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The Hunt for Namandar - Part 9: Homecoming [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] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9 is the Last]

 

Homecoming (Nam)

Players- Lannie Sedai, Lyanna Sedai, Taya Sedai, Sirayn Sedai, Arette Sedai

Posted on Jan. 29, 2003

Link: http://www.dragonmount.com/psw/boards/viewtopic.php?t=4212

OOC: this is at the return from Namandar.

IC: On the day that Lanfir Leah Marithsen returned to the city of Tar Valon, the sun was shining in an ice blue sky. The sunlight was sharp and silver, making the White Tower gleam as brightly like a precious jewel. The light also shimmered on the houses below, brightening their brilliant colors until Lanfir felt her heart would burst at the sight of this sheer beauty. This was exactly how she had kept the city in her heart, and deep down inside she had prayed to the Creator that she would return to Tar Valon on a day of sunshine and beauty.

And today she did. Lanfir held her mare in and just looked at Tar Valon, not even trying to blink the tears away. She was home. Home at last. And today of all of this days after so much rain and bad weather, the Light was blessing her by illuminating her path back to the White Tower. It had to be a sign.

The rest of the travelling party was still behind her. Impatient as she was, she had left the wagons and galloped forward to have a moment alone when she would see Tar Valon again. She had not seen it in over a century, and it was as glorious as she had ever dreamed.

The contrast with her last return to Tar Valon could not be greater. On that day, over a century ago, she had returned from Fal Dara with inner wounds and a sense of failure that she thought would never heal. It had been a sharp reminder of the naive Green Sister that had left - still thinking she had the world at her feet and hoping of a glorious return to the Tower after a delivering a devastating defeat to the Shadow. But on the day of that return, it had been drizzling with rain and the day seemed shrouded in an eternal twilight. As a young girl, she had dreamed of cheering masses welcoming her home, but there had been none to greet her but the rain that day. It had broken what was left of her heart into a million pieces.

Now it only seemed that the glorious return had just been postponed. Lanfir was older and wiser, so she was not foolishly hoping for the love of the masses and their cheering and whistling with glee at her return, but the precious jewel that was the fabled city of Tar Valon was glorious enough by itself.

She heard Taya's horse whinney behind her, but paid no attention to that for now. This was her moment... it would pass soon enough.

"Hello Tar Valon," she whispered with a voice that was thick with emotion. "Your lost child has returned home..."


~Lanfir Leah Marithsen
Green Ajah

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

It was a moment of great power as Taya rode up to have her first view in a long time of the great city of Tar Valon. The day was so splendid it took her breath away. All she could do for a moment was sit her horse and stare. The awe and joy she felt at this sight were contained securely within. Outwardly she was as calm and collected as ever. Well, as I always am on a good day, anyway, she thought wryly, recalling that in recent months she'd had quite a few bad days. But I am home now...and how different it is to what I expected when I left.

The Namandar expedition had led to the uncovering of several great treasures. No doubt the Browns, and even some Greens, believed the lost city to be the greatest treasure of all. But Taya had a hard time comparing it favourably in value to the woman sitting on a horse just ahead of her, and the other riding somewhere behind. Two lost Greens now recovered, and on their way back to the Tower they had left so long ago. It must be especially strange for Lanfir to be standing here, beholding the city after more than one hundred years away. But Lanfir didn't seem disturbed. She seemed taken aback, deeply moved...but happy.

Then old and bitter memories do not swarm in and consume her, Taya thought as she turned her attention to Lanfir's back, her curly blonde hair lifting in the slight breeze, her horse shifting gently beneath her. She is truly at peace with past events. And shouldn't we all be? It has been long enough!

Taya did feel peaceful at this moment. But she knew that even the most distant experiences had the tendency to come back and bite her. She didn't know why, only knew that she sometimes felt like she had missed the lesson where Aes Sedai learned to grow wise and all-knowing.

It didn't matter to Taya presently. She was too happy to be home to dwell on what moods might take her in the future.

Taya heard Lanfir whisper something, but couldn't make it out. Perhaps if she'd been embracing saidar she would have picked up on it. But she didn't really need to hear the woman's exact words. She gave Lanfir a few moments more, and meet her grey gaze as swung around. "We are nearly there, my friend," Taya said softly. "Why stop now?"

And she rode forward and past Lanfir, heading down the gentle slope towards the bejewelled spectacle of a city below. She too had come home, and she didn't feel too eager to leave again anytime soon.


Taya Sedai
Bonded to Old Man Eos

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

: : : : Failure. Every breath she took was tainted with it, her sleeping haunted with it, her bleak mood stained with it. Its icy tendrils had filtered into her heart and left her cold inside and out. She wiped dust from her face with an unsteady hand and found her cheek as chill and pale as marble; she willed her countenance to adopt a likewise still, imperturbable expression, but her mouth was set tight and hard and she guessed her expression was austere and forbidding rather than calm. It matched her mood more closely. Inside she was numb and frozen; the mechanical part of her mind prepared her report and gathered her strength for the impending confrontation with Arette and Karana, delegated tasks to various lieutenants, carefully constructed a wall round her grief and anger- and looked vainly for excuses. She had handled every accident and incident along the route with calm and confidence. She had recovered many valuable treasures from Namandar. She had showed true skill with her strategy during the battle. She had commanded the earthquake as other Aes Sedai could only dream of and saved the lives of everyone present.

: : : : Logically Sirayn understood this to be true. But her heart still cried out in grief and guilt for losing the city. My responsibility. My charge. My fault. She felt bruised and battered both inside and out. She felt like a complete failure. As a leader, a warrior and a sister, she had failed spectacularly, the shooting star crashed to earth once more. Any of her counterparts could have done a better job. And it was hard to sit still while they patted her on the shoulder and commiserated and said how well she’d done, and spoke of how they owed their lives to her … didn’t they all know that Taya or Raeyn should have taken her place? Sirayn didn’t want to even think about Lanfir. Though damn, there she’d gone and done it again. Despite the fact that for a week she hadn’t been able to look at Lanfir without a smile she couldn’t resist and touching her ribs ruefully where she had punched the older sister but good, Lanfir would have been ten times better. She should have handed over as soon as they reached Tanchico. Perhaps Lanfir could have saved the city. Perhaps anyone but she could have managed it.

: : : : Sirayn had been riding silently for a long time. She thought she’d been riding with head bowed and shoulders slumped never daring to look up for months and it felt like the party’s cares all rested on her. She would gladly have shouldered all the weight of the world for Taya and Lanfir but fortunately enough they didn’t know it. Seiaman rode at her left hand, Losyn at her right, while other Aes Sedai rode in loose formation with their Warders and Tower Guards close by. The wagons rolled along at the rear of the party flanked by a small guard. The brilliant weather and proximity of Tar Valon had lightened the subdued mood enough for several conversations to break out and to all intents and purposes, it was a contented party Sirayn was bringing home. Except for her. Her mood was so heavy and dark she couldn’t remember ever being happy … and with a small shock she realised that she had never been genuinely happy since the year of her raising. And that was long past. What had she been doing during those intervening years? Not truly living. Merely surviving and trying to fulfil what was expected of her while supporting everyone who needed her. Somewhere along the line she had forgotten what it was like to be happy. No wonder Lanfir would have been better. You can’t even sort out your own life, let alone sort out everyone else’s.

: : : : The sound of hooves drew her out of her thoughts and Sirayn glanced up to see the object of her considerations gallop on ahead. Taya gave her a moment and went on after her. Sirayn realised that they were very close to Tar Valon and that Lanfir would get her first sight of the White Tower in several decades. And isn’t the weather perfect for it? Sirayn thought, half bitterly. This was Lanfir’s moment, not hers, and as she watched Lanfir and Taya ride ahead, she felt the disappointment keenly. It should have been a glorious homecoming for her as the leader of a triumphant party bearing great treasures for the Amyrlin’s pleasure. Instead she was left sitting here watching. On an impulse Sirayn urged her horse ahead and rode after them, drawing up right behind Taya and Lanfir as they gazed down at the city. Looking at them Sirayn felt like the ghost at a funeral. She was black to their white, shadow to their light, defeated to their triumphant and she had rarely felt more out of place. One glance at the glory of Tar Valon glittering in the sunshine and her grief broke loose. Her eyes stung and her throat tightened, and she clenched one hand into a fist and cursed softly, fighting back her grief and fury. And no, she would not cry. Not here. Not now. Not in front of them. But if she had a life to give in exchange for all that had been lost in Namandar beneath the ground, she would … but the one she possessed was sworn over to the Battle Ajah and not hers to waste.

 

~ Sirayn ~

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

Grief crashed down on her as a waterfall to a small pebble. This trip, this light forsaken trip had taken her heart and ripped it wholly out of her chest. She had thought that Ebou Dar was bad, oh no Ebou Dar was a pittance compared to this. For she had lost a promised in Ebou Dar, but she still lived yes she still lived. Her warder dead, perished in the depths of the city lost. A love rediscovered yet she was unable to accept that love or return it the way it deserved. She had lost Jared and what did she have to show for it, absolutely nothing. A few pittance of Angreal that had been found, when they should have had a treasure house full.

Jade glanced up and saw the tower in the distance, she sneered, unable to stop the look from crossing her face. Why do I have to deal with this curse, why couldn't I just be dead, I should have perished in that dome with my warder. Why oh why am I still alive while he lays shrouded under dirt outside Namandar. She looked in front of her and saw that Sirayn, Lanfir, and Taya all sat on their steeds staring at the tower in the distance. She wondered at each woman's thoughts and sent reassurance through the bond as she felt the concern coming through it. She almost must turned around and smiled but decided to ride up toward the other woman.

She rode her horse forward and came to breast with Sirayn, she saw the concerned look cross her friends face and she realized that she must not be concealing her hurt as well as she thought. Jade squeezed her friends hand on the reins and then straightened her backbone, sucking in the pain and plastering the Aes Sedai calm onto her face. This look had become harder and harder to manage over the months. She thought back to her collapse after the attack and the death of her gaidin. Strength had gotten her back to the camp and into her tent. The pain had crashed in on her and she had been incoherent for days. Seia was a constant companion in her tent, trying to get her to eat, so sleep, to wash. Nothing had seemed to matter and her gaidin had watched her with concern and protectiveness. Jade returned to the present day and glanced at the woman near her, What would the future bring for each of them, what hurt and joy would each of them experience. She turned her face away from them and gazed up at the tower...

Jaydena Sedai

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

There it was. The Shining Walls of Tar Valon. She didn't know where she had read that, but oh, the words were so well chosen, particularly on this day. The sun shone on the walls and the all encompassing Tower ahead, and made them shine as if they were made of mother-of-pearl. It took Lyanna's breath away. Up in the distance, Taya and Lanfir stood, horses abreast, taking in the view. She could only guess what Lanfir was feeling after havind been away for a century. Lanfir returned home, the woman who had lost everything was left behind in the ashes of Namandar and the slate had been wiped clean.

I wonder what the future will bring her. What the Tower will bring her, Lyanna wondered silently. Lanfir would walk in there, a living Legend who's portrait decorated the walls in more than one place. She would encounter Sisters whom she had never met, but whom would instantly recognize her. I walk in her shadow always, Lyanna thought to herself, but without bitterness. She wasn't sure whether she would ever want to be in Lanfir's shoes. Lanfir had a way to go, she would be a rising star within the Tower, Lyanna was sure of that.

And yet, she herself had been welcomed back into the Ajah like another Legend walking. Lyanna didn't really know what to think of that. Yes, she had been away from the Tower long, but not nearly as long as Lanfir. Yes, they had presumed her dead and now she seemed arisen. But she had never been a battle leader or a general. She was exceptional with Fire, and a true veteran by this time, but so many Sedai had been that before her. I hope they will get used to seeing my face in the halls again, she mused. Now that I am back, I want to make a difference. I want to give my soul and my whole livelihood to this place that will always accept me, no matter where I have been and how I have fared. I must find a way to pay the Mother back.

The Tower. The Future. What would it bring her? They brought news of a mission that had not succeeded, yet not failed either. Sirayn seemed torn by inner turmoil, as if Namandar's dome had crashed down upon her instead of upon numerous shadowspawn and the withered corpse of one of their beloved Sisters. She had not failed, instead had saved many lives, yet it didn't seem to register. The woman seemed intent of considering herself responsible for everything amiss in the world. And Jade, oh poor Jade. The loss of a Warder was devastating and some Sisters had been known to loose their minds. Hells, it had brought her to the bottle. And even now that she was Healed, and another bond filled up her mind - thank the Light for Lukas, even though he had almost managed to get himself killed in this very first battle - she felt the void where Mikalen had been. Jared lay buried outside Namandar, but Jade would always carry him with her. A long life was a blessing, but could be a curse as well.

Lyanna spurred on her horse, and left the rest of the party behind her in a whirl of dust. While Taya and Lanfir sped down towards the city, she overtook them and moved her horse in unison with them. The three of them galloped towards one of the bridges which spanned the Erinin like petrified froth. It looked delicate, but it held them with ease as they thundered across it, towards the great bronze gates that seemed to be beckoning. They were home.


Lyanna al'Ellisande
Battle Sister returned
Bonded to Lukas Talinko

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

It had been a perfectly ordinary day for Arette. She had been doing the paper work of the Tower as always and for a first time in a long while, her thoughts got to sidetracks. The last parchment she had been eyeing was a report of the servant in charge of the neatness of the Green Ajah quarters.

Those Greens... Arette had been in surprisingly good mood for a long time since the Hall had approved the new Law she had arranged to be brought before the Sitters after the representatives of the Greens had barged off to Namandar. She wished everything good for the party as a city dating from times of Age of Legends was the discovery of the Age. She wasn't petty enough to pray for failure of Greens when it would endanger reaching a goal like that. And the Brawlers had already got what they deserved.

Name the evil and it appeared. Her door was knocked respectfully and a Tower Guard entered at her call. The young man was wise enough to not waste her time but went straight to business.

"Arette Sedai, as you requested, the Guards of the main gate now report of the return of the Namandar party."

The Brown was greatly tempted to rush to Raeyn immediately to hear all about the wonders they had uncovered but she was the Keeper of the Chronicles and Sirayn would come to give her report to Mother as soon as possible. She was needed then. She dismissed the Guard and went to find Karana wishing that she would not bump into the Battle Ajah's Sitters. Surely the Greens left to the Tower had rushed to them by now to carry the tale of what had happened since Arette had got a word of their return too. And she had no desire to get into any confrontation until she had heard what all had been found from Namandar.

Arette Nenatiar
Keeper of the Chronicles
Raised from the Brown Ajah
Vindictive as an Erinyi

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

OOC: Dude, that is so cool *bursts into sentimental tears*

IC: Taya couldn’t remember the last time she had felt so exhilarated. The wind streamed through her hair, and she was tempted to close her eyes but for the fact that she had to keep directing her horse. She breathed in the morning scents and inhaled the fresh air – it burned her throat with its force. Her two companions might even have thought they heard a faint tinkling of laughter from her as she flew down the hill on horseback. She rode like the wind with her sisters beside her, and with Tar Valon and the Tower in her sights. She came back to life.

They crossed the Erinin and entered the city, by that time having slowed to a trot so that they could greet the guards. Once inside they maintained their slow pace, giving themselves the chance to talk if they so wished. The exhilaration had passed, at least for Taya, and been replaced by a contemplativeness that was almost peaceful. They nodded to the odd sister who passed them by, seeing looks of recognition in some of those faces. They hadn’t been gone all that long, but their mission had been of crucial importance, and well publicised. There was certainly no fanfare to greet them, but since when had the world seen Aes Sedai as worthy of an army’s reception? Even if we are their greatest hope, they haven’t realised it yet, Taya mused calmly as she turned a corner still abreast of her two sisters. Even if they’ll be doomed without us, when Tarmon Gai’don descends, many of us may not live through that battle to receive the recognition they might in hindsight want to give us.

“But that is okay,” Taya whispered as she patted her horse’s glistening neck gently, “for I will die not knowing.” It wasn’t precisely a comforting thought, merely a branch of logic she sometimes ventured down. No matter which Ajah you joined, you were bound to be logical now and then at Taya’s age.

“Did you say something?” Lyanna asked, her familiar voice bringing instant warmth to Taya’s heart. Taya turned to smile at her, and shook her head. “Well, yes I did,” she explained, “But nothing important.” She regarded her friends for a moment before adding, “Yet in fact I do have something I want to say.”

She kept her horse at its relaxed pace and continued to glance now and then ahead of her while addressing her sisters. She kept her tone so soft that only they would hear. “Welcome home, both of you. You have each waited so long…one rather longer than the other…” She smiled mischievously at Lanfir, who returned the smile with her eyes. “…But you are finally here again. I cannot say how proud I am to be here with you, to be your sister. I know I have said it before, in the past…but it remains true.”

And with her piece said, and rather long-windedly compared to how she had usually been speaking of late, Taya fell silent.

Taya Sedai

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

Tar Valon had not changed much. Some streets were subtly different from what Lanfir remembered and some shops and buildings were gone or replaced, but the feeling of the great city remained much the same as she rode through it.

Deep down inside, she could not stop comparing this glorious day to that other return from that other mission - another battle fought to a draw, but this time she saw where they had won, and this time they had come home with a prize. Judging from the tight look and Sirayn's tension she did not think of it that way, and poor Jaydena had lost her warder, but they had fulfilled their mission and they could return with raised heads and their pride still intact.

She made a mental note to herself to offer Sirayn her services if she'd need some advice in breaking the news of the mission to the new Amyrlin. Karana Majin, the Amyrlin Seat. She had been saddened to hear of Kathana's death, but she had known Karana from many meetings in the Hall and knew her to be able and cunning enough for the job. She wondered if she should present herself to the Amyrlin. She probably should pay the Keeper a visit, just to make sure she wasn't listed as 'dead' or 'missing in action' anymore in the Chronicles.

Before her, Lyanna and Taya were exchanging some words. It felt right, to see them there on their horses, the sunlight gleaming on their hair and looking a bit travel-weary, but content. But most of all, to see them together. Lanfir guided her horse next to them when the broadness of the street allowed her to. Lyanna was just asking Taya what she had said.

"In fact I do have something I want to say," Taya told her, extending her smile to Lanfir as well. "Welcome home, both of you. You have each waited so long…one rather longer than the other…" She shot Lanfir one of her well-known trademarked grins that reminded her of the young woman Taya once had been. "...But you are finally here again. I cannot say how proud I am to be here with you, to be your sister. I know I have said it before, in the past...but it remains true."

"It's good to be home, Taya," Lanfir smiled back. "I can't wait to set foot back in the Green Quarters again, and truly be an Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah again."

~Lanfir Leah Marithsen
Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah
Finally home.

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

She watched dully as Taya, Lanfir, and Lyanna went galloping over the bridges and into the city of Tar Valon. Turning her eyes to Sirayn's she could help but roll her eyes at their actions. Nodding at Sirayn they urged their horses into a walk. A much more Aes Sedai like gait, and headed into the city they had been gone from for many months. Glancing back she saw Corbin and Coran riding right behind her. Corbin kept Jared's QS at his side, they had decided as a group to give the weapon to Jared's best friend Terren. She was just sad that they hadn't been able to bring Jared's body back to the tower for burial. Yet she wasn't the only one who had lost someone in that fight and all those bodies had been buried in the soil outside the ruined city.

Increasing her speed in her urge to get back to her rooms and just die, she rode across the bridge and saw the three woman stopped in front of them. Taya was talking to the two sisters and she wore a large smile on her face as she turned to look at each of them. She glanced over at Sirayn and shook her head at the crazy antics of her fellow sitter these last months. They had much time discussing if the sister had gone crazy or something, both of them hoped she hadn't, but then it wouldn't be the first time a Green had lost their mind. No one ever said that their duty was easy and woman had been known to just loose their mind, these woman were quickly retired to someplace away from the tower. Then there were those that just faded out slowly. She nodded sadly and then approached the other woman in the party...

Jaydena Sedai

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

Lanfir's answer only served to warm the day further. Taya's smile faded however as she spotted Jaydena drawing nearer. The woman was sallow-faced and downtrodden, in spite of the Aes Sedai serenity she clung to with determination. No wonder, after the losses she had suffered - they all had. Taya did not feel guilty for the moments of happiness she'd experienced today, however. After all the losses she had suffered, all the hard work she'd put into her Ajah, she deserved a little peace of mind now and then.

She wasn't insensitive enough to flaunt her happiness as Jaydena approached though. She smiled faintly, sadly, and turned her horse away to face the White Tower in the distance. She moved at a far more sedate pace now, knowing that the rest of the party would soon catch up. There were times for celebration and a smile, and then there were times for getting back to business. This was one such time.

Taya shivered inwardly at the thought of the amount of paperwork that might await her when she returned to her office after all this time away.

OOC: muahaha...poor ole Taya has more of a surprise than that in store *G* She's gonna be SO mad!

Taya

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

 

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