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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Black fading to Grey ((Attn: Arette))


Kura
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((OOC: Forgive the pun. Couldn't resist. ;)))

 

Three hard knocks rattled the door where Annais was staying. A smile worthy of an Ogier splitting Sereth's face. He was to receive what she had offered on their very first meeting today; lessons. Another subject for his mind to delve into and explore, another facet from which to view the world. He'd learn a portion of negotiating today, a subject that he needed. After all, a piece of the skill was when to talk, and when to keep your mouth shut.

 

Oh, he knew he couldn't possibly master the subject in the time that Annias had to spare on him, but without a doubt it would push him in the right direction. Give him a starting place from which to grow, to practice on. Though would the end result be him becomming a sort of pseudo-grey, instead of the white or brown that he already mimicked? Perhaps, but without proper guidance young Sereth's mind was bound to explore far different avenues to reach whatever goal he set out for. Of course, that was a part of being a philosopher, to introduce new ways of thought, of understanding, and negotiating to Sereth would be a skill of the mind. So why should the two not mix?

 

All these thoughts flourished in his mind, taking turns that had been taught to him at a young age. So engrossed was he in his thoughts, that he hardly noticed when the door opened, showing Annias. After a moment of him standing dumbfounded, he shook his head. Bringing his consciousness back to the world of the living. "Ahh, uh. Sorry there Annias Sedai, I was just thinking. You know, like I always do." A chuckle, as his face grew scarlet, and his hand raised to scratch the back of his head. A habit his teacher had passed on to him. "I hope it is not to early." The sun was just starting to creep over the horizon, "I am a bit eager to begin my lessons, but I will return later if you wish." Realizing where his hand was, he promptly dropped it to his side, ruffling his hair in the process. Perhaps eager was to weak a word...

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OOC: You should edit the name of the Aes Sedai on your posts ;) It is Annais for this RP, not Arette as she is my other AS character. Believe me, no one of sound mind would ever let Arette act as the diplomat with anything. *grins*

 

 

IC: Silk sheets, roving hands and plundering mouth were the components feeding the desire in Annais until she moaned in pleasure and tossed her head on the pillow. The pounding of blood in her head intensified but she was startled to awakeness as the hands suddenly shook her shoulder intently and a voice called her name. A female voice, not the rumbling baritone that had whispered naughty words to her ear. Mia didn't even try to hide her amusement over the fact that she was certain of what Annais had been dreaming about. She blushed like a sunrise as she snatched her hand off the place she had been caressing and realised that the noise came from the door. Someone was knocking and from the sound of it, it had to be urgent. Light, she might have been living in a celibate for a year but that was no excuse for behaving like a bitch in a heat. And dreaming of him of all things. Completely unacceptable and could compomise her professionalism. She prayed that she hadn't actually said the name out loud.

 

Annais grabbed her morning robe off the chair beside the bed and tugged it hastily over her nightgown. "I will get it", she told Mia a bit more curtly than she otherwise would have and opened the door. At least it was Sereth, a familiar face and she smiled at him even as she arched a questioning eyebrow at his business. He was just staring in the distance and finally she cleared her throat. She couldn't help a thought that it might be the Taint but dismissed the idea. More likely it was just his personality: scholars tended to be absent minded. She almost glared when the boy announced that it was about the lessons she had promised him. And she had thought that Brent had sent for her for some kind of an issue. No, better not think of him.

 

Bloody morning people. Annais was definately not one. "Lessons", she repeated crisply and then sighed. "No, there is no need to come back later as I am awake already." She cast a longing look at the bed. "If you will wait for a moment, I will get dressed up. Is there any chance that we might discuss over breakfast? Or have you eaten already?" She waited only as long as he replied before closing the door and asking Mia to assist with her buttons. Burn the boy, now she wouldn't have time to do her hair properly. They looked awful as she hadn't been able to bring her Lia to help her. All the curls were gone and the locks were boringly straight.

 

Finally Annais emerged in a gray silk dress and her red hair on a simple braid. "Alright, lets pretend that you only now rapped on the door. Good morning, Sereth. Where will the lesson commence? And what do you know of negotiating and do you have any expectations or topics you would like me to especially touch?"

 

Annais Nevell

Gray Sister

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Sereth suppressed a laugh, another point to him. He was getting good at flustering Aes Sedai. "Breakfast? Oh, that'd be lovely. I uh..forgot to eat." His face again flushed scarlet, luckily she turned before he did. Light blinded fool Sereth! Control your emotions! He took a deep breath while she took her time getting dressed, partially forming the void, and then letting it go. No need to sound cold around her.

 

When she reappeared, his smile was back in place. He would offer little else to her, unless they once again crossed a dark topic of conversation. "Well then, good morning Annias ((;))) Sedai. As I doubt I will be blowing anything up with these lessons, your residence should suit fine." He thought for a moment before answering her next question. "Well, I beleive negotiations are essentially arguments, one side going for everything they want, and the other the same. You must keep a careful tongue, admittedly something I fail miserably at, and also I'd think it prudent to keep your emotions in check as well. Also, an advantage I have against the weak stomached is Saidin. The knowledge that I channel would aid me greatly, especially if I took an aggressive approach." He dug his mind for anything else, coming up practically empty, "I fear you are working with a mostly clean slate, I know very little else."

 

For the first time he looked past Annias, to the woman who was also in the house. The way she wore her sword, it was like it was simply a steal appendage. This puzzled Sereth, not that a woman wielded a sword, he'd learned of the Maidens of the Spear of the Aiel, but why is she here? Annias was surrounded by five-hundred male channelers, there was little a single sword could do. He supposed it was comforting to Annias, and so he left it alone. "Hmm, so, Annias, may I come in? I'll even make a nice breakfast of bacon and eggs to pay for your tutoring." He tossed her a wink, and laughed as his own stomach growled its agreement.

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Watching as Annais went to the door, Mia couldn't help but be amused as the Gray Sister dealt with the young man on the other side of the door.  She'd made a note of the man's name earlier, Sereth, much like she'd internally documented the names and faces of every man in the Black Tower she had seen so far.  She'd been sure to determine who was safe and who was not, and Sereth was definitely amongst those that she categorised as harmless, as far as male channelers went.  Not that he wasn't worth keeping an eye on, he was a male channeler after all, but his intentions seemed friendly enough, even if his manner this morning was betraying a good deal of naivety.  But then, naivety wasn't so bad a thing.  Impractical perhaps, but then who wouldn't want to return to a naive existance?

 

Assisting Annais in dressing after she'd closed the door on the boy, Mia decided to say nothing about what had transpired when Mia had woken the other woman.  No need to embarass her further, and it was a touch off putting anyway.  There were some thoughts about her Brent that she could only understand intellectually, the idea of actually desiring him in that manner or someone else doing so was an uneasy feeling.  It made things confusing, she'd helped raise the M`hael yet she was here to protect and serve Annais.  Strange tightrope to walk with the possibility of falling either way, but hopefully it would never come to that.  Even if the pair frustrated her enough that she wanted to smack the pair of them, repeatedly, until some common sense was drilled into them.

 

Still holding her tongue as Annais went to the door, Mia schooled her face this time as the door opened fully, allowing her to see Sereth on the other side.  Not blinking as the man looked at her, Mia knew what she looked like.  She had discarded her crimson cloak while she was indoors, but her dark boots and breeches along with her white blouse were as immaculate as the daggers at her belt and the blade that was slung on her back in a battle harness.  Protected or not, Annais' safety was in her hands and she would not slacken in her duty in the slightest.

 

The mention of the man cooking prompted Mia to intercede.  After all, she wouldn't mind handing over the duties of cooking for the pair of them if she could simply observe the lad at work to ensure that the food was not tampered with.  "You should let him earn his keep, Annais Sedai.  If he can cook that is."

 

Looking over Annais shoulder at Sereth, Mia quirked an eyebrow.  "You can cook, can't you?"

 

 

Mia Stavros

Tower Guard

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Annais raised her eyebrow at his comment of blowing things up. He certainly would better not do anything like that and joking about the matter... well, Saidin being used around her was still a bit disconcerting factor. Her residence was comprised of two simple rooms that hardly compared to the fineries of the White Tower's guest quarters but then the whole Black Tower was still in stages of being built. When their palace structure was ready, she had no doubt that it would give the White Tower a run for their money. "Come on in then." She didn't get the chance to comment on his offer to make them breakfast as Mia spoke up. Annais turned to smile at her.

 

"Phaw, sounds to me like someone just wants to get their own task delegated to someone else. Which is also negotiating as is your offer to do the breakfast, Sereth. It comes close to bribery or as it is said more nicely, giving incentives for the desired behaviour. Also a very clever incentive as in this case it is something that you very muuh want to give. Too bad that your stomach betrayed you or we would have been suitably awed by your generous offer."

 

"But go ahead and cook for us then. Surely you can't be worse than Mia." Annais pretended a grimace with heavy overexaggeration.

 

"Watching your words and not letting yourself to get hindered by emotions are a good start. I would be careful with the intimidation strategy, though and especially so when the threat is Saidin. It might gain you the goal you pursue now but bite you and the whole Black Tower in the ankle later. Certainly that person never wants to deal with you again and they will tell to all their friends what villains you and all Asha'man are. You must always remember that you represent your organization and behave accordingly. Currently I believe that the Black Tower wants to present itself as a helper and protector of the world, not a fearsome brute. And so should you act too."

 

"How do you think that the White Tower wants itself to be seen and how would that affect the conduct of an Aes Sedai negotiator? And could you think of some other examples of the organizations of the world? Like for example the Children of the Light or Domani merchant. Or a Tinker."

 

"Also ponder the question of why the strongest party does not always win. What kind of things can cause this phenomenon? And how exactly is it determined which is the stronger party?"

 

Annais Nevell

Socratic teacher

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"Well, I had to learn how to cook. My teacher hated cooking, and didn't trust anybody he didn't know to cook for him, and well, I was the only one he really talked to. I swear the old man would've starved if I wasn't around." He stepped in with Annias' okay. "Heh, it wouldn't be the first time my stomach has ruined a grand gesture, the damn things out to get me." With a chuckle, he found the kitchen. Thankfully, it was small and simple. He quickly found the eggs, bacon, butter and bread. Going to the stove, he almost embraced the source, but reached for the flint and steal instead. No sense in setting anybody on edge.

 

"I see your point, but then again, I have no doubt that the M'Hael tried to intimidate you by doing something with Saidin. Something as simple as floating over a cup of tea, or water, or whatever you drink to quench your thirst. Speaking of which, what would you like to drink?" He set water to boil, he at least, wanted tea.

 

The pan getting up to heat, he chopped off an end of butter, and cracked eggs into the pan, with several strips of bacon Wow, this takes longer without the source... "How does the White Tower want to be viewed? To be honest, I don't know. I've seen Aes Sedai bully people, showing off their rings where they'd be recognized, and then I've seen you. I've never been on the receiving end of your negotiations, but I doubt you'd rely only upon your ring and shawl to get the job done." Perhaps he should have bit his tongue there, but he didn't regret the words. They expressed his opinion quite well, showing that he acknowledged both the good and bad of the White Tower. Besides, who could get angry at a person who was making them such a fine breakfast?

 

Speaking of which, he added the herbs to the tea, and cut up the loaf of bread into thin slices. By the time he'd finished this, the eggs were ready to be flipped. "White cloaks? I've never seen them do anything but threaten, and they do show your point. Who wants to deal with one of them?" The main hot meal done, he emptied them out onto plates, and emptied the grease out of the pan before throwing in the bread to toast. "And Tinkers? Have they negotiated for anything? They ask for things to mend, and tell how they live to those who ask. Such a peaceful life, one could envy them..."

 

With a sigh, he grabbed the toast from the pan and stacked them on a plate. The tea was done, "The stronger party might not win if the other was more skillful. Like the difference between you and I, Annais. I'm willing to bet I will be stronger in the power than you, of course we can't be sure unless you dueled me when I reach my full potential, but I bet your weaves would dance around mine with little trouble." While talking he brought out the three plates, plates and silverware for each person, and the tea kettle, two by two. "Anything else while I'm up?"

 

After a second's pause for their response, he continued speaking , "And what is the stronger party? Well, it'd seem to be the one with more to offer." He served out two eggs, six pieces of bacon, and two slices of toast to the two women, before doing the same for himself. "Oh, and how do you like your tea?" Again he served it how they preferred. He was proud of himself; he hadn't done medial chores like this without the power since he'd been here. He still had it. "Am I close, or do I have an even larger mountain to climb than I thought?"

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  • 1 month later...

OOC: I am immensely sorry that I kept you waiting for so long. I actually had the post done for at least a week, I just didn't realize that I didn't post it up. I deserve a beating.

 

IC:

 

A man who could cook was a treasure indeed but only tasting the breakfast would tell if this chest was filled with false gold or the real thing. Annais noticed Sereth's hesitation between the flint and steal and Saidin and she approved his choice. She chuckled as Sereth set the tea kettle on fire even before she had time to reply. Not that there was much choice, it was either pure water or tea. Or brandy as Brent had given her a bottle but it was far too early to take a first shot. She frowned thoughtfully when she remembered that Brent had indeed flexed his Saidin muscles in front of her and Mia when they had arrived. "Tea is just fine and I see that you already got it started. And you are right, M'Hael Enios did channel to pass us the drinks." She grinned. "Is there some kind of a Black Tower manual that tells you how to deal with the Aes Sedai who come for a visit? But I suppose that that is quite instinctive strategy. It only works if the other is genuinely intimidated by the thought of Saidin." And she certainly was as she had found out over these few days.

 

Sereth certainly looked fairly professional at what he was about and wonderful smells of readying food begun to waft in the air, wetting Annais' mouth. After the breakfast she could forgive the early awakening. "You have seen the Aes Sedai when they really wanted to be seen. Most of our work is done behind the scenes and many Sisters travel incognito under a disguise." Of course it only served to make the isolation worse as the people never got to meet Aes Sedai. But then the situation was already bad enough that they would not receive an unbiased welcome and treatment if their real identity was known. "I will use what ever tools are useful in a negotiation. If I feel that using the weight of my position might be helpful, then I would rely on it. But you are correct in that it wouldn't be the only tactic, I'd use."

 

"Tinkers negotiate every time they meet people. When they ask for things to mend and tell of the Way of Leaf, they are trying to influence people to receive a favourable outcome for themselves and that is what negotiating is about. Their lives are often hard because people don't understand their philosophy and fear them. Also not everyone are as peaceful as the Wandering People are and fleeing isn't always a working tactic even with their dogs you do the intimidation and distraction for them."

 

Annais watched the breakfast preparations with growing interest. "The difference between pitting Saidin and Saidar against each others and negotiating is that neither one of us can see the other's weaves, whereas in parlay I can read your body language and make deductions based on it. But then even masters can be fooled. I once witnessed a chop game where in the end there were only an experienced Aes Sedai and a seemingly drunken fool left in the table. She had the perfect impassive face and she thought that she could read him well but he had been feeding her a false tell all night. I was given the advice that that game is good preparation for negotiations so you could consider practising it."

 

She waited politely until everyone had their food before them before tackling her portion. It was delicious indeed. Greasy and filling and just right. She chewed with pleasure and washed the first mouthful with plain tea. She wasn't one to ruin her tea with too much honey or, Light forbid, milk. "Yes, thank you. The tea is excellent and so is the food. Simple but good. And you are on the right path. Although strenght is not always stronger offerings. There is also the issue of whether the other party wants to give anything to the other one. Also tables can be turned by holding something really valuable to the other, like hostages or some discriminating material for blackmail. Not exactly ethical but the Great Game can get dirty - something that everyone should try to steer clear of."

 

"But basically power is not just something you possess, it is a relation. There is hard power, such as weapons and resources, and soft power that is of social nature, such as norms, contracts and precedents. How strong do you think that the Black Tower is in the soft power? And which does the White Tower have more, soft or hard power?"

 

Annais Nevell

Gray Sister

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Sereth gobbled down his food with the manors he'd been raised to have since birth. By now it was all second nature; he could devote his full attention to Annias' teachings. For once he managed to say silent, listening to every word she had to say, before responding. Almost every word revealing his own ignorance; something he sought desperately to do away with. He thought he heard laughter at that thought, but ignored it. He was to busy learning to give credence to any insanity that may have infected him.

 

"Hmm, I am far more ignorant than I had imagined. I hope you don't mind the large gaps I've asked you to fill." A laugh, and again he scratched the back of his head. He'd have to learn to stop these habits. "The Black Tower? Well Aes Sedai, we are taught to be weapons. I'm still new to the power, but have faith that I could destroy at least twenty regular soldiers; especially if I saw them coming. So, I'd assume we have more hard power, as you call it. The White Tower; well, they have both, but more of a soft power. As I have said so rudely; that ring gets you places. Not to mention they have an entire Ajah devoted to negotiations. I'd very much like to equal the odds, if I could." He gave her a smile, and awaited more speech.

 

((Sorry, have to cut this short, being rushed.))

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OOC: No worries :) It was a good reply.

 

IC:

 

Annais sliced her food into neat pieces and chewed thoughtfully as she listened to Sereth. There hadn't been many spices at his disposal but in the circumstances, he had made a very nice breakfast. "Quick mind and desire to learn are more important traits than having previous knowledge. And you are doing quite well. I agree that the White Tower has both kind of powers, but what soft power we have, it has been built on having the hard power for milleniums. And the Tower has actually been stronger in the history and held larger area than now. But that's not really relevant now."

 

"So far we have been speaking mainly of the power and influence the organization the negotiator represents in the negotiations. But there are many parlays that are just between people. Also the personal qualities of the negotiator affect the end result maybe even more than the initial strenghts and weaknesses in the table. In what ways you feel that these personal qualities are influental? And how important do you believe emotions are in negotiations and how they might possibly affect the talks?"

 

Annais Nevell

Gray Sister

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Sereth pondered for a moment, wishing for once to be right when he spoke. Though in truth, being led by the nose in lessons was nothing new. He'd been taught things from a young age just how great the gaps in his knowledge were. If only he had time to fill them. Again, he heard distant laughter, this time stronger. Oh hush up, I'm busy. With that he returned to the conversation, none of it showing on his face.

 

"So, it could be said that hard power leads to soft? Wonderful, that means my people have a chance in the future. Wonderful news. Now, what aspects of a person can influence a negotiation? I'd think all of them. How a person moves, talks, what impression they give off, all of it. Though I suppose that there would be three or so main ways to use ones traits. You could threaten, put their back up, and that seems like it'd work. They just wouldn't like you to much, as you pointed out. You could sympathize with them, form a kind of friendship, so they want to help you. I get the feeling you did this with our great M'Hael." He smiled; he wasn't nearly as absent minded as everyone gave him credit for. Though the illusion helped in more ways than most people could imagine.

 

"Then, a sort of logical approach. Spinning your words so that your side, or your idea, seems only nautural. The proper course, though this sounds more like your trying to start a cult; and I doubt it'd work on the educated. Still, it seems like it'd be a viable option." He finished up his first plateful and cup of tea. He quickly refilled both, adding a dash of milk to his tea. "Well, am I anywhere close?" He mentally beat down that cockiness forming in his head; there was no way to tell if he was right.

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