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Seeking out the Beast (Solo RP)

Leala Sedai

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Ynaura Sedai had sent Aureli a message.  It was very simple.  It said, "If you want to know why I chose the Red, come to the Tower gates at dawn."  She had been toying more seriously with which Ajah to choose as of late, and she had been asking all her mentors, old and new, why they had chosen their Ajahs.  Truth be told, she had been leaning toward Red or Green lately, but she wasn't sure which to choose.  She wasn't sure why Ynaura wanted to meet her at dawn, either.  But, she was dressed in her banded dress and banded cloak a little before dawn.  It was cold that day, and there was still a little snow on the ground, but she went.


Ynaura stood in front of the Tower gates, like a red phantom, silent.  Snow dusted her cloak's hood and shoulders.  "I thought you would come," the Aes Sedai said, turning around, giving her a smile.  


"Was there someone else that was to be with us?" Aureli asked.


The Red shook her head full of gray hair.  "No one I was expecting.  I gave that message to perhaps five Accepted who had asked me the same question you asked me recently.  You were the only one who showed up...the only one I expected to show as well."


Aureli joined her mentor and looked at the Tower gates.  The city was silent, and Ynaura was silent, too.  She wanted to ask her what was so important as to meet her there at dawn, but she knew that if Ynaura wanted to tell her, she would have.  The Red was a Sitter for her Ajah, and held many contacts outside of the Tower.  Was she going to invite her on a mission?  Did she want her to meet someone?


"Do you hear them?" she asked.  Aureli came out of her thoughts at the sister's words.  The Red was still looking out at the gates, but Aureli listened.  


"Yes," she answered.  She heard horses making their way to the Tower.  After a few minutes, she saw them at the gates.  The Tower Guards let the group in, and they entered.


The train began with a small group of other Tower Guards.  After them, six Reds rode together in pairs.  They were all holding Saidar.  After the Reds came a cage on wheels moving awkwardly with six other Reds flanking it.  They were also holding Saidar, but they held together an enormously strong weave over the middle of the cage, and suddenly Aureli knew what she was witnessing.  "A false Dragon?" she gasped.


"No..." Ynaura said sadly.  "A man touched with madness.  A male channeler.  He made no claim, but the taint claimed him."


Aureli watched and stood silently as the Tower Guards approached.  They nodded to the pair of them as they passed.  The sisters' only acknowledgement of them was a cool glance in their direction.  Aureli watched the cage as it went by.  She saw a figure lying on their side, wrapped in a cloak.  As the cage passed, the man turned his face toward them.  He faced them for only a moment, but Aureli could see an immense sadness in his eyes.  They were gaunt and red from weeping, but there was an emptiness in them as well.  After making brief eye contact with Aureli, the man whisked his head away and shuddered.


Aureli felt a genuine pity for the man.  Girls like her wished for the ability they shared, but men never wanted it unless they were mad before they gained it.


"You are not permitted to see the gentling," Ynaura said after the group passed.  "But you may visit him with my supervision afterwards."  There was a gentleness in her words, like Aureli had just witnessed a great tragedy.  She didn't doubt that she had.

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Ynaura led Aureli back into the Tower.  There was a bare chamber where they were to wait for news of the gentling.  There was already someone there, though.  A woman with light brown hair, sopping wet with melted snow that hid her face sat in a plush chair.  She reacted when the Aes Sedai and the Accepted entered.  Her big blue eyes were harried and afraid.  "Do not fear, child," Ynaura said gently.  "I am not here with news."  Ynaura sat across from her with Aureli beside the sister.  "I have brought an initiate of the Tower, however, if you would like to speak of this man's circumstances."


The woman searched Ynaura's face for a moment, and something fled her, leaving only a small bit of relief in her face.  She shook her head.  "I am sorry, Aes Sedai.  Of course you wouldn't know his name.  You were not one of the ones who found him."  The woman had a thick Saldaean accent, but grief coated her words.  "My name is Belan.  My husband's name is Teric.  He is a good man, even after...all this.  I can't...I can't really remember when I noticed something strange about him," she admitted.  "Perhaps a year ago, he began to be fierce when he thought something was threatening our family.  He would go out on patrols of the Blight border.  He was a good patroller.  Not a raid worried us since he had joined.  After a few months of that, he started to be more and more...I wouldn't call it afraid...protective, I suppose.  If he thought someone looked at us in a strange way, he would make some threat.  I suppose the one thing I should have taken notice of was when he told someone he would 'kill him with no means of weapons.'"  Belan cleared her throat and shook her head.


Aureli and Ynaura waited patiently for the woman to gather her words.  "But I thought it was the raids.  I thought maybe he had seen things that made him that way.  I convinced him to stop going, and I thought that had solved it.  It did, I suppose, until...until one night a thief came into our house.  Teric woke up and...and the man...he exploded.  I could find no words for it besides that.  He gathered me, then our children to his side.  A neighbor came to help, and...the neighbor exploded as well.  There was blood everywhere.  I suppose that's when it dawned on me what was going on.  I knew more men would die that night unless I acted.  I didn't want to, but I waited until he faced away from me and hit him over the head with a pan.  He fell, and I took the children to my parents.  My mother called for an Aes Sedai staying in the village.  I think she was a...a Green...?  She didn't wear red.  She came and told me that she had him shielded.  It was after she said that that I started crying.  Everything became real at that point."


A few tears fell from Belan's eyes as her tale came to an end.  "Some other Aes Sedai came, these all in red, and...well, here we are.  I stayed by his side the whole way here...except when we moved.  My children are still with my parents.  I don't know what will happen when...this...is finished...I wish I could have my husband back as he was when we were wed.  But, I've heard the stories...he'll never be the same."



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Aureli wanted to say something...a word of comfort, something to alleviate this woman's pain.  But, she had heard the stories, too.  Once the madness touched a man, he was never the same.  Some went into depression, some took their own lives, and more even died during the gentling.  Ynaura looked like she wanted to say something, but the door opened, and Belan stood up.  Two Reds came in, and so did Teric.  Belan stood up, and for a moment, there was stillness in the room.  Teric lifted his head slowly, and stopped when it found his wife.  Upon seeing her, tears flowed from his eyes, and she ran to him, flinging her arms around him.  


Ynaura and Aureli made their departure.  Aureli couldn't help but notice that some of the sisters gave her harsh looks.  Aureli's mentor escorted her away, toward her quarters again.  "Some of my sisters do not approve of letting Accepted see a male channeler brought in or visiting with them after the gentling.  I think you made the right decision not to stay when he returned, however.  They think that it scares away potential sisters.  I'd rather think it weeds out the ones not willing to see these men and the people in their lives for what they are.  Some new Reds see it as a nasty shock, while others find more purpose in it than anything else."  The pair stopped in front of Aureli's door.


"I will leave you to your thoughts on the matter," the Aes Sedai said before gliding away.


The Accepted walked into her room and shut the door.  She heard other Accepted moving about, getting ready for breakfast.  She would likely need breakfast soon, too.  But after seeing a husband and wife torn apart over something neither of them had a say over, and seeing the shell of a man Teric had become...she would need the hour to digest it and get back to her normal self.  She had been using the mask that Accepted were taught to use to emulate Aes Sedai.  But now, she found a tear flow down her face.  She felt empathy for these people.  She wanted to help them, and prevent other cases like it from happening.  It was probably a lost cause, with how hard it was to detect a man channeling, but the Red Ajah had been going strong for thousands of years on that mission.


Breathing in slowly, she exhaled and wiped her face, waiting for the redness to diminish.  Once her hand had stopped shaking and she was breathing steadily, she stepped outside her room.

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