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About Elilliane

  • Birthday January 1

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  1. A shaft of gold pierced the velvet skies when word arrived at last. The captured woman had barely stirred but the hours that’d trickled by nonetheless had been barely endurable, her body tensing whenever there came a distant sound of yet another patron moving through the entrance door, or worse still, of someone mounting the stairs. Halvie knew precious little about the woman and could harbour only guesses as to whether she’d travelled solo or in a group. And so it was with relief that no regrettable incidents did in fact occur, by the time the crumpled note came, with directions regarding the location of her small collection of wagons. She penned a swift reply for her agent alongside a strange request for a thick portion of unused metal to be placed within one of her vehicles. The man would no doubt be curious but money would ensure he held his silence & kept any negligible thoughts to himself. Right now, she desired only to reach the sanctuary of the Tower to truly subdue the wild channeler of hers. Reaching the common room, now nearly empty given the early hour, there was a rapid exchange of information in hushed whispers with her hired servant as Halvie mentioned needing an extra pair of hands in carrying a woman to the wagon; sick and still unconscious – not quite a lie so that the three oaths once sworn were not broken. There was a small infernal commotion then that caught her eyes, causing her to end the conversation abruptly as she spotted the arrival of the young Accepteds; three of them, all in all, including one who’d been injured. The Healing, Halvie concluded promptly, could easily be dealt with by the Yellows as she had no wish to linger in the midst of a swarm of humanity with her captive. She could only grasp at the true potential and depth of talent her enigma possessed but to know she was a danger was enough. She had to be contained. ‘Accepteds?’ Halvie kept her features impassive as a round of perfunctory greetings was offered. ‘You are early; that is just as well.’ Reaching deep into the folds of her pocket, she handed each of the girls a slip of paper. ‘Directions to the wagons are written on them, alongside a list of items that should still be there. Report to me if any item is missing. That will be all.’ Nodding coolly in dismissal, she caught the eye of her awaiting help before going up to retrieve the woman. Once she’d determined that the Accepted had left as required, they began transferring the woman down the narrow stairs and out past the door to where an empty wagon stood not far from the rest. It would hardly do to have the Accepted come any closer and discover the woman’s ability to channel; such a scenario would likely bring about a deluge of queries she was ill-equipped to respond to, let alone deflect. ‘There, just place her here,’ Halvie directed, frowning slightly in consternation at the metal purchase she’d ordered him to acquire earlier on. Too little for her intentions but better than none, she concluded reluctantly. ‘Aes Sedai?’ Biting back a sharp oath, Halvie then swerved around and half-dragged the girl behind her far away from the wagon before unleashing an inimical glare on her. ‘Never appear behind someone unannounced, never,’ she hissed emphatically, struggling mentally to control the paranoia that had sharpened due to her ignorance of her captive. They could be watching, these possible friends of hers; it could be anyone. ‘Have you finished? I have more for you,’ she announced gratuitously before leading the girl back to her group of friends. ‘Here, see these knots joining the wagons? Test them, make sure they hold. And feed the mules while you’re at it.’ She made to leave then but paused briefly, noting the unspoken questions being directed at her. Alas, her captive had been seen, but that was all unless Halvie read her wrongly, thank the Light. ‘That woman is… a friend of mine. She is very ill and requires immediate attention. I’ll handle her.’ So saying, she abandoned them just so, picking her way through to the front of the awaiting wagons. Checking to ensure the woman remained unconscious, Halvie seized the power and began moulding the metal into two rough sets of restraints to bind both the hands and ankles. An additional precaution she personally felt quite unnecessary but it wouldn’t hinder her progress by much so it mattered little. Task concluded, the woman was then unceremoniously dumped into a box & securely fastened - easily done. Soon enough, they found themselves on the way back to the Tower, each step taken lightening the burden Halvie felt on her shoulders. A meeting with the Amyrlin Seat would be required, coupled with an extensive research into the woman’s background... so many things but at least, with this particular catch, she could label her journeys beyond the Tower a resounding success. Mayhap she’d stumbled upon a secret society of channelers who rejected the sway of the Tower; given the dwindling numbers of channelers, it would be glorious if proven so. Nonetheless… the creeping sense of unease was approaching once more. Pebbles that littered the path rattled, almost as a portend, as they drew nigh their intended destination. Nudging her mount forward, Halvie hesitantly reached forward to pull back the cloth covering the little prison box, an act to comfort her unfounded misgivings. And then… the explosion came. Halvie Sedai Sister of the Battle Ajah Ooc: Many many apologies for the lateness. The internet at home went down & I've only just arranged for a connection in the school. ;)
  2. Shadowing; its meaning ran almost parallel to the word, spying. And disobedience to indicate her level of wilfulness not to mention the streak of stubbornness required to elude let alone locate a one held a place in the ranks of the legendary. And finally, sheer stupidity. Most novices would’ve learnt the appropriate conduct expected by them by now, if not bred into their since birth from before. This… impudent menace of a child showed none. And most importantly, Tirzah had violated the golden rule of defying the command of an Aes Sedai; Halvie’s word. It was enough for the mild irritation to morph into a silent rage kept well beneath an exterior of absolute indifference. Privately, she itched to drag the girl straight back into the Tower for a switching or even better, a sound flogging session. So Tirzah thought herself a boy and aspiring fighter to boot. Halvie had witnessed the army discipline enforced cruelly with a horse whip; such a punishment could help the girl end her gender confusion very quickly… If only. ‘You must think yourself, funny, even smart,’ Halvie hissed, eyes narrowing slightly. ‘You have not run your rounds and still you come. You are incapable of your studies in the Tower and even now in the grab of a trainee you fail. Most would jump at the chance to take your place, or have you forgotten? The Tower has no place for weaklings; weeds such as those are eliminated, if not immediately than eventually.’ These were harsh words that held a steely ring of truth but an element of spite gave the speech a nasty twist. Uprooting her authority in such a brazen manner was something Halvie would never tolerate as it gave rise to questions regarding her own competence as a leader. For a fraction of a moment she recalled the vicious blade of despair and desperation, of all those tall numinous sisters clad in ceremonial green, the heartless cold voices as they threw her petition out within moments upon receiving it – rejection, for she had not been unable to measure up to their standards. But that was years ago, so many seasons had passed since she’d gained full rank. Why? Why couldn’t people ever accept her capabilities and just bloody follow? ‘Go back,’ she stated simply, eventually. ‘Apologise to the trainee and do your rounds. Do this and I may consider a lighter penance for you later. If not…’ she trailed off somewhat suggestively, ‘You will regret. You are no one and you’ll remain so unless you do something about it.’ Already, her mind shifted towards an intended meeting with a smith regarding a particular weapon she’d commissioned; there were variety of weapons out there that were subtly different as each was adapted for a particular purpose. Using such knowledge gained, she had an artists’ impression drawn of the ideal kind of light, small blade that would suit her purposes perfectly. It was a personal matter and if the cursed chit would not leave, she would most certainly be forcefully ejected out. One way or other, she was leaving. Halvie Sedai Sister of the Green Ajah Ooc: Felt under the weather while completing this so I apologise if the post is somewhat hard to understand. I wouldn’t know; the words are swirling like mad in my head.
  3. ‘*’ Voices drifted towards the darkened corridor as Halvie descended the first flight of stairs, raucous laughter along with the abrupt banging of the front door as another patron entered a now familiar, almost welcomed atmosphere. Almost, given that unless the hands of fate had dealt her an unexpected hand, she would be encountering only strangers and thus feel no obligation to chat. And yet, almost instantly she sensed her presence, a compelling kind of force that made the game of hide & seek impossible to play between channelers. Amelia; she ranked amongst the selected few who’d been informed of her presence; another Green sister though much younger, by several decades and recently raised. Surprisingly enough, it had taken little effort to recruit the young woman and if she were so frank, Halvie had much to thank the brutal rejection of petition tradition her Ajah favoured so highly - a most ironic situation. ‘*’ Drawing her hood further forward so as to conceal her conspicuously red mane, she raised her head only high enough to navigate between the mazes of tables of creaking chairs that occupied more than half the room. The tavern was enjoying another night of brisk business, it would seem. Noting that the woman had prudently arrived alone, Halvie casually took a seat opposite her before signalling imperiously towards the innkeeper. ‘A glass of water, iced.’ Turning back to scrutinize her sycophant, hooded similarly as herself, she just managed to hide a reaction of surprising at the grey smoke drifting towards her. A quick blink of eyes before glancing at the area again confirmed that it had been a mere mirage. The exhaustion due to her travels was catching up on her sooner than expected. ‘*’ ‘Well than, Amelia, this is unexpected. What brings you here?’ "To Tar Valon . . . or to 'here'? I've always been interested in Tar Valon, especially after I was told not to visit. I figured there must be some reason, some . . . something more. But there is nothing. Nothing but water and more water." Emelia made a sour face and then brightened, "Ale?" ‘*’ The feeling of uneasy heightened as Halvie stopped herself just short of grasping saidar and blasting the woman off her chair. Only her Tower training, a curious streak of self-preservation and control had prevented her from acting out the urge. This wasn’t Amelia; that voice and mention of ale signalled danger all over. She abhorred ale; a fact few knew but then, she did trust a little more those she owned by revelling more personal traits to them; in private, naturally. And that mist, or steam, had not been imagined. The woman was channelling… but playing harmless thus far. Yet that relaxed posture could easily turn into something else when provoked, she suspected instinctively. 'Tar Valon is decent enough. More crowded than most places, don't you agree? But visually, I’d say it’s quite a sight. Can't imagine why you were advised against coming...’ Her soft voice trailed off subtly. Emelia snorted so hard that she blew bubbles into her ale glass, which was currently raised to her lips. Realising this, ducked her head, blushing. She placed the glass back on the table, too embarrassed to mention how her offer had been ignored. Maybe later. "Crowded? I don't . . . know. Is it? There are people wherever I go. It is pretty, I guess, but not that pretty . . ." her eyes began to wander to the hearth-fire, reflecting the flames she found there. "Oh. Yes. Neither am I, really. Something about aes sedai being dangerous. So far I've seen mostly water. Yuck." ‘*’ 'Then I suppose you'd object to my having this glass of water?' Halvie enquired lightly as though out of politeness. 'I'm afraid ale and I aren't on the closest of terms. I'd rather appreciate the things Tar Valon is so famous for sober than drunk. The Tower for one... people travel there often enough for help. I was thinking, a visit there for memories sake... interested?' The person was fascinating and if the element of power had been absent, Halvie might even consider her humorous. "Object? No, no, by all means." It was not imagination that her jaw was set rather tightly as she said that; again she stared into the fire. "Water can be dangerous. It takes very little to get wet and not much more to drown. Ick, ick, ick. Horrible, clingy, damp wet. I don't understand how people can live here! You're going to 'The Tower'? That big white thing I saw over there?" A wave of her hand to punctuate the question. "Of course, it looks fascinating. Shame about the colour scheme though. You know what would look nice? Red stripes." ‘*’Again with the loathing of water and coupled with the steam that continuously surrounded her in a gentle envelope, it made Halvie ponder upon that unique fact further as she plotted a careful move. Outwardly, she chuckled softly, leaning forward a little to take a sip of her drink before carefully placing it between her two palms. The ice was melting, fast. She signalled once more to the innkeeper who obliged by bringing a tiny metal bucket that clattered softly with its load of ice. 'Come back in summer; I'm sure you'll be singing a different tune by then. I hear it burns. Hot. Like the Aiel Waste. I think I'd like to visit the desert once, for memories sake as well. Hopefully...' The part on the Tower now, she’d return to later. Water and the Tower; they made an unusual combination for a conversation. The metal bucket made a sloshy, ice sound and Emelia's focus changed with the alarming speed of a crossbow firing. Her expression clouded, features and carriage morphing into things unpleasant. With the same pace she collected herself and returned to 'normal'. Emelia shifted uncomfortably for a moment before displaying a smile of white teeth. "The Summer, you say? I just might do that. And the desert, too. Warm, dry, like something from a dream. Is . . . is all that ice really quite necessary?" ‘*’ ‘Not really, I suppose. I could have it taken away, if… if you insist,’ Halvie agreed somewhat reluctantly, eyes sharpening with interest. ‘Do you have a phobia of water? Childhood tragedy perhaps?’ The tension in the air was mounting rapidly now and there was a sense, a strong horrifying suspicion that the unspoken time of peace was about to break. ‘Everyone’s got their own tragedies. Mine… I lost my family in a fire.’ They were playing a fine game of words, with her partner confirming with every passing second to meet the delicate prerequisites of the term ‘unstable’. A dangerously temperamental enigma unleashed; it had to be every Aes Sedai’s nightmare. Mentally, she began shifting thru the list of protective wards and best way to contain the unknown danger. People, they were everywhere. Deaths; they would occur unless… Water. Too much. The conversation was beginning to make her uncomfortable. She was not afraid of water, she just didn't like it. It was dangerous, dangerous and subduing. No one should have to go through life doused and sodden, unable to burn. That was a terrifying thought. But no, she wasn't afraid of water. A fear of water would just be silly. Yes. Her parents died in a fire . . . and so did Emelia's. The memory brought back sensation and for a moment she was naked and alone among the burning embers of her former home. The moment passed and she longed for its return. Emelia's cheeks began to flush and her breathing became heavier. Her eyes lost some of their focus. "A fire you say? That is very . . . unfortunate. I am sorry for your loss. That, too, is how my parents died. Please . . . tell me all about it." ‘*’ The explosion was drawing nigh; Halvie could sense the slip in the change of the tonal inflection, as though the woman was sinking, sinking deeper into a realm where sensibility had no hand. She had to act, quickly. Reaching deep within her robes she withdrew a small bottle of oil before pushing it across the table; none too quickly so as not to startle. She noted the immediate alertness at her introduction of a new item in view. ‘It’s getting frightfully cold in here, don’t you think? I was wondering… could you help me fire this up, please?’ Fire – she’d made a slight emphasise on the word and prayed it would go, for the most part, unnoticed; to be registered only at a subconscious level. Odd. Emelia's mind took a breath, trying to consider this new truth in her very narrow universe. It was a candle and she had been asked to 'fire' it. There were not many ways she could interpret such a request. Fire, the woman wanted; fire she would have. Her mind knew what was coming, as did her body—fire. Her breathing became shallow and rapid; her skin, comfortably warm. Her skin tingled with eagerness and her eyes and her thoughts reached out for the candle. There was a hissing sound, a pop and a flare of bright fire. The candle burnt hot and quick, an outward sign of Emelia's desire. She gave a helpless shrug and apologised for the loss of the candle, for it would last only moments longer, but all the while her thoughts were enveloped by the soft glow. It smelt lovely. She would have to enquire about that scent later. Emelia rubbed her eyes; followed the action through by stiffling a yawn. Some part of her acknowledged the wrongness of her situation; the rest only longed for sleep. Her glass of ale tipped, its contents sloshing across the table as her head fell onto her arms. . . . ‘*’ Success. Willing a calmness that had nearly failed to materialise, Halvie had prudently held her breath as the woman fell straight into her trap; hook, line and sinker. The scented oil had been bought earlier more as a quick remedy to her recent insomnia plague; she would’ve never imagined its eventual usefulness. Indeed, it was just as well she had bought a large supply of such exotic items back with her as a result of her journeys aboard - evidence to support her travels, in bulk. The wagons would be arriving in the early morning carrying her other goods and she was certain it would contain enough leftover space to include one more passenger. The Accepteds would come in handy tomorrow, to assist in carrying a rather sick friend of hers. Struggling slightly with the door, Halvie discarded her catch onto the nearby bed, covering her almost gently with the bedspread before removing yet another small oil lamp to be used. She would take no chances with this wild one, not tonight. Even without the precautionary use of the second lamp, the woman should by rights be sleeping through the night, the Light willing… Halvie Sedai Sister of the Green Ajah Ooc: It was fun, Sam, truly. And Accepteds, it’s almost time for you to meet our explosive little package! ;)
  4. Ooc: Don't mind me; just a temporary vessel posting for James [on LoA], who expended a great deal of effort completing this using his X-box controller due to a malfunctioning computer. And I suppose Sam deserves a mention too... ;) ------ The rising upset in Sial was plain for Lillian to both see and hear. It was not some foreign concept or feeling for her, she herself had once been in Sial's position. Decades may have dulled her memory, but she could still recall her frustration with the earth element. Her own mentor had shown nothing but disappointment at her failure, she would not treat her own student so. Especially when the problem lay not in weakness nor laziness. "It isn't what you would think". Smiling reassuringly as she shuffled closer to Sial, Lillian took the girl's nearest hand in her own and squeezed it gently. "It isn't because you aren't trying hard enough, in fact, it is because you are trying too hard". That had Sial's attention, and now Lillian would make use of it. "You've overpracticed enough that you've ingrained your fire use subconciously as a crutch. That is one of the dangers of pushing yourself too quickly". Another hint at Sial's illicit activities. "Sometimes one should know when to be patient and, when necessary, know when to take a step back so they may take two steps forward". Lillian doubted that Sial would know where this was about to go, but it was for her own good. "For the next tenday you are forbidden to embrace the source". The look on Sial's face betrayed surprise and more, but Lillian simply forged on. "If you embrace it for even a moment, I will find out and your week shall begin anew. Once it is done, we shall re-examine your earth weaving and you shall have the fresh eyes necessary to do so, eyes unclouded of frustration". Taking her blade, she got to her feet as she added. "Your other classes involving saidar are cancelled and other tasks shall replace them. And when we renew your training, you will not resume your private self improvement sessions". Pausing for effect, Lillian's countenance softened. "If you wish to study beyond the curriculum, you may come and find me so I can at least supervise you. If you burn out, you not only harm yourself but put others at risk. When someone burns out they also lose control and anything can happen". "Think about that during the week, and on my offer. I'll see you at dinner tonight". At that, Lillian left Sial's company. There was still plenty to do before the day was done and it gave Sial time to gather herself. Lillian was her teacher, not her mother, and she doubted that Sial would appreciate her acting like one.
  5. So she’d been wrong. She’d underestimated & played her cards wrong, to an astonishing degree. Lillian was, Halvie judged, more emotionally battered than she’d bargained for. In hindsight, however, taking into account the sheer number of years the White had had to nurse her antipathy, it was predictable. Wounded animals were indulged warily & dealt from afar with a hard pole and Halvie would oblige by treating her former charge as such but other little tricks like kindness and gentle words were no longer a part of her arsenal. It was clear that she would not be able to obtain what she wanted from the woman today, not with her being so belligerent and Halvie herself, still mildly disorientated. Besides, she was already sick of being snubbed and lectured at as though a mere mindless girl in white. She’d had enough. ‘Maybe it was just as well you were assigned to me after all,’ Halvie commented ruefully. ‘I never wanted to be a mentor in the first place. I was furious but Nynaeve would hold with no such nonsense. We may not have had the kind of relationship you’ve witnessed between other Aes Sedai and novices but at least you learnt something. If only it is at reading people, I know it’ll serve you well. My own mentor, well, I never knew her. The first time I met her upon my arrival was also my last.’ She remembered well the hurt and confusion, the periods of self-contempt as she sought, futilely as it proved, to discover her own failings and perhaps regain the concern of a mentor who seemed to shun her instantly and fully. She didn’t even know where the Yellow was located currently; even the name was a struggle to recall. Lillian was better off to have at least known her mentor but then again, it was obvious such a bitter fact wouldn’t be so easily swallowed. Not here, not now. Turning away from Lillian, Halvie walked sedately towards the crumbling blocks of stone that’d once been a part of the entrance hall. There’d been guards here once, elderly and present more for ceremony then actually usefulness in bloody skirmishes. Along with everything else, they had perished. The soaring arches, once a minor architectural marvel of the household, were long gone but she remembered. Snapshots of another life wrapped in the cobwebs of time, images stained with regret & bitterness. They crowded into her mind, voices both shrill and deep, hushed conferences, shifting eyes and hooded figures entered and left the very entrance she had just passed. The actual words had long since been forgotten but the feeling of trepidation… Fear seemed to have permeated the very core of where she stood unless her own mind was beginning to betray her. The rearing heads of shadows turned the fields into a boiling league of Dark minions come hither. Déjà vu. The sky a canvas of vitriolic red, like a spew of fresh blood spilled… Blood – it forced her to recall of the masked master of secrets, the assignment, the Andoran gold exchange, that solemn promise… the assassination plan. The chilling coils of fear began to slip past the simple weave previously erected to ward off the cold, permeating in a way that only the mind could banish. Dear Light, but she had forgotten. Lillian… it’d slipped her mind. Sunset, he’d vowed, when the crowds were ever-changing and business was most brisk. He had not mentioned the venue but it could only be at the inn, her inn. The assassin; she didn’t even have an inkling of who he would be let alone the features, turning every stranger into a potential candidate for the task. Such foolish lapses on her part; it could turn bloody fatal one day, but not today; not if it could be helped. Digging her heels into the sides of her mare, she rode swiftly back into Caemlyn, eyes skimming through the crowds with the dimmest hope of spotting that ridiculous mope of black hair dipped in brilliant red. Failing so, Halvie travelled as fast as discretion would permit back to the little hole where the agreement had been made, bullying the weaker mind to give what she sought regarding his whereabouts, overriding indignant protestations, desperate by now to root out the devious master she had contracted to kill; to no avail. There remained the only other option of informing and dragging the White out of immediate harm’s way but doing so would ruin whatever link that still held between them with her pride taking its biggest blow yet. Too late – there came the sonorous ringing of bells as workers surged towards a variety of inns, their nightly refuge. It would happen any time now. It could not happen; would not, Halvie thought frantically, determinedly. Her erstwhile charge was made of good strong mettle and worldly enough to always be on guard. But no one was infallible. Anything could happen... and it did. It was a macabre scene as Halvie dashed past the stunned ring of patrons, taking in a quick glance the drying pool of dark glistening red before reaching the foot of the steps. Encountering resistance, Halvie coolly removed her hood to reveal the mass of fiery hair, emerald eyes and… ageless countenance. A silence even thicker than before laid over the nearby onlookers as whispers broke nervously. The wave of bodies pressing against the wooden steps parted as though by magic, beckoning towards a door half-open. The wisdom, young by all accounts, came hurriedly to the door as she sought to clean her bloodied hands upon her apron. Halvie’s eyes shied away from the sight as she entered the room quickly emptying of people, and saw her. Grimly taking into accounts the knife wound in the abdomen and the ragged breathing of her wounded Sister, it was clear that little enough time remained. Such a wound would quickly prove fatal and even know, Halvie had little doubt that blood was beginning to clog up the wind pipes and if that happened… Drawing a deep breath to soothe jagged nerves, she began reaching towards the sweet siren of power, drawing saidar in cautiously before manipulating the threads of spirit and water even as she mind rapidly ran thru the limited list of healings she knew. It would have to be enough, unless a Yellow could be located within their immediate vicinity soon. It was an exhausting process – both hard and challenging, but not impossible. In the dead of night she stood, looking down solemnly at her patient, checking her bandages and wounds for infections and satisfied, ran a tired hand across her forehead. Signalling to the maids nearby, she issued simple instructions that ought to be done well enough before turning to the door that stood slightly ajar. Hesitating slightly, she paused to turn around, taking in the dim surroundings with a few candles to chase away the gloom, then left. Halvie Sedai Sister of the Green Ajah
  6. ‘You flaunt your emotions for the world to see, Lillian,’ Halvie noted aloud in a strangely serene voice, eyebrows quirking in a habitually derisive manner. ‘Has your time in the Tower taught you nothing?’ Her fingers absentmindedly worried the sides of the pouch; leather, a little worn on the edges and small, containing something hard, something that very much felt like… In a spark of clarity, her hands quickly loosened the strings that bound the opening of the bag shut, grasping hands reaching in to enclose around a cold hard object that she knew could only be the signet ring of the House Faury. At last. It had not been lost after all, traded to some foreign merchant who knew not the value of such an item to an Aes Sedai. Bitterness was deeply laced within the revelations Lillian chose to throw at her with all the fury and indignation of one who’d felt cheated, wronged and most uncomfortably for Halvie, betrayed. Interesting for a White to prove so emotional; her fellow Whites were universally known as the epitome of coolness and prevailing logic with little patience for the more emotionally unbalanced ones. The latter normally ended up in the Battle Ajah, a place where passions often ran high. The girl, no, woman now, was expecting an answer Halvie was hardly likely to offer. ‘You seem to have expended a decent amount of effort on my behalf, neglecting your own cause; not what most Whites I know would do but then again, you never did allow others consider you as conventional. On purpose, I wonder?’ A soft laugh escaped her then as she lifted her gaze straight into the stormy ones of someone who’d once been entrusted into her care. It was clear now that someone of Lillian’s constitution had required a mentor who understood the meaning of compassion and love rather than shunning it but fate always did enjoy playing its quirky jokes on such little arrangements. ‘You would’ve benefited being under the influence of someone else, I suppose,’ Halvie mused wryly as she got somewhat unsteadily to her feet. Another heady flood of queasiness near sent her plunging to the ground but somehow, and this could be attested to the sheer amount of pride the Green had cultivated, she did not. But the effort it took was immense, nonetheless. Halvie casually threw the pouch back to its owner, carefully pocketing the signet ring; a small additional weight she was none too bothered in carrying. ‘Since you’ve uncovered my past then perhaps you would know, suspect… I was never one for emotions. I’m incapable of them. The Tower’s influence, I suppose you’ll believe,’ she continued, guessing aloud the thoughts that must surely run thru Lillian’s own distraught mind. The White was far from serenity but how much was an act, and how much stock did she dare place upon her previous dealings and distant observations of her former charge was something Halvie chose not to ponder, for the moment at least. When she returned to the comforts of her rented room, then it would be a different matter altogether. ‘I could not give you what you most wanted before and for that, for the…,’ there was a catch in her voice, perfectly timed as her features drew together in a lesser version of remorse, ‘For that failing, on my part, I apologise.’ She had not apologised to anyone for a long time now. She couldn’t even trace back the last time it had happened let alone to whom, even to the time before she had been accepted into the esteemed ranks of the Aes Sedai by all except her chosen Ajah. The word tasted bitter, like swallowing a mouthful of vinegar involuntarily along with the feeling of gagging, although some of the uneasiness could doubtless be attributed to her recent assault. Halvie was certain she had come across as open and completely sincere, more then she ever had with anyone back in the Tower but her devious mind had also been working hard as she determined to best way to lower the antagonism of a person who held something she wanted. Not yet, the time was not quite ripe. ‘You asked me before about my past, I recall, and I refused then to divulge for obvious reasons. That has hardly deterred you from progressing up to this level. Well done,’ she murmured lightly, something akin to amusement lighting her otherwise smooth expression. Cara too, had questioned her about her past, as had various others but none had possessed the tenacity this particular woman had. For the briefest moment, a curiously warm feeling came only to be swiftly cut short at its roots; pride now? Displaying calculated emotions was well and good but the unexpected ones would not be entertained, not here, not now, not ever. ‘What will you do now, I wonder? What, indeed, are we to do with each other?’ The lightest of humour coloured her tone as at the back of her mind, she fretted, contemplated whether the act was enough to fool a White. The Light knew she was getting all she’d ever desired from Halvie in one explosive package, right after attempting to murder the latter in a most ingenious manner. Yes, this had evolved into a test of the mind now, her favourite kind of game. She was impatient to see the next act unfold. Halvie Faury Sister of the Battle Ajah Ooc: 5th post. Five. I can scarcely believe it. :o
  7. Tirzah Behen was in grave need of a flogging or a mouth stuffed with ginger, a particularly nasty thing novices detested, as Halvie had discovered none too long ago. She had encountered Tirzah’s more feminine twin several weeks back, one whose face no doubt haunted quite a number of young trainees during their rare idle moments. After a moment longer of scrutiny, she concluded that perhaps there was a certain strong resemblance between the two after all, made harder to detect given their polar personalities. She frowned impatiently at the impudence Tirzah was flaunting and briefly considered assigning the girl even more rounds around the yards just to be rid of her incessant chatter. The girl had no dignity or respect to her peers and it was tiresome, not too mention distracting when there was a whole score of business to be attended to before the day drew to a close; a packed itinerary that held no space for a garrulous additional baggage. ‘Indeed, the one who thinks herself a boy’ Halvie muttered, aiming a sharp frown that was doubtlessly lost upon the intended recipient. ‘Then I recommend the next time you find yourself with some spare time to come to me; there are plenty of things that I want done but have insufficient time for. However, I recommend you shadow another peer as I am done.’ So saying, Halvie casually ran a hand through her tousled hair which glinted a brilliant red as light rays speared through them, before proceeding to head towards the gates leading towards Tar Valon. Unbelievably enough, the girl failed to register a dismissal unless blatantly issued. Either that or she had underestimated the girl’s impertinence by a far mile. ‘Are you tailing me?’ Halvie hissed somewhat more vehemently than calculated. ‘Don’t. If you have so much additional time, go run 20 laps around the yard. Now.’ Pausing expectantly, arms delicately folded against her chest, her narrowed eyes must have finally had some effect for the girl, following some hesitancy, began a decently paced jog away from her. As soon as Halvie judged the girl immersed enough in her own activities, she left. Catching eye of a lounging trainee on the way out, her mouth twisted somewhat with amusement as she gestured curtly for him to approach. ‘Keep an eye on the girl for me. Make sure she doesn’t leave the yard until her time to return to the Tower. Understand?’ The boy nodded nervously as Halvie began to stroll pass him. ‘Good. See that you don’t fail me.’ Halvie Sedai Sister of the Green Ajah
  8. Nature had gone wild, literally. For a moment, the sweet sensation of the power had helped up her confidence in overcoming her enigmatic opponent along with a growing sense of every other living thing that surrounded the ruins of her previous home. Then, the brief thought was blown away. No, it exploded. The assaults seemed to come from all directions, several opponents surrounding her was what she considered but even that little thought slipped through her fingers like burning liquid. The solid sensation of her feet connected to the hard ground disappeared, as if she’d been thrown into the air whereas the pain intensified, blinded, deafened. It was a curiously numbing sensation where Halvie felt as though she’d been thrown into a void, only the void was encased in a fiery sensation that could only be described as… wrenching agony. She was still incapable of coherent thoughts, her body’s reactions beyond control when something cooling flowed through. Something that could only be described as… there was a word for it, just beyond her reach… something soothing, welcomed - healing. A pathetic sense of satisfaction came as her mind managed to squeeze out the word and with a slight groan, Halvie struggled to right herself into a sitting position, cautiously using a hand to shield whatever intense light source that had scorched her eyes, a kind of power both awesome and terrifying. And then, the words came. She struggled to decipher the meaning, to place another name to a voice at once familiar yet anonymous. An overwhelming sense of grogginess was a maddening impediment where her limbs failed to function as smoothly and efficiently, if at all. Debilitated, cornered, defenceless; what kind of Green allowed herself to be caught so? Green - the word caught her attention as her focused her mind onto it, twisting, assessing and most importantly, remembering. A ruined charred manor house – chilling screams, the sickening smell of burning flesh, timber & cloth, a dense mushroom of smoke & ash, a macabre scene so beyond the realms of possibility that the ability to cry was lost. But there was no smoke now, no creaking of falling planks burnt beyond recognition. There had been people, heartless scavengers, initially, who absconded when the guards came while she remained hidden. Silent. Watchful. Still seized with shock. But now, there left only the laboured breaths of herself and the shadow of someone towering above her. The curious crowd of onlookers had long since departed, their footprints washed away by rain and snow. She recalled the feeling of soreness during the journey… a niggling, ominous presence pushed into consciousness as she reassessed her thoughts, barely succeeding in stifling a gasp. It couldn’t be… ‘Lillian?’ she whispered softly, her right hand reaching up absentmindedly to touch a flushed cheek, a physical stimuli that couldn’t possibly be imagined. It was a struggle to accept that her own erstwhile charge had been the prey she’d considered seriously of eliminating for the past consecutive days. A grown woman now with her own ring and shawl, someone who’d managed to come up from behind to trap her own mentor. She would’ve never bet on such a scene, her arrogance had never permitted the possibility to be entertained. Sentimentality was crouching at the edges now, longing to pounce. Blood and bloody ashes, of all places to hold a touching reunion, it had to be at the one place she considered… private & sacred; her secret hellhole cum temporary haven. This place had awoken many emotions she had long considered dead and just as she was falling victim to them, belatedly by a full century no less, a witness had to be present. And that witness had to be her. Heated shame, fury, frustration - so many feelings coursed through her veins with frightening intensity, awakening dormant sentiments once locked up tight. Regret, remorse and wistful longing - that image of her begging to the clear skies for the past to be rewritten. And then came that secret little desire of ending it all, a thought so dark that it had stained all her childhood memories with its ugly silhouette. It remained the sole reason why she was ever self-deprecating despite her high achievements, the key to her maintained coldness towards everyone and that obsessive need to forget her life before reaching the Tower. She had contemplated suicide. ‘Why are you here, Lillian?’ Halvie asked softly, green eyes gazing far into the distance. ‘What do you seek?’ After so long following the tragedy, the tears still refused to be shed. Her vision had reverted to normal and her breathing had calmed to a degree. She wondered briefly at the silence, why her former charge had not tried barging into her thoughts before it occurred to her that she was now Aes Sedai. In Lillian’s boots, she would’ve been engrossed in the act of scrutinizing and storing whatever hints her defeated opponent foolishly reflected. In fact, Halvie almost hoped that that was exactly what the White was doing as it would’ve somewhat obscurely hinted at Halvie’s hand in developing the woman into who she now was. Uncertainty – that was becoming a fairly common theme today. Halvie Faury Sister of the Green Ajah
  9. The fifty-foot stone wall that surrounded Caemlyn towered imposingly over those within the city. Doubtless for most folks it was seen as a comforting buffer against assailants and minions of the Dark One whereas for the less naïve and smaller cluster of people such as Halvie herself, it was an important matter to be considered in every escape plan. Essential moreover for one who travelled with no protective guardian & unable to determine how many channelers were concealed within such a dense crowd of humanity, the ones that held ill intentions close to their hearts. Earlier on, she had passed through the heavy gates and already, had encountered countless members of the Queen’s Guards, noting with approval their efficiency in resolving conflicts as they flared and died. Small wonder the Queen of Andor managed to command utmost respect from other nations, having successfully governed her own prosperous country. A city that had once been home to a little red-headed girl called Halvie Faury. Having disposed of her small travelling bag in an inn, Halvie took to the bustling streets of Caemlyn with hands deeply concealed in the pockets of her travelling robe. Her attire was a common white and lacking of embroidery to deflect any unwanted attention. The Green Serpent ring had been taken off, her auburn hair dyed to a darker shade of brown, now tied back with a simple ribbon. Her attempts to conceal her ageless features had been torturous to say the least but eventually, coupled with lessons learnt from a certain Domani woman long ago, she had hit upon the simplest formula that could be executed within a limited time frame. So long as none looked too closely, she could easily pass off as one of many noblewoman come to curry favour from the Mantears. The New City had not changed and its activities had only heightened over the years, Halvie noted somewhat wryly. Small obscure shops she had once visited remained but the owners were different from those in her memories although their features bore a startling resemblance… a whole new generation had come to take over while her back had been turned while she herself, well, no doubt she would live to see many future generations continue their family tradition if the Light was willing. Through her contacts in Low Caemlyn, beyond the city walls, she had determined the vendor she sought would be located nearby. A pawnshop, to be exact, that most likely dealt occasionally in the black market. To have escaped the attention of the authorities for so long signalled an owner with a shrewd mind but she had come so far to play mind games. ‘Master Peren, I presume?’ she inquired coolly before reaching deep within her pockets to withdraw a list of items, along with some roughly sketched drawings. ‘I seek these artefacts and have been told that you are capable of providing them. I pay well. What do you say?’ Haggling thus ensued and keeping well in mind the common greed factor of every normal men, obtained a satisfactory number of items soon enough. But the list was long and many were missing although with the delicious bait of more silver, she had high hopes of attaining them. And most importantly, the signet ring of the House Faury. The night meals in the following days were spent in the solitary confinements of her room as Halvie plotted her next move, marking down rumours heard and worth investigate, tiny traits of the people she’d met and of a darker nature, the official aftermath of the House Faury. She had been adopted but having known no other family, they were as close to kin as she would be formally known as. There had glimmers of hope of tracking down her biological family but that was a quest to be launched at another time. Tomorrow, she would venture into the Inner City via the Origan Gate for a little tête-à-tête with a certain Master Krad, a wily little man by all accounts. But that was the common nature of those who dealt frequently in secrets, the kind who knew the best routes out of a city without raising any alarm whatsoever. It would prove interesting, she mused, as fascinating as learning that by the records, she had officially died over a century ago. Unsurprising but the twisted side of her had nearly laughed out loud after coming across that particular announcement. And the fact that the Trakands now controlled her lands brought about bitter resentment and disgust. There had been little love lost between the two Houses… ‘What do you mean, it’s no longer here?’ she demanded, white hot fury underscoring her softly-spoken words. Disbelief and outrage clouded her mind as she stopped herself just short of slamming a black clad fist onto the ancient mahogany table, a relic of some other fallen House with its own tragic past. The ring had been sold days ago to a woman just as many other items before that had been, and based on the descriptions of each individual seller, she was facing the exact same person or opponent if her instincts were right, and they often were. No one could possibly have any interest in as minor a House as hers and indeed, the sole reason Halvie was pursuing these items was due to the sentimental values they held. A new dangerous player had emerged, one who masked her trails well at least on the point of her place of refuge, but challenges uncovered were always meant to be solved. Not many people dealt in these matters, making her endeavour less of an impossibility and more a question of when. Soon enough, she vowed. She would play the role of the hunter than as an unsuspecting prey. Having cultivated links with several unwitting Andoran preys, it still took Halvie several days more to confidently connect the woman sporting a black bob with reddish tips with the description her own contacts had procured - a showy personality. Worst still, the woman was a channeler. A conspiracy then, it was confirmed. And the woman was journeying beyond the outer city, out the gates towards… her fears and incredulity began to bubble to the surface as the intense concentration she’d sustained throughout the past few days seemed to break. Meeting up with her fellow colleagues, perhaps? It could turn nasty, more so if it evolved into an ambush. For once, at that very moment of realisation, Halvie began to sorely regret her lack of a Warder or Tower Guard, even a hired mercenary would do; someone who would assist in a fray. It dawned upon her with crystal clarity why so many of her fellow Green sisters bonded more than one but regret, for today at least, had to be pushed aside. The Tower was many miles away and bonding was hardly a matter to be considered flippantly. Crouching silently, Halvie cautiously eyed the woman who had begun picking her way through ancient stone arches, shattered rubble and treacherous undergrowth. Not much remained to indicate the type of manor house it had once been, built more for comfort than defence although she would always remember the thick and heavy stone walls. She’d once thought them impenetrable, even better than the Royal Palace itself; such foolish notions. White, she recalled abruptly. Her… mother had always insisted the walls be painted every year during the Dahan festival, something about starting anew with a new clean sheet, a symbolic gesture. And the nauseous small of paint would linger for days, thus disrupting studies and armed with such an excuse, she would wander off as she pleased…Those ancient memories. She’d forgotten about that. A branch snapped. Fingers tightening around the handle of a dagger, Halvie cast a single cursory glance around the scene and realising her prey had ventured further into the ruins, bit back an oath before approaching the place she had once lived. The place a little girl had once died a whole century ago. There, a shadow, just beyond the columns. None too far but while unaware of her presence, miraculously enough, she would do well to trap her now. Closing her eyes briefly for concentration, she began to reach for her power… Halvie Sedai Sister of the Green Ajah
  10. Everything froze. The novice with raven hair in slight disarray, the gangly trainee and blonde cropped hair, both wearing mirror features contorted in horror. The faint blush on their cheeks deepened as Halvie continued to regard them aloofly, her steady pace never faltering as she walked on, approaching, drawing closer to where both sat until... she was walking past them. The girl released a half-strangled whimper then, shattering the disquieting silence, and causing Halvie to pause in mid-step. Foolish girl, she mused wryly, as her voice, smooth as refined glass with a nasty twist of sarcasm, almost mechanically flogged the two verbally before allotting a suitably punishing penance that sent them scurrying in opposite directions soon after. Fleeing would’ve served as a better description, judging by the small cloud of dust their running feet left in their wake. A brief rueful grain flitted across her façade though to any casual observer, her granite features remain as remote and ageless as ever. She’d never fooled around with the male trainees before, thank the Light, but nonetheless the experience would have probably interesting and memorable, even. Not that it made her any less a person for not looking for more than casual acquaintances in her days clad in white apparel. The wave of nostalgia hit her cruelly from behind, unexpectedly. Simple memories, treasured snapshots of a life that had once been, a past so tightly guarded and suppressed that looking back, those times seemed to have belonged to another person whereas she’d been a mere observer. The crisp chirping of blackbird shook the last vestiges of sentimentality from her system as she resumed her brisk pace towards the training yards, anticipation of honing her more physical skills growing with every step. The sabre she’d picked long ago as a mere Accepted she had long since replaced with another more finely handcrafted blade, a hefty commission she’d never been given cause to regret. The single-edged blade was so often carried around she barely noticed it now though she would have to start working on her daggers as well, soon. The sun was a blistering red against a clear blue sky but despite the heat, there remained a decent number of people training around the large yard. The sounds of clashing metal that rang sharp and sweet, groans of pain but above all, a sweeping grace that governed very movement as opponents advanced and retreated, absorbed fully in their own fight. Halvie chose a position that took advantage of a large oak’s shade, an obscure corner nearby the creek that would offer her some small form of privacy. She abhorred the limelight and little choices such as this reflected her personality. Besides, this northern part of the yards was the precise location where she had first been initiated into the world of the tower guards and warders, albeit in a more diluted form. Alriand. She hadn’t seen him for some time now; no doubt involved in some distant assignment along with his Aes Sedai. She began the forms slowly, almost cautiously slipping into the kind of mindless training mode where muscles instinctively reacted before the mind registered its movements. Some would call it instinct, Halvie deemed it as self-preservation. Heron Wading in the Rushes. Many of the more advanced forms she’d slowly picked up after attaining the shawl, manipulating her timetable until some empty slots materialised before picking certain Tower Guards to help her improve. They were nearly always different but that was expected; each had their own lives and no doubt many priorities to take care of. Hummingbird Kisses the Honeyrose. She remember insisting they teach her the Flame and Void, how frustratingly hard it had been to grasp and the hours spent just trying to understand the concept of something so… insignificant as a single licking flame. The Boar Rushes down the Mountains before launching into The Courtier Taps His Fan. Colourful names that understated the powerful, lethal strikes each described. There were eyes on her. A casual glance as she twisted with her blade sweeping forward before reverting into a guard stance confirmed her suspicions. Tiresome and irksome, to be the object of someone’s keen scrutiny or worst, admiration. It was past time to be gone, she decided, bringing her blade down with a sweeping slash to end with Folding the Fan. Sweat slicked down her back as she coolly regarded the girl before her appraisingly. A familiar face within the Tower, a novice surely, problematic if the rumour mill was to be trusted and one did manage to uncover gems of information through it with some perseverance… She had a block. She was… not a novice she’d ever noticed before. Light, she ought to have paid more attention to the grumblings of other Aes Sedai regarding their charges. ‘Your name, child,’ she requested. ‘Surely you have better things to do at this time of day?’ She’d place a name to this face before leaving for Tar Valon, cut the conversation dry at the next instance. The girl meant nothing to her, after all. Halvie Sedai Sister of the Green Ajah
  11. Ooc: Please forgive the rambling descriptions. I’ve been deprived of them for over a year. ;) The shadows of rafters thrown against the walls were lengthening, the bustle of the marketplace subsiding, the Tar Valon population dissipating quietly to various unknown locations. Familiar wafts of spicy aroma drifted in the air as Halvie drew near her favoured inn, The Golden Crow. A missive had been sent earlier on via an Accepted to subtly announce, or warn, of her return to the precious few she owned. The Accepted would be back tomorrow to help haul certain items back and assigned whichever other task Halvie deemed her capable of accomplishing, perhaps with a friend or two. But for now, she desired only a night of peaceful solitude away from the tendrils of manipulation her fellow sisters were ever absorbed in. Dwindling moments of contemplation, to ruminate over the few bits of information she could gather from the Accepted regarding the most recent of developments back in the Tower. Two years. Light, it hadn’t felt so long; her travels being more of an eye-opener than she had bargained, such that she’d extended and overstayed her welcome at far too many places. Her journal was guarded jealously and armed with many invisible traps that would confound most unwanted readers yet additional precautions would still have to be taken. Much had occurred during her absence, not the least being the election of a new Amyrlin. It was an astonishing development and it could only be hinting of some darker, more devious intents of someone, or more likely, a group. This was made all the more mysterious considering the previous Amyrlin Seat had been a woman of immense pride and duty. She would never have forsaken her duty willingly hence leaving many other possibilities to be considered. Alas, to be immersed in the Tower’s political intrigues would be a heady thing now and for some reason she was reluctant to be thrown back into that frighteningly threatening world again sooner than necessary. Reluctantly, she considered that her ability to hold her place in the same hall as her more illustrious and decorated sisters might be a cause for serious concern. And there would be the meetings and endless explanation regarding her abrupt disappearance, proof would have to be procured and the other secrets she had uncovered would have to hidden. It would count as her first major step in regaining respect as one who wore the shawl, along with the ring that had remained hidden in a secret compartment within her pouch for far too long. She would not fail. A tap came meekly on her door, removing her from her cogitation, as she was informed by an apologetic servant girl of an unfortunate mishap within the kitchen, hence a slight delay in meals. The slight anxiety normally accorded to channelers was missing, for which Halvie was thankful for. The mistress of the inn had kept her word and concealed her identity. Hooded as she was with her back turned to an open window, anyone would’ve mistook her for a rich merchant or perhaps, a noble seeking a favour from the Tower’s occupants. Then again, what the girl thought was none of her immediate concern. She waved away the hovering servant just as the mellow chiming of evening bells resounded soothingly in the evening air. Names, once achingly and even horrifyingly familiar, came to her mind slowly as she recalled of her previous doings, of past favours and humiliation, of her reason for returning. She had been so arrogant back then and while experience had matured and calmed her to a degree, she was still coldly aloof as always. But she had determined one thing she could excel at, a game she played with relish, to the hilt during the past two years. Subterfuge. She would have to meet up with her erstwhile mentee again, the silently rebellious Lillian Tremina. The nightmare image of a grave, sobbing black figures and rain was etched deeply within the shadowy recesses of her mind. Something in her had changed that day, softened. Then there was Cara Ramsey and that night, the question of why still hung ominously above her head, leaping into consciousness when she was off-guard. The question of how she’d let herself be warped into the ideal Tower puppet, distant, powerful and utterly alone. Wistfully, Halvie wondered how far her former friend had progressed, how far that sharp intelligence of hers had carried her. A force to be reckoned with now, no doubt, and bosom buddy no longer. So many memories and relationships she’d never placed much significance before… only now upon reflection did she belatedly realise how every individual had affected herself and the undeniable feeling, niggling suspicion, that she regretted, even missed the people of her childhood, figures who had moulded her into the person she now was. The velvet spread of night slowly encroached upon the washed out hues of amber of sunset. The sundry of stars pinned on it were few and the moon, absent. Just like those nights… those bloody, frigid nights where too many had been heavily injured, waves of opponents, her energy and power plunging, exhaustion so complete, so absolute that… that… Mechanical, cold-blooded murders; she had fought to save yet there was a nasty, bitter taste following that coupled with an overriding sense of guilt, making her feel as though the fight had never been even, too strongly tipped to her side. And yet, she had been outnumbered. But her subconsciousness could not be so simply soothed. For days after, the very smell of blood and sight of butchered meat had left her nauseous, dispelling every coherent thought where only two distinct choices had remained, fight or flee. And she’d chosen the latter. Those nights of utter isolation in the uncivilised countryside, she refused to dwell on now. Another gentle knock came. Dinner. A twinge of unease came and passed. Hesitating, her hands hovered above the bronze doorknob for an instant, before reaching down to turn it. The mistress had promised her some turkey, one of her specialties. For just one night, it would be nice to blend in with the commoners and experience their simple life with none of its discomforts. It would be a simple welcoming home celebration of sorts, all by herself. Halvie Sedai Sister of the Green Ajah Brooding Ooc: Bet you never expected this to materialise! You have leftover time, inspiration & a faulty internet connection to thank. Cheers.
  12. ~’*’~ A moment of confusion, of miscommunication; a simple matter of narcissism & shattered emotions… then all hell had broken loose. Weeping more like a child than a woman, she buried her auburn crown head deep in the goose-feathered pillow. It took more will than she currently possessed to eradicate the vivid scenes from her mind; it required a better person to do such a thing. What had possessed her to place her position, her career, in such terrible jeopardy? The worse was far from over and there was still much to be done. All the years of meticulous planning… gone. Worthless. She would have to start from scratch, to rebuild her all too fragile reputation throughout the Ajah. Thank the Light the whole tower did not know of it though with eyes and ears ever present in her world, she would not care to bet on that. Why? A fresh wave of misery & grief hit her. Why had she done it? How could she be so dumb? ~’*’~ But there was hope yet. It was not over. All she needed was a little solitude to recollect her thoughts, pick up the loose ends of many a political piece, and continue. Foolish she might be, but coward she most certainly was not. She refused to allow her vows to another, decades past, be broken. Despite the person not being able to watch her honour her vows. No; because she could not. Halvie had only a shadow of a recollection of that day now, but the words… they had not faded. Obsession had driven her over to transcend her limits by simply repeating those vows, childishly simple but enough to carry her through many hardships. It had brought her this far; it could bring her further. She would be a shining jewel in the tower, the bright untainted beacon for the downcast, the catalyst. It was not too big an ambition for someone as determined as her. It had never been. Hopefully. ~’*’~ The abrupt knock caused her heart to skip a beat; all constructed concepts & theories fleeing her mind in an instance. Surely, surely she couldn’t already have returned to inflict further psychological damage; but it would be so like her. Whoever it was that sought to enter her sanctuary however, albeit a temporary one, would doubtlessly have little appreciation for waiting long. Her visitor was a shock. Her greeting robbed her of speech. “Greetings… Sister,†Halvie responded somewhat less confidently as she would have desired. Why had Kaylan come, and so early at that, so unexpectedly? What were the appropriate protocols during such events; the rules had all escaped her and it became one of those rare times when her mind drew a complete blank. The Green could not possibly be serious with her proposal; Halvie herself had dared not hope too much during the brief exchange of words. Was this to be an omen? Kaylan Sedai’s reputation was widespread and she greatly valued those with knowledge and experience she lacked herself. ~’*’~ A miraculous intervention, a chance to escape the machinations of the tower temporarily. Expand her horizon. Make contacts. Learn to lead a battle beside a true Green. Nothing would deter her from seizing this opportunity; she would obliterate the fools who dared. “I’m honoured, and accept your invitation. When shall it be?†Halvie Sedai Rejected Aspirant of the Green Ajah
  13. ~’*’~ She abandoned a scene that was both wild and unsightly, fleeing a site where flames ruled. Her feet pounded against solid ground, arms raised to shield her head against extended branches, eyes eying to ground for any raised roots that could bring her crashing down. She ought to be crossing familiar territory, spots where Dias had habitually brought them out for a certain aspect of their training but not now. With panic shrouding her mind, Alaina discovered it near impossible to be able to mask her passage through the dark woodland with half the deadly stealth taught to her. Perchance it would have made marked difference if she had not thought to glance at her master, back in the farmhouse, thus allowing all her fears to surface. He was suppose to be their shield, always one step ahead of all foes yet this time, the tables had been turned on them. The hunters were the preys, with no relief in evident sight. ~’*’~ Triumphant shouts drifted in the smoke laden air, sounding jarring to her ears. The ground trembled with the running & stomping of an overwhelming swarm of Whitecloaks, with the familiar drumming of horse hoofs approaching with alarming swiftness. Guided by moonlight and fire, Alaina found herself bending to crouch behind a large shrub as a pair of running Whitecloaks dashed past her, heart pounding fiercely as she willed herself to take in short gulps of fresh air. Fear made the adrenaline race and she found herself glancing down at the blade in one hand, stunned to see thin lines of sweat decorating the handle, the weapon and limb shaking uncontrollably in the dark. The desire to quench her lust for blood battled with that of judicious reasoning, as she debated her next move. Unless she had lost her bearings, the main congregation of foes came roughly from the right, where a fiery blaze of daunting height was still noticeable amidst all the branches & foliage. ~’*’~ A large clump of sere leaves on the floor rustled as she moved, accompanied by that of a whistling that flew by her ear. She froze in spot, flushed cheeks feeling the increasing heat stirring in the air, and impending danger. Vulnerability. The startling realisation snapped Alaina out of her trance, body instinctively resuming bending position when she caught the sight of a white cloak by her side. Another bolt hummed past her; again another narrow miss. Frustrated, she grinded her teeth to prevent another sound from escaping as she shifted position in the shadows, manipulating the dark as she had learned to do during training. Nerves at an edge, Alaina observed the Child approach with a smug complexion, sword out of scabbard as though meaning to finish the job. Time for vengeance. ~’*’~ She grasped the opportunity when a compatriot of the man rushed up, causing momentary distraction. A calculated throw of dagger in his direction had him choking on his own blood seconds later, followed by a strangled cry she could barely make out. No matter; swift hands immediately reached for another longer blade to thrust into the middle half of her other startled opponent but tense as she was, could not manage to be swift enough to avoid a minor slash by the side. The pain was sternly ignored as her legs came from under to throw the man onto the floor. He came down easily enough, evidently not anticipating her strength. “Dallying is death,†she hissed into his ears, dark eyes gleaming maliciously before slinking back into the shadows to await the next group of opponents. Nowhere to run, but at least she would go down fighting for the dark. Her hands still ached from having trying to twist the neck of her latest opponent, him having possessed a far thicker neck than she had anticipated. She smiled ruefully, wondering exactly how many Children were making their rampage through the forest to cut off all escape routes. There was always a chance at freedom but with the seconds ticking by… too late. ~’*’~ They began to surround her, from all sides, materialising out of the sinister darkness that was no longer a friend. Fear had drained her of much strength and despite accuracy still being somewhat on her side, hope of freedom had long disappeared. The Children attacked as one and a strangled scream was ripped from her throat. Pain exploded in her head as swords arched above her, swung beneath her and left their bloody marks on her. Alaina could feel a warm wetness soaking her black clothes coupled with growing fatigue, knowing that she was losing too much blood in too little time. Where was help? Where was death? Distantly did she observe the burning inferno coming towards her and wondered as to whether she would be burned to death instead. Mayhem. Pain. Swords. She gladly welcomed darkness… ’*’ It began as a gradual sensation that her mind instantly dismissed to be inconsequential. A murmuring of voices, blood pounding like a gong; a sense of being dragged & roughly handled then… blissful oblivion. She was woken up several times but lost consciousness each time. Perhaps it was having surpassed her physical limitations and her mind, seeking refuge from whatever horrors that prowled the waking world, kept her unawares for some time. Perhaps. Whatever it might be, enemies at least are unlikely to be considerate towards your plight. ‘*’ What would you do if you woke to the smell of burning flesh? What if your first sight was that of a large pool of dried blood? Then you see those knives dangling inches from you, sharp edges glistening with some strange substance. Nauseous, isn’t it? But wait; there is more - the people themselves. They drift around you in some hypnotic dance, interspaced with heavy stampings of feet. Clothed in white, you could almost be forgiven to believe these strangers to be your saviours from the demons of fire & sword. Indeed, it isn’t fair that anyone should be treated as anything less than a human. But what is fairness when you have already sold your soul to darkness? The Dark Lord is harsher & crueller than these petty... beings combined, and more. Or so the rumours go. I’ve never had the opportunity to confront Him personally. No, life has yet to be so... kind. ‘*’ The Children made it clear from the start which instrument of pain they favoured, alternating between her and Riyk. They were pernicious. She was belligerent. The results of such exchanges were obvious and almost identical. They had already narrowed down her allegiance, yet they sought elusive information only she could offer, it would seem. Indeed, they didn’t even grant her time to counter the questions. No, giving pain was a more satisfying chore. She understood their feelings and would’ve agreed with it, if she wasn’t the person they were working on. Now there was a painful thought. No, wait. How was it even possible that she was still thinking? Pain. Hot pokers. She would bear many scars from this ordeal. What would others think? Those were details to be thought out later. No, wait. She had to survive first. And if she didn’t, she would know soon enough. Unless they were experts at prolonging lives; didn’t they often do these things? Questioners - that was what they were called. Blood and bloody ashes, where was Dias?! ‘*’ Sleep was a long way off when bloodcurdling screams served as sweet lullabies. Despite the harsh regime Dias had put her through before Alaina had not found sufficient courage to look when they’d lifted the glowing pokers up, not dared to know what was to be branded upon her skin. Guilt & regret almost immediately suffused her when it began. Out of pure instinct, she struggled against her tight chains and the violent clanging of metal was magnified a thousand folds in her mind. A brilliant flash of light momentarily blinded her. There were more murmuring of voices starting and the buzzing sound was starting to hurt; she was losing consciousness but they refused to allow her to slip into that beckoning darkness. How many times had she been cuffed? How many threats had they uttered? How many times had they cauterized her wounds & salted others? She was already broken from the surprise attack and subsequent defeat. What more to say… ‘*’ Thirst burned her throat. They had placed a glass of clear water tantalizingly close, but unbearably too far due to her chains. It was enough to cry from frustration but she refrained, not just to preserve some petty dignity. No. They sought to break her down even more. It was all meant to achieve some psychological effect; she had to bear that in mind at all cause. “Who is your master? What is his name?†His tone had risen in anger and that translated into his flushed features; a darkly handsome young man surely not out of his twenties, young fool. He had been considerably flustered when ordered to break her; she had regained enough sense to make note of that particular scene. A simple memory that helped strengthen her fortitude, helping her clamp her mouth shut against all the threats, insults and… things. He had begun tentatively and her eyes had mocked his every move. But he was creative and innovative; she had to give him that much. A female looking down upon him was apparently a humiliating matter, despite the surroundings. ‘*’ He took his sweet time. The nails went first; she had not known it possible to take so long to pull one nail. His air of expertise was something that earned her grudging admiration while causing bile to rise to her throat. Every open wound was salted, slowly, delicately, like a chef would towards his masterpieces. It was unnerving. Large, cumbersome weapons did not strike fear into her the way smaller items and spices did. After every incision he made, the man would leave her; she had lost count of the number of times he had left her already. Occasionally, he would return with companions. And those people in turn would stay and have a go at the captives with malice written into the lines of their smooth complexion. An endless cycle; pain renewed and subdued, the room fading into a hazy red, parched skin jumping when chilling water was dumped unto her. Utter madness. “Tell us your name.†“Alaina.†“And your master?†“I… I’ve forgotten.†“Bastard! Whore!†Alaina Caoimhe Assassin Apprentice
  14. ~'*'~ A harsh scenery cloaked in inky velvet was laid out for miles on all sides, pinpricks of light and the distinct slopes of buildings having rapidly drawn into obscurity by the early advancement of night. The final fading light of day splashed gilt across her sharp features though little material warmth could be said to be derived from it. A chilly breath touched with frost swept her tumbling red curls backwards, leaving the few parchments ruffling and scratching in its wake but apart from that, little else moved. Her perception of her worldly companions & respect for the dazzling political legerdemain of her sisters had shifted, unsurprisingly. Intrigues came thick and fast nowadays where stealth & discretion were ever employed. It made her wonder, frequently, as to what the incalculable mass of missives that arrived daily contained, and the kind of ripples or waves it might create should a slip be made. One erroneous misstep could easily break a pretty neck. Such was life in all its fragility yet such strength was to be found in some. Like the tender veins that formed a leaf; links easily extinguished by external forces but unhindered, throbbed fiercely with the fire of life. ~'*'~ Never under the Light would any find her freely admitting to having committed more than one faux pas in her short lifetime & only recently, had managed to chalk up her most severe blunder. The mere hint of the memory was capable of choking all other thoughts and it was with utmost trepidation that she moved planned her first moves in the dangerous dance of power; her first genuine venture in Daes Daemar. Enough disgrace encumbered her person and should her misfortunes have befallen a person of smaller intent and ambition in life, they would have long disintegrated to dust and ashes. Yet from another standpoint, a lesser person would never have found themselves caught in their own swirling emotions and succumbed to the urge to flaunt them all, in public no less. So much drama; it would be long before she could even consider recovering from it. Oh, but a moment of reprieve from such intense scrutiny! ~'*'~ There, just beyond the smooth marble bridges running parallel by each other, their long shadows cast upon its passers-by that appeared little more than brightly moving dots. Their immense dimensions drew the eye despite it been situated in the midst of many other architectural splendours, where every brick and stone had been lovingly placed by the renowned Ogier stonemasons. The sheer magnitude of engineering work that had gone into the construction of Tar Valon was on so grandiose a scale as to be intimidating. No other human could dream of imitating the work of such masters and any effort would prove a pale imitation. This was an island like no other, a fitting location for ultimate power wielders to reside. ~'*'~ She commanded a vastly altered view of the world beyond the window nowadays and despite its many advantages, Halvie suffered numerous moments of weaknesses when nostalgia hit her with all its inherent force. Everything seemed so much farther from her, ironically depicting her current situation. Casual relationships severed at the most convenient hour with careless abandonment until one fair evening did it dawn upon her that there was next to no one she could call an acquaintance now. On purpose did she publicly humiliate those once her kindred companions and the ever intense emotions that flitted across facades did not escape her observation. It had been too easy to be engrossed in maintaining an air of superiority over them and the effect it had on her to see them leaping as she once had was.... It was lamentable. ~'*'~ A decision was quickly made. All her sources had strengthened her suspicion regarding one particular sister and until now, she had hesitated to act. Yet time would only serve to wear down her fortitude; that she knew all too intimately. The element of surprised stood by herself but just how far would it serve to her advantage? The Blues were a conniving lot and she was ever around any of them but still... The innkeeper had been most helpful and unnecessary as it was, the lady had gained Halvie's gratitude. She would be suitably repaid. Now it all boiled down to her executing her part in the scheme. She left her quarters in a flurry of bronze skirts and a sharp bang of door. ~'*'~ Fire flickered on walls and the nightlife wailed their melody. She took the path less frequented by the Tower's inhabitants with a rapid pace, slowing only when she was but paces from her destination. Appropriate sentences had been formed, ready to spill from her lips. A dozen possible scenarios flitted across her mind once more, none really registering. What was she, a fool to contemplate such a move against this sister? She would pay dearly for this transgression... perhaps. A sharp knock officially announced her presence and it was with a steady composure that she greeted the woman who opened it. "Evening, Serena Sedai. May I enter?" Halvie Sedai Sister of the Battle Ajah
  15. ~’*’~ Her hand shook with weakly suppressed rage; that fool of a child, to have attempted to try her patience. The girl held potential and leaned strongly towards the Greens yet that tendency for other frivolous affairs had resulted in neglected work. The problems had spiralled until she had been forced to wait over an hour for the novice to materialise for her lessons this morning; she of all people, when a swarm of agents & delegates were banging on her door, with shadows fraught with uncertainties creeping in. The novice had suffered swift retribution and Halvie suffered from no compunction whatsoever, so terrible had her temper been. Practiced protocol and suitable decorum had been pushed to the edge within the confines of her quarters, shied from the prying, shifting eyes of strangers. She still shivered from its effects; not for the biting wind that now whistled through the elegant halls. ~’*’~ Little wonder perhaps that Halvie was turned on when some unknown force collided forcefully into her precipitately. Only training prevented her from reacting viscerally and that could only be counted as an understatement. Vaguely was she aware of the apologies that came tumbling forth, an elegant bow sketched as precise and immediate as one would expect of those born into the dark intrigue of convoluted courts & strict decorum. The Tower trained its raising generation well but perhaps even it was not perfect. A bare handful littered the lower quarters of novices and accepteds yet there were always the few who slipped past its heavy disciplinarian hand, whether unwittingly or by means of some devious source. ~’*’~ As it was, Momentarily thrown into disorientation, she forgot that yet another the novice waited to hear her speak. It would never do to display any slip of emotion however tempting, and so she purposefully took her time in regaining her composure, allowing the clumsy child to remain deeply bowed; a most uncomfortable posture to be sure. Sharp green eyes traced the slightly tousled hair with its bright highlights dressed in elaborate curls, down towards features meekly cast earthward and her distinctively white dress. Aramina sur Dulciena, an aspirant of the Battle Ajah; she knew of this child through the occasional note her informants passed to her. From information garnered, the child had vast potential that only invited to be manipulated by her betters, more so when she seemed to be withdrawing from the inhabitants of the Tower. Taciturn. Quiet. Almost shy. She would soon determine how true they were. ~’*’~ “Clumsy, aren’t you? What were you thinking of, blundering about the hallways in such an ungainly manner? Accepted you may be but I should have expected even someone like you to know how to walk properly, or do you possess some form of physical disability?†she questioned cruelly, with more intention in knowing Aramina’s reactions towards her words rather than the answers given. First impressions were so vital; she might even consider showering special interest on this girl if she was as talented as her informants suggested, whether she would be worthy of any investment of time from Halvie. She wondered, and waited. Halvie Sedai Sister of the Green Ajah Ooc: I know. I’m terrible. Shame me. :P
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