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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Meh ... it's not REALLY a date ... (attn Elgee)


Arath Faringal
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Arath pushed open the doors to Zarinen's apartments, uninvited and unannounced as he was accustomed to do lately, and flopped into the nearest chair. It had been yet another exhausting day, being grilled by sisters of all ajah's on anything and everything they could think of Saidin related. All of them had a different agenda, and each of them believed hers to be the most important. The Storm Leader didn't particularly agree with any of their assessments on their own importance, or the idea that their time was somehow more important than his own. They were being ... well ... Aes Sedai, and it was driving him crazy.

 

He supposed it wasn't fair to take it out on Zarinen by trying her patience, since she was probably the only Aes Sedai to not pester him that day. But there it was. She'd live. Drawing through his anti-angreal, Arath filled a goblet with wine, and floated it toward himself all with weaves of air. Pure weaves, but very draining. Zarinen appreciated him not channeling the taint around her rooms though. He briefly considered putting his feet up on her table, but decided against it. Best not to push his luck too far. Women tended not to like that sort of thing ... and Zarinen was a strange woman to say the least.

 

"I would think," Arath began after taking a drink, "that someone would have asked these questions of a male channeler in the last three thousand years. What do they think to learn with the same questions over and over again? Do none of you Aes Sedai speak with each other?"

 

The whole of his day had been consumed by a dozen sisters, and the last few hours by a little brown sister that Arath had found oddly intimidating. Her questions had not been original by any means, but she had seemed sincerely interested in him. Rather like that intact skeleton of a giant cat in the corner of her room interested her. The whole ordeal meant that he hadn't eaten since breakfast, and it was well into the evening now. His stomach growled in protest at the wine, and he set it aside.

 

"I'm starving. How would you feel about going to get a bite to eat?"

Edited by Arath Faringal
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"You may leave me."

 

Larindhra opened her mouth to protest, but Zarinen stared her down. They were far from finished with their discussion, but she could feel him getting closer. He was even grumpier than usual - how HAD such a young man gotten so grumpy? - which meant that he was going to be even less mannered than usual. Every time he treated her with a hair less respect in front of others than she was due, she lost face, which meant she had to gain it in another way. The Sitters had started to step very warily indeed around her. Some Ajah members were known to hide down side passages when they saw her approaching. She regretted that, somewhat.

 

She ignored the Sitters as they filed out, staring out the window instead until she heard the door click shut. With a sigh she started penning a few notes about the meeting to send to Larindhra, though it was hard to concentrate with Mr Grumpy pulsating in her head like some miniature thunderstorm. She was sanding the ink when he flounced in and flung himself down on the nearest chair.

 

"I would think," Arath began after taking a drink, "that someone would have asked these questions of a male channeler in the last three thousand years. What do they think to learn with the same questions over and over again? Do none of you Aes Sedai speak with each other?"

 

"I'm starving. How would you feel about going to get a bite to eat?"

 

Zarinen held the parchment up before her and blew on the sand to disperse it, deliberately ignoring him for a few heartbeats. Still not looking at him, she replied in a dry tone.

 

"Good evening, Arath. I'm doing well, thank you. And how was your day?"

 

She folded the page precisely, wrote Larindhra's name on it in her flourishing handwriting, sealed it, and put it to one side. Only then did she look up at him, face bland.

 

"One can never ask too many questions. Would you regret answering so many, if one of those questions led to cleansing the Taint?"

 

She wasn't going to admit to him that Aes Sedai sometimes clung to information like a fat man to his candy. He had seen far too many Aes Sedai foibles in the past few weeks for her comfort. It wasn't like he'd had much respect for them to start off with. She was determined to teach him manners, though. At least he'd not put his booted feet on one of her shining tables - maybe she was making progress.

 

Yes, when she thought about it, he really was trying. Her lips started to twitch as she watched his restless feet - maybe she should get him a footstool? For some reason the thought made her want to giggle. "I too am rather hungry. Would you like to go down to the Dining Hall, or would you prefer that I order something for us from the Kitchens?

 

 

Zarinen Rafaliva

Red Highest

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If one of those questions would cleanse the taint, he'd be more than happy to do so. Answering the same sets of questions, eleven times in one day ... not so much. Letting the point die, Arath turned his attention to more important matters.

 

He thought for a moment about the food from the kitchens. While it was definitely superior to some of the food at the Farm, it simply didn't seem appealing today. Being down in the Dining Hall with all of those frustrating Aes Sedai ... even if there weren't many at this hour he tended to draw attention no matter where he went in the Tower. Being locked away in Zarinen's rooms where they would just feed eachother's anxiety didn't seem that great an option either.

 

As the annoying reality of the situation settled upon him, another idea came to mind. A vaguely remembered night a few months back where Covai had dragged him off on a quest to spice up the menu at the Black Tower Inn. They had Travelled far and wide searching for some good food, and one stop in particular floated to the front of his thoughts.

 

Pulling himself to his feet, Arath siezed Saidin and began to weave. Fine threads of spirit reached out, folding the pattern and boring a hole between two points. The silvery blue flash expanded outward into the familiar sight of a Gateway. Beyond was an abandoned farm that the Asha'man had acquired for ease of travel. Less chance of accidentaly killing someone in a place you knew to be empty.

 

"I think I have a better idea, if you're feeling up for some adventure." He paused for a moment and glanced at Zarinen's dress. She'd fit right in. With a grin and a flourishing bow, he gestured his bondmate through the gateway."How do you feel about Domani food? This place is only a few minutes away from a great little place outside Bandar Eban. I'm not sure how much I care for those sursa sticks, but I like the food."

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Zarinen smoothed scarlet satin over her hips as she checked in the mirror over her fireplace that her neckline was still decent. Well, decent was a matter of opinion, and her mother would have slapped her silly if she'd seen this particular outfit, but Zarinen tugged her dress half an inch lower. She hoped they ran into some Greens - she loved watching them sniff and tug at their shawls at the sight of her. She shifted an errant dark brown curl so that it emphasized, rather than hid, then grabbed her shawl and turned to go.

 

The mixture of determination, fear and euphoria that suddenly blossomed in her head was the only warning she had before a gateway opened right there in her receiving room. She would never get used to how casually he wielded the One Power; it went against everything Aes Sedai were taught! But then, unless a miracle occurred, getting addicted to the One Power was the least of a male channeler's worries.

 

She threw a completely ignored sniff at him, then peered curiously through the gateway to see where it led. Surely even he wouldn't be so irresponsible as to open one inside the Dining Hall itself! But no, moist and warm air suddenly enveloped her in its welcome embrace ... definitely somewhere coastal. But where, exactly, and why?? Zarinen glanced inquiringly at Arath.

 

"I think I have a better idea, if you're feeling up for some adventure." He bowed and gestured her through the gateway. "How do you feel about Domani food? This place is only a few minutes away from a great little place outside Bandar Eban. I'm not sure how much I care for those sursa sticks, but I like the food."

 

She couldn't help it - her eyebrows shot up and her mouth fell open. "Bandar Eban??" she spluttered. "We can't just ... HOP halfway across the world for SUPPER!"

 

Apparently they could - Arath would have none of it, just sweeping her through despite vehement mutters and protests. Zarinen decided that Domani food sounded just FINE for supper.

 

"I do hope you have brought coin, MASTER Faringall," she sniped, "as I very much doubt that any Innkeeper will have enough change for one of my rubies."

 

"Oh, and YOU may carry my shawl, thank you very much." She dumped the blazingly red - and altogether too hot - piece of silk into his arms and sailed past him, head held high and shoulders back.

 

 

Zarinen Rafaliva

Red Highest and Gatesetter extraordinaire

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"Bandar Eban??" she spluttered. "We can't just ... HOP halfway across the world for SUPPER!"

 

This was one aspect of Aes Sedai foolishness that never ceased to amaze Arath. How could they live for hundreds of years, and be shocked when somebody used the Power? From what he'd learned of Novice and Accepted training, the girls were barely allowed to use the Power at all. It made no sense to him. Soldiers weren't allowed to do hardly anything without the power. Yet another example of the massive divide between the two channeling groups.

 

"Come now Zarinen. You mean to tell me that you've never visited every country in the world in a single day in an effort to build the perfect meal? Really, what do you Aes Sedai do with your extra long lives?"

 

Despite her continued sputters and protests, Zarinen didn't really seem to resist the idea much. In short order, she was through the gateway, voicing her expectations that he would be paying for the meal. Arath tried not to roll his eyes, and didn't even dignify it with a response. When she marched off after depositing her shawl in his hands, he simply shook his head, tossed it through the still open gateway, then followed her out the door.

 

As always, Arath was struck with a strange sense of time displacement. It had been late in the evening when they'd left Tar Valon, but here in Arad Doman it appeared to be two or three hours earlier. The sun was still peeking over the western horizon. Shrugging off the odd sensation, Arath headed off into the sunset, Zarinen falling in at his side.

 

As promised, their destination was located only a few minutes walk away. As they rounded a corner in the road, a very well kept inn came into view. "Come, Mistress Rafaliva, or do you go by some other alias here? The best dinner an Asha'man has ever treated you to awaits."

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"Come now Zarinen. You mean to tell me that you've never visited every country in the world in a single day in an effort to build the perfect meal? Really, what do you Aes Sedai do with your extra long lives?"

 

The words "are you insane?" popped into her head but luckily were discarded before they could exit via her mouth. She sufficed with "We WORK, Arath. Inconsequential things like Healing people, stopping wars, fighting Shadowspawn ..."

 

"Making sure the world isn't broken again" was left unsaid. She had a feeling present company would not find it amusing. Instead, Zarinen studied the surrounds, wondering if she should embrace the Source just to be safe. Arath's mood must have infected her, though, because suddenly she felt like discarding the cares and worries that some days threatened to overwhelm her. Vague remembrances of childhood adventures, when she had been the wild, intrepid one and Pietr had to be the voice of reason, suddenly sprang to mind. Instead of saddening her, as they were wont to do, today for some strange reason they made her chuckle, and brought a glittering light to her dark eyes as she fell in by Arath's side. Luckily for her satin slippers, the promised Inn was located only a few minutes walk away.

 

"Come, Mistress Rafaliva, or do you go by some other alias here? The best dinner an Asha'man has ever treated you to awaits."

 

"By all means let us partake of this promised delight then, Asha'man Faringall," she curtsied then took his arm. "I'm sure no-one will know me here, or even remember me tomorrow, so my own name should suffice."

 

 

Zarinen Rafaliva

Red Highest

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Arath was sure that such a thing had never been seen in the Westlands before. A channeling man and an Aes Sedai, walking down a road, arms linked and talking amicably. Certainly not a Storm Leader and the head of the Red Ajah. The absurdity of the situation brought a grin to his face as they covered the remaining distance to the inn.

 

As he pushed open the door for Zarinen, the smells of the Domani food washed over them, making Arath's mouth water. He was starting to remember a little more of his last trip to this place, and the memories were making him all the hungrier. A familiar looking woman in a scandalous Domani gown saw them enter and glided over to them. "Master Faringal," she said with a smile "How nice to see you again. Should I expect Master Seriba as well?"

 

Wondering just how much of an impression they had left with the inn keeper, Arath shook his head slowly. "No, I'm afraid his business has taken him elsewhere ... Mistress Bidawa," he added as her name somehow leapt to his mind.

 

"Such a shame," Mistress Bidawa said with a mock frown. "It would have been amusing to watch him try to charm my cook away again." She turned her gaze toward Zarinene, obviously taking in her appearance and making some sort of womanly judgements. "Just the two of you then?"

 

At his nod, she whisked them away toward a table in the back of the semi-crowded common room. "What will you be having tonight then?" she asked as they settled into the comfortable seats.

 

"Whatever masterpiece your wonderful cook has conjured up," Arath replied with a grin. As the innkeeper swayed off, Arath returned his attention to Zarinen. "Friendliest innkeeper I've ever met. Even when Covai was doing his best to steal away her cook she was nothing but smiles." Glancing around the common room he added, "I think he tried to talk away a few of the serving girls as well ... that didn't go quite as well if I remember correctly." Waving over one of those girls, he ordered a chilled wine for each of them. "This place truely has the best food I've ever eaten. Don't know how I ever lived without it."

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"This place really is the back of beyond", Zarinen thought as the Inn Keeper gave her a decidedly unfriendly look, quickly covered. The woman obviously did not recognize an ageless face for what it was - she probably took her for a lightskirt! Though a very expensive one, if she could judge jewelry and clothing half as well as most Domani women could. Just as obviously, she liked the look of Master Faringal. It was no wonder his friend had gotten away with what he did, if Arath's reminiscences were close to the truth. Men did tend to get drunk and make up wild stories. Light knew why - the things they DID get up to when in their cups were usually stupid and wild enough.

 

The place looked clean enough, though, and the smells from the kitchen were absolutely divine. Zarinen had to make a conscious effort not to drool as the woman led them towards a quiet table at the back. Arath ordered for the both of them without even bothering to look at her, but she was content enough to allow it. It dawned on her that she'd had nothing to eat the whole day other than a few slices of fruit grabbed in lieu of breakfast. Her stomach was going to embarrass her at any moment now by grumbling.

 

"Friendliest innkeeper I've ever met. Even when Covai was doing his best to steal away her cook she was nothing but smiles."

 

Zarinen snorted loudly. It had not really occurred to her before - she simply didn't think of him that way - but Arath was a VERY good looking young man. Of course the Inn Keeper was friendly towards him! "The man is oblivious," thought Zarinen as she rolled her eyes. Luckily the serving girl brought them their cups of chilled wine, and Zarinen buried her face in that. After a few hasty gulps she lowered the cup and peered into it in pleased surprise - this was actually excellent wine! Sighing luxuriously, she leant back and regarded Arath as she took more delicate sips of the lovely white. He was an enigma to her in many ways, this man who otherwise was so intimately bound to her.

 

"You speak often of your fellow Asha'man, Covai - you two are good friends?"

 

 

Zarinen Rafaliva

Red Highest

Having a lovely evening out

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Good friends? Arath thought about it for a moment. That was as good a way as any to describe Covai. Though it occured to him that he didn't have very many friends to compare Covai with. Friendship, along with so many other things, was a luxury that an Asha'man could not afford. It was hard enough to put down a colleague who had fallen to the taint ... to strike down a friend would be much worse.

 

"Yes," he said simply after a long sip of his wine. "He's crazy. Not mad, just good old fashioned crazy. He's the kind of person who dives right into problems head first, and always manages to claw his way out of the worst of them. He once punched the Lord Dragon in the face. Knocked him right off his feet. I thought for sure we're were all going to die for that one, but no ... he walked us all away without a problem. He has the Dark One's own luck. Always in the thick of things, always at the top of the pile in the end."

 

Arath frowned down into his cup, wondering what Covai had been up to in the weeks that Arath had been at the White Tower. He obviously hadn't come back for another attempt at stealing Mistress Bidawa's cooking staff ... but then again there were a lot of inns in Arad Doman. "He was Dedicated when I arrived at the Farm. Taught me a lot of things, helped me to survive the training. Saved me on more than one occasion. Though recently I've been the one pulling him out of the fire." The nasty business with Brent came to mind in particular.

 

"He's responsible for me being here really. In more ways than one. All of this was his idea. Bonding, joining forces with the White Tower ... he pushed for it more than anyone. He'd have been the one to bond first, but we decided I might be better for it. Believe it or not, I'm the more level headed and cautious of us." The feeling that surged through the bond could have meant anything, but Arath suspected it was disbelief.

 

He was spared any further reminiscing by the arrival of the food. Large, steaming plates of thinly slivered meats, peppers, and other vegetables; bowls of some sticky white stuff called rice; a little bit of everything by the looks of it. The cook had out done herself tonight. Arath was suddenly glad Covai wasn't here. He might have tried to abduct the woman. He doubted Mistress Bidawa would continue to smile if that happened.

 

Sparing a dubious glance at the red lacquered sursa in front of him, Arath gestured to the meal. "Ladies first," he offered with a grin.

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Their partnership, for want of a better word, really was backward, thought Zarinen as she sipped her white almost absentmindedly. In a normal Bonding, from what she could gather, the couple involved would get to know one first. Yet here she sat, getting her first glimpses of the inner thoughts and feelings of the man who had held her Bond for some time now.

 

She idly traced a finger through the condensation on her cup in between sips, not wanting to say anything to disturb his musings. These Asha'man were fascinating, despite the fact that their dynamics seemed utterly alien to any woman of the Tower at times. What would happen to an Aes Sedai who hit the Amyrlin? This Covai must have the Dark One's own luck to have walked away from the Dragon Reborn - from what she'd heard, he had a temper worse than a starving Trolloc.

 

ARATH was the more sensible and level headed of the two?? Zarinen barely bit off an exclamation at THAT, though she was sure he'd felt the surge of disbelief through the bond. She hastily lowered her eyes to her cup, and noticed in surprise that it was empty. Just then their food arrived - steaming plates letting off the most heavenly smells. Noticing that his cup seemed empty as well, she ordered some more wine for the both of them. She saw Arath's dubious look at the sursa, and grinned - Aes Sedai were of course taught how to use the implements, lest they look like fools to the general public. It didn't mean that she enjoyed eating with the fool things - pure Domani impracticality, that - but at least she would get some food to mouth. Slowly. Domani food was delicious, but yes ... one perforce took ones time with one of their meals.

 

"You hold them like this," she demonstrated to him with a grin, expertly wielding the little sticks. Curious to know more about his life, she flickered a glance his way as she picked bits of this and that to add to her plate. "Do you do this kind of thing often? Just doing things on impulse, because you feel like it, I mean."

 

 

Zarinen Rafaliva

Red Highest

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Sursa were, without a doubt, the only reason why Domani food wasn't wildly popular through the entire world. Though he had only given them a couple of attempts before, Arath was convinced they were tools of the Dark One. Still, watching Zarinen wield them with ease and precision was enough to make him give the fool sticks another shot. He and Covai had gone begging for proper forks the first time they'd come here, and brought their own the second time. Stubborness demanded that he attempt it at least.

 

On the plus side, the tiny amounts of food that made it to one's mouth made it more than possible to carry on a conversation while eating. Attempting to pick up a thin sliver of beef, he spared a little of his concentration to answer Zarinen. "Only recently. Life at the Farm keeps you so busy that you don't have time for much of anything else. There's always training to conduct, new Soldier's to settle in, battle's to be fought ... It wasn't until after Shienar that we came here. Something to take our mind off of ... all of that. " After failing to pick up the piece of beef for the fifth time, Arath gave up and stabbed it with one of the sursa. It was delicious, but so bloody frustrating. Adjusting his grip to closer match the Aes Sedai's, he made another attempt at it, this time fumbling with a sliver of a pepper. "What about you? What do you do with your spare time?"

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  • 3 weeks later...

The excellence of the wine was only surpassed by the deliciousness of the food. Zarinen sipped and nibbled with increasing enjoyment, relaxing as she listened to Arath describe his life. She was vaguely aware that her cup was topped up once. Maybe twice. Certainly no more than three times.

 

It was interesting how closely life at the Black Tower resembled that of life at the White Tower, in some things, yet how utterly alien it was in others. They seemed to see battles as part of everyday life, for instance. When last had Aes Sedai truly fought in battles? She tried to recall, but the facts slipped away from her. Shrugging her shoulders in dismissal of the problem, she waved her cup for a refill (when had they swopped to red wine) as she watched him trying to spear a piece of meat instead of picking it up.

 

"What about you? What do you do with your spare time?"

 

Spare time? "You know ... you know ... I can't recall the last time I had ... spare time? Well obviously I'm not busy with something every minute of every day, but when I'm not doing something I'm usually thinking about what I must or can do." She waived her cup in emphasis. "Take for instance the Asha'man Situation." The capital letters were clear in the way she said it. "For weeks I lay awake at night thinking on how we could approach you and persuade you to accept Bonding with us. And there you just waltzed into the Tower all by yourselves! Sheer piece of luck that was for us, let me tell you!"

 

She saw his eyes widen, and clapped her hand over her mouth. "I shouldn't have said that, should I?" It was really funny, though!

 

 

Zarinen Rafaliva

Red Red Wine ... errr Head

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Arath shrugged, more willing to agree then to argue that point. "I thought we were the lucky ones," he admitted. "I never thought that the Aes Sedai," he paused for a moment thinking of something funny, "that the Red Ajah, would be crazy enough to go along with it." He sipped his wine again, then laughed himself. "And I never thought that I would bond with their leader!" Now that was a funny thought!

 

Another piece of beef escaped from his sursa, bouncing off his chin and falling to his lap. He glared at it for a moment, then at the sursa, then at Zarinen who wielded the light forsaken sticks with ease, then back at the sursa. Finally he gave his plate a sad look. So much food that would never get eaten at this rate.

He directed his look at Zarinen again. "How do you do it? Why do they do it?" Bloody sticks. No wonder Domani's were so skinny.

Edited by Arath Faringal
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  • 2 weeks later...

"And there you went and Bonded the craziest Red of them all!" Zarinen giggled into her cup, then peered into it in amazement. "I do believe there is a hole in this thing. Innkeep!" She waived her cup in the air, much to the irritation of the serving girl who was trying to fill it. Luckily her attention was diverted by the site of Arath trying to spear yet another sliver of food, which allowed the serving girl to wrestle the cup from her and fill it.

 

"You know what? You need a spoon. Don't know why you didn't think of this!" She concentrated hard, finding it strangely difficult to embrace the Source, but eventually managed to Weave Air and Spirit. The spoon was a bit lopsided, but she managed to pick up a sliver of meat with some rice and vegetables, and hover it towards Arath. "Oooh! We can even warm it! Your food must be ice cold by now." She added a touch Fire to the Weave. Well, maybe more than just a touch of Fire. The food flashed into flame about an inch from Arath's mouth, setting his fringe on fire.

 

 

Zarinen Rafaliva

Red Highest

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  • 1 month later...

Arath decided that Zarinen could be pretty smart. Making a spoon from the one power ... why hadn't he thought of that? And then she set his food on fire, flashing it into ashes just before it touched his lips. He jumped backward, nearly tiping his chair over in his retreat. The tip of his nose was burnt ... it felt sore, and very tender. Forget the smart part then ... maybe she was just pretty.

 

After spending a moment trying to see the tip of his nose, Arath redirected his glare at Zarinen, who sat there barely surpressing giggles. Well, wasn't that just great? She almost sets his face on fire, then laughed at it? Concentrating very hard, Arath siezed Saidin. It was difficult; the source kept trying to slide out of his grip. Focusing very hard, Arath channeled a touch of fire into the woman's sursa. The tips burst into flame as she grasped at a few slivers of vegetable.

 

"Aaaayyeeehh!" Zarinen shrieked and flicked the sursa so the burning vegatables flew across the table. And landed in Arath's hair. For some reason this set her to laughing so hard that she couldn't get a word out to warn him that his hair had started to smoulder. The best she could do was point the now sizzling sursa at him with one hand, whilst clutching her tummy with the other. When this didn't work to alert him to the fact, it seemed perfectly logical to her to stick her burning sursa in her own hair.

 

Arath figured it out pretty quickly, clawing the smoldering vegetable from his hair before it could do too much damage. In the moment he was distracted by his own problems, Zarinen had managed to stick the flaming sursa into her own hair. The thick hair had damped the flames significantly, but they were still smoldering. And now so was her hair. Almost in a panic, Arath lunged for his wine glass to put out the flames, but his fumbling grasp knocked it over into his food. Not missing a beat, he grabbed the plate itself and upended it over Zarinen's head.

 

Things seemed to move too quickly to follow, yet at the same time in slow motion. Zarinen started to clap her hands in delight when Arath finally figured out what she'd been trying to pantomine to him, but then the next moment things were dripping off her head and down her face. She licked at a sliver of something that was slowly sliding off the tip of her nose, her eyes crossing in an attempt to focus on it. Hmmm ... pork, she believed. She looked up at Arath with big eyes. "Why did shoo ... jooo ... you do dat?"

 

Arath was in the process of figuring out his response when Mistress Bidawa decided to make an appearance. She was hard to read right now ... she looked a little upset at the mess they were making, and more than a little amused at Zarinen's appearance. "I take it that you are done with your meal Master Faringal? Or did the lady upset you so?" She gave them both a fairly stern look.

 

Arath looked a little chagrined as Mistress Bidawa glared at them. "She started it," he mumbled, looking down at the empty space where his plate had been.

 

Zarinen blinked owlishly at Mistress Bidawa. Where HAD the woman come from so quietly, anyway? And why would she think Zarinen would try to upset Arath? Arath was her friend! A feeling of warmth flooded through her, bringing tears to her eyes. Her BEST friend in the whole wide world! Somehow it seemed vital that she tell them both this, but the words wouldn't quite form. That is, until he uttered the fateful words "she started it". Quick as a flash she replied with the utmost dignity. "Did NOT!" She accompanied that with a stomp of her foot. Unfortunately at the same time as she was trying to hug Arath to express the depth of her friendship. The result of this atempt at two mutually exclusive actions was to land her face first in his lap.

 

Mistress Bidawa's face tightened as she tried not to laugh at the rediculous scene. Arath was simply frozen in place, trying to interpret the entirely confusing sensations coming through the bond, and Zarinen's odd reaction. The innkeeper decided it was past time to get these two out of the common room. Entertaining as they might be for the other patrons, her establishment had a reputation as being a very quiet, family friendly place. "I think you've both had enough for now," she said mildly. "Perhaps you'd prefer to take a room now?"

 

It was a struggle to get herself upright, but she managed to eventually prop herself on the table. "I don't want a room! Thish is a vely nice prace right here!" Zarinen stared defiantly at Mistress Bidawa's raised eyebrow. It was a very nice eyebrow, actually. Eyebrows. She'd never seen anyone with four eyebrows. One set above the other. Fascinating!

 

Something the woman said eventually penetrated through her focus on the eyebrow matter. Food in her hair? Why on earth would she have food in her hair? Her hand flew up to feel for herself. Unfortunately her aim seemed to be off for some strange reason, and her left fist hit her left eye with an almighty thwack. "OW!" Blinking through the tears that immediately sprang into both eyes, she gingerly felt with her right hand. Something slimy and wet slipped through her fingers, and Zarinen shuddered. She also screamed. In a piercing voice. "Get it off me! Get it off me RIGHT NOW!"

 

Mistress Bidawa must be able to channel, thought Arath. It had literally taken her less than a minute from the time Zarinen had had her melt down, to getting the pair of them bundled up the stairs into a room with soap, a basin of warm water, and a large copper tub. Zarinen was still making a scene, plucking at each piece of food caught in her hair as though it were a shadowspawned slug. Arath dropped down onto a stool, still trying to work out just how they had gotten up there so quickly, and watched with amusement as Zarinen extracted a sliver of chicken that had fallen down the front of her dress. He knew he probably shouldn't, but he started laughing at the rediculous sight of the Aes Sedai, covered in food. He might regret it later, but for now this was the funniest thing he had ever seen!

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  • 2 months later...

"'s not funny!" Zarinen tried to stamp her foot but due to the sloping floor (Why on earth did the Inn have a sloping floor? She would have to speak to the Mistress of Novices about that. Accepted could hurt themselves on sloping Inn floors. Novices too, but who cared. ) ... due to the sloping floor, she staggered a few steps until a wash stand sprang out of nowhere to halt her headlong charge to the wall. The wash stand had a large basin on it. A basin filled with lovely, warm water! It even had a bar of nice smelling soap! What an amazing wash stand.

 

The thing did have a tendency to alternately retreat and come closer, which was very strange. Zarinin held it down with her hands, and that seemed to help keep it stationary. After a few moments it occurred to her that she could use the soap and the lovely warm water to get rid of the icky stuff that was dripping off her hair. What an amazing coincidence!

 

She bent over and stuck her head in the water to get it wet, groping with one hand for the soap. Unfortunately, someone was playing silly buggers with the bowl, moving it this way and that so she either bang her face on the side, or got water up her nostrils. She banged her fist on the stand in frustration, and the soap she'd had in said fist shot out of it. A loud "OWW!!", followed soon after by a "Flaming Light are you trying to kill me, woman??" reminded her that she had someone right there who could help her.

 

"Arathhhhhhhh ... come hold the bowl for me!"

 

 

Zarinen Rafaliva

Red Drunkest Highest

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rubbing the spot on his head where the soap had so rudely struck him, Arath sort of slumped off his stool and walked toward the distressed Zarien ... Zarnio ... Zarinen! That was it! He walked, or more stumbled really, to where she was wrestling with the bowl of water. The bowl appeared to be winning. Any part of the woman that wasn't covered in food now seemed to be covered in water. It would have been hilarious if his forehead didn't hurt from that bloody bar of soap. Even still he chuckled a little.

 

So ... hold the bowl still eh? Arath wondered for a moment how he was supposed to do that. Every time he reached for the bowl, Zarinen kind of weaved in front of him, blocking the path. The strange little dance continued for a while, Arath trying to reach the basin, Zarinen still fighting it and getting in his way. Finally, Arath came up with a plan. If he reached around both sides, she wouldn't be able to block him both ways! Congratulating himself on his cleverness, Arath stepped up close behind the struggling Aes Sedai, reached both hands around her, caught hold of the basin, then promptly recieved a face full of wet, foody hair. Coughing the hair out of his mouth he yelled to Zarinen, "I've got it! Quick, before it gets away!"

 

Arath

Meh ... it's not really a hug ...

Edited by Arath Faringal
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