Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Lavinya

And With the Dawn, Came Change.

Recommended Posts

It was now or never.  Actually that wasn’t true at all, but it sounded suitably dramatic. Something this monumental should have dramatics. Though it was only monumental to Lavinya, really. The big return to the White Tower. Home. She had wanted nothing more than to go home for more than a year, and yet here she stood, preparing to open a gateway and take the final steps home, and she couldn’t bring herself to do it. There had been peace of sorts here; away from other Aes Sedai, away from her troubles, away from her darkest fears. Away from the one she had to face eventually but was afraid to. Always always, it came back to Corin Danveer.

 

Lavinya shook her head, causing her dark red curls to bounce about her face as she dispelled the thoughts of the green eyed man. The sun was high overhead now, meaning she had procrastinated for too long already. She looked back over one shoulder, but there was nothing to see out here in the woods. It had been hard saying goodbye that morning. Lavinya had never had dreams of motherhood, but when it was unintentionally thrust upon her she had found she adored her new daughter and was quite loathe to leave her. It would be wonderful to ignore the world and stay with Elise, but duty ran stronger in Lavinya’s veins than she ever realized. She was Aes Sedai, and the tower needed them all as the last battle drew nearer.

 

Elise would be well cared for, she had made certain of that. No one knew of her existence save her new carers, and Lavinya had to trust it would be enough. She would visit when she could, determined as she was to be a better mother than her own had been.  Elise was still so young, she would not remember being left, but there was no mistaking her parentage in her delicate face. Her eyes were still changing, but they were turning a deep shade of green so reminiscent of her father, her skin pale and unblemished, a contrast to the coppery tones of her mother. But the small tufts of hair that graced her tiny head were a vivid red, an unmistakable inheritance from Lavinya. She did not know if it would also curl, did not know if she would have her mischievous smile and her boldness, or perhaps she would be dutiful and honorable like her father. So many unknowns, so much she longed to discover.

 

“Just get on with it.” She muttered under her breath.  Lifting her arms in an upward sweeping motion, Lavinya wove the intricate lace of Saidar that became a silvery slash in the air before rotating and becoming a gateway big enough for Lavinya to step through with her small bag of newly acquired belongings. With one last backwards glance, she stepped from the cool shadows of the woods and into the bright light of the cordoned travelling area situated just beyond the walls of the tower.  It was hard to tell what had changed from where she stood, but there was much that was familiar and welcome, and it brought the only hints of gladness to her aching heart other than the joy Elise brought her. Lifting her chin a fraction in a regal manner she swept towards the gate.

 

Despite her seclusion, she had not been entirely cut off from gossip from Tar Valon. Tidbits had filtered through to her, though how much truth remained in them was yet to be determined. The most disturbing and frequent whisper had been of the Amyrlin’s alleged disappearance. It had been impossible to find out anything, each tale had been been more fantastic than the last, from a trolloc raid to riots, to even a fantastic tale of a romantic runaway marriage. The only consistency was the fact that Sirayn had disappeared, and no one seemed to know where she was now. The disappearance raised a myriad of questions for Lavinya, and most of them were selfish wonderings as to the father of her baby. Was he missing too? Or was he still stationed at the Tower? Or, light forbid, did he have a hand in her disappearance?

 

A nod at the gate and a flash of her ring was sufficient to allow her uninterrupted passage into the tower grounds, their beauty unblemished as always, the tower proper glowing with reflected sunlight. This was home, this was the beacon of all that was right and good. The occupants may often be far from good, but Lavinya was feeling too elated at being home to pursue the surface thought too deeply, especially when she herself had more often than not been on the opposite side of the table. The courtyard was an ordered bustle of activity, filled with petitioners and tradesmen and servants, and several watchful Aes Sedai, none of which were on their own, Lavinya noticed with curiosity, wondering whether it was a security measure or paranoia or something completely different causing a red to stand next to a blue as though they did not hate one another. Things had changed after all, it seemed, and Lavinya needed to know what and how it would affect her.

 

Flagging a passing servant, Lavinya sent them off with her bag and instructions for her room to be prepared, while she went hunting for some answers.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I have been doing some hard thinking on the matter and have come to the conclusion that you are not a bitch."

"That makes one of us."

- Jordan Cavanaugh & Eric Brazil, Crossing Jordan "Wild Card"

 

Neither a single tapestry nor ornament had been moved in the last month.  The tiles remained the same brilliant shades of blue, brown, red, yellow, white, green, and grey, polished by the hands of the same miscreant Novices and Accepted – if the Tower was lucky, maybe one girl might have been entered into the Book of Novices, luckier still if an Accepted had been raised during Estel’s brief absence.  A new Amyrlin presided over the Hall but considering the year’s events, and the fall of four previous Amyrlins in so short a time, Tar Valon was getting rather bored with celebrating the rising of each new woman to take the Stole.  A month did not change the White Tower.

 

Had a month changed Estel?

 

Light, she hoped so.  Century-old habits were difficult to break at all let alone in thirty days, give or take.  Mind you, it had only taken two weeks to crush Estel’s belief that male channellers deserved the most out of their short lives; if a man with a black coat were to stand in front of her today, the Blue would not hesitate to kill him.  A month’s time had certainly not reformed her but did she at least have hold of that first rung on the ladder, finally poised to claw her way out of the pit she’d dug for herself?  Two days had passed since her return, fights had been picked, authority disrespected, and only Maegan’s timely arrival had stopped her leap into another bottle of brandy – the only vice missing was a temper tantrum.  At least it was something, not exactly a magnificent start but a start nonetheless.

 

Estel wandered the corners of her mind, physically making her way towards the dining hall.  She wasn’t hungry but if Elyssa or Maegan noticed her skipping meals they would probably start sending Novices to her room with food... again.  Her time in the Academy would mean nothing if she couldn’t at least take care of basic needs on her own.

 

A painfully familiar red-haired woman shook her out of rumination.  Light, she’d caught a glimpse of Lavinya when the Black Tower had released the Bonds but otherwise the woman had stayed away from the White Tower.  Few knew why, Estel did.  If not for their rivalry, some fifty years strong, she might have had some pity for the woman.  Better than anyone in the Tower, the Blue should have been able to empathise.  She’d gotten a taste of Linten’s prejudice against Aes Sedai but certainly not to the extent rumours claimed Lavinya had suffered at his hands.  This was only compiled by an affair having nothing to do with the Black Tower’s psycho; the Grey’s belly was still distended from the pregnancy.  Estel knew exactly what it was like trying to hide the unintended consequence of an “indiscretion”.  Knew how much it hurt to leave the child behind for the “greater good of the White Tower”.  Was it too much to ask, giving a simple warning like Sirayn had done – only with fewer strings attached.

 

Yes.

 

Pity was squashed by the half-century feud, empathy impossible.  So many new insults jumped to mind, even a few remarks about who was standing at which end of the proverbial table.  Temptation: too fall back into old habits, no matter how much they had hurt her in the past.  Maegan yelled, Sirayn mocked.  This was her conscience.

 

Estel bit her tongue and for once said nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The tower was a hive of activity as always, the hall filled with scurrying novices in white and petitioners in their best clothes, and the occasional Warder stood watchful as they guarded their charges. The image of Corin wearing one of those shifting cloaks entered her mind, and she wondered, not for the first time, if he had been bonded to Sirayn when she disappeared, and was thus also gone. She would look for him soon enough, it would be taken amiss if the first thing she did on return to the tower was hunt down a nondescript guard or worse still the former amyrlin's warder. No, for now she needed information, it felt as though she had been gone an age and there was much to catch up on. Not that she regretted if for a moment, with a pang she thought of Elise and wondered if she was missing her mother as much as her mother missed her. For the greater good indeed. Teeth set, she continued to scour the room.

 

Lavinya couldn't help but think it was an ill omen of her return that the first familiar face she set eyes on that would be able to discreetly inform her of what she needed to know was that of Estel Liones. Bitterness warred with a reluctant gratitude for the Blue; their feud had been long, but in her hour of need Estel had been there to offer what small help she could regarding her surprise pregnancy. Lavinya quickly scanned the room for another option, but there was no other help to be found. Resignedly she swept towards Estel who was eyeing her in silence.

 

Bracing herself for any manner of cutting comments, Lavinya greeted Estel with a small nod of her head. "Estel Sedai. It has been too long." And yet not long enough, likely. She smiled unconcernedly, though her dark eyes searched intently for any sign of animosity. It seemed they were each watching the other with a similar weighing wariness. Estel was hard to guage, as yet she had refrained from making any taunting comments, so Lavinya took it as a good sign. "I fear I am in need of a friend," she added the slightest twist to her lips at the word, "to help fill me in on the happenings in the Tower of recent months. Would you care to join me for tea? I doubt your fingers would be far from the pulse, and we can reminisce about the good days since passed." Her smile turned wry as she waited for a response, wondering if the tentative truce they had formed would hold or if the battle would rage between them anew.

 

 

Lavinya Morganen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The tiny flicker of glee Estel felt as Lavinya approached probably wasn’t healthy, nor would it help turn any leaves; however, with more notches in the losing column than her opponent, the Blue was about to take pride in this victory.  Besides, she’d gone almost twenty-four hours without lashing out at anyone and Estel simply did not do well with pent-up emotion.  For her ears only, two voices sounded in unison: ‘Behave!’  It seemed Lavinya was listening to a similar conscience.  The woman followed the basic laws of social contract.  Her words could have been taken from a conversation between two civil strangers, but the Grey made no effort to hide a sardonic smile and Estel put less effort into masking her own condescending amusement.

 

“Two months and you’ve missed me?  If you’re in search of friends, I suggest looking elsewhere.  However, I can hardly turn down nostalgia and I am currently lacking company over breakfast.”  Besides, she was curious to see how dire the Grey’s emotional state was since the woman was desperate enough to ask her for help.

 

 

She would be an idiot to think Estel would not take great enjoyment from making her suffer, but the triumph in the Blue's gaze made Lavinya grit her teeth. Like it or no, she was in need of Estel's information and would just have to deal with the gleeful condescension that came her way.  "Life is decidedly dull without your brilliant conversation, sister." Lavinya replied smoothly, determined to maintain as much grace and dignity as possible throughout this encounter, and perhaps score a point or two of her own. "Breakfast and nostalgia, what a pleasant mix. Shall we dine in your apartments? We have much to discuss that few need to hear." Her dark gaze was intent, and she hoped Estel would be wise enough to understand the need to speak of the order and Sirayn without foolishly speaking the names where any could overhear.

 

 

Sarcasm.  She doled it out liberally but hated when the language was aimed at her, largely because it had been a favourite tool of Sirayn’s.  Despite the woman’s disappearance, Estel still fought the strings attached to the Green whose influence was only slightly diminished though lacking in actual presence.  This inability to distance herself from the woman affirmed the Blue’s belief that the woman was still alive - nothing could kill the damn woman!  No doubt, Sirayn’s disappearance was one of the topics of conversation.  If not for her alibi, Estel wondered if the Order might have suspected her of having something to do with the Amyrlin’s disappearance; it wouldn’t have been the first time she’d betrayed them, after all.

 

“Few indeed.”  The Blue glanced at Lavinya’s belly, pointedly, and smirked.  Considering unfortunate parallels to an episode some fifty years earlier, Estel really should have been more understanding; however, compassion was not one of her prominent personality traits.  “And might as well use my rooms.  I assume you haven’t had time to unpack?”  Light, was her apartment clean?

 

 

Lavinya did not miss the glance directed at her stomach which was yet to retain its former flatness, but her calm did not waver. Estel knew the truth of it and Lavinya would not hide from it. Best if she thought the issue would not concern Lavinya; then she might not bother to mention it. To have rumour reach Corin before she herself had managed to speak to him would be disastrous, though no one save herself knew his identity. "I have just these minutes past returned to the Tower, at present my room is being readied; but I'm certain your apartments would be more comfortable and devoid of servants." The smirk irritated her despite her efforts to let it roll off her shoulders, but she refused to let Estel see. Just let her try to use Elise as a pawn in her personal war! It would not happen. Waiting but a moment for Estel's nod of assent, Lavinya turned and began the twisting journey to the Blue apartments, Estel at her side.

 

 

No apparent reaction to her unsubtle jab at the Grey’s pregnancy; mind you, one might count the lack of a reaction a reaction in itself but Estel was no master of interpreting human behaviour – she had enough trouble just understanding herself.  Like now, the Blue found herself wondering whether the child had survived Lavinya’s ordeal in the Black Tower or if the child had been stillborn.  Which was better?  Was it better for the child to die, never forced to suffer the consequences of its clandestine existence and the absence of its mother, or would Lavinya try to raise the baby and to hell with the Hall?  Light burn her, she needed to stop projecting herself onto the Grey’s situation.

 

An Age came and went in the time it took the two Domani to arrive at her apartment.  The Blue Sisters who passed seemed amused that the two rivals were in each other’s company, their feud was no secret.   Estel imagined a group of them clustered outside the door, listening and expecting the next Domani hellcat scandal – but of course, these Aes Sedai were far too proper for such Novice antics; they’d simply use the One Power to overhear.

 

Estel stifled a sigh of relief upon opening the door to a relatively clean room.  A shift lay near the wardrobe where she’d left it that morning and her bed sheets were rumpled, easily taken care of by shutting the door to her bedroom as she passed it.  She directed Lavinya towards an armchair near glass doors that opened to the balcony, providing a view of the Tower Gardens.  Though lately Estel had been making an effort to keep her rooms at least moderately tidy, the view of manicured gardens usually seemed at odds with the room within.  An apartment overlooking the more natural Ogeir Grove would have seemed more appropriate, but the Blue was unlikely to be granted any favours after spending her career as a constant thorn the First Selector’s side.

 

While the Grey sat, Estel cleared various odds and ends off the low table nearby.  She dumped them unceremoniously on her desk before finally going to the cabinet to begin brewing tea – not that any Aes Sedai ever bothered to heat anything by natural means.  Unfortunately, the whistling of a kettle might have broken the silence, it was becoming oppressive.  There were only three topics Lavinya could possibly want to discuss with her: the Order, the Black Tower, or the pregnancy.  Estel chose the first to begin.  “You trust me to brew tea from my own store?  Considering you rarely detached yourself from Sirayn’s shadow I figured her paranoia would have rubbed off on you.” 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lavinya carried herself with her accustomed grace as the unlikely pair passed several Blues in the halls, uncaring of the surprised and wondering looks that followed them. She met each with a cool nod of the head, an acknowledgement of equals that revealed nothing. Let them carry on their whispers and calculations behind doors, she cared nought. Indeed, she never had given any gossip concerning her a second thought, content only when she'd managed to ruffle more than her fair share of feathers. Still, it was a relief to be away from the silent questions and into the only slightly haphazard appartments of Estel Sedai. It amused her to know the sloppy Accepted she remembered was only marginally repressed.

 

The silence hung thick, but Lavinya made no effort to break it. For one, she barely knew where to begin, and for another it would likely make Estel uncomfortable and that always satisfied the petty Grey. She was gazing out at the pristine gardens below when Estel finally spoke, and Lavinya had to swallow a smile. How absurd to find Estels unsubtle barbs refreshing. It was like truly being home. Sirayn, and that bloody forkroot. She hadn't managed to complete her studies of the horrid herb, fleeing the tower with a broken heart only to be captured was hardly conducive to the pursuit of knowledge. "I never completely understood Sirayn's paranoia in the herb, it was always my assumption she had been unfortunate enough to experience its effects," Lavinya mused aloud. "Perhaps it is foolish of me, but the worst I fear from you at present is some poorly made tea and more snide comments." She smiled at the answering scowl and accepted the steaming cup that Estel passed her before taking another armchair opposite.

 

The smile did not last long though, the matter of Sirayn's departure weighed too heavily on her for more reasons than she cared to divulge, many of them containing a troublesome tower guard and her own confusing and conflicting emotions. "You know as well as I that Sirayn kept her own council, despite any appearances." Except, perhaps, with the one who held her heart?...Lavinya shook her head in an elegant tumble of ringlets. "I have heard nought but rumour passed through too many lips. What of her disappearance? The order? I have been gone too long." Lavinya sipped at her tea, inhaling the aroma thankfully devoid of the telling mint and eyed Estel over the rim, interrupting once more before the Blue could respond. "And leave off the sniping for later, yes? I have much to do today and cannot spend it all trading insults with you, delightful as that prospect is. We both know you do not hate me nearly so much as you profess too."

 

Lavinya Morganen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Are you sure we’re capable of civil conversation?  We’re Aes Sedai, our grudges last the generations.”  Not spoken with her usual dry amusement nor vehemence, instead she sighed and remembered her Warder.  “I’ll never forgive you.”  Even as Accepted, before Orion had even been born, they hadn’t been friends; Lavinya had been the perfect student, toeing every line, while Estel had been the truant with a bad attitude and authority issues.  They’d mostly ignored each other despite being only a handful of years apart in age and moving through their initiate years neck and neck.  In so many very unfortunate ways, they were too much alike long before Orion.  For that, she did hate the Grey; Estel hated herself, it only made sense to hate a woman so similar.

 

“Did Sirayn need a reason to be paranoid?”  Another lengthy grudge that was unlikely to ever be resolved.  “The woman swore an organisation of Sisters to herself but never divulged any actual information to them.  As for her disappearance, I returned almost two weeks after she was found missing and was... in no condition to learn more than Annais told me when I reported everything that had happened at the Black Tower.  Basically the Tower woke up one morning and she was just gone.  No signs of a struggle, no one noticed anyone channelling near the Amyrlin’s quarters, neither her papers nor any of her other belongings had been touched.  She just vanished into thin air.”  Taking into account Maegan’s recent revelation, Estel wondered whether Sirayn had been aware of the Black Ajah’s existence and if they were the cause of her disappearing act.

 

“I’m sure Jaydena must have led the few Order members left in the Tower to look for Sirayn and, of course, the Tower sent out official search parties – nothing.  After that, the Order more or less disbanded.  Not that I’m exactly the first member they’d contact if the Order were to reform and I was hardly about to seek them out.  The term for my condition at the time would probably be distraught.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lavinya did not need Estel's forgiveness; she could live with the grudge hanging over her. She had lasted this long with the animosity, and could easily survive the time again. It would have amused her to note that Estel did not deny the truth of Lavinya's observation under normal circumstances - Estel did not hate her after all, it seemed - but her mind was instead focused on the far more depressing confirmation of rumour. Deep down she had suspected all along, but a small portion of herself had clung to hope that there was no truth to it. So, Sirayn was indeed missing, and had been for some time. Would that she could have done more! That woman owed Lavinya too much for the Gray to happily let her sneak by without fulfilling her promises, but Elise had been the pressing need.

 

"Nothing? How could they find nothing?" Corin must know something. But did anyone else know of their relationship? Lavinya had it from Sirayn's own lips, but as far as she could tell no one else knew he was her agent of sorts, and perhaps also a lot more. Had he disappeared too? She needed to hear word from the warder's yard, to see if the man himself had also disappeared. Had he left with her? Or after her? Was he the cause of the mystery? There were too many unanswered questions concerning that pair, and burn her she would find her answers or die trying. Lavinya's brows furrowed as she tried to process the information, well lack of it. "Sirayn always played a close hand, but this is absurd and not like her." Would she have confided in Corin? Probably, if they were bonded by then. Were they still? What if they were and the bond had snapped? Corin... "But no doubt all this has already been pondered over by many. I wish I had been here." Lavinya shook her head. Wishing would not remove the scars inflicted by Linten and Rion, would not change the fact of her recent pregnancy, and would likely not change anything with Corin for the better. Maybe they ran off hand in hand into the sunset.

 

"So you have had no contact with anyone from the order?" Lavinya accepted the cup Estel offered and settled back into the chair she occupied. The breeze from the open balcony doors was slight but refreshing. "Perhaps they decided to cut their losses with you and are still in secret contact with Sirayn." Lavinya flashed her teeth in a smile, unable to resist the jibe. "I will see what I can learn; you should do the same. Rebuild and move forward. At the very least, assess the damage. Does anyone know of the forkroot store, for example? Without Sirayn's protection we are very vulnerable, Estel. I do not plan to be tried for treason after all I've already been through." The light burn anyone who tried to oppress her. Never again. She had not come through abject suffering to be tried and stilled.

 

"It may be in our best interest to work together for once, sister." Lavinya raised an amused brow and sipped delicately at the tea in her hand; it was strong and sweet. "Who better to keep your secret than someone already determined to keep that information hidden?" Lavinya set down the cup on a nearby table; far too sweet. "Who remains in the tower? And what else has changed? The new amyrlin, the hall...we may already be neck deep in hot water without even realising." Lavinya thought rapidly as she spoke, mentally making plans to ferret out what information she could. She herself had very few eyes and ears, but the Gray network was rather extensive, though not nearly so much as the Blues. She needed Estel, irritating as it was to acknowledge. And she needed to find Corin, for so many reasons. Sirayn. Elise. Ahh, Elise...how much easier it would have been to stay hidden from the world, cloistered with her beautiful little girl, not a care save for the joy of the child. A pleasant dream to hold, but not practical. "Please, you must tell me all you know."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, at least Lavinya had taken Sirayn’s disappearance better than she had.  Mind you, the woman wasn’t quite as... as she had said before, “distraught” as Estel had been upon receiving the news.  She briefly considered telling the Grey about the Black Ajah, and the theory beginning to form in her mind about their benefactor’s disappearance.  However, the concept of an entire Ajah sworn to the Dark One, hidden in the White Tower all this time, still felt foreign and her information all came second-hand.  Like the Order, she was “in on the secret” but still didn’t quite feel part of the group.  Besides, Lavinya could be Black – though that suspicion was likely the result of their ancient grudge.

 

As for the woman’s not-so-off-hand comment that the Order had reformed without her, Estel had considered it.  If someone had taken up Sirayn’s organisation in her absence, the most likely candidate was Jaydena since Aramina had also gone missing.  There was very little of the organisation left: their leader missing, the unofficial second-in-command missing a handful of weeks later, three members had been trapped in the Black Tower and taking sabbaticals to heal themselves after – that left barely half the organisation for Jaydena, or anyone else, to try and seize control over.  No, more likely she and Lavinya were the only former members still in contact.

 

The woman’s comment about working together took her completely by surprise.  Yes, over the last year and a half both had saved the other’s life, but that was a far cry from actually co-operating.  “Work together?  To rebuild what?  The Order?  Let me paint a picture of where we stood in the organisation: we were the two charity cases Sirayn took in simply for the amusement value of kicking us – and that is an improvement on our standing throughout the rest of the Tower.  What exactly do you expect us to accomplish?  Even if we can stop bickering long enough to decide on anything, what are we supposed to do about it?  Gather a group of Novices and Accepted to help?  Here in the Tower, what Sister would find anything either of us says credible, let alone worthy of her help and support.

 

“Without Sirayn’s help, you may be in trouble but I’ve already moved past this while you were...” despite her hatred for the woman and the fact that she’d love nothing better than to hurl her “impropriety” in her face, Estel still felt uncomfortable actually voicing the “faux pas” – probably associated with some tiny crumb of empathy she felt towards her rival, ““on sabbatical”.  Shevara has more important things to ferret out than a disbanded, illicit organisation of Sisters sworn to one of her missing, and presumably dead, predecessors.  As far as betraying the organisation to win points, the pair of us has the most to gain and the least to lose; I don’t see any of the others risking their credibility for a weak thread to the Amyrlin.

 

“I’ve already spoken with Shevara concerning my experience in the Black Tower,” she still couldn’t say the name without wincing, “and my absence following.  I have nothing to worry about concerning the Amyrlin and Hall.”  Estel wished she could add “I have nothing to hide” to drive her filthy semi-blackmail attempt to gain the upper hand of this tenuous possible partnership; unfortunately, the First Oath prevented such a lie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lavinya had known it would not be simple easing back into life in the tower, but she hadn't realised just how irritating it would be to deal with the politics that ran rife here. It was as though she had no patience left for it anymore, not when there were so many more important things to worry about. Light, she had changed, to think her interest in the game of houses was waning. Estel was quickly rousing her anger. To think, she had all but extended the olive branch, and now the flaming Blue was climbing on her high horse and daring to talk down to Lavinya. Estel, of all people! Lavinya had hardly been Sirayn's charity case...had she? No! She distinctly recalled the day she had sworn her fealty to the Green sister, on bended knee in her chambers. Not because she needed pity, but because of the promises Sirayn had made. Power, influence...so many things. She hadn't sworn as a pathetic act of desperation, but for mutual gain! Burn Estel!

 

The eyes Lavinya turned onto the slightly smug appearing Blue were filled with smouldering fire, at odds with the severe coldness of her voice when she spoke. "The fact that you were a target for whatever pity Sirayn has nothing to do with me. You speak for yourself. I am by no means in the same category as you, continued disgrace to the Blues. Tell me, are the penances set particularly hard? Do they increase as you further disappoint, or do your ajah sisters grow tired of your repeated offenses and grow lenient on you?" Lavinya slashed a hand through the air in vexation. "I do not want to play these blasted games with you Estel. You hate me, I understand that. But for once can you get over the past? So I slept with Orion. ONCE. And you weren't even bonded to him. For the light's sake, MOVE ON." Lavinya stood, too angry and frustrated to remain sitting any longer. The woman had laid a ticking explosive at her feet with the confirmation of Sirayn gone, the light alone knew if Corin was alive, and she had left her poor sweet baby, and all Estel wanted to do was snipe and taunt! All because of a pathetic grievance years past and of no consequence. The man was dead, may the light illumine his soul.

 

Lavinya strode towards the balcony and rested her hands on the rail, gripping it tightly as she tried to contain her anger. Burn her for a fool, but she was tired of these games. She had returned to the tower because she needed to feel whole. Because she had a battle to fight and win, a duty to fulfil. Because she needed to see vengeance on Linten. Politics and power seemed mere trivialities now that her eyes had been opened to the harsh reality of the Black Tower and those darkfriend asha'man. But what good could she do if she were put to the question because someone did think it was suspicious that there were sisters loyal to a departed sister, that there was secret stores of forkroot. The secrets she most needed to hide, Estel needed to keep hidden also, they all did, all of the order of the rose. Lavinya would not be brought down by Estel's stubborness. Her pregnancy was not such a concern; the pregnancy would have been frowned upon, of course, but no one knew who the father was, and very few even knew of the pregnancy. Even Estel did not know if the child lived or not.

 

"You think you have nothing to hide? Would you like to explain to the Hall the details of Rashad Ranch, perhaps? And while you're at it, would you like to be questioned as to Sirayn's disappearance? If our association were to come out, we could all be considered guilty of killing the amyrlin seat. I don't know about you, but I do not want to be hanged or even stilled because a simple secret was revealed. One small slip would produce dozens more questions. Can't you see that?" Lavinya turned to look back into the room and face her nemesis, frustration and urgency rampant on her features. With some effort, she lowered her voice, sought after calm. Such a long grudge was hard to break, but she did not have time to waste. "Think with your brain, and not your bitterness, just for a few minutes. We need to think damage control. My only hope is that the rest of the order have held their silence just as well as we. I will arrange to meet with all of those in the tower as soon as possible. Perhaps call a meeting once more..." Lavinya strode back into the room and sat down, calm again after her furious outburst as she began planning in her head, formulating ways to get word to the sisters, to individually determine where they stood in this new tower.

 

Lavinya

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A full month away from the stress of the Tower, focusing on controlling her temper... hell, why not add the other ninety-seven years she’d spent here, nagged and chastised about her inability to keep from letting the little things get to her – yet, less than fifteen minutes into a conversation with Lavinya, the two were snapping at each other like fifteen-year olds chasing the same boy.  The boy was blind, old, and dead but the subject of Orion was past sensitive.  “We’re the same and we both know it, neither of us has a leg to stand on.  Don’t try and threaten me, my footing’s better than yours; besides, I’m not the one begging for information.”  Furious and sneering, made a dramatic act of standing and beginning to stomp towards the door.

 

However, it seemed her time spent in the Academy wasn’t entirely wasted.  Her hand on the latch, she stopped and winced.  Maegan’s voice muttered in exasperation competing with Sirayn’s cold insults: good cop, bad cop – Estel couldn’t help but resent even Maegan a little for getting inside her head.  Taking a deep breath and choking back just a touch of her pride, she stopped and turned around though her hand remained poised to storm out.

 

“Neither of us can be tied to Sirayn without information from another Order member, thank the Light the woman was as paranoid as she was.  Besides, even if someone connects either of us to her, we have a solid alibi: Watchers.  As for the risk of anyone betraying the Order, you and I are the most likely candidates; Aramina disappeared shortly after Sirayn, Serena’s only just returned to the Tower and has a reputation and tenuous position in the Ajah to protect, and Jaydena has her own reputation to protect and she risks losing her place in the Hall should she admit having sworn to Sirayn.  That leaves you and I, but you seem against the idea.”  Smirk.  “As for me, I have no intention of betraying you all a second time.  While I may be able to convince Serena to meet with us, Jaydena is unlikely to risk exposure by meeting with us.  Without Sirayn’s protection and influence, she stands to gain very little from her continued association with the Order.  If we want to force a meeting, I can threaten to expose us; after all, I have the history and most to gain from it since my oath was coerced.  Plus, it is not as if a semi-illegal oath of fealty can worsen my reputation.

 

“As for the Forkroot, after the little... incident with Aran, only Sirayn and Aramina knew where it was kept.  However, unless Sirayn hid it somewhere in the Tower, unlikely as there is the risk of a Sister stumbling onto it, she must have owned or rented some sort of building for storage in Tar Valon.  Considering the woman’s flair for secrecy, she probably used an alias to buy or rent the building but she must have kept the deed or contract somewhere.  I’m not sure what they did with her belongings, probably stored in the basement.  If we could manage to look through whatever papers she had...  Assuming she didn’t rent the building, or at least that her lease hasn’t expired, and that Aramina or Jaydena didn’t go in search of the stockpile themselves, it should still be there.

 

"Enough brain for you?"  She couldn't help adding the dig.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"There now, that didn't hurt too much, did it?" Lavinya's voice was dry; no doubt it had cost Estel her pride considerably to stop her temper tantrum in mid stride, not that she would ever admit to the fact that she was about to storm out of her own apartments. "It seems to me that we are placing a lot of hope in circumstance. Indeed, we may be safe from discovery for the moment, but I think it's wise to eliminate all possibility of it ever happening." The teacup was again in her hand before she realised what she was doing, with a grimace she set it back down.

 

"A meeting with Serena sounds like a good place to start. We can think of ways to come into contact with the other members in the meantime. At the very least I we can determine whether we are all on the same page in relation to secrecy. There is no telling who would find motivation to reveal us that we haven't considered." One slim shoulder lifted in a delicate shrug. "None of us were the most trustworthy of sisters, or we'd never have been brought into the order." It had to be true; Sirayn seemed to have used a combination of promises and blackmail to recruit her following, that didn't particularly indicate a strong feeling of trust towards the sisters involved. "Let us leave of trying to force a meeting for now; we will see what feelings we gauge in individual conversations."

 

"What does concern me is the forkroot. If we do not know where it is, how will we have any idea if it falls into the wrong hands? I do not like to think of such a large amount of that horrid herb being out from under our protection. Do you think there would be some indication of its whereabouts in Sirayn's personal effects? Well if it's anywhere it will be there, I suppose," Lavinya answered herself thoughtfully. That forks-tongue root needed to be found and kept safe from the wrong hands, or the unwary. It was possible that it was hidden in some long forgotten store room in the bowels of the tower, but that too was a possible risk of detection. Hunting for the rented property seemed as good a place to start as any. "If I find out where her belongings are stored, will you arrange a meeting with Serena?" Who knew...the two of them may even somehow miraculously discover some clue as to how and why Sirayn disappeared. It wasn't likely, but she couldn't believe the Amyrlin Seat had vanished into thin air. It was far too troubling. What if it was a Black Tower plot? They could have taken advantage of the distraction their attack caused to unleash it...no, that wasn't very plausible, even with psychotic dreamwalkers. Darkfriends? Or light forbid, the Black Ajah? Even thinking it made Lavinya shudder, but if they truly did exist...Lavinya swallowed. Best to focus on the task at hand.

 

Lavinya

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...