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Ruins

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Stroking her steed's neck, Lillian quietened her mare as best she could as she surveyed the ruin before her.  Once a great manor home, its once charred remains were now overrun by nature.  Such dismal places were not usually a place that Lillian chose to visit, but on this occasion she had business to attend to.  An unexpected business as far as she was concerned, but when the matter had arisen she had decided to pursue it.

 

The ruin before her had once been the ancestral home of the Faury, an Andoran family that had been thought extinguished.  After they had been wiped out, the land had been feuded over until the Trakand successfully occupied it and drove their competitors out of the area.  The manor had then been left to waste as the Trakand had no need for it, and it had been left abandoned for over a century.

 

It wouldn't have been of much interest if Lillian hadn't located a family tree of the Faury and noticed a very interesting name upon the list.  Halvie, Halvie Faury, presumed dead in the fire that had consumed the building.  Possibly the same Halvie Faury that had once been her mentor until Lillian had turned her back on the woman, long after the woman had done the same to her.

 

Despite that, Lillian had been interested enough to follow up the lead.  After her time at the farm, she had decided that there had to have been another reason for Halvie to be the way she was, more than just the Tower's training, yet there had been no way to find out and she had lost her patience with her mentor.  The constant questioning and testing and attempt to kick her feet out from under her at every turn, she had enough of it and had simply blocked the woman out, avoided her and the woman had obliged.

 

But truth, that was worth finding, no matter what the case was, and she had learned more than enough over the past week to make her rethink the older woman.  That and enough time had passed to blunt the worst of the pain that she had once suffered.  Maybe with enough answers, something would change, but on this subject she was particularly pessimistic.  Still, understanding was better than ignorance.

 

Adjusting her bracers and fingerless gloves as she set off towards the great stone arch that would have once been the entrance, a stray thought came to Lillian.  What Halvie would think if she saw Lillian as she was now, if she recognised her at all.  Black breeches and matching boots that came up to her knee, a red blouse that was covered by a studded leather vest.  A longsword strapped on her back, a pair of knives hanging from her belt and her hair cut in a simple bob so it wouldn't get in her eyes and a wide brimmed hat of jet, she looked and acted the part of a freesword.  Even her face had been altered with enough make up that she wouldn't be recognisable as the Lillian Sedai of the White Ajah.

 

Stepping into what would have been a welcoming hall, Lillian began to work her way through one building after the other.  Poking through the moss, leaving no stone unturned, she was determined to find something and make this day a worthwhile one.

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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The fifty-foot stone wall that surrounded Caemlyn towered imposingly over those within the city. Doubtless for most folks it was seen as a comforting buffer against assailants and minions of the Dark One whereas for the less naïve and smaller cluster of people such as Halvie herself, it was an important matter to be considered in every escape plan. Essential moreover for one who travelled with no protective guardian & unable to determine how many channelers were concealed within such a dense crowd of humanity, the ones that held ill intentions close to their hearts. Earlier on, she had passed through the heavy gates and already, had encountered countless members of the Queen’s Guards, noting with approval their efficiency in resolving conflicts as they flared and died. Small wonder the Queen of Andor managed to command utmost respect from other nations, having successfully governed her own prosperous country. A city that had once been home to a little red-headed girl called Halvie Faury.

 

Having disposed of her small travelling bag in an inn, Halvie took to the bustling streets of Caemlyn with hands deeply concealed in the pockets of her travelling robe. Her attire was a common white and lacking of embroidery to deflect any unwanted attention. The Green Serpent ring had been taken off, her auburn hair dyed to a darker shade of brown, now tied back with a simple ribbon. Her attempts to conceal her ageless features had been torturous to say the least but eventually, coupled with lessons learnt from a certain Domani woman long ago, she had hit upon the simplest formula that could be executed within a limited time frame. So long as none looked too closely, she could easily pass off as one of many noblewoman come to curry favour from the Mantears. The New City had not changed and its activities had only heightened over the years, Halvie noted somewhat wryly. Small obscure shops she had once visited remained but the owners were different from those in her memories although their features bore a startling resemblance… a whole new generation had come to take over while her back had been turned while she herself, well, no doubt she would live to see many future generations continue their family tradition if the Light was willing.

 

Through her contacts in Low Caemlyn, beyond the city walls, she had determined the vendor she sought would be located nearby. A pawnshop, to be exact, that most likely dealt occasionally in the black market. To have escaped the attention of the authorities for so long signalled an owner with a shrewd mind but she had come so far to play mind games. ‘Master Peren, I presume?’ she inquired coolly before reaching deep within her pockets to withdraw a list of items, along with some roughly sketched drawings. ‘I seek these artefacts and have been told that you are capable of providing them. I pay well. What do you say?’ Haggling thus ensued and keeping well in mind the common greed factor of every normal men, obtained a satisfactory number of items soon enough. But the list was long and many were missing although with the delicious bait of more silver, she had high hopes of attaining them. And most importantly, the signet ring of the House Faury.

 

The night meals in the following days were spent in the solitary confinements of her room as Halvie plotted her next move, marking down rumours heard and worth investigate, tiny traits of the people she’d met and of a darker nature, the official aftermath of the House Faury. She had been adopted but having known no other family, they were as close to kin as she would be formally known as. There had glimmers of hope of tracking down her biological family but that was a quest to be launched at another time. Tomorrow, she would venture into the Inner City via the Origan Gate for a little tête-à-tête with a certain Master Krad, a wily little man by all accounts. But that was the common nature of those who dealt frequently in secrets, the kind who knew the best routes out of a city without raising any alarm whatsoever. It would prove interesting, she mused, as fascinating as learning that by the records, she had officially died over a century ago. Unsurprising but the twisted side of her had nearly laughed out loud after coming across that particular announcement. And the fact that the Trakands now controlled her lands brought about bitter resentment and disgust. There had been little love lost between the two Houses…

 

‘What do you mean, it’s no longer here?’ she demanded, white hot fury underscoring her softly-spoken words. Disbelief and outrage clouded her mind as she stopped herself just short of slamming a black clad fist onto the ancient mahogany table, a relic of some other fallen House with its own tragic past. The ring had been sold days ago to a woman just as many other items before that had been, and based on the descriptions of each individual seller, she was facing the exact same person or opponent if her instincts were right, and they often were. No one could possibly have any interest in as minor a House as hers and indeed, the sole reason Halvie was pursuing these items was due to the sentimental values they held. A new dangerous player had emerged, one who masked her trails well at least on the point of her place of refuge, but challenges uncovered were always meant to be solved. Not many people dealt in these matters, making her endeavour less of an impossibility and more a question of when. Soon enough, she vowed. She would play the role of the hunter than as an unsuspecting prey. 

 

Having cultivated links with several unwitting Andoran preys, it still took Halvie several days more to confidently connect the woman sporting a black bob with reddish tips with the description her own contacts had procured - a showy personality. Worst still, the woman was a channeler. A conspiracy then, it was confirmed. And the woman was journeying beyond the outer city, out the gates towards… her fears and incredulity began to bubble to the surface as the intense concentration she’d sustained throughout the past few days seemed to break. Meeting up with her fellow colleagues, perhaps? It could turn nasty, more so if it evolved into an ambush. For once, at that very moment of realisation, Halvie began to sorely regret her lack of a Warder or Tower Guard, even a hired mercenary would do; someone who would assist in a fray. It dawned upon her with crystal clarity why so many of her fellow Green sisters bonded more than one but regret, for today at least, had to be pushed aside. The Tower was many miles away and bonding was hardly a matter to be considered flippantly.

 

Crouching silently, Halvie cautiously eyed the woman who had begun picking her way through ancient stone arches, shattered rubble and treacherous undergrowth. Not much remained to indicate the type of manor house it had once been, built more for comfort than defence although she would always remember the thick and heavy stone walls. She’d once thought them impenetrable, even better than the Royal Palace itself; such foolish notions. White, she recalled abruptly. Her… mother had always insisted the walls be painted every year during the Dahan festival, something about starting anew with a new clean sheet, a symbolic gesture. And the nauseous small of paint would linger for days, thus disrupting studies and armed with such an excuse, she would wander off as she pleased…Those ancient memories. She’d forgotten about that.

 

A branch snapped. Fingers tightening around the handle of a dagger, Halvie cast a single cursory glance around the scene and realising her prey had ventured further into the ruins, bit back an oath before approaching the place she had once lived. The place a little girl had once died a whole century ago. There, a shadow, just beyond the columns. None too far but while unaware of her presence, miraculously enough, she would do well to trap her now. Closing her eyes briefly for concentration, she began to reach for her power…

 

 

Halvie Sedai

Sister of the Green Ajah

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There was very little time.

 

That was something that Lillian realised the moment that she became aware of the fact that there was someone else in the ruin with her.  Another who was watching her, and from what she espied in her peripheral vision as she continued her search a female channeler.  Unexpected, unknown, and entirely dangerous for not having announced themselves.

 

There was no chance for parley, Lillian knew her own strength in the power was small, even with assistance it was only middling.  A single blow to incapacitate the other woman before she knew what hit her.  Once she was neutralised, then she could be approached and questioned, Lillian could then ascertain the observer's identity safely.  Then she could find out why she was being watched and decide on what to do from there.

 

Her weaves already prepared in her mind, it was the other embracing the power from beyond the columns that forced Lillian to act.  Saidar instantly flooding her, silence permeated her being as a sudden flash of light erupted near the column, passing as quickly as it came even as the light of saidar from the other woman dissipated as quickly as it had manifested.

 

Releasing her own ward that had shielded the worst of the light from her eyes as well as the immense thunderclap that had rolled over them, Lillian quickly surveyed the area as she extended her now unshielded senses.  Not a thing to be found except for the thrashing of the woman, her moans, her short breaths and the sound and feel of her dress rustling against the grass underfoot were all that she could find before she released the one power.

 

It was a simple weave and made to end a fight before it began, a flash to blind and a thunderclap to assault one's hearing.  The channeler's blessing of enhanced senses while holding the power easily became their bane when those senses were overloaded.  Enough pain to instantly drop a person and destroy their grip on the power and too much for them to embrace the power again, if they were still capable of rational thought at that point.  The other woman was definitely doing nothing other than rolling about on the ground.

 

Nearing the woman cautiously, it was only when she was close that she realised that something was wrong.  She saw amongst the woman's fingers a single ring, one that was very much similar to her own that was secreted away on the inside of the sole of her left boot.  Rushing the last few strides between them as she sank to her knees next to the woman, she cradled the woman in her lap as she looked upon her face.

 

Halvie . . .

 

Shock claiming her for a moment, Lillian quickly shook it off as she embraced the feminine power that was hers to wield once more.  Laying a hand upon the woman's forehead, a different weave altogether flowed from her fingertips into the other woman, causing her to spasm from the cold that flowed through her body but concentrated upon her eyes and ears.

 

Lifting her hand away as she was done, Lillian immediately shoved Halvie out of her lap.  Getting to her feet as the other woman opened her eyes tentatively, shielding them from the light, Lillian's shock was quickly being replaced with anger.  If it had gone another way, something far worse could have happened and she didn't hesitate to speak her mind.

 

"You bloody idiot Halvie Faury!  I could have killed you!  What do you think you're doing?!"

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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Nature had gone wild, literally. For a moment, the sweet sensation of the power had helped up her confidence in overcoming her enigmatic opponent along with a growing sense of every other living thing that surrounded the ruins of her previous home. Then, the brief thought was blown away. No, it exploded. The assaults seemed to come from all directions, several opponents surrounding her was what she considered but even that little thought slipped through her fingers like burning liquid. The solid sensation of her feet connected to the hard ground disappeared, as if she’d been thrown into the air whereas the pain intensified, blinded, deafened. It was a curiously numbing sensation where Halvie felt as though she’d been thrown into a void, only the void was encased in a fiery sensation that could only be described as… wrenching agony.

 

She was still incapable of coherent thoughts, her body’s reactions beyond control when something cooling flowed through. Something that could only be described as… there was a word for it, just beyond her reach… something soothing, welcomed - healing. A pathetic sense of satisfaction came as her mind managed to squeeze out the word and with a slight groan, Halvie struggled to right herself into a sitting position, cautiously using a hand to shield whatever intense light source that had scorched her eyes, a kind of power both awesome and terrifying. And then, the words came. She struggled to decipher the meaning, to place another name to a voice at once familiar yet anonymous. An overwhelming sense of grogginess was a maddening impediment where her limbs failed to function as smoothly and efficiently, if at all. Debilitated, cornered, defenceless; what kind of Green allowed herself to be caught so?

 

Green - the word caught her attention as her focused her mind onto it, twisting, assessing and most importantly, remembering. A ruined charred manor house – chilling screams, the sickening smell of burning flesh, timber & cloth, a dense mushroom of smoke & ash, a macabre scene so beyond the realms of possibility that the ability to cry was lost. But there was no smoke now, no creaking of falling planks burnt beyond recognition. There had been people, heartless scavengers, initially, who absconded when the guards came while she remained hidden. Silent. Watchful. Still seized with shock. But now, there left only the laboured breaths of herself and the shadow of someone towering above her. The curious crowd of onlookers had long since departed, their footprints washed away by rain and snow. She recalled the feeling of soreness during the journey… a niggling, ominous presence pushed into consciousness as she reassessed her thoughts, barely succeeding in stifling a gasp. It couldn’t be…

 

‘Lillian?’ she whispered softly, her right hand reaching up absentmindedly to touch a flushed cheek, a physical stimuli that couldn’t possibly be imagined. It was a struggle to accept that her own erstwhile charge had been the prey she’d considered seriously of eliminating for the past consecutive days. A grown woman now with her own ring and shawl, someone who’d managed to come up from behind to trap her own mentor. She would’ve never bet on such a scene, her arrogance had never permitted the possibility to be entertained. Sentimentality was crouching at the edges now, longing to pounce. Blood and bloody ashes, of all places to hold a touching reunion, it had to be at the one place she considered… private & sacred; her secret hellhole cum temporary haven. This place had awoken many emotions she had long considered dead and just as she was falling victim to them, belatedly by a full century no less, a witness had to be present. And that witness had to be her

 

Heated shame, fury, frustration - so many feelings coursed through her veins with frightening intensity, awakening dormant sentiments once locked up tight. Regret, remorse and wistful longing - that image of her begging to the clear skies for the past to be rewritten. And then came that secret little desire of ending it all, a thought so dark that it had stained all her childhood memories with its ugly silhouette. It remained the sole reason why she was ever self-deprecating despite her high achievements, the key to her maintained coldness towards everyone and that obsessive need to forget her life before reaching the Tower. She had contemplated suicide.

 

‘Why are you here, Lillian?’ Halvie asked softly, green eyes gazing far into the distance. ‘What do you seek?’ After so long following the tragedy, the tears still refused to be shed. Her vision had reverted to normal and her breathing had calmed to a degree. She wondered briefly at the silence, why her former charge had not tried barging into her thoughts before it occurred to her that she was now Aes Sedai. In Lillian’s boots, she would’ve been engrossed in the act of scrutinizing and storing whatever hints her defeated opponent foolishly reflected. In fact, Halvie almost hoped that that was exactly what the White was doing as it would’ve somewhat obscurely hinted at Halvie’s hand in developing the woman into who she now was. Uncertainty – that was becoming a fairly common theme today.

 

Halvie Faury

Sister of the Green Ajah

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Frowning as the woman managed to avoid her question and instead ask her own, it took a good deal of effort on Lillian's part to rein in her anger.  She wanted more than anything to yell at the woman, and not just because her one time mentor had attempted to jump her with the one power.  But that wasn't the correct thing to do, even if it was someone who so deserved such a thing.  No, she would calm herself as best she could as she chose to answer the questions posed to her rather than insisting on answers for her own.

 

"I was in Andor pursuing my own interests when I stumbled across a family tree of the Faury, one with your name on it.  I thought to myself I might investigate a bit further, put my own project aside and see if I could perhaps understand you a touch better.  Perhaps understand you a touch more than you ever understood me."

 

Lillian could have hidden the emotion but she let it show instead, she had no need to hide it.  She was not her mentor, just because she had the capacity to distance herself didn't mean that she needed to.  If there was one thing that she had sworn to herself over the years, it had been that she would never end up like that, a shell of a person.  No, she would not hide within the recesses of a untrusting persona.

 

So Lillian ploughed on ahead, not bothering with a facade but instead allowing herself to show clearly.  So different to the face she had presented to Halvie, when she had been fool enough to crave even a single heartfelt praise from the woman.  "What I found was that your entire family was consumed in flames, that you were left all alone.  That your family's lands were divided and eventually claimed by the Trakand, that many of the heirlooms of your family had been sold and resold."

 

"So I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe, I would spend some time tracking down pieces of your past, things that might be important to you.  Not that I had a way of knowing for sure because you never once trusted me with anything even resembling an inch of yourself.  But I thought I would do it anyway, and send it away to you when enough had been collected."

 

"Speaking of which."  Reaching for a pouch at her side, she loosed it from her belt and tossed it onto Halvie's lap.  Within was one of the first things that she had tracked down, she hadn't paid for it either.  It had been the result of a particularly suspect night where she'd snuck into the home of a merchant with pretensions of grandeur whose family had held the item for three generations.

 

Gesturing to the pouch, Lillian was terse.  "Open it.  While you're at it, why don't you explain why you are here?"

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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‘You flaunt your emotions for the world to see, Lillian,’ Halvie noted aloud in a strangely serene voice, eyebrows quirking in a habitually derisive manner. ‘Has your time in the Tower taught you nothing?’ Her fingers absentmindedly worried the sides of the pouch; leather, a little worn on the edges and small, containing something hard, something that very much felt like… In a spark of clarity, her hands quickly loosened the strings that bound the opening of the bag shut, grasping hands reaching in to enclose around a cold hard object that she knew could only be the signet ring of the House Faury. At last. It had not been lost after all, traded to some foreign merchant who knew not the value of such an item to an Aes Sedai. Bitterness was deeply laced within the revelations Lillian chose to throw at her with all the fury and indignation of one who’d felt cheated, wronged and most uncomfortably for Halvie, betrayed. Interesting for a White to prove so emotional; her fellow Whites were universally known as the epitome of coolness and prevailing logic with little patience for the more emotionally unbalanced ones. The latter normally ended up in the Battle Ajah, a place where passions often ran high.

 

The girl, no, woman now, was expecting an answer Halvie was hardly likely to offer. ‘You seem to have expended a decent amount of effort on my behalf, neglecting your own cause; not what most Whites I know would do but then again, you never did allow others consider you as conventional. On purpose, I wonder?’ A soft laugh escaped her then as she lifted her gaze straight into the stormy ones of someone who’d once been entrusted into her care. It was clear now that someone of Lillian’s constitution had required a mentor who understood the meaning of compassion and love rather than shunning it but fate always did enjoy playing its quirky jokes on such little arrangements. ‘You would’ve benefited being under the influence of someone else, I suppose,’ Halvie mused wryly as she got somewhat unsteadily to her feet. Another heady flood of queasiness near sent her plunging to the ground but somehow, and this could be attested to the sheer amount of pride the Green had cultivated, she did not. But the effort it took was immense, nonetheless.

 

Halvie casually threw the pouch back to its owner, carefully pocketing the signet ring; a small additional weight she was none too bothered in carrying. ‘Since you’ve uncovered my past then perhaps you would know, suspect… I was never one for emotions. I’m incapable of them. The Tower’s influence, I suppose you’ll believe,’ she continued, guessing aloud the thoughts that must surely run thru Lillian’s own distraught mind. The White was far from serenity but how much was an act, and how much stock did she dare place upon her previous dealings and distant observations of her former charge was something Halvie chose not to ponder, for the moment at least. When she returned to the comforts of her rented room, then it would be a different matter altogether. ‘I could not give you what you most wanted before and for that, for the…,’ there was a catch in her voice, perfectly timed as her features drew together in a lesser version of remorse, ‘For that failing, on my part, I apologise.’

 

She had not apologised to anyone for a long time now. She couldn’t even trace back the last time it had happened let alone to whom, even to the time before she had been accepted into the esteemed ranks of the Aes Sedai by all except her chosen Ajah. The word tasted bitter, like swallowing a mouthful of vinegar involuntarily along with the feeling of gagging, although some of the uneasiness could doubtless be attributed to her recent assault. Halvie was certain she had come across as open and completely sincere, more then she ever had with anyone back in the Tower but her devious mind had also been working hard as she determined to best way to lower the antagonism of a person who held something she wanted. Not yet, the time was not quite ripe. ‘You asked me before about my past, I recall, and I refused then to divulge for obvious reasons. That has hardly deterred you from progressing up to this level. Well done,’ she murmured lightly, something akin to amusement lighting her otherwise smooth expression. Cara too, had questioned her about her past, as had various others but none had possessed the tenacity this particular woman had. For the briefest moment, a curiously warm feeling came only to be swiftly cut short at its roots; pride now? Displaying calculated emotions was well and good but the unexpected ones would not be entertained, not here, not now, not ever.

 

‘What will you do now, I wonder? What, indeed, are we to do with each other?’ The lightest of humour coloured her tone as at the back of her mind, she fretted, contemplated whether the act was enough to fool a White. The Light knew she was getting all she’d ever desired from Halvie in one explosive package, right after attempting to murder the latter in a most ingenious manner. Yes, this had evolved into a test of the mind now, her favourite kind of game. She was impatient to see the next act unfold.

 

 

Halvie Faury

Sister of the Battle Ajah

 

Ooc: 5th post. Five. I can scarcely believe it. :o

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Listening in silence, Lillian might have chosen not to speak but that was only because there was no need to.  Just like she had no need to hide her emotions, to do such a thing would have been pointless and she was not threatened by the woman before her in any form.  The only thing that was different now was an overwhelming feeling of disappointment, of hopelessness.  It had been a foolish thought on her part to think that the woman would ever change.

 

Every single thing the woman did, it was so manipulative.  Even the apology, it might not have been a lie but it wasn't offered for the reasons that they should have been.  Halvie might have thought herself clever, but for all the years that Lillian had been Halvie's student, Lillian had learned more than what she had been told.  First and foremost, she had learned exactly what Halvie was like, how she held herself, how every little thing she did in such a situation had a deliberate calculated nature driving it.  Something she recognised even as she was tempted by the disguise the manipulation wore.

 

It was a mistake on Halvie's part to ever contemplate it.

 

"You haven't changed."

 

Words spoken with cutting bitterness, Lillian shook her head in disgust.  "After all these years, you would still try such a foolish play with me?  You have so little respect for me that you would attempt to manipulate me?  To use me?  After I've gone so far as to go to the lengths I have to recover your family's signet ring and other heirlooms so they could be restored to you, you have such contempt that this is all you can show me?"

 

Her voice rising, Lillian didn't hold a word back as her words were laced with a fury tinged with more pain than she had ever shown the woman.  "For eight years, I was an exemplary Novice, I followed your directions and I learned and I did everything right.  I even did things I knew were wrong simply so that you might be happy, that you might be proud of me, that you might have one single heartfelt and genuine thing to say to me.  That you would show me a smidgeon of the trust I gave to you unconditionally."

 

"Eight years!"  Her fists balling together, Lillian forced them to relax as she continued softly.  "Unconditional trust, all I asked was for something, anything in return.  Not a single thing from you.  Then I escaped the Tower, not for some lark or out of rebelliousness, but because I needed to bury my parents, my blood.  The one time I disobey, the one time I needed understanding, support, someone to help me, where were you?  You threw me to the ground, you rejected me when I needed you, you took me to the Tower without a single word of compassion."

 

"Even when you visited the farm, you did nothing but simply see how I was, you offered not a single thing of yourself.  When I came back to the Tower, you still couldn't give, not one inch or iota.  Its now been three decades, and despite all of that I try to do the right thing by you in this.  All you can do is play your games and try and push my buttons and attempt to sneak an advantage with a false sincerity that is nothing more than word, formula and calculated gambling."

 

Pausing for a moment, Lillian's intensity was palpable as she began once more.  "I deserved better from you, I still do.  You can't even answer a single question I pose to you.  You're so convinced that you're in a world of enemies, so stupidly paranoid, so utterly alone.  Not because that is the case, but because you choose to make it so.  A fifteen year old girl extends a hand in friendship and you see a dagger, she gives you eight years of loyalty and all you can see is a scheme."

 

"You lie to yourself.  Incapable of emotion indeed, you choose to shun it.  Instead you cripple yourself, hide in your shell and reject those that offer a genuine hand of friendship, except to sink your barbs into them because you refuse to trust them.  You think I don't know you after all of this?  You might have suffered a great tragedy when you were young, but the decades of torment you've suffered ever since have been all of your own doing.  I tried to be patient once and hoped that you might reach out but you abused my trust instead, and even after I try and do the right thing for you you just can't help but try to do it again.  Nothing is ever good enough for you.  Well you can play your games alone, because I will not go down that path a second time."

 

Realising a decision that she had already been making when she had first realised it was Halvie, Lillian added.  "I will have your family's things sent to you wherever you are and may you find some happiness in them, because you refuse to find it elsewhere."

 

At that, Lillian turned and began to walk away.

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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So she’d been wrong. She’d underestimated & played her cards wrong, to an astonishing degree. Lillian was, Halvie judged, more emotionally battered than she’d bargained for. In hindsight, however, taking into account the sheer number of years the White had had to nurse her antipathy, it was predictable. Wounded animals were indulged warily & dealt from afar with a hard pole and Halvie would oblige by treating her former charge as such but other little tricks like kindness and gentle words were no longer a part of her arsenal. It was clear that she would not be able to obtain what she wanted from the woman today, not with her being so belligerent and Halvie herself, still mildly disorientated. Besides, she was already sick of being snubbed and lectured at as though a mere mindless girl in white. She’d had enough.

 

‘Maybe it was just as well you were assigned to me after all,’ Halvie commented ruefully. ‘I never wanted to be a mentor in the first place. I was furious but Nynaeve would hold with no such nonsense. We may not have had the kind of relationship you’ve witnessed between other Aes Sedai and novices but at least you learnt something. If only it is at reading people, I know it’ll serve you well. My own mentor, well, I never knew her. The first time I met her upon my arrival was also my last.’ She remembered well the hurt and confusion, the periods of self-contempt as she sought, futilely as it proved, to discover her own failings and perhaps regain the concern of a mentor who seemed to shun her instantly and fully. She didn’t even know where the Yellow was located currently; even the name was a struggle to recall. Lillian was better off to have at least known her mentor but then again, it was obvious such a bitter fact wouldn’t be so easily swallowed. Not here, not now.

 

Turning away from Lillian, Halvie walked sedately towards the crumbling blocks of stone that’d once been a part of the entrance hall. There’d been guards here once, elderly and present more for ceremony then actually usefulness in bloody skirmishes. Along with everything else, they had perished. The soaring arches, once a minor architectural marvel of the household, were long gone but she remembered. Snapshots of another life wrapped in the cobwebs of time, images stained with regret & bitterness. They crowded into her mind, voices both shrill and deep, hushed conferences, shifting eyes and hooded figures entered and left the very entrance she had just passed. The actual words had long since been forgotten but the feeling of trepidation… Fear seemed to have permeated the very core of where she stood unless her own mind was beginning to betray her. The rearing heads of shadows turned the fields into a boiling league of Dark minions come hither. Déjà vu. The sky a canvas of vitriolic red, like a spew of fresh blood spilled…

 

Blood – it forced her to recall of the masked master of secrets, the assignment, the Andoran gold exchange, that solemn promise… the assassination plan. The chilling coils of fear began to slip past the simple weave previously erected to ward off the cold, permeating in a way that only the mind could banish. Dear Light, but she had forgotten. Lillian… it’d slipped her mind. Sunset, he’d vowed, when the crowds were ever-changing and business was most brisk. He had not mentioned the venue but it could only be at the inn, her inn. The assassin; she didn’t even have an inkling of who he would be let alone the features, turning every stranger into a potential candidate for the task. Such foolish lapses on her part; it could turn bloody fatal one day, but not today; not if it could be helped.

 

Digging her heels into the sides of her mare, she rode swiftly back into Caemlyn, eyes skimming through the crowds with the dimmest hope of spotting that ridiculous mope of black hair dipped in brilliant red. Failing so, Halvie travelled as fast as discretion would permit back to the little hole where the agreement had been made, bullying the weaker mind to give what she sought regarding his whereabouts, overriding indignant protestations, desperate by now to root out the devious master she had contracted to kill; to no avail. There remained the only other option of informing and dragging the White out of immediate harm’s way but doing so would ruin whatever link that still held between them with her pride taking its biggest blow yet. 

 

Too late – there came the sonorous ringing of bells as workers surged towards a variety of inns, their nightly refuge. It would happen any time now. It could not happen; would not, Halvie thought frantically, determinedly. Her erstwhile charge was made of good strong mettle and worldly enough to always be on guard. But no one was infallible. Anything could happen... and it did.

 

It was a macabre scene as Halvie dashed past the stunned ring of patrons, taking in a quick glance the drying pool of dark glistening red before reaching the foot of the steps. Encountering resistance, Halvie coolly removed her hood to reveal the mass of fiery hair, emerald eyes and… ageless countenance. A silence even thicker than before laid over the nearby onlookers as whispers broke nervously. The wave of bodies pressing against the wooden steps parted as though by magic, beckoning towards a door half-open. The wisdom, young by all accounts, came hurriedly to the door as she sought to clean her bloodied hands upon her apron. Halvie’s eyes shied away from the sight as she entered the room quickly emptying of people, and saw her.     

 

Grimly taking into accounts the knife wound in the abdomen and the ragged breathing of her wounded Sister, it was clear that little enough time remained. Such a wound would quickly prove fatal and even know, Halvie had little doubt that blood was beginning to clog up the wind pipes and if that happened… Drawing a deep breath to soothe jagged nerves, she began reaching towards the sweet siren of power, drawing saidar in cautiously before manipulating the threads of spirit and water even as she mind rapidly ran thru the limited list of healings she knew. It would have to be enough, unless a Yellow could be located within their immediate vicinity soon. It was an exhausting process – both hard and challenging, but not impossible.

 

In the dead of night she stood, looking down solemnly at her patient, checking her bandages and wounds for infections and satisfied, ran a tired hand across her forehead. Signalling to the maids nearby, she issued simple instructions that ought to be done well enough before turning to the door that stood slightly ajar. Hesitating slightly, she paused to turn around, taking in the dim surroundings with a few candles to chase away the gloom, then left.

     

 

Halvie Sedai

Sister of the Green Ajah

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