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The Other Girl ~ Roommates (attn: Bard Babe)

Nyanna al'Meara

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Nyanna shut the door quietly, cutting off the noise from the novice's gallery immediately. She stood and let her eyes wander over the few objects therein. They were small, and simple, like the room she had been in the last days – three beds, a washbasin, a couple of hard stools…her new home.


She walked to the corner bed, furthest from the door, and sat down. Some of the rooms had been re-shuffled due to several new novices arriving – all new arrivals were put together with an older novice to adapt, and all in all there was an uneven number of new novices. She had been in the Tower for only a few days, but apparently the Accepted who allocated rooms realized she wasn’t particularly sociable. For now she was on her own. Nyanna didn’t mind – she was used to solitude, and it gave her a place to be alone with her thoughts and rest after all the chores. Besides, she didn’t like all the jabbering about the One Power all of the time – it just made her dwell even more on the dreadful thing she’d done…Nyanna squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath before opening them again. No more crying, at least not now.


She got up again to place her small pile of white novices’ laundry in one of the small dressers lining a wall. Nyanna still couldn’t believe the lovely feeling of wearing clean clothes – or being clean, for that matter! The layers of woodland filth that had come off when she bathed on the night of her arrival had been unbelievable. She still found the odd twig in her hair. It had taken a new tub to completely feel clean, and after that she had been sore from having her clean skin scrubbed and actually exposed to the air, after so long…Nyanna carefully deposited the spare garb and closed the dresser door. Today was not such a bad day. She’d sneaked an apple from the Kitchens after chores, and when she reached the stables Dapple had been there to greet her. That alone had brightened her day, made her feel happier for the first time she’d come to the Tower.


But her classes had yet to begin. Nyanna frowned, and again remembered the power somewhere inside her, the power she had to learn to control. Oh Light…miserably, the girl flung herself on the bed, curling up and staring at the whitewashed ceiling, trying hard not to think of the One Power, and what had happened…

Edited by Nyanna al'Meara
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Ceridwyn smiled as she turned into the hallway with her bag of meager possessions thrown over her back. A veritable wall of noise greeted her, and she couldn't help but let her face light up in massive grin. Girls littered the hallway in dresses of gleaming white, voices raised loud and high, chattering and bright. Ceridwyn felt a ball of excitement grow in her stomach as shewalked through the sea of white.

She was quite aware that she stuck out like a sore thumb, seeing as she was the only one to not yet have changed frommher bright Foregater clothes into her novice whites. Novice...she was a novice now. Nerves leapt in to wrestle with the excitement in her stomach. What if she was really bad at using the Power? What if it was really hard? She hadn't even known she could control it until two nights ago, and she hadn't really had the time to think of it since then.


She was an aes sedai...well, she would be, one day.

Yes, she would.


Shaking her head, Ceridwyn grinned at the girl's she passed, stopping to chat and smile and gossip. Ceridwyn survived on knowledge and acquaintances. She'd already inventoried everyone she'd met into her head as what they'd be useful for later on, what she knew about them, what she knew about who they knew, anything and everything that could maybe be useful later on in her life, noting who she thought she might end up being friends with, who she might have to work on not blowing up at. A whole new life was awaiting her, full of excitement and people and new knowledge and songs and friends! And a lot of white...


Her acquaintance-making, people-greeting spree over with, Ceridwyn asked one final person which room was hers, which ended up in a conversation about cows-those types of things just happened around Ceridwyn-she knocked on the door incase anyone was inside, waited for a short moment and opened the door, unable to contain her excitement and curiosity.


The room inside was a drab one, bare and simple...it wasn't bright enough for Ceridwyn, but the room itsself was perfect. Cosy, with somewhere to wash, somewhere to sit and somewhere to sleep. She would add in some colour soon enough. All that was needed now was a friend to share the room with. She'd been told that she would be roomed with another, older novice, but the aes sedai speaking to her had been busy and hadn't had the will, nor the time, to elaborate on the point to a confused Ceridwyn.


Throwing her bag onto the bed closest to her-no need to risk her aim further than a few metres-Ceridwyn smiled at the girl who was staring at her with a mixture of distaste, shock and hostility. "I don't bite, not yet anyway." she said with a wink, taking a seat on the stool beside her.

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The door banged open and Nyanna shot up like a startled deer. As the cacophony of chatter flooded the room she gasped and almost fell off the side of the bed in surprise. The person who entered was a girl garbed in such a rainbow of colours that it almost hurt to look! Nyanna scrabbled into a seating position on her bed, eyes wide and astonished as the other girl nonchalantly threw her bag on one of the beds and smiled widely at her.


"I don't bite, not yet anyway."


Nyanna opened her mouth, then closed it again. Hardly reassured by that comment, and still shocked at the unexpected entrance, she continued regarding the new arrival disbelievingly, with wary eyes – this was obviously her new roommate. Hadn’t the Accepted told her she was to be alone, the left-over one? Suddenly remembering her manners, she cautiously introduced herself. “Good day…I’m Nyanna al’Dyn.”


She must be newly arrived judging by her clothes, but acted so much at ease with her new surroundings already. Nyanna sat up properly and studied her new roommate. She was probably of a height and stature as herself, around the same age, with long hair wrapped up in a colourful headscarf – but so pale skinned, she must be from Cairhien, no doubt.


Nyanna twiddled her fingers, unsure how to react to this sudden intrusion. Not unfriendly, because the girl was just the opposite of that – it was only startling to suddenly have another person, especially so lively, burst in just when she was brooding and feeling sorry for herself again. So she looked back up at the new girl, trying to gather her wits about her from where they had scattered...


“Did you just arrive here?” Stating the obvious, Nyanna blushed, glad for the curtain of – now washed – hair to hide her discomfort behind. Then she saw it, yet another! Reaching up, Nyanna pulled at the tiny leaf in her locks, and finished lamely …”because you look like you just got off the road.”


The other girl had an infectious grin – Nyanna couldn’t help it, but a twitch of her lips marked the first semblance of a smile since a long time.

Edited by Nyanna al'Meara
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  • 1 month later...

Ceridwyn took in the girl sitting on the opposite corner of the room. Her tanned skin held the slight red tinge of the thoroughly scrubbed and her chestnut brown hair gleamed slightly in the light as she ducked her head. The girl’s nerve-wracked, socially awkward and wary nature briefly melted away as she pulled a stray leaf out of her hair.

Ceridwyn’s curiosity was instantly fired up. This Nyanna seemed to have a great story behind her if she was scrubbed down and had leaves in her hair.


Standing up and walking over to Nyanna, Ceridwyn held out a hand for her to shake. Normally she would just go straight in and hug her, but Ceridwyn had sensed that Nyanna might not be quite up for that. “I’m Ceridwyn Taereth, but feel free to just call me Dwyn, everyone else does.”

Ceridwyn glanced up at the ceiling from where she stood and slowly spun around, her innkeeper’s eye looking for aesthetically pleasing places to add colour to. “You’re perfectly right, I just got in off the road-straight here from the Foregate, through night and day.” Hoping that her voice didn’t wobble like her knees did as she mentioned those nights lost in her fear of the dark, she made her way back over to the pile of novice whites she had abandoned upon entry.


“I tell you what, it’s going to be hard for me to get out of Foregate colours and into whites.” With a shrug, Dwyn reached back to attempt to untie her dress. Growling in the back of her throat, she added, “Harder, considering how well this knot is tied.” Looking over her shoulder back at Nyanna, Dwyn smiled pleadingly. “Would you mind helping me out? I’ve never been any good with these knots.”


As soon as she was sure the other novice was approaching, Dwyn asked, “So, you know where I’ve been dragged in from. Where are you from?”

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  • 2 months later...

Nyanna extended her hand automatically, and uncertainly shook the other girl’s – Ceridwyn’s – offered hand. “That’s a pretty name, Dwyn.”


She watched as the new girl explored the room, still slightly bemused as to how to behave at this sudden invasion. The bright colours of her clothes were also still a shock after the uniform White Tower. Foregate? Where was that in Cairhien? Though it remained unspoken, Nyanna ducked her head again, slightly embarrassed at her lack of geographical knowledge.


While she kept talking of her journey here, a haggard look seemed to cross Ceridwyn’s face for a split second when Nyanna looked up again, but it was soon gone – if it had really existed – and replaced with a resigned expression as soon as she turned back to her new pile of Novice whites. What had that been? Nyanna was no stranger to dread, and Dwyn had definitely looked distressed.


Battling with a stubborn knot on her dress’s back, Dwyn peered back at her and asked if she would help her out. Nyanna just stared back uncomprehendingly, lost in thought, then flinched and lurched up obligingly before she could even stop herself. Cautiously she approached her new roommate and reached out to the snarled knot, still uneasy at the change in her comfort zone. Ceridwyn continued chattering.


“So, you know where I’ve been dragged in from. Where are you from?”


Nyanna recoiled briefly, wide-eyed and nonplussed as to how to answer, but caught herself before her new roommate could turn and witness her discomfort. She wasn’t at all used to people asking her questions about herself, and had up till now kept to herself as much as possible. To gain more time, she reached out again and pretended to be engrossed in the twisted strands of the knot. In the end she blurted “… Andor. I am from a very remote area – do you know Baerlon? Well my village was – is - quite a bit away, to the north. Dell’s Bridge - you wouldn’t have heard of it. I doubt many people have.” Realising she was babbling, Nyanna silenced abruptly. In the quiet that followed her outburst, she desperately sought for a way to keep the topic from the way it was heading.


“I, umm… grew up in the woods. A lot with animals, we had a small farmstead and bred horses.” It hurt to think back and talk of her life before… Under the sudden force with which she pulled at the cords, the knot suddenly came undone with a violent jerk. “Sorry – there, all done.” Nyanna stepped back again quickly and stood by her own bed again, picking distractedly at the wooden post with a fingernail. She looked up at Dwyn and painted a smile. “What’s your background?”

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  • 2 months later...

Dwyn listened with careful ears as she rifled through her piles for an outfit of white, Nyanna's hands on the knot at her back. Those hands were rather deft, and she felt their touch stiffen and recoil briefly. Immediately, her already piqued curiosity grew into concern. A girl with an obviously intriguing background like hers, and not much social interaction, being shocked by a question about her past. None of these were positive signs, but Nyanna was doing well at covering it up, and her answers didn't strike Dwyn as lies. Confusion surged through Dwyn's brain. She'd met many people with pasts they wanted to hide before, but none had acted quite like this. This was entirely new territory. Giving a mental shrug, Dwyn grinned. New territory was where she did best.


She gave a joyful noise as the knot gave in. "Thank you so much! The woods! I never really got to see much of the woods. I'm a city girl myself, my family runs an Inn in the Foregate. The Fat Cat, you should pop in if ever you find yourself in Cairhien."

Slipping out of her dress, Dwyn turned her back on Nyanna for a moment and proceeded to throw on novice whites over her slip, chattering all the way. "I wandered into the woods once or twice, but Letair never much liked me going out there by myself." she added, almost for herself. Sniffing a grin, she continued, "Not that that ever stopped me. I'm not really one for the quiet though, so I didn't exactly spend much time out there, except with a few choice boys, if you know what I mean." she laughed brightly, warmly. "And that Letair liked even less."


Spinning around, Dwyn pulled a horrendously terrible pose in her new whites, striving for a laugh out of the nervous girl. Making her comfortable was likely to be impossible, at least until they knew each other better, but perhaps a laugh was an easy first step. "So, how do I look?"

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Another smile drifted across her face as Dwyn mentioned the inn’s name, The Fat Cat. Slightly bewildered at her own amusement, Nyanna sat down again and swung her legs from the edge of her bed, listening in amazement at the other girl’s non-stop chatterfall.

"So, how do I look?"

Suddenly, Ceridwyn spun, all decked out in her new novice whites, and struck an outrageous comic stance. Nyanna’s surprise expression lasted only several seconds before she couldn’t stop herself, and burst out laughing. Incredulously, she listened to her own clear laughter until it faded, the first unchecked mirth since…oh, a long time. It felt good, healthy.
Struggling away the giggles, she nodded and attempted a straight face as she appraised the guise “Fit to terrorise unsuspecting Accepted!” Now where had that thought came from? She hadn’t really been much of a prankster since the last…incident… Anyway, she’d preferred to stay out of people’s way, till now. This had definitely loosened her up for the moment, and Nyanna found she wanted to let the conversation go on further.

“Who’s Letair? He sounds terrifying.” Nyanna grinned, and found herself drifting back to golden canopies and mossy giants. “The woods are… wonderful. People only tend to see the darkness and murky depths where monsters may lurk” Her snort showed what she thought of that. “But really, they are full of life, and freedom, and beauty. There is solitude and quiet, but if you look and listen close enough….ah. I miss it.”

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"Letair?" Dwyn repeated with a grin. "He's my self-appointed protector, he's been hanging around the Inn since I was I dunno, six." she said with a smile to cover up the dark memories that brought up. Nyanna didn't need to know where Letair had found her as a six year old, and she didn't need to think about those flashes of memory, of darkness swallowing her, pressing in on her, the lack of space pushing her in, squashing her, squeezing her, the dark pushing into very crevice of her being, crowding her mind and poisoning her soul, never to leave it.

Dwyn shook her head quickly. She couldn't think about that, that time was to be locked away and the key was being thrown away. "He looks after me like a dad...or another big brother..."


Letair...Dwyn felt guilt seize her stomach. She hadn't had time to find Letair when the sisters had ordered her departure, all she'd managed was a note, and a fairly brief one at that. She didn't have a clue how he'd reacted, or what he was going to do when he found her missing. She doubted it would be a good response. Thinking of their reunion brought a grimace to her face. Now that would be an interesting meeting...


"Yeah, I didn't have time to find him and tell him I was an aes sedai. He's gonna have a heart attack when he finds me gone." she grinned.


An urge to find something to push away her concerns found Dwyn and a sly gleam entered her eye at Nyanna's suggestions of attacking unsuspecting Accepted. "Now, that's an idea and a half." she murmured.


Nyanna's laugh seemed to have released something within her, she seemed to glow now, brighter and more energetic, happier. Dwyn smiled. Good for her.


"We'll find some woods!" she declared. "You can show me their merits, even if we have to sneak out to find some."

Glancing around the room, Dwyn jumped suddenly onto her bed, hanging her scarves from the bedframe, all the colours she was no longer allowed to wear painting the walls. "I need to get to know this place before we can escape to the woods...you wanna show me around?" she asked, flopping back down onto her stomach on the bed, buzzing with energy.


She could see Nyanna's brief reluctance, a shadow of her shyness, and Dwyn gave her her best puppy dog eyes. "Pleeeeeeease?"

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Nyanna listened to Dwyn’s fond story of her ‘big brother’, and somewhat unsurely examined her own fingernails as the other girl paused briefly at some inner disquiet and shook her head as if to clear away some thoughts. There was more to that story, but it was only hers to tell if she chose.
But soon the spell was gone and Dwyn seemed to be pondering the idea of pranking – already!! Oh, what had she started.


Nyanna smiled again at the thought of “finding some woods”. Now that would really get them in trouble, unless there was a copse or something on the Tower grounds. She longed to be among the trees again though, and so nodded happily as the other novice was already doing something else – decorationg her bedframe with coloured scarves, and suddenly the room seemed warmer, brighter.


"I need to get to know this place before we can escape to the woods...you wanna show me around? ……Pleeeeeeease?"

What???Nyanna bit her lip and dithered, before giving a slight nod and said “well I haven’t been here long either, but I do know my way around the most important parts for the beginning…Alright – I’m not sure how much Valeri Sedai told you about rules and stuff, so I’ll fill you in as we go along. We could start with the dining hall? Dinner should be quite soon.” As if on cue, a deep bell droned through the hallways and the clatter and chatter in the hall outside noticeably increased. Seeing Dwyn’s eyes light up, Nyanna gave in with a grin and stood. “Shall we?”


As they stepped out into the hallway, the noise washed over them and they were carried away down the river of novices and Accepted heading to dinner. Nyanna was all too aware of other girls who had become used to her seclusion gawp at the fact she was walking and talking with another novice, but ignored them. She had to concentrate on shouting above the general hubbub to make herself heard to Dwyn anyway. “Meals are really short, so don’t ever dawdle if you don’t want to go hungry” Nyanna yelped as a novice elbowed her on the way past, and glared after her “but there’s no cause to be like that either… oh and we’re supposed to eat in silence.” She glanced at Dwyn sideways, certain that she would probably burst from that rule, no matter how short the meal was. They rounded the corner, and not long after arrived at the novice dining hall where the throng of girls massed into a great mob pushing through the doors.


Nyanna shook her head, and waited with Dwyn until they too were ushered through and attached themselves to the suddenly still, hushed line waiting to be served.

Edited by Nyanna al'Meara
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Dwyn couldn't help but laugh as Nyanna caved and agreed to show her around, resulting in them wading out into a sea of chatter clad in white. It seemed the dinner bell was the go button for the novices of the Tower. Dwyn smiled at a few of the girls she'd met earlier, and they smiled back, but most seemed to be giving Nyanna funny looks. Shrugging, Dwyn easily picked Nyanna's voice out from the crowd's and listened as she spoke. That was another skill she'd picked up from years of living and working at an Inn; there was always a crowd being noisy and someone trying to talk to you.


“Meals are really short, so don’t ever dawdle if you don’t want to go hungry...but there's no need to be like that either...Oh, and we're supposed to eat in silence.”


Dwyn almost stopped walking to gape at Nyanna. Silence? In a dining hall? Never had she seen anyone ever eat in silence. Except Letair, and that was because she talked too much for him to get a word in. Dwyn wasn't very good at silence...

She wrestled with that concept in her brain until they reached the doors and the river of white became a bulging mob fighting to get through the doors. Dwyn rolled her eyes. She'd seen this too many times back home, a crowd trying to be first in line for the same thing they'd get if they were last. Ah well. Her and Nyanna waited in place until the sea moved them inside with it, into the line waiting for food.


Immediately, silence enveloped them. It was almost like a wall, Dwyn felt as though she could take a step backwards and it would be noisy again. It was amazing! A crowd this big, and absolute silence! It was nothing Dwyn had ever experienced before. There were always people chatting and laughing and crying, and if the majority of them were silent, it was usually because some over-paid nitwit was speaking very self-importantly about something expensive.


It was peaceful, right up until she wanted to say something to Nyanna. She caught herself before she did it...and the same the next time...and again.


By the time they received their food, Dwyn was sporting a fearsome frown, her lips pressed together to stop her from trying to talk. And they hadn't even sat down yet. Feeling that Nyanna might be more comfortable if they were at a table just the two of them, Dwyn veered towards an empty spot, thinking that it would be better for her as well: less people to try and talk to.


The food was familiar to Dwyn, some kind of soup with some bread and water. It looked delicious enough, and her stomach rumbled, reminding her that she had only eaten dry bread and cheeses since the sisters had picked her up in Cairhien. Her stomach growled loudly and very audibly, earning a glance from the novice closest to them, which threatened to burst Dwyn into laughter, but she managed to stave off the giggles by shoving a spoonful of soup into her mouth.


It was piping hot, and absolutely wonderful. Noiselessly, Dwyn allowed herself to make exaggerated movements displaying her reaction of eating the soup, before sitting up straight and pointing at the soup and then giving a thumbs up to Nyanna, miming picking the bowl up and pouring it all into her mouth. She didn't, of course, but she heard a few of the stifled giggles from a table over. Turning to them, Dwyn mimed a 'what?' with her hands, gesturing towards the soup again and pretending to faint in delight.


This time the giggles came from a bit further away.


Dwyn allowed herself a grin as she ate some more of the soup. Nyanna was giving her a worried look, but Dwyn merely zipped up her mouth and threw away the key...followed by having a fully mimed struggle to get the soup into her now zipped mouth.


She worked it until someone from a few seats over threw her the 'key' she'd thrown away, and Dwyn unlocked her mouth, quickly shoving soup in her mouth with a huzzah-like gesture.


The giggles were definitely no longer stifled.

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(OOC: oh dear Lord....I wouldn't be surprised if I'm relinquishing my title of funniest roleplayer to you these  next Empy's XD that just about made me spray my own food across the table!!)


A quick glance over at Dwyn as they stepped through into the hall. Even after several weeks here, the silence was still uncanny – what was even harder was not to speak out without thinking. Obviously the Aes Sedai thought this was another example of discipline, designed to build character.

Nyanna tried hard not to twitch a smile as her roommate kept opening her mouth, then just remembering in time. The serving women were just as hawk-eyed and watchful as the sisters. With a bowlful each, they steered towards an as yet unoccupied table, Dwyn looking near to exploding. They started eating surrounded by – obviously – silence, Nyanna dunking her bread into the soup to make it easier to eat quickly. Dwyn’s stomach growled and Nyanna almost choked on her drink of water at the look she gave. No, concentrate. She could keep a straightfaced Aes Sedai-like calm if she needed to- Oh Light... What was that gal doing. Nyanna hastily looked down at her food and stuffed a way too large chunk of soupy bread into her mouth. As soon as she looked up however, Dwyn was just disappearing behind the table in a blissful swoon, and Nyanna gagged again, eyes bulging. Not good, not good!!

A few giggles were being unsuccessfully muffled near them now… Nyanna was not the only one shooting her roomie some nervous looks. The serving women didn’t seem to have noticed anything…Yet.

That clown was now miming even more…. desperate, Nyanna plonked her elbow on the table, put her head in one hand and held her nose tightly between two fingers with the other, which still allowed her to watch the comical scene beside her in some safety. She was quickly warming to her new roommate now…Dwyn just had a gift to make people smile. Or giggle. Light!


A faint long-drawn squeaking noise escaped Nyanna’s throat as she worked her jaws furiously, concentrating on swallowing her mouthful without snorting it all over.And so it went for the whole meal…

Edited by Nyanna al'Meara
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Oh, she was cooking now...no pun intended. Dwyn had an audience full of semi-giggling girls who all seemed like they'd never had a decent bit of dinner time entertainment, or at least they hadn't since Novicehood had planted a brick wall between them and a good laugh.


Eating in peace for a while, Dwyn occasionally allowed herself a few classic 'cup moves every time she reaches for it' type manoeuvres. Eventually even that became boring and she accidentally dropped her spoon into her soup. The resulting splash caused a sincere itching in her hands as she imagined catapulting soup into the silent novices all clad in white...it was so very tempting, but Nyanna obviously saw the dangerous intent in her eyes, and it was only through a lot of shaking of heads and other such persuasive techniques that were done entirely in silence, that the Novice's Dining Hall remained quiet and orderly...and clean.


Eventually sighing in defeat (silently), Dwyn returned to her meal, her little exchange with Nyanna not going unnoticed by her captive audience.


Dwyn, grinning from ear to ear, suddenly found herself subjected to a fearsome glare from a serving woman in far too close a proximity for comfort. Giving the woman an exaggeratedly wide eyed look for the benefit of said audience, Dwyn's mind quickly whirred into action.


Of course the best and smartest thing to do right at that moment would be to cease her miming post haste, nod politely and continue eating in silence, attempting to contain her eccentricities to perhaps the odd silly facial expression...or she could just keep going.


Dwyn zipped up her mouth again and offered the woman the 'key'.


The gape that followed was enough to set off the remaining few stoic novices, even as the serving woman huffed and left. 


The second bell donged and dinner was over, releasing the novices from the hall and its silence. 


Firing a, 'Light, I'm going to regret that later' look at Nyanna, quickly followed by a giddy 'But that was bloody fun' look, Dwyn joined her roommate as the crowd trickled out of the hall, into the wild and unknown beyond. "Well, I took my dinner in silence." she shrugged, before bursting into laughter with her friend.

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Nyanna kept her head down and rapidly shovelled soup into her mouth as the serving woman approached behind Dwyn, but peeked out from under her hair. The restraint she’d practiced until now helped her not to start giggling again at the way her roommate handled the situation. Barely.


Then – mercifully – the bell rang, and she and Dwyn were among the first to lurch up, take their dishes and cutlery to wash off and then quickly get out of that silent hall. Once outside, Nyanna let out a long, sustained breath and grinned weakly. “That was… daring.” They burst into gales of laughter, all along the corridor. Other novices heading in the same direction laughed along with them, and some even came up to animatedly congratulate Dwyn on her audacious deed. Did the Tower know what force had been unleashed upon it?

Nyanna suddenly did a double-take as she remembered something. She tapped Dwyn on the sleeve after another novice had introduced herself amid hefty giggles. “I’d almost forgotten, I have an hour of kitchen chores tonight! I need to hurry - you should be able to find your way back, right?” It was Dwyn’s first day sop she hadn’t any chores yet, and she definitely had plenty company around her now to help her should she get lost or something. As the other girl nodded, Nyanna grinned, then awkwardly stood there for a minute until she remembered she should be reporting to Laras right now. “I’ll see you later!”


She spun and ran the way to the kitchens, ducking between novices going to and fro after-dinner chores too. Skidding to a halt and almost slipping in a puddle of suds, she looked up at the imposing figure of the mistress of the kitchen. She was hard, but also fair and instead of making her slight lateness into a big deal the woman just pointed at a pile of pots. Wordlessly, Nyanna grabbed a stiff brush and bar of soap, donned an apron and climbed halfway into a large soup cauldron. With a relieved sigh she saw that dinner must have been made by a skilled cook – the soup had not burned to the pot bottom. Furiously, she started attacking the inner of the cauldron until it shone.

She looked up and saw her reflection in the steel…there was still a slight smile on her face. For the first time since arriving at the Tower, something had happened that caused her to laugh – laugh – and had completely taken her mind off everything. For the moment, she’d come out of her little shell of self-pity and the self-imposed solitude for fear of hurting others, to join in some fun – and it felt like being part of the Tower. Now there was something making her look forward to returning to her room and the evening, something she usually dreaded because of the memories that came when she was alone…

As she scrubbed, one pot after the other, Nyanna pondered the new turn of events. Some of her fear was coming back again – but it couldn’t really be changed that she was going to be around the other girls much more now. Was it? She had to learn to control the unpredictable power in her, some way of making sure she did not, could not hurt anyone when – if – it ever got past her block. They’d found out she had one in her first saidar class not long ago, but she had kept her mouth firmly shut…and till now there had been no more lessons, only chores all day long. Did they think it would break if she was tired out? She certainly hoped not…


Nyanna reached out for the next pan and blinked. All done? A glance at Laras nearby affirmed her duties finished here for the night, and she leapt up. Hastily washing out the brush, Nyanna stacked the pots into their cupboard, curtsied clumsily, and dashed out of the kitchens before she could be given any more leftover chores.


After a brisk walk through the still bustling Tower corridor – although now it was mostly Accepted and sisters – she arrived back at the Novice Quarters. With a yawn, Nyanna pulled at the door – something she always kept forgetting would not work with this new one – then pushed open the door, and entered the room. A couple of candles were spreading bright warm light all across the room. That was new, normally Nyanna didn’t bother with candles because her night vision was practiced from her life in the woods. It was cosy though, and Nyanna’s shadow danced along as she crossed to her bed and waved at her roomie. “How was your evening?”

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Dwyn looked up from amidst the fortress of light she'd subconsciously directed to center around her bed as Nyanna walked in and waved. Shooting her new friend a smile, Dwyn waved back brightly and sat up, crossing her legs beneath her in the middle of the bed and settling her skirts across them. Nyanna looked none the worse for her post-dinner chores, and Dwyn was glad for it. Nyanna seemed to have opened up and started to enjoy herself a little, and her bright laugh was among the favourites Dwyn had ever heard. Moreso because of the moment of awe that followed it each time.


Dwyn had rather enjoyed herself at dinner and had also enjoyed the new people she'd met afterwards. If nothing else, her stunt had kicked her social life into gear around the Tower, as had been proven by the multitude of conversations and gossip sessions she had partaken of on the journey back to the rooms she shared with Nyanna. She was now up to date with everything the novices dared spread rumours about and she was fairly certain she knew which ones were complete falsehoods. She had however, refused any comments relating back to her roommate. What Nyanna wished to tell her in time, Nyanna would. In person.


After arriving back at the Novices Quarters, and after agreeing to hang out for a moment in a novice called Cevery's room with a couple of her friends, Dwyn had refused any further conversations, feeling a weariness in her body that had been wrestling with her need to socialise since she had arrived. The food had helped somewhat with that, but the weariness was not only in her body, it was in her mind. She had a lot to try and take in. She'd not yet been able to think about anything that had happened to her since she'd left her life at the Fat Cat behind, and it was past time to give it some thought.


Also, Dwyn didn't dare stay out long enough that her path back to her room would be blocked by shadows.


And so, that was how Nyanna had found her, lying on her bed, thinking, surrounded by the warm light of candles, staving off the darkness that was curling around the edges of the flickering flames. Dwyn was glad for some company of the closer kind, especially as the dark closed in.


"Better than yours, I'd wager." she grinned in response to Nyanna's question. "Pretty uneventful. Found out some pretty amazing rumours. Apparently Katlynna Sedai sleeps naked and her sister is allergic to fish." Dwyn snorted in amusement. "Believe it or not, the latter I heard from four different mouths."


Already dressed for sleep, Dwyn staved off a yawn behind her hand, followed by a violent jerk as her exhale blew out the candle closest to her. She hoped Nyanna hadn't noticed.

Edited by The Bard Babe
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Nyanna prepared for bed and slipped into her sleeping shift, smiling slightly at the ridiculous notions some of the novices had obviously been keenly intent on spreading. Her roommate seemed slightly worn-out now, if that was even possible – but it was true she’d had a big day. The biggest change in her life, most probably, and so far she’d been handling it admirably. The other girl yawned, and seemed to flinch at something. That could have been imagination though as Nyanna only saw the movement out of the corner of her eye, but it was strange that she should be nervous, as easy going as she’d been till now.


Dwyn didn’t seem so tired as to sleep yet either, and had a whole stockade of those fat candles around her bed. She might have been reading – although Nyanna couldn’t spot any books. Shrugging inwardly, Nyanna turned her back and pulled back the covers. Hopping in, she snuffed out the lone candle next to her own bed, made herself comfortable and then looked back at her roommate. Not really sleepy yet either, and definitely not ready to start sifting through the crushing thoughts that would assail any chance they got again, she thought of some way to continue the conversation some more. “So, what’s your first impression of this place? Must be a pretty big change…I know it was for me.”


Wrong move, she didn’t want to head down that train of thought. Nyanna stared up at the ceiling watching the candlelight dance across the whitewashed walls. “Nice candles by the way. Did you bring them?” Oh, way to make a random and pointless change of subject to steer away from what she was uncomfortable with. It was so glaringly obvious that she warily glanced back at Dwyn – but the other girl was not really paying attention to what she was trying to hide. She seemed to take that absurd candles comment serious actually. Nyanna propped her elbow up and shifted to the side.

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A slight mental adjustment had to be made for the extra patch of darkness beside Dwyn's bed, as she dared not relight it. The momentary paralytic fear she felt at the patch of darkness beside her only allowed her enough movement to shift away from it, ducking underneath her blanket to hide, but fortunately, the others around her were still alight, and she could get by with the light they provided. Not comfortably, but she could manage with the light she had. Her reaction had been mostly shock...this time. She was familiar with the jolt of terror that fired through her system whenever a shadow snuggled to her side.


Dwyn's insides seemed to freeze as Nyanna snuffed out the candle beside her bed. Her heart flew into her mouth and stayed there, blocking the scream that tried to escape. She could hear her pulse in her ears, feel it echoing through every part of her body as she tried desperately to crowd towards the last flickering light, situated between her and Nyanna, but the darkness wouldn't let her. Shadow would allow her nothing but to remain locked in position and wait until the shock passed and the fear faded enough to allow her to roll over enough to simply stare at the last candle and pretend that she couldn't feel the darkness at her back, touching her neck, stroking her cheek, curling around her, filling her every crevice and burning into her eyes.


The only shred of hope she could muster was centered on that tiny flickering candle, valiantly staving off the darkness. No-one could know she was scared of the dark. Only children were scared of the dark. Young children, who saw monsters under the bed. Well, her monster hadn't bothered finding a bed....


Nyanna had said something. Something to distract her, something to allow her mind to flee the darkness even for a moment.


“So, what’s your first impression of this place? Must be a pretty big change…I know it was for me.”


Dwyn attempted a nod, but found movement harder than forcing her throat to release a laugh that strained even to her. "Surprisingly not as big as you'd think. A few more people, a few less men, by the looks of it, just as many chores, and a few more angry old ladies." Someone else was speaking. The voice wavered and cracked, not a singer at all. It couldn't be Dwyn speaking, she was still curled up inside sobbing at the dark.


Nyanna didn't respond. Instead she asked about the candles. Had Dwyn been in a more stable state of mind she would have found that suspicious, but in her present state she was having trouble formulating a sentence, let alone analysing one. The candles. Dwyn didn't want to go down that train of thought. Instead, she gave as much of a nod as she could manage and desperately looked for another topic to talk about. What had Nyanna said? It had been a big change?


"Yeah, I've never-" She couldn't even finish the sentence, her voice gave out at the end. Light but she was weak! She couldn't even say the word dark without scaring herself into paralysis! "What made the change so big?" she whispered, unable to force her voice to a louder level. If she tried too hard she'd end up screaming.


(OoC: XD    Avoiding topics by talking about the ones the other one wants to avoid. We're awesome.    :p)

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(OOC: Muy dramatico...ohhhhh dear XD )



Nyanna turned her head back again as Dwyn spoke. Something sounded off, so different from the girl’s usual carefree voice. It no longer seemed on the border of breaking out into song, but constricted, thick, as if Dwyn was choking back something. She felt her lips curl upwards again at the angry old ladies comment, but then shot another worried glance at her new roommate. What was happening?


There was an awkward silence after Nyanna’s candle comment, and she fingered her covers agitatedly, then decided to let it slide. Except… Dwyn started to say something again, voice cracking, and another glance showed she was twisted into a rather tense, unnatural position. Nyanna half-rose in alarm, anxious now. Her own distress and tears she could handle, had handled, night after night, but she didn’t know how to deal with someone else being troubled!

"What made the change so big?"


Nyanna sat up, jumpy although it had been an almost inaudible whisper, and attempted to turn the movement into a half-hearted plumping of her pillow… she stilled, and opened her mouth. Then closed it again. “Wh-what. Right, um…”

She looked across the space to the other’s resting place, and breathed to settle her own voice. The wide worried eyes looking back at her mirrored her own, probably. She wrestled with herself for a moment, trying desperately to maintain the wall thrown against all the guilt ridden thoughts and relived memories while still searching for the words to answer the question truthfully. Nyanna swallowed.

“I have not really talked to anyone about my- past. I’ve been living in the Mountains of Mist for the last year, deep in the forest and such…I’ve just been wandering, to find food and the best shelter, that’s all. I haven’t had a lot of social contact for a while, so it’s pretty overwhelming being thrown in here suddenly.” She paused. “Well, not thrown. I came willingly, after I came out of the great woods by chance and found a small mining village. The cook there fed me, and I owed her so when she asked me to meet someone I agreed and – it was an Aes Sedai, who saw my ability right away.” Halting in her babbling, Nyanna shifted her gaze to a wall unseeingly. “I…I have the Spark, I’m a Wilder- but, but don’t worry, there is a block of some sort and I can’t channel now, so you mustn’t be af-” Now her own voice was quivering and she tried swallowing the terrors that quelled up, about the dreadful Power inside of her, about possibly using it all of a sudden and hurting someone. Light but what if she hurt her roommate? Best if she would go, but she did not want to scare Dwyn away. Selfish, but she didn’t want to be alone with the memories again, not this night. With a great effort Nyanna stilled her trembling hands and continued in what she hoped was a steady voice. “And so she brought me here. To learn to control it, but I haven’t had many lessons yet. The chores are alright, I don’t care as long as they take my mind off things.”


Her heart galloped like horse hooves, and the horrors rode with them but there was someone else in the room to help her feel safe of them, for now. She looked up, catching Dwyn’s eyes again, desperate to make sure there was someone else she could focus on. There was mutual recognition there, a shared silent acceptance of the other’s misery. Whatever it was.


After a long moment her anxiety quietened slightly, the wall up and solid again, for the moment. She collected her thoughts again, and hoped she had not agitated the other girl any more with her own outburst. Back to Dwyn… wait. Nyanna took in the candles placed evenly around the bed again. Oh. A light went up in her mind. …Was it possible?


“…You know what” Nyanna murmured. “You’re not used to where everything is, so in case you need to get up tonight I think we should leave some candles on tonight. It’ll be easier to find your bearings.” She added a quick smile to that after a few seconds, a smile that faded just as fast as she fell back into her sheets miserably. “Goodnight?” she whispered, then curled up away from the other girl’s sight, pulled the blanket over her head and hoped it looked like going to sleep as all resolve crumbled, and everything came crashing down on her, drowning her in memories and sending a lone tear slipping slowly, silently over her face. As it did every night.

Edited by Nyanna al'Meara
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Dwyn shuddered under her blankets, drinking in all the light she could, her blankets tucked right up under her chin as she curled into a tight ball. For whatever reason, it made her feel better, safer, in a frightfully childish way, as though the smaller she were the less of her there was to be so terrified that her blood froze in her veins, her pulse beating a frantic, isolated drumbeat against her skull her screams withering away in her throat and her stomach lurching and fighting as though her ribcage were a prison.


Even the thought, the bitter memory of such a terror threatened to send Dwyn over the edge again, so she merely settled back into her pillows and locked the memory away, hiding in her fortress of light. She was sure it shone from her eyes...


Nyanna's story was shocking. Dwyn tried to imagine it, alone in the woods for a year, no idea where your next meal was coming from, no clue where you'd sleep that night or whether you'd be eaten. And the nights, dark and lonely with no-one to hear you scream..Dwyn cursed as her own personal brand of terror invaded Nyanna's words. Grasping onto Nyanna's story like a lifeboat, it struck Dwyn that Nyanna would not share her fears. Of course not. They were virtually polar opposites, the things Dwyn would hate and find constraining in the woods, Nyanna would likely find a wonderful source of freedom.


It explained a lot, but not the terror Dwyn saw mirrored in Nya's eyes.


And then she stuttered over her confession of being a Wilder, having the spark. Such a thing lit up Dwyn's mind slightly, a happy thought, but again, polar opposites. Not so for Nya. Musn't be afraid? Why would Dwyn be afraid of Nyanna because she was a wilder? Did Nya think she was going to hurt Dwyn?


A different kind of light lit up Dwyn's mind this time. Maybe...Nyanna's past began to make a little more sense, like a cover being drawn back on a painting. Just maybe...


She didn't try to find out, she didn't try to understand tonight, that conversation was for another night. The silence threatened to leave her alone in the darkness once more and Dwyn braced for the moment when Nyanna would want to sleep, that she would reach over and snuff out the lights, that the darkness would surge forth in victory to claim her nightmares once more. She hadn't spent a night in full darkness for a long time. She had never even been able to close her eyes against the light of the candle since that day...that night...


Perhaps Nyanna knew now of her deeply seated and frantically (and terribly) disguised fear, but Dwyn couldn't find it in her to care past the wave of relief that she would still have a source of light, though it flickered, though it wavered, though it wasn't strong, it was still there.


They would both use each other's company tonight, both warding off their respective terror through a mutual understanding that neither could banish the horrors, but perhaps they could share them.


Dwyn felt a small, bitter smile that would never be seen in the light of day curl her lips as Nyanna wished her goodnight...almost a question. "Goodnight, Nyanna." she murmured. "I'll be here and see you when you wake." she continued, half an assurance to Nyanna, half to herself. They were there for each other that night.


Dwyn fell asleep with her eyes still open to drink in the last few drops of light.

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