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*dances* I CAN READ! (attn Jason and Sirayn)


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A writing assignment? Deneira didn’t know much of history, but she was pretty certain that no Tower Guard in the history of Tar Valon had ever gotten a writing assignment from the Mistress of Trainees. And why was it writing? Couldn’t she just answer a few questions, or do an errand or something? Anything other than writing a paper... and about respecting an authority, well, this had to be the biggest barrel of fish guts this side of the Caralain grass. She knew full right that Ginae was just trying to make her submit to the will of someone that was down right a stick in the mud. She would like to see the woman deal with insubordinate runts like this in Saldaea. She would treat them the same way Deneira had treated Danian. And why in the light did Corin have to go tell her what happened? This was between a student and his teacher. The boy deserved every mark he had and more. Well, she had better get this over with...


But, on her way to her rooms to beg Shawn to write for her, an idea came. Make the boy do it! Why not? He was a lord, or something like, so he should be able to write. She would just tell the young fool that Ginae had told her she was doing a good job, and to make him do some assignment, and the assignment was writing an essay about respecting authority. No one would ever be the wiser, no one would know she couldnt read, and Ginae would get her bloody essay. Light, she could even punish the boy in the process. This would be too good.


Going into the Trainee Barracks, she stormed into his room where, before first light, the twins were still asleep. Going to the wash bucket, she picked it up and tossed it on his sleeping form. “Get up, brat. You have an assignment, and the Mistress of Trainees agrees with it.†He sputtered as he sat up, coughing up the cold water, and she heard Dorian waking behind her. Grabbing his arm, she pulled him out of the bed, and he fell to the ground in front of her, wearing only his small clothes. The scars on his mangled body made her wince, and then she continued on. “Come on. Because of your display of rude behavior to your teacher, you have a writing assignment, and only until midmorning bell to complete it. I hope you are ready to write.†The cruel smile she sent down at him had him glaring back, and she went to his desk.


Picking up three sheets of paper, an ink well, and a quill, she tossed it on his bed as he stood up. Going to his trunk, she opened it, pulled out a pair of pants, shirt, and boots, she tossed them at him. He caught them, and she slammed the lid down on the trunk. “Come on, boy, don’t make me be your mother. I want an essay on respecting authority with two examples of insubordination in history that caused a problem with the battle. Up to the tower with you boy.†She went to the desk again, tore off a small piece of paper, and scrawled her sign on it, just a DS. It was all she knew to write. Handing it to him, she turned away, walking out. “That is your pass. Speak to no one. Now, HURRY!†Life was good when you had power...

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Danian was running, running as fast as he could. He didn't know what he was running from, but whatever it was was a monster more hideous and evil than he had ever imagined. As he was running, paddles and metal rods were being thrust from all directions, and they were hitting him, harder and harder, from all directions. Danian wanted to avoid the pain, he wanted to stop running and turn back, but the thing was there, waiting for him. Danian kept running and he wanted to break into tears, the blows coming from all sides, beating him, hitting him into submission. Light, he would do anything to make the pain go away, but it was still chasing him, terrifying him. Danian kept staying a few steps ahead of it, running faster and getting beaten. Light, why did this have to go on?


Danian ran still until the beatings seemed to mesh together and pain simply burst all over his body, locking him into the agony. Danian was moving mechanically, running without thinking. All he knew was that he couldn't get captured by the thing, he would rather experience a thousand beatings than be captured by it. The pain kept exploding all over his body until he could not feel anything else. Thoughts fled, sense fled until all there was left was empty space and a thought knowing that the thing must not catch him. What he would experience if it caught him would be worse than this, a thousand times worse. So Danian kept running, he ran and ran, until time left him, and he had no sense of how long he had been running, he had no sense of what was now and what had been in the past.


The only things that Danian knew was that he must not stop, and that stopping would make the pain go away. Danian no longer remembered what was chasing him, but he knew that he couldn't let it catch him. He also knew that he was experiencing pain worse than anything he had ever felt before, and stopping would make it disappear. But he must not stop, he had to stay ahead of it. Danian kept on running, he ran until he could no longer feel anything but the pain. Soon, he forgot why he was running. Why was he running? All Danian knew was that if he stopped running, the pain would stop also. Why was he running? Why should he not stop? Danian was confused, he should just stop running, that was the only thing that made sense. Danian stopped running and memory flooded back into him, but it was too late.


Soon, Danian was experiencing fear he had never imagined possible. Light, it was going to catch him, it was going to make him feel ten times worse than he had just been feeling. Danian had to escape, he could not let it find him, he could not let it catch him. Danian tried to move but his feet were glued to the ground, he had stopped moving and now he could not start again. Danian felt only fear and there was only one thing on his mind: escape. He had to escape, he had to leave. Soon, it caught up to him. Danian saw what it was, he saw the monster that had been chasing him. It was Deneira. Danian hissed, he would not be beaten by her. Danian drew his sword and charged at her, determined to hurt her, determined to kill her. She laughed an evil, menacing laugh, and slapped him in a cool, shocking slap.


Danian bolted upright. Light, six months passed and he was still having nightmares about how Deneira had beaten him. Danian scowled, he would not let it happen again. Danian realized with a shock that he was soaking wet, he also realized that he was sputtering, and the very wench that he had been having a nightmare about was currently yanking him out of bed. “Get up, brat. You have an assignment, and the Mistress of Trainees agrees with it.†Pain exploded as Deneira wrenched his bad arm. Danian yelped in a mixture of surprise and anguish as he fell to the ground, only in his smallclothes. Light! Danian gave a small blush. How dare she just barge in like this! Danian glared at the woman while she began. Light how he hated this woman.


“Come on. Because of your display of rude behavior to your teacher, you have a writing assignment, and only until midmorning bell to complete it. I hope you are ready to write.†He had been rude… HE had been rude. This bloody woman had beaten him so badly that he needed Yellow attention or else he wouldn’t have been able to move for weeks, and he was the rude one. That wench. Danian stood while the witch threw clothes at him. Danian sighed as he saw the long-sleeved shirt, this was defiantly not the shirt he would have picked for a hot day like this one. Yet even so, Danian dressed himself while the witch threw clothes and boots at him. He also observed that she had gotten writing equipment out of his trunk. Danian winced, he hated writing, especially because he could barely use his writing hand.


“Come on, boy, don’t make me be your mother. I want an essay on respecting authority with two examples of insubordination in history that caused a problem with the battle. Up to the tower with you boy.†Danian winced, not only was he writing, but he was writing about a subject that would likely make him explode with anger. Danian cursed Deneira internally once more and listened as she went on. Danian saw that the witch went to his desk once again to rip off a small piece of paper and write “DS†on it. He assumed that it was her initials. She handed it to him and as she was walking out, she said: “That is your pass. Speak to no one. Now, HURRY!†Danian rolled his eyes, he really hated this woman. He turned to Dorian and said: “Well, I had better get going, see you later.â€


Danian then walked out and headed towards the White Tower. He got a few dirty looks from people, and was stopped by the Accepted at the Gates, but that was all. Showing her the slip of parchment and explaining that his mentor assigned him an essay cleared up all of that. Once inside the Tower, the Gates seemed simple. He was stopped by many Aes’ Sedai, and got more looks than he could count. Danian was relieved to reach the library, it seemed that the only people in there was a few Brown sisters and some Novices and Accepted doing a few essays themselves. Danian quickly scanned the girls in white for a sign of Faile, but with no luck. Besides, the Browns seemed to be watching his every move, as if making sure he didn’t so much as smudge their books.


Danian found a quiet table in an almost deserted part of the library, and sat down, relieved to be alone now with no interference from any other person. Danian took the quill in his wobbly hand, Light, he could barely hold the thing, and grasped his right hand with his left hand and started on the essay. Danian was writing well, it was not the neatest scrawl in the world, but it wasn’t bad. Danian soon started getting angry, why should he have to write this? Danian thrust down the quill and frowned angrily. Of all of the people in the Yards, why did he have to get Deneira as a mentor, why not Corin, he was a nice person, and he didn’t kill his mentees. Danian exhaled angrily, wishing that he could choke her, or kill her in any way. Danian sighed, there was nothing he could do about her. He stared blankly at the essay, he doubted that it was going to get finished any time soon.

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Deneira opened up the library doors and looked inside, hoping to not see Danian. Good, she couldnt. That meant either one, she could go beat him for disobeying orders, or two, go spy on him without him knowing she was even in the tower. She asked a sister where the crippled was, and was soon pointed in the right direction. Walking in between a few shelves, Deneira spotted the young writer, hard at work on her paper. She smiled to herself as he struggled with his hand, having to use the left one to steady the right. Well, if she had thought about it better, she should have asked Dorian to write the paper, and Danian to watch. Oh, that would have been slow, cruel torture to watch the blind boy write while the crippled watches on, unable to help. Light, well, Danian was already writing, and she hoped he was learning his lesson. After a few minutes, she walked up and snatched the paper from him as he was taking a glance over his look.


â€HEY!†he yelled, turning until he saw who it is. Smacking him beside the head, she pushed him back down in the chair and grabbed the one beside him. “Quiet, you fool. You are in a library, and if you get thrown out, I’ll give you a workout you never forget, you hear me boy?†He nodded, and she took a look at his work. Of course, she had no idea what it said, but of course, she had to pretend she did. Nodding her head and twirling the hair on the back of her neck around her fingers, she handed it back to the boy and said, “well, i guess its ok so far, but I want it finished in time, or you write another two pages!†He simply nodded, and she rose from her chair. Pity, though, that she had been “reading it upside down.â€


Even more of a pity, as Deneira walked out the door, she ran into a familiar face... Sirayn Sedai. Bowing to the woman as she paused to look at Deneira, she whispered, “Good morning, Aes Sedai. How are you today?†The woman merely stared at her for a moment, then walked on into the library, and Deneira glared after her. Light, she hated that woman. It was because of her that she had had to admit, aloud, that she could not read. Only she, Ginae, and Shawn knew that fact. Light blasted woman. It was yet another pity that the “light blasted woman†was heading straight to Danian...

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Danian was continuing his report, growing more angry with every word, until some rude person wrenched his parchment away. "HEY!" He saw that it was the witch and was rewarded with a slap on the side of his head. “Quiet, you fool. You are in a library, and if you get thrown out, I’ll give you a workout you never forget, you hear me boy?†Danian simply nodded, knowing that if he started speaking, he would be yelling at the wench, his anger bubbling over. She took a short look at his papper and then returned it to him, saying: “well, i guess its ok so far, but I want it finished in time, or you write another two pages!â€Danian just nodded again, strugling to get his anger in check, although it was curious that she had been holding the parchment upside down.


Danian bent over the parchment again, thinking of all the things he would like to do to that woman. He would like to skin her alive then boil her over an open fire, but that didn't seem possible. Danian considered playing a rather nasty prank on her, but that would merely result in his life becoming the Pit of Doom as soon as she found out who was responcible for it. Danian continued his essay, thinking of all the terrible punishments that Deneira diserved. Funnily enough, these thoughts weren't making him feel better, in fact they were doing quite the opposite.


Danian's anger was building and building until he heard a throat being cleared behind him. If this was Deneira... Danian spun around and snapped: "What!" It took him only a second to see that it was not in fact, the witch, but an Aes' Sedai. Danian's face paled imidiatly, and he hastily scrambled out of his seat and bowed low, so low that he was nearly touching the ground with nose. He then inhaled a bit of dust from the floor and had to avoid sneezing and falling on top of the Aes' Sedai whom he had just snapped at. He rose at her command and said: "I'm sorry Aes' Sedai, I was not aware that it was you there." Danian felt a blush creeping into his cheeks, heating his face.


"Please forgive me." Danian hoped that he would be forgiven, he had heard rumors of the power of Aes' Sedai, and he did not want to experience them first hand.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Silence had lain over the Tower Library so long it had sunk into the materials themselves, painted the even stone underfoot, diffused into the smooth, polished panels on the walls. Books breathed dust and silence row on row. Her presence disturbed them only by a fraction; a slight sound where she brushed her fingers over the harsh stiff spine of a book old beyond centuries, the whisper of her steps, the stirring of air once gone still and cold with lack of movement. A pale shade in her flowing silks, a shade of ice green most like a glacier, she passed among the standing shelves: solitary of course. Nobody came with her, nor did anyone disturb her contemplation, for Aes Sedai went alone through this shattered world.


After her foray into enemy territory had ended she returned bearing the spoils of war. The stack of books looked too heavy for her tiny form; all the same she handled them deftly as she sorted through them, picked out one black book, opened it so she could scan the first page even as she crossed the great open floor. Once she would have scorned this task, libraries and learning as if she were some ink-stained scholar rather than a soldier of the Battle Ajah … but her soldiering days were done and now she knew that knowledge was power. Sometimes it gave her a kind of bitterness even to think of herself, in long skirts clutching a pile of books: not even armed, not so much as a dagger anywhere to hand: her hands covered in ink and dust rather than hard from honest work: the very image of a soft academic. Books. Scholarship. It disgusted her.


Old resentments still lay below the surface. Never had she felt fully at home among these tall shelves, with the Brown Ajah watching like hawks, and likely she never would. Not knowing what else lay outside these walls; the way of the open road, of iron and leather, rain and stone and storm. Sometimes she pictured herself back a year, still so secure in her seeming immortality, two strong hands and an immovable sense of confidence, and at those times she could imagine leaving so intensely it seemed real. No more politics, no more compromising and committees, just the simple truths of Battle Ajah life. No doubt people would put that down to her lacking in subtlety or intelligence, but that wasn’t the way of it, or at least so she thought. It was just difficult to give up the only life she had been made for.


Musing on soldiers and scholars Sirayn had scarcely noticed that somebody was occupying her favourite spot in the corner of the library. She liked it best because of the huge window above it, the light that fell clearly across a polished desk, and the wide space around it; nobody came near save to speak to her, and very few cared to do so, which suited her well. It turned out to be a slip of a boy wearing the rough garb of a trainee. Typical: she had no intention of being ousted from her favourite seat by a mere trainee. Approaching at a sidelong angle, she took a moment to study the child before her. Eight inches taller than her, as per usual, and handsome enough in a brown way that spoke of Altara … and a bruise already colouring high up on the cheekbone where somebody had struck him. Did the Warders’ Yard beat its trainees these days? She had no idea. Crisply she cleared her throat.


The snarled response raised her dark brows a fraction, but his reaction once he recognised her ageless features was rather gratifying, she still got a perverse enjoyment out of sowing fear and panic with her presence. She regarded him still with raised brows while he bowed as deeply as a supplicant. “Oh do straighten up, boy. I’m an Aes Sedai, not the Light incarnate.†Nevertheless she rather liked it. Being respectful was a sure-fire way to commend oneself to her otherwise prickly self. “Does your mentor beat you?†she went on casually, examining the aforesaid bruise and paying little attention to any start the pup might have given at her offhand comment, “You look too young for an accident in training. Fresh out of the cradle, I dare say, it’s a wonder they let children get their hands on anything with an edge.â€


Briefly she looked up at her quarry, frowning in some absent thought, while her thoughts ticked over. She had passed Deneira l’Spada, that illiterate, half-witted excuse for a Tower Guard, on the way out and this was the only trainee in the place … fair to assume that there was a link. “Deneira l’Spada never set you this work, did she?†Shamelessly she examined the paper over his shoulder as she set down her books. The boy wrote well, that was for certain, and he seemed articulate as well. A left-hander like her. Perhaps one to remember. “I shouldn’t write too many words if I were you,†the barest note of contempt entering her voice, “she can’t read it anyway. Giving her a proper written essay is like giving a first-edition Jain Farstrider work to a back-street trader. Art is wasted on a heathen like her.†Illiterate! It still outraged her.


Ooc: You can talk to her if you like, she won’t bite. Nice to meet you in the field, as it were, as well as in chat. ;)


Sirayn Damodred

Retro Head of the Green Ajah

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