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A Bond of Redemption (attn. Myrrhi Aes Sedai)


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.. When you Stand at the Edge of a Cliff  ..



Elessar crashed from Darkness into Light.


He breathed in deeply as if he had been pulled out of crushing water. Bewildered, still partially confused and delirious, he looked about to try and get his bearings. Echoes of feverish dreams lingered in his mind. He recognized Myrrhi’s face before him and for a moment was surprised to see her alive. More confusion followed.


“What… What..!”


He clutched his head with his hands, as he felt pain in his back. A moan escaped his lips. Her voice penetrated his confusion.


She told him that they did not have much time. Putting her hands on him, she met his eyes. He could see her deep concern. She then added that he had been poisoned. He half-nodded to himself. That would explain his fever and confusion. He tried his best to concentrate on what she was saying though a mist partly clouded his thoughts.


“I don’t know what it is”, Myrrhi said, “but it’s moving, it’s invading your body. That’s the only thing I can tell… and.. I … I can’t fight it.



Despite his weakness and fever-confusion, he understood some of what was going on. She must have used some Healing on him to bring him back from the brink, out of the dark corners of unconciousness, but she did not seemingly have further skills in that area like Yellow Sisters had. Having been Bonded to both Yellow and Green Sisters he knew their powers in Healing would vary greatly and what a weak Yellow might manage in Healing could be much more powerful than a strong Green could. Greens were mightier in other areas.


Leandreen had been fairly weak in Healing, to her frequent frustration, but strong in other aspects with the One Power. Carys, on the other hand, as a Yellow had been strong in that discipline - though weaker in others - and had Healed him, saving his life, that fateful day so long ago.


“A Healer is coming but it’s taking too long.” She said. He could hear emotion in her voice, a tinge of frustration, though it was fairly steady. “I am afraid she will come too late. Please tell me what you want me to do!”


He felt his mind wandering again.. and had to focus hard on her face to concentrate on what she was saying. His thoughts tumbled over one another..


Posion. Myrrhi. Healer. Dreams. Fever. Too late. What to do.


Please tell me.


What you want me to do.



He tried to think rationally.. but the poison in his blood, though kept partially at bay for the moment through her intervention, kept the fever in his mind alive - making him shiver and feeding his confused thoughts. He shook his head, trying to think clearly, but it was very hard. He understood the warning signs though, having experienced poison in his body before, and knew the danger he was in. If it was as bad as the young Aes Sedai gave the impression of, this healer that was coming - A Yellow Sister he guessed - might come too late. Myrrhi had done all that she could.


What now?


Clenching his fists, trying hard to find the Flame and the Void inside him, he tried to think of anything Carys had said to him after that poisoning episode years before which had almost killed him, anything that could help him and them now, but nothing came to mind. He felt weaker by the minute and was sore tempted to close his eyes and simply black out.. the pain and delirium was slowly building inside him.. but he pulled himself together and used every ounce of strength and stubbornness within him to stay awake and, at least partially, aware.


Meeting Myrrhi’s eyes, he replied.


“Aes Sedai, I don’t..” he began. He tried to ignore the heat and cold from the fever that washed over him and tried to keep his mind working. “I don’t know..”. He closed his eyes momentarily and then opened them again. “I am sorry.. this poison is slowly killing me.” He paused as a spasm crossed his upper body. Sadness crept into his eyes as he saw the ever-present deep concern in her face.


“At least.. at least I did my duty this time.”, the Warder said, “taking that deadly knife that was meant for you, Aes Sedai. This time.. I did not fail.”


My life before yours.



His voice shook and a small smile - lit with seeds of beginning Redemption - came upon his lips for just a fleeting moment, before his lips and face twisted anew in pain.


This time I did not fail.


The thought Burned through him like a Sacred Flame, quenching at least some of the Blackness in his Soul.



The poison from the knife continued, however, relentlessly on its deadly path to his body’s eventual destruction.


He lay back.. using all his physical and mental strength and experience to temper the great pain he felt, to fight the illness.. and soon he felt his conciousness slipping again.


He knew that he Stood at the Edge of a Cliff.. and he was Close to Falling into the final Abyss.




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This time I did not fail ... Elessar's words resonated in her mind. "Please!" she told him once more, not even trying to make sense of what he had just said. "Tell me what to do!" She grasped his shoulders, shaking him. "You have to tell me!".


The man didn't reply. His head collapsed and the young Green felt his body suddenly getting heavier. The new fire she had given him had stopped his effect. She let him drop back on the mattress and jumped on her feet out of frustration. "This can't be!" she shouted. As she did so she kicked on the small stool she had been sitting on, sending it to the other side of the room.


She passed her hands through her loose strands of hair. She knew she had to calm down and concentrate... But how could she in these circumstances? Breathing deeply she focused on the exercises she had learned as a Novice to improve her channeling skills. "I am a flower," she thought. Then, she felt it, the ability to channel. Someone with such an ability was near and coming closer. "The healer?" she started out loud. Not losing one second, she rushed to open the room's door. Behind it stood a little woman with short black hair and piercing blue eyes.


"You're an Aes Sedai?" Myrrhi asked noticing the rich fabric of the woman's dress. She quickly closed her mouth that had been hanging slightly open.

"And so are you," the little woman replied with a scowl on her face. "Green Ajah I suppose?"

"Yes, I am Myrrhi Sedai ... of the Green Ajah." Myrrhi added, still under the effect of surprise.

"I am Elizara of the Yellow." The new comer didn't wait to finish her sentence to start channeling. She sent a first delving weave to check the Warder's condition and another to pull the stool towards her.


"What have you done to him?" she asked the younger woman anger flashing in her voice. "His heart rate is unnaturally high, the poison is invading his body too fast and I sense that the One Power has been used..."


"I ... I ..." Myrrhi stuttered.


"I need answers Myrrhi Sedai. Do you want him to die or not?"


"I gave him the new fire to pull him out of his unconscious state. I needed information from him." The young Green didn't want to admit that she had been so lost that she had endangered the Warder to get directions about the best way to heal him... especially since that move had been a complete failure.


"Well, I hope it was worth the effort. This is going to be tricky." Elizara had still her eyes on Elessar. The elder Sister seemed to be doing a hundred things at the same time. Still, Myrrhi tried to understand each weave, some were beyond her skills but some weren't. She imprinted them in her memory hoping she'd be able to reproduce them in the future.


"Is there something I can do?" the young Green offered.


"Not at the moment, " the Yellow went on with her healing efforts. Her face showed signs of deep concentration. It made Myrrhi hesitate about staying in the room. She didn't want the other Aes Sedai to see how bad she was feeling.


"I will get myself some refreshments." she told the healer after a while. Since she received no answer to her words, she turned her back and left. Even if she felt the urge to stay near Elessar, she judged it best to stay in the common room of the inn. She didn't trust her emotions near the Warder. "What if Elizara doesn't manage to ..." She tried to dismiss the grim thought.


Summoning her best Aes Sedai face, she glided down the stairs then to one of the tables near the open fire, thankful that the place was quite empty. On her way to the quietest corner of the common room, she asked the innkeeper for a tea. "Coming right up, Aes Sedai", he answered, and scurried off. Maybe one Sister in the inn would have been alright, but two Sisters made him nervous apparently. Sitting down, Myrrhi tried to keep her thoughts positive. "He's going to be alright. He's going to be alright."


After what seemed countless cups of tea and full days of waiting, the Yellow Sister made her appearance into the common room. She had the ageless face, but the young Green could tell she was exhausted. Elizara looked at Myrrhi. "It is done. He needs rest now, more than anything."



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.. To Accept an Offer of a Bond  ..



Elessar remembered little from the previous days.


His partial delirium, the poison in his body, the feverish near-dreams.


Myrrhi’s aid and help. The Yellow Sister’s Healing.


He had been told that the shock to his dangerously weakened body by the Aes Sedai’s powerful Healing weaves - which had crashed into him like ice-water - had almost killed him. He recalled Carys having once mentioned that Healing drew energy from the body of the subject, therefore the shock to the weakened system could also kill the patients if they were near death to begin with. In a half-daze he had thanked the Yellow Aes Sedai, had shared a smile with a very relieved Myrrhi, then had soon fallen into exhausted sleep. When he had finally awakened, he had still been very tired and ravenously hungry, and after eating a large meal which the innkeeper brought to his room and speaking a few words with Myrrhi, he had gone back to sleep again and had almost slept for a day.


When he next awoke, in late afternoon of a new day, he ate some more and then had some time in solitude to reflect on how close he had come to death, before getting some more needed sleep.


One thing that stuck in his mind, was the persistent thought that with cheating Death in this way he had been given a Second Chance - a chance he would not squander.



“We have faced life and death together, you and I.” He said, meeting her eyes now.


They faced each other in the room. It was empty apart from themselves. For most of the day and the previous day they had been on their own, Elessar having told her that he needed some time alone.. to think.. ‘to get to grips with things’, as he had said. Physically he had recuperated from his injury, the subsequent Healing, and the exhaustedness that had followed - but Myrrhi had understood that he had many things on his mind as well and had given him the time he needed. Now she waited, with some curiosity, for what he had to say. He had asked her to meet him here in this rarely used resting room on the second floor of the Inn this afternoon, ‘for a talk’ as he had called it. And now she listened to him speak.


Life and Death..


Myrrhi had almost died in that dramatic river-incident and he had almost died from the poisoned knife. They had also experienced danger together in the Tar Valon-incident. They had been there for each other almost in the way a Bonded Warder and Sedai would be, Elessar reflected. Perhaps it had been a sign, a whisper of Destiny. Bonding her was the right thing to do.. For them both. He knew it deep inside.. and had probably known for a long time.


Together. Also to keep us both safe.


Just as he had known with Leandreen those many years ago.


He imagined a pair of Emerald green eyes smiling at him.



“You have saved my life.. and I have saved yours.” He told Myrrhi.


We have saved each other.



“We keep each other safe - and we make a good team”, Elessar added with a smile, “..even if we have had our differences..for which I apologize.” He gave an earnest nod, then he continued. “My Warder-past.. has made it difficult.. for me to reconcile myself to certain new duties and new responsibilities.” A slight pause. “To new Bonds.”


Firmly and honestly, speaking truthfully, he added: “It has taken me some time, but I have been thinking long and hard in these past few days - and weeks to tell the truth - and also with all that has happened recently, and I see now that my previous reluctance - and doubt - was wrong.”


His success - or rather non-failure - at protecting Myrrhi in the woodlands recently, taking the deadly knife that was meant for her, in proper Warder-fashion, even at the risk of his own life, had certainly boosted his (self-)confidence and had soothed his conscience. It had also made his ever-present guilt over his previous failures as a Warder lessen dramatically. In a way, it had to some extent healed him, he thought - and had brought light into many of the dark places inside him.


It had given him true belief again.


Belief in himself. Belief in who he was. Belief in what he was.



I did not fail this time.. and I will not do so again.



He would no longer be afraid of failure.


And he would Embrace this Second Chance at Duty and Service in the Light.



“This is my Sacred Duty as a Warder; an Honour and a Sacred Trust.” He said with renewed confidence. “This is who I am -and- this is what I want. I am ready now.”


He added words to explain why he had been unable to accept her offer of a Bond before - Leandreen’s death and his fear of another Warder-failure and the pain in his soul at the thought that he might put Myrrhi in danger too - and what had changed. She deserved an explanation, not the least to make her understand that his former refusal had not been her fault in any way, before entering into this commitment.


It was, for Elessar, an important step on his Path of Redemption.



In his colour-shifting Warder-cloak and with his sword by his side, he walked up to Myrrhi and stopped a few feet away. There was a smile on his face and his dark eyes glittered warmly.


“And so here we are.” Elessar said kindly. She smiled back at him, her blue eyes sparkling.


He came a step closer.



A Moment in Time



“I gratefully accept your Offer of a Bond, Myrrhi Morrigen Aes Sedai”, Elessar Telcontar of Kandor said formally, as he knelt down on one knee before the young woman.


“To Serve and Protect, as your Warder, to Death and Beyond.”



There was No doubt in him anymore.


This was his Destiny.


This was his Path.


And he would Not fail.



He bent his head, pledging his service to her.


“My Life before Yours.”



And Light streamed into his Soul.




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Myrrhi smiled, amused. She looked fondly at the warder who was eating his plate like an ogre. The Yellow Sister had done a very good job. The flaming man was now completely healed, but hungry. It was one of the after effects of the powerful weaves that had been set upon him.


"How are you doing," she asked.


"Good," he answered, after taking another piece of chicken.




A day had passed, Myrrhi was holding a book in her hands. She had tried to read it, but hadn't managed to keep her focus on its words. She wanted the warder the wake up, she need to know that he was still feeling alright.


At last, he opened his eyes.


"Good day, sleepy head," she said. "Is there something I can do for you?"


"I am so hungry," he replied. Without leaving him the time to say more, she rose up from her chair and went downstairs to order for more food.




“We have faced life and death together, you and I.” Elessar said, his eyes on her. Myrrhi was glad to be back at his side. The warder had asked for some time alone and she had been scared she had done something wrong. She had replayed the last days events in her head, many times, to identify the mistakes she might have done but she had found none.


Hearing those words and seeing his open face, she understood that she hadn't done anything wrong. Waiting for Elessar to go forward, she brushed the skirts of her dress.


“You have saved my life.. and I have saved yours.” He told Myrrhi.


True, she thought. If you hadn't been there, I would have probably died that day... It didn't matter to her that the riding lessons that had led to that dark time of her past had probably been the reason why she had almost drown in the first place. The Warder had been the reason why she could ride now. She would never hold against him the fact that he had wanted to help her. 


“We keep each other safe - and we make a good team”, Elessar added with a smile, “..even if we have had our differences..for which I apologize.” He gave an earnest nod, then he continued. “My Warder-past.. has made it difficult.. for me to reconcile myself to certain new duties and new responsibilities.” A slight pause. “To new Bonds.”


Myrrhi nodded, she had finally managed to understand him. It had taken her a while, but she knew that he had had to go through very hard experiences. 


“It has taken me some time, but I have been thinking long and hard in these past few days - and weeks to tell the truth - and also with all that has happened recently, and I see now that my previous reluctance - and doubt - was wrong. This is my Sacred Duty as a Warder; an Honour and a Sacred Trust.” He said with renewed confidence. “This is who I am -and- this is what I want. I am ready now.”


The young green felt her heart tightening. In a way, she started to guess what was to come, but she didn't dare to hope for it. She placed her hands on Elessar's arm and waited for him to go on.



Myrrhi looked towards Elessar. He looked so good and dangerous in his colour shifting Warder-cloak, with his sword by his side. She curtsied as if he would have been a prince inviting her for a dance.


“And so here we are.” The warder said kindly. Myrrhi smiled back at him, her blue eyes sparkling.


He came a step closer.


“I gratefully accept your Offer of a Bond, Myrrhi Morrigen Aes Sedai”, Elessar said formally before kneeling down on one knee. “To Serve and Protect, as your Warder, to Death and Beyond.”


The young woman felt her hands trembling. She had waited for this moment, hoped for it, then had made a cross on it ... and, now, it was coming at last. She had repeated many times the weaves she would have to perform in her head.  Still she didn't feel ready.


“My Life before Yours.”


"Elessar, my dear friend," she started. "I can't think of a better Warder. After all these years, I am still amazed at your loyalty to the white tower, at your skills - fighting, riding, poetry." She chuckled as she said that last word. "And at your dedication. It is a great honor for me to be allowed to have you as my Gaidin." Slowly she opened herself to Saidar, trying to savour every second. "You have been my friend, my mentor, my companion."


She accompanied the weaving of the bonding threads with  small gesture of her hand.


"I trust you with my life, as I am doing the promise to be there for you at all times."


As the bonding weave settled on Elessar's brow, she added "And now, I am complete."

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.. Feel the Peace within your Soul Embrace ..



In a way, Elessar felt complete again.


Myrrhi had echoed the same sentiment as she had laid the Bonding-weaves upon his brow.


We are as One.


Feeling her in the back of his head, as well as seeing her standing beside him on the stonebridge across one of the many wide canals running through the Illianer Capital, made him feel very content. It had been two days since he once again - and for the fifth time - had become a Bonded Warder and he felt more at peace with himself than he had for ages.



The Bonding itself had happened quickly as Myrrhi’s One Power weaves had settled on him. As in the previous times he had been Bonded, he could not put words to the sensations he felt when the weaves entered his mind. It happened almost in an instant, but in some ways it felt like that moment stretched into eternity. Perhaps it was the human mind attempting to analyze and understand the impossible. For in many ways the Bonding between Warder and Aes Sedai was the impossible. At least to many outside minds.


How to describe a Bond to an outsider? Even after so many Bonds Elessar found it difficult to explain. Having someone else inside one’s head was, in a way, undescribable. At the same time a unity of thought and spirit but also separate as in two minds and two personalities. Some might consider such an ‘arrangement’ an intrusion of privacy, but Elessar had never felt it that way. To him, in his Warder-service over many years, it had been an added strength, a necessary unity in purpose, something ‘natural’ and comfortable. Something that belonged. He had seen the Warder Bond described in history-books and though he could not fault the description it always seemed to him that something was missing, some understanding that could not be grasped by anyone who had not experienced it himself.


Anwahl’s ‘History of the White Tower, Aes Sedai and Battles in the Light” from early in the third age, had, for example, explained it, somewhat clinically, in this way:


“Bonding is a weave of the One Power which creates an enduring psychic link between two individuals, an Aes Sedai and a Warder. The Bond gives the Warder heightened abilities to go without food, water, and rest, and the ability to withstand wounds that would kill ordinary men. They also appear to gain some semblance of the ability channelers have to detect Shadowspawn. Both individuals are able to detect certain emotional and physical states about the other, and they have an unerring ability to locate the others' relative direction and vague distance from their current location. What else, if anything, an Aes Sedai gains from the Bond, is, however, uncertain.”


That is correct, he always thought when remembering the descriptive passage in the history-book. But the Bond is also much more..



He smiled to himself as he thought back on Myrrhi’s words during the Bonding.


“Elessar, my friend”, she had started. “I can’t think of a better Warder.”


She had added that after all these years she was still amazed at his loyalty to the White Tower, at his skills in fighting, riding and poetry (Elessar had grinned inside at that last remark) as well as his dedication. It would be a great honour for her to be allowed to have him as her Gaidin. She had concluded, as the weaves had settled on him, by saying that he had been her friend, her mentor, her companion and she trusted him with her life, as well as promising to be there for him too at all times.


He had appreciated her words and praise, even if he felt he was, perhaps, not deserving of it all, and had thanked her. They had shared a knowing look afterwards, a look that bespoke of the emotions and unity they now shared through the Bond and also the strangeness of it all and that it would, naturally, take them both some time to get used to being in each other’s head as it were. With a warm smile Elessar had looked into Myrrhi’s sparkling blue eyes and had put his hand on hers for a moment in a protective, friendly fashion as if to emphasize, I will always be there for you too, I will always keep you safe, on my sacred oath.


They had left the room and the Inn behind then, walking out into the fresh air, now as Bonded Warder and Aes Sedai. They had spoken of many things during their extended walk and all the while Elessar had thought with gladness, relief and pride that he - and they - had made the right decision. The guilt and emotional scars he had carried for years would not disappear overnight, of course, but they were slowly, gradually eroding and soon lingered more as a painful memory in his mind as Light and Hope continued to stream into his soul.


He would not have thought of it in such terms, but Elessar was well on the Path to Forgiving himself.



Standing now on the stonebridge with Myrrhi, beneath a sapphire-blue sky blessed with golden afternoon sunshine, he looked silently down at the blu-green waters flowing past beneath them, thinking of a similar scene years before with Carys in Ebou Dar. Some things repeat themselves, he thought to himself. Perhaps it is an echo of the turnings of the Wheel. Then too, in a new Bond, he had contemplated the ‘River of Life’ which carries you along, smoothly at times and other times much less so, towards new havens, new hopes and new possibilities.


There was a pulchritudinous poem he had once read, called ‘A Mirror of Emotions’, which spoke of life changes. Of decisions.


Of Fate.


And of New Beginnings.


He remembered the words well - and once again they whispered in his mind, as he stared down at his own reflection in the water.





A Mirror of Emotions


Look into the Mirror of your Soul

Gaze at the Reflections of the Past

Making good Decisions is your Goal

Finding sound Solutions that will Last


Break the Glass of Wisdom if you Must

Do what must be Done, who can Foretell

Fate may guide your Hand and garner Trust

Throw your Darkness into Mirror’s Well


Listen to the Echoes in the Night

Borne on Winds of awe-inspiring Grace

Start a New Beginning in the Light

Feel the Peace within your Soul Embrace






Edited by Elessar
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We are one.


I can feel you, Elessar Gaidin. She smiled and their eyes met.


Of course, Elessar would not hear her thoughts. Their bond didn't work like that, but he would be able to feel how she felt. Happy, content, intrigued, ... Indeed, she was curious about what was to come. There were so many possibilities open to her, to them. They would be able to do so much more.


All those stories she had read, about Sisters who were bonded, were nothing compared to what was happening to her. The bond was much more than what she had imagined. Through Elessar she found a new strength.


She knew that she would have to send word to the White Tower before their departure. The Greens would want to know that she was now bonded. She would probably have to explain the reasons that had pushed her to proceed to the bonding, her Sisters liked to know about such things.


"I think it is time for us to go back to Tar Valon," she whispered. "We have been away for too long."


She knew that her Warder was aware of her longing. She wanted to go back to the Tower, but not to stay there. She wanted to be useful, start a new mission that, she hoped, would allow them to travel even further that last time.


Raising her eyes to the clear blue sky, she thought back about Ebou Dar. The beautiful city had left her with very good - and very bad - memories, but in the end, she had to admit that she had enjoyed to discover a part of the world she had never visited before. Her main regret, however, was that she had not acted there as a member of the Battle Ajah. She had had some fighting lessons, true, but she had lost a lot of time in the library to help a Sister of the Brown Ajah. Then, lost even more to go to Ilian. She needed to feel useful.


"What do you think we should do?" she asked, placing her hand on Elessar's sleeve. After everything he had had to go through, regarding to the bond and his injuries, she didn't want to press him. If he wants to stay here for a bit, we'll stay, she told herself.


As she waited for him to reply, she thought further about their return.


What will be waiting for him? Will he have to explain and justify himself for allowing a bond while on a mission? Will he be in trouble? She hoped not, but she didn't know a thing about the way the Warders organized themselves. She had not thought about the rules they might have set to themselves. Trying not to worry, she tried to probe through the bond.




They were standing side by side on a stonebridge, a s

Edited by Chaelca
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.. Beginning the Return Journey ..



He felt her through the Bond - and he smiled inside.




Her voice brought him back from his reflections and memories.


"I think it is time for us to go back to Tar Valon," she whispered. "We have been away for too long."


He could sense her longing to return to the Tower. Not necessarily to stay there, he thought, but rather to take stock and be useful for the Green Ajah and available for Tower missions. Her words now confirmed it. Their ‘mission’ to Illian, if it could be called that, was far from ordinary Green Ajah business - collecting information frrom what Elessar had gathered - and she was becoming somewhat restless, he guessed. He had seen the same signs in another young Battle Ajah-Sister, Leandreen, many years before. He noted also the way she used the word “we” rather than “I” and “us” rather than “me”, as if it came natural to her even though they had just Bonded. But it was true: they had been long away from Tar Valon; many weeks had passed.


"What do you think we should do?" she asked, placing her hand on his sleeve.


She doesn’t want to press me.., he thought. Especially with all that’s happened recently, with my near-fatal injury and all.



He appreciated her concern and willingness to consider other options, should he mention any. It was the Aes Sedai’s decision though, and it was his duty as her Warder to obey.


Wise Aes Sedai, however, listened to their Warders and asked for their opinions on several matters (not only security/safety), but Elessar knew there were also Sisters who commanded amd simply expected their Warder to obey unconditionally. Warder-Sedai partnerships were, in truth, as different as the persons themselves. He knew of Warders who he would almost call ‘mistreated’ by their harsh Aes Sedai Bondholders (he would, of course, never say so to the Sister’s face; that would be most foolhardy) and other Gaidin who were adored by, and bedded, their Aes Sedai Bondholders and sometimes even wedded them as well (Greens, naturally). Elessar had been lucky in getting Bondholders who respected him and caringly befriended him (though never anything more, keeping it ‘professional’, as he thought of it, even with his Green Sedais), appreciating his advice and suggestions, which had made the working partnerships function very well - and he hoped it would work out well with Myrrhi too. She was young, though, for a Sister and all new to Warders and Bonds, and so it would probably be a learning-experience for her. He nevertheless had faith in her and knew, deep inside, she would manage fine.


He too needed to get back to Tar Valon, in fact. He must make a report to his Warder superiors, explaining his long absence and decision to remain in the south after the Tar Valon party left for the north and also his decision to Bond an Aes Sedai. He did not think he would be in big trouble, as long as everything was informed and documented, though he might, perhaps, get a slight reprimand for giving priority to his own interests before the Towers’. All things considered, he could live with that.


“The decision is yours, Aes Sedai”, he said in his formal way. She seemed to smile a little at his formality, but he could have been mistaken.


“But I agree. Your mission here in Illian is, from what I understand, finished and we both should set course for Tar Valon.”


He nodded. “I am fit and ready - and we have superiors to inform of matters”, he added with a small grin. “Mine will probably give me a slap on the wrist for prioritizing personal interests rather than solely those of the Tower.. but there’s no need for concern.” He had felt her tense up a little at his words about ‘a slap on the wrist’ and wanted to reassure her. He gave her an honest smile which she returned. He did not know if she also had some explaining to do once they got back to Tar Valon, but he felt sure she could handle it if that were the case.



In full agreement, they soon left the stonebridge over the canal behind, walked along the adjacent cobblestone path, and headed together back to the Inn.


The next morning, after a decent breakfast in the Common Room of the Inn and having gotten necessary provisions for their return journey, Elessar and Myrrhi rode out of the Illianer Capital under a partially clouded sky, on course for Altara and Ebou Dar. They had to make a stop there since Myrrhi had explained that she had some things to deliver to a Brown Sister at the Tarasin Palace. They rode all day, Elessar slightly ahead of Myrrhi as was their custom, along the dusty Illianer roads, trying to cover as much distance as possible. They spoke at intervals, mostly concerning the journey ahead, but focused mainly on the riding.


In late afternoon they stopped and rested the horses. Elessar gave Stormbreaker an apple to enjoy and Myrrhi likewise gave her valiant mare a treat. They sat beside some large oaks, both savouring the companionship and the experience of the Bond. They both felt excitement and contentment and it made them share smiles.


Like so many times before with his Bondmates, the Warder wondered to what extent the Aes Sedai could read his mind through the Bond. Can you read my thoughts? He speculated, as he looked into her sparkling blue eyes. He certainly could not read her mind, just sense her mood and thereby infer some things, but was it the same the other way around? He recalled an incident years ago when he had asked Leandreen that exact same question and had received, teasingly he had felt at the time, a wry smile in return. He supposed the answer was no, nothing he had heard or read had indicated that ability, though there had been instances through the years when it had certainly felt like his Bondholder indeed could read his mind. Then again, aren’t all women to some extent mindreaders.. he thought with a lopsided grin.


When their mounts were rested and ready, they climbed atop them and galloped along the ever dusty road that lead north-westward. They passed some travellers heading south toward the Capital but for much of the time they were almost the sole travellers on the road. It was only as darkness closed in, in the hour of Twilight, that they stopped for the day and made camp in the nearby woods.


Elessar made his usual scouting-rounds, checking the area for potential threats, while Myrrhi got a fire started. When the Warder returned, he brushed down the horses, gave them some hay that they had brought to eat, and then joined Myrrhi around the campfire. It was a routine in many ways similar to many of their evenings on the road in the past weeks, with similar tasks and similar responsibilities, but at the same time very different. He felt Myrrhi through the Bond - she was a little fatigued, with good reason - and that changed everything. It shouldn’t perhaps, he thought to himself, but it does. We are Bondmates now. That makes all the difference.



Gazing at her fondly across the flames, he met her eyes. Giving her a piece of dried meat, some vegetables and a water flask, he said, “We have made good time today; covered many leagues.” He chewed on his own piece of meat. “If the weather keeps up, we may cover a good distance tomorrow too.” They had suspected rain earlier in the day. The clouds had thickened as they had raced northwards but they had been lucky and there had been no rain so far. In the past few hours the clouds had, in fact, thinned out and he thought they could be all gone by morning.


“The decision is yours, of course, as to when you wish for us to break camp tomorrow morning”, he added, “but I think it could be wise to get started as early as possible, especially with the long distance still ahead of us.”


He smiled at his young blue-eyed Aes Sedai Bondholder, feeling her there also in the back of his head, then drank some more water from his flask, as he waited for her to reply.




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  • 3 weeks later...

She waited for Elessar to answer, thinking about how the other Aes Sedai she knew would have behaved in her situation. Some would not even have asked for an opinion, a couple of Sisters acted that way. Those mostly belonged to the White and the Blue Ajah. The Greens liked to know about their Warders point of view, even if they didn't always follow it.


She saw his eyebrows twitch, sign that he was thinking. Concentrating on the bond, she dug, trying to feel any opposition to her proposal to go back the White Tower. She found none.


“The decision is yours, Aes Sedai”, he said at last, confirming the results of her silent inquiries. She smiled at his too formal tone. Is this what it's gonna be now, she wondered. She knew he had adapted his way to talk to help her feel more confident and it had worked. She straightened her back.


“But I agree. Your mission here in Illian is, from what I understand, finished and we both should set course for Tar Valon.” he added. “I am fit and ready - and we have superiors to inform of matters”


He punctuated his sentence with a small grin that she mirrored. “Mine will probably give me a slap on the wrist for prioritizing personal interests rather than solely those of the Tower.. but there’s no need for concern.” he went on.


No need for concern? She used the bond once more to peer into his heart. There was no fear but there was something deep down. An apprehension perhaps? It was hard to tell. She tightened her fists involuntarily as if her body wanted to ready itself to confront whoever wanted to slap her Warders on the wrists.


Elessar noticed the tension coursing her body and he gave her an honest smile that she judged convincing enough.



After a quiet night, Elessar and Myrrhi readied themselves to get forward with their journey. After gathering their belongings and double-checking their packs, they came to the common room of the inn for a quick but filling breakfast. To Myrrhi's surprise, the innkeeper brought them a platter of sweet and hearty delicacies. I guess he's very happy to get rid of us. The young Aes Sedai had noticed that the number of patrons had dwindled in the past few days. Were they scared by her presence?


Pushing the thought aside, she dived on the food, hoping that her Warder would not feel how pleased she was to have lemon cakes.


They were by far the best she had ever eaten : they were so good that it became hard to stop eating.


"We need to get going," she declared after her fifth helping, jumping on her feet and not leaving Elessar the time to ask her why she was so suddenly in a rush.


And so, they set themselves on the road back to Ebou Dar then to Tar Valon.


It had been hard to tell the Warder about Deana. Myrrhi had feared that he would respect her less for helping a Sister who didn't belong to her Ajah. She had kept on focusing on the bond when she had told him about what she needed to do before going to the Tower. Strangely, she hadn't discovered any feeling of disappointment in the Warder's heart. Am I seeing too much in this mission? She ended up wondering. 


Elessar's good dispositions made her want to know more about what he thought about Aes Sedai and the kind of missions his previous bondholders had been sent to accomplish. She waited to be far enough on the road to start asking questions. The Gaidin answered to the best of his abilities and soon Myrrhi was drown into his tales forgetting about her hurt ego. Enjoying her Warder's company and her brand new bond, she didn't feel the time pass.


The sky darkened and the time to make a break came before she felt the need to stop.


Still, she followed the Warder's lead to a small clearing where they could make a camp, without protesting. The two companions climbed down their horses and make the usual preparations.


Elessar left for one his scouting rounds while Myrrhi took care of the food and the fire. As she wove threads of Air and Fire, blurry memories of her Arches came back to her. During the ritual, she had been separated from a Warder - hers? - and he had been attacked... She had felt his injuries, his want for her to run to safety but she had rushed at his side, ready to defend his life. The Arch had appeared then and she had had to abandon him. She didn't remember the Warder's face but it was easy to replace it by Elessar's.


The Arches are not supposed to give me a sight of what my future will be, she tried to reason herself.


When she saw Elessar coming back, she felt a pang in her heart and felt the urge to run towards him to hug him. "You are back," she said smiling. "Come," she added not wanting to give any more explanations. "The fire is ready."




“We have made good time today; covered many leagues. If the weather keeps up, we may cover a good distance tomorrow too. The decision is yours, of course, as to when you wish for us to break camp tomorrow morning but I think it could be wise to get started as early as possible, especially with the long distance still ahead of us.”


"I think you are right, Elessar Gaidin" she replied trying to imitate the formal tone he had used earlier that day. "I want to be rid of Deana's Sedai's book as soon as possible."


"I hope that our next mission will send us to a place as interesting as Ebou Dar," she added smiling. "Is there a place you would like to visit next?"


Myrrhi knew that their wishes would never enter into account of the CG of the Green Ajah's head. But she wanted to empty her head and think about something else than the dark memories of her Arches.

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.. Memories of Whitebridge and Arrival in Ebou Dar  ..



Myrrhi replied that she agreed with him, and added that she wanted to be rid of Deana Sedai’s book as soon as possible. He felt through the Bond some emotion accompanying her words, and he thought he understood her desire to finish this ‘mission’ for the Brown Sister, which it in a way was, and begin a mission on her ‘own’.


"I hope that our next mission will send us to a place as interesting as Ebou Dar," she added smiling. "Is there a place you would like to visit next?"


He smiled at her words. They both knew that the White Tower would send them where needed regardless of their personal wishes.. that was the way the Tower operated... so her question was one of curiosity and interest, so he could share more of his many visits and adventures with her in faraway lands. He remembered a young Leandreen who had been much the same in the beginning, dreaming of missions and adventures for the Light around the world. He had seen Myrrhi’s clear interest when he had told her of some of his earlier missions as they rode north from the Illianer Capital.


“I wouldn’t mind visiting Saldaea again”, he said with a contemplative smile. “It’s years since I was there last and I always wondered when I’d get the chance to go back.” He told her some basic aspects of his last mission there with his Bondholder at the time. They had been there on Tower business to apprehend some suspected Darkfriends and the mission had been successful, as such missions often were. The White Tower did not take the matter of Darkfriends lightly.


“Another place it would be nice to see again is Whitebridge”, said Elessar thoughtfully. “A small town in central-western Andor. We passed through the place years ago on our journey to Falme.” He spoke of what they had seen in this small town, his impressions, and with his strong memory for vivid detail it was almost as if he - and they - were back there now..



..Elessar Gaidin and Carys Aes Sedai rode slowly into the town of Whitebridge in central-western Andor on a bright and sunny afternoon. The wind was blowing from the south-west, making their travelling cloaks flap against the side of their tired mounts. Both travellers were weary from a long day’s ride and looked forward to some rest before continuing their journey.


Riding across the huge white glass-like bridge - from which the town took its name - which spanned the River Arinelle, Elessar recalled what knowledge he had of this impressive structure. The bridge was believed to date all the way back to the Age of Legends, thousand of years before. It looked to be made of impossibly fragile white glass - almost as if carved from one piece -, yet of a type so strong even a chisel and hammer would not mar it. Furthermore, despite its glasslike surface it never became slick, even in the hardest rain. The White Tower knew perhaps more of its origin, but even with Elessar’s limited knowledge he was mighty impressed.


The town of Whitebridge grew up around the large stone-paved square at the bridge’s eastern foot. With its imposing bridge being the only span crossing the Arinelle south of Maradon in Saldea, Whitebridge town had from early on flourished in trade. Most buildings in the town were made of stone and brick, and the docks were made of wood. From what the Warder had read, all social classes were represented in Whitebridge - from merchants in their shiny lacquered carriages and velvet coats to farmers and peasants in rough wool ..


Elessar did spot several merchants in carriages and a few farmers passing, as the Warder and Sedai headed toward one of the town’s inns a little further up the road. They dismounted outside the “Eastern Bridge”, one of the better inns in town if the locals were to be believed, and Elessar took their horses to a stableboy at the back of the establishment before returning to join his Bondholder. They quickly found the innkeeper, a somewhat fat, blond-haired man of middling years with sunken eyes but a welcoming smile, standing at the back of the room, who seemed suitably impressed at having an Aes Sedai visit his humble inn. A short while later they were settled in their adjoining rooms (one of the inn’s best rooms for the Aes Sedai, of course) and it was time for a well earned rest..



Elessar went on to speak about other places he had seen and visited through the years, adding to what he had told before, and though Myrrhi at times seemed to have a faraway look in her eyes, at least from what he could see above the flames from the fire, she seemed to listen to his every word with interest.


When he finished, she thanked him for his stories - if he did not know better he would have thought that she seemed comforted by them somehow - and they soon found their blankets for the night..



Some days later they crossed the border into Altara and continued resolutely on their way towards Ebou Dar.


On a sunny afternoon, many leagues later, they finally arrived in Ebou Dar and headed straight for the Tarasin Palace. There they left their horses in the care of the stableboys and walked inside the Palace, Elessar two steps behind Myrrhi. The Aes Sedai walked eagerly and purposefully down the Palace corridors in search of the Palace library where she was sure she would find the Brown Sister. She had a packet with the book under her arm and seemed very eager to get this business done with. At least that was the emotion Elessar thought he felt through the Bond.


When they came up to the library doors, he positioned himself outside, giving her a small nod and a smile, as she headed inside on her errand.




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  • 3 weeks later...

Myrrhi lost herself in Elessar's tales about his previous missions. He seemed to have been to so many different places and done so much. Why did he agree on this bond? The thought flashed through her mind. She tried to silence the doubts that had suddenly appeared. By chance, they disappeared almost as fast. The young Green focused on her Warder's voice, hoping he would not detect any change on her train of thoughts.


She imagined her future self doing half as much as the man in front of her. She imagined returning victorious to the Tower, after dangerous missions in the Borderlands. The Captain General was smiling at her and told her that it was time to give her even more responsibilities. She proposed to make of Myrrhi a Sitter even if she was still one of the youngest Greens. Myrrhi refused, she didn't want to take care of the Tower politics. She wanted to travel even further.


Then, after a while, Elessar's stories ended. She smiled at him and thanked him for them. They had made her feel dreamy but they had also inspired her. 


Sleep came fast to her that night. She had not even felt herself gliding in the world of dreams. There she found herself battling against darkfriends, dangerous outlaws and beasts like she had never seen before. As a regular Aes Sedai first then as a Captain General.


When she woke up the next morning, she felt her cheeks burning ashamed of what her unconsciousness had made her go through. She had never taken herself for an ambitious person and her dreams made her feel extremely uncomfortable. It will probably pass, she thought. I don't want that position. Surely, it's because I thought about it yesterday ...


Soon, Myrrhi and Elessar set themselves on the road to Ebou Dar.




Deana Sedai was waiting for Myrrhi in the Tarasin Palace library. She was bent over yet another book, her Warder nowhere to be seen.


Good day, Deana. Myrrhi started. The Brown Sister jumped from her seat. She had been so concentrated on her reading that she had not paid attention to her surroundings. Myrrhi innerly shook her head. As a Green Sister she knew that it was important to always keep on a eye on who was near.


She and Deana exchanged a couple of polite words. Deana had enjoyed her time in Ebou Dar but it was time for her to return to the Tower where she had to study all the material she had gathered. She told Myrrhi The Queen was looking for an Aes Sedai for an obscure mission but couldn't explain what it was about. You understand, Myrrhi, she said. I really need to go back. I can't stay. But you could go and ask her Majesty what she needs.


We will see, she answered.


Not wanting to be sent on another errant by Deana she put the conversation to an end by saying that her Warder was waiting for her.


Take care, Myrrhi, the Brown said placing a gentle hand on her junior's forearm.

You as well, Deana.


The young Green returned to Elessar with a lot on her mind. Should she tell him about what Deana had said? What was this mission? She wanted to go back to the Tower... but what if this mission would earn her more respect. It was hard to tell.

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.. Echoes of the Past in the Tarasin Palace Gardens  ..



Some time later, when Myrrhi closed the library door behind her, Elessar thought she looked somewhat thoughtful for a moment but then she smoothed her features in Aes Sedai fashion and smiled at him. He smiled back and took his place at her side as they walked out of the palace and into the Gardens surrounding the impresive building. Myrrhi headed toward one of the benches beside one of the Garden’s many trees off to the side, beside a beautiful flower bed with flowers blooming in a multitude of colours, and sat down with her Warder beside her.


She seemed relaxed, to him, and no special emotions came through the Bond, but having had ample time to study her face and features in their time together, he thought he detected a pensive look in her eyes, as if she were thinking hard on something, considering a course of action. He said nothing, however, wating patiently for her to speak her mind, if or when she so decided.


A colourful bird of southern origin - a short-beaked little creature with red and yellow wings - landed on the grass close to where they sat and the Gaidin’s eyes followed it as it walked leisurely past them in search of some food or other. It made him think of his own hunger - they had not eaten since early morning - but he put that thought away. They would eat when they had time to do so. That was all there was to it. His stomach seemed to be in disagreement but he ignored it.


A growing breeze made the sides of his Warder’s cloak flap in the wind and his right hand went without volition to the scabbard of his sword at his right side, enjoying the solidity of its feel.


A Sword for a Warrior.


A Sword for a Warder.



Sitting there beside his Bondholder, in prolonged silence, feeling the texture of the sword’s scabbard under his hand, made him think back on his youth in Kandor. His early lessons with the sword, the harsh lessons his father had made him complete.


His hopes and dreams.


And in his mind, he was back in the Borderlands, a young, eager Elessar going through the motions, trying hard to please his father.. and with a burning desire to excel..


“Push on, Elessar. Push on!”

“Yes, father.. I am trying..”

“Push on! You must excel! To fight the Shadow, you must be strong!”

“Yes, father.. but I am exhausted..” says a weary young Elessar, his blade feeling so heavy..

“Ignore the pain”, his father shouts, “push on.. show that you are worthy..”

“Yes, father..”

“Yes, that’s the way to do it. Slash! Parry! Thrust! Deflect! Yes, push on, my boy! Push on!”


To survive. To excel. To make his father proud.


To be alive.


But alone in his room at bedtime, a young Elessar often cried tears of blood.



Thinking of his youth and his former life in the Borderlands - thinking of the past and what had been - made him suddenly think of a poem which he had always enjoyed. It was an historic piece, in the style that he preferred, retelling, or so it was believed, the story of the War of the Hundred Years.


Echoes of the Past touched the Warder’s mind, as he silently recited the poem in his head..





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





After a long while, Myrrhi turned toward him and made as if to speak.

Her blue eyes sparkled and a small smile came upon his lips as he waited for her words.




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The Gardens of the Tarasin Palace. Myrrhi loved them. She had been there so many times during her first stay in Ebou Dar. Sometimes to think, sometimes to cry, sometimes to laugh. It was there that she had met that guardsman who had taught her the basics about how to fight with a sword. She wondered where he was. Did he know that she was back? Did he know that she was bonded? Would he still agree on training her?


The young Green turned her head towards her Warder and smiled. I have a better trainer now, anyways, she thought.


Elessar was looking to something on his left. She bent and saw that it was an exotic bird that had attracted his attention. His red and yellow - almost golden wings - added very nice colors to the grass where he was now chirping. Could it be begging for food?


She heard her Warder's stomach rumble. It made her grin. She was hungry as well but she didn't want to move. Sitting here next to her Gaidin, her friend, in such a beautiful place... it was something she wanted to enjoy and remember. So there she stayed, silent, contemplating her surroundings.


It's only when her own hunger became too hard to ignore that she decided to speak.


As if to look some kind of support, she placed a hand on Elessar's sleeve before starting.


I have some news, she said. From Deana. It seems that the Queen is in need of help. I don't know what she wants, but it could be worth inquiring. What do you think? She asked.


She knew that the Warder would read the contradictory emotions that were passing through her mind. She felt curious about the situation but she wanted to go back to the Tower. She was craving for action but she didn't want to be used as a pawn to a Brown Sister who was... after all... less powerful than her, even if she was her senior.




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... Considering Options and Giving Advice ..



He felt her hand on his sleeve as she turned toward him, and sensed that she had something important to ask. She then told him that she had some news, from Deana Sedai, the Brown Sister. It seemed that the Queen was in need of help. She did not know what the Queen wanted, but it could be worth inquiring.


“What do you think?” Myrrhi asked.



He sensed in her, through the Bond, contradictory emotions regarding her options. She was, he sensed, curious about the situation and eager to learn what ‘help’ an Aes Sedai could provide (probably something exciting, she likely thought), but at the same time she wanted to head back to Tar Valon, to make her report. She - and they - had been long gone from the Tower in truth.


Elessar also felt intuitively that she wanted to have a mission of her own, while this Queen’s message of ‘help’ coming from the Brown Sister could easily feel rather like her mission to Illian on behalf of the other Sister. She wants her own quest. Like most young Greens do, the Warder thought, remembering a young Leandreen feeling much the same.


Meeting his Bondholder’s eyes, he considered his response. She wanted his opinion, his advice.. or perhaps his help to reach her decision. He could only be honest with her.


“Myrrhi Aes Sedai”, he began. Seeing her amused look at his formality he grinned softly. “Bear with me.. I have always been somewhat formal in nature with my Bondholders..” A small chuckle escaped his lips and he saw her eyes smile back at him, still amused. “Aes Sedai.. the decision is yours. But if you want my opinion, my advice, I think we should head back to Tar Valon as we intended.”


He met her eyes squarely. “We have been long gone and need to report back to our superiors.” He said. “I don’t know what help the Queen wants here, but we can report it to the Tower and they will see to it that someone assists.”


He paused for a moment before adding with a lopsided grin and a glint in his eye, “And we have our own adventures to go on.., don’t we?”


She did not miss his emphasis on the words ‘our own’.



As he waited for her to respond, he wondered inside what kind of ‘help’ this Queen needed and what could be amiss. It could be a whole variety of issues, of course, anything from need of diplomatic aid to need of political advice or need of more.. direct aid, so as to speak, in a threat situation. Aes Sedai could be of great help in many situations, and rulers and others in power throughout the world knew this well and took advantage of it whenever they could.


It may be that Myrrhi can help out here, he thought as he stared at the opulent magnificence of the Palace building not far away. But I still think we would be better off returning to Tar Valon.  


He truly felt they had been gone long enough.. it had been a long journey for them both, in many ways.. and now they could return to the Tower, as Bonded Warder and Sedai, and rest a little.. before their next exciting mission together.


The Young Battle Ajah Sister seemed to consider his words as he waited in silence - and he wondered yet again if she could read his thoughts, his unspoken words, through the Bond.




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“We have been long gone and need to report back to our superiors. I don’t know what help the Queen wants here, but we can report it to the Tower and they will see to it that someone assists.”


Myrrhi chewed on her lower lip for a while. On one hand, she wanted to know what the Queen wanted. She wanted to be of help... what if that mission was important? What if it could earn her a better rank among the Green Sisters?  On another hand, the mission would not be hers. She would have been led to it by Deana... once more. Why is that Brown always commanding me? True, she discovered me in Andor and it is thank to her that I have entered the Tower. But this can't last!


Before she could answer, Elessar added “And we have our own adventures to go on.., don’t we?”


Her warder grin made her smile. "Our own adventures", she repeated.


She closed her eyes and concentrated on the bond. Elessar was advising her about the best course of action for her, but she wanted to know what he truly wanted. It took her a while but she managed to feel some kind of longing in his heart. Like her, he seemed to feel that they had been gone for too long and that it was time to return to the Tower.


They stayed silent for a couple of minutes, then Myrrhi placed her hand on her Warder's sleeves.


"You are right, we need to go back to Tar Valon. But, first we will go to the Queen and see what she wants. Then, we leave."




Myrrhi patted on her mare's flank. She was feeling excited. The Queen had accepted to meet her and had told her everything about her problem.


Her majesty wanted help with probable darkfriends in her court. Her suspects were people who wouldn't run away in the coming month seeing how high their positions were. It left Myrrhi and her Warder time enough to go back to Tar Valon to report and come back if necessary.


However, from what she had heard of the Queen's explanation, the young woman was quite sure that the suspects weren't dangerous. Still, she had decided not to tell her anything about her own analysis. Maybe the Blues will find a way to take advantage of the situation?  She wondered.


Turning her head towards her Warder, she started "So here we are now! On our way to Tar Valon!"


Then she climbed her on mount.




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.. Reaching Murandy and the Capital City of Lugard ..



When Myrrhi repeated his words - “Our own adventures” - he sensed from her tone of voice which conclusion she would draw. She does indeed want her own quest.. and if I am truthful, so do I, he thought. She was silent for a while though and Elessar’s thoughts drifted involuntarily to Tar Valon as he waited for her to make her mind up. Then, Myrrhi placed her hand on his sleeves again and met his eyes. She told him that he was right, they needed to go back to Tar Valon, but added that first they would go to the Queen and see what she wanted.


“Then, we leave.” She said.


He nodded, agreeing with her decision, pleased also that she had taken his advice. It was wise to find out what troubles the Queen needed help with, so they could advise the White Tower with regards to what aid was needed. Together they left the Gardens behind and re-entered the Palace building, Elessar one step behind as was proper, whereupon Myrrhi headed towards the Reception Hall to talk with one of the Royal administrators and try and make an appointment to see the Queen.



The next day, in early afternoon, Elessar and Myrrhi stood beside their horses ready to depart for the North and Tar Valon. It would be a long journey, with several stops, but both looked forward to get started. He could feel some excitement coming through the Bond from his Sedai, who he saw patting her mare’s flank affectionately, and he smiled. She had not told him any details from her visit to the Queen earlier that day - she would tell him in her own good time, if needed, he figured - but he had felt contentment from her through the Bond when she had returned from the audience with the monarch, which had indicated that the meeting had gone well.


Elessar patted his valiant black warhorse of many years, Stormbreaker, kindly on the back and checked that the saddle had been fastened securely. The horse seemed a little restless, no doubt looking forward to stretching his legs along the road northwards in Altara, and the Warder spoke to him soothingly.


“So here we are now!” Myrrhi spoke then, turning her head excitedly towards Elessar. He raised his head and met her sparkling eyes. “On our way to Tar Valon!”


He could hear the enthusiasm in her voice and he smiled back at her.


“Yes, it will be good to be back on the road again!” The Gaidin said cheerfully, as his Bondholder climbed onto her mount. She did so fairly smoothly and Elessar could not help but think how far this young woman had come - in many ways - since their earliest encounters. “Northwards we go!”


Soon they were riding north from the Altaran Capital, the wind in their backs, the sun above lighting their way north.



Many days and many leagues later, under a sapphire-blue sky and a late afternoon sun, Myrrhi Aes Sedai and Elessar Gaidin rode wearily into Lugard, the Capital City of the nation of Murandy.


They had ridden hard ever since leaving Ebou Dar, crossing the huge forested region in central Altara, eager to reach their destination as quickly as possible. They had made makeshift camps along the way, taking the time only to eat, drink, sleep and talk a little, before pushing their mounts onward again, and now their horses were exhausted and needed an extended break. This meant spending a couple of days in Lugard, to re-provision and to rest a little themselves too at a local inn. To say that Myrrhi looked forward to a bed and a bath would be an understatement if her reaction - when he had suggested it - had been anything to go by. He could not deny that he looked forward to it himself as well; he liked life on the road, but a good bed and a warm bath could be very invigorating for a weary traveller.


They rode slowly through the streets of the Capital, passing locals and foreigners alike - and countless houses, shops, buildings all of gray stone and roofed in blue, red, purple or green tiles but covered with a dull haze of dirt. Elessar was reminded of descriptions of Lugard in books. The first words that came to mind were indeed: dust and dirt.


One book, perhaps somewhat critical but even so, had spoken of Lugard as “..a dirty city of commerce, thievery and licentiousness; dusty and noisy, its gray outer walls in a state of disrepair and its inner stone walls in worse shape. Many of its broad roads are unpaved, despite the flourishing trade that brings scores of wagons trafficking through..”



Dust flew around them, behind and in front, and they were happy when they at last reached the inn where they were staying: “The Wicked Wench”.


Elessar grinned at the sign hanging above the entrance depicting a somewhat bawdy-looking, dancing, red-haired wench. Very Lugardian indeed, he thought with some amusement.  He had stayed there before and though it was not the best inn in the city, it was clean, centrally placed, and the innkeeper was positively inclined toward Aes Sedai and the White Tower.


They dismounted and Elessar took the tired horses to the back and handed them over to a stableboy. Throwing the young lad - who eyed the Warder with no small measure of awe - a copper coin, he told him to take very good care of their horses, before returning to the front of the inn. Then, picking up their belongings, he followed Myrrhi inside and walked over to the bald, middle-aged Murandian innkeeper standing beside his counter, who gave Myrrhi a polite bow, welcoming her - and them - to his humble establishment.




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The way to Lugard might have been uneventful but Myrrhi had enjoyed it from the minute she had climbed on her horse. Feeling completely at ease, she had allowed herself to be "Myrrhi" just "Myrrhi". She had laughed, told her Warder funny stories, ... It had felt so good.


Indeed, before entering the Tower she had had to behave like a responsible daughter, then she had had to become a hard-working Novice only to turn into an even more serious Accepted. She had been severely tested as a newly raised Green and the time she had spent with Elessar before bonding him had not really been suitable for opening her heart. 


Now, it really seemed to her that a big weight had disappeared from her shoulders.




The Capital city of Murandy was a complete mystery to the young Green. By chance, Elessar had managed to answer to most of her questions. The way he had described the place had even made her want to stay there for a while. She found the idea of a city of thieves particularly romantic. Never mind that most of its buildings were in disrepair or covered by dirt. She wanted to see to see its roofs made of colorful tiles and its people, wondering if their face would be covered like the brigands' in her novels.


Since they needed to re-provision, her Warder had agreed on spending a couple of days in a local inn before moving forward. It would give them the chance to sleep in a bed, to bathe and hopefully to do some sightseeing (if she'd manage to convince Elessar).


Myrrhi had even written done a list of Murandian dishes that she wanted to try during her stay.




"The Wicked Wench?" Myrrhi read the sign hanging from the inn's facade.


Her Warder grinned and nodded. It made the young woman laugh.


"Well that is an interesting name," she said.


To the Green's surprise, the inn was clean and the patrons didn't look shady at all. The disappointed she felt soon disappeared when she noticed the sweet smell coming from the kitchens. "Please, Elessar Gaidin, we need to order whatever they are cooking!"


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.. A Passion for Life in an Unfamiliar City ..



Myrrhi was, to all appearances, in a joyful mood.


Elessar had noticed her enthusiasm when he had spoken a little about the city at their last camp before nearing the Capital. He had thought she might be sceptical about visiting - staying in - a city with Lugard’s somewhat dubious reputation: a rough city decaying through neglect, a place of commerce but also of thieves, brigands, pleasure houses, dust and dirt. But his description had instead peaked her interest, her blue eyes sparkling even more than usual, showing her excitement at going to this (for her) new and unfamiliar city.


Her youthful, and in his eyes somewhat ‘adventure-romantic’ reaction, had amused him a little, though nothing had shown on his face, but mostly it had gladdened him to see such passionate natural behaviour from a Sister of the White Tower. Many Aes Sedai seldom showed their feelings or emotions even in front of their Warder, though Green Sisters in particular were known for being more joyful and passionate, embracing the joy in life. Elessar had noticed a change in his Bondholder during their journey from Ebou Dar, her mood gradually becoming more and more joyful, as if a burden had been lifted from her shoulders. With all that had happened in the previous weeks, with the Bonding and all plus the excitement of returning to Tar Valon, it was perhaps not that surprising. But even so, it pleased him and made him smile inside.


She had laughed warmly seeing the sign above the inn’s entrance and Elessar’s understated grin - and her joyful enthusiasm was evident once again as she now noticed the sweet delicious smells drifting in from the inn’s kitchen. She told him joyously that they needed to order whatever they were cooking in the kitchens. The Warder grinned, informing the innkeeper that they wanted a meal in the Common Room later that evening with that food, after a pleasant bath and some rest in their rooms.



He carried their belongings upstairs to the second floor and into the adjoining rooms. They looked clean and well kept, to the somewhat surprise of his Bondholder if he read her correctly. Then they each enjoyed a warm bath, scrubbing away travel-sweat, dirt and - of course dust -  and had a deserved rest before meeting downstairs and enjoying a truly delicious meal in the, in typical Lugardian fashion, slightly bawdy looking Common Room. The food tasted just as well as Myrrhi had hoped and their wide grins mirrored one another at the end of the meal. Afterwards they sat and enjoyed a drink together, talking a little while a local entertainer - not a gleeman for a change, but a decently talented young man even so - sang and performed for the men and women present.


“It will be good for our horses to get some extended rest”, Elessar said at one point as he sipped his drink. “We pushed them hard in these past days.”


Myrrhi nodded, sipping to her own drink.


“As we talked about, we need some new provisions as well”, he added.


“This also gives us a chance, of course, to see some of this city which is new and unfamiliar for you.”


Her eyes sparkled at those words and she smiled widely. He was unable to hide his grin at her delighted reaction.


“Even if this den of local brigands, pleasure girls, dark alleys, dust and dirt does not make for the most magnificent of cities to explore”, he said with a good portion of dark humour.


She laughed at his comment, as if those things were exactly what made this city so interesting, so exciting to her. His grin widened, and he shook his head in wonder.


“Well, since you are so eager, we’ll have a look around tomorrow”, he added, to her obvious pleasure.


“And I’ll try and keep us alive.”


The last was added in mock-like dark humour but also with an undertone of the type of dangers that could easily be found in rough cities such as Lugard.



The following day dawned bright and sunny, and after a very good night’s sleep they enjoyed a nice breakfast together in the Common Room downstairs before heading out into the city for some ‘exciting exploration’ as Myrrhi had enthusiastically called it.


Lugard was located on the River Reisendrelle where it joined the River Storn in the heart of Murandy. It was in many ways a crossroads. The Jehannah Road ran west to Jehannah. The Silver Road ran south to Illian. The Lugard Road ran northeast through Four Kings and on to Caemlyn - this was the road they were to take northwards - while the roadway running southwest through Altara, which they had just travelled, was also known as the Lugard Road though it may have had a different name in ages past. A crossroads indeed, Elessar thought silently as they walked up the dusty city streets passing many foreigners - their clothes, faces and complexions informing of their nationality - on the way. Large areas of bare earth had been set aside within the city’s borders to accommodate trade, and wherever they went they saw how central trade and commerce was to this city.


Walking at his side Myrrhi looked excitedly at everything; shops, merchants, inns, worn down buildings and crumbling stone walls, colourful - though dirty - roof-tops and tiles, stables and horse lots that crisscrossed the city, dark alley-corners, gritty dead-end streets, and old disheveled monuments. She had, in fact, prepared a list of places she wanted to see and Elessar made sure she saw them all. A feeling of enjoyment came through the Bond from the Aes Sedai, and at the end of their ‘sightseeing tour’ of Lugard it almost seemed to him that she was a tad disappointed not to have been attacked by some slippery-looking devious thief or other in a dark alley. He chuckled under his breath, but any thought of ‘youthful foolishness’ was drowned by his contentment at her joy and passion - which was infectious. Not for the first time he recognized the passion for life in this young Green Sister that he had also seen in a young Leandreen many years before, a quality that had drawn him to them both.



A Passion for Life indeed, he thought knowingly, as they headed back down the dusty streets in the direction of the ‘Wicked Wench’ inn.


She is a true Green, young and learning, but with her heart in the right place. She will do well, he thought with satisfaction, walking proudly at her side as her guardian and friend.


As her Bonded Warder.




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Myrrhi's room was very comfortable. It was full with red draperies, some hung in places where they were not needed giving the room a cosy and exotic look. Two serving girls had brought a tub, then buckets of warm water. As soon as the bath was filled and the girls gone, Myrrhi had jumped in her bath. Her stomach rumbled a couple of times but she decided not to hurry. Who knew how long she would have to wait before being allowed to soak in warm water again?


Thanks to the bond, she knew that Elessar was not far. He was in the adjoining room, enjoying his own bath. He had carried their belonging upstairs even if Myrrhi had protested. She had wanted to help too! It was not her place as an Aes Sedai, he had told her. And so, she had let him do the heavy work.


Time passed and soon the water became colder. Myrrhi hesitated about using the One Power to heat it back to the right temperature then decided against it. There was a risk to let female channelers know that she was in the city - what if some of them were darkfriends - and what about her Warder? Since he couldn't use Saidin, he wouldn't have the choice but to get out of his tub sooner than later ...


She waited to hear him getting dressed, then climbed out of the water. The dress she picked was of green silk. It was nothing too fancy but would still be seen as the sign of a certain station.




The food was good and filling. Myrrhi enjoyed it as much as the ambiance, fueled by a young man who sang interesting and sometimes bawdy songs.



“It will be good for our horses to get some extended rest”, Elessar said at one point as he sipped his drink. “We pushed them hard in these past days. As we talked about, we need some new provisions as well”, he added.

“This also gives us a chance, of course, to see some of this city which is new and unfamiliar for you.”


The young woman felt her heart beating faster at her Warder's words. She smiled widely, waiting for the Gaidin to tell him about his plans.


“Even if this den of local brigands, pleasure girls, dark alleys, dust and dirt does not make for the most magnificent of cities to explore”, he said with a good portion of dark humour.


She laughed. "But, those things are exactly what make this city so interesting," she told him. 


“Well, since you are so eager, we’ll have a look around tomorrow”, he added, to her obvious pleasure. “And I’ll try and keep us alive.”




Myrrhi didn't manage to fall asleep immediately . Images of what she wanted to find in the city kept passing through her mind. She imagined herself in brawls, meeting assassins, finding a crone who would want to teach her the best ways to poison someone. Still, she was tired and the bed comfortable... Slowly, she drifted away.





The young woman felt like a child in a candy shop the whole day. She stopped in front of almost every building hoping to see the trace of some shady crime and entered most of the shops, just to see their wares. She didn't buy anything though, except for a dress with a very interesting set of pockets sewn in the most improbable places. Her biggest regret was not to have been attacked in any of the dark alleys they had crossed.


When they came back to the inn in the evening, Myrrhi used to bond to see how her Warder was feeling. Guilt made her blush, when she noticed that she had not paid much attention to it since dawn. She found amusement in the Gaidin's heart and hoped he had spent a day at least half as great as she had. While Elessar ordered their dinner she went to look for the young man who had sung the day before. He was not hard to find. Waiting for his time to perform he was sitting near the open fire with a mug of ale in his hand. Using her best smile, she asked him to sing one of Elessar's favourite song.


It's only when she had received all assurances that the song would be sung and that no one would know about it before the right time that she went back to the Gaidin hoping he would appreciate the little gesture. She had wanted to thank him for the wonderful day they had spent together and since he had always been at her side she had not had the chance to get him anything fancy.


Their dinner was quickly served and before long the young singer started to perform.

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.. Watchers, Four Kings and Arrival in Caemlyn  ..



They were in the Common Room, looking forward to another delicious meal. Elessar walked over to the innkeeper who stood by the bardesk and ordered their dinner. When he returned to their table he nodded to indicate that the meal would be served quickly. They sipped to their drinks and chit-chatted a little until the plates with beef, roasted potatoes, vegetables and steaming brown sauce were placed before them by one of the serving girls, then they tucked in with relish.


Soon the young entertainer appeared and bowed before the crowd. He produced a flute and performed a jaunty little tune that went down well with those present. Afterwards he sang a bawdy local song which also garnered applause. Then the young man said he would try something different: a Story out of History.


When he started to sing, Elessar immediately recognized the song. He was pleasantly surprised by the choice, a song he had only seen performed at Falme. It was one of his many favourites and he shared a knowing smile with Myrrhi, appreciating the gesture. His attention was soon grabbed by the young man’s voice as he told the tale of ‘the Watchers Over The Waves’. Though no gleeman, he still had talent and Elessar was, once again, carried away on Winds of History and Myth..





The Watchers Over the Waves’


To Watch and Wait, that was their Call

The proudest people of them All

Their duty clear, sworn on their Graves

They were The Watchers Over the Waves


Do Miere A’vron, the Old Tongue Learn

They waited for the Armies’ Return

That Hawkwing across the Ocean Sent

With mankind’s hope, their chances Spent


Along Toman Head-coasts, watchtowers were Raised

And the wisdom of the First Watcher was Praised

They would remember, what others Forgot

Bending the knee, when others would Not


From dusk ‘till dawn they watched the Sea

Awaiting sights of sails that Be

The warriors of ships and Stones

Returning to their rightful Thrones


Long have they waited, their loyalty Strong

Their steadfastness will be remembered in Song

When the Hawkwing’s armies return to the Land

In triumph and glory, the Watchers will Stand





The Warder applauded enthusiastically afterwards, like many of the others present, and Myrrhi gave him a wide smile, pleased at his delighted reaction.


“A good performance by the young lad, must say”, Elessar said as the crowd quieted down. “If he continues like this, with some more experience, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up a gleeman one day.” He sipped from his drink, before adding with a wink, “And a good choice of song. This one, about the Watchers, I especially remember hearing in Falme on a journey to the Sea Folk years back. I think I mentioned it once. Great to see it performed again!” Myrrhi shared his pleased grin.


They then talked a little more about all they had seen in the city that day, it had been enjoyable for him too and he noted again her excitement at it all, before turning the conversation to the next stage of their journey toward Tar Valon. They agreed that they would stay in Lugard another day - to get the remaining provisions and to give their valiant horses another day’s rest (and to give Myrrhi the chance to see some of those exciting places again!) - but would then, the day after that, begin the trek toward Caemlyn, their next stop.


That night Elessar dreamt of Dusty dark alleys and brigands and thieves and armies and Watchers and oceans and waves And of a Battle Queen with sparkling Blue eyes.



Several days later, many leagues to the north, in early afternoon under a clouded sky Elessar and Myrrhi rode into the village of Four Kings in Andor. It was located at the junction of the Caemlyn Road and the road leading south to Lugard. A drab, careworn place used mostly as a stopover by merchants' wagon trains, it nevertheless had some interesting history, the Warder knew. He shared his historical knowledge with his Aes Sedai Bondholder as they rode slowly through the village.


Four Kings was located on the site of the famous Battle of Four Kings, where Andor won a major victory over four rival kingdoms during the War of the Hundred Years.


“In FY 1063”, he began, “no less than four rival kings envious of the growing power of Andor united their armies and invaded the kingdom, marching on Caemlyn.”


He paused for a moment as they carefully passed a local couple with two scruffy-looking children walking haphazardly almost half-way into the street. Then he continued.


“Queen Maragaine, the fifth Queen of Andor, led the Andoran army into battle, meeting them some distance west of the River Cary. In a furious battle, in which Queen Maragaine is often depicted personally leading a charge, the Andorans according to historians broke the invading force and routed it, securing the future survival of the kingdom.”


The battle was noteworthy as one of the two most serious recorded threats to Andor's survival during the War of the Hundred Years, the other being the invasion of Andor launched by Esmara Getares (a notorious noblewoman of some power, influence, and nobility) thirty years later.


Myrrhi listened with interest, and with some excitement when he descibed the actions of the Battle Queen, while at the same time taking in the sights and sounds of this Andoran village. Her thoughts also went to their coming visit to Caemlyn further east, her city of birth and home before she left for the White Tower.


As they left Four Kings behind, they picked up speed, Stormbreaker and Myrrhi’s courageous mare galloping along the dusty roads with fire and gusto.



The weather had gradually changed for the better and the sun was shining down on them from a partially blue sky, a soft wind in their backs, when they got Caemlyn in their sights. Elessar had been to this dazzling city many times through the years but it never ceased to amaze him.


He recalled a famous Andoran historian, Jarid Mantear was his name, describing his Capital City in these lyrical, poetic, almost romantic and adoring, terms:


"..Caemlyn is one of the most beautiful cities in the land, second only to Tar Valon if not its equal. Like a gleaming crown upon its gently rolling hills, the city is actually made up of two sections, the New City, built well under two thousand years ago by the hands of man alone, and the ancient Inner City, much of which bears the mark of Ogier stonemasons. A great fifty-foot wall of silver white stone surrounds most of the official perimeter of the city, broken by tall round towers that flank massive arched gates. Outside the wall, buildings cluster thickly like lichen to a log, spreading outward from the glittering mosaic of the city in a gradual dispersion. Within its outer walls the city is laid out in a crazy quilt of streets and byways, with towers and domes gleaming white and gold in the sun.."


The Warder could, in truth, not argue much with that depiction. It was a fabulous city in all respects and well worth another visit.



Soon the Warder and Aes Sedai, their travelling cloaks flapping in the wind, rode through the city gate, beneath banners of the White Lion of Andor rippling proudly on the walls, and headed into the center of the Capital.


Good to be back, Elessar thought silently as they rode slowly into Caemlyn.


And like a whisper out of history, carried on winds of rememberance, he almost thought he heard the words Forwards, the White Lion! pass through the air behind him as he guided his warhorse down the city streets.




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Myrrhi saw her Warder applauding enthusiastically and smiled with pride. I am happy you liked it, she thought. Elessar couldn't read her thoughts but he would sense how happy she felt. 



“A good performance by the young lad, must say”, Elessar said as the crowd quieted down. “If he continues like this, with some more experience, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up a gleeman one day.”


The young woman nodded in approval. The lad did have a beautiful voice. He would have to broaden his repertoire though. Maybe she could send him to a library to help? She pictured herself giving advice to the young man and started laughing. He would probably think she was completely crazy. Aes Sedai were not supposed to pay attention to simple men's careers.


Elessar took a new sip of his drink, before adding with a wink, “And a good choice of song. This one, about the Watchers, I especially remember hearing in Falme on a journey to the Sea Folk years back. I think I mentioned it once. Great to see it performed again!”


Myrrhi's smile broadened. Her Warder had indeed mentioned it once in the past. It had always been easy to remember everything he told her, even before the bond. Way more than it had been to remember some of those weaves that included Fire, she thought. Even before the bond. Is this because of some other kind of connection?


Soon, the singer started another song, one that the young Green didn't know, and she and the Gaidin drifted to a conversation about the journey that laid ahead of them. Myrrhi was disappointed to hear that they would stay in Lugard for one more day only.


"Please, Elessar Gaidin! Let's stay a bit longer," she asked, listing everything she still wanted to see.


Her Warder smiled to her enthusiastic words but replied by proposing a full schedule for the next day that included all her points of interest. He also reminded her that they had both agreed on the fact that it was more than time to go back to the Tower. 


"True... " she admitted, smiling back.


Unfortunately, her mood darkened when Elessar told her that Caemlyn would be their next stop.


Caemlyn... Andor... was she ready to be back to the place she had grown up in?


Focusing on their drinks and on the good ambiance, Myrrhi hid herself behind mental walls that she hoped were thick enough so that her Warder would not notice how upset she felt.


Caemlyn was a big city after all, and maybe she would not meet anyone who knew her?


But what if her path crossed her mother's? her sisters' ? Should she visit them ? Her siblings weren't teenagers anymore but maybe they still needed help to get away from their mother's clutches ?




Focusing on her riding skills and on her Warder, Myrrhi managed not to think too much about her family. It is only when they left the village of Four Kings that she felt herself panicking.


She had to fight not to weave threads that would completely mask her feelings from the bond. Indeed, if she did so, Elessar would know that something was wrong.


Instead, she placed little stones in her boots, then scratched her hands with the reins badly enough so that they would blister. She hoped that the inconveniences were distracting enough to explain why she would feel upset.


I am so stupid, she thought. Why am I afraid to talk to him? But no reply came to her question. 





And then, they arrived in Caemlyn. The city was as beautiful as it felt familiar.


Myrrhi's efforts to drown herself in all the interesting historical facts that Elessar shared with her were now completely vain. The face of her mother and of her siblings kept on appearing in front of her eyes.


As soon as they passed the gate, she froze.


"I am sorry," she said in a whisper. She didn't know whether or not her warder had heard her words but she was not able to speak more loudly.


She made a u-turn with her mare and made her run as fast as she could towards the city's entrance, then out in the fields. 


I can't... I can't ...

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.. Whispers of Andoran History and an Abrupt Retreat ..



“..During the first millennium after the Breaking, the territory of Andor was held by two of the Ten Nations, Manetheren in the west and Coremanda in the east. The city of Hai Caemlyn was founded as one of Coremanda's major strongholds, a large city close to the River Erinin, which was important for trade. During the Trolloc Wars both kingdoms were destroyed.  After the conclusion of the wars, the kingdoms of Farashelle, Aldeshar, and Caembarin arose out of the ruins of the two older kingdoms. Aldeshar and Caembarin, named for its capital at the rebuilt city of Caemlyn, were two of the most militarily powerful nations of their time and sent armies against the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan in the War of the Second Dragon, although it was actually King Artur Paendrag Tanreall, known as Artur Hawkwing, of the small kingdom of Shandalle, east of Caembarin, who defeated Amalasan.


Caembarin attacked Shandalle a few months later and Aldeshar followed suit the following year, allegedly due to the manipulations of the Amyrlin Seat, Bonwhin Meraighdin. During the Consolidation, Hawkwing conquered Caembarin early in his campaign, but Aldeshar did not fully surrender until FY 963, the last nation to be added to his growing Empire.”


“..Blaming King Joal Ramedar of Aldeshar for the murder of his wife, Amaline Paendrag Tagora, three years previously, Hawkwing put Ramedar to death and scattered the people of Aldeshar across the Empire. This period of rage, the Black Years, ended after Hawkwing's aborted invasion of the Aiel Waste and his marriage to the lady Tamika. Hawkwing set about organizing his Empire into provinces. The Imperial Province of Andor was created early on, spanning the central regions of the Empire. The precise borders of Andor Province are unknown, but Caemlyn was the ruling city. The first governor was Jeorad Manyard (who, it was speculated, was more interested in creating a translation of The Prophecies of the Dragon), but his rule did not last long.


Displaying regret for his harsh treatment of Aldeshar, Hawkwing permitted its people to return home and appointed Endara Casalain, King Ramedar's daughter, as the Imperial Governor of Andor in FY 967. In FY 975 Hawkwing's armies besieged Tar Valon, a siege that was to last for the remaining lifespan of the Empire. Endara's daughter, Ishara Casalain, began a romance with General Souran Maravaile, the commander of the siege, in the early FY 990s.


After the death of Artur Hawkwing in FY 994, Ishara and the new Amyrlin Seat, Deane Aryman, persuaded Souran Maravaile to lift the siege of Tar Valon. Ishara and Souran returned to Andor and married. Endara withdrew any claim to the governorship or crown and swore fealty to Ishara. Ishara declared herself the first Queen of Andor, establishing an unbroken bloodline of female rulers..”



The words whispered in his mind, his exceptional memory for detail bringing the words from the pages of the history book he had read in his room one evening in Lugard to life, as he now rode into the city of Caemlyn. He was looking far ahead down the street, thinking also about their destination, the ‘Queen’s Orchard inn’ , when he heard Myrrhi whisper something from just behind and then suddenly, to Elessar’s great surprise, she turned her horse abruptly around and stormed back toward the city gate.


“What!?” he exclaimed.


Elessar turned Stormbreaker around and headed off after her at high speed. As he neared the gate he had to slow down a bit to avoid trampling any of the many people coming to and fro, but he glimpsed Myrrhi heading off into the fields beyond. He felt great unease coming through the Bond from her and hurried after as soon as he was past the gate. Soon he caught up with her and shouted for her to stop. She finally did, staring somewhat wild-eyed back at him. He looked around for any danger but could not see any apparent threat. He relaxed a little but stared with great concern at his Bondholder.



“What happened?” he asked, concern evident in his voice, trying at the same time to calm his restless warhorse beneath him. “What is the matter?”


He could not guess the reason for Myrrhi’s sudden unexpected action, almost in panic.


Had she seen something or someone as she rode into the city?


Had something frightened her?


She was not the kind of woman, he thought, who would frighten easily, especially with her Tower training - weaklings did not gain the shawl - but she seemed genuinely rattled now from what he could see and feel through the Bond.


He waited patiently for her to speak, keeping a vigilant eye on their surroundings.




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Suddenly Myrrhi heard her name. She froze with her thighs so tight on her mare's back that the animal stopped at once.


It took her a while to recognize Elessar's voice. Her head was full of memories flashing one after the other making it hard for her to think.


This was such a bad idea ... She closed her eyes and tried the perform the rosebud exercise that she had used so many times in the past when she had been upset. At first, it didn't work. Focusing seemed to be impossible, but she kept on fighting. She took a deep breath and concentrated on her Warder. 


Finding some kind of inner peace, she opened her eyes. Gathering her courage, she allowed herself to turn. 


Elessar was a couple of paces away from her, eyes open wide and full of concern.


"What happened?" He asked. "What is the matter?"


"I can't talk, not now," she replied. "Can we... " she sighed. "Just get away from the city for a while?"


It sounded crazy, to leave the city so soon after entering it, but she needed it.


The Gaidin agreed and they found themselves on the paved path they had used only a couple of minutes before. They rode silently, side by side, waiting for Myrrhi to find a spot where they could stop.


She would have wanted to hide behind thick trees, to be sure that no one would overhear what she was going to tell her Warder but none were close enough to suit her needs. Of course, they could ride back to the forest, but this would add at least half a day to their journey and her ego didn't agree with that.


Then, she saw some rocks protruding from high grass. She made a sign to her Warder to indicate that this would be a good place to stop.


They dismounted and led their horses by the reins. Since there were no trees close enough; so they would have to keep an eye on the horses. It didn't matter much to the young woman, she needed a distraction to help her with her tale.


Before she sat on one of the rocks, she gave an apple to her mare. She patted her on the flank, apologizing for having been a bad rider that day.


"You did well, girl." She told her. "Much more than I did".


She felt Elessar's hand on her shoulder. The warm touch gave her strength, enough to start talking.


"You will probably feel me very silly," she began. "But I can't stop thinking about my family."


She told her Warder everything. All her memories, how guilty she felt for having abandoned her sisters. Of course, she had hinted about her past but she had never completely opened herself.


And now he knows, how I had to take care of my siblings while my mother went to look for partners and how my mother tried to sell me. He knows what happened to me that night, when my mother sent me to meet my suitor dressed as a harlot, she finally told herself.


"You're life has been harder than mine," she concluded. "But I don't know. I feel so lost..."




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.. The Burden of inner Wounds and Choices ..



We all have our burdens to bear.


It was Elessar’s first thought when Myrrhi had told her tale.


Sitting beside her on the rocks, he touched her shoulder in empathy.


He then stared forwards pensively.


“Thank you for telling me”, he began.


A moment’s pause followed.


There was not much to say to what she had told. She had had a hard life too. What mattered was that she had shared her inner pain with him, as he had shared his with her earlier. A mutual trust that was important to them both.


Trust and Honesty.


“We are molded by training to be strong as stone, you and I.” He spoke in soft tones. “But we carry with us inner wounds from our past.. wounds that often take long to heal..”


He turned to face her. “It is only human.” Taking a deep breath, he added, “And I know very well how hard it is to admit weakness.”


His fists clenched for a moment, then unclenched.


“We are lost.. but then we find our way somehow.. because we must..”



His eyes took on a pensive look as he stared into the distance for a long moment.


Standing up from where he had been sitting, he then met her eyes squarely.


“We have a duty to uphold, a deep commitment to keep going.. to the Tower.. to our ourselves..”


His face brightened and a grin came upon his lips and a mischievous glint in his eye, as he added,


“And how else are we going to become the thorn in the side of the Shadow that we both crave, huh?”


Her face brightened slightly at his comment.


He held out his hand to her and with a small smile slowly replacing her downcast look she took it and came to her feet.


“Good thing our superiors from the White Tower did not happen by just as we were pouring our hearts out”, he added with a dark grin as he saw - and felt through the Bond - some of her spirit gradually return. “They would probably have us thrashed.. or at least demoted and sent to spend several months in horrible penance at some farm or other.”



His chuckles were infectious and soon they both laughed heartily at the thought, especially since it was probably not far from the truth, and Myrrhi felt some of her inner pain go away.


She was grateful to her Warder for his support and understanding and not for the first time it gave her comfort to have him at her side. She touched his arm and smiled at him to make him understand that she appreciated his gesture. She knew that his use of humour was not because he did not take her or her problems seriously, but rather to lighten her mood. It was exactly what she needed at this point in time.


“Now then”, the Warder said when they had mounted their horses again, “we have two choices as I see it. We can either go back to Caemlyn.. if you are up for it.. or we can skip Caemlyn alltogether and instead head for Cairhien before the last leg to Tar Valon.”


He tried to gauge her feelings through the Bond but gained no impression one way or another.


If we head for Cairhien”, Elessar said, “I will get some new provisions in Caemlyn and let the innkeeper know we won’t need those rooms, and then meet up with you on the junction leading north-east toward Cairhien.” He would not be gone long and deemed she would be fine in the meantime.


He smiled to let her know that either option was fine with him.


The choice was hers.




Edited by Elessar
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A part of her wanted to run away, so that she could find a hiding place, far away from Caemlyn and the Tower. Doing so would probably not help her, as her Warder had said, she had a duty to uphold and, as an Aes Sedai, desertion was out of the question. But if she picked that path, she would find peace for a couple of days. Maybe, she would even find a way to forget about her memories...


But another part of her wanted to fight. Elessar's words had given her some of her strength back.


“And how else are we going to become the thorn in the side of the Shadow that we both crave, huh?”  he had told her, a grin on his face.


She hadn't managed to resist laughing to his comment.


In her Warder's eyes, she wasn't weak. Even if she had had a different childhood than his, he believed hers had been not such an easy one.


But to fight meant that she needed to climb back on her horse, then return to the flaming city. She would have to walk there like the Sister of the Green Ajah that she was supposed to be - even if she would meet her family.


“Good thing our superiors from the White Tower did not happen by just as we were pouring our hearts out. They would probably have us thrashed.. or at least demoted and sent to spend several months in horrible penance at some farm or other.” Elessar went on.


They both chuckled.


"I don't think I would be a good farmer," Myrrhi replied. She had been a city girl before entering the Tower. She pictured herself on a field trying to pluck potatoes off the dirt and had to resist not to burst out laughing.


"Thank you," she said at last. She touched her Warders arm and smiled. It didn't cover everything she wanted to tell him, but she didn't feel good enough with words to say more. Instead, she used the bond to show him what his support meant for her.


They stayed silent for a while. A decision had to be made ... The young Green took advantage of the quiet to build her confidence.


"Now then," Elessar said at last. "We have two choices as I see it. We can either go back to Caemlyn ... if you are up for it... or we can skip Caemlyn altogether and instead for Cairhien before the last leg to Tar Valon."


The Warder proposed that, if they decided to go to Cairhien, he would tell cancel the reservation he had made at the inn. It made her smile.


Using the bond to gauge his position on the two options, she noticed that they were both fine for him. That the choice was hers.


She took a deep breath before looking in the direction of the capital of Andor.


"I am supposed to be part of the Battle Ajah, am I not?" She said with a grin. "I guess I'll have to face my demons..."


"You have my back, right?" She added after a short pause.




The city was as busier than it had been a couple of hours before. The young woman didn't know whether it was a good thing. With more people around, the less chance she had to be recognized ... but the more chances she had to meet someone who knew her. Using Elessar's back as her only point of focus, she managed to lead her horse to the inn without any incident.


I hope we will be able to eat in one of our rooms, she thought. There's only so much I can do today ...


As soon as they reached the stables, she dismounted and gave her reins to a boy, without losing her Aes Sedai face even for a second. It made her feel proud. But, she still felt the need for some kind of support. With quick steps, she reached Elessar's side since her Warder had taken the lead. She slid her hand on his right arm.


"Together," she said pointing her chin towards the inn's door.


If I faint, I want you to be ready to catch me... she added for herself.








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.. Arriving at the ‘Queen’s Orchard inn’ ..



Elessar was proud of her choice.


"I am supposed to be part of the Battle Ajah, am I not?" She had said with a grin. "I guess I'll have to face my demons..."


"You have my back, right?" She had added after a short pause.


It was no easy thing to face one’s fears, Tower-training or no. Elessar knew that very well.


He would, of course, have been no less proud of her had she decided to skip Caemlyn and head for Cairhien. Sometimes one needs time to face those fears and in such instances facing them too early might be counterproductive.


“I will always have your back, my Aes Sedai”, he had added determinedly with a smile. “All the way to Shayol Ghul if necessary.” She had smiled at his comment, his steadfast support giving her some confidence.



They had ridden in silence back to the city, Elessar now slightly ahead of his Bondholder. Though she appeared to have taken heart from their talk and his support, he knew from his own experience that it took time to overcome one’s demons and he thought seeing him in front of her now would increase her courage and inner strength. The Capital seemed busier than it had been a couple of hours before with crowds of people heading into and from the center of the city. The Warder glanced periodically behind at Myrrhi as they rode to ensure she was allright; a feeling of cautious weariness came through the Bond but she smiled when she saw him look.


Some time later they arrived at the ‘Queen’s Orchard inn’, a trek that passed without any incident. They quickly dismounted beside the stables that accompanied the establishment. Myrrhi gave her reins to a stableboy who appeared mightily impressed by the calm, collected, smooth-faced Aes Sedai before him. He was no less impressed  when faced by one of the legendary Warders as Elessar handed him Stormbreaker’s reins and told him to take good care of their mounts. The Gaidin then took the lead again as he headed towards the front of the building. Myrrhi caught up with him and slid her hand on his right arm.


"Together," she said pointing her chin towards the inn's door, and he nodded with a smile.



He understood that she needed his support. The feelings of unease coming through the Bond belied her calm, measured Aes Sedai face and he was impressed that she could look so composed.


The innkeeper spotted them straight away and hurried forwards to bow and welcome them to his humble inn. Elessar took charge this time, sensing that Myrrhi wanted to get to her room as soon as possible. He asked her to wait by the stairs and she did not protest, pleased by his decision. At least that was the feeling he got through the Bond. Only when he saw her reach the stairs did he turn to face the innkeeper and received the keys to their pre-arranged rooms. He also told the innkeeper that they were weary from long travel and wished to eat their dinner in the quiet of their rooms. Would that be possible? The innkeeper smiled and said that it would be no problem. He was honoured to have an Aes Sedai and her Warder staying at his inn, he said. Elessar thanked him, handing him a few coins which the innkeeper pocketed quickly.


Then the Warder walked across to Myrrhi and smiled, telling her quickly that their rooms were ready on the second floor. She smiled back and walked beside her Bondmate - who carried all their belongings - up the stairs onto the floor above. They walked down the small hallway and found their adjoining rooms. Opening the door to Myrrhi’s room, Elessar carried her things inside and put them beside her bed. She smiled her thanks. Before going to his own room, the Gaidin stopped by the door and turned around.


“With all that’s happened”, he said, “I thought you might like to have the evening meal here, nice and quiet, in your room tonight.”


He understood that she was weary and tired, not the least emotionally, and a meal down in a busy Common Room here in Caemlyn could easily become overpowering. She gave a small nod and smiled her thanks, appreciating his thoughtfulness.


“I talked to the innkeeper and it’s sorted”, he added. “The serving girl will knock on your door when it is ready to be served later.”



Settled in his own inn-room, Elessar lay down in the bed and closed his eyes for a moment. His thoughts went to Myrrhi’s words from earlier that day. When she had spoken of her past. Of the demons she carried within.


..Of how she had had to take care of her siblings while her mother went to look for partners and how her mother had tried to sell her. Of what had happened to her that night, when her mother had sent her to meet her suitor dressed as a harlot..


Her usually sparkling blue eyes were somewhat dimmed in his mind’s eye.


We do indeed all have our burdens to bear, he thought with a heavy sigh. My own burden is somewhat lighter these days, thank the Light, but I worry that it will always be a part of me. And it is a fear that may blossom again and need to be faced anew some day.


With that thought, an image of Leandreen came into his mind. And a pair of Emerald eyes..




Feeling his Aes Sedai in the next room, he tried to sense her mood through the Bond but it seemed much the same to him; a cautious weariness, a slight unease. He did not know if all her feelings came through the Bond - he had suspected with his former Bondholders that they sometimes held a little back - but what came through concerned him. Nevertheless, her courageous decision to confront her fears - combined with the strength inside her - gave him belief and hope that she would prevail in the end.


Nothing is ever easy, he thought as he opened his eyes and stared long and hard at the wall separating their two rooms.




Edited by Elessar
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