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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Tea Time (Attn: Any Novice & Accepted)


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The Green Ajah's hall hadn't been this clean in years, she thought to herself with a certain satisfaction.  Not that it was ever dirty or even untidy, but she had asked for a special cleaning of the hall for the occasion and the staff of the White Tower had not disappointed.  The battle tapestries that lined their walls were newly cleaned, the various swords that decorated both wall and doors were cleaned and as gleaming as could considering how old some were. 

 

The tea room was warmly decorated and rugs had been beaten and cleaned.  The best dishes were laid about and bowls of punch and pitchers of tea waited her guests.  Plates of biscuits, cookies, and small cakes filled the room with a sweet scent that went well with the mint that drifted up from the warm tea pots.

 

The invitations had been sent and Aramina took a seat in a large chair at the center of the room.  Chairs lines the walls and sat in small nooks to encourage talk among her party today.  More than anything, with the feelings of fear and dislike that ran through the halls, she wanted to promote friendship and camaraderie in the younger generations.  It never hurt to show a little friendship either and see who might be able to fit in with  she and her sisters.

 

So with a cup of tea she sat in the center of the room, waiting for her guests to arrive.

 

Aramina sur Dulciena

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Dre awoke early but habit for her morning chores, the sun not even up yet. She dressed quietly so as not to wake Kirsa in the other bed and slipped out of the door. As she closed the door behind her she noticed two small envelopes on the floor in front of the door, as if dropped there by someone who didn't care to try and deliver them proporly. One bore Kirsa's name, and the other her own. Overcome with curiosity she opened her envelope and inside found an invitation to a tea party with the Greens. Well now, this was lovely. She hadn't thought her ambitions to the Green were public knowledge. Estel must have arranged the invite. Her Mentor knew her too well.

 

Slipping back into the room she left Kirsa's invite on the small washstand they shared, hoping she wouldn't miss it, and headed down to the kitchens. She hoped she would have time after her lessons to clean up before going to the party. She wanted to make a good impression.

 

After her lesson she just had time to dash upstairs and clean up, donning a clean dress. The one she'd been wearing had a scorch mark on it because her partner had been a little too eager to make a fireball. she saw that Kirsa's invite had been opened and was tossed now on her bed, but Dre hadn't had the time to speak with Kirsa, but she hoped she'd show up.

 

Finally she left the room and made her way to the Green Ajah quarters. She felt so nervous as she entered the main hallway, seeing all the Sisters there, looking so regal and powerful. Nearby a pair of Warders practiced hand-to-hand combat while an Aes Sedai smiled at the both of them. Dre couldn't help but sigh. She hoped she'd have a Warder someday.

 

Following the directions she finally arrived at the tea room. She stood outside the door for a moment, trying to calm her nerves. She was afraid she was going to mess up and then they'd never let her join.  She thought about her brother, and about how she needed to do this for his memory. Steeling herself she opened the door and walked inside.  Her eyes alighted upon all the tapestries and weapons and she stared in awe, not even noticing Aramina at first.

 

Walking across the room she fingered a large tapestry depicting an Aes Sedai and several men that must have been Warders fighting a large group of Trollocks. Lightnigns fell among the Shadowspawn and the men carved an open circle around the Aes Sedai. It was very well done and it fascinated her.  She was startled though when she heard a soft cough behind her. Spinning around she spotted Aramina, and giving a squeak of fright she fell into a curtsey, her head down, trying to hide her blush.

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Sial Daemoa woke up. Barely. She was not a morning person. In fact, she wasnt a waking up person in general. Six months at the White Tower had not changed her that much. Clawing herself out of her narrow bed, she stood shivering in her room, her shift twisted and her elbow-length dark hair touseled and rough. Its a bloody good job I dont have a roommate-the poor woman would get a shock waking up to me looking like the Dark Ones regurgitated breakfast... She spashed herself with the cold water from a jug on the table and dressed quickly into clean Novice white. By the time she left her room she was clean and tidy, hair neatly tamed into a long plait and her dress crease free. Her bed was made and her tiny fireplace had a little stack of wood ready fro lighting in the grate. She even managed a semblence of awake. That lasted a whole of 10 minutes-better than usual-until she went to scratch her ear with nails black from fiddling with the firegrate and left fingerprints of coaldust on her collarbone, whereapon she was forced to rush back to her room to wash again, gallop around the kitchens on Aes Sedai breakfast waitress duty, then sprint to a history lesson with her mentor, Lillian, without time for breakfast herself.

 

For Sial, this was a usual, everyday occourance. What wasnt everyday was that when she returned early from her lesson and went to her room, she noticed an envelope half stuffed under her door with a shoeprint on. The shoeprint was her own, she soon realised, and opened the note with curiosity. An invite? To a tea party?! This has to be a bloody joke...since when do Aes Sedai throw tea parties for Novices? Its either someone playing a prank or setting me up...but what if its genuine? The 19 year old cairheinin could quite easily have pondered over the matter for a long time, and perhaps if she had she would have gone to see one or two of the few allies she had amongst the Novices to see if they had an invite too, but she realised the time. "The wheel waits for no woman," she mocked herself out loud as she stuffed the invite into her pocket and headed off to the Green Quarters. I swear, if this is a trick so someone can dump a basket of bleeding eggs on my head or something, Ill bloody well-

 

Scowling to herself and muttering under her breath, the little darkeyed woman strode along the Tower corridors to the Green Quarters, thinking up the worst, most humiliating scenarios possible that could be about to occour. Not only was she cairheinin with a past history of dabbling in merchants Daes Dae'mar but she also possessed a strong imagination that meant her scenarios ranged from some other uppity Novice trying to improve their social status by setting her up to the Amyrlyn herself inventing this as an elabourate plot to weed out the weak. Sial continued in this vain, getting more and more complicated. That is, she did right up until she reached her destination.

 

Sial had visited the green quarters before. You didnt go half a year in the Tower without trotting around all the Ajah Quarters at least occasionally. The Green Quarters were never dull. Today, however, someone had gone all out with the cleaning. The hallways positively sparkled. It was the Green Hall that stopped the Novice short, however, and not just because of the magnificent decorating. There was food! Almost as if there genuinely was a tea party...

 

She hadnt been prepared for this. She hadnt been expecting to find exactly what the invite said. The fact that the invite was blunt truth unnerved her more than if she had found someone with a slingshot shouting 'surprise!' Aes Sedai...blood and ashes, there has to be an ulterior motive...

 

Sial shuffled as noncholently as she could manage into the Green Ajah Hall, one hand uncoinciously twiddling the end of her now-scruffy plait. Theres a bleeding Aes Sedai with a cup of tea and everything! She fought the inclination to flee. Perhaps that was due to common sence; you couldnt show up in a room with a Sister in and then run like the Forsaken were chasing you. Or perhaps it was due to that intreguing smell of mint and biscuits...

 

Sial Daemoa

Suspicious Novice

(OOC: Hope you dont mind me joining in!)

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Melianna woke up earlier than usual this particular morning. She often woke up early, but she needed extra time today to look her best. Today she is going to visit Aramina and attend her Tea. She washed her face, donned her whitest novice dress, brushed her hair, and braided it as best as she could. How she wished to put her bells in her hair again, or even some ribbon!

 

She scurried out of the novice quarters and headed up to the Ajah quarters. It took her a few minutes to find it, as she had only been there once before.

 

"Here I was hoping to be early. On time never seems to be good enough for Aes Sedai, and late was worse." she thought.

 

One arrival in the Green quarters, she gapped at all the food arrayed on tables. She had only once before seen this much food, but she never got to eat any of it. It took her a deal of effort to stop from drooling. To her disappointment, two other novices were already there. An Aes Sedai was sipping a cup of tea on a finely decorated chair, so she curtsied quickly. At least this one was less intimidating than the last Green she met, but she still scared her. She went to go talk to a novice on the other side of the room. She had heard her called Dre before.

 

Melianna Hollmen

Novice

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Kirsa woke to find her roommate Dre already gone. She quickly got up and arranged the room, even though she was stumbling around mostly. It took forever for the fifteen year old to completely wake up. Once she did, she changed into a clean Novice dress and spotted a note. She went over and saw that it was an invitation to a tea party. She had never heard of such a thing but it would have been rude not to show up. She quickly twirled her black hair behind her head and stuck two decorated sticks through it to keep the bun up. She looked at herself in the mirror missing the paints form home and sighed. Her mother would have killed her for going anywhere with out paints. This cheered the Ebou Dari girl up massivly.

 

This left her in a happy mood for the rest of the day. She rushed back to the room and put down her long, silky black hair for the tea party and double checked how she looked. She looked fantastic as usual. She glided over to the Green's area, having to stop several times to ask directions. She hated not knowing where everything was.

 

She entered and curtsied to the green sister there perfectly and rose to spot several other girls were there, including Dre. Kirsa smiled and walked over to the other girls.

 

"Hi Dre. Is this seat taken?" she asked with her usual caressing voice.

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After Dre dropped her curtsey the Aes Sedai introduced herself as Aramina Sedai. Dre couldn't help but blink in surprise at that.  The Keeper of the Chronicles had invited her to a tea party? She couldn't believe her luck. Aramina told her to make herself comfortable and Dre began walking around the room, studying the tapestries and weapons with fascination after grabbing a cup of tea.

 

A few minutes later another Novice entered the room, looking around as if she suspected some sort of trap. She almost laughed out loud when she saw Aramina. Dre could swear the girl's jaw almost hit the ground in surprise.

 

Shortly after that a novice she recognized named Melianna walked in. She curtseyed to Aramina and then walked over toward Dre.  Dre smiled at her in welcome and the two spoke for a couple of minutes.  They sat at the table and began snacking as they chatted. Dre then looked over as the door swung open yet again and Kirsa walked in.

 

"Hi Dre. Is this seat taken?"

 

Dre smiled and gestured to the seat next to her.

 

"Not at all Kirsa. Glad to see you were able to come.  Kirsa, this is Melianna.  Melianna, this is my roommate Kirsa."

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So thats the way it is. Sial was tempted-dearly tempted-to turn heel and go back to her room. Maybe even to go and do more chores. Anything but spend an afternoon lurking in a room with three other giggling Novices and an Aes Sedai. In fact, if it wasnt for the Aes Sedai, shed be gone. Vamoosed. Instead, she lurked. Lurked and weighed up the other Novices.

 

The one they called Melianna was...odd. She was dark; dark eyes, dark hair, dark skin but not a dark personality from what Sials prying ears could make of it. The Cairheinin 19-year-old judged this Novice to be relatively new too; she was too unusual looking to have passed notice otherwise. Sial was rubbish at guessing nationalities but with this girl, she was pretty sure anyone would be stumped. Braids? And...is that a tattoo? Whoever she is, I bet shes younger than me. That irked. Sial had joined the Tower late in life, meeting the Novice age requirement by mere weeks, but she still felt irrationally irritated with younger Novices, especially those who were better at being Novices than she herself. The one they called Kirsa, unlike Melianna, Sial was certain was younger. And, unlike Melianna, the Cairheinin could have bet her horse that the Novice was a Domani. She was tall (compared to Sials 5'4'' at least) and she had the dark looks and offhanded grace that only a Domani could master.In comparison to her companions, the one they called Dre looked exceptionally pale. Blue eyes, blonde hair, light skin, she was the opposite to her dark skinned, dark haired companions in looks. Age wise, though, Sial put all three in the same bracket.

 

The Cairheinin fiddled with the end of her dark braid. They were a similar age, they were all sitting together. They were a clique already in the white-dressed womans eyes. Pah. I dont need them. Who wants to chat with a bunch of bleeding kids bleeting? If it wasnt for that Aes Sedai Id be gone. I knew I shouldnt have bloody turned up... Still, Sial was irked. As much as she prided herself on independance, it was always good to have backup. The other three girls had done nothing to her but already she was waiting for sniggered taunts or catty remarks or whispering. Already she was planning her reactions. You didnt meddle in merchant politics without getting at least a slight understanding for the importance of planning and Sial had meddled at home in Maerone at a commendable degree for a woman not even twenty.

 

It occoured to her that the simplest escape route was to acknowledge the Aes Sedai, hand over the invite, the scarper, but pride got in the way. Im not going to let them think they intimidate me, them or the Sister. Besides, my curtsy...no, Im better off hovering here. At least until I know more about what this is about. That seemed like a logical descision with minimum bad consequences so the smoky eyed woman stayed put, pushing back her white Novice sleeves out of habit and fighting a scowl. Bloody cliquish little girls. Bloody Aes Sedai. Bloody...party with its stupid...tapestries. Yes. Stupid bloody tapestries and stupid bloody food...oh, Light, Im bloody hungry! Maybe I can get a few of those squishy cookies before I get out of here...

 

Sial Daemoa

Short, suspicous and slightly starving

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Dre watched as the only novice she didn't know in the room take a few hesitant steps toward the table, eyeing the plate of cookies nearby. Pausing in her conversation she picked up the plate of cookies and smiled at the girl.

 

"You looked like you might be interested in these. They're very good. If you want, you're welcome to sit down and join us. I'm always looking to meet new people."

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Sorna entered her room massaging her arms.  She didn't know who but someone had decided that the best cure for her poor constitution was working in the kitchen.  After almost passing out while cleaning a large dirty pot, she had been assigned to turning a roast...and then stirring a stew...and then kneading bread.  dough.  All she really wanted to do was sleep until she was forced out of bed.  Unfortunately, there was something already on her bed.  A sealed envelope.

 

Almost curious enough to forget about her fatigue, Sorna opened and read the note and her heart sank.  An invitation from an Aes Sedai? Her limited experience had been that Aes Sedai didn't invite, they commanded.  An invitation was probably just a less forceful kind of demand.  And she was late.

 

Hastily, Sorna changed her dress and washed her face and hands in a small basin of water and straightened her hair.  When she deemed herself presentable, she scurried towards the Green Ajah's hall.  She couldn't imagine what a Green sister wanted with her.  It couldn't possibly be just tea.  There has to be some other explanation.  It was unlikely to be a recruitment tactic, either.  Sorna didn't quite have the physical requirements to be a warrior and it was becoming clear that her strength in the One Power wasn't any more impressive.  Before she could figure out what the reason for the invitation was, she strode into the tea room with a surprised squeak.

 

The Green sister who had sent the note was easy to find; her presence was such that Sorna's eyes were naturally drawn to her.  Quickly she stepped over and curtsied deeply, keeping her eyes downcast.  "Aramina Sedai, I apologize for not arriving sooner."

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At Dres introduction Kirsa smiled and nodded at the other girl.

 

"Nice to meet you Melianna, as Dre said I'm Kirsa," she said motioning to Dre as she spoke the other girl's name.

 

She moved to take her seat and spotted two other girls. How rude of her not to have noticed them, her mother would have punished her for that. She felt like blushing but instead nodded to Dre's suggestion to the other girl to join them. Kirsa, who hadn't quite sat yet, instantly glided over to the girl.

 

"Come on, join us. The more the merrier," Kirsa said motioning for the other girl to join them. Her smile was large and friendly, completely inviting.

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"Nice to meet you too, Kirsa." Melianna said with a touch of shyness to her voice. She still felt uncomfortable here. She noticed the stand-offish Novice eyeing her and saw her look straight at her tattoo. She fidgitted and covered her tattoo with her hand. There were days when she hated it. Hated why she didn't know what it meant. She took a bit off a scone and tried to look as normal as possible.

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Guest nephitess

IC: Veria was up early this morning because she had promised her weapons mentor, Sana, She would run each morning. So when she arrived back to her rooms that morning she saw a letter on the ground. Picking it up she saw it was sealed with green wax.

 

Stepping inside she walked over to her bed and drooped on to it with a bounce. Looking at the letter she smiled…and broke the wax. What could it be? Removing the letter she read over it.

 

YOU ARE INVTED TO A GREEN AJAH TEA PARTY

 

Please attend at 12 pm today.

 

This was weird. What had she done to gain the interest of the green ajah? Was it because she was training in the warder yard? It was funny that this should happen…Veria always saw herself joining the brown ajah….but since doing weapons training she was more interested in the green ajah and finding out more about them. She was still not sure when the time came what she would pick…but this would be a great opportunity for her to speak with a Green sister.

 

An hour later Veria was washed and dressed. She had done her hair in braids and curls that fell to her waist. The creativity Class she took really paid off, after a year of practice she could do her hair in minutes and it stayed the whole day. With one last look in the mirror Veria left her rooms.

 

After about a ten minute walk, Veria found herself at the entrance of the Green Ajah quarters. She had been there before on errands and such but this time she was nervous. Telling herself not to be silly she walked on. Asking a sister for directions she made her way there. Looking in the door she saw four other novices already there. Was she late…with a look at the sun she shook her head…no she wasn’t. With a laugh she remembered what it was like being a novice. She prayed to the light she would never forget.

 

Entering the room she saw the sister who was hosting the tea. It was Aramina Sedai. Veria never had nay dealings with this woman but had heard things about her. She was a well know Green after all. With a better look at the novices in attendance she saw it was her mentee Kirsa and An’drea. The other two novices she did not know. At the moment she was looking at the novices, An’drea was offering the unknown novice, who was standing, a plate of cookies. The unknown stood there with a sour look on her face. Waling over she whispered to the unknown…

 

“How about accepting them or not …don’t stand there like a silly bird.” Turning to the girls she said.. “It’s good to see you here. I’ll be back unless the sister decides to talk to me.”

 

Stepping over to Aramina Sedai she curtsied and said…

 

“Thank you for the Invitation Aramina Sedai. I look forward to learning more about your Ajah.”

 

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Sial stepped back when the three Novices swooped on her like flies toward newly dropped-well that wasnt important. The important thing was that she was now well and truely noticed and well and truely trapped. Buggery.

 

The blonde one holding a plate of cookies-Dre?-looked geniune enough. She certainly hadnt said anything outright to merit a smack on the nose. In a way, that was worse, because now Sial had no choice but to be polite back. She looked for a way out of the sitation and found no possible way that would not reflect badly on herself. Before she had found a suitable reply, the Domani had joined in, equally polite.

 

The Cairheinin woman was off-balance. She hadnt expected this. Her experience of other Novices and Accepted being actually friendly was limited to a select few, people like Tirzah and Salandrian. The tattooed one, however, did not join her companions in piping up invitations. Instead she looked uncomfortable and hid her tattoo, as if trying to do so by coincidence. That actually made Sial feel better, knowing she wasnt the only one uncomfortable. She opened her mouth to reply but another woman appeared.

 

How about accepting them or not …don’t stand there like a silly bird.” That was whispered from a stupidly tall redheaded Accepted who swept off like a queen. Sial fought the urge to say 'takes one to know one'-she was 19, not 5. Rolling her eyes to herself, she took a cookie from the plate and looked at Dre, Kirsa and Melianna with one dark eyebrow very slightly raised and fighting a smile, though it was a smile at a private joke as opposed to a friendly grin. The Accepted had done her a favour; that sort of snubbing was what she had expected. Now, with someone to dislike, Sial grinned at the three Novices she was now standing with.

 

"Thanks. Nice to meet you. Whats your names?" Sial winced very slightly at her own accent. No matter how common you were in Cairhein, you still sounded well-spoken to the rest of the world and she hated the thought that someone might take her for a ponsy noble chit. Although whoever did would have to have bad vision; with her long dark hair escaping her plait in shaggy clumps and her Novice sleeves rolled up as far as she could push them Sial looked the very opposite of anything remotely sophisticated.

 

She noticed another Novice, a sickly looking creature who was none the less taller than her, enter and bob a respecfully submissive curtsy to the Aes Sedai. She then noticed that uppity-redhead-Accepted-girl was doing the same thing, although with less submission and more fawning. She looked at the three younger Novices. "Umm, excuse me a second, I think I should probably..."

 

Springing to her feet, Sial scurried over to the Aes Sedai with the tea in her usual skippety walk. With a perfectly straight face she made an appaulingly bad attempt at a cursty in the general direction of the Green Sister. "Thankyou for the invitation, Aes Sedai." It wasnt always a good idea to talk to Aes Sedai unless adressed-a certain Ava Sedai had taught Sial that particular lesson-but at the same time it would be rude not to say thankyou. Not that Sial was particularly well mannered but you would have to be a fool to do (or not do) anything that might angry a Sister, even if that Sister was serenely sipping tea. What if the invite was an accident?! With that though, she carefully retreated back to the other Novices. She had been respectful enough, surely.

 

Sial plonked herself on a chair next to Melianna and Dre. The choice of seat was not accidental, of course, but Sial hadnt really thought through exactly why that was the ideal place to sit. She grinned at them all, too, making her look less of her 19 years than ever. Sial was scruffy as opposed to ugly but her grin would never be called beautiful; she resembled a street urchin who had just swiped a merchants cake. That wasnt entirly far from the truth, either.

 

If Im going to talk to these lot, assuming they arent sending me up, I suppose I should make a good impression. Not be to bulshy or too boring. Urgh. But they could be friends, maybe. They dont seem so cliquey now.

 

"Why are you lot here then?" she asked rather casually. Brilliant. Making conversation and getting infomation. Nice one Sial. Just dont muck things up like you usually do.

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Kirsa waved at Veria and then was about to tell the other girl her name, but found the girl had left to curtsy to the Aes Sadei. When she returned and took a seat, Kirsa joined them at the table taking the seat next to Dre.

 

"I'm Kirsa and I came because I found the invitation and decided to see what was here" she said with a large smile

 

"How about you?" she asked her head tilting to the left, allowing her hair to fall over her shoulder in a cascade of silky black.

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The light burn her, shes got nice hair. The thought bubbled to the top of Sials mind unbidden. She was not a particularly vain individual when it came to her general appearence (which considering her usual appearence was evident and, probably, fourtunate) but she couldnt help being marginally envious of the fact that Kirsas locks were obviously unusually luxurious. It was superior shade of black as well as being just about wavy. Although Sials own was shiny, when she could be bothered to try fighting with its flyawayity, not to mention being long enough to keep half her back warm if she let it down. Maybe if she paid attention to her appearence...You idiot! What are you playing at, thinking about hairstyles like a fluffbrained lapdog?

 

Carefully folding her arms to avoid the urge to fiddle with the end of her plait, Sial shrugged. "Same as you Kirsa, I suppose." She badly wanted to ask why the others thought the Sister was holding a party-a party!-for Novices and Accepted but asking outright would not only be about as subtle as spin-kicking a bag of flour, it would probably be equally as messy. No, if she wanted to know what the others thought, Sial would have to be more sophisticated.

 

Flashing another urchin-worthy grin, Sial snapped a piece off her cookie. "Been a Novice long, Kirsa? I havent seen you around that I remember." She gestured with the cookie piece, forgetting to eat it it seemed, indicationg the dark tattoed girl and the blonde one who, for the first time Sial had noticed, had a faint scar on her face. "What about you two?"

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"My name is Melianna. I came because I was invited and thought the best thing would be to please Aramina Sedai." said Melianna very quickly. " I have only been a Novice for a week or so." she said just as quick and decided to stare at the tabletop in an ackward fashion.

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If Sial had been wrongfooted earlier, her confidence in the situation had just rocketed in comparison now. A Novice of 6 months, she herself was still considered new by most but in comparison to Melianna and Kirsa, she was a Tower Veteran. And she was pretty sure, now, that she must be older than them. Ok, perhas she didnt know Dres Tower history but two out of three wasnt bad. A rather wicked thought bubbled up in the Cairheinins mind. Several, actaully. I Could tell them horror stories. I could set them up. I could get them into trouble. I could see how much they believe. I could-oh! I know exactly what I could do!

 

She ate a bite of cookie. "Only a few weeks? You dont come across as new bumpkins. You obviously all fit in already." Despite her neutral expression and conversationally absent tone, Sials eyes glittered as she looked at the other Novices rather as a dog might look at a family of cornered squirrels. She had thought of the perfect way to exploit the situation to her advantage. She wanted stir things up but she also wanted infomation. What better way than with something apparently perfectly innocent? She could have skipped with glee. Instead she composedly finished her cookie.

 

"Some people find it harder than others," she continued, sounding as if she wasnt paying attention but taking pains to ensure eye contact with each of the other three Novices. "Especially people who were bought here rather than appearing of their own free will. Leaving families and friends and...well everything...some Novices find it harder than others. Oh bugger-umm, oops, I mean." Sial bent to retrieve a plate she had apparently knocked to the floor by accident. In reality, her little speech had been staged. Rule one when meddling, be it with merchants or Novices, was lure them into trusting you. For the most part, Novices were harder to convince than merchants so she had put more effort into this. Bring up something close to their heart possibly but dont name names, dont make one feel singled out. Show empathy without sympathy. Considering how quickly she had decided on this little game, she had managed to fit a lot into her act.

 

Resurfacing to the table with the plate, Sial grimaced. "Sorry. Where was I?"   That was, natrually, schemed too. Changing the subject, making herself seem easily distracted. Well, perhaps she was, but at this moment it was an act. "For a party, its a bit quiet. Not many people." It seemed an unrelated change of subject.

 

Brushing a stray wisp of hair behind her ear, Sial started on another cookie. "We should play a game. Do any of you know Five Facts Or A Forfeit?" She laughed ruefully. "Although you are only new...well Melianna and Kirsa are. Maybe it wouldnt be your cup of tea." Chewing her cookie and gazing seemingly around the room, her ears were straining to hear the reaction. She knew the one she wanted...

 

Sial Daemoa

Somewhat Scheming

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Kirsa noticed the change in Sial's attitude and reaction and at first put it to being more relaxed in the company of others. This ofcourse stopped when she spotted the look Sial's eye. Her mother had always had it when bargaining. Kirsa had also always been a tad more subtle than the rest of her family. Her whole attitude changed in a blink of an eye, once she noticed this change.

 

Her posture changed from solely being in a relaxed friendly manner to that which she had been taught and perfected to bargain and mostly to distract. This meant her posture turned more elegant than seemed possible and her lips turned into a hinting, inviting smile. The way she sat, subtly hinted that there might be more than was offered if the trader answered what she wanted correctly. Ebou Dari women were known for being the best merchants and Kirsa had always been naturally talented and with practice and the teaching added in, it made her trully a something to fear on the floor of bargaining.

 

This change would be unrecognizable until you were caught in the web of misconception, and unable to escape, unless you had known her for many years, and few indeed knew her well enough to recognise it. Those that did mostly consited of her family. Her taffy eyes stayed wide and innocent making her seem more like a child and easily fooled than ever before.

 

"Fit in? Obviously you havn't seen me wander the hallways in confusion for the past week or two. If it weren't for Dre over there I would still be wandering the depths of the tower," she said at Sials comment. She batted her eyes slowly and seemingly naturally.

 

She didn't believe for a moment that the dropping of the plate had been accidental, and used the time while Sial was under the table to move all her hair over her left shoulder toshow her neck more clearly. Through all this Kirsa felt lightly reviled at herself, but habit is hard to break.

 

"Five facts or a forfeit? I don't believe I know it. What is it?" she asked though she knew the game perfectly. It had always been Amil's choice to forfeit. A more playful smile tauched her lips and caused her eyes to glow at the memory.

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Sial looked surprised. Wether or not that reaction was genuine and what it might be to was hard to tell, but she defiantly looked surprised. Oh, this could be fun! Although... She made sure not to forget herself completely. There was a Sister in the room, after all. And that sneaky redheaded Accepted-she probably wouldnt approve...or would she? Then she giggled apologetically. "It might have different names in different countries, I dont know. Theres a Weasel, who gets to make stuff up, and the Monkey, who has to do the facts or a forfeit. We pick a Weasel by spinning a candlestick or flipping a coin or rolling dice, then the Weasel picks a Monkey and asks them if they want Five facts or a Forfiet. If the Monkey chooses Five Facts, she has to tell 4 true facts about herself and the Weasel gets to specify what fifth fact the Monkey has to tell. If the Monkey chooses Forfiet, the Weasel gets to make up a forfiet. Everyone else who isnt a Monkey or the Weasel gets to vote on wether the Monkey has completed her facts or forfiets and they get to vote on the Weasels requirements if the Weasel is being too harsh. If the Monkey completes it, she gets to be Weasel and nominates another Monkey. The game doesnt finish until every player votes it finished."

 

Sial again ended up gesturing with her cookie, sprinkling herself with crumbs. For all the world, she looked as absent as a drunk. Not all of it was act, though she would have never admitted that-one of the unwritten rules of lies or acting was not to stray too far from the truth. She laughed again, for a moment becoming aware that she was probably the shortest person in the circle. Bloody foriegners with their unnatrual sizes...

 

With a sheepish shrug, she added, "Its just an idea though. Just to liven this up a bit and make things interesting. Its not every day Novices get parties. But it might be a bit ridiculous for you lot."

 

The Cairheinin found that though she was trying her best to share eye contact amongst the three, she was addressing Kirsa slightly more than the rest. Not that she thought about it, Kirsa seemed perhaps even younger than Melianna and Dre, though it was hard to tell with people outside her own nationality. Wether or not the other Novices would play along was just an extra. Sial was already playing a game of sorts.

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Kirsa began to twirl her hair with a finger, looking very pretty but empty headed.

 

"Sounds complicated. What would a forfeit be?" she asked looking at Sial with a blank expression on her face, that a shocking amount of men found highly attractive.

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Sial could have rolled her eyes. There was a language barrier between different regions but this was ridiculous! Surely 'forfeit' was a straighforward word? Either this kid is particularly stupid or she thinks shes being clever. Maybe shes trying to get me to explain so she can laugh at me. Ha! I think not! I was bloody right...bloody baby-Novice cliques. Where are over 20's when you need them?

 

The dark haired Novice seriously considered getting up and leaving in disgust but it wasnt in her nature to quit on things once she had started. Besides, if she left now, she might look to be chickening out or something.  Melianna seems too quiet to be trying to trip me up. And Dre hasnt said much. Perhaps Im being unfair. And if they get it, they can play! That will be bloody funny. I either get to find out things about them or get them to do something ridiculous. Brilliant!

 

Sial smirked very slightly, which transformed into a giggle. She put on her best sypathetic expression and looked at Kirsa. "Oh dear, Kirsa, Im not very good at explaining things. Perhaps I shouldnt have bought this up. I doubt it would be your sort of game anyway. We should play something else. Unless Melianna can explain?" She glanced at the tattooed girl. There. Ive laughed at her before she can laugh at me. Ha. And I havent been overly mean either so I wont look bad and I wont have pissed her off if she genuinely doesnt have a clue. That will do. She prodded a fairy cake and started picking  at the icing. "Im sorry, Im talking too much. Im sure the rest of you have pleanty of ideas."

 

Apology was not usually in Sials weapon bank. There was something a bit demeaning in aplogising when you werent sorry in the slightest, a bit like it was demeaning so creep and bob cursties when you didnt mean them. However, this was the White Tower. Sometimes demeaning things were the sensible option. In a society made up almost entirely of women, you had to be more sneaky. Men tended to smack eachother in the nose and be done with it-or at least, Sials uncles at home in Maerone had followed that. Women, it seemed, were more underhand.

 

Picking at her icing, Sial looked at her cake but occasionally glanced up through her black lashes to observe the others reactions. The more she thought about it, the more she was sure that Kirsa was the baby of the group. Or perhaps Dre, but something about the blond spoke of a little more maturity somehow. Melianna was definatly older. Why are they letting a younger girl speak for them then? I wonder...

 

Sial Daemoa

Novice

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The Novice who reminded Sial of her uncles was lying in her little cot, content to let her thoughts float in and out of sleep as she enjoyed the comfort of being in her old clothes again. Saline, while she was pleasant might well have told her several times now in that wonderfully patient voice that wearing breeches was just not what the Tower was looking for, but Tirzah would counter it every time saying she had little intention of doing anything the Tower wished her to do. Besides, if the woman had truly wanted her to be rid of the habit, she would’ve taken the clothes, or at the least, ‘been the little bird’ who’d informed a more domineering Accepted to come swinging and snatch the precious away! Since Tirzah hadn’t encountered any such trouble thus far, she had enjoyed a few afternoons like this, drifting through the hours as she relaxed. And while few Novices got the lengths of free time she was indulging in, Tirzah doubted very highly that few other than perhaps the Ally and the Twin knew what lengths of trouble it took to be pitied into long lengths of free time.

 

She felt utterly calm, having achieved all the balance she desired as she swept through past ramblings and mistakes, picking through moments where change had already seeped in and where more was to come. So calm indeed, that when the loud knock against her door came ringing like the footsteps of doom, she nearly jumped. A shaming second of cowardice there; she was growing soft in these halls, with these…Novices. Cia didn’t count of course and she supposed the Lady of fists could be scratched off as well, but ideas of listing Novices who weren’t all that bad had been quickly discounted by the second, more impatient knock. An Accepted had been given the pleasure of visiting her?

 

That hadn’t sounded like Saline though, and she -luckily- knew no other Banded-Delight….a Novice? That could explain why the person hadn’t just breezed in so to speak, but why any Novice would come talking to her was beyond her understanding. Which to her disgust left only one thing to do- Tirzah pursed her lips into an all too welcome frown and headed to the door. Just as she did though, something appeared from the gap beneath her door, the same gap that caused a wonderfully unpleasant draft during the nights. Bending down to retrieve it, Tirzah wondered idly if this was the new way threats were passed. Something along the lines of, “Dear Reader, it is my pleasure to inform you that should you not do so and so, we will be forced to do…things.” It was only when she read the words off the envelope that she realized that what she was looking at, was possibly as far as a piece of paper could get from a threat…

 

The reception the neatly lettered invitation had gotten, with its twisting curls and summarised warmth that held temptations of tea and scrumptious delights, made her grin all the way up to the Green Ajah Quarters. Occasionally a particularly spiteful Accepted would swipe the grin right off her face, but mostly she was able to make it to Aramina Sedai’s tea party safe and without any bruises. She was late yes, but the change of clothing had been a dreary experience that apparently, liked to take its time, no fingers pointing at her, please. She had also left a note for Cia to join in case she passed, since the invitation had been addressed to both of them. And since they had in fact been invited, to something supposedly entertaining and unusual for the Tower, Tirzah looked her apologetic best as she approached the Green Sister. And while the reprimanding note that every Aes Sedai knew better than the contents of their rooms came flooding into Aramina Sedai’s response to her greeting, it did not instruct her to do anything but help herself to some of the refreshments laid out.

 

Turning to follow the gesturing hand, Tirzah’s eyes found themselves looking upon sweet, sweet delight. Not the food, no, although that looked mighty fine too- Tirzah’s amazement by held by what was behind the layers of snack-symphonies that decorated the table. This was a moment where the ‘heard of’ were solidifying in her mind as wonders of reality. The tapestries that lined the walls drew her towards them, ancient battle scenes depicting charging horsemen as they roared through enemy lines attempting one last stand. Her eyes wandered past every wall, taking in both the legendary wars as well as swords the likes of which she had never seen before, not even while Rakim had been alive. For her, the experience counted as a special space of time in her mind. She took a deep breath and stepped back, already knowing what she wanted to do. As she crossed back to where she had come from, she spotted Sial and kept her in mind to rescue later. Aramina Sedai did not seem occupied as she approached, which made things much easier.

“Aramina Sedai? Good day to you again, Aes Sedai. I was wondering if you would …if you could possibly tell me a little about the Green Ajah?” She still wasn’t sure if she’d done the right thing by coming up to the Sister like this, but if there was anyone who could tell her about those wars, it was the Aes Sedai.

 

~Tirzah Behen

Apparently, she can give puppy-eye looks as well.

 

 

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Melianna looked up at the mention of her name. Her eyes were wide with fear and surprise. It took her a moment to recall what was said. She remambered and replies,

 

"Ummm, no. I don't believe I am familiar with the game at all. Sorry."

 

She went back to looking at the table.

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Sial tried not to sigh. Melianna was probably older than the other two but she was so shy. Not that that was a bad thing-Sial herself, for all her front, was rarely comfortable amongst strangers for a while and Melianna was not only very new, her tattoo and appearence suggested she was very different too. The cairheinin made up her mind to give the woman some backbone at some point, and not out of disgust either. Some people were leaders and gathered friends like cobwebs gathered flies. Others were not. If only I could poke her to say something, I bet she would have some useful things to say. Silly girl. And the other two too! Either this really is a bloody set up, they genuinely dont know the game or all three of them are daft as a stunned sparrow.

 

Sial was genuinely a little irritated. She liked finding out about people. Maybe her motives were not particularly friendly, but she liked doing it all the same. Five Facts and a Forfiet would have been ideal if we were in Maerone. But we arent. Bloody, bleeding, Light-blasted Tower...and whats this party about? Are there more Novices to show up? She looked briefly away from the table, picking bits off of her cake and absently scratching a face in the surface. Then she almost cackled with glee as her one-time-chicken-stealing companion Tirzah made an appearence.

 

Tirzah was officially a friend in Sials mind, or an ally at least. In part, it was due to shared experience-a while back they had both joined a brilliant scheme that had gone spectacularly wrong. That aside, however, Sial would have probably got along with the other girl anyway, as Tirzah was hilarious, or at least, Sial always ended up sniggering like a Tairen pirate at an inn when talking to Tirzah.

 

Turning her attention back to the table, Sial abandoned subtlety for matter-of-factness. "We dont have to play any bloody games. But if anyone does think they could cope, or know of something better, speak now."  She took the bluntness off her words with a sheepish grin. She knocked her cake onto her shoe in the process. Unfortunatly, that bit wasnt act, though it did add to the scatty image she was trying to project. Sial was slightly accident prone.

 

"Melianna? Kirsa?" From the corner of he eye she noted Tirzah was talking to the Aes Sedai. She also registered that the redhaired accepted and the tall sickly looking Novice were still present. Earlier, Sial would have jumped for glee to see people leave (it would mean she could) but now...well. She was either baiting or sparring with Novices she didnt really know, she had a chance to catch up with an old ally and there was free food. Lots and lots of free food.

 

Thinking of what she had seen in the Kitchens that promised to be tomorrows lunch, she picked up another cookie and got munching. If she achieved nothing else at all this afternoon, at least she would have built a sugary buffer against whatever had been festering in that cookpot.

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