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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

A New Beginning? Arienna's Arrival (Attn: Arienna and Aislyn)


Taymist
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Rhya shared a look with Owen, her own feelings of wonder as she'd crossed that invisible barrier amongst the trees uppermost in her mind. A slight smile curved her mouth as she recalled the moment but it was wiped instantly away by Arienna's unexpected reaction. The girl actually glared at her as though it was somehow Rhya causing fault. Rolling her eyes with a sigh, Rhya was still moved to empathise with the newcomer. The girl was, after all, getting one shock after another. A few days of settling into the Stedding, some good food and she'd hopefully calm down.

 

Owen's quiet words brought her back to the present. "Rhya, take Arienna to see one of the Sages. Get her settled and I'll see you back at the house."

 

Surprised at this sudden desertion, she arched an eyebrow delicately but nodded agreement, if reluctantly. It occurred to her that perhaps Owen and Erik had things to discuss and she turned her gaze back to the glowering expression on Arienna's face.

 

Attempting to be reassuring as they walked on, Rhya smiled ruefully at her charge. "It's strange isn't it? Don't worry, it's a peculiarity of the Stedding, not anything bad. On the contrary it's a good thing and you'll hear more about it later." Her comment made not the slightest dent in Arienna's armour, the girl's lips compressing without response.

 

Erik and Owen took their leave a few minutes later, Arienna's eyes following them for long minutes before she joined Rhya on the last stretch of the path.

 

"I'm going to take you to the Infirmary. A Sage will have to check you over. Maybe Erik explained that to you? We all have to go through it. Just a safeguard, nothing intrusive." The girl's continued silence and suspicious sidelong looks were beginning to wear on Rhya's nerves. The sooner she could hand her over to Aislyn or Miryana the better. They'd know just what to say and do.

 

The centre of the village was fairly quiet, with only a few curious eyes following their progress. No-one approached though and Rhya was glad enough of that as she was still reluctant to socialise much herself, never mind answer a barrage of questions. On the whole, the other Wolfkin were courteous and understood well enough, each from their own experiences, that approaching a new Wanderer was best left until after the Sages had seen them.

 

The large shape of the Infirmary appeared in front of them and Rhya took the steps two at a time. She liked the peace of this building. It held an air of calmness that was reinforced by the capable, comforting presence of the Sages and a scent of fresh herbs and baking suffused the air almost 24 hours a day it seemed. Arienna was more cautious in her approach, obviously wondering what was to come next as Rhya almost ran right into Aislyn.

 

"My apologies, Aislyn. I've brought a new Wanderer to see you. Owen had business to deal with so he asked me to bring her." She smiled, turned and spoke again, "Arienna, this is Aislyn. She'll be able to answer any questions you have and look after you for now. Aislyn, this is Arienna."

 

She wound down after the introduction, leaving the young girl and the Sage to take stock of each other.

 

 

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Before entering the Stedding, Arienna had been on edge, trying to spot a trap she felt certain she was two paces from falling into. Now that she was in the actual camp, that waryness turned into paranoia, and even though her mind told her that the Aes Sedai was just trying to make pleasant conversation she simply couldn't bring herself to return the gesture, not daring to lower her guard.

 

Waking through camp, the young girl found herself staring people directly in the eyes, becoming increasingly agitated about the fact that they all seemed to have golden eyes. Someone was playing a trick on her, it had to be! She would have to get a message to Lord Maric about this, he would undoubtedly want to know where she was as well. She noticed they had arrived at a tent the Aes Sedai called the Infirmary, and Aislyn got the briefest of nods in greeting as she was introduced to her.

 

Considering how tense she was feeling, she doubted she was capable of more even if she wanted to.

 

 

Arienna

On edge

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Smiling at Rhya, Aislyn conveyed her thanks then turned her attention to the new arrival. She noticed how tense the girl was and her tendency to look people straight in the eyes, almost challengingly.

 

Resting a hand on the girl's shoulder, Aislyn smiled. "You must be very tired after your journey. Let's sit and I'll get you some food and drink." so saying she guided the girl to her sitting room and took the chair opposite her, indicating as she did so that Arienna should do the same.

 

Catching the attention of a passing trainee Aislyn asked for food and tea to be brought as soon as possible, that done she turned her attention back to the girl in front of her.

 

"Take a seat child and tell me a little about yourself. And feel free to ask any questions you have, I will do my best to answer them and put you at ease." As Aislyn spoke she studied the girl before her, her trained eyes searching for any sign of injury or discomfort.

 

 

Aislyn

A calming presence

 

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Arienna started walking to the chair almost before she knew what she was doing, caught up in weighing the woman's words as much as she had. The realisation that she wasn't paying enough attention to her surroundings made her feel even more on edge, which was quite a feat in itself, but she knew that if she showed her doubt now it would put her at a disadvantage. The feeling that would best describe her as she sat down on the chair was one of a hedgehog, rolled up into a ball with its spikes standing out in all directions. At least the option of asking questions seemed welcoming enough...

 

- "..."

 

She managed to stop herself, not wanting to show more indecisiveness. She knew nothing of these people, nothing of where she was and nothing of what was going on, and still not remembering how she had ended up in the forest where she came across Erik wasn't helping either. And she couldn't ask either, in case these people meant harm to Lord Maric, as it would give away that she was effectively separated from him.

 

And then there were the eyes. Much like Erik said -- and she cynically commented on -- everyone in the camp had golden eyes. Everyone. She knew her eye color was pretty rare as it was, her eyes had been brown until somewhere in her mid teens, but the doctor had said it seemed harmless enough even if he had never heard of it happening before. Yet, here was an entire group of people, all with golden eyes, so they weren't that uncommmon after all. Rubbing her temple, she tried to make her mind think faster. There just had to be a logical explanation for all of this...

 

 

Arienna

Getting paranoid

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Rhya followed the other women into the sitting room, hovering at the door until the tea and food arrived. She didn't wish to intrude but there was always the possibility that, despite her suspicions, Arienna would be more comfortable if she had one familiar person there.

 

The apprentice returned and handed a laden tray to Rhya. She nodded her thanks to the young girl, someone she hadn't seen before, and turned to place it on the low table between Aislyn and Arienna.

 

"I'll be mother," she grinned, pouring cups of hot tea for each of them and motioning to Arienna to help herself to some of the fresh bread and butter. Arching an eyebrow at Aislyn in query, Rhya received an answering nod indicating that she could stay.

 

Satisfied, Rhya took a discreet perch on a chair beside one of the large windows overlooking the garden behind the Infirmary and settled in to listen. Arienna almost looked as though she would take Aislyn up on her offer of asking questions but something was holding her back.

 

 

Rhya

Curious

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  • 2 months later...

The tea was drank in silence, Arienna still firmly in the shell she had thrown up against the two women. The tea was hot, and indeed quite pleasant with a hint of what was ironically called Sage added in -- she'd need to remember that when she got back home again! Taking a deep breath, she placed the now empty cup on the table again, glancing at Aislyn and Rhya who were doing their best to make her feel at home despite her growing desire to just leave this place and go home.

 

The problem was, she didn't see this as her home. Half her thoughts were about the path she had traveled, guesstimating how far away from home she was and how much time it would take her to return. Lord Maric would probably miss his evening tea -- Neriam was a kind girl, but it took a while for her to get used to changes in her schedule. The memory of home brought a small smile to her face, but it quickly faded away as she pulled her knees up protectively, starting to feel more than a little homesick. Would Lord Maric send someone to look for me?

 

 

Arienna

Feeling homesick.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The poor girl looked lost. Aislyn could practically feel the walls that Arienna had thrown up to protect herself from getting hurt.

 

"While we eat, I'll tell you more about us shall I? Feel free to ask questions whenever you like." Aislyn said putting as much warmth into her voice as possible. "I know you must be scared and want to go home, Arienna, you're not the first to feel like that. Even I was homesick when I first came here and now there is nowhere else I'd rather be." She smiled warmly at Rhian and Arienna. "No doubt you've noticed that you have senses that are more attuned than most peoples? Well, here everyone is the same. We all arrived here either through a desire to find our own kind, or through persecution and a need for sanctuary." 

 

"Here is the safest place for all of us. Some people choose to leave, once we've taught them all we can - though most come back for visits." Aislyn leaned forward and cut a slice of freshly baked bread and smeared it with butter as she spoke. "What filling would you like Arienna?"

 

Aislyn

Offering food and comfort

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Arienna frowned, wondering what the woman was talking about. Prosecution? Their own kind? Come to think of it, that Erik person had been mentioning the same thing, apparently convinced that people were out to kill them because of the color of their eyes or something equally paranoid. While it had turned out to be true that everyone in the 'sanctuary' he spoke of did indeed have golden eyes, she was still more than a little skeptical of them all, though curiousity was itching for questions to be asked as well now.

 

- "There you people go again with the prosecution thing. Why does everyone assume i've been run out of where i lived with torches and pitchforks just because my irises happened to turn gold? Lord Maric's physician looked me over and said i was fine. Light, i feel fine, and why anyone save for the most paranoid of Whitecloaks would want to kill me based on my eye color is honestly beyond me."

 

She looked at Aislyn and Rhya again, confusement and irritation at being confused starting to overpower the reluctance she had to talk. These people didn't look like Tinkers, so why were they so eager to be a sanctuary to her from the big bad world? Despite her intentions not to, she imagined the founder of this small community to be somewhat disturbed in the head.

 

 

Arienna

Is this a branch of Tinkers?

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"It's beyond most of us" Aislyn replied gently, taking no offence at the irritated tone. "Some people don't like those that are different, they fear change and fear often turns otherwise rational people, into, well..."she paused trying to find the right word or phrase "into an angry and violent mob." She studied the young girl in front of her, the food forgotten for the moment. "No-one is implying that you were 'run out of where you lived with torches and pitchforks', I'm merely mentioning that because others here were." Aislyn paused for a moment.

 

"I'm sure you feel fine, and indeed you are a picture of health, but I'm equally certain that you've noticed other changes, aside from your eye colour? Maybe you've not admitted to it to anyone, maybe not even to yourself, but they are there nonetheless. You've found your hearing is much sharper than anyone else's, you can see much farther and clearer in the dark than your peers. Your sense of smell is more acute than others....Am I right?" Aislyn didn't want to mention the dreams and the other things that came part and parcel with the Howling, at least, not yet.

 

Aislyn

Trying to explain...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Arienna raised an eyebrow as the arguments that were being brought up had so far turned out to be true. Well, partially anyway. There had been a few that were wary of her eye color, but Lord Maric had not been. Her senses were much better than anyone else's, but she believed that to be because she had gotten good at it over time. She hadn't told others about her heightened senses, but as a spymaster she wasn't expected to. Though circumstancial evidence was starting to pile up, it still wasn't enough to make her feel at ease.

 

- "Okay, i admit i am more alert than most, and take pride in it. My main gripe however is that people go and assume all kinds of things, like me talking to wolves for example. And wolves showing up where i've been and it being a perfectly natural thing. I live in a city, before meeting up with that guy named Erik i've never even seen a wolf, and after several days of him trying to be comforting about something that never happened in the first place, then think i'm in denial i suppose it got on my nerves a little. The argument about the senses is correct though, but as a maid living in a Lord's manor i didn't really get a lot of chances to check my night vision."

 

She groaned softly, putting two fingers against her temples to try and massage away the budding headache these people were starting to give her. That, and for the love of the Light why couldn't she remember a bloody thing about what happened that one flaming night for her to be chased into that stupid forest in the first place!?!

 

 

Arienna

Getting a headache

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Aislyn sighed inwardly. Some people fell back on denial as they felt that it was all too much to understand. But if this girl was to face the reality of her situation it had better be sooner than later. Raising her eyes, she met Rhya's gaze and nodded imperceptibly.

 

In the meantime it looked as if Arienna was getting something of a headache. "Would you like a herbal drink for your head?" Aislyn asked. "I have a concoction that will ease your headache and relax those tense muscles. And, unlike most concoctions it doesn't taste too bad, if I may say so myself."

 

She glanced back at Rhya and saw her incline her head slightly. Smiling, Aislyn turned her attention back to Arienna and indicated the plate of food. "Are you sure you don't want to anything to eat?"

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Without being aware of what she was doing, she growled softly, as she shook her head. Her anger wasn't aimed at either of the two women in the room with her, but at the rate her temper was climbing again she was rapidly approaching the point where it would take little more than an odd look to get themselves targeted by it.

 

- "No, i'd feel a lot better if i could just remember what happened. I recall bringing Lord Maric his evening tea, and the next thing i remember is picking my bleeding self off of the forest floor, my foot caught on a root and NO idea how i got there."

 

She bit her lip, visibly trying to calm herself down to keep her anger in check. Balling her hands into fists so tight her arms quivered, she stayed like that for a few seconds, then seemed to relax a bit. Sighing, she looked back at Rhya and Aislyn, before sporting an apologetic smile on her face.

 

- "...Yeah, maybe eating something would help."

 

Though it didn't occur to her, just about every wolf within 'normal thinking range' had gotten disturbingly quiet as a mental barrage had just been unloaded on them, similar to what had hapened to Erik during her pickup.

 

 

Arienna

Didn't do anything

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Rhya listened to Arienna’s responses, trying hard to keep her irritation in check at the girl's refusal to believe what was happening to her. If nothing else, it affirmed for Rhya that she was not suited to the Sage path despite her curiousity and concern for new arrivals. There was no doubt in her mind that she didn’t have either Miryana's or Aislyn’s patience for handling the many obstacles that could be thrown in their paths.

 

Aislyn’s surreptitious nod in Rhya’s direction suggested that she too had had enough of this game though and Rhya smiled slightly, inclining her head. It was about time they called in outside help.

 

Shadow, I need your help.

 

What trouble are you in now cub?

 

Why do you assume I’m in trouble? she thought back laughingly. Not me. Aislyn needs some assistance with a Wanderer.

 

"No, I'd feel a lot better if I could just remember what happened. I recall bringing Lord Maric his evening tea, and the next thing I remember is picking my bleeding self off of the forest floor, my foot caught on a root and NO idea how I got there." Arienna’s voice was clearly troubled and angry at her own helplessness and Rhya found she was not quite out of sympathy for the lass yet.

 

Minutes later, Shadow padded into the room settling back on his haunches beside Rhya.

 

She has no control, little one. Her thoughts are like a spring flood. Shadow’s sending was tinged with disapproval.

 

That’s why I called you. Can you talk to her?

 

Shadow looked at Rhya as though she’d asked if the sky was blue and she was left in no doubt as to the stupidity of her query. Biting her cheek to stop from laughing, Rhya nodded to Aislyn once more then spoke, keeping her voice firm but friendly.

 

“Arienna, this is Shadow, my wolf companion. Shadow, this is Arienna.” She watched in amusement when the girl’s eyes widened as Shadow spoke to her. “Don’t worry, it takes time to understand the images. Just go slowly. Shadow will understand you.”

 

 

 

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A small rustle next to her managed to distract her for a second, and she watched what looked like a big dog walk into the room. She was about to turn back to Rhya and Aislyn to continue the conversation when a thought suddenly hit her, making her eyes go wide. Though she had a good mind, and was quite used to thinking, it was another thing entirely when a thought that was not hers managed to pop into her head, even disregarding that said thought seemed to come from the dog that had just walked in.

 

Trying to find the correct words, she looked at Shadow, and even though she wasn't quite sure what to say the images she unknowingly sent out would be the same things she had just described as the ones closest to the memory loss she was experiencing. How hard did i hit my head anyway?

 

If wolves could roll their eyes, she didn't doubt Shadow would be doing that right now. Which brought up more unease as to how she knew what it was feeling, and more questions as she wondered if she was still sane.

 

 

Arienna

Wolves... They're kind of like dogs, right?

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Rhya could sense the confusion and resistance from Arienna and studied her reactions in sympathy.

 

Is she speaking to you Shadow?

 

She talks, cub, but her mind has holes.

 

Rhya's eyes widened in startlement as she puzzled out that statement. Memory loss. Well, Arienna did say she couldn't remember how she got to the place where Erik found her. She glanced at Aislyn in concern.

 

Shadow, can you please tell Aislyn that this might be more serious than we thought?

 

Aislyn's expression became distant for a moment as the wolf spoke to her. Seconds later, the barest nod to Rhya indicated that she understood.

 

"Arienna," she began, "speaking to and understanding the wolves is a part of the gift we have been given as 'Kin. It is not an evil thing, just a very ancient ability, but this is why so many of our number have faced the persecution of which Aislyn spoke. People fear what they do not understand. Perhaps, coming from a city as you have, the opportunity to communicate with the wolves is not one you've had till now. But rest assured it's a skill you do have as Shadow just illustrated."

 

Rhya fell silent then, allowing Aislyn to take over and hoping they would be able to reassure the girl sufficiently that she would accept, at least for now, the changes she was going through.

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After everything that happened in the past couple of days, it was no wonder to her that she was getting a headache trying to process all the new information. The big dog was actually a wolf, and she could talk to them from an old ability that had never been hinted at in the most farfetched gleeman's story she had ever heard. But she still could talk to wolves. Sighing, she started massaging her temples.

 

- "Okay. I've got a ton of questions, but it's just... The more i ask the less i understand, so i hope you won't mind if i just nod my head and pretend i get it. So, what happens next?"

 

Though her words still sounded annoyed, she was speaking the simple truth when she had said she had trouble trying to understand everything. There was too much new information, and everything she heard here was something she had no way of verifying herself. None of the books she'd read even brushed these kind of topics, and she had no referrences to hold on to but the guesses of Rhya and Aislyn, whom she admitted were good at what they did.

 

 

Arienna

Getting dizzy

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"What happens next is that we get you settled into a room here and organise a bath and some fresh clothes for you, child," Aislyn spoke with a warm smile. "Don't worry too much about your lapse of memory right now. It's a common side effect of a head injury and will most likely wear off in the next few days. The important thing is for you to rest."

 

Aislyn stood, smoothing a stray hair back from her forehead and turned to Rhya, "Thank Shadow for his help, Rhya. You can get off now and I'll take care of Arienna. She's had enough surprises for one day."

 

"I'd say so. Try to relax Arienna, I know it's a lot to take in. None of us find it easy to begin with. I'll pop in again tomorrow Aislyn." Rhya grinned at the Sage and headed out of the room with Shadow trailing at her heels, her mind already elsewhere.

 

"Right, follow me Arienna. Your room is just along the hallway and you'll have peace there. I only have two other Wanderers staying here at present so you won't be bothered," the older woman explained reassuringly, knowing that dealing with too many people could be overwhelming at first to those new to the Stedding.

 

A short walk brought them to a small but freshly cleaned room, it's window letting in plenty of bright light. The furnishings were plain but serviceable and the white of the walls and bed covers was relieved here and there by a splash of colour, such as a cushion on the chair and the curtains fluttering in the breeze, both in soothing shades of green.

 

"You'll find clean clothes over there," Aislyn pointed, indicating a solid wooden cupboard in one corner. "I'll show you where you can bathe. There's a bag where you can leave your dirty linen and it'll be returned to your room once it's been cleaned."

 

The Sage bustled off once more, pointing out the kitchen on the way and explaining to the girl that she could help herself to food as long as she tidied up afterwards. Walking down some steps, she led the way into a large room that smelled of soap and contained a large tub filled with steaming water.

 

"There now. The towels are over on the shelf there. Take your time and let the heat ease your muscles. You have the place to yourself for now. Do you think you can find your room again?" At Arienna's slight nod of agreement, Aislyn patted the girl's shoulder comfortingly. "Good. It really will work out for the best, dear. You are quite safe here. Tomorrow, we'll see about assigning you a mentor who can teach you and answer any other questions you have. If you need me, I'll be in the kitchen or in my sitting room."

 

With a last smile, Aislyn pulled the door closed behind her and went to check on the trainees. They'd been left to their own devices quite long enough.

 

 

 

Aislyn Brealos

Sage

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Arienna simply allowed herself to be led to the room she was assigned to, not being able to think. The events from the past week had caught up to her, with talking to a wolf being the proverbial icing on the cake, and at the moment she was just feeling mentally and emotionally drained. She had to be wary, she had to be careful, no people couldn't talk to wolves yet somehow she had, just hw many people had she seen with yellow eyes back home... Too many thoughts for her to sort out the pieces.

 

As Aislyn spoke, she nodded, not saying much but filing the information in a corner of her mind to sort out later. As inviting as a bath sounded, as necessary as a change of clothes was, the bed in the corner trumped all. All of this seemed almost surreal, like a dream of sorts. Maybe going to sleep would help. Maybe she'd wake up in Maric's estate again, maybe not. But she knew she needed sleep or face a very real mental breakdown soon.

 

She barely even recalled landing on the bed before falling into a -- thankfully dreamless -- sleep.

 

 

Arienna

Ssh...

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  • 1 year later...
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