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An alliance to visit Cairhien

Guest Celes

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The meeting had lasted much longer than Phaedra had hoped and as she settled in her chair by the fireplace and rubbed her temples, she wondered why she even bothered. The Hall had done everything to make her stop from going to Cairhien, her place was here in the Tower among her fellow Sisters. After the attack on the Tower, the murder of Sisters and the death of their Amyrlin the Hall had become even more wary of risks. Phaedra Eskarne felt personally responsible for what had happened to Dawn Raelene and she could not rest until she found out the how and why behind the assassination. She was sure this was not just a raid or robbery gone wrong, there was more behind this. The reports Dawn had sent, which she had only received after the burial had already taken place confirmed Phaedra’s suspicions. There was more behind this and it was very important figure out what had gone wrong.


She had taken care in writing up her reasons for the Hall, but this morning she got pushed back in her Ajah and told off about wanting to leave on a personal mission. It had taken three Sitters for the Gray and a lot of debating to finally reach a compromise. Phaedra could go, for a month and had to report on a regular basis of her findings and this stung Phaedra the most, she had to take an escort with her. Of course the Gray would not be going to Cairhien without a proper guard, but the Hall insisted she bring a Green Sister, and a guar of at least 3 men and women to guard the party. This group was far too large not to attract notice, but it was this or staying in the Tower worried and angry over what had happened. Phaedra needed to know what had happened. Could it be that she would never find out? Could it be that the Hall was only letting her go because of a point raised by another Gray, that Phaedra needed to complete the negotiations that Dawn Sedai had started in Cairhien? Trustworthy allies were slim in numbers in Cairhien and neither the Gray, nor the White Tower could afford to lose allies they had made in the past over these recent events. Phaedra would have one month to compete negations and find out what had happened to Dawn before she was forced to return to the Tower. Phaedra’s head was pounding and she closed her eyes for a bit to try and find some peace inside.


The thing that really bugged her was that Phaedra had no say in who would be accompanying her to Cairhien. She could not even choose her own guard as it was to be decided by the Master at Arms who would be perfect for the job. As if a man who knew only battles and fights training could know and understand the delicacies of diplomacy. And the Green Ajah would see to the company of a Battle Sister to join her in Cairhien. Jaydena had promised that she could seek out someone who was well equipped for the job, but Phaedra was not sure that this meant the same thing to the Greens as it would to her. This could just as well prove a perfect test for one of their young Sisters, newly raised and ready to prove she could hold a sword and kill Trollocs in a heartbeat. Phaedra did not know a lot about the Green Ajah, not enough to judge them fairly, but she was angry now and judged them harshly in their choice to send her a youngling. Even though she had no idea who was joining her yet, Phaedra had already made up her mind that a young Green would need to be taught a few lessons before she could accompany the old Gray to Cairhien. I am getting old… she thought and opened her eyes and stared into the flames in the fireplace for a bit.


She finally rose from her seat and started to pace the room, when a soft knock announced Farrah who brought her some strong black current tea. “Is there anything else I can do for you Phaedra?†she asked calmly. Phaedra shook her head and asked that dinner could be light this evening as she had no feel for a full stomach. Some Sitters and Sisters of other Ajahs kept a servant, mostly for their sense of pride or accomplishment. Phaedra had found that she simply could not do her job without the help of Farrah who had been with her since she had been a High Court Judge in Cairhien. Farrah knew what to do and what Phaedra needed without actually being told, it was like she felt what the Gray felt and knew how to act on that. There was mutual respect in their relationship as Phaedra felt that keeping Farrah close to her and involved in all she did, kept her the most valuable as her servant. As Farrah was about to leave, a knock on the door announced a new visitor. Probably her friend Finella to come and talk her into something over a cup of tea. Finella would have heard already and Phaedra was sure that the old Sitter would like to have a word with her on her attitude towards the trip. Positivity being the key word here. Phaedra nodded towards Farrah who opened the door and stepped aside to let the visitor in. “Kaylan Sedai, please come in,†Farrah announced to Phaedra who had chosen to keep her back towards the door to show how angry she was with the whole babysitting operation. Kaylan? She had not expected this, and turned wonderingly to see if this was really happening. Kaylan was offered tea by Farrah who then moved out of the room to leave the two Sisters to talk.


Phaedra Eskarne

Gray Ajah

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In truth, once Kaylan had heard that the Gray Sister was going to Cairhien, she had actively petitioned to be given the job of accompanying her. Dawn's death had come as a shock to her, and the manner in which the younger Aes Sedai's death had been dealt with left a sour taste in her mouth.


Thankfully, she wasn't considered too old to be going off on her own just yet, and her three Warders certainly helped her argument. Though Jada still wasn't quite so experienced as the others, she had two blademasters and a competent army member tied to her, not to mention Mercury's specific gifts. Her enhanced strength always came in useful.


All three were prepared and ready for the trip, as she had told them to be waiting to leave at any moment. With their newly-discovered power to skim (and Kaylan's familiarity with a specific farm in Cairhien where she'd stayed for some months a few years back), the Green Sister had convinced herself that they could depart immediately.


Of course, she was puzzled that Phaedra hadn't just skimmed out of the Tower in the first place. Kaylan wasn't exactly known for her patience, though, nor for following rules. This was, of course, the Sister who had slapped the Keeper of the Chronicles, had passed on a Bond without thought for her reputation, had taken a Child of the Light as her Warder without asking - and had kept her. The old Green, so fond of wearing low cut dresses even though she had long since passed an age where it could be considered decent, was far too stuck in her ways to care a whit what anyone thought.


Especially now that she could get away without anyone knowing. Well, aside from her Warders - who had given her an earful the day she'd learned skimming.


Phaedra had been facing away from the door as Kaylan swept in, but soon enough the old Gray was looking at her with an expression that betrayed her thoughts.


"You didn't think I'd let them send some green recruit to help you? Sister, Dawn deserves better."


Taking the offered tea with a smile and a nod, Kaylan wandered over to sit opposite Phaedra.


"I find myself wondering why you bothered to ask, though I am glad in a way. I get a chance to help, now."

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Phaedra settled in her chair again and watched Kaylan’s face as she settled across from the Gray. She had met with this Sister a few times and knew her more by reputation than by actual contact. Her initial reaction had been a bit of shock mixed in with relief that her fear a young recruit was sent was not coming true. But, was this any better? This woman, though highly skilled and trained in the arts of battle and tactics had no tact, no sense of diplomacy and absolutely not a clue of how important it was to keep quiet when all others shouted to be heard. But Phaedra decided that it was a far better fortune than she could have hoped for and sipped on her tea while Kaylan openly wondered why Phaedra had asked the Hall for permission to go on the trip to Cairhien.


“Well you see Sister, as a Sitter I am bound by duties to the Tower and cannot leave on a whim,†she arched an eyebrow only lightly, then passed her gaze over the low cut dress the Green was wearing. It was not like Phaedra to pass judgment on someone’s choice of garment, but in this case considering the delicacy of the mission she wondered for an instant if she could ask Kaylan to have Farrah pack for her. She quickly dismissed the fact and studied the woman’s features again, realizing that in their own way they were not that dissimilar as one might think on first glance. “We should leave soon,†Kaylan continued and Phaedra nodded absentmindedly, “Skimming to Cairhien should not take long,†she heard the Green say, but Phaedra had her doubts that Skimming would be the way to go. Surely, the Gray had introduced the Talent back into the Tower, Nyssa had done a wonderful job with that. Nyssa, another Sister lost in the recent battles within the Tower. Phaedra nodded, she did not need more things to worry about and left all travel arrangements over to the Green when a novice knocked and came in as Phaedra commanded.


“A letter for you, of high urgence Sitter,†the young woman said. Her pale face looked tired and Phaedra could tell she had been running as she was breathing heavily. “Thank you child,†she said and tore open the seal that said it was a letter from the Master at Arms. “Borac does not take long to send his troops,†Kaylan nodded with a glance over the seal and Phaedra only nodded. “Yes,†she said and then handed the note over to Kaylan. “He is sending a captain and two of the man’s trusted guards to accompany us.†Phaedra started pacing again, she was getting real tired from people demanding that she do things their way and this letter was just another way of telling, instead of asking. Captain Ralleigh Taj was known for a stern command and it would be difficult to convince him, along with the Green and her Warders that diplomacy required a soft touch, silence and patience. Three things Phaedra was sure none of her party members would be familiar with and this roused another wave of a headache that had been bugging her since she had left the Hall meeting. “We can leave as soon as we have found accommodation,†Phaedra started, but noticed from the look on Kaylan’s face that waiting was not an option for her. “Alright then, she said with a deep sigh, “You arrange the travel and I will take over once we get there,†it was not really a question nor a request. It was how it was to be and she had no time to wonder about Kaylan’s feelings in all of this. After all, Dawn deserved better.


Phaedra Eskarne

Defiant, yet not beaten!

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"That suits me perfectly, Sister."


She knew that she had no tact, but she also had absolutely no desire to be involved in the politicking that this mission would no doubt involve. As far as Kaylan was concerned, she was there as a strong arm, protection for the Sitter and an extra set of eyes.


When her tactics were needed, she would use them.


"How soon are the three going to be ready to leave? I am prepared already."


Well, there was no harm in being organised. Kaylan tended to be ready for anything. You never knew when you would need to pick up and leave at any moment.


She let herself feel another thrill of pleasure at the fact that now she could skim away to anywhere familiar. It really was a wonderful discovery.


The kind of discovery that gathered an Ajah huge amounts of prestige. She'd been planning on doing a bit of experimenting with the weave, but hadn't had a chance yet. It wasn't the kind of thing that she could do publicly - experimentation with the power was... frowned upon.


Kaylan didn't care about being frowned upon.

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As the Green left to prepare for travel and instruct the captain and his guards that they were to be ready as soon as they could, Phaedra settled behind her desk to write a letter. She had sat here many times over the last few weeks, writing letters to send to Dawn to aid her in her task to come to a fair agreement with the two lordships in Cairhien. Phaedra started to write on a clean sheet of paper and prepared instructions. Point by point, bringing her closer to the moment she would leave and not return.


Her duty was to her Ajah, to the Sitters in the Hall and to her Sisters, but Phaedra knew that what had come after Dawn could not decide to rest there. She needed to uncover the truth and if that meant taking risks, she knew a Green in her party who would not mind taking such risks. It was difficult to write down what made her lifework whole but it was all she could to drive herself mad with her thoughts of endless possibilities.


What had happened to Dawn? Who had ordered the assassination? Had it been a robbery? She had spoken with the guard who had been near the Gray at the time, Sovald Rul. He seemed locked inside himself at the time of their meeting and Phaedra was not really interested in his personal feelings about forsaking his duty or losing the Aes Sedai he served to protect. Finella had also spoken with him and told Phaedra later that he was not just hurt over the loss of the Aes Sedai as part of his duty, there was more going on. Dawn and a tower guard? Phaedra had not given it more thought then as she never did mind people’s love affairs and silly problems of the heart, but now she wished she had as it could have been a clue. Or not, maybe it just a piece of gossip sprung from a romantic mind.


Phaedra started to pack her things and with Farrah’s help prepared a small bag with clean clothes, parchment and pencils and some other necessities. Her servant would not be coming with her, which was a great loss to Phaedra but with the party being so large already she did not feel it was right for her to complain and then add one more to the group. Farrah expressed no feelings on the matter, she ushered Phaedra to a chair and began to brush and then braid the long black hair. For about ten minutes, Phaedra’s mind was forced to relieve itself from worries and stress as the woman’s skilled hands rubbed the skin and bound the hair into a braid. Then it was time to leave and end all worries, she had one month and needed to use every minute of that as best she could. A few last instructions for her servant to keep the letter, whom to hand it to in case of Phaedra’s demise, and then she was off to find Kaylan and the guards. It was time to go.


OOC: You can reply here with the Skimming or start a new post on the East board. I'm fine with both and will follow your lead. :)

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The party had gathered, carrying far less than they normally would have on a journey like this, and Kaylan turned to everyone with a smile. Two Aes Sedai, three Warders, three of the Tower Guard. A good number, a good group. Phaedra may have held doubts about how well they would do, but Kaylan was confident that they could go from here to Shayol Ghul if they wanted to and not have any problems.


Well, no problems fighting, anyway.


Phaedra could take care of the peacekeeping bit, surely.


One hand briefly touched the ring on Mercury's right wrist, one of the ter'angreal that they'd never been able to deactivate or even really study properly. There were a few Browns that fought over her Warder's time every now and again, but Kaylan barely even thought of them anymore. They did their job, that was the most important thing. Of course, they also cancelled out her Flows if Mercury wanted to fight against them, which had left the old Aes Sedai and her young red-headed Warder with a rather interesting relationship.


Sometimes, Kaylan couldn't understand why people didn't have Warders. At other times, she looked at her own and wished she'd never learned the weave.


"So, shall we be off?" She'd tested the weave more thoroughly since learning it, and was confident that there would be no problems getting their party to farms slightly south of Cairhien city. They might need to ride until that evening to reach the city, but they would certainly gain a huge advantage by using the weave.


Hopefully her friends still owned the farm.


Hopefully it hadn't been converted into a grazing ranch. That could be... interesting.


Embracing the source, the old Green wove together now-familiar threads and watched as a hole opened onto a large square platform, With seats and torches and a fence all round to keep the horses calm. Green and gray tiles formed an interesting geometric pattern that gave a suggestion of scales and swords, but wasn't necessarily designed as such.


"Shall we?" She motioned at the hole, stepping in herself and waiting for them to follow. Once they were all settled, the hole closed and the platform started moving, and Kaylan wished that she'd thought to bring sandwiches or something. Her trips to the blight had taken minutes, not seconds, so she was expecting the same of this. Still, it was far better than the weeks that it could have taken, and left them with much longer for the investigation.


After some time, the platform seemed to come to a stop. There was no wind to indicate it, just a feeling that was a little unsettling, but Kaylan stood confidently and opened another hole.


Still fields of wheat, thankfully.


"Alright, off you all go. Careful."


Her Warders went first, to make sure there was no trouble. She wasn't expecting any - it was a farm, after all, not a fortress.


[Cross posted to East board]

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