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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

A Long Road [Kiyissalle's Arrival]


Taymist
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It couldn't be possible to be any more dust logged than she was already but Kiyissalle found herself looking forward to the reprieve that arrival at the White Tower would bring. She was tired, she was dirty and all the stour was making her throat worse than normal. She'd had to cough several times to clear it enough just to reply to the Brown Sister's chit chat.

 

Longing for some cool clear water, Kiyi patted at the silk skirts of her dress and watched as clouds of dust rose from the ruined material. She wondered idly if her parents would have been quite so keen to let her leave if they'd known that she would be sleeping rough more often than not. The Brown had stated that it was best to avoid unnecessary attention and then had not vouchsafed another word on the topic. Not that Kiyi objected to sleeping under the stars. The weather had held fair and the novelty had not yet worn off. Still, a bath would be about the best thing in the world for her aching muscles. Even as an accomplished horsewoman, she had never been accustomed to riding from sun up to sun down and the exercise was taking its toll.

 

Finally though, the small group arrived in Tar Valon, quickly crossing the bridge over the Esendrelle Erinin and making their way past the ancient Ogier Grove. The Sister pointed out places of note as they picked a route through the bustling crowds on the city streets. Kiyi's eyes were everywhere taking in as much as she could, for though she'd visited Cairhien with her parents on several occasions, this was Tar Valon and an altogether different kettle of fish. As with any visitor to the island, her gaze was drawn again and again to the tall, elegant Tower dominating the landscape. It was so big and so beautiful... and it was to be her home. She still hadn't wrapped her mind around that fact by the time they reached the Tower Grounds and she could feel the impact of the place up close and personal. The whole structure oozed authority and power as did the ageless faces of the Sisters they passed more frequently now.

 

Inwardly, the self composed girl realised at last the enormity of what was about to happen to her and began to quake. She was going to give up all that she knew for the chance to become Aes Sedai and to commit her life to this White Tower. Should she change her mind? Did she want to? Kiyi shook her head as though to rid herself of a buzzing insect, brushing the thoughts aside and dismounting before following the Brown up the main steps.

 

Well, this is it. There'll be no going back. Kiyi compressed her lips and threw her shoulders back with a determined air as she passed under the portal and into the Tower.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Larindhra’s eyes ached from reading through pages and pages of Novice entries and notes left by her predecessor.  It wasn’t only the fact that there were so many, but the cramped handwriting also contributed to her growing headache.  The fact that she was more used to roaming the world, rather than being cooped up in a small office all day, didn’t help her mood either.  With a moue of distaste, Larindhra shoved the Novice book away from her, rose from her seat and grabbed her shawl.  Maybe a walk would clear her head a bit.

 

Wrapping the shawl around her, she opened the door with a quick yank and strode out, only to almost trample a startled looking Brown standing in front of it, with a tiny girl in tow. Biting off an oath, Larindhra gave the unfamiliar Sister a sour look, but quickly smoothed her features. It wasn’t the woman’s fault that her timing was bad, and judging by the nervous way she smoothed her skirts whilst eyeing Larindhra’s shawl, she was one of those who believed that all Reds were fire-eating sour-apples.  With some effort, she put a bit of warmth into her face and voice.

 

“Good day to you, Sister.  My apologies – I was just about to take a walk, but it looks like you’ve brought me a new candidate?” Larindhra gave the girl a quick scrutiny before stepping aside from the door. “You look tired, Child.  Go have a seat in my office - I won’t be long.” She closed the door behind the girl before turning back to the Brown.  “I presume you will send me a full report on the child?” The Sister nodded. Well, Browns did love writing their reports, but in this case it would be most welcome. “Thank you for that.  Is there anything about the girl I should know right now?”  Larindhra listened to a thankfully brief and concise description of the girl, thanked the Sister warmly, and then headed back into her office.

 

Busying herself with making them some tea, she gave the girl a more thorough inspection.  She was a tiny little thing, but according to the Brown she had a good brain, though she seemed shy. Maybe the problem with her voice contributed to that.  A cup of tea would help her relax, hopefully.  Finally handing a cup to the girl, she took her own and sat down behind her desk again.

 

“So, Kiyisalle – tell me a bit about yourself, and what you know of the White Tower.” 

 

She was sure a detailed report would be on her desk soon, but hearing it from the source would give her a better insight into the girl herself.

 

Larindhra Reyne

Mistress of Novices

 

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The Tower was just enormous. Kiyi's eyes grew rounder as she followed the Brown along corridors and round corners, convinced that they'd doubled back on themselves once or twice. Everything was built on such a grand scale, intended to impress on the viewer their own insignificance compared to the power weilded there.

 

By the time Kiyi came to an abrupt halt behind the Sister, in front of a solid looking door to a room which apparently held the Mistress of Novices, she was thoroughly lost and wondering if she'd ever be able to find her way around the warren of halls. Suddenly, the door was yanked open with some force and an imposing woman appeared, looking far from pleased to find them standing outside.

 

Her face smoothed quickly though and Kiyi could see the agelessness that marked most Aes Sedai. This must be... oh!! what was her name again? Larindhra Sedai, that's it, Kiyi was relieved that it had come back to her.

 

“You look tired, Child.  Go have a seat in my office - I won’t be long."

 

Dropping a precise curtsy, Kiyi kept her eyes lowered respectfully and moved smoothly into the room beyond, scanning the space before seating herself in front of a large, solid wood desk covered in mounds of paperwork. Having smoothed her skirts with nervous fingers, she was admiring the tapestry on one wall when the Mistress of Novices returned and was pleasantly surprised to be handed a cup of tea. She took it gratefully, sipping the hot liquid and allowing it to soothe her throat while she watched the other woman in fascination.

 

“So, Kiyissalle – tell me a bit about yourself, and what you know of the White Tower."

 

"Certainly Larindhra Sedai." Kiyi kept her voice low but was unable to disguise the ever present huskiness. She coughed a little, her face flushing as she continued, "The Tower is Ogier built and home to women who can channel. They are known as Aes Sedai and are led by the Amyrlin Seat. There are seven Ajahs, each with their own area of expertise. Browns gather knowledge and Yellows are Healers. Girls like myself who come to the Tower are known as Novices."

 

She stopped and raised her eyes at last, fingers tightening around the cup in her hand. "I'm afraid I do not know much more Larindhra Sedai, save that Sisters are capable of doing great things and serve the Light. As to myself, I am an only child. My parents are minor nobility of Cairhien and we lived a quiet life. They are both scholars and so my studies have been quite thorough. I am 17...."

 

Kiyi trailed off, coughing again and uncertain of what else she could say. What will happen if the Sister was wrong and I can not learn to channel? Maybe this was a mistake.

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Sipping her tea, Larindhra listened to Kiyisalle narration with growing interest; not so much for the contents, impressive as that was, but more for the child’s demeanour. New applicants were normally either excited or scared out of their wits, but this one was composed if rather shy.

 

She filed everything away in her mind as she listened, nodding now and then.  “There is no need to apologize, Kiyisalle; you already know more than many who start here.  Understandable, since you are from a scholarly background.  I presume you know the old tongue? Good. The more you know, the faster you will learn; and there is a lot you will need to learn.”

 

Drawing the novice book towards her, she paged forward to the next open spot as she dipped her quill in the inkpot. “Since you have already been tested, let me just write your details in here, then we can get you settled in.  Kiyisalle Chevra from House Taborwin … yes child, I know you’re from a minor branch, but we put as much detail as possible in here – it’s not unheard of for women with the same name to join the Tower so detail avoids confusion later.  Where precisely in Cairhien were you born?”

 

Larindhra noted down the answers, a brief description of the child’s appearance as well as her own observations then sanded it dry carefully. “Stand up for me please.” Larindhra rose and walked around her desk towards a door leading into a small storeroom, picked a set of novice clothes and brought them back to measure against the delicate figure still standing quietly, hands folded.  Smiling slightly to herself, she wondered what that composed façade hid; well, she had years to find out.  “These will do well enough for now; let me show you to your room.”

 

She would normally have assigned this task to another Novice or Accepted, but she was determined to get some exercise this day, and truth be told it was about time she inspected the Novice Quarters again.  Larindhra could see the child was quite worn out, so she kept to a slower pace than was normal for her, pointing out passages and stairs to the different areas. Eventually they reached the Novice Quarters, quiet at this time of day as they were mostly at lessons. 

 

“I prefer to pair new girls with ones who had already been here a while, but there are no unpartnered ones at the moment so you will have a room to yourself for now.  Here we are, child.  Clean up, rest a bit then be back in my office in one candle mark. From tomorrow, you will be expected to clean this room yourself.”

 

With a final nod she left to inspect the rest of the floor, pondering on who to pick as Kiyissalle’s Mentor.

 

Larindhra Reyne

Mistress of Novices

 

 

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Kiyi was relieved that she appeared to have provided a satisfactory answer. It had finally struck her that any knowledge she had about the Tower, and Sisters in general, was woefully lacking. Nodding briefly in reply to Larindhra’s query about the Old Tongue, she watched as the Aes Sedai made careful notations in the Novice Book.

 

Letting her gaze roam the room without being too obvious about it, she decided it would be lovely to have such a place to work in. It was obviously well appointed and richly enough furnished to be comfortable without causing distraction, though it was certainly a little stuffy. Suddenly, she was caught up with a strong sense of homesickness. If she were back in Cairhien, she could be running around outside right now, enjoying the fresh air. Somehow, she suspected her time would not really be her own for many months and years to come. Her musings were interrupted by another question.

 

“Tremonsien, Larindhra Sedai,” she said, hoping that her lapse in concentration had not been noticed and standing up promptly as bid. Folding her hands in front of herself to stop them from shaking, Kiyi waited as the Mistress of Novices vanished momentarily into a storeroom. When the Sister returned she held up a dress of Novice white and then handed it to Kiyi who recognized what the item must be from the Brown’s earlier description.

 

“These will do well enough for now; let me show you to your room.”

 

Kiyi curtsied politely and followed Larindhra out into the halls once more, thankfully at a slower pace than on her way there. She felt ready to drop where she stood but tried hard to remember all of the passages and stairs that were pointed out to her as they walked. The room she was finally shown into was plain but clean with no extraneous creature comforts but still she was relieved to hear that she had it to herself for the moment.

 

As soon as Larindhra had gone, Kiyi closed the door, stripped and headed straight for the small wash basin on a stand in one corner of the room. Fresh water had been provided and she hastily cleansed her hands, face and neck before combing her hair out with her fingers as best she could. The air in the room was cool but not overly so and once she had completed her ablutions, she settled herself on the bed, sighing in delight at the feel of the crisp sheets. It was a huge relief to just lie there. No dust, no noise.

 

One candle mark. A little rest…. Her eyes drifted slowly shut on one last thought. I hope I can find my way back ….

 

___________________________________

 

Kiyi had no idea what woke her up but she sat bolt upright on the bed, panic on her face as she tried to work out the time. Scrambling to get upright, she hastily pulled on the white dress she’d been given, which thankfully fit perfectly, and shoved her feet into her shoes. Patting her hair into place, she tentatively opened the door and looked up and down the corridor. There was no sign of life so, composing herself as best she could, she set out to retrace her steps to Larindhra’s office.

 

Luckily she managed to only take one wrong turn and a quick question to a passing girl, in a dress similar to her own save for the bands of colour around it, soon corrected her error. As she passed a window, she could see that the sun had barely moved and that she couldn’t have slept too long at all. Sending thanks to the Creator that she wouldn’t be in trouble already, Kiyi halted in front of a familiar door and knocked firmly once.

 

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Larindhra wiped the dust from her finger and made another comment in the little notebook in her hand.  The expression on her face would have had the occupant of the room shaking in her slippers; luckily for her she was attending a class.  Sweeping out of the room, she decided to forego her inspection of the Accepted Quarters; in the mood she was in now …

 

She returned to her office at a much faster pace than she had left it, only pausing briefly to snap her fingers at a passing Novice to follow her.  Once back, she quickly penned a note to Nynaeve Sedai and sent the Novice off with it – the Yellow would do nicely as a Mentor for Kiyisalle. Maybe her abilities with healing might be helpful to the child too, although she would have to keep a watch over that. Yellows tended to get obsessive if they found something they couldn’t heal, and Kiyisalle would need protection from that.

 

Irritably channelling the dust coating the hem of her rose coloured silk dress, she set to writing a few scathing notes to all the Accepted.  They were responsible for keeping an eye on the Novices; in her book that included ensuring they kept their rooms clean, and those rooms would be clean the following day, if those Accepted had to scrub floors themselves.

 

She was about to go hunt down some more novices to deliver those when a single knock fell on her door. Stifling an exasperated sigh and reflecting that she might as well get used to the constant interruptions, she barked a command to enter.  The face that peered in became even paler than the last time she had seen her, prompting Larindhra to rein in her temper.

 

“Ah Kiyisalle – right on time.”  The Novice whites fitted the child a bit loosely, Larindhra noticed as she gestured for Kiyisalle to take a seat.  “I will have the seamstresses take in a few dresses and shifts for you; you should find two sets in your rooms by tomorrow. “

 

“Let me explain a few rules for you: You already know the correct way of addressing an Aes Sedai; any girl with a banded dress you will address as Accepted, followed by her name if you know it.  They are to be obeyed as much as full Sisters, though of course the latter take precedence. “She gave a brief synopsis of the rules, not going into too much detail. “Each new Novice is assigned to a Mentor – she will explain it all in detail to you; she is there to help you with any queries or problems, but also feel free to come to me at any time. Remember – it is better to ask a seemingly silly question, rather than to be in a heap of trouble for doing the wrong thing.  Aaah that must be Nynaeve. Enter!”

 

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Nynaeve pulled the blanket over the man's face. It was the first time his expression seemed peaceful, ever since his wife brought him to the infirmary a few weeks back. Stepping outside his room, she had to intercept his wife before she could go in to check on her husband.

 

"He's gone, Yolanda. He fought well. It was rather apparent that the last thing he wanted was to leave you." Yolanda didn't speak at first. Her eyes were dead. Emotionless. But all of a sudden, she started mumbling, half to herself. She seemed to be in a trance. "They say Aes Sedai have the magic of healing. People come from all the lands to this place to cure their ills. Miracle workers, some call you. We fear the talent but welcome it in times of need."

 

Nynaeve rested her hand on the woman's shoulder. "I wanted my husband to die in peace. To die in the home he created, surrounded by his children. Instead I let myself believe that this wasn't a wild goose chase, like I initially thought. I've let myself believe the stories, without realizing that they were nothing but fairy tales.

 

Nynaeve interrupted her. "You brought your husband here because you love him. You hoped that...". At first Yolanda was surprised to hear Nynaeve talking and looked at her as if just realizing that there was someone else there. But soon after, she started laughing. The bitterness hung in the air. "I was selfish. I didn't want to lose him. I couldn't even bear the thought. I made him spend his last moments in travels and dust. Forcing him to pass away in unfamiliarity. I robbed him of our home. Of our children. I'm nothing but a coward... I never deserved him."

 

Nynaeve thought back on the experience she had in her dream and found a useful insight. "We all die alone, Yolanda. But you're right." Yolanda's eyes seemed to regain some coherence as she looked at Nynaeve silently. "How dare you give Dorrin hope on his death bed?. How dare you motivate him? how could you believe in his strength and his desire to live?." They were both quiet for a long moment. Yolanda's expression was unreadable. Nynaeve didn't know if her words hit home.

 

"I was amazed when you first brought him here, Yolanda. Surprised, above all, to see that he was alive and breathing, despite his serious injuries. You were his will to live, Yolanda. You pushed him to live. There is no place for regret in that. Only pride and dedication." Tears started flowing.

 

"Nynaeve Sedai?". Nynaeve looked to the side to find a Novice peeking into the hallway. Nynaeve nodded. "I have a message for you. From the Mistress of Novices." She handed Nynaeve the note hesitantly. "Leave us." Nynaeve turned back to Yolanda. "Why don't you stay here in the infirmary for the night? We have some spare rooms and we can continue our chat. I'll bring some mulled wine. Dorrin told me you were fond of wine." Yolanda nodded sadly and found herself a room.

 

Taking a deep breath, Nynaeve left the infirmary and headed to the MoN's office. It was a terrible day to be summoned to Larindhra's study. Especially if it was for what Nynaeve imagined, but preferred to deny. Light, just not a mintee...

 

Knocking on the door twice, Nynaeve waited until she was invited to enter. "You called for me, Larindhra?".

 

 

 

Nyn

Yellow

 

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“Nynaeve! Thank you for coming so promptly, Sister.” Larindhra noticed the tight look around Nynaeve’s eyes, as well as the aura of the sick room which seemed to cling around her like a dark miasma. Not a happy outcome, then.  She smiled gently at the Yellow Sister, compassion filling her dark eyes.

 

Nynaeve did not look particularly enthralled at being there, but Larindhra knew she would do her best as a Mentor; it would also serve the purpose of distracting her from failing to heal someone, more than likely someone past saving, but still … it would be eating at her.

 

She was just the person to pair with Kiyissalle. The child seemed poised and confident, but there was a hint of shyness and vulnerability – Nynaeve had the compassion to bring the best out of her.

 

“This is Kiyissalle Chevra, our newest member.  I hope you will be willing to Mentor her.” Larindhra deliberately did not make the last statement a question, not wanting to give Nynaeve any chance to back out. She rose and continued without giving her a chance to talk.

 

“Kiyissalle, Nynaeve Sedai will help and guide you, although my office is of course always open to you.”  She smiled serenely at Nynaeve.

 

Larindhra Reyne

Mistress of Novices

 

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Kiyi felt the blood leave her face as she heard the tone of Larindhra's voice and sensed the mood she was in. The girl moved haltingly into the room, a wary look about her eyes but was relieved when the Mistress of Novices spoke again in a warmer voice. The offer of new clothes was also reassuring and Kiyi nodded briefly to show that she understood the rules being outlined to her. They didn't sound too onerous. She was used to being respectful to visiting dignitaries at home after all and she'd never been shy about asking questions... how else was one to learn anything?

 

She was just starting to relax a little when Larindhra's final words caught her attention. A mentor? I didn't know about that! Kiyi began to chew her lower lip, an old habit from childhood and one she'd thought conquered. Catching herself, she started a little as another knock fell on the door and she turned slightly to see who this mentor of hers would be. A Yellow Sister walked confidently into the room, an air of sadness and preoccupation, mixed with not a little irritation, hanging around her.

 

Are all these women always angry or annoyed? Kiyi wondered, noting as she dropped yet another curtsy that Nynaeve Sedai didn't look precisely delighted at the idea of having a mentee. Larindhra Sedai, however, appeared to be a force to be reckoned with and Kiyi listened to the byplay with increasing admiration as the woman skilfully showed symapthy yet, at the same time, gave the Yellow no room to object to the assignment being placed upon her. And I hope I won't be the one to suffer for that little piece of maneuvering!

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"This is Kiyissalle Chevra, our newest member. I hope you will be willing to Mentor her. Kiyissalle, Nynaeve Sedai will help and guide you, although my office is of course always open to you."  Larindhra smiled serenely at her. Nynaeve raised an eyebrow for a moment, before resting it back down. "I'll be delighted to help, of course", Nynaeve said dryly. She always took pride in helping out with the new Novices. After all they were the Tower's future. but it seemed to be the worst time to take one up.

 

Nynaeve spared one glance to Kiyissalle before locking eyes with Larindhra. "I'll take your leave then, Sister. I will take Kiyissalle with me to the infirmary. It's best for her to get to know it well as she's been spending the majority of her time there, by my side. I will notify you if there's any problems. Good day." Nynaeve opened the door and gestured Kiyissalle to step outside. When she did, Nynaeve followed her out and took the lead as she started to walk off through the hallway.

 

Nynaeve spoke as they made their way to the infirmary. She spoke of the curfew. Of the prohibition to enter the Warder's yard without an explicit reason. Of what was expected of a Novice, both in behavior and attitude. And the formalities. They weren't as important, in Nynaeve's opinions, but a lot of Aes Sedai seemed to think very highly of them.

 

When they arrived at the infirmary, Nynaeve sat Kiyissalle down in her office. "I have to attend to a patient right now. As time passes, I will allow you to observe healing sessions, if you're interested. The first plan in the agenda is to give you an introductory class to Saidar. We will get to that when I return. While I'm gone, I'd like you to write an essay of what you expectations are. What are you looking for here in the Tower. Just be sincere. There's no length limitations. A line or five pages. Whatever comes out, put it on paper. I will be back shortly."

 

Nynaeve left the office and headed to the main healing hall.

 

 

 

Nyn

Yellow

 

 

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Kiyi breathed again as her newly assigned mentor left the room.

 

Infirmary!! Bless the Light but that's the last place I want to be, she thought, her mind flying back down the years to the fire and the months she'd spent in just such a place, unable to move for lack of breath through her damaged throat. Not that I have any choice.

 

Coming back to the present and putting the old memories aside, Kiyi ran through the many strictures presented to her by Nynaeve Sedai, found nothing in them to trouble her and then looked around the office. A small but orderly room that had the same clinical smell about it as the corridor outside. It didn't take her long to spot some paper which she drew towards her before searching for a quill and ink. Having acquired what she needed, she stared at the sheet in front of her for several minutes. She only had one expectation. No other bolt of inspiration struck her so she decided to take the Yellow at her word. Dipping the quill in the ink and tapping off the excess, she neatly wrote one sentence.

 

I expect to learn as much as it is possible for one person to learn.

 

Tilting her head consideringly, she finally nodded in satisfaction. That neatly summed up her whole reason for being here. There was information in the White Tower that she would never find elsewhere... more than even her parents had access to. More than the Palace in Cairhien held most likely. Kiyi felt her fingers itch in anticipation. She could not wait to see the Library, to touch the books. What wonders would it hold?

 

Then there was the city of Tar Valon itself. So many people from so many lands. What opportunities for watching and learning. A smile curved her lips. So many secrets to be discovered. Even Novices got Free Days. Surely there would be a chance to explore?

 

 

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It's too much. Loss. Mixed with grief. It's a silent scream that pierces everything in its path. It cannot be ignored. Or pushed aside. Or forgotten. That look of realization. When a light is extinguished. Understanding that the light will never live again. helplessness takes over. Self destruction is turned on. You take a route you wouldn't normally take. Suddenly everything seems different.

 

"Nynaeve Sedai?". You're different. "Aes Sedai?". Nynaeve met the Novice's eyes. "Yes?". The Novice stared at her openly before speaking. "I'm done rearranging the herbs in the order you've asked. May I be excused for class?". Nynaeve waved her off with her hand. She didn't recall talking to the girl, let alone asking her to do anything. But it was a long day filled with sorrow and she didn't feel on top of her game. She was all over the place, instead.

 

She headed back to her office and sat down. She gestured Kiyissalle to hand her the paper she was holding. She read the only sentence in the paper and smiled. A Brown, if I had to guess. "Very well. You were sincere and that's all I've asked for. If you'd like, I can give you a tour at the library another day. As for the introduction to Saidar class, I've been informed that I will be teaching it to a big group in the next few days. As for now, go back to your room and rest. You're going to need it for tomorrow. I have a very special chore for you. Until then." Nynaeve gestured with her hand to the door.

 

 

 

Nyn

Yellow

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Kiyi looked up, startled out of her daydream by the return of her mentor and passed her sheet of paper over as bid. She wondered at that still present air of sadness that surrounded the Yellow as she waited for a response, half expecting to be told off for writing so little. The row never came though. Instead a slight smile crossed the woman's face at some private thought and Kiyi breathed a soft sigh of relief. The next words to hit her ear had her smiling a genuine smile.

"Oh yes, thank you Nynaeve Sedai, I should like a tour very much," she said politely, taking in the information about the proposed class. Her curiousity was piqued further at the mention of a special chore and she hoped it would be something enjoyable at least.

Nynaeve Sedai dismissed her then with an almost absent gesture towards the door and Kiyi hastily curtsied and left the room, more eager than ever to get some sleep. The journey had been a long one and she feared her reserves of energy had not been sufficiently restored by her earlier nap.

It took a few moments until she got her bearings in the warren of hallways and figured out how to get back to her room. The corridors seemed busier now and she passed many women who must be Aes Sedai judging by their faces as well as girls who looked much the same age as herself but who wore dresses banded with colour. Ajah colours, she thought. They must be... what was the word? Ah yes...Accepted.

As she neared her room once more, her pace quickened in eager anticipation of falling between soft sheets and into welcome oblivion but just as she reached out to turn the handle, the soft murmur of voices reached her from the other side of the door. She paused thinking she may have the wrong room. A quick glance around the hallway reassured that she didn't however and she opened the door, bracing herself to face yet more strangers.



Continued HERE on Esther's thread.



 

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