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Sirayn

Night of Madness - The Bubble of Evil [Open]

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Ooc: This is an off-timeline, showcase demonstration of the Division’s talent. All members of the White Tower Div are encouraged to post. Use your imagination as to what happens and if you run short of plot, check out this post for ideas; anything is possible in a Bubble of Evil. The thread lasts one week from Monday 12th of June.

 

*

 

On the stroke of midnight the world changed.

 

A thousand stars glittered in the skies like a painter’s masterwork. They shed a pale and sharply silver light over the dreaming world beneath them; starlight fell across the great swell of mountains and the sweep of fields, all shrouded in darkness that softened crude edges and pooled shadow in every hollow. Far below the swathe of stars a city slumbered in as close to silence as such a great place ever got. The tall white walls that had created its other title shone serene in the stillness, and behind them, like a ghost in the night, rose a great white stronghold. Around its massive base only shadows stirred. The occasional light glimmered up and down its length in testament to its nightly business. Long into the black watches of the night the Tower stood sentinel over its white city.

 

Even as the hour chimed midnight, twelve slow strokes of a great bell, the change stole in unnoticed. No whisper heralded its coming, nor did anything perceptible change which those left awake could put their finger on; but any lights left still burning wavered, just a little, and perhaps one or two who burned the midnight oil were given a moment’s pause at which to wonder. In this new age of men and machines some instincts had lain dormant for centuries. Relics of older times, they stirred now in response to a hundred subtle signals … the lights’ tremble, the midnight hour, perhaps a fractional cooling in the temperature … and all across the city the change moved on. Light sleepers stirred. Babes in their cradles began to cry. Shadows in the street outside scuttled for cover. Shut away behind several layers of stone and wood, the oblivious and the weary slept on unwitting.

 

At thirteen minutes past midnight, though few owned the complex and expensive mechanisms needed to time so exactly, every light in the city winked out. No guttering of flames, no dimming of lanterns: one moment light, the next moment darkness. Down in the city someone started screaming. The thin sound bounced in among stone houses and dwindled. In some streets mist began to boil up from the flagstones themselves. Dense and white and ghostlike, those creeping tendrils twined round houses and stole up among the graceful bridges that crossed back and forth across streets, tapped at windows. The mist muffled a little of the sound, confused anyone who stepped out unwary into the street and some might have sworn that it hid other things; shadows, perhaps, or forms that surely only legend could have brought forth. Sounds of panic and chaos rose above the clamouring city and …

 

… clocks stopped ticking.

… thirteen children vanished, snatched from their cradles and never seen again.

… a cathedral of classic architecture some centuries old started to fail. Stone slipped. Wood creaked. A spire some ten feet high slid off the roof and shattered on the street stones far below like a dropped glass.

… an innkeeper stepped outside to find that where a proud white banner had once flown from the chimney, now a black banner hung dead and dark in its place.

… a shop of finely blown glassware resounded to a succession of cracks. Inside each piece in turn was exploding, from largest to smallest, and when an unwary someone opened the door a huge shard ripped out their throat.

… all the flowers in the city started to grow at a manic pace, spilled blooms and thorns everywhere, and creepers formed a dense and prickly mat on the ground.

… the first man to venture out into the mist got swallowed up in an instant; moments later half a dozen versions wearing his face exited in different directions.

… cells beneath the city opened to release a hundred criminals.

 

And still the change moved on. It was a night of madness, of mayhem and mystery; a night when all normal rules were cast aside; a night in which fate, that great guiding hand, twisted together the most bizarre and disparate threads. In this night legends would fall and new stories rise, courage and determination could fail forever, and the onslaught of the world’s evil stepped up another notch. Yet lest anyone falter, all isolated and stricken by fear in the midst of this disorder, let it be remembered that the Tower had gone on standing for countless centuries and seen out countless hard times. Kings had quailed from the wrath of this great white beacon in the night; and even in this bitter hour, driven into a path of desperation, all was not lost. Let it never be said that the fabled Tower could not weather this storm too … nor that it was short of heroes.

 

Hail to the Tower!

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Guest Estel

The chiming of the clock went unnoticed by the woman soundly sleeping in her bed. It was ironic that her dreams were happy, when such evil approached. But since when had anything in her life been logical? She would never have made it as a White.

 

She woke up with a gasp, hands flying to her throat. At least, she tried to gasp, no air reached her lungs. Her eyes popped as she struggled with the person- or was it a person? Whoever was strangling her had awefully bony fingers. How were such obviously muscless hands so strong?

 

She reached to the One Power, but in her sudden panic could not embrace it. Why was it always out of reach when she needed it most?

 

Her head began to pound from lack of air. She thrashed about her bed, if she had been a little less panicked and a little more cohesive, she would have wondered why she could do so freely.

 

With a loud 'thump' she and her attacker fell to the ground. She rolled around her floor desperately, her struggles growing weaker. The room around her grew fuzzy. Her body slowly began to shut down as she died.

 

Something cold brushed her wrist as she flailed. With a desperate hope she tried to grab it. She threw herself closer. It was a wonder none of the other Blues heard the struggle, her choking noises deafened her ears.

 

Her fingers closed around something round. A pommelstone?- only if the Creator took part on her behalf, he never had before.

 

As if there really was some Good Being up there, she pulled her beltknife towards her. Her fingers held onto barely enough strength to pick up the thing.

 

Pure luck kept her alive, as she used the kinfe to stab at whatever had a grip on her throat. She felt the kinfe bite into her own flesh and she quickly jerked it out before she could do any damage.

 

The grip loosened enough for her to draw a breath. In that moment, breath was better than saidar. She yanked whatever was around her neck and threw it to the ground, leaping to her feet in the process.

 

When she saw what her attacker was, she fell onto her bed in shock. It was her whip! Right then, she wanted nothing more than to get away from whatever had possessed her whip to attack her.

 

Heedless of her naked body she threw herself through the door- and into chaos. "What's happening?" Her scream went unnoticed in the mayhem.

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Guest Faile1987

Tiredness and exhaustion had nearly overwhelmed Faile as she had gone to bed late at night, again later than usual for any Novice and later than she was allowed to. Again she had spent hours working in the library, but hours of daydreaming about that one night when she had secretly met with Danian only a few days agon. Smiling in her sleep she was again living through that night that had been more like a dream than anything Faile had ever dreamed of before. With the exception that this had been no dream, but reality as unbelievable as it had seemed to her then. Still she was feeling Danian´s hand holding hers, the sweet taste and the touch of his lips on hers, the warmth of his body when he was holding her. She still found herself unable to fathom what had happened, uncapable to cope with the rush of emotion surging through her even when merely remembering how they had met and what had happened then.

 

Faile smiled in her sleep as she felt Danian´s hands caressing her face and smoothing hair hair, his lips coming closer and closer to her face, hers already eagerly opening to his when suddenly her head was jerked up violently and cruelly bent back as she was literally jerked to awareness and out of sleep. Faile couldn´t even let out a scream when she suddenly felt cold sharp steel pressing against her neck, daring her to move and she would be dead in an instant. For a second Faile believed she still was in a kind of nightmare as everything seemed to happen too abruptly and she took a second to realize that this was no nightmare, but cruel reality as she recognized the one who was about to kill her though.

 

A scornful sneer was marring Danian´s face and his features appeared oddly twisted, madness flickering in his once gentle eyes. “Light no! This can´t be true!â€, Faile thought frantically, her heart wanting to refuse service right away as she was feeling to already die inside. What had happened to her Danian, the man that had treated her so gently and lovingly before?

 

Suddenly Faile became not only aware of the fact that she herself did wear absolutely nothing, not even the blanket of her bed concealing her nakedness anymore, but Danian´s upper body was bare as well, him only wearing his usul linen pants and soft boots. It wasn´t his indecent dressing that made her take in breath sharply between her teeth though as she looked at the man she loved, or at least had believed he had as well. His whole chest was covered with crisscrossed angry red welts, not even halfway healed as though he had received them only recently. Faile gasped in shock at his appearance and suddenly she remembered how their first meeting, that dream had ended with both of them being caught and severely punished. Light she had thought Faerzyne Sedai had treated her harshly, but her switching was nothing against the welts she was seeing on Danian and she wanted to cry out and apologize to him as she now knew why he must hate her as he stood before her dagger still pressed to her neck about to cut her throat any second. “I´m sorry Danianâ€, she sobbed, panic and misery overwhelming her, Light she knew that she should never have let it come that far. Light what had she done to him?

 

“You are sorry? You?â€, he suddenly raised his voice that didn´t even slightly resemble the warm and gentle tone he used to speak to her with. His voice now was hoarse and raspy and underlaid with such a hate it made Faile shudder. “You feel sorry now after everything you have done? You have ruined my life, Faile! I have been cast out of the Warders Yard because of our meeting, because you didn´t want me to go!â€

An icy lump formed in Faile´s stomach suddenly spreading inside her. So she had not only inflicted those terrible wounds on his body that so terribly disfigured him, but moreover she had caused him to be sent away just because of a foolish fancy she had hand. A fancy that wasn´t worth what she had done to him now and Faile didn´t even realize tears running down her cheeks as she stodd there immobile, feeling Danian´s dagger at her throat knowing he would kill her now with that mad hateful flicker in his eyes. Light what had she done to him? Was it for her that he had become like this up to killing her to avenge a life she had destroyed forever now? She would never have thought him capable of doing something like that, he had always been so nice and gentle towards her that she had even been wondering if the harsh life of the Warders´Yard was the right thing for him. But she knew about his past and what had made him and his brother come to the White Tower, they had had no other choice, no other place to go and now her own stupidity had even taken that from him after he had had to leave his homecountry and his family behind. No, Faile wasn´t sure she didn´t deserve to be killed as the appearance and the actions of Danian just seemed to tear her apart, kill her inside. She really didn´t know if she coould go on like that always knowing about the guilt she had burdened herself with, about having ruined the man she loved unlike she had loved anyone in her life.

 

And still there was something inside her that resisted. That wanted to stay alive, to not go like that. Something that seemed to break through her now that very instant as if suddenly having come to life. Faile didn´t even realize what was happening when she had already embraced Saidar and driven a sword made of Air right through Danian´s ribs. He staggered back from the impact, eyes widened in shock and surprise, the dagger falling out of his numb hands clanking to the ground as he waverd and went to his knees falling back with a look of sadness and resignation on his face as he let out a final ragged breath and slumped on the ground. Letting out a wail of despair, Faile staggered towards him and falling to her knees beside the lifeless form of the trainee she would have given anything to live with. Cradling his head in her lap, hot tears running down her face as she cried out his name and that she was sorry in despair, Faile already knew it was too late. She felt Danian´s body stop to breathe and his heartbeat cease and before he had even gone cold in her hands, he suddenly seemed ot dissolve in nothingness and all of a sudden where he had been before was nothing, only air as if everything had just been an oridinary if cruel nightmare.

 

Faile knew nothing any more, it felt like everything was suddenly so wrong and she didn´t know if what she had just seen had been real or the cruelest joke she ha ever seen. Frantically she todl herself that that man hadn´t been her Danian, couldn´t have been and that it wasn´t her that had killed him, that he had never been real at all. Crying and sobbing hysterically she tried to get to her feet, suddenly feeling the urge to get out of her, completely undressed or not. She just couldn´t bear to stay inside this room anymore no matter what. So she staggered more than run outside not bothering to put on anything concealing her nakedness. She was just driven by one thought: she had to get to the Yard and the trainees barracks to see if Danian was alright. Light she couldn´t bear losing him like that, she would do anything for him, wanted to make good for what she had done so desperately that she didn´t even realize what was going on before she was standing right in between mayhem and chaos raging in the White Tower. Light she hadn´t even realized that her two roommates were missing when Danian attacked her. But then again everyone seemed to be in uproar and it was like a storm raging inside the White Tower not sparing anyone or anything in its way. Light what was happening here?

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Rough hands shook her from sleep. It broke up her dreams and furrowed her brow in sleepy uncertainty; pieces of the night’s imaginings collided and for an confused instant she knew fear … but that was a coward’s thought. The pitch black blinded her and she pushed at reaching hands uselessly trying to gather her wits. Dreams weighed heavy on her tonight though she ordinarily slept light, with a soldier’s habit of waking at the slightest sound, and sleep drugged her thoughts to treacle slowness. This all seemed wrong. It was too dark: the stars should be out above their camp and the sentries burning signal fires to ward off the shadow. Nothing quite made sense. “On your feet,†someone growled in the darkness, and half a hundred lights turned the world white.

 

Everything flooded with brilliance so fast she flung up an arm to shield her eyes and still got dazzled. Stone and wood sketched the outlines of a room through the haze. This disconcerted her even more; these quarters were furnished in a luxurious style most unlike her own severe rooms, she would never willingly have suffered that opulence anywhere near her, it took her several laborious moments to put this together into a picture that made sense. Of course, the striped stole and the ceremony … now she remembered. Nothing like remembering about being the newly raised Amyrlin Seat to darken one’s mood. Her brow furrowed further in perplexity and outrage as previously forgotten dignity asserted itself. How did anyone get the audacity to wake up an Amyrlin Seat with lights and shouting? “This had better be important-“ Silence fell once she stopped mid-snap. Her eyes had recovered from the sudden brightness now; she recognised clearly that there were thirteen dark, hooded forms by her bed.

 

Thirteen: a number of black significance to all Aes Sedai. Panic hit her. She opened herself to the One Power and flung fire. It winked out like a candle between them; she never even saw how they did it. Everything turned to speed and chaos. Her hand shot to the dagger under her pillow, somebody swept it out of reach, hard hands hauled her stumbling to her feet. Their casual use of force insulted her deeply. She snarled at them to take their hands off her and someone hit her: a casual backhand blow that jarred her speechless. Her cheek stung. Fear and sleepy confusion vanished in an instant. Her fury rose as hard and fast as a wave; it might override all thought if she let it, break her prized control, but that much she could not afford. Had to think clearly: had to be fast, logical, precise. Not scared. Amyrlins did not know fear.

 

Empty handed and outnumbered thirteen to one. These did not make good odds; it would have unsettled her even had she not known that thirteen strangers channelling something she could not sense was not a good sign. She needed to identify their leader, the one who controlled the circle, and strike at him to incapacitate the others. That should give her a chance to get back on level terms … as much as she ever could be considering her pitiful strength in saidar. Coolly she instructed their captors to remove their hands, crossed the room, pulled a heavy robe on over her shift. Aes Sedai could not be seen less than immaculate, less than perfect, and bizarre as it was that she now wore the seven-striped stole, that went double for the Amyrlin Seat.

 

This looked bleak. Simpler to keep moving than to stop and think about this, how little chance she had, how great the consequences for herself and the world. Icy composure masked her inner thoughts; she choked out dread and horror that wanted to make her hands shake, took a ruthless control. Silent she kept her distance from her hooded guests. No point in sparking a confrontation yet. “Good evening, gentlemen.†Her tones rang cool and unwavering. At least she assumed they were all men beneath those hoods; she ought to sense the presence of another woman who could channel. “Your behaviour is most discourteous, but I will put that aside for the moment, I imagine we have other matters to discuss. You may show me your faces now.†Let her see what she was dealing with. Thirteen! Light.

 

Eleven ignored her. Only two lifted strong hands to dark hoods, pushed them back … and what she glimpsed there struck her speechless with horror. Her eyes went wide. For once all her silver words stuck in her throat and she was rendered as dumb as a novice. Terror coiled cold as winter in her heart; when she lifted a hand to clutch her robe tighter, needing something textured and solid in her grasp to ground herself, her hand was shaking like a leaf. “No.†It was nearly a snarl: as close to desperation ran stark in her voice as she had ever permitted herself. Amyrlins did not fear. She would not disgrace herself so. “No. Light no! This isn’t real! You can’t be here! This can’t be true!â€

 

It was her dead son Solin and his Dreadlord partner, Amiarin Lucif.

 

“Hello, Mother,†said Solin, and smiled.

 

Once she had dealt with the fear these two invoked in her so effortlessly through insults. Trapped in darkness below the ground, shielded and helpless, she had provoked without care for the consequences. Back then she had convinced herself she knew how much determined folk could hurt her if they wanted, but she had not truly understood, and thus she had mocked to keep up this mask of courage. In the mean time these two had ruined her. She had spent months piecing herself back together, months of nightmare and panic and dreadful shame. Now she understood that this double act was infinitely creative and capable when it came to inflicting pain … and she realised, with a jolt of fear so intense it was electric, that they already knew from past history how to hurt her best.

 

How much was the Tower worth? Had it earned this much from her, that she willingly let this happen again? Part of her cowered in such utter terror that she would have sacrificed anything and anyone if they just let her go. The rest of her … in accordance to some old, hopeless instinct the Tower had beaten into her long ago … resisted. Defiance was such a fundamental part of her character that she did not know if she could submit even if she wanted to; on the other hand, she suspected it was a trick she could learn fast enough, if there was the slightest risk anyone might put their hands on her again. It took concentration to repress the shudder that wanted to run through her at that memory. She had to control this fear. If she let it get the better of her she might as well surrender now and give up any right to call herself Aes Sedai.

 

Bitterly she resented that anyone could break her composure so easily. Dread hammered in time with her pulse. She made herself take slow breaths, calming herself, exerting control at the full extent of her will. Kept her eyes on the ground. If she met her son’s grey eyes so like her own she figured she might do something unwise; it had been touch and go for a few moments there anyway. Control. Calm. Only through logic and reason did she have half a chance of getting through this. There was something fractionally off about this scene, something she could not quite put her finger on … dread and doubt talking again, she dismissed it. A brief glance at Amiarin Lucif, dark haired and strong and menacing as her memories told her, just about undid all her hard work. And she called herself Amyrlin Seat.

 

“A collared Aes Sedai. I think I’d like to make you my pet, Mother. To serve my every need and whim.â€

 

Reluctantly her gaze lifted; and for long moments she simply stared, hopelessly longing, torn by fear and regrets. The brilliant youngster she had brought into this world stood before her smiling. She had last seen that smile when he had promised to escort her to the Dark Lord’s own hell; moments later she had put a knife in his heart and ended his traitorous life forever. Her shock was still so great, her fear so consuming that she could not even imagine how he was here in his old glory. Her thoughts stumbled over the whole concept. She couldn’t just dismiss it as a trick of her eyes, for hadn’t she seen Seiaman resurrected in much the same manner, was this the same crazy trick? Could it be -- and now her own thoughts filled her with horror beyond words -- that the Dark One had undone the effect of her illicit Red Ajah-aided stilling and raised her son among his Dreadlords?

 

“I am merciful,†said Amiarin Lucif beside him, the nemesis she had sought long and bitterly since their last meeting, who had slain her family and claimed her beloved Gaidin and so many other horrors besides. I should rip the lenses from your eyes in their sockets and leave you blind as well as Stilled. You will lose your arms and legs at the torso but keep your tongue so the world could hear your pathetic pleas. Abandoned in a land far from your precious White Tower, cut off from the Source without even the means to kill yourself. This is the hell I promise you if you mention Namandar again. But I am merciful. Feel the extent of my mercy. Amiarin smiled a brilliant smile. “Feel the extent of my mercy.â€

 

The eleven companions moved forward. Thirteen and Dreadlords all: her control had held across centuries but this seared it to treacherous wavering. She knew exactly what was coming. Once they were done breaking her all over again they would finish the job all Aes Sedai feared with thirteen Myrddraal at their side. A Black Ajah Amyrlin! If she even opened her mouth she was going to make herself a coward forever. She had nothing to fight back with. Her strength in the One Power was poor at best. And at the back of her thoughts something was itching at her. Her instincts warned her about something she could not quite grasp. No time for this! If she was ever to defend herself it had to be now.

 

They advanced. Sirayn lifted her hand and summoned everything she had … and then she realised. This fresh thought hit her like a blow. Everything sharpened to crystalline clarity. It was not confusion and fear that muddled this to such incoherence; there was something fundamentally wrong and she should have realised ages ago. “Hold on just one moment.†Her lifted hand, poised to weave, became a sternly raised finger. Eleven shadows looked at this imperious finger and paused. Only one dared make another step … and to see such obedience in the midst of such madness unnerved her again. It dislodged the tremendous weight of fear so that another and much older trait came to the fore.

 

Terror had suppressed her innate insolence to an extent such that it took only that sign to let it free. “Young man, you do not interrupt the Amyrlin Seat.†Sirayn fixed her quarry with a forbidding look. The following silence turned the sharp edge of her terror keenly to something more like excitement … something like fury. And when a good black fury was with her now she remembered how to feign courage under fire, how to speak insults where other women spoke surrender, how to be fiercely Aes Sedai despite the desperate circumstances. “Somebody tell me this. In a room full of Dreadlords, why is it I can’t sense the ability to channel? I should be feeling it. Even just one woman would be enough. For example,†and she fixed her arch rival with a look of total hatred, “Amiarin Lucif.â€

 

Only silence resounded in the opulent quarters. Nobody moved. For one blessed moment fear loosed its grip; her instincts told her that she had regained some measure of control over this situation. Her heart still hammered, her mouth was dry, but she had found her precious courage again and it made her who she was. “I can only think of one reason why I don’t sense it.†Time to push some boundaries. At first she figured that dread still held her still, but eventually she made herself step forward, a pace closer to two nightmares that had haunted her sleep for Light knew how long. It gave her a cruel thrill to think that she might be turning some measure of discomfort on them; their faces showed no expression but Solin took a step back. Good. Let him fear. “Have you been stilled? Is that it? You can’t channel any more?â€

 

Dark eyes narrowed in contempt. She did not care; the ascendancy was with her now, crippled and troubled or not, she had regained control. “You have, haven’t you?†Sheer malice lay corrosive on her voice. If she could have ripped Amiarin to pieces she would have done; instead she clutched her heavy robe and imagined her grip tightening on the other woman’s throat instead. “Stilled. How … degrading.†Spite gave her sorely needed strength. “How does it feel to be helpless? Not all that amusing after all, is it? Let me see … what was it that you said … Is there any creature as pathetic as an Aes Sedai who has been Stilled? I think that that is the ultimate height of worthlessness. Serves you right. I hope you suffer for it. I hope you spend the rest of your life suffering.†Her surviving hand opened and closed. If not for these two she would have had two strong hands and proper courage, such as befitted one who had once been Head of the Battle Ajah. “How does it feel to be less than me? To be the least and smallest and weakest one here? Stilled! You are pathetic. You have nothing. You are nothing.†Light, she needed this cruelty, needed this control. She had been perilous close to losing it earlier.

 

“But I am merciful,†said Amiarin Lucif once more. Somehow her tones lacked the malice and intensity and sheer paralysing menace that had had such terrifying effect … and now Sirayn came to think of it, wasn’t she repeating this rather often? Had the woman actually said anything she hadn’t come out with once before? “Feel the extent of my-“

 

“-mercy. I know.†Briefly this logic problem puzzled her. She tapped her chin thoughtfully. “Tell me something I haven’t already heard.â€

 

“Tell me something I haven’t already heard.â€

 

Slowly her hand fell away. She stared, grey eyes narrowed, at her greatest adversary. Maybe she was being mocked … but this didn’t add up to a now spectacular degree. If the other woman had been stilled, why would she have come here in the company of twelve Dreadlords? Or eleven, if the boy Solin had not had his channelling miraculously restored? Thirteen had made sense, thirteen was a number of power, but eleven? Every time she thought about it she ticked off another potential channeller from the list. For all she knew none of them could channel worth a damn. She had had her fire weave quenched earlier, but that was a child’s trick, a novice worth their whites could have done the same. Were they actually Dreadlords? Were they even here at all? Did they, in fact, even exist? Could it be that all her terror and the chaos and violence had been … some sophisticated trick?

 

This was getting metaphysical. All this uncertainty gave her no support at all; but at least the fear had eased, no longer to gnaw at her so hard. She relied on this clearer head. “You should be scarred.†This seemed obscurely important. Sirayn frowned over the strong, frighteningly familiar, yet irrefutably unmarked face before her. “Look, give me some credit. My friend exploded stone right in front of you. She told me she ruined your face.†Still nobody moved or spoke. She had the brief and uncanny feeling that she was dictating to a captive audience, that no intelligence moved behind the faces she knew so well. “Nothing to say to me? None of you?†Her voice turned to iron and stone in an instant. “Have you nothing to say to the Amyrlin Seat?â€

 

Only the words rang in the silence. “Blood and ashes,†snapped Sirayn, furious at herself, still shaking a bit in suppressed tension, and stalked toward the nearest supposed Dreadlord. She flung back the dark hood … and froze in momentary terror. Eyes wide, breath catching in her throat, it mirrored that earlier moment but the trigger was so different. Revealed was a young man of scarcely thirty years, dark haired, green eyed, bearing the stamp of Saldaea in his strong face. “Losyn.†The words wavered and nearly broke. She lifted a hand … then took it back as though burned before she touched that face: for it was not true, not real, only a mask created from memories. “That was a cheap trick.†She wanted to snarl, kept her tone steady with an effort. “Damn it.†She steadied herself and moved on.

 

The second Dreadlord proved to have the look of Far Madding, dark haired, dark eyed and speaking cool perfection in every line. Jehanine Rhessaven de’Gavrielle. No Dreadlord now, nor had ever been, for Jehanine had been slain months ago by an assassin’s blade meant for her. Her mouth twisted into a bitter line: she could see where this was going now. Nevertheless, she moved on.

 

The third Dreadlord looked serene and beautiful and perfect in every way. The hood fell away a little to show a stunning crimson gown; golden haired and lovely, her old mentor looked back at her calmly. They studied one another for some time in silence, blue eyes and grey, and then she moved on from Telcia Alianin-Nalemar.

 

The fourth Dreadlord was blessed with the kind of unfair, mesmerising beauty that came only once in a lifetime. Auburn haired, with eyes like jade and curves to distract the chastest heart, this one was Jaydena Mckanthur.

 

The fifth Dreadlord looked uncannily like her. Bright blue eyes met hers. So many memories were associated with this striking face that she had to concentrate to let nothing show on her face … Lyssa Símeone; her daughter, twin to Solin, and currently a proud Tower Guard.

 

The sixth Dreadlord wore the face of Corin Danveer. Seeing him like this twisted something oddly in her heart. It was maybe the only time she could watch him without fear of losing anything, for she was now quite certain that this was not true, it was some kind of complex game. Again she wanted to touch … but she did not dare.

 

The seventh Dreadlord occupied her for what seemed like a long time. She stood before this strange vision, wearing the look of somebody she had loved intensely and fiercely for so long, and truly her heart turned over and she did not know how she kept her composure: how she could ever look on that beloved face, meet the green eyes and still bear it: and only the strange emptiness there, the lack of intelligence, let her convince herself this was false. No thoughts moved behind the face she was so accustomed to seeing. The details weren’t even right any more. Seiaman looked harder now, older and colder, and she ought to be wearing a patch over the eye she had lost; still as she let her fingertips hover only a fraction above skin she knew would be warm, it seemed to her that this was a more real Seiaman somehow -- the Seiaman who lived on in her memories and would never get old.

 

By the time she turned away from the thirteen people she had imagined to be Dreadlords the fury rising in her was savage and all consuming. A trick. It was all a trick! By some bizarre magic her innermost fears and longings had been played out on a giant stage. Luckily nobody but her had been here to see, but … such terror, such anger she had known, if anyone had even glimpsed her … she had been played like a puppet. Somebody was laughing at her right now. She wanted to hit something. Her anger demanded some outlet. “For the love of the Light!†Frustration rang fierce in her voice. “Come on! Give me some credit! I’m not an idiot. How could I possibly fall for this? Corin Danveer? The boy’s barely out of the cradle! A hardened Dreadlord he is not! Tiassale Morobin? Lyssa? How much of a fool do you think I am? Light!â€

 

No more fear now. This wrath left no room for anything else, and anyway she was Amyrlin now, she could never be seen to falter. Snarling, she advanced on her thirteen tormentors. “You lying, twisted pieces of dirt! Did you think I would never find out? Do you take me for a dupe? Do I look like you can terrorise me into silence? You are lies!†She was shaking. If this lasted any longer she would actually have to throw them out with her own two hands; and now, savagely, she was convinced that she could do just that if she chose to. Two steps put her in front of her dead son and the mockery of his lover. She wanted, immediately and intensely, to slap those empty impassive faces … had to take deep breaths to have any chance of restraining herself. Light burn them!

 

No more playing. No more games. She crossed the room and flung open the door: screams came toward her and she ignored them: her growl rose to an outraged roar: “I am done with you all! I deny you! Out and out and thrice out before I throw you out myself!†And they went … shambling, shuffling, small figures now … and as they passed her threshold each one winked into nothing. Shaking in mingled temper and fear, in as towering a black fury as she had been in a long while, Sirayn slammed her door with a crash and stormed out into the corridors to find out what was going on.

 

Sirayn Damodred

Watcher of the Seals

Flame of Tar Valon

The Amyrlin Seat

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She awoke blinking from the chiming of clocks. She looked around in confusion. Why where there clocks chiming at this hour in the morning? She sighed and moved to go back to sleep but as she tried to take in another breath the air just disapeared. Her eyes widened and panic struck her. Not again! Never again!

 

In a panic she moved for the door. Her strength began to falter, she tried feebily to reach out to the source but with her panic and lack of experiance it was like grasping air. Things started to go black and she screamed. With the last of her strength she reached out and her hand grasped cold metal. The doorknob! The next thing she knew she was in the hallway, gasping in sweet, wonderful air.

 

Sounds of panic filled the halls but there was no one to be seen. After she had regained her breath she again reached out to the source, now able to grasp a small amount of it she held on to it with all her strength and walked down the hall slowly. With caution she turned the corner and then the world went black.

 

Seconds later she opened her eyes, and blinked slowly. It was as if the wall had moved and bulged out, shoving her into the opposite wall. She tried to move away from the wall but found that she was unable to move. The wall held her tight to it and slowly she was being sucked into the wall. Her screams rang in the halls.

 

She did not know when her screams died and the wall had complettly enclosed her. But the inpossible has happened. There was a space between the walls, a space that she knew was not possible in the solid walls of the tower. But she was there. Thankfully she still had ahold of the power, in a way it comforted her, even the smallest thread.

 

It was only one person wide and there was a choice of which way to go up ahead. She turned to the left and was faced with a similar passageway, with a similar choice at the end. "So it is a maze then...So be it." And so it started.

 

Tay Maorre

Tower Novice

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The light from the single taper was dim, a warm orange glow that danced on the walls as the flame flickered, battered by the faint breeze that also stirred the curtains at the open window. Lavinya stood by the window, forarms resting lightly on the pane as she gazed out into the night. Sleep rarely came easy of late, if at all, her mind too occupied with thoughts that were not conducive to restive sleep.

 

Night was once her friend, a shroud with which to cover her trysts, her fun, a time once filled with mirth and mischief. Now it always seemed too glaringly empty. Vulnerability was not something she prized highly in herself, and it was in the wee hours of night that her lonliness overwhelmed her. Sleep either didn't come, or was restless and filled with sad dreams, twisted by her own sick imaginings. Foolish really, her existance was what she had made of it, and now she found herself ensnared in a web of misery, of frailty, uncertainty. And she didn't like it in the slightest.

 

Sighing softly, she turned from the windows. The answers she sought were not to be found in the relative quiet of the night, any more than they would be found in a night of drunken carousing or stolen pleasure. Tugging the filmy white dressing gown closed over her nightgown, Lavinya's gaze was drawn towards the flame. Was she mistaken, or had it grown? Loosely she knotted the belt at her waist to keep the garment clothes, her bare feet padding lightly over the woven rug as she stepped closer, eyes widening in wonder as the flame indeed increased in size.

 

The breeze began to pick up, gathering force, causing the curtains to billow and wave, akin to the sea in a storm, flicking out and brushing against the back of Lavinya's legs as the flame grew brighter, larger. Drawn by the light, Lavinya could not look away as the flame steadily grew, the size of her palm, now the size of a pot...bigger and stronger it became, unwavering as the wind grew stronger, the curtains lashing against their restraints.

 

Why didn't the wind douse the candle? It was as though it fed it, giving it life and searing heat. Lavinya stepped back, hesitatingly, grabbing hold of her fleeing wits when she felt something gripping her ankles. Instantly reaching out for Saidar, she turned, eyes growing wide as the curtains wrapped around her legs, squeezing, binding, drawing her towards the window. Whipping her head back towards the taper, her flame-red hair danced about her face, whipped by the whirling tempest as the flame edged nearer.

 

Acting on pure instinct Lavinya channelled, water to douse the flame that now towered over her, extending a fiery limb towards her...was that a face? Cruel, mocking laughter echoed in her ears as the water splashed over the fire, ineffectual against the inferno. Blind panic began to swell as again she channelled, water, air, spirit, all doing little to stop the beast that relentlessly moved forward, consuming her vision as the curtains slowly drew her backwards.

 

A strangled cry escaped her throat as she struggled against the bonds, fought to escape. Thrust against the window, Lavinya groaned in panic once more, scratching at the curtains tight around her legs as the wind buffetted her, threatening to push her over the edge. "Light, no!" She yelled. Not like this. Searing heat breathed over her face, smoke beginning to twist and curl from the edge of her gown, heat building up her legs as the flame mockingly drew nearer.

 

Desperately she flung out with the power once more, fine shards of air to sever the curtains even as they lifted her in the air, the tearing sound almost smothered against the roar of the flame as she was dropped unceremoniously on her rump, uncaring as she rolled to the side, away from the flame, weaving quickly to douse the flame threatening her gown. Mothers milk in a cup, what madness was this?

 

Flinging herself back from the flame, Lavinya shielded her face against the intense light, scrambling back away from the threat, fighting the tide of panic. She would not lose her wits now, she was a fighter. And this was NOT how she was going to end her days. Gritting her teeth she prepared another weave, lowering her arm...to see nothing. The flame was gone, a tiny flicker atop the taper once more. Was she imagining things? Surely not. The curtains lay motionless around her legs, where she had slashed at them, and the bottom of her gown was charred. Something was going on, but what was a mystery. Perhaps she should try to sleep.

 

A scream interrupted her thoughts, and instantly she was on her feet, kicking aside the lifeless cloth as she headed out into the Gray Quarters, hoping against hope she was not losing her mind.

 

~Lavinya Morganen

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There was nothing unusual about the night as Aramina slipped from her room quietly and headed to the Green Tea Room. Nothing, at least, that suggested the horror that was about to rock Tar Valon and the White Tower. For Aramina the tension in the Tower and the outside World was keeping her awake. Her mind raced over too many reports from her personal eyes and ears with happenings that speed out of her control. Time moved quicker than she could and tonight was a night to curse it. Unable to sleep she stole through the halls as quietly as possible and settled into the Tea Room. It was, perhaps, her favorite room in the White Tower, besides the room she had once had as a novice. A room she refused to walk past now for fear that years later her grief would still rip her apart.

 

Death was nothing to scare a Green Sister from her duty, but for a young Accepted it had almost done her in. A young woman, scarcely old enough to be in the Shawl had died alone and a part of Aramina had died with her that day. The part of her that sought out human interaction as anything more than political play and scheming. Few understood Aramina's motives and few ever would. No one remembered two young girls who giggled together late in the night. Even now, Aramina remembered it all clearly. The only person Aramina had ever truly given herself to, the only person she had ever truly loved.

 

She drank a warm cup of tea and let her body soak in the heat. She felt tired now and the thought of younger, trouble free days filled her mind, leaving a small smile on her face as she drifted to sleep in a comfortable chair.

 

She opened her eyes to a familiar smile. "You fell asleep again, silly Mina."

 

Natalie had always looked out for her, almost as much as she looked out for Nat. The Aes Sedai's physical stamina was not good and never had been. She shouldn't have been allowed to leave the Tower really, without a good escort, but there was nothing of Natalie personality that was weak and if she wanted to leave the Tower, she did so without anyone to stop her. "Sorry Nat. Just thinking too much. Couldn't sleep. I was thinking of you though." It was a pleasant dream, one she'd had many times over the years.

 

The face of Natalie Sedai was not the face of the friend she knew. It was ageless now but still the most familiar face in her mind. Not her mother or sister or brother's face came so easily to mind, no matter that they had loved her well. In her dreams they talked of the world and politics, of warders and lovers to come, sometimes the same person, sometimes not. They laughed in ways that Aramina hadn't in years.

 

"You look sad Aramina."

 

"I miss you Nat." Aramina said with a small shake of her head. "You left me and I had no one to turn to, no way to defend myself against it. I never got over that and sometimes I wish I could. Other times..." She sighed heavily, fighting back tears that were beyond her. They fell, no matter the battle she fought against them. "I wish I had died with you Nat. I wish I had been with you and we could have died together."

 

Her world spun for a moment, some trick of the mind or her body's reaction to such emotional turmoil coming from one who rarely allowed others to reach her.

 

"Is that what you really want? To have died with me?" The look on Natalie's face was suddenly different, frightening and the light in her eyes was wild. "I can't chance what happened Mina, but I can change being alone."

 

To Aramina's surprise she saw the glow of the One Power around Natalie and she jumped out of the way barely in time as her friend channeled. The chair went up in flames and Aramina stood staring at it.

 

"I thought you wanted to join me Aramina?"

 

Something inside her was breaking and Aramina knew she didn't have the strength for this. She had faced battles and death too many times to count in this life, but this was the one thing she couldn't fight. The one time in her life that Aramina would become a coward.

 

So she ran.

 

She was out of the room without looking back. The sound of slightly insane laughter followed her as she went and Aramina knew there was no escaping. She heard other sounds as she went, cries from other Sisters but she wasn't able to think about what was happening to them. As she found her way back into the main hall of the Green Ajah, she turned to face her friend.

 

She was out of time.

 

"Nat, don't do this."

 

"You said you missed me Aramina." She was waiting for an answer and Aramina had never been able to leave Natalie wanting for anything, even now, so many years after her death.

 

"I do."

 

"We were friends. We were sisters even if I did die before you became Aes Sedai. We were always Green Sisters in heart."

 

"We were. We still are. I carry that with me everywhere Natalie. You gave me the strength to be what I am now."

 

"You owe it all to me then."

 

"Yes." Tears still strayed down her face but Aramina no longer noticed them. The figure before her was all that mattered. The girl she had loved and protected, the girl who had loved and sheltered her, taught and pulled Aramina out of an emotional prison of her own making. That girl was all that mattered.

 

Natalie knelt down and it was only then that Aramina realized she had fallen to her knees. Her friend took her face in her hand and tilted her head up slightly.

 

"Sisters to the end." The glow surrounded her once more and Aramina knew her words to be true.

 

"Yes" she whispered. It would be as it was supposed to be. They would be together again, in death.

 

"Sisters to the end."

 

Aramina sur Dulciena

Banner Captain

 

 

Dust and smoke hazed the air in a manner that reminded her, briefly and intensely, of her predecessor's last stand. That memory she shut down straight away. She did not need to remember fear and chaos, nor how a single man had struck such violence into her beloved Tower. Now and then she passed a pot of roses spilled over the fired clay and across the ground. Thorns plucked at her heavy skirts and absently she incinerated the leafy carpet they formed. She headed onward. All the haze distorted sound; somebody was screaming, a high unwavering sound, and she could not work out how far nor in what direction it was coming from. Truth to tell it was irritating her. She had little sympathy for those who chose to lament like damsels in a gleeman's tale rather than deal with the difficulty at hand. Onward and downward through dark and silent floors.

 

Unnatural chill had settled into her bones and she felt every one of her advancing years. The consequences of blazing fury and terror left her shaking a little, but she had picked up her shawl on the way through the outer chambers and now Sirayn settled it round her shoulders, arranged the seven-striped fringe properly. As she did so, she donned the only armour this soldier could claim … and set herself steadily for the only battle the Hall would let her see likely for the rest of her career. The stole with its seven bright colours proclaimed her Amyrlin for all the world to see. It might draw enemies like wasps to honey, but more like, those seven stripes would provide a standard for the defenders to march under. And if she let concerns over her own security … even justifiable concerns, such as her meagre strength and the appearance of pseudo Dreadlords wearing familiar faces all over the place … impair that she might as well not have accepted the striped stole at all.

 

Silence followed her. Only the echoing sound of her footsteps broke the stillness and the screaming diminished round her as she swept through the corridors. Her feet followed familiar paths, and before long, brushing aside a scatter of gaping novices she stepped out into a hall redolent of memory … one in which she had knelt, not so long ago, to accept the title Head of the Green Ajah. It had seen a hundred similar scenes. Stern in its majesty, the Hall of Swords stood unmoved by the passage of ages, and its tremendous arches soared high above her head. Momentarily this theatre of dreams seemed to whisper with the ghosts of the past … but she pushed that away. In so doing, her eyes fell on a sight that stopped her cold: a sight to light an unexpected spark in her: and the grey eyes narrowed hard.

 

Some way before her Aramina sur Dulciena, that model of Cairhienin composure, knelt before a strange and half-familiar woman. Ash and char marked her ever immaculate garb as if from something burning; and that face she knew only set in serenity … Aramina was weeping. It outraged her on some level so basic she didn't quite understand it herself. It seemed unfair beyond words that anyone should reduce their brightest star in generations to public tears; she wanted to protect, barely even recognised that urge in herself. By the standards of Aes Sedai she scarcely even knew Aramina, had no right to interfere … tradition demanded that she let the other sister handle her own affairs. Nevertheless, she was not going to stand by and watch this stranger take her life. It took moments only to decide.

 

Saidar sprang brightly to her grasp. Quick as lightning she lashed out and a single blow from a brilliant scythe sent this enemy woman staggering. All steel and silence Sirayn advanced, struck her again, this time calculated. The cruel edge sliced deep into bone and body; and, the light playing coldly on her stern face and rendering her near inhuman, Sirayn stamped out the last flickering sparks of life in her quarry. Once she was certain this one would never be stirring again she let the weave dissipate. Her shoulders dropped a fraction: job done, crisis over, time to face the music. She lifted her eyes to once perfect, once calculating Aramina … wanting to say something, half a hundred words she would never dare speak, trapped in her throat … and settled for gesture instead. Standing over the body of a fallen woman Sirayn held out a hand to her kneeling sister.

 

Sirayn Damodred

Watcher of the Seals

Flame of Tar Valon

The Amyrlin Seat

 

Death, she had been willing to face, nay, not willing. Eager. She hadn’t been prepared to see the face of her friend suddenly contract in pain and fall away in what Aramina knew was a death blow. She had seen the Power and felt it coming but had been unable to do anything to stop it. Nor any idea why she would. Her mind was not her own, her logic and reason were failing her tonight in the face of a friend that could not be there.

 

She looked down at her hands, at the burns on her clothes and felt the tears falling down her cheeks. How had she fallen? How had she come so far in all these years to be driven down by something as simple as friendship lost? She realized in some way that it was shock. She struggled to come back to herself, to not look at the body before her, the body that was not her friend, but some foe come with her face. She had been about to die at that hand but she had been saved.

 

Or had she? Who had saved her? Who had seen her at her most crippled? She wasn’t sure she had the nerve to look, but she had to know. Would this person hold this over her forever, or was there redemption at the end of this episode?

 

She turned and lifted her eyes to see the first and last person she wanted to see standing there. Tears sprang fiercely to her eyes and there was no fight left in her for them. She cleared her throat, trying to think of something to say, anything that would save her. Sirayn Sedai. The one woman in the world who understood the ticking of the Great Game the way Aramina saw it. Years ago Aramina had called them true sisters for their belief that the Tower was all important in this world and that they would do anything to save it. What would this woman think of her now, seeing her on her knees, accepting death as her right? It was not just Sirayn Sedai though. She was the Amyrlin Seat now and Aramina feared that her own weakness might somehow cast aspersions on the woman.

 

Words wouldn’t come.

 

Thought wouldn’t come.

 

Salvation did.

 

Sirayn Sedai, the woman who had once cast Aramina aside, told her she wasn’t good enough, wasn’t strong enough, the woman who had taken Aramina as a young Aes Sedai and molded her into something more, something sharper and deeper, the woman who held her hand out now, offering help when Aramina had expected condemnation. Deserved condemnation.

 

She swallowed against the lump in her throat and took the offered hand. As she stood she wiped the tears from her face, hoping to retrieve some of the calm she was known for. Composure was hard to come by tonight, but from the look of things around her, Aramina wasn’t the only one who had experienced something. It sounded like it was continuing around her.

 

Another deep breath and she was able to speak. “Thank you Mother.†She said in a voice strained tight with control. “It seems another battle has come to us.†She hesitated slightly. “Will you have me by your side?â€

 

It was a question, a promise from years ago, but one that Aramina feared her weakness would eliminate. There was little time as the Tower flew into chaos around them, but Aramina was offering herself to Sirayn again. She had proven her courage and ability in countless missions over the years. Would her one night of weakness be enough to condemn her now?

 

Aramina sur Dulciena

Banner Captain

 

 

 

Had she been here before? She remembered brief and intense that somebody had come before an Amyrlin Seat for punishment … a memory trapped fleeting beneath the surface of her thoughts, a time now distant, and the sinner who had once knelt now stood herself to pass judgement. The past still haunted her; its call had never dimmed. Yet if those ties ever broke and she forgot what had come before, her instincts told her that it in some obscure way that past would cease to have its old significance. If she above all people did not give a moment to remember the sacrifices made, the lives lost and the blood spilled on snow and stone and iron, the times they had fought, the bitterness of defeat and the bright glory of their triumph, would any of it even matter any more? Did anyone else remember Jehanine?

 

Time had passed and she was so old now. She had lived so long. No second chances, no forgetting, no waver: only she held these memories, only she kept this torch burning. Strain drew taut. The weight of imminent decision pressed down. How this had ever happened she could not imagine; what had gone on in years before now to put Aramina Sedai on her knees and willing before a woman who meant to strike her down; all that had gone on beneath her notice … but she had to decide nevertheless. Half the facts, a double serving of concern and dismay, and still ice sharp tension burned in her. If only this did not remind her so intensely of the long gone past maybe she could decide with the logic and cool control a sister ought to use in this situation. But in the end, no matter how long and hard she considered, she could only make one decision here.

 

Nobody had given her this much of a chance. One mistake and she was done forever … or so she had thought until she knelt exactly here to become Head of the Green Ajah, and later she had even donned this seven-striped stole, how long ago now? Maybe it was time to forgive. Aramina had ten times the courage and wit of her peers, an unrivalled knowledge of the Great Game at her fingertips, she could never put that aside. And the Battle Ajah left no sister behind. Her heart twisted in bitter grief: she pictured Jehanine standing before her now, so cool and calm and perfect, the one woman she had never measured up to: and suddenly she wanted something she could not put into words, needed that desperately, from this young and brilliant woman who reminded her so fiercely of someone she had once known.

 

"Of course I will." She made herself impassive, tones cool, betraying no hint of feeling … but intensity and complete truth wanted to escape Aes Sedai restraints. This felt immensely important on some level she could not even explain. All the chaos and desperation around her only fragmented her thoughts and she did not yet understand half of what this meant: but she had no regrets and no doubts. "You are my strong right hand. There will always be a place for you at my side." Some day she would understand what she was doing tonight. For now she could only go by instinct. For once she was listening to what her heart told her. "Join me. Tonight there is work to be done and you and I will do it together."

 

Sirayn Sedai

Watcher of the Seals

Flame of Tar Valon

The Amyrlin Seat

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Guest Estel

Fear. Anger. Terror. Loathing. Confusion.

 

It all circled through her in an ever growing spiral. Her mind played tricks on her this night, sometimes sending her back not long ago, to a day that still rocked the White Tower- that immoveable institution that had stood the test of time. The day the Tower took a wound almost unbearable. The day Caladesh had taken their leaders from them.

 

But here the wounds were different. The place was different. Everything was different. Everything but the atmosphere so foriegn to the Tower- chaos and panic.

 

She looked back into her room, where what shouldn't have happened did. Possessed by some demonic spirit, her broken whip wriggled across the floor like some adder on the prowl. Her eyes went wide in shock. 'What in the blood Pit of Doom is going on? Light, but Aes Sedai shouldn't feel terror. But I do. Light, help me I do!'

 

Instictively, her hand flew to her slender neck. Blood ran down her bare body from the ring around her neck. How close had she come to dying back there? 'As close as you've been before! Burn you fool woman, grab ahold of yourself! How many flaming times have you faced death before?' "But never had death come to me by possessed whip. It makes a whole flaming heap of difference when you're facing an enemy that you know can attack you- not your own weapon!"

 

With speed earned in her younger days, spent tramping through the Blight and racing Reds, she slammed the door and took off running. Screams permeated the halls of her Ajah's quarters. Red, a colour nearly forbidden in this corner of the Tower, sat in pools upon blue tiles. Light, but how many Sisters would this night claim?

 

The only thought running through her mind at that time was this: to get out and away! Out of the Tower, out of these deadly halls which should have been a safehaven. Truly this was the Dark One's hand on the world!

 

She ran blindly, away from the blue tiles and away from those dying in her own place of safety. But everywhere she went the carnage grew! Everywhere, ordinary things attacked Aes Sedai! She passed Sisters, bleeding and trying to tend others with grievious wounds. All had a dazed look on their face, all as confused as she.

 

Bare feet slapped cold tile. Twice she was attacked by rogue curtains and even once by a vicious carpet! She sent them back to whatever hell they came from burning.

 

She turned a corner and was halfway down the corridor before the ambush began. She didn't even have time to figure out what the tapestry portrayed before all its inhabitant leapt out.

 

In her frenzied state, she would likely not have noticed the sudden mob of animated miniatures, it was a sudden sting in her thigh that alerted her to their presence. Surprised, her left leg gave out, sending her crashing to the hard tiles. Her head rang when it hit the floor. How was it that stone was so hard? For the second time that night, her hand involuntarily went to check on the injury. Shocked, she pulled a tiny arrow from her hamstring, no bigger than the size of her last finger.

 

She pushed herself to her feet- it really was lucky that the arrow wasn't any bigger or it would have done the job it was supposed to.

 

She forced herself to her feet and whirled to face her attackers. Or at least she tried to whirl, it turned into something closer to a totter, ending in her collapsing into the wall for support.

 

Saidar, that life-giving power, raged through her as she studies the small army assembled before her. None of the drawings came higher than her knee but they all carried weapons and she had no doubt that one of their arrows in her eye would leave her as blind as a bat.

 

They surged forward as one, raising swords, axes, spears and every assortment of weapon possible. She cried out again as a flurry of arrows pierced her arm as she threw it up to block her chest. Her other hand was quite occupied in throwing fireballs at the little beasts.

 

What seemed like hours passed before the last axeman lay, charred, on the ground at her feet. She hobbled back up the corridor, desperately searching for someone to either offer Healing- she now had blood dripping from a hundred different tiny wounds all over her body- or guard her back. At this point, going alone would be death.

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Bubble of Evil - This Side of the Moon

 

Players: Maegan + Aleanda + (Open)

 

Music - "Lovely Day" - Ayria (So Good!!! Download if you can!)

{http://media.alfa-matrix.com/ayria/flicker/ayriaflickertrack13.mp3}

 

 

"Something within this darkness we all must face, when in truth the darkness is only within." ~ Arie/Andrea

 

I’ve been listening to this song for hours and

my head aches but that doesn’t stop me

It keeps repeating and now my eyes burn,

they have turned red and I do this to myself

I should get out but there’s nowhere to go on a Tuesday night

This restless feeling there is no cure for, so I wait…

 

[in a room of silence, where only the night owls toil in their darkness, lies an Aes Sedai, bent over streams of parchment, ink stained hands, and frowns. Burrowed are her ways, this Aes Sedai, trapped in a movie of her own, with doubts forgotten from time, and lost to the winds that spin the wheel.]

 

 

"Shii..." She sucked her finger as the bells tolled the hour. She had jumped enough to give herself a paper cut on the paper she was reading. looking down to it, she saw the small pool of blood ont he edge of the paper from her finger. Frowning she let out a small string of curses. She would have to re-write it, and that was just a waste of time and she hated doing that. Sucking lightly on her finger to ease the bleeding she didn't even notice as there was a 13th bell that rung overhead. Instead, a sudden fatigue rode through her like a soft wave. The letter to her cousin would have to wait. Although tired, she was far from ready for bed. Setting down her glasses on the desk, she rubbed her eyes.

 

She didn't notice the blood seeping deeper into the pages on her desk, as she picked her spectacles up and placed them back on her nose, standing from her desk.

 

 

"oh..." She put a hand to her head as the blood rushed from her head to the rest of her body, leaving her light headed and dizzy. Putting her finger on the chair, she didn't notice the blood that touched the wood that started to eat away at the hard elaborate oak chair. She didn't see as it pooled to the floor, a life of its own. her mind was within as she sorted through the thoughts of what she had now to re-write. Letters such as this, to re-write was not a problem. usually she would have to re-write things 5 times over to make sure that the message was clear.

 

 

Her family (by her fathers second marriage) was at it again. Years after she learned of her step mothers side produced male channelers, they still came back to haunt her. Little did the Tower know of her relation to many of the Cairhien male Channelers. Many have died in secret. Some have gone mad. Some have fallen to the madness and have reeked havoc in the surrounding area's. Others have sought solace in the Tower before the madness took them. Not many know of her connections. But then, she knew very little of everyone else's. Ironic that it was a male channeler was her first 'kill' her very reason to hunt and have the thing that tried so desperately to try to kill her.

 

 

..mae..gan.. Whispers...

 

 

The world was silent as she slipped on her robe, still nursing her cut, she did not see the figure behind her, nor feel 'it' in her spirit weave that she had netted through out the room that at first might seem just as a border to help a blind woman without aid, but in fact her whole room was but an underlying trap that only she knew the keys, only she knew the triggers. Fixing her glasses, she didn't notice the blood on the glasses, that covered them in a rose tint as she left her room, and the door closed.

 

 

Not realizing that it was left ajar. The blood pouring over the side of her desk, destroying the pages within. The lone figure that watched with a smug smile on his face. His pleasure awaited. Revenge at last.

 

 

It’s a lovely day to never feel this way again

and will I ever find someone who understands my mind?

I don’t think so

It’s just a sea of faces and vacant stares

and they will never be in this place again

{Edited for PG-13}

 

[shifts in the world have begun as the darkness sinks in deep but only to those aware of it. You can not always trust your eyes to dee what needs to be seen.]

 

 

She had become to soft in this place. She knew that without words, thought or even admittance. She knew in truth she was far nicer from many without any outward hostilities. But thus was the way of an Aes Sedai. There was no one to truly trust. She would place her life in her sisters, but never her thoughts. Light, never with her past. her simplistic brown skirts swayed around her feet as she let them take her along the hallways to where they wished to lead her. Regardless of the hour, this was usually the best way for her to sort out her thoughts.

 

'What thoughts?' She scolded, as she poised her back straight as she walked, making the most of her 5'3"frame. 'You have not debated an issue, pushed an idea, worked for a cause since you learned the truth of your past. you have toiled on Projects that have not yet been made concrete. You have stilled, seen death of more sisters in your life time than most younger than in in her own Ajah put together. Policies changed and Seats shifted, and yet you still toil with the hope that you will find a 'cure' for the Taint. Give up, Mae.'

 

Darkness and oblivion would have been a welcome release to her, but as she lay in her bed dreams carried her to memories she would rather forget. And ones that she never remembered having. If they were only her mind playing with her, she did not know. But she inwardly cursed her touch with the one power. It was only when she held it that she could see around her. But to watch a man die by her hand was something she had never wanted to experience. But then, her life and those of her friends were in danger. And she had not been willing to compromise the situation. Either he would die, or they would by his hands.

 

But maybe the sisters would not understand. It was one thing to play the Victim. But to be the survivor with blood stained hands. She would not let them survive to take way what was precious to life. She would not! She had no choice.

 

Her thoughts far from the features of her face, she did not see that her glasses blinded her to the world outside her mind. She could not sense the figure that moved behind her with a sword drawn.

 

I have your number but I won’t call

I fear rejection more than being alone

I’m almost nauseous

Maybe I’m dying?

 

[Call for me, in this darkness of waiting pain. Suffer in silence. hate like an ember that never dies. unending, this toiling for this witch. but at the bell tolls, so the witching hour begins. Be wary of the Shadow.]

 

 

This place was a drug, deep inside her mind. He held her close. He had no name, in this place of dreams. He was only a set ahead of her. he was always ahead of her, or behind her. Without face and features, she did not try to touch him. He would come to her in time. If he willed it. She was his to seduce, to carve to his will. In this place within her mind, there was no humor. He was the darkness to her night. And the air around them sizzled with heat as she paused in his steps. She would have halted if she knew where she was going. She would have stopped if she was walking. But in this place along these halls there was nothing here, but the man that burned within, and the sound of her skirts.

 

She was not sure when he started to appear to her. His steps echoing hers. Drowning. He followed, lead her as she would walk her paths within her mind, in her dreams. He was not in the tower, he did not exist here. But as the moon cast shadows on the walls, she could see him there. She held her breath, it locked within her chest. Heat slowly rising in her chest and along her skin. The moon's lullaby seducing her.

 

With her rose coloured glasses, she didn't see it coming.

 

Over dramatic but that’s what happens

when you have to much time to think about the end

 

The girl was up, past her hour of curfew, also unable to sleep. Instead she wandered the halls in the darkness. It was easier to hid from the tyranny of the aes sedai that way. Instead of following all the rules like those that shared her room, she found it better to learn the tower without the worry of being stumbled upon for chores. Not like she could sleep anyways. She missed her twin brother and baby sister too much.

 

She wandered the corridors of the hallway, the moon kissing the stones beneath her feet as she stepped lightly. It was so silent, in this place, at night. In the darkness. She had no love for this place, despite it's beauty. It did not touch what she missed, although humble, it had at least been home. Sadness crept over her like a cancer under her skin. She had no desire to stay here. But then it happened, and she saw the easiest way to leave this place. Not that it mattered that she would not make a difference, or her name ever remembered. At least she would not become a witch.

 

The sword ran straight through her heart.

 

The lights look blurry now and the cars pass by me

on an energetic street that I have no part of

 

[bless the child, and hold them close, let not evil come their way. No child knows evil, only when it is explained can it be so..]

 

It was the screaming that caused her to knock her glasses off, embracing the power. Her ears rang with the high octave as she saw the child fall.

 

dead.

 

Holding her glasses as the One Power surged through her veins.

 

blood.

 

"no..." She whispered, as she fell to the side of the child. No wound. No pulse. Maegan stood as she held the power, watching the shadows. but the moon did not flicker. On this side the Tower was still. What was there? Why was there no cause?

 

The child moved.

 

Clamping her hands on her mouth she stepped back, daring not to release the One power, forgoing her sight. Striking a delving towards the child, she was unaffected. No heartbeat. The the child stood, at first staring at the floor. And then if in a thousand seconds the child looked up and stared at Maegan. her eyes black as coal. The sweet sickening black that echoed back at her. The child glared at her. Weaving air around the child, the girl only move forward in steps, lazy and small. As if time had stopped in that moment after midnight. The child kept moving. but Maegan did not want to harm the child, denying its death. Her death.

 

The child was a her.. she must be alive. Compulsion? But Maegan wasn't given time to think, or question it. She turned as quickly as she saw the signs, and ran in fear, away.

 

The child broke through the Shield Maegan placed while Delving, and the power emanated from her skin. The soft glow of Saidar was devoid from the glow around the child as a sickness enveloped her. Like a shadow, the child moved.

 

And Maegan ran.

 

I will wait for you to find me but I know you never will

I will seek to you to save me but I know you never will

II will try to regain passion but I’m faltering

I will try to overcome this but I’m overwhelmed again

 

 

 

 

Maegan Ryanne

 

 

:: For a character as versatile as Mae, i needed to sneak up her with the vil. if you could not tell, she was unable to be aware of things physically around her. It's like handing a baby a rattlesnake to a rattle with poison on it..

:: Scene 'unfinished' for rating.. :p

:: Robin - Your up next! ^_^ Get to a point wher eyou hear a scream and then we can meet up next in the Novice Halls.

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Screams, shouting, chaos. Everything was moving too fast, too fast for a mind foggy with sleep. Eyes wide open, Taei looked sleepily at the chaos around her. It was like there was a battle field in her room.

 

Suddenly alert and frightened Taei rolled out of bed and towards her robe. Blades clashed over her head and all around her. Men yelled with their last breaths, others yelled in rage. Blood splatered over her clothes. The sheets on the bed she had occupied moments before were blood soaked turning the white to a deep red. Crawling along the wall towards the door she evaded feet and blades.

 

A foot from the door she was caught by a blade along her left side. Surpressing a yelp she lunged for the doorknob, ignoring everything else.

 

As soon as her hand touched it complete silence fell over the room. Fear froze her for a moment, but still the silence held. Gathering her determination she turned around to...

 

Nothing, absolutely nothing. There is something wrong here. The room was back to it's normal order. Glancing down at her leg where moments before she felt a blade gash her there was no blood, not even a rip in the fabric, and the pain was gone.

 

Suddenly aware of shouts from others in the hallways she quickly turned the doorknob and ran into the hallway. Her jaw dropped in shock.

 

Chaos, pure chaos everywhere she looked. Everyone seemed to have been awakened by their own personal terror. Still standing in front of her room Taei watched in shock as the scene unfolded. This must be a dream. It has to be...

 

A novice ran out of her room, seeming to be chased by the contents of her wardrobe, and colided with Taei sending them both sprawling. Looking up they found that the clothes were laying in a pile in the center of the hallway. They had just collapsed when the two touched. "What in the name of the Light is going on here?!?"

 

OOC: Anyone who wants to jump in feel free. :)

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OOC: This Bubble of Evil thread should end today. But to give everyone the change to post on the on going bubble stories or to post their own, everyone is allowed to keep posting on this thread. Until further notice.

 

Robin,

The Division Leader.

 

IC:

 

Tied with air onto the wall.

 

Tears, only a few but still tears, were rolling over her cheeks.

 

"You can't join us."

 

The Aes Sedai cried "Please!"

 

"No"

 

She was stilled by the other women in the room.

 

Again a cry. A cry of pain.

 

A cry of loss.

A cry of anger, rage and fear.

But above all, a cry of sadness.

 

Through her tears she could see the One Power being used against her. Tears were now streaming down over her cheeks. This was the end.

 

The end of all.

 

 

 

Aleanda woke up with a shock. She sat in her bed. Waking up out of this nightmare had made her sit. Sweat dropped from her forehead, and tears dropped from her cheeks on her night dress. The sweat and tears made little spots on the dress. Aleanda had her eyes wide open and looked at the wall opposite of her. She was looking without actually seeing something. Lea tried to recall what had made her seat as if she had ran ten laps around the Tower; what made her sweat as if she was carrying heavy things on midsummer days in Tear; what made her sweat as if she was chasing someone in the Aiel Waste. Something terribly scary it has to be.

 

Aleanda never had nightmares. At least she couldn't remember the last time she had had one. It must have been a long, long time ago. Lea had the feeling as if this dream, this nightmare meant something. Could it mean something? What would it mean?

 

The Aes Sedai laid her body to rest again. She hoped she could get some more sleep. Though it was a fool’s hope, as she very well knew that she wouldn't sleep anymore. Her thoughts went around her head as crazy. And Aleanda realised she couldn't get to sleep anymore because she became a bit scared. A bit scared for another possible nightmare. Instead of staying in bed Aleanda got out and redressed. Her simple white nightdress was replaced by another simple white dress. Simple, but beautiful in it's simplicity. A dress perfectly fit for Aleanda. Aleanda walked to her study room and looked at the mess on her desk. She knew she had left it there the other night because she was too tired to clean it. It had to be cleaned but it had to wait.

 

Aleanda walked out of her room. Where her feet were carrying her, she didn't know but they were carrying her out of her room. She knew the night was still young, as she was still pretty tired. Where Aleanda was going didn't matter to her. She knew that while walking around the Tower, walking around her home she was going to remember what she had dreamed. Some fresh air would do her good.

 

Left, right, left. One foot after the other. The further Aleanda walked the more she could remember from her dream. She remembered she had walked the way she was walking right know. Towards the novice quarters she went. One foot after the other. She had been taken away from there by one of her sisters. Aleanda couldn't remember who it was. Another corner, one foot after the other.

 

Aleanda heard something. It was someone behind her. This person wasn't close yet, but she heard someone. Whoever it was, it was moving away from her but it had made Aleanda realise she hadn't heard anyone before this person. It wasn't likely that the Tower was crowded at this time of the day, but there had to be people around. The Tower was always cleaned at night, so the servant would not walk anyone before their feet at night. But this night was... different. Aleanda looked over her shoulder, she looked before her and when passing a side way she looked into it. No one.

 

Her calm face remained calm when Aleanda heard a scream. Still underneath the calmness Aleanda was careful. There has been more screams in the White Tower, but Aleanda had heard fright, truthful fright. Real fright. Where the scream came from Aleanda couldn't tell. But her instinct told her that it came from the novice quarters. Why her instinct told Aleanda it came from there she didn't know. The scream definitely didn't come from a Novice.

 

When walking in a quick pace around the corner Aleanda saw Maegan running. "Maegan? Did I hear you scream?" Aleanda looked at the Red sister. Maegan stopped and turned around. "Why did you scream, are you alright?" Aleanda saw pure fright on the woman's face. She walked towards the woman and held Maegan's head between her hands. Aleanda still spoke in the same tone she as always speaking but she talked faster. "Tell me Maegan what is going on?" Instead of saying anything Maegan just raised her hand. She pointed the index finger of her right hand towards something behind Aleanda. Something Aleanda had not seen yet. It was the thing that was frightening Maegan so much.

 

When Aleanda looked at what Maegan was pointing at she did a step away from it. She walked up against Maegan and almost pushed her over. "What... what in l..lights name is th..that?" Would Aleanda not be so sleepy she would have already grabbed the source, but because she was sleepy she only did it after a few second and wove a wall of air. In contrary of the voice the face of Aleanda was still as it was always. Cool and emotionless. Aleanda's mind was everything but cool and emotionless at the moment. She was trying to find an explanation for what she was witnessing right now. It was a girl, a young girl, a novice, but it was pale as a dead body. Her eyes were as black as the night that was surrounding them. The moon shone on them which made it all even more frightening.

 

"Aleanda, the power is useless on this child. There is no way you can stop her." Aleanda eyed Maegan. "How, what? Impossible!" Was Aleanda's response. She pushed the Red Sister away made the wall collapse and created a beam of air and blew it towards the girl. Like Maegan had said to Aleanda the One Power had no affect on this creature. The girl had stopped for a second but then started to walk in the same speed as she did before. Slow. She stepped slowly towards them. "Impossible" Aleanda whispered this time. "Lets go, we need to get out of here. We need to warn others, we need to.. get a weapon." Maegan looked shocked at Aleanda. "We need to do something!" Aleanda turned around to walk away.

 

Before she could take one step she was nailed to the ground, again. This one was carrying a knife. It was another one as pale as a dead one, as dark as a shadow. Aleanda's left hand grabbed Maegan's hand. Now it had been a long, long time since Aleanda had grabbed someone's hand out of fear. "Another one." Maegan looked over her shoulder to the 'new thing' that had entered the scene. Aleanda prepared a fire ball to send to the walking corpse. She took a deep breath and send it away. The body wasn't affected, as Aleanda had thought. Still she had hoped that it might would be fire that would affect it. The ball of fire left a black spot on the white wall behind the girl that was still walking towards them. After fire, Aleanda used Water and Earth. But that also didn't help.

 

"What do we do, Maegan. Meagean! What do we do?"

 

Aleanda Antori,

Aes Sedai of the White Ajah

 

~

 

-I hope you like the post Maegan. If you think I've NPC'ed Maegan too much, let me know and I'll change it.

-Everyone else I hope you enjoyed the post too. Feedback is always appreciated

-Like said in Maegan's post, everyone is welcome to join in.

-Like said on the top of this post, everyone is, even after today, more than welcome to post their own bubbalicious post, whether it is in one of the stories going on already, or a diffrent bubble/story of your own.

 

Robin :)

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ooc- sorry it took so long!

 

Jaydena stretched in her bed and touched a hand to her scarred face, she was no fabled beauty, the only thing she had left was her body, her power, the White Tower, and her Ajah. She curled into the covers and thanked the Light that today she had nothing better to do that laze in bed all day if she wanted. Course that would never do for if she did, her gaidin would for sure come looking for her, the feared that she would become dark or suicidal once more. Death didn't even hold any lure for her these days, she had told that time and again but they still wondered at her sanity. Pulling her eyemask down over her eyes she let her thoughts drift away as she fell back asleep...

 

A hand ran up her hand and twisted itself into her undergarments. She moaned and arched her body as the hand began to move. A body slide up hers and she opened her eyes, not noticing that she no longer wore a mask over her eyes. Jade couldn't see the person above her for the sunlight shining through the windows blinded. If she had looked closer she would have seen that the curtains had been ripped from their rods and her eyemask lay cut at the side of her head. She moaned again as the pleasure rose higher and the person slide up her body. By this time she knew it to be a woman and as the woman reached her mouth she could tell it was her once lover Seiaman. The woman began kissing her and then tugged the bodice of her dress down. Jade arched once more and Seia came up to kiss her. Her thoughts were confused and jumbled, she couldn't seem to grasp what was going on. All she knew was the woman she loved more than anything was making love to her once more, the pain and joy of it shuddered through her and she didn't stop to think that it just wasn't possible.

 

To much had changed, to much water under the bridge for this event to happen. Seia didn't love her anymore and she didn't want her. Pleasure crashed through her and she gasped up as Sirayn, wearing nothing but a seven striped shawl climbed onto the bed and began to kiss her. No! Her brain shouted, Sirayn didn't want her, had rejected her over and over. This was dream but if it was a dream she would left her pleasure play out. The love in the room was so thick she could cut through it as the tears poured down her cheeks. Watching in horror Sirayn turned and opened her arms and Seia moved into them. Their dark heads melded together as they began to make love in front of her eyes. "You were never as good as her Jade, all those times I took the rings off, I was in her bed, making her scream and writhe. We laughed at how we deceived you and how pathetic you were." Jade turned and curled into a ball, she sobbed and barely caught the sound of a dagger sliding from it's sheath. She flung the blankets from her body and somersaulted across the room to her sword.

 

Pivoting to face her enemies she saw Sirayn and Seia both standing in her chamber with daggers in their hands, they were advancing quickly and she it clicked what had been bugging her all along. Seia had both eyes and Sirayn's hands were still intact. No scaring on either of them. Seia threw the blade across the room and she lunged out of the way, instead of lodging in her heart it imbedded in her left arm. She had faced this before she knew what was going on. These women had to be a Bubble of Evil as she had faced before. The second dagger flew at her as she thought about what to do and she bouncing onto the balls of her feets she moved out of the way in time. Pain was shooting through her arm and she could feel the blood pouring down her arm, she needed to find someone who could heal quickly. Gesturing with her other arm she spoke harshly, "Enough of this, you are not real, I deny you, Seia you never loved me and Sirayn you only used me. You are not real!" Embracing the source she threw a ball of fire at them and watched with tears pouring down her face as she killed her loves, the paper they were made of burned quickly.

 

Stepping forward to where the ashes lay she stomped over them and threw a dressing gown over her nightgown and slide her feet in to slippers. She walked into her quarters, and saw two of her travel journals from their trip to Ebou Dar open, holes showed where her sketches of Sirayn and Seiaman used to be. Jade stalked forward and slammed the books shut, the pain from the wound in her arm was making her dizzy and she knew she must find someone. I must leave my room or they will find me dead within, she thought. The door to her quarters loomed in front of her and she wrenched it open, running down the Hall she felt the power being channeled within the Hall of Swords. She walked forward and prayed that she would make it there and that she wouldn't find an enemy. Stepping into the room she saw Sirayn standing where such a short time ago she had kneeled to become Captain General as Sirayn became the leader of the Tower. Aramina was kneeling a few short feet away. Jade spoke softly but Sirayn always ready for danger was quick to react. "Sirayn, I killed you." Sirayn's eyes widened and Jade knew she must look a site, her hair flaired around her head in an auburn halo and her entire left side was soaked with blood from the dagger that was lodged in her arm and sticking through to the other side, of course she wasn't wearing her mask so her skin was scared and ropey on one side...

 

Jaydena Sedai

Head of the Greens

 

ooc- Hope this was okay, I wasn't sure how else to get her help!

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Forehead furrowed in concentration, Lillian leafed through the book before her. The wars between Tear and Mayene were not exactly light reading, and after several hours she was tired of it. Still, she wasn't done, and it would get done before she went to sleep. Nevermind she should have gone to sleep awhile ago, yet she found she needed less sleep these days, so very different from early on in her novitiate. Then again, she had been able to coast in her first couple of years because she'd had a good education before she came to the White Tower.

 

So lost in her work, Lillian noticed neither the mignight bells nor the subtle change that seemed to fall over the city. All there was before her was the tale of Ransyn Aranor, a Captain of the Mayene fleet. During the Battle of Bloodwater off the tip of Cindaking in 603NE, he had sacrificed his ship which was already ablaze from the fighting as he rammed it into ship of High Lord Manas. The sight of the Tairen flagship ablaze and sinking had broken the will of the Tairen fle-

 

Drip

 

Leaning back in surprise as a drop of water fell on the book before her, Lillian looked up and her mouth dropped open. The ceiling was leaking? But there was no water up there! Moving the book, she wiped it dry quickly before closing it and sitting it with the others on her desk. Walking to the window, she looked outside and found no answers there, for there was no rain. Feeling another drop on her head, she looked up to find a second leak. Yet it wasn't alone, other places had begun to let water into her room, what would the Aes Seda-

 

"They won't find you."

 

Jumping back in shock, she looked to find a man standing in the middle of her room. "They won't find you. No they won't." Though she didn't recognise the man, she recognised the crest on the shirt, the golden hawk. The right hand was missing, the stump unhealed yet it did not bleed. It couldn't be! The man was as pale as a sheet with barely any marks of age upon his face. Dark curly hair reaching his eyebrows, the man’s left eyebrow was split by a thin white scar. Dressed in a loose red shirt and brown breeches, his feet were oddly bare.

 

"They won't find you until it is too late, just like me. They found me, they thought saved me, but they never saved me, I am still down there. Join me Kyla." The figure raised its hand to the ceiling and where the water had come in a pitter patter it now gushed. Some of the water found its way on the candle and extinguished all light save for what the moon provided, obscuring the man from view.

 

Holding her hands above her head to shield herself from the falling waters, Lillian turned at the sound of a loud crack to find the window closed. Turning about again, Lillian welcomed saidar and wove a light to find the man gone and her way out before her. She could feel the water climbing, she could feel it sweeping about her legs and even underneath her bed as she surged towards the door with her skirts dragging all the way. Reaching the door, she tried to push it open yet it wouldn’t budge!

 

Feeling a hand on her shoulder, she whipped about and screamed even as the light she made flickered. She hadn't been able to make out much before, but now she could see all of it. He wasn’t merely pale, he was dead! His eyes were rolled back so only the whites were visible yet he saw her.

 

"They found me too late, too late for you. Don't fight now, come with me, stay with me, stay." It was his hand as it touched her face that unfroze her. Even as the smell of salt filled her nostrils, she staggered to one side and pushed him away only to have him grab her hand. Struggling to maintain the light, it wavered and shifted as she struggled with him, trying to wrestle free of his grasp.

 

The waters were at her chest, then her shoulders. No longer able to keep her footing, she kicked out with her feet, and with its combined force managed to rip free. The momentum carried her to her bed, allowing her to scrabble to her feet. Taking a couple of steps across it she leapt towards the window and flailed her way the last couple of feet with the light dying and saidar slipping as she did so. Unable to push it open, she punched at the glass, even took air from the water and struck the window to no avail.

 

Shrieking, Lillian was pulled underneath the water with little more than a half breath. Held by her right foot, kicking was useless and hard to do as she choked on what she had taken in. His hand clawed its way up her leg then her waist until he was able to wrap his arms around her. Holding her arms up infront of her, she tried in vain to push free even clawing at him. Lungs burning, she needed air, she needed something, anything!

 

As her struggles became weaker, saidar beckoned to her, begged her to embrace. Opening up to it, its warmth spread from her head to the tips of her toes. Black spots filling her vision even as she became aware of every shift and turn of the water, the rustle of the man’s clothing against her, hi- There was nothing, no heartbeat, no breath, nothing. Calling what threads of spirit she could, she wove them into a blade yet it was not enough, too late.

 

With one last act of willpower, she unleashed the spirit upon the man even as her vision faded and water filled her lungs. Before the darkness claimed her, she saw his eyes but no longer white. Blue, a brilliant blue that cut to her core, all his agony, pain and loneliness pouring from them into her even as saidar fled her.

 

Coughing, spluttering, she spasmed as her lungs expelled what they had welcomed in her final moment. Eyes wide open, confusion took her as she saw that her room was the way it had been before. Yet still she coughed up water, and she was drenched from head to toe with the salty aroma of the sea soaked into her. And his eyes… They would never leave her.

 

Trying to sit up, she realised something was in her hand. Turning her palm upward, she unclenched her fist and went still. A medallion, it was the shape of a five pointed star with a thin band running around it which was as big as the palm of her hand. A silver chain looped under the band, a contrast to the gold of the medallion. It was then she remembered, he had worn it, she must have clawed it free of him yet the chain was broken.

 

Looking at it only served to revive the feelings that the man had given her in that last moment. Shuddering as a sob wracked her, she clenched her fist around the medallion as she held it close. Curling into a ball, her other arm wrapped itself around her legs as she wept, wept for a man who no longer could.

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Novice of the White Tower

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Guest Estel

Collapsing against the wall once more, Estel drew ragged breaths, praying that nothing more would come after her. If she didn't find someone soon, she wouldn't last much longer. Tiny as all her wounds were, they covered her legs and she was beginning to slip in the trail of blood she was leaving behind.

 

'Who in the Pit of Doom can I go to?' Her flight had taken her too far from her own quarters to go back there. The closest set of quarters were those of the Greens, a dangerous place for a Blue in light of the political mess going on. 'Then again' she thought wryly 'I do have "friends" in the Green.'

 

She was hardly friends with any of the Greens she was forced to work, but at least her fellow Order members would look past the fact that she was Blue and they Green; opposing sides on the political table.

 

After two more corridors of leaning against the wall, pushing each leg in front of the other, she collapsed again at the entrace to the Green Quarters. Panting raggedly, she searched around for someone she knew- anyone really- to help her.

 

A flash of white caught her eye and she watched as Jaydena went flying out of her rooms and down the hall. She called out, but the Green had already disappeared.

 

Trying to force herself back to her feet, she suddenly realixed just how much blood she was loosing from all the tiny arrow. Beginning to panic, she started crawling up the hall. If only she had enought strength to reach the room Jade had disappeared into...

 

She was fading fast. Every inch of her clung to consciousness, fighting a loosing battle. If she had had enough strength left to look behind her, she would have seen the strips of red smeared across the green tiles.

 

Light but she squirming across the ground. She always found herself, face in the dust, in her most broken moments. She had lain, wretched, before the feet of too many. How could she count herself Aes Sedai in such a postion?

 

She would not cry in frustration. Light but she would not! With one final push, she spat blood from her mouth and fell down into blackness...

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OOC: Holy lateness, batman. I'm exhausted, too, so please just put up with this post. Thanks.

 

IC: The night grew thick and enveloped the sleeping Blue, without her even being aware of it. A loud clanging noise, and the sound of screams, startled Serena out of her well-needed rest. The air felt wrong. Glancing over to her side, the Blue searched for Thera, yet knew she would not be there. The rift that had grown between them could have been a large thick wall, which made the Blue incapable of letting her Gaidin know how she really felt.

 

clang

 

Arching an eyebrow in the pure darkness of her room, Serena searched blindly for the source of the sound. What in the-... The sounds began to pick up speed and grew closer and closer to her. Bloodcurdling screams echoed from the corridors outside of her room, causing her skin to crawl. Reaching through the suffocating darkness, to grab a robe to wrap around herself, the Blue jumped onto the floor. As soon as her bare feet hit the hard wood, she felt a sharp pain in her foot. Recoiling from what felt as if she had stepped on a large thorn, the Saldaean woman yelped and moved to step in a different direction. Again, as her foot came close to the floor, something stabbed at her again.

 

clang, clang, clang

 

The rythmic sound of metal hitting wood jogged a memory hidden deep within Serena's mind. Where had she heard that exact sound before? Shaking her head, she crouched down to the floor and reached out before her. A clang, then stabbing sensation in her hand. What in the light was she to do? Biting her lower lip, Serena embraced the True Source and wove a Shield around her. It seemed to work for the time being, but the loud clanging never stopped. As she headed for the door, stumbling in the darkness, she could hear the metallic sound come after her.

 

Reaching for the door, something whizzed passed her ear and struck the door...hard. The resonance of wood being struck by metal seemed to revurberate up the Aes Sedai's arm. In frustration and irritation, Serena channeled a small flame that seemed to hover above her hand. Tilted emerald eyes widened at the site before her. The loud clanging noise continued, and when she saw what it was, she remembered where she had heard the noise before. Grasping for her hair, the Blue could not forget the night that she and Kieryn had to chop off her long silky raven hair. Her blades had sought her life before, now, they were after her again.

 

Swallowing a large lump in her throat, Serena threw open the door and ran out into the corridor. Blood seemed to stream out onto the blue tiles, defiling what it meant to be a Blue Sister. Her daggers flew passed her, as she attempted to dodge them every time. They seemed to have a life of their own. At an intersection of hallways, a standlamp seemed to stretch out to stop her. It wrapped the long brass arms of the candlabra around her leg, then her arms. The Shield she had wrought had disintegrated long ago, somewhere between being chased by her own weapons, and tripping over body parts of her sisters. Cool brass snaked it's way up her back and around her neck, slowly closing her throat. Stars flashed in her peripheral vision and she became tired, exhausted, ready to give in to the Dark One's touch.

 

Short raven hair bounced slightly as her chin began to drop towards her chest. The darkness was closing in, and there was nothing she could do. Saidar was a distant memory. Suddenly, someone came screaming passed her. The voice of a younger Sister, and a Sister closer than others new. Estel Liones...The name bit through the numbing the lack of oxygen was creating. Clenching her teeth, Serena attempted to grasp onto Saidar again and again. At last, it came, when she had practiced the calming novice excercise well enough to have fallen asleep and died, the True Source came to her. Wrapping threads of Earth and Air around the brass that held her captive, Serena was able to pull the metal away from her. Breaking free was only the beginning, as the standlamp fell back against the wall, it was as if her daggers had been waiting for her, just in case.

 

Dashing down the corridor, Serena searched up and down for Estel, but could not find her. As she was about to give up, she practically trampled the Domani woman, who was in a bloody heap on the floor. "Oh, Light, Estel!" Sticky wetness seeped through Serena's toes as she stepped in her Sisters blood. Reaching down for the other Blue, the Saldaean Aes Sedai wrapped Estel up in her arms. With each hand on either side of Estel's head, Serena began to Heal the other woman. With her strength in the One Power lying in Water, Spirit came a close second. Although Serena's strength in the One Power, at all, was not much, her skill was greater than most. Delving into her younger Sister, and doing the best she could at Healing, Serena was unable to do much else. Seemingly unaware of the chaos that occured around them, the raven-haired Aes Sedai was not prepared for the striking blow that ended her weaving abruptly. Unable to comprehend what had just struck her in the back, Serena crumpled forward in a heap over Estel, sticking straight up out of her shoulder was her own glistening blade.

 

Darkness ensued...

 

 

Serena Morrigan

Blue Ajah

Bonded to Thera Trakelyn

Not Dead, but Seriously Injured

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Guest Arie Ronshor

Ooc: sorry this too so long.. my net is SO unstable. i really hope THIS posts...

 

Ic:

 

Maegan watched as she struggled from within, pushing and fighting against a darkness of irrevocable sin within herself.Seducing, it called to her to bring the darkness out. The cold layers of self disipline wished to pull away fro mher and join the child in it's freedom. No effect of the One Power, unstopable.

 

Unless..

 

Maegan's mind whirled as threads of fire, earth, everything escaped the tips of Aleanda fingers. Spirlalling out like thin ropes, she saw her plan in the weave. Only without a weave. But slowly they backed away, panic rising in the White sisters voice.

 

"What do we do, Maegan. Meagean! What do we do?"

 

Maegans' eyes scanned around the hallway, searching for 'anything that coulc be useful. Seeing a medium sized vase she wrapped Air around it and flung it towards the child that was still moving toward them. The vase shattered against the child, knocking it back forcefully, doing more damage than any weave they had yet to throw at it, causing it to stumbe to the ground. They waited for a moment only to see it sumble, trying to get up. It had been drastically weakened by the blow.

 

"Attack it with anything that isnt affected by the Power. We must find a way to stop it. Be prepared, there may be more to this than just a body.."

 

 

 

Maegan Ryanne

 

(i lost a good 4 versions of this... :P *curses*, your more than welcome to NPC me.. i'll be trying my best to fix my net... Although, i would love to see some decapitation.. *cackles*)

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I don't want to die, yet Was the only thought that ran through Aleanda's brain on that moment. She was frightened, though you could not see it from her face. You could not see it from her body, but she was frightened. Aleanda, as well as Maegan, had to attack novices. They seemed like walking corpses. Dead. But it were still novices. Young girls who could become Aes Sedai one day. There weren't many of these young girls and they were attacking them. They had to.

 

Aleanda saw, after all her tries of getting the girls down by the one power, that Maegan threw a vase towards the corpse. The corps that was walking towards them from Maegans side. To Aleanda's surprise she saw that the novice fell, she was affected by the vase. The One Power didn't work, but this vase did. There was no time to think. Why? No time to think. How? No time.

 

"Attack it with anything that isnt affected by the Power. We must find a way to stop it. Be prepared, there may be more to this than just a body.."

 

Aleanda tore with Air a painting of the wall. It was a wooden panel of three Aes Sedai, three Yellow and a Gray Aes Sedai their shawls told, in the garden. Aleanda threw it to the body that was facing her. It fell on the floor and all Aleanda could think of doing was getting out there. She grabbed Maegan at her arm and pulled. "We have to get out of here, there isn't much to throw, and there can be more. We can't hold them much longer." Maegan agreed and started to walk fast passed the Novice Aleanda had taken down with Aleanda on her heels.

 

Maegan and Aleanda walked through the quarter, through the Tower. Where to they were walking they didn't know. Away from those two... Things. Before they could have walked long, they were already facing three others. Three new corpses. Three! "O no!" Aleanda heard Maegan saying. They turned around and a little scream escaped Aleanda's mouth while she hearde Maegan gasping. Another four were heading towards them from the other side. While they had things to throw with where they had been earlier, facing the other two, they were now in a corridor in the Tower there there were no vases, paintings, carpets, tables, chairs or anything else to throw with. They were alone, with the One Power facing seven walking dead people. Were they dead? Alone with the One Power, the useless One Power while these things were walking towards them. Some where helding a little dagger others a candlestick. It were 'only' Novices, but they could almost all look Aleanda into her eyes. And they were almost all less slim than Aleanda was and most likely stronger.

 

Aleanda looked Maegan in her eyes. She saw in those eyes what she was feeling herself. Everything far from pleasure. "We can blow the ground under them." Aleanda said hastily. "Where are we, what is beneath us? Are there people there." Aleanda was still looking at Maegan but she saw that the woman was not paying attention to what she had said. "Maegan Sedai, where not here to stare around. I'm trying to find a proper way out of here." But Maegan said nothing but looked. When Aleanda turned her head to see what Maegan was looking at she saw that all the corpses were now laying on the floor. The colour of their skin was turning back to normal again. Aleanda slowly walked to the novices who laid on the floor. Slowly. When she was close to one of them she got through her knees to poke. When she got no reaction she used the check if the girl was alright. She was. Maegan was now also poking one of the girls, who after that opened her eyes.

 

"What am I doing here?" She said sleepy. Aleanda looked at Maegan. "You don't remember how you've come here, do you?" Maegan asked. The girl shook her head. When Aleanda poked some more in the girl she poked before it also woke up. "You've been walking in your sleep girl." Aleanda said while whiping away a drop of sweat from her for head. Sweat? "Wake up the others and get back to your rooms. Don't talk about this sleep walking party every again. Understood?" The girl was already waking up the others and Maegan gave her an approving nod. They had clearly something to discuss.

 

Aleanda Antori

Aes Sedai of the White Ajah

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Nobody had yet found the source of that screaming. Its constant sound irritated her; it was as though fingernails scraping on slate had slid up the scale to a far higher pitch. Not very charitable of her to be wishing the sufferer would do so in silence, but somebody had to take charge right now and the screams interfered with her thinking. It did nobody any good to hear such frightening sounds while she did her best to rally her battered, beaten troops and restore their spirits to something more becoming Aes Sedai … a difficult task at the best of times, demanding nothing less than perfect composure, but a part of her thrilled to recognise such a challenge. In a twisted way she had become Amyrlin Seat for moments like these: to be the decision maker, the leader, the one constant light in the darkness.

 

All this flashed through her mind at dizzying speed. Having another person at her side settled her somehow, gave her somebody to set an example for, and it being an Order member steadied her courage somewhat as well. It was easier to wear this hard mask when others were watching. Right: time to figure this out. The ordinary rules of the world seemed to be broken tonight. Apparitions came and went as they would but the wounds they made were real. That the lights had gone out just after midnight, as people were whispering around her, did not fill her with much optimism either. For somebody who had seen a Bubble of Evil at first hand only recently it required little in the way of analytical skills. Nothing to be gained from denying it; the Pattern had decided to torment them again.

 

Her thoughts spun out in such precarious threads that it took only soft words to break them. She looked up; tensing, even the sound flooding her with wariness; but what she laid eyes on shocked even her. Though she had seen, right at the beginning, the damage done to a once perfect face, it startled her every time she glimpsed the proof of it beneath the half mask. To her Jaydena Mckanthur would always be beautiful, too much so to be real, like a painting by a master craftsman. Looking upon her one-time sister felt like a betrayal. Half still lovely, half ravaged face; the light shone softly through her auburn curls in a haze; blood black and sticky where she had been wounded. And for all that she had hated this woman intensely, that she still kept her jealousy and fury close, Sirayn felt a sudden and unexpectedly harsh stab of protectiveness.

 

It unsettled her. She ought not to care. Everything was done between them, she had no interest whatsoever in raking up the ashes of a dying time, and to hear such stark words -- “I killed you†-- only doubled this perilous feeling of fragility. The prospect that she might actually say something to Jaydena, words that might show her unwelcome desire to keep the Banner Captain safe, struck her as treachery of sorts. Only a fool would betray enmity so deeply set into her simply because her rival turned up bloodied and battered and not half so perfect as usual. Not in a hundred years would she have spoken equally softly back. She pitched her voice low and harsh. “Congratulations. The temptation must have been irresistible.†Immediately she regretted it, that had been too hard on a woman suffering her own problems, but better that than anything sentimental. Better cruel than weak.

 

Too many surprises tonight. A succession of shocks had jolted her right out of her usual effortless composure. Images inundated her: her son and the Dreadlord, a Banner Captain on her knees, Jaydena ravaged by fire and battle. Had she been anyone else, she might have slid away into the nearest empty hall and sought precious silence … somewhere to rest for a moment and recover her balance. Amyrlins had no such luxury. “All of you listen up.†It carried far on the smoke-laden air, blessedly cool and calm, reflecting not a hint of her inner fears. “This is a Bubble of Evil. Anyone who doesn’t know what that means should get a book out of the Tower Library at the earliest opportunity. Suffice it to say that anything you see may or may not be real … but it leaves real wounds all the same. All the rules you live by have been temporarily suspended. For the moment, at least, anything is fair game. You will glimpse sights both strange and disturbing; and more disturbing still is what you may have to do to survive. Yet you are not alone. Forget politics. Tonight we are all Aes Sedai together.â€

 

Given the circumstances she lacked her usual eloquence. It would have to do; she had neither the time nor the will to say anything more inspiring. Let them at least do as they were told, this fractured whole, for once in their difficult and overly troublesome lives. “Battle Ajah, secure your Ajah Halls. Anyone who can heal should put themselves to good use.†And think themselves lucky for it. She herself had never been able to heal worth a damn, could not fix so much as a scratch, and that made her worse than useless in the circumstances. “Soldiers with me.†In a few curt words she gathered her people round her. Her grey gaze slid over Aramina sur Dulciena, in whose face she saw so many others, and an old rival who needed no introduction. It was a small enough force through which to dispense assistance; but it woud have to suffice.

 

Ten steps beyond the Hall of Swords brought them to a gory sight. On the floor, broken as bloody dolls, lay two women; streaks of red behind them told how one or both had dragged herself here. One had slumped atop the other, as though shielding her from something, though the dagger standing out like a point from her shoulder told how unsuccessful that had been. One glance and one only told her their identities; it hit her bitterly hard. “Secure the hall.†The curt order was directed to nobody in particular. Only the barest edge of strain tightened her voice. She herself knelt, sought a pulse. After several heart stopping moments she detected the thread of a pulse in first one woman, then the other. It held little strength, yet it persisted, a current of life clinging in both. The realisation eased something in her. She let go a slow breath. “Somebody heal these two.â€

 

She had always liked Serena. It was a useless thought in the circumstances, when blood and steel seared the corridor, but it twisted at her hard. One of the only people she had ever liked and Serena Morrigan lay clinging to life at her feet. Briefly she felt very old indeed. Soldiers only got in the way when healer folk moved in; she got to her feet, stress and tiredness and fear waiting beneath the surface of her control, and removed herself from the scene to observe. Had half the Blue Ajah dragged themselves here, losing pints of blood along the way, and if so for what? Had these two sought her protection? Surely that was only a fancy … but it twisted at her. She did not permit others to hurt people who belonged to her yet somebody had. It made a mockery of her so-called rank; what good was the seven-striped stole if it did not let her protect the people she had promised? How well had she defended the Tower to let it come to this?

 

Guard the Light for me, Sirayn-

 

Somewhere in the distance a woman was still screaming. It clawed at her, but she was too distracted by the healers’ work to pay it much attention, part of her could not believe life and liveliness would be restored to these two bloody forms. Yet she remembered … a room full of light and stillness, facing a legend far greater than she could ever be … being asked to defend the Tower. She had promised it. Some guardian she made.

 

Sirayn Damodred

Watcher of the Seals

Flame of Tar Valon

The Amyrlin Seat

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Guest Estel

Consciousness returned and Estel lay gasping for breath on the floor. Her hair was damp- it did not yet register to her that it was soaked in blood- and stuck to her face, blocking her vision. Mustering strength depleted by the Healing, she raised a hand to brush it away. Two pairs of feet assaulted her view. They were bare and covered in blood. ‘My blood?’ She shook her head in response to her own question. ‘I couldn’t have bled that much.’

 

Turning her head, she saw Serena, blood covering the other woman’s back. ‘Light, what happened?’ Memories began to return and she shivered. However, the return of memory did not answer any of her questions. “What in the Pit of Doom is going on?â€

 

“A Bubble of Evil.â€

 

Again, no real answer. “What in the Light’s name is that?†She lifted her head to see who it was that had Healed her and three familiar faces met her eyes. Aramina sur Dulciena and Jaydena McKanthur stood over her. Estel’s eyes went wide at the sight of the woman’s scarred face, she had heard rumours and seen the mask, but to see it was something else.

 

Last was the face most familiar to her: Sirayn Damodred. Watcher of the Seals. The Flame of Tar Valon. Sirayn Damodred, the newly raised Amyrlin Seat. The same woman who had manipulated a broken, weeping woman so many years ago. Did the woman have no shame! Could she not turn her piercing grey gaze away from her! How many times had the bloody woman seen her broken and weak? Estel could not force her hazel eyes to meet those grey ones for a minute longer and dropped her head to the floor.

 

Bitterness and anger washed over her. Early in her career there had been doubts over whether she deserved the Shawl of Aes Sedai. As years passed, she had spent as much time as possible outside the Tower to avoid those who considered her sub-par. Worse than their doubt though was her own. To the world she presented a fa ade of self-confidence while underneath she was anything but. She let none scratch that mask, for under it lay a woman who could not possibly live up to the name Aes Sedai.

 

So she lay, naked and bloody at the feet of the woman she had the most to prove to. ‘You’re not an Aes Sedai, girl. You’re nothing but a coward; and sniveling wretch.’ Light, but she had to prove something to these women, had to prove she deserved to stand among them.

 

Slowly and unsteadily she got to her feet. The Healing had sapped her of most of her strength but she stubbornly refused to fall back down. “Where to next, Mother?â€

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Both would live. Thank the Light; it eased a tightness in her she had been preferring to ignore, a small sign of weakness, to see the threads of healing restore some life to the two who had fallen to tonight's chaos. She had never liked Estel Liones, not half so much as she did the woman's older and better behaved sister, but to see the Domani Blue stir at the hands of some attentive healer filled her with a certain satisfaction. Though the forces roaming tonight were beyond her control, even her comprehension, their work at least could be undone. If it had to be step by step, one grinding inch at a time, the Tower would overcome this trouble as it had all others.

 

Playing the cool observer it startled her indeed watching Estel Liones rise grim and bloody to her feet. She had not thought the woman had such strength in her; after the trials of times past, the tears and the powerless fury, who would have expected this particular Aes Sedai to have any courage left? She contemplated her young companion, cold grey eyes and steady face, wondering what else she didn't know about Estel Sedai. Perhaps the time had come for this one to stop playing at being half a child and become a genuine Aes Sedai. There was so little time left and the Tower had need of good women. Great need brought out the best in some, she knew that well herself, it was only stress and danger that had made her who she was. Maybe Estel would find her own steel tonight.

 

A half-ruined diplomat, a schemer near undone by her own demons, a lion-hearted Borderlander and this strange woman whom she suspected had not entirely accepted the blue shawl on her shoulders. And these were the people she intended to save the Tower. Well, she had lost battles, but she did not make a practice of losing wars; if they were not yet strong enough to be what she needed she would have to make them so. Let them be enough. “If you are ready,†Sirayn gave that phrase layers of meaning, though for once no disdain for this particular Blue, “then we go on.â€

 

Sirayn Damodred

Watcher of the Seals

Flame of Tar Valon

The Amyrlin Seat

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