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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

The Hunt for Namandar - Part 4: Diplomacy [CLOSED]


Jagen Sedai
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This thread is being posted for archival purposes only, as the original RP link was long lost on the winds of time.

This is posted with permission from Jaydena, who also supplied the surviving copy.

 

IC Year: 996 NE

[Part 1 Unavailable] [Part 2 Here] [Part 3 Here]

 

The Hunt for Namandar #4: Diplomacy ~Ly, Lan, others~
Players: Lannie Sedai, Lyanna Sedai, Sirayn Sedai, Kaylan Sedai, Jeha Sedai, Jaydena Sedai, Seiaman Gaidin, Lukas-TG, Corbin Gaidin, Egwainne Sedai, Raeyn Sedai, Coran-TG,

Posted on January 5, 2004

Link- http://www.dragonmount.com/PSW/Boards/viewtopic.php?t=3562

 

OOC: I don’t think Lukas is mentioned on that list but of course he’s to come along and I’ve just spoken to Jehanine. Warders bonded to these Aes Sedai are also welcome. – Once more into the breach, my friends!

: : : : The city of Tanchico clung to the side of steep hills and tumbled haphazardly onto a triad of peninsulas like a three-tined trident. It was guarded by a dozen fortresses which stood iron-grey and brooding in the misty morning light. White buildings, thin towers and pointed gilt domes gleamed spectrally, all wreathed in faint swathes of vapour, making the spires look as though they thrust upward from a ragged white blanket. A lace of stone-paved streets wound around and over the hills of Tanchico. Larger buildings and towers were made from stone, some topped in bronze or gold, while the smaller houses had been constructed of brick or white-washed plaster. The great dock was crowded with ships. Sirayn tilted her head back as her horse walked with careful steps down the steep side of the hill, and inhaled a deep lungful of the crop-scented air. The sun was warm, insects buzzed, and Tanchico radiated content.

: : : : Sirayn didn’t. She was very tired. A very young sister, Sirayn had never asked what Ajah she was from, had suddenly got cold feet and wanted to return. Sirayn had had to take the sister aside and speak to her quietly. Out tumbled a miserable tale of how the young woman had been pushed and pushed through her training, praised to the high heavens when she excelled and despised when she only averaged, raised to her Ajah at last and now she only wanted a respite from the pressure. She couldn’t handle this. The sister had been crying as she spoke those last words. Sirayn would rather have been anywhere else but what else could she do? She’d sat up all night with the wretched woman, mostly just holding her hand and feeling entirely useless, and in the end the sister whose name Sirayn had never learnt had decided to go on. Sirayn didn’t even know why she’d done it. A misplaced sense of loyalty? Seeing some part of herself in this harried, struggling, desperate woman? If she’d dropped out and headed back in the time between then and now Sirayn wouldn’t know. Perhaps her time had been for nothing. Who had benefited, after all? Certainly not her, and maybe even not the other woman. Sirayn’s lips quirked wryly as she realised she would take any excuse or reasoning other than just being kind at heart.

: : : : Seiaman rode close beside her. She looked as calm and confident and deadly as usual and Sirayn envied her the outward composure Sirayn was certain she did not wear. Sirayn tugged the bond and smiled at her gently. “Keep your eyes open in Tanchico. Everything tells me no great harm awaits us there but that may lull me into a false sense of security.” Twisting in her seat, Sirayn glanced over the companions riding close behind her. Taya, Kaylan, Jaydena and Jehanine from the Green Ajah, Egwainne from the Blue Ajah, and a handful of Browns with their respective Warders. Sirayn had left Lwena behind. She still felt a little guilty about leaving the young Yellow back at camp, when her place was at Sirayn’s right hand, but she thought that Lwena would feel out of place at a king’s court. Sirayn couldn’t afford to make any mistakes or even permit for less experienced members of her party to make those mistakes. Still, she felt half a traitor for it, and for glancing sideways every now and then and expecting to see Lwena there. She had become far too accustomed to Lwena’s company. It was time to toughen up. You couldn’t even manage for yourself, let alone look after other people, a cutting voice mocked. Light, but this was madness! She’d fallen apart that night with shards of sunset and shattered glass. She’d failed miserably in Ebou Dar. Aringill, the northern winter, Cairhien, everything had been so badly messed up. And here she was, riding at the head of a party as though she belonged there. As though she had earned something more than the spite and loathing of the Brown Ajah.

: : : : Sirayn turned back and faced ahead for a particularly tricky part of the rough trail. It took all her concentration to guide her horse safely through scattered rocks to a more level patch of ground. Sirayn grinned slightly to remember where her newfound horsemanship had come from, and shared a brief smile with Seiaman. Her mind drifted inevitably back to the Green Aes Sedai who rode behind her. The one who mattered most. Jehanine. Sirayn felt a traitor to admit this as well, but Sirayn had brought her along mostly to keep her away from Lwena; from the dagger-like looks poor Lwena had been getting, Sirayn judged that sparks might fly if they were left together. Sirayn shook her head with a deep sigh. So many once-friends, and cold shoulders turned, and outright enemies. What was she even doing here? She was no politician. Arette wanted to claw her apart for not being a Brown, the Brown Ajah loathed her for bearing this heavy mantle of duty, and half the bloody Green Ajah seemed to hate her for it as well. Her shoulders slumped as she considered the seething mess she had got herself into. If she was smart she would turn over command to Taya and leave this minute. Head to Heartswood and her family and never return – and give up. And let those, those Browns beat her. Let all of them beat her! All these people who didn’t seem to understand she just- Light, every day she failed and kept on failing and they hated her because they thought she didn’t- they thought she thought she was better than them and… oh Light, everything was just so messed up.

: : : : Head bowed, lost in her own thoughts, Sirayn rode across the flatland and into Tanchico while the others followed her in contemplative silence. None of them knew what awaited them.

OOC: Edited. Still an awful post. You should all know the storyline, if not you can find it in the thread linked above, and move it along at your own pace but not too drastically please.

 

~ Sirayn ~
Battle Ajah

**********************************

There was nothing but the chill of the cup of iced tea in her hands, the sun on her face, and the feeling of companionship for a while. Lanfir had her eyes closed and enjoyed the warm morning sun. It was two hours before noon. Everything for lunch had been prepared, the Tavern was clean and waiting for customers, and Lanfir and Lyanna were taking it easy as they did every morning. It was one of the best times of the day.

"That man that supplies the Inn," Lyanna started slowly.

Lanfir opened her eyes. "Jorn. What of him?"

"He said that there are Aes Sedai in town. They are going to visit the King."

It was a sign. It had to be. Only yesterday she had signed the contract to Menion Gintear. Regular guest as he was, he had wanted to buy the Inn himself. He wanted to keep the place as it was, and somewhere he had loaned enough money to buy Lanfir out. He had said that no one loved the Tavern as he did, so he might as well buy it. Lanfir, touched by his offer, had not asked much, but enough to make sure she'd live easily for a while. As of yesterday, she was a free woman once more. A free Aes Sedai, ready to go back to the Tower whenever she would care to. And now there were Aes Sedai in town. It had to be a sign. It couldn't be anything else. "Really?" she drawled, blinking against the sunlight. A stray ray of sunlight was making sparkles on the rim of Lyanna's glass.

Lyanna looked up. "Yes, that's what he said. Interesting, isn't it?"

"Yes..." Lanfir looked at her hands, clasping her own glass. They were trembling. Bloody adrenaline in her body. Why was she so excited all of a sudden? They could be Red Ajah for all she knew, and unfamiliar faces to boot. She'd probably not even run into them. So why those shivers then?

"Do you want to make our presence known?"

"Depends on who they are," Lanfir replied, trying very hard to make those shivers subside. I will need to learn composure all over again, she thought sadly. And they will laugh at my raw emotions. And my mistakes. She sighed and wallowed in self-pity for a bit, until she felt Lyanna go rigid next to her.

"And what if they'd be Greens?" Lyanna blurted out, her voice sounding oddly choked.

Before she could help herself, Lanfir found herself on her feet, jumping off the porch to see the party enter the street. Green shawls. Burn her, they were wearing Green shawls. Not all of them, there was a great amount of Browns too. Women, regal on horseback, riding through the street. They did not even look at her. Gaidin were around them, either on horseback or afoot, managing to look dangerous even when they were walking casually.

The party was closing in. Lanfir could feel her heartbeat thundering in her ears. She did not even bother to make her shivers subside anymore. Adrenaline was racing through her veins and she was trembling with emotions. Her eyes were tearing up with pure nostalgia and other feelings that seemed bigger than herself.

She tried to make out faces, feverishly looking at every woman that was bearing a green shawl. Especially a certain one, a blond one and-- "Taya!" she choked out. It was barely audible. She covered her mouth behind her hands and let the tears run freely. The sensation that she was dreaming became stronger. It was truly Taya on that horse. She was older, and maybe she had gained a few pounds, but burn her, it *was* Taya.

They did not see her – of course they would not. She was just an innkeeper that was watching the Aes Sedai ride by. Lanfir stared at them with the same wonder in her eyes that every innkeeper would have. She turned to Lyanna, who was still sitting on the porch. “We have to join them,” Lanfir said. Her stomach was knotting up.

Lyanna nodded with a distant light in her green eyes. She had dropped her cup and had never even noticed. “Yes. Yes, we have to.”


~ Lanfir Leah Marithsen
Green Ajah
and suddenly really nostalgic

*************************************

When Lanfir choked "Taya!" Lyanna sought out the blonde hair in the group and instantly located the woman. Light, it really was Taya. Oh Light. They had talked about selling the Tavern - and proceeded with it -, talked about going back to the Tower. But so far, that had only been talk, and they weren't in a hurry. It seemed as if fate had come knocking on their door.

She dropped the cup she had been holding, but the clank of broken crockery on the porch floor seemed very far away, as the sight of Taya suddenly brought back more memories she thought she had.

She glanced to the side, only to see Lanfir crying. Oh yes, how she understood that. At least Lyanna had been back in between all those years, if only for a short moment. But for Lanfir, this was the first confrontation with anything remotely to do with the Tower since that battle in the Borderlands. It would be hard: joy and shame and anger and pain, all mingled into one.

"We have to join them" Lanfir said absentmindedly. Lyanna nodded, her thoughts still distant. "Yes, yes we have to."

But how?

~Lyanna al'Ellisande
A very startled Sedai

**************************************

Jaydena gazed at the road in front of them, and wondered how long it would be before they reached the palace. It would be nice to have a solid bed under her and silk sheets. She shivered with joy at the thought of a nice scented bath and then turned her attention back to the road in front of them. They would be staying at the palace and negotiating with the king to travel through the country with their armed party. Also they needed to gain permission to search for the lost city. Of course as AS the things in the city were their birthright but it still helped to grease the wheels when you had already spoken to the king.

Watching the peasants and merchants as the rode by she gazed at several of their faces and nodded in her cool Aes Sedai way. She quietly pressed a coin in to hand of one of the beggars and glanced up at her fellow sisters to make sure they hadn't seen. Amusement and love surged through the bond and she knew that Jared and Corbin both had seen her action. Hoping the embarrassment of being caught didn't show on her face she kept her eyes straight ahead and waited for the journey to end...

Jaydena Sedai

**********************************

Lukas paused a moment as he mucked out the stables connected to the back of the Green Nature Tavern, since his arrival here he had made himself useful to the two Sedai in any way they saw possible whether it be menial labour or bouncer work. It had allowed him to loosen up and experience a life that had been denied to him either because of his commitment to the Tower or because of his poverty as a child. His time with at the Tavern had also led him to appreciate Aes Sedai better, before they had been cold, unapproachable beings but now he found it easier to associate with them. Whether it be Lyanna with her friendly manner and tenacious attitude or Lanfir with her commanding presence and calm thinking. Both of them had become precious to him and he would gladly lay his life down for them.It was this willingness to lay down his life that had stopped him stable work.

From the open doors of the stable he had a clear view to the streets below and what he saw there raised the hairs on the back of his neck and caused a knot to grow in his stomach. Parading along the streets was a party of Aes Sedai and Warders, whilst predominantly Green there was also a sprinkling of Brown and one Blue. Lukas did not know any of them personally although he thought he knew the name of the leader of the group, it was Siren or Saryn or some similair name. The one person that did catch his eye though was Seiaman Kara, the Warder was someone that Lukas respected back in Tar Valon. Seia was a disciple of Me'Arearth much like himself and the rumour going around the Yards was that the woman was soon to be named Master. If a Master of Me'Arearth was in Tarabon then something was the matter.

Dropping his pitchfork in the corner alongside the other tools of the stablehand trade Lukas ran towards the back entrance of the Tavern. Pushing the door open he cringed as he heard it slam against the wooden wall but did not stop to check if any damage had been made. Moving into the main section of the Tavern he could make out Lanfir and Lyanna out on the patio and continued in his frenzied dash to reach them. Dodging past tables and chairs he finally reached the door and after slowing down so as not to bowl them over he quickly made his presence known.

Cough...cough....

"I assume you two have seen the party down below in the streets? Well if ever their was a chance for you two to return to the Tower this is it but be warned their is power in that group. At least one of the Warders is a Master or soon to be one and if I'm not mistaken one of them may be a Sitter." Looking in between the two Greens he waited to see if the importance of what he said had sunk in, “What do you plan to do?”

Lukas Talinko

*******************************

Lanfir and Lyanna were considering their options when an out of breath voice sounded behind them: "I assume you two have seen the party down below in the streets? Well if ever their was a chance for you two to return to the Tower this is it but be warned their is power in that group. At least one of the Warders is a Master or soon to be one and if I'm not mistaken one of them may be a Sitter." Lukas was still standing with the doorknob in his hands. His cheeks were flushed with excitement. “What do you plan to do?”

Lanfir spread her hands and explained the situation to the young Tower Guard. "We're trying to think of something, Lukas. We know that they are going to the Palace, so we need a way to get to them. Now how should we announce ourselves?"

Lyanna was looking at Lukas with eyes that were narrowed in contemplation. "I think I got it. Lukas, would you be willing to send a message to the Palace to Taya Gille of the Green Ajah?"

Lukas nodded. "Of course."

Lyanna shifted her gaze to Lanfir. "We need pen and paper, and we need to think, quickly. Taya is our key to the palace. What do we say?"

Quill and ink were quickly gotten a hold of. While Lukas was proving himself a dear by preparing two new cups of iced tea, Lanfir and Lyanna bowed themselves over the letter. The sun was shining on their heads but they hardly noticed. Two faces were frowned with similar concentration. This was important. It had to be perfect.

Dear Taya Sedai,

Two of your Sisters would be most pleased if they could present themselves to you and speak of old times. Please prepare to receive our presence at mid-afternoon. If this is not possible, would you be so kind to inform our messenger?

Under the Light,
Your Sisters.


"Well, there then. It is crappy, but it's the best we could do," Lanfir smiled.

Lyanna shrugged. "It'll get the message across and it will make sure she will not know yet who we are." Lukas joined them with two cups of fresh iced tea. They thanked him gratefully and send him out on the road. Lanfir gulped down her tea quickly. "So... now for the real question... do we have anything to wear?"

~Lanfir Leah Marithsen
Green Ajah

***************************************

Lyanna blushed at Lanfir's question. "I did bring my stole," she said with a quiet voice. "It has never left me. I have a spare one too. I would be honored if you wore it."

But she could hardly wear the precious stole over the course working clothes she wore daily. They would need dresses, and fast.

"How about we send Lukas to the palace, and then we do some shopping? There must be something we can buy and have fit on us before the afternoon. I know there is a good tailorshop just on the market. It is expensive, but I think that fits the occasion, do you not?"

Lyanna

***************************

Three hours later they had spent a fair amount of the money that Lanfir had gained by selling her Tavern, but they were holding several bags in their hands, had Lukas carrying some of the heavier ones, and they were giddy with anticipation.

Halfway during their shopping spree they had gotten the notion of making their entrance even more of a statement than it already was, and they had gone to shop for battle regalia. Tight leather breeches, a matching shirt, a good belt and when they were at it anyway, Lanfir had given Lyanna and herself a set of twin daggers to sheathe in their belts. They were having loads of fun and were probably driving Lukas bonkers with their girlish chatter, but Lanfir couldn't care less. She was feeling a little light-headed and filled with anticipation. Lyanna was obviously sharing her mood, because she was laughing as they walked through a less crowded street. The silvery sound of her unguarded laughter filled the air around them and Lanfir savored the moment. When they would return to the Tower, they would have to be all composed and in control of their emotion again, but until then they would enjoy the sunshine, the market, the tailors and the daggers and the company of another woman that was thrilled by a shopping spree. It was good.

"I guess I have to braid my hair if we want to do this the right way," Lyanna mused as they rounded a corner. "Will you do it for me?"

"Sure," Lanfir nodded. "It's the least I can do if I can wear your stole." She raked her hand through the dozens of miniature braids she was wearing. "Should I braid all these strands together, as well?"

Lyanna laughed heartily, and they decided to keep it this way. They'd be impressive enough as soon as they had changed into their battle clothing anyhow. Strange enough, Lanfir was looking forward to it. It wasnt until the Tower life beckoned again that she realized how much she had missed it. Light, she really had missed it.

~Lanfir Leah Marithsen
Nostalgic Greenie

*********************************************

In the confinement of their quarters above the Tavern, Lyanna and Lanfir dressed themselves for battle. Because, in a way, a battle it would be. A battle with their own emotions, with possibly the scorn of the Tower, and the memories that would be shared with the Sedai they knew - or rather - had known.

When Lyanna had finally donned the battle regalia - which had been difficult because of the sturdyness of the leather - and watched herself in the bodyhigh mirror in Lannie's bedroom, her breath caught. She looked the spitting image of the girl she had been so long ago. If you overlooked the white streaks that had crept up from her temples. Maybe she should dye her hair...but no. The white gave her some dignity and she didn't really care for her age to show.

Lanfir's deft fingers had created an intricate braid and when Lyanna hung the graciously given daggers at her side, she really felt Green Ajah again. They resembled her old dagger very closely: the hilts were made of ivory and were inlaid with green enamel. A surge of nerves went through her body. She opened her old duffel bag and searched for her most prized posession, which lay folded on the floor of the bag, within thin sheets of rice paper and then covered by a thick piece of oil cloth. As she peeled away the cloth and paper, a lushious green shine greeted her. There lay folded two green stoles, elaborately embroidered with floral patterns and the flame of Tar Valon. Even the fringes were still intact. One of them, she handed wordlessly to Lanfir, who had also dressed in her regalia.

The other, she hung about her shoulders. Both Sedai looked at eachother in anticipation. This was it. Lukas would have delivered the note by now. All they had to do now was wait.

Lyanna
- clawing her way back up

*********************************************

Taya rode through Tanchico with shivers running down her spine. None of her disquiet showed on the outside, but she was a mess within. It had been hard enough coming back to Tarabon, and the reasons eluded her. But there was something about being in the capital, this centre of activity that she had visited so often in the far-distant past, that put her on edge. It was almost as bad as if they’d gone to Elmora.

She kept up her sisterly façade of serenity and self-assurance as the party rode through the streets, their number greatly lessened now for this leg of the journey. Her pulse skipped now and then at the thought of what lay ahead – they’d discover the truth about what had happened to Tilana. But for now she had to contend with her jitters at being in this hub of activity. At least she had her sisters with her.

Some notable faces are missing, she mused as she recalled the last time she had been in Tanchico. Mierin had been with her, and Lanfir had been their Head, back in the Tower waiting for the news on the outcome. Katrina, newly raised to the shawl, had accompanied them, having her first taste of what it was to be a Green on a mission. All those faces were so scarce in her memory now. Sometimes it seemed as if they hadn’t even existed. And some no longer do, she thought, teetering on the edge of mourning as she pulled up other faces from her past.

At least it was something to distract her from the strange feelings Tanchico was giving her.

“There it is,” a sister beside her breathed almost inaudibly, and Taya looked ahead once more. The woman must surely be talking about that – the palace. It beckoned to them, looking beautiful in the sunlight and trying its best to put Taya at ease, to give her something to dwell on in a positive way. But she couldn’t do it. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t escape that feeling that something was out of place, if not quite amiss. Admittedly, she didn’t try too hard.

The entourage had made its way quite rapidly – by comparison – through the crowds. People made way for them, as they always did for Aes Sedai. Everybody who saw them passing by had to look at them for at least a long moment. Taya had long become accustomed to the feeling of hundreds, even thousands of pairs of eyes fixated on her as she pretended oblivion. But now they had waded through it all, and stood ready to be admitted to the palace.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the palace an hour later Taya heard a knock at the door and blinked. She hadn’t sent for anything. Were they meeting with Andrei already? Light, but that had been fast! She settled her books on the bed and walked sedately into the antechamber, where she opened the door and faced one of the higher-ranked serving men. He bowed to her and produced a nicely folded little piece of paper. Of course, he did that with rather a lot of flourish. He knew that Taya was a Sitter, and he knew what that meant. No doubt his employer had educated him well.

“Aes Sedai, I present to you a note that has arrived by private courier. If you will…” He remained bowed with the note held out, waiting for her to take it. She briefly embraced saidar to check if there were any hints of the Power on it, seeking traps, but found it clean. She took it from him as she released the Source and said, “Very well. A good afternoon to you.” It was a dismissal and he took it as such, deepening his bow just once more before straightening and striding away down the hall, haughty in his own way yet keeping it reined in with careful respect.

Taya shut the door and opened the note. She read:

Dear Taya Sedai,

Two of your Sisters would be most pleased if they could present themselves to you and speak of old times. Please prepare to receive our presence at mid-afternoon. If this is not possible, would you be so kind to inform our messenger?

Under the Light,
Your Sisters.


Taya frowned and pondered the note. Who would want to speak of old times? It couldn’t be someone in her own party, that was unless somebody was playing coy. Was she in danger? Should she have some fellow sisters over as a guard? No, she thought dryly as she took the note to her travel log and tucked it into one of the cover flaps, I can handle whatever they bring to me. And besides, who said it had to be something negative? Just because she had been feeling out of sorts ever since arriving in Tarabon, and that feeling had intensified here in the capital, did not mean it was her instincts talking.

She was well aware that it was foolhardy to assume so casually that she’d be safe. But she was feeling a little reckless, she supposed. She hadn’t recognised the writing on that note of paper, but that didn’t mean anything. She hadn’t seen half her Ajah’s writing, and these ones didn’t even have to be Greens. So all there was to do was wait. There was an hour and a half until the strange Aes Sedai would arrive. She had plenty of things to fill the time with.

A sense of stress settled upon her once again as she turned her mind to business, all but forgetting the mysterious note and the so-called Sisters who had written it.


Taya Gille
Green Sitter
In for a helluva shock

OOC: I figured I would wait for someone else to post, and then post again *G* Don’t wanna hog the thread with a big long post ;p *looks at above post* Hey, it’s not THAT long! Hehe.

*****************************

Lukas arrived just as they had finished dressing up. Lanfir was still staring at herself in the mirror, unbelieving at what she saw. Compared to the last time she had dressed in such clothes and looked at herself she looked so... healthy!

She had none of the stress-induced skinniness and strain imposing on her body. In contrary, she looked fit and her skin was bronzed with tan. Her hair was shining and white, divided in a few dozen tiny braids. She smiled at her image in the mirror and asked over her shoulder: "Good news, Lukas?"

The young Tower Guard nodded. "I was told that she will receive you."

"That's great," Lanfir grinned. She couldnt hide her excitement. When she looked at Lyanna, the other woman... no, the other Green was sharing her mirth. Lyanna looked great - lithe, healthy, and beautiful. "Are you ready, Lyanna?"

Lyanna nodded, her hand trailing absently over one of her daggers. "Ready when you are."

Lanfir arranged with Menion that he would keep the Tavern open today. Technically he would take over completely next month, so Lanfir had the time to show him the ropes in the meantime, but she figured a little experience was good for him. Menion did not mind either, he was excited that he could run the Tavern today. He wished them good luck and showered them with compliments on how beautiful they looked, and sent them on their way.

The day was still sunny and cheery. When Lanfir caught their reflection in a window, she had to smile. "Light, we look like soldiers," she commented.

Lyanna just smiled serenely. "Which is exactly what we are."

She was right. They really were soldiers again. And despite all the pain and heartbreak that her warfare had brought her, Lanfir relished the idea.

Lannie
~on her way to give Taya that helluva shock

***********************

Kaylan smoothed her skirts as she exited the Blacksmiths. From his reports, they were not the only Aes Sedai in the city, and she wondered idly who they were. Of course, Kaylan did not know every Aes Sedai from the Tower anyway, but she was considering putting up the emergency message signal for the Greens in case they were such. She resolved to speak to Taya about it, before she made any such move.
She felt out of place here. None of her Warders were with her, but she had spent plenty of time apart from them before. No, it was something else that was making her feel odd, perhaps it was that she had been thinking about her past more often. What right did a common theif and whore have to call herself Aes Sedai, one of the most powerful people in the world? What right did a woman who had come to the Tower to avoid true accusations have to present herself before a king?
With a sigh, she wandered into Taya's rooms.
"Taya, I have news." She wondered that her novicehood friend was doing, and hoped that she had not interrupted anything important.
"One of the... one of our agents reports that there are other Aes Sedai in the city." She wondered once more who they could be. She had not even told her old friend about her role with the Ajah's eyes and Ears yet, as she had promised Anice, the red haired woman who had last held the job, over a century ago.
Silently, she waited to see what Taya's reaction would be to the news.

Kaylan
Battle Sister
Thrice Bonded

**********************

.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.

Jehanine studied the sprawling city with faint interest, having never visited the capitol of Tarabon before. It was a mess of buildings and paved streets all of which advanced upon the palace just as the party of Aes Sedai was doing. Jehanine had declined to wear her shawl, preferring to move about in public as if she were a normal lady, although her strategy was dashed by the number of other sisters who proudly displayed theirs. She trusted Taya and, if she admitted to it, Sirayn enough to assume they had studied the culture of the city before bringing a full party of very ostentatiously Tower-trained women through it. Jehanine only vaguely remembered what she had learned of Tanchico in Keanaia's geography course, and hoped the other sisters had more than a passing knowledge.

Dealing with the ruler would be little problem however, particularly on Jehanine's part as she was mainly expected to stand at the back of the party and lend her support and aura of command to the women who would speak. She wondered if Sirayn would be one of those, or if she would bow to the age and wisdom of Taya in this instance.

Beneath her, her mount stepped carefully along the uneven stones of the road that wound its way to the palace. She had chosen to ride side-saddled, hating as she did the divided riding skirts that so many sisters preferred, and disliking breeches even more. She was garbed in her usual black, although this dress was more elaborate than most, fit for a court. Her hair, too, was braided and pinned with sparkling beryls.

As she continued her quiet observation, she wondered once again why she had been invited along. There had been no reason offered, merely a condescending note stating that "Sirayn requests your presence," and nothing more. What good would it have done to decline, when the Sitters were present to enforce Sirayn's will?

And so Jehanine sat, stiff-backed and thin-lipped, Sirayn's back directly before her and with Jehanine's bracelet glinting on her wrist. With an effort, Jehanine turned and drew the studious Brown sister beside her into a conversation regarding the architecture of the Tanchico palace.

.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.

The room she had been assigned for the time that the party would remain at the palace was beautifully appointed, and Jehanine admired the silks of the bed linens and the intricate weaves of the tapestries lining the walls with satisfaction. And a great degree of boredom. She would prefer to be back in the camp, speaking with Kaylan or the only animated Brown sister she had yet come across, Josephina.

Instead, she was caged within her sumptuous room with seven sheets of parchment, her quill and ink, and an old tome on the versatility of various weapons. Pacing in soft slippers across the elaborate carpets, Jehanine hoped something - anything - would require her presence soon.

.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.:v^v:.

Jeha

*************************

"These ladies have an appointment with Taya Aes Sedai, she's expecting them," Lukas explained to the rather flabbergasted servant. The fair-haired young man tried to hide it, but his eyebrows shot up nonetheless. "Certainly," he said blankly, quickly assessing the battle gear that Lyanna and Lanfir were clad in. "We care very much about our esteemed guests," he added in a voice that was a lot less blank. The question what are you planning with these clothes on? hung in the air between them.

"We are Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah," Lanfir said eventually. She was too impatient right now to be held up by sceptic servants. Impatient and nervous both. Taya had been her friend, she had cried on her shoulder and then left for a century. Would she welcome them? Would any of them welcome their fallen Captain-General?

She hardly saw the grandeur of the palace as they strode to where Taya's rooms were said to be situated. A million different scenario's were running through her head. What would happen as soon as that door was opened and she laid eyes on the woman she still considered her friend, after all those years?

"We're here," the servant said, pausing a little too long before he added, "Aes Sedai."

Lyanna shot him a glare, but Lanfir could not care less. The tapped on the door until she heard a familiar voice say: "Come in."

The doorhandle was cool against her handpalm (strange, how she suddenly noticed that). She pushed it downwards and entered the brightly lit room. Taya was sitting on a chair next to a desk, conversing with another woman that Lanfir immediately recognised as Kaylan.

Her heart broke in a million pieces. One look, and she had to turn her eyes away.

"Sisters," she said hoarsely, sinking on one knee, "we have returned."

~Lanfir Leah Marithsen
Battle Ajah

**************************

Taya looked up as movement caught her eye. Kaylan had entered from the door that led into her own quarters. Taya smiled and motioned her over.

When she was close enough Kaylan spoke. "Taya, I have news. One of the... one of our agents reports that there are other Aes Sedai in the city."

Taya raised her eyebrows, and then nodded. "It could be, I suppose..." Kaylan looked askance at her, and she continued, "I recieved a note by private courier, or so the man told me. It came about an hour and a half ago. Take a look." She went to her travel log on the bedside cabinet and removed the note, handing it to Kaylan who had trailed in her footsteps. She waited for Kaylan to read it.

Kaylan looked up at her and said, "You think they are the ones?"

Taya shrugged. "Could be, I suppose. Or else this city is wriggling with sisters." She grinned and patted Kaylan lightly on the arm as she passed. "In any case, they should be arriving soon. Perhaps it's better after all that you're here. Back-up, that sort of thing."

She exchanged a smile with her oldest friend and then went to pick up where she had left off with her preparations for Andrei. She sat at her desk and took the topmost papers. Kaylan approached and they began to discuss how the meeting would go. Taya explained to Kaylan that had almost everything in order, as far as her own part in the whole thing went, but that there were still a few loose ends that needed...

A faint knock sounded at the door, and Taya looked up, frozen on the spot for a split second. Then she straightened and donned her Aes Sedai mask once more. With hardly a moment passed since she heard the knock, she calmly called, "Come in."

Taya saw things in intricate detail, even if they were rather far away - the way the handle moved, the way the door cracked slightly and then opened all the way. Two women entered the room, dressed in battle regalia. Greens, was her first thought, and it accompanied an increase in her heartrate, for she knew these women were not in the party she was travelling with. But soon the moments for hasty calculation were gone. All Taya could see was Lanfir Leah Marithsen, a ghost come back to life before her eyes.

Lanfir's eyes hastily averted, as if she were ashamed, and in a hoarse voice she said, "Sisters...we have returned," as she sunk to one knee.

Taya could only gape. So many thoughts crammed for space in her mind that she thought the whole thing might explode. Lanfir is kneeling to us, was one of those at the forefront. Then, Lanfir is alive surged to the surface, only to be crowded out by, Light, but I am going to weep!

Then Taya was up from the chair and running, running as no Aes Sedai would be caught dead doing in public, or even when she was on her own. She ran and fell to her knees before Lanfir, mouth hanging open. She threw her arms about the other woman, feeling all her walls coming down after almost the near century of steadfast service they had given. She felt the walls crumbling and she didn't care one bit.

OOC: And she hasn't even noticed Lyanna yet *g* Yes, fun is still to come

Taya

*******************

Kaylan looked up as the door opened, knowing that her curiosity would soon be satiated as to the identity of the mysterious sisters.
As soon as the two entered the room, in full Battle regalia, her breath completely left her, and her entire body came out in goosepimples.
"Oh, Light." It was barely a whisper, but her shock was drawn across her face as if she was a novice again. She would recognise both of those faces for the rest of her life.

Lanfir formed large Fireballs with thick weaves of Fire, while Lyanna grasped saidar and used Air to disperse them to all sides, so that the enemy down below would not know where they were targeted from. Screams reached their ears when the Fireballs hit home and burned several Trollocs, leaving nothing but chars and ashes.

She gasped. It had been centuries ago, when she was a new Sister. Seeing Taya run over to Lanfir for a hug, Kaylan instead bowed down.
"Captain-General. Lyanna. Welcome home, Sisters." Her own voice was now hoarse, and she stood, her eyes damp. Walking over quickly, she embraced Lyanna.
"Where have you been all these years? We have missed you dearly."

Kaylan Morin
Battle Sister
OMG OMG OMG!!!

***************************

Lyanna could have incinerated the servant when he hesitated to address Lanfir with the formal epithet Aes Sedai right away, so furious was she. But she bit back her tongue and simply gave him a glare which caused him to avert his eyes. They were Sedai now, in presence of others. Not a time to give in to emotions. Lukas stood to the side, body tense, eyes on the prowl. Good.

Again, shivers went up her spine and she had to repress her hands from shaking as Lanfir knocked and a familiar voice called them to come in. Lanfir slowly opened the door. It was like a door opening to their past. Past Lanfir's shoulder, Lyanna could see Taya sitting at one of the tables in the room, quietly conversing with another Sedai whom Lyanna instantly recognized as Kaylan. Hot tears threatened to blur her vision, and she blinked them away quickly.

Lanfir had taken long strides into the room, and knelt, head down, eyes averted. Sisters...we have returned...

Lyanna sank through her knee as well, bowing her head, saying nothing. Lanfir still held sway over this meeting, as former Captain-General, and there was nothing Lyanna could say that would add to the announcement. She saw a multitude of expressions flow over Taya's face, moments before the woman rushed out of her chair and took Lanfir in her arms.

Acceptance...oh Lanfir, I am so glad it came to this. Maybe now you will let those weary memories rest in your head.... Lyanna remained motionless, as it was not her place to speak in front of Taya, who had undoubtedly secured a position as Sitter by now. She felt like an Accepted...but it also felt like home.

Lyanna
No longer fallen from grace

*****************************

Taya even smelled the same, Lanfir realised through a mist of tears and warmth. "I missed you," she whispered, hugging Taya back for all she was worth. For some reason she had to think of an afternoon in Rashima's Garden so long ago, when Taya had hugged her at Miraina's grave.

After a few blissful moments, Lanfir pried herself loose to hold Taya on an arm's length. The other Green was crying as well - but she was smiling, and that was a good sign. "You look beautiful, Taya," she said with a warm smile. Her feelings were one jumbled mess of relief, happiness, regret and warmth - she could not make out what she was feeling anymore. But that did not matter anyhow. All that mattered was the reunion.

"So do you," Taya said and laughed, wiping her tears from her face.

Lanfir smiled and hugged Kaylan, who was whispering a welcome. She hugged back and realized this would bring her to the big question. She had to ask, before they would go on. "Do you think that the Green Ajah would accept two stray sisters back into their ranks in the Tower?"

~Lannie

**********************

As Lanfir went to Kaylan, Taya's eyes fell on the other woman, who up until now had been lost to her consciousness in Lanfir's stead. Yet now, now...

Lanfir's voice sounded, Taya's mind only just managing to hear what she said. "Do you think that the Green Ajah would accept two stray sisters back into their ranks in the Tower?"

As Taya regarded Lyanna al'Elisande, another long-lost sister now apparently returned to the fold - unless Taya was dreaming, which was a very real possibility - she murmured, "I don't see how they could refuse to, with Kaylan and I breathing down their necks with the intensity of Balefire." Her eyes never left Lyanna, and now she smiled and walked over.

"Oh, Lyanna," she whispered as she gave this Green a hug too, "I truly thought that the Creator had taken you that day, when you didn't return..."

Lyanna murmured reassurances as she returned the hug, and when she pulled away she planted a kiss on Taya's cheek.

Taya spent a moment studying that familiar, striking face, the beautiful eyes so full of warmth, happiness, and nostalgia. Then Taya turned slowly and dumbly to look at the other two. Kaylan and Lanfir, standing beside each other and exchanging quietly elated looks with one another, when they weren't looking at Taya and Lyanna the same way. Taya realised it then - the four were back together. They hadn't been this way in a long time. In fact, she wasn't sure they ever had been, because all the other times with just the four of them, they had been in the shadow of war, or in the midst of it, or in the aching aftermath. Those were hardly times to be happy. Yet we are in the shadow of something now, too, a voice inside her called out, but she was too amazed by who she was looking at to pay it much mind.

She decided with a wry shake of the head that the trip to Tarabon had already paid off in spades, at least for her, and for the Green Ajah too. Even if they didn't know it yet, they had gained a great treasure this day. Two hardened battle sisters, from the cream of history's crop, at long last back in the arms of the Battle Ajah.

Kaylan was speaking softly, probably answering the question Lanfir had posed a little more lengthily than Taya had, but Taya couldn't really focus on the words. She was already waking up to herself, and to their situation. Lanfir and Lyanna looked ready to do battle, and if they intended to join Taya and Kaylan in their business, then they would need those outfits and any sharp weapons they could get their hands on. But they have not said anything about joining, yet, Taya thought to herself, and besides, they do not even know what there is to join.

They would have to be filled in. But first came the matter of the rest of the Greens. Taya was not in charge of the Namandar mission, at least not outwardly - several were in charge behind the scenes, but even then it was no single woman's responsibility. Taya could not decide the fate of these two women before her. It had to be up to the party as a whole.

Lanfir and Lyanna would need to be introduced to their brethren, most of whom Lanfir at least would never have met.

Taya cleared her throat, and everyone looked at her. She said, "Before anything is determined about...your status, and yours Lyanna, we will need to consult with the rest of the party. Not just the Greens, either. The Browns have a say." She wasn't particularly fond of that fact, but there it was, the truth on a platter.

She had to grin as she added, "What do you say?" She felt quite foolish, as if inebriated, or a little girl prone to fits of mad giggles, but she couldn't help it. She had her sisters back.

Taya

************************

"What do you say?" Taya grinned in that so familiar and beloved way. The sunlight from the high windows caught her fair hair for a second and for one heartbeat it seemed as if no time had passed at all, and they were back in Lanfir's quarters for lessons on Battle Weaves again.

Kaylan looked just as marvellous, as she always did. Her eyes were the one that had changed the most - they had lost their guileless look and were now more serious and wise. It was only her eyes that betrayed her age. Her smile was still the same, though. Lanfir couldn't help smiling back.

"Maybe you can summon our sisters, Taya," Lyanna suggested. She was smoothing her hair back in her braid, trying to regain composure. "The Greens first, perhaps, before we immerse in multi-Ajah politics."

Composure - that would be important now. Lanfir wiped the remains of her tears of happiness from her face and dipped her hand under the neckline of her shirt. It found the thin golden necklace and the Great Serpent ring that featured it. She took off her necklace, it around her wrist, and she took the ring in her hands. She stared at the sunlight glinting on the golden ring for a moment.

It had been almost a century ago that she took her Great Serpent ring from her finger because she did not think she still deserved it. She still recalled that moment - it was shortly after she had ceased her search for Souvan. She had been sitting in the windowsill of her room in an inn in Arafel, holding the ring in her hand in exactly the same way that she did now. She had looked at the symbol of her time as Aes Sedai, and she had taken a leather string to bind the ring around her neck. She would wear the ring as a reminder around her neck, but she did not deserve the ring around her finger anymore.

And today, on this sunlight and overjoyed day, she slipped it around her finger again. The middle finger of her right hand, as it always had been. She smiled at the feeling of the golden serpent around her finger - it was unfamiliar and familiar alike. When she looked up at her Sisters, she was surprised to see them looking at her. Lanfir flashed them a brilliant smile. "I guess it was time," she explained vaguely.

"It is," Kaylan said warmly, clasping her hands around Lanfir's.

"I'll summon the other Greens that are assembled here," Taya announced, and left the room to find a servant.

Lanfir smiled at Kaylan and Lyanna. Yes, it really was time. And this time, she would do it right.


~Lanfir Leah Marithsen
Battle Ajah
and in a rather epic mood tonight

****************

Lyanna's heart felt so full it almost burst. Taya, Kaylan, both the same, and yet changed. Not for the worse, but they were different from what she remembered. Older. Wiser. More patient maybe. But the fire was still there, in both their eyes. Lyanna remembered fighting next to Kaylan in the Trolloc Raid of Tar Valon, their hair bound in nets of Air, lashing around them with a vehemence. It was then, that she'd lost it, when Mikalen died, and she disappeared in the aftermath of battle. No wonder both of them had thought she was dead.

She smoothed back her hair, pushing loose strands back into the braid. It had come loose during Taya's embrace. Lanfir donned her ring again, a precious and almost epic moment, and Lyanna could be nothing but happy for her. They were home. At last. But they had to face yet other challenges: how would the rest of the Ajah react? Most of them, she had never seen. It was important that they met them as soon as possible.

As Taya went in search of a servant, to summon the rest of the Greens present in the palace, she nervously paced the room, leaving Kaylan and Lanfir alone to talk. What would be their status now? Would they be accepted back into the arms of the Greens? Or would they be condemned for being out of the Tower for so long? And what was the party's business here, anyway? In Tarabon, of all places?

~Ly

**********************

: : : : Sirayn sat on the edge of her bed, her head in her hands. She had just met briefly with the King’s people and even this small contact with royalty and their honoured servants had made her painfully aware that she had no place here. You are going to prove Mandi wrong, that spiteful voice chattered. And Jehanine and Seiaman and Losyn and everyone. Except the Browns. They’ll be standing over you cackling when you fall. Sirayn took a deep breath and sighed it out. She had to be calm. Confident in every situation, decisive, intelligent, gracious in victory and dignified in defeat, those were just some of the essential qualities a leader needed, and Sirayn reckoned she lacked every single one. Not an inspiring start. A part of her felt like a rat trapped in a cage; every move brought her a step closer to utter humiliation and defeat, every last stand only dragged her further down and there was no end but this constant spiral of loss and frightening loneliness. She dreaded the inevitable shameful end but the only other route was to crash out in disgrace and she could not give up. She would not stop fighting until either everyone else was dead, or she was! Sheer anger dragged her out of her seat and Sirayn stalked across her chambers and stood, irresolute, at the door as her wrath left her again as suddenly as it had come. She was of half a mind to stalk right back and kick open Andrei’s door herself and find out precisely what was so engrossing he couldn’t stand to meet with a group of Aes Sedai.

: : : : Instead, the door reverberated to a forceful knock. It opened before she could take another step and someone sidled in. Sirayn glowered at the unfortunate person, fully prepared to smite him but good, but she was somewhat disarmed when a sun-bronzed servant with eager eyes bowed deeply and presented Sirayn with a note. Sirayn took it and flicked it open with a dismissive gesture. Come to my rooms immediately. It was Taya’s handwriting, Sirayn recognised from the countless small things she had seen the Sitter write. “I have orders to direct you back, Aes Sedai,” the little man said helpfully. With a sigh of irritation Sirayn left her quarters, shut and warded the door, and stalked along the corridors with the browned servant scurrying to keep up. Sirayn was tiny but she made up for short steps with a deceptively quick, abrupt pace which she had been told more than once made everyone else feel as though she was trying to get ahead of them. Damn people could think what they liked of the speed at which she walked. It wasn’t as though they didn’t criticise everything else about her. The servant showed her with much bowing and scraping the correct door and made himself politely scarce. Sirayn knocked briefly, waited a requisite moment or two and finally walked inside.

: : : : The scene inside seemed calm, yet tense, frozen like a tableau of emotions in an unfamiliar place. Four women stood arrayed as though to face a battle, all heads turned toward her, and Sirayn was stepping into a court-martial as she moved into those four stares. A cold chill ran down her spine. Taya and Kaylan she recognised, but the other two- one was unfamiliar to her, but the other- Sirayn looked at the strange white-haired woman warily, haunted by a vague sense of familiarity. She knew the woman’s face from – somewhere. Then it clicked. Sirayn had that portrait on her wall. “Lanfir Leah Marithsen,” Sirayn said quietly, coldly, tasting the words.

: : : : The silence stretched paper-thin and warning. Sirayn kept staring as though she’d seen a ghost. Lanfir? Lanfir Leah Marithsen, the legendary Captain-General of years past? Lanfir who was one of the legends Sirayn had always dreamed about meeting? She’d made such grand plans. Instead, seized by a sudden crippling shyness, Sirayn turned her face away and folded her arms with an inexplicable sense of hurt, her face settling into an icy, rigid mask. I can’t talk to her! She was technically supposed to be the leader here, damn them, damn them all and their games. Some commander she was if she was afraid to look a legend in the face. Light, she was tired, and this play was so far above her head she couldn’t even see the surface. What were they doing? Why were they here? Try as she might Sirayn couldn’t summon a sense of indignation that they had just muscled straight in. She was the one out of place here. She was the one who should back down. Yes, back out and run back home. Run anywhere. Just leave and get away from them all. Sirayn folded her arms tighter, almost hugging herself unconscious to the show of vulnerability, and made herself look up. “I didn’t realise you were busy, Taya.” The words came out as almost a croak. Busy? With Lanfir? Were they all trying to make her look so stupid that she hadn’t even known a great legend was about to gatecrash the trip? Were they deliberately keeping her out or had she slipped Taya’s mind entirely, so inconsequential that Taya didn’t even remember? Sirayn was the prey and they the predator, she the failure and they the judge. She had no place here. In an uncharacteristically subdued, strained voice Sirayn added, “I’ll be back later.”

OOC: Seiaman will be posting next if that’s okay with you folks, we got a little scene to play out Lannie Lannie Lannie! –jumps- Poor old Lya, Sirayn doesn’t know who you are. :p

 

~ Sirayn ~
Battle Ajah

**************************

The sudden downfall of the emotions coming through the bond had Seiaman walking briskly towards her Aes Sedai. Losyn felt it too but he also knew that when the Greens meet, their Warders stay out most of the time. Seiaman didn't care. Something was going on and it was affecting Sirayn in a very strong way. Opening the door, Sirayn had turned, ready to leave the room and Seiaman looked down at her, blocking her way. A wave of emotions roared through the bond as Seia looked up, dressed in their battle-gear, donning their Green shawls. But who are they? The way Sirayn was feeling, they were important women of the Green Ajah. Why are they here? She noticed a third person with them and looked, the edges of her lips coming up in a smirk. It was Lukas, a newly advanced Tower Guard who had picked Me'Arearth as his discipline. But he had left the Tower before Seiaman could take up his training.

Sirayn felt impatient and pulled at the bond, as if to say Move or I will move you! She moved to walk around her Gaidin and Seia gently grabbed her arm. Seiaman frowned, “Light Sirayn, I never thought to feel this from you. Stop gawking and show them what you’re made of.” The Aes Sedai gave her a sharp glance, hurt and anger coarsing through the bond. Seiaman frowned slightly, pushing her annoyance and insistence back at Sirayn. Looking at the two Greens with a smile, “Forgive my Aes Sedai, she’s just a bit star-struck at the moment.” She knew that the Greens understood the jests that occured between themselves and their warders, and she also hoped that this comment would help Sirayn snap out of her Oh my god oh my god I'm actually meeting them They're actually alive state. But Seia also knew if Sirayn kept thinking what she was thinking, she'd slide into a depression and self-pity.

The hurt and anger increased and Sirayn gave a dark look. "I hope you've had your fun." Their eyes met for a moment when Seiaman realized that Sirayn probably thought the legendary Greens think Sirayn a youngling, unable to control her own Gaidin and unfit to lead the travel party to Namander. And that they would take over, rejecting her as a leader. Others started to arrive and Seiaman walked up to Sirayn, pulling her aside for a brief private moment. Keeping her voice low, "I'm sorry, Sirayn, I just felt as if you need a little push." The Aes Sedai literally snarled up at Seiaman, the anger increasing by the minute. "I was fine until you said that." Seia's eyebrow twitched, "Were you?" Tweaking the bond, she continued before Sirayn could say anything else. "I don’t think so, Aes Sedai. These women were once heralded as the greatest Greens ever to walk Tar Valon. But their time is over. It’s your time now. So stop gawking.”

And for the first time in a long while, Sirayn stared up at Seiaman, speechless. Then she seemed to grasp her senses and shook her head. "No. What am I supposed to do, if not look up to them and avoid them?" The edges of Seiaman's lips went up in a small smile as pride and confidence welled up in her. "Join them."

Seiaman

***********************

Lanfir waited for the other Greens with a knot in her stomach. Kaylan had filled her in a little on the Sisters who were along on their journey, without revealing much of what they were actually doing here in Tanchico, but she was too messed up in the head to remember much of it.

When the door finally opened, an Aes Sedai with black hair and dark traveling clothes entered the room. From what Kaylan had told her, this was probably Sirayn. She looked rather young still to Lanfir - the fact that she did not know this Aes Sedai spoke volumes about her age. The look that passed over her face was strange, though. Lots of emotions seemed to be bubbling up behind the Aes Sedai mask of pleasant blankness she was wearing - Lanfir could have sworn she saw traces of recognition, unbelief and hurt in there.

“Lanfir Leah Marithsen,” the dark-haired Aes Sedai said slowly. Her voice sounded cold. So this Aes Sedai knew her - by name and face, probably. A stab of uncertainty shot through Lanfir. Sirayn (if this really was Sirayn) did not look too happy to see Lanfir here. Why? Had she judged Lanfir already? Did she have a low opinion because of the mess Lanfir had left in her wake? Oh Light, let it not be so...

Fear or not, she had to address the unknown Aes Sedai. She was already mustering up a warm smile and a few friendly words of introduction when the young woman promptly added: “I didn’t realise you were busy, Taya. I’ll be back later.”

Lanfir blinked and shared a look of confusion with Taya. Taya opened her mouth and managed to say: "That was the reason why-"

-when the door opened and a brown-haired woman with the grace that was so typical of gaidin entered. She shared a few soft and passionate words with the Aes Sedai and then looked up with an almost rueful smile: “Forgive my Aes Sedai, she’s just a bit star-struck at the moment.”

Starstruck? Why?

But at that moment, the gaidin pulled Sirayn aside and more Aes Sedai were entering, so she had to drop her confusion for introductions and warm smiles.

...Starstruck. Yeah, right.

Lannie

***********************

Corbin spent the ride to and into Tanchico constantly scanning the surrounding countryside, including hills, cliffs, a river or two, once he even found himself glancing at a rock that he swore had a bad attitude and "shifty" eyes. Any time he thought he saw something his hand would twitch towrds his shoulder, only to be stopped at realizing it was a rabbit or something else. When they were coming into Tanchico, Jade paused to press a coin into a beggars hand, immediately his hand shot for his claymore, and he prepared to dismount. When the beggar gave Jade a smile and backed off, Corbin let himself relaxed, and chuckled a bit at himself, and then at Jade when she shot a look around to see if anyone had seen.

Corbin LaGoose
Paranoid Warder

***************************

Lyanna watched the little scene before her unfold and chuckled inwardly. No matter how long she'd been away from the Tower, apparently the same machinations and little powerplays were at hand as when she'd left.

The woman who had entered looked more than a little distraught to find Lanfir and herself here with Taya and Kaylan. She seemed young, and Lyanna knew that she hadn't met this particular Sedai when she last was in the Tower. Yet she proved to recognize Lanfir, who, from the look on her face, didn't know the woman either.

Well well, Lanfir, seems that you've left some legends in your wake she thought, amused, for the Sedai could only have been recognized through pictures or paintings. For all we know there is a lifesize statue of Lannie in Rashima's Garden she mused, more than a little bewildered. She'd imagined meeting the rest of the Ajah to be strange, but this surely was preposterous.

The woman seemed displeased to find the two of them here, but it seemed a displeasure which stemmed from her own insecurity, rather than from the fact that Lyanna and Lanfir had been out of the Tower for so long. As soon as she wanted to leave the room, someone stepped in, and with awe Lyanna saw that it must be a female Gaidin, judging from the grace with which the woman moved. Probably the unknown Sedai's Gaidin, because the two of them shared some hastily wispered words and the Gaidin cracked a joke, which actually seemed highly inappropriate at the time.

The woman turned again, seeming a little at a loss what to do, and at that moment, other Sisters came filing into the room, crowding it and all staring at them. They all left a respectful amount of room around the young Sedai, and suddenly, things clicked inside Lyanna's head. This must be the battle leader of this group. Surely, she was young for such a task, and in all likelyhood, the woman herself knew that too and was more than a little intimidated by two veterans showing up out of the blue. Of course! The presence of Lanfir Leah Marithsen, former Captain-General would maybe overthrow this woman's sway she held over the entire group. But they hadn't come here to overthrow anything!

Lyanna righted herself and took a deep breath. She shot a look at Lanfir and smiled at the understanding she saw there. Lanfir was always quick in situations like these.

Lyanna walked forward, slowly, aware of all eyes on her, until she had reached the unknown Sedai. She nodded at the woman with a warm smile. "My name is Lyanna al'Ellisande" and inwardly she sniggered as she heard gasps from several of the women in the room, "and I gather you lead this party. I offer you my service, should you need it."

~Lyanna

************************

Jaydena sighed and rubbed her hand over her sore muscles. For weeks she had been training every night after they stopped to make camp. Her warders both felt that she needed to be prepared for anything on this journey and so it seemed as though her saber and Quarterstaff had become permanent fixtures in her life once more. Sliding out of the bathtub with a sigh she let the water out and dried herself in one of the fluffy towels with the kings sigil on them.

She moved out of the bathroom and into the bedroom of her suite. Moving with a quick and efficient grace she began to prepare to meet the kind. For it seemed that they were not to know exactly when they were to meet with him. He thinks to control AS and he will learn that we are not easily controlled. Jade sneered at the thought of this king and then began to pick out her clothing. Her hands rifled quickly through the clothing a servant had put away. She choose a Purple velvet dress with a heart shaped neckline, the fabric had veins of gold spreading across it and was simple and elegant.

Once she had pulled her clothing on, she slipped the purple velvet slippers over her feet and then moved to the vanity. The OP came to her easily after years of channeling and she used it to arrange her hair into a cascade of waves down her back. Two mother of pearls combs held the sides back from her ears and showcased her gold and amethyst jewelry. Adding the cosmetics that Telcia had taught her about so many years ago, she moved over to her writing desk and began to sketch in her travel book. Pictures of her fellow sisters flowed for her hands. The sweet beauty of Taya, the strength of Sirayn, the quickly concealed humor of Kaylan, the inhering sexual grace of Jeha. Moving on to the respective gaidins she began to draw once more...

However her pencil stroked were interrupted by a knock at the door. Calling out for the intruder to come in, she embraced the source and prepared a nasty trap just in case. In her years as Aes Sedai she had learned to be weary, she had learned the hard way that no everyone appreciates Aes Sedai. A servant came into the room and gave her a bemused smile as he handed her a note. Taking the note with a nod she was about to dismiss him, when he said he was to lead her to the Taya Sedai's room. Jade opened the note and saw the word:

Join me in my quarters immediately!

Jade nodded and picking her writing case up she headed toward Taya's room. She figured that they were to prepare for their meeting with this king. The servant walked bouncily in front of her and they had quickly arrived at Taya's suite, as they were housed in the same wing. She knocked on the door and then stepped inside the room. The scene in front of her was strange to say the least. Seiaman her once lover stood as though guarding or pushing Sirayn toward four other woman on the other side of the room.

Trying her best to ignore Seia, as they had done for years. She turned her attention to the other women, Kaylan stood next to a sister that she didn't recognize. Taya stood next to another woman who's face she didn't know. Tear tracks were evident on Taya's face and she stepped forward in alarm. What in the light could make her dear friend cry? Let her gaze wander once more back to Sirayn she was something akin to fear on her face. Hah Sirayn Sedai does not fear anything. Stepping toward the four women she began to recognize the woman standing next to Kaylan.

A portrait graced their small hall of every Captain General who had ever lived. Lanfir was this ones name and Jade had heard many a story of her battle greatness and her leadership skills. Keeping her eyes locked on Lanfir's, she took a deep breath to still the nervousness that had eclipsed her so suddenly. You are a sitter Jaydena, a woman of power in your own right, do not fear them, for they are woman just as yourself. Nodding to the small voice that was her conscious she walked to the other side of the room and bowed her head to both of the woman. Reaching for Taya's hand she gave it a quick squeeze and then said, "Why have you summonded me Taya?"

Jaydena Sedai

**********************

: : : : The others looked a bit thrown by Sirayn’s words, though she couldn’t imagine why. “That was the reason why-“ Taya began, but Sirayn was already spinning to walk out, wishing she could close out those words with the turn of her head. She wanted to close out the whole room. What did they want? Wasn’t it bad enough to sit back and laugh while she failed, but they had to do this as well? She didn’t need this, not yet another problem piled on shoulders that were always too weak for the task they bore. She lifted a hand to open the door but it swung open without intervention and Sirayn found herself staring straight at Seiaman Kera. She was startled that Seiaman had come so close without her noticing, but impatience overwhelmed that as it became clear Seiaman had no intention of moving. Sirayn gave the bond a sharp tug. Seiaman didn’t move an inch so Sirayn began to walk round her, but Seiaman caught her arm; “Light Sirayn, I never thought to feel this from you. Stop gawking and show them what you’re made of.” Sirayn didn’t move. She knew what she was made of. She failed and kept on failing, and somehow struggled on. She looked away mutely and in that moment Seiaman said loudly, “Forgive my Aes Sedai, she’s just a bit star-struck at the moment.”

: : : : Sirayn’s head snapped up, and she glared at Seiaman with bitter hurt and fury. Of course, she thought angrily. Just as she had feared at the beginning, Seiaman was taking advantage of Sirayn’s own feelings, and using them to publically humiliate her. “I hope you’ve had your moment of fun,” Sirayn said quietly, for Seiaman’s ears alone. She couldn’t find the words to articulate what she felt. As the anger faded, crashing shame and hurt washed over her and she turned her face away from Seiaman and Lanfir and too many curious observers as the others began to flood into the room. Uncertainty came through the bond, an unusual emotion for Seiaman, and she took Sirayn’s arm and pulled her aside. Sirayn didn’t resist. “I’m sorry, Sirayn, I just felt as if you needed a little push,” Seiaman said quietly. Sirayn snarled at her, ignoring the contrition through the bond. “I was just fine until you said that.” Seiaman arched a brow. “Were you?” She tweaked the bond in return. “I don’t think so, Aes Sedai. These women were once heralded as the greatest Greens ever to walk Tar Valon. But their time is over. It’s your time now. So stop gawking.” Every time Sirayn thought she had Seiaman pegged, something like this happened, and her Gaidin stripped away all her barriers with a few words. “No.” Sirayn felt very miserable. “What am I supposed to do, if not look up to them and avoid them?”

: : : : “Join them.”

: : : : Light! Join them! Her? A prostitute’s daughter who had been turned down flat by the Head of the Green Ajah? No. She was a failure. A living reminder of why the tests and trials she had railed against were still not stern enough. But the pride and faith flowing through the bond- Jehanine’s complete conviction as she destroyed everything Sirayn had clung to and believe- Mandi- Taya- no place here- Light, she would not do it, she would not break down, she could handle this. She had to. Pull yourself together, damn you! Sirayn lifted her head and her eyes widened slightly as she saw the other sister walking toward her. Many eyes followed her and there was a collective gasp when she revealed herself as the long believed dead Green Aes Sedai, Lyanna al’Ellisande. Another legend! Light, surrounded by so many, I have no place here, no idea how to handle them. But – join them? “I gather you lead this party,” Lyanna continued. Sirayn kept her face carefully rigid. Her name was down on the list, but in actuality, Taya was just setting her up for the fall. She could see it now. It all looked deathly clear. Arette had been right when she warned Sirayn that they were plotting against her, it wasn’t just the Browns but even her own bloody Ajah who wanted her down and out. They wanted her to fail spectacularly so that she would never show her face again. And Taya was behind this. She must be. Steeling herself Sirayn prepared for the final words; she would not go out without a fight, she was Battle Ajah, she would not break. “I gather you lead this party. I offer you my service, should you need it.”

: : : : Sirayn stared unbelievingly at Lyanna, her face held very still. What under the Light was this? There is a game here that you don’t see, Sirayn, because you are too stupid. Her first thought was that Lyanna was simply offering out of Green Ajah solidarity. She dismissed that thought immediately. Clearly she was still naïve in many ways if she believed the vaunted Green Ajah comradeship actually existed. Did Lyanna stand to gain from it? Yes, she did. Power. And speaking out now should appease Sirayn from any misplaced anger she might have. I am angry, I am not appeased and they can bloody well deal with it! She was angry at Taya for throwing this at her out of what seemed like a perverse desire to see which way Sirayn would jump. She was angry at herself for being so completely floored. She was angry at Lyanna for making her think, even for a moment that this was anything more than a farce designed to undermine her. And she was angry at Seiaman for even suggesting that one day she might be fit to lick their feet. This is all a lie!

: : : : Gracious in victory, dignified in defeat, she thought miserably. The situation certainly called for dignified rather than gracious. “Thank you, Lyanna Sedai.” She sounded a bit strangled, but that was nothing to the hammering of her heart, the sickening certainty that the next few moments could be the last of her career. Bloody hell, she thought angrily, can’t you do a single bloody thing right? “I am honoured to have the presence of yourself and Lanfir Sedai.” That was the outright truth and they could not know how much it hurt. To look at herself with detachment and see the fear and the hurt and the despair shining so clearly through her blank face, to know that Taya was just on the point of getting that first goal- “I hope that I shall not need to call upon you but I will remember your words should trouble find us.” Sirayn inclined her head slightly. She’d looked and sounded like a total idiot but at least she hadn’t fallen flat on her face. Doubtless she’d do something else stupid later.

: : : : With a short nod Sirayn stepped back and made herself look away. She’d looked like a complete idiot, but at least she’d managed to introduce everyone without falling flat on her face. Doubtless she’d do something stupid later. I should stay away from these two, Sirayn thought ruefully. It was bad enough Jehanine telling her she should never have been raised Aes Sedai without hearing it from one of then. For a moment Sirayn entertained a nightmare vision of Lanfir pointing a finger at her; You are no true Green! Go back home, child! Sirayn bit her lip and looked away. She could just about stand Jehanine’s contempt. Jehanine was new raised herself, after all, and it could possibly be put down to bad judgement on her part although Sirayn believed she saw the right. But Lanfir? No. Lanfir or Arie would disintegrate her completely. I can survive day by day despised, but if they were to tell me to leave the Green Ajah, I would go. And prove that they had been correct all along… but there was no right path any more, only varying shades of wrong. Where was the companionship now? Sirayn wondered angrily. Who is here to stop me taking this fall? None of you. There is a companionship and it stands against me.

: : : : Sirayn looked down at her hands. A treacherous sense of hurt welled up. She felt very small and useless. Go ahead, she thought dully. Everyone is here now. You can finish what you started. She bit her lip to stabbing pain and glanced up quickly as Jaydena entered. Jade looked momentarily startled but recovered with admirable speed, and said what Sirayn should have said at the start; “Why have you summoned me Taya?” Sirayn thought darkly that the odds against her might just have lengthened by a very considerable one. She fell back as usual inside herself and found a thread of anger, summoned fury to inhabit her body like a stranger and drive back the hurt and despair. All hells Taya, I trusted you. Raising her chin defiantly Sirayn stared directly at Taya, awaiting her end like a true soldier.

 

~ Sirayn ~
Battle Ajah

************************

"Is everyone here now?" Lanfir whispered at Taya when Lyanna had spoken her words to the young Aes Sedai who indeed turned out to be Sirayn.

Taya nodded wordlessly. "Was there something you wanted to say to the whole group?"

"I'd like to." Actually I don't, because I'm very near to wetting these pants I am wearing, but no one can ever know. It seems as if they never found out about my failures. As if I never made any mistakes. This is insanity, but I have to work with this situation. So yes, I have to.

"I'll announce you then." Taya smiled at the gathered Aes Sedai (and Gaidin) and spoke: "I received a letter today from two unknown Sisters, and they asked for a meeting with me. To talk of old times. I had no idea that these two mysterious sisters would be Lyanna and Lanfir Sedai. Lanfir Sedai wants to say a few things, so please be quiet."

All eyes were on her now. Desperately, Lanfir recalled her public speaking lessons as Accepted. The right position to stand in came naturally, as came the usage of her voice - from the bottom of her belly. Good. "Good afternoon, Sisters. First, let me take away any confusion regarding our identities. Yes, this is Lyanna al'Ellisande and yes, I am Lanfir Marithsen. We are, as you can see, not dead. The both of us have been out in the world for several years, bumping into eachother by accident when we were both feeling the urge to join our sisters again. I like to think of it as a sign, or the will of the Creator. When we heard about a party of Aes Sedai visiting the King, we geared up to meet you. And as Lyanna already said: we would like to offer you our services on whatever mission you are on right now." She smiled at the faces that looked at her, dizzy with relief. That went definitely better than expected. The gathered people were still listening, smooth faces only showing blankness or concentration. "A lot has changed within the Green Ajah," she continued, "so Lyanna and I have a lot of questions for you and naturally we are willing to answer yours... if you would have us, that is." She inclined her head for a moment to end her little speech. She hoped she did it right.

~Lannie
still uncertain

**********************

Seia sighed softly as Sirayn's miserable feelings crashed into her in waves. She stood behind her Sedai, as a pillar for strength for the woman, her unwavering confidence still strong against the feelings in the bond. As the two strangers spoke and gave their names, surprise came and faded. Yes. I remember them. Or more so, the stories about them. No wonder why Sirayn felt the way she did but Light, when will the woman finally grasp what Seia is trying to say almost every day?? Did she balk when she finally came face to face with the Grand Master of Me'Arearth? No. Would she balk if she ever met the Legend of Me'Arearth, Radzynne? No.

Looking down at Sirayn, the small woman stood still, her face emotionless. Seiaman wanted to kneel before the ancient Greens and welcome them to the party. But Sirayn would not take it well. Something about Lanfir's words gave the impression that they actually hoped they'd be welcomed, instead of expectant. Anger, pain, and despair ran through the bond and Seia growled softly, giving the bond a firm pull. She bent over and whispered in her Aes Sedai's ear. "Join them. I do not dare lie to you, Sirayn. But you were born to be their leader. You will not fail."

Seia

*************************

Kaylan's heart swelled with pride as Lanfir spoke. This was the woman who had taught her and shaped her, along with several other Sisters. She had been ever patient, finally allowing Kaylan to join the Green Ajah. She still remembered that day, so close to Battle, when she had been given her shawl and allowed to count herself a member of the Green Ajah.
She still remember the day that Lanfir had disappeared, after the loss of one Warder and the betrayl of another, after losing control of a weave that had caused most of the party to lose their connection with the Source for a few days.
We do not condemn you for your mistakes, Lanfir, even if there are only a few of us who remember them. We are all grown women, and even though we try to show the world that we are infalliable, in our hearts we know that we are not. I hope that you can realise that, Sister.
She did not speak, though, waiting for Sirayn. No matter why the decision had been made, Sirayn was the leader of the party, and as such Kaylan would not promote disorder. Not with the Browns and the Warders watching, anyway.

Kaylan Morin
Battle Ajah
Thrice Bonded

********************

OOC: You folks are fast. I'm not even sure where to have Jehanine enter, now. o.O

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The note was written on the crisp paper provided by King Andrei, very rich paper by any standards. Jehanine took the time to admire it for fear that once she had opened it and received the news it contained, she would have nothing to do once again. And so her fingers made a gentle study of the smooth surface, tracing the wax seal gently as the footman stood there impassively. His presence indicated to her that he would require a response, but to whom would that response go? Sirayn? Taya? Jaydena? Maybe Kaylan, with whom she had begun a hesitant friendship despite Jumael's edginess around her.

She wondered once again why she had been called to join this party. She had no purpose here, and no real authority. Her youngness was evident next to the likes of Taya and Kaylan, and so she couldn't imagine what she lent to the group. Finally, with a sigh of inevitability, Jehanine broke the seal and opened the message.

Taya's handwriting stared up at her, requesting her presence. Taya wished her presence? Confused, Jehanine refolded the missive and laid it on her bed, turning her silent gaze to the footman. "If you will please follow me, Aes Sedai." He spoke smoothly, offering her a bow and waiting for her to nod her agreement before turning and exiting the room.

She arrived at Taya's quarters soon enough and knocked perfunctorily before entering. And freezing. There were two sisters more than had been in the party of Greens that morning, and both were hovering near Taya and Sirayn as if something important had just occured. Allowing her gaze to take them in, she moved to stand behind the elder sisters of the party, content to blend into the walls of the chamber while the party leaders unraveled whatever mess the sisters had brought with them. Jehanine had never seen either before, and did not recognize them for all that she tried.

Her curiosity peaked, she continued her silent observation while the rest of the sisters murmured over them, hating Sirayn for forcing her along on a mission that concerned her not at all. It was as if her former friend were taking great pleasure in making her uncomfortable: Jehanine had never felt so invisible as she did in this gathering of esteemed sisters. Her youngness was only pronounced next to the Ajah Sitters, and her competence was drowned in the wake of Sirayn's sudden charmed position with in the Ajah. Seething, she feigned boredom and prayed the day - no, the audience with the king - would be over and done with soon.

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Jehanine DeGavriele
Sister of the Battle Ajah
Feeling rather invisible

************************

Kaylan saw that Jehanine had entered the room and was looking a bit uncomfortable. She touched Lanfir on the arm, nodding to her, and then walked over to Jeha. Sirayn would no doubt want to tell the old Sisters about the plan, and she was not needed for that.
"Jehanine." Walking up beside the younger Green, she spoke quietly, saying, "I do not know if you would have met Lyanna and Lanfir? I fought beside them in Fal Dara, a desperate fight to protect the gates." Her eyes misted over as she recalled the moment, and she wondered if there would be any such as that in Namandar. Unlikely, if it was abandoned.
"Would you like me to introduce you?" She knew that Jeha had been feeling a bit left out when she had come to the city with them, and Kaylan would have spent more time with her if she had not been looking after Eyes and Ears reports.
"Or, we could always go for that tea. I'm sure that you can be introduced another time if you do not wish to stay here. I will let Taya speak to you first, though." If Taya had summoned her, like Jaydena, it was most likely just for the introduction to Lanfir. Kaylan felt sympathy for the young Green. She had felt just as useless and out of place when she had travelled to the Borderlands, newly raised. Smiling, Kaylan waited to see what Jehanine would say, and tried not to cry with happiness again at the thought of Lanfir's return.


Kayls
Greenie
Bonded

******************

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Jehanine started when Kaylan appeared at her elbow, sympathy apparent in her eyes. And strangely, she appreciated it. Her normal manner would require her to shy away from pity, but Jehanine knew that wasn't what Kaylan offered. No, she had sensed Jehanine's agitation at the situation and had come to offer her relief.

When she mentioned the women's names, Jehanine unconsciously stood up straighter: she would never have known them by appearance but Lanfir and Lyanna were names legendary among the halls of the Green quarter. Even the most illustrious sisters of Jehanine's time - Kaylan, Taya, and others with whom Jehanine had had dealings - spoke their names with reverence and even awe. And here they stood, two relics of the past, come to find their future.

Were they to rejoin their battle sisters, or were they the bearers of bad news? What purpose had they here? Only Kaylan's soft question shook Jehanine from her thoughts. "Would you like me to introduce you?"

The Green considered, biting her lip against the immediate reaction: Yes, by the Light, yes! She was such a young sister, and even Taya still treated her like a student more than an equal. How would she fare under the gazes of Lanfir and Lyanna?

"Or, we could always go for that tea. I'm sure that you can be introduced another time if you do not wish to stay here. I will let Taya speak to you first, though." Kaylan presented the other option, and Jehanine nodded quietly.

"I will...I will wait for Taya to give me the purpose for my being here, and then would be most happy to fetch the tea." The excuse to leave was too great to turn down, and perhaps Kaylan would even let her slip back to her room where she could immerse herself in a myriad of other tasks designed to alleviate her overwhelming feeling of awkwardness.

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Jehanine
of the Green Ajah
Jerad's Bondmate

*************************

“Why have you summoned me Taya?” Jaydena asked, voicing the question that all the summoned women must have had but that surely some had figured out by now. Was it not obvious what her purpose had been?

Taya was annoyed by how Lanfir had spoken, almost begging to be let back into the Ajah. Was not Lanfir older than any woman here, absent a long time no doubt but having earned her sisterhood long, long ago? Taya certainly thought it so, but perhaps she was thinking with the mind of a woman who had actually fought with Lanfir, won and lost and cried by her side. Perhaps she was letting her passion get the better of her, go to her head?

Even so she couldn't quell her annoyance. She was further irritated by Sirayn's reaction. Why did the woman always have to take things so personally, and assume that she was the centre of the universe in the process? Taya wondered whether it had been a mistake afterall on Mandi's part to give her the leadership position. Would there be time enough to catch her when she fell? Would they be in terrible danger for relying upon her? She certainly didn't seem to be in full control of her emotions, and that was dangerous.

Not that you have never been in a similar situation, Taya told herself by way of a mild reprimand. What Sirayn needs is your full support. But the woman had had it for decades now. Why had that not been enough, why was it still not enough? There came a point when one had done all one could, and had to wash her hands of a matter. Unfortunately that point could not come during a crucial mission such as this one, with potential dangers at every side. Taya would have to be patient. Still.

Taya turned her mind to other matters now, knowing that she would not get answers to her questions about Sirayn. The foremost of her concerns at this moment was answering Jaydena's question. “Why have you summoned me Taya?” Jade had asked, and now Taya turned to face the room as a whole, releasing Jaydena's hand but continuing to hold Lyanna's on the other side. She prepared to speak, ignoring Sirayn's defiant look and figuring that if the woman didn't realise that sometimes people had more important things to occupy their thoughts than the question of how to hurt her feelings next, she was beyond help.

"Sisters," Taya said, "your promptness is appreciated. As I already explained, we have two women in our midst asking to join our forces, and offer their expertise. If anyone here thinks this is an offer we can afford to turn down, she is mentally bereft. Yet it is not my decision to make. We will also have to consult with the Browns, but as these two women beside me are your Ajah sisters, I felt it prudent to inform you of their presence beforehand. Do not hang back. Speak your minds on this matter. Shall we agree to bring our sisters home once and for all?"

It was in a sense an unfair request, for if anybody said no Taya would have a hard time reining in her temper. Just focus on the good part, she told herself as she turned once more and regarded Lanfir. She had to smile, she just couldn't help it. She could help not throwing herself on Lanfir for a hug again, but only just.

On her other side stood Lyanna, whose hand she still held.


OOC: I know that Taya is really being narrow in focus here, but don't feel insulted if all she can think about for a few days is LannieLyanna, LannieLyanna, LannieLyanna. *g* This is a ridiculously huge event after all

Taya

**************************

OOC: -snicker- Sirayn is being narrow-minded for less excuse Taylie. Go ahead and be compulsively obsessed.

: : : : Sirayn folded her arms and watched as Taya and then Lanfir spoke. Lanfir seemed almost diffident, as though she wasn’t certain she would be welcomed back, and Sirayn frowned slightly. Seiaman wrenched her thoughts right out of track by whispering to her, “Join them. I do not dare to lie to you, Sirayn. But you were born to be their leader. You will not fail.” For the second time in as many minutes Sirayn was rendered speechless by Seiaman’s words and the emotions flowing through the bond; pride, trust, honesty, loyalty. Light, she believes it. She actually believes it! Her face oddly blank while she tried to process this new and bizarre development, Sirayn picked up on a dark look from Taya, and inwardly sighed. It looked like she’d managed to disappoint Taya again. Sirayn thought back over what she’d said and done and couldn’t see what by all that was holy she had done this time – but as she had frequently thought, it was near impossible to make Taya happy. Sirayn sighed. Maybe later she could find out what she’d done this time, but right now, there was work to be done.

: : : : Sirayn spoke out sharply to quell the doubts inside herself. “Lanfir and Lyanna are welcome and twice welcome to our party. We may need them more than ever soon.” Sirayn switched her glare to all present in case anyone wanted to commit political suicide and object, but fortunately enough, when all had put in their views or opted out of the debate there was a unanimous agreement that Lyanna and Lanfir should be welcomed back. Don’t talk to them, damn you. Haven’t you learnt better than that? Sirayn addressed Lanfir and Lyanna directly regardless. “You should both know the purpose of our mission before you commit yourself to coming with us. It’s a prestigious trip,” Sirayn’s smile was rather wan; she figured these two had received so many accolades in the past that the idea of glory no longer appealed to them, “but very dangerous.” I’m talking to Lanfir! Me! “We’ve discovered the location of a city buried since the Age of Legends.” Sirayn said it casually, though fully aware of the impact of her words, and studied the two women intently as she spoke. Her hunter instincts were coming out again and she felt a bit more at ease in the situation. “It’s likely that a wealth of treasures is contained inside but the Shadow may also have found the city Namandar so we need all the strength we can get. I would be honoured, as would our sisters if you would accompany us to Namandar but that’s your choice to make and I will understand if you wish to return to the Tower with our blessings and get re-acquainted with Tower life.”

: : : : Sirayn moved back slightly into the shadows, allowing the party’s attention to fall on Lanfir and Lyanna, and continued to study the two women closely. Lanfir had definitely sounded as though she wasn’t too sure about her place here. Was that just another trick? Sirayn couldn’t conceive of a situation so grim that the legendary Lanfir Leah Marithsen would not be welcomed back, and especially by her adoring ex-subjects. And even the pathetic little ones raised on your legends. Like me. Clearly there was yet more here that she hadn’t seen or been told. Sirayn was out of her depth but damn it all, she had a job to do, and she would do it until Taya delivered the final blow.

 

~ Sirayn ~
Battle Ajah
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

*************************

The tension between Taya and Sirayn seemed palpable, and Lyanna had no clue why. Sure, the woman had sounded a bit insecure, but Lyanna had been sure that when she offered her services, and when Lanfir introduced herself so timidly, it would have helped to put her at ease. Maybe she was just being uncomfortable with a Sitter in the room while she herself was so young and battle leader at that.

Still, she had been chosen for the job and that alone should have given Sirayn confidence that she had clearance to handle things that came their way in stead of Taya. Or there was simply more going on her that could be fathomed at first glance. No use to pick at it now though, you won't be able to figure it out from the little information you get here. Maybe she could talk to Taya later and find out just what was going on. If these women were on a mission here, the last thing they would want was a division within their group. Even though there will be a natural divisions with the Browns here as well. Lyanna sniggered inwardly. A larger contradiction between Ajah's could hardly be found.

After Taya had explained to the party why they had been summoned, and had asked whether Lyanna and Lanfir would be welcomed back into their midst - and apparently, into the mission - all remained quiet for a while. Lukas, behind them, shifted his stance, as if he wanted to express his readyness to defend them should anyone be so bold to do anything rash. Not that Lyanna feared anything of the sort would be in order. The three oaths were clear enough. And besides, this was her Ajah. Or wasn't it?

And then Sirayn spoke up in sharp tones. She seemed almost angry, but Lyanna was again at a loss for the reason. She seems to be angry a lot. Is it a defence mechanism? But why does she feel the need to defend herself? Are we such a threat to her?

They were welcomed back. And into the mission. Lyanna held her breath when she heard the true reason for their presence here. A treasure like that would have to be well guarded. And of course there was no way of knowing whether there wouldn't be anything - or anyone - harmful hidden within the city. She could now understand why Greens and Browns had been sent on this mission. Use the Browns to investigate, use the Greens to protect and defend.

Sirayns last words brought her out of her reverie. "I would be honoured, as would our sisters if you would accompany us to Namandar but that’s your choice to make and I will understand if you wish to return to the Tower with our blessings and get re-acquainted with Tower life.”

"I do not think there is any better way to get re-acquainted with my Ajah than to act out everything it stands for" Lyanna replied dryly. "I will come."

~Lyanna
Battle Sister

***********************

Namandar.... All contemplations on Sirayns palpable anger had vanished when the young Green had explained their mission objective. She knew the name well enough - she remembered an evening with Yveva Sedai in the Library when she had been Accepted and had been asked to help the Brown out with some research. At first, she had balked at the chore, but Yveva's enthousiasm had been infective and their resource subject was a thrilling one. A City from the Age of Legends. And it is still here! Yveva thought it would be long gone by now, lost in earthquakes. It's still accessible. We're going to see the wonders that Yveva speculated about!

"I do not think there is any better way to get re-acquainted with my Ajah than to act out everything it stands for" Lyanna said next to her, in that dry tone that Lanfir knew so well. "I will come."

"So will I," Lanfir added. "It sounds like a very interesting mission. Besides, as Lyanna pointed out: what better way to catch up with our sisters than during a mission?" She smiled. Things were looking up again! She was a Green Sister once more, and she was going on a mission. She felt giddy once more; her life was interesting again! Action, adventure and adrenaline awaited her! And even though she had thought that Fal Dara would have been enough action for a lifetime, she realized that she had been craving for it all alone. I must be mad, she thought, but that did not worry her at all.

~Lannie
Excited!!

**********************

Jaydena watched everything that went on with a sense of wonder. Two famous had come back to the Green, of course they didn't even notice that she was alive. Hadn't acknowledged her in any way. She figured that they hadn't been told that she was a sitter and had dismissed her because of her young face. Sirayn in fact was older than her but Jade had been raised very quickly and had been one of the youngest sitters in the history of the Green. Oh well I guess I'm not important enough for them to notice not being a legend like Taya and Kaylan. Stepping back from the group she stood in, she noticed that Taya had released her hand and had kept a hold of Lyanna's.

Well that just proves who matters to her more. Shaking her head at her self depressive thoughts she kept her eyes focused on her best friend. Sirayn looked like she had regained some of her never-ending strength and courage. Jade straightened her spine and tried to emulate her friends attitude. The AS accepted the two woman into their party and Jade stepped forward. "I am also joyed to have two famous battle sisters join the fold once more and look forward to fighting shoulder to shoulder with them if need be. That was true indeed even if she was nothing but a lower minion to them. Walking back across the suite she joined her sisters and stood with Sirayn facing the four legends...

Jaydena Sedai
Green Sitter

**********************

At long last, Taya thought with both relief and annoyance as Sirayn stated that she would be pleased to have Lanfir and Lyanna along. Then she outlined for them what they'd be facing if they did agree to join. Taya felt a strange apprehension rippling through her, and it intensified as the speech went on. She couldn't say why but as the moments passed she felt increasingly concerned.

She knew this was the right thing. Lanfir and Lyanna were back. They were going to prove their dedication to the Ajah. They were going to stand by Taya's side once again. All was as it should be. So why does part of me hope they'll decline the offer?

Taya did not want to let either woman out of her sight ever again. But nor did she want them walking into potential danger. They are grown women...beyond grown. Lanfir particularly. They can make their own decisions. Yet Taya continued to feel ill at ease.

She let go of Lyanna's hand and resisted the desire to tug on the bond. She could see Eos had moved closer but he stood at a distance, watching her carefully as if waiting for a sign that he was required. She avoided looking at him.

Taya moved back a few steps and glanced around the room. But her eyes could never leave her two recovered sisters for long. She realised with a start that she was scared they'd disappear in a puff of smoke if she let them out of her sights for too long.

Taya

*************************

OOC: Back into decisive mode! I’m sorry I completely ordered you around here Jade, if you want to poke me, I’ll edit.

: : : : Sirayn’s brows rose slightly at Lyanna’s rebuke, but she made no comment. She couldn’t think of a better way to have the flesh flayed from her bones than to disagree with either of them in this company. Only ten minutes back, and already they were exalted to the point of mania. She would have to work alongside them, Sirayn reminded herself sharply. “Glad to have you along,” Sirayn said curtly. She personally would have preferred them both to return to the Tower with all speed, but despite appearances sometimes, Sirayn did recognise a selfish wish when she saw it and she might well need them at some point. Lanfir, Lyanna, Taya and Kaylan know each other well. Best for them to fight together. They might get that excess heroism worked out of their systems, Sirayn speculated in a particularly unpleasant flash of sarcasm. Studying the far wall briefly for inspiration as a babble of voices began to rise once more, Sirayn wondered what under the Light to do now. She was supposed to be the leader. Where was her inspiration? Where was her courage?

: : : : Courage. Sirayn’s lips quirked in a smile. This was the vaunted attribute other people thought she had. And she’d be damned if she would prove them wrong today. Join them. Hells, yes. She could do this. She’d juggled the Sitters, the implacably alienated Browns and grievances too numerous to count every hour of every day. A handful of her own sisters paled in comparison. You were born to be their leader. Sirayn glanced at Seiaman and their eyes met. A moment of silent communion as pride and assurance flowed back and forth through the bond and then Sirayn turned away, breaking their shared gaze, and quirked a smile as Jaydena joined her. The Sitter looked a bit disgruntled and Sirayn could easily sympathise with that. “I feel like an awestruck novice again,” Sirayn murmured to her, trying to put Jaydena at her ease. “I hope they don’t cause any trouble. Young or not, you are an exemplary Sitter and if they bother you they’ll deal with both of us.” Sirayn saw that Jade’s gaze rested briefly on Taya holding hands with Lyanna and Sirayn shook her head with a small smile to see Taya acting like a little girl with her best friend. “Taya’s a bit busy right now, it seems. We’d better let her have her fun.” Sirayn smirked a bit, contemplating what she might do to break up the affection, but she wasn’t quite cold-hearted enough yet. “I’m going to talk to Lanfir. Come and back me up?” Sirayn put on a childlike expression and Jade relented and followed her as Sirayn walked into the crowd.

: : : : The others stepped aside for them respectfully. Sirayn saw that a couple twitched their skirts aside from her passing. “Someone please fetch the Browns!” Sirayn called out as she took a place beside Lyanna, Taya, Kaylan and Lanfir. The hum of voices faltered only slightly before resuming, but those closest to her eyed her warily now, and a brief shuffle commenced near the door before it opened and shut quietly. “I would have summoned the Browns straight away, Taya,” Sirayn said lightly. “They won’t like this being presented as a decision already made.” She spoke casually, though she meant what she said, and in the next moment turned toward the door as half a dozen Browns stalked in.

: : : : A couple recognised Lanfir and Lyanna on sight. They paled rapidly and a mutter ran among the assembled Browns. Others looked annoyed at the sight of two strange Aes Sedai. Sirayn intercepted them smoothly; “Sisters, these are Lanfir Sedai and Lyanna Sedai of the Green Ajah, our long lost friends. They encountered us by accident and have graciously offered to help us in our search.” The Browns muttered a bit, left unable to argue that the Greens were cooking up yet another scheme to skew the balance of power their way, and unwilling still to confront Sirayn. Sirayn herself took a deep breath. There was a kind of glory here, on the knife edge of politics instead of killing, where a wrong step meant not death but an ignoble fall from grace. Neatly diverting the topic: “King Andrei’s servants will summon us when our meeting with him is about to occur.” A bit of sarcasm showed through her tone to demonstrate what she thought of Andrei’s servants. “I expect all of you to be ready to attend at a moment’s notice. That includes the Greens and Lanfir and Lyanna as well if they wish to come with us. Any problems or questions, come to me.”

: : : : Some of the Browns didn’t look too pleased still but Sirayn didn’t plan to deal with their accusations right now. She felt more in control of the situation, having done her best for Jade and sorted out the Browns, so she turned to Lanfir with a slightly mischievous smile; “Forgive me for my lukewarm welcome, Lanfir Sedai. The rule book doesn’t cover situations like this and my Gaidin is just trying to make things awkward.” Sirayn tugged the bond with an affectionate smile across the room. Turning back to Lanfir and Jaydena; “Lanfir Sedai, this is Jaydena, a Sitter for our Ajah.”


 

~ Sirayn ~
Battle Ajah
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

************************

“King Andrei’s servants will summon us when our meeting with him is about to occur,” Sirayn Sedai told them. “I expect all of you to be ready to attend at a moment’s notice. That includes the Greens and Lanfir and Lyanna as well if they wish to come with us. Any problems or questions, come to me.”

Lanfir shared a look with Lyanna and hoped that these summons would not sound too quickly. They definitely needed to change attire before they could present themselves to King Andrei of Tarabon. Fortunately, Lyanna had been so smart to make Lukas take presentable clothes with them.

Then Sirayn turned to Lanfir with a cute smile that seemed to light up her whole face. Lanfir could not help smiling back as the leader of this mission said:
“Forgive me for my lukewarm welcome, Lanfir Sedai. The rule book doesn’t cover situations like this and my Gaidin is just trying to make things awkward.” She gestured at the gorgeous young-appearing Aes Sedai next to hem. “Lanfir Sedai, this is Jaydena, a Sitter for our Ajah.”

Jaydena was only a little taller than Lanfir was, with a figure that most women could only dream of and eyes as green as Lyanna's. "Pleased to meet you, Jaydena Sedai," Lanfir said with a warmth she truly felt, feeling more Aes Sedai with the minute. Funny, how all these old mannerisms seemed to come back to her so naturally. "May the Light illuminate you."

~Lannie

*********************

Kaylan found herself standing with Lyanna and Lanfir again after Taya spoke to Jehanine. She listened to the speaking, somewhat bored with it all, and more interested in going and having tea with Jehanine as they had spoken about. She looked over to the younger Green with a smile, trying to convey that she would come back to her as soon as she could.
As soon as the speeches were done with and the introductions began, Kaylan walked back over to her.
"I'm sorry, Jeha. I didn't mean to lose you there. But you know how these things go." Tedious was the word that sprang to mind, after the excitement of reunion, when it was in such a political atmosphere.
"Why don't I introduce you another time? It seems that everyone will be being introduced tonight, and you may be more memorable if you are introduced later." She smiled warmly.
"So... whats the verdict? Does tea sound good or would you rather something... stronger?" Kaylan grinned at that.

Kaylan Morin
Battle Sister
Thrice Bonded

*********************

Her friend seemed to have shook her black mood off as she turned to her with a quick smile and said, “I feel like an awestruck novice again, I hope they don't cause any trouble. Young or not, you are an exemplary Sitter and if they bother you they'll deal with both of us.” Jade nodded and straightened her spine, Sirayn was right and she knew it. Sira glanced up at Taya's face and the enraptured look on it, with a snort she continued, “Taya’s a bit busy right now, it seems. We'd better let her have her fun, I'm going to talk to Lanfir. Come and back me up?”

Chuckling at the thought of Sirayn needing backup, she straightened her shawl and began to move to the front of the room. As she walked the sister parted like a wave, the two woman had earned the respect over the years. Jade shook her head at that thought and remembered how hard it had been to get some of these same greens to so much as talk to either of them. Sirayn because of her behavior about the initiation that all Greens must face. Jade had faced her own struggles as most Greens saw her affectionate attitude as to controversial. Time and battle had healed those wounds for both of them. Acceptance had spread through the green at least for her, of course they were still testing Sirayn, proven by Mandi's latest actions.

Choosing someone or actually more than one someone to take over if Sirayn couldn't handle the pressure. She hated that this was being done to her friend, yet she couldn't do anything to stop it. Sirayn called out for someone to go get the Browns and Jade motioned at one of the warders standing around the room. The man nodded and left the room in his feline like grace. They reached the four greens and Sirayn turned to Taya with an almost sneer on her face as she spoke, “I would have summoned the Browns straight away, Taya, they won't like this being presented as a decision already made.”

Secretly agreeing with Sirayn she watched as the Browns walked in, her friend began to speak and Jade let her thoughts wander back to the Brown sisters. As if they don't hate the Greens enough, they show up in a room, where it looks like the Green's have been having a meeting with all of the sisters in attendance. I'm sure we will hear about this in the days ahead. She wondered at Taya's foolish actions but decided the joy of this occasion must have gone to her head and she wasn't thinking clearly.

Jaydena snapped back to attention as she realized that the Brown's were leaving the room once more and Sirayn had turned to speak to the two returned sisters. “Lanfir Sedai, this is Jaydena, a Sitter for our Ajah.” Jade raised her eyes to Lanfir's, eyes that showed kindness and so much matched her own color. The woman seemed friendly enough but only time would tell. "Pleased to meet you, Jaydena Sedai, May the Light illuminate you." Jade nodded and bowed her head to the great leader as she spoke, "Pleased to meet you as well, Lanfir Sedai. May the Light illuminate your path and shine on you always." She smiled quietly and waited for someone else to speak...

Jaydena Sedai

********************

“I would have summoned the Browns straight away, Taya, they won't like this being presented as a decision already made.”

As Sirayn spoke those words, Taya felt herself losing control bit by bit. She hated Sirayn with a fury that shocked even her. Nobody could tell, not even Sirayn who had looked away too soon to see the fury and disgust burning in the older Green's eyes.

If you would have summoned them earlier, you fool, why did you not? It is you after all who is in charge. All I asked was for them to be accepted into the Ajah, not for them to be accepted on this mission. But Taya said nothing out loud. This was not the time. Instead she smouldered and hated and hurtled further towards the precipice, feeling out of control in a way she hadn't in a century or so.

I certainly lost my wits after the Trolloc battle, she mused as she recalled the horror of watching Tania Heal a Trolloc. But I didn't feel this off balance, not at any point during that battle. She felt sick to her stomach as if she were now on the outside, looking in and helpless to do anything. She felt lost and she didn't know why.

She stuck close to Lanfir, trying her best to keep an eye on Lyanna too. Neither woman seemed too eager to part company with each other, and Taya was grateful for that. It made them easier to keep track of.

Taya

*********************

Things were going fast and soon the room became very crowded with the arrival of several Browns, most of which Lyanna didn't know. There were a few familiar faces and some murmurs of recognition, but what stood out most of all was the tension in the room which grew more palpable by the minute.

But what shocked Lyanna most was a little tête a tête Sirayn and Taya had just minutes before the Browns were fetched. The younger sister spoke with a lightness that belied the expression in her eyes, and evidently wanted the rebuke to come across as an off-handed remark that no one would take offence on. "I would have summoned the Browns straight away, Taya, they won't like this being presented as a decision already made."

Sirayn instantly moved on to other things, and missed the smoldering hatred that flared up in Taya's eyes, a hatred so fierce that it took Lyanna aback. I don't know her like this. What on earth is going on here? Lanfir was presented to Jaydena, one of the other Sitters. Lyanna acknowledged the woman with a curt nod, but as soon as the two had been properly introduced and Jaydena had withdrawn herself, Lyanna mumbled to Lanfir: "I feel like a mouse trapped in a hornet's nest. There are a lot of undercurrents here, Lannie." Are you really sure you want to step into this? The unasked question hung in between them, and when most of the Browns started to leave, Lyanna hoped that she could have a quick moment with Lanfir alone.

Lyanna

***********************

When she had exchanged her pleasantries with Jaydena, and most of the Brown Sisters were starting to leave, Lanfir suddenly heard Lyanna murmur next to her: "I feel like a mouse trapped in a hornet's nest. There are a lot of undercurrents here, Lannie."

Lanfir smiled a little as her eyes scanned the room. “I know. Just smile and be yourself, Ly. We’ll figure it out later, after this sensory overload has passed.” Things were dazzling enough as they were anyhow. It was wonderful and brilliant to see everyone again – and so many young, talented Greens that it made her heart swell with pride - but already she felt as if she was hip deep in clouded water and the currents were pulling at her legs. It made her feel alive again, but it frightened her a little, as well. She had always gone by the theory of being herself and as open as possible where she could, and she had abided by it. She would not change this philosophy on life today. And until they knew more about what was going on, it was all they could do anyhow. “It’s all we can do,” she murmured back. “It will be alright.”

~Lannie
hopeful

**********************

Standing at Lyanna's back like the faithful guardian the he had started to become Lukas was shocked and amazed by what he had seen in this short space of time. It seemed that the two Aes Sedai he had lived and worked with for the past few weeks were actually legends from the Tower's past. It was not openly said in words, nobody came out and said "Hey Lyanna and Lanfir are legends from our past" but the reactions of the assembled Aes Sedai spoke for themselves. Sitters were reduced to tears, sisters were flabbergasted and the leader of this expedition was so stunned by their appearance that she had even tried to run away. It was enough to make Lukas think that this was all some dream, Aes Sedai never lost their composure and if they did never in front of a Tower Guard such as himself.

But that was not the only suprise for the young Tower Guard, it seemed that the reason for this expedition was a lost city from the Age of Legends. Namander. At this stage Lukas was forced to pinch himself to see if this really was a dream, who had ever heard of a lost city from the Age of Legends. But these Aes Sedai seemed committed to it and with the appearance of the Brown Sisters Lukas was forced to believe that maybe this Namander really did exist. And with this acceptance of Namander came a restlessness, if this place did exist why where they standing around here twiddling their thumbs? This was their chance to go down in legend, to gain power and prestige, a chance to prove themselves as worthy to fight the Shadow. It was the chance he had been looking for, the chance to prove to himself more than anything that he was up to the challenge of defending Aes Sedai and the White Tower.

Shifting in his place Lukas did not know whether he wanted to stay here in this room and hear more of their plans or whether he wanted to rush back to the Tavern and pack. And it was as he considered which option to take that he realised something, none of the Aes Sedai had approved of his presence. So far they had ignored him assuming him to be a messenger or courier for Lannie and Lyanna, what if when they discovered who he truly was they sent him back to the Tower, not wanting a wet behind the ears Tower Guard slowing them down?

Stepping up to where Lyanna and Lanfir where whispering he waited until they were done before pressing his concerns on them.

"Well it seems that your worries are over now my friends, the Tower has welcomed you back with open arms. But I do not know if they will do the same for me, it is not that I have done anything wrong more that they do not think a man with my upbringing is worthy of becoming a Warder. And it is for that reason I do not think I will be allowed to accompany you on this expedition." Lukas' assessment of the Tower and the Training Yard was unfair and harsh but it was the way he percieved it to be. After all the Yards were made up by nobles and the wealthy with only a scattering of 'peasants' to balance it out.

"Please help me in this matter. You both know that I would willing give my life for you and I think that before this expedition is over you will need someone who is willing to sacrifice themselves for you."

Lukas Talinko
Out of Hospital but willing to send Lukas into one

*****************************

Lyanna looked at Lukas incredulously when he expressed his concerns. Why did the man think that he would not be allowed on the trip? As far as she was concerned, a man who deserved the rank of Tower Guard had nothing to fear.

She said as much. "I don't think you need to trouble yourself with your upbringing or your so-called lack in training. Yes, you are from the Rahad. So? I have known Aes Sedai who were daughters of whores. They are not treated with any less respect than those born into nobility. It is all about what you are capable of. I have seen you fight during our training, and I have enough experience with Warders and Tower Guards alike to say that even though you are young, you have much potential. What would a Tower Guard who is not allowed to go into battle do for us? Not much. Everyone has to face his first battle at one time. All hells, when I went into battle I was raised to the shawl one day. One day Lukas."

She glanced at Lannie and continued. "You are with me Lukas. With us. And what we say goes. That party over there" - she motioned to the Greens and the few Browns that still were gathered in the room - "have nothing to say about whom I do and do not take on a mission."

She paused. It was bold what she was about to say but she didn't really care. In this short while she had come to trust Lukas completely.

"I would be prepared to bond you if it would help you feel better about your position. No" she intervened when Lukas started to speak. "Do not answer me just yet. It is a big decision to make. I have been bonded before, and I have experienced first hand what it means. It will give you a longer life, and more stamina, and a different rank from what you are used to. But" she continued, "it also means a commitment. One you cannot get out of. I will not be offended if you decide not to. We have known eachother not very long, and I will understand if you choose to say no to this."

Lyanna
Battle Sister


OOC: we have not discussed this, and I have no idea what you will say to this. What I had Lyanna say up there is really what I meant. If you don't want to, I will not be offended. I just saw a nice rp opportunity *chuckles*. You choose heh.

***********************

OOC: Sorry to be late. I also just said that all the Browns were still in, as it makes it quite easier. You see, I'll do a bit of presentation of Tarabon to the Sisters of the party. Andrei just recently became King and all.

IC:

Egwainne peeked through the window of her bedroom at the city below. Tanchico seemed a touch on the better side since she last visited. It seemed a bit more orderly, and a touch cleaner, but it was still a long way of from the likes of Caemlyn, let alone Tar Valon. But from what her E&E were reporting, Andrei is dead set on returning Tanchico to his former glory. Egwainne wondered whether he will succeed. She will probably be able to make quite a good guess after their meeting. She was sure it will prove interesting.

A knock on the door caught her attention. “Come in”, she responded. A servant entered. He was livered in white baggy pants and a red coat with a golden tree embroidered on his breast denoting him a servant of the King’s palace. Mustache could be seen under his thin veil.
“Siryan Sedai is requesting your presence, Egwainne Sedai. She is in Taya Sedai’s quarters.”

With satisfaction, Egwainne noted that the traditions still held in the palace. The servants were required to address every guest with their names, not just the plain honorifics. She approved of the practice. “Thank you. I know the way.”

As the servant left Egwainne checked herself in the mirror. She already managed to bathe and change. Her black hair was loosely tied with a blue ribbon matching her eyes, as she usually held it. She wondered when age will catch up with her and when her hair would start to show streaks of gray. Pretty soon, probably, as with over 200 years of age it was quite remarkable she didn’t have any grays yet. Her pale blue dress was streaked with even paler green. She straightened it, smiling at her choice of color, and started for Taya’s rooms.

When the party came, they were given a whole wing of the palace for themselves, so all the Sisters’ quarters were close by. It took her only a minute to find herself knocking on Taya’s doors. From the muffled sounds it seemed it was quite active behind the door. Egwainne opened the door and entered.

It was quite crowded inside, despite the generous size of the reception room. Egwainne noted all the Browns were in already as well as all the Greens. Immediately, though, her eyes were drawn to the two women in full battle garment with green stoles signifying Greens ready for battle. It took her only a moment to recognize the two, but it came as quite a shock.

Egwainne blinked – far more emotion then she usually showed – then proceeded to greet the two newcomers with a smile.

“Lanfir, it has been quite a while to say the least. The Tower has stopped hoping for your wellbeing. I am so pleased to see you alive and well. You as well, Lyanna.” Egwainne didn’t know the younger one well, but Lanfir was quite a legend even before she disappeared so long ago.

Egwainne

****************************

Another one entered; an Aes Sedai in a pale blue dress. Lanfir's mind immediately clicked. Sitter. Blue Ajah. - yet for a moment she could not remember her name. It wasn't until the Blue Sister smiled at her and adressed her and Lyanna directly that she remembered. Egwainne Sedai.

“Lanfir, it has been quite a while to say the least. The Tower has stopped hoping for your wellbeing. I am so pleased to see you alive and well. You as well, Lyanna,” she said with a nod to Lyanna.

The Tower has stopped hoping for your wellbeing... that stung more than she would ever care to admit. She did not exactly know why. Maybe she felt sad that the world had moved on without her - even though that was a ridiculous and unrealistic thought. Of course things might be changed if she returned. Light, they might have even given her rooms to some other Green Sister by now!

Yet still, the Blue had said she was pleased to see her and Lyanna again. So Lanfir smiled at the other Aes Sedai and said: "It's good to see you too, Egwainne. Time has been kind to you."

~Lannie

********************************

Bond? Warder? Me?

Lyanna's words struck him like a hammer to the head, he was dumbfounded by them, how could this woman want him as her Warder. Sure it was easy to say that lowborn Aes Sedai could be treated with respect but they had something that he did not, the One Power. All he had was his wits and his sword arm and both of those had failed him before. He was not worthy of being Lyanna's Warder, she was a legend amongst the Green Ajah and he was just a Tower Guard from the Rahad.

And yet even as he tried to find a way to let her down gently he was confronted with the thought of Lyanna and Lanfir facing a horde of Trollocs alone and undefended. He saw them cut down hundreds with their balls of Fire and swords of Air but he also saw the Trollocs and Myrrdraal that got through their defenses and cut them down before they knew what had happened. He could not leave them to that fate just as he could not burden Lyanna with his problems.

She has already lost one Warder, I could not put her through that pain again. Her last Warder had been a Master of the Scales of Power, he was but a simple Tower Guard still untrained in the ways of Me'Arearth how could he hope to succeed where his predecessor had failed?

"Lyanna your words mean more to me than you can ever know but how can I possibly live up to the memory of your last Warder? What do I have, a mere boy, that he did not? What will help me succeed where he could not?" Looking into her eyes as he said this he saw the pain rise to the surface as he re-opened old wounds, even now she was still haunted by his memory. And as he saw the commitment and love that Lyanna held for her last Warder he felt something shift within him. I may not be Mikalen but I will not leave her to die alone, not whilst their is still breath left in my body

Taking Lyanna's hand he knelt down in front of her and bowed his head to her hand. "Lyanna Ellisande Aes Sedai, I do hereby pledge my sword and my soul to your service. My life before yours." Never before had the traditional oath of the Warders held such depth and meaning for him.

Lukas Talinko
Soon to be bonded

***************************

OOC: CCCCCOOOOOLLLL!!!

IC:

A multitude of emotions tumbled across Lukas's face as soon as she had made her proposal: surprise, insecurity, downright denial, something that looked like hope? Or enthusiasm? For a split second, she was sure that he was going to deny. Lyanna was glad that they had kept their voices to a minimum level. It would have been awkward had everyone overheard them. A Blue who looked familiar - Egwainne? - had just walked in and was talking to Lanfir, and most of the attention was focussed on them.

Her heart pounded in her throat. Was she doing the right thing? It felt right. And Lyanna had always been one to follow her gut instincts. No, he wasn't Mikalen. No one could be Mikalen. But he was a man on his own, one with a very sharp instinct. His youth in the Rahad had taught him that. She liked men who could think on their feet. She needed a Warder like that. And he was young. Very very good. It meant that he would not die on her quickly, and she had a long time to live yet. And from what she had seen, his fighting skill would grow to balance that of Mikalen.

But what if he would turn her down? She would not be angry, she knew that she had thrown this on him without prior warning. As he started to speak, she knew what the verdict would be. It was going to be no.

"Lyanna your words mean more to me than you can ever know but how can I possibly live up to the memory of your last Warder? What do I have, a mere boy, that he did not? What will help me succeed where he could not?"

You have guts, you have youth, you have stamina! You LIVE! All hells, what more could he want? Thoughts tumbled through her head, and she knew the pain she felt because of his insecurity shone in her eyes. She felt disappointed....she had hoped he thought more of himself.

She was about to say something commonplace and move away, when he surprised her by taking her hand and kneeling down in front of her. Her eyes widened, and she felt more than she saw that the focus of the others present in the room suddenly shifted from Lanfir and Egwainne to her. Oh Light! Was this appropriate?

"Lyanna Ellisande Aes Sedai, I do hereby pledge my sword and my soul to your service. My life before yours."

The words were spoken softly, but passionately, and she heard some of the Sisters in the room gasp. But Lyanna laughed. To hell with propriety. She had been away from the Tower for almost a decade, who cared for propriety now? Her heart sang and a smile broke through on her face. Her voice rang through the room like a clear bell.

"I accept your service, Lukas Talinko from the Rahad, Tower Guard to the White Tower. I accept you service gladly, and I will bond you as my Warder." She wove the intricate weave which she had been taught so long ago, Spirit and Fire and Air and Water and Earth, twisted the strands into a lacelike pattern, and placed it on his head. As it sunk in, she instantly became aware of his presence in the back of her head. His insecurity, but also the loyalty and fierceness, and a touching sense of protectiveness.

She extended her hand, and he stood up. Lyanna faced the room. "Sisters, I present to you my Warder."

Lyanna Sedai
Bonded to
Lukas Talinko

w00000t!!!!

**********************

From the corner of her eye, Lanfir saw Lukas suddenly fall on one knee as he gravely said the formal words of loyalty she had heard so many times before... "Lyanna Ellisande Aes Sedai, I do hereby pledge my sword and my soul to your service. My life before yours."

Souvan, her heart cringed for a second, but she turned to Lyanna and the young Tower Guard. She felt everyone else doing the same - all conversations in the room seemed to have frozen for a heartbeat. Light, was she really going to bond him? He would be a good gaidin, and with the upcoming mission it would be definitely a good idea to have a sword to guard her back but... here? and now?

The glow of saidar flared up around Lyanna as her friend broke into a wide smile. "I accept your service, Lukas Talinko from the Rahad, Tower Guard to the White Tower. I accept you service gladly, and I will bond you as my Warder." ...and she bonded him.

Lanfir saw the weaves and could not believe it. A flash of an image of the hydrangea garden in Tar Valon and the wine she had toasted with Souvan after they had bonded stabbed her heart for a moment, but what happened here was beautiful and was not the same as her bond with Souvan and it would certainly come to such a messy end.

Lyanna radiated happiness as any bride she had ever seen when she turned to the assembled people in Taya's quarters and announced proudly: "Sisters, I present to you my Warder."

And stupidly, Lanfir felt tears in her eyes when she took Lyanna's hands in hers and said: "Congratulations to the both of you."


~Lannie
touched.

*****************************

A flash of pain passed through the Green's eye. The next moment it was gone, and Egwainne wondered whether she imaginated it.

“Well Lanfir, looking at you in your battle garments, I have to notice that I am not the only one time favors.” Egwainne noted gaily, but her attention turned to the man suddenly falling on his knees in front of Lyanna. What in the world..!?

In what seemed like only an instant it was over. A still laughing Lyanna turned to face the room. “Sisters, I present to you my Warder."

Egwainne could not believe it. Just like that!? But they seemed happy. Lyanna seemed exhilarated. Well, Light favor them… Egwainne smiled and congratulated the Green Sister and her new Guardian.

In the back of her mind, though, a tiny sad voice was whispering to her: “It is too late for you. You’ll never know what it feels like.”

Egwainne

******************

Kaylan looked up at Lyanna, as it seemed everyone in the room did. She heard a couple of gasps and thought that they might have been Brown Ajah. This was a story she would have to share with Leilani, when they were back to the main party. She would enjoy it immensely.
As Lyanna lay down the Weave, Kaylan grinned openly. So, she was not the only woman to Bond a Warder before a major incident. Both Calya and Jumael had been Bonded thus, and Kaylan had Bonded Jumael on horseback on the way to the Blight. It was interesting to see that someone else would do a similar thing, and when Lanfir offered her congratulations, Kaylan echoed her.
"Congratulations to you both." And in her mind, <em>May it work better than my most recent Bond.</em>

Kaylan Morin
Battle Sister
Bonded to Mercury, Calya and Jumael

*************************************

Making herself calmly place her hairbrush upon the table, Raeyn tied her hair up with a dark purple ribbon and smoothed the slightly lighter violet silk across her hips as she stood and moved towards the window. Not that she had the best of views, oh no! Never for a Brown Sitter, a Sitter! stuck amongst this nest of arrogant Greens.

"Greens. Bah!" she thought to herself, gripping the windowframe tightly, eyes flashing and a small quirk of a smile playing across her lips at the thoughts of doing the same to one of the lot she was forced to endure... but she had her orders, and besides, it WOULD look slightly suspicious if all the Greens had tragic incidents while on this trek.

She almost giggled to herself, but a knock at the door pulled her from her pleasant reverie. Raeyn turned to the door, hair flying out behind her, eyes flashing murder for a minute before she could stop it. Breathing deep, she opened the door...

One of the younger Green sisters stood without, looking defiant and nervous at the same time. At least some of the younger idiots realized that most of the Brown sisters were less than pleased with their treatment, and still young enough to know that at least a Sitter deserved better treatment and respect.

"Well, what is it?" Raeyn asked, arching an eyebrow at the younger woman. The Green sister drew a breath, and calmly stated that everyone was gathering. Shooing the child away, she pointed out that she would attend shortly, and closed the door with a whip of Air.

"This will never do," Raeyn mused to herself as she sat in the padded chair near the window and pulled her legs up with her. "Just because the Greens have lost their minds and forgotten respect for a fellow Sister doesn't mean that I need stoop to their level.. still, to see the life leech out of their bodies, to see that last moment of life before their eyes glazed over..."

She shook her head, hair swishing and whorling around her face before falling down her legs as she laid her head upon her upraised knees. No, ragged nerves would never do. Standing up, she went over to one of her chests and opened the lid.

Within lay her flute. It had been sent to her by her family when she was a Novice, and as her hands fitted the pieces together they trembled slightly.. The day she had received her flute had been one of the last times she had ever seen her father.. her father..

She lowered herself back into the chair and raised the instrument to her lips. The first few notes trembled with the slight tremors of her hands, but as the wordless tune started to take form from memory, her trembles subsided, the notes clarified, and her mind began to empty of treacherous thoughts and anger.

An indeterminable time later, when all rage had melted away and calm was complete, Raeyn took apart the flute and laid the pieced gently back into the box. Tucking it back in the chest, she smoothed her dress back down and left the room.

The aforementioned gathering was easy to find by the sheer volume. Not that anyone seemd to be yelling or making any terrible amount of noise, it just would be that the sheer number of sisters and Warders in such a small space would make it seem much louder than the actuality. Opening the door, she found most of the other Browns present, the Greens, of course, and Egwainne of the Blues.. and a Green sister with a man bowed before her?

She moved towards the other Browns, eying the sister... a sister she had not seen in ages, and only partially believed was still around, and the man bowed in front of her. A tense moment, a crossing of eyes between the two as the man spoke:

"Lyanna Ellisande Aes Sedai, I do hereby pledge my sword and my soul to your service. My life before yours."

Raeyn snorted.. Greens did the oddest things sometimes, but bonding a man in a room full of Sisters?! She shook her head.. it made sense.. the lot of them were going into probable danger, and the Greens would take advantage of their disgusting habit of bonding many to watch their backs.. they NEEDED someone to watch their backs! Headstrong, arrogant.. She took a deep breath, and leaned back on a wall.

(how is that for a fun, late entrance? icon_biggrin.gif)

Raeyn Sedai
Head of the Brown Ajah
Sitter in the Hall
Bonded to Matalina Gaidin

********************************

"I accept your service, Lukas Talinko from the Rahad, Tower Guard to the White Tower. I accept you service gladly, and I will bond you as my Warder."

The words echoed through his head as she acknowledged not only his present life with the White Tower but also his past in the Rahad. She not only acknowledged it but accepted it, here was someone who did not look down on him for his upbringing but saw at as a source of strength. Even as he praised the Creator for finding someone who accepted him for who he was he felt a wave of pure ice wash through him which was quickly replaced by a growing warmth. And with that growing warmth came a sense of awareness that went against everything he had ever experienced before. Inside his head he could feel Lyanna, his Aes Sedai, he could feel her pride, her excitement, her joy and most of all he could feel her trust.

For possibly the first time in his life Lukas finally felt complete, he had a purpose in life now, he had an Aes Sedai to live and die for. No longer was he just the poor boy from the Rahad now he was Lyanna Sedai of the Green Ajah's Warder.

Leaning in to her ears he whispered two words to her that summed up how this event had changed him, for the better.

"Thank you."

Lukas Talinko
Lyanna Sedai's Warder
*spins around in circles whilst shouting "Im bonded, Im bonded, Im bonded"

****************************

OOC: Rae, your post ROCKED!! Sure, I hate your character now (even if she is cool in a sick, twisted sorta way icon_biggrin.gif) but the post was awesome! icon_smile.gif

IC: It took Taya a moment longer than it usually would have to catch onto what was happening. A few people gasped. Then Lyanna laughed, and other sounds seemed to die away in the room as everybody including Taya looked in her direction.

Taya watched Lyanna's elated face and only now noticed the Gaidin kneeling before her. Taya's jaw very nearly dropped open as she watched what happened next. Lyanna said with joy, "I accept your service, Lukas Talinko from the Rahad, Tower Guard to the White Tower. I accept you service gladly, and I will bond you as my Warder." And then she embraced saidar and Bonded the man! Right there on the spot, Bonded him! A man Taya had never even been introduced to!

Taya watched in scarcely disguised shock - somebody would be able to see it if they looked her in the eyes, or noticed her faintly rigid stance, but as it was most eyes were fixed on the spectacle Lyanna had created with her...her new Warder.

Lyanna's hand moved out to assist her Gaidin to his feet, not that he needed it. It was a gesture of affection and courtesy. It brought an ache to Taya's heart that she couldn't explain.

Lyanna turned to the expectant crowd and said in a louder voice, "Sisters, I present to you my Warder."

As women moved to congratulate her, and others muttered about Green sponteneity and stupidity, Taya only stood there, dumbstruck. As Lyanna's gaze fixated on her, she struggled to find words, any words. She failed.

OOC: Nope...not a good example Taya is setting for other Sittas *g*

Taya

***************************

Seiaman had to smile softly as Lukas went to his knee, pledging his life to Lyanna Sedai. It was always good for her to see a Tower Guard bond a woman of the White Tower, regardless of how many times she watched them. But they always seemed to be similair. The Aes Sedai making the offer, and the Tower Guard taking it. With hidden joy and a complete sense of fulfillment as soon as the bond occured. She looked over at Sirayn, who watched the event with a blank face. Their own bonding had not started off very joyful at all. And it was months later that Sirayn would finally accept the oaths that Seia had voiced.

The Aes Sedai in the room seemed to be taken aback from the event, either from it being done in public or from doubting that the young man was even capable of defending such a woman. Not even a mouse squeaked. Oh Light. Stepping forward, she ignored Sirayn's sudden alertness. Approaching Lukas, she held out her arm and he took it, their hands clasping the forearms. "Congratulations, Lukas Gaidin." And she smiled with a small bow of her head to Lyanna, extending the congratulations to the Aes Sedai.

Seiaman returned to Sirayn, their eyes meeting as mixture of sadness and pride arose from the Spring. They had once hated each other with an intense passion, and she had put the woman through the hot coals of hell. Only because she refused to see the good of Sirayn. But she is my Aes Sedai now. She smiled as she tweaked the bond. My sister.

 

Seiaman

**********************

ooc- Is it just me or is it really really weird to see Seia and Sirayn as friends. *G*

Jaydena happened to glance over at the door as the blue sister walked through the door. Egwainne was surely here to brief them on the new king and how best to handle him. She nodded to the sister as Egwainne scanned the room and took in the scene. The recognition dawned in her eyes and she began to speak to the two new sisters. Dynamics was an important thing in any group and she wanted to see how Lanfir and Lyanna handled themselves in a group of non greens. Admiration surged through her as they both addressed the blue sister. Both woman newly returned to the fold were acting as though they had never left.

Turning her attention away from them she began to look around the room and take in the many sisters around the suite. She wanted the gauge their reactions to what was going on. In some faces she saw acceptance, jealousy, and anger. Yet in others she saw admiration, respect, and joy. She wondered at each woman's feelings toward the two woman, but her thoughts were deterred when she heard a gasp echo around the room. She swiveled her head back around, ready to attack. What she saw stunned her for one moment and then made her want to laugh. The young man that Lyanna had brought with him was on his knees and the bonding weaves was just settling into his head.

Many woman might have blown the man off as a simple servant but Jade had seen the inherent grace that was warder as he stood against the wall. The essence of strength seemed to exude itself from his skin. She chuckled and watched as Seia approached the man and shook hands with him. A sharp pain lanced through her as she saw Seia return to Sirayn. The easy joy and love on her face as she looked at her AS, chilled her to the bone. She should be my gaidin, instead another woman has her, and I will forever look at her and wonder what it would have been like if she was mine. Turning her head away from the heart wrenching scene she waited silently for Sirayn to organize their meeting now that Egwainne was her to help them...

Jaydena Sedai

***************************

OOC:I am not sure if I am supposed to be around at this part of the post or not...So I am. If I'm messing up...just let me know and I will discard the post. icon_smile.gif

Coran stood at the edge of the Aes Sedai and other Warders and Tower Guards. He never knew why when he was in the training yards he was fine around people, but when it came to social gatherings, he felt like a brand new trainee just picking up a sword.

So, there he stood, watching the gathering, when Lukas knelt in front of an Aes Sedai Coran had seen him around off and on. The Aes Sedai lay her hand on his head.

Coran knew what it meant, though he could not tell what was happening with the power. The Aes Sedai Stood transfixed on the scene before them. Some of them looking far from Aes Sedai-like.

Emotions mixed inside him...He was happy for Lukas, but something rose inside that he did not know was there. Anger...Resentment...jealousy...he did not know, but he did know that he had never really had any sort of relationship with any Aes Sedai...never really felt a connection. And watching one of his former Trainees Bonding...he just couldn't stand it.

Quietly, he walked out of the room, as the silence broke and congratulations were being delivered.

He made his way outside and sat looking out over the grounds. Letting this all run though his head...

OOC:Open to conversation icon_smile.gif

Coran Thalier
Tower Guard
*Moping*

*********************************

Lukas spotted one of the Tower Guards shift away from the pack of people rushing to congratulate Lyanna and himself and as he watched the man's retreating back he was sure he knew the man from somewhere before. It couldn't be Coran couldn't it, the old man wouldn't leave without even greeting me. Would he? Lukas needed to see what was wrong with his old friend and mentor and so with a quickly whispered apology to Lyanna he broke away from everyone to give chase to the Tower Guard.

It wasn't long before the newly bonded Gaidin found Coran sitting looking out over the grounds of the Palace and the city of Tanchico. The man seemed deep in contemplation and by the cast of his shoulders it wasn't a contemplation of happy memories. What about my bonding could embitter him so much?

"I thought I spotted you back in there," He said as he deposited himself next to his old mentor and as they both looked over the wealth and opulence of the palace Lukas was forced to admit that their were definite benefits to being royalty. "It must be good to be king but I don't think you came out here to admire the King's palace. What happened back there Coran? The man I knew wouldn't have turned his back on old friends, the man I knew would have been the first to come in and congratulate me. What's wrong?"

Lukas Talinko
Meeting with an OLD friend

******************************************

"I thought I spotted you back in there," Coran turned to see Lukas walking out from the room. "It must be good to be king but I don't think you came out here to admire the King's palace. What happened back there Coran? The man I knew wouldn't have turned his back on old friends, the man I knew would have been the first to come in and congratulate me. What's wrong?"

What could he say? I'm jealous. It's not fair. He felt like he was five years old and wanting his brother's new toy.

Coran looked back over the grounds for a moment, stalling...not really knowing where to begin. Not really knowing what was going on himself. He turned back to Lukas.

"I am happy for you, I really am. You and Lyanna Sedai make a good pairing." I just should be first...I should be bonded by now.

It was not one of the best thoughts Coran had go through his head. It shamed him that he was reacting this way, but he felt out of control. So out of control that he did not even want the solace of the Spring.

"Lukas, This has nothing to do with you. It really doesn't. It's just..." He struggled to say it. "Man, They teach you much about how to stay alive as a trainee of the Tower. They teach you every way that you can avoid danger and how to take a life if you need to, but they teach you nothing about how to talk to..." He stopped and looked back at the room full of Aes Sedai. Women that he was sworn to protect, but who did not even notice that he was there. "Look, this is just something that I have to work out. I don't think there is anything you could do to help with this."

Lyanna was looking out to the balcony, still surrounded by the other Aes Sedai. Not only was Coran being a complete Woolhead, but he was keeping a new Warder from his Sedai.

"Luk...I am keeping you from your Bonded. You should be able to feel it, From what I've read. The pull to be by her side." Coran felt a sort of emptiness as he spoke, but he kept his voice as non-chalant as possible. "You should go to her, take in the congratulations that you both deserve. I am fine."

Coran

*************************

It was strange to have a presence again in her head, but it felt right too. Lyanna knew that Lukas had understood the way in which she addressed him right before they had bonded. She had wanted to tell him that to her, his upbringing was just as important as his ability to protect her. They were both aspects of his being, both sides of the coin so to speak. When she accepted the one, she also had to accept the other.

She felt joy through the bond, and gratitude also, which he seconds later expressed by a low whisper: "Thank you." She nodded in agreement, and smiled at him, and lightly tweaked the bond. She chuckled when his eyes shot wide open in surprise. Then she focussed on the room again and the people present. There were a few that congratulated her with genuine smiles on their faces. All of them were Green. A sense of slight irritation emanated from some of the Browns. Well, what was done, was done, and there was no turning back now. She didn’t regret it for one moment. Until she saw the look in Taya’s eyes. The woman didn’t speak. She almost looked as if she couldn’t speak. As if she was shocked, and hurt, and Lyanna had not expected to see any of those emotions in Taya’s eyes. To her, Taya had always been the epitome of Aes Sedai, but she also knew that the woman had a good sense of humor, and was not easily shocked by something as minor as an Aes Sedai bonding a Warder right before battle. She turned towards Taya, ignoring the muttered expressions of either congratulations or disapproval, and she barely registered that the bond in her head all of a sudden expressed surprise and then concern. Lukas whispered an apology to her and hurriedly left the room.

“Taya?” Lyanna touched the other Sedai lightly on the arm and dropped her voice. “I did not mean to cause you shock after shock, but this was something which we really had not planned. I need to keep Lukas with me Taya, if we embark on this mission. I have needed this for a long time and now seemed the right time.”

She looked away, out over the balcony, and saw Lukas sitting down, outside, together with what looked like another Tower Guard. They seemed to be having a very serious talk, and the bond echoed that same notion….

Lyanna

**********************

"Coran she can wait for now. You have been my friend and mentor for the past few years and in that time you have always helped me work through my problems. Now it is time for me to help you."

Lukas felt torn in two as he spoke those words, on one hand he did want to help his friend but on the other hand he also wanted to be up there by Lyanna's side making sure that no harm would come to her. She was only a few hundred feet away and yet it felt more and the need to be with her tugged at him heavily but he would not leave his friend.

"I know you think it is hard to talk to Sedai but maybe it is because you make it hard to talk to them. Most of the women up there would love to have a Warder like you, experienced, smart and efficient but not a one of them even knows a thing about you because you have never tried to talk to them." He knew at the moment his words were probably hurting Coran more than helping him but he was building himself up to a point.

"So here is what we are going to do, both of us are going to return to that room up there and you will make an effort to talk to at least one Aes Sedai. I don't care if the idea makes you want to scream and run away as fast as you can but you will do it."

Raising himself up Lukas started to walk back to his Aes Sedai and the rest of the party not turning around to see if Coran was following. He knew that the man would come because if he did not then he was a weak man and everything Lukas knew about Coran indicated he was not a weak man.

Lukas Talinko
Lyanna Sedai of the Green Ajah's Gaidin

*******************************************

"So here is what we are going to do, both of us are going to return to that room up there and you will make an effort to talk to at least one Aes Sedai. I don't care if the idea makes you want to scream and run away as fast as you can but you will do it." Lukas stood and walked back to the room.

Coran hesitated only a moment before following. He knew there was nothing else to do...He had never stepped away from a challenge, never failed to learn what it was he needed to. And what he needed now was to face this.

Coran watched Lukas as he met up with his sedai again. Coran stepped forward. "Thanks." He said to Lukas. "I'll take your advice." He looked at the two and said, "Congratulations to both of you. Lukas is a...strong headed one, but he tends to grow on you." Coran smiled and stood aside letting Lukas and Lyanna get the attention they deserved in their moment.

He looked around at the Sedai coming towards the two and talking to them. Not knowing what to say...or do, he picked one of the sisters making their way back from talking to Lyanna and Lukas.

"Um, Hello." He said a bit awkwardly...

OOC:Well, any Sedai up to some awkward conversation??? IF So...PM me so we do not take up this thread and we can start a separate thread... Luk...feel free to help me out. icon_razz.gif

Coran Thalier
Tower Guard
Student of Me'Arearth

*************************************

ooc- Sorry to take this over everyone but Sirayn is really busy with school and hasn't been able to move things along. Coran I will be pming about that convo you mentioned for a seperate thread. Browns you can post here as well as anyone else who wants to. *G*

Jaydena watched everyone congregate in front of Lyanna and her new warder. The woman were back ten minutes and already they were the center of attention, she wasn't sure how this boded for the future. Several minutes passed and she realized that Sirayn wasn't going to take charge of the meeting. As a sitter she had the right to start the meeting and she was going to use it. Stepping forward she raised her voice and called attention to the room, "Congratulations to our newly returned battle sister and her gaidin. We have several issues to address and we best get to them, after all time wasted is time wasted."

She turned to the Brown sisters in the room and continued, "My fellow sisters, Lyanna Sedai and Lanfir Sedai have petitioned to join us on this mission. I believe that their battle expertise and knowledge would be valuable to all of us. They are asking your permission to join us." Jaydena waited for a moment and when they had spoken their piece she continued, "Also our sister Egwainne is here to instruct all of us on how to deal with this new king. If everyone could take a seat who will be staying we can get this meeting started." Nodding to end her address she stepped away from the group and took a seat in one of the chairs, she watched as the Blue sister walked to the front of the room...

Jaydena Sedai

*************************

 

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