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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Kathleen

A Yellow's Beginning (Atten: Celestine)

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Seheria watched the bustle in the ajah halls erupt shortly after the end of the ceremony was announced. Word spread to the Ajah when the last of the Sisters from other ajahs emerged from the Chamber where the newest Sister was raising. The Yellows had long since been preparing for the addition of the newest, Celestine,  but one never truly knew which direction a newly raised sister would take until the words were spoken. At the exit of the representatives of the six other ajahs it was known and spread back to the chosen ajah to start the preparations. 

 

Seheria scanned her closest looking for the most appropriate welcoming outfit. The Sisters always seemed to treat this day as an extra special one. Any excuse to have a little extra fun, she supposed. Her regular outfit wouldn't do, she would seem cold and disengaged. Perhaps bitter that she is getting further from being the new one. Too extravagant and she would be ridiculed for trying to steal the show. It was days like this she wished she had joined the Bowns.

 

No one would care what I was wearing if I were Brown; no one would look up from their books long enough to notice if I was in a queen's crown or stark bare, and if I was either they would all assume it was research of some kind and pay no mind. The Yellows weren't so. They would judge in silence and keep a tally. At least, she knew she did that and she was Yellow.

 

The child would be coming soon. Woman. The Woman would be coming. Sister, she corrected herself again.  Light but it is hard to make the switch. I'll need to school this tongue and fast. The last thing I need is to insult the girl -woman- sister on her first day.

 

She chose a light caramel coloured dress with a hem at the mid calf. The neckline rose tight to her jaw, sheer sleeves fell to her wrists ruffling out gently as they came to her hands. She accented with simple gold  earrings and wore her dirty blonde hair in a simple updo. Enough to look like she put in an effort, but not like she was planning for days. She tended to wear accents of other colours, but it wouldn't do to welcome home a new yellow in the colours of another Ajah. The Yellow donned her own shawl and swelled with pride. It still hit her every time. How much she had worked to get where she was. What this simple piece of cloth represented. She worked for it and she earned it. She supposed the new yellow would be feeling all of this in full force.

 

She joined the others in the hall, lining up to greet Celestine home. The Head and Sitters came through and they had the newest one beside them making their way through the halls. She stopped to introduce herself to each of the sisters and Seheria greeted her warmly when it was her turn.

 

She was last to be introduced and while that would normally never be something the stubborn Yellow would settle for, she knew it was a place of honour so she held her head high and all but made a show of it. There were seven ajahs and seven places of honour when welcoming a new sister. The Head of course, and the two Sitters who went to the ceremony, the three newest Sisters to the Ajah would decorate the living quarters of the new arrival, and the last to greet her on her welcome home would be the one who will mentor her, help her ease her way in to really being a Sister of the Yellow ajah.

 

Celestine can wear the Shawl, but that doesn't mean she is truly one of them. There are things all Yellows know and this girl did not know them yet. It would be Seheria's job to ensure the new Sister did not make a fool of the Ajah while wearing their colours before she knew any better.

 

They exchanged pleasantries in the hall and the Head and Sitters said their goodbyes, retiring to their rooms. The others left in turn, some offering invitations to have the new sister join them for tea or walks. Seheria took a deep steadying breath, silently, and only let a slight flinch show as she leaned in to the kiss the woman's left cheek. Some traditions should be done away with, she thought,  this should be the first!

 

"Welcome, Sister." Seheria addressed her and let a pause fall to give the woman time to react to being called that again. It would take time for it to sink in. "I am sure you have had a trying day and could use a rest. I would show you to your own rooms, but I'm afraid they are not quite ready for you yet. Please, come join me for some tea, some talk, and a bit of a rest. Your day has been long and unlike any other since your arrival here, but I assure you, your journey is just as fresh now as it was when you first walked through the Tower doors. A new journey, mind, and one you are largely in control of...or will be, but a new beginning to a new way of life is starting before sundown."

 

They entered Seheria's private sitting room and she ushered the woman to sit in a winged back chair. An Accepted who had come to work off some punishment time in the Yellow's quarters dropped into a curtsy when she saw the two Sisters come into the room. "If you'd like some tea, Sister, I'm sure the Child would happily steep it before she returns to her classes." It was a test of the newest sister. To see her resolve, her personality, and her ability to make the leap from just hours before having the same banded dress as the girl before them to now wearing the same shawl as the Aes Sedai. 

 

Seheria Sedai

Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah

Retro - Yellow Mentor

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Celestine felt both overwhelmed and relaxed at once, if that was possible. She was utterly exhausted--she hadn't slept since before yesterday's test--and it took all her remaining strength to stay up on her feet. At least she'd received Healing after the testing was done. That had made her feel refreshed. Now it was breakfast time--the last part of the Raising always took place very early in the morning--but perhaps she could eat right after. Still, she wasn't thinking about food, but how the Yellow Ajah quarters were now her home.

 

Eqwina was the Head of the Ajah, the First Weaver. Celestine had to remember that. And the names of the Sitters--Camigwen and Nynaeve. She couldn't possibly remember all the other Yellows whose name she did not know already, but as the last sister welcomed her, she made sure to keep her name in mind. Seheria. It was very unique, she thought.

 

"I am sure you have had a trying day and could use a rest," Seheria addressed her. "I would show you to your own rooms, but I'm afraid they are not quite ready for you yet. Please, come join me for some tea, some talk, and a bit of a rest. Your day has been long and unlike any other since your arrival here, but I assure you, your journey is just as fresh now as it was when you first walked through the Tower doors. A new journey, mind, and one you are largely in control of...or will be, but a new beginning to a new way of life is starting before sundown."

 

"Thank you, Seheria Se--" She stopped, then smiled. "Thank you. Sister." She nearly spread her banded skirts in a curtsy, but as she grabbed them she just managed to stop herself. Her shawl almost fell off her shoulders as she did--she was still carrying the huge bouquet of yellow thunderfox flowers Busaya had given her in the hallway upon her welcome--and she embarrassingly caught it, holding it close as if dropping the fringed cloth would have ended her. And perhaps it would have, with all the new rules. She clutched that shawl like her life depended on it.

 

Still, when the Sitters and Eqwina made their departure, she did curtsy for them.

 

She followed Seheria into her quarters, and spotted Chelisa, another Accepted. Celestine had just seen her yesterday after returning from her test.

"If you'd like some tea, Sister," Seheria said, "I'm sure the child would happily steep it before she returns to her classes."

"I--" She looked at the Accepted. Not the other Accepted, not anymore, even though Celestine still wore her Accepted's dress. But she had her shawl now. And the Three Oaths made her feel like she was wearing tight leather all over her body like a second skin. "Thank you Chelisa," she said in a very friendly tone. A warm tone. They weren't friends per say, but there were few Celestine didn't get along with among the Accepted. "Tea would be most welcome."

"Yes, Celestine Sedai," Chelisa said.

 

Celestine almost paused. It was the first time someone called her that, and that someone had been her equal just yesterday. But Chelisa's tone was proud and happy for her, she could tell. Celestine smiled more, and looked to Seheria. She did not wish to sit before the other Sister, in case it was improper, and still held the bouquet of flowers, somewhat awkwardly.

 

celestinesigg2018a_by_drowelfmorwen-dc37

Edited by Jagen Sedai

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The yellow flinched as the shawled woman in her banded dress stumbled her way through addressing her. It really was the most awkward transition. Something years in the making. After having it beaten into you to know your place it was a very hard thing to rise above it. Harder still when you're exhausted, being ushered around in a daze and still very much the same person you were the night before, not even having a moment to look yourself in the eye in a mirror and let it sink in. For all of that, she seemed to do well to bridge the gap. 

 

Seheria tossed her own shawl to heap on a table an arm's length away from her door and made her way to a glass cabinet and removed a vase. She filled it with water took the other woman's bouque, spending some time to arrange them in the vase. It wasn't a perfect fit, but it would hold up until the woman to find a new one or they wilted. As she did this, the Accepted filled the tea pot with water and began to heat it. Seheria could smell the bundle of leaves she had put in the pot in anticipation. The woman would be tired, she thought she would help her along. 

 

As she sat in her own wing backed chair she studied the young Aes Sedai before her. She hides the weariness well, or perhaps it hasn't hit from the excitement yet. Either way, it will come. Light, I hope she isn't sensitive to the tea. She knew some people took a reaction to the combination in the pot, but mostly it would help restore energy almost giving a second wind that could last a few hours. With hardly any side effects. Aside from a rough crash hours later, but the girl would have that either way. If she does have a reaction she's in the best place for it. The infirmary would see far worse and she would be left to suffer on her own. The Yellow halls would be the best place to drop. Anyone would know what to do and be able able to do it with finesse. 

 

"So, tell me, Celestine Sedai, why did you choose to be a Yellow Sister? What is you are bringing to our Ajah that we don't already have?" She asked as the Accepted brought a tea cup to her. She lifted it, absently looking past the girl who was blocking her view of the newest Sister. Silently, the Accepted moved to give a second cup to Celestine.  She would get more into the heart of their meeting, the beginnings of her mentoring, when the other girl left. She could hardly start in on telling the newest Yellow what all it meant to be a Yellow, and how hellish the next few years would be despite not having to bow down before everyone you passed in the halls.

 

Seheria Sedai

Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah

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Celestine felt grateful when Seheria took her bouquet and set out arranging it in the vase. Perhaps this was another custom, too, she thought. As far as she was concerned, she was going to treat everything as if it was custom unless she could make that it was not. She sat down in the other chair, letting her hands brush along the shawl, along the yellow fringe. She wrapped it around herself, and tempted though she was to lean back in the chair, only her fear of offending decorum kept her upright and stiff as a log. And perhaps the tightness from the Oaths, too.

 

"Thank you," she said softly to Chelisa as the tea was placed in front of her. The smell was most curious, and she wasn't quite sure what it was.

She took only a moment to think on her words before answering Seheria's question, not wanting to keep her waiting. "The Yellow Heals all it can," she answered, "and what it cannot, it will strive to find cures for." She smiled slightly, "My hearing was improved, somewhat, after I came here, over the years. I was near deaf when I arrived, but it was the Yellow who helped me. I may not be fully cured, but I can learn more here. And I am determined to find this Weave for myself, if no one else does first." She took up the tea and took a small sip. "But it is more than that. I want to help those who are sick. There are so many out in the world who could use healing--I once knew  boy who broke his leg as a child, and it took him years to recover. Even now, as an adult, he limps. Well, last time I saw him." She looked down at the fringe of her shawl again. "To Heal is to improve someone's life from unnecessary suffering, and to bring happiness. This, to me, is one of the most, if not the most important of the Aes Sedai's purposes. We cannot all Heal, but those who can, should."

 

She smiled at the thought; just speaking of the Yellow's mission was making her excited. The point of collapsing from tiredness had passed; she felt there was no way she could sleep any time soon, even as her body felt exhausted. "May I ask you a question, Seheria Sedai?" She waited for the other sister's go ahead, then asked, leaning forward in her seat, "Can I be told, exactly, how the taint on saidin was cured? Everyone said it was impossible. Yet a Yellow did it, right?"

 

celestinesigg2018a_by_drowelfmorwen-dc37

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Seheria settled back into her chair and let her gaze stare into the newest Yellow as she bore her heart telling her why she chose the ajah.  She waved the Accepted off and the girl took the hint to leave the two alone. She closed the door gently and Seheria made a mental note of the girl's good judgment and considerate nature. 

 

The new Yellow's words spoke true the seasoned Sister. "To Heal is to improve someone's life from unnecessary suffering, and to bring happiness. This, to me, is one of the most, if not the most important of the Aes Sedai's purposes. We cannot all Heal, but those who can, should." 

 

 "May I ask you a question, Seheria Sedai?" She waited for the other sister's go ahead, then asked, leaning forward in her seat, "Can I be told, exactly, how the taint on saidin was cured? Everyone said it was impossible. Yet a Yellow did it, right?"

 

"You have much to learn, Celestine. How the taint was cured is surely a story you can and will learn and a skill you may be privileged to share some day too. It was impossible. But then so many of the things all Aes Sedai can do were once impossible, and are still impossible to those who are not trained and those who do not try."

 

She hoped her short reply would be enough to sustain the girl. It was not the reply she wanted, but Seheria knew there was so much more to learn and speak about this night and that story would be long and detailed and give the new sister too much knowledge too quickly if truely delved. She hoped what she said would be teaser enough to keep her interested still and not feel dejected with her first query being denied.

 

She tried to turn the topic to something else, that touched on more of a starting point. Turning back to what the new Sister had said in speaking of her reason to join the ajah.

 

"It is a noble calling to rise to the ranks of the Yellow Ajah, but you name it well: it is an obligation for those who CAN to join our ranks and DO."

 

She took a sip of her tea, and then set her cup aside. Pausing to lock eyes with the young woman. "The time to sweet talk this Ajah and try to sell you our wares is over. You are Yellow now. You will soon see the behind tapestries and bright colours. You will soon see the cracks, the heart ache, the struggles and the reality.  You have chosen the ajah with the highest stakes." 

 

She tried to read the woman to see how she was taking this in, but couldn't. She studied her wondering which of the many facets of the Ajah would most appeal to her, and then thought about how she should set about showing the hard reality of any path within the ajah she took.

 

"The Blues, Greens, and Reds rush headlong into danger and put  themselves at risk. They know what they do will cause pain, loss of life, and they expect and accept casualties. The risk is high, but it is a risk to their own person and they can justify the harm of others as 'not their responsibly to save them'. 

 

As Yellows, the threat is often as immediate as it is with the Blues, Greens, and Reds, but the risk is almost never to your own life - you fight for the lives of others. You are the one thing between a normal future for someone and their suffering and death.

 

Should you stay in the Tower and work in the Infirmary, or go to the battlefield, or seek out those in need traveling solo through the world, the case is always the same:

 

They do not come to you in joy and peace, they come in fear and anguish and desperation. You are their last hope, their only chance. And time is very rarely on your side. You will need to make split second decisions that will not affect a moment more of your life, but will affect every minute of every day the patient has after your meeting. Your best will often not feel like enough. You will do things that others have tried and failed.

 

You will do the impossible. And you will feel a pride inconceivable. But there will be times you do all you can, you will be pushed to your limits, you will do what you think is right, and it will be wrong. It won't be enough. You will fail, and your failure won't impact your ability to carry on into the future, but it will impact the patient's ability to do so.

 

You do not put your own self at risk as the Blues, Greens, and Reds do, but you will take unknown risks to help others that those same Sisters never would. You will do all you can and sometimes it will be enough; sometimes it wont. "

 

She paused, pulling herself out the flood of memories tugging at her mind. Then, in an unexpected yet well timed moment of emphasis, she continued, "you will kill people." She swallowed hard, forcing on, "you will be forced to leave people to die". She picked her tea back up swirled it absently with the small spoon meant for sugar.

 

Trying to lighten her tone a little, she continued "you will heal what others say you cannot. You will push through exhaustion few others ever see to benefit people you will never see again. It takes a lot out of a person to be faced with these circumstances time and again, day after day for generations. But the rewards are bigger for a Yellow than the others. You will children reunited with parents who had never believed it could be so. You will see people living miracles they only dreamed of and thanking you for making it so."

 

She took a long sip of tea to ease her dry throat and to approach another option. 

 

"The Greys, Whites, and Browns can have significant impact on the way of life and the future of the world, but in a low risk, long term fashion. Their change is slow and small and eased into. Caution, with risk carefully weighed and reduced as well as it can. 

 

As a Yellow, you can take this approach too, if the thought of the immediate pressures of healing the currently wounded are too much for you. The study of medicines and new healing weaves is something that is highly encouraged. We can't all spend out time reacting - some of us have to forge ahead and figure out how stop things before they start, or find ways to fix things that no one else had before -- like the Taint, and like the Sister who found the weave that was passed down to through the Yellows that saved your hearing.

 

Like the Greys, Whites, and Browns, our research will shape the future. If the knowledge is there, and the laws are there, but the population dies out, what is it all for? Only those with the ability to do the weaves can find them, so there is no point leaving it to the research of a Brown. They may know the theory, but without the practice they cannot truly and thoroughly test it. The risk in this too is high, as experimentation can be deadly for both the tester and testee and it is our sole goal to keep things alive and at their best. It can be hard to work through the Oaths to make tests that come to the point of causing harm so we can learn how to heal them better."

 

The first thing to do this night was a tour, but Seheria would await the woman's response to her conversation before deciding where the tour should start. If the new yellow seemed most driven to the infirmaries, their tour could start there. If she was more interested in the research, perhaps she should start in the stock rooms or the studies full of medical books that were stored safely away from the masses at the libraries. She the time for others to join again would coming soon, but she didn't want to rush the woman. The hours were short, but the years ahead of her were many.

 

 

 

 

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Celestine smiled a little at Seheria's reply to her inquiry on how the Taint of saidin was cleansed. She did not press for more, as she knew, surely, there were other, more important things for them to discuss, and indeed there were.  Celestine shelved her curiosity on that, for now.

 

"The time to sweet talk this Ajah and try to sell you our wares is over. You are Yellow now." Seheria's strong words resonated with Celestine. I am Yellow now. Her attention was rapt. "You will soon see the behind tapestries and bright colours. You will soon see the cracks, the heart ache, the struggles and the reality.  You have chosen the Ajah with the highest stakes."

 

Celestine paid careful attention to everything Seheria was telling her. It really was an induction into the Yellow Ajah. As the older sister spoke, she made sure to keep her face calm and straight. The seriousness of the topic overtook her excitement and joy, and she only managed to contain the latter because of Seheria's tone and her own tiredness. Still, by the end she was probably swelling with a sense of pride, and certainly felt she was.

 

"... It can be hard to work through the Oaths to make tests that come to the point of causing harm so we can learn how to heal them better." The last words Seheria spoke made Celestine's mind bound in a few different directions, and she opened her mouth to speak--yet she hesitated, unsure of how to formulate her questions. What was she going to ask? She was quite tired, and she wasn't sure if she could or should voice thoughts that occurred to her in her last year as an Accepted, who was going to join the Yellows.

 

"Forgive me, sister. I have many questions, but I'm not sure how to go about wording them. I do wonder how one helps someone, and learns more about the human body without harming a patient." She wanted to ask if it was true they used dead people for such things. Yet she feared it was inappropriate. Instead she said, "I suppose the sisters who work in the infirmary have the best understanding of that topic."

 

Goodness, but she wanted to change. She finished the tea in her hands, wanting more. Yet all she did was set down the cup and run her hands along the front of her shawl, and she didn't wish at all to interrupt her welcoming sister.

 

Celestine Sedai

New Yellow Leaf :ajahyellow_by_drowelfmorwen-dc43fsk:

Edited by Jagen Sedai

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Seheria watched in wonder as the newest sister hung on her word. The woman seemed genuinly to be taking it all in and thinking about it as it was meant to be. A hard task to accomplish after the long hours before. She wasn't sure how much of it would stick come the morning, but it was a good thing to be heard in interest now. 

 

"Forgive me, sister. I have many questions, but I'm not sure how to go about wording them. I do wonder how one helps someone, and learns more about the human body without harming a patient."  Celestine seemed to pause as though she was changing what she had been about to say. Seheria couldn't help but wonder if the woman had had her first encounter with the truth oath or if she was simply choosing her words as she had been trained in her many years on the way to the shawl. She hoped it was the first..that was always a fun thing to watch, but since the woman didn't show any signs of a new sensation swirling through her the Yellow thought it was more likely that she knew better than to say her thought outright. "I suppose the sisters who work in the infirmary have the best understanding of that topic." 

 

Celestine didn't ask a question, but Seheria treated it as though she had, replying, "you will find there are a lot of ways to do things that seem contradictory. I'm sure your training that lead you to the shawl has shown you that there is more than one way to approach just about any situation. Its all a matter of how you present it. So far, you have learned how you must present yourself and your thoughts to the world to get where you ought to be. Now that you have the oaths to bind you, you will need to find ways to present things to yourself that will allow you to acheive your goals. Some things can be done simply. It is often enough to believe that the goal of the end result is enough help to distract from the 'hurt' that goes into it. If you are hurting now so you can help later, than its not really hurting -- its all going to the same cause, all to help. There is the issue of consent too: If someone says you can do a thing, then perhaps it is alright to do." she paused, for dramatic effect and another sip of her tea, "and of course if you can find a way to do something without harming something, because harm cannot be done to it any longer, then that is another way around it." her cup now empty, she set it  a side on the table between them. "Each Sister's oaths are her own and they are only as binding as you believe they are. What you are capable of doing despite them is completely up to your understanding of the hold the rod has on you." 

 

She guestured for Celestines cup, not checking to see how much was left, "you must be near the bottom of that by now. Hand it here," she caught herself in the almost order she was so used to giving Accepted and forced out more of a sentance, "if you will, and I'll let you get off to freshen up and take that banded dress off.

 

Along with decorating your rooms, as our three newest sisters always do, they will have supplied a few staples in a wardrobe for you in your rooms. I hope you find something that will suit you for tonight. Nothing too fancy, mind. The Infirmaries can get a little..messy.. in the parts we will be going to.

 

If the decor is not to your liking, you may wish to slowly pick at altering it. Some sisters think very heavily about what to add your collection. It is meant as a way of welcoming and a way of joining. You are part of our Ajah now and will have a peice of it with you in every trinket chosen for you. Some are meant to bring a smile or a laugh when you fear you have nothing to be positive about.  Some are to remind you are never alone, though you may feel you are. Of course, sometimes the Sisters are using your rooms to get back at the sisters who decorated their own. As if to say, they messed up my room and I had to live with it so I'll mess up yours for you to live with it. Either way, they are your rooms and you can do as you wish with them, but some sisters will be watching closely what you take out among what you bring in. Speaking of bringing in, you can take your flowers with you now or send someone to fetch them for you." She winked and flashed a quick smile at the new Yellow, "it can be a little fun the first few times you send people out on errands."

 

She rose from her chair to show the tired Sister out, "I'll be waiting here for you to return, perhaps with others if any are still around at this hour. There is no need to rush back, but do keep in mind we have much more to speak of and show and the sooner you are back and we are through it, the sooner can you try out your new bed sheets."

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"Thank you, Seheria." Celestine felt good saying her name without needing to add the honorific, now that she was one of them. An Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah. It was almost hard to think, hard to believe; she had been pushing toward this day for so long.

 

Celestine walked down the now mostly-empty hall, nodding with a friendly and open smile toward two other sisters. One returned the smile, though the other looked rather stern. She turned away to face her new room's door with some reverence, and pushed it open.

The inside was much larger than her previous abode. She had a sitting room, a large bedroom, a dressing room and her own study. It was everything she could have asked for. More, everything was in different shades of yellow, ivory and white, and she absolutely loved it. She found her comb, brush and other few possessions on the desk in the sitting room. I want to keep everything, she thought as she looked around. Whether somewhat plain in design or covered in gaudy flowers, she loved it all. The lamps were lit, and there was a fire going in the marble fireplace. The room was warm, and inviting.

 

She laid her shawl reverently on the bed, laid out so she could see the long fringe and the Flame of the Tar Valon. It was the first time she could truly admire the design; it was covered in ivy and soft yellow flowers on an ivory colored silk cloth. She looked in the stand mirror at her Accepted dress. Finally, after eighteen years of wearing white, she could put it off. She took it off, folded it and headed for the closet. Inside she found three dresses; yellow with white, a soft green with yellow slashes, and one fully yellow with embroidery on the chest and down the sides. She chose the last; it was soft and well woven, though not silk.

 

Celestine grabbed up her shawl and laid it so it rested in the crook of her elbows, and admired her whole outfit in the mirror. From her jewelry box she grabbed a necklace; it was silver with a white flower charm in the center. A gift from her father, those eighteen years ago when she left for Tar Valon.

Though she had no desire to leave her rooms, she made sure not to linger. Closing her door softly, she headed back to Seheria's rooms, giving a simple knock on her sister's door. She held her shawl close, and tried to smooth her face. If she smiled anymore she was afraid Seheria might think she wasn't listening, too overjoyed to have finally gained the shawl. Now more than ever, however, she needed to appear serious.

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