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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Mother & Daughter


Sirayn
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How hard could it be to raise a family? Women had done it since the beginning of time; despite the dangers of giving birth and lack of proper medical care, despite poverty and hardship on a massive scale, despite disasters both natural and unnatural and the ravages of war, they had somehow borne enough children to sustain the population across countless centuries. All it took to bring new life into the world was a roll in the hay. Her own father had been of dubious character even for a son of House Damodred and her mother hadn’t had two coppers to rub together; if unlettered and penniless commoners like her long-ago mother could raise a child fit to become Aes Sedai, she herself should be just as capable.

 

Though her family ties could best be described as complicated and her life as a roving Green Ajah soldier left neither time nor stability to bring up a child, not to mention the age-old prohibition on Aes Sedai having children, she had always wanted a family in a small secret way. She had left her own home so young that she scarcely remembered it. Half a child still she had come to the Tower, to have all her rough edges smoothed down and herself rebuilt in a useful form, and in the process she had sworn away any right to an ordinary life -- to make her own future, to marry the man she chose, to bear children if she wanted and to give them the best life she could provide. Despite or maybe because of its being forbidden, a family represented normality to her, an escape from the shawl’s demands.

 

Anybody who thought they could raise children as an Aes Sedai was a poor mother and a poor sister both. Tar Valon drowned people in intrigue, only Cairhien and the Rising Sun could compare to its tensions, and children wouldn’t even make a ripple; having an Aes Sedai for a mother only marked them out and if that particular Aes Sedai was the last Black Ajah hunter … it was tantamount to infanticide. Having a family just could not be balanced with Tower life. Either one betrayed the Tower for one’s children, as her mentor Telcia Nalemar had done in a decision she found both strange and horrifying, or one kept one’s priorities straight and strangled out all motherly instincts in the process.

 

In hindsight summoning her grown children to Tar Valon had been one of the gravest mistakes she had made as a mother. And considering one was now dead and a Darkfriend, she had made her fair share of those. Her two secrets, the tiny little gifts she had given away for their own safety, had grown so much in her absence … and such a long absence, she didn’t know how she had had the strength to stay away from them, knowing that somewhere in a sunlit glade her own children played and when they fell another woman caught them … why hadn’t she left them there? It had been safe; she had long ago taken all precautions she could to shelter the remains of her family. It had been far from Tar Valon and the currents of Daes Dae’mar that swirled round it. She might never have met her children, to be certain, but she could have resigned herself to that for their protection. Yet for some reason -- because she missed them, because being apart from her children was near to unbearable, because she’d been weak and stupid and thoughtless -- she’d called them to her side. She couldn’t have made any more open of an invitation to the Shadow if she’d written one herself.

 

It still stunned her how fast and how savagely everything had gone wrong. Had the Dreadlords been waiting for her somehow? They couldn’t have known that her son would develop the ability to channel … a seed which would have put down roots, grown and flowered had it been planted in her daughter, little Lyssa who had wanted to join her in the Green Ajah, but which had bloomed only blackly in her son … and even if they had somehow sensed it in him they had no way of knowing that she would defy Tower Law even in secret. They had watched her then as they did still -- she had always known that, it had become a fact of life after her journey as thirteenth Black Ajah Hunter to Tear, and she now the last one -- but even they had limits to their powers. So … surely … they couldn’t take her daughter as they had taken her son.

 

The thought frankly petrified her. She still wore the scars inside and outside, spaces in her memory she dared not go near, knowing that she had caused it all herself in her pride and her folly; if she ever had to watch Lyssa tainted by the Shadow until her own daughter turned on her … she didn’t know how she’d endured it the first time and she certainly didn’t think she could take it again. Yet her daughter, her only living child and survivor of twins torn apart by the Shadow, was now bedding a Darkfriend.

 

It had been difficult enough to teach herself to react like an Aes Sedai and not like a mother. All this time she had kept her distance, glimpsing her daughter occasionally but never speaking to her, every inch the detached Aes Sedai. To watch her now knowing that all the time a Darkfriend was poisoning her mind, that at any moment Lyssa might take her twin’s path into darkness, scraped her nerves raw. At the very least the Darkfriend sought information from her -- even the best politickers sometimes let information slip in pillow talk and so far Lyssa had never shown a moment’s discretion -- and at the worst … the Darkfriend had something far more damaging planned. What exactly had the child told him? How far had the Darkfriend sunk his claws in her daughter?

 

If she intervened she drew further notice to her daughter and perhaps risked the child’s life; if she did not … she gambled that her daughter’s will, a force never tested by the rigours of Tower life, could withstand a Darkfriend’s poison. Despite her own celibate life she knew how easily a foolish child could come to believe herself in love and spill everything she knew even to the most unsuitable candidate so long as he bedded her well. Lyssa probably thought herself hard done by but she had lived a life of luxury, sheltered in a quiet green place free from crime or poverty, educated in the proper style and her every wish paid for by her absent mother. How could an upbringing like that instil in a child the iron will she needed to navigate Tar Valon’s turbulent waters? It couldn’t -- and because she couldn’t rely on her daughter not to follow Solin to the Shadow she had to break all the rules she had set herself and intervene.

 

So afternoon found her in the yards, impassive as something carved from stone, while she sought out her last surviving child. She didn’t know whether Lyssa knew that she had been seen in bed with that Darkfriend, given the effort her daughter had put in unsuccessfully not to be noticed, but she imagined that the child could put two and two together. To see her daughter, taller and far prettier than her mother, sleekly muscled as a Tower Guard should be, was to remember their previous difficult meetings; like a lead weight she remembered that once upon a time Lyssa had babbled something about bonding her and she crossed her fingers that that mad thought had slipped the child’s mind. She had neither time nor patience for such foolishness today.

 

“Good morning, Tower Guard.” Keeping her voice cool and clear of all feeling she waited while her daughter finished whatever she was doing. “Are you busy? I would speak with you if I may.” The sun blazed palely high above them though it gave off little warmth and thus she bent her steps toward the grove, trailing Lyssa in her wake like a little comet and its tail. A ward closed them into silence and security. It might draw the occasional comment but it was far better than for anybody to hear what she had to say. “It is safe to speak freely.

 

"I want you to leave Tar Valon. Immediately. For good.”

 

Sirayn Damodred

Retro Head of the Green Ajah

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Lyssa Simeone jogged from the barracks and began her run around the yard, her thoughts calm and happy. For once in her life she was happy, she couldn't pin point exactly why, maybe it was because she had come to grips with the fact that her Mother had to act a certain way as Aes Sedai and that they would never be bonded, maybe it was because she had discovered the female part of herself. Honestly she didn't know but it felt nice to smile and be happy. A smile bloomed across her face as she ran and she imagined Aran would tell her that she wasn't running hard enough if she could smile. Picking up her pace she completed the run and then began a cooldown, she slowed her pace and eventually began to walk around the track. When she finished she stretched and worked on balance and then began her forms, time passed within the Void, though only just barely and she was beyond shocked to hear a familar voice behind her.

 

Turning around she looked up to see her Mother standing behind her, she had recognized the voice correctly, though it still shocked her to see the woman that she looked so much like. Sirayn was shorter, her body not as curvy, though they both had more athletic builds, her mothers eyes were gray instead of deep blue. Her hair was short instead of the long mass that Lyssa had hooked up on her head with a piece of leather and a stick. She looked down at the dusty black britches she wore and the white waist length shirt, she had put her jacket and her cloak down and the only thing she wore for fun was the rose necklace her mother had given her so long ago. Trying to move carefully she pushed the necklace below her shirt and hoped her Mother hadn't seen it.

 

“Good morning, Tower Guard. Are you busy? I would speak with you if I may.” Lyssa nodded and put her sword in the sheath that hung from her waist, she picked up her cloak and jacket off the ground next to her and put her arms into the black jacket. She folded the red cloak of the Tower Guard over her arm and then followed her Mother out of the yard and to one of the glades that surrounded the Yard. Several minutes later Sirayn turned to her and spoke, “It is safe to speak freely. I want you to leave Tar Valon. Immediately. For good.” Lyssa gasped in shock, she couldn't begin to imagine why Sirayn would say something like this, she knew she wasn't good enough for the woman, but now she was trying to kick her from the Tower. Anger glinted in her eyes but she tamped it down and spoke softly, "With all due respect Mother, I have no intention of leaving the city of the Yard, I love it here, I feel I have found my calling, and I have worked to hard to give it up." She crossed her arms over her chest and waited for Sirayn to speak...

 

Lyssa Simeone

Tower Guard

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  • 1 month later...

If she had been a better mother perhaps she would have reached out to her surviving child in some way. She couldn’t in all honesty give the excuse that they were in public; even had they been closed away somewhere private she would not have done so. Partly she felt uncomfortable at the very idea of letting someone close to her. Partly she just didn’t know how. She had forgotten many skills she had once taken for granted -- laughter, comfort, the ability to speak openly about her own feelings -- and still never learnt how to be a good Aes Sedai. In retrospect she considered it an unequal trade … but a necessary one nonetheless.

 

Anybody could raise children. Even her own children did not need her; her son had lost his reason, his love of the Light and finally his life because of her and Lyssa would be far better off without her. She might like to dream of better times … making peace with the surviving half of her two little children, laying to rest the shade of the other, maybe even working out how to tell her daughter how intensely she loved her … but anyone could do that. Only she could lead the Battle Ajah right now and continue the quest an Amyrlin had once given her in greatest secrecy.

 

So she did not greet her daughter more gently, or ask how her studies were progressing, or inquire after the state of her love life -- and some day she would take a long, lingering revenge on the Darkfriend who had tainted her little girl -- or seek a private place where mother and daughter could embrace or take any of the thousand actions a mother should. Nor, in fairness, did she point out that somebody’s fleeting sense of comfort and well-being was not high on her list of priorities and that Lyssa would have to make sacrifices like everybody else had. Indeed she smoothed any trace of sarcasm out of her voice before she spoke.

 

“I realise that.” She kept her voice level, moderate in tone, empty of any feeling. It seemed rather twisted that she couldn’t find a moment’s warmth for her own children but … she just didn’t know how any more. Once upon a time she had wanted to learn. Now she knew better. “It is unfortunate that this move is necessary but I trust you will hear me out. Tar Valon is now exceedingly dangerous, for you more than anyone, and I think it unsafe for you to remain here any longer. There have been,” Sirayn picked her words with great care, “threats against you. If anything were to happen to you …” if the Darkfriend laid a finger on her, if she just vanished one morning, if a note surfaced instructing her famous Aes Sedai kinswoman what to do if she wanted the young lady to live …

 

A proper mother would go to her daughter’s aid, immediately, without a second thought. A cold-blooded Aes Sedai might send back a counter-offer and gamble on her child’s life. A real, old-school Aes Sedai, totally devoid of the trappings of sentiment, would tell them to do what they liked. And then burn the note. And if they sent her daughter’s fingers back, or even her head, she would feel nothing.

 

Try though she might, she didn’t know if she could be that good of an Aes Sedai. Not if they had her daughter.

 

“It could be awkward.” She concluded the sentence with her best attempt at diplomacy and no small misgivings. “I would prefer that it not happen. It is quite impossible to provide proper security for you in Tar Valon, given your current position, and it is equally impossible that you go unsecured. Therefore, as I said, I should like you to leave Tar Valon immediately.” Light only knew she didn’t want to return to the bleak times of never seeing her daughter, but in all honesty, they had never left; she just didn’t want to admit that her daughter wanted nothing to do with her. It was an unfortunate truth, but Aes Sedai did not delude themselves. “Get yourself posted outside the city. It matters not where. Somewhere where I can be assured of your safety and you can continue your training without fear of the consequences.”

 

It seemed inadequate somehow. A better mother and a better Aes Sedai would have handled this far more smoothly, accomplished what was necessary without ruffling any feathers, perhaps if she had been Lanfir everything would be fine. Only she wasn’t any good with people. She didn’t even know how to say that she missed her daughter terribly, that she couldn’t stand this coolness between them but didn’t know how to break it, that she hated the thought of her little one going away … but the prospect of that Darkfriend stealing her daughter in Tar Valon itself frankly made her blood run cold.

 

All out of smooth convincing words, quite incapable of expressing her true feelings, she offered in a somewhat small voice: “I could -- write to you.” It sounded remarkably useless. She bit her tongue, cursing herself. “Or -- not. As you wish.” Now she wished she hadn’t opened her mouth. Somebody like Lyssa wouldn’t want her crippled old mother pestering her anyway. “But somewhere away from Tar Valon,” she ended, a bit feebly.

 

Sirayn Damodred

Retro Head of the Green Ajah

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's my life

It's now or never

I ain't gonna live forever

I just want to live while I'm alive

(It's my life)

My heart is like an open highway

Like Frankie said

I did it my way

I just wanna live while I'm alive

It's my life

 

This is for the ones who stood their ground

For Tommy and Gina who never backed down

Tomorrow's getting harder make no mistake

Luck ain't even lucky

Got to make your own breaks

~Bon Jovi

 

Lyssa waited silently for her mother to speak, inside she was fuming and she wanted to rage at her mother. It was her life and she could choose to live it any way she wanted to, Sirayn had long since lost any right to control her. How dare she, she silently raged in the face of her Mother's ice coldness and stubbornness. She could already see the set expression on Sirayn's face and she feared that nothing she said could deter her from her set path. “I realise that. It is unfortunate that this move is necessary but I trust you will hear me out. Tar Valon is now exceedingly dangerous, for you more than anyone, and I think it unsafe for you to remain here any longer. There have been, threats against you. If anything were to happen to you …” Lyssa blinked her eyes at the woman and wondered who had been making threats against her, not that she was frightened but she wondered who had found out the deeper connection. “It could be awkward.”

 

Lyssa almost let out a snort in her Mother's face but her aunt had taught her better than that, oh no not her Mother, her Aunt. Her Mother hadn't been there for her, not on any of the moment's she needed her but apparently the moment's she didn't need her, like making love to Aran. “I would prefer that it not happen. It is quite impossible to provide proper security for you in Tar Valon, given your current position, and it is equally impossible that you go unsecured. Therefore, as I said, I should like you to leave Tar Valon immediately.” She shook her head and wondered where her Mother got off asking like she was the Master of all people, she had no right to order her about. “Get yourself posted outside the city. It matters not where. Somewhere where I can be assured of your safety and you can continue your training without fear of the consequences. I could -- write to you. Or -- not. As you wish, But somewhere away from Tar Valon.” She stood in utter shock at that one, almost taking a seat on the floor. Her Mother had just offered to write her and in a voice she had never heard in her life. Still the anger inside her was like a living thing and she needed to say her thoughts. "I love you despite our problems and fights over the years but I will not back down. I am your daughter in spirit as well as in looks and you have never backed down from a fight in your life. Wouldn't you think less of me if I did, if I took the easy way out and walked away. I promise to be aware and careful but I will not leave this city, I have come to regard it as mine home and I need to be here to get you out of trouble." She grinned, hoping to end on a cheerful note...

 

Lyssa Simeone

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You'll never live up to me

- "Awaken", Disturbed

 

The sheer self-indulgent idiocy rendered her temporarily speechless. She didn’t even know where to start: with the frankly offensive idea that she, who prized discipline and self-denial above all, had any similarity with a narcissistic Darkfriend-lover living an undeserved life of luxury; with the equal madness that was the concept that this was some high-minded revolt against oppression -- typical damn teenager -- instead of basic political necessity; with the concept that a Tower Guard would babble on about taking the easy way out as an excuse not to take a direct order from a high-ranking Aes Sedai; with this stupidity about Tar Valon being her home and therefore everything was sunshine and butterflies …

 

Why under the Light did such huge, intolerable stupidity survive? How could it be so hard for one person to follow an easy order when their rank and position and simple bloody survival demanded it? She just didn’t understand the selfishness, the idiocy of placing shallow self-concern above the very real prospect of being used as a game-winning pawn by Darkfriends. Did her wretched daughter ever even think about Darkfriends? Had the massive, world-spanning war to save the entire of mankind from a millennia-old evil passed her by completely? How could people just not care about their duty to the Tower, Tar Valon and the world?

 

If she didn’t calm down she was going to haul off and punch something. Preferably her stupid, suicidal daughter who didn’t have a damn clue what she was talking about. She was going to lose her little girl as well, both her children and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it except to continue this futile attempt. The wretched girl didn’t even know there was a world outside the bed she shared with a Darkfriend. Did she even notice anything other than sex, socialising and angering her mother?

 

It would not be proper for her to lose her temper with a Tower Guard in a semi-public situation. She calmed herself inch by inch, kept her voice level, her face a mask of Aes Sedai composure. “Let’s try a little hypothetical question, shall we?

 

“Let’s say you wake up tomorrow morning a hostage in a strange place. You’re outnumbered, unarmed, tied up, probably drugged and definitely helpless. There’s nothing you can do to defend yourself. No way out. There may even be Dreadlords around. Your captors cut off … let’s say a finger, something to up the pressure a little, and send it to me with a letter. Now in addition to being totally defenceless, you’re also injured -- and you’re only going to get more injured as more fingers are required. How are you, personally, alone and helpless, going to overcome a force of organised Darkfriends and Dreadlords in order to escape? Before I have to come get you?”

 

She knew damn well what her little girl could accomplish in such a situation. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Lyssa should count herself lucky if she survived long enough for somebody else to rescue her.

 

Sirayn Damodred

Pragmatist :P

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  • 2 weeks later...

Emotions were flying across her Mother's face, it wasn't often Sirayn showed any emotion but she must have felt as though she had nothing to lose by showing how angry she was. Lyssa gulped, she didn't want her Mother mad at her, there was a small little girl part of her that hated how Sirayn felt about her and wanted her love and approval. Yet she had long since drawn past that point, she didn't think her Mother even liked her as a person, she certainly didn't respect her if this latest episode was anything to go by. At this point her Mother's respect meant alot more to her than love, she wanted the woman to respect her and not look at her like she was some stupid 5 year old. Sirayn seemed to not even realize she was a grown woman who could make her own choices. She felt like she had the right to command her daughter, depsite the fact that she had been an adult for some time. “Let’s try a little hypothetical question, shall we?" She almost snorted, she knew where this was leading, her Mother trying to show how much wiser and smarter she was. She would admit that Sirayn had many years on her and much more experience but that didn't make her immune to mistakes or stupidity.

 

“Let’s say you wake up tomorrow morning a hostage in a strange place. You’re outnumbered, unarmed, tied up, probably drugged and definitely helpless. There’s nothing you can do to defend yourself. No way out. There may even be Dreadlords around. Your captors cut off … let’s say a finger, something to up the pressure a little, and send it to me with a letter. Now in addition to being totally defenceless, you’re also injured -- and you’re only going to get more injured as more fingers are required. How are you, personally, alone and helpless, going to overcome a force of organised Darkfriends and Dreadlords in order to escape? Before I have to come get you?” Lyssa eyed her mother and decided how best to answer this, she pondered if for a minute and she knew that nothing she said would matter to Sirayn. Sira wanted her out of the city for her own reasons and Lyssa was going to be left with no choice. "I can only hope that I could handle it with the same courage you did. Being able to channel didn't you any good in the situation with that monster who was my kin and so I would say we are on equal ground there, however I have the know how that it could happen and I have always known it could. I knew who you were from the time I was old enough to understand and it was always a consideration. At least I know it's coming, you had no idea and you walked right into it, for a noble cause yes, but you walked into it."

 

Lyssa knew her Mother could lose control at any point in all this and she only hoped she got to say her piece before Sirayn knocked her out or trapped her against the wall with the power. Sirayn could use the power against her as long as she didn't hurt her and she wouldn't put it past her. "I can't change that Sirayn and I can't spend the rest of my life hiding, I will not do it. They will find me no matter where I am, no matter where I am in this land, I will always be your daughter, and I will always be at risk. I came to accept that a long time ago, I think it's time you do the same. Though I almost wonder why you care, I get the feeling that you haven't cared for me for some time and may even have stopped regarding me as your kin a long time ago. I don't want to lose a finger or a hand or anything else Mother, but I can't accept it with any less grace and honor or I am not your child."

 

Lyssa Simeone

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