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About cale

  • Birthday 01/01/1
  1. Sheena started to smile at Kaylan's jest before she realized the woman was quite serious. Holding her hand out to feel the warm kisses of the early summer rain, she frowned slightly. Her Talent had developed into an affinity for the movements and changes in the weather. Few others in the Tower were aware of the aftereffects of changing the natural flow that drove the rain and shine as much as the Wheel drove the lives of man and woman. Still, she quieted the rumblings of her stomach and opened herself up to saidar. The serenity of life brought comfort and warmth and she found herself sighing in relief. Here, her seasickness was more of a memory than a reality and her footing on the foredeck was as sure as any sea-borne sailor's. Tendrils of Air, Water, Fire, and Spirit spread out of her smaller being and she delved into the heart of the dark clouds that were blowing in off of the sea. The gems in her earrings buzzed and Sheena thought could almost hear the unspoken words of the rumbling thunder and blowing winds. When she was sure of the storm's capacity and course, she did little more than alter the directions of the winds ever so slightly. The rain didn't lessen, but neither would it grow until they were out from under it. She released saidar and reluctantly returned to the merciless swaying of the boat in the water. "That should subdue the storm until we're out of his reach," she said queasily. "A little rain won't hurt. With any luck, a few more nights at sea is all it takes for the sickness to subside. Surely I'm not that bad of a traveller?" She smiled and brushed a strand of hair out of her face. "Until then, I'd like to know why I'm just now hearing of these miracle herbs of yours!" They shared a laugh and left the boat together, leaving the loading of their small cargo to the Eivan. Katerine joined them as they went ashore in search of a hot meal that hadn't didn't consist of heavily salted meats and sea biscuits. Eivan joined them just as they finished their meal and had begun a second bottle of wine. She saw that he was properly fed and they paid for rooms for the night. The Gleaming Whistle wasn't scheduled to depart until dawn the next morning and only Eivan seemed interested in sleeping aboard the vessel a night more than they had to. When first light came the next morning, they made their way to the docks and begun the next leg of their very long journey. Her attempts to hold the storm at bay proved successful and, with Kaylan's seemingly endless supply of her life-saving herb, the voyage went smoothly. The crew left them much to themselves and they were happy to do the same. Sheena and Kaylan had both agreed that, while Captain ___'s trade might not be so honest as he claimed, they had no desire to get involved. See no evil, speak no evil: so they agreed. Sheena only hoped that they wouldn't be forced to explain themselves to a dock official. She detested explaining herself. They stopped briefly in Illian, Ebou Dar, and Falme and reached Bandar Eban by midsummer. They had made good time, but six weeks at sea had taken their toll. Even the faintest scent of Kaylan's herbal made Sheena gag. She had decided when they left Ebou Dar that she would trust her own strength to get her through. By the time they sailed into Bandar Eban Harbor, Sheena had resolved to return to Tar Valon on horseback no matter how long it took them. OOC: Estel, feel free to set the stage for your own involvement in the RP. After Kaylan's next post, I'll be starting a new thread for the three of us. :)
  2. Sheena allowed Lavinya to lead them through the docks and deeper into the city, silently appraising the woman as they walked. She nodded and smiled where conversation required, but said surprisingly little. Lavinya was a striking woman, full of grace and poise that would make any Gray proud and immediately envious. And yet, Sheena found herself relieved rather than impressed. For all the woman seemed born to turn heads and sway courts in her favor with a smile, it was enough for Sheena that the woman was sensible. She took an immediate liking to her. "A bit of privacy would be most welcome, Lavinya Sedai," she said with a sigh. "I've half a mind to leave these ruffians to sleep in the stables, but I am afraid I cannot afford that luxury. Surely they would find some way to burn the town down with us unfortunately inside." She gave Serena a smile and the woman returned it wanly. It took Sheena a moment to recognize the tightness that had appeared in the woman's eyes and she immediately tried to recover. "I don't know how you happened upon such a well-mannered woman with whom to bond, Serena. Though I believe myself finished with a gaidin of my own, it is encouraging to see that some still bring honor to the bond." She wasn't used to complimenting and she hoped the woman knew her words to be sincere. They continued on in conversation as the two Blues welcomed the newest member of their party. Sheena immediately made it clear that there was no need for deference, explaining that she had invited Serena to join her on this small trip and saw no need to establish seniority. "When there were only the two of us," she said, "such things hardly mattered, especially when we've worked together for so long. If it's quite alright with you, I would like to continue on as we began. Outings like this can prove pleasant so long as we avoid unnecessary stresses." If Lavinya was surprised by her familiarity, she quickly fell into place and listened attentively as they spoke of what awaited them in Whitebridge. As the inn came in sight, a light shower had blanketed the city and their party--six, as an obnoxiously smug Aran had caught up sooner than anticipated, much to Sheena's annoyance--hurried on to warm baths and dry clothes. When the evening had deepened into night and the shower grew into a downpour, they ate and discussed possible courses of action in Whitebridge. "My contact made sure I understood that the rumors of a male channeler were just that: rumors. She believes whole-heartedly that they are true, but because the rumors point accusingly at the son of a very important man, the whispers are heard only behind closed doors and in the darker corners of the city. It's just as well that you are here," she said to Lavinya. "Serena and I are no strangers to such delicate political matters, but we have devoted our lives to pursuing other causes. I have no trouble allowing you to take the reins there should it prove necessary. I can't speak for Serena, but--" Her words were cut off at a sudden burst of laughter from the two Tower Guards. Up to that point, they had kept to themselves at the other end of the table. Three heads turned to regard them with disapproving frowns and Thera, standing guard at the door, shook her head in disapproval. Rosheen had the shame to blush, but Aran only laughed the harder as if the Aes Sedai were wearing face paints. Sheena was surprised to find Serena the first to speak her mind and took advantage of the opportunity to bite back the venomous words she had been ready to throw at the infuriating man.
  3. While Sheena did a poor job of hiding her initial shock, her face was schooled back to calm confidence so quickly as to leave one wondering if her eyes had widened at all. That the Hall had thought that the slightest possibility of a male channeler in Whitebridge was beyond the abilities of Serena and Sheena alone was rather insulting, but the insolence of the bratty children playing Tower Guards was too much. As Lavinya brushed a boyishly grinning Aran and a very rudely confrontational Rosheen aside and presented herself respectfully to the two unpleasantly surprised Aes Sedai, though, Sheena found herself thanking the Light that the woman was a Gray. She can't be any worse than Aran, she told herself wryly. Refusing to encourage Aran's antics, she responded as if nothing were out of the ordinary. "If the Hall has expressed a desire for you to join us, then join us you shall. You have been briefed, then?" Lavinya nodded in affirmation. "Do you have any objections, Serena? Splendid. I have no objections to your presence either so long as we all remain on the same page." They wasted little time with chit-chat, much to Sheena's relief, and instead made arrangements with the captain to have their things delivered to the inn where Lavinya was staying. She didn't deny herself the petty pleasure she took from Aran's sullenness when she told him to stay with their things, nor did she miss the smirk it earned him from Rosheen. Something was definitely amiss. As they made their way through the docks and into the heart of the city of Aringill, she wove a ward against eavesdropping, effectively cutting Rosheen out of the conversation. "I want you to know that I am indeed surprised to find that the Hall has asked you to join us, Lavinya. Though I am inclined to do so, I will not take the Hall's decision as a personal insult. I wish to deal with this swiftly and return to my own personal business just as much as any of us." She shook her head and sighed. This was the last thign Sheena had expected upon arriving in Aringill. Nonetheless, she tried to sound optimistic as she continued. "I'm afraid Serena and I already have two obstacles to overcome, as I'm sure you learned at the docks. I will not see you as a third obstacle so long as you do not become one. Our Ajahs have worked well enough recently. Surely we can continue to do so?"
  4. In Sheena's mind, Kaylan's sudden change of demeanor spoke loudly of the woman's choice of ajah. Of all of the ajahs, only the Reds were more tightly knit than the Greens. They were united in preparing for the Last Battle in much the same way an Aes Sedai and her gaidin were united in their own shared battles. Coming from an ajah full of private agendas and strivings, a group largely known for its secretive members, Sheena was slightly put off. Being adept in the arts of the Great Game, though, she quickly adapted to the abrupt shift. "I couldn't agree more," she said with a smile. "It's nice to see there are still sensible women in the White Tower. Have no doubt that I will follow your lead if, Light forbid, the gaidin need draw their blades. Shall we?" After the price of passage was paid to the chubby, red-faced brute of a captain, the two made their way to find a ship that would carry them to their far-off destination. Almost in unison, they pulled their hoods up to hide ageless faces that would draw unwanted attention. They followed Eivan through the crowded docks and he made no attempt to mask the pleasure he found in leading the way. Surprisingly, he wasn't the only one who had a slight bounce to his step. Sheena's own excitement was growing and her warder's playful attitude was nothing more than a minor annoyance. She knew that her own involvement in this investigation was something of a wild card. The coasts north of Bandar Eban had always been known for violent storms. Storms out of season were not unheard of, but something told Sheena that her own Talents could prove useful before the end. Now, with a bit of solid ground under her feet, her confidence was returning. When they found the first ship on their list and they made their way up the gangplank, Sheena felt every inch in her element. A stout man with a thick, blonde beard met them at the end of the gangplank. He planted his hands on his hips and eyed them without a thought for his unwelcoming posture. His beard was trimmed and well oiled. Sheena almost sighed in relief; he was an Illianer. "Who be you and what do you be looking for onboard The Gleaming Whistle" As was agreed, Eivan did the talking in public. "We seek passage, kind sir." He included the rest of the party with a sweeping gesture. "We have business in Bandar Eban. You are headed that way?" The Gleaming Whistle, as Eivan had explained it, would not carry them directly to Bandar Eban. Being a trading vessel, the captain would stop in any major port he wished. It only added to the length of the trip, but it was still faster than traveling by land. If Sheena's bargaining skills were as sharp as usual it would likely be less costly. "Bandar Eban do be a long ways from here and this do be only a humble business we have. The burden of three passengers on such a voyage do be very heavy burden," he said in mock-humility. The Illianer's expression did not soften as he stared unabashedly at each of them. Sheena held her temper in check and prayed silently that Kaylan would be able to do the same. Neither of them was used to such disrespect. "We are four of us in this party," Kaylan said suddenly. Sheena winced and barely stopped from cursing. The Green did not move, but she made no attempt to hide her offense. The Illianer--was he even the captain?--frowned slightly, his eyes narrowing as he sized up the woman who had spoken. Eivan tensed and through the bond, Sheena knew her warder stood ready for a fight, anticipated one even. She stepped forward and offered the man a slight curtsy before attempting to regain control of the situation. "If you would be so kind to allow us the privacy of the captain's cabin," she said calmly, "I am sure we can agree on a price that would lighten whatever burden as four passengers might be." She kept her hood pulled up, aware of the handful of barefooted men who had picked up on the events unfolding on deck. She didn't breathe for fear of shifting the scales one way or the other. The man's frown melted away slowly and he gave the barest hint of a nod before motioning for them to follow him. "As you wish, mistress. I do be an honest man and I do run an honest ship." Sheena followed first behind him while Eivan took up the rear looking everywhere at once. He had not relaxed even when they were below deck. Captain Halmer proved to drive a hard bargain, but they reached a price only a little more than Sheena had anticipated. If he had been surprised to find he would be transporting two Aes Sedai and their warders, he was less surprised than the crew when Sheena and Kaylan returned to the main deck with their hoods down. Sheena wore a contented smile, pleased to have found passage so quickly and pleased to have done so with much less effort than she had expected. OOC: I don't know if you wanted to stop in Illian or Ebou Dar, Kaylan. I'm up for anything! Take us as far as you want so long as it's not all the way back to TV. :)
  5. The streets of Tar Valon were never quite dark enough for the majority of those who wished to go unseen. On a better, slightly more sober night, Morgan might have been able to slip from shadow to shadow without detection. Tonight, though, she trudged loudly on the cobblestone streets with her head swimming and her ears still ringing, her hook scraping across the buildings she leaned against as she walked. She breathed through her mouth in ragged, uneven breaths and the blood from her broken nose had stopped flowing and was drying to her face and chin. Her head was hung, her half-open eyes staring vacantly at the ground as she shied drunkenly away from the brighter spots of the streets. She didn't pay much attention to where she was going. Morgan sought only the darkest shadows the city could offer, sought refuge from the piercing eyes of passersby. Since she retired from office, she had hidden in plain sight, fading into the monotony of everyday life. She became used to going unnoticed or unremarked and welcomed a life away from the public eye. The moment the porcelain mask shattered on the tavern floor, everything blurred in a myriad of emotions and feelings painfully old and uncomfortably new. Now, the lamp posts shed light on the fears and insecurities she worked to bury. The dark truths she had run from now came crashing down on her. The closer she got to the light, the bigger and darker the shadows of her past became. Morgan paused beside an alleyway for a moment adjusting what remained of her mask. She thought she heard someone walking behind her, someone who did not wish to be heard. It could have been her imagination, but when she pulled away from the wall, she was wrapped in The Spring, her muscles on edge and movements cautious. She didn't look back to see who it was. She heard only the shuffle of soft leather moving from within the alleyway to her left before she jumped back, clumsily dodging her assailant's charge. The figure tripped and Morgan grabbed at his collar and missed, instead catching him by the forearm as he fell. Light, how drunk was she? Already off balance, the momentum of her attacker's charge and fall pulled Morgan down with him. She had only tenth of a second to curse her carelessness before she landed on the cobblestones and the fragment of porcelain fell away to reveal her scarred face again. The boy--he was too small to be anything else--grunted as he hit the ground and his would-be victim fell right on top of him. They scuffled for a few seconds, Morgan keeping the boy's small knife from splitting open her belly. He rolled away, but Morgan's hook was tangled his shirt and she pulled him back and punched him square in the nose. She snarled and raised her fist to strike again. "Wait!" he cried before she had even hit him. In a flash, Morgan realized it was not a boy but a girl. She hesitated, confused and disoriented. Before she could process the sudden revelation, though, she heard footsteps behind her. Someone was rapidly approaching. In a heartbeat, Morgan was on her feet and facing another shadowy figure, the world spinning and her head and heart pounding one against the other. She didn't give the newcomer and notice before she slashed at him with her hooked hand wildly. He was forced to defend himself and a knife flashed in the night as he parried her attacks. He was quicker than she had expected, but flustered as she was, she was still faster. With a flick of her wrist, she sent the knife flying into the air and caught it with her right. She barked a laugh of victory and, with the knife ready to throw and the wicked steel hook gleaming in the night, she held her attackers where they stood. "You picked the wrong woman to dance with tonight," she said angrily between breaths.
  6. OOC: Slight LOA until Sunday. Please wait. :)
  7. Midnight found The Yards the site of a phantom concerto as crickets played their mournful tunes to whoever happened to be awake at that hour. The clack-clack of a late training session provided the percussion, teacher and student moving from one form to the next in different degrees of expertise and grace. A bull frog called to his mate from his hiding place beneath a bridge crossing a carefully landscaped pond and the wind whistled across the reeds on the far end. In the barracks, trainees dreamed fitfully as their minds danced to the music of the summer night. On the walls, a masked woman found solace in the starry sky, lost in deep thought, and a man lay awake in bed feeding dark desires into the Flame and Void. Every ear that the music touched was caught in silent reverie, all except for two sets. Two sets heard a completely different tune. "I will not be treated like a child who was raised only this morning, Commander," Sheena said flatly from her seat in front of Alin's solid oak desk. The room was well-lit, though there was no disguising the late hour. She hadn't slept much in the days since she'd begun planning this expedition and the note signed by Sariene informing her that a Tower Guard had been assigned to travel with her was the icing on an exhausting cake. Despite her weariness and frustration, the Blue held her temper in check for once as she regarded the Master at Arms levelly. "Again, your concern and that of the Hall are both appreciated, but I have worn the shawl for longer than you have breathed air. I will not be needing an escort on this trip, nor do I have the time or energy to babysit some runt with his mother's kitchen knife." "I am afraid it is not my decision to make, Sheena Sedai." He spoke the honorary with an emphasis that could have meant anything or nothing at all. Sheena ignored it, her mind intent on resolving this issue before her scheduled departure the following morning at dawn. "I have my orders and I intend to follow them. For the last time, there's nothing to be done." Her lips thinned, the only indication her annoyance was quickly turning into frustrated anger. The hold on her temper slipped, only slightly but enough to heat her cheeks. "If you wish to take it up with the Hall, that's your business. I do suggest you refrain from waking them at this hour." Sheena opened her mouth to speak, but he spoke over her. "With all do respect, Aes Sedai, there is nothing left to discuss. If you will excuse me, I am going to be." He stood and motioned towards the doors, his face carved from the hardest of stones. Sheena sat motionless, her eyes icy and her face white and devoid of signs of the flaring temper inside. "Your orders are ridiculous and I will not be inconvenienced by them. You may choose whomever you like to carry out this preposterous act of protection, but do not think I will forget this insult to my character." She cut off her words with all the spite she felt, her indignity flushing her cheeks. Sheena stood from her seat, not sparing the wool-headed buffoon of a man who served as the Master at Arms another look. The concert was cutoff abruptly at the sound of a door slamming followed by muttered curses as Sheena made her was back to the Tower in a fury. She stormed past the few men and women awake at that hour, servants in their livery and Aes Sedai or Tower initiates running some late night errand. The few glances directed at her back were those of people long accustomed to her stormy personality. She ignored those, too, as she headed to her rooms in the Blue Quarters. When she finally lay in bed, she stared at the ceiling until the gray of predawn crept in. She hadn't slept a wink. "Light, please tell me Alin gave the assignment to a mute," she croaked before getting out of bed. "This is going to be a long trip." A sea of dried grass and parched shrubs extended for miles to either end of the River Erinin as Ella's Rose made its way south. The mid-summer sun beat down on its crew and passengers with the fervor of high noon and doing nothing to help with the seasickness that still plagued a few of those unaccustomed to traveling on water. An occasional breeze stirred, doing little more than rustling a loose-fitting shirt. One of the sailors shouted suddenly, bringing Sheena back from her rumination and to the scorching reality of her surroundings. Serena stood beside her, the hood of her pastel-colored cloak pulled up over her head to provide some protection from the sun. While the heat didn't touch either of them, they were both subject to sunburns like anyone else and Sheena's talents in Healing were little better than those her friend. Feeling Sheena's eyes on her, Serena looked over and smiled warmly but said nothing. The two had been friends on one level or another when Sheena was raised only shortly after Serena herself and Sheena was glad to have the woman's company. She smiled back and turned her attention to unscrewing the lid off of her waterskin before taking a drink. Serena's warder stood close by watching everywhere and everything that moved and Rosheen sat opposite of them leaning against a barrel sharpening a knife. Thera was a dutiful woman so far as Sheena had seen, though the two had not spoken much. The way Sheena saw it, a Warder's place was with her bondmate and not conversing with other Aes Sedai. For many years now, she had had only limited interactions with Warders and Thera was no exception. There was more to her aloofness, she was sure, but that was a line of thought Sheena did not wish to go down. Rosheen, on the other hand, did not belong in their party anymore than the red-faced street rat Alin had chosen to serve as her protector, not in Sheena's mind. From the young woman's own aloofness, she was very much aware of how Sheena felt. Sheena had made it obvious to the Tower Guards that they were unwelcome and if they had been offended by her unapologetic stance, they did well to hide it thus far. The White Tower was still within sight when Sheena had put them in their place, telling them exactly what was expected of them. The boy, Aran, was below deck and it was just as well. He had a glint in his eye that Sheena had seen in any number of annoying Novices who found it difficult to shed the airs instilled in their noble roots. If anyone would be trouble, it was him; Rosheen was just another annoyance. She had been allowed to travel with them on the understanding that she had business in Whitebridge. What she would do once they reached that point was none of their concern. In the moments after the first shouts announcing their imminent arrival in Aringill, the ship had burst to life as the crew prepared the ship. Sheena said a silent prayer of thanks as she made her way to the room she shared with Serena to fetch her things, grateful that she had only emptied her stomach the first night they were on water. She could remember days when her stomach rumbled at the very sight of water. To think that she was able to make it all the way to Aringill without any major incident was a good sign. She wasn't sure she could bear the humiliation of clutching the deck railings day and night. What she was sure of, though, was that she was anxious to be standing on dry land and the sooner the better. OOC: A bit long, but it got us pretty far. We're finally underway! Post away ladies and gents! Edit: James here, was on west board but meant to be south the way the map is currently drawn. Sorry Cale, would've told ya but ya'd already raced off :)
  8. A shadow fell across Morgan's face before the overturned table hit the floor. In a heartbeat, she saw the world from behind a dark veil that she had not seen through in a long time. With a snarl, she sprung like a coil and dug the wicked hook of her left hand into the shoulder of a would-be assailant, milking a most satisfying scream from his lips. She threw him to the ground and kicked him in the face before turning to take on another foe. Demons sprung to life as she greeted the lowlife with a cruel smile before a swift kick popped his knee out of socket and he collapsed to the floor with a cry. What she had always lacked in strength she made up for with speed, her blows blurred movements that sent unexpecting men to the floor. Pivoting, she blocked a punch and countered, knocking out the remaining tooth of a man too old for scuffling. He pulled her down with him and they wrestled with one another before Morgan could pry his grip off of her hook and rendered him unconscious with a hard blow to his head. As she picked herself back up, she was too slow to dodge a cudgel and it landed her square in the face and breaking her nose. The room was spinning and her mask fell to the floor and she watched, stunned and bleary-eyed, as it was kicked further out of reach. For an instant, the room slowed and nothing existed but the mask and her. The veil lifted and she felt nothing but shame as blood poured down her scarred flesh and dripped onto the floor. The world crashed back down on her as the cudgel struck her once more, this time on the shoulder. Morgan cried out in pain and grabbed the squat man by his throat. She pulled his face to hers and screamed her fury and shame. From lack of air or fear, his eyes rolled back in his head and he went slack from faint. She let him fall, her mind on the mask that was still intact on the other side of the room. She tripped over the serving woman and kicked her away, the woman screaming when she saw who she was holding onto. Crawling on all fours, Morgan reached the mask just as it was crushed under the hard leather boot of the bouncer. She rolled to the side to avoid taking the boot to the face and pulled his other foot out from under him with her hook. His head met the edge of a table as he fell and he writhed on the floor, his hand covering a bloody gash. Morgan grabbed frantically for the largest piece of porcelain that remained and put it on with one graceful movement. Her eyes burned when they landed on the almost unconscious bouncer. She howled in rage and jumped on top of the man who had destroyed the only thing that protected her from the unforgiving eyes of the world. Blow after blow rained down on him and he moaned and held his hands over his face as Morgan pummeled him, deaf and blind to everything but her pain and endless shame. It wasn't until Seia was pulling Morgan off of his back that she realized the Guard has arrived. She shrugged Seia off of her savagely and wiped the spittle and blood from the exposed scars of her chin. Her head still swam from the cudgel and she leaned against the wall. Holding the broken fragment of her mask that covered less that two thirds of her face. She saw the shards of porcelain that remained in the middle of the tavern floor and fought the urge to go and pick them up, told herself that it was futile. The owner of The Siren's Call was helping the serving woman up off of the floor and the image of the woman's terrified face burned into Morgan's memory. She felt more naked than she had ever felt before, ashamed to be seen in the light. As Seia briefed the captain on the events of the night, Morgan disappeared into the merciful sanctuary of the night. Walking in the darkest shadows of the street, Morgan made her way back to the Tower. Her head was still swimming as she battled the demons of her past, demons that had so readily reanimated themselves that night. After all this time, she still felt every inch the monster Lanfear had trained her to be, every inch the monster that had betrayed her bondmate in her hour of need. Guilt-stricken and more than a little buzzed, she stumbled through the shadowy streets of Tar Valon seeing nothing but her fallacies. OOC: Much better, I think. Chandra! That's your cue, darling. :)
  9. OOC: I just lost a beautiful brawl and excellent set-up for Chandra's entrance when my computer crashed. I want my Mac back... :(
  10. Her knuckles clutched to the deck railings until they were white, Sheena waged war with the bile that was creeping up from her twice-emptied stomach. The deckhands, too busy to stare openly, moved with a grace that reminded her of her bondmate. Letting go of the rail to wipe the corners of her mouth with a linen kerchief, she silently cursed the sailors and the smirks she could feel being cast in her direction when she wasn't looking. The strong breeze coming off of the Sea of Storms blew her dark hair into her face, adding to her already disheveled appearance in a most unsatisfactory way. One of the biggest tools of the Great Game was appearance. There were times when it was to her advantage to be seen as weak or naive, but this was not one such time. While it was only against the law to channel in Tear, even the most respected of Aes Sedai left a sour taste in the mouth of a Tairen and they made no attempt to hide it. Something so simple as passage from one port to another would require more effort on Sheena's part than she had the patience for. Windblown hair and a never-ending desire to vomit didn't exactly command respect from a weathered captain, and so she fought for composure. The smell of rotting fish only added to her misery. Light, but she hated Tear. Eivan knew better than to so much as glance at her when she was in such a state of disarray. Instead, he occupied himself with watching the crew of The Silver Arrow as they went about their tasks. Sheena knew his hands ached for the feel of a rope in his hands, knew these trips were just as hard on him as they were on her. There were still some things about his past life with the Atha'an Miere that she did not know, but she didn't have to see it to know the deep sorrow in his usually jovial face. She would never ask him about it. If she had learned anything during her time as Aes Sedai, it was that his past--and the pain that came with it--was his own; he would share it with her when and where he chose. I have my own problems to solve in the meantime, she reminded herself dryly. "Good morning, Sheena." Kaylan's blank expression was welcome as Sheena turned to face her, still clutching the railing. The two had never exchanged more than a word or two before departing for Tear, but Sheena had always respected the older woman for maintaining a solid reputation for being a woman of duty. The legendary bravery and courage that members of the Green Ajah were most often known for had always boded well with Sheena. In many ways, the two women were similar. Both dedicated to their own battles, their paths had met for the time being and Sheena had been relieved to find that Kaylan wasn't nearly as annoying as some of the Greens she had encountered. In the weeks since leaving South Harbor, their interactions continued to hold a feeling of "strictly business," but Sheena was beginning to warm up to her in her own, introverted way. "Good morning, Kaylan," she said more cheerfully than she felt. "I'm glad to see one of us can maintain a dignified appearance." She smiled and tucked her kerchief away, smoothing the plain, blue linen dress she had chosen for the bargaining. "Eivan has a list of ships headed to Tanchico and he thinks we should start with a small ship captained by Master Reginald Crolings. Magnolia is the name, right Eivan?" Tearing his eyes and heart away from the work the crew, he nodded and repeated what he had told Sheena earlier that morning. They all knew that Sheena was the more practiced player of the Great Game, but Kaylan could decide she wanted to try her hand at bargaining if she so desired. "Had you given any thought to the bargaining process?" she asked, not wanting to undermine Kaylan's authority. They both knew the answer, but there was no harm in being respecful.
  11. Morgan watched the haughty young man join his new friends, her muscles relaxing a hair when they sat back down and only shot a glance or two over their shoulders. She sat back down and raised her mug to her lips. The ale was bitter, but it only added to the tavern experience she had come to love. Something about being on edge the whole time made her feel alive. Guarding a wall couldn't hold a candle to the thrill of guarding your own back. She glanced at the young man again to see that he was already badgering someone else. It took her a moment to realize Seia had asked her a question. "What? Oh, yeah. This silver has been burning a hole in my pocket all week." She patted the small purse at her waist and smirked mischeviously. "I might not be the luckiest girl this side of the Aryth Ocean, but I break even most nights." As she spoke, Morgan looked around the room and noticed a dark figure seated in the back of the tavern, his cloak drawn up to hide his face. It was clear the man was there for anything but the company of drunken sailors and Morgan quickly decided she didn't like the look of him. She absently fingered the tip of her cold, steel hook and made a note to keep an eye on him. "If you don't mind," she said turning her attention back to Seia, "I think I'm going to join the fun. I like making these old boys meet my eye." She drained her mug and belched loudly. One of the serving women looked at her, not bothering to hide her disgust. Morgan barked a laugh and wiped her chin. "If you're not going anywhere, order me another one when she deigns to come back by, will ya?" Morgan plopped down at a table and joined one of the games, letting the so-called Siren call her away into the night. Seia sat down beside her with another mug of ale and joined the fun. The added rush of a dice game only heightened her senses and she drank ale more to keep her mouth wet than for the taste. Before she knew it, she had a small pile of silver and a few gold crowns in her purse. As she took her winnings from the last throw, a newcomer joined the table. Seia had just returned with their fifth round--or was it their sixth?--and she felt the other woman tense up just as she herself did. Her slightly glazed-over eyes quickly focused on the young rogue from earlier in the evening. He smiled at her, but he betrayed his drunkeness as he swayed to the left and then again to the right. "You might be lucky," he said more loudly than was necessary, "but I'll wager ten gold crowns that your ugly friend's got worse luck that her ugly old man." The gathered crowd started calling out bets before Morgan had even handed Seia the cup of dice. The other side of the table had been taken over by the boy's sneering posse and Morgan's good hand suddenly ached for the mace she had left in her room. She looked to Seia expectantly.
  12. "Neither do I," said Espara, rising to her feet. The rest of them stood with her and the younger woman took Ata's hands in her own and smiled warmly. "Welcome home, Ata Dorje. A pity we couldn't have gotten a little information out of you first, but fair's fair. I don't suppose you could replicate the weave Lwena used? It must have been fascinating..." As the three Sitters welcomed the Ajah's newest member, Corinne'dei's mind was working fast behind a mild expression of feigned interest. Ata made one more string, though just how strong that string was had yet to be proven. The wounds that had been inflicted when Lanfir was raised as Amyrlin were still fresh in the minds of many, especially the Blues. The alliances that her raising had spawned were rapidly deteriorating in light of Dumai's Wells. Relations with the Yellow Ajah salty at best and Corinne'dei would eat her boot if this didn't stir things up a little more. The First Selector's primary duty was to keep her Ajah in line. In a Tower full of Secrets, the Blue held more than most. Ata would have to be watched very carefully, she feared. The last time she'd checked, stilling didn't burn bridges, too. Ata Dorje was not a string at all. She was a wild card and, as of yet, not to be trusted. "I am afraid I must depart," she said suddenly. The chatter died down as the Head of the Blue Ajah spoke. "Ata, as our newest member you will receive the same treatment as the rest of our young Blues. Elyssa, as you seem to have a relationship with Ata already, please see that she is welcomed by the rest of her Ajah. I will see you all in my office this evening. Until then, I suppose a celebration is in order. I hope you bake a good pie, Ata. I'd like a cherry one."
  13. Sheena awoke to the sound of footsteps on the deck above her and Eivan snoring softly in a cot on the other side of the room. She sat up slowly, stretching and yawning and wiping the sleep from her eyes. It had been too long since she'd slept in a ship's cabin and the queasy feeling in her stomach was proof, as was the bucket that was never out of arm's reach. Knuckling a stiff back more accustomed to down mattresses than cots, she opened the single circular window in the room and peered outside. A foggy, gray morning greeted her with a light breeze and spray tossed up from the river in the ship's wake as The Silver Arrow made its way south. She heard Eivan stirring and when she turned from the window, he was looking at her with the same smug expression he always wore when they were at sea together. "Good morning," he croaked before she poked her head out the window again. "Nice to see you made it through the night without clutching the bucket. Maybe by the time we get to Tear, you'll be dancing around like a true sailor." He barked a laugh which turned into a yawn and Sheena found herself echoing it. "I hope I didn't wake you. If I didn't know any better, I would say I'm starting to get the hang of this." She yawned again and stood up. With the two of them standing, the small cabin felt cramped. She really wished Eivan would see that she hardly needed protecting on a ship sailing to Tear, but the dark-skinned man had slept standing outside her door when she'd told him he couldn't sleep with her. Who knew Warders could be so frustrating? And to think some Greens actually married their Warders! "I spoke with the captain last night while you were with Kaylan. He said we'd be in Tear either today or tomorrow at the latest." Eivan moved about the cabin with the grace that only an experienced seaman or swordsman could and continued talking while he wased his face. "I've already gotten the name of two other ships that will be headed for Tanchico. It'd probably be for the best to take the smaller of the two. The first mate says the captain of The Kingfisher is Tairen. Not likely to give us a ride..." Sheena listened to her bondmate with half a mind, having grown accustomed to him thinking outloud like this shortly after bonding him. The main focus of her attention were the earrings she had worn since Sariene had given them to her some three weeks ago. The First Selector hadn't been able to tell Sheena more than that they had been worn by one of the Tower's most powerful Cloud Dancers before she died. Supposedly they allowed the wearer to weave more Air or Water than she would be able to unaided. Sheena was beginning to suspect that the earrings had another function. Not knowing much about Listening to the Winds, though, she could only speculate as to why she'd had the growing feeling that a storm was off in the distance and growing closer with every mile she traveled. "So it's settled?" Sheena came to herself with a start and dropped her hand from where it had been playing with one of the earrings. Looking up at Eivan, she sighed heavily. "Master Crolings sounds like a capable fellow, Eivan. If you trust him to get us there, I trust him to get us there. You just leave the bargaining for passage to Kaylan Sedai and myself." Eivan nodded and moved out of her way as she tried to get to the wash stand herself. "If you don't mind, my most capable Gadin, I doubt I will be needing protection from my soap." With that, Sheena shooed him out and closed the door behind him. If they were to arrive in Tear today, she couldn't go out looking as sick as she felt. OOC: Feel free to get us into Tear, Kaylan. :D
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