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To Strengthen the Bonds (Gray Ajah RP)


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Phaedra rubbed her temples, the dark hair framing her face was pushed back by frantic fingers trying to find a way to alleviate the headache. Phaedra knew there was no time left to worry and rose to dress and prepare for the meeting, it would start in an hour and she had personally seen to it that everyone would be present. Everyone had to be present, for none had an excuse as she had personally handed out the invitations. The deep gray dress with the silver stars embroidered down the side would set off the right tone for her speech. She brushed her long strands of hair and heard the knock that showed a gray-haired servant even before the woman had knocked. Phaedra had no intention of being surprised and her wards did a good job to help her with that. The woman asked her to sit and read the papers she brought, while she would prepare the hairdo and powders. Phaedra’s hand lifted as she rushed her eyes over the papers and said, “No powders, I never use them and shall not see a need to start tonight,†Farrah sighed but took the brushed and made a high pulled back pony tail, then placed a fine silver laced pattern of thin threads over her hair, tightening it just below the tail. “Fit for a queen,†she said and patted Phaedra on the back who then grabbed her hand and squeezed it softly. “stay here for a moment Farrah,†the woman nodded and placed a hand on Phaedra’s shoulder. She asked if Phaedra was still experiencing her headaches and at the silent nod started to rub the Gray’s neck with warm firm fingers.


Farrah was one of those women who could be trusted with secrets simply because she never found it her business to know more than was needed to be pleasant company to the woman she worked for. Phaedra had found her in Cairhien when she was just in the Court for about a year. The woman had the ability to drive off a headache and calm the Gray when she needed to reason out the equations of life and death in her court room for the next day. “Thank you Farrah,†she said and rose then lifted the Gray Shawl, with help from the servant she placed it gently over her shoulders and looked at herself in the mirror. “A powder would hide the pain that is vividly painted on my face, I have not asked for this to pass now Farrah,†she said, more to herself than to the woman she was addressing. “Do not wait up for me, I shall find my bed when the sun rises I expect,†she told the woman, knowing full well that Farrah would prepare her bed and a cup of tea even if Phaedra lasted till sunrise in the meeting to come. There was a certain relationship between the two women that made Farrah almost like a mother to the woman who could be said to have ice running through her veins. Phaedra glanced over her the other woman’s face and then left the room, already in thought over the words she would utter, yet glad that her headache was relieved slightly. Farrah had not had enough time to actually do away with the pain but it would do for now.


“I want to welcome you all to this evening’s meeting,†Phaedra started as everyone settled in their seats. “You are probably curious why I called for this meeting,†her eyes wandered over their faces and finally rested on Nyssa’s. A young Gray whose Raising Phaedra had missed, for she was still working in Cairhien. A Gray who’s eyes seemed locked on her own, a comfortable feeling for her, a frightening for some others. The woman left herself open to Phaedra in doing this and she could find strength in this. It was time to speak up and tell everyone what they were here for. “This afternoon I was informed that a small alliance of Gray Sisters have taken it upon themselves to take our Head Clerk out of the Tower, send her into exile and try to benefit from this themselves.†She then, after leaving everyone a moment to catch their breath, repeated the story that Freja had told her and Finella earlier that day. Then she continued to tell that these Grays would be punished severely and that there was no excuse for what had happened. “This means that a new Ajah Head must stand up and I would like to take up that role.†She looked at each of them and then said, “Grays, I ask that you support me as your Head Clerk, to lead you and our Ajah, to hold the values we carry and find strength in each other.†She looked at each of them, naming them and waiting for them to nod and speak their approval before she could continue. Each would have to speak up and if one spoke up against Phaedra, this would lead to this woman asking to become Head Clerk instead. They would have to settle it by a trial lead by the former Ajah Head, that was the tradition, no woman here would try this however, not under these circumstances. The Sister who lost this trial, if she had no support from her Sisters was asked to step down and would be cut from the Source, banned from the Tower and was lost from the history of her Ajah. Phaedra had prepared her story well before giving it to her fellow Sisters, there was enough drama in the Ajah not to add another one now, during this vital meeting.


Phaedra Eskarne

New Head of the Gray Ajah


The air in the room seemed to quiver with nervous energy. Usually calm and collected Aes Sedai sat together as Novices waiting for their first class. What could it be… The summons had come as a surprise to her, which was a surprise on it’s own. Something was wrong, and she wasn’t at the heart of it, and she hadn’t heard of it either. It was wrong. Nyssa folded her hands in her lap, and waited calmly, occasionally casting a glance at the door that opened every now and then to admit one of her sisters. The faces of her sisters were just a little too calm, and a little too emotionless, betraying the feelings that ran through all of them. Nyssa sighed softly. It was a mystery and she didn’t like it. Dawn entered the room, and Nyssa smiled weakly at her former mentor. She too had been summoned by one of the sitters herself. It was an Ajah-wide thing.


All the heads in the room turned in unison when the door opened to reveal one of the sitters. Finella, the most cheerful Aes Sedai Nyssa had ever met. It was hard not to like the woman, and it was even harder not to underestimate her. Nyssa had seen her in action though, and her mind was as sharp as her tongue could be if she wished it. The Sitter nodded to the people in the room, and walked over to the side. So she was not the one to take the word. Nyssa’s eyes focussed on the door again, expecting to see at least a few more faces. Three sisters were missing, and two of the Sitters. And Marce Sedai of course. A sinking feeling settled in Nyssa’s stomach.


Finally the door opened to admit Phaedra, one of the other Sitters. Nyssa didn’t know her all that well yet. She had been raised before Phaedra returned, and she hadn’t had the change to converse with the older Gray Sister yet. She knew that many within the Ajah held her in high regard though. And among the Gray Ajah, that meant quite a lot. She looked over at Dawn again, seeking answers in the eyes of the other Aes Sedai. Dawn looked as confused as she felt though. Phaedra stood before them, silently for a moment. So this was to be the one who told them why they had been summoned. It made sense. Nyssa sat still, her eyes on the darkhaired woman. Strange enough, she found her gaze returned by the Sitter.


Phaedra kept her eyes on Nyssa as she spoke. There was something hypnotic about her voice. She was a woman who was used to speaking before people. Used to being listened to. So Nyssa listened, trapped by the gaze of the Sitter. The words she spoke shook Nyssa to the core, even though she sat unmoving, apparently unfazed. Marce, gone. The woman who had taken her shawl, and given it back again. An impressive woman, chased away by her own sisters. It was a devious plot. Suddenly Nyssa felt even more aware of the empty seats. A surprise indeed, and one she didn’t like. New leadership was always hard to work under. Eager to do well, to prove themselves. She would have to be very careful the next few months.


Phaedra uttered the challenge, and for a moment Nyssa thought that someone would rise, and accept the challenge for leadership. For a moment she wished it. Those of her persuasion thrived on chaos, after all. No one rose. A deep silence fell over the room, and for a moment Nyssa was sure she could hear Finella let go of the breath she had obviously been holding. Phaedra called the names of every sister present. When her name was called, Nyssa nodded, before smiling warmly. Yes, she would support this sitter. She couldn’t afford not to, after all.


~Nyssa Deschain

Sister of the Gray and Black Ajah

*thumbs up* ;)



Lavinya was already seated by the time Phaedra arrived, the nervous energy in the room seeming to swell upon her entrance. She was still somewhat unsure what was going on, being new to the shawl, but knew what was going to transpire in this room would be momentous for the Grey Ajah. “I want to welcome you all to this evening’s meeting. You are probably curious why I called for this meeting.†At least Lavinya wasn't the only one in the dark then.


“This afternoon I was informed that a small alliance of Gray Sisters have taken it upon themselves to take our Head Clerk out of the Tower, send her into exile and try to benefit from this themselves.†Shock was Lavinya's first reaction to Phaedra's tale, the intrigue and scandal that had been taking place beneath her very nose was quite disconcerting, to say the least. She had no idea that such a thing would go on in her chosen Ajah, though in reality she shouldn't have been surprised. She had encountered any number of plots and secrets in her time at the tower, enough to daunt any player of the game of houses.


“Grays, I ask that you support me as your Head Clerk, to lead you and our Ajah, to hold the values we carry and find strength in each other.†Lavinya chewed her lip thoughtfully. Indeed, they needed a new Head Clerk, and looking around the gathering of sisters, she knew without a doubt that the woman speaking so surely before her was the best person for the role. Lavinya liked Phaedra, from what little she had learnt about her, and from her breif time under her wing, since her raising, only a short time ago. It was for that reason, that she nodded firmly when she was called upon. "Yes, I will support you." She met the woman's gaze with a smile, appreciating it greatly when it was returned. Lavinya knew her vote didn't count for much, not while she was still a 'youngling in a shawl', yet the gesture made her more certain of Phaedra. She would make a fine Ajah Head. Well, as much as Lavinya knew about such things, anyway.


Lavinya Morganen - Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, Mentor to Elyna and Kilivia





The dagger appeared in her hand, it had been lying on the table in front of her, ready for her to take it. All was prepared as Phaedra had instructed and as each of her Sisters declared their support, Phaedra thought about what would happen next. And about what would happen in the morning, after her night of contemplation when she would receive the key to the Gray Hall and the journal that Ajah Heads before her had kept. The dagger was thin, a silver blade with a black handle that had a silver rose carved on it. It was not used, it hung on the wall of the Gray Hall but Phaedra had asked to take it down. She had not always felt ready to take on this job and would admit her doubt and show that she took this task very serious.


In the scrolls it read that each Ajah Head chose what she wanted to do for the ritual that came with her job. One Sister before her, many years before had done something quite similar to what Phaedra planned to do. She had taken the title and made it her own, it said in the scrolls and now it was Phaedra’s turn to do just that. She took the dagger and placed it in the palm of her hand, each movement slow and calculated. When she spoke, her words were well chosen and she was ready for what was to come next.


“Sisters, I thank you for your confidence and your trust, I promise to be your Ajah Head. But I have to admit there was doubt on my mind, the way our former Head left us was with shame, I feel the need to repent for the shame that was done before I can hold my head up high and stand before you, cleansed and washed clean,†the words were her own trusted to paper the night before this meeting and read over a dozen times, every time thinking about what impact they would have on the Gray Sisters. In an instant, Phaedra realized she had known the impact, just as she had known they would accept her as the new Ajah Head.


Phaedra pushed the dagger into the palm of her hand and took a deep breath to deal with the pain, a trickle of blood ran down her index finger and Phaedra looked up at each of the women at the table. “My blood for your blood, my blood for the Ajah, my life for the Ajah,†it was a symbolic trickle of blood, the cut not deep enough to leave a great scar and Phaedra still felt that it would weigh on her. It was more symbolic than she trusted herself to be, she was reason, just and consideration, not emotion and ritual or even dramatic. But the Ajah needed to stand as one and she would have to lead them, not as Phaedra Eskarne, but as Phaedra the Ajah Head of the Grays.


She placed a white kerchief in her palm and squeezed it so the bleeding would stop, then placed the dagger gently in front of her, a few drops of blood still on it. The Sisters had not flinched, had not breathed in like she had for they did not have to deal with a cutting pain and they had not shunned their eyes from the play that was played out in front of them. A ritual, a play, a beginning of anew. “My first decree is that I shall be your First Voice,†she said as the cloth in her hand turned softly red. The bleeding stopped and she crumpled the kerchief in her fist, then moved her eyes past each of her Gray Sisters.


“First Voice, the person to open the meeting and to open the debate, the person to come to with problems, with ideas and with suspicions, the person to start the trade and to start the negotiations,†she paused her and said, “Your First Voice, Phaedra Eskarne,†it felt good now, no longer foreign or awkward to be here and standing before her Sisters. It was Dawn who finally broke the silence that had fallen over them, she rose from her seat and clasped her hands together, “In Celebration of our new Ajah Head, Phaedra Eskarne, First Voice,†she said and smiled warmly at her Ajah Head. Phaedra accepted the smiled and returned one of her own, then smiled at her Sisters and said, “Let us dine Sisters, for it will be a long night yet for me.â€


They could all go to their quarters once dinner was over, for Phaedra it would be a long night of silent contemplation, to ponder over how she was to lead the Ajah and what she would plan to do for them. She would have to consider what had happened with Marce, ponder over Freja’s story and find ways to test it, no Aes Sedai could lie but they could bend the truth to fit them properly. Phaedra would be their Ajah Head, but if she was no careful and on top of everything, it could be the snake pit that would have her dead before the next sunrise. Or were those four Sisters all that was dark in this Ajah, all who were power hungry enough to stage a coup over their Ajah Head. She had time enough to ponder over this, now it was time to feast. “I raise my cup for the Gray Ajah,†she said and raised the wine cup up high at the head of the table as the servants started to lay out the platters of food and refill the cups with wine and water. Yes, let the feast begin.


Phaedra Eskarne

First Voice



The ritual had been intimidating. Nyssa had felt the sisters sitting next to her stiffen, probably no more than she herself stiffened. It wasn’t noticeable. The Gray ajah understood composure better than any other Ajah. The Gray Ajah could look death in the eye, and negotiate a longer stay with him. The Gray ajah could stand united in this time of need. Nyssa glanced sideways, watching the expressionless faces of her sisters. Who had stood at the foot of the coup that had been intended… only the three who were sent away? Or were there more? Nyssa silently vowed that she would find out. Perhaps it was something she could use against them. Either way, she could not afford to let things happen that she did not know about. Things were precarious enough for her without that. She rose when Phaedra announced a dinner, inclining her head. “First Voice.†She said, hearing her greeting echoed by the sisters of her Ajah. It was a nice touch. The beginning of a new era indeed.


The only sound heard as the Gray ajah followed it’s new leader to the dining hall was the rustling of dresses. No one spoke, for there was nothing to be said. Not yet. Everything was too new, and all that had to be said before this could happen had been said. They had all given their consent, their trust. A nod from each, putting their faith in the woman called Phaedra Eskarne. A judge, more than anything else. Nyssa’s lips curved in a slight smile. It was fitting that the three upstarts had been sent away by the one sister who knew more than anyone what the suitable punishment for a crime was.


~ Nyssa Deschain

Gray Sister



Finella had seen to the preparation of the dinner herself. Sensitive to all things that involved decorum, she had been unwilling to let the servants handle it without her supervision. By the time the sisters of her Ajah arrived, everything was ready. She inclined her head slightly when Phaedra entered first, thanking the light that all had gone well. “First Voice.†She said, guiding her over to her seat, before sitting at her side. As it should be. She glanced over the small wound on Phaedra’s hand. “I take it the symbolism was appreciated?†she murmured, too low for anyone but Phaedra to hear.



~Finella Dinesh

Gray Sitter

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