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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

AddiBeth

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  1. Actually bothering to more than glance at the other woman, Addison pulled what must have been a very theatrical double-take. "Bloody mother's... Er..." Taking a moment to dig her foot from her mouth, Addi took a deep breath and let the colour subside from her cheeks, somewhat. "Good afternoon, Loraine Sedai." She bowed perhaps a hint more deeply than necessary - over-compensation for her earlier stupidity. "I am Trainee Addison Thwait." Taking the proffered lathe, she swung it through the air a few times in an embarrassingly overeager attempt to showcase her talent. "Cook did mutter something about spending two days on that soup... didn't help the taste any. Now that you mention it, I few guards did buy me a round or three of ale that night." So much talking was making her jaw ache and her left hand came up on its own accord to rub it - as if that would help soothe it any, bloody lucky the idiot didn't break it. Looking over and smiling at the Aes Sedai, she added "He's lucky I don't take more than just a lathe to his backside."
  2. Muttering, Addison Thwait stomped over to the armoury - one of the great things she'd discovered since joining the Yards, and having had to adapt her wardrobe to suit the life of a soldier, was how much more effective stomping was in big, heavy boots as opposed to tiny, ankle-high shoes. To further promote this image of intense frustration, she would periodically lash out at trees as straw dummies with the broken lathe she was carrying. While usually she was on the friendlier side of the scale when it came to the residents of the Warders Yard, her bloody lip, cut cheek, grass-stained clothing, and burning glare were not exactly inviting conversation at the moment. Her current battered state was the result of a spar with one of the newer trainees. She had locked his lathe with The Grapevine Twists and was about to disarm him when her own lathe snapped, leaving her with only a half-foot of wood. Improvising, she rushed him, knocking the boy to the ground. Unfortunately, the idiot child hadn't quite mastered The Spring and was suddenly being held to the ground by his opponent. Though he apologised profusely later, he struck without thinking and rammed first the but of his lathe into her mouth, then after she rolled off of him, struck her across the cheek with the thing. Just barely keeping a hold on her temper, she'd refrained from taking the remaining half of her lathe to his groin and after yelling at him long enough to cool off slightly, began her trek towards the armoury to ask for a new lathe to be made. At the armoury door, being far too preoccupied with brooding on her bad luck, she nearly ran into someone she, at first, thought only to be another trainee. Muttering an apology, she moved to let the other woman out of the building. "Well, at least I won't have to soak my hands in rosemary oil every night for a month after this trip!" Thinking the woman was speaking to her Addi muttered back "Lucky you, I still have another two weeks left in the dining hall for knocking over a soup tureen." There was another whole story of bad luck, combined with some clumsiness on her part, behind that particular penance.
  3. Despite the fact that Jaydena Sedai’s only acknowledgement of her apparently ex-Bondmate was a brief glance in the woman’s direction, Addison could tell the words were meant as much and likely more for Cairma than for herself. It wasn’t that the trainee resented being seemingly used to hold a very one-sided conversation between two estranged people – not exactly, though her ego twitched with irritation; however, she felt intrusive upon a private struggle between the two. Jaydena’s outwards indifference toward the glowering Tower Guard contrasted with the tender words with which she described the woman, who could obviously hear every words as clearly as Addi, standing behind them. Lost in contemplation over the likelihood of being caught in the possible crossfire should either woman actually ever address the other openly, the trainee gave a small start when the subject of conversation was turned back to her. She was just in the process of breathing, a necessity in order to avoid embarrassing herself further by gasping for air halfway through a response to the Aes Sedai’s questions, when Cairma grew tired of being ignored. Addison was unsure whether to label her ordered dismissal as a blessing or lost opportunity. On one hand, she would now be very clear of any stray cutting remarks between the two should they begin to argue; on the other hand, her conversation with the Green Sitter hardly presented a worthy prospective Warder. Unfortunately, having already irritated her mentor this morning, disobedience was not an option. She bowed to the Aes Sedai, saying “It is, indeed, my intention to one day serve a Sister. Goodbye, Jaydena Sedai.” Then, with one last glance at Cairma, Addi hobbled along the familiar path towards the infirmary.
  4. A wince had already contorted her face in anticipation of the ground making painful contact with her knee – it proved unnecessary. Conveniently, a handy shoulder appeared out of nowhere to save her from further self-injury. Looking up at her Samaritan, she blushed. Addi had realised early that female trainees and Tower Guards were, not a rarity, but outnumbered by their male counterparts a few times over. With so many hormonally-crazed young men and so few women, female trainees became something of a commodity. Light, the girls of Braden’s Hill had all fought over the same handful of suitable mates: good-looking, owned a farm of decent size, and wasn’t likely to start hitting a week after the wedding. Addison could only imagine the looks on their faces if they could see the muscular, sometimes rich, and usually ridiculously attractive men she worked with every day – not that she noticed, of course. Her single objective was to become a Gaidar and no ruggedly handsome trainee was going to get in the way of that! All the same, Addi blushed while pondering the reason behind a nagging sense of déjà-vu. As she glanced up at his face, no name flew to mind though he did seem vaguely familiar. Why did she suddenly feel nauseous? It was not one of the usual side-effect of Healing. Lynne told the boy to keep an eye on her, no doubt worried Addi would wind up back in the infirmary if left unattended too long – which the girl begrudgingly admitted to herself wasn’t entirely unlikely. While the whoever this boy was helped her hobble back to the bed, she shot a glance back at Lynne who winked very un-“Aes Sedai”-ishly. Addi blushed. His next question, however, gave her an idea of where she knew him from; it also explained the phantom nausea. The former farm girl grimaced through her red cheeks. “Unfortunately, my balance doesn’t seem to change much when I drink.” In other words, considering the horrifying stories she’d collected from fellow guests, her balance was more than a little off. “I er... Well, I don’t actually remember most of that night past the confrontation with... what’s his name? The big guy who... Anyways, I’m uh... Addison.” She stuck out her hand and gave a sheepish grimace. “And I’m really sorry, but you are?”
  5. The Shield slammed against his connection to saidin simultaneous with another attack from the persona of Isha; fending off attack from two sides, Abrem lost to both and retreated to the back of their mind as Linten’s Shield locked into place and Isha stumbled back into control of his own body. The shock of everything happening at once, especially the Void’s collapse, causes the big man to topple as surges of nausea and pain threatened to steal his consciousness as well. After spending a minute fighting back the urge to vomit and clutching his ruined legs, he slowly stopped panting and struggled to his feet. The whole training yard was staring at the two men, one barely managing to stand while the second still lay on the ground a few feet away. At first, Isha worried the Shield might have caused one of his weaves to unravel, killing the boy, but after a moment the boy stirred. As the Asha’man limped towards him, Linten eyed him warily; it was an expression Isha had never seen directed at him, though the boy was liberal enough with it towards every other authority figure. Noticing the sun glinting of his discarded swords a foot away, the man practically collapsed to his knees attempting to pick it up – it would have been easier to use the Power, but his mentee had tied of the Shield. This action only increased the caution betrayed by Linten. “It seems you’ve beaten me.” Isha said, offering his hand to help the boy up. “No doubt Brent will award your pin tomorrow.” Briefly, stupidly, the Shienaran considered apologising for nearly killing him but thought better of it.
  6. Thwack… A shimmering silver blade flew through the air and pierced through the slick oil painting, lodging itself into the wall behind it. Glowing at the end of the hilt was a shining sapphire that resembled the flame of Tar Valon. Not now, though. It appeared to be too much like a tear drop. “Hah! A tear drop! I’d be cursed by the Dark One’s own luck if I shed another bloody tear!” An enraged voice pierced through the silence. Thwack… Another blade, another scream, another hole in the wall. The small hands that wielded the knives were pale, almost ivory in colour, and shook with the anger so accustomed to her people. Saldaeans were known to erupt in a rage; however, it was usually over something petty like being jealous of another woman. No, this was nothing like that. Emptiness, loneliness, darkness, and pain that none but an Aes Sedai could endure, flowed through the blood of this tiny woman. For Ages and Ages, the female channellers of the White Tower had been dealing with the death of their Warders, many of them made it through the suffering alive, and lived on to Bond another. No… not this… She pleaded with herself. However, usually, the Aes Sedai would remain with the Gaidin or Gaidar for quite some time, before the time would come to release their mortal shells into the depths of the earth, the last embrace of the Mother. Not this Sedai. Her wounds cut deep, and seemed to bleed eternally. Thwack… The blade seemed to shake the entire way towards the painting, and when steel met wood, the hilt wobbled from the force behind the throw. The painting could handle the thrusts…but could she? Could Serena Morrigan, Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah, bear the loss of a fourth Gaidin? Could she handle the stabbing pain in her chest, the un-ending nights of waking to gasping sobs, and the re-occurring notion to destroy everything that crossed her path? Let alone, keep herself alive? Thwack… Granted, two of her Bondmates were still alive. One, was slowly going mad, although he would surely deny it; and the other... Oh, Thera…Why? Serena’s chest heaved as she felt a sob building. It seemed to wash over her body like a wave exploding from her heart. Was it possible, that having a beloved Gaidar, whom you loved more than anything, marry a man and forget all about you while you were busy trying to save blasted lives, be worse than all of the others? Light, she was still alive; yet, Serena pined for the woman like a bloody lost puppy. Yes, their bond had been broken, but that did not mean the woman had to move on. Did it? The slow creaking of hinges broke Serena’s concentration, and she turned towards her door quickly. Without thought, she lifted her hand to the side of her head and thrust her last knife at the door. A familiar face glared back at her. To her dismay, the Saldaean Aes Sedai did not hear the comforting sound of the steel penetrating the wood. Instead, it hung in the air, mere inches before Estel Liones. “A few years late, don’t you think?” Light, it was a good thing she’d been on her toes coming in or else she’d have a nasty hole in her chest. While a knife imbedded in one’s body certainly made a fashion statement, they were hardly the most comfortable of accessories; idly the Domani ran a finger along her forearm where an inch-long scar stood testament to one of the many rather miserable days the Blue had experienced. “What have I done recently to elicit this sort of welcome?” Considering the Red Amyrlin and recent change in Ajah leadership, coupled with the return of its least favourite member, the sound of periodic thunking was hardly an uncommon occurrence in the Blue Quarters these days. Nastascia, at least, no doubt spent countless hours of the day thunking her head against her desk and Light knew the reason for her frustration spent excessive periods of time thunking the brandy bottles she was no longer allowed to drink against the walls. With the threat of Tarmon Gaidon looming over their heads, younger Blues spent as much time as possible thunking their Warders (or each other) today, lest they be thunked on the head by a Trolloc tomorrow. However, today’s source of thunking came from a particularly familiar room that hadn’t been occupied since Estel’s last escapade from the Tower. Serena had left shortly after the Watchers group had been released from their Bonds and, at the time, the younger Blue had been in no condition to talk to anyone – least of all her “babysitter”. Some two months later found in her in a... if not healthy, at least more balanced state of mind. Besides, she and Lavinya had an incredibly tenuous agreement concerning Order Members. Therefore she’d gone to investigate, and barely survived, her one-time friend’s return to the Tower.
  7. "Now, if you would just channel Spirit into this. I'm absolutely sure that if you channel just a small thread of it..." Serena stared back at the tall, dark haired man in confusion and disbelief. "You cannot be serious. I can't just channel into something I have no idea what it's for." The man's black coat and breeches hardly creased when he crossed his arms. His dark brown eyes held the intensity of a flame. He did not need to speak for Serena to feel his disappointment, the bond reeked of it. Arath could toy with her emotions in ways she had never known a bond could be manipulated. "I-I don't want to. It could kill us both, Arath." His eyes burned with frustration, and she suddenly felt herself embracing the True Source. Somehow, he had managed to get her to agree that she would not channel unless he said so. How had he done that? How had he made her succumb to him? "No, it will most likely kill you, before me." Afraid beyond belief with sweat beading on her forehead, Serena channelled. Pain prickled all over her body, from head to toe. She writhed with it. Was it coming from inside? Why couldn't she stop it? Waves of nausea rushed over her as the sharp stabbing pain seemed to increase. Small black dots danced in her peripheral vision as she shook.... ..."No!" Serena bolted upright in her bed. The black dots that had invaded her vision still bounced about. Wrapping her arms around her slightly damp body, she shivered. Glancing over to the empty place in her bed next to her, Serena slumped foreword and let a few tears streak down her cheeks. It was on nights like this that the Blue Sister especially wished she wasn't at odds with Thera. The bond was fuzzed as usual, and Serena could not do anything but wish she could beg her Gaidar to come to her aide. But she couldn't. After returning from the Black Tower, Thera was hardly to be seen. It pained Serena to know that she had caused such a wall to build between the two of them. Wiping the cold sweat from her brow, Serena made her way to the washstand. The sun had not yet appeared on the horizon, and she already knew it would be ridiculous for her to try and return to her sheets. It was much too lonely there anyways. Glancing at her reflection in the mirror above the washstand, she could see that the usual mischievous spark had disappeared from behind her eyes. Was it from the torturous experiments that Arath had used, or was it because the love of her life would never lay in her arms again? "I will not be broken." She lifted her chin in defiance, and set her shoulders. Too many of the women that had been bonded by the Asha'aman at the Black Tower had come back in pieces. Serena had been lucky. Arath had not been incredibly harsh with her. Other than the fact that he used her to test out his experiments. He had not raped her like so many others had done to their "bondmates". When it had come time for him to release her of her bond, he did it almost reluctantly. Arath had not gone mad...yet. Serena was sure she bad been able to feel the Taint lick at his brain, and perhaps at their bond, but she doubted if that was really possible. After the experiments and the pain he had caused, was it possible she felt bad for him? Would she have bonded a man against his will if they had been stalking the Aes Sedai? What if saidar had been tainted and not saidin? What if the tables had been turned? What then? Shaking her head, she was sure that any number of her Sisters may have slapped her in the face and asked her to return to sanity if she had brought up those questions to any of them. Suddenly, a thought came to her as if a candle had flickered on in her mind. There was a possibility that she may get some answers to her questions. One man, one freakishly tall and frightening looking man was here in the tower. Mad as any man could possibly be, and dangerous... "Isha." Serena stepped swiftly into her breeches and pulled her shirt over her head. Wrapping herself in her long blue coat with the flame of Tar Valon embroidered in blue on the breast and back, she headed to the dungeons. Soft leather boots hardly made a sound on the cool stone floor. The guards let her through without hardly a glance. At last, she came to the cell that housed the man, if he could still be called that. Peering through the bars that caged the beast, she saw the large dark form of the Shienaran. Biting down on the inside of her cheek, Serena channelled a blue globe of light. "Isha Talcontar, I am Serena Sedai. May I have a word with you?" “Grrraaaaaahhhh ooooooooouuuuuuuuuut meeeeeeeeeeee!” What had once been an arm forced its way through the barred window in the door. Now the limb was barely recognisable as a part of a human body, particularly a living one. The Yellows had Healed what remained of the flesh, but what had once been a bulging forearm was now reduced to a few layers of tissue separating the bone from the dank prison air. It was that lack of flesh that allowed the body part through the narrowly spaced bars on the door but when it tried to grab hold of the Aes Sedai’s throat, there was no hand to grab with. In fact, not only was there no hand to grab with, but only about half of the forearm remained. Of course, the prehistoric scream had been preceded by much clawing and scraping at the door. After all, it takes a few minutes to locate the door and then the window when one has no eyes to see with. And, of course, it takes a few minutes to move oneself from the farthest corner of the room to the door when one’s remaining muscles are no longer sufficient to move one’s enormous body across even the tiny cell. Add in the lack of hands and mangled stubs that had once been feet and it had actually taken the man best known as Asha’man Isha Talcontar some three minutes to actually respond to Serena Sedai. Now that it became clear there was no way he could have harmed the Aes Sedai short of bludgeoning her with his half-a-forearm, the man slumped back to the prison floor, all his energy wasted in that singular push. “Sorry about that.” The voice wasn’t different from the scream in pitch or timbre but was certainly distinct from the earlier scream in that the words were completely cohesive and spoken confidently — almost with a sense of charm. “Couldn’t rein him back in time. You may have a word with me, though I doubt you’ll be able to coax Isha out. Actually words, plural, would be nice, no decent conversation around here — for obvious reasons... Talking to myself is only so stimulating.” “Grrraaaaaahhhh ooooooooouuuuuuuuuut meeeeeeeeeeee!” Serena cursed herself for being foolish enough to believe that the bars and wood of the door could have been safe enough to keep the giant man at bay. Quickly, the threads of an Air Shield appeared around her. The Blue Sister had been surprised many times in her life, and it still made her heart jump into her throat; especially when a mangled arm came thrashing out through the bars of his prison. Emerald green eyes widened at the site of the twisted flesh of what must have once been his forearm. Did we do this to him? Arching a dark eyebrow in question, Serena then shook her head. Surely, if we did, there must have been some logical explanation for it. At least, she hoped there was. Serena was about to speak when... “Sorry about that.” Tilting her head to the side in confusion, the Aes Sedai could hardly believe it was the same man. It was the same voice, but it was hard to understand that someone who was obviously insane enough to make a noise like he first had, could produce something that sounded so much more civilized. “Couldn’t rein him back in time. You may have a word with me, though I doubt you’ll be able to coax Isha out. Actually words, plural, would be nice, no decent conversation around here — for obvious reasons... Talking to myself is only so stimulating.” Him? Wasn't he Isha? Serena wasn't exactly sure what to think. The man she had been Bonded to had not been as insane as Isha Talcontar already sounded. She knew that many of her Sisters had done studies of the Taint on saidin, Serena had read many of them, but was she really prepared to deal with it head on? For a moment, she chewed on the inside of her cheek while she considered her options. Deciding to continue with her plan, however insane it may have been, Serena replied. "I can imagine. Conversing with ones' self can only go so far." Who knows? Maybe it went a lot further for the man on the other side of the door then it ever could with her. "Do you mean that you are not Isha Talcontar? And if not, then by what name should I call you? I am sure things might feel more...comfortable if I called you by the right name." This was a very sticky situation, and the Aes Sedai felt as if she was treading on thin ice. The man could switch at any moment. He thought for a moment, leaning against the door. “I don’t suppose you mind if I sit down, do you? I... or we... are not what... umm... we... once were.” Dropping back down to the ground heavily, the man leaned against the back of the door, letting the acoustics of the tiny cell bounce his voice back to the Aes Sedai separated from him by a few planks of wood. How long had it been since he’d been that close to a human being? Months? Years? Millennia? It had been millennia and yet it had been only months; the unique situation of multiple personalities returning from Ages past in the same body was... if not unheard of since the Tainting of saidin, virtually unstudied due to the unstable nature of the subjects and thus the actual workings and therefore: methods of thinking and setting it into an understandable concept for a sane human being, even the insane human subjects, to understand was difficult and unprecedented. “I’m not sure how much you know, or even anyone in the White Tower, knows about the Taint so I’m not sure what assumptions to make. I don’t know much about this myself, Abrem might be able to tell you more because he’s been here longer, even Dog’s been here longer, so I’m really just figuring this out myself. “I suppose, for your sake, you can call me Isha. But I am and I am not Jethro “Isha” Talcontar; just as I am Abrem and I am Dog while simultaneously remaining a separate... not being but, consciousness might be the best word to describe it. As a separate consciousness, I am Petr Unrau; as a collective, we all make up the person who is now Isha Talcontar.” “You are not me.” “Now you come to talk? Sorry, he’s gone again. That was Isha as I am Petr. Are you following? I’m trying to explain everything the best I can but I am neither a philosopher nor psychiatrist and what I say is based entirely on what I’m experiencing and the assumptions I’m drawing from that. My education was not focused on the enigma of the human brain.”
  8. Lesson 3: The Art of Disguise Despite the reasonably neutral expression on her face, Estel’s mood was black. Jaw muscles practically groaned with the effort of internalising yawns and powder hid dark bags under her eyes. It was immature for an Aes Sedai to resent mornings, especially to the point of allowing it to affect her mood; however, it was a scrap of her Acceptedhood that she clung to. Now, Estel Liones was the least favourite member of her Ajah, a jaded shell of a woman. Longingly she remembered being a raging ball of fire at her pupils’ age; it had taken an Aes Sedai nearly physically yanking her from bed in the mornings to wake her up before the sun was halfway between horizon and zenith. When the last student hurried into the classroom, relieved her five minute tardiness was being ignored, the Blue Sister began the day’s lecture. “The Art of Disguise is perhaps the simplest art and certainly requires the least amount of explanation. A disguise can be as simple as covering your face and removing your ring,” Estel twisted the golden serpent ring on her finger, “or as complicated as changing one’s hair colour and style, using a different accent and manner of speech, even walking differently. “This art, in its most obvious form, is the least used of the three arts but can be just as, or more, vital; if you are planning any excursions to Amadicia or even Tear, I would advise not advertising you are Aes Sedai. That is a more obvious situation, but what if you happen to be followed through a crowd? How will you lose your pursuer? “In a short-term situation, a few simple tips are applicable in most situations. Try changing your gait and posture. Do you stand straight or hunch over? How do you walk? If you take off your shoe and examine the wear marks on the sole, what do you see? Do your feet angle inwards or outwards? Do you walk more heavily on the heel or ball off your foot?” The Aes Sedai waited a moment while her class shuffled in their seats, finding answers to the rhetorical questions. “If you are in a foreign country, your skin colour may set you apart from the rest of the crowd or you may need to hide your face since you will all eventually develop the telltale ageless faces of Aes Sedai; even in warmer climates, dust cloaks are an excellent devise to shield help shield identity. “However, more complex disguises are needed should you need to conceal your identity for a longer period of time. In addition to your visual disguise, you may need a back story. Many Aes Sedai have a number of aliases they use depending on their location and the situation. This becomes more difficult taking into account the restrictions of the First Oath. “When creating an alias, you must first ask yourself “where is this person from?” Powders and pastels can alter your skin colour, adjust the appearance of your eyes or bone structure; with a practiced hand, an Aes Sedai can even disguise the look of agelessness. Hair colour and fashion is another obvious physical trait to take note of. Now, “how does this person talk?” What accent should you use? Are they well educated? An uneducated person would not understand large words; they might fumble with their grammar and use slang while an educated person would not. “What subjects interest this person?” A Tairen fisherman’s wife would not talk for hours about the Borderlands nor would she even believe Trollocs and other Shadowspan to be real. “I want you to create an alias. Tomorrow I want you to return here, disguised as this new persona. You are dismissed.” ooc: First post for this lesson (min250 words): the next day Estel will ask your character who she is, describe your alias.
  9. The expression “stabbing oneself in the foot” generally referred to a person accidentally doing or saying with an ill effect on their interests – to cause one’s own downfall. It was a concept painfully familiar to the brunette sitting in the, also painfully familiar, infirmary. If not for the wonders of saidar, Addison would have been covered head to toe in scars; as it was, she was being attended to by a plump, elderly Yellow who seemed to epitomise the perfect grandmother. Tears streamed down her cheeks and the trainee struggled valiantly not to curl into a ball clutching her foot, and scream. Blood had begun to trickle from the corner of her mouth, the result of chomping down on her bottom lip to keep in the howls of agony. “Now, now, my dear, it will all be over in a moment. Just keep still a moment longer.” the Aes Sedai cooed. “It’s probably best if you look away, dear. It will hurt less if you don’t see it coming.” Addi whimpered in compliance and twisted her head away from the Yellow as deceptively frail hands... ...gripped the hilt and yanked it from the trainee’s foot and apparently simultaneously performed the Healing weave, evident to any but an Aes Sedai only because the patient’s body arched and convulsed mid-scream. Today, poor Addison Thwait had managed to, quite literally, stab herself in the foot. This time, for it was definitely not the girl’s first time to the infirmary, it was not entirely her fault though her remarkable ability to figuratively stab herself in the foot undoubtedly played its role. She had been practicing her sword forms, the balance exercise called Heron Wading in the Rushes to be exact. A group of fellow trainees was horseplaying nearby and one of them bumped into their unfortunate victim mid-form, knocking the sword out of her hand. Apologising profusely, the group had wisely decided not to remove the three foot spatha from where it was lodged in her foot and instead had carried her to the infirmary. Gasping for air, Addi experienced the familiar wave of exhaustion and hunger associated with the after-effects of Healing. “Thank you, Lynne.” After her fifth meeting with the ancient Yellow, Marilyn Sedai had insisted on waiving formalities. “You’re very welcome, dear. No doubt I’ll be seeing you soon?” The trainee smiled weakly and gave a sheepish laugh. “Probably.” Deciding she might make it to the mess hall before they stopped serving dinner, Addison made the mistake of getting up to quickly and swayed dangerously on the spot.
  10. Estel dealt another round of cards. The Accepted seemed nervous to play with an Aes Sedai and most had a piled of stacked cards sitting in front of the. The Blue looked at her new card: the ruler of cups. She suppressed a grin and added a fistful of Tar Valon silver to the pot, matching the weight of the Accepted’s Malkieri copper and raising the stakes by a single silver piece. It wasn’t their money that interested her, it was the favour; the Blue was painfully aware of just how important those “favours” could be. Only one Accepted matched her bet and raised the stakes again. Estel nodded her head but refrained from smiling. The girl had nerve and from what she’d heard, little Jerinia was setting out to beat her record of “most penances served”. The Blue handed the woman another card and took one for herself: nine of flames, a decent pair and high card, not a terrible hand but certainly one that could be beaten. Estel matched the Accepted’s last bet and laid her cards on the table. “Pair of nines backed by a ruler.” Jerinia laid out a pair of fives; here, the Aes Sedai allowed herself a grin. “It seems you be owe me a favour.” After scooping her winnings off the table, she stood and announced: “As soon as your games are finished, you are dismissed. See you next week.” ooc: next class will be up later today. Tig, feel free to tack on your last reply when you get back from your LoA
  11. The boy erected a barricade, a temporary defence that would do him little good except prolong his now inevitable end. Abrem pulled deeper on saidin, frowning as he realised this new body wasn’t as strong with Earth and Water as he had been. Now was not the time to reminisce about his disconcerting time and body jump to this new, primitive Age. Where once he had been able to call lightning from the sky like the Creator himself, one massive strike would have to do. In the split second before he released the weave, the wall exploded seemingly of its own accord. Too late to recall the bolt, Abrem hurriedly wove a barrier of Air between himself and what had briefly been a wall, expecting some form of booby trap. Nothing happened. Maintaining the protecting, he prepared a Shield to cut the boy off from the Source and approached cautiously. Perhaps he had gotten lucky? More likely the boy was lying in wait with a new barrage of attacks. Sinking into the mud, Abrem laughed. “I’m not as stupid as your mentor, fool.” Fire and Air dried and area around him fast enough that the sludge could do little but cling to his boots. ooc: Blast me!
  12. A full month away from the stress of the Tower, focusing on controlling her temper... hell, why not add the other ninety-seven years she’d spent here, nagged and chastised about her inability to keep from letting the little things get to her – yet, less than fifteen minutes into a conversation with Lavinya, the two were snapping at each other like fifteen-year olds chasing the same boy. The boy was blind, old, and dead but the subject of Orion was past sensitive. “We’re the same and we both know it, neither of us has a leg to stand on. Don’t try and threaten me, my footing’s better than yours; besides, I’m not the one begging for information.” Furious and sneering, made a dramatic act of standing and beginning to stomp towards the door. However, it seemed her time spent in the Academy wasn’t entirely wasted. Her hand on the latch, she stopped and winced. Maegan’s voice muttered in exasperation competing with Sirayn’s cold insults: good cop, bad cop – Estel couldn’t help but resent even Maegan a little for getting inside her head. Taking a deep breath and choking back just a touch of her pride, she stopped and turned around though her hand remained poised to storm out. “Neither of us can be tied to Sirayn without information from another Order member, thank the Light the woman was as paranoid as she was. Besides, even if someone connects either of us to her, we have a solid alibi: Watchers. As for the risk of anyone betraying the Order, you and I are the most likely candidates; Aramina disappeared shortly after Sirayn, Serena’s only just returned to the Tower and has a reputation and tenuous position in the Ajah to protect, and Jaydena has her own reputation to protect and she risks losing her place in the Hall should she admit having sworn to Sirayn. That leaves you and I, but you seem against the idea.” Smirk. “As for me, I have no intention of betraying you all a second time. While I may be able to convince Serena to meet with us, Jaydena is unlikely to risk exposure by meeting with us. Without Sirayn’s protection and influence, she stands to gain very little from her continued association with the Order. If we want to force a meeting, I can threaten to expose us; after all, I have the history and most to gain from it since my oath was coerced. Plus, it is not as if a semi-illegal oath of fealty can worsen my reputation. “As for the Forkroot, after the little... incident with Aran, only Sirayn and Aramina knew where it was kept. However, unless Sirayn hid it somewhere in the Tower, unlikely as there is the risk of a Sister stumbling onto it, she must have owned or rented some sort of building for storage in Tar Valon. Considering the woman’s flair for secrecy, she probably used an alias to buy or rent the building but she must have kept the deed or contract somewhere. I’m not sure what they did with her belongings, probably stored in the basement. If we could manage to look through whatever papers she had... Assuming she didn’t rent the building, or at least that her lease hasn’t expired, and that Aramina or Jaydena didn’t go in search of the stockpile themselves, it should still be there. "Enough brain for you?" She couldn't help adding the dig.
  13. WS 4 to 5 - complete 1 req Mountain Climbing Climbing Higher: Trainee Mountain Climbing Class (19 posts COMPLETE) The Yard's clumsiest trainee miraculously survives a mountain climb.
  14. The four trainees set out alone the following morning, landmarks as their breadcrumbs; already tired, sore, and scratched, few words interrupted the music of birds. Addi’s goose egg had now taken over the better... or rather, worse part of her forehead. Her arms and legs were a tapestry of tiny scrapes, some of which began to angrily protest their abuse after only a few feet up the new cliff face. Despite being worse for wear, the nerves she’d felt the day before were vague memories replaced by a steady flow of adrenaline. Without Thera to guide them, the trainees ran into a number of problems the Mistress of Trainees had automatically avoided the day before. They made their first climb with few issues, except Addi had to apologise profusely to one of her companions as he nursed a black eye – it was unanimously decided that she was permanently demoted to bottom of the line. Their second climb, however, presented a new challenge. As Thera had guided them up the mountain, she had manoeuvred them up paths they were capable of scaling; unfortunately, her trainees had no such foresight. Eventually, the four found themselves stuck beneath an outcrop of rock they could not avoid. While it had provided and excellent anchor for their grappling hooks, there was no way to actually climb onto the ledge itself and they were stuck underneath it. If they tried to inch their way, one side or the other, towards a place where the overhang wasn’t so perpendicular to the cliff face, they risked dislodging their hooks. Testing all their weight on the ropes proved chancy; while the ropes were certainly secure enough to carry their weights without shifting too much, the added force of swinging backwards off the mountain and then as they trusted all their weight on the ropes was just as dangerous. In the end, the group propelled back down to safer ground and charted a new direction glad they had lugged extra grappling hooks and rope with them. By the time Addison stood at the top of the mountain, suffering slightly from vertigo, she was exhausted and had scraped off whatever skin had still clung to her arms during one very unnerving slip. Their trek down the mountain was fairly uneventful until the last cliff. Second-to-the bottom, Addi was two-thirds down their last propel when she chanced to look up. Her shout rousted a flock of birds out of the trees below them – one of the ropes was fraying! Too far away from it to be of any use, she was forced to nervously continue to make her way towards the bottom, pleading with the Creator. In typical dramatic style, the rope snapped just as a second rope was secured and left the top two trainees thanking their lucky stars, clinging to the rock face. Addison provided comic relief and fell the final three feet of her descent. Thera seemed relieved to lead them all home in one piece, though Addi thought she’d noticed a flicker of amusement when the woman saw her rubbing head, arms, and rear. As she kicked White Thunder back towards Tar Valon, angry red splotches began to itch all over her body. “You have got to be kidding me!”
  15. Well, at least Lavinya had taken Sirayn’s disappearance better than she had. Mind you, the woman wasn’t quite as... as she had said before, “distraught” as Estel had been upon receiving the news. She briefly considered telling the Grey about the Black Ajah, and the theory beginning to form in her mind about their benefactor’s disappearance. However, the concept of an entire Ajah sworn to the Dark One, hidden in the White Tower all this time, still felt foreign and her information all came second-hand. Like the Order, she was “in on the secret” but still didn’t quite feel part of the group. Besides, Lavinya could be Black – though that suspicion was likely the result of their ancient grudge. As for the woman’s not-so-off-hand comment that the Order had reformed without her, Estel had considered it. If someone had taken up Sirayn’s organisation in her absence, the most likely candidate was Jaydena since Aramina had also gone missing. There was very little of the organisation left: their leader missing, the unofficial second-in-command missing a handful of weeks later, three members had been trapped in the Black Tower and taking sabbaticals to heal themselves after – that left barely half the organisation for Jaydena, or anyone else, to try and seize control over. No, more likely she and Lavinya were the only former members still in contact. The woman’s comment about working together took her completely by surprise. Yes, over the last year and a half both had saved the other’s life, but that was a far cry from actually co-operating. “Work together? To rebuild what? The Order? Let me paint a picture of where we stood in the organisation: we were the two charity cases Sirayn took in simply for the amusement value of kicking us – and that is an improvement on our standing throughout the rest of the Tower. What exactly do you expect us to accomplish? Even if we can stop bickering long enough to decide on anything, what are we supposed to do about it? Gather a group of Novices and Accepted to help? Here in the Tower, what Sister would find anything either of us says credible, let alone worthy of her help and support. “Without Sirayn’s help, you may be in trouble but I’ve already moved past this while you were...” despite her hatred for the woman and the fact that she’d love nothing better than to hurl her “impropriety” in her face, Estel still felt uncomfortable actually voicing the “faux pas” – probably associated with some tiny crumb of empathy she felt towards her rival, ““on sabbatical”. Shevara has more important things to ferret out than a disbanded, illicit organisation of Sisters sworn to one of her missing, and presumably dead, predecessors. As far as betraying the organisation to win points, the pair of us has the most to gain and the least to lose; I don’t see any of the others risking their credibility for a weak thread to the Amyrlin. “I’ve already spoken with Shevara concerning my experience in the Black Tower,” she still couldn’t say the name without wincing, “and my absence following. I have nothing to worry about concerning the Amyrlin and Hall.” Estel wished she could add “I have nothing to hide” to drive her filthy semi-blackmail attempt to gain the upper hand of this tenuous possible partnership; unfortunately, the First Oath prevented such a lie.
  16. ooc: fashionably late :P ic: Despite what many might say, based on the amount of time she spent choking on her foot, Addison had an unfortunate habit of over thinking things. This wasn’t to say she couldn’t be impulsive, because Light knew she was, but after the decision was made she would rethink and regret everything. Thus is was that Addi found herself, the next morning, regretting the amount of time she had spent regretting joining this class – needless to say, she hadn’t slept well. She packed her bags silently, preoccupied; it was with a certain amount of trepidation that she flung, missed, and re-flung her grappling hook. The group seemed to sense her unease, or at least Thera did, and she ended up being on the bottom of the string of scraggly youths slowly working their way up the cliff. Heights weren’t what bothered her, not directly. Rather, it was the fact that heights increased the severity of injuries should an accident occur – and there was no Yellow on the trip. Unfortunately, Addison was somewhat... incredibly accident prone. During her first week in the Yards, she’d visited the infirmary six times: one broken hand, the same hand lacked any skin across her knuckles the next day, bloody and blistered feet, a sprained ankle, a puncture wound, and a broken arm. Whether by virtue of her clumsiness, inattention, violent temper, or just plain bad luck, Addi was on a first-name basis with any and every Yellow Sister that worked or even visited the infirmary. If Addison could barely practice her sword forms without stabbing herself, how on earth was she going to climb a mountain without dying? Actually, the climb went better than expected – in other words, she survived. Considering she was at the bottom, the stones dislodged by her fellow trainee’s boots gravitated towards her like flies to a corpse; tiny scratches and a number of bruises covered her, luckily the worst was a goose egg sprouting from her forehead. Addi reached the plateau in, more or less, one piece. She found going down, while supposedly more dangerous, easier and definitely more fun. With every jump backwards, nothing but the rope keeping her from crashing to a painful death, she felt a jolt of adrenaline rush through her body. When the group reached the bottom, a big grin had sprouted underneath the goose egg while at least one of the others looked more than a little green. By the time they returned to camp, exhausted fuzzed Addi’s brain too much to think and she slept deeply – though her companions would complain, not peacefully.
  17. She nodded silently, content to follow the older woman’s lead – while she’d never been a sheep, neither did she possess the charisma that seemed to flow so freely from nearly every other woman living in the white walls. “Considering my reputation, I doubt the woman will see me as any type of threat... unstable perhaps, but not a threat. Since so few of us ever returned from Watchers, it shouldn’t be difficult to get an audience. When would she be apart from the Keeper? And if we can’t separate the two, what then? We’ll have the element of surprise, but I’m not familiar with either of their strengths.” All statements of the obvious, mused aloud for Maegan’s feedback and with the expectation of being told she’d missed something. “Without testimony from Annais, Aramina, Lillian, Telcia, or Darienna, she can’t very well charge us with treason; in the Tower, only you and I know that it was against Annais’ orders that you left. I don’t even really know how that played out, I was unconscious. Promise of information about Watchers should be enough to entice her into meeting with us, the rest we deal with as it comes – dodge when possible, answer when forced.”
  18. WS 3 to 4 - complete 1 req Prank Hell Hath No Fury (18 posts COMPLETE) Addison and Edana embark on a revenge mission for women everywhere.
  19. Uncomfortable described how Addison had felt hiring the prostitute. It didn’t come near the word needed to describe how she felt standing outside her own bedroom door, listening to their plan backfire... rather loudly. Painful, distressing: even they lacked the appropriate connotation. Even more unfortunately, the absolute... tragedy - it seemed the most appropriate word, considering Addi felt the need to keel over with embarrassment with each new second of added humiliation. In any case, this day’s tragedy was not yet done. Out walks the whore, positively beaming and spewing out words like “calling me Addison” and “top bunk”. Her stomach suddenly felt the need to spew out what little food she’d ingested today. Addi took her gold back woodenly, desperately trying not to wrap her head around the situation. Edana was talking but her words went in one ear and out the other as the grey matter in the middle curled itself in foetal position and rocked back and forth. “I told you we should have found a guy.” Pause. “Um... now where am I supposed to sleep tonight?”
  20. Cairma was Jaydena’s... ex-Gaidar? Blink. Blink. ‘Oh damn.’ Addison had never really understood the old adage “between a rock and a hard place” until right about now. On one hand, she was not only talking to a Green Aes Sedai, but a Green Sitter. Despite having only arrived two days prior, she had learned quickly the hierarchy of ranks: - She, being a trainee and a new one at that, was at the very bottom of the ladder (unless one planned to include Tower servants and often even they had the ability to boss her around) - Novices came next, though they weren’t actually supposed to be in the training yards, trainees were expected to treat them with respect since one day they would be Aes Sedai - Accepted - Tower Guards which, in and of itself, had a hierarchy - Aes Sedai and by proxy, their Warders - Sitters - Amyrlin Seat and by proxy, her Keeper According to the list, Sitters were only ever trumped by the Amyrlin Seat or Keeper; it was unlikely Addi would see them any time soon, let alone try to carry on a conversation with them. However, the problem with her list was that the position of “mentor” was sort of a ghost title. Did loyalty trump hierarchy? After all, it was unlikely Jaydena Sedai would ever see her any time soon; whereas Addison would be spending every day of the next... however long it took to become a Tower Guard, with Cairma. Yet, the Aes Sedai embodied the woman she one day dreamed of Bonding; not only a Green, no doubt complete with the bravery, tactical skills, and wisdom required of both Aes Sedai and warrior, but a Sitter, already a powerful woman. This was the type of Aes Sedai Addison could see gleemen sings songs about: beautiful, powerful, and the strange mask covering her face lent a dose of the mysterious. Jaydena Sedai: the name was practically musical without the added effect of harp and tune. Jaydena Sedai and Addison Gaidar. The stories would tell of a deep and abiding friendship; a duo in which Addi was a partner, not merely a lackey. Unfortunately, there was no way on earth those dream would come to fulfillment if she managed to infuriate Cairma this early in her career. ‘Oh damn, indeed.’ Addi pictured herself walking along fence rails at the farm, only theses fence rails were ten feet high and she faced the possibility of ruining what would have surely been a lustrous career. “I am enjoying my studies very much, Jaydena Sedai, thank you.” Pause, think, balance. “Cairma is an excellent teacher.”
  21. More than happy to collapse at Cairma’s instruction, Addi sat and nodded absently at her mentor’s instructions while absently picking at one of the half dozen blisters covering the soles of her feet. As such, she didn’t notice the approaching Aes Sedai until the woman’s voice elicited a jump from her, exacerbating sore muscles. More surprising than an Aes Sedai deciding to approach her, apparently ignoring Cairma, was her mentor’s reaction. By the time Addi turned towards the blonde woman, her face had reverted to its usual stony composure but the trainee was almost positive she’d heard the infamous words “Uh oh.” Refusing to groan, she bit back a number of whines, moans, and whimpers as she struggled to her feet. Addi attempted a shaky bow, nearly twisting as ankle in the process. “Good morning Aes Sedai, it is an honour. I am Addison Thwait, only recently a Tower Trainnee.” Addison might not have looked and felt so ridiculous if only she wasn’t still panting from the workout. Unsure of how to address the situation, considering Cairma’s reaction to the Aes Sedai’s approach, Addi erred on the side of politesse and introduced the woman. “This is my mentor, Cairma Vishnu.”
  22. “Are you sure we’re capable of civil conversation? We’re Aes Sedai, our grudges last the generations.” Not spoken with her usual dry amusement nor vehemence, instead she sighed and remembered her Warder. “I’ll never forgive you.” Even as Accepted, before Orion had even been born, they hadn’t been friends; Lavinya had been the perfect student, toeing every line, while Estel had been the truant with a bad attitude and authority issues. They’d mostly ignored each other despite being only a handful of years apart in age and moving through their initiate years neck and neck. In so many very unfortunate ways, they were too much alike long before Orion. For that, she did hate the Grey; Estel hated herself, it only made sense to hate a woman so similar. “Did Sirayn need a reason to be paranoid?” Another lengthy grudge that was unlikely to ever be resolved. “The woman swore an organisation of Sisters to herself but never divulged any actual information to them. As for her disappearance, I returned almost two weeks after she was found missing and was... in no condition to learn more than Annais told me when I reported everything that had happened at the Black Tower. Basically the Tower woke up one morning and she was just gone. No signs of a struggle, no one noticed anyone channelling near the Amyrlin’s quarters, neither her papers nor any of her other belongings had been touched. She just vanished into thin air.” Taking into account Maegan’s recent revelation, Estel wondered whether Sirayn had been aware of the Black Ajah’s existence and if they were the cause of her disappearing act. “I’m sure Jaydena must have led the few Order members left in the Tower to look for Sirayn and, of course, the Tower sent out official search parties – nothing. After that, the Order more or less disbanded. Not that I’m exactly the first member they’d contact if the Order were to reform and I was hardly about to seek them out. The term for my condition at the time would probably be distraught.”
  23. Moving around and taking a seat in one of the soft blue cushioned chairs, Nastasia wove Saidar around an extra cup not far from their setting and set into her hands. Pouring a cup, her face was left unmoving with a rather quick tongue towards Corinne. "Perhaps it would have been better if you did as well." It was unforgiving, harsh and exactly the words that gave her the reputation she had. "It would not take witnessing the event to see that the results were less than acceptable. I, for one, am disappointed." Pouring herself a cup of tea, Nastasia sipped it dark and without sweetener. The immediate shift of control the moment Nastascia had walked in the room would have been apparent to a blind and deaf person – one might argue Estel was a figurative fit for both categories. Rather than antagonise the situation, she sat uncharacteristically quiet; her influence in the matter was minimal at best. It was strange how many nuances she found herself picking up on when she shut her mouth and observed like Corinne’s white knuckles or Nastacia’s eyes, carefully watching the Taraboner. “You dare... Your own failure is far more prominent than mine, Nasty.” That Corinne would use a nickname while discussing what was turning into a very official matter attested to the grip that was quickly slipping on the reign of Ajah leadership. She sipped her tea, "My only failure, Corinne, was assuming that Lanfir had at least some decency in seeing reason. I shall not make the same mistake twice." Her eyes glared coldly at the other Blue. "Which begs the question if you can at all." “You’re questioning my decency? I’m your Ajah Head, not vice versa. If you plan to continue questioning my authority, call the meeting and I’ll defend my decisions to the Sister that were here to witness my actions, not to three Sisters halfway to nowhere when all this happened.” Nastascia paused, her tea halfway to her lips when she set it back down. "Estel, go round up the Sisters. I think it is time that we show our First Selector the appropriate side of reason. Elyssa, go see that the Sapphire Chambers are prepared. Summon any that you need." Shaking her head, it was sad to see how far gone the woman was. She waited for the women to leave before she turned to Corinne in a softer voice. "I am sorry for this, but if you are getting so defensive over your position it begs the question if you can handle it when under the pressures of the Hall and just the sisters of your own Ajah. You have done great things for us, but perhaps it is time to allow someone stronger to lead the way." Even with the Order disbanded, Estel found herself the lackey of those in power. Resentfully, she followed Nastascia’s orders. On her way out the door, she turned around for one last glimpse of the crumbling ice statue. At this moment, Corinne’dei Susten seemed almost pathetic as she took a long sip of tea, likely wishing it was some form of alcohol. The Domani shut the door behind herself without a drop of pity and began knocking on doors. Nastascia Romanovni Nasty Corinne'dei Susten Proud Estel Liones Lackey
  24. Speak of the devil. Estel briefly entertained the notion of having subconsciously Compelled the woman into the room, a childish fantasy she was far too old for – if she had the ability to control people’s mind, Nastascia Romanovni would not be the woman she called to her aid. While Corinne had certainly been her main antagonist in the Ajah, the appositely nicknamed Nasty had been little kinder. Therefore, the roundabout compliment came as a shock. No doubt the new arrival hadn’t meant it as such; nevertheless, it buoyed Estel’s ever low self-esteem. “We can’t stop, Nastascia, I’m sure the shock would kill half the Ajah and we can’t afford that, now more than ever. As for Shevara... I have to hand it to the hall for their sense of humour – a Red on the seat after the disaster of Watchers? Here I was thinking we were a group of bitter old ladies while the Hall hands out forgiveness like the Children pass around Mantelar’s book...” Light mocking turned mush darker. Estel ignored icy glares from Corinne until the woman cut her off. “None of you were in the Tower following Annais’ death, how can you say I should have handled it differently? Do you have witness accounts of my poor judgement? Don’t tell me how to run this Ajah when you had all abandoned her.” While she was painfully familiar with the rough side of Corinne’s tongue, Estel had never seen the woman so flustered. Lectures had always been delivered in perfect monotone and cold enough to frost the windows. Now, the First Selector snapped each word, the pitch of her voice rising and falling in waves. Estel Liones Unsuspecting Sitter-to-be Corinne'dei Susten Feeling the end of her reign approach
  25. Having unceremoniously collapsed onto the ground, Addi tried to avoid looking at her feet but masochistic curiosity revealed blossoming blisters and a thin trail of blood between her toes, probably the work of a stick she’d tripped over. Bloody hell, no doubt she’d be sent to the Yellows again after this session – three days in and they already knew her by name! No doubt they laughed about it in whatever secret lair their Ajah met in. While it may prove beneficial for her, her budding reputation would probably keep any Yellow Sister from considering a Bond when she became a Tower Guard. As her gasps slowed in frequency, Cairma sat down and motioned for her to join in a more decorous position. The exercise the woman demonstrated certainly didn’t seem particularly difficult; indeed, the first sit-up was not. However, after fifteen, her shoulder no longer came quite so close to her knees. Push-ups were far more difficult; Addison was by no means weak, farming was hard work, but lifting jugs of milk and bales of hay used different muscles than lifting one’s body weight. While Cairma counted down to zero, Addi bit back tears as her arms trembled with the strain of pushing herself up off the ground. She was almost glad her next task was another lap around the track, until she tried to stand. The blisters on her feet protested the sudden surge of pressure and her muscles cried in agony, threatening to topple her back to the ground. With much wincing and gritting of teeth, Addi was back at the track. Just think: a few more times and they’d call it a day.
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