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The Orders of Ryanne [Retro - Closed]


Guest Arie Ronshor
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Guest Arie Ronshor

Return to Cairhien

 

 

"What do you mean he is dead?"

 

Maegan Ryanne's eyes were wide with shock as she looked to her Step-Mother. Eowenn only shook her head, eyes closed and sunken shoulders. The older woman had nothing to say that would be of comfort.

 

"How can the man just simply die? He still had a few more years at the very least before the Creator could take him into his embrace. Light, he was barely of 60 turns!"

 

"72"

 

"Huh?" Maegan paused in her little rant to blink at the other woman.

 

"Your father was 72 when he passed away." Eowenn searched Maegan carefully, "Did you ever ask your father his age?" Maegan grew sullenly silent. "It is no matter. It was painless. He simply went to bed and fell asleep to just not wake up again." There was a mutter under the woman's breath that Maegan was too busy thinking to actually catch.

 

"That is just.. Unfair! Why didn't you tell me, Eowenn? You knew.."

 

"I did know, Maegan. And I did send you letters. Several, in fact. From the day you left us I wrote you often without a reply. All I received in return was your one letter of your Raising and naught anything else."

 

Maegan's features grew dark as a flare of temper sprung behind her eyes and the golden spectacles on her nose. Instead of commenting, she stepped forward to embrace her step-Mother: tightly. It had been 5 years since she had visited the home she once lived prior to being brought to the White Tower. She had been an Accepted and on a small leave from the Tower. Mostly to pull herself together after a series of unfortunate events that took place in Mayene only months before. The most foul part of those events was that they had still not finished their roll through the Pattern.

 

She had traveled to Cairhien with a group of friends (A brown sister and two other of the Accepted) as a 'vacation' after the fiasco in Mayene, Maegan had returned home for the first time since she was accepted into the Novice Whites. However a strange turn of events found the house that she once lived in burnt to the ground from a kitchen fire. Unknown to her, 6 Red Sisters left the Tower in search of a rogue Male Channeler rumored to be in the Cairhien area. Maegan enjoyed her time outside the Tower but she was haunted by dreams that grew worse and worse over each passing day.

 

After about five days Maegan's more recent dreams -nightmares, really- were fully revealed to her. Even now she still shuddered over the events, the idea and thoughts that the knowledge brought. Remembering the night of the accident which cost her the loss of her eyesight and the activities prior. She witnessed the murder of a girl in an alleyway - all the while in danger herself as she was also pulled from the streets to be raped and maimed. She had got away by using a piece of wood to stab the man in the back. Running out into the street, wishing to forget, she ran in front of a cart, and it turned topside, and she was hit in the head, loosing her sight.

 

Meanwhile, knowledge of a male channeler became known and was, in fact, a far distant cousin that lived within the same house as Maegan's Step Aunt; Sarai. Unfortunately, because of the Aes Sedai presence, the cousin had been missing for a few weeks and his whereabouts were unknown. A search was sent out to find him. Maegan and those with her had found her cousin. Joran Farein was none too pleased to be found, acting out irrationally with calls due to his fear of death and the touch of the Taint. Scared, and unwilling to go, he was not provoking an attack, but just wished to be left alone. Clearly insane, the man was shielded, but Joran broke the shield as there were not nearly enough Aes Sedai to hold his bonds, and then started to attack with the unseen weaves of Saidin. Maegan joined with the battle, and in the end a Sister and Joran were dead. Returning the body to the Eldmor family, the Reds leave Cairhien and were closely followed by Maegan and her party only a few days later.

 

Upon returning Maegan was raised to the Shawl and given her first pair of Spectacles. "Glasses" that allow her to see without the need of the One Power. Due to the nature of her visit home and the events that lead up to her raising, Maegan grew to have a very strong respect for the Red Ajah and saw herself growing and developing best within this Ajah and petitioned the Red Ajah upon raising to the Shawl.

 

Maegan's raising to the Shawl had inspired a slew of work and study alone and she had been unable to travel. Absorbed into the Ajah she had been taken under the wing of Kathrina DeVir Sedai (The Highest and Eldest of her Ajah at the time.) There were a lot of Tower politics for Maegan to learn, as well as new weaves and a whole new section of the Tower Library that became available to her as she had been raised to the Shawl. This also included the stacks of books that retained the knowledge only known to her Ajah. How many days had she spent just pouring over each book, as if she had been dying of thirst and lost in the Aiel Waste? How the books brought her so much knowledge, but it had not been enough. It did not help her escape the haunting memories of years past.

 

As a Novice and then an Accepted, she always needed a scribe to help her. Unable to see she was not able to write for herself and would often dictate to another Novice or a non-channeling scribe anything that she was in need of having written. This would include her lessons, essays, notes, anything that required to be written down. Anything she needed written down could not be promised full privacy and despite her former innocent nature, Maegan never trusted her more private thoughts to that of a scribe. Even for a letter home. For 20 years, Maegan did not write home with little more than her basic progress. And she did not receive word back beyond the knowledge she was able to share. It was painful for her, as she considered herself very close to her family, especially her father. They had been an inseparable pair during the time he was unmarried. Even with the addition of Eowenn to the family, they still remained close, often debating over various formulas and theories over tea or the evening meal. The thought of Boah gone... Maegan didn't want to dwell on it, but she could not stop the pain that he was no longer living.

 

Arriving in Cairhien but only a short while ago, Maegan had found herself at the home of the House of Elmdor, her step-Mothers family house, knocking lightly on the door. She had not worn her Shawl for this visit, leaving it bundled in the saddle bags of the horse she borrowed from the Tower Stables. A gentle stable palomino mare named Dovienya (or "Dove") that was comfortable for long travels, it had been taken away to the family's stables, so Maegan stood alone at the front entrance. For the first time since her raising, she had hesitated at the door. Nothing prepared her for the news.

 

"Let us go in, before someone decides to make this part of the Game." Maegan scowled as guided Eowenn into the front entrance.  Closing the door carefully, Eowenn gave the woman a soft look, sad and thoughtful.

 

"You must be tired after your journey. Tea?"

 

"Tea would be wonderful. Thank You."

 

"This way," Eowenn lead Maegan into a small sitting room with large windows with white drapes that went from the ceiling to the floor which was to the southern side of the house. Seeing the room for the first Time, Maegan could see much of her father as well as Eowenn in this room. Although her Father’s house had been burned down those 5 years ago, trinkets and graphs littered any possible surface except for the small seating area of 3 high back chairs with richly filled cushions and a long but short table to set down teas, books and sweets. Although there was no particular reason for any of the trinkets there was a certain amount of comfort that could be drawn from the room for any that was of a scholarly mind. Although Eowenn was not as such, it warmed Maegan to know that she had loved her father so and accepted every aspect of him instead of just the comfort of a him that Maegan's birth mother had. Naomi was a Noble in every aspect and was not pleased with her arranged marriage.

 

After the tea was served, in fine porcelain glasses with beautiful roses etched into the outer rims and a dash of scarlet red brushed against the petals. Picking the glass up carefully, Maegan's smile must have been evident on her face as she inspected the cup. There was a small note of approval in Eowenn's voice as she spoke next.

 

"Your father bought those for you. He was unsure how to send it and thought to save them for your next.." The word visit was missing in her voice as the silence continued for but a moment.

 

"It is alright, Eowenn. It was not your fault I have been away so long, or that not a word came to me." Noting this knowledge for anouther time, Maegan continued. "It is a beautiful set, and I do not wish for you to part with them."

 

"But.. "

 

Maegan held up a finger from her tea cup as she sipped the tea. Bitter and dark. Leaning down she scooped a little more sugar into the cup, swirling it with a small silver spoon. "I do not plan to leave any time soon, and I would not wish for them to be ruined on such a trip." She paused and sipped the tea again as she caught the wide eyed look from Eowenn. The tea was sweeter, perfect. "If you will have me."

 

"But of COURSE!" The way Eowenn said it made Maegan laugh, as if such a statement was the most obvious thing in the world.

 

"Excellent. A few years in Cairhien will do me good." Maegan said off handedly.

 

"A few years? You have barely stayed more than a week in the past, and it was only.. "

 

"I was but an Accepted and bound to the Tower. I have served the Tower and for more than just my training. It is time for me to build what needs to be built. That is, after I complete whatever my flighty Father left behind. He did leave a few projects behind, did he not?" She looked just under the rims of her spectacles at Eowenn as she grew silent. "Eowenn."

 

"I.. I think that would be best for anouther day. You have only arrived and.." She paused, sighing heavily into her cup, "You are so much like him."

 

"Eowenn.. " there was a warning in her voice, but it came out more as a tease.

 

"Call it a Mother's prerogative, my dear. Today is a day to relax. I will show you your father’s work space on the morrow." There was a finality in Eowenn's voice. Reclining in the chair, Maegan continually sipped her tea.

 

"Tomorrow than. Tonight is just us."

 

"To the Ryanne Women."

 

Maegan smiled, lifting her tea cup in a mocking salute. "To the Ryanne Women. May we live forever."

 

 

Maegan Ryanne

Sister of the Red Ajah

 

(First chapter is a bit sketchy, but eh, DM calls and it's just an RP. :))

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Secret of the Rose (pt 1)

 

    The building was taller than most in the city, reaching skyward to catch a glimpse of the heavens and see the Creator and all the glorious work that could be seen from its peaks. Maegan had missed the Royal Library of Cairhien and all that it contained. Although the White Tower Library sedated her and drove her to read on topics that she may never have had a chance to read without obtaining the shawl, there was something of this place, the tall buildings, and the glorious Ogier built columns and repositories of books that allowed Maegan to feel more at peace than she had in years.

 

Stopping at a pillar, just prior to entering, Maegan paused with a rather melancholy thought. Her father had been the reason she had come to love such a place, and the knowledge and everything that this place stood for. Touching the cold marble pillar with a soft look, she carefully felt the perfect smoothness of it under her fingertips. He was gone now. No more to join her in their quest to discover and create. In all of her 36 years, Maegan never felt so alone. Before there were always trials and troubles that left her to fare for herself. To fight back by any means necessary. There had always been a reason to fight and to return to someone. And to Maegan, her father was her world.

 

::I will not cry.. .:: She muttered to herself, her hand becoming a fist. ::The Wheel turns, Mae.. Keep going. Be strong.::

 

"Mae?" Turning around she saw Eowenn walking up the stairs behind her. The woman had a certain amount of grace to her that even Maegan never quite grasped or displayed. Her footsteps soft and flowing, Eowenn showed a look of concern, fleeting yet held long enough for Maegan to catch it. They had spent much of their evening talking over things of the past. Maegan recanted stories of her Novice and Accepted days that left both of them breathless from laughing. Always good for a story, Maegan left the other woman on the edge of her seat as prank after prank was told over tea, and then a light evening meal, and then more tea, till the small hours of the morning. There were some stories that Maegan could never forget regardless of what age took her. Be it the time she chided Carise for picking on the Novice Milagia, or the time Maegan and Leda (her Novice Roomate) snuck out after curfew into Tar Valon without being caught, and the Prank Estel and herself pulled on a cranky Red Sister (Who never really did forgive her and gave her wide birth when Maegan chose her shawl.) Saya Sedai was a cranky old bird and deserved the prank. Even Eowenn agreed.

 

"I am well. Dwelling, ..mostly." Putting her own hands into her lap, folded, she smiled. "Even after all these years, the walls and the stone still feel the same. The presence is different, but the same feeling from when I was but a girl."

 

Eowenn chuckled. "For an Aes Sedai, you reveal much."

 

"Only to family." Maegan blushed a little, the barest of rose tint touching her cheeks. "Besides, few here know I have reached the Shawl." And thankfully fewer the colour. It was no secret that the Red Ajah was welcome in very few places.

 

"You would be surprised." Eowenn said dryly. Maegan raised an eyebrow to enquire, but Eowenn swept past her into the Library before Maegan could question the tone. Inwardly frowning, Maegan followed, she pondered as to why such a tone, and if there really was a reason for concern to her elevated station. True, as an Aes Sedai she would be regarded as Royalty with privileges to some of the more studious levels of the Library. But with her father part of the faculty and a young child with bright eyes and a mind sharper than many 10 - 20 years her senior, few things were denied to her. To her memory at least.

 

Onward they walked, passing by many that recognized Eowenn who greeted her with various reactions. Some laughed, some bowed, and two much older men actually had the gall to flirt with the woman. Catching the soft blushes on her step-mother’s cheeks, Maegan stayed behind and only stood stoically to the side.

 

".. A beautiful day, is it not?" Eowenn giggled - ::Giggled!::

 

"Aye, it do be that." An Illianer man nodded, releasing her hand after kissing it in greeting. "Perfect for such company. Do you be staying, or do you be leaving after you be finished with your works?"

 

"I will be here for a while, Gerned. But I have much to do and I can not stay for a game."

 

"That do be a shame." Gerned looked a little disappointed, but the sparkle in his eyes could hardly be missed. He was enthralled with Eowenn, blatantly so. "And this do be your.. daughter?"

 

"Yes. More Boah's than mine, Light rest his soul." She held out a hand to motion towards Maegan. Smiling, Maegan took Gerned's hand with a smile, "This is Maegan. She has returned from her time in the Tower."

 

"An Aes Sedai?" He looked her over quickly, a slight frown parting on his face. "You do be an Aes Sedai?"

 

Her Oaths forced her to answer truthfully. "Yes. It is a pleasure, Master Gerned."

 

He grinned, "I no be a Master, Aes Sedai. But you do be politer than most of them folks from the Tower. Be welcomed."

 

"Maegan is fine too. My title is not part of my purpose here." Maegan smiled.

 

"An Aes Sedai with no Tower Purpose. Now that seems rather.. false." A voice from behind, dark and rich, nearly caught her off guard. Curious to know how long he had been there, Maegan slowly turned around to look at a rather beautiful middle aged man, only a few inches taller than herself, with the traditional dark hair and eyes of most Cairhiens. He wore the Damandred colors that only gave him a far more regal look with his strong jaw-line and surprisingly intelligent eyes.

 

"Forgive me, Aes Sedai,” he said with a bow. “Your presence has been expected for a while since your last. You were but an Accepted, correct?" He smiled, taking her hand and kissing it gracefully.

 

"Lord Reque Damodred. It has been a while."

 

"You remembered!" He smiled delightedly. Regarding him with a barely un-amused look, the man ignored her look and pressed on. "That is a relief. It would be hard to socialize with an Aes Sedai, much easier a Scholar’s Daughter. Maegan." Her name purred off his tongue. The man was an incorrigible flirt and often pulled aside women half his age to the darker corners of the repositories. Displeased, Maegan scowled.

 

"You still are out of Line, Lord Damodred. Seeing as it is no secret, I recommend you use my Title. Maegan Sedai will suffice."

 

"As you say, Maegan Sedai. By your leave." He bowed out with the same sickeningly rich smile and the purr of her title over her name. Denying the immense need to shiver, she watched him leave through the entrance of the Library.

 

"He be trouble, Maegan Sedai." Gerned said from behind her, stepping forward a little while nodding his head sagely. Eowenn did not comment, but her eyes showed a level of distaste that could not have been any more obvious.

 

"He always has been." Maegan scowled thoughtfully. "But be that as it may, shall we continue? No reason to allow one man ruin a good day." Smiling swiftly, she nodded a good-bye to Gerned, "A pleasure. I shall be seeing you anouther time."

 

"Perhaps. I do be going to my home in Illian at the next light. It do be my last day in the Library of Cairhien."

 

"Enjoy your visit. I will send my Step Mother to visit for a while after she shows me around."

 

The man grinned. Eowenn hid the blush that time around, and Maegan knew there was something, even if it were just a little flirting. This would not be the last visit to the Cairhien Library. They completed saying their good-byes and together Maegan and Eowenn headed deeper into the Library. When they reached the staircase, Maegan was surprised to find Eowenn stopping Maegan from going up.

 

"Not upstairs?" There was confusion in her voice.

 

Eowenn smiled secretively. "So much alike." There was no need to ask who she was making a comparison to. Shaking her head, Maegan instead followed her to a different set of stairs that she didn't remember being there. Likely because, more often then not, the books that she had enjoyed reading when she was a child were on the 2nd and 3rd floor. And the last time she had visited she did not have her spectacles which allowed her to see just how much of the Library had changed in the past year.

 

The corridors were large and long, and as busy as Maegan remembered, but there was a studious nature to what she saw now than to what she saw when she was young. But the same stone still felt empowered with knowledge just waiting for her to touch, to grasp as no 15 year old ever could. Aged and wizened with years of study in the White Tower, Maegan had no doubt that the things taught to her as a child, discussions she sat in on, would have far more meaning to her than simply a topic waiting to be learned. It was no longer just of learning, but to understand each topic and all that was connected to it.

 

Through dark poorly lit corridors she was lead, corridors that were as familiar to her as the ones in the Tower Library. Corridors meant only for residents and those who were part of an inner sanctum of the Library. Secrets were hidden in hallways such as these.

 

With each step she took, Maegan started to grow curious and excited over where she might be taken to. Maegan loved unraveling secrets despite not liking surprises. ::What was my father working on? What could he possibly keep secret in such a place as this?:: She nearly scolded herself, ::And if it was so secret, why had he not even hinted so much as a whisper to me? Did he assume I would know he was up to something?:: She mused a little. Of course her father was working on something. Her father was _always_ working on one project or anouther and would not stop until they sent his body to the next Age.

 

For a while he had worked on the simple mechanics of clock-making. The mathematics and devices that made the machine run. Then he studied philosophy and the basics for the purpose of living, whittling it down to a simple mathematical equation. Of course that particular venture only lasted a few weeks as he found the answer far too obvious. Just after the death of his first wife,  Maegan's birth mother, he became obsessed with time and the mortality of life. Maegan was too young to understand the majority of it, but it had been one of many discussions they had when she had returned only a few years back.

 

"This way." Turning down one corridor and into another, doors started to line the corridor. Large oak doors that showed the passage of age.

 

"How long have these been here?" The incredulity and surprise in Maegan's voice caused Eowenn to chuckle, but even then there was a level of reverence in her tone.

 

"I never asked. I suspect from when they built the place, but even then some of it was graphed together over the past few years. It was rumoured for a while that they are part of the ruins of Al’Cair’Rahienallen. I looked it up years ago but found very little on the subject. Some of the rooms are rather cavernous but they serve its purpose."

 

Maegan raised an eyebrow at this. What did Eowenn know that she missed as well. Perhaps she didn't give the woman enough credit and Eowenn was in fact a bit of a scholar herself. "And what purpose might that be?" Eowenn licked her lips a little and Maegan could swear that she did it to hide a smile.

 

"Nothing that a simple noble would know."

 

"You are no simple Noble, Eowenn."

 

"True." She smiled, "But only a Scholar would know better."

 

Chuckling at this, Maegan shook her head with a bit of mirth in her smile. "Perhaps. Or there is more to your claim." She dug, just a little, to scratch her surface. "More than just to a simple scholar."

 

Eowenn burst out laughing. "Maegan, You will NEVER be a simple scholar. An Aes Sedai barely does you justice. In all my years I have never met someone as bright as you." She paused in the hallway. "No, You will never be 'just' a scholar." Smiling back, Maegan said nothing in return as an unfamiliar warmth grew to her cheeks. A compliment carried a fair amount of weight from family and effected her deeply.

 

"Come, his room is in here." She pushed open the door on her right, Maegan not realizing they were already at her father’s study quarters, straightened her posture and looked in, slowly.

 

There was much of her father as there was of nothing in the room. The organized chaos that Maegan often found associated with Boah littered every possible surface and floor space that would make the room virtually unlivable unless one was skilled enough to maneuver around the chaos. It was a rare moment Maegan was thankful Naomi Ryanne instilled a certain amount of order into her daily life and habits. If she kept her quarters in such a way Maegan knew she would never find anything; Spectacles or not!

 

"Go ahead." Eowenn urged, but the tone was soft and gentle, like a mother encouraging a young child that was hesitant of something perfectly safe. Maegan knew that she was hesitating. A very deep part of her did not wish to enter. To turn around and flee the Library and return to her quarters in the Red Ajah Hall and pretend her father was still alive. To step in would acknowledge the very simple and true fact that he was gone.

 

It was how the two of them worked. Together they worked, apart, they worked. And then if one were to pass on the other will finish what was started. It was an unspoken agreement between Father and Daughter. A close tie that bound them beyond just the simple ties of friendship. By accepting the passing of an idea to the other meant that they were no longer able to complete the idea and had truly left this age for the next.

 

Yes, she hesitated. How could she not? Maegan did not wish to accept that he was dead anymore than she wished to accept her horrid past. But that never meant that what she wished, even in the depths of her heart, it would change just for her. Maegan could not wish for her father to be alive again.

 

Carefully lifting her skirts into folds, the hem of each layer no longer touching the ground, Maegan maneuvered skillfully through piles and piles of sorted books and unbound paper working her way towards the opposing end of the desk. Channeling carefully, a ball of light hung over head that Maegan tied off with little thought. A gasp was heard from the door as Eowenn was caught unaware by the sudden brilliance of light. But she did not say anything. Eowenn just stood at the doorway with little else but the sound of breathing, watching Maegan move around the room, pausing methodically over various piles and reading the titles of books or bound paraphernalia. Cataloging and weighing each nick and knack, Maegan grew more and more curious as she found her way to the battered reclining chair with barely any cushion left to be comfortable. There was a small square pillow that could have easily been from the sitting room that Maegan had had tea in just the night before, if it were not so battered and dirty from continuous use.

 

It was without any doubt his chair. His desk. His work.

 

A small, unnoticed, tear rolled down her cheek as she took a seat in his chair. ::Light, it even smells like him.:: She thought, leaning back a little. She couldn't look to Eowenn just yet. She needed to stay focused and not fall apart. Falling apart happened after what was dealt with was done, not before or during. Glancing over the desk, Maegan's eyebrows furrowed in confusion by what she saw. Shreds of paper were scattered in no particular order or any form of understanding to what she knew of her father. Shifting one page aside to look at the next, she wasn't entirely sure what she was looking at. Eowenn then took a moment to speak. She did not enter the room.

 

"Boah did not mention much of his work to me. Nor what he was working on for the last few weeks that he was still with us. More often he kept things to himself until he was entirely sure that it would work. We both knew he hated disappointment. Even more so when anyone else knew that he failed." Maegan smiled softly as the random memory flittered in her mind for a brief instant. "But after looking at those I still could not figure out what he was working on. He often showed me different blueprints to various projects, big or small, explaining how things were built..." she paused, hesitant and unsure what next to say.

 

"..Blueprint..." Maegan spoke, half a sentence completely unheard as she looked over the leafs of paper. He eyes guided over the lines and numbers, taking in how each moved over the page and how each interconnected in some part to the next page.. "blueprints.... Lines.... Building... " Shuffling through them quickly, frantically looking for anything that would clue her in to what she was looking at. Maegan could wager a hypothesis on it but she had to be certain. She NEEDED to be certain.

 

Then she found it. Staring back up at her were four words bolded at the top of the intended first page. Everything clicked.

 

"Did you find anything? Do you know what he was working on? Are they blueprints or.."

 

Maegan pulled the page out from under the various ones on top, smoothing it out fully across the desk. Staring down at it, Maegan's mind was racing fast as she puzzled out every aspect of what she saw in front of her. ::It was not possible, was it?::

 

Eowenn wandered over, almost as skillfully, maneuvering around the piles of paper and to the desk. Maegan did not note this skill. Peering down, Eowenn read. "'The Academy of Cairhien.' What is that? I've never heard of it before." Confusion in her voice.

 

"I do." the words were but a whisper and a mist in the now much emptier room. Anouther tear rolled down her cheek. This time she knew it was there but still did not bother to wipe it away.

 

"Mae? Are you alright?"

 

Maegan closed her eyes and shook her head. No she was not alright. She could barely breath as the weight of what she had just found pressed heavily on her broken heart. ::Why? Why did you have to leave me before I could see this?:: Anouther tear.

 

"Talk to me.. " Concern and sadness laced each word. "What is it, Maegan?"

 

Tear filled eyes looked up at Eowenn and Maegan searched for something, anything, for just the right words to tell the one other person closest to her than her father.

 

"The world. My father was trying to give me the world."

 

 

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Secret of the Rose (pt 2)

 

    It was a simple fact in life, a form of philosophy so to speak, that a father wants nothing more than to give his child, his daughter, the world. Not just any world or even that particular world in which they are resident in. But 'the' world that gave them absolutely anything and everything they could possibly ever be in want or require. It would never be a matter of Power, of Money, or of anything else, but the ever lasting knowledge that they were loved. And that child, that daughter, will never forget that love regardless because they gave the world back in return. A world to share.

 

::To share it alone...::

 

Together they collected every possible piece of the blueprint and rolled them up carefully; Maegan weaved a Keeping on the pages in order to protect them. Releasing the globe of light and then shielding the room, even though Eowenn locked it carefully behind her, both Maegan and Eowenn left the Royal Library of Cairhien and headed back to the Elmdor Estate that rested just on the edge of the Academic Quarter near the Royal Quarters. They stopped for a brief instant to pick up some required tools that Eowenn made a side mention of not having, then moved quickly through the throngs of artisans, scholars, Sun Guards and commoners.

 

Wasting little time, Maegan entered the same sitting room as the nighs before while Eowenn hurried off to fetch tea, not bothering to call on a maid. Setting the precious roll of blueprints to the side of the room, Maegan diligently set about moving furniture away, wasting little time in weaving threads of air around each chair, table and stack of books, papers and trinkets to the edge of the room to spare a larger part of the room to their disposal. The simple yet long tea table was still far too small to fit the leafs of paper on and was also moved to the side of the room only to rest at a convenient place for Eowenn to place the tea.

 

Maegan unrolled the blueprints and methodically started placing them on the floor, trying to keep at least some form of order from them. After a brief discussion with Eowenn, Maegan had no doubt that they were out of any order because Eowenn had also tried her hand at deciphering the blueprints. The possibility of anouther riffling through them were slim to none, and with the collected amount of dust, even Maegan saw little evidence that would indicate that anouther might have been in the room. Deciding it would be best to sort the new found puzzle at home where the lighting was better and there would be more floor space and fresh tea, Maegan could only nod her head in agreement. It was hard to stay in her Father’s office any more than she had to, looking at all of his things and knowing he was gone. It was difficult to focus when everything in that room reeked of him. With Maegan's sensitive sense working overtime, she knew there was little she could accomplish in the office.

 

"There we go.." Eowenn said as she entered the room. Her hands held a tray that balanced a large steeping teapot, two tea cups, a saucer of cream and a small cup of sugar for Maegan. "There is so much more room in here and the lighting is far better for you." There was something oddly motherly in her voice, a small part of her asking why she and her father didn't have any more kids. But the thought was small and fleeting and completely off topic. Subject at hand, Maegan simply plowed on.

 

"Did he give you any indication of how far he was? Did he start getting overly excited, or start muttering in his sleep?" Maegan knew her father talked in his sleep when he was over working or had an idea near completion. She did so for a few years as well as a novice although thankfully Leda had helped her break that habit. Nothing worse than an Aes Sedai telling her secrets in her sleep.

 

Eowenn set the tray on the table, standing, looking over the scattered blueprints. A look in her eyes that Maegan could not read. "Nothing completely our of the ordinary. Two days before he passed on he started muttering vast amounts of numbers and the names of people within the Library as well as names that I have never heard before. Possibly scholars from other cities."

 

Maegan nodded as Eowenn listed them off, stumbling a little as time had worn away at the memory. "A few others. Anything else?"

 

Pouring tea, her words sounded more like a recanting thought than a simple responce. "Hard to say, really. Muttering more and more in his old age. He mentioned Sun Guards and the Palace. Damandred many times. Oh, and then there were the Ogier. They were visiting for a while, so I did not think much on it."

 

"Ogier?"

 

"From Stedding Tsofu. It isn't far from here." Eowenn passed Maegan her cup and started to pour one for herself. "It already has sugar in it. Anyway, he started to grow quiet after that, worried about something else. I pried as best as I could, but Boah would not budge."

 

"He rarely does. Stubborn old man." Maegan muttered into her teacup, savoring the sweet flavour on her tongue. Crouching down carefully, connecting page after page, and moving them around. Eowenn stayed standing, sipping her own milky tea, watching.

 

"Something started to bother him, but it was only for two,.. three days? After that he was happy again. Ecstatic in a way," she continued, speaking softly over her teacup. "And then he just passed on. Over excited himself, I suppose."

 

"Perhaps." Maegan said noncommittally, half listening. She paused in her shuffle taking one look over the array of pages that were ordered page after page, contemplating. "Eowenn?"

 

"Hmm?"

 

"What was that rumour again?"

 

"What rumour."

 

"About the rooms below the Library."

 

"I don't... Oh! The one about them being built on top of the old city of al’cair’rahienallen?"

 

"Right. 'Hill of the Golden Dawn' is the more appropriate translation." Maegan shifted two more pieces. "There. Now they are back in order."

 

"That took you a while." Eowenn teased.

 

"Only because of his horrible organizational skills."

 

"He wasn't... "

 

"Yes he was." Maegan said with a smiled as Eowenn drifted in her retort, setting her empty tea cup on the table behind her, "Father was notorious for his inability to organize anything. He relied on me when Mother was no longer around and then you. The man was hopeless. Light illuminate him." Picking up the first page again, "Now, if my guess is correct,"

 

"It usually is." Eowenn chimed in.

 

"We're looking at the underground of the Library, as well as a separate blueprint.." Maegan indicated to a section of 3 leafs that she had placed to the side, "that are for additions to the higher levels of the Library as well as a neighboring building. I don't remember what that building was.."

 

"It used to house visiting Scholars. But most of them bought buildings or stay in far better equipped Inns or Taverns within the city. Most of the more renowned stay with the Nobles in the Royal Quarter."

 

"Than I'm guessing that Boah planned for an addition to be made for a small running school that worked off the Library."

 

"A school?"

 

"For brighter minds. Not all can be blessed with Tutors or family that can teach what they wish to know. True, many only desire to live the life they know and continue it with as little fuss as possible because it is peaceful and it makes them happy. But some thrust for knowledge." Replacing the leaf back into it's place. "Boah was working to make that possible."

 

"But why did he not tell me this?" Her voice full of confusion. "This isn't something that would bring about failure, but is in fact a rather brilliant idea." Maegan stayed silent. "I mean, if this is what I think it is, it could change not only the face of the Library but how people view Cairhien."

 

"Not entirely. It would have to pass the King’s approval. Although not in the investment of the Game, it takes away from the Royalty and Nobles of the city and puts it into the hands of the Commoners."

 

"He would not like that." Eowenn scowled.

 

"It was possibly what made Boah so upset for a few days." Maegan speculated, carefully gathering the pages up and rolling them together.

 

"Maybe. But what changed?"

 

There were too many possibilities. Perhaps Boah already had the answer, but he left no clues. "I don't know. If there was one person that would know, it would be the person overseeing the Library."

 

"Reanna Malard. But she watches over the Library mostly with her husband, Gierge. You are better off asking Rhys Cathulden or Ouden Rimindar. They both worked with your father over some steam experiment that barely saw past the blueprints." Eowenn poured Maegan a second cup of tea.

 

Maegan furrowed her brows. "I do not remember them."

 

"You wouldn't. They came a few years after you first left to the Tower. They came together with ideas and dragged your father and a few of the other long-standing scholars into a frenzy." She tsk'ed a little, "They have good idea's, but they kept your father there for many hours past the time he promised to be home."

 

There was something in Eowenn's tone that Maegan picked up quickly. Suspecting that there had been fights over the topic, she decided not to push and instead continued to plow forward. "And you think they were working with Boah about this?"

 

"If anyone would have an answer, I suspect they would. They were all very secretive, but not so much with each other. Your father was better in mathematical theory than the two of them and puzzled out many of their own problems, while they in turn helped him where he had the need."

 

"Teamwork."

 

Eowenn nodded. "However it worked, you would have the most luck with those two."

 

"Than it is back to the library tomorrow."

 

They both sipped their tea in resolved silence.

 

 

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Secret of the Rose (pt 3)

 

    It took Maegan and Eowenn many hours to track down the two scientists the following day. Had they been where they said they would be then it would have been a lot easier to track them down. But of course, like all brilliant minds, they were often one track and yet on many tracks at the same time. Following one lead or anouther that would eventually have them found on the higher floors of the Library instead of in the small cavernous rooms in the underground. Both Cathulden and Rimindar were pouring over books of physics, mathematics and chemistry, completely unaware of the intruding women in the otherwise empty room.

 

"Master Cathulden and Master Rimindar?" Maegan inquired, strolling up to them with Eowenn following. There was a smile on her face as neither men acknowledged the greeting.

 

"How about this one?"

 

"Nope, too many flaws in the design."

 

"There are no fl.. "

 

"Page 478." there were pages flipped.

 

"Oh. Well that does us no good."

 

"Excuse me." Maegan's voice was a little more firm.

 

"What do you think of the one on page 54?"

 

"Too simple."

 

"Is that a bad thing?"

 

"It is when the coils burn out from a lack of room for a cooling device."

 

"I see your point."

 

Maegan let out an exasperated sigh and turned to Eowenn. "Are they always like this?" Eowenn only smiled with a shrug to her shoulders. Setting her jaw, Maegan walked around them to look at the pages that they were poring over. Guessing the designs and evaluating the basics, and the scribbles in the design. Frowning, there was something not adding up properly in their calculations.

 

"I don't know what you are looking for, but this isn't correct." She reached out and pulled a pencil from the desk and scribbled a few marks onto the paper, and scratching out former ones. The two men stopped what they were doing and turned to look at her, at each other, at the work, at each other and than to her again. Completing the mistakes on the page, Maegan set the pencil back down on the table beside the work, "There. You forgot to carry a few numbers in this part of the equation. I suspect the simple system could work if you modify it to cool the coils here and here. Maybe moving this part to the right as well will also give you a little more room to play with, as well as any other modifications you may need to make."

 

Sharing a look, they glanced at the paper she just edited.

 

"Well I be a nobleman's daughter.."

 

"Who are you?" One said, looking to her over his thin framed spectacles. They were not smooth like hers, made from a more rough glass. Maegan noted the white hair and the numerous wrinkles and scars on the man’s face. He had blue eyes and curly salt and pepper hair that was trimmed short. The other was the same but held a far firmer jaw line and a smaller nose. With longer hair tied back in a loose but frizzy thong, his eyes were green with an almost golden sheen. Hazel eyes that were not hidden behind spectacles.

 

"Maegan Ryanne."

 

"Boah's daughter?" The one with the green eyes and the sharper jaw turned to look at her with surprise.

 

"Yes."

 

"Wonderful!" The other that first talked to her stated. "You just solved a problem that we have been fighting over for the past few days now."

 

"Yes, yes" the other mused as he scrolled over the changes as well, "I had mentioned just the other day.. was it the other day? ..or the other week? I do not remember, but I had reminisced about how hopeless we were without Boah's math expertise."

 

"Brilliant man, he was. Light illuminate him." the other echoed the sentiment.

 

Maegan's smile was soft at the tone of reverence in the two older men. She had no doubt that they were good companions, at the very least friends, of her father. It did her heart wonders knowing that she was not the only one to miss his brilliant, albeit scattered mind. Eowenn was of no exception on that as well.

 

"Thank you." Maegan said honestly. "If you do not mind, gentlemen, I have a few questions for you."

 

"Anything for the daughter of Boah Ryanne." Said the blue eyed man as he looked her over approvingly. Maegan blushed. "I am Rim, and this is Rhys."

 

"The Rustic R's." Rhys chuckled as if remembering an old joke.

 

Clearing her throat with a small cough behind a fist, "What do you two know of my father’s work before he passed on?" Maegan asked.

 

"His work?" Rhys looked confused. "I don’t remember what he was working on. Rim?"

 

Rim shook his head. "I do not... he never mentioned much to us about that project. He asked a few questions. Odd ones too."

 

"Like the one about the..." Hand gestures started to be said back and forth. Maegan frowned.

 

"Yes. That was an odd one. But not as strange as the.." More hand movements.

 

"Gentlemen. Talking about his sex life is hardly appropriate..." Eowenn glowered, speaking up for the first time. Both men blushed as Maegan burst out laughing.

 

"Sorry, Lady Ryanne." Rhys looked sheepish, but Rim had a different look in his eyes that told Maegan how far this man's sense of humor was in the docks, if not nestled very closely in Foregate itself.

 

"You are not." Eowenn's hands were on her hips now, but there was a glint in her eyes.

 

Rim put his hands up in a mocking form of surrender. "You caught us, El,"  he said, laughing.

 

"You two are just as bad as the young boys. Learn a new language and the first thing you learn are all the naughty words."

 

Maegan struggled to stifle her laughter behind a hand to her mouth. Rhys at least had the decency to look abashed, Rim barely followed suit as the impish grin was hard to pass up.

 

"Do you want to know what else we learned?"

 

"No, I do not."

 

"Pity. You would feel young again too." He wriggled a bushy eyebrow at her, causing anouther burst of laughter from Maegan. Eowenn muttered something under her breath that she could not quite catch. "And..." Rim turned to Maegan with a similar hopeful look.

 

"And I am too old for you."

 

"Give it up, Rim. You are too young for any of the older woman here. Just face the inevitable fact that nobody wants you."

 

"You want me." His eyes turned to Rhys.

 

"That is quite enough," Eowenn interjected. "Every time I bring you two company you go about and spoil your own reputation."

 

"We are brilliant scholars." Scoffed Rim.

 

"You are little boys in old bodies."

 

"Not that old..." Rhys' eyes and features looked a little down trodden.

 

"Old enough."

 

"You're just jealous."

 

Eowenn gave a half-hearted sigh. "I am heading back to my quarters to start the evening meal." She looked to Maegan, "If you can get anything from these two wool-headed hooligans, let me know?"

 

Maegan grinned. "I shall." Missing the look that passed between Rim and Rhys. Watching the other woman leave, Maegan was surprised by what was said next.

 

"You should weave a warding, Aes Sedai." Said Rim. His voice no longer carried the playful tone that it had portrayed earlier.

 

"Excuse me?"

 

"An eavesdropping weave?" Said Rhys, who had started to gather up the books he had scattered around them. "You do know how to make one of those? Or did I read wrong as to what they taught you in that Tower of yours."

 

"I.. I.. "

 

"Just do it, child." Maegan looked to both of them, curiosity and suspicion weighing them carefully. Embracing Saidar, she did as they asked.

 

"It is done."

 

"Take a seat." She did.

 

Regarding the two men carefully, Maegan placed her hands into her lap, having yet to release Saidar from her grasp. Pooling her features to a stony silence, the air around her grew cold. How the air could grow cold without there being a breeze or a shift in the altitude was beyond her, but the level of fear crept into her system without her realizing it. Rim and Rhys shared a few looks before Rhys started the conversation again.

 

"May we have your word that what we tell you will not leave this room?"

 

Maegan raised an eyebrow, very Aes Sedai-like. "You could if you explain yourselves."

 

"Your word, Aes Sedai." Rim spoke.

 

"I do not give my word without some assurance that what you tell me will be worth keping secret."

 

"Very well. At the very least swear that none of this will reach the Lady Eowenn's ears."

 

"What is spoken will not reach Eowenn's ears, I swear it." She allowed, carefully wording to leave a loophole. It was not that she did not trust them, it was that she may not trust what they told.

 

"Do you know how your father died?"

 

"It was said in his sleep."

 

"This is as much correct as it is not."

 

"Explain." There was a level of threat in Maegan's voice, her hands had gripped her skirt. It was the only sign that showed her emotional state.

 

Rhys pulled the spectacles from his nose, cleaning them on his shirt. "Before Boah died, he was working on a rather large project. I was told that you and Eowenn had stumbled across it in his office." Maegan nodded her head in confirmation to that fact.

 

Rim continued, "There was quite a stir amoung the Nobles that the Academic Quarter was trying to undermine their class and go above their appointed station."

 

"This in turn caused a bit of stir in the courts for a short while. This, of course, was quickly squashed by the King himself when he called for a higher ranking Noble to support the notion. Reque Damodred stepped forward to support the case." The look on Maegan's face was filled with surprise.

 

"This also did not sit well with them. The Damodred House lost a bit of respect, and Reque was shoved aside and basically booted from his home."

 

"Poor boy spent a few months sleeping on the couches in the faculty room in the Library as well as a few Inns."

 

Leaning back in her seat, Maegan rubbed her temple for a moment. "If this all happened 5 years ago, than how did Reque Damandred find his way back into their good graces? I saw him but yesterday all smiles and of superiour air. There was not a single change in him since I was last here."

 

Both hesitated before Rim took the first leap. "Boah was poisoned, somehow. We were never able to prove who or how. It was in his system for a few days before it took over his nervous system. Shut it down completely."

 

"With Boah out of the way, there was no driving force behind the project, just a dead scholar. The Damodred's, being the fickle folks they are, allowed Reque back, but not without a price."

 

"A Price?" She raised an eyebrow.

 

"He would have to give up his work in the Library and take up a wife. Mostly to produce an heir as he was the oldest of their House."

 

Maegan could not help but smile. "He must not have liked that. I do not see him settling with a wife."

 

Rim shook his head, "He didn't. After producing an heir in his first year of marriage, she also died mysteriously. Grievous - or so his family thought- he nearly went mad and took to his old work again within the house."

 

"And having a Mechanical Engineer that would constantly be making a racket in the Noble Quarters did not sit well either. A few other Demandreds died and Reque returned to the Library."

 

"Been here ever since." The pair grew silent as Maegan also stewed on her own thoughts.

 

"It would be best if Eowenn didn't know the Nobles killed him." Rim said softly. "She took his death really hard. You are thinking of reviving the project, are you not?" Maegan simply nodded. "I suggest being careful where you tread. No one from the Royal Quarter will like it if you are tampering with something they would rather forget."

 

"Best not get Reque involved either." Rhys followed, "He may not take to loosing his current cushion with the other Nobles."

 

"Not unless he was genuine in his support." Maegan countered. "He lost a bit of his credibility, but after my father died, there could have been more under the tables just just the threat of his House. By all rights the man should be dead. But now that he has an Heir.. "

 

"He may want to pick up the peices."

 

"Did he have access to my Fathers office?"

 

"No one did. Only Eowenn knew where it was located."

 

"What?!?" That surprised Maegan greatly. "You mean to tell me that no one knows of the underground rooms?"

 

"Most of us do, but they were found after Eowenn accidently slipped that they were there."

 

"Fascinating!" Rim chuckled at Maegan's expression as Rhys continued to look thoughtful.

 

"There is a reason it would be best not to involve Eowenn too much. No more than necessary." Rhys replaced his spectacles on his nose a looked at her intently. "She may let too much slip if she is."

 

"Not unless the Tower is supporting the Project, and a Noble House, as well as the King. It will be hard to argue with that, but an Aes Sedai may be able to change the tables."

 

"Perhaps." Said Rim.

 

"But be careful who you talk to. If it reaches the wrong ears, we may start loosing talent and general support. This city does not need anymore conflict than what that stupid Game brings."

 

Maegan nodded sagely. "I will keep that in mind. You have my eternal gratitude for your honesty."

 

Rim smiled. "You are the daughter of Boah. He was more than just a scholar in these halls. He was a friend."

 

"A dearly missed friend." Rhys chimed in.

 

Maegan smiled sadly. "I know. I miss him too."

 

 

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Secret of the Rose (pt 4)

 

    There was a certain amount of conflict in Maegan as she left the third floor of the library. Detouring into the second level that was mostly reserved for those outside the general public, she paced her way around the Towers as she allowed her mind to catch up with her.

 

On one hand she has the murder of her father. ::Light! He was murdered! In cold blood!:: A part of her wished to weep over the very concept that someone had wished ill of her father and acted on it. Pushing that particular emotion along with all the other ills that had plagued her life, Maegan disciplined herself to pull forth the thoughts that should make more sense. Logic and level headed thinking were what she needed right now, not this emotional wreck that would see herself dead. She had only just been raised to the shawl and there was no way she would give up that wasted time to simple throw it away at a test of character.

 

The grieving aside, Maegan mulled over the facts. Boah wanted to create a School and an Academy for advanced Scholars to study without pressures of life outside of their work. The Nobles were not please by this idea as it pulls away from their power hold and elite base of knowledge. The King flips sides dependent on appeal and money. It was the key in the Great Game. Who ever had the Kings support had the last vote.

 

Maegan was not particularly pleased with the idea of approaching the King on any subject. As an Aes Sedai, it required her to be far more formal than was she felt comfortable being. It was a habit to do as needed in the Tower. But in the Tower she served and showed humility, while outside the Tower and now with a shawl around her shoulders, it was the other way around. Wrinkling her nose Maegan felt a slight bit of frustration. She made a poor Aes Sedai some days.

 

"Lovely day, is it not? Maegan Sedai?" Nearly jumping out of her skin, Maegan turned to see Reque Damodred walking along side her. He smiled at her response and her quick change in demeanor. She hated when people snuck up on her.

 

"It is a fine day, Lord Damodred." She said to him coldly and continued her pace. "Were you need of anything?"

 

"Just your lovely company." His smile was charming. Irritating.

 

"Unless there is a specific need.. " she started, but Reque was quick to interrupt.

 

"You were not so cold the last I saw of you." There was a level of hurt in his voice.

 

"This is hardly the time or the place, Lord Damodred." She scolded.

 

"Will it ever be an appropriate time, Maegan Sedai?" he countered.

 

She stopped and turned to him, he paused to face her in return. "What is this all about? You barely gave me the time of day the last I saw of you. In fact when I saw you last aside from the other day you were with some Lady behind one of the stacks with her skirt over her face." Maegan's eyebrows raised. "Was that an appropriate time? Or place?"

 

The man gave a gallic shrug without showing an ounce of shame over her findings. "It was at the time."

 

She regarded him with a look of disgust and then carried on her pacing.

 

He started to chase after her, a form of desperation in his voice, "Wait, Maegan.."

 

"Sedai."

 

"Maegan Sedai.. "

 

"Look. I am not interested in your Great Game or in You." She pointed a finger at him to make a point but he quickly caught it with his own hand ::Blademaster?:: and gave it a quick tug to pull her into an embrace. Saidar in her grasp but her weaves were not quick enough to cut him off his words.

 

"Boah wanted something of me. If you want to play pretenses of hating me, that is fine. But I know you found his blueprints. He would make it far too obvious for you to find." Maegan stayed silent as he released her. She did not need to glance around to know that there were none in that area of the Library. "I want to help you, but you have to let me help you."

 

Resisting the urge to scowl, Maegan refused to allow him to see how him grabbing her had effected her. Aes Sedai did not show weakness. SHE did not show weakness.

 

"Why?" It was a simple yet loaded response.

 

He smiled, that sickeningly sweet smile that made her toes curl in a way that set her on edge. It was not a smile she liked.

 

"Why would an Aes Sedai work outside of the Tower Law?"

 

 

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

The Tsofu Stedding

 

    Given the day, the place and the weather, in theory Maegan should have been in a far more pleasant mood than she was in. Sitting outside of a large building in the a Stedding not far from Cairhien - the Stedding Tsofu - with a sweet tea in hand, she had arrived a few weeks ago to negotiate the Building of the Academy. It had not been difficult to reach this point, and Maegan had been quite certain that with the drama surrounding her fathers murder that there would be far more loops to jump through. But, as promised, Reque Damodred had followed through on his promise and had presented her with a sealed letter of approval from the King along with a rather smug look on his face.

 

Scowling into her tea at the thought, Maegan was beginning to despise that particular man. Guilty a little that she could not give him the benefit of the doubt, but with the knowledge of all the deaths that surrounded him, Maegan felt an unease at the very sight of him. Associated with him felt only a thousand times word. Becoming indebted to him for the approval she had received for the very project that she was suppose to complete for her father, unthinkable.

 

The whole thing was a bloody farce that she could not see any other choice but to follow along. She was a Flaming Aes Sedai and yet her strings were being pulled by the Damodred Game. Reque's Game.

 

Light, how she hated that man.

 

::But you will be able to complete the school. And the Academy.:: Her inner voice taunted her. A mild attempt at soothing her anger.

 

"But at what cost?" She mused under her breath, finishing her tea.

 

Placing the cup beside her, she gazed through her spectacles at the Ogier women that tended a garden nearby. Circling around a tree, Maegan noticed that they all stopped. A younger, much younger, female (perhaps 70 - 80 years of the Ogier Age) stepped forward to the little tree that sat in the center of the ogier-made circle. Maegan's eyes closed as the sound of music, chirping and soul in the air caused her very mind to pause, as the Young Ogier started to sing to the tree. For a while this continued as the music lulled Maegan, brightening her mood and soothing the anger that had taunted her just moments ago. Opening her eyes as the music faded, they grew wide at what she saw.

 

There were warm smiles as the Young Ogier smiled back at her Peers and Seniors. But the Tree, the small tiny sapling, now stood about a foot higher with branches far thicker than many in the Tower Gardens. Astonished, the Ogier girl took leave of her peers and headed in Maegan's direction.

 

"Amazing!" Maegan gushed, forgetting herself as she often did at the sight of something marvelous and new.

 

The Ogier blushed and her ears flickered and fell with the show of shy embarrassment. "It is but a bit of the Treesong. You must be the Aes Sedai that has come to ask for builders."

 

Maegan nodded. "I am. My name is Maegan Ryanne."

 

"I am Rhozette, but please call me Rose."

 

"A pleasure, Rose." Maegan bowed her head in a form of greeting. "What you did was.. I have never seen such works. If this were not a Stedding I would think you used Saidar."

 

Rose laughed, but it was not like any laugh Maegan had ever heard of before. It was light, like air with a soft whistle of a low sounding bird. Beautiful. "It is not the work of Saidar, I assure you. The TreeSong is an ancient part of the Pattern and the Wheel itself. The Wheel turns by the One Power, but in itself is a source of Life. Or so I think. The Elders may not agree with me, but they do not have the Talent for the TreeSong. Few have the Talent for it." There was a note of great pride in her voice and Maegan could not help but smile.

 

"Perhaps that is the way of things. Had I not seen such a feat, I may have said that the Stedding works outside of the Pattern." Maegan countered.

 

"Perhaps you may be right. But we are no more separated from the Pattern than You are from Saidar."

 

Maegan chuckled. "Perhaps. But even I, Light Forbid, can be severed or burned from Saidar."

 

Rose held up a thick finger. "But never from the Pattern. So long as you exist You will always be apart of the Pattern."

 

"Ta'Maral'Ailen"

 

They were aproached by two much older Ogier. One was the Eldest named Alar and a male who was close to her in age by the name of Crome. "Talking theory again, I see." Spoke Alar, as slow smile on her face.

 

Rose grew embarrassed again. "I was merely discussing idea's of the Pattern."

 

Maegan smiled, "It was a pleasurable discussion. Short."

 

"I apologize for cutting your discussion short, Maegan Sedai." Said Alar. "The council has come to a conclusion to your request for builders." The look wasn't entirely pleased, but by the look of Crome, it was a fell fought debate.

 

Maegan bowed deeply. "Your swift answer is most appreciated, regardless of where it has weighed."

 

"We do not like to conclude such a discussion easily, but you're goal is a noble one. Your apparent support for building Knowledge and protecting, preserving it has weighed more than the gold you have offered to pay for the construction."

 

"You will do it then."

 

"We will build your Academy. We will send word to other Steddings for the aid of other builders. The more present the faster your Academy will be completed." This she also scowled on. There must have been confusion on her face as Rose spoke next, directly to Maegan.

 

"Alar loves knowledge, but does not like to rush. With anything."

 

"Rhozette." The full name was said with a firm voice that caused Rose's ears to twitch with irritation. "You speak too swiftly."

 

"Forgive me." Rose bowed. Turning to Maegan she smiled. "I hope we meet again, Maegan Sedai. I shall enjoy talking.. theories with you again." Nodding a brief greeting to the Elders she spirited away at a faster speed than Maegan expected an Ogier to make.

 

"And forgive our Rose, Maegan Sedai." Alar said.

 

"There is no need for apology." Maegan shook her head and gave the woman a raised eyebrow. "Youth have a way about them that is only for the Youth, as Age gives wisdom to the Elders. In time she will be wise beyond her years."

 

Alar cracked a smile. "She is one of our brightest and most Talented."

 

"And with a curiosity that is good for an old soul." Maegan countered with a challenge. Crome laughed as Alar gained a thoughtful look.

 

"Creativity is refreshing. Even for an Ogier." Alar agreed.

 

"May I take her with me, to Cairhien as the building commences. I do believe she will enjoy what the Royal Library has to offer."

 

"She is too young." Alar shook her head.

 

"What defines young?"

 

"We do." Alar said, simply.

 

Maegan chuckled. "That did not answer my question."

 

Alar raised her eyebrow in exchange for Maegan's. "It is an Answer you will receive. Rhozette is too young to leave the Stedding."

 

"And by the time she is of an age to leave, the construction will be complete and she will no longer have the company of other builders. I believe her Talent.. TreeSinging she called it..  will be of great use to my cause."

 

"She may have a point, Alar."

 

"She is too young, Crome." The words sounded final. "You are welcome to stay as long as you wish Maegan Sedai. I have letters to write that will be in need of sending that will aid your cause. We shall speak later." Taking her leave, Crome said his passing as well and followed after the Eldest and leaving Maegan where she stood.

 

There was much to be done, as Alar had said, and Maegan must return back to the Library to continue her work. Reluctant to jump into such a project that would only see herself working alongside Reque for far too many hours, Maegan retook her seat on the beautifully wooden chair that Maegan no longer had no doubt that it was of Sung Wood. Gazing over the Ogier tended Stedding, Maegan thought over what was in need of doing, what was in need of leaving and what was in need of avoiding.

 

::Reque Damodred was in need of avoiding.:: She thought, obsessive over how much he irritated her. What was worse was that she had to leave Eowenn behind who had grown too old for riding. She claimed it was a bad leg and refused to allow Maegan to Heal it. Suspecting an anterior motive for the woman's lack of interest in visiting a Stedding, Maegan was yet again left with no choice in the matter and had left her step-mother behind. With Reque Damodred. A man who had death follow for their involvement. Was Eowenn safe with the reviving of the Academy? Maegan was unsure of this and it bothered her greatly. Thusly she was in need of Leaving the Stedding.

 

As much as she wished, she could not spend as long as she would have liked in the Stedding. In the weeks that she had been there Maegan had met many of the lovely Ogier that lived there as well as had gained access to one of their smaller collections of books to keep her occupied as they debated about the Builders. It truly had been a lovely few weeks, but her worry of her Step-Mother haunted her thought like a sickening cancer growing slowly.

 

Seeing far too much deceiving, pain and death, Maegan feared for more than she would reveal. Refusing to stay useless and left without an option, Maegan chose to come visit the Ogier and continue forward in her work with the Academy in spite of the hands in her purse.

 

"I swear," Maegan muttered, none within range to hear, "If she is dead, Damodred, you will pay. Guilty or not." Not even her sworn oaths could reprise her from the threat to another's life.

 

 

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

The First Order - Fifteen Years Later

 

    The construction of the Academy took 6 years to complete. Instead of just the vast library there was now an adjourning school connecting through the building. The School was the original front of the project and the largest bane to the Nobles who disagreed with its construction. However, because it was the front, Maegan supported their curiosity and allowed them to observe what was being constructed and planned. Although they were given no say in any matter -Although they argued about it over the years as to who would be placed in leadership - Maegan set a strong front with her Red Shawl on her shoulders and few become all but whispers from other scholars that over heard much of the plotting. Visited by various brown sisters, and a Green, she was able to keep most of their quarrels at bay.

 

Of course, they did not know what was being built under them as their were far too concerned by what they could see. While the Royal Cairhien Academy was being built above ground, the _Real_ Academy was being founded below the main grounds among the former ruins of al’cair’rahienallen which tunneled below and beyond the Library. Supported by the Ogiers amazing abilities and the skills of the Aes Sedai on hand -sworn to the flame- wards and shields of support were places strategically throughout the underground as well as illusions of light and life to  give the whole a new feel than what Maegan had originally walked into on her first visit. The lovely and talented Rose also sung to live a beautiful garden behind the Library which was also illumined to look like buildings and also shielded. This gave more to the Library life as Scholars, Students and those of like mind had a place of solitude and retreat from the confines of the underground, but also the library and the busy city life without leaving behind the comfort and shelter the Library offered its occupants.

 

The Royal Library of Cairhien functions as a whole but is segregated into 3 Section. The School, the Library and the actual Academy (Dubbed the Academy of the Rose). Each works seperatly but yet mingles together as a whole to create a positive educational enviroment.

 

First there were the classrooms - directly connected to the Library where the younger generations were taught Basic and Advanced Studies but volunteering Scholars. Over time, older and more experienced students started to take on instruction roles with the younger basic classes with then allowed the older scholars to continue their own private pursuits and ambitions.

 

In addition to the broken Towers of the actual Library are a series of shielded rooms for experimental purposes, the Halls of Construction, and Facility Suites that also opened into back garden. Retaining quite a few of the buildings surrounding the Library for the various suites, few aside from those that lived there knew of the connection to the Library.

 

Maegan chuckled to herself as the very thought of it all. Even with the Kings approval and his foreknowledge of part of the construction, it was still under the Nobles noses.

 

But by far what she loved the most was her own office. Formerly her fathers, she had it rebuilt larger with the illusions of windows and large drapes drawn closed. Walls that were not taken up by the windows were covered with shelves upon shelves of carefully catalogues books, trinkets and journals. The majority of it were that of her fathers. Much of it she had yet to fully completely read through, but it warmed her heart as she would gaze upon the room, thinking of him, knowing that this was what he would have wanted. What he had given his life to give to her. A place for her that was free of any other obligations but that which she put on herself.

 

Taking a small moment from her work, Maegan stretched in her high-back chair and embraced the One Power. She did not channel often, and the addiction of her touch to Saidar pulled at her with a craving, a taunting that told her to just touch, embrace. And she did. Allowing herself the small wonders, Maegan played with a weave that had once been far more advanced than what one of her skill and age should have been able to create.

 

A glowing ball of glass that lighted up the room started to spin in front of her. Threads of all elements spun within as the ball floated in mid air. Allowing her mind to wander, the ball slowly floated around in randomized patterns, grazing along surfaces that had started to form layers of dust.

 

"MAEGAN!" The door burst open with Reque following her name.

 

-SNAP!- Saidar snapped from her as her concentrate snapped to attention. The light in the room went completely black save for the simple candle at her desk which flickered; threatening to go out.

 

"Fuck!"

 

"Maegan?" There was surprise in Reque's voice as Maegan momentarily stumbled her way to touch Saidar and recreate the globe.

 

"Can you not knock like any normal person?" She scowled. Over the past years the man was still a bane and had unfortunately taken the place of Rim and Rhys, light illuminate their souls, as far as a source of entertainment. The man had proven over time to be a strong ally, although much of her did not trust him. She doubted she ever will.

 

"And miss surprising you?" The damnable grin. He bent over to pick something up. "What is this?" He held up a ball of glass that looked strikingly familiar to Maegan, but before she had the chance to question the possibility, Reque continued talking. "As I was about to say." He strolled up and placed the glass on her desk. "We had a small break through with that steam engine."

 

He caught her attention. "Steam engine? You mean the one that.. "

 

"That very one." He smiled, liking her curiosity that had over ridden her senses. Her fingers started to curl over the idea of Rim and Rhys' work continuing. His voice grew low and seductive, but she knew the only seducing being done was the invention. "Would you like to see it, Maegan?"

 

Standing she pulled a shawl around her - her Ajah Shawl locked in her shielded room at the Tower - and stood from her desk. Sweeping his hand with an elegant bow, Regue chuckled. "After you, my Lady."

 

About to exit the room, anouther form appeared in the hallway.

 

"Maegan Sedai! Maegan Sedai!!"

 

Reque leaned over to whisper to her. "My, aren't you popular." Teasing.

 

"Shut up, Damodred."

 

"You hurt."

 

"Maegan Sedai!" The young boy was new to the scholarly ranks, but he had a swift mind that had brought him deeper into the fold of the Academy. Breathless his face was filled with panic. Maegan frowned, exchanging a look with Reque Damodred as she crouched to see the boy eye to eye.

 

"Breathe, Jjyn. What is it?" She said soothingly.

 

"E.. eo.. Eowenn.. She.. She... " Fear struck her.

 

"Take a breathe and try again." Not letting the panic show in her voice.

 

"Lady Eowenn is Dead!" Maegan heard the gasp as the rest of her body was plunged into the gold hard dread of the news. Barely registering the gasp from the Man beside her. The boy continued to speak as an after thought, "And there be Aes Sedai with Red Shawls that be asking for you!"

 

Maegan nearly collapsed to the floor if Reque had not been there to catch her, her eyes wide as the shock caught her completely off guard. Her spectacle falling off her nose.

 

"Light... Mae." Reque rocked her as she started to cry, not sure if she was crying, but it sounded like she was crying. All she could tell that it was cold. So very cold. Everything else forgotten and unimportant. Her family was all dead...

 

"I am so sorry.. Mae.. Mae... "

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

A Call to Arms

 

    From the quarters below ground to the main floor of the Library, Maegan worked her way through the various emotions that littered through her mind. The deepest part of her wished to know of Eowenn; Why was she dead? How did it occur? The other part of her was angry that there were her sisters of the Shawl had decided to take it on themselves to visit at such an inconvenient time. ::They could not have known of Eowenn.:: Could they? The Game of suspision imprinted into her mind a fists were made at the side of her body as she walked. A foul taste of disposition on her tongue stung at her as she approached the sisters, aware that she had not approached them alone. Reque was following closely behind her.

 

"A warder, Sister?" There was a bitter amusement in her voice as Maegan reached them. Anita Briar was Andorian with high-class looks, her nobility shows with how she held herself, and it was never fully broken from her while she was a Novice or Accepted. Rich brown hair and brown eyes with fair skin. The woman was not one of the more pleasant of her sisters, even in private. She was very young and had just been raised to the Shawl.

 

"To what do I owe the pleasure of your company, dear Sisters." Maegan spoke, ignoring the Anita's sneer. The other sisters with her were Almay MerCade of Tarabon origin and the eldest that stood in their circle. The last and the one Maegan knew least was Asaro Nixon.

 

"You are requested to return to the Tower." Spoke Almay. Asaro only nodded her head, but watched Reque with a disapproving look on her face.

 

"I will return when my work here is completed."

 

Impassive, "You were given 15 years to complete the work you requested to complete on behalf of your departed Father. To our knowledge the School has been completed, for 5 years now." There was a warning in her voice. "This was what we allowed you out of respect for what you have earned. Precious few have been given this allowance. Will you deny our graciousness to your cause by denying us ours."

 

Maegan stood silent. Not one emotion passed behind her eyes, but she could tell by Reque's breathing that he was far from pleased that Maegan was being rebuked but a sister who - in his eyes- should be of equal grounds.

 

"Collect what you need, Maegan Sedai. We will leave tomorrow with you in compliance or not."

 

"Her moth.." Reque started to speak before Maegan could stop him, but Anita was far quicker.

 

"This is a matter that does not concern you." She snapped.

 

"It would be wise to complete what you can today. There is no time for delays as our time here was spent with precious waste." Almay said, her voice soothing but firm.

 

"I will leave with you no earlier than 3 days." Maegan said. "I will bury my family in two. You will grant me at least that."

 

"Oh Maegan... " Asaro spoke up, showing her far more softer side. "What happened?" Allowing a soft smile to the lighter hearted Aes Sedai. Wondering how much she had actually missed in her time away from the Tower and out of touch with her Red Sisters.

 

"My mother passed on and I have just heard the news." Maegan spoke, carefully.

 

"2 days we will leave, but we can spare no more." Almay said.

 

"Thank you." Maegan said. "By your leave I will complete what I need completed. You are welcome to what you find in the Library." The two women nodded their heads, but Anita still glared menacingly at Maegan. Tilting her head in a final greeting, Maegan turned and continued her way out of the Library with Reque following her.

 

"Mae.. are you okay?" He asked once out of the other Aes Sedai's ear shot.

 

"I have things to do, Damodred."

 

"Wait! Listen Maegan.. " He reached out and grabbed her wrist, to which she jerked it away with a surprising amount of force.

 

"No, you look, Reque." She glared at him. "You have absolutely no right to have any say in my life."

 

"Neither do they." He interjected, hurt in his eyes.

 

"Yes they do. I have given my Life to the Tower and to the work of my Sisters. I will do what must be done even if it is not what I wish to do. I am not going to play the selfish Aes Sedai and assume that what I do I do it out of want."

 

"I don't understand you. First you are supporting nothing but this Academy. you live here. You BELONG here. Not the Tower. Here." Reque hesitated as if to say more, but had chosen against it.

 

"My fathers work is complete."

 

"You're work." He corrected.

 

"No. My fathers. My work has not even begun. And it will not be just here. I have a duty and a cause to support, not just the scholarly notions that enter my mind."

 

"You're work is still here." He said, folding his arms with a rather rough 'hurmph'.

 

Maegan raised an eyebrow at him. "Then you are no different than who you throw you accusations at. Point one finger and 4 point back at you." He looked confused, looking at his hand, pointing them and then looked to her. Maegan sighed, feeling tired as the arguement faded with her energy. "I leave in 2 days. I have yet to learn the fate of Eowenn and I have to pack up what I will require for the trip. I do not have time to give thought to your flights of fancy or your obnoxious concocted ideas or notions. I _am_ an Aes Sedai. If you have forgotten it is high time you remember that fact. Do you understand me, Lord Reque Damodred."

 

She could see the struggle behind his eyes. She dared not give him an inch of repraisal in her features or in her voice, but his hesistation brought its own wave of doubt to her resolve. Was there something that she was missing? Something that she had not taken into account? The Academy was complete. The School was complete. She could return in time and her office will be there awaiting her when the time came that would allow her to continue her own work. She was by far the most solitude of her own Sisters. Very few E&E's outside of her own little world in Cairhien and to what may have brought the Red Ajah knocking on her door, Maegan had but only a few ideas. All hypothesis' in the grand scheme without any concrete subject or purpose. If Maegan were to take the time and place the past years together in a way that was unconventional and without order, perhaps it may all make some form of logical sense to her. But, it did not. This did not make sense. Eowenn dead did not make sense.

 

But her purpose in life did. Her Life and what she was meant to do made sense. And the light or shadow be damned if that would ever change because someone thought otherwise of her. She was an Aes Sedai. A Scholar. She had her purpose, and the means to do it.

 

It was forever before the man spoke. It had felt like forever. "As you say, Maegan Sedai." He bowed, turned around without so much as looking her in the eyes and walked away.

 

::Surpise Mae! You just hurt the man's feelings.::

 

Hardly. She schoffed, turning around and headed back to the Elmdor Residence that she had taken to living in. The man was a Damodred. Men of his rank are not hurt by simple scholars.

 

::You are no simple scholar.::

 

No, I am not. I am an Aes Sedai. I deserve respect. I have earned my way through far more than any could achieve.

 

::Is that a touch of arrogance? Arrogance that you clam to hate?::

 

She stopped at the entrance to the Elmdor Residence. She wrinkled her nose in such a way that one could have thought she smelled something ill. It is not arrogance. It is confidence and pride, scolding herself. She let herself into the house and quickened her way to Eowenn's parlor on the second floor. Pushing all thoughts of Reque Damodred from her mind; instead filling it with calm. Calm like she so desperately needed this day.

 

It had been no secret that the health of the Lady Eowenn Elmdor Ryanne had started to take a few tolls in her advancing age. Unlike Maegan, the woman lost complete use of her sight within the past year and had grown more and more physically weak. But despite these changes to her body, Eowenn stayed strong in spirit and refused to simply lay down when all that was left in her life was out of her bed. Believing that Eowenn still lived a healthy life style and the recent delving of her body showed nothing out of the ordinary to Maegan, she only assumed that these signs were of relation to her age and that there were still many years ahead of her. How could she simply die? The woman should have lived for at least a few more years before passing onto the next age with her father!

 

Or was she far more removed from reality than she had thought she was? Maegan frowned, dwelling a little as she stepped into the room. Eowenn was still there. Her body, that is. Covered in beautifully embroidered white linen to cover the body until someone comes to take it away. Eowenn's younger sister Sarai had already taken all the necessary needs as to dealing with the body (to which Mae felt grateful, but also a little guilty as Sarai was Eowenn's sister and Mae only an adopted part of the family.) ::But you are family.::

 

Standing still in the room of the last member of her immediate family, Maegan felt an incredible albeit desperate layer of loneliness that threatened the collected calm of her trained nature.

 

"Maegan Sedai?" The voice was hesitant, but she knew the voice well enough. No matter how hard she tried to convince the woman otherwise, Sarai refused to call her anything but her earned title.

 

"How?"

 

Sarai walked in and stood beside Maegan, her hands neatly folded in her lap in front of her. "We do not know. She had been in the garden, walking, most of the morning. She felt tired and requested to lay down. I brought her up here to rest." the words were smooth but automatic. It was as if Sarai had not come to accept that her older sister was gone. In this room that held only Eowenn, here light and spirit, even Maegan had a hard time accepting that she was gone. "She closed her eyes. spoke some silly nonsense of Boah forgetting something, and then went to sleep. I came back after but a few minutes with a light blanket and she was simply.. gone."

 

"As simple as that." Maegan murmured under her breath.

 

"She was not in pain." Sarai assured them both. "This is what I know. She would have wanted to leave this way. Peacefully."

 

Maegan nodded her head. "If there is anything.. "

 

Sarai smiled and spoke before Maegan could continue. "You have given more to this family than any other. I think you for this. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. But... " She paused.

 

"I know." Maegan placed a hand on the shorter woman's shoulder. "But the offer will always stand. Your family will always be under my protection. You only need but ask of it."

 

"Thank you, Maegan Sedai." The gratitude evident in the woman's face, with but a small tea speckling the corners of her eyes. "You will be leaving us?"

 

"2 days hence. I must return to Tar Valon and the White Tower."

 

"Always an Aes Sedai."

 

Maegan smiled, a rare spark of her humour flickering below the surface of her battered heart. "Never an Aes Sedai to you. I make a terrible Aes Sedai to those I call family." She chuckled a little knowing just how true the statement was. Eowenn always had to hid her laugh any time Maegan attempted to be all "Aes Sedai" on a subject. Eowenn was one of few spirits that could never take her seriously. Maegan would miss that greatly.

 

"As you say, Maegan."

 

It was with a warm embrace and a tearful spoken good by to the woman that lay in the room yet was no longer in the room with them that Maegan returned to her quarters. A heavy heart filled her chest as the rest of the day continued uneventful. She hummed a soft lullaby, words of the old tongue, as she proceeded to pack away her life in Cairhien into two small saddle bags and chest that would follow her later.

 

 

Spare a little candle

Save some light for me

Figures up ahead

Moving in the trees

White skin in linen

Perfume on my wrist

And the full moon that hangs over

These dreams in the mist

 

Darkness on the edge

Shadows where I stand

I search for the time

On a watch with no hands

I want to see you clearly

Come closer than this

But all I remember

Are the dreams in the mist

 

These dreams go on when I close my eyes

Every second of the night I live another life

These dreams that sleep when it's cold outside

Every moment I'm awake the further I'm away

 

Is it cloak 'n' dagger

Could it be spring or fall

I walk without a cut

Through a stained glass wall

Weaker in my eyesight

The candle in my grip

And words that have no form

Are falling from my lips

 

The sweetest song is silence

That I've ever heard

Funny how your feet

In dreams never touch the earth

In a wood full of princes

Freedom is a kiss

But the prince hides his face

From dreams in the mist

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Crimson Shadow

 

The Tower loomed over the central courtyard of the White Tower in Tar Valon. Sitting high on Dove, a now much aged but yet still spirited mare, Maegan glanced over her shoulders at the scowls directed their way from even the commoners and locals they past. Although in the heart of Tar Valon, few held any love for those of the Red Shawl. Traveling back with the 3 sisters, all three had donned their Crimson Shawls as a sign of authority and position within the White Tower. Maegan, on the other hand did not have the Crimson Shawl around her shoulders. Instead it had been carefully packed away into the saddle bag at her side for the entire journey. Unlike her sisters, she did not feel that she should need the Shawl to assert her authority - should she ever need it -. It was only a piece of cloth that struck more fear and distaste than any other Ajah to which Maegan was determined to see changed.

 

There was a certain level of pride within the Red Ajah that Maegan had not found in any other Ajah throughout her duration as Novice or Accepted. It was a renown fact that every Ajah was very prideful, and asserted authority at whim with a simple look, but few held the singlar unselfish passion that the sisters of her Shawl did. To this Maegan found far more appealing then the Gray or even the Brown Shawl. The sisters of the Red Ajah did as they must to preserve the worlds way of life. It was said amoung her sisters that it was not easy to take such a role upon themselves, to take the life a single man and change it without hesitation, and she believed them. It was the sacrifice of one for the millions, or so one sister had said. So many of them said.

 

Entering the Tower, it felt like a strong sense of deja vu. Corridors and corners that had seem so familiar and unchanging felt different. She felt different. The Tower had been one life that she had lead with out being able to see beyond the weaves that she had woven with Saidar. Even after her raising to the Shawl and when she gained her spectacles, the Tower had virtually felt unchanging. Allowing the stablemen to take away Dove, momentarily thinking it was time to retired to poor mare, Maegan followed her sisters to the Red Halls. Few of the Accepted and younger Aes Sedai gave greetings. Not one Novice she recognized at all. Perhaps 15 years away from the Tower was a far too long time.

 

Time. The one thing that mattered little to an Aes Sedai. It was of the essence and must be weighed and measured and calculated properly. But it sifted through the hourglass at an alarmingly slower rate than any other. Once Saidar became part of one's life force, until it is tired and no longer in need, the user lives far much longer. In turn gains the Ageless look. Or so the theory went.

 

Upon reaching the door to her quarters that sat only a few doors down from the main quarters that held those of the highest position in the Ajah, Maegan embraced Saidar and tested the wards she had placed on her door prior to leaving the Tower. Affirming that they had not been tampered with, as not even an Aes Sedai could be too careful, Maegan removed a few of the more intricately brutal weaves while leaving the fair warnning ones still in place. Pushing open the door, Almay came up behind her.

 

"Maegan Sedai?"

 

Maegan turned around. "Mae, is fine." she smiled softly. "No need for formality in our halls."

 

The woman nodded, approvingly. "The Highest awaits your return. It would be best if you report to her before you become too." she paused, "..settled."

 

Nodding her head in affirmation. "Very well. It was a long journey so I will freshen up first. I have a few words to exchange with her as well." Almay cocked her head to one side with a question, but Maegan left her no room to delve into the meaning behind her words as Maegan slowly started to close the door. "I best not keep her waiting."

 

Almay stood there for a moment, hesitant. Whispering,  "I should... "

 

"Yes, Almay?"

 

"There is a male channeler in the Tower."

 

Shock. Maegan said nothing. Only her dark brown eyes gave away any form of surprise.

 

"Kathrina has been holding off on gentling him so that you may have a chance at the experience. They are rare, but shielded his sanity holds." Maegan said nothing, so Almay continued. "Be careful what you say to her." This time Maegan watched her with unasked questions in her eyes. The woman shook her head. "Just be careful, Mae."

 

"Thank you, Almay." Maegan said, gratitude for the warning, but the level of confusion to why it had been placed in there in the first place still left her voice at a whisper. Closing the door and hearing the lock settle into place, Maegan quickly and methodically set out around her room to activate various weaves she had placed around her room. It was quite dusting and the room surprisingly sparse for it's size. She spent very little of her time furnishing her quarters as it had not been a priority. Growing up a Scholar and then living as a pauper while a Novice and Accepted, Maegan had few needs to which required possessions with little to no purpose. It was the practice and the need that would fill the room eventually. Books, small trinkets of meaning and layers and layers of paper from work that she will no doubt plow head first into would be what filled the room.

 

Once all that was needed to welcome her back into her room, Maegan took a moment to send for a novice to come and clean away the cobwebs that had found their way into various corners and the dust that layered the quiet shelving and beautifully patterned wooden floors of burgundy oak and cherry. She adored her room and the rich colours within it. Although there were few luxuries she allowed herself out of practicality, Maegan was no fool to miss the beauty in her room. Assuring the Novice that she would need the linens replaced properly, Maegan quickly redressed and took a quick comp to her hair. After struggling with the comb for about five minutes, an exasperated sigh and a quick weave saw her hair properly pulled back into a half twist with her curls cascading down her back. Appearance was but a voluntary nature of necessity she often wished she could go without. Unfortunately a meeting with the Highest, the most powerful woman aside from the Amyrlin and Keeper (Who was also a Red Sister who served a Brown Amyrlin), called from such painful measures.

 

::I will need to acquire a Novice to attend my hair and appearance.:: She mused darkly. She hated pulling novices from their studies, but as Maegan learned quickly in her study at the Tower was that to attend an Aes Sedai daily was a far cry better than the majority other daily chores that could be assigned to novices. ::Tasks like chamber pots.:: But the scowl changed at the thought of that particular memory. Although the task had be far from pleasant, the activity after had been far more... endearing. Anouther novice had been accused of soiling the corridors with the chamber pots, and Maegan felt that the justice of it had been unfair. Speaking up against the Accepted that accused the Novice, Maegan had in turn gained far more than the task of cleaning more. The Accepted had become a fellow Red Sister just a few years ahead of Maegan. At first had not been pleasant when Maegan was first raised, But Carise remembered Maegan's tongue, and it had been enough to gain a monumental amount of respect, in both their eyes.

 

Choosing to leave her Shawl behind, Maegan walked towards the Highest's door. Pausing for a moment, as if having a second thought, she gave a solid 2 knocks on the door. After hearing the summons to enter, Maegan pushed open the door to reveal the dark quarters. Kathrina favored the darker reds and more often kept the rich crimson and velvet curtains drawn shut. Candles upon candles littered and lit the room, giving it an eerie yet ethereal glow. Seductive, was the by far the most appropriate way to describe the room. After all, Kathrina was a lover of men, and she did not keep it secret.

 

"Highest." Maegan bowed her head in greeting. There was no more need to curtsey at her rank. Even newly raised, Kathrina would never expect a full sister to curtsey. Not even in private.

 

"Welcome home, Sister." The woman's voice was warm, looking up from her desk that entertained a large portion of that particular part of the room. Although the woman was cairhien, rumoured to be, she stared back at her with bright green eyes, blonde hair and if they stood side by side Maegan barely made it to to the woman's shoulders. The woman was a force of power and it showed in the way she held herself. It took Maegan a long while to shrug off the need to cower in her presence. However, after being mentored in some fashion by the woman when she entered the Ajah Ranks, Maegan grew a healthy respect for her and regarded her in much softer light than the woman had once painted for her.

 

"It is good to be back." Maegan said, carefully. She missed Cairhien before she had even left, but to be reluctant for her return would not show any favour in her direction. "Much has changed."

 

"I doubt it." The woman said off hand, waving a hand to a seat. "The faces may have changed on those that wear the White and the Banded gowns, but little else has changed."

 

"A male channeler is a form of change." Maegan stated, not bothering with the usual theratics that most Aes Sedai played at. Maegan never liked those games.

 

"So you know than." The woman did not appear surprised.

 

"I know that you have waited to carry out his sentence. Why?"

 

"I needed you here."

 

"Bull shit."

 

The woman raised an eyebrow. "Such language never became you. It is a poor habit that you have picked up, to curse such.. "

 

"It is not a habit, and it was a well placed call on your bluff."

 

"I do not Lie when I say that I need you here."

 

"You may need me here, but it is not to gentle a male channeler."

 

"I do need you to be there to gentle the man."

 

"You could use any of the other sisters to do so. You do not need me."

 

"I do." There was a warning in her voice to which Maegan blatantly ignored.

 

"There is nothing that I can do that anouther sister could not." Maegan stated, folding her arms across her chest. "I am no idiot, Kathrina. Do not toy with me." Kathrina muttered something under her breath that Maegan did not here. "What are you not telling me?" The woman hesitated.

 

"I will no doubt bet my years away that there are many things that you are not telling me."

 

Kathrina had the gaul to look insulted. "You go to far, Maegan."

 

"Do I?" Maegan leaned forward as she looked the woman squarely in the eyes. "Would not with holding the knowledge of my fathers death also not be considered going too far?" The woman's eyes flickered but did not turn away.

 

"All Aes Sedai forsake the names to which they held prior to the Tower." Kathrina Stated, her voice level. "You're duty is to the Tower."

 

"My duty is to those that I love." Anger started to lace through her voice. "You have no right to withhold such knowledge. He - was - my - father." her teeth gritted.

 

"The moment you knew you would have left the Tower without so much as a word good bye. You would have spent years in mourning and then returned far later than the mere 15 years that I allowed."

 

"How would you know that, Kathrina?"

 

"Because your hesitation to return is evident this time." Maegan was about to speak but Kathrina silenced her by holding up a hand. Although Angered, Kathrina's leveled voice did not change a note. "I know of your step-mothers death. You have my condolence to your loss, but know this. You were not given those letters because I had to be assured that you were accepted into the Ajah ranks. One does not become an Aes Sedai and done a shawl and expect to have utter complete freedom to come and go as one pleases. There is a vast huge amount of responsibility to our position and our cause. I have to be absolutely certain that you would be. To have you leave the day you achieved your shawl would have been disastrous. Not only to your reputation within the Ajah but also damaging to the Towers."

 

"I returned, did I not. I should think that that was evident enough to my loyalty." Maegan's teeth were gritted as she spoke her words. "It is my loyalty that is in question, is it not?"

 

"Don't be foolish." she sighed, leaning back in her chair.

 

"If it is not my loyalty, than what was it that was so damn important that You could not tell my that my father was murdered." The word slipped before she could pull it back. In her anger, she had forgotten herself and the little secret that she had kept. It scared her that her control slipped so much that she had forgotten where she was. By the look on Kathrina's face, she should have been more scared than she was. But even still the angry ruled her emotions.

 

"I am Cairhien, too. I knew what had occurred in the royal courts. Your father was foolishly trying to stir up something he had best left alone."

 

"My father was not foolish." she growled.

 

"Yes, yes. I know." Kathrina waved her hand. "Sit down and be quiet." She had not realized that she was now standing with her fists clenched to the side. Clenching and unclenching her fists for a moment, attempting to regain some form of control. It was preciously small and minuet to what she needed. But for the moment it was enough. Kathrina continued. "Your father was unaware of what was happening in the courts. Houses were waging small wars on each other and he picked a very poor time to push such an idea. To have the House of Damodred split and discard one of the more favored members was beyond.." Her pause held more eloquence than anything.

 

"But I had not known your father was murdered, only that he had died. If i were to allow you leave you would have been caught up in a series of politics that you would not have been ready for. You argue a good point, and are beyond knowledgeable on subjects even I could never hope to understand. But politics and the courts are not one of them."

 

Maegan stayed silent, the anger fading with each realization that Kathrina threw her way.

 

"I am truly sorry for your loss, Mae." She said softly, her tone giving away more of her own emotions than the actual words herself. If Maegan did not know better, she would have thought that Kathrina was actually sad by what was done. "I did as i must, and if I were to do it again than I would. Make no mistake, but I did have your best interests at heart. You could not have prevented his death any more than I. You would not have your school had you left when the letters arrived."

 

::You would not have your Academy either... :: Her inner conscious told her. Defeated, Maegan started to rub her right temple as a headache slowly started to form after the retreating of her emotional outburst. Collecting and placing her thoughts back into order in a rather rapid pace, Maegan did not bother to look up as she gave one last question.

 

"Why me?" She felt there was no need to clarify. Unfortunately her day had not finished surprising her.

 

"Because he asked for you by name."

 

Maegan hated surprises.

 

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Thorns and Roses

 

    In the first many years in the Tower the desk in her quarters was quite small and left barely enough room for her to spread her work as she wished. Instead of spaciously spread as it had been in the Academy, here the piles upon piles of work seems far more intimidating that it had before. Maybe it was all in her head, all the chaos. Or maybe it was the daunting knowledge that she would have to gentle someone she may know. Or was it the small little mystery in the shape of a glass sphere no larger than a simple fist that sat on a small  pile of paper -teasing her. Confusion and the simple realization that too many things were piling up at once that Maegan truly had no idea where to begin, or where to go.

 

The inevitable question of why her father died to who did it and how. What was this Sphere. Who was the man that knew her name. How was she to obtain her answers. Scared to know who sat in a cage shielded by no less than four red sisters, Maegan felt more and more reluctant to even stay within the Tower. The idea of stilling a man was not something Maegan would question. Knowing that insanity still took over the man and he would barely last 5 years, more if he was of strong will, and then pass on. Knowing that she would cause it, was not something she questioned. It did not effect her personally.

 

::It is always a simple matter of relative and association.:: She thought carefully to herself. Of course, if she was associated to the man on a more personal level than it would affect her differently than someone that she could stay emotionally unattached from. ::But he still will be stilled.:: Regardless of association, the man will be stilled. She would carry out her task. It wasn't a question of would or would not. Merely when.

 

::When I gather the courage.:: She mused roughly to herself. Laying her head on the desk, nestled carefully into the crock of her own arms. She did not tire so easily, not even after her argument with Kathrina and then carefully watching two novices properly prepare her room. After returning, she had found her room had been pranked by the Novice that she had previously acquired. It seemed the girl did not favour the Red Shawl and took in on herself to dust the room in bits of paper, flour and water. After a thorough birching by the Mistress of Novices the child was joined by anouther to fix the room. The day had been trying, and it was still far from over.

 

"Mae?" Looking up from her desk Maegan saw Annais Nevell peak her head into the room from a slightly ajar door.

 

"Annie!" Maegan grinned. "Come in! It has been too long!"

 

"Hasn't it?" The woman grinned whole heartedly as she closed the door behind her. The young Gray had been raised a short 4 years before her and had been roommates prior. Fortunately Annais had not been involved with the chaotic resolve of the Mayene adventure. However, Meagan had no doubts that Annie had heard of it. But due to their various paths in life that took them through the first years of the Shawl they were afforded the time to confide in each other as they had in the past. Maegan's mentor had been a Gray sister, and they held a very dear place in her heart. She had been very pleased by Annie's choice in shawl, tempted to chose it for her own as well. Alas, the Red beckoned her more. "Welcome back home."

 

"I don't know if it is much of a welcome." Maegan wrinkled her nose. "Novice pranks on my first day back."

 

"Ink? Chickens?"

 

"Flour and water."

 

"Ouch."

 

"Not any worse than I have pulled in the past." Maegan grinned, standing from her chair. "Shall we move to the seating area."

 

"Yes, lets. Far more informal than seeing you behind that stuffy desk."

 

"There is nothing wrong with sitting behind a desk."

 

"For you it isn't, but for me.."

 

"Let me guess. Dancing, wine and many men?" Maegan's eyes twinkled as she teased. Annais laughed.

 

"Not Men."

 

"Ah, so drunk dancing. What a perfect way to prove your seriousness as an Aes Sedai."

 

"There is nothing wrong with a little fun."

 

"Nothing at all. Tea?"

 

"Dark, if you please."

 

"Ah yes. You prefer the darker teas." Annais nodded. "How have you fared? I suspect it is a rare occasion for us to be in the tower simultaneously." Maegan passed Annais a small cup of tea. The cups were of no particular print or design but of a simple bone china. Delicate yet tastefully suited for an afternoon tea.

 

How did she fare? Such a simple question with the polite answer everyone expected. But the polite answer would be a lie since Annais was still reeling from Dulain's death. The dancing and drinking were convenient ways to hide it and keep the pain at bay. "I have been better but such is life", she admitted with a sigh. Time to change topic back to her friend. "And the reason we haven't been in the Tower at the same time is because you haven't been here since the finding of your Library. You really should have chosen the Brown, Mae. What finally made you to leave and made you to honour us with your presence? Will you be going back to Cairhien?"

 

A guarded answer, Maegan raised an eyebrow with a bit of surprise but did not comment and the subject was directed back at her. "I suppose carrying a Brown Shawl would have been too easy." It was not said in a way that Maegan found the idea pleasant, but of late it was something worth contempation. "It was the summon of a Sitter that brought me back, much to my displeasure. I would have wished to have burried Eowenn in a better manner." She shrugged nonchalant, "But when the Tower rings their little bell, who am I to not come running."

 

Annais noticed the quirked eyebrow and she knew that the topic would return back to her soon. It was news to her that Mae's step mother had died too. Possibly because her friend wasn't in the habit of responding the letters Annais sent to her. But it had been because of her sight and not it was likely too late to learn the trick anymore. Eowenn's death must have been hard on Mae as they had been so close. Annais moved closer to the Red and pulled her into a hug. "My deepest condolences. Are you very bitter about that? To the Tower? To your Ajah?"

 

This was exactly why the Tower tried to weaken the connections of the Sisters and their families but knowing how much she wished that her father was still alive, she couldn't blame Mae. It was the curse of the channelers to live longer than their beloveds... and hers had been taken away so much before their time. Both, her family and the man she had loved even though she shouldn't have.

 

"Not bitter." Maegan said slowly, the tea twisted thoughtfully in her hand. "Her death was, in some respect, no surprise. She was ailing in her old age. The Wheel weaves it's own pattern and demanded that I return to the Tower." Maegan decided to drop the news, "What do you know of the recent Male Channeler?" Was he a secret, or was he not.

 

Maegan's words were true but sometimes it was still hard to not be angry at the Wheel and how it wove things, even if Eowenn had lived a full life. Mae's question about the male channeler made her blink. "What male channeler? To my knowledge, we don't have any in our custody at the moment. Are the Reds bringing someone?"

 

She didn't know. Maegan wasn't sure if she should be surprised by that knowledge or not. She knew so little about the subject that if it were common knowledge, Annais should have at least known of his existancce. But if the Red Ajah choose to take the matter into thier own hands, there must have been something vital that either they didn't want the Hall to know, or the situation to deligate to put to the Halls tests. Either way, Maegan shook her head. "I don't know the exact details. Probably as much as you do, except beyond him claiming to know my name. And no, I relaly have no idea what that could mean or what it entails."

 

He knew her name? It was certainly surprising and worrying. "That is really strange. Be careful, alright? And when you find out more, will you tell me if you are able to? I mean, if it is not an Ajah secret. And when this thing is done... do you think that you will stay in the Tower or will you return to Cairhien?"

 

Nodding her head in promise to Annais' concerns, Maegan siped her tea. "I might return to Cairhien. I might stay in the Tower for a few years, but I doubt that would happen. I have spent too much time in one place and as much as I would love to return to.." home.. "Cairhien, I doubt that will be my first step of travel. The uncouth Aes Sedai that I am." Maegan gave Annais a small smile. "And you, Annie. Off traveling all over. Last I heard you were in.. South... Somewhere south." Light, the current problems must be really bothering her is she could not recal such a simple detail. Scolding herself she continued. "Your comment earlier, did things not go well?"

 

Maegan knew what she was doing and the male channeler would be no danger in the White Tower, so Annais felt her heart lighter. It must have been a painful decision for her friend to not go to Cairhien but maybe she needed to get over Eowenn's death first. And the Library wouldn't be going anywhere. "I haven't done that much traveling over the past years actually as I was settled as an advisor. If I would have, I would have paid you visits like I did in your first years to the Shawl. I was in Murandy, Mindea to be specific. Such arrogance the whole thing." There was more than a share of bitterness in her voice. "To think that one woman could fix a country that has been apart for centuries. But I wrote about it to you then. And admittedly, it wasn't just me. A few older Grays and I spent about a year charting the political situation in the country before we set our sights on a promising young man who could become the first true king to unite Murandy. Dulain." It was evident from her tone that she had really admired him and that she missed him.

 

"I latched myself to him and few others positioned themselves close to other nobles. He was just twenty so he had some growing to do yet and I taught him everything that I knew about politics and the Great Game. Of course at first he didn't have ambitions to become a ruler but the idea came to him over the years when I helped him to make alliances and the situation remained as unruly as it is now and always had been. Who wouldn't want to restore order to their home land. Ten years of building, Mae. The happiest time of my life. And all of it came to naught in the end." Annais' voice almost choked with emotion.

 

"The other nobles wouldn't let Dulain just take the throne but I am certain that that one fateful battle could have been avoided somehow. If I had just given better advice and make him listen to me. I was blind, blinded by him. I loved him. He was thirty and never got married despite it being the best way to strenghten bonds with another House. And I was glad. I thought that there was something even though we never spoke of it, I hoped for it. I should have told him. And now it's too late." Tears ran openly down to her face. "Oh Mae, I never should have become his advisor. He's dead because I pushed him toward glory and couldn't keep him safe. I destroyed him."

 

She could not have been more surprised if if there had been some dung beetle dancing the sa'sara on Annais' head by the reaction of Annais and the plight of her story. Maegan's heart went out to her along with her hand to touch the other woman's in with some remote hope of providing sympathy. maegan had always known that Annais would throw her whole heart into everything, and she was sorry to she her burned so badly because of it. It was a small envy that Maegan had of the other woman. Maegan could never be persuaded so easily to another's affections.

 

At least such a situation has never arose for there to be such an issue.

 

"Oh Annie. You did not destroy him." Maegan squeezed Annais' hand, "You dealt with the situation as best as you could and you should be satisfied by that. Regret will do you no good and you are better than that." Maegan gave her a soft understanding smile. "I am really sorry about it all. War should never have been an option, but, light burn it the Wheel Weaves as it Wills. Trials and tribulations build strength."

 

"I don't feel at all strong now. But you can either mourn for the dead or worry about the living. And I will do the latter." After that the two friends fell to a comfortable silence gaining solace from their closeness.

 

There was a moment of silence between them as the smiled at each other. Years may have passed, 20 to be exact, but they were still friends even after the shawl. There was no shawl that d separated them. If anything else it brought them closer as sisters.

 

"Come, let us do something fun." Her hands clapped together, "Let us go to.... "

 

Stopping in mid-sentence as a brilliant light shone in the room, nearly blinding them compared to the previous glow of candle light.

 

"Light... " Annias growled.

 

A frown and swift movement, maegan was to the desk that held the source of the light. "You have that right." Reaching out, carefully, Maegan picked up the ball of light, hesitant at first in fear that it would burn. But she knew it wouldn't Instinctively Maegan knew that there was no harm in the light.

 

"Wow!" Annais was beside her now, glancing over her shoulder. "That is simply gorgeous! I have not seen a ball of Light like that since.... " She halted as the realization dawned on the women. A realization Maegan was attempting to deny the moment she knew where the source of light had originated from. Her voice was a whisper, "Mae..?"

 

The fear in Annais's voice shook her. Annais was never scared.

 

"..Not since the balls of Light I used to make when we were aAccepted. That was what you were going to say, right Annie?" Annais only nodded again. Fascinated, "Clap again, Annie."

 

Annais did.

 

The light blinked off and left them both staring at what at first appeared a simple empty sphere of glass with no distinct value that hinted at its true nature. Annais clapped again, and the light blinked on.

 

"What does this mean?" Annais asked, her voice edging on excitement. Maegan could feel the excitement building up within herself, threatening for her to dance around with glee. Swallowing the feeling down hard, Maegan set the glass down on the desk, and clapped her hands once.

 

"Anouther secret." Maegan said.

 

"But.. it is a TER'ANGREAL!" Annai's voice squeaked in excitement. "And you MADE it, Mae!" Maegan winced. "Just imagine what good you could do with such a Talent! Light, You have a talent that none have ever been able to do since .. the Age of LEGENDS!"

 

"Yes, I know." Maegan's voice was small.

 

"The Reds will be far more highly revered, and You will become famous, Mae! You will become the greatest Scholar in.. in.. the World!"

 

"Annie!" Maegan's voice bordered on panic.

 

"What?" Here eyes wide with pure innocence.

 

"You can't tell anyone."

 

"Why not?"

 

Maegan's next words were unintelligible and muttered.

 

"Maegan? What can't we tell the Tower. The Amyrlin Seat at the very least. Or your Ajah Head."

 

Maegan shook her head. "No. We don't 100% know if this is actually a Ter'Angreal." The words were true, they didn't know. Although Mae was about 95% sure it was, but that 5% of questionable gray area still loomed.

 

"But.."

 

"Annie, for me?" Maegan pleaded. "Please?"

 

Poor Maegan, she was so distraught. "Alright. I will keep your secret until you say otherwise. But how will you confirm whether it is a Ter'Angreal or not? And will you tell them then, hmm?"

 

Maegan grew silent. The ball of glass was heavy in her hands, weighing more on her conscience than the actual physical weight of the Ter'Angreal. "I don't know.. How could it not be a Ter''Andreal?" She passed it to Annie. "If someone were to randomly pass this to you and tell you to clap what would you think it was?"

 

"Exactly my point. What else could it be than a Ter'Angreal? How did you make it? What were you trying to create? Have you made other items like this too?"

 

Her mouth opened to speak but nothing came out. Closing it and opened to try again, but she could not think of anything to say. Not an answer that was for sure. She tilted her head a little as she regarded the glass carefully.

 

"I was surprised, actually. A scholar burst into my room while my mind was wandering. I always make these when my mind is wandering. And instead of snapping away from Saidar i took in more before I shut it completely off by instinct." It sounded like the dumbest thing she had ever heard. Truth as it was, of all the ways to make a Ter'Angreal. A Ter'Angreal!

 

Her voice softened, pulling what minimal control she could muster after finding herself without a known answer to a question. "Perhaps it is best I learn how Ter'Angreal work before I start claiming to know how to make them. Better to have an answer than to be asked a question and appear a fool."

 

"That sounds reasonable. But knowing you, it will take you a century before you feel like you are ready and know enough." Annie poked Mae playfully on ribs. "Still, until you say otherwise, I won't tell anyone."

 

What was it with people and her taking her time with things as it it were a bad thing? Grimacing a little she passed Annais a weak smile. She didn't need an Oath from her. Out of anyone in the Tower, Maegan knew she could trust Annais. If she couldn't trust her than who in her life could she trust? "Thank you, Annie. I'll let you know what comes of all this. One day, at least." Maegan paused, "At least when it is safe."

 

Annais grinned all amused. "Of course my dear Ogier. Lets not put a long handle on our axes. Hastiness is bad. But yes, I certainly want to know what is going on with this. I am so proud of you. Such a rare Talent and my friend has it."

 

A small pink tongue poked out in retaliation against Annais. "Bah, Ogier." Not that she had anything against them. Stubborn single-minded creatures. Brilliant, though. "Better an Ogier than a .."

 

A knock on the door interrupted them. Exchanging a look with Annais, Maegan weaved open the door to see the Red Sister Tais.

 

"Yes, Tais Sedai?" Maegan and Annais were both a picture of calm.

 

"I was sent to retrieve you."

 

"Very well. I will be down in a moment." The older sister nodded her head and closed the door as she left. Maegan felt nervous again.

 

"Annie.." She couldn't bring herself to asking. Not even sure what the question would  be.

 

"Everything will go well, Mae. And you and I will discuss more later. You should go to your Sisters now." Annais walked to give a hug to her friend.

 

Annais' arms felt good around her. Even the smallest amount of comfort brought her closer to home. Annais hugged like Eowenn. Like it was real. Taking a deep breath, Maegan broke away from the embrace but still held Annais' hands. "Thank you. For everything."

 

Squeezing tighter before she let go, Annais smiled at Mae. "My pleasure. And thank you yourself. You have always been a good friend and that bond will always remain."

 

"And you, Annie. The Best." And she meant it. Every word. There were so few that Maegan could count as being close to her. Fewer still within the Tower aside from her mentor Deyalyn Sedai. Beyond the browns, the sisters of the Gray Shawl would always carry a special place in her heart.

 

"I believe that it is time I unravel this little mystery. Shall we?" Maegan motioned for the door.

 

Annais made a flourishing bow and offered her arm to Mae in a manner a chivalric Lord could have. "Grace honours me in you, Mae. Please accept my strong arm and escort. What is this all about? Any guesses?"

 

Maegan picked up the role quite quickly which lead to a promptly uncharacteristic nose raise and a snooty tone. "Dah-ling. We do not guess here. It is rude and an unfortunate side-effect of the illiterate among us. We simply already know."

 

The two linked arms and discussed animatedly as they strolled along the corridors.

 

Parting at a lower level of the Tower not too far past the main hall, Maegan gave Annais one last smile and Annais squeezed her hand before letting her go. The motion happened in the smallest moment, few would have noticed the exchange as all around them were busily racing back and forth carrying on about their various daily tasks and agenda's. Schooling her face and forcing every emotion into the dark little box hidden away at the back of her mind Maegan moved swiftly down corridors and doorways that burrowed deep into the heart of the Tower.

 

Few steps were found here, the pitter patter of the Great Hall was now long gone that now only the echo of her own steps were heard, barely, as she continued along her path. There were so many secrets within the Tower Walls. Passage ways and secret rooms that connected to rooms in the different Ajah Halls had created a certain pattern and yet left any that tried to map them out boggled and confused. Only so many of these places Maegan had discovered and placed in her own little mental map. Perhaps it was good that none could map them all, but it certainly left one to wonder as to the original design on which it was built.

 

Distracting herself with inane facts of no relevance, it was of little consequence that the gasp on her lips gave away her shock. No more than the widening on her eyes as she gazed into the quarters that held the Male Channeler. A Channeler that should not have been in existence. Not in this world, or in this relevant place of time or space. Had she been carrying anything, it would no doubt have been scattered to the four corners of the room.

 

His eyes stared back at her. The sheer amount of recognition and .. love! that shone from his eyes nearly made her turn and walk away. Pretend that it was all one lucid yet ludicrous dream that she had yet to awaken from. It was not right, it could not be.. How?  ::Why??::

 

Briarden. The man from her arches. Arches she walked through to gain Acceptance. Arches that allowed her a brief moment in time that she could see without aid of spectacles as if her accident had not occurred at all. That man..

 

"Hello, Mae. I have missed you."

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Bittersweet

 

    The room was silent as each pair of eyes turned to her wide with surprise. Not one sister held back their surprise, but the man in the room had a far different expression on his face. Every ounce in her being begged for her to flee from the room. To disappear from this place, or die a thousand deaths to avoid the looks of her sisters. Maegan tried her best to deny the possibility of him even being here. The possibility of his existence was nothing but impossible.

 

::Was it? Who was to say that the Arches are not real, that all you have met within them indeed have or will have an effect on any given life. The world within is but a mirror, like that of the World Beyond, The World of Dreams.::

 

::Quiet!::

 

She needed to think. She needed to concentrate. Scowling, Maegan frowned visibly  at the man. She needed an answer.

 

"How do you know me?" Maegan asked, not approaching him but stood from afar and out of his reach should he try to close the distance. The other sisters watched carefully. She had no doubt that he could reveal much. The small angreal was hidden deep in a small pocked in her sleeve. Maegan felt unusually vulnerable despite the weight it provided to her strength.

 

"The same way you know me." He smiled, warmly. There was love in his eyes, love that tugged at her, unhinged her. "I know you know me. It is in your eyes. You can not lie to me of that."

 

"I have never met you in my life." Maegan said truthfully. In this life, this world, she had never met him before.

 

"This is true and untrue." Briarden held up a finger looking at her with an infinite amount of patience. "In this lifetime yes, You have not met me. But in a past age you have." A smile curled on his lips. "One could even say you knew me intimately."

 

Maegan's cheeks went aflame. "I Never!"

 

"Oh you did!" Briarden grinned. "Many, many times." There was a wistful seduced purr to his voice.

 

"Silence!" Her voice was surprisingly quiet for such a powerful word of command. Forcing her hands to relax away from the gripped fists she had been making, Maegan in turn embraced Saidar. Seeking any and all forms of calm that she could muster. She prayed it would be enough.

 

"I am sorry, my Love." His face fell, saddened.

 

"Do not call me that." The words were said calmly with a normal intoned voice. "Who are you."

 

"You know my name."

 

"I know a name, but not yours."

 

"My name is Briarden Rosethorn." Inwardly she cursed, but it did not reflect on her face.

 

"How long have you been able to channel?"

 

"About 4 years now."

 

"How is it that you survived the Taint for so long." The questions came more automatically.

 

"I lived mostly in a Stedding. I left only to find you."

 

"How do you know me."

 

He smiled, wickedly. "My Dreams." She resisted the urge to shiver as cold seeped into her spine.

 

"Simple Dreams? Or dreams brought on from the Taint?"

 

"Ter'Aran'Rhoid." He said simply with a shrug.

 

"Dream-walker??" Maegan said incredulously. The other sisters in the room started to whisper amongst themselves as Maegan rolled this in her mind. She will have to seal the women in this room to the flame if she were to save other sisters from jumping down the man's throat. Were a brown to learn this they would never be able to gentle the man for fear that he would lose his ability to Dream-walk. There had not been a dream walked in over 300 years within the Tower. Not to Maegan's knowledge. Unless anouther sister kept it secret which may be the case. If there was one, she was very good at keeping it a secret.

 

::Secrets are the way of the Aes Sedai.:: She thought to herself. ::Someone may be able to Dream-walk, but you have a whole Academy to keep hidden.::

 

"I shield my dreams. You could not have entered."

 

"Enter, no. Watch, yes."

 

::Not good. Defiantly not good.::

 

Maegan carefully regarded the man in front of her with cold calculating eyes. Refusing to let her emotions play a part of this charade, he only smiled back at her with that child-like warmth. "Nerissa, Sophitia, Tais, and Raizel. You may all leave." Maegan said without looking at the other sisters.

 

"But the shield."

 

"I can hold it for a time. You will be outside the door and he is in a cage. I will be fine." Maegan said reasuringly. Of course she would be physically fine, but how much damage was this man going to do on her senses? There was no telling.

 

The four sisters were hesitant.

 

"I would appriciate it if you did not mention what you have already heard. If this man's story is true I am far safer in here with him than out there with you." There was a glint of amusment to Nerissa's eyes, but the other three nodded thier heads understandingly. "He seems willing to talk, but I would appreciate the privacy."

 

Tais put a hand to Maegan's shoulder in sympathy. "If you need anything."

 

"I am a knock away. Thank you." Transfering the link and the control of the shield to Maegan, Maegan felt a little more safe, knowing that she could still him as easily as the 5 put together. Skill and strength. ::Still feeling naked, Mae?::

 

"Come, ladies. I have a deck of cards in my hand and a few gold crowns to win off you." Nerissa announced, leading the way. Tais even called a retort back as the other two protested to even playing. Shaking her head, Maegan closed the door behind then, affording the small trickle of slpit concentration and set an eavesdropping in place.

 

"We are alone." He said, a rough tumble in his voice. Maegan turned around to face him and glared deeply and darkly, searching for the answer that he was but a fool of the darkone to be spouting lies.

 

The man had stood now, standing in his cage that sat in the middle of the bare room. Chairs were afforded the sisters that would stand guard, giving a small comfort to the long hours placed on patrol. Duty allowed little comfort and each sister took thier job here seriously. Comfort meant laxing in ones duties to which if failed was extremely costly. It would cost their very lives. Forever on guard. Like the Green Motto - They stood Ready. It was a staring match, between the two of them. Maegan wished to read thoughts but had no doubt that the thoughts in his mind were far from the ones she would wish to know.

 

::Do you really wish to read his thoughts?:: His smiled.. that damnable smile. Maegan folded her arms across her chest and took a seat in one of the closer chairs in the room, looking back at Briarden. he looked like a caged beast with his larger set shoulders and tattered clothing. A stark difference than she had originally rememberd him. In her arches, he had been so very different. ::But that ferel look.... ::

 

"You look different in this lifetime." Briarden said honestly.

 

"What is different?" Maegan intoned.

 

"You're shorter, but just a little. Maybe I'm taller. Hard to say in a raised platform of a cage."

 

"Don't even... " Warning in her tone.

 

"Not at all." He sparyed his hands in defense. "Merely saying."

 

"Tell me something worth listening to."

 

"It was during the last breaking."

 

"What was?"

 

"That you and I were bonded. You were a scholar, of course. Always a Brown, or whatever they were back then. Your nose stuck in books or something else just as important."

 

"I sensed that. What else?"

 

"You worked with inanimate objects constantly. I often got bored in the Yards and sought you out." There was a raised eyebrow and a look from Maegan that wiped the impending smirk on his face. Hanging his head for a moment he spoke to the floor.

 

"I've never been to a stedding." He paused, licking his lips and then turned his eyes to a distant wall to the right, deep in thought. "The taint didn't seem all that bad, once you get past the aftertaste of channeling. Grappling Saidin is just a rush, but once you let it go it leaves a crude oil that imprints on every part of my being. It can't be washed clean."

 

"Some say with the taint comes the voices of the past. Part of what drives us insane is that we carry more than ourselves within our mind." He paused, "I carry a part of an old life that I had once lived. For the purpose of it I do not know, but He brought me here to the Tower to find you."

 

"The name given to me at birth is Symon Jaeams. I took on the mind of the soul that possessed mine from the past because it was easier than fighting two existence." He turned to look at her, sadness in his eyes. Sadness she ached to heal. The innate need to soothe a hurt child pulled on her heart strings with his eyes holding hers the way it did. "A sense of purpose to find you was better than dying from denying and attempting to ignore the inevitable."

 

"Inevitable?"

 

::Silly woman.::

 

"Death." There was no fear in his voice. Just an inevitable acceptance that of what was to come. "Once I am stilled I will die."

 

"You will be given the chance to live." Maegan said, although she doubted her words. As true as they may be, how safe would be be to the world as it was?

 

"You will see me dead, my dear." His voice was soft. "I have channelled too much of the taint already and my body has suffered far more than meets your eye."

 

Maegan frowned. "You're illusioned." He nodded. She should have sensed it, but her concern was not to the merest simple weave when she held a far deeper one in place.

 

"You see, Maegan Sedai, there was once a place outside the Tower that you once frequented that held .. What was that word.... Ter'Angreal?" Mae's mind flickered to the Glass in her room, "Yes, that was it. You stored things like Ter'Angreal there."

 

Shaking her head in confusion. "Why would I do that? What are you tell ing me, exactly.." It all seemed too convenient. Planned far too well. "Who sent you?"

 

"I send myself."

 

"You lie."

 

"You can't prove that I am. But you can prove what I say is true."

 

She sat back for a moment. "Explain. Now."

 

"In Caemlyn there is a passage behind a tapestry in the north wall. There is a knot in the stone work that reveals a room. In there you kept many of your treasures that you created there while you were an ambassador there on behalf of the Amyrlin."

 

He was leaving too many hints into her former life that she found horribly tempting to indulge in learning about. An Ambassedor? Angreal she Created? Although a little far fetched, was it possible that a former talent was given to her in her reincarnated self? ::If that part of his story was true.:: She thought carefully. "In Caemlyn?"

 

"Caemlyn."

 

"And I am to go there.."

 

"You may go wherever you please." He laughed, stepping back from the bars and took a seat. "You are the Aes Sedai. Not even you're precious Amyrlin Seat was able to keep you away from finding the truth."

 

"What truth?"

 

"That Saidin can be cleansed."

 

If there was anything he could have said to catch her attention, this would have been it. Irritated and confused, Maegan's curiosity and inner scholar was tempted, no.. begging for more answers.

 

"How can It be cleansed? Was I close? Are there even notes still left? Did I leave any... "

 

Briarden/Symon laughed, heartily and with a fair amount of amusement as it tapered off. "Always the little Brown, aren't you?" It was endreaing, and Maegan knew it was the voice of Briarden."

 

"Answer me."

 

"I do not know. I only knew that you were strugglign with a formula of some kind when.." Pausing in mid sentence, he shook his head. "When things went wrong. You didn't tell me much. I didn't understand much of what youw ere trying to do. Only that I hoped you could save me."

 

"Light guard us...... " She breathed. "You were a channeler when we were bonded."

 

His eyes grew sad. "Before the taint had taken hold of Saidin, we were bonded. You watched me die, holding me."

 

Her touch on saidar flickered as the shield nearly fell. Within seconds the door burst open with all four sisters running in. Maegan linked with them passing the shield lead to Nerissa. She did not doubt that the man would not channel in front of them, insane or not, but there were no chances.

 

"I.. i.."

 

"Maegan Sedai has the answers she seeks." Briarden/Symon said. Nerissa glanced over at Maegan, worry on her face, although the set anger in her jaw was unmistakable.

 

"I am done here." Maegan said. Surprised to find the words firm even though she was shaking inside.

 

"If you are certain." Nerissa said, the words were carefully spelled out, leaving room for any possible response.

 

"I will retired for the day. I have not rested since my arrival and I am tired." She did not glance back at Briarden, even though so much of her wanted to, demanded her to. "I will need to speak to Kathrina before I do so."

 

Nerissa nodded. "You're work here will be left between Kathrina, yourself and the channeler. I swear it."

 

Maegan gave the woman a half smile, thankful, was the one fleeting emotion on her face before she looked to each of the other sisters. They each echoed the same sentiment.

 

"Until later, Maegan Sedai." Briarden/Symon called, from behind the bars. Not looking back, Maegan did tilt her head in acknowledgment.

 

"'Mae' will suffice.. Briar." The former name that she remembered in the half heart beat from her Arches was soft and gentle on her tongue. There was a moment where she could have sworn there was a soft sigh of relief from behind those bars. Gathering what she could muster of her strength, Maegan closed the door behind her, leaning momentarily against it as emotions rolled around her. Allowing herself one small moment before she set off to do what she needed to do.

 

And in that moment she cried alone.

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Forever and a Day

 

 

    The cold liquid burned down her throat as she gulped down the iced fire beverage. The class was thumped down on the desk in front of her. Had the bottle but anouther drop within she would be pouring yet anouther glass. Praying the one glass was enough to warm the dread within her chest Maegan stared ahead at nothing. Dazed, there was so little time left until she would be walking down to the room that held Briarden. Symon.

 

How had the world turned so drastically to include her in even but a motion of its wheel. Woven indeed, this was but a singluar plot that the web of the world had demised to throw her life even more askew and off balanced than she had intended it to be. Not once in Maegan's career, in her years as a Novice or accepted -in her entire LIFE- had she asked to play a hero. Simply do as what was needed when it was needed. No more, no less.

 

::I am a Scholar!:: She screamed within her own mind, ::Not this.::

 

::In anouther lifetime.:: She contradicted to herself.

 

::Where is the proof?::

 

::In Caemlyn.:: Maegan thought sourly.

 

::Then go, you smarty-pants.::

 

::The man lies and it is but a Trap. Just like any other trap laid before me.::

 

::They were not set for you.::

 

::I still fell into them.::

 

::Coward!::

 

::Quiet!::

 

::Anything you say.. smarty-pants.::

 

If any had heard her talking to herself in such a manner they would probably have pissed themselves laughing; However the situation was far from amusing. Maegan was angry. From tears to rage, she felt threatened by the core of her thoughts. Glowering into the empty glass, even her inner voice had fallen into the childish nature that she was displaying. Coward, indeed. It was exactly what she was. Could she not give herself enough credit. Trust the life that had trusted her.

 

::IN ANOUTHER LIFE TIME!!:: It screamed at her.

 

::COWARD!::

 

"SILENCE!" The glass that had been in her hand exploded against the far wall, showering the floor in an organized pattern along the floor. Scattering even as far as her feet. The sound of the break lost to the deafening screams in her mind. The chaos revolved too fast now for even her mind to grasp. Her emotions running rapidly as it coiled into her chest like a snake ready to strike at the next thing that moved.

 

Unfortunately there was not a soul that attempted the door to her room. The permanent eavesdropping weave held far too well.

 

When she first walked into this room after the Crimson shawl had been placed on her shoulders, Maegan had no illusions that the walls had ears. Her time in Mayene along with the throws of her very cousins death drip taught her how precious life was and how very swiftly it could be taken away. All but a simple air weave could cut a man off from his own breath of life, chocking on absolutely nothing as any and every orifice strained for the life giving air to fill their lungs. 8 lives she had taken that night with the One Power. Merely 3 years before she swore the oath to never weld the One Power as a weapon.

 

Moaning aloud as her head slumped into her hands, sinking into the desk. Something was terribly wrong. The Pattern should not be giving her these sort of clues. This sort of goal or idea. The Taint could not be cleansed. So many others had already tried. Women and Men far more talented than any have seen in generations. In Aes Sedai generations. Hundreds of years of failure and it had been time for her sisters, the sisters of the Red Shawl to accept this and to simple do what was needed to be done. Gentle the man and do all they could to make life passible for them before they inevitably passed onto the next life. None that have touched the One Power could escape the death that followed after stilling or gentling. Five, maybe Ten years at the most. One sister had a charge that lived a record of Thirteen years. Thirteen was such an ominous number.

 

How far had the Taint affected him?

 

The thought was curious, half hearted, threatening to break through the massive chaotic waves of emotions that overrode ever other aspect of her mind. Grasping, Maegan turned her head to find herself looking at the Lighting Glass that she had created. How much longer until the taint completely over took him? Was he years or days from death? Would he die the moment Saidin was taken from him? Such a thing has happened before in such serious cases. It was a sobering thought.

 

Huffing with a large sigh, "I do not wish to go to Caemlyn." She said aloud. But there was no voice telling her that she did not have to. That she could return to her work and continue her life in Cairhien.

 

She would need permission from Kathrina to go. Politics, as Kathrina had said, were not her strong suite and she would not know if it would be a good or a bad time to visit the Andorian Courts. Visit, let alone search the palace for a secret room. Allowing one last whimper on her lips, she dragged herself up from her desk, limply holding herself up with her head hung.

 

::Can you really say no to such a mystery?::

 

She wanted to say yes, yet her heart denied it. The possibility of cleansing the taint from the mind of a previous incarnation that may have had the very knowledge as to how... It was a mystery she must solve! It was not a 'if' or 'maybe', but the must was a resounding shatter that scattered to through her being, just as the glass that once held her spirit was scattered along the floor. A cleansing of the taint.

 

The thought was nearly hysterical in its comedic value. A previous incarnation that held the knowledge that 800 generations of men and women could not decipher. In a room locked away within a castle. It was a classic storybook story that would supposedly have a happy ending. The Taint may as well have taken her with such a fictitious story. Laughable.

 

"But what if... "

 

A classic question for a classic story. 'What if..' were words that ever scholar asked. What if the world could do this, or what if it could do that. Glancing at the glass ball. She clapped once and it light up, threads of Saidar swirling within.

 

"What if... I could create Ter'Angreal." She thought aloud. "What if I searched for a cure to a disease over a thousand years old." Picking up the glass, "What if I had been close to the Answer?" Dare she? "What if it could be found?"

 

The ball of light continued to swirl with fluid motions that danced together in its own intricate pattern. A ball of light that no novice should have been able to create that had been from a book that she could not read. A Novice that should not have been able to learn such a feat simply because she had been blinded by an accident. An accident that brought her to the Tower. Woven intricately together for her to find her way to her mentor, Deyalyn. Deyalyn, light bless her, had scores of patience and never gave up on Maegan as she fumbled through every step. Steps that brought her to the Shawl. To the Red.

 

Why had she chosen the Crimson Shawl over the very obvious Brown Shawl she had worn in the previous lifetime? - Profound - Had there even been a sister of the Red Shawl prior to the Taint? What purpose did the Red Ajah serve but to sever and serve the men that fell ill to the very power that had given her a chance to live? Why?

 

Stars trickled to a brilliant light of the sun as Saidar filled her being. The glass that had once been sitting on the floor, scattered to the various corners of her lit room, started to gather as Air and Fire spun around to gather and melt the glass. Eyes wide open, Maegan spun her Ball of Light in the center of the room. Air. Water. Fire. Earth. Spirit. Each distinctive weave flowing in and out of itself like an endless knot as the illuminated light it created cascaded brighter than the Glass on her desk. Spirit wove it's way into the Air and Fire that spun the now melted glass around and into the 5-strand helix in the center of her study. Faster she spun it until it was one complete Star. Brilliance. Saidar rolled around her as she started to perspire fro the detailed attention she put into the weave. Years of Knowledge, Theory and Logic placed each layer of Saidar around the spinning Globe until Maegan simply knew it was enough.

 

Snapping the weave, it fell perfectly into place. The glow dimmed for but a moment before it spun back into place as if Saidar still spun in and out of itself. Air floated the globe towards her. It was cool already to the touch.

 

Maegan was unsure if she wanted to Laugh or Cry. But the simple knowledge was that she, Maegan Ryanne, had the Talent to Create Ter'Angreal. A Talent that was formerly lost to the ages, but blessed - or cursed - upon her in some grand design far beyond any form of her understanding. A Talent.

 

::Light guard me..:: Paranoid, she wished to smash the Ter'Angreals. Both of them. She knew she could not, but if it kept that secret hidden, if even for a time, it might have been worth it.

 

::The Academy.::

 

Her work could be continued at the Academy. None, save Annais, would know her talent existed until she was ready to share it. Systematically gathering both fist-sized Ter'Angreal, clapping the one off -As the new light had a different trigger that she would search out later-, Maegan hid them both in her desk. Locking and weaving protection around it, Maegan paused for but a moment.

 

"Caemlyn it is." She announced to herself. If she were to find the answer, any answer, she would have to follow ever possible lead. She would talk to Kathrina, and then see Briarden one last time and then head out to Caemlyn on Kathrina's leave. Wanting one last moment with the channeler that sat in the room far below, guarded by women to which will have to forgive her. Light burn her very soul, for she was about to do what she had sworn never to do again.

 

Resolve met, Maegan left her room. Her Shawl left behind on the desk that hid her newest secret. A secret she wanted nothing more than to bring to her grave. Praying that tonight would not be that night.

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

One Last Kiss

 

    It was a well written tragedy.

 

Maegan doubted that it could have not been written any better as the tears were still flowing down her cheek. Each part played perfectly as the players were to take their final bow. And another secret to her swiftly climbing pile. Her sisters with her, but they did nothing to cleanse away the feeling the Taint had along her skin. It had been a brilliant idea, one that only a fool would risk. Maegan was brilliant at playing the role of the fool.

 

The settling dust of the small battle in the underground holding chambers within the Tower revealed what Maegan knew they would find. A cage that had burst open. Chairs knocked over. A body that was shattered to a pile of dust that gave any indication of any other presence in the room. The scene had been perfectly set. Flawless in its execution.

 

Briarden had broken the Shield around his person. Maegan had allowed it, swiftly linking with him to push the five other sisters away from the center cage that they surrounded. He had woven things she could barely see, but as his form left the cage to appear in front of her, she knew. Swallowing heard, there was no longer a thought to think as instinct drove her forward. To save her life he would try to kill her. To save his life he would place it in the line of fire. She shattered his illusion and wove fire completely around him. Taking his life before the damage on his person. There could not be a mistake. Saidar was the tool in the game.

 

Maegan had not wanted this. Time had been against her this time. His stilling would have been far more painful than any mercy death she gave him. They were to take him to the other Reds who would act as the support and save any possible part of him. It would have broken her heart to see him as a walking corpse. But her heart was still broken over what had to be done. And now she knew the end to which she would fight.

 

Linking had been far more horrible than she could possibly imagine. The taint..  coursed over her, coating everything that was possibly good and warm. Nausea threatened ever form of her senses, nearly shifting her focus. Nearly shifted the weight of the battle against her. Once it was complete the sisters came to and she was left on the ground with the corpse right in front of her. They said nothing. There were no words that needed to be said beyond the tears that rolled untouched down Maegan's cheek.

 

Maegan played the perfect fool.

 

They were swiftly taken away from the room. Maegan was grateful, but even to her the world was but a spinning story. Hollow and without words. Yellow sisters attended them, but they were as blurry to her with her spectacles as they were without. All the while questions were shot at them left right and center. Simple, automatic answers, nods and shakes of her head were all that she was able to give as others that had been in the room attempted to fill in the rest. The only purely honest thing she could say was how fast it all occurred and nothing could have changed her choice in how it ended.

 

It was laughable. The perfect Love Tragedy. Love. It was a simple joke. An Aes Sedai does not Love but from afar. It was what she and her sisters were now destined to do. Love a man from afar knowing that death awaited any. There was never a distinction or impossibility. Statistically not every man in the world would develop the ability to channel. But some how, in some twisted way, the possibility was still there. The possibility that perhaps in anouther life they were lovers, friends, perfect matches that were now torn apart by the very taint they all fought. Maegan did not doubt the possibility of this as truth. Improbable, but by far not impossible.

 

Love. An all-consuming passionately dominating emotion. Love linked the Red Ajah. For every man that they Gentled their hearts would bleed. Aptly named; Red Shawl.

 

Left alone in her quarters, sitting in her soft chair with a tea cup in hand cold and otherwise untouched, Maegan found no solace in the silence. Only empty promises, secrets and possible lies were all that were left. Gripping to the emotion that would cost her everything to lose. To locking it all away in some safe place was the only thing left.

 

Maegan's eyes drifted closed as heavy dark drapes cut off the light of the candles in the room. Love was a foolish emotion. Unhinging the very embodiment of what an Aes Sedai was suppose to be. What a Woman was. A Man was. Like any last kiss, it stole away everything once lost. There was no cure to Love. Drifting. There was no cure to the pain that Loved caused. There was nothing left but the remembrance of its existence.

 

It was better to Love and have it lost to the Ages than to have never have loved at all. She wanted to remember what that Love was like. The far distant memory of a Lifetime that she could never remember. This, however, was something she could remember. Falling into the dreamless abyss as sleep overtook her.

 

Maegan would never forget. Ever.

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Resolve of the Mind

 

    In the days that followed, Maegan consumed each hour with research and letters. One or the other constantly demanded her attention and kept her from dwelling on the events of the past. It did her no good to dwell on what could not be changed and therefore it was inevitable for her to plunge into what she could. The future awaited an answer. An answer that Maegan ironically would find in the past. The very very distant, nearly unknown past. Before the current Age. Before the Hundred Years War. In the time of the Age of Legends were where the answers she sought laid. Precious little could be found on the far past age, and even Maegan spent much of her time re-reading texts over and over again without avail.

 

After a few letters of correspondences to Cairhien and to Reque Damodred, Maegan was beginning to assume that there was little information available at hand where it was easily attainable. The only answers she may possibly be able to find would be in Caemlyn. Be it the library or the inner walls. Both would be difficult for her to access.

 

It was Maegan's assumption and knowledge of the past that Aes Sedai do not always come and go as they pleased. But after a discussion with a few of the Brown sisters in the White Tower Library, Andor welcomed those of the Tower. It was not unknown for an Aes Sedai to visit their libraries without any other cause to the Court. Although there was the usual expectations of accepting the occasional invitation for more formal events, or a discussion of this or that with the Queen herself. Moaning inwardly, it was still far better than having to maneuver a way into the Caemlyn Library. The biggest hurdle was convincing Kathrina to allow her leave of the Tower for a time.

 

Taking with her the notes that she had accumulated and the conclusions that she had drawn up, Maegan headed to the Highest's Quarters at the far end of the Red Ajah Hall. Knocking lightly on the door, she entered when beckoned.

 

"Kathrina Sedai." Maegan said in greeting. As always, the woman was sitting behind her desk in the office just off to the side of the main entrance room.

 

"In here." Maegan entered the office and took a seat. Passing her small compilation of notes to Kathrina.

 

"I need to go to Caemlyn." There was no question in the statement. Although, even Maegan was not foolish to think that the Highest would not deny her this if she felt it necessary. Perhaps that was the relationship that her and Kathrina had created. She was Kathrina's own servant in her own Ajah. Seniority tended to play an unfair advantage in the Aes Sedai ranks. Especially for one as young as herself.

 

"It is the library you wish to see." There was an edge in her voice. Bitterness? Envy?

 

"Yes and No." Kathrina raised an eyebrow. Clearing her voice, Maegan attempted a small elaboration. "Briarden.. "

 

"Symon."

 

Maegan shook her head. "Briarden is how I know him, and what I will call him. To say otherwise is a Lie to me." Ignoring the look Kathrina gave her, "However, he had informed me that it may be possible that there are reminants of the Age of Legends in the Inner City. Some of it survived the Breaking of the Age of Legends. The possibility is slim, and I doubt that I will find anything. For all I know he could have lied to me. But it is not something that I can not resist confirming."

 

"There are few mysteries that you can not resist." Her tone was still cold.

 

"The possibility of a.. cure to the Taint is worth following through."

 

Kathrina's eyes grew wide. "Impossible!" Breathless, Maegan knew she had the woman's attention. The ever present calm on the woman's face was gone and sheer shock unmistakable.

 

"Yes. But only through the Impossible do we learn what is or isn't possible."

 

"If what you say is true."

 

"Than we ma no longer need our shawls."

 

"But the.. "

 

"The Taint is one vast mystery to us. We can not heal it and we can not save any man from it. After the last breaking, it was evident that there was no way to complete it."

 

"What makes you sure that this will?"

 

"I don't." Maegan said simply. Leaning back in her seat she looked to Kathrina. "But the possibility that an Aes Sedai that worked alongside a Male Channeller could yield far more than anything we will find in the here and now. We do not work alongside the Male channelers for the obvious fears. How are we to know to what extent of the previous sisters were willing to do any more than we have?"

 

"We don't." She said ruefully.

 

"Let me go to Caemlyn. Track down the answers."

 

Kathrina sat quietly for a moment. "Very well. But.. " Pausing. Maegan held her breath. "You will not be returning to Cairhien when you have completed what you have found."

 

Maegan raised an eyebrow. "That is hardly a condition. Kathrina. That is.."

 

"I know you Mae." Kathrina interrupted. "You are a Brown Sister in a Red Shawl. You will hole yourself in that Royal Library of yours for the rest of your career only to come out if and when you are summoned to do the duties you are sworn to do. If the answers you seek are not in Caemlyn you will obsess over the answer, wasting away over that slave of a curiosity you have." Maegan stayed silent. There was enough of a ring of truth to Kathrina's words that she was left with little to no room to argue her point. Kathrina was very good at making her feel very young and yet old a the same time.

 

"Your talents for the Shawl and your impeccable mind you would not waste away, I'm sure, but you can do so much more. Much more than any ten, perhaps fifteen, brown and red sisters combined. Unfortunately you are useless to me in that Library." Kathrina paused, a small smile on her lips. "After all, a Scholar like you would not find other studying cultures boring or a waste of time. Correct?"

 

Kathrina was dangling. Dangling and exploiting and abusing every possible weakness in Maegan's character. Like dangling a carrot and a whip while saying soothing words to a horse. Like the Mistress of Novices offering sweet-buns to a naught Novice. the associations were endless but it was all the same. Worse, Maegan knew the woman was going to still get exactly what she wanted.

 

"What do you wish for me to do for you, Kathrina." Regret with every word spoken.

 

"Not for me, for you." Kathrina said, scolding in a soft voice. "You need to learn the ways of the Court. In order to do that, you will be visiting any and every possible court along with my instructions. I have Eyes and Ears in various cities, to which I will entrust to you. You, of course will be building your own contacts. Knowing you, they will probably delve into the Academic regions of the world." The last sounded mostly of an after thought, or a side thought. Shrugging, "From there you will mingle. A private Eye and Ear for me and for yourself."

 

Not one to feel overly rebellious, Maegan chocked down the moan that threatened to escape her lips. How she hated dealing with the Royal courts.

 

"Yes, Kathrina Sedai."

 

"After a time that I feel satisfactory in your distant education will I allow you the freedom to return to Cairhien and your Library there."

 

"What do you consider 'Satisfactory'?" Maegan regarded Kathrina carefully. There was a look that passed behind the other woman's eyes, and although Maegan could read the emotions, the thought left Maegan confused. What could Kathrina be afraid of.

 

"Having you knowledgeable beyond your books and inanimate objects will be enough."

 

Maegan only nodded. The conversation continued for hours as Kathrina pulled out a quill and started to scratch out various instructions for Maegan along with her own list of private Eyes and Ears. Listening carefully, a art of Maegan's mind wandered with anouther series of curious questions entered her mind.

 

Kathrina was no longer a young Aes Sedai. Maegan was willing to place the woman far over 300 years old. Of course with any other Aes Sedai age was disregarded and never questions. But with the passing of Eyes and Ears, it dawned on her that it was possible that the Highest of the Red Ajah may be retiring. To allow a younger sister step into her extremely large slippers. Why the woman would entrust so much to her, t was hard to say. Perhaps there was something that Maegan exhibited that Kathrina sought for. Humbled by the thought, She focused her attention back on Kathrina as she passed her the leafs of paper.

 

"This should be everything you will need. You have access to the Tower Vaults if you are in need of coins for travel or lodgings."

 

Maegan nodded. "Everything will be done as you say."

 

Kathrina gave Maegan a rare warm smile. "The Light Illuminate you, my sister. Travel with the Light."

 

Standing, Maegan bowed her head deeply to the woman. "The light Illuminate you as well, Kathrina. By your leave."

 

With a wave of Kathrina's hand, Maegan left the room. The wards against eavesdropping were released as she exited. The hallway was as usual bustling about carrying as any other day. Strolling past Maegan returned to her quarters to find a guest waiting for her. Tea cup in hand as an offering.

 

"Annie." Maegan smiled. "A pleasant surprise, as always."

 

"I heard about the Channeler. You were the one that ..." There was worry in her voice. "Are you alright?"

 

The smile dropped quickly from her face. It was easy to place on a mask and pretend that what happened had not phased her. A few days mourning and she was back to normal. The simple truth was, it all felt like a lie to her.

 

"No, Annie." She said truthfully. She could not lie to her. Around any other she could have skirted around the truth and gave an Aes Sedai truth. But not to Annie. Especially when she was giving her that look. Accepting the tea, Maegan took a seat. Sipping the tea for a moment, she stared on for a moment.

 

"Talk to me, Mae.." There was that strong note of concern in Annais' voice. Visibly wincing, Maegan started talking over her cup. The first sip dismissed and forgotten as the white porcelain sat otherwise untouched in her hands.

 

There was a lot to tell, for which Maegan at first hesitated with her story. But concluded to leave the majority of it on the table. After all, Annais held one of Maegan's larger secrets and she would rather have that one friend that she could always trust in if something went array. For all of Mae's strengths, her weaknesses were all in Annais' domain. A fine pair they made. Maegan told Annais of the Academy, but not of her fathers death. She told her of why it was held a secret but not of the secrets it held. Perhaps one day Mae could show her instead. Maegan spoke of the day she left Cairhien, of Eowenn's death. She spoke of her arrival to the Tower. To meet up with her, and on the same day learn that the Love of her 3rd Arch actually existed.

 

Maegan told Annais of her theory that her third arche was part of her past life as a Brown-like Sister in the Age of Legends. That in the third Age she was bonded to a Male Channeler as a warder -if that was how their relatinoship worked- they had once worked Side by Side until Saidin was poisoned. Somehow she must have died in that past life before finding some way to cleanse the taint. How she had left her work in Caemlyn. She spoke of her research that it may be possible to still exist in the Inner City of Caemlyn that the Ogier had originally built. Rambling a little, Maegan commented on how it was possible that at worst the Taint was not nearly so rampid, but the seeds of a poison that now was all-consuming of Saidin.

 

"It is hard to say how Saidin changed over the years. It is possible that over the course of the Hundred Years War that Saidin became so far corrupted that none could cleanse it."

 

Annais was glad that Mae didn't try to hide her pain and grief from her and she walked to quietly embrace her friend and listened the whole story. She was so proud of her friend for completing the Academy and she told her as much. It was such a shame that it had to be kept secret but one day things would hopefully be different. And it was horrible that Mae had lost her step mother. They had been very close despite her years in the Tower separating them. She offered her condolences but they were poor balm to the wound. Her eyes widened to saucers when Mae spoke of her Arches and actually meeting a person there or a reincarnation of one. If anyone else but an Aes Sedai would have told her such story, she would have suspected them to be taken by the Dragon and as insane as the poor wretches who channeled Saidin. It was incredible and frightening. "So you will go to Caemlyn now? How I wish that I could come with you but I must leave in few days. Blood and bloody ashes. But please write to me and tell me what you find. And you believe that Saidin is beyond repair now? There has to be some hope."

 

Maegan nodded her head, grateful for the woman's confidence. In more than just trust. "I leave today. I was not sure that I would see you prior, but.." Maegan afforded a warm smile, one that felt far too rare of late. "I am glad we did. I will try to keep in touch, but you know me and letter writing." Maegan chuckled a little. "I never did take to letter writing, or any sort of writing in the Whites."

 

"If I won't hear from you, I will hunt you down and wring every detail out of you", Annais grinned noticing that Mae hadn't really answered the question. "If anyone can find an answer on the mystery of Saidin, it is you. Best of luck, dear."

 

Embracing the other woman. "I would like to think that the Taint is not so far gone that it can not be fixed. There must be a purpose to why this was revealed to me now. For that reason, or any other, it's woven and now my quest." Maegan could not help but chuckle. "I'm starting to sound like a blue with all this quest talk. Next thing you know i'll start bonding men like a green and head nose first into the Pit of Dhoom to demand a logical answer for why the Taint was created in the first place."

 

"The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. And our shawl colour does not bind us from doing things that belong to the purview of another Ajah." She laughed at Mae's joke. "You might even get some answers out of the Dark One with your persistence." She didn't want to ruin the good mood by worry and fussing. Mae had taken the death of Symon hard and now when Annais had learned everything that was behind it, the guilt was even worse. "The day you bond your first Warder, I will take three myself."

 

"Do I have your word on that?" The grin on Maegan's face was unmistakable.

 

Annais spat on her hand in Murandian style and extended it to Mae. "It's a deal then." She doubted that the day would never come, though. There were barely any female Tower Guards and Mae didn't let others into her confidence easily. She didn't really mind as she still associated Warders strongly with he death of her family.

 

After putting spittle in her own hand Maegan took Annais's with a firm shake. "Be safe, Annie." Maegan said, the seriousness back in her voice. "I mean it."

 

"You be safe too, Mae. And take care of yourself and don't be too hard on yourself." Annais embraced her friend again and held her in a tight hug for a moment until releasing her with a sigh. "It would be so wonderful to still be Accepted with not much worries in the world." She thought of Dulan and her own sorrow that she couldn't burden Mae with right now. "But the shawl gives you so much more freedom if you just make use of it."

 

"You are right of one thing." Maegan smiled. "Shawl colour means nothing." Annais' words were similar to Kathrina's. But hearing them from Annais, it just made a little more sense on a different level. Kathrina talked of duty, and Annais of Life. So much of it similar yet vastly different. Embracing one last time, Maegan lead Annais to the door pondering where life would lead them from here. One last smile and Annais headed off to the Gray Halls and Maegan back into her suite. She had a lot of packing to do in a short amount of time.  room to set up for her leaving, weaves to set back into place.

 

Quickly setting about the room at a steady pace, Maegan catalogued and sorted through her thoughts and theories as she worked. Questions to how long will she be away and how long was she to stay in each place were some of many questions that she sorted through in her head. Answering as best as she could as she went along. Within a few hours Maegan found herself stabling a dare roan that has a beautiful reddish tint to his glossy coat.

 

"Come, Red." She called him, petting his neck after saddling. "To Caemlyn we ride."

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Black Red Rose

 

    Maegan Ryanne Sedai of the Red Ajah

To Maegan,

 

I am writing to you today about a few interesting developments and of some sad news. I will inform you of the sad and then I shall move on to more brighter news as I have no desire to see you troubled. A fortnight ago Reanna Malard passed on in her sleep. I have no doubt that her husband, Gierge, will shortly follow. It has placed a small shadow over the Library as all mourn over the loss. Reanna was a bright soul in her Cairhien halls. Her son has returned to us for a time and will be unable to help you locate what you need in the Caemlyn Library. We know that you will be understanding of this, as you have only recently gone through your own loss. It has been a sad year for deaths. The Light Illuminate them.

 

Let me now pass on more tidings of better news. My son has wed and I no longer am pulled as I had been to the Courts. This offers a great relief to me. We've had some very promising new students that have joined the Academy Ranks. Caim Keton, a man half my age, has great aptitude for the art of mechanics and the theories behind Steam Technology. He is an arrogant fool, and irritating with his need to be renown but he knows better than to fight a Damodred on the subject. He will do as needed and will not reveal our work to the World. In time, perhaps it will not need to be kept a secret.

 

Other new scholars are, Gutin Selor, and Jehol Lides. Perhaps you know of them from your time in the School. Jehol asks on you from time to time. I dare say he took a liking to you. Of course I had to break the fool boys heart for you by informing him that you were actually an Aes Sedai. He took to that rather gravely, but I was gentle, and I am sure to see blossoming results of his now very fervent studies.

 

Moving along, I have a small confession to make. Although time works against me, I have but only myself to blame for the time wasted. I miss you, Maegan. The Halls here are empty without you. Your enthusiasm and mind have stolen far more than my breath.

 

If I have stepped over my bounds, allow me to apologize. A Red Aes Sedai is not one to fall in Love with a man, especially one such as I. If it is not in your heart, we shall never mention this again. If it is, write me an answer. Any answer. I abide by your decision.

 

Love,

Reque Damodred

 

 

Reading over the letter again and again, Kathrina's frown deepened. The Letter had reached her desk only moments after Maegan had left the Tower Grounds on her way to Caemlyn. Had the Novice been unsure of Maegan's whereabouts, Kathrina may not have seen the letter. Over and over again, she searched for a few of the clues as to why Maegan was drawn so closely to the Cairhien Library and School. Beyond the hint at Steam Technology (what use would that be anyways? Steam is steam, not a power source. Saidar was a Power Source!) she saw little else. Beyond the blatantly obvious.

 

A Damodred in love with an Aes Sedai. She could barely contain her laughter. It was idiocy of the gravest form. Perhaps allowing it would weaken the other houses in Cairhien, but to do so would allow weakness in her Ajah. Although not her True Ajah, it was still a mask she must keep.

 

Small weaves of fire set the letter on fire, lost to the ashes that then pooled on her desk. There was no emotion in her face as she stole away something from the woman. It was not meant to be hers, and Kathrina would see that it never will be. Without a heart or any other form of emotion, Kathrina moved to pick up her quill and started to scribe more letters. Maegan was going to stay very busy and very far from Cairhien. For at least a good many years.

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Caemlyn

 

    Caemlyn. The capital city of Andor. A Whitebridge Gate leads west to the Four Kings Road. There is a road north that leads through the Braem Wood to Tar Valon. With a fifty foot high wall of gray stone surrounds the city which is built on rising hills and another wall of pure white stone surrounds the central part of the city called the Inner City which was built by Ogier. One entrance to the Inner City is the Origan Gate. Another gate to the Inner City is the Mondel Gate. The outer part of the city is called the New City. The heavily populated area outside the city walls is called Low Caemlyn.

 

Entering through the Whitebridge Gate, Maegan Ryanne entered the city f Caemlyn for the first time. Awed by the beauty of the city, Maegan found her first impression of the city more than she had expected. Although the Cairhiens did take some pride it their city, especially within the inner gates, nothing was like Foregate. The Low Caemlyn streets showed pride in their city that would put Cairhien to shame. Had her purpose been any different than what it was, Maegan would have been personally insulted by this truth. But it was not on her person to feel the need to reprimand the King of Cairhien as to how poorly he dealt with the citizens within his care. Shallow as it may be, it was to the work of a politically minded Aes Sedai to do such a task than one such as herself. Like Annais, or anouther Gray that worked wonders for such a cause. It was simply not her cause.

 

Glancing at a slip of paper in her hands, Maegan read a few listed Taverns and Inns that she had received from various Brown Sisters. Although her trust was placed in Kathrina's guidance, it was not of her mind to seek a place of comfort but a place far more suitable to her course of work. With her Red Shawl packed away and still without the ageless look of the seasoned Aes Sedai, Maegan looked and played the part of a Noble Scholar. An appearance that also required no form of Lying. After all, she was a patron and firm supporter of the Cairhien Library and the Underground Academy of the Rose. Her way was that of a Scholar. It was what Maegan knew best.

 

Riding through the streets, She made notes of what she saw and of how the people reacted to her. Unlike Cairhien or Tar Valon, Maegan really was just a foreigner. Small and unnoticed by the population. Baffled a little but this, Maegan recalled that the Great Game did not reside in Andor the way it did in Cairhien or even Tear. Andor was far more at peace with their stature than most other places in the world. If her studies were even remotely accurate, Maegan would suspect that beyond a war of Succession there really would never be any Civil war in Andor. Her people loved their Queen. In itself, that demanded and gained Maegan's respect.

 

It was outside of the The Queens Men that Maegan passed on the reigns of Red and proceeded to set herself in the log books. According to Alshamz Sedai of the Brown Ajah, The Queens Men had some wonderful cuisine from the more Northern parts of the world as well as a fairly decent Library for the off-timpic reading, should Maegan ever be in need of a slight destruction. She had also mentioned that the Innkeeper, Master Hui, had a love of the Tower and was a big supporter of the written word. Maegan suspected that it could be more then that. But the Brown sister was about as starry-eyed about the library as the mention of the man to the next novice that brought her some new scripts. A small smile on her lips as she thought back to Alshamz Sedai. The woman was as talkative as a bird and just as flighty. It was ever so endearing, and refreshing in the Tower Ranks.

 

Entering the Inn, she found it a pleasantly spacious room with rich wooden tables and chairs scattered between two hearths and the far bar. The rich wood carried around the room decorated with a slight woman's touch of flowers and pieces of eclectic pottery. A stout aged man that had been standing behind the bar walked to wards her, wiping his hands on a semi-soiled apron. He had been cleaning the glasses already washed.

 

"What can I do for you, m'Lady?"

 

Maegan tilted her head in greeting. "Master Hui, I presume?

 

"Aye. I am Master Hui.

 

"I am called Maegan. I require a room for at least a fortnight as well as full meals when I am here. The Lady Alshamz spoke of this place often. "

 

His eyes brightened at the mention of Alshamz. Perhaps it was not just the Woman's flightiness, Maegan thought with amusement. "My Shamsi? Is she with you? Did she send you with any letters of accord? Aye, it does my heart warm to hear from her. Ah, Come, I have plenty of rooms. If she is not with you, than I shall put you up in the room I often put her in. If you are a friend of Shamsi than you shall like this room. Connects straight to my private Library." There was a level of pride as he talked of Library. Maegan could see her getting along just fine with the Man. Perhaps even allow him the knowledge of her alignment. In time perhaps.

 

"That will be just fine. I thank you." Maegan said. The man chattered on about as easily as Alshamz on a bight sunny day as he guided her up two flights of stairs and to a large room. It was not as large as her suite in the Tower or the room in the Lady Sarai Elmdor's Quarters, but it was spacious for an Inn. There was a large canopy bed that could easily fit two people, a writing desk and chair as well as a boudoir to keep clothing for those that stay longer than a simple single night visit. Colours of gold and blue complimented the room, touched off with dried flowers on the desk.

 

"There are tools for writing in the desk if you are in need of those. Through this door," Master Mui walked in and pushed at the wall. A door opened in such a way that surprised Maegan. She had not seen it there before as it had been cleverly hidden in the decor of the room. "Will lead you straight into the Library. As a friend of Shamsi you are welcome to it's use. None use it but Patrons of the Inn or other long standing guest of mine."

 

"Thank you for the honor, Master Hui. I truly appreciate the gesture." Maegan bowed her head again.

 

"I will leave you to unpack then. The meals are served whenever you have the need. Should you do need anything from the kitchens, my gook and wife Gertue will see to anything you need."

 

He left her there in the room of The Queens Men. Unpacking and settling a few basic weaves, pleased to find the remains of a few of Alshamz weaves in the corners and door frames to keep out pests and the like. Maegan settled down at the desk to write a letter to the very Brown of whose room she now accompanied. Writing out a few simple regards and the sent blessings of Master Hui, she folded up the letter to send off later. Freshening up with a splash of water and a quick comb to her hair, Maegan exited the Inn and entered into the main streets of Caemlyn.

 

Entering the Inner City through the Origan Gate, Maegan didn't make her usual single-minded walk towards the Library, but indulged herself in the atmosphere of Caemlyn. A beautiful city, she stopped at various vendors with various interests. A fine broach here, and a few bolts of silk to be made into dresses, and then a shop that truly caught her eye. It was a ceramics and glass shop that sold various pieces of pottery and other useful trinkets. From there she found various tea cups and pots that were carefully packed up and sent back to the Queens Men.

 

Perhaps it was not much, but the simple tea set that her father had purchased for her self a bit like a start of a long standing collection. A small smile on her face, thoughtful and discrete, Maegan knew there was one thing that she would put no price on. Although if something were so precious as those tea cups and if it were to break, would a simple keeping weave or anouther be able to save such a delicate piece of memory? Tilting her head thoughtfully as she thanked the shop keeper and left the little store, glass trinkets ringing as the door sung open and closed, or perhaps the symbolism in such an item would keep her from weaving such a protection around it.

 

Life was precious. Fragile. Beautiful.

 

::Only to those that understand this.:: Maegan thought woefully, pushing the pain of those that were now lost to her from her mind. Although Briarden had claimed to have Loved her. If she were in her arches she would not have denied that she had loved him back. But that was a lifetime ago. And love was yet one mystery that Maegan was reluctant to solve. Looking up at the Gates to the Royal Palace, Maegan slipped on her Serpent Ring - More often than not on her finger - She haggled her way in with little fuss after stating her purpose of being there. It was no longer a time for her to entertain such thoughts. Foolish though they may seem, there was still that deep rooted itch that brought her back to it. Whichever it may be, Maegan didn't wish to scratch such an itch. Not when the byproduct of such an itch brought far more devastation that Maegan wished to be involved in. 

 

"Can I Help you, Aes Sedai?"

 

Reaching the Library entrance, Maegan was greeted by a young man a good foot taller than she was, but thin as skin and bone and a pile of 5 books in his arms. Disheveled Maegan could tell the boy rarely left the Library Stacks on most given days.

 

"I am inquiring after the Head Librarian, Master Corgarren." Maegan stated. "He is expecting me."

 

"Right this way." He said, and she followed.

 

Leading her deep into the Library, Maegan raised a small eyebrow as they passed by the stakes. Modest in size it was stock piled with shelving that were filled row to row with transcripts, scrolls and various sized books. Had she not spend so much time in Cairhien and Tar Valon, Maegan would have believed an Andorian claim to having such a vast library. It was second to none but the Libraries she studied in. And the amount was arguable.

 

"Through here. If you may, Aes Sedai."

 

"Thank you.."

 

"Cin."

 

"Thank you Cin." Maegan nodded.

 

"You may have to say his name a great many times. His age has given ailing healing, but his vision is perfect."

 

"As Any reader would prefer." Maegan said with a smile. The boy was nervous, shifting the books in his hands.

 

"As you say, Aes Sedai."

 

"Maegan Sedai. Or simply Maegan, please."

 

The boy nodded, muttering a quick leave of her presence and hurried on his way. He was not rude in his leaving, but clearly had a place to be. It was nice to know that as an Aes Sedai her requests were granted without question, but it made her feel momentarily guilty at taking away from anouthers time. ::De'danan..:: She thought, slipping into a simple Old Tongue saying. '_that is life..' as it were, so let it be.

 

Opening the door and looking into the room, she found that it was much like her quarters in the Cairhien Library. Small, with but a desk and many shelves of books with scattered bits of work that were pilled in such a way that only the one occupying the room would be able to decipher or understand. Such is the way of the scholar. Organization tended to be fleeting in moments of study. Even Maegan was guilty of such a thing from time to time.

 

"Master Corgarren?" Maegan called into the room. Barely recognizing the wiry frame from behind the plies of paper, she called again.

 

"Wha..? The papers are in the office, Cin! Don't be so.. Maegan!" The man finally looked over his books and saw Maegan. His small rant stopped short as a smile bloomed over his face. "What an brilliant surprise." He stood from his chair.

 

"Master Corgarren." She grinned, walking over for a short but friendly embrace. "Lost in your work as usual, I see."

 

"And you as beautiful as ever." Maegan blushed. But he worked his way around a few other stacks of paper back to his seat. "Although I preferred you all covered in smudges and with your hair a mess. You look more like your father that way. And smarter."

 

"I am smarter." Maegan huffed, pretending to be offended. The older man laughed.

 

"Not as when you look a mess. You look like your.. er.. Station today."

 

"Is this bad?" She raised an eyebrow, but he shrugged.

 

"Does this mean it is not a visit for just tea, biscuits and a few games of Stones, is it?"

 

"Perhaps in the evenings, but no. This is not a pleasure trip."

 

"Pity." Retaking his seat, he looked at her from over the piles of paper. There were no other tables around.

 

"However I do not plan to leave Caemlyn for many weeks, if not a month or two. Perhaps in that time you will forgive my thoughtlessness and grant me the delight of a few games one night." She baited.

 

"Ah, but we shall see, Aes Sedai." There was a tease in his eyes. The Title was meant in familiarity, not in mockery.

 

"Very well, Head Librarian. I am in need of the resources under your care. I require the ability to look and read without question to why I am looking or beyond it. My purpose is mine alone and I require the complete ability to do so without any hindrance from your staff or any under your care."

 

"And the court?"

 

"I will deal with the court should the time come in need of it."

 

"You have my leave to do as you need, Maegan Sedai, under one circumstance."

 

"Your terms?"

 

"A game of stones and Dinner tonight. Let your search wait a day and allow yourself the pleasure of an old scholars company."

 

Maegan's face as straight as his. If one could not hear they would have suspected a deep argument of distaste and reproach.  Minding a moment to think, Maegan nodded in agreement.

 

"Very well. I have but a few other duties I need to attend to, Shall we reconvene in a few hours, say the mid-day meal?"

 

"It will do." Master Corgarren said.

 

"Until tonight." Maegan's face broke into a friendly smile as she nodded her head in respect. Exiting the room, Maegan continued the day outside the Royal Palace and exploring the streets of Caemlyn. Without any other events, she returned to enjoy the rest of her evening over a traditional Andorian meal and a few wicked games of Stones. Of all 4 games she only won once.

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

A Letter

 

    Master Reque Damodred

Head Master and Librarian of the Royal Cairhien Library

 

I have arrived in Caemlyn and was well greeted upon by Master Corgerran. (By which he sends his regards and congratulations on the progress of the Steam Technology.) I am deeply sorry to hear of Reanna Malard's passing. I had hoped to meet her son but alas, Family does come first and I do hope that he gives comfort to his father lest he follows his wife's steps into the next Age. Light Illuminate and Guard them.

 

I was impressed by the size of the Andorian Library and dare call it a third home. The books within its halls beacon to me like you to trouble and the Game. I hope to find what I seek without, but I hold little hope. Much was lost over the Ages, and to find historical evidence that dates back to the Age of Legends is nigh impossible. However, it is but an itch that I must see to the bitter end. It is but a curse I may forever live with.

 

Within but two days I was greeted upon by the Queen Mordrellen herself. Had I not the training from the Tower I suspect I would have but made a large fool of myself. The evening was pleasant with a few spirits and a few dances. As required by formality for me to wear my Shawl few asked me to dance but the polite princes whole thought I would bite them were they to step on my toes. Yet when I stepped on theirs there was not a peep! Were I you, I should be tempted to stomp hard on their feet to see just how quiet they could stay. Tempting, but far from the decorum of an Aes Sedai and I have yet to build a reputation to stand on, let alone destroy. Perhaps when I have more years on me will I tempt to destroy this pitiful fear of the Red Shawl. Respectful they may be, but I find that it goes far beyond Fear but to Hatred.

 

How I despise this!

 

Regretfully, there was little else of mention thus far on my stay in Caemlyn. Please pass on my regards to the Others.

 

Maegan Ryanne

Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah

 

Sadness crept over him as Reque Damodred read over her letter. Although a smile edged on his face over the image of her jumping on the feet of some overly polite noble, the lack of response to his last letter left him a little cold. Not often would he admit such things in a simple letter. Or much at all. Reque Damodred was not a man to admit anything, and if her were to be suspected of caring for something, or someone, that was not himself or for his own value it would be deemed untrue.

 

After all, A Damodred did not fall in Love.

 

It was possible that Maegan Sedai knew this and left it out on a simple omission. Allowing him to pull back and recant his words should he have made a mistake. A dry laugh escaped his lips. He did not make mistakes. A Damodred never made mistakes.

 

[it was you that got her father killed. That was a mistake.] A mistake he paid very dearly for. No longer in touch with that of his House, his standing no longer even mentionable in the Cairhien Courts, Reque Damodred felt little loss of their Games. Even with his silence he still received letters from other houses that spoke of single women, widows that wish to favour his bed - and bank books - all of which re discarded into a nearby fire. If there was no fire, it was shredded in plain view without so much as breaking the seal on the envelope.

 

There was only one series of letters he opened now. Letters from Maegan Sedai. Glancing at the leaf of paper in his hand, he fought the urge to crumble it in his fist and thrust it into the fire with the rest of the unopened letters that were now ash under the great logs. But he didn't. With painful movements, Reque Damodred carefully folded up the letter and placed it carefully into a locked box that Maegan had given him along with the letters within. Each contained various secrets and hidden thoughts that he knew was safe within. She had guaranteed it when she handed him the box. None but him could open the box without the insides burning instantly to cinder. Had he felt less about the woman and her ability with the One Power, he would have tested that theory just to see if what she said was true. But he trusted her.

 

Unlike most Aes Sedai, of which he constantly watched from a far and never took at face value, he trusted Maegan Sedai. The Red sister was pivotal in the building of the Academy and his own research. But it was more then that. Although an Aes Sedai could not outright speak a lie, there were often things that they say and yet mean something very different. Maegan Sedai, on the other hand, he knew spoke to him the truth. Call it a weakness or even a fault on blindness on his part. Burn him, he trusted her.

 

Shutting the box, listening for the click that indicated it was locked, Reque Damodred proceeded to draw up anouther letter to Maegan Ryanne. This time, he would not be so foolish as to send it.

 

"Did you know that emotion is a weakness that we can not afford?"

 

Reque Damodred did not need to look up to know who stood in the corner of the room. Folding what he wrote and placing it into the box to read later, Reque Damodred leaned back in his chair.

 

"What do you want?"

 

"A payement."

 

"I have paid enough."

 

"I will tell you when enough is enough, Damodred. The price was placed on your head well before now."

 

"My life. Yes, i know. Take it, if that is what is demanded of me."

 

"Don't be so dramatic." The droll in the voice sounded bored. "Death is but a wish of one too weak to live." Pause. "You are not weak, are you?" The question implied so much more than it told.

 

"Who is being dramatic now?"

 

"Then you know what needs to be done then?"

 

Reque tossed a roll of parchment at the figure in the corner. Unrolling it and reading over, the voice was incredulous.

 

"Why did you not summon me to give me this?" There was anger in the voice.

 

Reque Damodred's smile quirked upward but a bit. "It was not part of the agreement."

 

"Idiot."

 

His hands slammed on the desk as Reque Damodred stood to glare at the woman. "Do not make me for the fool. I have a written copy of our exact agreement and I will dare say that my need to call upon you is not in it."

 

"The Great Lord would disagree."

 

"No, you will disagree, but get used to it. I am not your little Novice that can be demanded about and play the puppet to your games."

 

"Yes you are, Reque." The voice grew seductively cold. [Fuck.]

 

"Go away."

 

"Not until I get what I came for."

 

"You have what you wanted, now leave me."

 

"You know what I want." The figure stood behind him. Her hand touching his neck. "What I always want."

 

Reque Damodred closed his eyes. She took it as an indication of pleasure from her touch. Reque, on the other hand, had only given into the inevitable.

 

She owned his soul. His damnable soul.

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Forked Paths | Duty and Honour

 

    The weeks that followed resulted in a dead end and a mystery unsolved. Had there been such a room as Briarden had claim had existed, it was destroyed at some point over the Hundred Years War when parts of the Inner City were still being built and then destroyed by the madness of the Taint. Suspicious, Maegan would even accept that it was possible that Briarden himself had destroyed it in a moment of unawareness - as the taint often did to men - and in order to rectify this pain to pass on the information in a future life.

 

Rubbing her temples, ignoring the array of her hair, Maegan moaned softly as her own thoughts wanted to go down paths of theories and possibilities that, frankly, she didn't have the energy to.  Astride a large chair that seated two in the Library within The Queens Men, Maegan snapped shut the book she was reading and set it aside on the table atop of the fifteen others that she had already read that night.

 

Studying book upon book on Andorian History. From Politics, to Geography, Maegan had within nearly a months time become an expert on any and all things Andorian. Even with the various invitations to the Court and other Noble Houses. Many of which she declined despite Kathrina Sedai's orders and warnings. The woman had set her up with years of socializing and various lessons that would bring her to many other places than just Andor but to the Shores of Illian and even Arad Doman.

 

Days that Maegan was unable to accomplish that which she set out to do, taking on Kathrina's "lessons" seemed a little more appealing that spending hours pouring over books that rendered useless. Although a book is never useless, she corrected herself, Just useless for the topic of which she was trying to research. Just as her and the other Brown Sisters she had questioned, there was simply nothing.

 

"I'm fighting with the very air I breath." She muttered. "I am trying to call Air the Earth and the Water Fire, yet I simply can not as it is simply untrue." Spoken to none in particular, nothing answered back. The Library in the Queens Men were sparse and void of any other life form beyond herself and the controlled fire on the earth that allowed heat to seep into the room. As frustrating as it was, Maegan left herself to toil over all that she read.

 

She channeled a little thread of Fire into her cold tea to bring it to a warmer temperature. Lifting the cup to her lips and sipping the sweetened spiced tea, she stared into the fire in deep thought. There were simply too many secrets that she was trying to follow. One lead to a dead end, but what of the others? Maegan did not doubt that she could spend her life in the Academy researching various theories along with the other scholars, not to mention her own scrawls of idea's that were left collecting dust on her shelves back in the Royal Cairhien Library. It was but one path.

 

Anouther would be to test this new ability of hers. To Create Ter'Angreal. In order to create, one would need to learn all that encompasses the ability and what the products of such an ability were before plowing your way through. That would mean spending far too much time away from Cairhien and in the Repositories of the White Tower. It seemed a fare more appealing ability as it would accomplish far more than any other sister in the Tower could. It would be an enviable ability. It was an enviable ability. Sisters toiled over the loss of information on the passing of Ages.

 

As curious as she was to delve into and become lost in such a project, Maegan knew that it would be one that would take time and careful planning if she were to keep it secret.

 

To keep both of these paths secret she would need anouther path that would overshadow her asking such questions or disappearing for a number of years at a time. Regarding the letters of Kathrina Sedai, Maegan inwardly winced. ::One does as they Must in Life. It is not a matter of Choice, but Duty. Duty and Honour.:: She thought back on her own words. Duty and Honour. What Honour was there in hiding secrets, but the answer was obvious.

 

::Because a world that abuses a Lie could never understand or handle the Truth.::

 

The thought of it made her sad. And yet every time she place the Red Shawl on her shoulders Maegan would swell with the pride of her Ajah but then feel tears when seeing the hatred of others towards her Ajah. Maegan did not choose the wrong Ajah. A scholar she was and there was no shame in the Brown Shawl, there was simply the amount of pride, love and all the other things the Red Ajah stood for, Humanity, that Maegan knew it was where she was meant to be.

 

Then it donned on her. Maegan was no Humanitarian. Although her work with the Academy and in the Cairhien Library were that of preserving the humanity of advanced minds, it left her with very little knowledge of the world outside of her own. One could say that she was blissfully unaware of the world around her and all that happened outside of it.

 

It was of no surprise to Maegan, not in the least. In fact, Maegan knew exactly who and what she was and what path she had set for herself and all that it entitled. Tossing the coin from anouther angle, Maegan understood Kathrina a little more, although a little embittered at her lack of insight until now, and could see the logic of what Kathrina was offering her.

 

But it was not enough.

 

Balling up the letters from the Highest and tossing them into the flames of the fire on the Hearth, Maegan smiled thoughtfully. Kathrina could keep her contacts and all that she knew to herself. Foolish or not, Maegan would never be able to fully rely on any that were loyal to anouther Aes Sedai. She would build her own network and weave her own webs as she worked her way around the world. Vowing, Maegan knew it was time to place her knowledge to the beneficial use of others and actually work with the people of various lands.

 

She would teach the basics of how to read and write to children that would wish to learn. She would research with the scholars of every time and place.. On and on, Maegan grew more and more excited over these prospects that rolled over and over in her mind. Admittantly she may have been easily excitable, but her thirst for knowledge squished any shame in her change of attitude.

 

Collecting her books and quieting the fire, Maegan returned to her room for the night. It was already well past a decent hour as even the noise of the common room below had gone quiet an hour ago. Shutting the door between the Library and her rented room, Maegan undressed and slid into under the sheets of the bed. It was time that she set out a new path, if the Wheel Wills. First to Cairhien to finalize a few things, then to wherever the Pattern pulls her.

 

Closing her eye lids, Maegan fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

The Fourth Order

 

    "Let it go, Maegan."

 

"I will not!"

 

"Flaming Pile of Trolloc Ashe, Maegan, Let the damn thing go!"

 

"You let go first!"

 

"I told you first."

 

"NO!"

 

"Damnit Girl!"

 

"I'm no girl!"

 

If Reque wasn't so distracted but something other than with her, he may have tried to argue the point, however it was neither the time or the place. Both holding onto an invention that was about to take a turn for the worse, both knew that once one let go there would be no saving the grinding parts.

 

"Let go, Maegan..." He tried again, but Maegan gritted her teeth and with a set jaw was not about to budge.

 

"Just a moment.."

 

"We're going to be dead.. in .."

 

"Shut Up Damodred."

 

"Let go first.. "

 

"QUIET!" Her voice resonated in the air, rippling over the noise of the running machine.

 

"..eep.." Zipping his mouth shut, he concentrated on what he was holding, praying that it would be a swift painless death. He didn't do so well with pain. Not a prideful moment when you stub your toe and start crying like a baby. It got worse in his old age. He made a poor invalid.

 

It was the squeaky voice from the other side of the machine that made him want to roll his eyes.

 

"Uh.. I think it's going to explode...." Spoke Caim Keton.

 

"SHUT UP KETON" Both Maegan and Reque Damodred shouted in unison.

 

"HOLD...IT... " Maegan shouted over the noise, the command held little warning of failure.

 

Maegan was busy making quick calculations in her head, sorting through the mental blueprints of the machinery and mechanism in a hope to figure out where the weakness was. Although the numbers were not adding up the way they were suppose to, she could not figure out where the error was on such a short notice. Unless there were no errors in the blueprints, but in the actual machine as well. Perhaps...

 

To Maegan time began to slow still as Saidar filled her, intricately woven hands of air started to work it's way around the machine. Shields of Air and Earth which were then supported by Spirit wove around the machine. Carefully keeping her grip on the two knobs she held into place.

 

"When I count to 3, Let go."

 

"You let.. "

 

"ON THE COUNT OF 3!  .. 1 ..2 ..3." And as instructed the three scholars moved away from the machine just as Maegan's shield snapped into place. The room vibrated by the sound of the implosion of the machine with the Shield protecting them from the debris. Standing up and dusting herself off, Maegan adjusted her spectacles and turned to look at the now ruined machine.

 

"Well, that is just lovely. A flaming pile of absolute loveliness. I'll be the whole of the Academic Quarter heard that." Caim Keton shouted sarcastically. It sounded more like a muttering whine by the amount of damage to their senses they just had. "Just brilliant."

 

"Of course they didn't." Maegan said matter of fact, not allowing the ringing in her own ears change her own voice.

 

"Wha..? How could anyone NOT here that?!?" Caim Kenton shouted, over turning the table with the blueprints that had been near him. Caim Keton had a wickedly poor control over his temper. Even on the best of days.

 

"Put a cork in it, Keton." Reque said, brushing himself off as well. "It was the first run, we should have expected nothing better than the worst."

 

"The worst? THE WORST?" Caim Keton glared menacingly at Reque Damodred. "We are the greatest this Academy has to offer and you are telling me to expect FAILURE?! I Am a KETON. I do NOT Fail."

 

Maegan felt the need to speak in. "Actually, you do fail." She looked over the damaged pieces. "Well, did, that is. You were in charge of the intact valve, correct?" She held up a melted piece of metal that was otherwise unrecognizable. "What metal did you use?"

 

"The kind I was told to?"

 

"Did you have it reinforced?"

 

"I.."

 

"If you don't reinforce the metal, it melts under high heat or cripples under extreme pressure. This. "She held up the piece in her hand shaking it at him. "This is what it looks like when it's infected by both. So do not bullshit about you never making a mistake." She tossed the piece at him. "Your mistake nearly cost us our lives." The look in her eyes could murder had her voice and face had not been so calm looking. Emotion and rage were far removed from her features, but it simmered deep below.

 

"I'm s..sorry, Maegan Sedai."

 

"You should be." Maegan scolded. "You can clean up the mess and see what can still be salvageable. Damodred, get the blueprints before Master Keton has anouther brilliant spasm attack and decided to destroy that work as well." Turning, Maegan left the room. The door did not slam shut.

 

The Keton boy was foolish. For a scholar in the Academy ranks, Maegan had expected more of the boy. Reque Demodred had been correct in the boys afinity for certain things, but he simple did not back up and double check his work.

 

"Serves him right.." She muttered under her breath, entering her small quarters that were now lit by the one glass ball hanging from the ceiling. Ter'angreals were a fascinating thing. The simple acknowledge of a human or other creature present would set the glass ball glowing. Opening the door and entering the room was all that was need to brighten her study.

 

A simple clap and the one a top her desk flared up. Convenient little Ter'Angreals. Unexpected, but convenient. Sitting down in her seat and weaving a small thread of fire into a nearby tea pot, floating over the cup to her desk, the simple touch with saidar brought a little peace to her nerves as she took a moment to shake off the so-called 'excitement' from the moment before. Keton could be an idiot, but it was hardly the case. She felt sorry for the man. If he honestly believed he could never make a mistake, than he could hardly call himself a scientist. Maegan glanced at the glass lighting balls.

 

Mistakes are the fruitful surprises of an inventor’s life_. Or Career.

 

Maegan had been in Falme, consulting the journals of past scholars that had claimed t o be experts in the Age of Legends. It had been a ridiculous claim by any outside the Tower Ranks, but Maegan was too stubborn to pass up notes that she may have missed. Pleasantly surprised by a few bits of information here and there, she was left with little else to go on to. Along with the Age of Legends, Maegan delved into more theories of the various islands that traded just outside of their port. There were many references to the Island of the Madmen along with the basic bits and pieces of information as tot he nature of the island, but as it was not what she had intended to study, Maegan had pushed the book away and placing it back on the dusty shelf. Their library had been so poorly maintained.

 

Over the course of the 4 weeks Maegan was there, a theory itched at her as she wrote note after note of random bits of information that gave no guarantee to possibly play out in serving a purpose. Perhaps it had been boredom that had inspired her to such a silly idea, or perhaps it had been a thought inspired by laziness. Even a scholar found research to be tedious at times. Especially in a dusty ill-cared for Library such as the one she was in.

 

It had been two blue journals. She had a few with her that were yet to be used and for a small experiment Maegan decided to try something a little different. It was not for the purpose of creating the Ter'Angreal that she set on this task, but out of curiosity. The new found ability had her far more hesitant to see where it could take her. It was something she did not yet understand well enough to explore without having very serious repercussions.

 

But the Pattern Weaved as it willed and left Maegan with a whole new fear and respect for the ability. At first Maegan was unsure if to create a Ter'Angreal it would require a source that was separate from the One Power or if it was created solely from the One Power. After the Lighting Glasses it was easy to sea that it could be as simple as a weave. Maegan smiled softly to herself. She had always been a little unconventional in her weave construction.

 

The blue journals were not what she had intended for them to be but exactly what she made them to be. Curiosity was a very dangerous tool, and Maegan knew that she would have to explore all possibilities before she started to create anything else. Travel Journals, is what she decided to call them. Although she was able to write in one and have it appear in the other, it was only a one-sided mirror. Only what was in the one would show up in the other. Nothing that was written in the other was written back. And when it was erased from the first journal, the second had blank pages.

 

It was fascinating, really. To see what you wrote only appear something else. Truly amazing.

 

Glancing down at the notes in front of her, scripted in such a way that none but her could read. Never about to let known the secrets of her abilities to be available for reading, Maegan contemplated. If mistakes were such a wonderful gift, what was she waiting for? The theories were all there, and she just needed to try.

 

The Theory stood behind the need for a safe way to share information without the hindrance of time or distance. Letters over currier pigeons or some other device took weeks to months for information to be passed from one to anouther. There was no security in the information that was passed back and forth. But to have information written in one place was then showed up in anouther would prove to be very beneficial. The brown journals were to do just that.

 

Embracing Saidar, threads of Air, Spirit and Earth started to dance away, pulled away from Fire and Water. Leaving the two behind, Maegan threaded more and more power into the objects before her. Threading weave into weave as a Pattern wove its way into the two books before her. Duplicating the weave simultaneously she fed it into the twin journal. Channeling more and more power into the weaves, Maegan could feel the Angreal she used straining against her pulls. Until_.

 

The weave snapped into place, and the room quieted. She ignored the slight knock on the door. It was Reque. It was always Reque. Her hand sprayed on the journals with a delicate touch. It pulsed under her touch. The failure of earlier long forgotten. The knock on her door ceased and Maegan could hear the steps fade down the corridor. It would be back to Caemyln after this. Perhaps Maegan would take a detour to Mayene. Tear would never allow her in, but there were a few places held the whispers of brilliance. She would seek who she could out and set out building small communities of scholars where she could.

 

And then to Tar Valon.

 

It was a resigned sigh the left her as she stood. Taking the journals into her hands Maegan started for the door. As much as she hated to admit, it would be some time she would need to spend in Tar Valon. There were Ter'Angreal questions that she needed answered and Kitsune Sedai and Eldrenne Sedai were both well known for their knowledge on the subject. It would do her well to brush up on the basics. If she started creating Ter'Angreal in her sleep it would become a very hard to explain when she kept herself so secret.

 

Maybe she was being too cautious. Maybe just cautious enough.

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Roses and Hummingbirds (pt 1)

 

    The hardest thing about being an Aes Sedai and working closely with those that were unable to live longer, is watching them grow old. From vastly long travels all across the world, time spent studying in the White Tower, and then returning to the Academy; the graying men and women that worked with in and their harsher envious looks towards her made returning nearly heartbreaking for Maegan. It was harder knowing that she was still 'young' for an Aes Sedai. Barely 80 years of age.

 

Her footsteps were light and barely heard as she made her way to her office in the burrows of the Academy. Dressed in her typical brown skirts and white blouse. Gold and crimson roses were embroidered into the skirts like climbing ivy. It was of the few delicates that Maegan allowed herself. Beyond the necessity for appearances she gave little effort to either. Even her hair was tied together in the resemblance of a bun, hair fraying out like a loosely built birds nest. Maegan's hair was always a never-ending battle. About to turn the corner, voices caused her to pause.

 

"You failed again.." The words were whispered far lower than a simple whisper; menacing in context. Frowning, Maegan stayed silent and hiding in the shadow away from the lantern in the wall just ahead of her. The voice was familiar, but the tone threw off what Maegan may have guessed at first. She could not even tell if it was male or female.

 

"I.. I.. I need more time." The voice was distinctly male.

 

"You have been given how many years to do as you swore to do."

 

"I am sorry, mmm.. "

 

"I do not accept apologies, Keton. Or Failure. Get me that box before I find myself the need to stuff you into one." There was a pause and a growl. Definitely feminine. "Of the same size."

 

".. Eek." Kenton squeaked. Surprised that the boy could even reach such an octave, Maegan deeply frowned as she felt the warm shivers of a channeler nearby.

 

Someone was channeling Saidar.

 

Forcing her heart to still and her breath to stay silent as she waited for anything more to be said. But as a figure moved past her, Kenton, and even a good half hour revealed nothing, Maegan crept out of her shadowed corner. The hallways were silent and empty.

 

Burn her, there was an Aes Sedai that had found her way into the Academy. To her knowledge, Maegan was the only one. None outside those the appealed to knew of its existence. If there was an Aes Sedai here meant that there was a leak. But had that leak been Kenton? What did he gain by revealing the Academy to the Tower? And what was this box that he needed to find?

 

Wiping the back of her hand on her forehead to rid herself of the small bit of sweat that had perspired from her near encounter, Maegan literally forced herself not to channel in case she were to reveal herself to whoever was still here. Walking carefully down the hall, Maegan reached her office door. Throwing open the door to it, and then entering it with a small, Maegan let out the air that she had held in deep in her lungs.

 

"Maegan!" the enthusiastic voice made Maegan jump.

 

"Ahh!" Looking into the room, Maegan was pleasantly surprised to see the familiar form of Rhozette. Fanning herself for a moment, Maegan smiled at the Ogier.

 

"I do believe that is the first time I have surprised someone." Rose said, stepping closer as the two embraced. The girls ears twiched happily as she saw the smile on Maegan's face.

 

"In more ways than one, it would seem." Maegan responded.

 

"You humans are so excitable." She shook her head. "How you do not jump out of your own skin I may never know."

 

"Only when there is a need for fear is fear portrayed." Maegan said as her face grew more serious. She recalled her earlier eavesdropping to the Ogier. Rose's face was unmoving, but her ears dropped.

 

"What is this box that was spoken of?" The Ogier jumped onto the secondary puzzle as the other was something easily passed by as the significance lost on one such as her.

 

Maegan shrugged. "I do not know. We keep many tools and other experiments and such in a box. But from what I can guess it is something small. At least smaller than my desk." Her nose wrinkled. There truly was nothing to go on to even speculate. Whatever it may be, it was just anouther added mystery to the presence of an Aes Sedai.

 

"How silly, if you ask me. What could be so important about a box?"

 

"Your guess is as good as mine."  Shaking her head, Maegan pushed it from her mind to allow the thoughts to stew in its own little thought bubble. "But enough of this fowl talk, Rose! What a pleasant surprise. What brings you here?"

 

"Well, it was just my 110th naming day and I thought it would be nice to travel to Cairhien to visit the beautiful Library there. So I convinced Alar that I was old enough to travel there on my own and then made my way here." The ogiers voice was very sing-song in tone as she was obviously very happy to be here. "I went to the gardens first, to see how the trees are. They are still beautiful and well cared for. It made me so very happy. Of course I urged a few of the smaler plants to grow, as well as that small patch in the northern part of the garden. I think there is someone that sits on that patch too much or walks over it too many times because it was very worn. But that is now all beautifully green again. The tree was very happy to know that soemone was always there, but it also seemed a little lonely. There is now a new sapling there that was barely a seed. In a few years it will make a fine addition to the Gardens. I did not want to try to change too much, and it was very quick to tell me that it would grow fine on its own. A very well tended garden! I am so very pleased."

 

Maegan could not help but chuckle at the Ogiers enthusiasm. Rose was considered still very young, younger than herself, among the other Ogier. It was only when they were 90 years of age would they even consider to allow one to leave the Stedding if they had not already been betrothed to anouther. How Rose was not promised to anouther had Maegan reasonably surprised. She was skilled and very beautiful, even among the Ogier.

 

"I am glad that our gardens please you, Rose. We could not have had them if it were not for your help."

 

The Ogier shrugged dismissing. "You would have figured something out, Maegan. For a human, you are very resourceful."

 

Maegan blushed. "Thank you." Motioning to the pot, "Tea?"

 

"Tea would be just heavenly, but not here." Rose scowled a little around the room. "I do not know how you like it here, Mae. I mean, there is no sunlight! And no air, it's so stale and confined."

 

"And safe." Maegan pointed out.

 

"It is not healthy." Crossing her arms. "Life is too short, even for one such as you, to spend it in these dark cellars." The Ogier paused. "Or dungeons or whatever you call them."

 

"It is secret and safe here. I do not spend all of my time down here."

 

"But you are so Pale!"

 

Maegan laughed, "I am often pale. I do not waste my time sunbathing like a royal or noble princess. Please do not take it the wrong way, Rose, but us Humans are either too busy to get done what we can in the short lives we lead, or wasting out lives by doing as little as possible. You are blessed with so many years to enjoy and accomplish all that needs to be done. We are not."

 

"But you age differently. I saw many who had worked in the Library who are so old and Gray. Half of them no longer living. You barely look a day over 5 years older." She said bluntly. "Although you have a bit of that ageless look about you."

 

Maegan touched her cheek thoughtfully. She had started to notice the changes a little more as well. Although it was obvious that all Aes Sedai would gain the ageless look in time, Maegan wondered what exactly caused it. It was never a form of vanity with her, although Rose was quick to assume it was.

 

"I'm sorry, you still look very beautiful. The Ageless look becomes you, Maegan. Really, it does." Her ears twitched nervously as she grew nervous.

 

"It is not that, but thank you."

 

"I did not mean to. "

 

"It is alright, Rose. I know you didn't. I do not care greatly upon my looks. The Creator blessed me with these eyes and this skin and I have no need to change it." There was a small pause before Maegan decided to stand. "Come, Rose. Let us go see this sun you speak of and enjoy a spot of tea. We can go to the Elmdor Quarters and enjoy some of Sherlyn's wonderful black tea. She imports it from Tear and it is truly very lovely."

 

"Spicy?" Rose stood to follow Maegan.

 

"A bit, but a smooth spicy. It is more floral. You will love it."

 

"Sounds wonderful."

 

Allowing Rose to leave the room first, Maegan glanced back at her room. Pausing for a second in thought, Maegan quickly set a few of the weaves that Maegan left dormant while she was away. Although the Ogiers presence was soothing, Maegan could not shake the idea that there was anouther Aes Sedai that was poking about in the Academy. If she were up to something of ill gains the last place Maegan wanted the woman poking about would be her own private study.

 

It was light conversation between the two as they left the Royal Cairhien Library and headed towards the Elmdor Residence. There were a few looks of those around them to see an Ogier in the city. Most moved out of the way, but whispers were frequent and the stares obvious. Rose rattled on about what has happened in the Stedding since Maegan last visited. Marriages and a few births as well as a few changes in the Elders Council as Crome had passed on to the next Age. It was always hard to hear of death, but more so from Rose as the Ogier do not deal with it nearly as regularly as a human, or even Maegan.

 

Allowing Rose's ramble to pass over her with only one ear listening, the other turned within as Maegan pondered briefly on how the day seems like a day of Age. Why was it that today seemed to strike her that it had any bearing or semblance? Barely missing her next step, Maegan caught herself before she revealed a frown on her thoughts.

 

Her Name-day was approaching. How many years had she allowed it to pass by without so much as a thought or other notice? The more the better, Maegan thought sourly. Not once had she celebrated the day and have the outcome be anything by pleasant. More often than not did she spend it in some great devious plot or sour self reflecting moment. Death, Blindness, Arches, Mayene, Oaths. Refusing to admit to there being a day to signify her age, Maegan passed it off as any other day. Cursing inwardly, her face completely calm and nodding to something Rose said, Maegan hoped against hope that this year would not be the same. Her Names-day was not worth remembering.

 

Entering and taking a seat in the small common room that still held many of her fathers and Eowenns things, the small young maid named Chaya brought them tea at Maegan's request. The house was now cared for by Sherlyn, Sarai's daughter. Sarai had passed on over 5 years ago and left it to her unmarried daughter. Sherlyn was much like her mother and had a mind for business. Importing and distributing spices to private investors, she made a rich sum by allowing only those that owned Inns or high paying nobles sample her goods. She even had a small tea house in the north end of the Noble Quarters that served her rare teas and sweet pastries in private eating quarters. Perfect for the public or not-so public rendezvous. The whole idea of it had made Maegan laugh. Like Nobles needed the excuse to find places to gossip. The Elmdor Tea House was no better than the actual courts.

 

"..But enough of me. You know that I talk too much. I would hate to be out of place with my tumbling words of nonsense." Rose did not seem out of place at all as she sipped from a slightly altered tea cup that allowed the female ogier to hold the delicate china without crushing it between her thicker fingers. She was careful, but even china is not made without the strength of an Ogier on the mind. "And this really is lovely tea. What was it called?"

 

Maegan sipped her infinitely sweeter version of the tea, "Sherlyn called it Gray Flower."

 

"Very nice."

 

Maegan nodded her head in agreement. "New theories have come my way, but that is never new."

 

"What sort of theories?"

 

"Most that revolve around the One Power."

 

"How so?" Rose kept her questions uncharacteristically short. Maegan raised an eyebrow.

 

"Weaves and Items. Ter'Angreal to be more specific." Maegan watched Rose as the Ogier sipped her tea to hide a look. Rose was terrible at hiding her thoughts. "What is is, Rose?"

 

"Well, I.. nothing." Her ears twitched giving herself away.

 

"Rose?"

 

"Well, there was anouther reason I came here. There is this portal stone outside of the Stedding. I was told not to tell you, but I can not not tell you! And then I was reading some things about the Age of Legends, before the Longing, about how they worked. It wasn't much but it was a little." The Ogier was speaking far faster than normal in her nervous excitement. "I had to leave the books behind in the Stedding along with a few others. They were from the Age of Legends too. Some even spoke of the old Nyms and the Da'shain.."

 

"Aiel. Yes, I have read of some of them."

 

"Of course there were a few visiting just last week. The Wise Ones never enter the Stedding, but the Far Dai Mais, or Maidens as some of the older ones call them, are more than willing to walk in." Rose sniffed. "The always bring in those spears of theirs. I do not like those spears. Especially anywhere near my trees."

 

"But what of the Ter'Angreal, Rose."

 

"Oh yes, the Ter'Angreals. There are none in the Stedding. Not that I know of. After all, none can channel in the Stedding. There is no .. what was it again..."

 

"True Source?" Maegan supplied.

 

"Yes, that. There is none of that Source there."

 

"Well, that is of no surprise." Maegan chuckled as she refilled Rose's teacup. "I already knew this from my last visit."

 

"But there was something written in the margins of this one book. It was talking about the Portal Stones, The Web and the Steddings." Rose hesitated. "Even the Waygates." Rose looked to Maegan skeptically.

 

"I know what a waygate is. There is one in Tar Valon in the Ogier Grove there."

 

"An Ogier Grove!" The Ogier swooned. "Oh, Light how i would love to visit the Ogier Grove in Tar Valon. I have not been to one of our Groves except the small ones built here. In the Academy and in the Royal Quarters." Rose frowned, her ears twitched a little angrily. "The one in the Royal Grove is not as nice as it was. I had to repair many of the broken trees. There was even one written on." Agaust, the ogier nearly broke her tea cup. Fumbling, she regained herself. "Sorry, so sorry. But things like that make me so very angry."

 

Maegan reached over and patted the Ogiers arm. "It is understandable. I do not like to see a tree ruined either."

 

"It is heartbreaking, is what it is." Collecting herself, Rose continued. "Anyways. It talked about the creation of the WayGates in this book. I do wish it said how. It would be simply wonderful to know how to make something that wonderful. But if it were not for the Machin Shin." There was a near growl to her lips as she spoke of the Black Winds. Few knew how to work a Waygate, and even fewer to read the markings within. None of which dared to risk the Waygates in fear of meeting the Dark Wind. "Such a nasty piece of the Dark One's work."

 

"Truly Tainted." Maegan nodded in agreement.

 

"The scrawling beside it, in the margins, that is, spoke of something very strange that I had to tell you."

 

"What?"

 

"A Theory!" She beamed.

 

Eyebrow raised. "What kind of theory?"

 

"To bring the One Power into the Stedding."

 

Maegan nearly dropped her teacup. Her jaw hung in shock. "What kind of theory?"

 

"That is the theory."

 

"But what else was there?"

 

"That was it." Rose gave Maegan a hopeless look. "Just to bring Saidar into the Stedding."

 

"But it is impossible to channel in the stedding!"

 

"So it was said. But you can't believe everything is impossible."

 

Maegan glared at the Ogier as if she were some mischievous Novice and her one as well. Hook line and bloody sinker.

 

"Rose..?"

 

"I'm just saying. You always say that nothing is impossible."

 

"With science!"

 

"And the One Power?"

 

"It simply can not be?"

 

"Can't one of your items bring the One Power into the Stedding?"

 

"There isn't anything that 'holds Saidar'."

 

"Saidar? That is the female half, right?"

 

Maegan nodded. "Angreals and Sa'Angreals act as buffers or mediums. They enhance our ability to touch the Saidar without burning ourselves out. Ter'Angreal's are items that are created using the One Power to serve a purpose."

 

"What if that purpose is to hold Saidar?"

 

Leaning back in her chair, Maegan rubbed her temple to wrap her head around the theory. "How long have you thought about this?"

 

"Maybe about 20 years or so. But it is just a theory and I didn't want to come to you prematurely."

 

Maegan refrained from making a very rude noise. Of course only an Ogier would see 20 years as but a short time to think on anything. ::And your own theories on Ter'Angreal are any better?:: She scolded herself. Maegan was developing a headache. She closed her eyes.

 

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mae. Maybe I should not have said anything."

 

"No, it is okay, Rose." Rose went back to her tea, her ears flattened to her head as she waited for Maegan to reopen her eyes.

 

"Do you think that it is possible?" Rose spoke after a short while.

 

Maegan sipped her tea, carefully this time as she knew her hands would start to shake if she was not carefully. Pooling her excitement into the back of her mind, buried deep and out of her way, Maegan focused on this new idea. Rose may have something, and if she guessed right, perhaps she could. If it was possible, she would need to test it. Meaning leaving the Academy while anouther Aes Sedai was wandering its quarters. She didn't want to leave the Academy with that sort of vulnerability. With her having that sort of vulnerability.

 

She took anouther sip of her tea, looking the picture of an Aes Sedai, gazing out from unemotional eyes.

 

"I do not know. It is worth testing out." Maegan said carefully.

 

"Than we can go to Tar Valon." Rose said excitingly.

 

"To Tar Valon?" Maegan blinked.

 

"To find this Ter'Angreal. I think it was made and then hidden. I do love a good mystery."

 

"Are you sure you are an Ogier?"

 

Roses ears turned bright red. "I AM an Ogier."

 

"You act like Novice more than an Ogier." Maegan teased. "Asking about such things should not be coming from the mouth of an Ogier. Your kind are not comfortable with talk of the One Power."

 

"Most of us are not. But some things make me curious. Alar would think that I need to take a husband if she over heard me thinking. But since I am too busy with my tree's and books she has not bothered me. Of course she does not know half of what I read. I hide many of my books behind anouther so that way she thinks I am reading something else."

 

Maegan could only imagine such a picture. The amusement glittered in Maegan's eyes at the thought.

 

".. Of course, I do want a husband. One day. but to take care of a man just seems so.. so.."

 

"..wasteful?"

 

"Exactly! I like my own pattern that is separate from anouther. I am much too young to get married!!" Exasperated, Rose put down her empty tea cut onto the table. "I wanted a small story to tell my children one day. My mother only told me things I later read in books. I suspect she had a very boring life. Maybe not a boring, but a normal life."

 

Maegan smiled. "And you are anything but Normal.. In a blessed way." she added.

 

"So you will take me to Tar Valon to look for this Ter'Angreal?" Rose looked very hopeful. Maegan could have placed that voice and look on a young child and it would fit so perfectly. Sipping her tea thoughtfully, Maegan gave the idea pause.

 

"I suppose.." Maegan started, "I can take you to Tar Valon. However it would not be to look for a Ter'Angreal."

 

"Why not the Ter'Angreal?"

 

"First, I doubt any of the Brown Sisters will allow an Ogier near their Ter'Angreals. They barely allow me time to study them."

 

"You are of the Red Ajah." Rose nodded thoughtfully, "So that is not a surprise to me."

 

"I do not remember such a Ter'Angreal being in the storage vaults. Although many are unnamed, testing them one by one would cause only disastrous problems. That would not include the time it would consume to test each. I could not even begin to think on what would be used as a trigger to activate such a Ter'Angreal."

 

"I can see how that causes a problem." Rose slumped into her chair. "So much for that idea. I had hoped that it could have been a grand adventure. To find something list renewed by something I found written at random on an old old scroll."

 

"Not necessary." The twinkle of mischievousness in Maegan's eyes was evident, even though her voice showed nothing.

 

"I don't understand." Rose frowned. Her right ear twitched.

 

"One moment," Maegan rose from her chair and walked over to her satchel that she used to transfer papers or items back and forth. It was Woven with small Air weaves to keep the weight on it light and for easier carrying. Putting her hand inside, she proceeded to pull out her two brown journals. As Reque had one of the Blue journals, it would not work as an example.

 

Passing Rose one along with a quill, "Write in it." Maegan instructed. Confused, Rose did so without asking any questions. Scrawling in surprisingly small delicate hand her name on the top of the page. Maegan then opened the second book and wrote her name just under Rose's.

 

"GASP!" Rose dropped the Journal. "Wha.. It... It.. It wrote back to me! YOU wrote back to me!"

 

"Yes." Maegan said simply.

 

"How.. "

 

"They were made to communicate with each other. What is written in one is written in the other. When something is written out of the book." Maegan scratched out her name. It promptly disappeared. "It is no longer in either of the books."

 

"Astounding!" Her words were breathless. "How did you find these?"

 

"I did not find them. I made them."

 

The Ogier's eyes were wide and her ears perfectly still in utter shock. Maegan allowed a small smile. It was nice to see the table turned.

 

"You Made it."

 

"I made it."

 

"What is it?"

 

"I call them Travel Journals. They are a pair of Ter'Angreal. They do not function without the other."

 

"Can you make more?"

 

"Perhaps. I see no reason to. Two is all that I need."

 

"And you created them."

 

"Yes."

 

"You created two Ter'Angreals?"

 

"Yes." Maegan started to feel a little repetitious. Rose grew silent. Maegan could see the clockwork behind the Ogiers eyes. No doubt that she would be concluding the same thing Maegan did.

 

"...could you?" She whispered. As if saying it was a secret.

 

"I do not know." Maegan said truthfully.

 

"But would it be worth it?" Rose asked skeptically.

 

"A Ter'Angreal is always worth it."

 

Maegan sipped her tea as Rose started to excitingly plan their trip to the Stedding. Allowing the Ogier to talk away their plans, nodding her head thoughtfully, Maegan started to catalogue her own thoughts and plans. There was much to do, and as she hated to admit, too little time to do it. Pulling out a second journal that supported loose leafs of paper Maegan started to scribe to Reque Damodred. If she was leaving this quickly, she would not have enough time to talk or plan how to deal with Keton or the unknown Aes Sedai. If Reque could keep an eye on Keton than at least one of her bases would be covered. Her Shield on her office in the Academy would hold well enough against any intruder until she returned.

 

The Wheel was weaving something to it's Will. Although Maegan felt the pull to go to the Stedding, she feared what it was that was Weaving in her sanctuary. Maegan hoped a little prayer for the Light Guard them all.

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Roses and Hummingbirds (pt 2)

 

    It was in the Artisans Market that Maegan found different objects that each contained various types of materials in its makeup. Still in the testing stages of her ability, Maegan was unsure what sort of materials it would take to create a Ter’Angreal. Hundreds of items locked away in the Tower were created of substances much harder than the average Iron, Nickel or Gold. Taking samples of each, including various jewels are gems, Maegan and Rose set out to Stedding Tsofu with bags laden with a kings ransom of prime materials. Rose was skeptical.

 

“Are you sure that you have enough? I mean there was no Ivory in Cairhien, and I’ve seen a few items made from Ivory.” Rose frowned a little with her ears barely moving as she walked beside Maegan’s horse. The Ogier was at least 3 to 4 times Maegan’s size and without a mount Maegan would be trailing well behind the Ogiers longer strides. Most Ogier did not like to ride mounts and more often than not traveled on foot unless there was a greater need to reach a certain place in a certain amount of time; or if they were traveling with another that had the need to travel faster. Maegan felt that if there was a need, she would know and be able to ride back at a moments notice.

 

Leaving a Brown Journal in Reque’s office along with her note of instructions, Maegan was confident that there would be little problems as far as the Academy was concerned. After all, Maegan trusted Reque Damodred to care for the Academy as he had done so for the past 40 years.

 

"I can not be for certain." Maegan responded, flicking the reigns of Rhiann, a Palomino mare. A sweet tempered horse that was only a few years in age. Well broken and barely ever skiddish.

 

"It's just so hard to know, or even guess." Rose said. Frustration evident in her voice. "Maybe it would be nice to study with your Brown sisters in Tar Valon but I think they would tire of my questions. I don't mean to talk so much, really I don't. But it is just so curious. So little of the Source enters the Steddings and it was more of legends that we know of it's power. We are simply, for a lack of a better term, unaffected by the Source. Source right..?"

 

"True Source. One Power. Saidar and Saidin."

 

"Yes, that is it. Why does it elude me?" Rose spoke out loud. Maegan was sure it was a rhetorical question but answered anyways. "This One Power?"

 

"Because you Ogier live outside of its influence. I suspect that the Longing is driven by the True Source and the Pattern."

 

"I would think that the Source Ages us faster." Rose said simply.

 

"Why do you say that?"

 

"Because those that spend time away from the Stedding returns far older than when they had left."

 

"Physically?"

 

"Sometimes." Rose said thoughtfully. "Maybe more mentally. But being around you humans and all your excessive running around and high energy antics. It would tire anyone let alone an Ogier."

 

"That makes sense."

 

"But sometimes one may have aged in looks. They do not live as long as those that do leave the Stedding. It is why so few of us travel away from a Stedding."

 

"Than will you age faster?"

 

"Light pray I do not." Rose grinned. "I do not plan to get older any faster than I will. It would be silly to rush into adulthood. It means Marriage and being tied to the Elder Council."

 

"And you do not wish for this?"

 

"I only wish to learn, read and sing." The answer was simple. Her entire purpose all in one very complete sentence. Maegan fell silent as they carried on. They carried on towards the stedding. At some point Rose started to hum as the walked. It filled the loneliness with a warm air and a refreshing heart. Although Maegan felt the burdens of the Tower and the Academy, Rose was able to help her forget all of it. Even for a moment, it was enough.

 

"We are here. The Stedding starts just past those rocks." Rose pointed ahead to two stones pile atop each other.

 

"Than here is where I will stop." Maegan halted her horse. Dismounting, she unhitched the small saddlebag.

 

"Shall I go ahead into the Stedding? Or do you need me here?" Rose asked, holding the released reigns of Rhiann. "I could have food and a room ready for when you are done."

 

"That would be a wise thing to do, I think." Maegan said, slightly distracted as she sorted items ahead of her. Each were categorized by size, type and then by material all along a soft piece of silk with carefully sewn pockets that Maegan had also purchased prior to leaving.

 

"Will you be fine alone?"

 

"Yes, Yes. If anyone comes by I will know."

 

Rose watched Maegan with a skeptical gaze in her eyes. Had Maegan not been bound by the Three Oaths, Rose may have sworn the Aes Sedai was lying. However, trusting that Maegan would be okay and vowing to return as soon as she could, Rose headed into the Stedding. Leading Rhiann behind her.

 

Carefully placing up the simplest and barest of a Ward around the perimeter of which she was about to work, Maegan set about her tasks. A piece of charcoal in hand to mark the silk pockets of items and her notebook and quill Maegan slowly started to scribe out various weaves. Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Spirit. All were needed to support Saidar.

 

But how does one support Saidar when it supports itself?

 

Placing down her quill, Maegan pondered thoughtfully. Carefully Maegan started to ask the basic questions.

 

How does one embrace the One Power?

 

::By opening oneself to an Inner Power.::

 

How do you Embrace?

 

::Stars. No, Rose.:: Frowning, "Wait a _."

 

It was in mid thought that caused her to tilt her head in thought as she sorted out this peculiar puzzle. Was there a certain significance to how one would embrace Sedai? How SHE Embraced Saidar? Perhaps by drawing on the One Power, solely on its existence and allowing no other distractions would she be able to grasp..

 

Thinking back to her first lessons of Saidar with her mentor Deyalyn, light illuminate her, Maegan imagined the rose deep within her, pealing open to the warmth of the sun around her, embracing the power of the world into her and over her skin, and she knew that she glowed witht he power. And the sun shone brightly. Smiling, she imagined a cloud of soft silver growig in front of her sun, leaving her with only a trickle of power tinkling her finger tips, and then she pushed it awa, pulling in more power slowly, and then retracting, leaving but only a trickle again.

 

For a time  she did it as she just allowed it to fill her completely and then to pull away from her, like a weight or lever that held a basin of water; tipping back and forth. Syphoning.

 

SYPHONING!

 

Recalling from her studies in near exact wording, a syphon ::or siphon:: was a continuous tube that allows liquid to drain from a reservoir through an intermediate point that is higher than the reservoir, the up-slope flow being driven only by hydrostatic pressure without any need for pumping. It is necessary that the final end of the tube be lower than the liquid surface in the reservoir. As she was tipping Saidar back and forth, she was doing just that, weighing it out.

 

Arguably, in other theories "a siphon will work in a vacuum". In practice, atmospheric pressure is required, to maintain the cohesion of the liquid in the siphon. This was also dependent on the study of the syphon and what object it was placed against. It was a similar theory or the basic mechanics of it that she was trying to place on a far more powerful source.

 

The only major difference was that she was not passing it on into anouther reservoir but acting as a reservoir until it was used up into a weave or thread. All she needed was to re-create an atmospheric vacuum in an item to syphon off Saidar into it to act as a reservoir.

 

Taking a seat on the ground and picking up an item in her Hand, Maegan gave little focus to what it way or what it was made of, as each was placed methodically for her to decipher later. What she needed was the object itself and then  the weaves and flows of Saidar as it moved through her.

 

Saidar filled her, taking no more or less than she ever did when holding the One Power. It flowed through her much like a river flows through a pond; the True Source. In theory, was she should be able to do, if Maegan guessed correctly, was to pull Saidar from out of it's pond and lift it into a cistern, the item in her hand. But to do so, the item had to be willing to accept Saidar and create the Well that Maegan was trying to achieve.

 

She made a tiny three-diminsional sphere, much like her lighting glasses that spiraled each delicate thread of Saidar within, and placing the sphere within the item. Slowly Maegan trickled Saidar into the sphere. Carefully syphoning each thread of raw power as it filled the sphere.

 

"OUCH!"

 

The small broach in her hand glowed a bright red as Maegan dropped it as quickly as she felt it. Saidar still filled her as she sucked her finger. Looking a the item as it slowly melted gold into the ground she sighed. One down. Picking up anouther, Meagan started again.

 

Hours passed by without notice as Maegan continued to work. It was an unknown point that Rose returned to where Maegan worked. Placing a large paper umbrella over Maegan's head, Rose took a seat in the shade a short league off with a small pile of books that she promptly started reading. Methodically Maegan worked her way over various pieces of jewellery while using her body to move saidar into the object. To her best of knowledge, Maegan was able to guess that Gold could not sustain Saidar as it was too weak of a metal. More for decoration, it could not work as a core. Different gems worked with different elements and tended to favour one over anouther. This mate it impossible for them to store the True Aspect of the Saidar but only parts of it. Maegan concluded that the gemstones worked best if a weave was set to a stone and then a trip placed on it for future use. But they would not work as a well.

 

But Silver, the beautiful metal worked very well for the purpose Maegan had hoped to achieve. Only halfway through the variety pile of misfit hair combs, earings, necklaces, Maegan held the first in her hand. It was a hairpin that held a sphere on the end. The sphere was similar to the sun and the Cairhien flag, it had a tear drop like the Tar Valon Flag. Releasing Saidar, Maegan held the pin in her hand. There was nothing there, from her senses and she could not feel the presence of Saidar any different than knowing that it was there. Like a young novice unknowing of the gift within them, the hairpin held a seperate collection of Saidar within it. Maegan couldn't help but laugh.

 

"You done yet?" Rose called, standing up from her seat.

 

"I did it!" Maegan said gleefully.

 

"You did what?"

 

"I stored Saidar in this!" She held up the pin.

 

Rose looked skeptical. "Very pretty. But will it work?"

 

"I believe it will." Maegan smiled. Collecting her legs underneath her, the world suddenly felt very dizzy. "Woah.. " Grasping for something to hold, Rose ran to Maegan's side just as Maegan fell to the ground in a small heap.

 

"MAE-GAN!"

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

A Glass of Mead

 

    Reque Damodred had been busy scribing in a tome that contained the account books for the Academy when a young scholar by the name of Aldrin Weyn burst through his door. Although he did not mind the interruption of working on the books for the Academy, the product of the information that Master Weyn brought made Reque Damodred wish he had been left alone or at the very least far away from the Royal Cairhien Library. No, not the Library, but Cairhien itself.

 

"Juy Karabes has been murdered!" Breathless and without a care to over heard him, Reque Damodred winced inwardly. He was was getting too old for this.

 

"Shut the door." Reque's tone was far from friendly. Waiting for Master Weyn to do so, Reque continued. "There is no need to announce it to the masses, Master Weyn. It is not the first Murder in the Academy nor do I doubt it will be the last.. "

 

"But... "

 

"It is not something that needs to be announced to the world. Announcements causes talk, talk causes poor credit and this Library has spent and sacrificed too much to have a boy, an accomplished scholar no less, parading about a death that is no one else's business. Now sit and tell me what you know." Abashed the young Master Weyn took a seat, slumping shamefully in his chair.

 

"Just that he was murdered. Stabbed repeatedly in the streets."

 

"Anything still on him."

 

"Nothing. Even his journals were stolen before his body was found."

 

"Where?"

 

"Foregate."

 

Reque cursed. What was the man doing in Foregate? "Well, i'd be surprised if there was even a stitch of clothing on him if he was in Foregate."

 

"Well, that is just it." Reques eyebrow lifted quizzically, a habit he had picked up from Maegan Sedai. "He was fully clothed and some of his pockets still contained a few other items. A gold coated pen and a few other trinkets that may have fetched a price on some unknown market. His coin pouch was stolen, of course."

 

"That makes no sense."

 

"Why do you think he would have been murdered, Headmaster? And why just his coins and book? What was he working on? If.."

 

Reque silenced him with a wave of his hand and the younger scholar ceased speaking. Leaning back in his soft leather chair, Reque tapped his chin thoughtfully for a moment, than reaching into his desk pulled out a decanter of richly liquored Mead, pouring the strong liquid into a glass before passing the glass to Master Weyn. With shaking hands Weyn accepted the glass but did not drink from it but instead held it in his lap. Holding it as if it were the last thing possible to grasp onto, his hands barely steady with such a grip.

 

"He was working on some new formula for some kind of paddlewheel. I know because he came to me asking a few questions about the make-up of it. You know for design and holding. I don't think it was far from the idea stage, but I think he was onto something. Someone stole those idea's!" Master Weyn started to slowly panic.

 

"Yes, that is very likely." Reque said dismissively. "People do those sort of things from time to time. Drink up."

 

"But why?!?"

 

"Drink." He did.

 

"Who else knows? Wait, stupid question. Its Cairhien, everyone knows and those that don't will know by sun up."

 

Master Weyn shook his head. "I wouldn't say that, Sir. Most of those like us don't get out often enough to know what happens.. out there." The indication was blatantly obvious. "Those that did probably have the luck of myself and ran across it in the street. Other then the killer I doubt anyone else would know. Not until tomorrow that is."

 

"Than we shall have to inform them, won't we?"

 

"But I thought we don't want them to..uh, know about this?"

 

"The Library doesn't need to know, but the Academy does."

 

"Uh, okay.." He didn't sound convinved.

 

"Spread the word for all to meet in the Rose Sanctuary within the hour. I do not care what they are working on, this takes presedence. Send for any away from the Academy that are still within the city and any within the room. Use any Neophyte to help you with your task. All Disciples and Adepts are to be present. Understood?"

 

"Ye.. Yes Head Master." Master Aldrin Weyn quickly stood, the nearly untouched glass was placed on the desk as he stuttered out his answer. "It will be done as you say."

 

"Go quickly. Time waits for no one."

 

The man hurriedly walked out the door. Reque Damodred gave him credit for not running as the attraction of the mission would be bad enough. Pulling out one of Maegan's books he quickly scrawled into it what had happened and then proceeded to write a variety of other letters to his different sources in Cairhien. If anyone could find out who had Master Karabes murdered or at least helped carry out the deed, a Damodred would know. He would find the answer. Hopefully before there was anouther.

 

Reaching for the glass of Mead that Weyn had not drank, Reque Damodred gulped it down without pause and returned to his letter writing. Burn the Light, there was always a second murder.

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Guest Arie Ronshor

The Non-Lovers Quarrel

 

    There was a conclusion to all of this. Maegan was sure of this. To these incisively random events of chaos that least to death or some other unappealing event. Although 'random' did not seem like the most appropriate word to apply to all of this. There was a design, always a pattern, even though she could not see it.

 

Moving with quick steps through the Cairhien Academic Quarters, Maegan worked her way towards the Royal Cairhien Library and the Academy within it. It had been yesterday that she had left Cairhien towards the Stedding, and after her fainting spell from over channeling, Rose had brought her back to Cairhien after she had found the note from Reque Damodred. Maegan had been thankful for the gesture, but a little put out at the inability to learn the answer to her Ter'Angreals value. As much as the scholar within her wished to know the answer to it as soon as possible, that possible time would have to wait until they learned all that could be found out at the Academy. Not wasting the energy over what could not be done, Maegan instead focused on what could. The Ter'Angreal made a great hairpin for the time being until it would need testing.

 

However, of all the events that were coming loose around the seams was the appearance of Kathrina DeVir Sedai and Mevine vir'Elle Sedai on her door steps paying her a call. Kathana Sedai, the Amyrlin Seat, light illuminate her, had changed Keepers again which then placed Muirenn Sedai as the Head of the Red Ajah and thusly allowing Kathrina Sedai to either retire -as she was of that age- or free to do as she willed outside of her usual responsibilities outside of the Tower and the Red Ajah. Mevine Sedai coincidentally was heading the same way and joined Kathrina Sedai in her journey to Cairhien. Noting the 'coincidental' timing of their arrival, she rudely excused herself from their presence and left without word to where she was going or why. The Red Ajah had no part in the Academy, and Maegan saw no reason for them to start. She could deal with the two of them later.

 

Maegan even felt proud for not allowing the hatred look of Kathrina Sedai affect her as she brushed by her without even allowing her inside her Cairhien home.

 

"Where is Headmaster Reque Damodred?" Maegan asked the first Neophyte she saw. After receiving instructions, Maegan was pleased to learn that he was still within the Rose Sanctuary with the other scholars. Ignoring the hesitant feeling, knowing she had full rights to participate in any on-going discussion with the other scholars, she walked quickly through the library quarters and towards the main entrance that lead into the cavernous den of the Academy. Corridors filled with adjacent hallways and doors passed her by as Maegan made her way to the Ventricle of the Order; the heart of the Academy.

 

The Academy was built partially around the Ventricle of the Order. Split into two chambers “Rose Sanctuary” and “Chamber of Thorns”. They were used for official meeting that were for the Members of the Academy only. The Sanctuary was set up fairly similar to the White Towers “Hall” but also was used to include Initiations as well as more formal announcements of success and failure, however the Chamber is used for discussions of Justice and the death of those that betray the Academy. When it was created it was the least of which that held the builders attention in the hopes that it would rarely see use. In Forty Years it had only been used once.

 

Up ahead Maegan saw the door to the Sanctuary open and close, a fairly tired looking Reque Damodred leaning against the door.

 

"Reque!" Maegan's pace did not quicken as much as she wished, but refusing to run, Maegan reached him as fast as she could.

 

"Maegan Sedai." The alleviated relief on his face was evident, but fleeting as a darkness shadowed his eyes. "I had not expected your return so soon." There was a hesitation in his voice.

 

"I had little choice in the matter. I do not have a lot of time.." The unspoken words were easily caught up by Reque Damodred.

 

"There is a lot of anguish and anger in that room. Master Karabes's mu.. death was a shock to them all. Master Caim Keton is missing as well. The blame is obviously being thrown at the scapegoat but there are no answers."

 

"Wait.. " Maegan frowned deeply. "Keton is gone?" Her mind flickered to the conversation she had overheard just the other day.

 

"Seems he had a running debt in the Foregate taverns and swiftly skipped town. I've sent a thief-catcher after him, but I hold no hope. If he is out of Cairhien he is most likely out of my reach of influence." He scratched his head as he carried on his speech. In pausing Maegan interrupted.

 

"Let us retire to my quarters. We can sit and sort this out with more privacy."

 

"I would, but I need to return to my office in the Library."

 

Maegan nodded her head, "Very well. I will meet you there.."

 

"No." Reque jumped, "I need to be quick there and then I need to return back in there," jerking his thumb at the Sanctuary, "before too long."

 

A raised eyebrow and a look on confusion met his quick excuse. She searched him for a moment but the man had studied the art of Daes Dae'mar for the same amount of years as her and perfected it far better than she could hope to. She read nothing in his look. "I will walk with you." She motioned with her hand as she turned back the way she had came in. "After you." Nodding his head Reque Damodred started walking ahead of her.

 

"I looked for that little Box that you had mentioned before you had left. ..in your letter. Nothing that I know of could fit the description but the box you had given me." Maegan tilted her head, she had forgotten about that gift. "But it is still in my office. Of course probably sealed with Light knows what weaves you put around it."

 

"I do not know what else it could be, unless it was a metaphor for something else of importance." Maegan said, picking up her skirts a little as she continued to follow. Up the stairs they entered the actual Library on the ground floor. Their words waited in silence as they continued into Reque's spacious office. It was one of the perks of being the Headmaster. Formally recognized as the highest standing scholar in the Library and Academy and a really big office. As soon as the door was closed, Maegan quickly placed an eavesdropping weave around the room. Better safe than not.

 

"You think that it's a code word?" Picking up the conversation from where they left off, Reque moved to his desk with quick steps and started to search among the chaos of all desks in search of what he had needed.

 

"I do not know." Maegan said, still standing at the door as she watched. "It is only a poorly educated guess."

 

"You're hardly poorly educated." He gave her a look, to which made her scowl.

 

"Not now, Reque."

 

"Sorry, sorry. But I do not see what it could be code for. Box - book - crow bar. - so on and so forth. It could be anything, Maegan."

 

"Your sarcasm is hardly needed."

 

"And yours is?" Reque paused as he looked up. "Forgive me, Aes Sedai, but you can not have the answers all the time, nor does your theories need to be correct."

 

"I never said they were." Crossing her arms at him. "Would you like me to leave you to this mystery."

 

"And go back to your Tower?" There was a smile on his face that made Maegan shiver. It was not a good smile, nor a good shiver. Maegan's face turned to stone as her emotions were pounded away into its little box far in the back of her mind. Arms feel from their locked position and folded neatly in her lap in front of her.

 

"You may be the Headmaster of this institution, Reque Damodred, but you could no sooner remove me from this place any sooner than learning a way to live forever."

 

His eyes darkened. "Get out, Maegan." Reque Damodred snapped at her.

 

"Do not be so informal with me, Headmaster Damodred." She replied calmly replied with an icy tone.

 

Reque Damodred said nothing. Maegan tilted her head with one last curious look in his direction and then turned to leave.

 

"I am sorry that you feel this need to lash out at a helping hand, Reque." There was a softness in her voice, but it showed little more emotion than she would show in her face. "But you are not alone."

 

Waiting for a short, be it pivotal reply, Maegan was disappointed by his silence and left the room, removing the weave she had set. He didn't need it, nor did he know it had even been up. Pausing at the door, Maegan winced at every curse that curse she heard through the door.

 

Torn from the need to walk back into the room and scream at him, Maegan forced herself away from the door and to return into the Academy. She had to return to her own quarters and inspect any damage to her wards. But the 'had' and 'need' conflicted with her 'want' and as she descended the stair, Maegan's mind mixed with the emotional turmoil that threatened to break her surface. There was no frown, and Maegan no longer felt the need to discipline herself for what her mind wished to speak of. After all, it was all in her head and there was no need for anouther to know what was hidden within it. She had learned long ago that Reque Damodred was her enigma and bane. In time this would blow over. He was stressed and she gave him an opening, and he got angry at her. Shaking her head, Maegan accepted that it was little more than stress and high-strung nerves, she paused outside of her door. Saidar filled her as she tested her wards. They appeared untouched and unbroken. Opening the door a black bag covered her head as Saidar was ripped away from her because a shield settled over her. Her glasses knocked off her face, she heard them crunch under her feet. Her feet or anouthers. A sickeningly sweet smell in the hood started to make her droswy. Scolding herself as she started to fall to the floor she knew she should have seen it coming.

 

A large thunk and bright lights shattered her vision as darkness slammed into her. Then nothing.

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Pandora's Box

 

    Maegan was unsure if it was the pounding headache, the bright light of the room, the yelling, or the hairpin digging into her head that forced herself to wake. Forcing her face to relax to reduce the stress in her head, a soft moan barely escaped her lips as she woke. About to move her hands to cradle her head she found that they were tied behind her back. Attempting to move her feet she was disappointed to find she could barely shift them against the unseen ropes. Had her head not been pounding like an ogier Anvil she would have opened her eyes to sort out where she was. Of course, it would be near impossible with her eyesight, but even shadows and simple colours gave away more than anything else. Thankfully, the voices she heard yelling were outside of the room. The downside, they were unintelligible and she could not depict any sense of them. If she was held by Saidar, Maegan was a little disappointed she was held so poorly. Shielded, it was not that she could break through, but they had not taken better measurements to seal her off. Unless they expected her to be unconscious for a few more hours.

 

Maegan frowned. What was it with people and kidnapping? Couldn't anyone be original for a change and actually face someone without having to resort to tying up or beating someone into submission at first. Ruefully, at least she was not bruised. As far as she could tell. So she waited. Waited for her head to clear of it's ringing and for the voices to either leave or enter and check on her. There was a little nagging feeling in the back of her mind at the thought of someone walking in, but Maegan pushed it out of the way. Experience taught her to keep from panicking. From the moment she understood that she was tied up and shielded, she knew that what little amount of screaming she might be able to do before they walked in and tied off her mouth too with light knows what weave or scarf would yield absolutely no victory. Her energy needed to be put to something else. Unfortunately, there was very little she could do tied up and blind while lying on some floor in some forsaken room.

 

A room that must be still within the Academy. There were few doors that lead into the Academy Quarters and all opened start into the Library save the entrance that lead into the Gardens. Which also could only be accessed through the Library. Maegan had been assured when the Ogiers built the underground layers that none but those that knew how to find it would or even could. And if Maegan had been 'kidnapped' and was being held against her will, it would suggest that to take her through the Library would prove to be a poor idea. Especially if anouther Aes Sedai was involved.

 

Maegan paused.

 

That would be the obvious conclusion. With many flaws. If an Aes Sedai could walk in than an Aes Sedai could leave. If Maegan was unconscious who was to say she simply fainted and then they could carry her to Light knew where. But why?

 

Why was she being held against her will? Was it because she was of the Tower? Did Annais, the only sister of the Tower who know of her ability, share her little secret with anouther and now they were after her? But why would an Aes Sedai be involved?

 

Was an Aes Sedai involved or was it a completely different matter all together? Why would an Aes Sedai being the Academy? ::Burn me.:: Why hadn't anyone talk to her about it either? But there had been not one whisper, not one mention of there even being the possibility. Why? Illusions? It must be illusions. It was the only way that it was plausible. But the whole situation in itself was implausible. The reasoning non-existant.

 

Why? Why? Why?

 

Over and over as the hours passed by, Maegan calculated over and over various theories and concluded nothing more than she knew from the beginning. In the end, Maegan knew, it was only a coping mechanism. To keep herself sane she needed to work with her mind and keep it busy. Even the impossible to the obvious would replay in her mind. But in the end, she simply did not know without any more clues to this strangely intense and life threatening - at a worse case scenario - puzzle. ::..when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.:: She scowled. The whole Academy caught up in a conspiracy theory was simply ludicrous at best.

 

Her stomach was the only indication that told her time had passed, enough hours for her body to override her mind. Although food was not on the menu for the hour, knowing shat she could be hungry was a small comfort. Hunger did not come to those that were in fear. Congratulating herself in a mildly sarcastic manner, she shifted into a sitting position, thankful she could even more that much. Sitting was better than laying down. The downside to her moving, however, had alerted her captors. Silence from the doors outside, there were the scuffling of feet and a flare of light from the room beyond the door.

 

"Where is the box?" A voice, male, demanded. It was angry. Extremely.

 

"No hello or how are you?" Maegan said, staring ahead at nothing. "Your mother would be disappointed by your poor manners."

 

"The box, Witch. Where is it?"

 

"I do not know what you are talking about." Maegan said truthfully.

 

"You lie."

 

"I can not Lie." She tiled her head arrogantly. "My Oaths keep me from telling a Lie."

 

"No Aes Sedai tells the truth, just a truth."

 

Maegan turned to look at the figure. Something in his... "Keton." There was a growl in his voice that told her she had guessed right. "So, what did you do now, Keton? In debt to someone? Promised Money? Fame? Did you escape the thief catcher or are you getting help from anouther." There was no reply. She plowed on. "Or did Damodred lie to me? Was he in on this all along? He didn't want me to come to my quarters. Did he know you were waiting for me? What Aes Sedai are you working for? What Ajah is she?"

 

The resounding slap of his hand against her cheek sent her reeling and back onto the floor.

 

"Shut up, bitch."

 

"Are insults really necessary? Why an Aes Sedai, Keton? You are smarter than this."

 

"You don't get it, do you. Bloody Aes Sedai think they have everything or know everything."

 

"But I am right on something. Wasn't I, Kenton?" Maegan pushed her self up from the floor again, not looking at him to avoid being hit a second time. Her headache was returning from the slap and she needed to be conscious. "Who are you working for, Keton."

 

"What makes you think that I work for anyone."

 

Maegan couldn't help but chuckle. "Don't insult my intelligence, Keton. None but an Aes Sedai, a very skilled one, could get past my wards without me detecting it." Mentally noting to change that as well, "As people like you say, cut the crap and tell me."

 

Waiting for an answer there was a slam of the door and the room dimmed a little. Only the light above shone. ::Light.. :: Burn her, she had not even been removed from her own office! Muttering inwardly at her own failure to take into account her surroundings, she should have at least tried to make more of a point as to where she was. If she was in her office, than she just may have a chance. ::What box?:: The question came back to her, round about like some traveling circus act. What purpose did this box serve? And why were people after it? Why was it so important?

 

Questions kept going back and forth, and Maegan was left with nothing but silence.

 

 

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Pandora's Box (pt 2)

 

    "..It was said in the Age of Legends that an Aes Sedai could create many things of wonder. Items of Power."

 

When Maegan woke up for the second time she found her stiffly woven to a chair while candle light flickered around the otherwise bare room. The way the voice echoed in the room gave evidence to the bareness of the room. The candles seemed the only source of light as well as heat. Blinking herself awake, Maegan wondered how they moved her without her waking.

 

"You are awake."

 

The words to Maegan felt more like a 'Surprise!' than a greeting. Anouther possibility that she had thought of, but had wished she had wrong.

 

"Kathrina DeVir." Purposely leaving the title off her name, Maegan's voice was curt. The betrayal of this knowledge seems far harsher then she would allow. ::Do not shake and fall apart now, Mae. Later.. Get out alive.:: "I see you got past my wards."

 

"Clever, Mae. I was impressed by the skill."

 

"I'm not. You got past them."

 

"Come, Mae. Do you have to me so cold?"

 

"No, but it beats being angry."

 

"You yelled at me once."

 

"When I was angry."

 

"And now you are not angry?" Kathrina laughed. Chilling and sadistic. It was not a laugh Maegan liked to hear, ever. "How disappointing."

 

"No. I am Livid."

 

"Heh, not that I blame you, Mae."

 

"Maegan Sedai."

 

"I make the rules, not you." Kathrina's voice snapped like a whip.

 

Maegan's response was delivered with more calm than she honestly felt. Kathrina didn't need to know that. "You have no right to call me anything less than my name."

 

"Perhaps I don't. But you do not get to decide that." Pursing her lips, Maegan didn't respond. "Right, now where was I?"

 

"Gloating?" Maegan knew full well where the woman had been. However the bitter jab made her feel better.

 

"Hardly." Kathrina sniffed.

 

Rolling her eyes, "Good. Now tell me of this box so that way you can kill me for knowing nothing and continue your pathetic life." Maegan said, wishing she could relax a little in her chair. However this time she had been woven into a more permanent and solitary confinement as most Tower Prisoners were kept when out of the Tower. At least Kathrina showed a little more respect.

 

"You read.." Kathrina started. Maegan rolled her eyes wishing the oaths didn't prevent her from speaking sarcastically. A thought as to why her humour showed the most in such occasions was worth worrying over. At anouther time, perhaps, she could analyze her own psyche. "In all your study of the Age of Legends, did you not come across the mention of the Ter'Angreals made in the Age of Legends."

 

"A few." Maegan said vaguely.

 

"You don't know." There was a surprise in her voice.

 

"So now you believe me." Exasperated. "No I do not know anything, and until you tell me I doubt I will know anything."

 

"In all your.. "

 

"No, Kathrina. I do not know about a Box, any box, that relates to the Age of Legends. Now, shall I go back to sleep or take my own life, because this suspense is killing me." It was not an exact lie. She didn't care either way, but the curiosity in her could not help but wonder, guess, question.

 

"Reque.."

 

"More destractions? Or more excuses.."

 

"Yes Kathrina Sedai?"

 

...

 

Maegan froze as the figure moved from the corner of the room. She had not seen him, nor heard him the entire time that Kathrina was talking to her. Not expecting him there at all, Maegan was stricken to silence as her heard sank deep and an icy chill covered her skin.

 

"Didn't see that one coming, did you Mae." There was a smirk to her lips. "Tell her, Reque Damodred. How you killed her father and about the box."

 

If she could have gripped anything with her hands, or moved in any sort of fashion, she would have lashed out then and there. It simply could not be true. ::Aes Sedai Truth.:: Reque would not have killed her father. Reque had helped her, helped rebuild the Academy. Why was he even here?

 

"I.." He started, but there was a cough as his voice cleared. "There was a Legend of a Ter'Angreal that had been hidden in the depths of al’cair’rahienallen during the age of legends. It was said that this box contained a great power, of which it did not say. But the horrific stories around it were linked with the destruction of al’cair’rahienallen. It was rumoured that this power was the source of the Dark One himself. Stored inside and if released would cause the destruction of the enemies of the holder."

 

Maegan was following the story, but now the implications.

 

"The story was brought to my attention by.. a man. he told me something very different, but in turn for the recovery of the Box I and my House would be given a greater power in Royal Courts. Even Kingship." Maegan searched for an underlying tone, any sort of hint that would show compassion. Be she knew him too well. Unless he wanted to reveal something, he would. But he didn't and her heart sank even deeper. "I agreed. In my search I found the blueprints of al’cair’rahienallen in one of the more unlikely places."

 

"My fathers desk."

 

"His shelf, actually. He was clumsy with how he kept things." Maegan didn't nod, but not because she wanted to. "He was in the room when I noticed them. Of course he was very excited about the find. I took this information to my contact."

 

"Who was it?"

 

It was then that Keton spoke up. Maegan didn't feel surprised by his presence. She doubted that the presence of the Amyrlin Seat would surprise her then. Maybe.

 

"My uncle."

 

"Wonderful story." Maegan said with a droll tone. "You are both idiots."

 

"Talk for yourself. You got caught." Keton laughed.

 

"Shut up Keton." Kathrina snapped.

 

"So, let me get this straight." Maegan sat in her chair a single mouse surrounded by three hungry cats. "You have wasted your time to inform me that not only did Reque kill my father for a set of blueprints that he failed to deliver.. No, wait, You did deliver them but because you didn't deliver the Box as expected my Father was killed to drive a point home. Kathrina kept this news from me to keep me from running to Cairhien and discovering that he had not been poisoned but killed with Saidar. This, in technicality to Kathrina's little speech from before would then put the blame on Reque. After a few more years of searching, nothing was found."

 

"Not bad, Mae." Reque Damodred said. There was a smirk on his lips. Ignoring the nickname, Maegan continued.

 

"During the building you kept Kathrina involved with anything you found. Of course, Keton's uncle could not go. I suspect he was promised Gold, Power or the usual type of greed. To which makes you more of an idiot, Keton."

 

"Hey!"

 

Ignoring, "So he starts getting nosy and somehow ends up taking on his son, using him as a contact into the Library. To get close to Reque or any other that may know of the access to the underground. I doubt he could have seen his nephew as a scholar, but the time payed off in a way." Maegan smiled that time. "Didn't it, Keton. You got close with that engine. Really close." Pausing for effect. "Pity. Shall I continue?"

 

"You tell it better than I." Reque Damodred said. She could hear him taking a seat in a wooden chair. It seemed simple in it's make up as it carried little other sound but its feet scraping on the floor.

 

"Thank you. Just tell me where I get it wrong." Maegan was sure that she was just being humoured for the time being. There had to be some other purpose she was... ::Burn me a mothers flaming...::

 

"You want me to make that box." her voice barely a whisper.

 

Kathrina laughed.

 

"You were always a bright student, Mae. Far brighter than most. A waste, really." There was a souldful sigh to her tone which made Maegan confused. Why was it a waste? "When that channeler came in muttering about some Age of Legend crap and then slipped your name, I had a few guesses." She smiled, the figure moved towards Maegan and she felt a hand brush along her cheek. "After seeing the globes in your quarters I knew."

 

"Knew what?"

 

"That you can make Ter'Angreal." The excitement in her voice was not the usual giddiness one would apply to being happy. Instead it was a sardonic and evil.

 

"And?" She prodded.

 

"Is there anything else that you have yet to conclude in your little mind, or have you simply failed to mention?"

 

"That you are all Shadow Spawn and that if I was not shielded I would set you all on fire?" Not that she could kill, but their actions could justify the actions of self defense. "Tools of the Dark One."

 

"Naive little Mae.." Kathrina petted her head.

 

"I would call you a Black Sister, but the title itself is insulting." The words burned on her tongue. How she hated that she could conclude such a vile truth. A truth she would die for knowing.

 

"Hm." The woman took a step back from the chair. "Than you know what I can do."

 

"You can do whatever you want, But I will do nothing to help you."

 

"You will have no choice in the matter."

 

"In order for me to make you anything you will have to un-shield me. Un-shielding me would be a bad thing." Maegan said simply.

 

Silence.

 

"Leave." The command came from Kathrina to Reque Damodred and Keton. The suffling of feet was heard from Keton's corner, but the hesitation in Reque Damodred's steps were obvious.

 

"You promised." He said.

 

"I said leave, Damodred." Kathrina snapped. Her voice was cold and even shielded Maegan could see the snap of a weave the echoed in her voice. Compelled the man left the room, closing the door behind her.

 

"Promised?" Maegan's eyebrow rose quizzically.

 

Kathrina sneered at her. "With all that you have concluded in the past hours i am surprised you didn't already know. Especially since it has been so obvious over all these years." The look of confusion in Maegan's eyes could not be helped as doubt flickered in her mind. "Hmm. Well if you do not know then there is no point in me informing you." Her hands moved along Maegan's cheek, possessive like one would touch a pet. Maegan wished she could jerk away her head.

 

"I will not make your Ter'Angreal." Maegan said defiantly. Desperate for the woman to stop dragging things on as if she had all the time in the world. ::Ah, but she does, Maegan. More time than any other. Older than most Aes Sedai she would know what time she had or not. Stop fooling yourself.:: "I can not use the One Power to make any weapon. You know this."

 

Kathrina shook her head. "Foolish girl. The box is not the weapon, but what it can contain is. You will not be making a weapon, merely something that can contain it. There is no need to break any oaths there. And if you serve me well, you will be rewarded, greatly. My Lord will dot on such a jewel as you."

 

"And spit you out like the old hag you are." Maegan muttered, rewarded with Kathrina's back hand.

 

"How dare you!"

 

"Why would your Master want you when he has me?" Maegan's face serene. "Hypothetically speaking, of course. Say I make for you this Ter'Angreal Box. You bring it to your Master along with me in chains. What would stop me from swearing fealty to him in return for power over you?"

 

How she wished she could see the look on Kathrina's face. It would make up for whatever bruising that might occur. However, Kathrina did not know that Maegan had an Ace up her sleeve. An untested Ace, but one that Maegan prayed would work when Shielded.

 

"Heartless Bitch, I know." Maegan filled the silence, "But again, I will reiterate a very simple fact for you so that way you will understand in very plain words as to what -hypothetical or not- I mean. Your. Plan. Will. Fail."

 

"Not if you are dead." Kathrina said. Maegan laughed as she heard the hesitation in Kathrina's voice. Apparently she had struck a nerve. Good.

 

"I have no value on my life. Better dead than the cause of anouther death."

 

"You will be the last dead. I will work my way from top to bottom of your Academy and destroy everything in it. Inventor and Invention alike. You will watch and hear every scream I extract as I skin each man and woman alive. No one will even miss those within these walls. You were so very good at keeping this place a secret."

 

"I still will not."

 

"You will not say that after the first scream."

 

"Not even the last scream, Kathrina." Maegan stared directly at the form in front of her. "I will not do it."

 

Kathrina chuckled, "Your strength will only last for so long, Maegan. I will break you. Very slowly, and I will enjoy it."

 

"No you won't." Maegan smiled, counting down slowly as the simple formula's and weaves started to run unceasingly through her mind. She could sense saidar as it was just past her grasp, but like every other shielding weave that an Aes Sedai was taught, it only kept her form touching the main source of the One Power. But there was a secondary pulse that was far closer, beating at the same pace as that just beyond her reach. Maegan prayed that it would be enough. "You forgot something."

 

"And what was that?"

 

"I am a Red Sister."

 

Maegan tapped the small sphere of Saidar that was locked away in the Ter'Angreal that was still caught in her hair. Never had she been so thankful for her lack of hair care than she did in that moment. It was a small trickle, barely useable beyond one weave, but it was the one weave she needed and it was enough. Draining the whole sphere into a Severing weave she broke the shield that Kathrina held on her. Saidar filled her but not fast enough for the woman to create her own severing weave that broke at Maegan's own Shielding weave.

 

"How the.. You were Shielded." Astounded, Kathrina placed up a Ward against anything that might be physically thrown at her. There was noise outside the far doors that neither of them had the energy to acknowledge. With Saidar filling her sense, Maegan could see Kathrina now, and the room that she now occupied. She cursed silently.

 

The Chamber of Thorns. Lovely. The room had sounded empty, and hollow, but the size of it should have given more away then it had. But she sat at the very center of the room and the echo of her voice would move up into the space and not back at her.

 

"Ironic sense of humor you have, Kathrina." Maegan broke the weave that surrounded her as Saidar filled her to the brim. Weave upon weave building around her. Severing many of Kathrina's attacks.

 

"How could you channel!? Was it a Ter'Angreal? And Angreal? Can you make those too?" The woman's voice was filled with wonder."

 

Maegan could feel a third channeler through the doors as she attacked Kathrina with spikes of earth shooting up from the ground. Spires. The woman barely jumped back in time. If she didn't get Kathrina off her tail, that Light only knew what would happen if there was a second channeler that would enter to link with Kathrina. Whether it was truth or not, there was no other reason for another channeler to be in the Academy. Maegan had no time to question.

 

No Time.

 

Spears of earth continued to shoot up from Kathrina's feet, distracting her and keeping her off her guard and Maegan simultaneously wove anouther far more damaging weave. Saidar burning within her, Maegan gritted her teeth. Just a little more Saidar. More and more filled her as she wove harder and stronger than she ever had before.  Three.. Two... one..

 

SNAP.

 

In an instant Saidar burned brighter in her as she released her weave around Kathrina. But not before a wall made of solid air crashed into her and sent her flying into the wall behind her that was nearly twenty feet away. Crashing into it Maegan's body fell to the ground limp. Looking up for a brief instant as darkness burned into eyes as Saidar slowly faded from her body as quickly did her conciousness.

 

Kathrina was standing there, gazing at her with a look of shock. Brokenness. Maegan smiled slowly to herself as that sweet blessed darkness crashed into her. The weave worked. Around the small little string that had connected Kathrina to the One Power. Saidar. Maegan crashing into that tie, that thread of life, had not only shielded her from the One Power, but had stilled her.

 

If her death would be inevitable, but at least there was nothing Kathrina could do to her. Ever again. It was the last thing Maegan knew. The last thing Maegan felt worth smiling about. Then there was nothing but darkness.

 

 

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