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Christine

Let me go, you big meanie! (Attn: Sirayn)

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Christine stumbled into the Green Ajah quarters, holding onto the wall. Her stomach hurt as she felt her hangover approaching. Her head ached, but it was ok. Light! She had thought that Tower Guards were amazing in bed… he was just a regular foot soldier accompanying a merchant… she hadn’t had anything like that in a while. Her heart was still racing. The hallways were dark, and Christine called on the power, trying to light up the hallway a little, but it wasn’t smart to Channel Under the Influence. The whole hallway seemed to be lit up with fire, and she laughed. Light, she felt out of it.

 

Stumbling past the Captain General’s doorway, she made a rude gesture at the woman inside. That idiot. Light, when would she ever just leave her alone? Christine was a grown woman, she didn’t need someone watching over her every move. Ten bloody years, she had been a sister, 11 an Aes Sedai. She had rightfully earned her place as a Battle Sister… she didn’t need someone checking up on her. When would she ever escape the woman?

 

She felt a hand over her mouth, and another on her wrist. â€Come here, you fool girl!†Christine heard. She was tossed into Sirayn’s office, and she glared at the woman. What in the light was going on here? Sirayn looked furious, and barked, “Sit down, child.â€[/i] Christine went to sit down, a pout on her face, then stood back up. She was stronger than this woman, and they were of the same body stature. She couldn’t tell her anything. “I wont do anything for you, you idiot of a Captain General. Who do you think you are, telling me what to do?†Christine made for the door, which Sirayn bared. “Move, or I will make you.†Sirayn didn’t budge. Christine attempted to push her from the way, but was too intoxicated to do any better. She hit at Sirayn trying to get by. “You cant keep me here!â€

 

Trying to slap and punch her captor, Christine felt bonds of air around her, and could no longer feel the source. “What the-“ her mouth was shut, and she was roughly tossed into her chair. Sirayn went around the desk and sat down in front of her. Christine was furious. How DARE this woman do anything to her? â€I suggest you shut your mouth, girl.†Christine just glared. What the light did she want now?

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The name Christine Segreto was fast becoming a curse around the Captain General’s office. Every week another complaint about her disgraceful behaviour arrived. Presumably the young woman was actually doing something practical and constructive during business hours, but nevertheless, all her harassed Ajah Head ever heard was a succession of similar offences: drinking too much, being seen in public wearing something scandalous, making tactless advances on young men and generally making herself the subject of a hundred scurrilous rumours. Had the child gained nothing from her initiation? Did she lack even the slightest grasp of how Aes Sedai were expected to behave?

 

The whole sordid business irritated her on so many levels. She ought not to have to interfere in the private affairs of a sister; by the time they gained the shawl her folk ought to know how to conduct themselves in the proper manner. Particularly so new to the shawl … and after scarce more than a decade, she was still very new indeed … Christine ought to be devoting herself to diligent work in order to gain the expertise and respect she needed to ascend through the ranks. Instead the child distracted herself from work with drinking and dishonoured herself through senseless, shallow affairs with cheap men into the bargain. Some sisters taken from the same generation were already starting to take on more significant tasks, inching toward that all important first command, while the supposedly promising Christine Sedai played games like a common whore.

 

On a tactical level also this made difficulties for her. The Battle Ajah was saddled with an unfortunate stereotype, that of the hard drinking, empty headed lightskirt, and this irritant appeared to be living every inch of that image. It brought shame on hard-working sisters and lowered her Ajah’s standing … and if there was anything Sirayn would fight to protect it was her Ajah’s standing. Something needed to be done about it. Half a dozen sisters had come to her of late to lay down their objections but as far as she knew none had taken it up with Christine directly. The child surely had no excuse for not knowing what was expected from her, or rather demanded, but while part of her wanted to call the first court martial in many years the greater part recognised that at least some warning was necessary.

 

Unfortunate for her young target, that reasonable part had immersed itself in deep concentration late at night when Christine staggered in blind drunk, and stopped feeling so forgiving shortly afterward. The thump of a heavy vase being knocked into shattered her concentration. Any patience she might have retained vanished when she lifted cold grey eyes to her open door and caught the child offering her an extremely crude gesture. Her icy stare lasted some moments longer than was comfortable; she did not tolerate such disrespect from anyone, much less insolent pups dazed by drink and sex, and people had suffered for much less. It seemed her work would have to be shelved for the night. Time to bring a little Ajah Head retribution.

 

Leisurely she laid her pen and parchment aside and anyone might have detected a certain iron constraint about her movements. She rose, crossed the floor in a few swift steps, and laid hands on the child: she had not exerted force on anyone in a long time and it satisfied her on some wordless level to simply haul Christine into her office. “Sit down, child,†snapped Sirayn and gestured toward a chair. Petulant as ever the child resisted her orders. She looked drunk, she smelled drunk and she moved with the graceless imprecision of the seriously impaired. Getting any sense into her empty little head was going to be a matter of force. Truth to tell the prospect of a bit of hands on discipline, as it were, posed a tempting diversion from the dullness of work … and nobody would question her for a moment given the provocation.

 

Even so the insults narrowed grey eyes and tightened her mouth as she stamped out the urge to cause this child some serious harm. She stepped into the way when Christine made to leave. “Not so fast, girl,†an edge of sheer glacial cold crept into those few words. A careless threat served to move her not one inch; if she couldn’t handle a drunken youngster she had no business calling herself Battle Ajah. Flailing attempts to push her aside spent themselves uselessly. A stray slap caught her a light but stinging blow across the cheek, possibly more by luck than judgement, and abruptly Sirayn ran out of tolerance for these games. Saidar leapt to her grasp. She trapped the child in silent restraints, closed her mouth for good and flung her into a chair like a bundle of cloth.

 

The deeply insulted glare which Christine shot her made everything worthwhile. To see that she was causing some greatly justified offence warmed her up from the inside out. “I suggest you shut your mouth, girl.†This comment came accompanied with a benevolent smile. She took a seat in the Captain General’s chair, the fabled greatsword behind her to mark her rank further, and surveyed her bound and silenced captive with a great deal of satisfaction. Sirayn meant to make certain that the child never crossed her again; people still spoke with reverence of the punishments visited by her famous predecessors, the great and good Ajah Heads of the past, and she intended that this should be the same. “Are you sober? Recite your Oaths. In reverse order.†She removed the gag briefly. The sounds which emerged did not appear to be the Three Oaths in reverse order; some of the curses used raised her brows a fraction. “I can only assume that you are a little the worse for wear. This is, therefore, regrettable but necessary.â€

 

Moments later her intoxicated prey found herself deluged in freezing cold water. The chill was so intense that it stole the breath. Chin on hand, watching Christine with an expression of polite concern, her Captain General measured its effects. “You are feeling sober now? Yes? Excellent. You and I are going to have a little discussion. This has been waiting for some time and you have just insulted, threatened and assaulted me, so you will forgive me if I take some time to conduct this properly.†The implied threat that she would take all necessary time in order to hammer her point home, possibly in ways that Christine would not find enjoyable, went unspoken. “I am less than amused by your behaviour of late.†She lifted her surviving hand, realised with a small and uncomfortable jolt that she did not have the necessary number of hands to tick off points on her fingers, and settled for holding up a finger at a time.

 

One finger. “First, you are drinking too much. I will not tolerate my sisters being seen intoxicated. This goes no matter where you are, whether it be in the city itself or in these very halls, and you had best remember it very well. From this night onward you will not touch a drop of alcohol until I give you specific permission. If I ever catch you drunk in public again … ever … you will be doing penance with the Mistress of Novices every day until I am satisfied you have learnt your lesson.â€

 

Two fingers. “Second, your conduct with young men is unacceptable. There is no possible circumstance in which I will permit you to be seen engaging in the sort of behaviour I have had reported to me. In public an Aes Sedai must at all times bring credit to her shawl; the only image you are spreading is that of an empty headed lightskirt. There is no leeway here. You will cease your fraternisation with men starting immediately. Once I give you word you will be permitted to exercise discretion over your affairs in private. Similarly, if you ever act improperly with a man in public again, you will not be sitting down for months.â€

 

Three fingers. “Third, your other behaviour is not up to the standard I expect from my sisters. I had anticipated that you would possess at least some sense of your own, but since it seems I must guide you myself, I will lay down strict rules for you to keep to. You will speak to your elders and betters with respect; you will obey their orders unquestioningly; you will complete the work you are given and be grateful that you are tasked at all. Your private business will not be permitted to interfere with your work for the Green Ajah. You will act at all times in a manner fitting to your rank as a sister of the Battle Ajah. Children and strangers are looking up to you as an example. The example you are currently setting is one of a drunkard and a lightskirt. That ends and it ends tonight.â€

 

Four fingers. “Fourth and finally … you will learn proper respect toward your Ajah Head and you will learn it if I have to tattoo it into you myself. You do not insult me, you do not threaten me, you do not question me. You do not lift a hand to me. You obey my orders instantly, without hesitation, and you will think yourself lucky for being given that opportunity. I am not here to engage in debate with children such as yourself; I am here to be your Captain General and I require your obedience. If you want to see another year in the Battle Ajah, much less any kind of rank for yourself, you will learn that this instant. I will not tolerate the slightest disrespect.â€

 

Fifth: she examined her fifth finger briefly before closing her hand and placing it back on the desk. “I would ordinarily court martial people like you,†the lazy words held a whole new level of threat. “That would be your career over in the space of an hour. Finished forever. Your name would still be repeated in a century’s time as one of the few so unfit for service that they were hauled through trial. And I admit … that I am very tempted, in your case in particular, because you have shown me contempt and far more importantly you have disgraced the Battle Ajah. However, because I am merciful, I am permitting you one last chance. One foot out of line … one word wrong … and I will have you before a full court before you can even twitch.

 

“So here is your last chance to save your career. You are demoted as of this moment to the status of recruit. If you truly want to be Battle Ajah, and from your performance so far I have grave doubts, you will earn that rank. No longer will you be able to trick or deceive your teacher … and I suspect that is precisely how you gained your shawl the first time around for no qualified sister would turn out a student like you … because I will be that teacher. From this night onward you go nowhere outside these Ajah Halls unless I am with you. You do not drink. You do not so much as speak to a man. You speak to your elders only when spoken to. You do exactly as you are ordered, no questions, and certainly no insolence. Break the terms of this bargain and I will court martial you. Half an excuse and I will court martial you anyway.â€

 

Sitting back the Captain General fixed her unfortunate victim with a steely grey gaze. The bonds fell away somewhat so that the other woman could at least speak in response. “Is that fully understood, recruit?â€

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Christine was angry enough to hit someone. Oh, she was so mad. How dare this woman treat her like she was a whore? She should be dismissed or something. No wonder everyone hated the green ajah. It was because of this idiot that was in control. “Are you sober? Recite your Oaths. In reverse order.†Recite her Oaths? What the bloody… was this a test? Christine just started cursing. “You bloody wench. Devils brat, let me go, I demand to be let go, you whore. Let me go you-“ Christine had her mouth gagged again, and Sirayn raised an eyebrow. “I can only assume that you are a little the worse for wear. This is, therefore, regrettable but necessary.†What?

 

Christine felt a huge gush of water on her, and she gasped for air. Sirayn watched her, and Christine just sat there shaking, in shock. What the light?!?! This woman was trying to kill her! “You are feeling sober now? Yes? Excellent. You and I are going to have a little discussion. This has been waiting for some time and you have just insulted, threatened and assaulted me, so you will forgive me if I take some time to conduct this properly.†HA! After that little show, there was no way she would listen to the woman. She hated her, resented her, and would never respect someone that treated her like a servant. “I am less than amused by your behavior of late.†Oh, really? Christine just thought she was sitting in the office, freezing wet, because they were planning a tea party… please, could this woman get real?

 

“First, you are drinking too much. I will not tolerate my sisters being seen intoxicated. This goes no matter where you are, whether it be in the city itself or in these very halls, and you had best remember it very well. From this night onward you will not touch a drop of alcohol until I give you specific permission. If I ever catch you drunk in public again … ever … you will be doing penance with the Mistress of Novices every day until I am satisfied you have learnt your lesson.†She would be sent to that idiot woman? Please, it would be a scandal on the green ajah. That was an empty threat. And after she was let out of this stupid penance, she was leaving the tower, for good. She was sick of the rules and the hypocrisy, and she was sick of this woman.

 

“Second, your conduct with young men is unacceptable. There is no possible circumstance in which I will permit you to be seen engaging in the sort of behaviour I have had reported to me. In public an Aes Sedai must at all times bring credit to her shawl; the only image you are spreading is that of an empty headed lightskirt. There is no leeway here. You will cease your fraternisation with men starting immediately. Once I give you word you will be permitted to exercise discretion over your affairs in private. Similarly, if you ever act improperly with a man in public again, you will not be sitting down for months.†She was losing WHAT! How could she not talk to men? They were there to serve her. Taking away men was like taking away saidar. She couldn’t be this cruel… oh yes, but she was. Christine struggled against her bonds, trying to get lose, then gave up again. This had to be a cruel joke, a night mare, something other than real.

 

“Third, your other behaviour is not up to the standard I expect from my sisters. I had anticipated that you would possess at least some sense of your own, but since it seems I must guide you myself, I will lay down strict rules for you to keep to. You will speak to your elders and betters with respect; you will obey their orders unquestioningly; you will complete the work you are given and be grateful that you are tasked at all. Your private business will not be permitted to interfere with your work for the Green Ajah. You will act at all times in a manner fitting to your rank as a sister of the Battle Ajah. Children and strangers are looking up to you as an example. The example you are currently setting is one of a drunkard and a lightskirt. That ends and it ends tonight.†Christine had to hold back a laugh. It didn’t matter how she set herself as. She was her own person. If someone compared her with all Aes Sedai, then they were a fool. It was like comparing a man that thinks he can sail up river to all men, saying they are all fools about the water. This idiots logic simply was not such.

 

“Fourth and finally … you will learn proper respect toward your Ajah Head and you will learn it if I have to tattoo it into you myself. You do not insult me, you do not threaten me, you do not question me. You do not lift a hand to me. You obey my orders instantly, without hesitation, and you will think yourself lucky for being given that opportunity. I am not here to engage in debate with children such as yourself; I am here to be your Captain General and I require your obedience. If you want to see another year in the Battle Ajah, much less any kind of rank for yourself, you will learn that this instant. I will not tolerate the slightest disrespect.†Respect? There was no way in bloody shadow that THAT would happen. Oh, light she hated that woman so much. How could she do this?

 

After a few minutes, Sirayn spoke again. “I would ordinarily court martial people like you,†the lazy words held a whole new level of threat. “That would be your career over in the space of an hour. Finished forever. Your name would still be repeated in a century’s time as one of the few so unfit for service that they were hauled through trial. And I admit … that I am very tempted, in your case in particular, because you have shown me contempt and far more importantly you have disgraced the Battle Ajah. However, because I am merciful, I am permitting you one last chance. One foot out of line … one word wrong … and I will have you before a full court before you can even twitch.†She would be court martialed? No, Sirayn couldn’t do that. How could she? The woman was lying, but… Christine knew she wasn’t. Her heart sunk. How was she to become a general and lead an army when her career was destroyed. Perhaps she could deal with the trials that the woman set forth in order to save her name.

 

“So here is your last chance to save your career. You are demoted as of this moment to the status of recruit. If you truly want to be Battle Ajah, and from your performance so far I have grave doubts, you will earn that rank. No longer will you be able to trick or deceive your teacher … and I suspect that is precisely how you gained your shawl the first time around for no qualified sister would turn out a student like you … because I will be that teacher. From this night onward you go nowhere outside these Ajah Halls unless I am with you. You do not drink. You do not so much as speak to a man. You speak to your elders only when spoken to. You do exactly as you are ordered, no questions, and certainly no insolence. Break the terms of this bargain and I will court martial you. Half an excuse and I will court martial you anyway.†Every bit of anger that had been turned down on the idea of a court martialing flaired back up. A recruit? Christine had been in the shawl for over ten years. She wasn’t going to be some recruit again. This simply would not happen.

 

Christine felt the bonds leave her body, but she didn’t move. “Is that fully understood, recruit?†Christine just sat there in shock. She would not be called such. What humility! She rose from her chair, hands clenched, and stared down at the woman before her. “It is understood, but it will not happen. I have been in my shawl for ten years- you will not take that away from me. What I do is my business, and I suggest you keep your a-“ Christine felt her mouth gagged with air. â€Certain you want to say that, recruit?†Christine bit her tongue, and sat back down in her seat. This was a mockery of her stature. Obviously, the woman was just jealous of the power she possessed, wanting to take it away.

 

Christine nodded her head, and clenched her fists as she spoke. “As you say, Aes Sedai. I will try my best to do as you ask, and when the time comes for me to be raised back to my proper rank, then I shall take leave from this tower. You will not have to worry about me ever again.†Sirayn just stared at her, and Christine rose from her chair, her knees weak with shock. She was a recruit! She couldn’t drink, she couldn’t party, and- oh no… no more men. That just… couldn’t be! It would not be. And how long would this go on?

 

Christine sighed, and she curtsied to Sirayn. “I do have a request. If I am to be a recruit, then let my time as one not be longer than a year. It would not be suitable. I will try my best and stick with the deal. Come to terms with me and make a deal too. A year will be sufficient time to… study over my career- don’t you think?â€

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Her quarry’s feeble attempts to escape the trap drawing tight about her proved to be a fascinating diversion for Sirayn. Insults and fury at first, shading gently toward outrage, and finally toward what the other woman doubtless thought was well concealed resentment: the poorly schooled features told a wealth of stories. She had met children still wearing whites who had a better sense of propriety. This whole messy scene put her perilously close to laughter; restraining herself firmly she stamped out the urge to push Christine a little further just to see her fume. A tempting picture but one of them had to stay in control and she rather suspected it would have to be her. Everything was about control of course … exerting the subtle and the not so subtle command she held over this brash youngster, so confident that she could get around her Ajah Head, asserting herself at another’s expense … and if there was any field in which Sirayn Sedai excelled it was control.

 

A fine line existed between provocation and merely showing a glimpse of her supremacy, much as a swordsman permitted an inch of his blade to flash steel in order to warn his opponents, and walking that was all the thrill she needed. It escaped her why anyone involved themselves in shallow liaisons with strangers when they could match wits with the greatest players in the world, why people settled for crude activities when they could find games of fire and smoke and shadow here among the white halls. “Do you think a year would be sufficient to teach you respect, little sister? Your Ajah Head does not appear to have had that result and I do pride myself on being rather effective.†She favoured her companion with another smile, slow and cold and rather daunting, and completed the effect with a genial: “Ten years may not be enough to make you what I require you to be. Request denied.

 

“Distressingly, you do not appear to have listened to a word I said. Approximately thirty seconds after I lay down some ground rules you are already wriggling like a weasel in order to get out of it. I distinctly remember telling you not to question me, to obey your orders instantly and without hesitation, and yet here you are attempting to bargain with me … I could continue, but based on your response so far I might as well talk to a wall. Therefore we shall solve this by a very simple method. You remain in this office until you can tell me, honestly and bound by the First Oath, that you have disgraced the Green Ajah through your conduct and submit yourself for punishment. Then your initiation begins again … and it will last until I say otherwise. You can, of course, attempt to wriggle out of this, but this will only add further time onto the length of your initiation.â€

 

Captivating though it was breaking this insolent child apart, she rather suspected that Christine would lose much of her ill manner soon, and ideally before she was forced to show her hand entirely. She had not been making a jest when she spoke of a court martial and while that was a tactic of last resort, to which an Ajah Head had not resorted for many a year … if necessary she would drag Christine kicking and screaming before a full court of her betters and conduct this in the proper and traditional style. Given how many people had complained to her about the half wit child’s behaviour she imagined she would find no shortage of speakers. Maybe the child would only lose her disrespect when the court martial had visited its last and most cruel punishment upon her … and there was an interesting image. “I can wait all night.†She studied the Domani child opposite her, grey eyes steady, only a slight crinkling round her eyes to speak amusement. “I suggest that you come to terms very quickly with the fact that your career is as good as over. Only I can save you now.â€

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“Do you think a year would be sufficient to teach you respect, little sister? Your Ajah Head does not appear to have had that result and I do pride myself on being rather effective.†LITTLE SISTER!?!?! That one made Christine want to smack the woman, or tie her up with bonds. She was no where near little. “Ten years may not be enough to make you what I require you to be. Request denied. Christine was fuming. HOW DARE this woman to call her a little sister, then tell her that she might spend ten years as a recruit. Christine was a sister of the Green Ajah, not some little Accepted just achieving the shawl. She deserved and had earned better than this.

 

“Distressingly, you do not appear to have listened to a word I said. Approximately thirty seconds after I lay down some ground rules you are already wriggling like a weasel in order to get out of it. I distinctly remember telling you not to question me, to obey your orders instantly and without hesitation, and yet here you are attempting to bargain with me … I could continue, but based on your response so far I might as well talk to a wall. Therefore we shall solve this by a very simple method. You remain in this office until you can tell me, honestly and bound by the First Oath, that you have disgraced the Green Ajah through your conduct and submit yourself for punishment. Then your initiation begins again … and it will last until I say otherwise. You can, of course, attempt to wriggle out of this, but this will only add further time onto the length of your initiation.†Christine could not believe it. She sat there with her mouth wide open in shock. She would be there all day then, because she saw no error in her ways. This was pointless.

 

“I suggest that you come to terms very quickly with the fact that your career is as good as over. Only I can save you now.†Christine looked at the woman, and laughed. There was nothing else she could do. She just started laughing. “Sirayn Sedai, if I am a little sister… well, I am not. The only thing little about me is my age. I have more power than you by far. And what are you saving me from? Myself? Please, I see nothing wrong with what I do. If you want an honest answer, then you shall not get one. I see nothing wrong with the way I am.â€

 

Christine settled back in her chair and smiled. “We can honestly save us all trouble. Just let me leave the tower. I will go away, and you wont have to deal with me. Never have to see me again. And believe me, as long as you are the Captain General, I will not return. It is a win-win situation. Just let me leave the tower.â€

 

Christine glared back at the calm Aes Sedai before her. This woman had to be mad if she honestly thought that Christine would just accept being a recruit. There was nothing wrong with the way she was. She liked to have fun, and that was just how she was. The woman should concern herself with other stuff instead of who a Sister brought to her bed, and what was happening behind closed doors. She had half a mind to walk out of the door right then and there, because if Sirayn tried to stop her, then she would merely block the woman with the power. Christine was much stronger than the Captain General, and she wasn’t afraid to use the powers she was granted.

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Cruelty never failed to put her in a benevolent mood. That vanished as soon as soon as Christine Segreto started to laugh. Briefly she debated with herself whether she was understanding this correctly, if the child had gone so far in her madness that she thought it acceptable to mock her own Ajah Head. Truly the audacity of some children went beyond the bounds of belief. One dark brow lifted a fraction as she studied the miscreant before her, a slight twist to her mouth betraying contempt, yet she held her silence … starting to seethe a little inside. Drunkard and lightskirt, ill disciplined, this empty headed fool did not deserve to sit in the same office where legends had gone before her. Every moment she let this wretch continue to claim the shawl damaged the Battle Ajah’s great reputation further.

 

All this talk of power and threats held little interest for her. Having faced Darkfriends and Dreadlords, great hosts beyond number and menaces from the darkest depths of her own mind, Sirayn Sedai had no fear to spare for the likes of pitiful children, and she regarded this rather poor attempt at intimidation with equal scorn. If she had had a rain barrel handy she would have dipped the child in it head first to shock some sense back into her witless head but, failing such drastic measures, she would have to correct this situation … the old fashioned way. It spoke eloquent of how far Christine Segreto had gone that she saw nothing wrong with her own disgrace and the dishonour she offered to the Ajah she claimed to serve. No, this was no longer a source of amusement.

 

“I am concerned for the state of the Battle Ajah if it permits children like you to gain the shawl. You lack all the qualities I require in sisters; decorum, courage, even a modicum of intelligence. Your attempts to escape justice are most unseemly. I should be ashamed were I to appear such a self serving coward to another sister but any sister worth her salt would find it quite a challenge to plumb your current depths. Drunk and dripping, still reeking of your own filth, you sit before me now and delude yourself that you are an acceptable Aes Sedai? You have offered enough insult to the Green Ajah already. You will be silent now and I will tell you what you will do from now on.

 

“You are a fool. You claim to hold power but in truth every Aes Sedai you see is laughing at you behind their hands. Nobody will follow your orders; your standing is the lowest of the low. Every night you are seen drunk and incapable in the company of shallow men marks another ten years before you can even hope to redeem yourself. Your so-called power … this strength in saidar, a mere gift at birth, which you have never earned … is nothing. You have done nothing of any worth whatsoever. By all appearances you lack basic intelligence and a sense of propriety. If I had taken a child off the streets they would have more value to the Battle Ajah than you do. As tempted as I am to tell you to get your worthless self out of the Tower and never return … I should be ashamed if I let you claim the green shawl while I can still strip you of it. And strip you of it I will.â€

 

Casually she picked up a pen, scribbled something briefly on a spare sheet of paper, turned it round so that Christine could read it. It was a date: two weeks from now. “That is the date of your court martial, Christine Sedai. Luckily I have no prior engagements on that day and, curiously enough, I think we will find that half the Green Ajah has nothing better to do that day either … after all, we haven’t had a court martial for years and everyone will be eager to attend. Particularly the dozen-odd sisters who complained to me about your behaviour before today and who will be more than pleased to take part in your trial. And if you think for a moment that you will get a sympathetic hearing … know that an Ajah Head runs her own court martial. Consider yourself confined to your quarters until that date and if I must have sisters guard your door I will. It will take a lot more than shouting to get you out of this.†Sirayn took back pen and paper in a businesslike manner. “Any further questions?â€

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Sirayn simply returned the stare, and Christine smiled softly. She would not lose in this one, and she was absolutely crazy if she thought that she would role over and play dead. Christine had hopes and dreams. She wanted to see the world, she wanted to meet people and see things. She wanted to learn, and she wanted to excel. She wanted to prove her worth in battle, and she wanted to learn from the best that which she loved- a battlefield. No one would stop her from that dream. The fact that she slept with a few men every few nights was not something that should hold her back- in fact, that should be a bonus. She could share the bed with any man she wanted, and learn secrets about anything she needed. Honestly, this woman could be using her for a benefit of the Ajah, and yet, she was being criticized for her actions. So what she wasn’t a sitter, so what she wasn’t world renowned. She had only been a sister for ten years, and she was barely old enough for anyone to trust her! Of course, that could always be why Sirayn was mad at her.

 

Sirayn talked for a while, and Christine just blocked the voice from her mind. She had a bad enough headache, and this woman was really starting to get annoying. Couldn’t they just talk in the- oh, wait. Looking out the window, Christine realized it was morning. She kept her mouth shut, then wrote something on a paper. Thank the light, the woman was done talking! Looking at the paper, Christine saw a date. What was that, the day she was supposed to be gone from the tower by? Light, she would be out that night, just as soon as she had slept for a few moments and said a few goodbyes. But a word came up that was startling. Two words, in fact. Court Martial. And not just any court martial, but one for her. The words that followed passed around her. The court martial was no longer a thread, but now it was... she was being court martialed. The world stopped around her. Her heart didn’t beat, her breath stopped short, and she felt her body go cold. It was almost dying, but her heart began to beat again, and her breath was more of a gasp. A court martialing... light!

 

That would ruin her career. Everything. She would never again be trusted. No one would associate with someone that was no longer thought to be... trusted. She would just be a body that lived, but her soul would be gone. Everything she had fought for, everything she had lived for, and everything she had dreamed of would gone in the flash of an eye. The scandal behind the court martialing itself was bad, but if she was convicted... they might as well just strip her powers away from her. The world spun a little, and Christine’s hands squeezed the arms of the chair she sat in. She started searching her mind, looking for a solution, but could find none. Sirayn Sedai, the horrid captain general, the weakling, the handicapped, and the inept, would win. Then her blood boiled. The anger and the hatred she had for her captain burned inside of her, and it took all of her energy to grab onto the source and hold it, trying to calm down. How dare she try to end her hopes and dreams! How dare she try to stop everything, just because she was worried about stupid IMAGE!

 

She regained control of herself, and looked up slowly, her smile gone, but the coolness she had learned as an Aes Sedai had replaced it. Her eyes were cold, and she slowly spoke, trying to keep the anger from returning. “I am sorry, Sirayn Sedai, but can you please repeat back to me what you said about... escaping this little meeting? Im not certain I heard you correctly.†Light, there had to be some way out of this. She would not go down like this!

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Ooc: The character Christine Segreto is no longer a PC. She will be NPCed with the consent of her player so this thread is finished. Thanks for the fun!

 

An enemy realising she had been beaten had to be one of the most satisfying sights in politics. It had not been fair and square, a term suited only to tales of honour anyway, but at least she had won to an extent that left no room for argument; in all honesty she had had Christine Segreto by the throat from the very beginning, but it had taken the fool this long to realise … a display that told nothing good about her intelligence. She had always suspected that one had to be spectacularly dull in the head to turn out as much of a lightskirt as the woman before her; however, she had rather hoped not to have the point proven, at least not with a fellow member of the Battle Ajah. None of this filled her with any great desire to show sympathy.

 

So many ways she could play this. Some crueller than others, some possibly less than fitting for a Captain General; she dismissed those, if she did not uphold the proper standards of behaviour then nobody would. It was half a shame that the threat of court martial had proven as effective a deterrent as she had expected. Now she had no excuse for seeking further punishment, although it tempted her sorely to tell Christine her penance included apologising to every member of the Battle Ajah for bringing their good name into disrepute. That would have been satisfying indeed after the insolence this pup had shown her … but seeing the coldness in the Domani chit’s eyes, the bright flare of saidar around her, Sirayn rather thought she had satisfied herself enough already by beating this wretch hands down. If the child so much as twitched it would be a court martial.

 

No, she meant to play this one by the book. She had secured the girl’s compliance without resorting to solitary confinement, a good slap or other crude methods, on which restraint she felt congratulations was in order, and now she would give Christine Segreto the escape the child scarcely deserved. “I shall repeat myself for the deaf and the intellectually challenged among us. I assure you I will not be doing so again, so I expect you to listen closely this time.†Truly the quality of sisters she surrounded herself with was steadily diminishing. Sirayn wondered if she might find an excuse on which to set the pup that Ajah-wide apology … “Your conduct falls below the standard which I expect from a Green Ajah member. I intend to address it. You have two options: one is court martial, which believe me will give me a great deal of satisfaction after your display tonight, and the other is demotion.

 

“As I said earlier, when you were clearly not paying attention, you are demoted as of tonight to the rank of recruit. If you still want to be Battle Ajah, which I doubt greatly, you will earn it. You go nowhere outside these Ajah Halls without my permission; you do not drink, you do not so much as speak to men, you speak to your elders only when spoken to. You do as you are instructed. I will give you tasks which you will complete to the best of your ability. If I see that your behaviour is not adequate, or that you are failing to work as I order, I will not be best pleased. That is the bargain between us. If you break it I will court martial you -- and take my word for it, right now I am looking for any excuse. Is that understood?â€

 

Put like that, the unfortunate Christine Sedai did not have much of a choice. Teaching a lightskirt how to behave proved to be one of the more thankless and frustrating tasks of this particular Ajah Head’s chequered life, considering that their respective views were in the same proximity as the Aiel Waste and the Aryth Ocean, but it was worth the doing … and by the end, reluctant though she was to admit it, she was reasonably content with the product of her labours. Given time she released Christine Segreto into the wilds as a sister of whom the Green Ajah might, some day, be proud. And she never did get to oversee her first court martial.

 

Sirayn Damodred

Retro Captain General

"I threaten out of love!"

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