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A trip for two, but why with you? (Elizabeth and Andular)

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A trip? A break? What could Cavana Sedai have possibly meant? Why would she have to take a trip somewhere and take a break? She was an Aes Sedai now, and that meant that Elizabeth should stay in the tower and begin her duties as such. But no, after she was done with her Oaths and had finished her acceptance in to the Yellow Ajah, she was taken to Cavana’s office where she was told she had to leave the tower for a while. And it wasn’t just leaving as in trouble, or leaving as in a mission: it was leaving as in she couldn’t come back till she was better. There was nothing wrong with Liz! Ok sure, so it had taken almost 30 years for her to become an Aes Sedai... what did that matter?


But what the First Weaver says goes, and Elizabeth wasn’t going to stand against her new Ajah head. The only question was where she was going and when she would be back. Oh and of course who was going with her. That was the strangest part of it. Cavana had said that she needed to speak to someone special about her escort. Well why did it have to be someone special? Couldn’t it just be a few sisters and maybe a female guard or two? That would be a good group... just something small and light with no fuss and no men. No men was the key part.


“Oh what am I to do?” she asked herself as she laid upon her bed. Her room was very nice compared to the Accepted quarters and it was very comfortable. Her bed was huge with soft blankets and a rug upon the floor. She had a fireplace in the corner and a window to see outside. A sofa rested in the middle of the room and there was a wardrobe and a mirror against one wall. There was also a desk in the corner. She even had her own bathing room to one side. Then there was a strange room that was adjacent to hers. It had a nice sized bed in it with a rack for something and a closet. She had yet to ask what it was for but Elizabeth had a feeling it was for what she dreaded, a warder. But she didn’t have to have one and wouldn’t so she wouldn’t have one until she had to. And even then, she probably wouldn’t stay there. Yes, a she. No man would ever be trusted my Elizabeth Ferido.


A wardrobe is a funny thing. On the outside it is simple wood: practically a box. However the inside can hold many things. It could hold secrets or treasures. Simple dresses or prized gowns could be held in store for the owner. What was on the outside was obvious, but the inside was not. Elizabeth hadn’t even opened her’s yet. She still wore the simple blue skirt, the white blouse, and the yellow shawl given to her just hours before. What was held instore inside this closet of hers? Her simple items such as hairbrush and teeth cleaning items were in the room but as for clothing items, Elizabeth only had her accepted dress and an apron that the infirmary had lent to her during her training. Would there be a secret held in store? Or was there instead nothing?


Rising from her bed she went to the door and opened it slowly. Almost immediately a smile slid across her face. “Oh my...” she whispered softly, her fingers reaching out to touch the dark cloak inside and the two dresses. One was a simple cloak that was a light blue with a square neck and modest skirts. The other was a deep red gown that shimmered in the light of the sun that was creeping up outside her window. A note was attached to the cloak as she felt the soft but thick fabric. In repayment for your many years of service in the infirmary. Cavana Elizabeth smiled softly to herself and pulled out the blue gown. It was so pretty that Cavana didn’t know what to do first. She laid it across the bed then began to strip off her skirt and blouse. The Yellow Shawl went over the back of the sofa as she treasured it dearly and began to pull on her blue dress. It fit perfectly and Elizabeth twirled slowly in it. Grabbing the apron that she sawn folded at the bottom of the wardrobe, she pulled it on as well and giggled to herself. “Now I am ready to be a Healer,“ she said to herself.


Pulling off the blue dress, she moved onto the red gown. It was soft and slippery in her fingers as she slid it over her head and it went perfectly into place. The strings in the back were easy to tie and Elizabeth twirled slowly, wonder on her face. Laughing softly, she caught herself in the mirror. Light, when was the last time she had seen herself in a mirror? It had to have been years, at least ten. Who was this woman she saw looking back at her? Her skin was pale beyond belief and a faint scar was down her cheek. There was something in the big almond eyes and in the curve of the lip and made her calm down yet tense up. The figure held by the dress was amazing as Elizabeth had never noticed the curves she saw there. And the scars... they were almost invisible. Who was she?


A knock came at the door and Elizabeth jumped in her skin. “Who is it?” she called out, jumping away from the mirror. ”Cavana Sedai needs you in her office,“ said a sweet voice at the door. Going to open it, Elizabeth saw Nynaeve and Desandre Sedai at the door. “Now?” she asked meekly. ”Yes child, as you are,“ said Nynaeve Sedai. Grabbing her shawl from the sofa, Elizabeth slipped on her slippers from where she had kicked them off earlier and dashed to the door. “Let’s go then!” she said, ready to find out more about her trip. Surely, that was what Cavana Sedai was calling her for.


They spoke none and after a few minutes, they were outside of Cavana Sedai’s office. Both sitters nodded their heads in farewell then left her standing there. Knocking softly on the door, she heard a gentle ”Come in.” Pushing in the door slightly, Elizabeth saw her Ajah head sitting at her desk, smiling. A figure was in a chair before the desk but their back was to her. The person had a cape up and the hood was over there eyes so Elizabeth couldn’t see who it was. Perhaps it was an older sitter that was legendary, returning to the tower only to take Elizabeth away. What an honor that would be! Or perhaps it was a diplomat from a far away city or maybe the Amyrlin Seat. Oh goodness, if it was the Mother, Elizabeth would flip.


“Elizabeth, dear, shut the door,” said Cavana, rising from her chair. Elizabeth did so then bowed her head slightly. Oh curses, she was still in the red dress. “Thank you for my wardrobe, Cavana Sedai,“ she said softly. Cavana nodded her head then stepped up beside the seated person. ”Elizabeth, I would like you to meet your escort to the borderlands.”


The man rose from his chair and removed his hood, bowing himself before her. Elizabeth was backed up against the wall, her head feeling heavy and her stomach falling out. Her face paled immediately and she grabbed the wall behind her, trying to hide. ”Grand Master Andular Rojvas.”

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Thunder echoed overhead and rain began to fall in steady sheets across the warders yard. Andular paused only to pull the hood of his cloak over his head before continuing on. Having received a request and a summons from Cavana Sedai he walked now toward the White Tower. Warders and trainees hurried about the yard putting away equipment and dashing indoors to get out of the rain.


Entering the White Tower the big man thought about what lie ahead. Escorting a sister to the borderlands would be a welcome diversion. It had been a long time since he had been north and it would be good to smell the crisp air of his homeland. The sister he was suppose to escort, Elizabeth Sedai, he knew little of other than having seen the pale woman from time to time. Why Cavana Sedai had picked him for this assignment he had no idea. Likely she made inquiries about seasoned guards who were from the borderlands and knew the terrain well. If that were the case he would have been at the top of most anyone’s list for those qualified. Years spent training and forging himself into a weapon had tempered the Grand Master and regardless of why he was asked he would serve.


Boots echoing as he walked Andular inclined his head as he passed a group of Aes Sedai huddled together talking in whispers. Upon reaching the office that belonged to the head of the Yellow Ajah he knocked and was told to enter. Cavana Sedai a elderly Yellow sister sat behind her desk eyes rising from the papers in front of her as he entered. A hint of a smile tugged at the corners of the woman’s mouth as she greeted him and asked him to have a seat.


Cavana spent the next half hour discussing the trip with him and for his part Andular nodded as she spoke. It came as a bit of a surprise that Elizabeth knew nothing of the trip but then again Aes Sedai were Aes Sedai and it was not for him to question. A knock at the door announced Elizabeth Sedai who entered thanking Cavana for a wardrobe in a musical voice. Standing as he was introduced to Elizabeth Andular bowed his head slightly. The strangest thing happened then, the woman took a step back against the wall and cringed. Cringed! By the light what had gotten into the woman? In all his years he had never seen Aes Sedai behave so.


“It will be a pleasure to escort you to Fal Dara Elizabeth Sedai.” Still she did not say a word just stood there with bulging eyes and mouth hanging open. Cavana tsked behind him and realizing he must be missing something he decided to take his leave. “If you will excuse me I will go make ready for your journey. If it pleases you Aes Sedai meet me in the stables at dawn in two days time.” Elizabeth still did not say a word he mouth opening and closing as if trying to speak but no words came forth. “Cavana Sedai I will take your leave and promise you that your sister will be safe in my care.” Brushing past Elizabeth he made his exit.


Two days later found Andular in the stables with three horses one for himself and one for Elizabeth Sedai and a third to carry supplies. He could still not shake the odd encounter with the woman who he would escort north and hoped the entire trip was not so uncomfortable.”

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“It will be a pleasure to escort you to Fal Dara Elizabeth Sedai.” What was he doing here? Why was Cavana Sedai doing this to her? Nynaeve Sedai had to have Cavana that she was scared of men- hadn’t the tests last night proved that fact? Cavana looked angry as Elizabeth tried to hide, but what was she do to? Was she supposed to pretend it was indifferent to her? Please, last night should have proven something to all the Aes Sedai about Elizabeth and her position with men.


“If you will excuse me I will go make ready for your journey. If it pleases you Aes Sedai, meet me in the stables at dawn in two days time.” Elizabeth opened her mouth to say something but nothing came out. The world was spinning around her and she knew she was going to pass out. The man said good bye to Cavana Sedai then made for the door- brushing by Elizabeth. The door wasn’t even completely shut before Elizabeth was completely slumped against the wall and then on the floor, passed out from the stress of the situation.


That evening, Elizabeth awoke in a warm room that was empty- her room. The fire was going and the moon was shining in as she sat up. Dressed in only her shift, she silently thanked whoever undressed her. She would not want to ruin her new dress, after all. Moving to get out of bed, she saw a note on her desk. Picking it up, she saw it was from Cavana Sedai with a small money purse. She was to go to a woman in the early morning to pick up dresses that had been made for her a few days earlier for her trip. Elizabeth sighed and climbed back in bed, worried of the next few days to come.


The next morning brought Elizabeth a new day and a fresh start. Waking up as the sun rose, she pulled on her new cloak over her red dress and entered Tar Valon. Barely anyone was awake and those that were did not see her as she hid from everyone, even the shadows. The dressmaker’s shop was near the tower and within a few minutes walk she had arrived. It was a woman inside and after trying on all the items and finding them perfect, Elizabeth paid and headed back to the tower.


After entering the tower, she was stopped by a novice with a note. Cavana Sedai was once again asking to see her. Sending her items with the novice up to her room, Elizabeth went straight to the First Weaver’s office. Knocking once, Cavana immediately called her in.


They said nothing as Elizabeth was beckoned to her seat and she sat there staring into the eyes of her Ajah Head. “Why?” she asked after a few minutes. It had seemed like hours. After another like while, Cavana responded. “You need to trust in men. You need to escape the shelter of this tower. You need to grow some, both in your power and in yourself. You have so much potential but so much is holding you back. This trip will help you break free.”


Elizabeth bowed her head as tears came from her eyes. “How long? And where?” she whispered. ”As long as it takes for you to trust him... or anyone for that matter. You shall certainly visit the tower on occasion if it takes a good long while and correspondence every fortnight would be welcome. You are going to the borderlands.”


Oh light... the borderlands. It was practically crawling with men, or so she had heard. It was all about war and battle- more than likely she would have to face powerful men and their swords on an hourly basis. “Then I need to pack a small bag, if I may First Weaver. Something simple with a few supplies and perhaps a few items to take to study, if I may?” Cavana nodded her head and Elizabeth rose from her chair, considering a list in her head.


Going into the library next door, she grabbed a quill and inkpot from the shelf and a piece of parchment from the table that was left for any and all to use. She quickly wrote a list of books she wanted to borrow that were a specialty of healing cuts and infections that surrounded them. It would be her specialty in the infirmary. She then wrote a list of all the herbs and supplies she would need for the trip.


Collecting up the books, she wrapped them all in a weave of Air and bound them together tightly. Leaving the list on the table, she continued downstairs. Once in the infirmary, she gave the list to an Accepted that was close to gaining her yellow shawl as well. The girl looked at her questioning, but Elizabeth simply said she needed the items that night in either a kit or a bag of some sort. The girl nodded her head and ran off to begin collecting items.


Stopping by the main library of the tower on her way to her room, Elizabeth looked for a brown sister. Finding one behind the main desk, she asked for the section on the borderlands. It only took a few minutes before she found the books and asked to borrow a few. They reluctantly agreed, for they had not seen air in years, and Cavana added these to her bundle.


Returning to her room, Elizabeth placed all of her books on her desk. Going to her closet and the new items, she began wrapping them all in air so that they were small but neat. Finding them all suitable, she placed the clothing all in bags to cover them from the dust before placing them in a satchel she found at the bottom of her closet. The items all fit perfectly and the books fit just on top.


Going to her desk, Elizabeth found parchment, quills, and inkpots galore. Rolling the parchment and storing the quills and inkpots inside, she set them carefully inside a saddlebag she also found in her wardrobe. The other side of it she would place her supplies for healing in. Until it was time to get the items from the infirmary, she would relax.


That night, Elizabeth couldn’t sleep. Her dreams were turned to nightmares with images of Edwyn, only now it was Andular’s face. She quickly gave up on regular sleep and took a sleeping drought to push the dreams away and go dreamless once again.


Waking up the next morning, Elizabeth donned her green riding dress and her cape then picked up her bags. In the satchel was her books and clothes, while her saddle bags contained healing supplies on one side and parchment with pressing paper for herbs on the other. She was determined to make this trip worth her while.


Making her room neat and tidy before she left, Elizabeth locked the door and whispered a sweet goodbye to her new home as she set off for the stable. Nerves began to wrack her small frame and as she took her first step from the tower, her hood was raised and she began to slip out of sight from everyone. It took her a little while to avoid everyone she saw, but she made it to the stables. There he was with three horses.


Setting down her main bag, she coughed slightly and felt her knuckles turn white as she gripped her fists for strength. Desandre Sedai always said to fight strength in herself and to breathe no matter what. Breathing slowly, she bowed her head slightly and said, “Good morning, Grand Master.”


He turned slowly then nodded. ”Good morning, Aes Sedai,” he replied. He saw her bags and took them both. She was glad they didn’t make contact and she watched as he tied her bags to the horses. Seeing the one her saddle bags went on, Elizabeth slowly approached it. This was the first horse she had seen in years. Oh, how she had loved the freedom of a horse when she was younger in Murandy.


“Is this... mine?” she whispered softly. ”It is indeed, my lady. Your sisters were very generous. Name her as you wish.” Elizabeth smile softly as she let the mare nuzzle her hand. “I shall think of a name for you, my dear.”


Andular approached as if to give her a boost onto the horse, but Elizabeth hid around the other side. “I can do it myself,” she said, afraid of his touch. He didn’t mount until she did, awkwardly. After a few moments of her getting situated, they were off.


Her hood was raised on the cloak she wore and her eyes were always moving as they went through the yard. Concentrating on her horse alone, Elizabeth tried to avoid the glances of the men around them. More than once she felt the lightheadedness return, but the gentle sway of the giant beast and the fresh air helped cool and calm her.


Not knowing where they were going, Elizabeth followed mutely as Andular led her. It took a few good minutes before they reached a ship. Looking up at it, she didn’t know what to say as Andular paid their fare. Hopping down from her horse, Elizabeth tried to avoid his touch and glance. Light what a long trip this would be.

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