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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

To Pass A Bond (attn. Kathleen Sedai & Carys Sedai)


Elessar
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.. Lost in the Memories of Dreams ..

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In the Darkness of the Night, as Winds of Change swept across the ancient Aes Sedai City of Tar Valon, Elessar Telcontar, Bonded Gaidin of Kandor, was lost in the Memories of Dreams ..
 


Leandreen

..Memories flashed in Elessar’s mind..

Carrain Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah looked at her newly bonded Warder, feeling his pain.

"You share your Leandreen's loyalties, I see." She said.

His eyes met hers and his gaze intensified as he said, with emotion, ”I hate the Shadow, always have, always will. So did Leandreen. Our lives were formed around fighting the Shadow at every step, every corner. And in the end, she died fighting the Shadow. Those bandits that ambushed us and killed her were Darkfriends, I am sure of it. I just wish I had killed them all.”

I should have saved you, Leandreen. My life before yours. Forgive me.

...Memories...

He saw himself standing together with Carrain Sedai watching Leandreen’s burning funeral pyre lighting up the darkness. She had seemed so regal laying there, her emerald green eyes closed and her fiery red hair embracing her so familiar face, ready for the final journey. Soon she had been enveloped in flames, in a blaze of light that defied the night.

Oh Leandreen, forgive me.

A lifetime ago, or so it seemed. A different life. A different world.

...Words whispered on the winds of time…

“You were a brave fighter, Leandreen”, he had said, speaking words of strong emotion. ”As brave as they come. You fought the Shadow ‘till the end. Just as you always promised you would.” A short pause had followed. Then he had added, “Your courage shall not be forgotten, your sacrifice will be remembered. You will be remembered. Rest in peace, Leandreen Aes Sedai of the Battle Ajah. May the last embrace of the Mother welcome you home.”

Goodbye Leandreen.




With crashing abruptness Elessar was brought out of semi-deep sleep. He sat upraised in the bed in his quarters, trembling slightly, his eyes wide, his mouth open, his hands holding hard onto the sides of the bed. The flashes in his mind lingered.. and then they slowly dissipated. His pulse still raced, but he gradually regained control of himself.

It was a long time since he last had had that dream.

Those memories.

Strong.
Painful.
Important.

Oh, Leandreen

He had no idea why they had reappeared in his mind just now, after so long a time.

Shaking his head, he lay back on the bed to clear his mind and breathed more easily. Through the Bond he felt Carys sleeping peacefully in her room. He smiled inwardly, closed his eyes and soon was once again adrift in sleep.


Swept away ..

Into New Dreams

And Old Memories ..
 


Ebou Dar

.. Elessar was one with his Blade, in this duel with the Shadow, as he flowed from one swordform into the next, in an endless graceful movement, Dancing Among Golden Leopards ..

There was a Clash of Swords, the sound of steel meeting steel, and sparks flew in the east wing room at the back of the Tarasin Palace, as the Warder’s blade met that of his Shadow opponent. From each corner of the partially lit square room a ferocious looking Altaran golden leopard statue stared intently at the two combatants, as if judging who was the most deserving. Elessar’s dark cloak flowed around him as he moved, as if touched by powerful ripples of wind. His sword was an extension of his arm and he almost floated from one step to the next, eyes intent on the Shadow figure before him, in a deadly Dance of the Blades.

Striking out in mid-stride, sword falling in an arc on his Darkfriend-opponent’s neck, the other man somehow deflected the blow and moved out of reach for a moment. Elessar found his balance, the move having carried him forwards at a slight angle, and stopped a few feet off to the side, his blade pointing downwards.

His hard focused eyes mirrored those of his opponent - and both men knew, without a word being said, that this was a fight to the death ..

Then later..

A solitary tear glinted in his eye as sunlight entered his soul.

Ignoring the pain in his leg and in his shoulder, embracing the calmness of the Void within him, the Warder climbed the Palace back wall, using the remainder of his strength to bring the dead body with him. He did not want it to be found inside the Palace grounds. Safely on the other side, gasping for breath, Elessar left the Darkfriend inside a dark alley under some refuse, in the Shadows. After a few minutes rest he started walking, with slow and measured steps, toward the Wise Woman shop. Going past the Mol Hara square he half walked, half stumbled along, receiving dubious looks from passersby. His weariness from the ordeal and pain increased, cracks appearing in his wall of calmness, as he neared the canal-bridge that he had walked across earlier that day. He gritted his teeth. Not too far now. Carys would heal his injuries - and - probably be somewhat vexed with him - but all he could think of was how good it would be to see his Sedai again ..

.. In the distance he saw someone hurrying toward him, rushing towards the stone bridge, and he knew it was Carys. He felt it through the Bond - it was like a light coming ever nearer - and when she was closer he recognized her features. Smiling, he halted about midway across the bridge and waited for her to reach him..

Blackness.
Then Light.

.. Elessar’s eyes snapped wide open and his whole body stiffened as a flood of healing weaves rushed through him, sweeping away all his pain and his injuries.

Staring at his Sedai, at Carys, he felt a moment of strong emotion, in appreciation for how she had healed his injuries - which, truth be told, were more serious than he had imagined - but even more so for the close and valuable friendship they shared.

Emotions mirrored in her eyes.

He looked away for a second, collecting himself ..

Then he told her everything.

There was a moment of silence after his last words. Elessar got up from the stone bridge. He felt tiredness in his body - the Healing had taken his remaining strength - but no more pain for which he was grateful. He stood there and looked silently down at the canal and at the water flowing by, thinking of how the ‘river of life’ carried you along, smoothly at times and other times much less so.

There was a pulchritudinous poem he had once read, called ‘A Mirror of Emotions’, which spoke of life changes. Of decisions. Of fate. And of New Beginnings. He remembered the words well and they whispered in his mind as he stared down at his own reflection in the water.


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A Mirror of Emotions

Look into the Mirror of your Soul
Gaze at the Reflections of the Past
Making good Decisions is your Goal
Finding sound Solutions that will Last

Break the Glass of Wisdom if you Must
Do what must be Done, who can Foretell
Fate may guide your Hand and garner Trust
Throw your Darkness into Mirror’s Well

Listen to the Echoes in the Night
Borne on Winds of awe-inspiring Grace
Start a New Beginning in the Light
Feel the Peace within your Soul Embrace

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The dreams continued in Elessar’s mind throughout the night, memories brought forth in an endless spiral of rememberance.

When he woke in the morning, it was almost as if the brilliant sunshine blazing over the White Tower and the city of Tar Valon heralded a new beginning.
 

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  • 1 month later...

Tension. Stress. Anxiety. Angst.  The mix of emotion coming from the bond was overwhelming and only growing stronger by being mirrored in her own body.  

 

It is time, she thought with a ting of sorrow.

 

They had both been putting it off for weeks, but she knew the stalemate would have to end sometime. She knew the sensation in the bond all too well; all of their stalemates ended when this recipe of emotion came together in this way.

 

She made her way through the halls of the White Tower back to her rooms in the Green halls and tried to prepare herself. She may not win the impending argument, but she would darn well give it her all trying. Opening the door she held the Aes Sedai mask and found the eyes of her warder staring straight into her own from across the room.

 

At least he hasn’t packed yet. She let the door fall closed behind her, and stood waiting. If he is ready, let him begin.

 

“Do we really need to do this?” Nevuel asked.

 

“Do what?” the Green replied, reaching her right arm across to link with the left giving away her unpleased position.

 

“If we must then,” the warder sighed in return, “I’m going. We both knew I would, and time is running out.”

 

“When do we leave?” Kathleen asked, expecting to hear her warder try to deny her company.

 

“I will leave when we find someone else to watch over you.” He stated without pause.

 

“You will not keep me here alone while you---wait what?” Kathleen’s face fell out of the practiced mask and her eyes darted between her warders trying to figure out what he said. That was new. That is not how these confrontations ever went, and it would not go this way now. She pulled the cloak of serenity around herself again and waited.

 

“Kathleen, you know I must go. You read the letter, my sister needs me. I can’t ask you to walk away and follow me for the light knows how long, but you know I have to go to her. This is not your mission and it would only take you away from your cause. I will not be the reason you give that up. I will not let you waste your time and talents sitting around waiting for me to do something you cannot help with. I promise you I will return as soon as this is taken care of, but it is something I need to do – alone.”

 

That last sentence was the blow that made her know just how different this time was. What argument could she possibly have if he truly felt he needed to do this alone? She knew now he would win. He was really going to go. She was really going to stay. Still, she had to try, she couldn't make him think he could slip away that easily.

 

“You stood by me and followed me to plenty of things which had you doing nothing but waiting on me. I have no problem doing the same. I have plenty of time to go with you, and I’m sure I could find things to do there while you’re tied up. And just what makes you think that what is important to you is not just as important to me? This bond is not one-sided Warder!” She kept her tone even, but she knew the bond denied her attempt to hide her shock and true emotions.

 

“Please stop. Do you really think I want it to be this way? Do you really think I want to walk away from you? Did I not vow to stand at your side? Do you think it comes easy for me to go now?” The warder’s voice was just as still.

 

“If it is not easy, and it is not necessary then why do it?” She spat back. “And since when have you ever had the power to stop me doing what I choose to do? Just because you don’t want me to go doesn't mean you can stop me going with you. If it is my cause you are worried about, you can stop and let me worry about it. I can do what I must in whatever way I choose and if I choose to do it from where ever you go, then that is what I will do. And I’ll have plenty years more to worry about my cause when this thing is long finished.”

 

“I am not fighting with you, Kat. I know you can go where and when you wish, but what I am about to do I am not doing as a warder; I am doing it as a brother. I need to do this alone. I need to go home and I need to be a brother. I will have enough to worry about with my sister, Kathleen; please don’t make me worry about you too.” Nevuel rose and began walking to the back room.

 

“Wouldn’t it be easier not to worry over me if you knew where I was, what I was doing and was at arm’s length? Isn’t that what you usually argue when I try to go solo?” Kathleen called out after him.

 

The back and forth continued, both clearly just going through the motions of a conversation they both knew they didn’t really need to go through because they both knew how it would end.The conversation went late into the night, and rolled through arguments, and hot emotions flying.  

 

Neveul’s position remained the same; he seemed determined to ditch her and set up her up with someone else to distract her from the loss.

 

The green’s position stayed just the same as it had from the start; she was not going to be that easy to be rid of, and while she had never been opposed to taking on more warders she would never do it to satisfy someone that she had supervision.

 

She did not need to minding like a child and she was free to move around the world doing as she pleased, where she pleased and when she pleased. But she did respect her warder and she knew he would need to go, and he would need to go alone. She didn’t have to make the leaving easy though.

 

She would find a way to go with him, or at least keep contact with him and a guaranteed return to her as soon as his duty was met. He did seem set on waiting long enough for her to at least seem to be trying to find a suitable sitter though, and by holding off on that perhaps she could keep him around longer.

 

~ Kathleen

Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah

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  • 2 weeks later...

The door clicked as it shut, dampening the sound from the activity on the other side.  Dust floated softly through the air, the golden sunbeams catching the motes on their descent.  Behind the thick oak desk sat an empty high-backed chair, the dark yellow cushion plush and inviting.  Papers were stacked neatly in a box to the left, an inkwell directly to the left of that.  The pen sat nearby; dried black ink staining the tip.  A row of small plants lined the windowsill, green leaves stretching toward the sun.  A tall cabinet sat against the wall to the right, the silver handle gleaming.  This room provided order; outside provided chaos. 

 

Sagging against the door, the Aes Sedai closed her eyes and just stood still for a moment.  She tried to remember the last time she’d had a moment to herself, other than sleeping, and had difficulty. Her days, months now actually, were filled with injured initiates, townspeople, and training rotating Accepted.    The Infirmary was busier than it had even been, for reasons unexplained – other than the vague doomsday prediction that the Dark One’s touch was increasing on the world.  Pushing off the door, she sighed deeply and opened her eyes.

 

Tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear, Carys strode to the other side of the desk and sat down.  It was hard not to prop her arms on the desk and sink her head into them.  She cringed as she heard a metal tray and several glass items fall onto the floor.  A short bark from the Yellow in charge followed, the snap of her tone zinging through the door even though the words were muffled.  Despite Carys being her superior now by virtue of her position, the raven haired Aes Sedai had sent the younger Sister to her office when she’d swayed on her feet just a moment ago whilst Delving their newest client.  The Infirmary existed long before you were even born, it will survive you taking an evening off, she’d told the Altaran in a stern, but motherly voice.  Then she’d clapped her hands and told all the Accepted she was in charge for the next twelve hours before turning on her heel, effectively dismissing Carys.

 

Sighing again, Carys tucked her legs under the desk and grabbed at the stack of papers.  There were several awaiting her signature and official seal.  Several more required a written explanation before heading up the Keeper for the Amyrlin’s review.  She was about the dip the pen in the inkwell when she felt a small twinge in the bundle of emotions at the back of her head that was her Warder.  Although it had been days since she’d last seen him – a quick hello as she was instructing an Accepted on how to set a broken bone- it felt like months.  The closeness that they’d acquired on their travels had now melted into an awkward acquaintance type feeling.  The distance between them was palpable and she didn’t know how to fix it.  So, they avoided each other.  She stayed busy in the Infimary – too busy for her own good – and he spent his time…anywhere else.  It was as if the memories of their time together had happened in another life.   And, she supposed, perhaps it had.

 

Though all she had wanted to do when she came to the White Tower was to work in the Infirmary and Heal people, her adventures in Cairhein, Ebou Dar, and with the Sea Folk had changed all that.  She had felt alive in a way she’d never before experienced.  With Elessar at her side, the two of them protecting each other, Carys had felt as if she could make a true difference in the world.  Her time with the Sea Folk women had been one of the most difficult ordeals she’d even faced – even more so than the Darkfriends from Cairhein – but she had finally begun to win the respect of the women when she’d been yanked back to Tar Valon.  An urgent message sent to every port called her back the Tower:  Carys’s predecessor had literally walked out of her office to never return.  There were reports of her leaving Tar Valon on a nondescript tan mare, but nothing since.  It was a mystery that the Yellows were working ferociously to solve.  Due to her voracious devotion to Healing and her mastery of the new Five Weave method, Carys was instructed to return to Tar Valon and run the Infirmary.  The First Weaver offered her no choice or argument in the matter.  A sense of obligation to Service before herself drew the Yellow back and she had been here ever since.  Running herself ragged ever since. 

 

Setting down the pen, she bit her lip and leaned back against the chair.  First she would retire to her suite to get some sleep, and then with time to finally think about it, she would consider what to do about the tension between her and Elessar.       

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.. To feel Needed as a Warder ..

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The dreams had continued in Elessar’s mind, swirling like colourful mists in his consciousness, every night for the past week - and the Warder was certain that it meant something. He did not normally dream that often, so having such a barrage of dreams and memories threw him somewhat. What it all meant, though, he had no idea.

But it must mean something.

Perhaps it was all a result of his constant restlessness these days. His feeling of stagnation as a Warder in the White Tower. His need for some action.. to do something. Anything. His worry about Carys. Thinking about her, made him aware of the emotion that was her at the back of his head, and as so often these days she felt weary to him. He shook his head in concern and placed his sword, which he had been sharpening, beside him on the bench there at the outskirts of the Warder’s Yard.

Clouds were spreading across the sky above Tar Valon that early afternoon, mirroring his troubling thoughts. A soft wind was rising from the south, making the banners atop the Tower walls slowly ripple, and it seemed that a storm was coming.

Looking up at the grey sky, the Gaidin waited.

He was a man six foot three tall with a fairly dark complexion, short dark hair and hard dark eyes. He had a strong build (a result of hard physical training over many years) and also some battle-scars, most prominent was one across his abdomen. In fury over the death of his mother and his inability to prevent it, he had shaved off his forked beard (so common in Kandori men) long ago and had never re-grown it.

Touching his bare chin, as his eyes roamed the heavens for a long time looking for the bird of prey he seeked, he wondered if he ever would re-grow his Kandori forked beard. He did not think he would. He had made his choice and he would abide by it. There! High above, coming in from the east, he saw the bird float on the currents high above the Aes Sedai city, as he had seen it on several occasions in the past three days. He followed it with his eyes as it flew off into the west. A bird of prey. Out in the free.

A free soul.

A small smile touched his lips and he reached for his blade.

To be out in the world again. Doing his Warder duty. Carrying out his sworn service.
Outside. Where he could contribute. That was his inner wish.

To feel needed.
 


With a determined look on his face, Elessar went through the motions.

In the Void he felt complete calmness and truly felt one with his sword, a participant in a never-ending dance of motion. Unfolding the Fan, the opening move, which flowed into Low Wind Rising, a diagonal slash which began low and rose cleanly, followed by The Boar Rushes Down the Mountain, a vertical slash starting high and which in this case altered course in midswing, paired with Tower of Morning, a verticle slash but this time beginning low and ending high.

A few pearls of sweat beaded on his bare chest, arms and forehead as he moved efficiently through the forms, his focus all on his imagined opponent before him. The Falling Leaf and then straight into The River Undercuts the Bank.

The sword was a part of him, an extension of his arm, as he leapt to strike, bent to defend, went high and then low, moving from one form into another, slicing through the air with his blade and moving with agility and swift footwork to get his imaginary opponent off balance.

Finally, a fair time later, he sheathed his blade, in one steady motion, and nodded to himself, pleased with the workout.
 


As he returned to his room in the Tower, his thoughts centered again on his Bondholder.

Carys.

He showered and clothed himself but his thoughts stayed on her.
And on them.

On their Bond. On his worries. On his frustration that there seemed nothing he could do to change things.

He was dutibound to serve Carys in whatever capacity. Part of him felt it was wrong to even question this. Wrong to complain. Do your duty and stop whining! that little voice in the back of his mind said. He listened only partially to the voice. This was complicated. As things often were in life.

It had been days since he’d last seen Carys - a quick hello as she was instructing an Accepted on how to set a broken bone - but it felt like months in truth. If he were honest with himself, the closeness that they’d acquired on their travels had now melted into an awkward acquaintance type feeling. The distance between them was palpable and he didn’t know how to fix it. So, in a way, it seemed to him that they avoided each other. She stayed busy in the Infimary - and he spent his time…anywhere else. It was, Elessar thought, almost as if the memories of their time together - their travels and adventures in Cairhien, Ebou Dar, and with the Sea Folk - had happened in another life. And, he supposed, perhaps it had.

It was different then, he thought, as he stared silently out at the ever darkening sky from the window in his Tower room. Out on the road, I was needed. I could carry out my duty and service - and I did not feel restrained. She needed me back then.

He truly missed those days. With Carys at his side, as it had been with Leandreen many years before, he had felt as if he could make a true difference in the world. That he could excel as a Warder. Now, trapped in the Tower, he felt almost useless. That was, perhaps, an unfair notion and he would never say anything like that to Carys, of course, but recently he had struggled to suppress the feeling.
 


When he finally bedded down for the night, he was met by renewed dreams of Carys and him together on the road - or was it Leandreen and him? sometimes, somehow, it was difficult to tell the two apart.. - two partners united in common purpose on a sacred mission for the Light.
 

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A woman stood at the window, hands clasped behind her back, one hand idly spinning the Great Serpent ring on the middle finger of her right hand.  Her bright blue eyes looked out over Tar Valon, as her thoughts wandered.  The sky was a deep blue, the daylight having already surrendered.  Orange lights were already burning in at least half the windows; the crowds in the streets were thinning.  She was too far up to see where they were going, other than inside, but she imagined the majority were headed to their homes or to a tavern.  For many, despite their hardships, they would find comfort in the presence of loved ones.  When did that become such an issue for me? For Elessar?  When did we stop confiding in each other?

 

Sighing, she crossed the carpet to sit at her desk.  Despite having only been in her suite to sleep for the past few months, it was devoid of dust and grime.  Her skirt caught on a partially open drawer, the fabric groaning as it stretched.  She reached over to shut it - a small smile playing at her lips due to the fact that while it was clean, the set of rooms was otherwise as she’d left them - when something caught her eye.  Disengaging the dark yellow fabric of her skirt first, Carys pulled the drawer further open and peered inside.  Lying in the bottom was a sketchbook, a few pages starting to come loose.  Slowly she pulled it out, wondering why one of her sketchbooks had been placed in the drawer of her desk, seemingly forgotten, when the rest were stacked neatly on her bookshelf. 

 

Opening it, she realized this was the sketchbook she’d draw in as she and Elessar had traveled from Cairhein to Altara.  There were several plants pressed in the pages – complete with a sealing ward – as well as many drawings of plants she’d never seen.  Feeling excitement beginning to spread through her, Carys flipped through the pages, starting to plan a discussion with the First Weaver about the properties of the new plants.  Her hand stilled when she came across the next to last picture.  Smoothing the completely flat pages, she ran her hands across the picture there.  It was one of her best.  She’d captured the wild, dangerous beauty of the subject.  I have to figure out a way to solve this distance that has blossomed between us.

 

                                                                                                ~*~

 

Steam rose from the cup of tea, sending a soft scent of herbs into the air.  It was the fourth time it had been heated since it was poured, the previous times cooling after one sip had been taken.  Next to the tea, covering most of the desk, were several books, each open, pages displayed to the ceiling.   Notes were scribbled across a page atop the stack of books, each one referring to specific paragraph in a specific book.  The information in the noted paragraphs was truly the only information that even remotely connected the books.  To the outside observer, it would be impossible to discern the topic of interest. That was probably for the best.  She could imagine the scathing remarks directed toward her should anyone figure it out.  The Tower did not take kindly to new, or change.  For Creator's sake, she had been Aes Sedai for over two decades now and she was still considered...fresh.  They respected the Ring, but they respected age and power more.  Of course it was all different now.

 

Letting lose a sigh, Carys scrubbed her hands across her face and then dropped them into her lap.  That was a different problem; she felt overwhelmed with seemingly unsolvable problems.  If I'd wanted to spend this much time debating, I would have chosen Gray. Admittedly, she'd been debating with only herself. It was not a subject one inquired about lightly.  She'd researching for weeks, now. Every spare moment not in the infirmary had been dedicated to her new mission.  She’d found a way to Heal using all Five Elements when before it had seemed impossible; surely there was a way to solve this issue.  She wasn’t leaving.  Aside from the fact that she couldn’t, Carys no longer wanted to leave the Tower.  It had been a grueling start; difficult to come into the chaos, difficult to give up the freedom that the outside world offered.  Yet the Infirmary was in better shape now than it had been in years – perhaps centuries.  She had grudgingly come to understand why some Aes Sedai chose to stay in the Tower. Her feelings had melted into acceptance, then understanding, and then a yearning to remain at the Tower.  Change could be applied to the world in many ways and through the White Tower she could create much more change than she could out in the world. 

 

Perhaps it was a return to her earlier naivety to believe that she could affect that much change just by staying in the Tower.  Maybe she had retreated into the lonely woman she'd been before Cairhein, but it felt right this time.  She no longer felt lost with no direction. But just because she'd come to terms with remaining at the Tower, did not mean Elessar felt the same.  Carys felt the aggravation in him, she felt the tension, the unease, the unhappiness.  Yet he was bound by duty to stay with her, committed to a life that had already become the opposite of what he had signed up for.  It was madness to know she was responsible for his unhappiness.  Madness to know that in order to do what was best for him, she had to let him go.  She bit her lip and stared at the handful of notes on the paper in front of her, her hand shaking a little.  Elessar would be here soon; she’d invited him to dine with her.  It would be the first time they had talked, really talked, since about two weeks after they'd returned to the Tower.  It would be the first time she acknowledged the predicament aloud, the first time she asked him to do the same, the first time she proposed a solution.  A crazy, unpredictable, possibly impossible solution.  It would be the last time she'd weigh him down with her choices.

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.. Recalling a Time with the Atha’an Miere ..

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Another day with a strong breeze blowing heavily over the city of Tar Valon made Elessar Telcontar, standing still at the edge of the Warder’s Yard, eyes looking pensively into the far horizon, recall a Time spent with the Atha’an Miere.

His mind reminisced the Sea Folk, their splendid ships, their colourful women, Falme and how he and Carys had arrived there one sunny afternoon, on her mission for the Tower..

Memories..
 


..The Warder and Sedai continued down the street of Falme toward the harbour in the distance. Carys was to meet one of the Atha’an Miere, or the Sea Folk as some called them, a Windfinder from one of their huge ships. Elessar only knew the bare details, but he did know that his Bondholder was on an important mission for the White Tower and he would do all he could to help her fulfill it..

..The Sea Folk ship, a Raker called Windsweeper, was a large vessel with multiple decks, easily a hundred paces long, with three towering masts amidships, and one shorter one on the raised sterndeck. It had large triangular as well as somewhat smaller white squared sails, and a very narrow body, as was common in such ships, that made for great speed across oceans. The ship was commanded from the Quarterdeck by a Sailmistress called Marah din Toral Rising Wave, a tall dark-skinned woman with grey streaked hair, a grave face and with five rings - of good quality metal - in each ear, one of them being connected to her nose by a chain, a sign of her higher rank..

..He climbed the stairs to the raised sterndeck of the ship and stood there by the railing watching for a while as the Sea Folk worked. Looking at the dark-skinned men and women moving about the ship with quick and sure steps and everpresent alertness, with grace and proficiency and obvious pride in their work, the Borderlander-bred Warder could not help but be somewhat impressed..

..Just before the voyage started, he had remained standing by the quay-side, amidst ships of all sizes, gazing with interest at the buzzing life around him. Carys had been in talks with the Atha’an Miere daily since their arrival, but now she stood at his side on the stone docks, face serene, silently watching the surrounding activities with him. He sensed her through the Bond also. And like on so many previous occasions this remarkable Warder-Sedai connection made him smile inside..



Their Bond was one of Hope and he had embraced it to fill his Soul with Light.



The Borderlander-bred Gaidin’s gaze finally had shifted to the sea. Staring thoughtfully at the endless sapphire-blue waters of the great Aryth Ocean, the ardent whispers of the south-eastern wind, touching the waves brushing insistently against the stone-based harbour docks of Falme, had sounded to Elessar almost like An Echo of a Windfinder’s Call..



Memories..

Shifting his gaze to a pair of young Warder-trainees going through the forms some way off to his left, his mind returned to the present.

To his concerns.
To his tension.
To his growing unease.

He shook his head slightly, sighing inwardly. He watched the young men move with eagerness but lacking agility and saw the way they inexpertly handled their blades, and on an ordinary day he probably would have joined them and showed them how it was to be done, but this day Elessar’s mind was occupied with heavy thoughts that burdened him and so he turned away, taking with him the blade he had trained with that afternoon, and headed resolutely for his room.

It is going to be awkward. The thought bustled in his mind as he walked. For both of us. He and Carys were going to dine together this evening. She had invited him. And he had known straight away that this was going to be more than a mere meal shared together. They had avoided each other for too long and it was time to speak out. She had not said as much, of course, but he felt sure this was the case. They had, after all, not spoken for what seemed ages.

How did we drift so far apart? he wondered for the hundreth time. When did we stop confiding in each other? Inside he knew the truth. He had admitted it to himself a few times, but still part of him denied it. Her work in the Tower takes all her time now. And I cannot function well locked up. I need to be outside. In the open. Only there can I do my duty: to protect and serve. That is my life. Even so, he was bound to Carys and his duty lay with her. I swore on my life. I will not break my oath. It seemed hard, very hard indeed, but there was nothing to do but grit his teeth and steel his heart and serve as he was honour-bound to do.
 


In the early hours of evening, Elessar walked quietly up to Carys’ quarters and knocked on the door. He knew that she would feel his presence through the Bond, as he felt hers, and entered the room shortly after her voice bade him do so, seating himself in the offered chair.

Meeting his Bondholder’s eyes, trying to keep his inner frustrations at bay, he remained silent until she was ready to speak.

This was not going to be easy for either of them.

Life never is.
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The room was deathly silent; an invasion of clinking occasionally occurring as the Yellow and her Warder ate the warm soup from bowls in front of them. The air was thick with tension as the two of them sat across from each other but spilled no words from their lips. Vexed with herself, Carys went over the proposal again and again inside her head, urging herself to spill it. It was why she'd invited him, after all. It was what she'd spent her every free second on of late.

 

Taking a bite of bread, Carys moved her eyes from her dishes to look at the man across the table from her. Her Warder. Elessar. Someone she'd come to know deeply; someone who had literally held his life in her hands, and someone whose life she'd saved. It broke her heart to lose him, but it was breaking his to stay. She felt tears well up in her eyes and she looked down at her lap, blinking rapidly to clear them. It had seemed so easy when she'd come up with the idea, but now faced with explanation she felt...lost. As the excitement ebbed and fear crept in, she felt like that same fourteen year old that had been plucked from Ebou Dar by the Aes Sedai. It's time to stop being selfish.

 

Elessar,” she made herself say, meeting his eyes as they snapped to hers. “I owe you an apology.” Good start...keep going. Clearing her throat, she set down the cloth napkin on top of her plate and pushed it away to provide less distraction. “Before you chime in about a Warder's responsibility, Please let me get this all out before you chime in. Otherwise, I don't know if I'll get through all that I want to say. I want to start with saying I'm sorry. Not something one normally hears from an Aes Sedai, but give our history, you deserve to know that I am sorry. Sorry that I was called back to the Tower, I am sorry that I haven't made time for you, for us. I am sorry that I let the distance between us grow so far. Mostly, however, I am sorry to be the cause of your unhappiness.” She paused to take a sip of water, wiping away an errant tear. There were times for Aes Sedai serenity and there were times for pure honesty.

 

You have fulfilled my every command and request as Warder, of course. Perhaps unknowingly, you also became my dearest friend. Your pain is my pain and it's crippling us both. Each going through the motions but unable to truly commit to how our lives have changed due to the missive I received.” She dragged a hand through her hair and let out a small growl. Carys looked up at him with a hand on each side of her head, “more simply put, Elessar, I hate seeing you this way. I hate knowing that I'm the cause.”

 

A swath of moonlight shone through a small opening in the thick curtains. Carys pushed away from the table and strode over to the desk. Picking up her notes, she felt a slight buoyancy in her step. Something she hadn't felt in ...months. Something she hadn't felt since they'd returned to the Tower. As she sat back down at the table, she held the notes close to her chest. “But I think I may have found a solution, short of death.” She flashed him a quick half smile, attempting to insert some brevity, before moving on.

 

I think I have found a way to pass the Bond to another, willing, Aes Sedai.”

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.. Mind Awash in a Multitude of Emotions ..

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“What!?” “What did you just say!?”

The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them and as he came to his feet with abruptness, his plate of soup rattling on the table as his knee crashed into one of the table-legs, he flashed her a shocked - almost angry - stare, before turning resolutely away from her, face reddening, clenching his fists, trying hard to calm his temper.

His mind was awash in a multitude of emotions.

He felt anger and disappointment. Sadness but also a kind of relief.

Anger that she would consider ‘passing him on’ - even for ‘good reasons’ - to another Sister almost as if he were a ‘sack of potatoes’. He knew that as a Warder he was dutibound to ‘obey’ and ‘accept’ whatever his Sedai decided as regards his service, and a Warder-Bond had been known to be ‘passed’ on occasion though it was not that common, but even so it left a sour taste in his mouth. ‘To death and beyond’ a Warder served, that was what he had promised his Bondholders. That was what he had promised Carys. That was what she had accepted.

He felt disappointment because it meant he would not be able to fulfil his duty and service to her as he had promised he would. She would not let him. It was like a broken pact.

There was sadness because of their close friendship - and ‘partnership’ - as Warder and Sedai, a friendship which had strengthened as time had passed, a friendship which meant much to him, and - he knew - to her.

But there was also a sense of relief, because giving him a new Bondholder would solve his frustrating situation, would give him the chance to shed his current anguish and make it possible for him to fulfil his Warder-duties out in the world, out of this ‘cage’ which the White Tower had become for him. He felt a little shame to think so, considering he was as a Warder dutibound in whatever capacity was needed, but he could not quite help himself.

All these thoughts went through his mind, back and forth, time and again, as he stared silently at the wall before him, seeking the calm of the Void within, that place deep inside him where he could direct his feelings and passions and find peace. It took a few long moments but he slowly regained a sort of equilibrium.

Unclenching his fists, he turned and faced Carys from across the room.

“I apologize for my outburst, Carys Aes Sedai”. The words were formal, but that was his nature. Also it seemed appropriate to him in view of her words. “Your.. suggestion” - it was more than a suggestion, he knew, but that was the word he used - “took me very much by surprise, that is all.”

His pulse quickened somewhat. Perhaps he was not as calm as he had thought.

There was a silence after his words.

Her words echoed in his mind.
 


“Elessar, I owe you an apology..

..Before you chime in about a Warder's responsibility, Please let me get this all out before you chime in. Otherwise, I don't know if I'll get through all that I want to say. I want to start with saying I'm sorry. Not something one normally hears from an Aes Sedai, but given our history, you deserve to know that I am sorry. Sorry that I was called back to the Tower, I am sorry that I haven't made time for you, for us. I am sorry that I let the distance between us grow so far. Mostly, however, I am sorry to be the cause of your unhappiness..

..You have fulfilled my every command and request as Warder, of course. Perhaps unknowingly, you also became my dearest friend. Your pain is my pain and it's crippling us both. Each going through the motions but unable to truly commit to how our lives have changed due to the missive I received.. more simply put, Elessar, I hate seeing you this way. I hate knowing that I'm the cause..

..But I think I may have found a solution, short of death.. I think I have found a way to pass the Bond to another, willing, Aes Sedai..”




The room had been deathly silent after his arrival, a silence only occasionally broken by the clinking sound of spoons in motion, as they had started eating the warm soup from bowls in front of them on the table. The air had been thick with tension as the two of them sat across from each other but spilled no words from their lips.

Elessar had waited for Carys to break the silence, and when she had not he had been content to focus on the meal until she was ready. He had gone over in his mind how to explain his feelings in a proper way, without there being any inherent criticism of her or any complaining on his part regarding his duty to her as a Warder, but had not really arrived at a good explanation by the time she finally broke the silence.
 


Meeting his Bondholder’s eyes now, he heard himself say: “No apology needed, Carys Sedai”. Part of him believed so, part of him appreciated the apology, and a small part thought it was his due all things considered. He felt confused. Normally in full charge of his emotions, this shocking development had rattled him. He had never seen this coming. He knew they needed to talk and that it might come to some ‘verbal strain’ between them and, perhaps, some changes between them in the way they worked together and related, but he had never considered this possibility.

As he calmed further, he felt a sense of shame. She had in an un-Aes Sedai way spoken openly and had apologized with dignity and earnestness. She had offered a difficult but workable solution - one that pained her - to resolve their situation, but mainly to ease his pain. She deserved much better from him.

“I appreciate your words and your caring, Carys.” He deliberately left out the ‘Sedai’ this time to show that this was personal. “I accept your apology, though none was really needed.” He said. “I apologize too. For your pain. For my part in all of this.” A slight pause. “And much of what you say makes sense”, he added. “I am just.. somewhat shocked by your.. solution, that is all. Though things have been awkward and somewhat strained lately between us, it had never occurred to me that I would not continue to carry out my duty, responsibility and service to you as I swore on my oath.”

He sighed and looked away, his fists slowly clenching again. The Void inside him almost shattered and he struggled mightily to come to terms with this new situation.

Gradually, through force of will, bringing his emotions under control, a few moments later he turned to face his Sedai again.

“I have served three Sisters of the White Tower in my many years as a Warder”. He said with rememberance in his voice. “Not many Tower-trained men can say that.” A longer pause followed and his eyes took on a pensive cast. “I was certain that you would be my last”, he almost whispered.
There was a moment of tense silence between them. Their eyes met, his dark and her blue.

Then he nodded respectfully to her - and it was as if they had reached an understanding.

Elessar knew that it would take time for him to accept this decision. It was very complicated for him, painful in many ways, and his many conflicting emotions buzzed around in his head. He saw no other solution than to accept and move on, though. He would have to deal with his discordant emotions later, whatever they be.

He was sure that Carys felt his emotional disarray through the Bond, and through her intuition and understanding of the situation, so he felt no need to explain further.

The next step then..

Neutrally, his mind still somewhat befuddled by it all, he said:

“I presume you have someone suitable in mind.”
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kathleen sat on the edge of her bed, staring blankly at the wall before her. She had been sitting in this state of shock for some little time now. She had to sort things out, but she wasn't sure where to start. Her emotions were mixed and her thoughts were even more confused. Where was she meant to start sorting through this? 

 

"Just think about it, and let me know." The final words from a Yellow sister she had hardly known came sharply to her mind now. Think about it. She supposed that the was the  best plan for a place to start. Don't think about all the rest, just start with the proposal.

 

It was an odd proposal, to take over the bond of another sister's warder was odd enough; to take over the bond of a sister from another ajah was more odd on top. To take over the bond of a warder from the sister of another ajah whom you hardly know at all was odder still. 

 

She pushed the questions of whether Nevuel had approached the Yellow out of her mind; whether or not he had was of no concern now. The proposal was out there.

 

She had already said no, she would not take the bond from someone else, but the yellow had stated that it truly was her will that the bond be transferred to a Green. She made it clear that whether Kathleen took the bond over or not, their bond would be transferred or removed somehow. It would not be seen as interference, rather it would be an act of mercy and a that of a good deed. Still, was that enough? And how did the warder feel about being handed off?

 

Kathleen thought she could at least have a guess to that. She had come to know the warder, if only slightly, but their conversations had grown more frequent and more deep of late. He did seem somber and she could tell that his dedication was strong to his Aes Sedai, but the life of duty bound to the Tower halls was lowering his spirits. She could see the fire in his eyes when he thought of his days outside, and he did have experience with bonds to the Green. It could be a home coming of sorts, so thought. But she was not the Greens he had known. Was she ready for that challenge? Trying to live up to the memory of the Green sisters he had served previously?

 

No, I will not get distracted by emotion. Just the facts. Neveul is going. I will need protection while he is gone. Elessar is experienced, I wouldn't need to train him, and I could trust his skills. Carys will leave him whether I take him or not. By my saying no, he will be refused by two. He will go to another green and I will cross his path in these halls for all the days he his here. Could I meet his eyes then? No. No emotion. If he goes to another and out into the world our conversations will end. That may be the biggest regret in letting him go.

 

She scoffed, the first sound she had made in almost an hour. Letting him go, as if I have him now. 

 

If I say no, and watch him pass from her to another, that won't be the end of it. Neveul will still insist that I find another to cover my back while he is gone. But who else would I take? He knows full well I will never have a warder only to have one. I will never have a warder who is merely the status of a horse or suit of armor. I will never have a man so deeply in my life merely as a form of protection. How could I find another I connect with and have such enjoyable conversations with before he goes? That aspect of the relationship has already begun to bloom with Elessar. I will not have that with another before Nevuel leaves, and if Elessar goes I will lose that connection we already have. The light knows forming friendships as Aes Sedai is a more difficult challenge than taming nobles! Light, but I lose the only two men I can have a drink and a laugh with at once. 

 

Kathleen sighed at that realization. He does meet all the criteria I had for a second warder, he and I get along outside of a duty bond relationship, he has proven skill of all it really means to be a warder, he has experience enough for me to put my life in his hands with no hesitation, and he seems to get on well with Nevuel. 

 

So what truly is my hold back? Is it simply that his experience intimidates me? He has had such experience, how could I possibly live up to the lifetimes of the ones who came before me? Is it that he has a bond? But she has told me it is coming to an end. Is it that its coming too fast for comfort? Nothing in life comes when we're ready for it, we must simply be ready for all that comes when we are not prepared. Is that not the whole of my learning from these years as a Green? We are never ready for battle, we are merely prepared to react to it? So that is the logic.

 

Perhaps it is time to think on the emotion, then. She sat in silence and let herself feel. After letting the emotions filter to the surface and fight without thought among themselves she asked herself two questions to make the final decision.

 

Am I am willing lose them both and start again alone? Am I willing to take the chance that I let him down as his bondholder?

 

When her emotions soared in repsonse to both of those questions she knew she had her answer. There was only two things left to do. Find Neveul and get his thoughts, and find Carys to give her the reply.

 

****************************************************************************************************************************

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Kathleen found her warder blowing off steam with a sword fight against a trainee in the warder yards. She waited in silence, watching his body sway to and fro as he balanced the work of strikes and defense against the young man. Normally she would watch the form of her warder and that of the young man, looking for weakness or breaks or in their guard. Today, however, she simply watched and admired the dance. She tried to force the image to burn to her brain. She wanted to remember the way her warder looked with a sword swirling round him. It was hard to believe he was leaving so soon. They had hardly spent a night apart since they had first bonded, and the thought of not knowing when she'd see him again were a foreign thing she did not wish to embrace. 

 

When the fight ended Nevuel handed off his wooden sword to the trainee who hurried away with it. It wasn't until after the young man left that Nevuel wiped the sweat from his face. He moved with a light jog in his step to hurry over to Kathleen. After a quick greeting Kathleen made her business clear and the two strolled through the tower grounds as she told him of the offer from the Yellow sister and her thoughts over it. When she was done she said she would give him sometime to consider it, but she reminded him with a laugh of his own desire to have her watched over by someone he trusts, and the fact that she holds the reigns to her own future. After that it was a matter of giving him space to think it over. She did add a request to have an answer sooner rather than later though, in case the offer were to move to another sister.

 

Nevuel returned the green sister's rooms, cleaned himself up and changed into fresh clothes as he thought over the situation. When he returned to his aes sedai's side he had only the request to hear the offer for himself, and be present for the discussions with the yellow and Kathleen's possible future bonded warder. She could not deny him that respect, and so the two made their way to the Yellow halls. They ignored the stares they got as the Green sister and her warder walked silently and directly to the yellow sister's door. Kathleen stood with her arms at her side and Nevuel knocked twice on the door to see anyone was in.

 

Kathleen,

Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah

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  • 2 weeks later...

Certain you would be my last...The words echoed through the silent room despite Elessar's whisper. It floated from his lips, expanding until it filled the room and then sunk into everything. She felt it press deep into her bones and she knew she'd never forget that phrase. It would haunt her. It would be etched into her eyelids every time she closed her eyes; it would be in her dreams. But it would be her pain, not his. He would find happiness again. He would not wither away at the Tower, emotions atrophying as he watched the same spars repeatedly. She would not do that to him. She steeled herself so that he would see the resolve in her eyes. This is best for you. I promise, she stated silently.

 

She briefly thought back to her discussion with Kathleen. Carys had sought her out personally and singly. She hadn't discussed this with any other Sisters. Her urge had been to offer the idea to Elessar and give him the opportunity to choose, but she knew he wouldn't have. He would have fought with her; he would have stayed, claiming it was his duty to be by her side. Instead, the Yellow had taken the initiative to find another Aes Sedai for Elessar. A woman who would treat him with the respect and attention he deserved. She knew from the start that it would need to be a Green.

 

Finding that Green had been a stroke of good fortune. A Warder had come in, deliriously feverish. A small cut ignored for too long had flared into an infection. He'd stumbled into the Infirmary on his own, mumbling about needing to leave, about emotional changes, about needing someone to watch her back whilst he was gone. Carys had Healed him, asking small probing questions until she had ferreted out his Aes Sedai. Then she'd observed Kathleen. Even more good fortune had shown a budding friendship between the Green and Elessar. She'd felt a pang of jealousy at that. His willingness to reach out to another Aes Sedai, and yet not talk to her made her feel small. Unworthy. It had taken her a day to wrestle with that, emotionally warring with herself, before she'd stamped it down and continued with the task at hand.

 

The conversation itself was short and blunt. The two were not friends. They barely knew each other; most assuredly only because they were currently in the Tower at the same time. Yellows and Greens rarely interacted; a necessary Healing generally the only culprit. It had taken more time to find a place to approach Kathleen than to discuss. Perhaps discuss was the wrong word. Than to propose the Bond shift. The Green had barely spoken, confusion marring her pretty features. She'd refused initially, as all Sisters were wont to do; Bonds were not taken lightly. But Carys could sense the hesitation in the 'no', the desire for another Warder, for the closeness that the Bond could offer. Firmly, she'd explained to Kathleen that this was her desire. Elessar could share more with her if he wished. “Just think on it and let me know.” Were the words the Yellow had parted with, leaving the Green speechless and perplexed.

 

In front of her, Elessar finally moved. He nodded, his eyes meeting hers. She snapped back to the present, alert. “I presume you have someone suitable in mind.” His words cut deep again. She winced at the tone, closing her eyes as she scrubbed a hand across her face.

 

“It was not my intention to choose for you, but yes, I believe I have found someone for this delicate situation.” She said, her eyes still closed. She heard Elessar shift in his seat and she paused, gathering herself. Did he think this was easy for her to do? Wildly, she wondered if this was what having a spat with a husband or lover was like. So much emotion circling in the air. Dismissing the random thought, Carys opened her eyes then, and stared into his dark pupils as she spoke the name, “I believe you know Kathleen Sedai.”

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.. The Complexity of Words Unspoken ..

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Elessar knew that there was some ‘bite’ in his words, perhaps unfairly spoken, but he could not quite stop himself and it was too late to take them back. Carys seemed to wince at his tone and he saw her close her eyes and scrub a hand across her face. He half-cursed inside, disliking the tension between them. Clenching his fists he felt the tenuous hold on his emotions start to slip and he had to get a grip on himself to stay in control. He waited in silence for his Bondholder to reply.

Then she spoke. “It was not my intention to choose for you,” Carys replied, her eyes still closed , “but yes, I believe I have found someone for this delicate situation.”

Elessar shifted in his seat, processing her words in his mind.

So she had intended for him to have a choice in the matter of new Bondholder? Elessar appreciated the gesture but was not sure if he would have taken the offer if it had been given, he might have insisted on fulfilling his duty to her, and he presumed that Carys knew him well enough that she had decided against the idea in the end.

Who had she found then?

He had no idea. While being far from happy with the whole idea of being ‘passed’ to another Sister, although a small part deep inside him rejoiced at the opportunity to escape the ‘cage’ that the White Tower had become for him, he knew that he would do his duty no matter what. And that would be the case whomever Carys had found for him. Some Sisters would be easier to work with than others, though. That was always the case.

Who?

Like most Warders Elessar knew fairly little of Aes Sedai business and inter-Ajah customs, but from his many years as a Bonded Warder he had learned enough to understand that interaction between members of different Ajahs was not that common except when Sisters had been friends from their Novice-days in the Tower or such. It could, of course, be that Carys knew of such a Sister, that she was a friend of hers from another Ajah, and that she knew that this other Aes Sedai was looking for a Warder. Passing a Bond was not common at all, Leandreen had told him many years ago, though it happened on occasion, and he presumed it was the same still.

The silence between them deepened.

Then Carys opened her eyes, and stared into his dark pupils as she spoke the name, “I believe you know Kathleen Sedai.”
 


The spoken name made him react in different ways.

First there was relief, because this was the one Aes Sedai he actually had had some pleasant contact with, conversationally, besides his Bondholder. There was also contentment because she was Green and he had felt some kind of bond - an affinity of sorts - with the Battle Ajah ever since his Warder days with Leandreen. Also he had met Kathleen Sedai’s Borderlander Warder and liked him from their few moments together. At the same time there was something in Carys’ voice.. something undefinable.. a touch of bitterness? a slight touch of jealousy? He must have imagined it, but there was something in the way she spoke those words that made him.. weary. He did not flinch from her direct stare but stared back in the same way.

I never told her about my conversations with Kathleen. He thought to himself. She probably knows about them now. I know I should have, but we were drifting apart and I needed someone to talk to, I needed to get out of that ‘cage’ even if only for a few hours. How can I explain so that you will understand, my friend?

He shifted his eyes away from Carys’ face and got to his feet. He walked off to the side, feeling Carys’ eyes at his back. She said nothing, waiting for him to speak.

Finally he turned around and faced her. “Yes, I know Kathleen Sedai.” He said. There was a slight edge to his voice, as if in reply to an unspoken accusation.

He calmed his voice and continued. “As she may have told you, we have had several conversations in the past weeks. I have enjoyed our talks, also with her Borderlander Warder.” He paused for a while, then went on. “I needed a break from my daily routine, to tell the truth, and she seemed to enjoy the conversation.” He spoke quickly about how they had met in the Warder’s Yard that time and that she had invited him for a talk. “I know I probably should have told you,” his eyes met hers, “but as things have been lately we haven’t had much time to talk.. and to be honest, I didn’t think my visits would be of any harm to anyone.”

He knew from Leandreen that Aes Sedai could be quite protective of their Warders, and in hindsight he realized that the whole situation could easily (have) be(en) misinterpreted.

I should have reached out to Carys, my own Aes Sedai. He now thought introspectively, with regret. But she was never there..

Well, done was done.

His mind turned to the Aes Sedai in question.

A Sister of the Green.

A Sister not Bound to the Tower.

Kathleen.

He liked her. There was a.. connection with her that felt right, something akin to what he had felt with Leandreen the first few times he had spoken with her. Having such a good connection would always benefit both Sedai and Warder in a Bond, Leandreen had said to him on more than one occasion.

Leandreen’s emerald green eyes flashed in his mind for a moment - and as always when he thought of her, it was a memory filled with happiness and sadness.

Oh Leandreen.

One did not have to get along with one’s Bondholder to carry out one’s sworn duty as a Warder, of course, but it sure made things easier. He could do a lot worse than get Kathleen Sedai as his new Bondholder, he felt sure of that.

He would have preferred to stay in a Bond with Carys had that been an option, but it was no longer one. From what Carys had said, she would pass the Bond to another Sister for his sake , perhaps also for her own, and there was nothing he could do about it. He would have to face that fact and the sooner he did the better.. for them both.

He sighed deeply, considering his next words.
 


“If it is Kathleen Sedai we are speaking of, the Sister that you have found,” he started, ”I am sure..”

His words broke off as there was a knock on the door to Carys’ room. His eyes met hers and she nodded for him to go open the door. He could not read from her look, neither get any impression through the Bond, if she was surprised by the knock or if she had expected it.

Elessar nodded to Nevuel Gaidin and gave Kathleen Sedai a respectful Warder’s bow when they entered the room. Carys spoke words of welcome and he closed the door behind them and watched as they seated themselves at the table. He then joined them, taking the remaining chair.
 

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The door opened but there was something off about the warder greeting them at the door. The tension in the room was thick and it wasn't until she was half way to the table that it crossed her mind that Ellessar may not yet be aware of the proposal. Her eyes flashed from his to Carys' trying to read them.

 

The only clue was the tension between the two, and it one of three things: he only just found out about the offer, he was fighting it still, or a mixture of bother. Either way it was cause to make Kathleen doubt her own position. But she was there, she couldn't turn and leave now, no matter how much she now wanted to.

 

I cannot go through with this if he isn't agreeable. I was a fool to assume that woman was being completely honest about this! How under the light could I possibly think that moving a bond could ever be as simple as a bloody nod of the head and a signature on a line?! 

 

She covered the emotion as she shifted into the chair. I'm here now, and we will get this sorted. Her eyes locked onto Carys' once more when she was seated, questioning the woman before she spoke. He does know, doesn't he?

 

"I don't know if you have met formally, but in case not, this is my warder Nevuel," the Green gestured with her palm to the man who had escorted her in and sat at the table with them. "Nevuel, this is Carys Sedai."

 

She turned to Elessar and met his eyes, trying to read them. It is good to see you. she thought, but the moment she thought it she wasn't sure her oaths would let her say it. Did she truly mean it? It wasn't good to see him, it was awkward to see him. This whole mess was one complicated meeting that she would rather avoid. Had she known his position on the matter it very well could be good to see him, but as it was she chose to send the man a simple smile instead of chancing choking on her words.

 

Turning her attention back Carys, while Nevuel nodded a greeting to the yellow's warder, Kathleen tried to tread carefully, "Thank you for having us in without the invite; I hope we have not interrupted in bad timing."  

 

~ Kathleen

Green Sister

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  • 2 weeks later...

.. When A Bond Has Been Passed ..

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It was done.

Elessar’s Bond was passed to Kathleen Aes Sedai of the Battle Ajah.
He was now Bonded to his 4th Sister of the White Tower..


Leandreen
Carrain
Carys
And now Kathleen



..and as every time before, the setting - and the way it had happened - was different.

The same strange, almost undescribable feeling of having someone else in the back of one’s head and thoughts was the same, however.

Elessar remembered how the Bond had been described to him, somewhat drily and factually, in class by his Warder teacher many years before:


‘..The Warder Bond - a Saidar-wrought connection between Sedai and Warder - has distinct benefits for both parties. The Bonded party (the Warder) gains greater stamina and physical prowess, a greater capacity to resist evil, and greater resistance to injury. The Aes Sedai, for her part, gains a bodyguard, confidant and ally-in-schemes who is intrinsically linked to her and whose behavior can be controlled (to some extent) through the Bond. She is also able to draw on the Warder's strength if needed. Both parties are able to sense the other's general location, physical well-being and, to some extent, emotional state. If one member of the Bond is killed, the other suffers extreme emotional trauma, to the point that most orphaned Warders lose all will to live, and often throw away their lives in a berserker rage..’


In some ways that was all true.

In other ways, it was something one had to experience to really understand.

And though this was, alas, his 4th time being Bonded, Elessar doubted he was much the wiser when it came to many aspects of the Bond.

It was unique. And complicated. And, yes.. almost beyond words.

It is so hard to explain indeed.

He felt Kathleen in the back of his head - and he smiled.

He would deal with the multitude of emotions - some conflicting, some hard, some less so - that he felt inside later.

His mind was filled with images.

Carys.
Kathleen.
His new path.
The future.

It would take some time to get used to a new Bondholder, to a new Bond, but he was a Warder and this was his life now, this was his service and duty, and he embraced it the best way he could.

 



It was on a sunny afternoon with a soft breeze blowing from the north-west, several days after his Bond had been passed to a new Sedai, that Elessar found himself in the Warder’s Yard, going fastidiously through the swordforms.

Unfolding the Fan, the opening move, which flowed into Low Wind Rising, a diagonal slash which began low and rose cleanly, followed by The Boar Rushes Down the Mountain, a vertical slash starting high and which in this case altered course in midswing, paired with Tower of Morning, a verticle slash but this time beginning low and ending high.

He moved with efficiency and experience, the sword an extended part of his arm, flowing back and forth - thrusting, blocking, slashing - against his imaginary opponent, in what was almost a deadly Dance of the Blades. Some time later he stopped and sheathed his blade in one fluid motion. Sweat ran down his neck and arms and he used a towel to dry himself. A Bird of Prey passed far above Tar Valon, floating elegantly on the breeze, and the Gaidin nodded in respect for its deadly grace and majestic flight.

Fly, Master of the Skies, he thought musingly, as he watched the bird soon disappear in the horizon. Fly well - and fly Free.

Elessar Telcontar, Bonded Warder to Kathleen Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah, turned to face the White Tower - and smiled.

This was a New Beginning.

 

▀▄▀▄▀▄



OOC: Elessar’s Warder Bond has now been passed IC from Carys Aes Sedai to Kathleen Aes Sedai, though the actual Bond-transfer itself was not played out in this RP. It is a permanent Bond-transfer and Elessar Telcontar is now officially Bonded (IC and OOC) to Kathleen Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah. This was done in agreement between all the Players involved and with WT/Warder RPG approval. The WT/Warder RPG Leaders have been informed. Edited by Elessar
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