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Inquiries (Attn: Kaylan)

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Autumn gone, the northwind scattered leaves, and she gazed out at the crisp winter spread. Snow fell and blanketed the grounds like precious jade, reminding her of Dorian. She had taken to wearing bells in her curls, so the trainee would be able to hear her from far off, and she wondered if he was training inside. If only Dorian could see. After meeting him, she appreciated the marvellous properties of sight she had always taken for granted. She resolved to paint him a picture, or commission Rossa for one, which was probably a better idea. The image of him touching the flakes and layers of the picture pleased her, and she made a note to stop by Rossa's soon. Rossa's was a chamber in the Blue Ajah Quarter though, and she would have to think of her friend as Aes Sedai. Rossa Sedai. Slowly she wondered if Blue Sister would mind doing her this favour.


Across her knees nestled a staff she picked from the armoury to protect herself from her latest student. Strangely, Rory did not try to run anymore, and she did not need the staff, but she was more comforted by its presence. Besides, what if another Novice knocked her down in the corridors. A fortnight ago she had been accosted by three Novices for this diary, and ever since that faithful day she sported the staff everywhere she went. It was either that or to wear her scimitar, but a weapon in the White Tower classrooms would have been too absurd. Then there was that she did not trust herself with a blade when Rory was around. It was always love this and love that from the Illianer, then she would dread seeing whatever her imaginative student had concocted this time.


Reeling from that crisis, she was oddly proud of how she had dispatched the culprits to the Aes Sedai so neatly; sending them on a hopeless prank had seemed more than appropriate, and over the next couple nights the irony of it all had offered her private amusement as she pored over the contents of the record they stumbled into.


Asking around had not gained her much but a few names, and she decided it would not hurt to investigate so long as she was wary. The Novices were caught, yet she would not be. As Accepted she would be able to choose her course of study, and that had opened up some doors where knowledge about the Green was concerned. For such a legendary woman, little was known about her past. At least now she knew Taya was not burnt out, or expelled from the Tower... her position surely belied her (more clandestine) activities.


It seemed she would have to have it from the horse's mouth. One must brave her fears if she was to siphon information, Saline assured herself as she stared at her destination.


Pink paint. It was cute, definitely cute, especially when one considered the formidable Battle Ajah name. She had never much ado with Sisters of the Green Ajah, but it would change to-day. Raising her quarterstaff, she knocked at the door, softly so not to chip the paint.


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The winter air slipping through the cracks around the windows felt no cooler to the Green than a breeze any other time of year, yet it was enough to set her joints aching and make the report that she was trying to write go excruciatingly slowly. Her desk was littered with paper; half-written letters, a book of ciphers, several slim scrolls that had come in from her eyes-and-ears only that morning. A slight gust ruffled the page she was working on, one scroll rolling to the other side of the polished wood tabletop and coming to rest against a sun-bleached skull that was propped up against the wall. She didn't notice. She was more concerned with the flash of pain that the chill had sent through her fingers. But she was too proud to call a novice to stoke the fire, and did not want to heat the room on her own strength.


Old age was a curse, even for one who had managed to avoid its grasp for so much longer than was usual. No, she did not let them see, refused to show any weakness to the children running around the Tower as though it belonged to them. There were only a handful of women in the White Tower now who could remember Kaylan Morin wearing the banded hem, and even fewer who could remember her in white. Those of an age with her were, for the most part, friends; if nothing else she at least counted them as allies. Rivalries had been lost in time (along, she had to admit, with most of her rivals) and now those who were left... Well, they were some of the only women in the land who Kaylan could even consider trusting.


The only others were, of course, her Warders, those companions of long years who bore her ill temper with a stoicism that, frankly, amazed her at times. They may not have known her as long as many of her Sisters, but they knew her infinitely better, and with a smile she gave each of their bonds a fond squeeze, a 'Hello, I'm thinking about you' gesture that was often returned in kind. Their rapport may have been puzzling to others at times, particularly with the 'disrespect' that Mercury often showed (and in front of others, as well, though what they didn't realise was how far she did hold herself back most of the time in public view). But regardless of what others thought, she would not have given any of them up for the world. She had given only one Warder up, of all hers, and she still regretted it every single day. Still loved him as much as she always had, but Kaylan knew her duty.


She was Battle Ajah. She was a living weapon, and had been training as one for centuries. She could not afford love.


There was a tingling sensation as her wards were breached only moments before a knock sounded at her door. Putting the pen down carefully, and stretching out her hands with no regard for the pain the movement caused, Kaylan stood gracefully and embraced the One Power. Beside her, the chair shifted so that it was facing the door, the feet scraping on the floor as it moved.


“Yes?” She called out, taking her seat once more and smoothing green silk over her knees. The white-haired Aes Sedai would have looked regal, sitting like that, if her dress had not been scandalously low cut by every nation's standards. That was one thing that had never changed. Many were used to it by now, used to her eccentrities, but Kaylan still heard the whispers. It was the simplest misdirection. No-one noticed a dagger in your hand if your bosom was spilling out of your dress. “Come in.”

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