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Caught in Winds of Destiny (attn. Myrrhi)


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.. When the Past meets the Present  ..



OOC: This RP takes place approximately five years after Elessar Gaidin and Accepted Myrrhi Morrigen’s first meeting in the Warders Yard and Tar Valon.


IC: In the pre-dawn hour Elessar Telcontar, unbonded Warder of Kandor, unsheathed his blade, beginning to go through the sword forms. As he knew only too well, a Warder had to practice often to keep that small edge, that extra piece of sharp attentiveness and excellence as he flowed from one form into the next .. Unfolding the Fan flowing into Low Wind Rising, followed by The Boar Rushes Down the Mountain, paired with Tower of Morning. It was an effective combination and it could be varied, using innovation and surprise, for even greater effect. Over the years he had become even more capable with the sword and had reached high levels of proficiency. There were those who were even better though, faster and even deadlier, and so the Borderlander Gaidin kept on practicing, striving as ever for excellence.


Embraced by the Flame and the Void, enveloped by the cold fire of the Oneness, he felt complete calmness and focus and was one with his sword, an eternal participant in a never-ending dance of motion.


When he finally sheathed his blade, some time later, the sun was slowly rising in the horizon. The sky was sapphire-blue from end to end and a soft breeze coming out of the far west made the banners upon the walls ripple in billowing motion. The Warders Yard was almost empty at this early hour, with only a couple of others having a workout - a fellow Borderlander he had met on a couple of occasions and, a little further away, a Southerner, an Illianer he thought, he did not know well - , but the Gaidin knew that it would soon fill with trainees, teachers and spectators. Picking up all his equipment, making sure he had everything, he swiftly left the Yard, heading for his quarters and a shower.


On his way through the lower levels of the Barracks, however, he was stopped by one of his superiors. He joined the senior Warder, Aranes Delovinde - a middle-aged, dark-haired, short in stature but hard-as-steel Cairhienin - in his office to hear what was on his mind. Seating himself before the desk he waited for the other to speak. The senior Gaidin did not waste any time. He told Elessar that the White Tower had requested an experienced, responsible Warder to assist with riding lessons for one of their Accepted. Was he interested? In truth, Elessar did not think he had the time. He had many errands to do in the coming weeks and had made other plans. He did not think he was the best of teachers in any case. He could think of other Gaidin in the Tower better suited for such activity, and told his superior so. The other man nodded silently, but insisted Elessar would be perfect for this job. Then he gave some more details - and the Kandori Warder’s interest increased.



The Accepted’s name was Myrrhi Morrigen, he added - and instantly Elessar recognized the name.


Myrrhi Morrigen..? It has got to be the young lady, the Accepted, I helped back in the day.. when was it? Four years ago? Five?


Though it felt long ago, he remembered her well. A blue-eyed, light brown-haired young Andoran woman with barely tanned skin and a quite low, pleasant voice. He had not, in fact, seen her for many years - he presumed she had got caught up in her studies, focusing all her time on classes and advancement as was the case for most Accepted - but she had made a positive impression on him, with her shy but kind smile and her obvious appreciation for the help he had given her with her many questions. They had had enjoyable conversations, he recalled, and it had been a welcome break from his everyday routine. And then there was the Tar Valon ‘incident’ where they, together with a Red Sister, had shared danger and threat in the presence of assassins.


How is she doing now, I wonder? He mused. She is several years older, more experienced, more confident probably, and closer to being raised to full Sister if things are going well. Does she still have that inner fire, concealed by youth at the time but still present, reminiscent of  Leandreen?


He found now that he would like to see her again. And to help her another time. Though he was not the best horseriding teacher out there, he was an experienced rider of many years, having often travelled the lands on missions with his bondholders in his time, and would be able to give her good basic riding lessons. As for his former schedule, he could change it.


This somehow felt right. And it will do me good to do something useful for a change. He thought. I am a little weary of all those generic errands they have me do. Facing his superior he nodded affirmatively. “I have met this Accepted before”. He said, giving a quick overview of their previous encounter, though he suspected his superior knew. “Perhaps she will also be more comfortable learning from someone she knows.” If she has not forgotten about that time, that is. Somehow he did not think she had. He had likely made an impression on her, he thought objectively - a figure of Warder authority assisting a young lady of the White Tower. And the danger they had shared in that dark Tar Valon alley back then, would not be easily forgotten by a young, inexperienced Accepted. Aranes Gaidin nodded in agreement, a smile in his eyes, satisfied with the outcome. “Good“, he said. “It is settled then.“


Elessar was to meet the Accepted in the Mistress of Novices’ office two days hence at eight o’clock in the morning. He would be given his final orders there. Horses would be made available to them in the stables; Elessar’s warhorse and stallion Stormbreaker, and a demure, good-natured mare named Moonray - a good beginner’s horse, the Cairhienin said - for the Accepted. Elessar thanked him, saluted and left the office, his thoughts already on the riding lessons to come, and headed for his own rooms in the Barracks. He would use the following day for necessary preparations - including visiting the stables and checking on the two horses - so that all was in readiness for the riding sessions.


Now, how surprised would Myrrhi Morrigen be when she learned that Elessar was to be her horseriding teacher, he wondered?



Two days later, as the first few red-yellow tendrils of dawn swept across the sky above Tar Valon, Elessar Gaidin - wearing his Warder’s colour-shifting fancloak, his blade at his side - entered the White Tower, on his way to the Mistress of Novices’ office. He passed several Aes Sedai in the corridors even at the early hours, giving each Sister a respectful Warder’s bow. He received in return a curt nod from a Red Sister hurrying past him, cool nods from a couple of passing Whites, but a polite nod and a distinct smile from a Green Sister he thought he had seen before during his years working with the Green Ajah. The way she looked at him as she passed him, admiring his whole figure in a very non-subtle way, made him wonder, with some amusement, if she was on the lookout for a - or rather another - Warder. You never knew with Greens. Grinning to himself he continued up to the next level. Two white-dressed Accepted that he had never seen before suddenly came around a corner with a timid Novice in tow and almost jumped when they saw him. He nodded politely, respectfully at them as they rushed by in a hurry, whispering excitedly among themselves. Finally he arrived outside the office of the Mistress of Novices and took a chair to wait since he was a few minutes early.


A short time later, the door to the office opened - and Valeri Sedai, the renowned Mistress of Novices of the White Tower, wearing an Aes Sedai’s cool unreadable face, faced the waiting Gaidin and swiftly waved him inside without a word.



When the Past and Present Meet

Destiny, your Senses Greet

Future Builds on Winds of Fate

Storms in Time, at Fortune’s Gate





Edited by Elessar
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I don't think I will ever be able to do it! Myrrhi thought. She decided against voicing her opinion, though. The Green Sister who stood right in front of her had the eyes of an eagle, so piercing that she had to resist not to step back. Like many other Aes Sedai, her smooth ageless face seemed to be emotionless. The same was not true of her eyes. They shone like dangerous sapphires, muting all kind of resistance.

"So, all is settled then?" The Green Sister made her question sound as if it was an order.

"Of course, Aes Sedai." Myrrhi replied immediately, trying to hide her doubts. She politely curtsied.

The Sister nodded, turned her head and glided away.


Myrrhi sighed. She sat back on her chair and looked around. Once again, the Accepted was in the Green Quarters. She didn't know whether it was luck or fate, but she was sent among the Green Sisters more and more often. Of course, many of the hours she spent with them were filled with hard labor. It seemed that the Green Aes Sedai had a knack for tearing their dresses, losing their buttons and damaging their shoes. Myrrhi was good with her hands, as well as with thread and needles, but she hoped that this was not the only skills the Green Aes Sedai saw in her.


After her 25th birthday - choosing the date to be a special stage of her life - she had started to show open interest in the Battle Ajah. The Sisters had reacted coldly to her first questions, never offering her enough time nor answers. Then, after months of hard work added to careful choices when it came to picking her studies, they had started to open themselves a bit. Not much could be excepted from Aes Sedai, true, but they still adopted a "friendlier" behavior when interviewed. 


When reflecting about her situation, the Accepted even imagined that those sewing and repairing chores were an excuse for the Sisters to learn more about her. Indeed, she had rarely been alone to do her needle work. Many Sisters came to visit the place she was assigned. Sometimes, they came in looking lost, deep in their thoughts. Sometimes they came looking for an item they had forgotten. Sometimes, they came to tell her about future chores. But, every time they also questioned her about her past, her studies, her favorite weaves ... her tastes in men .. .As if she had the time to think about such things! Even if it all had been very subtle at first, time had passed. For the Accepted, something must have been going on.


Placing aside her tools and the dress she had been working on, she rolled her eyes. How am I going to do ? she wondered, thinking back on the beginning of the conversation she just had.


This had started like an innocent conversation, until her Green visitor mentioned horses.


Myrrhi shivered remembering her past experience with those evil beasts. She had found herself covered with bruises and mud, buried under shame and guilt. A boy her age had been with her, watching her through the whole ordeal. He had laughed at her so much that he had fallen from the fence he had been sitting on.


"You don't like horses?" asked the Aes Sedai.

"N-n-not really, Aes Sedai," Myrrhi stuttered.

"Can you ride, Child?"

The Accepted chewed on her lower lip for a while before answering. "No, Aes Sedai, I can't."

The Green Sister's eyebrows seemed to jump. "We will need to remedy that"



The Accepted shook her head as she remembered her own words. I should have lied. Or, not... She would probably have seen through me. Maybe I could have talked about some kind of ailment?

It was too late, anyways. There was nothing she could do now. The Green Sister had been so directive and insistent, that she was probably already ordering someone to get ready for the riding lessons.




As expected, Myrrhi didn't have to wait long before receiving the dreaded invitation to the Mistress of the Novices Office. There, she would meet her new teacher. Feeling cold sweat running down her spine, she was thankful to hear that the appointment was schedule the day itself, two hours later. That's a fantastic way to start my day, thought the Accepted as she gulped down the last crumbles of her breakfast. At least, the sooner it starts, the sooner it ends. She tried to block the wild images that went through her mind. It didn't work well. She saw herself fighting against horse-like trollocs, breathing fire through their nostrils, when she was not imagining herself becoming the laughing stock of the whole Tower because she would have fallen from the back of the meekest of its horses.




Valeri Sedai adjusted her shawl before opening the door. The man is right on time, she thought as she saw Elessar standing in the corridor with his back straight. His face was almost as hard to read as one of an Aes Sedai. Is he pleased by this assignment? She wondered. I do hope it is not the case... otherwise, I will have to send him back to the Yard. The Mistress of the Novices was very protective of her charge. She didn't want to send her Accepted to too eager Warders. Especially the ones who still had to spend some more years wearing their banded dresses. Myrrhi was a very good student, she knew it. Some were even thinking that she might be raised faster than others but she was still a child. It would be easy to impress her with large shoulders and a manly smile. Who knew what could happen afterwards?


Valeri waved the newcomer inside. She looked further in the corridor and was relieved to see it empty. She didn't like to have men coming in her office. She had not bonded anyone, nor taken companions. Still, gossip was a hard beast to kill. Many talked about her private affairs, about what happened or could happen behind her door.


"Please, sit down, Elessar Gaidin" she said. She knew her voice had been harsh, she had done it on purpose as she wanted to show the Warder that, here, she was the one who gave orders.

She waited for the man to sit then advanced towards her own chair, on the other side of her desk.


"I don't know what you have been told, but here it is. I have been asked to organize some kind of riding lesson for one of the Accepted." She rolled her eyes, to show that she thought the request foolish. Her face went back to its usual emotionless state before she went on. "This Accepted, Myrrhi Morrigen is a very good student. However, one of her teachers has noticed her lack of skill with horses. She wants it to be remedied.... Fast... " she added. "I have made some inquiries and noticed that you have met the girl before. I hope that this had no effect on your volunteering."


She closed her lips, hoping the silence would bring useful information. The Warder didn't react to it, though. So she decided to go on. "The lessons will last no more than two weeks. I can't afford to have an Accepted running in the wild while there is work to do."


After a short pause, she added. " And, I want you to consider her like the child she is. Is that clear?"



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.. In the Mistress of Novices’ Office  ..



"Please, sit down, Elessar Gaidin" said the Mistress of Novices in a somewhat hard voice.


Some might have considered it almost a command. The Warder gave her a polite Warder’s bow, unruffled by her tone, knowing that Mistress of Novices were infamous for being harsh-yet-fair women. His face was neutral and unreadable as he seated himself on the other side of the desk from her, waiting for her to begin.


She waisted no time. She quickly informed him that she was not sure what he had been told, but that she had been asked to organize some kind of riding lessons for one of the Accepted. She rolled her eyes, giving him the impression that she personally thought the request somewhat foolish or, at least, a waste of time. Then her face became smooth and unemotional again before she continued. "This Accepted, Myrrhi Morrigen is a very good student." Valeri Sedai said. "However, one of her teachers has noticed her lack of skill with horses. She wants it to be remedied.... Fast..."


She added that she had made some enquires and noticed that he had met the girl before. She hoped that this had no effect on his volunteering.


She closed her lips, hoping the silence would bring useful information.



Elessar considered his response. He did not want to lie to the Mistress of Novices, for of course it was primarily because he knew this young woman from before that he had volunteered for this assignment. It was a combination of some curiosity of how she was doing, looking forward to some more pleasant conversations with her, and wanting to help her out some more, to feel useful. He could not tell this Aes Sedai so, however, since it was clear that she was somewhat dubious about the prospect and he knew that his interest - however correct - in aiding this Accepted easily could be misinterpreted.


His face was unreadable, however, giving no hint of his thoughts. The silence lengthened. He was spared the lie, fortunately, as Valeri Sedai seemed to take his silence as confirmation and decided to go on. She informed that the lessons would last no more than two weeks since she could not afford to have an Accepted running in the wild while there was work to do.


Elessar nodded, meeting her eyes squarely. Two weeks will have to do. He thought. How far we progress will, of course, depend on how much or little experience she has had with horses. If she has never seen a horse in her life.. then we will have to begin from scratch..


After a short pause, the Mistress of Novices added in her somewhat stern voice. "And, I want you to consider her like the child she is. Is that clear?"



"Of course, Valeri Aes Sedai." The Warder replied formally, giving an affirmative nod, inwardly amused that full Sisters would consider a woman in her mid to late twenties a ‘child’. Then again, most Aes Sedai would consider Accepted and Novices however old as ‘children’ in their eyes. Her words also indicated to him that he - as the elder, mature Warder - must protect the Accepted, make sure she is safe and well, and, if he had not misunderstood, that he not take advantage of the younger woman. "It will be done as you say."


The Aes Sedai’s face remained smooth and unreadable, her eyes, however, indicating that he had better.., but she said nothing further.


"Aranes Gaidin and I considered suitable sites in the vicinity for the riding lessons", Elessar informed, leaning slightly forward for emphasis - knowing that she had been in touch with his Warder superior, "and we decided on a site in the woodlands just west of Tar Valon, not that far inland from the West Bridge." He added. "It is close by, safe and we know the site well from earlier training sessions."


He waited to see her reaction, in case she had any objections.



In the silence that followed, Elessar’s mind drifted momentarily. Something made him think of Kathleen, his last bondholder. Perhaps it was the ancient-looking ink and quill set on Valeri Sedai’s desk. With his eye for history, the Warder saw that it had to be very old. It was exquisite, beautifully crafted from darkest wood in a form and style he did not recognize, but could nevertheless appreciate.


An Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah, just like Leandreen, and a woman of great honour and integrity, Kathleen had released his Warder-bond several years before. He recalled her letter to him, the words formed in black ink, in which she had explained her reasons for doing so. He had received it some time after his solitary return to Tar Valon from the Borderlands, where they had journeyed on a mission of personal import. Her letter had moved him greatly and though he knew how hard it had been for Kathleen to write, he appreciated her words - and explanation - immensely.


I could never hate you for what you did, dear Kathleen. He thought again, with suppressed emotion. It was an impossible decision for you to make. Please don’t carry guilt for your choice.


His attention returned once again to the present, to the Aes Sedai before him, echoes of his memories dissipating, as the Mistress of Novices finally spoke.



Edited by Elessar
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Valeri silently watched the Warder as he explained to her where the lessons would happen, that the place was safe and that it had been used for previous lessons. She found herself quite reassured by his words. The man seemed to have thought about the riding lessons before coming to her office. It was a good thing. As the Mistress of the Novices she couldn't allow any of her charge to put herself at risk. Very well, she thought. I will give this one a chance. He doesn't look to be especially fond of the girl and he's taking his teaching mission seriously. Still, I don't understand why it is necessary for an Accepted to learn how to ride. If she decides to become a Brown, she'll spend most of her time in the library. Of course, if she chooses the Greens... well then... things will be different. 


The Aes Sedai adjusted her shawl once more, not because it had fallen from her shoulders but to attract Elessar's attention towards it. She wanted him to know that she would be following Myrrhi's progress with care without having to voice it.


"I have summoned the girl. She will come in a moment," she said, punctuating her sentence with a wave of her hand. She hoped that Myrrhi would even arrive a bit earlier than the time that had been indicated to her. Valeri didn't want her meeting with Elessar to last more than necessary. "Surely, you can start with the lessons today already?" Valeri asked, not even imagining she could receive a negative reply to her question. As expected, the Warder told her that there would be no problem to begin the first course within the hour.


"Also, I don't want any kind of advertising around this class. I don't want to have Novices coming here to ask me about their riding lessons. I expect you to be clear about it with the Accepted." Again, the Warder nodded. Valeri knew that she was exaggerating. She was certainly sounding very protective but what else could she do? The contacts between Warders and Accepted had always been very policed. Only a handful of them had been allowed to train in the yard. Those ones had been the most serious ones with their studies. The less likely to frolic in the hay with the younger recruits. Could she trust Myrrhi? The girl had always been very focused on her studies. She barely had contacts with other people outside of her classroom or the library and the few friends she had left met her only once very couple of months.


The Mistress of the Novices thoughts were interrupted by a soft knock on the door.




Myrrhi hesitated. She knew that Valeri Sedai didn't like to come to the door to open it. It always set her in a bad mood. Here, though, the Accepted didn't have the choice. She would have to wait for the Mistress of the Novices to come from her desk to enter. No one would dare to open the Mistress of the Novices door without being sure that she was not intruding.


The door opened itself with the Power this time, Myrrhi noticed surprised. It was a first for her. Valeri Sedai had strong principle and one of them was that one was not supposed to channel to do simple things like washing your clothes, dusting... or opening doors. Seeing it as an invitation, the young woman came it. Everything is going to be alright, everything is going to be ok, she repeated herself as it was a prayer. She couldn't allow herself to tremble nor to look scared. She had to do her best to look as a fully raised Sister when it came to outward calm. Otherwise, she would never be taken seriously enough to get raised.


All her efforts to master her emotions were almost crushed when she recognized Elessar's back. He was sitting right in front of the Mistress of the Novices office.What is he doing .. ? Myrrhi's eyes went from the Warder to Valeri Sedai. As she had guessed, the Aes Sedai was watching her intently probably trying to analyze her reactions.


The Accepted politely curtsied, keeping her face as straight as it was possible to.

"Good day, Valeri Sedai. I am here as requested."

The Mistress of the Novices greeted her. With her emotionless face she explained in details that a Green Sister had asked her to organize riding lessons and that those lessons would start today. Elessar Gaidin would be her teacher, he would have two weeks to perform wonders. As soon as the Aes Sedai had mentioned horses, Myrrhi's face had whitened. It had become even paler when she had heard that the lesson would start as soon as she would leave the office.


"Is there something you want to tell us, Myrrhi?" The Mistress of the Novices asked.

Myrrhi had things to say. She wanted to plead against the lessons. She wanted to ask about other traveling weaves. She also wanted to ask Elessar how he was doing... and apologizing for staying out of touch for so long.


She had not dared to come to him after the Tar valon events. Her Aes Sedai teachers had let her know that she should not wander in the yard anymore and her friends had convinced her that talking with a Warder was quite an improper behaviour. Then, she had been very busy with her chores and study. She barely had had any free time. Time had passed... days, weeks, months ... soon, it had become too late to come back to have a chat.


"No, Valeri Sedai. I have nothing to add."

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.. Instructions and Revelations  ..



Elessar watched the Aes Sedai adjust her shawl once more on her shoulders, and was pretty certain it was a gesture to attract his attention to it; it had not fallen from her shoulders and he could see no other reason for her doing it. He had seen it several times before with Aes Sedai and it usually was a method of asserting one’s authority. Or to make certain the recipient did not forget he or she was in the presence of Aes Sedai. He had once remarked upon it to Leandreen, in a half-mocking way with mirth in his eyes, but for some reason she had not been amused. It was probably wise not to make a similar jest in this situation, he thought with disguised amusement. It would make for a bad start to this assignment.


Being attentive, he listened to the Mistress of Novices speak. She informed him that she had summoned the girl who be there in a moment. Then she added that she hoped - hoped as in a presumed , as he interpreted it - that he could start with the lessons that same day.


Elessar nodded. "There is no problem starting the first lesson today". He said affirmatively. "We can begin within the hour in fact".


Valeri Sedai nodded, as if she had expected nothing less. She then added that she did not want any kind of advertising around this class. She did not want to have Novices coming to her to ask her about their riding lessons. "I expect you to be clear about it with the Accepted." She said with emphasis. The Warder nodded again. Privately he thought the Mistress of Novices seemed a bit overprotective of the Accepted and unnecessarily concerned about the danger of word coming out about the riding lessons. He kept silent though; it was not his place to question Aes Sedai customs and beliefs. "I will explain it to the Accepted, Aes Sedai". He said in reply. "It will be done".



There was a new silence between them then, as they waited for Myrrhi to arrive.


It made him think of that first time he saw her when she came into the Warder’s Yard to ask for his help with her studies. It was several years ago, but Elessar recalled the meeting in great detail. He had always had a talent for remembering details, all the way back from his early years in the Borderlands. He could remember detailed stories, poems, letters and conversations that he had had years in the past.


One of the Brown Sisters had once remarked upon it, during a visit by Leandreen and Elessar in the Tar Valon Library where they had been to collect some vital information for a mission. The Warder had come across a book of poetry there and by just seeing the poem-title had recited the twelve verse poem by heart. The Brown Sedai, a pleasant Illianer woman with smiling eyes and traces of grey in her hair, who practically lived in that library, had called it a gift. And though he seldom thought about it, to tell the truth, his excellent memory for detail had been very helpful on several occasions through the years.



Now, in his mind, he was back in the Warder’s Yard during that first meeting with the Accepted..


.."Excuse me, Gaidin, Sir, ... " She began. "I am Myrrhi Morrigen. I am an Accepted... as you can obviously see". He thought he saw a tentative smile on her face. "I h-have some questions for you... " She continued. "It is for my studies... you understand? Well those are not questions for you specifically... those are questions to be asked to a warder... "


..A small smile came upon his lips, for several reasons, but it was almost undetectable. He gave her a respectful Warder’s bow. “I am Elessar”. He said somewhat formally as was his way. “Pleased to meet you, Accepted Myrrhi Morrigen“.


..His eyes softened slightly in a kind way, though no one would have called his gaze soft, as he added: “Questions, you say?“ A slight pause. “I cannot guarrantee that I can give you satisfactory answers.”  His eyes met hers squarely. “But I will answer what I can.“



His thoughts - memories - were interrupted by a soft knock on the door. He did not turn around, seated as he was with his back to the door, but saw Valeri Sedai’s eyes turn watchfully in that direction. A moment later the door opened - was it opened from outside? he wondered - and someone entered the room. Myrrhi presumably. The Warder sat still in his chair, waiting for the proceedings to continue. He did not know how much the Accepted had been told with regards to the lessons, if anything, or if she had been informed beforehand that he was to be her teacher. I will soon find out.. He thought. Perhaps she is well prepared.


"Good day, Valeri Sedai. I am here as requested." Said the Accepted. Elessar recognized her voice, but turned the other way did not see the surprise on her face when she saw him there. The Mistress of Novices greeted her and then, with an emotionless face, proceeded swiftly to explain in detail that a Green Sister had asked her to organize riding lessons for her and that those lessons would start today. Elessar Gaidin would be her teacher. At this point the Gaidin half-turned in his chair and politely greeted the Accepted. She looks the same.. but also a little different. He thought, studying her face. Perhaps it is the intervening years.. The Mistress of Novices added that the Gaidin would have two weeks ‘to perform wonders’ as she called it. Elessar did not know if her particular choice of words were indicative of her lack of belief that this Accepted could be taught to ride in such a short time, or if they were simply a result of her doubts about the whole affair.. it did not matter in any case. He would do the best he could to teach the Andoran Accepted; time would tell how much she would be able to learn in those two weeks.


"Is there something you want to tell us, Myrrhi?" The Mistress of Novices asked. The Warder thought the Accepted’s face appeared a little paler than he could recall, but it had been years since he had seen her last and he could not be certain. She had had a pale complexion to begin with. The Aes Sedai had probably seen something in the young woman’s face, though, from her specific question.


"No, Valeri Sedai", replied the Accepted. "I have nothing to add."



A little under an hour later, under a semi-clouded mid-morning Tar Valon sky, Elessar met up with the Accepted - as agreed upon - at the White Tower stables. They were situated at the back of the Tower, in a separate section of the grounds. Under the watchful eye of the Stablemaster, a tall Saldaean with a sharp tongue and a no-nonsense look in his eyes, several young stableboys cared conscientiously for the many horses tethered there. As Myrrhi approached Elessar he saw what looked like fear in her eyes as she stared past him at the horses in their separate stalls - and he was hard pushed not to groan. Don’t tell me she is frightened of them!? He thought with worry. That would certainly make his job harder.


He hoped he had misinterpreted her instinctive reaction, but as she came closer and he could study her face in more detail, he knew deep down that he had not.




Edited by Elessar
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Myrrhi felt so sick that she thought she was going to puke. She didn't know what she feared the most. The horse or the shame she would feel when people would see her fail to master her future mount. Making a fool of herself in front of stable boys or worse in front of Elessar turned her stomach into a maelstrom of acid.


Breathing deeply in as she went out of the Tower, she tried to focus on the path ahead. She remembered where the stables laid. Indeed, she had visited them on two occasions before. The first time was the time she had entered the White Tower as a brand new Initiate. The Sister who had been accompanying her had made her ride for the last few miles because it would look better, she had said. The second time had been a bit different. She had been caught as a Novice  practicing with the One Power unattended. The Aes Sedai who had discovered her, Jagen, had ordered Myrrhi to accompany her in Tar Valon for a small errand. Both times had been complete messes. Myrrhi had inelegantly bounced on her saddle for the best part of both trips but this had not been the worst. The physical damages were. Her hands - clutching the reins the whole times - had been badly burned as well as her backside. Of course, time had passed since then. More that ten years actually. But her fears had not lessened. They had amplified. Was it because of all the stories she had read? She didn't know. The only thing certainty she had was that horses were beast of hell: they hated her and she hated them in return.


The sky was lightly clouded. Wind played with the strands of hair the Accepted had not managed to tuck into her braid. I really need to hurry, she thought. Valeri Sedai had insisted for the lessons to start as soon as possible. If she asks around and learn that I arrived belatedly in the stables she will have my hide.


Myrrhi arrived at the meeting point. As expected, Elessar was waiting for her. She had recognized his large shoulders and his dark hair. Now, that she could look better at him, she saw that he had not changed since their last meeting. He still looked impressive, dangerous and concentrated on the work ahead. He turned his head as she approached and their eyes met. Myrrhi tried to empty her mind of all emotions hoping he would not understand how afraid she was. But she felt herself failing at imitating the fully raised Sisters. She knew, because she was starting to feel very light headed, that she must have bleached. Her colors faded even more - if that was possible - when her eyes traveled to the stalls behind the Warder. The horses nestled in them seemed to be looking at her, full of defiance.


"Elessar Gaidin..." she said with a voice so low that her words sounded like whispers.


I am doomed, thought the Accepted. All her previous thoughts crossed her mind again. It appeared to her that one of them came to her more times than others. Failing, that seemed to be what mattered the most. Not to be able to climb on her horse, not to be able to ride, not to be able to master her horse, those were the things she feared the most.  She noticed a bad taste coming in her mouth. Please, don't make me vomit... I can't vomit ... please, she begged herself.


"I hope you have been well." she went on. Her brain dug for excuses. Something that would not make her look weak but that would justify the postponement of the lesson. It was very hard to find anything, though. The Mistress of the Novice had been very clear about when the lesson should start.


"I thank you for volunteering for this class. I could think of no better teacher." She made an attempt at smiling. "But, I really don't want to disturb your schedule nor your missions. Are you sure that you have the time to teach me?" she asked hesitatingly. "I am sure a Warder like you must have a thousand other things to do, more important things than teaching a Accepted how to ride." She finished her sentence by waving her hand dismissively. Riiiiight.... she told to herself. She had to admit that it all had sounded quite fake in her head.

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.. Wariness in the presence of Horses  ..



She definetly looked rattled, Elessar thought with some consternation, though she was trying to hide her emotions as best she could. As the Accepted walked up to him he went over in his mind how to tackle this added complication. He had some ideas, but would need to talk to her first to find out how big a problem she had with horses and what would be the best way to go about it.


Elessar turned his head as she approached, her face pale, and their eyes met. He looked into her blue eyes and tried to measure her mettle. "Elessar Gaidin..." she said in greeting with a voice so low that her words sounded like whispers. He greeted her back, adding a small smile for reassurance that he hoped would calm her a little. "Accepted Myrrhi Morrigen", he replied. "Well met." He refrained from saying anything more for the moment, wanting to give her a little time to collect herself. She looked flustered, but it was not that surprising if - as he suspected - she had very little experience with horses. She would not want to fail in her attempt to learn to ride whatever her personal view of these animals.


She added politely that she hoped he had been well. He replied that he had - and hoped the same had been the case with her. She is a little cautious.. but that is understandable. The Warder thought. Once we start talking she will feel more comfortable. She then thanked him for volunteering for this class and said that she could think of no better teacher. A small smile came upon her lips and he nodded his thanks at her praise, inwardly pleased. Then she added that she really did not want to disturb his schedule nor his missions. She asked him somewhat hesitantly, if he were sure that he had the time to teach her?


"I am sure a Warder like you must have a thousand other things to do", she added, "more important things than teaching an Accepted how to ride." She finished her sentence by waving her hand dismissively.



"I have cleared my schedule, no worries", said the Gaidin in response. "I mostly had generic errands in any case, and they can be carried out by others. As for missions", he added, "I have been on very few lately. Almost all my time is spent in Tar Valon now". He did not know if a touch of regret shone through in his reply. "Missions played a greater part of my life back when I was bonded."


I miss those missions. He thought to himself. And the journeys. Being stuck here in Tar Valon so much of the time wears me down..


He smiled a little. "I volunteered for this assignment because I thought it could be interesting - valuable - to help you some more in your studies. To help you learn basic riding, and to answer any other questions you may have". And to be of use, he added in his thoughts, though he did not utter it aloud.


"Also, I must admit that it will be pleasant to just get out of Tar Valon if only for a little while. To see the woodlands on the mainland past the river. To breathe the forest air. To ride a little again.."


Stormbreaker, he thought with fondness as he gazed toward the stall where his staunch black stallion stood tethered. I am sure you are as restless as I am, my loyal companion of many years.



His attention then returned to the Andoran Accepted before him. She said nothing more and started fidgeting a little and his intuition told him that she was stalling.. delaying the moment when she would have to approach these horses that she appeared wary of to say the least. We will need to do this with great care.., he thought, step by step..


"Now then", he began. "I have received my instructions. But it is up to me how these lessons are to be carried out. We have two weeks in which to reach our goal.. not much time in other words.. but I need to know what experience you have with horses.. before we begin." He pointed at some benches off to the side, further away from the stalls and the horses. "Let’s go over there and sit down and talk for a while first." He said calmly and with a smile. She joined him and they walked over and seated themselves on the wooden bench. He had chosen it also because it brought them further away from the stables. Hopefully it would put the Accepted more at ease.


The Gaidin did not say anything at first but let the silence calm her a little. He gazed up into the sky and saw that more clouds were coming in from the west. Parts of the sky were still ocean-blue though and it remained to be seen if there was to be rain later. Rain would hamper their lesson somewhat if they got as far as the woodlands, of course, but Elessar thought they would likely not get that far on this first day in any case. The priority now was to find out if Myrrhi was afraid of horses - measures would have to be taken then - and if she had ridden a horse before. The Warder debated with himself if he should approach the subject tactfully, with the greatest care, in a roundabout way, or if he should just ask her straight out. Asking her directly could, of course, cause her some embarassment.. but he needed her trust if he was to succeed with the assignment and he needed to know in order to structure his lessons. The silence between them stretched and he made his decision. He hoped she would understand and take it well.


"Myrrhi Morrigen, no disrespect intended". He began carefully. "But I have the impression that you are.. uncomfortable ..with the situation. As your teacher for this ‘class’ I need you to please be honest with me".


"Are you wary of - afraid of - horses?"




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Myrrhi felt her legs falter as she heard Elessar's words. His schedule was clear, he told her. She shouldn't worry. Well, she was worrying. She had no more excuses to post pone the lesson or, she had some, but they all sounded bad in her head.


The Warder explained that he had only had a few missions of late. As he went on, telling her that missions had played a greater part of his life when he was bonded, the Accepted felt her heart tightening. She didn't know if it was the scowl that had passed on his brow or the tone of his voice that had seemed to be darker. From what she had read lately, she had understood that a bond could change a woman as well as a man. She had daydreamed about such connection even though she had been careful not to think too much about it. Even though she wanted to become part of the Green Ajah, she was still an Accepted. A young woman who would have to wait - maybe many - years to be raised.


A spontaneous smile appeared on her lips when she heard that Elessar had actually volunteered to teach her. He had wanted to help her in her studies. And me who thought that he would have forgotten me... or that he would have remembered me but considered me as a rude person for not coming to talk to him sooner...


The man seemed to be enthusiastic about the riding and the opportunity it offered to see the woodlands, to breath fresh air. At least, that's what Myrrhi understood from his words. Going outside of the Tower grounds did sound like a very good idea. It would probably help her to get rid of her nausea. She would have preferred to travel on foot though. She was pulled out of her reverie by Elessar.


"Now, then. I have received my instructions. But it is up to me how these lessons are to be carried out. We have two weeks in which to reach our goal, " he said as Myrrhi almost strangled herself with her own saliva. He went on "not much time in other words... but I need to know what experience you have with horses, before we begin." The warder pointed at a bench and invited her to come and sit with him. He smiled, trying to be - or so Myrrhi thought - reassuring. She followed him silently then sat, happy to notice that the horses were out of her sight.


The Warder didn't talk immediately. The Accepted was thankful for it, she had to sort her thoughts a bit. Could she confess her fears? Would he laugh at her? Would he support her? So far, she had only seen positive signs coming from him. He genuinely seemed to want to help her.


"Myrrhi Morrigen" he finally said, making her jump "no disrespected intended... but I have the impression that you are ... uncomfortable ... with the situation...". He then asked her to be honest with him. "Are you wary of - afraid of - horses?"


And there it was. She had to decide now. To lie or to tell the truth. She wanted to lie, she didn't want to look weak in the Warder's eyes. But was lying a good option? Her body had more that probably betrayed what she was feeling. Also, she wanted to become an Aes Sedai. Aes Sedai were not supposed to lie. Furthermore, as an Accepted she had to behave as if she was raised. Oherwise she might as well have stayed a Novice. 


Gathering some courage, she started "I think you must know already the answer to your question." A sad smile crept up on her lips.


"Those lessons are going to be tougher than you expect... as I am not sure I am willing to approach one of those beasts..." She didn't finish her sentence and decided to look defiantly in his eyes.


More clouds had filled the sky. She hadn't noticed them before. Somehow, she hoped that it would rain and that the lesson would be canceled.

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.. The Dividends of apparent Misdirection  ..



"Those lessons are going to be tougher than you expect... " Said the Accepted.  "As I am not sure I am willing to approach one of those beasts..." She didn't finish her sentence and decided to look defiantly in his eyes.


His suspicions had been correct. The fear in her eyes had betrayed her. She was afraid of horses.. or beasts as she called them derogatorily. And now the ‘mountain to be climbed’ had become even steeper. Had the Mistress of Novices known? Was that why she had used the words ‘to perform wonders’ with regards to the lessons? It could have been coincidence, of course. Or perhaps not. He met Myrrhi’s defiant look with a kind but neutral one. There was no point in antagonizing her unnecessarily. At the same time, he considered in his mind how to approach this challenge. I need to put here at ease; then I need some time to think.


A smile came upon his lips after a few moment’s silence. "Ah, these beasts are meek as a lamb once you get to know them", he said, exaggerating a little, wanting to reassure her. "Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. We’ll take it one step at a time." He hid the concern he felt, knowing that teaching someone to ride always was much harder when the person in question had fear of the animals or hated them. Still, it could be done. You just had to find the right way about it.


Thinking hard, Elessar considered his options. Gazing intently towards the stables in the near distance he weighed the possibilities in his mind. Above in the sky more clouds were drifting in from the west, increasing the probability of rain. Shifting his gaze, he studied his hands for a moment. Finally he made his decision. Getting swiftly to his feet, and in the process almost making the Accepted jump, he looked kindly down at her. "Let’s go to the library for a little while", he said then, waving for her to follow him. "I have something to show you there." She seemed surprised at this turn of events but quickly stood up and followed him to the Tar Valon library. She looked somewhat relieved, or so at least the Warder thought when he once glanced at her face as they walked together toward the Tower in silence.  


He had several motives for going to the library. One, was simply to get her away from the stables since she was so obviously in discomfort there. An attempt to have her walk up to - and face - the horses at this point seemed futile in his mind, and going somewhere else would put her more at ease. The library had not, moreover, been chosen at random. He thought that showing her some books - he had some specific ones in mind - about horses, some drawings, in the right context, might make her more comfortable, more at ease, with the subject. Also it would give them an opportunity to talk about experiences the Accepted had had with these beasts, as she disdainfully termed them. From the way she had spoken, Elessar was pretty sure that she had had some bad experiences in the past which accounted for her fear and possible distaste for horses in general.



There were several visitors in the library even at this fairly early hour, including some older Brown Ajah Sisters that strolled around with their heads in a book, captivated and seemingly unaware of the world around them, but the Warder and Accepted easily found an available table in a corner by several book shelves where they could talk in private. When they were seated, Elessar spoke. "I’ll be back in a moment." He said in a low voice. "I’ll just go and get a couple of books for us." She gave him a nod, her face betraying none of her feelings, and he left to talk to the Head Librarian. He found her by a desk closer to the entrance, an older woman oozing authority, they spoke for a few moments and he was given directions to the book shelf in question. Not long after he returned to the table where Myrrhi waited, carrying two volumes in his hands. "Now then", he began with a reassuring smile, "let’s take a look at these books."


The Gaidin opened a leather-bound book that was titled ‘Battle Leaders: History and Myth’  by Damer Norwelyn, an Andoran historian. Turning the pages he found the chapter he wanted. "You may have heard of Rashima Kerenmosa, a Sister of the Green, one of the most famous Battle Ajah Amyrlins of all time". He said, with undisguised interest. "She has in history been called the ‘Soldier Amyrlin’, since she was a renowned Battle Commander, often at the forefront of hostilities." He hoped this angle would pique her interest. He pointed at a drawing of the Amyrlin in the book. She looked a striking figure of power and intent, on the battleground seated atop a beautiful white warhorse. He saw Myrrhi gaze with apparent interest and curiosity at the Amyrlin and at her horse, and he smiled inside.  Small steps.. small steps.. "There is a famous poem written about Rashima Kerenmosa", he added excitedly after a while, "and if our lessons go well I will recite it to you one day."


"For now though", he said with emphasis, "let’s take a look at how horses have aided warriors, soldiers and Aes Sedai in combat and battle over the years. Some of those horses or mounts are renowned, in fact. Perhaps it will give you a different impression of these loyal - and highly useful - beasts." She noted that his use of the word was far from derogatory. It was almost as if he spoke of horses with admiration. In the following couple of hours, as they leafed through the books, stopping at several chapters on the way for the Warder to illustrate, exemplify and look closely at drawings of horses and the historian’s enclosed comments, it seemed to Elessar that the Accepted remained interested. She at least looked far less wary than she had been at the stables, and even asked questions now and then.


It would take much more to rid her of her fear and distaste of horses, of course - Elessar knew that well - but it was a beginning.



Once they were finished going through the books, it was his intention to try and make her open up a little about her bad experiences with horses. He needed to learn about the cause for her extreme reaction in order to try to rectify it.


I just hope she will be honest with me, Elessar thought earnestly, however embarassing or bad her experiences have been.




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"Ah, these beasts are meek as a lamb once you get to know them", the Warder said. "Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. We’ll take it one step at a time."

I am not sure I want to get to know them, Myrrhi thought but didn't dare to voice her words. This was getting worse and worse by the minute. On one hand, she wanted to run away or, at least, she wanted Elessar to understand that it was better to give up. Fear was so strong in her heart. On another, she had her pride. She hated to fail. Since she had entered the Tower, many challenges had been thrown in her path. But, none had stopped her. She remembered the Fire weaves for which she had had to train so hard... To master them, she had sacrificed free time, sleep, even food. Couldn't she do the same here? 


The Warder stayed silent for a while and the Accepted decided to let him think. She crossed her fingers, hoping that the next time he would open his mouth she would hear good news. Looking at the sky, she followed the course of the clouds. There were even more of them now, big, grey and pillow-like. Myrrhi didn't have much knowledge when it came to forecast the weather but there were few doubts about the imminent arrival of the rain.


Suddenly, the Warder stood up. Myrrhi was so surprised by his move that she almost jumped. Before she had the time to react further, he asked her to accompany him to the library. The Accepted fought not to bite her lip. Is it some kind of trap? It can't be... there are no horses in the library... Choosing the trust Elessar, the Accepted got up. The library was by far her favorite place in the Tower. She loved to spend time there, to discover new books and to read them in the cozy darkness made by the enormous shelves.


She knew the way by heart. Still, she decided to stay one step behind the Warder. She didn't dare to walk right beside him. The fully raised Sisters appreciated to be the ones leading the way. Was it the same for the Warders? She didn't know. The only thing she knew was that she would be watched. No Accepted accompanying a Warder could wander unnoticed. Better to adopt the most appropriate behaviour, she told herself.


The Tower corridors were nicely lit. Even during the morning, torches were burning everywhere where the builders hadn't been able to place windows or other kind of opening. It gave Myrrhi a feeling of quiet and serenity. Slowly, she manged to forget about her fears. With a clear mind, it was easier for her to think. Why the library? She wondered. Is there a book about the ways to fight fears? Does he know how much I love the place? Probably not... Looking at Elessar shoulder, she sighed. He was so different from the teachers she had had so far.


The library was just like usual. Aes Sedai, Accepted, Novices, all busy looking for book, studying or chatting with a low voice. Myrrhi breathed in, welcoming the musty smell. Still behind Elessar, the Accepted accompanied him to a free table. It was not her favorite but she appreciate the Warder's choice nonetheless. The table was set in a corner between high bookshelves. If they needed to talk, they would not disturb anyone nor attract too much attention on them. The young woman picked a chair with her back to the wall. She didn't like to have empty space behind her. Maybe it was because of that novel about the assassin ... the character had had a long monologues about the precautions to take if one wanted to live longer.


"I'll be back in a moment," said the Warder with a low voice. "I'll just go and get a couple of books for us." Myrrhi nodded. She had wanted to raise an eyebrow, hoping to get more information from him but had finally judged it unnecessary. She would know about what was in the books soon enough. Watching the Warder move to the Head Librarian desk, she summoned some inner strength. Being alone, in this place, made her change of perspective. Have I behaved like a child? She asked to herself, feeling guilty. All the early morning events passed through her mind. I have been ridiculous! she had to admit, even though she didn't know how things could have been different. Horses scared her. It was a fact.


Elessar came back to the table with two large books. As he sat, he smiled reassuringly. "Let's take a look at these books." he said, inviting the Accepted to come closer.


The first book was titled Battle Leaders: History and Myth. Myrrhi recognized the name of its author, Damer Norwelyn, an Andoran historian. She had read a couple of books from him and had loved them all.


The young woman ached to touch the book. She managed to keep her hands on her lap, only because she was curious to know what Elessar wanted to show her. He selected a page and started to talk about. Rashima Kerenmosa, the Soldier Amyrlin. Myrrhi had heard about her and avidly read stories about her life. The Warder pointed at a drawing of the Aes Sedai. Myrrhi lowered her eyes. Of course... she's on a horse. I should have seen this coming. The Accepted had to confess to herself that she had completely overlooked the horse-part of that Aes Sedai feats of battles. How could she have commanded armies if she had not been on horseback?


Meeting Elessar's eyes, she politely asked whether she could have a look to the chapter he had indicated. He nodded and the Accepted flipped through the pages. She read diagonally the parts dedicated to Rashima's life, trying to find inspiration in the few keywords that attracted her attention.


"There is a famous poem written about Rashima Kerenmosa", Elessar added excitedly after a while, "and if our lessons go well I will recite it to you one day." Myrrhi pulled out of the book. "I would like to hear it," she said with a hesitant smile, handing back the volume to the Warder.


"For now though, let’s take a look at how horses have aided warriors, soldiers and Aes Sedai in combat and battle over the years. Some of those horses or mounts are renowned, in fact. Perhaps it will give you a different impression of these loyal - and highly useful - beasts." Myrrhi straightened in her chair to that last word and blushed. To the Warder, horses seemed to be companions, useful friends to have around. Still he had used the word "beast", a word she had already used a couple of times that day with a completely different meaning.


For a while, they discussed. Elessar talked the most in the beginning, Myrrhi only answering when politeness obliged her to talk. The man was a gifted teacher though. Going from an interesting anecdote to another, he captivated her attention. He talked about battles, about history, topics that were dear to the young girl.


"Thank you," she said, feeling relaxed for the first time since she had woken up that day. The Warder closed the book and cleared his throat, as if to make her understand that the lesson was yet not at an end.


"If you want me to help you, you will have to tell me more about your past experiences with horses..." Elessar placed a hand on the young woman's arm. His touch helped her to gather her thoughts. She took the time to sort them out. Then she started. "I have been on a horse twice so far. I won't use the word "ride" though, seeing how I fared. The first time, was the time I came to the Tower. The journey had been a long and tough one, we did it mainly on foot. The Sister who accompanied me ordered me to ride for the last few miles. She thought her entrance to the tower would look ... better." Myrrhi knew that the word was maybe not the most appropriate to describe Deanna's wishes but she couldn't explain them further. There were things that had to be left unsaid. The Brown Sister was very young for an Aes Sedai, she had hoped that using a horse at the time would improve her credibility...


"The second time," she went on. "I had to accompany a Red Sister to Tar Valon. I was very bad at mastering my horse. When we came back from the city, she asked me to take care of her beast and the one she had lent me." The young woman smiled at the use of the word. "Things didn't go well." Myrrhi took her time to explain in details what had happened. Now that she had started to talk about it, she didn't want to stop. She had never talked about that evening to anyone and it felt liberating to be able to share it with someone. Elessar didn't laugh at her when she talked about the many times she had fallen nor about the times the horses had bitten her. He seemed to want to understand her. The more he listen, the more she felt confident. It is only when she explained how she had found herself covered with manure that he smiled but it didn't bother her. She smiled too.  It is so easy to talk to him, she thought as she finished her monologue.


"So, now you know everything," she said. "I am so afraid to make a fool of myself again. And as I said, I am sure that the horses don't like me." She laughed. "Are you sure I am not a lost cause?" Her own voice surprised her. It was so different now. It made her think back on their previous talks. She pushed some strands of her hair that had fallen in front of her eyes behind her ears, waiting for an answer.

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.. A Catharsis of Emotion  ..



 "Thank you," she said, feeling relaxed for the first time since she had woken up that day. The Warder closed the book and cleared his throat, as if to make her understand that the lesson was yet not at an end.


"You are welcome". He replied with a smile. Then he considered his next words.


It’s best just to be honest with this question. He thought sincerely. It’s important to know the reasons for her fear, if I am to help her with this.


He met her eyes squarely and told her honestly that if she wanted him to help her, she would have to tell him more about her past experiences with horses. To give her added reassurance, and to show her that he understood that this was not an easy topic for her, he placed a comforting hand on her arm. She seemed to take a moment to gather her thoughts. Then she began. She informed him that she had been on a horse twice so far, but wouldn’t call it ‘riding’, seeing how she had fared. The first time had been the time she came to the Tower. She explained that it had been a long and tough journey, mainly on foot. The Aes Sedai accompanying her had, for her own reasons, ordered her to ride for the last few miles. The second time she had had to accompany a different Sister to Tar Valon. She - Myrrhi - had been very bad mastering her horse and on the return she had been asked - as in ordered - to take care of the Aes Sedai’s beast as well. Things had not gone well.


As she spoke Elessar thought he saw her relax even further, smiling more, becoming more confident, as if telling this story was helping her in some way. Perhaps it is like a trauma where upon sharing a burden it lightens the soul.. It feels liberating in a way.. He did not laugh at her when she earnestly described the many times she had fallen off her horse nor when she told of the instances when the horses had bitten her. He knew these could be painful memories and one would feel even more ashamed if a listener jested about it. He also wanted to try and understand her, to find out how deep these emotional scars were, so that he would be able to help her. It was only when she described the time that she had found herself covered with manure that he was unable to stop a small smile upon his lips. It was just so hilarious to think about, and the way she smiled herself after her explanation reassured him that she too saw the hilarity and had not taken offence.


 "So, now you know everything," she said. "I am so afraid to make a fool of myself again. And as I said, I am sure that the horses don't like me." She laughed. "Are you sure I am not a lost cause?"



Her laughter was infectious and he was unable to stop the grin that spread across his face. "Thank you for telling me", he replied with a smile in his eyes. "We will find a way to accomplish this, I promise. You are not a lost cause, far from it."


She shared his grin, his optimism affecting her,  and he could but wonder how different she seemed now compared to the high strung and very wary woman whom he had met earlier at the stables. He knew that she was not miraculously cured of her fear of horses, of course, but she seemed more at ease with herself and her emotions, more secure, and that in turn would make it a little easier to overcome this challenge. We have something to work with now, Elessar thought as he looked kindly at the Accepted.


Taking her to the library had been a good idea. He was certain of that now. Looking at the books together, in a safe place far away from the stables, discussing passages and historic items had been fruitful in getting her out of her former apprehensive mood and had inspired pleasant, enjoyable conversation between them. Focusing on the value of horses in combat, linked to Aes Sedai in battle, had given them an interesting framework from wihin which to work and it had become clear to him that she found the topic inspiring. Also he had learned several important thruths about this new student of his. It was true that she had some fear of horses as a result of her bad experiences, very understandable in the circumstances, but the way she put emphasis on the horses not liking her, rather than she not liking the horses when she ended her story made him think that this fear was something that it would be possible to overcome. Furthermore, it seemed to him that she was just as afraid of making a fool of herself, of failing miserably with this task, as she was afraid of the beasts themselves. This too was an important clue for the Warder as he considered how to tackle - to overcome - these problems.


He found that he needed some time to think, to consider the next step in view of what he had learned this day. It was nearing midday in any case and he could hear the rain splattering onto the library windows. They might as well just call it a day and meet again the next morning outside the library. He told her so, adding reassuringly that the day had not been wasted, far from it - in case she feared that - even if it had turned out differently than originally planned. "Don’t worry", he said. "It has been a good start. We shall proceed tomorrow." He thanked her for their interesting and stimulating discussions and conversation. Smiling he added that it might also be a good idea for her to take with her to read a couple of the other books on horses that the library stocked.. ‘just to get more used to the thought of these animals and what they stand for’, as he kindly put it. He then said goodbye to her, smiling, giving her a respectful Warder’s bow, and then left the library for his quarters in the barracks. He had much to think about.



The next morning the bad weather had moved on and the sky above Tar Valon was once again ocean-blue and close to free of clouds. Elessar dressed himself, ate a quick breakfast and headed for the library at the appointed hour. He had spent several hours the previous day, in late afternoon and early evening, going through potential plans with regards to the riding lessons - and having considered many options he had finally arrived at what he deemed the best one. He saw Myrrhi standing outside the library - she had probably arrived early - and waved to her as he approached. He had chosen to meet there, so that the new day would begin for her at a place she felt comfortable and safe. Exchanging greetings they spent a few minutes talking about inconsequential things before heading together in the direction of the stables once again, the Accepted walking slightly behind the Gaidin.


They walked in silence, except for a moment when Elessar turned to her and asked if she had enjoyed the books she had taken with her. When they reached the bench which they had used the day before, Elessar asked the Accepted to wait for him there. He would be back shortly. He noticed some surprise in her eyes but she nodded and sat down without a word, her eyes slightly wary as they gazed toward the stables. It was hard to say, but he thought her stare was a touch less scared today. Hopefully she was a little more confident in herself, thought the Gaidin as he neared the stalls were the horses were tethered.


He met up with the Stablemaster and they talked for a moment, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries. Then Elessar returned to where Myrrhi sat waiting and seated himself next to her. In the distance - many and more yards away - one of the stableboys soon appeared with a large black stallion which he proceeded to walk around with in big circles on the flat ground outside the stables. Elessar smiled at the sight. Stormbreaker, behave yourself now. Turning to the Accepted he said carefully. "This morning’s lesson will be to simply watch that horse - my black warhorse and stallion Stormbreaker - from afar. We are deliberately this distance away, so that it will cause you as little discomfort as possible." He smiled sincerely. "I want you to try and relax and sense your own feelings.. to see if the fear is there.., if it diminishes after a while.., and if you get to a point where you feel comfortable seeing the horse from here." Wanting to reassure her further, he added that she need not worry that the horse would be brought any closer. That would not happen until she felt secure. "We must do this gradually", he said. "As I have said, step by step. Take your time". He added kindly. "We are in no hurry."



They sat in silence as time passed, a soft breeze coming in from the north, the golden disc of the sun climbing steadily in the sky, gazing intently in the direction of the black warhorse which was continuing its circular path some distance away.




Edited by Elessar
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Myrrhi woke up tired. How could she not after having spent the best part of the night reading? Following Elessar’s advice, she had chosen a couple of books to take back to her bedroom. It had been hard to make a choice. The Warder had indicated many interesting stories some about Aes Sedai, others about battles, a couple about famous warriors…  Unfortunately, the young woman had not had enough time to check all the volumes before leaving the library. The “riding lesson” had ended around noon and the Accepted had classes already scheduled for the early afternoon. She had also been pretty hungry, after all her morning emotions. The books she had finally taken with her were the ones who had the greenest cover. Well, it is one way to make a choice, is it not? she asked to herself. And, I have done well! The one I read yesterday was surely a masterwork…


Shaking her head, the Accepted tried to pull herself out of the bed. This is harder than I thought… she added, stifling a yawn. By chance, the water that was left in her pitcher was icy cold. It helped her feeling a bit more awake.


The Accepted picked a clean shift and a dress she had already worn, guessing it would quickly get stained because of her lesson. Horses were dirty animals who smelled bad to her, stables smelled even worse. Shouldn’t I wear riding clothes? She wondered. She thought about asking to the Mistress of the Novices for a riding gown then decided against it. Valeri Sedai didn’t seem to appreciate the idea of having initiates taking riding lessons and she would probably not like the joke. For an Accepted, to wear something else than the banded dress was complete heresy. Best would be to ask Elessar a pair of breeches to cover my legs, I imagine…


As Myrrhi left her room she found herself more relaxed, less stressed, than the day before. She even felt a bit curious. Elessar had done a wonderful job, she thought. Wouldn’t I know myself better, I’d almost believe I am impatient to see the beginning of today’s class.


The time between the moment Myrrhi shut the door to her room and her arrival at the library passed in a flash. She barely had the time to grab a piece of bread for breakfast and to rush the to Green Quarters to do some more needlework.  




“Don’t you have a riding lesson today, Myrrhi?” asked one of the Green Sisters.

“Yes, Aes Sedai.” Myrrhi politely replied, between two stitches. “I already had one yesterday.”

The Green Sister made a small smile. Was it an encouraging smile? It was hard to tell. The Accepted lowered her eyes and went on with her chore. She didn’t dare to comment on her lesson. How would the Aes Sedai react if she learned that the class had taken place in the library?


Fortunately, the Aes Sedai didn’t speak further. She stayed silent for a while then her attention got caught by her own Warder who entered the room a moment later. The young woman tried not to pay too much attention to the two of them. It was not easy to concentrate on her task at hand, though, as they started to talk about old missions that had brought them outside of the Tower, missions that had included a fair share of horse riding. Most of the anecdotes were nice ones. Myrrhi even pictured herself in the shoes of the Aes Sedai wandering the country side with her future Warder. It didn’t last long. She was pulled out of her daydreams by a sharp pain in the finger, where she had stabbed herself with her needle.


“ You may go,” the Green Sister told to the Accepted right before leaving the room herself.

“Thank you, Aes Sedai,” Myrrhi replied, curtsying, even if the Sister was already in the corridor. She placed her tools back in her box and got ready to walk to the library a little smile on her lips.




Myrrhi was happy to see that she was the first one to arrive at the library. The place was so familiar that it gave her the strength to empty her mind. She summoned the same state of mind that she always tried to reach when tested. It had helped her many times.


The Warder arrived shortly after the Accepted. He looked so confident and friendly that the Accepted couldn’t help but grin.  


“Good day, Elessar Gaidin.” Myrrhi said with the merriest tone she could afford, to show that she was feeling better. She was slightly trembling, though. A sign that she was still not feeling very comfortable about her riding lessons. The Warder greeted her in return. For a while, they stood there talking about the book the Accepted had read the night before. It seemed to the young woman that Elessar had liked it too, seeing how he responded to some of her comments.


Minutes passed and the Warder interrupted the conversation with a small gesture of the hand, before inviting his student to join him outside. Myrrhi felt butterflies filling her stomach realizing they would not stay in the library like they had the day before. Even more butterflies appeared when she recognized the path to the stables. To her surprise, they didn’t go to the stables themselves. They forked to the left before stopping in front of the bench they had sat on the previous day. As Myrrhi settled herself, Elessar told her to wait, he would be back soon. Surprised, the Accepted opened her eyes wide but didn’t say anything. Is he going to fetch the horses already? I thought we would talk… Panic almost managed to overcome her heart. To fight it, the Accepted looked around. Her eyes fell on the sky. So blue, so quiet, … Why am I so scared?, she wondered. Everything is going to be fine.


The Warder came back after a while. She had not seen what he had done. The fact that he came to sit beside her was good news. No riding just now, then… Myrrhi allowed herself to relax.


One of the stable boys appeared from inside the stables, pulling at the reins of a tall black horse. It looked huge but obedient, the Accepted noticed. Indeed, it followed the boy’s indications turning in big circles as requested.


“This morning lesson will be to simply watch that horse - …” the Warder started to Myrrhi’s relief. Elessar  explained that the horse was his. Stormbreaker, the Warder called it. To the Accepted it sounded like a fearsome name, exactly the kind of name a fire breathing beast could wear. Pushing away frightening thoughts, she concentrated on the animal moves. Elessar asked her to watch the horse, to get used to the way it moved. He is so kind, she thought of the Warder as he  tried to reassured her further by telling her that the horse would not come closer.


“I appreciate what you are doing,” she finally said. “I feel less scared.” It was the truth. So far, the horse had injured no one. It had obediently followed all of the stable boy’s every wishes.


As if he had been waiting for a confirmation about her inner calm, the Warder went further of the lesson. Taking the perspective of a Brown Sister, he started to talk about the horse’s body analyzing the way it moved. At the same time, he tried to make connections between the pieces of information he gave Myrrhi and what they had talked about the day before. Slowly, the stallion – that was the word Elessar used – seemed to be less impressive. The Accepted was almost tempted to touch it.


“How come he doesn’t try to bite the boy?” she asked with  a grin.


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.. Building Knowledge of Horses  ..



“I appreciate what you are doing,” she finally said. “I feel less scared.”


Looking closely at the Accepted he got the impression she was telling the truth. She looked a little more confident, a little less on edge. Doing this gradually seems to be working. He was pleased.


The stable boy continued leading the stallion around in circles, holding the reins steadily, and even from the distance the Warder saw that Stormbreaker walked obediently, camly beside the boy, following his careful pull on the reins and obviously enjoying the fresh air and the opportunity to stretch his legs. Good for you, Stormbreaker. Elessar smiled inside.


As the minutes passed Myrrhi appeared to calm even further as she watched the big black horse walk in its circle. Her face and posture seemed more at ease to the Gaidin and he thought it time to give her some more information about horses. “Even from here“, he began, “you can get a good impression of how a horse moves when walking. There is a flow of motion and ease in the step, muscles working in harmony with the rest of its body to carry the large animal forwards. This is , of course, magnified when the horse moves faster, in a trot or a gallop“ As they watched the gracious beast he explained some more about the horse’s body and the way it functioned. Unaware of doing so, he had inadvertantly taken on a lecturing tone, but the Accepted seemed not to mind and appeared interested in the knowledge he shared.


“Like the books we looked at described, horses - just like people - have different personalities and are very adaptable animals and can be used in many functions in society“. He continued. “They are bred according to how they will be used: some are large, others small and they come in all different colours; some become work animals in the fields, some are bred for racing, some are trained for casual use , for want of a better word, while others are trained for war. Stormbreaker there is a trained warhorse - and should only be ridden by very experienced riders.“



“He looks fairly docile over there, walking obediently in accordance with the stable boy’s signs or ‘instructions’ - the way he pulls and hauls at the reins if you can see - but he is bred for battle to be boldly assertive by nature, some might say aggressive, and needs a proper handler and rider to keep him in place“. He grinned. “He is not for you”, he added reassuringly. “When we get that far, you will try to ride a calmer, more easily managed horse, a light brown mare in fact. She is smaller than Stormbreaker and has a very good disposition, a calm spirit if you wish, and will be a good beginner’s horse for you. Her name is Moonray.“


The Accepted nodded as he explained. He thought he detected a small smile of relief in her face when he mentioned that she would not have to ride the big warhorse, but she generally seemed fairly at ease, or as much as was possible, as things were going. Then she turned towards him and said: “How come he doesn’t try to bite the boy?” she asked with a grin. “Despite having a certain temper, as many warhorses develop, he is disciplined when handled by someone who knows him well and has long experience with horses.“ Elessar explained in reply. “That stable boy has cared for Stormbreaker on many an occasion in the past years while I have been here in Tar Valon so the horse trusts him and knows him well.“ He added. “Otherwise he might have had a go at biting him, yes.“ He gazed fondly at the stallion, thinking of the many years he had been Elessar’s companion on the road. “Horses can sense, feel if you are afraid“, he said, “and that can make them restless and unruly. They might then bite you or throw you. They always prefer a steady rider in control. So it is important to not be scared nor insecure as a rider, and the horse will be calmer and steadier also.“ The Accepted listened attentively, calmed both by the Gaidin’s voice and by what he explained.


There was a prolonged silence then, as each seemed to be lost in thought, before Elessar turned to Myrrhi and asked if she were ready to move a little closer to where the stable boy was walking the horse? He did not want to pressure her, but felt that she seemed fairly at ease now and that it was time to take the next step. She said that would be fine - and so they walked to a place about halfway towards the stallion and stopped there. They remained standing there for some time - there was no bench near - and this time the Warder kept silent, wanting for Myrrhi to gradually get used to being much closer to the big horse. At first she seemed less certain of herself, a bit more wary again, but as time passed she got better used to the approximity of the beast and seemed to become calmer. To reassure her further he spoke a little about the various horses he had had in his time as a Warder and several funny episodes involving those mounts that he could recall. She laughed with him as he mentioned a particularly hilarious episode with his horse and a Murandian noblewoman.. and he took it as a good sign that she was able to join in the laughter and seemed slowly but surely to be conquering some of her fear of horses.



“I think you are ready for the next step“, Elessar said at last. “I want you to meet Moonray.“ He smiled with confidence. “I’ll be back in a moment.“ He walked the remaining distance to his warhorse, patted the mount on his head and back affectionately, and spoke a few words to the stable boy. He thanked him for his help and the boy subsequently took the horse back into the stables. Back with Myrrhi again he then asked her to join him as they walked very slowly together towards the stables and the stalls. Stopping just outside the stables, they waited for the stable boy to return. That also gave Myrrhi some time to prepare herself for what was to come. She and the Gaidin enjoyed some smalltalk as they waited and Elessar hoped this too would put her more at ease. When the stable boy - a teenager and Southerner by his looks - finally returned he gave the Accepted a polite nod and a smile and then lead them inside and to the innermost stall at the end of a row.


A placid-looking, light-brown, beautifully maned horse, with intelligent eyes and a moon-shaped silver mark on her head, waited there. Elessar and Myrrhi stopped some yards away from the stall and the stable boy left them alone. “Well, here we are. He began. Take your time.., we are in no hurry“, he said to the Accepted with reassurance in his voice. He was silent for a few moments. When.. you feel ready, just walk calmly up to the mare, whisper soothingly, and touch the side of her head. If that goes well“, he added, “and you feel well at ease, take a few moments, feel her skin and muscles beneath your fingers, feel the life that flows within her.. and then you can give her this apple to eat.“ He produced a green apple from his pocket. “Horses love apples and she will without doubt adore you for it.“ He grinned knowingly and with a glint in his eye.


The Warder took a few steps towards the mare, then turned with a smile.


“This is Moonray.“




Edited by Elessar
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Myrrhi advanced slowly towards the light-brown mare. She is beautiful, the Accepted thought, surprising herself. She had never thought of a horse as a she or as he before, but it would have been strange to refer to Moonray as an it. She had very intelligent eyes, they were almost human. Extending a hand towards the horse's head, the young woman breathed in, expecting to be bitten. The mare did nothing of the sort. She hold still, waiting for Myrrhi to touch her. She feels so soft and warm... The Accepted smiled as she rubbed the animal nose. After a while, she turned towards Elessar, grinning. "I did it!" she told him, with sparkles in her eyes. The Warder nodded, grinning back, before reminding his student the green apple she had to feed the mare. 


Myrrhi grabbed the fruit, with an uncertain hand. "How should I give it to her?" she asked. "Maybe I could channel the apple towards her mouth?" The Warder laughed. "No, that is not the idea." He replied.

"But, but, but ...", the Accepted playfully protested.


It didn't take long for Moonray to notice the apple. She was moving a bit more now, as if she was impatient to get her treat.

"You have to place the fruit on a flat hand, to be sure not to be bitten." advised Elessar said. Myrrhi grimaced but still followed the Warder's instruction. She fought against the urge to open herself to Saidar to protect herself from the horses teeth and brought the apple to the mare. She opened her mouth wide enough to grab it, then turned her head aside.

"It worked!" Myrrhi listened happily to the crunching noises coming from the horse.


The Accepted decided to leave the mare the time to finish her treat before touching her again. She didn't know if horses were like dogs, animals who didn't like to be disturbed when eating. She took advantage of the silence to question the Warder about Moonray. She asked about her age, her "family", her name. The more information she had about the horse, the more she could imagine herself befriending the animal.


When the apple had disappeared, Myrrhi went on patting the horse. The Warder had told the truth. The apple had earn the Accepted a lot of friendship points.


Taking the time to look around and to appreciate her surroundings, Myrrhi sighed. She didn't know whether she was ready to climb on the horse's back yet but she was definitely less afraid. Today's lesson would soon be getting at an end. The sun had moved, slowly coming to its peak. She discovered herself to be a bit disappointed. Time had passed so fast that day.


"What is the next part of the lesson?" she asked, curious to know what would come next.




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.. A Friendship touched by Moonray  ..



"What is the next part of the lesson?" she asked, curious to know what would come next.



Elessar was very pleased with the progress they had made and it showed in his smile. He had expected the Accepted to wait a while before approaching the mare, to take her time and build her confidence, but she stared calmly at the horse and after only a few moments advanced slowly towards Moonray. Soon, much sooner than he would have guessed, she extended a hand towards the mare’s head and in no time she was caressing the horse’s side and rubbing the animal’s nose. After a while, she turned towards the Gaidin, grinning. "I did it!" she told him, with sparkles in her eyes. Elessar nodded, grinning back, very pleased, also by her joyous reaction. Yes, you did it! Thought the Warder. An important step. "Don’t forget to give her the apple", he reminded her. "It will be a treat for her".


Myrrhi grabbed the fruit, with an uncertain hand, then asked how she should give it to the mare? She suggested, somewhat playfully he thought, for instance channeling the apple towards Moonray’s mouth? Elessar laughed. A clever proposal but it would certainly defeat the purpose of the task. "No, that is not the idea." He replied with a grin. She protested playfully and there was mirth in her eyes. She is defintely more at ease now, he thought satisfied. Moonray had noticed the apple by now and moved a little restlessly in her stall, eager for her treat. Elessar advised the Accepted to place the fruit in her flat hand, to be sure not to be bitten. The Warder did not expect the placid mare to bite her in any case, but a mishap could always happen with the best of horses and it was always wise to be careful. It was also a lesson to be remembered when feeding other - perhaps less calm-spirited - horses. Myrrhi grimaced but still followed the Warder's instruction. The mare opened her mouth and grabbed the delicious fruit carefully with her teeth, turning her head aside as she munched gratefully on the apple.


"It worked!" Myrrhi listened happily to the crunching noises coming from the horse. The joy in her voice gladdened the Warder. It is important to enjoy the little triumphs, just as much as the big ones. The Accepted watched silently as the horse devoured its tasty snack. Then she took a few steps back, and while watching the mare - sparkles still in her eyes - she asked the Gaidin some questions about the horse. "She is ten years old", Elessar replied. "That is quite young for a horse. They usually live twenty years or more. I knew a horse-owner once",he added, "who claimed that his horse was thirty years old before she passed. I would not find that impossible from what I have read. Horses can live much longer than one would think, barring illness or accident, of course." Myrrhi listened with interest as he spoke. "I believe her lineage is Andoran", he said with emphasis and a knowing smile, "and she comes from ‘quality stock’ as horse-breeders term it." The mare had now finished her snack and watched them placidly, possibly wondering if they had any more of those delicious things at hand.


"As for her name", he said, "that moon-shaped silver mark that you can see on her head - a birthmark of some kind I should think - probably sealed the fate of her name." The Accepted gazed at the mark and smiled, a gleam in her eye. Then she approached the mare and patted her some more. Moonray seemed to enjoy the treatment and appeared calm under the attention. Myrrhi appeared fairly calm and collected as well, as far as Elessar could tell, her fear slowly diminishing, but it was still important to progress gradually in his view. He did not think she was ready to attempt to climb atop and ride the mare straight away, and in any case the day’s lesson was soon coming to an end. The sun had moved, slowly coming to its peak, and the Warder knew that the Accepted had other lessons that day that she had to attend.



"Today’s lesson is at an end, I think". Elessar replied. "You made great progress today". He smiled, nodding. "Tomorrow we will take the next step. I thought it might be a good idea for you then to take Moonray outside the stables and walk her in circles for a good while just as you saw the stable boy do with Stormbreaker. That will bring you and Moonray closer together and will build mutual trust." He knew how important trust was between a horse and its rider. "And then.., we shall see."


She nodded, smiled and said goodbye to the mare, her eyes shining. Then she thanked Elessar for the lesson and they agreed to meet outside the stables the following day at eight in the morning. The Warder watched her leave, then walked across to the Stablemaster, who was in a room at the other end of the stables, and they talked for a while before Elessar left for his quarters in the Barracks. The weather outside was still good, the sky blue and the sun shining, and he hoped it would stay that way also the next day for the coming lesson.



The next day, the Gaidin was up well before dawn, practicing sword forms in the Warder’s Yard. He kept at it for quite a while, the exertion doing him good. When he was finished, he gathered all his equipment and went to take a shower and grab a bite to eat before joining the Accepted at the stables. The sky was sapphire-blue with only a few intermittent clouds and it looked to be another good day weatherwise though a soft breeze had picked up overnight. He got to the stables early and had a chat with one of the other stable boys before Myrrhi arrived, punctually. He greeted her, smiling and they walked together inside the stables to where Moonray stood calmly in her stall. The Accepted greeted the beautiful light-brown mare warmly, with affection it seemed to the Gaidin, and patted her on the side and nose while she whispered soothingly. The mare recognized her and seemed to respond favourably. Elessar smiled again. He then grabbed the horse’s reins and lead the mare slowly out of the stall. He handed the reins to Myrrhi and asked if she were ready to walk the horse outside by herself? She replied that she was. The Warder nodded, seeing growing confidence in her eyes, and then walked a few steps behind - leaving them some room but close enough to intercept if the horse unexpectedly should bolt - as the Accepted slowly lead the mare past all the other stalls and outside into the morning sunshine.


For a good while, as the sun rose in the sky, she walked the horse around in large circles outside the stables, holding calmly onto the reins, in seeming control, just as the stable boy had done with the black stallion before, and every time she passed him, where he stood watching by the entrance to the stables, her eyes sparkled, mirroring a touch of delight in the mare’s eyes.


And so is a friendship made, thought the Warder with a smile, as he watched them walk steadily, comfortably - in unison - past him on another circular round.




Edited by Elessar
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Myrrhi's afternoon had been a tiring one. It had seemed to her that someone had kept track of the time she had spent on her riding lessons and had taken a great pleasure in scheduling extra classes and chores to make up for it. She had had to travel between the Quarters of the Grey Ajah to the kitchen, then back to the classes area before joining with Blue Sisters. More lessons had followed and midnight had arrived as if by magic. The Accepted had not had the time to eat nor to clean herself. She had not even had the time to do her laundry. How am I going to do ? she wondered. Her stomach rumbled as if it contained a little storm.


With no food in her bedroom, she knew she would have to go to the kitchen. Now, for the laundry it was another story. She would lose too much time if she had to go to the usual place and to do it the "regular" way. So, she decided to cheat. As an Accepted, she was allowed to channel unattended without being punished. Today, she took full advantage of the rule. Opening herself to the sweetness of Saidar she wove threads of Water and Air that she directed first towards her dirty clothes then towards herself. When she was done, she switched to threads of Fire to dry what needed to be dried. She knew that full raised Sisters would probably disapprove of the gesture. They didn't like to see people channeling for trivial chores, but, Myrrhi thought, who would be paying attention to what I am doing now? It is late... and I don't think anyone would spend time spying on me...


The trip to the kitchen was a fast one. With her hair gathered in a bun, Myrrhi ran through the corridors and jumped through the stair cases, hoping that she'd manage to get a slice of bread and a piece of cheese. She liked simple food. Of course, she loved desserts and cakes too but she preferred not to eat them right before going to bed. As always, the cook was still in her kitchen with her staff - it was reduced at this hour but still busy like a group of bees. She gave Myrrhi a friendly smile as she indicated a table full of food. The Accepted listened politely to the cook's comments about the Aes Sedai poor appetite then jumped on a little plate that looked particularly inviting. Hungry like a wolf, she gulped down its content in a heart beat.




Myrrhi woke up after only a couple of hours of sleep. Trying to push the idea of failure as fast as she could, she got ready with a smile on her lips. She refused to think that Moonray would make a fool out of her. Again, the time before the lesson passed very quickly. The Accepted rushed to the library to read one of the books she had to work on for one of her afternoon classes then ran to the kitchen to have a bite to eat.


It was near eight o' clock when she found herself in front of the stables. The day was not too cold and the sky didn't show any sign of incoming rain. Good day to be outside! Myrrhi told herself. She liked to be out of the Tower's walls, breathing some fresh air. It made her feel like more than a regular initiate. I can't wait to be raised...  She sighed.




Elessar was waiting for her, a smile on his lips that Myrrhi spontaneously returned. He greeted her, very politely like always.

"And a good day to you, Elessar Gaidin" she replied "as you see I have not escaped from the Tower... yet" she added. Both laughed to the jest.


The Warder invited Myrrhi to follow him inside the stables. The young woman nodded and went in as asked. She tried to mute the panic that had raised in her heart at the sight of so many horses gathered in one place. C'mon! She tried to reassure herself. Nothing is going to happen, all those horses can't move from their little compartments...


It is only when Myrrhi recognized Moonray that she managed to relax. The horse stood calmly as if patiently waiting for her visitors.

"Hey, there!" the Accepted greeted the mare. She advanced towards her, extending a hand to pat her nose. "I have missed you!".

To Myrrhi's pleasure, the mare responded gently by rubbing her nose on the young woman's hand and shoulder. The Accepted went on talking to the horse, telling her a bit about her day. She didn't know why she did it but it felt natural to her.


"Now.." started the Warder as he grabbed the horse's reins to lead her out of the stall "Let's start our lesson."  With experienced gestures, he brought the mare out of her stall. Myrrhi enjoyed to see him taking care of Moonray, talking to her gently as he led her forward. To Myrrhi's surprise, he handed her the reins after a while. "Do you think you can walk her outside?" he asked the Accepted. "Do you think you're ready for it?"

"I think I am..." replied the young woman, not wanting to disappoint her teacher.


It is only when the reins were in her hands that she started to feel confident. Yes, I think I am ready... she added to herself.


Slowly, she brought the mare out of the stables.


"Here we are!" Myrrhi told Moonray, petting her proudly. "Now, let's go a bit further...."

Elessar indicated the large area where the stableboy had guided Stormbreaker the day before and invited the young woman to walk the horse there. The Accepted obediently followed his instructions. For what seems to be hours, she led the mare in large circles. The first ones were toughest for her as she had to fight what seemed to be foxes in her stomach. But, one circle after another, she started to feel more confident. Each time she passed by the Warder, she turned her head to check his reactions hoping she would not discover a disappointed scowl on his face. But, each time, he smiled making her smile in return.


Time passed and the young woman found herself quite at ease. She even had to admit that she didn't want to lesson to end.


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.. A Love of Timeless Beasts ..



Time passed and it was soon midday. Elessar waved to Myrrhi that this would be the final round for the day, and when the young woman completed that circle with the mare she stopped before him and the stables, handing him the reins.


Moonray rubbed her nose affectionately on the Accepted’s hand and shoulder, it was clear that she had taken to the young woman. To Elessar it seemed that the feeling was mutual. At least Myrrhi seemed relaxed around the mare, more confident, and the way her eyes had sparkled gave a strong indication of her feelings. She spoke a few words to the horse, caressing Moonray’s neck, before stepping away. Elessar smiled as he guided the horse to one of the stable boys who emerged from the stables and took the horse’s reins from the Warder. The mare was then lead inside while Elessar and Myrrhi remained standing outside.


"That will be all for today", he said. "I know you have other lessons this afternoon. I am very pleased with the progress", he added, "and tomorrow we will continue with the lesson." He smiled. "Tomorrow I will show you how to care for a horse, how to brush and groom her properly. That is important for many reasons, as you will learn." Myrrhi nodded with a smile, pleased with how the day had gone. She thanked him for the lesson and then headed off in the direction of the White Tower. He remained behind, needing to have a word with the stable boy before he was done for the day.


That evening he sat in his ancient reading chair in his room, with a thick book in his lap, and went through several poems about horses that he particularly enjoyed. It was late before he went to bed, and his dreams that night were filled with visions of loyal and valiant beasts.



"Grooming a horse is very beneficial for horses", Elessar began, "not only because it cleans their coat and it adds beauty to their appearance, but also because it can promote healthy emotional bonding and trust between the horse and the person."


They had met up as agreed by the stables at the right time that morning, ready for another lesson. Leaving a partially clouded sky behind, they had entered the stables and had walked past all the stalls and horses up to the one housing Moonray at the very end. Myrrhi had greeted the mare warmly and had given her a succulent apple to enjoy. Now they were standing right outside her stall, as Elessar explained about the benefits and importance of grooming, brushing and caring for a horse.


"Grooming a horse also encourages healthy blood circulation", he continued, "and helps to release natural oils into the coat that help protect her from natural elements such as wind and rain."


As he spoke, he entered the stall where Moonray waited and proceeded to show Myrrhi how it all worked in practice. He spoke as he worked, so that she could be given the benefit of both theory and practical knowledge. He used a horse’s brush and comb to give her coat and mane a good cleaning, standing slightly to the side of the mare while doing so in case she should unexpectedly - reflexively - kick out with her legs. He then explained that it also was important to pick a horse’s hooves, something that could prevent injuries and bruising.


"To pick up her foot, run your hand down her leg and gently squeeze her tendon", he said as he did just that. "If she doesn't lift her foot, lean against her shoulder and lift it off the ground. Using a hoof pick, start at the heel of the foot and pick forward to the toe, carefully removing all rocks, dirt and debris." Moonray did not seem to mind and remained fairly calm as the Warder worked on her.



"Now then", he said finally, turning towards the Accepted, "it is your turn. Do it just the way I showed you." She nodded without a reply, her eyes on the mare. He moved away and made room for the young woman to stand beside Moonray. He left the various brushes, combs and other grooming-equipment for Myrrhi to use and walked outside the stall to give her ample space. He then watched as she began the task, and as time passed he nodded approvingly as she worked, giving advice when she asked. To build a bond, a trusting relationship between the horse and its rider, was just as important at this moment as the actual grooming itself.


Elessar had understood from the beginning that in order for him to succeed in lessening or even removing Myrrhi’s fear and strong scepticism of horses, he would have to build a mutual trust between her and the mare, a bond of unity that would bind their emotions. This was another important step in that process and he was pleased to see that it seemed to be working. Myrrhi worked long with the mare, speaking to her at times, soothing when necessary and she seemed more confident with each stroke of the brush and comb. She kept at it, diligently, until at last she put down the equipment and faced the Warder again. He nodded with approval. "Very good", he said. "That is the way it is done."


The mare nudged the Accepted affectionately, obviously pleased with the care she had been given, and Myrrhi hugged her warmly. She whispered some words to the mare that Elessar did not catch and then walked slowly out of the stall, a sparkle in her eyes. The Warder joined her. They stood in silence, as one of the stable boys brought some more hay and water for the horse. Then, once he had gone, the Gaidin spoke to the Accepted. "We have made further progress today which is great." He said with a smile. "The next step is to learn to climb on and off a horse and to sit atop it well balanced and safely when it moves. We’ll take it slow - with Moonray - so no worries." He met her eyes squarely.


"Do you feel ready for that now", he asked, "or shall we try again tomorrow?"



A Love of Timeless Beasts


Timeless Beasts on meadows Run

Coats a-shining like the Sun

Graceful necks and manes that Flow

Energy that makes it So

Majesty and pride in Heart

Life Eternal for a Start.



From ‘The Majesty of Horses’, 3rd edition

Sinterian of House Mendiana, Lord

Godan, Tear 959 NE





Edited by Elessar
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Myrrhi's heart tightened. Feeling ready? Me? Now? The Warder was looking at her intensely, as if trying to find traces of fear on her face.

The Accepted turned her eyes towards Moonray. So far, she had had a good time with the mare but was she ready to climb on her back? She didn't know. Horses didn't scare her as much as before, she could feel it, and Moonray had been nothing but a real angel to her. But, there was something else to it. Myrrhi didn't want to look like a fool. That's what I will look like, would I find myself on all fours in the mud... She felt her cheeks burning at the thought. What would the stable boys think? Worse, what would Elessar think? He had been one of the best teachers she had had so far in the Tower. Aes Sedai - or Accepted - didn't pay attention to how their students felt. They gave their lesson, tested the knowledge of their class and that was about it. Either you were good and rewarded, either you failed and were punished.


"Will I have a saddle?" She asked biting her lower lip.

"Of course," replied the Warder, laughing. Touching her shoulder with his hand he kindly reminded her of what he had told her about riding during the previous lesson. Myrrhi nodded every two sentences to show that she remembered it all. That was a silly question, she admonished herself. He will think I have not listened when I have done the exact opposite! It's my nerves that make me act like this.


"I know, it's just ... " Myrrhi sighed. Before she had the time to finish her sentence, Elessar added " ...You are still afraid?"

The young woman blushed.

"Wait..." she asked, then took the time to breathe in. Clearing her head was important. Too many thoughts were filling it. If it goes on like this, I won't need to fall from a horse to look like a fool... or to sound like one.


After the all time she had spent with the Warder, she didn't want to disappoint him. Even though he was now insisting that riding could wait till the morrow, the young woman couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt at wanting to postpone it. He has done everything in his power to make myself be at ease. The next thing would have been to offer me strong wine... or oosquai she chuckled at her own words.


All right, she thought a couple of seconds later summoning some courage. I guess it's better to have a try at it now. Better sooner than later....and, if I hurt myself... well, I'll just ask that Yellow Sister I have to help out this afternoon to heal me... She met Elessar's dark eyes and saw them confused. I'll have to explain why i chuckled... or not, thought the young woman smiling further.


"I am ready," she finally said.

"Are you sure?" asked the Warder looking a bit worried.

Myrrhi nodded She silently advanced to come closer to the mare's side and patted her. "You won't let me down, right?" she asked her.


The Warder left for a while, probably to give orders. And, a few seconds later, as if by magic, Moonray found herself equipped for the next part of the lesson. The Accepted had chosen not to watch what was being done to the mare, hoping that focusing on something else would make her forget her growing panic. 


She was brought out of her one-sided conversation with the horse by Elessar's gentle touch on her arm. He asked her with a low voice whether she wanted help to climb on Moonray's back. The young woman checked the height of the stirrups and laughed. "I think I will need some help... and some breeches," she said. The Warder frowned then laughed heartily.

"I don't want to ride sidesaddle!" the young woman added, with a grin. "With one leg on each side of the horse, it'll be harder for me to fall!"


Again, Elessar disappeared to talk the stable boys. Myrrhi didn't know what he told to the young men, but it must have been something very effective as breeches were brought to her in less than a minute. She rushed into the empty stall Moonray occupied to put them on almost as quickly.

Edited by Chaelca
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.. A Methodical Approach to Learning  ..



He had to admit, the Accepted’s behaviour and reactions puzzled him.. and he got the feeling that he may have overestimated her confidence levels. She seems somewhat rattled. Perhaps this ‘hurdle’ was going to be more challenging for Myrrhi than he had anticipated. Nevertheless, finally she said that she was ready to try. He looked at her with concern in his eyes and asked if she were sure. The Accepted nodded and silently advanced to come closer to the mare’s side, patting her caringly and whispering to her. Elessar nodded to himself, deciding to trust her word, and left to speak to one of the stable boys and to get the necessary equipment. He returned soon after and in no time Moonray was properly saddled and equipped. He then touched the Accepted gently on her arm, asking her in a low voice, in what was almost not a question, whether she wanted help to climb on the horse’s back.


Myrrhi checked the height of the stirrups and laughed, saying that she would need some help, yes - and some breeches. Elessar frowned at first, puzzled, but then he laughed heartily. Breeches indeed! He had not thought of that part. "I don't want to ride sidesaddle!" the young woman added, with a grin. "With one leg on each side of the horse, it'll be harder for me to fall!" The Gaidin nodded, sharing her grin and sudden enthusiasm, then disappeared another time to talk to the stable boy. He had gotten an idea! This will help her. Returning swiftly with breeches for the Accepted, he handed them to her and watched her rush into the empty stall Moonray occupied to put them on. In a short time she returned to stand before him, now suitably clothed for the lesson.


"I think, in the circumstances, that it might be a good idea to give you a little extra help." Said the Warder carefully. "It will make this task a little easier for you. We are going to use something called a mounting block, or horse block as some call it." He pointed at the stepped wooden block which now stood by the stall wall. The stable boy had delivered it while the Accepted put on her breeches. "It is often used successfully for beginners."


He looked into her face, wondering inside how much fear still lurked under the surface. He hoped she was more confident than she had let on earlier. There’s only one way to find out. He thought. She has to make an attempt. But we need to do this slowly, one step at a time. Carefully..


"Allright." He nodded to himself. "I want you to learn how to mount and dismount properly", said the Warder. "It’s best to learn this right from the beginning. It will be safest for you and safest for the horse. I will take you through the various steps slowly and methodically, no worries."


It was hard to read her face, but he hoped she read the encouragement in his voice.



"Now then", he began, once again inadvertantly assuming a lecturing tone, "the mounting block does, as you can see, make it easier to climb atop a horse. Also, you avoid straining the horse’s back muscles." He moved the mounting block from the stall wall over beside the mare. "If you do not have a mounting block at hand, you can use the side of the arena if you are in a type of enclosure, or get someone to give you a ‘leg up’. Or if you can reach the horses stirrup from the ground, use the ground. This will most often be the case in the wild." He nodded to himself . "Assuming you have a mounting block like we do here, make sure that the horse is no more than a foot and a half away from it. This way, you do not have to jump across to get onto your mount."


Myrrhi listened attentively as he expained, many thoughts running through her head. Gesturing as he spoke, the Gaidin continued. "Next, make sure your girth is tight and both your stirrups are down. Gather the reins in the left hand and, if you need to, grip a bit of mane with the left hand. Then put all your weight in your right foot and step into the left stirrup with your left foot." He said. "Then shift your weight from your right foot to your left, and swing your right leg gently over your horse's hind quarters. Be sure not to kick your horse while doing so." He added with emphasis. "This could cause her to move forward and unbalance you." He mounted just as he had explained, his every move studied by the young woman, and then looked down on the Accepted with a smile from the mare’s back.


"Once in your saddle", he continued, "immediately put your feet through your stirrups like this." He put his feet through the stirrups, so she could see their positioning. "Make sure the ball of your foot is centered in the stirrup and your heels are down and close to the horse's body." He paused for a moment, speaking soothingly to Moonray. She seemed calm and content and so he went on with his instructions. "Next, put your reins in your hands to hold them like this," he showed her, "make sure that they are not twisted, and put them inside your closed fists with your thumb folded over your reins; the reins should flow between your ring finger and little finger. Place the excess or "bite" of your reins going to the right side, just so. And now", he ended, "you are safely mounted."



"Once atop a horse, it is very useful to know how to dismount properly as well," he added with a lopsided grin. "So let’s look at that part." Nodding to himself again he spoke on. "It might seem obvious, but first check your surroundings and make sure you are not too close to another object on your left hand side before dismounting." He added. "Then take both feet out of your stirrups. This is important. Do not keep your left foot in your left stirrup, this harms the horse's back muscles, and could end up getting you dragged by your horse if she decides to go for a stroll." He patted the mare’s back affectionately and from the sounds she emitted she enjoyed it. He smiled and went on with his explanation.


"Now you swing your right leg in an arc over your horse's hind quarters like this", he showed. "Make sure you do not kick her." He emphasized. "Slide down with bent legs just like this." He slid down as explained. "This is so your knees do not end up absorbing the shock of you hitting the ground." He said. "Now, roll up your stirrup on the left side first. If you want to loosen the girth ever so slightly do so now on the left side. Remove your reins from over the horse's head." He removed the reins, stroking the mare’s nose with a kind smile. "Walk around the front of her to your right stirrup. Roll this one up also, like this. You are now safely dismounted."


He stroked the mare’s side caringly for a moment and gave her an apple from his pocket. She munched hungrily on the juicy fruit, thoroughly enjoying the treat.


"And if you think that was step-by-step methodical," he added with a chuckle and a wide grin, facing her, "you should have seen me in my younger days." They both laughed at his comment.


Moonray looked at them both with undisguised amusement in her large intelligent horse’s eyes, possibly wondering what could be so hilarious about the most obvious of things.



A few moments later, with a more serious look on his face, the Gaidin studied the Accepted carefully before he spoke. "Allright, let’s see you have a go at this." He said kindly, his eyes smiling with encouragment. "Take your time. Try not to be scared. You can do this, just remember the instructions I gave you and the way I showed you." He said. "And don’t be upset if it does not go smoothly the first time.." He added kindly. "Like everything else, this needs a little practice.. so take it step by step.."


He believed in her. She might need a few attempts - it was not unusual either for beginners to feel clumsy in fear of making a fool of themselves in front of their teacher - but she would make it in the end. Elessar stood aside to give her the necessary space, ready to help and assist her should she have the need. Smiling encouragingly, he let her take the time she needed to complete this new task.




Edited by Elessar
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As Elessar told her about the use of the "mounting block" one of the stable boys had fetched, the Accepted envisioned herself doing the exact gestures the Warder was describing. She often did so in class. To picture in her mind every thread, every move, every action the teacher mentioned helped Myrrhi to remember them. It worked so well that she frequently dreamed about what she had seen during her previous lessons. Sometimes it gave her creative ideas to improve herself, sometimes it led her to horrible nightmares.


And so, the young girl imagined herself climbing on Moonray from the wooden block, then from a fence, ... She imagined herself in the wild, looking for a higher terrain to help her mount on her horse and eventually deciding to cheat with threads of Air to pull her own body to the right place. She knew that jumping was out of question, at least for now. She had never had the chance to do some proper body training, except for some running through the Tower corridors. Maybe Elessar could help her with that too? How does a Green Sister do, when she has to run? She wondered.


Time passed. The Warder smoothly mounted and dismounted, commenting on his every move to Myrrhi's greatest pleasure. She felt reassured by all the details he was giving her. They helped her feel more confident. Nothing will go wrong if I follow the instructions, right? She asked to herself.


"All right, let's see you have a go at this." Elessar said, inviting her to have a try at mounting Moonray. His smile was so filled with encouragement that Myrrhi couldn't help but smiling in return. She listened intensely as he gave her his last instructions, insisting that she shouldn't be scared.


"I will have a try at it, Elessar Gaidin" the Accepted said, nodding. With a trembling hand, she gathered the skirt of her dress and secured it with her belt. It felt strange to have her legs free but she didn't know how she could do otherwise. Trying not to look at the Warder - she didn't want him to see her whitening face - she advanced towards the block. Moonray seemed to be taller than before. The Accepted took the reins in her left hand before placing her left foot in the stirrup. One ... Two... Three... she counted. She thought about channeling to help her balancing her weight but decided against it. Not only did it feel like cheating but it also scared her. She didn't know how Moonray would react to Saidar.


As expected, her first attempt at swinging her leg above the horse's hindquarters was a failure. She had hesitated too long, had lost her balance and majestically fallen on her but. By chance, she missed a big puddle of mud.


Cursing in a not-so-lady-like fashion, she hurried back to the mountain block, not even waiting to discover Elessar reaction. Anger and hurt pride helped her to focus more on her second attempt. This time, no hesitation. She even managed to look semi graceful as she threw her right leg over the horse. Still blocking the Warder from her view, she pushed her right foot in the right stirrup and straightened her back. She paused for a while as the Warder had done a couple of minutes before.


And now, time to dismount, she thought.


She was starting to move her right leg when she remembered that she was supposed to pull her left foot from its stirrup first. Letting out another curse and a big sigh, she started over. Left food out, right leg over, and she let herself slide down.


Only then did she dare to look towards the Warder.




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As Elessar told her about the use of the "mounting block" one of the stable boys had fetched, the Accepted envisioned herself doing the exact gestures the Warder was describing. She often did so in class. To picture in her mind every thread, every move, every action the teacher mentioned helped Myrrhi to remember them. It worked so well that she frequently dreamed about what she had seen during her previous lessons. Sometimes it gave her creative ideas to improve herself, sometimes it led her to horrible nightmares.


And so, the young girl imagined herself climbing on Moonray from the wooden block, then from a fence, ... She imagined herself in the wild, looking for a higher terrain to help her mount on her horse and eventually deciding to cheat with threads of Air to pull her own body to the right place. She knew that jumping was out of question, at least for now. She had never had the chance to do some proper body training, except for some running through the Tower corridors. Maybe Elessar could help her with that too? How does a Green Sister do, when she has to run? She wondered.


Time passed. The Warder smoothly mounted and dismounted, commenting on his every move to Myrrhi's greatest pleasure. She felt reassured by all the details he was giving her. They helped her feel more confident. Nothing will go wrong if I follow the instructions, right? She asked to herself.


"All right, let's see you have a go at this." Elessar said, inviting her to have a try at mounting Moonray. His smile was so filled with encouragement that Myrrhi couldn't help but smiling in return. She listened intensely as he gave her his last instructions, insisting that she shouldn't be scared.


"I will have a try at it, Elessar Gaidin" the Accepted said, nodding. With a trembling hand, she gathered the skirt of her dress and secured it with her belt. It felt strange to have her legs free but she didn't know how she could do otherwise. Trying not to look at the Warder - she didn't want him to see her whitening face - she advanced towards the block. Moonray seemed to be taller than before. The Accepted took the reins in her left hand before placing her left foot in the stirrup. One ... Two... Three... she counted. She thought about channeling to help her balancing her weight but decided against it. Not only did it feel like cheating but it also scared her. She didn't know how Moonray would react to Saidar.


As expected, her first attempt at swinging her leg above the horse's hindquarters was a failure. She had hesitated too long, had lost her balance and majestically fallen on her but. By chance, she missed a big puddle of mud.


Cursing in a not-so-lady-like fashion, she hurried back to the mountain block, not even waiting to discover Elessar reaction. Anger and hurt pride helped her to focus more on her second attempt. This time, no hesitation. She even managed to look semi graceful as she threw her right leg over the horse. Still blocking the Warder from her view, she pushed her right foot in the right stirrup and straightened her back. She paused for a while as the Warder had done a couple of minutes before.


And now, time to dismount, she thought.


She was starting to move her right leg when she remembered that she was supposed to pull her left foot from its stirrup first. Letting out another curse and a big sigh, she started over. Left food out, right leg over, and she let herself slide down.


Only then did she dare to look towards the Warder.




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.. An Enjoyment of Progress and Poetry ..



The Accepted smiled in return, seeming to take heart from the Warder’s words of encouragment. Then, nodding, she replied that she would have a try at it. He saw her trembling hand as she gathered the skirt of her dress and secured it with her belt, and wondered at her confidence. He remained silent though, deciding not to intervene unless she asked him to. He watched silently to see how she would fare. She walked up to the mounting block, took the reins in her left hand before placing her left foot in the stirrup. Elessar nodded, following her every movement with a sharp eye. She made an attempt at swinging her leg above the mare’s hindquarters.. and failed. The Gaidin understood that she had hesitated too long - a common beginner’s mistake - and she lost her balance, falling majestically to the ground on her butt. She was fortunate to miss a big puddle of mud by inches only, but it was obvious from her not-so-lady-like curses as she got to her feet that she was both angry at her failure and somewhat embarassed, filled with hurt pride.


Elessar did not laugh nor make any disparaging comment, knowing that would only make her feel even worse. He tried to give her an encouraging smile, one that told her ‘not to give up, to give it another go’, but he did not think she noticed, so focused was she on making a better second attempt. She walked up to the mounting block a second time and this time she seemed, to the watching Gaidin, more focused on the task, a little more certain of herself. With little or no hesitation she did as he had instructed, and subsequently threw her right leg over the mare’s back, putting her feet in the stirrups. She straightened her back and Elessar silently congratulated her, smiling at the successful attempt. I thought she would need more tries, he thought to himself. But she corrected her mistakes quickly and succeeded the second time. That is well done. He watched her pause for a while, feeling the balance for her body atop the horse, just as he had done earlier. She seemed confident sitting there from what the Warder could see, but he thought it likely that she still felt some weariness inside even though she had successfully mounted the mare. Still, every little step made her a little more confident and at ease with the horse.


Now it was time to dismount. Elessar watched carefully, wondering if she would remember all the steps needed to do it properly and well. She seemed to hesitate a moment, momentarily forgetting to take both feet out of the stirrups before swinging the leg over. She let out another curse and a sigh, one that the Warder thought he heard from even several feet away. Keep at it, he silently urged her. Focus. You can do this! She started over, this time doing it carefully.. and correctly. She slid down with bent legs as he had instructed. She rolled up both stirrups, giving Moonray a caring pat on the nose, then she turned to look toward her teacher. Her stare was a little tentative, as if she were a little unsure of what his reaction would be. He smiled kindly to put her at ease.



"You did well." Said the Warder earnestly. "You corrected your mistakes from the first attempt, and the second one was much better." She smiled back but he got the impression from her look that she was still a little embarassed by her fall. So he added: "And forget about that fall! I did something like it myself one of the first times I tried, back in the days. Main thing is you did not injure yourself, though your pride was probably hurt somewhat." He nodded. "You did well to avoid that big mud-puddle, by the way." He added with a grin. "Many would have landed right in it. So, in a way, your rather spectacular fall was still a success." She quickly saw the humour in his words and it took much of the sting out of her hurt pride. She shared his grin and inadvertantly they began to laugh, thinking about the hilarity of it all. Once they had collected themselves, and this took a little while, Elessar asked her to repeat the exercise or lesson several times. Practice makes perfect he thought with insight. And so she did, time and again, mounting and dismounting, incorporating all the little details her teacher had included, until at last the Warder was satisfied and called an end to the lesson.


She quickly changed and then thanked him for the lesson, inwardly relieved that it was done, smiling as he gave her praise for the day’s work. He told her that she could keep the breeches, and to bring them for the coming lessons. Knowingly he added: "It takes time for fear to go away completely." He said. "But little by little you are battling it.. and one day it will be all gone. Keep at it. I know you will succeed." She blushed slightly but he pretended not to notice. They shared a smile then and the Warder bid her goodbye, asking her to return to the stables the next morning at eight for the next lesson. "We will head out into the woods then," he added as he saw the unasked question in her eyes. After giving Moonray a big hug, she headed off in the direction of the Tower, while the Warder remained behind to talk to one of the stable boys before returning to his quarters. He was pleased by how the lesson had gone, and with the overall progress. It will take some time before her fear of horses is completely gone though. He considered. That kind of thing takes time. But she has made important steps.. and seems to be bonding well with Moonray. Time and patience is what it takes. And persistence..



The following morning Elessar and Myrrhi met up at the stables for the next lesson. It was a beautiful day with sapphire-blue skies above Tar Valon and the golden sun was rising in the heavens. There was hardly any wind, only a small breeze from the east, and all in all it was a perfect day to be outside, or so the Warder thought. They collected the saddled horses from the stable boys, Elessar’s black warhorse Stormbreaker and Myrrhi’s light-brown mare Moonray. One of the stable boys had, on Elessar’s request, taken the two horses for joint walks several times in the previous days so that the two beasts should get used to one another, which would be a distinct advantage now for the coming lessons. They seemed to get along fine, from what Elessar could see. He knew his warhorse would never be completely at ease with other horses - his innate nature combined with the way he had been trained as a warhorse ensured that - but he managed. Elessar brought with him some equipment they would have need of in a sack which he fastened at Stormbreaker’s side, and together they lead their horses steadily down the path and away from the stables and the White Tower.


They walked slowly, the Warder wanting to ensure that the Accepted had control of her mount and felt safe, and talked as they headed into the city streets. This early in the day there were not that many people about, which was an advantage since there would be fewer things around to potentially disturb the horses, though shopkeepers had their shops and road-stalls open, watching eagerly for potential customers. As they headed down the main avenue toward the West Bridge Elessar gave Myrrhi some advice on what to do if - unlikely as though it seemed - her horse should suddenly become frightened and bolt. The Accepted listened attentively to what he said, keeping a tight hold on the reins to her mare. Moonray seemed calm and collected, enjoying the walk and the fresh air. Stormbreaker walked calmly as well, though Elessar - knowing his warhorse very well - could see in his eyes that he was eager to run. Speaking soothingly to the black stallion, the Warder kept him calm and steady as they soon had the bridge in sight.


They crossed the West Bridge, leading from the island to the mainland, meeting many people - both locals and foreigners - on foot, to and fro but with the majority on their way into Tar Valon that morning, as well as some horse-driven carriages hurrying past. Walking half a length behind and to the Gaidin’s left, the Accepted was silent for part of their walk, focused on her horse and in her own thoughts. As they came to the end of the bridge, Elessar chose a road leading southwards, which was almost free of people, and they continued along it for quite some time before the Warder eventually lead them off the road an onto a smaller forest-path leading into the woods. Some time later, with the sun higher in the sky, they arrived at a place in the woods with an open field stretching far away in the distance. On each side of the field there were long pathways where horses could ride on somewhat harder ground, and the pathways were in turn bordered by trees.


"We are here." Elessar said with a wave of his hand, as he smiled at the Accepted. "This is the site for the next lesson." Tethering his horse to a tree by the side of the field, he bade the young woman do the same with her mare. "It’s been a long walk, with the horses." He added. "We can take a little rest before we start the new lesson." He produced a couple of carrots from his pocket and gave one to Myrrhi. "Here is a carrot for Moonray. Their love of apples is more or less equalled by their love of carrots." He said with a wide grin, handing Stormbreaker his treat. He then sat down with his back to a tree and closed his eyes for a moment. It’s good to be out in the woods again. He thought with pleasure. I miss being out on the road.. The fresh air, the sunshine, the smell of the woods and the sound of insects buzzing made him relax more than he had done in ages - and he almost became drowsy.



In contentment, his thoughts went back to the evening before, when - after making a short progress-report to his Warder superior - he had sat down in his reading chair in his room with his book of poems in his lap, as darkness had fallen over the City of the Aes Sedai, and had enjoyed one of his favourite historic poems. It was called Ballad ofThe War of the Hundred Years’ and was ancient in style, presumed to be fairly historically accurate, but with author unknown.


The words whispered in his mind, echoes of ancient history, as he now sat relaxed and content, eyes closed, underneath the tree by the woods and field on the mainland that sunny day, and again he was lost in ‘memories’ of times gone by..





Ballad of ‘The War of the Hundred Years’


Remember the Days of War and of Strife

After Hawkwing the High King lost his Life

When Brother fought Brother for Power, for Land

As Blood flowed in Rivers, on Meadows, in Sand


The Empire Collapsed with no designated Heir

Fragmented, Torn apart, more than one could Bare

The Disorder and Conflict brought Tears and Stares

It was named ‘The War of the Hundred Years’


Plotting and Scheming arose in the Lands

Positions and Wealth swiftly changed Hands

The Stone of Tear was taken by Force

In Andor Ishara seized Throne at its Source


In the Swirls of Chaos, the White Tower’s Attempt

To end the Conflicts, civil Wars that had Rent

Met with no Success, despite years of Toil

As the Troubles escalated, with Bloodied Soil


On the Steps of Tar Valon heavy Storms Raged

As Hawkwing’s Army a grand Siege Staged

Then General Maravaile the Shining Walls Freed

When the Amyrlin Seat and Queen Ishara Agreed


In the Borderland Provinces Five Governors Met

To discuss the Situation, new Borders to Set

Proclaimed their free Nations, as Kings and Queens

And pledged an Alliance, a Pact strong at Seams


Cairhien was conquered by Deftness and Strength

By Nobles and Lords, using subterfuge at Length

In Tanchico the Kingdom of Tarabon Arose

As History was Made, in Stories and in Prose


Twenty-Four Nations from the Embers were Born

After a Century of Conflict with the Continent Torn

Few remnants of Hawkwing’s Empire were Left

His Statues and Monuments by changing Winds Swept


Remember the Days of War and of Gloom

When Hawkwing’s Empire fell to its Doom

Remember the Nations that rose to the Light

Reborn from the Ashes of Struggle and Fight






Edited by Elessar
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Myrrhi tried to concentrate on her arms, on her hands, on the reins. She didn't want to mess up. Why are there so many people in the flaming city? she wondered. On their way to the West Bridge, one of the bridges that connected Tar Valon to the mainland, they had met many people. Women, men, children even. Most were on foot but there were also a couple of riders, all looking as if they knew perfectly how to master their horses. The young woman couldn't help but feel a pang of jealousy. With the One Power, she could do things they could not even dream of. But where horses were concerned, they could do way better than her.


Her state of mind didn't improve when she noticed that some of the travelers were looking at her, probably recognizing her banded dress. I am an Accepted of the White Tower, she repeated many times in her head. I have to behave perfectly... She didn't want to let go of the mare in front of them. What would they think of the White Tower if she did? Images passed through her mind. Most of them included her being strapped by the Mistress of the Novices for being a disgrace to  the members of the Tower.


Before she panicked further, she tried to summon an emotionless face, just like the one the Aes Sedai were wearing. It was hard to get rid of what she felt, though. She still had butterflies in her stomach...


Time passed and slowly Myrrhi started to feel guilty. She had been so focused on leading Moonray and on her own thoughts that she had almost forgotten about Elessar. She had barely talked to him before they had left the Tower grounds.  She looked over at her riding teacher, and hoped he was not disappointed by her behavior nor her silence. I am a bad companion, I barely said a word...  she told herself before thinking further. Myrrhi, you are not supposed to be "a companion". You are a student! She corrected herself. It had become harder to think of Elessar as just another teacher. He had behaved in such a friendly manner that Myrrhi had started to open herself to him just like she would have to a friend. Never would she have dared to curse in front of an Aes Sedai, for example. And the day before, she had let go of her temper right in front of him ... She had also admitted her fears, laughed with him. I shouldn't do that kind of things, she sighed.


After the bridge, Elessar chose a road heading south. Myrrhi was quite thankful for it. The road was almost empty. Only a couple of carts could be seen in the distance. However Myrrhi didn't allow herself to stop her mantra. I am an Accepted of the White Tower, she went on finding herself even stiffer than before. This was a new place for her and it was hard to anticipate what would happen next, where they would go.


At one point, the Warder lead them off the road an a small forest-path leading into the woods. Myrrhi felt her heart clench but she followed Elessar. Where is he leading me? I hope we won't have to mount on our horses and gallop!


Sooner than expected she managed to breathe more calmly, finding strength in her surroundings. She had always liked the forest. She had not seen many, since she had grown up in Andor, but in her novels the scenes that happened in the woods had always been her favorite. She tried to remember some of them as they went further, and so, the forest became more alive for her, distracting her from thinking about her lesson.


Finally, they arrived in a clearing that opened itself of a big field.


"We are here." Elessar said with a wave of his hand, as he smiled at the Accepted. "This is the site for the next lesson."


Before going further, the Warder proposed to have some rest. He produced a couple of carrots from his pocket and gave one to Myrrhi for Moonray. The Accepted thanked him and immediately fed it to the mare, talking to her gently. When the horse was done with her snack, the young woman allowed herself to have a sip of water. She enjoyed the coolness of it.


"I am sorry for not talking much", she apologized to Elessar after a while.  "I have been deep into my thoughts."


The Warder nodded, told her he understood. It was not enough for Myrrhi, though. She didn't know why but she felt the urge to talk.


"I can only hope i will manage to go through the next part of the lesson", she laughed.


The Warder grinned and invited her to sit on the ground before talking further about the lesson. As soon as they were comfortably settled on the ground, Myrrhi started to chat about the morning experience. She tried to be honest and pointed out what she thought she had to improve. Elessar agreed with almost everything the Accepted had said, adding a few comments himself. He seemed quite pleased at her progress, and let her know that today's first part was over. Fortunately,  Elessar didn't make her climb on Moonray immediately.


To Myrrhi's surprise, the Warder told her about how he enjoyed the trip and the fresh air with a friendly smile on his face. She listened to Elessar, and was glad that they shared their love of the outdoors.

Edited by Chaelca
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.. Learning the Basics of Riding ..



They talked pleasantly for a while, sitting on the grassy ground together, and it pleased Elessar to learn that Myrrhi also enjoyed the outdoors. Then, after a while, the Warder motioned that it was time to begin. They walked to the horses and stopped before Moonray who looked at them placidly.


Elessar gave the Accepted a ‘leg up’ so she mounted the mare fairly successfully and got her feet properly into the stirrups. "We will do this step by step, just as before." Said the Warder encouragingly. "First I will lead Moonray around the field, by the bridle and the reins, walking slowly. That way you will get a feel for the saddle, for the balance, the movement and the horse, before we progress to the riding lesson itself." Myrrhi nodded and seemed pleased that he was doing things gradually. It would give her more time to get used to this.. and to control her inherent wariness. Holding onto the horse’s bridle, giving the mare a caring pat on the nose as well as a few soothing words, he proceeded to to lead the two - horse and rider - slowly along the field. He walked in a very leisurely tempo, wanting Myrrhi, who was holding onto the reins a touch hard perhaps, to feel safe atop the horse and to get used to the rolling motion.


He did not speak, but walked in silence, wanting the Accepted to focus totally on the task. After a time they approached the end of the field and Elessar then turned the horse around and they walked back. Now and again he checked that Myrrhi was balanced and steady atop the mare and whispered a few words to the horse, but things seemed to be going very smoothly and the Accepted’s face seemed fairly placid, at least from what the Warder could see. Elessar nodded to himself, pleased. When they were back to where they had started the Gaidin stopped and looked up at Myrrhi. "That went very well," he said with satisfaction in his voice. "Now let’s try again, this time with me walking beside Moonray but without holding onto her bridle. In other words, you will hold all the reins and it will be all your doing." The way the sun streamed into her face it was diffcult for him to see her reaction, but she nodded and did as he had instructed. He walked beside the horse and rider all the way to the end of the field and back, and when it was done he gave her deserved praise. "Now we can move on," he said with a smile.


"There are some things that are important when learning to ride." He began. "I have pointed it out already, but atop the horse the rider must sit in a balanced position." He pointed at the way she sat on the mare’s back. "That way you sit more safely, and it lessens the chance of falling off the horse especially at higher speed. But it is also to help the horse remain balanced underneath and move naturally." He continued. "The rider should sit in the lowest part of the saddle, allowing the hips to open and for the legs to move back and lie gently around the horse so that the heel of the foot is directly in line with the hips". He gestured while he spoke. "As we have already touched upon, the ball of each foot should rest on the stirrup iron with the toes pointing forwards and the heels pointing down." He added. "The upper body should remain straight but not stiff with the head looking forward. If you can imagine it, it should be possible to draw a straight line from the shoulder to the hip to the foot of the rider. The upper arm should rest by the body with the elbows bent, allowing the forearms to become an extension of the reins."



He paused for a moment to let all the information sink in. Gazing up at the blue sky he saw a few clouds move in from the east. The sun shone brilliantly, however, making for a very pleasant outdoor experience. Smiling inwardly, he nodded and then went on with his explanation.


"We have also spoken a little of how to hold the reins properly. Let me repeat." He said. "To hold the reins correctly, have your hand face down with your fingers pointing towards the horse's neck, place your little finger under the rein and the other fingers over the rein and the thumb underneath. Curl your fingers around the rein and then turn your hand so your thumb is on top and your knuckles are facing forward." She tried to replicate his instructions and he gestured informatively when she was a little uncertain. "Good," he said in the end. "That looks fine. It may be difficult to maintain this position at first, especially once moving and you may find that your legs creep forward, or you may be tempted to grip with your knees if you feel unbalanced." He nodded. "If you feel unbalanced or feel you are losing the correct position, it is often best to move to a slower pace, reposition yourself correctly and then start again rather than to continue unbalanced, as this only serves to make it harder for both horse and rider to relax and work together."


"Now then. Let’s look at the various forms of riding." Elessar began, recollecting the added useful information he had found in several horseriding books. "There are several disciplines, but the most common are: The Trot, The Canter and The Gallop." He continued. "Let’s begin with The Trot. To ask a horse to trot you squeeze gently with your lower legs. The pressure applied should be greater than that applied just to keep the horse walking forward and so may require a gentle kick with your heels. The trot is a "two step gait". This means that the horse moves its legs in pairs. It actually moves its legs in diagonal pairs, that is it lifts the left front (near fore) and right back (off hind) legs together and the right front (off fore) and left back (near hind) together." He added. "You can feel the body sway from side to side as each hind leg is lifted and moved forward. The horse does not move its head forwards and backwards in the trot and so your hands can remain in the same position without restricting the horse's movement."



"Next is The Canter", he continued. "The canter is a three time gait with the horse placing one leg, then two together (a diagonal pair) and then the remaining leg on the ground." He added. "The horse will ‘lead’ with one front leg, that is one front leg is thrown further forward by the mount than the other. Keep especially in mind, that the back should remain soft and supple to allow your hips to rock with the horse's movement when cantering. A stiff back will make the canter uncomfortable for both horse and rider."


"Finally we have the Gallop." The Warder said. "The gallop is a four beat gait and the fastest speed your horse has. When a horse is galloping, each footfall is heard independently during the stride. A horse galloping on his right lead will first move his left hind leg, followed by the right hind, followed by the left front and the stride ends with the right front." He saw her begin to grin and he added, that it pleased him to see that she appreciated all the little important details given her in this lesson. They laughed at his comment. "Equally, a horse on his left lead starts off with his right hind leg, the next beat is his left hind leg, followed by right front and left front." He added with mirth. "You should impart some of this specific knowledge to some of your Accepted friends, I think. They would without doubt be mightily impressed." She shared his laughter again, imagining doing just that. "Seriously though", he ended, "the gallop is a very fast speed and cannot be maintained for long periods of time due to the amount of effort and energy it takes for a horse to gallop."


"In the short timeframe we have to teach you riding, we cannot focus on all these disciplines." He said as he met her eye squarely. "What you need to learn is some basic riding, and then - once you get more experience and supposing you wish to learn more - you can learn the other disciplines." He nodded to himself. "I will teach you the basics of a slow canter since that is a useful way of learning to ride for beginners, and it does not go too fast." He smiled and then mounted his black stallion Stormbreaker. He asked her to dismount and to hold the reins to Moonray so she remained steadily in place. Then he asked Myrrhi to watch carefully as he proceeded to show her a slow canter in practice. He rode fairly slowly back and forth several times along the field and each time he came back he stopped for a few moments, explaining details, with accompanying gestures, in accordance with what he had told her before. Myrrhi watched intently and asked a few questions which he answered as best he could.



Then Elessar asked her to try the same, just to go very slowly. She mounted the mare, as he again helped her with the ‘leg up’,  and ever so tentatively she tried to do as instructed. She went very slowly with Elessar upon Stormbreaker’s back just next to her, giving advice and encouragement, and she managed a partially successful first attempt. A few times she had almost lost her balance, losing concentration, but had corrected herself with Elessar’s aid. Afterwards they evaluated and she tried again, doing slightly better the second time. He saw in her eyes and face that she was not totally comfortable with the situation, though she tried to look as calm and collected as possible, but that was to be expected. As he had told her on several occasions, it would take time, patience and experience for her to remove most or all vestiges of her fear. After a short break, where they dismounted and sat relaxed on the ground for a while, they tried several more times and with each attempt Myrrhi fared slightly better. In the two weeks they had to make a fair rider out of her she would become no expert rider, far from it, but Elessar thought the likelihood good that she would learn the basics of riding in this time and would have conquered at least some of her fear.


It was early afternoon, the golden disc of the sun high in the sky, when Elessar finally ended the lesson. "We are done for today," he told her. "You have now had your first proper riding lesson". He smiled warmly and praised her for the day’s effort and progress, adding that they would continue the lesson the next day. "We’ll meet up at the stables as before", he said. They handed the two horses a carrot each and watched as they munched eagerly on the treat. Elessar then asked the young woman, if she felt some saddle-soreness? She blushed slightly but nodded affirmatively. He told her that this was quite normal when getting accustomed to riding. "Pain in the rear muscles is certainly a true ‘pain in the butt.’" He said vigorously with humour, and she laughed with him at the relevant pun. He informed, to her apparent relief, that they would give those tired rear muscles a rest now and would walk the horses, leading them by the reins, back to Tar Valon. Collecting all the equipment he had brought, the Gaidin fastened the sack on Stormbreaker’s side and then they started their long walk with the mounts back to the City of the Aes Sedai, the Accepted, as before, half a length behind the Warder.



The following day they met up at the stables as before, received their saddled mounts, and walked the horses all the way to the West Bridge and out to the woods on the mainland. It was more cloudy that day, the sun only making an intermittent appearance between small clusters of clouds, but the temperature was fair, with hardly any wind, and the riding conditions good.


As they arrived at the practice field, both enjoying the fresh air and the smell of forest and outdoors, ready to begin the day’s lesson, Elessar said, "Today we are going to take a look at common beginner horseriding mistakes." He nodded. "These are mistakes that most beginners make, and some may seem a little familiar.." he added with a knowing wink.




Edited by Elessar
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Myrrhi couldn’t help but giggle when Elessar gave her what he called “a leg up”. It was strange for her to be so close to a man. It made her feel a tad more nervous than she already was. Moreover, the gesture was one she had often seen described in her novels. It had always appeared to her as something highly romantic. Now, that she had experienced it, she had to admit that it was nothing very special.


She threw her right leg over the horse as deftly as she could, then let out a sigh as soon as she found herself comfortably settled. Everything had gone well so far, she had not fallen and the Warder was smiling at her.


“We will do it step by step,” he announced, talking about the next part of lesson. To reassure his student, he told her that even if she would have to ride he would still be leading Moonray by the bridle and the reins. The young woman thanked him, clearly appreciating the fact that he would be the one leading the horse.


And, so they advanced in the field, making a big circle. For the Accepted, every step a small victory. Confidence grew slowly in her heart as she got used to the rolling motion of the mare. She managed to adapt her body balance so that her back would stay as straight as if she had been sitting on a chair. I hope I am elegant enough, she hoped tightening the muscles of her abdomen and imagining herself as an Aes Sedai parading in the streets of Tar Valon. It was hard for her to judge what she exactly looked like though, with the lack of mirrors.


Neither of them spoke. Elessar was looking in the distance most of the time as if lost in his thoughts. Myrrhi didn’t dare to do the same. She preferred to stay focused on the mare’s movement. But her concentration prevented her to think about nice topics of conversation.


The sky was of a pure blue, with no clouds to stain it. The young woman enjoyed the rays of the sun warming her back. She was happy to have gathered her hair in a bun. They would have become quite flat because of the light sweat she now felt on her temples if she had let them loose. And I wouldn't have been presentable, she thought. I have to act as a future Aes Sedai ... perfect in almost everything...


When they reached the point where they had started their circle, the Warder stopped. He looked up at the Myrrhi. “Very well,” he said. The young woman could hear to the tone of his voice that he was quite satisfied with her efforts. So was she. She could now feel she was ready to go forward with her learning, provided they would stay where they were and that she would not have to ride faster.


With a gentle voice, the Gaidin explained that for the next part of the lesson the young woman would have to lead the horse by herself. She nodded at his words, trying not to panic. Elessar would stay next to her, he assured her a couple of times before she finally agreed to have a try at the new exercise.


Keeping an eye contact, the Warder helped her on Moonray's back and gave her the reins. He touched her arm, then encouraged her to go ahead. Slowly, they moved forward. The young woman didn't want to look away from his eyes. They gave her the strength and the serenity not to run away. However, it became soon impossible for the Accepted to go on without looking up front. How could she ride if she was not seeing the road ahead? Sadly she resigned herself to abandon the sight of the Gaidin.


Again, they went across the field, silent. The Accepted didn’t know what she could or should talk about. She didn’t want too talk to much about her state of mind - judging it pretty boring for a seasoned warrior - and she didn’t know whether the Warder, as a teacher, would like to talk about lighter topics like the forest, the myths and legends. He had been pretty open so far, and she had liked it. But she was afraid to behave in a too friendly fashion. She didn't want him to think of her as someone disrespectful.


Their second circle was quickly done, faster than she had expected.


It was only when they were back to their starting position that Elessar started to talk again. First to explain to her how to place herself on the saddle. She proudly noted that she was sitting almost perfectly. She had remembered what he had previously said and for what she had not known yet she had naturally corrected herself to adopt the right position. Then, he explained her about the reins. Listening to his detailed description, she had to notice that she was not holding them the right way. She was clutching them as if her life depended on it. She tried to let go, carefully replicating the Warder's instructions. When she was correctly positioned, he nodded and smiled at her efforts.


The next part of the class led the Gaidin to talk about the different forms of riding. The Accepted listened intensely to her teacher. His explanations were so precise that she easily managed to picture everything he said in her mind. That way she was sure she would not forget anything. As if reading her thoughts, Elessar told her that he appreciated to see that she was concentrating on even the smallest details. They both laughed and she told him about what she was doing. "It is to help me remember," she said still hiccuping from laughter. "I guess I must have a very visual mind."


Eventually, the young woman had to climb back on the mare to have a try at what the Warder called the "slow canter". Both rode this time, side by side.


Myrrhi couldn't help but watching Elessar. He looked so at ease, so confident. Having him right next to her helped her feel secure. She was still afraid that she would fall but she thought that, would the worst happen, the Warder would dive from Stormbreaker to help her out. She trusted him. She surprised herself hoping that her future Warder would be just like him. As the idea crossed her mind, she lost her concentration and her balance. By chance, her too firm grip on the reins prevented her from falling.


"And this is the slow canter?" she asked after a moment hoping it would help her stop blushing. Elessar replied by the affirmative.


Once more, they stayed silent for the best part of the exercise. At one point, the Warder raised a hand, smiled and declared that the lesson was at an end. Myrrhi felt a bit disappointed but she still smiled back. "Already?" she asked, pouting.


As she was ready to lead her horse out of the field where the lesson had taken place, Elessar asked her about saddle soreness. The cheeks of the young woman turned bright red. Seeing the Warder was grinning at her, she grinned back, adding a witty reply.


They set themselves on the road back to the Tower, happily chatting together. Now, that the class was over, Myrrhi felt more calm. It became easier for her to talk. 


"I wish you a fine afternoon, Elessar Gaidin", she said as they parted.

"The same to you, Myrrhi Morrigen," he replied




Another day had started as well as a new riding lesson. Outfitted with her banded dress and her brown breeches, hair gathered in an intricate braid, Myrrhi felt like a warrior of old. She didn't know why but today she felt in luck. Her fear had lessened. Her level of confidence was high. Am i getting used to riding? she thought, or maybe I am getting used to the horses? Unless it was those lemon cake I managed to get for breakfast...  she smiled.


Like the day before they had come to the open field, after West Bridge. The sky was less clear but the weather was still warm and inviting.


"You will teach me about the common mistakes a rider can do?" she replied to Elessar's program for the day. "I don't know what you are talking about", she added laughing.

Edited by Chaelca
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