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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Favouritism


Guest Estel

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The reds and golds of the autumn leaves stood in brilliant defiance of the overcast sky.  Breaks in the glorious canopy above her head let the light drizzle send tiny droplets running down her face.  Through the haze of rain, the woods took on an ethereal quality, calming despite the physical annoyance of the rain.  With each step down the muddy lane, dead deciduous leaves crunched underfoot; the forest was mainly coniferous, but the Western edge was swampy and unfit for pines.  Her destination lay further in, near the divide between pine and wetland forest.

 

Wet branches slapped against her face, another unnecessary reminder of the rain that brought out the pungent sickly smell of rotting organic debris.  When pines began to appear amidst the maples and poplars, she knew she was close.  Turning another bend in the footpath, there it was.

 

Just as she left it; the ivy covering the stone bench, central in the small glade, and the leaves on the ground hardly even looked touched by the wind.  The tiny brook was swollen with rainwater, its sweet, gurgling melody accompanied by the steady drumming of the drizzle on its surface.  The glade was surrounded by pines and deciduous trees in equal numbers; the perfect equilibrium.  This was the epitome of serenity; the ideal place for contemplation.

 

Today was not about contemplation though.  A quick weave of Air created an “umbrella” of sorts to keep the rain out of the clearing.  She had noticed while teaching Megain’s introduction to saidar how run-down the clearing had become.  The last time the bench had been cleaned was... back when Estel had still been an Accepted!  Aleanda, when the girl had still been a Novice, had done the chore for her and now the “girl” was a White Sister.  Light, this was all some thirty years back already!  With a touch of wry amusement, the Blue went over to the stream to look at her reflection.  Minus the agelessness that had set in years ago, she could have passed as twenty and she was nearly three times that! 

 

It was times like this that she was reminded of her family back home.  Angelika Liones would be around eighty already!  Yet the old woman still sent reports on the state of the court in Bander Eban- and, of course, news about Faerthines.  Estel bit her lip, trying desperately to keep from losing herself to the overwhelming sense of loss.  Her son would be about twelve now.  The baby she had held in her arms and replaced with a blue shawl was growing up without her; never knowing his mother who loved him from afar but could never tell him.

 

Noise in the distance signalled the arrival of her mentees.  The Blue hastily scrubbed at her eyes, wiping away all evidence of humanity and weakness.  Megain and Dre came trudging up the path dragging various flora and gardening tools with them.  Soggy, the pair of Novices seemed grateful for the respite from the rain.  She smirked at their wet selves, Estel had already abused the One Power to dry herself off.  “I’m going to assume you're no completely lacking in intelligence, so I take it you’ve realised what this is about?”

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Dre looked around the clearing as she arrived with Megain at Estel's summons.  She looked around her and smiled as she remembered the last time she'd been here, learning to touch saidar.  It had been a very interesting lesson, that was for sure.

 

“I’m going to assume you're no completely lacking in intelligence, so I take it you’ve realised what this is about?”

 

Dre looked around the clearing once more, noting how shabby it looked next to the rest of the well maintened garden and sighed.  Of course it had been to work that they'd been summoned.  Lessons with one's Mentor were usually solo affairs. She curtsied as she was addressed.

 

"I have a feeling we're here to clean up," she said with a small smile.

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Megain glanced around the clearing and barely suppressed a groan. Chores? Again? She reminded herself that she was not in Cairhien any longer. If chores needed to be done, it was the Novices' job to do them.

 

The servants are certainly happy with that arrangement, she thought to herself with a sigh.

 

As uncomfortable as she was, she couldn't help smile slightly at the sight of the clearing. She'd been down here just the other day, finally succeeding in touching saidar, after so many failed attempts. No matter how miserable the work here was going to be, she knew that it would be able to do little to blemish her memories of this place. It had been staring into that very stream that she had finally grasped the concept of the river contained by its banks, and she would never forget the first thrill of touching the One Power.

 

"Where should we begin, Estel Sedai?" she asked. She still was not fully comfortable with her mentor - certainly not familiar enough to drop the honourific.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Blue smirked dryly at what she thought had been a rhetorical question.  Biting back the urge to clap, congratulate or otherwise ooze sarcasm, she refrained herself even from rolling her eyes and earned a clap on the back for her self-control.  For her "ideal place for contemplation", Light she was irritational!  'Breathe, you fool!  It's not Dre's fault you're in a nasty mood nor that she's a...  Damn you woman, do you want to turn this into another Aithne fiasco!  Be nice!  It's not so hard.  Well, yes it is- but try anyway!'

 

Taking a deep breath and practicing the Novice exercises she had these two doing daily, Estel kept as much ire from her voice as her limited self-control would allow.  "Excellent.  Megain, I'll have you helping me clip some of these lower, dead branches- which will also help you with your strength in Air since, as you can see, we have no pruning shears."  The Blue bequeathed a rare, genuine smile upon the younger of her mentees before turning to the other.  "Dre, would you mind grabbing a sponge and bucket of water and cleaning the bench?  There a knife around somewhere to cut the ivy, if you need it."

 

Only mildly aware of the blatant favouritism, Estel told Megain to embrace saidar.

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Megain was all too eager to embrace saidar when Estel Sedai directed her to it. It was a relief to be openly touching the One Power again, as opposed to guilty snatches late at night. The river exercise was becoming easier and easier, and Megain hoped that soon it would become second nature, as it was to Aes Sedai and Accepted.

 

She looked to Estel for guidance, and paused as she saw An'drea behind her mentor. Why isn't she the one doing this? She hesitated. Probably because I'm talented with Air. And I need more practise than An'drea does. Nothing more than that.

 

"I'm ready, Estel Sedai," she said.

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Dre stared at Estel for a moment. So, she gets an annoyed grimace and is told to do it by hand.  Alright then.

 

"As you say, Estel Sedai," she said properly, dropping a curtsey. She hoped Estel noticed the blatant used of the honorific after her name after having been told she didn't need to use it with her.

 

Leaving the clearing she went to the kitchens and retrieved the cleaning supplies and then quickly returned back to the clearing. When she arrived she saw that Estel and Megain were already at work with their pruning. She watched for a moment, then shrugged in resignation and began her work on the bench.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Estel took a moment to puzzle over Dre's use of the honorific; she thought the girl had been broken of tht habit during their Introduction to Saidar lessons.  "Just Estel, Dre."  The Blue smiled briefly, before promptly turning her back and focusing on Megain.

 

Megain embraced saidar, and together they got to work pruning back the trees.  Well... not quite together, the Blue Sister sort of stood back and told Megain which branches to cut and where while the mentee did all the hard work.  Now, in Estel's defence, this was good practice for Megain; therefore, her involvement in the actual pruning would not have been beneficial, but rather counter-productive towards everything except speeding along the process.  Besides, they were Novices--practically servants!

 

Estel's mind, no-so-slowly, began to wander.  Eventually her eyes found themselves inspecting the bench that Dre was working at cleaning.  "You missed a spot," she said, pointing, "there."

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