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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

A New Face


James
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Leaving Darienna's office with a smile on her lips, Lillian Tremina was glad to be back in Tar Valon.  It had been eight months this time, spent abroad in different lands with the last three spent in the Borderlands before returning home.  The period was probably one of the reasons that she received so many glances as she made her way through the Tower to the ground level, sisters who hadn't seen her in quite some time surprised by her unannounced return.  She even spoke to a few, though she didn't spend overlong with each sister.  She had someone specific that she wanted to see, had only kept in touch with through the occasional letter sent every month or so when she could, and hadn't been able to hear from because she had been moving too much from one place to another.

 

Sial Daemoa, her mentee, student, and in some ways more though that was more on her part than Sial's.  Lillian had students before, both as an Accepted and as an Aes Sedai, but Sial had proven to be different.  Why, Lillian couldn't have said, or perhaps she didn't want to.  If she had wanted to, she probably could have been able to divine what it was that seperated Sial from others, but she preferred it to be different and mean more simply because it did without trying to break it down into its base parts.

 

Receiving another glance as she exited the Tower, Lillian had to admit to herself that her unexpected appearance wasn't the only reason she was getting looks.  Indeed, her appearance was as much of a reason as its unexpected nature.  When she served on the Blightborder, she made a habit of trading in the dress for breeches and wearing a sword at her side.  She could count the times she'd actually had to use her sword on the border on one hand, but she wasn't one to leave things to chance either.  Besides, it was a comforting weight to have at one's side or on one's back.

 

Entering the building that housed the Novices and Accepted, Lillian knew the path that she was walking all too well, a path that she'd been thinking about walking for the past couple of weeks.  Not only because she wanted to see Sial again, but because she had something for her that was contained in the small box that she carried in her left hand.  It had taken her long enough to make, she just hoped that the gift was something that her student would like.

 

Stopping before the door, Lillian took a slight breath before quickly shoving the door open and calling "Surprise!"

 

But the face that turned from a desk wasn't Sial's.

 

Surprised as the face that looked to her, Lillian couldn't help but blurt.  "Where is Sial?"

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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The cookie that Miya was just putting into her mouth shattered into a dozen pieces and crumbled all over the pages of the alphabet book that she was studying. 

 

Eyes wide she looked at the Aes Sedai making demands of where her roomate was only for a moment before leaping to her feet and making an unpracticed curtsey.  As she did the alphabet book fell onto the pile of other storybooks she'd managed to get from the library.  Of course she couldn't read them but the pictures were amazing!  Images of the Farstrider fighting and the maze book that she could trace out the paths with her finger on, those were the best!

 

"Aes Sedai,"   She managed to eek out around the crumbs in her mouth as she touched the floor.  Rising she swallowed, "Sial is at another punishment from Saya Sedai.  I think she has her in the stables this time."  Miya looked sympathic for the girl, she hated seeing her roomate in trouble so often if only because some of the Sisters could be quite cruel when they found her up to wrong doing.

 

"Or maybe it was ... oh yes, forgive me Aes Sedai she's scaling fish in the kitchens.  The stables was this morning."  She nodded slowly thinking of the conversation they'd had about Laras before she left.  Miya nearly laughed with the memory.  Light, but Sial could be fun at times.

 

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"Punished?"

 

Sial in trouble?  Lillian was surprised, not that she didn't see Sial getting up to mischief, but getting caught twice in one day was unusual indeed.  She would have to talk to Sial, but that would have to wait until Sial's punishment was done.  She couldn't go and disrupt a punishment without undermining the person who administered it.  Frustrating, but it had been eight months, she could manage a few more hours or however long it was until Sial was done and returned to her quarters.

 

In the meantime, it seemed that Sial had gained a roommate, why hadn't Darienna mentioned it?  Must have slipped her mind, but now was the time to remedy the ignorance.  That and introduce herself, it was rather rude of her not to introduce herself.  But finding another girl living in Sial's room, after Sial having the room to herself for so long she had been caught ten kinds of off guard.  And she did look like a girl, light she was so young, not much younger than Sial but still she was young.

 

"Sorry, I've forgotten my manners.  My name is Lillian Sedai, I am Sial's mentor and I've just returned from my travels.  I'd hoped to catch Sial out and surprise her, but it will have to wait until she has done her penance clearly.  I didn't realise that she had gained a roommate in my absence."

 

Walking over to the girl, she sat herself on the closest bed as she smiled slightly at the girl.  "So, what is your name and how long have you been at the Tower now?  What is living my student like?  She hasn't been giving you any trouble I hope?"

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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"I'm Miya Kiyoshi and I've been here in the tower for one month now.  Thank you for asking."  Miya brushed the cookie off her book and piled it neatly on the others.

 

"Sial is a fine enough roomate but we've just starting rooming together.  There was bit of mix up or something when I first got here.  I roomed alone for a while."  Miya frowned at the memory of all those nights alone in that room when she'd first arrived, it felt like a cave.

 

"I'd say this is a sight better than that.  Might I ask where you're recently back from... it wasn't Arafel was it?!?"  Miya looked excited at the thought of the woman having recently been in her home country.

 

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"Yes, actually."

 

Lillian was surprised by the accuracy of the question until she looked more closely at Miya.  No, Miya was not possessed of some supernatural gift for clairvoyance, it was simply her homeland.  Smiling, Lillian decided to give what news she could.  "The worst of the season is done, Trolloc attacks are lessening and the border stands as strong as before.  You needn't worry about that, and furthermore it looks like it shall remain that way for years to come.  I have to say, out of the Borderland nations, Arafel is probably my favourite with Kandor running a close second.  The others are still fine places, don't get me wrong, but there is that certain something that is different."

 

As for Sial, it was good to know that she was treating her roommate well enough.  Some people didn't react well to having to share a room with another, Lillian was one of those people unless it was someone she knew well beforehand.  Her obsessive compulsive need for order and structure in her quarters was known to put people off, but she couldn't help it.  She could be anywhere else and it was fine, but her quarters in the White Tower were pristine.  Everything had its place and was assigned so accordingly.

 

In fact, that would probably be a good place to go to talk, if Miya didn't mind taking a break from her work.  It would also allow her to get changed and get something for them to eat, perhaps sit down and talk for awhile in more comfort than this.  "I'm glad to know Sial is treating you well, and if you wouldn't mind I'd like to know you a bit better.  If you want, you can come with me to my quarters and we can sit down, share a light meal and talk.  I can leave a message here for Sial to come and join us once she has done her chores."

 

"Unless you do not want to be taken away from your study, which is fair enough.  What are you working on by the way?"

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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To hear that Arafel had survived another season was a relief.  Her family and their farm would be safe another year and if it wasn't an Aes Sedai who told her, she might cheer.  Instead she gave a bright and wide smile at the news.

 

"A light lunch sounds wonderful actually.  Light's truth I was considering going to the kitchen soon anyway.  Today is my freeday and I was, well,"  She was embraced to tell the truth about her inability to read.  She hadn't been that way until she met so many others who could and now, standing in front of this Aes Sedai the words caught in her throat.

 

"... this book is full of puzzles and mind games it seems.  Some of the pictures are of,"  She picked up the book of mazes and opened to one.  "You see... if you find the right path you can go from this point to this point without lifting you finger from the page.  I like these a great deal." 

 

Looking down at the rest of the pile she continued, with a bit of reluctance in her tone, "The others have pictures that go with the stories in them and so I look at the pictures and try to identify the letters in the books... Darienna Sedai is... well, she teaching me to read actually.  I never learned proper writing skills or mathematics before coming to the Tower and now I am.  Rory Sedai is helping me with numbers."

 

She paused only a moment before adding proudly, "I'm a quick study with the numbers.  I do like working figures."  And then a bit more regretfully, "I just wish writing script came so easily."

 

With that Miya prepared to follow Lillian Sedai to her study.

 

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So young, the youth in Miya's voice and manner was enough to bring a warm smile to Lillian's face.  A touch of normality after so long on the road was a beautiful thing, especially from one who seemed so unspoiled, innocent.  Well, perhaps that was a little over-analysed, it was easier to just enjoy the feeling for what it was and leave it at that.  The simple things were best left as that, simple, that was the beauty of its simplicity.

 

The mention of Darienna was no surprise, but that of Rory was.  When she had last been in the Tower, Rory had yet to be given a single duty when it came to the instruction of Novices and Accepted.  That Darienna was putting her to use was a good thing, and investing the trust in Rory to do so.  It would be good for both Rory and the students that she took under wing, though Lillian had little doubt that the thought had already crossed Darienna's mind.  But then, only a few actually understood what Darienna truly did, but it was only a few who paid enough attention to realise to begin with.

 

As the girl got up, Lillian did as well as she spoke.  "It is good to know that you are beginning to settle in.  It is difficult to leave a home behind when it is all that you have known.  By the way, do you have a spare bit of paper?  I'd just like to write a note for Sial."

 

Presented with the paper and the quill straight away, Lillian quickly scribbled the note down and placed it on Sial's bed before leading the way out of the girls quarters.  When Sial returned to her room, she'd hopefully see the note and come and see her immediately.  In the meantime, she would get to know her roommate a touch better, she seemed promising as it was and if she was as she seemed, she would probably do Sial a world of good.  It would certainly explain some things.

 

"Tell me, Miya, do you do many puzzles?  Perhaps you are familiar with some riddles as well?"

 

Getting a positive response, Lillian smiled as she spoke.  "Try this riddle.  I live and breath and dance and men welcome my warmth at night, yet none will embrace me for fear of my kiss.  What am I?"

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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Miya literally bounced with glee as they walked down the hallway.  Not only did she adore riddles but she actually knew the answer to this one, it was one she use to tell her little brother to stump him.  "Fire!"  She giggled madly.  "Oh I adore riddles!" She then realized she was acting like a mad woman and calmed herself abruptly.

 

"My mother, she is very smart, well... she use to think up riddles for my brother and I each morning before chores and we could have all day to puzzle out an answer.  If we were correct, we would get a treat before bed.  Sometimes I would spend hours puzzling out her really tough ones."  Light but Miya missed her mother right now.  Not having a riddle each day to help the chores pass more quickly did tend to only make the days seem longer and the chores seem all the more terrible.

 

"Here's one for you Lillian Sedai... What can run but never walks, has a mouth but never talks, has a head but never weeps, and has a bed but never sleeps?"

 

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Almost laughing as the girl got the answer then quickly tried to calm herself, the abrupt change was amusing.  The spontaneity was more heartening though, she sometimes wished that Sial was a touch more like that, maybe she would be happier for it.  But Sial was who she was, thinking over everything that she could to the point of no return, and that didn't make her any less dear to Lillian.  The way she ticked over in that way made her wonder if her student might be destined for the White Ajah, but it was too early to put such things to her.  It was better to let her have her time as a Novice first, those days would never come twice.

 

The riddle that was asked of Lillian simply made her smile.  "A river."  It was an easier one, but that was the best way to start.  They could then build up from there, and as Lillian considered another one to ask, she said.  "Riddles and puzzles and problems are all useful for training the mind, a sharp mind is a useful thing.  Your mother did right by you and your brother to pose you such challenges, that and they do help the time pass.  Even when they are maddening."

 

By that time they were ascending the Tower steps, and Lillian knew what riddle she was going to ask next.  A little harder, but perhaps not hard enough for Miya, they would see.  "I am infront of you, I am behind you, you move through me yet you do not see me.  What am I?"

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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Miya tapped her index finger on her lip thoughtfully.  "In front of me, and behind me... but I move through you..."  She muttered to herself softly.

 

"Must be something that is always in front of me and behind me for the riddle to be true... so, what is in front of me and behind me.  Life perhaps?  No... we do move through life but I doubt as the focus of a riddle it's something to be said of life often."  She seems to stew on the riddle as Lillian turns down a corridor of white.  For a moment she is distracted by the art and beauty of the place but then shakes it off.

 

"I move through... I move through..."  A smile snaps on her face like lightening flashing.  "I move through time.  The answer is time!  Light but that one made me think for a few minutes!"

 

She giggles and rubs her hands.  "Here's a tough one that took me all day to figure out when my mother told it to me: It stands on one leg with its heart in its head, what is it?"

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"Cabbage."  One of the problems with having confronted a lot of riddles over the years was that she remembered the answers to those that she had already solved.  It did take a bit of the fun out of it, but at the same time that simply meant that she had to search for new riddles.  The only way to keep sharp was to keep searching, and Lillian wasn't going to assume that, because the girl was young, she may not have heard of a riddle that she herself had not found.  But, now to ask her another riddle as they came close to her room, something a little more challenging.

 

"He who made me doesn't want me.  He who bought me has no need of me.  He who needs me does not realise it.  What am I?"

 

Stopping before her door, Lillian produced a key from her sleeve and unlocked it with the practiced ease of decades, her lock rarely needed changing after all.  Opening it and stepping inside, she smiled as she held the door open for Miya who would now see her room for the first time.

 

It changed over the years, but some of the things remained the same.  Six tables, three on the left and three on the right, were arranged to act as independent workstations rather than her having one desk that was thoroughly cluttered.  Lillian found it more efficient that way, and all the desks were arranged so that she was always looking towards the door in case anyone came in.  It was a simple enough rule, to never have one's back to any doors.  Every table had a board sitting on the wall with different notes, save one from which a series of small tools hung instead.

 

What was more interesting were the tapestries.  One for each Ajah, their colour was matched with a depiction of an Aes Sedai of that Ajah, yet there was also an eighth tapestry.  A rich purple, the Aes Sedai upon it was simply smiling, it was always interesting to note people's first reactions to it, and learn their thoughts on it if they chose to speak of it.  Some had been rather vocal about it, not to mention displeased, but that was part of the fun of having such a tapestry on her wall to begin with.

 

But, there was a simple hearth and a round table for entertaining a few guests and that was what Lillian drew Miya's attention to.  "Miya, if you would mind taking a seat and giving me a few minutes, I'm going to change into something a bit more comfortable than these traveling clothes.  They're wonderful if you're spending ten hours on a horse, but its been a long time since I've worn something resembling a skirt.  Just a few minutes."

 

Walking to the door on the far right that led to her room, Lillian disappeared as she closed the door behind her.  True enough to her word, she emerged again a few minutes later in a simple white robe with a purple sash hanging down one side just short of her ankles.  Boots were also traded in for simple slippers that matched her robe, a thousand times more comfortable as far as she was concerned.  She'd also taken the opportunity to touch up slightly, but that she couldn't help and she felt better for it.

 

"Would you like some tea?"  Lillian was already at the cabinet that sat next to the hearth where she kept some of her finer things, such as the tea set.  A bit finer than the set she had once owned as an Accepted, after rations and water, it felt like heaven to be enjoying the comforts of her room once more.  Furthermore, with company she was beginning to feel glad to know.

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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