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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Winter Mist

Sepia Toned - Attn: Raeyn

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~Rossa~

 

Captured.  The essence of a moment or person could easily be captured with deft pencil strokes or descriptive story telling, and yet the likeness could only be held as long as the materials lasted, and it was never the same as the real thing.  Rossa mused long over the quandary she had noted down.  If food were to keep better, there had to be some way of preserving it better.  All of the standard methods of pickling, drying and salting, and to some extent smoking and curing, were already in use with many towns and villages employing every method they could to protect against what they considered to be harsh weather approaching, or at least hard times. 

 

A painting would capture the essence of abundance, but a painting could not feed starving children, or men readying themselves for war.  Food supplies were dwindling in many areas.  The harvests were never as bountiful as the year before, or the year before that, or the year before that …

 

She put her knuckle to her lips and worried at it with her teeth.  Times were getting harder for everyone, and those of the White Tower were supposed to protect and guide those in need.  Servant of all, Aes Sedai meant.  A servant of all but what good was that if there was nothing to serve?  Shaking her head free from such unaccustomed thinking, Rossa put her hand down on the desk and looked over at the window.

 

A single bloom, a rose that her Warder, Nerome, had given her earlier in the year sat in a crystal vase on the windowsill.  Kept at the height of its beauty with a keeping weave, it would never diminish, and never fall to the ravages of time.  The weave had been tied off; it was immobile.  As if drawn, Rossa rose from her chair and crossed to the window.  She plucked the rose from its vase and turned it over and over in her hands, the roundish leaves falling across the fingertips and over the Great Serpent ring she wore.  It was kept, so it would not rot.  What would happen if you could undo a keeping weave just when you needed it?

 

She did not even realise she had sat down on her bed, still examining the fragile bloom in both hands.  Rossa looked at it for what seemed an eternity, nurturing the beginnings of an idea.  If you could set traps using Saidar, as she had heard was possible, then surely it could be used as a catch on an item such as a barrel, and then those barrels given to the general public.  Keeping barrels for the poor, so that fresh food could be accessed whenever it was needed.  It could only be used once unless an Aes Sedai reset the trigger, and she would need to work on a way of opening it so the contents were perfectly edible, in the same way anything was when released from a weave.  She needed more information about keeping weaves and there was only one place possible for that.  The library.

 

As her door closed behind her and she strode away from the Blue Ajah quarters, Rossa shivered uncomfortably.  This project would require more thinking than she had originally thought.  What if someone used the barrels for ill intent?  If someone was imprisoned in one, kept for undetermined periods of time without escape or air?  What would the effects be?  What about working in some safeguards to ensure people or anything alive could not be fitted into them?  There were so many little details; she would need to borrow a lot of books and do a lot or research.  The Brown Ajah might be able to help her with that.  They had knowledge from the histories that were not generally considered mainstream unless people asked.  To Rossa’s knowledge this was the first time she had heard of this particular concept, but there was nothing new under the sun, as the saying went.  She walked purposefully towards the library, her hands at her belt pouch and the charcoal pencils contained therein.

 

 

 

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<i>”A woman's work is never done,”</i> Raeyn mused to herself.  She sad in one of the Library's backrooms, studying a stack of reports and chewing idly on the back of her pen.  She had been drafting various letters concerning Ajah and personal matters, and was perversely glad to have the chance for even that!

 

Raeyn's 'pleasure' at being able to handle her own affairs stemmed directly from the Brown Sister's frustration with the Hall of the Tower.  With the recent chain of disappearing or dying Amyrlins, it fell on the Hall to manage the affairs of the Tower and Tar Valon.  <i>”It would help if the Hall would quit putting flighty young Sisters bent on foolhardy adventures up for the Amyrlin Seat... We need someone with sense as Amyrlin; perhaps a Red Sister.”</i>

 

Sighing softly, Raeyn bent her head back over her work and continued to write.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Some time later, Raeyn carefully tucked her letters into a stiff folder.  As she began to gather her things, the Brown Sister thought on her plans for the day, <i>”I shall run all of this back upstairs.  I'll seal everything and weave the normal traps, and then take them to my normal courier, Seth.  Perhaps I'll even have a nice meal in town before I come back!”</i>  Smiling, she smoothed down her dark brown velvet skirts one-handedly, and exited the small room.

 

Raeyn's smile widened slightly when she saw one of the Sisters on duty.  Sada was one of the newer Brown Sitters in the Hall, and was still very enthusiastic about it all, in spite of getting stuck on some of the most thankless tasks.  Waving, Raeyn walked up to the counter, put down her burdens, and turned to the delicate Taraboner woman.

 

Before Raeyn could say anything, the other Sister on duty butted in.  “Raeyn,” she started, gesturing across the room, “There is a Blue Sister... Rossa, I think she said her name was... looking for the texts on Keepings.  I sent her to where they should be here in the Library, but I just remembered when I saw you – don't you have them at current?”

 

She bit back an oath and replied, “Yes Maia, I do.  I've been doing some research on the matter, and it's still ongoing... and I had things that I needed to do today, at that.”

 

At this point, Raeyn noticed the aforementioned Blue Sister approaching.  Suppressing a resigned sigh, she waited as the other woman walked up to the counter.

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~Rossa~

 

Murmuring her thanks to the brown sister for directing her to the section of the library she wanted, Rossa looked around her.  Shelf after shelf of books lined the walls, punctuated and highlighted every so often by a shaft of light from a window, illuminating the occasional mote of dust and setting it into scintillation.  For a moment she could understand the tranquillity of the library; many times Rossa had sat in these very walls as a Novice, watching the comings and goings of those she did not yet know, and therefore those that might have information that related to her family’s demise.  The matter was years resolved now, but old habits died hard. 

 

She had wandered without thinking to the corner she used to occupy in rest periods as a Novice, her sketchbook and charcoals a permanent fixture of her white-clad self.  Random vignettes of passers-by, meetings and often, although not shown to anyone since the incident with Estel Sedai, satirical little caricatures depicting the social situations of sisters in exaggerated and often captioned clarity for her own personal amusement.  Her grasp of politics had always been exceptional.  Enough so, in fact, that it had brought the attention of the former Amyrlin, Sirayn Sedai, when she had tactlessly displayed the caricatures of the Blue Sister, Estel Sedai, around the Blue Ajah quarters.  The reminder had been good for her; it had reined in her Ebou Dari temperament and channelled it to a much better use – finding out information.

 

With a start, Rossa came back to the present as her mission dawned on her anew.  She was to find out information.  She was no longer a novice, clad in white and intent to do anyone of a higher authority’s bidding so that she might overhear some morsel of her own family or something that might help her, she was a sister of the White Tower now with a Cause of her own.  She still attempted to overhear or intercept as much information as she possibly could though.  Old habits died hard, after all.  Rossa made her way towards the counter that the helpful Brown sister had directed her to.

 

Approaching the woman with a half smile on her face, Rossa appeared the soul of courtesy.  Of course, many years inveigled in Daes Dae’mar before she even came to the White Tower had stood her in good stead for many an occasion and Rossa knew well how to appear outwardly calm even when her thoughts were as preoccupied as they were today.  Her hands clasped lightly at her waist, she then laid one of them down on the counter so the Great Serpent ring caught the light somewhat.

 

“Good morning, Raeyn Sedai.  I trust this day finds you well?”  She paused, exchanging courtesies before getting down to business.  “I am looking for texts on Keeping Weaves and was informed you could help me.  Would you know of such pieces?”

 

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"I am looking for texts on Keeping Weaves and was informed you could help me.  Would you know of such pieces?"

 

Blast, blasted, and blood and bloody buttered onions.

 

Eying the Librarians and her folder, Raeyn stifled a sigh and turned her attention on the Blue Sister, "Hello... Rossa, isn't it?"  The other woman nodded, and Raeyn continued, "I actually happen to have them up in my chambers, as I was doing some research on the matter myself... <i>not that she bloody needs to know about it!</i>  I'm loathe to let them out of my possession right now, as this is very important work..."

 

The Sister, barely a girl, really, appeared the soul of serenity to non-initiates of the Tower, but Raeyn had been an Aes Sedai long before this child had been born, if not her mother's mother!  The Blue's eyes tightened slightly; her hands curled very slightly before relaxing back onto the counter.  Yes, the child was had a muley streak, but then, didn't most Blues?

 

"I understand you must be busy, Raeyn," the child started, her eyes narrowing slightly, "But if at all possible, I have a great need in this."

 

<i>"Great,"</i> Raeyn thought as she ostentatiously reached for her folder, <i>"Bloody Blues when you don't need them are always pests with their </i>need, need, need<i> and causes... I might as well let her have access to the material in the <b>vague</b> hope of getting anything done today!</i>

 

"If your.. need.. is so great, Sister, then you may accompany me back to my chambers to peruse the materials avaiable," Raeyn spoke, keeping her voice pleasant and kindly, "Follow me, please."

 

Not checking to see if the Blue Sister was following, Raeyn glided towards the back exit to the Library.

 


 

The back way quickly lead the two Aes Sedai up to the Brown quarters above the Library, and Raeyn's chambers within.  Opening the door, Raeyn smiled and motioned the younger Sister into the room before shutting the door behind them.  She tossed the folder on the nearest table and headed over to the corner where the books on Keepings and other weaves were laid out.  Gesturing to one of the many stools in the room, Raeyn lowered herself into one of her few comfortable work chairs, "Pull up a stool Rossa, and let us see what we can figure out for your.. research, I would surmise?"

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~Rossa~

 

Rossa did as the older sister directed, picking up a stool from alongside the far wall and returning to the desk with it.  She arranged her skirts so it would not crease them, an old habit from her days at Court, and one she would not forget.  Her mother would never have her children appear at less than their best, and even though they were gone now.  This was one of the ways she would honour her mother’s memory.  The small carvings she had done all those years ago on the road to Tar Valon while the tears cried with grief were still fresh on her cheeks were still in her belt pouch.  The faces were worn now, but still recognisable as her family.  She should put a keeping on them to ensure their survival against the ravages of time.

 

She noticed that Raeyn was looking at her in a strange way.  Light blasted slips of composure were inexcusable!  “Yes,” Rossa began, folding her hands in her lap “it is for my research.  I am wondering whether we can work weave-based locks into barrels.  A trigger system to enable food to be kept, sealed, for as long as the weave lasts – be it the duration of a harsh winter or a few years.”

 

The texts looked as though they would hold the answer to her question, but there was something else here.  There was an ineffable sadness to the other sister here that she could not put her finger on.  “Do you think it would be possible?  Do you think we could help people live longer, doing what I have in mind?”  Rossa ventured. 

 

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Raeyn quirked an eyebrow at the other Sister.  Rossa had appeared to go into a sitting coma; the Blue Sister's hands kept drifting to her belt pouch for no discernible reason.  Shrugging to herself, the Saldaean woman patted her hair briefly while eying the pile of documents scattered across her desk.

 

Several untidy stacks spread across the large wrap-around desk.  Everything was loosely heaped by subject of interest; papers and folders stuck out untidily from the heaps.  The only other organization past that was that some of the folders were colored for various subjects... not that the Brown Sister could remember half the time what she had put in what color!

 

Thankfully for the other Sister, Raeyn <i>did</i> remember that the green folders were for her research on weaves, and that the folders to the top of the stack would more than likely be about Keepings.  <i>”That is, unless I was researching something else since then... bloody, I'm getting as muddle-minded  as a fluff-brained Novice from Far Madding.”</i>  Still, she stood and grabbed the top half of that wavering stack and took it back to her chair.  A quick scan confirmed that what she had before her was indeed what she wanted.

 

Turning to the other Sister, Raeyn could help but widen her eyes at the <b>still</b> catatonic-seeming Blue.  Rossa must have felt the older Sister's eyes upon her, for she shook herself and finally answered the question Raeyn had posed <i>minutes</i> ago, <b>“Yes, it is for my research.  I am wondering whether we can work weave-based locks into barrels.  A trigger system to enable food to be kept, sealed, for as long as the weave lasts – be it the duration of a harsh winter for a few years.”</b>

 

Raeyn gestured to the pile of books she had pulled over, carefully taking her own personal notes and putting them to the side.  She herself had been researching such weaves on orders from the darker side of the Tower.. but this child obviously didn't need to know that.  Rossa looked over at the Brown Sister, <b>”Do you think it would be possible?  Do you think we could help people live longer, doing what I have in mind?”</b>

 

Furrowing her brows thoughtfully, Raeyn stood and walked across the room to the fireplace.  Servants had laid wood for a fire since she'd left her chambers, and she took advantage.  A quick weave of Fire took the kindling, and shortly a merry blaze was burning.  Her eyes flicked across the miniatures on the mantle; the images of her long-dead parents and siblings lined up neatly between various artifacts.  Her hand twitched towards the one of her father before she remembered herself; it wouldn't do for anyone to know of the pain she still felt at his loss more than two hundred years on.

 

Shaking herself minutely, Raeyn turned back to the other Sister.  “Possible?” the Brown let a small smile twitch across her lips, “All things are possible, if the woman weaving is willing enough.”

 

Crossing back to the table, Raeyn leaned over and picked up one of her folders.  Flicking through it, she pulled out a page covered in notes.  She laid it in front of the  Blue and tapped it, “Here is some theory on the matter I had been working on; a matter of Spirit, you see.”  Embracing <i>Saidar</i> again, she demonstrated the weave she had been tinkering with.  “I don't know if this will work as of yet; my research and study on it is still in progress.  As for the weave lasting, that would obviously be a matter of the Sister weaving it being able to tie off her weaves; by all accounts, it should last forever if it's tied in place."

 

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