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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

I’m coming home……


Taeadra
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OOC: Mama, Mama I’m coming home  :D  Sorry, needed a little Ozzy reference in here.

 

It was early morning, the sun not yet breaking over the horizon and the streets of Tar Valon were virtually empty, with the exception of a few merchants readying their wares for the day’s market.  This suited her just fine.  It had been many years since she had left the Tower and a noisy homecoming was not what she needed. 

 

Quiet.  Quiet was Tae’s desire at the moment.  Solitude to puzzle out the mysteries she had discovered during her journey.

 

But before any puzzle work could be done, Tae had other responsibilities to attend. With this many years away from the Tower and no contact with anyone, she was sure there would be much in the Tower that she would need to catch up on.  “Politics!” she though dryly to herself, “Politics and posturing.”  Before leaving, she had thought little of the position of the Tower on many subjects, and she had no doubt that that would change little, now that she had returned.

 

Taeadra did not acknowledge the looks she received from those waiting in line to be heard in the Tower.  “You child, come here,” she motioned for an Accepted, marked by her banded dress, to come to her as she dismounted from her horse.  “take my horse to the stables and be sure she is well cared for, she has ridden hard lately.”

 

Tae arched an eyebrow at the girl as she concealed a grin at the Accepted’s reaction to her.  Tae was dressed as she always was when riding; snug riding pants tucked into knee length boots worn soft from years of use and a silk shirt.  The Accepted had no doubt looking at Taeadra’s face that she was indeed Aes Sedai, but the girl still had more than some trouble hiding her shock at Tae’s appearance.  It was one of the many reasons, beyond comfort, that Tae rode dressed as she was.  “You aren’t going to make me repeat myself are you?” she asked the girl.

 

“I, well, I, no, no Aes Sedai,” the girl stuttered out as she took the reins.

 

“Well then be on your way,” she said.

 

Tae turned on her heel now oblivious to the stares and headed toward the Warder’s Yard.  She wasn’t sure she would find Mari awake at this hour, but awake or not, Tae knew that Mari must be her first reunion.

 

Little had changed since her leaving, not that she had truly expected it to.  The sounds of practice swords clacking against each other reached her ears before the Yard came into sight and Tae knew that the Yards would be a buzz of activity, even this early in the morning.  The sun had finally edged over the horizon, though the hour was still early.

 

As she entered the Yard, Tae glanced around at those Warders, Guards, and Trainees that were about, not seeing any that she recognized right away.  She headed in the general direction of the barracks with the intention of waking Mari if necessary. 

Again, she could feel the eyes on her of those curious about the strange Aes Sedai walking through the Yards, and again she ignored them. When Tae’s mind was set on a purpose, little else could distract her from it.

 

She was nearly half way across the Yards when she spotted Mari sitting on a fence, looking, well Tae couldn’t even begin to decipher how Mari was looking and this puzzled her.  When she was within hearing she called to her Wardress, “Well, at least I didn’t have to wake you….”

 

What happened next was beyond anything that Tae could have imagined.  Mari looked up at her and Tae watched as the color drained from her face faster than water cascading out of a bucket with no bottom.  Mari’s lips moved as if to say something but before the words could form, the Warder fainted straight away and fell from the fence.  As Tae ran towards her, she tried to understand Mari’s reaction and was left with no reason.  Of course, it had been years since Tae had left the Tower, but that was no reason to faint!

 

Then it hit Tae, “Light!” she said as she knelt down and quickly undid the weave that masked their bond….

 

 

Taeadra

Sister of the White Ajah

Bonded to Mariasha

Returned Home at Last 

 

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Another sleepless night full of bad dreams.

 

Anything to escape the bad dreams.  Even rising long before the sun itself rose.

 

And yet, that's what Mariasha herself did.  Of course, this came on top of her normally strenuous routine of training and drinking, so the young Andoran woman was left feeling flimsy, almost insubstantial.

 

Still, she stumbled through her morning ablutions and found herself outside before the raising sun felt the need to make an appearance.  Some of the trainees were already hard at work under the eye of brighter-eyed instructors than herself; she preferred to run afternoon courses when Thera managed to corner her into teaching. 

 

Climbing up to her accustomed spot on the fence, she settled into a brown study of the trainees.  Pretty much everyone around the Yards knew it was her habit to spend some time watching the newer people train while she woke up enough to go grab a bite to eat, and <i>especially</i> considering the hour, knew better than to disturb her; she'd made it clear to many unwary folk that she was <b>not</b> a morning person.

 

So it came as something of a surprise when someone crossed through the sparse population of the Yard and came right at her... someone looking <i>very</i> familiar!  Rubbing sleep out of eyes, Mari blinked, expecting the person coming towards her to vanish; her Aes Sedai had been gone for <i>years</i>, she <i>had</i> to be dead.

 

Which left her one conclusion - it had to be her Aes Sedai's spirit come back to haunt her!  Attempting to stand and warn those around her of the spirit, exhaustion and shock overcame her, and she fainted dead away, falling off the fence.

 


 

When she came to, Mariasha found herself in an unfamiliar room.  Groaning softly, she could felt even weaker and more tired than she had before waking the first time that day.  Suddenly, a face leaned over her; it was Taeadra's spirit again!

 

With a gasp, she waved her arms feebly to try and drive the spirit out of her line of sight, and was <i>very</i> surprised to meet flesh.  Blinking, she felt a small jolt of shock and pain in her head, </i>"In... my.. head.. WHAT?!"</i>

 

She fainted again.

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Tae sighed as once again Mariasha’s eyes closed and her head fell slack against the bed.  Irritation played mildly across her skin as she the eyes upon her.  The infirmary was the last place she would like their reunion played out, but there had been no easy way out of having Mariasha brought here.

 

Fortunately, if you could call Mariasha’s condition fortunate, it was Mariasha herself, or rather her body, who gave the perfect story as to why they were here.  Light knew Taeadra did not want to explain why her Warder had fainted, not once, but several times and kept mumbling about ghosts.  The fact that Taeadra had masked their bond was a discussion between Tae and Mari, no other ears would be welcome as far as Tae was concerned.  It would lead only to many questions, and she knew well enough there would be plenty of those without any mention of this!

 

Tae’s brow furrowed as she looked upon the women she knew so well and saw the effects of her disappearance from the Tower.  Though a cursory glance at the Warder would tell most she was fit, if maybe slightly tired, Tae saw more than that. Ah, Mariasha! What have I done? She thought to herself, quickly followed by, you fool woman!

 

She stood then and approached the Yellow sister who had first tended to Mariasha. Though she had found no apparent reason for Mariasha’s fainting, she had smoothed over some of the ill affects of Mariasha’s treatment of her body.

 

Tae and the Yellow sister spoke for many minutes as Tae convinced her fellow sister to release Mariasha to Tae’s room.  It was only when Tae mentioned that Mariasha would be less than pleased to have been brought to the infirmary when there was little wrong with her that the Yellow finally agreed; though Tae had to promise to notify the sister if anything out of the ordinary happened with Mariasha.  Out of the ordinary indeed! If only you knew…

 

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

 

The day passed slowly with no other incidences from Mariasha since she had woken briefly in the infirmary.  Taeadra sat patiently by her bed, waiting.  In her mind she ran through many reasons she could give Mariasha for why she had left, and more so, why she had felt it necessary to hide her leaving from her Warder.  She had come up with nothing that would suffice Mariasha, and Taeadra knew full well that when the other woman woke, the truth would be the only thing to satisfy her.

 

Though that did not stop Tae from attempting to rationalize a lesser version of the truth in her mind…

 

“How….are…you…here?” She heard from the bedside and blinked from her internal thoughts to see Mariasha pointing at her head.

 

Taeadra stood and poured two cups of tea and returned to the bedside, pleased to see that Mariasha was still awake, though staring at Tae as if she had well and truly seen a ghost.  “Sit and drink first.  Slowly now,” she told Mariasha, hoping to avoid what she knew was coming, if for only a few minutes more….

 

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As she came back to consciousness again, Mari continued to lay on the bed with her eyes closed, <i>”Okay Mari,”,</i> she thought to herself as she attempted to take stock of the day, <i>”You’ve seen a wraith, fallen off a wall.. oh Light..”</i>

 

Hesitantly opening her eyes again, Mari realized pretending she might still be out was in vain, considering that which had returned to her head.  Still, even with that in <b>mind</b>, it seemed that perhaps Taeadra hadn’t quite realized that her Warder had come to.  <i>“Perhaps she’s as unused to having the bond back in place as me,”</i> she though wryly as she tried to sit up, <i>”Or perhaps she’s preoccupied to the point she’s not noticed I’ve awoken.”</i>..

 

Trying to push up feebly, she slowly wobbled her head towards Taeadra, “How… are… you… here?!” the weary red-headed woman attempted to demand.  She managed to wobble a weak arm up towards Taeadra’s slightly startled face, though she had to wonder if the effort was worth it.

 

The part of her that was Taeadra went very still as the White Sister brought over two mugs of tea, “Sit and drink first.  Slowly now.”  Tae instructed firmly, as was the older woman’s nature.  Shooting her Sister a mild glare, Mari weakly wrestled herself closer to upright, and as if putting her hand on the mug was a signal, was absurdly grateful to have something on hand to whet her even more parched-feeling throat with.

 

In spit of not trying to gulp it down, it was almost as fast as blinking; Mariasha pushed the mug back towards the woman sitting at her side to request a refill.  Taeadra wordlessly put her mug down and attended to refilling Mari’s; the bond was still <i>very</i> still, as if the Aes Sedai were trying to hide something.

 

Sighing softly, Mari decided to take a belated moment to figure out where they were.  It had seemed ages since she’d been here in her Sister’s rooms, but there was a sense of familiarity under the faint sheen of dust, <i>“I guess the servants only bothered to poke their heads in here every few weeks or so,”</i> she mused to herself, trying to think on <b>anything</b> but the strange events of the day.  Not.. that she could really avoid them, with Taeadra’s return, and the growing thead of anxiety creeping in through the bond as the other woman returned with another mug of tea.

 

Murmuring gratitude, Mari blew on the tea briefly to cool it.  She plunged her head through the wisps of steam and took a very healthy gulp of the fresh glass.  Placing it back on the table with extreme care, she turned her attention back to Taeadra, “There… is a lot I could be asking right now…” she started, fighting down the urge to smile as the thread of anxiety expanded, along with a wave of concern, “But I don’t think that I’m going to be in any shape for this until I’ve had a meal or three… I take it I’ve been Healed?”  Tae nodded assent, though it wasn’t as if she needed to.

 

Mariasha nodded back, and braced her flimsy arms against the mattress.  Alarm raced into the bond as Taeadra gently pushed her back down, “I’ll go fetch you something.  You’re not ready to be out of this bed yet, so stay here until I get back.”  Command rolled naturally off of her Sister’s tongue, and Mari could only bend her head in agreement for the time being.

 

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Now that Mari had woken, Taeadra could not help but notice that part of her mind that held the bond between her Mariasha. As she made her way back from the kitchens, Tae continued to keep her thoughts very still, very quiet.  There were enough warring emotions coming from Mari that they did not need to add any of Tae’s to them.  This was not as easy a task as Tae would have liked it to have been; from the beginnings of their bond, the two women had learned that they were tied even closer than either thought they would have been.  Tae was hoping that that fact would now help their situation. Perhaps if her thoughts and feelings were calm, Mariasha would remain calm as well.  Light let it be so…. Though in truth, she held little hope for that.

 

She found her Warder sitting on the edge of the bed when she entered her room and could feel through their bond that the other woman was still weak, not only from the healing, but from whatever abuse she’d doled out to herself since Tae’s departure.  Again, Tae found herself controlling her emotions, though there was no doubt the her concern and a bit of anger leaked through to Mari; especially when Mariasha turned to face her.

 

Tae set the tray down on a small table near the bed and then took the chair she’d been sitting in all day, directly across from her Warder.  Their eyes met and for some time neither of them spoke, but rather felt each other through their bond.  There was, of course, concern on both sides and no shortage of anger, though both women were working to control it.  It never failed to amaze Tae how Mari could set the Aes Sedai’s emotions roiling as she could.  Almost from the time the bond was laid upon the two, Taeadra, who had had centuries to learn to control her emotions, had found herself having to re-learn the art of schooling them.  But she did, in the end, manage to remain very still on the inside, matching the cool look her Warder would see upon her face.

 

“I am sure you have many questions, but I would suggest,” the way Tae said the word left little room to truly believe it was merely a suggestion, “you eat your fill and gain some strength back. “  Mari did eat, though Tae knew that she would much rather have her questions answered.  When the food was gone, Mariasha looked at Taeadra, her eyes hardening. Tae broke the silence before Mariasha could, “Ask what you will, I will answer what I can.”  The Aes Sedai could feel then through the bond years of worry, fear, and anger spill over the Warder, but was nonetheless impressed that none of it showed on Mari’s face, nor could be heard in her words.

 

OOC:  Okay…I was going to take the liberty of writing in some of Mari’s questions…but ah…you should do that for sure ;)  You know how Tae will answer, or feel free to make ‘em short posts for a bit and we’ll have a little fun with it.  :D

 

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As Taeadra exited the room, Mari let herself collapse back onto the bed.  “Riiight, show how sorted out you are… try standing, brilliant,” Mariasha muttered to herself, squeezing her eyes shut.  She couldn’t remember a time she had felt so weak before, and part of her knew this wasn’t really the time to actually be in the weaker position!

 

Taking a deep breath, she inched herself backwards against the headboard, and feebly turned over.  Grabbing onto the side of the headboard, she carefully levered herself back up into a sitting position; she leaned against the headboard with her legs dangling off the bed.  Gulping air, she grumbled to herself and had a bit more tea.

 

As she leaned against the headboard sipping her tea, the young Warder let her frustration and annoyance melt away.  In truth, she was still in too much of a state of shock to register it all, and found it much easier to focus on her weakened physical state.  She had heard from some of the other Warders who had been on campaign with their Sisters that Healing did tend to make a person weaker, but that they were able to draw on the added strength the bond provided to continue on… so why couldn’t she?

 

Granted, Taeadra had been gone for so long... longer than the time before she left when the bond was still new.  As it were, Taeadra’s presence was… almost uncomfortable in her head after all this time… had it been as such before?

 

She was musing on this when she felt Taeadra pausing nearby.  Putting the tea down, Mari leaned away from the headboard; she felt it was important to at least look as if she weren’t as feeble as she felt, <i>”Even if all Taeadra has to do is pay attention to what’s in her head,”</i> she thought wryly as the door opened.

 

“I am sure you have many questions, but I would <b>suggest</b> you eat your fill and gain some strength back,” Taeadra announced firmly as she carried the tray over.  The White Sister flashed a stern glance at the younger Andoran woman as she placed the tray on the side table, and Mari scootched herself back against the headboard as she reached for the cutlery.

 

Taeadra had brought up a mountain of food, it seemed, but the famishment that followed Healing drove Mariasha through it all in short order.  Squinting at the empty plates, she turned her attention to the White Sister.  “Ask what you will, I will answer what I can,”  Taeadra spoke, gesturing towards the woman sitting on the bed beside her.  Opening her mouth, Mari started to speak… but was stopped when a yawn escaped.

 

“I… think…,” she started, punctuation each word with another yawn, “I think that I should maybe go back to sleep.  We can try this again tomorrow.. mmkay?”  Mari smiled at the touch of shock that rolled through the bond, but as she let herself slid back flat against the bed, her thoughts died off and sleep rolled over her almost instantly.

 

 

 

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“Light,” Taeadra breathed as Mariasha fell into a deep sleep.  She knew that the young woman needed to rest and recuperate, but  also knew that until the two of them could talk about Tae’s absence, no matter how much Tae would rather not, that neither woman would feel rest in the minds.

 

Tae sat in the chair near the bedside and began to work out the puzzle of her trip in her head.  It had been so strange. So many of her contacts who had fallen silent were, in actuality, missing. And many of those she had found were frightened to the point of muteness.  It had taken her months with many of them to rebuild the trust that had been broken...but why?  What had caused them to shy away from her.  Many had been in her network for generations, passing down the duty from mother to daughter, son to father. And yet in these times...

 

Tae drifted off to sleep thinking and woke only when the first rays of sun slide gently through the window.  Mariasha was still sleeping, apparently deeply so, as Tae watched her chest rise and fall with each breath. 

 

“Hrmph!” she snorted as she rose from her chair to stretch and looked around her room for the first time since returning to the Tower.  With the exception of a fine layer of dust, the room was just as she had left it.  She had felt, the moment she had entered the room, the weaves she had in place over several of the shelves in her bookcase protecting items that she wished no others to see.

 

The room was large, but not overly so, fitting for an Aes Sedai.  At least that is how Taeadra remembered it being put to her the first time she had entered this room, what seemed to be ages ago.  In that time, little had changed about this place of solace for the Sister.  Sparsely filled, the room held only the bed, a small table and the chair she had been sitting in, three large bookcases and a desk.  The only real decoration in the room had was a painting that sat over the fireplace.

 

Tae poked her head out of the room and motioned to a servant she saw walking through the halls.  After giving the woman instructions on the food she wanted brought for Mariasha, Tae turned her attention back to the room and never noticed when the food was delivered and placed on the table as she had requested.

 

She walked to the fireplace, deciding at that moment a fire would be welcome in the room.  Pleased to see pieces of wood already piled there, Tae channeled a small tendril of Fire into the wood until small, soothing flames began to leap from it.  Her eyes moved up the fireplace and rested on the painting that hung above it. 

 

The canvas was massive, running the length of the fireplace and easily that again in height, and the picture upon it was something that few who entered this room had ever understood.  As was to be expected as Taeadra had never truly understood it herself, though it had been her hand that painted it.  She stood transfixed for a time, remembering painting it soon after she had been raised to Accepted. As the memory of her Arches surfaced, Tae felt the tingling in her mind that always accompanied them.  That feeling that there was something she still needed to learn from them, but as always, the knowledge was just out of reach.

 

She ran her hands over the harsh red and black swirls and strokes that covered the painting, looking as if the hand that had put them there was filled with anger.  In a way it was true, Tae had been devastated with the point of anger after leaving the last Arch.  What she had seen in each arch was a puzzle that haunted her to this day. 

 

As her hand approached the hawk that filled the center of the painting, a small smile crept across her features.  “Ah, Thor, how I miss you.”  Tae stood there for a long time lost in thoughts of her Arches and her trip and nearly jumped when she felt Mariasha’s shoulder brush hers as the woman came to stand beside her.

 

Tae calmed herself quickly, and spoke without looking at Mari, “I trust you slept well.  I have had one of the servants bring breakfast.  I assume you are still hungry?”  Tae motioned to the tray sitting on the table and waited for the other woman…..

 

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<i>To sleep, perchance to dream…</i>

 

To dream, perchance, but perhaps not to remember; at least, no memories from the latest sleep remained in the young Warder’s mind as she stirred towards consciousness.  The bone-weariness and weakness of the prior day appeared to have sloughed off in the night, and Mariasha felt more rested than she had in some time.

 

In her mind, she could almost pretend that the last 2 years or so of solitude were all a dream; she could feel Taeadra standing off to the side deep in thought, and smell breakfast from the nearby table.  <i>”She spends as much time as a Brown in studious thought, but hides it better,”</i>  Mari thought fondly as she easily sat up and swung her legs around to hang off the side of the bed.

 

She stood and stretched; the motion felt <b><i>wonderful</i></b> after having slept for a day!  Her dear Sister still stood in deep thought staring at a painting above the mantle, muttering to herself.  The Andoran woman couldn’t help but smile as she sauntered up to join Taeadra, accidentally brushing the other woman’s shoulder as she did so.

 

For all Tae’s outward reaction, the bond jumped briefly, “I trust you slept well.  I have had one of the servants bring breakfast… I assume you are still hungry?”  Taeadra gestured behind her shoulder, her gaze still intent on the painting.  With a widening of her smile into an outright grin, Mari casually bowed before heading over to the food.

 

And Light, she <i>was</i> still hungry!  Slathering butter and jam generously on some of the toast,  Mari called out, “Why don’t you come join me for some breakfast, then, and tell me about this painting that you’re so intently staring at.  I’m guessing that it’s something important to you, and I’ve never thought to ask about it before.”

 

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OOC: Not exactly what I wanted it to be....but I think it'll do :)

 

Taeadra felt the bond tentatively for any sign that Mari was anything other than as she appeared; content, happy, hungry.  Tae felt nothing other than just what Mari was showing and though perplexed, she turned from the fireplace and took a seat across from the other woman at the table. 

 

As she laid some breakfast on a plate for her, Taeadra thought on how best to answer Mari’s question. She’d been asked before about the painting, and always had been able to give the same answer.  Her arches.  That was enough for any Aes Sedai or Accepted to hear to know they need ask no more about it. Generally, ones Arches were kept to oneself. Tae knew of very few who talked about them openly, yet she knew she could not simply say that to Mari. 

 

“The painting,” she began, “is a reflection of a time that, though my heart would rather forget, my head knows should never be forgotten. You are aware that there are many…..tests….Aes Sedai are required to do in our time at the Tower, just as you were required to become Gaidin.” Taeadra truly had no idea just how much Mariasha knew about becoming Aes Sedai, but pressed on as if she was privy to all the knowledge Taeadra had.

 

Though Taeadra would have liked nothing more than to invent a story about the painting, and not reveal to Mari the true meaning behind it, she was bound mind, heart, and soul, not only by the Oaths, but by the bond she had laid upon the other woman to be truthful.  Her mind had already played out several versions of the truth that she could certainly have told Mari and not forsaken any of those bonds, however, looking into Mari’s eyes, Tae felt compelled to give the woman nothing but the truth.

 

Tae’s arches had left a permanent mark on her heart, and were a large part of the reason she had left the Tower without Mariasha to accompany her.  Though the loss of a Warder in her arches was not real, as many would believe, it was a feeling she knew she would carry with her always and looking at Mariasha now, she knew it was a feeling, the Light serve, she would be the only one of the two to feel again someday.

 

Taeadra turned in her chair and stared out the window as she spoke, “I was required to face my fears once, ‘tis a difficult thing to do when you don’t know what your true fears are.  I learned mine, however, and when I completed my…..test, this painting was a compilation of what I saw there.  If you look closely at the painting you will see souless eyes in the black, fearful eyes in the red.  I do not know what they mean, save for a fear of the Dark One.”  Taeadra still did not glance at Mariasha, but slowly felt herself reliving those memories.

 

“Oh yes, I fear the Father of Lies, as should all who walk in the light. Do you know, that is one reason that I chose the White Ajah. He is bond to destroy reason and logic, I am bond to preserve it.” It was rare that Taeadra spoke so openly, but something about the moment pressed her on. “The hawk you see pictured was ever present in my test. I thought, once long ago, that it meant I needed a hawk of my own, but with many,” she put emphasis on the word, “years to try and reason it out, I have come to believe that it was merely a representation of the truth and knowledge I must seek out.”

 

She turned back to the table then and was pleased to see that the surprise on Mariasha’s face was nearly as overt as what she felt inside. It was rare that Taeadra shared as much as she had just then, and she only hoped that what she had told would satisfy the other woman. She had left much out of the story, but every word she had spoken was true.  She thought she had kept her feelings very muted as she spoke, but she was not sure how much Mari had felt through the bond.

 

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Mari poured up some tea for both herself and Taeadra as the other woman settled into the chair across the table.  The White Sister nodded distractedly as she began setting up some breakfast for herself.

 

Presently, Taeadra spoke, and spoke at length.  Mariasha was sort of aware of what tests an initiate of the Tower went through, but obviously not the details thereof.  Still, it perplexed her to have Taeadra open up like this.  This was a woman who lived fully in control of herself and her surroundings, and it was almost frightening to feel the little pulses of fear that went along with her recollection of events.

 

Fear of the Dark One and his destruction though was something that anyone in the Yards would empathize with.  She <i>knew</i> that her Aes Sedai opposed the Dark One fervently, so why was she so surprised by the fear?

 

Shaking her head, Mari speared another piece of ham onto her plate.  Chewing thoughtfully for a moment, she swallowed and looked across the table.  Taeadra had turned her attention to a piece of bread, and was buttering it with a studied fury; did she feel as if she'd said too much?  "That sounds pretty... harrowing, Tae.  I wouldn't want to pit myself against such a test.. and yet, this is something expected of all of your Sisters, isn't it?"  The pain in Taeadra's suddenly upturned eyes was answer enough, and Mari shook her head yet again, "But then, your lot carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.  But cheer up - you have some support in your Gaidin, right?"  A merry twinkle flashed in Mariasha's eyes, and she poured another round of tea.

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Taeadra was raising her cup to her mouth when she froze, mid-air and gave the other woman a flat stare. Did her eyes just twinkle?

 

"I do indead have the support of my Gaidin." she said carefully. Light but this woman confused her.  Where there should be anger, there was a twinkling in her eyes as if amused. Where there should be direct questions about Tae's disappearnce, there were none. Tae knew that if circumstances were reversed, she would not have let up on Mari until she had the answers she felt satisfied them.

 

But Mari looked as if it were just another day, and her Aes Sedai hadn't just shown up after so many years absence. Tae shook her head and finished bringing the cup to her lips. This was a puzzle she was not going to try and figure out now.  She was simply going to be greatful she didn't have to come up with any answers yet.  Yet.  She knew there would come a time, but for now, Tae let everything go and smiled.

 

"And there is not another Gaidin I would rather have by my side." She thought she felt a twinge of irritation through the bond for just the slightest moment, but it was gone nearly as quickly as it appeared.  Tae held her smile, not forced, and continued as if she had felt nothing, if Mari was going to act as if nothing had happened, then so was she.  "Tell me of lighter things Mariasha, anything."  Tae knew that when Mari began talking, she would certainly find many subjects, some stumbling over each other, to talk about.

 

OOC:  Yeah....left the ball in your lap totally :P

 

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<i>"Why is Taeadra so antsy?  Why can't she just be happy that things are back to normal?"</i> Mari mused to herself, suffering a quick pang of irritation before joy smothered it again.  It was truly hard to be upset about things at the exact moment, but Tae had seemed somewhat subdued and on edge since returning.  Mari had initially attributed it to her Sister's concern over her Warder's well-being, but now the young Andoran woman didn't know what to make of it at all!

 

"Tell me of lighter things Mariasha, anything."  Tae smiled across the table, seeming somewhat at ease for the first time since her return.  Grinning back, Mari started to tell about some of the new arrivals to the Yards, and their amusing mess-ups during training, their misconceptions, and how it all rolled into a big ball of undignified fun for the more senior Tower Guards and Warders to chuckle at in remembrance.  And speaking of remembering...

 

"I dare say, Tae, that I probably should report back to the Yards.  I'm sure that Thera is wondering what became of me, and I should probably let the trainees I was going to help yesterday know what became of me so they don't think I ran out on them a-purpose."  Flashing a grin, she patted Taeadra's hand before standing,  "I'm sure we can get back to our catching up over dinner."  She bowed formally, "Until then, Aes Sedai."  A smile flashed across her lips again, and Mariasha was out the door.

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