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A Red in the Blue Quarters

Jagen Sedai

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Jagen pulled on one of her new dresses she received from the seamstress just that morning. It was a deep, dark red with long sleeves and a square neck, snug in a Taraboner fashion. A matching corset with black rose decoration went over it and laced in the front with black ribbons. Each of her long braids had bright red beads in them.


Knowing where she was going, Jagen was debating with herself on wearing her shawl or not. On one hand, she wondered if she should, going where she was. On the other hand, if she didn't, that would be giving in to them, wouldn't it? She did not want to give in to their bullying gazes. She grabbed up the shawl with its long red fringe and placed it neatly on her shoulders, then left her room, head held high.


She looked at no one along the way, ignoring servants and Accepted and novices alike, especially when she got closer to the Quarters of the Blue Ajah. She walked up the spiraling stairs and went through the entry way. The amount of blue made her feel sickened. She sighed and kept walking, red slippers falling quietly on the tiles, her head high. She was here for business after all. Though where, she wondered, was Estel's room? Knowing she'd have to ask she let her gaze wander to a tallish woman with blond hair and blue eyes. She blinked. It was Aeveryn, a friend of Estel's, she knew. She either had really good luck, or bad luck.


The Blue was about to speak when she overrode her, "Excuse me, where is Estel's room?" She didn't sound rude, but speaking before the other woman did, maybe she wasn't getting such a good start on her mission.

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Aeveryn had been looking out the window of her sitting room. It was raining outside, and while it was just past noon, the sky made the impression of night being ready to fall. But even with it raining that heavily, she still longed to set off. Just somewhere. Anywhere. What did it matter? But somehow she did not dare. Aeveryn wasn‘t really afraid of much. She thought of herself of being brave. But it seemed wrong to wander off.


Realizing that she was wasting time she made herself leave the window. As a novice she had made her life hard with trying to run away. As an accepted she had spent too much time with studying the shadow rather the learning the weaves that would get her raised. And now that she was Aes Sedai she seemed to waste time with dreaming. It was odd. But then, for the first time since coming here she did not feel as if she was not under constant pressure.


Leaving her quarters she was just intending to go to the library when something stung in her eyes. Only two of the dresses they had ordered had already been delivered, and since once was with divided skirts she was stuck with one dress. Of course the dress was blue. It was a fairle intense color, not too bright and not too pale, and while the dress was fairly plain she still felt like some noble woman intending to attend a ball. Well, she also felt uncomfortable. She had never been dressed like this, and while the silk against her skin was a delight, she felt like a crow that tried to look like a swan. A meager crow at that. Maybe she should consider to wear some rouge and the other ointments other sisters used.


But that was not what irritated her eyes. The red dress coming her way seemed to be on fire. The intense, agressive color was painful in contrast to the placid blue around her. The woman wearing the gown did not make the way she felt any better. A red in the Blue Ajah‘s rooms was an affront in itself. Jagen to come here, into her domain, irritated her rather strongly. How did this girl dare? The last notion of remaining sensible vanished as the other started talking like she was some servant there to show her the way.


She felt like snaring. But somehow she managed to make her anger a tiny ball of ice. Somehow she managed to keep her features smooth. „Estel Sedai‘s rooms are located in the quarters of the blue Ajah.“ The answer was silly, she knew. But she had not yet accustomed to suitable responses, and since she could no longer lie, she thought this had not been bad. „What do you need, Jagen Sedai of the Red Ajah? I hope you have not come here to misplace some of her goods like you have done as a novice.“ Smiling coldly she added: „I still think, theft should be punished severely.“

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Jagen smirked a little. So she was trying to be smart? Time to step lightly, she thought.

"I was a novice. We all do stupid things. Just like those girls who put needles in my dress hem, or decided to put ice down my back. They did something to me and I to them. They learned their lessons, which means I achieved my goal."


She was about to demand the woman show her the other woman's room now, but instead forced herself to calm. She remembered why she came here in the first place. "Now please, Aeveryn, I'd like to see Estel. It's rather important. Please show me to her room." She kept her voice carefully respectful.

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Aeveryn kind of knew she had gone a little to far. There had been the sense of satisfaction with her taunting this red. Well, with this particular red. But with her words kind of failing to rouse anger in the woman before her, another sensation began to dominate. Guilt. Really, her words had been driven by lower motives. Really she should have been a little more polite. The light knew, she had far more mistakes than the woman before her. Not that she would admit to that openly.


Shifting and letting some of her tension leave her muscles she shot the woman another studying gaze. Then she smiled briefly before turning around. „Follow me, please. It will be a pleasure to show you the way.“ For a moment she was surprised that the oaths had permitted her to say that. But then she realized she meant what she had said. This woman wanted to see Estel? She could very well imagine how that encounter would develop. It would be amusing to watch that.


As they passed around a corner Aeveryn stated: „That is a lovely dress you are wearing. Of course, the color is not my choice. And it looks a fraction tight around the waist. But to be honest, I would expect something as thrilly on a green sister. Or is the Red Ajah nowadays stirring away from their believe all men are troublesome?“ Of course, since her first words about the other sister‘s dress she had been intending to make that turn, but now that she had, something else occurred to her. For the first time that day she did not feel like irritating the red sister.


Aeveryn had just led the Red Aes Sedai through a hallway when she asked: „Jagen, I don‘t assume you have been witnessing a male… I mean a male being able to channel… being questioned, and tried yet, or?“ Jagen was probably to new to the red Ajah to know more then she knew, but there was the chance and besides, Aeveryn doubted she would be able to ask another Red sister those questions.


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Jagen smoothed the dress skirt with her hands. The fabric was a dark red, almost black, and the corset that tied around her waist was black as well. Always a slim woman, it was rather comfortable, and the feeling of soft silk made her feel beautiful. And she had wanted to wear something a little revealing since her days in those annoying novice and Accepted dresses. This was the first time in sixteen years, counting her time as a servant in the Palace, that she was able to wear what she wanted. And she could afford silks!


"You know I really think it's a sad rumor that just because we are Red, means we do not like men. That's not unnecessarily true. I'm as much a woman as you are. I'll let you think about that."


Then after a moment Aeveryn asked her second question, one that caught her a bit off guard. Why was she curious to know? Btu she answered carefully, "I have witnessed certain cases that have come to the Tower. Why?" She certainly recalled the last man there, after all, who killed the Amyrlin. Jagen was of course one of the Reds against studying the channeling men at all. There was nothing to study! Any channeling man who came within a thousand paces of the Tower should be gentled where he stood, in her opinion. They were only asking for it if they came near the Tower after all.


They reached a door. Hoping it was Estel's she looked down at Aeveryn expectedly.

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Aeveryn could see what the other meant with that reply. And yet, she was not sure entirely what the other intended to imply. Men were kind of distant to her. Men held little meaning. Did this woman assume she was the kind to ogle the warders train in the yards? That she mooned over being kissed and wished to have children? Aeveryn‘s lips became a thin line for a moment as she wondered if the rumor had been spread she had run away as a novice because of some male. There were girls that had tried to run for that foolishness. But not her! If someone had told such a thing about her, she would rip that someone‘s tongue out. She would, the light help her! Anyone that knew about her past would know better. Of course, Jagen would not be among those to know.


They had come to the door leading to Estel‘s quarters. However she did not immediately knock. „I was wondering… Does it often turn out that men that channel… are they often also darkfriends? Or is that something that is not being questioned?“ To make the question seem more casual she knocked on Estel‘s door, as if hearing the answer did not really matter that much to her. In her experience Estel could take some time to open. There should be enough time to hear what the other had to say.

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Jagen was now gazing at the other Sister thoughtfully. Just where was the line of questioning leading? What was it Aeveryn wanted to figure out, or squeeze out of her? The Red decided she would answer without giving information away. Was the Blue trying to use her to get information on or against the Red? She must think me foolish.


"Why concern yourself with useless questions? Men must be gentled because they will all eventually go mad. They will murder without knowing what they are doing. That is reason enough to gentle them and be done with it, and I can think of several other reasons why they shouldn't even be allowed to channel. If you cannot think of any, then use your imagination."


She almost wished she didn't say that last sentence. She was getting snippy again. But then, Jagen had little patience for foolish questions. Especially if the person asking them was trying to sneak information out of her. It was all the Red could do not to accuse her on the spot of such a thing.

And where was Estel? Was she going to answer the door? Her hands itched to bang on the wooden obstruction. But she kept her hands folded flat at her waist, right over left, chin held high. Aeveryn didn't intimidate her at all but she already had a tendency to bother her. But maybe if I just be as open as I was with Lillian, this won't be so bad. After all I'm here to ratify what I did the other day. I am here to prove I am better than whatever they think I am

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Aeveryn had hoped for more. But at the same time she had been foolish to think this woman would give her answer easily. What had she expected? That the other would fall on her knees and tells her anything she wanted to know? Hardly! Well, still, she had hoped with someone as new to the shawl as the other matters might have been simpler. But clearly she had been mistaken. Jagen was far to conceited in her opinion. Some modesty and esteem for others would do that woman good.


Aeveryn signed. She did not like it, but most what the other had said had been a typical Aes Sedai answer. In any case, whatever the woman would have told her would have only helped her little in her own search. And if the red had said no, it would not have change the conclusion she had come to. For a moment she considered telling the red she herself was certain all male channelers were indeed servants of the dark too. There could not be any other way. Else, men like them would come to the tower of their own to be cured of the cursed ability to channel tainted Saidin. But then she swallowed the notion. As an novice she had been laughed at for thinking so. And in any case, she could keep her believes hidden too. And her goals. She just needed a starting point. Some vile creature that had forsaken the light and sold their soul to the dark one. Surely, once she had one of them in her hand she would be able to press the names of others from their lips. A male channeler would have been a good point to start. But then it would have been a tricky way to begin. Actually thinking about it she came to the conclusion it would not have been all that good. The nature of male channelers made it difficult to be alone with them long enough to questions them. And from what Aeveryn knew, hard questioning would be needed to learn anything. She feared darkfriends would require the kind of interrogation the white tower disapproved.


She just contemplated to press the point a little further, any knowledge was valuable, but then Estel did pull the door open.


„Estel Sedai… this red is seeking you.“

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Guest Estel

The incessant pounding upon the door was met with much under-the-breath cursing which, despite her known temper and inability to adhere to the infamous “Aes Sedai decorum”, she dared not utter too loudly.  Despite being everybody’s least favourite little sister, Estel had had to put up with two visitors already that morning.  Serena and Melian’s constant nagging and reminders did little to assuage the Domani’s nasty temper.  That she now had a third visitor, who was unlikely to be any kinder on her nerves than its predecessors, set her temper to boiling.


She took her time in getting to the door.  There was nothing overtly rebellious she could do to her sisters to pay them back for their constant babysitting, lest she risk worse penances than those she already served, and so the young Blue was reduced to pettiness.


All her irritation flew out the window when she saw who it was at her door… or rather the two people at her door.  Mind you, irritation was gone, but her temper practically had steam pouring out her ears.  A disparaging, wolf-like snarl peeled her lips back.  “Well look who it is.  The cardinals flown the coup and ended up in the jay’s nest.  Funny, I thought jays were usually the thieving ones.”



Jagen almost smiled at Estel. Again one of the Blues to a comment about what she did in her novice days. Could they think of nothing better? Sure she had the upper hand, the Taraboner decided it best not to return the comment. "Me, I have come to speak with you Estel, if I may. I am sure you have the time."



“Come to talk?  There’s a surprise,” Sarcasm seemed to be becoming Estel’s primary language “and here I was thinking you’d come for a nice tumble.”  The Blue hoped the combination of her crude tongue and nearly non-existent modestly was at least making the woman uncomfortable, if not down-right enraging her.



But Jagen only kept her smile. She knew the moment she decided to come here after her talk with Lillian that she'd have to put up with the snide comments and glaring eyes. Not directly offered an invitation in, though, she stayed standing where she was. "I think you'll want to hear what I have to say, Estel."



“Really?” she feigned excitement.  “Oh my, the cardinal has decided to share her infinite knowledge with I, a mere ruckus-causing Blue!  I am truly, deeply honoured.”  Estel put every ounce of derision possible into her curtsey, deep enough for a Novice to the Amyrlin Seat.



"Be careful not to tip over," Jagen said casually. "Well, I guess I'll take that as an invite." And she brushed pass the taller woman as if entering her own room. "Do you have tea?"



‘Wha- … How…  She… Wai-…’  Estel mentally spluttered as the woman swept past her.  She might well have been Sirayn for all the care she gave the taller, fuming woman.  Jagen lacked the Amyrlin’s coldness though and certainly the blackmail and oaths used to tie Estel to Sirayn’s remaining hand.


‘The sheer audacity!  The nerve!  How dare she!  The impudent little bitch!  The… The…’  Estel wished she had someone else’s vocabulary for a minute to spew out a thousand different adjectives for the woman.  It took some time before she was calm enough to reply in anything except the glorious language that is cursing.


“I have tea,” her icy tone dropped the temperature of the room “but I’m afraid you’ll have to make it yourself, lest my hand accidentally slip something in it.”



"No worries; I was going to make it myself anyway." Her tone was casual, calm. She went over and poured herself a cup. She stirred just a drop of honey and glided over to a chair, seating herself as if she had not a care in the world other than arranging her shawl, holding her cup delicately. Then suddenly she blinked and turned that doll-like face up to look at Estel, her look almost innocent.  "Oh, should I have offered you some?"



The urge to scream was nearly all-consuming.  “It’s only my bloody apartment.  But what does this matter?”  When the woman set kettle back on the table, Estel made no move to pour herself anything.  “I don’t exactly trust the steadiness of your hand either.  Now, what could a Red possibly tell a Blue that would make looking at that ridiculous colour worthwhile?”



Jagen's lips tightened. It was subtle, but it was there nonetheless. She raised an eyebrow at her, dark blue eyes trained on hers. "Really, is there any need to act like a child, throwing insults every other sentence?" She took a sip of the tea and set the cup on the saucer, then she it on the table. All with calm, controlled movements. With hands placed on her lap she said smoothly, "I came here to apologize for what happened the other day. It was wrong of me to act like that and to say you looked like a Tinker." However her attitude still needed working on, in the Red's opinion. Just what was Estel's problem anyway?



Shock of all shocks!  She was apologizing?  Who put her up to it?  Sirayn?  Highly unlikely, Sirayn seemed to enjoy torturing her.  Lillian?  Highly likely.  Sometimes she wondered whether the newly-raised White thought of herself as Estel’s mother, despite being some twenty years younger.  “So you come, barging into my room, throwing every semblance of decorum out the window, to apologise?”  The Domani threw back her head and laughed at the hilarity of the situation.



Jagen waited as she laughed. She picked up her tea again and sipped it, and once the woman had calmed gave a simple, "Yes, I did."



Her statement, said so seriously over the rim of her… Estel’s actually- teacup, threw the Blue into another fit of laughter.  “You did?” she ask, still chuckling.  Upon the woman’s nod, Estel shook her head.  “Did Lillian put you up to it?”



"How old do you think I am?" she asked, rather firm in her tone now and obviously disapproving of the question. It wasn't rather nice to mention age either, but Jagen did it to make a point. "We are adults. More than that. We are Aes Sedai. I did not need to be told or even given the suggestion to come here. I did so of my own volition." She was trying hard not to mention Estel's own behaviour, but she was sure the woman would catch on soon enough. If she was clever.



“You’re young enough to be my daughter.” the Blue snorted.  “And if we are adults, then you can have the hard truth.  I neither want nor give a damn about your apology.  We are bound by the Three Oaths, but do you think I care at all that you mean the words you say?”  Estel shook her head derisively.  “What are your words to me?  I’ve had far worse from people I actually care for.


“Do you think you earned that Shawl around your shoulders yet?  Those tests that “make you Aes Sedai” are nothing compared to what it is to be Aes Sedai.  Who did you leave behind in your Arches?  During your hundred weaves?  Do you think that felt real?  Do you think that hurt?  Wait until you really have to do it.  Not in some simulation, but really have to leave them behind.”  Light blind her, what did this woman know of pain?  There was a boy, left behind in Bander Eban who would never see his mother.  There was a grave in the Borderlands, marking the place where his father lay.  Burn the woman, what did she know about having to leave behind the only person she had ever loved?


“How old do I think you are?”  Estel repeated the question for the second time, mocking it.  “If you think swallowing your pride to apologise to a Sister who you hate makes you Aes Sedai; is what it means to be Aes Sedai, then you’re in for a sad reawakening soon.  That test, the one still so fresh in your mind, that was only to prepare you for what’s to come.  If you think this,” Estel took the edge of the woman’s red shawl, picking it up as if it were something disgusting “is a shield, you’re horribly wrong.  It’s a burden and a weight.  It’s a wound that will never heal; that will pain you from the day you put it on, till the day you die.”



Jagen snatched back her shawl and set her cup down. It nearly clattered to the floor. She stood up and wrapped the shawl around her more. "I came to state my apology because I believe I see something you don't," she snapped, cool fury now plainly evident on her face. "I came because I think we need sisterhood. Who cares if I am of the Red Ajah? Would you like me any more if I wore blue instead? Or yellow? Would you hate me less? Answer me truthfully! Because I think your hate wouldn't extend to me so far if I wore another shawl on my shoulders."



Estel laughed bitterly.  “Red versus Blue.  Do you think that’s what this is?  I don’t hate you.  I’d have to give a damn about you to hate you.  There are plenty of people I hate and honestly, most of them aren’t in the Red Ajah.  You seem to think your insults meant something to me.  You’ve deluded yourself into thinking everyone cares about what happens to you.  Wake up, they don’t.


“You talk of the Sisterhood of Aes Sedai.  A sisterhood in name only.  Yes, I have sisters who might as well have come from my mother’s own womb.  I also have sisters whose untimely deaths would positively elate me.”



Jagen let out a breath. She wasn't sure if it was a sigh or trying to release her anger. Most likely both. "What do you live for then?" she asked. "Do you care about the world around you? You should be trying to your best to get along with other Aes Sedai, not throw insults at them every two minutes."



“Do I care about the world around me?  That is what I live for.  It’s not about me, it’s about making a difference.  This” she held up her finger, the finger that would normally hold a wedding ring “isn’t about me, about you, about a single one of us.  It’s about what we bloody well stand for and that’s to make the world a better place than how we left it.”



"I feel the same," the Red agreed. "But then why the anger? Why the show you give everyone of discontentment?"



The Domani didn’t answer.  To avoid it, she picked up the kettle, pouring herself a cup of tea.  Her evasion was obvious but she really couldn’t care less.  Light but she hated these questions- the ones she didn’t know how to answer.  “If you wanted to discuss philosophy, might I refer you over to the White quarters.” said the Blue wryly. 

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OOC: I will use this to have Aevy grow even more irritated for that other thread we discussed.


For a little Aeveryn was amused the way Estel tore the red to pieces. Well even if Jagen pretended to not notice. But then watching her sweep past Estel into the blue sister’s rooms war surprising and a clear evidence of Jagen lacking the required respect due. Aeveryn could tell that Estel had all but forgotten her by the way the woman nearly slammed her room’s door into her face. It was only her quick reaction that enabled her to avoid a flattened nose. Wide eyes she stared at the wood of the door for a moment. She could not believe it. She had worked harder then most to gain the shawl, and now she was being ignored by everyone, even by sisters of her own Ajah, if favour of a dirty red? She felt like grinding stone. No, she felt like grinding between stones like a miller did with wheat.


For a moment she stared angrily at the wood and listened unintentionally at the conversation inside. So, Estel thought the reason the other was red was not reason enough to hate her? Aevy’s believe was different. But the main reason for her cold hate was another. She did not think her the centre of importance. But she would not be treated like a serving woman that would show anyone the way and then be forgotten.


Proudly she stalked off. Her face was blank. But her mind worked feverishly on how to inflict mortification on Jagen.


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OOC: okay zemi we figured she could have come in too but okay ^_^



Jagen watched Estel's behavior carefully after her question. Then she weighed the woman's words. She wasn't discussing philosophy at all and Estel knew it. It was about her though. Now she found her curiosity grew to the point of being an annoyance. What could have happened with Estel that she plainly would not talk about it?


"I am not suer it is so much about being Aes Sedai, as much as the choices we make," she said. "The choices you make as a person, not as a Sister. But who am I to say such things right? I was newly raised after all. You think me and my words nothing. Fine. I suppose I was wrong in coming here after all, and my hopes for some bond that might be supported on common ground and goals has been thrown aside like yesterday's wash water. Fine," she said again.


Pointedly adjusting her shawl--she was Aes Sedai!--she gave a slight inclination of her head to Estel. "I suppose we will not have any further dealings in the future unless absolutely necessary. I bid you good day." She was frustrated more than anything. How could anyone hope to get along if everyone was too busy trying to show off how much better they were than the person next to him? But I may be guilty of that very thing, too. Humbleness is not my strong suit. She turned to leave Estel alone, wanting to be back in her rooms amongst the other Reds.

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Guest Estel

The Blue snarled at the woman’s retreating back.  “Good riddance.” she growled.  Who was she to judge what Estel had gone through.  She knew nothing- nothing of her history and did she expect all openness and polite discussion between them?  For Light’s sake, the were Aes Sedai!  Openness wasn’t part of the job description- in fact, it was frowned upon whereas secrecy was held in high esteem.


Fuming, she considered throwing the woman’s teacup at the door that had just closed behind her.  Waste of a teacup though…



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