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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Would Have Never... (First Trip to Rhuidean)


Leala Sedai
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The Wise Ones instructed Aphynea as she disrobed to go to Rhuidean. A few months ago, she had been a simple seamstress. No thoughts of marriage in mind, and very unsubtle hints from the Wise Ones as to which young man she should consider. Now she had something to set her life to. She would find her honor as a Wise One. The Wise Ones' words came to her rather vaguely, but she clung to them. She didn't show it, but her heart was beating faster than usual. When the Wise Ones stopped talking, Aphynea left the tent and immediately broke out into a run. The sand of the Three-Fold Land was hot on her feet. Walking would not have done. She wanted to savor this moment, but she was sure hesitating, or at least showing anything that would be viewed as hesitation would have incurred toh. And she did not want toh before she even became an apprentice to the Wise Ones.

 

The heat from the sand made her want to run faster and harder than she was used to, but she had to accept her own limits, so after she cleared the slopes, she ran, but not nearly as fast as she had been. She was Aiel, but she was not a Maiden of the Spear, far from it. She clung to her endurance and ran at a steady pace.

 

Her curiosity begged her to slow down and stare at the beautiful city as she entered. The buildings, the palaces had never been filled, but the work put into them was astounding. The sand had stopped once she entered, but she didn't slow. She had never been to this mysterious place, but the location of this ter'angreal had been explained well enough to her. She turned corners and followed streets until she found the collection of rings waiting for her. Again, she wanted to stop and admire them, but she sprang towards the things as if Sightblinder himself was on her heels.

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Aphynea was married, she knew this. She had a good, strong husband of the Seia Doon, much like her father. She had an adopted first-sister, another Wise One. A little girl in two braids ran up to her, a rag doll in her hand. She tugged at Aphynea's skirts and opened her mouth to say something, and...

 

Somewhere in the wetlands, Aphynea studied the gargantuan amounts of something the wetlanders called a 'river'. It seemed as strange to her as this thing they named 'snow'. She turned and watched as an army of wetlanders in sparkling armor marched away to the west. She turned and faced her fellow Wise Ones. This battle would be a great one, and a difficult one, but...

 

Aphynea sat with an Aes Sedai, one in a Brown shawl. They poured over the other woman's notes about different weaves. Aphynea herself could add to these, but this was Wise Ones' business. But the last dance with Sightblinder was coming, and cooperations that had never happened before were forming. Suddenly, things that were Wise Ones' business seemed the business of all of man...

 

On and on these futures marched as Aphynea tried to watch all of them, but there was no way to study each one of them, and their meanings without going mad. She had pushed back her curiosity for the sake of avoiding toh before she came here, but now she pushed it back to keep sane. She could see these things in her own life, or she could examine them later, which seemed the best thing to do. She did keep important flickers to remember for later. The man she married was hard on the outside, but soft in private. Not weak, but not harsh, either. But there were other men, as well, one even as curious as she. Her children passed by her so many times, she had no way to look into their eyes. And there were scenes of her death, or deaths, rather. She died in so many ways to so many hands...

 

Aphynea finally stepped out of the ter'angreal and had to stop to catch her breath. No, not her breath. She could breathe just fine. She needed to see where she was, her hearing sounded off as well, even though there wasn't much to hear besides her own breath. her head felt muggy, too. Breathing slowly, she found a wall of a palace and leant against it, waiting to regain her composure.

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Aphynea tried again and again to stand up and even just start walking. The Wise Ones would likely say she was being too stubborn. She at least wanted to be able to walk! Taking in a deep breath, she stumbled forward again and found...tree bark? For some reason, her jumbled thoughts and doubts stopped, and she felt...peace. She slowed her breathing and ran her hands across this structure. Even her touch seemed strange with her head as muddled as it was. Squinting, she looked up. Any emotions she was feeling seemed to stop where they were. Avendesora... She felt safe under this tree. Turning her back to the tree, she waited. Blinking her green eyes slowly, her vision began to sharpen. Her mind began to focus. Taking her middle fingers and thumbs up to her ears, she flicked them back and forth. Yes, she could hear well again as well. She pushed way from the tree, and she could stand straight without wobbling as well.

 

Taking a step away from the tree, she wanted to spend the rest of her life there...but she knew from the ter'angreal that she had other duties. Aphynea ripped herself away from the tree and set out once more. She let herself look at the buildings as she passed them. They were gorgeous! She would never live in a city herself, but... No, all those futures in the wetlands. She might have to live in a city for the good of her clan, but the thought of living in a place like one of these structures...it was so foreign to her. Shaking her head, she ran through Rhuidean and out of the gates, her feet slapping the hot sand once again.

 

Rhuidean was an amazing place, no matter who you were, but she had other duties. Besides, it wasn't like she would never go there again.

 

The trip back to the tents seemed to take longer than she had realized going. Maybe it was going back uphill. She approached the tent and opened the flaps. The Wise Ones began talking again as they instructed her more. From what they said...she had been in Rhuidean for five days! Five days? It seemed hours to her. Rhuidean was a strange place. All that time and she never got to study those buildings...

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