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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Of Urgent Concern


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Amena threw the last in a series of reports into the blazing fire, cursing fluidly and barely stopping herself from doing damage to a shelf nearby. The crash would bring too much attention, after all, and she focused her attention on turning that flaming piece of parchment into a pile of ash. The fire danced and crackled, the pop of the pine burning in the grate the only sound in the room for a few moments as she calmed herself. When the missive was gone, she turned away from the fire and pulled open the door to her outer office. A newly raised sister was passing her door and Amena barked an order at her to ask Kathleen, Loraine and Ay'Lira to her office. "It's urgent!" she spat at the girl, who scurried off down the corridor to fulfill her task. 

 

Amena left the door open and poured herself a drink, setting the decanter on the low table in front of the plush couch before dropping onto it and taking a long pull from the glass. She eyed the liquid left in the glass as the hard liquor burned a path to her belly. If she was lucky, it would numb the nagging ache in her hip and allow her to sleep soundly. She snorted and tossed back what was left in her glass, leaning back into the couch to await her guests. She was never THAT lucky...

 

~Amena

Head of the Green Ajah

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Loraine gasped as the ink from her well slid down her desk and dripped on her skirt, pushing away from her desk and throwing a few weaves at the mess to keep it from spreading. Her letter was ruined, but everything else she could fix. She settled everything back on her desk and crossed to the door, swiping at the ink on her hands before pulling the door open. Reimara, a Green so newly raised she still walked around wearing her shawl, stood on the other side, her eyes wide and her lips parted. 

 

"Loraine Sedai," she rambled, her voice high and squeaky. "Amena Sedai demanded that.. I mean, asked me to... oh, she needs to see you. She said it's urgent!" The girl turned and hurried off down the corridor, leaving Loraine shaking her head after her. Still calling people Sedai, too, she mused, her lips stretching into a smile. She turned back to her desk, stashed a few notes and the letter she'd been working on in a hidden drawer and made her way to Amena's office without removing the ink from her hands.

 

As she reached the door, she lifted her hand to knock and realized she still had ink on them. Loraine sighed and knocked, anyway. Urgent meant now with this woman, and taking the time to clean her hands, even if only with a weave, would've earned her a glare she wasn't in the mood to deal with, right now. Not with the news she'd just received, anyway...

 

She saw Amena settled on the couch, a decanter of some serious liquor resting on the table before her and her gaze pinned on the fire. She knocked on the open door and ducked her head in, waiting to be called in before doing more. Amena's short, "Come in, blast it!" made her sigh, but she entered the room and approached the woman who had made herself Head of the Ajah.

 

"You said it was urgent, Amena," she said softly, using every ounce of her training and upbringing to keep her irritation from showing. "I trust you've received the same news I have about the woman in Whitebridge?"

 

~Loraine 

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Kathleen left the library with another bundle of books to take to her room. She had heard some news from a few of her reporters which had her looking up some research before she reacted. She debated taking her latest check outs to one of the gardens to read, but decided against it. The information wasn't that sensitive, but she did not want to be disturbed, and notes may be required. That was something she would rather do in the comfort of her own rooms. 

 

When she got to the green ajah halls she saw a girl in a banded dress rushing away from Loraine's rooms and heading down the hall. Kathleen couldn't help the surge of curiosity that over took her, the girl looked distressed as she left, and clearly on a mission. I don't envy whoever she's after, Kathleen thought. Just as the thought stopped so did the girl. Right outside of Kathleen's door. She absently looked over her shoulder at Lor's rooms having just passed them, and wondering what the girl could have been sent for. Surely if Lorraine wanted to see her she needn't send an accepted to fetch her only doors away.

 

After a brief exchange with the girl who was clearly trying overly hard to show decorum yet stress the rush sent Kathleen into her room to set her books aside. She glanced at the letter from her reporters and sent a silent thought of regret for having to put off her replies, but she knew a summon's from the head was more than enough to put these on the back burner.

 

She took a quick glance in her looking glass and fixed a few flyaway hairs as she headed back to her door. The girl had insisted on a speedy reply, and Kathleen could only imagine that Loraine had received the same message. She would not let there be too long of a gap between their responding. 

 

She was tempted to puzzle out the reasoning for the call to meet with the Head,  but she had long since learned the detriment of over thinking or making assumptions without information. So she strode purposely down the hall and tried to steal her nerves for whatever news was coming next. 

 

Entering the rooms she saw Lorraine and Amena waiting, "I apologize for interrupting. I did not know you were here Lorraine. I've just received word you called for me, Amena, but I can return at another time if you wish to finish your conversation with Lorraine."

 

~ Kathleen Vandiar

Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah

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Ay'Lira's blood boiled.  In her younger days, that would have meant that she was losing her temper, or that she would likely explode from keeping it inside and to herself.  But, as a fully initiated Green sister, and having grown up a bit since then, she was using this anger as a new spurt of energy to use the best way possible.  But, she needed to go through the proper channels to see it through correctly.  She couldn't just go off on her own and find this blasted woman and set her aright.  She was behaving like a maniac, and she needed a plan, a way to do this right in the eyes of the Tower.

 

Maybe it was even time to bond a Warder.

 

She whirled from her window when a hurried knock sounded on her door.  She glided over to her door and found a nervous Initiate who stammered out that Amena Sedai needed her, and that it was urgent.  Ay'Lira dismissed the newly-raised sister with a nod and breezed past her, closing the door behind her.

 

Again, she glided along the Green Quarters' halls until she found Amena's rooms.  She found the Captain General in a room with Loraine and Kathleen.  Kathleen was standing rather close to the door, like she was, though.  She had a feeling that they were all there for the same reason, but everyone seemed so on edge.  She closed the door behind her and stood next to Kathleen.

 

"Did you receive the same report?  I hope so.  If anything was urgent, it would be what's happening in Whitebridge."

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Amena waved the three of them in, her patience warring with her need for decorum. "Come, I sent for the three of you and the three of you will hear the news all at once." 

 

She waited until they'd settled, at least, as much as they were going to. She turned to Loraine first, "Yes, Loraine, it is indeed about the woman in Whitebridge." She turned to the others, her eyes pinned on Ay'Lira for a moment. "There is a woman claiming to be Aes Sedai just North of Whitebridge. She has been terrorizing the farmers along the Northern road and even made it into Whitebridge a few weeks past, which is when word reached us here. I imagine you all have the same reports, so I won't waste any time explaining more than I need to. This is of vital importance to us, as she is claiming to be of the Green Ajah, going so far as to wear a shawl in public! The last report I have was dated three days ago and referenced no less than three citizens of Whitebridge who appear to have been killed by this woman." 

 

She paused and let that sink in. "No one is sure why they were killed, and to be truthful, the details are a little sketchy as to how they've come to pin the murders on her. However, if there are dead citizens, we have one of two problems: it's either a nest of darkfriends and a Green Sister I don't know about in Whitebridge, or a Darkfriend claiming to be Aes Sedai is ravaging the town. That she's gone to such a large place can only mean she's aiming to get our attention." She eyed the three of them. "I want you three to find out why. You leave in the morning." 

 

She didn't leave room for debate or discussion. This was an order. Still, she waited for their replies. Her position here demanded that they at least be given leave to voice concerns. Running this Ajah was nothing like running a battle plan. At least when people were dying in front of you, no one paused to question your orders! Light, how she missed that...

 

~Amena

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Loraine blinked at the steel-haired woman before her. She'd been pampered with her Captain Generals in the past, she supposed. With Jade, there had always been a discussion, a meeting of the minds, a pooling of information. With Amena, there was nothing but the bottom line. She wondered idly if the woman would devolve into single-syllable words next. "You. Go. Leave." 

 

She turned to Kathleen and Ay'Lira to gauge their responses, but nodded her head at Amena. She was under no false assumptions, the woman had just ordered her to Whitebridge to investigate Darkfriends. "I will begin making arrangements," she said, her voice carrying none of the questions that surged through her head. "If you would care to stop by my quarters this evening for dinner, Sisters, we will organize ourselves and compare notes." She didn't move from her place on the couch, though. Something held her in place, as if she was still waiting on something... else? 

 

~Loraine

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The news not was shocking; this was not the first she'd heard of it, but it was the first time she'd heard it aloud. She shifted her weight as the verbalization of a threat from darkfriends posing as members of the Green Ajah hit. It wasn't her first experience against friends of the dark, and she hoped it wouldn't be her last --that is why she joined the ajah after all-- but she could only hope that the connection to the green ajah was purely an act. It would mean too much if the woman truly was one of theirs, and Kathleen did not want to think about going up against all that would mean. 

 

These thoughts filled her mind, along with many others regarding the practical side of travel, but Amena left little room for discussion with the way she approached the topic, and Kathleen was grateful to have Loraine's invite to supper to discuss it rightly. Not that the details were of any concern to the head, she thought. It likely didn't matter how it was handled, just that it was handled. Kathleen couldn't blame her in that; the head wouldn't be traveling with them and she wouldn't have to face the threat. What more than making them aware, and giving her support in the mission, was there for her to be concerned over. So long as she knew of the threat and that there were people going to handle it, wasn't that enough? 

 

Perhaps too much conversation would send the message that she didn't think they were capable of thinking it out themselves, even if too little conversation made her come off as out of touch, power hungry, or even a tyrant as such things had done to the reputation of heads in the past. Head of the Ajah was one honour Kathleen hoped to avoid. She wouldn't want to handle the balance of politics at that level, not to mention the lack of freedom to come and go from the Tower.

 

Not that I have much freedom in that sense today..leave tomorrow for Whitebridge. No questions of whether I want deal with this. No questions of whether I had other pressing matters. No questions of whether I could just up and leave. No question of what time is convenient for me to go. Not even the dignity to pretend as though she cares that I have independence and a thought in my own mind. That was the life an Aes Sedai though, and she knew it. Surely it looked much more elegant and free to the common workers of the world outside the White Tower, but all those from white skirts on knew the truth of the demands on a life being tied to this building.

 

"Thank you for the offer to dine with you tonight, Loraine. There is much to discuss on the details of the matter." Kathleen turned to the head. "I, too, will go and prepare at once, if there is nothing more we need to know of your reports, Amena." 

 

Kathleen,

Green Sister

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  • 3 weeks later...

Amena looked from one sister to another, noting that they were all uncomfortable. Good. Not a single one questioned her orders or the need to go, which was also good. She was no Jaydena to be coddling full grown women! Sure, it didn't earn her any friends, but she has little need for them, anyway.

 

"You are free to go as soon as you feel prepared," she answered, her tone flat. "Stop by the Eyes and Ears for their reports, as well, just in case there is something you're missing."

 

She stood up, her hands clasped easily before her. "I don't have to tell you how important this is. See that you make it home, is all I ask beyond neutralizing the threat. That will be all."

 

She watched their discomfort grow and barely surpressed a smile as she wanted for them to file out of her office.

 

~Amena

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Loraine took the dismissal for what it was and rose elegantly from the couch. The woman made her long for her Two Rivers escape, to be honest. After this trip, perhaps she and Kynwric could hide for a few years...

 

With a deep sigh, she turned to Ay'Lira and Kathleen once they were in the corridor and the door was closed again. "Dinner, then. My quarters around the dinner bell? I'll have something brought in from town so the kitchen isn't pressed. Being what it is, I will avoid servants of any kind. The nature of this meeting isn't one for outside ears..." She smiled a bit, shaking Jerry head at the door behind them. "I'll so by the Eyes and Ears and have the reports delivered to my rooms, as well. We can pool our resources and see what we're dealing with."

 

She paused, looking back at the two women. "Maybe I can even talk Kynwric into NOT doing his impression of Amena over dinner!"

 

~Loraine

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  • 2 weeks later...

.. Taken by Memories of a Broken Bond ..

►▼◄


Elessar and Kathleen walked through the Green halls toward Loraine Aes Sedai's room, where they had been invited to dinner this evening. Kathleen had told him a little earlier that they would be likely leaving in the morning on a mission with Loraine Aes Sedai, Kynwric Gaidin and Ay'Lira Aes Sedai. All had been invited to the dinner, as far as he knew, where they would also discuss details pertaining their upcoming journey south.

Elessar's thoughts, however, were on Carys.
 

Flashes in his mind.

-Memories-

---

..His back straightened. He was a Gaidin! It was his sworn duty to protect and serve! She needs my help, he thought. Pushing strenuously to the side the part of him that resisted strongly, the part that screamed at him that he would fail again, that he was unworthy, he turned again toward the Aes Sedai, more confident now that his decision had been made. His face was hard - the way it often was in truth - but there were softer lines around his eyes. Facing the Sister, he handed back the letter, then made a Warder’s salute and said: “I have misjudged. I am at your service, Aes Sedai!” “By the way”, he added a few moments later, and for the first time there was a hint of a smile on his lips. “I am Elessar”. Carys smiled, “Pleased to meet you Elessar, I am Carys. I am so glad to hear that you will be joining me..”

---

..Carys sat down on the bench closest to the wall and shrugged out of her wet cloak. “Well, we're dry now,” she said with a smile. Elessar looked at her smile, her dark blue eyes, her somewhat flushed cheeks and her wet hair and wondered for a second how un-Sedai-like she looked right then. Aes Sedai were all composure, all grace, all in control. At all times. Or at least so many believed. They forgot that Aes Sedai were human. Amid her Aes Sedai-ness there is a strange.. innocence about her these days, Elessar thought to himself. Almost as if coming out into the world has.. given her something she did not know she needed. Aloud he said, in reply to her comment about them being dry there inside: “And a good thing that is. We would not want to be caught out there in the middle of that approaching storm.” Soon after rain hammered the roof of the inn, as if echoing his words, and the screams of the wind could be heard inside the Common Room..

---

..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.. 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..

---

“Elessar,” she made herself say, meeting his eyes as they snapped to hers. “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.." “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.” Carys pushed away from the table and strode over to the desk. “But", she added, "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..”

---

Elessar stopped in his stride, distracted by the flashes in his mind, taken by Memories of a Broken Bond.

Oh Carys

He had to take a hold on himself, to focus on the here and now. Kathleen was his responsibility now, not Carys. He had a new duty to an Aes Sedai. That should be foremost in his mind. He shook his head to clear his thoughts, exchanged a quick look of reassurance with Kathleen as if to say 'I am fine, nothing to worry about', then continued walking with her toward their destination that evening.

He pushed his thoughts of Carys and their former Bond aside - he would deal with his conflicting emotions later, darnit! - and refocused on their coming journey and the danger that they very well could be walking into. Silently berating himself for his momentary lapse of concentration, the Borderlander Warder of many years walked in self-imposed silence the remainder of the way.
 


Soon they had joined the others - and food, drink and discussion of plans with regards to the upcoming journey awaited.
 

▀▄

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Loraine busied herself with organizing the reports she'd received into piles depending on the type of report and the location. She had a map of the area surrounding White Bridge spread over a table on the side of her entry room and only barely paid attention to the Novices setting the table up behind her under the direction of a few servants of the Tower. She'd stopped by the Yard to talk to Kynwric while she'd been out gathering reports and a few books. He'd be along when he'd finished his duties down there. Until then, all she could do was wait for the others to arrive. 

 

"All set, Aes Sedai," said one of the servants behind her. Loraine turned to her with a smile and nodded at the table. "You've done beautifully, Irisa," she said softly. "You'll let me know when the food will be sent up?" At the hurried nod and bobbed curtsy, Loraine watched the woman disappear through the door, leaving her alone with her thoughts again. She sighed and settled into a chair, reading the latest report from a shop keeper in White Bridge about the woman they were after ravaging a neighboring shop keeper's store...

 

 

~Loraine

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ay'Lira departed the room to prepare for the evening, where she would meet with her sisters to make arrangements for the mission.  She found files with eyes-and-ears reports.  She sorted out the ones that she thought might even be slightly related to the matter at hand, ones that were made about the surrounding area at all.  She wanted to include all reports made about Andor at all, but that would be over-doing it just a bit.  She set about decoding the reports that she hadn't decoded, because she knew what they meant.

 

When she had a pile of reports that she was satisfied with, she went about her day, making other preparations, packing, making lists.  she had a lot of energy pent up because of how angry this woman, and the situation she had caused, was currently making her.  She was just glad she could do something about it.  She was glad that her Head of Ajah had selected her to be a part of the group to bring her down.

 

When the sun began to go down, she made sure that her preparations were at a good stopping point before she went out into the hall.  She walked the Green halls until she came to Loraine's quarters.  She saw no one else in the hall but her.  She knocked on the door and came in when she was admitted entrance.  "Good evening, sister," she said, holding her reports, decoded and not, in her hands.  "How are your preparations going?"

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Loraine set her reading aside and pulled the door open, smiling at Ay'Lira and stepping back to show her entry. Kathleen and Elessar were close behind and Loraine beckoned them all inside. "They are going well enough," Loraine sighed, lifting her hand to offer them a place to sit around the letters attacked on the low table nestled in front of the fireplace. "I have gathered all of the reports from the Green Eyes and Ears and have added a few of my own contacts' missives to the stacks, as well. There doesn't seem to be a pattern to the attacks. It's puzzling. I welcome some fresh eyes on them!"

 

She smiled and moved to a side table as they settled down into couches and chairs. "Kynwric will be along shortly, as will dinner. Would anyone care for a cup of tea?"

 

~Loraine

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  • 3 weeks later...

"I could certainly do with a hot cup, Loraine. Thank you." Kathleen said as she crossed her sister's room to take a seat by the letters. She puzzled over her own lack of letters having come of this. It was very upsetting to think that she had no news of this until the Head called her in, and it was more upsetting to think that so many others had piles of reports on the matter. She had never been one to fiddle with such things as Eyes and Ears though. Politics were close to her heart, but she prefered her interaction to be direct. Besides, the more time she spent reading over other people's accounts could be better used by being out in the world doing something she found important or interesting. Still, it was not to think she was letting them down by coming empty handed and finding they had each found so much out. Perhaps it would seem as though she was keeping her information close, not willing to part with her sources? She may not have information coming in, but she was prepared to ride out, just the same, and do something about it.

 

While Loraine was preparing her tea, Kathleen lifted the first few letters from the table and began to skim them. She had heard enough earlier to understand the basics, but research often did help. She looked over the map briefly but she couldn't do the two at once so she gave over on it and turned her attention to skimming the letters for the smaller content that might give them a place to start. If she could find out what the girl was doing under the guise of a Green it would help them better figure out how to trap her and take her in. Was she pulling the hoax to trick people out of money or property? Was she using to for political gain? Was she using it to run from her past? Was she trying to make someone scared of her in the hopes she could make a threat go away? Was she trying to get the White Tower's attention and bait real Green's into a trap?

 

There were many reasons she could have begun this rouse, but Kathleen knew a false Green could never outdo a real Green, let alone three Greens and their Warders. This girl would be found and her game would come to an end. It was just a matter of figuring out where to cut  her off and what exactly her game was.

 

"Is there a consensus among these reports as to her motives and moves since she has been impersonating a sister? Simply looking to change her identity, using it as a cover for petty theft, do we think she may be trying to gain political sway? Knowing why she's doing it can help us just as much as knowing where she will be doing it next. If we can lure her with her own game it will go more smoothly than needing to ambush her and risk a fight." She knew her words were not a new thought to any of them, but this discussion needed to start somewhere, and since she didn't have much more in the way of facts to go on, this was as good a beginning as any.

 

Kathleen Vandiar

Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah

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Kynwric had spent the day in the yards, refining and reacquainting himself with the skills he was going to need on this trip Loraine had gotten drug into this time. One unfortunate Tower Guard had caught the brunt of Kyn’s displeasure with being informed of their ‘errand,’ and his displeasure with it. He hoped the Yellow’s would not have a hard time setting the bone and mending it, the man hadn’t deserved the anger… just the lesson.

 

 

 

Kyn wiped his face as he travelled up the staircase to the Green’s Quarters, the whiteness of the tower slowly changing over the tapestries and greens of his wife’s Ajah. He pushed through the door blazoned with the green flame of Tar Valon and headed directly for the apartments. He was dirty from practice, he was in a foul mood and all he really wanted to do was eat dinner and drink some ale … since the option of leaving and going home wasn’t truly an option, either. Instead he was greeted with Loriane at her chair by the fire. He entered and shut the door, about to walk over to her and brush a kiss to her forehead before going to get himself clean. His plan was interrupted, however, by the realization that they were not alone in the room. So much for dinner and beer, he thought. He gave the Sister a glance, realized she didn’t have the face yet and from that alone knew she was newly raised. Light, and a wet behind the ears Aes Sedai on top of it all? He was beginning to think that the Tower was trying to get them killed. He turned his eyes on Loraine and put on a false smile, “Let me change and I’ll join you, I assume you’ve figured out where we’re going already.”

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Loraine opened her mouth to answer Kathleen, but was interrupted by the door opening. She knew who was on the other side, of course, but she held off saying anything as Kynwric strode across the room. He wasn't happy about this trip any more than he was about any of them, these days, and he looked worn from working in the Yards. She smiled and nodded, her eyes twinkling with laughter as he took in Ay'Lira's presence. He had a tendency to see the newly raised Sisters as a hinderance on trips like these.

 

"White bridge," she answered simply. "And I was just starting to try grouping the letters together to find a pattern, Kathleen. So far, they're pretty scattered in motivation. A politician here, a poor family farm there. A merchant one day and a noble the next. I can't seem to pinpoint what she's after. That's why I started with the map." Loraine rose to her feet and crossed to the nap she'd spread out and the few ink blots noting incidents.

 

"The closest I can tell is that she's avoiding this area, altogether," she traced her finger over a space the size of a Tar Valon mark just North and East of the Whitebridge gates. "Other than that, I can't make out a pattern. I was hoping since fresh eyes could pick out what I've missed..."

 

 

~Loraine

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