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Winter Mist

Red Rouge (Retro) - Attn: Elgee

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~Ivy ~


The trees bore their gentle mantles of spring with pride, Ivy thought.  Above her, wide arcs of pink and white blossoms decorated some of the younger trees danced in the gentle breeze that flickered idly among the boughs, scenting the air with their perfumed delicacy.  Ivy looked up from the sketch pad she had bought from a peddler of renown in the city proper and held her breath as one of the petals spiralled slowly to earth.


“Is this how it will be?  All things will fall in their appointed time.  Will I find him?  Will I?” 


She sighed, and blew the heads off some nearby flowers.  Cursing her hasty gesture, Ivy once again realised her own height and stature was larger than most.  An Ogier grown now, she had to be careful around the humans, whose movements were far smaller than her own.  Indeed, the sketchpad was dwarfed in her own hand, and the pencil-stick she was using a mere twig in her fingers.  Still, the depictions she carefully drew on the flat surface would remind her of the beauty of the grove here at Tar Valon.


Few of her kind had dwelt within these walls of recent years.  Fewer and fewer Ogier ventured from the safety of their Stedding and, Ivy reflected, they were losing their place within the world.  Only the most cosmopolitan towns and cities were remembering them now; the outer villages and smaller towns saw their kind as Trollocs or worse.  Several times she had run from the hastily wielded pitchforks of village folks wanting to defend themselves against Shadowspawn.  Were it not such a pity, Ivy would have laughed.


Yet they remembered here.  As long as the Aes Sedai were in Tar Valon, or even the world, the world would remember the builders.  Ivy smiled.  The peace and tranquillity of the grove here reminded her of the Stedding.  A small bee drifted among the flowers, lazily collecting pollen and going about his business.  Overhead, birds began to dart after insects amidst the blossom-laden boughs.  There was beauty here.


Looking up, she saw a figure on the edge of the grove.  Not wanting to scare her, even if it was an Aes Sedai that ought to know better than to mistake her for a creature of the Dark One, Ivy sat perfectly still as though she had not seen her.  If the White Tower had business with this representative of Ogier kind, let her approach.  Otherwise, let it be as nature intended. 


A few more pencil strokes were added to the sketch, and Ivy looked at it.  In her sausage-sized fingers, the pencil seemed tinier than usual, but it was more than her hand’s size that made it small.  She had used most of the pencil already.  Light!  She’d need to find that peddler again and buy a new one, perhaps in exchange for a sketch or two.  From memory, Ivy set about trying to draw the woman as she remembered her; dark hair, dark and mischievous eyes with the faintest of faint creases underneath that spoke of not enough sleep, and a figure used to the open road.  Hopefully it would at least be passable and appeal to the peddler’s ego enough to let her have the pencil in exchange; Ivy had little left in the way of coin.


The woman had not moved yet.  Turning her head, Ivy felt the sun warm her long chestnut hair and regarded her openly.  She wore a red dress and was really quite pretty.  Red Ajah then, if she were Aes Sedai and not some noble guest.  She smiled peacefully and put the pencil down, folding her hands calmly in her lap, and enjoyed the sunshine.

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Still quivering with frustrated rage, Zarinen stalked into the Grove.  She had hung onto her temper long enough to realise she had to get out of there, before she stuck her knife into one of those smirking Greens. She still wasn’t sure which enraged her more: their open disdain, or the more pitying faces of her Ajah Sisters. Light, do I really look that bad? And is that all they can see? Surely my looks, or lack thereof, cannot be so important?


It seemed they were, though. She had lost no time in cleaning herself up and donning one of her old red dresses, but that seemed to make no difference. Blasted blasted Greens … they can all rot in Shayol Ghul, for all I care! It was a lie, though. For some unfathomable reason she did care. She wanted to show them … to make them swallow each rapier like insult till they choked on it!


Her frustration boiled over again, and she started pacing up and down, up and down, gnawing at her dilemma, but no solution presented itself.  In frustration, she kicked at the unoffending flowers in her path, till a disapproving throat clearing brought her out of her funk.  Zarinen glared in the direction of whoever it was who dared disapprove of her, only to be met by the calm and gentle gaze of an Ogier woman.  Remorse flooded her instantly, making her olive skin flush darker.  She wanted to be alone, especially in her present mood, but it simply wasn’t done to insult one of these gentle creatures.  Hesitantly Zarinen approached the imposing figure, feeling like a novice caught in a prank.


“Forgiveness, please, friend Ogier … I should not have taken my frustrations out on the plants.” Zarinen forced herself to meet the woman’s eyes, face still flushed red. It seemed all she did lately was make a fool of herself. “If only I could be pretty!” She did not realise that she had said that out loud, so caught up was she in her own misery.


Zarinen Rafaliva

Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah


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