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Stabbing the Dark


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Quiet. Hush. The night is a silent blanket, covering the darkness like the warm embrace of a loving mother. It smothers noise. Wrapping it up in in fabrics of thick wool. Gentle is its rocking. Its heat an inviting touch for the denizens of the most powerful place in the world. The voices are muffled, like a soft crooning of a lullaby. It dulls the senses. Like the brutal permeation of alcohol. Fuzzing the brain and slowing the reaction to a mist. A difficult night. A night of portends. A dangerous night.


Camigwen watched the girl before her; a breathtaking beauty, even more so than the First Weaver herself. And so strong and naturally gifted in Saidar. Tonight's lesson would be her last before her Raising to Aes Sedai. Camigwen knew that. The girl, Kairi Mirlasa, did not. The First Weaver had known for a long time that the girl would choose the Yellow, and had spent much of her time preparing the girl for the shawl. Camigwen had no doubt the girl would make a fine Aes Sedai. Her strength alone demanded that of her. The stronger the girls were, the more accountability they embodied. That was drummed into them the moment they entered the White Tower.


Saidar blazed like the sun. Not for the first time, Camigwen wished she was strong. But her strength barely surpassed the girl before her, even as she channeled through the charmbracelet around her wrist. It was a disturbing angreal. Its charms were small figurines of naked babies with their left arms sawed off at the elbow. But it was strong. And more importantly, undocumented.


"That will be all, Kairi." Camigwen released Saidar as she spoke. And nodded as the girl rose to leave. "I want you to go to the Yellow Quarters and ask for Desandre Sedai please. And be quick about it." She waved her hand in dismissal as the girl left.


This would be a difficult night indeed.


Camigwen rose and walked over to her shelf, which throbbed with the resonance of Saidar. Unweaving the wards that were set, she removed a satchel and a small bag. She would need these tonight. And probably for the nights to come.


A knock sounded at her door. Desandre, no doubt. That was fast. But Camigwen's face showed no signs of any emotion.


"Enter." Camigwen rewove the wards and set her things down on the floor beside her as she sat.


She was not looking forward to this conversation.


The woman who entered was tall and graceful. But Camigwen had little patience.


"I am leaving." Camigwen announced before Desandre even had the time to sit down. "I'm leaving tonight. And I need you to take over as First Weaver. Do not ask why or where I go. Or if I would be returning at all. I do not have the answers. I would like to give you alot more notice and alot more time to prepare. But I only have tonight. And then, not even that."


She took a deep breath and nodded, indicating for the woman to speak.


It was a difficult night for all.

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Desandre was sitting at her vanity brushing out her hair just beginning her evening routine before she would answer the call of the blankets and bed. Releasing the day's tension was made simple by going through the same motions every night. An hour at her harp before brushing her hair out, then washing her face clean of her powders, slipping into her night dress and then pulling back the blankets on her bed. No matter how much stress she had accumulated through the day pouring herself into this end-of-day routine always seemed to settle her nerves and her mind.


She set the brush aside, rose from her chair and made her way to the water she had warmed. She took the small cloth from the side table beside the water bowl and gently immersed it into the water. She slowly circled the cloth through the water and before lifting it from the bowl. Just as she was wringing the wet cloth through her fingers she heard a quiet knock on her door.


She wasn't expecting anyone at this late hour, but she let the cloth float back into the water bowl. At least it hadn't touched her face yet. If someone was at her door at this hour there wouldn't be time to fix her appearance before she left, something dire would be happening. She didn't let her worry show as she made her way to the door and found the familiar Accepted standing on the other side.


For a fleeting moment Desandre thought the girl may be there for a lesson, but she knew she hadn't set up a meeting with her. It didn't take long for the girl to explain that Camigwen had sent for her. So something dire it was then. The Head didn't send for Sitters so late in the night. What ever was happening could not wait for sun rise.


The Yellow thanked the girl for delivering the message and sent her off to her bed. It wouldn't be long before the girl was tested, and she would need all the rest and strength she could muster if she was to make it through the hundred weaves. Wishing she could have taken the time to do her hair back up, but knowing she could not waste time with doing that, Desandre quickly found her way to the Head's rooms.


There was a quick response to her knocking on the door and Desandre came into the room. She tried to read the other woman's face, hard as it is with Aes Sedai, but she needed a clue as to why the woman would call her here at this hour. It would have made sense to call her to the infirmary, or out to another's room, or to the tower grounds even. Anywhere there could have been need of her in an emergancy situation, but here she was alone with Camigwen and physically the Head seemed fine. Still there was a tension in the air and, though she wasn't in the room for long, she had picked up on that much before the door had shut behind her.


"I am leaving." Camigwen announced it before Desandre even had the time to sit down. What did she mean, she was leaving? Surely the Head wasn't serious? And why tell her now? Couldn't this wait until morning?


Camigwen continued as if reading her frantic thoughts, "I'm leaving tonight. And I need you to take over as First Weaver. Do not ask why or where I go. Or if I would be returning at all. I do not have the answers. I would like to give you alot more notice and alot more time to prepare. But I only have tonight. And then, not even that."


If not for years of practice Desandre was sure that her jaw would be hanging lose and her eyes bulging out of her head, but as it was she held her composure on the outside, even though she felt the shock of it all on the inside.


Camigwen finished her quick message and took a deep breath and nodded, clearing expecting Desandre to reply. But what could she say? She couldn't say no, not to the head, but becoming the head herself? Oh she had thought on it, and always knew she'd take it if it were offered, but this was never how she saw it happening. Still the woman had said it, and that made it all but true.


But why? Why now, in the middle of the night? Where was she going? If she had news surely the Ajah should know of it, and if not the Ajah, then surely the new Head should be aware of it. But Camigwen had already told her not to ask after that information. For what must have been a long moment Desandre just stood firm in the room staring at the other Yellow trying to process it all. Finally she forced words out. It wouldn't do to have her standing there looking simple for long.


"I, I don't quite know what to say." It wasn't much, but it was a start. She finished her walk to the chair and sat. It was simply to buy time thinking of what to say next, but it filled the time so she wasn't just standing there staring any longer.


"It seems you have made up your mind, and I trust there really is nothing I can say to change your mind on this." She waited for the other woman to nod once more and then continued.


"Camigwen, you know that I have never denied a request from you, and I will not break that now. I do wish you would tell me where you are headed though, if not why you must go in this fashion. Surely in my years as your Sitter you have learned that you can trust me, else why would summon me here tonight? You trust me to be a fitting First Weaver," The idea seemed so abstract and she couldn't bring her mind to accept it, but she carried on her reply just the same, "I wish you could trust me with some details of your mission. If not why you are going, but where."


She studied the woman's stone face, sure she wouldn't sway her, but she had to try, "It would not leave my lips to anyone, but it would put me much more at ease to know you were safe, or where to find you should your presence be needed. If there is a threat to our Ajah we can find a way to help you. If you tell me what it is, you could leave tonight and I could arrange a party to meet you on your way." She knew Camigwen would refuse it all, but she had to offer. If she was to be the new First Weaver she had to look over all of her Ajah. The very idea that she would be the new First Weaver still had not truly hit her, she was merely going through the motions as she tried to figure out this whole situation.


"What shall I tell the others in the morning? Perhaps you should leave notice here about this meeting with me tonight. I am not sure I would be believed if I said you left in the night, relinquished the First Weaver name to me and left no indication of where you were going, or when you'd be back. But if they heard it from you, or saw it from your hand.." She let the words hang in the air, disbelief in the whole event overcoming her.




Desandre Casban

Sitter of the Yellow Ajah

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