirked, shaking her head. She paused to kiss him softly before entering her sitting room. Her smile was still in place as she found Jagen and approached without sitting directly. "Jagen Sedai, what an unexpected pleasure. Would you care for some tea?" She gestured to the sideboard and the tea set standing ready there. 

 

~Loraine

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Jagen's eyebrow raised slightly as a man answered the door. Loraine's Warder, of course, and she had never bothered to learn his name. He was in a curious state of undress, and the Red couldn't help but wonder if him and Loraine were more than mere Aes Sedai and Warder, as she suspected most Greens, and maybe many Aes Sedai, probably were... However quite involved they were, though, Jagen said nothing as she moved toward the chairs, but she did not sit. Instead, she moved to the window and peered out as the Warder entered the next room.

Those thoughts returned, though, and very briefly she wondered how warm their bed was.. only to have her thoughts wander unbidden, and suddenly she was thinking of Aslan, her Asha'man bonded, with his long blond hair...

You idiot. The Creator curse that man! After Tarmon Gaidon I will strangle him for what he's done! She breathed out, trying to calm herself. Her hands smoothed the white and red cloth of her dress. Jagen turned as she heard her fellow Sitter came into the receiving room. "Jagen Sedai, what an unexpected pleasure. Would you care for some tea?"
"I would, thank you." She finally moved to have a seat, looking sideways at Kynwric. Normally, she would not want him here, but she knew the Warder would not gossip, and more importantly, he'd come with Loraine if the Green agreed.

"I will get straight to the point; there is no time to delay. Myself, I carry news received from a town called Fayheld. It is on the edge of the northern border of Tarabon." When the tea was set before her, she lifted her veil to the side to sip it. Some customs died hard, and Jagen would always wear her Taraboner braids and veil. "The news, it is not good. I come to you hoping to ask your assistance, whatever it may be, though I am hoping for the most.

"A sister, she has been captured by the Seanchan, and she is being held as one of those... damane," her mouth twisted, "the ones we recieved news of from Falme. It is obvious we cannot leave her to her fate. I will be going myself. I am hoping you may also be interested, and perhaps another Green as well, yes?" She sipped the tea again, her mouth having gone quite dry. She did not like to think of a fellow sister in such trouble. "After all, I would have one of the Battle Ajah with me, for a successful mission."
 

jagen_dm_sigg_2017_by_drowelfmorwen-db8c

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Loraine nodded and turned to the tea set, twisting weaves to heat the water and dropping infusers into the pot loaded with ground green tea leaves, mint and orange zests. Clarity was particularly what was needed if a Sitter of the Red Ajah was standing in her sitting room. Jagen looked uncomfortable as she cast stiff looks towards Kynwric and it wasn't the sort of discomfort she was used to seeing in a sister of the Red Ajah. It was more the sort she saw from anyone who considered the Greens' relationships with their warders as unacceptable. She poured the tea as Jagen began talking, carrying the tray to the table sitting between their chairs and taking a seat herself. She kept her face still and hid any other reaction to the announcement behind the rim of her teacup. She was not used to such direct discussion without conversation coming first. She appreciated the difference, though a sister being enslaved by the Seanchan was troubling near to the point of nausea. Perhaps mint was a good choice, at that. 

 

She cast a look at Kynwric as she lowered the cup, then tilted her head back to Jagen. "You are asking for accompaniment from the Greens? Why not another Red?" Her mind was twisting around possibilities as she spoke. She was pretty sure she already knew the reason, but wanted everything to be clear. "What do you have in mind? Knowing your intentions will help me find someone to help you."  

 

~Loraine

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Kynwric made himself obvious, now that he realize his presence was unsettling Jagen. He had absolutely no compunction about irritating the other Aes Sedai while she visited with Loraine. He did wonder why an army wasn't being marshaled to oppose the invaders from Hawkwing's empire across the sea, but then, that wasn't really his business either. He could already tell from Loraine's posture and general mood that they'd be leaving the Tower soon enough, and that was good enough reason for him to be in a good mood. 

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Jagen sipped her tea further, shifting in her seat--just a little, but enough that it was easier to keep the Warder on the edge of her vision instead of in an obvious spot.

Why a Green, indeed. Jagen would have welcomed a White, had she known any who were not only in the Tower but had warders. Alas, her only two contacts in the White were gone, and only one had a Warder.

 

"A... Your Warder, he would be very useful. The Bond provides advantages. I have not been against hiring strongarms when they were needed in my own case." And now came the obvious for Jagen--she had a Warder. But the bond was too fresh, and she still barely knew the man she was bonded to; bringing him was out of the question, especially when his sanity was still in question.

 

"Warders also have training, and yourself, I have no doubt, in battle tactics. I feel we may well need those tactics, yes?" She set down the tea, grateful for its chosen flavors. She had to give Loraine that. "We can mask our ability to channel. That is an advantage. However... Having a gaidin with us, to scout, among other things... Even I can recognize the advantages in that." As much as it annoyed her to admit it, but she would not call it relying on the man. No, he was a piece on the board on stones, and at stake was not her pride, but a sister's fate.

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Loraine felt her lip twitch at imagining Kynwric as a scout and she felt his opinion of the idea, too, which just increased her mirth. "Indeed, I see the logic behind the association, though Warders are worth far more than simple scouting."Going into this with just the three of them was a silly gamble and she was already poling the available Greens in her head with who she could ask to join them.

 

She stood slowly and walked to the desk in the corner of the room, penning a note to Kathleen requesting her presence. "One moment, please," she smiled warmly at Jagen, opened her door to find an Accepted, and send her off to find Kathleen before returning to her chair. " Have you a plan to rescue the Sister in question, already? What information do you have about her whereabouts? The Seanchan are very secretive and very good at protecting what they've got, I've heard. This will not be an easy extraction." 

 

~Loraine

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Jagen nodded slowly in agreement; it was not an easy mission, indeed. She took a longer sip of her tea, dabbing at her mouth with a napkin so the veil she wore would not get dirty. "The Seanchan, they are extremely strict, and sticklers for rules, so I have been told by those still in Tarabon." No need to name Eyes-and-Ears; Loraine would understand who she implied. Besides, Jagen wanted to keep a tight watch on her homeland, her pride in Tarabon obvious.
"The question would be to weigh our advantages posing as ladies, or as commoners. The lower one is, the further they can go, but servants will be ignored only so much. A noble, she would be watched. A merchant... Not so much."

Even as she said it, a thought came to her. She could contact her glass maker... Would he be willing to go, to pose as a merchant or let Jagen borrow things so she could pose herself? Jagen did know a lot about glassware with her talks with Akshel, the Sea Folk man who owned the shop. She knew how to assess good lenses.

"A merchant... Yes. I know about lenses. I can pose as a glassware merchant," she said in a tone that made it obvious she was thinking on the spot. "Your Warder and perhaps yourself, if you agree, could pose as hired guards, yes?" She eyed Loraine, trying to judge what she thought of that. "With my accent, it will be obvious I am from Tarabon, thus less questions, especially if I am doing must of the talking. We can easily hide our ability to channel and use Mist of Mirrors to change our features, if necessary. But I do not think the Seanchan would recognize an Aes Sedai face. Most people do not."

Suddenly she swing her gaze to the gaidin, assessing him. "Tell me, Loraine, does the bond make a Warder feel younger?" She wondered. "More in his prime?"

 

jagen_dm_sigg_2017_by_drowelfmorwen-db8c

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Loraine felt her eyebrow arch at the idea of posing as a guard. "Do you believe anyone would believe me a guard, Jagen? I am Cairhienin, and not one of the taller, lithe ones, at that." She thought over the scenario, her eyes straying to Kynwric here and there. She'd been accused of being far too noble in everything she did, from eating to walking. Could she mask that along with her ability to channel? Worse, could she do it well enough to convince a Seanchan that she was what she'd claimed to be? Perhaps it work if she were of the merchant class, married below her station? Kynwric still carried himself like the farmer he was raised to be, even after decades of being bonded and married to her and forced into noble clothes more often than he liked. Who did she know in Tarabon? They hadn't had much reason to visit there, so she had to admit to being far out of her element there. How much would she have to change her appearance to not draw too much attention? Was she likely to be a liability, here? Light, to be caught...

 

Tell me, Loraine, does the bond make a Warder feel younger? More in his prime?" Jagen's voice penetrated her thoughts and she turned her attention back to the Red.

 

"I believe the better person to ask would be the Warder," she smirked. "As Kynwric is the only Warder I've ever had, I can only tell you that I feel little difference between him as he is now and when I bonded him. Experience and wariness, sure, but physically?" She shrugged a thin shoulder and turned to Kynwric. "What say you, Gaidin? I don't believe I've ever asked you how this affected you that way." 

 

~Loraine

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Kynwric nearly scoffed out loud at the idea of Loraine posing as anything but a noblewoman, but he managed to keep it to himself, barely. He did not really like where this conversation was going, and to be honest, wondered why a Red would be interested in that question at all, to begin with. But he answered the question posed to him, "I don't know the answer to that Loraine, I've never been old before. I do not feel as I did the day you bonded me, that was a long time ago, though, and I am a very different man now than I was then. Marriage and children will do that to you, as I understand it." He gave a shrug, "I'm sure there's some Brown who's done a study of Warders, though. Perhaps ask one of them if they have a book?"

 

"As for your plan Jagen Sedai, Loraine will never pass as anything but a Noblewoman or a very well-to-do merchant. She has neither the bearing, not size for being a guard. Not even the Mask will help with that issue. If you want a second swordsman on the trip, I'd suggest a Tower Guard... or as you said, another Sister with a Warder or two. However, what I hear from those lands is they only ask for an oath of loyalty... although, I suppose that too, would be an issue for a Sister."

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Kathleen sat comfortably at a table in the library, a total of six large volumes spread before her, covers overlapping pages in what must look like a jumble to any onlookers. She scratched notes messily onto a pad of paper, tucking behind her right ear a lock of dark brown hair which had fallen from the bun she had scooped her hair loosely into to keep it from falling over her eyes again, as she compared the entries. She was so engrossed in her research that the Accepted who approached her was only noticed after the light was blocked and a soft clearing of her throat was forced. Kathleen glanced up at her and then back down to finish writing her thought.

 

"Yes, child?" Kathleen asked  absently as she turned the page of the book in front of her. The girl spoke directly, but pleasantly, as she held the letter toward the Green and explained how she came by it in the Green halls and that while she had come looking directly she had passed some time looking for her. Saving herself trouble from a delay in my receiving it. Kathleen noted. Nothing unexpected of someone of her station in the tower. Is the Mistress of Novices really so frightening as to make the Accepted nervous of being a few minutes longer at a finishing a task? She dismissed the thought after a quick remembering of her own time the Mistress' office accepting punishment for being late at following a Sister's orders. Just how much time had passed from when this letter was sent, she wondered.

 

"Thank you," Kathleen said as she took the note from the girl. "I'm sure the Library wasn't your first instinct find me, but find me you have." Why would a Green send a note for me and not just wait until I return to my rooms? It must be urgent. she concluded.

 

She opened the letter and read it quickly. A hastily written message from Lorraine calling her to attend at her room directly. She refused to let the Accepted see her as jumping to the beck and call of anyone and running off with her tail between her legs. She was not a child being called to the Mistress of Novices for punishment; although, she couldn't help but feel a little like this was the case. She wouldn't rush in front of the Accepted, but she wouldn't hold off on coming to the summons of a Sitter either. She refolded the letter and gathered her notes. "Please arrange to have these books moved up to my rooms, if you could. I'll tell the Sister at the front desk to expect you on my behalf and see if there is some assistance to carry them all." She tucked her pens into her satchel and took her leave.

 

The Green held her composure as she made her way through the halls toward Lorraine's rooms, trying to determine how long the Sitter could have been waiting on her. The ink was still fresh on the letter, but the girl had seemed to think it had taken longer than it should have to get to her. As she reached the Green halls she reigned her thoughts in, the letter was received and she came as soon as she could, whatever was to be discussed would reveal itself upon arrival. She had been summoned and she had come.

 

Kathleen approached the Sitter's door, straightened her satchel hanging across her body falling on the hip against the soft forest green fabric of the plain dress she wore. She debated running the old bad to her own rooms and fixing her dusty appearance, but she couldn't be sure how long the Sitter had already waited on her. She decided she was presentable enough and knocked on the door.

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Loraine was saved from answering by the knock on the door and rose quietly to answer it. She smiled at Kathleen on the other side and opened it wider. "My thanks for your haste, Sister. Won't you come in?" She waited for Kathleen to enter, then closed the door softly behind her. "I apologize for the hasty message, but I didn't want to give too much away with an Accepted carrying the missive. Please, make yourself at home. Would you care for some tea? Have you met Jagen Sedai?" 

 

She offered the newcomer a chair and moved to the sideboard without waiting for a response. She really hated feeling like she'd tossed the Green into a pool without a warning, but the urgency of this particular situation couldn't afford them much time for pleasantries. 

 

~Loraine

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Kathleen returned Lor's kind smile as the door opened and entered at the woman's invitation. As she came through the door she first set eyes on Kynwric and nodded toward him as her eyes met his for a brief moment, "Yes, please, Loraine, tea would be lovely." She only just realized how much of a welcome treat it would be as the words left her mouth. She had been held up in the library pouring over books since just after sun rise and had only had one cup in her. By this time she would normally be well on her way to emptying her supply. 

 

She caught sight of the Red Sitter just before Loraine had made note of her and Kathleen's back stiffened slightly. She hoped it came off as an attempt to make her self look more formal, which in part it was, but what she really hoped is that the passing moment of disease at seeing a Red sister so casually sat sipping at tea in the Green's hall was not what was being taken away from the involuntary motion. Though she knew it wouldn't be completely uncalled for if it had been taken that way. This meeting really must be serious.

 

She was sitting in an empty chair before she thought to have extended her hand to the Red, and instead hoped her greeting would suffice, "Jagen Sedai, it is nice to see you. I don't know if we've every truly been introduced, but I believe I've had occasion to hear you play a tune once or twice, rather nicely if I recall."

 

She would have asked what brought the Red to the Green halls, but that would open a conversation she wasn't sure she should be opening. Light but that tea would be nice. She was sure when Loraine was settle she would fill her in on what had passed and what this meeting was about. Surely she didn't call her away in haste simply to attend high tea with a Red. As if on cue, the Green appeared with a hot cup with Kathleen graciously accepted.

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Jagen nodded slowly at both Loraine's words and her gaidin. She was slightly disappointed in his answer, or lack thereof of any positive advantages she heard men get from the bond. Then again, he was not young. As far her proposing Loraine as a guard, was a foolish idea, indeed. "Forgive the suggestion. Indeed, I'd be better off posing as a guard, if I knew how to use any weapons." Jagen was tall for a woman, but not to the point of towering over men. "Better yet... It could be better if I..." She trailed off, "Wait, oaths of loyalty?" She muttered under her breath a small curse. "I had forgotten about them." She tried to think of what they could or would say in that situation. What if the Seanchan required very specific words?

 

Her thoughts went to the back of her mind as a knock came to the door. The Sitter remained quiet while another Green was shown in. She only nodded as she saw Kathleen straighten. Perhaps two Sitters--and Jagen especially, who never associated with Greens casually--made her wary. And she was right to be.

 

"Thank you, Kathleen." She knew her name but not much more other than she often taught classes. Jagen had as well, before she became a Sitter. She was sure she'd seen Kathleen in the library more than once, too. Jagen made a mental note to bring up music at some point on their journey, if the other Green agreed to go.

 

"I'm afraid there is little time for pleasant chat. That said, speak freely here if any ideas come to you..."

 

Jagen went on to explain the situation of the captured sister, and the idea they had discussed so far. "...however, I am afraid we now must consider these oaths of loyalty as well. I could get one of us around that, but not all three of us, I think."

Edited by Jagen Sedai
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Kynwric added his thoughts, "Perhaps Loraine can check with the Green network and see if they have any idea what the exact words are to this oath, but  I'd rather be able to just lie and say we've taken them than actually have to affirm an oath. I'd also really like to have some others skilled in weaponry and scouting along, and preferably a native to the area. Sisters are dangerous when they are allowed, but I do not think we'll be relying on Channeling to solve many problems when in the presence of Seachan, and certainly not in the presence of their leashed girls... Damane? Is that the right word?"  He'd also like someone else along with slightly less pride and imperiousness than three Aes Sedai.

"If the three of you can sit in the back of a wagon, and I mean wagon, not coach... and do what you're told, when you're told, we might can pull a farmer's family off... if you two, Loraine and Jagen, can hide that ageless face somehow."

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Jagen set down the teacup slightly harder than she meant to do as she turned slightly to face Kynwric, her eyebrows climbing. "Excuse me, young man? 'Do what you're told, when you're told'? How has all your years of living with Aes Sedai not taught you better manners? Perhaps you may talk like that with others," and it was obvious she meant Loraine, "but not with me. You can make suggestions, but watch your words. Do you think you are talking to fools right now? Do you think I've not left the Tower since being raised?" She sniffed and turned back towards the other two. Jagen actually had left the Tower often, and years at a time.

 

"Our faces, they can be hidden well, with Mirror of Mists, as I have already mentioned." She looked at the two other sisters. "Your thoughts?"

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Loraine stiffened, folding her hands in her lap to keep from responding to Jagen's outburst. "With respect, Jagen Sedai, Kynwric proved a point here. Any who would take offense over the idea of taking direction from another would give themselves away in their bearing alone. Mists may cover the smoothness of my cheeks and the streak of white in my hair, but I am Aes Sedai, with a century of life under my shawl. I am no Gleeman to hide that, Sister. Swallowing our pride may well be the only way around oaths we cannot speak. Light knows, it is the only idea I've heard thus far that won't see us dead or collared by the end of the first day." She stood and crossed the space to Kynwric quietly, laying her hand on his forearm with the hopes of calming the anger she felt boiling inside. "If this plan does not meet with your approval, then let us be about one that will and not give in to petty pride." 

 

~Loraine

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Kynwric took a deep breath, and let it out while speaking, trying to calm himself. "No disrespect Jagen Sedai, but you all look like Aes Sedai. Ageless faces or not, and Loraine is worse than many of you because she's nobility on top of that, she's never had to knuckle her forehead a day in her life. You can't play a role so horribly unsuited to you, interacting with those who are born to those roles, and expect anyone to buy it. We'll be found out in short order." He paused, "On top of that, you propose to use Channeling to try and hide from Channelers, in a place where Channelers are chattel. Sub-human. Collared. Used. I don't find this plan suitable to be risking any of your lives on, let alone one who is my responsibility."

 

"If you're intent on sending Channelers on this mission, and I suppose it is reasonable to need one when dealing with Damane and the like, then you need to send ones who will blend in, and that includes being able to accept orders, occasionally demeaning orders, and move on as if there was nothing wrong in the world with what had happened. Not act like a petulant child who just spilled their sweet milk. Your other option is to send Sisters who are wearing collars, and women in the lightning dresses on the other end, so all seems as it should be, and if I were in charge of planning that's how I'd do it."

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Jagen raised her chin slightly. Perhaps the two Sitters were indeed going to be very out of place there. It had been a long time since Loraine had been in her noble home, the Red was sure, and she herself had not been on a farm since she was 16.... they had a lot of training to undo. Still, Jagen knew how to act like a servant, or farm girl, if needed. Once, doing so had gotten her out of trouble in a village that did not like Aes Sedai.

 

"The idea, it is not bad--the delivery, however, is what I had a problem with," she clarified to Loraine. She eyed the Warder briefly, and listened to him speak. After, she asked, "And how is it you know so much about the Seanchan? These... lightning dresses? Have you--have the two of you--seen Seanchan up close and personal?" She wondered on his idea, of dressing them up as the so-called sul'dam and damane ... but the very thought of wearing such a collar made her shudder.

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Kathleen held her composure as best she could at Jagen's barked orders at the warder and what she couldn't compose she hid behind her hot tea cup. Luckily she had it to fill her mouth else she feared she would fill the Red's ears of her opinion. How dare she waltz around in this man's own rooms and speak to him in this manner. He was Loraine's and a highly regarded tower guard at that. If anyone should speak to him like that it should be Loraine, and though Kathleen wouldn't dare reprimand Lor if she did speak to her warder in that manner in public, her opinion of the Green Sitter would surely change. Flittering thoughts of other Aes Sedai having the same opinion as those shown by Jagen filled her, but she pushed them aside. It was shock mixed with the fact that it was coming from a Red while a guest that rubbed her wrong, but this was not the time or place to dwell on it. More important things were at risk.

 

Kathleen settled herself and focused, "Do you know the one who was taken? Do we have a description, or knowledge of where she is being kept? If we go in there we really ought to have as much of a straight in and out plan as possible. There could be hundreds of girls, I dare say we can't save them all. I mean, surely your intention isn't to attempt to bring down this whole fleet? Going in for one is dangerous enough.

 

That said, if we use masks and go in, I would make a fine false captive. I grew up a country girl and I can easily pull off the act of being submissive to either of you." in truth she was submissive to them both, being both Sitters, she wouldn't state it of course be knew they would pick up on it "Loraine's demeanor, as noted by her Warder, would lead her to hold the role of the," she paused swallowing hard at the phrasing she was about to utter, "owner rather convincingly. And on top of that I would put my life in her hands." So as not to offend the Red Sitter, Kathleen quickly added, "Jagen, I don't know you well, but I beleive this role would be within your abilities to master in appearance and holding too." She did not mention her comfort level in having her life in the unknown Sister's hands. She swirled the tea in cup and thinking briefly before she continued.

 

"It would be great tinker's game to slip in and out and play at being of their ranks though. I hear their way of life is as unpredictable as the Aeil. If we do get caught out I fear the one in the collar will have the hardest time talking her way out. I can get behind this impersonation if we are certain the roles would be convincing, but if there is any other way we may be better off trying it. Perhaps, if we left a Sister behind somewhere with some of the gaurds so they can signalled for help if those who go in have a further back up. They may catch one or two of us, but not all?

 

Could we disrupt them? Set smoke to their rooms and cause chaos; find the girl we seek in the mix and take her in the fray? Could we call on her and have one of the Seanchan take her to us, make the fight away from their masses. Three Sisters and the Guard we take to one Seanchan should be easily enough done? These of course aren't fully thought out plans, but we must think of our safety too. I don't know how comfortable we should be with all of us running headlong into their holds, hiding our channeling or not.

 

Kynwric, how many brothers would you wish to take? I can call for my Warder to meet us upon arrival, if you think our mission would call for his presence. He has pressing matters to attend so I don't want to call him for no reason, but.." she didn't want to say what she was thinking, but she didn't want to leave him away if the mission was really as life threatening as it was seeming. She couldn't imagine putting him through the pain of not being there to protect her if this mission was her last. She knew all could be the last, but some were higher risk than others and everyone knew it. "If you feel his expertise would aid the guard I will call him, but if you think you can find sufficient protection for our party I will leave him to his work." She new this wasn't really the sort of decision to leave with another's warder, and she felt guilty for putting it on him. She would ultimately make her own decision, but to hear the opinion would have an impact on her decision.

 

She left the words hanging as she took another sip of her tea and waited for her Sister's thoughts.

 

Kathleen Vandiar

Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah

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Jagen made a small noise in her throat. "Unfortunately, there is no description." She unfolded the note again and handed it to Kathleen. All it said, in light code, was that a sister was held.

 

"This Eyes-and-Ears, she had proven reliable in the past. It was my thought that we could go to this place, to the outskirts, and send Warders in. The more men we have, the better." The bundle of emotions in the back of her own head was too clear. The Asha'man who bonded her was perhaps around the library, she thought. The Sitter frowned, wishing he wasn't in her head at all. But some things had to be done.

 

"I agree with this plan.... Unless someone can come up with something better. But first we must send in scouts, and make contact with our messenger. Then we find our sister and confirm who it is. Lastly, work on getting dresses." She tilted her head at the Warder, "And maybe Seanchan armor, if needed."

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Loraine nodded, not releasing Kynwric's arm. Her stomach turned at the idea of being on either end of that leash. She'd heard what it could do and, while it made her feel better knowing Kathleen trusted her that much, the thought of the slightest slip causing pain...

 

She blinked and looked away, still not releasing Kyn's arm, though it was a bit more for support now than restraint. She cleared her throat. "We need information. I will send for as much as I dare, though I doubt me there's much beyond appearances that I can glean from my contacts. Scouts are a great idea, but should not be Aes Sedai. They do us no good if they are captured. I'm sure the Guard can offer us a few men to serve in this capacity. Kynwric can make those arrangements, if it suits?" She looked at the two other women, her stomach still not settled. "From there, it should be easy enough to reproduce clothing, and it will give us time to collect more information. I would much rather be over-prepared than under-prepared, in this scenario." 

 

She paused and took a deep breath. "And before you ask, yes, I am very aware of the urgency in this mission. Running off with a half-cracked battle plan has never served a general well and I can't see that this is any different. The first step in any battle is gathering information. Without it, you are walking in blind and are more likely to die. A scouting party will take a few days, clothing, another day with the right seamstress working on it. It would be better if we could get our hands on clothing without having to make it." Now she was thinking aloud, her mind clicking through scenarios. "Fewer chances of something not being right that way. Do you have any ideas about how easy a task that would be? Something a Guardsman could handle?" 

 

~Loraine

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Jagen nodded immediately at Loraine's suggestion that Kynric gather some men. "We can use gateways to drop them off easily. Loraine, if you can get us halfway there, then I will make a gateway the rest of the way." She folded the message paper and slipped it into her belt pouch. "The village where Caiselle is--she is the messenger--it is in the Seanchan's territory, but three days' travel north is a small farming village named Gane's Willow. I visited it two months back, to get an update on the Seanchan. For the most part the Seanchan, they left the village alone, as long as the farmers show up south once in a while to sell produce. It is where I make a gateway to whenever visiting the area in the past.

 

"My contact there, her name is Feodrin. It is her horses barn where my gateway opens-- she leaves a stall open and bare. It is safe, discreet and we can have our own horses there. Feodrin, she has more room than horses, so it is good for us, yes? As for a seamstress, perhaps one here in Tar Valon will agree to be posted at Feodrin's house."

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"I'll gather some useful men, and gathering information is paramount for this situation. I'll let you all figure out the travelling arrangements, so long as you remember you have to be hidden completely when you're channeling. Having women who can channel, who can attack with the One Power, is not something I want to be dealing with." Kynwric looked to Loraine and gave her a feint smile, this was going to be tricky. It was going to be trickier with three Aes Sedai along... with a Red? He wasn't sure he liked their odds that much. "We do need information on any papers, passes, documents, anything of that sort the Seanchan use. They seem to be a bureaucracy, and bureaucracies love paperwork."

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