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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

A meeting in the woods.


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The night grows near as the sounds of nocturnal animals emerge in an echoing chorus. Three cloaked figures of various sizes ride side by side towards a clearing in the woods some were between Tar Valon and Caemlyn. It was clear that two of the figures were woman and the other riding a much larger steed a man. His cloak flapped in the wind and constantly changed colors in almost sickening way.

 

He was a tall man in his later years with nearly a full set of short grey hair. Yet his body appeared to be as hard steel, with a large jaw and stout nose. He had rich blue eyes and stubble of a bearded. Baradar Kantear was a Warder, Talyn a’Meshinal Sedai’s warder to be precise.

“We will stop here for the night Baradar. We still have a few days till we arrive in Tar Valon and this is a good spot!” Said the taller cloaked woman in a motherly tone. Talyn Sedia reached up and brought the hood of her cloak down. She was a tall and slightly gangly woman with long black hair that had hints of grey in it. Her nose was slightly curved and her eyes were a blazing green. Yet her face was young, or not young but not old. She had an ageless face, a face of an Aes Sedai.

Valeria pulled her hood down as well, bringing her mare to a stop near Talyn’s horse. Her wavy brown hair was a mess, and the streak of white in her hair hung nearly straight upright. It had been weeks since Valeria left with Talyn to head towards Tar Valon and her dress was good sign of it. Her plain brown dress now torn and dirty at the skirt, her face smudged with dirt due to the long journey.

 

“Baradar and I shall scout around to make sure the camp site is safe child, please set up a fire. Oh and continue your exercise!” Said Talyn in her motherly tone.

As Baradar and Talyn left to secure the camp, Valeria quickly moved into motion something she learned Talyn expected of her too do, when she was given a task. She lead her mare to a nearby tree in the clearing and tied her reigns to it. It did not take Valeria long to set up a fire, but it did take her a bit more time to start the actually fire. Once it was started she slumped down next to a trunk near the fire and splashed her face with some water from her water flask. Valeria stared up at the night sky and smiled. Even if the weeks have been a grueling journey she had never felt so free and in just a few days she would be in Tar Valon.

However this mood quickly skittered away, when Valeria realized that Talyn and Baradar were gone for awhile now and she felt extremely alone, jumping up right with any twig break, chirp or odd noise that came from the woods.

 

The night grows near as the sounds of nocturnal animals emerge in an echoing chorus. Three cloaked figures of various sizes ride side by side towards a clearing in the woods some were between Tar Valon and Caemlyn. It was clear that two of the figures were woman and the other riding a much larger steed a man. His cloak flapped in the wind and constantly changed colors in almost sickening way.

 

He was a tall man in his later years with nearly a full set of short grey hair. Yet his body appeared to be as hard steel, with a large jaw and stout nose. He had rich blue eyes and stubble of a bearded. Baradar Kantear was a Warder, Talyn a’Meshinal Sedai’s warder to be precise.

 

“We will stop here for the night Baradar. We still have a few days till we arrive in Tar Valon and this is a good spot!” Said the taller cloaked woman in a motherly tone. Talyn Sedia reached up and brought the hood of her cloak down. She was a tall and slightly gangly woman with long black hair that had hints of grey in it. Her nose was slightly curved and her eyes were a blazing green. Yet her face was young, or not young but not old. She had an ageless face, a face of an Aes Sedai.

Valeria pulled her hood down as well, bringing her mare to a stop near Talyn’s horse. Her wavy brown hair was a mess, and the streak of white in her hair hung nearly straight upright. It had been weeks since Valeria left with Talyn to head towards Tar Valon and her dress was good sign of it. Her plain brown dress now torn and dirty at the skirt, her face smudged with dirt due to the long journey.

 

“Baradar and I shall scout around to make sure the camp site is safe child, please set up a fire. Oh and continue your exercise!” Said Talyn in her motherly tone.

As Baradar and Talyn left to secure the camp, Valeria quickly moved into motion something she learned Talyn expected of her too do, when she was given a task. She lead her mare to a nearby tree in the clearing and tied her reigns to it. It did not take Valeria long to set up a fire, but it did take her a bit more time to start the actually fire. Once it was started she slumped down next to a trunk near the fire and splashed her face with some water from her water flask. Valeria stared up at the night sky and smiled. Even if the weeks have been a grueling journey she had never felt so free and in just a few days she would be in Tar Valon.

 

However this mood quickly skittered away, when Valeria realized that Talyn and Baradar were gone for awhile now and she felt extremely alone, jumping up right with any twig break, chirp or odd noise that came from the woods.

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"Blood and ashes!" Edena immediately regretted her outburst; her voice sounded very high in the dark woods. She looked around carefully, then continued mumbling under her breath. "If I ever get ahold of that man, I'll birch him until he has no skin left! The lying bastard!" In the last village she had passed trough, she's asked a local how long it would take her to reach Tar Valon. He said she'd be able to reach it before nightfall. But nightfall had come and gone, and Edena was trapped in these dark woods. This is what I get for traveling alone, she thought.

And a long and tough journey it had been. After meeting an Aes Sedai and being told she could channel, Edena hasn't waited even an hour to start packing, and she'd been on the road within a day. Her aunt Lady Amarie had been beside herself; a young noblewoman traveling alone, it was unheard of! But as always, Edena had been able to talk her around. It hadn't taken her long to regret her choice. There was a lot of people who thought her an easy prey. She'd been forced to travel with merchants parties for a lot of the way. It had ment taking the long way around, and going slower than she liked. But it was that, or having cutpurses or worse trailing after her whereever she went.

Her horse, a fine, gray-spotted mare called Silver, was rolling her eyes and stepping reluctantly. The horse was no more used to being in the woods after dark than Edena was. The wind was cold, and cut straight trough her velvet cloak. She probably should have bought a warmer cloak, but she'd been so hurried in her packing that she hadn't considered it. And this cloak of deep green, almost black velvet, was one of her favourites. She remembered when she'd bought it; that was in Arad Doman, and at the same time she'd also bought that lovely pearl-grey silk riding dress...

She managed to distract herself with thoughts of clothes for a very long time, until she realized that she had to make a plan. She couldn't continue riding here in the forest trough the whole night. Just as she felt the first cold of despair spreading trough her body, she saw a flicker of light further ahead in the forest. It looked like it might be a fire. She cautiously rode closer. It could be bandits hiding in the forest, after all. An opening in the trees allowed her to see the fire and the campsite around without being seen herself. She breathed a sigh of relief. The only person by the campfire was a lone girl, around Edenas age. She had curious hair; mostly brown, with a white stripe. And she looked scared, peering around her into the forest with every little sound. Edena had already forgotten that she'd just been as scared; seeing somebody else being uncomfortable in the forest gave her a feeling of superiority. Especially since the girl was dressed in farmers-clothing, and dirty and ragged at that.

She got down from Silver and led the mare by the reins. The girl jumped up when they came closer. "I am a fellow traveler, weary and alone, and I would share your campsite with you", Edena declared. It really irked her to have to ask a commoner like this, but she didn't really have a choice. The girl was just staring at her. "Well?! Yes or no, get it out, I don't have all night here!"

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Valeria stared up at Edena with a perplex expression. She still couldn’t get over the fact that a girl around her age just appears out of no were in the middle of the woods at night.

 

Valeria finally spoke after a short awkward pause.“Uhm…uh well it isn’t just my…campsite.” Valeria said meekly looking left and right waiting to see if Talyn or Baradar was going to show back up. Valeria took this chance to look Edena up and down noticing how well she was dressed. “Uhm…M’lady…I don’t think….Talyn Sedai would mind if you were to share the camp with us.”

 

Even if she did not know this girl, Valeria wasn’t going to turn her away. After all she did say she was lonely, not to mention Valeria herself was rather scared to be out here by herself.

 

Being unfamiliar with how to deal with nobler people or she guessed this girl was a noble. Since no one from her village had a dress and cloak that nice, not even the rich Merchants that passed through from time to time. Valeria stood up and smiled as warmly as she could. “Uhm oh I am Valeria…Alterra” Valeria then bowed her head in an awkward fashion slightly. It was clear she was unsure how to address this girl.

 

Valeria’s eyes darted left, right and behind Edena for a moment clearly expecting either Talyn or someone that surely was traveling with this girl. “You are by yourself?” Valeria asked, her eyes still darting around in bewilderment.

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Edena stifled a sigh. She wasn't sure if a gang of bandits might have been preferable to this peasant girl with mud on her skirts. But she'd have to pretend to be polite at least; only now that she felt the heat from the fire did she realize how cold she was, and hunger was beginning to gnaw in her belly. "I am Lady Edena of the house Rhoswan. I am traveling to Tar Valon, and did the mistake of believing an ignorant lout in the last village who said I'd be able to reach it before nightfall. As you see, I didn't." She glanced towards the fire and arched an eyebrow. "Do you have anything to make tea with? I have water and leaves, but no kettle. I could need some warm tea. Preferably some spiced wine, but...", she did sigh this time "no chance for that I guess." She turned away from Valeria, to hitch and unsaddle her mare, muttering under her breath about having to do such work herself. When she turned back, Valeria had gotten out a kettle and started brewing tea. Edena sat down, using her saddle as a stool, and started brushing out her skirts. "I hate traveling. No, that's not true; I love travelling, when it's by ship or coach. But this riding around alone... I don't know what got into me, traveling like that. Only peasants and commoners and soldiers do that", she wrinkled her nose unconsiously,"not nobles or proper people. Oh, the travels I used to have with my aunt..." She blabbered away, never noticing that the girl tried to get a word in edgewise, she'd almost forgotten the girl was there. Only when she was handed a cup of tea did she remember that she was in fact not alone. The girl was still darting glances out into the forest and looking nervous. Edena bit her lip thoughtfully. Maybe she should try to be a bit courteous and talk with the girl, not to her. Not that she really cared, but it was the polite thing to do after all. "So... Why are you here alone, anyway?"

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Valeria nearly let her jaw hang straight open. This girl clearly wasn’t listening to anything she had said. “Pleasure to meet you Lady Edena and No…I am not traveling alone.” Valeria said carefully, wondering if all noble people were like this. Yet she tried to be as polite as possible, Edena did say she was a noble!

 

She sat back down near the log that was by the fire. “I was saying earlier…I am traveling with Talyn Sedai and her Warder Baradar… They should be back soon!” Valeria said a little bit louder than the first time she told Edena. Valeria eye brow rose hearing that Edena was going to the white tower also. “I am also going to the tower…to train to be Aes Seda!” Valeria said excitedly. Valeria gave Edena a side long glance as she straighten her dress and wondering why she was trying too since it was a mess from long travel.

 

“Are you also going to train to be Aes Sedai?” Valeria ask with curiosity in her voice. At this point she had forgotten about being scared and was rather interested in Edena. She had never met a noble person before and she was vastly interested in how they lived!

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Edena gave the girl a flat look. "Of course I'm going to be an Aes Sedai. Halena Seidai who tested me, said I had more than enough potential to be an Aes Sedai, I might be one of the strongest in decades". Actually, Halena Sedai had said nothing of the sort, but Edena was jealous of this girl, this common, uncouth, filthy, unworthy girl, who was actually traveling with an Aes Sedai, and wanted the upper hand back. "I do hope I can reach Tar Valon early tomorrow, I need to stop by an inn to use their washroom and get my hair done before I can present myself to the Mistress of Novices." She sniffed. "Imagine me walking in there covered in travel-dust, with my hair undone, looking like som common vagabond. Not gonna happen! Now, I am tired, and since it doesn't seem like this Aes Sedai of yours is coming back anytime soon, I will bed down. Wake me at first light." With that, she unrolled the blankets she's brought with her, arranging them as comfortable as she could, and lay down with her hood pulled up to shield her face. She did hate sleeping where someone could see it. Made her feel vunrable, a feeling Edena wasn't used too.

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Through the entire conversation all Valeria could do was nod and smile at Edena. Thinking to herself that this girl was something she did not expect at all and wasn’t sure what to make of her. “Strongest in decades, wow impressive!” Valeria said sincerely, she had no reason not to believe Edena after all.

 

When Edena spoke about looking dirty, Valeria raised an eyebrow looking from her own dress towards Edena’s. The difference between the two dresses was night and day which only made Valeria blush slightly from embarrassment. Not because she felt ashamed of being a farm girl, but because she badly needed a bath herself and a fresh set of clothing. She also wanted to make a good impression on this Mistress of Novices. This what she gets for running off and not packing a few extra sets of clothing Valeria thought sourly.

 

Valeria gave Edena another sideways glance as Edena rolled out her blankets to sleep. Shaking her head a bit again wondering if this is how all nobles were like.

Moving over some to give Edena her personal space, Valeria simply wrapped her worn cloak around her. She had trouble sleeping, since she worried a bit about Talyn and Baradar not to mention still scared to be sleeping out in the middle of the woods. Yet Edena’s presence made her feel a bit safer.

 

It had been awhile as Valeria slumped against the log looking up towards the stars. Just as soon as she was about to nod off, the sound of horses emitted from the far end of the camp site as Baradar rode in on his tall brown warhorse with Talyn shortly behind on her black mare.

 

Quietly Valeria rose to meet them, hoping not to disturb Edena she whispered up to Talyn Sedai and told her about the whole encounter with Edena and that she should come with them to Tar Valon. Talyn simple smiled and told Valeria to get some sleep since they will be heading to Tar Valon first thing in the morning.

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