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Back to the Basics (attn: Pia Tovisen)


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You would think it’d be a relief but no, being back at the Tower meant great distress. A lot had happened in her absence and the appearance of the Black Tower delegation had been more confusing than anything encountered abroad.


It was all news to her. Saline tried to appear as though she knew what she was doing although she needed some guidance from older sisters. So far none came forth, not from the Reds anyway. Her sisters knew Saline blamed herself for Rory’s disappearance, yet nobody even asked about her search.


Her Ajah was too occupied with the latest developments, and despite her travels, Saline was not experienced enough to dabble in Tower politics.


Without any new tasks forthcoming except for teaching, Saline had time to sort through her emotions again and again.


In a way, teaching proved . . . useful, for when one of her students mentioned to another a private penance from the Mistress of Novices it seemed to Saline as though guidance shone from above. She felt strongly that she should seek help. So she did.


Locking up the classroom behind her, Saline walked toward the office she felt much ambivalence about when first having enlisted her name into the book. Only this time, she came unbidden. Walking these long corridors felt strange. They were familiar but they were no longer home like they had been for the greater bulk of her seventy six years.


Her slippers pressed into the grooves of the step, worn into threadbare beauty.


In front of the door sat a novice reading. Without looking up she said, “do you have an appointment?”


“Since when did the Mistress of Novices have a keeper?” Saline tried not to sound cold.


Her tone caught the girl’s attention.


The novice had the grace to flush slightly “Sorry, Aes Sedai I thought you were a petitioner. Several of them asked for directions already and Pia Sedai asked not to be disturbed, but you may enter.”


Saying nothing more, Saline stepped through and heard the quiet click of the door closing behind her. She was still a bit put off by the reception, however, the sight of Pia Tovisen sitting at her desk made Saline smile. There had been too many solitary moments on the road and she really could not abide to be by herself anymore.


Still smiling, Saline told the Mistress of Novices what she came for.


“I have, by cowardice or courage, found my way here to ask for a penance.”


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